Having Money and Properly Managing It are Two Different Things

Just because you have lots of money doesn’t mean you’re necessarily a financial wizard. Society is littered with famous celebrities who have squandered massive amounts of money through various means, such as bad investments or poor spending habits. I’m not saying we need to be sympathetic to celebrities who make millions, but their stories, when looked at together, can provide an important lesson for all of us. That is, that having money and being able to properly manage it and care for it are two different things. In other words, just because you have money doesn’t mean you will know Continue reading Having Money and Properly Managing It are Two Different Things

Do You Understand Your Employer Retirement Benefits?

Many companies offer retirement benefits. Those benefits can range from simply offering 401(k)s to a wide range of financial resources that can include financial planning and multiple retirement account options. Furthermore, with legislation working it’s way through Congress that could allow small businesses to band together to offer retirement savings plans, more Americans could find themselves working for an employer that offers such benefits. Regardless of the size of the company you work for, if you are taking advantage of any employer offered retirement benefits, you need to make sure that you understand what those benefits entail and what their Continue reading Do You Understand Your Employer Retirement Benefits?

Knowing What You Don’t Know

When it comes to retirement planning, there is a lot of information out there about how to do it or, conversely, how not to do it. There are books, articles, websites, TV shows dedicated to the topic. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can–or should–handle your retirement planning and saving all by yourself. While some may be savvy enough to handle their own finances, chances are, most people outside of the financial industry are not. Even though I constantly encourage readers of this blog to speak with financial professionals prior to making decisions with their retirement savings and money, Continue reading Knowing What You Don’t Know

Remind Your Kids: Save Early, Save Often!

The best way to set yourself up for a comfortable retirement is to start saving as early as possible. This means as soon as you have income, you start putting some of it towards retirement. If your first job is with an employer that offers retirement savings benefits, then take advantage of them. It’s even sweeter if your employer offers matching contributions (extra $$$!). If you are well into your career and have children or grandchildren entering the working world, take some time to remind them of the importance of saving for retirement. They might roll their eyes or talk Continue reading Remind Your Kids: Save Early, Save Often!

Make Sure You Understand Early Distribution Exceptions

Thinking about taking an early distribution from your retirement plan and believe you can do so without getting hit with a penalty? You should be very, very careful in doing so. Yes, there are times when taking an early distribution is appropriate and you can avoid an early distribution penalty, but such situations are often few and far between. Aside from avoiding early distributions at all costs, you should really speak with a certified financial planner or retirement expert as part of the consideration process if you are fairly serious about doing so. While there are a number of ways Continue reading Make Sure You Understand Early Distribution Exceptions

Do You Know When Your 401(k) Contribution Deposits Arrive?

We live in a highly technological world where much of what we do–from ordering food to running a business–can be done online. It’s therefore highly likely that if you have a retirement plan with your employer that you can access your plan through a website. Those websites often provide a wealth of information and ways to make changes to your plan. You can change beneficiaries or investments with a few mouse clicks and by filling out a few text boxes. While you may not spend much time on such websites, you should at least explore them when you visit and Continue reading Do You Know When Your 401(k) Contribution Deposits Arrive?

Be Smart When It Comes to Diversification

If your retirement savings are invested in the stock market or you are planning on using an investment portfolio to help offset the costs of retirement, you have probably heard plenty of talk about the importance of diversification. The purpose behind diversification is to help protect your portfolio against market swings so that you don’t get hit too badly when they occur. It’s a concept that can mean different strokes for different folks. To some, diversification may means investing in companies in various industries, while others may look at it as investing in different markets (i.e. stocks vs. bonds), while Continue reading Be Smart When It Comes to Diversification

How Well Do You Know the RMD Rules?

If you have a retirement plan, then you are most likely very familiar with required minimum distributions (RMDs). While you may be confident in your understanding of how RMDs work, there is nothing wrong with a little testing to see just how well you know them. Here is a quiz that Ed Slott and Company put together to test readers on how well they understand RMDs and the rules surrounding them (The answers are at the bottom of the quiz. No cheating!). If you have questions following the quiz, you may want to reach out to a certified financial planner. Continue reading How Well Do You Know the RMD Rules?