Saving for or financially planning for the future can be a daunting task. Whether you’re in your twenties and saving for a house or in your forties and kicking your retirement savings into high gear, saving enough to meet your goals can seem impossible and overwhelming. Furthermore, if you have debt to manage and expenses to pay in order to get your finances into proper shape. Many people struggle with this and it’s the reason why I–and the industry I work in–exist. There’s no shame in asking for help when it comes to money. Finances can be tough to manage Continue reading Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
According to a recent study by the Treasury Department and the Joint Commission on Taxation, for every dollar that Americans under the age of 47 save for retirement, they withdraw 20 cents before reaching age 55. That may not sound like much, but that a fifth of a dollar. Furthermore, a 2019 report by the Government Accountability Office found that Americans during their prime working years withdrew almost $70 billion annually from retirement accounts–that is, before they reach retirement age. That’s a lot of money. I get it though, that retirement money can be tempting, especially if times are a Continue reading Don’t Be Someone Who Hits Your Retirement Account Too Early
When it comes to finances, there tend to be two approaches that people take: They either ignore their finances in the hope that things just work out or they constantly look at every little aspect of their finances and analyze every decision. And no, neither approach provides a healthy way to view your money. Instead, they can lead you to over-analyze your decisions or to ignore warning signs that your financial future might not be so bright. What you really want to do is find a sweet spot somewhat in the middle. That means checking on your finances enough to Continue reading Do You Tend to Micromanage or Ignore Your Finances?
There’s a really good chance that a credit card takes up a spot in your wallet. For some, that’s fine and for others it’s a not-so-good thing. Regardless of your ability to show restraint with the plastic, you may not be aware of some of the perks that a credit card can offer. Yes, you can earn points, rewards, and miles, but there may be other perks that you may not know about. While every card’s offerings are different, it’s not unheard of for credit cards to offer things such as roadside assistance, coverage for lost luggage, and extended warranties Continue reading Do You Know If Your Credit Card Has Hidden Perks?
Worrying about what to do with excess money can seem like an odd thing to do, but it’s actually something that can cause a fair amount of stress. Deciding where to put that money isn’t always an easy decision, especially if you’ve already built up a substantial nest egg, have an investment portfolio, and already have an emergency fund going. The decision isn’t so much about which account needs it the most, but can be focused on what account is the most efficient use of your money or which option has the lowest tax implications. It all depends on what Continue reading Don’t Stress Over Excess (Money)!
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
As you move through the retirement saving journey and into retirement, there are certain age points that you will need to be aware of. These age points allow you to do things that will help you both in saving for retirement and once you actually cross into retired life. The first major age point is when you reach 59 1/2, at which time you can begin taking distributions–from most retirement accounts–without a penalty. This can be huge for people who are planning to retire in their early 60s and who may need to tap into their retirement funds sooner than Continue reading Do You Know the Important Retirement Dates?
If you have a lot of money saved up in an IRA, you may find yourself thinking about tapping into it before you need it. Maybe you had an emergency that requires some extra funds or your want to splurge a bit as you get near retirement. Whatever you decide to do with your money, just make sure it’s not prohibited by the rules governing IRAs. Prohibited transactions include those in which account owners act in a self-serving manner or in which the account owner uses the money to enrich himself/herself or other “disqualified person.” A disqualified person includes the Continue reading Don’t Be Tempted Into a Prohibited Transaction
As the government shutdown moves into it’s fourth week, it’s a sobering reminder for many about the importance of having an emergency fund. No doubt that some of the 800,000 federal employees are learning about the importance of having an emergency fund the hard way. Furthermore, there are thousands of lower paid workers in that group who most likely don’t even make enough to have an emergency fund and may have to turn to unemployment benefits or look for new jobs altogether. Before going further, I’d like to be clear that when I saw “emergency fund,” I mean a stash Continue reading Could You Survive an Income Emergency?
Do you have trouble keeping track of withdrawals from your checking or savings accounts? Do you not want to ever have to worry about whether you might overdraft from your checking account? Then you may want to consider building a “cash cushion” into your finances. A cash cushion is an account limit that you set for yourself and use to protect yourself from overdrafting or incurring insufficient fund fees. That amount can be anything your are comfortable with. For some it may be $200 dollars, while for others it may be $1,000. Basically, when your account hits that number, you Continue reading Protect Yourself Against Yourself With a Cash Cushion