It’s Not About Being Cheap; It’s About Living Within Your Means

Don’t spend more than you make. It’s one of the basic tenants of being financially responsible. Yet, many people don’t realize that such a practice doesn’t mean you have to be cheap. No, you don’t need to drive a cheap car. No, you don’t need to give up a small daily luxury (Starbucks, anyone?). Yes, you do still need to be smart with your purchases. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be a miser or penny-pincher. Too often, people equate living within their means with being frugal and cheap–sometimes way too much in that direction. Many think that Continue reading It’s Not About Being Cheap; It’s About Living Within Your Means

Take the “Saving” Out of Budgeting

The term “budgeting” usually gets lumped together with the term “saving” when people talk about finances. For many, budgeting is a key part of saving because it limits your expenditures by putting the money that you spend under a microscope. However, it may be more helpful to look at budgeting as not so much how you save your money, but rather how you spend it. This includes analyzing where you spend it, how you spend it, and when you spend it. Focusing on your spending can give you a good idea as to what expenses are really important as well Continue reading Take the “Saving” Out of Budgeting

Don’t Let the Excitement of Retirement Get the Better of You!

Many Americans tend to splurge when they get into retirement. After decades of working and saving, they’re reached the promised land and want to make the most of it. That spending usually comes in the form or vacations and luxury items (A new Mercedes anyone?). While it can be nice to treat yourself to a retirement present, you need to be careful about how often you do so and how much you spend, especially during that first year or two of retirement. As I’ve stated in recent blog posts, those first few years of retirement are crucial to setting the Continue reading Don’t Let the Excitement of Retirement Get the Better of You!

Can’t Touch This: Keep Away From Retirement Savings Until You Need It!

There are different rules for accessing money in different types of retirement savings accounts. If you have a traditional IRA or 401(k), you probably know that you can’t access your money penalty-free until you reach age 59 1/2 and that with a Roth IRA, you can pretty much access your principal contributions at any time (with some exceptions). Thus, it can be tempting use that money sooner than intended, especially when there are not penalties for accessing it and it appears ripe for the taking. However, that doesn’t mean you should. Before you take out money from your retirement account, Continue reading Can’t Touch This: Keep Away From Retirement Savings Until You Need It!

Have You Thought About Decumulation?

Most retirement planning advice is centered around accumulating funds and money to get you through retirement. After all, if you don’t save enough to retire on, you won’t really have much of a retirement. However, accumulation shouldn’t be your only focus when thinking about retirement. Along with accumulation, you might also want to think about “decumulation.” Yes, it does sound like a made-up word, but it is actually a commonly used term within the retirement planning industry. Don’t forget too that how you plan to decumulate–or, more likely, spend–your retirement money can be very important and will involve some planning. Continue reading Have You Thought About Decumulation?

Budgeting: Practice Now to Prepare for Retirement

Making your money last is a big concern for many heading into–and those currently living through–retirement. One of the most efficient ways to make sure your money lasts is to budget and control when, where, and what you spend your money on. If you are concerned about whether your money will last in retirement, you may want to consider learning how to properly budget. Better yet, learn how and practice budgeting before you retire so that you have the skills and system down. Budgeting often takes practice as it is usually not a skill that can be picked up cold. By practicing Continue reading Budgeting: Practice Now to Prepare for Retirement

Putting Your Tax Refund to Good Use

Tax season is now in full swing and the tax refunds have been flowing back to taxpayers for weeks now. If you are one of the lucky ones to get a refund, what do you plan to do with he money? Regardless of where you are in your life, you may want to consider putting that extra money into your retirement savings. It can be pretty tempting to use your refund to splurge on new clothes or purchase consumer goods, but fighting that temptation and putting the money towards retirement can really help you in the long run. If you Continue reading Putting Your Tax Refund to Good Use

Are You Willing to Make Spending Adjustments in Retirement?

Chances are, if you were a diligent saver while you were working and made educated decisions regarding your money, you should have more than enough money stashed away to make it through retirement. However, things can happen during retirement (i.e. medical issues, emergency expenses, etc.) that may take a big chunk out of your retirement savings. If/when such situations occur, you will more likely have to make adjustments to your spending. Examples of such adjustments might include eating out less or rethinking some luxury purchases you had planned on making in your twilight years. You may find that you have Continue reading Are You Willing to Make Spending Adjustments in Retirement?

What Will You Do With Your RMDs?

If you have a traditional, SEP, or SIMPLE IRA account, you will to eventually have to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from that account. You’ve probably heard about RMDs, how they are calculated, and the age (70½) at which you will have to take them. That is important information, however, what’s also important is what you do with that money. Have you thought about what you plan to do with your RMDs and how those plans will affect your retirement budgeting and saving? Do you plan to use your RMDs for necessities or will you use them for fun? If Continue reading What Will You Do With Your RMDs?