The Terrific Ten: 10 Great Posts to Help You With Your Finances – February, 2018

Hey, Money Buddies!

Hope everybody is doing well, and moving forward on a positive financial path. I’m currently reading Retire Inspired, by Chris Hogan. Good stuff.

He hits home with stuff that I’ve been focusing on over the years. I’ll be sharing more about it in the future.

I’ve also been on the phone with a young friend who’s boyfriend is facing possible foreclosure on his house.

Two key elements to focus on in life, retirement and having enough money to make house payments.

So . . . that’s why I bring you the Terrific 10. I can only write so much, and haven’t done much lately, but there are others out there that do. Others who write stuff that can help you retire and have enough money to make your house payments.

There’s great stuff out there that can help you with your finances, so I look for it and share it. Can’t hurt, right?

So, with that, Here’s the latest Terrific 10!!

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Crying Over Spilled Milk or What to Do if You Missed the Stock Market Rally (Keith Schroeder at Wealthy Accountant) – Stock Market. I love those two words. Keith shares a great story about his “Gramps,” Doc, who was a millionaire farmer when he died.

Check out the post to get an idea how Doc did it and the other great stuff that Keith shares.

After that, hop over to his website and read more great stuff. BTW- Keith and his Mrs. are AWESOME people to hang with at FinCon. So – o – o – o looking forward to hanging with them in Florida this year.

separating and automating your savings. Separate, meaning you put your savings in a place that is hard to get to so you are not tempted to touch it! And automate, meaning you set up the technology available to you to work for you to transfer and invest money without a second thought!How To Fund Your Roth… Painlessly (Life of FI MD) –  I’ve heard of Roth IRA’s, but don’t have one. Hell, I don’t even have an IRA. My wife does, but she worked in the retail sector. I worked in the state education section, so I have a 403b and a pension.

I digress and redirect back to the actual article. This is a short and sweet read. Doesn’t take much time but is full of great info.

I really love the concept of Separate. Move those investments funds somewhere that you can’t get to them easily, out of your everyday finances. Awesome idea. We did it without knowing it and it WORKED.

Yep, another great read. Check it out!

plumbingWhen it Doesn’t Pay to be Frugal (Money Corgi) – I used to the be guy that tried to do everything myself and wondered why my Dad started to pay other folks to do things that he could do himselt.

This post pretty well sums up why I’m thinking that my Dad had the right idea in having his oil changed and such. Somethings are just not worth our time.

Pretty good read! Short, Sweet, and to the Point.

 

8 Daily Rituals Most Millionaires Have in Common8 Daily Rituals Most Millionaires Have in Common (I Am One Percent) – Millionaires was a word that identified a class of people that I would never meet, or be a part of the social circles.

I was wrong, I’ve met a number and hung with them at FinCon 2017, and communicate with them here and there. I’d heard of things that they did that was not of the ordinary and have studied a little.

Here’s a good article that shares a number of very key characteristics. You can bet I’m going to adopt a number of them.

 

My Experience with a Certified Financial PlannerMy Experience with a Certified Financial Planner (Route to Retire) – This post hits home as the first two “Fiancial Planner” we worked with, were not actually. Turns out they were “Salespeople” and directed us to purchase products that provided them with substantial commissions.

The last one we had convinced us to purchase a $100,000,000.00 Whole Life policy, to “Shelter” investments. This is a story that will come out another time, but I’ll just share that we had to convert the policy to a Modified Endoument Contract, that we can’t do anything with. So . . . .

We “Fired” the two and now work with a Fudiciary, so that we no longer get sold products, but instead our money is managed.

Check out this piece for more info on Jim’s experience.

Three Paycheck MonthAre You Missing Out on Free Money in Your Budget? (Mr. Jamie Griffen) – Missing Money, that used to meant money that I had lost somewhere, but Jamie shares that it’s money that we “Missed” in our budgets.

I’ve found some over the years. The main one was our “Tax Refund.” That interest free “Loan” that we provided to the Government. Well, that’s another story for a blog post.

Check out what Mr. Jamie has to say about “Missing Money” and how you might find some in your budget.

My January 2018 FavoritesMy January 2018 Favorites (As Told by Abbie) – I was a new blogger back in the end of 2015, and I remember the days of firing up the first few articles, and what they meant to me. Now, I’m nothing big, for sure, but I enjoy finding “Newbies,” seeing what they have to say, and sharing good stuff.

In this piece, Abbie shares about tools and resources that she’s found to be useful. I think that you will too, so I’m honored to share this piece. Let me know what you think, and check out more of Abbie’s stuff.

 

Financial education in schoolAre We Doing Enough To Educate Students About Finances? (Ninja Budgeter) – I was an educator for 27+ years and I KNOW that we didn’t do enough to educate students about finances. In fact I built a spreadsheet to show students the power of compounding interest.

I didn’t learn about money in high school. In fact, I didn’t learn much about money from my parents. Heck, I only really learned about money in my 30’s and I’m trying to teach my 30-ish kids about it. Of course, I have no creditibility with them. Maybe not even with you, but I’m still going to share stuff that I thank is worth while.

Check out Mike’s piece, and see what he has to say. I agree with a ton of his points. How about you?

Preliminary Report on Estimated Tax Savings with the New Tax Law (The Wealthy Accountant) – Do you do much in tax planning, as in reducing your Tax Liability? We do. Each year we meet with our CPA, well out of the the tax season and discuss our thoughts and strategies.

Keith, The Wealthy Accountant, offers some fantastic information in this post.

I can verify that Keith’s info is honest and real, as I got to hang with him and his wife at FinCon 2017. They are as genuine as Keith is brilliant.

Don’t take my word for it. Check his post out and see what you think.

What Personal Finance Advice You Would Give Yourself If You Were Just Starting OutWhat Personal Finance Advice Would You Give Yourself If You Were Just Starting Out (My Family on a Budget) – Man! I wish I’d had this information back when I was first making money. My buddy, Stevie G., of My Family on a Budget, has some great items to share.

You want to get ahead, or help others get ahead? Then check out Steve’s post.

I REALLY like his point, “Pay Yourself First, As Early As Possible.” You should be your first dept payment, every month.

There’s more great stuff, so you owe it to yourself to check out this post.

Well, that’s JMHO.

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Well, there you go, another Terrific 10. It’s been a while since I put a list together, but I’ve got some good ones here. I think you’ll agree, but if you don’t let me know.

If any of these posts ring out, please let me kow, I’d like to see what your favorite is.

Until next time, Peace! Shin

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Why retirement planning is so important and how you can do it.

It’s my pleasure to present this guest post by Amy Nickson, from Working Moms’ Word.

Per Amy, “Hey there! I am Amy Nickson. I am here in loving memory of my mom – sharing thoughts and opinion to help single parents, child, working moms. It’s a platform where I can reach all the working moms. I love to write on various topic especially finance. Though I’m not an expert but life has taught me a lot of things, and I don’t mind sharing my experience with you all.”

Retirement, aka Financial Independence. It’s within your reach. Here’s some great tips to help you grab it.

How much money will you need to secure your retirement? Most of the people don’t know the answer because they don’t set retirement goals. They prefer to achieve other financial goals instead. As a result, many people face poverty in their retirement.

According to a survey conducted by the GoBankingRates, 56% of people in our country have less than $10,000 saved in their retirement. The survey revealed that 23% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for their retirement. One-third of people said they have no savings for their retirement.

People in our nation are behind on their retirement savings. The reason? They don’t plan for their retirement.

Why is retirement planning crucial?

Retirement planning is important to achieve financial independence. If you don’t have enough money for your retirement you may have to work for a longer time than usual. The average retirement age in our nation is 63, but people are working longer until the age of 70 or older.

According to the study conducted by the human resources consulting firm- Willis Towers Watson, 5% of Americans believe that they’ll never be able to retire at all. Even people who plan to retire at the age of 65 are not sure about their retirement. They said, there is less chance to retire at the right age.

  • No one wants to work until death; every job has high stress. If you want to enjoy a stress -free retirement, then you have to plan properly for your retirement.

  • Retirement planning helps you to save enough to secure your golden days. Remember, as you age, many health issues can occur. The health issues can prevent you from working. Thus, it is important to have enough money to manage medical expenses along with basic living costs.

  • In your retirement, the main source of your income will stop. You have to maintain your lifestyle with the limited money. Also, it is expected that the living cost will increase when you retire. If you don’t have enough money in a retirement account, then you will not be able to maintain your current lifestyle in your retirement.

  • Many people rely on their social security benefit for living their post-retirement life. But social security is not enough because it is facing a significant shortfall. The benefit won’t be there for the young Americans. The Social Security trust fund will be reduced by the year of 2033. There won’t be sufficient money in the system to pay the beneficiaries. So, you should start planning for your retirement so that you can save enough money for your retirement.

How can you plan for your retirement?

Saving enough money for retirement is difficult; it takes years of devotion, but, it is not impossible. You can secure your retirement by proper planning and hard work.

Here are some 8 ways you can plan your retirement.

1. Set a goal and work on it

This is the right time to set a goal and work on it as the year has just started. You should set retirement saving goal now and work on it.

Remember, there is no perfect age to start saving for retirement. The earlier, the better. If you think you are too young to set retirement saving goal, then you are wrong. If you have started earning, you should start planning for your retirement. (SO totally agree. Wish I’d started investing in my 20’s. “Shin”)

2. Revisit your budget to modify it

To start saving money for the retirement, you have to include it in your budget. Otherwise, it will be difficult for you to manage other expenses. Thus, modify your budget to include the retirement saving in it. To do so, you may have to eliminate extra expenses.

You have to do it because unnecessary expenses are eating your hard-earned money. So, find out extra expenses that are not vital and cut them to save more bucks. It will help you to save for retirement while maintaining other necessary expenses ( Household costs, debt payments, gas, and insurance bill).

3. Know how much do you need to retire?

To decide how much is enough for a comfortable retirement, it is important to decide what kind of lifestyle you want to maintain in your retirement. Do you expect to travel in your retirement? How often do you want to travel? Do you expect to live a lavish lifestyle in retirement? Do you want to move to a retire-friendly place?

You have to ask these questions to yourself to decide about the “Perfect amount” you will need for your retirement.

However, you have to be realistic in determining your lifestyle in your retirement. Consider, medical issues, low cash flow, and inflated price rate while deciding the “Perfect amount”.

4. Take advantage of a 401(K)

You should take advantage of the employer matching program to grow your retirement savings faster. If your employer offers a retirement savings plan 401(k), you should start contributing money. It has many advantages:

  • You can easily manage it as it is associated with your employer.

  • Deciding the amount that you want to put in it becomes easier.

  • You are getting more free money because your money will grow in compounding way for 30-40 years. Try to get the full employer match.

  • You can also save taxes on your savings as this plan offers tax benefits.

5. Decide how much you need to save each month

You have to calculate the amount that you need to set aside to reach your retirement savings goal. Knowing the exact amount helps to stay on the track. A retirement calculator can help you to decide it. Go online to find out free retirement calculator to know exactly what amount you need to save each month.

6. Build an emergency fund to protect your retirement savings

Remember, you shouldn’t take out money from your retirement account. Once you take out money from your retirement account, you will not be able o get the full benefit. The money will stop growing and you need to pay tax on the withdrawal.

Remember, you have to build an emergency fund. It will help you to overcome any emergency like job loss, accident, and serious illness without tapping money from the retirement account.

7. Get out of debt and avoid accumulating further debts

To secure your financial future, you have to get out of the costly debts. Because, having higher interest rate debt means, you are losing money by paying the interest rate. Thus, you should try to get out of the debt as early as possible. If you are young and earning well, then you should pay off your credit card debts, personal loan, PDL, and other unsecured loans.

You should try to avoid accumulating further debts to focus on saving for retirement. Moreover, you have to work hard to pay off the mortgage and student loan (if any).

8. Seek help from a financial advisor

Deciding the exact amount that you need to save for retirement can be difficult because expenses are increasing day by day. Also, understanding the retirement calculators that are available online can be difficult for the beginners. Thus, you should talk to a financial advisor for help.

Lastly, to secure your retirement, you may have to consider a lifestyle change. A frugal lifestyle helps you to set aside money. For example, buying a smaller home and car, planning budget trips, cutting down household costs, and reducing credit card usage can help you to save a lot of money that you can put toward your retirement fund.

Amy

“Shin” here. Going to throw in a bit more. Retirement doesn’t have to come at an age, but rather a Dollar Figure. When you have enough to cover all your expenses and not run out, then you’re Financially Indendent and can retire at what ever age you are.

So, what are you doing to “Plan Your Prosperity?”

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Use Cost-Benefit Analysis for All Your Decisions

When people discuss budgeting and saving money you mainly hear about all the things people cut back on. Obviously cutting back is extremely important when it comes to saving more money, but another thing to make sure you factor in is what you WON’T cut back on.

Of course there’s several things you CAN’T cut back on: a roof over your head, enough food to survive, a mode of transportation, etc. But there’s even flexibility with the cost necessities. For example, you can choose to rent a studio or buy a 3 bedroom house or drive to work or ride a bike to work. At what point does convenience outweigh cost?

I ask myself this question a lot. The good old “cost-benefit” analysis can be used in any and situations.

Transportation

Transportation is necessary to get us from Point A to Point B. We use various modes of transportation for things like work, vacation, grocery shopping, going out to dinner, getting to a medical appointment and more. Each time we are traveling to a different destination, we must choose a mode of transportation to get us there.

For those of us who own a car (I’d say a vast majority minus those of you living in NYC or other city areas), this is our usual method of transportation. A car may not be the cheapest way to get from place to place, but it is much more convenient to have a car because it is always accessible to you and you can come and go from places as you please.

With public transportation, on the other hand, you are relying on someone else to get your from Point A to Point B. Sometimes taking a train or a bus may be significantly cheaper, but then you must depend on the bus or train schedule and that may not always align with the times you need to get somewhere.

When going on vacation, you are faced with choosing what mode of transportation to use, as well. For example, my husband and I live in New York and will be attending a wedding in North Carolina in the spring. The cheapest way to get there would certainly be to drive and we do have 2 cars to choose from. However, flying is significantly more convenient for us because we do not was to spend 10+ hours in a car.

Living Arrangement

When it comes to putting a roof over your head, this might be the choice you make that provides you with the most options to choose from. Do you want to live alone? Do you want to live with roommates? Clearly, living with roommates will always keep the cost lower (especially if those “roommates” are your parents!).

Another thing that can significantly impact the cost of your living arrangement is proximity to the nearest city. My husband and I made the choice of living in Westchester County, NY which is just outside the city.

This obviously means that we did not choose the cheapest town to live in; however, we also didn’t pick even close to the most expensive. We live in Northern Westchester, where we can make it to NYC in under an hour driving without traffic (ha). The further south in Westchester County you go, the less you get for your money.

Being that my husband knew he would be working in NYC at some point in time, we chose to live within a reasonable distance that offered us a decent amount for our money.

You also have the choice of renting versus buying. One can argue for either one from a cost-perspective, but personally I think buying a home saves you more money in the long run. Sometimes, though, renting is more convenient. If we rented an apartment in NYC, my husband’s commute would be ¼ of what it is now, but our monthly cost for housing would be nearly quadrupled.

Food

We all need food or else we will starve to death. But there are so many different options to choose from when eating. Taste preferences aside, there are so many different price categories when it comes to purchasing food.

At a grocery store, store-brand or generic foods are typically the cheapest. The next category up is common most well-known brands. Then you have premium brands and organic. Organic foods are chemical-free and somehow this makes them more expensive. It’s ironic to me, but that’s a whole different point. Luckily, grocery stores run promotions, have sales and you can utilize coupons; however, not everyone takes advantage of these things. It’s too much of an inconvenience for some people to print things out or find the sales, so they pay more money than necessary to not have to worry about those things.

Additionally, there are different price points for restaurants, too. Fast-food generally runs the cheapest, offering things like dollar menus. They offer people a quick, cheap meal. Diners and some chain restaurants are a step above this and offer reasonably quick service for an affordable price.

Then we start getting to higher-priced restaurants and the highest-price restaurants. These higher price restaurants offer more than just better quality food; they offer an experience and that is what you are paying for.

The point is there will always be a cheaper or more expensive option. In order to make a financially sound decision, you must do a cost-benefit analysis. Sure, walking to work would be the cheapest way for me to get there, but there’s a 0% chance I’ll be walking 25 miles each way to get there and back.

A car is the best way to get me from Point A to Point B where I live, unless I’m going to NYC where it makes more sense to take a train a lot of times to avoid traffic and paying to park in a garage in Manhattan (for those of you who aren’t familiar, parking in Manhattan is crazy expensive).

Doing a cost-benefit analysis for all decisions you make enables you to determine if what you’re doing really makes sense. Sometimes spending money is about more than just how much you are spending. Sometimes you need to take a little time to think about how much you getting. This will differ from person to person.

Even though I appreciate a luxury vacation and upscale restaurant, doesn’t mean everyone else can justify the cost of these things because they don’t care for these experiences. Do what makes you happy as long as it doesn’t make you broke 😉

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