investments http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3930/all en-US What You Should Ask Your Financial Adviser at Your Annual Meeting http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-should-ask-your-financial-adviser-at-your-annual-meeting <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-you-should-ask-your-financial-adviser-at-your-annual-meeting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business_communication_connection_people_concept_0.jpg" alt="Business Communication Connection People Concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The decision to work with a financial adviser is not a one-and-done type of deal. You need to stay engaged and informed. While you probably covered most of your key financial questions in your first meeting or two, you should continue to meet at least on an annual basis. Here are some important questions to explore when you do.</p> <h2>Is my investment mix still appropriate?</h2> <p>When your adviser first put your financial plan together, he or she probably had you fill out a risk tolerance questionnaire or asked you questions directly. That information, coupled with your investment time frame, helped determine your portfolio's optimal asset allocation &mdash; the mix of stocks and bonds that's generally best for someone in your situation.</p> <p>But your situation is ever changing. You're getting older, which could spell the need to make your portfolio a bit more conservative. Or changing market conditions might reveal something about your risk tolerance that the questionnaire couldn't catch. There's nothing like a real market downturn to find out just how risk-tolerant you really are.</p> <p>So, one key question to keep on the table is whether your portfolio is allocated appropriately. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Basics of Asset Allocation</a>)</p> <h2>How will you help me navigate the next bear market?</h2> <p>This question could just as easily be, &quot;How will you help me navigate the next <em>bull</em> market?&quot; It depends on where we are in the market cycle. At the moment, we're still in the midst of a very long-running bull. But just as surely as night follows day, bear markets follow bull markets. President Kennedy once said, &quot;The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.&quot; Right now is a good time to talk about your adviser's plan for the bear market to come.</p> <p>When the market changes direction, are you expected to grit your teeth and ride out the storm? Or does your adviser plan to make changes to your investment holdings? If so, what changes will be made and what will trigger the need to make them? If your adviser plans to make adjustments, hopefully he or she will base them on clear, objective criteria. Make sure you understand them.</p> <p>This is all about expectations management. The better you prepare yourself for challenging market conditions and the actions your adviser may take to steer your investments through those conditions, the better you'll be able to sleep at night when they appear. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-investment-truths-to-remember-when-the-stock-market-is-down?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Investment Truths to Remember When the Stock Market Is Down</a>)</p> <h2>What if a bear market hits at the start of my retirement?</h2> <p>If you're within 10 years of retirement, it's not too early to ask this question. For the unprepared, a bear market that hits right at the start of retirement can be devastating. This is why some advisers recommend taking a &quot;bucket approach.&quot; One bucket contains cash, or very conservatively invested money. It should contain enough to cover three to five years' worth of the living expenses that your adviser predicts you'll have once you've spent your monthly payouts from Social Security or other guaranteed income sources. The other bucket is more traditionally invested.</p> <p>When the market is in decline, you use the first bucket to draw money for living expenses. That way, you can avoid selling more volatile investments while they're falling or recovering. When the market is growing again, you draw from that bucket and also use it to replenish your cash bucket.</p> <p>What's your adviser's perspective on this approach? What else does he or she recommend if the start of your retirement coincides with a market downturn?</p> <h2>What's my Social Security contingency plan?</h2> <p>Your financial plan surely includes an assumption about the age when you plan to take Social Security. If you intend to wait at least until your full retirement age (67 for anyone born in 1960 or later), what contingency plan does your adviser recommend in case you're not able to wait that long?</p> <p>Many of today's retirees left the workforce earlier than they expected due to medical problems, the need to care for a loved one, or a corporate downsizing. Your plan should include a contingency in case something similar happens to you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-for-a-forced-early-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Plan for a Forced Early Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>Should I consider an annuity at some point?</h2> <p>An <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement?ref=internal" target="_blank">immediate annuity</a> purchased upon retirement or shortly thereafter could provide some invaluable peace of mind, especially if it covers much or all of your essential living expenses. Generally, what does your adviser think of immediate annuities? And how does he or she recommended sorting through the myriad decisions related to annuities, such as: whether to base benefits on <em>your</em> life only or your spouse's as well, whether to include an inflation rider, whether to include a &quot;period certain&quot; provision whereby benefits would continue being paid to your spouse or heirs even after your death.</p> <p>What annuity companies does your adviser recommend and will he or she earn a commission from the sale of an annuity provided by one of those companies? Are there other annuities available to you that may offer better terms but no commission to your adviser?</p> <p>Also, what does your adviser think of <em>longevity annuities</em>? This type of annuity helps protect against the financial risk of a long life. You might purchase it for a lump sum when you are 65 or 70, with benefits not kicking in until you are 80 or 85. Should you plan to purchase one?</p> <p>Just because you're working with a financial adviser doesn't mean you can think of yourself as having outsourced your financial life. Stay involved, see it as a partnership, and keep asking informed questions.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-you-should-ask-your-financial-adviser-at-your-annual-meeting&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520You%2520Should%2520Ask%2520Your%2520Financial%2520Adviser%2520at%2520Your%2520Annual%2520Meeting.jpg&amp;description=What%20You%20Should%20Ask%20Your%20Financial%20Adviser%20at%20Your%20Annual%20Meeting"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20You%20Should%20Ask%20Your%20Financial%20Adviser%20at%20Your%20Annual%20Meeting.jpg" alt="What You Should Ask Your Financial Adviser at Your Annual Meeting" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-should-ask-your-financial-adviser-at-your-annual-meeting">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-details-your-financial-adviser-may-be-ignoring">5 Details Your Financial Adviser May Be Ignoring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-your-financial-adviser-should-ask-you">5 Questions Your Financial Adviser Should Ask You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-need-a-financial-planner">Do You Need a Financial Planner?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement">7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-safeguard-your-financial-future-with-just-200">5 Ways to Safeguard Your Financial Future With Just $200</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance annuities asset allocation contingency plans financial advisers financial planners investments market downturns questions retirement social security Tue, 17 Apr 2018 08:30:09 +0000 Matt Bell 2125602 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Worst Reasons NOT to Buy a House http://www.wisebread.com/7-worst-reasons-not-to-buy-a-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-worst-reasons-not-to-buy-a-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/paper_house_under_a_magnifying_lens.jpg" alt="Paper house under a magnifying lens" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For most of us, our home is the biggest ticket item we'll ever buy. The amount of time, labor, and money this single transaction represents demands a clear head and clear motivations. Since we already know there are a lot of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-worst-reasons-to-buy-a-house?ref=internal" target="_blank">terrible reasons to buy a house</a>, let's take a look at things from the other side. Here are the worst reasons <em>not </em>to buy a house.</p> <h2>1. The market may go bust</h2> <p>After the Great Recession of 2008, everyone's worried about buying at the top of a bubble. But if you dream of owning a home, you've amassed a healthy down payment, can easily afford the mortgage payment and property taxes, and plan to stay in your new home for a while, stop obsessing about what the market may or may not do. Get on with the business of living in a new home.</p> <h2>2. You don't like the cosmetics</h2> <p>The triple threat of bad landscaping, garish paint, and shag carpet has made many a real estate agent go prematurely gray. But cosmetics are just that &mdash; <em>cosmetic</em>. They can often quite inexpensively be changed. Instead of writing off a house because it's got a case of the uglies, channel your creativity. Make small modifications as your time and budget allow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-these-6-home-d-cor-flaws-ruin-your-house-hunt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Let These 6 Home Décor Flaws Ruin Your House Hunt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Your furniture won't fit</h2> <p>I admit it; I used to watch lot of house hunting shows on cable TV. And the one conclusion I drew from this voyeuristic exercise? Too many homebuyers are terrified that the things they already own simply won't fit, no matter how generous the proportions of the rooms.</p> <p>I'm not sure it makes sense to reject a home &mdash; or homeownership in general &mdash; simply because you've amassed a collection of barge-like beds, sofas, and dining room tables. Here's a good rule of thumb: Don't let things that depreciate in value dictate your purchase of something that appreciates in value.</p> <h2>4. You're afraid it will be a bad investment</h2> <p>First and foremost, houses are meant to be lived in (and hey, we all gotta live somewhere). Those who approach homeownership purely as an investment often fail to realize one important fact: Houses are often a worse investment than letting your money grow in the stock market. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment</a>)</p> <p>If you want to own your home rather than rent, buy a home. Live in it. Sell or rent it when you're ready to move on. You may come out ahead financially, or you may not. But in the meantime, you'll have lived in the home you wanted and that has value in and of itself.</p> <h2>5. Renters are happier than owners</h2> <p>Renters may be more carefree than homeowners, but that doesn't always translate into happiness. Renting puts you at the mercy of shifting economies, forces you to deal with a rotating parade of new neighbors (with whom you may share a wall or two), and provides little opportunity to customize or improve your space. Depending on your priorities, renting may be more of a drag than a delight.</p> <h2>6. You're scared of commitment</h2> <p>So, you say you're scared of commitment. Who isn't? But by avoiding homeownership, you're actually committing to something &mdash; spending more money on rent, not building equity, sacrificing a certain level of privacy, and potentially retiring with less security. There's proactive commitment and passive commitment. Which do you prefer?</p> <h2>7. You're worried about hidden issues</h2> <p>Remediating hidden issues can be expensive, but don't let unfounded fears get the best of you. Few homes are able to keep their secrets completely. Do your homework and don't skimp on the home inspection. Hire an experienced and certified professional, attend the inspection in person, and read the final report carefully. If a home has fatal flaws, move on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thinking-of-skipping-the-home-inspection-heres-what-it-will-cost-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Thinking of Skipping the Home Inspection? Here's What It Will Cost You</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-worst-reasons-not-to-buy-a-house&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Worst%2520Reasons%2520NOT%2520to%2520Buy%2520a%2520House.jpg&amp;description=7%20Worst%20Reasons%20NOT%20to%20Buy%20a%20House"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Worst%20Reasons%20NOT%20to%20Buy%20a%20House.jpg" alt="7 Worst Reasons NOT to Buy a House" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-worst-reasons-not-to-buy-a-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-worst-reasons-to-buy-a-house">4 Worst Reasons to Buy a House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment">Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-respond-to-house-shaming">How to Respond to House-Shaming</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-selling-your-house">6 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate">The Only 5 Rules You Need to Know About Investing in Real Estate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing bubbles Economy fears homeownership housing market inspections investments renting worst reasons Wed, 28 Feb 2018 10:00:06 +0000 Kentin Waits 2108283 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Worst Reasons to Buy a House http://www.wisebread.com/4-worst-reasons-to-buy-a-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-worst-reasons-to-buy-a-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_house_with_defocused_street.jpg" alt="Little house with defocused street" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Each month you send a rent check to your landlord. Meanwhile, every homeowner you know insists that you're wasting that money. They say that you should buy a home and that owning is a smarter financial move.</p> <p>But are they right? Not necessarily.</p> <p>There are good reasons to buy a home: You get a place to call your own and raise your family. You get more space. You'll gain more &mdash; but not complete &mdash; control over your monthly housing payments.</p> <p>This doesn't mean, though, that owning is always the better financial choice. In fact, there are many myths about homeownership that could persuade you to buy for the wrong reasons. Here are four of them.</p> <h2>1. Owning a home is a great investment</h2> <p>It might seem that purchasing a home, holding onto it for years, and then selling it for a profit is a great reason to buy. But the truth is, homes aren't good investments for most owners.</p> <p>Robert Shiller, a Yale economist, has long studied the housing industry, and ranks as a true expert when it comes to real estate and economics. Speaking to <em>The Motley Fool</em> in 2014, Shiller unveiled the numbers proving that housing historically has not been a good investment.</p> <p>Shiller found that from 1890 through 2012, home prices when adjusted for inflation did not grow one cent. Homeowners would have made significantly more money by investing in the stock market during this same time. Shiller reported that the value of the S&amp;P 500 increased more than 2,000 times from 1890 through 2012. Shiller also found that from 1890 through 1980, the real value of home prices actually fell by about 10 percent.</p> <p>Don't buy a home thinking that it's a smart financial investment. It's not. A home is a place to raise your family and retreat to at the end of a long day. It's not supposed to be a moneymaker. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment</a>)</p> <h2>2. You're tired of throwing away your money on rent</h2> <p>Advocates of homeownership often tell you that you're throwing away your money every time you pay a rent check. What they don't say is that this doesn't change much after you buy a house &mdash; at least not initially.</p> <p>Most of us take out a mortgage loan to finance the purchase of a house. The bank behind your mortgage will technically own most of your house after you close on it. And in the earlier years of owning a home, the vast majority of the money you send toward the bank goes toward paying off interest. Only a small amount of each monthly payment goes toward paying down the principal of your balance.</p> <p>So, you're still throwing your money at someone with nothing concrete to show for it. You're just throwing it at your bank instead of your landlord. And if you don't hold onto your house long enough &mdash; say, more than seven years &mdash; you'll have paid far more in interest than in reducing your principal balance by the time you sell. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-choose-to-rent-instead-of-buy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why I Choose to Rent Instead of Buy</a>)</p> <h2>3. You can build equity</h2> <p>Earning equity is one of the most popular reasons for people to buy a home. Say you owe $150,000 on your mortgage and your home is worth $220,000. You now have $70,000 worth of equity. You can borrow against that in the form of a home-equity loan or home equity line of credit to pay for everything from a child's college education, to major home improvements, to reducing credit card debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-smartest-ways-to-use-a-home-equity-loan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Smartest Ways to Use a Home Equity Loan</a>)</p> <p>You earn equity in two ways: First, every time you make a payment, you are reducing your mortgage amount. Second, if your home increases in value, your equity will grow automatically.</p> <p>The problem is that home values can fall, and building equity when that happens is a true challenge. Say after three years of owning your home, you've reduced your mortgage amount to $200,000. If home values have fallen since you purchased your residence and your home is now worth just $190,000, you don't have any equity. Instead, you are underwater &mdash; meaning that you owe more on your mortgage than what your home is worth. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-its-actually-okay-to-be-underwater-on-your-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Times It's Actually OK to Be Underwater on Your Home</a>)</p> <p>You can't control whether the value of your home falls or rises. Millions of homeowners discovered this in 2007 and 2008, when home values across the country plummeted. Many of the owners who bought in 2005 and 2006 still owe more on their mortgages than what their homes are worth. Building equity isn't a guarantee.</p> <h2>4. Owning a house comes with big rewards at tax time</h2> <p>Advocates of buying a home point to the deductions that owners can take come tax time: Owners can deduct the interest they pay on their mortgages, as well as their property taxes.</p> <p>But these deductions are becoming less valuable to some people. First, the new tax reform law says that owners will only be able to deduct the interest on their mortgage loans up to $750,000, rather than the $1 million that it was previously. Federal tax reform will also limit the amount that taxpayers can deduct in state and local property and income taxes on their federal returns to a maximum of $10,000.</p> <p>The biggest change, though, might be the new standard deduction. Taxpayers filing their federal returns can either itemize their deductions or take the standard deduction. Tax reform will boost the standard deduction from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals. It will increase the standard deduction for couples filing jointly from $12,700 to $24,000.</p> <p>There is no financial reason for taxpayers to itemize their deductions if they aren't greater than the standard deduction. As the standard deduction increases, a greater number of taxpayers will take it instead of itemizing. This means we'll see fewer homeowners taking advantage of the property tax and mortgage interest deductions.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-worst-reasons-to-buy-a-house&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Worst%2520Reasons%2520to%2520Buy%2520a%2520House.jpg&amp;description=4%20Worst%20Reasons%20to%20Buy%20a%20House"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Worst%20Reasons%20to%20Buy%20a%20House.jpg" alt="4 Worst Reasons to Buy a House" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-worst-reasons-to-buy-a-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-respond-to-house-shaming">How to Respond to House-Shaming</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-worst-reasons-not-to-buy-a-house">7 Worst Reasons NOT to Buy a House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-be-saving-big-with-bi-weekly-mortgage-payments">Why You Should Be Saving Big With Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment">Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing buying a house deductions equity homeownership investments mortgages myths renting taxes wasting money Wed, 31 Jan 2018 09:30:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 2086754 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Make Your Home Into an Investment http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-your-home-into-an-investment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-make-your-home-into-an-investment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business_financial_planning_financial_analysis_for_corporate_growth.jpg" alt="Business Financial Planning Financial Analysis for Corporate Growth" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Owning a home can be a great investment &mdash; if you do it right. Yes, having a nice, safe place to live for 30 years has its benefits, but there are drawbacks, too. Depending on the price you pay for your home, the appreciation rate, and other factors, you could end up with a negative return on your investment.</p> <p>If you're smart, you can actually use your primary residence as an investment and bump up your potential returns. The even better news is that banks will finance a home purchase more favorably than any other business investment. Unlike a small business or purchasing securities, you can get a home loan with little to no money down.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;d like to use your home as a wise investment, there are a few moves you can make to help your returns go further.</p> <h2>1. House hacking</h2> <p>House hacking is a term that means getting tenants to pay for not only their own living space, but also yours. One form of house hacking involves living in a home and renting out rooms. With this method, you can choose how many rooms you rent out and how often. The idea is to cover more than the cost of the rooms you&rsquo;re renting out. In the best of all possible worlds, you&rsquo;ll bring in enough to pay the whole mortgage.</p> <p>Alternatively, you can purchase a multiunit property, live in one unit, and rent the other unit(s) out, again, at a rate that&rsquo;s ideally high enough to cover the whole mortgage. As long as you get a property that has no more than four units, you can get a residential loan with options for a lower down payment. Beyond four units, you&rsquo;d be subject to commercial financing, which requires much more money down.</p> <h2>2. Get a HELOC</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;ve got equity in your home (the difference between your home&rsquo;s market value and the remaining loan balance), you might be eligible for a home equity line of credit, otherwise known as a HELOC. Banks will give you anywhere from 70 to 80 percent of your home&rsquo;s equity in the form of a line of credit.</p> <p>You can use this money for various purposes, but a common use of a HELOC is investing in more real estate. This additional money can be used to purchase and renovate additional properties that you can either sell for a profit or keep for rental purposes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-equity-loan-or-heloc-which-is-right-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Home Equity Loan or HELOC: Which Is Right for You?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Make a low down payment</h2> <p>Though this is not always a good strategy for the long term, you can use this method to capture a good return on capital in some cases. This works best in a scenario where you will be able to get revenue from your property rather quickly &mdash; say, profits from an immediate sale or by renting out the property.</p> <p>A simple example would be purchasing a home that requires $5,000 for the down payment and closing costs, but earns you $3,600 a year after you&rsquo;ve paid all expenses. By year two, you&rsquo;ll already have netted $7,200, which is a 144 percent return on your initial capital investment of $5,000.</p> <h2>4. Buy low, sell high</h2> <p>Looking for a deal in real estate requires patience, luck, and diligence. By the time properties are advertised, they may already be priced at or above market value. However, if you&rsquo;re lucky enough to find off-market deals that are priced well below market value through your network of friends and acquaintances, you may be able to actually walk into a deal with equity.</p> <p>A very simplified example would be purchasing a home worth $150,000 for $100,000. If you were to pay $10,000 to cover the down payment and closing costs, and sell the property right away for $150,000, you&rsquo;d quickly receive a 500 percent return on your $10,000 investment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sell-your-house-faster-with-these-6-house-flipping-tricks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Sell Your House Faster With These 6 House Flipping Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>5. Improve your home</h2> <p>Although most home remodeling projects won&rsquo;t pay for themselves through a higher sales price for the house, <em>some</em> renovations in some markets will.</p> <p>To find out what renovations will offer the biggest bang for your buck in your real estate market, check out Remodeling Magazine's <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2017/" target="_blank">2017 Cost vs. Value Report</a>. Typically, bathroom, kitchen, and basement remodels are all things that can boost the value of your home. If you choose wisely, you may be able to increase your home&rsquo;s value at a faster rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-home-renovations-that-could-hurt-your-homes-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Home Renovations That Could Hurt Your Home's Value</a>)</p> <h2>6. Add solar panels</h2> <p>There are multiple ways you can come out ahead with the installation of a solar panel. Depending on whether you buy or lease your solar panel system, you can receive tax credits, save on utility bills, and capture potential appreciation on the resale of your home.</p> <p>The only caveat to adding solar energy is that the installation itself can be quite costly. Plus, the amount of energy your system produces will depend on many things &mdash; from geography (sun exposure), to the architecture of your roof, to even the state you live in.</p> <p>However, for many homeowners, it can be worth the investment, especially if you are planning to stay in your home for a number of years. Use a <a href="https://www.energysage.com/solar/calculator/" target="_blank">solar calculator</a> to find out if owning solar panels will earn your home a worthwhile return on investment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Long Does It Take to Break Even With Solar Panels?</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-to-make-your-home-into-an-investment&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520to%2520Make%2520Your%2520Home%2520Into%2520an%2520Investment.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20to%20Make%20Your%20Home%20Into%20an%20Investment"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20to%20Make%20Your%20Home%20Into%20an%20Investment.jpg" alt="6 Ways to Make Your Home Into an Investment" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aja-mcclanahan">Aja McClanahan</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-your-home-into-an-investment">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-modern-home-improvements-that-add-thousands-to-your-listing">9 Modern Home Improvements That Add Thousands to Your Listing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-applying-for-a-heloc">5 Questions to Ask Before Applying for a HELOC</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-tapping-into-home-equity-is-like-pawning-a-gold-necklace">How Tapping Into Home Equity Is Like Pawning A Gold Necklace</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-can-a-paint-job-help-an-old-house-pass-a-re-fi-appraisal">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Can a Paint Job Help an Old House Pass a Re-Fi Appraisal?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-hidden-costs-of-buying-an-old-house">23 Hidden Costs of Buying an Old House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing HELOC home equity line of credit home ownership improvements investments remodeling return on investment solar panels value Mon, 29 Jan 2018 09:30:09 +0000 Aja McClanahan 2086604 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Things You Should Know About the New Tax Law http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-should-know-about-the-new-tax-law <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-things-you-should-know-about-the-new-tax-law" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/magnifier_with_tax_on_dollar.jpg" alt="Magnifier with tax on dollar" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The long-debated changes to America's tax code are now law. President Trump closed out 2017 by signing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, bringing sweeping changes to how much individuals and companies will pay in tax beginning this year.</p> <p>What does the new tax law mean for you? Here are some key take-aways.</p> <h2>1. You'll probably pay less in taxes</h2> <p>There's been a lot of debate about who benefits the most from the new tax law, but what's clear is that just about everyone will see at least some decrease in how much they pay. At the very least, your personal tax bracket is likely lower. The new tax brackets are: 10 percent, 12 percent, 22 percent, 24 percent, 32 percent, 35 percent, and 37 percent. (They were previously 10 percent, 15 percent, 25 percent, 28 percent, 33 percent, 35 percent, and 39.6 percent). A <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/calculators/trump-tax-reform-calculator" target="_blank">tax reform calculator</a> can help you grasp how much tax you'll pay under the new law.</p> <h2>2. Corporations will pay less tax, too</h2> <p>The new tax law greatly simplifies and lowers taxes for companies. Corporations will now pay a flat rate of 21 percent on all profits, down from as much as 35 percent under the previous law. This brings the United States' corporate tax rate below the global average. The new law also eliminates the alternative minimum tax (AMT) for corporations.</p> <h2>3. You'll get more money back if you have kids</h2> <p>One of the final provisions added to the new tax bill was an increase in the child tax credit. This is a credit you receive if you have a dependent aged 17 or under. The credit was doubled, from $1,000 to $2,000 per child. The refundable portion of the credit was also increased to $1,400.</p> <h2>4. You can (probably) still deduct mortgage interest</h2> <p>Under the new tax law, the deduction for mortgage interest was capped at $750,000, but if you bought your house before December 15, 2017, it's still $1 million. So for most people, mortgage interest will still be deductible. It's important to note that this only applies to your primary residence; interest on vacation homes is not deductible. (The previous law allowed for a tax break on second homes.)</p> <h2>5. You can deduct property and local taxes, up to a point</h2> <p>There was some debate in Congress about whether property taxes, state taxes, and local taxes would be deductible, and they ultimately will be. However, these deductions will be capped at $10,000. This could mean higher taxes for those people living in certain places, such as California and New York. Some state and local lawmakers are exploring ways to offset that burden.</p> <h2>6. Many deductions are now gone</h2> <p>Under past tax law, you could deduct moving expenses from your taxes. You could deduct many work-related expenses that were not reimbursed from your employer. You could even deduct any costs you incurred when you did your taxes. These deductions and many others are gone. However, it is unclear whether taxpayers will feel the need to itemize deductions in the future anyway.</p> <h2>7. Itemizing may no longer make sense</h2> <p>As we indicated above, the new tax bill does allow for <em>some </em>itemized deductions, but it may not matter. That's because the standard deduction has been doubled, to $12,000 for single filers, $18,000 for heads of household, and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. For many people &mdash; especially those who don't own homes &mdash; it may be hard to collect the amount of deductions to make itemizing worthwhile. The Joint Committee on Taxation said that 94 percent of taxpayers may now choose to take the standard deduction, up from 70 percent under the previous law.</p> <h2>8. There are no more personal exemptions</h2> <p>Under the previous tax law, the IRS allowed you to reduce your tax liability by claiming a personal exemption. This exemption was $4,050 during the last two years. The new tax law eliminates personal exemptions and instead significantly boosts the standard deduction ($12,000&thinsp;for singles and $24,000 for married couples). For most people, this still will result in lower taxes.</p> <h2>9. Investment income will be treated roughly the same</h2> <p>There were some adjustments to how investment income is treated, but dividends and capital gains will generally be taxed as they were under the previous law. Long-term capital gains &mdash; investments held for more than a year &mdash; will still be taxed at 15 percent for most people and 20 percent for the highest earners. Short-term capital gains will still be taxed as normal income, though that means the taxation will be less, since income tax brackets are lower under the new law.</p> <h2>10. The &quot;marriage penalty&quot; is almost gone</h2> <p>Under the previous tax law, it was possible for people to be stung by higher taxes if they got married. That's because in some instances, a couple with similar incomes filing jointly would jump to a higher tax bracket. Under the new law, the thresholds for filing jointly are exactly double those for single filers, except for married couples earning more than $300,000.</p> <h2>11. The health care individual mandate may be eliminated</h2> <p>Under the Affordable Care Act, anyone who did not purchase health insurance was subject to a penalty of 2.5 percent of your income or $695, whichever was higher. That penalty will go away in 2019 under the new tax law.</p> <h2>12. None of the changes apply to 2017</h2> <p>It's important to know that when you file your tax return over the next few months, you won't be working with the new tax law. Any money you earned in 2017 is taxed under the previous tax structure. This is important to remember when claiming deductions and trying to figure out proper tax rates for your income. You won't have to worry about the 2018 tax law until you file your tax return in 2019.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F12-things-you-should-know-about-the-new-tax-law&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F12%2520Things%2520You%2520Should%2520Know%2520About%2520the%2520New%2520Tax%2520Law.jpg&amp;description=12%20Things%20You%20Should%20Know%20About%20the%20New%20Tax%20Law"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/12%20Things%20You%20Should%20Know%20About%20the%20New%20Tax%20Law.jpg" alt="12 Things You Should Know About the New Tax Law" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-should-know-about-the-new-tax-law">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-common-tax-questions-for-beginners-answered">The 7 Most Common Tax Questions for Beginners, Answered</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes">Can Your Spouse be a Dependent on Your Taxes?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-worst-reasons-to-buy-a-house">4 Worst Reasons to Buy a House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes changes Congress deductions exemptions income brackets individual mandate investments mortgage interest tax law tax reform trump administration Thu, 11 Jan 2018 09:30:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 2083784 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things You Need to Do if You're Retiring in 2018 http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-need-to-do-if-youre-retiring-in-2018 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-you-need-to-do-if-youre-retiring-in-2018" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_retirement_celebration_party_cupcakes_with_candles.jpg" alt="Happy Retirement Celebration Party Cupcakes with Candles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You&rsquo;re ready to retire in 2018. A long career is behind you, and you're finally ready to enjoy your golden years after decades of hard work and saving.</p> <p>But just because retirement is at your doorstep doesn&rsquo;t mean you don&rsquo;t still have a few important steps to take. Here are six things you need to do right now to start your 2018 retirement off on the right foot.</p> <h2>1. Calculate your retirement budget</h2> <p>Creating any sort of budget rarely sounds like fun, but when you&rsquo;re ready to retire, it&rsquo;s a necessity. Remember, that paycheck you&rsquo;ve counted on for so long is disappearing. You need to make sure you have enough money coming in each month to support yourself.</p> <p>First, calculate how much money you&rsquo;ll have available each month. Include all sources of income, including Social Security benefits, money from the savings you&rsquo;ve built up, royalties, rents, disability payments, and annuity payments. Then, calculate your fixed expenses that remain the same each month. These would include rent or mortgage payments, car payments, and insurance costs &mdash; everything from life and health, to homeowners and auto.</p> <p>Create reasonable estimates for expenses that might fluctuate each month. This includes costs such as utility bills, the money you spend on groceries, transportation costs, and, always important, the estimated amount of dollars you&rsquo;ll spend on entertainment, traveling, and eating out.</p> <p>Once you have these figures, you&rsquo;ll know if you have enough money to support the retirement lifestyle you want.</p> <h2>2. Make some tweaks</h2> <p>Maybe, after creating this budget, you discover that you don&rsquo;t have enough incoming dollars to cover all your expenses. This means it&rsquo;s time to make some changes. If money is tight, you might have to cut back on discretionary expenses like going out to dinner or the movies. You might not be able to take a road trip every month. You might have to put off that cruise.</p> <p>If you need more dramatic savings, it might be time to consider putting your home on the market. If you sell it and downsize into a smaller residence &mdash; maybe a condo or apartment &mdash; you might be able to generate enough money, and save enough in monthly mortgage expenses, to afford a more luxurious retirement lifestyle.</p> <p>You might also consider selling your car, if you&rsquo;re still making payments on it, and purchasing a more affordable vehicle that might cost hundreds of dollars less each month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a>)</p> <h2>3. Talk to your partner about your retirement hopes</h2> <p>You don&rsquo;t want to hit retirement only to discover that you&rsquo;re happy puttering around the house and reading while your partner is looking forward to traveling the country in an RV.</p> <p>Partners need to talk about their retirement goals long before they leave the working world. If you haven&rsquo;t done this yet, and you&rsquo;re ready to retire in 2018, it&rsquo;s time to have this conversation.</p> <p>Retirement brings with it plenty of free time &mdash; maybe more than you expected. You might get tired of reading or fishing pretty quickly. It&rsquo;s best to discuss how you&rsquo;ll fill these extra hours with your partner or spouse before retirement hits. Doing so will increase the odds that both of you will enjoy a happy retirement together. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-conversations-couples-should-have-before-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Money Conversations Couples Should Have Before Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>4. Consider whether you still want to work</h2> <p>Many retirees take on part-time work after they leave their full-time jobs. Some do this for financial reasons, while others simply enjoy the act of going to work and staying productive.</p> <p>Take a long look at yourself. If you enjoy the routine of going to work, and find working satisfying, taking a part-time job might be the right decision for you. Or maybe you&rsquo;ll want to use your retirement years to set up a consulting business or pursue a dream job in the arts.</p> <p>Just make sure to plan for this move. Share your goals with your partner, so that he or she isn&rsquo;t blindsided when you announce that you&rsquo;re going back to work. And if you&rsquo;re retiring next year, take the time now to make the connections and prep your resume so that you can transition as smoothly as possible to your new job. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-creative-remote-jobs-that-can-supplement-your-retirement-income?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Creative Remote Jobs That Can Supplement Your Retirement Income</a>)</p> <h2>5. Explore your community</h2> <p>Again, retirement comes with plenty of free time. If you don&rsquo;t want to work, maybe you&rsquo;ll want to volunteer to fill in those hours. Now is the time to explore volunteer opportunities in your community. That way, when you do retire, you&rsquo;ll already have a plan for how you&rsquo;ll occupy those long post-work days. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-your-new-identity-after-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Find Your New Identity After Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>6. Get conservative with your investments</h2> <p>If you haven&rsquo;t already, move your retirement savings out of stocks and into less volatile savings vehicles such as bonds. It&rsquo;s true that bonds don&rsquo;t have the same ceiling when it comes to big gains, but you don&rsquo;t want a dip in the stock market six months before you retire to eat up a big chunk of your retirement savings. Instead, play it safe by moving your savings to retirement vehicles that aren&rsquo;t as likely to hit a big dip.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-things-you-need-to-do-if-youre-retiring-in-2018&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Things%2520You%2520Need%2520to%2520Do%2520if%2520You%2527re%2520Retiring%2520in%25202018.jpg&amp;description=6%20Things%20You%20Need%20to%20Do%20if%20You're%20Retiring%20in%202018"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Things%20You%20Need%20to%20Do%20if%20You%27re%20Retiring%20in%202018.jpg" alt="6 Things You Need to Do if You're Retiring in 2018" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-need-to-do-if-youre-retiring-in-2018">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Why Retiring With Debt Isn&#039;t the End of the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-become-a-minimalist-with-your-money">How to Become a Minimalist With Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-could-help-your-retirement">How an HSA Could Help Your Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youre-laid-off-before-you-retire">What to Do if You&#039;re Laid Off Before You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement about to retire budgeting cutting costs employment expenses free time income investments part-time jobs planning Wed, 20 Dec 2017 09:30:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 2073561 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Retirement Struggles Nobody Talks About — And How to Beat Them http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-struggles-nobody-talks-about-and-how-to-beat-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-retirement-struggles-nobody-talks-about-and-how-to-beat-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retired_woman_laptop_520055262.jpg" alt="Woman beating common retirement struggles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have ever sat down with a financial planner, you know that one of the main questions that comes up is, &quot;How much income do you think you'll need when you retire?&quot;</p> <p>When I was asked this question, the first answer that popped into my head was, &quot;Hardly any!&quot; In the retirement scenario in my mind, my kids were independent and my home was paid off, leaving few financial obligations. When pressed, I acknowledged that I might need some money for taking fun vacations with all that free time I'll have, and for buying gifts for my grandchildren.</p> <p>While it's true that a lot of the big expenses of our working lives have ideally been paid off by retirement, retirees still face a lot of financial obligations. Retirement is not all learning to paint or strolling on the beach &mdash; despite what prescription drug ads may lead you to believe. A 2016 study by the U.S. General Accounting Office found that retirees on average spend 77 percent of what they spent while they were working, with spending declining decade by decade as retirees age. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-expenses-for-retirees-and-how-to-manage-them?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Unexpected Expenses for Retirees &mdash; And How to Manage Them</a>)</p> <p>Let's go through some of the retirement expenses you may not have accounted for, and how to deal with them.</p> <h2>1. Health care</h2> <p>While other expenses shrink after retirement, medical care spending increases. In the present day, the increase is modest. The same U.S. General Accounting Office report found that retirees ages 65 to 79 spend an average $5,000 a year on health care, compared to $3,900 for workers aged 50 to 64. But predictions for future health care expenses in retirement are dire.</p> <p>HealthView Services' 2017 Retirement Health Care Costs Data Report predicts that medical costs will rise 5.47 percent per year for the foreseeable future &mdash; meaning that today's 65-year-old may be spending $10,000 or more per year on health care by age 75, on top of Medicare coverage.</p> <p>&quot;Health care will be one of the most significant retirement expenditures; however, the savings required to cover this expense may be modest &mdash; especially if one has been utilizing an income replacement ratio (IRR) of 75% to 85%,&quot; warns the report.</p> <p>HealthView recommends talking to your planner not just about income replacement, but also about what you expect medical expenses to be based on your current health. Look at optimizing your retirement portfolio to address those needs. For example, some advisers recommend saving for retirement medical expenses using a health savings account &mdash; although these are only available to workers who have high-deductible health plans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-could-help-your-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Could Help Your Retirement</a>)</p> <p>Managing health conditions proactively can also make a big difference in expenses over a lifetime.</p> <p>&quot;A 50-year-old male with type II diabetes can save (an average of) $5,000 per year in pre-retirement health expenses by shifting from Poorly Managed to Well Managed care,&quot; the report says.</p> <h2>2. Taxes</h2> <p>You might expect your income tax to disappear or decline steeply when you retire, but remember that withdrawals from 401(k) plans and traditional individual retirement accounts are taxable, as are most pensions and some Social Security benefits. If your retirement plan involves collecting rent on properties you own, well, that's taxable too. And if you have paid off your mortgage before retiring, remember that you just lost a big tax deduction in the form of mortgage interest payments.</p> <p>The problem of taxes during retirement is the reason many workers also invest in a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k) plan. Unlike a regular retirement account, which you fill with untaxed income, only paying taxes on withdrawals, a Roth takes income you already paid taxes on, and withdrawals are tax free. Since no one knows how tax rates when you retire will compare to tax rates today, many advisers recommend spreading investments across both kinds of accounts to hedge your bets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How Your Taxes Will Change When You Retire</a>)</p> <p>Another thing to consider when retired is whether you plan to make charitable donations part of your estate plan. If you were going to give away thousands of dollars to charities in your will, for example, discuss with an accountant setting up a schedule of giving while you're alive, instead, so that you could take annual tax deductions that could reduce or eliminate taxes you owe.</p> <h2>3. Inflation</h2> <p>In recent years, inflation has been low, but the long term average annual rate of price increases is 3.22 percent. That means that if you retire with benefits and savings designed to cover 80 percent of your current income, those same benefits will cover a smaller portion of your current spending each year, if not invested to grow at a rate faster than inflation. This is why financial planners never advise keeping your life savings in cash, stuffed in a mattress.</p> <p>Of course in retirement you don't want to take on big risks with investments, since you can't earn more money to replace what you lose. But you also can't be too conservative or you risk having inflation shrink your savings each year. With interest rates as low as they are, you can't count on earnings from certificates of deposit to surpass inflation. For most retirees, that means you must have some money in stocks, bonds, or other investments. And you must stick to your investment plan, even if the market gets rocky. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</a>)</p> <h2>4. End of life</h2> <p>When you plan your retirement, you're likely thinking more about all the golf you want to play or the traveling you want to do, not so much about spending your final years in a nursing home or planning your funeral. Unfortunately, those less fun expenses must also be planned for.</p> <p>Take a realistic look at how much assisted living and nursing homes cost. If you are still young enough to get it, look into long-term care insurance. Discuss with your family whether they expect you to move in with them if you need more care later in life, or if they would prefer you plan for nursing home care or assisted living. If long-term care needs seem imminent, meet with an attorney who specializes in making Title XIX plans; they can help you learn what assets can be shielded from being liquidated to pay for care. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?</a>)</p> <p>Medical expenses tend to jump in the final years, costing about $7,000 to $8,000 more per year in the last two years of life, according to HealthView Services.</p> <p>Consider prepaying funeral expenses so that it's not a cost hanging over your head as you enjoy retirement. And certainly meet with an estate planner as part of your retirement planning to make provisions for the distribution of wealth after you are gone. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</a>)</p> <h2>5. Mandatory withdrawals</h2> <p>The moment you turn age 70 and a half, you are required to take minimum distributions from your IRA, 401(k), and other retirement accounts on a schedule set by the IRS. This doesn't sound like a problem &mdash; after all, this is what you saved all that money for. But what if you don't need to spend the required distribution this year? Unfortunately, you still have to withdraw it, and pay taxes on it, or the IRS will confiscate 50 percent of the money you were supposed to withdraw in the form of a tax penalty.</p> <p>While you can't change the IRS's schedule for required withdrawals, and you can't roll the distribution into a different tax-deferred account, you can plan for this requirement and schedule income and spending around it. For instance, you can avoid selling real estate or other investments, or scale back work hours if you are still working, and allow the income you are getting from your retirement account to replace other income. And of course, you can always invest your distribution outside of retirement accounts, if you don't need to spend it.</p> <p>Another way to conquer the mandatory distribution is to plan for it while saving for retirement, for example by putting some income into a Roth IRA, which doesn't have required distributions. As you approach retirement, if your IRA distributions look like they will be too large for you to use, you may also talk to a planner about converting a traditional account into a Roth.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-retirement-struggles-nobody-talks-about-and-how-to-beat-them&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Retirement%2520Struggles%2520Nobody%2520Talks%2520About%2520%25E2%2580%2594%2520And%2520How%2520to%2520Beat%2520Them.jpg&amp;description=5%20Retirement%20Struggles%20Nobody%20Talks%20About%20%E2%80%94%20And%20How%20to%20Beat%20Them"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Retirement%20Struggles%20Nobody%20Talks%20About%20%E2%80%94%20And%20How%20to%20Beat%20Them.jpg" alt="5 Retirement Struggles Nobody Talks About &mdash; And How to Beat Them" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-struggles-nobody-talks-about-and-how-to-beat-them">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-money-in-retirement">5 Myths About Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-expensive-mistakes-of-the-newly-retired">9 Expensive Mistakes of the Newly Retired</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-its-time-to-retire">8 Signs It&#039;s Time to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-face-these-7-scary-facts-about-retirement-saving">How to Face These 7 Scary Facts About Retirement Saving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-could-help-your-retirement">How an HSA Could Help Your Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement end of life costs expenses health care hidden costs inflation investments long term care required minimum distributions social security taxes Mon, 04 Dec 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2065326 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Details Your Financial Adviser May Be Ignoring http://www.wisebread.com/5-details-your-financial-adviser-may-be-ignoring <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-details-your-financial-adviser-may-be-ignoring" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mature_couple_meeting_with_financial_advisor.jpg" alt="Mature Couple Meeting with Financial Advisor" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>All financial advisers are not created equal. And all financial advice &mdash; including advice recommended by top economists and financial experts &mdash; may not be the best advice for you.</p> <p>Your financial plan should encompass your complete financial picture, including your goals and priorities. It should include planning for your children, your spouse, aging parents, long-term care, death, loss of income, and so much more. But just because these things <em>should</em> be included in your plan doesn't mean your adviser is automatically doing so.</p> <p>Here are five key things your financial adviser may ignore or omit telling you.</p> <h2>1. He or she is not a financial fiduciary</h2> <p>The term financial adviser is becoming increasingly ambiguous. Due to the complex rules that determine who can call themselves a &quot;financial adviser,&quot; many professionals who are unqualified to give financial advice are unfairly operating under this label.</p> <p>Benjamin Brandt, a North Dakota financial adviser and host of the podcast <em>Retirement Starts Today Radio</em>, recommends that you only take advice from and follow a financial plan created by a qualified fee-only financial fiduciary. Fee-only fiduciaries are paid a flat fee that ensures they don't earn commissions on investment sales. Since they don't depend on commissions from sales, you won't have to question whether a fiduciary adviser is operating with your best interest at heart.</p> <p>To ensure you are working with a true financial fiduciary, Brandt recommends checking the adviser's credentials using the Paladin Registry, which offers a <a href="http://www.paladinregistry.com/research/credentials-financial-certifications" target="_blank">database of financial adviser designations</a> that can help determine if the adviser holds a professional designation (CFP, CPA, ChFC, and CFA) versus one they may have purchased online. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/investment-advice-you-should-never-hear-from-your-financial-advisor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Investment Advice You Should Never Hear From Your Financial Adviser</a>)</p> <h2>2. Your complete financial picture</h2> <p>Understanding your complete financial picture &mdash; including where you are currently and your future aspirations &mdash; is key in developing a true financial plan that is beneficial.</p> <p>According to Brandt, if a financial adviser shows you a glossy sales brochure and offers you investment products before ever looking at your budget, net worth statement, or written financial goals, you are not working with a fiduciary and should ignore his or her financial advice.</p> <p>Before sitting down with an adviser, it helps to take a good look at your finances. Things like calculating your net worth, setting your financial goals, and creating an informal budget before your first visit with an adviser can help you start off on the right foot.</p> <p>And while your calculations and budget may not be entirely accurate (hence the need for a financial adviser), you will have a better idea of where you are and what you have. It will provide your adviser with a more comprehensive financial picture. It will also allow you to discuss your liabilities and other investments that may not be profitable, as well as help to avoid duplicate investments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-secrets-you-need-to-tell-your-financial-adviser?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Secrets You Need to Tell Your Financial Adviser</a>)</p> <h2>3. Your personal and financial goals</h2> <p>A financial adviser who fails to ask about your financial goals as it relates to your children, your spouse, and your lifestyle is doing you an injustice. An adviser who merely wants to sell and manage your investments can actually set you up to lose more money long-term than if they include your financial priorities in the plan up front.</p> <p>Take, for example, a parent who wants to send their children to school without student loans. That parent would need to explore options that help in saving specifically for college. This could be done through traditional methods or less conventional saving vehicles such as a 529 plan. There are many factors that can shape that decision and a good financial adviser should work with that parent to determine the best savings vehicle to suit the needs of that family.</p> <p>Your financial adviser should understand and respect your financial goals and find the best avenues to help you achieve those goals. Things they should know and consider are:</p> <ul> <li> <p>If you are working to reduce or eliminate debt.</p> </li> <li> <p>Your plans for one-time expenses such as paying for a wedding or taking a large vacation.</p> </li> <li> <p>Education planning for you or your children (private school, college, continuing education programs, or advanced degrees).</p> </li> <li> <p>A possible career change by you or your spouse.</p> </li> <li> <p>If you are planning to start a business.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>4. Preparations for long-term care</h2> <p>According to LongTermCare.gov, 70 percent of people turning 65 will require long-term care services sometime in their lives. And of that number, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 18 percent will have to live in a long-term care facility.</p> <p>According to insurance firm Genworth, the average annual cost of a stay in an assisted living facility is $45,000, while a stay in a nursing home with a private room costs an average $97,455 per year. And avoiding a stay in a facility isn't necessarily the answer to saving money on long-term care; an individual receiving 44 hours of in-home health care weekly can expect to pay close to $50,000 per year.</p> <p>Long-term care services come with significant costs that often impact retirement plans, savings and assets, and the level of care one receives. If your adviser doesn't account for these expenses in your financial plan, they are putting you at risk of financial turmoil later in life.</p> <p>This means that for some, considering their age, family history, and potential health risks, a health savings account (HSA) may make more sense than a traditional IRA. With a traditional IRA, you contribute pretax dollars to the plan and the money grows tax-deferred. You pay taxes when you withdraw the money when you retire.</p> <p>To enroll in an HSA, you must have a high-deductible health insurance plan (HDHP). With an HSA, you get the same pretax contribution benefit, but the difference is that when you withdraw money to pay for qualified health insurance premiums or medical expenses (including nursing home stays and in-home care), it comes out tax-free. And the funds rollover from year to year, so you don't lose what you don't spend.</p> <p>But again, the decision on whether or not to invest in an HSA can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. What may make sense for one situation could be detrimental in another. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having</a>)</p> <h2>5. Tax efficiency</h2> <p>Unfortunately, a lot of financial advisers fail to take the time to comb through your tax returns to check for tax efficiency. And tax efficiency is one area where a good financial adviser can be the most helpful.</p> <p>An adviser who only focuses on managing your portfolio may not have the expertise to accurately analyze your tax situation and understand how to maximize your income assets. A financial adviser who holds a CPA or CFP designation, on the other hand, would most likely be qualified to provide sound tax advice.</p> <p>Financial planner Charles Scott recently told <em>USA Today</em> that if the only tax advice your adviser gives is to put your money in tax-deferred investments such as an IRA or 401(k), you may want to get a second opinion. Because even though you'll be in a lower tax bracket when you retire than you are currently, there are so many other factors that must be considered. He advises that you diversify your tax load now <em>and </em>in the future.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-details-your-financial-adviser-may-be-ignoring&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Details%2520Your%2520Financial%2520Adviser%2520May%2520Be%2520Ignoring.jpg&amp;description=5%20Details%20Your%20Financial%20Adviser%20May%20Be%20Ignoring"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Details%20Your%20Financial%20Adviser%20May%20Be%20Ignoring.jpg" alt="5 Details Your Financial Adviser May Be Ignoring" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/denise-hill">Denise Hill</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-details-your-financial-adviser-may-be-ignoring">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-should-ask-your-financial-adviser-at-your-annual-meeting">What You Should Ask Your Financial Adviser at Your Annual Meeting</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-need-a-financial-planner">Do You Need a Financial Planner?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-your-financial-adviser-should-ask-you">5 Questions Your Financial Adviser Should Ask You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-to-be-picky-when-hiring-a-financial-planner">3 Reasons to Be Picky When Hiring a Financial Planner</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/optimize-your-ira-and-401k">Optimize Your IRA and 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance children dependents fiduciary financial advisers financial goals financial planners ignoring investments long term care retirement taxes Fri, 17 Nov 2017 09:30:10 +0000 Denise Hill 2055199 at http://www.wisebread.com How Complacency Keeps You From Financial Security http://www.wisebread.com/how-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/i_need_a_break_0.jpg" alt="I need a break" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Complacency is not taking action even when you know you should. It tends to be an issue when you're not sure why a decision matters, or when you're overwhelmed by the details and options involved in making a decision. Complacency may seem like no big deal, but it can have a very negative effect on your finances. Here's how it can hurt you.</p> <h2>You're getting a poor return on your investments</h2> <p>When you're complacent about how you manage your long-term savings, you can miss out on a lot of returns. If you put off moving your money into an investment or fund, and leave your accumulated savings in a low-interest savings account instead, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-might-make-you-happier-but-investments-will-make-you-richer" target="_blank">you're losing money every month</a>. You could be adding to your savings effortlessly with passive income, and by not doing so, you're drastically diminishing your future earnings potential.</p> <p>Take an hour or two to learn the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds" target="_blank">basics of investing</a>. Then set up an account and get started earning a better return. You can always make adjustments later. In the meantime, your returns will be compounding.</p> <h2>Your lack of emergency savings means more financial emergencies</h2> <p>Complacency might make you feel like you don't need to have an emergency fund. Maybe you haven't <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency" target="_blank">rebuilt your fund after a crisis</a>, or maybe you haven't been able to accumulate one at all. When things are going well and your day-to-day life is predictable, an emergency fund might seem unimportant.</p> <p>However, having an emergency fund keeps a small crisis from becoming a big deal. You can't always predict a big expense or income loss; without a plan and some savings, you may end up using a high-interest loan or credit card to handle a financial crisis. That kicks off a fix-it-quick debt cycle, which can leave you backed into an unpleasant financial corner.</p> <p>It can seem difficult to build up an emergency fund, especially if you're already on a tight budget. But even a very small, regular contribution to your savings will add up quickly. Doing what you can is better than doing nothing at all.</p> <h2>You're not adding as much as you could to your retirement savings</h2> <p>Maybe you're not taking full advantage of your 401(k) or haven't yet set up the IRA you've been thinking about. There can be some details to work through, but in the meantime, you're missing out on savings and, possibly, matching funds from your employer. If you're failing to contribute regularly, or putting off setting up a 401(k) and IRA altogether, you're jeopardizing your retirement. You're also missing out on tax breaks that come with these retirement accounts.</p> <p>Not sure where to start? Our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bookmark-this-a-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-401k-investments" target="_blank">step-by-step guide to choosing 401(k) investments can help</a>. If your employer doesn't offer a 401(k), here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-accounts-you-dont-need-a-ton-of-money-to-open?ref=seealso" target="_blank">five Roth IRA accounts</a> you can set up on your own that don't require a lot of money to open.</p> <h2>Your big, unnecessary expenses are increasing your debt</h2> <p>At some point, you made a decision to buy the house or the car or whatever it is. Now, you realize it's not really worth it. The expense is more than you can comfortably handle, and you could live without it. But getting away from this payment &mdash; whether it's a lease, a mortgage, or a car loan &mdash; seems impossible, so you just &hellip; don't.</p> <p>Meanwhile, you're paying interest every month and, if your budget is stretched to the limit, you're not saving like you could be. You may be stuck making minimum payments on debt, or failing to proactively maintain your big purchases because you can't afford to do more. The resulting depreciation can diminish the value of your house or car in a hurry, leaving you with less and less value to recover as time goes on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-purchases-with-financing-options-that-depreciate-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Purchases With Financing Options That Depreciate Fast</a>)</p> <p>Take the first step by finding out how to get out from under this big expense. There may be an option to end the lease early. Maybe you can sell the car and pay off the loan. Or it might be time to get that house on the market and find something more affordable. The sooner you take action, the sooner you stop losing money.</p> <h2>Your ho-hum career is costing you opportunities</h2> <p>Career capital isn't only about what you make in terms of salary; it's also about the skills and experiences you build, which can add to your marketability. If you're bored, disinterested, or otherwise feeling stuck in your job, but you're staying put, you're limiting your future in terms of finances and fulfillment.</p> <p>The more disengaged and unhappy you are in your job, the poorer your performance will be. You're more likely to do subpar work, miss out on opportunities, and be passed over for promotions. Even if you don't love your job, do your best to gain skills and be engaged while you're there; doing so will open up more opportunities for advancement or a complete career change.</p> <p>Meanwhile, start looking for your next move. It might be time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-a-side-hustle-can-advance-your-career" target="_blank">start a side hustle</a>, network for a new job option, or get serious about starting a business. Don't let time go by and kill your enthusiasm (and your bank account). The sooner you take action, the sooner you can increase your salary and your enjoyment in the work you do.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520Complacency%2520Keeps%2520You%2520From%2520Financial%2520Security.jpg&amp;description=How%20Complacency%20Keeps%20You%20From%20Financial%20Security"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Complacency%20Keeps%20You%20From%20Financial%20Security.jpg" alt="How Complacency Keeps You From Financial Security" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-expect-after-these-5-personal-financial-disasters">What to Expect After These 5 Personal Financial Disasters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-youre-no-longer-a-personal-finance-rookie">10 Signs You&#039;re No Longer a Personal Finance Rookie</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-money-saving-strategies-that-are-actually-hurting-you">25 Money-Saving Strategies That Are Actually Hurting You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-money-habits-that-make-you-look-financially-immature">11 Money Habits That Make You Look Financially Immature</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career Building complacency debt emergency funds expenses inaction investments job laziness Spending Money stalling Fri, 06 Oct 2017 08:30:06 +0000 Annie Mueller 2029863 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Expect After These 5 Personal Financial Disasters http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-expect-after-these-5-personal-financial-disasters <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-expect-after-these-5-personal-financial-disasters" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-625592664.jpg" alt="what to expect after financial disasters" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Financial hardships can happen despite the most careful planning and saving. If you're facing a crisis, read on to learn what you can expect to happen and how you can handle these challenges. There are always options, and you can recover from even the most feared financial situations.</p> <h2>1. You've lost your primary source of income</h2> <p>There are many reasons why you might be facing a sudden, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income" target="_blank">devastating loss of income</a>. Sometimes family, personal, or medical situations make it impossible for you to continue working; in other cases, the job itself ends, and you have to start over again. Losing your primary income source, of course, hits you hard financially. Other income &mdash; a partner's salary, perhaps, or side job &mdash; can help alleviate the financial impact. But that help is usually limited, either in amount or in duration. Here are a few things you can expect to happen.</p> <h3>Loss of savings</h3> <p>Losing your income means you quickly start relying on your emergency fund and any other savings you've accumulated. If you're able to quickly reduce your expenses, you can make your savings last longer.</p> <h3>Increased debt</h3> <p>If your savings aren't adequate, or if you face unexpected financial needs, you may find yourself debt-dependent in order to handle incoming bills. The worst case scenario is when you have to rely on high-interest debt (such as credit cards) to keep up.</p> <h3>Financial stress</h3> <p>Dealing with income loss, financial insecurity, and all the changes you have to make as a result quickly leads to stress. Stress, unfortunately, is no friend to you and decreases your ability to make smart, long-term decisions.</p> <h3>Change in lifestyle<strong> </strong></h3> <p>You'll need to cut your expenses as much as possible to handle income loss; though these changes aren't necessarily bad, they can cause emotional pain, personal discomfort, and induce more stress. Change is difficult even in positive circumstances, and change induced by financial crisis exacerbates stress and insecurity.</p> <h3>What you can do</h3> <p>There are many ways you can positively handle a loss of income:</p> <ul> <li>Do your best to reduce your immediate expenses, even if only temporarily.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Call and negotiate for delayed payment plans with creditors or other major billers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Get some money coming in; even a small amount of what you used to make will help you deal with bills and expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Reach out to your personal and professional network for work opportunities.</li> </ul> <h2>2. You've defaulted on a loan</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youve-defaulted-on-your-loan-now-what" target="_blank">Defaulting on a loan</a> feels like one of the worst possible financial situations. However, getting in over your head financially can happen to anyone. It doesn't have to end your financial future, but it will have some impact on your financial present. Here's what can happen after defaulting on a loan.</p> <h3>Lowered credit score</h3> <p>Late payments, missed payments, and account closures on debts can all bring your credit score down. A low credit score isn't the end of the world, but it will limit your ability to establish credit, get loans, or even rent a house or buy a car.</p> <h3>Calls from collection agencies</h3> <p>Different lenders have different rules, but after some period of nonpayment, your loan will most likely be passed on to a collection agency. While some agencies maintain a professional tone and approach, some do not and might become intrusive or aggressive. Even with courteous collectors, it's stressful and unpleasant to get letters and calls demanding debt repayment you know you can't afford. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/account-in-collections-heres-how-to-fix-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Account in Collections? Here's How to Fix It</a>)</p> <h3>Repossession of collateral</h3> <p>If the loan you've defaulted on has collateral &mdash; such as a mortgage or car loan &mdash; you may find yourself facing repossession. Home foreclosure is usually a last resort, as it's messy and costly for mortgage companies to handle.</p> <h3>What you can do</h3> <p>The best way to handle defaulting on a loan is with proactive negotiation. Try these steps:</p> <ul> <li>Negotiate a payment plan for delayed and/or split payments in order to avoid collection agencies.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Negotiate a debt settlement with the bank or credit holder. You'll usually need to make a cash payment, but only for a percentage of the total amount owed in order to clear the debt entirely.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Contact your mortgage company if the loan defaulted on is your house mortgage; explain your situation and ask them to help you work out an affordable, alternate payment plan. They don't want your house; they want your cash, and they may be willing to negotiate terms and minimum payments.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Examine options to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money" target="_blank">consolidate all your debt</a> into a single, smaller payment you can afford.</li> </ul> <h2>3. You've lost money in an investment</h2> <p>So you took some of your hard-won savings and decided to invest. Maybe it was in a friend's startup, a real estate project, or a stock that seemed like a sure thing. It didn't work out, and now you've got to handle the fallout. Assess the impact and start taking positive steps forward. Here are a few things you might initially face:</p> <h3>Loss of money</h3> <p>The most obvious consequence, of course, is the loss of your money; that hurts. Remember, however, that just as you lost money, you can also invest and save money. One painful investment loss does not poison the rest of your savings or investments.</p> <h3>Loss of confidence</h3> <p>The psychological impact of a bad money move can make you doubt your own financial prowess and decisions. It's okay to question yourself, but you want to learn, not stay stuck. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO</a>)</p> <h3>Smaller retirement savings</h3> <p>If you were counting on the return from this investment as a key part of your retirement savings, you're now facing a major blow to your retirement plan.</p> <h3>Less ability to invest</h3> <p>A loss of money means, of course, lowered liquidity. You may not be financially able to build up savings quickly, which reduces your ability to invest and start rebuilding your portfolio.</p> <h3>What you can do</h3> <p>You don't have to run away from investing (nor should you!) because you made one choice that didn't work out. Start proactively using these options to recover:</p> <ul> <li>Meet with a financial planner to assess your options and go over any lingering financial questions or doubts.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency" target="_blank">Rebuild emergency savings</a>, if you've used them up as part of your investment.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Lower expenses or increase income to replace what you've lost, by cutting back on expenses and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash" target="_blank">adding in some side work</a> for a while.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Keep your savings steady; build up to a minimum investment amount and examine the safest high-yield options for your next investment.</li> </ul> <h2>4. You've racked up high-interest debt</h2> <p>It's never the plan to get stuck with high-interest debt. But with the right (or wrong) combination of life events and decisions, you can find yourself there. High-interest debt is a particularly bad kind of debt: If you can't make more than the minimum payments, your debt will continue to grow at a very fast rate. It's likely you'll be facing some unpleasant consequences such as:</p> <h3>Poor credit score<strong> </strong></h3> <p>If you've made a late payment or missed one altogether, your credit score can be affected negatively. And if you've accumulated more debt than you can manage, and you're frequently missing payments while you try to keep up, your credit score can take a big hit.</p> <h3>Loss of opportunities</h3> <p>When you're struggling to keep up with debt payments, you're limited. Whether it's an investment opportunity or the chance to enjoy some time off with friends, the burden of high-interest debt can keep you from affording the opportunities that come your way.</p> <h3>Financial embarrassment</h3> <p>Many people still struggle with feeling ashamed or embarrassed about having debt, even though having debt &mdash; a lot of it &mdash; is quite common. In fact, according to a 2017 poll conducted by Northwestern Mutual, 40 percent of Americans spend about half their monthly income on debt payments.</p> <h3>What you can do</h3> <p>Being burdened with high-interest debt may feel like a problem you can't solve, but there are steps you can take to reduce its impact on your life. Start with these actions:</p> <ul> <li>Communicate with the debt holder if you've fallen behind on payments. You can often negotiate a split or delayed payment, as long as you can guarantee a payment of some kind.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Learn about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies" target="_blank">debt repayment strategies</a> and which one might work best for you.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Whatever you do, don't add any more to your debt! Put away any active credit cards and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-spending-too-much-on-normal-expenses" target="_blank">reduce normal expenses</a> so you can live on your income without adding more debt to your life.</li> </ul> <h2>5. You're recovering from a divorce</h2> <p>Divorce not only has a huge impact on your emotional and psychological state, but also on your financial well-being. First, divorce itself is expensive; the average cost is between $15,000 and $20,000. In addition to footing your part of that bill, you might also face some of these huge costs:</p> <h3>Disproportional expenses</h3> <p>You might find that your expenses, carried over from your pre-divorce life, exceed your current, post-divorce income. You can reduce or eliminate expenses, but sometimes you're locked into agreements (such as a lease or a cellphone service contract) that keep you at a higher expense level than you can reasonably afford.</p> <h3>Lowered investment returns</h3> <p>If you and your former spouse were contributing to a joint account, you'll have to divide that up somehow in the divorce proceedings. If it's an even split, your half in an account by itself will produce reduced returns.</p> <h3>Big tax bills</h3> <p>If part of your divorce was to liquidate and divide all assets, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise when tax time rolls around. You may have to pay a hefty capital gains tax on certain investments or other assets that have been liquidated.</p> <h3>What you can do</h3> <p>By taking some smart steps forward, you can reduce the negative financial impact that a divorce has on you. Make these moves to take control of your financial life, post-divorce:</p> <ul> <li>Meet with a financial consultant as soon as possible to develop a plan for maximizing your investments and keeping your retirement savings on track. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-divorced?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Divorced</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Call and negotiate with contract holders to eliminate any lingering, too-high expenses. There may be a buyout option you can take.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If possible, delay liquidation of shared assets or investments until you fully understand the taxes or fees that you'll face when they are liquidated. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-financially-during-a-divorce-or-separation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Protect Yourself Financially During a Divorce or Separation</a></li> </ul> <p>It's not easy to recover from a financial disaster, but recovery is always an option. The most important things you can do are, first, face the situation squarely in order to figure out what your best options truly are. You may have more than you think.</p> <p>Secondly, don't be afraid to ask for help, which doesn't necessarily mean asking for money. Rather, you may be able to get help from your creditors (lowered payments), from your network (job opportunities), from your local community (selling your car, building a side hustle), and more.</p> <p>Moving forward and rebuilding takes time, but it's within your power.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-to-expect-after-these-5-personal-financial-disasters&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520to%2520Expect%2520After%2520These%25205%2520Personal%2520Financial%2520Disasters.jpg&amp;description=What%20to%20Expect%20After%20These%205%20Personal%20Financial%20Disasters"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20to%20Expect%20After%20These%205%20Personal%20Financial%20Disasters.jpg" alt="What to Expect After These 5 Personal Financial Disasters" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-expect-after-these-5-personal-financial-disasters">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security">How Complacency Keeps You From Financial Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-minute-finance-start-an-emergency-fund">5-Minute Finance: Start an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past">It&#039;s Never Too Late to Fix These 5 Money Mistakes From Your Past</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-youre-no-longer-a-personal-finance-rookie">10 Signs You&#039;re No Longer a Personal Finance Rookie</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-50">5 Money Mistakes to Stop Making by 50</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance debt default disasters emergency funds expenses income loss investments job loss loans money mistakes side gigs Mon, 11 Sep 2017 08:00:05 +0000 Annie Mueller 2017980 at http://www.wisebread.com How an HSA Could Help Your Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-could-help-your-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-an-hsa-could-help-your-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hsa_theme_with_stethoscope_and_a_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="HSA theme with stethoscope and a piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're worried about medical expenses during your retirement, you're not alone. According to the latest Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 45 percent of American workers don't feel confident that they will have enough money to take care of their medical expenses when they retire.</p> <p>The good news is that you may be able to do something on top of socking away money into your 401(k) or IRA to plan ahead for your medical bills during retirement. Let's review what a health savings account (HSA) is and how it can help your retirement planning. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Saves You Money</a>)</p> <h2>What is an HSA?</h2> <p>An HSA is a tax-advantaged medical savings account available only to people who are enrolled in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). An HDHP is health insurance that has a lower monthly premium, but a high deductible. A deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket for medical expenses before your health insurance kicks in.</p> <p>An HSA helps you pay for qualified medical expenses such as doctors' visits and prescriptions that are not reimbursed by your HDHP. The beauty of an HSA is that you can contribute to it with pretax dollars by setting aside a portion of every paycheck, allowing you to reduce your taxable income. Depending on where you set up your HSA, you may be able to invest the money in mutual funds or other investments to help the funds grow faster. Whatever money you don't use during the year rolls over into the following year, meaning you could have a nice amount built up by the time you retire.</p> <p>For your insurance plan to qualify as an HDHP &mdash; one that allows you to use an HSA &mdash; the HDHP must have a deductible of at least $1,300 for self-coverage or $2,600 for family coverage (as of May 2017). You can only use the money in the account for qualified medical expenses, and if you withdraw money from your HSA to use for other purposes before you reach age 65, you'll have to pay a 20 percent tax penalty.</p> <p>To qualify for an employer-sponsored HSA, you can't be listed as a dependent on somebody else's tax return or enrolled in Medicare.</p> <h2>How an HSA can help your retirement</h2> <p>Here's how an HSA can give your nest egg a boost during your retirement years.</p> <h3>1. Avoid taxes on approved medical expenses</h3> <p>Without an HSA, if you took out $1,000 from your 401(k) to cover a medical bill during retirement, you'd pay applicable income taxes on the money you withdrew. And if you were to retire before age 59 &frac12;, you would pay an additional 10 percent penalty tax for that 401(k) withdrawal. With an HSA, however, you never pay taxes when using funds for approved medical expenses.</p> <h3>2. Avoid the early withdrawal penalty on nonmedical distributions after age 65</h3> <p>The longer you hold an HSA, the more flexibility you'll gain to use your funds. Once you reach age 65, you can withdraw money from the account for <em>nonmedical</em> expenses without triggering that 20 percent tax penalty. Note that you'll still pay income tax on the distribution.</p> <h3>3. Gain access to more investment options</h3> <p>If your employer-sponsored retirement account gives you access to only a few investment options, an HSA may be a way to broaden your options for retirement investments. While some HSA providers limit investment options to an FDIC-insured savings account, many others offer the option to put money in a separate HSA investment account with several fund options, including mutual funds and low-cost index funds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Warren Buffett Says You Should Invest in Index Funds</a>)</p> <h3>4. Increase annual contribution limits for your retirement savings</h3> <p>In 2017, a single tax filer can save up to $18,000 in a 401(k) and up to $5,500 in a Roth IRA (with catch-up contributions for those 50 and older of $6,000 and $1,000, respectively). With an HSA, that same tax filer can save up to an additional $3,400 to cover medical expenses during retirement, with a $1,000 per year catch-up contribution allowed for those aged 55 and over.</p> <h2>Take a look at HSAs</h2> <p>If you don't have a good employer-sponsored health plan, you could give your retirement plan a much-needed boost with an HSA, assuming you're eligible for one. The premiums on an HDHP can be higher than those of other health plans, so it's important to take a look at all of your alternatives. Since there are many considerations to keep track of, including taxes, medical expenses, and investment decisions, consider seeking the advice of a professional. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Who to Hire: A Financial Planner or a Financial Adviser?</a>)</p> <p>The health insurance decisions you make now could help you have a more comfortable retirement.</p> <p><em>[Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article noted that withdrawals after age 65 for nonmedical expenses are tax free. This is incorrect, and the article has been corrected to reflect that.]</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-could-help-your-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-retirement-stability-in-your-50s">5 Ways to Build Retirement Stability in Your 50s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-struggles-nobody-talks-about-and-how-to-beat-them">5 Retirement Struggles Nobody Talks About — And How to Beat Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-money-in-retirement">5 Myths About Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement distributions expenses health care health savings account HSA investments medical costs pretax dollars Wed, 21 Jun 2017 09:01:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1969193 at http://www.wisebread.com The Pros and Cons of Keeping All Your Accounts in One Bank http://www.wisebread.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-keeping-all-your-accounts-in-one-bank <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-pros-and-cons-of-keeping-all-your-accounts-in-one-bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/banking_business_account_finance_economy_concept.jpg" alt="Banking Business Account Finance Economy Concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Checking, savings, business, CD, money market, cash reserve, investment &mdash; with so many accounts available to U.S. consumers, should you keep them with a single financial institution? Let's review the pros and cons of keeping all your accounts in one place.</p> <h2>Pros of keeping all your accounts in one place</h2> <p>Here are some reasons why it makes sense to consolidate your accounts.</p> <h3>1. FDIC covers up to $250,000 for each eligible account</h3> <p>The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) provides coverage of <a href="https://www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/faq.html" target="_blank">up to $250,000</a> per eligible account at the same insured financial institution. Covered accounts include checking and savings accounts, money market deposit accounts (MMDAs), and certificates of deposit (CDs).</p> <p>So, as long as each one of your qualifying accounts has a balance under $250,000, it's OK to keep those accounts together at the same financial institution. For example, if you were to have $100,000 each in a CD, checking account, and savings account at the same FDIC-covered bank, you would still be insured. Even though the accounts together equal $300,000, each account has less than $250,000, and the coverage would still apply.</p> <p>To find out if your deposits are insured by the FDIC, use the FDIC's <a href="http://www5.fdic.gov/edie/" target="_blank">Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator</a> (EDIE).</p> <p>When you add accounts to your portfolio with the same bank, just remember that the FDIC warns consumers that non-deposit investment products, such as mutual funds, annuities, life insurance policies, and stocks and bonds are not insured by the FDIC.</p> <p>Are you a credit union member?</p> <ul> <li> <p>Federally chartered credit unions and those with headquarters in Arkansas, Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming, or the District of Columbia are insured by up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).</p> </li> <li> <p>State-chartered credit unions may be covered by a state-sponsored or private insurance, so contact your credit union representative for more details about potential insurance of deposits.</p> </li> </ul> <h3>2. Quicker coverage of bounced checks</h3> <p>Having more than one account at the same bank may help you to quickly cover a check or automatic debit or credit transaction with insufficient funds.</p> <p>Some banks may give you a quick heads up early in the morning that an incoming transaction won't clear due to a low balance, giving you time to make a quick deposit. In the event that you have a savings and checking account with the same financial institution, you could quickly cover the cash crunch by transferring funds from the savings to the checking account over the phone or online. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fix-your-finances-after-missing-a-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Fix Your Finances After Missing a Payment</a>)</p> <p>Doing a quick transaction to cover that mistake could prevent the bank from applying overdraft or insufficient funds fees.</p> <h3>3. Access to higher savings interest rates and lower account fees</h3> <p>When you hold a large total of deposits within the same institution, very often you can qualify for better savings rates and reduced account fees. Find out from your financial institution whether or not they offer benefits for consolidating your accounts.</p> <p>Similarly, holding a larger total balance across several investment accounts, such as an IRA or individual investment account, may grant you some breaks on investment fees. Generally, with at least $100,000 in investable assets in the same institution, you should get lower charges on future applicable fees, such as front-end or back-end loads.</p> <p>If you don't meet the necessary thresholds to access better rates and lower fees, ask your financial institution if they'll accept a signed letter of intent to meet those thresholds by a specific date.</p> <h3>4. More personalized service</h3> <p>Maintaining a wide variety of products with the same bank allows the bank to have a better understanding of your financial history, overview of spending habits, and ability to pay back loans. When a financial institution has a more comprehensive view of your finances, then it can help you optimize your finances with more suitable products. For example, keeping several deposit accounts may help you qualify for a personal line of credit with an interest rate lower than that of a credit card.</p> <h2>Cons of keeping all your accounts in one place</h2> <p>Now let's take a look at the disadvantages of consolidating all your accounts under the same roof.</p> <h3>1. Missing out on potentially better deals</h3> <p>By turning your back on other financial institutions, you may develop a case of &quot;financial myopia&quot; in which you don't think about shopping around for better banking options. Sticking to your same brick-and-mortar branch may cause you to miss out on the better annual percentage yield (APY) that online savings accounts often offer.</p> <p>According to the FDIC, as of June 12, 2017, the <a href="https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/resources/rates/" target="_blank">average rate for a deposit account</a> with a balance under $100,000 was 0.06 percent. On the same day, you could find online savings accounts paying a savings rate of up to 1.25 percent for an account of similar size.</p> <h3>2. Potential of losing FDIC coverage</h3> <p>The FDIC coverage limit is $250,000 for each qualifying account. High-earners may run out of options in the same financial institution for opening eligible accounts and risk having a portion of their deposits without FDIC coverage.</p> <h3>3. Higher chance of loss in case of identity theft</h3> <p>Keeping all your eggs in one basket may work against you if a fraudster gets a hold of one of your accounts or cards. Getting access to just one account may grant them access to all of your money! This is particularly true when connecting two or more accounts so that one account covers another when a balance is running too low.</p> <p>If malicious hackers were to get a hold of the password for your bank's online portal, then they would have hit a major jackpot accessing all of your accounts. By spreading your funds across more financial institutions, you lower the chances of a cybercriminal accessing your funds. Of course, this is as long as you don't use the same password for all online portals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a>)</p> <h2>The bottom line: Talk with your banker today</h2> <p>If you're thinking about opening more accounts with your current savings institution, it's a great time to sit with a representative and go over your available options. Armed with that information, you'll be in a better position to shop around for better banking options and make a more informed decision.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-keeping-all-your-accounts-in-one-bank">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-paying-these-6-unfair-banking-fees">Are You Paying These 6 Unfair Banking Fees?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-post-really-suk-kuks-examining-islamic-finance">This Post Really Suk-kuks: Examining Islamic Finance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/banks-still-offering-free-checking-and-great-interest-rates">Banks Still Offering Free Checking and Savings with Great Interest Rates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/behind-the-times-i-learn-about-keep-the-change">Behind the Times - I learn about Keep the Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-places-to-keep-your-money-safe-and-growing">12 Places to Keep Your Money Safe — And Growing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking accounts CDs checking Comparison shopping FDIC financial institutions investments pros and cons rates savings Fri, 16 Jun 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1963762 at http://www.wisebread.com Does Your Net Worth Even Matter? http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-net-worth-even-matter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/does-your-net-worth-even-matter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-672689634.jpg" alt="Woman wondering if her net worth even matters" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you know your net worth? That's how much is left after subtracting your liabilities from the total value of your cash and assets.</p> <p>At first glance, figuring out how much you're worth may seem pointless. You're probably not going to bump Warren Buffett or Bill Gates from their spots on any &quot;World's Wealthiest People&quot; list anytime soon. But no matter how much you earn, knowing your net worth is important.</p> <p>Here are three reasons why monitoring your net worth can help you manage money better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</a>)</p> <h2>1. Your net worth doesn't lie</h2> <p>In our culture, it's easy to convince ourselves that we're doing better with money than we actually are. We can finance nice cars, pay for the latest fashions with plastic, and even &quot;buy&quot; a more expensive home than we can realistically afford. But our net worth tells it like it is, and that can be a very helpful financial wake-up call.</p> <p>In the personal finance classic, <a href="http://amzn.to/2qjAM5i" target="_blank">The Millionaire Next Door</a>, authors Thomas Stanley and William Danko draw an important distinction between people who look wealthy but aren't (they call them &quot;Big Hat, No Cattle&quot;), and those who don't look wealthy but are (where the title of their book came from). If you're going to build wealth, it's far better to be in the latter group.</p> <p>The concept of being unassumingly wealthy is also known as &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-stealth-wealth-is-the-best-wealth" target="_blank">stealth wealth</a>,&quot; and it's a lifestyle worth striving for. People with &quot;stealth wealth&quot; maintain a high net worth by avoiding dumping their cash into shallow, depreciative purchases. Their modest approach to money management allows them to achieve such dreams as early retirement, entrepreneurship, traveling the world, and more.</p> <p>After calculating your net worth, ask yourself: Do I look wealthier than I am, or am I wealthier than I look?</p> <h2>2. Your net worth shows whether you're making progress</h2> <p>To be sure, there are other ways to define your life and determine whether you're moving forward or backward. Tallying your net worth each year, however, and monitoring the trend that develops can be very helpful. If you're going to build a nest egg large enough to support your family in your later years, you need that trend to be moving in an upward direction.</p> <p>Earning more each year and increasing your standard of living may make you feel like you're getting ahead, but an increase in your net worth will show if you actually are.</p> <p>Of course, there will be occasional down years. The recession of 2007 to 2009 erased a lot of wealth, but those who didn't panic eventually recovered &mdash; and then some.</p> <h2>3. Your net worth helps you pinpoint financial issues</h2> <p>Each time you calculate your net worth (a natural time to do so is at the end of each year), don't just retain the bottom line number. Keep the components.</p> <p>On the asset side, track the value of your home (Zillow will give you an estimate), your retirement savings, other savings, the value of your car(s), and other assets. Then look at changes within each asset.</p> <p>With our household's retirement accounts, I don't just record the balance. I also record how much we contributed each year and how much our investments earned. How much we contribute is much more under our control than the returns we earn. I want to at least make sure we're doing our part. The earnings side is important as well. If you see year after year of meager returns, it's probably time to re-evaluate your investing process.</p> <p>On the liabilities side, track how much you owe on your house and other debts, such as vehicle and student loans. This annual exercise will provide a helpful reminder to perhaps put more focus on getting out of debt or make sure you're on track to be mortgage-free at least by the time you retire.</p> <h2>The big picture</h2> <p>To a great degree, net worth is an &quot;internal&quot; metric. It's mostly about how you're doing now compared to how you were doing last year and the year before.</p> <p>If you'd like more context, <em>The Millionaire Next Door</em> has an interesting way of defining &quot;wealthy.&quot; Whereas many people think of someone who has a net worth of $1 million or more as wealthy, Stanley and Danko's definition created more of a level playing field for people across the spectra of age and income: multiply your age times your annual pretax household income, divide by 10, and then subtract any inherited wealth. That, they said, is what your net worth should be.</p> <p>If you have significantly more than that, you have a low-consumption, high-wealth-building lifestyle and you're considered wealthy for someone of your age and income. If your net worth is significantly less than that, you're probably consuming too much of your income and investing too little. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-if-your-net-worth-is-negative?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Money Moves to Make If Your Net Worth Is Negative</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-net-worth-even-matter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-liabilities-that-will-ruin-your-net-worth">7 Liabilities That Will Ruin Your Net Worth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-13-numbers-are-the-keys-to-understanding-your-finances">These 13 Numbers Are the Keys to Understanding Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-high-is-your-score-on-the-most-important-measure-of-wealth">How High Is Your Score on the Most Important Measure of Wealth?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-quiet-millionaire-parts-4-5-building-your-net-worth">The Quiet Millionaire: Parts 4 &amp; 5 - Building Your Net Worth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-assets-costing-you-too-much">Are Your Assets Costing You Too Much?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance assets cash debts income investments liabilities metric net worth saving money wealth Wed, 17 May 2017 08:00:11 +0000 Matt Bell 1947498 at http://www.wisebread.com Start Planning Now for When Your Target-Date Fund Ends http://www.wisebread.com/start-planning-now-for-when-your-target-date-fund-ends <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/start-planning-now-for-when-your-target-date-fund-ends" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-174631043.jpg" alt="Start planning now for when your target date fund ends" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a reason why so many people invest their retirement savings in target-date mutual funds offered within their 401(k). These funds are designed to be simple: Your money is automatically invested in a mix of stocks, bonds, and other asset types based on your age and the year you plan to retire.</p> <p>As you get closer to your target date (the year you expect to hit retirement), the managers of your target-date fund gradually ramp down your risk &mdash; moving more of your dollars away from high-risk, growth-oriented investments like stocks, and focusing instead on safer, more conservative investments like bonds or cash. This &quot;set it and forget it&quot; approach allows you to easily stash money away for retirement without constantly rebalancing the fund yourself.</p> <p>The goal is to have the right asset mix when your target-date fund hits its target. But this leads to the big question: What do you do when your target-date fund finally does reach this endpoint?</p> <h2>Reaching the target date</h2> <p>According to the Investment Company Institute, the target date isn't a date when investors should automatically cash out their entire target-date fund. It's simply an estimate of when investors will retire, and therefore stop making new investments in the fund. Most target-date funds can be kept open beyond the target date.</p> <p>What happens when the fund reaches that target date depends on whether the fund is guided by one of two basic investing approaches.</p> <p>If a target-date fund has what is known as a &quot;to&quot; glide path, the fund manager will stop adjusting the fund's asset mix once it hits the target date. In this scenario, your investment mix will remain in place until you cash out the fund.</p> <p>There's also the &quot;through&quot; glide path. In this approach, the fund manager will continue to adjust the fund's mix of investments even as the target date comes and goes.</p> <p>It's important to remember that target-date funds offer no guarantees. Your fund manager will rework your asset mix as your target date approaches to minimize your investment risk. But no manager can guarantee any set amount of dollars by this date.</p> <h2>What can you do when your target date arrives?</h2> <p>When your target-date fund hits its target date, you have three basic choices of what to do with your money.</p> <h3>1. Do nothing</h3> <p>First, you can essentially choose to do nothing. You can instead leave your money in your target-date fund after you retire. You won't be able to make new contributions to the fund, of course, but as with all 401(k) investments, your target-date fund will continue to grow on a tax-deferred basis. This will remain the case until you begin making withdrawals from the fund. You are required to begin taking your minimum withdrawals from your 401(k) by age 70 &frac12; at the latest.</p> <h3>2. Roll over funds into an IRA</h3> <p>If you want to be more hands-on with your investments, you can instead roll over the target-date fund, and any other investments in your 401(k), into an IRA. If you roll the money into a traditional IRA, you can continue to make contributions until you hit the year in which you turn 70 &frac12;. If you roll your 401(k) funds into a Roth IRA, you can continue making contributions as long as you are earning income. If you are not working, though, and not earning income, you can't contribute to a Roth no matter your age.</p> <h3>3. Cash out your fund</h3> <p>Finally, you can cash out your 401(k) (and the target-date fund within it) once you stop working for the employer who offered it to you. If you rollover your 401(k) into an IRA, you won't have to pay taxes. But if you cash out, you will owe income tax on the amount you withdraw from the plan. If you cash out before you turn 59 &frac12;, you'll have to pay income taxes and a 10 percent penalty.</p> <p>The best option of the three depends on how much time you want to spend focusing on your investments. If you prefer to let others manage your investment, the &quot;do-nothing&quot; approach might be your best move. If you'd rather have more control, on the other hand, rolling over your target-date fund into an IRA is probably the better choice.</p> <p>If you need liquid cash immediately, cashing out your fund might be necessary &mdash; but the tax hit you'll take often makes this the least attractive option.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-planning-now-for-when-your-target-date-fund-ends">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">How to Make Sure You Don&#039;t Run Out of Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-risk-averse-can-get-into-the-stock-market">How the Risk Averse Can Get Into the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement assets bonds investments mutual funds rebalancing rollover stocks target date funds Fri, 12 May 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Dan Rafter 1942910 at http://www.wisebread.com How Single Parents Can Juggle Retirement Savings, Too http://www.wisebread.com/how-single-parents-can-juggle-retirement-savings-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-single-parents-can-juggle-retirement-savings-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-541585308.jpg" alt="Single parent learning how to juggle retirement savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being a single parent is hard work. It's also expensive, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reporting that the estimated cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is $233,610. That comes out to nearly $14,000 a year.</p> <p>If you're a single parent with one income, paying for your children's clothing, food, education, and activities might not only be consuming most of your money, but most of your time, too. At the end of another long day, you might think that it's simply too difficult to plan or save for your own retirement.</p> <p>Fortunately, this isn't true. Yes, saving for retirement will be more challenging for single parents. But it can be done, and the steps to start saving and investing for retirement aren't overly difficult.</p> <p>Here are five moves single parents should make today to prepare for their future retirement.</p> <h2>1. Make a budget</h2> <p>Nothing is more important than <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps" target="_blank">creating a household budget</a>, and making one is simpler than you think. Once you have a budget, you'll be able to figure out how much money you can allocate to retirement savings each month.</p> <p>First, write down how much money you bring into your household every month. Next, list how much you spend. Start with your fixed expenses, which includes everything from your monthly mortgage payment to your insurance costs. Then, calculate an average cost for expenses that fluctuate. These can include utility bills, transportation, clothing, groceries, and entertainment. Don't forget to include intermittent expenses, such as haircuts and car maintenance bills, which you might think of in annual terms &mdash; find the average so you can estimate a monthly amount. Once you have these figures, you'll know how much wiggle room is left each month to put toward your retirement.</p> <p>Compiling a budget can also help you make positive changes to your overall spending habits. Maybe you'll find that you're spending more money than you're bringing in. You might then make a few small adjustments &mdash; such as eating out less, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-tv-must-haves-once-you-cut-the-cable-cord" target="_blank">cutting the cable cord</a>, or dropping a gym membership &mdash; that will free up money each month.</p> <h2>2. Start small and build an emergency fund</h2> <p>After making a budget, set aside at least some of your leftover money in the month to build an emergency fund. You'll use this fund to pay for any unexpected financial emergencies (such as a broken water heater) with cash instead of charging repairs to a credit card. The key to saving for retirement as a single parent is to avoid building debt, and nothing can derail your savings goals faster than <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt" target="_blank">high interest credit card debt</a>. By having that emergency fund, you'll be far less likely to add big bills to your credit cards.</p> <p>You might not have much money to devote to an emergency fund. That's OK. Even if you can only save $50 a month, do it. By the end of a year, you'll have $600. That may not be a huge amount, but it's a start. Your ultimate goal should be to build an emergency fund that can cover daily living expenses for three to six months. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Change Jars and 8 Other Clever Ways to Build an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>3. Save in tax-advantaged investment vehicles</h2> <p>As a single parent, it's important to keep as many of your dollars in your household as possible. Tax-advantaged savings vehicles can help you do this.</p> <p>If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, take advantage of it. Contributions to your 401(k) are made with pretax dollars from each paycheck. This means that when you file your taxes for the year, the IRS will treat your income as smaller than it actually was. This will help lower your tax burden each year while simultaneously growing your retirement.</p> <p>You can also invest in a traditional IRA if you don't have access to a 401(k). Contributions to a traditional IRA are also made with pretax dollars, which again, will lower your taxable income.</p> <h2>4. Prioritize retirement over college savings</h2> <p>Like most parents, you probably want to give your child as much financial help as you can to get them into a good college. But too many parents save for their children's education while skimping on building their own retirement fund. This is a mistake.</p> <p>Remember, your kids have options when it comes to their education. They can attend a community college or less-expensive university, seek financial aid, or work their way through school. They might not be able to attend their dream school, but that doesn't mean they can't get a solid college education.</p> <p>You won't have as many options when it's time to leave the working world. You certainly don't want a retirement in which you're struggling to pay your bills, so you need to avoid the impulse to prioritize your child's college fund over your own retirement savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-too-much-money-for-a-college-fund-is-a-bad-idea?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Saving Too Much Money for a College Fund Is a Bad Idea</a>)</p> <h2>5. Resist the temptation to overspend</h2> <p>As a single parent, it can be tempting to overspend on gifts and expensive vacations in an effort to make up for whatever challenges you and your children face. The problem is, this kind of emotional overspending can wreck your monthly budget. And when money gets tight, it's your retirement savings that often suffers.</p> <p>It's OK to treat your children, of course. But make sure these little rewards don't come at the expense of building a retirement fund.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-single-parents-can-juggle-retirement-savings-too">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-youre-financially-ready-to-start-a-family">7 Signs You&#039;re Financially Ready to Start a Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-personal-finance-tasks-that-arent-as-hard-as-you-think">5 Personal Finance Tasks That Aren&#039;t as Hard as You Think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-youve-become-a-financial-grownup">How to Tell You&#039;ve Become a Financial Grownup</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-millennials-can-do-right-now-for-an-early-retirement">8 Things Millennials Can Do Right Now for an Early Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-late-starters-can-save-for-their-kids-education">Here&#039;s How Late Starters Can Save for Their Kids&#039; Education</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Retirement budgeting children college costs emergency funds investments overspending saving money single parents tax advantaged Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:43:15 +0000 Dan Rafter 1935491 at http://www.wisebread.com