Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/417/all en-US This Is When You Should Borrow From Your Retirement Account http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-when-you-should-borrow-from-your-retirement-account <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-when-you-should-borrow-from-your-retirement-account" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retirement-3744877-small.jpg" alt="cash in nest" title="cash in nest" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Building a retirement nest egg takes time and effort.</p> <p>In a perfect world, this is money that you are not supposed to touch until you are least 59 1/2 years old. Nonetheless, when life throws you a curve ball, you may have to take a loan or withdrawal from your nest egg. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-balance-saving-for-retirement-emergency-fund-and-paying-off-debt?ref=seealso">Balancing Retirement, Emergency Fund, and Debt</a>)</p> <p>The first step is to contact your plan manager and verify whether or not you can take out a loan. Not all qualified retirement plans provide the option to borrow. For example, the IRS states &quot;<a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Retirement-Plans-FAQs-regarding-Loans">loans are not permitted</a> from IRAs or from IRA-based plans.&quot; On the other hand, 401(k) plans, money-purchase pension plans, and profit-sharing plans are examples of plans that allow you to borrow.</p> <p>You'll also need to determine how much you can borrow. Most plans limit you to half of your vested account balance, up to $50,000. Even if your vested retirement account balance is $200,000, the maximum you can borrow is $50,000.</p> <p>The most important thing though is to do it for the right reason. Here are three scenarios when you should consider borrowing from your retirement account.</p> <h2>1. Your Employment Is Stable and You Can Pay Back the Loan Within Five Years</h2> <p>You need to evaluate your current job situation:</p> <ul> <li>How did your last review go?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Is your current job secure for the next couple of years?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are you happy with your current job?</li> </ul> <p>If you are fired, then your loan becomes due. No job and a big loan to repay is a bad combo! Your loan also becomes due if you switch jobs.</p> <p>You also have to be sure that you can pay back the loan in full within five years. Otherwise, you will face <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tax-penalties-for-early-retirement-withdrawals">stiff penalties from the IRS</a>. Your financial institution will issue an amortization schedule, often detailing quarterly payments. If you fail to meet the quarterly payments, then the loan may become taxable income.</p> <ul> <li>If you have a remaining loan balance after five years, then your loan is considered a withdrawal from your retirement account. Unless you are 59 1/2 at that time, the IRS will slap a 10% early distribution tax on the remaining balance in addition to income taxes you'll have to pay on that amount, too.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you cannot pay back the loan, you will suffer a major <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-common-ways-people-derail-their-retirement">retirement pitfall</a>. Remember that there is a limit as to how much you can contribute to your retirement account each year. So, when that money leaves your nest egg, it never comes back.</li> </ul> <p>One important tax benefit from borrowing from your 401(k) retirement account is that you can have your loan payments deducted from your taxable earnings. This effectively reduces your taxable income while you're paying off the loan.</p> <h2>2. You Don't Have Cheaper Forms of Credit Available</h2> <p>If your credit score is less than stellar, you may be having a hard time finding alternative sources of financing. Because you are borrowing from existing funds, the retirement loan application process is more streamlined and requires no credit checks. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps?ref=seealso">How to Rebuild Your Credit</a>)</p> <p>Shop around and check if you can find more favorable terms for your desired loan amount. Make sure to include additional loan costs, such as origination, administration, and maintenance fees. Ask your plan manager about all applicable fees for your loan. If you don't have access to a bank loan, there are still <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-get-a-bank-loan-8-other-ways-to-finance-your-business">other ways for financing</a>. Borrowing from your retirement account is a last resort, so make sure to carefully review your plan(s) and loan options.</p> <p>Paying down high-interest debts and consolidating debts are often smart uses of retirement account loans. Let's imagine that you need $20,000 to pay off a high-interest credit card. Shop around and check if you can find more favorable terms for your desired $20,000 loan. If not, then your retirement account loan can be a good way to pay down your credit card debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-worst-ways-to-pay-off-your-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">The Worst Ways to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. You Need a Down Payment for a Home Purchase</h2> <p>A home is one of the most important assets that you will ever own. It not only allows you to put money to better use than paying rent, but also it builds equity over time. This is why using a retirement account loan for a down payment for a home purchase is a good idea. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-before-buying-your-first-home?ref=seealso">What to Know Before Buying Your First Home</a>)</p> <p>If you need $10,000 or less, have a traditional IRA, and plan to purchase your first home, then the IRS allows you to take a penalty-free early withdrawal of up to $10,000 from your traditional IRA. Keep in mind that if your spouse also has a traditional IRA, then your spouse can also make a penalty-free withdrawal of up to $10,000 from an IRA account. This way you can pull together up to $20,000 for a down payment on your first-time mortgage. (Note that this is taxable income.)</p> <p>Also, you can make penalty-free withdrawals for the first time home purchase of a home for your children or grandchildren. An advantage of making the withdrawal is that you don't have to pay the money back. (But you still should.)</p> <p>If you need more than $10,000 or don't have a traditional IRA, then you should look into borrowing from your 401(k) to make that down payment. As mentioned earlier, this type of loan can help you put together that down payment at a lower cost and lower your taxable income.</p> <h2>Takeaway</h2> <p>While it may seem tempting to dip into your retirement account for funds you need right now, consider all your options carefully before doing so. You may face hefty tax burdens if you can't pay it back in time, or your employment situation changes. You'll also be lowering the balance on your retirement account, losing compound interest and the extra time for growth. However, there are some scenarios where a loan from your nest egg can be a smart idea.</p> <p><em>Have you ever borrowed from your 401(k) or other retirement account?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-when-you-should-borrow-from-your-retirement-account" class="sharethis-link" title="This Is When You Should Borrow From Your Retirement Account" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Retirement 401(k) borrowing from retirement IRA retirement withdrawal Tue, 08 Apr 2014 08:24:32 +0000 Damian Davila 1134345 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Ways to Retire Early http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-retire-early <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-ways-to-retire-early" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/seniors-beach-3630112-small.jpg" alt="relaxing" title="relaxing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It seems like the economy is making it more difficult for people to retire at 65. That's true in some ways, but what if you had more control over your own retirement than you realized?</p> <p>What if there were some practical things that you could do that would enable you to retire closer to 60 instead of 70? While we can't control the economy around us, there are some practical financial things we can do to round down our retirement age. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retirement-planning-if-you-re-under-30?ref=seealso">Retirement Planning if You're Under 30</a>)</p> <h2>1. Know What You'll Need to Live On</h2> <p>Simply knowing what your monthly expenses will be during your retirement years can be helpful when it comes to planning when exactly you'll be able to quit working. This <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/insights/retirement/tool/retirement-expense-worksheet">worksheet from Vanguard</a> covers most expenses and will give you a rough estimate of what you'll need to live on a monthly basis.</p> <p>Let's assume that currently you're 27 years old and earning around $35,000 per year. We'll also assume (generously) that between a 401(k), savings, and other assets, you already have $30,000 saved.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://money.cnn.com/calculator/retirement/retirement-need/">CNN's retirement calculator</a>, if you can save 15% of your income, you can retire at 65. That's $5250 a year or $438 a month at your starting income. (The calculator assumes that your income will grow at an annual rate of 3.8%, so your savings in actual dollar amounts should also increase each year.)</p> <p>Now, if you knock your hopeful retirement age down to 60, 15% of your income suddenly isn't enough, as it falls quite short of what you'll need. It's not until you're saving 21% of your income that you make the cut to retire at 60. That's $7350 a year or $613 a month.</p> <p>So your challenge is to increase your savings by 6%, or $175 a month.</p> <h2>2. Start Early</h2> <p>Starting to plan and save for retirement in any capacity is far easier in your mid-20s than your 40s or 50s. The earlier you start, the more time your money will have to accumulate and grow.</p> <p>In the retirement calculator above, the starting age was set to 27. Knock that number down to 24, and you can get away with saving 19% instead of 21%.</p> <h2>3. Contribute a Weekly Amount to a Long-Term, Low-Risk Investment</h2> <p>If you start early, contributing as little as $20 a week to a money market mutual fund can grow to five figures (six if you start with a five-figure initial balance) by the time you're ready to retire.</p> <p>Depending on your income and what you're saving already, $20 a week is $80 a month (plus two bonus weeks every year!), which gets us almost halfway to $175.</p> <h2>4. Save Your Salary Increases After a Certain Point</h2> <p>Our habit is to increase our income and upgrade, always hovering at the ceiling of what we can afford. If you get to a certain point where you're content with your lifestyle and living situation, stop upgrading when your salary increases, and instead, save that increased amount every year as a lump sum for your retirement accounts.</p> <p>If you've been saving 21% of $35,000 (or even 15%), it's okay to loosen up a little. But keep your eyes on the prize. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lifestyle-inflation-the-ultimate-financial-trap?ref=seealso">Lifestyle Inflation: The Ultimate Money Trap</a>)</p> <h2>5. Keep Your Living Expenses Low</h2> <p>Keeping your living expenses capped will allow you to put more money aside for retirement and contribute more to investment accounts or a 401(k).</p> <p>Stay practical for this one.</p> <p>Start with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps">simple budget plan</a> and then carve out unnecessary expenses. You also can work to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-win-the-war-against-this-summers-electric-bill">lower your utility bill</a>, which can save anywhere from $30 to $100 per month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-can-do-in-15-minutes-that-could-save-you-1500-this-year?ref=seealso">Save $1,500 a Year in 15 Minutes</a>)</p> <h2>6. Pay Off the Principal on Your House</h2> <p>If you can get your house paid off, you'll free up all the money that would normally go to a mortgage payment every month, which can go to retirement savings. Also, the more principal you've paid, the more you get to keep when and if you sell your house.</p> <h2>7. Take a State- or Federal-Level Government Job</h2> <p>Those who were born after 1970 and work for the state or federal government have a minimum retirement age (MRA) of 57, and often retire before 60 with a pension. These employees are entitled to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_employee_pension_plans_in_the_United_States">public employee pension plans</a>, though they vary by state.</p> <h2>8. Max Your 401(k) Contribution</h2> <p>If you have a 401(k) and can afford to contribute more, try to contribute as much as your employer will match.</p> <p>If you're able to contribute an extra $1,500 a year total (starting when you're 25) that will give you roughly an extra $15,000 a year to live on if you want to retire at age 60.</p> <h2>9. Downsize Your Home When the Market Is Good</h2> <p>This can be a particularly good move if your house is paid off and the kids are all grown and moved out. Assuming the market is good, sell your home at a profit and move into a place that's smaller, cheaper, and better suited for just a couple people. Odds are that you'll have a sizeable amount to put away; perhaps even enough to get you through a year or two. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-downsize-your-home-and-start-living-a-better-life?ref=seealso">How to Downsize and Live a Better Life</a>)</p> <h2>10. Move to a State With Lower Taxes</h2> <p>Some states are easier to retire in than others. <a href="https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Taxes-101/States-with-the-Highest-and-Lowest-Taxes/INF23232.html">Property, income, and sales tax</a> should all be taken into consideration if you plan to move. Reduced taxes mean reduced living expenses which means your retirement dollars go farther.</p> <h2>11. Exercise and Manage Your Health</h2> <p>One way that you can help to prevent increased expenses in your later years is to exercise and take care of your body. If you do, you might be able to qualify for cheaper health insurance plans and be less susceptible to increases in your monthly premiums. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/live-long-and-prosper-with-these-15-small-healthy-habits?ref=seealso">Live Longer With These Small Healthy Habits</a>)</p> <h2>12. Start a Roth IRA</h2> <p>A Roth IRA is a retirement account that allows you to contribute after-tax money. The appeal over a traditional IRA is that withdrawals won't be taxed in retirement, and that your contributions can be withdrawn anytime without penalty (with some caveats), for emergencies.</p> <h2>13. Work the Tough Hours While You're Young</h2> <p>Working overtime and weekends, and doing what you can to bring in more cash flow is much easier in your 20s and 30s than when you're older. Work those hours now and put money away so that you can wind down as you get closer to retirement age.</p> <h2>14. Cultivate a Skill That You Can Do Part-Time in Retirement</h2> <p>Many people work part time in their retirement, if for nothing else as a means to kill time. Try to plan for a way to continue to bring home a paycheck even after you've retired. This can mean continuing in your line of work part time or perhaps going from a business owner to a consultant for another company. It also means your retirement funds won't be your sole means of support.</p> <h2>Planning Ahead</h2> <p>The most important thing you can do when it comes to securing your retirement is to do as much advanced planning as you can. While certain things can't be predicted, like exact living expenses or the cost of insurance, you don't have to wait until your 50s to start putting money away.</p> <p>Be prudent when you're still young, and you'll make an early retirement far easier.</p> <p><em>Do you have other ideas on how to retire early? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-retire-early" class="sharethis-link" title="14 Ways to Retire Early" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Retirement early retirement retirement savings saving Mon, 07 Apr 2014 08:36:22 +0000 Mikey Rox 1134347 at http://www.wisebread.com Will You Ever Be Able to Retire? http://www.wisebread.com/will-you-ever-be-able-to-retire <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/will-you-ever-be-able-to-retire" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-502485-small.jpg" alt="man" title="man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you listen to the experts and pundits, you've heard that retirement as we know it is in serious trouble &mdash; and the current workforce can expect to work until they get too sick or too dead to keep going. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-know-your-retirement-number?ref=seealso">What's Your Retirement Number?</a>)</p> <p>It's enough to make you want to heave some golf clubs through a window, since you're obviously never going to get to use them in retirement.</p> <p>But both the conventional wisdom and the number crunching about retirement don't tell the entire story. Yes, the retirement that our grandparents enjoyed may be out of our grasp &mdash; but that doesn't mean your future is an endless landscape of cubicle-dwelling until you die. Here's what you need to know about retirement in the new millennium.</p> <h2>Traditional Retirement Didn't Account for Longevity</h2> <p>While it may seem as though retirement is an age-old practice, the fact of the matter is that it's a relatively new phenomenon. Before the 20th century, people expected to work until they couldn't anymore &mdash; and at that point their families would take care of them. That changed in the United States when the Social Security Administration was established in 1935, and the age for retirement was set at 65.</p> <p>Except even then, the expectations for retirement were still largely the same &mdash; in 1935, the average American life expectancy was all of <a href="http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005148.html">61.7 years</a>. Social Security was intended to keep the lucky few who lived into their late 60s and beyond from experiencing abject poverty.</p> <p>Even in the 1960s and 1970s &mdash; the golden age of defined-benefit pensions for workers and actual time for leisure in retirement &mdash; life expectancy only rose to 73.9 years. A 65-year-old retiree in those days didn't have 15 to 30 years ahead of them.</p> <p>Now that the average American woman can expect to live to her 80s, it's pretty clear that retirement as our grandparents enjoyed it is too expensive for employers and the government to pay for entirely. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-avoid-running-out-of-money-in-retirement?ref=seealso">How to Avoid Running Out of Money in Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>What We Can Do</h2> <p>First, let's take a deep breath.</p> <p>For some very good reasons, retirement tends to be an issue that makes pundits jump up and down waving their arms and screaming that the sky is falling. That's why it's important for all of us to take a step back and find some perspective.</p> <p>Yes, your retirement is going to be expensive, self-funded, and later than you might like &mdash; but that's all because you're going to have a long and healthy life. The ripe old age of 65 used to be ancient. Now, there's no reason it can't be the prime of life.</p> <p>That being said, planning on working for fifty years between college graduation and retirement is probably not exactly what you want. Here are some concrete steps you can take to deal with the prospect of a late retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-retirement-savings-fast-with-this-6-step-plan?ref=seealso">6 Steps to Boost Your Retirement Savings Fast</a>)</p> <h2>Make a Plan</h2> <p>Many of us are intimidated by the idea of meeting with a financial advisor or coming up with a financial plan, thinking that these things are only for the Scrooge McDucks of the world.</p> <p>But everyone needs a financial plan, no matter their income level. According to Laurie Nordquist, head of Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust, &quot;if [workers] had a financial plan, <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/10/24/retirement-health-care-social-security/3169827/">they saved three times more than those without a plan</a>.&quot;</p> <p>So if you hope to retire earlier than your 70s &mdash; or just early, period &mdash; you can only figure out how to do so if you make a plan. Sit down with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/investment-advice-you-should-never-hear-from-your-financial-advisor">a trusted financial advisor</a> and determine how much you will need each year in retirement to live comfortably and how much you need to set aside to get there. Then follow your plan.</p> <p>If that sounds simple, that's because it is. But just because making a retirement plan is simple does not mean that it's easy.</p> <h2>Kill Off Your Debt Before It Kills Your Retirement</h2> <p>NerdWallet recently did the math on what Millennials can expect for retirement and came up with some depressing numbers: today's college graduates won't be able to retire <a href="http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/investing/2013/73-retirement-norm-millennials/">until they are 73 years old</a> &mdash; mostly because of student loans. With a median student loan burden of $23,300, new grads are losing years of retirement savings and compound interest to opportunity cost. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retirement-planning-if-you-re-under-30?ref=seealso">Retirement Planning If You're Under 30</a>)</p> <p>And it's not just college grads with too-large student loans who are victims of opportunity cost. Any major debt you carry offers such costs, because the money you send to your loan could otherwise be invested and earn compound interest. NerdWallet calculated that the opportunity cost of a $23,300 loan is $115,096 by the time the borrower reaches retirement.</p> <p>So if you are currently carrying debt, what can you do to keep the opportunity costs from ruining your retirement dreams?</p> <h3>Pay It Down...</h3> <p>The first option is to send additional money to your loan in order to decrease your loan term and your total interest paid. A faster debt payoff allows you to send more money to your retirement account sooner, and that can help mitigate your opportunity costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Pay Off Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <h3>...And Pay Your Retirement Fund</h3> <p>However, since you will still potentially lose out on the compound interest while using this debt payoff strategy, it might actually make more sense to split your focus. Instead of only working to get your debt paid off as quickly as possible, make your regular payments to your loan in addition to contributing the same amount to your retirement. Even though you will not reduce your loan term this way, you will still be able to take advantage of early compound interest, which can make an enormous difference in your retirement bottom line.</p> <h2>Redefine Retirement for Yourself</h2> <p>Another thing that the pundits don't tell you when they're frothing at the mouth about the death of retirement is exactly how they're defining retirement.</p> <p>Generally, that's because they're using the most generous definition of retirement possible &mdash; the kind of retirement where you enjoy endless days on the golf course after you quit working no later than age 65. And believe me, that definition of retirement sounds lovely.</p> <p>But if you had to choose between modifying that definition and no retirement at all, wouldn't you prefer the rewrite?</p> <p>Here are four common ways you can redefine retirement to make sure you can afford it.</p> <h3>1. Plan on Working Part-Time or as a Freelancer</h3> <p>If you plan your retirement to be the end of your primary career, rather than the end of work itself, then you will reduce the burden on your nest egg.</p> <h3>2. Move to a Less Expensive Area</h3> <p>Relocating to an area with a lower cost of living can potentially mean the difference between pinching pennies and living comfortably in retirement. An added bonus is that you can potentially add the equity you get from selling your house for this move to your nest egg. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-of-americas-awesomest-cheap-cities?ref=seealso">America's Awesomest Cheap Cities</a>)</p> <h3>3. Become a Frugal Hacker in Retirement</h3> <p>Cutting your budget to the bone will allow you to extend the life of your nest egg, and potentially let you retire earlier. Once you are no longer working, you will have the time to devote to the sorts of money-saving activities that keep spending in check.</p> <h3>4. Work Longer</h3> <p>If you absolutely need your retirement to look like the ones in the commercials, then you might just need to scale back your assumptions on when you can retire. Working a few more years past your preferred retirement date can help ensure that your retirement income will cover the experience you want.</p> <h2>Love Your Career</h2> <p>Possibly the most important thing to remember when planning your retirement is that you don't have to wait until then for your life to start. That's why you should care about what you do each day &mdash; otherwise your life becomes an endless waiting game: waiting for lunch, for the weekend, for your next vacation, for retirement. And it would be awfully sad to spend your entire career waiting for the moment when you can stop working.</p> <p>Finding the work that you enjoy doing and will do well &mdash; while you plan for that day in the future when you might want to retire &mdash; is how you can create happier life overall for yourself. No need to wait for retirement.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-you-ever-be-able-to-retire" class="sharethis-link" title="Will You Ever Be Able to Retire?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Life Hacks Retirement retirement hacks retirement possibility Tue, 01 Apr 2014 08:24:10 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1133535 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Reasons Why You Must Open a Roth IRA Before April 15 http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-you-must-open-a-roth-ira-before-april-15 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-reasons-why-you-must-open-a-roth-ira-before-april-15" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cash-469987685.jpg" alt="cash" title="cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="164" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's that time of year again. While tax season can bring a lot of stress, there are some things you can do to make it pay off for you.</p> <p>One of them is to open a Roth IRA, which is a little <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Traditional-and-Roth-IRAs">different than a traditional IRA</a>. The key difference is that contributions to traditional IRAs are pre-tax, while Roth IRA contributions are after tax. There are a few other differences with respect to withdrawals, but rather than focus on all of that, let's look at four reasons you should consider funding a Roth IRA this year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-set-up-an-ira-to-build-wealth?ref=seealso">How to Set Up an IRA to Build Wealth</a>)</p> <h2>You Can Double Your Annual Contribution</h2> <p>If you open up a Roth IRA by April 15, you get a great opportunity &mdash; you're still allowed to make a contribution for the previous (2013) tax year.</p> <p>How much?</p> <p>The most you can contribute in 2013, depending on your income and filing status, is $5,500 if you're 49 years old or younger in 2013. But if you're 50 years old or older in 2013, then you're allowed to contribute an additional $1,000, bringing your total to $6,500.</p> <p>But that's just for 2013.</p> <p>In 2014, you can contribute another $5,500 if you're 49 years old or younger in 2014. Similarly, if you're 50 years old or older in 2014, then you're allowed to contribute an additional $1,000 &mdash; again bringing your total to $6,500. (Check out the<a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/Retirement-Topics-IRA-Contribution-Limits"> IRS page</a> for more details on contribution limits.)</p> <p>This means that this year, you can potentially put a total of $13,000 towards your Roth IRA to build a financially secure retirement.</p> <p>Don't think that the extra $5,500 for 2013 will make a big difference?</p> <p>If you put the $5,500 in an investment that grows 7% each year, then in 30 years it'll be worth over $41,800. Best of all, if you obey the rules in withdrawing the money, you get to keep all of it and won't have to pay any taxes.</p> <p>What could you do with an extra $41,800?</p> <h2>You'll Have Better Investment Options</h2> <p>A lot of people have employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as a 401(k). Many, however, complain that the investment fund options available to them are poor. Specifically, these funds tend to have high expense ratios, which are the fees that go toward managing the fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k?ref=seealso">Why a Roth IRA May Be Better Than Your 401(k)</a>)</p> <p>Even though all funds have these fees, they tend to be much higher in employer plans. With a Roth IRA, on the other hand, you can invest with a company that offers funds with much lower costs.</p> <p>For instance, it's not uncommon that funds from employer plans cost around 0.9% each year. If you open up a Roth IRA, however, you can invest with a company that offers funds that cost about 0.2% each year.</p> <p>That small amount makes a big difference over time.</p> <p>Let's say you invest $5,500 each year in a fund that grows by 7% each year. If the fund costs 0.9%, in 30 years you'll have just under $439,000. That's not bad.</p> <p>On the other hand, what if you invest in a lower-cost fund? If you invest $5,500 each year in a fund that grows by 7% each year, but that fund costs only 0.2%, then in 30 years you'll have over $499,000.</p> <p>In other words, a difference of over $60,000. How much would it hurt you to lose $60,000?</p> <h2>You'll Have Tax-Free Money</h2> <p>With a Roth IRA, you contribute money that's already been taxed. But if you follow the withdrawal rules (the main one being to wait until you're 59 &frac12; years old), then you get a huge benefit. That benefit is the pleasure of spending the money &mdash; including the money earned via investments &mdash; without paying taxes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-simple-trick-to-get-the-best-tax-benefit-from-your-retirement-portfolio?ref=seealso">Get the Best Tax Benefit From Your Retirement Portfolio</a>)</p> <p>Let's say you invest $5,500 in a regular, taxable investment account each year, and your money grows by 7% each year. If you're in the 25% tax bracket, in 30 years you'll have just under $402,000.</p> <p>But if you contribute $5,500 in a Roth IRA each year, and your money grows by 7% each year, in 30 years you'll have over $555,000. (Check out<a href="http://www.retiresimply.com/roth-vs-taxable.html"> this calculator</a> to run your own numbers.)</p> <p>In other words, taxes would eat up over $154,000 of your retirement money.</p> <h2>You'll Have Emergency Access to Your Money</h2> <p>Lastly, your contributions (that is, the money that you put into your Roth) can be taken out at any time, free of taxes and penalties. This is not true, however, of earnings on your contributions, which have more complex rules. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-balance-saving-for-retirement-emergency-fund-and-paying-off-debt?ref=seealso">Balancing Retirement Savings, Emergency Fund, and Paying Off Debt</a>)</p> <p>Of course, since this a retirement account, you should only do this in the event of a true emergency. But it's nice to know that some of your money is available if you really need it. This is not the case for most other retirement investments you could put your money in.</p> <p>Remember, tax time doesn't have to be associated only with stress. With opening a Roth IRA, there's a bright side to the season.</p> <p><em>What other reasons for opening up a Roth IRA can you think of?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-you-must-open-a-roth-ira-before-april-15" class="sharethis-link" title="4 Reasons Why You Must Open a Roth IRA Before April 15" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/darren-wu">Darren Wu</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Investment Retirement investment IRA Roth IRA taxes Tue, 25 Mar 2014 09:36:14 +0000 Darren Wu 1132830 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Tips for a Better Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-tips-for-a-better-retirement-0 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-tips-for-a-better-retirement-0" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior-4787849-small.jpg" alt="seniors" title="seniors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread&#39;s <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some stellar articles on having a better retirement, getting ahead when living paycheck to paycheck, and sticking to your resolutions.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/pictures/fgmi45hiki/know-what-youre-spending-4/?ss=personalfinance">7 Tips for a Better Retirement</a> &mdash; To have a better retirement, shop your insurance programs. [Forbes]</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblemoneymatters.com/living-paycheck-to-paycheck-how-you-can-get-ahead/">Living Paycheck to Paycheck? How You Can Get Ahead</a> &mdash; If your wants have turned into needs, you may be living paycheck to paycheck. [Bible Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://www.mydollarplan.com/how-to-stick-to-your-new-resolution-while-saving-money/">How to Stick to Your New Resolutions While Saving Money</a> &mdash; Updating your resume, LinkedIn, and cover letter can help you stick to your resolution of getting a new job. [My Dollar Plan]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Live-Chemical-Free-26294537">10 Frugal Ways to Live Chemical Free</a> &mdash; Greening your home and picking your mattress wisely are a couple ways to frugally live chemically free. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://moneyning.com/better-yourself/5-strategies-to-make-the-new-year-a-smashing-success/">5 Strategies to Make the New Year a Smashing Success</a> &mdash; Make your New Year a huge success by doing weekly check ins on your goals. [MoneyNing]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2014/01/30-steps-to-great-finances-steps-13-through-15.html">30 Steps to Great Finances: Steps 13 through 15</a> &mdash; To have great finances, create an emergency fund. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/reaching-goals-visual/">A Creative Visual for Reaching Your Goals in 2014</a> &mdash; Making your goals your desktop background can help you achieve them. [Christian PF]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/the-future-of-cheap-television/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thesimpledollar+%28The+Simple+Dollar%29">The Future of Cheap Television</a> &mdash; Would you take advantage of pay-for-only-what-you-want television? [The Simple Dollar]</p> <p><a href="http://howsmarriedlife.net/picking-right-venue-important/">Why picking the right venue is important</a> &mdash; Picking the right venue for a conference or work event is important because it can inspire team building. [How&#39;s Married Life?]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/easy-soups-for-a-great-family-meal">Easy Soups for a Great Family Meal</a> &mdash; Hearty broccoli cheddar soup is a great meal for your family! [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-tips-for-a-better-retirement-0" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Tips for a Better Retirement" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Retirement best money tips retirement tips Wed, 15 Jan 2014 11:01:15 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1111351 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Most Common Ways People Derail Their Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-common-ways-people-derail-their-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-most-common-ways-people-derail-their-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stress-2513883-small.jpg" alt="stress" title="stress" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>The following is an excerpt from Emily Guy Birken&#39;s new book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Five-Years-Before-Retire/dp/144056972X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1388161153&amp;sr=1-1">The 5 Years Before You Retire</a></em></p> <p>When I was a child, I struggled with perfectionist tendencies and would get very angry with myself whenever I made a mistake. My mother used to reassure me by saying, &quot;Everyone makes mistakes. That&#39;s why they put erasers on pencils.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/our-worst-financial-mistakes-and-what-you-can-learn-from-them">What You Can Learn From Our Financial Mistakes</a>)</p> <p>The unfortunate truth, though, is that some mistakes are much costlier than others, and we don&#39;t always get a do-over if we&#39;ve screwed up. This can definitely be the case with making financial mistakes in planning your retirement &mdash; not to mention making mistakes once you&#39;ve taken the retirement plunge. With limited time to recover from mistakes and the high consequences you face if you make one, it&#39;s clearly better to avoid retirement planning mistakes than try to recover from them.</p> <p>There are some common ways that pre-retirees and retirees can stumble in the path to retirement, but just because many retirees fall victim to these common mistakes doesn&#39;t mean that you will. Everyone may make mistakes, but having the necessary foreknowledge to avoid these pitfalls can keep you from jeopardizing the retirement you want and deserve. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-small-mistakes-that-can-ruin-your-finances">Small Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Finances</a>)</p> <p>The following are five of the ten most common ways people can derail their own retirement:</p> <h2>Retirement Pitfall #1: Relying on Factors Outside of Your Control</h2> <p>While you might roll your eyes at someone who talks dreamily of the day his ship will come in and what he&#39;ll do with all that imaginary wealth, near-retirees will often make the exact same mistake. They will make their plans for retirement contingent on things that they cannot control.</p> <p>For instance, finance guru Dave Ramsey once suggested that the average investor can count on a 12 percent return on his or her investments. While I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Ramsey&#39;s advice on becoming debt-free, his suggestion that anyone can expect 12 percent investment returns is simply irresponsible. Ignoring where Ramsey got his particular numbers (since market returns are historically closer to 10 percent), all investors need to take to heart the fact that past returns are no guarantee of future results. (Everyone should have that piece of financial wisdom embroidered on a pillow, or even tattooed on an arm.) Counting on a particular return to have the retirement you dream of means you&#39;ve given up control over your own future. You cannot control the market &mdash; although you have complete control over how much you save and how much you spend. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reduce-your-credit-limits-to-manage-your-spending">Reduce Credit Limits to Manage Spending</a>)</p> <p>Similarly, expecting to inherit money from a wealthy relative is foolhardy as a retirement scheme. Not only do wealthy relatives have the disconcerting habit of living what seems like forever, but they also sometimes fall for beautiful young things or idealistic causes in their final years &mdash; meaning they change their wills.</p> <p>Every individual who plans to retire needs to recognize that she or he can only count on her or his own actions. Markets are volatile, promises can be reneged, and nothing is guaranteed. But you have complete control over your money and your plans, and you can change both as needed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-essential-truths-for-a-successful-retirement">Essential Truths for a Successful Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>Retirement Pitfall #2: Overreacting to Market Volatility</h2> <p>For many of us, the market crash of 2008 made it seem as though the most prudent thing to do was cash out our portfolios and bury the money in the back yard. It&#39;s a perfectly natural reaction to such a sudden market downturn. When we see our investments take a huge hit basically overnight, it&#39;s difficult to stop our inner Chicken Littles from freaking out over the sky falling.(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-for-stress-free-retirement-investing">Stress-Free Retirement Investing</a>)</p> <p>But jumping at every downturn is the way both madness and lost revenue lie. The market tends to return around 10 percent over time. That means investors need to weather downturns and trust that the market will recover. Otherwise, getting out of the game after a loss means that you have made a temporary loss a permanent one.</p> <p>According to <a href="http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2011/11/17/attention-boomers-avoid-these-retirement-pitfalls/">Joni Clark</a>, Chief Investment Officer for asset management firm Loring Ward, &quot;everyone who converted to cash in 2008 &mdash; especially after the market dropped &mdash; locked in those losses, which meant they also missed the market surges that took place in 2009. Investors who sold out of the equity market for the safety of cash in early March may have locked in losses of close to 25% for the year-to-date 2009, and may have missed out on a 58% stock market rebound (as measured by the S&amp;P 500 Index).&quot;</p> <p>Our tendency to overreact to losses in this way is a symptom of the cognitive bias called loss aversion. This weird quirk of our brains makes us work harder to avoid a loss than to earn a gain. For whatever reason, our brains are wired to make us feel losses more keenly than we enjoy gains. That&#39;s why I avoid looking at my investments more often than quarterly. Paying daily, weekly, or monthly attention to your portfolio can tempt you to get out of investments that are only taking a temporary dip. By limiting your exposure to the information &mdash; and with the help of your financial adviser &mdash; you can make more rational decisions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/begin-your-investing-career-right-with-some-mutual-fund-basics">Mutual Fund Basics</a>)</p> <p>The other side of the market overreaction coin is continuing to sit on investments that are going gangbusters in the hopes that they will keep going up and up. While it is always possible to liquidate investments before they reach their peak, the greater likelihood is that waiting will only result in losses. It doesn&#39;t feel particularly good to kick yourself after either of those scenarios &mdash; but wouldn&#39;t it hurt more to lose money because you sat on an investment until the price started falling?</p> <h2>Retirement Pitfall #3: Inactivity</h2> <p>After reading through the last pitfall, you may be thinking that the best thing to do when managing your investments is absolutely nothing. That will keep you from meddling with investments when they need time to grow.</p> <p>While this is an excellent goal, having a set-it-and-forget-it mindset about your retirement investment vehicles also means you will miss out on growth. If you never review your investment strategy or regularly rebalance your portfolio, you could find yourself looking back on years of lost opportunities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-common-investing-mistakes">Common Investing Mistakes</a>)</p> <p>The best way to maximize your investment opportunities is to diversify your assets and meet regularly with your financial adviser to rebalance your portfolio. Joni Clark&#39;s advice is specific on this point:</p> <p>&quot;Define your plan for diversifying, and then rebalance regularly, whether once a quarter, once every six months, or once a year. Sell the assets with the most growth to bring your portfolio back into alignment with your plan, and use that to meet your withdrawal requirements. This approach forces you to sell high, something everyone tries to do, but few actually accomplish.&quot;</p> <p>This approach is not only crucial in the lead up to retirement, but it is also a necessary part of your post-retirement strategy. Being proactive and making savvy asset choices can ensure that your nest egg lasts for the long haul.</p> <h2>Retirement Pitfall #4: Retiring Without Your First Three Years&#39; Income Set Aside</h2> <p>One of the distressing aspects of the 2008 market downturn was watching those who had planned to retire that year lose a huge portion of their nest egg just as they were ending their career. Those retirees found themselves in the unenviable position of either having to continue working past their target retirement date or having to figure out a way to cut their living expenses in order to stretch their reduced nest egg. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-will-you-need-to-retire">How Much Money Will You Need to Retire?</a>)</p> <p>There is no way to predict the future, so it is entirely possible that anyone reading this book may find him or herself in a similar situation. However, rather than simply accept that your long-term investments might have to be sold at a terrible time, you can protect yourself by making sure you have created an early retirement bucket. (Chapter 3 of The Five Years Before You Retire offers a full explanation of the asset allocation or &quot;bucket&quot; method for retirement).</p> <p>In short, rather than have all of your savings tied up in long-term investments up until the day you say sayonara to the office, you should have the equivalent of one to three years&#39; worth of living expenses set aside in short-term and conservative assets, such as short-term bonds, money market funds, and cash equivalents. If you retire at the bottom of a market downturn, you have built in enough of a cushion to allow your long-term assets to recover without having to sell them at a time that will cripple your nest egg for the rest of your retirement.</p> <p>Talk to your financial adviser now about creating such a short-term bucket, since you will want to start transferring assets a few years prior to your projected retirement date in order to be prepared for your first few years after retiring.</p> <h2>Retirement Pitfall #5: Taking a Loan from Your 401(k)</h2> <p>This is an enormous no-no at any time in your career, but it&#39;s a particularly disastrous mistake if you&#39;re within five years of your retirement. Money removed from your 401(k) is money that cannot grow (with compound interest!), even if you are able to pay it back relatively quickly. The lost time equals lost growth, which you cannot afford to waste. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-retirement-savings-avoid-401k-fees">Boost Your Retirement Savings by Avoiding 401(k) Fees</a>)</p> <p>In addition, 401(k) loans are considered withdrawals &mdash; with the attendant 10 percent early-withdrawal penalty plus income taxes &mdash; if you lose or leave your job before paying it back. Add the fact that most 401(k) plans will not allow you to contribute money to the plan while you have an outstanding loan, and it&#39;s clear that this kind of loan is going to be extremely costly for you.</p> <p>If you need a loan, it&#39;s far better to explore taking a home equity loan or borrowing from your insufferable brother than taking money from your own future. Yes, the interest on 401(k) loans tends to be low, and you are paying that interest to yourself. But the potential costs and risks are far too high, especially for those who are in their final years of work.</p> <p><em>To see the other five ways that retirees are most likely to shoot themselves in the foot, refer to Chapter 12 of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Five-Years-Before-Retire/dp/144056972X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1388161153&amp;sr=1-1">The 5 Years Before You Retire</a> by Emily Guy Birken.</em></p> <div align="center"> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Five-Years-Before-Retire/dp/144056972X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1388161153&amp;sr=1-1"><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/5%20years%20before%20you%20retire%20book%20cover.png" style="width: 260px; height: 400px;" /></a></p> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-common-ways-people-derail-their-retirement" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Most Common Ways People Derail Their Retirement" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Retirement Mon, 06 Jan 2014 11:37:32 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1106474 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Tips for a Better Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-tips-for-a-better-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-tips-for-a-better-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior-2309729-small.jpg" alt="seniors" title="seniors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="163" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread&#39;s <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on tips for a better retirement, easy-to-keep New Year&#39;s resolutions, and ways to avoid identity theft.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/pictures/fgmi45hgfi/know-what-youre-spending-3/?ss=personalfinance">7 Tips for a Better Retirement</a> &mdash; If you want to have a better retirement, you have to know what you are spending. [Forbes]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Easy-New-Year-Resolutions-26331864">10 Really Easy-to-Keep New Year&#39;s Resolutions</a> &mdash; Putting your phone away and cleaning your inbox are just a couple easy-to-keep New Year&#39;s resolutions you can make for 2014! [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.mydollarplan.com/avoid-identity-theft/">13 Ways to Avoid Identity Theft</a> &mdash; You can avoid identity theft by guarding your PIN and reviewing your credit report. [My Dollar Plan]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneycrashers.com/make-affordable-socially-responsible-clothing-purchases/">How to Make Affordable, Socially Responsible Clothing Purchases</a> &mdash; To make affordable, socially responsible clothing purchases, know your favorite brands and reduce your consumption. [Money Crashers]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cashthechecks.com/business-ideas/do-these-5-things-before-you-quit-your-job.html">Do These 5 Things Before You Quit Your Job</a> &mdash; Before you quit your job, look at your health insurance situation. [Cash the Checks]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/common-budgeting-questions/">4 Personal Answers to Common Budgeting Questions</a> &mdash; It probably isn&#39;t the best idea to use your budget to time your bill payments. [Christian PF]</p> <p><a href="http://moneyning.com/motivation/how-to-motivate-yourself-to-better-finances-in-the-new-year/">How to Motivate Yourself to Better Finances in the New Year</a> &mdash; To motivate yourself to better finances in the New Year, hold yourself accountable. [MoneyNing]</p> <p><a href="http://www.mainstreet.com/article/money/investing/5-real-lessons-fantasy-football">5 Real Lessons of Fantasy Football</a> &mdash; Fantasy football can teach you that there is limited room for sentimentality. [MainStreet]</p> <p><a href="http://www.doughroller.net/smart-spending/3-ways-to-get-the-most-bang-for-your-buck-when-you-donate-to-charity/">3 Ways to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck When You Donate to Charity</a> &mdash; Setting up a fundraising campaign can help you get the most bang for your buck when you donate to charity. [The Dough Roller]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/making-new-years-resolutions-with-your-kids">Making New Year&#39;s Resolutions With Your Kids</a> &mdash; When making New Year&#39;s resolutions with your kids, figure out a way to track resolutions. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-tips-for-a-better-retirement" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Tips for a Better Retirement" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Retirement best money tips retirement Wed, 01 Jan 2014 11:01:15 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1105356 at http://www.wisebread.com Just Saving Isn't Enough: How Cash Flow Allocation Helps You Retire http://www.wisebread.com/just-saving-isnt-enough-how-cash-flow-allocation-helps-you-retire <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/just-saving-isnt-enough-how-cash-flow-allocation-helps-you-retire" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cash-417690-small.jpg" alt="cash" title="cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="144" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You&#39;ve probably heard the term &quot;asset allocation&quot; in discussions about retirement accounts and investing strategies. It&#39;s an important concept to understand and apply to your own finances. But don&#39;t be intimidated by the term or the complex definitions &mdash; the principle is a fairly simple one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation">The Basics of Asset Allocation</a>)</p> <p>At its heart, asset allocation is about reducing your risk by not putting all your eggs in one basket. And that&#39;s achieved by diversifying &mdash; or spreading out &mdash; the number and types of your investments.</p> <h2>Define &quot;Assets,&quot; Please</h2> <p>OK, but what assets are we talking about, and what&#39;s the &quot;cash flow&quot; connection?</p> <p>The assets typically associated with asset allocation are stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents such as money market funds. These are the ones commonly included in professionally managed mutual fund retirement accounts like a 401(k) or 403(b). So the thinking is, if you effectively diversify within and across each of these three asset categories, you will reduce your investment risk and achieve a balance that matches your risk tolerance.</p> <p>And you will&hellip;at least among those assets.</p> <p>But do these three assets alone make for a comprehensive retirement strategy? Nope.</p> <p>For one thing, there are many other types of assets besides stocks, bonds, and cash that can &mdash; and should &mdash; contribute to your retirement plan. Which ones? Here&#39;s where the cash flow connection comes in. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-retirement-savings-fast-with-this-6-step-plan">6-Step Plan to Boost Your Retirement Savings Fast</a>)</p> <h2>Will Your Assets Pay the Bills?</h2> <p>If you think about it, your mutual fund retirement account will generate only one income stream during your retirement. From a cash flow perspective this stock/bond/money market mix essentially represents only one egg. And as we now know, relying on only one source &mdash; in this case only one cash flow source &mdash; is a risky strategy. Better to allocate across multiple sources.</p> <p>To see this more clearly let&#39;s step back and look at the bigger picture. A good place to start is with a definition of your ultimate retirement goal. The goal for most is financial independence, and that&#39;s measured by monthly income or cash flow. You will need enough non-salary monthly cash flow to pay your living expenses in retirement. The more &mdash; and the more diverse &mdash; your sources of cash flow, the more secure will be your retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-essential-truths-for-a-successful-retirement">7 Truths for a Successful Retirement</a>)</p> <p>Your 401(k), 403(b), IRA, or mutual fund retirement account portfolio of stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents gives you a good start. After you stop working you can use these assets to generate monthly cash flow in a number of ways:</p> <ul> <li>You can convert it to an annuity that pays you monthly for life.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can convert it to a savings account or CD and draw down a certain percentage of the account balance on a regular basis until it&#39;s exhausted.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Or, if your cash flow needs are mostly met by other assets, you can keep the principal intact and just draw from the stock dividends and bond interest income.</li> </ul> <h2>Other Cash Flow Generating Assets</h2> <p>What other assets generate cash flow?</p> <p><strong>Company Pension</strong></p> <p>This usually takes the form of a monthly payment for life, but in some cases companies offer the option of a single lump sum payout. Your &quot;lump sum to cash&quot; conversion options are similar to those listed above for a traditional retirement account.</p> <p><strong>Rental Income From Real Estate</strong></p> <p>Unlike a company pension, you own this asset and can sell it at any time for a lump sum amount. But if it provides a steady stream of positive cash flow, you might want to keep it &mdash; for it&#39;s that rare asset that appreciates in value AND whose monthly income (from rents) can also grow to keep pace with inflation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-become-a-landlord-instead-of-selling-your-home">Should You Become a Landlord?</a>)</p> <p><strong>Business Income</strong></p> <p>Owning a rental property is essentially like owning a business. So owning all or part of a business provides similar options: sell your stake for a lump sum or retain an ownership interest that can provide a regular income stream (plus the added bonus of possible tax advantages).</p> <p><strong>Social Security</strong></p> <p>Like a company pension, you don&#39;t own this asset; your only choice is a guaranteed lifetime stream of monthly cash flow.</p> <h2>Plan Ahead to Create Multiple Cash Flow Streams</h2> <p>Some of these cash flow sources might not be available to you. Traditional company pensions, for example, are becoming a thing of the past. But all of the others are under your control, and it&#39;s not too late to include some in your retirement plans.</p> <p><strong>Seven Streams Into Our House</strong></p> <p>Our household&#39;s retirement goal, for example, is to include seven cash flow sources. My wife and I were fortunate enough to work for employers who offered traditional defined benefit pension programs. They will represent those sources of monthly income. We also have a 401(k) and IRA retirement account portfolio (#3), positive cash flow from a rental property (#4), two future Social Security payments (#s 5 and 6), and a business (#7). &nbsp;</p> <p>Looking ahead, I&#39;d also like to buy or share in the ownership of another rental property, which would raise our number to eight. So our goal, like yours, should be flexible and open to change. The important part is to set a goal &mdash; set your cash flow number &mdash; so you can start making plans to achieve it.</p> <p>And remember &mdash; as you move ahead with your plans that having multiple cash flow-generating assets is preferable to relying on only one or two, because it diversifies or lessens your risk. You can more easily absorb the loss of one out of seven sources of retirement income than the loss of one out of two. So seek opportunities to earn or acquire multiple sources of positive cash flow.</p> <p>Yes, practice asset allocation; but also practice cash flow allocation.</p> <p><em>Have you considered cash flow allocation in your retirement planning? Will you?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/just-saving-isnt-enough-how-cash-flow-allocation-helps-you-retire" class="sharethis-link" title="Just Saving Isn&#039;t Enough: How Cash Flow Allocation Helps You Retire" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keith-whelan">Keith Whelan</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Retirement asset allocation cash flow retirement retirement planning Tue, 22 Oct 2013 09:36:03 +0000 Keith Whelan 1028389 at http://www.wisebread.com Boost Your Retirement Savings Fast With This 6-Step Plan http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-retirement-savings-fast-with-this-6-step-plan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/boost-your-retirement-savings-fast-with-this-6-step-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-4098753-small.jpg" alt="business man" title="business man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What do you do when you&#39;re in your last decade of your working life, but you don&#39;t have enough money saved for retirement? <a href="http://www.bgplanning.com/">Sausalito, CA financial planner Bob Goldman</a> shared his top tips for maximizing savings during the home stretch. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-essential-truths-for-a-successful-retirement">Essential Truths for a Successful Retirement</a>)</p> <p>Goldman created this step-by-step list for Carol Dorsett, who relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area after being laid off as photo editor at a Midwestern newspaper. Carol moved in with her sister and began training in computer skills and started job hunting.</p> <p>At 56, Dorsett hopes to work for another 11 or 12 years before beginning a financially secure retirement. She has a small pension and a 401(k) account, but she had to take an early withdrawal from her 401(k) to pay health insurance premiums, for which she paid a penalty and taxes.</p> <p>&quot;My concern is, once I get a full time job, how do I start really focusing on retirement?&quot; Dorsett said.</p> <p>Goldman had her fill out a detailed questionnaire, and then offered a basic six-step plan for how to make the most of her last decade of work. While this is specific to Carol Dorsett&#39;s situation, the strategies apply to many who are nearing retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retirement-planning-if-you-re-under-30">Retirement Planning If you&#39;re Under 30</a>)</p> <h2>1. Don&#39;t Touch Your 401(k)</h2> <p>If you withdraw money before the age of 59 &frac12;, like Dorsett did, you have to pay income tax on the amount you take out, <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-smarter-mutual-fund-investor/2013/03/05/how-to-take-401k-withdrawals">as well as a 10% early withdrawal penalty.</a></p> <h2>2. Maximize Retirement Contributions</h2> <p>Goldman advised Dorsett to contribute the maximum to her employer&#39;s 401(k) plan, and then open an IRA to save even more. There is an <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/401(k)-Resource-Guide---Plan-Participants---Limitation-on-Elective-Deferrals">$11,500&ndash;$17,500 annual limit on 401(k) contributions</a>, depending on the type of plan. But the IRS allows workers over age 50 to make additional catch-up contributions of $2,500&ndash;$5,500, again depending on the type of plan.</p> <p><a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/Retirement-Topics-IRA-Contribution-Limits">People over 50 can deposit up to $6,500</a> into a traditional or Roth IRA each year, which is $1,000 more than younger workers can save in these accounts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-retirement-account-whats-available-and-what-s-best-for-you">How to Choose a Retirement Account</a>)</p> <h2>3. Start a Savings Account</h2> <p>Your savings shouldn&#39;t stop at retirement contributions. Goldman advised Dorsett to accumulate six months to two years&#39; expenses in her savings account as an emergency fund.</p> <p>An <a href="http://financialplan.about.com/od/savingmoney/a/emergencyfund.htm">emergency fund enables you to cover the bills</a> if you lose your employment, or to pay unexpected expenses like car repairs, without going into debt or being tempted to borrow from a 401(k).</p> <h2>4. Invest in Index Funds</h2> <p>Once the emergency account and retirement accounts are fully funded, start investing in index funds, which give you a diversified portfolio with low management costs, Goldman said.</p> <p>A recent white paper, &quot;<a href="http://www.rickferri.com/WhitePaper.pdf">The Case for Index Fund Portfolios</a>&quot; (PDF) compares low-cost index funds with actively managed funds and concludes that investors are better off investing in all index funds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-steps-to-getting-started-in-the-stock-market-with-index-funds">3 Steps to Get Started With Index Funds</a>)</p> <h2>5. Put Savings on Autopilot</h2> <p>Investment adviser Betterment <a href="https://www.betterment.com/blog/2013/01/10/what-are-the-best-auto-deposit-settings/">advocates having your investment deposit taken out of your checking account</a> on the first day every paycheck is available to maximize the amount of time your money is in the market and minimize the temptation to spend it.</p> <h2>6. Ignore Your Investments</h2> <p>This last step can be the toughest, Goldman said, but it&#39;s important to stay the course unless your circumstances change drastically.</p> <p>&quot;Assuming you have the right investment portfolio, you don&#39;t want to be changing it based on random opinions of friends, neighbors, relatives, or experts on TV. No one can predict the future, and &#39;everyone&#39; is usually wrong,&quot; he said.</p> <p><em>Are you nearing retirement? What steps have you taken to accelerate your retirement saving?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-retirement-savings-fast-with-this-6-step-plan" class="sharethis-link" title="Boost Your Retirement Savings Fast With This 6-Step Plan" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Retirement 401(k) pension retirement retirement fund Wed, 09 Oct 2013 10:24:04 +0000 Carrie Kirby 994556 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: 7 Phases to Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-7-phases-to-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-7-phases-to-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retirement-vacation-3598674-small.jpg" alt="man by pool" title="man by pool" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="156" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on phases to retirement, productivity tips for freelancers, and stress-free frugality.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://retireby40.org/2013/08/passive-income-phase-retirement/">The Passive income Earner's 7 Phases To Retirement</a> &mdash; When saving for retirement, you must define an investing stratey and save before spending. [Retire By 40]</p> <p><a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/freelancer-productivity-tips/">5 Top-Notch Productivity Tips for Freelancers</a> &mdash; Freelancers should delegate tasks they shouldn't be doing and learn to say &quot;no.&quot; [Money Smart Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stretcher.com/stories/04/04sep06f.cfm#.UiTXYFN3ufg">Stress-free frugality</a> &mdash; Keep frugality stress-free by thinking of the big picture and taking baby steps. [TheDollarStretcher.com]</p> <p><a href="http://livingonthecheap.com/cheap-picnic-food-ideas-with-recipes/">How to throw a picnic for less</a> &mdash; To throw a picnic for less, make a portable cooler out of a cardboard box and garbage bag. [Living on the Cheap]</p> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/real-cost-of-dog/">The Real Cost of a Dog</a> &mdash; If you are considering getting a dog, be prepared for high vet bills in addition to having to pay for food, bedding, and toys. [Christian PF]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/handle-negative-reviews/">How to Properly Handle Negative Reviews and Comments</a> &mdash; If your company receives negative reviews and comments, you can choose to ignore them or you can change your strategy. [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Things-Bring-Warm-Weather-Travel-31345943?image_nid=31345943">11 Things to Bring When Traveling in a Hot Climate</a> &mdash; When traveling to a hot climate, bring sunscreen and a hat. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-squash-sibling-rivalry">How to Squash Sibling Rilvalry</a> &mdash; To squash sibling rilvalry, spend one-on-one time with each of your kids. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/financial-problems-create-cognitive-impairment/">Financial Problems Impair Cognitive Abilities</a> &mdash; If you are concerned about being in poverty, your cognitive abilities decline. [Consumerism Commentary]</p> <p><a href="http://www.joetaxpayer.com/benefits-and-risks-of-using-rental-property-for-a-retirement-asset/">The benefits and risks of using rental property for a retirement asset</a> &mdash; Using a rental property for a retirement asset has big market risks but can have inflation protection. [Joe Taxpayer]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-7-phases-to-retirement" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: 7 Phases to Retirement" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Retirement best money tips retirement Tue, 03 Sep 2013 10:00:29 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 981655 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: How to Retire Early http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-retire-early <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-how-to-retire-early" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/relax-4835242-small.jpg" alt="beach" title="beach" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some stellar articles on how to retire early, ways to keep your security deposit, and how to get free prescription drugs.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneycrashers.com/retire-early-life-decisions/">How to Retire Early - 6 Important Life Decisions</a> &mdash; Limiting the size of your family and living in the right places can help you retire early. [Money Crashers]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Keep-Your-Security-Deposit-31113995">4 Ways to Keep That Security Deposit (Don't Tell Your Landlord!)</a> &mdash; If you want to keep your security deposit, stay on top of repairs in your apartment. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://kiplinger.com/article/spending/T027-C011-S001-how-to-get-free-prescription-drugs.html">How to Get Free Prescription Drugs</a> &mdash; Did you know that many companies, including Meijer and Publix, offer free 14-day supplies of certain generic antibiotics? [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2013/08/12/7-huge-mistakes-back-to-school-shoppers-make/">7 Huge Mistakes Back-to-School Shoppers Make</a> &mdash; Don't make the same mistake as other back-to-school shoppers. Establish a budget before you shop! [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/save-money-homeowners-insurance.html">5 Ways to Save Money on Homeowners Insurance</a> &mdash; To save money on homeowners insurance, consider installing a security system. [Bargaineering]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/3-things-to-teach-college-co-eds-before-they-head-off-to-school/">3 Things to Teach College Co-Eds Before They Head Off to School</a> &mdash; Before your child heads off to college, teach him or her that plastic isn't a license to spend. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://frugalzeitgeist.com/tips-on-what-you-should-never-do-when-starting-a-new-job/">Tips on what you should never do when starting a new job</a> &mdash; When starting a new job, don't make bad jokes or tell everyone what needs restructuring. [Frugal Zeitgeist]</p> <p><a href="http://money.msn.com/saving-money-tips/post--traveling-for-thanksgiving-buy-your-tickets-now?ref=bfv">Traveling for Thanksgiving? Buy your tickets now</a> &mdash; The cheapest tickets for Thanksgiving travel are already gone, so buy your tickets now before prices go up more than they already have. [MSN Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2008/05/how-to-get-more.html">How to Get More Out of Your Accountant</a> &mdash; To get more out of your accountant, keep your accountant up to date on anything that impacts your finances. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/node/2355">Host a Movie on a Hot Summer Day</a> &mdash; If you want to keep your kids entertained on a hot summer day, provide some snacks and put on a movie! [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-retire-early" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: How to Retire Early" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Retirement best money tips retire retirement Mon, 19 Aug 2013 10:00:30 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 981339 at http://www.wisebread.com Do You Know Your Retirement "Number"? http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-know-your-retirement-number <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-you-know-your-retirement-number" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cash-3571500-small.jpg" alt="cash" title="cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever seen the TV commercials with people strolling through town or the neighborhood carrying their retirement number? The numbers vary from person to person, but the general range seems to be between $1 million and $2 million. The implied message: &quot;Shame on you if you don't know your 'number'!&quot; (And of course, &quot;Contact us so we can help you figure it out.&quot;) (See also: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-independence-is-more-than-just-a-number?wbref=readmore-1">Financial Independence Is More Than Just a Number</a>)</p> <p>I like the ads because they focus our attention on a measurable retirement goal. But <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-prep-for-guerrilla-retirement">what exactly is the goal</a>, and what role does this &quot;number&quot; play?</p> <h2>Assets? What Assets?</h2> <p>The number in the ads might represent total assets (the combined value of your house, savings and retirement accounts, and other things of value). Or perhaps it refers to only your investable assets (just the savings and retirement accounts, not the house). Still another possibility is that it represents your net worth (your total assets minus your total liabilities, or debts). Hmmm.</p> <h2>High Net Worth Is No Guarantee of Financial Independence</h2> <p>If I were to guess, I'd say it represents your net worth. But here's the problem &mdash; net worth is a measure of your wealth. That's an important measure, but your ultimate goal is really financial independence, and that's measured by monthly income, or cash flow. Let's look at an example to illustrate.</p> <p>Assume your household has a net worth of $1 million. Congratulations, you're a millionaire! Surely that's enough to retire on, right? Maybe&hellip;or maybe not. It depends on the composition of your net worth.</p> <p>If, for example you have $2 million in assets but $1 million in liabilities (mortgage, auto, education, and other debt), your net worth is still $1 million. But the cost of carrying so much debt might be, say, $6,000 per month. Despite being a millionaire, can you afford to give up your job and still cover a negative monthly cash flow of $6,000? And we haven't even addressed your other monthly cash flow needs to cover food, clothing, transportation, energy, health care, and other living expenses.</p> <h2>Cash Flow Is King</h2> <p>This example is a little extreme, but it illustrates a very real point: Your ultimate goal &mdash; your retirement &quot;number&quot; &mdash; should be measured not by wealth <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/shrinking-your-cash-flow-period-to-create-a-better-budget">but by cash flow</a>. Yes, your wealth contributes to your cash flow, but it's a means towards the end and not the end itself. And as illustrated by the example, there is bad wealth (which generates negative cash flow) as well as good wealth (which creates positive monthly cash flow).</p> <p>Let's try another example, one that moves us in a more favorable direction. Your household has $1 million in assets and no liabilities. Great &mdash; no negative cash flow from loans. But your house is valued at $600,000 and your total retirement savings is $400,000. If you invest the $400,000 in an account that generates 6% annual interest, that's $24,000 per year or $2,000 per month in positive cash flow. Ah, but the house. While it's mortgage-free, the insurance and property taxes create a regular stream of negative cash flow. And then there are still those nasty cash outlays for living expenses.</p> <p>OK, you've made some progress but haven't yet reached the promised land of financial independence. So let's give it one more try.</p> <p>You have no debts, $500,000 in retirement savings, a primary residence valued at $250,000, and a two-family property also worth $250,000 that generates net positive cash flow of $1,200 per month. Now let's see where you land. Positive cash flow from retirement savings (at 6% return) = $30,000/year or $2,500/month. And if you apply $700 of the $1,200 monthly cash flow from your rental property to pay taxes and insurance on your primary residence, you net a positive $500/month from that &quot;good&quot; rental property asset.</p> <p>So now you've managed to clear $3,000/month even after the monthly carrying cost of your real estate. If that's enough to cover your monthly living expenses, then you're on your way to financial independence. Add in social security and other supplemental sources of monthly income and you might even have a cushion to cover occasional lump sum purchases and unexpected expenses. Nice going!</p> <p>As with <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-toward-financial-independence">any good plan</a>, a retirement plan starts with a clearly defined goal. After all, without one, how do you measure your progress or success? Unfortunately, this part of the retirement planning process is often lacking. Yes, accumulating wealth plays an important role, but it's a supporting role, and it's not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is financial independence, and that's measured by a different &quot;number&quot; &mdash; monthly cash flow.</p> <p><em>Do you have a retirement planning goal? What &quot;number&quot; do you use?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-know-your-retirement-number" class="sharethis-link" title="Do You Know Your Retirement &quot;Number&quot;?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keith-whelan">Keith Whelan</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Retirement cash flow financial independence retirement goal Fri, 12 Jul 2013 10:24:33 +0000 Keith Whelan 980370 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Live a Fulfilling Life in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-live-a-fulfilling-life-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-live-a-fulfilling-life-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior-man-5096281-small.jpg" alt="retirement" title="retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on living a fulfilling life in retirement, starting an eBay business, and taking a year off in your 20s.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://howsmarriedlife.net/4-ways-to-live-a-fulfilling-life-in-retirement">4 Ways to Live a Fulfilling Life in Retirement</a> &mdash; To live a fulfilling life in retirement, find ways to help others. [How's Married Life?]</p> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/starting-an-ebay-business-a-step-by-step-guide/">Starting an Ebay Business: A Step-by-Step Guide</a> &mdash; When starting an eBay business, don't forget to test your eBay market and take good photos of your items. [Christian PF]</p> <p><a href="http://retireby40.org/2013/07/take-a-year-off-in-your-20s/">Should You Take a Year Off in Your 20s?</a> &mdash; It probably isn't the best idea to take a year off in your 20s, but if you do decide to take a year off, consider picking up new skills. [Retire By 40]</p> <p><a href="http://lifehacker.com/should-i-live-in-a-managed-community-or-rent-from-a-lan-703670844">Should I Live in a Managed Community or Rent from a Landlord?</a> &mdash; Renting from a landlord enables you to negotiate, which is more difficult to do when living in managed communities. [Lifehacker]</p> <p><a href="http://genxfinance.com/how-to-buy-stocks/">How to Buy Stocks</a> &mdash; If you want to buy stocks, you must start by opening a trading account. [Generation X Finance]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Naturally-Whiten-Pillows-30949636">How to Wash and Naturally Whiten Dingy Pillows</a> &mdash; To wash and whiten your dingy pillows, you'll need hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, detergent, and laundry booster. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/node/2322">9 Rules to Fight Toy Overload</a> &mdash; Avoid having toy overload by only giving your children new toys on their birthdays or on holidays. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/07/07/5-unique-ways-to-forgive-and-let-go/">5 Unique Ways to Forgive and Let Go</a> &mdash; If you want to forgive and let go, seek positive revenge by living well. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2013/07/stop-before-packing-up-your-home-use.html">STOP! Before Packing Up Your Home Use These Stress Reducing Techniques To Employ When Moving</a> &mdash; Before you start packing for a move, remember to throw away things you will have to replace soon. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stretcher.com/stories/12/12jul09e.cfm?slider#.Ud2RcIWf-UM">10 Shockingly Sugary 'Health' Cereals</a> &mdash; You probably didn't know Raisin Bran is loaded with more sugar than a few of the most popular children's cereals. [TheDollarStretcher.com]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-live-a-fulfilling-life-in-retirement" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Live a Fulfilling Life in Retirement" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Retirement best money tips retirement Thu, 11 Jul 2013 10:00:34 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 980524 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Become Your Parents' Caregiver? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-become-your-parents-caregiver <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-become-your-parents-caregiver" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/talk-4229973-small.jpg" alt="father son talk" title="father son talk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="161" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As our parents age, more and more of us are becoming family caregivers &mdash; and often filling the role with little preparation or planning. Nobody wants to think about their parents being unable to care for themselves &mdash; so often, we simply don&rsquo;t. But this lack of planning can make caregiving decisions even more difficult, forcing you to make choices at an already stressful time &mdash; when care is needed immediately.</p> <p>Should you become your parents&rsquo; caregiver? That&rsquo;s a deeply personal and nuanced question that you can only answer for yourself &mdash; but this article addresses some of the factors you should consider.</p> <h2>What Does Your Parent Want?</h2> <p>If your parents don&rsquo;t need care yet, <i>now</i> is the time talk to them about it.</p> <p>Yes, it might be a difficult conversation &mdash; especially to start. In this <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/caregiving-for-parents-what-it-can-cost-2013-02-12">caregiving article from MarketWatch</a>, Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies at Ameriprise Financial, suggests, &ldquo;If it feels uncomfortable or confrontational to raise such topics out of the blue, adult children can use a story from the news or an anecdote about a friend to introduce the discussion.&rdquo;</p> <p>Ask your parents if they already have a plan or hopes for long-term care. If they don&rsquo;t, or if the plan isn&rsquo;t very specific, here are some questions that might help facilitate your discussion:</p> <ul> <li>What are your plans for retirement?</li> <li>Do you have a living will?</li> <li>Do you have long-term care insurance, or another financial plan in place in case you need care?</li> <li>What would you ideally like to happen if you need long-term care? Where would you like to live, and who would you like to care for you?</li> </ul> <p>Don't forget to chime in with your own wants, needs, and feelings, too. While becoming your parents' caregiver can be rewarding, it can also be a significant emotional, financial, and time burden. But by being open and honest about your needs and feelings, you can work with your parents to create a plan for care that benefits everyone.</p> <h2>Costs: Money and Time</h2> <p>Whether you care for your parents yourself, hire in-home care, or help your parents move into an assisted living facility, costs can be steep &mdash; both in terms of what you have to pay for care and money you lose by taking time off. According to the aforementioned MarketWatch article,&rdquo;Women who take time off or quit work to care for a loved one lose an average of $324,044 in lifetime wages, pension and Social Security benefits...for men, the average loss is $283,716.&rdquo;</p> <p>While this is no small amount of money, it can cost even more to place your parent into a care facility. To get an accurate idea of how much other types of long-term care might cost where you live, take a look at this cost of care map, which breaks down costs on a state-by-state basis:</p> <div align="center"><p><a href="https://www.genworth.com/corporate/about-genworth/industry-expertise/cost-of-care.html"><img width="420" height="350" align="middle" alt="Cost of Care Map" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u921/cost_of_care.jpg" /></a></p></div><p>In some situations, it is possible for you to get paid to be your parents' caregiver. Money can come from the government, from your parents' funds, or in rare cases, by long-term care insurance. If your parents are on Medicaid, check to see if their state allows family members to be paid as caregivers (many states do). For other possibilities, such as being paid directly by your parents, it can be useful to speak to a financial planning professional.</p> <p>There are also other costs to consider. For example, if you move from full-time to part-time work in order to take care of your parents, you might not just lose part of your wages, you could also lose your health insurance and other benefits afforded to full-time employees. When making your caregiving decision, it can be helpful to create hypothetical budgets for a number of different scenarios &mdash; providing care yourself, hiring an in-home health aid, etc. &mdash; so you can easily compare and contrast the pros and cons of each.</p> <h2>Benefits of Caregiving</h2> <p>While caring for your parents can be both stressful and expensive, it can also be an incredibly rewarding experience. According to an <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/11/living/boomers-care-for-parents/index.html?iref=allsearch">article on caregiving from CNN</a>,</p> <p>Looking after a parent allows you to get to know them better. You are often able to spend more quality time together, talking and learning from one another. You can ask them the questions you've always wanted to ask, and hear stories of their life.</p> <p>And while you're providing them with support, it's also possible that they can provide you with support as well. Obviously, it will depend on their condition, but your parents might be able to help with childcare or household tasks.</p> <p>In the end, whether or not you care for your parents is a deeply personal decision &mdash; and one worth spending a lot of time thinking about.</p> <p><i>Do you currently care for your parents, or do you plan to? Why or why not?</i></p> <p><i>This article was made possible by the support and inspiration from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.genworth.com/" target="_blank">Genworth Financial</a>, a S&amp;P 500 insurance&nbsp;company with more than $100 billion in assets. Check out Genworth's website for a <a href="http://www1.genworth.com/content/lets_talk/united_states/english/planning_for_long.html">guide to planning for long term care</a></i><i>.</i></p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-become-your-parents-caregiver" class="sharethis-link" title="Should You Become Your Parents&#039; Caregiver?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Retirement assisted living caregiving medicaid Tue, 28 May 2013 10:36:31 +0000 Meg Favreau 976223 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: All You Need to Know About Saving for Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-all-you-need-to-know-about-saving-for-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-all-you-need-to-know-about-saving-for-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-5082685-small.jpg" alt="piggy bank" title="piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some stellar articles on all you need to know about saving for retirement, personal finance experiences for older kids, and average tax refunds.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2013/05/15/all-you-need-to-know-about-saving-for-retirement/">All you need to know about saving for retirement</a> &mdash; When it comes to retirement, you should be saving 10% to 15% of your income. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2013/05/13/personal-finance-experiences-for-older-kids/">Personal Finance &quot;Experiences&quot; for Older Kids</a> &mdash; If you want to give your older child an educational personal finance experience, encourage them to spend the summer launching a small business. [The Simple Dollar]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2013/05/average-tax-refunds.html">Average Tax Refunds</a> &mdash; Did you know the average tax refund for someone who makes under $50k is $2,774? [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/3-things-your-community-college-student-needs-to-know-about-the-new-financial-aid-guidelines">What Your Community College Student Needs to Know About the New Financial Aid Policies</a> &mdash; The new financial aid policies limit the amount of times you can retake a class to two. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/from-free-work-to-paid/">How to Successfully Transition From Free Work to a Paid Position</a> &mdash; To transition from free work to a paid position, know your value and be straightforward. [Careful Cents]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.stepawayfromthemall.com/tips-to-keep-health-care-costs-down/">Tips to Keep Health Care Costs Down</a> &mdash; If you want to keep health care costs down, look into &quot;pay in full&quot; discounts and be aware of your benefits. [Step Away From The Mall]</p> <p><a href="http://ptmoney.com/estate-planning-checklist/">The Four Items You Really Need to Include in Your Estate Planning Checklist</a> &mdash; Remember to include a living will in your estate planning checklist. [PT Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2013/05/13/how-should-you-choose-a-bank-look-in-the-mirror/">How should you choose a bank? Look in the mirror</a> &mdash; When choosing a bank, take into consideration whether or not you are a saver and how much personal interaction you want at a bank. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Best-Places-Young-People-Travel-30502195">The Best Places For 20-Somethings to Travel</a> &mdash; Miami and Barcelona are two awesome places for 20-somethings to travel. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.threethriftyguys.com/2013/05/how-much-do-professional-caddies-make-and-other-unique-high-paying-jobs/">How Much Do Professional Caddies Make? (and Other Unique High-Paying Jobs)</a> &mdash; Do you love golf or have you considered being a caddy? Professional caddies make at least $1000-$1500 per week. [Three Thrifty Guys]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-all-you-need-to-know-about-saving-for-retirement" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: All You Need to Know About Saving for Retirement" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Retirement best money tips retirement Fri, 17 May 2013 10:00:32 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 974145 at http://www.wisebread.com