Tag Archives: finance

Retirement Planning: Are You a Saver or Spender?

Retirement Planning: Are You a Saver or Spender? | Money Savvy Living

It is hard to turn on the news and not hear about the sluggish state of the economy, the low amount of job growth, how much debt the country is racking up… or how seemingly inevitable cuts will be coming to social security benefits in the future because of these factors…  So when we hear these things, we need to take a moment and actually look ahead to what those long-term effects could mean for your personal financial future.

While it may seem nonsensical to think that the May jobs report has anything to do with your personal retirement planning, or even your current financial situation, it truly is an indicator of our country’s economic heartbeat and the overall economic impact is actually quite far reaching. When job creation is low, and the job participation rate is low, there are less people paying taxes into the system, and potentially, more people collecting benefits such as unemployment and food stamps. When we are in an economy that is not bringing in more revenue than is going out, we have a budget deficit each year—and that adds to the interest compounding on our current national debt to create an even larger debt. So it starts to become clear as to why this affects you personally: less money going into the Social Security fund now will mean less to come out of it later—when you are ready to retire.

With all of this in mind, it may surprise you to know that 33% of Americans have no retirement savings at all, and less than 25% of the people who do have retirement savings actually think that it will be enough. Do you have enough? How do you know if you are on the right track?

This graphic from Rosland Capital, a premier precious metals asset and gold IRA firm, breaks it down for you:

 

 

Rosland Capital Avenue to Retire | Money Savvy Living

 

 

So the first thing that you need to do is find out if your employer offers a 401k program, and if they do, start contributing as soon as you qualify. Why is this so important? There are 2 main benefits from participating in your employer’s sponsored 401k:

  • Employer matching—most employers will match up to a certain percentage of your personal employee contributions. It is literally free money. For example, if you contribute 2% of your income from each paycheck, your employer may match that, so your total is now 4%.
  • Tax benefits—if you contribute to a traditional 401k, you will get money taken out of your paycheck pre-tax—so that means you are paying less tax now on your current income. If you are contributing to a 401k that has a Roth option, then you will pay tax on the money that you contribute now, but it will grow tax-free!

If you are self-employed or your employer doesn’t offer a 401k, then you can always set up your own IRA, or individual retirement account, and receive the similar tax benefits—you can get a tax deduction for contributing to a traditional IRA, or again, enjoy the tax-free growth of a Roth IRA.

So how do you choose which investment products are right for you? There are several factors to look at: how long you have until retirement, what your goals are, and what you risk tolerance is. Every individual’s situation is unique, so you will need to look at these factors with your financial advisor to determine the best investments. Once you know your time horizon, what your investment goals are, and the type of investor that you are, you may even want to check out these 3 ways to creatively diversify your investment portfolio to further decrease your risk.

 

Are you a saver or a spender?

With all of the uncertainty in the economy, and even with social security, you want to make sure that you are preparing yourself for retirement—so that you can live comfortably in your golden years without having to worry if the government will cut your social security benefit.

So if you are one of those 33% that have no retirement savings, here are a few ways that you can start saving today—without having to drastically change your lifestyle:

  • Take advantage of your company’s 401k matching—it’s literally free money going into your retirement that you don’t have access to now anyways. Example: you put in 1% of your paycheck (you probably won’t miss just 1%!) and your employer puts in 1%, so you are now saving 2% from each pay…
  • Pay yourself when you get paid. When payday comes, determine an amount that you want to set aside in a saving (retirement) account. Even if you can only start with $5 per pay, that is fine. Get into the habit of saving and then maybe gradually increase it each time you get a pay raise. If your goal is to save $100 per pay, then map out a plan to get there.
  • Give something up. This is hard to hear sometimes because we get into habits or become accustomed to doing things a certain way and don’t want to give anything up. However, if you can sacrifice eating out for lunch one day per week, or give up getting a latte before work, or cancel a membership that you maybe don’t use anymore…all of those are items that you are paying out money for each month, but could live without. So rearranging your budget and putting that money toward savings and retirement will be way more meaningful. Besides, you can pack a lunch and bring coffee from home if you know that sets you up for a better future, right?!
  • Don’t spend your tax return! If you get money back when you do your taxes each year, don’t spend it. This is money that you haven’t had access to all year long, when you get the check in the mail, simply deposit it in your retirement account.

Millennials and Money: My Interview with Rachel Fox

Millennials and Money: My Interview with Rachel Fox | Money Savvy Living

 

Millennials.  We hear so much about the millennial generation: they are graduating college with huge amounts of debt; there are not enough jobs for this group of people who are now entering the workforce; they are giving up automobiles and taking the bus or riding a bike; millennials are living at home with their parents longer; millennials aren’t interested in finance.

 

These are things that we hear, but not all of these are necessarily true.

 

As part of a push to highlight the importance of financial literacy, I recently had the opportunity to interview Rachel Fox, a teen actress, turned financial expert, and founder of ‘Fox on Stocks.’  She wants to raise awareness about a concern of her generation:  lack of financial literacy.  But Rachel is quick to point out that the lack of financial knowledge of her generation is NOT due to a lack of interest.  When asked about why she feels there is a gap when it comes to knowledge about finance within her generation, she explained, “There is not enough information being published where the millennials are looking—on Facebook and social media.”

 

So, Fox is teaming up with H&R Block to help teens learn about personal finance, awarding monetary prizes and scholarships to top students and schools.  In my interview with Rachel, she talked about how H&R Block is reaching a younger generation with the H&R Block Budget Challenge, which is a finance simulator.

H&R block

Actress Rachel Fox Teams Up with H&R Block to Teach Teens About Finance

 

Millennials want to learn about money and how to properly manage it.  Here’s the advice that Rachel had for her generation in regards to getting smarter about money:

 

“Learn how to establish credit.”

Credit—learn how to establish credit and the importance of your credit score

 

“Set up auto-alerts”

Pay off debt—set up auto-alerts from credit cards or other accounts that you want to monitor so that you don’t spend too much and get a surprise when the monthly statement comes.

 

“Live within your means”

Fox stresses the importance of saving more money now in order to pay your future self and paying off any debt that you have.

 

“Learn how to grow your money”

Investing.  So important for retirement planning, and even growing savings.

 

To listen to the entire interview that I had with Rachel, click here.

 

 

 

Rachel FoxBio: Rachel Fox is a teen actress turned financial expert, and founder of ‘Fox on Stocks.’ You may remember her from her role as Kayla Scavo on Desperate Housewives, but she has also had roles on other hit shows, such as That’s So Raven, Hannah Montana, and the Series Finale of Alias. She wants to raise awareness about a concern of her generation:  lack of financial literacy. Rachel has become a go-to on the topic of financial literacy and money for teens – she was named one of TIME Magazine’s “25 Most Influential Teens”, a Seventeen magazine “Power Teen” for 2016 and has even done a Ted Talk and is the go-to source for financial management tips for teens.

You can find more information on her finance tips at: Facebook //  Twitter  //  Google+

 

When NOT to Talk to Your Spouse About Finances

how NOT to talk to spouse about finances

 

Your relationship with your spouse is multi-faceted.  Before you got married, you probably talked about the “important” things, such as, where you would live, how many kids you would want to have, jobs, even religion, but you may not have talked about budgeting and spending habits.  And once you got married, I’m willing to bet that, you soon realized that money and spending habits were “important” issues that you should have talked about.

 

Why is it that we find it easier to talk about and work out compromise on major life decisions, such as children and religion within a marriage, but avoid talking about money?  According to CreditRepair.com, 60% of couples say that “spending was kept a secret to avoid problems at home.”  Ironically, 60% of couples also say that they think that “spending infidelity is just as destructive as sexual infidelity” within their relationship.  So if couples identify finances as such a major factor in their relationship, why do they go to great lengths to avoid talking about it with their spouse?

 

finances and marriage | Infographic from CreditRepair.com

 

Alright, we all know that talking about money with your spouse is not easy, but, obviously, it is essential to building a healthy relationship.  And if you and your spouse have been having trouble communicating about money, you are probably able to find quite a few resources on how to effectively talk with your spouse about money, but sometimes, it is just as important to know what NOT to do…. so, since it is such a sensitive topic, let’s first start off by looking at when you should NOT talk about money:

 

DO NOT talk about money when you are angry.

If you find out that your spouse has just made a purchase that you didn’t know about or possibly didn’t even agree should be made, let those initial emotions subside.  If you confront your spouse when you are angry, the conversation probably won’t get very far and is almost certain to end in a fight—and the issue won’t get resolved.

 

DO NOT talk about money when you are preoccupied.

This may sound obvious, but you both need to be 100% in on the conversation.  If you try to talk to your spouse about a purchase or budgeting when they are trying to work, or they are running out the door to pick your child up from basketball practice, or when they are tired and trying to fall asleep, you are not going to have a productive conversation.

 

DO NOT confront your spouse about money or spending habits in front of others.

If you want to shut down any communication about finances, confronting your spouse in front of family, friends, co-workers, or even complete strangers, and possibly embarrassing him or her, will not help your situation.  If your spouse perceives what you are saying as ridicule or public embarrassment, that would be counterproductive.  Finances are a private issue, so keep them between you and your spouse.  That is not to say that you can’t reach out to a marriage counselor or financial planner to help you get to where you need to be.  Sometimes you do need an outside opinion, but the manner in which that happens makes all the difference.

 

DO NOT talk about finances in front of your children.

If you have children in the household, disagreeing about finances in front of your kids, talking about all the debt that you have, or how you are unable to pay your monthly bills, will not create a good sense of home life for your children.  Allow your children to be children.  They don’t need to worry about how to pay down a credit card or how to pay down student loans.  Also keep in mind, that what they overhear, may not be perceived the right way—you and your spouse may just be having a disagreement or a discussion about how to tackle debt, but your child may think that you don’t have enough money to pay for your home.  Children are perceptive and will pick up on your attitude toward finances and money—don’t teach them that money is a problem, or a headache, or overwhelming.  Show them a positive outlook.

 

Okay, so there are definitely times that you should not talk about money or finance problems with your spouse, but obviously, this is an important topic, so when is a good time to talk through your budgeting issues?

 

DO set aside time to talk finances.

If you are aware that finances are a touchy subject for the two of you, and you know not to bring up it when you are angry or preoccupied, decide on a time that you both agree to and focus only on finances.  Setting time aside allows both of you to think about things ahead of time, and hopefully, when you come together, the conversation can be productive and free from distraction.

 

DO communicate with each other in a loving manner. 

Marriage counselor, Brian Linder, says “The more you focus on communicating love to your spouse the better you will negotiate finances.” You and your spouse need to work together as a team, and if one of you is blaming the other, or if neither of you are willing to take ownership, then your marriage will suffer.  Remember, when you are talking to your spouse work on ways to solve the problem, not just point out what they are doing wrong.  Regardless of how things were handled in the past, you need to agree on a financial path moving forward.

 

DO create a plan.

Regardless of how you each spent money before you got married, or the bad spending habits that you may still have, or even the debt that you must deal with, come up with a plan to get on track.  You can’t change the past, so focus on the future, where you are going, and how you will get there.  Here is a check list to use when you talk with your spouse about money.  Go over each topic and make the decisions together:

  • Create a budget—look at monthly income and expenses for your household.  Figure out how much disposable income you have (the money that is left over after paying all your bills each month).  This is the starting point, because you must know where you are if you are going to figure out how you will reach your financial goals.  Click on the image below, or on this link, to download your FREE Money Savvy Living Family Budget:
Mone Savvy Living Budget printable
  • Set a purchase limit—if you or your spouse is going to make a purchase (or a series of small purchases) that add up to a certain dollar amount, then you should talk it over with your spouse first.  Set the limit to an amount that you both agree on, maybe it’s $100, maybe it’s $1000, but set it, and stick to it.  That way, there won’t be any surprises…and that also alleviates the desire to “hide” a purchase from your spouse.  Remember, honesty in communicating is important to the health of your finances and marriage.
  • Create a pay-down plan—if you have accumulated debt together or brought debt into your marriage, decide on how to pay it down—and off.  The stress of large amounts of debt can be overwhelming, but creating a plan to get it paid off can lessen the financial stress, as well as the stress it may be putting on your relationship.  So, after you have made your budget and know how much disposable cash you have, you can decide together which debt amount you will tackle first.  For example, if you have $100 of disposable cash each month, perhaps, you put that extra money toward paying off a student loan or a credit card.  Once that debt is paid off, you can put that $100 towards paying off another debt.  Actually, you will have more disposable income with each debt that you pay off because you are taking the minimum payment out of the budget, so for example, maybe you now have $150 to put toward paying off the next debt.

Once you have put a plan in place, stick to it.  But remember, things will come up—the car may break down and need to be repaired, you may encounter unexpected medical expenses, perhaps you will need to replace the water heater or refrigerator—so be flexible.  Talk about how you will pay for these extra expenses and then work to get back on track with your plan.

Communicate with your spouse about finances—but not in a negative way.

Share the Wealth Sunday Link Up {#20}

Share the Wealth Sunday | Money Savvy Livng Do you have a great money saving idea—or want to hear what other people are doing to save money and still feel like they are living the good life—even on a budget? It’s that time of the week again: Share the Wealth Sunday Link Up time! I look forward to sharing (and learning!) many great money saving ideas again this week! Come visit us on social media and say hi! We’d love to get to know you more! It would be great if you would follow us too: Share the Wealth Sunday | Money Savvy Living

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East, Drink & Save Money: 11 Hair Tips that will Save You Money

Fun Money Mom: Easiest Every S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Money Savvy Living: Every Kid in a Park: Fourth Graders and their Families get FREE admission to National Parks

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Each week, I will pick a few awesome posts from the week before to share with you. That will mean additional exposure for your post and blog! Here some of my favorites from last week:

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte  Just because I know that you are soooo ready for PSL!  Now you don’t have to wait for it to come back this fall to Starbucks.

Advice I’d Give My College Freshman Self  Great advice, especially about understanding your student loans and the debt that you are potentially taking on…

Why Every Family Needs a Health Savings Account  If you do not currently have a HSA, read this… and start one.

Keeping Your Affairs in Order: Legal Matters

The Biggest Financial Mistake Women Make  Are you making this mistake?

 

 

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Share the Wealth Sunday | Money Savvy Livng Do you have a great money saving idea—or want to hear what other people are doing to save money and still feel like they are living the good life—even on a budget? It’s that time of the week again: Share the Wealth Sunday Link Up time! I look forward to sharing (and learning!) many great money saving ideas again this week! Come visit us on social media and say hi! We’d love to get to know you more! It would be great if you would follow us too: Share the Wealth Sunday | Money Savvy Living

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East, Drink & Save Money: Best Time to Buy Anything

Fun Money Mom: 13 Valuable Tips for Saving Money When You Eat Out

Money Savvy Living: 5 Tips to Make More Money from Your Garage Sale

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When to Start Saving for Retirement

9 Habits of Successful Students

Personal Finance Choices: Can Vs. Should

Does A Clean House Equal Money in the Bank?

 

 

 

 

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Share the Wealth Sunday | Money Savvy Livng Do you have a great money saving idea—or want to hear what other people are doing to save money and still feel like they are living the good life—even on a budget? It’s that time of the week again: Share the Wealth Sunday Link Up time! I look forward to sharing (and learning!) many great money saving ideas again this week! Come visit us on social media and say hi! We’d love to get to know you more! It would be great if you would follow us too: Share the Wealth Sunday | Money Savvy Living

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East, Drink & Save Money: 7 Steps to Make Meal Planning Easy

Fun Money Mom: 20 Ways to Keep Your Grocery Budget Under Control

Money Savvy Living: Mango Salad with Feta Cheese

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10 Places to Get the Best Deals on Workout Apparel

 

 

 

 

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Share the Wealth Sunday | Money Savvy Livng Do you have a great money saving idea—or want to hear what other people are doing to save money and still feel like they are living the good life—even on a budget? It’s that time of the week again: Share the Wealth Sunday Link Up time! I look forward to sharing (and learning!) many great money saving ideas again this week! Come visit us on social media and say hi! We’d love to get to know you more! It would be great if you would follow us too: Share the Wealth Sunday | Money Savvy Living

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Share the Wealth Sunday #17 | Money Savvy Living 

East, Drink & Save Money:  5 Tips to Save Money on a Planner

Fun Money Mom: 21 Ways to Make the Most of Your Disney Vacation

Money Savvy Living:  A Day in the Life of a Work-at-Home Mom

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7 Secrets to Prevent Identity Theft  If you ever have your identity stolen, you will be glad to have this as a resource.

How to Be More Frugal Great everyday reminders of ways to save and not be wasteful.

Kids Eat Free List  If you have kids and like to eat out, this is the best, comprehensive list I have found!  Kids eat free if you know when and where to eat!

Minimalism: Redundancy in What We Own  Do I really need 8 pairs of flip-flops?  Yeah, I’m feeling a bit guilty after reading this one.

 

 

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Share the Wealth Sunday | Money Savvy Livng Do you have a great money saving idea—or want to hear what other people are doing to save money and still feel like they are living the good life—even on a budget? It’s that time of the week again: Share the Wealth Sunday Link Up time! I look forward to sharing (and learning!) many great money saving ideas again this week! Come visit us on social media and say hi! We’d love to get to know you more! It would be great if you would follow us too: Share the Wealth Sunday | Money Savvy Living

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East, Drink & Save Money:  Favorite Frugal Finds – Back to School

Fun Money Mom: 15 Amazing Slow Cooker Recipes that You’ll Want to Try

Money Savvy Living:  Back to School Sales Tax Holiday

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Living Well Within a Budget

5 Ways I Saved in July

Seasonal Produce for August with Frugal Tips

6 Back to School Shopping Saving Strategies

 

 

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Share the Wealth Sunday | Money Savvy Livng Do you have a great money saving idea—or want to hear what other people are doing to save money and still feel like they are living the good life—even on a budget? It’s that time of the week again: Share the Wealth Sunday Link Up time! I look forward to sharing (and learning!) many great money saving ideas again this week! Come visit us on social media and say hi! We’d love to get to know you more! It would be great if you would follow us too: Share the Wealth Sunday | Money Savvy Living

Hannah at eat, drink & save money | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram

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East, Drink & Save Money: Best Time to Buy Anything

Fun Money Mom: How to Create a Magical Fairy Garden

Money Savvy Living: Healthy Chocolate No-Bake Cookie Bars

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Traveling with Kids: Tips to Save You Time, Money, and Stress

Nothing Good Comes from Keeping Up with the Joneses

Make Your Own Beeswax Candles

Must-Try Lettuce Wraps

 

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Share the Wealth Sunday | Money Savvy Livng Do you have a great money saving idea—or want to hear what other people are doing to save money and still feel like they are living the good life—even on a budget? It’s that time of the week again: Share the Wealth Sunday Link Up time! I look forward to sharing (and learning!) many great money saving ideas again this week! Come visit us on social media and say hi! We’d love to get to know you more! It would be great if you would follow us too: Share the Wealth Sunday | Money Savvy Living

Hannah at eat, drink & save money | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram

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Gina (that’s me!) at Money Savvy Living | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram

 

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East, Drink & Save Money: DIY Stretch Mark Oil

Fun Money Mom: Roundup: Target Treasures

Money Savvy Living: Homemade Gluten-Free Freezer Pancakes

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29 Proven Ways to Help You Slash Overspending Now  You can get your finances in line… with the right plan and a little effort.

 

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