There are lots of mistakes we might make throughout our lifetimes that can cost us and our family some serious money. That’s why financial advisors and other experts are always talking about what you should do to make sure you are positioned to maximize your earnings and avoid the mistakes that will derail your retirement. The Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute in 2015 points out that only 22% of all American workers feel very confident that they are properly prepared for retirement. It’s important to understand how our financial planning strategies are helping or harming our ability to maximize our retirement savings.
Today, we’ll look at the 8 most common retirement planning mistakes we need to understand and attend to. Have you looked at all of these and put yourself on solid ground towards your goals and successful retirement? Continue reading
It’s that time again to examine the moves you need to make to increase your net income and save on your tax bill for 2015 and beyond. It’s really important to start now and review all the opportunities that can save you money, since in most cases (for personal taxes, not business), December 31st is the deadline for adjustments. Doing your year end tax planning now means you can claim these benefits when you file your return by April 15th. If you itemize your deductions, many of these actions should look familiar, so let’s begin!
As a retiree myself, the recent news regarding Social Security benefits has me worried and troubled. Not only for me, but for the millions of people who are struggling to maintain an acceptable standard of living while relying on these benefits. I write about retirement planning here on this blog, and when things like omitting the cost of living adjustment occur, it’s an emphatic reminder that we all must plan appropriately for our golden years if we want to be able to enjoy them.
Beneficiaries will not get a cost of living adjustment (COLA) in January 2016, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced this past Thursday. For seniors and others receiving benefits, this can make managing finances a more difficult experience. Continue reading
Retirement planning is a task that often confuses, frightens, and intimidates us. When we think of what will and might occur after our employment years end, we wonder how we will manage and what kind of lifestyle we will be able to afford and maintain. We wonder what our health will be like when we retire, and how that will affect what we can do. We fear that it’s already too late and we’ve missed the opportunity to invest our savings to give us enough post-retirement funding.
Facing how our lifestyles are bound to change, we wonder if we have prepared ourselves for it. The questions asked and options supplied in Choose Your Retirement: Find the Right Path to Your New Adventure will help you plan what kind of retirement you want as well as figure out how to afford those plans. Continue reading
Fifty years ago, in 1965, I was just 16 years old. Ah yes, the 1960’s! It’s remembered for quite a few things, isn’t it? Baby boomers were just first coming of age back then, but of course there were also things like the Beatles and the British musical invasion, Motown, man landing on the moon, the assassination of JFK, the Vietnam War and of course, who will ever forget Woodstock!
They say “if you can remember the 60’s then you weren’t really there”, but I am here to tell you I was there and it was a wonderful yet tumultuous time in America. I thought, for this post, we should look back at that time and use it as information that can help us plan for the future. Sort of where we were, where we are, where we’re going, put in the context of financial independence. It’s not really that complicated. We can adjust for inflation and compare it all so that we can see how things have changed. Or have they really? Continue reading
So many personal finance bloggers that I read each week write about the things you need to do to help you prepare for your retirement. I have done it myself. Those blog posts are very helpful in letting you know what you will need as income, how to estimate your after-retirement expenses, and talk a lot about how you can begin preparing really early in your career in order to maximize your own situation. In the case of younger retirees, the emphasis is usually on financial independence and “early retirement”. For many of us, however, retirement will come along in our later years, the 50’s, 60’s or even 70’s. At 66, I’ve been fully retired for a couple of years.
Rarely, however, do you hear from retirees on the realties of retirement: what do they actually do when they retire? and what did they do right and wrong to prepare for it? Since I am retired, and I’m also a blogger, I thought I’d tell you what I know and have learned as a retiree. Continue reading
It’s July and Americans are getting ready to celebrate Independence Day on July 4th! It’s a day with fireworks, great food, and gathering your loved ones together to appreciate all the good things we have here in the US and pay homage to it. Despite the headlines, we still know that this is the land of opportunity and we feel lucky to be a part of it. And so we celebrate our country’s independence. But have you ever thought about celebrating your financial independence day?
Financial independence (or FI as it’s known) isn’t a dollar amount you accumulate but rather a date that you have or will set for your financial freedom. Most of us think of it as a retirement date, simply because it will take some time to reach the goals for your independence. For some people it can come early in life, just ask Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. But for the rest of us, it’s a longer term goal and we get to it with good plans and habits. It’s what we want and look forward to, isn’t it? So let’s plan it right now: your financial independence day can come before retirement! Continue reading
Many people don’t know a lot about investing, and so they’re afraid to start. This can have a significant impact on your retirement savings and the growth of your wealth. Learning the basics of investing isn’t that difficult, and in fact, it’s a bit like cooking good barbecue. What? Yes, you read that right. Before you write me off as crazy, follow along and I’ll explain how a good basic investing strategy is like cooking good barbecue (with the disclaimer that I’m neither a barbecue nor an investment expert). Despite my northern roots, I love good barbecue just as much as the next person. Brisket, ribs, pork butt, chicken…it’s all good. So last week, when the country pork ribs were on sale at the supermarket, I picked up a few pounds and my mouth started to water for dinnertime to arrive. While they were cooking, I had time to think over the process and how similar it can be to investing, and so here I present for your reading consumption: how to invest like you’re cooking barbecue. Continue reading
Since saving money is my “mantra” as well as the purpose of this blog, let’s examine some ways you can increase your net income and save on your tax bill for 2014 and beyond. It’s really important to start now to review all the opportunities for saving money, since in most cases (for non-business), December 31st is the deadline for adjustments that you will report by tax day next April. If you itemize your deductions, many of these listed should be familiar.
Personal finance is about money, but more importantly, it’s personal. We each have our own financial history, motivations, values, goals, and circumstances. Today I’d like to tell you a bit about me personally, about why saving money is so important to me, and how that influences my finances as well as this blog.
I grew up in Philadelphia many long years ago. While my family didn’t have a lot, I was fortunate that we had enough. Both my parents worked, and with my mother as the shopper of the house, I learned that stretching your money as far as possible was important. Continue reading