How To Retire Early – The Truth About Retiring Early

How To Retire Early – The Truth About Retiring Early

The Truth About How To Retire Early

Have you ever dreamed of ditching the 9-to-5 grind and living life on your own terms? Retiring early is an appealing fantasy for many. The idea of escaping the daily work routine decades ahead of schedule is enticing. But is retiring early realistic or just a pipe dream for most people? Let’s move on to see how to retire early and what it takes. View full post…

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3 Principles To Save Money for Retirement

3 Principles To Save Money for Retirement

Three Simple Principles That Will Help You Save Money for Retirement

If you’ve been thinking about your retirement, you might have this question on your mind – ‘How do I save money for retirement?’ You’ll often come across flashy advertisements and click-bait articles on the Internet that promise to teach you how you can save a million dollars in 6 steps.

But many of these self-proclaimed financial gurus are simply out for their own profit. Very often, they’re selling products, books, or subscription services that you don’t really need, claiming that they contain valuable insights when that’s not really the case. As a result, it’s very easy to become cynical and distrustful about online financial planning resources in general.

My advice is simple – do not trust any person who claims they’ll teach you exactly what you need to do to retire wealthy. That’s because financial stability and retirement are goals that can be achieved in any number of ways. It all comes down to 3 simple commonsense methods – View full post…

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4 Basic Steps on Saving for Retirement

4 Basic Steps on Saving for Retirement

4 Steps on Saving for Retirement & Why You Should Start Early

It’s safe to assume that most people will agree that having a good amount of savings before you retire is something that’s really important. Once you stop working, even if you do get a pension, having a nice cushion of money to pay your bills, move, go on vacation, or spoil your grand kids with will be really nice!

In fact, a study conducted in December of 2019, showed that almost half of all Americans made the resolution to save more money in 2020. It ranked just as much in importance as getting a lot more exercise, eating healthier and losing weight.

Saving for retirement can be tough, especially if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck or don’t have a 401(k). Regardless of your situation, there are a few great tips for saving for retirement that you and your family can start implementing today.

Prepping for your retirement plan

STEP 1 – Know how much to save

Regardless of your retirement goals, or if you have yet to make any, good rule of thumb when it comes to saving for retirement is to save at least 15% of your income.

STEP 2 – Set a retirement goal

In order for you to reach your goals, you have to know what they are first. You need to begin by sitting down and mapping out exactly what your retirement plan looks like. Will you move to the beach? Finally buy that car of your dreams? Sell your house and move into a condo?

After you decide on your retirement goal, you’ll have to figure out the logistics for it. How long will it take, and how much money will you need? Are there initial costs or will they be steadily distributed over time?

STEP 3 – Pay off debts

You can’t really save money at all if you are still in debt! Debt is a huge reason why people of all generations are unable to save for retirement. The most important debts to get out of the way are credit card debts. Things like car payments and mortgages that have lower interest rates and are spread out with a specific plan of payment aren’t as crucial to pay off.

STEP 4 – Cut back on non-essential spending

This isn’t to say that you can’t  have fun or go on vacation every now and again, but a recent study showed that the average American spends around $1,500 every month on non-essential items.

Even if you can cut your spending by $150 a month, that’s almost $2,000 a year that you can save toward your retirement plan! See if you can cut costs by cancelling out things that you don’t use or need like recurring subscriptions or cable.

Invest your income

If you’ve got a 401(k) though your employer and they match your contributions, make sure you’ve invested at least up to what they will match.

If you have a traditional 401(k), talk to a financial consultant about opening up a Roth IRA too. A Roth IRA is another version of a savings account for retirement. With this type of account, money that you put into it has already been taxed. After a period of 5 years, any money that you withdraw is all tax free, including the interest earned.

Wrapping up…

With the initial savings steps for retirement and taking advantage of a 401(k) and Roth IRA, you should be on the right path to saving for retirement! It will save you and your family a lot of stress in the long run and allow you to be able to fully enjoy the later years of your life. You’ve worked really hard for a long time and deserve to enjoy the fruits of that labor!

If you need any help saving, paying off debts, or setting up a 401(k) or Roth IRA, contact one of our experts today and we’ll get you on the right path.

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10 Personal Money Management Concepts

10 Personal Money Management Concepts

10 Personal Money Management Concepts High Schools Should Teach

Personal money management topics are highly neglected in the school system and I believe this is something we all should be very concerned about. Our children grow up with virtually no concept of personal money management, the importance of money, or what to do with it when they have it.

It’s a mistake to rely only on parents to teach their children these things because many parents don’t practice good personal money management themselves. It’s a vicious cycle and it needs to be broken.

We all benefit from learning about the basic concepts of personal money management from an early age. Of course, it’s never too late, but money education should begin in the early grades and progress throughout high school. It’s the only way to prepare these kids for college and the real world.

Here are the 10 core personal money management concepts high schools should be teaching:

  1. Budgeting

Every graduating high school student should understand budgeting and know how to apply it effectively to their personal finances. Sure, they don’t have many resources to manage at this stage in their lives, but they still need to be able to budget. They will need it sooner rather than later, so it’s important to introduce them not only to the concept, but also to the available budgeting tools.

  1. Loans & Borrowing

Loans and borrowing are another important core concept that students need to understand. After all, they’ll be exposed to student loans very soon and they need to understand interest rates as well as the repercussions of not paying their loans on time. Providing the knowledge of loans and borrowing now will allow them to make good choices in the future. Applying for a mortgage when buying their first home can really be a big eye-opener.

  1. Use of Credit Cards

Most adults don’t understand how to properly use credit cards, so why do high schools assume that it’s not essential to teach children about it? Buying things now and paying for them later may seem simple enough, but when you max out your card and you don’t have the money to pay, you get yourself into a vicious cycle. This can be avoided if kids are taught proper credit card use from an early age!

  1. Good Credit Score

This is another very important personal money management concept everyone should learn from an early age. Having a good credit score and maintaining it throughout your life will have a positive effect on many aspects. It determines the credit cards and loans you’ll be able to obtain, your interest rate, and it will even improve your chances of getting a job.

  1. Interest Rates

Interest is discussed very vaguely in most math courses, but it’s never explained in a way that’s applicable to real life. Students need to be taught how interest rates can affect them and how to navigate them. Especially when it comes to loans and borrowing, because interest rates will determine if they’re getting a good deal or not.

  1. Debt

No one wants to be in debt, which is why it’s so important our children are taught how to avoid it, if possible. College tuition is high and student loans are increasing, so it’s very easy for students to accumulate high debt that will take them many years, or even a lifetime, to pay up. Having a better understanding of debt will allow students to avoid the most common traps and steer away from it or at least handle it intelligently.

  1. Insurance

Insurance is rarely discussed in high school and never expanded upon, but it’s a very important concept because we absolutely need it. Most students are vaguely aware they need auto insurance for their car, but they may not understand what it covers, what the benefits are, and why all states require it. Most adults don’t fully understand the concept of insurance either, so it’s important for students to be exposed to the subject. Understanding the types of insurance policies available, why they’re necessary, and how they work is key to purchasing the right ones and staying safe.

  1. Saving for Retirement

Young people don’t think seriously about retirement simply because it’s too far away. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that saving for retirement is an important concept to understand as soon as possible. Setting aside a small amount of money every month for retirement will allow young people to create a sizable net to fall on when the time comes. The sooner you start, the earlier you’ll be able to retire. Imagine that!

  1. Stocks, Bonds and Investment

Saving money and managing it is important, but so is investing it intelligently and securely. That’s why it’s so important children understand stocks, bonds and investment from an early age. The topic of investment is covered to some degree in school, but I believe it should be an important part of the curriculum. Learning how to make money grow through investment is not simple; the more resources our children have, the better decisions they’ll be able to make in the future.

  1. Taxes

Last but certainly not least, is the concept of taxes, which has a huge impact on our lives. Children hear about taxes from adults, but not enough to fully understand why they exist, how they should be assessed or how to use them. It’s when they get their first paycheck and see social security, Medicare, federal, state, and local taxes deducted from their earnings, does it hit them. That’s wrong! They should know much sooner. Understanding taxes allows us to manage and budget our money more effectively, which is why it’s so important we give our children this knowledge.

I don’t deny the fact that some states have introduced courses about personal money management to some degree. What I believe is, there’s a greater effort that needs to be made. Every state should be required to introduce courses about these core concepts we’ve discussed today and have it be a part of the curriculum. Learning about personal money management truly makes a difference, so why not give our children the best possible chance for a sound and secure future?

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Create A Financial Plan

Create A Financial Plan

Creating a Financial Plan Yourself Isn’t Difficult

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to learn how to create a  financial plan. Our tips will show how to do it for free.

A 2019 survey by a respected financial firm, revealed some interesting statistics. The survey pointed out that about 75% of individuals who had a financial plan in place paid their bills on time.

In contrast, about 35% without a plan paid their bills on time. In addition, about 65% who had a financial plan, set up an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses. About 25% of those who had no plan, created an emergency fund for future unforeseen expenses.

Statistics like these show that anyone, regardless View full post…

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Incredible Retirement Strategies

Incredible Retirement Strategies

Underutilized Retirement Strategies

(BPT) – Across the nation, thousands of seniors have used a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), commonly called a reverse mortgage loan, as a savvy way to access the equity in their homes as part of their retirement strategies.

Those who are interested in a reverse mortgage loan should know that there are six main phases to the process: 1) educating and qualifying 2) counseling, 3) approval, 4) funding, 5) using and 6) settling.

1. Educating and qualifying

The HECM process begins by contacting an FHA-approved lender who will review the borrower’s situation, educate them on the HECM program, and determine if they would likely qualify for a reverse mortgage loan. This is a controversial type of loan and must be carefully considered as a part of your retirement strategies.

“Once the lender has determined that the borrower is eligible, they work closely with them to shape the loan so it fits their needs,” says Paul Fiore, Chief Sales Officer for American Advisors Group, the leading reverse mortgage lender in the nation. At AAG, this is a highly personalized process designed to give the borrower the best outcome for their financial situation.

2. Counseling

Once qualified, borrowers are referred to reverse mortgage counseling, an important consumer safeguard mandated by the government. During counseling, a HUD-approved HECM counselor reviews the borrower’s needs and circumstances. They consider how the funds might best be distributed, the financial and tax implications, and whether a HECM is right for them. If so, an application is submitted to the lender.

3. Approval

Next, the property will be appraised, and after that the approval process will begin. Before closing on the loan, borrowers will choose between several loan disbursement options, from taking it all out in a lump sum, receiving fixed monthly payments, opening a line of credit or any combination.

4. Funding

After the closing papers are signed, the homeowner has three business days to change their mind and cancel the loan (except if the loan is being used to purchase a new home). After the rescission period has passed, the funds are ready to be paid out through the payment option selected, subject to an initial disbursement limit that is determined by HUD.

5. Using your loan

The loan servicer will generally disburse funds via direct deposit or mail on the first business day of the month, following the funding of the loan. The borrower can live in the home as long as they like without making monthly mortgage payments, as long as they continue to pay property taxes and insurance on the home, maintain it in good condition and comply with any other loan terms.

6. Settling your loan

If the last surviving borrower sells or transfers the property, passes away, or does not use the property as a principal residence for more than 12 months, the loan has reached a “maturity event,” meaning that the loan comes due and no further funds can be disbursed. Borrowers also have the option of paying off their loan in full at any time without penalty.

Following a maturity event, an appraisal will be ordered by the loan servicer to determine the property’s current market value. The heirs can sell the property to repay the loan or purchase the property for 95 percent of its appraised value. Since HECMs are non-recourse loans, the proceeds from the sale of the home are the only asset that can be taken to pay the loan’s balance, even if the loan amount exceeds the value of the home.

A home equity conversion mortgage can be shaped to fit an individual’s needs. With new consumer safeguards in place, many seniors are discovering that it is an important part of their retirement strategies. As with all types of home loans, there is no “one size fits all”. Consider all of the facts and terms very carefully.

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How to Get Your Finances in Order

How to Get Your Finances in Order

4 Things You Can Do To Learn How To Get Your Finances in Order

Are you familiar with financial phrases like credit score, retirement savings, debt retirement, or account balances? If so, that’s great, you’re well on your way to learn how to get your finances in order.

If these phrases tend to cause a bit of anxiety, you’re not alone. About 75 % of the current millennial generation feel as you do, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education. This organization was founded in 1972 and is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) foundation with its primary purpose being to help Americans improve the quality of their lives by educating them with basic programs that teach one to make sound financial decisions.

Many millennials tend to shy away View full post…

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Save for Retirement First

Save for Retirement First

Do You Know What’s More Important – To Save for Retirement First or Your Child’s College?

This topic is a hot potato in many respects. Should the parent’s primary responsibility be to save for the child’s education first or to save for retirement? The answers to that question will vary depending upon who responds – the parent or the child.

As parents, we know all too well how high college costs are and the student loan problems that exist today. We all want our children to be successful and have many of the financial advantages that we didn’t have. Student loans now average $35,000 to $37,000 per college graduate, and no parent wants this burden for their child.

However, many financial advisers are of the opinion that a parent can take better care of the child if they take care of themselves first. By this, they mean that the parent should save for retirement first, then college. Following are some of the reasons View full post…

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Retirement Planning Mistakes

Retirement Planning Mistakes

Do You Make These Retirement Planning Mistakes?

Retirement planning is usually difficult for a variety of reasons. Some say its equivalent to rolling the dice because retirement may be decades away and you’re forced to make spending assumptions now.

What makes it worse is that if your guess is too far off, it can make a happy and comfortable retirement into one that is a nightmare.

Once you’re already in retirement, it can be very difficult to recover financially if some unforeseen large expense occurs. Some retirees try to find a job to supplement their income, but many others cannot. Either they’re not able physically, or the job market may be cold.

The following categories where un-planned spending generally occurs creates problems for some and blows their budget out the window. View full post…

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How to Get Rid of Debt Now

How to Get Rid of Debt Now

Do You Know How to Get Rid of Debt? – 10 Helpful Tips

Do you know anyone who is living a debt free life? Do you want to live without the stress of meeting loan obligations every month? Read on and see how to get rid of debt once and for all.

Debt-free individuals usually share the following ten similar characteristics that enables them to live below their means. There’s nothing here that is so highly technical that prevents anyone else from copying.

  1. Start paying attention to details – As an example, if you don’t review your monthly credit card statement closely, there may be charges on there that shouldn’t be. Debt free individuals monitor their personal finances very carefully.

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