I live in a neighborhood with a lot of old trees. We have trees on our property that are at least thirty feet tall, and there are others throughout the neighborhood that are even taller than that.
These trees have been here for a while, well before the neighborhood was built in the 1990’s.
As I looked through the trees the other day, thinking about raking once all the leaves started falling, it occurred to me that people simply don’t plant trees that large. It just doesn’t happen. If I want a tree in my backyard, I’m going to get one that’s anywhere from a few feet tall to maybe ten or fifteen feet at the most.
A fully mature tree with roots that stretch far into the ground that’s been around for many a decade? One of those isn’t making it’s way into my yard, and probably yours, anytime soon.
How is your retirement looking? Could you add more to the pot?
I’m a firm believer that you can never have too much stashed. For this reason, I also feel it’s important to plan for multiple income sources in retirement. Of course, everyone has their own ideas of what is a good amount of income. But one thing’s for sure: once you are retired, you can’t go back in time and undo mistakes.
Right now, the goal should be securing your golden years. How can you achieve this?
1. Build your liquid savings. Although a regular savings account doesn’t earn much interest, this type of account should be included in retirement planning. Having liquid funds on hand can be a godsend if you deal with emergencies, such as car and home repairs or medical expenses. Most retirees live on a fixed income and without a liquid savings account, meeting certain expenses can be challenging.
Currently, I contribute all of my retirement contributions via my employer’s 401(k) plan. I don’t quite max it out yet, though I’m working toward that goal. However, I’m giving serious consideration to ceasing contributions, and instead contributing to my Roth IRA instead. Here are a few considerations:
Right now, my employer doesn’t match anything, so there’s no discernable benefit to contributing even a penny to that plan as far as that goes. They did a nice match for awhile, but cut it at the height of the recession, and all signs point to a continuation of the ‘no match’ policy.
Living on a fixed income is not always easy. Unfortunately, retirees often encounter unexpected situations that they do not have enough money in their savings account to cover. It might be something simple like an appliance breaking, or it could be a medical emergency. While older people tend to have good credit scores, they also have a limited monthly income, which may worry lenders. If you need to apply for a personal loan, here are some tips to increase your chances of being approved.
Figure Out What You Can Afford
If you do not already have one, create a budget that shows your income and your expenses. For one thing, it will help you figure out how much of a loan payment you can afford. Secondly, it will also give you something to present to the lender that shows that you will be able to repay the loan. Even if you find out you can afford to borrow more money than you thought, only borrow as much as you need. Do not go any further into debt than you have to.
By now, most people have probably received their first paycheck of the year and have seen the effect of the expiration of the payroll tax holiday. As part of the economic stimulus packages during the throes of the Great Recession, the powers that be decided that giving a temporary break would help the economy. Most Americans contribute 6.2% of their paycheck toward the Social Security Fund, and this was cut to 4.2% throughout 2011.
For someone making $52,000 per year, this resulted in additional take home pay of roughly $1,000 per year, with the hope being that Americans would spend that money, injecting spending into the economy. Spending which, at that point, had been dramatically slowed.
At the end of 2011, the payroll tax holiday was extended for an additional 12 months, so Americans now had two years of extra spending money.
This is good and bad.
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There is nothing more important than planning for retirement. Whether you are in your 20s or in your 40s, it is always the right time to start thinking about how you will support yourself in the retirement years. It is essential for you to think about the way in which you will distribute funds in a Roth IRA or 401(k) account. As you devise your portfolio strategy, here are some tips to consider.
1. If you’re young, choose high-growth stocks.
If you are young, then you have time on your side. Think about choosing some stocks that are considered a riskier investment. This does not mean that you should not look into the actual value of the company as well as its debt-ratio. You should still make sure that you are investing in companies that have high value. Just know that you can afford to invest in pharmaceutical, “green” or tech companies. These types of companies are set for high growth in the upcoming decades.
Curt Schilling was one of my favorite baseball players in the 2000’s. Whether you love or hate the Red Sox, anybody who follows baseball surely remembers the Red Sox ending their 900 year title drought partly because Curt Schilling wanted it so bad that he pitched throughout the playoffs with a tendon so bad that his foot bled and turned his sock blood red. Regardless of the pain and the blood, his performance helped the Red Sox win the 2004 World Series.
He was a dominant force before and after that and the ‘Bloody Sock’ is one of the icons that shows his talent and his heart of a champion.
Unfortunately, that didn’t carry through for very long in his post-baseball career.
Planning for retirement involves asking – and answering – a number of important questions. When are you going to retire? How are you going to save money for your post-career life? What investment vehicles (IRAs, 401Ks, money markets) will you use to insure the optimal amount of savings? Certainly, there are plenty of questions to ask and factors to consider whenever retirement comes to mind.
But while you’re busy answering the whens, hows, and whats of retirement planning, make sure not to forget an important but oft-overlooked question: the “where.” Specifically, where do you envision retiring when the time comes? You don’t need to have concrete and detailed plans, but it’s important to have a good conception of your retirement location when planning savings and spending during your work life.
When I started my first job out of college, it didn’t pay a lot of money. I kept expenses low by splitting an apartment, driving my five year old car, and generally living the cheap, bachelor lifestyle. As such, I was still able to contribute a few bucks to my 401(k) plan.
When I say ‘a few bucks’, I literally mean a few bucks.
Not only was retirement the last thing on my mind, but I wasn’t making enough to really be able to contribute a great deal. The little bit I did contribute grew to a couple of hundred dollars.
I stayed at that first job for almost two years, at which point I realized it was time to start making more money. So, I took a job that offered an almost 50% increase.
After a few months, I got a check in the mail from my old employer. I guess I had received a letter or two telling me that I could roll my 401(k) over into my new employers plan or an IRA, but I didn’t do anything about it, so they sent me a check.