Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Is There a Secret Formula for Financial Wellness?

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

There are many prescriptions to get to financial health. Here are four proven strategies to help you get there:

 Setting and sticking to a budget

In 2017, 78% of Americans said they were living paycheck to paycheck, up from 75% three years earlier.1 Part of the reason may be that only 41% of us use a budget,2 even though it’s one of the best ways to keep track of where our money goes.

Fortunately, it’s a pretty easy problem to fix. Try writing down what you spend every day for six months. At the end of six months, add up what you have spent in major categories (living expenses, transportation, dining out, and so forth), and see if what you’re spending money on brings you joy. If it doesn’t, time to create a budget! Budgeting is the process of taking control of your money, rather than trying to figure out where it went. Budgeting looks forward, not backward.

Saving for emergencies

Just 39% of U.S. households have the savings for an unexpected

$1,000 outlay,3 such as making out-of-the-blue house or car repairs. Many experts think you should have three to six months of living expenses stashed away. Saving up doesn’t need to be hard. Simply put $40 or $50 a month into an account, and let it build — it will help you feel more secure financially.

Paying down debt

The average household has $134,058 in debt, including credit cards, mortgages, and auto and school loans.4 We suggest attacking two kinds of debt first:

  • High-interest-rate credit cards: Every dollar you spend paying down a credit card that charges 19% per year is like getting a 19% return on that money.
  • Small credit-card balances: Maybe you signed up for a store credit card and used it once or twice. Carrying a small balance may not seem like a big deal, but retiring this type of debt can give you an emotional boost.

Planning for retirement

The median working age couple has only $5,000 saved for retirement, according to a Federal Reserve study.5 Unfortunately, most people don’t start saving until it’s too late. There’s even a big cost if you delay savings just one year. Look at how much money a 26-year-old gives up by delaying the start of contributions by just 12 months:

Your Starting Age Your Contributions by Age 65 Your Account Value at Age 65 The Cost of Waiting One Year
25 $48,000 $324,180  
26 $46,800 $299,008 $25,172

This is a hypothetical illustration intended to show how a one-year delay in investing might affect savings. It is not intended to depict the performance of any particular investment. Assumes monthly contributions of $100, an annual 8% hypothetical rate of return in a tax- deferred account, retirement at age 65, and no withdrawals. Savings totals do not reflect any fees/expenses or taxes. The accumulations shown would be reduced if fees and taxes had been deducted.

You may be able to achieve financial health simply by following these four guidelines.

1 Source: http://careerbuilder.com. National survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from May 24 to June 16, 2018.

2 Source: U.S. Bank, CNN.com, October 24, 2016. https://money.cnn.com/2016/10/24/pf/financial-mistake-budget/index.html

3 Source: https://www.bankrate.com/banking/savings/financial-security-0118/

4 Source: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/average-credit-card-debt-household/.  Balances as of June 2018.

5 Source: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-typical-american-couple-has-only-5000-saved-for-retirement-2016-04-28

 

Expenses You Must Include In Your Retirement Budget

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Man in home office on telephone using computer smiling

How accurately can we estimate and budget for our retirement future? While individual lifestyle will dictate your expenses, a report published by U.S. News & World Report lists the expenses that are shared by all retirees and must be budgeted for.

  • Health care costs will be one of the biggest expenses you must deal with in retirement. A 65 year-old couple retiring in 2013 will need $220,000 to cover health care costs during retirement, according to calculations by Fidelity. This figure is based on average life expectancy. The cost of long-term care services depends on whether you receive it at home, in adult day care, at an assisted living facility or in a traditional nursing home. The average cost of a private nursing home is about $90,000 per year, assisted living facilities average $3477 per month and hourly home care rates average $46 for a Medicare-certified home health aid, according to MetLife.

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