Finance is Fun

So Many Retirement Plans. What do all the Letters and Numbers Mean?

Updated 3 months ago

Pre-tax contributions – Most retirement plans are funded with what are termed ‘pre-tax contribution.’ Taxes are NOT removed from that contribution now but will be owed later, when the money is removed from the tax-deferred protection of the particular account. So if you are twenty years old and begin to save, the money contributed to the account is pre-tax, and if you didn’t begin removing it until age seventy for example, the money grows protected from tax, or tax are deferred, until you remove any or all of it. Each amount withdrawn prompt the taxes due.

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Finance is Fun June 17, 2014

Updated 5 months ago

Based on news reports about large-scale security breaches one might think that identity theft happens to everyone and we are doomed to have it happen to us. In fact according to a news article, identity theft affects only about three percent (3%) of the population.

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Is 80 the New 65?

Updated 5 months ago

We often hear people say things like, 50 is the new 40. But does that impact retirement planning? Let’s see!

Have you saved enough? – Surveys show that the majority of those near traditional retirement ages are not very close to their retirement savings goals. For whatever reasons, be they repeated job losses, or unwise spending or not having a great budget, but in some studies up to forty percent of respondents have so little saved they say they will need to ‘work until they drop.’

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Finance is Fun: Ideas for Your Tax Refund

Updated 7 months ago

For this week’s Finance is Fun, Marion Syverson was in to talk about ideas for your tax refund.

Here are Marion’s suggestions for what you can do with your refund.

Why are you getting a refund – If you regularly get a tax refund you are lending money at zero interest to the U.S. government. Do you think bureaucrats are the best at managing your tax dollars?  You might consider adjusting your withholding to give yourself more money each paycheck. It’s like a raise.  You can use the money better than the IRS.
                                                                                                                  
Your budget – you have a budget, right? If not, now would be an ideal time to set one up. In doing that you can see the areas in which some of this money might be best used. We have some ideas.
 
Pay down/ off debt – If you are paying 9, 18 or even 29% on credit card debt, paying that down or completely off would be a great use of your money as it saves interest costs that really add up.
 
Emergency fund – perhaps you need to replenish or begin an emergency fund. You know, no amount of savings can save you from possible trouble or alleviate every situation. But if you have an emergency savings account, you will have something to help in the event things break on the car, someone an unexpected item, or things break around the house. Even a small amount is better than no amount.
 
Retirement – Do you need to boost your retirement savings and are you eligible for adding to your retirement account? Now is a great time to add a bit more to that pot,  so that in retirement, and with the compounding that years may bring to your investment (past performance is not indicative of future results)it will hopefully be a brighter time when you finish working.
 
Vacation – what about pre-paying a fun vacation for the family? Even if it’s one night away camping, having something great to look forward to will boost your spirits. And to have the expenses covered will make you sleep well.
 
Home- Are there updates or changes that can be done for less than $1,000? Sure there are! A fresh coat of paint, new bathroom fixtures, replacing a window or two, to more energy efficient windows, even a new kitchen backsplash are all great ideas that I found online with a simple query. I’m sure you can come up with many more great ideas.
 
Give – Certain times of year make us more aware of practicing charity. Some of us practice all year long. But if you have enough for yourself and your family, why not add some to the coffers of the many charitable organizations in your area, from the food pantry, to the library, to the charities for illnesses and the needs of kids. That is the kind of spending that helps others and warms your heart  for a very long time.
 
You thought it was just a little extra money. But these tips  can help upgrade your life all year.

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Know Your Risk

Updated 7 months ago

Because of the myriad of investment options, instruments and information, understanding yourself, knowing your risk tolerance creates a starting point to many of your investment decisions.

What is risk profile? – Your risk profile is a measure of one portion of determining investment suitability. Do you feel comfortable with small company investments in Emerging Markets? Do you prefer large firms based in the U.S.? Do you like money in gold or CD’s at the bank? How do you feel about stock market fluctuations and volatility? Do you feel comfortable with the level of risk that you may need to take to meet your goals? Risk profile analysis helps identify your comfort level in investing.

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Let’s Talk About Debt

Updated 7 months ago

I’ve had a few folks in my office recently discussing their budgets and one of the common problems is debt, being overwhelmed about it, not knowing how to tackle it. Here are some tips if you are facing a similar thing.

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Meet The Centsables

Updated 7 months ago

Like many of us, I wish I had learned this or that when I was a kid. And often our sentiment is, ‘I wish I had learned more about money.’

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Tax Calculators

Updated 8 months ago

You can’t know for sure what your federal taxes will be or if you are entitled to a refund, without actually filing your taxes. But if you are looking for a estimate here are a few calculators that may help.

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Starting a Business: Part 2

Updated 8 months ago

Last week we discussed that there are 99.7 percent of businesses in the US are small business and they account for 64 percent of the new jobs in our country.

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So what do you need to know to start YOUR business?

Updated 8 months ago

We’ve got tips.

Many of my clients and friends are business owners and I have a cozy place in my heart for those willing to take the risk and go forward with their vision to change their futures by stepping out in business. In fact, according to the Small Business Administration, 99.7 percent of US firms are small ones and they are responsible for 64 percent of all hiring. In times of changing employment markets, many folks begin their own business and make their dreams a reality.

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Back to Basics- What is compounding?

Updated 8 months ago

Sometimes we use terms that must seem like lingo, unknown terminology, to folks who may not understand what is meant. We want everyone to feel included in this conversation so we will have back-to-basic sessions once in a while to explain concepts.

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Love and Money- Do They Mix?

Updated 9 months ago

 

Valentine’s day is coming. It’s a day to let people you love know how special they are to you. Don’t mix love with money. But you don’t need to use buckets of cash to demonstrate your affection.

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Back to the Basics: Mutual Funds

Updated 9 months ago

Several times a year I try to do a segment on terms that are used in investing. Even if you’ve invested for years, if no one has explained these terms, you might not know them. So today’s term mutual fund and key points to remember.

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Finance is Fun: Practicing Charity

Updated 11 months ago

In this Finance is Fun, Marion Syversen joined Caitlin Burchill on TV5 News at Noon to talk about practicing charity.

 

Why – Why practice charity? Why give? From compassion. Imagining the difficulty that others feel and wanting to alleviate their suffering if only temporarily. At times of festivities, family gatherings, abundance and sharing we look at the meagerness of another’s cupboard. Why practice compassion? Because at this time of religious celebration we remember that true love sacrifices for others.

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Ways to be Happy

Updated 12 months ago

We’re coming up on Thanksgiving, a time for gratitude. Some of us are not happy. We think that ‘if only’ we had this or that, we could really enjoy life. Studies indicate that though your natural happiness ‘set point’ has genetic components, happiness is also a choice. Here are seven happy tips.

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Retirement and your 401K

Updated 12 months ago

Review your mix – Have you looked at your investments at all since you initially chose them? I know you may feel confused about the holdings, but there will be fund information available that may tell you the mix of stocks and bonds in the account, if the fund is international or domestic, etc. use that and your risk and goals to help plan.

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Millionaire Study

Updated 12 months ago

 

I love studies because I love seeing the numbers of how people behave. Here’s a study that compares Generation X/Y (average age 37, hereafter termed Gen x’ers) with Baby Boomers (average age 65, hereafter termed Boomers) and how they live with their money.

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It’s all about Retirement

Updated 1 year ago

 

As part of my personal philosophy, I begin with the end in mind. Meaning, where am I hoping to be when things are over? What can I do to work towards that dream? What things work against me that I should try to avoid?

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“Where Did All My Money Go?”

Updated 1 year ago

I recently had a chat with the daughter of a friend who just got a raise. But she cannot figure why she is now making double what she made two years ago and still has no money. Let’s talk about this very common dilemma, with a little help from a recent article.
Lifestyle creep – Things that you previously considered luxuries are not weekly necessities. Massages, spa treatments, work-out sessions with a trainer, upgrades on basic services can’t all be purchased on that little raise, bud. Going without is not my dream for you, but you likely can’t afford ALL this.
Too many dinners – According to an article, Americans ages 18-29 spent $173 PER WEEK on food and they eat out more than other age groups. If the purpose is social, I get it, but you can do this cheaper. About 15% of your income should be spent on food.
Monthly auto-pay – It was great idea to put bills on auto-pay until you failed to use those services. Time passes and your needs and interests change. Four years ago this monthly service seemed invaluable. Check your bank info or credit card statement and see what you are paying for every month. You may not use several of the services and might be able to save some real money.
You’re a generous pal- I know how happy it makes you to see your friends have fun and so maybe you are ‘lending’ money with more frequency than you realize. Start noticing how often you are paying $20 here and more there and come up with a way to change this. You don’t have to be confrontational. But you work hard for your money, so hard for it honey. So maybe you should start saving for your emergency fund instead of helping that friend so often it is almost expected.
Citation:
Glamour October 2013

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Finance is Fun and 401K

Updated 1 year ago

According to a recently published study, for 61% of workers surveyed said their 401(k) is their only savings for retirement and will be an important source of income along with Social Security. More than half have increased their contributions in the past couple of years and believe their investments have recovered since the crisis, and most realize the importance of a 401(k).

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