Opening your own IRA is a great idea, but do your research first.
Make a few appointments to interview banks and investment companies. What are their fees? What types of investments do they offer? There are many options to choose from.
If your company doesn’t have a retirement plan, then you should start an IRA or a ROTH IRA.
Talk with your investment person or tax preparer to determine what is best for you. Discuss the income limits and the maximum contribution amounts you can contribute based on your age. Have this discussion today.
I can hear you saying… “I don’t have enough money to live today, so how can I think about saving for retirement?” Yes, that might be true, but look at it another way… you will get older and you will want to retire some day. If you don’t start now you’ll have to work the rest of your life.
If you work for a company that offers a 401K or 403B, take advantage of it. If your company offers you matching funds and you haven’t taken advantage of it, then you are turning down FREE money. As an added benefit, the money you contribute is tax free today, and any growth in your account is not taxed until you withdraw it.
Talk to your company benefits person and start an account as soon as possible. If you need to wait for open enrollment, mark that date in your calendar.
If you already have a retirement savings with your company, increase the amount you contribute so you’ll have more later when you really need it.
Emergency savings are for when your car breaks down. It’s for an unexpected medical expenses. It’s for covering your bills if you’re between jobs. It’s for unexpected home repairs. An emergency is something that must be taken care of right now or you won’t be able to get to work, have a place to live, or when you might have to choose between medical bills and utilities.
What it’s not: a savings account for things you think you need. No matter how much you think need to book a cruise, a nice vacation is a want. You will survive if you vacation at home with trips to the local beach. You will also survive without a smart phone, or cable TV, or a Kindle. You get the idea.
Once you have an emergency savings equal to one year of your expenses (yes, I said one year), then you can start saving for the fun things you want in life. Today, plan on how you are going to start saving for emergencies. Set up a regular savings amount from your pay that automatically goes to this account.
Whatever your goals are, you have to learn to live within your means. That means that you cannot spend more than you earn. For every dollar you bring in, you need to spend less than a dollar so that the remaining amount can be saved.
Go back to the numbers you did earlier this month. Are you including money for savings? If not, you need to figure a way to do that. In a perfect world, you need to have savings for emergencies, savings for retirement and savings for wants. Today, think about how you will get that money to save.
It’s Day 20 of Financial Literacy Month – time to make a list of things you really want. Maybe it’s money to pay for your children’s college? Maybe it’s more money to save for retirement? Maybe it’s enough money to be able to live monthly and not worry about how to pay your bills? Whatever you want, today is the day to make a list and meditate on your goals.
Do you ever want to spend time with friends, but don’t want to spend lots of money on a restaurant? I know that I really want to spend time with people. Consider a potluck dinner.
You can select the house (yours or theirs) and then everyone brings something. To kick it up a notch, try having a menu based on a certain cuisine. I and some friends got together at a friend’s home and the theme was Chinese food. The hostess made moo shoo pork and the rest of us brought the sides.
I know people who get together on a regular basis for dinner clubs, wine tastings, movie nights and more. What appeals to you? Think about which of your friends would find it fun to have an inexpensive dinner party. Make a plan with your friends.
I was brought up with a family that had a backyard garden. Especially now when I am making a great effort to eat more fresh and locally grown food, the garden makes sense. The garden my grandparents had when I was growing up took most of the backyard. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for me. I have to keep mine small so that it’s something that I can manage and is not too overwhelming for me. I start around March with seeds inside (although in some years I buy plants in another month).
You can do this too. You can have a garden in your backyard or a container on your deck – whatever works for your situation. You can grow whatever appeals to you, from herbs to tomatoes. There is nothing better than going out and picking what you want to eat when you are ready to eat it.
You are probably thinking, “What does this have to do with saving money?” Lots! The more you grow the less money you spend at the grocery store.
Lettuce is a very easy vegetable to grow. Put seeds in the soil and within two weeks you have lettuce for your salads. No more buying lettuce at the grocery store, or wanting a salad only to find out that the lettuce in your fridge is bad. You pick the lettuce leaves as you need them.
Think about what you would like to grow today.
Do you shop on the web? Do always go to the same website without comparing the price elsewhere?
You might want to think about price shopping for the lowest price. I know that this can take up your precious time. The website www.Billeo.com offers a way to search, and even notify you, of discount coupons.
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