Several individuals look forward to the day when they will no longer have to spend most of their waking hours at the office anymore. However, many of them don’t realize that their dreams of retirement could involve seemingly endless days of boredom because of no longer having a regular schedule.
If you’re still fit and healthy and want to keep your body and mind active after retiring from your 40 hour a week position, the ideas below can help you get started with alleviating the boredom and earning a little cash on the side at the same time.
Sell any Unique Skills you may have
If you’re naturally good at something such as playing a musical instrument, sewing or gardening, you could use this knowledge to your advantage and earn a little cash while doing so.
Giving sewing lessons or even performing basic clothing alterations is not something that everyone can do, and using your gardening expertise can involve teaching others how to grow food and other plants or you can even sell cuttings from existing plants.
These days, many parents are willing to pay excellent hourly rates for their children to enjoy private music lessons as well.
Drive for Uber or Lyft
These two companies are among the fastest growing in the world at the moment because they enable individuals to take advantage of ride sharing. As such, you can earn quite a decent chunk of cash by transporting passengers to various destinations in and around your city.
Not only will you be able to earn a little spending money while collecting and dropping passengers off; anyone who works for these companies can sometimes obtain excellent deals on different products and services like phone plans, vehicle maintenance, gas and even health insurance in some cases.
Consider Starting a Blog
Once you’ve retired, you’ll have an excellent opportunity to share your expertise and knowledge with other individuals, and the best way in which you can do this is to set up a blog.
If you were working in any form of customer service field, you could use your blog to share anecdotes or even provide information regarding how you used to deal with and resolve specific situations or problems. Money can be earned on your blog through the placement of relevant advertising once you’ve built up a decently sized reader base. If your blog attracts a number of readers, you may even be provided with opportunities to review some fantastic products over time.
Although the point of going on retirement is to spend some time doing the things you truly enjoy, the reality is that many retirees underestimate the amount of money they will need to live on as well as the number of hours in each day that will need to be filled.
While the above-mentioned ideas may not seem spectacular, they can provide you with a basic starting point regarding keeping yourself busy and happy during your golden years.Continue reading
Many individuals stress about being able to save enough money for retirement, which is understandable – especially as living costs continue to escalate at such alarming rates. Although the cost of many items will increase further over time, the good news is that there are a few expenses that could diminish or even disappear totally once you’re no longer putting in 40 hour weeks at the office.
Some Forms of Tax
While you’re receiving paychecks, you’re having just over 6% of your earnings deducted for Social Security and approximately 1.5% to support Medicare, which amounts to a chunk of almost 8%. Once your paychecks come to an end though, so will your contributions to these two sources. However, keep in mind that taxes will need to be paid on any Social Security benefit payments you receive.
The cost of driving or taking public transport to and from the office certainly adds up over time. Families where both parents have their own vehicles have to cover the cost of gas, maintenance, licensing and insurance for them. Research has revealed that it can cot as much as $10,000 per year to own a vehicle.
Once you’ve retired, chances are that you’ll be able to get by with just one vehicle, meaning that the costs mentioned above could be reduced substantially.
Most working families have extremely busy schedules, resulting in a number of meals being eaten at restaurants or fast food outlets because it’s easier than spending a lot of time preparing food at home. Average American families spend between $200 and $300 per month on fast food and restaurant meals per month.
When you no longer have to go to the office every day, you may find that you’ll enjoy taking your time to prepare tasty meals at home – which will save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.
Dressing the part when working in the corporate world is often quite costly, especially if formal attire is required. In addition, dry cleaning can also set you back a few hundred dollars per year. After retiring though, you’ll be able to dress more comfortably – and of course more affordably because you’ll no longer be compelled to purchase specific types of clothing.
Retirement Account Contributions
After stopping work, you won’t have to continue contributing to your retirement accounts any longer either. All the years of saving wherever possible will finally pay off and you’ll be able to truly enjoy your golden years.
While you’ll now be able to hold on to more of the money that’s now coming in, it’s crucial that you continue to budget accordingly. This will help ensure that you’re able to continue covering the cost of living without going short anywhere.
Although it’s stressful ensuring that you’re saving enough for retirement, it’s a comfort to know that some of your expenses will reduce or even disappear during this time of your life. If you would like to learn more about saving for retirement in the best way possible, contact us today.
Bad credit card habits not only cause chaos with your credit score; over time, they will result in you accumulating more debt than you can afford to comfortably repay. Your long-term financial plans can also be derailed completely, which is why it’s essential that you eliminate these bad habits right away.
Failing to Inspect Credit Card Statements
While it may seem like nothing short of the most boring chore on earth to check your credit card statements thoroughly, the truth is that perusing each line item on them can help prevent any fraudulent purchases from being added without your knowledge.
If you notice any charges that you haven’t made, you’ll need to notify your credit card provider immediately so that the necessary actions can be taken to reverse them. Another aspect you should always check is your credit limit – over time, your bank can change this without notifying you and this can result in some hefty fees being charged if you exceed your limit.
Only Paying Minimum Amounts
Credit card companies provide a convenient feature in that they only require you to repay a small amount of your outstanding balance each month. While this may seem handy, you will not ever be able to repay your card in full if only minimum require amounts are being applied. In addition, you’ll be paying hefty amounts of interest on the outstanding balance.
When the time comes to make repayments, always ensure that you pay as much as you possibly can against the outstanding balance. Over time, you’ll save thousands of dollars in interest.
Taking out a cash advance is most likely the costliest type of credit card transaction. Not only will you pay a higher interest rate on the amount you’ve withdrawn; the grace period for interest being charged with normal transactions is usually voided and an additional cash advance fee will normally be charged as well.
Purchasing Unnecessary items
This is another bad habit that should be stopped immediately because it results in you accumulating debt that you might not be able to repay at a later stage.
If there are items you want, but cannot afford to pay for in full, it’s best to save up instead of placing these purchases on a credit card. You will feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction in knowing that you own the item from the start instead of only truly owning it after repaying your credit card balance.
Making Late Payments
These days, it’s possible to schedule payments so that they are sent to your credit card provider on time each month – meaning that there is literally no excuse for making late payments anymore.
Late payments not only affect your credit score; over time, additional penalty fees and interest will be applied to your credit card as well. Again, this will result in you wasting money on unnecessary late payment fees.
Exercising good credit card habits such as never carrying a balance until such time as interest is charged and ensuring that repayments are always made on time will go a long way in helping to build an excellent credit score – while allowing you to keep more of your hard earned cash because of not paying interest.Continue reading
When saving to build your emergency fund, retirement account or even that vacation you’ve been dreaming about, you’ll have to be prepared to make a few lifestyle and financial adjustments along the way. Below are some products and services that you should never even consider spending your hard earned money on.
Brand New Cars, trucks or SUVs
As soon as a new vehicle is driven off the showroom floor, it loses as much as 30% of its value immediately. Instead of purchasing a brand new vehicle, consider searching for those that are between one and five years old. This will prevent you from losing a sizeable chunk of your hard earned cash, while still being able to obtain a vehicle in good condition.
Lending Money to Friends and Family
If you’re fortunate enough to have a little extra cash on hand from time to time, chances are that you’ve been approached by friends or family members with regards to lending them money. Although it may be tempting to provide them with financial assistance, you not only stand an extremely strong chance of never getting those funds back; you could find yourself going short in your own budget at a later stage.
Interest on Store and Credit Cards
Many working people consider it normal to be carrying permanent balances on store and credit cards. This results in you having less money to spend each month because of the installments that need to be paid on these cards, and over time, you will end up paying up to three times the original price of any items you purchased with these cards in the form of interest and finance charges. Rather save up for any large purchases, as this will save you thousands of dollars over time.
Paying Full Price for Anything
These days, a number of companies are willing to provide some form of discount on their products and services. However, these special offers may not always be known to the general public – which is why you should always ask whether any discounts or specials would be applicable when making a purchase. This strategy usually works best when purchasing items like appliances or even vacation packages. As the saying goes, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
Anything that Seems too Good to be True
Each year, thousands of hardworking individuals end up being scammed out of their money by conmen who promise to provide them with ‘double returns on their investments’ and other similar schemes. This can seem like a financial lifeline for anyone who is desperate to ensure that they have enough money saved to cover emergencies or other essential expenses.
As such, you should only ever work with registered and licensed financial advisors or brokers when looking to invest your money.
If you would like to learn more about how you can reduce your expenses or invest more money for future use, get in touch with our advisors today.Continue reading
The pandemic has resulted in millions of parents around the world scrambling to find ways of entertaining their children such as home schooling, baking, arts and crafts, and various other activities. However, with finances being extremely tight in many households because of parents not being able to work, this can also present an ideal opportunity for them to teach their kids more about the household budget and finances in general.
Below are some easy ways in which you can teach your children how to manage their money.
Help them Set Savings Goals
Helping your child to set a savings goal for that must-have toy or video game will teach them that nothing in life comes for free. You can allow them to earn money by doing additional chores that aren’t part of their daily routine if they need to earn extra cash to save up for the item they want. If you can afford it, offer to match the amount of money your child saves.
Once your child achieves their financial goal, it will help them see the benefit of saving a portion of any money they earn going forward. This will also help set them on the path to long-term financial security when they are adults.
Make Use of Money Apps for Kids
As more and more banking and other money-related services move over to digital platforms, children are being exposed to fewer physical checks and cash money. However, there are several fun and child friendly money management apps available that can help teach them about spending, saving, and investing wisely from a young age.
Don’t Underestimate your Child’s Understanding of Finances
Although your children may be too young to start investing money on their own at the moment, it doesn’t mean that they don’t understand anything about finances.
Children as young as three or four years of age can start being taught the basics of how to use and save some of their money. In many cases, you can open a Junior ISA for your children so that they can familiarize themselves with the ups and downs associated with investing money over time.
Let them Assist when Compiling your Budget
At present, money is extremely tight in millions of households across the country. This means that budgeting the little money you may have more important than ever.
Letting your children assist with compiling your household budget plan will allow them to see what items such as mortgage payments, utilities, and groceries really cost compared to the amount of income you currently have to work with.
Another great way to teach them about saving money is to encourage them to find ways to cut expenses around the house. You could even turn it into a contest to see which child comes up with the most ideas or even the most unusual money saving tips.
If you’re keen to teach your children more about financial matters and are unsure how to go about doing so, contact one of our professional advisors today.
Although several individuals reach the age where they’d like to retire, many of them simply cannot afford to do so and think it’s too late to try and remedy their financial situation. However, there are a few steps that can be taken in an effort to solve this dilemma.
Enlist the Help of a Reputable Financial Advisor
Trying to determine whether you’ll have enough money to retire with can quickly become overwhelming – to the point where many individuals simply give up and hope for the best. However, speaking with an accredited and reputable financial advisor should be your first course of action to take.
A financial advisor will take a look at your current savings strategies (if you have any) and then provide a plan of action that will involve you investing a predetermined amount of money each month into an appropriate retirement fund.
Consider Delaying your Retirement Date
Although you may have grown tired of taking part in the corporate rat race every day, you will have to ensure that your finances are in order before handing in your resignation.
Delaying retiring for a few years will not only allow you to continue putting money into your retirement accounts; waiting a few more years before claiming Social Security will mean that your checks will be larger as well. For each year that you delay obtaining Social Security payments, you’ll receive an additional 8% in benefit payments – up to age 70.
Evaluate your Current Lifestyle
Being able to afford to retire can sometimes mean that you’ll have to make a few changes to your current lifestyle so more money can be saved.
Take a look at your current budget to see where expenses can be reduced. For example, you might need to reduce the amount of money you’re currently spending on entertainment, meals out or even traveling. Now will also be the time to do everything you can to reduce or eliminate any debt you may have, such as credit cards and personal loans.
Reducing these expenses will enable you to invest more into your retirement accounts each month.
Consider Part-time Employment
If your only sources of retirement income will be Social Security and whatever you’ve managed to save until now, you’ll most likely have seen that a lot more money will be needed. However, this need not be the case if you’re willing to consider part-time employment after officially retiring. This will not only benefit you financially; it will help keep your body and mind active as well.
If you’re unfortunate enough to be behind on saving for retirement, it will mean that you’ll have to put in extra effort as soon as possible to try and catch up. Should you wish to discuss your retirement plans with a professional financial advisor, get in touch with us today. We look forward to helping you to better understand and manage your finances so that your retirement years can be something to look forward to.Continue reading
While some individuals are forced to take early retirement due to job losses, deteriorating health, or unexpected family responsibilities, others may choose to retire early so that they can spend more time engaging in activities that they enjoy such as traveling, volunteering, or spending time with friends and family. Regardless of why you may be considering retiring early, it’s essential to consider the following pros and cons before pulling the plug on your job.
Pros of Early Retirement
It can be Beneficial for your Health
When you no longer have to rush to work each day, you’ll be able to get the sleep you truly need, spend more time out in the fresh air and sunshine than before and generally enjoy a more relaxed pace of life.
You’ll have Time to Travel
Having more time on your hands will also mean that you’ll be able to travel more – no more limitations due to only having a few vacation days per year at your corporate job. The earlier you’re able to retire, the more time you’ll have to see as many places as possible before age-related health issues arise.
You Have the Chance to Embark on a New Career
If you’ve been considering changing careers, doing so sooner rather than later will allow you to stand more chance of being noticed by potential employers. You may even be considering starting your own business, and the earlier you can do this, the more chance you’ll have of making a success of it. Launching your own business at age 55 could provide you with intellectual stimulation for at least another 15 to 20 years.
Cons of Early Retirement
A Smaller Social Security Benefit
The earlier you take Social Security, the smaller your payments will be. For example, if you were born in 1960 or later and you start taking benefits at age 62 (the earliest age you’ll be eligible to do so), you will receive payments that are 30% lower than if you had to wait until age 67. For every year that you don’t take Social Security from age 67 to 70, your payments would be 8% higher each month.
Retirement Savings will have to Last Longer
If you retire at 50 or 55 and live to age 90, your IRAs and other retirement accounts will need to have sufficient balances in them to support you for 35 to 40 years. However, if you retire at 70 or 75, these funds will only have to last for between 15 and 20 years.
You’ll have to Foot the Bill for Health Insurance
In many cases, you’ll have to cover the cost of health insurance yourself until you become eligible for Medicare when you turn 65 – and premiums can be double or even triple of what you were paying while working.
Deciding when you should retire is not just a matter of making up your mind and handing your notice into your boss. If you would like to learn more about making the most of retirement, contact us today.
COVID-19 has left several families scrambling to try and make ends meet because of not being able to earn their regular incomes. If you have been unfortunate enough to not be able to work over the past few months, the tips below could help ensure that you stretch each dollar as far as possible.
Don’t be Tempted by Sales
After lockdown is lifted, several retailers will most likely have a glut of stock that they need to move from their inventories. This will result in there being a number of sales that advertise along the lines of, “Once in a lifetime opportunity,” or “final clearance.”
Regardless of how good a deal seems to be on an item, resist purchasing it unless you can afford to cover its cost in full. Chances are that similar items will be sold at reduced prices later in the year again.
Households that were able to plan ahead by having an emergency fund to cover at least one to two months of expenses will experience less financial stress during this time.
Although you might be thinking that it’s counterintuitive to start saving now, this is not the case. Starting with a small amount such as $10 to $15 per week or $50 per month may not feel like a lot of money, but the truth is that it will add up over time and come in handy if you’re suddenly unable to earn an income again.
Cut Expenses wherever Possible
Most individuals are familiar with the standard ways of reducing expenses such as not purchasing new clothing, cutting back spending on takeout’s and restaurant meals, and not taking vacations. However, during these unpredictable times, your cost cutting may sometimes have to become a little more drastic until such time as you’re earning wages again.
While subscriptions such as Netflix Spotify may provide entertainment, you may need to consider cutting them for a few months. Any gaming group or other club memberships you may have should also be canceled, as they are not genuine necessities.
Repair and Repurpose
At a time when you’re receiving little to no income, the saying, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” can be a budget lifesaver.
Refrain from purchasing items until what you have has already been used up as much as possible. Don’t purchase clothing or shoes unless an existing item has genuinely worn out or been outgrown. If a clothing item has a small rip or other minor damage, consider repairing it before tossing it in the trash – several YouTube videos are available that can teach you the basics of clothing repair.
Drastically cutting your expenses during this time could make all the difference with regards to being able to pay your rent or mortgage and put food on the table for your family. While you and your family may feel deprived during this time due to decreased spending, keep in mind that these difficult times will eventually pass.
COVID-19 has resulted in millions of families living under lockdown conditions in that they may only leave their homes to purchase groceries and medical supplies, or to seek medical attention in case of emergency. With so many businesses being forced to close during this time, several families are left without any form of income – resulting in soaring stress levels all round. Below are some tips that can help ensure that your mental health is not too badly affected.
Keep a Routine wherever Possible
For the first time in many years, more individuals than ever are working from home – or simply having to stay home because their employers have been forced to close during the pandemic. Parents have had to try and educate their children while also working from home, which has placed a tremendous amount of stress on many families.
Creating a routine, such as early morning exercise, mid morning homeschooling, lunchtime, afternoon chores and free time in the evenings will go a long way in helping to retain a sense of normalcy during these uncertain times.
Restrict Access to Social Media and News Sites
Two of the biggest sources of stress that can contribute to a decline of your mental health during lockdown are social media and news sites.
Experts recommend that you avoid social media channels that share speculative information, while also limiting your access to reputable news sites as much as possible. Try to set specific times of day for checking your social media accounts and news sites, as constant access can leave you feeling more overwhelmed than ever before.
Spend Some Time Outdoors
Several research studies have indicated that being able to spend time outdoors in nature provides a positive boost to mental as well as physical health.
Exposing your body to natural light will also increase serotonin and melatonin levels – both of which have positive effects on mental and physical health. Even going for a short walk around a few city blocks will help you feel better than if you stay cooped up indoors throughout the pandemic.
Consider De-cluttering your Home
Although you may be stuck at home indefinitely, this actually provides you and your family with an ideal opportunity to engage in a major de-cluttering and deep cleaning project.
Start by working on one room at a time and remove items that are no longer wanted or needed, and perform a deep clean on windows, walls and floors at the same time. Items that cannot be repaired should also be tossed at this time. After a week or two, you and your family will be able to enjoy spending time in a home that is not only clean, but properly organized as well.
Partaking in the above mentioned activities might not seem like the most exciting option while so many families are living under lockdown and not able to leave their homes, but they could help make the coping process a lot easier and less stressful for everyone concerned.Continue reading
Although retirement sounds like a dream come true for several individuals, the end of what has often been a lifelong career path is usually accompanied by a sudden decline in mental stimulation – which can result in the development of many different health issues. As such, it’s essential that you keep your mind and body as active as possible once you’ve stopped working and the tips below can help you achieve this.
Learn a New Hobby or Skill
Do you have interests that you simply didn’t have time for while you were working? If so, now may be the ideal time to pick up on them. Don’t be afraid to sign up for those ballroom dancing classes, art classes, or even sewing classes. Now could even be the right time to learn how to play a musical instrument.
Studies have revealed that seniors who actively engage in one or more creative activities on a regular basis were at a far lower risk of developing conditions such as Alzheimer’s as they aged.
Remain Physically Active
Regardless of whether you enjoy tacking challenging hiking trails, taking a slow bicycle ride through your neighborhood or playing in the yard with your grandchildren, you will be stimulating your body and mind simultaneously.
Engaging in physical activity on at least three days per week will help keep bones strong, reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure and/or heart disease and even lower cholesterol levels over time. If you haven’t been overly active until now, it’s recommended that you schedule a physical exam with your healthcare provider before rushing into any form of exercise.
Calm your Mind
Many individuals think that their stress will miraculously disappear once they’ve stopped working. However, daily family life and even financial concerns can negatively affect your mental clarity.
Some of the best ways to keep your mind clear and sharp are to become involved with yoga or meditation and to avoid unnecessary stressful situations wherever possible. It’s also a good idea to severely limit the amount of time you spend with people who are constantly exuding negativity.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Although no one is expected to live only on healthy foods day in and day out, you should do everything possible to ensure that the bulk of your food choices are as healthy as possible.
A balanced diet is one that should include a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, a selection of nuts, meat, fish and chicken (if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan) and a variety of healthy fats. In some cases, you may need to supplement your diet with fish oil capsules and a good multivitamin.
Retiring from the workforce certainly doesn’t mean that you’ll have to give up everything else as well. The more active you keep your mind and body after you have stopped working, the healthier you will be. Making your mental and physical health a priority during retirement will ensure that you’ll be able to feel fit and healthy for as long as possible.Continue reading