Friday, July 17, 2015

Plan For Your ‘Someday’ With These 3 Easy Ways To Save

Working hard, paying bills, and putting money aside for your needs and wants in the “now” are so often automatic in our day-to-day lives – so why aren’t we thinking about or planning for the future? According to the 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, nearly one-third of workers have almost no retirement savings or investments (< $1,000), and a staggering 57% are underprepared with less than $25,000 for retirement.

It’s clear that anyone not using the present to plan for retirement will likely be setting themselves up for a less than golden future. But it’s never too early or too late to save for retirement. Try one – or more! – of these three ways to take advantage of retirement savings opportunities right now to build yourself a more secure future:

1. Open Up a my Social Security Account

Social Security benefits play an important part of planning for retirement. Don’t forget about your my Social Security account! This free account can help you determine what your benefits will be and when will be best for you to start receiving them.

2. Save Early and Save Often, No Matter How Much You Earn
Starting retirement savings early is the best way to take advantage of compound interest and establish good savings habits. Take advantage of any workplace opportunities, like a 401(k) or 403(b), and never turn down “free money” that comes in the form of employer contributions or matches. Individual Retirement Accounts or IRAs are also a great way to save, with some tax benefits in the process. If you get paid by direct deposit from your employer, you may also be eligible to participate in the new myRA program. myRA is a simple, safe, and affordable retirement account created by the United States Department of the Treasury for the millions of Americans who face barriers to saving for retirement.

Need help finding ways to save? Turning off your phone or cable could save you $5 a month. Find a penny, pick it up; by saving $.50 in change a day, you will save $15 a month. For more ideas like these, visit America Saves online.

Starting early isn’t possible for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play catch-up. Calculate what you will need to save in order to live comfortably in retirement. Once you have turned 50, you can make “catch-up contributions” – an extra amount beyond the normal limits that you can contribute to tax-deferred retirement plans.

3. Take the America Saves Pledge

Those who make a commitment to themselves and their family to save usually save more than those who don’t. Make your commitment to retirement savings today and receive regular advice and support via email and/or texts while you save money. America Saves will provide you with the motivation and advice you need to reach your savings goal.

Tammy Greynolds works for America Saves, managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. Learn more at America Saves is proud to be part of the “Campaign for a Secure Retirement: Helping Millions of Americans Plan and Save for Retirement” joint, national educational retirement campaign to encourage retirement planning and saving and to promote the online Social Security Statement, available through mySocial Security, as an important retirement planning tool.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What to Tell the Children

Often, one of the hardest decisions people make in the estate planning process is how much (and when) to tell their children or other heirs about their plans.  Many people are very hesitant to reveal the details of their family's expected inheritances.  Many parents say they fear that if their children find out they can expect a substantial legacy in the future, they'll be less likely to work hard and save in the present.

 Another worry is that revealing an estate plan could lead to family squabbling and resentment.  This is especially true if you plan to leave unequal inheritances to family members.  Many families will simply avoid talking about the subject in order to keep peace.  If there's a blended family with children from a prior marriage, things can get even more complicated.

 But while it can be difficult, there are also some very good reasons for having a detailed talk with your family about your estate plan.  For one thing, if there's a chance of family squabbling and bitterness, it can be better to tell everyone what to expect now, while you are still alive and have a chance to explain your motives and smooth things over.  You could explain, for instance, why you're leaving more assets to a child with a large family than to a child who is single, or why you're leaving money to a charity that has always been important to you.  
Another thing to consider is that, if someone dies suddenly, the family is often left very confused about finances.  They don't know what assets there are, or where they're located, and searching for them can be extra stressful when the family is already suffering the grief of losing a loved one.  If you discuss your assets and your plan now, so that everyone knows what to expect, it can make things much easier after you pass away.
Many parents who talk about their plans with their children are surprised to discover that their children sometimes have good ideas.  If a family owns a vacation home, for instance, the parents might have one thought about what to do with it, but the children might come up with a plan that better protects the home and better suits their future needs.
Talking with your children also allows you to coordinate your estate plan with your children's own estate plans.  You might discover, for instance, that the whole family can save taxes if you give more assets directly to your grandchildren, or create trusts for your children instead of leaving assets to them outright.  

 If you are concerned about these issues, it's a good idea to discuss them with your attorney.

Thanks to Joan Medeiros,  for sharing this information.Compassionate Service. Tailored Solutions.