Future Value of Money:

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Your are 25 years old, you save $100 a month until you are 65. Assume an average return of 6% You save a total of $48,000 over 40 years and it is worth $199,150. Make that $300 a month and you save a total of $144,000 that will then be worth $597,450.

Wait until you are 45 to start saving. $100 a month for 20 years: you save $24,000 that is worth a whopping $46,204.. $300 a month would be worth $138,612,

At 45, if you wanted to get that same $600,000 amount by the age of 65, you would need to save $1,300 a month for 20 years.

$300 a month at 25 or $1,300 a month at 45…..which sounds more doable?

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Steer clear of these 5 retirement plan mistakes

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Do you have a retirement plan? If so, try not to get tripped up with these five unfortunate mistakes.

Participating in a 401(k) or similar retirement plan is a tax-advantaged way to save for retirement. If you have the option of participating in a 401(k) plan, avoid these five common mistakes:

• Not taking full advantage. Too many employees opt out of the plan or don’t contribute as much as they can afford. At a minimum, try to set aside enough to receive the full employer-matching contribution.

• Investing too much in company stock. Try not to put all your eggs into one basket when it comes to company stock. Even if the company is doing well now, things can change. If you lose your job, you don’t want to lose your retirement savings, too.

If your employer uses company stock for the matching contribution, you may have no choice. But at least you can select other investments for your own contributions.

• Borrowing from your plan. Take a loan from the plan only as a last resort. Remember, these savings are for your retirement, not to fund everyday needs. When you borrow from the plan, you’re losing the tax-deferred growth on those funds.

• Withdrawing your savings if you change jobs. It’s tempting to cash out your savings if you change jobs. But if you do, you’ll owe taxes and probably a penalty. More importantly, you’ll lose the future tax-favored growth that you might need in retirement. Instead, talk to your financial advisor about a rollover into an IRA or your new employer’s plan.

If you do not do this for yourself, retirement may not be all that appealing to you once you get close to that age and see what you will have to live on. The younger you start the better….BY FAR, but the key is just to start!!! You have to find a way to do this if you want to afford retirement. If you can live on $25,000 – $35,000 a year that Social Security might pay you, great, most of my clients can’t.

Business Coaching…it IS worth it!!

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We have been busy this summer with Business Coaching engagements and I realize every year how much I love to provide this service to clients. It is so powerful a process and it is fun to see the light bulbs come on, use our creative side to find solutions and see our clients realize that so much more is possible with clarity, focus, strategic thinking, priorities and action items. Here is a great article on the benefits of business coaching. Every business should go through this process once every 3 years or so and see their success skyrocket.

10 Reasons to Hire a Business Coach from inc.com

3 important ages that matter for retirement planning

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There are a few special ages that may play important roles in your retirement planning. Here’s a reminder of those ages and why they matter:

1. Age 50: At this age, you can make extra “catch-up” contributions to your IRA and 401(k) savings. For 2018, these are $1,000 and $6,000, respectively.

2. Age 59½: Once you’ve reached 59½, you’re eligible to make penalty-free withdrawals from your IRAs.

3. Age 70½: After you reach 70½, you’re required to take minimum distributions from your traditional IRAs annually.

Need more details or help with rules regarding your retirement planning? Contact our office.

Don’t fall for tech support scams

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Identity thieves use all different types of tactics to gain access to your personal and financial information — including posing as tech support companies. They often do this by using popup messages alerting people browsing online that their computers have viruses but can be “fixed” by contacting a (fake) security company.

If you ever see a popup message about a free security computer scan, ignore it. Do not call the number listed for the scammer security company. If you’re concerned about your computer security, find out what current security program you’re using on your computer and call that company.

College and credit cards: A good mix?

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Your child is off to college in the fall. Should they pack a credit card along with the boxes and bags?

If you’ve gone back and forth about whether or not it’s a good idea to send your child to college with a credit card, you aren’t alone. Opinions are divided, both among parents and financial advisors. The outcome depends on the kids and the parents.

On one hand, there’s a potential that everyone will benefit. If your child uses the card for budgeted expenses and then pays off the balance each month, they’ll start to build good credit history. You’ll sleep better knowing your child has a credit source in case of emergencies.

On the other hand, if your child isn’t used to managing money or living within a budget, they might fail to make payments on time and end up with bad credit history. Worse, you may have to step in to bail your kid out.

Here are some tips to help minimize the risk of your child’s credit card experience going south:

• Set ground rules. Agree on what the credit card may and may not be used for while at college. Put the agreement in writing and have your child sign off.

• Establish a budget. Talk regularly about how your kid is managing their expenses within the budget.

• Consider alternatives to a credit card, at least for freshman year. Consider using a prepaid credit card, or set up a checking account with a debit card. This may allow your child to gain experience managing expenses within a budget.

Finally, remember you may have no say in the matter. Students are bombarded with credit card offers as soon as they enroll. Credit card companies are usually happy to issue a card to any student over age 18 in his or her own name.

It is a shame that they do not teach life skills in High School like reconciling a checking account, managing your credit score, smart saving and even smarter spending, living on a budget, etc. But remember…..you are the parent, you are their first resource for these skills. Work with your student to get them on the road to smart financial living. Credit Cards ARE NOT cash, they are not for buying what you cannot afford. In my daughter’s case, she knows that the credit card is for school books and supplies and emergencies. She always calls me first if she needs/wants to put something on the credit card that is not usually allowed.

Help you kids build better futures by teaching them how to handle money and debt.

Keep important documents safe

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With hurricane season in full swing, it’s important to remember that natural disasters can be bad news for important photos, papers and other hard-copy documents caught in their paths.

Fortunately, you can safeguard your records with a document backup plan. Backup records should be stored away from the original set. You can do this by scanning original records and storing them in the cloud or on storage devices. You should also consider taking photos of your home’s contents (especially high-value items) to use for insurance or casualty loss claims in federally declared natural disaster areas.
Use cloud storage or a safe deposit box.  Records, photos, documents do you no good if they are kept where they can be destroyted.