Want to retire early? Start planning now.

The average American retires at about age 63, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. If you enjoy your work, of course, you may want to go well beyond that age. But what if you don’t want to wait until 63 or so? Can you afford to retire early?
Possibly – if you follow these suggestions:

Use “open enrollment” to help improve your financial outlook

It’s Open Enrollment Season, so if you work for a medium- or large-sized company, you will need to make some choices regarding your employee benefits — and these choices can have a big impact on your financial situation.
Depending on your employer, your benefits package may include various types of insurance, plus access to a 401(k) or similar retirement plan. Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of these benefits:

Make the most of gifts to grandchildren

Did you know that National Grandparents Day is less than a week away? While this “Day” is not as widely known as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, it is nonetheless important, as it recognizes the key role that grandparents play. If you are a grandparent yourself, you might expect some cards or phone calls or emails from your own grandchildren – but you will probably experience even greater enjoyment in the gifts you can give them. If you’re thinking of making a financial gift, consider your options carefully.

Investors can learn much from workers

Next week, we observe Labor Day, a celebration of the American worker. And there’s a lot to celebrate, because our workers have accomplished great things and, in the process, demonstrated a variety of impressive character traits – many of which also can be useful to investors.
For example:

Consider All Aspects of College Savings Options

It’s almost back-to-school time. If you have young children going to public schools, your biggest expenditures may be on pens, pencils and notebooks. But if you want those same kids to go to college someday, you’ll eventually face considerably larger costs – so you may want to start preparing soon.
College is costly. For the 2015-16 school year, the average expense (including tuition, fees room and board) was nearly $20,000 at a public, four-year school, and more than twice that amount at a four-year private school, according to the College Board. Of course, cheaper alternatives are available – your children could go to a local community college for two years at a very reasonable cost, and then transfer to a four-year school.

What can investors learn from roller coaster rides?

If you have an interest in looking up obscure holidays and celebrations, you will find that August 16th is National Roller Coaster Day. As you know, a roller coaster is used as a metaphor for many areas of life – including the financial markets. As an investor, what can you learn from this thrill ride?
Here are a few suggestions:

Investing: a marathon, not a sprint

by Edward Jones Matthew North Financial Advisor Next week, the 2016 Summer Olympics begin in Rio de Janeiro. One of the most compelling events is the marathon, a 26.2-mile endurance contest with roots dating back to ancient Greece. It may be that we’ve kept our interest in the marathon because it can teach us much […]

Small-business owners must protect their futures

If you’re a small-business owner, you think a lot about today. Is your cash flow sufficient … today? Are your products and services competitive … today? Are you confident in your marketing and advertising efforts … today? And because you are so focused on today, you may be neglecting a key aspect of tomorrow – your retirement. Specifically, do you have a good retirement plan for yourself?

How Can You Declare Your Financial Independence?

Next week, we observe the 4th of July with sparklers, picnics and parades. And living in a country that offers so much freedom, we have a lot to celebrate. But on a more personal level, you may still be working toward another type of independence – financial independence. What can you do to speed your progress toward this goal?

Give your children the gift of ‘financial’ knowledge

It’s almost Father’s Day. If you’re a dad with young children, you can expect some nice homemade cards and maybe even a baseball cap. But, of course, your greatest reward is spending time with your kids and watching them grow. In return, you can give them a gift – the gift of knowledge. Specifically, in the months and years ahead, teach them the financial skills that can help make their lives easier and more rewarding.

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