Once again, it’s time to make some New Year’s resolutions. This year, in addition to promising yourself that you’ll hit the gym more often, learn a new language or take up a musical instrument — all worthy goals, of course — why not set some financial resolutions?
Consider these suggestions:
Here’s a disturbing statistic: One out of every five Americans over the age of 65 has been victimized by a financial scheme, according to the Investor Protection Trust, a nonprofit organization devoted to investor education. If your parents are in this age group, should you be concerned? And can you help them avoid being “scammed” so that they maintain control over their finances?
The answer to the first question is “yes” — you should be concerned. Of course, as the numbers above show, most aging Americans are not being swindled, which suggests they can take care of themselves quite well. Still, it’s no secret that many fraud schemes target seniors because of their concentrated wealth and in many cases, trusting nature. And as much as you’d like to think otherwise, your parents could be susceptible to rip-off artists.
Now that 2012 is drawing to a close, you may want to review the progress you’ve made this past year in many areas of your life — including your financial situation. By going over your investment portfolio and other key areas related to your finances, you can learn what moves you may need to make in 2013 to stay on track toward your important objectives, such as college for your children, a comfortable retirement and the ability to leave the type of legacy you desire.
To get a clear picture of where you are, consider asking yourself these questions:
We’re well into the holiday season now. And while the holidays are joyous, they can also be expensive. In fact, at this time of year, many people make spending decisions they end up regretting. But you can enjoy the holidays and still stay on track toward your financial goals by following a few simple guidelines, including the following:
If you depend on fixed-income investments for at least part of your income, you probably haven’t been too happy in recent years, as interest rates have hit historic lows. Nonetheless, even in a low-rate environment, you can broaden the income-producing potential of your investment portfolio.
However, before taking action, it’s helpful to know what the near-term direction of interest rates may look like. The Federal Reserve has stated that it plans to keep short-term rates at their current historic lows until at least mid-2015. The Fed doesn’t control long-term rates, making them somewhat less predictable, but it’s still likely that these rates will rise sooner than short-term ones.
When you retire, you may well have accomplished some important financial goals, such as sending your children through college and paying off your mortgage. Yet, you can’t relax just yet, because your retirement could easily last two or three decades, which means you’ll need at least two or three decades’ worth of income — which, in turn, means you’ll need the proper savings and investment strategies in place. And, just as importantly, you’ll also need to be aware of the types of risk that could threaten these strategies.
Let’s consider some of these risks:
If you’re a small-business owner, with no full-time employees (except possibly your spouse or business partner), you’re probably used to taking care of just about everything on your own. So, if you’re thinking of establishing a retirement plan — and you should — you might also be attracted to “going solo” with an “Owner-only” 401(k).
An Owner-only 401(k), sometimes known as an Individual 401(k), has been around for a few years now, and has proven quite popular — and with good reason. This plan is easy to establish, easy to administer and, most importantly, gives you many of the same benefits enjoyed by employees of a company that offers a traditional 401(k) plan.
These benefits include the following:
A presidential election is almost upon us. But if you have young children or grandchildren, you know what’s really important this week is Butterfingers, not ballots, and Pop Rocks, not the popular vote.
Yes, it’s Halloween time again, which means you’ll see plenty of witches and vampires scurrying around. You’ll no doubt find these characters more amusing than frightening, but you don’t have to look far to find things that are a bit more alarming — such as these scary investment moves:
Paying too much attention to the headlines — Some headlines may seem unnerving, but don’t abandon your investment strategy just because the news of the day appears grim.
Chasing “hot” investments: You can get “hot” investment tips from the talking heads on television, your next-door neighbor or just about anybody. But even if the tip was accurate at one point, by the time you get to a “hot” investment, it may already be cooling down. And, even more importantly, it simply may not be appropriate for your individual risk tolerance and goals.
Oct. 21-27 is National Save for Retirement Week, established by Congress to remind Americans of the importance of — you guessed it — saving for retirement. So why not mark the occasion by considering ways in which you can boost your own financial resources for those years in which you’re officially a “retiree”?
If you’re somewhat concerned about your financial prospects during retirement, you’re not alone. Check out a few of the findings from the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey:
When you add a child to your family, either through birth or adoption, it’s obviously an exciting and joyful time in your life — and it’s also a busy one, as you deal with all the challenges and commitments faced by all parents. However, hectic as your life may be, you’ll still need to think about making some key financial arrangements to accommodate your new child.
Here are some suggestions to consider: