How Much Should I Put in My 401k Plan? My Surprising Answer

save money for retirement

It’s one of the most commonly asked questions of employees when they start saving for retirement: How much should I put in my 401k?  5%?  10%?  15%? Especially when you’re young (in your 20’s and 30’s) and just starting out, retirement can feel like such a long ways away.  You know that you should be contributing, but at the same time you want to enjoy your earnings and save towards other goals like a house and family needs too. To simply answer this question with “save as much as you can afford” feels too much like an easy-out.  I’ve recommended that advice to friends in the past only to find out that they end up saving only a measly 2 or 4% of their paychecks.  Since I’m friends with them, I KNOW they can do much better than … [Read more...]

Do Grades Really Matter?  What Really Counts When It Comes to Your Career

light bulb

I was an A-student back in school.  I worked very hard to get them.  I knew that they were my ticket to something bigger and greater.  At least that’s what I used to believe – until I realized that the only things bigger and greater were the ones I found on my own. Don’t think that that’s true?  Then how is it that you and your colleagues can all be so diverse in your backgrounds and academics, yet you all do the same job.  You probably all get paid roughly about the same too.  In some instances the people who did worse in school are the boss or actually make more than you do. If that’s so, then do grades really matter?  What’s the point of killing yourself for a 4.0 grade point average or going to a good college if you’re all going … [Read more...]

Good Scary Movies to Watch this Halloween – 2014 Edition

sinister

I wanted to take this opportunity to break up our normal regimen of posts devoted to serious personal finance topics and dive into something far more entertaining: Good scary movies to watch this Halloween! If you’re like me and always looking for some good, cheap fun around Halloween-time, then there is nothing better than renting a couple of really scary movies from the Redbox or Netflix that will leave you scared to go to bed. This is the third edition of my “good scary movies” post.  You can find my past horror movie picks from 2013 and 2012 at these links with reviews of some of my favorites like The Ring, Sinister, Insidious, Drag Me to Hell, Cabin in the Woods, Trick r’ Treat, Donnie Darko, etc. Here are my new additions for … [Read more...]

Should I Do a 401k to IRA Rollover?  The Benefits and Drawbacks

401k to ira rollover

Recently during a discussion with my money coach client there was a very important question that came up:  “I have an old 401k with a former employer that is still sitting right where I left it.  I’m wondering if I should make a 401k to IRA rollover or simply leave the money right where it is?” That’s a really good question. I’m sure for a lot of people (myself included) that the money you have in your 401k account is probably the largest percentage of your wealth you have saved up – anywhere!  Even if you’ve got nothing more than the average 401k balance of $81,000 as reported by Fidelity, that’s still a very serious amount of retirement savings that you want to be putting to work as hard as possible. Unfortunately, however, … [Read more...]

Niche Website Update 22 – $1,203 in Income – Exploding Success with ClickBank!

Niche Website

As much as I like to talk about saving and investing, the most lucrative way I’ve found to improve your overall financial situation is to simply earn more money.  While making a side income might be an impossible task for some, I’m here to show you that it is in fact possible if you put your mind to it. Especially if you’re a blogger (like me) or even thinking about starting your own website, then you’ve got a wealth of opportunity sitting right in front of you.   You just have to be willing to be an entrepreneur and work your way at it. This month my collection of niche websites took me by surprise in terms of earnings.  I had a huge bump in revenue – and from a place I never expected (but warmly welcome)! Here’s what I’ve been up … [Read more...]

What is the Minimum Retirement Savings You Could Comfortably Live On?

minimum retirement savings

One of the hallmarks of a solid early retirement plan is thinning out your expenses as much as possible. To a lot of people they will probably interpret this to mean shaving a few hundred bucks off by not eating out every night or scaling back on their trips to the mall.  Those kinds of things are good, but we’re talking about going a whole lot further.  For someone who wants to retire early really, really badly, part of what they’ll do is clip back their expenses to the point of virtual non-existence. Why would they do this?  Simple.  The fewer expenses you have means you’ll only need the minimum retirement savings possible.  Take for example everyone’s favorite super-frugal early retiree Mr Money Mustache.  I remember reading that … [Read more...]

Stay Humble – You’re Still Just a Ditch-Digger

Stay Humble

Sometimes I feel like all throughout my life I was lead by the media to believe I was going to be entitled. When I was a little boy I used to watch Scrooge McDuck swim through his giant money bin full of cash. When I was teenager I watched MTV’s The Real World and couldn’t wait to live in giant apartment with no job for 2-3 months. When I was an adult house hunting shows made me think that living in a beautiful, luxurious $300K home was completely normal. With messages like that, how is someone supposed to stay humble?  By getting back to their roots every now and again.  By serving those who need served.   Helping My Dad with Building His Deck: The summer is not just a great time to be outside, but also a good time to … [Read more...]

5 Common Financial Mistakes We’re All Guilty Of

5 Common Financial Mistakes

It's not always easy to make all the right moves when it comes to money. In fact, as a society, we're pretty bad at managing our money.  CNN Money recently stated that over 25 million middle class families are living paycheck to paycheck. That's horrible!  So much for saving for a house, rainy day, or even retirement. The good news: It doesn't have to be this way.  Most common financial mistakes are pretty easy to identify and correct.  Here's five of them that you can take care of right away.   1. Late Payment of Bills: Paying a bill only a few days late can show up on credit reports, especially if one of those bills is your credit card bill or any other loan repayment. With modern technology there's no reason you have … [Read more...]