Every now and again when I read through the headlines on my favorite money news sites, I see the same desperate-for-attention headlines proclaiming that “retirement is dead” and that we basically have no hope of ever saving enough money. How do they draw those conclusions? The usual suspects cited are the decline of pensions, the deflating of Social Security and the rise in costs as reasons why none of us can save and why we’ll all need to work until we are 80.
And then there is my personal favorite: The 401k. They talk about the 401k like it’s a James Bond villain. When they compare the pension vs 401k, they describe it as a horrible and inefficient means for retirement. Basically, their message is that the 401k killed retirement.
That is complete nonsense. The 401k didn’t destroy our chances at the American Dream … we did.
The tagline to My Money Design has always been designing financial freedom. For as long as I’ve been into reading financial books and blogs about money, I’ve seen a lot of them try to answer the question of what is financial freedom. However, I feel as though the weight of this term often gets lost or trivialized.
In this post, we’re going to layout a definition for financial freedom and explain where we need to focus in order to achieve it.
You’ve probably heard of both of these terms, but do you really know the difference between a 403b vs 401k?
Even though in the My Money Deisgn household we have both types of plans, to be honest there was a long stretch of time where I didn’t know what the major differences and similarities were between the 403b or 401k.
So like most things financially, I jotted down some questions and began looking into each one to find out the answers. Below are my notes on what I found out:
Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone is safe and having a smooth transition into this new start.
It seems this event is always marked with a great deal of optimism because people feel like they have a symbolic marker from which they can wipe the slate clean and start out fresh. It might be eating habits; it might be quitting your bad vices. For me, it always marks a time to re-evaluate our long term financial goals and see if our actions will get us to where we want to be.
Not too long ago, I was trying to demonstrate how NOT taking full advantage of your 401k matching contributions offered by your employer was causing you to lose out on more money over the course of your career than you probably thought!
While it’s never too late to get your personal finances in order, one simple mistake I see people making all the time that kills me is when they wait as late as 5 to 10 years before they finally get with the program and start contributing enough to their retirement plan to get the full 401k matching from their employer. I beg you – Please don’t waste another year! Remember time is one of your greatest assets as an investor, so don’t squander it!
In this post, I’ll show you just how powerful taking advantage of your full 401k matching from your employer as early as possible can be for you.
The following post was provided by guest contributor Angie Picardo of NerdWallet. If you are interested in being a guest contributor for My Money Design, please feel free to contact me.
It’s a responsibility that practically all of us have, not only to ourselves, but also to our families. A strong retirement plan now will literally pay dividends later. It’s not easy to fit it into your monthly budget at times, but it’s become a necessity. With continuing advancements in medicine and healthcare, the average life expectancy is consistently rising, and along with dwindling Social Security funds, it’s up to us to create a retirement saving strategy that fits our goals and creates enough income for us to live upon.
So how do we stop making excuses and get started?
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “don’t leave money on the table”, then you know that it’s a saying for walking away from a deal where you could made a whole lot more! While none of us ever wants to do this intentionally, our actions sometimes result in the contrary; especially when it comes to 401k matching from your employer!
If you have a 401k retirement plan (or any other employer sponsored retirement plan) where they have some type of “matching” system of putting money in your account for you, and yet you DON’T contribute as much as you need to get that full match, then you’re just leaving money on the table! Why are you passing up FREE money?
When I read that 49% of Americans are not contributing to any retirement plan at all, I was not surprised to find out that the biggest offender group were people between the ages of 18 to 34. My guess is that it’s not that they don’t want to do it, but rather that they don’t know how to save for retirement.
The last time there was a round of 401k sign-up at work, my younger colleagues seemed hopelessly lost. They were given a nice big folder of papers containing numbers of charts, and told the old “you should probably contribute 10% of your paycheck” advice.
But when it came down to, they really just had had no idea how to save for retirement. When I’d ask them if they felt 10% would be enough, I was met with blank stares like a deer in the headlights.
Let me see if I can describe how your employer 401k (or 403b, etc) retirement plan orientation went:
• You all walked into a meeting.
• An HR administrator handed you a folder chucked full of loose documents.
• You were released with little direction and told to bring the papers back all filled in.
Am I close?
It’s pretty sad that something so important to our livelihoods later on in life is treated as another routine task. There are many things that should be explained to you when you sign up for your 401k (click here for my complete guide on this topic).
But if there’s one thing where people REALLY need help, it’s deciding which mutual funds to pick for their plan. Past returns? Large cap / small cap? Expense ratios? What does all this stuff mean?
In the MyMoneyDesign household, we have both a 401k and 403b. So let me use what I’ve learned to help steer you towards making the best choices you can make.
Not too long ago, I wrote a post called “Are We Fools For Saving Our Money?” The inspiration for it came from several themes I read in the book “Unfair Advantage: The Power of Financial Education” by Robert Kiyosaki. Although we explored both sides of Kiyosaki’s opinions, I felt as though there was still quite a bit of the book to review and I wanted to do it justice. So here is my book review.
In case you’ve never read anything by Robert Kiyosaki, here’s a brief overview: Take on massive amounts of debt, don’t save your money, and the future of our economy is in deep trouble! Now why in the world would I recommend reading a book like that?
Because it reminds me that there is more than one way to become independently wealthy! Robert Kiyosaki, best known for writing “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, proves that you can obtain great wealth by using unconventional strategies. Although I may not necessarily agree with all of his advice, it still intrigues my curiosity. Plus – he makes A LOT more money than you and I, so we should probably listen!
Love him or hate him, Robert Kiyosaki’s books are very popular because they are easy to follow and very “in your face”. They do a great job of convincing you that anyone can do what he does and that you’re a fool for not following his principles. And who wants to be a fool?