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 … [Read more...] about The Pension vs 401k – The 401k Did Not Kill Retirement
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. … [Read more...] about What is Financial Freedom – The Easy to Follow Explanation
Frequently when you think of planning for retirement or becoming financially free in general, you think about how much money you’ll need to save in order to generate the kind of income that you’re use to. For example, how can I save $1,250,000 so that I can draw 4% and take out $50,000 each year? In this post, we’ll look at the other side of the coin. Instead, we’ll look for a way to reduce how much income you’ll actually need while on your own. And how will we do this? By focusing in on one of your largest expenses – your mortgage. … [Read more...] about Before Retirement, Eliminate Your Biggest Expense
If you have any hopes and dreams at all of retiring early, then you know that one of the biggest challenges you face is the fact that there are penalties for withdrawing your money too early from your retirement accounts. For most of them, this will be age 59 ½ (click here for a complete list). So one of the re-occurring questions that we keep asking on MyMoneyDesign is: • How do I bridge the gap between early retirement and age 59 ½? In previous posts, we’ve reviewed the following non-employment, investment-style options available: • File for a 72t or “SEPP - Substantially Equal Periodic Payments” to get penalty free portions of your nest egg money out. • Quit working at age 55 to get your 401k’s and 403b’s, but NOT earlier. • … [Read more...] about Will Dividend Stocks Help Me Retire Early?
Yea! I got my income taxes done. Any day now I should be expecting both my Federal and State return to direct deposit into my bank account. I’m not getting back as much this year as I had hoped, but it will still be quite a handsome amount. Just like back-to-school signs and Christmas decorations, you can almost pin-point the time from December on when a swarm of tax-filing hysteria starts to show up in our lives. But among the tax software and lists of documents we’re told to dig out of our file cabinets, financial advisors also like to argue one age-old debate: • Should you wait to get your big tax refund check or take it throughout the year? … [Read more...] about The Now or Later Tax Refund
Saving money can be a real challenge. You know you should, but some months it feels like you’re barely making ends meet. And no matter how much you actually make, it never feels like enough. Fortunately, there are some painless steps you can take to get your savings back on track. Below are a few of my favorite tips for ways you can save more money: … [Read more...] about 10 Tips for Saving More Money
If you’re doing a good job of saving up for retirement and looking at the possibility of meeting your goals sooner than later, one of the next biggest hurdles you’ll have to overcome is how to physically get your money out of your retirement accounts. For most personal accounts such as a 401(k), 403(b), or IRA, you have to wait until age 59-1/2 or get slapped with a hefty 10% penalty fee. There are special exceptions to the 401(k) and 403(b) that may allow you to access your money without penalty by age 55. But even still, what if you are able to retire even sooner than that? Fortunately, this is where a 72(t) comes in. A 72(t) is a little-known tax code within the IRS laws that allows an individual under the age of 59-1/2 to take … [Read more...] about Retire Early Using a 72(t)
The end is near! The end of the year that is … And with that, December is a good time to get you finances in order and get ready to settle with the tax man. Here are some tips to get yourself ready for another year: Set Your Budget for Next Year: Remember, a budget is simple: • Money In – Money Out > 0 = Success. The best way to do this is to create a table with 12 columns; one for each month. Start by listing your income towards the top. Then list all your bills and expenses. This strategy is usually a little more effective than just doing one generic monthly budget because it captures expenses that don’t occur every month or are seasonal (like Christmas expenses). This also lets you see how you’re doing throughout the entire year … [Read more...] about Year-End Financial Checklist