Aging is inevitable. There are things we can do to stay healthy, but let’s face it: Sometime in the future, our hearing, sight, and even the quality of our teeth will start to diminish.
That knowledge probably makes you want to set aside funds now for your (basically guaranteed) health expenses in the future. A Health Savings Account (HSA) is the perfect account for that purpose.
An HSA has triple tax benefits. Contributions are pre-tax, the account value grows tax-deferred, and “qualified” distributions—those used for medical expenses—can be withdrawn free of income taxes.
If you have a high-deductible medical plan, you may qualify for a health savings account. The IRS allows individuals to put aside $3,400 and families to put aside $6,750 in 2017. The year you turn age 55, you can add another $1,000 as a “catch-up” contribution (even if you’ve always maxed out your account).
Even if you don’t need to use your HSA for out-of-pocket medical expenses now, you may want to let your balance grow for the future to cover these common medical costs:
Continue reading “5 Ways Your HSA Can Unlock Benefits In Retirement”
Retiring is a decision you usually can’t undo.
Your employer has most certainly made plans to replace you with a successor who’s been waiting in the wings. So this isn’t one of those choices where you can come back and say, “I’ve changed my mind.”
Retirement planning is complex; there are so many moving parts that it can be a challenge to know if you’ve done enough. You run retirement calculators, rebalance your investment portfolio, and get a second opinion from an unbiased financial planner. All these steps are positive! But there are a few more to take.
Continue reading “5 Money Moves To Make 5 Years Before You Retire”
Many people, including me, dream of having a “mortgage burning” party the week they retire. The very thought of making my last mortgage payment makes me jump for joy. No mortgage payment means peace of mind, freedom and a strong sense of security.
But is it a false sense of security?
Given today’s low interest rate environment, it might make sense to hold onto a mortgage, since the cost of money is relatively inexpensive. With the uncertainty around health care costs, maybe it’s not smart to tie up assets in an illiquid investment.
Continue reading “Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Before I Retire?”
While we may have goals to build a solid emergency fund, buy a home, retire early, or pay off debt, sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.
Let’s face it — we all make poor money choices. Sometimes we may even be sabotaging our finances unconsciously. We are only human, after all.
Breaking those bad financial habits can get us closer to meeting our goals.
Here are a few to avoid:
- Letting groceries go to waste because you picked up takeout on the way home.
I have to raise my hand here and say “guilty,” because I’ve done this many times in the past. When you are hungry and tired after a long day at work, it is tempting to pick up food on the way rather than taking the time to cook.
Financial Planner tip: Plan meals ahead with a weekly system. Add “take out” to the meal plan on certain days when you know you won’t want to cook. Set up the slow cooker or make extra meals and freeze them to make weeknight dinners easy.
Check out Just a Girl and Her Blog for some free printable weekly meal plans.
Continue reading “Big Money Wasters: Break These 10 Expensive Habits Today”
When you teach your children about money, you have to be aware of the unspoken messages you impart to them — especially to your daughters.
My parents always told me that the sky was the limit, and that I could be anything I wanted — but their actions told me something different. When my brother was 12 years old, he was gifted 200 shares of stock for his birthday. When I turned 12 the following year, I was filled with anticipation of receiving my very own shares. But none came.
I am sure I received a wonderful present for my 12th birthday, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what that gift was. All I remember is that I didn’t get stock shares like my brother did. The unspoken message I heard was, “Investing is for boys.”
Continue reading “5 Powerful Money Lessons To Teach Your Daughters”
When you stop to think about it, a book is truly amazing. With the turn of a page, a lifetime of knowledge from the world’s most learned people is right in front of your eyes.
A great book can make a lasting impression on a young person. Because of this, a basket of books can be the best present for a high school senior who is moving on to the next stage of his or her life.
Here are some ideas:
- “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl
Continue reading “10 Impactful Books To Give The High School Graduate In Your Life”
Are you on the hunt for a great gift for the special graduate in your life?
Back in the day, I received a special present — a gold cross pen — from my older cousin who was already in college. I felt so sophisticated!
While writing instruments are a great gift, there are a few less obvious options that can help a college graduate set herself up for financial success in the future. With students graduating with an average of $35,000 in student loan debt, they need a financial leg up more than ever.
Continue reading “5 Not-So-Obvious Financially Savvy Graduation Gifts For Your High School Senior”
If you were lucky enough to have financial education classes at school or work, you probably learned to save, invest, and reduce debt. But did anyone ever teach you how to spend money?
Living below your means is one of the most important factors of long-term financial success, but it can be tricky — especially as your income increases. I have quite a few clients who make a million dollars a year and spend all of it.
In order to learn to spend your money well — meaning on your needs and things that bring you great value — ask these three questions:
Continue reading “Finances Are Complicated: How To Know If You Really Have Your Spending Under Control”
Teenagers want three things, according to parenting expert Mark Gregston, “To make decisions about themselves, to feel like they’re in control, and to have opportunities to prove their maturity and to show you that they can do it.”
For parents, the good news is that giving them those three things can make them better with money as adults. Teaching kids about finances is best done through experience. The lessons can be like getting a learner’s permit (with adult guidance) before getting a driver’s license (with complete control over the vehicle).
Parents who give their kids control over a portion of their money — and guide them in their decision-making — raise teens who are better prepared for the world. Here are some ideas for giving teens a framework for making money decisions.
Continue reading “5 Hands On Exercises To Teach Your Teenager How To Master Their Money”