How to Plan for Retirement When You are In Your 30s

For many of us, our 30s are a dynamic time in life. During these busy years, jobs turn into careers and relationships are solidified by marriage or transformed by children.  Most people are also in their mid-30s when they purchase their first home.  While these are all expensive items, one thing you should not overlook is saving for retirement.

financial moves in your 30s

financial moves in your 30s

Retirement seems a long way off when you are 30, but is much closer when you turn 39.  The sooner you start saving and investing for your golden years, the more money you will have when the time comes. And, if you work it right, you may even be able to start your retirement earlier than expected.

Thirty-three percent of people ages 30 to 49 years old don’t have a retirement account. YIKES!! If you’re within this one-third of people, and in your 30s, you need to make retirement savings a priority.

If you aren’t in your 30s, these articles can help with retirement planning:


Invest in your 401(k)

If your company offers retirement savings through a 401(k), start by discussing your options with someone in human resources. They can get you set up with a plan that works well with your income and goals.

If you currently contribute to your company’s plan, make sure you are making the maximum contribution that they may match.  For example, if they match 25% of what you contribute, up to 4% of your contributions, that is FREE MONEY!  Make sure your contribution is 4% as they will give you 1% for free – for a total 5% contribution.

As you get a raise, continue to increase your contribution by 1% annually.  You will not miss the money and will be on target for achieving your savings goals.

Open an IRA

Another retirement vehicle to consider is an IRA.  An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is an easy way to add more money to your retirement savings.  You can contribute up to $5,500 (subject to age and income limitations) and the contributions may be tax deductible (see your CPA).

Visit with a Financial Planner

Financial Planners are a must when you have investments and are saving for retirement.  They analyze and help ensure you are on the right path to achieving your financial goals.  They don’t usually charge for their services (if you invest with them) and can tailor a plan just for you.

Don’t change jobs

Sometimes it is tempting to change jobs because it looks better.  But, keep in mind that you will need to start over with service requirements and contributions to a retirement plan.  The company may also have a plan that is not nearly as robust as the one through your current employer, making you miss out on additional savings.

Diversify your investments

As you get older, the level of risk you can, or are willing to take, changes.  You can be much more aggressive in your 20s and early 30s, but as you approach your 40s, you may want to make adjustments.  Ask your investment or financial advisor about changes you should make each year.


In addition to saving for retirement, there are goals you may want to achieve and financial rules you should follow once you hit your 30s.


Make sure you have a written budget you follow every month.  You should account for every penny you make — in essence giving every penny a job.  Don’t forget to include items such as additional retirement and emergency fund savings accounts.

Watch your Credit Report and Score

Each year, check your credit report for free at AnnualCreditReport (this is the free site mandated by the government and the only one you should use).  Check for errors such as items that should have been discharged, accounts you did not open and other issues so you can submit them for correction.

You should also know your credit score.  You can use a free site such as Credit Sesame to check your credit score, but keep in mind it is your vantage score (so not your true score – but it is pretty accurate). If you want to know your actual credit score, offers this and access to your credit reports from all agencies for a reasonable fee.

Save at least six months of income

Experts have always said you should save three months of your income in case of an emergency.  However, if we learned anything during the last recession, that isn’t quite enough. If you are single, work on saving at least six months of income and if you have a family, aim for nine.    You can increase your savings in many ways, such as eating out less, selling items and even getting a second job.

Have a will and health care directives

It is something none of us wants to think about, but it is important to not only have a will, but also health care directives as well.  For around $70 – $90 you can create one at LegalZoom. However, if your situatio is more complex, or you are not comfortable creating one yourself, it is important to reach out to an attorney who specializes in estate planning.

Check your life insurance

If you have kids, you need life insurance.  And, it is also wise to purchase policies on them as well.  If something happens to any of you, funeral expenses alone can be a financial burden.  Then, if there are medical expenses you need to pay for on top of burial costs, it can cause a lot of financial strain for your loved ones.

Invest Time, Too

A 2014 survey conducted by Charles Schwab, found that only 11 percent of workers spent five hours or more assessing their 401(k) investment options. This is far less time than how long many of us spend researching a new car or a vacation! If the idea of investments and the terminology attached overwhelms, you might consider taking a course.  It might be good to think about hiring someone to help.

A trained professional can ensure you are meeting your retirement goals. When you work with a financial planner, he or she will help you establish an account and assist with diversification – an important element to successful investment. A good financial planner can be invaluable when your accounts, and family, grow.

Steady As You Grow

Once children enter the picture, so do a host of excuses about why retirement saving is impossible. While it’s important to provide every avenue of support for your little ones, you must do so responsibly. For instance, starting a state-sponsored 529-college plan for your children is a great way to save for college expenses but it’s important to remember that they can always get a loan for school – you can’t for retirement.

What is your key takeaway for saving if you are in your 30s? Start putting more money away for retirement. While saving 10-15 percent of your income for retirement might be difficult, it will feel so good when you are comfortably retiring in your 60s.

saving for retirement in your 30s

saving for retirement in your 30s


Retirement In Your 50s: Tips to Save

Retirement in your 50s: Things to do now to make sure you have enough saved!

Retirement in your 50s: Things to do now to make sure you have enough saved!

Half a decade is something that should absolutely be celebrated. But if you don’t have enough, or anything, put away into a retirement account, you may need to put the champagne back on ice.

Look at your savings.  If they are not where they should be, it is time to start saving.  There is still time to change your habits so you can face the future from a comfortable financial position.

There is so much more to know about retirement and these articles might help!

Increase The Odds

According to Consumer Affairs, 26% of people between ages 50 to 64 years old don’t even have a retirement account, much less money put away for ‘life after work’.   According to investment brokerage company Fidelity, the average person needs to have approximately 8 times their ending salary put away “to help increase the odds that you won’t outlive your savings during 25 years in retirement.”

It’s important to factor in budget items including scenarios such as health care, emergencies and house payments. You will need to estimate how much you can expect to live on comfortably in retirement.  There are a variety of tools available for establishing this number.

For example, AARP has several resources, ranging from practical advice columns to an online retirement calculator.


Expert Assistance

Another valuable resource is a financial advisor, who can help you manage your current income in a way that allows you start saving for the future.  You should be saving 15-20% of your current salary.  Check to see if your company offers a match on their 401(k) plan. If they do – sign up and take advantage of it.  If you have an IRA, plan to deposit the entire $5,500 yearly total and the extra $1,000 catch-up contribution.

Even if you have some funds saved, it is wise to visit with a financial advisor.  He or she can help you take a more conservative approach to your investments. If your financial advisor is pushing you towards risky investments, it might be time to look for a new advisor. This is the time to make sure your money is secure.


Debt Removal

Your 50s is also the time to pay down and remove any debt that you or your spouse may be carrying. Credit cards, student loans, cars, even mortgages – try to pay these off as quickly and reasonably as possible. Not only are interest charges taking a bite out of your paychecks, having these things paid off means you’re in full ownership, too. When you remove the debt, make an effort to put those same monthly payments amounts into your retirement savings. After all, you’d gotten used to not having the money anyways, right?

Social Expectations

If you’re planning to rely heavily on Social Security, you will need to proactive about your expectations. The earliest you can start receiving partial social security benefits is age 62, with full benefits available after age 65. There are positives and negatives to taking benefits early or late and your decision about when to retire is not one to make lightly. The Social Security Administration website is a great resource for questions ranging from planning and preparation to documentation and benefits.

With so many options and pathways to choose from, planning for retirement in your 50s can feel overwhelming. However, if you start heavily saving money, you should be able to approach retirement with far more confidence.


The Best Personal Finance Books for Young Families

best personal finance books for young families

best personal finance books for young families

Starting a family is one of the best decisions that any person can ever make, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is going to be a bed of roses. In fact, a lot of young couples don’t realize the importance of managing personal finances. As a result, they end up either unable to buy things for themselves, or drowning in a sea of debt.

Why Do Young Families Struggle with Finances?

The truth is that many of us buy things that we really don’t need. You may have read stories of some individuals who became bankrupt after uncontrollable spending on unnecessary things.

Consequently, being unable to have self-control may somehow be linked to a psychological disturbance, which in reality may turn people into shopping addicts. Buying unnecessary things without careful planning may become for them a way of diverting their negative emotions into something that can mask these thoughts and make them do something that would make them feel good about themselves.

As for others, they simply don’t have enough knowledge to understand the concepts of wise purchasing, depreciating value, and correct investments.

Learning from Business Finance

While managing personal finances may not be as complicated as that of managing a business, you can actually learn a lot from business financial advice. After all, it’s important to know how to properly manage the money that comes in every month.

Some of the things that young families – and any other person for that matter – should learn from businesses include the following:

Risk Management and Assessment

No matter how big or small business has been established, company owners should know how to identify, measure and control the existing risks, the possibility of their occurrence, and their economic impact.

On their part, young families need to implement actions to manage the causes and effects of risks. Such an assessment should be done especially when greater uncertainties are anticipated, wherein there is a need to enhance risk management.

Cash Flow

Business owners need to determine the company’s financial capacity and to know how efficiently its resources are being utilized. By knowing these things, they can generate additional income for future investments. The same is true with private individuals and families.

Ratio of Profitability

This refers to the operational efficiency of a business.  This information helps businesses identify inefficient areas that may require modification, and helps in measuring the profit relationships with sales, total assets, and net worth. In a family perspective, we need to know how to grow our money by spending it in value-adding products and services.

Best Books on Personal Finance and Money, for Young Families

Managing your finances and be able to know how to control unnecessary expenditure can be made easier and more effectively by receiving advice on financial management. Additionally, there are various books that talk about financial growth and control, which you can use as great sources of information and inspiration.

Listed below are some of the best books to understand finance that can help young families in managing and controlling their finances.

“I Will Teach You To Be Rich” by Ramit Sethi

This book encourages its readers to follow a 6-week personal financial program utilizing a practical approach that is based on effective banking, saving, budgeting and investing.

“Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals” by Thomas Corley

This amazing resource has taken its author five years to study what both rich and poor people do. What Corley found out is that starting a good habit at a young age can make a striking difference in the lives of people in the future. Starting young means having to embrace several opportunities that can distinguish persevering individuals from those who just want overnight success.

“The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

This incredible book teaches you how to spend less than you actually earn, avoid spending on unimportant things, and maximize and diversify your investments. It’s a truly must-read book that can put anyone financially independent and free.

“You’re So Money: Live Rich Even When You’re Not” by Farnoosh Torabi

Anyone can live within their means and be happy and fulfilled. You only need to learn how to prioritize expenses, know when and what to splurge on, and realize the things that you can save up for.

“Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By” by Cary Siegal

The author originally intended this book to teach his own children about how to better manage their money. But eventually, he was able to come up with a lot of sound advice that would encourage more people in enhancing their financial management skills.

“Financially Fearless: The LearnVest Program For Taking Control Of Your Money” by Alexa Von Tobel

The LearnVest Program teaches people in the workforce how to properly budget the monthly salary in order to fulfill all obligations and still have some money left to splurge on something that brings them happiness. The tips in the book also talk about how to save a little more money for future use.

This book is not your conventional financial management book that focuses on a lot of financial or technical jargon. The witty author wrote this book in a way that would highly encourage young individuals to start early and start right.

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

When we talk about managing our finances, this involves a number of decisions that need to be made. This book allows readers to understand what drives them to arrive at a particular decision.

These books can already do wonders to inspire young individuals on how they can properly manage their finances and become worry-free of getting stuck in debt, particularly when individuals may face uncertainties such as changing careers or welcoming more children in the family. Nevertheless, being able to gain financial control allows you to avoid further financial losses which could tremendously affect your quality of life.

By following the tips above and reading up on these finance books, you may discover new and highly effective strategies to properly budget the money that you have.

Kostas Chiotis is an economist, entrepreneur and blogger. He loves writing and sharing other people’s views in finances on his blog


How to Free Up Cash to Save for Retirement

If you think Social Security will pay for retirement, you are mistaken. You need to take control and start now. Find some tips on how to free up cash to save for retirement.

If you think Social Security will pay for retirement, you are mistaken. You need to take control and start now. Find some tips on how to free up cash to save for retirement.

One mistake so many people make is that they don’t think about retirement quite enough.  They might be putting a little bit away, but it is smart to really visit with a professional and take a look at where you will be when you retire.

Fortunately for my husband and I, we are in good shape.  We’ve always made saving for retirement a priority when determining our budget.  After all, we both know that we sure can’t rely upon the government to support us (and I don’t think our kids will want to build on a room where we can live).

If you haven’t thought about your retirement recently, it would behoove you to take a look at your savings and plan. Retirement is one of those things you have to prepare for – failing to do so can take the shine off your Golden Years. If you’ve fallen behind, or you’re currently not setting money away, here are some ideas to get you on track.

1. Review Your Mortgage Terms. Thirty year refinance rates are currently around 4%, while 15-year rates are hovering around 3%. If you’re paying a significantly higher interest rate, a refinance might be prudent. Just make sure you contact a qualified mortgage refinance professional before committing to a new loan.

2. Take Advantage of Employer Retirement Savings Programs. Does your employer offer a 401k retirement savings program? And more importantly, does it match funds? If so, start investing up to the company limit. This is money provided to you free of charge from your employer, which usually beats the gains you could accumulate by investing elsewhere.

3. Commit to a Budget. If your goal is to ramp up retirement savings, you must set (and stick to) a personal budget. Create one online at the BudgetPulse website, or develop a spreadsheet of your own. After listing your income and expenses, see what you pay for each monthly bill, and look for ways to cut costs. For instance, getting a home audit done by your energy provider can lower your energy expenses, and there are almost always teaser deals available for new cable TV, Internet, or smartphone plans.  Check out several great budget plans and ideas.

4. Rethink Your Spending Habits. What would you prefer – a new smartphone and the latest upgrade on your tablet, or the peace of mind that comes with a fully stocked retirement account? Hopefully, it’s the latter. Forget about keeping up with the Joneses, and focus on your future. Your best bet is to forgo short-term luxuries in order to achieve long-term goals.

5. Sell Your Goods. Do you have a drawer full of old electronics, or a closet filled with toys your kids don’t use anymore? Create a seller account on eBay or Amazon and start making money. Describe your items accurately, include photos, and price your items to sell.  Ship fast in secure packaging to cut down the possibility of returns.

6. Don’t Buy a New Car. If you’re about to pay off your current vehicle, don’t immediately take out a loan for a new car. Make do with what you have, and each month you drive your paid-for car, you can put the savings into your retirement account.

Once you have more to invest, make sure you’re investing it wisely. Study up on your retirement account’s expense ratio, which is basically the fees taken out for fund management. Opt for indexed funds and exchange traded funds, which usually have lower expense ratios than actively managed funds. Then once per year, review your investments and make adjustments based on your risk tolerance, age, and investment performance. Saving for retirement is great, but your work doesn’t end there – devote care and attention to your portfolio as you move forward.

How are you planning and saving for retirement?


Four Ways to Select the Right Stock

Choosing stocks is kind of like picking out a great outfit.  Selecting a great outfit is like choosing a great stock. You may be thinking “Candice, are you sure about that?” Yes, I am sure!

Although there are probably hundreds of questions you could ask yourself before choosing a stock to invest in, today I will be going over a few things I consider before deciding if I will invest my money into a company. Investing doesn’t have to be boring.

If you think about it, you’re already an investor. Every day you decide to buy things. When you go grocery shopping, I know the brand may not be a factor for you and you may just be looking for the best deal, but start paying attention to the brands that you’re using in your everyday life.

Each time you purchase anything you are helping a company grow its profits. Once you’ve made your list of companies go to Google and start to do some research on the companies you’ve listed.

Other helpful articles:


What does the company do?

If you are looking for earrings to wear to a holiday party, you want to make sure you are shopping at the right stores that sell earrings. Many companies offer a wide range of products and services.

Figuring out all the company has to offer is helpful because you can see where the company’s profits are coming from. Every company must submit a report of their company’s yearly and quarterly performance. This report is called a 10k and 10q report.

Diversify your closet

Just like you need to diversify your closet, you also need to diversify your stocks. You wouldn’t wear the same outfit that you would wear to the gym that you would wear to your office holiday party. That is why you need to have a variety of outfits to choose from for different occasions.

You need to buy different stocks from different industries in case something goes wrong in one industry.

If I only choose to invest in fashion then if something goes from the fashion industry and I only have money invested in fashion stocks, then I would lose a lot of money. However, I have one company devoted to fashion, another company that sells snacks, and another company that sells oil than I would be better off.

When you hear the term diversify people usually refer to it as “not putting all your eggs in one basket.”

Is it worth the price?

I’m don’t know about you, but I love a good deal. The first section I go to in a store is the sale section. Just like you want to be sure you’re getting a great deal on your clothes, you want to be sure you’re paying a good price for your stocks.

To figure out if you are paying a good price for a stock you need to figure out the company’s price earnings ratio (P/e). According to “Simply put, the p/e ratio is the price an investor is paying for $1 of a company’s earnings or profit. In other words, if a company is reporting basic or diluted earnings per share of $2 and the stock is selling for $20 per share, the p/e ratio is 10 ($20 per share divided by $2 earnings per share = 10 p/e).

Confused yet? No need to be. Most stock-quote systems such as Yahoo! Finance will automatically figure the price-to-earnings ratio for you.” A P/E is used when comparing different stock prices.

Each industry will have a different P/E range that is high to low. “On the surface, a $50 stock may seem more expensive than a $20 stock.  But, if the $50 stock earns $5 a share while the $20 stock earns only $1, using the P/E ratio, you will be able to see that the $20 stock is twice as expensive as the $50 stock. ”

Staying away from trends

I’m not a fashion expert, but you want to be sure that while you’re shopping, you are choosing statement pieces for your wardrobe. Statement pieces tend to last longer and are generally excellent quality. You want to stay away from clothes that are trendy or clothes that will fade and won’t last long.

Clothes that fade or rip after one-time use or wash are a waste. You need classic and timeless clothing. The same is true when deciding which stocks to invest in.

I try to avoid trendy stocks. These stocks are like one hit wonder songs. You know the groups who came out with one song, and then years later you wonder what happened to them. It’s the same thing when it comes to stocks.

If it’s a new and trending stock, don’t invest in it.

If it seems like a fad and the company hasn’t been around for very long. Remember you only want to put your money into great solid businesses that have been around for a while.  A brand that you trust.

Does the company offer dividends?

When you buy a stock, you are buying a tiny piece of a business called a share. Once you buy a share, you now own a piece of the company. Which means if the company grows, so do you. A dividend is a payment made by a company or corporation to its shareholders.

If you invest in stocks that have dividends the company will pay you quarterly. (Usually every three months) That’s right the company will pay you for being an investor in their company. Keep in mind that not all stocks pay dividends. The companies that do pay dividends, the more shares you own of a company, the more you will be paid in dividends.

There are other questions that people consider when investing, but these are a few questions that I ask myself. I encourage you to do your own research on each company before you start investing in it.

About the author:  Candice Maire has a passion for helping people take control of their finances.  She enjoys long walks to the bank, eating dark chocolate, working out and reading personal finance books. Her motto is mind, body, soul and bank account are better. Check out her e-book to learn more!

how to pick the right stock

how to pick the right stock