How to Secure the Bag in 2022

Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further

Are you living by the mantra, “New Year, new you?” Year after year, we set these resolutions and goals – for them to get tossed out before the year can fully bloom. Looking for ways to elevate your life? Maintain the things you’ve started? Produce real results? Check out the tips below to secure your future and your bag in the year to come.

Write down your goals

As much as we’d like to consider ourselves computers, it’s nearly impossible for us to remember every single thing we’d like to do. In order to stay focused and remain organized, it’s best to simply jot down your goals.

Try your best not to overthink and begin to write everything that comes to your head. Essentially, this is a brain dumping exercise that allows you to clear your mind as much as possible. Often times confusion doesn’t necessarily come from us not knowing, it’s simply because we haven’t written down our thoughts.

Once this is finished, the second step is refining. Go through everything you’ve listed and organize it into categories. From there you’ll be able to highlight the top 3-5 goals you’d like to accomplish. This allows you to only focus on the goals with priority – and as those items are completed, the next ones in line will be yours for the conquering!

Are you wanting to start a new career or business venture? Write down all of the to-do items needed to accomplish that goal and assign a certain number of tasks per day, week or month. In this way you’re not overwhelming yourself with unrealistic expectations but creating an actionable guide that navigates you straight to the finish line.

Self-assess and readjust as needed

Let’s take a moment to reflect on 2021. What are the things you did exceptionally well? What are a few items that need improvement? Are you able to recall the goals that didn’t have any traction at all?

Before you can execute, you need to know where you’re currently starting from. Be honest with yourself – this isn’t an exercise to stir up negative and non-productive emotion. This is to chart your next steps and make them effective.

If you overspent this year on discretionary items, test out the cash method for your purchases. Looking to increase your earning potential? Update your resume, network and explore the opportunities that interest you. Saving for a large purchase? Create a reasonable savings plan that lays out the steps to ensure you’re successful.

Keep in mind this is not a one-day exercise. Carve out some time over the course of a week to truly reflect.

Avoid impulsive behavior and identify the root cause

Each and every one of us have thorns in our side that derail us from our goals – big or small. In order to identify the true problem, we must tap into our self-awareness and discuss some ugly truths. For example, if you are on a fitness journey and have a desire to become healthier– a routine is mandatory. Schedules allow us to operate more efficiently. So, let’s say you want to workout at least three times a week. This means there’s a certain window of time that needs to be allotted for the actual workout. After that you need time to eat, prepare food and continue flowing through the day. If one of these links are missing in the routine, it could tempt you to skip the workout completely.

What needs to happen? Have food readily available on the days you workout. Get sufficient rest the night before to make sure you’re energized to conquer the day. Try your best to eat the right foods to avoid feelings of sluggishness or irritation. Have your exercise clothes ready the night prior to avoid any mishaps in the morning. No matter how crazy and insane these little things may seem they’re very impactful. It creates a smoother workflow which decreases anxiety, worry, frustration and irrational decision making.

Let’s talk money!

If you have an issue with overspending; consider this. Do you spend more money when your emotions fluctuate?  Adopt some self-care techniques to relax and unwind before making hash decisions. Try adopting yoga within your weekly routine. Step away from the computer when the feeling of work stress occurs. Swap out the impulse to spend with something positive, like taking a quick walk or simply log off social media. Unsubscribe from retail emails so there won’t even be an urge to spend. When you’re healthy mentally and physically – your finances have no choice but to positively benefit.

Let’s talk retirement

Before the year is up evaluate your retirement account, savings methods and/or investments. Are your selections aligning with the financial goals you’ve set for the upcoming year? Assess your contributions and adjust as you see fit. If there are things you’re unclear on or are in need of further guidance, solicit the assistance of a financial advisor. Don’t allow yourself to get hung up as challenges arise! There’s always a solution. Take a deep breath and revisit your goals in moments of frustration.

Create an accountability tribe

We cannot live life alone and in confinement, so what better way to engage the people closest to you than create an accountability tribe? Establish some safe meetups or virtual check-ins as schedules permit to discuss hiccups, successes and lessons. In this way, it establishes a sense of community and support. It’s almost like having your own personal cheerleaders ushering you through all phases of life. You can gain multiple perspectives while also having a safe space that doesn’t judge you for your mistakes.

Remain positive and stay the course

In this upcoming year, don’t settle for less. The key to achieving all of your goals fall into two main categories: consistency and discipline. Will the work always be easy? Absolutely not. Your goals will stretch you in new ways and will create a new level of resilience.

2022 is ours for the taking. You have the tools; now do the work and secure the life you truly desire to live!

Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further

Marsha Barnes

Marsha Barnes is a finance guru with over 20 years of experience dedicates her efforts to empower women worldwide to become financially thriving. Financial competency and literacy are a passion of Marsha’s, providing practical information for clients increasing their overall confidence in their personal finances. More from Marsha Barnes


These 14 Major Employers Offer Part-Time Jobs With Benefits

Think you need to work long hours to qualify for company-backed retirement plans, tuition reimbursements and affordable health insurance?

Actually, you don’t have to have to be a full-time employee to get those perks. There are many companies that offer generous benefit packages for their hourly part-time employees.

These 14 companies lead the way in offering part-time jobs with benefits. You could land a flexible role that also allows you to attend school, take care of family or do whatever you please.

14 Companies That Offer Part-Time Jobs With Benefits

If you’re looking for part-time work, start your job hunt with these employers.

1. Costco

Hourly part-time employees can receive benefits from Costco once they’ve accumulated 450 hours. Healthcare coverage includes medical, vision, prescription drugs and core dental coverage.

All hourly employees working at least 10 hours per week can enroll in voluntary short-term disability insurance, which provides tax-free income replacement in the event of a non-work related accident or illness that prevents work.

2. Lowe’s

Part-time employees at Lowe’s are immediately eligible for medical benefits, including prescription drugs, short-term disability, life insurance and dental and vision coverage..

After one year, Lowe’s offers an employee stock purchase option to its part-time workers, as well as a 401(k) after 180 days. Eligible family members can also opt-in for group medical, dental and vision coverage and dependent life insurance.

3. REI

Part-time employees at REI become eligible for a benefits package if they work an average of 20 hours per week over a 12-month evaluation period.

The company pays the majority of employees’ medical and dental coverage and the full cost for basic life and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D), employee assistance program, business travel accident insurance and long-term disability insurance.

REI also provides a generous PTO package, a wide variety of leave options, and “Yay Days” twice a year – a program that allows employees to take part in their favorite outdoor activity,  take on something new or participate in a stewardship project.

They also offer a public transit benefit which provides a 50% pre-tax subsidy on public transit expenses up to the current IRS limit through payroll deduction.

4. Staples

Staples offers its part-time associates access to dental and vision coverage, life, dependent life, accidental death and short-term disability insurance coverage. They’re also eligible for the company’s 401(k) plan after one year and 1,000 hours of service.

Stick with the company for a year and average 30 hours per week, and you’ll be eligible to enroll in a full-time medical plan. Staples also offers 10% employee discounts on online or retail items, adoption assistance and its own confidential employee counseling program.

A Starbucks employee holds a drink up while working the drive through counter at Starbucks.
Photo courtesy of Starbucks

5. Starbucks

Starbucks is well-known for its benefits program for part-time employees. All you have to do to be eligible is work at least 240 hours over three consecutive months, then continue to average 20 hours per week.

Health coverage offered by Starbucks includes routine visits, hospitalization and more, along with dental,vision and life insurance coverage. Alternative care options, like acupuncture or chiropractic treatment, are covered too. After 90 days, employees can opt-in to Starbucks’ 401(k) plan.

Other employee benefits include up to a $10,000 reimbursement for adoption expenses, confidential counseling, full tuition reimbursement, and one pound of Starbucks coffee or Teavana tea every week!

6. UPS

Part-time employees who work between 225 and 400 hours at UPS within a three month period are eligible for medical and dental coverage, vision insurance, hearing, prescription drugs and an employee assistance program.

Part-time employees who exceed 400 hours over three months are eligible for the same benefits as full-time employees.

Part-time employees can also take advantage of the Earn and Learn tuition assistance program  that provides up to $5,250 in assistance per calendar year (with a lifetime maximum of $25,000). Eligibility begins on the day of hire.

7. Trader Joe’s

After three months and working an average of 30 hours per week, Trader Joe’s “crew members” are eligible for medical, dental and vision coverage at a cost as low as $25 per month.

The company also offers a matching 401(k) plan and contributes 10% of a crew member’s salary annually to the plan, according to an employee.

Other employee benefits include a 20% store discount, scholarship programs, store tastings, employee assistance programs and paid relocation and transfers.

8. Aerotek

Aerotek is one of the world’s leading staffing agencies. Part-time employees who work a minimum of 20 hours per week are eligible for contributory medical, dental and vision insurance.

The company also offers a 401(k) and 529 plan, a tuition reimbursement after six months, dependent care flex spending accounts, a free counseling service and an employee discount program with Aerotek’s many retail partners.

9. Chipotle

All hourly crew members at Chipotle are eligible for its robust benefits package that includes medical, vision and dental insurance, as well as a 401(k) match after one year of employment.

Part-time employees also receive a salary percentage-based annual bonus, mental health assistance, education assistance up to $5,250 annually, stock purchase plan, gym membership discounts and one free meal per shift. Free burritos on Chipotle!

10. JPMorgan Chase

The global banking institution offers benefits to its part-time employees, after 90 days, who work between 20 and 40 hours per week.

Benefits include medical, dental, vision, life and accident, disability, before-tax flexible spending accounts and group legal services. JPMorgan Chase also offers a 401(k) match starting at 3% annually and increasing by 1% every year up to a maximum of 10%.

Other offered benefits are an employee stock purchase plan, a comprehensive health and wellness program, parental leave, backup child care options and discounts on banking services.

A postal office workers loads a cart around with letters to post office trucks.
Letter carriers load mail trucks for deliveries at a U.S. Postal Service facility in McLean, Va., Friday, July 31, 2020. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

11. USPS

The United States Postal Service hires career and non-career (temporary/seasonal) workers. Part-time career workers are eligible for its benefits package which includes the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program – a plan in which the federal government pays two-thirds of the health insurance premiums for employees and retirees.

They also offer federal group life insurance (FGLI), and federally-backed long-term care, dental and vision and a flex spending account.

The USPS retirement system, also available for part-time career workers, offers a fixed annuity based on years of service, a defined contribution 401(k) THRIFT Savings Plan with a 5% employer match and Social Security.

12. Wal-Mart

Part-time and temporary associates at Wal-Mart who work an average of at least 30 hours per week over a 60-day period are eligible for benefits.

After the initial 60 days, associates must wait another 60 days to enroll. Once you enroll you’re eligible for the remainder of the calendar year as well as the year after. Benefits include medical, dental, vision, AD&D, critical illness insurance and accident insurance, as well as a 6% 401(k) match after one year and a 10% in-store discount.

Wal-Mart also offers Resources for Living – a free counseling service that offers unlimited phone support anytime and up to 10 no-cost counseling sessions or 10 free weeks of no-cost, chat-based therapy.

13. American Red Cross

Employees at this major nonprofit are eligible for part-time health benefits if they work 20 hours per week Those who work 30 or more hours per week are eligible for full-time benefits.

The American Red Cross also offers a 401(k) plan with a match up to 4%.

14. Kaplan

The American educational training company offers eligible part-time employees access to a third-party company that helps enroll in a range of health insurance policies from multiple insurance carriers. Options include a supplemental hospital plan, life insurance, a dental and vision option, disability insurance and a free prescription discount card.

Part-time employees and their families also have access to free or significantly discounted educational courses offered by Kaplan.

Robert Bruce is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder. Lisa Rowan is a former staff writer.


Plan Your Financial Future at Any Age

Long-term financial goals take five or more years to accomplish and generally apply to major life events. Some of the most important long term financial goals people have include saving for retirement and paying off their mortgage.

Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when thinking about your finances several years down the road. Seeing your responsibility for a mortgage, credit card debt, or personal loan can often feel unmanageable when viewed as a whole. The key to overcoming this feeling is to prepare yourself long before the need arises. Setting long-term financial goals early in life can make the process more manageable.

Long-term financial goals take five or more years to accomplish and generally apply to major life events. To boot: You can set them anytime in your life. This guide breaks down how to set a long-term financial goal at any stage of your life and provides tangible financial goal examples to inspire your planning.

Why Are Long-Term Financial Goals Important?

If you only focus on financial goals relevant to your current situation, you may find yourself unprepared when you experience future life events. For example, saving an emergency fund is an incredibly useful short-term goal, but if you don’t save money outside of that fund, then you will be unprepared for retirement. Long-term financial goals bring awareness to events that may be decades away and help to ensure you’ll be prepared for when they arrive.

Long-Term vs Short-Term Financial Goals

While long-term financial goals focus on several years into the future, short-term goals are concerned with the present. Short-term goals can generally be accomplished within a year and are usually easy to achieve. Typical short-term financial goals include establishing a monthly budget and saving an emergency fund. Establishing key short-term goals can help investors achieve their long-term money goals by getting them on the right track early on.

A venn diagram defines short-term, mid-term, and long-term financial goals.

Long-Term vs Mid-Term Financial Goals

Mid-term financial goals are a gray area in financial planning. They often overlap with short and long-term goals—taking longer to achieve than short-term goals, while less difficult than long-term goals. Saving for a down payment can fall under either type of financial goal since the amount you need to save can vary based on the size of the purchase. It can take more than five years to save up for a house down payment depending on your income and the cost of the house.

Long-Term Financial Goals For Your 20s

Your 20s represent a unique time in your financial journey since many people start out with a blank page. Knowing where to begin can be a challenge, but this time in your life has the power to set the stage for decades to come. Setting financial goals now can improve your quality of life and answer the question, “Where should I be financially at 25?”

 A chart identifies the long-term financial goals a person should set for themselves in their 20s.

Identify Your Retirement Needs

Although your retirement is likely several decades away, identifying your future needs will increase your likelihood of meeting them when they arise.

Think about likely expenses you’ll have at this time in your life. How much might you receive from social security? Will you have rent or mortgage payments? How much will you need to receive from your retirement account to cover your estimated retirement budget?

You can build your current monthly savings plan around your expected future needs. Comparing these needs to your current income will help you determine if these goals are realistic and if you need to find new income streams.

Open a Retirement Account 

Saving money early on is the one of the greatest ways to secure your financial future. The interest you earn on your savings will compound, leading to exponential growth by the time you’re ready to withdraw it. The rule of thumb is to save 15 percent of your pre-tax income each year.

There are multiple options for where to invest your money. A couple of the most common include individual retirement accounts(IRA) and 401(k)s. It can be very beneficial to participate in your employer’s retirement program since they often include company contributions, which is like an addition to your salary.

Save For a House Down Payment

Most people dream of owning property. Building equity in an appreciating asset instead of spending money on rent can be a great way to eliminate future expenses after you pay off the mortgage.

The amount of money you need to save will be dependent upon the cost of your desired home. A down payment of 20 percent can lower your interest rate and eliminate the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI). If your desired first home costs $300,000, then you will need a down payment of $60,000 to meet this requirement. Smaller down payments are possible, but they will affect your interest rate and the likelihood of being approved for the loan.

Pay Off Credit Card Debt 

Credit cards can allow you quick access to funds when you need them most, but carrying credit card debt can quickly wipe out your financial progress. In a perfect world, you’ll be paying off your credit card monthly without accruing any interest.

In the event that you have accumulated credit card debt, it should be a top priority to pay it off. High interest rates, sometimes surpassing 15 percent, offset the gains you’d be making by investing that same money while holding the debt. Use a credit card payoff calculator to learn how long it will take to settle your debt.

Increase Your Earnings Potential 

Making more money is the simple answer to securing your financial future, but how do you go about making it happen? Evaluating where you want to be in five years is a great starting point. Does your career path require a higher level of education than you currently have? Does your current job have a glass ceiling preventing growth?

Talk to your boss about your aspirations. There may be training they can recommend to put you on the ladder of success. If your current employer is unable or unwilling to help, consider upskilling on your own. Get certifications independently or enter a graduate program. Proactively finding ways to increase your earnings is better than wasting years at a dead-end job.

Long-Term Financial Goals For Your 30s

Entering your 30s often brings a new degree of stability to your finances. Ideally, you will be on a career path that allows you to meet most of the long-term financial goals you set for yourself in your 20s. However, with age comes life changes that may require you to shift your priorities.

A chart identifies the long-term financial goals a person should set for themselves in their 30s.

Pay Off Student Loans

The sooner you pay off your debts, the more money you can put toward other financial goals. If you have no higher commitments, it can be better to aggressively pay off your student loans early. Variable loans may be manageable for you at the moment, but if interest rates rise, your loan could quickly increase by more than 5 percent.

Large payments are not a possibility for every investor’s goals. Putting just 10 percent of your gross income toward your student loans can still be enough to whittle away your outstanding debt. As your income increases, aim to pay a larger monthly amount until the loan is eliminated. Using a student loan calculator can help make your goal attainable.

Improve Your Credit Score

A good credit score makes it easier to meet a number of personal financial goals. You can get approved for a better apartment or receive a better interest rate on your car loan and mortgage payments. Although it depends on the scoring system, aiming for a credit score above 700 will generally give you more favorable terms.

Ways to improve your credit score include:

  • Paying your rent on time and not breaking the lease early
  • Using 30 percent (or less) of your total credit limit
  • Paying your credit cards in full each month
  • Keeping old lines of credit open
  • Limiting the number of hard inquiries into your credit
  • Settling any delinquencies

Set a Retirement Date

In your 20s, you might have had a general idea of when you wanted to retire. In your 30s, it’s time to think about a precise date that you can plan around. Your potential retirement year will vary based on your income, debts, and personal commitments.

If you were unable to stick to the goals you made in your 20s, then you may need to adjust your financial planning for retirement to something more attainable. If you are committed to retiring in a specific year, you may need to ramp up your savings and cut unnecessary purchases. Identifying when your mortgage will be paid off and when your kids will be finished with school can also affect your retirement date.

Create a Last Will and Testament

A last will and testament is the legal document used to allocate your property after you die. It also identifies the executor of your estate—the person responsible for settling your outstanding debts and seeing that your will is honored.

Without a will, your assets will be distributed by the government after you die. This can be a costly process with no guarantee that your wishes will be honored. If you have plans for who inherits your belongings, meeting with an estate planning attorney should be made a priority.

Long-Term Financial Goals For Your 40s

Life in your 40s is full of responsibilities. You likely own more assets now than at any other time in your life, your family is growing, and your goals are changing. Now it’s time to reorient your long-term financial goals to your current situation.

A chart identifies the long-term financial goals a person should set for themselves in their 40s.

Pay Off Non-Mortgage Debt 

Aside from your mortgage, which can follow you into your 50s and 60s, all other debt elimination should be prioritized. Just because you eliminated some debts in your 20s and 30s does not mean new debts haven’t appeared.

You may have new credit card debt or student loans from returning to school. Automobile purchases can happen at any point in life. Regardless of the reason for the debt, you won’t want high APR payments lingering when you are approaching retirement age.

Evaluate Life Insurance Policies

Life insurance is what your dependents will use to bolster their lifestyle in the event of your death. Having a comprehensive policy can ensure their needs are met even if your savings at that time are not enough.

Due to the financial obligations the average 40-year-old has, it is often recommended to purchase more life insurance than you initially thought you’d need. You’ll want to make sure your family can cover their living expenses and settle any debts without your income.

Invest in Your Child’s College Fund

Saving for your children’s education is one of the best ways to set them up for financial success. If they can avoid the early debt of student loans, then they can focus on other financial goals earlier.

A college fund is a large investment and it will take a long time to accomplish. Depending on when you have kids, you may want to start their college fund before your 40s to ensure it is adequate by the time they graduate high school.

Maximize Your Earnings Potential 

Most people reach their peak earning potential at some point in their 40s. Putting yourself in a position to maximize this number will set the stage for your quality of life in retirement. A larger income will enable you to max out your retirement contributions.

This is another time to analyze if your current job aligns with your long-term financial plans or if you need to make a change. Look for ways to make more money by negotiating for a raise, earning a promotion, starting a side hustle, or changing employers.

Long-Term Financial Goals For Your 50s and 60s

These two decades in a person’s life often have a large degree of overlap. Your personal commitments are simplified, and your set retirement date is finally within view. All that is left for you to do is tie up loose ends.

A chart identifies the long-term financial goals a person should set for themselves in their 50s and 60s.

Become Entirely Debt-Free

Paying off your mortgage is a major financial goal and getting it done before you retire is a huge accomplishment. Knocking it out while you’re still working full-time enables you to put more money into your retirement portfolio. The same goes for any other outstanding debts that are persisting. These monthly expenses can prolong your time in the workforce past what you originally intended.

Plan Long-Term Care Options

There may come a time in your life when you are no longer able to take care of yourself. You’ll want a plan in place before that happens so your finances will be enough to meet your needs. Make sure your family is aware of your wishes so they can prepare as well. Some things to consider include:

  • Who will be your guardian?
  • Will you receive in-home care or move to a live-in facility?
  • If you require a live-in facility, which one will it be?

Long-term care services are a costly addition to your retirement budget. Setting up funding for such an event years before the need arises can make it more manageable.

Re-evaluate Your Estate

Many changes may have occurred in your life since you first drafted your will. Re-evaluating what assets are currently in your possession will make the process of managing your estate go much smoother. This is another opportunity to discuss your financial affairs and wishes with your family. Avoid unexpected revelations after your death, so there isn’t fighting amongst your loved ones.

Downsize Your Living Expenses

Implementing cost-cutting measures in your life before retirement can help put your future lifestyle into perspective. You may realize that your initial retirement budget can’t meet your needs and you need more time to save.

The house you raised a family in may no longer be necessary once your kids are out of the house. Selling it for a smaller property can add to your savings while reducing expenses. The same can be said for owning multiple vehicles or vacation properties.

Everyone has unique needs and obligations that influence their financial journey. Budgeting and saving can keep you on track to meet your long-term financial goals. Regardless of where your finances stand today, it’s always a great time to prepare for many of life’s important events.

An infographic overviews how to set long-term financial goals, no matter your age or stage of life.

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Which of the 3 Financial Phases Are You In?

Every year we see the same months, holidays and seasons – it’s all pretty predictable. While you may not know when a winter storm will hit, you can usually count on chillier weather come winter. The same can be said for financial phases. While not always easy to predict, you can find patterns if you look for them.

But how does knowing a financial phase pattern help? When it comes to financial planning, the answer is a lot.

What are financial phases?

There is a natural ebb and flow to money habits throughout the year. For example, most of us tend to spend more around the holidays because of gifts and parties. When January hits, people take a look at their budget, set goals for the year and attempt a financial diet. The same can happen in the summer as people splash out on vacations or enjoy a plethora of activities with their families.

Patterns can also occur throughout, showing up in spending and savings habits. Recent college grads probably live on a tight budget with less savings, whereas an established professional might be more focused on long-term goals, such as buying a home or saving for retirement.

Is it the same for everyone?

While the year can offer similar periods of spending and saving, each individual has their own plans, priorities and habits that make them unique. If you enjoy saving, maybe you take vacations during shoulder seasons to take advantage of lower hotel and airfare prices or you sign up for a credit card (of course, paying it off every month) that supports your travel habit – think free rooms, reduced flights, etc. Or if you always go big on your birthday each year, you create a plan to automatically save money every month into a “birthday fund” so when the time comes each year you’re ready.

The same is true when looking at life patterns or saving and investing. If you land a well-paid job out of college, perhaps you spend more lavishly than the average early 20-something would. Or someone who joined the FIRE movement would contribute to their retirement and save differently since they have a different goal. It’s important to understand that each person has their own goals and priorities, and sometimes life gets in the way with unexpected obstacles.

How does knowing this help?

Knowing the patterns can help you plan for the future. If flying home for the holidays with a Santa sack of gifts is your pride and joy, you can plan ahead by only eating in or cutting back on entertainment a few months in advance. When you know something happens annually that you want to enjoy to the fullest and not worry about your cash flow, you can budget it in fun ways beforehand.

For example, if you love having happy hour with friends every week, maybe offer to host it at your house for one month. Rotate who brings the drinks and apps each week, and what you spend in one month can easily be equal to what you spend in one week out on the town.

Taking the time to write down important things to you, both annually and in the bigger picture, is a great starting point. If some of these items have regularly occurring dates, like holidays or birthdays, you can build specific timelines around when you need to focus on saving.

Sometimes there are unplanned events, like weddings or concerts, but you can find ways to save all year round so you have a sturdy fun fund waiting for you when you need it. (Of course, you should only build a fun fund after you have a solid emergency savings fund.)

What phase am I in?

The economic life phase you’re in isn’t necessarily tied to your age, as many people assume. We’ve uncovered that the phases actually better reflect where you are in your life, which is split into three different phases: (1) build and grow, (2) transition (3) and finally, distribute and deploy. For example, a 35-year-old in the FIRE movement and a 68-year-old late saver for retirement can both be focused on their transition into retirement.

Assessing your stage and adjusting your plan should be an ongoing process, but you can only know the phase you are in after you articulate your goals.

Financial phase No. 1: Build and grow

During this phase, decide on your long-term goals and plan for them. Is saving for retirement a top priority? Work toward maximizing your contributions to your 401(k) plan. (A tip I learned early on: When you receive raises, save more and live off of the amount you were already comfortable with.) Or, is buying a home a priority? Then figure out a savings plan for a deposit, mortgage and other expenses that is realistic and build on it.

The build and grow phase is also about protecting your future earnings. This is a good time to look at life insurance and create an estate plan for you and your family. I’m currently in this phase and wanted to ensure that (as scary as it is to think about!) my husband and boys would be OK if something were to happen to me. We bought term life insurance for each of us and created an estate plan to dictate what would happen if something were to happen to me or my husband. This gave us both peace of mind.

Financial phase No. 2: Transition

During this phase, it’s important to understand what you’ve built during your years of saving. It’s also the time to figure out how you want to live once you decide to leave full-time employment. Working with a financial adviser to do a financial goal assessment is important to project how well you’ve saved.

If you haven’t done a budget yet, it’s critical to understand your spending so you know what you will need to live off of.

During this phase, it’s important to factor in possible moves – do you want to stay in your home, downsize or even upgrade? Are there any plans to buy a second home to travel to since you’ll have more time? These are factors to take into account. 

It’s also critical to assess how much risk you’re taking in your portfolio – this is the time to really have a good plan for protecting your assets. If something big happens in the market, it would be terrible to lose a large amount of money and delay your plans to make this transition. 

Financial phase No. 3: Distribute and deploy

In this phase, understanding where and how you are going to pull from your assets is crucial. There are important strategies to think about and tax consequences to consider. 

If you are well-funded and have excess assets, thinking about how you are going to leave your legacy is also important. There are many ways to give, including charities, foundations and personal gifts, and these can be structured to be given while you are alive or after you pass. The beauty of it is, it’s all your choice as long as you have a good plan.

No matter what financial phase you are in, planning and preparing for the next step will always yield positive results. The better you articulate your goals, for both the short and long term, the more likely it becomes you can achieve them.

Managing Director of Growth and Client Experience, Halbert Hargrove

Kelli Kiemle is the Managing Director of Growth and Client Experience at Halbert Hargrove and has been with the firm since 2007. Kelli earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration-Business Communication/Marketing from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California in 2006.


Job Ideas for Boomers Who Need More Work to Get Social Security

We’ve rounded up the answers to the most commonly asked questions about how to accrue Society Security credits so you can get retirement benefits.
How many credits you need — the full 40 or something less — will determine if you need to work full-time or part-time in the limited time you have to accrue credits. Here are some possibilities from our list of part-time jobs for retirees that will work for anyone. It’s imperative, though, that you work for a company that is taking out Society Security taxes or you are paying them yourself if you are self-employed.
For whatever reason, you do not yet qualify to receive Social Security benefits, but you are old enough to begin thinking about your retirement. What can you do about that?
As stated above, as long as you are making ,040 in a year, you are going to earn your four credits for Social Security in that year. The more you earn, the more money you will get back in Social Security benefits when you are ready to access them.

How Social Security Credits Are Accrued

What kind of job can you get after age 50 that will build up your credits? The simple answer is any job where the employer pays Social Security taxes, and we will give suggestions on that later in this post.

If you have accrued enough credits, you will not be denied benefits except under some circumstances. You will be able to collect Social Security benefits even if you move to a foreign country after you retire. Cuba and North Korea are currently the only two countries where you will be denied benefits if you move there. If you are serving time in prison, your benefits may be suspended during that time, however, the general rule is that felons can receive their benefits after being released.
Social Security taxes are taken out of your salary to fund the Social Security program. You must have 40 credits to qualify for Social Security benefits when you reach 62½ years of age.

Almost Any Job Can Build Credits

Can I Get Social Security if I Never Worked?
Can I Buy Social Security Credits?
Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.
If you are or were married for at least 10 years, you are eligible for spousal benefits assuming your spouse is or was eligible for Social Security. Spouses and ex-spouses generally are eligible for up to half of the spouse’s entitlement. Widows and widowers can receive up to 100%. If you have not been married for 10 years or your spouse or ex-spouse is not eligible for Social Security, then you should begin a retirement savings plan (Individual Retirement Account) that will accrue interest and

What if I Have Been Self-Employed?

Social Security benefits are earned through your work history. To be eligible for benefits, you must work full time for 10 years, earning a maximum of four Social Security credits a year. (You could also work part-time over a number of years and earn enough credits.) In 2022, a worker gets one credit for each ,510 earned, so that earning ,040 in one year gets you the four credits for the year.
Can I be Denied Social Security Retirement Benefits?

Jobs That Will Hire Employees at Age 50+

One of those reasons you haven’t paid enough into the system to qualify may be that you stayed home to raise children. That’s a big job for sure, but an unpaid one. Now that the children are grown, you might want to get back into the workplace to earn Social Security benefits.
No. There is no way to make up for lost time with the Social Security program. You get 1 credit for each quarter in which you earn the qualifying amount up to 4 credits per year, and you need 40 to be able to someday receive your Social Security benefits.
Self-employed people (freelancers, gig workers, contractors, etc.) earn Social Security credits at the same rate as others, up to the four credits per year.

  • Online tutoring. Use your skills to teach others in academic subjects or English as a second language. Many tutoring jobs are online.
  • Patient advocate. The job of a patient advocate is to assist someone who is struggling to cope with the healthcare system. A patient advocate deals with paperwork and appointments, and communicates with healthcare providers to get information on diagnosis, treatment and follow up procedures. These positions can be full- or part-time. Check with insurance companies or hospitals for opportunities.
  • Virtual assistant. If you’re the kind of person who loves helping others get organized, you can start a virtual assistant business. Now, you will be self-employed but as long as you are paying those Social Security taxes out of your income, you will accrue credits.
  • Security guard.  While many large businesses like Target or Wal-Mart hire security personnel from a service, small employers such as charitable or service organizations are likely to hire someone who is reliable and gives the appearance of authority. Find these jobs through searching job sites such as Indeed or Monster.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Social Security Credits

Because the salary to qualify for Social Security credits is so low (,510 per quarter), most part-time jobs that take out Social Security taxes will qualify you for Social Security credits.

When you indicate your earnings on your tax return from self-employment, your earnings are taken into account and you earn Social Security benefits. Your taxes to pay for your Social Security benefits are taken out of your taxes at the time you file your tax return.
Keep in mind, though, there are jobs — such as state, county or municipal positions, and some teaching jobs — that have opted out of the Social Security program. That means jobs as public school substitute teachers or part-time work at your local City Hall will not likely earn you any credits.
What Happens if I Don’t Earn 40 Credits for Social Security?
If you never had a job for which you paid taxes, then you cannot receive Social Security benefits on your own, however, you still may qualify to receive benefits after a qualifying spouse’s death. If you were self-employed and made enough money for at least 10 years, you are eligible for Social Security as long as you filed a tax return for those years. The Social Security system is an investment plan which accrues interest on your investments and then pays you back when you retire.
However, most every other job that takes taxes out of your paycheck is paying into Social Security. So, the key to earning Social Security benefits is to get a job. If you are talking to an employer, you can ask them if Social Security taxes are taken out of your paycheck since that is one of the main goals of your working.
The good news is that what credits you have earned over the years are still in your account even if you didn’t work for a number of years. You can add to your account by acquiring a job that takes Social Security taxes out of your salary. Go to to find out how many credits you already have in the system. You’ll need to set up an account first.
Or, perhaps you worked for a public entity that had its own retirement program and did not pay into the federal system. You could retire from that job with 25 years experience and if you’re in your early 50s still have enough time to work to qualify for Social Security benefits.
Jobs where the employer takes money out of your salary to pay into the Social Security system will build your credits.

Many people today begin new careers at the age of 50+. The days of passing over older workers are long-gone because of remote opportunities and perceptions of increased reliability for older workers. Also, there are many job opportunities because of the pandemic-caused Great Resignation.