5 Handy Ways to Pay Down Debt


Paying off debt isn’t easy. Otherwise, most of us wouldn’t have any. While it may sound difficult to achieve, it is possible to get yourself out of debt. Here are a few tips that will help you tackle your debt and live to tell the tale.

Make a Budget

Make a budget that tracks your income and monthly expenses. Once you have determined how much money goes to bills, your emergency fund, as well as day-to-day expenses, you can determine how much surplus cash you have to pay off debts.

Stop Adding to Your Debt

It’s hard to pay off your debt if you keep adding to it. Don’t work against yourself by going further into debt. Once you make a conscious decision to live within your means, you will start to see your debt decrease steadily.

Snowball Method

Developing a strategy for paying off your debt is essential to reducing your debt load. First, you should rank your debt according to interest rate. This will help you identify which debt has the highest interest rate—also known as your first target. You’ll pay the minimum amount due on the debts with the lower interest rates, while any extra cash that you have available will go towards paying above the minimum on the debt with the highest interest rate. Once your most expensive debt is paid off, you’ll divert the monthly payment for that account to the debt with the next highest interest rate. You should follow this pattern until all of your debt is paid off. You will notice that as your debt decreases, the amount of money that you have to pay off your most expensive debt increases, which will allow you to pay off your remaining debts faster. This is where the term “snowball” comes from.

Balance Transfers

A balance transfer might be a good way to help you pay off your debt faster. The right credit card will allow you to reduce the interest rate on your debt, allowing you to pay less over time while paying off your debt faster. Make sure that the credit card comes with no transfer fees and does not charge interest for the first year after you open the account. Ideally, you will pay off the debt before the interest fees kick in.

Use Extra Cash to Eliminate Debt Faster

If you receive some extra cash, use it to pay off your debts instead of spending it. This applies to bonuses that you receive from your employer, cash gifts, or money that you receive from selling something, such as an old piece of furniture that you no longer need.

Keep at It

That debt that you have been itching to get rid of may seem like a lot, but with the right strategy and perseverance, you can achieve your debt-repayment goals.

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8 Useful Ways to Stay on Budget


Staying on budget sounds boring, but it’s certainly a key component of maintaining or achieving financial stability. If you’re not sure how to go about sticking to your budget, look no further. We have all of the information that you need right here.

Set Your Goals

What are you working towards? Your answer will help motivate you to stick to your budget. Whether you’re saving to buy a house or pay off debt, it’s important that you keep your eye on the prize.

Where Does Your Money Go?

How much of your money goes to paying bills and how much goes to unnecessary expenses? Once you determine which is which, eliminate those needless expenses so that you can keep your budget afloat.

Split Your Budget According to Your Pay Schedule

If you get paid more than once a month, it will be easier to manage your bills if you assign each bill to a specific check. If you get paid on the first and the 15th, then your bills that are due during the first part of the month will be paid by the paycheck that you receive on the first and your check that you get on the 15th can cover bills that are due during the second half of the month.

It’s likely that one check will need to cover a larger portion of your bills, so it would be beneficial to set aside part of the other check to help cover these additional expenses.

Set Saving on Autopilot

Setting money aside for emergencies will be a lot easier if you enable automatic transfers to your savings account. Alternately, you can elect to have a portion of your paycheck direct deposited into your savings and another to your checking. By doing this, you will feel confident knowing that you can stay on budget should an emergency arise.

Pay with Cash

You’re less likely to overspend on discretionary expenses if you withdraw a specific amount of cash that you use for these expenses on a weekly basis. Once you run out of cash for the week, then you can’t spend anything else on unnecessary expenses. This method will help you avoid overspending that typically occurs when you use a credit or debit card for all of your spending.

Get Everyone on Board

Getting everyone in your household involved is essential to keeping your budget on track. Make sure that you and your significant other are in agreement on your budget and that you’re both committed to sticking to it. It’s difficult to stay on budget when your partner isn’t working with you. It’s also an unnecessary weight for you to carry on your own.

Additionally, it’s important that you talk about your financial goals. This will keep you motivated to stick to your budget.

Budgeting Tools

There are a variety of tools and apps that will keep your budget in line. Try these apps on for size and evaluate whether or not they work for you. If a new fangled app isn’t your thing, go for the tried and true spreadsheet or even a handwritten budget. All that matters is that you find something that works for you.

Treat Yourself

Reward yourself for all of your hard work every few months, but try not to go too crazy. Life is meant to be enjoyed, so keep that in mind when working towards your goals.

What has helped you stay on budget and achieve your financial goals?

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Combining Finances with Your Significant Other


So, you’re taking the plunge and combining finances with your significant other? If you’re not sure how to go about this responsibly, here are a few tips to help you navigate the process.

Deciding When to Combine Finances

The right time to combine finances is different for every couple. Some decide that the best time to do it is upon moving in with each other in order to make paying mutual bills easier. Others decide to go for it after living together for a few years. It’s also common for couples to combine finances after getting married. Deciding to combine finances is an important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. No matter when you decide to do it, be sure that it’s the right decision for everyone involved.

Talk it Out

Before you start sharing a bank account, you and your significant other need to talk about a few things to determine if you’re ready for that step. It’s important that you discuss the following during this talk:

  • What are your respective spending habits? Who is a spender or a saver?
  • What are your financial goals? Topics can include when you want to buy a house and when should you retire.
  • What are your expectations of each other?

Being on the same page about financial decisions is important when you start mixing finances with another person.

How Will You Split Expenses?

There are a few different ways that couples can split expenses. Determining which one works best for you and your partner is key. Here are a few common ways that couples split their expenses:

  • 50/50 Split: This method calls for each person to pay half of every bill. If both of you make around the same amount of money, this might be a good option.
  • Proportionate Split: If one of you makes a lot more than the other, it might be best to split expenses in proportion to your incomes so that the person who makes less money doesn’t experience additional strain while trying to stay on top of the bills.
  • Each Person Takes a Bill: Assigning each person a set of bills that they are responsible for each month might work for you. This is also another way to split expenses according to income. The person who makes less money could be responsible for less-expensive bills.

Once you have decided how you will be splitting expenses, you should create a budget that will keep you and your partner on track to reach your financial goals.

Is a Joint Account Right for You?

Having a joint account might prove to be beneficial for you and your significant other. Even if you keep your own accounts for personal expenses, having a joint account should make it easier to pay for shared bills and expenses, such as your mortgage, car payments and child care expenses.

And don’t forget about that emergency fund! It will surely come in handy if one of you loses their job or has health problems, and it will decrease the amount of pressure that your partner experiences during these stressful times.

Do Your Lifestyles Match Up?

Do you or your partner have more expensive tastes than the other? Are either of you involved in expensive hobbies? Make sure that you discuss these lifestyle choices and who will be funding them before you combine any of your money.

Check In with Each Other

Setting up a regular time to discuss your financial concerns and progress will reduce confusion and alleviate tension surrounding financial decisions. It’s essential that you’re open about your feelings so that you can avoid money-related arguments and financial problems.

Have you combined finances with your significant other? What made the transition easier?

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8 Easy Tips for Living Within Your Means

Living within your means may sound boring, but it’s an essential practice if you’re looking to pay down your debts and reach your financial goals. If you’re not sure where to start, use these tips to guide you along the path to long-term financial independence.

Tracking Income and Expenses

It’s essential that you track your expenses so that you’ll know exactly what you have to spend your money on every month. Monitor your expenses for one month’s time, including all of your cash, credit and debit purchases. Then, develop a budget based on the insights you gathered while tracking your expenses. Knowing how much you have to spend each month will help you set limits on your spending and is an essential component of living within your means.

Negotiate Prices

When it comes to medical or cable bills, it’s best not to take the first offer. If you’re the one footing the bill, try to see if there is any wiggle room on the price you are quoted. Doing research and then talking to your doctor’s billing office may help you reduce a hefty medical bill. Asking your cable provider if they are running any specials might help you achieve a lower monthly bill. Shopping around for a new provider might prove to be the best option. The key takeaway is to first see if a price for any service is negotiable and then try to get it lowered.


Food expenses can add up quickly if you’re not careful. Instead of going out to lunch every day, try brown bagging it a few extra days each week. Freeze food that you buy on sale for a later date, but only if you plan on using it.

Take Stock of What You Have

Before rushing out to buy a new outfit for your cousin’s wedding, look through your closet to see what you already have. It’s likely that you have the perfect outfit waiting for you and it won’t cost anything extra.

Do it Yourself

Trying to fix small tears and nicks in your furniture can help you save a lot of money and prolong the life of your furniture. Repurposing items that you already have before buying something new will also help you hold onto your money. Here’s a list of simple ways to upgrade your furniture on a budget. Or, you can always head over to Pinterest.

Don’t Fall Victim to Lifestyle Inflation

When you get a bonus or a raise, use it to pay off debt or save as much of it as you can. By doing this, you will avoid what is commonly known as lifestyle inflation, which is the tendency to increase your spending as your income increases. Lifestyle inflation reduces your ability to pay down debt and reach your savings goals. Spending a little extra on yourself is fine, but don’t spend so much that you remain in the same financial position year after year.

Ignore What Others May Think

A lot of frivolous spending is the result of trying to impress others. Avoiding that mentality can be difficult, but overspending is an easy route to debt or delayed retirement. Trying to please others is not a good enough reason to go into debt. The people that you’re trying to impress are probably way less concerned with the car that you drive or the shoes that you’re wearing than you think they are.

More Ways to Save

You can easily decrease spending and continue to live within your means in all areas of your life by being aware of which expenses you can cut. Here are a few additional ways that you can reduce spending:

  • Buy books used or hit up your local library.
  • Determine whether you really need a new car or just want one.
  • Shop sales or avoid purchasing designer or name brand items.
  • Avoid impulse purchases at all costs.

Saving Money Can Feel Good

Saving money and cutting expenses feels good. Once you get in the swing of things, you’ll start looking for new ways to live within your means. What steps have you taken to more effectively live within your means?

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5 Small Expenses Making a Big Dent in Your Bank Account


Sometimes, it’s the little things that can derail your budget. Those purchases that seem small will eventually start adding up and prevent you from reaching your financial goals. Keep this information in mind and you should be able to decrease your monthly expenses.

Food and Beverages

Food costs can sink your budget fast if you’re not careful. Whether you’re getting a bag of chips from the vending machine at work, picking up a candy bar at the gas station or going out to lunch everyday, you’re needlessly decreasing the amount of money that you could be saving. You can avoid these expenses by planning ahead and bringing your own lunch and snacks to work each day.

Additionally, if you’re going to the coffee shop for that daily cup of coffee, then you’re doing major damage to your bank account. Try to bring your own coffee from home or see if your employer will invest in a good coffeemaker for you and your coworkers.

Bank Fees

Banks make a lot of money on those pesky fees that they always seem to be charging. One way that you can avoid incurring such fees is to not go negative on your account. Also, try to carry the minimum balance that your bank requires you to have in your checking account so that you don’t have to pay an additional fee.

If you’re looking for a less-expensive banking solution, check out a local credit union. Credit unions usually charge their members less to keep an account and they generally have fewer fees.

Name Brand Prescriptions

Generic prescriptions usually do the job just as well as their name brand counterparts for a fraction of the price. If your doctor prescribes a name brand prescription, ask if there is a generic alternative before forking over your hard-earned money.

Lottery Tickets

That weekly scratch-off ticket or Powerball entry comes with so many possibilities, including an easy way to throw away your money. It may feel like you’re not spending much, but spending money on the lottery every week does add up over the span of five to ten years. You would be much better off saving the money that you’re spending on lottery tickets.

Taking Too Many Short Driving Trips

Taking too many short trips to run errands is a surefire way to waste both gas and money. Try to group as many of your trips together so that you don’t waste too much gas.

Small Changes Can Lead to Big Savings

Indulging ourselves from time to time is perfectly fine, but if you’re looking to spend less money every month, then you should evaluate whether or not those small purchases are preventing you from reaching your financial goals. We all can cut back on our expenses if we put a little effort into doing so. If you’re not sure which expenses are costing you, review your bank statements to get a better idea of where your money is going.

Which expenses have you eliminated in order to save money?

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When to Use Your Emergency Fund


Building an emergency fund is an important component of financial stability. But how do you determine when to use it? After putting all of that hard work into growing your fund, it’s essential that you use it wisely. Consider these questions before tapping into that rainy day fund:

  • Is this an unexpected expense?
  • Do I need to pay for this in order to function?
  • Is this an immediate need?

If you can answer “yes” to at least one of these questions, then it’s time to break into that emergency fund. If you’re looking for a little more guidance on when to use your fund, keep reading. We’ve gathered some useful information that will help you determine when it’s appropriate to use your emergency savings.

Vehicle Emergencies

For most of us, our cars are essential to accomplishing almost everything that needs to be done throughout the day. Whether it’s shuttling the kids to and from school or making sure that you get to work on time, we’d be lost without the use of our vehicles. If your car breaks down or kicks the bucket, turn to your emergency fund to cover the cost of repairs or a down payment on a new car.

You should not use this money for routine maintenance, including oil changes and tire rotations. Your monthly budget should include vehicle maintenance as an expense so that you can keep your car running smoothly.

Home Emergencies

If you have mold, your home recently flooded or you have water damage, then it’s definitely time to call on your emergency fund. The last thing that you want to think about after a catastrophic event—such as a tornado—is how you’re going to pay to repair your home. Having money set aside will help you cover insurance deductibles and get your home back in order.

Job Loss or Job Relocation Costs

The standard amount of emergency savings you should have squirreled away is between three and six month’s worth of expenses. This is due to the amount of time that it takes to find a new job. Having money set aside will allow you to cover your bills while you look for a new job. Don’t forget to see whether or not you qualify for unemployment so that you can use as little of your emergency fund as possible.

If you have to move for a new job and your employer won’t cover the cost of moving, your emergency fund will allow you to get from Point A to Point B with ease.

Emergency Travel or Funeral Expenses

If you need to travel to visit a sick relative or attend a funeral, your emergency fund will be there to help you during difficult times so that you can be there for your friends and family.

By keeping an emergency fund, you’ll also have money set aside for funeral costs if a family member passes away. Even if they have life insurance, you’ll likely need money up front to pay for these services until the insurance company can reimburse you.

Medical Emergencies

If you or a family member are injured and require medical treatment or surgery, your emergency fund can pay the bills. It can also pay for unexpected dental work, which is usually expensive. Your emergency fund can cover emergency vet bills, too, so that you can keep your furry friend in good shape.

Remember, your emergency savings is ideal for unexpected medical costs, but it should not be used for routine care, such as dental cleanings or annual checkups.

Preparation is Key

Effectively managing your rainy day fund ensures that it will be available when you need it most. Remember to replenish your fund as soon as you can so that you’ll be covered the next time you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t use your fund to pay down debt (unless it’s going to be turned over to collections), as well as other routine costs, and you’ll be able to keep your fund in good shape.

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8 Tips that Will Help You Save On a New Car


Shopping for a new car is both an exciting and stressful process. So many questions start running through your head as you do all of the necessary planning to make your new car dreams a reality. Whether this is the first new car that you’re buying on your own or your fifth, these tips will help you get the best deal possible.

Know What You Can Afford

Knowing how much you can afford to pay will guide you throughout the research process. You should know what monthly payment you can afford before getting attached to a vehicle that is outside of your budget.

You should also factor in cost of ownership when estimating your monthly car expenses. Factors that you should consider include how much you’ll pay for insurance, gas and vehicle maintenance each month.

Do Your Research

Once you know how much you can afford to pay, you’re ready to start researching cars. Compare a variety of different vehicles within your pre-determined price range and avoid letting emotion influence your decision if possible. You also want to read reviews of each vehicle you’re considering and you should look into how much each vehicle costs to maintain.

When Is the Best Time to Buy?

Knowing the best time to buy can save you a lot when they bring you the final bill. Traditionally, the best time to purchase a new car is the last week of December, as dealers will be working furiously to reduce their stock from the current model year.

If you’re looking to buy a brand new model, wait a few months for prices to drop. Dealers charge more for a new model until their inventory increases.

Get Pre-Approved for an Auto Loan

It may seem like a hassle, but securing financing for your new car before you even step on the lot can save you a lot of money. If you put work into getting approved for a loan ahead of time, you could receive an interest rate that is a couple of points lower than what the dealer may offer. Check with an area credit union to see what interest rate you could qualify for—they’ll be able to walk you through the process with ease.

Call Ahead

Once you have narrowed down which cars you want to look at and have found a suitable dealer, you should call ahead or submit a request online to see the car that you’re interested in. By doing this, you will provide the sales team with ample time to get the cars out and ready to test drive.

Take Advantage of the Test Drive

When you take a car out on a test drive, make sure that you see how the car performs in a variety of different settings. Drive it on the highway and in traffic. You should also see how the vehicle handles while parking. Be sure that you have the mirrors and seats set to your specifications to get a good idea of how the car feels.

You should also ask the salesperson to show you how all of the bells and whistles work. Knowing what you’re getting for your money is a key part of the test drive.

Don’t Fall to Pressure

Don’t believe a salesperson when they tell you that a deal comes with a time limit. Unless the deal is tied to a specific sale or promotion, they are trying to get you to make a snap decision without considering all of the facts.

Additionally, if the salesperson offers a different car to you than what you had planned on getting, make sure that you go home and do your research before agreeing to take the deal. You need to know what you’re agreeing to before saying yes.

Time to Negotiate

When it comes time to negotiate the price of your car, make sure that you’re negotiating on the full price of the vehicle, not your monthly payment. Otherwise, the salesperson will know what they can tack on to the price of the vehicle to reach the maximum you’re willing to pay for the car each month. If you’re trading in your vehicle, make sure that you know how much you can expect to receive for your trade-in so that you’re not surprised by their offer.

For additional information on negotiating, use these tactics to ensure that you get the best deal possible.

Take the Guesswork Out of Shopping for a New Car

By using these tips, you’ll be sure to take the guesswork out of car shopping. What tips can you share to make shopping for a new car more manageable?

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8 Car Maintenance Myths that Are Costing You Money


Due to technological advancements, cars built within the last several years don’t require the same level of service as cars that were built 30 years ago. If you are a car owner, you have certainly received a lot of unsolicited advice from a few well-meaning individuals looking to help you keep your car in good condition. If you’re not sure what advice to take, we’ve compiled a list of myths and related facts that should help you distinguish reality from fiction.

Myth #1: You Must Change Your Oil Every 3,000 Miles

Unless you’re pulling a trailer, driving through the mountains or a dusty climate, or you start and stop a lot while driving, you only need to change your oil every 7,500 miles. Otherwise, you’re just throwing your money out the window on unnecessary service.

Myth #2: You Need a Tuneup Every 60,000 Miles

Tuneups have become unnecessary as manufacturers continue to improve the construction of the vehicles we purchase. In the past, tuneups were needed in order to change the spark plugs, rotors and points, as well as distributor caps. Now, spark plugs last around 100,000 miles, cars don’t come with rotors and points, and most don’t even come with distributor caps.

Myth #3: Keep Chassis Lubricated

If your car was made within the last couple decades, then you do not need to lubricate the chassis. Ignore any mechanic who tells you otherwise—they are only in it for the money.

Myth #4: Flush Your Coolant Every Fall and Spring

These days, coolant—also known as antifreeze—is made to last around five years, which eliminates the need to flush your cooling system twice a year. However, you should keep an eye out for decreases in coolant levels, as this may be a sign of a leak.

Myth #5: Flush Transmission Regularly

Modern transmission systems do not need to be flushed prior to reaching 60,000 miles. If your transmission has a filter, check your owner’s manual to see how often it should be replaced.

Myth #6: Premium Gas is the Best Gas

Most cars do not require premium gas—it is perfectly alright to fuel up with gas that has an octane of 87. Higher octane fuels are designed for high-compression engines that run hotter than your everyday vehicle. While higher octane fuel won’t hurt your vehicle, it does not provide any real value and costs you more money.

Also, keep in mind that fuel injectors are not necessary unless your vehicle’s manufacturer says so. Gasoline is required to have detergents in it that keep your car’s fuel injectors and combustion chambers clean. If your car is running rough, it is likely because of another issue.

Myth #7: You Need to Inflate Tires to the Amount Listed on the Tire Sidewall

The numbers listed on the sidewall of your tires is the maximum amount of pressure that the tires can safely handle. The recommended amount of pressure in pounds per square inch should be listed on the sticker in your glove compartment, inside your fuel door or on your driver’s side door jamb. By using the amount listed in these places, you will avoid unnecessary wear and tear to your tires.

Myth #8: You Must Get Service Done at the Dealer to Keep Warranty Valid

You need to follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations for your warranty to remain valid. The dealer will recommend additional service so that you will spend more money at their establishment. You can take your vehicle to an independent mechanic or perform the maintenance yourself. Your warranty will remain valid as long as you keep records of the work performed. Remember, it is important to follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for changing your oil and air filter in order to ensure that your warranty remains valid.

Always Consult Your Handbook

Knowing which advice to follow can be frustrating, but it is possible to keep your car in good shape without overspending by doing your research and consulting the owner’s handbook provided by the manufacturer.

What false vehicle maintenance advice have you received?

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Personal Finance Tips for Every Stage of Your Life


Your age makes a big difference when it comes to your personal finance goals and what you should do to reach them. Knowing what to focus on at each stage of your life is important to ensuring that you remain financially stable. Regardless of your financial goals, the following tips will keep you on track throughout each life stage.

Twenties: Building a Solid Financial Foundation

Finishing college and figuring out where you want to live may be on the top of your list, but don’t forget to keep your finances in mind as your forge your own path.

  • Develop your personal finance knowledge.
  • Create a budget and track expenses.
  • Start saving for retirement—take advantage of your employer’s 401(k) offering.
  • Start paying down your student loan debt.
  • Build your credit by managing your credit cards responsibly.
  • Start saving for a rainy day.
  • Make money on the side by freelancing.

Thirties: Achieving Financial Goals

Your career is in full swing and starting a family may be a high priority. Make sure that you continue to make progress towards paying down your debt.

  • Save up to buy a house (if you haven’t already!).
  • Set money aside for expenses that come with having children.
  • Create your investment portfolio with the help of a certified financial planner.
  • Pay off your non-mortgage debt and plan to have your student loans paid off by 40.
  • Keep enough in your emergency fund to cover 6–12 months of expenses.
  • Make sure your budget matches your financial goals.
  • Write your will and keep it updated.

Forties: Investing Aggressively

Retirement is not as far off as your may think. Keep your investments in line with your retirement goals.

  • Invest with retirement in mind.
  • Evaluate your progress with your financial planner.
  • Keep your credit cards paid off and reduce any remaining debt.
  • Max out your employer benefits and watch your 401(k) grow.
  • Make the maximum contributions to a traditional IRA or Roth IRA.

Fifties: Keeping Your Eye on the Prize

Retirement is on the horizon. It’s time to eliminate your remaining debt so that you can retire as soon as you possibly can.

  • Pay off your mortgage to avoid working longer.
  • Diversify your investments to reduce financial risk.
  • Get out of debt completely.
  • Reduce financial commitments.
  • Continue to max out your employer benefits.
  • Start planning when you want to retire.

Sixties: Moving On

It’s almost time to retire. Make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row before your last day on the job.

  • Know how long your retirement savings will last.
  • Evaluate whether or not you will need a part-time job when your retire.
  • Sell any remaining assets you don’t need.
  • Create your retirement budget.
  • Make any necessary long-term health care plans and evaluate whether or not you need to supplement Medicare coverage.
  • Review social security benefits.
  • Make plans for the transfer of your business if you pass away.
  • Keep your will updated.

Regardless of your life goals, you need to have a plan for managing your finances so that you are taken care of throughout your life. What are your doing to reach your financial goals?

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6 Essential Tips for Retirement Success


Most people don’t spend enough time planning for retirement even though it’s essential to ensuring their financial well-being in their later years. Some people spend months—even years—planning their weddings, but hardly give a thought to what retirement means for them. If you’ve been putting off retirement planning, here are a few things that you need to consider in order to make sure that you’re taken care of when you’re older.

Start Saving Now

If you haven’t started saving for retirement, start now so that you’re in the best possible situation the day you retire. If your employer offers 401(k) matching, take advantage of it, but make sure that you know the terms of their program. Putting off saving for retirement can cost you thousands of dollars when you could really use it.

Still need to be convinced about the importance of saving early? Check out this calculator to see how 5 years can make a difference when it comes to saving for retirement.

How Much Will You Need?

Knowing how much you’ll need for retirement can be a guessing game if you don’t know where to start. Most people need to earn 70–90% of their preretirement income in order to maintain their standard of living. You should also keep in mind that most Americans spend approximately 20 years in retirement.

When calculating how much you will be able to save for retirement, remember that you may not work full-time throughout your career, you may not always make as much as you make now, and your salary may not rise as much as you expect it to over the course of your working years. Keeping the estimate of what you can save on the conservative side will decrease the number of surprises that you may encounter down the line.

Social Security

Remember, you should delay collecting social security as long as possible. Most people are eligible for social security as early as 62, but delaying to 66 or even 70 will increase your monthly payouts in a meaningful way.

To learn more about your social security benefits, contact the Social Security Administration.

Meet with a Financial Advisor

Going to a professional might alleviate some of the concerns that you have about planning for retirement. A financial advisor will assess whether or not you have the appropriate mix of stocks, bonds and savings while addressing any other financial concerns that you may have.


If the kids have long since moved out and their bedrooms have remained empty, you might consider selling your home for a less-expensive option. Downsizing to a smaller home might free up some extra cash for your retirement savings and will allow you to purchase a home that will be easier to maintain as you age.

What Does Retirement Look Like for You

As you get closer to retirement, start planning for the day that you want to retire and address any matters that you need to before then. You’ll need to know how much you expect make each month and what your monthly expenses will be. Determine whether or not you’ll need to work and how much. If you don’t plan on working, what will your days look like? Going from working full-time to having your daily schedule wide open can be a major adjustment.

Whether retirement is decades away or just around the corner, these tips will help you navigate the transition to retirement seamlessly.

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