Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Working and Social Security are Thought to be Mutually Exclusive

Working and Social Security are thought to be mutually exclusive incomes---not so---see the link for the calculator, or just click on the title to this blog.     http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/RTeffect.html

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How to Turn Hidden Talents into Steady Income

When I was in high school most pep rally and assembly speakers spoke on the same basic theme….”dream big, don’t under-estimate your abilities, you can do whatever you want to do with your life, you can accomplish anything”.  Clich├ęs, perhaps, but since the bible says, “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”, there has to be some truth in the words.  A book I read many years ago said, “If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it”.

After listening to the motivational speakers I would work harder at whatever sport I happened to be participating in at the time.  Basketball was my main interest.  I can remember spending eight hours a day at the gym during Christmas break trying to hone my skills.  After playing as many games of basketball as possible, came more weights, more pull-ups, more push-ups, etc.  I can still remember hours of dribbling around obstacles in our cement floored basement.  I never became a Rick Mount, Pistol Pete Maravich, or Jimmer Fredette, but I did have fun playing high school ball. 

All this did manage to teach me the beginnings of important lessons about life.  Simple rule #3 for getting to retirement sooner, or to a vastly more successful financial life, or to a more successful life in general is BELIEVE IN YOUR OWN CAPABILITIES

First you have to identify what you are good at, or may be good at.  What unique skills do you have that can help you maximize your earning capacity.  Our oldest son Jason hated the corporate life when he graduated as an electrical engineer from University.  He believed he could learn about anything he put his mind to, so he taught himself how to podcast on the internet when it was a brand new communications medium in 2005.  He developed his new found interest/skill and was able to increase income and eventually quit the corporate world. 

Jason wrote a book about podcasting and was published by a New York firm.  He did book-signings and became somewhat of a celebrity in his “field”.  He basically established himself as an expert in this new found endeavor.  His book is used now as a text book on how to podcast by many colleges. This first project has led our son Jason into a world he has created of his own Internet Businesses with a six figure income; not revenue, but personal income.       

The point---if you can conceive and believe you can achieve.  I am a firm proponent of the notion that we need to BELIEVE IN OUR OWN CAPABILITIES, and that our capabilities may be much more vast than we suspect.  More to come on this topic in subsequent posts. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

$378,000 versus $132,000


A quote from MONEY CRASHERS ‘Should You Save for Retirement at a Young Age?’ at http://www.moneycrashers.com/should-you-save-for-retirement-at-a-young-age/    If you started contributing $100 a month to your retirement account at the age of 25, and you were going to retire at the age of 60, then your account would reach $379,000.  If you started saving for retirement at the age of 35 with the same contribution, then you would have just $132,000.  The point is obvious.  If you start saving NOW, compound interest becomes your best friend.  This is not even factoring in matching contributions that a company may make.”

For my over 25 friends, no to worry-----starting late can work. You have to be more aggressive.  More on that in a few days, but the rest of this story will bless your children, of the next generation. So read on. 

Many years ago I was riding in a car with three friends who worked for the same employer.  We were driving several hundred miles to a conference and had time to talk about a little bit of everything.  We covered most fun topics and laughed hard.  Finally, the youngest guy in the group got bold and asked how our 401K’s were doing in a volatile investment market.  Other than himslef the rest of us were within 5 - 10 years of retiring.  Silence…He had hit upon a subject that was not really open for discussion as we hemmed and hawed without really answering.     

We then learned his motive for asking.  He wanted to do some bragging, and perhaps rightfully so, about his wisdom to start saving early and aggressively.  Once he retired he would be 35+ years working and his account would be well over $1,000,000. The subject was dropped as we went into contemplative silence about the future. 

My mind went into curiosity mode as I wondered if I could "catch-up", not that we males are competive or anything of the sort.  Later I called this friend and quizzed him about his savings plan and how he invested.  He had a higher tolerance for risk than I.  But I learned some good lessons from him. Foremost; start saving early and as aggressively as possible and leave it alone till you retire.

Studies show that children usually develop the habit of saving money if they are taught how while young.  Hopefully you were fortunate enough to be taught this essential skill.  If not, then gut-it-out and start putting money away today.  Set up your accounts to have money contributed automatically to a savings account, so you don’t even “see” it, and before long you won’t miss it.  Even if it’s only $25.00 or $50.00 per pay-check, get started. 

Most investment experts suggest we save 10% of what we earn. They make the claim that if we do this early enough and through-out our working life it will turn us into millionaires.  Stretch that initial contribution to the 10% level as soon as you can.  Doing it early in life benefits the bottom line much more than starting late, but no matter your age, maximize savings now.  

If you work for a company that matches savings funds in an investment account, such as a 401K, you can build wealth quickly making 50%-66% annually on your newly contributed money, in addition to regular interest returns.  One of the things necessary for success is leaving the money alone until you retire.  Don’t borrow against it, nor take early distributions. 

If you are saving for an emergency fund or for a down payment on a home, do it in a separate account.  Let your ‘nest-egg’ work for you earning interest through-out your working life.  In our case, after building to a level that kicked in full matching funds from my employer, we put our 401K savings on automatic annual 1% increase.  We will hopefully ‘retire’ from my first career in about a year and this savings account will be a huge blessing for the next 20-25 years. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Four Simple Rules Will Help You Get to Retirement Sooner

The time to start preparing for retirement is when you are still young.  Don't wait until you complete your educational training, don't wait until you pay off your educational loans, don't wait until your start your family. Do it today. Four simple rules will help you get to retirement sooner.  You will have security for the “long” future of freedom ahead. 
Here  are the four keys:
1)      Start saving as much as you can right now. 
2)      Simplify your lifestyle to accommodate aggressive savings.
3)      Believe in your own capabilities.
4)      Discover your inherent strengths and put them to work for you right now. 
I am going to blog on each of these 4 keys in seperate posts in the near future.

Now, a success story: 

My son Jason “retired” at the ripe young age of 28.  He hasn’t worked a day away from home since. He is now 34 years old and lives well.  He discovered the key to controlling his destiny by having the nerve to invest in his own capabilities. 
Jason found what brought him the most satisfaction by using his inherent strengths to build his own world.  Currently he is traveling in Europe enjoying meeting with “clients”, a great tax break due to the working vacation idea, and visiting places he has always wanted to explore.