Trick or Treat?
Happy Halloween! Maybe it’s just me, but I feel as though we have been celebrating this spooky holiday for days and I have been enjoying every moment of it. Festivities started last Friday and have been rocking on ever since, all culminating in tonight’s Trick or Treating for the children. While my days of Trick or Treating are behind me and I don’t have little ones to take, I still love the spirit of the night and have candy ready for anyone who comes to my home.
When it comes to finance, no one wants to be spooked by financial what ifs – in honor of Halloween, let’s demystify some financial planning “tricks” with some helpful “treats”.
TRICK: Financial Planning is only for the wealthy.
TREAT: No matter your net worth, a financial plan can benefit anyone by building a roadmap to help them use their assets to build wealth and achieve their goals. Financial planning can help individuals and families of any income reach their short-term and long-term financial goals – like putting a child through college or saving for retirement.
TRICK: Financial Planning is just investing.
TREAT: While investing is influential to financial planning, financial planning is developing an overall strategy based on cash flow, assets and goals to financial well-being. Discussing asset allocation and rebalancing your portfolio are only part of a financial plan.
TRICK: Financial Planning is a one-time activity.
TREAT: A financial plan is a living breathing document that should be updated throughout your life. An advantage of working with a financial advisor is that as your life circumstances change, your financial plan can be updated to reflect those changes.
TRICK: If I have enough money, I don’t need a budget
TREAT: Regardless of how much money you make or have, a budget is crucial for keeping your finances organized. Knowing your monthly expenses and sticking to them is an excellent way to guarantee bills are paid and savings are on track. Additionally creating a routine reinforces goals and helps in resisting splurging. Determining your monthly budget is not an easy task! Meridian recommends a budget tracking app like mint.com or using a budget spreadsheet. For more tips, check out Lucy’s blog on budgeting.
TRICK: It’s too early to start saving for retirement.
TREAT: Starting retirement savings when you’re young can help ensure the retirement lifestyle you want. Thanks to compound interest, beginning to save and invest retirement funds when you are in your 20’s will help you grow a much larger retirement nest-egg.
TRICK: Savings = Money should be kept in a savings account.
TREAT: There are a variety of savings vehicles other than a bank savings account that can help build financial wealth. A cash savings account of emergency savings with 3 to 6 months of your current living expenses is recommended, but once that is established consider:
- 529 plans for education savings.
- Health Savings Accounts (HSA) for health care needs.
- IRAs and ROTH IRAs for retirement savings (after ensuring you are meeting your employer match in your company retirement plan).
- SEP IRAs for retirement for those who are self employed.
- Individual Investment Accounts for additional savings beyond your emergency account.