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5 Costly Retirement Regrets We Should Avoid

5 Costly Retirement Regrets We Should Avoid

There is much to consider when preparing for retirement. New retirees are always more than eager to share stories, successes and mistakes they have made along the way. If you listen closely, chances are many of them will tell you something they wish they could do over or do different.  Here are 5 costly retirement regrets we should all avoid.

1. Spending too much in your peak years.

When you were young, you wanted the finer things in life; Cars, houses, cloths, boats etc. As you get older, spending too much in your peaks years becomes a retirement mistake.

This is because you lose the power of compound interest. The longer you keep your money invested, the more of it you will get out. Most people in their twenties and thirties unfortunately do not think this way until it is too late.

The best way to avoid this retirement mistake is to first control your spending. Clean up your vision board, you don’t need all those material things to show how successful you are. As Dr Sues once said “Those who matter don’t care, and those who care don’t matter”

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Next, get financially literate. Take some money classes to understand how to build a budget, get out of debt and invest.

Make sure you are also putting some money back in your youth. It may not seem like much right now, but little drops of water make a mighty ocean.

2. Not taking good care of your health and body

Entering into retirement with bad health can have some very costly consequences.  When we are young, we spend so much time working, so much so that health and fitness is often the last thing on the mind. The mistake here is that too often; people pay the cost of their bad food and exercise choices when they have the least amount to spend – retirement.

This retirement mistake will not only have you running out of money too soon into your retirement, it will also rob you of precious time that could have been spent with family.

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The best way to avoid this retirement mistake is to remember that your health is your only true measure of wealth, so take good care of yourself.

Start by making better food choices and also exercising to keep you looking young and vibrant. At retirement, you will probably be paying your own health insurance out of pocket, so it pays to have a solid foundation in health and wellness.

3. Borrowing from yourself

A major mistake people make heading into retirement is borrowing from their retirement accounts to fund large purchases. This could be a second home, a remodel, or a child’s college education. The big mistake here is not only will you have to pay taxes, penalties and fees to get your money out; you may also have to work longer.

The emotional attachment that leads you to justify making these large purchases will cost you big in the long run

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The best way to avoid this money mistake is to remember why you started saving in the first place. These fees are put in place to remind you of the commitment you have made to secure your final future.

Maybe start a fund for whatever project it is you want to accomplish. Set measurable savings goals over a set period of time to meet this financial goal. You may have to get an extra job, however it will be well worth it.

4. Not downsizing soon enough

Life can often feel like one big roller-coaster ride.  We leave the comfort and acreage of our parents homes to the small nest eggs of a bachelors pad or apartment. As we get older and have our own families, we also follow suit and acquire our own large homes to raise our kids in. However this becomes a retirement mistake if you do not know downsize soon and early enough. Whether it’s moving into a smaller home or selling off a second car, don’t forget that you must already be living below your investment income going into retirement. Most folks waiting to cut back at retirement will be drowned out by the cost of downsizing.

The best way to avoid this retirement money mistake is to make sure that you are not blinded by your pride. Do not be given to the temptation of keeping up the perceptions others have of you. At this age you should be travelling and enjoying the world with your spouse much more than you did when you were younger. Chances are you will not need the huge house. Not to mention, you will be paying lower monthly bills.

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5. Not kicking a bad habit early enough

There is a feeling of invincibility we all feel when we are young. We develop vices too often as a means to socialize or pass the time. From alcohol consumption, smoking cigarettes to gambling, most people regrettably count the cost of their vices when it is too late.

While it is OK to indulge yourself in whatever past time you choose, the retirement mistake here is forgetting to count the cost. A regular smoker will very easily spend three thousand dollars a year on cigarettes. This is money that could have been put into a ROTH IRA.

The best way to avoid this mistake is to create an allocation system for yourself or a play fund. This is a reasonable amount of money you have allowed yourself to spend on all vices. Your need to live a comfortable life in retirement must be greater than your need to have too much fun now.

Approaching retirement doesn’t have to be all dark and gloom. Just remember that the choices and decisions you make now will affect the rest of your future.

Featured photo credit: http://theneotericgroup.com/experience/retirement-residences/ via theneotericgroup.com

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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