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Gazette |

Eye On Your money
by Jana B. Woodhouse

Slow and Steady Wins the Race!!
The Cost of waiting

How many people would like to retire with at least a million dollars?  Well, it is possible but you can’t wait until you are 60 years old to achieve it.  It is all in the planning and strategy.  Once you set a goal, stay focused and though life will hand you some obstacles, you must stay focused and be consistent.  

Let me give you an example.  If you put away approximately $290 a month (less than$10 a day) at age 25 in an 8% tax deferred investment, like your 401k plan, 403b plan or in some insurance products, you will have $1,000,000.  Of course if you wait until age 60, you would need to put away approx. $5,500 a month to accomplish the same goal.   There is a price for waiting.  You have to identify your goals and your dreams; then decided how important they are to you and then go after them with a passion.  It is so unfortunate that the average person preparing for retirement (age 50 +) have less than $50,000 in their retirement savings. 

Your goal doesn’t have to be as long ranged at retirement but if you fail to plan you plan to fail.  I know in these serious economic times, saving is a difficult task but it is not impossible.

Look at what happen every December.  It is the holiday time and we spend, spend and spend.  It is an annual ritual.   Then in January we moan and groan about what we have done and then start setting resolutions to save, but by tax refund time…..we are on the road of spending again.

There are some basic areas that we need to focus on to create the proper plan.  We need to take a little time and put together a budget.   Just check out how much money is coming in and where is it going.  Sometimes we need a little help with this because it is not the easiest task.    Next, we need to pull out the insurance policies and find out what we have protected, our income or lack of income, family, and home.   We also need to check the beneficiaries to make sure they are in proper order.  If your job is your only means of protection, you need to seek guidance because once you leave service so does your coverage in most cases.  Third step would be to examine your debt. In this area, you are looking at your balances, interest rate and your monthly payments.  Fourth, you have to make sure you have an emergency fund, which is 3 to 6 months of your take home pay but aside for major issues that arise.  Last but not least, you want to protect your plan and strategy.  You need to make sure if you have children that you designate a guardian who will take care of the children if something happens to both parents.  Don’t assume anything.  Everyone should have a health proxy (which lets your family know your wishes if you can’t speak), Will and possibly a Trust.  You maybe saying, “I don’t have anything”.  Well, I ask you, if something happens to you; what happens to your furniture, your jewelry, and your clothes.  Make things a little easier on your love ones, plan.

I believe those of you who have pets need to determine “What happens to Fifi?”.  Don’t laugh; I have done a few plans with the pet in mind. 

All I suggest is that you take time and do a little planning so that your life can flow a little smoother. It is sometimes costly to get this type of planning, sometimes between $500 to $1500.   I personally provide this service to my clients and referrals for free because it is my belief and understanding that if someone is hurting or needs financial guidance, they are not going to pay for someone to tell them where the pain is.  They just keep praying the problems go away.  Guess what?  They don’t.  I charge each and everyone to do something going forward for his/her financial health.  Hey, how about saving a $1 a day?

This is your Check Up for the Neck Up.

Jana B. Woodhouse   

If you have questions for Jana B. Woodhouse please email