Top 20 Tips from 20 Years
(The Series Continues . . .)
Today, there’s only room for three strategies to help build your finances:
#11 – Reduce marital stress and strain with a plan (and a budget). Part I – Budgeting: Do you and your spouse argue over money? Do you have a written monthly budget that you’ve agreed on? Money is cited as one of the top reasons for divorce. Getting on the same page about how you spend your family’s income can be a marriage saver! Part II – Retirement: Will you retire at the same time? A lot of questions surround the decision about when to retire (especially if there’s a big age difference between spouses). You can reduce potential conflict by building a plan that looks at various scenarios from a financial perspective.
#12 – On a related note, it is essential to explore and select the best Social Security election date for your particular situation. There are many different options (especially for couples) on when to start drawing your SS benefits (e.g., file and suspend, filing a restricted application, and filing for spousal benefits). There are also many personal and financial factors that need to be considered. Tackle this decision “head-on” by getting a copy of your SS statement (if you haven’t been mailed a statement lately, go to www.ssa.gov to print a copy). Using online software, or with the help of a properly trained financial planner, you can make the most of your Social Security benefits.
#13 – Many retirees arrive at retirement with Social Security, possibly a pension, the equity in their home, various company retirement plans, IRAs, after-tax investment accounts, and cash. To keep income taxes to a minimum, it’s important to plan how to draw from these various accounts when paychecks stop. Of course, the investments within these accounts should match your tax strategy. For example, you wouldn’t want to draw on your IRA and have it be invested 100% in the stock market. You’d likely be better served by doing your stock investing in another account and choose something more stable (less risky) for the IRA you are drawing against. The long-term benefit of staying in the lower income tax brackets can be significant and well-worth the time and effort. Twenty years and counting, and not one person yet has told me they want to pay more income taxes!
Come back next week and I’ll share more smart money-saving tips with you!