5 Steps To Take Before Retirement

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Are you planning to retire within the next 10 to 15 years?If so, are you ready to take retirement preparedness to the next level?

Retirement is no longer an abstract concept when you reach your 50s. It’s important to take a closer look at your financial plans now, while you have time to make any corrections. Consider these five steps to ensure the retirement of your dreams – or at least avoid the retirement of your nightmares.

1. Outline Your Retirement Goals – What do you really want to do when you retire? Buy a retirement home on the beach? Travel abroad? Start an expensive hobby? It’s time to figure out how to pay for those goals.

Lay out your primary retirement goals and estimate the major expenses associated with them. Place those expenses on a timeline spread throughout your retirement. You now have an estimate of how your cash flow needs will change because of your retirement plans.

2. Rethink Your Expenses –

Americans’ Financial Regrets

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Do you have any regrets in life? You’ve probably done a few things you wish you hadn’t, like adding sour milk to your coffee or washing your new red sweater with your good white shirts.

Those regrets can be painful, but the effects are short-lived. Financial regrets can have longer-lasting consequences – and, according to a recent survey from Student Loan Hero, 76% of Americans have some form of financial regret.

Most financial regrets come from the same basic principle – spending too much money instead of saving it.

In the past year, not saving enough was the top regret of 46% of survey respondents. Half of respondents regretted not saving more for retirement, and just over one-third would contribute some of their spending to a 401(k) plan or IRA if they c…

Seniors And Affordable Transportation

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By Eric Olsen, Executive Director HELPS Nonprofit Law Firm

Affordable transportation is often a concern for senior citizens. Some seniors go without basics to make car payments they can’t afford for a car with little or no equity. Others need affordable replacement transportation but don’t have the income to finance a car. What are some options for these seniors?

I am the Executive Director of HELPS, a national charitable nonprofit law firm that educates lower-income seniors on how to maintain their financial independence. We regularly speak with seniors searching for answers to transportation problems. First let’s discuss options for buying a car, then what to do if you have an existing car payment you can’t afford.

Financing a car from a dealer might not be the best option or even possible for a senior with lower income. Dealers generally sell used cars “as …

Video: Considering Borrowing From Your Retirement To Pay Off Debt? Don’t!

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Let’s say you’re tempted to make a withdrawal from your 401(k) plan to pay off some debts. You can always catch up by paying that money back into your retirement savings later, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Don’t rob your future to pay for your past! Watch Bankrate.com Senior VP and Chief Analyst Greg McBride explain how a decision like that will affect your retirement outlook over the long term in our exclusive video above. Let the free Retirement Planner by MoneyTips help you calculate when you can retire without jeopardizing your lifestyle.

If your credit is good, you may be better getting a loan to pay off your debts. You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using

Don’t Borrow Against Your Retirement Plan!

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You are already dealing with increasing debt. Suddenly, you find yourself with an unplanned expense that you cannot afford. You look longingly at your 401(k) balance. If only you could access some of that money to meet your current needs….

In many cases, you can access that money without penalties by borrowing from your 401(k) — but most experts agree that borrowing against your retirement plan is a bad idea, for a variety of reasons.

Borrowers may not understand the long-term harm that they are doing to their retirement account, or they may understand it but still rationalize a retirement-backed loan as their best option. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate.com, uses the example of borrowers thinking that they are harmlessly paying money back to themselves but forgetting about compounding and the time value of money.

Such borrowers do not realize, says McBr…

Tips for Seniors to Manage Their Debt

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You should be enjoying the fruits of your labor in your later years, not worrying about how to pay back debt. Unfortunately, too many seniors find themselves with high levels of debt and uncertainty about their future.

If you are in this situation or heading that way, consider these steps to reverse your slide into debt.

  • Analyze Your Cash Flow – The first challenge of managing your debt is to stop it from growing. (Our government may not have figured that out yet, but you can do better.)

    Take a hard look at your spending and look for discretionary purchases to cut. If you do not have a budget, make one. Take into account any short-term changes in income or expenses so you can realistically assess the situation.

  • Prioritize the Debt – If you have more than one source of debt, prioritize them so you can pay down the most d…