How to save for retirement by investing in sustainable companies

Saving for Retirement by Investing in Sustainable Companies

Today, people like you and I, are demanding more from our investment portfolios. It’s not enough to just make a return on our investments. We want purpose-driven retirement accounts that offer great returns while investing in sustainable companies.

 

How to Save for Retirement by Investing in Sustainable Companies (1)

 

I am a huge advocate of the Roth IRA because of its huge upsides. To learn more about the difference between a Roth and a regular IRA you can read my prior article called “ Roth IRA: How to Become a Millionaire by the Time You Retire! “ and”Tax-Free Money: The Secret of Buying Gold Inside of a Roth IRA”.

One of the biggest benefits of having a Roth IRA is that there is no RDM (required minimum draw). So what is an RMD you ask?

Let’s fast-forward to your 70th birthday. Six months after you blow out the birthday candles on your cake, you’ll be subject to a required minimum distribution (RMD) from your traditional IRA.

Remember, Uncle Sam allowed you to take a tax deduction for all those years when you were funding your traditional IRA account. Now, he wants his cut. The IRS is still waiting to tax all that money it has left alone for so long.

 

Benefits of Having a Roth IRA:

 

Taking an RMD is not a big deal if you’re already retired at age 70½ and are living off your retirement savings.

But if you’re a financially flush member of the silver-haired set who doesn’t necessarily need to withdraw funds from their IRA, the requirement is less appealing. Especially if your income bracket is high from your other streams of income.

If you have a traditional IRA, there is a 50% penalty on the amount that you should have withdrawn, if the RMD is not taken. 

Traditional IRA’s aren’t the only accounts that have the RMD provision. Other accounts subject to an RMD are 401(k) plans and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs).

Another benefit of having a Roth IRA is that the IRS provides for an automatic spousal rollover if the spouse is the sole beneficiary. That means the surviving spouse automatically becomes the new owner of the Roth IRA upon the death of the original owner. 

 

Saving is the Core of Investing:

Remember “The rule of 184”.

If you save $100 a month and invest that hundred dollars at 8%, then in 10 years you’ll have $18,444.

Which means that the opportunity cost of every $100 spent per month is $18,444 in 10 years. 

You can apply this to any $100 increment, like cable, shopping, dinners, etc. This is similar to the $5 a day rule that I talk about in prior blogs. 

Remember, you should run your personal finances like it were a business. Just like a business, you have income and expenses.

When you are itemizing your monthly bills, ask yourself is it really worth it?

What if you put $100 per month in an ETF that invests in sustainable companies? You would be supporting sustainable companies by allowing them to produce healthier and better products.

Capital allows sustainable companies to invest in research and development which leads to newer/better materials and products.

 

“How the Economic Machine Works” by Ray Dalio

 

Ever wonder why we have economic boom and bust cycles? Well, Ray Dalio does a fantastic job of explaining how the economic machine works.

Ray Dalio is the founder, co-Chief Investment Officer and co-Chairman of Bridgewater Associates. In 2012, Time Magazine named him “One of the 100 Most Influential People in the World”. Bridgewater Associates is a global macro investment firm that is currently the world’s largest hedge fund.

Ray is an active philanthropist with an interest in oceanographic research and conservation. He is a participant in The Giving Pledge (a commitment to give more than half of his wealth to charity). Ray created a fantastic short film which explains why we have business cycles. 

Let’s watch an awesome 30-minute video that will help explain how the economic machine works. 

 

 

You can read Ray’s most recent economic update article here. 

To get Ray Dalio’s “All Season’s” stock portfolio diversification percentage numbers, read Stocks: A Diversified Portfolio.

 

 

How to Invest in Sustainable Companies:

 

Recent reports show that socially responsible ETFs now have over $10.63 billion assets under management. The size and power of these funds prove that ESG investing cannot be overlooked.  With an incredibly low average expense ratio of 0.42%, sustainable ETFs are becoming hard to ignore.

The largest socially responsible ETF is the iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF DSI, which has around $1.38 billion in assets.

In the last trailing year, the best performing socially responsible ETF was the LRGE fund which reigned in a whopping 20.23%.

ETFs are the way to go, due to their incredibly low cost. According to Nerdwallet.com, a 1% fee could cost $590,000 in retirement savings over 40 years.

So now that we have covered how you can make money by investing in sustainable companies, let’s talk about how you can save money by being green at home.

 

How to Save Money by Going Green:

 

Here are a few easy actionable steps that can help you save money by going green:

  1. Run your appliances at night…Energy rates are usually higher during the day, so run your dishwasher and washing machine before you head to bed.
  2. Typically you spend less per unit when you buy things in bulk, and it helps reduce the amount of packaging you use per item.
  3. Freezers with top opening doors release less cold air that ones with doors that open outwards.
  4. Remember to stock up when an item is on sale! I buy non-perishable items in bulk (careful not to purchase perishable items in bulk unless you have space in your freezer).
    • Warning: Don’t be fooled by buying too much of a perishable item unless you can freeze it.

 

 

Saving the environment and preventing climate change is the most important issue we face today. This challenge impacts every individual on this planet, regardless of social economic status or physical location.

I find it odd that schools don’t teach children about sustainability or how to manage their finances. These two topics impact everyone, yet we don’t teach our student about personal finance and sustainable living.

Meaning that people grow up and go out into the world without the proper preparation to handle their finances or what it means to live in harmony with the planet.

It’s no wonder why so many people are in debt or live month to month. Every person on this planet is impacted by the monetary system, and everyone has a financial report card so why isn’t it part of the mandatory school curriculum?

My goal is to help as many people as possible make smarter financial decisions and live a more sustainable lifestyle!

Like what you see? Stay a while!

 

 

Feedback is always welcome, so feel free to comment below!

Long Term Care

Financial Planning: Why You Need Long Term Care

Most people aren’t even thinking about it, but the numbers say that you should be. Ask yourself, “Am I saving enough to take care of myself so that I do not become a burden on my children or left dependent on the government?”. Long term care is one expense that can put your mind at ease.

Financial Planning_ Why You Need Long Term Care

 

While the costs to pay for long-term care can be daunting to think about, the earlier you start paying into a program the cheaper the rates will be. This article will help explain what long term care is, why it is important to think about your future needs, and tips on how you can prepare now.

 

Today, Millennials must constantly make difficult trade-off decisions. Our generation has to think about caring for our aging parents, paying for the needs of our children, and saving enough for our retirement. 

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), around 70% of people turning age 65 will need long term care services at some point in their lives.

 

 

Why You Should Purchase Long Term Care: The Facts

 

As parents, the last thing you want to do is become a burden on your children. 

According to a 2015 study by AARP and the National Alliance on Caregiving, around 43.5 million people in the US have provided unpaid care in the last 12 months. Typically, an unpaid caregiver is a family member.

On average, caregivers spend 20 hours a week giving care. In relative terms, that is a part-time job! Around 58%  of those caregivers perform intensive personal care activities, such as bathing and feeding.

The average American life expectancy is 78 years. Moreover, the Population Reference Bureau projects that in 2060 nearly 100 million Americans will be 65 or older.

According to the CDC, if you reach the age of 80, you’ll likely live another 8-10 years.

By purchasing long term care, you can feel better knowing that you have taken the proper steps to ensure that your health will be cared for and that you will not run out of finances to do so.

So what is long term care?

 

Long Term Care:

 

Long term care is care that you need if you can no longer perform everyday tasks due to a chronic illness, injury, disability or the inevitable aging process.

We all age, and the statistics show that with modern medicine we are likely to live well into our 80’s. Long term care includes the supervision you might need due to common cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Long term care is not intended to cure you. It is chronic care that you will need for the rest of your life. You can receive long term care in your own home, a nursing home, or an assisted living facility.

According to a Georgetown University study called, “Long-Term Care Financing Policy Options for the Future,” nearly 41% of long term care is provided to people under the age of 65.

This means that a large percentage of people who use long term care have not even reached the age of retirement!

How can this be?

Long term care assists those who need help taking care of themselves due to:

  • Accidents (from a car crash or a sports injury)
  • Diseases (such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s)
  • Disabling events (such as strokes, brain tumors, and spinal cord injuries)
  • Disabling chronic conditions
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Severe mental illnesses

These are examples of injuries and ailments that can happen to anyone, at any age.

Recently, the National Council on Aging has found that 75% of seniors have at least one chronic health condition and that most have two or more. Conditions range from mild arthritis to advanced Alzheimer’s disease.

The National Investment Center (in their 2010 Investment Guide) cited that the average length of stay in an assisted living facility was 29 months.

The point is, it’s not a question of whether you are likely to need assisted care in your life… But will you be financially prepared for when it happens?

 

How Much Will You Need?

 

Below are some of the national average costs for long-term care in the United States (from 2016).

  • $225 a day or $6,844 per month for a semi-private room in a nursing home
  • $253 a day or $7,698 per month for a private room in a nursing home
  • $119 a day or $3,628 per month for care in an assisted living facility (for a one-bedroom unit)

 

You can check the average costs for specific states here.

Daily health care is expensive, so properly planning for the future is critical.

 

Ask Yourself:
  • Can my retirement nest egg afford $80,000-$90,000 for 2.5 years?
  • Can my children pay for this additional cost?

 

Why Waiting Doesn’t Pay:

 

According to the American Association for Long Term Carethe best time to apply is in your 40’s-50’s.

Note, the younger you apply the cheaper the rates. This is because insurers offer discounts to applicants who are in good health. These discounts are locked in, meaning that you won’t lose them if your health changes.

 

 

Government Assistance and Programs:

 

Relying on the government should never be your first choice. Due to strict standards, you may not end up qualifying for government assistance. You could get stuck in a position where you don’t have enough to adequately care for your health, yet make too much to qualify for government assistance.

Medicare does not pay for non-skilled assistance with Activities of Daily Living (which make up the majority of long-term care services).

Approximately 47 million seniors live in the United States, and the senior population will soon double.

What’s more, women are having fewer children. This means that there will be fewer working-age people to provide for each elderly person.

Social security, Medicaid, and Medicare are already strained as it is. With the aging population and low birth rate trends, there will be fewer dollars to go around.

The question is, do you want to leave your health care up to chance? Many people get stuck in the middle where they have too much income to qualify for benefits, but not enough income to pay for adequate assistance.

In sum, you must plan for your own future because relying on the government will leave you under cared for.

Here is a quick video that summarizes what we have talked about (provided by Life Happens).

 

 

The Take Away:

 

Different kinds of insurance help you have confidence in your future and mitigate the risk that is sure to come.

Putting money aside, automatically, through a workplace or individual insurance plan is one of the simplest ways to make sure you’re continuously adding to your nest egg. What may seem like a nagging expense now, may cost you more later.

Having the proper amounts of insurance and planning for your retirement are two key components of creating a financially secure future.

Diversification is one of the most important aspects when deciding how to allocate your investment portfolio. Spreading out your risk amongst many different asset classes will help you weather the many inevitable storms to come. Your investment portfolio should include stocks, ETFs, fixed income assets, real estate, and other investment vehicles.

 

Like what you see? Stay a while!

 

If you have learned anything new, please remember to share so that I can continue to provide you with more free content!

Feedback is always welcome! Is there a wealth building strategy that you would like to learn more about? If so, let me know in the comments section.

 

How Defer Taxes Forever With Real Estate through a 1031 Exchange (1)

How to Defer Taxes Forever with a 1031 Exchange

In this article, you will learn about tax-free money, how to tax-defer capital gains taxes, and how to keep rolling your profits over and over forever! A 1031 exchange allows the owner of an investment property to sell it and buy another property while deferring the capital gains tax. 

 

EARLY RETIREMENT

 

You will spend about one-third of your life working to pay for your taxes. It is by far one of your biggest expenses. By learning the tax rules, you can legally reduce your tax bill and keep more of your hard earned money! 

Over the last two centuries, 90 percent of the world’s millionaires have been created by investing in real estate. Clearly, if you want to attain financial freedom real estate needs to be part of your portfolio. Your investment strategy should include a diverse set of investment vehicles which will create a wealth strategy that can weather any storm.

 

A Quick Definition of a 1031 Exchange:

 

1031 exchange gets its name from Section 1031 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. It allows you to avoid paying capital gains taxes when you sell an investment property. The proceeds from the sale must be immediately reinvested into another property or properties of like-kind and equal or greater value.

 

What does that mean?:

 

As long as one property is being exchanged for another real estate holding, it doesn’t matter whether you are selling a home to buy a duplex, an apartment, a piece of land, or a 4 plex. You can even sell one rental home and split the proceeds to purchase two rental homes!

In fact, you can defer taxes on the portion that is being rolled over or the entire gain. The point is that you can defer taxes as long as that money is being immediately reinvested into another piece of property.

Should you decide to purchase a smaller property, resulting in a leftover gain, you will need to pay taxes on that amount. Remember to consult your tax accountant.

If you own a property for a long time, then you will need to recapture the depreciation, which can affect how much you need to pay in taxes. 

If a property sells for more than its depreciated value, you will likely have to recapture the depreciation. That means the amount of depreciation will be included in your taxable income from the sale of the property.

As long as you continue to roll the invested amount into another property, you can defer the taxes on the gain until the last sale.

 

Tax-Free Money Tip: 

 

Properties that have gone through a like-kind exchange are particularly well suited for inheritance gifts.

When you die, your heirs won’t have to pay ANY income tax should they decide to sell the property shortly after your death. This is because the property receives a step-up in value, and the gain goes away upon the death of the owner. 

What is a step-up in value you ask?

A step-up is the readjustment of the value of an appreciated asset for tax purposes (upon inheritance). The new value is the market value of the asset at the time of inheritance. Thus, the asset receives a step-up in basis so that the beneficiary’s (i.e. the receiver’s) capital gains tax is minimized.

So if you died, and your heirs sold the property upon your death, the property would receive a step-up cost basis (market value). Therefore, your heirs would not have to pay the deferred taxes on the increase in value.

I love Tax-Free Money!!! 

 

 

The 1031 Exchange Timeline: 

 

 

(Photo credit: cwscapital.com)

 

 

A Qualified Intermediary:

 

To qualify for a 1031 exchange, you must use a qualified intermediary. This means that all proceeds from the sale must be transferred to an unrelated party to the transaction.

Typically, an escrow company is used to hold the funds from the sale, while you find and purchase a new (replacement) property.

 

What if I Need Cash?

 

If you own an investment property and need to pull out cash, you can always refinance or pull a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Instead of selling your investment property, you can use it as collateral for a loan. 

Moreover, the money you receive when you refinance or pull out a HELOC is that it is tax-free! If you were to sell the property, then you would owe taxes on the proceeds of the sale! 

Even if you refinance, you can always perform a 1031 exchange at a later date and tax-defer the gains. Just remember to keep the original invested amount in the real estate holding and within the rollover.

The 10,000 Foot Overview:

 

Through a like-kind exchange, you can keep buying more and more properties as your properties go up in value (all without paying taxes).

You can continue to reinvest the principal amount while benefiting from the monthly rental income (cash flow). The rental income is reduced by the depreciation of the property and is only taxed at capital gains rate

Real estate really is a miracle investment vehicle!

Make sure to talk to your tax advisor before engaging in a 1031 exchange. This will allow them to guide you through one because the 1031 exchange guidelines are very specific. Additionally, talk to an escrow agent who has experience with 1031 exchanges to get the specific time guidelines.

Tax-free exchanges have very detailed rules that need to be followed to the letter. 

 

Learn the Rules of the Game:

 

 

Knowing the tax law and wealth-building concepts are critical to navigating your way through the game of finance.

There are many ways to diversify your portfolio, and it is important to use of as many tax-advantaged strategies e.g. the 1031 exchange, Roth IRA, 529 plan, etc. as possible.

Like what you see? Stay a while!

 

If you have learned anything new here, please remember to share so that I can continue to provide you with more content!

Feedback is always welcome! Do you know any tax-free tips that you use or want to share? Please comment below!

 

Tax Free Money

Tax-Free Money: The Secret of Buying Gold Inside of a Roth IRA

Who doesn’t love tax-free money? One of the benefits of using a Roth IRA is that all of the growth inside of this tax-advantaged account can be pulled out tax-free! In this article, I am going to share how you can grow your retirement account through the investment of commodities and skip paying the 28% capital gains tax legally!

Tax Free Money

 

Roth IRA vs. Regular IRA:

 

The difference between a Roth versus a regular IRA is “when” you pay taxes on the money. With a regular IRA, you take the tax deduction now but have to pay taxes on the amount you withdraw later.

The downside is that when you elect to pay taxes later, you have to pay taxes on the interest AND the gains that your money has made over your lifetime of saving and investing.

Moreover, you won’t know which tax bracket your future you will be in. Not to mention, tax rates are always fluctuating and the government keeps passing spending bills.

I love a sure thing, which is why I really like the Roth versions of 401ks and IRAs. I know that when I look at my account, every penny is MINE!

In a Roth IRA, your money grows and so does the compound interest. These two parts grow tax-free because you funded the account with post-tax dollars.

Another benefit that comes with a Roth IRA is that since you have already paid taxes on the money in the account, there is no RDM (required minimum distribution). Meaning that you can decide to withdraw at any time after age 59.5. 

With a traditional IRA, you are required by the government to start pulling a minimum distribution from your retirement account at age 70.5. This is because the government want’s it’s cut (taxes). Here is an easy RDM calculator by Schwab.

The goal of this blog is to show you how you can save money by going green and then reinvesting that money to gain your financial freedom! A Roth IRA is just one of the financial vehicles you should use to make sure you are ready for a worry-free retirement. 

So how much do you need to retire? Well, that depends on what kind of lifestyle you plan on living when you are retired. Let’s take care of the bare minimum, and then work on using other investment vehicles to cultivate play-money!

 

How to Take Care of the Bare Minimum with a Roth IRA:

 

If you spend $40,000 per year during retirement, you will need around $1,000,000 to reach financial freedom based on the 4% rule. The 4% rule basically states that you can consistently withdraw $40,000 every year without touching the principle.

The result is that you can live off of the interest and appreciation of your portfolio. You are pretty much guaranteed to be able to live off your investments for 30+ years by following this rule. This is especially the case if you hold 75% stocks and 25% bonds.

In a prior post, I show you how you can fully fund a Roth IRA and become a millionaire by saving $15 a day!

In case you missed it, here is a quick summary.

 

How to Fully Fund A Roth IRA:

 

The maximum that the US government allows you to contribute to a Roth IRA is $5,500 or $15 a day ($458 per month). If you do this, you will end up with over $1.2 million in the bank.

Bang! You are a millionaire and are guaranteed to retire!

With the 4% rule, you will be able to retire at the age of 65. That is if you started investing when you were 25 (or over any 40 year period).

To learn more about the benefits of a Roth IRA you can read Roth IRA: How to Become a Millionaire by the Time You Retire! Can’t find $15 a day to save? Read “8 Ways to Save for a Down Payment on a Home and a Roth IRA“.

The image below shows the math, but if you want to play with the numbers yourself you can head over to Bankrate.com.

bank rate Roth IRA

 

 

The Secret of Owning Gold and Silver:

 

Tip 1:

Diversification is critical to lowering your risk while owning enough of the market to maximize your gain. Should you decide to own commodities in paper form (stock), you should trade them within your Roth IRA.

By owning paper gold and silver (stock) in a Roth IRA, you won’t have to pay taxes on the increase in the value of the gold and silver!

The capital gains rate tax on gold and silver is 28%, which is almost twice as high as the normal capital gains rate (15% for most).

If you were to trade gold and silver in your regular brokerage account, you would owe 28% of the gains in taxes. Say you made $100 in profit, well you owe Uncle Sam $28.

 

Chart provided by TLBJ a CPA firm.

The benefit of trading gold and silver commodities within your Roth IRA is that you don’t own ANY taxes on the gain! Meaning that you get to keep all of your profit! 

This is because you pay your taxes on the money you put into the Roth IRA before it goes into the tax-advantaged account. When you decide to pull the money out, you can do so without paying taxes on the withdraw, which includes the interest and gains!!

I love TAX-FREE MONEY!

 

Tip 2:

Should you invest in gold and silver bullion (meaning that you actually take possession of coins or bricks), the dealer is only required to report to the IRS if you buy/sell more than $10,000 in a year.

Be sure to keep your receipt so you know how much you paid for the bullion (your cost basis). When you sell the bullion you need to report any gains or losses to the IRS. Should you have made money, you will owe a 28% capital gains tax on the increase. The increase is the amount you made above your cost basis.

**Gold and silver is a favorite of many investors due to the privacy it provides its owners.**

Remember, the goal is to get as much of your money from passive and investment income streams as possible. This is because they are taxed at a lower rate than regular income, and your money works for you while you sleep.

Here is a quick video that explains the IRS regulations on buying and selling bullion by SDBullion.com

 

 

 

How Much You Should Have Saved at Every Age:

 

 

Chart source: Fidelity

The chart above shows how much you should have put away in savings for your age.

The formula is based on the assumption that a person saves 15% of their income annually beginning at age 25, invests more than 50% of their savings in stocks over their lifetime, retires at age 67, and plans to maintain their pre-retirement lifestyle in retirement.

 

Here’s the breakdown of Fidelity’s “How Much to Have Saved at Each Age” formula:

30: Have the equivalent of your starting salary saved
35: Have two times your salary saved
40: Have three times your salary saved
45: Have four times your salary saved
50: Have six times your salary saved
55: Have seven times your salary saved
60: Have eight times your salary saved
67: Have 10 times your salary saved

 

Being a Life-Long Learner: 

 

I complete a book every week and a half because I know that knowledge is the key to success. Oftentimes authors spend years writing a book that contains all of the secrets that they have learned over decades of experience.

Where did I learn about Gold Tip #1?  From an awesome book called Tax-Free Wealth by Tom Wheelwright CPA. I can’t say enough about this book and highly recommend reading it! You can get it on Audibles by clicking the photo below.

 

 

 

Like what you see? Stay a while!

 

If you have learned anything new here, please remember to share so that I can continue to provide you with more content!

Feedback is always welcome! Do you know any tax-free tips that you use or want to share? Please comment below!

 

Ways to Save

8 Ways to Save for a Down Payment on a Home and a Roth IRA

Saving for retirement and a down payment for a home may seem like it is an impossible task, especially with all of the other bills you have coming in.  I am going to share 8 easy ways to save for a down payment on a home and a Roth IRA retirement account. Retirement and home ownership are possible, you just have to rework some of your daily habits.

 

8 Ways to Save for a Down payment on a home and a Roth IRA

 

To fully fund a Roth IRA account you must save $15 a day (that’s $458 per month or $5,500 per year).

To save $5,000 a year, you must save $13.50 a day. Over 4 years you will have saved $20,000 for a down payment on a house.

Thus, with $29 a day you can you can fully fund a Roth IRA (that will grow to over $1,000,000 in 40 years) and save for a down payment on a home.

If you want to know how I came up with these numbers, click here. In the article “How to Save for a Down Payment on a Home and Fund a Roth IRA” I break down the numbers and make it really simple to understand.

So now that you know that all you have to do is save $29 a day, let’s look at 8 ways to find this money.

If you already own a home, these saving principles can be used to save for an investment property. If you are in debt, then these same saving principles can help you pay off that debt.

There are a number of ways that you can use this information.

My goal is to break down the process of saving so that it does not seem like a task that is impossible to overcome.

Saving for retirement and a home can be easy. All it takes is a bit of re-working on your end to find $29 a day!

 

 

How To Save $29 a Day:

 

So how do we accomplish this $29 a day?

Visit the Sustainability Shop to find a ton of ways to save by Going Green! For many of the products, I break down how much you can save per year by making the switch!

 

1. Eat at Home:

 

I meal prep 95% of the food I eat.

You can read “Increase the Velocity at Which Your Money Grows: Ways to Save” to learn how you can save $500 to $600 every month by meal prepping.

If you want to learn how easy it is to meal prep and how much time it saves, you can read “How to Increase Efficiency: Time Management Hacks”.

Let’s do a bit of quick math:

Assume a breakfast would cost you $7, lunch costs $12, and dinner costs $16 (I am being conservative here. I am sure many of you have eaten a $20+ dinner).

Let’s add all of that up and then multiply by 30 days per month. That is $1,050 per month on eating out!

If you were to meal prep, you would end up spending around $100 per week on groceries or $400 per month.

That is less than half of what you would spend on eating out!!! Or $600 in savings!

Bang! You just found the $458 per month to fund your Roth IRA retirement account.

An added benefit is that you can portion control your meals, and eat healthier (you know exactly what is going in your food).

To help you with your meal prepping, eco-friendly glass Tupperware,  bento boxes, and reusable food wrap are the go-to necessities:

 

Sustainable Tupperware overviewSustainable bento box 2reusable food wrap

You can find other reusable containers and silicon bags at the Sustainability Shop.

 

 

2. Cut Back on the $5 Cups of Coffee:

 

You will never see me with a Starbucks coffee. In fact, a small Starbucks coffee costs more than $5 a cup!

But, we will go with $5 for easy math.

If you buy a Starbucks coffee every morning before work, that would be $5 x 5 days x 4 weeks x 12 months=1,200 each year!

The point here is that you can save $1,200 per year, per $5 increment…

 

 

3. Carry a Bottle of Water:

 

Did you know that 50 billion water bottles are used every year?!?

Let’s save the planet, its animals, the oceans, and our money by using a reusable water bottle.

Soda and flavored drinks are terrible for you anyway…  The bottles say “natural and artificial flavors”, but what does this really mean?

Most water bottle companies use regular municipal water in their products, so you are really paying for the packaging and the convenience.

It is the $2-$3 increments that we tend to overlook that add up over time.crystal water bottle

Click here to check out this cool refillable gemstone water bottle!

If you believe in the power of crystals, this is a great way to give your water an awesome energy boost!

For thousands of years, ancient civilizations have utilized the power of crystals to release mental, physical and spiritual blockages, thus facilitating the free flow of energy throughout our bodies.

Click here to read more about the healing power of crystals.

 

 

4. Bring a Flask and Pre-Game!

 

The average mixed drink is probably between $10 and $12.

What really drove home the concept of how expensive drinks are, was that I lived in the land of $20 vodka Redbull‘s for 5 years (Vegas).

So I found that I could save a ton of money by bringing a flask and pre-gaming before I went out.

Yes, I have had a few friends give me a questioning look when I bust the flask out… But halfway through the night, they are asking for a swig…

Moreover, now that I am in my 30’s I find that I don’t really go to clubs and bars anymore. Instead, I find myself at friend’s houses having a cocktail or a glass of wine.

The point is that one cocktail is about the same price as the cost of a meal!

Plus, you tend to drink more than one cocktail when you are out.

 

5. Enjoy the Great Outdoors! 

 

I love going outside to play. Outdoor activities (like hiking) are free or have a relatively small start-up equipment cost.

A really fun indoor activity is salsa dancing.

What’s really great is that many places offer free salsa lessons!

Another benefit is that salsa is an awesome cardio workout.

In fact, it is a great way to meet new people if you are single, and an even better way to work on non-verbal communication and team building skills if you have a significant other.

Not to mention, Latin dance is very sexy and can help spice up your romantic life.

I used to go to the gym quite often, but now I find that I do all of my exercises outdoors and for free. An added bonus is that you get to experience the outdoors, re-connect with nature, and breath fresh air.

I typically walk 2.5 miles a day, salsa 2x per week, and in the winter I go skiing.

When I worked in an office, I would eat at my desk and walk for my 1-hour lunch. I was able to walk 2.5 miles in that 1-hour lunch break.

 

6. Cut the Cable:

 

I haven’t owned a TV since high school. I do have Netflix, and it is so much cheaper!

Additionally, I don’t have to watch advertisements.

On the other hand, I love listening to audiobooks. I mostly read nonfiction, but for fun, I listen to high fantasy and sci-fi books.

I have found that most books take around 14 hours to listen to. That means that you can crush a book every 2 weeks by listening to an audible book for an hour a day!

7. DIY: 

 

It is super easy to make your own lotions with shea butter, olive oil, almond oil, and coconut oil.

Instead of cleaning with harsh chemicals like Clorox, use vinegar.

Imagine all of the chemicals being put out into the environment to manufacture Clorox bleach (wipes, sprays, etc.). Now imagine that you are wiping your entire home down with these harsh chemicals.

 

 

8. Eat Less Meat:

Sustainable living Reducetarian Solution

Reducetarians are committed to eating less meat, regardless of the degree or motivation.

This concept is appealing because not everyone is willing to follow an “all-or-nothing” diet.

This way you can decide when and how much meat you eat. The nice thing about being a reductarian is that it allows for a flexible intake of meat.

A fantastic book that explains how this diet works can be found on Audibles and by clicking this link. The Reducetarian Solution: How the Surprisingly Simple Act of Reducing the Amount of Meat in Your Diet Can Transform Your Health and the Planet“.

Reasons to reduce your meat intake:

  • Meat, and especially beef is more expensive than eating fruits, grains, and vegetables.
  • There are a number of studies about how red meat increases inflammation in your body.
  • Animals are treated with antibiotics and hormones, which we ingest.
  • Biomagnification of pesticides. The grain and corn that cows are fed have tons of pesticides, and cows eat tons of it.
  • Increase in greenhouse gasses (cows produce a lot of methane)
  • Cruelty to animals

 

Cowspiracy is an environmental documentary that explains how animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption, pollution, and is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry.

Methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide and is far more devastating to the climate than carbon emissions. 

 

 

The 10,000 Foot Over View:

 

There are many ways to go about finding $29 a day to accomplish this goal. Homeownership and retirement are within reach and can become a reality.

In an era marked by immediate gratification, saving for the future is a task that you must consciously work on.

Make it easy for yourself and make saving automatic by having your retirement account auto-deduct the $458 per month from your checking account.

Everyone has a financial report card. Make it a priority to constantly check and work on yours.

Take time and money to re-invest in yourself. Re-investing in your financial education is critical.

How are you going to master your financial report card, if you don’t know the rules of the game?

Every dollar has an opportunity cost.

Curious, throughout high school did you learn about how to navigate your personal finances? Or about the importance of living a sustainable lifestyle?

Did they teach you about FICO scores and how much to have in revolving debt? Or what goes into calculating your credit score?

It is up to you to teach yourself about all of these important topics!

 

Articles that may interest you:

 

If you have enjoyed this content, please remember to pin and share!

Interested in a particular topic? Comment below!

How to diversify and allocate your finances (2)

How to Diversify and Allocate your Finances

How to diversify and allocate your finances

The diversification of your finances is one of the most important tasks you can work (or get started) on today. We often hear that the best time to start is now.

The good news is that Millennials and the Z Generation still have a long life ahead of them. Saving and investing for the future works best when you have longevity on your side! This is because of the compounding nature of interest.

Compounding occurs when a bank or an account pays interest on both the principal (the original amount of money) and the interest an account has already earned.

To calculate compounding interest you can visit Investor.gov.

 

Types of Accounts that Pay Compounding Interest:

 

  • Most savings accounts
  • money market accounts
  • certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Retirement accounts (IRA’s and 401k’s)

Interest Rates: A Current and Historical View

 

Over the past several years, the federal funds rate (the interest rate at which the federal reserve lends money to other banking institutions) has been ridiculously low! The Federal Reserve has been trying to stimulate the economy by lowering the interest rate.

This means that the public is penalized for keeping their money in the bank and incentivized to invest in the stock market or take out loans to purchase larger items.

Currently, at the time of this writing, you are lucky to get even close to a 1% return on your investment for putting cash in the bank.

The world of finance is part of a natural business cycle. What goes up,  must come down. This means that although we have experienced nearly 8 years of fairly low interest rates, the federal reserve will someday have to increase it in order to prevent a runaway (overheated) economy.

Over the last 200 years we can see that interest rates have increased and decreased over time:

Finance.-Average-interest-rate-over-200-years

Photo credit average interest rate over the last 200 years

Why Cash is King

You might be saying, why would I put my money in the bank and only earn 1%? Especially since inflation is nearly 2% to 3% per year! Wouldn’t I be losing money? The short answer is yes.

This is why I recommend a diversified portfolio. In financial terms, diversification means spreading out your risk. In more simple terms, it means not putting all of your eggs in one basket. You should allocate a percentage of your income each month towards saving, investing, and retirement.

You may be wondering why I am advocating that a portion of your investment portfolio should be held in cash. This is because cash is king! Currently, we have been experiencing an 8-year bull market. While it might be tempting to invest all of your money into the skyrocketing stock market, at some point the market will take a turn.

When it does, the cash that you have been saving will give you the opportunity to purchase heavily discounted assets (foreclosed homes, stocks that took a beating, etc).

There are two kinds of buyers. Momentum buyers and contrarians.

Momentum buyers purchase when the stock market is rallying (headed in an upwards direction) and believe that the stock will continue to rise. This is also called purchasing with the crowd or crowd consensus.

On the other hand, contrarians love discount shopping! Contrarians know that the business cycle has natural ups and downs. They are the ones waiting for the inevitable “coming of winter” (Game of Thrones reference there). Contrarian investors were the ones purchasing all of the foreclosed homes in the middle of the Great Recession (in 2010) with CASH!

Roth IRA’s

In a prior blog ” Roth IRA: How to Become a Millionaire by the Time You Retire! “, I explain how over any 40 year period the average return rate of the stock market is about 7% a year. This includes all of the ups and downs (booms and busts). An awesome blog called, “Dollar after Dollar” created a Pinterest post showing how compounded interest works (he used an 8% yearly return on investment).

Finance. Roth IRA. Retirement
Photo credit Dollar X Dollar

Most of the Millennial and Z Generation realize that Social Security will probably be a thing of the past (when we come of age to collect).

This means that more than ever we need to save for our retirement, have a rainy day fund, plan for our children’s college savings(through a tax-advantaged 529 plan), and have enough money to enjoy our lives today.

The financial world can be difficult to navigate, which is why it is so important to prioritize and automate many of the functions. Automation is the best thing that can happen to your financial life! The specific steps are included in this blog.

The Current Financial Situation for the Millennial and Z Generation 

Millennial’s, people who are born from 1981 to 1996 and are now between the ages of 22 to 37. We are entering a stage where many of us are getting married, having children, and really getting into our careers.  The difficulty is that our finances are being pulled from many opposing directions.

For the Z Generation (1995 to 2010 or ages 8-22) the oldest of you are just starting college, landing your first job, learning how to build credit, possibly navigating taking on student debt, and living on your own.

You are at the perfect point where building the right habits can really make a difference in the trajectory of your life! You haven’t had time to make bad and severely impactful financial decisions yet.  What you do NOW will affect the rest of your life.

One of the biggest takeaway points that I learned from a finance professor in college was to start a Roth IRA and max it out ($5,500) every year for 40 years. If you do this, financial calculators online will show you that you can save over $1 million for your retirement.

Growing up with FOMO (fear of missing out) has led to a situation where many Millenials have not started to save for retirement or plan for the future. Generation Z, don’t let this be your story too. Prioritizing and planning through a set of predetermined percentages will help you set aside the right amount of money each month.

Steps to Get your Finances on Track:

1) Track your income and expenses

2) Go through your monthly expenses and see where you can cut back on spending

3) Set a dollar amount or percentage of income that you want to save per month

4) Look at your expenses and see what else needs to be eliminated so that you can meet that goal (step 3)

5) Set up overdraft protection on your bank accounts (and credit cards)

6) Set up an auto deduction of the dollar amount you chose to save (step 3) to be diverted to a “rainy day” fund account (your bank will be able to help you do this. Most banks allow you to set this up online as well).

7) Set up an auto deduction of $458 ($5,500/year) each month to be diverted to a Roth IRA. Read about how to dollar cost average and purchase ETFs.

8) Set your credit cards, rent/mortgage, and utilities on auto pay.

9)Perform a monthly audit of your credit card statements. I have personally caught at least one fraudulent financial transaction every 6-8 months on one of my credit cards.

10) Check your credit history and score often!

** A rainy day fund: should cover 3-6 months of expenses without any income coming in.

Taking these steps will ensure that you are automatically saving each month. It means that you have made saving a priority!

Do not save what is left over after spending, spend what is left over after saving!

Warren Buffet

If you are maxing out your credit cards, read “How to Increase your Credit Score Now”.

 

Ways to Cut Expenses (Costs):

  • Go on a hike instead of going to the movies- This doubles as exercise and a great way to chat with family or catch up with a friend!
  • Cook at home and meal prep instead of going out to eat- Read the article How to Aggregate Time to Become More Efficient
  • swap yoga and calisthenics on Youtube for a gym membership
  • Opt for Netflix and your cancel cable subscription
  • Live in a smaller apartment
  • Most outdoor activities only require that you buy the equipment once (there is no membership cost)

 

Just remember, every dollar and activity comes with an opportunity cost. There is always a cheaper alternative! On that note, let’s talk about the opportunity cost (the loss of an alternative option) of the earth’s natural resources vs exponential economic growth!

Balancing Economic Growth with Environmental Sustainability:

 

The difficulty is that we live in an economy of ever-increasing exponential economic growth. The government and financial institutions would like to see a 2% to 3% growth in GDP every year for the indefinite future. In order for this to happen, we constantly need to go through boom and bust debt cycles. According to Investopia’s article called “Is Infinite Economic Growth on a Finite Planet Possible?

Economic growth has been defended for its contributions to human well-being and increasing standards of living. Yet, it is becoming more evident that the degree to which economic growth has depended upon increasing use of the Earth’s natural resources is unsustainable. It is clear that we cannot continue to consume more water, burn more fuel and spew out more and more carbon dioxide at ever increasing rates. While theoretically possible, we are at a point in history where separating economic growth from physical growth has to become a reality or economic growth will begin to reduce human well-being.

Natural resource depletion and degradation have left us with phrases such as peak oil, global warming, and climate change.

I am sure we remember our parents telling us that relationships work best when we “give and take”. The relationship between humans and mother nature has been unequal for a long time. I urge you to read the children’s book “The Giving Tree”.

Not only is budgeting and saving money good for your bottom line, but it is also good for the planet. We need to learn to live in harmony because it is our future that is at stake. This blog is all about education and promoting intellectual conversations. What kinds of activates do you do that are low cost and have a low environmental impact? Comment below!

Reverse Mortgage Is One Right for Your Parents

Reverse Mortgage: Is One Right for Your Parents?

According to Investopia, Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are heading into retirement in droves. Approximately 10,000 Boomers retire per day.

Much of the data concludes that this generation is poorly prepared for their later years. As we know, relying on social security alone may not provide enough money to live the lifestyle we once hoped “The Golden Years” would afford us.

The hope is that we have saved enough money over the years in tax-sheltered retirement accounts to live “in style”.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for many retiring Boomers.

Millenials (the children of the Boomers) are now having to make difficult trade-off decisions. This generation must make the difficult choice between caring for their parents and paying for the needs of their children. Not to mention, saving for their retirement and paying for their own needs. 

This is why it is important for Millenials to be aware of the many options out there. Options are just avenues to research so that they can make the right decision for their family. 

The reverse mortgage has received a lot of negative press in the past. This is because the process and option have not been sufficiently explained. I am not here to tell you whether this option is right for you and your family. I am just here explaining what a reverse mortgage is and how it could be an option.

This post will explain the reverse mortgage in greater depth, but a want to provide a quick summary here.

When would you use a reverse mortgage? When you have lots of equity in your home, want to continue to live in the home, and need additional fixed income. Please read this entire article, because there are stipulations to reverse mortgages.

Reverse Mortgage: Searching for Other Options

Reverse mortgages have been shrouded with controversy due to some confusion about how they work.  I would like to clear up some of that confusion and present it as an option for creating additional liquidity for retiring Boomers.

A reverse mortgage is a financial product for homeowners who are 62 or older and have accumulated equity in their home.

This home equity usually represents a substantial portion of an individual’s net worth. As you reach retirement age, you may need to tap into this wealth to supplement your fixed income.

Almost all reverse mortgages today are originated as Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM).  The HECM is a program that is backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). This means that these loans are guaranteed by the federal government.

How does a Reverse Mortgage Work: The Basics

A reverse mortgage is like selling your home to a bank.  First, the bank makes monthly payments to the owner of the home. Second, the owner must continue to use the property as a primary residence for the life of the loan.

The money you get is usually tax-free. As a general rule, you do not have to pay back the money for as long as you live in the home.

When you die, sell your home, or move out, you, your spouse, or your estate will have to repay the loan. Oftentimes, this means selling the home to get money to repay the loan.

Neither you nor your family must pay more than the sales price of the home (the appraised value) upon the owner moving out or passing away. This is because the HECM reverse mortgage is insured by the FHA. In short, the FHA’s insurance will pay for any shortfall.

If the heirs want to keep the home when the owner passes away they must pay off the loan. This is also the case if the owner moves out permanently (no longer uses the home as a primary residence). 

Remember that the owners took out a loan and received monthly payments from the bank. This means that the bank was slowly purchasing the home from them over time.

If the loan balance is more than your home is worth, the heirs will only have to pay 95 percent of the current appraised value of the property. Remember, the FHA’s insurance will cover the rest.

If the loan balance is less than the value of your home, they will only have to pay the loan balance.

Interested in Knowing More About a Reverse Mortgage?

Since this product usually requires that the home gets sold at the end of the term (when the owner passes away or moves out), the government has made it mandatory that a perspective borrower meets with a HUD approved counselor before obtaining a reverse mortgage.

This meeting is set up to determine if the product is suitable for the owner’s needs. The counseling session helps them and their heirs understand how the loan works.

As with any loan, all prospective borrowers must also undergo a financial assessment to qualify.

This assessment makes sure that the borrower can pay to keep the house afloat. This means that they can cover the following expenses: 

  • Property taxes
  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • Basic home maintenance
  • Home Owner’s Association (HOA) fees (if applicable).

You can apply for a reverse mortgage if:

  • The borrower must be 62 years of age or older
  • You own your home and use it as your primary residence
  • The house is a single family, multi-family (up to 4 units), an approved condominium, or manufactured home
  • You own your own home free and clear or only have a small amount left to pay on the existing mortgage
  • The home is in good condition prior to taking out the loan

 

An Example of How It Works:

Home equity is the difference between what your home is worth, its appraised value, and any debt that you owe from mortgages against the home. Unless you purchased the home outright with cash, you most likely have a first or even a second loan on the property.

When you own a home with a conventional mortgage, you gain equity over time as you pay down the loan. When you first start paying the loan, most of the monthly payment goes toward the interest. Over time you begin to pay more of the principal off and less of the monthly payment goes toward the interest.

Let’s say, for example, that you own a home worth $400,000 in today’s real estate market, and you only owe $100,000, because you have paid down the rest over the years that you have owned the property. This means that you have $300,000 in equity.

The amount you would receive from the bank each month is based off an equation that includes a few simple items. Click this link to use a free online reverse mortgage estimator.

Be careful:

There are non-FHA insured reverse mortgage loans that may have very different loan terms. So if you are considering a non FHA backed loan, make sure you understand the contract fully!!

Hopefully, I was able to dispel some of the myths about reverse mortgages, while providing a valuable option to increase your/your parent’s liquidity.

Many people ask whether a particular investment option is the “Best”, and my reply is that there isn’t one “best investment option for everyone”. Every individual has a unique financial situation and needs to decide what is the best option for them.

Have any questions? Post a comment!

 

Photo credits:

Couple on bench

 

How to Calculate the Amount You Will Need for Retirement

How to Calculate the Amount You Will Need for Retirement

What is your financial freedom number?  This post will discuss how to calculate the amount you will need to retire.  Financial freedom is the point at which your investments and income exceed your expenses.

At this point, you can safely retire or work on projects of your choosing.  In another blog, I discuss the concept of how to “Increase the Velocity at Which Your Money Grows”. Meaning that not all forms of income are treated the same, and thus are taxed at different rates.

Obviously, the goal is to get your money to work for you while you sleep and to earn income that is taxed at capital gains rate

Learning from the Top Minds in the Financial Industry:

Saving and investing UnshakableIn the book “Unshakable” (the book after “Money: Master the Game“), Tony Robbins condenses the advice from 50 of the most successful financial experts alive today.

In this book, he gives you a step-by-step, actionable plan that can be used by anyone at any financial level.

Money: Master the Game” and “Unshakable” provide you with a blueprint for financial freedom. These two books contain wisdom from world-renowned experts.

To name a few of the top minds that Tony Robbin’s is able to glean advice from are Carl Icahn, Ray Dalio, Warren Buffett, and Steve Forbes.

I found that these two books were super easy to listen to and understand.

What is so Special About These 2 Books on Retirement?:

I want to give you a brief summary about me so that you know where I am coming from. Some of you may know that I have a background in business. My father was a business owner for 40 years (he is now retired), while my stepmother currently owns her own boutique commercial real estate company.

I got my undergraduate degree in International Business. Currently, I am obtaining a Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Renewable Technology. My projected graduation date is in December of 2018. I have been a Broker in Real Estate since 2010, and have been dabbling in the stock market game since I was 16.

Why do I tell you all of this? Because I can confidently say that “Money: Master the Game” and “Unshakable” are excellent books. This is especially true for the average person who may not understand the intricacies of financial jargon. Saving and investing Money Master the game

Tony Robbins is probably the only person with enough pull to get an interview with the 50 most influential financial experts alive today:

Not only does he explain investment concepts in laymen’s terms, but really delves into why each recommendation is so critical to the plan that he puts forth.

It frustrates me whenever I go to an expert and they don’t explain the reason for why I should make a particular change.

For example, have you ever taken your car in for an oil change just to find out that you need to fix or replace 2-3 other parts?

Wouldn’t you feel more confident in the situation if the mechanic showed you how dirty your air filter was? This way you could see for yourself that it does, in fact, need to be changed.

Overall, if you are new to reading finance books for pleasure and want to listen to an audible book that is simple to digest start here.

In sum, to become financially free, you must study the successful individuals who have already achieved this goal. 

Money: Master the Game” and “Unshakable” are the perfect books to start your journey of being a life-long student of success!

 

Financial Freedom: Your Retirement Number: 

 

According to Tony Robbins, you will need to earn 20x your current yearly income to retire.

For example: If you earn $100k per year, your financial freedom number to retire is $2 million.

My Recommendation: The goal is to save, re-invest, and obtain cash flow that is taxed at capital gains rate.

Capital gains rate is so special because it is taxed at 15%- 20%, instead of an individual’s regular income tax rate (10%-37%).529 plan . Federal income tax rate

Typically, cash flow comes from real estate, equity ownership in a company, dividends, and interest. All of these are higher level income streams, also known as passive income.

With respect to the stock market, Tony Robbin recommends dollar cost averaging and using a “buy and hold” strategy.

As most of us know, the stock market has “bull” and “bear”  cycles. A “bull market” is when the market is increasing, and a “bear market” is when the market is declining.

Tony’s research shows that bear markets last a maximum of 2 years, and happen every 3-5 years.

Bear markets have occurred once every 3 years, for the past over 100 years.

Moreover, throughout Money: Master the Game” and “Unshakable”,  every major investor Tony interviews expects bear markets to occur.

The Power of Dollar Cost Averaging:

 

These financial experts advise not to get skittish and sell all of your holdings. By selling your stocks in a downturn, you lock in your losses.

***Keep your holdings and continue to buy stocks (dollar cost averaging) throughout a downturn. This will result in purchasing stocks at a cheaper price per share. Additionally, you will have obtained more shares at this lower cost.

When the stock market bounces back you will own more shares and have bought them at a discount.

In another blog post, I discuss how on average over any 40 year period the aggregate stock market increases 7% per year. This includes the downturn bear market years.

The “buy and hold” strategy worked even during the lost decade (during the 1990’s). If you had invested $100,000 in a diversified basket of indexes, you would have grown it to $191,000 (about 6.7% return per year).

  • A bear market is defined as a 20%  or more fall in stock prices
  • A correction is defined as a 10% decrease in stock prices

How to Diversify your Portfolio Through an ETF:

Research shows that 75%-90% of money managers (professional stock pickers) do not outperform their benchmarks (like the S&P 500).

Additionally, money manager’s charge a fee to manage your portfolio.

  1. Typically, they either take a percentage of assets under management. Example: 1%-3% of whatever assets they oversee in your portfolio or
  2. They charge a flat fee for every trade transaction completed. Example: $15 per stock trade.

Without exception, every financial expert that Tony interviews recommend a diversified portfolio.

Moreover, the general consensus is that an individual should invest in at least 6 asset classes.

These asset classes include:

  1. US stocks
  2. International stocks
  3. Emerging market stocks
  4. REITs
  5. Long-term treasuries
  6.  TIPs.

 

As always, I urge you to invest in your future by becoming a life-long student of success!

Every 10,000-mile journey starts with a first step. Get started learning the fundamentals of finance with Tony Robbin’s  Money: Master the Game” and “Unshakable“!

Which cash flow investment are you most interested in and would like me to write about? Comment below!

 

Photo credit

2018 Income tax rate

 

 

Roth IRA: How to Become a Millionaire by the Time You Retire!

Roth IRA: How to Become a Millionaire by the Time You Retire!

Instructions on How to Grow $1,000,000!!!

A Roth IRA is a type of retirement investment account. The difference between a Roth versus a regular IRA is “when” you pay the taxes on the money.

Roth IRA: Pay income taxes at the time you earn the money, and the invested funds and compounded interest grows tax free. When you pull the money out later, you will not have a tax liability on those funds.

Regular IRA: You take a tax deduction for the funds during the current tax year. When you liquidate the funds at the time of retirement, you owe taxes on the amount you withdraw per year based on your current income tax rate.

I like a sure thing, which is why I pay my taxes up front (so that when I withdraw the funds later I don’t have to pay taxes). This means that when I look at my Roth IRA account, all of the funds are mine (no calculations or guessing involved)! You can open an account with any number of brokerage companies. I use Vanguard because you can trade an unlimited number of their index funds for free.

gold piggy bank

In a prior blog post I showed you how you can save $650 per month by reducing the amount you eat at restaurants and cooking your own meals. The maximum amount that you can contribute to a Roth IRA account per year is $5,500, which is $458 per month (you can fund your future retirement by not eating out today)!

Experts say that over any 40 year period, the stock market has an average return of 7%. By using a retirement fund calculator, we can see that the overall return for a Roth IRA account that has annual contributions of $5,500 which grows at 7% per year is $1,174,853!!!  Bam! You are a millionaire!!!

Dollar Cost Average:  Buying a fixed dollar amount ($458 to max out the Roth IRA) of a particular investment on a regular schedule (say the 1st of the month).

Retirement is possible. Start young, and be consistent. The younger you are, the better off you will be. The more time the funds are invested, the more tax free compounded interest you will earn! With any retirement account, there are restrictions and penalties for withdrawing before the age of 59.5.  One of the general goals of this blog series is to explain how to win the “game of money”. We all have a financial report card, dreams of retiring (or at least want to not HAVE to work), and a desire to have enough money financially.

clock.jpg

Investing in your future should be part of your once per month habits. You pay your bills on the 1st of the month, add “Roth IRA contributions” to that list (so that you won’t forget)! Investing should become an automatic habit, like brushing your teeth. You get one body and one mind, what habits and routines do you have in place to  take care of yourself?

 

Do you have a topic that you would like to know more about? Post a comment below!

 

Photo credit piggy bank

Photo credit clock 

Increase the Velocity at Which Your Money Grows_ Ways to Save

Increase the Velocity at Which Your Money Grows: Ways to Save

save money

What do I mean by “increasing the velocity of money?”

Lets use a metaphor: Imagine several circles, one inside of the other (see the photo below). If you are living month-to-month and only receive earned income,  you are running around the outer most circle. It takes you longer to go around the circle than someone who has saved some of their earnings, and re-invested the savings  into income producing assets. In a prior blog post , I talked about the importance of earning income in the “capital gains” tax bracket. As you develop more streams of income, especially streams that are in the lower capital gains tax bracket, the smaller the circle you get to run around. The goal is to get to the smallest circle. The smallest circle is the level at which your assets pay for your living expenses and you no longer need to work. Your job title becomes “asset manager” i.e. you manage your own assets.

Concentric_Circles

 

Each individual or family has a unique number of circles in their diagram. This is because each person has a unique dollar amount at which they can “comfortably” live off of. You should run your life like it is a business. After all, you have an income and expenses just like a business does. The more you spend, the more you will have to make to cover those expenses.

Now, lets figure out what your number is so that we can back track to find out how much monthly cash flow you will need in residual income to cover your monthly expenses.  Open up a blank excel spread sheet and list all of your bills and how much they are each month. It should include costs like: rent/mortgage, car payments, gas, utilities, phone bill, health insurance, car insurance, groceries, entertainment, etc.

Once you have added up all of your living costs, subtract it from your current monthly income. Are you even? Do you have money left over? Are you running a negative? Be honest with yourself, this is an exercise that no one needs to see except you. Start a journal/excel spreadsheet called “My financial Report Card”. Start by tracking each month’s income and expenses. You can’t change what you don’t track. Knowing where your money goes is the first step to saving, and then investing.

Remember, the way to increase your passive income stream is by saving money and re-investing it into income producing assets. Click this link to access a few easy tips to increase your savings: 54 Ways to Save .

One of the ways I like to save money is that I meal prep twice a week. I have become so efficient at meal prepping that I can make breakfast, lunch, and dinner in an hour for the next four days. I used to cook dinner every night, which would take an hour for each meal. That is four hours of cooking over four days, but now I can prepare four meals in one hour. That is a 6 hour savings over the entire week! Why am I bringing up cooking in a blog about saving money? Because cooking your own food can create huge savings!

Lets do the math if you were to eat every meal at a restaurant or take it to go: A breakfast would cost you $7, lunch would cost $12, and dinner would cost $16 (I am being conservative here. I am sure many of you have eaten a $20+ dinner).

Lets add all of that up and then multiply by 30 days per month. That is $1,050 per month on eating out! I currently spend about $60 per week on groceries, but I am a relatively small individual, so say you spend twice what I spend on groceries… Say $100 per week, that is $400 per month. That is less than half of what you would spend on eating out!!! Additionally, you know exactly what is going into your meal, which can help you eat healthier!

Do you know any easy ways to save money? Post a comment!piggy bank

 

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