Budget – include saving

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It’s useful to manage expenses more closely and clearly with a written Montly Budget.

 

Create a budget, your budget. Modify this for yourself-

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We can organize our montly needs and goals clearly written.

A goal is to be realistic, efficient in our spending and effective in reaching our goals for funding each month. Some months have extra expenses: December and a summer month when we go on vacation as well as heating bills and air conditioning. We can add those specific items into the appropriate month.

We need to be prepared to save for: emergency funding needs, future funding for education, mortgages and retirement savings. These require systematic montly saving and to plan to include *factoring in for inflattion. Progress can be measured and paced with a followed plan.

Who needs to budget? Most people benefits from budgeting –  teens and college students benefit and to learn early, wage earning and those that are spending, families, and seniors benefit by following a budget.

If you inherit money or win money, it can be spent fast impulsively, keeping to a budget is useful here too.

*Budgeting skills can be usefully applied to specific events: a wedding, vacation etc.

Look at monthly, then quarterly and finally the annual expenses and your savings over time. 

Write it out: using a free monthly budget worksheet found online (modify as you need), make an excel spread sheet or write it down on a piece of paper for starters.

Needs & Wants (prioritize) – and also control your impulse spending 

  1. make 2 columns – the essentials/needs and extras/wants
  2. you may put them in order of importance if you like, prioritize (based on your values) – for example I want a a dinner out more than a new small piece of jewelry
  3. look at your bank statement montly and see where you can cut back to stay in budget-loosen or tighten a little, keep in mind annual goals, funding bigger purchases and longer term goal *keep in mind inflation when funding longer term goals, write it out and map it out

Keeping a budget is assuring and makes us stay on track, it gives us peace of mind.

Make your own list

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What areas have you worked on to make yourself more efficient with yourmoney, using a budget and monitoring spending, please share?!

ways that may add up to a substantial savings

  • make your own coffee
  • breakfast/meals at home more than ordering in or eating out
  • take your lunch to work
  • more natural foods, less processed and prepared foods
  • save energy-thermostat setting

*Our choices are based on values, desires and goals. They are personal. Know your values, goals and needs vs. wants.

This general info is to be useful to encourage disciplined spending/saving.  I’m interested in developing this topic more to meet your needs and to answer your questions. I enjoy helping you to take better care of yourself financially.

Share thoughts and blog freely-

Thank you, 

Audrey

 

 

 

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Retirement considerations

 

This is an outline to help you think about retirement.

l. Realistic return expectations and —–> desired standard of living.

ll. Create flexible portfolio —-> updated to reflect changing markets, retirement conditions and retirement objectives.

Think over the Time Horizon

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Consider

What you need to do differently
How much you need to save
What types of retirement accounts to use (IRA, Roth, 401(k), etc.)
What type of mortgage you should have, if you should pay it off, or refinance
What type and how much insurance you need (life insurance, long term care insurance, disability, property and casualty and health insurance)
How much to keep in your emergency fund
What changes might improve your tax situation
What rate of return you will need to earn to achieve your goals over a given time frame
Whether it makes sense for you to downsize later in life
Many people find that they cut these types of costs once they retire:
Gas, clothing, and other work-related costs.
Payroll taxes.
What level of investment risk is appropriate for different types of accounts you have

 

Primary Expense areas now estimate to Calculate these Expected Numbers in Retirement

Housing
Mortgage $
Property taxes $
Homeowners insurance $
Rent $
Utilities $
Maintenance/fees $
Food
Groceries $
Dining out $
Transportation
Vehicle maintenance $
Fuel $
Auto insurance $
Public transportation $
Health care
Medical services $
Medications and supplies $
Health insurance $
Personal insurance
Life insurance $
Disability insurance $
Long-term care insurance $
Other insurance $
Personal care
Clothing $
Products and services $
Family care
Alimony $
Child care $
Miscellaneous
Loans/credit cards $
Entertainment $
Travel/vacation $
Hobbies $
Gifts $
Education $
Charitable contributions $
Other $
Total monthly expenses

Expenses that may go down in retirement *relative to now, consider inflation

Income taxes, if your income is lower than when you were working full-time.
Certain lifestyle expenses, if you plan to cook more instead of eating out, for example, clothing, etc.
Debt payments, if you paid off your mortgage or other loans before retiring.
Life insurance, if you decide to drop it once you retire.

 

Retirement planning steps

  1. determining time horizons
  2. estimating spending requirements
  3. calculating required after-tax returns
  4. optimizing portfolio allocation
  5. estate planning


 

Other Key factors in the road ahead

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  1. Income – in retirement/part-time work or not
  2. Health care in retirement, costs going up
  3. Inflation and too, emergencies happen

Any questions, please freely write:

or financialplanningneeds@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Money for all Seasons

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WHERE YOUR MONEY GOES VS. WHERE DID MY MONEY GO?

 

Now fall is ending and as nature balances and budgets for the winter,

we need to do the same.

Write out your most valuable and needed expenses, the regular ones and prioritize

the others. Know where your money goes. Start with a budget.

Where can you save?

How can you buy in bulk or at a discount?

Spread your shopping across several places if it is worth the time and travel costs, to get the best values.

As a personal note, I changed my cell phone rate plan, will use more wifi and less data large users of data, less talking. This will save me 20$ per month.

 

Act your wage, live within a budget.

Live a simpler more frugal life in these times and moving forward, I suggest.

 

 

Retirement for caregivers

FOR WOMEN-&-CAREGIVERS

some have shorter and interrupted careers and if so this

  • which reduces retirement savings
  • women sometimes live longer than men and often contribute less
  • there is a risk of a shortage of funds at the end
  • save according to your life expectancy*this includes your family history 

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Reach out to your Human Resources department, know your options

Deferred Compensation Plans, 401-K, 403 B (in non profits)

Roth conversions benefits

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Self contributing plans-IRA’s to add funds

 

*All investments are best thought out within the context of an overall plan.

Learn how to manage money as it is a responsibility that is often left to you !

Take care of your financial future, keep it in focus !

If you have any questions feel free to blog !

 

Quotes

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diversify, budget, simplify, prioritize, balance, work with trustworthy professionals

  • Time is your friend with investing, learn the importance of and do so now.

  • Teach your children to value planning over valuing buying things.

  • Live within your means. Have what you need life long.

“Greater consumption due to increase in population and growth of income heightens scarcity and induces price run-ups. A higher price represents an opportunity that leads inventors and businesspeople to seek new ways to satisfy the shortages. Some fail, at cost to themselves. A few succeed, and the final result is that we end up better off than if the original shortage problems had never arisen. That is, we need our problems, though this does not imply that we should purposely create additional problems for ourselves.”
-Julian Simon Quotes

“It is time that financial types developed a greater tolerance for imprecision, because that’s the way the world is.”
-John C. Burton Quotes

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Invest in yourself. Your career is the engine of your wealth.” – Paul Clitheroe

“Know what you own, and know why you own it.” – Peter Lynch

“Financial peace isn’t the acquisition of stuff. It’s learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can’t win until you do this.” – Dave Ramsey

“Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas.” – Paul Samuelson

“You get recessions, you have stock market declines. If you don’t understand that’s going to happen, then you’re not ready, you won’t do well in the markets.”                        – Peter Lynch

 

iShares Blackrock

Country Specific ETF Investing

Lately, though the emerging market seems to emerge and not and when it does, it does with hesitation and some areas grow quickly.

Generally, I do not recommend products. I personally prefer Vanguard funds as a rule – because of their integrity, low cost products and sufficient variety of funds to portfolio balance, with lower risk and broader – style diversified emerging market mutual funds.

The ETF in specific countries spike up and down or glide up with good growth, you take the risk with the reward. Also, you take the risk with the risk and no promises for reward.

For some watchful investors, country specific investing has its place in a portfolio….with a close watchful eye. Pay attention – using the NY Times and Yahoo finance pages, for examples. I am not taking responsibility here for you but to say these products like Peru did very well as you can see online for yourself. It is a choice based on your risk tolerance to buy into some of these countries.

Peru, Argentina, Brazil, and Austrailia are represented. Also, the more well known funds iShares China and Japan, Belgium, Ireland and Denmark are well performing funds historically, with variations with the market volatility.

Buying these ETF funds is a strategy within a context of an overall portfolio diversification.

I am making people aware of products, should they not know, to keep an eye on and consider. Having some global exposure is recommended by the major funding companies, with care in context of your age, goals, strategy and diversification -risk tolerance and time horizon for when you need the money. It is all a part of an overall architectural portfolio plan is the context.

 

Comments and views are welcome.

Audrey

Pay off credit card debt & Save for tomorrow

UNCERTAINTY IS CERTAIN

Volatility is a constant – to a degree – in this globally interdependent world.

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Digital-Camera-Industryby Audrey Lynn

We are within an era of global volatility in markets and currencies, it is going to remain so. Our world economies are interrelated and dependent.

This era is not going to have the growth and expanse “as a whole” like in years past, but rather in specific locations – in industries and in companies that will emerge and or grow as demand is or increases in various parts of the world.

Individual companies will come and go, due to competition, those will fold those who are holding too much credit debt and while holding inventory (that becomes outdated/obsolete) will take them down for example. Poor management will ruin even a good company through this stormy sea of an economic reality as another variable or factor of company failure.

In cases of companies and countries-those that are not so transparent or ethical, predictions of short or long term future changes are not readily forecastable. 

So with that, I say the rules of diversification are still valid vs. chasing the fastest growing companies as your sole strategy. Banks and billionaires will get there first. Do not lag too far behind good decision making.

One can successfully gain good growth returns-during this bear market but it is good to be in a cash position and to carefully watch and buy when things go further down-you will not time the exact bottom. You can do dollar averaging on the way down or up. I feel and it is my opinion and therefore – I predict a market decline of another 20-30% – as an aggregate from this date forward in the year ahead. I hope not but it is very likely as stocks are over valued. This is because of the natural downward corrective cycles that are historic, debts and an unemployment rate I see as really being worse and not acknowledged. Unemployment will hinder economics and sales.

There will be more jobs lost so we need to follow an age appropriate and risk tolerance appropriate individual-investor plan or small business investment plan. You need to make this for yourself. You need to make a lifestyle for yourself too that is sustainable, and have a savings appropriate for this world and for your age. Make your retirement savings for yourself, employer made and coupled with your own. Know your work place benefits as this is part of your risk management plan.

RECESSION — or not ?

My absolute recommendation, if we go into a recession (or not) is to pay off credit card debt as much as possible-and other debt that is very costly to pay off if held long. My view too is to change habits of using credit card as if it were cash. Use it for not having to carry the cash you have-a short term convenience.

Work and live on a budget, save with liquidity of at least 6 months of non discretionary income of expenses – should you have an emergency need or lose your job. If you lose your job and experience inflation, you will protect yourself some from both and you will also stay with habits of living within a smaller means and in budget.

A slower growth in the world economy will impact on all of us. We need to change our lifestyles appropriately to live financially well today and through our tomorrows.

 

This is an educated and personal view or opinion and for those that read, solely to help you see that it is important to save, invest timely in a bear market when prices of stocks and mutual funds will be lower in price,  to have a cash position in hand to do this, to live on a budget in terms of saving and spending, to invest and pay off “bad debt” credit cards and have a planned financial strategy-see some of the other posts. 

Ask for what you want to see here.

Take care of your finances and be well.

Audrey Lynn

 

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Tax Time 2016 – Examine Financial Goals

Reaching financial independence has nothing to do with luck.

It’s not overly complex but a matter of setting good financial goals and having a plan as to how you will achieve them.

Once that plan working toward those goals becomes part of habit achieving financial independence is possible. Get on track to a sustainable future.

TOOLSth

  • calculator
  • create a diary – of spending
  • websites for reliable information, original source
  • youtube
  • coupons and savings tips for all areas of life

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POSITIVE CHANGES

  • how big is your debt ? get rid of the high interest paying debt !
  • pay for things with cash amounts you can safely afford
  • understand credit dangers of rates and accumulation of greater debt

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  •  debt in relationship to : your cash and other assets 
  • how well do you manage money and where can you start to improve-assess

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  • how responsible are you in helping yourself to achieve your financial freedom
  • tips for change steps
  • making and following a plan

 

  • old habits
  • new habits

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  • taking care of yourself
  • commitment
  • moderation and balance 

 

GOALS

identify and list your financial goals

costs, target date, how much money you need, and budget for these goals

  1. short term goals 6 months or less
  2. long term goals 1 year
  3. long term planning 1 year plus

TIPS

Be realistic about how much time and money it will take to accomplish goal.
Keep your motivation by revisiting your goal list frequently to check on progress.
Setbacks will happen. If something throws you off of your target date, don’t give up

– set a new date, or find a way to catch up.

Realize goals need to be limited, or focused and prioritized

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1. track spending

notebook and a pen you can transfer your handwritten notes to a computer spreadsheet
2.financial reports/statements, bank 
tracking monthly or semi-annually

family budget and a balance sheet

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3. update my personal budget
start budgeting and tracking expenses as soon as they begin their first full time job

revisit as raises, marriage, the birth of children, and divorce or other events come up

 
4. professional

tax advisors, credit counselors, financial planners, and lawyers can help,

also for free librarians, organizations and meetup groups to create good habits
5. personal balance sheet
calculates your net worth (what you own) with liabilities (what you owe).

The difference between the two is your personal net worth ( + or _

once you know your current net worth setting goals is easier !

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expect the unexpected  “unplanned” expenses 
automatically save from your paycheck to a savings account

extra money that you don’t normally rely on, save !

 

Common sense and flexibility are important.

Realistic goals are doable goals-and doing them incrementally.

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balance

Happiness or sustainability is somewhere between too little and too much.

*If you have an area in your life where your spending is a bit over-

you can work on it, you are worth it.

areas of common over spending:

alcohol

dining out

clothes, shoes

vacations

buying a house that is too big

drinking coffee and having work day lunches out

jewelry

~ thanks for visiting the blog~

your comments are welcome

Audrey Lynn

Today, change yourself for the better !

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  • Spend less
  • Eat (fruits and vegetables, grains) low salt foods and good fats
  • Strengthen, stretch, cardio exercises, and drink water
  • Improve credit scores, use the credit card when you have the funds, careful here

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  • Cable, internet and phone – investigate ways to save here
  • Shop carefully and find places to shop online
  • No one store has all the deals-fine new stores and value promotions
  • Piggy bank lose change

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  • Keep a budget and track starting your February 2016 spending
  • Track your spending patterns monthly, weekly
  • Buy with a plan, not on impulse
  • Prevention care in health and dental care
  • Buy the raw ingredients vs. canned, pre-made and frozen, cook instead/freeze
  • Coupons/find the discounts
  • Save for emergencies, for disability, unemployment periods, and for vet bills
  • Buy toilet paper, diapers in bulk, and clearance items that you need or will need
  • Live on less than you make
  • During periods of inflation you are able to maintain your lifestyle 
  • Follow a discipline: make your coffee, bring your lunch and eat out as a treat
  • Make a shopping list and live on a budget
  • Avoid bounced checks, pay off debt use free ATM machines
  • Shop for best insurance rates, have insurance that you need to cover risks
  • Have a house or apartment of the right size, not too big
  • Live near work, save on transportation – car pool for example
  • Refinance when needed and appropriately cost effective
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  • Chose repair contractors that are cost effective
  • Weatherproof your home for summer and wintertimes
  • Shop at thrift stores or other second hand sources
  • Hand wash vs. dry clean, when you can
  • Line dry vs. dryer
  • Use library books and services
  • Buy gifts in advance, on sale
  • Have pot luck parties, lower cost entertainment at home
  • Prepare your taxes carefully
  • Participate in programs advantage for your home, education, business etc.
  • Max out your IRA matching offered from your job

—ideas for you and your family or offer these to friends !

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