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There are only a few days left in January. Have you decided what steps you will take this year to win with money? If not, we’ve got some suggestions, especially for those of you who are already debt-free.
If you’ve reached Baby Step 4, your goal this year is to invest a full 15% of your income for retirement. No holding back. No excuses.
That may sound a little scary, especially if your budget relies on a cushion of cash that you could be investing. But if you’re going to give it your all this year, it’s time to take action and really work that budget.
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We understand there’s only so much sacrifice a family can handle, so let’s start with some ideas for ways you can save money and invest smarter without cutting your entertainment budget. Awesome, right?
Tax Season Turnaround
Tax season can be a great time to get your investing ducks in a row. Our first tip is simple: If you’re getting a refund this year, invest it. The average refund for the 2012 tax year was $2,800. Imagine what that could do for your Roth IRA in 30 years. How does an extra $48,000–80,000 sound?
But don’t stop there. Adjust the withholdings on your W-2 so you aren’t giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan this year. With more money in your paycheck, you can increase your contributions to your retirement accounts, and you won’t even notice it!
A tax professional can help you get your largest possible refund this year and help you adjust your W-2.
Watch It Add Up
When it comes time to examine your budget, you shouldn’t do it alone. If you’re single, ask trusted friend to act as your accountability partner and help you find ways to trim your expenses. And if you’re married, it is absolutely necessary that you and your spouse both share equally in budget-cutting decisions.
Remember, you’re not looking to cut entire categories of expenses. You’re just looking for small ways to save so you can reach your 15% goal. We’ve gathered plenty of ideas from Dave’s fans over the years:
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- Drop old gym memberships you don’t use.
- Sell your kid’s clothes through a consignment shop.
- Cut back on luxuries like manicures and pedicures.
- Cancel your lawn service and cut your grass yourself.
Little changes like these add up quickly. And when you think about the payoff—a secure retirement you can enjoy—the price seems small in comparison.
Stay on Track for the Long Haul
Of course, you’ll face situations this year where you’ll be tempted to redirect your investing money to other areas in your budget. But if you’re honest, you could come up with something to spend that money on every month. Stop making excuses, or you’ll never get around to investing for retirement!
An experienced investing professional can help you overcome those temptations. Your advisor will show you how to make the most of your hard-earned dollars by helping you set up your accounts and encouraging you to stick with your investing plan so you can reach your retirement savings goals.
You can work with an advisor who’s earned Dave’s recommendation through his nationwide network of investment Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs). Contact your ELP and get started today!