So you want to be a millionaire. What does it take? Do you have to inherit a massive amount of wealth? Graduate from an Ivy League school? Earn a high salary? Continue reading “How To Become A Millionaire!”
At the end of July, the media’s favorite brokerage IPO’d. Which brokerage is that, you might ask? Why, Robinhood, Continue reading “Robinhood!”
The Fed’s Interest Rate Announcement & the Market’s Response
Here at Nelson Financial Planning, we’ve been saying for months that the data makes it hard to justify keeping interest rates where they are. Just consider the current inflation rate. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was at 5% for the 12-month period ending May 31, 2021, the highest rate since 2008. In fact, the CPI has only been above 5% for a rolling 12-month period three other times in the past 30 years. Continue reading “Your Debt is About to Cost You More Money!”
Here at Nelson Financial Planning, we know our clients work hard at their jobs. Most also have a 401 (k), to which they contribute a portion of their paycheck every month. If you haven’t opened a retirement account yet, you should do so today, especially if your employer matches at least a portion of your contributions. Continue reading “How Much Can 1% Affect My Returns?”
Are you thinking about selling your home this year? Will you owe taxes on the sale if you do? A lot of homeowners ask this question. Rest assured that if you meet specific requirements, you could benefit from one of the biggest tax breaks out there when you sell your house. But if you don’t qualify for the exclusion, your home could become a massive tax liability. Continue reading “Is Your Home a Massive Tax Liability?”
There’s a lot of speculation surrounding how to become a millionaire. Do they inherit a massive amount of wealth? Graduate from an Ivy League school? Earn a high salary? What would you say if we told you that an average person with an average income and no inheritance can still become a millionaire? Continue reading “Fake Millionaires!”
Many studies have been conducted over the years to pinpoint the common traits of savvy investors. Here are five factors that these studies have identified as the keys to successful investing.
First and foremost, strive to spend less and save more. The more you tuck away each month, the more wealth you will accumulate over time. To put this advice into action, always pay yourself first. This means putting at least 10% of your income from every paycheck straight into a retirement account. Then, make sure your expenses don’t exceed the remaining 90% of your income. Cut back on your spending if you must to make sure everything else gets paid.
We’re inundated with information 24/7, so it can be hard to ignore all the noise out there. However, as the old Bobby McFerrin song says, “Don’t worry, be happy.” Stop worrying about whether a bubble or a crash is happening right now. Stop worrying about what might happen with the market next week, next month, next quarter, or next year. Studies show that even if you invest at the market peaks each year, you still wind up with great, long-term results.
When you start investing early, compounding interest has time to work its magic. Here’s what happens: Say you put $10 into an investment account. The balance grows by 10% in year one, so now you have $11. The balance grows by 10% again in year two, but you don’t make $1—you make $1.10. This compounding effect leads to a sizable amount of wealth over an extended period. Starting 10 years earlier than someone else could result in a much more sizeable retirement account.
The world is not going to end if your investment account loses value from one month to the next. And if it does, then your financial plan doesn’t matter, right? All jokes aside, understanding that you need a positive outlook helps you stay the course as an investor.
Over the past 100 years, the markets have certainly seen ups and downs because of world wars, recessions, presidential assassinations, pandemics, and everything else you can think of. And yet, the trajectory has continued to move upward. Remember, the market represents the value of companies that produce high-demand goods and services. So it’s really no surprise that the market continues to trend upward over the long-term.
Have a Steady Temperament
Temperament cannot be learned. Rather, it’s an innate characteristic of your personality. A steady temperature allows you to consider the bigger picture and not lose sight of potential growth, even during periods of extended market upheaval. Others may get swept up in their emotions, but successful investors never abandon their discipline.
Looking to accumulate more wealth in 2021 and beyond? Turn to Nelson Financial Planning. We have over 35 years of experience helping our clients enjoy cost-effective financial plans and superior investment results. To schedule your free initial consultation, please call us at 407-629-6477.
Have you noticed the terms “pre-tax” and “post-tax” when looking at your retirement accounts? If you’re confused about what these terms mean, learn the difference between them to help maximize your tax savings.
One way or another, each dollar you earn as income usually runs through the tax system. The type of retirement account you set up determines whether this happens right away or years in the future. Here’s the big question: Is it better for you to pay taxes now or later? Let’s take a closer look at pre-tax contributions to help you answer this question.
What is a Pre-Tax Retirement Account?
“Pre-tax” means before paying taxes and usually refers to contributions made to a tax-deferred retirement account. These include:
- Traditional individual retirement account (IRA)
- Deferred compensation plan
Pre-tax contributions deposit directly into your retirement account. The money is not taxed as long as it remains in that account. This means your dividends, interest, and capital gains grow on a tax-deferred basis until you withdraw them.
Benefits of Pre-Tax Retirement Accounts
Many people choose to make pre-tax contributions because of these great benefits:
Pre-tax contributions save you money today by reducing your taxable income.
Pre-tax contributions are invested in stocks and bonds that pay dividends or interest each year. Being in a tax-deferred account means you don’t pay taxes on this growth. The compounding effect of these reinvested amounts can really snowball into amazing results by the time you withdraw the money after retirement.
When you make a withdrawal from a pre-tax retirement account, the money finally runs through the tax system. This is when you pay taxes on your retirement account contributions. Most retirees are in a lower tax bracket than when they were working. As a result, you will probably pay fewer taxes in the end than if you had opened a post-tax retirement account.
When to Consider Post-Tax Contributions
Pre-tax retirement accounts aren’t for everyone. That’s why the IRS also offers post-tax contributions. “Post-tax” is when you pay taxes right away, leaving you with tax-exempt retirement income. Consider setting up a Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA if:
You’re in a low tax bracket now and expect to be in a higher bracket later due to retirement income or because you think taxes will increase.
You would rather have your income run through the tax system now instead of at retirement so your nest egg isn’t subject to further taxation.
If you still have questions about pre-tax vs. post-tax retirement accounts, Nelson Financial Planning can help you decide which option is best for you. Our team consists of Certified Financial Planners who fulfill their fiduciary duty to keep your best interests in mind at all times. With our help, you’ll understand the rules better than ever so you can maximize your tax savings. Contact us today at 407-629-6477 to schedule your free initial consultation.
Why should you be investing today? Some people are steering away from investing during this pandemic, what with the foreboding headlines and uncertain future. However, investing remains an important way to accumulate wealth in this economic climate.
Saving vs. Trading vs. Investing
Many people confuse the terms saving, trading, and investing. What’s the difference?
Saving is when you put away money securely in a savings account, checking account, certificate of deposit (CD), or money market. Savings typically have easy access, a relatively low and stable interest rate, and an FDIC guarantee. We recommend maintaining emergency savings account with enough funds to get by for six to 12 months. For many people, this is anywhere between $25,000 and $50,000.
Trading is when you buy and sell stocks, bonds, or other financial products. You can make a quick buck, but there’s no opportunity for long-term growth and stability.
Investing is about financial growth over time. Whether you invest in your own business or purchase a share in a Fortune 500 company, you essentially own a slice of that operation. This proposition comes with more risk, but it also has a higher potential for return.
Once you have adequate savings in place, we recommend investing to help you accumulate wealth and prepare for retirement. Ideally, you should work toward having eight to 10 times more money in investments than you do in savings.
Think of investing as a garden. If you plant a tomato seed today, you won’t have a tomato plant tomorrow. There is no instant gratification the way there is in trading. It takes time, patience, and regular attention to build a successful investment portfolio, but if you’re consistent, the results can be amazing.
Investing requires an understanding of opportunity cost as well. This economic concept states that there’s an infinite number of ways you can spend every dollar you earn. Once you decide how to spend it, you can’t spend it any other way. Therefore, you need to earn another dollar to buy the next thing on your list. Thinking about the opportunity cost of every dollar you spend can help guide your investments.
What Makes Investing So Powerful?
Far too many people focus more heavily on saving than investing, but this is a mistake. Why is investing so important?
- Investing offers healthy returns. The historical average gain of long-term investments is 8 to 10 percent compared to 1 or 2 percent for savings.
- Compound interest can build incredible wealth. Dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World, compound interest means your investment grows each year—not just on the original amount, but on the original amount plus the growth it made that year.
- Investing provides multiple aspects of growth. Dividends, interest, and capital gains are all possible ways to make money from investments.
Successful investing often requires help from a financial planner. Reach out to Nelson Financial Planning at 407-629-6477 or schedule your free initial consultation online to start putting your money to work for you!
A whopping 39 percent of Americans have nothing saved for a rainy day, let alone retirement. This is a scary statistic! If COVID-19 has taught us anything this past year, it’s that having an emergency fund is critical to weather unexpected financial storms.
We all have habits that undermine our ability to save money. Consider what these habits are and how to prevent them from destroying your retirement.
Spending Now Rather Than Saving for Later
With our culture of instant gratification, it’s easy to focus on the present and neglect potential needs for the future. The best way to avoid this habit is to stick to a budget. If you don’t already have one, there are plenty of resources available to help you create one.
By keeping track of how much money is coming in, and what expenses are going out, you can calculate the amount you have left over to spend on “extras” each month. Just remember to allocate at least 10 percent to saving and investing!
Underestimating the Amount You’ll Need for Retirement
As you project what your budget after retirement may look like, don’t forget to include these three factors:
- Taxes: As a W2 employee, your employer automatically takes taxes out of your paycheck. Once retired, you have to plan for those withholdings yourself.
- Health insurance: Under your employer’s group plan, health insurance is quite affordable—and automatically deducted from your paycheck. Once you retire, you become responsible for your own health insurance. If you stop working early and aren’t yet eligible for Medicare, your premiums may be quite costly.
- Free time expense: With more time on your hands after retirement, you may end up spending more money each week, whether it’s on golfing, traveling, or pursuing hobbies.
Only Investing in the Best-Performing Funds
Chances are, if you only invest in funds that have earned a Morningstar rating of Gold or Silver, you’re already late to the game. Funds that are top-rated today may not sustain that excellent track record because the Morningstar system only looks at short-term performance.
If you constantly chase returns based on one- to three-year performance, your portfolio will end up under-performing in the long-term. You’ll achieve more sustainable returns if you look at a fund’s 10- or 15-year track record before deciding whether to invest in it.
Misunderstanding What Diversification Is
Diversification is about more than just owning multiple funds. It’s important to consider the balance between stocks and bonds, your investments in large companies vs. small companies, and how much money you have in domestic vs. international funds. As a rule of thumb, you should always keep your top 10 holdings below about 20 percent of the portfolio’s total value to ensure adequate diversification.
For more on how to prevent bad habits from destroying your retirement, please contact Nelson Financial Planning. Our goal is to help you change your life through a successful financial plan that provides peace of mind for the future.