5 More Financial Mistakes to Avoid in Your 20s and 30s

Young Father Building Financial Foundation

You’ve made the commitment to start “adult-ing,” a very important first step. Don’t start to build from the roof down, though: make sure that you’re laying a strong financial foundation.

In our last post we talked about 8 Financial Mistakes to Avoid in Your 20s and 30s. Here are five more money mistakes to watch out for:

1. Going on a Financial Blind Date With Your Significant Other: Not Having the Money Talk First

Talking about money isn’t romantic and can be downright uncomfortable. That’s why many couples go into marriage—a financial partnership—without knowing exactly who they are partnering with. Discussing personal finances, debt, goals, spending patterns and how you make financial decisions with your partner before marriage, or soon thereafter, is critical to your short- and long-term financial health. (For related reading, see: Don’t Let Financial Differences Lead to Divorce.)

2. Living la Vida Loca: Splurging on the Wedding or a Baby

Important milestones like a wedding, a first child or even your first house are exciting and make precious memories that last a lifetime. But be careful not to let them put you in debt or divert you from a financial plan that allows you to make other great memories down the road. Know what you can afford, get creative within your budget, and make sure you’re investing in your partner’s and children’s future as well. The kids won’t mind—or even remember—that you didn’t buy them that top-of-the-line stroller. What they’ll remember is your smile and their favorite red ball. #Priceless

3. Not Buckling Your Seat Belt: Neglecting Insurance

It’s tempting to skimp on insurance once you’ve covered your basic health and homeowner’s policies, but that’s a big mistake many young adults make. Insurance is an uncomfortable topic—and the options can be very confusing—so covering yourself with health, life, car, home, disability and long-term disability insurance often gets put on the back burner. Cover yourself adequately now so that when the unexpected happens, it’s not a financial disaster. (For related reading, see: Introduction to Insurance.)

4. Going for the Gold: Taking a Job for the Pay

While a great offer is always tempting, make sure that any job you take is something that will advance you in the direction you want to go. Don’t take a job just because the money is great, although that’s important too. If you do, you could get stuck in a job you don’t love with nowhere to go. Take a job that is going to move you closer to the job you want—and the even-higher salary you want—in a couple of years.

5. Putting Too Many Eggs in the Wrong Basket: Not Prioritizing Savings

Maxing out your 401(k) or IRA is smart, but don’t forget to save for other major purchases that may be coming up sooner than you think, like buying a new home, having children, or continuing your education. Multiple savings accounts can be a great way to keep your eye on multiple baskets! Be careful, too, not to prioritize your children’s education over saving for your own retirement. Student loans are less expensive than the kind of loans your kids would have to take out to support you if you haven’t set enough savings aside to support your own retirement.

Enjoy this special time, living your life to the fullest. If you make sure you’re also making smart financial choices, you’ll really enjoy your 20s and 30s, knowing that you’re building a solid future.

 

The views expressed in this blog post are as of the date of the posting, and are subject to change based on market and other conditions. This blog contains certain statements that may be deemed forward-looking statements. Please note that any such statements are not guarantees of any future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected.
Please note that nothing in this blog post should be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any security or separate account. Nothing is intended to be, and you should not consider anything to be, investment, accounting, tax or legal advice. If you would like investment, accounting, tax or legal advice, you should consult with your own financial advisors, accountants, or attorneys regarding your individual circumstances and needs. No advice may be rendered by Sherman Wealth unless a client service agreement is in place.
If you have any questions, please Contact Us.

 

Summer Interns: Time to Focus On Long-Term Gains

Summer Intern

The light at the end of the tunnel is nearing for America’s summer interns. Full-time offers will be tendered, sighs of relief exhaled and paychecks cashed. Interns who receive offers will be bright-eyed with lofty visions of moonshot careers at their new place of employment. As these interns begin to accept the end of college and pivot towards the start of the rest of their lives, we strongly encourage them to start considering a long-term financial plan.

Sure, it is tempting to put most of your extra cash earned this summer in your checking account for drinks, trips to visit friends or to buy yourself something nice. The decidedly less glamorous option is to put a chunk of that cash into a Roth or Traditional individual retirement account (IRA). But, almost certainly, that is the option for which your future self would pat you on the back. (For related reading, see: The Conflicts of Interest Around 401(k) Plans.)

Early Planning Is a Tough Sell

We know this is a tough sell for most college students. Salaries and long-term financial security aren’t big concerns for today’s generation as it has been before. Even on Wall Street, where compensation is high, interns seek other qualities in a company. For example, interns at investment bank Jefferies said they valued relatable leadership, a family atmosphere and inclusion. So we get that saving for retirement may not be where your mind is at—especially if you received an offer and want to celebrate. (Which, by all means, you should.)

We aren’t here to suggest you start living a life of austerity now that college is almost over. But you must consider that right now is the best time in your life to put a bit of money away for retirement. The power of compound interest means that the earlier you start saving, the greater your returns will be. It doesn’t matter how small the amount—money invested in the stock market can grow exponentially over time because it compounds year over year.

In our experience, many college-aged people don’t know where to start, even if they are interested in opening an IRA. The choice between, for example, a Roth or Traditional IRA can be opaque and intimidating. And then, once an account has been opened, where do you actually invest the money? How can it be monitored? (For related reading, see: 6 Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor.)

To pile on top of that, as you graduate and find a new pad, start work and are presented with options for employer-sponsored retirement plans, you might be forced to consider trade-offs. Should you work on paying off your student loans or invest that money into growing your retirement account? Or, you might ask yourself, why invest at all when I can just keep my earnings in cash?

All of this “adulting” can be overwhelming, and unfortunately often leads to poor financial decisions. (For some guidance, we highly recommend John Oliver’s take on saving and financial advice.) But one thing you can be confident of is that starting to save now has almost no downside. If you aren’t totally sure of your ability to open an account and invest on your own, follow John Oliver’s advice and contact a low-cost, fiduciary financial advisor who can work with you to grow your investment.

We recognize that putting a chunk of your income towards retirement at such a young age isn’t sexy. But it has enormous benefit and will set you on a path of financial wellness. It’s the right thing to do. (For related reading, see: Why Playing It Safe Could Hurt Your Retirement)

 

This article was originally published on Investopedia.com

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The views expressed in this blog post are as of the date of the posting, and are subject to change based on market and other conditions. This blog contains certain statements that may be deemed forward-looking statements. Please note that any such statements are not guarantees of any future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected.
Please note that nothing in this blog post should be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any security or separate account. Nothing is intended to be, and you should not consider anything to be, investment, accounting, tax or legal advice. If you would like investment, accounting, tax or legal advice, you should consult with your own financial advisors, accountants, or attorneys regarding your individual circumstances and needs. No advice may be rendered by Sherman Wealth unless a client service agreement is in place.
If you have any questions regarding this Blog Post, please Contact Us.

Donald Trump Takes a Stand on 401(k) Investments

Head in the Sand - Trump 401k

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has had one of the most hectic campaigns in recent memory. He has made so many newsworthy remarks that it is hard to keep up. One day last week was particularly impressive as he made over 10 news-making assertions in under 24 hours. These included initially refusing to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan, doubling down on his feud with Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan and predicting that the election will be rigged. (For more, see: The Conflicts of Interest Around 401(k)s.)

Whether you support him or not, simply finding the time in the day to make all those remarks (and more) is impressive. But there was one opinion in particular that caught our eye, via CBS’s Sopan Deb. Trump made the below statements during an interview with FOX Business Network’s Stuart Varney:

Varney: For the the small investor, the average guy, right now, would you say, yes, put your 401(k) money into stocks?

Trump: No, I don’t like a lot of things that I see. I don’t like a lot of the signs that I’m seeing. I don’t like what’s happening with immigration policies. I don’t like the fact that we’re moving tremendous numbers of people from Syria are coming into this country and we don’t even know it. Thousands of people, thousands and thousands of people. There’s so many things that I just don’t like what I’m seeing. I don’t like what I’m seeing at all. Look, interest rates are artificially low. If interest rates ever seek a natural level, which obviously would be much higher than they are right now, you have some very scary scenarios out there. The only reason the stock market is where it is—is because you get free money.

Trump’s Approach

Even if you are his number one fan, please don’t hire Donald Trump to manage your 401(k). First of all, setting aside the economic truth of what Trump is saying and whether his fears will ultimately influence the market as much as he thinks, every factor that he mentions in his response is short-term. As Trump is 70 years old, focusing on what’s coming immediately down the line is understandable. But most investors have longer to go until retirement and therefore need to be invested in the stock market’s long-term gains, particularly those investors without Trump’s level of wealth. (For more, see: Why Playing It Safe Could Hurt Your Retirement.)

As Bloomberg points out, Trump’s strategy basically amounts to timing the market. We believe that in the long run, due to the efficient market hypothesis, you can’t beat the returns of the market through individual stock selection and market timing. Therefore, the safest thing to do is to stick with the market, while of course monitoring constantly and rebalancing.

Trump’s approach could be a recipe for long-term disaster. Fidelity Investments has compared how investors who pulled out of the market near its bottom in 2008-09 fared versus those who stayed. Those investors who stuck with the market ended 2015 $82,000 richer than those who withdrew, on average. (For related reading, see: Why Investors Can Be Their Own Worst Enemy.)

So even if Trump is completely correct, it is not a good strategy for a long-term retirement saver, which is the demographic he was asked about. If Donald Trump applied his advice to your 401(k), you’d probably do worse than if you ignored him, even in the case of a market correction.

Asked about alternatives to the stock market, Trump would likely point to real estate (we wrote about that here), which is where most of his dealings have been. The answer is somewhere in between a diversified portfolio with investments in real estate (if you can afford it), but also stocks, bonds, the money market, etc. If a market correction really is coming as Trump predicts, then the best hedge against it isn’t to pull all your money out of equities. Rather, for most savers, we think the best protections are a long-term financial plan and a diversified portfolio, both of which account for short-term market volatility.

This article was originally published on Investopedia.com

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The views expressed in this blog post are as of the date of the posting, and are subject to change based on market and other conditions. This blog contains certain statements that may be deemed forward-looking statements. Please note that any such statements are not guarantees of any future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected.
Please note that nothing in this blog post should be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any security or separate account. Nothing is intended to be, and you should not consider anything to be, investment, accounting, tax or legal advice. If you would like investment, accounting, tax or legal advice, you should consult with your own financial advisors, accountants, or attorneys regarding your individual circumstances and needs. No advice may be rendered by Sherman Wealth unless a client service agreement is in place.
If you have any questions regarding this Blog Post, please Contact Us.

 

Is Your Retirement Advisor a Fiduciary?

Is your Retirement Advisor a Fiduciary?

Do you want a financial professional who is opposed to financial transparency managing your money?

The upcoming and long anticipated proposed rules by the Department of Labor (“DOL”) exposes that very debate, as it seeks to eliminate the ability of financial advisors to profit by selling retirement account products to investors without being held to a “fiduciary standard.”

For those wondering what that means, with a fiduciary standard an advisor must always act in your (their client’s) best interests. A fiduciary standard ensures that the advisor’s duty is to the client only, not the corporation they represent. To the surprise of many, that currently is not always the case. Financial advisors have had the ability to profit (through commissions and high fees) to the potential detriment of their clients. That is exactly what many large financial institutions and insurance companies have done. In fact, the federal government estimates that there are roughly $17 billion dollars of fees generated each year from conflicted advice.

The DOL has made clear –and we agree– that a commission based investment model creates a conflict of interest. Companies with a commission based model operate with an inherent conflict: the pressure to sell products that are more profitable for them and/or their firm can be important factors in how they direct you to invest. For example, an advisor may receive a 5% commission by selling you a fund through their company when you could get a similar product elsewhere without commission. Think of it this way: would you want to work with an accountant who also gets commissions from the IRS? Of course not. You want your accountant to represent your best interests. Would you go to a doctor who makes money each time he prescribes penicillin? No, you want your doctor to prescribe what is right for you. That is the primary reason we stay completely independent and operate as conflict-free, fee-only advisors.

The proposed DOL rule will hopefully begin to fix this issue as it is expected to require a strict fiduciary standard for financial advisors in the context of sales for retirement account products.  This standard will require advisors to certify that they are acting independently and in their client’s best interest, and are not motivated by the prospect of a commission. This has created a firestorm among big insurance companies, broker dealers and other institutional investors who, as we pointed out, don’t typically operate as fiduciaries.

In a letter sent last week to the SEC, Senator Elizabeth Warren, a strong proponent of the proposed DOL rule, pointed out that presidents of Transamerica, Lincoln National, Jackson National and Prudential all have called this proposal “unworkable.”  She commented on the self interest in their position, and the danger in permitting unwitting investors to be guided by non-fiduciaries in the context of their retirement investments.

Why would a rule that requires a financial advisor to act in their client’s best interest create such an uproar? One reason is that unlike Sherman Wealth Management, they are in a commission driven model, and therefore fear that the way they currently serve clients would not meet the standards of this new rule. We hope that because of the conflict a commission driven model creates, that eventually enough pressure from policy-makers like Senator Warren and Labor Secretary Perez will propel this proposed new rule beyond just retirement accounts. In the meantime, think to yourself why anyone would oppose this rule if not for purely selfish reasons?

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The views expressed in this blog post are as of the date of the posting, and are subject to change based on market and other conditions. This blog contains certain statements that may be deemed forward-looking statements. Please note that any such statements are not guarantees of any future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected.
Please note that nothing in this blog post should be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any security or separate account. Nothing is intended to be, and you should not consider anything to be, investment, accounting, tax or legal advice. If you would like investment, accounting, tax or legal advice, you should consult with your own financial advisors, accountants, or attorneys regarding your individual circumstances and needs. No advice may be rendered by Sherman Wealth unless a client service agreement is in place.
If you have any questions regarding this Blog Post, please Contact Us.

How much money do you need for retirement these days?

Pre Retiree

Although retirement may seem distant, it is important to start a strategic plan now so you are prepared when that day arrives. Timing is very important, and the sooner you start saving and investing, the sooner you can begin to focus on a life that will not require you to work.

How much money do you need for retirement?

Well it depends on three factors:

(a) when you retire

(b) where you retire

and

(c) what you plan to do in retirement.

Not all of these questions need to be answered right away, but saving now in a retirement fund that has time to grow is invaluable. Fidelity says to try to have saved at least as much as your current salary by the time you are 35, have three times your salary saved by the time you’re 45, and at least five times your salary by your 55th birthday. When it’s time to retire, your goal should be to have saved at least eight times your ending salary. These numbers aren’t set in stone, but are good benchmarks to follow when starting your retirement savings and investment plan.

Dependable advice in a fluctuating market.

Learn more about our Retirement Planning services.

Related Reading:

Four Things Entrepreneurs Can do Now to Save for Retirement 

Finding Financial Independence

YOLO (You Only Live Once) so you Need a Retirement Goal

Your 401K Program: A Little Savings Now Goes a Long Way

The Benefits of Saving Early for Retirement

Advantages of Participating in Your Workplace Retirement Plan

Sherman Wealth Management

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Advantages of Participating in Your Workplace Retirement Plan

Our Clients

As young adults, 20 and 30-year-old’s tend to procrastinate when it comes to saving for retirement, thinking they have all the time in the world.But the key is to start now. When it comes to saving for retirement, there are few better ways than a workplace plan such as a 401(K). Yet, there are a few common excuses for not opting into an employer compensation plan.

● There will always be Social Security
● I can’t afford it right now. I’m not making enough money to save yet.
● Fear of losing money in bad investments.
● I’m so young, I have all the time in the world.

The 411 about the 401(K)
A 401K allows employees to withdraw money from their paycheck prior to taxes and invest it in a retirement savings plan. Many employers then match the contributions proportionately, sometimes even dollar for dollar. The contributions are not taxed until the money is withdrawn. As of 2014, you can contribute up to $17,500 per year.

Funds withdrawn prior to age 59 ½ are subject to a 10% penalty and are taxed as current income in the year withdrawn.

A Mini History Lesson about Pensions and Employer Compensation Plans
It was during the American Revolution, that what we know as a pension, came about. The Continental Congress offered soldiers a monthly lifetime income as an incentive to join General Washington’s army.The income they’d receive when the war was over would be a payment for their service.This lifetime income was called a pension.The offer was repeated by the federal government the during the Civil War and has continued ever since.

The first private company to offer a pension plan was American Express in 1875. They gave an income to each retired employee. The amount was equal to half of the worker’s annual pay, based on an average of the worker’s final ten years of employment (up to $500 annually). Over the next 50 years, hundreds of other companies created similar plans. (However, now it’s based on the average of the worker’s highest paid income of 35 years!)

The end of 1929 brought the Great Depression. Millions of people became unemployed which created fierce competition for jobs.The nation’s economy at the time was agricultural and industrial— both very physically demanding— placing older Americans at a distinct disadvantage. So when older employees lost their jobs, they were unlikely to find new ones and found themselves involuntarily retired.

Thus, in 1935 came the Social Security Act which was signed by President Roosevelt,establishing the first public retirement plan and a national retirement age of 65.Similar to the private plan created by American Express, Social Security was to pay monthly benefits based on each worker’s length of service and average annual salary.

Addressing the Excuses

There will always be Social Security
When the Social Security Act was established, the average American lifespan was 61.7 years, however, today it is 78 years. Now, one must plan income for retirement to get you to age 100 or beyond. You can no longer solely rely on Social Security alone to maintain you through your retirement years. It should only provide you with one-third of your retirement income.

Few companies still maintain traditional pensions (paid for by employers). In this day and age, people are no longer staying at one place of employment for their entire career which is usually the case in which a pension would still exist. The vast majority of today’s retirement plans fall under “defined contribution plans” such as the 401(K).

I can’t afford it right now. I’m not making enough money to save yet.
You do not have to make a lot of money to participate in this program. Typically an employer only requires 1-2% of the participant’s salary. On a $50K salary, that is only $42 to $84 per month. And remember, your employer may contribute proportionately every time you do. How much do you spend on your cable bill? Or phone bill? Or your gym?

Your employer automatically deducts your contributions every time you are paid. If you don’t see the money, it won’t be so hard to part with it! Most of the legwork to provide investment options is done by your employer and the professional advisers they hire to assist them. An increasing number of plans offer “auto enroll” and “auto escalate” features. The first automatically signs you up for your retirement plan; the second automatically boosts contributions as your salary increases.

Another perk: You get two tax advantages when you save in a 401(K) plan. First, your contributions are tax-deductible. Second, the money you contribute doesn’t count toward your gross income for the year, lowering your taxable income. There are also no taxes on interest or dividends at the end of the year like in a non qualified investment or savings. Say you put 10% of your $50,000 salary into your account each month. That’s $416 you don’t have to pay tax on. If you’re single, that translates to about $104 in monthly tax savings, or $1,245 a year and tax deferred until its withdrawn.

Fear of losing money in bad investments.
Sometimes taking your hard earned money and putting it where you can’t see it is scary. People who have fear of going to the doctor but have to go anyway. Think of it the same way. Most 401(k)s let the employee choose where to invest their savings from a variety of options ranging from aggressive choices as to less volatile choices.

I’m so young, I have all the time in the world.
The key to success of a 401(K) is to start as early as possible and to try and contribute the maximum allowed. According to FinancialSamurai.com, in 2014, if a 22 year old started participating in a 401(K) by the time they are 65, they will have saved $743K to $3.5 million, depending on the percentage of contributions to the plan. But if someone does not start contributing until age 40, by the time they are 65, they will have saved $305.5K to $550K, depending on the percentage of contributions to the plan. Wouldn’t you prefer to be the former?

Don’t leave money on the table. If your company offers a 401(K), find out the details of the plan and consider taking advantage today.

Learn more about our Retirement Planning services.

Related Reading:

Four Things Entrepreneurs Can do Now to Save for Retirement 

Finding Financial Independence

YOLO (You Only Live Once) so you Need a Retirement Goal

Your 401K Program: A Little Savings Now Goes a Long Way

How Much Money do you Need for Retirement These Days?

The Benefits of Saving Early for Retirement

 

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