Discipline Matters With Money

The financial status for most working Americans in 2020 can be summed up with one word, “confidence.” But whoa Nelly, not so fast. Yes, employment is at an all time high and earnings are up. However, a study by Northwestern Mutual found that nearly a third of Americans over 18 are within three paychecks of needing to either borrow money or skip paying a few bills.

The study also reports that 22% of us have less than $5,000 saved for retirement and will need to work past retirement age in order to maintain their lifestyle. So are Americans financially overconfident? It would appear so.

So how can we buckle down and build a healthy emergency fund and save for retirement?

  1. Create a budget. I know, it sounds dreary and boring, but reportedly we spend 100x more time watching TV or scrolling our mobile devices than we do working on personal finances. Consider using that device to effortlessly manage your finances with a free app like Mint to see all your bills and bank accounts at a glance, create a budget, and even have access to your credit score.
  2. Pay yourself before you pay your creditors. Set up automatic deposits that move money into savings each month. These deposits will help you avoid spending money frivolously and quickly build your savings and emergency fund.

The size of your emergency fund and retirement savings depends on your lifestyle, monthly costs, income, and dependents. The rule of thumb is to put away from 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses for emergencies like car repairs, medical bills, job loss, or temporary disability.

Retirement funds vary by age, but having 2x your annual salary by age 40, 4x by age 50, and 6x by age 60 is recommended for your 401(k). If you retire at 67, it recommended to have at least $600,000 saved. 

Many people simply plan to continue working after retirement age and to bank on being in good health and not suffering any layoffs or business failures. The better alternative is to start or increase savings as early as possible. If you never see the money in your wallet or checking account, you won’t miss it.

DL MoneyMatters provides accounting and daily money management services and does not  give investment advice. If you need a trusted financial or investment advisor, we may be able to provide a reference.

Elder Scam Update 2016

Elder scams continue to haunt many senior citizens and the scammers are getting smarter all the time. Even Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said he almost fell for a financial scam when a fraudster posing as an IRS agent left a number to call him back. Before he did, he ran the given phone number through a Google search and learned that it connected to a well-known scam. He said that the IRS has recorded 290,000 scam calls since October 2013.

We encourage you to read the article 8 Costly Scams That Target Senior Citizens published this year by bankrate.com. After you’ve absorbed these threats to our elders, please share this with friends and family, especially those in retirement, and help reduce scam calls going forward.

Here’s the article. Note: turn up your volume to listen the the video that autoplays on opening the page.

Footnote: If you think you or someone you love has been the victim of an identity scam, check your credit report for free on myBankrate.

Discounts for Seniors in Ohio

my senior discount hatOther than Medicare, there’s another perk seniors can use everyday – discounts! From auto parts at NAPA to take-out pizza at Donato’s, it seems like most retailers like Ohioan’s over 55 year old, and if over 60 – you’re “golden.” The free Golden Buckeye discount card is a gem and easy to get; apply at any library or senior center. So before purchasing practically anything, be sure you take along your Golden Buckeye card or ask the retailer, restaurant or service provider if they offer senior discounts.
It also pays to shop on certain days of the week. For example:
  • Goodwill Stores – 10% discount on Tuesdays
  • Pepperidge Farm Thrift Stores – 10% discount on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  • Half Price Books – 10% discount for seniors
  • Hallmark Card Stores – 10% discount for 55+ and older
  • CVS – 10% off CVS brand items on Wednesdays
Don’t have a card yet? Here’s a recent chart detailing discounts for seniors by age and category that includes restaurants, retail, grocery, travel, entertainment and more.