Michele Clark
Clark Hourly Financial Planning - Chesterfield, MO Advisor
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Chesterfield, MO 63017 USA
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Financial Bloggers Give Advice to Increase Your Savings Rate

November 18th, 2012

Think about this: on average you have 45 years of working life to save up for 30 years of retired life.

While you are working, it can be hard to save because you have bills to pay; utilities, groceries, gasoline, insurance, property taxes, day-to-day living expenses.  You will have all those same bills to pay when you are retired, however they will be more expensive due to inflation.  So you need to save now to pay for those bills that you will have later, all while paying your current bills.  It can seem overwhelming!

When faced with a large task, the best way to accomplish it is to just get started one small step at a time.  A friend of mine, Jim Blankenship, CFP®, EA a financial advisor in New Berlin, IL, came up with the idea of asking financial bloggers all over the country to write blog posts encouraging people to increase their savings rate by 1% in their employer sponsored retirement plans, such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, or Thrift Savings plans.  Earlier in the year I was quoted in a US News and World Report article about 401(k) retirement accounts, and one piece of advice I gave was to increase your contribution rate by 1% each year, so when I heard Jim’s plan, I knew immediately that I wanted to participate.

So far there are thirteen articles with ideas that can help you increase your savings rate by 1% in your retirement account:

From Jim Blankenship: Add Your First 1% to Your 401(k) 

My Contribution: Employer Retirement Accounts: 2013 Contribution Limits

From Roger Wohlner: Need Post-Election Financial Advice? Try the 1% Solution

From Sterling Raskie: A Nifty Little Trick to Increase Savings

From Robert Wasilewski: Increase Savings Rate by 1%

From Mike Piper: Investing Blog Roundup: Saving 1% More

From Theresa Chen Wan: Saving for Retirement: The 1% Challenge for 2013

From Steve Stewart: Seriously. What’s 1 percent gonna do?

From Laura Scharr: In Crisis: Personal Savings-Here Are Six Steps to Improve Your Retirement Security

From Ann Minnium: Gifts That Matter

From Alan Moore: Financial Challenge – Should You Choose To Accept It

From Jonathan White: Ways to increase your retirement contributions 1% in 2013

From Emily Guy Birken: Increase your savings rate by 1%

After reading these posts hopefully you know why it makes sense to increase your savings rate, and have some good tips for where to find the money in order to allow you to increase your savings by 1%.  The next step is to take action, and this is the season to do so.  This is the time of year that HR departments are having their annual meetings about benefits.  Commit to yourself and your family’s future financial security and increase your contribution by 1% this year!

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Best Graduation Gift for Boomerang Kids

June 23rd, 2011

College graduation season is here and you know what that means. You have to give up your mancave, junior is moving back home! Boomerang kids are returning home to save money.

Here is a simple idea which will:

1) Allow you to steal a little extra time with your grad before they leave the nest for good

2) Teach your grad to establish a habit of monthly money communication

3) Establish a strategy for your grad to accumulate cash for their own place

Treat the arrangement like a practice run for “the real world” with parents playing the part of the landlord and the grad playing the part of the tenant. On the first of each month the grad pays “rent” to the parents. The parents deposit the “rent” to a savings account for the grad to later use to get their own place.

In the beginning this is about establishing the monthly habits of talking about money with the important people in their life and paying rent, even if the amount is minimal. Then, when the grad has a job, the “rent” should increase making sure it remains affordable. The goals is to eventually get the monthly “rent” up to an amount that is equal to the amount that the grad will be paying once they are out on their own. Do some online research to see what local apartments cost, preferably with roommates.

Agree in advance on a term for the “lease.” Will it be for six months? A year? By the time the “lease” is up on the grad’s childhood bedroom, they should be well on their way to having established a nest egg for a deposit on an apartment and first and last months’ rent. Consider extending the “lease” so they can set aside enough for an emergency fund of six months’ living expenses to set them on a firm foundation.

If you have an especially responsible young adult, let them handle the monthly deposit into the savings account. The real key is to pull out the bank statements and have the monthly discussion about savings and bill-paying. This will establish the habit for future money conversations with roommates and more importantly, one day, a spouse. Savings in the bank and a monthly habit of open communication about money; what a great graduation gift!

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