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Types of Retirement Plans

Planning for retirement ensures that people are not stranded on account of lack of finances at a later date. Some plans are sponsored by employers, while others are ideal for self-employed individuals.

Employer Sponsored Retirement Plans

Simplified Employee Pension (SEP): This plan is appropriate for small business undertakings with less than 25 employees. Self-employed people who desire a retirement plan that can be administered with less paperwork and minimal IRS reporting and disclosure, can also opt for this plan. The vesting schedule for this plan is immediate. Any employee who is over 21 years of age, and has been with the firm for three of the preceding five years is eligible to receive contributions. The employee isn’t expected to contribute. Employer contributions are tax deductible, and the employer can decide on the amount of contribution. An employer can contribute the minimum of 25% of employee compensation or $49,000.

SIMPLE IRA: This retirement plan is ideal for employers managing a workforce of less than 100 employees. Employee contribution isn’t mandatory. The employer has to contribute regardless of whether the employee contributes. The employer can choose to make matching or non-elective contributions.

401(k) plans: In case of company 401(k) plans, employee contributions grow tax deferred and there are strict penalties for early withdrawal. Companies generally offer one of the following: Traditional 401(k), Safe harbor 401(k) or SIMPLE 401(k) plan. Some companies also offer a Roth 401(k) plan that allows the participants to make either a pre-tax or an after tax salary deferral contribution. The employee contribution limits for all the 401(k) plans is the same. The maximum annual 401(k) contribution limits for employees over 21 but less than 50 years of age, has been set at $16,500. People over the age of 50 are allowed to contribute a maximum of

Best Retirement Investment Strategies

If you really want to live your years of retirement with peace and harmony you have to make sure you make smart investments in your youth. There’s no telling what will happen tomorrow, when will the market fall or rise is a question that no man on this planet can answer. While choosing the best retirement investments make sure you consider your age, how much money you are making, how much you have already saved and how much money you plan to invest. If you are currently working for a good company, then looking at the 401k plan is not a bad idea, just make sure you carefully read it before opting for other options.

The most important part to remember while investing for your retirement is to start investing at an early age. If you are reaching your retirement age and you have already invested enough money for your retirement, you could have a much more relaxed future than most of your other colleagues.

Tips for the Best Retirement Investment Strategies
Before you choose a medium for your investment, I advise you to take a look at some of these tips for investing your money. Everyone will give you different tips but most of the tips mentioned here are universally followed.

– If you want a happy retirement, figure out how much money you will need when you retire. You can go online and take the help of retirement investment calculators which help you decide how much money is enough for you to have a quality retired life.
– Start planning your future now by opening an investment retirement savings account. Even if you deposit small amounts every month, it can lead to something substantial in the future.
– Learn about different retirement investment options and then

Best Ways to Invest for Retirement

Financial planning is very important for all individuals, employed or self-employed. It not only involves saving money, but also investing it wisely to generate superior returns over a period of time. Investments must be done only after considering the time horizon and risk taking ability of an individual. However, many people are confused about choosing where to invest and often end up making wrong choices which might result into a huge financial loss. So, to avoid such a situation, you should have an idea about the various ways to invest for your retirement.

Real Estate
If you ask me what the best way to invest money for retirement is, my answer would be the real estate. Investing in real estate involves lower risk than other forms of investments. Even though the property market has seen many ups and downs in the recent past, but over a long period, say for the next ten to twenty years, this sector is definitely worth investing in. In fact, any dip in realty prices can be used as a buying opportunity to get long-term profits.

Stock Market
For all those who want to invest for an early retirement, the answer would be to invest in quality stocks of blue chip companies. Over the years, equities have beaten all other forms of investments in terms of returns for investors. Annual returns from equity investments can be in the range of 25% to almost 70% depending on your expertise and the type of stocks you choose. Some people can almost get double or triple the valuations in two to three years which is mind-boggling! If you can take more risks, you can go for quality mid-cap and small cap stocks which generate higher returns than the large cap ones.

Mutual Funds
One of

Investing in Real Estate for Retirement

Over the last few years, the interest rates of various investments have fallen and despite all the attempts taken to make the economy stable, millions of people had to extend their work years just to maintain the minimum standard of living. Yes, everything lost has its value, but one asset has only risen in spite of this recession – real estate. Most people dream about spending their retirement period in a calm and quiet place. A place where the crime rate is low and the entire surrounding is filled with intelligent people who are just living the much-needed peaceful and retired life. However, all these dreams can only turn into reality if an individual makes intelligent decisions regarding his/her investments.

How to Invest in Real Estate for Retirement

There’s no doubt that investing in real estate is a smart move, but it is advised to check out all the loopholes before putting money in a piece of property. Buying real estate is more than just living on a piece of land. The practice of property selling and buying has become a popular practice over the last few years, and more and more people are joining this bandwagon. Yes, the real estate market has plenty of lucrative opportunities for investors, but sometimes dealing in real estate can be more complicated than dealing in stocks and bonds. In this piece of information, we understand different and safer ways of investing money for real estate.

Giving on Rent
An vacant, habitable house can rented to a tenant for a considerable period of time. The owner pays for its maintenance, mortgage and various additional taxes. The rent on the property is usually decided on the basis of its location. The land owner earns a fixed income every month which is known

How to Calculate Retirement Needs

Before we start off, answer the following questions. These answers would tell you a lot about your own financial situation. At what age would you like to retire? Would you face the burden of liabilities such as mortgages, or home equity loans at the time of retirements? What would be the monthly income from annuities, mutual funds, pensions and savings? What is the intent of medical insurance coverage? The answers to all the above mentioned questions would provide you with an idea as to how to calculate your retirement needs.

Retirement Needs Planning

You would get a rough idea as to how you can calculate your retirement needs by studying the bank statements.

Basic Necessities
First off you will need to consider your basic necessities, which include, food, clothing and common medical expenditure, gymnasium and library fee, household expenses such as water, telephone and electricity bills. Based upon your current expenditure, you can calculate these expenses on an annual basis. You would also need to add the current inflation rate while calculating the basic necessities. These are inevitable expenses and have to be fulfilled.

Medical Expenditures
Old age means more health related problems. Therefore, you should also calculate the costs to medical checkups and procedures related to ailments that you suffer from. Consider the costs of tests, average doctors’ fees, and also the premium of a long-term health insurance policy that would extend for several years into your retirement. Now, all your medical expenditures can be fulfilled with the help of provisions specifically dedicated for the purpose. For instance, a medical insurance policy, an annuity dedicated for all medical expenditures. You can also have Medicare, TRICARE and even Social Security, to cater to your medical expenditures. However, these provisions have to be foolproof and you should be able

Disadvantages of Early Retirement

In today’s times, when work is causing excessive stress, an early retirement sounds like a comforting idea. It will allow you to find time for pursuing various hobbies which you wouldn’t have otherwise. Also, it can help you spend quality time with your family.

However, as you know, nothing in life comes for free. Hence, with the inherent freedom of early retirement comes a set of strong disadvantages which may deter you from opting for it. People who retire early need to have strong financial plans in order to support themselves.

Else, they may have to undertake a part-time job. However, this will not serve the purpose of early retirement. Apart from financial issues, you will also bear the burden of unhappiness, loneliness, insecurities, and feelings of being rendered redundant. You may also feel that you have been robbed of a purpose in life. This Buzzle article intends to inform you about several emotional, financial, and social disadvantages of early retirement.

Lack of Fulfillment
Often, our work and the appreciation we get for it motivates us to do even better. For example, a promotion at work not only boosts your financial situation, but also motivates you to put in your best efforts. Due to early retirement, you may miss the thrill of achieving various professional milestones in your life. You may feel extremely discontent and even jealous on seeing your colleagues and friends achieve success in their careers. All this will result in a severe lack of fulfillment.

Unhappiness
It may so happen that you are a workaholic and like to spend time working. If, due to certain circumstances, you have to opt for an early retirement, it will cause a void in your life. You will direly miss your work and will want to spend your time by doing something constructive. You may

How to Plan a Richer Retirement

Aging seems like a hostile, foreign land to most of us, a country which scares the hell out of us. All our lives, we take desperate but formidable measures to keep its invasion at bay. However, those who find themselves in this strange country, realize that they are inadequately dressed and the life-saving compass is nowhere to be seen. As children and young adults, we are shown a grim picture of aging. We have been told, it is the period of life when you slouch and use a cane, and you can’t work a job or may not even able to tie the string of your pajamas. A life which is pretty much dependent on food stamps and government schemes.

From the eyes of a kid, old people are helpless and they need assistance. But do they really need help? We all know that it is pointless to argue with the inevitable. You can’t fight old age. You will be shipped off to that hinterland, whether you like it or not. Only choice you have is to decide whether you want to take your ‘to-go bag’ with you or not. So, you need to take the matters of your retirement into your own hands. There are no two ways about it, if you want to reap the benefits of your golden years.
“How much do I need to save to live comfortably during my old age?”

Well, there is no accurate answer to this question. It depends on a number of factors like the age at which you want to retire, your income, your expenditure, your investments, the standard of living you desire after retirement, the cost of living at that time, and any other unforeseen reason. But here’s a piece of good news. A professor at the American College, Wade Pfau,

Tips for Saving Money on Business Travel

Business travel is very different from traveling for pleasure. Traveling for work has its limitations with respect to duration and expense. Since economic viability is of importance when it comes to any business undertaking, one has no choice but to consider ways in which unnecessary outflow of cash can be harnessed without much ado. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to make your business travel easy, affordable, and smooth. We have mentioned these things in the form of simple, easy-to-understand tips. Once you’re equipped with these tips for saving money on business travel, you can effortlessly save hundreds to thousands every year. Shall we start noting them down?

#1. Evaluate phone charges.
Thanks to the perpetually skyrocketing roaming call and data charges, one of the most exorbitant bills you pay after a business trip is your phone bill. An intelligent way to tackle this problem is to buy a local SIM card every time you visit a new place where you are likely to spend a substantial amount of time. By cutting down on roaming charges, you’ll save a LOT of money by paying for only local outgoing call charges. As far as internet data charges are concerned, the best advice I can give you is to use Wi-Fi. Mostly all airports and hotels now offer free Wi-Fi services, so this shouldn’t be a problem. Finish as much work as possible using the Wi-Fi connections at these places; it’ll drastically reduce your costs later on.

#2. Carry enough reading material.
This may look like a weird, quite unconventional a tip that may not really be of any help, but before you jump the gun, hold your horses. Think about it, don’t we usually end up buying a magazine or a book at the airport in order to keep ourselves entertained

How to Save Money with the Envelope System

Saving money with envelope system
– Income: The money we get for work we do
– Expenses: The money we spend on things we need
– Necessities: Things that we absolutely cannot live without [the bare minimum include food, clothing, shelter (and today, the Internet)]
– Luxuries: Things we can or cannot afford, but still end up spending on, simply because we have the means – plastic money
– Debt: What we find ourselves in because we cannot (or do not want to) decipher the difference between necessities and luxuries
– Financial Crisis: What happens when our debts continue to mount due to excessive spending on luxuries
– Breakdown (Financial, Emotional and possibly Physical): The result of ever-increasing debt and no means to repay it

This is the probable series of events that you may find yourself in if you’re among the millions who have the question, “Where did all the money go?” on their minds at the end of the month, or use “What are credit cards for!” as a retort when asked why they want to buy that unnecessary scarf or golf club. It may seem very harsh and insensitive to say it, but the truth is that most of us avoid facing the reality of the dire straits that our financial lives are in. We want to seem like we have it all figured out, but the truth is that we’re in denial. We deny that we have a spending problem. We deny that we don’t like to plan our finances. We deny that we buy stuff we don’t really need. We also deny that we need help. All that ends today! Thanks to the Envelope System that’s been brought into the spotlight by Dave Ramsey, you can learn to have your finances

Tips to Save Money on Your European Vacation

What a good traveler needs is a nice, cozy place to stay which isn’t too expensive. The presence of a clean bathroom is nice. Home-grown restaurants that offer lip-smacking local cuisine at reasonable prices are appreciated. And yes, internal transport that doesn’t leave him broke before the trip ends.

As you can see, a budget traveler’s demands clearly are quite budgeted. He doesn’t yearn for a seven course meal at Maxim’s, neither does he think of staying at The Dorchester. If you’re thinking along the same lines, we’ve got you a set of tips that will help you enjoy Europe in all its glory, at a fraction of the cost.

5 Ideas to Save Money on Your European Vacation

Time Your Trip Well

– Give the summer a miss.
You actually imagine yourself spending a gorgeous summer in Europe, with the sun shining down, and the perfect weather. Unfortunately, so does the rest of the world, which is why it is rather costly to be on this continent from June to September. As far as air travel is concerned, you might mistakenly assume that booking on a weekday will always come at a cheaper fare. The cost of your plane ticket depends not only on the day you travel, but also the time of your flight, the layover time (if applicable), and your carrier. Therefore, pay close attention to all these factors while booking your ticket. For all you know, you may get an excellent deal over the weekend as well. Another misconception goes that travel agents can get you lower rates owing to the fact that they book in bulk. But frankly, they earn their profits from commissions paid by you, when you book through them to avail “discounts”. Your best bet, therefore, remains to contact the airlines and the hostels/hotels directly.

+ Choose

How to Save More Money

Cut the Expenses
Cut expenses
It is simple logic! Cut down all the unnecessary expenses and soon, you will be saving much more money. A good idea to do this is to prepare a list of items that you need before you set out shopping and then stick to the list! If you are staying at a bigger flat, consider renting a smaller one. Likewise, cut on your telephone bill, entertainment expenses, give up any membership of a club or a gym that you have but not used for ages, keep only one credit card, etc.
Make a Monthly Budget
Inculcate the habit of making a budget every month, listing all your expenses and incomes. During budgeting, ensure that you save at least fifteen percent of all your income. This way, you will know that you have only an X amount of money to spend, as the rest has to be saved for the future.

Pay Cash
If plastic money has made shopping convenient and safe, its biggest drawback is that we do not think twice before buying something which is way beyond our means. To save more money, it is suggested that you make most of your payments through cash. This will ensure that you do not buy something for which you don’t have immediate cash available, thus saving a lot of money for you, which you would have otherwise paid as interest on credit card installments.

Cook at Home
One of the ways to save extra money is to cook and eat food at home. If you ever calculate the amount that you spend on eating out, you will be amazed that collectively it runs in thousands of dollars per month. So one of the tips for saving money and also for a healthier and hygienic diet,

9 Great Money Saving Tips for Young Couples

State Your Goals
You must be having some common or different goals which both of you would like to materialize. Then, be it getting married (if you’re not already), possessing a house, bearing kids, or doing a Master’s degree in any particular field. Share these individual or joint goals with each other, fix a time frame for each goal, and plan accordingly to know how much money you need to save.
Formulate a Budge Plan
Maintain a catalog of your daily expenses and keep track of it for over a month. Then compare your total expenditure with your total income, and verify whether you’re living according to your means. By maintaining an open communication, this strategy will help you to come up with a cost saving plan, by cutting off unnecessary expenses, thus retaining savings for the future.
Stay Clear of Debts
Avoid falling in a debt trap, and if you’re already in it, make sure your topmost priority is to repay the debt(s). It may not be possible always, but it will help in the long run if you save enough cash to buy something expensive, rather than buying it on credit or through a loan.
Plan Ahead for Pension
So what if you’re not old enough! If you want to continue your lifestyle the way it is now, you’re going to have to consider how to pay for it when you retire. A pension plan serves as a medium to fiscal stability after retirement. The earlier you start, the better it is for your retirement.
Save Money on Your Electricity Bills
Use energy efficient light bulbs like CFL or LED. They last for many years and consume less amount of electricity. Unplug your appliances (TV, washing machine) when not in use to avoid vampire power usage. To protect your electronic appliances from

7 Money Mistakes to Stay Away From in your 20s

Approaching family/friends is easy, but is it a sensible decision?
Relationships are fragile no matter how much effort you invest in them, and when money comes into picture, it does some irreparable damage for sure. You’d rather preserve your friendship and family ties and go in for a bank loan.
“You only live once” is a motto that’s very popular among the young generation. The motto means enjoy every day of your life, even if it demands taking huge risks. However, when it comes to expenditure, be strict with yourself because wrong decisions made during your twenties can ruin everything for you. As you sail from your 20s to your 30s, you want to look back with pride for saving on some money. So what if you have to be foresighted early on and be more conscientious? You’ll realize the benefits of it all only afterwards. So, take our word as we roll out some major money mistakes to avoid in your 20s.
7 Damaging Mistakes to Avoid
College or not?
Many youngsters enter college just because they have to! What’s more, many are already weighed down by massive student loans that have to be carried forward for god knows how long. Sometimes, you may tend to choose the wrong field and waste all the money.

➨ Do this instead: If you are confused over your future educational course of action, may be take the year off by doing a job, and during that time, do the much-needed thinking. You’d rather want to take a decision while making some money for yourself, rather than wasting more money on your college education and classes that you really aren’t even interested in. Also, you could check some options for scholarships or grants rather than being in the burden of the loan.

Existing on credit cards
Well

Private Money Lending

Individuals, who have a great deal of money at their disposal, may specialize in lending it to the people who find it hard to qualify for loans provided by banks and credit unions. The inability to qualify for loans provided by the aforementioned entities can be pegged down to an impending foreclosure, the need for hard money commercial construction loans, or requiring cash to finance the purchase of a property whose value cannot be appraised accurately. Such borrowers pose a great deal of risk to the traditional lenders due to a variety of reasons. Hence, it goes without saying that lenders, who provide loans to high risk individuals and businesses, expect adequate compensation as a reward for the risk assumed. Despite stringent conditions imposed by private lenders, borrowers, who have fallen on hard times, try to seek loans that are usually hard to come by.

The Need for Private Money Lending

Although, the government is providing a number of facilities to help people avoid impending foreclosures, the eligibility criteria for qualifying for such loans may preclude the borrowers from obtaining the same. For instance, borrowers whose loans are not owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae cannot opt for a loan modification or a mortgage refinance under the Making Home Affordable Program. Again, this program is only meant for people whose loans are insured by the FHA (Federal Housing Administration). Borrowers, who are delinquent or have delayed payments by more than 30 days in the past 12 months, will not qualify for a mortgage refinance under the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), despite the loans being owned or guaranteed by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. Hence, such borrowers would be forced to approach private money lenders to avert foreclosures by refinancing their mortgage. The loan to

Cosigner Responsibilities

You are in urgent need of a loan, but due to a bad credit history or no credit history at all, the loan granter requires you to get a cosigner for the agreement, before approving the amount. What does a cosigner mean?

In general terms, a cosigner is a person who takes equal responsibility of the loan payment as the primary borrower. Suppose a friend or relative of yours needs a loan for any purpose such as buying a house or a car, or getting a student loan, the loan company whom he approaches would normally require another person to be responsible to make sure the primary borrower repays the loan at the prescribed intervals. The person who takes this responsibility is known as a cosigner.

If you become a cosigner for a person, in case he fails to repay the amount back to the bank or the granter; you will be responsible for repaying the money. If the borrower is disabled or dies, leaving behind the business loan, auto loan, or home loan to be paid; you will have to pay the remaining amount. So, even though you do not possess the property or thing that was purchased on loan by the borrower, you still have to make the payments. Along with the loan; you will also have to pay the late fees, interest, collection charges, or any other miscellaneous charges involved.

What are Loan Cosigner Responsibilities?

Cosigning for another person is totally an act of great responsibility and risk. Therefore, it is very important that you keep some considerations in mind before entering into such an agreement. Make sure that the borrower, who may be any of your friend or close relative, has the required means of paying the loan back to the funding entity. It