Life is full of risks, and people make decisions everyday that require weighing those risks against their ability to protect themselves using their own resources or by transferring the risk to an insurance company. Most people realize that they couldn’t afford to rebuild a damaged home or buy a new car without insurance.
Think back to those early days in life when it seemed like everything in the candy aisle was free if you begged your parents hard enough. Not a fleeting thought was given to the expenses of a vacation or the copay costs at the doctor. There’s something beautifully unburdened in the way which children experience the world: recklessly present and innocently ambivalent.
As the saying goes there are two things that are inevitable: death and taxes. And, out of those two sure things, you can only really plan for your taxes. It should be no surprise when tax season surely and steadily rolls around again, yet every year there are plenty of individuals who file for a tax extension (in 2014 there were approximately 12 million Americans who did so).
After the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, we dig up our hopes and dreams and make some resolutions. Getting back in the gym, losing weight, and eating clean, are usually at the top of the list, but what about your finances? The health of your accounts, spending habits, and investments are just as important to evaluate.
401(k) plans were established by Congress to encourage individual savings towards retirement. Offered through employers, the plans are generally available to eligible employees who are allowed to contribute a percent of their salary to the plan.
There comes a point in life where you want to begin sharing or gifting all the things you’ve collected over the years—stories, wisdom, financial wealth. And unlike the Ancient Egyptians believed, you cannot take your worldly goods with you when your light goes out. You can share your stories wisdom in a manifesto or through funny tales to your family, but what about the money?
One of the best illustrated instances of indecision occurs in the story of Alice in Wonderland in which Alice comes to a fork in the road and must choose a path to continue her journey. She seeks the advice of grinning Cheshire cat which appears out of nowhere.
If you have read any literature on retirement planning or have received advice from a financial professional, chances are you were presented with the 70% rule, the one that suggests that retirees will need between 70 and 80% of their pre-retirement income in order to maintain their standard of living.
It should not take the filing of a tax return or a death in the family to finally create order out of paper chaos so you are not forced to scramble in those critical circumstances. The chances of making costly errors are too great not to take some very simple, albeit essential, measures to get and stay organized all year long.
The need for retirement planning didn’t really exist until well into the 1970s. Up to that point, people worked until age 65, spent a few years in leisure through their life expectancy which was about 69. Many retirees of that era were able to coast into retirement with a cushy pension plan.