How Easy Is it to Retire at 50?

Do you have dreams of being able to retire early? Do you want the opportunity to really enjoy your senior years? Maybe you have big plans of travelling, perhaps you just want to be able to relax and not have any work responsibilities, or maybe you want to be able to spend more time with family and friends. Whatever the reason, retiring early is something that many people work towards but aren’t always able to accomplish.

So exactly how easy is it to retire at age 50? Let’s take a closer look at some tips and advice that can make it possible for you to retire early and live out your dreams.

Start Investing Long Before Retirement

While there are a plenty of people that depend on working long enough to pay off their mortgage and save money at the same time, others want to be able to accelerate how much money they have available to them in the retirement years. For these people, investing may be the best answer. Obviously, with investments there is never a guarantee, but there are those investments that are considered much safer than others and typically take longer to grow in terms of profits.

If you’re looking to wade into the territory of investments for the first time, it can be worth your while to use a broker. Just be sure to do your research and pick a broker that matches your investment style and goals. To get you off on the right track, InvestinGoal’s list can be a helpful tool while you’re looking for that perfect broker.

The earlier you begin investing, the more time your money will have to grow. But you have to invest wisely and weigh your risk vs reward carefully before you make a move. You could easily lose money by investing on bad speculative stocks for instance. At the other end of the spectrum, you can’t be too cautious either. You can’t only stick to sure bets like CDs or money market accounts if you want to get good returns.

If your goal is to retire early, then you have to have a long term trading strategy as well. Ideally, you should stick with dividend yielding stocks that will be here for years to come. The more you change your mind, the more chance you might end up making the wrong move. And the more trades you make, the more fees you have to pay, so you have to keep that in mind too.

If you’re in it for the long haul, your focus should be not to lose any money rather than trying to go for big short term returns. Whatever you do, try to stay away from high risk speculative investments at all costs. Yes, break outs do happen from time to time, but the chances of that happening are usually 100 to 1. So, if you want to reach your goal, invest in established companies that will still be there a few decades from now when you’re finally ready to retire.

Index funds are also a great low risk way to invest by tracking various indices, like the FTSE 100 for instance. Index funds replicate the market and allow you to get broader market exposure instead of investing in multiple individual stocks. And they’re much cheaper than actively managed funds as well, which is another major plus.

Make Sure All Debt is Paid Off Before Retirement

One sure fire way to sink your dreams of retiring early is to have debt. If your goal is to retire at age 50, then you need to make sure all debt is cleared at that point. That means things such as your mortgage, car payment, credit cards, loans, etc. This clearing of debt can help provide you with direction as you work towards early retirement.

Take on the Extra Hours at Work

While you are still working, it’s also important you don’t shy away from extra hours. Remember, all that extra money is just more money that can go towards making your early retirement possible. That extra cash can be used to pay down debt faster or can go straight into a retirement savings.

Downsize and Live on Less

The final tip is to consider downsizing and living on less. Once you are retired, maybe you don’t need that big house anymore, perhaps you don’t need a brand-new fancy car or a car at all, and maybe you can cut back on other expenses. Living on less means you’ll have more money to spend on the things you have looked forward to in retirement.

Retiring early doesn’t have to be the impossible dream, instead it’s all about creating a realistic plan that you stick with. There will be times when it will seem tough but keep that end goal in mind and keep a positive attitude.

5 Top Tips to Work Towards Financial Freedom

Do you find managing your money complicated and stressful? Money problems can cause huge stresses in our lives and so it is important that this is something you are always keeping on top of as doing so will lead to financial freedom for you later down the road. Below, we are taking you through some simple steps that will help you to work towards being financially free.

 

Keep Track of Your Spending

When you are working towards financial freedom, you need to know exactly how much is coming out of your account and where this money is going, otherwise, your spending can quickly become out of control. We would recommend tracking everything that you spend for a few months so you can see where most of your money is going and this will then help you to create a monthly budget. The more you work with a budget, the easier it gets, so while this may seem complicated and difficult at first to work with, in no time at all you will be following your budget and working towards financial freedom.

 

Combine Your Finances

Are you married? If you are, then it is important that you combine your finances and work out a budget based on this. We would recommend that you deposit your money into a joint bank account and then distribute your money from there.  This will not only help your finances, it will also create better communication between you and your partner and will eliminate any fights about money if you are both on the same page.

 

Build an Emergency Fund

We’ve all been there where an emergency comes up and we end up going into debt on a credit card to cover this unexpected cost. When you are financially free, however, you will have a bank account containing your emergency money that is always sitting there should an emergency arise. This peace of mind it what will lead you towards financial freedom!

 

Stick to Cash

When you are trying to stick to a budget, using cash is the easiest way to do this as you can easily keep track of what you are spending and you can see what you have left. You are also not as likely to overspend! The envelope system works great here and this is essentially different envelopes that you have where you will put money aside each money for different categories in your budget. Then, you can only spend the cash that is inside these envelopes for that category throughout the month.

 

Sell Your Unwanted Items

Those who are financially free don’t hold onto things that they no longer need. We all have things that we have bought on a whim and then later regretted the purchase, so why not sell it online and put this cash towards extra money in your budget? A good rule to stick by is that if the item does not bring value or joy to your life, then you should get rid of it.

The Costly Consequences of Bad Credit

It doesn’t take much for your credit status to turn upside down. A missed payment, loss of employment, medical emergency, or impulsive financial decision can send your credit history from excelling to poor in just 30 days. Depending on how bad the situation is, improving your credit can take months or even years.

Everyone knows that if you have bad credit, it can be nearly impossible to get approved for credit cards, home loans, and some jobs, yet what they don’t often talk about is how costly it is. Realizing that the consequences of bad credit are larger than not being able to finance a brand-new car or house is the first step to acting and improving your score. Here’s a look at just how much it costs when you have a negative credit status.

Higher Interest Rates

For those who have bad credit, getting approved for a loan is nearly impossible. If they are able to find a lender willing to extend some help, it comes at a cost. Their poor credit history paints them as a high-risk borrower. Lenders are automatically going to charge them more in interest to make sure that they can recuperate as much of the loan as possible.

Deposits

When applying for certain services, people with poor credit will have to pay more than those who have better credit histories. Utility services, television services, and even cell phone services will require a deposit before the customer can receive service. The deposit can be hundreds of dollars depending on how bad your credit is. The same goes for rental properties and secured credit card offers.

Increased Insurance

If you have bad credit and drive a car, then there’s something you should know. Car insurance companies use your credit score to determine your rate, which means that you are paying a higher insurance premium. A poor credit history symbolizes a high-risk driver which provokes companies to charge more per year to keep you protected.

What to Do About it

Didn’t realize just how much more you paid for having bad credit, did you? Now that you’re aware, what are you going to do about it? If you answered improving your credit, you’re on the right track. Here are some effective tips to getting things back in order:

  • Credit Starter Loans – Financial Institutions like http://westernshamrock.com/, offer customers with bad credit a second chance. They have credit starter loans which can be used to show positive history on your credit. If approved, you make monthly payments until the loan amount you’ve been approved for is reached. Then, the funds are deposited into an account for you to use at your discretion.
  • Secured Credit Cards – Although you’re going to pay more for it, secured credit cards are another option for rebuilding your credit. These cards require collateral, which is usually in the form of a cash deposit which also serves as the credit limit. You pay the amount upfront and have a credit card you can continue to use.
  • Ask Someone Else – If you have a trusted friend or family member who has good credit, you can ask for their help. By adding you as a co-borrower on their account, they can help boost your credit. If they add you to a credit card and also allow you use of it, be sure that you are responsible so that you don’t make everyone’s credit bad.
  • Clean Up Your Mess – As you’re tapping into all of these opportunities to boost your credit, you also need to clean up your mess. This means reviewing your credit history and getting rid of the negative marks. Contact service providers and negotiate new rates and payment arrangements, boost your income with a side hustle to pay down debts faster, and even consider debt consolidation services for help.

Just because you already have a house and a car doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about your bad credit. Negative credit histories do a lot more than impact your ability to get a loan, it also makes life a lot more expensive. If you want to stop paying for bad credit, you need to do the work. This includes a combination of cleaning up your credit history and finding opportunities to boost your score.

Smart House Technology for Saving Energy

When it comes to home management, you can easily take certain expenses for granted. You may assume that regular bills such as your mortgage, water, sewer, and electricity are non-negotiable. While it’s unlikely that you can go off the grid and eliminate these costs entirely, you can actually take several steps to cut down on these bills. If you’re looking for an effective way to improve your home’s efficiency, consider investing in some of the modern smart home solutions on the market. Giving your home the ability to manage itself may offer the first step toward lower bills.

Smart home products rely on big data to make efficient choices. While you can certainly use your own knowledge of your daily schedule to adjust items such as your thermostat and fans, you’re still only working with a fraction of the information available. A smart thermostat or other system can consider such minute factors as the optimum length of time for your air conditioner to run to get the best efficiency from the system. Taking a more hands-off approach to your utilities can result in dramatic energy savings when you have the right tech in place to take over the job.

Smart home systems will help you efficiently manage everything from your thermostat settings to your home lighting systems. If you’re looking for an easy way to save money on your home management, explore the infographic below to learn more about the modern technology available for this purpose. Trim your bills and increase your comfort with several sleek investments.

Saving Money When Your Friends Want to Go Out

Just because you’ve vowed to change your spending and saving habits doesn’t mean that your friends are on the same page or share your new financial habits. Just as you may ask, “where is an affordable insurance agency near me,” you could also ask yourself, “how can I save money when I’m out with friends?” Both questions are vital in your quest to save more and spend less.

Start Your Night Out With Some Time In

Rather than head straight for the bar or club, meet at a friend’s house for one or two drinks. That way, you’re less tempted to order more (expensive) drinks when you’re out, which can save you quite a bit of money. While this is a good idea for saving money, make sure you account for transportation to your destination; you don’t want anyone to get a DUI.

Have an Afternoon or Morning Out Rather Than a Night Out

You may be at a time in your life where you like calling it a night early, or maybe you’ve realized that getting lunch or breakfast is a lot less expensive than buying dinner. Rather than put off meeting up with your friends, see if they’d be willing to meet earlier in the day for a meal together. You aren’t expected to have alcoholic drinks at breakfast or lunch, so you’ll have one less expense to worry about.

Start an Entertainment Budget

No matter if you hardly ever go out or if you go to the local bar just once a week, it’s a good idea to start budgeting for going out with your friends. Specifically, you can load up money on a prepaid debit card that you only use when you’re going out. Some of the newer cards will send you a text message when you spend money and let you know how much is remaining on the card. When you see you’re almost out of fun funds, that’s when you should call it a night and head home.

Let Your Friends Know the Changes You’re Trying to Make

True friends won’t be upset with you if you tell them that you can’t go out because it’s not in your budget. The news could make them rethink their spending habits, which can change the dynamics of your friendship for the better. Besides, your friends are sure to rather hear that you can’t go out because you’re trying to save money instead of getting a call or text asking to borrow money because you blew your budget on your last few nights out.

Look for Specials

With new money-saving apps popping up almost daily, it’s easier than ever to find and learn about special discounts for your favorite hangout spots. Besides apps, you can also hop online and check the websites and social media accounts of your favorite bars and restaurants to see if they have any specials or happy hours you and your friends can take advantage of. Now you won’t find yourself wincing when you learn that you just missed an opportunity to save some money on food and drinks with your friends.

Buy Snacks Before You Go Out

There’s nothing quite like a slice of pizza, burrito or breakfast after a fun night out, but you could probably do without the added expense on top of what you already spent for the evening. That’s why you should buy a few extra snacks when you go grocery shopping, so you’ll know you have something to eat waiting for you at home when you’re ready to call it a night.

A few changes and a bit of rearrangement are all it takes to have a good time with your friends while sticking to your new budget. Don’t feel that you have to deprive yourself with your new financial outlook.

How to Use Borrowed Money to Make Wealth

One of the sad facts of life is that the average person simply doesn’t have enough money after meeting their personal living expenses to invest in anything at all. Sometimes it isn’t even possible to buy a new car when the old one bites the dust and so that leaves you will very few possibilities when it comes to building wealth. Actually, you do have a choice here and, of course, it will involve borrowing that money to invest in something that will help you make wealth. Even so, how can you use that borrowed money to build wealth?

The Operative Word Is “Invest”

Consider for a moment what would happen if you got a second job, for example, which would immediately bring in perhaps half again as much money as you are currently making. What good would that do in the long term even if you could put it all away in a savings account somewhere? You probably wouldn’t be wealthy at retirement because, as fate would have it, something will always come up demanding more money than you have at your disposal. So then, it’s obvious that you need to invest money in some venture that promises a high yield. The operative word here is “invest.” In order to make wealth, you need to find something to invest money into, but how do you get that capital and where should you invest it?

Grow What You Know

While a huge number of sites will suggest that you invest in real estate or the stock market, or even in commodities on the open market, the one thing you may want to consider first is the wisdom of expanding on what it is you know. More and more people are going into business for themselves and believe it or not, small business loans for entrepreneurial startups are not as difficult to come by as you might expect. The point is, if you want to accumulate a great deal of wealth, why not take your expertise to the public? Just look at small businesses selling their products and knowledge on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. Most of the big merchants started small and many of those began with a small business loan.

Finding the Right Lender

One of the most common misconceptions which many entrepreneurs have is that it takes money to make money. Actually, all it really takes is a vision, a viable product and a lender who believes in you. But, how can you find that lender? If you want a good piece of advice, don’t spin your wheels contacting every lender in town or searching Google for small business lenders. Each of those have unique criteria and so you would be better off signing onto a site like Lending Express that utilizes state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence (AI) to match you with quite a few lenders known to fund startups like yours. Instead of submitting dozens of applications, let AI do the matching for you.

The point is, you could make money by investing in mutual funds, buying real estate, and even investing in the markets. However, why not grow what you know? Starting your own business is the best investment in your future no matter what your trade. Why let some major corporation make the lion’s share of your expertise and labor? Use that borrowed money to invest in a sure thing – yourself! That, in a nutshell, is the best way to go.

3 Sneaky Fees and Expenses You Can Avoid

 

While we’re racing around in our busy lives, we can sometimes face unwelcome fees and expenses. By not paying attention to these fees, many of us are essentially throwing away money that could otherwise be spent on food or other essentials. Learn about three of the most common types of sneaky fees and get advice on how to avoid them.

Stop Paying Interest Charges on Your Credit Card

Many of us carry around one or more credit cards to pay for purchases. But if you carry a balance on any of your credit cards, you’ll be charged a fee by your credit card provider, and the higher the interest rate, the longer it will take you to pay off the balance.

The best way to avoid having to pay any interest is to pay your full balance before the end of your grace period (most, although not all, credit card providers offer a grace period of 21 to 27 days). If you’re not able to pay the balance in full, make it a priority to pay off the balance as soon as you can.

Watch for Transaction Fees When Traveling Abroad

You’ve finally made it to the holidays, and you and your family are looking forward to jetting off abroad. Before you jump on the plane, make sure you check how you’re going to pay for items when you reach your destination. Many card providers charge a fee of up to 3% on foreign transactions.

You can avoid these transaction fees in several ways. First, you can apply for a credit card that doesn’t charge a fee. You should also check with your bank, as sometimes debit card transactions will incur a fee. If this situation is the case for you, you might consider opening a new account altogether. Finally, you can exchange your money before you reach your destination; however, always make sure you get a good exchange rate.

Don’t Pick Up 401(k) Penalties

You may be thinking of withdrawing money from your 401(k) account early to cover some basic costs. Maybe your car needs repair, or you want to get the kitchen renovated. Generally, making early withdrawals from your 401(k) account is not a good idea. If you withdraw any money before the age of 59 1/2, you will incur a penalty fee of 10% of your income.

However, you’ll find some exceptions to this rule. Circumstances in which you won’t be charged include covering the cost of large medical bills, finding yourself unable to work due to permanent disability, or getting divorced and having to split your retirement fund. Before you make any decisions on withdrawing money from your 401(k) account, it’s always best to seek advice from a financial advisor or wealth management professional.

Even if you are extra vigilant about avoiding fees, you may still find yourself with some financial challenges, such as mounting debts related to credit cards or unpaid taxes. If this arrangement is the case, you may still be eligible for tax penalty relief or other initiatives to help you work through your financial situation. Additionally, consulting a tax professional when you’re struggling with tax issues can give you access to information and resources to help you avoid sneaky fees and hidden expenses.