Many people that are close to reaching retirement age are not nearly as prepared for retirement as they would like to be. After years of neglecting their retirement savings to provide their families with the things that they needed, they are now finding that they are far behind on where they would like to be with their retirement savings. For most people, they need to have six to nine times their annual salary saved in a 401(k) account or other retirement accounts by your mid-50s to early 60s to comfortably maintain their current standard of living during their retirement years. However, a large fraction of Americans have very little retirement savings to speak of and are going to find themselves in a tough position during their retirement years.
If you find yourself in this position, all is not lost. There are a number of methods that you can use to catch up on your retirement savings. Here are some of the most effective methods for catching up on your retirement savings.
Revamp Your Budget
If you are having trouble finding money to save for retirement, it may be time to revamp your budget and reduce your expenses. Many of us are paying expenses monthly that are not really necessary to maintain our standard of living, wasting money that could be used to save more for our retirement years. If you are paying for a gym membership you rarely use, cable channels you rarely watch, a mobile device plan that is larger than necessary, or dining out more than twice a week, eliminating these expenses can provide you with a considerable amount of money to save for retirement. Review your budget carefully and eliminate any expenses that are not providing value to your life.
Divert A Second Income To Retirement Savings
If you find that you are not making enough money to pay your necessary expenses and save for retirement, you should consider ways to make a second income that you can divert towards your retirement savings. There are many ways to accomplish this, including taking a part time job, doing odd jobs for money on the side, and turning a hobby into an income stream. The trick is to find something that you enjoy doing so it does not seem as if you are just working all of the time with no time to yourself. Explore your options and try out a few to see if the method is a feasible option for you to increase your retirement savings.
The Real Estate market in the USA is certainly recovering but for some homeowners it is too late. Families that lost their main source of income during the recession were suddenly unable to meet their monthly household expenses and if that included their mortgage the threat of foreclosure was suddenly all too real. Many had pressure decisions that had to be made; the choice of needing to reduce their current and future debt while also needing somewhere to live.
One of the solutions that has often suited both homeowners and their mortgage providers has been a pragmatic one. Homeowners that wanted to stop the level of their debt increasing each month were happy to negotiate with their mortgage providers so that the real estate could be sold for less than the current mortgage figure outstanding. The consequence was that future mortgage payments were cancelled. For mortgage providers who needed to write off the loss at least they were reducing the potential level of bad debt they could face if no action was taken.
The concept is known as short selling and there is little sign of such negotiations fading from the scene. It is because of at least a couple of factors. The first is that there are people who have desperately wanted to stay in their homes and have been fighting against their debt for quite a while. There comes a point where they have to admit failure. Another factor is that there are always regional variations; where the market is slow in a particular State and there is a surfeit of available property mortgage providers can be more inclined to negotiate for a solution.
The figures suggest that short sales as a percentage of total real estate sales in the USA are actually increasing. There are consequences for homeowners who dispose of their real estate in this way. Credit scores are used by lenders as part of their decision making process on whether someone is suitable for a loan. A short sale will be treated in a similar way as if an applicant had suffered a foreclosure. That blemish can stay on a person’s record for seven years but there are things he or she can do to improve the picture so that future loans might be agreed.
It is important for everyone to know the detail on their credit report and certainly report any inaccuracies. If the balance between an outstanding mortgage balance and the short sale negotiated price appears in the detail it is vital that it is removed. The report should be reviewed regularly to see how things might have changed. Things do improve with every positive entry and that happens whenever bills are paid on time. If necessary people should ask their creditors whether they advise credit bureaus of every financial activity and request they do so in particular cases.
The impact of the short sale does reduce year on year until it finally disappears. People in need of loans are certainly keen that this happens and there is some help because of today’s bad credit lenders who also look at applicant’s ability to repay borrowings currently from existing income and liabilities.
Nothing happens overnight and there is no doubt that anyone who agrees to a short sale does need to work hard in the coming years. Everyone understands that the recession was a worldwide phenomenon that caught many innocent victims. It does mean that those who act with financial responsibility after a short sale can expect that they will be able to borrow again in the future in order to rebuild their finances and even buy real estate again.
Mobile devices have increased our ability to check on our investments wherever we may be and this trend will continue with the release of the Apple Watch on April 24. A number of financial companies have sought to lure more money-minded consumers by designing mobile apps to interact with their different types of financial products and now those apps are being modified to be compatible with the Apple Watch. These Apple Watch apps are being created to provide us with essential financial information right on our wrists. Here are some of the great Apple Watch apps that are being designed to help you manage your investments.
The portfolio-monitoring app PortfolioWatch is being revamped to be compatible with both the iPhone and the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch app can provide you with a view of an individual stock’s performance both daily and over time, as well as give you a view of your portfolio’s daily performance. Users can see quotes with a flick of their finger, along with a stock’s gain or loss for the day and the total change in price since being added to your portfolio. The app can also be used to monitor stocks like a watch list.
Popular personal finance app iBank is also being revamped for use on the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch app is tightly integrated with iBank for iPhone and will provide overall summary information about your finances at a glance, literally. The app’s glance screen will show you how your investments are doing and allow you to check on each item in your investment portfolio. Each screen is badged with appropriate icons to help you quickly determine what account you are viewing at any given time. You can also use the iBank Apple Watch app for budgeting and tracking expenses.
Fidelity’s Apple Watch app provides real-time quotes and market information as well as featuring a “market movers” screen dedicated to the most active stocks and the largest winners and losers of the day. Along with the up-to-the-minute stock market data, the app can be programed to send you push notifications for Fidelity orders and price alerts. The app is a great way to review your portfolio without having to fish around for your phone and you can view your financial information more securely than on your laptop or tablet. The company says that the Fidelity app for the Apple watch will be available on the first day the watch is available to the public.
Credit card churning is the act of signing up for one or more credit cards, taking advantage of their special offers, and then cancelling the credit card before you have to pay the fees. Churning can help you get a lot of great perks, but you need to churn properly to avoid costly mistakes.
Should You Churn?
Before you start churning, it’s important to find out if it’s right for you, so you can avoid problems. If you pay your bills on time, then churning could be for you. In addition, you need to have a very good credit rating. It’s also helpful if you’re planning a few fairly large purchases sometime in the future.
Now that that’s said and done, here’s what you need to know about churning.
The Basics of Churning
Generally, you first need to sign up for the card. But it can’t be any old credit card. You need to compare credit card offers from various banks and not just the one you already bank with. You need to be selective, choosing the offers with the leading rewards that you are seeking to earn, e.g. Avios or Virgin. Once you’ve found one, you can apply for it, typically online. Before it’s time to pay the usual credit card fees, cancel the card. This helps you to avoid losing money.
Following the Rules
You won’t be able to obtain the rewards you desire if you don’t follow the rules and read the fine print. For example, if you are looking to get a credit card that has 20,000 bonus points for signing up, you need to consider if you can actually achieve this. So for example, the sign up bonus won’t hit your account until you first use the credit card and make a purchase of a certain amount, usually within 60-90 days of activation.
This is where strategy is so important in credit card churning. If you generally spend around £500 for groceries or other goods each month, then you can go ahead and use the card you’re going to churn and pay for your groceries. This will get you the extra money the card is offering while helping you pay for normal purchases.
Always look at the restrictions and rules you’ll have to follow to get the special offers. Find what looks convenient and feasible for your situation, and only do that.
When you are churning, you need to make sure you always meet the minimum spending requirements. Most importantly, you need to know that your credit rating will be affected to a certain degree by churning. Every time you apply for a card, your credit rating will be knocked down a couple of points. To help, you can churn with someone else to protect your rating.
The Learning Curve
We’re just scratching the surface here: credit card churning looks a lot easier than it is. If you have questions, and you definitely will, then may I recommend this Reddit forum where you can read what others have done and ask your own questions. Flyer Talk (a huge forum where frequent flyers discuss their techniques for earning points and status) is also well worth reading too.
Credit card churning is very beneficial for people who churn properly. But you must follow the rules so you can get as many rewards as possible without damaging your credit rating or losing money.