Thursday, May 15, 2014

Staying Ahead of Financial Problems

In today’s economy, financial stability is far from a given. And as more Boomers approach retirement age, the pinch is being felt. When living on a fixed income, how can you make moves to keep yourself ahead of the game, and not having to go back to work in your retirement years?

Plan Ahead


Take a look at your monthly budget. See how much your bills equal, and how much you have coming in a month. Is it just social security or a pension? Try to put a little bit away whenever you can, and figure out what expenses you can cut out of your spending. Figure out cheap ways to go on vacations or visit your kids. There are lots of ways to cut down on travel expenses on the internet. The important thing to realize is that putting a little forethought into things can save big money in the future.

Stay Within Your Means


If planning ahead is the best way to keep you out of financial trouble, this is the easiest. Don’t spend what you don’t have. It’s just that simple. Only bringing in 500 bucks a month and relying on your savings? Don’t spend 550. Can’t pay for something with cash? Don’t pay for it with a credit card. Of course, things aren’t always so cut and dried. Sure, you’re going to need to over extend every once in a while, a home repair or a car repair. Look for senior or AARP discounts. Just make sure that if you do use credit cards, you’ll be able to pay down the balance in a timely manner.

Take a Look at Your Assets


Do you have stocks? Maybe an old 401(k)? Or a structured settlement from an accident? Keeping an eye on these assets can be a good way to stay ahead when financial instability comes nipping at your heels. Stocks are easy to sell, call a stock broker. 401(k)s have a few more rules. There are two kinds, the traditional 401(k) and the Roth 401(k). Each has different withdrawal rules. With a traditional, there are penalties if you withdraw your money too early. There are no penalties with a Roth, but you can’t withdraw until you’ve had the account for five years. If you have one, selling a structured settlement or a portion of it may be the way to go. 

 Instead of receiving your money in timed payouts, you can receive a lump sum to help you out of any financial difficulties you may find yourself in. By selling only a portion of the structured settlement, even a portion of the timed payouts, you can continue to have checks come in while also receiveing the lump sum. In retirement, every bit of income counts. Companies can help you sell your structured settlement quickly and painlessly, and all costs can come out of what ever the lump sum ends up being, so nothing has to come out of pocket. 

Just Pay Attention


This may seem like a simplified way of summing up the above points, but it cannot be overstated. Pay attention to what’s going on in your finances. If something looks out of the ordinary, follow up on it. If you see something on your bank or credit card statements doesn’t belong there, make a phone call. It’s up to you to make sure that you know what’s going on with your money. Talk to a financial manager, take time to go over your finances monthly, and you should be able to stay ahead of the game.

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