Be Happily Debt Free

Debt Free

The single biggest obstacle to building and keeping wealth is debt.

That’s right—debt! If you’re paying an increasing amount each month to pay off loans or credit cards, you are in good company.

The average American carries an estimated $10,000 in credit card debt.

Regardless of your circumstances, try to imagine having no credit card, car or mortgage payments. I bet you’re seeing a pretty good picture!

When you eliminate debt from your life, you reduce the amount of income you need to earn from your investments. This gives you increased freedom to be more conservative with your investment holdings, since you won’t need to earn as high a return on your holdings.

You’ll be able to accomplish your goals but probably with less stress because you’ve invested in lower risk choices.

If you’re lowering your risk proportionately, then lower investment returns may well be acceptable to you. If lower returns come along with less stress and increased peace of mind, then this strategy may be the one you should be choosing.

People without debt worry less about their money.

I say this with assurance, from first hand experience, having had conversations with more than 700 retirees!

If you haven’t done so already, one of your principal goals should be to become totally debt free at or before retirement. If you have debt, get rid of it before you do any other investing.

If you have investments and debt, sell your investments to pay off your debts. Then take the added cash that you will have each month to build back up your investment accounts.

For more information on how to experience an Incredible Retirement, receive our free 5-part e-course.

Incredible Retirement Tip: Financial Media Is Not Your Friend

incredible retirement tip

When I look at the offerings of the financial media today— radio, TV, print or online—I always feel as if I’m somehow inferior because I’m not on top of the latest news about investing.

I can only imagine how guilty people who aren’t financial professionals must feel—all because of the business press!

Financial journalists advocate becoming an “expert” on all subjects.

If you’re taking out a mortgage, then you need to know not just everything about mortgages, but also everything about homes and house repair.

And, if you’re taking out a car loan, then you need to know everything about car repairs and in fact, how cars are assembled.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve intentionally chosen not to spend my time learning all this drivel. Some of you may find doing all this research enjoyable and rewarding, but I’m definitely not in that camp.

Since I’ve decided that I don’t want to know how a car is built, I have also chosen not to do any of my own repairs, including changing the oil. Instead, I have found a mechanic who I trust. I believe that he is an expert at his work and, furthermore, he’s not going to cheat me.

That’s why I find it incredible that so many people treat the financial media as if they’re trusted advisors.

The reality is that the primary goal of the financial media is not to educate you. The publications or programs have to make a profit. They have to sell advertising, which is accomplished by delivering more viewers/readers for their advertisers.

Instead of looking to the media for your information, why not receive our monthly newsletter instead? Stay informed, sign-up now.

Avoid Dave Ramsey’s Mutual Fund Advice

The following video covers the three reasons why I am not a big fan of Dave Ramsey’s advice on mutual fund diversification. While I disagree on this topic, I strongly agree with Dave’s programs for helping you manage your budget and become debt free.

Overview

1) Dave says put money equally into a growth fund, aggressive growth fund, growth and income fund and an international fund. But, all of these are stock funds, which is a high-risk choice.

2) Dave suggests that you buy actively managed mutual funds. But these pay commissions to financial advisors. For better returns, no cost no load index mutual funds are Brian’s preference.

3) With Dave’s recommendations, your portfolio is probably not as truly diversified as you think.

Why Most People Fail at Setting Meaningful Retirement Goals

The single biggest mistake people make when they set goals is that their goals are too vague.

Before you can tackle the necessary decisions related to retirement, including investments, taxes, insurance, etc., you must identify your values and then determine your goals and what you want to accomplish over your lifetime.

The fun comes when you accomplish your goals and you have tangible evidence that you are living life according to your true values.

Here’s what I mean by setting specific goals…

“I want to retire when I’m fifty-five,” is too vague. A specific goal would be,

“I want to retire when I’m fifty-five and for me that means January 1, 2017, with a monthly income of $5,000 after taxes or a yearly income of $60,000 net after taxes.”

That’s a specific goal.

Another example of a concrete goal is not saying, “I want to travel.”

Instead, you might say, “I want to have $10,000 to $15,000 for travel per year. I want that money available and I want to start spending that money next year.”

You would write your goals and specify the year or the month, if possible, in which you want to start traveling and the year in which you will need to have the travel fund available.

In order for you to have a valid goal, you must have something in writing. A goal is not simply something that you discuss with friends.

Your incredible retirement goals are an important objective and having them in writing also reminds you to handle the necessary financial, legal and tax issues that go along with your goals.

Having written goals that you review periodically reminds you why you’re doing certain things and helps you focus on what really matters.

It’s worth mentioning that your goals aren’t static. Some of your goals may stay the same but others will vary as circumstances in your life change.

While you may modify your goals, your core values don’t disappear.

Ready to put your goals into action for an Incredible Retirement? We can help; contact us today to meet with one of our Wealth Managers.