Starting Out On The Right Financial Path
Whatever stage of life you are in, you have important decisions to make about your financial future. All of these decisions, from planning your retirement, to saving for college or even a simple assessment of your current investments, can have a huge impact on your financial situation.
It is important to determine career goals over your lifetime and consider the possible, varying compensation associated with them. You should also consider what, if any, continuing education you may want to take.
As important as it is to begin a smart savings program, it is equally essential to maintain a household budget in order to keep track of your inflows and outflows. By keeping track, you will be cognizant of your spending patterns and be better prepared should any unforeseen expense arise.
It is necessary to maintain an account with six months to a year’s worth of living expenses. These funds should be kept in separate, liquid accounts, such as savings account, money markets and possibly short-term CDs.
Being at such a young age, it is a smart decision to begin saving towards your retirement. With 30-plus years before retirement, the power of compounding is the most important tool in growing your money. You may be able to also invest more aggressively at a younger age as you have more time to recover from market downturns. Begin saving within your company’s retirement plan. Your employer may also provide a matching contribution. The maximum contribution to 401(k) accounts for 2022 is $20,500.
- Traditional vs. Roth – In traditional plans, your contributions go in pre-tax and grow tax-deferred. When it is time to withdraw for retirement, you pay ordinary income tax on all proceeds. If your employer offers a Roth option, you should consider it. Contributions to a Roth are made with after-tax dollars. But when money is taken out for retirement, you do not pay any tax on it.
- IRA – If your employer does not offer a retirement plan, or to save in addition to your employer’s plan, consider opening a Traditional or Roth IRA at a Brokerage or Mutual Fund company. The maximum contribution for 2022 to an IRA is $6,000 per year, $7,000 if you’re age 50 or older
It is important to have a Will, Living Will, Power of Attorney, and Health Care Proxy. These documents allow you to communicate your wishes on the disposition of your assets, medical directives, and financial decisions in case you were to become incapacitated or die.
Saving for a Home
Are you considering buying your own home or apartment in the near future? You should consider a minimum of 20% for the down payment. This may provide you with immediate equity in the home. Also, in order to get the best rate, more and more lending institutions are requiring strict loan-to-value ratios.
We recommend that you periodically review your credit report and scores to make sure that there are no surprises. You are allowed a free copy of your credit report annually, but there is a nominal fee for your scores. To request, go to www.annualcreditreport.com or call (877) 322-8228. You may also want to check your FICO scores at www.myfico.com before you take out a loan or mortgage.
Every year or two you should have your Property and Casualty Insurance (i.e., Homeowners, Renters, Auto) reviewed to ensure you have adequate coverage, especially if there are any major life-changing events during the year (e.g., marriage, children, etc.). Consider raising your deductible to $1,000 or $2,500 in order to lower your annual premium. If you have valuable items such as artwork and jewelry, consider having these separately scheduled.
Consider how much and what type of coverage you need based upon the level of assets needed to provide to your dependents.
Review the coverage available through your employer and pay the premiums out of pocket so that a claim would be non-taxable to you. Maintaining sufficient disability insurance is critical to help ensure a portion of your income is protected.
Planning for a Family
- Private School
- Saving for college
Whether you just graduated or started your first job, it’s never too early to get on the right financial path; Lenox Advisors can help. We have the background, experience, and extensive network to guide you past potential pitfalls while identifying unique opportunities. No matter what strategies we recommend, they will be part of a larger financial plan — one that you lead based on your goals and your situation.