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Two Strategies that Professionals Can Adopt to Avoid Living From Paycheck to Paycheck

Many people now seem to believe that going to college, getting good grades, and securing a good job doesn’t necessarily translate into a life of financial freedom. Far too many professionals with good jobs are struggling with their finances and living paycheck to paycheck. In fact, you’ll be surprised that many professionals earning more than $250,000 actually struggling to get by financially. To start with, we need to acknowledge the basic expenses of food, shelter, clothing and taxes, which must be paid. The effective tax rate for someone earning $250,000 per annum is between 30% and 40%; hence, the actual take home pay for professionals is much lower than what is written on paper. Professionals need a room over their heads – we can realistically assume a mortgage of a house worth $1M at a 20% down payment and 4% interest rate. The USDA notes that it costs about $1,100 per month – multiplied by 12 months to feed a family of 4 as at June 2017. If we go ahead to factor other expenses such as student loan repayments, auto loans, private school for the kids, clothing, entertainment, and pets – the $250,000 per annum earnings doesn’t seem to ...

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Annual Goal Progress Report

It’s that time of the year again. No, not the holidays but time to check in on annual goal progress! My goals for this year were very basic and boring for the most part. Nevertheless, it’s time to check in and see how I did. Max out Health Savings Account and Employee Portion of Solo 401(k) Pass A couple of years ago, we converted our health savings account to Health Savings Administrators in order to invest that money in Vanguard funds. If you have access to a HSA and aren’t using the tax advantages available with these accounts, you really should try take advantage. In my opinion, this is the first account you should fund. Health savings accounts might be the the only investment option that never requires paying taxes on your income! I plan on maxing out the HSA out forever or until Anthem cancels our plan and I have to seek out alternative coverage.  For the other part of retirement savings, I chose to set up a solo 401(k) because of the large contribution amounts for self employed people. Anything that minimizes taxes and helps me reach retirement goals sooner is a win. I just maxed out the ...

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Goals to Hit Before the End of the Year

Like it or not, the last quarter of the year is upon us. I sound like my parents when I say that the older you get, the faster time goes, but it’s true. Even though we’re in the final stretch, there is still time to end 2015 without regrets. Here are possible goals to hit before the end of the year. Contribute to a Health Savings Account If you are eligible for a health savings account, make sure to get it established and funded before the end of the year. The triple tax savings on contributions, growth, and withdrawals is too good to pass up. If used for approved medical spending, HSA contributions might be the only money never subject to income taxes. Make Sure You’ve Taken Advantage of any 401(k) Match If your employer offers a 401(k) match, make sure to contribute enough to get those extra dollars. Even if you’re strapped financially, run the numbers before leaving money on the table. Contributions are pre-tax, so they might cost less than you think. If your employer doesn’t allow for changes in contribution amounts throughout the year or if you truly don’t have a penny to spare, use this as ...

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The Importance of Finishing Strong

finishing the race

Lots of people think getting started is the hardest part of any challenge, and I won’t disagree. Deciding to change, improve, or even cut back can all be difficult projects to initiate. Toxic or healthy, everyone enjoys having a comfort zone, and it’s hard to start any sort of project that throws off the routine. That being said, sometimes finishing strong is as important as getting started. Girls on the Run My daughter and I are doing Girls on the Run this fall. If you aren’t familiar, this program is for elementary school aged girls and offers group sessions about self esteem, determining and sticking to values, and ultimately, like Oprah says, being the best self you can be. After a girl power session, participants choose a daily distance goal and go running. The ultimate end goal is for all runners to complete a 5K  in November. My job is to be a running buddy, meaning I run along with the girls and pass down as much encouragement as possible. There are all kinds of girls in the program. Some are natural runners and others struggle. Regardless, all of them start practice in a mad dash like their tail feathers ...

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Things I Want to Do Before Turning 45

Hiking near Telluride

Unless I get hit by a bus, I plan on living until at least age 90. In fact, most of the life expectancy calculators I’ve tried suggest that I might even live longer! It’s never fun to think about getting older, but at age 41, as I approach the second act of my life, there are a few things I want to do before turning 45. Visit Another Continent As much as we’ve traveled over the past couple of years, I’ve only seen North America and Europe. There are some places on Earth that I could care less about seeing, the Middle East and most of Africa come to mind, but there are also lots of others that I’d love to visit. At the top of the list are Australia and Asia. The further you go, the more money it takes to get there, but I am actively banking points and miles so we can travel inexpensively. Since we took a huge trip this year, we’re sticking to the US next summer and taking the train across the country. That trip is now mostly booked, and I’m concentrating on making another epic trip in 2017 where we can knock off ...

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