Shut the Front Door!

Open front door.jpg

No seriously, “Shut the door! We aren’t trying to cool the whole neighborhood!” Does that sound familiar? If I had a dollar for every time Momma Bagwell yelled at me about leaving the door open, the lights on, or, by far the worst offense, standing there staring into the refrigerator with door open hoping something delicious would magically appear, I would be a very wealthy man! The point is, utilities can be expensive, yet somehow, we have decided that they are a necessity so we don’t worry about the cost. When is the last time you did a self-audit of your utility costs to see if you could save a few bucks here or there?

Chances are it has probably been awhile, but it can be a great exercise when you are trying to be a good steward of your money. Power, water, gas, cell phones, cable, internet, car and home insurance, credit cards (interest specifically) are all areas that you can review to fight for your money. Listen, it may seem trivial but finding an extra $50 per month that could be used for other goals could be huge. An extra $50 per month applied to principle on a $150,000, 30 year mortgage at 4% would allow you to pay off the house 42 months early and save $14,371.75 in interest!!! Or $50 per month put into a retirement account that averaged 8% rate of return for 30 years is over $74,000 extra for retirement!!

So audit your monthly expenses. Write down all your reoccurring expenses and what they cost you each month now. Then ask these three questions:

  • Is this expense a necessity or desire? (Note, I’m not saying they all must be necessities, I just want you to have a truth talk with yourself)
  • Is there a cheaper option of this expense that I could live with? (cough cough, cable)
  • Are there other vendors that I could get a price from that could be cheaper for the same service? (car insurance, cable/internet, credit cards)
  • Can I make an effort to keep cost low? (turn off lights, take shorter showers, adjust the thermostat)

After you have audited, reviewed, and answered these questions, write down your new totals (estimated or actual) and see how much you have won by fighting for your money.  Then make a plan for it. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT let that money magically disappear in the next month’s expenses after you have done all this work to fight for it. Increase your retirement savings, college savings for kids, or increase your monthly payment on your mortgage, but do not be unintentional about your raise. Small changes can lead to big impacts on your financial situation and puts you in control of your money.  Let me know if I can help or just motivate you to get started.

Sources: Commonwealth Financial Network’s Mortgage Payoff Calculator
Commonwealth Financial Network’s Compound Savings Calculator

Knowledge is Power

Teaching people about 401(k)s has taught me many things, but above all it has taught me that education/training at work has to change!

For decades now onsite training has drifted into a check box or a CYA, pardon my acronymial language.  We have shifted from being concerned about outcomes and are now more concerned about staying in compliance.  Here are some interesting tips on how to engage your employees and deliver more impactful training.

How to Make Mandatory Trainings Bearable Infographic

 

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088 
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

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Are You Saving Enough for Retirement?

9.jpgBased on current statistics produced by the social security administration, the social security trust fund will be completely depleted by 2033 if nothing changes. At that point, it is estimated that the incoming social security tax will be able to cover around 70% of the obligations it has at that time. Meanwhile, 97% of surveyed people believe Americans are not saving enough to live comfortably in retirement. Does anyone else see a problem here?

There are many studies that we can quote that prove, for various reasons, that we have a hard time delaying gratification. I would rather point to one of the most obvious developments that support that conclusion: the credit card. I am not here to debate the validity of using or not using a credit card; however, stop to think of the origin of its creation? A line of credit that would enable you to purchase something now, that you can’t afford now, so that you can have it now, instead of waiting until you can save the money to pay cash. What about now? Do you see a problem here?

Saving money for retirement literally means asking someone to delay gratification. The money they responsibly put into an employer sponsored retirement plan like a 401(k) or 403(b) is money that they cannot spend now. For most people, their working life is happening simultaneously while they are starting and growing families, buying new houses, and trying to juggle a calendar that looks more like phone book than a to do list. Ok, tell me is anyone seeing a problem here!?

I found it interesting that 69% of people asked about retirement saving said they would love to hear more about the topic in this year’s presidential debate. Listen, regardless of what side of the political aisle you sit on, we all need to realize that saving for retirement is on you, me and we. We need to actively work to empower America’s workers to take charge of their own financial lives by teaching them how to appropriately use the money that they work so hard to earn by setting a budget that includes

retirement savings. I believe the best way to reach people is to meet them where they are, AT WORK! Companies that foster a culture that supports financial education and literacy send a clear message. Our company philosophy is to not only provide your employees with the right tools to help achieve financial balance, but we care enough to teach them how to use those tools. At Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial, we offer group education presentations that start with Investing 101. Our intro presentation highlights basic financial terms and concepts and couples them with appropriate right-brained exercises that will ultimately invoke action! From there we go all the way through advanced topics like Social Security planning and retirement draw-down strategies. We combine the entire system with one-on-one participant sessions where your employees have the opportunity to get advice on their personal financial situations.

Contact me if you would like to hear more about our employee education program.

-Caleb

 

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

Follow Caleb on LinkedIn

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Retirement Ready? Most are not.

According to the Survey of Consumer Finances, over 75% of 401k participants are not putting away enough to comfortably retire.  Does that sink in?  That fact keeps me up some nights.   At Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial, we care about our retirement plan participants and want to educate them so they can retire when they are ready and do so without so much financial worry.   Education is paramount to let people know the what they need to do to prepare now for a happy retirement later.   A 3% contribution most likely will not get participants the comfort level they are looking for.

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calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

Follow Caleb on LinkedIn

Follow Caleb’s Blog