Cheat Sheet Q&A:
Today’s entry is a two parter on saving and investing
I have $5000 left over from a refinance I did on my home. I took out a little extra in equity to consolidate some debt and do some home improvements projects and would like to put the remaining $5000 into savings. I was thinking of a Roth IRA, but does this have to be earned income? What other options are there?
Also you often talk about how keeping money in a savings account is like losing money due to inflation. My question is how do I save? In other words if I take a couple hundred dollars out of each paycheck, are there interest bearing accounts that I can directly deposit that small amount of money into every few weeks? Or do I have to let the money accumulate in a traditional savings account for several months before investing the lump sum?
Bottom Line: For the first question… Yes a Roth IRA is an option for you and likely the best option available to you for retirement savings. Your investment account options would include:
- Roth IRA
- Traditional IRA
- Standard investment account
I prefer the Roth IRA approach as it allows you to save, invest and grow your account over the years with no tax implications when you do remove money from the account when you retire.
A traditional IRA will provide a tax deduction to you in the current year but any investment gains accumulated over the years will be taxed at the time you remove money for retirement.
A standard investment account would provide complete flexibility for you to move money in or out of the account at any time but any investment gains would be taxed each year they are realized.
Now onto savings account approach… Your best bet for obtaining the highest interest rate without having to lockup your money for a specified period of time (like a CD for example) is a money market account. Money market accounts will generally pay the highest interest rate of any base savings account. Even then at today’s low interest rates it likely still won’t pay you enough interest to avoid the effect of lost buying power due to inflation. That being said I wouldn’t be terribly concerned in your case as you’re looking to make regular investments out of this savings account. I recommend two types of approaches:
- Identify a mutual fund or like product that will allow you to invest smaller amounts of money monthly without a load or transaction fee or
- Save until you reach $1000 and make targeted low fee (under $10 per transaction) investments in $1000 increments
If you have a topic or question you’d like me to address email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
What to buy in April and what to sit on:
Bottom Line: Each month Kiplinger is sharing the best items to buy and the ones to wait on. We know that timing can be the key to getting the best deal and value on many items we purchase so what’s generally a good buy this April?:
- Athletic shoes
- Gym memberships
- Spring clothing
- Summer vacations
- Vacuum cleaners
What should you wait on this month?:
- Grills and outdoor furniture
The myth of work-life balance and the time that millionaires start their days:
Bottom Line: I was recently reading a story about the real fallacy of work-life balance. Sure most people, given the opportunity, would identify more balance as being their top wish in day to day life. He’s the cold hard reality… For almost all successful people something has to give.
Simply put there is a reason why some get ahead and most don’t. And 9-5 M-F with an hour lunch break just doesn’t get most people to that place of overachieving. With that being said, most who realize their dreams (career and financial), simply start by not spending quite as much time dreaming. This is one of my favorite factoids:
- The average time a US millionaire wakes up is 5:32
Successful people know that hard work is a mandate of getting ahead but just as important is working smarter. This goes back to the early bird idea. While most people are still sleeping the average millionaire is spending productive time advancing their agenda. By the time the typical work day begins, their influence will be instantly felt by the people they intact and partner with for business. Here’s to getting ahead literally and figuratively.
Surprise... There's a new #2 social network and it matters to your business:
Bottom Line: Facebook and Twitter steal all of the attention in the day to day social media conversation. That’s misplaced priority for two reasons:
- Twitter isn’t the #2 social network any longer
- The search results for your business are most impacted by the new #2 social network
Google+, also known as the “other social network” has breezed past Twitter to become the second largest social network. By the numbers…
- Google+ has 300 million monthly active users to Twitters 241 million
Moreover Google has nearly 70% of all search market share and they factor Google+ engagement in their organic search results. In other words there isn’t a way to maximize your Google search results without engaging Google+. That’s not to say that Twitter isn’t relevant and doesn’t have its place in the world but while many companies are trying to figure out a Twitter strategy, they’re overlooking the one that matters most right now. Love it or hate it Google+ matters.
Office for iPad is an instant hit:
Bottom Line: So Microsoft finally made their splash with Microsoft Office for the leading tablet last week. The Microsoft Office platform is now fully functional for the iPad and as it turns out it’s an instant hit. Coming out of this weekend the most downloaded free apps for the iPad were are Microsoft Office related:
- #1 Word
- #2 Excel
- #3 PowerPoint
- #4 OneNote
Here’s the key to these and all Microsoft Office related apps:
- If you have an Office 365 subscription you have fully functional use of all related apps
- If you don’t subscribe you can use them as viewers but won’t be able to create or edit these items through these apps
It’s long overdue but so far it’s a case of better late than never.
So how has this year’s NCAA tournament turned out compared to most so far?
Bottom Line: If you think that this year’s tourney has featured more upsets than most years… You’re right. By the numbers:
- Favorites are 38-22 in the NCAA tourney so far
- That computes to favorites winning 63% of the time
- 70% of favorites win in the NCAA tourney in the average year
We know that upsets get a disproportionate amount of attention come tourney time and so many will fill out their brackets with too many upsets. This year having a few extra upsets in your bracket would serve you well but still any bracket with a majority of upsets will look extremely ugly.
In terms of the Final Four… The odds on favorite to win had been Arizona. With the Wildcats out of the way Florida is the new favorite being given about a 34% chance of winning the title with two rounds to go.