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RFM Financial Solutions, LLC

All posts tagged savings

Written by: Paul Murray, CPA, ABV, CFF

During the past several years I’ve met with a number of clients whose parents or grandparents steadily invested in U.S. Savings Bonds during World War II and beyond. They were diligent savers and supported our country through the purchase of various issues of bonds. The most common scenario; “my grandparents purchased $25 U.S. Savings Bonds every month for years and stored them in their safety deposit box, dresser, file cabinet, etc.”. There they would sit for years and years with little attention or thought. The problem arises when these bonds mature and stop earning interest. The bond holders are aware of the maturity date when initially purchased but that’s it. No subsequent notices are ever sent by the financial institution or U.S. Government to the bond holder. IT’S UP TO THE BOND HOLDER TO TRACK THESE DATES AND REINVEST OR REDEEM THE BONDS AS THEY MATURE. I recently met with a client whose parent passed away and he discovered $8,000 face value worth of bonds and cashed them in for over $75,000. The unfortunate part of the story (other than losing a parent) was that the bonds quit paying interest 10 years prior to his parents death!

Our Depression Era generation for the most part were hard working conservative savers. They bought and held bonds and securities for the long term. You may want to ask your parents and grandparents if the unfortunate situation mentioned above could apply to them or any of their siblings.

Outlined below are important dates to check and see if your savings bonds continue to earn interest and a link to see if your bonds have matured.

The following savings bonds no longer earn interest:

SERIES

ISSUE DATE

E All   issues
EE January   1980 through July 1983
H All   issues
HH January   1980 through July 1993
Savings   Notes All   issues
A, B, C, D, F, G, J, K All   issues

How long bonds earn interest based on issue date:

SERIES

ISSUE DATE

NUMBER OF YEARS BONDS EARN INTEREST

E May   1941- November 1965 40   years
December   1965 – June 1980 30   years
EE All   issues 30   years
H June   1952- January 1957 29   years, 8 months
February   1957- December 1979 30   years
HH All   issues 20   years
I All   issues 30   years
Savings   Notes All   issues 30   years

You can also check Treasury Hunt, if you’re not sure whether you own any bonds that have matured.


savings-piggybankWrtten by: Lisa Castle, CFP®

While we would all love to win the lotto or have a hefty salary or even pick the right combination of stocks to beat Wall Street, there are ways that we can keep ourselves focused and spend less and save more.  Small steps can add up and here are a few small steps to help you along the way!

  1. Start now and start small!  Putting it off until your salary is bigger is not the answer.  This is mostly because the more money you make, the more money you tend to spend.  Even if you could save $50 per paycheck, that will add up faster than you know!
  2. Make a simple budget and write down specific goals.  Sometimes seeing things on paper gives you more motivation.  Need a vacation, write down a pledge and you will be more likely to save the money needed for it.
  3. Separate accounts for each goal.  Now that you have written your goals out, you need to set up separate accounts for these items that way you can track your progress.
  4. Participate in employer retirement plans.  Why not take advantage of your employers retirement account.  If they do a match, then be sure to be putting enough away to take advantage of it.  Not taking the employer up on their retirement match is like throwing away free money!
  5. Save your change.  I know this sounds silly, but grab a large jar or bank and put your spare change in it.  You will be surprised how fast you will have saved enough for your holiday spending or other small goal you may have.
  6. Eat in more.  Try to take your lunch to work more often.  Reward yourself by putting the money you would have spent on lunch in an account.
  7. Pay off an item, keep writing that check!  After you pay off a loan or bill, put that same payment in an account to build up.
  8. Emergency Fund – this is a very important part of savings.  The general rule of thumb is to have at least 6 months of your expenses saved in an account that is easily accessible in case of an emergency.  Life can be unexpected and having this will eliminate a lot of stress when an emergency happens!

http://www.kiplinger.com/article/saving/T063-C000-S002-11-tips-to-be-a-better-saver.html


So you set up your retirement plan say ten or 15 years ago, it’s time for a checkup!  The sooner you can make adjustments the better, especially if you are going to have to make some big changes in your plan.  One important factor is we are living longer.  Twenty years ago statistics said the average male could expect to live to age 80 and the average female to age 85.  In recent studies, these numbers are age 88 for males and 90 for females.  Now these are just averages, a good source which allows you to enter personal variables is livingto100.com.  One you have a better idea of your life expectancy, you can calulate how long your savings might last and determine if you will fall short. 

If there is a shortfall, then a thorough look at your portfolio is in order next.  Maybe your being too conservative for your portfolio to last the additional time.  That being said, we are not encouraging our clients to run out and load up on risky investments, but rather take a pro-active approach and find the right funds for your needs.  If it looks as if you are going to be extremely short of your needs, you may have to consider downsizing to a smaller home or taking a reverse mortgage to compensate for the shortfall.

Another item to look at is your spending habits.  You may have set up a budget at the beginning of your retirement, but ten or 15 years later, you have a much better idea of how much money you need.  It is a good reality check for people to keep tabs on what they are spending their money on.  Many people do not realize the money that is being spent on ATM fees and small items such as coffee or entertainment.

If things become tight and keeping up with your premiums for long-term-care insurance or any other insurance for that matter is becoming a problem, you may want to ask your children to help out.  It would be more economical for your children to help you pay the premiums than to allow the coverage to lapse.

Contact us today if it is time for a review of your retirement plan.