When you’re staring down the barrel of high-interest loan debt, it can be difficult to imagine a financially healthy future for your business. The last thing you want is to continue adding to your existing debt, so the only thing you can do is face it head-on and figure out how to manage it. Once you do, you’ll be able to take the necessary steps in getting rid of it completely.

You can start by looking to the future, even as far ahead as retirement — let Dan Rhoads help. But of course, there are actions you can take as early as now, including the following:

 

Make More Money

We know, making more money is easier said than done. However, it’s a necessary step in paying down your debts faster. Find a way to boost your sales, whether it means raising your prices, offering discounts, adding new products or services, remarketing your products or services, and so on. You may also want to try strengthening your online presence by engaging with your target audience through social media channels and customer reviews.

 

Create a New Budget

The first place you want to look in terms of financial management for your business is your existing budget. If you’re in a lot of debt, you either don’t have a budget, or you’re doing a poor job of maintaining your current one.

Start by sifting through the past year’s financial statements, income sources, expenses, and so on. It’s a good idea, therefore, to use financial software to create balance sheets and generate financial reports that you can tailor-fit to your needs in real-time. This level of good recordkeeping lets you monitor and maintain your budget more efficiently. Further, this will give you insight into what’s working and what isn’t, so you can make better spending decisions moving forward.

 

Consolidate High-Interest Loans

If the biggest issue with your debt is having multiple high-interest loans that are sucking you dry, you may want to consider a debt consolidation program. If you get accepted into a consolidation program, you’ll get a new loan to cover all existing loans that apply, along with a new and usually more reasonable interest rate. This allows you to pay one lump sum each month with better terms.

 

“Stack” Your Loans

Alternatively, loan stacking is a method of prioritizing your loan payments by either the highest amount or the highest interest rate. Essentially, the loan that you give top priority to will receive the highest payment amount. The rest will receive their minimum payment requirements. Once the prioritized loan is fully paid off, you’ll apply the same payment amount to the next loan on the list. This process is repeated until all of the debt is paid off.

 

Cut Your Losses

Another way to alleviate debt pressure is by finding ways to reduce your expenses, which is really fundamental financial planning for anyone. While assessing your budget, identify the expenses that your business can live without. You can also try negotiating with vendors for better prices or inventory returns, selling equipment or office supplies, or, you can even downsize to a more affordable space.

Whatever you do, don’t let more debt accumulate — start minimizing it as much as possible by remaining in line with your new budget and ensuring that the money coming in is greater than the money owed.

Image via Unsplash

The first year of marriage is a time of bonding, getting on the same page, and discovering one another. It’s also a great time to start making baby steps toward planning your future. There is no better time to address financial health and establish a plan than in that first year, as newlyweds. If you make plans and changes early in your marriage, you will be grateful down the road. Here are some questions for you and your spouse to consider as you grow together.

 

Have You Combined Your Insurance?

As newlyweds, there are a lot of little things that need to be done, like getting a marriage license, changing your last name, sharing budgets, combining finances and switching bills. To add to the list, it’s important to switch over insurance as well — Rhoads Insurance Agency can help you explore your options. When it comes to auto insurance, you may find that you will get better auto rates with a multiple driver/car policy. If you don’t have one, now is a good time to purchase an umbrella policy to ensure that you and your spouse have adequate coverage.

Early in your newlyweds stage, you jointly should also make a decision on whether you want to go on the same health insurance policy or stay on different plans. If your employers offer you health benefits, it might be wise to take advantage of their investment in your plan. If you have a goal of starting a family down the road, then it’s a good time to look into short-term disability insurance, which can help offset time off for any unpaid maternity leave.

 

Is Home Buying in the Future?

Whether you want to buy a home immediately or down the road, there’s no time like the present to begin preparing. Setting the mutual goal early on in your marriage will give you both something to work towards and create a unified front in making it a reality. As soon as you get back from your honeymoon, it’s time to begin saving with the goal in mind of no longer paying rent, but rather having that rent payment go toward a mortgage and ownership in a home.

To get an idea of what home buying would look like and make the appropriate preparations, start researching mortgages as soon as possible. This research will show you various loan types, what your credit will need to look like, what your down payment should be, and potential interest rates you will be working with. You’ll discover things like how conventional mortgages will give you better interest rates — check PennyMac current rates to help you decide if a conventional loan is the best option for you. If you don’t have great credit or you don’t have a substantial down payment, then perhaps an FHA loan would work better.

 

Do You have a Plan for the Worst-Case Scenario?

The basic estate plan consists of four basic documents:

  1. Last Will and Testament
  2. Durable Power of Attorney
  3. Medical Power of Attorney
  4. Advanced Directives for a Natural Death

If you had these four documents created before you got married, it’s time to update them to factor in your spouse. If neither of you has these documents, then you should invest in professional attorney fees to have them drawn up.

This basic estate plan will do the following:

  • Ensure your assets go where you want at your death (each state has different laws if you die without a will, so don’t bank on the fact it will all go to your spouse).
  • Enable your spouse to make all the financial decisions in your stead in the event that you are unable to do so.
  • Assign an agent to make medical decisions if you are prevented from doing so.
  • Direct your medical team on your end-of-life choices (i.e., Do you want life support?)

Making financial decisions and plans early on as newlyweds will help establish a strong foundation in your marriage. Take the time to do the tedious housekeeping stuff now so that you don’t have to worry later on down the road. Make it a priority to work as a team in all aspects of your life; you will be grateful later that you put in the work.

 

Contact Rhoads Insurance Agency (484-509-1784) to go over your insurance options and get assistance with retirement planning and college funding.

Financial planning for parents is essential at every level. If you want to ensure that you have things under control, Rhoads Insurance Agency advises that you take a look at your current situation and see what needs to be changed. This way, you’ll develop the financial security for which your future self will be thankful.

 

Make Sure Your Budget is Accurate

If you’re like some people, you may have a general monthly budget that you keep in your head or scribbled in a book somewhere. That’s a good start, but that’s not enough to maintain good financial footing.

According to Payoff, a successful budget starts with knowing your expenses down to the last cent. This should include not only recurring monthly payments but also sporadic ones, like car insurance payments and registration fees. Make sure you account for your savings and debt payoffs as well. It can be difficult to get everything to come together on paper if you have a lot of information to juggle. In that case, consider using top-notch budgeting software that will bring everything together for you. Some programs even offer tracking features so you can see how much you’re saving or how much of your debt you’ve repaid.

 

Plan for Emergencies

When you’re dealing with financial planning, you can’t neglect your emergency fund. Traditionally, it’s advised that you have between three and six times your monthly income set aside for emergencies. Since that may seem overwhelming at first, Better Money Habits suggests tackling manageable saving tasks instead of focusing on the grand total. Even if it’s a small amount, it’s important to start saving and it’s recommended that you use automatic transfers so you have no excuses.

If you’re looking for ways to save so you can build your cushion faster, consider using discounts when you’re shopping. It can also be helpful to buy things second-hand as long as it’s safe to do that, and focus on reusing items whenever you can. You can also look into getting a life insurance plan that has cash value accumulation, which can be used in emergencies and to help pay for your child’s college education.

 

Plan for the Future

As you’re putting your financial plan into action, make sure you’re thinking about your future as well. This is where estate planning comes into play. When you have a plan in place, it will ensure that your assets are handled as you wish and any children under 18 have an appointed guardian.

Another must-have is life insurance, as the funds from the policy will cover expenses generated by your passing or if you’re incapacitated. Term life insurance, in particular, can be very helpful as it guarantees a set death benefit after a certain amount of time. The good thing about these policies is that they tend to be fairly inexpensive, especially for those in good health. The funds from a term life policy can be used to cover things like unpaid bills, lost income, and funeral expenses. You may also consider looking into life insurance with living benefits, which means that you would receive the death benefit before your passing if you become chronically or critically ill.

 

Re-Invest In Your Future by Heading Back to School

Although the idea of going back to school might be scary, there are numerous benefits to seeking out higher education to establish a better future for your family. For example, an MBA can be an extremely useful tool to help you achieve that sort of stability that we all crave. Not only can you increase your earning potential with an MBA but you can also gain invaluable experience that will serve you throughout your life. This expanded skill set will have a direct impact on leadership ability and business knowledge that can lead to an increase in overall career prospects. Regardless of what degree you choose, know that there are numerous ways to advance your career through online programs that cater to working professionals.

 

Balance College and Retirement Savings

Everyone wonders if they have enough money saved for retirement, and as a parent, you also have to think about the cost of a college education. Based on recent estimates, a public college education can cost as much as $230,176 in 2035. It’s tough to definitively say what your retirement needs will be when you get to that age, but a cost of living calculator can give you an idea.

This means you need to find a way to balance saving for your kid’s college at the same time as your retirement. Depending on your personal circumstances, you can choose to stagger your savings or save for each at the same time. Whichever route you choose, make sure you do your research so you’ll end up with a strategy that works for you.

Financial planning for parents can be equally important and challenging. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible though. If you have an accurate budget and a detailed plan for the future, your ideal financial future will be within your grasp.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

When it comes to exploring your insurance and college funding options, turn to expert Dan Rhoads at Rhoads Insurance Agency. Reach out today for assistance.

New Annuity Crediting Trends — Fixed Index Annuities are constantly evolving. As we watch this industry change, we are also seeing it grow. Three out of the five newest indices being tracked at indexalyzer.com come with brand new annuity crediting methods.

INDEX: SG Columbia Adaptive Risk Allocation
NEW METHOD: Fusion
This method fuses together a Trigger method and a 5yr Point-To-Point method.

INDEX: SG Smart Passage
NEW METHOD: Sunrise
This method takes a new approach to Monthly Sum. It calculates the monthly gain and then omits the highest two months.

INDEX: Barclays Atlas 5
NEW METHOD: Boost
This method is a new spin on Spread. Instead of reducing the index return in a positive year by the declared rate, it increases it.

As you can see in the chart above, all three of these new methods are performing very well compared to one of the best performing S&P 500 options. These are important to us since retirement planning is an important part of our financial services.

When you receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, many questions and concerns come to mind, not the least of which is covering the cost of care. However, now is a time to prioritize other things, like self-care, family, and friends. To make it easier to focus on those more important aspects of life, here’s what you need to know about your finances so you can spend time tending to yourself and less time worried about costs.

 

Get the Bigger Financial Picture

Care for Alzheimer’s isn’t cheap. In fact, NextAvenue indicates care costs most families in the neighborhood of $60,000 per year. If you should move to assisted living, you could expect to pay around $55,000 annually, while a year in a nursing home would cost $82,000 or more. 

Unfortunately, while Traditional Medicare will help with things like hospital stays, Medicare won’t pick up the tab for the type of daily care most people require, like help with dressing, grooming, and taking medications. You could hire unskilled in-home assistance for around $21 per hour, which obviously could add up fast. While these are daunting figures, don’t get discouraged—you do have options. 

 

Dip Into Insurances

If you have an existing long-term care insurance policy, that can help with the cost of daily care, but if you are older or have a pre-existing condition (like Alzheimer’s or dementia), you won’t be able to apply and qualify for coverage through a brand new policy. U.S.News notes you might be able to use HSA funds for long-term care, depending on the circumstances, but that can be tricky as those funds can only be applied to qualifying expenses.

Families are typically burdened with covering care as well as expenses both during and after your passing, which adds to the stress for everyone involved. The last thing you want is to leave behind a legacy of economic strife. While it’s wise to invest in insurance plans like burial insurance to help with the financial obligations you leave behind, like your funeral, medical expenses, and other debts, with expenses like that, it’s clear a more extensive financial plan is necessary. 

 

Adjust Your Insurance Coverage

Even though Medicare won’t pay for daily Alzheimer’s assistance, Medicare Advantage plans are improving coverage for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia diseases. Non-medical in-home care, home modifications, adult daycare, and assisted living are all on the Medicare Advantage radar, so if you don’t currently have coverage, explore your options. Medicare Open Enrollment runs from October 15 and ends December 7 every year, and you can change plans without penalty during this time.

Keep in mind that even if you don’t currently require assistance, your needs are likely to change over time. An adjustment in coverage now ensures you’re ready for the coming year, come what may. 

 

Think Outside the Box

The natural inclination is to look to insurance first for help with health-related expenses, but there are other ways you can pay for your care as well. For instance, veterans are eligible for assistance through the VA and other military-oriented organizations. Similarly, Daily Caring points out that there are a number of programs that help with home accessibility modifications. You and your loved ones might also be able to qualify for grants designed specifically for those coping with Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

You also might have other untapped resources. For instance, homeowners can consider a reverse mortgage to help cover their care costs. Bear in mind these mortgages are best for those who do not have anyone else residing at the home because of how the loans are structured. Just like it sounds, lenders pay borrowers for the property and the debt increases over time. The loan is settled when the borrower moves out, sells the property, or passes away. While not perfect for everyone, in some circumstances, it’s an ideal solution.

While there are no simple fixes for covering the costs of Alzheimer’s, thankfully, there are several avenues to explore. Look into various insurance policies and get familiar with your other options. Once you have a financial plan configured, you can set that concern aside and focus on the more important things in life—like your loved ones and yourself.

 

Guest post by Karen Weeks: Karen created Elder Wellness as a resource for seniors who wish to keep their minds, bodies, and spirits well. 

Photo by JORGE LOPEZ on Unsplash

Enjoying a good life at any age requires some financial planning. Sadly, studies show that more than half of all Americans don’t know how much money they’ll need during retirement. Financial planning ensures you’re able to afford the lifestyle you enjoy throughout your senior years. As a senior, that will mean being realistic about potential healthcare costs, inflation rates, and your budget.

Here are some ways you can manage your money so you can enjoy your golden years.

 

Healthcare Concerns

One of the most significant costs during retirement is healthcare, according to US News. Even if you feel healthy today, it’s wise to plan for whatever the future might hold. 

Spending a few extra dollars on healthcare can save you money by reducing your medical costs in the long run. For instance, an alternative Medicare Advantage plan like those offered by UnitedHealthcare can supplement your healthcare. Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage you can’t get through Medicare Parts A or B. That includes medications, vision, hearing, and some senior-friendly gym memberships or wellness programs. You can also save money on preventative services with a $0 copay through your primary care doctor.

Another important aspect of healthcare is treating your body right. Regardless of age, it’s essential to eat a balanced, nutritious diet. Mayo Clinic reports that malnutrition is a common problem among aging adults. By eating the right foods and caring for your body, you’ll reduce your chances of developing debilitating conditions like compromised immunity and muscle weakness, and be less prone to increased risks of injury, hospitalization, or death.

 

Downsizing

Another way many seniors save money during retirement is through downsizing. If your home is bigger than needed, moving into a smaller space can be helpful. By carefully researching your desired housing market, you may be able to find a home that’s more affordable and easier for you to manage. 

Downsizing can make it easier for you to age in place. As with any move, however, planning is required. How much can you afford to spend, and what’s desired location? Will you move closer to loved ones? Do you need a home closer to public transportation?

According to Forbes, some of the best parts of the country for seniors include Sarasota and Savannah. In addition to having a warmer climate, these areas are surprisingly affordable with a low cost of living and more affordable property values.

After deciding where you’d like to move, you’ll need to declutter and pack your belongings. You’ll also want to determine how you’ll safely transport your furniture and possessions to your new home. To avoid injuries or broken items, it’s usually wise to ask for or hire help for your move. If you don’t have loved ones who can assist, hiring movers can be less expensive than the costs of repairing anything damaged during the move.

 

Living on a Fixed Income

With proper budgeting, you can master the art of living on a fixed income. By tweaking your monthly finances, you can stretch each dollar and still live life to the fullest. Stick to a monthly budget and cut unnecessary spending or nonessential expenses. It also pays to look into senior discounts on housing, insurance, and utilities.

You might also consider hiring an accountant to help prepare your taxes. Seniors who don’t itemize deductions often save money with the highest possible standardized deduction, notes the AARP. You’ll pay a little extra each April for your accountant’s services. Luckily, the potential money you’ll earn back on your tax return could be well worth the cost.

Although many seniors spend less money during retirement, two in five still spend more than they’d anticipated. That’s why it’s essential to have a plan in place. Inflation is expected to rise in the coming years, so account for higher costs in your budget. Budgeting and financial planning are crucial at any age and can better prepare you for the future as a senior. By carefully planning, you can maintain a high quality of life and still participate in many of your favorite activities.

 

Guest post by Karen Weeks: Karen created Elder Wellness as a resource for seniors who wish to keep their minds, bodies, and spirits well. 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay