myRA Might Be the Solution for High School and College Students

myRA

If you’ve read “10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money” you know that I am a HUGE advocate of young people investing from retirement as soon as they have earned income. For many people that time is while in high school or college while you’re working part-time or eeking a living out of financial aid. Often, young people don’t know how to open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or don’t think they have enough money to open one (get my list of investment accounts you can open for less than $100 here).

The United States government is here to help with the new myRA (my retirement account, get it?). According to the U.S. Treasury,  these accounts are:

  • Easy to set up (you can have the money deducted from your payroll check if you wish)
  • Designed to help people with little money or no access to a retirement plan from work.
  • No risk of losing money (funds are invested in a Thrift Savings Plan-like account)
  • The funds you invest are NOT tax-deductible but you also can take them out whenever you like without penalty.

The best part? There is no minimum amount required to start an account and according to Forbes, ” additional contributions only have a minimum of $5.” The goal is really to get you into the habit of investing when you are young and have few dollars. The return isn’t great (think 1% or 2% per year) compared to a regular traditional or Roth IRA or 401(k)/403(b) but starting now with a few dollars and little interest is better than not doing anything.

Fool.com also notes:

Account holders can contribute up to $5,500 per year ($6,500 if over 50) and may continue to contribute until their total account balance reaches $15,000. All funds are invested in a newly created Treasury bond

Once you’ve grown a nest egg big enough to open a traditional or Roth IRA, or you have a job that provides a 401(k) or 401(b) hopefully with matching, you can roll the money over into a new account.

Click here to find out more about myRA accounts.

 

 

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Create a Legal Will Using Willing

willing-funeral-wishes

Image is from MyMoneyBlog.com

 

I came across a website called Willing. It claims to make a simple, free legal will with a few clicks of your mouse. I read reviews here and here to see if it made sense to use. The site came out of the tech start-up incubator Y-Combinator.

The reviews I read seem to agree that it is really easy to use the website and it doesn’t ask for any social security numbers or credit card numbers. They also agree that it will create a simple will. They are not sure how legal it will be after time passes. Like most legal documents, they have to be updated periodically to adhere to laws that may have changed over time.

Prince just died without a will and the money to worked so hard to earn will be distributed among people as the judge sees fit. Since Prince left no will, the judge has no idea what he would have done. You don’t want this to happen to you.

I encourage people to have a legal will (what will happen to your things), a living trust (you will manage your things when you’re gone), and a living will (what will happen to you if you are incapacitated or die). There are attorneys that can set these things up for you, but sometimes the costs are a bit much. If you have few assets (car, house, checking accounts, personal items) and want to make sure that everyone knows what you want to happen after you pass, this might be a great free solution.

Here’s a bit about why Willing was created and how it works:

Willing is divided into two main products. The first is an online tool that helps users create a will or living will (a document that outlines their wishes for end-of-life care) in minutes. The second, which Medina and Dyson are currently fine-tuning, is a platform that lets users find and compare costs for funeral homes and cemeteries.

At the very least, going through the site will help you think about what your family might need to make decisions about. Take it for whirl and let me know what you think.

 

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Phone Apps You Need

It’s important that we manage our money effectively and efficiently. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “its not how much you make, it’s how much you spend”. I’ve created a list of a few phone apps that are:

– Cheap
– Effective
– Easy to use

Take a gander at these puppies.

Budget

They say, “Budget helps you track your spending and keep to a budget. You can easily see your total income and your total expenses for a period, plus which expenses you are spending the most on and which expenses you are going over budget on.”

I say that everyone needs to have a spending plan and there’s nothing like having your personal finance information at your fingertips. Using this app is a small change that will make a huge difference in your personal finance outlook… if you use it.


Compare Me Shopping Utility

They say, “WAS FEATURED BY APPLE IN “WHAT’S HOT” Did you ever shop at Sams, Costco or online at Amazon? Then CompareMe may help you to save money! CompareMe lets you compare products in different sizes and even in different packs.”

I say it’s an easy way to help you find out which buy is the best deal. Who knows if the $2 can at 16 oz. is a better buy than the $2.30 can at the 20 oz.? The Compare Me Shopping Utility knows.


iCredit Calculator

They say, “In the 1.2 release of the iCredit Calculator, the calculated repayment results can be generated into a PDF document that you can then e-mail as an attachment from your phone.”

I say this is a must have tool. When you’re out shopping and think, “i’ll put it on my credit card” this handy dandy tool will be there to help you find the true cost of those purchases. Small purchases really add up and effect your credit.

Bank of America Mobile Banking

They say, “Mobile Banking allows you to check available balances, pay bills, transfer funds or locate ATMs and banking centers on-the-go. It’s fast, easy and convenient. It’s a free service and available to Bank of America Online Banking* customers.”

I say it’s a great way to monitor your accounts on the go. The days of sitting at home balancing your checkbook are long gone for most of us. Why not have access to your accounts 24 hours a day, so you don’t end up with overdraft fees. Be honest… you know you take your phone everywhere you go. Now, you’ll have your personal finance information as close your music playlists!

Bloomberg

They say, “Bring the power of the most trusted source for financial information to your iPhone, along with tools to help you analyze the world’s markets.”

I say it’s a great free app that helps you toy around with financial market information. If you’d like to know more about stocks and how they work why not download an app from one of the most trusted financial sites in the world. Get this, it also comes in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Ukrainian. Nice!

What apps do you use for personal finance?

Making Financial Literacy Accessible

I firmly believe that each of us has a right and a responsibility to manage our money well. I also believe that the financial services industry has an obligation to present the information in a way that makes it easy for the average person to understand.

We should all be able to:

– Understand where the taxes from our check go
– Calculate our net worth
– Make sound decisions about saving/investing for retirement
– Understand the basic workings of the stock market
– Understand how our credit scores are calculated at the 3 top credit reporting agencies
– Understand how our feelings about money effect our behavior
– Advocate for ourselves from a place of power and knowledge

If you’re working with people in the financial services industry that can’t explain what’s going on in a way that you can understand, get someone that can. Money management is easy.

www.MakeMoneyManagementSimple.com