Money in a Minute for the Week Ending March 26, 2022

by Barbara Hadden

Unless you were born into wealth or were lucky enough to get a high-paying job with a fabulous pension, your retirement won’t be a one-and-done situation. Building a comfortable retirement will be a series of strategies.

For example, having a 401(k) is great, but you also need plenty of cash savings. A paid-off home is a huge asset, but other forms of consumer debt could sandbag your dreams. A healthy Social Security benefit certainly helps, but not everyone can expect one of those.

Simply put, if you want a happy, comfortable retirement, there are specific steps to take; no matter your age. These tactics can help.

1. Take this quiz to see if you can retire comfortably

Maybe you never thought much about what retirement actually is, other than “that golden time when I no longer have to punch a clock.” But there’s a bit more to it than that, and SmartAsset's free quiz helps clarify things both financially and personally.

Some of us are hesitant to look our retirement finances in the eye. It’s like stepping on a scale, or going to the dentist: What if the news isn’t good? But that’s where SmartAsset can set your mind at ease.

SmartAsset uses your quiz answers to match you with an experienced money planner in your area. This financial expert will go over your financials, then work with you to create a plan for the retirement you want.

Some people think they can manage their own retirement planning, thank you very much, but keep this in mind: A recent Vanguard study showed that a self-managed $500,000 would turn into $1.69 million in 25 years, on average – whereas a financial adviser could turn those same bucks into $3.4 million.

Here’s what else a skilled financial adviser can provide: clarity. Maybe you haven’t considered what you want to do in retirement (other than sleep late). What might your retirement lifestyle look like: spending time with loved ones, travel, volunteering? Staying where you are now, or relocating? Kicking back 24/7, or starting an encore career?

SmartAsset will match you with a planner to help define your retirement dreams and fund them. Get started by taking this free quiz.

2. Save $8,256 on your mortgage (before it’s too late!)

The Federal Reserve has strongly hinted at not one, not two, but three interest rate hikes in 2022. This may or may not affect your current mortgage, since rate hikes don’t always have an impact.

But why take that chance? Especially since low interest rates have nowhere to go but higher? And if you have an adjustable-rate mortgage, then you can pretty much expect that rate to go up-up-up with those three rate hikes.

The solution: Let a company like Better find you a refinancing deal that’s, well, better than what you currently have.

On average, borrowers save $8,256 every year when they refinance, according to the site. Yep, that’s an extra $8,256 a year that you can put towards retirement, dream vacations, or even home improvements. The possibilities are endless.

It’s a 100% online application. The company can get your rate quote in just seconds, and get you preapproved just a few minutes later. And since Better’s loan officers don’t get commissions, they’ll find the best deal for you, not for themselves. Bonus: The company doesn’t charge any lender fees.

Imagine what those bucks could do for your financial goals, each and every year until the mortgage is paid off.

Hurry, before rates go up! Get your personalized new rate today.

3. Don’t let home repairs drain your bank account

Home repairs aren’t cheap. Whether it’s a leaky roof or a broken appliance, your home can quickly become a nightmare and cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars to fix.

But you don’t have to worry. Luckily, with a home warranty company called America's 1st Choice Home Club, you can safeguard yourself against giant repair bills. From home appliances to electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling systems, it can all be protected.

Plus, their in-house service team is available 24/7 to help and ensure a hassle-free repair process if anything goes wrong. You can even choose your own technician, or they can send you one from their nationwide network if you don’t have someone in mind.

All over America, homeowners are choosing AFC Home Club for the savings, service and peace of mind that it delivers.

Stop worrying about household breakdowns, and get a free quote in 30 seconds.

4. Protect your wealth with a gold IRA

Not everyone is comfortable with traditional retirement investments. Some people are opting for a “gold IRA,” which is just what it sounds like: gold, gold and more gold. This can be bullion (coins or bars) only, or also include gold stocks, ETFs and mutual funds. Gold is one of the few commodities that the Internal Revenue Service approves as an IRA investment. It’s a finite resource, rather than one that can be controlled by governments or banks.

Sound intriguing? Time to educate yourself, with help from American Hartford Gold.

This family-owned company can help you set up a gold IRA that meets all IRS standards. Chief among them: The gold must be kept at an approved depository. (No, you can’t bury it in your backyard.)

There may be less than 20 years’ worth of mineable gold remaining in the ground. As the saying goes about real estate, they ain’t making any more of it. Demand for gold is rising all over the world, especially in the electronics industry, so your IRA has a great chance to increase its value until you’re ready to retire.

American Hartford Gold has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and a 5-star rating with TrustPilot. Get your free investors kit now.

5. Switch and save $700 on auto insurance

Inflation been kicking you right in the budget lately? Millions of Americans are in the same boat. Our dollars just aren’t stretching far enough, so we have to look for places to cut.

Too often people focus on small changes: eating less meat, giving up date night, doing errands in batches to reduce gasoline usage. Sure, these will eventually add up to big savings. But why not start big? For example, switching your car insurance to Progressive can mean savings of up to $700 a year.

Getting a fast quote from Progressive’s website is a great way to goose your re-budgeting. The sense of relief and accomplishment at saving hundreds of dollars will keep you going in the process, to see where else you can save.

Here’s what you won’t be cutting when you switch: Great protection, a customized policy and superior claims service. Progressive has 24/7/365 customer service ready to answer your questions and, if need be, support you through a claim. No wonder why more than 18 million people rely on Progressive every year.

Request your free quote today and see how much you can save.

Bonus: Get a free $991.20 every year

You get it. This is the time to sock away money, to save more, to get your finances in order.

But you also get that it’s not always easy. If there were just one easy thing you could do, every day, to move the needle, to get ahead of the game, you’d do it, right?

Well, here it is: Take five minutes every day and check out the totally free Money Talks Newsletter. More than a million Americans have, and they’ve reported saving an average of $991.20 each by checking our news and advice.

If you want the best tips and strategies to help you make more and spend less, delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter today.

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