Tag Archives: estate planning

Are you a Super Saver?

I love talking about money and I like making lots of it too!  I guess that’s why I affectionately named my blog “My Take on Money” because it gives me a platform to talk about one of the things that I’m most passionate about….Personal Finance (PF).  I’m so addicted to PF that I’ve decided to become a professional at it by embarking on a journey to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).  So don’t be surprised if from time to time you stumble upon a starchy article about the importance of estate or retirement planning, however, I do promise to throw in some entertaining articles from time to time… don’t worry. 🙂

Because I love personal finance so much, I’m constantly setting goals.  One of my favorite goals is saving money of course.  In fact, I like to think of myself as a Super Saver.  I’m sure there are a plethora of varying definitions out there of what a Super Saver is, but here’s my definition.

A Super Saver is a person who has gone one step beyond being a normal saver (whatever that might be). They find creative and innovative ways to save money.  I like to call it putting your “savings on steroids”.   Instead of saving the normal 10-15% of their income, they’re saving 35+% without causing undue stress or feeling deprived i.e.,  they’re still enjoying life and do splurge every now and again, but  they’ve somehow managed to find a formula that works to help them achieve their financial goals effortlessly.

So based on my definition above, are you a Super Saver?  Yes, no…maybe so?

Characteristics of a Super Saver:

  • Frugal – Super Savers are Frugal.  Frugality is their middle name..it’s a way of life, not a single occurrence.  They find ways to cut cost every chance they get, however they’re not cheap, there’s a difference (we’ll get more into that in another article). They don’t run out and get the latest and greatest gadgets as soon as they come out….they use wisdom and wait a while before purchasing in order to get that same item heavily reduced.  They learn to do without or adjust to certain things such as opting for Netflix or Hulu Plus in lieu of having cable.  They’re the ones who will car pool to work, shop in thrift stores and use coupons with every item they purchase.  Super Savers are money conscious and hate overpaying for items.
  • Goal Oriented – Super Savers know how to set goals and stick to them.  They’re laser focused.    Keep in mind that your goals need to be realistic and attainable, so don’t set some outrageous feat that you know you’re not going to be able to achieve.  It’s best to chop your goals up into a series of smaller steps.  This will make it easier to obtain and keep you from getting discouraged.
  • Disciplined – As you probably already know, everybody is not cut out to be a Super Saver because most are not willing to make the sacrifice.  It really takes discipline to accomplish anything worthwhile. Super Savers are not easily swayed off the beaten path. They set a goal and stick to it….they do not succumb to temptation. A shiny brand new car or a 50” flat screen TV will not be their demise.  They are not easily discouraged and they definitely are not trying to keep up with the Jones.
  • Budget Conscious – They know how to budget extremely well and are constantly finding ways to squeeze what they can from it to sock away towards their savings goal.  I’m not advocating that you starve or deprive yourself of the things you really need or want, I’m saying that Super Savers adhere strictly to their budgets to eliminate the urge of impulse purchases.  Impulse purchases can destroy a budget.
  • Innovative and Creative – I know that sometimes saving and sticking to a strict budget can be hard to do, not to mention, it can boring and a bit monotonous…that’s why it’s wise to find innovative and creative ways to save.

Check out some personal examples:

  • Because of the down slump in the housing market, my property taxes decreased slightly as a result; I received a nice little refund check in the mail from my mortgage company.  What did I do with that unexpected money?  I socked it away in the bank toward one of my savings goals.
  • Another example – I received a credit from the electric company of about $326 dollars from a deposit I made 10 yrs. prior.  They were refunding this credit back to me for being a good customer.  This again was unexpected money that I didn’t spend, I saved it.

Some additional innovative and creative ways to save:

  • Put your savings on autopilot – Have a set amount automatically deposited into a savings account on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Save your spare change – Empty your change everyday into a jar and watch the money add up.
  • Save the actual money from the use of coupons – If you have a set budget for food and you end up having money left because you used coupons, then you could move the savings into a savings account.
  • Sell unwanted or unused items – This is one of my favorite ways to earn some extra income.  We’ve all got stuff around the house that we are not using that we could sell on Craigslist, Ebay or through a yard sale.  Don’t let that stuff accumulate dust, get rid of it if you haven’t used it.

If you’re not a Super Saver at the moment, but aspire to be one someday, applying some of the characteristics above will put your well on your way.

What’s your definition of a Super Saver?

Estate Planning 101: All about Wills

A Will (Testate) is a legal document that directs the disposition of property owned by an individual at the time of death.  It may be revised or amended by a codicil at any point prior to death.  It must be signed and witnessed usually by two or more people.

All wills have an “Executor”, which is appointed by the decedent prior to death.  The “Beneficiaries” are the individuals who would receive the assets as outlined in the legal document.

All wills are subject to probate, in layman terms that means that a court preceding must take place prior to any assets being dispersed.  There are some advantages and advantages of going through probate:

 

 

Advantages:

  • Minimizes the possibility of future claims against the estate by heirs and creditors

Disadvantages:

  • It delays distributions (meaning, it will be a while before any money or other assets are dispersed)
  • Increased costs of estate administration (court costs, executor’s fees and lawyer fees)
  • All information is available to the public (everyone will know your business)

Continue reading Estate Planning 101: All about Wills