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STORM SEASON
Important Note:

June through November our agency may become prohibited from binding coverage should a “Tropical Disturbance” enter the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea.

In these cases we may be unable to bind new coverage quoted in open proposals until the storm leaves our area and our binding authority has been restored.

Please arrange your coverage protection early to avoid this type of delay. While we regret any inconvenience, the carriers impose these restrictions on all agencies.

Straightforward Steps to Living Well

Retiring with sufficient money for living well is possible. Planning early and making the right decisions can create wealth. There is more to retirement planning than investing in the stock market. Deliberate decisions made early boost savings potential. Daily decisions matter. Plan early and the money will follow.

College or a Trade?

College graduates entering the workforce often come with college debt. College debt can exceed the tens of thousands and beyond. Loans of this magnitude affect all life decisions from buying a home to having a family and finding a career. The right job for the degree matters. Many graduates have low-paying jobs in fields other than their major. Education is expensive; a college education may cost $100,000 or more. The good news is: people drawn to other fields have alternatives.

Many professions have starting salaries under $30,000 a year. College loan payments can consume a good portion of that. Planning ahead can help manage college loan payments. A good rule of thumb is keeping total college debt below total annual income. Researching careers and salaries before committing to loans helps plan for the making payments on them later. High-paying jobs are available without 4 years of college. People interested in arts, trades, and other careers can make more than graduates with bachelor’s degrees. According to a study by Georgetown University, 28% people with associates degrees or trade equivalents earn more than university grads.

Saving Smart

A smaller amount of people have savings accounts than those who do. For many people, saving is possible with smart financial planning. Cars, homes, and other accessories consume portions of the monthly budget. Before long, entire paychecks are spent the moment received creating a cycle of loan payments.
Navigate pitfalls applying these basic rules:

  • Saving. Save 10% of earnings for retirement. For people starting after age 30: 12-15%. For parents making a choice between saving for retirement and saving for children’s college, choose retirement.
  • Living. All general living expenses receive 50% of the budget.
  • Saving. Place 20% of income into savings. Additionally, 6 month’s savings for emergencies helps overcome the unexpected.
  • Driving. Limit vehicle payments to 10% of monthly income; loans payable within 4 years.
  • Spending. The remaining 20% is available for spending,

Other savings vehicles include 401k work-programs, IRAs, and life insurance.

Budgeting Loans and Credit Cards

Many lessons came from the last economic crisis. People are much better about debt-management and loan commitments than before. Still, excessive credit-card limits savings potential for many. Credit cards carry high rates of interest, often 18% or higher. This means credit card charges totaling $5,000, paid at the minimum monthly-rate, may reach over $9,000 in payments over 3 decades. Making purchases within means helps limit credit card and loan payments. Credit and loan payments are part of a monthly budget.

Watch the Market

Stock market growth is up 12% this year, yet the tides are in constant ebb and flow. Market downturns happen, causing many to leave the market in a panic. Recovery may be hard to picture, yet time and time again the stock market recovers and improves. A 260% increase since the most-recent downturn continues this pattern. Long-term strategies for investing create solid foundations for savings. Focusing on a combination of smart stocks and bonds, rather than market trends, creates reliability. Young investors may wish to invest up to 70-80% of annual income for comfortable retirement.

Retire Smart

At retirement, making money last is important. Many people spend 30-40 years or more in retirement. Before retiring, plan on enough savings to last a lifetime. Before retiring, determine annual living expenses. This helps plan for enough for living comfortably. Each year, limit withdrawals to only 4% of available savings. Life may continue for decades, plan early and plan smart.

Speak to a Pro

Retirement planning is different for everyone. Each person has a different vision and timeline for retirement. A financial planner can help determine the best way for achieving retirement goals. It is always a good time to start planning for retirement, start today.

There are many wellness and finance topics affecting daily life. Want to see any topics featured? Send over any suggestions, and please contact an agent for any questions.