Articles Tagged with Houston 401(k)

SurpriseMaybe the biggest rookie finance mistake happens when someone from human resources sends you a link or gives you a form to enroll in the company 401k at your first job. There's so much else going on, and the usual response is to put it on the "I'll get to it later" list. When "later" becomes years later, you wonder what might have been if you had signed up right from the start.

We've all faced similar decisions, and some we get right—but others leave us wondering the possibilities of what could and should have been. Forbes' article, "10 Financial Choices You'll Regret in 10 Years," discusses some financial decisions that you'll kick yourself for in 10 years. Let's take a look at five of these now:

1. Starting your budget way too late. Most people think that budgeting means not being able to spend money on the things they really want, but it's really a freeing exercise. You can recognize the areas of your life where you're wasting money on things that aren't important to you. Look at where you can use some money for something that is more desirable. As a result, instead of an expense that you could care less about, you will put your money to better use. If you've been putting off beginning to budget, start today and discover its amazing benefits.

Signing tax formCertain transactions and situations that tend to occur more in retirement than during working years are red flags for the IRS. Even though only 0.84% of all individual tax returns are audited, knowing about these tips from Kiplinger's "9 IRS Audit Red Flags for Retirees" will help minimize your chance of being among the "lucky" ones.

Math errors may draw an IRS inquiry, but they don't usually mean an audit. Nonetheless, review these red flags that could increase the chances that the IRS will give the return of a retired taxpayer some very special and unwanted attention.

The overall individual audit rate is only about one in 119, but the odds go up significantly as your income increases—like if you sell a valuable piece of property or get a big payout from a retirement plan.

Divided wedding cake topperUpdating beneficiary designations is usually the simplest part of estate planning, but it's also the most likely part of estate planning to be overlooked. You have beneficiaries on pretty much every account, from 401(k)s to life insurance policies. Do you know who your beneficiaries are?

USA Today says that it's not just because many of us have the majority of our assets tied up in products like these. The article, "Your ex could get rich if you don't update your beneficiaries," explains that it's also because beneficiary designations on a 401(k) or IRA are legally binding and often take precedent over anything in your will. This can lead to some serious unpleasantries if your beneficiary information isn't updated.

Many times a person who has worked at the same company for 20 years has a beneficiary designation that they set up on their first day of work, and they never think about it again. However, their lives are rarely the same fifteen or twenty years down the line. For example, they might be divorced and remarried, or they might have children or grandchildren who weren't even a twinkle in someone's eyes way back then. Leaving an estate to an ex-spouse or disinheriting your own children is not a rare event when people don't update their beneficiary designations.

Money in mayo jarExpect to see the word "phool" a lot in 2016 if a book by Nobel Economics Prize winners George Akerlof and Robert Shiller, "Phising for Phools," becomes a runaway hit this year. The two coined the phrase to describe a person who gets caught in a "phishing" scam, which covers a wide variety of financial scams. Save yourself by being smart enough to know what you don't know so you can focus on making money and building up your retirement nest egg.

The recent Forbes article, "One Powerful Money-Making Move for 2016," explains that most of us believe we know what's good for us, but when it comes to money we shoot ourselves in the foot—and wallet!

The root of phoolish behavior, Akerlof and Shiller say, is the self-conceit that you think you know more than all of the smart people who are trying to take your money every day. Can you compete with computers and sophisticated programs that take advantage of pricing glitches and make trades in milliseconds, as well as robots who move at the speed of light?

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