How Can I Plan for a Strategic Retirement?

Are you approaching retirement? Not sure how you can ensure a smooth transition from working life to retired life?  Walking away from regular paychecks and employer-provided benefits can feel a little nerve wracking. Minimize the impact of these major life changes by planning accordingly.

Time It

Get your timing right. Review and understand your employer’s policies on 401(k) matching and profit sharing. Make sure you plan to retire at a time when you can reap all the vested benefits you have coming to you before they expire. Sit down with your company’s HR department to maximize your retirement benefits.

Bridge the Insurance Gap

If you are retiring before the age of 65, you could have a lapse in insurance coverage before you are eligible for Medicare. If your employer doesn’t offer retiree health insurance benefits (and most don’t), look into COBRA insurance to extend your current coverage or an individual insurance plan to carry you over until Medicare kicks in. Don’t forget about life insurance and long-term care insurance either. If you do not have an insurance advisor you trust, we can refer you to someone, and we can also provide an objective backstop review on any insurance you do have in place to make sure it’s the right amounts and right types for you.

Petition for Your Pension

Apply for your pension at least five months before you retire. Get a benefits statement, and consider your payout options if you have them (e.g. lump sum vs. annuity). Coordinate your pension payout to minimize your tax liability while still meeting your financial needs.

Rearrange Your Retirement Funds

Consider consolidating accounts and rolling 401(k) funds into an IRA for more investment freedom and easier management. Conversely, some retirees find the investment options with employer-provided 401(k)s are cheaper than those bought independently. Make sure you discuss your options with a financial professional and choose the option that maximizes your income and gives you the flexibility you need. And, of course, ensure your beneficiary designations are set up to make sure your retirement benefits go exactly where you choose

Planning a strategic retirement takes forethought, and don’t short sell yourself on all the perks you may be owed. Make sure you take advantage of all the benefits your employer offers and carefully plan how you will manage your retirement income to minimize tax liabilities. Following these simple steps can help ensure you are financially prepared for retirement.

If you are nearing retirement, consider sitting down with a Personal Family Lawyer®. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can help you strategize your retirement to reap maximum benefit before you retire. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what matters most to you, and what you need to do to preserve your financial well-being and retire comfortably.

At GP Schoemakers, we don’t just draft documents, we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. Begin by calling our office today to schedule a, no-pressure, Family Wealth Planning Session.

The Future of Finances: How to Teach Your Kids to Be Money Savvy

Part of being an enlightened parent is being thoughtful about how we teach our kids about adult life. Of course, you want to prepare them to make good choices as an adult, especially when it comes to finances. And, you may either feel not equipped, or you may be concerned about passing on your own bad habits.

So, how do you teach kids about smart financial decision-making? What lessons should you teach? Is leading by example enough? Raising a child to be money savvy doesn’t have to be hard, especially if you have valuable lessons to pass down. But it will take a little reflection on your own financial know-how and a commitment to make passing on these aspects of adult life conscious, rather than doing it unconsciously, as happens in most families.

Kids look to us to learn about life and they pick up far more from us about what we do than from what we say. Accordingly, we can best teach our children to be money savvy by modeling the habits we want them to take on for themselves and by involving them in the process. A good place to start is by being transparent about your financial habits when the opportunities arise.

For example, you could have a monthly financial meeting and include your kids, and each month review your household income and expenses, like a business owner, would when reviewing their profit and loss each month.

And, when you do your estate planning, involve your kids in the process by having a family meeting once the planning is done to explain the planning and introduce your child to us, as your personal legal advisor who they can turn to in the future when needed.

Modeling sound financial decision-making for your child is an excellent opportunity to take a deeper look at your own financial habits. This is a good time to take an honest look at your finances to make sure you are on track to meet your goals.

Assess your financial health and consider taking steps now to secure your financial future. Practice what you preach and know that your children are watching, so make sure you are modeling habits you’d be proud for them to develop as they enter adulthood.

If you need guidance in assessing your own financial health and habits, start by coming in to meet with us for a Family Wealth Planning Session™. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can guide you in creating a comprehensive financial plan that protects and preserves your wealth while meeting all your financial obligations. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what matters most to you, and what you want to leave behind.

At GP Schoemakers, PLLC we don’t just draft documents, we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. Begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session.

Spring Cleaning For Your Legal and Financial Affairs

Spring has officially sprung and that means it’s spring cleaning time. Shake out the rugs, clean out the cupboards, and get your legal and financial affairs in order.

For plenty of folks, it’s easy to know what to do when it comes to home organization, but the idea of legal and financial ordering can be complex and confusing.

This article will give you a few places to start:

  1. Review Your Beneficiary Designations

Request updated beneficiary designation forms from your life insurance account and retirement account custodians. Look at the form and identify whether you have a minor designated as either a primary or contingent beneficiary. If you do, those assets will be tied up in Court, unnecessarily, and may not be available to the people you’ve named to care for your children.

Consider designating your life insurance and retirement accounts to be distributed to a trust for the benefit of your heirs, providing Court and creditor protection, and ensuring your children do not inherit money before they are properly prepared.

  1. Update Your Family Wealth Inventory

Your Family Wealth Inventory is where we document the assets that you own, so that in the event you become incapacitated or when you die, your family will know how to find what you own.

Without an updated Family Wealth Inventory, your assets could be lost to the state department of unclaimed property. There’s currently FOUR (4) billions of dollars of assets in our state department of unclaimed property because most people do not leave a clear record of their assets at the time of their incapacity or death.

  1. Consider If You Need to Name New Guardians (Long or Short-Term)

Review your guardian nomination designations. Have you named guardians for both the short-term (local) and the long-term (people you would trust to raise your kids fully)? If so, do they need to change? Is there anyone you would wish to exclude? Does the ID card for your wallet need to be updated? This is the time to check.

  1. Check Out the Title to Your House

Get a copy of the deed to your house and make sure that your trust is listed as the owner on the deed, if you want your house to stay out of court in the event of your incapacity or death. If you see your personal name on the deed, and there is not a trust listed, you can be sure that would result in your house having to go through the court process of probate in the event of your death. If you don’t want that, now is the perfect time to spruce up your planning.

  1. Come In and Meet With Us For a Family Wealth Planning Session

Last, but far from least, this is the perfect time of  year to come in and meet with us for a Family Wealth Planning Session, whether you’ve done planning in the past or not.  We will have a 2-hour working meeting that will get you more financially organized than you’ve likely ever been before (unless you’ve already done planning with us) and give you the confidence of knowing you’ve made the most empowered, informed and educated legal and financial decisions for the people you love.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents, we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love.

Call our office to schedule a time for a private conversation about your family wealth via a Family Wealth Planning Session, where we can identify the best ways for you to ensure your legacy of love and financial security for your family.

Think Your 401(k) Is Flexible? 6 IRA Benefits Your 401(k) Doesn’t Have

When it comes to retirement plans, IRAs and 401(k)s provide many of the same benefits. But in certain situations, an IRA can outperform a 401(k). IRAs aren’t right for everyone, so you should become familiar with the advantages IRAs have over 401(k)s before you transfer funds or set up a new account. To help you do this, here are a few benefits you can reap from an IRA not available in a 401(k).

  1. Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs)

IRAs allow you to take QCDs and send them directly to the charity without including the distribution amount in your taxable income. This often results in a lower tax bill. You can also use your QCDs to offset your required minimum distribution.

  1. Penalty-Free Distribution for Higher Education

A 401(k) distribution for higher education expenses will incur both a tax and a penalty. Taking an early IRA distribution to pay for higher education expenses for you or certain family members is penalty-free.

  1. Freedom from Distribution Restrictions

Opportunities for early distributions of 401(k)s are limited at best. Subject to the plan administrator’s rules as well as the tax code, 401(k)s require a compelling reason such as a hardship, to receive an early distribution. Conversely, IRA distributions are restriction free. You can take an IRA distribution at any time and do not need an approved reason like 401(k)s.

  1. Aggregate Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) From Multiple Accounts

If you have multiple IRAS, you can aggregate the RMDs for your accounts and then take that amount out of one or any combination of your IRAs. Doing this with your 401(k)s results in steep penalties.

  1. No Withholding

You can opt-out of tax withholding from an IRA distribution but not with a 401(k) distribution. This is a great benefit for those who end up with little or no tax liability at the end of the year.

  1. Self Direction

One of the best parts of having an IRA, instead of a 401k, is that you have the most flexibility in how your IRA assets are invested, whereas with a 401k, your investment options are limited to those provided by the 401k Administrator. With an IRA, you can move your entire retirement account into a self-directed IRA account and then invest the money anywhere you want, including in real estate and start-ups. Yes, it’s true! You get to choose.  And, we can help you set up a self-directed IRA and invest your retirement account where you want.

Deciding whether to maintain your retirement account as an IRA or a 401k is a critical decision, and requires that you understand the benefits and limitations of both.

Relying on generalized information found online is not enough to protect your best interests. Guidance from a Personal Family Lawyer® provides personalized, legal assistance when planning for the care of your retirement portfolio.

If you are serious about ensuring you make the best legal and financial decisions throughout your lifetime, meet with us as your Personal Family Lawyer®. We offer Family Wealth Planning Sessions that help you protect and preserve your wealth for future generations. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment™ to complete that will get you thinking about your retirement goals, and we can help you achieve them.

 This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents, we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love.

Call our office to schedule a time for a private conversation about your family wealth via a Family Wealth Planning Session, where we can identify the best ways for you to ensure your legacy of love and financial security for your family.

How to Make Your First Million by Age 40

Being in your 20s or 30s doesn’t mean financial success is decades away. In fact, earning big money is often even more possible when in your “growing up” years because most people are a lot more willing (and able) to take risks before they get bogged down with the “realities” of life.

While the old adage of “a penny saved is a penny earned” is applicable when you are talking about slowly growing a nest egg, incremental saving is usually an impractical route to millionaire status.

Many self-made millionaires in their 30s maintain that working smart and working hard can bring you from just making ends meet to a 7-figure income in as little as a decade. Focusing on these steps at any age can set you on the path to riches quickly.

Expand Your Earnings

Think big. Working a typical 9-5 schedule likely won’t make you a millionaire. Find ways to boost your income. Get creative and consider ways to make money on the side, start to create passive income streams, and start a business.

Many self-made millionaires have several streams of earned income, “passive” income and investment income. Multiple income streams can get you on the fast track to 7-figure status.

Invest Your Money

Saving is important, but it won’t launch you into millionaire status by your 40s. Elon Musk, famed tech billionaire, invested all his proceeds from his sale of Zip2 (which was the basis for PayPal). Instead of spending the money or putting it in savings, Musk, then just in his late-20s, invested every penny back into his next business ventures and even had to borrow money to pay his rent.

Musk’s strategy of investing rather than spending is tried and tested. Grant Cardone, another self-made millionaire, recalls he was still driving a Toyota Camry when he made his first million because he was putting everything he made back into his businesses.

Adopt a Money Making Mindset

Building financial wealth isn’t all hands-on work. Adopting the right mindset is just as powerful. Consider why you want to build wealth and let that desire guide your goal setting. Along the same lines, don’t set limits. Building financial wealth quickly requires big thinking, big goals and big actions.

Mingle With Like Minds

Networking with like minds is a powerful catalyst for success. Creative, intelligent and motivated individuals like you will best serve and inspire your interests. And, even more important than networking, get coaching, guidance and support from mentors and coaches who have been where you want to go. Otherwise, your subconscious limited thinking could get the best of you and keep you from achieving your dreams OR keep you from seeing the mindset pitfalls that could be holding you back.

Build Your Self Worth Before You Build Your Net Worth

Ultimately, making a lot of money won’t make you into the person you truly want to be. Money simply amplifies who you are, so if you aren’t already who you want to be, focus there first. Otherwise, it’s easy to get lost in the money focus and forget that money comes and goes, but who you are and how you be in the world is what’s truly most important.

Make Smart Decisions

Once you do begin earning a lot of money, it’s easy to become obsessed with keeping it and afraid of losing it, especially if you haven’t been raised by parents with great financial habits.

This is why we believe that every family should have the benefit of a Personal Family Lawyer® on their family wealth advisory team.  And, ideally, that relationship builds before you are earning big income so that you can build the relationship overtime, creating trust and then we can guide you as you face each critical juncture and life stage along the way.

Whether you intend to make millions, or you have more modest financial goals, your family wealth includes so much more than just your money. It also makes up your intellectual, spiritual and human capital. It’s our job to help you understand the full picture of your family wealth and allocate it properly throughout your lifetime and beyond.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents, we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session,™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Sessio.

How These Common Assets Can Affect Your Financial Aid Eligibility

Financial aid is a valuable resource for students and their families. And sending a child off to college is one of life’s biggest (and often most expensive!) events. Unfortunately, certain assets may adversely affect student financial aid eligibility.  That’s why careful financial planning is particularly important for families with college-age children.

Federal financial aid eligibility is calculated using many variables including parental income and assets and the your child’s income and assets, as some of the most significant. Income and assets attributed to the child (rather than you as the parent) will increase the EFC, or Expected Family Contribution.

The EFC is a measure of the family’s ability to pay for college. But strategic financial planning can help you save funds for college without increasing your EFC and reducing your child’s financial aid eligibility. Let’s look at the ways some common assets affect financial aid eligibility.

Retirement Accounts

401(k)s, and Roth and traditional IRAs are not used to determine your EFC. However, funds withdrawn from these accounts, even if not used for college expenses, are counted as income and thus can affect your EFC.

Home Equity

Federal financial aid calculations do not include equity in the parent’s primary residence. Individual institutions, however, may include equity when determining aid eligibility.

UGMA/UTMA accounts

These can be considered either the parent’s or the student’s asset, depending on how the account is titled and who is named as beneficiary.

Family Owned Businesses

The value of small family owned businesses is not included in the federal aid calculation if at least 50% is owned and controlled by the family, and it has less than 100 employees.

Life Insurance Policies and Annuities

The cash values of these assets are not included in the federal aid calculation.

Mutual Funds

The value of mutual funds is considered an asset, while distributions and capital gains are considered income. This is an important distinction because the portion of income that can be included in the federal aid calculation is much more than the portion of assets that can be included.

529 Savings Accounts and Coverdell ESAs

These are typically considered parental assets. Withdrawals are not included unless coming from a third-party account, such as that of a grandparent.

As you can see, planning for college requires consideration of many factors, such as which assets affect financial aid and how they do so. You can maximize your student’s financial aid eligibility, however, by developing a financial plan that will allow you to take advantage of asset exclusions when filing the FAFSA.

To do this, consult with us as your Personal Family Lawyer® about your financial resources and financial needs when it comes to college. We can help your family accommodate the costs of higher education by taking advantage of the ways in which you can minimize your EFC while still preserving assets.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents, we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session,™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session.

How to Live Before You Die

In Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University, he said: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”

When Jobs was 17, he read a quote that made an impression on him, and every day after he looked in the mirror each morning and asked himself:  “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And he said, “whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

So, I ask you now, to look in the mirror and ask yourself this same question: If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today, tonight, tomorrow, or the day after?

If not, what is it time to change? And when will you make the change?

Maybe, you are putting off change now because you are working toward what you hope is a better future.

But, how can you be sure that you are wisely considering all of your best options? And, how can you live the life you want now while simultaneously preparing for your future?

You can start with planning. Careful financial and estate planning can help you achieve your short-term and long-term financial goals, protect and preserve your personal wealth, and ensure your wishes for your end of life are respected and followed.

Jobs had an excellent point; facing death can help us have the best possible life now. Begin by coming in to meet with us for a Family Wealth Planning Session. Before the session, we’ll send you a Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment to complete that will get you thinking about what you own, what matters most to you, and what you want to leave behind.

Just asking these questions will be a fantastic starting point for you to begin to help to clarify your big life choices.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents, we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.  That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session,™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session.

Signing Up for Medicare: The Facts For You or Your Parents Nearing Age 65

People who are nearing the age of 65 should be making plans for the transition from private health care to Medicare. It is not a simple process or one that happens automatically. You have to initiate the enrollment process at a specific time or suffer a monetary penalty.

It is important to understand that applying for Social Security benefits and enrolling in Medicare are two totally different things. Don’t confuse your eligible age for Social Security with the eligible age for Medicare. For Medicare, it is 65; there are no variations based on your date of birth.

Can I Sign Up Whenever I Want?

If you are turning 65 and are not covered under a health insurance plan through your employer or your spouse’s, you must enroll in Medicare during an initial enrollment period (IEP) that applies just to you. The period runs for a seven-month span beginning and ending on either side of your 65th birthday. The fourth month of the period is the month in which you turn 65. That is how you establish your window of opportunity.

If you passed the age of 65 while covered under a plan through your or your spouse’s employment, you have a special enrollment period (SEP). The SEP covers any time before the employment ends, and for eight months thereafter. A word of caution here: employers with less than 20 workers may require employees turning 65 to enroll in Medicare and have the employer plan serve only as a backup insurer.

What If I Missed The Deadline?

If you failed to enroll during your initial or special period, you must enroll in a general enrollment period (GEP) which is in effect from January 1 to March 31 of each year. In such a case, you will be charged a penalty of 10 percent of the premiums for each full 12-month period after the end of your IEP and the beginning of the GEP.

The good news for some who enroll during a GEP is that they may not have to pay any premiums for Medicare Part A coverage, so there is no penalty to be assessed. If you have contributed Medicare tax while employed for 40 quarters (10 years), you have enough credit to get Part A coverage for free. Part A covers hospital and skilled nursing facility charges. Part B, which covers doctor’s services, outpatient services and medical equipment, always comes with a premium, and an enrollment penalty will be assessed as long as you are in the plan.

While the process can be complicated, these are some of the more important facts people need to know about Medicare enrollment. There are still other factors that may apply to individuals, especially anyone who is disabled and receiving Medicare benefits prior to age 65. As such, contacting the Social Security Administration (or if you need more help, contacting us) well before your 65th birthday is the smart thing to do.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Personal Family Lawyer,®  who develops trusting relationships with families for life, including helping with Medicare issues.  We offer a Family Wealth Planning Session,™, where we can help answer all your questions, address your concerns, and meet your goals. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk because this planning is so important.

When Is the Purchase of Long-Term Care Insurance Worth It?

Elder Care is emerging as a significant issue for many people as life spans continue to increase. It is nice to know that because of health care advances, we can expect to live longer, but there are no included guarantees on the quality of life in the later years.

Many people eventually face a period in life when they can no longer do for themselves. Daily living tasks such as walking, bathing, cooking, and managing household affairs are beyond their physical and perhaps even mental capabilities. Frequently, that period has not been planned for by the person or family members. And sometimes, this period in life comes suddenly, such as when a debilitating fall takes place.

One thing which people and their families should consider before this difficult period is the purchase of long-term care insurance. This type of insurance provides coverage for the expense of daily living assistance. It can cover in-home assistance as well as assisted living or nursing home costs. Most people, however, buy it to cover in-home living expenses so as to avoid a nursing home.

Often, an elderly person will suffer intermediate health issues before needing permanent assisted daily living. Health insurance and Medicare cover costs of treatment for injuries and illness and typically pay for some daily living assistance as the person recovers or levels off at a permanent degree of recovery. When that recovery occurs, though, those services no longer pay, and the person is on their own.

A long-term care insurance policy will pick up the ball at this point and, depending on its terms, pay for daily living assistance for a period of time or for the life of the policyholder.

This type of insurance can be costly, depending on when it is purchased. The farther away you are from needing its coverage, the more affordable it is. Depending on the person’s age and health, companies may not be willing to sell a policy, or the premiums will be high, reflecting the amount of risk it is assuming.

The decision of whether to buy this insurance is a mix of one’s personal financial picture, health, family support network, and family history. For example, a healthy person whose parents lived long into life should be thinking about how he will be cared for in old age. Similarly, a person with no close family to rely on would want a safety net in place. In both of these situations, a proactive person might buy the insurance if she can afford it.

If the cost of the insurance seems beyond a person’s budget, a couple of things can be considered. One is to divert money being saved for retirement to finance the premiums. In a way, the goal is the same—money for retirement years. This approach would require balance between having enough money to fund healthy retirement years and enough to avoid being placed in a nursing home when you need healthcare support.

Another consideration is money being spent on life insurance. Some people carry life insurance early in life to provide for dependents who will survive them, then keep carrying it after that need has passed. The premiums being paid for life insurance could be applied to long-term care insurance, recognizing that the need for insurance still exists, just for a different purpose. A life policy that carries a cash value could be cashed in to pay a lump sum premium for a long-term care policy.

If one buys a long-term policy, caution should be exercised to make sure the coverage pays for what you anticipate needing. Bathing, for example, is one of the first personal activities that an aging person cannot perform; cooking is another. Also, if purchased a number of years before the anticipated need, be sure the policy provides for inflation in the cost of services. And watch out for a waiting period between disability and payments. Policies often include this feature.

The financial impact of living a long life should be a consideration in your estate planning.  That’s why we take a holistic approach to estate planning– so we can help you cover all the angles and live life to the fullest.

Contact us before buying a long-term care plan so we can support you to review your options objectively. Unlike insurance professionals, we are not paid a commission dependent on the product you buy, and it’s always the best idea to have objective trusted advisor legal counsel, like we provide, to support you and your family.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Personal Family Lawyer,®  who develops trusting relationships with families for life.  It all starts with a Family Wealth Planning Session,™ where we can provide you with accurate information about how you can structure your finances to provide for your needs both now and in the future. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk because this planning is so important.

 

Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Now or Save More Money?

To many people, living debt-free is a lifelong dream. It’s the picture of the easy life. Retired with no debt. . .

You may be surprised to learn, however, that debt-free is not always the best decision – particularly if the choice is between paying off a mortgage or using the money more wisely to invest in a future using low-interest rate funds.

What?  I Shouldn’t Pay Off My House?

Most of us don’t have that much extra cash lying around.  We simply don’t have the luxury of being able to pay off our family home and maxing out our retirement contributions and investing in a side business. It’s pretty much an either-or proposition.

With that said, from a financial standpoint, it is usually most favorable to make additional contributions to a company 401(k) program, if your company is matching your contributions, or investing in growing a side business, rather than using extra money to pay off the mortgage.

Putting money into a 401(k) plan has many advantages:

  • Taxes on these contributions are deferred;
  • Employers often max 401(k) contributions, doubling your money;
  • Money can be liquidated for unexpected expenses; and
  • In most cases, if you are connected to how your 401(k) is invested, investing the extra money could result in a more significant return than the interest you are paying on your mortgage, leading to greater net wealth in retirement.

Creating a side business has many advantages:

  • You can create a side income stream that provides you with the kind of security a job working for someone else never can;
  • You can write off business expenses for things you are already paying for already, such as using the home office deduction to deduct part of your home costs;
  • You can use your creativity, knowledge, experience, and other resources gained over a lifetime of learning to help others and get paid for it;
  • You can employ your children, teaching them financial principles and how to be personally sovereign from a young age;
  • You can learn, grow and evolve — starting and running a business is one of the best ways to push the edges of your own comfort, bringing you closer and close to true internal liberation.

And, remember this: Mortgage interest deductions help when tax time rolls around.

After all is said and done though, the mortgage versus 401(k) versus side business decision is a personal one that you must ultimately make for yourself.  Just keep in mind that if your priorities are financial, it is probably best to lean towards making additional contributions to your retirement account or starting a business, rather than paying down your mortgage.

This article is a service of Gratia P. Schoemakers, Personal Family Lawyer. If you’d like to ensure that  you can meet the financial challenges of raising a family while preparing for retirement, schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session.™ I can review your existing plan and help you make adjustments that will help you achieve your goals.  Call now to book your appointment!