How Should You Invest Extra Cash?

If you find yourself with extra money at the end of the month or quarter after all of your expenses have been paid and you’ve made your regular retirement account contributions, congratulations! Now for the next question: should you be investing the extra cash, and if so how?

Following is a look at some of your options to help you decide the best course of action for your situation. But first, make sure that it is indeed excess cash and there aren’t any hidden or forgotten expenses lurking. If there are, devote the excess funds to these expenses first.

  1. Establish an emergency fund. A study recently conducted by the Federal Reserve found that four out of 10 Americans don’t have enough money in savings to cover a $400 unexpected expense. This drives home the importance of establishing an emergency savings fund you can easily tap when unexpected expenses arise, such as a car or appliance repair.

Everyone’s situation is different, but many financial experts recommend saving up between three and six months’ worth of living expenses in case of a financial emergency. This would likely be enough not only to cover an unexpected repair, but it could also help tide you over if you lose your job or experience a significant reduction in income.

Keep your emergency cash in an FDIC-insured savings account, like a bank or online money market account, so you can withdraw funds quickly and without penalty when they’re needed. You won’t earn much interest but that’s not the goal with emergency savings. The most important thing is that the funds be kept safe and liquid.

  1. Save for a short-term need. In addition to an emergency savings fund, you might also establish a savings fund for specific upcoming need. A car is a good example.

Instead of financing your next car, you could use extra cash to start a car savings fund. For example, let’s assume a monthly car payment of $400. If you put this much money in your car savings fund each month, in five years you would have $24,000 saved up to buy your next car. This could be enough money to buy a quality, low-mileage used vehicle or it could be a hefty down payment on a used vehicle, thus lower your car payments significantly. Beyond that, being able to pay cash means you have on less thing to haggle over when buying your car.

  1. Invest in alternative investments. There’s a whole universe of investments that go beyond stocks, bonds and Treasury issues. Known as alternative investments, these include real estate, art and collectibles, hedge funds, private equity, precious metals, commodities and cryptocurrencies, among others.

Alternative investments can provide more diversification to your portfolio. They usually have a low correlation with traditional investments so they can help smooth out portfolio volatility. Some alternatives can also provide a hedge against inflation and a safe haven during times of economic uncertainty. As your net worth grows, alternatives can help you spread your assets out among a wider range of different types of securities, thus reducing volatility. One note of caution when it comes to alternatives – they are typically less regulated and can be more complex than investing in stocks and bonds. So, before you invest in alternatives, make sure you have a clear understanding of the investment.

  1. Beef up your retirement savings. It’s never a bad idea to devote extra cash to a long-term financial goal like saving for retirement. If you haven’t maxed out contributions to your IRA, 401(k) or other retirement savings account for the year yet, consider putting your extra cash toward this.

In 2021, you and your spouse can each contribute up to $6,000 to a traditional or Roth IRA (or $7,000 if you’re 50 years of age or over), up to $13,500 to a SIMPLE IRA (or $16,500 if you’re 50 years of age or over) and up to $19,500 to a 401(k), 403(b) or 457 plan (or $25,500 if you’re 50 years of age of over). If you own a business or are self-employed, you can contribute up to $57,000 (or 25% of compensation) to a SEP IRA.

  1. Pay down debt. If you have high-interest outstanding consumer debt, paying this down may be a wise use of excess cash. But how should you prioritize paying down debt vs. saving or investing the money? Start by comparing the carry on your debt to what you could earn by saving or investing the funds.

For example, if you’re paying 19.5% interest on outstanding credit card debt, it’s pretty obvious that you’ll be better off paying this down than putting excess cash in a money market account earning less than one percent. But the answer isn’t as obvious if you’re trying to decide whether to pay down a 30-year mortgage with a low interest rate or invest the money for the long term, where it could generate a higher return than you’re paying in mortgage interest.

It often comes down to how you feel personally about debt. Some people just have an aversion to borrowing money and want to avoid debt or pay it down as quickly as possible regardless of what “the numbers” say. On the flip side, leverage can be a powerful financial tool if it’s used wisely and responsibly and you’re comfortable owing money.

As fee-only financial advisors, we can help you analyze these and other options and make the best decision regarding what to do with excess cash based on your situation. Book an introductory call with us or send us an email if you’d like to talk in more detail.

https://www.minervaplanninggroup.com/2021/01/29/how-should-you-invest-extra-cash/

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High-3 Salary

How to Calculate Your FERS Pension and Disability Benefits

As a federal government employee, you have access to the Federal Employees Retirement System, also called FERS for short. This system includes a pension as well as disability retirement program.

What is Your High-3 Salary?

To determine your FERS pension and disability benefits, you’ll start by making a calculation that’s referred to as your high-3 salary. This is the highest average basic pay that you earned during any three consecutive years while working for the federal government.

Basic pay includes your base salary plus any salary increases you receive from which retirement deductions are withheld, as well as shift rates and locality pay. It doesn’t include overtime pay, bonuses, military pay, cash awards, holiday or travel pay, or cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). The amount of your basic pay is indicated on your Standard For 50 (SF50) and your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES).

For most federal government employees, the highest three years of basic pay are the last three years that they work. In this case, go back three years from the date of separation to determine the starting date for your high-3 salary calculation. If you have had breaks in service, the three years don’t have to be continuous — you can join two or more separate periods of service together.

For example, let’s say you plan to retire on April 1, 2021, and have worked for the federal government continuously since then. If the past three years were your highest earnings years of basic pay, the starting date for your high-3 salary calculation would be April 1, 2018. If your basic pay during these three years was $70,000, $75,000 and $80,000, then your high-3 salary would be $75,000.

Determining Your Pension and Disability Benefits

Once you’ve calculated your high-3 salary, you can determine the amount of your pension and disability benefits. The FERS pension calculation is as follows:

High-3 Salary x Years of Creditable Service x % Pension Multiplier = Annual FERS Pension

If you’re under age 62 on the date of separation or 62 years of age or over and have less than 20 years of federal service, your pension multiplier is 1%. Assuming a $75,000 high-3 salary, your annual FERS pension would be $14,250 with 19 years of service.

However, if you’re 62 years of age or over on the date of separation and have 20 or more years of federal service, your pension multiplier is 1.1%. Assuming a $75,000 high-3 salary, your annual FERS pension would be $16,500 with 20 years of service.

The pension multiplier is the same (1.1%) for the FERS disability calculation if you’re 62 years of age or over on the date of separation and have 20 or more years of federal service. But if you’re under 62 years of age when you begin receiving disability benefits, you will receive 60% of your high-3 average salary minus 100% of your Social Security benefit for any month when you’re entitled to receive Social Security benefits during the first 12 months. After this, you will

receive 40% of your high-3 average salary minus 60% of your Social Security benefit for any month when you’re entitled to receive Social Security benefits.

Once you turn 62, your benefit will be recomputed using an amount that essentially represents the benefit you would have received if you had continued working until the day before your 62nd birthday and then retired under FERS.

How to Increase Your Pension Benefits

The best way to increase your FERS pension benefit is to continue working past your earliest eligibility date for retirement if you’re able to do so. This will increase both your length of service and your high-3 salary.

Going back to our hypothetical example, let’s say this individual worked five years longer, giving him 25 years of eligible service. This also boosted his high-3 salary to $80,000, thus increasing his FERS annual pension benefit to $22,000.

Don’t miss this critical point: By working an extra five years, this individual increased his FERS annual pension benefit by $5,500. If he spends 20 years in retirement, this adds up to an additional $110,000 in pension payments.

Plan Carefully

Your decision about when to retire will have a lasting and long-term impact on your retirement finances. So give this careful thought and plan to spend time crunching some numbers before making a final decision. Book an introductory call or send us an email if you’d like to talk about your situation in more detail.

https://www.minervaplanninggroup.com/2021/01/28/how-to-calculate-your-fers-pension-disability-benefits/

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San Diego Window Replacement Companies

Window Replacement

One of the greatest investments you can ever make for your home in San Diego is to completely replace your old, drafty windows and doors. With the suitable new doorways and windows, your home will certainly gain from improved energy efficiency and increased property value. And better still, gorgeous new sliding glass doors and window replacements can decorate and enhance your unique house design for a long time to come. Obviously, to get the perfect match, you’ll have to hire San Diego windows replacement specialists that are skilled in fitting all kinds of windows and doors. So how can you pick the right company?

 

– First, examine the quality of the job. A good company will flaunt its extensive range of imported and local windows, windows and dividers so it is easy to compare prices and quality. Furthermore, reputable window replacement San Diego firms have their own showrooms where you can view and measure each of their products and discuss the job . You can bring your own samples and have them quantified by a local San Diego technician. The most reliable companies have highly trained technicians who know how to correctly match each product.

 

– Next, examine the window replacement San Diego cost list. Compare the features and materials used for each item, in addition to the installation costs. Make sure the price list involves the setup fee, which is generally not included in the first quote. It is common for some companies to charge extra installation fees when labor is added to the bill. Look for a home window replacement price that does not include additional hidden charges.

 

– Assess the guarantee policy. Your San Diego window replacement window installers’ warranties will usually cover any defects in workmanship and materials used throughout the setup process. However, it is necessary to note that even the best warranty is no guarantee you won’t experience problems. It’s also important to be aware of what the window installers will do if there are defects or if the job isn’t done correctly.

 

– Always ask about renewal references. Good window replacement San Diego companies ought to be able to provide you with three renewal references. Ask about these testimonials from many different companies. When you contact the references, ask about the installation procedure, quality of workmanship, the durability of the windows and patio doors, and if they’d recommend the firm to your next installation. This gives you a good notion of the quality of the job the business provides.

 

– After you receive your three references, then take some opportunity to call each and every one. Only accept renewal estimates which include a private phone number, or even a site link which you can use to request a written quote. Ask for a renewal price that contains a guarantee on all of vinyl replacement windows installations, the substances used, the quantity of labor charged, and the period of the warranty. These are the only elements of a good vinyl window installation which should be included in a renewal cost.

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New Premium WordPress Themes

Programmer for premium theme developers toward an end to WordPress theme designing that has always been a specialty for the WordPress design community.

It seems to be quite clear as a title for this article. Drupal I understand you may be drawn to the above for something interesting to use, with dedicated Developer resources to help you design your e-commerce websites.

Personally, I have been using the WordPress File Transfer Program to my dist inching pleasure. For a while now I have been looking for a great alternative to fill this need. I have learned I must use FTP programs to manage WordPress websites as I lack the time to manage them. I only wish I had recognized this at the beginning.

There is a willingness to help out newbie maintain providers of premium themes. My experience most recently migrating over a theme from the unmaintained Web release. I imagine among some of the themes the vast majority are more user-friendly than others. You will find Joomla advantages and disadvantages too through my experience. Joomla format is a little different but still has its special features (see above).

Anyway, I was presented with a solution one day with a question from a fellow developer about how I could get in contact with Theme Developer resources.  I have done somewhat of research on WordPress themes. I was a bit Leary and my response: I would need to know where to find the licensing information for the theme I wanted, and I needed to know about their licensing requirements.

Here is what I got with this email one morning.

Greetings,

Good Monday. I have managed to get in contact with The Full Disk Designer. This one is based in Detroit, Michigan but accesses help 24X7 by the phone or online. They are one of the leading premium WordPress themes provider and have competent team of designers to help you get exactly what you want with one or more premium WordPress themes.

My question: I have recently started publishing E-commerce Websites and am unsure about what to get for the site in the future. I know that most theme designers are able to design similar themes (which are available for download), and I have also learned that I must take into account performance of the theme I am looking to design.

Any Suggestions?

Thanks:

 The Gravest reclaimer

I was very appreciative of his helpfulness. After I sent him my questions, he determined the theme I wanted and the layout of the site.

The theme took him time and guts to complete. But he was able to produce a design. I wish his designers had asked me if I wanted to have my OWN theme created. I would have Paid him a thousand bucks. I may still occasionally do so. Because I have found themes often waiting for me when I first look around doing researches. And they are always free.

When getting started with a theme program – especially a premium theme – you should always try and be as informed as possible. Ask FREE questions. There are many good Premium WordPress Theme developers who will give good advises on how to make the theme a success.

As a side note: The Full Disk Designer is the developer of the Joomla Template System. However, The Full Disk has not invested time or financially into learning how to use the Joomla language.

As Business owners we all strive first and foremost to provide our customers, clients – or potential customers – with the best, and most effective customer experience. As I have observed most business owners (especially one’s in new industries where the customer service is lacking) have a business plan and forget to include this important factor. Hundreds of thousands of dollars will be thrown in the trash cash box every year if you have not thought to include this line item your business plan.

Having a well-designed website is critical to being detects and featured on the Artist Rate Top 20

I believe this is a step-specific website that you can have after you learn how to use a Content Management System. More than likely your site will not be as successful and/or attractive than other sites because you cannot build an entire website. However, a Content Management System will afford you the additional dollars necessary to hire a web designer to build a basic site for Websites that you plan on publishing all around the world.

Do not make confusions while Googling for companies that offer premium WordPress theme development and design services. I have used the top 20 search engines, some good companies are allowed to appear on page two of the first page of results. This is simply because a website already gets many views and a visitor to a particular website is searching for specific information. You need to know if the website design company allows this, if sure, ask them for a demo or proof of previous projects quality, then expect this type of service. If you are uncertain then play safe with the first 2 search results.

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