Money expert Mary Hunt returns with a new book, The Smart Woman’s Guide to Planning for Retirement, to help women be financially successful in the new year and beyond. While she caters to women, men can also benefit from Hunt’s money knowledge, which she has honed after racking up over $100,000 in debt in previous years. and it took 13 years to erase it.
“Did you have a wake-up call for retirement?” Hunt asks early in the book. “I can promise you they will get more intense with age.”
Hunt Sites conducted a 2012 survey that found that 92 percent of women of all ages do not feel educated enough to meet their retirement goals.
Saving for retirement takes determination and hard work; and Hunt believes women can be successful. “If we lack confidence, it’s because we lack knowledge and will, certainly not because we lack intelligence and ability,” says Hunt.
When it comes to saving for retirement, time is of the essence. The earlier you start, the better. But, Hunt points out, no matter what stage of your life you’re in, you need to start now. “It’s just too late if you don’t start now. No matter where you are or how little you think you have, start now. Today. To start. Save.” Take small steps to achieve long-term results.
Hunt’s teaching role:
retirement plan. Hunt sponsors a six-tier retirement plan that includes:
Build an emergency fund. Also known as an emergency fund. Save money for life’s unexpected expenses (car repairs, home repairs, etc.). This money must be liquid (easily accessible within two or three days), protected from erosion (establish a risk-free savings account), and able to fund at least six months of living expenses in the event of a job loss or other income-impairing event.
Get out of debt. Eliminate all unsecured debt (credit card debt, student loans, personal loans). Hunt says they’re like cancer stealing your future. Integrate with Hunt’s Rapid Debt-Repayment Plan (RDRP) to eliminate debt.
Own your home completely. Buy half as much house as your mortgage approval. Make monthly mortgage payments equal to the full approval amount to own your home in half the time. Keep your home equity (the difference between the market value of your home and the mortgage balance) tightly protected. Avoid taking out a home equity loan or line of credit that turns the clock back on a 30-year mortgage.
Consider hiring a financial planner once debt is paid off or managed, a respectable amount of savings has been amassed, retirement funds are growing, or an IRA inheritance or other windfall appears.
Hunt describes three types of financial planners:
- Commission based. This planner does not calculate by time, but by the sale of investment products. He or she earns commissions on those sales.
- Charges apply. This planner works with a fixed fee or is billed by the hour. Fees are stated up front and the planner is a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA). They are required by law to adhere to fiduciary standards, which makes them responsible for putting the best interests of their clients first.
- Combo. This planner is a combination of the first two. Clients pay a fixed or hourly fee, and the planner earns commissions when the client purchases financial products based on its recommendations.
Choose a financial planner with at least five years of experience, Hunt suggests. Make sure they act in your best interests and can explain financial concepts at your level. Be wary of any planner who claims to be able to beat the market. Finally, work with a planner; however, you make your own investment decisions. Hunt emphasizes, “A consultant or planner’s primary loyalty is to the hand that feeds them. That’s just human nature.”
Hunt teaches in a conversational tone, avoiding jargon, charts, and confusing data, making for an engaging read. As a Christian, she teaches faith-based money management. Hunt believes that God is the source of all life’s blessings, including money. An employer, spouse, investments, escrow, parents, or any other entity are the channels through which money flows, but not the ultimate source. She makes sensible retirement preparations without obsession; and trusting God for the outcome.
While having a nest egg for retirement is important, Hunt reminds readers that there’s more to life than money. Health, spirituality, nurturing relationships, staying active, continuous learning, and volunteering are some attributes of a balanced existence.
Financial planning for decades, the five necessary tools for a money management system, investing essentials (automate all payments to avoid missing out on monthly payments (out of sight, out of mind), reverse mortgages, and paying parents for their college education Children (not required), other savings/building topics are covered in the book.
Anyone committed to improving their financial fitness in 2014 will reap life’s treasures beyond the confines of cash by inheriting Mary Hunt’s money practices.
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