Posts Tagged ‘Finance’

Protecting your Retirement from a Financial Crisis

Monday, September 18th, 2017

So first thing’s first, I’m not the fear-mongering type. I personally really hate it when pundits prey on people’s worst instincts. But there is, unfortunately, something to be said for financial forecasting, right? It’s more (at least somewhat) more science-based, and less I’ve-got-a-feeling-something-bad-is-gonna-happen. There are patterns and signs for what’s to come, and we know this because we, as in our country, tend to fall into these patterns again and again.

Pay off all credit card debt

Regardless of how much credit card debt you have at the moment, it should be your number one priority to pay off. And do it somewhat aggressively. Ideally, you shouldn’t be carrying a balance over month to month, but realistically, it’s bound to happen to some of us, especially if a big purchase was made. After paying off your debt, treat your credit cards as a debit card, in that you have the actual cash to pay off what you’re buying on your credit card.

Emergency savings

It’s a basic rule of thumb to have three to six months’ worth of living expenses saved up. The idea is that it will cushion you if you lose your job, and won’t have to tap into your retirement savings. It’s hard to see the other side of an economic crisis, but when you have that cushioning, and your finances are in tact, getting back to normal will come easier.

Find a financial planner

Ask your friends, family, or read all the reviews and testimonials you can, and interview prospective retirement financial planners. Essentially, find someone you would trust with the keys to your house. Work with your adviser to create a customized financial plan that meets your specific needs. That will determine your asset allocation. Make sure you have a diversified portfolio containing assets that hedge against each other. 

Four Priceless Pieces of Advice from Mr. Money Mustache

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

mr money - not wide

If you’re unfamiliar with Mr. Money Mustache, he’s the man taking the internet by storm as a financial guru who successfully retired in 2005 at age 30. His name is Pete, and he describes himself as “a thirtysomething retiree who now writes about how we can all live a frugal yet Badass life of leisure.”
Several people I personally know have now subscribed to MMM’s (Mr. Money Mustache’s) way of living (or are at least trying to), and say that his philosophies and teachings have changed their financial views forever. How can it not? After reading several articles on his website, you might start to question your own financial decisions and direction that your life is going in. However, there’s never any reason to feel despair, his teachings are for people of all ages and payscales. Here are four priceless pieces of advice that I’ve found to be most advantageous.

Ridiculousness is Ubiquitous

This post, I imagine, was written to address critics of the MMM lifestyle. It goes over hypotheticals of two extreme views of wearers of red, and wearers of blue as a metaphor for those who live in extreme extravagance, and those who live in frugality, and how ridiculous they look to each other: “In one area, the Sheeple wear red costumes and fiercely criticize those who wear blue. But just on the next continent, blue-wearers are in the majority and they are beheading those who dare to wear red. Great books and ornate traditions are built to describe how wearing Red robes is The Way, which are cited authoritatively to discredit those who believe in Blue, and vice versa.”
This article was one that I didn’t think would apply to me, as I most definitely do not consider myself to be one that lives in extravagance, or frugal. What it did for me, however, is open my eyes to see that there are definitely attributes of the extravagant that I found myself subscribing to, and that we all subscribe to, even if we cannot afford the Ridiculousness, or it just didn’t make sense for us. The frivolity of it all that dawned on me is was struck me the most.

Renting vs. Buying

The subheading for this article is “If you have to ask, you should probably rent” and that sentence has been bouncing around my head since I read it a few weeks ago. Partly because I myself have been toying with the idea of getting out of the rent race, and settle down in a nice 2 bedroom townhome, hopefully within the next year. So I read this article thinking that it would sway me the direction that I wanted to go, but again, I realized I was being Ridiculous again. With a capital R.
Pete, who is Canadian, goes over the numbers in this article, and breaks down just how much home-ownership in the busy city of Toronto actually will cost you.
In the end, Pete says, “If you live in an area where houses cost more than $300,000, take a close look at the rent prices around the areas you currently drive. Budget your driving costs at at least a dollar per mile (80 cents/km in Canada to account for higher costs) because you absolutely must put a high value on your spare time to get ahead in life. Doing the math on life decisions like this was by far the biggest factor in my own early financial independence.”

Teach Your Children Well

In this article, Pete says, “As parents we are really in the business of producing the happiest and most capable adults we can, given the constraints of the real world. If my boy eventually ends up as happy with his lot in life as his parents are, we will be more than satisfied.” Which I think we can all agree that that’s the goal of all parents, but what most don’t know is how to help their children reach that point, and become successful adults. A huge part of it, as Pete says, is teaching your children about money the way that you wish you were taught.
Living by example, talking about higher education, making money, and where money goes are all lessons that he goes over in this article. Read it, and pass it on.

There are Investments with Instant Gratification

This article surprised me, because I really was expecting advice on investing. I should have known better, but hey, I’m kind of new to this. What’s talked about instead is mainly family, frugality, fanciness, and living a great life. Pete writes, “How can fanciness and frugality both exist at the same time?

It’s really simple, and best summed up with just a few more key F-words:

Focus, Festivity and Flow

It’s important to remember that life is about being happy and doing what you love, and taking it day-to-day. “Nowadays, I make a point of putting some good stuff on the stereo at appropriate times (the festive times) throughout the day. It’s easy to forget, but it is definitely worth remembering.”

Be happy, be frugal, be wise, and be kind.

Financial Mistakes Retirees can Still Make in Their Golden Years

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

golden years 2

Unbeknownst to a lot of people, some, well into their golden years, still have some financial issues when it comes to their retirement. There are still mistakes to be made, there are still some downfalls and hard times, and there are ways to navigate around those issues unscathed.
We’re here today to talk about some of the issues retirees may encounter, and how to solve them with the know-how and tools you already have in your belt.

Keeping old debt

This seems like an obvious point to make, but it’s one that not many retirees take to heart. Not getting yourself out of debt before retirement is one of the biggest mistakes one can make, your retirement funds should never go towards your credit card debt, or car payments, those will burn through your retirement funds faster than you think.
Paying off your mortgage before retirement should be a huge priority, as it is for most people, but it cannot be emphasized enough since a mortgage is most likely to be the biggest purchase you’ll make in your life. Focus on paying down as much as possible before retirement, or even downsizing to a smaller home where the mortgage is manageable, the utilities won’t be outrageous, and the money you save goes right into your pocket.

Stopping investments

Keeping up with your investments and wherever else your money is going is an extremely important factor when it comes to financial-wellness, especially at retirement. Some retirees look at investing as a hobby, others as a necessity.
Whether you invest through more traditional routes like the stock market, or invest in real estate with your self-directed IRA, or even invest in a chicken farm, just keep your money moving, and working for you.

Relying on a single source of income

Don’t depend on a single source of income for anything, including your own retirement income. Social Security will not pay enough by itself, stocks hold the possibility of crashing, and do on occasion, bonds currently don’t keep up with inflation, and loans have to be paid back. This is where diversification comes into play, and why it’s crucial.

Living outside of your means

Most retirees don’t monitor and control their spending by having even a simple budget. For any situation, that’s a recipe for disaster. To just spend and spend, and then have an unexpected expense pop up, like a medical bill, or car repair, can cause serious financial damage. Keeping yourself realistically reeled in is imperative if your goal is to keep yourself afloat for 20+ years after retirement.

In reality, there will always be obstacles to hertel no matter what, whether they’re financial or not is up to you, and the decisions that you make today. A self-directed IRA gives the IRA holder the power to invest in what best suits them. Opening a self-directed IRA can be beneficial to almost all retirement strategies, so get in touch with Accuplan today to find out if a self-directed IRA is what’s missing from your retirement portfolio.

Author: Tanya

Know your IRA Lingo: Rollover vs. Transfer

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Rollover vs Transfer

It can seem a little overwhelming trying to figure out if you are doing a rollover or a transfer. In theory, they are very similar and are very easily confused. Because there are differences and if handled incorrectly costly difference you will want to make sure know the difference between a rollover and a transfer. Again both a rollover and a transfer can seem very similar but they are not. We are here to help you through the process. If you have any questions or concerns about a rollover or transfer of your self-directed IRA, IRA or 401k then we are here to help. Now, let’s get into what separates a rollover and transfer.


Also known as, IRA rollover, 401k rollover. A rollover is when you take from one retirement account (it can be an IRA or 401k) and move it to another retirement account (again it can be an IRA or a 401k).

One major thing to remember with a rollover is that you the account owner are given the asset (money) before it goes into the new retirement account. It is considered a tax-free distribution. However, you must put this distribution into the new retirement account within 60 days of receiving it. If you don’t put the money into the new retirement account within 60 days a myriad of negative consequences will come.

The negative consequences come in the form of tax penalties. First, it will be considered a withdrawal/distribution and becomes taxable. That is not all, if you are under the age of 59 1/2 you will get tacked on a 10% penalty for a premature withdrawal. You will need to have a paper trail to verify that the funds were deposited within the 60 days.

Another important thing to note is that you can only do one IRA rollover a year. Why? It is best explained with an example. Say you did an IRA rollover and were given the money from your previous retirement account. You then have 60 days to put it in the new account. Before those 60 days, you take the money to Vegas and double your money. It is still within the 60 days so you put the original amount into the new retirement account and have doubled your money. They don’t want you to continue to do this over and over again, which is why they only allow it to happen once a year. Nor is it a wise decision to do anything else with your money besides putting it into the new retirement account. You wouldn’t want to get to the 60 days and not be able to deposit the money into the new account.


Also known as an IRA transfer, 401k transfer or trustee to trustee transfer. A transfer is when you take from one retirement account (IRA, 401k, etc) and move it to another retirement account (IRA, 401k, etc). Typically a transfer is a much easier process than a rollover because of one main aspect, you aren’t getting the money. With a transfer, you typically are transferring from custodian to custodian and so there are no tax penalties. You can do transfers like this as many times as you want each year.

Hopefully, we have spelled out the main differences enough that you won’t have to wonder the next time you are in the process of either an IRA rollover or transfer. As always we are here to help you with self-directed IRA and will answer any questions you may have in regards to these accounts.


Self-Directed IRA Rules – Indirect Benefit

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Indirect Benefit

Investing in a Self-Directed IRA is a great alternative to investing in traditional investments such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Through a Self-Directed IRA, you can invest in more non-traditional investments such as real estate, private placements, gold and silver, loans, and other hard assets.

Many individuals shy away from investing in Self-Directed IRAs because they don’t understand basic self-directed ira rules, don’t know what they can invest in, think the fees are too high or have been discouraged by their financial advisor.

Most clients understand with a Self-Directed IRA that they cannot invest with a related party. To learn more about related parties read more at, Disqualified Persons in Regards to Self-Directed IRAs and 401ks.  One self-directed IRA rule which is less understood and can be difficult to consult on is receiving or giving an indirect benefit from your IRA.

The IRS has made it clear that they do not want you to receive or give a direct or indirect benefit from or from your IRA.  A direct benefit that you could receive from your Self-Directed IRA could be living in the property that your IRA owns or receiving a salary from the management of your IRA assets.  Examples of providing a direct benefit to your IRA could be providing “sweat equity” to fix up a property when normally that work would be hired out.  Indirect benefits could be a number of different benefits.  Below, I will list some of the indirect benefits you could receive from your IRA that would be prohibited:

  1. You may not be living in a property that your IRA owns but if you use that property for personal use, even for a short period of time, it could be disqualified
  2. Leasing out space to another customer and then having that customer sub-lease part of the space back to you
  3. Buying raw land and using that land for your own personal use (i.e. hunting on land your IRA owns)
  4. If you want to invest in an investment that requires a certain initial amount (i.e. $100,000) and you don’t have enough personal funds to invest in that investment but with the combination of personal and IRA funds you do have enough money, it could be disqualified
  5. You cannot personally pay for expenses that your IRA should be paying for, this would be an indirect benefit you would be providing your IRA
  6. If you are buying real estate and are personally going to get a loan for a portion of the property, you cannot have the bank collateralize the IRA’s portion that it owns.  The bank can only collateralize your portion of the property
  7. You cannot loan funds to an unrelated party and then have that person turn around and loan the funds back to you

If you have any more questions about Self-Directed IRA Rules or if you think you could be entering into a prohibited transaction feel free to call, email or comment below. We are here to help you invest in the retirement you have always wanted. Set up an account today.

Author: , Self-Directed IRA Professional
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