Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Here are five ways to automate your savings program to make it effortless:
1. Set up a savings account and simply arrange automatic transfers from your checking into your savings account. Schedule the transfer to happen between two and five days after your paycheck is deposited.
2. Set up a TreasuryDirect account at the U.S. Treasury and make automatic deposits. You can arrange for monthly deposits of $25 and up.
3. Take a look at the new myRA (“My Retirement Account”) program. It lets you build savings in what is essentially a Roth IRA. You can start with as little as $25 to open the account, and you can deposit as little as $5 per month.
4. Get started with a dividend reinvestment program (DRIP) with the Moneypaper folks. They have put a lot of energy into helping children learn the fundamentals of savings and retirement investing. In fact, Moneypaper can demonstrate how saving $25 per month can turn into over $1 million by retirement age.
5. Contribute to your employer-sponsored retirement account. This is especially worthwhile if your employer matches your contributions. Smart employees make payroll contributions to the level the employer will match (sometimes half, sometimes the entire contribution). Anything over that is just gravy.
How much can you contribute to a typical employer plan depends on the plan:
With a SIMPLE IRA plan, you may contribute 100 percent of your wages, up to $12,000 for 2014 (you can add an additional $2,500 if you’re age 50 or over). Your employer is required either to match your elective deferrals up to 3 percent of your salary or to match 2 percent of your salary no matter how much you deferred.
There is one drawback: If you draw this money out in less than two years, the penalty is 25 percent.
With a 401(k) or qualified plan, you may contribute up to $17,500 (you can add an additional $5,500 if you’re age 50 or over). Your employer may establish a plan with a choice, where you may deposit the money in a Roth version of the plan without getting any tax deduction for your contribution or deposit it into a regular retirement account, where your contributions reduce your taxable income. Your employer may even match your contributions or provide profit sharing, which could bring your total benefit up to $52,000 ($57,500 for age 50 or over).
Many of these plans allow you to borrow from them. Typically, you may borrow either up to 50 percent of your plan’s value or $50,000, whichever is lower. This is a powerful tool for those expecting to keep their jobs long enough to pay the money back. You pay no taxes on the loan unless you leave the job before repayment, so you don’t diminish your retirement savings.
You have a lot more options, especially if you’re self-employed. Check out the IRS website for details.
Eva Rosenberg, EA is the publisher of TaxMama.com ®, where your tax questions are answered. She is the author of several books and ebooks, including Small Business Taxes Made Easy. Eva teaches a tax pro course at IRSExams.com and tax courses you might enjoy at http://www.cpelink.com/teamtaxmama.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.