About the Episode
As we navigate the various stages of life, each one presents unique milestones. Yet, are we ever truly financially ready for these transitions? According to Annuity.org, 25% of Americans claim they lack a reliable source for financial advice. In the exciting season 4 finale of "Making it Count," we’re hoping to leave you with some valuable guidance for every life stage!
Advice for Younger Generations
Randy asks Question 1: “When it comes to starting your financial journey, what are some of the first things a teen or young adult should do when they have a little bit of money?"
Kaitlyn Responds: “Well, the first thing you want to do is decide where your money is going to live. As a kid, it's fine for you to have a piggy bank, but if you want to level up, you need to give your money the best home possible. And if you're a teen, you need a place to deposit that paycheck you're eventually going to get.
Kaitlyn Follows Up: "For most savings accounts, their returns are somewhat abysmal. We're looking at like 0.09%, which is, I think if I do the math right, $0.10 for every $100 every year, which isn't great. But if you want to see some return on the funds that you put away, you're going to want to do some research first. The most important thing is deciding what kind of financial institution you are going to get: a bank account or a credit union account. With a bank account, the main difference is that banks are privately owned and publicly traded. So, you know, you've got Bank of America where you can walk in anywhere and have access to your money, whether California or Alabama. Sometimes because they are privately owned, they can have more competitive prices or more products to offer. Meanwhile, a credit union is not for profit. They distribute their products among their members. So basically, when you bank with a credit union, you're not a customer. You own a little bit of that company. They also usually serve a specific reason. Since they're not for profit, they can offer competitive rates and products specifically tailored to the area. If a bank has an excellent rate for people with more than $10,000, that might be great, but maybe not for someone just starting. So it's always important to do your homework."
Cristina asks Question 2: “What was your experience with credit cards and what advice would you give a younger self?”
Kaitlyn Responds: “I was scared of credit cards. Anything that I'd heard in the media was that credit cards were on the road to destruction. You were going to get a credit card and your money would fly away. That is not the case most of the time. So one of the most important things that can factor into a person's credit score is their credit age, how long they've been using that credit, and how long they've been reporting to the credit bureau. And it's so important to start as early as possible to start building that credit history, because the better your credit score, the better rates you get on cards and loans. So good credit score you save money in the long run. Some parents will even make their kids an authorized user on their card to help them establish credit early. And depending on the credit card, they're company. You could start as early as 13, which is great so long as mom and dad don't have an issue.”
Kaitlyn Follows Up: “If you don't have a five-year head start, don't sweat. Your school loans also count towards your credit score, and most institutions also have credit cards specifically marketed towards novices. You can ask your bank or credit union about a student credit card or a secured credit card. A secured credit card is a card that places a hold on money in your account, starting as low as $500, and that becomes your credit limit. To start with, try not to spend any more than you can pay off at one time, and if you can, set up an auto-pay for the minimum balance to make sure you never miss a payment.”
Kaitlyn follows Up: "The most important thing is to live within your means and to budget — budget, budget, budget. Knowing your way around the budget is how you are going to meet all of your savings goals.”
Advice for Working Professionals
Cristina asks Question 3: “So we hear you have some great advice for our listeners who are more established in their career and are comfortable in that middle stage of life. Is it a prime time to start investing and how would you even get started doing that?”
Gabrian Responds: “The way to start is just to audit your current financial situation. Where am I? Where do I need to be? Where do I want to be? You want to decide how much you want to invest and then what are you investing for? So are you investing for retirement? For wealth building those types of things? You can open an investment account, and research your different options. You want to talk and just kind of touch base with your financial institution first. So here at Addition, we offer quite a few different options. You can walk into a branch and speak with someone there who has training on how to make your money grow and help you reach your goals. Each member also has the opportunity to meet for a no-cost and no-obligation appointment with a financial advisor.
Gabrian Follows Up: "Also there are different risk levels for this. So certainly something you want to discuss. Be transparent. And then investing is age-based as far as risk goes. So you want to ask questions and be clear with your goals and what you want to accomplish. So lots of different options there as far as investing goes.”
Randy asks Question 4: “Unfortunately at this stage some people find themselves accumulating a lot of debt. What are some strategies that you can recommend for managing and paying off that debt?"
Gabrian responds: “So debt is certainly something that we can find ourselves in whether we mean to or not. There are a couple of different options. Again, speaking with your financial institution, going in and talking to the relationship advisors, whatever type of title, the bankers, or whatever they are that they have, go in and sit down and speak with them. Again, transparency is important. So make sure that they know what your goals are and where you are, and don't lie and say you have a great credit score. If it's subpar, don't do that because as soon as they pull your credit, they'll know. So don't lie about that.”
Gabrian Follows Up: "And just be honest. If there is something that happened to you, you know, whether it was a medical incident, Covid, you lost your job, or something like that. If you can explain maybe a drop in payment commitments, that certainly gives the people looking at your credit a better picture of what's going on in your life. Certainly, one of the other options that we have for debt that we can talk about is debt consolidation. So you can pay down your unsecured debt. One of the nice things about that is it's typically considered an installment loan when you do that. So we’re not talking about credit card transfer, balance transfer that kind of thing. This is a specific loan that gives you a term and you have a certain amount of time with an end date that you can pay off. It's easier to budget, I find that way you can make those payments and even a little bit above what the minimum payment is and pay off your debt. One of the key things is do not consolidate your debt into an installment loan and then re-rack up your revolving debt, which would be your credit cards. Don't do that because then you down double the madness.”
Cristina asks Question 5: “Gabrian, what is the best personal advice, financial advice that you want to give someone in your age group?"
Gabrian Responds: “Definitely set goals. That's one of my big things. If you're looking to retire early, if you're looking to become debt-free, or if you just want to breathe in between each paycheck, I think it's so important to be able to set those goals."
Advice for Retirees
Randy asks Question 6: “We want to hear some advice that you have for folks who are looking forward to retirement. What are some of those tips that you have for managing finances a little bit later in life?”
Leon Responds: “There are three components. Working with a financial advisor is key. The sooner that you work with a financial advisor, I think the better you are. At my stage in life, I strongly, recommend it. The thing is, the earlier you start, you've got that thing called time. Time is a superpower and you have less of it when you're getting close to retirement age. And the more that you can invest early on, honestly, the better that you'll be. The second thing is balancing a portfolio. So by the time you get closer to retirement age, you have choices. You have some financial investments. Perhaps you've got some CDs, you've got a savings account. Hopefully, you have a checking account by the time you're my age. But the idea is to balance that portfolio and figure out what your goals are. But by the time you get too close to retirement, you should be looking at investment strategies, and typically investment strategies, whether it's changing your mix in your IRA or 401K, it’s shifting more to conservative investments and things that have a more predictable, somewhat more predictable return. CDs are wonderful.”
Cristina asks Question 7: “Talking about retirement, when you get closer to it most of us won't have an income during retirement because we're not going to be working anymore, how do you make sure to save enough money for retirement?”
Leon Responds: “It goes back to discipline. It goes back to your lifestyle and your habits every day. It does. You know, there's nothing new under the sun with this. I think it comes down to do you eat out more than you eat in? And if you do so there's there's a place there to shift a little.”
Randy asks Question 8: “What would you say is the best advice you can give the older generation as they reach that final financial stage?"
Leon Responds: “I would say it's two things continue investing. And get creative with some investing. Look at the environment. What's the environment right now? What's going on in the world right now, housing is hard to find, affordable housing is harder even to find. And so if you were to go halfsies with someone else, someone you trust, a business partner, a family, a friend, whoever, or you have the means yourself. If you were to get a townhome, or a little condo, a little house, something somewhere and just buy it and rent it out. You could have positive cash flow from that where you're satisfying a mortgage, but you're also able to get a little bit from that to do what with, to invest, to save, to perhaps buy another investment property with.”
Making It Count Essentials
Cristina asks Quick Question 1: “What is one essential saving tip that you could give your generation?"
Kaitlyn Responds: “You need to have a savings account. You might as well look for a high-yield savings account. You can find them on nerdwallet.com.”
Gabrian Responds: “I think the roundup or adds up on your checking.”
Leon Responds: "CDs, look for the best rate. Put your money there for 6 to 12 months. Move it."
Randy asks Quick Question 2: “What are some financial don'ts that you would share with each of your generations?”
Kaitlyn Responds: “Don't buy things from door-to-door salespeople."
Gabrian Responds: “I would say don't sign up for the monthly subscriptions, especially if it has a free 30-day trial. Those are the ones where they get you because you forget to cancel.”
Leon Responds: “I'm targeting people like who are my mother's age. Okay? She's she's in her 80s. Don't give people the password to your computer.”
Randy asks Quick Question 3: "What budgeting tip can you give each of your generations?”
Kaitlyn Responds: "You think you're going to be able to trim out all the fun stuff and stick to the absolute most bare-bones budget? Budget for fun stuff!”
Gabrian Responds: “I love that, I would say. I mean, we've all maybe been at a time where we had to choose between milk and toilet paper, but keeping a budget puts you in control instead of having your money control you. So name every dollar and yeah, just make sure you stick to that. But budget for fun.”
Leon Responds: “I think budgeting is so strong. I don't think there's any other answer at any age budget. Stick to your budget, stay to your budget and it becomes more critical as you are closer to and you're in retirement. You have what you have and that's it.”
Cristina asks Quick Question 4: “What is the best piece of financial advice you were ever given that has impacted your life that you would say that you still use today?”
Kaitlyn Responds: “This came straight from my mom every single time we were in a store. Do you really need it?”
Gabrian Responds: “Mine is always paying myself first, so save off of the top of my income and not with what's left over. So do that first.”
Leon Responds: “For me, it's pay cash when you can — avoid credit cards, and use them only for emergencies. Don't rack up debt.”
In this episode, Cristina and Randy shared a money management tips and savings strategies for every budget and age guide. Check it out for some great tips to better navigate money management and building a budget no matter what stage of your life you’re at!
Posted on Jan 3, 2024