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So You Want To Be An Investor

wealth Aug 03, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here. 

Are you wanting to "get into the market" or "become an investor", but you're not sure where to start?

IF YOU HAVE A 401(K) OR OTHER WORKPLACE RETIREMENT ACCOUNT, YOU ARE ALREADY AN INVESTOR. 

Surprised? Most people don't realize that their retirement accounts are simply a big bucket labeled with the way taxes are applied, with INVESTMENTS inside. 

Let's review a few tips to make sure you are investing well. 


1. USE TAX FAVORED ACCOUNTS FIRST
- You cannot underestimate how much taxes will affect your investments over time. 401(k) plans offers pre-tax contributions that give you an immediate tax benefit. A Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA offers tax free withdrawals in the future, but requires contributions with money you have already paid taxes on. HSAs have tax benefits as well. All of these options...

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The Ideal Investment

wealth Jul 27, 2020

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are amazing investment products for retirement. If you're not using one, you are missing out. I know this may seem odd, but let me explain why. 

An HSA, in its most basic form, is intended for medical expenses. It combines the pre-tax benefits of a 401(k) contribution with the tax free growth of a Roth IRA. 

Here is the full scoop:

1. MONEY ROLLS OVER EACH YEAR
-Unlike an FSA, the money rolls over if unused in that year. It's not a "use it or lose it" system. 
2. CONTRIBUTIONS ARE PRE TAX
- Contributions are pre tax if you contribute through an employer. If you purchased your own plan, they are tax deductible. 
3. GROWTH IS TAX FREE
- Probably the best feature!
4. MONEY CAN BE USED FOR MEDICAL EXPENSES AT ANY TIME, TAX FREE
- Just make sure you keep qualifying medical receipts. This essentially gives you a separate medical emergency fund in addition to your regular emergency fund. 
5. MONEY CAN BE USED AFTER 65 FOR ANY REASON PENALTY...

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How I Started My Business

lifestyle Jul 20, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here. 

 

If you have a desire to start your own business, the first thing I would say is JUST DO IT. The process can be scary, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Even if it doesn't become your full time job, it can help you diversify your income. 

Here is a brief overview of the basic steps of the process:
1. Choose a name for your business
- Make sure the name isn't already registered as another business in your state, or is trademarked. This can be done with a simple internet search. I would also check that the domain name is available at this time if you are dead set on one for your website. 

2. Legally form the company
- I formed an LLC in Indiana. Which type of company to form is beyond the scope of this post (lots of tax implications), but consider reading a book like LLC for Dummies. I...

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Cutting The Grocery Bill

lifestyle Jul 20, 2020

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here. 

Groceries are a HUGE money suck for families. Let's be honest, you go to the grocery store in a rush and probably hungry. You start adding things to your cart. Next thing you know, you're checking out and wondering why your weekly groceries are somehow hundreds of dollars. 

Finding ways to reduce your grocery expenses can free up a LOT of room in your budget, which can then be channeled into debt payoff or investing.

Let's break down some ideas:


1. MEAL PLANNING
- Honestly this is fundamental. If you don't know what you're going to eat, you don't know what you need to buy. If you're not one to want to sit down and craft a meal plan, check out $5 meal plan. It's a service that will provide you meal plans for $5/month and then auto create a grocery list based on the plan. I've used it and felt it saved me a lot of...

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Financial Independence

wealth Jul 13, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here. 

People talk a lot about "financial freedom" or "financial independence". But what does it really mean? There are so many different variations of this out there and different people use different terms. We will keep things simple. 

Financial independence means you can live entirely off of your investments. 

Some people utilize stages to describe financial independence. One example is the following:


1. FINANCIAL SECURITY
- This means your investment returns could cover your bare minimum expenses, with no thrills or extras. Few people will quit their job at this stage (unless they have some source of additional income), but it allows you the security of knowing your investments could cover your major bills should you need them to. Some people call this "lean financial independence". 


2. FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE
-...

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How To Increase Your Savings Rate

wealth Jul 06, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here.

 

The key to wealth is your overall savings rate. I say this ALL THE TIME. Recommended savings rates vary from 10% (see books like The Richest Man in Babylon), 15-20% (Dave Ramsey), and upwards of 50% (see the entire FI/RE movement). Regardless of if you are saving nothing at all, or just a small amount, increasing your savings rate even slightly will make a HUGE difference in your future.

But how do you increase your overall savings rate when you're already feeling strapped for cash?

Here are a few suggestions:

1. GET ORGANIZED
- If you're not tracking your expenses routinely, it is nearly impossible to know where you can cut expenses to increase your savings rate. A monthly budget is a fundamental requirement. 

2. PAY OFF HIGH INTEREST DEBTS
- Carrying high interest debts is the equivalent of running a race with...

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The Cost Of Lunch

lifestyle Jun 22, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here.

How often do you eat out for lunch at work? For many Americans, eating lunch out is a part of their daily routine.

But how much is your lunch costing you over the long haul?

For ease of numbers, let's assume that eating lunch out runs you about $10. Let's also assume that the cost of making a lunch to bring from home is $5. Some studies show as low as $4, others as high as $6.50. To make our numbers easy, we will stick with a $5 lunch from home. 


- OVER A YEAR, EATING LUNCH OUT WILL COST YOU AN EXTRA $1305
- This is assuming 261 working days in the year, during which you saved $5 each day by bringing your lunch. That is a lot of money! If you make an annual salary of $50,000, this is 2.6% of your annual income - spent on LUNCH. Guys, grab a cute lunch box and a reusable water bottle (I have this one) and make it work. ...

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The Dreaded Student Loans

debt Jun 05, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here.

Americans owe 1.64 TRILLION dollars in student loan debt, spread over about 45 million borrowers. Student loan debt has become commonplace, but it can be financially crippling. 

How should you approach your student loan debt?

Everyone's situation is different and there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution, but there are a few important things to consider when creating your plan.

1. KNOW YOUR BALANCE AND INTEREST RATE
- If you haven't checked lately, log in to your loan servicer and make sure you are up to date on your latest balance and interest rates. There is a BIG difference between a 2% interest rate and a 9% interest rate on a private student loan. 

2. CONSIDER CONSOLIDATION OR REFINANCING
- Consolidation just averages your prior interest rates into one payment, while refinancing is a new loan with a possibly lower interest...

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Your First Million

wealth May 25, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here

 

Becoming a millionaire isn't as hard as you would think. For ease of numbers, let's talk about how to become a millionaire using only your retirement accounts. This is an incomplete picture because your home and other accounts contribute to your net worth and would help push you over the millionaire net worth mark, but for simplicity we will use only retirement investing for now.


SO HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU HAVE TO SAVE MONTHLY TO BECOME A MILLIONAIRE BY 65?


This varies depending on your current age, as one of the major contributors to the end balance is how much time you have left before age 65 for compound interest to work in your favor. Let's look at the numbers by age. We will assume you are starting with an initial investment balance of 0, and that you receive an 10% rate of return.


  • AGE 25 - $171/MONTH
  • AGE 30 - $280/MONTH
  • AGE 35 -...
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What Am I Investing In?

wealth May 18, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here.

When you go to select your investments within your 401(k), other retirement account, or miscellaneous investments, how do you know what investments you're choosing? Remember, a 401(k) or Roth IRA is simply a tax designation for an investment. The tax treatment matters greatly, but so does what you choose to invest in within it. 

HAVING A BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF YOUR INVESTMENT SELECTIONS WILL EMPOWER YOU TO MAKE BETTER CHOICES.

Let's review a few basic investments types:
1. ACTIVELY MANAGED MUTUAL FUNDS
- When you select a mutual fund to put your money in, you are selecting a group of stocks and/or bonds. What stocks and/or bonds are in each mutual fund have been selected by a professional who is actively managing the fund - or in other words buying and selling assets he or she thinks will maximize your dividends. 
2....

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