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How To Plan For Your Future

Nov 9, 2007
Whether you are saving for retirement, a dream home, your child's college education or other life changing event, it's important that you plan for it accordingly. This means saving money so that you will have the things that you need, while hopefully being able to enjoy some of the things that you want. Effective financial planning is the key to a wealthy future in more ways than one.

Families who are looking for a long-term investment with competitive rates often look to the purchase of U.S. Savings Bonds. In addition to being backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, savings bonds can be purchased for as little as $25.00 meaning they do not require a large investment. Series EE Bonds, which are guaranteed to reach maturity in 20 years, are sold at half their face value, which means you can purchase a $100.00 bond for $50.00. A Series I Bond is sold at face value, but typically earns slightly higher interest than the Series EE Bonds. Investors can earn interest for up to 30 years and will not be required to pay federal income taxes on any interest earned until the bonds reach maturity, or until they are redeemed, whichever occurs first. If the savings bonds are used to pay for qualified higher education, it may be possible to exclude the earnings from federal income taxes altogether. For additional information, investors should consult a financial planner and/or tax advisor. Once you invest in a savings bond, that money will not be accessible for 12 months. Savings bonds that are redeemed prior to five years are subject to a 3-month loss of interest.

A Certificate of Deposit, also known as a CD, is another option for families who are looking to earn interest on their money. Unlike a savings bond, a CD can be used as collateral for a loan. The required investment, however, is larger and typically starts at $1,000.00. The more you invest and the longer you invest it for, the greater the interest rates. A Certificate of Deposit can be redeemed at anytime, but with a preset loss of interest.

These days, more and more employers are offering a 401(k) package as an employment benefit. Some companies will match the amounts contributed by the 401(k) owner, while others will chip in a percentage of the employee's paycheck. Although accessing retirement savings may seem appealing, it does come with a hefty price if redeemed early. Most experts recommend not touching a retirement account before it's time in order to avoid stiff penalties and for the purpose of protecting your financial future.

Although some investors use the stock market and even real estate, they are not without considerable risks and often require the guidance of a professional financial planner. When it comes to your future, nothing should be left to chance.

The information contained in this article is designed to be used for reference purposes only. It should not be used as, in place of or in conjunction with professional financial advice and/or recommendations relating to investments and/or savings. For additional information on how to plan for your future or that of your family, consult a financial planner.
About the Author
Leslie consults for a shop offering wedding party gifts as well as a hobby shop offering model cars for adults and pedal cars for kids.
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