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Katy England Katy England
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Financially savvy adult

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In adulthood there are financial things that you need to know because you realize with freedom comes responsibility. After all those antsy years in childhood waiting to be the boss of you, YOU are finally in control of your activities, where you live and your money.

I can't help with all of life's advice, but I've been a financial professional for 15 years so I might be able to assist with your financial matters. And here are three things you need to know to make you a more financially savvy adult.

Max savings Do you know what is the maximum you may save in your 401k or 403b at work? Financially savvy adults are in the know. In 2015, if you are under 50 years old, the maximum savings for these kinds of accounts is a contribution of $18,000 per year pre-tax, and if you are over 50 the max contribution is $24,000. That is a significant amount of money. Find ways to spend less on today's expenses so you may be able to maximize savings for your future.

Low expenses Speaking of cutting expenses what regular, recurring expenses can you shave? What splurges can you creatively whittle? Can you think out of the box on your spending?Perhaps you can downsize in anticipation of your future, or other sensible cost-cutting measures can be addressed pragmatically, now. You can still have the amazing life you love, but perhaps do so more wisely if you cut those expenses for a more wonderful future.

Helping kids- Interesting reports on kids and college have found that 'the more parents paid, the more students played.' As you try to balance saving for your getting-nearer-every-day retirement future with the college expectations you hold, you face some possibly life-altering decisions.

Has it always been your dream to help your 'baby' have the very best, and fully paid for, college education? Bud, you may want to think just a moment. Imagine your child grown and facing the same decision: sacrifice retirement savings for their child's college - what would you tell them?

Would you say, 'Great idea! They deserve all that you have!' Or might you give the same advice I would give you now: 'Help them plan as early as possible for making as much of their own way as they can.'

As a parent you've always worn two hats - and probably many more. One hat is the mommy or daddy sense of being fully in love, almost adoration of this wonderful human you have been blessed to care for. This is the sentiment that leads a parent to do anything, including the willingness to lay down your life for this 'baby.'

But the other part of parenthood is equally fierce. It is the sensible hat, wanting to raise a strong and independent adult. This part of yourself guides your child to become an adult of integrity, virtue and one with a strong work ethic.

Which hat are you wearing now?

To keep costs down you could very lovingly direct your future students to community colleges, trade schools or state institutions that will cost the least. And then talk up the role they play in making their own way and having 'skin in the game.' Get them knowing that this dream of theirs is a great one and worth their personal investment of study, work and earnings.

The sooner you learn this, the more financially smooth will be at least part of your life. As GI Joe says, 'Knowing is half the battle.'


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