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Know Your Plan Before You Die…

Most employees do not know what their Social Security benefits will be.  They don’t know what their 401(k) will provide for them at retirement, nor when they will be out of debt.  Few employers provide disability insurance if you get hurt or sick, so what will happen if you become sick or hurt?  And health insurance is a “can of worms.”  If you are self-employed, and/or running a small company, many more questions exist than there are answers.  What will you do when you die or your spouse does?

Everyone should know what benefits they are going to enjoy, and communicate with a spouse about them at least annually.  Things change so fast that if you think you have benefits and don’t, you can go broke in a single week!  It is not hard to gather all your financial information together and review it.  When you have a question, make the effort to call and get answers. 

To see how this works in the real world, I want to share one of my client’s stories:

The husband passed away suddenly at age 64 and his wife had never worked outside the home.  He had $20,000 of group term life insurance and they had $52,000 savings in a 401(k) account.  Their home was worth $230,000, but they still had $189,000 mortgage.  The wife is in good health and expected to live beyond the average life expectancy for women of 87.  The husband’s funeral cost $15,000.  The wife has the option of accessing Social Security benefits of $1,245 a month, or to wait another three years and get $1,570 a month.

What would you do in this situation?  Their monthly living expenses before the husband passed away had been $4,000 per month. Now there’s no money to live like that. Will the wife have to sell the house since the Social Security income she could take now will basically pay the monthly mortgage and that’s it?  If she does sell, where will she live and what will she live on?

This couple had not talked about early death or how one or the other would live once one of them passed away — there was never this kind of detail discussed, ever. They just went along thinking nothing would change.  But it did change and the woman in this situation is in a really bad place financially.  And it will change for you too.  It is only a matter of time before big changes come to your world.  Get prepared.  Review all your benefits and make decisions today as if one of you has passed away.  Play this game over and over until you feel comfortable that you have your financial situation right.

In my experience, most people die with nothing more than a simple will. Their assets have to be probated in court until they are cleared for distribution.  This can take two years.  The expense of having a judge decide how to divide up assets can drain another $30,000 off your assets.  And in many cases, the surviving spouse still needs an income to live on.  What if health problems arise?  

The best way to start preparing for coming changes is to stop spending any more money until you have a Spending Plan in place and have learned how to track that plan so you can see where you are wasting money. Once you do so you will find a surplus that you can begin saving. Fund your future with this real money, that comes from getting your spending and debt under control. Then make sure you create a living trust. Transfer your assets into the trust and make sure nothing goes to the court to decide. Go to www.easylegalplanning.com and see how simple it is to get organized and match assets with a real plan document.  Don’t delay and become part of the majority that leaves your family out in the cold, unable to help themselves.  The memory of you that will be left will not be good.  To learn more go to www.moneymastery.com or contact me: peter@moneymastery.com.

Retirement Ahead

How Do You Determine Retirement Needs Accurately?

Here are the U.S. statistics on how workers plan for retirement:

  • 3% don’t have any idea
  • 47% do their own calculations or use a financial adviser
  • 50% just guess

To help you avoid guessing, I offer two different ways to approach how to calculate retirement needs accurately.

First method:  

  1. Estimate how long your parents and grandparents have lived.  Average the results.  This gives you a fairly accurate age you can expect to live.  In this example, let’s say it’s 83.
  2. Determine the minimum income you will need to live comfortably.  Let’s say it’s $3,000 per month.
  3. Subtract what Social Security is slated to pay and any pensions or other monthly income you can count on. In our example, let’s say it’s $2,000 per month. That leaves $1,000 per month you need on top of these payments for retirement.
  4. Subtract your age at retirement from age 83. In our example, this means you will need $216,000 for retirement.
  5. Divide the total amount needed to be saved by the number of months you have between now and the time you retire and this will give you a fairly accurate amount you need to be saving monthly.  In our example it looks like this:

Math: 65 (retirement age) – 40 (current age) = 25 years left to save; multiple 25 years x 12 months = 300 months; divide the 300 months you have between now and the time you retire by the total amount you need to retire of $216,000 = $720 per month you need to be saving

Second method:

  1. Calculate where all of your income might come from, and then build a spending plan around that amount.  For example, if you will receive $1,850 a month from Social Security, and $400 a month from a pension, along with $800 a month from a rental property, then build a spending plan around $3,050 per month of income.
  2. Adjust your plan to take into consideration variables that you cannot foresee right at the moment. For example, what if you live to age 89 and not age 83, or if you get sick and need medical care costing $23,000? Be thinking about unknowns and build some extra money into the spending plan to allow for them.
  3. Build into the plan how to pay for such things as the following:
  • Long-term care costs
  • Liquidity for emergencies
  • Inflation

If all of these factors require you to work longer than expected, it is better you know today and not find it out in 25 years! For specific help contact me at peter@moneymastery.com.

Don’t Discount the Importance of Preparation When It Comes to Managing Your Finances

You have probably seen violin players getting ready to perform in an orchestra. They hear a tuning note and then turn the knobs at the end of the violin to make the strings sound in perfect harmony with other instruments, right?  The reason this is important is because violins get out of tune very quickly and must be brought back in line with the rest of the instruments in the orchestra. 

Another example of staying well tuned is with athletes. We have all watched Olympians and other collegiate or professional runners warming up within minutes of running a race. Without this warmup, they may injure themselves, or at the very least, be unable to perform as well as they have practiced. The body doesn’t do so well when it is cold, so this “tuning” is necessary.

Just as a violin needs tuning before a performance and the body needs warming up before a race, you need to be tuned up, stretched out, and ready to spend money before you do it. What happens if you spend money before you know how much you have to spend, not only in the entire account itself, but within a specific spending category? Or what happens when you use a credit card and have no idea whether you can pay the bill when it comes in 30 days or not?

To get in tune with your finances, it is crucial that you decide in advance what money you have available.  Create categories for spending, then prioritize in which categories you will spend money first. As you spend, track how much, where, and by what method you spent the money.  Finally, compare each day how you spent money with how you planned to spend so you can make adjustments where you are not handling things as well as you should. If you will do this each day  you will quickly get in control of your spending and find you have extra money you were wasting that you can apply to debt or put into savings. For more information about how to do all this, contact me at peter@moneymastery.com or go to www.moneymastery.com/spending. Get your financial life tuned up today!

The High Cost of Not Tracking Your Spending

Spending according to a plan and then tracking that spending can be both pleasurable and rewarding when you know where and when you need and want to spend. You will be able to predict how much money you will need to retire, how much you will need in case of emergencies, and how much you can spend for fun. It also helps you focus on the positive aspects of your financial life and can help you feel confident about the future.

“But,” you may find yourself thinking, I’ve never kept track of my money and I’m concerned that it might be rather tedious.” 

If this is your way of thinking, stop and think how much it will cost you to have this mentality:

The high cost of not tracking your bank balances:  Many people have expressed to their Money Mastery coach that they simply don’t want to  know how far out of control they are or how bad things have actually become. Fear and guilt are often the reasons for this stubbornness. Some people even resort to opening a new account every six months so they won’t have to balance their checking account or figure out how many bank fees they have paid.

The high cost of blaming employers and/or thinking there is not enough income. Many people trick themselves into thinking that their overspending and debt load should be blamed on their jobs and/or employers. These people convince themselves that true financial happiness can only be found in a larger salary. They assure themselves that pastures are greener elsewhere and incur further expense when they change jobs, uproot their family, and start over again.

The high cost of  claiming that you never dreamed anything could go wrong when emergencies hit.  This is the ultimate game people play when  it comes to avoiding tracking how they spend money. It transfers every bit of personal responsibility onto a “natural disaster” that they couldn’t possibly foresee. Hundreds of people have no idea where their money goes each month because they refuse to track and yet cannot see the correlation between this lack of tracking and the total devastation that a basic emergency can bring to their family. One of Alan’s clients mysteriously misplaced her hard contact lenses, which would have cost her approximately $350 to replace. However, because she did not want to feel e apps and other electronic tools has made money tracking very easy.

It takes an average of 7 seconds to record a purchase using the Money Masteryiphone phone tracker, and immediately gives you a balance of what you have left to spend in each category. If it’s that easy, why not try it and see what happens to your finances?  It costs more in worry and time to NOT track than it does to use simple tracking tools such as those provided by companies like Money Mastery. Try it today for FREE!

Why College Loans Are a Joke…

Allow me to take you back in my life 45 years to see what it was like when I went to college.  Then I will overlay that with what I hear from my coaching clients all across the nation about paying for their children’s college educations.

When I was going to college, I worked full-time and went to school part-time.  I paid as I went. It took me 10 years to graduate.  I learned far more and far better than the other 4-year students I sat beside in class.  When I took an accounting class, I was able to use this newfound knowledge daily at my full-time job, not just to  pass a test in class.

Now I realize not everyone can work full-time and go to school for 10 years, but I recommend just about doing anything to stay in school including working full- or part-time, doing matching funds with your child, applying for scholarships, and so forth over EVER getting a student loan to go to college.

This is especially true in the early years when your child may not even
know what their major is going to be. Even more especially don’t get a college loan if the student cannot make enough money to pay it back within four years of graduation. Don’t start life in debt!!!! I am serious as I can be.  Loans are easy to get, but so hard to pay off, and federally insured loans are not dischargeable in a bankruptcy.

The huge problem I see happening over and over again is the lending institution knows they might have trouble collecting on a student loan so they get parents to sign as co-borrowers.  This is horrible for a parent approaching retirement to have this added worry on their backs. In addition, the lending institution knows it has NO RISK because of the federal guarantee!  You and your student are the ones taking all the risk.

Okay, now to overlay all my opinion on top of what I hear in my office constantly from coaching clients who think they are obligated to give their child a college education.  Parents, please stop heaping this pressure upon yourselves!  I know you’re getting stress as you listen to what all your friends are doing for their children.  You are listening to where the children of your friends are are going off to college and feel you have to compete.  Regardless of why parents feel they are responsible for their child’s education, it isn’t necessarily so, ChildHomeworkespecially if you cannot afford to pay for it! I certainly did not feel like this toward my own parents.  They always told me if I wanted a college education, it was my responsibility.  I have six siblings and of the seven of us, there are two associate degrees, five college graduates with one Master’s Degree.  All of us paid our own way.

Parents probably feel they need to provide college education for their child because of the higher earnings they will achieve over their lifetime.  They reason, “my child will have a better life style, or higher standard of living with a good college education.”  I agree with the logic, just not the method of paying to get it.  Help your child achieve a college education by providing a free place to live, or an automobile, or feed them every Sunday.  Do everything possible to assist them, except for paying for their education outright, if you cannot afford it, or by getting student loans.  Don’t let the pressure of, “Everyone else is getting a college loan” get to you. That may be true, because almost every student does borrow for tuition these days, but stop the madness and pay for it as you go.  Remember, if you will have no way to retire if you pay for your child’s education or get into further debt because of it, I urge you now to rethink your plans.  Here’s another way to look at it from a fellow Money Mastery blog writer: Are You Trading Your Retirement for Kids’ College Ed?.

 Some parents rationalize they can just keep earning and spending like they always have and still pay for their ADULT child’s education.  They don’t consider that their health might change.  They don’t contemplate their employment changing.  They have not yet had to take care of their aging parents with added time constraints.

I talk a lot about how emotional money is. Well, consider this scenario:

  1. A parent signs on their child’s college loan.
  2. But then parent loses their job.
  3. Then the student can’t earn enough money to pay the loan.
  4. Just then a younger sibling is starting college and there is no money for them.

Now you have set up a nice little scenario for resentment in the family… tension grows and relationships are strained for many years.  Is the college loan worth all this? 

Parents should help their child with education much earlier in life by teaching them to value education, to save for their own education, and by helping them build their character.  If the child refused to save when they made $25 cutting grass, what does this say about their values, about their character?  What kind of a student will they be?  If they don’t value money now, they will certainly not value any money you give them for an education later, and they will certainly not feel compelled to pay money back if you co-sign on a loan for them. Of course we all love our children, but sometimes the best way to show it is to teach them character and values when they are younger and then throw them out of the nest when the time is right and pray they fly! 

For more information about how to build a Spending Plan for your child that will help them prepare for college, visit Money Mastery today! Money Mastery Spending Plan and Sign Up Page.

What Are You Missing Out On in Life?

We all want new things — a Smart phone, new clothing, a great vacation, better teeth, more education… The list could go on and on. I have interviewed many of my coaching clients and have noticed that they all seem to be reaching for something else continually. Then when they finally do get it, they begin reaching for yet something else, and this cycle repeats itself over and over.  Have you ever wondered why we are not content with what we have?

Think of all the advertising dollars spend on cosmetics alone — it’s in24773043 (b:w) the BILLIONS!   Of course, we want to look nice, but the desire to impress others with our looks leads to wanting more and more. Maybe once we’ve achieved a certain look, we think we might need a bigger home with a nicer bathroom, but this could lead to “needing” a bigger shower, a hot tub, or a better automobile to impress our friends with our happening new look.

If you add up all the marketing messages we all receive each day, we are being bombarded. Because of technology, social media, electronic advertising, text, emails, and more we get hit by advertising over 10,000 times a day! Consider this, if each of us gets barraged with tons of offers to purchase something every day, sooner or later we’re going to be enticed to purchase. When one person makes a purchase, this adds pressure to their family and friends to keep up with this so-called need, and that’s when consumerism becomes habit forming.

How can we combat this never-ending marketing pressure?  My answer is simple:

  • Build a spending plan
  • Prioritize your needs and wants on that plan based on available income (it must balance)
  • Track your spending to stay within this balanced amount you have to spend.

A spending plan helps you take care of your highest needs first.  So if you want something more than these prioritized needs but your money is already spent, then you can see clearly that there is no money for this extra spending — problem eliminated!  You will stop feeling the pressure to purchase because you have a plan and are tracking according to that plan, which puts you, not the advertisers, back in control of your money.  

Sign up for the Basic Program at www.moneymastery.com and pay $4.95 a month to build your spending plan. There is no contract so you can cancel at any time, but I urge you to see for yourself how to push off all the selling pressures by creating spending plan that will get you in control but also be fun to follow.  

I’d like to hear about your results: peter@moneymastery.com.

 

Why Spending Is So Emotional…

Here is a bad example of spending that will probably cost this family much more than just money because it will take peace from the home and may even cause a divorce.  Consider the following people, I will call the Winkler family — they are a real family of four, consisting of a mother, father, a daughter and a son.  Before I revisit how our conversation went when they had a hot water heater break and flood a portion of their basement I want to review their spending for one month:

Winkler

The Winkler’s spendable income is $4,000 each month after taxes.  But you will see after line 12 that the $4,000 is gone but they keep spending as they eat out and go to a ballgame. 

The Winklers want to save, but never have any surplus so their savings remains empty as it has been for many months. On line 15 you will see they felt they needed a television and put that on credit.  Then the wife added grandma to the discussion — she is seriously ill with cancer and not expected to live past this year.  They know they will go to her funeral and it will cost $600 in travel expenses, and on and on it goes, long after the $4,000 is gone. Then the hot water heater rusted through and water went everywhere.  They called a plumber and purchased a replacement heater for $850.  Did they have the money?  Not hardly, so they had to use a credit card to pay for it.

As they were sharing this bad luck with me they said, “If it hadn’t been for the hot water heater breaking, we would have been okay financially.” This kind of reasoning is called “delusion.”  The Winklers are over-spending and now it has become a bad habit.

What can be done to break such a habit?  We all know people who make less than $4,000 a month and do quite well.   What can the Winklers do to solve this spending problem?

ANSWER

  • First, they need to have a desire to change.
  • Second, they need a coach, someone to hold them accountable.
  • Third, they need a system that can teach them how to spend their money according to a plan that has been created based on their priorities and values, and then track that plan so they can create a surplus each month.

With desire, a coach, and know-how the Winklers will have a chance at changing.

What if the Winklers end up with even more emergencies, such as a car breaking down, or some kind of medical emergency? How will this affect their self confidence, or relationships at home?  What if the husband gets seriously ill and cannot work for several months, or what if he loses his job?  shutterstock_224050600What if his employer goes out of business?  What might the Winklers say then?  Let me guess:  If it hadn’t been for my company going out of business, we would have been okay financially.”  

I am not trying to be mean-spirited.  You have heard of many people losing their job, only to bounce back and get a better job and higher income.  But hopefully they had reserves to help them during a time of rebuilding because without them, it’s going to be pretty hard to “bounce back.”  The key is to have a surplus before emergencies happen.  

If you have never built a spending plan (this is not the same as a budget), then let me urge you to look into this at www.moneymastery.com.  With a spending plan you will be aware of your priorities, values, and spending issues BEFORE emergencies hit so you can be prepared for everything — not just the emergency — but the emotional need to spend money as well — which is also bound to happen.  This kind of spending, like an emergency, will happen at some point, just like the hot water heater breaking, so you might as well be prepared for emotional spending by making a plan for it, too, along with those emergencies. If you do this on a regular basis, you will be much better prepared when a disaster strikes your family AND when you just have to have that trip or new furniture.

Contact me with your questions. I am always available for free consultations: peter@moneymastery.com, 801-292-1099.

The “What’s Left” Spending Plan Revisited

“We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants.  Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.”  — Donald Horban

I love this quote by Donald Horban. What he is saying is that to have a peaceful life we must lower our expectations a bit from what society and the marketplace screams at us that should be the norm. In my work as a financial mentor, I see the need to scale down wants in many families across the nation.  The idea of spending less money than we have has been gone from our society for a long time, but we must relearn this principle or we will never get off the financial treadmill.

I have mentioned in prior posts on this blog that in order to scale down ControlSpending1wants, you will need to prepare a spending plan.  To create a spending plan, it is imperative that you review how you spent your income for the last 12 months and then divide by 12 to get a monthly average.  Once that’s done you are in a place to examine your own spending habits, values, and priorities and decide what must be done to balance your expenses with available income.  Without a history of how you have spent money in the past, you will never be able to get your wants and needs sorted out to any reasonable solution.

Through this spending plan you will be able to recognize spending patterns, and then something truly amazing happens. Suddenly you become humble and teachable. Revisiting the basics over and over again will help you see how over time, it becomes easy to want more and more until wants become necessities. Pretty soon spouses, children and even self wants more and more until you are out of money and there are no reserves for emergencies.

Why not want more?  Aren’t we the richest nation in the entire history of the world?  Haven’t we always been able to have more and more?  Look at what we have accomplished:  A man on the moon, the Internet, people living longer by 25 years, and so forth.  But there is always a limit to what we can have because the supply of money is not infinite, even if our wants are.  You must know what that limit is and stay within it through a spending plan in order to be at peace with yourself.

To heal this disease of constant want, take a good hard look at how you have spent money over the last 12 months and then begin prioritizing how you will spend it differently over the next 12.  Your spending priorities must balance with available income. As you begin to understand better what you  have left to spend in each spending category, at the time of purchase, you will begin to make better spending decisions that are emotionally controlled.

How Do You Deal with the Risk of Outliving Your Money?

How does a person solve the problem of out-living their money?  If you were to die early before you get to retirement age, no problem, except you are dead.  But as you may live a long, healthy life, money becomes the big issue.  National statistics are very clear: the average age of death is the middle 80’s now.  So there is a huge possibility you will need 20 to 25 years of retirement income.  So let’s discuss possible solutions that might help you in your thinking and planning.

The first and obvious solution is to save money over your entire working life.  We can all save money, if we want to.  A rule of thumb is to save 10 percent of your income for life, even after you retire, and you will always be sure to have enough money.  For this savings to happen, however, it is important to learn how to control your spending.  If you cannot save money, there will be few options available.  Assuming you are saving 10 percent of your income, where should you then place this to keep it safe and available?   I suggest life insurance companies, because they are the strongest and most secure over the last 150 years.  I have written several blogs about this subject that you might want to go back and review.

The second potential solution is to consider living with your children.  This may present a hardship, but an example is all through the Great Depression most people had to bunk together simply to have a roof over their heads.  Now, things don’t need to be that drastic this day and age, but perhaps it’s time to think outside the box and get comfortable with getting cozy with family. Recently, one of my clients built a new home with two separate livingshutterstock_250088392 compartments, one upstairs and one down.  It has worked superbly as their daughter’s family lives upstairs and retired mom and dad live down.  They share the cost of utilities and they love the arrangement.  This couple get to watch the grandchildren grow and develop, and they aren’t far away when it comes time to read a book together or play the piano.  Another of my clients built a twin home and he lived on one side and then rented out the other side. He can watch after the property, being right next door and can bring in rental income, which will keep him going nicely well into his retirement years. Both of these options help save money.

Another solution is to move to places like Costa Rica where the cost of living is very low. Okay, take me seriously for a minute… I share this retirement location with you because I had this discussion with a lady from Montreal, Canada.  My wife and I were on vacation in Costa Rica eating lunch and at the next table was a lady who asked us where we were from and then we asked her where she was visiting from. She told us she splits her time between Canada and Costa Rica.  During the winter she goes back to Costa Rica, then Canada during the summer.  She said the cost of living in Costa Rica saves her a ton of money, enough to make the travel costs insignificant and enough to make it possible to live comfortably in her retirement years.

Another option is to continue working in your older years. This isn’t always an option people want to think about doing, but some people, like my friend’s 80-year-old dad who is a music teacher at a local college, enjoy working more than they enjoy sitting at home.  Plus, if you have not planned well in your younger years, being a greeter at a big-box retailer might be your only option. This is not intended to be funny, I am just suggesting sometimes we need to do something to solve income problems and when you go to Walmart don’t you often see many elderly people happy as can be saying hello to you when you enter the store?

Along with these solutions, another option is to get a job you can do using a computer at home.  Some of my clients take airline reservations from their home office.  One client does medical billing from her home, another does accounting.  Home-based self-employment can work for some people.

What if you don’t want to move in with your children, or live in Costa Rica, or work at Walmart, or work from home?  Then I suggest you learn to control your spending sufficient to create surplus so at retirement you have enough passive income to live comfortably, and do it NOW!  The best way to do this is to create a Spending Plan. Go to www.moneymastery.com to learn how.

There is No Such Thing as “Savings”

The Money Mastery system teaches in Principle 3 that there is no such thing as savings. But you may be thinking, “What!? No savings?”  Before you get too up in arms, let me explain.  All money is to be spent, it just depends on where and how you spend it, so this principle teaches there is no such thing as savings, just “delayed spending.” Doing away with the savings mentality and instead looking at savings as a spending category in your Spending Plan helps you have a system for controlling this money. You no longer look at it as “extra” cash that you can have access to as you wish. It becomes “spent” money that is no longer available to you — it is spent into three very distinct and important categories that you track. This way, once it is accounted for in the Spending Plan, it is basically “gone.” If you do away with the idea that you must put away money and instead think of spending all of your money in the right places, all of the time, then once the money is all spent into these places you won’t be tempted to dip into it, robbing yourself of your future.

What Are the 3 Vital Savings Categories?

Emotional Savings. This is a spending category that perhaps you have never even heard of. But isn’t it important to have an emotional fund, money that can be used anytime, anywhere andshutterstock_44998930 (800x600)anyhow and not affect other saved money?  Of course the answer is yes! This fun money spending category takes into consideration that you will sometimes spend money on impulse, or just because you want to indulge in something. There is nothing wrong with this as long as you have prepared for it, because just like an emergency that you must save for, an emotional spending event will also happen at some point. Why  not be ready for it? If you are, then it will not affect your ability to pay down debt, or stay on track with your other spending categories. Think of it as if you are on a diet. No diet works if you must adhere to it strictly all of the time. For a diet to be successful, you must be allowed a little chocolate cake or an ice cream cone occasionally. That way you can stay on track and still lose weight. The same goes for emotional spending. If you have to stick to a severe budget all the time and are never allowed to have fun and splurge once in a while, you won’t stick to a spending plan. Emotional savings is an absolutely essential spending category.

Emergency Savings. It goes without saying that you must also have an emergency fund, when the unexpected happens so that you have reserve money to handle these kinds of emergencies. Creating a category for this kind of “spending” in your Spending Plan is critical. Be sure to work towards building up at least three months of income and work up to six month’s worth.

Long-term (Retirement) Savings. Now, lastly, isn’t it most important to have money for retirement?  Perhaps it is the most important. There are many ways you can assure yourself that you 18284are spending enough money into this category (through long-term investing options, real estate, making use of available resources, etc.) but if you need more help with this, contact me directly.

If you agreed with me that these three categories are essential why not spend today’s money into these three “deferred” accounts? By doing so, the money is emotionally gone and no longer available. That makes it very  hard to dip into when you may be tempted to use it for something other than what it is allocated for.

What is savings then?  It is nothing more than delayed spending.  It is nothing more than money you pay yourself every month and is just as important to pay as the money you give to the credit card company, the grocer, or the utility company.

U.S. statistics show that less than 25 percent of all workers who have access to “invest” into a 401(k) have the surplus to participate.  Therefore they have a spending problem.  If they cannot control their spending, they will never be able to have surplus to “spend” into an emergency, emotional or long-term savings account.  I contend, stand firm, completely confident that controlling spending is everything!  It is important for everyone who wants a secure future to learn how to spend today’s money into a “delayed” account for spending with a purpose for their emotional needs right now, emergencies that can happen at any time, and for retirement needs that are sure to come in the near future.