Nov. 4th! The Daylight Saving Advantage: 60 Minutes To Save Money

Wouldn't it be great to have more time in the day? We will get that chance, thanks to the end of Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, November 4th! Most of us might be tempted to sleep in, but take advantage of the extra 60 minutes and save money! Local financial professional Scott Carty has 4 things you can do in 60 minutes or less to help improve your financial future.

1. Create a Holiday Budget
We need to be proactive to avoid racking up debt over the holidays. 
One survey found many shoppers started this year with an average of $1,054 in new debt. 
To avoid this I suggest making a holiday shopping budget for 2018.
Make a list of who you need to get gifts for, how much you want to spend and any other items you might need for the holidays like decorations and food. Then take that list with you while you shop!
I have a holiday budget worksheet on my website that can help you get started.

2. Review Retirement Accounts 
Whether you're contributing to an employer-sponsored 401(k) or another type of retirement account like an IRA, a good rule of thumb is to be saving 10-15% of your income. If you can't do that yet, save what you can in a retirement account. 
This is also a good time to look at the fees you're paying. Retirement accounts are not free. 
The fees are a small percentage taken off the top of the account balance each year. The average is 1%, which may not sound like a lot, but the typical American worker will spend more than $590,000 in 401(k) fees if they've been saving for 40 years. 
You want to research the fees you're paying and look for options with smaller fees.

3. Plan for Taxes
We all dread tax season, so why not get a head start this year? Use those extra 60 minutes to get organized. Tax season is going to be different this year since the new tax reform laws are in effect, chances are you won't be itemizing your deductions. 
The standard deduction for individuals went $6,350 to $12,000. If you are married and filing jointly that deduction went from $12,700 to $24,000. 
You can still itemize some medical costs, mortgage interest, charitable contributions and state and local taxes, but to the amount would have to exceed the standard deduction to save you money on your taxes. 

4. Start an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is like a safety net. I recommend my clients have at least 3-6 months' worth of savings in the bank. 
A recent survey shows that more than half of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account, and 39% have no savings at all. 
When families don't have money to face an unexpected expense, like a broken-down car or a medical bill, they may have to borrow to cover the tab – and that can lead to a cycle of debt. 
With the extra hour set up auto payments to put aside just $25. Then another $25 the following week. Keep doing this each week and before you know it your emergency fund is created! 

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