This post is sponsored by Capitol Federal® Savings Bank.
We got married young, really young. Like I graduated college one week and walked down the aisle the next, at the ripe old age of 21. Almost immediately following our wedding, we moved from Manhappiness (Go State!) to Los Angeles. Everyone knows how affordable LA is, right? All of this to say, we didn’t get the best head start in saving for our future. As we got older, and after the kids started coming along, we decided we needed to get serious about our future and our children’s futures, and to start saving.
Below are the five ways we got started and are planning for retirement:
Make a Plan
First, we sat down with a financial planner. He had us make a list of all of our assets (there weren’t many) and debts (car payment, student loans, mortgage, etc.), as well as our average monthly expenses and incomes. This helped us pick amounts for each of our life insurance policies so that if something terrible happens, the surviving spouse and children won’t have to worry about losing the house or paying bills for a while.
Stash the Cash
Next, we put money into retirement accounts. If your employer has an employee matching program, take full advantage of that free money! If not, open the appropriate account for your needs with a financial advisor, and contribute every single month. Set it up as an auto-draft so the money is already spent and you don’t have to think about it. There are many kinds of IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts) that give you tax-advantaged investing.
Capitol Federal® has a variety of products, services and dedicated employees ready to help you know and secure your money.
Pay Off Debts
Third, we have worked really hard to pay off our debts. Mortgage rates are low right now, and refinancing your home loan can be a great way to save some money each month. Talking to a banker who knows how to use the interest rate to your best interests is critical. Another debt payment strategy is to focus on getting rid of higher interest debt (like credit cards) first before lower interest debt (like student loans) in order to keep the amount you pay in interest lower.
Get the Entire Family Involved
Fourthly, as part of planning ahead is thinking about our children’s futures, we are also teaching them about the value of money. We talk about paying bills and how much things cost. They each have a savings account where most of their birthday and Christmas money go. I tell them “You’ll be thankful when you turn 16 and want a car or when you head to college that you have this money – much more thankful than you would if we let you buy another Lego set or baby doll.”
Save Save Save
Finally, we also have a savings account. We try to keep a couple months’ worth of expenses in there, in case something terrible happens and one of us loses our jobs or is injured. Additionally, when the washing machine breaks at the same time as the car needs a new set of tires, we do not have to rely on high interest credit cards to pay for emergencies. There are many options for savings accounts – you can open a Money Market or savings accounts for easy access to the funds, or, for a slightly higher interest rate (free money!) you can get Certificates of Deposit. This money isn’t as easy to access in case of emergency, but the higher interest rate can make up for that minor inconvenience. Check out CapFed’s blog for savings options such as Money Market Select, CDs, and Savings Accounts.
We haven’t done everything perfectly, and have made more than one financial misstep among the way, but after all these years, we finally have settled on a plan that ensures our future selves and our children will be taken care of. The Capitol Federal philosophy includes a commitment to helping you protect your money, and that’s just fine with me.
About Capitol Federal®
For more than 125 years, Capitol Federal® has remained steadfast in its corporate philosophy of Safety in Savings, Sound Lending Policies, Quality Customer Service, and Commitment to Community.
Capitol Federal is a leader in residential lending in Kansas and Missouri and boasts more than $9 billion in assets. In addition to single-family residential lending, the Bank offers commercial and small business loans, business banking services, along with personal accounts, including checking, savings, money market, IRA and certificates of deposit, as well as trust services. With 54 locations, the Bank’s network extends throughout Kansas and into Missouri.
Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. www.capfed.com