DMRE budget slashed by R1.5bn

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s (DMRE’S) budget for the 2020/21 financial year has been reduced by R1.5-billion, from the initial R9.3-billion, owing to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, taking the revised yearly budget for the financial year to R7.8-billion. The Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy has adopted its report on the adjustment budget, Vote 34 of the DMRE, notwithstanding minority opinion.


Minerals Council looks forward to more detail following supplementary budget

The Minerals Council South Africa says Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s Supplementary Budget speech expressed the right perspectives on the management of the country’s deepening fiscal crisis, but lacked detail on the steps that have to the taken to rescue the economy. “It is important to remember that our economy was already showing significant signs of strain, for example, subinvestment-grade ratings, growing public sector wage bills and shrinking tax collection, all before the Covid-19 crisis.”

DMRE prioritises regulatory review

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) on May 7 briefed the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy on its annual performance plan for the 2020/21 financial year, as well as its strategic plan for the medium-term expenditure framework. Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Manthashe said the department remained cognisant of the major disruptive developments that had impacted on the mining industry.

Miners contributing to surplus – Treasurer

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has welcomed the release of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), saying it confirmed the mining industry’s vital contribution to the government’s improved fiscal position. Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Monday said that while the budget was on track to return to surplus for the first time in 12 years, this surplus was now estimated at A$5-billion, compared with the previous estimate of A$7-billion.

11 Habits You Need to Break Before You’re Broke

This post 11 Habits You Need to Break Before You’re Broke appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

I’m all for treating myself to some of life’s luxuries, but I won’t splurge to the point where it starts to hurt my finances.

Sadly, for a lot of Americans the latter is true.

In fact, the average US adult spends $1,497 a month on nonessential items, according to a recent survey conducted by OnePoll. That’s roughly $18,000 a year on things we can all do without.

The survey revealed that the average person spends about $20 per month on coffee, as well as $209 on dinners at restaurants and $189 going out for drinks with friends.

Survey respondents said they spend an average of $91 per month for cable, in addition to $23 for streaming movies and TV shows. Music streaming services averaged $22 a month, while other apps added $23.

Even the cost of health club and gym memberships was significant, averaging $73 a month, including classes.

One interesting finding was that Amerians make an average of five impulse buys per month – for a total of $109. But, the irony is the majority (58 percent) feel there are other important things they can’t afford…hmm.

The truth of the matter is we all have bad spending habits we need to work on. Today I’m going to walk you through 11 of the worst spending habits that drive financial experts wild.

The good news is that all of these can easily be fixed…

Bad Habit #1: Keeping All Your Money in One Account

I’m always surprised when I hear someone say they only have one bank account. Physically separating your money is the easiest way to set and stick to a budget.

Here’s what you should be doing: 1) Rename your checking account your spending/depositing account. Tie this account to your debit card. 2) Open a second checking account and designate this one to your bills.

Calculate your average bill tally from the 1st to the 15th, and from the 16th to the end of the month, and transfer that amount to your bills account every two weeks. This will stop you from overspending on your debit card because you’ll have already covered your bills.

This two-account setup will save you a lot of time and money by automating your budgeting.

Bad Habit #2: You’re always searching for deals

This might sound counter-intuitive, but searching for sales can sometimes set you further back. Out of the top ten reasons cited for overspending, two include sales: discounted items or “one-time only” flash sales that typically lead to more spending. The expression, I can’t afford not to buy it, couldn’t be more true.

Bad Habit #3: Not Saving “Found” Money

Did a rebate you sent in months ago finally come in? Did someone buy you a coffee unexpectedly?

“Found” money often gets wasted. Anytime you find unexpected money, transfer that money to your savings or bill accounts. You’ll be surprised how much this adds up with minimal effort on your part.

Bad Habit #4: Having Too Many Subscriptions

You sign up for a one-month free trial and before you know it, you’ve gone 6 months without realizing you’ve been paying this whole time. Too many people pay for monthly subscriptions they never use.

Review your credit card statements monthly and highlight any subscriptions you’re not using anymore. Cancel these as soon as possible or mark the next renewal date on your calendar so you know when to cancel.

Bad Habit #5: Keeping Up with the “Smiths”

It used to be you were trying to keep up with the Joneses. Except back then, it was just your next-door neighbor. Now, in an era of social media and 24/7 news cycles, everyone is your neighbor when you turn on your phone.

Don’t subscribe to this keeping-up temptation. What you see being portrayed online is not always a true portrayal of someone’s day-to-day. Set realistic expectations for how your life should look.

Bad Habit #6: Being Too Passive

How many items of clothing in your closet do you own that still have tags on them? Returning items. Calling your cable company to get a better rate. Negotiating a bank fee. These things all take time and a little bit of effort. But it’s time and effort well spent.

A twenty-minute phone call with your internet provider, could save you $15 a month. Multiply those savings by 12 and you’ve saved $180 a year from one phone call. It’s tempting to take the path of least resistance when it comes to your money, don’t do it.

Bad Habit #7: Paying fees

Fees are something I won’t tolerate. Bank fees, ATM fees, maintenance fees, they all add up and they’re all negotiable. If you look at your bank statements and notice you’re paying a significant amount in fees, you need to stop this immediately.

Write down all the fees you’re paying on a regular basis and choose at least three to slash. You might have to threaten to switch providers or change banks, whatever you need to do to get the fee waived.

Bad Habit #8: Not Automating Your Bills

Everyone should be doing this nowadays. If you’re still getting bills in the mail, there’s a good chance you’re forgetting to pay those bills some months or your payments are late.

Use your bills checking account to pay your bills without having to think about it.

You’ll save the hassle of having to remember and you won’t have to worry about paying late fees and other penalties.

Bad Habit #9: Wasting Food

The number-one money-waster is throwing away leftover food. According to a recent study, part of the reason for this phenomenon is that people are bad at reading food labels. Food date labels like “best before” and “sell by” are largely unregulated in the US.

84% of consumers discard food near the package date at least occasionally, says the study. Among date labels assessed, “best if used by” was most frequently perceived as communicating quality, and both “expires on” and “use by” as communicating safety.

Over one third of participants incorrectly thought that date labeling was federally regulated, and 26% were unsure.

Bad Habit #10: Thinking a Budget Means “No”

When you think of the word “budget” what comes to mind? For most people, they think a budget means they have to say “no” to everything. You can’t save for a vacation, if you’re saying yes to brunch with your friends. You can’t save for a new car, if you’re saying yes to new clothes every month.

That’s not necessarily true. A budget doesn’t mean no, it just means you need to start prioritizing your money.

Think of a budget as a pecking order for where your money goes. Whatever is left after the important nuggets get covered can go toward the less important “non-essential” wants.

Bad Habit #11: Ignoring Your Daily Habits

And just because you have a monthly budget, doesn’t mean you’re necessarily aware of all your day-to-day expenditures. If you want to quickly assess your weekly spending habits, run a 10-day budget.

Notice how many small things you didn’t realize you needed to budget for. You want to do this once a quarter for a few reasons.

First, it helps alleviate the paycheck effect, where you get paid and then spend your full paycheck two weeks later. Second, you’ll pay attention to daily fluctuations in your spending and be able to make adjustments as you go.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

Nilus Mattive

The post 11 Habits You Need to Break Before You’re Broke appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Planning for Retirement? Don’t Forget This Key Step

This post Planning for Retirement? Don’t Forget This Key Step appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

After working 25, 30, 35 years, or longer, you might think that retirement will be a like a permanent vacation where you sit back with your feet up and watch the world whiz by.

But it’s not.

Retiring is a life changer, it can be a shock to your system, and it’s not all fun.

In fact, it may actually be the toughest job you’ve ever had.

That’s because one of the biggest challenges you’ll face for the next decade or two or three is:

How Will You Spend Your Time?

The first year or so is usually a piece of cake. You knock out those home projects that you’ve put off forever. Maybe play golf or go fishing a few times a week.

Or perhaps you take a cruise, or two, just to get away from it all. Even retirees need a vacation.

However, such experiences are pleasures. Short ones at that.

Will they be enough?

If you’re not sure, it’s time for a reality check. And doing so before you retire can make the next phase of your life much more fulfilling.

Plus once you know the lifestyle you hope to have in retirement, you’ll be able to determine how much money you’ll need to retire. Keep in mind, though, that money is just a tool, not an end in itself.

Now think back …

One of the first things we’re frequently asked when meeting someone is:

“What Do you Do?”

When you’re working, the answer was easy. Your career was your purpose. Be it because you enjoyed it, it gave you a sense of fulfillment, or you simply needed the money.

Raising a family may have played a key role in your life, too.

It defined you.

But now that you’re retired, or close to retiring, those responsibilities are in the past or soon ending.

So coming up with an answer is not easy.

That’s why your retirement plan needs to include a sense of purpose.

What activities and interests will make you want to get out of bed each morning? And I’m not referring only to activities that give you pleasure.

The Japanese call it:

Ikigai

The word means the thing you live for, a reason for being, a sense of purpose, and it comes from within. Each individual’s ikigai is personal to them and specific to their lives, values, and beliefs.

Research reveals that people with a sense of purpose had a 15% lower risk of death compared to those who said they were more or less aimless. They are less likely than others to develop Alzheimer’s disease, suffer a stroke, have chronic health conditions, and experience sleep problems.

It comes down to having a meaningful life … the idea that your life makes sense, you’re here for a reason, and you’re significant in the world.

What’s more, some studies have found that having a meaningful life is more important to good health than exercise and nutrition.

It begins with…

Developing a Routine

While working you likely had a routine. It might have been a 9-5 job or something similar. Nonetheless, you still had to do something or be somewhere on a regular basis.

Retirement isn’t any different.

Visualize your future. Who you will be, where, and why.

Create a schedule so that you’re making the best use of your time. A schedule can keep you on track and help you avoid the boredom that can come after living a busy working life for many years.

What will your typical day, week, and month look like?

Will you start each morning with a bike ride at the park, a walk on the beach, or a workout at the gym? Maybe a cup of coffee on the patio while reading the newspaper is more to your liking.

But then what? Daytime TV?

Where to Find Your Sense of Purpose, Your Ikigai

You could go back to school. As baby boomers retire and are no longer nailed down with family responsibilities and hectic work schedules, many want to increase their knowledge and explore new interests.

And there are colleges that offer programs for free or almost free!

Or … try something new.

Retirement can be a time to take on new challenges and step out of your comfort zone.

Have you always wanted to play the guitar but never had the time? Or how about skiing? Too old or worried what others might think?

Poppycock! You’ve earned the right to take chances.    

There are plenty of folks just like you. Meetup is a great source for locating local groups that focus on exactly the activities that interest you.

Volunteer…

Getting involved and giving back to your community is a great way to meet others and develop a sense of purpose.

And there’s no shortage of organizations seeking volunteers.

For instance, America’s veterans and their families often need help. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a page where you can find opportunities in your area.

Nursing homes, advocacy groups, food bank, churches, libraries … the list is endless.

What skills did you develop over your working years? Public speaking, resume writing, home maintenance, a foreign language? 

How can you put those skills to use?

One way is by teaching others at your local community center or continuing education programs.

This part of your retirement isn’t cast in stone. Interests and priorities change. You’re allowed to drop or add activities whenever you wish.

So review it every year, just like the financial part of your retirement plan.

Time Is Your Most Valuable Asset

You don’t have enough time for everything you want to accomplish in life. Once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. As the saying goes: We ain’t getting out of this alive.

So use it wisely.

As Sophia Loren put it:

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

In other words, retiring from work does not mean retiring from life. And including a purpose section within your retirement planning can make those years a meaningful reality.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

The post Planning for Retirement? Don’t Forget This Key Step appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

10 Spending Habits That Can Leave You Broke

This post 10 Spending Habits That Can Leave You Broke appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

I’m all for treating myself to some of life’s luxuries, but I won’t splurge to the point where it starts to hurt my finances.

Sadly, for a lot of Americans the latter is true.

In fact, the average US adult spends $1,497 a month on nonessential items, according to a recent survey conducted by OnePoll. That’s roughly $18,000 a year on things we can all do without.

The survey revealed that the average person spends about $20 per month on coffee, as well as $209 on dinners at restaurants and $189 going out for drinks with friends.

Survey respondents said they spend an average of $91 per month for cable, in addition to $23 for streaming movies and TV shows. Music streaming services averaged $22 a month, while other apps added $23.

Even the cost of health club and gym memberships was significant, averaging $73 a month, including classes.

One interesting finding was that Amerians make an average of five impulse buys per month – for a total of $109. But, the irony is the majority (58 percent) feel there are other important things they can’t afford…hmm.

The truth of the matter is we all have bad spending habits we need to work on. Today I’m going to walk you through 10 of the worst spending habits that drive financial experts wild.

The good news is that all of these can easily be fixed…

Bad Habit #1: Keeping All Your Money in One Account

I’m always surprised when I hear someone say they only have one bank account. Physically separating your money is the easiest way to set and stick to a budget.

Here’s what you should be doing: 1) Rename your checking account your spending/depositing account. Tie this account to your debit card. 2) Open a second checking account and designate this one to your bills.

Calculate your average bill tally from the 1st to the 15th, and from the 16th to the end of the month, and transfer that amount to your bills account every two weeks. This will stop you from overspending on your debit card because you’ll have already covered your bills.

This two-account setup will save you a lot of time and money by automating your budgeting.

Bad Habit #2: You’re always searching for deals

This might sound counter-intuitive, but searching for sales can sometimes set you further back. Out of the top ten reasons cited for overspending, two include sales: discounted items or “one-time only” flash sales that typically lead to more spending. The expression, I can’t afford not to buy it, couldn’t be more true.

Bad Habit #3: Not Saving “Found” Money

Did a rebate you sent in months ago finally come in? Did someone buy you a coffee unexpectedly?

“Found” money often gets wasted. Anytime you find unexpected money, transfer that money to your savings or bill accounts. You’ll be surprised how much this adds up with minimal effort on your part.

Bad Habit #4: Having Too Many Subscriptions

You sign up for a one-month free trial and before you know it, you’ve gone 6 months without realizing you’ve been paying this whole time. Too many people pay for monthly subscriptions they never use.

Review your credit card statements monthly and highlight any subscriptions you’re not using anymore. Cancel these as soon as possible or mark the next renewal date on your calendar so you know when to cancel.

Bad Habit #5: Keeping Up with the “Smiths”

It used to be you were trying to keep up with the Joneses. Except back then, it was just your next-door neighbor. Now, in an era of social media and 24/7 news cycles, everyone is your neighbor when you turn on your phone.

Don’t subscribe to this keeping-up temptation. What you see being portrayed online is not always a true portrayal of someone’s day-to-day. Set realistic expectations for how your life should look.

Bad Habit #6: Being Too Passive

How many items of clothing in your closet do you own that still have tags on them? Returning items. Calling your cable company to get a better rate. Negotiating a bank fee. These things all take time and a little bit of effort. But it’s time and effort well spent.

A twenty-minute phone call with your internet provider, could save you $15 a month. Multiply those savings by 12 and you’ve saved $180 a year from one phone call. It’s tempting to take the path of least resistance when it comes to your money, don’t do it.

Bad Habit #7: Paying fees

Fees are something I won’t tolerate. Bank fees, ATM fees, maintenance fees, they all add up and they’re all negotiable. If you look at your bank statements and notice you’re paying a significant amount in fees, you need to stop this immediately.

Write down all the fees you’re paying on a regular basis and choose at least three to slash. You might have to threaten to switch providers or change banks, whatever you need to do to get the fee waived.

Bad Habit #8: Not Automating Your Bills

Everyone should be doing this nowadays. If you’re still getting bills in the mail, there’s a good chance you’re forgetting to pay those bills some months or your payments are late.

Use your bills checking account to pay your bills without having to think about it.

You’ll save the hassle of having to remember and you won’t have to worry about paying late fees and other penalties.

Bad Habit #8: Wasting Food

The number-one money-waster is throwing away leftover food. According to a recent study, part of the reason for this phenomenon is that people are bad at reading food labels. Food date labels like “best before” and “sell by” are largely unregulated in the US.

84% of consumers discard food near the package date at least occasionally, says the study. Among date labels assessed, “best if used by” was most frequently perceived as communicating quality, and both “expires on” and “use by” as communicating safety.

Over one third of participants incorrectly thought that date labeling was federally regulated, and 26% were unsure.

Bad Habit #9: Thinking a Budget Means “No”

When you think of the word “budget” what comes to mind? For most people, they think a budget means they have to say “no” to everything. You can’t save for a vacation, if you’re saying yes to brunch with your friends. You can’t save for a new car, if you’re saying yes to new clothes every month.

That’s not necessarily true. A budget doesn’t mean no, it just means you need to start prioritizing your money.

Think of a budget as a pecking order for where your money goes. Whatever is left after the important nuggets get covered can go toward the less important “non-essential” wants.

Bad Habit #10: Ignoring Your Daily Habits

And just because you have a monthly budget, doesn’t mean you’re necessarily aware of all your day-to-day expenditures. If you want to quickly assess your weekly spending habits, run a 10-day budget.

Notice how many small things you didn’t realize you needed to budget for. You want to do this once a quarter for a few reasons.

First, it helps alleviate the paycheck effect, where you get paid and then spend your full paycheck two weeks later. Second, you’ll pay attention to daily fluctuations in your spending and be able to make adjustments as you go.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

The post 10 Spending Habits That Can Leave You Broke appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

7 Retirement Sins You Don’t Want to Commit

This post 7 Retirement Sins You Don’t Want to Commit appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

In general, Americans are pretty fearful about retirement and it’s easy to see why.

So today I want to talk about seven different things that can totally derail anyone trying to work toward more financial stability in their golden years.

Retirement Planning Sin #1: Counting on Social Security, Pensions, and Other Traditional Plans

At this point, I’ve probably written a million words on the problems with our traditional retirement systems and you’re free to read my thoughts in past articles and interviews I’ve done over the years.

But just to recap:

  • Social Security is now taking in less than it pays out and is projected to do so every year going forward…
  • Without changes, the program’s trust fund will be exhausted in 15 years and only 75% of promised benefits will be paid out…
  • Many pension plans – both governmental and private – have been suffering from similar shortfalls and systemic problems…
  • A number of pension plans are already trying to go back on the promises they’ve made to retirees…
  • And while near-term retirees will probably be the least affected group, I wouldn’t treat any guarantee as sacred.

Now, it needs to be said: These are not just abstract concepts. I’m not saying these things for shock value.  These are real issues that impact a lot of people in my own life.

For example, my father has two different state retirement plans after working in various mental health facilities for four decades.

My mother-in-law receives her retirement income from a pension provided by Dupont, her life-long employer.

And even I have a small pension from more than a half decade working at Standard & Poor’s.

I hope all of our payments keep coming as they should. But I’m telling my father, my mother-in-law, and everyone else not to just blindly depend on it!

Instead, you should always be saving and investing somewhere else on the side… just as a fall-back plan. 

Retirement Planning Sin #2: Failing to Have a Budget

For about 15 years, I urged my mom to keep track of her spending so she would have a good understanding of what her cash flows looked like.

In response, she gave me all kinds of excuses. She didn’t have time. She already had a basic idea of what she was spending. That there was no possible way to even keep track between her credit cards, her check payments, and all the various cash transactions she was making.

Then she turned 66 and got serious about retiring.

Sure, she knew what all the big numbers looked like – property taxes, car payments, etc. But did she have any idea how much was being spent eating out with her friends? Or going overboard buying Christmas gifts for my daughter?

Not really. Without that knowledge it was going to be impossible for her to design a sustainable life on a very fixed income.

Now she’s actually retired and keeps better track of the money coming in and going out because she has to. But she could have been even better prepared… and probably saved a lot more money ahead of time… if she had started sooner.

So please, if you don’t currently have a budget… one that accounts for ALL your expenses… please get one up and running.

I do this in an excel spreadsheet for my own family and we meet at the end of every year to revisit things.

But the process can be as simple as a $1 notebook from the drug store. And all you have to do is write down how much you spent and on what – no matter what payment form you use.

Then, after a few months, add up the numbers and put them into basic categories. I think you’ll be surprised at the patterns you see… and where you might have room for additional savings.

One other thing – if you share your finances with anyone else, it’s absolutely crucial that you include them in this process and that you have open and honest discussions about how the money is getting spent.

Speaking of which, there’s one major expense you might NOT be factoring in. And that’s why the third deadly sin is

Retirement Planning Sin #3: Ignoring Inflation, Especially in Health Care Costs

I’m sure you understand the general concept of inflation and you already have a sense that today’s budget might look different ten years from now simply because of rising prices.

But perhaps no single expense is rising faster – or impacting more retirees – than soaring healthcare costs.

Every year, Fidelity takes a look at how much a typical 65-year-old couple will spend on out-of-pocket healthcare costs during retirement.

This year the number was an eye-popping $280,000.

Five years ago, the number was $220,000.

That’s a 27% surge in just half a decade!

What’s more, this is assuming you have traditional Medicare coverage. Plus it doesn’t include costs associated with nursing-home care.

And that’s where things get really scary.

Unless you’re essentially destitute and qualify for Medicaid – or you’ve already purchased long-term care insurance – medical treatment outside a hospital is going to be your cost to bear.

The total outlay depends on a number of factors, including your local area. But according to Senior Living, the national average for a semi-private nursing home runs $82,128 a year!

Look, I’m not trying to depress you here. But the reality is that 70% of us will need long-term care services at some point in our lives… and sometimes it happens sooner than we think. In fact, 40% of the Americans in long-term care are between the ages of 16 and 64.

So whether you consider long-term care insurance or you simply set aside a big chunk of money and hope for the best, you at least need to consider the huge impact that health care costs will have on your family during retirement.

You’re looking at a quarter of a million bare minimum. And another $100,000 a year if long-term care becomes necessary.

That could be enough to drain even a very well-prepared retiree.

Which is why you should also seriously explore how you can protect your income and assets before they get taken or disqualify you from Medicaid.

The rules vary from state to state, and they’re always changing, but at the bare minimum you want to start thinking about this at least five years before long-term care becomes a real possibility.

For example, if you have a second home or rental real estate, you might consider signing it over to a trustworthy heir before you end up signing it over to a nursing home.

And speaking of protecting your assets…

Retirement Planning Sin #4 Is Not Using Tax Shelters!   

It doesn’t matter if you’re 30 or 60 – you should be using tax-advantaged accounts for the vast majority of your saving and investing.

Obviously, choosing which particular accounts make the most sense is going to vary based on your individual circumstances. But in general I recommend using the following process:

First, contribute enough to any employer-sponsored plan to get the maximum match…

Second, if you’re self-employed – which includes people who merely have side businesses – also consider opening a Solo 401(k) plan…

And third, use IRA accounts – traditional and/or Roth varieties depending on your goals and tax situation – to sock away even more.

This is what I do personally, and the same thing I recommend to everyone else I talk to regardless of age or income.

Retirement Planning Sin #5: Not Having “A Post-Work Plan.”

A lot of people don’t think this really matters – especially if they’re still relatively far away from retirement.

Heck, how could NOT working be hard, right? I mean, most people figure waking up without anything to do is a great problem to have.

However, I know someone who retired – from a job she didn’t even like – and she found the transition to be VERY difficult.

So much so that she had to take a class at her local senior center titled “Every Day Is a Saturday.”

In what amounted to a support group, she witnessed countless other new retirees literally breaking down because they didn’t know how to handle their newfound freedom – including a 70-year-old heart surgeon who cried profusely!

Rather than figuring this out as you go, start thinking about it now… and always keep that budget in the back of your mind, too.

There are countless resources available to retirees – free classes (even college educations in some places!)… special exercise groups… volunteer opportunities… mentoring programs… the sky is literally the limit.

The key is envisioning your future before it arrives.

And on a similar note…

Retirement Planning Sin #6 Is Being Inflexible

We never have any idea how things are going to turn out – in investing or life. So all we can do is plan for the best and prepare for the unforeseen twists and turns.

If you have a very narrow vision of what your future looks like, and you’re unwilling to change course, you’re setting yourself up for potential disappointment.

Just consider the thousands of retirees who are now discovering whole new lives in foreign countries they had never thought of visiting ten years ago!

Am I saying you should have to move to Thailand to get a comfortable retirement? Of course not. I’m simply saying that we should try to find joy no matter what… and embrace the excitement of trying new things no matter our age or circumstances.

That’s the real secret to a long, healthy, and happy life.

Which brings me to our final retirement planning sin… perhaps the biggest of them all…

Retirement Planning Sin #7: Procrastinating!

I started saving in a 401(k) the very first paycheck I got and I have increased the amount I sock away at every possible opportunity ever since then.

Two decades in, I have quite a lot in the bank already. Meanwhile, most of my friends are still treating retirement as some far-off thing.

Sure, there might be another two decades to go for anyone in my age bracket. But time flies!

That’s something to remember no matter how old you are… no matter where you’re at in terms of your goals… and no matter how much money you currently have.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

The post 7 Retirement Sins You Don’t Want to Commit appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

What to “Look” for Before You Make This Purchase

This post What to “Look” for Before You Make This Purchase appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

If you’re reading this there’s a good chance you’re either wearing glasses, contact lenses or some combination.

According to the Vision Council of America, approximately 75% of adults use some sort of vision correction. About 64% of them wear eyeglasses, and about 11% wear contact lenses, either exclusively, or with glasses. Over half of all women and about 42% of men wear glasses.

I bring this topic up because I know it affects a lot of you. Consumer Reports says the average retail price for buying a new pair of glasses now is $220-$240. That can be an expensive visit to your optometrist’s office if you don’t have insurance.

The good new is you don’t have to spend that much, especially not if you only need single-vision lenses. Something I’ve seen a lot of my friends and family do over the years that’s saved them big is buy glasses online.

If you’re hesitant to buy prescription eyewear online, let me dispel some of the myths about the process and lay out exactly what you need to know.

Don’t Let the Bad Apples Ruin the Bunch

In 2017, The New York Times ran a story about a man named Vitaly Borker who ran several cheap online eyeglasses sites including DecorMyEye and OpticsFast.

As far back as 2010, customers of DecorMyEye said they were shipped cheap counterfeits in place of the designer eyeglasses they believed they had purchased. Borker eventually was caught and it landed him four years in jail.

But this story sent a lot of people running for the hills. Don’t let this one bad apple or other tales ruin the savings you could be enjoying. In fact, if you stick to the list of trusted retailers I have below, you’ll be fine.

“How much do I actually save?”

If you’re going to buy your glasses online, you’ll pay one-fourth to one-sixth the usual price with the online sellers versus the traditional retailers. ZenniOptical.com prices start at around $7 for lenses and frames and $5 for shipping. That’s just about the cheapest price out there.

However, what you save in material costs buying direct from China, you lose in customer service apparently. Some Zenni customers have complained the lack of customer support from the online retailer.

In addition to Zenni, there are several other sellers of complete prescription eyeglasses for under $20. (If you wear bifocals or progressives, you can run that bill up to $40.) EyeBuyDirect.com and GlassesShop.com are both good cheap options as well.

What You Need Before Buying Your Glasses Online

You still need a prescription if you’re shopping online, typically your RX should be no more than one year old. The eye exam fee could end up being the bulk of your glasses cost, so it pays to shop around.

First, check your health insurance policy to see if eye exams are covered. Even if you don’t have insurance coverage, you should be able to get an eye exam for around $100. (Note: if you’re buying contacts as well as glasses, your exam will cost a little more.)

Here are few retailers that have reasonably priced eye exams:

  • Costco Optical
  • LensCrafters
  • Pearle Vision
  • Target Optical
  • Visionworks
  • Walmart Vision Centers

Also, your doctor is legally required to give you a copy of your prescription after your exam. One measurement you must have on your script is your pupillary distance (PD), make sure it’s there and if it’s not ask your doctor to add it.

The FTC’s Eyeglass and Contact Lens Rules lays out certain rights and obligations eye doctors have to their customers. Regarding giving out PDs, the rules say the following:

“Many doctors don’t charge for the pupillary distance measurement. If your doctor charges for it, some online sellers will refund the cost.”

If you don’t want to risk paying out of pocket for your PD and not getting reimbursed in the end, check out Goggles4u’s DIY guide to calculating your pupillary distance.

Know Your Frame Measurements

Choosing the right frames involves more than just picking a style you like — you need to find frames that fit your face. The three measurements to know are: lens width, bridge width (the width across your nose), and temple arm length (the length of the arms).

If you own a pair of glasses that fit, start by checking their size. Measurements are usually written inside the frame, listed left to right (lens width, bridge width, temple arm length). You’ll find them printed inside the temple arms or the nose bridge.

Online retailer Warby Parker will actually mail you frames to try on before you buy. And wherever you buy, check their return policy so you know what your options are if your frames don’t fit.

Most sites don’t offer full refunds on returned eyewear with prescription lenses. For example, FramesDirect.com deducts 50% of the lens price from the refund amount for returns within 30 days of purchase. ZenniOptical.com offers a 50% refund or a 100% store credit on all eyewear returned within 30 days of the delivery date. Eyeglasses.com provides a 50% refund on returned lenses.

The Best Places to Buy Cheap Glasses

According to Consumer Reports, these are the top 10 places — both physical and online — to buy eyeglasses:

  1. Costco Optical
  2. Any independent eyeglass shop
  3. Warby Parker
  4. A private doctor’s office
  5. ZenniOptical.com
  6. Kaiser Permanente
  7. Opticare Eye Health & Vision Centers
  8. Eyebuydirect.com
  9. Sam’s Club Optical
  10. Walmart Vision Center

39dollarglasses.com is another great option online that came in 12th.

Where Should You Avoid?

Consumer Reports says the three worst places to shop include SVS Vision, America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses and GlassesUSA.com.

If you still have cold feet after reading this then here’s one final tip…

Consumer review expert, Clark Howard, who wears progressive lenses says:

“I recommend a safe harbor until you’re comfortable. I want you to pay too much for your first pair buying them the traditional way to satisfy your fears. Then buy a second pair with a cheap online shop. Compare the two to see if the cheaper pair will work for you moving forward.”

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

The post What to “Look” for Before You Make This Purchase appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Don’t Ignore This Key Part of Retirement Planning

This post Don’t Ignore This Key Part of Retirement Planning appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

After working 25, 30, 35 years, or longer, you might think that retirement will be a like a permanent vacation where you sit back with your feet up and watch the world whiz by.

But it’s not.

Retiring is a life changer, it can be a shock to your system, and it’s not all fun.

In fact, it may actually be the toughest job you’ve ever had.

That’s because one of the biggest challenges you’ll face for the next decade or two or three is:

How Will You Spend Your Time?

The first year or so is usually a piece of cake. You knock out those home projects that you’ve put off forever. Maybe play golf or go fishing a few times a week.

Or perhaps you take a cruise, or two, just to get away from it all. Even retirees need a vacation.

However, such experiences are pleasures. Short ones at that.

Will they be enough?

If you’re not sure, it’s time for a reality check. And doing so before you retire can make the next phase of your life much more fulfilling.

Plus once you know the lifestyle you hope to have in retirement, you’ll be able to determine how much money you’ll need to retire. Keep in mind, though, that money is just a tool, not an end in itself.

Now think back…

One of the first things we’re frequently asked when meeting someone is:

“What Do you Do?”

When you’re working, the answer was easy. Your career was your purpose. Be it because you enjoyed it, it gave you a sense of fulfillment, or you simply needed the money.

Raising a family may have played a key role in your life, too.

It defined you.

But now that you’re retired, or close to retiring, those responsibilities are in the past or soon ending.

So coming up with an answer is not easy.

That’s why your retirement plan needs to include a sense of purpose.

What activities and interests will make you want to get out of bed each morning? And I’m not referring only to activities that give you pleasure.

The Japanese call it:

Ikigai

The word means the thing you live for, a reason for being, a sense of purpose, and it comes from within. Each individual’s ikigai is personal to them and specific to their lives, values, and beliefs.

Research reveals that people with a sense of purpose had a 15% lower risk of death compared to those who said they were more or less aimless. They are less likely than others to develop Alzheimer’s disease, suffer a stroke, have chronic health conditions, and experience sleep problems.

It comes down to having a meaningful life… the idea that your life makes sense, you’re here for a reason, and you’re significant in the world.

What’s more, some studies have found that having a meaningful life is more important to good health than exercise and nutrition.

It begins with…

Developing a Routine

While working you likely had a routine. It might have been a 9-5 job or something similar. Nonetheless, you still had to do something or be somewhere on a regular basis.

Retirement isn’t any different.

Visualize your future. Who you will be, where, and why.

Create a schedule so that you’re making the best use of your time. A schedule can keep you on track and help you avoid the boredom that can come after living a busy working life for many years.

What will your typical day, week, and month look like?

Will you start each morning with a bike ride at the park, a walk on the beach, or a workout at the gym? Maybe a cup of coffee on the patio while reading the newspaper is more to your liking.

But then what? Daytime TV?

Where to Find Your Sense of Purpose, Your Ikigai

You could go back to school. As baby boomers retire and are no longer nailed down with family responsibilities and hectic work schedules, many want to increase their knowledge and explore new interests.

And there are colleges that offer programs for free or almost free!

Or… try something new.

Retirement can be a time to take on new challenges and step out of your comfort zone.

Have you always wanted to play the guitar but never had the time? Or how about skiing? Too old or worried what others might think?

Poppycock! You’ve earned the right to take chances.    

There are plenty of folks just like you. Meetup is a great source for locating local groups that focus on exactly the activities that interest you.

Volunteer…

Getting involved and giving back to your community is a great way to meet others and develop a sense of purpose.

And there’s no shortage of organizations seeking volunteers.

For instance, America’s veterans and their families often need help. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a page where you can find opportunities in your area.

Nursing homes, advocacy groups, food bank, churches, libraries… the list is endless.

What skills did you develop over your working years? Public speaking, resume writing, home maintenance, a foreign language? 

How can you put those skills to use?

One way is by teaching others at your local community center or continuing education programs.

This part of your retirement isn’t cast in stone. Interests and priorities change. You’re allowed to drop or add activities whenever you wish.

So review it every year, just like the financial part of your retirement plan.

Time Is Your Most Valuable Asset

You don’t have enough time for everything you want to accomplish in life. Once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. As the saying goes: We ain’t getting out of this alive.

So use it wisely.

As Sophia Loren put it:

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

In other words, retiring from work does not mean retiring from life. And including a purpose section within your retirement planning can make those years a meaningful reality.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

The post Don’t Ignore This Key Part of Retirement Planning appeared first on Daily Reckoning.