Building Blocks of Wealth & Health
After you have debt under control and have established an emergency fund, you can start to grow your financial wealth. Information is your best tool for managing and increasing your wealth so be sure to understand each option so you can choose what is best for you.
What do you need money for in six months, 10 years, and 30 years from now? Decide what your short and long term monetary goals are. Develop a plan and work with your budget.
Save and Invest
What’s the difference between saving and investing? With saving you are holding on to your money and keeping it safe. Wisconsin Saves is a statewide initiative devoted to promoting positive spending and saving habits. Sign up and join the many people who have already committed to saving towards a goal – tuition, a home, retirement, debt repayment and more. If you can save a quarter. you can save! Become a Saver today: www.wisconsin-saves.org or (414) 263-5450.
When you invest, there is an element of risk and there are no guarantees. Before you invest, learn about the process. Before you make any investment purchase, find out all you can about the investment product and who is selling it. Scroll down for resources such as BrokerCheck, FINRA Investors, the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions and more.
Recommendations from family members or people you trust are helpful in locating an investment advisor or financial planner. Make sure the broker/advisor is registered with the State Department of Financial Institutions and the investment is also registered. Resources such as the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and Financial Planning Association of Wisconsin can help you find a professional. Get all of the information that you can before you give anyone your money.
Our homes have traditionally been one of our greatest assets. Purchase your home with your eyes wide open. See our Buying & Keeping A Home page for more information.
Small Business Ownership
Owning your own business can be very rewarding and planning is very important for success. Local agencies that can help include the Small Business Administration and Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation.
Planning for Retirement
The sooner you start planning and saving for retirement, the better! If your employer has a sponsored 401K saving plan, take advantage of it! Consult www.FINRA.org or www.ssa.gov for retirement calculators, or www.aarp.org/retirement for more resources.
It is important to make plans for who will inherit what you have when you pass on. Consult with an attorney about your choices and the tax advantages of different investment options to your heirs. The Milwaukee Bar Association has a lawyer referral service at (414) 274-6768.
An investment club is a group of people who come together to learn to invest and share their experiences. They help each other become more successful in their investing strategies. To learn more about Investment Clubs or to find one in your area, visit www.assetbuilders.org or www.betterinvesting.org.
Be Money Smart About Taxes
An Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a valuable tax benefit for working families. Created in 1975, the EITC is refundable tax credit and the federal government’s largest program for helping working families. It is a tax credit for people who work but do not earn high incomes. Workers who earned approximately $50,000 or less/year may qualify for EITC. More than 25 million taxpayers receive this refundable tax credit each year.
Individuals claiming the EITC may receive a tax refund that they can use to seed a deposit account to save for a down payment on a house, purchase a car, save for college or retirement, or create a “rainy day” emergency savings account.
Additionally the IRS trains people to provide free tax assistance for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. To find a VITA site in your area go to www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-you-by-volunteers or call 1-800-906-9887. These trained volunteers can assist people and file tax returns at no cost and is a free service available from January to April each year.
AARP Foundation Tax Aide volunteers are IRS certified to assist people of all income and ages to file their tax returns at no charge. Find a location near you: 1-888-227-7669 or www.aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide.
Protecting Your Wealth
One of the ways to protect your assets is through insurance. Look at the rates with various levels of deductibles and shop around for discounts. Read all policies carefully before you sign. When you have claims, file them promptly.
- Property, auto and homeowner/renters insurance all play a role in replacing what you own if it is lost. Community Insurance Information Center is your source for free information about insurance, with access to tools and resources and the State of Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance provides a consumers guide: (800) 236-8517 or www.oci.wi.gov.
- Life and health insurance can protect you and your family from financial hardships and expenses. Before making any decisions, study the needs of your family.
- Take advantage of any employer sponsored options and also look at options available through the State of Wisconsin.
- Take a look at health insurance options through the State of Wisconsin or the Federal Government. Covering Wisconsin is a federally-designated Affordable Care Act (ACA) Navigator that provides training and support to Wisconsin residents.