Tools and Tips
See how you stack up against the Medians. Then do what you can to catch up or get ahead.
(MONEY Magazine) – Your Savings
WHAT ARE YOU SOCKING AWAY? Add up the total dollar amounts you invest and save annually.
ANNUAL CONTRIBUTION TO 401(k) IRA Taxable stocks and funds Bank accounts Other total divided by income = % OF INCOME
TO AIM HIGHER: A good goal is 10% of your income. If you have a hard time developing a savings habit, sign up for a 401(k) and an automatic investment plan. That way the money is taken from your paycheck or bank account before you can spend it.
HAVE YOU BUILT MUCH EQUITY? To estimate how much your home is worth, look up recent sale prices of similar houses in your neighborhood at domania.com.
Home value Mortgage balance Other home-equity loans home value minus total loans = EQUITY
TO AIM HIGHER: Put down at least 10%. Less than that is risky. Here's why: Prices in your area would have to fall only 5% for you to owe more than you could clear from selling your home.
ARE YOU 401(K) SAVVY? Use this checklist to make sure you're making the most of your plan.
• How much are you contributing? (% of salary)
• What's the maximum contribution the company will match?
• How much company stock do you have?
• Do you know how your money is allocated?
• When did you last rebalance your portfolio?
TO AIM HIGHER: Contribute at least enough to get the full company match--that's free money. Come up with a target allocation for your age, and rebalance your stock and bond mix once a year to maximize your returns. If company stock is more than 10% of your total, cut back. That's too risky.
The Big Number
WHAT ARE YOU WORTH? For this worksheet, you need bank, brokerage and 401(k) statements, loan records and an estimate of your home's value.
Home value Retirement savings Other investments Cash Art, collectibles, jewelry total assets
Mortgages Credit-card debt Other loans total liabilities total assets minus total liabilities = NET WORTH
TO AIM HIGHER: Tackle your debts first. Paying off a credit-card balance is the equivalent of earning a double-digit rate on your savings.
Get Help Online
Advice for every stage at money.com/normal
THE SPRINGBOARD YEARS
• Thinking of buying a home? Use our calculator to figure out how much house you can afford.
• If you need inspiration to save, the Savings Calculator will let you see how quickly your money will grow.
THE PRESSURE COOKER YEARS
• Trying to cut your debt? Our Debt Planner will show you the amount you need to pay down each month to meet your target.
• If you're worried about college costs, see how much you need to save with the College Savings Planner.
THE WEALTH YEARS
• If you're renovating, you want to add to the value of your home. Our online Renovation Wizard will help you spend wisely.
• How much money do you need before you retire? Work out the number with our Retirement Planner.
THE RETIREMENT YEARS
• If you haven't reallocated your assets since you left your job, your portfolio is likely too risky. Go to our Asset Allocator for advice on how to retool your mix.
• Considering a move? See how far your retirement income will go in cities around the country.