Sunday, July 15, 2012

Most financial advisors/entertainers when speaking about growing wealth want to focus on one thing and that thing is retirement (yours or theirs?).  Their conversation invariably lands with all kinds of account acronyms like 401k, IRA, SEP.  Not only is it difficult to know what these acronyms mean but the rules that govern these accounts are even more complicated.  In order to access any funds from most of these accounts under current law you must wait until age 60 to avoid the government penalty to your own money.  For most people they are busy raising families, changing jobs, or taking care of the current family emergency.  Most of what little is left is often placed in these government sponsored plans.

So the question is what's the big deal Josh?  Don't we get a tax deduction for putting our money in these government sponsored plans?  Isn't it best to lock away my money so I won't touch it (it's for the future right)?  Besides I'll be in a lower tax bracket in the future (does anyone still believe in this fable)?

I often wonder if plans like the 401k have helped or hurt most of the public.  What I see in practice many times is a nice 401k balance with a mountain of debt, or someone taking a stiff penalty to access their own money from their 401k to pay bills.  Neither scenario is a good start to building or maintaining wealth.

Is the road to wealth built by relying on a system that is unproven and barely 30 years old (the first 401k plans were introduced in the late 1970's and early 1980's)?  Or is the road to wealth built by being a responsible individual and taking back control of your own finances?  Do you place your trust in far off places like Wall Street, or Washington D.C. to succeed in life?  Or do you place trust in yourself?

What if you had full access to your savings at anytime?  Since you had access to these funds it allowed you to reduce the costs on things you did in your everyday life like buying a car, a down payment on a house, or paying for a child's education.  If you could reduce your costs in these areas wouldn't you by definition have more wealth?

If you would like to see how much wealth you could grow by reducing the costs in your everyday life please feel free to contact me:

Joshua Smith
J Smith Financial

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