Category : planning

Better Choice than Lottery Ticket

Is That Lottery Ticket Fleecing Your Retirement Savings?

It’s the year 2035. “Choice Chips,” a blooom proprietary form of artificial, individual consciousness to help you make better personal financial decisions – particularly around 401k management – has yet to be invented….

Sadly, We Still Have Fossil Fuels and Paper Lottery Tickets

Joe stopped by the same gas station nearly every day over the last 30 years. It was 7:00 a.m. He was late for work and the attendant was just setting out the coffee for the morning rush. Joe filled his coffee and proceeded to the counter to pay for it.

“That’ll be $9, sweetie.”

Joe pawed through his wallet and yanked out a $20 bill. “Here you go.”

She looked at him, “You want to add the usual Powerball ticket.”

Joe, “You know I do. Today is my lucky day. Here are my numbers, 5, 2, 23, 45, 33 and 12.”

Behind him the door chimes rang and in stepped Linda.

Joe, “Hi Linda, how are you doing?”

“Good Joe! It’s freezing out. Playing the lottery again?”

Linda and Joe had worked for the same company for 30 years. Joe had seniority since he was hired 10 days earlier. They’d both gone to the same high school, but then headed to separate colleges. Four years later they found themselves working at the same company.

Joe, “Sure am. I’ve got to run. I’ve got a meeting in 30 minutes. Maybe I’ll see you later.”

Whose Lottery Numbers Are Better – Joe’s or Linda’s?

Later that night, as Joe sat in front of the TV watching the evening news the Powerball numbers were announced. “And tonight’s winning numbers are 5, 18, 23, 25, 4 and 50.” Somberly Joe thought to himself, “Two out of 6. ‘Well, one of these days I’ll hit the lottery.’”

At that very same moment, in a modest house across town Linda was opening the mail. There were the usual bills and junk mail. But the first thing she opened was her 401k statement.

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Breaking Down Retirement Plan Jargon

Introducing Retirement Plan Jargon Sampler: What Is a 401k?

If you haven’t picked up our Retirement Mixtape collection, it can be yours for two easy installments of … free. They’re full of hits from the blooom team, perfect for setting the mood in dreaming about the day you decide to retire:

We pulled together the collections because we at blooom LOVE music and a good mixtape.

The idea occurred to us that we should continue the music metaphor to help break down retirement plan jargon. So … welcome to our inaugural retirement plan jargon post. We’ll spin a few of these each month to help translate the relatively unintelligible world of investing, specifically 401k management.

For our first track ….

What Song Explains What a 401k, 403b or 457 Is (AKA … an Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan)?

This required some work on my part.

“The price is what? Life makes echoes … If you see them.”—“Echoes” by The Rapture

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Student loans :(

Faking Your Death to Pay Off Student Loan Debt? 6 Better Ways

How much do you owe in student loan debt? Enough to consider fleeing the country? (All of a sudden I get why many recent U.S. college graduates want to backpack Europe and never return.) Or worse. You contemplating faking your own death?

According to The Wall Street Journal, the number of Americans with federal student loans grew to 42 million in the last decade. (1.) In that same article, they quote a gentleman whose solution to dealing with his student loan debt is to stretch it out until he dies.

Don’t believe me? Read the entire Journal article. (And BTW … only Federal loans discharge with death. Private loans do not.)

Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed you, you may be asking, this isn’t about retirement or my 401k.

Why Are You at blooom Talking About Student Loan Debt?

We’re addressing student loan debt for two reasons.

First, you’re right, we focus a great deal on helping you with your retirement. We want you to wipe out this student loan debt so you can save more for it. But we also recently launched a personal financial advice service that clients can access via mobile or desktop using the chat feature on the bottom-right of the screen.

Once we launched the service, how to deal with student loan debt was one of the most frequently asked questions posed to me and my advisor team.

We’ve seen so many varied inquiries about student loan debt that we’ll be running a three-part series:

  1. Tackling debt: This post will help if you currently have student loan debt and you’re looking to pay it off faster (if you’re exploring forgiveness options, I recommend reviewing the following guide.
  2. Working adults returning to college: Later this summer, we’ll talk about how non-traditional students or working adults who want to go back to school can proactively address (read: avoid or take on as little as possible) student loan debt.
  3. New college students: Our final post will provide tips and resources to high school students and parents on ways to avoid student loan debt.

Who knows? Perhaps we’ll receive some real-world triumphs of people who’ve defeated this insidious whack-a-mole known as student loan debt (Hint, hint. If you’re a victor, message us with your story. Let us celebrate your achievement with a proper victory lap).

First, the Simplest Thing You Can Do to Get Out of Student Loan Debt

Okay. I’m NOT going to be jerk and say the simplest way is by never getting into student loan debt in the first place. Too late for that.

So …

1. One of the simplest things you can do is set up automatic payments. It works for saving and it works for tackling that debt head on. To sweeten the deal, some services even offer discounted interest rates if you set up auto-pay.

Auto-pay

We like it simple here at blooom. Set it and try to forget it.

How About the Most Effective Ways to Tackle Student Loan Debt?

I’ve covered the simplest tip, but what about the most effective. My next five tips could provide the points to pierce that ballooning student loan debt.

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What's your retirement jam?

Awesome Mixtape Vol. 2: Your Retirement Jam Revival

If you haven’t read Awesome Mixtape Vol. 1: How to Master Your Retirement Jam, you should because it’s chock full of tunes goodness. But, oy, we live in a world of perpetual streaming and episode recaps. 

So Mixtape Vol 1. Recap …

  1. Mixtapes are AWESOME!
  2. We at blooom LOVE music
  3. Hearing about a great card game called MIXTAPE on a favorite podcast of mine, The Chalkboard Podcast, got me thinking. The game poses questions like what’s the “best song for riding a unicorn across a rainbow?” and demands you match it with a song. This prompted me to ask the question of the blooom team (and you!): The day you decide to retire or give your notice of retirement, what song plays in your head (i.e. what’s your theme music for this moment)?
  4. So many submissions hit my Slack channel that we’ve created not just ONE (you really should check out Awesome Mixtape Vol. 1: Master Your Retirement Jam the blog post and the Spotify playlist), but TWO volumes (our Engineering ninjas and me get to rock this one out).

The next mix is strictly a three-act affair, crowdsourced by a few of blooom‘s technical maestros, Jeff Durbin and Taylor Johnson, and yours truly (because I want to remain relatively impartial, Director of Client Happiness Chad Beland will offer commentary about each selection in italics):

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Ep. 269 Dough Roller Blog The Money Podcast

Dough Roller Blog: Blooom Helps Your 401k for $10 a Month

CEO and Co-Founder Chris Costello appears on Rob Berger’s Dough Roller Blog “The Money Podcast” to discuss how blooom helps people manage their workplace retirement accounts. Whether it’s a 401k, 403b or T.S.P., we automate the process of selecting and rebalancing your investments.

In the interview, Chris gives an update on recent pricing changes and service offering enhancements at blooom. First, Chris discusses the reasons for the shift toward the low, flat rate of $10 a month.

In addition to the retirement account automation, we also now offer financial planning advice to our clients. They can chat with a representative with financial questions or important decisions. Chris and Rob discuss the feature and how the reasons for blooom’s founding helped shape the advice service offering. Regardless of whether it’s tough choices when saving for a college or deciding on a home purchase or refinance, we can help.

Want to hear the podcast in its entirety …

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