GreenPath Announces Poster Contest WinnersStudents prove they know how to save money
GreenPath is pleased to announce the local winners of this year’s BE MONEY WI$E nationwide financial literacy poster contest, sponsored by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). We received more than 70 entries from elementary-through-high-school students from across the country. A panel of judges concurred that this year’s theme, “Be a $uperhero, $ave Money,” was best represented through the artwork of the top winners listed below. Judging was based on expression of theme, artistic style, and creativity.
Elementary School – Jenay Tripp, third grade, Siersma Elementary School, Warren, Michigan
Middle School – Natalie Schunk, eighth grade, University Liggett School, Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan
High School – Daniel Carr, ninth grade, home school, Woodland Park, Colorado
"I have really enjoyed judging the GreenPath poster contest for the past two years," said Jill Pines, Public Information Coordinator for the City of Farmington Hills, Michigan. "The talent shown by kids of all age levels is really amazing. I always like to see how the young artists get creative and expand on the theme."
Each of the grade category winners will receive a $100 savings bond and a $50 gift card to a local bookstore, courtesy of GreenPath Debt Solutions. The winning posters have been entered in the national NFCC competition for a chance to win a $500 savings bond and a trip to Washington, DC in April to be honored on Capitol Hill as part of Financial Literacy Month. Also, second place winners of this year’s poster contest will receive a $25 gift card to a local bookstore:
Elementary School – Stephanie Leugers, fifth grade, Marshall Middle School, Marshall, Michigan
Middle School – Zoe Wilson, eighth grade, Coopersville Middle School, Coopersville, Michigan
High School – Jay Echols, tenth grade, Southfield Regional Academic Campus, Southfield, Michigan
The NFCC’s BE MONEY WI$E poster contest engages students in thinking about how to manage money effectively and offers them a creative outlet to express their knowledge.
You may view the winning posters at http://www.greenpath.com/2011-poster-contest-winners.htm.
How Much Will I Need?
A successful retirement savings plan starts with a few key points. Saving and investing for retirement doesn't have to be complicated, and there are plenty of good and reputable financial advisors out there to assist you along the way. The key is to determine how much you'll realistically need and then develop a plan to achieve your goal. When setting your retirement goal, GreenPath recommends that you:
Focus on what you can control - how much to save and where to invest it.
Create a plan so you can track your progress.
Understand how much you’ll receive in Social Security, pensions, etc.
At semi-regular intervals, monitor your plan and adjust as necessary.
Begin by considering the lifestyle you envision in retirement. Most experts say you'll need roughly 70% to 80% of your current annual income to live comfortably. This could include sources such as Social Security and maybe a company pension, but it's wise to conclude that your personal savings needs to be a significant source of income for you during retirement. It’s best to have a variety of assets to rely on during retirement – Social Security, personal investments, employer pensions, real estate, bonds, etc.
Determine how much to save
If you’re not sure how much is enough, spend some time using one of these retirement calculators.
These calculators will give you a starting point for understanding how much you will potentially need in your retirement years. You may try increasing your savings amount to see how much more you could have. Remember that saving for retirement contains two important components - how much you save, and how regularly you do so. If you adopt an automatic investment plan, you'll invest the same amount of money at regular intervals over a specific time frame, regardless of share prices. Known as dollar-cost averaging, this strategy helps you avoid trying to time the market and enables you to benefit from the effects of compounding returns. Consider your retirement costs
Your retirement costs can be influenced by many factors, from everyday living expenses, to health care, to how often you plan to travel. And don't overlook the effects of inflation on your savings. You may need more than you think to achieve a comfortable retirement.
In conclusion, it’s important to annually review your plan to help keep your savings amount and investment choices on track to meet your retirement goals. If they're not, you may need to increase your savings, rebalance your investments, or rethink your expectations for living in retirement.
Pay Yourself First
If there’s one personal finance lesson or skill that everybody should learn as early in life as possible, it’s this one – pay yourself first. The “Pay Yourself First” concept is by no means a novel one. It has been touted by many financial experts and personal finance advisers as an effective strategy to staying out of debt and building assets. Simply put, paying yourself first means regularly setting aside a portion of your income for savings even before you even start to tackle the bills. While this may seem like a tall order for those who just live from paycheck-to-paycheck, paying one-self first has actually worked successfully for many households. Why Should I Pay Myself First?
It makes “you” a priority. You are the most important thing in your life.
You get in the habit of saving.
It keeps your options open. When you set aside money for you, you build freedom - the freedom to not worry about unexpected financial emergencies.
An Easy Tip
Establish a budget based upon only 90% of your available income. Thus, you are removing 10% of it off the top. This amount should be placed aside in some sort of savings or investments plan. With time, this amount will grow larger and eventually grow to an amount you can allocate to some type of investment. This money should be exclusive of any money going into a regular retirement or investment plan.
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