The Balancing Act

Many younger workers have the task of balancing debt reduction with retirement savings. Often the debt they have accrued is related to student loans and credit cards. Many of these workers believe they need to pay off their debt before they begin actively saving for retirement.

However, to be able to save a sufficient amount for their golden years, young workers are going to need to save while also paying off debt. Here are some ideas on how to do that:

  1. Focus on High Interest Debt

Getting out of high interest debt should be a priority. Credit cards are usually the main culprit with interest rates as high as 18 or even 25 percent. Once rid of high interest credit card debt, try to stay out of it. When these debts are out of the way, there will be more funds available to allocate to retirement savings.

  1. Be Smart with Loans

Often, loans are just a necessary evil in life. This is especially true when making large purchases, such as buying a new car. Try to find the best deal possible, with smaller payments. Sometimes this means buying a used car or a less expensive option. The larger the down payment, the smaller the monthly payments. With smaller payments, more money can be put toward retirement.

  1. Set Realistic Goals

Instead of having an illusion of spending very little in retirement, plan for spending more. The average annual spending for those age 65 and older is $40,938. Workers need to realize they will probably spend more and account for that in their savings.

This is especially true of spending money on healthcare. Many retirees don’t account for medical needs when saving. One way to be cognizant of upcoming healthcare costs is to start a health savings account. These accounts help retirees cover the medical costs rather than dipping into their retirement savings.

Often, younger workers are only encouraged to take advantage of a 401(k) match plan through their company. While this is a great tool, opening a separate account in addition to a work-sponsored one can bump up their savings potential. Visit Mountain West IRA’s website to learn about their retirement plans and investment options.

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Preparing for Winter Storms

Winter storms have been sweeping across the nation lately, leaving many without power. It’s important to be prepared for snow, ice and possible loss of power during winter storms, and to be aware of the possible severity expected.

When reporting about potential weather storms, they are described as one of four categories: winter storm outlook, winter storm advisory, winter storm watch, and winter storm warning. Here are the differences:

Winter Storm Outlook– Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2 to 5 days

Winter Weather Advisory– Conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and could be hazardous.

Winter Storm Watch– Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours.

Winter Storm Warning– Life-Threatening, severe winter conditions will begin within 24 hours and people should take immediate precautions.

It’s important to be prepared for these types of storms. Here are a few pointers on preparing:

There’s always chance during winter storms that the power will go out, leaving many without light, heat, or a way to keep food from spoiling. When preparing, homeowners should have a supply kit ready just in case they need it. This kit should contain items such as food, water, light sources, cash, alternative heating methods and more. For those who have babies or pets, they should stock up on all the supplies needed for them too.

Non-perishable, ready-to-eat food is good to have on hand, because without power, perishable food won’t keep and cooking might not be an option. The CDC recommends having at least a week’s worth of food, bottled water, and safety supplies ready before a storm hits.

When trying to keep warm in a power outage, many homeowners turn to generators. These can be a life-saver but homeowners should remember generators shouldn’t be used indoors, in a garage, or near the air intake of the home due to the risk of carbon monoxide.

Being prepared can make waiting out a winter storm much easier. Make sure the home is ready by having Diamond Heating and Cooling inspect the heating equipment to ensure everything is working properly.

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Leaky Furnaces and Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide poisoning in a home can be caused by many appliances, such as stoves, fireplaces and even furnaces. When the furnace has a leak it’s more likely to emit carbon monoxide into the home, making the occupants ill.

Carbon monoxide poisoning displays the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion

Some people can rationalize these symptoms as a different illness like the flu or a persistent cold. If these symptoms are persistent, occupants should make sure their home is not causing their sickness. If left for long carbon monoxide poisoning could be fatal.

To prevent the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning appliances in the house should be checked routinely for leaks. Diamond Heating and Cooling checks for gas leaks during their furnace maintenance. By having the furnace serviced twice a year it can prevent and catch leaks before they become a serious problem.

Homeowners should also install carbon monoxide detectors in the house. These can alert the homeowners to a leak before it becomes serious. Make sure to change the batteries twice yearly to keep them working correctly.

Homeowners worried about possible furnace leaks or in need of furnace maintenance should contact Diamond Heating and Cooling. Ask them about their maintenance plans and memberships to help homeowners save money.

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