At some point in your financial life, you may find that you are earning more than required for your usual living expenses. The question becomes, “what’s the best use for this money?” Another way to look at this is, “how can I optimize the money that I have available?” What follows are suggestions mostly in order of priority, but several could be acted on in concert. I can help you develop a strategy to implement these suggestions-
1. Contribute to an emergency fund to build a 3-6 months of living expenses safety net.
2. Contribute to your employer’s retirement account at least to the level to maximize any company match.
3. Pay off high interest debts - those with interest greater than 5% such as credit card and student loan debt.
4. If you meet income eligibility, max out Roth IRA contributions. $6,500 in 2023 and folks age 50 and older can contribute another $1,000.
5. Assuming you are relatively healthy and your company offers a high deductible health insurance, fully fund a Health Savings Account. For 2023 the contribution limit for singles is $3,850 and for families $7,750. Age 50 and over can add another $1,000.
6. If you have children at home, open and fund a 529 Education Savings Account
7. Back to 401K retirement - in addition to funding to obtain employer match, in 2023 you can contribute a max of up to $22,500 - $30,000 if you are age 50 or over.
8. Because investments are taxed at rates more preferential to other types of income, contributing funds to taxable investment accounts can create future long-term capital gains-diversifying your income tax mix
9. Pay off lower interest loans-those with less than 5% interest such as car loans and possibly pay down or pay off mortgage.