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Don’t Use Your
401(k) Like an ATM
The 401(k) account always makes a great
target for those suddenly in need of cash.
“Don’t do it,” says Robin Thompson, WXYZ
Channel 7 Action News “Money Coach” and
President of Budget
Wise Consulting. “Even
if times are tough, I
don’t advise borrowing
from your 401(k). It’s not
an ATM. You have other
options available.”
Start by developing a
spending plan. List your
income and expenses,
and then track every
penny for a month. This
helps you understand how you’re spending
(or wasting) money daily.
Next, cut expenses. Downsize, buy a smaller
house, eat at home more often, and dump
extras like cable and new cars. Increase your
income through a part-time job or consulting.
Another option is a Roth IRA, a retirement
vehicle made with after-tax contributions,
rather than pretax dollars like a traditional
IRA. “If you have one, you can withdraw
contributions you’ve made without penalty.
Only the earnings carry a penalty if taken
early.”
Lastly, Robin suggests borrowing from a
family member, where you might not have
to pay interest. If the bills are mounting,
contact your creditors’ hardship departments
to work out payment arrangements. And
then fnd a fnancial planner.
For more information and free tools to
improve your fnancial security visit
www.choosetosave.org.
LiveWell: Advice
9
If you’re a penny-pincher, you’re going to love the latest trend:
online coupon clipping. Or should we say, coupon clicking.
That’s right. Like everything else these days, coupons have gone
high-tech. And with just a little time and research, you’ll fnd bigger
bargains and greater savings than ever before.
Groupon® and LivingSocial™ are perhaps the most popular examples.
These online group coupon sites save consumers millions of dollars
every year by ofering at least half of at restaurants, salons, spas
and other services with the click of a mouse.
Group coupon sites aren’t the only way to save. Many grocery stores,
restaurants and large retailers ofer online coupons and discounts
just by registering on their store Web site. And you no longer have to
wait for the Sunday paper; you can clip coupons every day of the
week at sites like
www.coupons.com
.
Another great way to save is with the
HAP Advantage
program
which ofers HAP members deals on ftness centers, spas,
chiropractic, fowers, LASIK, Weight Watchers® and sports
merchandise. You’ll also fnd discounts on museums, attractions
and other local services.
To learn more, log in at
hap.org
. Select
Plan Extras
from the right-
hand column, then select
HAP Advantage
at the bottom of the page.
HAP Advantage
is a value-added program, and the services and products made
available under this program are not covered benefts under the Health Alliance
Plan (HAP) Subscriber Contract, Alliance Group Insurance Policy, Riders or Member
Handbook or otherwise payable by HAP. HAP, its afliates, agents and assigns make
no representations or warranties regarding the quality, price or efectiveness of the
services or products, or the credentialing of the providers made available by
HAP
Advantage
.
The Art of
Coupon Clicking
Robin Thompson, M.A.