8 Ways You Leave Money On The Table

When your days are already jam-packed with work, school, family or errands, who has time for examining personal finances to look for ways to tighten up money leaks?

But if you think of the potential payoff later on down the road, the effort you put in today might seem well worth the time it takes. One way to start is by taking a look at these eight ways you might be leaving money on the table right now.

  1. You're not taking advantage of employer match in your 401(k). This is, by any definition of the term, free money. If your company has a 401(k) retirement plan, don't hesitate to contribute, and make sure you get those matching contributions from your employer, too.
  2. You are not taking advantage of the tax benefits of an IRA. Investing in an individual retirement account (IRA) is one way to reduce your taxable income. 
  3. You're not actively working on estate planning. When you die, there's no reason the IRS has to collect so much tax revenue from your estate. With savvy estate planning, you can leave your wealth to loved ones without paying through the nose on estate taxes.
  4. You don't have a comprehensive financial plan. You can save for retirement and curb spending, but without a master plan there are probably lots of ways you're leaking money or failing to reach your financial goals in the best way.
  5. You're not investing in index funds. If you have a retirement fund (or any investments to protect and grow your wealth) and at least some of it is not invested in index funds, maybe you should reconsider. Index funds have repeatedly outperformed all other types of mutual funds year after year for decades.
  6. You're letting short-term market fluctuations influence your decisions. Financial goals are reached when you can keep your eyes on the long-term goals. That means leaving your investments where they are rather than pulling out every time the market takes a dive.
  7. You're not filing your income taxes. Every year, a lot of people don't file tax returns because they think they didn't make enough money in order to make filing worth it. However, they don't realize they qualified for the Earned Income Tax Credit, or that they had money taken out of paychecks and are due a tax refund.
  8. You haven't considered getting advice from a financial advisor. Financial planning isn't just for the wealthy these days. You can book a single session and talk to an advisor about your financial goals, then perhaps start working on a blueprint for savings. The sooner you tighten up ship, the sooner you'll start enjoying the benefits of having a solid financial plan.
Christopher Girbes-Pierce

Christopher Girbés-Pierce CFP® is the Founder of Enlightened Wealth Management, a fee-only wealth management firm located in Santa Monica, CA. EWM specializes in providing comprehensive financial life planning services for clients who wish to align their financial resources with their goals and values.

Christopherand I became friends after meeting through the XYPlanning Network,and I asked him to write some thoughts on ways to save moneyas a guest topic for this site.

Christopher Girbes-Pierce | Enlightened Wealth Management

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