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On April 7, the Financial Management Association (FMA) hosted a Retirement Workshop — featuring a presentation by speaker Robert Uptegraff, a professor in the finance department and advisor of FMA. Students were able to learn more about planning for retirement and how to handle their finances more effectively.
Uptegraff’s presentation discussed topics such as: getting started, employer plans, common errors, social security, automobiles, mortgage, among others.
“This is just an introductory event so that people not necessarily from a finance background can learn more about the [value] of money, the power of compound interest and the power of starting early,” FMA president Leandro Kacaj said. “It’s really crucial, and we spend a lot of time studying it. I believe this event is more for the [campus] community, not just for the students of finance.”
Kacaj mentioned attendees were able to learn more about various financial components — like the difference between various accounts, investments, tax benefits, etc.
To start his presentation, Uptegraff listed some ways individuals can get on the right track in terms of their finances, including having and maintaining an ethic of austerity, developing a written budget, having focused goals, getting and staying out of debt, paying yourself first every paycheck and being motivated to invest.
On the topic of credit cards and debit cards, Uptegraff prefers credit cards. According to Uptegraff, debit cards can leave you on the hook.
“I like credit cards better than I do debit cards — [only] if you can control your behavior,” Uptegraff said. “Debit cards will leave you on the hook if someone hacks you and gets into your account. [With] a credit card, there is a limit — usually a 50 dollar limit to which you are responsible for. If you’re worried about freely spending money, cap your limit. Ask your credit card company to cap the limit.”
When discussing employer plans, Uptegraff highlighted the employer match, calling it a “free lunch,” as it doesn’t happen often.
Additionally, Uptegraff prefers the Roth 401(k) employer plan compared to the traditional 401(k). This is due to the fact that the Roth 401(k) has tax-free withdrawals.
“Everyone of you should go with a Roth — invest in not getting a tax deduction,” Uptegraff said. “Keeping it for a long period of time, the payoff can easily be 100 to 1. Keep that in mind, do a Roth instead of a traditional.”
Some common errors that Uptegraff mentioned regarding investing and retirement include starting late, contributing to retirement accounts without managing investments and forgoing the company match.
“Take the lead, pay yourself first,” Uptegraff said. “Be innovative, creative and motivated to do what you’re doing and do it as early as possible.”
Uptegraff also discussed life insurance, recommending buying term life insurance and saying, “life insurance — it’s almost always sold, never bought. Very rarely does somebody go out and seek it. The best place to get it is your employer. It’s cheapest, you get group rates — take advantage as long as you got that.”
He also gave some advice on automobiles, like only buying a car you love, buying a certified pre-owned vehicle from a dealer with a warranty and keeping a vehicle longer. Uptegraff also presented on mortgages at the event.
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