Written and provided by Veronica Grant

Today I want to tell you about 2 of my favorite things: smoothies + mutual funds.

Yup.

And it turns they have a lot in common.

Smoothies, as you know, are a deliciously blended concoction of your favorite fruits + veggies.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love smoothies. They taste so good, are filling, and I can slurp down way more nutrients than I could if I were eating the fruits + veggies individually.

I’ve made a lot of changes + integrated a lot of new habits into my life over the past few years to reach my desired health + lifestyle. But drinking a green smoothie each more has been the keystone to my transition.

I still have plenty of days when I don’t exercise + feel guilty about it, when I’m too lazy to cook a home-cooked meal + get take out instead, and waste time away on social media instead of being the CEO of my own life.

The one thing that keeps me grounded is a green smoothie each morning.

If I do nothing else “healthy” in a day but drink a green smoothie, I know that it’ll be a good day.

Besides that smoothies taste good, they are quick to make + an easy way to get more nutrients than if I ate just the fruits or vegetables individually {because I couldn’t eat as much as I put into a smoothie}. As such, I can totally feel the difference in my energy levels if I don’t have a smoothie.

A single fruit or vegetable provides tons of nutrients, but there is no food in the world that gives you everything you need.

So instead of putting all my eggs in just a kale or banana basket, I blend them up with lots of other fruits and veggies to mitigate my risk of missing out on important vitamins + minerals.

It turns out, mutual funds are pretty much the same thing.

Like smoothies, mutual funds a are concoction of various stocks + bonds. Usually, the stocks are from a variety of different companies spanning across different sectors, company size, risk, and even geography. It’s a smoothie of a bunch of different stocks, if you will.

Just like you’d do well eating individual fruits + vegetables, you could also do really well buying individual stocks from companies that you like. If you bought Apple in the 1990s, for example, you’d be very rich right now. But most stocks aren’t the next Apple. The next best thing to do is have a smoothie of stocks + bonds so you spread around your risks + benefit from as many different companies as you can.

Think of it this way: if you just ate 2-3 kinds of foods, you’d miss out on the wide range of nutrients your body needs.

When you buy a mutual fund, or even a few mutual funds, you automatically own dozens of various stocks. Also, like smoothies, this saves you the time + energy it would otherwise take you to research + purchase these stocks individually.

Smoothies + mutual funds help you cover your bases, mitigate risks, and are more time + cost effective.

mutual funds are the smoothies of the financial world. {tweet that!}

Now that you know adding more smoothies + mutual funds in your life is a good thing, I want to share with you a couple of my favorites of each.

my favorite investment accounts

Roth IRA: A Roth IRA is an account you can use to save for your retirement tax free! It’s usually a mixture of various mutual funds {like a smoothie for smoothies} you can invest your money in to let it grow. Unlike a 401(k) Roths are great because you put your after-tax money {aka, take-home pay} into your account + it grows. When you withdraw from it in your retirement, you don’t pay taxes on it either.

401(k)s: 401(k)s are similar to Roths in that it is also a smoothie of smoothies. But, they are employer-sponsored, and you put before tax dollars in. What does this mean? While your money grows tax free, you have to pay taxes on the money with you begin withdrawing in retirement.

If your employer has a match, then you absolutely should put enough money to reach the match, even if you have credit card debt {see last week’s post for your money road map}.

If you want to set up a 401(k) or Roth IRA, my advice is to work with a financial advisor from a major banking institution to help you set up an account + determine how risky you want your portfolio {a smoothie of smoothies} to be. I love Charles Schwab, Betterment, and Vanguard. {I personally use Vanguard.}

To determine exactly which mutual funds you buy, you’ll need to figure out how close you are to retirement + how risky you want to be. Obviously, the less risky, the least potential for return, and the more risky, the greatest potential for return {and loss}.

You’ve gotta go with your gut here + figure out where YOU are comfortable. There is no right or wrong answer, and never let anyone else tell you unequivocally the “best” place for your money.

Remember: it is physically + emotionally impossible for anyone to care more about your money than you do. 

The other thing to consider is how close you are to retirement. If you’re still a good 20-30 years off, you can afford to be a bit more risky + have more money in stocks than bonds.

If you want your portfolio to be almost 100% hands-off, consider a Target Date Fund. These funds automatically reallocate how much of your money is in stocks, bonds, and cash as you age. Right now, my target date fund has almost 95% of my money in stocks. As I age, it takes a small percentage of the money I have in stocks to either bonds or cash.

Some will say your money doesn’t grow as much. But again, consider how much time you are willing to put into investment research + maintaining a portfolio.

if you don’t have an employer match or you’ve reached the match do you contribute to a roth or your 401(k)?

The answer depends if you think it’s better for you to pay taxes on that money now or later. If you don’t make a lot of money, you pay be tempted to put money into your 401(k) because it lowers your tax bracket + saves you money now. But, if you’re tax bracket is pretty low, you’re most likely better off paying the taxes now + putting the money into your Roth.

Think of this way: no matter who is president or what happens politically, income taxes will probably go up. If you put money into a 401(k), when you withdraw, you pay taxes on that money based on when you withdraw, not when you put the money in.

For example, let’s say you make $40k now, and in retirement, you hope to have $50k a year. You’re better off in the long run paying taxes on $40k a year rather than $50k a year in retirement.

Make sense?

It’s usually ideal to have money in both a 401(k) + a Roth, but at the end of the day, go with your gut.

If you want to read more about investing, my favorite two books are I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi + The Money Book for The Young, Broke, and Fabulous by Suze Orman. I can’t recommend these two books enough.

oh, and let’s not forget about the smoothies!

Here are a few of my favorite smoothie recipes:

Pink Power

My Go-To Green

This one was fun too.

Still need help or have questions? Contact us here at Family Strengthening Network to schedule your first 30 minute session with one of our trained Family Advocates. Since we are a nonprofit, all of our services are FREE. Contact us today!

 

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