Dear Liz: My husband and I make good money. We have a low-rate mortgage, a good amount in savings, and our retirement fund is well on its way, despite recent losses. We still have 25 years until retirement. What’s the best thing to do with our extra money? We have been putting it into projects to spruce up the house but otherwise just throw it in savings.
Answer: How about investing some of it in a session with a fee-only financial planner? That’s the best way to know if you really are on track for retirement, if you have enough emergency savings and if you’re adequately insured.
You can get referrals to fee-only planners who charge by the hour at Garrett Planning Network (www.garrettplanningnetwork.com) and the National Assn. of Personal Financial Advisors ( www.napfa.org).
If your finances are indeed as rosy as they seem, then you may want to consider enjoying your money a little more. Research shows us experiences make us happier than possessions, so consider a special vacation or travel to see family and friends.
You also might consider boosting your charitable donations to share your good fortune in these increasingly hard times.