In this episode of Motley Fool Answers, Alison Southwick and Robert Brokamp want to help you get rich quick. Well, richer, and with a reasonably small investment of your time, even if you'll have to wait to see results.
For tip three, he offers some advice that is more speculative. It looks like more Americans than not will get some degree of a tax cut next year from the overhaul that was passed in December. And even though there's no clarity about how big anyone's savings will be, you can start planning to reroute those funds straight to your retirement accounts now. As for tip four, given the amount of credit card debt many of us carry and how much we use plastic even if we pay it off every month, hunting for a better card offer is well worth the effort.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Jan. 9, 2018.
Alison Southwick: What is day three of seven days of doing things in under 15 minutes? This title is much clunkier than I intended it to be for this episode.
Robert Brokamp: This is something that we mentioned two episodes ago, and that is hopefully make the most of lower taxes. Two episodes ago we talked about the new tax law and some of the ramifications of it, and I encourage people to invest whatever savings you have immediately. That's really what this is about.
The tricky thing is right now nobody really knows how it's going to play out. We're going to start getting our paychecks based on our last W-4 that we filled out already, because nobody has the new W-4s. The IRS is supposed to release guidelines about all this and the new tax withholding tables, but they're not going to do it for another couple of weeks, which means it will take until February for everyone, including the payroll companies, to process it.
I think you should assume you're going to get a tax cut and just save more money right now. Sign up for more savings in your 401(k), your IRA, your 529. Once the tax tables are available, then figure out how much of a tax savings you are going to get and then adjust accordingly.
If you think you're going to get lower taxes and can save more to your traditional 401(k) or IRA, the great thing is just by contributing, you're also getting a tax deduction, so you're basically using a tax break to increase your tax breaks.
Southwick: Very nice. What is the fourth thing you can do to be wealthier in 2018 and beyond?
Brokamp: No. 4 is get a better credit card. According to NerdWallet, the average household owes almost $16,000 in credit card debt which is up 8% from last year.
Brokamp: Yes, and we have all heard that the Federal Reserve has raised rates. The credit card companies have taken advantage of that and now the average APR on a card is 16.3%, an all-time high.
So, just doing some simple math of that rate on the average card balance, you're paying almost $2,500 interest alone on a card. I talked about using your tax break to invest more. If you have that much credit card debt, you should be using the tax break to pay off that debt.
It's also a good opportunity to try to get a lower-rate card, so you're not paying as much interest, or if you are someone who pays off your balance every month, see what else is out there. See if there's a better cash-back card for you. Maybe better travel miles. Something like that. Lots of sites make this very easy to do nowadays.
I mentioned NerdWallet. The Motley Fool has a credit card center. Just go to Fool.com/creditcards. We have an article there called "The Best Credit Cards of 2018." All kinds of lists of what you're looking for [no fee, best miles, and things like that]. See if there's a better card out there for you.