It does seem a little strange to talk about back to school when many of us haven’t even taken a break yet to enjoy some time off this summer. Believe it or not, however, the back to school onslaught has already begun. If you don’t believe me, check out your Sunday paper, online sites, and your nearby shopping center or supermarket. There you’ll see the piles of pens, papers, and the like that you and millions of others will be gobbling up over the next few weeks.
According to the National Retail Federation, the average American family will spend over $600 for back to school. As of this week, it is estimated that about one third of all back to school shopping has already been accomplished. Those early shoppers may have gotten a big head start, but have they gotten the very best deals? Continue reading
Hot enough for you? Unless you just got back from the North Pole you have probably noticed that we’re in the middle of one of the hottest stretches of the year, or any year for that matter. We’re suffering from the effects of what is known as the ‘Heat Dome” which currently stretches all across the country. So you don’t think weather patterns are changing and the extremes from one season to the next are dramatic and unpredictable? (Perhaps you’d like to read what science says about that.) But wait a second, what is the “Heat Dome” and what can you do about it?
The dome effect is, well, a dome effect which occurs when the heat that is present just can’t escape into the atmosphere because of several factors including the dew points, humidity and yes, the stagnant pollution. In addition, “corn sweat” (yes you heard that right) produced by the Midwest crops adds to that condition building up dangerous and potentially lethal conditions from the high temperatures. Continue reading
Have you ever thought about the possibility of filing for bankruptcy? You know it happens all the time. Today, many people find themselves drowning in debt and unable to keep up with their obligations. They find themselves in a desperate situation and bankruptcy offers a pathway back to stability. While it’s better to take responsibility and pay down your debts, there are times when this simply isn’t an option and bankruptcy is the only way.
If you haven’t done it yourself, I am betting you probably know of someone or some business that has declared bankruptcy. In fact, it’s become so common that even a presidential candidate can have had multiple business bankruptcies and still garner respect and admiration as a responsible and savvy money manager (as incredible as that might seem). Today it’s become the way to “liquidate debt” or “reorganize debt” in order to manage financial problems. It even may turn a very negative situation into a positive one. Continue reading
If you listen to the investment experts you see on the business networks like CNBC or Bloomberg to get advice every day about your stock portfolio or potential investment strategies, you’re likely to find in a space of an hour or so a complete jumble of advice. After hearing it, it may cause you to want to heave up your lunch or even worse, pull a blanket over your head and wait until it’s all over!
That’s primarily due to what I call, are you ready…“the bullish bear, I think here’s what to expect or it may be something else, voice of sanity and a really good guess strategy” theory. Let’s face the facts, many of these “experts” have no more idea than you or I do especially if they’re working every day on TV and radio for a paycheck. After all, wouldn’t they be investing their own money and making big bucks with all of that so called knowledge and forecasting? While there are a few key rules in investing and growing your money, a lot of what is spouted each day is what is known as “investment pornography”. Continue reading
I’ve been retired officially for a couple of years now and I did a pretty good job of trying to save and prepare for my golden years. But truth be told, almost every month I wonder if I will have enough to last. Is it possible to outlive your money that you’ve stashed away in retirement plans? Actually, it’s the biggest fear of retired folks today and that’s according to experts. Over 44% of all persons and 41% of all retirees think they may and actually fear they might outlive their money!
Prepare yourself right now and avoid these pitfalls than can make your retirement a lot less than “golden” if you don’t get it right. Continue reading
The world of investing is rapidly changing. We have seen the global economy rise and fall, with housing and stock market crises taking up headlines.
Even so, many tried-and-true concepts of saving and investing still provide the most stability for investors. In fact, you should brush up on at least five old-school financial concepts as a first step in securing your financial future. They may not represent a new model of thinking, but they’re all safe ways to protect your hard-earned money. Continue reading
From the earliest days in our country, owning your own home has been a goal of almost every American or at least it seems that way. From the time that the first settlers landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, setting up and having your very own place to live was something that each family did and they focused all their attention on it. Of course, they had to build that shelter back then, unlike today when we can just look around the part of the country we want to live in and pick a house from the neighborhoods we like and can afford. Many of us have done just that, more than once, myself included. It’s the biggest most expensive thing you can ever buy. But, is it still what everyone wants today? Has the American dream of home ownership started to slip away?
You have probably heard the song made famous by Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. I’m sure you’ve heard it hundreds of times since its release back in 1988. It’s a catchy tune and of course it makes you feel good and yes, happy. But in reality, we all worry about things, like the kids, our jobs, the car, and lots more depending on where you are on the “I worry about everything” scale. And one thing that I can be sure is on your list is money worries, the one thing we all have on our minds.
So the question today is, “What are your money worries and what can you do to calm your nerves and chill?” Continue reading
According to CFSI’s Consumer Financial Health Study, 57% of Americans—approximately 138 million adults—are struggling financially. While we can probably picture what strugging looks like, what about being financially healthy? To me, financial health means that I’m prepared to handle what life throws at me. In my case that means that when my wife and I began suffering with chronic illness, we were able to cover our medical bills and avoid bankruptcy.
First my wife, who was already suffering with fibromyalgia, learned she also had rheumatoid arthritis. She worked as long as she could with the pain, but in the end had to file for disability. Then I had a heart attack, learning I had type 2 diabetes and congestive heart failure in the process. That required multiple hospital stays and surgery, but thankfully I am stable now. Still, I had to retire a few years earlier than planned. At the same time our income was taking a significant hit, our healthcare expenses were increasing. Continue reading
Every year I get calls, e-mails, and texts asking me, “Hey Gary, when is the best time to get deals on stuff this summer?” Well the answer to that question is starting right now! Summer sales season has already begun, believe it or not, despite the fact that summer only officially began just a week ago.
You see, if you don’t already know, retailers are way ahead of you in terms of seasonality and by this time of the year they are already thinking of “Back to School” and the “Fall” merchandise mix that’s on order. It may even be on the way to the stores as we speak. Even with the rise of online browsing and the world of computer shopping sites, retail floor space is still the most valuable square footage around. Because it is, it must turn over faster and faster to keep up with the big retail stores agenda to bring you the newest, latest and hottest merchandise as early as possible. That means early selling and bigger profits margins, otherwise it means bigger clearance sales for you! Continue reading