My Bank Account Was Hacked – Is Yours Next?

A hacked bank account…basically identity theft. You may not ever think it will happen to you. It can’t happen to you, can it? It only happens to those other people, right? Or maybe the DNC, or Target stores, or someone who is really, really careless about their information, or I just dunno…anyone but me!

My finances were rolling right along until I hit a wall...a hacked bank account. Read my tale of woe and find out how to prevent it from happening to you.

Well hello. Wake up call, it has happened to me. I got hacked and boy does that send chills though my system. I got the call, literally, the wakeup call just last week and it was not fun. For the past 9 days I’ve been in a mental turmoil here wondering who, what, when, where, and why? How could this happen to me? Continue reading

14 Things You Should Never, Ever Do…Ever!

There are some things you should never do because if you do, you can get really burned. I’ll admit that it’s happened to me. In many cases you have to learn the hard way and that’s a true life lesson that you only have to learn one time. That old proverb says “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”. Let’s hope you never have to live that reality! Keep this list in mind so that when that dangerous day comes, you won’t ever experience what many others have had to endure. Remember, never ever and I mean never do these 14 things!

There are some things you should never do if you want to keep your personal finances solid. Take my advice, so that you don't have to learn the hard way! Continue reading

Why You Need Life Insurance Whether You’re Young or Old

It’s a subject that none of us enjoy talking about: whether you need life insurance. It can be a bit frightening to dwell on our death and planning for it whether you are 25 or 85. Being 67, I can’t help but think that I’m not going to be around as long as I have been, and that’s a subject that makes me worry about my younger wife, my kids, and their financial futures. There are a number of important things to consider here and a number of myths about life insurance that need to be discussed while you can do something about it. Let’s examine the facts we are facing now when looking at life insurance in 2016.

It's not just the middle-aged that need life insurance. Read on to understand when and why Millennials and Baby Boomers need life insurance too.

Fewer Americans have life insurance today than they did just 10 years ago. Just 60% of us have life insurance and that number was around 70% before the 2008 “great recession”. The reason is fairly simple. A lot of us feel that having life insurance is just too expensive and doesn’t fit into our budget plan since the economy, unemployment, and the difficult times of 2008 have lingered into the present. Continue reading

Money Mindset: Success, Greed, and Your Soul

For the Love of Money

Over the past few months, I have been thinking an awful lot about the complexities and more “abstract” points about money and its place in my life (and yours too). Our money mindset, if you will. After all it’s really such a huge part of everyone’s life. Let me try my best to explain what it is that’s going through my mind. Perhaps you have thought similarly or maybe not. In any case, think just for a bit about the following and humor me.

When your money mindset becomes an obsession, it isn't healthy. Your peace of mind and success is about more than just money.

I’ve come to the conclusion that money is the most talked about and thought of subject in life, not today specifically, but in summation of all the days of our lives. We talk about earning it, spending it, saving it, giving it away, winning it, losing it, investing it, and wanting it. We think we need more of it, deserve it, and we are usually jealous of those who have lots of it. We dream about it, or perhaps have nightmares about it, we scheme about it and some even steal it. Money it so very important in our lives even though we know that there are many other things that we should devote just as much attention to everyday. Continue reading

Are Grocery Prices Actually Going Down?

For the first time since 1960 grocery prices have dropped for 9 consecutive months here in the U.S. So far this year, overall prices have declined by slightly over 2% against last year’s prices and in some key categories they dropped even more dramatically according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is certainly good news and an unexpected “gift” after years of steadily inflated food prices that were at a zenith as recently as a year ago. Things such as shorter supplies, avian flu, and viruses affected beef, pork, and chicken supplies around the country. Grain prices were hurt by severe weather and drought which also made prices jump.

After years of high food costs, could grocery prices actually be going down? Here's what's going on, what it affects, and how to take advantage. Continue reading

10 IRA Mistakes That Can Screw Up Your Retirement Plan

For an amount of money like $5,500 a year ($6,500 for those over age 50), all of us have an awful lot riding on an IRA. According to the Investment Company Institute, Americans had over $24.6 trillion dollars socked away in total retirement assets with $7.5 trillion in IRA accounts as of the second quarter of 2016.  That makes IRAs the biggest place that people have parked their money for retirement in the country. In addition to direct contributions, a lot of that money has come from rollovers of retirement assets from previous employers’ accounts.

IRA accounts are a popular way to save for retirement, but you need to beware of these 10 IRA mistakes that can derail your savings.

Opening an IRA account seems like it’s a fairly simple thing. You go to a bank or you can pick a brokerage firm or a mutual fund company (even online), fill out a few forms, and then move some money into the account. But, there are a lot of things that can go wrong when and if you stub your toe in the IRA process. It can wind up costing you a lot of money, and that is the money that you are counting on for your retirement and that can screw up your “golden years” if you’re not careful. Continue reading

Report Card: Our Annual Expenses Year to Year

I have been pretty impressed over the past few years by the many people that post their financial information and performance against their budgets as a way for all of us to see exactly how their goals and budget plans are doing. It’s always challenging, but it’s a great way to learn by comparing how you are doing versus others. Since I have always been a very private person, when it comes to my own income and expenses, I haven’t made my numbers very public despite the questions I get asked each month about my own spending habits and results of my budgeting.  Today I’m breaking that silence to give you my annual expenses for the past 5 years, so alert the media!!

I think everyone's a little curious about how others manage their expenses. Here is our report card: how we spent our money for the past 5 years.

Where the Money Goes

Seriously, I have been tracking my numbers and budgeting very carefully for over 10 years now, long before I began to write this blog. If you have followed me a little bit you probably know that the biggest part of our expenses every year has been for medical care and insurance coverage. That’s because both my wife Suzanne and I are unfortunately ill and have some chronic conditions that make those expenses around 25-30% of our annual expenditures every year. The latest numbers on healthcare spending for the average American is about 8% of their total budget, and that’s up from the 6%, the number just 2 years ago. Continue reading

Couple Money Management: When a Saver Loves a Spender

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Managing money together as a couple can be one of the most stressful parts of a relationship. Everyone has their own ideas of how much to save and how much to spend, not to mention different priorities and different habits. So imagine how much more difficult it becomes when one partner is a classic “saver” and the other is a classic “spender”. How do you cope and manage your money together as a couple?

To excel at couple money management, you need to compromise, even if one of you is a saver and the other is a spender. Here's how to do it without fighting.I consider myself fortunate to have found a partner who generally feels the same way I do about money, saving, and spending. And yet, my wife likes to spend a bit more money than I do, sometimes putting her in the spender role and me in the saver role. We always manage to work out any monetary disagreements with a quick conversation and a bit of time to think. One of the key things we’ve realized though is that it isn’t so much that she’s the spender and I’m the saver, but that we spend on different things. Continue reading

Living Large and Saving Money in a Tiny House

It was just a couple of years ago when I first heard of a new trend growing in and around my area. In NYC, they were building tiny apartments in some of the most expensive and sought after locations in Manhattan. There were places where the rents were just astronomical and only the rich and famous could dwell. Tiny apartments? It was something that certainly peaked my curiosity quite a bit. After all, haven’t most of us always thought the concept of bigger is better as the way we should go?

Could you ever see yourself living in a tiny house? It can be a great way to save on expenses, but more than that, it's a lifestyle.

I became even more curious and puzzled when I found out some of the details. I thought, what is tiny anyway? Most of the people I knew where always looking for a nice big place to live. You know the kind I mean with multiple bedrooms, an office, and an eat-in kitchen, and yes a couple of bathrooms too. That is an apartment! Continue reading

Track Your Financial Health with These 6 Vital Signs

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When you go to the doctor, they check your vital signs like blood pressure and temperature to make sure you’re healthy. But what about the vital signs for your financial health? These numbers tell you if you’re financially healthy (or not!) and can give you goals to shoot for.

Just like your doctor measures your vital signs to check your physical health, you need to track these 6 vital signs to monitor your financial health.Over time I’ve learned the hard way that I have to go to the doctor and get checked out or else my health suffers. It’s the same with your money. If you don’t pay attention to your financial vital signs, you’ll be headed for disaster. Continue reading