Are Annuities Good or Bad for Your Retirement?

A lot of financial experts and bloggers don’t recommend annuities or even like to talk about them very much. They are more likely to recommend and want to talk to you about investments in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds for growing your wealth and prepping for retirement. That may leave you to wonder what annuities really are and whether you should you invest in them for your retirement years.

Annuities...good or bad? They have a poor reputation, but there can be good reasons to include the right one in your retirement plans.

I chose to purchase an annuity about 20 years ago (when I was 50) with qualified money I used from a 401(k). Then, about 5 years ago, I took that money and used it to purchase a 5-year deferred annuity that will start paying me beginning in January of 2020. Those payments are guaranteed to me or a beneficiary (my wife who is 20 years my junior) for 20 years, or for my entire life as long as I live (even if I live to be 100 or more). This made good sense for my situation. But, before you decide that an annuity is either a good or bad choice, ask yourself this: Have you taken a really good look at annuities and do they make any sense for you?

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14 Tips That Help You Save on Travel

As summer hits its middle, it’s not too early to think about next year’s vacation and how to save on travel. This year we may just be lounging around the community swimming pool and having a few BBQ nights on the grill, but not next year.

When planning your vacation, follow these tips to save on travel. The more you think about it in advance, the less you'll worry on your trip.

My wife and I are in the process of planning a big vacation for 2020 right now and we’re getting pretty excited. Excited, but also a bit worried, too. After all, vacations these days have become a pretty hefty expense and because of that we have to use our “super saving” skills to limit the cost and to maximize the fun.

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Not So “Pretty in Pink”: The Pink Tax

Here’s a very disturbing fact to still be talking about in the 21st century: Women are charged more when shopping for some items even when they are the same items as men’s. An actual 2015 study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Office found that women paid more for 42% of the nearly 800 products they surveyed! Let me repeat that one: 42%! And in 2019, it isn’t any different.

The pink tax, where women are charged more for products simply because they are women, is completely unfair. Here's what you need to know to fight back.

Even though the survey was four years ago, things have actually gotten worse. Manufacturers and retailers know that they can take advantage of this phenomenon and although it may seem like a silly little thing, the pink tax is very real.

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Saving Money Doesn’t Mean You Have to Have No Life!

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I guess I have always been surrounded by the “aura” of saving money. It started for me as a kid, simply because I grew up in a family that didn’t have a lot of extra money and I was the child of parents who grew up during the Great Depression. I am pretty sure that experience shaped my Mom and Dad’s philosophy about money and the importance of saving for a rainy day. The rainy days of the 1930’s were pretty rainy, so I get it.

If you feel like you have to have no life in order to save money, it doesn't have to be that way. Here's how to save and still enjoy life.

Of course, my parents were also around for the post-war abundance and prosperity of the 1950’s and things got a lot better for them and for all Americans as the 20th century rolled on. But even with that, the art and skill of the “saving of money” (which really primarily fell on my Mom’s shoulders as the main shopper and budget keeper) was still upper-most in their minds. And yes, of course, since I was right there by their side, mine too. But despite the emphasis on the saving of money, it didn’t mean that we had to have no life!

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Gen Z and the Retail Revolution

No, that’s not the name of a new rock band from across the pond. Rather it’s a description of what is happening in the world of retail these days, or should I say this decade. Yes, there is a retail revolution taking place and it’s something that we are all involved with no matter what letter is used to describe your GEN-eration—Z, X, Y or BB (that’s me, ha ha).

As the generations change, a massive retail revolution is occurring. Here's why the old retailers are closing and the new retailers are technology-driven.

Generation Z shoppers are a force to be reckoned with and are now a major influence on the retail market.

Generation Z (or Gen Z) is the demographic age that arrived after the Millennials (Gen Y). Demographers and researchers typically use the mid-1990s to late-2000s as birth years. That makes them somewhere between age 10 and 25 years old about now. Most of Generation Z have used the internet since birth and are comfortable with technology and social media. They really know no other way. That’s the reason for today’s post about Gen Z and the retail revolution and how it is affecting everyone!

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Why Do You Diss All Those Valuable Pennies?

Chances are if you look around your house, your car, or any of your pockets, you will find a penny or three. Those little pennies really don’t get much respect in today’s world, do they? After all when you shop, if you start to dole them out at the cash register you might get some kind of dirty look like “What are you doing…just give them a damn nickel! Don’t look for the pennies!” Or after you pay with your cash you dump the two pennies you get in change into a little tip jar or charity collection (or is it?) on the counter.

Do you dismiss the value of pennies? Whether you're paying off debt or saving up money, pennies can be more powerful than you think.

Those orphan pennies are so small and insignificant, right? They seem to be more of a nuisance than anything of real value, and when you have them around you usually just ignore them. Why do you diss all these pennies?

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Why Are You So Awful at Saving Money?

So you haven’t yet saved a dime towards your retirement…and you have been working now for years and years. You don’t know how you’re going to pay your taxes because you haven’t been keeping up with—what are those things called—quarterly payments? You certainly don’t have a rainy day emergency fund; why should you? And college, well, the kids will just have to open a lemonade stand, and charge $100 a glass to get their tuition and books paid for. What should I do about it? It’s their education, right?! If you are awful at saving money, please step right this way because you are going straight to financial hell and the elevator is waiting for you.

If you're awful at saving money, it pays to figure out why. Here are some of the reasons why people can't save, and what to do about it.

Disciplining Yourself to Save Is Hard

If it seems hard to save money it seems that way for one huge reason: it is! That’s especially when it feels like you’re just barely scraping by yourself, so what the F? Do you expect to save on top of that little piece of reality? Well, yeah, come to think of it I do and it’s not just an idea here I am touting. It’s kind of, sort of, really, really a necessity. So,

Why are you so awful at saving money?

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What About Your Retirement Debt?

So much is written about eliminating your debt, paying off your debt, and being totally debt free at any and every age in life that you may believe that it’s always the only goal you should have. Financial independence (FIRE) depends to a huge degree on not owing money to anyone or anything.

Many recommend that you reduce or eliminate your debts, especially if you're about to retire. But are there times it makes sense to keep retirement debt?

Truthfully, it’s a wonderful goal and for some people it actually can be achieved. It’s not common, but it does happen. When you owe debt, more than you can ever repay, it can ruin your life. But today’s post isn’t about that subject. There are many posts about it, so I want to look at debt from a different angle. What about debts you hold after you retire….your retirement debt?

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