Crisis Time – The Wants Versus Needs Test

In an event that’s so horrific like this pandemic, I am searching for something to cling to and be able to continue writing here. At some point, and I wish I knew when, life will once again become more normal. And when that happens, personal finances will once again be a huge topic of conversation. But, actually, it really is even right now. It all comes down to wants versus needs.

During this pandemic crisis, it's critical that you can distinguish wants versus needs and save money wherever you can. All of us will need to save.

Now, during a real crisis, is one of those times when it’s particularly important to understand what you really need, as opposed to stuff you just want. The COVID-19 pandemic is the reason why prioritizing your needs has become so important. It was perhaps all just fun and games for some before this so called “gut punch”, but it’s not anymore!

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The Ultimate Guide of Fun Things to Do Online for Free

With many of us in quarantine or isolation to try to halt the spread of the coronavirus, your computer (or smartphone or tablet) is your gateway to the world. Even though we should be productive with work and/or household chores, it’s also important to take some time for fun. Fortunately, many organizations and individuals have been making their online resources free for viewing, which brings us to…the ultimate guide of fun things to do online for free!

To keep you entertained while you're hunkered down at home, here are fun things to do online for free, including classes, performances, and field trips.

The range of activities available online include educational classes, performances, virtual tours/field trips, books, fitness classes, and more. (I didn’t even include your favorite blogs and podcasts.) And many are family-friendly. Some of these activities were always free, others have been made free because of the pandemic. And you know that free is my favorite word!

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Places That Help with Food During the Coronavirus Pandemic

One of the big concerns, among the many other concerns we have during the coronavirus pandemic, is about getting food. Although there is no real food shortage, shoppers are stripping stores of staples and straining the process of restocking. It is very apparent that many people are afraid that if they don’t stock up and even horde food, they may run out over time while we are hunkered down in our homes. Others who have lost their livelihoods due to the restrictions may find it difficult to afford to buy food, while seniors and other vulnerable people may be worried about going out to shop. That’s why it’s more important than ever to know about places that help with food.

Places that help with food have become critical during the coronavirus pandemic. Here is a list of places where you can get help or give help and donate.

The closing of our borders because of the spread of the virus, especially to the south and Mexico, is going to create a shortage of workers who pick and process the fresh fruits and vegetables we will need shortly, but for the moment that is not the problem.

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Your Credit Rating Is So Important Right Now!

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I had planned a new post today about the subject of credit. But I decided to change it. The global pandemic caused me to take a totally different look at the importance of credit right now, mainly because having good credit has become way more significant today than it was even just a few days ago. Why? COVID-19, the coronavirus, that’s why.

With the current pandemic and our economy at the brink of recession/depression, the importance of credit has never been as significant as it is right now.

They Say “Cash” Is King, But…

For almost forever, it seems credit and your credit rating have been at the center of the discussion when it comes to your finances. Long before I started writing about it myself, I knew that building up my credit would be important. Because one day I wanted to buy a house, a car, and lots of other “things” that I wanted and I would need my credit to help me purchase them. Despite the fact that at times, having credit can wind up getting you to overspend and landing you in trouble and big debt, if you use good common sense and control your impulses to spend, your good credit works for you.

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“March Madness” – Can You Believe More Fed Cuts?

Opinions are like noses: everyone has one and this one is mine. It’s official. The coronavirus has created complete chaos in our lives and the actions in Washington to combat it are literally creating a whole new “March madness” by the hour!

Another surprise Fed rate cut has happened, but will it help with the economy, much less the COVID-19 coronavirus?

I try really hard to avoid putting my 2 cents (formerly 3 cents before I suffered the recent stock market losses) in this blog about politics. Occasionally it slips in, but that occurs only when I feel it’s necessary. Today, it’s necessary.

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The Bear Market: Get Used to It?

For the past 12 years, since the housing market debacle and the 2008 recession, we have been the beneficiary of steady economic growth. If you were a stock market investor, you have seen the Dow Jones soar from around 7,000 to record levels breaking the 29,000 mark earlier this year!

The COVID-19 coronavirus has brought the bear market to us. Will the disease and the bear be around long? Here's what history tells us.

That’s a 400% increase in its value. The bull has been on a rampage, but those days are over. The bear market is here. No matter how you paint the picture right now, it looks like recession, and the world is going into a long-awaited cycle that it always goes through at some point. Are you ready? The bear market…get used to it!

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Yes, I Made It to Annuity Day!

Well, it finally happened. The check actually was in the mail and it came right on schedule, too. Twenty years ago, I decided to add an annuity to my retirement planning program and it kind of snuck right up on me. That was a really pleasant surprise. In a world where the annuity often has its detractors (and perhaps with good reason), I am pretty happy with it. I felt for me it was a good decision. Depositing that annuity check for $483.46 (the first of 240 for the next 20 years!) has comforted me quite a bit since February 1st. With the market in chaos, even more so in the past several weeks, I guess it’s congratulations to me! I made it to annuity day and now another of my nest eggs has hatched!

After opening an annuity 20 years ago, I finally made it to annuity day and received my first payment. Annuities can be a good idea in certain situations.

What Is an Annuity?

An annuity technically is not an investment. First and foremost, an annuity is an insurance product, which means you buy it because it reduces your risk. Some annuities, like variable annuities, do have a selection of stock and bond portfolios available as investment choices inside the insurance contract, but the one I bought was a fixed rate annuity which for me had no investment risk on my return and payout. I knew 20 years ago what I would be getting back to the penny when I bought it.

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The Fed’s March 3rd Surprise Interest Rate Cut

You are probably one of the millions of Americans who are concerned about the COVID-19 coronavirus and you are trying to best deal with all the news about it and the risk it imposes. We all are.

With worries about the coronavirus affecting our economy, a new Fed rate cut is meant to stimulate growth, but how will that affect consumers?

Besides the huge health risks, the world economy is dealing with the potential impact the virus is having on it. To help our economy withstand the threat from the rapidly spreading and scary coronavirus, the Federal Reserve sliced interest rates by the largest amount since 2008. While many financial experts feel that a Fed rate cut may not have any impact on what’s happening, it’s a big move that might have impact on the credit cards in your wallet, the rates you pay for a home loan or a refinanced mortgage, and many other borrowing costs, too. Whether it encourages the consumer to keep buying as they have been for the past several years during this medical crisis is another thing completely.

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