Huge Financial Fears and How to Cope, Part 1

It runs through your mind at night like a scary movie. It’s those frightening financial fears that so many of us worry about daily. Some of these fears are caused by a thing as simple as student loan debt or it may be as complicated as dealing with a health issue and how that can affect your work, income, and spending. I don’t want to paint a picture of doom and gloom here but being a realist I have been in the position of worrying about money, so I understand what it is like. So what can we do about that? The worries and fears we have are in some ways a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Financial fears can fill your life with worry and misery. But rather than worrying about what might happen, here's how to do something about it.

Worries and fears about money and financial problems can have a terrible impact on you. It is debilitating to spend hours of time thinking and ruminating. It can affect the way you function and perform at your job and it can cause you to lose sleep at night. Even personal relationships are disrupted.  All of those things can actually make your situation worse and possibly expedite the very fears you have into happening.  While there are things that can and will happen to us in life, the time and energy we spend on this subject is much better when it is spent on a plan of what we can actually do to prevent our fears from ever happening or what we can do to prepare and fix them if and when they actually occur. Continue reading

What Karate Can Teach Us About Investing

Please welcome Troy from Market History for today’s guest post on what karate can teach us about investing.

I used to do karate when I was in elementary school and when I first started high school. Unlike many sports, karate is insanely aggressive in which the training is rather painful. There are a lot of parallels between karate and investing because karate isn’t just a sport. It’s more of a way of life that trains both your body and your mind. Here are some lessons from my experiences that you can apply as an investor.

Believe it or not karate can teach us about investing. Here are several important lessons from martial arts that cross over to making you a better investor.

Doing nothing is just as important as doing something

You can easily tell a good martial artist from a bad martial artist. Someone who’s bad at karate will throw as many punches, kicks, and combinations as possible in any given round. A lot of times these attacks will be uncoordinated and can be easily deflected. Continue reading

I Love the Internet! (Especially for Personal Finance)

I love the internet! I mean I really, really love the net. Yes, of course I love my wife Suzanne very much, but I love the internet. Can’t I just marry it too and pledge my everlasting love and devotion?

While these days it's taken for granted, I love the internet! Here's just some of the ways it has improved personal finance, not to mention everything else.

The internet is always there when I need it (barring a power failure). I thank you batteries and Wi-Fi very much for that. Yes, I can use my laptop or smartphone and take it anywhere I go and that’s a really good thing, isn’t it? Continue reading

Why Are You Spending More Than You Make?

There is no escaping the fact that Americans like “BIG” from the Big Mac to the Big House and Big Car. We either have, wanted to have, or work towards having those things as our goals in life. Because of that single fact, Americans spend and spend their money and, oh yeah, it’s money they may not even have! Today, as consumers, we acquire more than double of what we did about 50 years ago in material goods.  That translates to an average retail credit card debt per household in the USA today of over $8,000 per family. This begs the question: why are you spending more than you make?

Are you spending more than you make? We all have that tendency and here are 7 reasons why we are triggered to spend, spend, spend.

I have to laugh a little now talking about this subject. After all, I’m no different than you. I think I used to be obsessed with bigger is better and more, more, more just like most of us have over the years at one time or another. We seem to have that idea in our brains almost from birth. It continues to find ways into our lives all the time, for example just last month, McDonalds introduced a bunch of new Bigger and Better (I guess only time will tell if they are actually better) big sandwiches that border on the ridiculous! In fact, they’re big and also budget-bustlingly big. It’s certainly not uncommon these days to see prices at fast foodies as high as $7-$8 each. Continue reading

Financial Literacy Month: Teaching Your Kids About Money

April is Financial Literacy Month and it’s the perfect time to think about this subject and ways to help make you and your family more financially savvy! During this month, I have been asked several times by others in the financial world a simple yet personal question: “What do I wish I had learned as a kid about money that I wasn’t taught?” That got me to really thinking about the subject of personal finance in a little bit different way.

April is Financial Literacy Month and there's no better time to teach financial literacy for kids and adults. Here's how kids can learn more about money.

Almost everything I ever learned about money and personal finance as a child I learned from my parents. Schools just didn’t spend very much time teaching about that and surprisingly even today, some 60 years after I went to elementary school, they still don’t! Continue reading

Should You Get an Attorney for Traffic Tickets?

I recently spent the day with my good friend who went to court on a traffic ticket here in my hometown…hey, I’m retired so I have a lot of free time on my hands. I was there as moral support armed with a little bit of knowledge that I have from some of the memorable and yet unpleasant experiences I have had over the years trying to fight a ticket in court.

Well, there’s some good news and some bad news here to report. The good news is, of course, you get your day in court before the judge. The bad news is that nothing I have ever experienced has really changed. You probably can appear in court until you are blue in the face, you’re more than likely to be ruled guilty as charged and you’ll have to pay a fine or worse. It may be even much worse than you think. So today I’d like to write about whether you need an attorney for traffic tickets.

Getting an attorney for traffic tickets may be the smart thing to do. Check out my experiences with traffic court and decide for yourself.

The System is Really “Big League”

If you have ever gotten a traffic ticket, like a speeding ticket, a drunken driving ticket, or a ticket related to an accident, then you probably have received from one to a dozen solicitations from lawyers who make a living representing people like you and me in traffic court. These guys practice this kind of law exclusively and sometimes handle dozens of these cases a week. Continue reading

How to Maximize Your Social Security Benefits

I don’t care who you are or how old you may be, you have thought about Social Security from time to time. It may be because you are wondering if there will even be such a thing when you retire. Perhaps you are approaching your retirement years and are wondering exactly what you will be getting every month once you start to draw upon it. Whatever the reason that Social Security has crossed your mind, the time for thinking about it isn’t when you are turning 66 or 67. Figuring out how to maximize your Social Security benefits starts long before that.

If you want to know how to maximize your Social Security benefits, start thinking about it now! Here are 12 ways to increase your benefits.

In fact, the time to think about your Social Security benefits is always now. Here’s why. There are a dozen factors that determine what you will get as your monthly payment when the day finally arrives for you to collect. Many of those items are things you do when you are young, middle aged, and then finally retired and each of those things will affect the amount you receive. Don’t believe me? Here are 12 ways you can increase you Social Security payouts when you retire by simply following these behaviors along the way starting right now! Continue reading

3 Shameful Financial Problems You Fear To Talk About

Americans are well known around the world for certain things. One prime thing is our tendency to talk and even brag about our lives and our abundances. We are pretty proud of living in what we refer to as the “greatest country” in the world and we have good reasons to feel that way. If you are a bigtime world traveler, you are probably sending a clear message to everyone you meet: you have lots of money and you enjoy spending it freely. You probably stay at a fine hotel, eat at a fancy restaurant, travel at the height of the season, etc. and that is the message you’re sending.

Sometimes financial problems are embarrassing and we're afraid to share them with loved ones. But getting help is better than trying to work it out alone.

The Art of Braggadocio

Speaking of bragging, we also have great fervor when spreading good news to others, especially our family and neighbors. We make it obvious so they will notice when we drive into our garage with that big new $85,000 2017 Land Rover that’s so perfect for those cross country trips and exploring the Gobi Desert, but will more likely spend its time parked at little Debbie’s soccer practices every Tuesday and Thursday! Continue reading

Deep in the Heart of TAXES

Benjamin Franklin once said “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. Particularly here in the USA, you certainly can’t deny that, can you? You can’t really ever avoid the subject of taxes, especially right around now since the big and dreaded April 15th deadline (ok, this year it’s April 18th) is less than a month away! The truth however is this: income taxes are not the only taxes we have to deal with every day, and retirement and taxes is something we need to plan for. It’s not something that is new and it’s not something that is going away.

Taxes are an inevitable part of life, but when you mix retirement and taxes you know you need to do some planning. Here are some tax situations to consider.

The net is this: my paycheck is gross!

Back in the days when I used to get an actual paycheck, the first thing I would look at was the “net” amount of my check compared to the “gross”. There was always a big difference between those two numbers and most of it was centered on taxes. It always amazed me how many different ways they could slice up my paycheck and no matter what my salary was that number was always smashed by those payroll tax deductions. Continue reading

Best Personal Finance Books to Read This Year

Please welcome back fellow blogger Anum Yoon for today’s guest post.

As the millennial workforce continues to take hold and mature, many professionals are taking a serious look at their personal finances for the first time. Unless you have an educational background in the niche, the process of navigating through all the numbers and figures can be overwhelming. Even those who don’t qualify for the millennial generation might find it challenging. Fortunately, there are plenty of good — and relevant — books you can use to gain some further insight and avoid any significant errors.

We could all do with a little more education on how to optimize our finances. Here are some of the best personal finance books to read this year.

“The Total Money Makeover: Class Edition” by Dave Ramsey

Originally introduced to the public in the early 2000s, Dave Ramsey’s best-selling book provides a step-by-step guide to reducing debt and planning your future finances. The regular updates and revised editions have kept it relevant over the years, so it’s still a great choice if you haven’t already read it. This book is also recommended by PSECU as a worthwhile read for anyone who is interested in gaining more control over their money. Continue reading