One of the warnings that personal finance gurus often give is “be very careful with your use of credit cards”! I’ve said it myself and the reason why is that so many of us are just so damned cavalier when it comes to credit card spending. We lack self control, overuse our credit cards, fail to track our spending, buy impulsively, and either can’t or won’t be able to pay for that overspending. When all of that occurs, it causes a spiral into high interest payments, growing debt, damaged credit ratings, and eventually a possible financial disaster! Danger, Will Robinson, danger!
But, hold on a second, please. To be fair (and smart), credit cards are not evil in concept. In fact, credit cards can really rock and let me tell you exactly why! Continue reading
For today’s guest post on getting your finances back on track, please welcome fellow personal finance blogger Marc from Vital Dollar.
Many of us find, at least at some point in our lives, that our financial situation isn’t as strong as we’d like. For most people, that means debt and maybe even poor spending habits.
It could be student loans, car loans, credit cards, medical bills, or some other type of debt. Regardless, if you want to take control of your money and get your finances back on track there are some steps that you should take. Continue reading
One of the things that always worried me before I retired was that I couldn’t honestly figure out what I would actually need to live on after I stopped getting my weekly paycheck. In other words, what would my retirement expenses be?
Almost all of us dream of the day we can stop working for good, but we all still worry about our finances and that can cloud even the sunniest visions of retirement. What will be and how will you cover everyday expenses when you no longer can count on a payday? Fortunately, there are some costs that actually do go down or simply disappear once you quit the daily rat race. That really helps you add some bucks to your new budget and keeps your standard of living from crashing down on your head when you start depending on your retirement savings and Social Security for most of your spendable funds. Continue reading
Hello out there. Yes, I’m talking to you. You, the totally responsible adult in the room, right? You, the guy or gal who has a real household budget and tracks all expenses you have to the penny every month. You, the responsible person that has an up-to-date will and all of your insurance policies are completely in order. Oh, and since you are that responsible person, you also have been maxing out your 401(k) contributions at work since you first became eligible and saving diligently for your retirement too. Yeah, right.
Most of us know what we ought, should, must, and are required to do that makes perfect sense to ensure our financial success, stability, and security now and in our future lives. The problem is that few of us actually follow through and do it all.
It’s kind of like trying to assemble something electrical or diffusing the wiring in a bomb and seeing that all the wires are the same color, no blues, or whites, or greens, only red wires. The instructions clearly warn you to avoid those red wires, but there you are staring at them and they’re all red! Why did God do that to us? Continue reading
Boy, there’s a real question for the ages, isn‘t it? It seems that a lot of us find ourselves scratching our heads frequently trying to figure out “how to beat the system” and no matter how hard we try, we just can’t ever seem to do it. As we sometimes say, the emphasis is on “we” because when you really think about it, some people actually do seem to beat the system and usually that doesn’t seem to include us. Is that time well spent?
It certainly ruins most of your day when you sit and moan about how you “just can’t win” or you don’t have any luck. When you do that, you are probably dooming yourself to even more failures and future frustrations. Wouldn’t your time be better spent on trying to learn and educate yourself more every day so you have a better chance to succeed in your job or hell, everything in life! Trying to learn more and improve yourself will always improve your chances to beat the system. Continue reading
Often flying under the radar these days and almost forgotten about in the 21st century is a really good old friend that I grew up with as a child: the U.S. Savings Bond. Originally developed as encouragement to save (called the “baby bonds”) in 1935 during FDR’s first term during the Great Depression, they eventually evolved into the E bonds that helped finance and pay for World War II back in the 1940’s (War Bonds).
Like many things, it has changed since those days. As a kid in the 1950’s, I recall when I used to buy bond stamps and paste them into my bond folder. Eventually it grew and when held to a maturity date, it was worth $25. I used it then for some huge event in my life, like a new bike or some other big deal!
Years later, the E bonds became the alphabet soup letters of bonds such as F, G, J, K, H, and even HH bonds (which ceased being issued in 2004). Remember those? You would go down to your local bank branch and buy them at “half” face value, hold onto them until they matured, and eventually cashed them in doubling your money. The good old days, right? Continue reading
Sometimes, I find myself to be a little bit bored. Retirement can do that to you, and so a few days ago I got out some paper and started to jot down some numbers. I tried to figure out how much money I have earned and spent over the last 50 years or so. Where does the money go? It’s kind of amazing and also kind of scary too that I can actually remember all of this crap. What does that say about me, my money, and my life? For one, I may be a freaking money savant…or am I just a mentally ill moron? Um, let’s go with savant, ok?
A Rainy Wednesday and This is What I Choose to Do?
So I sat down and began to put numbers on paper to try to figure it all out. I thought hard about how much money I have earned over the course of my lifetime and wondered how and where I have spent it all, leading me to this fundamental question: Where the fu¢k did all the money go?
It’s hard to believe, but it’s that happy time again for those who have Medicare benefits and use Medicare Advantage plans when the open enrollment period begins on October 15th and ends on December 7th 2018 for 2019. You’ll get the hint I am certain when you begin seeing the massive advertising, mail, and phone calls about it starting any second, but this time around there is something to actually celebrate.
The good news just ahead for Medicare recipients are some potentially big savings. The over 60 million people who currently participate in the program (which has been around for over 50 years now) benefit from lower administration costs than private insurers have and that is despite the losses from fraud which it suffers from. But for 2019, things are about to get even better.
It’s rare that I can report to you that there’s such good news, but with very little fanfare and parades, this is the case thanks to the passing of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed into law last February. The bill covers a lot of important and even controversial spending changes as it always does, but when it comes to changes that are lowering the cost to our healthcare and affect Medicare then bravo and thank you are in order! Continue reading
There’s no shortage of wrong information out there about car insurance. Unfortunately, making decisions based on car insurance myths can and will complicate your life and cost you money. “Millions of Americans really could use a refresher on what insurance does and does not cover,” says senior analyst Laura Adams of InsuranceQuotes.com. And there aren’t just one or two fake facts out there circulating about car insurance either. There are many and that list seems to grow longer all the time, adding onto itself year after year. So much so, that you may actually fear insuring your auto and make a wrong or stupid decision when you do!
Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, or just someplace right in the middle, you probably believe some of these ridiculous fake facts. You might have passed on bad info to someone else, like your kids or your friends. So here are 12 fake facts to rethink and get clear on to save yourself some grief and some money on car insurance next time you purchase it! Continue reading
Update 10/11/2018: The Social Security COLA for 2019 has been announced as a 2.8% increase.
It’s once again the time of year that we are anticipating information about the Social Security COLA (cost of living adjustment) for 2019. So, this is more of a “heads up” rather than a “super saving tip” you might say, for the over 60 million Social Security recipients in the US and even those who have relocated abroad.
As per usual, we already do have some clues as to where we are heading. Although the final decision for COLA for 2019 won’t be announced for another six weeks or so, here’s what I foresee as to what will happen. Brace yourself for it because it may not be good news. Good news is often hard to find when it comes to COLA and cost of living calculations. Continue reading