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?

Continue reading“Are Annuities Good or Bad for Your Retirement?”

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

Please note this post contains affiliate links which help to fund this blog at no cost to you. Thanks for your support!

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!

Continue reading“Saving Money Doesn’t Mean You Have to Have No Life!”

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?

Continue reading“Why Do You Diss All Those Valuable Pennies?”

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?

Continue reading“Why Are You So Awful at Saving Money?”

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?

Continue reading“What About Your Retirement Debt?”

The Big “H” to Worry About in Retirement

Most people who talk about retirement planning are usually concerned about the “financials”. They talk about saving for it, investing for it, earning more for it, and guarding against the erosion of it so it will last on and on into the sunset of those golden years. And they are 100% right to do that, for sure. Without a strong financial base, retirement will be a struggle at best or a disaster at worst. Believe me when I say that the proper planning doesn’t just appear magically when you are actually retiring and needs to starts much earlier. So much earlier, in fact, that it should start when you begin your very first job because it’s that important. I say that to anyone who will listen, but very often if falls on deaf ears.

Healthcare in retirement is the Big "H" to worry about. Many retirees don't plan adequately for healthcare costs and don't realize how significant they are.

But, the fact that financials are so important doesn’t mean that there isn’t “something else” to be concerned about. I like to call it the Big “H” that you need to give plenty of thought to when it comes to your retirement years. What is it you ask? The twist is it’s about your healthcare, the Big H of your retirement years!

Continue reading“The Big “H” to Worry About in Retirement”

Be Smart and Start Earning and Saving More Now!

I love writing posts about the best ways to save money because no matter how diligent I am in keeping my own budget, there’s always more I find I can do to cut expenses and save even more. I figure it does no good to preach to you about saving money if I can’t do it myself so it actually forces me to take a good look inward and find those savings so I can pass them on to you!

To get ahead with your finances, you need to earn more and spend less. Here are some of the best ways to save money to get you started on your journey.

This list may not be all new to some but to others it will be, so if you are in financial distress, then here are some answers to your problems. The number one rule to understand is pretty simple and if I have said this once, I have said it a million times – but for the record and today’s post here it is again:

There are only two ways to improve your finances: 1) earn more money and/or 2) spend less money! That’s really it. There are no other secret formulas.

Continue reading“Be Smart and Start Earning and Saving More Now!”

The Reasons Why You Might Never Be a Success

It seems my philosophy background just keeps leaking into my personal finance writings more and more each week. Maybe that comes with age and experience as I start to put all of those mysterious pieces of the life puzzle together, I don’t know for sure. Well, that’s my new theory so I am going to go with that. And that brings me to today’s subject – you and success.

If you don't have the right mindset and don't follow these six success factors, you'll never be a success, in finances or in life.

There are a lot of really successful people out there. You hear about them and you probably think something like “How did they get so big and successful?” People like a Mark Zuckerberg for example, a college student, who came up with the idea for Facebook and turned it into a multi-billion dollar business. Wow! So, why him…and not you?

Continue reading“The Reasons Why You Might Never Be a Success”