Record National Debt + Tax Cuts = an Alarming Scenario!

Andy Kim had a hit record back in 1968 with the song “Baby, How’d We Ever Get This Way?” That was a great question then and an even greater one today, especially when it comes to the national debt.

With a record high national debt and proposed tax cuts, I'm worried about our future and I'm not the only one! Can the federal government go bankrupt?

I feel a little like Sgt. Joe Friday of “Dragnet” as I give you “the facts and just the facts” on the status of “all things debt”. This week both the Senate and the House passed the Trump proposed budget for next year and it will not be cutting any of the national debt in the plan, that’s for sure. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the proposed tax cuts combined with the CBO’s already-projected mounting deficit could ultimately drive the deficit upwards another $10 trillion in the next 10 years. Increasing the debt another $10 trillion seems just crazy! Continue reading

Today’s Mail Brought Me an Unexpected Financial Windfall!

Today started like any ordinary day around here. Had my breakfast, watched a little CNN, checked out my emails, and played a bit of free online slots. It was a typical Monday morning here in exciting retirement land. Yeah, real exciting, huh? Well, nothing like a financial windfall to add a little pizzazz to your day!

I am thrilled to receive an unexpected financial windfall, but I should have known it was coming. Make sure you know what your retirement situation will be.

I am a creature of habit these days and although there are a few surprises here and there that do happen, what happened today was totally unexpected! I am still pinching myself and I am overwhelmed. Today’s mail brought an amazing letter from one of my former employers, R.H. Macy. Continue reading

Student Loan Repayment: 13 Ways Millennials Can Deal with Debt

In 2017, Americans are more burdened by student loan debt than ever. You’ve probably heard the statistics: Americans owe over $1.45 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 44 million borrowers. That’s about $620 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt! In fact, the average Class of 2016 graduate had $37,172 in student loan debt, up six percent from 2015. That translates to an average student loan payment of $372 a month for 10 years. Even if you yourself aren’t dealing with student loan repayment, someone is and that someone may just be your child. Either way it’s a big weight to carry.

Student loan repayment has become a significant financial burden for millennials. Here are 13 ways to reduce that burden and pay off student loans faster.

One thing we can all agree on: paying off student loan debt isn’t any fun. One of the worst feelings is tearing open your paycheck or seeing your direct deposit hit your bank account and getting really excited, only to remember that you need to use a huge chunk of that money to make a payment on your student loans. If you are thinking things will be improving soon, I have some really bad news for you. They’re probably not. Continue reading

Are You Playing in the Major Leagues of Personal Finance?

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Almost two weeks ago, Major League Baseball wound up its regular season and now the post-season playoffs are underway. You probably know by now that I am a huge baseball fan and I have been for over 60 years! I have even written about it a few times on the blog, so I’m not kidding when I say that baseball has parallels to real life and that a baseball team succeeds or fails just as we do, based on its foundation, preparation, daily efforts, a tad of good health, and some luck! That’s why today, I’d like to explain how you can become a real winner in your personal finance basics just like the baseball teams all try to do each season!

If you want to win at the big leagues of personal finance basics, you'll need a winning lineup. Here's what you need to know to manage your team.

So if you want to play in the major leagues of personal finance, you need all the critical players on your team. Here’s the lineup:

Personal Finance Basics

1B – First Base: Setting Up Your Goals

This isn’t like the old phrase that was used back when you were a teen out on a date. It is rather the concept of where to begin in the pursuit of financial wellness just like for a baseball player who needs to get to first base in order to have a chance to score a run. Continue reading

Investing in Infrastructure Now Can Build Your Wealth

Tips on saving for your future are almost a dime a dozen out there. Well, maybe they’re really more like hundreds of dollars for even just one good tip from a professional, but here’s some good news for you. My tips for you are still absolutely free right here! But remember that you get what you pay for, so here is what I think on today’s topic: investing in infrastructure.

With repairing and rebuilding our aging infrastructure on the national agenda, it seems like personally investing in infrastructure would be a wise move.

For years now there has been a lot of talk about our aging infrastructure* and the need to rebuild, repair, replace, and create all new projects, buildings, roads, etc. all over the country. Continue reading

The Chances of Living to 100 and Why You Should Care

You may be wondering “Why should I be reading about living to 100 and what does this have to do with me and my personal finances?” Interestingly enough, you do have a good question there. You might be in your 20’s, 30’s or 40’s and thinking, “Please Gary, I have so much to worry about, why that subject now?” Well, truth being told here, you probably won’t live to be 100. But what if you do?

Your chances of living to 100 are increasing as time goes by. Here's how to make the best of those chances and the most of your older years.

How many people are living to 100?

Centenarians, once a rarity, are the world’s fastest growing age group. Since 2000 when there were 50,281 of them here in the US, the group has grown by 44% to 72,197 (as of 2014). That makes this age group just about 0.003% in the United State, yes still small, but almost three times as many as there were in 1980 according to a report by CNN in 2016. Continue reading

Who Will Pay the Taxes When Robots Take Your Job?

It seems we are always talking about jobs and unemployment numbers, doesn’t it? After all, no matter who you are or where you live, earning a living is your major priority and concern. That applies even if you see yourself as a minimalist who is focused on being totally earth friendly and working just for yourself on the internet or even if you are a corporate mogul running a Fortune 500 corporation out in Silicon Valley. But as was heard long ago on the old 60’s “Lost in Space” TV show: “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!”

In a world of increasing automation, tech and AI, is a robot tax in our future? How will government fund itself when our jobs are taken over by robots?

What will happen when robots take your job?

Robots are taking over the world’s workforce—and why shouldn’t they? For so many jobs, machines are faster, more consistent, smarter, and cheaper than you or I will ever be. As advances in artificial intelligence (AI) accelerate, robots will spread into all corners of the labor market: blue collar and white collar, service work and knowledge work alike. Continue reading

Social Security COLA for 2018: Is It All Good News?

Update 10/13/2017: The Social Security COLA for 2018 has been announced at 2 percent.

Right about now, retirees and Social Security recipients are anxiously awaiting the Social Security Administration (SSA) announcement of what might be a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) (if there is one) for 2018. I say “if” because as we have seen in recent years, the COLA adjustment hasn’t always been there for the many who depend on it to survive in a very costly 21st century world. So, will it be all good news?

It sounds like Social Security will announce a COLA (cost of living adjustment) for 2018, but is it all good news? Check out the reasons it might not be.

Social Security beneficiaries have lost almost one third of their buying power since the year 2000 as the cost of things purchased by these recipients, typically the elderly, have continually outpaced any inflation adjustments made by the government and the SSA according to a recent report by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). Continue reading

The Absolute Best and Worst Types of Life Insurance

For today’s guest post on types of life insurance, please welcome insurance agent and fellow blogger Chris Huntley.

When it comes to life insurance, getting the wrong policy can be like flushing money down the toilet. On the flip side, getting the right one can adequately protect your loved ones without breaking the bank.

If you ask most life insurance agents which type is best, the answer is no surprise.

…it’s the one that offers the biggest commissions.

It's critical to get the right types of life insurance so you don't waste money, but you're still protected. Here are the best & worst types to choose from.

It’s not your responsibility to pad their pocketbook, though, so read on to learn which types of life insurance you should consider and which you should avoid.

The two best types of life insurance

The whole point of life insurance should be to provide for your loved ones financially if you pass away without being a big financial burden now. Continue reading

How Financial Success Can Make You Forget Frugality

Generally speaking, I have always thought myself to be very frugal and smart with my money. It’s a lesson I learned as a kid from my mother who was really good at stretching a dollar and more than that, she understood that extravagance just wasn’t a virtue. My parents provided a pretty good life for me as a child, and I was never all about having the biggest or best of everything anyway. I often saw that others were demanding that kind of thing. Being practical and even “frugal” was fine with me all through my formative years.

Your relationship with frugality can change over time and financial circumstances. If you've drifted away from frugality, here's how to get it back.

But something happened, a blip along the way. That’s something I’d like to share with you.

My financial successes led to erosion of my frugality! Continue reading