Will Your Retirement Be Scarier Than Halloween?

It seems that before we start working for a living, all we can think about is getting a good job and earning lots of money. I am pretty sure that the vast majority of us think exactly like that when we get to a certain age and that’s probably by the time we near the end of high school or college. After all, we know we are going to be out on our own soon and we need a job. But then a funny thing happens.

If you don't pay attention to retirement planning basics, your retirement may be scarier than Halloween! Here are six strategies to help you plan.

Almost as soon as we start that “first great job”, some papers are shoved in front of our faces and one of them is all about benefits and retirement plans. Retirement planning? I mean, holy crap, I just started working and now I have to think and decide about retirement planning?

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Actionable Ways to Boost Your Savings Before Retirement

For today’s guest post on saving for retirement, please welcome Danielle Kunkle Roberts from Boomer Benefits.

If you’re already saving for retirement but not where you want to be, now is the time to make positive changes to boost your balance. Even if you feel like you can’t squeeze another dollar out of your budget, there are steps you can take to grow your retirement savings. No matter where you are on your savings journey, these steps will help you reach your goals.

Even if you feel like you're behind on saving for retirement, these simple ways to save will help boost your nest egg and prepare you for retirement.

Lower your investment expenses

Most people pay close attention to returns when they choose mutual funds or other investments for their 401(k) or IRA, but few pay attention to how much they cost. An actively managed mutual fund benchmarked to the S&P 500 can cost exponentially more to own than an S&P 500 index fund. The average expense ratio for mutual funds is between 0.5% and 1.0%, although some niche funds and target-date funds can have ratios well above 1.0% Index funds, on the other hand, charge as little as 0.015%.

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How to Save on Car Insurance

There are certain things that almost everyone is forced to deal with that will cost you money and auto insurance is one of the big ones. It’s always good to save money when you can, but even better when you save on the big expenses in your budget. Today I’m going to talk about how to save on car insurance so you can keep more money in your wallet while still protecting yourself.

Car insurance is critical to have, but can cost a fortune. Here's how to save on car insurance while still keeping yourself protected.

I haven’t talked about it much over the past five years, but every year I am forced to deal with my own auto insurance by doing my homework to try to save as much as possible on it. I simply hate making the payment for it, but we don’t have much of a choice as to whether to buy it or not since it is required by law in 48 of the 50 states. Only the states of New Hampshire and Virginia are exceptions, but even they have some requirements.* But if skipping on auto insurance sounds like a bargain, it isn’t. It’s time now to revisit car insurance and take a good hard look at the ways to save!

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Taking Your Personal Financial Temperature: Net Worth

Sometimes I wake up with a song in my head. Sometimes it’s from a time and place I can’t actually remember, so that officially means it came from the 60’s, I guess. You know, if you can remember them then you weren’t really there kind of thing. Well truthfully, I do remember them and I was there, but that’s a whole different post, isn’t it? So, here I am with this song in my head today.

You can take your personal financial temperature by calculating your net worth. Here's how to do it, what it means, and how to use the information.

It’s called “It’s a Question of Temperature” and it was a modest hit back in 1967 by a band from right here in NJ called The Balloon Farm.

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New Tax Form for Senior Citizens for 2019

Just when you have adjusted to the new tax forms of 2018, you may be in for a surprise if you are over age 65 for your 2019 tax return. It’s the newest twist for seniors and it is the new 1040-SR senior tax form that may in fact be the perfect thing for seniors to use!

There's a new senior tax form coming for your 2019 tax returns. Form 1040-SR has some good senior benefits, but there are some limitations, too.

Fifteen million of the 150 million Americans who filed taxes last year were seniors, so filing an IRS tax return is likely to be simpler next year for about 10% of those who do so. To use this form, you have to be 65 prior to January 1, 2020.

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2020 Social Security COLA May Not Be Good News

Update: The SSA has announced that the Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2020 will be 1.6% as predicted.

Every year around this time, anyone who gets a regular check from Social Security gets curious and also a bit nervous. That’s because they and I know that in just a few weeks, mid-October, the annual Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2020 will be announced. This comes as our lawmakers are looking for ways to expand and preserve Social Security, a task they have been avoiding now for decades. So perhaps for them, this news that Americans might be in for a smaller cost-of-living adjustment next year is good news. But not for anyone who depends on it.

For those relying on government benefits, the Social Security COLA 2020 may be a disappointment. While an increase is expected, it isn't very much.

According to a new estimate released by The Senior Citizens League on Thursday, the 2020 COLA is forecast to be a 1.6% increase which would come out to about $23.40 per month for the average beneficiary (the average beneficiary received $1,475 a month this year). That compares to the $40.90 beneficiaries received in 2019 which was a 2.8% COLA.

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What’s Worse Than Not Saving Money: “Dissaving”

There may not be any other word in the English language that says such an obvious thing as the word “dissaving”. We all know what each part of that word means. “Dis-” means “not”, as in disrespect, meaning not to have respect for something like saving money. “Saving” is the thing we all want to do with our money whenever we buy something and try to put away the difference after we do it. Funny thing is when you combine those two parts together, it becomes a complete disaster! If you’re in “dissaving” mode, then you need a life saver.

Dissaving is when you're spending more than you're taking in. That can put you in a financial hole that leads to disaster if you're not careful.

The Definition of This “Dis”

Dissaving is an actual real word. I swear I’m not making it up! You can Google it if you have any doubt, but trust me, it’s real.

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On Being Criticized For Managing Money

Because managing money is usually something kept very personal, the act of being criticized out loud for it is pretty rare. In my own case, other than my spouse, I generally do not share the specific details of my day-to-day finances with others even though I am perfectly willing to give my money opinions in my blog posts as to what to do with your money.

There may be times you are criticized for how you are managing money, but what's important is that you are doing what is right for you.

It’s a bit of a weird fine line, I guess. Thinking that I can give advice and still keep most of the really personal details to myself. Is that because I think that I will be criticized for the way I actually manage my own money? Maybe it is.

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