How Important Is a Financial Mentor?

Wouldn’t it be nice of your money came with an instruction book on how to make it grow? What you know about money and the world of personal finance you probably had to learn on your own. Few are taught how to build, manage, and preserve their own wealth in any formal way like in a high school or college classroom, although that number is finally starting to increase.

One of the best ways to learn about money is to seek the guidance of a financial mentor. Here's how different financial mentors have helped me.

Offering a course called Financial Freedom 101 would be a great way to get that knowledge, but that’s not a reality in most places yet. Most schools just don’t teach money skills. And yet, personal finance and wealth building principles are two of the most important educational lessons you can ever learn. It can make the difference between a life full of purpose and security, and a life of pain, frustration, and unhappiness. So how can one learn about the world of finance and money?

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Building Your Financial Plan to Afford the “Candy”

How can you do smart things with your money? Everybody wants to have a solid financial plan, but over 40% of Americans don’t have one. And if you don’t have a plan to cover the basics, how will you ever be able to afford the frills?

Everyone needs a good financial plan to cover the basics as well as the "candy". If you don't think you need one, you may be striking out financially.

They say “the Candy Man can” and the Candy Man (the original, of course!) can sure bring back memories, especially this week. First of all, candy. It’s Halloween time and so you just can’t get away from it because it’s being promoted everywhere. Save money and buy, buy, buy in anticipation of all the costumed kids knocking at your front door this week. Yes, if you’re like most of us, you’ll be shopping and stocking up on candy and probably munching and stealing a few or more than a few for yourself, too. Guilty as charged here. I think it’s fortunate that this thing happens only once a year or I’d be perfectly costumed as one of those “walking dead” thingies myself. Candy may be nicer than a “rainbow” or sweeter than “sunshine” but for me, a diabetic, it’s not so much!

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3 Things You Can Learn From Early Retirees

Your retirement is something you think about with a smile and some pleasant thoughts even though it might seem like it’s light-years away. But if you get to your golden years with insufficient funds, it’s guaranteed to be a nightmare and very unpleasant! You don’t want to live through that scenario, I promise you.

If you're having difficulty saving enough money for retirement, take a lesson from those who have been there. Here's what you can learn from early retirees.

Saving up enough money over a 45-year career to maintain your lifestyle in retirement is pretty challenging. But there’s a lot to be learned from the people who have managed to hit their savings goals well before that point, people who then retire early. You can learn a lot even if you haven’t been bitten by the early-retirement bug. That’s why it’s important to concentrate and learn about these three things you can learn from early retirees when you think that your retirement is at hand. But before you find out the answers…

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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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