9 Steps to Get Your Finances Back on Track

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.

When you need to get your finances back on track, here's a step-by-step process to making things work, including how to achieve your goals in the future.

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

How to Save $25,000/Year Just By Retiring!

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?

When planning your retirement expenses, don't forget that there may be some savings too. Here are 10 expenses that will disappear or shrink in retirement.

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

Why Did God Make Our Heads Full of Red Wires?

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.

Our heads are full of red wiresL psychological traits that make it difficult to be financially responsible. Knowing what we face makes it easier to succeed.

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

Can You Ever Really Beat the System?

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?

Some of us ask if we can ever really beat the system and get ahead, but I've found a different approach to be successful. Here are my recommendations.

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

Series I Savings Bonds: Save Money and Guard Against Inflation

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).

Considering the low interest rates on most savings vehicles, Series I Savings Bonds are a great way to save money while guarding against inflation.

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

Where the F Did All My Money Go?

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?

At some point, most of us wonder "where does the money go?". Make sure you're spending money one what you truly value...most of the time.

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?

Continue reading

Upcoming Improvements to Medicare Benefits for 2019

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.

Usually the news about Medicare coverage has to do with increasing costs, but surprise, there are some improvements coming to Medicare benefits in 2019!

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

12 Fake Myths People Believe About Car Insurance

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!

There are lots of car insurance myths that people mistakenly believe, and it could be costing you money. Here are 12 myths and the truth behind them.

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

Anticipating Social Security COLA 2019 – Where are we headed?

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.

Retirees and other SS recipients are trying to anticipate whether there will be a Social Security COLA 2019. Read on for my predictions.

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

Why Are Easy Money Decisions So Hard to Make: Paralysis by Analysis

Have you ever stopped to think about what goes on inside your head when it comes to decision making, especially when those decisions involve money? Is it that people are simply afraid, confused, or are they just generally terrible decision makers?

If you suffer from paralysis by analysis when making easy money decisions, there may be a reason behind it. Let's see what science says about these choices.

Is it really way too “Easy to Be Hard”? Kind of like the band Three Dog Night sang back in 1969, though they weren’t talking about money decisions. But what the heck, I need a 60’s song about this time of day anyway, so why not this one? (I do just love sneaking these great oldies into the post even when they are just here to amuse myself!) Continue reading