Geoarbitrage: The Power of Money Depends on Where You Live

I have always earned my living in the greater New York City metropolitan area, technically here in suburban central NJ (and as the late great Rodney Dangerfield often said, “we don’t get no respect!”). Because of that fact, I have always known that living around here was way more expensive than most other places and the purchasing power of a buck got you significantly less here than, say, someplace in the southern part of the USA. That’s always been one of the big downsides of living in this area.

Geoarbitrage is taking advantage of the fact that your financial power depends on where you live. In retirement, this becomes especially important.

This fact is verified every year by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis that has been measuring this phenomenon since 2013. It recently published its latest data and using this info, the Tax Foundation demonstrates the real value of what $100 buys you in every state in the Union. It revealed once again that the power of your money really does depend on where you live. I’ll tell you more about that in a bit.
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7 Retirement Investment Pitches You Should Ignore

You’ve probably already heard of the many schemes and pitches designed to separate you from your money—emails from Nigerian princes, phishing scams, etc. But does your bull$h!t detector go off when confronted with a slick come-on for perfectly legal-but-somewhat-questionable retirement investment pitches? There are a ton of them out there and as you inch closer and closer to retirement, you are more likely to hear about them and yes, even get roped into a presentation by a so-called retirement expert!

As you near retirement, you'll hear all sorts of retirement investment pitches, but some of them are just plain BS. Here are 7 pitches you should ignore.

Retirement Investment Pitches You Should Ignore

That’s why I’m posting this today so you can get a heads up about some of these pitches that are often targeted to people just like you and I when planning our golden years in retirement. There are some investments that make sense in certain situations, but here are 7 specific BS pitches you should probably ignore! Continue reading

Dealing with the Real Causes of Your Financial Stress

Financial stress goes from wreaking havoc on your wallet to ruining your health if you’re not careful. Yes, your finances can cause so much stress that it can trigger long-term diseases and bust your budget even more. As with any problem, the first step is to know the enemy so you can fight it. So what is the real cause of your financial stress?

When you're suffering from financial stress, you may think you just need more money. But what you really need is a bit more involved than that.

You may think that simply the lack of money is the obvious answer as to why you spend so much time worrying and stressing. Surprisingly, that isn’t always so. Let me explain why. Continue reading

Dating and the Single Person: How to Save Money

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They say that money makes the world go ’round. They also say that love makes the world go ’round. Perhaps it’s a bit of both. When you’re single and in dating mode, sometimes it seems like you don’t have enough of either. But don’t despair…I made it through some rough single times, and I’ll bet you can, too. It’s just a matter of knowing how to manage your money, and your expectations, while dating.

When you're single and dating, it can be difficult to meet the right person, and even more difficult to save money while doing it.

Money can be a very contentious issue when you’re working on finding or being in a relationship, and it can also be one of the main causes for a relationship breakup too. It happens when there are real disparities that the parties have in their money attitudes. Ask people like me who have been through a divorce and you will probably get an earful about it.
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11 Financial Facts or Fictions, Can You Tell the Difference?

Everyone has an opinion. That’s a fact and it makes navigating the world of personal finance very tricky. It can be hard to know what the facts actually are and who to trust and believe. In fact, if you connect with an “expert”, you may actually walk away even more confused than when you started trying to debunk some of the most common financial advice/opinions out there.

Financial facts can be easy to confuse with financial opinions. Check out these 11 financial situations and decide for yourself what's fact and fiction.

It’s been my opinion for a very long time now that the best advice you can get is from someone or some entity that has had actual experience in the very situation you find yourself in and has come through it successfully. But even if they had a failed result, you can still have a positive takeaway that can help you. Learning what not to do can be just as valuable as learning what to do.
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Is it Ever OK to Ignore These Money Rules?

The personal finance realm may have more guidelines and money rules to follow than any other community. Thousands of PF bloggers will give you advice at the drop of a hat (including me!). Although these rules of thumb are always good to know about, everyone has individual circumstances, particularly younger people. Because of those circumstances, sometimes you just have to ask yourself a really big question:“Is it ever OK to bend or even break personal finance rules?”

While personal finance is full of money rules, sometimes you should ignore them because of your individual circumstances. Read on for some of those times.

Why Breaking the Rules May Make Sense

First of all, personal finance isn’t an all-or-nothing practice. Good financial planning involves balance and attentiveness to details of your own unique situation. For example, if your debt is one that’s charging low interest, it might be better to pay the debt off slowly in favor of saving money first (such as for retirement, an emergency fund, or a major expense). Continue reading

What Would You Do If You Knew for Sure That…?

History is filled with unpredictable events that catch us off guard, shock us, and often wreak havoc in our lives. That can impact our short- and long-term future. Sometimes, if we are really fortunate, we might get a “heads-up” with a brief or subtle warning about impending trouble ahead. Things like really bad weather such as a hurricane or tornado heading our way, or new laws being passed that will affect us all beginning next year. What would you do if you knew for sure that trouble was coming?

What would you do if you knew for sure that trouble was coming? Hopefully your answer is: prepare! Today's post covers some financial preparation scenarios.

The truth is we never can be 100% certain what the future will bring. The phrase “anything can happen and it usually does” comes quickly to my mind. Continue reading

Important Questions to Ask About Your Mid-Year Finances

Remember back at the end of 2017 when you sat down and were thinking about all of your big plans to save more, spend less, and get out of debt? Millions and millions of people do that along with other resolutions like losing weight, quitting smoking, or even finding a new job. But it’s been about six months since you had that conversation with yourself and now that the year is halfway over, the time is ripe to evaluate your progress.

Can you believe we're halfway through 2018? Now's the time to ask these important questions about your mid-year finances to make sure you're on track.

There are a few key questions that you should be asking right now, and if your answer to any of them is “no”, it may mean that you have areas that need some fine-tuning. Remain calm and take heart: if you do find any areas where you have lost your focus, it is not too late to take action this year and reach your goals. Check yourself right now and see where you stand! Continue reading

Is “Profit” a Dirty Word in Your Own Personal Finances?

Over the years, a lot has been written about profit and the role it plays in our lives. After all, if a business doesn’t make a profit, it eventually will go out of business and that can affect an awful lot of people including you if you happen to be an employee. Even the biggest names in the business world have seen that happen over the years, like Woolworth and Montgomery Ward, just to name two. Many others are facing the same fate right this minute. Historic names like Sears, J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, and PetSmart are all teetering on the edge of extinction.

Some people find profit to be a dirty word, but businesses need to survive just like when you profit in your own personal finances.

But business isn’t the only entity that must be “profitable” in order to survive. Realistically speaking, individuals like you and me must be profitable too in order to function properly and have a lifestyle that makes us content and successful. So, why do we think of profit as a dirty word?
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How This Fed Rate Hike Will Hit Your Wallet

The Federal Reserve raised its key short-term interest rate this week as U.S. economic growth remains strong and unemployment is at an 18-year low. The bottom line for borrowers is this: everything from credit cards to auto loans to mortgages is about to become more expensive because of this Fed rate hike.

On Wednesday, there was another Fed rate hike, the second of four planned this year. Find out what this means for your finances and how to cope.

The Fed’s monetary policymakers added another quarter-point to the central bank’s key interest rate, putting it at 1.75% to 2%, the highest since 2008, economists said. This is the second of a now planned four interest rate increases expected for this year. The Fed last raised its benchmark rate a quarter-point in March, moving it into the range of 1.5% to 1.75%. You’re going to feel this one right away. Continue reading