Making A Success of Your 2016 Financial Resolutions

Today is New Year’s Day and I’d like to wish everyone happiness, health, and prosperity for 2016. And how do we get to happiness, health, and prosperity?

Resolutions: every new year we make a list of them and then by February they just seem to disappear in the cold north wind. I know you know what I’m talking about. You’ve pledged to lose some weight or to give up your nasty smoking habit, but it’s so much easier to say it than to do it.  You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?

Well, when it comes to your financial resolutions, it’s much the same. Making resolutions that can make real changes in your life is something that most of us think, talk about and plan every year. But what becomes of that plan?

Making A Success Of Your 2016 Financial Resolutions

About a year ago, I wrote about how to make a better plan, by setting measurable goals, dealing with setbacks, engaging others, and more. This year I’d like to talk about what some of those financial goals might include.Continue reading“Making A Success of Your 2016 Financial Resolutions”

How Can a CD Ladder Strategy Help You Reach Your Goals?

It was just a few years ago that my 12-year-old nephew asked his grandmother for a CD on his birthday. She was so proud that the young man was interested in looking for ways to build his finances that she wanted to open a new CD for him right away. I had to laugh just a little when I explained to her that he wasn’t asking about an interest-bearing certificate of deposit from the bank, but rather a new compact disc just released by his favorite rock band! There’s a lesson here somewhere, but that’s for another post on another day.

How Can A CD Ladder Strategy Help You Reach Your Goals?

Today we are talking about CD’s (certificates of deposit), the kind that can help you round out your financial portfolio and help you reach your financial goals. The strategy is called laddering, and it helps you make some decisions about the terms and interest rates. Longer terms mean higher interest rates for CD’s (in general) and shorter terms mean faster access to your money. A CD ladder strategy helps you balance higher rates with more frequent access to your funds.Continue reading“How Can a CD Ladder Strategy Help You Reach Your Goals?”

How History Can Lead You to Financial Independence

Fifty years ago, in 1965, I was just 16 years old. Ah yes, the 1960’s! It’s remembered for quite a few things, isn’t it? Baby boomers were just first coming of age back then, but of course there were also things like the Beatles and the British musical invasion, Motown, man landing on the moon, the assassination of JFK, the Vietnam War and of course, who will ever forget Woodstock!

How History Can Lead You To Financial Independence

They say “if you can remember the 60’s then you weren’t really there”, but I am here to tell you I was there and it was a wonderful yet tumultuous time in America. I thought, for this post, we should look back at that time and use it as information that can help us plan for the future. Sort of where we were, where we are, where we’re going, put in the context of financial independence. It’s not really that complicated. We can adjust for inflation and compare it all so that we can see how things have changed. Or have they really?Continue reading“How History Can Lead You to Financial Independence”

How Turmoil in the US Stock Market Affects Everyday Life

Over the past several weeks, the US stock market has been bouncing up and down like it hasn’t done since the recession back in 2008. The daily swings and huge one-day drops and gains in the major markets have caused a lot of speculation and even panic as the bull market that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average rise to a record 18000.00+ has transitioned to a bear market falling to as low as 14750.00 during that time period (minus about 20%).

How Turmoil in the US Stock Market Affects Everyday Life

The causes of this volatility are being called by some experts “a market correction”, which periodically occurs after large gains are made and profits are taken by investors. The US market has also been heavily influenced by other world markets, most recently the decline in China and Japan. Our market had been gaining now for years since 2008 and had reached all-time highs just very recently. But the beginning of “bear market conditions” can be a longer term activity than a correction indicates and if that’s what is happening, it can affect you whether or not you are an investor.Continue reading“How Turmoil in the US Stock Market Affects Everyday Life”

Invest Like You’re Cooking Barbecue

Many people don’t know a lot about investing, and so they’re afraid to start. This can have a significant impact on your retirement savings and the growth of your wealth. Learning the basics of investing isn’t that difficult, and in fact, it’s a bit like cooking good barbecue. What? Yes, you read that right. Before you write me off as crazy, follow along and I’ll explain how a good basic investing strategy is like cooking good barbecue (with the disclaimer that I’m neither a barbecue nor an investment expert). Invest Like You're Cooking Barbecue   Despite my northern roots, I love good barbecue just as much as the next person. Brisket, ribs, pork butt, chicken…it’s all good. So last week, when the country pork ribs were on sale at the supermarket, I picked up a few pounds and my mouth started to water for dinnertime to arrive. While they were cooking, I had time to think over the process and how similar it can be to investing, and so here I present for your reading consumption: how to invest like you’re cooking barbecue.Continue reading“Invest Like You’re Cooking Barbecue”

Is Your Emergency Fund Big Enough?

It’s Murphy’s Law: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Now it might not be as bad as all that, but you never know when a crisis will hit out of the blue. And that’s why having an emergency fund is so important. Typical personal finance advice says to save approximately 3 to 6 month’s worth of expenses in an emergency fund to deal with life’s unexpected expenses. But how many people actually keep that much sitting around? Most people have some consumer debt, so if they’re focused on their finances at all, they’re typically saving up a minimal emergency fund (like $500-$1,000), and then spending the rest on paying down their bills. That seems reasonable, after all the interest you’re likely paying on your consumer debt usually far outweighs the measly 1% interest you’d be lucky to get on your savings (if you can even find 1%). But is your emergency fund big enough to save you? When it comes to emergency savings, size matters.

Is Your Emergency Fund Big Enough?
Continue reading“Is Your Emergency Fund Big Enough?”

If Saving Money is Your Game, Where are the Prizes?

In the world of financial responsibility and saving money, our rewards come from achieving our goals. It can be a long journey, and not always a “fun” one, as we adapt our lifestyles to fit our budgets. But a number of financial organizations and other companies are seeking to inject some play into that process through the gamification of savings. Games are great motivators, after all, who doesn’t like to win? So if saving money is your game, you may be wondering where the prizes are.

If Saving Money is Your Game, Where are the Prizes?Continue reading“If Saving Money is Your Game, Where are the Prizes?”