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.
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
Ready or not, holiday shopping is here with the arrival of November 1st this weekend. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving on November 27th this year has the stores preparing right now for what they expect will be their single biggest day of sales for 2015. It kicks off the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas that will determine their fate for a successful holiday season.
I have been through Black Friday sales over 40 times in my retail career and have seen it all, from the bargains of a lifetime to sometimes completely foolish offerings purchased by a frantic public. Continue reading
October is the time of year that my mind wanders into the macabre. I can’t help it. It’s Halloween time in just a few days and frankly, I have to admit that I love being a little bit scared. And really, don’t we all? We pay good money to watch horror, gore and grizzly scary stuff in movies and at haunted hayrides, and so it just figures that we must love being totally frightened! But there is one area that I am seriously afraid of and I try to avoid like the plague, and that’s combining scary stuff with money stuff.
Protecting my money comes in third on my short list of money priorities right after earning money and saving money. You would be horrified if you stopped for a second and considered the many ways people torture themselves making frightening and shocking decisions every day of the year. In the spirit of the season that is upon us, let me scare the living daylights out of you right now. Continue reading
I grew up at a perfect time to be a teenager. I was 14 in February 1964, just when the British Invasion came to America heralded by the arrival of the “Fab Four” known as the Beatles. It was their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. I don’t think there’s a teenager who saw that show who doesn’t remember that night and the exciting changes that occurred across the nation as a result. 70 million people tuned in to see John, Paul, George, and Ringo, and from that day to this one, music was just never the same.
During all my teen years, the Beatles influenced everything from fashion to politics and from culture to music trends. Some 50+ years later, you can still feel the influences. Beatlemania was unlike anything before, and I doubt it will be like anything in the future.
It occurred to me when reviewing a list of Beatles songs (there are over 200 original recordings), that many of their song titles can be interpreted as encrypted messages about financial fitness and personal development. I may be taking some liberties here (alright, a LOT of liberties), but I looked through the many titles and came up with the top 12 songs that I have
twisted into interpreted as money matter themes. I admit it’s a bit of a stretch, but I wouldn’t put it past them if there were actual hidden money messages for us all! Continue reading
As a retiree myself, the recent news regarding Social Security benefits has me worried and troubled. Not only for me, but for the millions of people who are struggling to maintain an acceptable standard of living while relying on these benefits. I write about retirement planning here on this blog, and when things like omitting the cost of living adjustment occur, it’s an emphatic reminder that we all must plan appropriately for our golden years if we want to be able to enjoy them.
Beneficiaries will not get a cost of living adjustment (COLA) in January 2016, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced this past Thursday. For seniors and others receiving benefits, this can make managing finances a more difficult experience. Continue reading
When you’re a parent, you don’t want to see your children suffer in any way, whether it’s from a boo-boo when they fall off their tricycle, or because they can’t pay their bills after a job loss. But as parents, we also know that we can’t protect them from everything and sometimes those bumps and bruises are needed to teach us things in life.
I have two adult children, a daughter in her thirties and a son in his twenties, and while I don’t hear from them as often as I’d like, my daughter recently called me. She was looking for money to pay some of her bills, and this wasn’t the first time. When your adult child asks for help, as a parent your first instinct is to protect them, but before your heart hits send on that money transfer, there are some questions your head should ask: Continue reading
There are so many ways, subtle ways, that we sabotage our finances and sometimes we don’t even realize we’re doing it. We become conditioned thinking we are on course and then we get blindsided by our poor planning or careless spending habits. Money mistakes have happened to us all, probably more that a few times.
Here’s my list of some of the big offenders and some solutions you can try if you find yourself too often behind the eight ball. Continue reading
Just about everyone has dreams, hopes, and visions of what they want their lives, jobs, and families to be like. It’s our nature to think about these things and work towards our desired result. But how do you get there?
A plan is the first step in achieving our goals and with no plan, getting where we want to be is very unlikely. “Winging it” just doesn’t cut it. Wishing and hoping, well you already know from your own life experiences that that doesn’t work either. So now you may be thinking, where do I go from here? Continue reading
It’s officially Fall 2015 and we can already tell just by the temperature (49 degrees here this morning!). When the temperature falls, that means savings are in the air as well. So here’s an opportunity to hunt for real bargains that may be on your shopping list. There’s actually double opportunities in October to get great prices…last of the summer merchandise sales as well as the start of fall and winter goods.
Let’s begin with the big deals for fall savings: Continue reading
Retirement planning is a task that often confuses, frightens, and intimidates us. When we think of what will and might occur after our employment years end, we wonder how we will manage and what kind of lifestyle we will be able to afford and maintain. We wonder what our health will be like when we retire, and how that will affect what we can do. We fear that it’s already too late and we’ve missed the opportunity to invest our savings to give us enough post-retirement funding.
Facing how our lifestyles are bound to change, we wonder if we have prepared ourselves for it. The questions asked and options supplied in Choose Your Retirement: Find the Right Path to Your New Adventure will help you plan what kind of retirement you want as well as figure out how to afford those plans. Continue reading