About 70% of all U.S. consumers have smartphones today. If you’re one of those “smart” people, then it’s no surprise to you that apps are what drives activity on our phones, helping us to do everything from obtain news to getting directions to your next appointment and everything in between. They certainly can enrich, inform, and help to manage your life. Even I have joined in the 21st century and use my phone for a lot of those exciting and beneficial resources, and according to research, the number of people doing that is growing every day!
Despite the expansive number of app choices out there for use, believe it or not the most commonly used apps are healthcare related. According to survey earlier this year from Pew Research Center, 62% of smartphone users used their device to look up healthcare information during the past year. I know when I was in the hospital earlier this year, my wife and I relied on our smartphones to gather information to discuss with the doctors, as well as to find out information about my medications and my insurance plan coverage. But it goes beyond simple information, as more than 66% of Americans would use a mobile app to help manage their health-related issues according to a survey from Makovsky/Kelton. Continue reading
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!
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
Now that election news is constantly in your ears with all the presidential buzz, I thought I’d tell you about a really simple way to make a few hundred bucks each year. Have you ever thought about working the polls on election day?
I always used to think that you had to “know someone” if you wanted to be an election poll worker. You know, connected to a friend or something. That’s simply not true! I just got my training class letter in the mail today (each training certification lasts 2 years) and I’ll be working on November 3rd for my 8th consecutive year as a worker, helping and greeting hundreds of my fellow New Jersey voters once again. It’s one of the best ways I know to make some extra cash and actually perform a civil service that helps the community. Continue reading
Is there something wrong with obsessing over dollars? If so, I’m guilty as charged. After all, they can add up to real savings. I can’t help myself from thinking of all the ways I can avoid wasting money and I definitely want to pass my ideas on to you. I’d use the phrase “pay it forward”, but I’m just too frugal to pay anything I don’t have to!
And it’s not just about the money you save. It’s about making that money work for you to earn even more, and what that money can do for you. Maybe you want to pay down debt, or have more security, or you’re saving up for a trip or some other goal. Whatever the reason, making small, simple changes to your everyday expenses can add up and make a real difference. Continue reading
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%).
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
With Labor Day passing, everyone’s thoughts seem to turn to back-to-school and the start of autumn. Even though we’ve had some of the hottest days of the summer recently, I’m already thinking about the cold weather that’s going to come our way soon enough, which brings me to my front door. My 26-year-old front door with gaps under and around it that let the cold air freely flow inside and the warm air (and my money!) escape outside.
I’ve been putting off its replacement for longer than I should, but I don’t want to spend another winter with this relic. So I had a company come to give me an estimate, and I really liked everything the man said, until he got to the price. I swear I heard something like “one million dollars” a la Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies. Time for some other estimates! I tried the contractor that my development recommends, and after leaving several messages, I’ve yet to receive so much as an acknowledgement. Strike two! Time to make some more calls.
Meanwhile, back at the blog, things have been rolling along. Did you catch my Every Day Is Sunday post earlier this week? When you’re retired, the days can really blur together if you don’t set up some structure for yourself. I wish I had started planning my retirement activities before I actually retired, but I’m glad I started this blog to keep me busy…and it has kept me busy! Continue reading
So many personal finance bloggers that I read each week write about the things you need to do to help you prepare for your retirement. I have done it myself. Those blog posts are very helpful in letting you know what you will need as income, how to estimate your after-retirement expenses, and talk a lot about how you can begin preparing really early in your career in order to maximize your own situation. In the case of younger retirees, the emphasis is usually on financial independence and “early retirement”. For many of us, however, retirement will come along in our later years, the 50’s, 60’s or even 70’s. At 66, I’ve been fully retired for a couple of years.
Rarely, however, do you hear from retirees on the realties of retirement: what do they actually do when they retire? and what did they do right and wrong to prepare for it? Since I am retired, and I’m also a blogger, I thought I’d tell you what I know and have learned as a retiree. Continue reading
We’d all like to think we know about most of the rules regarding our rights as consumers. If you’re old enough to know the name Ralph Nader (from before his political career), you can probably remember that he was very involved in protecting consumer rights and getting laws passed and policies changed that made shopping more consumer-friendly. The author of the book, Unsafe at Any Speed, he was particularly active with automobile safety and was largely responsible for the seat belt requirements in autos and their importance to safety protection regulations.
In a way, “Nader-isms” (if I can coin a word) have been responsible for a lot of things we do and think we know as consumers in all aspects of our shopping. I’ve spent 40+ years in retail stores and retail management, so I can tell you with authority that stores are now better than ever at attempting to satisfy and protect consumers. After all, happy customers are good for the bottom line.
But there are still myths out there that make us wary and distrustful. In a few cases, they may be justified. But you should know the myths from the reality. Continue reading
Last week I faced up to the reality that I really don’t know everything when I shared with you 50 things I don’t know. Now granted that I didn’t list everything I truly do not know. But one thing is for certain, if I had done so you would still be reading that list and I would still be writing it! Life is full of inconsistencies that you just can’t grasp. Sometimes you can solve them and sometimes they remain a complete mystery. But here’s the beauty part: there are many things I know! These are truths and practices that are simple and make life better every day, so please allow me to share. See if you agree and know them too!
It’s a fact of life today that you may find yourself in a situation where you’ll have to rent a storage unit. You see them practically everywhere you go these days and there are a slew of reasons why people are renting them more than ever. Although I have used a storage unit just once in my life, I did my homework first in order to save some money when using a storage unit was my only alternative.
Some of the reasons people use storage units make perfect sense and are almost unavoidable. For example, if you’re moving your residence and your new place isn’t ready just yet, storage units can be a lifesaver so you can either sell your home (or get out of a lease) when you want and have your belongings protected until move-in day arrives. Continue reading