How Financial Planning Changes When There’s an Age Difference

Planning your finances is never really simple. But when one spouse is many years younger than the other, there is often even more to consider. For example, instead of planning a typical retirement income stream of 30 years, it’s going to be more like 40, maybe even 50 years. Financial planning when there’s an age difference can be a bit more complicated.

If there's an age difference between you and your sweetheart...10 years, 15 years, 20 years or more...it can affect your finances. Financial planning when there's an age difference has some important distinctions of which you should be aware.

For me and my wife Suzanne, this is that situation. I am currently 68 and she is just 47. To be honest, it didn’t really dawn on me as to what might make it very different when we are 20+ years apart in planning retirement life until just a few years ago. Having met her when I was working and just in my mid 50’s, I thought retirement was far off in the distance and never dreamed that I would “have” to retire early because of my health and that she would become disabled for health reasons too. That’s made me ask the question: “What do we do differently to deal with our finances when one spouse is so much younger than the other?” Continue reading

12 of My All-Time Favorite Money Songs

From time to time, I sit down and cruise through YouTube and amuse myself with songs I like and haven’t heard in a while. My days of commuting and listening to the radio every day are in my rearview mirror so to speak, so I use YouTube a lot to revisit my favorites. That led me to write this post about my favorite “money songs”, most of which you probably have heard yourself if not when they were popular but in some cases on the elevator as they might now be part of the “Muzak family” by now.

When we hear a message in a song, it somehow gets through to our brain in a whole different way. Here are 12 of my favorite money songs, each one telling us something about how money affects our lives.

So here are 12 great picks on my list of money songs that can speak to you about life, money, and lessons to be learned. Continue reading

Your Opinions for Money – Are Paid Online Surveys Worth It?

If you are looking for ways to make extra money (and aren’t we all?) then here’s an idea to give a try: paid online surveys. If you are anything like me, you have strong opinions and you spout them off at just about any opportunity that comes along. That might explain why I am not invited to a lot of parties? Hmm, that makes me think. But I just can’t help but throwing my two cents in whenever the situation arises. Having said that, you can throw your two cents in and it can actually result in you getting some cash thrown right back at you!

If you like to give your opinions, you can get money by completing paid online surveys. But before you get started, there are some important things to know. Here's what beginners should realize before they dive in.

 

Online opinion and survey sites have become a really popular way for some folks to cash in doing some pretty easy, mindless things in their spare time. The number of websites willing to pay you is growing every month. So, as Smash Mouth’s 1999 hit song says, “you’re an all star….get paid”. Continue reading

Risk Tolerance and How It Leads You to Rewards

Most people are hesitant to take risks in their lives. It’s kind of human nature for people to fear risk. With the possible exception of Evel Knievel, Neil Armstrong, and a couple of others, it’s tough for us to step out onto that ledge and take a chance. You probably won’t be considering riding a motorcycle and jumping over a dozen cars or rocketing to the moon and back for fun or profit like Evel and Neil did back in the day, but what about other risky things that you deal with in your real life all the time? It all has to do with your risk tolerance.

It's important to know your risk tolerance, not only when you are investing, but in life as well. If we're afraid to take big risks, we may never know big rewards. Here's the smart way to deal with risk.

What Are Some Risks You May Have to Face?

There is a laundry list of things and events that we face regularly that may involve risk. That means everything from meeting your future in-laws for the first time to making financial investments for your future and retirement. Continue reading

Protect Your Parents From Frauds and Scams

Being an older person (I’m 68), I know what the real world situation is when it comes to frauds and scams. Scammers tend to prey upon the elderly. Protecting yourself from fraud and scams would be a big enough job by itself, but you also need to protect your older parents from becoming victims of con artists.

While we all can be duped, your elderly parents are at greater risk of becoming victim to frauds and scams. Here's how you can help protect them from these financial dangers.
These days, many of us no longer live near our parents, making this effort even more difficult. You may not be aware of what phone calls, emails, and letters they receive which may be luring them into financial ruin. It’s a growing problem for a number of reasons and the biggest one is that the older generation is a soft target, many with assets that are fairly accessible for everyday use from a checking or savings account. Continue reading

Free Money Update – How I “Earned” $5,000 in 36 months!

Awhile back I wrote about how the bank was begging me to take their “free” money! It was a real eye-opener then and frankly it is even more so these days. In fact, not a week has gone by without me getting an email, snail mail, or phone call about some kind of offer to get cash rewards and bonuses from banks for opening up a new account or credit card somewhere.

There's no such thing as free money...except sometimes there is. Here's how I "earned" my free money bonuses and rewards using credit card and bank account offers.

Getting these offers is mostly due to the fact that my wife and I have really excellent credit. It’s not that I am bragging here. Having great credit is so important for lots of reasons, not just for getting offers like I am talking about right here, but for much more important reasons like getting the best interest rates, qualifying for a good job, and lots more.

But, getting free money under certain conditions that don’t require any significant effort in my life sounds like I win bigtime! In fact, would you believe me if I told you that in just over 3 years, I have “earned” over $5,000 from the bank without spending any money that I wouldn’t have spent anyway? It’s true. Continue reading

Tipping Guidelines – Are There Really Any Rules?

There’s a tricky subject out there that many people fear to talk about with their friends and family. No, I’m not talking about the usual controversial stuff like sex, politics, or religion here. I’m talking about the subject of tips and tipping! Believe me when I tell you it’s a subject that you deal with pretty often and it involves so many different angles for you, your family, and of course to the people with whom you are interacting, the “tippees”. So today I’m going to cover my tipping guidelines.

Tipping can be a very confusing and even controversial subject, so here, along with some tipping history, are my tipping guidelines for all sorts of situations.

I can honestly say that this is a subject that can cause friction and even arguments for some and lots of second guessing and confusion for others. I have to be honest; it has been on more than one occasion for me. If you think about it, tipping adds a chunk of expense to your experience and you want to get the most for your money when you tip. That’s why today, I’m asking out loud this question: “Are there really any rules for tipping?” Continue reading

For St. Patrick’s Day, How Green is My Money?

There’s a good chance if I say the word “green” your mind might wander to thoughts of money. The color of our money is so iconic that it has become synonymous with stacks of cash. I thought that today we might have a little fun and ponder the color green since it’s fast approaching St. Patrick’s Day 2018, March 17th, a day when green is at the forefront no matter what your ethnic background!

For St. Patrick's Day, I thought I'd have some fun looking at why money is green, and checking out the color green throughout our culture.

“Greenback” Dollars

The color green has been used in federal currency dating back to 1861 and the Civil War. Before then, the Continental Congress had experimented with issuing notes called “continentals” to fund the Revolutionary War, but they were printed at such a high volume that they quickly lost their value. These new green notes were printed for a similar reason, but this time it was the Union side of the Civil War that needed financing. Continue reading

These 19 Retailers Have the Best Return Policies in The World

L.L. Bean has long been known for its lifetime return policy, which it ended just this past February. But don’t despair. The company is still offering an amazing policy that most people are pretty happy about! The store now offers a still-generous one-year window for returns.

When preparing to shop, it's important not only to compare prices, but also to check a retailer's return policy. You'll want to find a retailer who stands by their products in case something unforeseen happens. Here are 19 retailers with the best return policies.

 

L.L. Bean ended its legendary lifetime return policy to clamp down on customers who were taking advantage and using it to replace heavily worn products.

“Increasingly, a small, but growing number of customers have been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent. Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for even heavily worn products used over many years,” the company wrote announcing the policy changes to customers.

I spent so many years (over 39!) in the retail environment that I can personally verify that some people out there do abuse return policies to the point that it has to be “built” into the retail price these days to cover for what stores must throw away that was returned for bogus reasons. Continue reading

How New Metal Import Tariffs Might Cost You in the Long Run

I don’t often write about government policies that can impact your personal finances just because I am not here to write about what’s political in nature. Ok, tax reform and tax law being a major exception to that idea, but that is an essential part of our finances so I can justify it. But having said that, the news this week of the establishment of import tariffs in the U.S. has everyone in the finance world buzzing. Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water…pardon my “Jaws” reference but it does feel like there is a great white shark looming out there and it might be a bit dangerous right about now. Is a trade war looming?

The current administration has moved forward with it's promise of import tariffs on steel and aluminum, but what affect could this have on your finances? Here's a look at what could happen as a result of this new policy.

I have literally re-written this post three times this week as new information and speculation has been surfacing every day about these proposals. Finally, the executive orders have now been signed.

Where Are We Right Now?

The economy and jobs picture seems to be humming along right now, but changes are happening. The new tariffs on foreign material steel and aluminum imports are going to affect industries that employ millions of Americans. Cars, beverage and robotics manufacturing are just three of the sectors that will be affected. Continue reading