Yes, I Made It to Annuity Day!

Well, it finally happened. The check actually was in the mail and it came right on schedule, too. Twenty years ago, I decided to add an annuity to my retirement planning program and it kind of snuck right up on me. That was a really pleasant surprise. In a world where the annuity often has its detractors (and perhaps with good reason), I am pretty happy with it. I felt for me it was a good decision. Depositing that annuity check for $483.46 (the first of 240 for the next 20 years!) has comforted me quite a bit since February 1st. With the market in chaos, even more so in the past several weeks, I guess it’s congratulations to me! I made it to annuity day and now another of my nest eggs has hatched!

After opening an annuity 20 years ago, I finally made it to annuity day and received my first payment. Annuities can be a good idea in certain situations.

What Is an Annuity?

An annuity technically is not an investment. First and foremost, an annuity is an insurance product, which means you buy it because it reduces your risk. Some annuities, like variable annuities, do have a selection of stock and bond portfolios available as investment choices inside the insurance contract, but the one I bought was a fixed rate annuity which for me had no investment risk on my return and payout. I knew 20 years ago what I would be getting back to the penny when I bought it.

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The Fed’s March 3rd Surprise Interest Rate Cut

You are probably one of the millions of Americans who are concerned about the COVID-19 coronavirus and you are trying to best deal with all the news about it and the risk it imposes. We all are.

With worries about the coronavirus affecting our economy, a new Fed rate cut is meant to stimulate growth, but how will that affect consumers?

Besides the huge health risks, the world economy is dealing with the potential impact the virus is having on it. To help our economy withstand the threat from the rapidly spreading and scary coronavirus, the Federal Reserve sliced interest rates by the largest amount since 2008. While many financial experts feel that a Fed rate cut may not have any impact on what’s happening, it’s a big move that might have impact on the credit cards in your wallet, the rates you pay for a home loan or a refinanced mortgage, and many other borrowing costs, too. Whether it encourages the consumer to keep buying as they have been for the past several years during this medical crisis is another thing completely.

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I Pay No Income Tax and Do It Legally!

It’s just six weeks away from the filing deadline for 2019 federal taxes and if you are like most Americans, you are not a big fan of having to pay them. Typically, it’s a conversation we have (at least with ourselves) as we tend to mumble about how much we pay and how it is spent—and sometimes wasted—by our government. It really doesn’t matter which side of the political spectrum you are on, all of us would love to pay no income tax and take home more of our paychecks, wouldn’t we?

It may be possible for you to pay no income tax and do it legally. Do you take advantage of all the deductions and tax credits you're entitled to?

If you take nothing else away from today’s post please take this: Check and file a new W-4 tax form where you work that will guarantee that you have the correct amount withheld from your paycheck each week and will not cause you to get a giant refund with no interest! You can have whatever amount you want withheld, even zero if you want and that is perfectly legal if you believe that you will not owe any taxes for the year!

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Money Can’t Buy Happiness, Can It?

Why is “green” so “mean”? You will have to forgive the pun that starts off this post. The “green” I refer to is your money and since we are approaching the big green holiday of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d ease into that green subject.

They say money can't buy happiness, but a lot of people seem to try anyway. Here's more on the complicated relationship between money and happiness.

There are a lot of things in life that are green, from the shamrocks abounding on the holiday to the fields of tall grass out in the countryside and the frog on the pond as well as hundreds of other things you can think of that are green. It can be a beautiful, fun sight and even a cool refreshing smell or taste! But it’s not always.

Although we may remain keen for green, it often gives us more social anxiety than real satisfaction. Face it, if you are like most people, money is on your mind if not 24/7, then at least every waking moment of your day! Sometimes “green” can be really mean…mean and stressful.

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20+ Ways to Reduce Energy Costs and Relieve Financial Pressure

Are you sick and tired of stressing about money all the time? One of the biggest challenges in personal finance is figuring out new ways to spend less money and one of the best ways to accomplish that is to cut down on your regular monthly expenses, such as reduce energy costs. When you do that, the pressure on your budget is relieved.

It is possible to reduce energy costs and save some money on a regular monthly bill. Here are more than twenty ways to help you save on energy.

Even though some of your regular bills might seem small and insignificant on their own, their cumulative effect can be enormous and become a huge drain on your financial resources. And the weirdest part of it all is that we just don’t try to stop that bleeding because they are regular routine bills we get on a monthly basis and it seems like they are all required and we have no options about them. But I am here to say that some people proactively look for ways to cut these routine expenses.

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Best Ways to Save Money That Few Ever Do

If you’re a financial blog reader, you are most definitely being bombarded by “good advice” almost every day and I have to admit myself that sometimes the advice is complex and hard to understand. Any time someone swears that their ideas are foolproof and guaranteed to bring you financial peace of mind and success, you should be just a bit skeptical when it comes to your money and re-read the words a few dozen times before you jump right in to changing everything about your money and life. That’s one “blog tip” I will share and stand by, for sure. But sometimes, the advice you read about can be pretty simple and really basic and practical. Yet, despite that fact, many people read about those best ways to save money, understand them, and never do them! Why is that?

Knowing the best ways to save money isn't enough; you actually have to do something! Here are 6 things you can do to get your finances in shape.

Is Anyone Really an Expert When It Comes to Money?

When it comes to money, there are lots of people claiming to be experts. No doubt some actually are just that. Either they have learned about financial success through their own experiences or they have studied about it and learned to apply what they have learned to real life. Some of these people are household names like Dave Ramsey or even Suze Orman. But what about all the other hundreds of people (like me) who are willing to share some saving tips that we think are right on? Should you believe and trust our advice?

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The Best Deals and Discount Savings on Gas

All of us car and truck owners spend our money on gasoline every week and it’s especially true if you commute to work by driving as the main way you get there. The price of gas can fluctuate these days almost daily and fortunately in most states it’s been staying under $3.00 a gallon for some time now. But as we all know it can spike suddenly depending on world events. That’s why getting discount gas is so important.

If you're a driver, you're bound to spend a lot of money on gas. But there are plenty of discount gas programs available if you just use a loyalty card.

It’s not that difficult these days as there are over 20 different gasoline discount programs being offered right now nationwide around the U.S. These national chains offer fuel rewards programs. Is there one near you?

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How Your Life and Career Parallels Baseball

This post was originally published on March 17, 2015 and was updated on February 11, 2020.

Several years ago, I wrote a post about one of my very favorite subjects. It was kind of a twist on getting yourself prepared for your life and career, but looking at it from an unusual view: comparing the parallels to your being a success in life to that of being a success in baseball!

Life is like baseball: the trajectory of a baseball career is much like the phases we go through in life. Learn what it means for your career and finances.

As we here in the Northeast pine for warmer temps and bluer skies, we know that spring is just around the corner and that soon the flowers will return and getting out in the sunshine will be an everyday affair again. Whenever my mind thinks spring, it can’t help but drift to what it always does this time each year… baseball.

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