health care http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1472/all en-US 9 Financial Mistakes You're Making at the Doctor's Office http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-mistakes-youre-making-at-the-doctors-office <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-financial-mistakes-youre-making-at-the-doctors-office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_with_stethoscope.jpg" alt="Piggy bank with stethoscope" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have an ongoing medical condition, you know how expensive health care can be. Medical costs have skyrocketed the past several years, leaving people facing the very real possibility that doctor's visits, prescriptions, and procedures could deplete their bank account or even land them in debt.</p> <p>There are ways to make medical care more affordable. However, a lot of people miss out on some important discounts. Below, find out what costly mistakes you might be making at the doctor's office.</p> <h2>1. You don't comparison shop for prescriptions</h2> <p>When it comes to medication, the price you pay can vary from location to location. If you go to the same pharmacy every time and never shop around, you could be overpaying for your prescriptions.</p> <p><a href="https://www.goodrx.com/" target="_blank">GoodRX</a> is a site that allows you to compare prices at several different local pharmacies at once, ensuring you get the best price. According to the site, if you had a prescription for the antidepressant Lexapro and filled it at Walmart, you'd pay $46.29. But, if you filled it at Costco, you'd pay just $10.50.</p> <h2>2. You don't ask for generic medication</h2> <p>If your doctor prescribes you a new medication, going with a name brand can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. For example, if you were to fill a prescription for Crestor, a medication for high cholesterol, it would cost you about $825 for a 90-day supply, according to Drugs.com. By contrast, if you got the generic version &mdash; rosuvastatin &mdash; you'd pay just $96 for the same supply.</p> <p>When you're at the doctor's office, be sure to ask your doctor if there is a cheaper generic version available.</p> <h2>3. You don't use a discount prescription card</h2> <p>If you don't have insurance and need to fill a prescription, you can expect a hefty bill. However, you might not have to pay the sticker price on your own.</p> <p>There are free discount programs you can sign up for to get your prescriptions at a much cheaper price. For example, if you sign up for a program like <a href="https://familywize.org/" target="_blank">FamilyWize</a>, you can get up to 90 percent off your prescriptions' prices. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-you-can-save-money-on-prescription-medications?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways You Can Save Money On Prescription Medications</a>)</p> <h2>4. You don't show up to appointments</h2> <p>Many doctor's offices are cracking down on people who miss appointments by charging them no-show fees. These fees can run anywhere from $20 to the price of a full visit, which can easily cost you hundreds.</p> <p>If you can't make an appointment, contact the office as soon as possible to cancel or reschedule. If you do so early enough, you can prevent no-show fees from being added to your account.</p> <h2>5. You don't always pay your bills on time</h2> <p>If you owe your doctor money but don't pay your bill on time, you can quickly rack up late fees and interest charges. Over time, your bill can balloon thanks to those penalties. What's worse, if your doctor decides to send your delinquent account to a collections agency, your credit will also take a hit.</p> <p>It's important that you make all of your payments on time. If you're in danger of falling behind, contact your doctor's office right away to see if you can get on a more affordable payment plan. It's better to be upfront about your situation than to ignore it.</p> <h2>6. You use the emergency room for illnesses and minor injuries</h2> <p>If you go to the emergency room for minor injuries or illnesses like strep throat or the flu, you could end up spending thousands. According to a 2016 report by the Health Care Cost Institute, an emergency room visit cost an average $1,917. That's an awful lot to pay for the flu.</p> <p>In many cases, going to an urgent care facility rather than the emergency room can be a more cost-effective option. An urgent care visit typically costs between $100 and $200 out of pocket. These facilities can handle most minor illnesses or injuries, including broken bones. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/urgent-care-or-er-how-to-decide-where-to-go?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Urgent Care or ER? How to Decide Where to Go</a>)</p> <h2>7. You don't negotiate costs</h2> <p>Although you can't negotiate costs like copays or coinsurance &mdash; your insurance provider determines those &mdash; you can negotiate services and treatments that aren't covered by insurance.</p> <p>If your insurance provider refuses to cover a necessary service, explain to the office administrator that you'll be paying out of pocket and ask if they offer any discounts for cash-paying patients. In some cases, you may pay significantly less than if you used insurance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-negotiate-medical-bills?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Negotiate Medical Bills</a>)</p> <h2>8. You see out-of-network providers</h2> <p>If you've always gone to the same doctor, finding a new one might be a real pain, and you might put off finding someone else. However, if your current doctor is out of your insurance provider's network, this can be a costly mistake.</p> <p>Depending on the type of insurance plan you have, your insurance company might only cover a portion of a visit with an out-of-network doctor. If you have an HMO, they might not cover any of it, and you'll be solely responsible for the charges. Taking the time to find a doctor within your network can save you money (and headaches) over time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-the-best-primary-care-physician?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Choose the Best Primary Care Physician</a>)</p> <h2>9. You don't keep copies of your test results</h2> <p>If you need to have an MRI, CT scan, or blood work done, ask the doctor or lab technician for a copy of your results. Keeping a copy for yourself can help you in the future if another doctor wants to run the same tests. If you have a recent version, you can skip getting another round of expensive tests, saving you a lot of money.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F9-financial-mistakes-youre-making-at-the-doctors-office&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F9%2520Financial%2520Mistakes%2520You%2527re%2520Making%2520at%2520the%2520Doctor%2527s%2520Office.jpg&amp;description=9%20Financial%20Mistakes%20You're%20Making%20at%20the%20Doctor's%20Office"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/9%20Financial%20Mistakes%20You%27re%20Making%20at%20the%20Doctor%27s%20Office.jpg" alt="9 Financial Mistakes You're Making at the Doctor's Office" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-mistakes-youre-making-at-the-doctors-office">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-you-can-save-money-on-prescription-medications">7 Ways You Can Save Money On Prescription Medications</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-common-mistakes-to-avoid-when-you-enroll-in-medicare">4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When You Enroll in Medicare</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-places-to-check-out-medical-care-for-the-uninsured">5 Places to Check out Medical Care for the Uninsured</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having">10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover">11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Health and Beauty billing copays doctor's offices drugs health care insurance late payments medications Mistakes no show fees prescriptions Mon, 04 Jun 2018 08:30:18 +0000 Kat Tretina 2145006 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things That Could Wreck an Early Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-that-could-wreck-an-early-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-that-could-wreck-an-early-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/one_gold_and_two_ordinary_eggs_in_the_hay_nest.jpg" alt="One gold and two ordinary eggs in the hay nest" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Financial Independence/Retire Early (FIRE) movement is hot right now. People working toward FIRE are hoping to retire in their 40s and, in some cases, even their 30s. And while the focus of FIRE is to produce financial freedom and not ascribe to a strict definition of the term &quot;retired,&quot; it is a tantalizing goal many find worth chasing.</p> <p>However, if not properly planned, early retirement can be more of a burden than freedom. The earlier you retire, the longer your money has to last. Your life mitigation plan also has to be more solid and thorough than those who retire at the standard age. Below are some things that could derail your finances if you retire early. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-millennials-can-do-right-now-for-an-early-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Things Millennials Can Do Right Now for an Early Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>1. Health crisis</h2> <p>Proper diet, adequate amounts of exercise, and regular doctor visits are the trifecta of good health. However, genetics and fate are the dynamic duo that can override your diligent efforts of maintaining good health. Failing to properly plan for a health crisis leaves the door gaping open for financial hardship during early retirement.</p> <p>According to a Fidelity analysis, the average couple retiring at traditional retirement age (65) can expect to spend $275,000 on health care during their retirement years. If you retire at 45, you have an additional 20 years' worth of potential expenses for which to plan. You have to factor this additional cost into your overall retirement number.</p> <p>Financial experts strongly advise that you keep health insurance coverage during retirement to help offset the cost of a serious illness or injury. There are coverage options available through private companies &mdash; which can be pricey. You should also explore Affordable Care Act (ACA) special coverage options. The ACA provides income-based premium subsidies which are based on your modified adjusted gross income during retirement. In addition to keeping health insurance, you must also ensure that you've adequately accounted for out of pocket health costs when determining how much you need during retirement.</p> <h2>2. Failing to live on a budget</h2> <p>One of the biggest myths many retirees fall prey to is the notion that you'll spend less money during retirement. The truth is it is rare that your cost of living will decrease as dramatically as you think it might. This is why living by a strict budget is financial life or death for the early retiree. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-expenses-for-retirees-and-how-to-manage-them?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Unexpected Expenses for Retirees &mdash; And How to Manage Them</a>)</p> <p>Getting older also comes with hidden expenses. You spend more time engaging in leisurely activities &mdash; which usually comes with a cost. You outsource chores as you age. And of course, health care expenses increase with age. Budgeting and tracking expenses isn't just for working folks. Living frugally, budgeting, and strategic spending are habits that should follow you to your grave.</p> <p>If you find that you are burning through your retirement funds quicker than expected, make sure you readjust immediately. This means you may have to scale back or even cancel some of the leisure activities and find ways to cut day-to-day spending. If an unexpected expense arises which consumes a large chunk of your funds, you may have to consider getting a side gig, working part-time, or rejoining the work force for a few years to replace the loss. You must proactively budget and track your funds to ensure they last. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-can-you-afford-to-spend-in-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Can You Afford to Spend in Retirement?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Inflation</h2> <p>Piggybacking on point two is failure to properly plan for and adjust for inflation. As you age, your dollar loses its elasticity. Your fixed cost of living expenses are slowly going to creep up over time. Retiring early means you have to deal with that creep a lot longer.</p> <p>Your retirement budget and planning should include a yearly (or at least every two years) cost of living increase. Think about the things you do regularly and plan to spend more on those things as time goes on. Your medication, transportation, food, and clothing are going to cost more and failing to adjust your budget to accommodate the increase can prove to be a costly mistake long-term. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-protect-your-retirement-from-inflation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways to Protect Your Retirement From Inflation</a>)</p> <h2>4. Becoming a caregiver</h2> <p>Boomerang children, caring for the grands, and providing for aging parents are some of the unexpected ways you can find yourself burning through your retirement funds. One of the primary purposes for chasing financial freedom &mdash; at least for me &mdash; is to be in a position to help others. Helping becomes a problem when a person's need exceeds your capacity.</p> <p>This is even more true for those retiring early. You really have to be careful to ensure that your money lasts past your life span. If you have children and grandchildren, try to plan for things you know you want to assist with. Do you want to give your children a down payment on their first home? Pay for the grandkids to attend private school or even college? Provide long term-care for aging parents? Whatever you think you may want to do, set money aside for that purpose and don't touch it.</p> <p>It is strongly advisable that you establish a &quot;friends and family fund.&quot; This is money that you set aside specifically to help a loved one out of a financial jam. It can pay for health care, funeral expenses, the added cost of caring for your kids, grandkids, parents, or all of them. Most importantly, it can help offset the heightened cost of living that occurs when loved ones come to live with you for an extended period of time. It's better to live on less in order to set money aside for &quot;just in case&quot; in lieu of trying to adjust when life happens. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-while-caring-for-kids-and-parents?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Save for Retirement While Caring for Kids and Parents</a>)</p> <h2>5. Incurring debt after retiring</h2> <p>One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to carry debt into retirement. Retiring with no debt can be a bit tougher when you retire early, but it should be your goal. You don't want to waste your precious resources making years of interest payments. You should aggressively work to eliminate all debt before retiring. You could even opt for a partial retirement and work part-time or get a side gig just to pay off your debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-retirement-jobs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Great Retirement Jobs</a>)</p> <p>It's also ill-advised to incur new debt while retired. If you need to make home improvements, buy another car, or make another major purchase, try to do it with cash &mdash; and even then, proceed with caution. If you must use credit for any reason, make a deal with yourself to find some other means to finance the purchase. That may mean going back to work temporarily until the debt is paid.</p> <p>You also should avoid taking on debt to help friends and family. Steer clear of co-signing &mdash; always &mdash; but especially during retirement when funds are limited. Helping friends and family members is one thing, but using debt to do it is a bad idea. If you can't afford to give it, you can't afford to lend it. In other words, if you need to be paid back, you really can't afford to loan the money. Consider gifting a portion of the money to the asker in lieu of lending them the whole amount. That way, they are not indebted to you, you haven't financially endangered yourself, and you provide assistance while simultaneously preserving the relationship. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youre-retiring-with-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do If You're Retiring With Debt</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-things-that-could-wreck-an-early-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Things%2520That%2520Could%2520Wreck%2520an%2520Early%2520Retirement.jpg&amp;description=5%20Things%20That%20Could%20Wreck%20an%20Early%20Retirement"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Things%20That%20Could%20Wreck%20an%20Early%20Retirement.jpg" alt="5 Things That Could Wreck an Early Retirement" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/denise-hill">Denise Hill</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-that-could-wreck-an-early-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-for-a-forced-early-retirement">How to Plan for a Forced Early Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-while-caring-for-kids-and-parents">How to Save for Retirement While Caring for Kids and Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-youre-financially-ready-to-start-a-family">7 Signs You&#039;re Financially Ready to Start a Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-so-simple-6-steps-to-a-stable-retirement">It&#039;s So Simple: 6 Steps to a Stable Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-struggles-nobody-talks-about-and-how-to-beat-them">5 Retirement Struggles Nobody Talks About — And How to Beat Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement budgeting caregiving debt early retirement financial independence health care inflation sandwich generation Wed, 30 May 2018 09:00:24 +0000 Denise Hill 2144959 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Build Retirement Stability in Your 50s http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-retirement-stability-in-your-50s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-build-retirement-stability-in-your-50s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mature_woman_in_back_yard_garden.jpg" alt="Mature Woman In Back Yard Garden" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If retirement planning hasn't been at the top of your to-do list, your 50s are the time to make it your first priority. Wait 10 more years, and your only choice of retirement options may just be to keep working. Here's how you can prevent that from happening.</p> <h2>1. Take advantage of catch-up contributions</h2> <p>Whether you've been a responsible saver or not, this may be your last chance to really build up your nest egg. Beginning the year you turn 50, you can contribute $6,500 to an IRA (that's an additional $1,000 for 2018) and $24,500 to most workplace retirement plans (that's $6,000 more than the standard allowable amount for 2018). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-meeting-the-2018-401k-contribution-limits-will-brighten-your-future?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways Meeting the 2018 401(k) Contribution Limits Will Brighten Your Future</a>)</p> <h2>2. Get an HSA</h2> <p>If you have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you can open a health savings account, or HSA. Contributions to an HSA are made on a pretax basis and remain tax-free if used for qualified health care expenses. For the 2018 tax year, if you have an individual plan, you can contribute up to $3,450, and if you have family coverage, you can contribute up to $6,900. If you are age 55 or older, you can contribute an additional $1,000.</p> <p>A health savings account is similar to other tax-advantaged retirement accounts: Once you establish an account, you don't need to use up the funds each year, and you may be able to invest the money within the HSA, allowing the account to grow. And even if you've established the account through your job, you can take the account with you if you leave.</p> <p>Before age 65, if you take a distribution from your HSA for non-qualified medical expenses, you may owe income taxes and a 20 percent penalty. But after age 65, non-qualified distributions are penalty-free (but not income-tax free), making it structured like a traditional IRA. Qualified health care expenses are always tax-free at any age. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-could-help-your-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Could Help Your Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>3. Check your Social Security benefit</h2> <p>This is the time to begin thinking about how you will establish a base foundation of guaranteed monthly income that will cover your necessary living expenses. And for many individuals, your Social Security benefit will be the first part of that foundation.</p> <p>If you haven't already done so, you can start by creating a &quot;my Social Security&quot; account on the Social Security Administration's website, where you can check your work history and benefit summary. This can give you a good idea of how much other savings you will most likely need in order to cover the shortfall between your living expenses and your Social Security check each month.</p> <p>You can receive Social Security benefits as early as age 62, with one major caveat: You will receive 70 percent of your full earned benefit. To receive 100 percent of your retirement benefit, you must wait until your full retirement age, as determined by the Social Security Administration. For anyone born in 1960 or after, that age is 67.</p> <p>So if you think that your Social Security benefit is going to play a substantial role in your retirement equation, it's worth waiting until at least your full benefit is available. Each year you delay, up until age 70, your benefit may increase 8 percent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Claiming Your Social Security Benefits</a>)</p> <h2>4. Sit with a financial planner</h2> <p>Now is the perfect time to sit with a financial planner who can help you look at what retirement will realistically look like for you. You can go over your expenses, which is the first step to figuring out how much monthly retirement income you will need. That, in turn, will indicate how big of a retirement portfolio you will need to generate that income.</p> <p>A financial planner can also evaluate your investments and make recommendations that can make a huge impact on the growth of your retirement savings. After all, despite the fact that you may be retiring within the next 10 or 15 years, your investment time horizon is still 30 to 40 years, so it's critical that your portfolio reflects that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-occasions-when-you-should-definitely-hire-a-financial-advisor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Occasions When You Should Definitely Hire a Financial Adviser</a>)</p> <h2>5. Consider long-term care</h2> <p>When people hear &quot;long-term care,&quot; they often think it has to do with an insurance policy. But it's a more pressing matter than that. This is the age when you should start reviewing long-term care insurance policies (which cover expenses that Medicare doesn't) and evaluate your own assets to see if you have the ability to effectively self-insure should you need assisted living. If not, a long-term care insurance policy may be a good idea. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-age-to-buy-long-term-care-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Age to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance</a>)</p> <p>Your 50s are as much about increasing your net worth as they are about properly managing and protecting your current assets. This may be your last chance to get it right.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-ways-to-build-retirement-stability-in-your-50s&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Ways%2520to%2520Build%2520Retirement%2520Stability%2520in%2520Your%252050s.jpg&amp;description=5%20Ways%20to%20Build%20Retirement%20Stability%20in%20Your%2050s"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Ways%20to%20Build%20Retirement%20Stability%20in%20Your%2050s.jpg" alt="5 Ways to Build Retirement Stability in Your 50s" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alicia-rose-hudnett">Alicia Rose Hudnett</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-retirement-stability-in-your-50s">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-face-these-7-scary-facts-about-retirement-saving">How to Face These 7 Scary Facts About Retirement Saving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money">How an HSA Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-falling-for-these-6-social-security-myths">Stop Falling for These 6 Social Security Myths</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easiest-ways-to-catch-up-on-retirement-savings-later-in-life">7 Easiest Ways to Catch Up on Retirement Savings Later in Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Retirement 401(k) 50s benefits catch up contributions financial planner health care health savings account HSA long-term care social security Tue, 22 May 2018 09:00:31 +0000 Alicia Rose Hudnett 2142435 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Myths About Money in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-money-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-myths-about-money-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retirement_plan_concept_0.jpg" alt="Retirement plan concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Retiring is an amorphous and complicated goal &mdash; which means retirement planning attracts more than its fair share of plausible-sounding myths. Unfortunately, these myths, misconceptions, mistakes, and misbegotten rules of thumb can seriously lead you astray on your path to a well-funded and fulfilling retirement.</p> <p>Don't fall for any of the following common myths about money in retirement.</p> <h2>1. You need $1 million to retire comfortably</h2> <p>This particular myth holds a unique distinction in that it is wrong in both directions: $1 million is both not nearly enough money for the retirement you're dreaming of, and way too high a number for most people to achieve.</p> <p>How is that possible?</p> <p>On one hand, $1 million doesn't go nearly as far as it once did. If you plan for a grand retirement that involves traveling, fine dining, entertainment, and general living-it-up, you will probably find that a $1 million nest egg will not cover all you want to do. In fact, depending on your cost of living and other circumstances, it's entirely possible you could exhaust $1 million with relatively modest retirement spending.</p> <p>On the other hand, $1 million is a number that is out of reach for the majority of workers. According to a 2016 GoBankingRates survey, 33 percent of Americans have <em>nothing</em> saved for retirement at all. For most Americans, the idea of saving $1 million for retirement may sound too overwhelming to even think about, and they may give up on the idea of saving altogether.</p> <p>The problem with this myth is that it is slapping a blanket generalization over a very idiosyncratic process &mdash; preparing for retirement. Instead of focusing on a nice, round number, calculate your best estimate of how much your own dream retirement will cost. Make adjustments to your dream or the number as necessary. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-retire-with-less-than-1-million-in-savings?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Retire With Less Than $1 Million in Savings</a>)</p> <h2>2. The 4 percent rule</h2> <p>This myth actually has a specific start date. Financial adviser William Bengen proposed this rule in 1994 as a potentially safe withdrawal rate for retirees to make sure their money would comfortably last for the rest of their lives. He based his proposal on historical market data and predictions over where the markets would go in the next 20 years.</p> <p>Here's how the rule works: Historically, the rate of return on stocks generally hovers around 10 percent. That means a retiree can take 4 percent of their assets each year to live on, without ever touching the principal and still seeing growth each year. For a retiree with a $1 million nest egg, that means $40,000 would be available each year for living expenses, without ever dipping into the $1 million itself.</p> <p>There is no problem with the 4 percent rule when the market is doing well. The problem with this rule is that it doesn't work during market downturns. In 2008, the market saw a 30 percent decrease overall. Any withdrawals a retiree made during that time took a permanent bite out of their nest egg. Such a retiree either had to accept that permanent bite, or learn to live on less (or nothing) until the market bounced back.</p> <p>This is why it's a good idea to diversify so that you have some more stable and liquid investments you can count on in bad years, as well as long-term investments that can continue to grow (and recover) over time.</p> <h2>3. Social Security will cover your basic expenses</h2> <p>After paying into Social Security all your life, it's natural to expect the benefits to take care of you in retirement. But Social Security benefits are not now and were never meant to be a primary source of income in retirement. The program was begun in order to provide a safety net to keep seniors from abject poverty.</p> <p>The average monthly Social Security benefit in 2018 is $1,404 &mdash; which is barely enough to cover basic expenses in most areas of the country. It is far better to consider Social Security a supplement to your retirement income than count on it for living expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>4. Medicare will take care of your health needs</h2> <p>Something that comes as a nasty surprise to retirees is the fact that Medicare covers less than you might think &mdash; and health care in retirement costs more than you might realize.</p> <p>Specifically, Medicare does not cover the following needs:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Long-term care (the nonmedical help that an otherwise healthy senior might need for daily living).</p> </li> <li> <p>Self-administered prescription drugs.</p> </li> <li> <p>Routine dental or eye care.</p> </li> <li> <p>Dentures.</p> </li> <li> <p>Hearing aids and exams for fitting them.</p> </li> <li> <p>Routine foot care.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Of these coverage gaps, long-term care can be the most devastating because the costs for such care can add up so quickly. It is in part because of the cost of long-term care that Fidelity calculated the average cost of lifetime medical expenses for a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2017 to be $275,000. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sense-of-the-different-parts-of-medicare?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Make Sense of the Different Parts of Medicare</a>)</p> <h2>5. Your taxes will be lower in retirement</h2> <p>One of the few benefits of no longer drawing a paycheck is the fact that you don't have to see Uncle Sam take a cut from it. You may think that once you're retired, all your money is yours free and clear, and the taxman will finally leave you alone.</p> <p>It doesn't quite work that way.</p> <p>First, you are going to owe taxes on any money you take out from tax-deferred retirement accounts. Since retirees often have fewer federal deductions and dependents to claim, that means you could be paying a greater percentage of your income to taxes. And don't forget that once you reach age 70&frac12;, you will have to take <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-every-retirement-saver-should-know-about-required-minimum-distributions?ref=internal" target="_blank">required minimum distributions</a>, which means the size of your distribution (and therefore the size of the tax bite) isn't entirely up to you.</p> <p>In addition, depending on your retirement income, you may also owe taxes on your Social Security benefits. Altogether, it's good to remember that the taxman always cometh for you.</p> <h2>The truth will set you free</h2> <p>The myths about money in retirement are generally more pleasant than the reality. But as tough as it may be to swallow the truth about how much you need, how much you can withdraw, and how much the government plans to giveth and taketh away, it is far better to be clear-eyed and prepared.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-myths-about-money-in-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Myths%2520About%2520Money%2520in%2520Retirement.jpg&amp;description=5%20Myths%20About%20Money%20in%20Retirement"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Myths%20About%20Money%20in%20Retirement.jpg" alt="5 Myths About Money in Retirement" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-money-in-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-struggles-nobody-talks-about-and-how-to-beat-them">5 Retirement Struggles Nobody Talks About — And How to Beat Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked">5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-face-these-7-scary-facts-about-retirement-saving">How to Face These 7 Scary Facts About Retirement Saving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-overcome-these-4-common-retirement-fears">How to Overcome These 4 Common Retirement Fears</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 4 percent rule expenses health care medicare myths social security taxes withdrawal rate Fri, 11 May 2018 08:00:21 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2133918 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Money-Saving Strategies That Are Actually Hurting You http://www.wisebread.com/25-money-saving-strategies-that-are-actually-hurting-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-money-saving-strategies-that-are-actually-hurting-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_calling_insurance_for_home_leaks.jpg" alt="Couple calling insurance for home leaks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Taking action to save money can be a great way to get your finances on track. But some of the ways we try to cut costs are actually harmful to our financial well-being. Here are all the money-saving strategies that can backfire on us.</p> <h2>1. Skipping college</h2> <p>College is expensive, so you may think the best plan of action is to skip it and save the money. That's the smarter move, right? Maybe not. Depending on your chosen career field, a degree can mean the difference of more than $1 million in income over the lifetime of your career. So while college is expensive, you'll also probably earn a lot more with a college degree, even considering the salary you miss out on during the years you are in school. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-kid-got-accepted-to-an-expensive-private-college-now-what?ref=seealso" target="_blank">My Kid Got Accepted to an Expensive Private College &mdash; Now What?</a>)</p> <h2>2. Not participating in your 401(k) plan</h2> <p>Your paycheck is already hit with taxes, Social Security, FICA, and other expenses before you get your money. Your natural reaction may be to try to keep your paycheck as fat as possible by not contributing to your employer-sponsored retirement plan. In the long run, this move is almost guaranteed to backfire. Not only are you hurting your own financial future, but 401(k) contributions are tax-advantaged, and if you keep the money in your paycheck, you are more likely to spend it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</a>)</p> <h2>3. Buying food in bulk</h2> <p>Food waste is a big problem, and this can be exacerbated when you buy food in bulk. It can seem smart to load up with bulk food at low cost-per-pound prices, but how many pounds of oats are you <em>really</em> going to eat before they go stale?</p> <h2>4. Not investing in yourself</h2> <p>Reducing expenses is important to stay within your budget and move forward in your financial goals. But obsessing over saving money can result in missing out on opportunities to better your life or invest in yourself. For example, you might skip out on spending $400 for a new suit or $1,000 for career training that would help you land job that pays $20,000 more per year.</p> <h2>5. Deferring expenses</h2> <p>Sometimes getting by cheaply now results in big expenses down the road. For example, you could buy a cheap house with lots of serious issues and benefit now from lower payments, but you may end up pouring money into it later to keep it livable or to get the house in a condition so you can sell it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-hidden-costs-of-buying-an-old-house?ref=seealso" target="_blank">23 Hidden Costs of Buying an Old House</a>)</p> <h2>6. Buying minimal car insurance</h2> <p>You can save money on insurance payments every month by purchasing minimal car insurance. But if you have an accident that results in major damage or injury, minimal insurance could leave you with big bills and cost you more in the long run.</p> <h2>7. Saving to spend</h2> <p>It feels good to save up some money and watch your savings account grow. But if you are saving up a big pot of money with the sole intention of spending it, having funds in a savings account can actually result in spending more money, not less. Examples of this include saving up for expensive items that don't retain value such as a recreational vehicle or new car.</p> <h2>8. Doing-it-yourself</h2> <p>You can save a lot of money doing projects yourself instead of hiring a professional, but DIY projects still cost a lot of money for materials, not to mention time and effort. And if you do something wrong, you may need to hire a professional anyway to fix your mistake. Before you take on a project, make sure it is worth doing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-diy-projects-from-ruining-your-life?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Keep DIY Projects From Ruining Your Life</a>)</p> <h2>9. Buying items on sale that you don't need</h2> <p>Buying things on sale can be a good way to save money, but this only works if you need the items in the first place and will actually use them within a reasonable period of time. If you buy stuff you don't need <em>just </em>because it's on sale &mdash; no matter how cheap it is &mdash; you are wasting money.</p> <h2>10. Skipping meals</h2> <p>Skipping meals occasionally can save you money on food. However, this savings can be offset by reduced productivity and by the potential for making poor spending and financial decisions while hungry.</p> <h2>11. Eating cheap food</h2> <p>Eating junk food such as soda, chips, and fast food will provide your daily caloric requirements for a minimal amount of money, but you are likely to end up overweight and miss out on key vitamins and minerals that you need to stay healthy. If you want to find affordable healthy food, check out this list of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-low-cost-foods-packed-with-nutrition" target="_blank">cheap foods that are packed with nutrition</a>.</p> <h2>12. Using coupons</h2> <p>How did using coupons end up on a list of money-saving strategies that can hurt you? Stores give out coupons for a reason. They know that coupons can lead you to buy stuff you normally wouldn't buy, and that results in more profit for the store. Using coupons for items you would buy anyway makes sense, but resist buying extra items only because you have a coupon. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 6 Shopping Mistakes Keeping You From a Great Deal</a>)</p> <h2>13. Ignoring home maintenance</h2> <p>Sometimes you need to take on home repairs right away to avoid expensive damage. If you notice water leaking from a roof, or a leaky pipe, you might think that ignoring the problem costs no money while calling in someone to make a repair could cost hundreds of dollars. While it is true that repairs can be expensive, ignoring routine maintenance can be even more expensive down the road if more extensive repairs are needed for cumulative damage.</p> <h2>14. Supersizing</h2> <p>Why not pay 49 cents extra to upgrade from a medium size drink and fries to a large? This &quot;deal&quot; feeds into temptation and poor impulse control, and again, paying extra for something you don't need or didn't originally want is not a way to save money. This strategy can hurt your waistline as well as your wallet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-effortless-ways-to-prevent-budget-busting-impulse-buys?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Effortless Ways to Prevent Budget-Busting Impulse Buys</a>)</p> <h2>15. Leasing a car</h2> <p>The monthly payments for leasing a car are often lower than for purchasing a car, so it might seem like you can save money by leasing instead of buying. The problem with leasing is that you make all of the payments on the vehicle during the time when it depreciates the most, but you don't end up owning the car at the end of the lease. You end up with nothing! If you purchase a car, you can pay it off and go for years without making payments after you own the vehicle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-before-leasing-a-car?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know Before Leasing a Car</a>)</p> <h2>16. Making minimum payments on credit cards</h2> <p>When is it good to pay more than you are charged? When your credit card bill comes. Making minimum payments on a credit card seems like a way to spend the least amount possible, but interest charges pile up and it can take decades to pay off a credit card by making minimum payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/all-the-ways-minimum-payments-are-evil?ref=seealso" target="_blank">All the Ways Minimum Payments Are Evil</a>)</p> <h2>17. Repairing old appliances and vehicles</h2> <p>You can often repair an old appliance or vehicle for less than the cost of replacing it, which can seem like a good strategy to save money. But if the repair cost exceeds the value of the item, you might come out ahead by replacing it, even if it costs more in the short term. Instead of sinking money into an older item that has a limited life expectancy and will likely need additional repairs soon, you can apply the money toward buying a newer item that should be trouble-free for many years.</p> <h2>18. Hanging on to unneeded things because they are paid for</h2> <p>After you buy something, its value typically declines over time. This means that you will never be able to get your full money back by selling your things. So, you might decide to hang on to everything that you have paid for instead of selling it at a loss. This strategy may make financial sense, but you can end up with lots of clutter from things you don't use, and some items require costly maintenance. Even if it's paid for, if you don't use it, get rid of it.</p> <h2>19. Not boosting your productivity</h2> <p>For years, I used an old laptop that was barely functional. It took hours to accomplish things that should have taken a few minutes due to laggy performance and system crashes. I finally bought a refurbished laptop to replace my aging computer, and I was able to pay for it within a couple months due to increased productivity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-a-new-computer-without-breaking-your-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Buy a New Computer Without Breaking Your Budget</a>)</p> <h2>20. Skipping a worthwhile project to save money</h2> <p>Although it may seem like the best money strategy is to minimize expenses, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. For example, you could decide to skip the expense of seed packets, tools, and fertilizer to plant a garden. But a garden can pay for itself many times over with its produce. Plus you can reuse many garden tools and supplies for years after the initial purchase.</p> <h2>21. Skipping vehicle maintenance</h2> <p>You can try to save money by not getting regular oil changes and other routine maintenance on your vehicle, but this strategy will cost more than it saves. Keeping up with maintenance on your vehicle will extend its life, lower the likelihood of an expensive breakdown, and can make your vehicle run more efficiently so you reduce fuel costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bookmark-this-save-money-with-an-easy-to-follow-car-maintenance-checklist?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Bookmark This: Save Money With an Easy to Follow Car Maintenance Checklist</a>)</p> <h2>22. Skipping vet appointments</h2> <p>Vet bills for routine vaccinations and checkups can be expensive, but skipping these appointments can be even more costly. Not taking pets to the vet regularly can result in more expensive treatments down the road, plus your pet's health can suffer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-lower-your-vet-bills?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Lower Your Vet Bills</a>)</p> <h2>23. Wearing cheap shoes</h2> <p>A good pair of shoes is expensive, so why not save some money by getting cheap shoes instead? A good pair of shoes can last for years, while a cheap pair of shoes may only last a few months before wearing out. Buying a good pair of shoes can be less expensive in the long run, and you can walk all you want in comfort without getting sore feet or back pain.</p> <h2>24. Not having a comfortable bed</h2> <p>You can avoid some expenses for bedding through long-term couch surfing or by using a mattress forever even after it is worn out and no longer comfortable. But not getting a good night's sleep will lower your productivity and you are more likely to make poor spending and financial decisions when you have not gotten enough sleep.</p> <h2>25. Skipping medical and dental appointments</h2> <p>Visits to the doctor or dentist can be unpleasant and expensive, but you are better off taking care of your health the way you are supposed to. Failing to go for routine health screenings and teeth cleanings can lead to more expensive problems down the line. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-expenses-you-should-never-cut?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Expenses You Should Never Cut</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F25-money-saving-strategies-that-are-actually-hurting-you&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F25%2520Money-Saving%2520Strategies%2520That%2520Are%2520Actually%2520Hurting%2520You.jpg&amp;description=25%20Money-Saving%20Strategies%20That%20Are%20Actually%20Hurting%20You"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/25%20Money-Saving%20Strategies%20That%20Are%20Actually%20Hurting%20You.jpg" alt="25 Money-Saving Strategies That Are Actually Hurting You" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-money-saving-strategies-that-are-actually-hurting-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-money-is-harder-today">Why Saving Money Is Harder Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-an-emergency-fund-by-the-end-of-summer">How to Build an Emergency Fund By the End of Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-become-a-minimalist-with-your-money">How to Become a Minimalist With Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living backfire college cutting costs expenses health care maintenance retirement saving money shopping Spending Money too frugal Tue, 08 May 2018 08:00:18 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2136177 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When You Enroll in Medicare http://www.wisebread.com/4-common-mistakes-to-avoid-when-you-enroll-in-medicare <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-common-mistakes-to-avoid-when-you-enroll-in-medicare" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/old_man_looking_at_his_laptop.jpg" alt="Old man looking at his laptop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're close to retirement age, you might soon be eligible for Medicare. The federal health insurance program is an important resource, helping you cover the costs of hospital stays, doctor's visits, and prescription medication. The challenge? Signing up for Medicare can be complicated. It's not unusual for new enrollees to make mistakes, and these mistakes can prove costly.</p> <p>Your goal is to sign up for Medicare services on time and correctly to avoid financial hits. Here are some common mistakes to watch out for when enrolling in Medicare coverage.</p> <h2>Thinking you haven't worked enough to qualify</h2> <p>You might think that just because you haven't worked much, or at all, that you can't sign up for Medicare. That isn't true.</p> <p>To be enrolled in Medicare Part A, you might hear that you need to rack up 40 eligibility credits by paying Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. That comes out to about 10 years of work for most people. But this only means that you won't have to pay for Medicare Part A coverage, which covers medical services provided by hospitals. You can still sign up for Medicare Part A if you haven't worked long enough to earn those 40 credits. You'll just have to pay a premium.</p> <p>Some people are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part B &mdash; the insurance that helps cover doctor visits, trips to the outpatient clinic, and any expenses for medical equipment &mdash; when they sign up for Part A (together, the two comprise Original Medicare), while others enroll separately. You don't need any work credits to sign up for Medicare Part B. You can qualify for this part of Medicare even if you've worked fewer than 10 years. You just need to be 65 or older and a U.S. citizen or legal resident who's lived in the country for at least five years. The same holds true for Medicare Part D, which covers prescription medications. As long as you already have Parts A and/or B, you can enroll in Part D. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sense-of-the-different-parts-of-medicare?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Make Sense of the Different Parts of Medicare</a>)</p> <h2>Signing up too late</h2> <p>Medicare.gov is clear about the risks of signing up too late for Medicare. In many cases, you'll need to sign up for Medicare coverage during your seven-month initial enrollment period. That period includes the three months before you turn 65, the month you turn 65, and the three months after.</p> <p>There is an exception: You can delay signing up for Medicare coverage if you have health insurance coverage past the age of 65 from an employer for which either you or your spouse still actively work. If this employer has 20 or more employees, you can delay Medicare enrollment until the job ends and not face a penalty. If your employer has fewer than 20 employees, you should sign up for Medicare when you are first eligible.</p> <p>If you do sign up late &mdash; especially for Part B coverage &mdash; you will face a stiff penalty. According to Medicare.gov, your monthly premium for Medicare Part B will be 10 percent higher for each full 12-month period that you could have had this coverage but didn't sign up for it. And that penalty will last as long as you are enrolled in Part B coverage.</p> <p>Here's an example from Medicare.gov: Say your initial enrollment period ended Sept. 30 of 2009. You didn't sign up for Part B coverage until the general enrollment period in March of 2012. Your Part B penalty will be 20 percent. That's because you waited two full 12-month periods before signing up.</p> <p>There is a penalty for signing up late for Medicare Part A, too, if you don't qualify for premium-free coverage and instead have to pay. Again, your monthly premium might increase by 10 percent. You'll have to pay this penalty for two times the number of years you could have had Part A coverage but didn't sign up for it.</p> <p>Again, here's an example from Medicare.gov: Say you were eligible for Part A coverage for two years before finally signing up. You will have to pay the higher premium for four years &mdash; twice the number of years in which you waited to enroll. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked</a>)</p> <h2>Skipping Medicare Part D</h2> <p>Medicare Part D helps cover the costs of prescription medicine. It's not free &mdash; you'll have to pay a monthly premium. Because of this, you might be tempted to skip this coverage, especially if you're healthy today and you don't take any medications.</p> <p>Don't. You can't predict how healthy you'll be in the future. You can't predict whether one day you will need costly prescription medications.</p> <p>Sign up for Part D coverage as soon as you are eligible. Like with Medicare Part A or B, if you wait too long &mdash; any continuous period of 63 days or more after your initial enrollment period ends, unless you have approved medication coverage from a different source &mdash; you will face a penalty added to your monthly fee.</p> <h2>Not understanding what open enrollment means</h2> <p>Medicare does offer its own open enrollment period, which runs every year from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. If you are new to Medicare, though, this isn't when you must sign up. New enrollees get their own enrollment periods.</p> <p>The open enrollment period starting Oct. 15 is reserved for those already receiving Medicare and who want to change their coverage choices for the next year.</p> <p>If you are enrolling for the first time, you still need to sign up for Medicare sometime during your seventh-month initial enrollment period.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-common-mistakes-to-avoid-when-you-enroll-in-medicare&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Common%2520Mistakes%2520to%2520Avoid%2520When%2520You%2520Enroll%2520in%2520Medicare.jpg&amp;description=4%20Common%20Mistakes%20to%20Avoid%20When%20You%20Enroll%20in%20Medicare"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Common%20Mistakes%20to%20Avoid%20When%20You%20Enroll%20in%20Medicare.jpg" alt="4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When You Enroll in Medicare" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-common-mistakes-to-avoid-when-you-enroll-in-medicare">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-mistakes-youre-making-at-the-doctors-office">9 Financial Mistakes You&#039;re Making at the Doctor&#039;s Office</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-health-insurance-if-you-missed-the-open-enrollment-deadline">How to Get Health Insurance If You Missed the Open Enrollment Deadline</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-important-financial-dates-to-mark-on-your-calendar">15+ Important Financial Dates to Mark on Your Calendar</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-monthly-bills-that-wont-affect-your-credit-score">6 Monthly Bills That Won&#039;t Affect Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-pointless-fees-that-are-sabotaging-your-budget">10 Pointless Fees That Are Sabotaging Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance health care insurance medicare Mistakes open enrollment original medicare part a part b part c penalties Tue, 01 May 2018 08:30:19 +0000 Dan Rafter 2134243 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Fastest Growing Jobs That Didn't Exist 10 Years Ago http://www.wisebread.com/10-fastest-growing-jobs-that-didnt-exist-10-years-ago <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-fastest-growing-jobs-that-didnt-exist-10-years-ago" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_smiling_and_leaning_on_solar_panel.jpg" alt="Man smiling and leaning on solar panel" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A decade ago, social media was young, mommy-blogging was a hot new trend, and &mdash; oh yes &mdash; the economy was falling apart. Millions of us lost our jobs. Now that the job market is strong again and unemployment is low, some of the hottest occupations are lines of work that either didn't exist or were little known back in the first decade of the century.</p> <p>If you're looking for a new career, why not look at one of these new, fast-growing fields? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-high-paying-jobs-that-didnt-exist-10-years-ago?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 High-Paying Jobs That Didn't Exist 10 Years Ago</a>)</p> <h2>1. Drone operator</h2> <p>Opportunities include photography and film, inspecting tall buildings, and mapping difficult-to-reach areas. Amazon is experimenting with package delivery by drone, while Facebook is experimenting with using drones to bring internet access to remote areas. With the expected growth in drone use, today's operators could also find work training and certifying tomorrow's operators.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Growth expected by 2021: 1,000 percent.</p> </li> <li> <p>Requirements: FAA certification, possibly short training programs.</p> </li> <li> <p>Median pay: $52,000.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>2. Machine learning engineer</h2> <p>Machine learning is basically another way of saying artificial intelligence, a field where the overall job openings have grown 450 percent since 2013, according to the 2017 Artificial Intelligence Index. This kind of engineer is a ninja programmer who is probably also a math whiz.</p> <p>But wait, you may say: Everyone knows that AI is going to destroy jobs, not create them. Not necessarily. Research and advisory company Gartner estimates that AI will create 2.3 million jobs by 2020, eclipsing the 1.8 million it's expected to eliminate.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Growth since 2012: 980 percent.</p> </li> <li> <p>Requirements: BS or MS in computer science.</p> </li> <li> <p>Median pay: $116,000.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>3. Data scientist</h2> <p>This type of engineer analyzes data produced by websites, apps, computer sales systems, and more, answering business questions or finding trends. The word analytics is sometimes used interchangeably with data science to describe this work. Data scientists usually need to know a statistical programming language, such as Python, as well as a database querying language such as SQL.</p> <p>The roles of machine learning engineer and data scientist are closely linked; machine learning engineers on LinkedIn are likely to list data scientist as their previous job title, and &quot;machine learning&quot; is one of the top skills listed by data scientists.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Growth since 2012: 650 percent.</p> </li> <li> <p>Requirements: BS, MS, or Ph.D. in statistics, computer science, math, or data science.</p> </li> <li> <p>Median pay: $91,212.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>4. Solar panel installer</h2> <p>Although jobs for college graduates have led the recovery since the recession, here's one that requires little education. This is the person installing the solar panels on your roof. This job is growing because the solar industry is hot, producing 24.5 percent growth in all solar-related jobs in 2016.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Growth expected through 2026: 105 percent.</p> </li> <li> <p>Requirements: High school diploma, on-the-job training, possibly tech school courses.</p> </li> <li> <p>Median pay: $39,240.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>5. App developer</h2> <p>Ten years ago, the iPhone was new, and not everyone knew what an app was. Now almost 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone, and my 90-year-old grandma downloads a new slot machine app every week. Short training programs for app programmers have sprung up in San Francisco that turn out graduates in a year or less. These developers go on to make six figures and often get company equity at their first job.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Growth expected through 2026: 31 percent.</p> </li> <li> <p>Requirements: BS in computer science or software engineering, or programming boot camp.</p> </li> <li> <p>Median pay: $106,710.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>6. Genetic counselor</h2> <p>There was such a job as genetic counselor 10 years ago, but people with that title today wouldn't recognize it as the same thing. In the past, genetic counseling consisted of interpreting just a few available tests and sharing the results with patients. Today, so much data is available on an individual's genetics that the job has a larger technical component. Part of the expansion of this job is driven by the growth in genetic testing kits available directly to the public.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Growth expected through 2026: 29 percent.</p> </li> <li> <p>Requirements: MS in genetics or genetic counseling, board certification, state licensing.</p> </li> <li> <p>Median pay: $74,120.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>7. Operations research analyst</h2> <p>These brainiacs use advanced math and analytical methods to solve business and organization problems. There is some overlap between this job and data science. It's also so closely linked to the fields of analytics and data mining that some consider the words interchangeable. The upshot: If you know how to crunch numbers and get important insights out of huge amounts of data, you're going to be in demand, no matter what you call yourself.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Growth expected through 2026: 27 percent.</p> </li> <li> <p>Requirements: BS or MS in business, operations research, math, analytics, or computer science.</p> </li> <li> <p>Median pay: $79,200.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>8. Telemedicine physician</h2> <p>Like many jobs on the list, this field is driven by the ubiquity of high speed internet. Patients are increasingly given the option to video conference with a physician and get a diagnosis or referral to a specialist. Hospitals and medical groups are hiring more doctors comfortable with telemedicine, because the practice saves money and results in better access to specialists, less wait time, and less spread of disease from waiting room contact.</p> <p>Physicians who want to become telemedicine practitioners may need to learn to use connected versions of tools they already know, such as thermometers and stethoscopes.</p> <p>The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 13 percent growth for all physicians through 2026, and that includes tele-physicians. However, given how quickly telemedicine is growing, it's reasonable to assume that this niche will grow faster than doctor jobs as a whole.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Growth expected through 2026: 13 percent or more.</p> </li> <li> <p>Requirements: MD, board certification, medical license.</p> </li> <li> <p>Median pay: $200,500.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>9. Health information technician</h2> <p>With the growth in online medical records, professionals who are well versed in medical coding for insurance claims and organizing and securing medical records are needed.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Growth expected through 2026: 13 percent.</p> </li> <li> <p>Requirements: Tech school training program.</p> </li> <li> <p>Median pay: $38,040.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>10. Social media manager</h2> <p>Nearly every brand &mdash; from baked goods to airlines to government agencies &mdash; now hire specialists to represent them on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and others. These workers might create and post content, moderate discussions, collect and respond to customer feedback, and use analytics software to monitor the brand's image and activity across all social media platforms.</p> <p>The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lumps social media specialists in with public relations workers, and rates job growth for the whole field at 9 percent. However, since social media continues to be a hot growth field, it's reasonable to assume that social media jobs are growing faster than other PR jobs.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Growth expected by 2026: 9 percent or more.</p> </li> <li> <p>Requirements: BS in communications, public relations, journalism, or marketing.</p> </li> <li> <p>Median annual wage: $56,770.</p> </li> </ul> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-fastest-growing-jobs-that-didnt-exist-10-years-ago&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Fastest%2520Growing%2520Jobs%2520That%2520Didn%2527t%2520Exist%252010%2520Years%2520Ago.jpg&amp;description=10%20Fastest%20Growing%20Jobs%20That%20Didn't%20Exist%2010%20Years%20Ago"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Fastest%20Growing%20Jobs%20That%20Didn%27t%20Exist%2010%20Years%20Ago.jpg" alt="10 Fastest Growing Jobs That Didn't Exist 10 Years Ago" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fastest-growing-jobs-that-didnt-exist-10-years-ago">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-big-companies-that-offer-benefits-for-part-time-workers">9 Big Companies That Offer Benefits for Part-Time Workers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-jobs-that-pay-over-50k-and-dont-require-a-bachelors-degree">5 Jobs That Pay Over $50K and Don&#039;t Require a Bachelor&#039;s Degree</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-old-school-jobs-that-are-making-a-comeback">9 Old-School Jobs That Are Making a Comeback</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-job-hunting-has-gotten-better-for-new-grads">5 Ways Job Hunting Has Gotten Better for New Grads</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-vet-your-new-employer">9 Ways to Vet Your New Employer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting analysts developers fastest growing jobs health care high paying job growth social media technology Wed, 18 Apr 2018 08:30:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2131422 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways Retirees Can Spring Clean Their Finances http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-retirees-can-spring-clean-their-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-retirees-can-spring-clean-their-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior_couple_paying_bills_online_at_home.jpg" alt="Senior couple paying bills online at home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you've finally made the jump out of the working world and into blissful retirement. Congratulations! If you've been careful in your financial planning, you should have plenty of money to sustain yourself for a long time and have a happy post-work life. But even the most well-off retirees could benefit from re-examining their financial situation.</p> <p>Here are a few ways retirees can get their finances spic and span this spring.</p> <h2>1. Check your spending</h2> <p>After you've spent a large portion of your life amassing a large retirement fund, you may feel like your days of watching every dollar are over. But it's still important to make sure your expenses aren't higher than what your savings can afford. Now that you are home instead of heading to the office every day, you may be spending more on utilities. You may have unreimbursed expenses relating to caring for your grandchildren. That African safari trip may have cost you more than expected.</p> <p>If you have an annuity or are making regular withdrawals in retirement, it's important to avoid spending more than those payments. Otherwise, you may find yourself lacking in funds down the road. You may be fortunate to live for many more years, but you don't want to go broke along the way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a>)</p> <h2>2. Meet with a financial adviser</h2> <p>Even retirees who have plenty of money and a good financial plan can benefit from a checkup with an adviser. A good financial planner can help you assess whether your retirement savings are still on track to last and if there are any necessary tweaks. An adviser can also help walk you through any changes to tax laws and explain any changes to the investment landscape. Once you retire, don't just put your head in the sand and assume your money will last as long as you do. A periodic financial check-in with an expert can be hugely valuable to anyone seeking the best retirement possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-to-be-picky-when-hiring-a-financial-planner?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Reasons to Be Picky When Hiring a Financial Planner</a>)</p> <h2>3. Assess your withdrawals</h2> <p>Once you reach age 70 &frac12;, you may be required to make minimum withdrawals from your retirement accounts. The ultimate size of these withdrawals &mdash; and whether you decide to start withdrawing sooner &mdash; will determine how much you have to live on, and how much you'll have left in your accounts. If you are taking withdrawals already, take some time to determine whether the amount taken out each month is sufficient or too much. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-financial-penalties-every-retiree-should-avoid?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Financial Penalties Every Retiree Should Avoid</a>)</p> <h2>4. Re-examine your will</h2> <p>You remember filling out a will many years ago, but do you remember what it says? Do you still agree with the directives regarding who gets your assets when you pass? These aren't pleasant things to think about, but your family will appreciate it if your wishes are made clear. It may even make sense to discuss this with your children and other family members so there are no surprises or acrimony later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Times You Need to Update Your Will</a>)</p> <h2>5. Rebalance your portfolio</h2> <p>If you are retired, your investment portfolio should be geared more toward preserving income than growing it. It's OK to own some stocks, but it makes sense to also mix in some bonds, cash, and other more conservative investments. You may think your portfolio is optimized for retirement, but there's a chance it may have gotten out of balance. This is especially true over the last few years when stocks have performed very well.</p> <p>Everyone, not just retirees, is encouraged to rebalance their portfolios every year. If you haven't taken a hard look at your investments in a while, take the time to see if some smart buying and selling will get you back on the right track. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</a>)</p> <h2>6. Do a deep dive into your charitable giving</h2> <p>You may finally be in a position to be generous with your money. But are you being smart and strategic about how you are giving to charity?</p> <p>Charitable donations are not only a wonderful thing to do, they can help you financially by saving you on taxes. If you itemize tax deductions, charitable donations can reduce your tax bill. Donating shares of stock to a charity can help you avoid capital gains taxes. If you are considering donating to charity, come up with a smart plan to support the causes you love as part of a broader tax savings strategy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-giving-to-charity-is-good-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways Giving to Charity Is Good for You</a>)</p> <h2>7. Assess your health insurance situation</h2> <p>Older Americans can benefit from Medicare, but you may not be eligible if you retire early. And even if you do get Medicare, that doesn't cover every medical expense. Most retirees find that they need to purchase a Medicare supplement plan, as well as additional insurance for eyeglasses, hearing aids, dental work, and other health needs. You'll also need to consider whether long-term care insurance is right for you. Don't assume you are properly insured just because you are eligible for Medicare. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sense-of-the-different-parts-of-medicare?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Make Sense of the Different Parts of Medicare</a>)</p> <h2>8. Hit the gym and eat better</h2> <p>Exercising may not seem like a financial decision, but in many ways it is. Getting and staying healthy will not only help you enjoy retirement more, but it could help reduce medical bills that may not be covered by insurance. Work to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, and make better lifestyle choices. You may find yourself not only healthier, but wealthier too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-invest-in-your-health?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Smart Ways to Invest in Your Health</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-ways-retirees-can-spring-clean-their-finances&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Ways%2520Retirees%2520Can%2520Spring%2520Clean%2520Their%2520Finances.jpg&amp;description=8%20Ways%20Retirees%20Can%20Spring%20Clean%20Their%20Finances"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Ways%20Retirees%20Can%20Spring%20Clean%20Their%20Finances.jpg" alt="8 Ways Retirees Can Spring Clean Their Finances" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-retirees-can-spring-clean-their-finances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often">8 Questions Financial Advisers Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-mistakes-diy-investors-make">9 Costly Mistakes DIY Investors Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-money-in-retirement">5 Myths About Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do">If You&#039;re Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-struggles-nobody-talks-about-and-how-to-beat-them">5 Retirement Struggles Nobody Talks About — And How to Beat Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement charity financial advisers financial planning health care money moves rebalancing spending spring cleaning taxes Wed, 28 Mar 2018 09:00:07 +0000 Tim Lemke 2119356 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Alternatives to Charging Your Medical Bills http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternatives-to-charging-your-medical-bills <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-alternatives-to-charging-your-medical-bills" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/doctor_doing_surgery_in_hospital_with_money.jpg" alt="Doctor doing surgery in hospital with money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Last year, I ended up in the hospital. The experience was scary, but what was even scarier were the massive hospital bills that started pouring in once I got home. I quickly exhausted my emergency savings and, out of options, I turned to my credit cards to pay the remaining bills.</p> <p>It was a costly mistake. The high interest rates on my credit cards caused my balance to balloon, and I ended up paying back far more than I originally owed. It was a hard-learned lesson that cost me thousands.</p> <p>If you're like me and facing serious medical bills, it's important to know that there are other options available to you that are less costly. If you need help, here's what you need to know before handing over your credit card.</p> <h2>The high cost of using credit</h2> <p>The cost of health care is a serious problem for millions of Americans. According to the Kaiser Foundation, 26 percent of U.S. adults say that they or someone in their household had problems paying for a medical bill in the past year, or couldn't pay their bills at all.</p> <p>For some, an inability to pay means they will put off necessary treatments. For those who went to the hospital, they could leave with huge amounts of medical debt, causing them to fall behind on their other bills or even file for bankruptcy.</p> <p>Many people turn to credit cards to pay the hospital bills, but doing so is an expensive decision.</p> <p>According to Bankrate, the average credit card interest rates are currently hovering above 16 percent. That means that the bill you charge can grow significantly over time, adding hundreds or even thousands to your credit card balance.</p> <p>For example, if you used a credit card to pay for a $5,000 medical bill at 16 percent interest with a $150 minimum payment, it would take you 15 years to pay off your card. You'd pay back over $3,700 just in interest charges, making it harder to get out of debt. As interest accrues, it's easy to end up over your head. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-biggest-dangers-of-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Biggest Dangers of Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>The things you can do instead</h2> <p>When you don't have enough money in the bank, a credit card might feel like your only option. However, there are other resources you can use to pay your medical bills that are more cost-effective than a credit card.</p> <h3>1. Enroll in a payment plan</h3> <p>Some hospitals and health care practitioners offer payment plans for low-income patients. With a payment plan, you can split up your bill over several months or even years. You can pay your bill a little at a time, rather than coming up with thousands at once.</p> <p>Some hospital payment plans might not even charge you interest, or will charge a low rate, making them a much cheaper option than using a credit card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youre-hit-with-a-huge-medical-bill?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do If You're Hit With a Huge Medical Bill</a>)</p> <h3>2. Ask about charitable funds</h3> <p>If you can't afford your bills even with a payment plan, ask the hospital's billing department about any charitable funds. Some places have money they set aside to pay for treatment of patients who can't afford to pay the bill themselves.</p> <p>There will likely be a significant amount of paperwork to complete, and you'll have to submit documentation of your income and expenses. However, spending time completing the forms can end up saving you thousands over the long run. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-massive-medical-bill?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Handle a Massive Medical Bill</a>)</p> <h3>3. Explore outside nonprofit organizations</h3> <p>If your hospital doesn't offer any financial assistance, you might be eligible for aid from a separate nonprofit. Organizations like HealthWell, Catholic Charities, and the Children's Health Fund may be able to help you with your with medical bills. Some offer upfront cash assistance or will even help you negotiate a lower bill.</p> <p>You can contact United Way's <a href="http://www.211.org/" target="_blank">2-1-1 Information &amp; Referral hotline</a> to find out about programs in your area.</p> <h3>4. Negotiate your bill</h3> <p>Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to negotiate a lower bill. If you cannot afford the total balance, call the hospital's billing department and explain your situation. Ask if they'd be willing to accept a lower amount. In some cases, the hospital may agree to settle the debt for less than you were originally billed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-negotiate-medical-bills?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Negotiate Medical Bills</a>)</p> <h3>5. Consider a personal loan</h3> <p>If you've exhausted your other options and still need help paying your bill, consider taking out a personal loan rather than using your credit card. If you have good credit and a stable income, you could qualify for a loan with an interest rate as low as 5 percent. And, you could choose a longer loan term, making your payments more affordable. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-personal-loans-may-be-better-than-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Times Personal Loans May Be Better Than Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Exploring your options</h2> <p>Before reaching for plastic, make sure you have researched all of your available payment options. Using a credit card to pay for your medical bills can end up costing you thousands more than you originally owed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-your-credit-card-to-pay-for-these-10-things?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Never Use Your Credit Card to Pay for These 10 Things</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-alternatives-to-charging-your-medical-bills&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Alternatives%2520to%2520Charging%2520Your%2520Medical%2520Bills.jpg&amp;description=5%20Alternatives%20to%20Charging%20Your%20Medical%20Bills"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Alternatives%20to%20Charging%20Your%20Medical%20Bills.jpg" alt="5 Alternatives to Charging Your Medical Bills" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternatives-to-charging-your-medical-bills">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-massive-medical-bill">How to Handle a Massive Medical Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-afford-your-kids-braces-or-expensive-dental-care">How to Afford Your Kid&#039;s Braces or Expensive Dental Care</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-cut-the-cost-of-a-hospital-stay">How to Cut the Cost of a Hospital Stay</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-mistakes-youre-making-at-the-doctors-office">9 Financial Mistakes You&#039;re Making at the Doctor&#039;s Office</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having">10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Health and Beauty charity financial assistance health care medical bills medical debt nonprofits payment plans Fri, 23 Mar 2018 09:30:15 +0000 Kat Tretina 2110802 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Surprising Ways Marriage Can Make You Richer http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-ways-marriage-can-make-you-richer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-surprising-ways-marriage-can-make-you-richer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/groom_and_bride_are_under_viel_together.jpg" alt="Groom and bride are under viel together" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Marriage can be a wonderful thing, and not just because of the potential for lifelong companionship. Tying the knot can be a great financial decision, too.</p> <p>When you get married, you'll be eligible for some key tax breaks, and there are a number of other advantages that will ultimately help you build wealth. Take a look at these examples of how marriage can make you richer.</p> <h2>1. There's a larger standard tax deduction</h2> <p>Under the 2018 tax law, every married couple filing jointly is eligible for a standard deduction of $24,000. That's nearly double from the previous law and exactly twice the standard deduction for single people. This standard deduction is more important than ever, as the new tax law does not allow for as much itemizing of deductions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-should-know-about-the-new-tax-law?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Things You Should Know About the New Tax Law</a>)</p> <h2>2. You may save on taxes if filing jointly</h2> <p>Much has been said about the so-called &quot;marriage penalty&quot; in which couples could face a higher tax rate if they file jointly. But in truth, this was not an issue for most people, and the new tax law makes it even less likely that married couples will be penalized.</p> <p>In fact, in most cases under the 2018 tax law, there won't be much difference between your taxes if you file separately or jointly. But it could be very advantageous for couples to file jointly if one spouse makes considerably more than the other.</p> <p>To illustrate this, let's say you earn $37,000 in taxable income. Under the 2018 tax law, you'd be in the 12 percent tax bracket and pay $4,440 in tax if filing separately. Now let's say your spouse earns $190,000 per year and pays $60,080, based on the 32 percent tax bracket, also filing separately. If you file jointly instead, you'd report a combined income of $227,000 and would be in the 24 percent tax bracket. You would pay $54,480 in tax, a savings of nearly $10,000.</p> <h2>3. You have more buying power</h2> <p>When you get married, you are pooling financial resources. If both of you have assets and income, then you have greater ability to make purchases. It means you may be more likely to afford a down payment on a home, and have more ability to handle the monthly mortgage. It means you may become more attractive to lenders, though it is worth noting that you will still each have separate credit scores.</p> <h2>4. You can contribute to an IRA even if you don't work</h2> <p>If you want to contribute to an individual retirement account (IRA), you must have earned income. But there are exceptions, most notably in the form of a spousal IRA. With a spousal IRA, each spouse can have their own IRA, as long as one of the spouses has earned income. For most people, the limit of contributions on each account is $5,500 annually, so the total contributions allowed for married couples doubles to $11,000. The only catch to a spousal IRA is that couples must file their taxes jointly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings</a>)</p> <h2>5. You can receive Social Security spousal benefits</h2> <p>When you file for Social Security benefits, you can file for your own benefits or under your spouse's. Even if you did not earn any income during your life, you can receive benefits through your spouse. Usually, spousal benefits are up to half your spouse's normal Social Security benefit. You'll also be able to receive spousal benefits even after your spouse passes on.</p> <h2>6. You may spend less on health care</h2> <p>There is considerable evidence that being married can make you healthier. Married couples look out for one another. They keep each other on track regarding diet and exercise, and a spouse is often the first person to notice when you appear unwell.</p> <p>The Harvard Health blog reported in 2016 that married people tend to live longer, are less likely to be depressed, and have fewer strokes and heart attacks. The report also cites studies showing that married people have better immune systems. This potentially means that your health care expenses could be less than if you remained single.</p> <h2>7. You can get health insurance through your spouse</h2> <p>If one spouse has access to health insurance through his or her employer, they can add a spouse to their plan. This is very helpful when one spouse is not employed or is not offered health insurance through their job. In most cases, family plans offer savings over plans for individuals.</p> <h2>8. Auto insurance is cheaper</h2> <p>Generally speaking, auto insurance companies will charge less to married couples than single people. That's because they tend to see marriage as something a more mature person does. Of course, it helps if both drivers have good driving records; if your spouse has a worse driving record than you, you may not see any savings.</p> <p>An analysis from Carinsurance.com revealed that married couples can typically see savings of 10 to 15 percent in most states. It's worth noting that insurance companies will offer discounts for multiple cars, as well.</p> <h2>9. You can inherit assets from your spouse without a will</h2> <p>To be clear, no one is suggesting you should celebrate when your spouse passes away. But it's worth noting that when you are married, you are usually entitled to inherit their assets, even if you don't have a formal will drawn up. Note: Crafting a will is still a very good idea. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-leave-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's What Happens If You Don't Leave a Will</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F9-surprising-ways-marriage-can-make-you-richer&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F9%2520Surprising%2520Ways%2520Marriage%2520Can%2520Make%2520You%2520Richer.jpg&amp;description=9%20Surprising%20Ways%20Marriage%20Can%20Make%20You%20Richer"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/9%20Surprising%20Ways%20Marriage%20Can%20Make%20You%20Richer.jpg" alt="9 Surprising Ways Marriage Can Make You Richer" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-ways-marriage-can-make-you-richer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-financially-during-a-divorce-or-separation">How to Protect Yourself Financially During a Divorce or Separation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-retirement-stability-in-your-50s">5 Ways to Build Retirement Stability in Your 50s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-money-in-retirement">5 Myths About Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-money-saving-strategies-that-are-actually-hurting-you">25 Money-Saving Strategies That Are Actually Hurting You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-new-marriage-can-survive-student-loan-debt">How a New Marriage Can Survive Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance advantages assets auto insurance health care health insurance inheritance marriage retirement social security spousal ira taxes Mon, 19 Mar 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 2114664 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Simple Ways to Save on Health Care http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-simple-ways-to-save-on-health-care <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-simple-ways-to-save-on-health-care" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_doctor_patient_682268826.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to save on health care" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found articles on simple ways to save on health care, laundry tips and tricks everyone should know, and how to know when it&rsquo;s time to turn your side hustle into a full-time business.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="https://diseasecalleddebt.com/simple-ways-to-save-money-on-health-care/">Simple Ways to Save Money on Health Care</a> &mdash; Avoid nasty surprises by researching the medical facilities in your area before you need them. [Disease Called Debt]</p> <p><a href="https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Laundry-DIYs-37582010">35 Laundry Tips and Tricks That Everyone Should Know</a> &mdash; You can use lemons to spruce up dingy whites. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="https://everythingfinanceblog.com/24027/turn-side-hustle-full-time-business.html">Is It Time to Turn Your Side Hustle into a Full-Time Business?</a> &mdash; Does your side-hustle have what it takes to turn into a full-time business? [Everything Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://frugalbeautiful.com/blog/4-ways-to-detox-from-overspending/">4 Ways To Detox From Overspending</a> &mdash; Curb your shopping cravings by focusing on the things you already have and organizing the clutter that may be piling up at home. [Frugal Beautiful]</p> <p><a href="http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/money-lies-to-ignore/">11 Money Lies To Watch Out For</a> &mdash; The money lies we tell ourselves can keep us from thriving &mdash; financially and generally. [Budgets Are Sexy]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="https://www.frugalrules.com/how-to-save-money-on-summer-camp/">How We Save Money on Summer Camp Programs</a> &mdash; A quality, educational summer program for your child doesn't have to break the bank. Take these steps to save a decent chunk of change on summer camp expenses. [Frugal Rules]</p> <p><a href="https://zenhabits.net/becalm/">How to Be Calm</a> &mdash; When things don't go your way, use these practices to stay calm and weather the storm. [zen habits]</p> <p><a href="https://ptmoney.com/buying-house-financial-independence/">Buying a House will Slow Down Your Path to Financial Independence (But You Should Do it Anyway)</a> &mdash; Buying a house isn't the most efficient way to make money in real estate, but it can still make you wealthy if you do it right. [PT Money]</p> <p><a href="https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/money-finance/saving-spending/10-strategies-to-reduce-money-stress-and-improve-your-finances">10 Strategies to Reduce Money Stress and Improve Your Finances</a> &mdash; Once you figure out the root causes of your money stress, you can use these strategies to reduce it. [Money Girl]</p> <p><a href="https://centsiblyrich.com/learn-how-to-best-review-your-life-insurance-plan/">Learn How to Best Review Your Life Insurance Plan</a> &mdash; Read through your policy and make sure you understand the terms and concepts involved in a life insurance plan. [Centsibly Rich]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-simple-ways-to-save-on-health-care">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-health-insurance-if-you-missed-the-open-enrollment-deadline">How to Get Health Insurance If You Missed the Open Enrollment Deadline</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/open-wide-5-ways-to-score-discount-dental-care">Open Wide: 5 Ways to Score Discount Dental Care</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-health-care-plan">The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Health Care Plan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/live-a-longer-and-happier-life-with-these-8-frugal-buys">Live a Longer and Happier Life With These 8 Frugal Buys</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty best money tips health care Thu, 15 Mar 2018 09:30:21 +0000 Amy Lu 2118755 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Kinds of Insurance Every Retiree Should Consider http://www.wisebread.com/5-kinds-of-insurance-every-retiree-should-consider <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-kinds-of-insurance-every-retiree-should-consider" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior_couple_sit_on_steps_outside_their_house.jpg" alt="Senior couple sit on steps outside their house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your insurance needs don't remain constant throughout your life. You need different insurance coverage when you're single and in your 20s than you do when you're raising a family in your 40s. When you retire, your insurance needs will evolve once again.</p> <p>There are certain types of insurance protections you'll no longer need after leaving the workforce, and other types that you'll want to add. Here is a primer on the kinds of insurance that every retiree should consider.</p> <h2>1. Health insurance</h2> <p>You'll absolutely need health insurance after you've retired. Health care costs are only rising, and seniors tend to spend a large percentage of their income on medical care each year.</p> <p>A study released by Fidelity Benefits Consulting said that the average 65-year-old couple retiring in 2017 would need $275,000 to cover their medical expenses throughout retirement. That number isn't falling, either. Fidelity reported that the 2017 figure is up from the $260,000 that the average 65-year-old couple needed in 2016.</p> <p>Most seniors will qualify for Medicare, the federal health care insurance program, when they turn 65. Medicare isn't free, but it does cost far less than what you'd pay for private insurance. Medicare covers a lot, but it doesn't cover every medical service you might need.</p> <p>Do you need to purchase supplemental health insurance to boost the coverage you're already getting with Medicare? That's not an easy question to answer. It all depends on your health and how often you plan on visiting a doctor after you retire. For many retirees, Medicare may be adequate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked</a>)</p> <h2>2. Homeowners or renters insurance</h2> <p>Will you still own a home after you retire? If so, you still need your homeowners insurance policy. This policy will pay out to help you rebuild if your home is damaged by a fire or other natural disaster. It will also help you pay for any items inside your home &mdash; such as electronics, clothing, furniture, and jewelry &mdash; that get stolen or damaged in a disaster.</p> <p>Renters insurance works the same way, but it protects people who are renting an apartment. If you plan on ditching your home and renting after you retire, make sure to invest in a renters insurance policy. Think about how much money you'd need to replace your valuables if they were stolen or destroyed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons You Definitely Need Renters Insurance</a>)</p> <h2>3. Auto insurance</h2> <p>If you plan to keep driving after retirement, you'll need to pay for auto insurance. It's illegal in most U.S. states to drive without car insurance.</p> <p>Maybe you're planning to sell your car and move into an urban neighborhood after you retire. Instead of doing your own driving, you plan to walk, take public transportation, or Uber to grocery stores, movie theaters, and restaurants. In this case, getting rid of your car insurance might make sense. But even if you're hanging onto your car only for emergencies or long trips, you'll need to keep your auto insurance policy.</p> <h2>4. Life insurance</h2> <p>Life insurance is usually one type of policy you can drop after retirement. After all, life insurance is a way to protect your loved ones who are dependent on your income. Once you get to retirement age, these dependents &mdash; usually your children &mdash; should be self-sufficient. They won't need a payout after you die to pay their bills.</p> <p>But what if your spouse or children still aren't financially self-sufficient by the time you retire? If that's the case, you should hang onto your life insurance policy. Maybe you have a child with special needs. That child might still rely on financial assistance from you. What if you were gone and you didn't have a life insurance policy? Would that child still get the financial assistance necessary?</p> <p>In most cases, retirees no longer need life insurance policies. But for special cases, keeping the policy is the smart move. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision?ref=seealso" target="_blank">When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision</a>)</p> <h2>5. Umbrella insurance</h2> <p>What if someone was visiting your home and seriously injured themselves? Would your homeowners insurance policy provide enough protection? Maybe. But umbrella insurance can provide retirees with the peace of mind that they'll be protected even if their homeowners insurance doesn't offer enough coverage.</p> <p>Umbrella insurance provides <em>extra </em>liability coverage above the limits of your homeowners and auto insurance policies. Basically, it pays out in cases where your homeowners and auto policies don't pay enough to cover all of the damages for which you are responsible.</p> <p>Say you get into an auto accident that ends up with a liability claim of $1 million. If your auto insurance only covers a maximum of $500,000 for liability, your umbrella policy would cover the remaining $500,000. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-kinds-of-insurance-every-retiree-should-consider&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Kinds%2520of%2520Insurance%2520Every%2520Retiree%2520Should%2520Consider.jpg&amp;description=5%20Kinds%20of%20Insurance%20Every%20Retiree%20Should%20Consider"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Kinds%20of%20Insurance%20Every%20Retiree%20Should%20Consider.jpg" alt="5 Kinds of Insurance Every Retiree Should Consider" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-kinds-of-insurance-every-retiree-should-consider">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense">4 Times When Bundling Insurance Doesn&#039;t Make Sense</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-money-in-retirement">5 Myths About Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked">5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Retirement auto insurance dependents health care health insurance homeowners insurance life insurance medicare renters insurance umbrella insurance Thu, 01 Mar 2018 09:30:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 2107316 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Myths About Health Savings Accounts — Debunked! http://www.wisebread.com/8-myths-about-health-savings-accounts-debunked <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-myths-about-health-savings-accounts-debunked" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/preparation_for_future_and_financial_concept.jpg" alt="Preparation for future and financial concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Health savings accounts (HSAs) provide a tax-advantaged way to save and pay for health care costs. If you have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you can contribute pretax income into an HSA and use the money to pay for qualified medical expenses.</p> <p>The rules and requirements for participating in an HSA can be a little confusing. As a result, misinformation has given rise to several myths that deter people from taking advantage of HSAs. Let's take a look at some of the most common ones. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having</a>)</p> <h2>1. HSA funds are lost if you don't spend the money by the end of the year</h2> <p>This is a point of confusion that tends to scare people away from participating in a health savings account. It's not true. Funds leftover in your HSA are not lost at the end of the year, they are yours until you spend the funds. The prevalence of this myth comes from a different health program, the flexible spending account (FSA). You <em>do</em> lose funds in an FSA if you do not use them by the end of the year.</p> <h2>2. You can only earn low interest on your HSA funds</h2> <p>Actually, you don't have to leave your HSA funds in a low-interest savings account. You can invest HSA funds in stocks and other investments for higher growth potential. This is especially beneficial if you don't plan to spend your HSA funds any time soon and can take advantage of tax-free growth for as long as possible. Investment options vary by HSA provider, and some require a minimum balance (such as $1,000) before you can put your HSA funds in investment options.</p> <h2>3. HSA funds can only be used for hospital bills and major medical expenses</h2> <p>Health savings accounts are not only for major medical costs. The IRS identifies a long list of health-related expenses that HSA funds can be used to cover, including smaller expenses that may surprise you. A few examples include:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Acupuncture</p> </li> <li> <p>Bandages</p> </li> <li> <p>Chiropractic treatment</p> </li> <li> <p>Contact lenses</p> </li> <li> <p>Dental care</p> </li> <li> <p>Eyeglasses</p> </li> <li> <p>Hearing aids</p> </li> <li> <p>Prescription drugs</p> </li> <li> <p>Physical exams</p> </li> <li> <p>X-rays</p> </li> </ul> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover</a>)</p> <h2>4. You can't get an HSA if you are self-employed</h2> <p>Many employers offer HSA programs as a benefit. Some even kick free money into HSA accounts for employees. However, you don't need to have an employer to open a health savings account. If you sign up for a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you can fund an HSA through an HSA provider and get all of the same tax benefits.</p> <h2>5. If you never have health expenses, you'll never be able to use your HSA funds</h2> <p>Most people can expect to have significant medical expenses at some point in their lives, especially as they get older. But what would happen to your HSA funds if you stayed healthy and never had any health care expenses? Beginning at age 65, you can withdraw your HSA funds for <em>any </em>reason without penalty, only paying income tax on funds you draw. This feature means that your HSA effectively turns into a traditional IRA when you hit 65, with the added benefit that if you do have qualified health expenses, you can access your HSA funds tax-free for those costs.</p> <h2>6. High-deductible health plans only benefit healthy people with low health care costs</h2> <p>If you have a lot of medical costs, you may decide that it doesn't make sense to sign up for a high-deductible health plan when a low-deductible plan will step in earlier to pay for your care. This isn't looking at the whole picture. The advantages of using an HSA can turn out to be a smart choice for many individuals and families. The higher potential out-of-pocket health care costs with an HDHP can be offset by the lower premiums and tax benefits of a health savings account. You can use an <a href="https://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/hsa_calculator/" target="_blank">HSA vs. traditional health plan calculator</a> to help you decide which is best based on your anticipated health expenses.</p> <h2>7. HSAs are a hassle to use</h2> <p>This is one of the myths that stopped me from signing up for an HSA at first. I worried that it would be too difficult to get funds out of my HSA when I had medical expenses. However, I found that it is actually easy to access HSA funds. These are some of the features that make an HSA so easy to use:</p> <ul> <li> <p>You can get an HSA debit card to use when paying for health care expenses.</p> </li> <li> <p>You can write a check to pay for medical expenses, then transfer money from your HSA into your bank account to cover it.</p> </li> <li> <p>Health savings accounts typically have online tools you can access from your computer or phone to check your balance and see a record of your transactions.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>8. If you lose your job or change employers, you lose your HSA funds</h2> <p>Not true! HSA funds are portable from one employer to another, and you get to keep your HSA funds even if you stop working altogether. If you want, you can even change your HSA provider without changing employers.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-myths-about-health-savings-accounts-debunked&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Myths%2520About%2520Health%2520Savings%2520Accounts%2520%25E2%2580%2594%2520Debunked%2521.jpg&amp;description=8%20Myths%20About%20Health%20Savings%20Accounts%20%E2%80%94%20Debunked!"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Myths%20About%20Health%20Savings%20Accounts%20%E2%80%94%20Debunked%21.jpg" alt="8 Myths About Health Savings Accounts &mdash; Debunked!" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-myths-about-health-savings-accounts-debunked">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having">10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-self-employed-can-cut-health-care-costs">How the Self Employed Can Cut Health Care Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-age-to-buy-long-term-care-insurance">The Best Age to Buy Long-Term Care Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-your-fsa">What You Need to Know About Your FSA</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Insurance health care health savings accounts high deductible health plan HSA medical expenses savings Wed, 21 Feb 2018 10:01:05 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2106614 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Tax Mistakes Freelancers Need to Stop Making http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/modern_business_lady_at_paperwork.jpg" alt="Modern business lady at paperwork" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No doubt about it, being a freelancer is hard. From serving clients to staying on top of your money game, there's no shortage of work to do. Sometimes, things may be overlooked or set on the back burner while you tackle pressing business matters. However, there is one major thing that just can't be ignored &mdash; taxes.</p> <p>As your own chief financial officer you'll need to be aware of major tax missteps that could ultimately ruin your business. Ideally, you'll engage the help of an experienced small business accountant who knows the ins and outs of tax strategies for freelance business owners. However, you've got to have your ducks in a row to double and triple check their suggestions and advice, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-freelancers-and-side-giggers-need-to-know-about-income-taxes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Freelancers and Side Giggers Need to Know About Income Taxes</a>)</p> <p>These are the top tax mistakes freelancers really need to stop making.</p> <h2>1. Not paying self-employment tax</h2> <p>As a freelancer, you probably have a number of clients that pay you without deducting any taxes. Because you are a contractor, you are responsible for any and all taxes on your income.</p> <p>Self-employment tax is a term that covers two main taxes: Social Security and Medicare. As an employee of a company, your employer would cover part of this tax. However, lucky you, since you are your own employer, you get to pick up the tab on the entire tax bill.</p> <p>On the other side of paying all these taxes, you do get some reprieve by deducting a portion of these payments from your gross income, which can reduce the amount of taxes you owe overall.</p> <p>Just know that it's very important to pay self-employment taxes on your freelance income. If your client issues you a 1099 form, it's also transmitted to the IRS. The IRS becomes aware of this income and can demand you to make an accounting for that money if they suspect you owe taxes on it.</p> <h2>2. Not having an accounting system</h2> <p>Making a lot of money as a freelancer can also increase your tax liability. If you don't have a good system in place to track all of your income and expenses, you could end up paying more (or less) taxes than you're supposed to.</p> <p>Charleen Fariselli is a CPA who has worked with small businesses for over 10 years. She says that freelancers who don't accurately track income and expenses are at a disadvantage. &quot;This affects their taxes because they don't have a good accounting system and are often losing deductions so they pay more in tax,&quot; she says.</p> <p>Charleen also adds that a lack of a good accounting system can have an impact on making timely, accurate tax payments: &quot;These freelancers can't calculate what their taxable income is each quarter for making tax payments, so they over or underpay, if they pay at all.&quot;</p> <p>The good news is that there are many accounting software options out there to help you organize your books, including QuickBooks, Xero, Wave, and Freshbooks. You can also use a simple Google Sheets document. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-free-accounting-tools-for-freelancers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Free Accounting Tools for Freelancers</a>)</p> <h2>3. Mixing business with pleasure</h2> <p>One of the worst things a freelancer can do is allow their business expenses and income to spill over into their personal finances. For example, a business owner may use a business credit or debit card to cover a personal expense like purchasing groceries for their family.</p> <p>The biggest problem with this behavior is how it affects record keeping for tax filing purposes. Joshua Zimmelman of Westwood Tax &amp; Consulting says that bad record keeping can cause confusion for freelancers at tax time. &quot;Too many freelancers miss out on deductions because their finances are not organized,&quot; he says. &quot;Separating your expenses from the start makes filing your tax return so much easier.&quot;</p> <p>If you need help keeping your personal and business finances separate, you can opt for a business checking account or credit card. You could also use both.</p> <p>If you do have to use money from your business dealings to cover personal expenses or vice versa, make sure you keep a record of such transfers. A small business CPA can help you categorize (loan, owner draw, paycheck, etc.) the transactions so that you don't run into problems with record keeping or tax liabilities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-biggest-mistakes-freelancers-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make</a>)</p> <h2>4. Neglecting retirement savings</h2> <p>The freelance life can be a roller-coaster ride of feast or famine, but it's still important to keep savings in the equation &mdash; especially retirement savings. Saving for retirement is not only critical for your golden years, but can also help you save on taxes.</p> <p>When you put money away for retirement, it reduces the amount of your income tax withholding. Joanna Zarach is a consultant who helps freelancers plan for retirement. She says, &quot;Solo retirement plans are the most effective way to lower your tax bill now and to build tax-free growth in your investment accounts.&quot;</p> <p>There are different options to save for retirement. Some smart options include:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Individual 401(k): This type of account is ideal for solopreneurs who want higher contribution limits. You can save with pretax dollars while receiving tax deductions for employer contributions (you are the employer) as well.</p> </li> <li> <p>SEP IRA: Tax-deductible contributions are made by the employer (in this case, you). Growth is tax-deferred until withdrawal.</p> </li> <li> <p>ROTH IRA: With this type of retirement account, you save after-tax income that grows tax-free forever.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>5. Neglecting health care contributions</h2> <p>Paul Jacobs is a CPA, EA, and officer at Palisades Hudson Financial Group. He says he often sees freelancers, &quot;Forgetting to deduct health insurance premiums. A great tax break that is available to the self-employed is the ability to deduct this expense.&quot;</p> <p>As a small-business owner, there are tax benefits when you pay insurance premiums for yourself and family members. Premiums for medical, dental and, in some cases, long-term health insurance qualify.</p> <p>Reporting these premiums on your taxes can reduce your adjusted gross income (AGI) which can make you eligible for certain tax breaks. The only caveat here is that you may now have to itemize deductions in order to take advantage of this deduction come tax time due to the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts of 2017.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Tax%2520Mistakes%2520Freelancers%2520Need%2520to%2520Stop%2520Making.jpg&amp;description=5%20Tax%20Mistakes%20Freelancers%20Need%20to%20Stop%20Making"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Tax%20Mistakes%20Freelancers%20Need%20to%20Stop%20Making.jpg" alt="5 Tax Mistakes Freelancers Need to Stop Making" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aja-mcclanahan">Aja McClanahan</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-start-a-small-business">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Start a Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-money-in-retirement">5 Myths About Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked">5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Taxes accounting bookkeeping deductions freelance health care medicare retirement savings self employment social security tax mistakes Wed, 07 Feb 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Aja McClanahan 2095995 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Signs You're Financially Ready to Start a Family http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-youre-financially-ready-to-start-a-family <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-signs-youre-financially-ready-to-start-a-family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_mother_and_baby_playing_at_home.jpg" alt="Happy mother and baby playing at home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are no two ways about it; having kids is expensive. The USDA estimates the cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 to be an astounding $233,610. This figure includes food, housing, transportation, health care, clothing, child care and education, and miscellaneous costs. And anyone with children knows that they remain an expense far past the age of 17.</p> <p>Understanding that having children is a lifetime commitment both emotionally and financially is a great first step in the process of deciding when to start a family. But what comes next? How do you know that you are financially ready to handle the responsibility of starting a family?</p> <p>There is no definitive answer to this question because there is no magic income or savings number that can dictate when you are ready for a family. However, there are some benchmarks and indicators that can assist you in making this life-altering decision. Here are the signs that you are financially ready for kids. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-unexpected-expenses-of-a-new-baby?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Unexpected Expenses of a New Baby</a>)</p> <h2>1. You have a clear financial plan</h2> <p>Having a clear vision of where you would like to be in the future is extremely important. And though things rarely go exactly as planned, it is still important to put a plan in place. Planning for your retirement, and setting clear investing and savings goals, is crucial.</p> <p>Your financial plan should include things like a college fund, sports, music lessons, and all of the other things you want to expose your kids to. Will one parent stay at home for a while? How many children are you planning to have? Do you have aging parents that you may have to assist in the future?</p> <p>You'll also want to set aside money specifically for &quot;kid stuff&quot; such as baby proofing the house, child care, tutoring, equipment for extracurricular activities, and the list goes on. The cost of having kids is never-ending, so that must be accounted for in your overall financial plan.</p> <h2>2. You stick to a budget</h2> <p>A financial plan establishes the ultimate destination, whereas a budget acts as a GPS and governs the day-to-day details. If you struggle with budgeting, you may want to hold off on starting a family until you master the habit. Kids can throw your finances completely out of whack, and if you don't live by a budget, you can quickly find yourself drowning in debt and unable to save for retirement or your children's future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-using-these-5-excuses-not-to-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Stop Using These 5 Excuses Not to Budget</a>)</p> <h2>3. You have decent health care</h2> <p>If you are considering starting a family, decent health care is a must. When you have a child, you become responsible for their health and wellbeing. And while health care is expensive, you have to value the physical and emotional wellbeing of your family over having nice things.</p> <p>Take a look at your current health care policy to see what adjustments you need to make. Your plan should change as your family changes. When your kids are babies, it's best to have a plan that is comprehensive to cover the &quot;what-ifs.&quot; New parents need to be able to take a baby to the doctor whenever they sense something isn't right. Some of those trips may result in the doctor simply reassuring them that the baby is fine, but that peace of mind is priceless. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-health-care-plan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Health Care Plan</a>)</p> <h2>4. Saving is one of your top financial priorities</h2> <p>In order to provide stability for your family and for your future, saving money has to be one of your top priorities. Savings &mdash; emergency, rainy day, retirement, and college funds &mdash; are your source of security when life gets unpredictable. At the very least, an emergency fund with six months' to a year's worth of living expenses can protect your family from an unexpected expense or job loss. Before you add kids to the mix, work toward saving at least that much. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-savings-strategy-that-works-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Find the Savings Strategy That Works For You</a>)</p> <h2>5. You have little debt</h2> <p>If you have (and value having) little to no debt, this is a sign that you are financially ready to expand your family. Kids are expensive and full of hidden financial surprises. They grow faster than expected and come with gifts and talents that need nurturing. And nurturing comes with a hefty price tag.</p> <p>You should aggressively eliminate as much debt as possible before you grow your family. This means getting rid of student loans and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">paying off credit card debt</a> as much as you are able to. It is impossible to anticipate every expense you will have with kids, but you'll want to free up as much money as possible so you can provide your family with appropriate health care, child care, and education options. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off Debt</a>)</p> <h2>6. You know how to live frugally</h2> <p>Having a family is a sacrificial endeavor. Before you have children, you must come to grips with the fact that you can't have it all and do it all. The ability to stretch a dollar and pinch pennies in tight times is a necessity. You have to know when and how to cut costs to ensure you can provide for your family long-term.</p> <p>Start looking for ways to cut costs before your children come. Visit the dollar store, start thrifting, and embrace the DIY lifestyle. Figure out a system of meal prepping that will save you both time and money. What skills and abilities do you already have that can translate into savings? Can you cut your child's hair, alter their clothes, or tutor them yourself in math? Evaluate what you already have and figure out how to put it to use.</p> <h2>7. You view family as an investment</h2> <p>The last sign that you are ready for kids directly relates to your perception of family. As a parent, viewing your kids as an investment will help you make solid financial decisions that will yield high returns. It is imperative that you analyze your financial decisions and make each one count. Maybe in lieu of buying your kids the newest sneakers, you'll get them a tutor. Instead of purchasing the latest gaming system, you'll invest in music lessons or science camp.</p> <p>Investing in your kids sets them up to win in life. This means saying &quot;no&quot; to indulging their every whim. There's nothing wrong with buying your kids designer clothes, of course &mdash; but you must ask yourself, is that a good investment and is that the best use of those funds?</p> <p>Growing your family can be one of the most rewarding decisions you'll ever make. But it certainly comes at a cost. Going down a financial readiness &quot;checklist&quot; is a smart guideline that can help set you &mdash; and your future kids &mdash; up for a successful and financially stable life.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-signs-youre-financially-ready-to-start-a-family&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Signs%2520You%2527re%2520Financially%2520Ready%2520to%2520Start%2520a%2520Family.jpg&amp;description=7%20Signs%20You're%20Financially%20Ready%20to%20Start%20a%20Family"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Signs%20You%27re%20Financially%20Ready%20to%20Start%20a%20Family.jpg" alt="7 Signs You're Financially Ready to Start a Family" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/denise-hill">Denise Hill</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-signs-youre-financially-ready-to-start-a-family">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-that-ll-protect-you-during-the-next-recession">7 Money Moves That’ll Protect You During the Next Recession</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-during-a-spousal-separation">How to Manage Your Money During a Spousal Separation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-youre-no-longer-a-personal-finance-rookie">10 Signs You&#039;re No Longer a Personal Finance Rookie</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family babies budgeting debt emergency funds financial readiness having kids health care planning saving money Tue, 06 Feb 2018 10:00:06 +0000 Denise Hill 2097695 at http://www.wisebread.com