planning http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1646/all en-US 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-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/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/why-saving-money-is-harder-today">Why Saving Money Is Harder Today</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-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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </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 6 Things You Need to Do if You're Retiring in 2018 http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-need-to-do-if-youre-retiring-in-2018 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-you-need-to-do-if-youre-retiring-in-2018" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_retirement_celebration_party_cupcakes_with_candles.jpg" alt="Happy Retirement Celebration Party Cupcakes with Candles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You&rsquo;re ready to retire in 2018. A long career is behind you, and you're finally ready to enjoy your golden years after decades of hard work and saving.</p> <p>But just because retirement is at your doorstep doesn&rsquo;t mean you don&rsquo;t still have a few important steps to take. Here are six things you need to do right now to start your 2018 retirement off on the right foot.</p> <h2>1. Calculate your retirement budget</h2> <p>Creating any sort of budget rarely sounds like fun, but when you&rsquo;re ready to retire, it&rsquo;s a necessity. Remember, that paycheck you&rsquo;ve counted on for so long is disappearing. You need to make sure you have enough money coming in each month to support yourself.</p> <p>First, calculate how much money you&rsquo;ll have available each month. Include all sources of income, including Social Security benefits, money from the savings you&rsquo;ve built up, royalties, rents, disability payments, and annuity payments. Then, calculate your fixed expenses that remain the same each month. These would include rent or mortgage payments, car payments, and insurance costs &mdash; everything from life and health, to homeowners and auto.</p> <p>Create reasonable estimates for expenses that might fluctuate each month. This includes costs such as utility bills, the money you spend on groceries, transportation costs, and, always important, the estimated amount of dollars you&rsquo;ll spend on entertainment, traveling, and eating out.</p> <p>Once you have these figures, you&rsquo;ll know if you have enough money to support the retirement lifestyle you want.</p> <h2>2. Make some tweaks</h2> <p>Maybe, after creating this budget, you discover that you don&rsquo;t have enough incoming dollars to cover all your expenses. This means it&rsquo;s time to make some changes. If money is tight, you might have to cut back on discretionary expenses like going out to dinner or the movies. You might not be able to take a road trip every month. You might have to put off that cruise.</p> <p>If you need more dramatic savings, it might be time to consider putting your home on the market. If you sell it and downsize into a smaller residence &mdash; maybe a condo or apartment &mdash; you might be able to generate enough money, and save enough in monthly mortgage expenses, to afford a more luxurious retirement lifestyle.</p> <p>You might also consider selling your car, if you&rsquo;re still making payments on it, and purchasing a more affordable vehicle that might cost hundreds of dollars less each month. (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>3. Talk to your partner about your retirement hopes</h2> <p>You don&rsquo;t want to hit retirement only to discover that you&rsquo;re happy puttering around the house and reading while your partner is looking forward to traveling the country in an RV.</p> <p>Partners need to talk about their retirement goals long before they leave the working world. If you haven&rsquo;t done this yet, and you&rsquo;re ready to retire in 2018, it&rsquo;s time to have this conversation.</p> <p>Retirement brings with it plenty of free time &mdash; maybe more than you expected. You might get tired of reading or fishing pretty quickly. It&rsquo;s best to discuss how you&rsquo;ll fill these extra hours with your partner or spouse before retirement hits. Doing so will increase the odds that both of you will enjoy a happy retirement together. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-conversations-couples-should-have-before-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Money Conversations Couples Should Have Before Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>4. Consider whether you still want to work</h2> <p>Many retirees take on part-time work after they leave their full-time jobs. Some do this for financial reasons, while others simply enjoy the act of going to work and staying productive.</p> <p>Take a long look at yourself. If you enjoy the routine of going to work, and find working satisfying, taking a part-time job might be the right decision for you. Or maybe you&rsquo;ll want to use your retirement years to set up a consulting business or pursue a dream job in the arts.</p> <p>Just make sure to plan for this move. Share your goals with your partner, so that he or she isn&rsquo;t blindsided when you announce that you&rsquo;re going back to work. And if you&rsquo;re retiring next year, take the time now to make the connections and prep your resume so that you can transition as smoothly as possible to your new job. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-creative-remote-jobs-that-can-supplement-your-retirement-income?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Creative Remote Jobs That Can Supplement Your Retirement Income</a>)</p> <h2>5. Explore your community</h2> <p>Again, retirement comes with plenty of free time. If you don&rsquo;t want to work, maybe you&rsquo;ll want to volunteer to fill in those hours. Now is the time to explore volunteer opportunities in your community. That way, when you do retire, you&rsquo;ll already have a plan for how you&rsquo;ll occupy those long post-work days. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-your-new-identity-after-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Find Your New Identity After Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>6. Get conservative with your investments</h2> <p>If you haven&rsquo;t already, move your retirement savings out of stocks and into less volatile savings vehicles such as bonds. It&rsquo;s true that bonds don&rsquo;t have the same ceiling when it comes to big gains, but you don&rsquo;t want a dip in the stock market six months before you retire to eat up a big chunk of your retirement savings. Instead, play it safe by moving your savings to retirement vehicles that aren&rsquo;t as likely to hit a big dip.</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%2F6-things-you-need-to-do-if-youre-retiring-in-2018&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Things%2520You%2520Need%2520to%2520Do%2520if%2520You%2527re%2520Retiring%2520in%25202018.jpg&amp;description=6%20Things%20You%20Need%20to%20Do%20if%20You're%20Retiring%20in%202018"></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/u5180/6%20Things%20You%20Need%20to%20Do%20if%20You%27re%20Retiring%20in%202018.jpg" alt="6 Things You Need to Do if You're Retiring in 2018" 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/6-things-you-need-to-do-if-youre-retiring-in-2018">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/why-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Why Retiring With Debt Isn&#039;t the End of the World</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/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement">7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About 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/6-reasons-why-financial-planning-isnt-just-for-the-wealthy">6 Reasons Why Financial Planning Isn&#039;t Just for the Wealthy</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/what-to-do-if-youre-laid-off-before-you-retire">What to Do if You&#039;re Laid Off Before You Retire</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/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement about to retire budgeting cutting costs employment expenses free time income investments part-time jobs planning Wed, 20 Dec 2017 09:30:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 2073561 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_young_woman_depositing_money_into_her_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="Happy young woman depositing money into her piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer is over. This fall, fortify your finances to take the end of the year in stride. These helpful tips will get you back on track (and help you stay on track) budget-wise.</p> <h2>1. Start your holiday shopping now</h2> <p>Instead of making a mad rush for last-minute deals, spread out your gift buying over the course of the next couple months. Watch your local circulars and emails for discounts and promo codes, and strike while the proverbial iron seems hot.</p> <p>For instance, I just purchased several packs of Calvin Klein undies as a Christmas gift for my boo because I received an email for 25 percent off, plus I had an additional 15 percent off coupon with free shipping. Will there be steeper discounts in the near future? I can't be sure, but I had enough savings stacked up to feel like I made a smart choice, and now I can check one more gift off my list.</p> <h2>2. Max out retirement plan contributions</h2> <p>If you haven't already &mdash; and your budget can tolerate it &mdash; try to max out your 401(k) and 403(b) contributions at work. The employee contribution limit for 2017 is $18,000, and if you haven't reached that, it's time to come as close as you can. Those over age 50 can contribute an additional $6,000 as a catch-up contribution. If your employer offers matching funds, this should be a top financial priority, lest you fail to claim thousands of dollars in free money.</p> <h2>3. Take advantage of layaway</h2> <p>Layaway has had its up and downs over the years. What was once a common practice during the Great Depression started to fall out of favor by the 1980s thanks to the rising popularity of credit cards. Walmart all but left the service for dead in 2006 when it announced it would stop offering it, but by 2012, many retailers were back on the layaway bandwagon to make buying easier on customers in a tumultuous economy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-layaway-still-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is Layaway Still Worth It?</a>)</p> <p>Personally, I loved layaway in my early 20s when I was on a shoestring budget. It allowed me to plan ahead and make scheduled payments so everything would be ready to go by Christmas. It's certainly a helpful buying tactic to look into if your finances are tight but you still want to participate in gift giving.</p> <h2>3. Use or lose flexible spending dollars</h2> <p>If you're lucky enough to have a flexible spending account through your employer, your FSA may need to be spent by year's end. Try to use up the balance so you're not losing cash. In doing so, you'll free up funds elsewhere that you don't have to use on medical needs.</p> <p>&quot;Since 2013, your employer may offer one of two carry-over options,&quot; says Ryan McPherson, founder of the financial planning firm Intelligent Worth in Atlanta, Georgia. &quot;One &mdash; roll up to $500 of unused funds into the following year or two, offer a two-and-a-half month grace period during which you may use your unspent FSA balance. Check with your employer, because offering one of these options is not a requirement. If you don't have either of these carry-over options and expect to have money left in your FSA, try to move appointments and medical/dental-related purchases (i.e., eye glasses or contacts) into 2017.&quot;</p> <p>If you're unsure where your FSA funds apply, IRS publication 502 offers guidance on what counts as a &quot;<a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-prior/p502--2016.pdf" target="_blank">qualified medical expense</a>.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a>)</p> <h2>4. Make a gift list and check it twice</h2> <p>I use to get in this mindset &mdash; especially when I started making a little more money &mdash; that everybody needed a gift. That logic is false. Everybody doesn't need a gift for the sake of giving them a gift. Now, I make a list of the usual suspects with whom I exchange &mdash; immediate family, boyfriend, a few friends &mdash; but even then I give it a second glance to see where I can make cuts. Will I see this aunt or that buddy this year? If the answer is no, decide whether a gift is necessary at all to put some more money back in your pocket. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Gifts That Won't Become Clutter</a>)</p> <h2>5. Revise your winter budget</h2> <p>Everything about winter costs more than other times of the year, and you should prepare by revising your budget to make sure all bases are covered.</p> <p>&quot;In addition to holiday expenses, as the weather gets colder, heating costs also increase,&quot; says Roslyn Lash, an accredited financial counselor. &quot;It's imperative that you also set some money aside for inclement weather expenses. Unfortunately, when ice/snow is the forecast, schools typically close, and this could mean paying someone to baby-sit the kiddos. It could also prevent you from going to work, which means lost revenue.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-big-winter-expenses-that-could-freeze-your-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Big Winter Expenses That Could Freeze Your Budget</a>)</p> <h2>6. Determine what's necessary for the holidays and cut back from there</h2> <p>I love all things holiday &mdash; the decorations, the parties, the gifts, the endless array of baked goods &mdash; and if I'm not participating in someone else's festivities, I'm hosting my own. Of course that can get expensive, so I take a one-year-on, one-year-off approach to the latter part of that equation. Two years ago I hosted a holiday party in my home, but last year I didn't. I bought more holiday decorations for the house last year, but this year I won't. This practice not only helps me save money, but it also lets me cycle through things that I need to get rid of in a timely manner (like half-full bottles of liquor, for instance) and cut down on overall holiday clutter. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</a>)</p> <h2>7. Get into a cash back state of mind</h2> <p>Upfront coupons and savings are great, but there's plenty more to be had on the back end if you know where to look. Apps like <a href="https://ibotta.com/r/jcsgjbv" target="_blank">Ibotta</a> and Fetch Rewards provide cash back on purchases made on preset items or at selected retailers. Last month I scored more than $50 cash back (which was on top of other savings I received on the front end) by shopping through Ibotta.</p> <p>If you're responsible at managing credit, now's also a great time to take advantage of a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back credit card</a> on your day to day purchases. By using a cash back card on necessities like groceries or gas, you'll earn cash to bolster your budget. Just be sure to pay off your balance in full every month, or else this method isn't worth it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</a>)</p> <h2>8. Rebid your insurance policies</h2> <p>You may be able to shave some money off your bills this fall by reviewing your insurance coverage.</p> <p>Michael Landsberg, CFP and founder of Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth Management in Punta Gorda, Florida, recommends rebidding your auto and home insurance policies to at least three independent agents (but not the online ones that are all owned by the same companies).</p> <p>&quot;Often times, this rebidding process puts hundreds if not thousands back in people's pockets right before the holidays,&quot; he explains. &quot;It's very easy. Just take your current policy declaration page and send that to an independent agent and let them do the work. The worst that can happen is you find out you've got a good program in place already.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Book travel before demand pricing kicks in</h2> <p>If you're traveling this fall or holiday season, book your mode of transportation and accommodations as soon as possible so you're not looking at ultra expensive rates at the last minute. Hotels and rental cars in particular go fast, and they're subject to on-demand pricing, which means your wallet could end up getting walloped if you're not shut out altogether. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-9-things-now-to-make-holiday-air-travel-easier?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Do These 9 Things Now to Make Holiday Air Travel Easier</a>)</p> <h2>10. Investigate a balance transfer</h2> <p>If you're carrying a high balance on a credit card, now is a great time to give yourself a credit card checkup.</p> <p>&quot;Explore what's out there,&quot; advises Han Chang, co-founder of InvestmentZen. &quot;Many lenders are beginning to offer deals now to get a jump on the holidays. Consolidating credit card debt via a balance transfer can be pretty enticing, especially with those 0 percent introductory APR offers, which usually last for six to 12 months. If you can find a good offer, you could potentially pay down a significant amount of debt before November and December.&quot;</p> <p>But nothing is ever free; offers like this often come with a one-time balance transfer fee ranging from 3 percent to 10 percent of the total balance transfer. That can really add up and, if you're not careful, completely negate any savings that 0 percent APR offers. Be sure to make your payments on time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-balance-transfer-offer-a-good-deal?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is a Balance Transfer Offer a Good Deal?</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%2F10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Ways%2520to%2520Tidy%2520Up%2520Your%2520Finances%2520Before%2520the%2520Holidays.jpg&amp;description=10%20Ways%20to%20Tidy%20Up%20Your%20Finances%20Before%20the%20Holidays"></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%20Ways%20to%20Tidy%20Up%20Your%20Finances%20Before%20the%20Holidays.jpg" alt="10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays" 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/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays">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/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays</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/7-fastest-ways-to-recover-from-holiday-overspending">7 Fastest Ways to Recover From Holiday Overspending</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-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</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-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use the Holidays to Teach Kids About Money</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-ways-being-single-is-better-for-your-bank-account">7 Ways Being Single is Better for Your Bank Account</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living balance transfer budgeting cash back checkup Christmas gifts Holidays layaway planning savings shopping winter Wed, 04 Oct 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 2030770 at http://www.wisebread.com Think Like a Startup to Boost Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/think-like-a-startup-to-boost-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/think-like-a-startup-to-boost-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/confident_in_her_business.jpg" alt="Confident in her business" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>From tech giants like Facebook, Dropbox, and Instagram, to retailers like Harry's, Warby Parker, and CartFresh, companies who found success as startups seem to be all the rage in business news. But don't take startups as a business fad &mdash; there are plenty of personal finances lessons that the average Jane and Joe can learn from them.</p> <h2>1. Focusing on too many things can kill your finances</h2> <p>Spreading your financial goals too thin can often do more harm than good. Successful startup founders often find that a service that does one thing really well works better than a service that tries to do many things.</p> <p>Venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel advises all budding entrepreneurs to think hard and pursue a single idea that nobody else is doing. In an article for The Wall Street Journal, Thiel asked entrepreneurs, &quot;What valuable company is nobody building?&quot; The answer to this question is harder than it looks.</p> <h3>Personal finance lesson</h3> <p>Keep things simple. Focus on the biggest issue affecting your finances. For example, hone in on paying back a 401(k) loan or eliminating high-interest credit card debt.</p> <h2>2. Forgetting that cash is still king</h2> <p>Startups famously burn through cash for &quot;growth,&quot; believing they will land yet another round of capital the next time around. That plan cannot only backfire, but become the death sentence of some startups. An example of this is server chip designer Calxeda. Despite raising $131 million in four rounds of financing, executives had to shut down operations in 2013 and declared, &quot;We simply ran out of money.&quot;</p> <h3>Personal finance lesson</h3> <p>Plan ahead and be ready for periods in which you won't get a constant paycheck. Even when receiving payment from your employer, sometimes <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-your-paycheck-bounces?ref=internal" target="_blank">paychecks can bounce</a>! Pay yourself first out of every paycheck and build an emergency fund to cover your basic expenses for three to six months.</p> <h2>3. Preparing to be wrong</h2> <p>&quot;Pivot&quot; is among the top three terms most used by startup founders. And for good reason: There are countless stories of million-dollar ideas that flopped but were able to turn into much more profitable ones after a well-timed adjustment.</p> <p>Take Payal Kadakia, for example, who first founded Classtivity (a self-described &quot;OpenTable for fitness classes&quot;) with a pay-per-class model. About two years into operations, Kadakia's service wasn't seeing the user traction that she was seeking. So, she pivoted Classtivity into ClassPass, a monthly $99 subscription that lets users go to any class at any participating gym. Once a struggling startup, ClassPass is now a $470 million business.</p> <h3>Personal finance lesson</h3> <p>If the plan isn't working at all, it's time to change the plan. Consider these facts:</p> <ul> <li> <p>50 percent to 70 percent of college students change their majors at least once and most <a href="https://sites.laverne.edu/careers/what-can-i-do-with-my-major/" target="_blank">will change majors</a> at least three times before graduation.</p> </li> <li> <p>American workers stay on the same job for a median of 4.2 years, according to MarketWatch.</p> </li> <li> <p>The average person changes jobs 10 to 15 times (with an average 12 job changes), according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Change is inevitable, so welcome it and make the most out of it. It may very well improve your financial situation.</p> <h2>4. Outsourcing nonessential activities</h2> <p>&quot;Spend your calories on things you do well and the things that make you and your business valuable &mdash; and outsource things that aren't core to that mission,&quot; Jeff Haynie, co-founder and CEO of Appcelerator, wrote for Recode. From accounting to employee meal planning, startups are well known for outsourcing as much as possible to keep overhead costs down.</p> <p>To improve your overall productivity, Matt DeCelles, co-founder of sunglass retailer William Painter, recommends mapping out all tasks and determining which ones may be better completed by another person. By focusing on core operational activities, DeCelles is able to make the most out of his day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people" target="_blank">11 Time Saving Hacks From the World's Busiest People</a>)</p> <h3>Personal finance lesson</h3> <p>Remember complaining about how you never seem to have time to balance your checkbook, organize your tax deductions, or get an additional quote for a home or car loan? Spending money on &quot;help&quot; to complete these tasks can save you a couple hundred dollars in the long run.</p> <p>If you think that you need to be a high roller to hire somebody, think again. Leverage gig economy sites such as Fiverr, Elance, ODesk, Fancy Hands, or Zirtual to post your tasks, find talented freelancers, or hire a virtual assistant for as little as $5 to $10 per hour, depending on the type of task.</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" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthink-like-a-startup-to-boost-your-finances&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThink%2520Like%2520a%2520Startup%2520to%2520Boost%2520Your%2520Finances.jpg&amp;description=Think%20Like%20a%20Startup%20to%20Boost%20Your%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/Think%20Like%20a%20Startup%20to%20Boost%20Your%20Finances.jpg" alt="Think Like a Startup to Boost Your 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/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/think-like-a-startup-to-boost-your-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-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/10-fundamentals-of-naming-a-small-business">10 Fundamentals of Naming 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/9-things-football-teaches-us-about-money">9 Things Football Teaches Us About Money</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-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement">7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About 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/8-smart-things-to-do-with-your-settlement-money">8 Smart Things to Do With Your Settlement Money</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-succeed-at-work-despite-your-lousy-boss">How to Succeed at Work Despite Your Lousy Boss</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Entrepreneurship advice cash financial lessons gig economy outsourcing planning startups strategies Fri, 28 Jul 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1989544 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Unexpected Benefits of Solo Travel http://www.wisebread.com/6-unexpected-benefits-of-solo-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-unexpected-benefits-of-solo-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/female_tourist_london_495763126.jpg" alt="Woman learning benefits of solo travel" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many people are apprehensive about traveling alone, yet it can be an exhilarating experience. You get to set your own agenda, save or splurge whenever you feel the need, and you're likely to meet new people from different parts of the world. Instead of dreading that next solo trip, here are a few reasons you should look forward to it.</p> <h2>1. Enjoy total flexibility</h2> <p>Deciding where to go and what to do on your trip is harder when you have to take into account more than one person's opinion. Unless your travel companions all share exactly the same interests as you, you'll end up negotiating priorities and compromising.</p> <p>When you're traveling alone, you can make completely autonomous decisions about your agenda, and you can often change them quickly. Don't like your accommodations? You can move more easily on your own. Hear about an interesting excursion you're dying to try last-minute? You won't have to worry about spoiling someone else's plans. You're flexible to be as spontaneous as you want.</p> <p>Also, if you're traveling by plane, you won't have to agonize over finding a flight that fits into everyone's schedule, or worry about whether you'll get to sit with your group. No more paying extra for seat reservations!</p> <p>This added flexibility has the extra benefit of potentially saving you a lot of money on airfare. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds?ref=seealso">10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</a>)</p> <h2>2. Personalize your budget</h2> <p>Budgeting can be one of the most difficult parts of a trip, and it's even harder when you have to accommodate someone else's priorities. Traveling solo means you get to decide whether you'd like to set cash aside for some ritzy dining, or eat simply and go for nicer accommodations.</p> <p>And if you want to go completely budget, you don't have to take into account how anyone else will feel about it. Sometimes traveling alone can actually be less expensive than with a partner or group because there's no social pressure to spend on something you don't want.</p> <p>While you're planning your finances for the trip, keep in mind that having <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal">the right travel credit card</a> is an important part of the process. You can earn points toward free travel, and if you get a card that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=internal">doesn't charge foreign transaction fees</a>, you'll save money. Plus, a good card comes with lots of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=internal">travel perks</a> such as free checked bags and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-types-of-travel-insurance-credit-cards-include-that-you-didnt-know-about?ref=internal">travel insurance</a>.</p> <p>Don't forget to bring along a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-debit-card-on-the-road">fee-free debit card</a> as well, for easy money withdrawals from anywhere. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-avoid-bank-fees-while-traveling">11 Ways to Avoid Bank Fees While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>3. Connect with locals</h2> <p>Undoubtedly one of the greatest benefits of solo travel is that by removing yourself from your normal social circle, you'll be more apt to strike up conversations with locals. In some cases, this can lead to a more immersive experience.</p> <p>You can use online resources like Facebook groups to help connect with locals who are interested in showing people around their area. Don't forget that the old-fashioned way of meeting people &mdash; face-to-face &mdash; still works well, too (especially if you stay off your smartphone when in public). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/live-like-a-local-how-to-tap-into-the-local-scene-while-traveling?ref=seealso">How to Tap Into the Local Scene While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>4. Optimize language learning</h2> <p>If one of the goals of your trip is to learn a foreign language, there's no better way to approach it than by traveling alone. When traveling with friends or family from home, you're much more likely to slip back into communicating in your native tongue. But when you're by yourself, you don't have the option. You'll be surprised how much you can pick up in a relatively short amount of time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-surprising-skill-that-can-save-you-money-when-you-travel?ref=seealso">How Learning the Local Language Will Save You Money When You Travel</a>)</p> <h2>5. Increase your confidence</h2> <p>Often pushing yourself to do something that feels a little uncomfortable at first can lead to a surprising amount of growth. Once you've traveled alone, you'll have a greater sense of independence and the confidence to know you don't have to be joined at the hip with someone you know all the time. You will never again have to fear eating at a restaurant alone.</p> <h2>6. Indulge in some &quot;you&quot; time</h2> <p>Taking a step back from your normal routines and social habits can be the perfect way to reconnect with yourself. For many, traveling alone provides a much-needed recharge. By exploring on your own, you're giving yourself a valuable opportunity to think, meditate, and just enjoy some quiet time when you need it.</p> <p>Solo travel can be the perfect way to escape from a routine of constant negotiations, whether it's in the workplace or at home. It's a unique and often very memorable experience that everyone should try at least once in their 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" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-unexpected-benefits-of-solo-travel&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Unexpected%2520Benefits%2520of%2520Solo%2520Travel.jpg&amp;description=6%20Unexpected%20Benefits%20of%20Solo%20Travel"></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/u5180/6%20Unexpected%20Benefits%20of%20Solo%20Travel.jpg" alt="6 Unexpected Benefits of Solo Travel" 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/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-unexpected-benefits-of-solo-travel">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/6-ways-travel-in-retirement-keeps-you-young">6 Ways Travel in Retirement Keeps You Young</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/the-6-best-vacation-deal-websites">The 6 Best Vacation Deal Websites</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/10-travel-destinations-for-people-who-hate-crowds">10 Travel Destinations for People Who Hate Crowds</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-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</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-cities-where-airbnb-is-way-cheaper-than-a-hotel">5 Cities Where Airbnb Is Way Cheaper Than a Hotel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel budgeting flexibility foreign languages learning meeting locals planning solo travel tourism trips vacation Fri, 07 Apr 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1923012 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/men_tablet_work_579235928.jpg" alt="Men learning what financial advisers wish they knew about retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Wish you had a crystal ball for retirement planning? Most of us do, and for good reason. Even if you're sure you'll have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-will-you-need-to-retire?ref=internal">enough money to retire</a>, there are no guarantees until you get there. If your nest egg runs short, it will be far too late for a do-over.</p> <p>This is where a financial adviser can help. A financial adviser will know if you're heavy on risk, not diversified enough, failing to maximize tax advantages, or simply not saving enough. They will also make sure to take into account your lifestyle and preferences to ensure you're on the right path to your ideal retirement, and not just following a cookie cutter plan that's not going to be the right fit.</p> <p>We asked financial advisers for some of the most important ideas they wish their clients understood when it comes to money, retirement, and the future.</p> <h2>1. Social Security will be around in some form</h2> <p>]Andrew McFadden, a financial adviser for physicians, says many clients refuse to accept that Social Security will still be around when they retire. This is especially true if they are part of Gen X or Gen Y, he says, since they are decades away from receiving benefits.</p> <p>However short on funds we may be, the Social Security Administration projects the ability to pay around 75 percent of current benefits after the fund is depleted in 2034. This is a key detail, notes McFadden, since many people hear Social Security is going bankrupt and refuse to acknowledge any benefits in their own retirement planning.</p> <p>&quot;It's not all roses, but that's still a far cry from those bankruptcy rumors,&quot; says McFadden. &quot;So lower your expectations, but don't get rid of them altogether.&quot;</p> <h2>2. It's ok to &quot;live a little&quot; while you save for retirement</h2> <p>Russ Thornton, founder of Wealthcare for Women, says too many future retirees sacrifice living now for their &quot;pie in the sky&quot; dream of retirement. Unfortunately, tomorrow isn't promised, and many people never get to live out the dreams they plan all along.</p> <p>&quot;So many people assume they can't really live until they're retired and not working full-time,&quot; says Thornton. &quot;Nothing could be further from the truth. Find ways to experience aspects of your dream life now, whether you're in your 30s, 40s, or 50s.&quot;</p> <p>With a solid savings and retirement plan, you should be able to do both &mdash; save and invest adequately, and try some new experiences that make life adventurous and satisfying now.</p> <p>&quot;Don't accept the deferred life plan,&quot; he says. That future you dream about and plan for may never come.</p> <h2>3. The 4 percent rule isn't perfect for everybody</h2> <p>Born in the 90s, the 4 percent rule stated retirees could stretch their funds by withdrawing 4 percent per year. The catch was, a good portion of those investments had to remain in equities to make this work.</p> <p>The 4 percent rule lost traction between 2000 and 2010 when the market closed lower than where it started 10 years before, says Bellevue, WA financial adviser Josh Brein. As many retirement accounts suffered during this time, it was shown that the 4 percent rule doesn't always work for everybody.</p> <p>It doesn't mean the rule should be thrown out completely though, nor should it still be followed like gospel. In fact, in 2015, two-third of retirees following the 4 percent rule had double the amount of their starting principal after a 30-year stretch. These retirees could have benefited from taking out more than the limited 4 percent, which could have meant an extra vacation each year, or another luxury that they were indeed able to afford.</p> <p>There's absolutely no denying the importance of making your retirement dollars last. But, after a lifetime of working and saving, you also deserve to enjoy those dollars to their full capability.</p> <p>Bottom line, take time to re-evaluate your drawdown strategy every few years and make adjustments as necessary. While you don't want to go broke in retirement &mdash; you also don't want to miss out on all the incredible things this time in your life has to offer.</p> <h2>4. Retirement looks different for everyone</h2> <p>Minnesota financial adviser Jamie Pomeroy says he wishes people would abandon their preconceived notions on what retirement should look like. He blames the financial industry in part for perpetuating the idea that certain retirement planning accounts and products work for everyone. &quot;They don't,&quot; he says.</p> <p>&quot;Some enjoy retiring to the beach, some take mini-retirements before reaching a retirement age, some work part-time in retirement, and some just want to spend time with their grandkids,&quot; he says. &quot;The concept of retirement is dynamic, ever-changing, and defined very differently by lots of different people.&quot;</p> <p>To find the right retirement path and plan for your own life, you should sit down and decide what you really, truly want. Once you know what you want, you can craft a realistic plan to get there.</p> <h2>5. Investment returns aren't as important as you think</h2> <p>According to North Dakota financial adviser Benjamin Brandt, too many people focus too much energy on their investment returns &mdash; mostly because they are an immediate and tangible way to gauge the success or failure of our financial plans.</p> <p>Investment returns should only be judged in the proper scope of a long-term financial plan, and &quot;over decades,&quot; he says.</p> <p>In the meantime, our behavior can make a huge impact when it comes to reaching your retirement goals. By <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-quirky-ways-to-spend-less-and-kick-start-saving?ref=internal">spending less and saving more</a>, for example, we can avoid debt and potentially invest more money over the long haul. Those moves can help us retire earlier whether the market performs the way we hope or not.</p> <h2>6. Small changes add up</h2> <p>When it comes to retirement planning, many people feel overwhelmed right away. For example, some people may realize they need $1 million or more to retire and give up before they start.</p> <p>Financial adviser Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents says this could change if everyone realized how small changes &mdash; and small amounts of savings &mdash; add up drastically over time.</p> <p>&quot;Someone who invests just $200 per month for 30 years and earns 7 percent would have more than $218,000 in the end,&quot; says Rose. &quot;Now imagine both spouses are saving, or that they boost their investments incrementally over the years.&quot;</p> <p>As Rose points out, a couple who invests $500 per month combined and earns 7 percent would have more than $566,000 after 30 years.</p> <p>Looking for ways to save money and invest more will obviously make this number surge. If you boost your contributions each time you get a raise, for example, you'll have considerably more for retirement. Remember even the smallest contributions can greatly add up over the years.</p> <h2>7. Don't forget about long-term care</h2> <p>Joseph Carbone, founder and wealth adviser of Focus Planning Group, says many future retirees are missing one key piece of the puzzle, and that piece could cost them dearly.</p> <p>&quot;I wish many of my clients understood the biggest hurdle from passing wealth on to their heirs is long-term care costs,&quot; says Carbone. &quot;Whether it is home health care, assisted living, or the dreaded nursing home. It is real and it is scary.&quot;</p> <p>According to Carbone, most people have no idea how much long-term care costs and fail to plan as a result. &quot;Even though the average stay is only 2.7 years in a nursing home, the total cost for those 2.7 years could be well over $400,000,&quot; he says</p> <p>To help in this respect, Carbone and his associates suggest working with an attorney who specializes in elder law. With a few smart money moves, families can prepare for the real possibility of using a nursing home at some point. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it?ref=seealso">Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>One more thing advisers wish you knew</h2> <p>While financial advisers don't know everything, their years of experience make them painfully aware of what lies ahead for those of us who fail to plan. And, if there's one thing financial planners can agree on, it's this: The sooner we all start planning, the better off we'll be.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-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-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/this-one-thing-could-be-the-key-to-retiring-rich">This One Thing Could Be the Key to Retiring Rich</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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-expensive-mistakes-of-the-newly-retired">9 Expensive Mistakes of the Newly Retired</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/13-financial-steps-to-take-before-retiring-abroad">13 Financial Steps to Take Before Retiring Abroad</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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 4 percent rule advice contributions financial advisers investments long term care planning social security Wed, 05 Apr 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Holly Johnson 1921765 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Deal When You're Way Behind at Work http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-deal-when-youre-way-behind-at-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-deal-when-youre-way-behind-at-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_work_488912550.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to deal when she&#039;s behind at work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being overwhelmed and falling behind at work may be a universal phenomenon, but it is possible to get back to a solid footing. If you are drowning in incomplete TPS reports, here are six ways you can improve the situation and get your head back above water.</p> <h2>1. Take 20 Minutes Every Morning to Review and Plan</h2> <p>Truly productive people start their mornings by taking 20 minutes to review their calendars and create their to-do lists for the day. This allows them to be prepared for whatever the day ahead has to offer.</p> <p>This is the sort of habit that often goes out the window as soon as a major work deadline looms large. When you are overwhelmed at work, it can be tempting to jump right in as soon as you get to the office. There are fires to put out and meetings to attend, so you don't have the time to plan out your day.</p> <p>But skipping the 20-minute morning review means you are surprised by plans, meetings, or interim due dates that slip your mind while you're focused on the big project. Make sure your morning starts with a plan so that you can prevent today's small deadline from becoming a major problem tomorrow.</p> <h2>2. Say No to More Work</h2> <p>When it comes to optional work projects, the way to say no is simple, but not easy. It's a matter of getting in the habit of saying &quot;My plate is full right now.&quot;</p> <p>However, the harder issue is when your boss is trying to assign you more work on top of what you are already doing. Pushing back against such an assignment is not simple, and it can feel very uncomfortable.</p> <p>The best way to handle such an addition to your workload is to ask for and provide open communication. Set a meeting with your boss to agree on what your priorities, goals, and objectives are for all of your projects, so it's clear what can and cannot reasonably get done. Request regular progress review meetings so everyone will be clear on what is happening and when. It's important for you and your supervisor to recognize your abilities and limitations and not try to squeeze blood from a turnip.</p> <h2>3. End the Procrastination Cycle</h2> <p>Scientists have found that procrastination has less to do with time than emotion. Chronic procrastinators are often choosing not to start their work because it gives them momentary emotional relief &mdash; but the level of guilt they feel over procrastinating means they are not really improving their emotional state by avoiding the dreaded task.</p> <p>Even the best of us fall victim to procrastination, but chronic procrastinators can find themselves spiraling into an endless procrastination cycle: Putting off a dreaded task makes them feel guilty and ashamed, which causes them to have less cognitive and emotional energy available to be productive, which makes them even less likely to start the task.</p> <p>So how do you end the procrastination cycle?</p> <p>There are two proven methods for interrupting this loop. The first is an <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/1467-9280.00441" target="_blank">external deadline</a>. Knowing that you are beholden to another individual is often enough to force you to just get started in order to meet the deadline. If you can't ask your supervisor for hard deadlines, creating self-imposed deadlines is not as effective, but still better than nothing.</p> <p>The second method of interrupting the procrastination loop is to regard your mood as a fixed state. According to a 2001 study by Dianne Tice, students didn't procrastinate when they were primed to believe <a href="https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/why-wait-the-science-behind-procrastination#.WH-4qRsrJPY" target="_blank">their mood was fixed</a> &mdash; but when they thought their mood could change (especially if they thought it could improve), they procrastinated. It can be tough to start your work if you are in a bad mood, but if you just accept that your bad mood is here to stay, you're more likely to roll up your sleeves and get to it.</p> <h2>4. Procrastinate Productively</h2> <p>If you truly feel like you emotionally need to avoid a task that you should be working on, there are far better ways to dodge it than by surfing Facebook. Instead, you should work on another task that may not be as time-sensitive, but still needs to get done.</p> <p>This used to be my favorite way to get homework done in college. When I had a major project due, the days leading up to the due date would often find me working on homework for other classes. This allowed me to feel the emotional relief of procrastination without allowing me to fall into the shame associated with a procrastination cycle.</p> <p>You can also take this habit one step further by creating a <a href="http://ayearofproductivity.com/procrastinate-more-productively/" target="_blank">procrastination list</a>. This idea comes from Chris Bailey, the blogger behind A Year of Productivity. Your procrastination list will include any items you're allowed to work on when you find yourself procrastinating. This will help you to still use your time productively if you procrastinate. Alternatively, if you find that nothing on your procrastination list is appealing, then you are more likely to just get started on the task you'd otherwise avoid.</p> <h2>5. Nip Complaining in the Bud</h2> <p>When you are overwhelmed, it can feel great to complain about your heavy workload to your coworkers, friends, family, and glassy-eyed cashiers who really don't care about your TPS reports. But complaining only offers you momentary relief. If you keep talking about how rough it is, you're likely to make yourself feel even worse about the situation.</p> <p>So if you are tempted to complain about your bozo boss and his unrelenting workload, stop yourself and think about what could be a more constructive use of your conversations. Perhaps you could ask a coworker to help you with a task, or request that your spouse take over school drop-off for the week so you can get to work a few minutes earlier to plan your day. Use your conversations as an opportunity to reduce your sense of being overwhelmed, rather than magnify it by complaining.</p> <h2>6. Get Some Rest</h2> <p>Sleep seems like an easy place to cut back when there are more tasks than hours in the day. But staying up late to finish a project isn't just bad for your health, it's actually counterproductive if you want to get your work done. Not only does lack of sleep make you <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21075236" target="_blank">more easily distracted</a>, which means it will take you longer to get your work done, but fatigue can also hurt your job performance.</p> <p>One of the best things you can do to chip away at your seemingly endless to-do list is protect your sleep time. Don't let work encroach on your rest, or you'll find that both your rest and your work are worse off.</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%2F6-ways-to-deal-when-youre-way-behind-at-work&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520to%2520Deal%2520When%2520Youre%2520Way%2520Behind%2520at%2520Work.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20to%20Deal%20When%20Youre%20Way%20Behind%20at%20Work"></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/u5180/6%20Ways%20to%20Deal%20When%20Youre%20Way%20Behind%20at%20Work.jpg" alt="6 Ways to Deal When You're Way Behind at Work" 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/6-ways-to-deal-when-youre-way-behind-at-work">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/the-7-best-free-tools-to-improve-your-work-performance">The 7 Best Free Tools to Improve Your Work Performance</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-career-tips-your-younger-self-would-give-you">9 Career Tips Your Younger Self Would Give You</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/dont-panic-how-to-meet-a-deadline">Don&#039;t Panic! How to Meet a Deadline</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-important-signs-that-your-job-sucks">10 Important Signs That Your Job Sucks</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/6-gadgets-every-work-at-home-professional-needs">6 Gadgets Every Work at Home Professional Needs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Productivity behind schedule boredom deadlines falling behind planning procrastinating sleep to-do lists work Fri, 27 Jan 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1881551 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Things Football Teaches Us About Money http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-football-teaches-us-about-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-football-teaches-us-about-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/football_player_92992279.jpg" alt="Learning things that football teaches us about money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's the time of year when Saturday and Sunday afternoons are spent rooting for your favorites on the gridiron. American football is King in the fall, and it's common for us to channel the game into life lessons about grit, determination, and teamwork. But football can also teach us a thing or two about handling our money.</p> <p>What can football teach us about personal finance? Here are some key takeaways.</p> <h2>1. Have a Game Plan</h2> <p>A football coach doesn't just show up on Sunday and wing it. He's spent the season devising a system that will give his team the best chance of success. He's scouted his opponent, studied his own players' strengths and weaknesses, and mapped out an approach to victory. This can be applied to any sort of money matter, from tackling a massive pile of debt, to saving for a new home, to investing for retirement. Develop a plan first, then you'll give yourself a greater chance of success.</p> <h2>2. Mix Things Up</h2> <p>A successful football team isn't going to run the ball on every play. It can't pass the ball every time, either. The best teams have a diversified plan of attack, and don't rely too heavily on any one weapon. Your investment philosophy should be similar in nature. Don't rely too heavily on one stock or industry. Because when you rely on one thing, even if it's shown to be successful in the past, you'll eventually get burned. Diversify your portfolio, just like a coach diversifies his playbook.</p> <h2>3. Be Smartly Aggressive</h2> <p>In football, you need to do what it takes to get into the end zone. This means throwing the long pass downfield once in awhile, or even going for it on fourth down. You don't want to be reckless, but it's hard to win a football game if you don't take some risks. Your investment philosophy should reflect this approach. A young person looking to accumulate wealth for retirement should invest largely in stocks, not conservative bonds or cash. Yes, there's some risk involved, but also a lot of evidence to show that you'll come out ahead in the end. Because playing it safe will only get you so far.</p> <h2>4. Be More Conservative Near the Finish</h2> <p>A football team with a big lead can afford to be more cautious as the end of the game approaches. You'll see teams draw up more running plays to eat up the clock and decrease the chances of mistakes. With the clock winding down, it's all about protecting the lead you have rather than taking risks that might blow the game. When investing, think of retirement as the fourth quarter. Once you have a big nest egg saved, shift your investments to more conservative things like bonds or cash. This way, you'll be less likely to lose the wealth you've created for yourself.</p> <h2>5. Field Goals Are Okay</h2> <p>Football games aren't always won with a flurry of touchdowns. Often, it's the field goal kicker that wins the game. We all would like our teams to get seven points on every possession. But that's not realistic. Settling for three points is better than nothing, and can still put you in a position to win. In investing, it's wise to think of your stock portfolio as a field goal kicker, steadily putting points up on the board. Sure, you're going to want some touchdowns mixed in, but it's often the smaller, but more frequent scores that move you to where you want to be.</p> <h2>6. Limit Your Mistakes</h2> <p>It's impossible for a football team to play a perfect game, and it's common to overcome a fumble or interception and still win. But too many blunders will cost you the game. This is true when it comes to finances as well. Did you buy a bad stock that cost you some money? That's okay, just don't make the same mistake again. Did you accumulate some debt? Don't worry, you can get out of the hole if you make the right choices from here on out. Keep your bad decisions to a minimum, and you'll be alright.</p> <h2>7. Sometimes You Will Take a Beating</h2> <p>Finances, just like football, can be brutal. There will be days when your team gets trounced, and your stock portfolio may get pounded in similar fashion. It happens. The key is to get up and keep trying. Resilience and patience are big drivers of success in football, and this can easily be applied to investing, saving, and debt reduction.</p> <h2>8. You Can't Win in One Day</h2> <p>As much as pundits like to refer to certain football games as &quot;must-wins,&quot; the reality is that the NFL plays a 16-game season. Sure there are some games that are more important than others, but it normally doesn't make much sense to dwell on the results of any single game during the season. Likewise, it's silly to panic over one bad day in the stock market, or one bad piece of personal finance news. The only thing that matters is how you finish. If you take the long view and are generally making positive progress, then you'll end up okay, just like in football.</p> <h2>9. Nothing Is for Certain</h2> <p>Pro football is one of the few sports where player salaries are not guaranteed. Any player can be cut and out of a job at any time. A perennial Pro Bowler can lose his starting job to a rookie. This lack of certainty often rears its ugly head in matters of money, also. You may think you have enough money to cover an emergency, but you don't. You assume you'll get a 9% return on a stock, but you lose money instead. This is why it's crucial to live conservatively, plan well, and invest with a long time horizon in mind. Because just when you think you have things all figured out, life happens.</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-things-football-teaches-us-about-money">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/what-fantasy-football-teaches-us-about-personal-finance">What Fantasy Football Teaches Us About Personal Finance</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/15-smart-things-you-can-do-with-your-finances-even-if-youre-broke">15 Smart Things You Can Do With Your Finances, Even if You&#039;re Broke</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-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously">7 Reasons You Really Need to Pay Yourself First (Seriously)</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/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</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/6-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master">6 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Money Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living football investing lessons pigskin planning saving sports strategies Thu, 17 Nov 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1834560 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/debt_piggy_bank_71881857.jpg" alt="Finding ways to stop student loans from ruining your life" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Student loans have become a huge problem. According to an analysis of government data from Edvisors, some 70% of recent college grads have education debt, and the total amount borrowed works out to an average of more than $37,000 per borrower. So burdensome is this debt that more than 40% of borrowers are behind on their payments or have stopped making them altogether, according to the U.S. Education Department.</p> <p>What can you do to avoid that fate? Here are four ideas &mdash; two geared toward families of high school students who haven't taken out student loans yet, and two aimed at college students who <em>have</em> borrowed.</p> <h2>Before You Borrow</h2> <p>Of course, the best way to keep student loans from ruining your life is to avoid borrowing in the first place. Here are two steps that can help.</p> <h3>1. Get Clear About What You're Going to Study</h3> <p>One reason why college costs so much for so many students is that so few graduate in four years. According to &quot;Four-Year Myth,&quot; a report from Complete College America, the four-year graduation rate at public universities ranges from 19% to 36%. Some who fail to graduate in four years drop out, others flunk out, but many others end up with extended stays on campus because they change majors.</p> <p>College is a very expensive place to &quot;find yourself.&quot; It's far better to enter school with as much clarity as possible about what you want to study.</p> <p>For high school juniors and seniors, there are numerous online assessments designed to help connect their skills, interests, and temperament to a number of possible careers. Some to consider include:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.youscience.com/">YouScience</a>;</li> <li><a href="https://careerdirect-ge.org/">Career Direct;</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.mymajors.com/">MyMajors.</a></li> </ul> <p>Knowing what you want to study can help you avoid the five or six-year college plan and its associated costs.</p> <h3>2. Take a Gap Year</h3> <p>Taking a year off in between high school and college has been a popular practice in Europe for many years and is rapidly growing in popularity in the U.S. So much so that there is now a <a href="http://www.americangap.org/index.php">gap year association</a> as well as <a href="http://www.interimprograms.com/">consulting organizations</a> that help families (for a fee) determine whether a gap year makes sense for their children, and if so, how to best structure the gap year. Some schools will accept students and then allow them to defer enrollment for a year. The University of North Carolina even offers a <a href="http://admissions.unc.edu/explore/enrich-your-education/global-gap-year-fellowship/">global gap year fellowship</a>.</p> <p>A gap year can be used to earn money for college or explore career interests. Either way, it can help lessen the need for loans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-students-should-make-during-a-gap-year?ref=seealso">8 Money Moves Students Should Make During a Gap Year</a>)</p> <h2>After You Borrow</h2> <p>If you have already taken out loans to pay for college, here are two practical steps for minimizing the burden of such borrowing.</p> <h3>3. Create a Post-College Budget</h3> <p>Numerous surveys have found that students with education loans have little idea what they've gotten themselves into.</p> <p>A recent survey by Lendedu, a company that helps students refinance their education loans, found less than 10% of student borrowers understood how long it would take to pay off their loans or what interest rate they were being charged. Less than 30% understood that if they fail to repay on time, the government could garnish their wages or withhold their tax refunds.</p> <p>A couple of years ago, a study by the Brookings Institute found that among first-year students who had students loans, 17% said they didn't realize they even <em>had</em> loans.</p> <p>If you're going to borrow, you need to know <em>that </em>you owe, <em>what</em> you owe, and what it's going to take to repay. One of the best reality checks is to calculate the monthly cost of your loan payment while you're still in school. Then create a detailed post-college budget using a monthly <a href="http://www.mattaboutmoney.com/resources/">Cash Flow Plan</a> form.</p> <p>Creating a budget that includes student loan payments may motivate you to avoid taking on more debt. At very least, it'll help you understand how much you can afford for housing and other expenses after you graduate and may persuade you to avoid taking on other debts, such as a car loan.</p> <h3>4. Prioritize Accelerated Repayment</h3> <p>Under a standard loan contract, a student loan is to be paid off in 10 years. But you don't have to take that long, and the sooner you can be done with debt, the better. Especially since there are no penalties for paying off a student loan early, commit now putting your debt on an accelerated payoff schedule.</p> <p>The monthly cost calculator mentioned above enables you to run some what-if scenarios based on adding different amounts on top of your required payments. Seeing how much more quickly you could be out of debt may motivate you to live well beneath your means after graduating in order to prioritize accelerated debt repayment.</p> <p>Today, the burden of student loans is causing many young people to delay getting married, put off starting a family, and give up on buying a home. But it doesn't have to be that way for you.</p> <p>Whether you're a high-school student who's just thinking about college financing options or a college student who has already taken on debt, these simple steps should help you keep student loans from taking over your 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" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Stop%2520Student%2520Loans%2520From%2520Ruining%2520Your%2520Life.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Stop%20Student%20Loans%20From%20Ruining%20Your%20Life"></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/How%20to%20Stop%20Student%20Loans%20From%20Ruining%20Your%20Life.jpg" alt="How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life" 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/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">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/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period">4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Student Loan Grace Period</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/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans">3 Private Lenders That Can Really Save You Money on Your Student Loans</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/these-17-companies-will-help-you-repay-your-student-loan">These 17 Companies Will Help You Repay Your Student Loan</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/which-student-loan-repayment-plan-saves-you-the-most">Which Student Loan Repayment Plan Saves You the Most?</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-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Education & Training bills borrowing budgeting college degree gap year loan repayment planning school student loans Tue, 11 Oct 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Matt Bell 1810486 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Student Loan Grace Period http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_diploma_94435335.jpg" alt="Woman making the most of her student loan grace period" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Graduating from college with your degree in hand is exciting. But the thought of paying back your students loans? Not so much. But, depending on the type of student loans you took, you're probably eligible for a grace period, or a set number of months after graduation in which you don't have to start repaying your loans.</p> <p>During this time, you can take financial steps to prepare yourself not only for your looming monthly loan payments, but also for your entire financial future. Take advantage of this grace period to begin building your savings, building a solid credit score, and building a budget.</p> <p>Don't skimp on these steps. After all, that grace period doesn't last forever.</p> <h2>How Grace Periods Work</h2> <p>The federal government doesn't always expect you to begin repaying your student loans as soon as you leave college. Instead, most federal student loans come with a grace period. The goal is to give recent graduates a chance to start earning money and settle their finances before they have to start making monthly student loan payments.</p> <p>The grace period varies depending on the type of federal loans you are repaying. Direct subsidized loans, direct unsubsidized loans, subsidized federal Stafford loans, and unsubsidized federal Stafford loans come with a grace period of six months during which you won't have to make payments. Federal Perkins loans come with a grace period of nine months. Depending on when you took them out, the interest on some loans might continue to grow even during the grace period.</p> <h2>1. Select a Repayment Plan</h2> <p>It's during your grace period that you'll need to select a repayment plan for your student loans. For federal student loans, you'll automatically be entered into the Standard Repayment Plan. This plan gives you at least 10 years to repay your student loan debt, and is usually the most affordable choice. Under this plan, you'll pay the least amount of interest.</p> <p>There are exceptions, though. If you haven't been able to find a job or if your job pays you little, an income-driven plan might make more sense. These plans come with lower monthly payments that are designed to be affordable to you. However, you will end up paying more interest over the long run.</p> <p>As your grace period ticks away, make sure to stay in contact with the servicer that is handling your loan repayments. Your servicer can answer any questions you have and help you find the best repayment option. You can find the servicer of your loan at <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/?login=true">My Federal Student Aid</a>.</p> <h2>2. Create a Budget</h2> <p>Once you enter the workforce, it's essential to create a budget. Simply list all of the money that you earn during the month. Then list all of your expenses, including estimated costs for items such as groceries, dinners out, and entertainment. Now you'll know how much extra money you should have every month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso">Build a Budget in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <p>Make sure to factor in your estimated monthly student loan payments in this budget. This will help you determine whether you can repay your loans under the Standard Repayment Plan or if you'll need to consider an income-based option for tackling your monthly loan payments.</p> <h2>3. Start Building Your Savings</h2> <p>It's tempting when you get your first paychecks to spend everything you've earned. Resist. Instead, start building your savings. It's important to have an emergency fund that you can tap into whenever a financial emergency pops up. And these emergencies will happen. Your car might suddenly need expensive repairs. If you've built up an emergency fund, you won't have to rely on your high interest rate credit cards to cover these unexpected financial hits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Transfer Balances to These Low Interest Rate Cards</a>)</p> <p>It might sound good, but your grace period is a great time to start saving for retirement. The sooner you start putting money away for your eventual retirement, the better off you'll be once you leave the workforce. Retirement might seem like it's ages away. But if your employer offers a 401K plan, enroll in it and start saving at least some of each paycheck for retirement. If your employer doesn't offer a 401K plan, consider opening an IRA on your own.</p> <p>Of course, this assumes that you'll have enough money to save and meet your monthly financial obligations, including your upcoming student loan payment. If you can't, put retirement savings on hold.</p> <h2>4. Build Your Credit</h2> <p>You need a strong credit score today. Lenders rely on this score when determining who qualifies for auto and mortgage loans and at what interest rates. Fortunately, you can start building a good credit score as soon as you graduate (or before, really). Pay all your bills on time. When you use credit cards, only charge what you can afford to pay off in full when your payment is due. If you take out a car loan, make your payments on time every month.</p> <p>Taking these simple steps will help you build a solid credit score. And when it's time to start making your student-loan payments? Every time you make one of these payments on time, you'll be taking a small step to building your score, too.</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-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period">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/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules</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-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans">8 Valuable Rights You Might Lose When You Refinance Student Loans</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-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</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/7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make">7 Money Moves Every New College Student Should Make</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-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training budgeting college federal loans grace periods loans planning repayment plans savings stafford loans student loans Wed, 05 Oct 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 1805246 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/97559139.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Budgeting. In some of our lives, it's known as &quot;the b-word.&quot;</p> <p>If you've never budgeted before, it can seem like a gargantuan task that only produces something that will make you miserable. And if you consider yourself bad with money or find that you have a difficult time living within your means, budgeting can feel like one more way to fail financially.</p> <p>But budgeting doesn't have to be any of these things. It doesn't have to take a lot of time and energy, and it can free you so that you can save for the things that you really want. It can also help you understand why you spend the way you do, and help you get a handle on it.</p> <p>The key to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0" target="_blank">making your budget</a> into a friend and not a foe is having the right set of skills to make it happen. Here are a few of those.</p> <h2>1. See Money as a Tool</h2> <p>We tend to think of money in a lot of different ways. Money can be freedom, it can be despair, it can mean power or significance, or any one of a number of things. The point is, to be good at budgeting, develop the mindset that money is a tool. It helps you do the things that you want and need to do. No matter how much or how little you have, your money can help you achieve your goals.</p> <h2>2. Record Your Transactions</h2> <p>On a practical level, you will need a record of your transactions to start a budget, and you will need to keep recording them to continue budgeting. You can do this by hand, via an app, or once a week on a spreadsheet. Do it however works for you, but learn to record your transactions and you will be well on your way to budgeting.</p> <h2>3. Assess Your Spending</h2> <p>Recording your transactions won't help if you never think about them. Learn to categorize your transactions in whatever way is meaningful for you, so you can see how much you're spending in different areas. This can help you decide where to spend more, where to spend less, and what cutting back might look like in your everyday life.</p> <h2>4. Make a Budget</h2> <p>This might be the most obvious skill in this list, but it's also one of the most important. There are spreadsheets you can download, programs like <a href="http://www.youneedabudget.com">YNAB</a> and <a href="http://www.mint.com">Mint</a> that help you see your spending in different ways, and more. Some things to think about before you choose a method involve deciding whether you want to go old school or online, and whether you want to store it on your personal computer or in the cloud.</p> <h2>5. Write It Out</h2> <p>Throughout the budgeting and recording process, it will help if you actually write things out. This can be on a computer, though there is something about the act of writing something and then seeing it there in your own handwriting that helps you remember. Whatever you do, don't keep your budget in your head. It's easy for numbers to become fuzzy and for you to forget about your budget entirely. Instead, put your budget where you can see it often, so that it feels real and you remember your goals.</p> <h2>6. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>When you make your budget, don't just think about what you need right now, or even your monthly expenses. Think, too, about expenses that only come around every so often. Car insurance, life insurance, and property taxes are a few line items that can fall into these categories. Then, save a little bit of money every month toward these items, so you can pay them without worry when that bill shows up.</p> <h2>7. Include Spending Money</h2> <p>If you don't have spending money, you will feel like your budget is a cage you need to break out of, rather than a structure supporting you and your goals. Even if all you can afford is $5, give yourself something. This can go against the grain, especially if you have a lot of debt or very little income. However, you are important. And you will be happier keeping your budget if you know you have a little money you can spend however you want.</p> <h2>8. Make a System That Works for You</h2> <p>It's easy to get sucked into a system that doesn't work for you. For instance, you may not be able to track your spending every day. If that's you, then don't buy into a budgeting system that requires this. There are plenty of systems where you can record once a week, or so. If the system doesn't work for you, you won't do it, and there won't be any value to budgeting. Keep trying things until you find something you like.</p> <h2>9. Live With Discipline</h2> <p>This is a huge skill and one that won't happen overnight. Living a disciplined life, though, will go far toward helping you make and keep your budget. Pay attention to your budget. Update it. And when you don't have any money left for something, stop spending! It can help to breathe through your desires, to remind yourself of your bigger goals, and to give yourself a waiting period before you buy things.</p> <h2>10. Know When to Splurge</h2> <p>This is a tricky skill, especially in light of the one above. However, there are times in every life when it's right to splurge. This doesn't have to be a huge spending binge &mdash; it can be something as small as a coffee with a friend. A lot of times, this comes into play when you choose to buy something of a higher quality even though it costs more. It's up to you to decide when to splurge, but make sure there's some room for it in your financial life.</p> <h2>11. Ask Yourself Hard Questions</h2> <p>When you're budgeting alone or you are the one in charge of the budget, it can be easy to let things slide. Get into the habit of asking yourself hard questions, like, &quot;Why do I always spend too much on entertainment?&quot; and &quot;Am I realistically able to take that vacation this year?&quot; You may not like the answers you find, but being honest with yourself will ultimately help you become more aware of who you are and how things work inside of you &mdash; which will help you meet your goals, financial and otherwise.</p> <p><em>Are there any other budgeting skills that are important to you? Which ones are they?</em></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" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F11%2520Budgeting%2520Skills%2520Everyone%2520Should%2520Master.jpg&amp;description=11%20Budgeting%20Skills%20Everyone%20Should%20Master"></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/u5180/11%20Budgeting%20Skills%20Everyone%20Should%20Master.jpg" alt="11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master" 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/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">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/5-minute-finance-track-your-spending">5-Minute Finance: Track Your Spending</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/10-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget">10 Sites and Apps to Help You Track Your Spending and Stick to Your Budget</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/21-times-spending-more-will-save-you-money">21 Times Spending More Will Save 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/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</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-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck">How to Budget Consistently Without a Steady Paycheck</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting expenses organization planning record keeping saving money skills spending Splurging Wed, 27 Jul 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1759923 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Signs You're Committing Financial Infidelity http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-committing-financial-infidelity <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-signs-youre-committing-financial-infidelity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_sad_face_90980753.jpg" alt="Man committing financial infidelity and how to stop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's often said that honesty is the key to a good relationship. But are you totally honest with your spouse or partner when it comes to money?</p> <p>Lies about finances can be some of the most damaging in any relationship, but they are surprisingly common. Two out of every five Americans have admitted to committing financial infidelity in the past, according to a February survey from the National Endowment for Financial Education. That's up from one-third just a couple of years ago, even though 75% of survey respondents admitted the dishonesty had a negative impact on their relationship.</p> <p>Here are some clear ways you are being dishonest about your finances with your partners &mdash; and tips on how to get back on the right track.</p> <h2>1. You Have Secret Bank Accounts/Credit Cards</h2> <p>There are different trains of thought about whether couples should combine their finances or keep separate accounts. But one thing that's definitely not okay is having bank accounts or credit cards that your partner isn't aware of. Depending on where you live, your spouse could be held liable for debts you incur during your marriage, even if they are only in your name.</p> <p>It's best to be honest about the accounts and credit cards that you have. Literally lay them out on the table for your partner to see. Come up with a plan to pay off those with the highest interest rates. Then, together, decide on which credit cards you plan to use.</p> <h2>2. You're Using Cash and Not Recording the Purchases</h2> <p>I will admit to being guilty of this. Cash has its advantages, but when you use cash to pay for things, there's no easy way to track your spending. Your partner may know you withdrew cash from an ATM, but is probably not going to interrogate you on how you plan to spend the cash. So you're more or less free to buy lunch, drinks, or any other sundry items you wish.</p> <p>To break this habit, use a debit card or credit card for most purchases, so it's easy for you and your partner to track your spending, budget appropriately, and keep each other in line. As long as you're honest about what is being spent, it's even okay to give each other a small amount of &quot;fun money&quot; on a monthly basis that you can spend on anything you want.</p> <h2>3. You Have a Gambling Problem</h2> <p>It may have started with a couple of horse races, or a fantasy baseball league or two. Then it expanded to big bucks bets on games, with money in offshore accounts and bookies calling your cell phone. Soon, checks are bouncing and your spouse can't figure out why.</p> <p>Time to 'fess up. Your partner will want to know about your gambling problem, but more importantly, they'll want to know that you have a plan to stop. Gamblers Anonymous is one major resource that's been proven to help people stop. It may also be worth talking to a mental health professional to learn how to deal with compulsive behavior.</p> <h2>4. You're Investing Without Talking It Over With Your Partner</h2> <p>Your partner may be vaguely aware that you have an investment account, but do they know what you are invested in? If you are buying and selling stocks frequently, is it part of an overall strategy that you discussed together? If not, this is a form of financial infidelity. While it may be common for one spouse to be more investment-savvy than the other, it's not wise to place money in the markets without discussing your goals.</p> <p>Are you saving for retirement, or for something in the nearer future? Are you placing money in a college savings account? Do you have the same tolerance for risk? All of these questions should be answered and discussed with your partner before you invest.</p> <h2>5. You're Hiding a Job Loss</h2> <p>It's understandable. You're hurt, maybe even humiliated, that you've found yourself unemployed. But continuing to act as if you still have a job is not going to make things better. For one thing, your partner will eventually wonder where all of your income went. And they'll be furious when they learn that you've lied.</p> <p>If you find yourself jobless, remember that even the best of people lose their jobs for reasons beyond their control. And any respectful partner will understand this, and will want to play a role in ensuring your family remains financially stable while you look for a new job.</p> <p>To keep this situation from occurring, establish a pattern of talking to your partner about your career. If your company is in trouble, or if you are at risk of being downsized, that's information you should share. This communication will make it less of a shock when the hammer drops.</p> <h2>6. You've Kept Outstanding Debt a Secret</h2> <p>This can really be a relationship killer. Imagine entering a relationship believing that your finances are in good order, only to find that your partner has thousands of dollars in debt you didn't know about. This could impact everything from your ability to pay for a mortgage, get a decent rate on an auto loan, and invest and save for the future.</p> <p>If you're guilty of this, it's time to 'fess up. It's also time to recognize that your partner can play a supportive role, both financially and emotionally, in helping you pay off the debt. Having debt doesn't make you a bad person, so there's no reason to hide it.</p> <h2>7. You're Not Being Honest When You Rationalize Purchases</h2> <p>You say you bought tickets to the basketball game to &quot;entertain clients&quot; when that client is really just an old buddy of yours. You convince your partner that your smartphone desperately needs to be replaced, when it fact it's working perfectly fine and you just felt like buying the newest version. Even if you aren't hiding purchases from the ones you love, you're committing financial infidelity if you're making up reasons to buy things you don't need.</p> <p>To remedy this problem, start being more honest with yourself when you have the urge to buy things. Before any purchase, ask yourself: Do I need this item? More often than not, the answer will be no.</p> <h2>8. Your Partner Has No Idea What You Earn</h2> <p>You may like the idea of having separate accounts, but when one person in a household doesn't know what the other is earning, it makes budgeting impossible. What if your spouse assumes you earn more than you do and then makes a big purchase? If you are planning for things like buying a home or cars, financing children's education or your own retirement, it's imperative that both partners know what the net household income is.</p> <p>The easiest way to avoid this problem is to operate using joint accounts. But if you decide to keep money separate, at least share account statements, paystubs, and tax information.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been victimized by these &mdash; or other &mdash; acts of financial infidelity?</em></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-signs-youre-committing-financial-infidelity">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/why-you-should-stop-keeping-your-money-problems-to-yourself">Why You Should Stop Keeping Your Money Problems to Yourself</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/3-simple-ways-to-split-bills-with-your-spouse">3 Simple Ways to Split Bills With Your Spouse</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays">10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting infidelity lying marriage planning shared finances spouses Fri, 01 Jul 2016 10:00:04 +0000 Tim Lemke 1738701 at http://www.wisebread.com Everything You Need to Know About Switching to the Cash Only Lifestyle http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_cash_000009192860.jpg" alt="Woman learning everything she needs to know about cash only" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you considered using the cash system to get your budget under control? You're not alone. But what are the best practices? I'm going to share a few tips and tricks that work for my family. If you're totally new to this method, these tips should help you become a cash-carrying ninja in no time at all. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-6-reasons-why-using-cash-only-rocks?ref=seealso">Top 6 Reasons Why Using Cash-Only Rocks</a>)</p> <h2>1. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>Carrying money around can be horribly inconvenient and even intimidating without a good plan in place. When I started out with cash, I was always worried I wouldn't have enough to cover what I was buying. Worse, I didn't have a clear understanding of exactly how much I spent in each of my budget categories.</p> <p>Now? I use cash for all our variable expenses. These core areas for my family include groceries, clothing, entertainment, household items, allowances, and other activities. At the start of each month, we get out half of the budgeted amounts in cash and divide them up into the categories. We get the second half out at the next pay period during the month.</p> <h2>2. Get Organized</h2> <p>A lot of people use an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">envelope system</a> to organize their cash. And it makes good sense. Once you have planned ahead and budgeted out your amounts, you simply label envelopes, distribute your money into them, and get to sensible spending.</p> <p>I personally like to use one of those <a href="http://amzn.to/1Rhrlv1">mini expanding files</a> to keep everything together and clearly labeled. I also have a paper register where I track how much cash I've taken out of each category. It's a little old school, but it's a system that works well for me. You may want to use an Excel spreadsheet or budget app to manage your paper money.</p> <h2>3. Keep Track</h2> <p>At the end of each month, I try to make some mental notes about how everything went. Our needs as a family change and evolve over time. For example, we haven't bought many clothes lately, so we've been able to reallocate some of those funds into our grocery budget that seems to have ballooned since our daughter transitioned from toddler to preschooler.</p> <p>I also track any extra money we have leftover at the end of each month by category. As I observe the trends, I customize our budget accordingly. The thing I like about cash is that it's so physical. There's no ignoring it. It's either there or it isn't. So, it's a nice, in-your-face reminder of how we're doing with our variable expenses each month. The extra time it takes to pay attention is well worth it.</p> <h2>4. Mind Leftovers</h2> <p>Usually we use the surplus to do something fun as a family &mdash; go out to dinner, enjoy a movie, etc. Though lately we've considered adding it to our savings since we're expecting baby number two in the summer. The cool thing about leftover money is that it's, well, leftover. You can do whatever you want or need to do with it, depending on your current lifestyle and financial situation.</p> <p>We keep our excess funds in a big jar. This method, if you can call it that, might not work for everyone, but our budget is tight enough that it isn't overflowing. Still, it's a good place to grab cash as needed for incidentals, like random ice cream dates. If you're more into getting ahead or saving, you could consider pitching the money forward and taking out less for the next month. Or when you visit the bank for next month's withdrawal, put the leftovers straight into your savings account.</p> <h2>5. Think Safety</h2> <p>Above all, if you're carrying a load of cash around, you want to be safe about it. I try not to carry more than I need for any given shopping trip. So, if I'm going grocery shopping, I won't bring any of the other envelopes unless I need to. (If I'm getting household products in addition to food, for example.)</p> <p>I also don't bring the entire month's worth of funds with me when I go shopping. Instead, I calculate how much I might spend beforehand and bring only that much (or just slightly over what I expect to spend). It can be tricky, but with a little practice, you will get the hang of it. The worst that can happen is you have to leave something at the store.</p> <p>With regard to safekeeping at home, there are definitely good and bad ways to store your cash. Our jar is well hidden in the kitchen cupboards (though, I should probably go move it after telling you that). Also: We don't keep more than a set amount at home. If you plan to keep lots, make sure you add that amount to your home or rental insurance in case of emergencies. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-places-to-stash-cash-in-your-home?ref=seealso">The Best and Worst Places to Stash Cash at Home</a>)</p> <p><em>How do you handle keeping cash at home?</em></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" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Feverything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FEverything%2520You%2520Need%2520to%2520Know%2520About%2520Switching%2520to%2520the%2520Cash%2520Only%2520Lifestyle.jpg&amp;description=14%20Behaviors%20and%20Attitudes%20That%20Can%20Drive%20Workplace%20Success"></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/Everything%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20About%20Switching%20to%20the%20Cash%20Only%20Lifestyle.jpg" alt="Everything You Need to Know About Switching to the Cash Only Lifestyle" 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/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle">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-budget-when-you-rely-on-cash-tips">How to Budget When You Rely on Cash Tips</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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should 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/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</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/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet">The 7 Things Every Frugal Person Should Have In Their Wallet</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/managing-your-short-term-money">Managing Your Short-Term Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting cash Envelope system expenses money organizing planning Mon, 28 Mar 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1678001 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Time-Management Skills That Will Help Your Kid Win at School http://www.wisebread.com/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_girl_ideas_000040220958_0.jpg" alt="Girl with time-management skills winning at school" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Want your kids to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-back-to-school-shopping-tips-for-the-busy-parent">succeed at school</a> without spending every waking hour with their noses buried in books? Teach them how to manage their time most efficiently with these 11 tips on perfecting that September-to-May juggling act.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Mind Map&quot; Before a Writing Project</h2> <p>You may not have heard of &quot;mind mapping,&quot; but the concept isn't new at all. It's really just a fancy 21st &nbsp;century name for brainstorming, which we were taught as kids. Before your kid embarks on a project &mdash; particularly a written assignment &mdash; have them brainstorm their ideas, outline the steps of the project, and start organizing their thoughts into full-fledged ideas. That way, when it's time to get to the nitty-gritty of it all, the process will flow more seamlessly since all the moving parts will be in place.</p> <p>&quot;The best time-saving tip we know of is when a child has to write something &mdash; a book report, research paper, speech/presentation &mdash; is to use mind mapping,&quot; says Bryan Mattimore, chief idea guy at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.growth-engine.com/">The Growth Engine Co.</a>, an innovation agency. &quot;We have kids (and corporate innovation teams) create a mind map of what they might want to write first. It makes it a great deal easier for young and old alike to first get everything out in the mind map, so that they can write an outline and then more effectively and quickly write the piece.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Use a Calendar</h2> <p>I've used a monthly calendar to roughly plan out 30 days of advance assignments since I started my own business six years ago. I'm able to see what I've completed and what's coming up at a glance, and I can easily make room for additional assignments by moving other items around if need be. I've found this method of organization extremely helpful not only in terms of productivity, but also psychologically as the completed projects I cross off help ward off feelings of anxiety that I'm falling behind.</p> <p>Author Patty Wood suggests taking a similar approach with your child.</p> <p>&quot;Post a big school calendar above the child's desk or workstation so they have a visual of time and their assignments,&quot; she says. &quot;Have them put color stickers for tests and assignments on the due dates. When they look at any assignment, they can figure out how much work and time it will take to prepare and go on the calendar and assign time on days leading up to it. For example, if they have a speech on September 26, they can put an hour on, say, five days in the two weeks prior to the speech to get ready for it.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Prepare for the Next Day (or Week) in Advance</h2> <p>In addition to my monthly calendar, I also plan ahead on a more immediate level, like preparing my weekly meals all on one Sunday afternoon, as well as choosing and ironing that week's outfits. With all of those tasks out of the way for the week, I'm able to sleep in a few more minutes in the mornings and start my days with much less stress.</p> <p>Let your kids choose the clothes they'd like to wear that week, and invite them into the kitchen to choose what snacks and drinks they'd like in their lunches. As they get older, if this has become routine over the years, they'll eventually do all of this on their own (hopefully), so you can rest assured that your young adult is well on his or her way to being A-okay in the real world.</p> <h2>4. Establish a Dedicated Homework Time and Location</h2> <p>You'll have an easier time getting your child to do homework if you establish a dedicated time and location to do it. Once the routine is solidly in place, it will become habitual with, ideally, no after-school fuss.</p> <h2>5. Create a Checklist</h2> <p>In addition to my monthly calendar of projects, I also keep a daily to-do list &mdash; which includes both personal and professional items &mdash; to help me stay on task throughout the day. I try to plan them out in terms of the time I think each activity will take, but that's not always reliable as sometimes things don't go according to plan. Your kids can benefit from this system &mdash; and so can you &mdash; by providing them an outline of what needs to be done for the day and by what deadline.</p> <h2>6. Avoid Over-Scheduling Extracurricular Activities</h2> <p>A lot of kids get sidetracked or fall behind because of over-scheduling, and if that's happening in your family, it's time to take a step back and examine your priorities. Extracurricular activities &mdash; like sports, music, art, and theater &mdash; are important to your children's physical, social, mental, and emotional development, but not at the cost of education and overall well being. If they're doing too much in a day, and their homework or other educational pursuits are suffering, something has to go.</p> <p>Also, as a parent, stay sensitive to your child's demeanor and personality. If they're stressed out, unhappy, or constantly on edge, perhaps it's because they feel over-worked and overscheduled. Check in from time to time to see how they're doing in that regard.</p> <h2>7. Limit Phone/Social Media/TV Time</h2> <p>If you're addicted to social media, the Internet, or your e-mail like I am, you know firsthand how much time is wasted while you're on the phone and computer instead of concentrating on your work. This goes double for your kids whose hormones are raging amid all the traditional school drama that happens from pre-teen age all the way to high school graduation. To ensure their media doesn't interfere with their after-school responsibilities, limit the time they can spend on it by perhaps confiscating the devices until all homework, chores, etc. are finished, or granting them a certain amount of time to be online/the phone each night.</p> <p>You probably won't win any Parent of the Year awards in their eyes, but you're doing the right thing &mdash; and they'll recognize that someday.</p> <h2>8. Set Artificial Deadlines for Assignments</h2> <p>If your child has trouble remembering assignments or just procrastinates (like every other teenager &mdash; and adult &mdash; in the world), another potential tactic to take is to set artificial deadlines for assignments. I sometimes do this for myself if I dread a certain assignment, and I also employ this tactic when scheduling activities with my always-late husband. By creating a &quot;window of lateness&quot; as I like to call it, you can almost be sure that everything (and everyone) will be on time, or at least on the actual, much-later deadline.</p> <h2>9. Prioritize Assignments in Order of Importance</h2> <p>Kids tend to gravitate toward the easiest work there is, but that's not always the best approach to their assignments given that not all assignments are created equal. Some count for much more of their final grade than others, which makes the highly weighted projects a priority over smaller, more easily accomplished assignments. Review your child's schedule with them to go over their projects in depth to understand what they entail, recognize how much work they will require, and create a plan to meet the deadlines.</p> <h2>10. Keep a Regimented Schedule at Home</h2> <p>An after-school free-for-all will lead to certain disaster for your children in terms of their educational priorities, which is why it's in your entire family's best interest to keep a regimented schedule at home.</p> <p>&quot;To best help children manage their time effectively while in school, help them to understand and practice time management outside of the school day; this will allow them to internalize this structure and use it elsewhere, especially at school,&quot; says Dr. Lindsay Popilskis, certified school psychologist. &quot;Agree upon start and end times for academic tasks &mdash; such as homework &mdash; and fun tasks, and stick to those times. You may even set a timer for activities so that children can independently see how much time has been spent and how much time is left for each activity. With all that being said, the most important time for routine is bedtime. Without a good night sleep, children have difficulties maintaining their focus, which will not capitalize on their time no matter how managed it is.&quot;</p> <p><em>Do you have other time-management tips to help kids win at school that you'd like to add? Let me know in the comments below.</em></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%2F10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Time-Management%2520Skills%2520That%2520Will%2520Help%2520Your%2520Kid%2520Win%2520at%2520School.jpg&amp;description=10%20Time-Management%20Skills%20That%20Will%20Help%20Your%20Kid%20Win%20at%20School"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Time-Management%20Skills%20That%20Will%20Help%20Your%20Kid%20Win%20at%20School.jpg" alt="10 Time-Management Skills That Will Help Your Kid Win at School" width="250" height="374" /></em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school">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-6"> <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-lessons-kids-can-learn-from-the-tooth-fairy">7 Money Lessons Kids Can Learn From the Tooth Fairy</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/should-you-make-your-young-kids-pay-rent">Should You Make Your Young Kids Pay &quot;Rent?&quot;</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-what-you-need-to-know-about-529-able-accounts">Here&#039;s What You Need to Know About 529 ABLE Accounts</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-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</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-sell-your-house-despite-your-messy-kids">How to Sell Your House Despite Your Messy Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Family Productivity children good grades homework kids planning school time management Wed, 26 Aug 2015 17:00:29 +0000 Mikey Rox 1536917 at http://www.wisebread.com Pay Your Bills and 5 Other Things You Must Do Before You Leave on Vacation http://www.wisebread.com/pay-your-bills-and-5-other-things-you-must-do-before-you-leave-on-vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pay-your-bills-and-5-other-things-you-must-do-before-you-leave-on-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_luggage_000039949614.jpg" alt="Mother and daughter doing things before going on vacation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You packed for the flight to a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dramatic-vacation-spots-for-tv-and-film-fanatics">really cool location</a>, re-installed the smoke detector, and made sure the oven was off, but there's a lot more you can do to make your return home less stressful. Here are the six things to do before you leave on vacation.</p> <h2>1. Tell Your Bank</h2> <p>It happens to everyone at least once: You're enjoying a nice meal in a new city, you pay the bill, the server tells you the card doesn't work, and you panic. Prevent this by calling your bank several days before your trip to alert them that you're planning to use your card(s) on vacation. It's especially important if you're traveling to a faraway destination you've never been before.</p> <h2>2. Resolve Your Email Inbox</h2> <p>Any lingering emails still marked as &quot;unread&quot; at the top of the inbox? Now's a good time to respond with simple answers. Make coworkers and friends feel at ease and have a lot less to deal with when you return. Going away for longer than a long weekend? Definitely worth turning on the vacation auto-responder so your contacts don't feel neglected. When it comes to snail mail, it's worth setting up a vacation hold if no one's checking it for you.</p> <h2>3. Clean House</h2> <p>Who wants to come home to a dirty house? Get the sink clear of dishes, vacuum, and do a number on the shower you've been putting off cleaning. Also, take an afternoon to wash laundry, especially sheets &mdash; never underestimate the power of coming home to a fresh scented, freshly made bed. This will ensure coming home will be a stressless transition.</p> <h2>4. Secure a Pet Plan</h2> <p>Have pets and need to arrange for their care? Get your kennel or sitter lined up at least two weeks before a long trip. Plan for all the variables. Don't forget to stock up on extra pet food so someone else doesn't have to hit the store. Get extra keys made for your sitter if necessary. Get extra scat bags, toys, catnip, anything that may help your pets stay comfortable and alive while you're away.</p> <h2>5. Schedule Bill Payments</h2> <p>Going to be away for more than a week and don't want to stop the fun to pay your bills? Set up a bill pay system with your financial institution one billing cycle in advance so that you can be sure it works and the payments post. If timing is an issue, you can also try calling your credit card companies to let them know you are going to be away and payments might be a day or two late.</p> <h2>6. Turn Off Meters</h2> <p>Own a home? Those electric outlets still suck power. Leaks can happen anytime. Turning off your water, gas, and electric meters are a good way to save money while on longer trips and can prevent any kind of disasters that could happen from being worse. It's worth the extra few minutes.</p> <p><em>How do you prepare for a long trip?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fpay-your-bills-and-5-other-things-you-must-do-before-you-leave-on-vacation&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FPay%20Your%20Bills%20and%205%20Other%20Things%20You%20Must%20Do%20Before%20You%20Leave%20on%20Vacation.jpg&amp;description=Pay%20Your%20Bills%20and%205%20Other%20Things%20You%20Must%20Do%20Before%20You%20Leave%20on%20Vacation" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Pay%20Your%20Bills%20and%205%20Other%20Things%20You%20Must%20Do%20Before%20You%20Leave%20on%20Vacation.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-your-bills-and-5-other-things-you-must-do-before-you-leave-on-vacation">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/6-unexpected-benefits-of-solo-travel">6 Unexpected Benefits of Solo Travel</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-avoid-theft-while-traveling">How to Avoid Theft While Traveling</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/10-things-to-leave-behind-during-your-midsummer-trip">10 Things to Leave Behind During Your Midsummer Trip</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-to-avoid-expensive-phone-charges-when-traveling">5 Ways to Avoid Expensive Phone Charges When Traveling</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/car-yoga-and-9-other-ways-to-beat-long-drives">Car Yoga and 9 Other Ways to Beat Long Drives</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Travel bills mail out of town pets planning vacation Wed, 19 Aug 2015 15:00:30 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1524655 at http://www.wisebread.com