saving http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/284/all en-US 6 Simple Money Milestones Anyone Can Hit http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-money-milestones-anyone-can-hit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-simple-money-milestones-anyone-can-hit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_piggy_bank_599767404.jpg" alt="Woman hitting money milestones" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Achieving financial freedom is really about setting big goals and going after them. But these goals can sometimes seem overwhelming. Saving enough for retirement, a new home, or a college degree is a big task. Eliminating debt can also feel impossible.</p> <p>That's why it helps to set smaller, more manageable goals and work from there. You won't save all of your retirement nest egg or pay off all of your credit cards tomorrow, but there are steps you can take to build your confidence and get you on your way. Here are some achievable financial milestones that you can go after.</p> <h2>1. Open a retirement account</h2> <p>Just <em>open</em> the account. You don't even have to invest more than the minimum: Simply take that first step and open your 401(k) or individual retirement account. By checking this off your list, you have removed a big mental hurdle from investing, and you may even begin getting matching contributions from your employer even if you are not contributing much yourself.</p> <p>With the accounts open, you'll be able to begin putting more sizable chunks of money aside and buying stocks and mutual funds when you feel you are ready. But if your accounts aren't open to begin with, you might talk yourself out of getting started. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-accounts-you-dont-need-a-ton-of-money-to-open?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Retirement Accounts You Don't Need a Ton of Money to Open</a>)</p> <h2>2. Be independent</h2> <p>Do you still rely on your parents or other friends and family for financial help? Do they assist you with rent payments, credit card bills, and other expenses? Getting help from others isn't a bad thing, but there comes a time when a young person must learn how to maintain financial independence.</p> <p>This means being able to live on your own, pay your bills, and avoid debt without seeking &quot;loans&quot; from the Bank of Mom and Dad. This is not always easy, especially in an era when many young people have student loan debt &mdash; but this should be a goal for anyone in their 20s. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-money-habits-that-make-you-look-financially-immature?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Money Habits That Make You Look Financially Immature</a>)</p> <h2>3. Reduce your credit card debt</h2> <p>Ideally, you want to pay off the whole credit card balance as soon as possible. But for some of us, we just want to keep the balance from growing. Sometimes, we're stuck in a spiral of making minimum payments, while interest charges are adding to the debt. You may not be able to get rid of your credit card balance overnight, but you can take a big step toward that goal by simply reducing the balance the next time your bill is due.</p> <p>This will mean paying substantially more than the minimum required to make a real dent into the principal. If you can do this once, you'll prove to yourself it's possible to reduce your debt burden and eventually get rid of it entirely. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Get your credit score over 700</h2> <p>Many people have trouble getting ahead financially because they are saddled with a bad credit score. A low credit score makes it hard to get favorable rates on loans, and can lead to a spiral of debt that's hard to escape. The good news is that you can fix your credit score over time by making the right financial choices, and your bad finances of the past don't have to burden you forever.</p> <p>A credit score of 700 is considered &quot;good&quot; by most credit bureaus. To get there, you need to pay your bills on time and try to pay off all balances in full. If you have missed payments, get current as soon as possible. You don't want to close your credit cards after paying them off, as this can lower your percentage of available credit and ding your credit score. But you should avoid the temptation to open new cards, as that only increases your potential for adding debt. Your credit score may take time to rise, but hitting 700 is achievable if you make the right moves. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Fast</a>)</p> <h2>5. Earn $1,000 in passive income</h2> <p>One of the great ways to give yourself some financial breathing room is to get revenue from sources that don't require a lot of work. This could mean purchasing dividend stocks, in which companies pay out portions of their earnings each quarter to shareholders. It might mean buying and renting out properties, licensing your creative works, or building a website that generates some ad revenue. Passive income may require some work and expense up front, but could provide you with a solid amount of extra cash without extra effort over time.</p> <p>Try to earn a spare $1,000 in the next year. Then try and boost that figure. Before you know it, proceeds from these passive sources could be a significant total of your overall income. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-passive-income-online?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Make Passive Income Online</a>)</p> <h2>6. Save $100 in a month</h2> <p>When your income is barely covering your living expenses, it may seem impossible to save even a few bucks a month, let alone $100. But most people should be able to hit that $100 milestone by taking a good look at their spending.</p> <p>Begin by tracking your spending in a detailed way, making a note of where every dollar goes. Then categorize your spending. You might have a category for eating out, and another for gas or kids' activities. By examining your spending this way, you will likely find areas where you can cut costs. You may have to make some hard choices, but they will be worthwhile. A few dollars here and there can add up to $100 or more. And $100 a month can add up to thousands of dollars over time.</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-simple-money-milestones-anyone-can-hit&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Simple%2520Money%2520Milestones%2520Anyone%2520Can%2520Hit.jpg&amp;description=6%20Simple%20Money%20Milestones%20Anyone%20Can%20Hit"></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%20Simple%20Money%20Milestones%20Anyone%20Can%20Hit.jpg" alt="6 Simple Money Milestones Anyone Can Hit" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-money-milestones-anyone-can-hit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</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-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves 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/8-money-moments-that-should-be-on-everyones-bucket-list">8 Money Moments That Should Be On Everyone&#039;s Bucket List</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit score debt financial independence goals money milestones passive income retirement saving Wed, 15 Nov 2017 10:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 2054445 at http://www.wisebread.com First Rule of Financial Wins: Avoid Losses http://www.wisebread.com/first-rule-of-financial-wins-avoid-losses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/first-rule-of-financial-wins-avoid-losses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business_financial_opportunity.jpg" alt="Business Financial Opportunity" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The task of accumulating wealth and ensuring long-term financial security is often discussed alongside the idea of winning. And while it's fine to think of financial planning this way, it may be just as important to simply <em>avoid losing</em>. Smart investing involves looking for gains over time, but also escaping costly losses when the market goes down. Let's take a look at some ways we can &quot;win&quot; financially simply by avoiding losses.</p> <h2>1. Avoid overpriced stocks</h2> <p>The last thing you want is to buy a stock and immediately see it take a dive. If you are a young investor with a long time horizon, you can usually get away with putting your money in the market at any time. But it is important for anyone to avoid buying stocks when they are overvalued and perhaps due for a correction.</p> <p>It's tempting to buy a stock if shares have been moving upward, because we all like to invest in companies that are doing well. At a certain point, however, share prices can be too high based on the company's earnings. It's important to learn the basics of how to tell if a stock is fairly valued.</p> <p>A price-to-earnings ratio is an important consideration in valuing a stock. A P/E ratio is the share price divided by earnings-per-share (EPS). A P/E of more than 25 is on the high side, though P/Es vary by industry. Take time to learn what typical P/E ratios are for the sector you're looking to invest in.</p> <p>Another rule of thumb to keep in mind: If a stock has been consistently setting new 52-week highs, it may be due for a pullback.</p> <p>If a company's share prices seem overvalued, it's wise to practice patience or look elsewhere for better value. This will decrease your likelihood of losing money on the investment.</p> <h2>2. Know when to cut your losses</h2> <p>One common piece of investing advice is to stay the course and avoid panicking when shares of stock fall. This is sensible, but it should be balanced with an awareness of when to cut your losses.</p> <p>There's a fine line between being patient and sticking with a dud investment for too long. It's OK to stick with an investment if the company's underlying financials are still strong, but if the company is seeing shrinking profit margins and revenues, or has completely lost its competitive advantage, it may be time to cut and run. In particular, hanging onto investments during major market downturns can result in massive losses that will take years to recover from. Some financial advisers suggest selling an investment if it drops more than 10 percent in a short amount of time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-a-stock-is-about-to-tank?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Signs a Stock Is About to Tank</a>)</p> <h2>3. Be truly diversified</h2> <p>Most investors know to avoid investing in too much of one thing. Diversification of investments is a key way to avoid a big loss. But sometimes, it's possible to think you are diversified when you aren't. For example, you may think you are diversifying your portfolio by investing in both U.S. based and international stocks. But have you considered that many U.S. companies already have a huge presence internationally? And even if you think you are diversified with various investments and asset classes, many investments still perform similarly, meaning that you're not as diversified as you think.</p> <p>Financial advisers have varying thoughts on the ideal way to diversify. Of course, everyone's portfolio will differ depending on their age, risk tolerance, and projected retirement year. But the basic tenet applies: Don't be too invested in one area.</p> <h2>4. Watch out for investment fees</h2> <p>When you buy and sell stocks and other investments, you'll likely be stuck paying a variety of fees. There are transaction costs for every trade, and maintenance fees and other costs for mutual funds and ETFs. These are costs that are taken out of money you invest, so you not only lose money immediately, but lose out on its potential gains. This can add up to thousands of dollars in the long run.</p> <p>Savvy investors know how to invest well while avoiding high costs. Discount brokerages such as Fidelity and Scottrade allow you to buy and sell stocks for as little as $4.95 per trade. Mutual fund companies including Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, and others have become more cognizant of fees, and are increasingly offering funds with super-low expense ratios. (Generally speaking, it's best look for funds that charge less than 1 percent for expenses.)</p> <p>Keep your costs low when you invest, and you'll find that avoiding these &quot;losses&quot; can boost your gains.</p> <h2>5. Understand when the markets may be due for a dip</h2> <p>It's very difficult to time the stock market, and for young investors, it's a good idea to just invest as soon as you can. But it's also possible to avoid big losses by recognizing when the markets may be due for a correction. If it seems like stocks are priced too high based on their earnings, that's one bad sign. A slowdown in economic growth is another, and you should be wary of a spike in inflation and interest rates, too. It's also worth noting if companies are downgrading their earnings predictions for the upcoming quarter, as that could be a sign that business executives are pessimistic. If you recognize any or all of these signs, it may be worth waiting a while before investing too heavily.</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%2Ffirst-rule-of-financial-wins-avoid-losses&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FFirst%2520Rule%2520of%2520Financial%2520Wins_%2520Avoid%2520Losses.jpg&amp;description=First%20Rule%20of%20Financial%20Wins%3A%20Avoid%20Losses"></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/First%20Rule%20of%20Financial%20Wins_%20Avoid%20Losses.jpg" alt="First Rule of Financial Wins: Avoid Losses" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/first-rule-of-financial-wins-avoid-losses">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/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</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-best-free-financial-learning-tools">9 Best Free Financial Learning Tools</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/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money 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-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master">6 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Money Master</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-doing-these-5-things-your-saving-efforts-are-for-nothing">If You&#039;re Doing These 5 Things, Your Saving Efforts Are for Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance apps budgeting cutting expenses energy efficient fees insurance investing losing saving spending stocks winning Tue, 14 Nov 2017 09:31:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 2053314 at http://www.wisebread.com Buying a House? Here's Where to Keep Your Down Payment http://www.wisebread.com/buying-a-house-heres-where-to-keep-your-down-payment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/buying-a-house-heres-where-to-keep-your-down-payment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/saving_to_buy_a_house_or_home_savings_concept_0.jpg" alt="Saving to buy a house or home savings concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I am in the market to buy my first home in the next few years. I have been saving and researching for a long time, and have learned many of the ins and outs of home buying, thanks to real estate agents, financial advisers, and friends who have generously shared their expertise with me.</p> <p>Living in New York City, the trickiest part of the process is saving up for a down payment. I have been diligently stashing money away for the past two years, and have become curious about whether or not I am parking my funds in the best place. Here is what I discovered. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy Ways to Start Saving for a Down Payment on a Home</a>)</p> <h2>The definition of a near-term purchase</h2> <p>The time horizon of your home purchase can dictate where to place your down payment savings. A near-term purchase is one that will occur in three years or less. If that fits your time horizon for buying a house, the best thing to do is to save your money in high-yield savings, money market, and CD (certificates of deposit) accounts. For near-term purchasers, the critical point of consideration is keeping your money liquid. Of course, you'll still want to compare interest rates from different banks, but keep in mind that you won't be earning a whole lot from these types of accounts.</p> <h2>There is a strategy to using CD accounts</h2> <p>If you decide to use CD accounts for your down payment savings, you will want to use what is known as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-cd-laddering" target="_blank">the ladder method</a>. Let's say you have $10,000. The ladder method instructs you to place $2,500 in a three-month CD, $2,500 in a six-month CD, $2,500 in a nine-month CD, and the final $2,500 in a one-year CD. Here's why: If rates go up, you can quickly take the money returned to you each quarter and place it into the higher-yield account.</p> <p>Unlike savings and money market accounts, there are penalties for early withdrawals from CDs. If you think there is a chance that you may need your funds for emergency purposes of any kind, it is best to skip CDs and just place the money into a savings or money market account that you can withdraw from at any time without penalty.</p> <h2>There are additional options for longer-term home purchase plans</h2> <p>If you have a longer-term plan for your new home purchase, there are some additional vehicles that may be worth your consideration. Bond funds can sometimes provide a return of 2 to 4 percent, which is significantly higher than savings, money market, or CD accounts. If this option interests you, there are a few points to keep in mind.</p> <p>Bond funds lose value if interest rates rise, so it is best to consult an experienced financial adviser to get a sense of what is likely to happen to interest rates in the next few years. That said, no one has a crystal ball &mdash; so while a financial adviser can make a very educated guess, they cannot guarantee what will happen with interest rates. Risk is a part of investing. Also, unlike savings, money market, and CD accounts, bonds are not insured by the FDIC and you could lose money by investing in them.</p> <h2>The bottom line on down payment savings</h2> <p>Retirement savings can afford to be invested in vehicles like stocks and bonds because we often have decades before we will use the funds. That long time horizon means retirement accounts can weather the risks of a fluctuating market. Down payment funds usually do not have the luxury of time, so investing them in stocks or bonds carries a higher risk.</p> <p>If you are considering uninsured tools such as bond funds for your down payment savings, know and understand your time horizon, risk profile, and the likely trend of the market rates. That combination of factors will determine the best place to save your down payment funds, and eventually, buy the place you will call home.</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%2Fbuying-a-house-heres-where-to-keep-your-down-payment&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FBuying%2520a%2520House-%2520Here%2527s%2520Where%2520to%2520Keep%2520Your%2520Down%2520Payment.jpg&amp;description=Buying%20a%20House%3F%20Here's%20Where%20to%20Keep%20Your%20Down%20Payment"></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/Buying%20a%20House-%20Here%27s%20Where%20to%20Keep%20Your%20Down%20Payment.jpg" alt="Here's Where to Keep Your Down Payment" 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/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-a-house-heres-where-to-keep-your-down-payment">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-warning-signs-you-cant-afford-that-new-house">9 Warning Signs You Can&#039;t Afford That New House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home">4 Easy Ways to Start Saving for a Down Payment on a Home</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/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage">8 Signs You&#039;re Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage</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-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway">What Is Private Mortgage Insurance, Anyway?</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-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing bond funds CDs certificate of deposits down payments ladder method liquid money market accounts saving Mon, 25 Sep 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Christa Avampato 2023544 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_hammer_137432908.jpg" alt="stop putting off these adult money moves" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You are not a kid anymore. It's time to start acting like an adult, especially with regard to your money. Procrastination won't help you on the path to financial freedom, so it's time to grow up, and examine whether you've been avoiding these adult money moves.</p> <h2>1. Bolstering your emergency fund<strong> </strong></h2> <p>When you are young, you may not need a lot of extra cash on hand. After all, you may feel like your life is simple enough that very few emergencies would result in financial ruin.</p> <p>As you get older, though, there are more costly events that can crop up. You may own a home and face major, unexpected repairs. You may have children with unexpected medical needs. And because your overall expenses are higher, you'll be hurt more if you or a spouse loses their job.</p> <p>While it's important to invest for the long-term, it's also crucial that you keep enough cash on hand to cover emergencies. At least three to six months' worth of income is a good rule of thumb. Without this savings, you may find yourself in debt or tapping into retirement savings to get by. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>2. Tracking your money</h2> <p>When you're young and living large, you have no idea where your money is going. You are too busy having fun to worry about it. But now you're an adult, and it's time to actually assess what you are spending your cash on.</p> <p>It's impossible to budget and save if you have no idea where to cut expenses. To begin tracking your money, analyze your bank and credit card statements to view all of the purchases you've made. Enter these into a spreadsheet, or use an account consolidation website such as Mint.com to help you. Once you start tracking, you'll have a good idea of where you've been wasting money and where you can start cutting down on your costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Build Your First Budget in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <h2>3. Sticking to a budget</h2> <p>Once you get a handle on where your money is going, it's time to develop a system that will allow you to save money. The only way to avoid debt and save for the future is to keep expenses below what you earn. This may mean making tough decisions and reducing nonessential spending.</p> <p>You may have to eat out less. You may need to cancel your cable TV or baseball season tickets. You may need to forgo that trip to the Caribbean. Set a budget for groceries each week, drive less, and clip more coupons. None of this is fun, but it's what adults do if they want to achieve financial freedom.</p> <h2>4. Getting your credit card debt under control</h2> <p>Early on in life, your credit card debt may just seem like a number you can hide from yourself. But at a certain point, it's something that truly impacts your ability to build wealth and obtain financial freedom.</p> <p>When your debt is high, this impacts your credit score, which in turn impacts what you will pay for things like a mortgage and auto loan. In essence, debt can become a downward spiral of pain if you don't nip it in the bud early. Be an adult, and start paying down that credit card debt.</p> <p>Try to go after the debt with the highest interest rates first, then go from there (otherwise known as the avalanche method). Begin using cards more sparingly and rely instead on good old cash as much as possible. Soon, you'll see your credit score rise and your overall financial picture will look much rosier. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. Saving for a home</h2> <p>Homeownership isn't for everyone, but there will likely come a time in your life when it makes sense to build equity in real estate rather than spend money on rent. Owning a home gives you a sense of pride, a sense of stability for your family, and is a good financial move in the long run &mdash; as long as you can manage the monthly payments.</p> <p>To make a sensible home purchase, traditional expertise has advised saving enough money for a down payment of at least 20 percent. So if you are eyeballing a $250,000 home, for example, that means amassing $50,000 &mdash; a sizable amount. While you aren't required to put 20 percent down, doing so can help you avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance, or PMI, until you build up equity in your home. Saving for a down payment is not an easy task, and may take many years, so it's best to start as soon as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy Ways to Start Saving for a Down Payment on a Home</a>)</p> <h2>6. Investing toward retirement</h2> <p>The notion of saving for your 60s might seem ridiculous when you're in your 20s. But you can't put off retirement savings forever, and this procrastination can really hurt you down the line. The earlier you start saving, the more money you will have when it's time to leave the workforce.</p> <p>If you're into your 30s or 40s and have little saved for retirement, you need to start socking money away right now. Take advantage of your employer's 401(k) plan and any of your company's matching contributions. You can also open an individual retirement account (IRA). Max out these accounts, if possible. The sooner you start investing, the more time your money has to grow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>7. Saving for your kids' education</h2> <p>It's hard to imagine saving for college when you have no children yet, or your kids haven't even left elementary school. But with college costing tens of thousands of dollars, and getting more expensive every year, you shouldn't put off saving for too long if you plan to help your children with some of the expense.</p> <p>It's possible to begin saving before your child is even born, and there are many investment accounts, including the popular 529 college savings plans, that offer great tax advantages to those that save for education. It's not wise to save for college costs at the expense of your own retirement, but if you have the ability to put aside money for both, do it sooner rather than later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-places-to-stash-your-kids-college-savings?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Smart Places to Stash Your Kid's College Savings</a>)</p> <h2>8. Getting properly insured</h2> <p>Proper financial planning isn't just about accumulating wealth, but protecting it. The best way to protect your assets is by insuring them at appropriate levels. Do you own a home? Make sure you have homeowners insurance to protect the structure and everything inside. Do you and your family members have health insurance to protect against illness or injury? And do you have life insurance so that your family will be financially OK if something were to happen to you?</p> <p>Insurance can sometimes seem like a waste of money if you don't use it. But when something bad does happens, you'll be massively grateful you have it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn't Just for Old People</a>)</p> <h2>9. Crafting a will</h2> <p>Do you know who gets your assets if you unexpectedly pass away? Do you know who will take care of your children if you are no longer around? Have you given any thought to whether you'd like to be kept on life support if you are the victim of an accident? These are unpleasant things to think about, but they are important considerations.</p> <p>In the absence of a will or other documents that outline your wishes, family members may be left to make challenging decisions. The money and assets you wished to pass on to specific relatives may not be passed on according to your plans. Writing a will may not seem like a crucial thing to do when you are young, but it becomes more important as you get older, expand your family, and accumulate assets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-writing-a-will?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know About Writing a Will</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"> <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/Are%20You%20Putting%20Off%20These%209%20Adult%20Money%20Moves-.jpg" alt="Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-best-free-financial-learning-tools">9 Best Free Financial Learning Tools</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/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money">Don&#039;t Let Outdated Money Advice Endanger Your 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/the-retirement-latte">The Retirement Latte</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-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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/first-rule-of-financial-wins-avoid-losses">First Rule of Financial Wins: Avoid Losses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting college costs debt down payments education estate planning investing life insurance money moves retirement saving wills Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:00:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 2005241 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Financial Differences Between Millennials and the Next Generation http://www.wisebread.com/7-financial-differences-between-millennials-and-the-next-generation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-financial-differences-between-millennials-and-the-next-generation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/group_of_friends_having_fun.jpg" alt="Group of friends having fun" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We hear a lot about millennials and their money, but what about the generation behind them? Members of Generation Z are now approaching adulthood, and have their own unique characteristics. They may also have their own unique attitudes toward money. How do millennials and Generation Z differ? The answer to those questions could have fascinating implications for our economy.</p> <h2>1. Generation Z may be more frugal</h2> <p>Members of Generation Z may only now be entering adulthood, but there are indications that they are more conservative with their money than previous generations. Perhaps it's because this generation has grown up at a time of unrest, from the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the aftermath, to the near collapse of the financial sector at the end of the last decade.</p> <p>The 2016 Annual State of Credit published by Experian noted that Generation Z has an average of 1.29 credit cards, compared to 2.02 for millennials. They also have about half as much debt overall, though it's worth noting that many are entering college age, when debt levels can soar.</p> <h2>2. Generation Z is totally cool with technology</h2> <p>Millennials are pretty tech-savvy, but Generation Z is the first generation that's never known a time without the internet. This means they should be entirely accepting of online banking and investing, using mobile payment apps, and similar innovations &mdash; though they will be cautious, due to their awareness of high-profile data breaches. Generation Z will also have no recollection of the tech bubble burst of the late 1990s, so they'll be perfectly comfortable investing in tech stocks.</p> <h2>3. Generation Z wants career stability</h2> <p>There is some evidence that members of Generation Z prefer to go after careers that are solid and pragmatic. The consulting firm Altitude reported that this generation may be less entrepreneurial and more focused on stability and earning enough money to avoid financial struggles.</p> <p>Another report from Bainbridge Consulting found that more than half Generation Z-ers feel like they need to get work experience as soon as possible in order to succeed. The broader economic implications of this risk aversion will be worth watching in the coming years.</p> <h2>4. Millennials may be less focused on retirement</h2> <p>Even though millennials are the older generation, it's Generation Z that may already be focused on retirement savings. One study from the Center for Generational Kinetics found that about 12 percent of Gen Z-ers already have some retirement savings. Another 35 percent said they expect to begin saving once they hit their 20s. Some of this may be influenced by parents who urged them to save; more than one out of every five people in Generation Z reported having savings accounts by age 10.</p> <h2>5. Millennials are more loyal to brands</h2> <p>Good luck trying to get a millennial to switch from an Apple to an Android phone, or vice versa. But those from Generation Z don't have the same kind of steadfast allegiance to products. A study by IBM said two-thirds of this young generation prefer high-quality products that last, and will do their homework to find the best value, regardless of brand.</p> <h2>6. Generation Z shops smarter</h2> <p>Because of their internet savvy, members of Generation Z know how to comparison shop and get information about products online. Research from MarketingProfs showed that more than half of people in Generation Z use YouTube and other social media sites to research products before they buy.</p> <h2>7. Generation Z is wary of student debt</h2> <p>About two-thirds of millennials say they have more than $10,000 in student loan debt. This reality has led Generation Z to be more thoughtful when examining the value of higher education. One survey by Adecco reported that 21 percent of Generation Z students said they were concerned about the price of tuition, compared to 13 percent for millennials. There are also indications that Generation Z is less inclined to go after a costly advanced degree.</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%2F7-financial-differences-between-millennials-and-the-next-generation&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Financial%2520Differences%2520Between%2520Millennials%2520and%2520the%2520Next%2520Generation.jpg&amp;description=7%20Financial%20Differences%20Between%20Millennials%20and%20the%20Next%20Generation"></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%20Financial%20Differences%20Between%20Millennials%20and%20the%20Next%20Generation.jpg" alt="7 Financial Differences Between Millennials and the Next Generation" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-financial-differences-between-millennials-and-the-next-generation">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-reasons-to-cut-millennials-some-slack-about-their-money">10 Reasons to Cut Millennials Some Slack About Their Money</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/21-things-that-young-adults-absolutely-need-to-know-about-money">21 Things That Young Adults Absolutely Need to Know 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/first-rule-of-financial-wins-avoid-losses">First Rule of Financial Wins: Avoid Losses</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-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master">6 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Money Master</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/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance career goals generation z investing millennials retirement saving spending technology youth Mon, 17 Jul 2017 08:00:12 +0000 Tim Lemke 1982851 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Reasons to Cut Millennials Some Slack About Their Money http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-to-cut-millennials-some-slack-about-their-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-reasons-to-cut-millennials-some-slack-about-their-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bad_news_headlines.jpg" alt="Bad news headlines" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Millennials are getting beat up these days for their money habits. According to observers, people between the ages of 18 and 34 are financially irresponsible &mdash; one CEO even suggested they are spending too much money on <a href="http://time.com/money/4778942/avocados-millennials-home-buying/" target="_blank">pricey avocados</a> when they should be saving for a home.</p> <p>But these reports are unfair. There's a lot of evidence to suggest that from a financial standpoint, millennials may be facing unique challenges that older generations simply didn't deal with. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-millennials-are-better-with-money-than-you-are?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways Millennials Are Better With Money Than You Are</a>)</p> <p>Should we take it easy on millennials when it comes to their money habits? Perhaps, and here's why.</p> <h2>1. College is really expensive</h2> <p>We encourage young people to attend college, but according to Student Loan Hero, the average member of the class of 2016 graduated with more than $37,000 in student loan debt. Borrowers between the age of 20 and 30 spend an average of more than $350 a month to pay off these loans.</p> <p>This student debt is largely the result of rising college costs: Public school costs have risen 9 percent over the last four years, and private universities have risen 13 percent. A student attending a four-year private school now pays an average of $45,000 each year. While it's true that young adults should be aware of the cost of college when deciding if and where to attend, it's also clear that many are now handcuffed by their student loan burdens. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</a>)</p> <h2>2. Wages haven't gone up</h2> <p>One of the biggest problems with the current economy is that it's been a long time since wages have gone up in real terms. In fact, there's evidence that wage growth has basically been stagnant since the 1970s, and any wage growth at all has been concentrated to the top earners.</p> <p>Anyone without a college degree has seen their wages decline, on average, in the last decade. It's easy to accuse millennials of making bad financial choices, but there's very little evidence they are rolling in the dough to begin with.</p> <h2>3. Housing is really costly</h2> <p>In many parts of the country &mdash; especially those with good job opportunities for millennials &mdash; it's nearly impossible to find an affordable house or apartment. A recent survey of 24,000 renters by ApartmentList.com found that millennials would have to wait more than a decade to save enough for a 20 percent down payment on a home in many markets. In some cities, including San Francisco and Austin, the wait is as much as 19 years.</p> <p>There are simply not enough affordable, entry-level homes available for millennials to buy, and with interest rates rising, the problem is only going to get worse.</p> <h2>4. Saving for retirement is mostly on them</h2> <p>If you're a baby boomer or even a GenXer, you might have worked for a company that offered generous pensions to its employees. For much of the 20th century, workers could find decent jobs at big companies and know they'd be getting a monthly check even after retirement.</p> <p>Nowadays, it's up to the individual to save for retirement, using a 401(k) plan (if they have access to one) or individual retirement accounts (IRAs). No doubt, you can generate a lot of wealth this way over time, but most of the savings will have to come from the worker, not the employer. And for many young people, setting money aside for retirement is an afterthought if they are also facing student loan debt and other expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-millennials-should-do-today-to-prepare-for-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Things Millennials Should Do Today to Prepare for Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>5. They've lived through several market crashes</h2> <p>For millennials, the stock market and economy have done quite well during their time on Earth, but there were several big events that may have left them wary about investing.</p> <p>The stock market endured three straight years of bad losses from 2000 to 2002, due to the dot com bubble bursting and the terrorist attacks of September 11. The markets tumbled dramatically again in 2008 after the financial crisis. These events may have taken place during a millennials' formative years, and the headlines may have clouded their belief in the power of investing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</a>)</p> <h2>6. Many don't use credit cards at all</h2> <p>We often assume that millennials have a ton of credit cards. But according to one survey, millennials have fewer cards than most Americans. BankRate.com reported last year that only one-third of people under the age of 30 have a credit card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-millennials?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards for Millennials</a>)</p> <h2>7. Everybody is marketing to them</h2> <p>It's easy to say that millennials should be more frugal, but that's easier said than done when America's marketing dollars are bombarding that exact generation. Ask any advertiser what their coveted demographic is, and they'll likely tell you they deliberately target people between the ages of 18 and 34.</p> <p>On one hand, we want young people to be responsible with their money. On the other, we know that consumer spending by that same group is often a big driver of the American economy.</p> <h2>8. They are more generous than you think</h2> <p>It may be frustrating to see millennials with poor personal finance skills. But while they may not necessarily be smart with money, they are not as selfish as you might believe.</p> <p>Millennials basically invented the concept of crowdfunding, which has led to sites such as GoFundMe and others that have supported nonprofits. One survey from 2014 noted that 84 percent of millennials donated to a charity that year, and that they are more likely to give on their own accord rather than from a top-down, corporate-driven approach.</p> <h2>9. They grew up in a fairly prosperous era</h2> <p>People who grew up during the Great Depression learned the hard way about living frugally and making every penny stretch. Those who grew up during World War II remember making severe sacrifices. Even baby boomers remember the gas shortages and economic stagnancy of the 1970s.</p> <p>By contrast, millennials have grown up in a time of relative prosperity. Millennials have never been forced to learn how to save and invest as a matter of survival. Is it their fault that they grew up in relative comfort compared to older generations?</p> <h2>10. Luxury items are practically necessities</h2> <p>Older people like to accuse younger generations of spending money needlessly, but think of the expenses they have that did not exist even 20 years ago. Cellphones? Tough to get by without one these days. High-speed internet service? Yeah, that's almost as important as electricity. Millennials have considerable expenses each month that were once considered luxury items, but are now considered vital.</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%2F10-reasons-to-cut-millennials-some-slack-about-their-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Reasons%2520to%2520Cut%2520Millennials%2520Some%2520Slack%2520About%2520Their%2520Money.jpg&amp;description=10%20Reasons%20to%20Cut%20Millennials%20Some%20Slack%20About%20Their%20Money"></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%20Reasons%20to%20Cut%20Millennials%20Some%20Slack%20About%20Their%20Money.jpg" alt="10 Reasons to Cut Millennials Some Slack About Their Money" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-to-cut-millennials-some-slack-about-their-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/7-financial-differences-between-millennials-and-the-next-generation">7 Financial Differences Between Millennials and the Next Generation</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-money-moves-for-the-newly-independent">8 Money Moves for the Newly Independent</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-financial-perks-of-being-in-your-20s">The Financial Perks of Being in Your 20s</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/first-rule-of-financial-wins-avoid-losses">First Rule of Financial Wins: Avoid Losses</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/21-things-that-young-adults-absolutely-need-to-know-about-money">21 Things That Young Adults Absolutely Need to Know About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance baby boomer future generation x generations habits investing millennials retirement saving spending young adults Fri, 30 Jun 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Tim Lemke 1970114 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways Being Late on Tech Trends Saves You Money http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-being-late-on-tech-trends-saves-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-being-late-on-tech-trends-saves-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/you_have_got_to_meet_me_at_the_sale.jpg" alt="You have got to meet me at the sale!" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Late adopters are not people who hate technology, think trends are evil, and spend their time sitting in candlelit rooms grumbling about the modernization of things that used to matter. Late adopters are a segment of the consumer population who don't feel the need to jump on a new tech or trend as soon as it's available. They wait. They eye before they try. They are also often the last to try, and they save money and get more value out of what they do decide to buy. Here's how you can, too.</p> <h2>1. Skip the newest version</h2> <p>People often think of late adopters in the context of new technology. Late adopters won't be in line for the latest iPhone, or fighting crowds for the newest smart home thermostat. Their willingness to wait means they avoid the premium prices that come with getting the newest thing, now.</p> <p>For example, older versions of the iPhone typically drop in price by $100 when Apple releases the newest version. Late adopters save that $100, at a minimum. Potentially, they can save more by buying a used phone in great condition from someone who can't wait. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-save-on-smartphones?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Smart Ways to Save on Smartphones</a>)</p> <h2>2. Save time and data</h2> <p>Late adopters save by avoiding the time and money spent on buying relatively untested tech trends, or gadgets. Tech is a competitive industry; not all that launches will last. Early adopters who sign on for the latest service or product provided by a startup get the thrill of the new. They also get the hassle of the new: keeping up with continual upgrades, dealing with bugs, and having to move (or lose) their data when a service shuts down. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tech-life-8-reasons-why-you-shouldn-t-be-an-early-adopter?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Be an Early Adopter</a>)</p> <h2>3. Avoid premium pricing</h2> <p>The premium pricing concept translates to many industries beyond fashion. If you're set on having the newest designs, as soon as they're released, you'll pay more for it. This &quot;hunger marketing&quot; strategy creates a sense of urgency and scarcity, and many consumers buy into it. Literally.</p> <p>Late adopters avoid price markups by waiting before purchasing. That new fashion trend highlighted on the main display will be in the bargain bin in a few weeks, and the price will drop accordingly. The timeline might be a bit longer, but the same goes for new tech toys.</p> <h2>4. Wait on tech stocks</h2> <p>By waiting, you can benefit financially by avoiding trend-chasing, a common strategy in the stock market. Prices on &quot;trending&quot; stocks increase to a maximum, then fall, sometimes dramatically. If you chase those trends, purchasing as the trend is growing or peaking, you might overpay.</p> <p>Seasonal cycles and holidays in the stock market can favor late adopters, as well. Trading activity, and prices, follow predictable patterns. People who are willing to wait can buy and sell at the best time, rather than taking what they can get right away.</p> <h2>5. Evaluate your true necessities</h2> <p>Turns out, the necessities of life aren't always necessities. If you talk to the sales rep at your nearest baby goods warehouse, you'll get a long list of items that you simply must have. If you talk to a seasoned parent, you'll get a much shorter list: the essentials, and those daily-use items that save a parent's sanity more than a few times.</p> <p>Taking the late adopter approach for a new baby, or for family entertainment, or for your tween's wish list will help you filter it to a shorter, smarter list. Many things seem optimum and exciting when we first hear about them and when our friends all have them. The crystal-clear voice of experience will save you money if you give it enough time.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-being-late-on-tech-trends-saves-you-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/frugal-tip-do-not-spend-when-you-are-sad">Frugal Tip: Do Not Spend When You Are Sad</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-5-best-pet-cameras">The 5 Best Pet Cameras</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-avoid-buying-electronics-youll-regret">5 Ways to Avoid Buying Electronics You&#039;ll Regret</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-5-best-travel-cable-organizers">The 5 Best Travel Cable Organizers</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/the-5-best-usb-powered-fans">The 5 Best USB-Powered Fans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Technology gadgets saving shopping spending tech Wed, 21 Jun 2017 08:31:12 +0000 Annie Mueller 1969595 at http://www.wisebread.com Are Your Emotions Costing You Money? Take This Quiz http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-emotions-costing-you-money-take-this-quiz <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-your-emotions-costing-you-money-take-this-quiz" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pensive_young_woman_holding_empty_wallet_after_shopping.jpg" alt="Pensive young woman holding empty wallet after shopping" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Building a strong financial foundation for you and your family requires discipline. It requires patience. It requires a steady mindset. But even the best of us have found ourselves spending and making financial decisions based on emotions, whether that's retail therapy, or holding off on investing due to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-over-these-5-scary-things-about-investing?ref=internal" target="_blank">fear of the markets</a>. We've made decisions based on joy or comfort in the short term instead of satisfaction in the long run.</p> <p>Are you letting your emotions control your finances? Answer these questions to find out.</p> <h2>Do you spend money when you feel sad, happy, or stressed?</h2> <p>You had a bad day at work, so you go on a shopping spree for new shoes. You got a promotion, so you celebrate by taking friends out to eat at a fancy restaurant. You spend money as a reaction or antidote to whatever feelings you have at a given moment, and this makes it hard to save money at a healthy rate. You don't need to treat yourself to a costly reward every time you're happy or sad. This is an easy way to fall into a dangerous emotional spending cycle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-high-cost-of-the-treat-yourself-mindset?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The High Cost of the &quot;Treat Yourself&quot; Mindset</a>)</p> <h2>Have you held off on investing because you are afraid?</h2> <p>Fear is one of the most powerful emotions we have, and many people have never gotten started with retirement planning and investing because they are intimidated. They may find the whole process of investing to be overwhelming, or they may have a fear of asking a dumb question. Additionally, they may fear that their investments will lose money. In reality, it's best to channel fear into investing more, because not having enough money saved for retirement is a truly scary thought. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-steps-to-getting-started-in-the-stock-market-with-index-funds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Steps to Getting Started in the Stock Market With Index Funds</a>)</p> <h2>Have you sold investments when you realized they lost value?</h2> <p>We've probably all found ourselves frustrated with certain investments that have tanked, and sold them at a loss. Of course, then we've kicked ourselves when we've seen those same investments rebound in short order. It's not a good practice to be emotional when investing; the most successful investors practice discipline, patience, and steadfastness over the course of many years.</p> <h2>Have you ever bought something out of jealousy?</h2> <p>One of your closest friends just bought a big house in a nice neighborhood. Another just bought a fancy car. It can seem like other people are making out better than you, but this is no excuse to spend irresponsibly. Keeping up with the joneses is a path to financial hardship if you spend simply because you feel left out or jealous.</p> <h2>Do you get excited about getting a tax return?</h2> <p>It's an often ignored fact that if you are getting a tax refund, you've been lending money to the government interest-free all year. Remember: This was your money that you should have had all along. And yet, most people get a rush of excitement from getting a tax return. What's worse, people often treat their tax return like an unexpected windfall, and spend it frivolously. The sound, unemotional approach to taxes is to adjust your withholding so that you don't get a return at all. In fact, even owing a small amount to the IRS is OK as long as you don't pay a penalty. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-im-spending-my-tax-refund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Smart Ways I'm Spending My Tax Refund</a>)</p> <h2>Have you ever sought a refund anticipation loan or payday loan?</h2> <p>The same psychology that governs the love of tax returns also applies to those who seek money before it's due to them. If you are seeking cash early, you may end up paying exorbitant fees or interest rates. A typical payday loan might have an annual interest rate of 400 percent, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-horrible-financial-products-you-should-avoid?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Six Horrible Financial Products You Should Avoid</a>)</p> <h2>Are you a habitual gambler?</h2> <p>Let's face it: Gambling can be exciting. It's a rush when you place a bet on some ponies and see your horse cross the finish line first. It's a thrill to see your ball land on your number. But gambling is ultimately an emotion-driven experience, and the excitement of winning can be addicting. Betting on a few hands of blackjack or the occasional football game won't kill you, but it's important to not let your emotions guide your betting habits. There's a long list of fine people who have ruined their financial lives through gambling.</p> <h2>Do you give a lot of money to children and other family members?</h2> <p>There's nothing wrong with being generous to those people who you care about most. But it's important to not let people take advantage of that generosity. Often, the decision to support a family member or friend is done not out of basic selflessness, but a feeling of obligation or guilt. It's important to not let your feeling of obligation to others outweigh your obligation to yourself.</p> <h2>Have you lost a job due to your temper?</h2> <p>Jobs can be frustrating. But if you've ever flown off the handle at work, you may be threatening your income and job security. While it's true that hiring managers look for workers with specific skill sets, they also want to make sure employees are able to get along with their colleagues. Workers who don't interact well with their peers, or respond poorly to criticism, often don't last long.</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/are-your-emotions-costing-you-money-take-this-quiz">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/the-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money</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/first-rule-of-financial-wins-avoid-losses">First Rule of Financial Wins: Avoid Losses</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/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money 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-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master">6 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Money Master</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-biggest-ways-procrastination-hurts-your-finances">7 Biggest Ways Procrastination Hurts Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance debt emotional spending fear of markets gambling giving money impulse shopping indulging investing overspending saving spending Wed, 21 Jun 2017 08:00:16 +0000 Tim Lemke 1966173 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Biggest Ways Procrastination Hurts Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/7-biggest-ways-procrastination-hurts-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-biggest-ways-procrastination-hurts-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/iStock-621987808.jpg" alt="Woman learning biggest ways procrastination hurts her finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Remember those days in college when you'd put off studying until the night before a big exam? You'd stay up all night, desperately trying to cram everything in at the last minute. If only you'd taken the time earlier, you'd have walked into your test rested, calm, and most importantly, prepared.</p> <p>Those bad habits can cost you a lot more in real life if you carry them into the way you handle money. Here are seven situations when procrastination really hurts your bottom line.</p> <h2>1. Investing: Your money has less time to grow</h2> <p>It's one of the basic rules of smart investing: Invest as early as you can and for as long as you can. Some of the most successful investors are those who had relatively modest incomes, but started investing young and stayed in the markets for decades. Compounding interest worked in their favor, and they enjoyed a sizable nest egg later in life. Even a delay of five to 10 years can make a significant difference in how much money you have by retirement. Quite simply, the more you procrastinate, the less money you'll have.</p> <h2>2. Saving: You continue to spend more than you earn</h2> <p>You're aware that you're spending more money than you're bringing in, but you tell yourself that you'll start cutting back after the holidays. The holidays come and go, so then you tell yourself you'll start saving after your big spring break trip. After spring break, you promise you'll start after your cousin's wedding in July. There's always some reason to put off saving, but the best time to start tightening your belt is right away. Devising an arbitrary future start date for financial prudence only means you're spending money you shouldn't in the interim.</p> <h2>3. Debt payoff: Your balances balloon</h2> <p>That credit card bill keeps getting bigger, and it comes on top of your student loans and car payments. You're getting crushed by debt, but it's so overwhelming you can't bring yourself to come up with a plan to tackle it. Every moment you wait to address your debt problem is a moment that allows that debt to grow. Devise a repayment strategy now, before your debt ruins you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Taxes: You might make a costly mistake</h2> <p>Tax Day seems so far away, but before you know it, it's the middle of April and you haven't even gotten started. You may think your taxes are simple, but rushing through the process increases your chances of forgetting income, missing out on deductions, or making a silly error.</p> <p>No one says you have to file your taxes immediately at the beginning of the year, but at least give yourself a few weeks to file your return carefully. A rush job could mean you pay too much, or you may end up with penalties due to mistakes.</p> <h2>5. Bills: You miss payment deadlines</h2> <p>There are consequences to paying bills late, usually in the form of fees and interest charges. If you're the type of person who doesn't even open a bill until it's nearly due, you're putting yourself at risk of extra expenses.</p> <p>Late fees and interest aren't merely one-time charges. Miss your payments by enough days and it can hurt your credit score, impacting your ability to borrow. It's best to pay bills right away when you get them &mdash; or put them on autopay &mdash; so they don't threaten your finances further. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <h2>6. Job applications: You don't get that better-paying position</h2> <p>You found a job that you think you'll like, and it pays considerably more than your current one. But instead of applying right away, you wait. And wait. And wait. Before you know it, the position is filled. This is a total wasted opportunity.</p> <p>Yes, applying for a job, reworking your resume, writing cover letters, and going through interviews are all tedious and time-consuming. But when you're stuck sitting at your current gig, underpaid and unhappy, you'll really be kicking yourself for not putting in the work to get yourself unstuck.</p> <h2>7. Raises and promotions: You miss out for another year</h2> <p>It's hard to know the precise time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-should-demand-a-raise" target="_blank">ask for a promotion or a raise</a>. Often, we wait until annual review season, but by then, personnel decisions may already have been made. The best thing is to approach the subject sooner rather than later. Your boss may not be in a position to respond right away, but you've planted the seed so they know your wishes.</p> <p>Besides, simply asking for a raise or promotion may force your employer to look more closely at your work, and hopefully recognize what you bring to the table each day. If you wait too long to ask, you may have to wait for an entire budget cycle to get another shot.</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/7-biggest-ways-procrastination-hurts-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-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/8-ways-to-profit-off-your-cabin-fever">8 Ways to Profit Off Your Cabin Fever</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-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves 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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</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/are-your-emotions-costing-you-money-take-this-quiz">Are Your Emotions Costing You Money? Take This Quiz</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance asking for raise bills debt investing jobs last minute procrastination promotions saving taxes Tue, 23 May 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1949205 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Moves to Make If Your Net Worth Is Negative http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-if-your-net-worth-is-negative <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-moves-to-make-if-your-net-worth-is-negative" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-546177782.jpg" alt="Woman making money moves when her net worth is negative" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the most illustrative financial figures to know is your total net worth. This is the value of all of your cash and assets, minus your debts. For many people, that figure is below zero.</p> <p>Building a high net worth should be the ultimate goal of anyone seeking financial freedom. If your net worth is less than zero, consider making these moves ASAP. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</a>)</p> <h2>1. Reduce your spending</h2> <p>One of the most direct ways to end up with a negative net worth is to spend more than you earn. Cutting unnecessary expenditures is the first step in having a net positive income each month. This can mean some tough choices, like eliminating cable, eating out, and your annual vacation. It may also require more extreme measures, like getting by without a car.</p> <p>You can help yourself by tracking your spending meticulously in a budget so you know where money is going each month. Even if you think you are already living frugally, there's a chance you can find savings just by taking a closer look.</p> <h2>2. Pay off your high-interest debt</h2> <p>If your net worth is negative, it may be partially due to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">high interest credit card debt</a> and other loans. Interest can quickly pile up and eventually overwhelm your earnings, putting you in negative net worth territory. Tackling debt starting with the highest interest rate first is called the avalanche method, and this can save you a lot of money on interest payments in the long run. Sometimes, even paying off just one credit card can make a huge difference in your financial situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Bring in more income</h2> <p>If you're crumbling under a mountain of debt and you don't have enough income to pay off the debt, you must find a way to bring in more money. Start by searching for higher paying jobs or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-should-demand-a-raise?ref=internal" target="_blank">asking for a raise</a> from your current employer. Consider starting a side hustle, small business, or taking an additional part-time job. It may also be worth exploring income-producing investments, such as dividend stocks or peer-to-peer lending. If you have a maniacal focus on earning more money, you will help yourself move from negative to positive in the net worth department.</p> <h2>4. Invest</h2> <p>Arguably the most important way to build net worth is through investing. If you are able to put even a small amount of your earnings into stocks or index funds that grow, you'll give your financial picture a boost over time. Obviously, investing in the stock market carries risks. But U.S. stocks have consistently risen in value over time, with long-term growth eventually surpassing losses during market crashes. The more you can invest, the better off you'll be, especially if you stay in the market for many years. You won't get rich overnight, but your overall net worth will eventually rise.</p> <h2>5. Set a financial goal</h2> <p>If you had enough money, what would you ultimately want to do with it? Would you want to buy a home? Start a family? Build a hefty retirement account? To increase your net worth, it helps to have a goal to motivate you to save. Ideally, your financial goal should be geared toward building a high net worth, not a one-time purchase like a car. Whether it's a down payment for a home, a comfortable retirement, or saving for college, your dreams can help keep you accountable.</p> <h2>6. Refinance your mortgage</h2> <p>Homeownership can be a great way to build net worth, but it can also be a drain on your finances if you have the wrong kind of mortgage. If your loan term is very long, or if you have a high-interest or interest-only loan, you may not be paying much toward the principal of the loan (or building any equity) for a while. And that could be a serious problem if you're having trouble making payments.</p> <p>If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to consider refinancing to a shorter term or lower interest rate. There's no sin in borrowing to buy a home, but ideally, homeowners should seek a fixed-rate mortgage with a relatively short loan term: 30 years is standard, but a 15-year mortgage offers you the ability to build equity &mdash; and thus your net worth &mdash; at a faster pace. Just be sure you can comfortably make the monthly payments.</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-money-moves-to-make-if-your-net-worth-is-negative&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Money%2520Moves%2520to%2520Make%2520If%2520Your%2520Net%2520Worth%2520Is%2520Negative.jpg&amp;description=6%20Money%20Moves%20to%20Make%20If%20Your%20Net%20Worth%20Is%20Negative"></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%20Money%20Moves%20to%20Make%20If%20Your%20Net%20Worth%20Is%20Negative.jpg" alt="6 Money Moves to Make If Your Net Worth Is Negative" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-if-your-net-worth-is-negative">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/first-rule-of-financial-wins-avoid-losses">First Rule of Financial Wins: Avoid Losses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-retire">12 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt">5 Inspiring People Who Each Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt</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-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master">6 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Money Master</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/12-easy-ways-to-wake-up-richer-tomorrow-than-you-are-today">12 Easy Ways to Wake Up Richer Tomorrow Than You Are Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management assets goals investing mortgages net worth refinancing saving spending stocks Wed, 10 May 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Tim Lemke 1941242 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Signs You're Paying Too Much for Your Mortgage http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-signs-youre-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-495980844.jpg" alt="Learning signs that you&#039;re paying too much for your mortgage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Buying a home can be a great step along the path to financial freedom, but it can also become a burden if you're not careful. A mortgage can be a heavy weight on your finances if you either buy a house you can't afford, or get locked into unfavorable loan terms.</p> <p>Here's how to tell if your mortgage is too expensive.</p> <h2>1. You Are Having Trouble Making Ends Meet</h2> <p>No matter what you do, you feel like you're struggling to get ahead financially. It always seems like there's only a small amount leftover at the end of each month to pay bills or place into savings. It could be that your house is weighing you down. If you're working too hard to get ahead with your money, it may be time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refi-shy-how-to-determine-if-now-is-the-time-to-refinance?ref=internal" target="_blank">refinance your mortgage</a> or move into a less expensive home.</p> <h2>2. It's Eating Up More Than 30% of Your Income</h2> <p>The federal government advises that homeowners should avoid paying more than 30% of their income on housing. The theory behind this number is that for most people, keeping payments below this level will leave them with enough to pay for other non-discretionary spending. Keep in mind that many lenders will approve prospective homeowners for a loan even if their payments would be above that 30% threshold. Lenders will often instead refer to a person's &quot;debt-to-income&quot; ratio, and will lend if that ratio is as high as 43% &mdash; and banks went even higher during the housing bubble.</p> <p>Even if you are comfortably able to make your mortgage payments, it's wise to try and get under the 30% threshold. After all, more money in your pocket means more money to take care of your other financial obligations, invest for the future, or simply enjoy life.</p> <h2>3. Your Interest Rate Is Higher Than Everyone Else's</h2> <p>It's very easy to get a fixed-rate mortgage, make the payments, and not concern yourself with how interest rates are going up and down. But you never want to be locked into a higher rate than necessary. If you bought your home more than a decade ago, chances are your interest rate is higher than what's available now. The rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is a little over 4% right now. If your rate is considerably higher, look to refinance and see what you can save.</p> <h2>4. You Are Barely Making a Dent in the Loan Principal</h2> <p>You've been making mortgage payments for years, but every time you look at your account statement, it seems like the principal balance barely budges. What gives? It's normal to pay mostly interest when you first get a loan, but over time your money should increasingly go toward paying off principal. If you find that you're not paying down the loan as quickly as you want, it could be because your interest rate is too high or your term is too long (or both.)</p> <h2>5. Your Income Has Gone Up</h2> <p>When you bought your house, your interest rate was based at least partially on your household income. But if you've received multiple pay raises since, you might qualify for a lower rate. Or, you may be able to refinance into a shorter loan term, thus saving you money in interest over time.</p> <h2>6. Your Credit Score Has Improved</h2> <p>A mortgage interest rate is also partially based on a homeowner's credit score when they apply for a loan. If your credit score was mediocre back then, there's a chance you got stuck with a high rate. If you've worked hard to be financially responsible ever since, your credit score may be much higher. Thus, you may be able to refinance your mortgage into a lower rate. According to FICO, a person with a credit score of 650 might pay as much as $100 more per month on a $200,000, 30-year fixed loan than someone with a score of 800. That could add up to tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a loan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-raise-your-credit-score-this-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy Ways to Raise Your Credit Score This Year</a>)</p> <h2>7. Your ARM Just Adjusted</h2> <p>During the housing bubble, many homeowners were lured into adjustable rate mortgages that offered low interest rates initially and then jumped after a certain number of years. (In 2005, these loans made up nearly 40% of the mortgage market.) Many families saw their payments increase sharply and beyond what they could afford. If you currently have an adjustable rate mortgage, make sure you are prepared to make payments once the interest rate adjusts upward. Otherwise, consider refinancing to a fixed mortgage with a low rate.</p> <h2>8. You Are Paying for Mortgage Insurance</h2> <p>Many lenders require borrowers to pay <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway?ref=internal" target="_blank">private mortgage insurance</a> (PMI) if they put less than 20% down on a home. This is to protect the lender if a home ends up in foreclosure. Mortgage insurance essentially adds to your cost of homeownership, often to the tune of hundreds of dollars annually. This requirement goes away once your principal balance drops below 78%. Ideally, you want to avoid paying PMI altogether by putting more than 20% down. This also means you're borrowing less overall and will save money in the long run. But if you can't quite save that much up front, work aggressively toward paying off your loan so you can get rid of the PMI requirement sooner.</p> <div class="bankrateWidget" app="ratetables" kind="tabbed" template="standard" pkey="yxx5914ebb" tabs="mortgage" rowsperpage="4" fontfamily="Overpass" mtgheadertext="Best Mortgage Loan Rates" mtgloanamount="$200,000" mtgdefaultloantype="refinance" pid="kawb"></div> <script src="//widgets.bankrate.com/booter.js" ></script><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-paying-too-much-for-your-mortgage">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/heres-what-to-do-if-you-cant-afford-your-mortgage-payment">Here&#039;s What to Do If You Can&#039;t Afford Your Mortgage Payment</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/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway">What Is Private Mortgage Insurance, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-qualify-for-a-mortgage-with-a-small-downpayment">5 Ways to Qualify for a Mortgage With a Small Downpayment</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/3-times-a-refinance-is-the-wrong-move">3 Times a Refinance Is the Wrong Move</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/do-you-really-need-a-20-percent-down-payment-for-a-house">Do You Really Need a 20 Percent Down Payment for a House?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing adjustable rate down payment fixed rate interest loans mortgage pmi private mortgage insurance saving Fri, 10 Mar 2017 10:00:23 +0000 Tim Lemke 1902766 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Reasons People Don't Retire Early — and How You Can http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-503452702.jpg" alt="Woman learning reasons people don&#039;t retire early" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Retirement is undeniably a time of drastic change in most people's lives. Typically, people have spent at least four decades in the workplace by the time they accept their gold watch. The average retirement age is 62 to 65, depending on where you live, according to a survey by SmartAsset.</p> <p>While work can provide routine and stability, as the years go by it can also grow to feel burdensome and stale. When to retire is a very personal question, linked to lifestyle and finances. Here are a few of the common reasons people feel they're not ready for retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-early-retirement-might-be-financially-risky?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Reasons Early Retirement Might be Financially Risky</a>)</p> <h2>Worried About Having Enough Money</h2> <p>It's probably not a surprise that monetary reasons are number one on this list. Having a regular paycheck affords a lot of comfort that can be hard to walk away from.</p> <p>One of the most common reasons most individuals won't consider an early retirement is fear that their savings will be insufficient to provide the lifestyle they've been used to in their working years.</p> <p>However, if you're serious about wanting to retire now, there are ways you can make your savings go further, such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security?ref=internal" target="_blank">retiring in a cheaper state</a>, or even a foreign country where the cost of living is lower. Also, using the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year?ref=internal" target="_blank">right credit card can save you thousands</a> of dollars a year.</p> <p>Alternatively, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-a-living-in-the-gig-economy?ref=internal" target="_blank">gig economy</a> affords a lot of ways for people who are officially retired to earn disposable income. For instance, you could <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-rent-your-place-on-airbnb-and-succeed?ref=internal" target="_blank">rent out a room on a site like Airbnb</a> to help pad your savings. Just make sure you check out local laws in your area for any restrictions on short-term rentals.</p> <h2>Hesitant to Lose Identity Tied to Work</h2> <p>In the Western world, one of the first questions we ask when meeting someone new is, &quot;What do you do?&quot; The meaning, of course, is what do you do for work. This question is a way of situating someone socioeconomically, understanding their background and education, and gaining a window into their lives.</p> <p>Of course, identity goes beyond what you do for work, and this is an important shift to be conscious of when considering retirement. Many individuals may feel that they are giving up a part of themselves when they decide to stop working.</p> <p>However, there are many other meaningful activities outside of work that have an equally important bearing on identity. These may include hobbies such as artwork, exercise, reading, writing, or travel.</p> <p>While a loss of identity is a common fear for people facing retirement, in reality, retirement can give you the time to explore other creative outlets that you wouldn't have been able to partake in with a busy work schedule.</p> <p>Instead of viewing the end of work as losing part of your identity, try to shift to viewing this as a time to explore different components of who you are. This will make early retirement meaningful, not boring.</p> <h2>Anxious Due to No Concrete Retirement Plan</h2> <p>According to a 2015 survey by the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, only 49% of consumers have a formal retirement plan. The problem of not having a plan for retirement is that it leaves fears and emotions to govern your decisions, as opposed to concrete numbers. Plus, by putting a plan in place, you can see very clearly what steps you need to follow to reach a certain goal, like retiring in five years, for example. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps for Late Starters</a>)</p> <h2>Afraid of Being Bored and Restless</h2> <p>Some people simply put off retirement because they are worried about being bored with all the extra time on their hands once they're not going to the office every day.</p> <p>However, retirement doesn't mean that you have to stop working entirely. Some individuals use this time to move from a decades-long career they've grown tired of to more fulfilling employment, or even their own business.</p> <p>If your new pursuit is something that gives you the chance to vary your work schedule, that can be very stimulating, too. Additionally, some universities offer free classes to those over 65 years of age.</p> <p>You can also take up countless hobbies like yoga, dance, snorkeling, scuba diving, golfing, hiking, or biking. To stimulate the mind, you can throw yourself into an artistic endeavor or learn a new language, the ideal activity for those who choose to retire overseas.</p> <p>Retirement is not just the end of one chapter, but also the beginning of a new one. Often, the biggest roadblocks to retiring are fear-based. It can help to re-evaluate the situation by looking at the facts, instead of just relying on emotions.</p> <p>Of course, the decision to retire is a personal one, and the right age to retire is different for everyone.</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/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-keys-to-an-early-retirement">4 Keys to an Early 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/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what">The Inventor of the 401K Has Second Thoughts About Your Retirement Plan — Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k">4 Reasons Why a Roth IRA May be Better Than Your 401(k)</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/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change When You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k early retirement IRA retirement planning saving Tue, 07 Feb 2017 10:30:37 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1885695 at http://www.wisebread.com How Many of These "Frugal Virtues" Have You Mastered? http://www.wisebread.com/how-many-of-these-frugal-virtues-have-you-mastered <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-many-of-these-frugal-virtues-have-you-mastered" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_smile_thinking_636275722.jpg" alt="Woman mastering several frugal virtues" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What does it mean to be truly frugal?</p> <p>It's more than just trying to save money. In many ways, being frugal is a lifestyle. It's a virtuous one, too, if you can handle the commitment.</p> <p>To embody a frugal attitude requires you to follow a philosophy based on simplicity, discipline, and an awareness of yourself and the world around you.</p> <p>These are the Frugal Virtues. How many have you mastered?</p> <h2>1. Stifling Instant Gratification</h2> <p>You buy a $5.99 cappuccino because you feel like you need caffeine immediately. You buy a new car because it's shiny and awesome and you just can't wait to have it. You're the first to get the next iPhone, and absolutely must see the next Star Wars sequel on the night it comes out. You're not the type to wait for things. Unfortunately for you, when it comes to spending, patience is a virtue. New products are almost always cheaper if you wait to buy them. And when you wait to buy something, you may realize you don't need the item after all. Spending to satisfy every immediate urge is not part of the path to financial freedom.</p> <h2>2. Seeking Efficiency</h2> <p>To be efficient is to have maximum productivity with the least effort and expense. This concept of efficiency can be applied to a number of areas of personal finance. It could mean driving a car with good fuel mileage, or finding an air conditioning system that gives you the most bang for your buck. It may mean investing your money so that you can generate income with little effort. It could mean spending a small amount of time planning meals for the week, so that you're not wasting time and money later.</p> <h2>3. Looking for Free Stuff</h2> <p>Why pay for something if you can get it for free? One major virtue of frugal people is their ability to find a cost-free option for many items that the rest of us usually pay for. It might be using a coupon for a free meal at a restaurant, checking out books from the library, or grabbing a perfectly good lawn chair that's been placed out in the trash. It means being happy with over-the-air television, and dressing the kids in hand-me-down clothing. Not everything in life can be had for free, but you'd be surprised what you don't need to pay for.</p> <h2>4. Ignoring Advertising</h2> <p>When you watch TV or surf the Internet, you're bombarded with companies trying to get you to part with your money. Marketing folks are experts at manipulating people's emotions, ultimately convincing them that they need a product or service. Frugal people don't get swayed by commercials and banner ads. They don't jump at the latest email promotion or Facebook ad, and they know when something is baloney or not. When they buy things, they are motivated only by their own needs, and aren't swayed by outside influence.</p> <h2>5. Ignoring What's Popular</h2> <p>So everyone you know has a wide selection of clothes from LuLaRoe. They have the newest smartphones. They have awesome sunglasses and eat at the trendiest restaurants. A frugal person ignores this, and avoids making decisions based on what is popular or cool.</p> <h2>6. Avoiding Financial Traps</h2> <p>A financial trap is something that, on the surface, seems like a good deal but is more likely to harm you in the long run. Adjustable rate mortgages, quick payday loans, and even car leases are often considered traps because of their potential to hamstring a person financially if they aren't careful. A frugal person understands the potential pitfalls of every financial decision they make, and stays away from these traps.</p> <h2>7. Embracing the Sharing Economy</h2> <p>Do you and your neighbor both need a high-powered leaf blower? Why not buy one for the two of you and split the cost? Do you have an extra property that you could rent out on Airbnb? Could you save money through a ride-sharing service rather than buying a new car? The sharing economy is based on the notion that we don't need to &quot;own&quot; things as much as have access to them whenever we need them. By reducing what we own, we can save money, clutter, and possibly our sanity.</p> <h2>8. Staying Informed</h2> <p>There are reasons why stock prices go up and down. There are reasons why the cost of goods and services can fluctuate. There are reasons why you're paying more for housing than your parents did. When you understand how markets and the economy work and pay attention to financial news and world events, you're in a position to make smart decisions at every turn. Frugal people know how to read the tea leaves to make the right financial moves. The most frugal people don't just avoid spending; they also make informed choices when it comes to their money.</p> <h2>9. Understanding Value</h2> <p>The concept of value is a bit nebulous, but we've all heard the term &quot;bang for your buck.&quot; In essence, this means getting the most out of every dollar you spend. It doesn't necessarily mean buying the <em>cheapest </em>item every time. Rather, it means avoiding luxury for luxury's sake. And it means taking into account things like overall quality and durability of the items we buy.</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/how-many-of-these-frugal-virtues-have-you-mastered">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-thinking-skills-frugal-people-should-master">6 Thinking Skills Frugal People Should Master</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/not-the-sort-of-person-who">Not the sort of person who ...</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-skills-everyone-needs-during-hard-times">9 Financial Skills Everyone Needs During Hard Times</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/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living advertising advice being frugal financial traps free instant gratification lessons saving sharing economy value virtues Tue, 24 Jan 2017 11:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1871136 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Decide if It's a "Fund-Worthy" Emergency http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/emergency_fund_piggy_bank_605778350.jpg" alt="Deciding if it&#039;s a fund-worthy emergency" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One crucial component of a sound financial plan is to have a solid emergency fund to protect yourself against unexpected expenses. This fund should cover at least three months' worth of living expenses, and enable you to get through any crisis without too much financial hardship.</p> <p>But how do you to determine when to use your emergency fund? What kinds of expenses qualify as actual &quot;emergencies?&quot; Before you tap into your fund, ask yourself these questions first.</p> <h2>1. Is It a Want or a Need?</h2> <p>This should be common sense, but it's amazing how many people can't discern between something they desire versus something they require. Money to help pay for an important medical procedure is likely a need; it's not a good idea to risk your health just because you don't want to raid your emergency fund. Money to pay the rent or avoid default on a loan would also fall in the &quot;need&quot; category. On the flip side, a new cellphone when your current one is working just fine is probably not what the fund is for. In reality, there are very few needs in life, and they should all generally center on your basic survival.</p> <h2>2. Is It Unexpected?</h2> <p>Christmas is an expensive time. But you have an entire year to prepare for the gift-giving bonanza. A new baby is costly, but you had a nine months to save up and get ready for the new arrival. If you've had time to anticipate an event happening and save accordingly, it's best to avoid dipping into your emergency fund to pay for it. Save your emergency fund for things such as layoffs, broken appliances, medical emergencies, and other things that you truly didn't see coming.</p> <h2>3. Is It Urgent?</h2> <p>A refrigerator that no longer works is something you probably want to replace right away. A car that breaks down is something you'll want to get fixed immediately if you rely on it to get to work. But there are many bad events that aren't &quot;emergencies&quot; in the sense of requiring immediate action.</p> <h2>4. Can You Defer Payments?</h2> <p>Let's say your heat pump is busted and needs to be replaced. Price tag is in the thousands. But it's wintertime, so this seems like an emergency, right? Perhaps, but it's worth finding out if you can pay for the new heat pump in installments, or even avoid paying anything immediately. It may be possible to pay for this pricey item over time and even avoid interest payments. This doesn't get you off the hook in paying for the item, but it may buy you some time to save a little extra or earn extra income so you don't have to raid your emergency fund. Just be sure to read the fine print of any agreement.</p> <h2>5. What Are the Financial Consequences if You Don't Pay?</h2> <p>It's often tempting to use a credit card or loan to borrow funds when an emergency happens. But when you borrow, you're likely to pay interest, so you'll end up paying more in the long run. High-interest credit cards, in particular, can have a severe impact on your overall financial well-being, and payday loans are even worse. There may be times when borrowing may be necessary in order to maintain some cash reserves (you never want to tap out an emergency fund completely), but it's important to look at the broader, long-term impact on your finances. And don't even think about not paying at all, as that could negatively impact your credit score.</p> <h2>6. Are You Legally Obligated to Pay?</h2> <p>If your car breaks down, you may want tap your emergency fund to get it fixed, but no one is requiring you to do so. Things are different, however, when you are faced with a situation where you are required, by law, to pay up. Perhaps it's a tax bill, or a legal judgment against you. In these cases, it's almost always best to pay &mdash; there could fines, or even jail time. If dipping into your emergency fund helps you avoid trouble with the law, it's worth it.</p> <h2>7. Have You Exhausted All Your Saving Options?</h2> <p>Let's say you have a roof that's leaky and in need of big repairs. Before you shell out thousands of dollars to a major contractor, examine first whether you can find money by cutting everyday expenses. It's possible that you could do a small repair now, aggressively save for a few months, then take care of the bigger job. It's amazing how much money you can &quot;find&quot; by taking a knife to your spending.</p> <h2>8. Is the Emergency for Yourself, or Another Person?</h2> <p>There may be times when a friend or loved one comes to you in desperate need of money. You may be tempted to raid your emergency fund to address their problem. This is a very tricky situation, as it's generally in our nature to want to help those close to us. But remember that your emergency fund is designed to address emergencies that might impact you, not other people. It's fine to give loved ones a hand, but it gets dangerous when you put your own financial health at risk to make it happen.</p> <p>This doesn't mean you should be a straight-up coldhearted person, however. If you believe that you may encounter instances when friends or family members will be in need, consider making your emergency fund larger to take that possibility into account. Even better, open a separate sub-account, so that your own emergency fund remains untouched.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency">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/first-rule-of-financial-wins-avoid-losses">First Rule of Financial Wins: Avoid Losses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-retirement-latte">The Retirement Latte</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/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-skills-everyone-needs-during-hard-times">9 Financial Skills Everyone Needs During Hard Times</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/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance appliances budgeting Cars emergencies emergency fund saving unexpected urgent Mon, 28 Nov 2016 11:31:04 +0000 Tim Lemke 1835353 at http://www.wisebread.com The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_christmas_50816262.jpg" alt="Following a simple holiday budget anyone can follow" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Promised yourself that you'd finally make a solid budgeting plan this holiday season &mdash; and stick to it? We've got your covered with these simple steps anyone can follow to stay in the black when the red and green take over.</p> <h2>1. Set Aside Only the Amount You Can Afford</h2> <p>So many people start the New Year in debt solely because of overspending during the holidays. You don't want that burden on your back. Rather, when planning your budget, allot only an amount you can actually afford, preferably in cash already saved, to the gifts you'd like to buy.</p> <p>&quot;Do not go into debt with holiday spending,&quot; warns consumer expert Kevin Gallegos. &quot;Making that commitment means changing your mindset. It may be telling yourself that giving people what they think they deserve is a mistake. You'll also want to avoid the trap of feeling you must give a gift equal to what someone gave you last year, or creating a perfect ski slope of presents under the tree. Chances are that your family and friends really don't want you to suffer financially in order to give them bigger gifts.&quot;</p> <p>It also stands to reason that they may not have returned the gesture in kind, either. So there's that.</p> <h2>2. Set Limits for Total Holiday Spending</h2> <p>Before you ever leave the house &mdash; or turn on the computer to shop online &mdash; you should establish how much you plan to spend this season and perhaps even on each person on your list. Having a specific number in mind will not only provide a guide as to what your limit is, but it will also help you choose the perfect gift for everyone based on how much money you've assigned to them.</p> <p>Alexis Nido-Russo is the owner of Chicago-based online jewelry store Local Eclectic, and she offers a very specific way on how to break down your holiday budget.</p> <p>&quot;Determine what your total budget for the holidays is, then map out who you have to buy for and assign percentages to each person or category,&quot; she says.</p> <p>For example, if there are six people on your list and your total budget is $1,000, perhaps your percentage breakdown looks something like this:</p> <ul> <li>Husband: 20% or $200</li> <li>Daughter: 30% or $300</li> <li>Mother: 15% or $150</li> <li>Sister: 15% or $150</li> <li>Mother-in-law: 10% or $100</li> <li>Best Friend: 10% or $100</li> </ul> <p>Of course, your specific budget and who appears on the list will vary. You also can shift numbers around if you find the right gift at a lower cost, or you can send that money back to your savings account where it'll better serve you. Also remember to factor in ancillary holiday expenses too, which can absolutely decimate your budget if you're not careful; things like holiday cards and postage, teacher gifts, travel costs, and food and drinks for entertaining.</p> <h2>3. Gather Your Coupons and Discounts</h2> <p>Go through your favorite circulars, emails, and apps to scrounge up all the deals and savings you can &mdash; then start to map out a plan of attack. For example, I'm on the email lists of many of my favorite retailers who send me a seemingly never-ending stream of promotional messages throughout the year, but especially around holiday time. (I recommend <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-email-trick-will-save-you-big-on-shopping">creating a dummy email account</a> for this to preserve your sanity, by the way.) Because I'm privy to insider information, I try to schedule my shopping around their biggest sales and pair them with additional saving that I may have from mailers, previous shopping trips, or in my text messages &mdash; all of which are excellent ways to receive additional discounts.</p> <h2>4. Make Cuts to Your Gift-Giving List</h2> <p>In a perfect world, we'd buy presents for everyone we know during the holidays &mdash; but that's just not feasible. So instead of trying to sneak everyone in because you feel obligated to purchase something, stick to those closest to you.</p> <p>&quot;If your shopping list includes more than five people outside of your immediate family, cut down on the number of people on your gift list,&quot; suggests Rachel Namoff, managing partner of Denver-based asset management firm Arapaho Asset Management. &quot;Then, make a homemade gift, like cookies, to give to all the people you snipped from your original gift list. Ensure you spread the holiday cheer without looking like a Scrooge while enjoying a fun activity with the family.&quot;</p> <p>If you still feel like you may be blindsided by a rogue gift for which you have a return gift, there are a few things you can do:</p> <ul> <li>Update your status on social media that details your holiday shopping plan and who's on the list. Remember, there's no shame in being on a budget, especially if money is already tight.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Contact people directly and let them know that you won't be able to exchange this year if gift giving to one another was established in the past.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Keep your unwanted gifts in storage to have at the ready so you can provide something in return if you feel so obligated.</li> </ul> <h2>5. Enlist the Help of Budgeting Apps</h2> <p>If you're not particularly financial or budget savvy, you can find help online. In fact, there are plenty of mobile apps that'll keep your holiday budget just a few taps of the finger away so you can access it while in real time while you're shopping. Gallegos recommends apps from Mint or Quicken to simplify the process, but there are plenty of others available &mdash; and we've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget">detailed them in abundance here on Wise Bread</a> &mdash; that will track your spending down to the cent.</p> <h2>6. Thoughtful Homemade Gifts Are Cherished and Inexpensive</h2> <p>Namoff suggested baking cookies for those you're trimming from your main list this year, but there's no reason you can't extend this homemade concept to the more important people in your life. I'm admittedly materialistic &mdash; I love my stuff &mdash; but I'm not devoid of sentiment, thus I prefer thoughtful, handmade items over anything store-bought because I know what kind of time and effort goes into a gift like that. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-now-you-can-make-these-23-delicious-holiday-gifts?ref=seealso">You Can Make These 23 Delicious Holiday Gifts</a>)</p> <p>Another argument for going this route is that most people in your life rarely need anything that they don't already buy themselves. Personally, if I want something, I save for it and buy it; I don't wait to pawn it off on someone else at Christmas. Certainly I have provided a list of items to my family in the past, but those are merely suggestions and nothing that I need. What I need to know is that you care, and the best way to do that is to sit down and think about how to put a smile on my face at holiday time, and you'll get that reaction from me if you spent more time than money on my gift.</p> <h2>7. Stop Waiting Until the Last Minute to Do Your Shopping</h2> <p>They say the early bird gets the worm, and that's completely true at holiday time. While there are plenty of arguments on why Black Friday isn't necessarily the day you'll get the best deals &mdash; there are amazing offers all times of year and even between Thanksgiving and Christmas &mdash; but you will absolutely do yourself a disservice by waiting until Christmas Eve to buy presents.</p> <p>For starters, by then the pickins will be slim, and you're probably going to disappoint your loved ones with your laziness. Secondly, if you're an online shopper, you will often spend an incredible amount of money on shipping charges the last couple days before the big day, and even then you're not guaranteed that it'll arrive on time in some cases. Save yourself the headache, heartbreak, and surcharges by scheduling your shopping at least a couple weeks before the holiday.</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/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow">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/save-on-christmas-shopping-with-this-clever-gift-card-strategy">Save on Christmas Shopping With This Clever Gift Card Strategy</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/6-easy-ways-to-use-technology-to-save-on-christmas-shopping">6 Easy Ways to Use Technology to Save on Christmas Shopping</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/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</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-holiday-season-costs-everyone-always-forgets-about">13 Holiday-Season Costs Everyone Always Forgets About</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/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts">How to Get Rid of Your Unwanted Gifts and Make Money Too</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping apps Christmas coupons discounts gifts Holidays homemade gifts presents saving shopping lists Mon, 21 Nov 2016 11:31:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1815065 at http://www.wisebread.com