investing http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/285/all en-US 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-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-the-rich-get-richer">5 Surprising Ways the Rich Get Richer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</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 Don't Let Outdated Money Advice Endanger Your Money http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-503170570.jpg" alt="Woman ignoring outdated money advice" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've all received unsolicited financial advice, often from well-meaning relatives and friends. In many cases, this advice is useful. But a lot of &quot;classic&quot; personal finance advice simply hasn't aged well, and is now viewed as flawed. It's just not applicable anymore in today's world.</p> <p>Before you blindly accept any money advice you receive, be sure to do some additional research to find out if the advice is outdated. Here are nine examples of financial tips that may no longer apply.</p> <h2>&quot;Find a good employer and stay forever&quot;</h2> <p>Many of us know an older relative that began working at a company as a teenager and then retired from that same firm four decades later. Often, they walked away with a sizable pension and even health benefits for life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do?ref=seealso" target="_blank">If You're Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a>)</p> <p>This doesn't happen much anymore. Job security is not what it once was. A decline in labor unions means that guaranteed annual pay increases are a thing of the past. And a pension? Forget it.</p> <p>There's a lot of evidence now that switching jobs periodically will result in higher pay increases. And with the introduction of 401(k) plans, retirement savings are portable when your employer changes.</p> <h2>&quot;Pay off all of your debt as soon as you can&quot;</h2> <p>This is not so much &quot;bad&quot; advice, it's just less than ideal. Yes, it's a fine goal to remain as close to debt-free as possible, but in the current environment, carrying <em>some </em>kinds of low-interest debt may be more beneficial for you in the long run.</p> <p>Let's say you have a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and were fortunate enough to lock in a low 3.5 percent interest rate. Let's also say stock market returns are averaging 7 percent per year. Over time, you're going to be better off using any extra money you have to invest in stocks rather than pay off your loan early. Generally speaking, if your investment returns outpace current interest rates, there's not much incentive to pay off debt early.</p> <h2>&quot;Technology is a fad&quot;</h2> <p>There was a time when some of the most savvy investors dismissed many tech stocks because they didn't understand them. The bubble collapse of advertising-dependent dot-com companies in the late 1990s didn't help the image of this sector. But there's no denying the fact that investing in technology companies with solid business models has been a clear path to wealth in recent years.</p> <p>All you need to do is look at the incredible returns for companies like Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Facebook, and others. A full 15 percent of companies in the S&amp;P 500 are technology companies, and they comprise most of the companies traded on the NASDAQ.</p> <p>Tech stocks are still notoriously volatile, but if you ignore the sector completely, you're ignoring some big potential returns.</p> <h2>&quot;Max out your 401(k)&quot;</h2> <p>While there's still little question that you should take advantage of your employer's 401(k) plan, people aren't quite as eager anymore to recommend that you contribute the maximum amount allowed. That's because over time, we've learned that the investment options and fees in many plans are rather lousy.</p> <p>Now, the best advice is to contribute to your 401(k) up to the amount that is matched by your employer. After that, begin contributing as much as you can into a Roth IRA, which offers tax-free growth and a wide array of investment choices.</p> <h2>&quot;Education debt is good debt&quot;</h2> <p>Attending college isn't a bad thing, but don't be cavalier about the impact that student loan debt will have on your financial wellbeing. College costs are increasing, along with stories of students and new grads being weighed down by tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <p>Carrying this debt can create a ripple effect that impacts your ability to save, purchase a home, or invest. And student loan debt can't be discharged in bankruptcy. Nowadays, any thought of borrowing for school should not be taken lightly.</p> <h2>&quot;Diversify your portfolio with a mix of stocks and bonds&quot;</h2> <p>Financial advisers have always emphasized diversification, but over time there's evidence that younger investors don't need to devote as much of their portfolio to fixed-income investments. Investing in bonds is useful for people who are nearing retirement age. But if you've got a long way to go before you stop working, you'll be best off with mostly stocks, which will offer much better returns and greater potential to meet your retirement goals.</p> <p>There is more risk and volatility associated with buying stocks, but a long time horizon will give you plenty of time to recoup any losses and then some (especially since people are living longer than ever). If you're not sure what stocks to invest in, pick a simple, low-cost index fund that mirrors the performance of the overall stock market.</p> <h2>&quot;Try to become a millionaire&quot;</h2> <p>There is an enormous amount of mystique surrounding the $1 million mark, and there's no question that saving that amount is something to be proud of. But a million dollars won't carry you as far as it once did. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-being-a-millionaire-is-overrated?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Being a Millionaire Is Overrated</a>)</p> <p>If you plan to retire at age 60, keep in mind that you need your nest egg to last for 30 years or more. Will $1 million allow you to maintain your lifestyle and pay for things like long-term care? It's certainly possible to retire with $1 million, but you may still have to live conservatively to make the money last.</p> <h2>&quot;Always buy instead of rent&quot;</h2> <p>Homeownership is a powerful thing. It allows you to build equity and get some possible tax breaks while also offering you a place to live. But we've learned in recent years that it's not for everyone.</p> <p>Home prices are sky high in many areas of the country, and having a mortgage payment that's too expensive can make it hard to save for the future or even live comfortably. Remember that just because you qualify for a loan of a certain size doesn't mean that's a sensible loan size for you.</p> <p>The best advice now is to purchase a home if you believe you can make a large down payment and then comfortably make monthly payments while still saving for other future needs. If you're not quite there yet, don't fret. Renting is OK as long as you're still saving, investing, and building your net worth in other ways.</p> <h2>&quot;Buy Coca-Cola stock&quot;</h2> <p>For decades, you'd often hear investors gloat about the consistent, predictably great returns from Coke. Heck, the great <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-warren-buffett" target="_blank">Warren Buffett</a> owns a ton of shares and drinks several Cokes a day.</p> <p>It's still a good company, but anyone who bought Coca-Cola shares in recent years will have seen below-average market returns. Shares have risen just 18 percent in the last five years compared to nearly 70 percent for the S&amp;P 500. Quite simply, the company has had to work very hard to maintain profits in an age when people are increasingly concerned about the health impact of sugary drinks and snacks.</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/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-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-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/millennial-millionaires-how-the-brokest-generation-can-also-become-the-richest">Millennial Millionaires: How the Brokest Generation Can Also Become the Richest</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use">15 Personal Finance Calculators Everyone Should Use</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-best-free-financial-learning-tools">9 Best Free Financial Learning Tools</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/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here&#039;s How We&#039;d Spend it Instead</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance 401(k) bad advice debt education investing pensions retirement saving money stocks student loans Fri, 19 May 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1948480 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Expensive Mistakes of the Newly Retired http://www.wisebread.com/9-expensive-mistakes-of-the-newly-retired <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-expensive-mistakes-of-the-newly-retired" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-172208749.jpg" alt="Finding expensive mistakes of the newly retired" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Transitioning to retired life on a fixed income will undoubtedly have a few bumps in the road. This is a brand-new chapter of life for you, and it's reasonable to expect some challenges ahead. The last thing you want to do, however, is compromise your nest egg with costly, easily avoidable mistakes. After all, you need that money to get you through the rest of your life.</p> <p>As such, consider these costly mistakes of the newly retired so you don't follow suit.</p> <h2>1. Not balancing your portfolio</h2> <p>Retiring doesn't mean you have to stop investing. You can still dabble in the stock market, but perhaps not as aggressively as you once did. Risky bets could cost you your life savings, which means that you'll either have to go back to work past age 65, or put your hat out on a street corner. Neither of those options sound great in the golden years of life, so it's important to ensure your retirement portfolio is balanced.</p> <p>&quot;Annuitizing a significant portion of one's retirement income can complement a portfolio of stocks and bonds,&quot; says Jim Poolman, executive director of the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council. &quot;Fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) can serve as part of a balanced financial plan because they do not directly participate in any stock or equity investments and [they] protect your principal from fluctuations in the market.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Not changing your lifestyle after retirement</h2> <p>Your spending habits as a retiree will need to change if you're going to make it for the long haul. This is especially true if you're not receiving any kind of monthly payments, like Social Security or disability, to help with bills. You can live off what you have in the bank (hopefully; otherwise you shouldn't be retiring yet), but you may have to downsize and rethink your spending strategy.</p> <p>This means you need to start learning how to save money on everyday expenses, and re-evaluate your budget to find places for cuts. Don't expect yourself to suddenly drop 30 percent or more of your spending. Work your way to it by making small cuts at a time before you retire.</p> <h2>3. Not evaluating risk</h2> <p>When you start saving for retirement, you may have a certain monetary goal in mind &mdash; either based on what financial sources have told you, or what you've calculated you'll need based on your lifestyle. But you may not be accounting for the ups and downs of Wall Street and inevitable inflation.</p> <p>&quot;Revisit your retirement plan to make sure your savings reflect your new needs, and adjust for market conditions,&quot; Poolman advises.</p> <h2>4. Spending too much money too soon</h2> <p>When you retire, what you have is what you have. Unless you still have income coming in somehow, you have to mind your money and avoid the temptation to spend it on splurges, especially if you find yourself bored in the first year of your forever vacation.</p> <p>&quot;Before finalizing your retirement, you must take into consideration that you will only be living on a fixed amount of money,&quot; Andrew Fiebert, co-founder of Listen Money Matters, says. &quot;Oftentimes the amount of retirement savings looks pretty large, but retirees must keep in mind that money will have to last a very long time &mdash; hopefully a very, very long time.&quot;</p> <p>The enticement to spend your money can be almost irresistible, but discipline is vital. Depleting your money beyond the interest that it earns will hurt the principal and leave you with nothing after just a few years.</p> <h2>5. Loaning money to adult children</h2> <p>I get it &mdash; you love your kids. But at what cost?</p> <p>According to a 2015 Pew Research Center poll, a whopping 61 percent of parents in the U.S. admitted to <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/05/21/5-helping-adult-children/" target="_blank">helping their adult children financially</a>. That may be well and good if you have that kind of disposable income lying around (though it only fortifies your children's reliance on you; learn to say NO!). However, if you already need to cut back because you didn't save enough to live an easy, breezy retirement &mdash; which applies to most Americans &mdash; providing handouts, the payback of which you may never see, could put you in a financial pickle.</p> <p>Don't be afraid to cut your grown children off. If you don't have the extra money, neither do they.</p> <h2>6. Taking Social Security benefits too early</h2> <p>The overriding argument against claiming Social Security benefits too early is that you won't receive your full benefit potential. That could come back to bite you later in life.</p> <p>If you decide to claim Social Security benefits before you reach your full retirement age, you'll receive a smaller monthly payout &mdash; up to 30 percent less. If you absolutely need that money before your benefits fully mature, then by all means do what you have to do to survive. You'll be better off, however, the longer you wait.</p> <h2>7. Not taking required minimum distributions after age 70-&frac12;</h2> <p>Starting at age 70-&frac12;, you must take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your traditional, SEP, or SIMPLE IRA each year to satisfy rules set forth by the IRS. If you don't, you'll pay penalties.</p> <p>You can calculate your required RMD by dividing your IRA account balance as of Dec. 31 of the prior year by the applicable distribution or life expectancy. Qualified charitable distributions can satisfy your RMD, by the way, which you would report on Form 1099-R on the calendar year in which the distribution is made. Do good and save yourself the penalties while you're at it.</p> <h2>8. Falling victim to money scams</h2> <p>Scammers love retirees and the elderly. Why? Because they've usually got money to burn, and they're much easier to fool than the average working-age person. Sad, but true.</p> <p>There are plenty of scams out there, too, and they're getting more intricate all the time &mdash; like one where the scammer poses as the victim's grandchild and begs the grandparent to send money. To prevent yourself from being scammed, remember these two major rules: Never provide personal information over the phone or via email, and never wire any money unless you've spoken directly to your family member or friend who is requesting the transfer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</a>)</p> <h2>9. Failing to account for the unexpected</h2> <p>The reality of retirement is that while you'll certainly have more time to kick back and relax, life isn't necessarily going to get easier &mdash; and you have to prepare for that. Everyone will die eventually, and it's smart to plan ahead not only for end-of-life accommodations, but also long-term medical care.</p> <p>You may live a long and healthy life, but eventually you'll need someone to care for you &mdash; whether that's in a family member's home or a professional facility &mdash; and that will cost money. Hedge your bets by looking ahead and putting those funds aside now. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?</a>)</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/9-expensive-mistakes-of-the-newly-retired">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement">7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-can-you-afford-to-spend-in-retirement">How Much Can You Afford to Spend in Retirement?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-security-is-not-a-ponzi-scheme">Social Security Is Not a Ponzi Scheme</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-now-that-youll-regret-when-you-retire">5 Financial Moves Now That You&#039;ll Regret When You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-why-your-retirement-cost-calculations-may-be-wrong">8 Reasons Why Your Retirement Cost Calculations May Be Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement expenses investing loaning money long term care Mistakes newly retired required minimum distributions scams social security Wed, 10 May 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1940416 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> <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-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-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/refinance-these-4-common-debts-before-year-ends">Refinance These 4 Common Debts Before Year Ends</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/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</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 Half of Americans Are Wrong About Their Retirement Savings http://www.wisebread.com/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-172427755 (1).jpg" alt="Couple learning they&#039;re wrong about their retirement savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some financial mistakes are easier to recover from than others. Failing to properly plan for retirement falls into the not-so-easy camp. And yet, the latest in a long series of retirement preparedness studies indicates that many working age households in the U.S. are making this very mistake.</p> <p>This new study, prepared by the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College, analyzed two key findings. First, it compared people's objectively measured, actual retirement preparedness with their perceived preparedness. And second, instead of just highlighting how many people are less prepared than they think (a common finding among retirement studies), it also found that some people are actually more prepared than they realize, causing needless worry.</p> <p>Let's break it down.</p> <h2>Over half are not well prepared</h2> <p>According to the CRR study, over half (52 percent) of working age households are at risk of not being able to maintain their current standard of living in retirement. That's even if these households work until age 65, annuitize all of their financial assets, and turn their home equity into an income stream via a reverse mortgage.</p> <p>In 1989, just 30 percent of households were deemed to be at risk. The study's authors attribute the growth in this number to three main factors:</p> <ul> <li>The increased time people are spending in retirement &mdash; the result of a fairly static average retirement age (around 63) combined with lengthening life spans.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Increases in Medicare premiums.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The sweeping change from defined-benefit to defined-contribution retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans. In managing their own retirement accounts, the authors said, &quot;individuals make mistakes at every step along the way,&quot; which has resulted in a woefully inadequate median retirement account balance of just $111,000 for households nearing retirement.</li> </ul> <h2>Over half of the unprepared don't realize it</h2> <p>Of the 52 percent of households that are at risk of not being able to maintain their standard of living in retirement, the CRR study found that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) don't know they're in trouble at all &mdash; the worst possible situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Signs You Aren't Saving Enough for Retirement</a>)</p> <p>The study's authors identified two main reasons.</p> <p>First, there is a &quot;wealth illusion&quot; that comes from having a 401(k). In other words, a person may have what seems like a lot of money in their plan, but not realize how little income it could actually produce in retirement.</p> <p>For example, a standard assumption is that 4 percent of your retirement savings can be withdrawn each year in retirement without too much danger of running out of money. A $100,000 balance would then translate into just $4,000 per year.</p> <p>The second reason is a false sense of security that comes from having a relatively high income. A high-income earner may not understand that Social Security benefits will replace a smaller percentage of his or her income than someone with a lower income. In other words, for high-income people, it takes more personal savings to maintain their standard of living in retirement than they may realize.</p> <h2>Of those who are prepared, half don't realize it</h2> <p>If 52 percent of all working age households are not adequately preparing for retirement, that means 48 percent are doing a good job. However, of those prepared 48 percent, the CRR study found that half worry that they're not on track. Of course, that's a much better problem to have than not realizing you're unprepared, but unnecessary worry is still a problem.</p> <p>The study's authors cited three main factors:</p> <ul> <li>For homeowners, not understanding how much income could be generated through a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reverse-mortgages-the-best-way-to-eat-your-home?ref=internal" target="_blank">reverse mortgage</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>For those still covered by a defined-benefit pension plan, not fully appreciating just how valuable that benefit is. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do?ref=seealso" target="_blank">If You're Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If married, not understanding how much money they may be entitled to via spousal Social Security benefits.</li> </ul> <h2>Solutions</h2> <p>What should you do if you realize you may be under or over-preparing for retirement? Run some numbers using a retirement planning calculator &mdash; preferably a couple of calculators since different tools use different assumptions &mdash; and rerun the numbers periodically. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-have-saved-for-retirement-by-30-40-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Should You Have Saved for Retirement by 30? 40? 50?</a>)</p> <p>Knowledge is your best bet when it comes to staying on track with your retirement savings. Don't just guess. Figure out how much you need to be investing each month so that you can afford to live comfortably in your retirement years, and then, make the necessary changes in your budget to set that money aside. (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> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings">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/one-smart-thing-you-can-do-for-your-retirement-today">One Smart Thing You Can Do for Your Retirement Today</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/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start">This Is Why You Can&#039;t Postpone Planning for Your Retirement (And How to Start)</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/intimidated-by-retirement-investing-get-professional-help">Intimidated by Retirement Investing? Get Professional Help!</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/we-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt">We Do the Math: Save for Retirement or Pay Off Credit Card Debt?</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/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money">Don&#039;t Let Outdated Money Advice Endanger Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) investing IRA nest egg preparedness saving money Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Matt Bell 1935019 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Lessons From Tax Day to Remember for Next Year http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-from-tax-day-to-remember-for-next-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-lessons-from-tax-day-to-remember-for-next-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-546177866.jpg" alt="Woman learning tax lessons she should&#039;ve learned this week" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cue the sigh of relief: Another tax season has come and gone. Before you kick back and relax, though, take a little moment of self-reflection. Did Tax Day make your stress levels soar?</p> <p>If the answer is yes, it's time to brush up on a few key lessons to take with you into the 2017 tax year. We guarantee you'll be breathing a little easier come next April.</p> <h2>1. Keep track of all your income</h2> <p>Specifically, don't forget about taxes you'll need to pay on any income you earn during the year outside of a full-time job. This includes money from freelance work or self-employment, dividends on investments, interest payments, and even gambling winnings. Be sure to track all of this income so that you're not surprised by a tax bill later.</p> <h2>2. Save all of your paperwork</h2> <p>Make sure you keep careful track of any forms and paperwork necessary to file your taxes. This includes your W-2 or any 1099s, as well as documents from banks, investment firms, and your mortgage company. These forms are usually sent out in February.</p> <p>More immediately, if you make any contributions to charity, you'll need the documentation. If you own a small business, you'll need receipts for all expenses you plan to deduct. If you plan to seek deductions for any unreimbursed medical expenses, you'll need a bill from your health care provider. All of these are important in order to enter accurate information on your tax return. As you gather them throughout the year, set them aside in a file or box that you keep in a safe place.</p> <h2>3. Deductions and credits are your friends</h2> <p>A credit is a straight reduction in your tax bill. A deduction means you reduce the amount of your income that is taxable. Either way, these tax breaks should not be overlooked.</p> <p>You can get a tax credit for having a kid. You can get a tax deduction if you pay interest on your mortgage. You can get a tax deduction for charitable donations. There are even deductions and credits for using energy-efficient appliances or driving a hybrid car. The list of possible deductions and tax credits is massive, and chances are, you qualify for at least a few. Most tax preparers and tax preparation programs will walk you through these deductions and credits to make sure you're getting the maximum benefit. If you haven't paid much attention to potential tax deductions or credits in the past, however, make sure you start this year. It could save you significant money.</p> <h2>4. Understand how tax-advantaged investment accounts differ</h2> <p>In addition to claiming tax credits and deductions, you can reduce your tax bill in advance simply by saving for retirement. If you use a 401(k), traditional IRA, or Roth IRA to build your nest egg, there are considerable tax advantages, and you need to understand the main differences.</p> <p>With a 401(k) and traditional IRA, any money you contribute to your account throughout the year will be deducted from your taxable income now. In some cases, this could move you into a lower tax bracket and save you considerable money on this year's tax bill. With a Roth IRA, money you contribute is taxed now, but you will not have to pay taxes on any investment gains when you withdraw the money at retirement.</p> <h2>5. If you are getting a big return, that's not a good thing</h2> <p>Getting money back on your taxes is certainly better than owing so much to the IRS that you pay a penalty. But if you are getting a considerable amount back after filing your return, you may have had too much taken out of your paycheck and overpaid taxes throughout the year. So in a sense, the government has been holding onto your money interest-free for no reason when you could have been using it for yourself. To make sure this doesn't happen again, ask your employer for a new W-4 and increase the number of exemptions you claim.</p> <h2>6. If you make a mistake, you can amend your return</h2> <p>Tax time can be nerve wracking because people are petrified of making a mistake and having the IRS come after them. But the actual chances of the government knocking on your door are quite low. The IRS simply does not have the staff to audit many individuals, and when they do, they usually target either very wealthy people or people with very complicated tax returns.</p> <p>If you do discover that you made a mistake, you can file an amended return without much hassle. Simply file Form 1040X, Amended Tax Return, along with the corrected (or missing) documents you did not originally file with your return. This happened to me once when I forgot to report some dividend income, and I never had the taxman knock on my door. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-avoid-a-tax-audit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Easiest Way to Avoid a Tax Audit</a>)</p> <h2>7. Use your taxes as a learning opportunity</h2> <p>Even with all these lessons under your belt, tax time can still be a tedious and stressful time of year. When all else fails, change your perspective. I personally find the process of doing taxes to be fairly educational. You can see a clear picture of how much money you actually took in during the year, and how much the government takes. The process of finding deductions can be a learning experience as well. If you approach doing your taxes with an attitude of curiosity, you may find the whole process to be less painful.</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-lessons-from-tax-day-to-remember-for-next-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-tax-mistakes-we-need-to-stop-making">5 Common Tax Mistakes We Need to Stop Making</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-7-most-common-tax-questions-for-beginners-answered">The 7 Most Common Tax Questions for Beginners, Answered</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-easiest-way-to-avoid-a-tax-audit">The Easiest Way to Avoid a Tax Audit</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/i-lost-my-tax-documents-now-what">I Lost My Tax Documents… Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-your-tax-preparer-makes-a-mistake">What to Do When Your Tax Preparer Makes a Mistake</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes advice audits credits deductions forms income investing IRS tax lessons tax returns w-2 Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1931721 at http://www.wisebread.com Could You Put Away a Million Dollars by Driving a Used Car? http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-put-away-a-million-dollars-by-driving-a-used-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/could-you-put-away-a-million-dollars-by-driving-a-used-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508297588.jpg" alt="Woman learning if she can save a million dollars with a used car" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you buy a new car, there are several financial factors working against you. First, the asset you are buying &mdash; the car &mdash; depreciates rapidly. As soon as you drive it off the lot, it is worth thousands less than what you paid. In about four years, a new car will typically be worth <em>half </em>its original value.</p> <p>Secondly, when you make car payments, you are paying interest. So not only are you putting money into an asset that is certain to depreciate, you are borrowing money and paying compound interest as well.</p> <p>Finally, there is the opportunity cost of buying a new car. This is a factor many people forget about. Put simply, opportunity cost is what you give up by choosing one investment or purchase over another. Instead of spending money on a depreciating asset, you could invest the money instead where it would likely grow. Over a lifetime, this could add up to a significant amount of money. Opportunity cost is a key tool in business, and has many uses in daily life, too. Fortunately, the math is simple: Opportunity cost = return of most lucrative option - return of chosen option.</p> <p>As you can see, buying a new car doesn't make much sense when you look at it from a financial perspective. But could you come out $1 million dollars ahead driving used instead of buying new?</p> <h2>New car versus used car scenarios</h2> <p>In many parts of the United States, it's impossible to get to your job or other places you need to go without a car. I'm not suggesting you have to completely give up automobiles. But there is a big difference between always buying a brand-new car, and buying used. And when you consider that you could be investing that price differential in a growing stock market, the argument for used cars becomes hard to ignore.</p> <p>I'll run through some scenarios to analyze the opportunity cost of making new car payments, considering how much you could end up with if you choose to invest the money instead where it could grow rather than depreciate.</p> <p>For the opportunity cost, the analysis assumes that over the long term you could realize an 8 percent rate of return from stock market investments. Of course, no one knows how the stock market will perform in the future, but an 8 percent rate of growth is often used as a long-term average that includes both boom and bust cycles. The goal of this analysis is to provide a general idea of the potential magnitude of making car payments instead of investing the money.</p> <p>The scenarios for buying new cars versus driving used cars will run for 40 years to represent a lifetime of car buying behavior. Note that the effect of inflation on the price of the car or on potential investment value is not included in the analysis. Now, let's find out how much you could save by driving a used car.</p> <h3>Scenario 1: That new car smell!</h3> <p>First, let's look at a scenario where you always drive a new car. We'll assume you buy a brand-new car for $35,000 every four years with a 48-month financing plan that charges 0.9 percent interest. You make payments for four years, and then trade it in for its depreciated value (we'll use $17,000), and the trade-in value is applied toward the purchase of your next new $35,000 car. In this scenario, you are always making payments on a new car.</p> <p>Using the <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/calculators/car-calculator?skn=#results" target="_blank">Calc XML car loan calculator</a>, we find that the monthly car payment for the first four years is $743, then it's $382/month for the following 36 years when we're able to take advantage of the $17,000 trade in every four years. Adding up those payments we get (743 x 48) + (382 x 432) = $35,664 + $165,024 = $200,668.</p> <p>Now, let's calculate the opportunity cost of making those new car payments for 40 years. We'll use an <a href="http://www.calcxml.com/calculators/interest-calculator" target="_blank">investment calculator from CalcXML</a>. Assuming annual compounding, with a start amount of $0, an annual interest rate of 8 percent, and an annual deposit of $8,916 (those monthly $743 car payments x 12), we get a future value of $43,391. That's the amount we could have made if we'd foregone our first four years of new car payments and instead invested that money in the stock market.</p> <p>After those first four years, the amount of our car payments, and thus the opportunity cost of investing them, will be lower ($382 per month, or $4,584 per year) because we'll be getting a $17,000 trade-in for our old car. We'll start with investing the $43,391 we earned in the first four years, and after 36 years of such contributions, we end up with a balance of $1,619,165. This amount represents the opportunity cost of making new car payments for 40 years. That's how much we're losing out on stock market gains by burning our money up on new car payments!</p> <p>Results over 40 years:</p> <ul> <li>Total cost of car payments: $200,668</li> <li>Total return: $0</li> <li>Total invested (if we skipped the car altogether): $200,668</li> <li>Total returned: $1,619,165</li> <li>Opportunity cost: $1,619,165 - $0 = $1,619,165.</li> </ul> <p>If you invested instead of making car payments, the opportunity cost of always driving a new car is: $1,619,165.</p> <h3>Scenario 2: Drive it till it drops!</h3> <p>Next, let's consider the other extreme. In this scenario, you never make car loan payments. Let's assume you take a frugal approach to buying older used cars, and budget only $600 per year for purchasing the next car. With this budget, you could afford to buy a $6,000 used car every 10 years to meet your transportation needs &mdash; with no finance charges involved. Also, a budget of $100 per month for maintenance and repairs is included in the analysis, since you will always be driving an older car in this scenario. As I mentioned, this is a frugal scenario. You'll need to save up your $150 per month total car budget until you have enough to pay cash for a used car.</p> <p>Again, to calculate the opportunity cost, we'll consider investing $1,800 a year ($600/year + $100 maintenance fees x 12 months) for 40 years with interest compounded annually.</p> <p>Results over 40 years:</p> <ul> <ul> <li>Total cost of car expenses: $72,000<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you invested your car expenses instead, the opportunity cost of driving a cheap used car is: $503,607<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Opportunity cost benefit over always driving a new car: $1,115,558 ($1,619,165 - $503,607)</li> </ul> </ul> <p>Since the opportunity cost of driving a new car all the time is around $1.6 million, by buying a cheap used car and maintaining it for 40 years you come out ahead by more than $1.1 million (i.e., the opportunity cost of the used car is only about $500,000, which is $1.1 million less than the opportunity cost of always driving a new car). In other words, if you only bought cheap used cars and invested the money you would have otherwise spent on new cars, you could make more than a million dollars in the stock market over 40 years.</p> <h3>Scenario 3: Buy a four-year-old car, drive it for 10 years</h3> <p>Now, what if you buy a four-year-old used car for $17,000, pay it off in four years at 4.9 percent interest, and then drive it for six more years with no payments? Since your car is more than four years old at all times, the analysis includes $100 per month for repairs and maintenance throughout the scenario.</p> <p>If you buy a four-year-old car and drive it for 10 years, this means that you will be driving a 14-year-old car at times. If you have not driven a car this old before, you may be concerned about reliability, but I can say from experience that well-maintained cars will easily run this long.</p> <p>Results over 40 years:</p> <ul> <ul> <li>Total cost of car expenses: $103,872<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If you invested instead, the opportunity cost of driving a nice used car is: $817,985<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Opportunity cost benefit of driving a nice used car instead of always driving a new car: $801,180 ($1,619,165 - $817,985)</li> </ul> </ul> <p>In other words, even if you bought a relatively nice used car every 10 years and invested the money you would have otherwise spent on new cars, you could still make more than $800,000 in the stock market over 40 years.</p> <h2>How much can you save driving used cars?</h2> <p>The results of these car buying scenarios over a 40-year period show that if you are willing to minimize your car payments by driving inexpensive used vehicles instead of new ones, you can come out ahead not only by saving on car expenses themselves, but by reducing the opportunity cost of your car payments by $1,115,558 &mdash; over a million dollars! If you buy four-year-old cars instead of brand-new and drive them for 10 years, you can come out ahead by around $800,000 in opportunity cost compared with driving brand-new cars.</p> <p>When you look at making a car payment of a few hundred dollars per month, it may not seem like a lot of money. But as you can see, financing new vehicles can add up to a lot of missed investment opportunity over time. This makes driving a used car instead of a new car seem like a relatively painless way to boost your retirement fund.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-put-away-a-million-dollars-by-driving-a-used-car">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/3-reasons-why-you-should-never-buy-a-new-car">3 Reasons Why You Should Never Buy a New Car</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/buying-a-rental-car-heres-what-you-need-to-know">Buying a Rental Car? Here&#039;s What You Need to Know</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/you-cant-make-it-as-a-one-car-family-now-what">You Can&#039;t Make It as a One-Car Family: 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/how-to-buy-a-used-car-without-getting-ripped-off">How to Buy a Used Car Without Getting Ripped Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-cut-your-car-expenses">5 Simple Ways to Cut Your Car Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation comparisons depreciation investing new cars one million dollars saving money trade in value used cars vehicles Thu, 13 Apr 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1923960 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways Your Lazy Habits Are Costing You http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-your-lazy-habits-are-costing-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-your-lazy-habits-are-costing-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-626262674.jpg" alt="Woman learning how her lazy habits are costing her" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone gets lazy sometimes. We all make excuses as to why we can't or won't do certain things. But is your laziness holding you back from achieving financial freedom?</p> <p>If you're struggling to get ahead or want to supercharge your money situation, it's time to shed your slothful ways. Do any of these lazy habits sound like you? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-sloth-is-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways Sloth Is Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <h2>1. You Pay People to Do Things You Can Do Yourself</h2> <p>You eat out a lot because you don't want to cook. You're paying for a maid service because you can't be bothered to clean your house yourself. Meanwhile you're spending hours a day watching Netflix or playing video games.</p> <p>If you really don't have time because you're spending it all in a productive way, paying someone else in order to maximize your earning potential is fine. Otherwise, buck up and start doing your own chores. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-be-paying-someone-else-to-do-these-7-common-chores?ref=seealso" target="_blank">When Should You Pay Someone Else to Do Chores</a>)</p> <h2>2. You Are Disorganized With Finances</h2> <p>A friend once told me that he lost his homeowners insurance because he was lazy about sorting mail and missed the renewal notice. To get his insurance back, he ended up spending more than he otherwise would have.</p> <p>Being organized with your money takes time and discipline. You need to keep track of where your money is going and where it's held, monitor the performance of your investments, and pay close attention to bills and other obligations.</p> <p>Things like missing bills, late payments, and lost tax forms won't just lead to inconvenience. They can actually <em>cost you money</em>, in the form of fees and perhaps even a ding to your credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">This One Ratio Is the Key to a Good Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>3. You Won't Go After a Promotion Because You Fear More Work</h2> <p>It's sometimes easy to talk yourself out of moving up to a position of seniority in your company. After all, who wants to deal with additional demands, direct reports, more pressure, and longer hours? But it's also silly to stay in an entry level position simply because you're afraid of taking on more responsibility.</p> <p>It's true that chasing a job just for the money is a bad idea, and not all promotions are worth pursuing. But rarely does an employee receive a big pay raise by staying put. And a promotion can allow you to play a more integral role in an organization's path, rather than just being a cog in a wheel.</p> <p>Moreover, even if you find that a new position is not a good fit for you, you'll be gaining skills and experience that you can use to find the job of your dreams.</p> <h2>4. You Have No Interest in Professional Self-Improvement</h2> <p>Does your employer encourage you to learn new skills? Do they even pay for education and training? If so, then take advantage! In a competitive job market, there's no reason to avoid gaining skills that will make you more essential to your employer. Perhaps you'd benefit from learning to code, or getting training in Microsoft Excel. Maybe <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-a-second-language-can-boost-your-career?ref=internal" target="_blank">learning a second language</a> will give you an edge. Maybe you need to go back to school and finish your degree. Don't be afraid to put in the work. Your next performance review &mdash; and pay raise &mdash; will be the proof that it was worth it.</p> <h2>5. You Ignore Your Personal Appearance</h2> <p>We'd like to believe that appearances don't matter, but tell that to the guy who shows up for a job interview with ketchup on his tie. You don't need to wear a Brooks Brothers suit to work everyday, but a lack of care in how you appear can cost you in things like landing a job, getting a promotion or, securing a meeting with an important client.</p> <p>Taking care of your appearance includes dressing well, but also staying in shape. Workers who exercise regularly earn 9% more on average than other workers, according to a study from Cleveland State University.</p> <h2>6. You Have No Interest in Creating a Side Hustle?</h2> <p>You have plenty of free time, but can't stand the idea of using it to do more work. After all, you already have a full-time job, right? But these days, it's not uncommon to take on side jobs in order to achieve financial freedom. Maybe it's earning a little extra doing freelance graphic design work. Perhaps you could drive for Uber, sell handmade pottery, or start a YouTube channel. Having a side hustle cannot only bring you extra income, but perhaps give you the experience you need to find the full-time job you truly want. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-outside-your-day-job?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Make Money Outside of Your Day Job</a>)</p> <h2>7. You Take the Deal That's in Front of You Rather Than Shop Around</h2> <p>Finding bargains can be hard work. You may have to travel from store to store. You may have to spend time on the Internet researching prices. You may have to be willing to take time to negotiate. It's easy to buy an item at whatever price you first see, but this approach can cost you money over time. You must embrace the challenge of finding the best deal, even if it takes a little more time and energy.</p> <h2>8. You Don't Invest</h2> <p>Your employer offers a 401K but you haven't even looked at the benefit materials. You've heard of terms like &quot;stock market&quot; and &quot;IRA&quot; but haven't taken the time to learn what they mean. You are content to just place any extra money in a bank account with low interest.</p> <p>It may be okay to ignore investing when you have no money to invest. But once you have some money to put aside, your approach to retirement savings shouldn't be lazy, or it will cost you big time.</p> <p>Investing can be intimidating, but it's important to overcome those fears and at least educate yourself. Unless you're already independently wealthy, investing is one of the few ways to achieve financial freedom. So get on it!</p> <h2>9. You Do Invest, But Don't Pay Close Attention</h2> <p>So you signed up for your 401K and are putting aside a certain amount of money for your retirement. That's great! But when was the last time you checked your balances? Have you rebalanced your portfolio recently? Are you paying more in fees than you need to?</p> <p>Investing doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, someone who invests a good amount into a basic index fund and leaves it alone will probably make out quite well. But that's no excuse to be completely lazy. To get the most out of your investments, you need to do at least some amount of baby-sitting to make sure you're on the right track toward your savings goals.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-your-lazy-habits-are-costing-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/39-mindless-ways-youre-wasting-money-in-every-part-of-your-life">39 Mindless Ways You&#039;re Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life</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/flashback-friday-23-mental-tricks-thatll-help-you-save-money">Flashback Friday: 23 Mental Tricks That&#039;ll Help You Save 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/how-to-shop-with-purpose-and-save-more-money">How to Shop With Purpose — And Save More Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</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-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Shopping bad habits income investing lazy lazy habits saving money shopping habits side hustle sloth Thu, 02 Mar 2017 10:00:12 +0000 Tim Lemke 1901227 at http://www.wisebread.com Your 401K in 2017: Here's What's New for You http://www.wisebread.com/your-401k-in-2017-heres-whats-new-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-401k-in-2017-heres-whats-new-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-502449548.jpg" alt="Learning what&#039;s new for your 401K in 2017" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There aren't many 401K rule changes to keep up with this year, but that doesn't mean you can't bring about some of your own positive changes to your retirement savings. Let's take a look at what you need to know to make the most of your 401K in 2017.</p> <h2>No Changes in the Contribution Limits</h2> <p>The amount the IRS allows you to contribute to a 401K plan this year remains as it was last year &mdash; $18,000 if you're younger than 50, or $24,000 if you're older. However, the Feds did make two changes to the retirement savings landscape, which pertain to people on either end of the income spectrum.</p> <h3>1. More May Qualify for the Saver's Credit<strong> </strong></h3> <p>Low and middle-income earners should be aware of the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-savings-contributions-savers-credit" target="_blank">Saver's Credit</a>, a tax benefit that rewards those who save for their later years through a 401K or IRA. Depending on your income and filing status, the credit is worth 10%, 20%, or 50% of up to $2,000 of contributions per person (for married couples, that means up to $4,000 of contributions).</p> <p>Married couples filing joint returns can claim at least a 10% credit as long as their adjusted gross income (AGI) is no more than $62,000. That maximum income amount is $500 more than in 2016, so more households should qualify. However, the most generous 50% credit is allowed only for those couples making no more than $37,000 &mdash; the same threshold as in 2016.</p> <p>The credit/income limits for married couples filing jointly are:</p> <ul> <li>50% if AGI is $37,000 or less</li> <li>20% if AGI is $37,001&ndash;$40,000</li> <li>10% if AGI is $40,001&ndash;$62,000</li> </ul> <p>For singles, or married couples filing separate returns, the maximum amount you can earn and still qualify for a credit is $31,000, which is $250 higher than in 2016. In order to qualify for the maximum 50% credit, your income has to be no higher than $18,500.</p> <p>Here are the details:</p> <ul> <li>50% if AGI is $18,500 or less</li> <li>20% if AGI is $18,501&ndash;$20,000</li> <li>10% if AGI is $20,001&ndash;$31,000</li> </ul> <p>Keep in mind, a tax credit is much more valuable than a tax deduction because it is a dollar for dollar reduction of taxes.</p> <h2>2. Higher-Income Earners May Get More</h2> <p>On the other end of the income spectrum, the IRS expanded the contribution parameters pertaining to the retirement plans of well-paid workers. For example, contributions &mdash; by the employee and/or his or her employer &mdash; are limited by how much an employee is paid in total. In 2017, the amount of compensation on which contribution amounts can be based was increased by $5,000 to $270,000, and the maximum total contribution amount was bumped up by $1,000 to $54,000.</p> <h2>What Changes Will You Make?</h2> <p>Even if the two changes noted above don't pertain to you, that doesn't mean you need to &mdash; or should &mdash; stay the course with your retirement savings. The start of a new year is a good time to re-evaluate your goals and see if you're on track.</p> <p>Here are two areas to review.</p> <h3>1. How Much You Need<strong> </strong></h3> <p>Do you know how much you should have saved by the time you retire? Do you know how much that means you should be saving each month right now? If not, take a few minutes to run some numbers. If you're not saving enough, consider increasing your contributions.</p> <h3>2. How You Should Allocate</h3> <p>Do you know your optimal asset allocation? That pertains to how much of your investment portfolio should be in stocks, and how much in bonds (or stock and bond mutual funds). Vanguard offers a well-designed, free <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/FundsInvQuestionnaire" target="_blank">asset allocation questionnaire</a>, so give it a try. Then try to bring your portfolio more in line with your optimal asset allocation.</p> <p>While tax credits and employer contributions are significant benefits, the most important factors that determine your investing success are the amount of money you save each month, and whether your asset allocation is appropriate for someone of your age and risk tolerance. Take the time to evaluate your individual retirement savings scenario, and see how you can make it even better for 2017.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-401k-in-2017-heres-whats-new-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</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/start-planning-now-for-when-your-target-date-fund-ends">Start Planning Now for When Your Target-Date Fund Ends</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/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</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-save-for-retirement-without-a-401k">How to Save for Retirement Without a 401K</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k Adjusted Gross Income asset allocation bonds changes contribution limits employers investing saver's credit stocks Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:00:11 +0000 Matt Bell 1892607 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Reasons You Really Need to Pay Yourself First (Seriously) http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_glasses_piggy_bank_613042186.jpg" alt="Woman learning reasons to pay herself first" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a familiar refrain in the world of personal finance: &quot;If you want to build wealth, you've got to pay yourself first!&quot;</p> <p>But what does paying yourself really mean and how can such an odd-sounding notion radically alter the course of your financial life? Paying yourself first simply means setting aside part of your income in a savings or investment account before you do anything else &mdash; before you upgrade your smartphone, buy new jeans, pay the utilities, or spring for happy hour drinks for your three closest friends.</p> <p>Thinking of your savings plan as a bill you must pay on a regular schedule automates the act of saving and can build significant wealth over time. Still not convinced it's the path of personal financial security? Read on. Here are seven reasons you should pay yourself first.</p> <h2>1. It Sets Proper Priorities</h2> <p>What's more important than funding your future? What priorities eclipse your family's long-term financial security? Paying yourself first sets in motion an idea that's crucial to successful saving: I matter and I'm going to start acting like it. Remember, wealth-building doesn't happen by chance; it's the result of intention, consistency, discipline, and big-picture thinking.</p> <h2>2. It's Easy</h2> <p>Paying yourself first through automatic payroll deductions is a simple and pain-free way to save. The &quot;set it and forget it&quot; approach makes saving and investing easy because the money is redirected to a 401K, IRA, savings account, or other investment vehicle immediately. Why is that immediacy so important? Because it helps avoid that nagging sense of deprivation that's laid waste to so many people's best financial intentions.</p> <h2>3. It Taps Into the Power of Dollar Cost Averaging</h2> <p>With dollar cost averaging, investors buy a fixed dollar amount of a particular stock or investment, no matter what the share price. Because the investment occurs at routine intervals, that fixed dollar amount buys more shares when the price is low and fewer when it's high. This investment technique helps avoid the risk associated with dropping a lump sum in the market at a moment when share prices are high (a move that gets you less for your money).</p> <h2>4. What's Last Is What's Left</h2> <p>There's a name for folks who try to save only what's left over at the end of the month: They're called spenders. New wants and needs always have a way of creeping in and rapidly consuming any surplus. Paying yourself first &mdash; taking your savings right off the top, investing it, and efficiently managing the rest &mdash; is a far superior strategy.</p> <h2>5. It Builds Discipline</h2> <p>Paying yourself first by contributing a fixed amount of money regularly to a savings or retirement account builds financial discipline &mdash; a discipline that can be applied in countless other financial and nonfinancial ways. As with all habits, saving becomes easier over time. As you watch your wealth grow, you'll want to find new ways to cutback on expenses, increase your income, and save more.</p> <h2>6. It Creates a Healthy Work/Reward Cycle</h2> <p>Ever feel like modern life is an endless cycle of work-spend-repeat? An effective way to overcome that nearly universal sentiment is by starting a savings plan and watching your wealth grow. Paying yourself first creates a new cycle &mdash; one where all that hard work steadily increases your net worth, expands your opportunities, and offers a level of freedom that more stuff simply can't provide.</p> <h2>7. It Models Smart Financial Strategy</h2> <p>I've always been an advocate of discussing money with kids. Of course, you don't want to burden children with adult money worries, but it can be immensely valuable to model and explain effective money-saving strategies like paying yourself first, avoiding credit card debt, and living within your means. Encouraging a level of financial transparency demystifies the world of personal finance and helps kids build the practical money management skills that will serve them well in adulthood.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously">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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</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/barter-explained-why-its-wise-to-barter">Barter Explained: Why It&#039;s Wise to Barter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-to-make-financial-habits-not-goals">Why You Need to Make Financial Habits, Not Goals</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-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living discipline dollar cost averaging good habits investing pay yourself first priorities saving money stability Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:00:11 +0000 Kentin Waits 1849009 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Millennials Have Changed Money (So Far) http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-millennials-have-changed-money-so-far <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-millennials-have-changed-money-so-far" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_chalkboard_money_500538951.jpg" alt="Learning how millennials have changed money so far" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every generation of Americans have changed the face of this nation in its own way.</p> <p>In the 1990s, our country was very different from it was in the '70s, which, itself, was a far cry from the 1950s. Today, Millennials are overhauling our political, social, and financial landscape so much that it's barely recognizable from just 10 years ago, and that's not necessarily a bad thing (depending on where you stand on certain issues.)</p> <p>As far as money is concerned at least, the &quot;Me Generation&quot; is making it easier to earn money and more efficient to spend it, while reinventing entire aspects of personal finance, like investing. They're living up to the old idiom of putting their money where their mouth is &mdash; and here's how.</p> <h2>1. Cash Back Is Growing While Coupons Fall Behind</h2> <p>I used to be a major coupon clipper, once saving more than $80 on my grocery bill on double-coupon day at my local supermarket. My couponing prowess (and interest) has consistently waned over the years. Instead, substituting my savings with cash back deals through my bank and grocery apps, like <a href="https://ibotta.com/register?friend=jcsgjbv">Ibotta</a>, <a href="https://www.checkout51.com/">Checkout 51</a>, and <a href="https://savingstar.com/">SavingStar</a>, has skyrocketed.</p> <p>I'm not alone. Millennials are hopping aboard the rebate train in droves.</p> <p>If you're not familiar with the concept of the cash back service, it's basically the opposite of the upfront savings that coupons provide. Instead, these rebate providers pay out the consumer on the back-end, after the shopping trip is complete.</p> <p>SavingStar, for instance, offers deals from popular grocery brands like Cheerios, Yoplait, Dove, and more. For some chains, it'll link deals directly to shoppers' loyalty cards. For other stores, shoppers can submit a picture of their receipt through the app or website. In either case, shoppers earn cash back into their SavingStar accounts, which can be paid out to a bank or PayPal account, or as gift cards from Starbucks, iTunes, and AMC Theatres.</p> <p>Of course, cash-back-adopting Millennials would maximize their savings by using both coupons <em>and</em> the rebate services, but, ya know &mdash; kids these days.</p> <h2>2. Investing Is Being Completely Reinvented</h2> <p>As an investor myself, I've avoided putting money in stocks (I just don't trust that market), preferring to invest in real estate or other entrepreneurs' business ideas. Michael Banks, founder of investing and personal finance blog Fortunate Investor, says I'm in good company. Millennials are turning the investment industry on its head by rethinking long-held strategies, perhaps out of necessity.</p> <p>&quot;As the generation with the largest student debt and toughest-looking future, traditional investing is out of the picture,&quot; Banks says. &quot;Instead, more Millennials are relying on micro-investing &mdash; investing small amounts of money frequently &mdash; to accomplish their savings goals.&quot;</p> <p>Micro-investing allows would-be investors with little starting capital to bypass the roadblocks that usually keep them out of the game &mdash; minimum investment levels, trading costs, market research, and really just not having a ton of money.</p> <p>&quot;Investing has always had a high buy-in value, which you would think eliminates the generation that is doing everything they can to save whatever they have &mdash; but a handful of apps are changing that, and opening the doors for Millennials to try their hands at creating their own investment portfolios,&quot; adds Banks.</p> <h2>3. Hardly Anyone Under Age 35 Walks Into a Bank Anymore</h2> <p>Your grandma probably still goes to the brick-and-mortar bank. Heck, maybe even your dad likes to roll in from time to time for a withdrawal and a lollipop, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a Millennial in a bank, unless it's to grab cash from an ATM for after-work drinks (or working there). Rather, they prefer the easy-breezy mobile banking that accommodates their fast-paced lifestyle.</p> <p>According to a recent study, 75% of Millennials are at least somewhat <a href="https://www.marketingcloud.com/what-millennials-expect-from-their-banks/">reliant on a mobile banking app</a> to interact with their bank for tasks such as depositing or sending checks, checking their balance, and paying bills.</p> <p>&quot;This seems like somewhat of a no-brainer, but the power of convenience and control often goes overlooked,&quot; writes creative media agency Brokaw. &quot;Within mobile interactions, there are multiple avenues in which banks can increase their influence and exposure, including text messages and push notifications. Take FirstMerit Bank's text banking and alerts, for example: It allows their customers to request activity alerts for different aspects of their account right from their phone.&quot;</p> <p>Legit, though &mdash; mobile depositing is one of the best inventions of the 21st century. I will stand by that until my retinas are replaced with laser scanners that do all my banking for me. Which is totally gonna happen, ya know.</p> <h2>4. The Monetization of Ideas</h2> <p>Think you need to push product to turn a profit? Old school. Millennials' intellectual property is their bread and butter &mdash; and they're fiercely protective of it.</p> <p>&quot;The increasing monetization of ideas is one trend Millennials are driving, which doesn't look to be slowing down anytime soon.&quot; explains Monica Mizzi, editor of LegalTemplates.net, a website that equips people with the tools to be their own legal advocates. &quot;The boom in startup culture can be largely attributed to the throng of Millennials who are taking the plunge to make their 'one in a million' idea come to life.&quot;</p> <p>Successive studies highlight that a growing number of Millennials are bucking the trend of traditional employment to try their hand at entrepreneurship. With this has come an increasing interest in using nondisclosure agreements to protect their business ideas.</p> <p>&quot;While using an NDA to protect business ideas is not a novel concept, growing market competition has led Millennials to become more proactive in legally protecting their ideas &mdash; even before they have come to fruition,&quot; Mizzi continues. &quot;It's not uncommon to hear reports of big companies pinching ideas or being 'inspired' by their competitors' ideas, so Millennials wanting to become entrepreneurs are more conscious of ensuring their ideas are never compromised.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Instant Financial Transactions Are Becoming More Common</h2> <p>When do Millennials want their money? Now!</p> <p>Domestic instant transaction service has become commonplace for this demographic &mdash; I get paid instantly via Venmo when I deposit money from my Lyft earnings (like a boss!) &mdash; and its expansion to international exchanges is inevitable. The problem is, sending money internationally is a bit trickier with more complex compliance and regulations needs. But at least one service right now, <a href="https://www.remitly.com/us/en/">Remitly</a>, has built compliance and regulation rules into their app making it possible to meet Millennials' need for speed and convenience.</p> <h2>6. Digital Currency Has Real Value</h2> <p>Digital, or cryptocurrency as it's formally known, went mainstream with the runaway success of Bitcoin &mdash; a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency (as explained by Wikipedia). In layman's terms, it's cyber money that you can spend wherever cyber money is accepted, which is a real thing in this day and age.</p> <p>But Bitcoin isn't the be-all or end-all of digital currency. Imitators have popped up, relevant in their own rights. Using a digital currency called Steem, for example, users of brand-new social network<a href="http://www.steemit.com"> Steemit</a> (which looks a lot like Reddit) get paid for posting and curating content. And it's become wildly popular. After launching this past May, Steemit (which has a 26-year-old CEO) already has nearly 120,000 registered users and posts nearly 1,000,000 unique visitors per month. They've also paid out more than <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/can-this-social-media-site-make-you-rich-w449566">$4,000,000 in rewards</a> to users to date.</p> <p>While digital currency is still in its infancy despite these successes, you can expect to see more and more of it infiltrating sectors of industry. Will it ever replace cash or credit? Probably not. But it's certainly an interesting concept as a new form of legitimate currency as we've move forward with Millennials at the helm.</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/6-ways-millennials-have-changed-money-so-far">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/its-the-21st-century-why-is-your-money-stuck-in-the-20th">It&#039;s the 21st Century — Why Is Your Money Stuck in the 20th?</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-millennial-money-habits-every-retiree-should-learn">6 Millennial Money Habits Every Retiree Should Learn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-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-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/6-highly-effective-ways-to-save-without-clipping-a-coupon">6 Highly Effective Ways to Save Without Clipping a Coupon</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle apps cash back coupons digital currency entrepreneurship investing millennials online banking Fri, 02 Dec 2016 11:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1844380 at http://www.wisebread.com Could Trump Bring Higher Interest Rates and Inflation? Consider These Money Moves http://www.wisebread.com/could-trump-bring-higher-interest-rates-and-inflation-consider-these-money-moves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/could-trump-bring-higher-interest-rates-and-inflation-consider-these-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/donald_trump_98978789.jpg" alt="Donald Trump could bring higher interest rates and inflation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a matter of weeks, America will have a new President, and people are already speculating as to what a new man in the White House will mean for the economy.</p> <p>Donald Trump outlined a series of policy proposals on the campaign trail, including some that, according to economists, may impact inflation and interest rates. This comes at a time when the Federal Reserve has been hinting at raising interest rates for a while. So if all of this happens, what should you do with your money? Here are some ideas.</p> <h2>If There's Inflation</h2> <p>Ifd the federal government opens up the fiscal spigot, inflation is sure to follow.</p> <h3>1. Take a Look at Gold</h3> <p>Gold has long been a popular investment for those seeking protection against inflation, especially during times of political and global uncertainty. Prices for gold spiked in the immediate aftermath of Trump's election, but are still quite low from a historical standpoint.</p> <p>There are several ways to purchase gold. You can buy gold bars or bullion and store it, or purchase shares of companies involved in gold mining. There are also exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track the performance of gold or gold-related industries.</p> <h3>2. Get Into TIPS</h3> <p>The U.S. Treasury offers something called Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, or TIPS. These are pegged to the Consumer Price Index, so when the index rises, the value of the investment rises with it. These are solid, low-risk investments that are perfect for when inflation is a possibility, and they are exempt from state and local income taxes. It's also possible to own TIPS in a retirement fund, via an ETF or mutual fund.</p> <h3>3. Invest in Commodities</h3> <p>In addition to gold, there are other commodities that can be used as a hedge against inflation. Many commodities, including oil, wheat, and even live cattle naturally rise with inflation. If you're unsure of which commodities to buy, consider looking at a fund or ETF that invests in commodities broadly. The PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund [NYSE: <a href="http://www.google.com/finance?cid=722064">DBC</a>]) and the Fidelity Series Commodity Strategy Fund [NYSE: <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=FCSSX&amp;ei=4G48WJC_BdWNmAHcobLABw">FCSSX</a>] are two examples.</p> <h3>4. Get Real With Real Estate</h3> <p>Real estate is another area that often does well during an inflationary period. There are many ways to obtain real estate, either by purchasing property directly, or by buying shares of real estate investment trusts, or REITs. The caveat here is that if interest rates rise, then the cost of a mortgage to purchase real estate will also go up. So it may be smart to get in now while interest rates are still at historic lows.</p> <h2>If Interest Rates Rise</h2> <p>The Federal Reserve is expected to tick interest rates up a bit soon, while Trump's economic proposals could accelerate that process.</p> <h3>1. Invest in Banks</h3> <p>Banks generally do better when interest rates are higher than they are now. Right now, these companies have a low &quot;net interest margin&quot; &mdash; the difference between the interest they earn and the interest they pay out. Higher rates will increase this margin, thus increasing the bank's profitability.</p> <h3>2. Lock in a Fixed Rate</h3> <p>If you have a mortgage with an adjustable rate, now is the time to lock into something more stable, before interest rates rise. Convert your mortgage to a fixed-rate loan now, while interest rates are low. If you don't do this, your rate could adjust upward to a level that you may find unsustainable.</p> <h3>3. Switch to Short-Term Bonds</h3> <p>If interest rates are about to go up, you don't want your money tied up in something that's not paying a high rate. Placing your money in shorter term bonds and bond funds will allow you to remove your money earlier and then reinvest it in something with a higher return once rates rise. Long-term bonds do pay a higher rate than short-term bonds, but you lose flexibility.</p> <h3>4. Bolster Your Cash Holdings</h3> <p>With interest rates at ultralow levels, there hasn't been much incentive to hold on to a lot of cash. But if interest rates rise, you may find it's worth it to have a little more cash on hand, as it will generate some income for you. Stocks and other investments will probably still be more lucrative, but higher interest rates means there won't be as much downside to having more liquid savings, and it may give you more peace of mind.</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/could-trump-bring-higher-interest-rates-and-inflation-consider-these-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-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/oh-noes-inflation">Oh noes! Inflation!</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-investments-that-may-soar-during-trumps-term">8 Investments That May Soar During Trump&#039;s Term</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/will-high-inflation-persist">Will high inflation persist?</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-best-money-management-tips-from-john-oliver">7 Best Money Management Tips From John Oliver</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-live-with-inflation">How to live with inflation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Financial News bonds donald trump federal reserve gold inflation interest rates investing president Wed, 30 Nov 2016 12:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1843966 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Things Football Teaches Us About Money http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-football-teaches-us-about-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-football-teaches-us-about-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/football_player_92992279.jpg" alt="Learning things that football teaches us about money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's the time of year when Saturday and Sunday afternoons are spent rooting for your favorites on the gridiron. American football is King in the fall, and it's common for us to channel the game into life lessons about grit, determination, and teamwork. But football can also teach us a thing or two about handling our money.</p> <p>What can football teach us about personal finance? Here are some key takeaways.</p> <h2>1. Have a Game Plan</h2> <p>A football coach doesn't just show up on Sunday and wing it. He's spent the season devising a system that will give his team the best chance of success. He's scouted his opponent, studied his own players' strengths and weaknesses, and mapped out an approach to victory. This can be applied to any sort of money matter, from tackling a massive pile of debt, to saving for a new home, to investing for retirement. Develop a plan first, then you'll give yourself a greater chance of success.</p> <h2>2. Mix Things Up</h2> <p>A successful football team isn't going to run the ball on every play. It can't pass the ball every time, either. The best teams have a diversified plan of attack, and don't rely too heavily on any one weapon. Your investment philosophy should be similar in nature. Don't rely too heavily on one stock or industry. Because when you rely on one thing, even if it's shown to be successful in the past, you'll eventually get burned. Diversify your portfolio, just like a coach diversifies his playbook.</p> <h2>3. Be Smartly Aggressive</h2> <p>In football, you need to do what it takes to get into the end zone. This means throwing the long pass downfield once in awhile, or even going for it on fourth down. You don't want to be reckless, but it's hard to win a football game if you don't take some risks. Your investment philosophy should reflect this approach. A young person looking to accumulate wealth for retirement should invest largely in stocks, not conservative bonds or cash. Yes, there's some risk involved, but also a lot of evidence to show that you'll come out ahead in the end. Because playing it safe will only get you so far.</p> <h2>4. Be More Conservative Near the Finish</h2> <p>A football team with a big lead can afford to be more cautious as the end of the game approaches. You'll see teams draw up more running plays to eat up the clock and decrease the chances of mistakes. With the clock winding down, it's all about protecting the lead you have rather than taking risks that might blow the game. When investing, think of retirement as the fourth quarter. Once you have a big nest egg saved, shift your investments to more conservative things like bonds or cash. This way, you'll be less likely to lose the wealth you've created for yourself.</p> <h2>5. Field Goals Are Okay</h2> <p>Football games aren't always won with a flurry of touchdowns. Often, it's the field goal kicker that wins the game. We all would like our teams to get seven points on every possession. But that's not realistic. Settling for three points is better than nothing, and can still put you in a position to win. In investing, it's wise to think of your stock portfolio as a field goal kicker, steadily putting points up on the board. Sure, you're going to want some touchdowns mixed in, but it's often the smaller, but more frequent scores that move you to where you want to be.</p> <h2>6. Limit Your Mistakes</h2> <p>It's impossible for a football team to play a perfect game, and it's common to overcome a fumble or interception and still win. But too many blunders will cost you the game. This is true when it comes to finances as well. Did you buy a bad stock that cost you some money? That's okay, just don't make the same mistake again. Did you accumulate some debt? Don't worry, you can get out of the hole if you make the right choices from here on out. Keep your bad decisions to a minimum, and you'll be alright.</p> <h2>7. Sometimes You Will Take a Beating</h2> <p>Finances, just like football, can be brutal. There will be days when your team gets trounced, and your stock portfolio may get pounded in similar fashion. It happens. The key is to get up and keep trying. Resilience and patience are big drivers of success in football, and this can easily be applied to investing, saving, and debt reduction.</p> <h2>8. You Can't Win in One Day</h2> <p>As much as pundits like to refer to certain football games as &quot;must-wins,&quot; the reality is that the NFL plays a 16-game season. Sure there are some games that are more important than others, but it normally doesn't make much sense to dwell on the results of any single game during the season. Likewise, it's silly to panic over one bad day in the stock market, or one bad piece of personal finance news. The only thing that matters is how you finish. If you take the long view and are generally making positive progress, then you'll end up okay, just like in football.</p> <h2>9. Nothing Is for Certain</h2> <p>Pro football is one of the few sports where player salaries are not guaranteed. Any player can be cut and out of a job at any time. A perennial Pro Bowler can lose his starting job to a rookie. This lack of certainty often rears its ugly head in matters of money, also. You may think you have enough money to cover an emergency, but you don't. You assume you'll get a 9% return on a stock, but you lose money instead. This is why it's crucial to live conservatively, plan well, and invest with a long time horizon in mind. Because just when you think you have things all figured out, life happens.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-football-teaches-us-about-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-siri-can-be-your-personal-finance-assistant">9 Ways Siri Can Be Your Personal Finance Assistant</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-tips-for-introverts">8 Personal Finance Tips for Introverts</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-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously">7 Reasons You Really Need to Pay Yourself First (Seriously)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living football investing lessons pigskin planning saving sports strategies Thu, 17 Nov 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1834560 at http://www.wisebread.com The Frugal Colonizer's Guide to Getting to Mars http://www.wisebread.com/the-frugal-colonizers-guide-to-getting-to-mars <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-frugal-colonizers-guide-to-getting-to-mars" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/astronaut_mars_office_19963703.jpg" alt="Frugal colonizer trying to get to Mars" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you want to take a trip to Mars?</p> <p>For many people, such a journey would be the thrill of a lifetime. But there's no indication that an average person can currently shell out the billions of dollars it would take to get there.</p> <p>However, there are people working every day on the concept of commercial space flight, and it's possible that one day, such interplanetary trips will be financially achievable even for middle class folks. Famed entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk recently said he'd like to see the price of a Mars trip drop to about $200,000.</p> <p>Of course, that's still a big chunk of change. But with sensible financial planning, it's a plausible figure even for someone who's not filthy rich.</p> <p>Let's take a look at how an Average Joe might be able to accumulate $200,000 for a trip to Mars.</p> <h2>Save and Wait</h2> <p>Elon Musk didn't give an indication of <em>when </em>the $200,000 price tag might be in place. So let's assume that it's far out in the future. This gives you time to begin saving now and accumulate wealth over time. $200,000 isn't an amount that can be saved overnight, but over the course of, say, 25 years, it's achievable. If you put away just $250 per month and invest in the general stock market, earning about 7% per year, you'll have about $200,000 a quarter century from now, assuming inflation remains low.</p> <h2>Save More and Wait Less</h2> <p>So you don't want to wait 25 years? Fine. That means you'll have to find ways to save more and accumulate $200,000 in a shorter span of time. Assuming the typical 7% market return on investments, it will take about $650 a month to reach your goal in 15 years. To do it in 10 years, you'll need to save about $1,200 per month. It's possible to invest more aggressively and earn money faster, but you also run a greater risk of losing money or falling short of your goal.</p> <h2>Go Full Monk</h2> <p>So let's say you have a middle class salary but don't want to wait at all. You make about $50,000 a year, but want to go in the next five years or so. Well, sounds like it's time to practice living on Mars by cutting out just about every luxury in your life. Move in with your parents to save on rent, or downsize into a tiny house. Ditch your car and get a bus pass. Never eat out. For entertainment, go on long hikes and read books from the library. If Mars is your goal, you need to act like you're practically already there by living on the bare necessities.</p> <h2>Sell Your Story</h2> <p>If you can't afford to take the trip on your own, maybe there's someone who will pay you to tell the story of how you got to Mars. Maybe there's a book deal to be had, or a reality television show. Maybe you could start a blog and sell some ads on it. Why spend your own money when someone else can handle the expense?</p> <h2>Fund It on Kickstarter</h2> <p>It's highly doubtful many people will raise money online for your trip to Mars. But if you turn your trip into an unselfish venture, it might generate some donations, perhaps through a platform like Kickstarter or GoFundMe. For example, you might promise to perform certain kinds of scientific research, or raise awareness for a cause.</p> <h2>Get Sponsorships</h2> <p>Many people climb Mount Everest and do other big expeditions with the support of companies who like the exposure. Your trip to Mars may be highly publicized, so you can trade your potential visibility for cash to help pay for the trip. This might mean you have to travel in a spacesuit with GoDaddy or Red Bull on the back, but it will be worth it for a trip to the red planet.</p> <h2>Sell Mars Artifacts</h2> <p>People will pay big bucks for items from Mars. Rocks. Dirt. Jars of red dust. It can all be for sale if you can find a way to bring it back to Earth. Surely, there may be restrictions on what you can take from Mars, but if the Apollo astronauts brought back moon rocks, you could probably get away with snatching a Mars rock or two. Under this scenario, you'd probably need someone to front you the money and agree to be paid back later when you earn cash from your Mars artifacts.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-frugal-colonizers-guide-to-getting-to-mars&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%20Frugal%20Colonizers%20Guide%20to%20Getting%20to%20Mars.jpg&amp;description=The%20Frugal%20Colonizers%20Guide%20to%20Getting%20to%20Mars" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%20Frugal%20Colonizers%20Guide%20to%20Getting%20to%20Mars.jpg" alt="The Frugal Colonizer's Guide to Getting to Mars" 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/the-frugal-colonizers-guide-to-getting-to-mars">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-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/9-ways-siri-can-be-your-personal-finance-assistant">9 Ways Siri Can Be Your Personal Finance Assistant</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-moves-you-can-make-during-your-commute">10 Financial Moves You Can Make During Your Commute</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-best-money-management-tips-from-john-oliver">7 Best Money Management Tips From John Oliver</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Entertainment Travel commercial space flight investing Mars saving trips Mon, 31 Oct 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1822946 at http://www.wisebread.com Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here's How We'd Spend it Instead http://www.wisebread.com/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fancy_sports_car_91447401.jpg" alt="Spend $350K on this instead of parking fancy cars" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I came across a news report recently about the construction of a <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/14/luxury/autohouse-car-condo-miami/index.html">luxury condominium for cars</a>. It will allow people with fancy cars to park their vehicles in a secure environment, at the reasonable cost of just $350,000.</p> <p>Yes, $350,000 for a place to park.</p> <p>Suffice it to say, we can think of smarter things to do with $350,000. If you are lucky enough to have this kind of cash available to you, consider these alternative and sensible ways to spend your money.</p> <h2>1. Bolster That Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Before you shell out thousands of dollars for that custom-made personal watercraft, ask yourself if you'd have enough cash left to pay for a major medical bill if you got hurt. Or a hot water heater if it leaked all over your basement. Ask yourself how long you could get by if you lost your job. It's bad to blow money on unnecessary things. It's even worse to blow that money when you have nothing saved for a rainy day. Make sure you have <em>at least</em> three months of living expenses in liquid savings before you make any crazy purchases.</p> <h2>2. Pay Off High-Interest Debt</h2> <p>If you have money, there's no real excuse for carrying high-interest debt, such as that from credit cards. Interest from debt can erode your net worth, so pay off as much as you can. Focus on paying down the debts with the highest interest rates and go from there.</p> <h2>3. Contribute Maximum Toward Retirement</h2> <p>If you have a high income, there's no reason to hold back on putting as much into your retirement funds as possible. Those with 401K accounts can contribute up to $18,000 per year, and anyone with earned income can contribute $5,500 annually into an individual retirement account. Both of these accounts allow you to invest and see your money grow in a tax advantaged way. Focus on investments that mirror the overall performance of the stock market, and you'll see your money grow without much stress. Maxing out retirement funds may very well be the least frivolous thing to do with your money.</p> <h2>4. Invest Even More</h2> <p>Okay, so you've maxed out the amount you can place in retirement accounts. That doesn't mean you can't continue to invest! If you have the funds, consider buying stocks, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds in a traditional brokerage account. You will have to pay taxes on any gains, but if you're investing for the long haul, you'll still come out well ahead in most cases.</p> <h2>5. Go to College</h2> <p>The best kind of investment is an investment in yourself. If you have enough money to pay for college, go for it! A typical person with a bachelor's degree <a href="https://trends.collegeboard.org/education-pays/figures-tables/lifetime-earnings-education-level">earns 66% more</a> over the course of their lifetime than someone who does not got to college, according to the College Board. And the earnings get even higher for those with advanced degrees. If you've already been to college, consider opening a college savings account for your children or another relative who's college-bound. Most states offer 529 plans that allow you to invest money without paying tax on the gains, provided that the money is later used for education expenses.</p> <h2>6. Buy a Home (Or a Second One)</h2> <p>If you're sitting on a sizable sum of money, it might make sense to put some toward a down payment on a house or other piece of real estate. It's better than renting, because you're building equity and may be able to even sell the real estate later at a profit. If you already own a home, consider buying a second and renting it out. This way, you not only get the benefits of real estate ownership, but an additional income stream as well. This sure beats cars or other material items that don't accrue in value.</p> <h2>7. Do Some Home Maintenance and Upgrades</h2> <p>Maybe it's time for a new roof, or your furnace has been on the fritz. Maybe you've always wanted to turn the basement into a nice family room. If you invest a little money into your home, you can stave off expensive repairs later, and any upgrades you make could increase your home value.</p> <h2>8. Give Some Away</h2> <p>$350,000 is a fair chunk of change, so why not give some away to a cause that you support? Remember that all charitable donations are tax deductible, so there's a financial benefit to giving away cash rather than spending it on something silly.</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/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">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-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</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/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/optimize-your-ira-and-401k">Optimize Your IRA and 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/the-10-biggest-myths-about-investing">The 10 Biggest Myths About Investing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting 401k charity debt emergency funds investing IRA luxury money retirement spending Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:30:20 +0000 Tim Lemke 1811799 at http://www.wisebread.com