investing http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/285/all en-US 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-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-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/what-to-do-when-your-tax-preparer-makes-a-mistake">What to Do When Your Tax Preparer Makes a Mistake</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/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</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/6-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-the-easter-bunny">6 Money Lessons We Can Learn From the Easter Bunny</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/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes">Stop Making These 7 Basic Budget Mistakes</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-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-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/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</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-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One</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-signs-your-retirement-is-on-track">8 Signs Your Retirement Is on Track</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-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-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-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/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</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-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks">Save More Gas by Safely Following Trucks</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-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</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-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/the-5-millennial-money-apps-everyone-should-use">The 5 Millennial Money Apps 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/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-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-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/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/how-to-live-with-inflation">How to live with inflation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-qe2-could-mean-for-ordinary-americans">What QE2 Could Mean for Ordinary Americans</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 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-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously">7 Reasons You Really Need to Pay Yourself First (Seriously)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-savings-rates-us-vs-japan">Comparing Savings Rates: U.S. vs Japan</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/not-the-sort-of-person-who">Not the sort of person who ...</a></span> </div> </li> </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-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/comparing-savings-rates-us-vs-japan">Comparing Savings Rates: U.S. vs Japan</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-wake-up-richer-tomorrow-than-you-are-today">12 Easy Ways to Wake Up Richer Tomorrow Than You Are Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</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-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-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/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know">The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know</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 9 Threats to a Secure Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/9-threats-to-a-secure-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-threats-to-a-secure-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_holding_hands_88407163.jpg" alt="Couple learning threats to a secure retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Saving and investing for retirement isn't easy. There's a lot that can happen to take you off track, potentially leaving you less money than you hoped for.</p> <p>From poor financial planning to unexpected events and even nationwide economic woes, here are some of the things that could pose a threat to your secure retirement.</p> <h2>1. Not Investing Enough</h2> <p>It's never easy to figure out how much to invest. After all, you want to make sure you have enough money to deal with your current needs. It's common for people to invest too little, and this can hurt them in the long run.</p> <p>When saving for retirement, it's smart to contribute as close to the maximum each year into 401K and IRA plans. (That's $18,000 for the 401K and $5,500 for the IRA.) If you can't contribute quite that much, at least put enough in to get the company match on your 401K plan.</p> <p>Even a few extra dollars per month into retirement accounts can make a big difference. For example, let's say you have $50,000 in an account and contribute $500 per month for 25 years. Assuming a 7% return, your portfolio would amount to about $677,000. But what if you contributed $1,000 monthly? Then it would hit nearly $1.1 million.</p> <h2>2. Starting Too Late</h2> <p>When investing, time is your biggest friend. The more time you have to invest, the bigger your nest egg can grow. Thus, one of the biggest threats to a secure retirement is failing to contribute to your fund early in life. If you're past 40 years old, you may have only a couple of decades to invest before you wish to stop working, and that may not be long enough to amass the kind of wealth you'll need for a long and comfortable retirement.</p> <p>Let's say you invest $25,000 today and add $1,000 per month until you are 65. If you're currently 45 and get a 7% annual return, you'll have about $625,000 upon retirement. Not bad, but if you had started when you were 25, you'd have nearly $3 million.</p> <h2>3. Raiding Retirement Funds</h2> <p>Retirement accounts such as a 401K or IRA are designed to have money grow more or less untouched until you reach retirement age. You can withdraw money from them, but there's a cost.</p> <p>When you raid these retirement funds, you'll lose the money in penalties, but you'll also lose the potential earnings of the money you take out. Over time, this can cost an investor thousands of dollars.</p> <h2>4. Economic Growth</h2> <p>For decades following World War II, the annual growth rate of the American economy averaged more than 3%, with some years seeing double that. But in recent years, that annual rate has shrunk to barely 2%. In short, the American economy is not growing as fast as it once was, and that has implications for household income, corporate growth, and employment.</p> <h2>5. Possible Entitlement Cuts</h2> <p>Many lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been warning Americans of a looming crisis in entitlement funding. Observers of the federal budget note that unless there is serious reform, Social Security Trust Funds could be depleted within 20 years. This means that for the younger generation, there may not be as much left from the government upon retirement.</p> <p>It's important to note, however, that workers who want to live comfortably after they are done working should not be counting on Social Security to carry them through the end of their life. Someone who saves aggressively and invests wisely should be able to amass enough in a retirement fund to get by even if Social Security benefits are adjusted downward or even eliminated.</p> <h2>6. Declining Pensions</h2> <p>If you currently work for a company that offers a defined benefit plan, you are a rare breed. In recent years, companies have shifted from offering pensions to instead offering 401K plans, in which workers invest on their own. In most cases, they will also get a contribution from their employer, but that's not guaranteed. This doesn't necessarily mean you'll be destitute at retirement, but it does require employees to be much more engaged in their retirement planning.</p> <h2>7. Placing All Your Eggs in One Basket</h2> <p>Even if you are saving aggressively and investing every penny you can, it's possible to end up with less money than you need in retirement. It can happen when your portfolio is too heavily balanced toward a single investment. It's unwise to invest a high percentage of your savings in one company or even one industry or asset class, because one bad day could wipe out a large chunk of your savings. (Consider the plight of Enron employees who lost nearly everything had most of their savings in company stock.)</p> <p>To protect your retirement money, invest in a diverse mixture of stocks in various sizes and asset classes. Buy mutual funds instead of individual stocks, if at all possible.</p> <h2>8. Funding College Instead of Retirement</h2> <p>It's never a bad idea to save money to contribute to your children's education. There are several vehicles including 529 plans that allow you to invest money tax-free toward college. But many investors become so focused on saving for college that they fail to contribute enough to their own retirement fund.</p> <p>Remember that it's possible to <em>borrow </em>money for college, but you can't borrow money to fund your retirement if you find you're lacking in funds when you're done working. Ideally, you'll be able to amass enough money to fund college and your retirement comfortably. But if you have to make a choice, pay your future self first, then contribute to the college fund.</p> <h2>9. Being Poorly Insured</h2> <p>You may feel like nothing bad will ever happen to you. You are young and healthy. You're a safe driver and you live in a nice neighborhood. So you skimp on things like health, auto, and homeowner's insurance. You may think you're saving money, but you're at serious risk for big financial loss if you get seriously ill or have a serious accident.</p> <p>Being uninsured or underinsured can leave you struggling to make ends meet, placing retirement savings on the back burner. You may even have to raid your retirement accounts to pay the bills. It's wise to perform an insurance assessment to determine if you have the proper level of insurance to protect yourself financially.</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-threats-to-a-secure-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-401k-in-2017-heres-whats-new-for-you">Your 401K in 2017: Here&#039;s What&#039;s New for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-your-retirement-is-on-track">8 Signs Your Retirement Is on Track</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-best-online-brokerages-for-your-ira">5 Best Online Brokerages for Your IRA</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-lessons-from-tax-day-to-remember-for-next-year">7 Lessons From Tax Day to Remember for Next Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement college Economy education funds income insurance investing late start pensions risk stocks threats Fri, 07 Oct 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 1807026 at http://www.wisebread.com How Much Are Pricey Home Upgrades Really Worth? http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-are-pricey-home-upgrades-really-worth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-much-are-pricey-home-upgrades-really-worth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/modern_house_ocean_93000781.jpg" alt="Learning how much pricey home upgrades are worth" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Real estate investing, even on a very small scale, remains a tried and true means of building an individual's cash flow and wealth,&quot; writes Robert Kiyosaki author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1612680011/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1612680011&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=NPDRUSEI6ILRUE7S">Rich Dad, Poor Dad</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-classic-personal-finance-books-you-must-read">The 8 Classic Personal Finance Books You Must Read</a>)</p> <p>But like with any other type of investment, you need to know what you're doing, or you'll end up eating your shirt. For example, you may think that some high-end projects, such as adding a deck that offers a majestic view or doing an upscale bathroom remodel, may provide you a great return on your real estate investment. However, the evidence from the <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2016/trends">2016 Remodeling Cost vs. Value report from the National Association of Realtors</a> (NAR) shows the contrary.</p> <p>By taking a look at the project costs in 102 U.S. real estate markets, the NAR report provides a comprehensive review of what features provide you the best bang for your real estate buck. Let's round up a handful of &quot;features&quot; that can really boost the cost of a home, but may not actually deliver a lot of value. And we'll look at the projects you should take on, instead.</p> <h2>1. Bathroom Addition</h2> <p>The idea of having an extra bathroom so that your family members don't have to sit around for others to get ready for the day may sound like a great idea. But adding a full 6-by-8-foot midrange bathroom to your home only recoups just <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/bathroom-addition?y=2016">under 60%</a> of your total cost, on average. In 2016, the national average cost for a midrange bathroom addition was $42,333, but offers only $23,727 in actual value &mdash; in other words, a net loss. Even worse, the NAR reported that only one out of the 102 U.S. markets provided a 100% return on this project on that year.</p> <p>Going &quot;upscale&quot; on a bathroom addition doesn't fare well either. In 2016, the national average resale value for an upscale bathroom addition was only 0.5% better than that for a midrange bathroom addition.</p> <p><strong>What to Do Instead:</strong> Keep it simple and midrange. A bathroom remodel provides a better resale value than an addition. A midrange bathroom addition and a midrange bathroom remodel recoup 56.2% and 65.7%, respectively. Doing an upscale bathroom remodel only improves the resale value by 1% over the one offered by an upscale bathroom addition. Also, the cost advantage of midrange bathroom remodel ($24,000) over an addition allows you to pay back any financing more quickly.</p> <h2>2. Composite Deck Addition</h2> <p>Enjoying a hot cup of coffee by a bonfire during the fall, or reading an intriguing novel while getting a tan during the summer out on your deck sounds like it's worth every penny. But, the financial math doesn't add up.</p> <p>Adding a 16-by-20-foot deck using pressure-treated joists supported by 4x4 posts anchored to concrete piers would run you a national average between <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2016/west-south-central/">$16,798 to $37,943</a>, depending on the scope of your project. The resale value of a composite deck addition would only recoup $10,819 to $21,877, according to national averages.</p> <p><strong>What to Do Instead: </strong>If you really want to have that deck, go with wood instead of composite. Adding a midrange deck made out of wood provides a resale value over 10% higher than that of composite.</p> <h2>3. Backup Power Generator</h2> <p>We all want to be prepared for disaster, but the addition of backup power generator runs at $12,712, according to national averages. Worse, this project only recouped an average of <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/backup-power-generator?y=2016">59.4%</a> of its cost in 2016.</p> <p><strong>What to Do Instead: </strong>Forget about backing up your power and focus on replacing your entry door. Replacing the entry door to your home is a good idea because it can improve the security and ability to withstand the elements (and zombies!) from your home. Additionally, the right door can enhance the look of your home. While the in 2016, the cost of a midrange entry door replacement recouped <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/entry-door-replacement-steel?y=2016">91.1%</a> of its cost, in past years this project has recouped up to 128.9% of its cost! In the 2015 edition of the NAR report, entry door replacement received the top rank nationally in terms of cost recouped (<a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/cost-vs-value/article/2015/01/2015-remodeling-cost-vs-value-less-more">101.8%</a>). That year' survey revealed that a new steel door was the least expensive project and provided the best payback out of all projects across the nation.</p> <p>Additionally, eligible ENERGY STAR doors can qualify you for up<a href="http://www.energystar.gov/products/building_products/residential_windows_doors_and_skylights/tax_credit"> to $500 in energy efficiency tax credits</a>.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line: The Simpler the Project, the Bigger the Return</h2> <p>Currently in its tenth year, the <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2016/trends">2016 NAR report</a> indicates that &quot;the simpler and lower-cost the project, the bigger its cost-value ratio.&quot;</p> <p>In 2016, four out of the top five projects that ranked best for cost recouped had a total cost under $5,000. These costs estimates were made assuming that you hired a professional contractor to complete the projects. Regardless of your budget, you'd be better off tackling two or more affordable projects that recoup at least 90% of their value, than just one high-end one with a recoup value under 60%. If you have great DIY handyman or negotiation skills, you could improve your investment return even further. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-you-should-splurge-and-hire-a-pro">4 Times You Should Splurge and Hire a Pro</a>)</p> <p>As you can see from these sample projects, replacements cost less than alternative home renovation projects, such as a kitchen or bathroom renovation, and provide the best bang for your buck. Another home renovation project that can be completed within three days and that provides a high return on investment is garage door replacement. In 2016, a midrange garage door replacement would recoup about 91.5% of its cost.</p> <p><em>How are you improving the market value of your property?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-are-pricey-home-upgrades-really-worth">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/real-estate-investing-is-cheaper-and-easier-than-you-think">Real Estate Investing Is Cheaper and Easier Than You Think</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/is-paying-off-your-mortgage-early-costing-you-money">Is Paying Off Your Mortgage Early Costing You 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/watch-7-diy-fails-that-will-inspire-you-to-call-an-expert">WATCH: 7 DIY Fails That Will Inspire You to Call an Expert</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-time-to-purchase-like-its-1999">It&#039;s Time to Purchase Like It&#039;s 1999</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/renting-is-cheaper">Renting is cheaper</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing DIY home renovation Home repair investing real estate Mon, 03 Oct 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Damian Davila 1802138 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Money Master http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_meditate_work_67249941.jpg" alt="Woman becoming money master through meditation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Could you save and earn more money simply by learning to be calmer and more mindful?</p> <p>Regular meditation is known to have a variety of potential health benefits. But it could play a big role in boosting your finances, due to its emphasis on self-control, patience, and minimalism.</p> <p>If you're looking to get your financial house in order, consider taking up a regular meditation practice and see if it helps. Here are some ways it might make a difference.</p> <h2>1. You'll Learn to Wait Things Out When Investing</h2> <p>When investing for retirement, it's best to take a very long-term approach. This means not concerning yourself with the everyday movements of the markets, and remaining patient even during volatile times. Meditation can help you focus on your goals, rather than make investment decisions based on emotion or a single, nonrecurring event.</p> <h2>2. You'll Be Mindful About Spending</h2> <p>How many times have you put something in the grocery cart without checking the price or even thinking about whether you truly need the item? When you practice mindfulness, you'll take the time to consider each act, and will be able to stop yourself before making an unnecessary purchase.</p> <p>Meditation could also make you less vulnerable to marketing. Rick Heller, an author who leads weekly meditations at Harvard, writes that, &quot;Unless we learn to be mindful, we'll be <a href="http://thehumanist.com/magazine/july-august-2011/features/slowing-down-the-consumer-treadmill">at the mercy of advertisers</a> who crank up the consumer treadmill to run faster and faster.&quot;</p> <h2>3. You'll Learn to Live With Less</h2> <p>One of the key goals of meditation is to free yourself from attachment to material goods. When you practice mindfulness, you are living &quot;in the moment&quot; rather than concerning yourself with wants or needs. There are many people who use mindfulness and meditation as part of their &quot;minimalist&quot; approach to living with few material possessions. Writers Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, who call themselves &quot;The Minimalists,&quot; argue that &quot;we tend to give too much meaning to our things, often forsaking our health, our relationships, our passions, our personal growth, and our desire to contribute beyond ourselves.&quot;</p> <h2>4. You'll Be Less Impulsive</h2> <p>Perhaps you once booked a trip to the Bahamas on the spot because of an overwhelming urge to get away. Or maybe you bought a new car from the first dealer you met simply because you got tired of taking your old car in for repairs. Meditation can help you learn to think through your decision making, rather than acting on impulse. And that, in turn, can save you money by staving off unnecessary on-the-fly purchases.</p> <h2>5. You Won't Shop or Eat to Reduce Stress</h2> <p>For many of us, spending money can be a stress reliever. We like the rush of endorphins when we find a new electronic gizmo, vintage comic book, or pair of shoes. We treat ourselves to a dinner out because we've had a tough week. Through meditation, we can train ourselves to find deeper joy through other means and become less dependent on these small &mdash; and short-lived &mdash; rushes of pleasure.</p> <h2>6. You Won't Panic When Things Go Wrong</h2> <p>There will be times when your finances will take a hit for one reason or another. Maybe you're facing a job loss, or a big medical bill. Perhaps your car broke down and is in need of expensive repairs. When events like these happen, it's always important to avoid making the problem worse.</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-ways-meditation-can-make-you-a-money-master">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money">10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You 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/financial-tricks-to-master-for-a-happier-life">Financial Tricks to Master for a Happier Life</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-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</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/book-review-spend-til-the-end">Book review: Spend &#039;til The End</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-doing-these-5-things-your-saving-efforts-are-for-nothing">If You&#039;re Doing These 5 Things, Your Saving Efforts Are for Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle impulse buys investing living with less meditation mindfulness saving spending stress Mon, 26 Sep 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Tim Lemke 1798864 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's What Your Vote Says About Your Money Style http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-your-vote-says-about-your-money-style <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-what-your-vote-says-about-your-money-style" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_vote_patriotic_78663835.jpg" alt="Learning what your vote says about your money style" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Does your philosophy toward money influence your politics? Do you support or oppose certain candidates based on your own spending or investing style?</p> <p>There are plenty of stereotypes out there, but also a good amount of evidence suggesting that the way we vote is a reflection of our approach to money. The studies sampled below vary in size and quality, so take them with a grain of salt, to be sure &mdash; but here's what they tell us about your vote and your money.</p> <h2>1. Conservatives Save, Liberals Spend</h2> <p>This is a generalization, but it does appear to be backed up by some data. A 2014 Gallup poll revealed that 64% of self-identified conservatives prefer saving money over spending it, compared to 54% for self-identified liberals. And this difference in attitude appears to exist even among young people, though there is growing evidence that Millennials learned to become more frugal after the Great Recession.</p> <h2>2. Democrats Have More Credit Cards, But Use Them More Wisely</h2> <p>A survey from Credit Sesame last year revealed that people in Democratic (or &quot;Blue&quot;) states have more credit cards and higher credit limits than those in Republican-leaning states. Republican states, on the other hand, use fewer cards and have less debt overall, but had 34% more people who have gone over their credit limit.</p> <h2>3. Beliefs Guide Investing</h2> <p>If you have strong feelings on certain social or political issues, it may impact how you shop and how you invest. A conservative voter might not want to invest in movie studios that make violent films, or have sexual content. An anti-gun voter would avoid a mutual fund that invests in Smith and Wesson. Environmentally conscious investors will research a company's record on sustainability or pollution before becoming shareholders.</p> <p>These days, there are hundreds of socially conscious mutual funds that exclude companies for a reasons ranging from their sale of tobacco or alcohol, their use or production of nuclear power, their role in the defense industry, or their labor practices.</p> <h2>4. If Your Candidate's Winning, You're More Optimistic</h2> <p>If the candidate you support is in the lead, then you feel good about the future. And an optimistic person is more likely to invest their money, under the assumption that the economy and stock market will do well. Research shows this is true whether you're a Democrat or a Republican. A study titled, <a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1509168"><em>Political Climate, Optimism, and Investment Decisions</em></a> showed that Democrats were more optimistic about the economy after 1992 and 1996, but that trend reversed in 2000, when a Republican took office.</p> <h2>5. You Should Vote the Way You Should Invest &mdash; With Your Eyes on the Horizon</h2> <p>Accumulating wealth requires patience and time and a willingness to look at the big picture. The best investors take a long view with their money, rather than buy and sell on a whim. And it's possible to vote with a similar mindset. When voting, do you wonder which candidate is best equipped to plan for the nation's long-term health? Voters taking the long view might be attracted to candidates who talk about things like infrastructure investment, the cost of entitlements, or future changes in technology or demographics.</p> <p><em>Do any of these money and politics links ring true for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-your-vote-says-about-your-money-style">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-11"> <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/comparing-savings-rates-us-vs-japan">Comparing Savings Rates: U.S. vs Japan</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/the-real-cost-of-moving-to-canada-if-thats-your-post-election-plan">The Real Cost of Moving to Canada (If That&#039;s Your Post-Election Plan)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-easy-ways-to-wake-up-richer-tomorrow-than-you-are-today">12 Easy Ways to Wake Up Richer Tomorrow Than You Are Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Clinton conservative democrats finances investing liberal republicans saving trump voting Fri, 09 Sep 2016 09:00:14 +0000 Tim Lemke 1788931 at http://www.wisebread.com It's the 21st Century — Why Is Your Money Stuck in the 20th? http://www.wisebread.com/its-the-21st-century-why-is-your-money-stuck-in-the-20th <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/its-the-21st-century-why-is-your-money-stuck-in-the-20th" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_friends_piggy_bank_74667997.jpg" alt="Woman learning why her money is stuck in the 20th century" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you read financial advice these days, you could be forgiven for checking the date to see if you'd wandered back into the 1990s (or 1970s).</p> <p>What was good advice for the 20th century? Go to the best college you can, get a good job, live frugally, save and invest, buy a house, and max out your retirement savings.</p> <p>But all that generic financial advice of the 20th century isn't necessarily the surest route to success anymore. Millennials figured this out a while ago. That's why so many aren't bothering with college, why so many are living at home with their parents, and why so many are getting by with casual jobs &mdash; or no jobs.</p> <h2>Smart Moves for the 21st Century</h2> <p>So, what's the right financial advice for the 21st century? Well, Millennials' instincts aren't wrong. But these are hard waters to navigate purely on instinct. Here's what I'd do.</p> <h3>It's Not &quot;Don't Go to College&quot;</h3> <p>Rather, it's &quot;Don't <em>go into debt</em> to go to college.&quot;</p> <p>Even that is a bit extreme, because there are career paths &mdash; engineering, technology &mdash; where you can earn enough to pay off student loans. It would probably be even better to say, &quot;Keep your student loans small, relative to your prospects of paying the money back.&quot;</p> <p>In particular, don't pay up to attend a mid-tier college. In the 20th century there was real ROI in going to the best college you could get into. In the 21st century, I think that's only true at the top. If you can't get into (or afford!) one of the absolute top colleges, there's no reason to pay extra to attend a second-tier college. The cost-benefit ratio shifts strongly in your favor if you do a couple of years at community college and then finish your degree at a good state school. Of course if your family is rich or you can get excellent scholarships, there's no reason not to go to a second-tier college &mdash; just not if you have to borrow extra to do it.</p> <p>Even if you can get into a top-tier college, consider whether its cost is justified. Will your degree ensure a job upon graduation, or result in better-compensated roles than you might otherwise have access to? Will it make entry into a graduate program of your choice easier? Will it materially benefit your intended life path in some way?</p> <h3>It's Not &quot;Live at Home With Your Parents&quot;</h3> <p>Rather, it's &quot;Live a lifestyle you can really afford, <em>even if that means</em> living at home with your parents.&quot;</p> <p>Do not go into debt to support your lifestyle! In fact, you'll be way ahead of the game if you can start accumulating <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/on-the-importance-of-having-capital">a little capital</a>. Even just a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/figuring-the-size-of-your-emergency-fund">small emergency fund</a> can make your life enormously better.</p> <p>Other sorts of debt may not be as bad as student loan debt (which can't be discharged even in bankruptcy, and which lenders will give you even if your planned course of study gives you no hope of ever paying it off), but that doesn't mean the other sorts are okay.</p> <h3>It's Not &quot;Work Casual Jobs&quot;</h3> <p>Rather, it's &quot;Find a way to support your low-cost lifestyle, <em>even if all you can get</em> are casual jobs.&quot;</p> <p>There are all kinds of ways to make money. There are good jobs, there are crappy jobs, there are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-outside-your-day-job">side gigs</a> of all sorts. The key is to fund your lifestyle (plus a little extra).</p> <p>In today's economy there are times and places where crappy jobs are all you can get. That's unfortunate.</p> <p>Also unfortunate is that so many people writing about &quot;kids these days&quot; don't see that <em>these two items are paired</em>. Millennials are (very wisely) matching lifestyle choices with income opportunities, while journalists (and even financial advisers) are pretending that these two things are independent of one another.</p> <h3>All the Other Generic Financial Advice</h3> <p>Investing used to be easy.</p> <p>From around 1980 through the end of the 20th century, just about any mix of cash, bonds, and stocks purchased through low-cost index funds would yield several percentage points above inflation, letting anybody be an investing super-genius.</p> <p>Housing prices didn't go up in a straight line through the whole period, but between the tax advantages of homeownership and the leverage of mortgages with a low down payment, as long as you didn't pay too much, anybody could have both a home <em>and </em>a valuable capital asset.</p> <p>Because none of this stuff is true any more, investing is now really hard.</p> <p>The return on cash has for years been so close to zero as to be not worth worrying about. Bonds, stocks, and real estate are all up so much since the crash that they're probably a lousy place to invest new money.</p> <p>None of which is to say that you shouldn't be frugal and accumulate some savings, but doing so will not be the path to wealth this century that it was last century.</p> <p>That means that we need to look someplace besides the 20th century for financial advice. And for that, I have an idea.</p> <h2>Look to Earlier Centuries</h2> <p>The 20th century was genuinely different. For about two generations &mdash; the generation that fought World War II and the Baby Boomers &mdash; we had a unique set of circumstances that made it possible to work for a paycheck and eventually, before you got too old to work, get rich.</p> <p>Until then, for all of human history, there were only two paths to wealth: You could inherit wealth, or you could achieve wealth through some sort of risk-taking endeavor (entrepreneurship, speculation, etc.).</p> <p>Those unique circumstances no longer apply, and because of that, the best place to look for strategies for the future is to look at the strategies that worked before the 20th century. The 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries will provide fertile ground. Things that worked then are going to work <em>better </em>going forward than reflexively copying what worked in the 20th century.</p> <p>Perhaps financial professionals can be forgiven for not having figured this out &mdash; the whole financial industry is a product of the 20th century.</p> <p>I have a book of financial advice from 1883 called <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Worth-Wealth-Collection-Miscellanies-Merchants-ebook/dp/B0071IGXEG">Worth and Wealth</a> by T.L. Haines. It's a fascinating book. Much of it reads exactly like personal finance advice from today (minus any high-tech stuff like automating your bill paying) &mdash; getting an education, finding a job, living frugally, and so on &mdash; except that it has nothing about what we would consider investing. There's nothing about stocks or bonds. Instead, there's <em>investing</em> the way it was done in prior centuries.</p> <h3>Buy Productive Land</h3> <p>Land was the basis of <em>all</em> wealth right up until the 19th century. In the old days it would have been land with crops or pasture, but rental property counts too. Of course, both running a farm and being a landlord are more like a second job than like passive investing. Speaking of which...</p> <h3>Invest in a Business</h3> <p>That is, invest in <em>your own</em> business.</p> <p>The sorts of paper investments &mdash; stocks and bonds &mdash; that did so well in the 20th century are not going to go away, and no doubt a lot of people will make a lot of money in the market. But I don't think we'll see a continuation of the days in which a simple diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds provided a safe, high return.</p> <p>Of course, running a small business is more like a full-time job than like passive investing. And that's my point. The right response now to any the article on investing for &quot;passive income&quot; is to shake your head and say, &quot;That's so last century.&quot;</p> <h3>Organize Like a Family</h3> <p>The idea of an individual person as the fundamental economic unit is an idea of the late 20th century. Before that the fundamental economic unit was the <em>family</em>.</p> <p>There are all kinds of advantages to organizing your economic life around a family with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/strategies-for-households-with-more-than-one-adult">more than one adult</a>. It meshes especially well with the ideas I've already mentioned. Family members may work outside the family to bring in wages or a salary, but if there's family land or a family business, family members who lose their jobs can work them until they find a new job. That way the family still has some income and the family member has productive work to do.</p> <p>One mental model for this might be the big farm families of the 19th century, but I suggest that you think bigger. Model your home economy after the aristocratic families of the 18th century. Everyone can contribute. The most able can be given scope to vastly increase the family's wealth, while the young and the old and those who simply lack that spark can still contribute to (and share in) the family's success.</p> <p>If organizing like a family doesn't work for you, consider organizing like a tribe. It's probably an even better metaphor.</p> <h2>The Way Things Are Going to Be</h2> <p>In all these areas, I think that the Millennials' instincts have been pretty good, except that I think they've bought in on the 20th-century idea that the economic unit is the individual.</p> <p>That's understandable. It's an appealing model, one that gives maximum freedom with minimal responsibility &mdash; you're only responsible for yourself.</p> <p>Because of this, I worry that many of them, even those who are making the right moves on a piecemeal basis, have not figured out that the 21st century is going to look a lot more like the 19th and prior centuries than like the 20th.</p> <p>The choices that they make &mdash; in particular, the choice to live at home with their parents &mdash; show them instinctively moving in the right direction, but until they can correct their mental model, they're missing out on some useful perspective that history can provide.</p> <p>Look into how families organized their home economy before the 20th century. There's a lot of practical wisdom there.</p> <p><em>Where is your money &mdash; in the 20th century or the 21st?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-the-21st-century-why-is-your-money-stuck-in-the-20th">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/6-ways-millennials-have-changed-money-so-far">6 Ways Millennials Have Changed Money (So Far)</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/not-rich-enough-and-not-poor-enough">Not Rich Enough and Not Poor Enough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-and-why-to-start-an-investment-club">How (and Why) to Start an Investment Club</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle 20th century 21st century advice baby boomers business education family investing millennials property investing Mon, 05 Sep 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Philip Brewer 1785277 at http://www.wisebread.com