insurance http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3139/all en-US 8 Signs You Aren't Prepared for an Emergency http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-you-arent-prepared-for-an-emergency <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-signs-you-arent-prepared-for-an-emergency" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-487795974.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everyone eventually faces an emergency, whether it's related to finances, health, the weather, or something else entirely. The more prepared we are, however, the easier it is to roll with the punches when life throws them our way. Are you ready? Here are eight signs you aren't prepared for an emergency. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Decide if It's a &quot;Fund-Worthy&quot; Emergency</a>)</p> <h2>1. You Haven't Saved a Single Cent</h2> <p>While emergencies come in various forms, many of us will face a financial crisis at some point &mdash; and it may be hard to keep your head above water when it strikes.</p> <p>Financial experts constantly preach the importance of an emergency fund. Yet some people don't take steps to ensure they have enough in reserves for unexpected surprises. If you have little to no money reserved for a financial emergency, you likely won't come out of it on top.</p> <p>Say you lose your job and primary source of income. Even if you're eligible for unemployment compensation, what you receive on a monthly basis may be significantly less than your regular salary. Your finances can also take a hit if a medical emergency triggers high monthly payments to a hospital or doctor's office. If you can't afford your health insurance deductible, which can run thousands of dollars, this can result in delaying needed medical treatment.</p> <p>Similarly, lack of a savings account causes problems when you deal with a car repair or a home repair. Some people rely on a credit card when they don't have money in the bank. This puts them in debt and makes it even harder to save over a long period of time.</p> <h2>2. You Don't Have an Emergency Kit</h2> <p>If you've never lived through a natural disaster (count your blessings), you may not worry much about one impacting your life. But anything is possible, and it's important to have emergency supplies on hand just in case. For instance, if you were to lose power after a major storm and couldn't stay at a relative or friend's house, it'll be difficult to prepare food, and the food in your refrigerator would begin to spoil as the temperature inside the fridge rises. Sometimes we don't realize how much we need electricity for meal preparation until we don't have it.</p> <p>Be prepared and always maintain a supply of nonperishable food and one gallon of water per person per day &mdash; for at least three days. Personally, I have about nine gallons of water stored in my basement for this purpose. Also consider purchasing a go bag &mdash; available at most outdoor or sporting goods stores &mdash; which is prepacked with essentials in the event of an emergency. Mine has food rations, survival and self-defense tools, first-aid materials, and more. You can add items to the bag as needed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-emergency-kits?ref=seealaso" target="_blank">The 5 Best Emergency Kits</a>)</p> <h2>3. You Don't Have a Backup Generator</h2> <p>Power outages caused by wind and ice storms and other natural disasters can last for hours, or even days. When you don't have power, any appliance that requires electricity becomes useless, including your stove, fridge, deep freezer, and HVAC unit.</p> <p>To prepare for long-term outages, consider a permanent or portable emergency generator. These machines can restore power to your home in a jiff. Permanent generators sit outside the home and run on propane or natural gas, just like your outdoor grill. A portable generator &mdash; which is a cheaper alternative (and probably all you need if you're not in a frequent disaster zone) &mdash; can operate on gas or diesel fuel. You can store it in the garage, but you should never run the generator inside the home. Using a generator indoors can cause buildup of carbon monoxide, and that can kill you.</p> <h2>4. You Don't Know the Location of Important Documents</h2> <p>In the event of an emergency, you'll also need to grab important documents before you head out the door, and unfortunately, if you're unorganized and have your documents stored in different locations, it'll be difficult to quickly locate them in an emergency. Get organized and keep important paperwork clearly labeled in a fireproof locked cabinet, preferably inside a sealed plastic bag; both measures protect the paper from fire and water. Important documents include Social Security cards, passports, your homeowner's or renter's insurance policies, medical insurance cards, and the like.</p> <h2>5. You Don't Have Extra Insurances</h2> <p>If you have health insurance, auto insurance, homeowner's insurance, and life insurance, you probably think you've covered your bases. But these aren't the only insurances to think about. Life can go horribly wrong in a matter of seconds, so prepare for the &quot;what ifs&quot; with additional insurance and protect your assets.</p> <p>If you haven't already, compare costs for a short-term disability policy which pays a percentage of your salary if you become temporarily disabled and can't work. There are also legal insurance plans that provide affordable legal representation in the event that someone takes legal action against you. Even if you do not live in a flood zone, a flood insurance plan is worth consideration. This is because a standard homeowner's insurance policy does not cover flood damage. Also, most insurance policies have a hurricane deductible, which is higher than the policy's standard deductible for theft, fire, and other perils.</p> <p>If you have a hurricane deductible and your home is damaged by a hurricane, this deductible is a percentage of your home's assessed value, which can be as much as 5%. If a hurricane causes a tree to fall on your house, or if hurricane-force winds break your windows and rain water floods your property, you have to pay the hurricane deductible before your insurance company pays for any damage. On the other hand, if you purchase flood insurance, the policy covers flood and/or rain damage caused by the hurricane.</p> <h2>6. You Don't Keep a Stock of Batteries or Candles</h2> <p>Nowadays, cellphones do more than make and receive phone calls. You can use your phone's Internet to check the weather or news, and some smartphones even have a built-in flashlight. With so much technology in the palm of your hands, it's easy to downplay the importance of an old-fashioned flashlight, batteries, and candles during an emergency.</p> <p>However, no matter what type of phone you have, the battery will eventually die. And if you lose power and don't have a backup generator, you can't power your electronic devices. To make sure you're never stuck in the dark and cut off from the outside world, keep a supply of batteries and candles on hand.</p> <h2>7. You Don't Have Extra Gasoline for Your Car</h2> <p>When a natural disaster causes widespread power outages, gas stations without backup electricity will not have working pumps, which can trigger a local gas shortage. If you don't have fuel in your car, you can't drive or evacuate the area, if necessary. That, in itself, should be a top priority when you're expecting a major weather event. You must be able to evacuate if needed. Also, lack of gasoline means you can't power a portable generator.</p> <p>Ideally, you should fill up your car before disaster strikes. But of course, impending danger doesn't always come with a heads up. To prepare yourself, consider stockpiling several gallons of gasoline in an approved airtight container. Many containers can hold between five and 25 gallons. Store your gasoline supply in a cool location outside of your home, such as a shed or garage.</p> <h2>8. You Don't Have an Outdoor Grill</h2> <p>Regardless of whether you prefer cooking on the grill or stove, a charcoal or gas grill comes in handy during an emergency. If you can't use your stove due to lack of electricity, outdoor grilling lets you enjoy a hot meal until your utility company restores power. Grill veggies, hot dogs, hamburgers, and any other meat you have on ice in a cooler (because otherwise it's probably going to spoil if the power is out for too long). Plan ahead and make sure you have enough charcoal, lighter fluid, or gas to get you through at least a week without power.</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/8-signs-you-arent-prepared-for-an-emergency">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-money">4 Ways the 50% Rule Can Save 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/5-big-winter-expenses-that-could-freeze-your-budget">5 Big Winter Expenses That Could Freeze Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels">How Long Does It Take to Break Even With Solar Panels?</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-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</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-resist-the-expensive-once-in-a-lifetime-mentality">How to Resist the Expensive &quot;Once in a Lifetime&quot; Mentality</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Home disaster emergency fund emergency kit emergency preparedness insurance natural disaster saving money Thu, 16 Mar 2017 10:00:22 +0000 Mikey Rox 1909970 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Types of Travel Insurance Credit Cards Include That You Didn't Know About http://www.wisebread.com/6-types-of-travel-insurance-credit-cards-include-that-you-didnt-know-about <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-types-of-travel-insurance-credit-cards-include-that-you-didnt-know-about" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-482555117.jpg" alt="your credit card may offer travel insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The right <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel credit card</a> doesn't just get you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">free flights</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-free-hotel-status-upgrades?ref=internal" target="_blank">status upgrades</a>, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=internal" target="_blank">zero transaction fees</a> when using it abroad. The best credit cards come with numerous forms of travel insurance that may offer financial assistance or reimbursement for all sorts of things that may happen while on a trip. Look for these benefits in the credit cards you use for your next trip. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=seealso">Best Travel Perks You Didn't Know Your Credit Card Has</a>)</p> <h2>1. Auto Rental Insurance</h2> <p>Most major credit cards offer some form of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-car-rental-insurance-really-cover-on-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">automobile rental insurance</a>, often called a collision damage waiver, which covers you in the event of theft or damage to your rented vehicle. Although these policies vary by credit card, they all require you to use your card to pay for the rental, and to decline any optional insurance offered by the rental car company. Some cards offer primary rental car insurance, so you don't have to first submit a claim to your personal vehicle insurer &mdash; which could cause your rates to go up.</p> <h2>2. Trip Cancellation And Trip Interruption Insurance</h2> <p>Some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-premium-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">premium travel rewards credit cards</a> have policies that provide compensation when your trip is canceled or interrupted, as long as you booked the trip with that card. It can&nbsp;reimburse you for nonrefundable trip expenses, such as change fees, when you experience a delay or cancellation for a covered reason, including illness, injury, or severe weather. Some cards offer up to $1,500 of coverage for trip cancellation or interruption due to death, accidental injury, illness, or default by the carrier due to financial insolvency. There are plenty of exclusions, so read the policy carefully.&nbsp;</p> <h2>3. Lost and Delayed Luggage Insurance</h2> <p>If you travel often, it's only a matter of time until your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-airline-lost-your-luggage-now-what?ref=internal" target="_blank">luggage is lost or delayed</a>. But once again, the right credit card will come through in a pinch with lost or delayed luggage insurance, so long as you used your card to pay for your trip. You might get up to&nbsp;$500 of lost baggage coverage for checked bags and $1,250 for theft from your carry-on bags. This coverage is <em>secondary</em>, so you will first have to file a claim with the airline and sometimes your homeowner's insurance. But after you've gone those routes, the credit card coverage can fill the gaps.</p> <h2>4. Roadside Assistance</h2> <p>Many credit cards offer programs to help you if you have car trouble on the road. Services often include towing, flat tire changing, lockout service, and delivery of up to two gallons of fuel. Some cards offer these services at no cost. Many other credit cards offer referrals to these services, but you'll have to pay for the service &mdash; for example the tow truck &mdash; yourself. Though you might be able to find faster or cheaper service nearby, it's nice to have a roadside assistance number always handy, for times you aren't able to search for a local place.</p> <h2>5. Emergency Evacuation and Transportation</h2> <p>One of the most costly consequences of becoming injured or ill while traveling can be transportation back home when you are unable to get good care overseas or when you need to complete your recovery at home. Some credit cards cover these costs when you charge your trip to the card. Some cards offer $100,000 of transportation benefits if a doctor certifies that you need to be evacuated and the benefits administrator approves the claim in advance.</p> <h2>6. Travel Accident Insurance</h2> <p>Should the unthinkable happen, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-exactly-does-travel-accident-insurance-cover-on-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel accident insurance</a> will cover you and your loved ones in the event of loss of life, limb, sight, or hearing during a trip paid for with your card. This can be up to&nbsp;$250,000 worth of this coverage.&nbsp;</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%2F6-types-of-travel-insurance-credit-cards-include-that-you-didnt-know-about&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%20Types%20of%20Travel%20Insurance%20Credit%20Cards%20Include%20That%20You%20Didnt%20Know%20About.jpg&amp;description=6%20Types%20of%20Travel%20Insurance%20Credit%20Cards%20Include%20That%20You%20Didnt%20Know%20About" 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/u5180/6%20Types%20of%20Travel%20Insurance%20Credit%20Cards%20Include%20That%20You%20Didnt%20Know%20About.jpg" alt="6 Types of Travel Insurance Credit Cards Include That You Didnt Know About" width="250" height="374" />&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-types-of-travel-insurance-credit-cards-include-that-you-didnt-know-about">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-ways-a-credit-card-can-save-you-money-on-travel">8 Unexpected Ways a Credit Card Can Save You Money on Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">The Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</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/capital-one-venture-rewards-card-review">Travel Rewards Don&#039;t Get Easier Than This: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card</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/travel-and-money-using-your-credit-card-on-the-road">Travel and Money: Using Your Credit Card on the Road</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel car rental insurance lost luggage travel insurance trip cancellation Wed, 01 Feb 2017 10:30:31 +0000 Jason Steele 1884229 at http://www.wisebread.com How Credit Cards Protect Your Purchases From Damage or Theft http://www.wisebread.com/how-credit-cards-protect-your-purchases-from-damage-or-theft <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-credit-cards-protect-your-purchases-from-damage-or-theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_broken_phone_543055918.jpg" alt="Credit cards protecting purchases from damage or theft" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've bought a pricey new camera and within weeks, your kid drops it and breaks it &mdash; or worse, it's stolen from your house. What can you do? Your credit card may be able to help if it comes with a purchase protection policy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-reasons-to-always-use-your-credit-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Surprising Reasons to Always Pay with Your Credit Card</a>)</p> <h2>What Is Purchase Protection?</h2> <p>Purchase protection covers eligible items purchased on the card against covered losses. Typically, these policies cover theft and accidental damage, but not losses due to misplacement or theft from vehicles. Other common exceptions can include losses due to natural disasters, confiscation by the government, and normal wear and tear.</p> <p>In addition, certain kinds of purchases are typically excluded, such as antiques, used goods, computer software, as well as motorized vehicles and parts. And in many cases, you may be required to file a claim with your homeowners insurance first, and this policy will cover you for the deductible in any uncovered loss. Finally, these policies are limited to a certain amount of damages per claim and in many cases a certain amount per year.</p> <p>About half of all U.S. credit cards offer purchase protection. Payment networks such as MasterCard and Visa provide the benefit, and banks choose whether or not to include it with individual cards. Premium cards may have better benefits (a higher coverage limit or longer protection period) than standard cards, even from the same issuer.</p> <h2>Filing a Claim</h2> <p>To file a claim, contact the issuer of the card you used to make the purchase. In the event of theft, it's important to file a police report as soon as possible, as you will need to include a copy of it with your claim. If your purchase is damaged, then you should take pictures of it, and you may be required to provide a repair bill or a statement indicating that it can't be repaired and must be replaced. Once these and any other required documents are submitted, most of these policies specify a maximum amount of time that it will take to pay the claim, typically 30 to 60 days. Thankfully, in practice many cardholders receive their reimbursement sooner than that.</p> <h2>Policy Details</h2> <p>Coverage is usually up to $1,000 per claim, but can range from $500 to $10,000 depending on the specific card. Purchases are usually covered within 90 days of purchase, but again, varies between cards with some only going up to 60 days and others up to 120 days. There's usually a $50,000 limit on claims per year.</p> <p>The best way to keep up to date on your cards' purchase protection details is to review the cardholder agreement (or if you threw that away the moment you received your card, call them). That will help you decide on the best card to use for pricey purchases.&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-credit-cards-protect-your-purchases-from-damage-or-theft">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-return-items-through-your-credit-card-if-the-store-refuses">How to Return Items Through Your Credit Card If the Store Refuses</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-free-extended-warranties-work-on-credit-cards">How Free Extended Warranties Work on Credit Cards</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/4-reasons-credit-is-safer-than-debit">4 Reasons Credit Is Safer Than Debit</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/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had">12 Travel Perks You Didn&#039;t Know Your Credit Card Had</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-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles">5 Tricks to Making the Most of Your Reward Miles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards credit card perks insurance product return purchase protection return policies warranties Tue, 31 Jan 2017 10:00:14 +0000 Jason Steele 1883770 at http://www.wisebread.com My 2016 Budget Challenge: What to Do With a Totaled Car http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-what-to-do-with-a-totaled-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-what-to-do-with-a-totaled-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/toy_cars_crash_522837385.jpg" alt="Here&#039;s what to do with a totaled car" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's Note: This is another episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 this year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0" target="_blank"><em>here</em></a><em>.]</em></p> <p>Some stereotypes are true. People in Los Angeles suck at driving in the rain.</p> <h2>The Accident</h2> <p>Last week, Mr. Spendypants and I were driving down the center lane of the 110 Freeway. The road ahead was a multicar accident scene. Blocking the left hand lane was a smashed car facing oncoming traffic, its windows completely blocked by air bags. Blocking the right hand lane was not one, but two separate pileups.</p> <p>As we approached the accidents, we were struck from behind. The driver of the car that hit us had swerved to avoid crashing into the stopped vehicle in the left lane and plowed into our car, instead. The impact of the crash sent us skidding toward the stopped vehicles in the right-hand lane. If the initial impact wasn't bad enough, the driver who rear-ended us tried to pull out of his skid only to drive into the side of our car, instead.</p> <p>My first thought as we finally came to a stop on the wet pavement: Why did this have to happen to our nice car and not the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks" target="_blank">clunker that I want to part out for cash</a>?</p> <h2>The Aftermath</h2> <p>Karina, our 1993 Volvo 240 station wagon, did her job. We drove away from the accident without a scratch. Unfortunately, Karina didn't fare as well. The accident had smashed a rear door and quarter panel, and ripped off molding, a brake light, and a bumper cover.</p> <p>The next morning we drove Karina over to our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-job-creation" target="_blank">Swedish mechanic</a> who put her up on the lift. Miraculously, she had not sustained any mechanical damage from the accident, just body damage. She is in perfect driving condition.</p> <p>Even with this slightly good news, I knew at this point that Karina was totaled. Car insurance generally works off a very easy algorithm: If the cost of repair is more than 75% of the car's value, that car is declared a total loss even if the car is in perfect working order.</p> <h2>The Appraisals</h2> <p>The bodywork estimate: $2,000. Average <a href="http://www.nadaguides.com/Classic-Cars/1993/Volvo/240/4-Door-Station-Wagon/Values" target="_blank">value of a 1993 Volvo 240 wagon</a>: $2,400. Boo.</p> <p>Luckily, the driver of the car that hit us is insured (by Progressive). We had their adjuster give us an appraisal and got a second appraisal (and opinion) from State Farm, Mr. Spendypants' car insurance. Both companies called Karina a total loss. This means that instead of paying to fix her, the insurance company would cash us out on Karina's value and we'd drive home in a damaged car with a check in our pocket.</p> <p>If we went through State Farm, the accident would go against our deductible and we would end up with a check for $3,199. If we went through Progressive, there would be no impact on our deductible and we would end up with a payout of $3,480.</p> <p>By the way, we were totally shocked that Karina had retained so much value. We'd purchased her in 2012 for $3,500. We were anticipating that they insurance companies would give us $1,000 and we'd be stuck paying out of pocket to repair her.</p> <p>Both insurance companies offered to buy Karina from us for scrap. Progressive valued Karina at $119 as scrap, and State Farm offered us a princely sum of $75 to take our totaled car off our hands. While all insurance companies offer to buy totaled cars &mdash; as a convenience to the customer &mdash; it should be noted that Karina's used parts are worth around $15,000. The rear door that we will have to replace on Karina sells for $450. And that's just for the exterior metal panel, not the interior of the door!</p> <p>I have no idea why more people don't understand what a total money-loser this is.</p> <p>The loss of almost $15,000 in parts value is not a convenience. Instead we will take our chances on repairing Karina. We accepted Progressive's check for $3,480.</p> <h2>The Action Plan</h2> <p>This is where owning a totaled car gets sticky. The moment Progressive cut us a check is the moment when we lost the original title to Karina. The state of California, like most states, revokes the original title on totaled vehicles to prevent damaged cars from being resold to unsuspecting buyers. The DMV will replace our original title with a Salvage Certificate. This becomes the new ownership document. Once we repair Karina, we can re-register her as &quot;Revived Salvage.&quot; She will never get a clean title again, but we will be able to resell her if we want to down the road.</p> <p>Yes. The process of re-registering Karina will be inconvenient, but not $15,000 worth of inconvenience. This is what my next week's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick" target="_blank">action plan</a> looks like:</p> <ul> <li>Complete an Application for Reregistration.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Pull Karina's prior bills of sale to prove the chain of ownership.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Have California Highway Patrol inspect Karina.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Obtain smog inspections and other equipment certificates, if necessary.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Pay the $50 total loss salvage inspection fee, the $5 automated per year prior history fee, and the title and registration fees.</li> </ul> <p>Alas, the body shop will not be able to repair Karina until the New Year. This means that we will be back down to one car for the entire month of December.</p> <p>Silver lining: We can use the $3,480 to pay down our debt challenge in the meantime.</p> <h2>Progress So Far</h2> <p>Well, there are better ways to make money than getting double-tapped on the freeway, but I'll take it.</p> <p><strong>Goal:</strong> $31,000</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised:</strong> $29,867.42</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent:</strong> $13,598.66</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go:</strong> $14,731.24</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-what-to-do-with-a-totaled-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/my-2016-budget-challenge-job-creation">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Job Creation</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/my-2016-budget-challenge-three-lessons-about-saving-one-husband-learned-in-a-year">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Three Lessons About Saving One Husband Learned in a Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Everything Breaks</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/my-2016-budget-challenge-reduce-debt-or-save-for-an-emergency">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Reduce Debt or Save for an Emergency?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-turn-your-spouse-into-a-money-saver">My 2016 Budget Challenge: How to Turn Your Spouse Into a Money Saver</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Cars and Transportation budget challenge car accidents insurance max wongs budget saving money totaled car Fri, 06 Jan 2017 10:30:25 +0000 Max Wong 1864424 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Great Retail Jobs for Working Parents http://www.wisebread.com/5-great-retail-jobs-for-working-parents <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-great-retail-jobs-for-working-parents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-458589277.jpg" alt="Costco is a good place for parents to work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>'Tis the season, as in, the 4th quarter of the calendar year! That magical time when seasonal retail employees are needed the most, and hired en masse to meet the demand from Black Friday through January. If you have kids, try these five great retail gigs for working parents.</p> <h2>1. Patagonia</h2> <p>The best retailer for working parents could very well be Patagonia, the clothing and gear brand beloved by trekkers and puffy-vest fans everywhere. Why? They have <a href="http://time.com/money/4546719/patagonia-onsite-child-care/">free on-site child care</a> for employees. You read that right! This also means that 100% of employees return to their post after their maternity leave.</p> <p>So how do you climb your way into that gig? Well, it's not so much a seasonal gig as it is a job in their headquarters, which is in Ventura, CA. Not such a bad relocation, though.</p> <h2>2. Lands' End</h2> <p>In similar step with Patagonia, another purveyor of outdoorsy goods Lands' End also provides lots of benefits to workers. In addition to many citing its company culture as safe, fair, and open, they also boast some competitive benefits, including: <a href="http://www.landsend.com/jobs/life-at-lands-end/real-benefits/">health insurance</a>, 401K, subsidized on-site food services, a wellness center &ndash;&ndash; all great benefits for parents. Time to apply for a position now!</p> <h2>3. Wegmans</h2> <p>That's right, the supermarket chain known across the East Coast for great food and service is also a great employer. Wegmans is number four on the <a href="http://fortune.com/best-companies/wegmans-food-markets-4/">Best Companies to Work For list in 2016</a>. </p> <p>Why are they so great? Wegmans covers 85%-100% of employees' and their dependents health insurance. Many employees are even offered dental insurance. Plus, if you're a college student, they help <a href="https://jobs.wegmans.com/benefits">pay your tuition</a>. If you live in the Northeast and are looking for a job, this would be a good one. Plus, they make really delicious doughnuts.</p> <h2>4. Staples</h2> <p>Need a chain store with more locations, and most likely to be near your home? Staples is a very good option. </p> <p>Staples employees get an Aetna <a href="http://www.stapleslivewell.com/SitePages/Welcome.aspx">health insurance plan</a> for a deduction of $30 per paycheck, or $60 for those with dependents. Workers also get short-term disability insurance, and access to a service that can pair them with financial services and child care. Not too shabby!</p> <h2>5. Costco</h2> <p>If it wasn't already hard to avoid spending money at Costco, everyone's favorite bulk-everything retailer is also famously good to its employees. <a href="https://www.costcobenefits.com/">Employee perks</a> for America's second-largest retailer include: choosing your own health plan if you work over 24 hours per week, a 401K plan, an FSA account to use <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-miss-out-on-this-easy-way-to-pay-for-child-care">pretax income for child care</a>, and an employee care program that includes access to mental health, and financial professionals.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-great-retail-jobs-for-working-parents">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/can-you-really-make-a-living-in-the-gig-economy">Can You Really Make a Living in the Gig Economy?</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-side-jobs-for-people-who-are-good-with-money">6 Side Jobs for People Who Are Good With 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/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads">5 Financial Reasons Paid Parental Leave Is Essential for Moms and Dads</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/17-part-time-jobs-to-do-while-your-kids-are-at-school">17 Part-Time Jobs to Do While Your Kids Are at School</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-companies-with-the-best-employee-discounts">8 Companies With the Best Employee Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Family Job Hunting benefits employers insurance part-time job retail retail job side gig side jobs working parent Thu, 01 Dec 2016 11:30:11 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1844262 at http://www.wisebread.com Watch Out for These 5 Last Minute Home Buying Costs http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-last-minute-home-buying-costs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/watch-out-for-these-5-last-minute-home-buying-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_cash_grass_13020597_0.jpg" alt="Finding ways to watch out for last minute home buying costs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 2015, 5,250,000 existing homes and 510,000 newly constructed properties were <a href="http://www.realtor.org/field-guides/field-guide-to-quick-real-estate-statistics">sold in the U.S</a>. And as Wise Bread predicted back in December 2015, homes have been one of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-necessities-that-will-be-cheaper-in-2016">necessities that are cheaper in 2016</a>, boosting the percentage of first-time homebuyers entering the market.</p> <p>But unexpected costs toward the end of the buying process can leave prospective buyers scrambling at the last minute or, even worse, unable to land the home of their dreams. Let's take a look at five pesky home buying costs that could appear at the eleventh hour.</p> <h2>1. Lower Property Appraisal</h2> <p>The seller told you that the home is worth $350,000 and you earnestly believed that valuation. So, you went to the bank and applied for a mortgage based on the market value of $350,000. To meet compliance requirements and to do its due diligence, the bank includes an appraisal contingency in your mortgage application. This clause requires that a third-party appraiser verifies that the home is actually worth $350,000.</p> <p>If the appraisal requested by your bank were to come under the $350,000, then somebody would have to come up with the difference for the bank to approve the loan. Depending on several factors, including the number of days the house has been on the market and the skill level of your real estate agent, the seller, her agent, or your own agent may help you with the difference. In the worst case scenario, you'll have to come up with the difference or have to say goodbye to that home.</p> <p>In the event that you believe the third-party appraiser may have provided an inaccurate estimate, you could hire another appraiser, submit that new estimate to the bank, and let the bank re-evaluate the mortgage. However, you would be most likely responsible for the cost of that second appraisal.</p> <h2>2. Mortgage Insurance</h2> <p>Let's imagine that you are in the process of saving for a decent down payment for your first home. Two years before you reach your savings goal, a home is finally available in your dream neighborhood. Your broker is confident that a similar home won't be available for another five years, so he suggests that you buy. The catch: You can't come up with at least 20% of the home value for a down payment.</p> <p>When you pony up less than a 20% down payment to buy a home, you'll have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI). The <a href="https://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/supmanual/cch/hpa.pdf">Homeowner's Protection Act</a> requires homebuyers who finance more than 80% of a new home's value to purchase PMI. Keep in mind that this is protection for the lender (not you!) in case you default on your mortgage.</p> <p>The average PMI payment ranges from 0.5% to 1% of the total value of the home loan. Still, this cost isn't small potatoes. In 2015, the average value of a mortgage in the U.S. was $172,341. Assuming a 1% PMI, the average PMI payment in 2015 was about $1,723. That would be one cost that you would have to pay year after year until your loan value reaches 78% of the original market value of the secured property.</p> <p>Still, your lender may have a strong case to continue requiring the PMI in the event of a dramatic price drop in the market value of your home, an existing home equity line of credit (HELOC) on your property, or a long string of late monthly payments within the last two years.</p> <h2>3. Dramatic Change in Financial Situation</h2> <p>When you're in the process of buying a home, you should keep a consistent financial picture, especially with your credit score. So, delay buying all those expensive new kitchen appliances, pieces of furniture for your living room, and blue period art pieces on credit until you have the keys in hand. A dramatic change to your credit score is a major red flag for the lender and the financial institution may decide to offer the mortgage at a higher interest rate than originally expected &mdash; or turn down the loan entirely.</p> <p>Here are other financial do's and don'ts until settlement day:</p> <ul> <li>Do keep a good paper trail of the source of your down payment;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't make large transfers between your accounts;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do delay any other large purchases on credit, such as a car;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't miss any monthly payments on existing debt (they account for 35% of your credit score!);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do provide all documentation requested by your lender and agent within the stipulated time frame;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't open new credit or store cards.</li> </ul> <h2>4. Repairs</h2> <p>When you receive the report from a licensed home inspector, you may find that your dream home is not so dreamy after all. Take the comments from the inspector seriously and determine whether it's worthwhile to ask the seller to incur some of those costs, or to provide a financial remedy. After all, you'll be the one covering all of them once the home is yours.</p> <p>However, choose your fights wisely. No home is 100% perfect. Having to replace all door handles because you find them out of style isn't nearly as bad as having to battle black mold in the basement of your soon-to-be home.</p> <h2>5. Special Case: Hike in Homeowner's Association Fees</h2> <p>Last but not least, make sure to review the minutes of the meetings of the homeowner's association (HOA) for your property for at least the last six months.</p> <p>Pay special attention to two items.</p> <p>First, look for a schedule of upcoming monthly dues. In some cases, you may be welcomed with a higher-than-expected bill right off the bat.</p> <p>Second, watch out for any large projects that are under current review by the board of the HOA. For example, installing a complex system of solar panels on the roof or replacing all the windows of the apartment building because existing windows no longer meet city codes could both mean an ever-growing monthly HOA due. In certain circumstances, the HOA board could be planning to present you the option to pay your entire pro rata amount for the project or to finance the cost through the HOA's loan. Either option would put a dent on your monthly budget.</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/watch-out-for-these-5-last-minute-home-buying-costs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-2015-is-the-year-to-buy-a-house">5 Reasons Why 2015 is the Year to Buy a House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House</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-questions-to-ask-before-selling-your-house">6 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-smart-ways-to-lower-your-monthly-mortgage-payment">4 Smart Ways to Lower Your Monthly Mortgage Payment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-really-need-a-20-percent-down-payment-for-a-house">Do You Really Need a 20 Percent Down Payment for a House?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing appraisals hidden costs hoa fees home buying homeownership insurance last minute costs mortgages pmi repairs Fri, 18 Nov 2016 11:30:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1835252 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Retail Gigs That Pay Well and Offer Benefits http://www.wisebread.com/11-retail-gigs-that-pay-well-and-offer-benefits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-retail-gigs-that-pay-well-and-offer-benefits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_85190881_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="These retail jobs offer good pay and benefits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I always find the correlation between good hourly pay and and strong customer service to be interesting. It seems the better taken care of the employees are (making decent wages and getting good benefits), the happier they'll be at work. With that in mind, here are 11 places to work that not only have an average hourly pay rate over $10, but also offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-part-time-jobs-that-offer-college-benefits">pretty nice perks</a> to boot.</p> <h2>1. ALDI Grocery Chain</h2> <p>The&nbsp;<a href="https://careers.aldi.us/">ALDI grocery chain</a> offers a very competitive salary and benefits package. According to Glassdoor.com, <a href="https://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/ALDI-Salaries-E7337.htm">associates make on average $11.88 an hour</a>, with store managers making in excess of $60,000 annually. They also offer a very good medical and dental plan for all full-time employees. The 401K contribution match at ALDI is&nbsp;dollar for dollar match on the first 5%.&nbsp;Additionally, part-time employees with at least 25 hours are eligible for medical/dental benefits.</p> <h2>2. Costco</h2> <p>A job at Costco Wholesale has always been in high demand, and when you delve into their salary and benefits package, you start to understand why. The average cashier at Costco earns a very competitive $14.63 an hour and a stocker earns $13.34 hourly. Their excellent&nbsp;<a href="http://www.costco.com/benefits.html">benefits package</a>, which includes dental, vision, and medical, is available to both full and part-time employees. Full-time workers are eligible after 90 days of employment and part-timers after 180. More cool perks include Sunday overtime which starts at about $17.50/hour and a 401K program which matches your contribution at $0.50 for every dollar, up to $1,000, for your first year. Throw in a stock purchase plan that waives all fees and commissions and Costco can be a very lucrative place to work.</p> <h2>3. H&amp;M Fashion</h2> <p>H&amp;M hourly employees come in at about $10.95 per hour with a strong benefits package to both part-time and full-time employees. The fact that<a href="https://career.hm.com/content/hmcareer/en_us/workingathm/get-to-know-us/benefits.html"> they offer medical and vision plans</a> to ALL employees is what makes H&amp;M stand out from other clothing retailers. They then go one step further and offer perks like pet insurance, 401Ks with company match, life insurance, Metlife auto insurance, plus a liberal 25% employee discount on all in-store purchases. You'd be smart to add H&amp;M to your &quot;must-apply&quot; job list.</p> <h2>4. IKEA</h2> <p>The Swedish furniture and home décor company known as&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/this-is-ikea/working-at-the-ikea-group/">IKEA</a> can be a financially rewarding place to work. Their average pay for sales associates averages a solid $11 per hour. Also, if you work more than 20 hours per week, you'll qualify for health benefits. All employees will qualify for a 401K plan (5% match), paid time off and a generous 15% employee discount even on clearance and &quot;as-Is&quot; products.</p> <h2>5. &amp; 6. Lowe's and Home Depot</h2> <p>I think it's fair to group both Home Depot and <a href="http://careers.lowes.com/why-lowes/">Lowe's</a> together, as their salary and benefit packages are quite similar. The average customer service associate at Lowe's earns a respectable $11.05 an hour, while <a href="https://careers.homedepot.com/">Home Depot</a> pays about <a href="https://www.glassdoor.com/Benefits/The-Home-Depot-US-Benefits-EI_IE655.0,14_IL.15,17_IN1.htm">$11.40 per hour</a>. Both home improvement warehouses offer benefits packages that are fairly solid for full-time workers, but are quite expensive for part-time workers. As a matter of fact, part-time employees at Lowe's have to pay for their entire first year health plan and 40% thereafter.</p> <h2>7. Nike Store</h2> <p>Nike Store employees are paid on average slightly above $10 an hour. <a href="http://retailjobs.nike.com/article/benefits">Their benefits package</a> is what makes them stand out. While full-timers are offered medical and dental shortly after employment, part-timers with at least one year of employment under their belts are offered a very competitive health coverage with a reasonable $1,000 deductible. Once your deductible is met, Nike will pay for 80% of any accrued medical costs. All employees are also offered a 15% discount toward the purchase of Nike stock. They also encourage their employees to buy Nike gear as they offer a 30% discount at the Nike Outlet and 20% off all purchases at NikeTown.</p> <h2>8. Nordstrom</h2> <p>The average sales associate at Nordstrom makes about $11.70 an hour plus commission, which starts at 6.75% but can vary by department. Some <a href="http://www.seattlepi.com/business/article/Nordstrom-salesman-s-million-dollar-secret-is-in-1140669.php">savvy Nordstrom sales employees</a> have even earned upwards of $1 million dollars annually. While it appears Nordstrom offered health benefits to part-timers at one point, this no longer seems to be the case. Only full-time employees are eligible for medical and dental these days. Also, all employees score a 20% discount on Nordstrom merchandise, and 33% when you reach management level. Not too shabby. Throw in a <a href="http://about.nordstrom.com/careers/#/about-us/benefits">competitive 401K plan</a> with company matching, and they are one of the most solid retail jobs going today.</p> <h2>9. REI Co-Op</h2> <p>Hourly sales associates at REI make $11.40 on average, but it's their commitment to employee satisfaction that's remarkable. For example, on <a href="http://newsroom.rei.com/news/corporate/rei-closing-its-doors-on-black-friday-invites-nation-to-optoutside.htm">Black Friday last year</a>, REI was one of only a couple large retailers that closed their doors and told their employees to stay home and spend time with family. They even offer workers two paid days off per year, called &quot;<a href="http://blog.rei.com/social/rei-employees-get-outside-and-play-with-yay-days/">Yay Days</a>,&quot; to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. They also offer a competitive benefits package that both part-time and full-time employees are eligible for. On top of that, all employees get a 50% discount on REI-branded products and 30% on all other brands. Toss in one of the better employee 401K plans, with 6% matching, and REI might be a smart place to apply.</p> <h2>10. Trader Joe's</h2> <p>Right off the bat, <a href="http://www.traderjoes.com/careers">Trader Joe's is a highly desirable place to work</a> as hourly employees make around $13.50 an hour. They are also one of the only grocery chains that offers health and dental benefits to part-time workers who work at least 30 hours a week. Work less than 30 hours a week, and they'll cut out the medical coverage. Throw in a free gym membership after six months of employment, a 10% employee discount, and it's no wonder that Trader Joe's employees typically have smiles on their faces and a kind word to exchange with shoppers.</p> <h2>11. Whole Foods</h2> <p>The average hourly rate for Whole Foods employees is a couple dollars less than Trader Joe's at about $11.50 an hour. While expensive for part-timers, if you work at least 20 hours a week, you'll be eligible for a high-deductible medical plan. They do beat Trader Joe's when it comes to their 20% employee discount, which is a nice money-saving perk. Also, they have some <a href="http://fortune.com/2011/05/18/5-reasons-why-its-great-to-work-at-whole-foods/">cool employee perks</a> like paid time-off, massage therapy, language classes, and even yoga classes.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-retail-gigs-that-pay-well-and-offer-benefits">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-great-retail-jobs-for-working-parents">5 Great Retail Jobs for Working Parents</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-employer-benefits-that-can-leave-more-spending-money-in-your-pockets">7 Employer Benefits That Can Leave More Spending Money in Your Pockets</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/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</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/17-part-time-jobs-to-do-while-your-kids-are-at-school">17 Part-Time Jobs to Do While Your Kids Are at School</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-companies-with-the-best-employee-discounts">8 Companies With the Best Employee Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Job Hunting benefits common job search mistakes health benefits insurance jobs that pay well retail gigs retail jobs Thu, 20 Oct 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Kyle James 1816659 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-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/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">How to Make Sure You Don&#039;t Run Out of Money in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money">Don&#039;t Let Outdated Money Advice Endanger Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </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 14 Secrets to Saving on Eyewear http://www.wisebread.com/14-secrets-to-saving-on-eyewear <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-secrets-to-saving-on-eyewear" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_wearing_glasses_86229369.jpg" alt="Woman learning secret ways to save on eyewear" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Eyeglasses and contact lenses are a necessity for more than 150 million Americans. Unfortunately, eyewear is not a cheap purchase &mdash; so we've compiled some tips to help save you money on the cost of glasses and contacts.</p> <h2>1. Purchase Your Glasses Online</h2> <p>Along with enjoying huge savings on your new set of glasses, you can also take advantage of online services to ensure that the glasses look right with your style. This will allow you to casually try the glasses on at home so you can take your time choosing the right ones. Once you find the right pair, they will likely be shipped in no time (even faster than you would get them at the optician's office.)</p> <p>If you have issues like astigmatism, you may not be able to shop online and it might more prudent to have your doctor custom fit you for the right pair of glasses. You may also want to have a professional help you at an optical store and once you find the glasses you like, you can search for the frames online for the best deal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-ever-buy-eyeglasses-online?ref=seealso">Should You Ever Buy Eyeglasses Online?</a>)</p> <h2>2. Purchase Your Contact Lenses Online</h2> <p>Websites like <a href="http://1800contacts.com">1-800 Contacts</a> can save you money on your contacts, compared to what you would pay at your optician's office. You can also often get discounts if you purchase more than one box of contacts at a time. Buying in bulk will also save you money on shipping and allow you to lock in today's rate.</p> <h2>3. Find Trial Offers</h2> <p>Certain contact lens providers, like Acuvue and Dailies, will offer free trial lenses, so you can try them before you buy them. This will help ensure that the contacts fit comfortably, so you know you'll get your money's worth.</p> <h2>4. Look for Online Deals</h2> <p>Take advantage of online coupons and deals from services like Groupon. This can save you quite a bit of money on glasses, contacts, and even your eye exam. Just make sure to read the details thoroughly as some coupons only cover the cost of the frames, and you will have to pay for the lenses out-of-pocket.</p> <h2>5. Ask for a Price Match</h2> <p>Many optical shops will offer a price match, if you ask. Some shops will even offer a price match and a rebate, so you'll actually spend less than you would online.</p> <h2>6. Keep the Same Lenses or Frames</h2> <p>If your lenses are still in good shape and you still have the same prescription, consider reusing them in a new frame. Many optical shops will help you find a similar style frame and can apply your old lenses so it looks like a new pair of glasses.</p> <p>The same rule holds for your frames. If you like your frames, but your prescription has changed, take advantage of a <a href="http://www.replacementlensexpress.com/">prescription eyeglass lens replacement service</a> that will replace the lenses in your existing frames.</p> <h2>7. Opt for Cheaper Glasses</h2> <p>If you tend to wear contacts and only reach for your glasses when you're home, then you don't need to spend a lot on designer glasses. Instead, opt for the cheaper glasses since no one will see them anyway.</p> <h2>8. Don't Replace Your Glasses Every Year</h2> <p>If you don't need to replace your glasses, then it's best to just keep the same pair for as long as you can. After all, it can take a lot of time and energy to find the perfect glasses, so why replace them after only a year?</p> <h2>9. Skip the Add-Ons</h2> <p>Unless your prescription is above +/- 3.00, professionals recommend skipping the add-ons like antireflective coating, light adjusting lenses, or high index or ultrahigh index lenses. Skipping these add-ons can save you quite a bit of money and won't really make a difference in the long run.</p> <h2>10. Shop at Costco</h2> <p>According to Consumer Reports, Costco received the <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/eyeglass-stores/buying-guide.htm">highest overall satisfaction rating</a> of any eyeglass retailer. Not only do they offer better service, but you can also save money on your favorite pair of glasses.</p> <h2>11. Take Advantage of Free Repairs and Adjustments</h2> <p>If you choose to purchase your glasses in-office, then take advantage of free adjustments to ensure your glasses fit perfectly. Inquire with your optician's office about whether they offer any free replacements or repairs.</p> <h2>12. Take Advantage of Insurance</h2> <p>Before you get started, it's important to find out if you're covered by insurance. Even if you don't have a separate vision insurance plan, you may be covered under your regular medical insurance plan. Many insurance plans include a basic eye or dental care plan, so you may be covered without even realizing it.</p> <p>Before visiting your eyeglass store, first find out if they accept your vision insurance. If they accept it, find out what your insurance covers. Take advantage of whatever you can so that you get your money's worth every year. If they do not accept your insurance plan, inquire from your plan's administrator about whether they will offer reimbursement if you decide to pay out-of-pocket.</p> <h2>13. Use FSA Funds</h2> <p>If you have an FSA (or flexible spending account), take advantage of this pretax money to pay for eligible medical expenses such as prescription glasses and contact lenses. Keep in mind that FSA funds might not pay for extras like extended warranties. The goal is to use up all of your FSA funds before the end of the year, but it's important that you don't wait until the last minute to use it or you may rush to pick your new glasses, even if they aren't the most flattering option or don't offer the best deal.</p> <h2>14. Do Your Research</h2> <p>Before scheduling your eye test, research the options available to you so you can determine where you'll get the best deal for your money. Call your eyeglass store of choice to inquire about whether they currently have any coupons or deals to cut the cost of your new glasses. If you know the glasses that you want, you can search online for the brand and model number to compare prices.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-secrets-to-saving-on-eyewear">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/30-cash-back-sites-to-earn-you-thousands-per-year">30+ Cash Back Sites to Earn You Thousands Per Year</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/31-foolproof-ways-to-lower-your-grocery-bill">31 Foolproof Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill</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/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know">16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know</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-things-you-should-never-buy-on-groupon-or-livingsocial">5 Things You Should Never Buy on Groupon or LivingSocial</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-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping contacts deals eye doctor flexible spending accounts glasses insurance online shopping optician saving money trials Thu, 15 Sep 2016 09:30:29 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1792246 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_money_moves_63337017.jpg" alt="Couple asking questions before signing a lease" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you've been searching for a place to live. You've looked at a bunch of different homes and apartments, driven all over town, and have finally decided on the one you want. It's perfect. But before you whip out the pen and commit to something, ask the following 10 questions. They could prevent you from making a very costly &mdash; and time-consuming &mdash; mistake.</p> <h2>1. Which Utilities Are My Responsibility?</h2> <p>Depending on where you live (and how generous the landlord is), utility responsibility may vary. If you're living in a large apartment complex, you may find that a lot of utilities are covered by your rent. In other cases, it may only be water and sewage, or in the worst case scenario&hellip;nothing at all. So make sure you know exactly which utilities are going to be your responsibility, <em>and </em>see if you can get a history of the bills at that address. Some homes are more energy efficient than others, and some homes have additional costs you may not consider (such as fees for constructing new pipelines). When you get the complete picture, you may discover that the utility bills put a unit beyond your reach.</p> <h2>2. How and When Do I Pay My Rent?</h2> <p>You already know what the rent costs, but you also need to know how and when to pay it. These days, many larger apartment leasing companies will take payments online, or through an automated debit system. Private landlords will most likely take a check or banker's draft, and may want you to mail it, or hand it over in person. There may also be fees for paying online or by check, so ask about that. And of course, ask about late fees and grace periods. You may get up to five days to pay your rent without incurring a penalty.</p> <h2>3. Do I Have to Have Renters Insurance?</h2> <p>Any kind of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance?ref=internal">renters insurance</a> is good to have, even if it covers the bare minimum. But times are tough, and you may not have the money to afford it right now. Your landlord or leasing agency may not care. Or, they may have a very strict renters insurance policy, which could once again put you over your monthly budget and make the apartment off limits. If you are required to have it, shop around and get multiple quotes. Use these quotes as bargaining chips with each insurance company to get the best possible rate that covers more of your possessions.</p> <h2>4. What Is Your Guest Policy?</h2> <p>In this day and age, the vast majority of landlords are not going to care if you have guests for long visits. But, it never hurts to check the rules of the apartment complex or landlord. Even then, it's a very tricky rule to enforce, so it's doubtful anything will happen. The problems usually come with guests staying for an extended period of time. If your best friend suddenly becomes homeless and asks to stay in your spare room for a few months, that could have ramifications. And if you decide to move your partner in to live there permanently, you will have to consult the landlord. It's possible a background check will be needed.</p> <h2>5. Can I Make Improvements?</h2> <p>When you move into a new place, you want it to feel like home. That often means personalizing it with paint, wallpaper, new curtains, maybe even new carpet or tile. This should all be openly discussed with the landlord before you ever sign the lease, and put in writing. It's quite possible that any improvements you want to make (even a simple coat of paint), will have to be approved first. Even if you think you're making the place even better (adding a wooden floor for instance), the landlord has every right to take your security deposit when you move out.</p> <h2>6. How Long Is the Lease?</h2> <p>It may seem like an obvious question, but not all leases are created equal. Some landlords may be renting their home out for the summer, and want a tenant for six months or less. Some apartment complexes offer discounts for longer leases. Some leases are month-to-month. You need to know this up front, and also, what kind of fees you will pay to break that lease. It's possible you'll be asked to pay two months' rent to get out of it, and may also lose your security deposit. Other places may be much more relaxed, especially if you find someone to take over the lease.</p> <h2>7. How Much Is the Security Deposit and Do I Get All of It Back?</h2> <p>The typical amount for a security deposit is one month's rent, but it can vary from place to place. Some may only want a nominal fee &mdash; say $300. Now, by law, any kind of security deposit is refundable, that's why it's called a security deposit; you put the money down as insurance for the landlord, you get it back if all is well. However, different landlords have different thresholds for wear and tear, and it's possible you won't get the whole amount back, especially if you have pets.</p> <h2>8. How Will the Apartment Be Prepared and How Should I Leave It?</h2> <p>These are two different questions, but both relate to the cleanliness and appearance of the apartment. Before you move in, you need to know if the entire place will be cleaned and repaired. You may well be viewing the place before any of this has happened, and may be in for a shock if you move in and the carpets are stained and the lighting is broken. So, get in writing how the home should be delivered and returned. Also, when you move out, you may have to pay for some of those very services that make the home ready for the next tenants. So, ask if you have to have the carpets shampooed, or the place professionally cleaned. If you do, and don't do it, this fee can come out of your security deposit.</p> <h2>9. What's the Pet Policy?</h2> <p>Landlords don't like pets, often for good reason. They sometimes leave a smell, they can tear things, they're noisy at times, and they can leave nasty surprises on the carpet. For this reason, most places will have some kind of pet policy in place. It may be as simple as &quot;Yes, pets are fine, but don't let your dog bark all the time.&quot; Other places could impose a nonrefundable fee for the term of the lease to cover additional cleaning, or impose a monthly fee, known as pet rent. Even if you don't have a pet now, ask about it. You don't want to have to move out later because you want to get a dog or a cat.</p> <h2>10. How Do You Deal With Maintenance and Emergencies?</h2> <p>Again, this will vary depending on the kind of place you're looking at. Big apartment complexes usually have a maintenance staff on site, and a simple call to the front desk can be all it takes to get an issue resolved. If you're renting a home from a private landlord, you'll want to know up front what kind of response you will get, and how soon. If it's just a guy renting his house out, and your fence blows down, will it take weeks for the repair to happen? Can you call someone to make repairs, and remove the cost of service from your rent? Do all repairs have to go through the landlord, and are there preferred providers? All this should be asked up front.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been burned by the hidden terms of a lease?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-get-your-apartment-deposit-back">7 Smart Ways to Get Your Apartment Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-decide-how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford">The Simple Way to Decide How Much Rent You Can Really Afford</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/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments breaking a lease insurance maintenance pets policies renters agreement renting security deposits signing a lease utilities Wed, 31 Aug 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Paul Michael 1782899 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Buy a Car http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-buy-a-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-buy-a-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_new_car_87292815.jpg" alt="Couple making money moves before buying a new car" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The beater you are driving now spends more time in the repair shop than on the highway. Or maybe you're sick of trying to time bus schedules or schedule Uber rides. Whatever the reason, it's time to upgrade to a new set of wheels.</p> <p>Unfortunately for most people, a new car comes with a new monthly auto loan payment. And these payments can be high. Kelley Blue Book reported that the estimated average transaction price for new cars hit $33,845 in May 2016. That's an increase of 3.5% from the same month in 2015.</p> <p>Fortunately, you can prepare for this added cost, and all it takes is a bit of research and planning on your part. Here are six money moves to make the instant you decide to buy a new car.</p> <h2>1. Check Your Credit Reports</h2> <p>You want an auto loan with the lowest possible interest rate, so that your monthly payment is as small as possible. And of course, you'll qualify for lower rates if you have strong credit.</p> <p>But before you start shopping for a new car, check your three credit reports (one each maintained by the national credit bureaus of Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). You can order one copy of each of your reports free from AnnualCreditReport.com. Check carefully for any mistakes &mdash; fixing a mistake could immediately improve your FICO credit score.</p> <p>Knowing the information that the credit bureaus have on you and what your credit score is will give you an idea of whether you can qualify for a low interest rate now, or whether you should work to improve your score before you start hunting for a new car.</p> <h2>2. Call Your Insurance Company</h2> <p>If you are ditching an old car and upgrading to a new one, your auto insurance premium might rise. If you are buying a car for the first time, you'll need to purchase auto insurance before you can hit the road. And you'll need to know, for budgeting reasons, just how much you might expect to pay in auto insurance premiums.</p> <p>Your premium will vary depending on a host of factors, including everything from your age and driving record to the type of car you buy and where you live. So call either your current insurance agent or, if you aren't yet driving, an insurer licensed to do business in your area to get at least an estimate of how much you'll be paying each month or year in insurance costs.</p> <h2>3. Tweak Your Household Budget</h2> <p>You should have a household budget that you follow each month. Adding a new car payment means that you need to tweak that budget. Study your current budget to determine how much of a car payment you can afford. When you start shopping for cars, don't look at any that will leave you with a monthly payment that exceeds that amount. Having a new car is fun. Having a new car that you can't afford is not.</p> <h2>4. Pre-Apply for Financing</h2> <p>When you buy a new car, the dealer will offer you its own financing plan, meaning that you can take out a car loan directly from the dealership that is selling you your vehicle. But the smarter move is to go to your dealership with a preapproval letter from an outside lender.</p> <p>A preapproval letter states that a lender is willing to provide you with an auto loan. The letter will also state exactly how much money this outside lender is willing to loan you.</p> <p>It's good to have another loan option when you're at the dealership. The dealer will still want you to take out a loan from its own finance department, so the dealer might offer you a loan with slightly better terms, including a lower interest rate, as a way to compete. And if your dealer can't come up with a better offer? You can simply finalize that loan from the outside lender.</p> <h2>5. Gather Money for a Down Payment</h2> <p>You'll want to come up with the largest down payment possible when financing a new car. The more cash you provide upfront, the smaller your auto loan will be. And a smaller loan means lower monthly payments.</p> <p>So before shopping for a car, spend some time saving. It's long been recommended that consumers come up with a down payment of 20% of their car's final purchase price. For a car costing $25,000, that comes out to a down payment of $5,000. However, a smaller number of buyers today are actually providing that 20% down. Edmunds reports that consumers in 2015 provided an average down payment of just 10.5% of their car's final purchase price.</p> <p>Don't be one of those consumers who skimps on the down payment. Wait to buy until you've saved up enough cash for a bigger one.</p> <h2>6. Build an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>New cars come with a host of new expenses in addition to that monthly car payment. You'll face insurance costs, gas prices, and repair and maintenance bills. AAA estimates that the annual cost of owning and operating a vehicle in the United States is $8,558. That is actually a six-year low, but shows that owning a car is far from cheap.</p> <p>Make sure that you can afford these extra costs by building an emergency fund <em>before</em> you start car shopping. It's a sounder financial strategy than paying for such unforeseen events as car repairs or emergency home repairs with a credit card.</p> <p><em>What steps do you take when it's time for a new car?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-buy-a-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-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-having-a-paid-off-car-is-surprisingly-great">5 Ways Having a Paid Off Car Is Surprisingly Great</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/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage">Make These 5 Money Moves Before Applying for a Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-before-leasing-a-car">What You Need to Know Before Leasing a Car</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/everything-a-first-time-home-buyer-needs-to-buy-a-house">Everything a First-Time Home Buyer Needs to Buy a House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation auto loans budgets credit reports credit score down payments emergency funds financing insurance new car Wed, 13 Jul 2016 10:30:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 1748332 at http://www.wisebread.com Moving? Don't Skimp on These Critical Expenses http://www.wisebread.com/moving-dont-skimp-on-these-critical-expenses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/moving-dont-skimp-on-these-critical-expenses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_empty_box_87950015.jpg" alt="Woman learning not to skimp on moving expenses" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Moving can be an expensive, daunting experience. Worst of all, many people spend unnecessary money on moving supplies and items they simply don't need. On the other hand, you don't want to be dealing with the loss of property or issues after the move because you tried to save a few bucks.</p> <p>The trick is to keep the purchases light, while getting everything you need to safely transport your items to your new destination in one piece. That's why we're here to help you determine what you should, and what you definitely <em>shouldn't</em> skimp on.</p> <h2>Professional Movers</h2> <p>Hiring professional movers may be one of the best things you do for your move. While some people like to rely on themselves, friends, and family members to load and unload the moving truck, this can be a huge waste of time and energy that could be better spent settling into your new place. This can also be a very stressful event that causes friction with friends and family members, so just leave the dirty work to the professionals.</p> <p>Quality professional movers will carefully load your items into the truck, and should adequately protect them so that you can move with the peace of mind that your items are going to make it to your new destination in one piece. In fact, most movers will arrive with moving blankets and padding to further protect any fragile items.</p> <h3>Contact at Least Three Moving Companies</h3> <p>While you will need movers, you want to be careful about who you entrust with all of your possessions. Not all movers are created equal (which you hopefully won't find out the hard way). Carefully research movers to ensure that you're getting what you're expecting. Ask neighbors for recommendations, check Yelp and the Better Business Bureau for customer reviews and complaints, and do your due diligence to find the best movers at the best value in your area.</p> <p>It's usually a good idea to contact at least three reputable moving companies so that you can compare their services and costs. You can also ask them to do an in-home estimate. This will ensure that you get a more accurate quote and it will allow you to gauge whether it's really a company you want to be working with. Make sure to carefully read the estimate or contract to verify what is included with the moving services before signing anything.</p> <h3>Additional Services Offered by Moving Companies</h3> <p>Some moving companies will also help you pack, but this is one expense that you may want to skip. If you are hard-pressed for time, or your move is quickly approaching, then it may be worth the investment to have your moving company help with the packing. Otherwise, roll up your sleeves and get to work, because it can save you big money in the end.</p> <p>Some moving companies will also offer free storage for up to 30 days, which can be very valuable to you if your new place isn't ready yet. If you think you'll need storage, it may be wise to look for a moving company that offers it for free, rather than hiring a separate moving and storage company, which will likely cost you more money and a bigger headache in the end.</p> <h2>Moving Insurance</h2> <p>Accidents happen, which is why you should be prepared for them. Moving insurance is an absolute necessity. It will provide you with peace of mind, and in the event that the unthinkable happens, you can receive full or partial reimbursement for your damaged or lost items. Just as you wouldn't skimp on health or auto insurance, you shouldn't skimp on moving insurance.</p> <p>Most moving companies will offer some form of general insurance, but this generally tends to be about $0.60 per pound. This means that if you have a 48-inch television that only weighs 25 pounds, if the movers should drop it and you have not paid for additional moving insurance, you would only be entitled to a reimbursement of $15.</p> <p>As another example, the typical two-bedroom home usually weighs in somewhere around 4,500 pounds. Say the truck is completely destroyed (along with all of your property) &mdash; you would only be reimbursed $2,700. Your lifetime of saving and carefully choosing what to spend your money on is only worth $2,700 to the moving company. Unless you think you can refurnish an entire two-bedroom home for $2,700 (along with all of your clothing and personal possessions), you can clearly see the need for supplemental moving insurance.</p> <p>On the plus side, moving insurance is usually very affordable, particularly if you choose a higher deductible. The price will vary depending on how much insurance you need and the declared value of the items you want to insure. In most cases, you need to arrange moving insurance at least 48 hours before your move, so this isn't something you can procrastinate on.</p> <h2>Packing Supplies</h2> <p>More important than the quantity of packing supplies is the <em>quality</em>. The last thing you want to do is save a couple of bucks by buying cheap packing tape only to find that the heavy boxes split open on moving day. Don't skimp on tape or packing material for antiques and particularly valuable items.</p> <p>When it comes to glass, porcelain, or ceramic, packing paper or newspaper should work fine. You can also save some money by placing one foam dinner plate in between two glass plates. This will protect the plates during the move and make it easier for you to unpack.</p> <p>You'll also need things like a marking pen, cushioning material, scissors or a utility knife, and a tape gun, but you shouldn't have to spend a lot on these items. You also shouldn't need to spend much on boxes, if anything at all. You can typically find free boxes at your local grocery store or recycling center. Just make sure the boxes are in good condition and can safely transport your heavy items. The last thing you want is to pack your valuables in an old cardboard box that rips open on moving day or crumbles under the weight of other boxes. The cost to replace these items will likely be much higher than what you would've spent on quality boxes.</p> <h2>Don't Forget Your Tax Deductions</h2> <p>On the plus side, if your move is related to work, you can write off part of the move on your taxes. That means the movers, moving truck and supplies, and other must-have essentials might be deductible at the end of the year. Just make sure your move meets the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc455.html">IRS's time and distance test requirements</a> in order to safely deduct any reasonable moving expenses.</p> <p><em>Do you know of any other overlooked or unnecessary moving costs?</em> <em>Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/moving-dont-skimp-on-these-critical-expenses">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/how-to-save-100s-on-your-next-move">How to Save $100s on Your Next Move</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/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Here&#039;s How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-should-always-hire-a-moving-company">6 Reasons You Should Always Hire a Moving Company</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/dont-forget-to-budget-for-these-unexpected-moving-expenses">Don&#039;t Forget to Budget for These Unexpected Moving Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect">10 Hidden Housing Costs New Homeowners Don&#039;t Expect</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Real Estate and Housing expenses insurance movers moving new house packing relocation tax deductions Fri, 17 Jun 2016 09:30:28 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1732051 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Handle a Forced Early Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-handle-a-forced-early-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-handle-a-forced-early-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_taking_notes_73540307.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to handle early retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You had a plan: You would work until 67, contributing the maximum amount of each paycheck into your company's 401K plan. You would then <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-for-retirement-when-you-re-ready-to-retire">enjoy a retirement</a> of traveling the world and spending time with your grandchildren.</p> <p>But then your company changed your plans. They let you go you at age 55 or 60. Finding a new job at this age isn't easy. According to an AARP study released in 2015, 45% of job hunters aged 55 or older were members of the long-term unemployed, those who were out of work for 27 weeks or longer. And when these older job seekers did find new jobs, they tended to earn less money. The same AARP survey found that almost 48% of people 55 or older were earning less on their new jobs than they did at their old ones.</p> <p>Those are intimidating numbers. But they don't mean that a forced early exit from the workforce will dash your retirement dreams. Here are five steps that you can take after you've been laid off or fired to make your earlier-than-planned retirement a successful one.</p> <h2>1. Assess Your Financial Reality</h2> <p>It's easy to panic when you've lost a job. But your financial situation might not be as dire as you think. To find out, it's time to perform a quick financial assessment.</p> <p>First, list your monthly expenses. These might be lower if you are no longer paying a mortgage each month. Then list the income you have coming into your household. Maybe your spouse's income means that you can still save enough money each month for a happy retirement. Maybe you'll need an extra income boost from somewhere to still hit those goals.</p> <p>Depending on how close you are to your official retirement age, you might decide to start receiving your monthly Social Security payments. You'll get less each month if you haven't reached full retirement age, but if you can't hold off on the extra monthly income, receiving your benefits a few years early might be a sound move.</p> <p>If you were laid off or fired, you probably qualify, too, for unemployment insurance. Make sure to take advantage of this. That extra monthly income could help you stay on track for your retirement goals.</p> <h2>2. Get Realistic About Your Retirement Goals</h2> <p>You might have to scale back your retirement goals should you be forced to exit the workplace earlier than planned. Maybe you planned to take a long trip every year. If you're forced out of work five years early, you might have to scale that back to just three big trips spread out over your entire retirement.</p> <p>This doesn't mean that your retirement is ruined. But you might have to refocus. Maybe instead of joining that high-priced country club, you'll be taking your golf clubs to public courses throughout your city.</p> <h2>3. Make Sure You Have a Plan for Insurance</h2> <p>You'll need health insurance even after you lose your job. You might qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, though you might not qualify for these government programs depending on your age and income levels.</p> <p>If you need insurance not offered through the government, you can search for a low-cost plan through the insurance exchange created under the Affordable Care Act.</p> <p>Letting your health insurance lapse can be a costly mistake.</p> <h2>4. Find Part-Time Work to Fill in the Income Gaps</h2> <p>If you need some extra income each month, consider taking a part-time job. This work, even if it doesn't come with the benefits of a traditional full-time job, could provide you with the extra bit of cash that will keep your retirement dreams alive.</p> <p>Depending on your field, you might find a part-time job as a consultant. But even if you can't, you can still find enjoyment, and some extra financial security, by taking on a position in a new field.</p> <h2>5. Meet With a Professional</h2> <p>Retirement planning is complicated when everything goes according to plan. When those plans are suddenly changed? It's even more of a challenge to make sure that you have enough dollars saved for your after-work years.</p> <p>That's why it's important to meet with a financial adviser who can help you determine what financial steps you need to take now. Depending on your income and community, you might even qualify for free financial advice.</p> <p>A financial planner can help you create a new budget and a new financial plan that fits with your new money reality.</p> <p><em>Have you faced early retirement? What steps have you taken?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-handle-a-forced-early-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-keys-to-an-early-retirement">4 Keys to an Early Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change When You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can">4 Reasons People Don&#039;t Retire Early — and How You Can</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-retirement">4 Moves That Guarantee a Great Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/left-a-job-do-a-rollover">Left a job? Do a rollover.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k early retirement extra income forced retirement insurance job loss medicaid medicare part-time jobs unemployed Tue, 07 Jun 2016 09:30:33 +0000 Dan Rafter 1725699 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Moves That Guarantee a Great Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/4-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-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_sun_roadtrip_000087905209.jpg" alt="Couple making moves to guarantee a great retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Times have changed. Retirement is no exception.</p> <p>Back in 1998, 60.5% of Americans said they were <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/PR1160.Ret-Sat.26Apr16.pdf">very satisfied with their retirement</a> in a study conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Fast forward 14 years later, that percentage dropped to 48.6%. Even worse, the percentage of Americans not satisfied at all with their retirement situation went up from 7.9% to 10.5%.</p> <p>But you can avoid that fate. Here are four ways to turn this period into the best time of your life.</p> <h2>1. Semi-Retire</h2> <p>An old retirement adage goes, &quot;When you retire, think and act as if you were still working; when you're still working, think and act a bit as if you were already retired.&quot; There are three good reasons why this is true.</p> <p>First, putting off retirement may help stave off certain maladies of aging, such as Alzheimer's disease. According to French researchers, there is a correlation between higher retirement age and <a href="http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/07/15/putting-off-retirement-may-help-stave-off-alzheimers">lower dementia risk</a>.</p> <p>Second, later retirement allows you to make the most out of your nest egg:</p> <ul> <li>While you can start receiving Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, you can wait until full retirement age to receive <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/delayret.html">delayed retirement credits</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Roll over a former employer's 401K plan after you turn 70 1/2 into another plan with a current employer, and you aren't required to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) starting the second year after the rollover.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>By continuing to work part-time, you can continue to contribute to a Roth IRA (up to $6,500 in 2016) after you reach <a href="http://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/roth-iras">age 70 1/2</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Third, 83% of U.S. retirees cited &quot;<a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_397_Mar14.RCS.pdf">enjoying working</a>&quot; as a major reason to work for pay after retirement. Among current workers who expect to work in retirement, 79% of them cite &quot;wanting to stay active and involved&quot; as a major reason to work for pay in retirement.</p> <h2>2. Take Advantage of Catch-Up Contributions</h2> <p>Starting age 50, you can make additional contributions on top of the regular limit to eligible plans.</p> <ul> <li>Catch-up contributions of <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/Retirement-Topics-Catch-Up-Contributions">up to $6,000</a>: 401K (other than a SIMPLE 401K), 403(b), SARSEP, and governmental 457(b).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Catch-up contributions of up to $3,000: SIMPLE IRA and SIMPLE 401K.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Catch-up contributions of up to $1,000: Traditional or Roth IRA.</li> </ul> <p>Let's take a look at the power of catch-up contributions: Let's imagine that you have a 401K and you make $6,000 in catch-up contributions for 15 years. Here is how much more you would have at the end of 15 years, assuming different rates of return, in your 401K:</p> <ul> <li>3% return compounded annually: $113,398.69</li> <li>4% return compounded annually: $122,728.99</li> <li>5% return compounded annually: $132,951.76</li> <li>6% return compounded annually: $144,154.23</li> <li>7% return compounded annually: $156,431.90</li> </ul> <h2>3. Research Adequate Health Coverage and Disability Insurance</h2> <p>Despite the best-laid plans, chances are circumstances will require you to make some changes along the way. Nearly one out of two Americans reported retiring earlier than expected. While some individuals have good reasons, such as accumulating sufficient financial resources or wanting to do something else, many had negative reasons. Of those that retire early, 61% of cited health reasons or disabilities, and 18% cited the need to care for a spouse or family member.</p> <p>This is why getting the right health coverage and disability insurance now for your spouse and yourself is a key way to make retirement enjoyable. Plan ahead so that you don't become part of the 24% of Americans who aren't confident about paying for medical expenses in retirement. Disability insurance is essential for the main breadwinner of the household. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-7-money-moves-now-or-youll-regret-it-in-20-years?ref=seealso">Make These 7 Money Moves Now or You'll Regret It in 20 Years</a>)</p> <p>If you have to retire early due to health problems, the Social Security Administration suggests applying for <a href="http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10035.pdf">Social Security disability benefits</a>, which are full, unreduced retirement benefits.</p> <h2>4. Consider Retiring Abroad</h2> <p>According to a study from a Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 71% of Americans say travel has <a href="http://www.transamericacenter.org/docs/default-source/resources/travel-survey/tcrs2013_op_travel_and_aging_executive_summary.pdf">helped them enjoy retired life</a>. That's why one way to turn retirement into the best time of your life is to move abroad. Additionally, living abroad can enable you to reduce your living expenses during retirement, without forsaking quality of life. Several cities around the world offer visa pension programs, such as Malaysia's <em>My Second Home</em> and Panama's &quot;pensionado&quot; program, that offer U.S. retirees generous tax breaks and high-quality medical services at reduced costs. Of course, beautiful locales and ideal weather conditions don't hurt either! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/x-exciting-world-cities-you-can-afford-to-retire-in?ref=seealso">4 Exciting World Cities You Can Afford to Retire In</a>)</p> <p><em>How do you plan turn retirement into the best time of your life?</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/4-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-warning-signs-youre-sabotaging-your-nest-egg">6 Warning Signs You&#039;re Sabotaging Your Nest Egg</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what">The Inventor of the 401K Has Second Thoughts About Your Retirement Plan — Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/left-a-job-do-a-rollover">Left a job? Do a rollover.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k">4 Reasons Why a Roth IRA May be Better Than Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k disability golden years healthcare insurance IRA moving abroad nest egg work in retirement Fri, 27 May 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Damian Davila 1717321 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways Having a Paid Off Car Is Surprisingly Great http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-having-a-paid-off-car-is-surprisingly-great <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-having-a-paid-off-car-is-surprisingly-great" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_car_road_trip_000080274673.jpg" alt="Woman learning how a paid off car makes life better" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 2005, I awoke one fine spring morning to the sound of metal crunching. Looking out the window, I saw a box truck mowing down my 1994 Honda Civic, which was parked on the street in front of my house. The driver was a 13-year-old boy who had come across the idling truck and had decided to steal it and go for a joy ride &mdash; which ended with the destruction of my car.</p> <p>It was not a great day.</p> <p>However, as overwhelming as it was for me to watch my car get hit by an uninsured driver, the entire situation was much better than it could have been because of one important fact: My Civic was paid off.</p> <p>As a matter of fact, I have been fortunate enough to never have a car payment in my 21 years of car ownership. While I'm delighted to not have a payment due every month, that's not the only way that having a paid-off car makes my life better. Here are five ways that having a paid-off car will benefit your life:</p> <h2>1. Insurance and Accidents Cost You Less</h2> <p>At the time of its sad demise, my Honda Civic was an 11-year-old car with 120,000 miles on it. I carried liability, uninsured motorist, and collision coverage. The first two were required by the state I lived in, and my collision coverage costs were fairly inexpensive because of the relatively low value of my car. The amount of money I was paying for insurance was a great deal lower than that of a classmate whose car was also totaled by another driver around the same time.</p> <p>The difference was that my classmate was driving a new car with a hefty car payment, so she had to have an expensive comprehensive insurance policy to match.</p> <p>What's more, I felt like I was made whole by my cheaper insurance, while my classmate was not. After my car was totaled, I got a check from my insurance company for the value of the car minus my $500 deductible, which I used to buy another used car. My friend was forced to take on another loan with a monthly payment that was $30 higher than the one she had before the accident.</p> <h2>2. Having a Paid-Off Car Means Potentially Never Paying Interest Again</h2> <p>One of the smartest things my husband and I have ever done was starting a &quot;car fund&quot; savings account. Each month, we set aside $350 into the account so that we have money available to either fix our cars if they need maintenance or repair, or to pay cash for a new one if our vehicles ends up going to the big garage in the sky. We pay ourselves the equivalent of a car payment each month so we never have to pay interest on our cars &mdash; and we earn some interest on the money we've saved, too.</p> <h2>3. Financial Ups and Downs Are Less Stressful</h2> <p>Making a monthly car payment is no biggie when your job feels secure. But if you are still making monthly payments on your car when you lose your job, receive an unexpected bill, or otherwise see your personal finances go south, then that monthly payment can feel more like an albatross around your neck.</p> <p>This is especially true if you have any reason to fear repossession of your car during your financial turmoil. Owning your car free and clear means that you have one less worry while you are trying to get your financial house back in order. You know that you can still rely on your car to transport you to and from work and your other responsibilities.</p> <h2>4. You Don't Have to Worry About Weird Hits to Your Credit</h2> <p>One of the bizarre aspects of how credit scores are calculated is the fact that paying off a major loan &mdash; such as a car loan &mdash; can have the effect of lowering your credit score. That's because paying off an installment loan raises your utilization ratio. For example, if you have a $12,000 car loan with a $3,000 balance that you pay off all at once, your available credit will drop by $12,000 once the account is closed, even though your debt load will also drop by $3,000.</p> <p>I don't know about you, but that kind of convoluted credit logic makes my head spin. It's a lot simpler to just have a car that's paid off &mdash; and have your credit score based on things like your mortgage or rental history, and your utilities payments.</p> <h2>5. It's Better for the Environment</h2> <p>Wanting to avoid ever having a car payment means that I strive to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cars-you-can-drive-almost-forever" target="_blank">take great care of my cars</a>. My current vehicle is a 14-year-old Honda Accord that could probably last another 14 years if I am diligent about maintenance.</p> <p>While it's possible that car manufacturers will figure out a way for all new cars to get 50 miles per gallon before the year 2030, keeping my current car on the road for as long as possible will be better for the environment than trading it in for a more efficient one. That's because the environmental impact of manufacturing a new car and disposing of a used one offsets a great deal of the fuel efficiency I might gain by buying a new car.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>Having a paid off car offers a great deal of freedom and peace of mind, whether your car provides you with years of faithful service, or it's totaled in an unfortunate joy-riding incident.</p> <p><em>Is your car paid off? What's great about it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-having-a-paid-off-car-is-surprisingly-great">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-buy-a-car">6 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Buy a 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/3-things-you-should-know-about-rental-car-insurance">3 Things You Should Know About Rental Car Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-claim-will-impact-your-car-insurance">Here&#039;s How a Claim Will Impact Your Car Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-t-afford-your-car-much-longer-negotiate-to-keep-it">Can’t Afford Your Car Much Longer? Negotiate to Keep It</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/14-things-insurance-agents-dont-want-you-to-know">14 Things Insurance Agents Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation accidents car loans credit score green living insurance interest payments owning your car Fri, 13 May 2016 09:30:23 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1707446 at http://www.wisebread.com