insurance http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3139/all en-US 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-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/13-money-goals-you-can-still-reach-by-2017">13 Money Goals You Can Still Reach by 2017</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-self-employed-persons-guide-to-getting-credit">The Self-Employed Person&#039;s Guide to Getting Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-before-leasing-a-car">What You Need to Know Before Leasing a Car</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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> <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/15-savvy-tips-for-a-smoother-move">15 Savvy Tips for a Smoother Move</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-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-retirement">4 Moves That Guarantee a Great 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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings">5 Times It&#039;s Okay to Delay Retirement Savings</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/401k-or-ira-you-need-both">401K or IRA? You Need Both</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-warning-signs-youre-sabotaging-your-nest-egg">6 Warning Signs You&#039;re Sabotaging Your Nest Egg</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-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-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/5-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings">5 Times It&#039;s Okay to Delay Retirement Savings</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/401k-or-ira-you-need-both">401K or IRA? You Need Both</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses">Stop Making These 10 Bogus Retirement Savings Excuses</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-13"> <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/14-things-insurance-agents-dont-want-you-to-know">14 Things Insurance Agents Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/drive-the-old-car-or-buy-a-new-car">Drive the Old Car or Buy a New 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/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/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps">How to Rebuild Your Credit in 8 Simple Steps</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 8 Unexpected Ways a Credit Card Can Save You Money on Travel http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-ways-a-credit-card-can-save-you-money-on-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-unexpected-ways-a-credit-card-can-save-you-money-on-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_travel_credit_card_000076858727.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways credit cards can save her on travel" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are plenty of obvious reasons to use a credit card while traveling. For example, it's easier than carrying a lot of cash, and if it gets lost or stolen, you can call your credit card company and you won't be held responsible for fraudulent charges. But did you know that using a credit card actually saves you money on your travels? Here are eight ways that credit cards can save you money on your next trip.</p> <h2>1. Rewards Points</h2> <p>Surely the most obvious way that credit cards can put more funds in your travel piggy bank is earning rewards points. It might seem overwhelming to dive into the world of credit card rewards, but it doesn't have to be.</p> <p>To start out, simply apply for three of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">best travel credit cards</a> for you. Chose two based on a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">good sign up bonus</a> so that you can get a head start on your points, and one based on a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">good percentage of cashback</a> return.</p> <p>Make sure you spend the minimum amount on each card in the first three months to ensure you get your sign-up bonus. Then continue to use the best cards based on their highest earning potential. For example, if one of them offers 3% <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">cash back on groceries</a>, always use that one at the supermarket. If one offers a high percentage on gas, use that at the pump.</p> <p>If you have a hard time keeping track, you can always put a sticky note on each card. After a while, you won't need the notes anymore.</p> <h2>2. Rental Car Insurance</h2> <p>This is a really easy way to save a few bucks a day on your rental car. All major credit card providers offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-car-rental-insurance-really-cover-on-your-credit-card">good insurance coverage on rentals</a> if you put the full cost of the rental car on your card (obligatory with most rental companies).</p> <p>Don't pay extra for the damage collision waiver or for extended coverage if your credit card includes it! Many people who don't know about their credit card's coverage buy a ton of extra insurance through the rental company, not knowing that it's already covered on their card.</p> <h2>3. Travel Insurance</h2> <p>This is another place where so many people waste their money because they don't know that their card has them covered. There are dozens of cards that offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-exactly-does-travel-accident-insurance-cover-on-credit-cards">complementary travel insurance</a>.</p> <p>Before paying for expensive third-party insurance, call your credit card provider and ask what kind of travel insurance they include in their policy. You may be surprised to find out that they cover you for more than the expensive third-party insurance you've paid for in the past!</p> <p>Stop wasting money on extra insurance. Call your credit card provider before your next trip.</p> <h2>4. Rental Car Discounts</h2> <p>Many credit card providers offer discounts if you book your rental car with their partners. If you can't get a direct deal with the rental car agencies, many issuers have their own travel portal sites that allow their cardholders to book travel with exclusive discounts.</p> <h2>5. Lost Luggage Insurance</h2> <p>As someone who has recently been a victim of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-airline-lost-your-luggage-now-what" target="_blank">lost luggage at an airport</a>, I have to say that this is something you may take for granted, but can save you a lot of money.</p> <p>You may think that when an airline loses your luggage, they'll reimburse you for everything you lost, plus pay you a little extra for your troubles. This simply isn't true with most airlines. While recent laws have been enforced to hold airlines accountable for your belongings, they are still only required to pay you the depreciated value of your used goods.</p> <p>Credit card lost luggage insurance will help to top up the amount that the airline isn't willing to pay and will even give you a small amount to pay for emergency purchases while the airline tries to retrieve your luggage. That way you can at least pick up some warm clothes, extra underwear, and a toothbrush knowing that your credit card insurance is paying for it.</p> <h2>6. Airline Credits</h2> <p>Some credit cards will actually offer to reimburse a certain amount each year for airline fees and in-flight food and entertainment. At a minimum, most <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards">airline credit cards</a> will offer a discount for in-flight purchases.</p> <h2>7. Baggage Fees</h2> <p>These days, pretty much every airline in North America is charging passengers for their first checked bag. Put an end to this by having the right plastic in your wallet.</p> <p>Again, this is where airline credit cards will come in handy. Most of them will give you a free checked bag, plus for your companions, too. Before you book your flight, make sure you're using the right credit card.</p> <h2>8. Foreign Fees</h2> <p>Most credit cards will charge a 3% foreign transaction fee for using your credit card abroad. This fee cancels out any convenience or advantages of using a credit card abroad. Worse is figuring out whether the exchange rate is going to leave you better off or worse off than the 3% fee.</p> <p>The good news is that there are credit cards that have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation">no foreign transaction fees</a>. Sign up for one and make sure to use that one on your travels.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>If you're a disciplined spender, signing up for numerous travel rewards credit cards and putting all your purchases on plastic can save you a lot of money both at home and on the road. Just make sure that you're careful about how many cards you apply for and how you spend.</p> <p>There's no point in earning points if you are paying 19.99% interest. Be sure to pay off your card each month and abide by the minimum spending for sign-up bonuses and you'll have more money to enjoy (or to save up for your next adventure).</p> <p><em>Have you taken advantage of any of these credit card travel savers?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-ways-a-credit-card-can-save-you-money-on-travel">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/3-ways-your-bank-account-can-boost-your-travel-rewards">3 Ways Your Bank Account Can Boost Your Travel Rewards</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-airline-partnerships-can-supercharge-your-travel-rewards">The Secret to Redeeming Travel Rewards with Airline Partners</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-airline-lost-your-luggage-now-what">The Airline Lost Your Luggage. 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/follow-these-5-credit-card-rules-when-traveling-abroad">Follow These 5 Credit Card Rules When Traveling Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards">6 Ways My Family Scores Free Travel With Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel airlines foreign transaction fees insurance lost luggage rental cars rewards sign up bonuses Thu, 05 May 2016 10:00:14 +0000 Nick Wharton 1703936 at http://www.wisebread.com The 9 Most Important Lessons I Learned About Money When I Became a Landlord http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-most-important-lessons-i-learned-about-money-when-i-became-a-landlord <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-9-most-important-lessons-i-learned-about-money-when-i-became-a-landlord" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_landlord_apartments_000065988327.jpg" alt="Man learning important lessons about money as a landlord" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With 30 years under my toolbelt as a landlord, I've had my share of lessons learned &mdash; so I thought it was about time I put some of those learnings down on paper. Previously, I've written about key considerations when <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-location-isnt-king-how-to-choose-income-rental-property">shopping for a rental property</a>. Here, I focus on money lessons learned <em>after</em> closing the deal and actually managing the property.</p> <p>The real estate properties that form the basis of my experiences are a two-family property my wife and I have owned and managed for 30 years, and a rental condo we managed for 20 years then sold. Now on to those lessons...</p> <h2>1. Learn to Be Handy</h2> <p>Owning rental properties is all about building &quot;sweat equity.&quot; The less you pay others to do maintenance and make repairs, the more you keep for yourself. But when you make the repairs, <em>do</em> buy items of higher quality that will last longer. Having to return over and over to make the same repair gets old quickly and winds up costing you more in the end.</p> <h2>2. Be Respectful and Responsible</h2> <p>Remember that both landlord and tenant have responsibilities. I try to put my best foot forward with a new tenant by making sure the unit is in excellent move-in condition, and by responding promptly when they reach out to me. More often than not, they return the favor by taking better care of the property. In other words, &quot;What goes around comes around.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Get a Good Lease (From a Lawyer)</h2> <p>Your lease is a legally binding contract. Make sure you read, understand, and agree to every word. Who is responsible for lawn care? Who shovels the snow? Does it require tenants to be responsible for small repairs (say, under $20) and basic maintenance such as replacement of light bulbs? How much notice do tenants need to give you that they are leaving? (I suggest at least one month.)</p> <p>Consider the lease a flexible document that can be improved over time to address lessons learned. For example, we've found a month-to-month lease works better for us than an annual term, because it provides more flexibility for tenant changes.</p> <h2>4. No Pets! No Exceptions</h2> <p>It took a double-whammy for us to learn this lesson. The downstairs unit of our two-family has very nice Andersen casement windows with stained wooden sills. The upstairs has wall-to-wall carpeting to cushion sounds between the floors. Our very first choice of tenants to occupy the downstairs unit had two cats. Even today, if I close my eyes, I can clearly see images of the deep gouges in those (previously) beautiful sills, and the rips in the Anderson screens.</p> <p>Upstairs, the culprit was a dog. He used the carpeting as an opportunity to mark his territory &mdash; and he did a thorough job, extending into the hardwood flooring underneath. After spending thousands of dollars to repair the windows, replace the carpets, and sand and refinish the wood flooring, it has now become very easy to answer the question we've since been asked many times: &quot;Do you allow pets?&quot; Without hesitation, the answer is always the same: &quot;NO!&quot; I take pride in even sticking to my guns when a recent prospect offered to add $300 per month to the rent if we allowed him to keep a pet piglet.</p> <h2>5. Check Tenant References &mdash; And Their Car</h2> <p>Banks and other lenders often use the &quot;5 C's of Credit&quot; to determine whether or not a borrower qualifies for a loan. One of those &quot;C's&quot; is Character. You want to rent to someone of strong character, who is responsible and honest. So ask for and check both employer and personal references. Do Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn searches while you're at it. Look for other clues, as well. For example, when meeting a prospective tenant, I always look at their car to see how clean they keep it on the outside, and how cluttered it is on the inside. Unlike a banker, you're not just lending money; you're lending someone your house.</p> <h2>6. Check Tenant Finances: Trust but Verify!</h2> <p>Another of the &quot;5 C's&quot; is &quot;Capacity.&quot; Capacity answers the question, &quot;Do they have enough income to afford the rent?&quot; As a general rule of thumb, your rent plus utilities should be no more than 30% of your gross monthly income. Ask for their most recent pay stub, and call their employer to verify their employment. It's human nature to want to trust other people, but in this case you need to back it up by verifying.</p> <h2>7. Wait for the Right Tenant</h2> <p>This one falls under the &quot;Pay me now or pay me later&quot; category. I do admit, it's easy to yield to the taunts of the devil on one shoulder (&quot;Live for the moment and take the money now!&quot;) rather than heeding advice from the angel on the other shoulder (&quot;Wait for a better candidate!&quot;). Trust me, it's much more costly &mdash; not just financially, but also in time and aggravation &mdash; to remove a bad tenant than to forego one or two months' rent in order to find a good one. Do yourself a favor and take the advice of your better angels.</p> <h2>8. Get an Umbrella Insurance Policy</h2> <p>Being a landlord elevates your risk of being sued. It only takes one lawsuit &mdash; perhaps involving a tenant falling down stairs or slipping on driveway ice &mdash; and you could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. So take out a general liability, or umbrella, insurance policy. Don't risk getting wiped out. Paying $50 per month for umbrella insurance is a small price in exchange for sleeping soundly at night.</p> <h2>9. Take an Honest Look in the Mirror</h2> <p>Do you have the people skills to deal constructively with tenants? Are you willing to be on call 24/7 to respond to complaints big and small, or to drop everything for the repair of a furnace, toilet, or hot water heater? At times these things are a true test of patience and perseverance.</p> <p>Self-awareness is key. If you have a spouse or partner, and if the demands of property management begin to weigh more and more heavily on either or both or you over time, it could drive a wedge in your relationship. No amount of rental income is worth that price.</p> <p>So, taken as a whole, has our experience been worth the effort? Yes. The two-family has worked out better, and we still have it. It generates a regular monthly stream of positive cash flow (over $1,000 per month after all expenses). Granted, it requires time and attention (isn't everything in life a tradeoff?), but in return we've received the equivalent of a modest monthly pension payment since our early 40s. Not many other investments can do that.</p> <p><em>Do you own rental property? Any of these lessons sound familiar? And if you rent, how's it look from the other side?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keith-whelan">Keith Whelan</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-most-important-lessons-i-learned-about-money-when-i-became-a-landlord">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-things-you-need-to-know-when-renting-to-own-a-home">5 Things You Need to Know When Renting-to-Own a Home</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/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-landlords-cant-ask">10 Questions Landlords Can&#039;t Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-rent-an-apartment-with-bad-credit">7 Ways to Rent An Apartment With Bad Credit</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-moves-to-make-if-you-need-to-break-your-lease">8 Moves to Make If You Need to Break Your Lease</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing insurance landlords leasing money lessons rental properties Tue, 09 Feb 2016 14:00:06 +0000 Keith Whelan 1650518 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways the Sandwich Generation Can Get Ahead http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-the-sandwich-generation-can-get-ahead <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-the-sandwich-generation-can-get-ahead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_mom_grandmother_000065344773.jpg" alt="Young woman learning how the sandwich generation can get ahead" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Sandwich Generation &mdash; those caught caring for aging parents while still supporting children &mdash; face daunting financial challenges. How can they live up to their responsibilities, while still reaching their own financial goals? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have?ref=seealso">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</a>)</p> <h2>1. Set Boundaries</h2> <p>Simultaneously caring for a minor and parent is taxing on your &quot;me time.&quot; All told, 42% of Gen Xers and 33% of Baby Boomers are <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2013/01/Sandwich_Generation_Report_FINAL_1-29.pdf">living this scenario</a> &mdash; and feeling the squeeze in places other than just their wallets. So, how to make time and energy for oneself when so many others are depending on you?</p> <p>One way is to set boundaries. Maybe you need one or two days away from catering to the needs of others. Set up a schedule with other members of your family so that a spouse or brother or cousin is available to relieve you from in-home care duties on certain days. Perhaps common errands like lawn mowing and grocery shopping are becoming difficult to juggle. If you have a mature and capable child, consider delegating out some of these chores.</p> <p>Setting boundaries might be as simple as carving out a two-hour block each day during which you engage in whatever activities &mdash; napping, exercising, reading &mdash; benefit you. The key, of course, is sticking to it. Honor that time you've created for yourself and know that it's helping not only you, but those who depend on you, too.</p> <h2>2. Consider Long-Term Care Insurance</h2> <p>If you're caring for an ailing parent, you may want to mandate that Mom or Dad invest in long-term care insurance. If they're resistant, explain that it's for you as much as it is for them. After all, you don't want to go bankrupt, and your parent doesn't want that for you either. Long-term care insurance policies reimburse policyholders a daily amount for services to assist with the cost of daily activities such as bathing, dressing, or eating. The cost of a long-term care policy is determined by factors such as how old the policyholder is when he or she buys in, and the predetermined maximum amount that the policy will pay per day.</p> <h2>3. Invite Mom and Dad to Move In</h2> <p>If your parents move in with you, you can all save money in property taxes &mdash; up to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on where you reside. Not to mention, the average annual cost of a <a href="https://www.metlife.com/mmi/research/2012-market-survey-long-term-care-costs.html#keyfindings">private nursing home</a> room is about $91,000, while the the cost of assisted living falls around $43,000.</p> <p>Multigenerational housing eliminates such expenses and grants you the peace of mind that Mom and Dad are being well-cared for by yourself and other members of the family. Establishing a multigenerational household may seem daunting, but don't discount the many social benefits. Your children will have a better shot at developing a meaningful relationship with their grandparents if they're all living under one roof. Same goes for you and your parents.</p> <h2>4. Collect Rent From Grown Kids Who Move Back Home</h2> <p>At one time, it was embarrassing for a young adult to move back in with his or her parents. But today, that simply isn't so. In fact, thanks to The Great Recession, there are so many young adults moving back in with Mom and Dad that the stigma is practically non-existent.</p> <p>Living at home eases the burden of student debt while helping young adults save for their education, a car, and a place of their own. But remember that all of these benefits are still well in play when you charge your son or daughter a fair rent. And you should. Young adults who pay to live at home are more likely to feel motivated to get a good job, establish a career, improve their education, and put their degree to good use. You needn't charge the amount it would cost to rent an apartment in your city or town. A couple hundred dollars a month is typically enough to keep your son or daughter edging to better themselves.</p> <h2>5. Claim a Parent as a Dependent</h2> <p>If you're caring for a parent who has a gross income of no more than $3,950 &mdash; this number excludes Social Security and disability &mdash; you can <a href="http://www.elderlawanswers.com/claiming-a-parent-as-a-dependent-3657">claim them as a dependent</a> when you file your taxes.</p> <h2>6. Write Off Your Parent's Medical Expenses</h2> <p>The IRS understands the strain of paying for a parent's medical tab. If you footed the bill for a parent's medical care, you may be able to <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/ar02.html#en_US_2015_publink1000178856">deduct those expenses</a> when you file your taxes. To quality, total medical expenses, including the cost of prescription drugs, hospital care, and doctor's visits, must exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income.</p> <p><em>Are you part of the Sandwich Generation? How are you coping?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-the-sandwich-generation-can-get-ahead">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/does-your-kid-need-an-ira">Does Your Kid Need an IRA?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-your-kids-know-about-your-finances">How Much Should Your Kids Know About Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-kids-stuff-at-a-consignment-sale">How to Sell Your Kid&#039;s Stuff at a Consignment Sale</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-apps-every-dad-needs">6 Apps Every Dad Needs</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-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Lifestyle baby boomers dependents gen x insurance parents sandwich generation taxes Mon, 01 Feb 2016 12:00:03 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1646408 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways the 50% Rule Can Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_cash_000040930446.jpg" alt="Woman learning ways 50% rule can save her money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The 50% rule is a simple guideline that can help you determine whether it's time to replace an appliance, adjust your budget, and lots more. Here's how it can help you save real money.</p> <h2>1. Appliances</h2> <p>When a household appliance has an issue, it may be difficult to determine whether you should schedule a repair or replace the machine altogether.</p> <p>To easily determine if it's worth keeping, use the 50% rule. If the appliance has used up more than 50% of its useful life and the cost of the repair is more than 50% of the cost of a new appliance, then you should replace it.</p> <p>If you have a warranty on your appliance, find out if any of the repairs are still covered. Most appliance warranties cover labor and parts for one to two years. Some small repairs can also be completed as DIY projects.</p> <p>On the other hand, Consumer Reports recommends that if an item has already <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/02/repair-or-replace/index.htm">broken down once before</a>, it might make sense just to replace it. Keep in mind that if you decide to keep your original appliance, there will be extra costs like additional maintenance and possibly a &quot;trip charge&quot; from the service contractors you hire.</p> <h3>What You'll Need</h3> <p>You can easily compare the costs of repair versus replacement to determine what's a better value. In order to get the most accurate estimate possible, there are several pieces of information you will need:</p> <ul> <li>The appliance's expected useful life: Knowing how long your appliance is expected to last will help you determine if it's worth keeping. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-long-these-6-appliances-should-last?ref=seealso">This Is How Long These 6 Appliances Should Last</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The original purchase price of the appliance.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The average cost to repair your type of appliance: If your service contractor will offer a free estimate, this will help you make a more informed decision.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The cost of a new appliance.</li> </ul> <h3>Benefits of Replacing</h3> <p>You may also want to consider the benefits of replacing the appliance to a newer, more updated version. These benefits could include:</p> <ul> <li>Improved energy efficiency, which may mean lower electricity bills, lower insurance, or tax deductions.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>More features that will improve your life.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Less chance of repairs in the near future.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Real Estate</h2> <p>In real estate, the 50% rule states that operating expenses and vacancy account for about 50% of the rent. This means that if a property rents for $1,000 per month, about $500 will be spent on expenses and vacancies. The remaining 50% would be devoted towards mortgage principal and interest, with the leftovers serving as cash flow.</p> <p>This can serve as a general guideline to help you determine if a particular real estate investment will be worth it in the long run. If you are considering a long term buy and hold, then the 50% rule can help save you money by preventing any purchases that won't pay off.</p> <h2>3. Insurance Claims and Disaster Recovery</h2> <p>After a natural disaster, if the damages do not exceed 50% of the cost of replacing the building, then it will be deemed repairable. The Federal Emergency Management Agency <a href="https://www.fema.gov/pdf/floodplain/nfip_sg_unit_8.pdf">uses a 50% rule</a> to determine if something is considered to have heavy damage or needs substantial improvement. The rule states that if the repair costs are 50% or more of the building's value, then the building must be elevated and brought into compliance.</p> <p>Another application of the 50% rule states that when a building is to be renovated, if the total costs of improvement are 50% or more of the building's value, it will have to be brought into compliance. This is a hidden cost that most don't know about. Being aware of what's to come can help save you time, money, and frustration.</p> <h2>4. Budget</h2> <p>If you've heard of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-better-budget-in-5-minutes-flat">50/20/30 budget</a>, it relies on the 50% rule. It specifies that 50% of your budget should be dedicated to essential expenses (like housing, food, and transportation), 20% to financial obligations (like debt repayment, retirement, and emergency savings), and 30% to personal expenses (like entertainment, dining out, and phone, cable, and Internet expenses). By following this guideline, you can create a workable budget that alerts you when you are spending too much, saving you money over time.</p> <p>Keep in mind that the 50% rule is a <em>guideline</em> and won't always work perfectly. It's best to make adjustments to the numbers so that you can get a better estimate and make a more informed decision.</p> <p><em>Have you ever applied the 50% rule to your life? 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/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-little-known-ways-to-save-at-disneyland">15 Little Known Ways to Save at Disneyland</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-make-budgeting-fun-no-really">7 Apps That Make Budgeting Fun — No Really!</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/these-15-road-trip-snacks-make-it-all-about-the-journey">These 15 Road Trip Snacks Make It All About the Journey</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting 50% rule appliances guidelines insurance real estate saving money Fri, 29 Jan 2016 12:00:04 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1646405 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Retirement Products That Aren't Worth Your Money http://www.wisebread.com/6-retirement-products-that-arent-worth-your-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-retirement-products-that-arent-worth-your-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/financial_nest_egg_000061502802.jpg" alt="Finding out which retirement products aren&#039;t worth your money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Saving for retirement is actually quite simple. But there are many products out there that make it seem more complicated than it actually is. Others simply cost more than they're worth.</p> <p>As you approach retirement age, you may hear about all kinds of ways to ensure that you have enough money to continue to live comfortably. But steering clear of the following products may ultimately help you keep more money in your pocket.</p> <h2>1. Variable Annuities</h2> <p>A variable annuity might make sense for those approaching retirement, but generally doesn't for those who are already retired. That's because the idea behind a variable annuity is that you invest a sum of money and get a stream of income at a future date. Try to access your money early, and you might pay a penalty. Current retirees are better off with an immediate payout annuity, which requires you to pay an up-front lump sum, and then provides regular payments immediately. It's worth noting that variable annuities can have fees of as much as 3.5%, according to Kiplinger.</p> <h2>2. Reverse Mortgages</h2> <p>We've all seen the ads on television, and the concept seems simple enough: You use the equity in your home to help fund your retirement via a guaranteed income stream. Reverse mortgages are a legitimate retirement product, but there are downsides, including high closing costs and fees. Plus, the equity in your house won't last forever, and by tapping it, you leave less for your heirs when they inherit the home. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-downsides-of-a-reverse-mortgage">5 Downsides of a Reverse Mortgage</a>)</p> <h2>3. Long-Term Care Insurance</h2> <p>It's daunting to think about the costs of your care as you age. Assisted living and nursing home care can cost anywhere from $40,000 to $90,000 a year. A long stay in a nursing home might mean you'll outlast your savings and leave very little to your family.</p> <p>An insurance policy for long-term care might seem like a good investment, but it's important to know that the premiums can run upwards of $2,000 annually for a healthy couple at age 60. If your golden years are healthy and more independent than you expected, you may pay more in premiums than what your care would cost. Retirees are likely better off investing well and trying to save as much as possible for their retirement &mdash; unless they have good reason to believe they'll make use of long-term care facilities or services.</p> <h2>4. Whole Life Insurance</h2> <p>On the surface, whole life insurance seems like a swell product: You get life insurance along with some tax-free growth. But whole life insurance is generally more expensive than term life insurance, and the investment returns are usually less than what you might find elsewhere.</p> <h2>5. Junk Bonds</h2> <p>It certainly makes sense for retirees to have bonds in their portfolios, but they should steer clear of these types of high-yield bonds, which don't perform particularly well unless the economy is doing great. And if the economy is doing poorly, they could be crushed. If you're close to retirement and still looking for yield, take a look at stable dividend stocks instead. If you want safety, go with lower-risk bonds or cash.</p> <h2>6. Non-Traded REITs</h2> <p>Real estate investment trusts (REITS) can be great investments for retirees, because they offer high dividend income with low volatility. However, there are some REITs that are public, but not traded on any public exchange. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has issued a warning about these products, because upfront fees are high, and they are often difficult to sell. If you want real estate in your portfolio, look to some of the larger REITs like Simon Property Group or Boston Properties, or find a good REIT mutual fund or ETF.</p> <p><em>Where are you keeping your retirement funds?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-retirement-products-that-arent-worth-your-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/dont-know-what-annuities-are-you-might-be-missing-out">Don&#039;t Know What Annuities Are? You Might Be Missing Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-retirement">4 Moves That Guarantee a Great Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-handle-a-forced-early-retirement">5 Ways to Handle a Forced Early Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-retirees-are-using-annuities-instead-of-early-social-security">Why Retirees Are Using Annuities Instead of Early Social Security</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-much-do-i-need-to-retire-how-much-can-i-spend">How much do I need to retire? How much can I spend?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement annuities insurance junk bonds REITs reverse mortgages Tue, 19 Jan 2016 14:00:03 +0000 Tim Lemke 1638138 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/30-somethings_financial_goals.jpg" alt="30-somethings achieving financial goals" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You are not 29 anymore. It's time to start acting like a grown-up. Aside from doing mature things like ironing your clothes and eating more kale, it's also time to get your financial house in order.</p> <p>Take a look at these 10 financial goals that all 30-somethings should have. Do yours line up?</p> <h2>1. Saving for a Comfortable Retirement</h2> <p>You may think that retirement is a long way off, but you're approaching a time when retirement age is closer than your college years. Crazy, but true. Hopefully, you've saved at least a little bit toward retirement up until this point. Now is the time to ramp it up. Try to max out your contributions into retirement accounts, if you can. If you're maxed out on your 401K, open an IRA. The last thing you want is to be sitting there at age 65 unable to retire because your 30-something self didn't plan ahead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-age-40">6 Financial Mistakes to Stop Making by Age 40</a>)</p> <h2>2. Rebalancing Investments</h2> <p>If you began putting money into your 401K or other retirement plans in your 20s, that's great. But have you looked at them recently? Chances are, the balances of those investments may be out of line with what you intended. You may be too heavily invested in company stock. You may have less exposure to international investments than you planned. You may have too many large-cap investments and not enough small-cap stocks. Consider talking with an investment advisor to find the right investment mix, and get in the habit of rebalancing once each year.</p> <h2>3. Eliminating Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>If you racked up bills due to some irresponsible spending habits when you were younger, it's time to get yourself in line and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">eliminate that high-interest debt</a>. Start by paying off the card with the highest interest rate and go from there. And then once you that debt paid off, start getting in the habit of paying your credit card bill in full each month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">When to Use a Balance Transfer to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Paying Off Student Loans</h2> <p>Student loans were crushing to you in your 20s. But now you're reaching a point when maybe you can see the bottom of that debt pile. If elimination of that debt is within reach, go after it aggressively until it's all gone. You'll be amazed at how liberating it will feel, both financially and psychologically. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-refinance-your-student-loan?ref=seealso">Should You Refinance Your Student Loan?</a>)</p> <h2>5. Earning More Money</h2> <p>Now that you're in your 30s, there's a good chance you have a good sense of what you want to be when you grow up. You have chosen a career path and can gain some income stability. Moreover, you have now been in the workforce for more than a decade, and have experience that you can leverage to go after that new job, that raise, and that promotion.</p> <h2>6. Saving for a Down Payment On a Home</h2> <p>If you are earning more and have your credit card and student loan debt gone, now's the time to stop renting and buy a home. If you plan to settle down, you're doing to want to save as much as you can to afford the house you want. Being saddled with a huge mortgage will only kill you later. Save up, so those monthly mortgage payments are manageable &mdash; or even non existent.</p> <h2>7. Building Up an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Living on the edge was fun and exciting when you were in your 20s. If you got into a pinch, you could always bum money off your friends or parents. But it's not so cute when you're in your 30s and one major car repair or broken furnace from a financial disaster. It's time to start building up that emergency fund &mdash; at least three months worth of expenses &mdash; so you can easily handle whatever comes your way.</p> <h2>8. Being Properly Insured</h2> <p>When you're young, you may not feel it's necessary to save for your car insurance. You might settle for a low-cost health plan and skimp on some cheap renters' insurance. But you're older now. You have stuff that's worth money. And you're no longer invincible, health-wise. You may even have people in your life who count on you. This means you may need a more robust health insurance plan. You may need better homeowner's insurance. And it may be time to look into some term life insurance plans, so that your loved ones are taken care of if something happens to you. You may not want to think about bad things happening, but it's not like being unprepared for disasters will prevent them from happening.</p> <h2>9. Writing a Will</h2> <p>I'm not suggesting you need to start worrying about death, but you need to at least give some guidance on how your things should be divided up if you pass. And if you have kids, it's especially important to outline a plan for how they'll be cared for. You can get a will completed fairly easily online at websites like LegalZoom.</p> <h2>10. Giving to Charity</h2> <p>You are hopefully at a point in your life when you have a little extra money to give to those less fortunate. If you have some extra cash, consider donating it to a cause that you support. Not only will it be great for the recipient and make you feel good, but you can get a tax deduction as well.</p> <p><em>Do you have your act together, or are your finances still stuck in the previous decade?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have">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/the-retirement-latte">The Retirement Latte</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-things-that-young-adults-absolutely-need-to-know-about-money">21 Things That Young Adults Absolutely Need to Know About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-by-30">5 Financial Mistakes You Need to Stop Making by 30</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/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-free-or-almost-tools-and-resources-for-creating-a-new-2015-budget">10 Free (or Almost!) Tools and Resources for Creating a New 2015 Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Budgeting budgeting insurance investing millennials resolutions saving Thu, 14 Jan 2016 12:01:03 +0000 Tim Lemke 1638009 at http://www.wisebread.com Is an FHA Home Loan Right for You? http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-fha-home-loan-right-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-an-fha-home-loan-right-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/married_couple_house_000023047862.jpg" alt="Couple learning if an FHA home loan is right for them" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're ready to buy a home, and you know that you can afford the monthly payments that come with a mortgage loan. But there's one challenge: You don't have enough money for a large down payment.</p> <p>Don't despair: An FHA loan can help. These mortgages insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Federal Housing Administration require more affordable down payments, which could make getting the home of your dreams an easier financial task. And borrowers can qualify for FHA loans even with lower credit scores. FHA loans, though, do come with some additional fees, which might impact the overall cost of the mortgage. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-your-parents-could-buy-a-home-while-you-still-rent">Here's Why Your Parents Could Buy a Home While You Still Rent</a>)</p> <p>Still interested? Read on to learn whether an FHA loan is for you.</p> <h2>When FHA Loans Make Sense</h2> <p>You can technically qualify for an FHA loan even if your FICO credit score is as low as 500. However, that doesn't mean that you won't struggle to find a lender to work with you. The FHA doesn't actually originate loans &mdash; it only insures them &mdash; so, you'll still have to work with a private lender to get an FHA mortgage. And many of these lenders (despite the willingness of the FHA to insure borrowers with such low scores) won't provide mortgage money to borrowers whose scores are too close to 500.</p> <p>Still, FHA loans are a good option for borrowers with credit scores that are below, say, 700. Today's lenders consider FICO scores of 740 or higher to be ideal. They'll reserve their lowest interest rates for borrowers with strong credit. And if your score is below 640, you'll find that only a smaller number of lenders will be willing to work with you. These lenders might recommend that you apply for an FHA loan if your score is too low.</p> <p>FHA loans aren't just a good option for borrowers with weak credit, though. They're also a good choice for borrowers who don't have a lot of money for a down payment. If your FICO credit score is at least 580, you can qualify for an FHA loan that requires a down payment of just 3.5% of your home's purchase price.</p> <p>For a home costing $180,000, that 3.5% down payment comes out to a manageable $6,300.</p> <p>If your FICO credit score is at least 500, you can technically qualify for an FHA loan that requires a down payment of 10% of your home's final purchase price, which is still better than the 20% down payment that some conventional lenders will require.</p> <h2>The Downsides of an FHA Loan</h2> <p>There is a downside to FHA loans: They come with higher fees than conventional loans.</p> <h3>Extra Up Front Costs</h3> <p>If you take out an FHA loan, you'll have to pay two types of mortgage-insurance premiums. The first is an upfront premium of 1.75% of your total mortgage loan. If you take out a loan for $175,000, that comes out to $3,062.75 (you'll have to pay this premium when you take out the mortgage). You can either do this in one lump sum as a closing cost, or you can include it in your loan amount &mdash; turning, say, that $175,000 loan into $178,062.75 &mdash; and pay it off with each of your monthly payments.</p> <h3>Mortgage Insurance</h3> <p>An FHA loan also comes with an annual mortgage insurance premium that you'll have to pay each year. This annual fee depends on the length of your loan and the size of your down payment.</p> <p>If you are taking out a 15-year loan and you put down less than 10% of your home's purchase price, your annual mortgage insurance premium will be 0.7% of your outstanding loan balance. If you put down 10% or more on a 15-year loan, your annual premium will be 0.45% of your loan balance.</p> <p>If you take out a 30-year loan with a down payment of less than 5%, your annual mortgage insurance premium will be 0.85% of your loan's balance. If you put down more than 5% on a 30-year mortgage, that premium will be 0.8% of your balance.</p> <p>So, if you put down 3.5% initially on a 30-year FHA loan and your loan's outstanding balance is $180,000, you'd pay $1,530 that year in mortgage insurance premiums. Again, you would pay that amount off in small amounts with each monthly mortgage payment.</p> <p>Unlike conventional loans, you'll never be able to cancel the mortgage insurance premium. With conventional mortgages, you can cancel your mortgage insurance payments once your loan's balance is 80% or less than your home's market value.</p> <p>So when you're deciding whether an FHA loan is right for you, you'll have to weigh whether the extra yearly fees are worth the convenience of those low down payments and looser credit requirements. For many borrowers who otherwise can't afford the dream of homeownership, the answer may be yes. But if saving a larger down payment for a traditional mortgage <em>is</em> feasible, it's likely to result in lower overall costs.</p> <p><em>Did you buy a home with an FHA loan? What was the process like for you?</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/is-an-fha-home-loan-right-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-terrible-things-foreclosure-does-to-your-credit">3 Terrible Things Foreclosure Does to Your Credit</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-things-lenders-look-for-in-a-loan-application">5 Things Lenders Look For in a Loan Application</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/when-it-makes-sense-to-apply-for-a-mortgage-loan-without-your-spouse">When It Makes Sense to Apply for a Mortgage Loan Without Your Spouse</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-for-tomorrows-mortgage">6 Money Moves to Make for Tomorrow&#039;s Mortgage</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/everything-you-need-to-know-about-freddie-mac-and-fannie-mae">Everything You Need to Know About Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing credit scores fha loans fico insurance lenders mortgages Mon, 11 Jan 2016 14:00:03 +0000 Dan Rafter 1634308 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Things Every Frugal Person Should Have In Their Wallet http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_purse_000078780735.jpg" alt="Woman learning things every frugal person should have in their wallet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I use my wallet not only for spending money, but for <em>saving </em>money as well. Having the right resources in your wallet makes it much more likely that you'll take advantage of money-saving opportunities that come along every day.</p> <p>What should you have in your wallet to help you be a savvy saver?</p> <h2>1. Cash</h2> <p>Carrying cash has several advantages. If you keep a supply of cash on hand, you'll never pay ATM fees. Also, cash is psychologically more painful to spend than using credit cards, so you're likely to be more frugal when having to part with paper.</p> <p>I get even more benefit from carrying cash by using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">money envelope system</a> to control spending. In my household, we pay for all food expenses using cash from our envelope, so if I have cash in my wallet, I know I can buy food and still be within budget.</p> <h2>2. Coupons</h2> <p>You can save a lot of money with coupons, but you need to have them with you when you are buying something. I put the best coupons for my favorite stores in my wallet. That way, I am always prepared to take advantage of savings.</p> <h2>3. Store Loyalty Cards</h2> <p>Some grocery stores offer cash discounts and points toward free items if you swipe your loyalty card at checkout. On a recent shopping trip, I was able to get a couple bags of food items for free by cashing in my points. The people in line behind me were amazed!</p> <h2>4. Credit Cards With Rewards and Discounts</h2> <p>If you pay off your credit card balance every month, you might as well take advantage of the rewards. I get <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-store-credit-card-target-redcard">5% off every purchase</a> at some of my favorite stores. I use the rewards points I get from other purchases to score free items on Amazon. The credit card companies are betting that you will carry a balance and end up generating profit for them. Pay off your balance every month, and you'll get the rewards for free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Cash Back Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Another reason to carry at least one credit card is to handle emergency situations. If your vehicle breaks down, you may need to pay for towing and repairs at the shop. If you have a medical emergency, you may need to pay at the time of treatment.</p> <h2>5. Health Savings Account Card</h2> <p>I signed up for a program that allows me to contribute on a pre-tax basis to a health savings account (HSA). With the health savings credit card I carry in my wallet, I can use pre-tax dollars to pay for prescription medicine and cover the co-pay for medical services. I save about 35% every time I use my HSA card since I am using money that was not subject to taxes.</p> <p>Your employer may offer an HSA program, but if not, you can start your own account at your bank or credit union and take advantage of big savings on healthcare expenses.</p> <h2>6. Consignment Store Account Numbers</h2> <p>I carry my consignment store account numbers in my wallet to make it as easy as possible to drop things off. You'll also need your account number to pick up your money after your items sell.</p> <h2>7. Insurance Cards</h2> <p>I carry cards in my wallet for medical insurance, prescription medicine insurance, and auto insurance. Make it as easy as possible to quickly access your coverage information.</p> <p><em>What do you carry in your wallet to help you save money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet">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/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle">Everything You Need to Know About Switching to the Cash Only Lifestyle</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-old-school-tools-to-help-you-stay-on-budget">6 Old School Tools to Help You Stay on 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/10-easiest-items-to-flip-for-cash">10 Easiest Items to &quot;Flip&quot; for Cash</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/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Never Use Cash for These 11 Things</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Organization carrying a wallet cash coupons Envelope system HSA insurance Mon, 11 Jan 2016 10:00:03 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1634857 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Phone Calls That Will Save You Big Every Month http://www.wisebread.com/4-phone-calls-that-will-save-you-big-every-month <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-phone-calls-that-will-save-you-big-every-month" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_phone_call_000062926794.jpg" alt="Woman making phone calls that will save her big" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you want to save money, you should call your credit card company, mortgage lender, insurance agent, or cable provider. Ask for everything from a lower interest rate to a less costly cable subscription.</p> <p>Unfortunately, too many consumers simply accept their current rates, fees, and plans when a simple phone call might save them hundreds of dollars a year, says Beverly Harzog, an Atlanta-based credit card expert and author.</p> <p>&quot;If you have a good credit history, if you've always paid your bills on time, you are considered a valuable customer,&quot; Harzog says. &quot;If you call your credit card company and ask for a lower rate, you might get it. The card companies don't want to lose good customers.&quot;</p> <p>Here are four service providers that you should call today.</p> <h2>1. Your Cable Company</h2> <p>Cable companies are under increasing pressure from competing services. A growing number of consumers are turning to streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu. But at the same time, monthly cable bills have been inching ever higher. The Leichtman Research Group reported last year that the average U.S. monthly cable bill has rose 39% since 2010 and now stands at $99.10.</p> <p>You don't have to pay that much. Try calling your cable company today and asking for a lower monthly rate. Make sure that you come armed for success: It helps if you've been given a better offer from a competitor. You can then share that offer and hope that your current company either matches or betters it.</p> <p>You also need to be serious about walking away from your cable provider. If you are considering making the move to 100% streaming, and are willing to cut the cord, your provider might make an offer tempting enough to retain you as a customer.</p> <h2>2. Your Mortgage Lender</h2> <p>Most financial experts expect mortgage interest rates to rise throughout 2016. But as of early December 2015, these rates were still at historic lows. According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the <a href="http://www.freddiemac.com/pmms/">average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage</a> stood at 4.01% as of Dec. 31. The average interest rate on a 15-year fixed-rate loan was 3.24%.</p> <p>If you haven't refinanced, it might be time to do so. Call a mortgage lender today &mdash; it doesn't have to be the one that is currently servicing your loan &mdash; and ask whether you qualify for a refinance.</p> <p>The savings could be big. If you are paying off a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage of $200,000 at an interest rate of 5%, you're paying about $1,073 a month in principal and interest, not including insurance and property taxes. Say you've paid off $20,000 on that loan. If you refinance the remaining $180,000 into a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 3.95%, you'll pay about $854 a month &mdash; again, not including taxes and insurance.</p> <p>That's a savings of about $219 a month, or $2,628 a year. Just remember that refinancing isn't free. You can pay thousands of dollars in closing costs, so make sure that your monthly savings allow you to repay those costs quickly.</p> <h2>3. Your Credit Card Company</h2> <p>Bankrate reported that the average interest rate on cash back credit cards was 15.30% in late December. If you owe too much, your credit card balance could grow significantly each month until you pay down that debt.</p> <p>A lower interest rate could help. Fortunately, many credit card providers are willing to drop your rate. It helps if you've been a good customer. If you frequently pay your credit card bill late, the odds are high that your provider won't grant your request for a lower rate. But if you have a history of paying your bill on time and you've been a customer for more than a year, your credit card company might be willing to lower your interest rate to keep you.</p> <p>As with your cable provider, you might have more success if you've received a better offer from another card. If you tell your provider that you're considering moving your balance to another card, it's more likely that you'll get an offer for a lower interest rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>4. Your Insurance Companies</h2> <p>You probably pay a lot each month for homeowners, life, health, and auto insurance.</p> <p>Insure.com reported that the average annual cost of a full-service auto policy in 2015 stood at $1,311. ValuePenguin says that the annual cost of a 20-year term life insurance policy worth $250,000 was about $300 for a 25-year-old who doesn't smoke, and about $1,175 for a 40-year-old who does smoke.</p> <p>You can lower your insurance bills depending on changes in your life. Say you've lost 50 pounds or given up smoking. Your life insurance provider might be willing to lower your monthly bill. Maybe you haven't had a speeding ticket or a car accident in five years. Call your auto insurance provider, you might qualify for a good-driver discount. If you've installed a new home security system, call the company that provides your homeowners insurance. You might qualify for a monthly discount.</p> <p>You'll never know if you don't call.</p> <p><em>Have you called these &mdash; or any other &mdash; service providers and asked for a discount? How much did you save?</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/4-phone-calls-that-will-save-you-big-every-month">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-by-30">5 Financial Mistakes You Need to Stop Making by 30</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/money-metaphors-you-wouldnt-punch-a-kitten-would-you">Money Metaphors (You wouldn&#039;t punch a kitten, would you?)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/use-the-8020-rule-to-maximize-your-financial-opportunities">Use the 80/20 Rule to Maximize Your Financial Opportunities</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/financial-lessons-from-its-a-wonderful-life">Financial Lessons From &quot;It&#039;s A Wonderful Life&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance better rates cable company insurance mortgage phone calls Wed, 06 Jan 2016 12:00:03 +0000 Dan Rafter 1632872 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Unexpected Expenses for Retirees — And How to Manage Them http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-expenses-for-retirees-and-how-to-manage-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-unexpected-expenses-for-retirees-and-how-to-manage-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/grandparents_with_grandchild_000017586301.jpg" alt="Retiree couple learning how to manage unexpected expenses" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So you've made the decision to retire. Congratulations! All that hard work and saving has paid off, and now you're ready to relax.</p> <p>If you've worked all your life and were diligent about saving, you may have most of your life expenses covered and funds saved for long-term care as you get older. And for the most part, retirees find that their overall expenses decline as they age. But there still could be unexpected costs that you haven't taken into account.</p> <p>Here are nine things that might hit your wallet harder now that you're retired:</p> <h2>1. Health Insurance</h2> <p>Yes, you may be getting Medicare, but that doesn't cover everything. Many retirees find that to get proper coverage, they will need to pay for a Medicare supplement. And even if you are covered under Medicare Part B, you may have to pay co-payments and deductibles. Older citizens should budget for additional <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-costly-health-insurance-mistakes">healthcare costs</a>, even if they believe they are fully covered.</p> <h2>2. Childcare</h2> <p>You thought you were done with childrearing? Think again. According to the Census bureau, about <a href="https://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p70-135.pdf">23% of preschoolers</a> are cared for at least part time by a grandparent. Now that you're retired, you are more available to help with occasional babysitting or even full-time childcare for the grandkids. You're doing it out of love, but you may incur expenses ranging from extra food, kids' clothes, furniture, and kids' activities.</p> <p>If you're worried about the costs, be honest with the children's parents about how much you're spending and ask that they contribute. If the kids have certain favorite foods they like to eat at your house, buy those items in bulk. (My grandmother used to have a seemingly unlimited supply of chicken noodle soup for when I came over.) And don't be afraid to have the kids play with older and used toys, because there's a good chance they won't know the difference.</p> <h2>3. Utilities</h2> <p>When you went to work, there was no need to keep the AC or the furnace going during the day. But now that you're home, you may be adjusting that thermostat to make things more comfortable. (And this is exacerbated by the fact that older people are generally more sensitive to cold.) Plus, you may watch TV, use the computer, and run the appliances more often. All of this can add up to higher utility bills. Consider keeping the house at a slightly warmer temperature in the summer and slightly cooler in winter. You'll get used to it. Also, make the switch to LED light bulbs, and look into finding the most energy-efficient appliances you can buy.</p> <h2>4. Car Insurance</h2> <p>Auto insurance rates generally decline between the ages of 25 and 65, but they increase after that. That's because insurance companies view older drivers as a bigger risk, due to impaired vision, other physical problems, or decline in cognitive function. For older drivers, it pays to shop around for the best rates and even take a driving refresher course to prove you're still good behind the wheel.</p> <h2>5. Car Maintenance and Gas</h2> <p>When you were working, maybe you had a short commute or simply walked to the train station. Now, you're home all day and running to see friends, take care of grandkids, or volunteer. You would be surprised how much more you drive in retired life.</p> <p>To keep these costs in check, buy a small vehicle that suits your needs or even consider an electric or hybrid car. And when you do drive, plan your errands and trips strategically to cut down on excess mileage. Many retirees are also moving back into cities, where they can get around without a car at all. But be careful; moving to the city can be expensive. Speaking of...</p> <h2>6. Urban Living</h2> <p>The Washington Post reported that between 2000 and 2010, more than a million baby boomers moved to within five miles of a city center. Empty nesters no longer have to concern themselves with yard size, school districts, or other factors that keep them in the suburbs. But city living can be expensive. Housing costs more, and there's a temptation to spend money when you're surrounded by great restaurants, theatres, museums, and shopping. You might offset some of this expense with reduced transportation costs, but it you still may want to monitor your spending.</p> <h2>7. Charitable Giving</h2> <p>Older people tend to be very generous, and use some of their retirement savings to give back to causes that they've always wanted to support. According to Morningstar, charitable giving rates are relatively small and steady up until age 60. After that, giving comprises an increasing percentage of a person's annual expenses &mdash; up to 20% for America's oldest citizens. It's great to give, but be sure you can still cover your day-to-day costs and have enough saved for a long life. Consider donating shares of stock instead of cash, as you can avoid capital gains taxes and won't dip into your everyday savings.</p> <h2>8. Lawn Care and Landscaping</h2> <p>You always liked mowing your own lawn and doing your own yard work, but as you've gotten a little older, keeping up with the property isn't as easy as it once once. There's no shame in hiring someone to cut the grass or do some landscaping, but that work isn't free. Getting your lawn mowed might cost you $35&ndash;$40 each time, resulting in hundreds of dollars each month. To save money, do as much yard maintenance as you can on your own as long as you feel you are able. When you need help, seek out a neighbor or grandkid who might do it for free or cheap. (Heck, mowing my grandfather's lawn was the first paid gig I ever had.)</p> <h2>9. More Expensive Travel</h2> <p>You saved all your life to finally take a few big trips in retirement. And that's great, but be sure to take into account some extra expenses you might incur as an older citizen. For one thing, travel insurance is more expensive for older folks, because they are statistically more likely to cancel trips due to health-related problems. And even if you do go on a trip, you may find yourself paying extra for transportation or luggage handling when you may have previously taken care of things yourself. Be sure to factor in these extra costs when booking your next adventure.</p> <p><em>How is retirement costing you more than you expected?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-unexpected-expenses-for-retirees-and-how-to-manage-them">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-retirement-products-that-arent-worth-your-money">6 Retirement Products That Aren&#039;t Worth Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-retirement">4 Moves That Guarantee a Great Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-handle-a-forced-early-retirement">5 Ways to Handle a Forced Early Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-despair-over-small-retirement-savings">Don&#039;t Despair Over Small Retirement Savings</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/moving-dont-skimp-on-these-critical-expenses">Moving? Don&#039;t Skimp on These Critical Expenses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement child care elder care expenses insurance older americans seniors Mon, 30 Nov 2015 14:00:25 +0000 Tim Lemke 1616759 at http://www.wisebread.com