savings http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/387/all en-US 4 Times When Bundling Insurance Doesn't Make Sense http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-486437284.jpg" alt="Learning when bundled insurance doesn&#039;t make sense" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Insurance companies offer a host of ways to reduce the premiums you pay for auto, life, home, and health insurance. If you have a clean driving record, you might qualify for a discount on your auto insurance rates. If you install a security system to protect your single-family home, you might have to pay less for your homeowners insurance. And if you don't smoke, you'll certainly pay a lot less for life insurance.</p> <p>One of the most popular ways to qualify for a discount is to bundle different insurance policies together &mdash; say, your homeowners and auto policies &mdash; from the same insurer. Insurers will give you a discount as a reward for buying more than one policy from them.</p> <p>Bundling is popular. A 2016 story by InsuranceQuotes.com cited a U.S. National Auto Insurance study by J.D. Power and Associates saying that 58% of policyholders bundle their homeowners and auto insurance policies. InsuranceQuotes.com also reported that bundling insurance can save policyholders about 10% off their annual rates, if they land the best bundling deals available.</p> <p>But, there is a catch here, and sometimes taking out life, auto, and homeowners policies with different companies makes the most sense. Even though bundling might sound like the obvious choice for consumers hoping to save money on insurance coverage, there are a few times when bundling actually doesn't result in the biggest financial savings.</p> <h2>You Didn't Shop Around</h2> <p>The best way to nab the lowest rates on insurance is to take the time to shop around with different companies. This is far easier today, with insurers providing online quotes to potential customers.</p> <p>It can be tempting to skip the shopping phase if, for example, your auto insurer offers to provide a bundling discount for your homeowners insurance, too. But resist the temptation to take your insurer's offer until you've shopped around. You might find another insurer that will provide you a policy with a premium low enough to outweigh your first insurer's bundling discount. Armed with a lower quote from a competing insurer, you might even be able to convince your current insurance company to provide you an even bigger discount.</p> <h2>You Have a History of Health Problems</h2> <p>You'll pay far less for life insurance coverage if you have a history of good health. If your past is dotted with serious health issues, you can unfortunately expect your life insurance premiums to be higher. This spotty health history might also make it less financially sound to bundle your life insurance coverage with auto or homeowners insurance. Again, it's especially important to shop around with life insurance providers, especially when you have a complicated health history &mdash; including if you smoke or have a chronic condition.</p> <p>It's also worth noting that you may not want something as important as your life insurance coverage bundled through a company that specializes in say, auto insurance. In that case, it may be worth having it be its own separate policy.</p> <h2>Your Driving Record Isn't Exactly Flawless</h2> <p>Claim an accident on your auto insurance, and you can expect your premiums to soar. Again, it makes sense to shop around with different insurers to find the lowest rates when you are stuck with a spotty driving record.</p> <p>If you instead simply bundle your auto policy with the company that provides your homeowners insurance, you might miss out on lower premiums that will outweigh the bundling discount. Do your homework &mdash; even if it takes time &mdash; to discover if there are other insurers out there willing to give you a bigger break for your past driving mistakes.</p> <h2>You Need Specialized Homeowners Coverage</h2> <p>What if you need your homeowners insurance policy to cover an expensive jewelry collection? What if you need to insure solar panels on your home's roof? This coverage can be complicated, and cost more. Again, when you have such specific needs, if often makes more sense to talk to different insurers than blindly accept your provider's bundling offer.</p> <p>The main point here is that often, bundling will save you the most money. But there are exceptions, and you won't know the savings you might enjoy if you don't first shop around with other providers &mdash; even if your current insurer is promising a bundling discount.</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-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense">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/is-pay-as-you-drive-auto-insurance-worth-it">Is Pay-As-You-Drive Auto Insurance Worth It?</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/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-being-a-safe-driver-will-save-you-big-money">4 Ways Being a Safe Driver Will Save You Big Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</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/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">11 Unexpected Things Covered by Homeowners Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance auto insurance bundling discounts homeowners insurance life insurance policies rates savings Tue, 14 Mar 2017 10:30:18 +0000 Dan Rafter 1905172 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Reasons to Claim Social Security Before Your Retirement Age http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-to-claim-social-security-before-your-retirement-age <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-reasons-to-claim-social-security-before-your-retirement-age" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-538053186.jpg" alt="Man claiming social security before retirement age" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to Social Security, the usual advice is to hold off on taking benefits as long as possible. While most people could claim benefits as early as age 62, your monthly benefit amount will grow each year that you wait up to age 70. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a>)</p> <p>However, there are some situations where taking benefits as soon as possible may be the better way to go. Here are three such scenarios.</p> <h2>1. You Need the Money</h2> <p>If you can't find a job, or simply don't have enough savings to live on, claiming Social Security benefits at age 62 may be your only option.</p> <p>Just keep in mind that if you do find a job, there are <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html" target="_blank">limits to how much you can earn</a> without impacting your Social Security benefits. In years when you are younger than your &quot;full retirement age&quot; (65&ndash;67, depending on when you were born), for every $2 you earn above $16,920, your Social Security benefits will be reduced by $1.</p> <h2>2. Longevity Doesn't Run in Your Family</h2> <p>One way to evaluate the impact of claiming Social Security benefits at various ages is to run what's known as a break-even analysis.</p> <p>When you claim as early as possible, your monthly benefit amount will be smaller than it would have been if you claimed later. However, the head start that early claiming provides means that if you claim benefits at a later age, even though the monthly amount is higher, it'll take a number of years before you've broken even with the total amount you would have received by claiming earlier.</p> <p>For example, here's a look at a friend's estimated monthly Social Security benefits and how they vary depending on when he claims benefits:</p> <ul> <li>$1,529 if claimed at age 62</li> <li>$2,273 if claimed at his full retirement age of 67</li> <li>$2,873 if claimed at age 70</li> </ul> <p>If he claims benefits beginning at age 62, by the end of the year that he turns 67, he will have received a total of over $100,000. If he waits until age 67 to begin taking benefits, it will take him until approximately age 78 before his accumulated benefits would overtake the total he would have received if he had started taking benefits at age 62.</p> <p>If he didn't expect to live to age 78, it would make sense to claim benefits earlier. Of course, that's a tough call. Even in families when one or both parents die early, some of their kids live far longer.</p> <p>To find out your own estimated Social Security benefits, create an account on the Social Security Administration's website.</p> <h3>Run Your Own Break-Even Analysis</h3> <p>Unfortunately, there isn't an easy way to run your own break-even analysis. The Social Security Administration used to have a calculator on its site designed for this purpose, but took it down because they felt it was encouraging too many people to claim early.</p> <p>One workaround is to run various scenarios with <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/do/ins07" target="_blank">this calculator</a>. As a starting point, enter your &quot;current age&quot; as 62, enter your estimated age of death in the &quot;retirement age&quot; field, enter the annual age-62 benefit amount in the &quot;your current annual income&quot; field (the SSA website lists benefits in monthly amounts, so be sure to multiply by 12), and then use the &quot;annual salary increase&quot; field to enter an estimated inflation rate (Social Security benefits are adjusted for inflation each year; use a relatively low amount &mdash; somewhere between 1% and 2%).</p> <p>Then run the same analysis, but change your &quot;current age&quot; to your full retirement age and change &quot;your current annual income&quot; to the annual amount of your full retirement age benefit.</p> <h2>3. You Have Plenty of Money Already Saved for Retirement</h2> <p>If you have enough money to live on regardless of your Social Security benefits, that may be another reason to take Social Security benefits as early as possible. You could use the money to invest, buy a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it?ref=internal" target="_blank">long-term care insurance policy</a>, or buy a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose?ref=internal" target="_blank">life insurance policy</a>.</p> <p>It's true that you should think very carefully before claiming Social Security benefits at age 62. There's a hefty increase in the monthly benefit amount for each year that you wait. And if you're married, keep this in mind: When you die, your spouse will be able to choose to take the higher of their benefit or your benefit. If you had been the higher earner, by waiting as long as possible before claiming your benefit, that will be very helpful to your spouse once you're gone.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-to-claim-social-security-before-your-retirement-age">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-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</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/why-tax-day-is-april-15-and-other-weird-financial-deadlines">Why Tax Day Is April 15 and Other Weird Financial Deadlines</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before 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/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-for-retirement-when-you-re-ready-to-retire">How to Plan for Retirement When You’re Ready to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement benefits full retirement age income longevity savings social security Wed, 01 Mar 2017 10:30:37 +0000 Matt Bell 1898659 at http://www.wisebread.com The Inventor of the 401K Has Second Thoughts About Your Retirement Plan — Now What? http://www.wisebread.com/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-171328267.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the early 1980s, the 401K plan was introduced as a potential supplement to the pension plans offered by employers. Now, they are a staple of retirement planning, while pensions are available to fewer workers than ever before.</p> <p>A 401K allows workers to set aside a certain amount of their salary and invest into a variety of mutual funds. Often, companies will match contributions up to a certain amount. These plans can be powerful vehicles for amassing great wealth in retirement, but the founders of these plans recently voiced concerns that the plans are inadequate for many people, and that they were never meant to <em>replace </em>pensions altogether.</p> <p>For sure, 401K plans place more of the savings burden and risk onto the individual than pensions do. And many plans are lousy, with high fees and poor investment choices. So, what to do? Here's how to build that big retirement fund even when you're at the mercy of the 401K.</p> <h2>1. Save Up to the Match, Regardless</h2> <p>You may be annoyed that a 401K is all your employer has to offer, but if the company is offering to match contributions, you'd be a fool not to participate. Even if the plan has lousy mutual funds with high fees, free money is still free money. Most good companies offer at least 50 cents for every dollar you contribute up to a certain amount, and that can add up to a lot of dough over time.</p> <h2>2. Get an IRA</h2> <p>A 401K is not the only vehicle for saving for retirement. Individual retirement accounts, or IRAs, offer some good tax advantages and better flexibility than a 401K. There's no company match for an IRA, but you have the ability to invest in just about anything. That's why many investors will put money in a 401K up to the company match, then put any additional savings in IRAs. Most people can contribute $5,500 annually into an IRA. With a traditional IRA, any money you contribute is deducted from your taxable income. With a Roth IRA, your money is taxed right away but you don't have to pay tax on any gains when you withdraw the money at retirement.</p> <h2>3. Start Early and Have a Long Time Horizon</h2> <p>Despite the flaws of a 401K, it's still very possible to amass a large sum for retirement if you begin investing when you are young and keep it up for a long time. If you enter the workforce when you're 18 and keep saving and investing until retirement age, that means you'll have 45 years to allow your nest egg to grow. In fact, under this scenario, it's possible to retire a millionaire by putting aside less than a few hundred dollars per month.</p> <h2>4. Find the Low-Cost Funds</h2> <p>Even if your 401K plan isn't perfect, you owe it to yourself not to make matters worse by investing in bad funds. Many 401K plans offer mutual funds with high management fees and other expenses, but most also offer low-cost options, including basic S&amp;P 500 Index funds. Find those funds with the lowest fees, so you get to keep more of your money. Look for funds with expense ratios below 0.5%, if possible.</p> <h2>5. Embrace the Power</h2> <p>When an employer offers a pension, it almost always contributes to a pension fund and then hopes that investment returns are enough to meet the obligations they have to employees. So in reality, the only significant difference between a pension and a 401K plan is who is in control. With a 401K plan, you have more control over how you invest. For some people, this is scary. But for others, it's just as scary to leave their financial future in the hands of others.</p> <h2>6. Make a Good 401K Part of Your Job Search</h2> <p>Think about the last time you searched for a job. When you applied and interviewed for positions, did you take the quality of the company's 401K plan into account? Chances are, this was far down the list of concerns, below salary, health benefits, and even vacation time. But imagine if more people turned down job offers because of a lousy 401K plan or a low company match. If more prospective employees voiced concerns about the quality of retirement plans during the hiring process, companies might be more likely to improve their plans.</p> <h2>7. Talk to Your Lawmakers</h2> <p>It's unlikely that the President or Congress can force companies to bring back pensions, but they are the ones who could change 401K plans to make them more attractive. Lawmakers could pass legislation that improves the tax benefits of plans or increases the amount investors are allowed to contribute. They could pressure companies to boost their matching contributions, and require more companies to offer plans to more employees. Lawmakers could also propose new kinds of savings plans managed by the government. At the very least, voicing your concerns about the quality of the 401K as a retirement option could start a conversation on Capitol Hill.</p> <h2>8. Join a Union, If You Can</h2> <p>Much of the erosion of defined benefit plans has coincided with the drop in influence of labor unions in America. According to the AFL-CIO, about 75% of union workers participate in defined benefit plans, compared to about 20% for nonunion workers. But far fewer people are part of unions these days.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what">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/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know">15 Retirement Terms Every New Investor Needs to Know</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/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses">Stop Making These 10 Bogus Retirement Savings Excuses</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-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-face-4-ugly-truths-about-retirement-planning">How to Face 4 Ugly Truths About Retirement Planning</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-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k contributions employer match IRA nest egg pensions Roth savings Mon, 13 Feb 2017 10:30:33 +0000 Tim Lemke 1889313 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Pay-As-You-Drive Auto Insurance Worth It? http://www.wisebread.com/is-pay-as-you-drive-auto-insurance-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-pay-as-you-drive-auto-insurance-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_driving_car_540836094.jpg" alt="Woman learning if pay-as-you-drive auto insurance is worth it" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Don't drive much throughout the year? Your wallet may be in luck, in more ways than one. Pay-as-you-drive car insurance plans (also known as usage-based car insurance plans) can provide a money-saving solution for drivers who don't drive often. Each month, your rate will vary based on how much you drive. The less you drive, the more you'll save.</p> <h2>How Does the Plan Work?</h2> <p>These unique auto insurance options work a bit like pay-per-minute cellphone plans, where you're only charged for what you use. In order to accurately determine how much you're driving, you will receive a small wireless device that plugs into your vehicle's OBD-II port. This will alert your insurance company to how many miles you drove, so they can determine your monthly bill.</p> <h2>Who Qualifies?</h2> <p>Pay-as-you-go insurer <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-12479902-1459881208000" target="_blank">Metromile</a> estimates that if you drive less than 200 miles per week, you can save money with their pay-per-mile insurance plans. They also found that if you drive less than 5,000 miles a year, you could pay 40%&ndash;50% less than you would with a traditional insurance plan. In fact, they estimate that 65% of drivers are overpaying for their insurance. These types of plans are especially beneficial to drivers who don't drive very often and people who are paying high insurance rates due to their age or credit history.</p> <h2>How the Pricing Works</h2> <p>Once you enroll, you will pay a low monthly base rate, plus a charge per mile of driving. Through Metromile, if you drive more than 150 miles per day (or 250 per day in Washington), you won't be charged for the extra miles above the cap, which means you won't overpay on a long trip. Other factors can also affect your rate, including age, vehicle, and driver history.</p> <h2>How Much Can You Save?</h2> <p>Many drivers will limit their coverage in order to save money when they don't drive often. However, this can end up costing you more in the end if you <em>do</em> get in an accident. Instead, a pay-as-you-drive plan can provide the coverage you need and save you money every month.</p> <p>Some insurers claim that you will save anywhere from 20%&ndash;50% on your premium, and certain providers will even offer an immediate discount just for installing the tracking device to your vehicle's onboard diagnostics port. You can get an accurate idea of how much you can save by comparing your current auto insurance costs to what you would spend using a simple plan, like those that Metromile offers.</p> <p>As an example, we will use Metromile's estimate of $46 per month, which includes a $30 flat monthly rate and 500 miles driven x $0.032 per mile. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the national <a href="http://www.dmv.org/insurance/average-car-insurance-rates.php" target="_blank">car insurance average</a> rate is just over $900 per year for a single driver. Compared to the $552 per year that you would spend on pay-as-you-drive plans, you'll save about $350 per year if you drive 500 miles per month, on average.</p> <h2>Who Offers It?</h2> <p>Progressive, Allstate, State Farm, Travelers, Esurance, Nationwide, The Hartford, Safeco, American Family, and GMAC are some of the bigger insurance companies that offer these types of plans, but many have additional stipulations. For instance, Progressive also monitors what type of driver you are by also collecting information about how hard you brake, how much you accelerate, and your driving patterns. Insurance companies like Metromile only monitor how many miles you are driving.</p> <h2>Is It Right for You?</h2> <p>Along with deciding whether to sign up for this type of plan, you will also need to find the right insurance provider. Sites like <a href="http://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/pay-as-you-drive-discounts.aspx" target="_blank">carinsurance.com</a> can help you determine what type of discount you can expect, what's measured, and what's available in your state.</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/is-pay-as-you-drive-auto-insurance-worth-it">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/repair-the-car-or-spend-the-cash">Repair the Car or Spend the Cash?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-claim-will-impact-your-car-insurance">Here&#039;s How a Claim Will Impact Your Car Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-drop-collision-coverage-on-your-car">When to drop collision coverage on your 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/is-mechanical-breakdown-insurance-worth-it">Is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Worth 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/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense">4 Times When Bundling Insurance Doesn&#039;t Make Sense</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Insurance car insurance mileage pay as you drive premiums rates savings usage based car insurance Mon, 09 Jan 2017 10:30:23 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1869650 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Retirement Terms Every New Investor Needs to Know http://www.wisebread.com/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retirement_blocks_73115095.jpg" alt="New investor learning retirement terms" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Congratulations! By starting your retirement fund, you've taken one of the most important steps toward a comfortable retirement. But as a novice investor, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with all the available information, including contribution limits, early penalty fees, and Roth 401Ks. To help you make sense of it all, let's review 15 key terms you should know:</p> <h2>1. 401K</h2> <p>The 401K is the most popular qualified employer-sponsored retirement plan in the U.S. The two most common types of 401K plans are the traditional 401K, to which you contribute with pretax dollars, and the Roth 401K, which accepts contributions with after-tax dollars. Earnings in a traditional 401K grow on a tax-deferred basis (you'll pay taxes on the funds when you withdraw them during retirement) and those in a Roth 401K grow tax-free forever, since you've paid taxes upfront.</p> <h2>2. After-Tax Contributions</h2> <p>Only certain types of retirement accounts, such as Roth 401Ks and Roth IRAs, accept contributions with after-tax dollars. When you contribute to a retirement account with after-tax dollars, your retirement funds grow tax-free forever, since you've already paid Uncle Sam.</p> <h2>3. Catch-Up Contribution</h2> <p>Retirement investors who are 50 and older at the end of the calendar year can make extra annual &quot;catch-up&quot; contributions to qualifying retirement accounts. Catch-up contributions allow older savers to make up for lower contributions to their retirement accounts in earlier years. In 2016 and 2017, 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> (on top of traditional annual contribution limits) are allowed for 401Ks and up to $1,000 for IRAs.</p> <h2>4. Contribution Limits</h2> <p>Every year, the IRS sets a limit as to how much you can contribute to your retirement accounts. In 2016, you can <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-ira-contribution-limits">contribute up to $5,500</a> ($6,500 if age 50 or over) to traditional and Roth IRAs and <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-contributions">up to $18,000</a> ($24,000 if age 50 or over) to a traditional or Roth 401K. These annual contribution limits to retirement accounts remain unchanged for 2017. If you exceed your contribution limit, you'll receive a penalty fee from the IRS, unless you take out excess moneys by a certain date.</p> <h2>5. Early Distribution Penalty</h2> <p>To discourage retirement savers from withdrawing funds before retirement age, the IRS imposes an additional 10% penalty on distributions before age 59 &frac12; on certain retirement plans. Keep in mind that you're always liable for applicable income taxes whether you take a distribution from your retirement plan before or after age 59 &frac12;. Under certain circumstances, you're allowed to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account">withdraw money early</a> from a retirement account without the penalty.</p> <h2>6. Fee</h2> <p>You've heard that there is no such thing as a free lunch and no retirement plan is exempt from this rule. There's always a cost for the employer or employee, or both. Always check the prospectus from any fund for its annual expense ratio and any other applicable fee. An annual expense ratio of 0.75% means that for every $1,000 in your retirement account, you're charged $7.50 in fees. And that's assuming that you don't trigger any other fees! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees?ref=seealso">Watch Out for These 5 Sneaky 401K Fees</a>)</p> <h2>7. Index Fund</h2> <p>An index fund is a type of mutual fund that tracks of a basket of securities (generally a market index, such as the Standard &amp; Poor's 500 or the Russell 2000). An index fund is a passively managed mutual fund that provides broad market exposure, low investment cost, and low portfolio turnover. Due to its low annual expense ratios, such as 0.16% for the Vanguard 500 Index Investor Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/vfinx">VFINX</a>], index funds have become a popular way to save for retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-steps-to-getting-started-in-the-stock-market-with-index-funds?Ref=seealso">3 Steps to Getting Started in the Stock Market With Index Funds</a>)</p> <h2>8. IRA</h2> <p>Unlike a 401K, an individual retirement account (IRA) is held by custodians, including commercial banks and retail brokers. The financial institutions place the IRA funds in a variety of investments following the instructions of the plan holders. A traditional IRA accepts contributions with pretax dollars, and a Roth IRA accepts contributions with after-tax dollars. An advantage of using a Roth IRA is that it provides several exemptions to the early distribution penalty.</p> <h2>9. 401K Loan</h2> <p>Some retirement plans allow you to take a loan on a portion of your available balance &mdash; generally, 50% of your vested account balance, or <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/retirement-plans-faqs-regarding-loans">up to $50,000</a>, whichever is less. While the loan balance is generally due within five years, it becomes fully due within 60 days from separating from your employer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso">5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <h2>10. Mutual Fund</h2> <p>By pooling funds from several investors, money managers are able to invest in a wide variety of securities, ranging from money market instruments to equities. Investing in a mutual fund enables an individual retirement investor to gain access to a wide variety of investments that she wouldn't necessarily have access to on her own. Depending on its investment strategy, mutual funds can have a wide variety of fees. So, make sure to read the fine print. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for?ref=seealso">4 Sneaky Investment Fees to Watch For</a>)</p> <h2>11. Pretax Contribution</h2> <p>When you contribute to your employer-sponsored retirement account with pretax dollars, you're allowed to reduce your taxable income. For example, if you were to make $50,000 per year and contribute $5,000 to your 401K with pretax dollars, then you would only have to pay applicable income taxes on $45,000! You delay taxation until retirement age when you're more likely to be in a lower tax bracket.</p> <h2>12. Required Minimum Distribution (RMD)</h2> <p>You can't keep moneys in your retirement account forever. At age 70 &frac12;, you generally have to start taking withdrawals from an IRA, SIMPLE IRA, SEP IRA, or 401K. An RMD is the minimum amount required by law that you have take out from your retirement account each year to avoid a penalty from the IRS. You can use of one of these <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/required-minimum-distribution-worksheets">requirement minimum distribution work sheets</a> to calculate your RMD.</p> <h2>13. Rollover</h2> <p>When you separate from your employer, you generally have up to 60 days to transfer moneys in your previous retirement account to a new retirement account accepting those moneys. This process is known as a rollover. In a direct rollover, the process is automatic; in an indirect rollover, you receive a cash-out check from your previous employer to rollover the moneys to a new qualifying retirement account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras?ref=seealso">A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs</a>)</p> <h2>14. Target-Date Fund</h2> <p>A target-date fund is a retirement investment fund that seeks to provide higher returns to young investors and gradually reduce risk exposure as they get closer to retirement age. Since the Pension Protection Act granted target-date funds the status of qualified default investment alternative in 2006, these type of funds have gained popularity. About half of 401K participants <a href="https://www.ebri.org/publications/ib/index.cfm?fa=ibDisp&amp;content_id=3347">hold a target-date fund</a>.</p> <h2>15. Vesting</h2> <p>In any retirement account, only money that is fully vested truly belongs to you. While all of your contributions and the matching contributions from your employer to your retirement account are always fully vested, some employer contributions, such as company stock, may follow a vesting schedule. In <em>cliff vesting</em>, you only become fully vested after a certain period of time. In <em>graded vesting</em>, you gradually gain ownership of those employer contributions.</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/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what">The Inventor of the 401K Has Second Thoughts About Your Retirement Plan — Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/optimize-your-ira-and-401k">Optimize Your IRA and 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-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/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k contributions employer-sponsored retirement index funds IRA new investors Roth savings target date funds taxes terms Thu, 17 Nov 2016 11:00:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1834559 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Moves You Will Always Be Thankful For http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-you-will-always-be-thankful-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-moves-you-will-always-be-thankful-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_piggy_bank_72948583.jpg" alt="Family making money moves they&#039;ll always be thankful for" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The air is crisp and the time for family, friends, and fun is upon us! But are you ready for the tons of holiday spending and planning ahead for 2017? Read up on these seven money moves you will always be thankful for/</p> <h2>1. Monitoring Your Credit</h2> <p>Whether you've already got a mortgage, cars, and all the trimmings, or you're a young adult with the hopes of buying an asset like a house someday, you'll need to maintain good credit. Everyone gets one <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-truly-free-credit-report">free credit report</a> each year, and some credit card companies even give you regular updates on your credit score. I know, we love to remind you of this! But when you're meeting with the realtor and they don't laugh at your borrowing limit, you'll be saying thanks.</p> <h2>2. Negotiating Your Insurance</h2> <p>When shopping around for insurance, it's easy to settle for the first average quote you receive and end it. It's boring! But it really is best to gather several quotes to gain some leverage. If there's a company you prefer, show them the cheaper quote and get them to lower theirs. Also, try to ask yourself which types of insurance you actually need. When you've saved hundreds of dollars per year in insurance costs, it'll be easier to agree to host Thanksgiving at your place next time.</p> <h2>3. Stowing Cash Into a Mutual Fund or ETF</h2> <p>How many ways should you save money? Even if you already have some mutual funds in your 401K, even if you have a vacation savings jar in the kitchen &mdash; you might want to consider stowing some cash from your savings account separately in a mutual fund or ETF. They're steady, the rate is far superior to a savings account, and it keeps you from feeling like your savings can be tapped at any time. It takes some thought and some calculus of weighing the fees and taxes to decide whether to take the funds out. Sometimes we need that bit of a barrier so that we can benefit in the long run. Check out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-top-mutual-funds-for-low-risk-investors">these tips for investors</a>. Your future self will be thanking you down the line.</p> <h2>4. Paying Off High-Interest Debt</h2> <p>Carrying balances on one (or a few) high-interest cards? If you have debt at anything above 10% interest, paying those off should be your priority. The longer you carry those balances, the more precarious the situation gets. And of course, if you were to follow the first point in this list, it would be pretty hard without paying off that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">high-interest debt</a>. Once that's done, you can pass the savings around the table.</p> <h2>5. Building an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Why wouldn't you want to be covered if a small emergency happened? Consider the emergency fund as your war chest, defending you from calamities such as car accidents, sudden house repairs, a child getting sick, or getting stuck with unpaid jury duty. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund">Even broke folks</a> can start one. Keep it somewhere easy to access, and by all means, never pilfer it for Black Friday. That's what #7 is for!</p> <h2>6. Getting Your Taxes Done Early</h2> <p>Who doesn't want to get their money early? Or get tax stress off their chests? Starting around November, you really should be gathering your receipts and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-the-tax-season-rush-with-these-early-prep-steps">setting a tax plan</a> &mdash; whether you need to book an appointment with your accountant, or book some personal time in front of QuickBooks. What easier way to be thankful all the way into the dark of January than knowing a refund check is on its way?</p> <h2>7. Setting a Christmas Budget</h2> <p>Going into Thanksgiving with a shopping list and wondering, &quot;How am I gonna do this <em>and </em>Christmas?&quot; Fix that in the future with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls">Christmas budget set in advance</a>. Even if you're a family who slowly buys gifts for each other year-round, that can creep up. By having a set budget every year, you can check against immediately clicking &quot;add to cart.&quot; Imagine how nice it would be to not feel completely tapped out after the holidays. Just get through Thanksgiving and everything else is gravy.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-you-will-always-be-thankful-for">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/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change">10 Money Moves to Make Before the Leaves Change</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/where-to-turn-for-help-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Where to Turn for Help When You Don&#039;t Have an Emergency Fund</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/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past">It&#039;s Never Too Late to Fix These 5 Money Mistakes From Your Past</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/11-secrets-you-need-to-tell-your-financial-adviser">11 Secrets You Need to Tell Your Financial Adviser</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-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance being thankful credit report debt emergency funds money moves savings taxes Thanksgiving Mon, 14 Nov 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1830894 at http://www.wisebread.com Easy Budgeting for First Time Singles http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-first-time-singles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/easy-budgeting-for-first-time-singles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_kitchen_dancing_76246703.jpg" alt="Woman learning easy budgeting for first time singles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As many as 28% of Americans live by themselves. Whether you are venturing out on your own after college, or life circumstances have forced you to live alone (i.e. divorce, kids leaving the nest, etc.), it can be hard to switch your saving and spending mentality to &quot;party of one.&quot;</p> <p>Keep these budgeting tips in mind as you navigate the financial waters by yourself:</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-alone-without-going-broke?ref=seealso">How to Live Alone Without Going Broke</a>)</p> <h2>1. Start With an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Dave Ramsey likes to start with the emergency fund, and I wholeheartedly agree. In my own experience, it seemed as if costly instances were always popping up when I had zero emergency fund and was living paycheck to paycheck.</p> <p>I remember trying to reach that $1,000 saving mark for my emergency fund, thinking it was the most impossible thing ever (hey, I was only 21 making very little money). I remember when I finally reached that mark, the emergency fund stayed at $1,000 and life's little inconveniences seemed to be easier to handle.</p> <p>If you have no emergency fund, then your first financial goal should be a $1,000 fund. After that is established, you want to add a little bit of money to your account each month to save up one month of living expenses, then three months, then six months. This money will keep you protected against a job loss or unexpected medical emergency.</p> <h2>2. Budget for the Fun Stuff</h2> <p>When all of the financial responsibilities sit on your shoulders, it can become so easy to forget to treat yourself and to budget in the fun stuff. No matter how tight your budget is, you need to leave a little wiggle room for mental health. Living frugally and on a strict budget can be amazing, but it can also grow tiresome month after month. What is the point of cutting your grocery budget to less than $30 a week if you are just miserable?</p> <p>Dream big for a second. What would you do or where would you go this minute if you had the money? Perhaps you would buy yourself a fancy pair of shoes or take a weekend trip to Italy. Whatever it is, don't ignore this desire. Instead, research how much it will cost and create a financial road map to get there. Your dream vacation could only be a year or two away with a smart budgeting plan.</p> <h2>3. Evaluate What You Really Need to Buy</h2> <p>Before you get excited about being on your own and buy everything in Bed, Bath, and Beyond, think a moment. Most basic items, such as can openers, dishes, and other must-haves for the home can be found inexpensively. Many of your family members and friends have extra dishes or kitchen gear that they never use. Ask them to borrow it. You might be surprised how generous people are when it comes to getting rid of extra stuff.</p> <p>If you can't score any freebies, then check local thrift stores and yard sales. There is no reason to spend $50 on a plate set when you can score one at a thrift store or yard sale for $5 or less.</p> <p>Another tip is to buy as you realize the need. When I moved into my first place, I didn't realize how many items were needed to just make and eat a basic meal. However, I also realized that a lot of kitchen gadgets aren't necessities. For example, a pie server or salt and pepper shakers are nice to have, but you can easily make it work without them.</p> <h2>4. Budget Before You Move and After</h2> <p>Before you sign the lease on your apartment or rental, crunch the numbers. Is your budget going to be tight? You might have to rethink where you live to better fit your budget. After you move in, evaluate how you are doing with your budget. Are you struggling to stick with it a month or three after moving on your own? These are little red flags that signify a change is needed, either a decrease in expenses or an increase in income.</p> <h2>5. Control Groceries and Eating Out</h2> <p>One of the trickiest things to budget for when you are alone is food. This is especially true if you are used to shopping or cooking for more people. Start with a loose meal plan. This doesn't have to be anything fancy or time-consuming, just plan out what you are going to eat for the week. For example, on Monday, you will eat oatmeal and coffee for breakfast, a sandwich and chips for lunch, and pasta and meatballs for dinner.</p> <p>As you plan out each meal, coordinate your shopping list. As you cook for dinners, you can either cook enough to have lunch the next day, or you can freeze a portion of your meal for later use. This will save you time and prevent you from wasting food. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-and-eat-better-with-these-6-online-meal-planners?Ref=seealso">Save Money and Eat Better With These 6 Online Meal Planners</a>)</p> <h2>6. Automate Your Finances</h2> <p>Another way to make sure that you stay on top of your finances is to look for apps that will help you automate your finances. For example, <a href="https://www.acorns.com/">Acorns</a> helps you to invest automatically, and <a href="http://mint.com">Mint</a> and <a href="https://www.personalcapital.com/landing/registration/affiliate?utm_source=FlexOffers.com+LLC&amp;utm_medium=affiliate&amp;utm_campaign=Personal+Capital+%24100k+Aggregators&amp;utm_content=">Personal Capital</a> will help you budget with very little time and thinking. Schedule your bills to be paid after your payday to ensure your account does not go into overdraft.</p> <p>Some sites will even let you schedule monthly payments to landlords. Just be sure to still look over statements if you switch to automatic payments. You want to ensure that you are not overcharged for anything. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-automate-your-finances?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Automate Your Finances</a>)</p> <p>Like many things, living alone has a learning curve. Don't let a bad month have you running to credit cards or family for help.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-first-time-singles">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/11-good-money-habits-that-will-keep-you-out-of-debt">11 Good Money Habits That Will Keep You Out of Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/suze-orman-tells-us-to-pay-only-the-minimum-on-credit-cards-wait-what">Suze Orman Tells Us To Pay ONLY The Minimum On Credit Cards. Wait, What?!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-hacks-for-single-living">10 Frugal Hacks for Single Living</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-things-americans-spend-too-much-on">5 Things Americans Spend Too Much On</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting automated payments bills emergency fund food costs groceries living alone moving savings single Fri, 14 Oct 2016 10:31:03 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1812612 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Student Loan Grace Period http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_diploma_94435335.jpg" alt="Woman making the most of her student loan grace period" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Graduating from college with your degree in hand is exciting. But the thought of paying back your students loans? Not so much. But, depending on the type of student loans you took, you're probably eligible for a grace period, or a set number of months after graduation in which you don't have to start repaying your loans.</p> <p>During this time, you can take financial steps to prepare yourself not only for your looming monthly loan payments, but also for your entire financial future. Take advantage of this grace period to begin building your savings, building a solid credit score, and building a budget.</p> <p>Don't skimp on these steps. After all, that grace period doesn't last forever.</p> <h2>How Grace Periods Work</h2> <p>The federal government doesn't always expect you to begin repaying your student loans as soon as you leave college. Instead, most federal student loans come with a grace period. The goal is to give recent graduates a chance to start earning money and settle their finances before they have to start making monthly student loan payments.</p> <p>The grace period varies depending on the type of federal loans you are repaying. Direct subsidized loans, direct unsubsidized loans, subsidized federal Stafford loans, and unsubsidized federal Stafford loans come with a grace period of six months during which you won't have to make payments. Federal Perkins loans come with a grace period of nine months. Depending on when you took them out, the interest on some loans might continue to grow even during the grace period.</p> <h2>1. Select a Repayment Plan</h2> <p>It's during your grace period that you'll need to select a repayment plan for your student loans. For federal student loans, you'll automatically be entered into the Standard Repayment Plan. This plan gives you at least 10 years to repay your student loan debt, and is usually the most affordable choice. Under this plan, you'll pay the least amount of interest.</p> <p>There are exceptions, though. If you haven't been able to find a job or if your job pays you little, an income-driven plan might make more sense. These plans come with lower monthly payments that are designed to be affordable to you. However, you will end up paying more interest over the long run.</p> <p>As your grace period ticks away, make sure to stay in contact with the servicer that is handling your loan repayments. Your servicer can answer any questions you have and help you find the best repayment option. You can find the servicer of your loan at <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/?login=true">My Federal Student Aid</a>.</p> <h2>2. Create a Budget</h2> <p>Once you enter the workforce, it's essential to create a budget. Simply list all of the money that you earn during the month. Then list all of your expenses, including estimated costs for items such as groceries, dinners out, and entertainment. Now you'll know how much extra money you should have every month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso">Build a Budget in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <p>Make sure to factor in your estimated monthly student loan payments in this budget. This will help you determine whether you can repay your loans under the Standard Repayment Plan or if you'll need to consider an income-based option for tackling your monthly loan payments.</p> <h2>3. Start Building Your Savings</h2> <p>It's tempting when you get your first paychecks to spend everything you've earned. Resist. Instead, start building your savings. It's important to have an emergency fund that you can tap into whenever a financial emergency pops up. And these emergencies will happen. Your car might suddenly need expensive repairs. If you've built up an emergency fund, you won't have to rely on your high interest rate credit cards to cover these unexpected financial hits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Transfer Balances to These Low Interest Rate Cards</a>)</p> <p>It might sound good, but your grace period is a great time to start saving for retirement. The sooner you start putting money away for your eventual retirement, the better off you'll be once you leave the workforce. Retirement might seem like it's ages away. But if your employer offers a 401K plan, enroll in it and start saving at least some of each paycheck for retirement. If your employer doesn't offer a 401K plan, consider opening an IRA on your own.</p> <p>Of course, this assumes that you'll have enough money to save and meet your monthly financial obligations, including your upcoming student loan payment. If you can't, put retirement savings on hold.</p> <h2>4. Build Your Credit</h2> <p>You need a strong credit score today. Lenders rely on this score when determining who qualifies for auto and mortgage loans and at what interest rates. Fortunately, you can start building a good credit score as soon as you graduate (or before, really). Pay all your bills on time. When you use credit cards, only charge what you can afford to pay off in full when your payment is due. If you take out a car loan, make your payments on time every month.</p> <p>Taking these simple steps will help you build a solid credit score. And when it's time to start making your student-loan payments? Every time you make one of these payments on time, you'll be taking a small step to building your score, too.</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-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period">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/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules</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-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</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-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-you-didnt-save-for-your-childs-college">What to Do If You Didn&#039;t Save for Your Child&#039;s College</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training budgeting college federal loans grace periods loans planning repayment plans savings stafford loans student loans Wed, 05 Oct 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 1805246 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times You Shouldn't Refinance Your Mortgage http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-shouldnt-refinance-your-mortgage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-you-shouldnt-refinance-your-mortgage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_stressed_bills_85513247.jpg" alt="Couple learning times they shouldn&#039;t refinance their mortgage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Refinancing your mortgage can drastically lower your monthly payments, especially since rates are still very low. The decision to refinance should be an easy one, right? Not so quick.</p> <p>Refinancing isn't for everyone or every financial situation. Here are five times you should hold off on refinancing your mortgage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refi-shy-how-to-determine-if-now-is-the-time-to-refinance?ref=seealso">ReFi Shy? How to Determine if Now Is the Time to Refinance</a>)</p> <h2>1. You Don't Plan on Staying in the House</h2> <p>If you plan on selling your home in the next five years, then hold off on refinancing it. The move will likely only waste your time and money. Selling too soon after refinancing means you won't live in your home long enough to capture the savings benefits of lower rates. Plus, you'll still owe any fees associated with the new loan.</p> <p>We made the mistake of refinancing our other home from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage. Our broker had talked us into it, saying it was a smart option. It wasn't. At the time of the refinance, I was pregnant with my second child, and truly planned to live in our first home for many more years. However, two kids under three plus one room equals a lot of sleepless nights.</p> <p>The decision to refinance ended up costing us more initially and monthly, especially since we sold our home just nine months later.</p> <h2>2. The Savings Don't Add Up</h2> <p>The reason why many individuals choose to refinance their mortgage is because they want to get a lower interest rate. Before you jump on the refinance wagon, do a little bit of calculating. Find out how much the refinance will cost you compared to how much it will save.</p> <p>Also realize that a refinance can add years to your loan. Don't automatically believe that you are benefiting from lower monthly payments if your loan has been extended an additional five years.</p> <h2>3. You Are Trying to Pay Off Your Loan Sooner</h2> <p>As I mentioned before, we refinanced our home to a 15-year loan because we wanted to pay off our mortgage faster. On paper, the numbers made sense, and the change was only going to cost us an extra $300 a month, which seemed doable. However, it would have been better for us to keep the 30-year loan and make the extra payments on our own terms. This would have given us more wiggle room in our budget for unexpected costs.</p> <h2>4. You Are Switching to an adjustable-rate mortgage</h2> <p>Adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) rates are tempting to jump on, especially since they guarantee a low rate for a certain amount of time. However, interest rates eventually will go up. It's just the ebb and flow of the economy.</p> <p>With an ARM, you will pay more of the principal faster, which is nice, but you better be prepared to pay higher payments when the rates go up.</p> <h2>5. You Aren't in the Right Position to Finance</h2> <p>If for some reason your home has dropped in value, refinancing your home can tack on extra costs, such as private mortgage insurance. Borrowers with small down payments &mdash; or refinances with little equity &mdash; have to pay PMI until their equity reaches 20% of the home's value. For example, if you bought your house for $250,000, paid off $30,000 of it, but the value of your house dropped to $225,000, you would have very little equity in the home and in most cases have to pay for PMI.</p> <p>Another thing to consider before you refinance is your credit score and job history. If your score has dropped even just a little, you could miss out on qualifying for the lowest rates, which would make the whole refinance process not worth it. Also, if you recently switched career fields, i.e. going from a teacher to a computer system administrator, your pay might be higher, but your duration of employment might make you ineligible for a refinance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement?ref=seealso">Is it Safe to Re-Finance Your Home Close to Retirement?</a>)</p> <p>Refinancing is a good choice if it means you can ditch annoying PMI fees and score a lower interest rate. However, a refinance is not for everyone, so be sure to crunch the numbers first.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-shouldnt-refinance-your-mortgage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-smart-ways-to-lower-your-monthly-mortgage-payment">4 Smart Ways to Lower Your Monthly Mortgage Payment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-negotiation-tricks-that-ll-win-a-home-bidding-war">5 Negotiation Tricks That’ll Win a Home Bidding War</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/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refi-shy-how-to-determine-if-now-is-the-time-to-refinance">ReFi Shy? How to Determine If Now Is the Time to Refinance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing adjustable rate mortgages ARMS mortgages moving refinancing savings Tue, 27 Sep 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1799077 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Your Personal Savings Rate Matters http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-personal-savings-rate-matters <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-your-personal-savings-rate-matters" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_piggy_bank_89732325.jpg" alt="Woman learning why her personal savings rate matters " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your personal savings rate is one of the most important indicators of your financial health. The personal savings rate is simple: It's the amount you have left over every month after you've spent the money coming in.</p> <p>To find out your personal savings rate, add together all the funds that come in over the month. Include wages and salaries, dividends, and any income from other sources, such as side-jobs or Social Security. Be sure to include any income you have automatically saved, such as IRAs or health care savings accounts (HSAs).</p> <p>Then, add the total left in your accounts. How much didn't you spend? Include any money in IRAs, HSAs, or savings accounts here, as well as cash in your billfold. Divide that figure into the total income. In other words, if your total coming in was $4,000 and you saved $200, the rate is 0.5, or 5%.</p> <h2>Personal Savings: You Need It</h2> <p>Why should you pay attention to your personal savings rate? Because you need savings for many things in life! If buying a house is in your future, you should have a down payment saved. You'll get a better deal on mortgage rates and points the more you have saved. You'll also need savings for any repairs or remodeling. If your car conks out on the way to work, savings means you can afford a down payment on new wheels or even a good used car.</p> <p>Mortgages and cars aren't the only reasons you need to save, though. Potential job loss is another. Companies often downsize without much warning &mdash; or much severance. Many financial advisers recommend keeping a three to six-month emergency cushion for just such emergencies.</p> <p>And how about health care? What if you suddenly needed emergency surgery? Deductibles, copays, tests, and prescriptions can add up rapidly. Health care costs may be a reason you'd need savings.</p> <p>Finally, Social Security is not going to pay for anyone's retirement &mdash; at least, not all the way. The system is already beginning to be viewed as a partial supplement to what one needs to live on past 65. You need to be saving for retirement.</p> <p>For all these life events, it's important to save as much as you can, as early as you can. Savings accounts, bonds, and stock market investments all do their best work over time. The earlier you start to save, the more your savings can appreciate.</p> <h2>U.S. Savings Rates Need to Be Higher</h2> <p>For Americans generally, the <a href="http://time.com/money/3763261/savings-rate-two-year-high/">rate is around 5.8%</a>. That's low &mdash; investment advisers believe personal savings rates should be closer to 10% or 15%.</p> <p>But, depending on your age and income, you may be significantly below the national average: <a href="http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2015/04/26/Americans-Low-Savings-Rate-Bad-Sign-Good-Economy">18% of people</a> across the U.S. save nothing. Their personal savings rate is zero. And roughly 50% save roughly a measly 5%.</p> <h2>6 Ways to Raise Your Rate</h2> <p>So, how can you effectively increase your personal savings rate? Here are six easy ways.</p> <h3>1. Grab Employer Matches</h3> <p>Take advantage of employer matches, if available. If your company matches 401Ks or HSAs, take advantage of them as much as you can. It's literally free money in your savings.</p> <h3>2. Maximize Pretax Savings</h3> <p>Take advantage of pretax savings, if available. If your company offers pretax savings through an 401K, HSA, or any other savings/investment vehicle, use it! Pretax savings of even 2% are greater than after-tax savings of 2%. It adds up over time.</p> <h3>3. Think Utilitarian</h3> <p>Avoid being overly flashy with major purchases like cars. It may be nice to think of a red convertible &mdash; but if that adds up so you have no disposable income left, you may want to rethink the purchase. Would a serviceable car allow you to reduce monthly payments? Or, could you buy a used car and put money you'd earmarked for payments toward your personal savings rate?</p> <h3>4. Pare Back Your Budget</h3> <p>If you don't currently keep a budget, it's time to start one. Review your budget by category. What could you pare back without drastic impact? Could that Starbucks venti macchiato coffee every day be substituted with coffee brought from home? Could Netflix substitute for movies and dinner out?</p> <h3>5. Curb Impulse Purchases</h3> <p>It's great to be able to buy new fall shoes and DVDs that call your name. But it's also great to be able to look at your savings every month with pride. Cut down on impulse purchases. If you love shoes or the newest DVDs, look at catalogs to whet your thirst. But don't buy shoes until you need them. As for DVDs? Check the library.</p> <h3>6. Consider the Gig Economy</h3> <p>Would it be possible to have occasional work driving for a ride-sharing company, running errands, or taking care of pets or plants? Earmark any earnings for your personal savings rate.</p> <p>Your personal savings rate has a major impact on your financial life. Take advantage of every way to maximize it. If you do, you'll be in much better financial shape than most of America is right now.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to maximize your PSR?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anum-yoon">Anum Yoon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-personal-savings-rate-matters">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-use-savings-to-pay-off-debt">When to Use Savings to Pay Off Debt</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-every-woman-can-take-control-of-her-finances">How Every Woman Can Take Control of Her Finances</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/using-your-roth-ira-as-an-emergency-fund-ever-a-good-idea">Using Your Roth IRA as an Emergency Fund — Ever a Good Idea?</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-places-to-stash-your-money-besides-a-savings-account">10 Places to Stash Your Money Besides a Savings Account</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Personal Savings Rate savings Tue, 13 Sep 2016 09:00:14 +0000 Anum Yoon 1791531 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Money From Inflation http://www.wisebread.com/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_clock_money_94923537.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to protect her money from inflation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Back in January 1980, when Jimmy Carter was President and Michael Jackson led the music charts with &quot;Rock with You,&quot; Americans were experiencing one of the periods of highest inflation in modern history. In January 1980, inflation was over 13.9% per year and peaked in April 1980 at 14.76%.</p> <p>With the consumer price index (CPI) at <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm">0.8% in July 2016</a>, many Americans have never experienced the dramatic increase in prices that other generations have. But even though inflation is low these days, it still eats away at your savings and investments. Let's review four (nearly) foolproof strategies and investments that will reduce the hit.</p> <h2>1. Invest in an S&amp;P 500 Index Fund</h2> <p>The average annual inflation rate since the U.S. government began tracking it in 1913 is <a href="http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Inflation_Rate/Long_Term_Inflation.asp">about 3%</a>. To combat inflation's effect on your money, you need investments that provide greater average returns than the inflation rate.</p> <p>Since its inception in 1928, the S&amp;P 500 has provided an <a href="http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/New_Home_Page/datafile/histretSP.html">average annual return of 11.25%</a> until 2015, making this stock market index a leading choice to protect yourself from inflation. For the greatest ease and cost-efficiency, invest in a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund that mirrors the S&amp;P 500's performance.</p> <p>Not only are the average returns of passively-managed S&amp;P 500 index funds higher than those of actively managed funds, but also the expense ratios of S&amp;P 500 index funds are lower than those of actively managed funds. For example, the Vanguard 500 Index Investor Shares fund [Nasdaq: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VFINX?p=VFINX">VFINX</a>] has an annual expense ratio of 0.16%, which is 84% lower than the average expense ratio of funds with similar holdings.</p> <p>Of course, this approach isn't actually foolproof, since both the rate of inflation and market returns vary from year to year. But when considering long-term averages, it's a fairly safe bet.</p> <h2>2. Increase Annual Contributions to Saving Accounts</h2> <p>Even when you leverage <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-online-savings-accounts?ref=internal">high-yield online savings accounts</a>, you'll only make between 0.75% and 1.05% per year, according to data from August 2016. With a July 2016 CPI of 0.8%, you're actually losing 0.05% and gaining only 0.25% per year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-360-review?ref=seealso">Capital One 360: A Competitive Banking Option</a>)</p> <p>Setting up automatic transfers from your paycheck or main checking account to your investment and saving accounts is a smart idea, but adjusting those contributions for inflation is an even better one. A good practice is to make an adjustment for inflation once a year. Check with your financial institution to find out if it offers the option of automatic adjustments for inflation to your contributions.</p> <h2>3. Seek Real Estate Income</h2> <p>While gold has a great reputation as an investment hedge against inflation, real estate income has proved to be a better hedge tool. A study from financial company Fidelity back-tested the performance of several assets against inflation on an annual basis during a 40-year period and found that gold and real estate income beat inflation 54% and 71% of the time, respectively. &quot;Real estate is regarded consistently as a <a href="https://www.reit.com/news/videos/wharton-professor-discusses-reits-inflation-hedging-benefits">good inflation hedge</a>, and it is&quot;, asserts Susan Wachter, professor at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-millenials-should-invest-in-a-home?ref=seealso">4 Reasons Millennials Should Invest in a Home</a>)</p> <p>While most individual investors can only afford to buy their own home, all individual investors can gain exposure to real estate income from a wide variety of properties through real estate investment trusts (REITS). Some advantages of REITs are their requirement to maintain a dividend payout ratio of at least 90% and their liquidity because they trade on major stock exchanges.</p> <p>For example, the 10-year annual average return of the Vanguard REIT Index Fund Investor Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VGSIX?ltr=1">VGSIX</a>] is 7.46%, as of June 30, 2016. In comparison, the 10-year annual average return of the S&amp;P 500 was 7.42% for the same period.</p> <p>Adding REITs provides you access to assets with inflation resistance and helps you protect against the negative of higher inflation. Still, REITs should only be a part of a well-diversified portfolio. Depending on your tolerance to risk, financial advisers suggest allocating from 5% up to 20% of your investment in portfolio in REITs. And of course, past performance is no guarantee of future success.</p> <h2>4. Negotiate Your Salary</h2> <p>If your salary were to consistently go up every year, you would not to worry about inflation to begin with! However, <a href="http://time.com/money/3657524/odds-of-getting-raise/">less than half of working Americans</a> ever even ask for a raise, and about 30% of them are uncomfortable negotiating salary.</p> <p>Start your career on the right foot by successfully negotiating the salary offer of your very first job. Three out of four U.S. employers typically have room to increase their first salary offers by 5% to 10% during negotiations, but only 38% of applicants negotiate those first salary offers. Let's imagine that your first salary offer was $38,000, that would mean that you have the potential of increasing that offer from $39,900 to $41,800. Given the historical inflation average of 3% per year, you have the potential of covering inflation for 40 months just by negotiating your first salary offer.</p> <p>And things only get better after that.</p> <p>By bumping up your salary from the start, you're increasing your chances of future raises. As your salary grows over time, so does your probability of getting a raise. For example, people making $40,000 to $50,000 have about a 40% chance of receiving that raise they requested and people making $60,000 to $70,000 have about a 50% chance.</p> <p>While there are other factors that may influence pay raises, the main one is the decision to request better compensation. From U.S. workers asking for a raise, 75% of them get something: 44% of them get what they asked for and 31% of them receive a smaller amount. Getting at least a small raise is a very smart strategy to protect yourself from inflation because inflation erodes the value of your dollars year after year.</p> <p><em>What are other ways to protect yourself from inflation?</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-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-post-really-suk-kuks-examining-islamic-finance">This Post Really Suk-kuks: Examining Islamic Finance</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/a-simple-guide-to-series-i-savings-bonds-i-bonds">A Simple Guide to Series I Savings Bonds (I-Bonds)</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-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-tell-if-a-stock-is-worth-buying">9 Ways to Tell If a Stock is Worth Buying</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-warren-buffett">The 5 Best Pieces of Financial Wisdom From Warren Buffett</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Banking Investment consumer price index Economy hedging inflation negotiating real estate REITs returns s&p 500 salary savings stocks Fri, 02 Sep 2016 09:00:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1784422 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_paperwork_house_83751927.jpg" alt="Man learning things lenders check besides credit score" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know how important your FICO credit score is to mortgage lenders. They rely on this number to gauge how well you've handled credit and paid your bills in the past. A high credit score means that you'll qualify for a low mortgage interest rate. A low score? You might not qualify for a loan at all.</p> <p>But mortgage lenders don't look only at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-credit-score" target="_blank">your credit score</a>&nbsp;when you apply for a home loan. They also consider several other key factors &mdash; everything from your job history to the size of your down payment.</p> <p>Here is a look at four noncredit factors that lenders will be studying when you apply for a mortgage loan.</p> <h2>Debt</h2> <p>Outside of your credit score, your debt-to-income ratio is the most important number for mortgage lenders. This ratio measures the relationship between your monthly debt obligations and your gross monthly income.</p> <p>As a general rule, lenders strongly prefer your total monthly debts &mdash; including your estimated new mortgage payment &mdash; equal no more than 43% of your gross monthly income (your income before taxes).</p> <p>If your debt-to-income rises past this level, lenders won't be as willing to lend you mortgage money. They'll worry that you're already overburdened with debt, and the addition of a monthly mortgage payment will only make your financial situation worse.</p> <h2>Job History</h2> <p>Lenders prefer borrowers who have worked for the same employer, in the same position, for at least two years. Lenders believe that such workers are less likely to lose their jobs and, therefore, less likely to lose the income stream they need to pay their mortgage loan on time each month.</p> <p>But there's a lot of flexibility with this rule. For instance, if you took on a new job with your same employer in the last two years, this probably won't hurt you. Even if you moved onto a new job with a different employer in your same industry, lenders probably won't worry.</p> <p>But what if you've taken a new job in a new industry in the last two years? That might cause some concern. Lenders might worry that you'll be more likely to lose that new position. However, you can usually still qualify for a loan.</p> <p>If you've been unemployed for a significant amount of time in the last two years, that can cause more problems. Be prepared to explain to lenders why you have a gap in your work history. As long as you have a solid income now, the odds are still good that you'll be able to qualify for a home loan.</p> <h2>Savings</h2> <p>To qualify for the lowest interest rates, make sure you have enough money in savings. You'll need money to pay for your down payment, closing costs, and a certain number of months' worth of property taxes, of course.</p> <p>But lenders often require that you also have enough in savings to pay at least two months of your new mortgage payment, including whatever you're paying each month for property taxes and insurance. If your total monthly mortgage payment will be $2,000, you'll need at least $4,000 in savings in addition to whatever you'll be paying for closing costs and down payment.</p> <p>Lenders want to see that you have savings in case you suffer a temporary reduction in your monthly income. This way, you'll be able to use your savings to pay for at least a couple months of mortgage payments.</p> <h2>Down Payment</h2> <p>The size of your down payment plays a big role in the size of your mortgage interest rate. In general, the bigger your down payment, the smaller your interest rate.</p> <p>That's because lenders consider you less of a risk to default on your loan if you come up with a larger down payment. You've already invested more in your home, the theory goes, so you'll be less likely to walk away from it.</p> <p>You can qualify for mortgage loans today with a down payment of as little as 3% of your home's final purchase price, in many cases. But if you want to qualify for the lowest interest rates? Putting down 20% of your home's final purchase price &mdash; admittedly not an easy task &mdash; will increase your chances of nabbing that ultralow rate.</p> <p><em>If you're getting ready to buy a house, have you taken steps to improve these parts of your finances?</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-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">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-8"> <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-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan">4 Reasons Why You&#039;re Too Old — Or Too Young — For a Mortgage Loan</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-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use">15 Personal Finance Calculators Everyone Should Use</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-panic-if-your-credit-score-drops">Why You Shouldn&#039;t Panic If Your Credit Score Drops</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/make-these-5-money-moves-before-applying-for-a-mortgage">Make These 5 Money Moves Before Applying for a Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Real Estate and Housing closing costs credit history credit score debt down payment FICO score interest rates job history lenders loans mortgages savings Mon, 29 Aug 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1779806 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Money Moves to Make Before the Leaves Change http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_fall_leaves_81399473.jpg" alt="Woman making money moves before the leaves change" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As yet another fun summer season winds down, there's no better time than the start of autumn to take a look at our finances to see where we can make adjustments. Consider these 10 money moves to make before the leaves change.</p> <h2>1. Get Back to Budget Reality</h2> <p>Summer activities can put budgeting on the back burner as we spend more and save less over vacation. A little splurging or a savings vacation isn't the end of the world, as long as it isn't a permanent getaway that drains your accounts. With autumn right around the corner, however, now's the time to get back to basics and rein in spending. Summer can be expensive, but you can regain control of your money by coming up with a spending plan that helps you curb impulse buys and save more of your income for a rainy day.</p> <h2>2. Start a Holiday Fund</h2> <p>The beginning of fall means the holiday season is only three months away. As you revamp your budget, start putting money aside for the end of the year. Whether your plans include taking an end-of-the-year vacation or buying gifts for loved ones, early planning can ensure enough cash so that you don't have to rely on credit cards.</p> <h2>3. Ask About Flat-Rate Billing</h2> <p>If your gas or electric bills trigger heart palpitations, talk to your utility company about flat-rate billing. The company looks at your past electricity or gas usage and uses this information to estimate your expected usage over the next year. Based on this estimation, you're charged a flat rate for the next 12 months. Flat-rate billing protects against higher utility bills during the winter and summer months, and as a result, budgeting is easier because you know exactly what you'll owe each month and there are no surprises.</p> <h2>4. Review Your TV Habits</h2> <p>Fall signifies that start of the new prime time television schedule &mdash; one of my favorite parts of the change of seasons. This is an excellent time to evaluate your TV viewing habits to see if you can do without cable, downgrade your package, or otherwise modify your home-entertainment budget to better suit your needs. With so many options these days, you can likely stream many of your favorite shows at a price that's far less than cable.</p> <h2>5. Pay Off Summer Debt</h2> <p>Carrying credit card debt from month-to-month is expensive. If your credit cards took a beating over the summer, come up with a plan to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">eliminate this debt</a>. Give your credit cards a break and pay for everything with cash, and then cut back on unnecessary spending to free up cash in your budget. Use the savings to double or triple your minimum payments and pay off balances sooner. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">5 Day Debt Reduction Plan</a>)</p> <h2>6. Prepare for Colder Days</h2> <p>Temperatures cool down around September and October, so to trim your heating bill, take steps early in the season to keep the heat in and the cold out. This includes replacing missing insulation in the attic, weatherstripping your doors and windows, sealing any cracks around windows and electrical outlets, installing a storm door, hanging heavy drapes, getting a programmable thermostat, and closing your fireplace flue.</p> <h2>7. Check Your Savings Contributions</h2> <p>If summer fun threw off your savings goals, you can play catch-up by taking advantage of your company's retirement plan, or increasing your contributions if you already have a 401K.</p> <p>&quot;An employer may offer to match a percentage or all of your contributions to a retirement account,&quot; says Jim Poolman, retirement expert and executive director of the lndexed Annuity Leadership Council. &quot;Some employers may even contribute to your retirement account each year whether you save or not.&quot; Any employer retirement contribution is considered &quot;free money&quot; and can maximize your savings at any age.</p> <h2>8. Balance Your Portfolio</h2> <p>In addition to contributing or increasing contributions to your company's retirement plan, you should get serious about balancing your portfolio to protect against market shifts. It isn't enough to have a 401K. Poolman suggests adding more conservative, low-risk products, such as fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) to balance your retirement portfolio.</p> <p>This is important as you become older, because a savings strategy that worked in your 20s might not be the right fit in your 30s or 40s.</p> <p>&quot;Assessing your investment mix at different stages in your life is key,&quot; Poolman warns. &quot;When you're young, a higher-risk investment strategy may be more effective, whereas the closer you are to retirement, the more important a low-risk portfolio may be.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Have a Money Talk With Your Partner</h2> <p>It's also important to sit down with your partner and/or a financial planner to review your overall financial picture and determine where you can improve. For example, when was the last time you reviewed your life insurance policy? If you've recently tied the knot, had a baby, or purchased a home, can you increase your coverage? Or if you're self-employed, could you increase contributions and max out your IRA, which can grow your money and help you save on taxes? A yearly review can ensure a firm financial foundation and help you hit your goals.</p> <h2>10. Make Doctor's Appointments</h2> <p>A flexible spending account (FSA) lets you set aside a percentage of your pretax pay for eligible out-of-pocket medical expenses. These accounts effectively reduce health care costs for doctor appointments, prescription medications, vision care, and dental care. You can withdraw funds to pay for covered expenses. The catch, however, is that funds in a flexible spending account must be used in the plan year. Some employers don't allow funds to carry over into the next year, or they only allow employees to carry over $500. If you don't use the money, you lose it. So with three months left in the year, schedule your doctor, dental, and vision appointments to avoid forfeiting your unused balance.</p> <p><em>What steps are you taking to prep your finances for fall?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change">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-9"> <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-money-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-50">5 Money Mistakes to Stop Making by 50</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-warren-buffett">The 5 Best Pieces of Financial Wisdom From Warren Buffett</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-you-will-always-be-thankful-for">7 Money Moves You Will Always Be Thankful For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past">It&#039;s Never Too Late to Fix These 5 Money Mistakes From Your Past</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/when-to-use-savings-to-pay-off-debt">When to Use Savings to Pay Off Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance advice autumn budgeting debt fall health care money moves organizing paying bills savings seasons Mon, 22 Aug 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1775890 at http://www.wisebread.com How Every Woman Can Take Control of Her Finances http://www.wisebread.com/how-every-woman-can-take-control-of-her-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-every-woman-can-take-control-of-her-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_office_organized_67054401.jpg" alt="Learning how women can take control of their finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It may seem patronizing or silly to offer specific retirement planning advice for women. After all, money is money, and compound interest works the same way whether the name on the account is John or Joan. And it's not as if we are living in an era where most women stay home instead of earning an income; today women make up nearly half of the workforce.</p> <p>But even if I feel like my husband's equal in earning power and investing know-how, the fact is that I am more likely than he is to be among the ranks of the elderly poor. In fact, a recent analysis by the National Institute on Retirement Security found that women are 80% more likely to be in poverty at age 65, and the disparities just get larger as women get older.</p> <p>There are many reasons why we women may not do as well as men in retirement preparation.</p> <p>&quot;Women statistically make less than men, so they have a smaller base to work with. And women tend to want to take care of others before themselves,&quot; said Sally Brandon, vice president of client services at investment adviser Rebalance IRA.</p> <p>Then there is the fact that more women take long breaks from full time work to care for children, and are more likely to work part time -&mdash; conditions that diminish our likelihood of socking away retirement funds.</p> <p>So what should women do to avoid having to subsist on Friskies in our latter years? Keep these things in mind.</p> <h2>Find an Adviser Who Listens to You</h2> <p>In my household, I handle our taxes and other finances. It's just not my husband's forte. So imagine my chagrin when I decided to hire an accountant, and he switched my husband's name to &quot;taxpayer&quot; and mine to &quot;spouse&quot; on our IRS forms. He said he did it because the IRS likes consistency &mdash; nevermind that we had consistently filed the other way for 15 years at that point!</p> <p>Other couples I know have met with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser" target="_blank">financial planners</a> who address all their questions to the husband only. That's why it's important to interview a potential adviser before committing. If you visit with your spouse, make sure the adviser addresses both of your concerns. Pay attention to how women working in the adviser's office are treated. And of course, if it makes you feel more comfortable, you can always hire a female adviser or one who specializes in helping women.</p> <p>Just as important as selecting an adviser you're comfortable with, Brandon says, is signaling to that adviser that &quot;you're a part of that process as much as the person next to you&quot; with your active participation. For instance, Brandon and her husband recently met with an estate planner together.</p> <p>&quot;I started asking a lot of questions, and by the end, everything was being addressed to both us, and not to just him,&quot; she says.</p> <h2>Make Your Retirement a Priority</h2> <p>A survey by financial services organization TIAA-CREF revealed that nearly half of women say they <a href="https://www.tiaa.org/public/about-tiaa/news-press/press-releases/pressrelease480.html">can't afford financial advice</a>, and one in three say they don't have time to seek it. That's another example of women putting the needs of others before their own.</p> <p>&quot;You get pulled and tugged in so many directions,&quot; said Brandon, herself the mom of three.</p> <p>Because starting early is key to amassing adequate retirement savings, it's important for everyone, including busy mothers, to take the time as soon as possible to set up a retirement savings plan and check up on it regularly.</p> <h2>Save Even If You're Not Working Full-Time</h2> <p>Women are <a href="https://www.dol.gov/_sec/media/reports/femalelaborforce/">twice as likely to work part time</a> as men, and we are also more likely to take extended <a href="https://hbr.org/2010/06/off-ramps-and-on-ramps-revisited/ar/1">breaks from the workplace</a> and have nonlinear career trajectories. If your career has taken this kind of path, it should be incorporated into your planning. Better yet &mdash; and I get that this can be tough &mdash; evaluate the effect that such a break or shift would have on your retirement before you decide to do it.</p> <p>One way to keep saving during a break, Brandon suggests, is by contributing to a spousal IRA, which is simply a regular IRA that a nonworking spouse can contribute to in order to keep retirement savings going even during a career break.</p> <h2>Don't Let Divorce Derail Your Future</h2> <p>No one plans for their marriage to end in divorce. Yet, after seeing too many friends and relatives have their finances shredded by divorce, I've come to the conclusion that all married people should be prepared to weather a divorce if necessary.</p> <p>Statistically, women are more likely to be financially hurt by divorce. We're more likely to have custody of the kids, and many single mothers receive no child support. Anecdotally, I know women who had no credit in their own names until they got divorced and found themselves applying for a credit card with no credit history, or even worse, a credit history that was shredded by the ex's actions.</p> <p>The first thing women can do to prepare for divorce is the same thing she can do to prepare for successful retirement if she stays married: Understand the family finances. Pay attention and ask questions. Don't leave it all to your spouse.</p> <p>The next part happens during the divorce: Fight for what you deserve. Divorce attorneys report seeing many women settle too soon in divorces and accept too small a share of the couple's net worth, just to get it over with. Some men bully and harass their wives into giving in, and even use the children against them.</p> <p>In divorce, as in marriage, remember that as important as the pressing issues of today may seem &mdash; the kids' needs, the stress &mdash; retirement can last a long time, and it will seem even longer if you have to spend it eating cat food.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to take control of your finances?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-every-woman-can-take-control-of-her-finances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-secrets-you-need-to-tell-your-financial-adviser">11 Secrets You Need to Tell Your Financial Adviser</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-money-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-50">5 Money Mistakes to Stop Making by 50</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-6-biggest-financial-decisions-in-your-20s">The 6 Biggest Financial Decisions in Your 20s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-savings-tricks-you-havent-tried-yet">5 Savings Tricks You Haven&#039;t Tried Yet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-month-get-richer-plan">The 12-Month Get-Richer Plan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance caretakers divorce financial advisers mothers poverty retirement savings sexism women Tue, 09 Aug 2016 10:30:17 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1766935 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways Everybody Saves During Back-to-School http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-everybody-saves-during-back-to-school <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-everybody-saves-during-back-to-school" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_office_supplies_75992729.jpg" alt="Man learning ways to save during back-to-school" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One day after Independence Day, retailers made way for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-back-to-school-shopping-hacks-for-big-savings?ref=internal" target="_blank">back-to-school items</a> in their aisles. It's kind of annoying, in my opinion, because many kids just got out for the summer a week or two beforehand. I mean, let the dust settle first, right? But I digress. These early installments of supplies can also mean big savings for you, even if you're not a student or don't have children of your own. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-back-to-school-shopping?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Best Credit Cards for Back to School Shopping</a>)</p> <h2>1. Treat School Supplies Like Office Supplies</h2> <p>Need pens, pencils, and paper? Hit your local big-box retailer &mdash; like Wal-Mart, Target, and Staples &mdash; to take advantage of their discounted &quot;school&quot; supplies that coincidentally are the same things you use in your own office. At Target, look for additional savings on its Cartwheel app before checking out; check the clearance section at Wal-Mart and take try to score Bluebird savings on the back end; and checkout with your loyalty card at Staples to get a small kickback in the form of future monetary rewards for everything you buy there.</p> <h2>2. Raid Your Kids' Stash From Last Year</h2> <p>Your kids probably didn't use everything you bought them when they went back to school 12 months earlier. Chances are they still have at least a few leftovers, like binders, folders, dividers and more, that you can claim as your own and put to use. Lord knows they're not going to use something from last year &mdash; what will people say!? So whatever remains might as well go the extra mile for you.</p> <h2>3. Browse Local School's Social Media for Deals</h2> <p>Both big-box and local businesses are attracted to schools this time of year, so adding your local schools on Facebook and other social media may score you insider deals that won't be posted elsewhere.</p> <p>&quot;Similarly, if you live in or near a college town, check Yelp with the keyword 'school' and 'coupon' (or deal/offer) to find a slew of coupons that are intended to attract college students but can be used by anyone,&quot; suggests money-saving expert Mike Catania, whose own site PromotionCode.org also is a good resource.</p> <h2>4. Take Advantage of Price Matching</h2> <p>Spotted a better deal at a retailer at which you don't normally shop? You don't have to go out of your way to get it.</p> <p>&quot;Many back-to-school retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, and Office Depot will price match competitor's offers, so it pays to compare prices and circulars so you don't have to run around town to hunt down the best bargains,&quot; says money-saving expert Andrea Woroch.</p> <p>In fact, Staples is going a step further and offering a price-match guarantee of 110% with an extra 10% off identical products. Use tools like the ShopSavvy app or the Invisible Hand browser add-on to simplify this task while shopping in store and online.</p> <p>&quot;Circulars are your best tool in comparing offers for back-to-school,&quot; Woroch adds. &quot;In addition to browsing weekly ads found in Sunday newspapers, apps like <a href="http://www.retale.com/">Retale</a> and <a href="https://www.flipp.com/">Flipp</a> offer a digital means of finding top discounts while you're out and about shopping.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Visit Trade-In Sites for Savings Upon Savings</h2> <p>Trade-in sites &mdash; those online outlets that offer refurbished electronics at discounted prices &mdash; are often overlooked when people are shopping for the latest and greatest gadgets. But checking in may yield big savings on just what you're looking for. For instance, Gazelle.com is offering up to 30% off on <a href="http://buy.gazelle.com/buy/used/back-to-school-deals">back-to-school gadgets</a> for everyone, with new items added daily. Gazelle sells certified, pre-owned devices that must pass a 30-point quality inspection and everything comes with a 30-day risk-free return policy; payment plans also are available. Don't overlook the brick-and-mortars though: Apple, Newegg, Best Buy, and even warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam's Club offer refurbished or open-box laptops, tablets, computers, smartphones, and the like for up to 75% off.</p> <p>This strategy applies to clothing, too.</p> <p>&quot;Thrift store, consignment shops, and online resellers, including <a href="http://www.poshmark.com">Poshmark</a> and <a href="http://www.thredup.com">ThredUp</a>, are top resources for gently used clothing,&quot; explains Woroch.</p> <h2>6. Clip, Print, Tap, or Paste Coupons</h2> <p>The best way to quickly access store coupons is through a coupon app like <a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com">Coupon Sherpa</a>, which features savings at national chain stores like Staples as well as local shops. When shopping online, it's important to search for coupon codes to save money, like a <a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/target">Target promo code</a> for $5 off $50 orders, or 25% off a Disney Store purchase. Otherwise, register for a retailer's online newsletter to receive a new subscriber coupon for savings from 10% to 20% off your first purchase.</p> <h2>7. Opt for Generic Over Name-Brand Supplies</h2> <p>Can you really tell the difference between a national brand-name notebook and the off-name or store brand? Probably not enough to pay more.</p> <p>&quot;You're better off sticking with the generic or store brand options to save money, especially since there is little difference between brand names and generic versions,&quot; Woroch says. &quot;On the flip side, however, backpacks, electronics, art supplies, and even sneakers are better brand-name buys because they're often higher quality and last longer, reducing the need to replace them.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Show Those Summer Clearance Racks Who's Boss</h2> <p>While parents are shopping for fall clothing for kids, you can cop the remnants of the summer clothing in the clearance section for yourself. Sure, the summer is winding down, but all is not for naught: You can use the lighter pieces for layering during the colder months, and there will likely be fall-perfect clothing among the summer clothes as well. I recently visited J. Crew Factory's clearance section, which had racks of button-downs, long-sleeve polos, and pants for 50% off already very reduced prices. These kind of deals exist elsewhere &mdash; and they're all in one place at outlet malls &mdash; which makes a visit worth it if you're in need of a wardrobe refresh.</p> <p><em>Do you have more back-to-school shopping tips? I'd love to hear them in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-everybody-saves-during-back-to-school">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-back-to-school-sales">How to Find the Best Back to School Sales</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-to-wait-until-after-christmas-to-buy">8 Things to Wait Until After Christmas to Buy</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-8-best-ways-to-save-on-back-to-school-supplies-right-now">The 8 Best Ways to Save on Back-to-School Supplies Right NOW</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-less-cash-for-your-jcpenney-purchase">Use Less Cash for Your JCPenney Purchase</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/50-best-deals-coupons-sites">50 Best Deals and Coupon Sites</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping back to school clearance coupons deals office supplies savings school supplies seasonal Tue, 02 Aug 2016 09:30:37 +0000 Mikey Rox 1762301 at http://www.wisebread.com