money management http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/60/all en-US Get Smart About Money With These 18 Free Online Courses http://www.wisebread.com/get-smart-about-money-with-these-18-free-online-courses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-smart-about-money-with-these-18-free-online-courses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_man_using_laptop.jpg" alt="Young man using laptop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A growing number of leading business schools and universities are offering free personal finance courses online. Why not take advantage of these sophisticated resources to grow your knowledge and take your finances to the next level? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-places-to-get-free-personal-finance-classes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Places to Get Free Personal Finance Classes</a>)</p> <p>These free online courses are sometimes known as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Many are either based on university courses, or actually are the same university courses that have been offered to paying students on campus. Although you will not get credit toward a degree for taking a free class, you can certainly learn a thing or two that will help you manage your finances and become a better negotiator, entrepreneur, and investor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-continue-your-education-without-going-back-to-school?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Cheap Ways to Continue Your Education Without Going Back to School</a>)</p> <h2>1. Finance for Everyone: Smart Tools for Decision-Making</h2> <p>This <a href="https://www.edx.org/course/finance-everyone-smart-tools-decision-michiganx-fin101x-1#" target="_blank">introductory personal finance course</a> through the University of Michigan covers the basics of personal finance, teaching frameworks and methods that will better equip you to make sound everyday financial decisions.</p> <p>Time commitment: 6 weeks, 5&ndash;6 hours per week.</p> <h2>2. Behavioral Economics in Action</h2> <p>Offered through the University of Toronto, <a href="https://www.edx.org/course/behavioral-economics-action-university-torontox-be101x-0#" target="_blank">Behavioral Economics in Action</a> teaches students how economics drives consumer decisions and how to develop tools that lead to better financial decisions.</p> <p>Time commitment: 6 weeks, 4&ndash;5 hours per week.</p> <h2>3. Personal Finance</h2> <p>Purdue University offers <a href="https://www.edx.org/course/personal-finance-purduex-pn-17-2" target="_blank">Personal Finance</a>; Improve your money management by improving your understanding of key personal finance concepts such as investments, credit, and insurance.</p> <p>Time commitment: 5 weeks, 3&ndash;4 hours per week.</p> <h2>4. Analyzing Global Trends for Business and Society</h2> <p>The Wharton University of Pennsylvania offers an online course on <a href="https://www.edx.org/course/analyzing-global-trends-business-society-wharton-trends1x?source=aw&amp;awc=6798_1502742497_0d3411ef1fd94a7d7eb647004262589a&amp;utm_source=aw&amp;utm_medium=affiliate_partner&amp;utm_content=text-link&amp;utm_term=301045_https://www.class-central.com/" target="_blank">learning to understand global trends</a>, including how you can use that knowledge to make better financial decisions and investments.</p> <p>Time commitment: 7 weeks, 3&ndash;4 hours per week.</p> <h2>5. How to Start a Startup</h2> <p>With Stanford University's video course <a href="https://www.class-central.com/mooc/2572/how-to-start-a-startup" target="_blank">How to Start a Startup</a>, you'll learn the fundamentals of launching a new business; including how to develop product ideas, make sales, market products, and hire your first employees.</p> <p>Time commitment: 1,000 minutes of video.</p> <h2>6. Stocks and Bonds: Risks and Returns</h2> <p>Another Stanford video course, <a href="https://www.class-central.com/mooc/2453/stanford-openedx-stocks-and-bonds-risks-and-returns" target="_blank">Stocks and Bonds: Risks and Returns</a> covers the basics of stocks and bonds, including how value is established, what affects market prices, and what you actually get when you buy a stock or a bond.</p> <p>Time commitment: Self-paced.</p> <h2>7. Finance Theory I</h2> <p><a href="https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/sloan-school-of-management/15-401-finance-theory-i-fall-2008/" target="_blank">Finance Theory I</a>, offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, teaches you how the economy and capital markets work, including an introduction to complex investment instruments such as derivatives and options.</p> <p>Time commitment: Semester-length course.</p> <h2>8. Retail Fundamentals</h2> <p>Learning <a href="https://www.edx.org/course/retail-fundamentals-dartmouthx-rfundx-0" target="_blank">how retail works</a> can give you an advantage as a consumer. This course from Dartmouth covers the basics of how businesses select inventory and set prices to maximize profit.</p> <p>Time commitment: 4 weeks, 3&ndash;4 hours per week.</p> <h2>9. Economics of Money and Banking</h2> <p>This course from Columbia University teaches the <a href="https://www.coursera.org/learn/money-banking" target="_blank">basics of banking and monetary policy</a> and offers insight into the financial crisis of 2007&ndash;2009 from the perspective of financial institutions.</p> <p>Time commitment: 13 weeks, 5 hours per week.</p> <h2>10. Introduction to Negotiation: A Strategic Playbook for Becoming a Principled and Persuasive Negotiator</h2> <p>Negotiating effectively is one of the most effective ways to get ahead financially. This course from Yale promises to &quot;<a href="https://www.class-central.com/mooc/4336/coursera-introduction-to-negotiation-a-strategic-playbook-for-becoming-a-principled-and-persuasive-negotiator" target="_blank">help you be a better negotiator</a>&quot; by teaching tactics and tools to reach a better deal.</p> <p>Time commitment: 9-week course.</p> <h2>11. Personal &amp; Family Financial Planning</h2> <p><a href="https://www.coursera.org/learn/family-planning" target="_blank">Personal &amp; Family Financial Planning</a> from the University of Florida teaches the fundamentals of personal finance and money management including budgeting, credit, and taxes.</p> <p>Time commitment: 9-week course.</p> <h2>12. Investment Vehicles, Insurance, and Retirement</h2> <p>Khan University's <a href="https://www.khanacademy.org/economics-finance-domain/core-finance/investment-vehicles-tutorial" target="_blank">Investment Vehicles, Insurance, and Retirement</a> course teaches the basic principles that will allow you to grow your money through investments and protect your money through insurance.</p> <p>Time commitment: Self-paced.</p> <h2>13. Securing Investment Returns in the Long Run</h2> <p>In the course <a href="https://www.coursera.org/learn/investment-returns-long-run" target="_blank">Securing Investment Returns in the Long Run</a> through the University of Geneva, you'll learn about active vs. passive investing and how to evaluate the performance of your investments to achieve good long-term returns.</p> <p>Time commitment: 4 weeks, 1&ndash;3 hours per week.</p> <h2>14. Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning</h2> <p><a href="http://cat.ocw.uci.edu/oo/getPage.php?course=AR0102092&amp;lesson=001&amp;topic=1&amp;page=1" target="_blank">Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning</a> from UC Irvine aims to teach you how to set and reach your financial goals by improving your knowledge of personal finance.</p> <p>Time commitment: 30 hours.</p> <h2>15. Free Online Personal Finance Course</h2> <p>This <a href="https://cals.arizona.edu/sfcs/personalfinance/introduction.html" target="_blank">personal finance primer</a> from the University of Arizona will teach you how to navigate the perils of today's consumer economy by mastering personal finance principles.</p> <p>Time commitment: 15 hours.</p> <h2>16. Econ 252: Financial Markets</h2> <p>Become a smarter investor with this <a href="http://oyc.yale.edu/economics/econ-252-08" target="_blank">economics course</a> from Yale, which aims to help you understand the inner workings of financial institutions such as banks, insurance companies, and securities markets.</p> <p>Time commitment: Semester-length course.</p> <h2>17. New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs</h2> <p>If you are thinking about starting a business, <a href="https://www.coursera.org/learn/startup-funding" target="_blank">New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs</a> from the University of Maryland will help you figure out how to fund your venture.</p> <p>Time commitment: 3&ndash;5 hours per week.</p> <h2>18. Marketing in a Digital World</h2> <p><a href="https://www.coursera.org/learn/marketing-digital" target="_blank">Marketing in a Digital World</a>, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will teach you how digital tools are revolutionizing the way products are bought and sold, and how this is providing unprecedented advantages for consumers.</p> <p>Time commitment: 4 weeks, 6&ndash;8 hours per week.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fget-smart-about-money-with-these-18-free-online-courses&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FGet%2520Smart%2520About%2520Money%2520With%2520These%252018%2520Free%2520Online%2520Courses.jpg&amp;description=Get%20Smart%20About%20Money%20With%20These%2018%20Free%20Online%20Courses"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Get%20Smart%20About%20Money%20With%20These%2018%20Free%20Online%20Courses.jpg" alt="Get Smart About Money With These 18 Free Online Courses" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-smart-about-money-with-these-18-free-online-courses">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/9-online-forums-thatll-help-you-reach-your-financial-goals">9 Online Forums That&#039;ll Help You Reach Your Financial Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-millennials-have-changed-money-so-far">6 Ways Millennials Have Changed Money (So Far)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-best-free-financial-learning-tools">9 Best Free Financial Learning Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-tricks-to-master-for-a-happier-life">Financial Tricks to Master for a Happier Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-manage-your-money-in-under-10-minutes-a-week">5 Online Tools to Manage Your Money in Under 10 Minutes a Week</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training entrepreneurship freebies investing learning massive open online courses money management online courses resources Tue, 03 Oct 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 2028482 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 New Podcasts That'll Improve Your Money Mindset http://www.wisebread.com/10-new-podcasts-thatll-improve-your-money-mindset <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-new-podcasts-thatll-improve-your-money-mindset" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/enjoying_great_music.jpg" alt="Enjoying great music" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Podcasts are all the rage right now. We even have podcasts that review and recommend other podcasts! I'm proud to say that I'm a podcast junkie, as is most everyone I know. But did you know that your podcast addiction could actually help you manage your personal finances? Here are 10 that will improve your money mindset.</p> <h2>1. Listen, Money Matters</h2> <p><a href="https://www.listenmoneymatters.com/show/" target="_blank">Listen, Money Matters</a> lives up to the promise of its tagline, &quot;Manage your money like a badass.&quot; If you think personal finance is dull, Andrew Fiebert (a self-professed personal finance nerd) and Thomas Frank (a productivity expert) are here to dispel that myth. They'll help you work smarter so that your money works harder for you. They break down complex terms and host some of the smartest minds in the personal finance field. Topics range from investing to debt reduction, and everything in between.</p> <h2>2. Planet Money</h2> <p>This superb NPR podcast is the gold standard when it comes to personal finance programs. Think breaking financial news meets the nuts and bolts of how our economy actually works told to you by your best friend. At almost 800 episodes, <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/money/" target="_blank">Planet Money</a> has clearly found the secret recipe to making personal finance fascinating.</p> <h2>3. Stacking Benjamins</h2> <p>Endlessly action-oriented and infinitely original, <a href="https://www.stackingbenjamins.com/listen/" target="_blank">Stacking Benjamins</a> is all about taking personal finance advice and putting it to work for you immediately. With episode titles such as &quot;Where Financial Planning Goes Wrong&quot; and &quot;69 Things That GO BUMP in Your Portfolio,&quot; this podcast is so much more than tips on how to save money. It's actually changing your mind about how you view money and its place in your life.</p> <h2>4. The Money Tree</h2> <p>If investing is an area of personal finance you haven't delved into until now, <a href="http://moneytreepodcast.com/" target="_blank">The Money Tree</a> is the place to grow your knowledge and personal wealth. From choosing the right investments, to making career choices, to answering your questions about pensions and Social Security, the hosts and their guest panelists for each episode will help you invest like the best.</p> <h2>5. Money Box</h2> <p>This gem from the BBC combines the latest personal finance news with brief guides on topics such as compound interest. It also offers societal commentary on topics like the future of retirement. What I like best about <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qjnv" target="_blank">Money Box</a> is that it serves up full episodes plus very short clips that tightly focus on one concept, such as energy savings and the return of the 100 percent mortgage.</p> <h2>6. HerMoney with Jean Chatzky</h2> <p>A personal finance expert, award-winning journalist, and best-selling author, <a href="https://www.jeanchatzky.com/podcast/" target="_blank">Jean Chatzky</a> is masterful at breaking down personal finance advice and combining that advice with what's happening in the lives of women. This mindfulness includes acknowledging finance challenges women face, such as saving for our own retirement while caring for our older loved ones, and providing timely advice based on big calendar events like back-to-school and tax prep time. Though it's geared toward women, this podcast is a winner for male listeners, too.</p> <h2>7. Freakonomics Radio</h2> <p>If you're looking to expand your mind and your thinking around money, <a href="http://freakonomics.com/" target="_blank">Freakonomics Radio</a> is for you. In the tradition of their wildly successful books <em>Freakonomics</em>, <em>SuperFreakonomics</em>, and <em>Think Like a Freak</em>, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner bring together masterful storytelling with human psychology. From supply and demand through the lens of line standing, to explaining the stupidest thing you can do with your money, this highly-provocative, well-researched gem is perfect for intellectually curious listeners.</p> <h2>8. The Dave Ramsey Show</h2> <p><a href="https://www.daveramsey.com/show" target="_blank">Dave Ramsey</a> approaches the management of money from a Zen place &mdash; he wants you to make peace with it so you can focus on doing what you love and spending time with people who matter to you. He recognizes the stress that money can place on your relationships and happiness, and his goal is to help you mitigate that stress with knowledge and a game plan. That perspective and motivation make the content about wealth building, reducing debt, and budgeting easy to digest. His message resonates with a wide listener base &mdash; this year he's celebrating his 25th anniversary on the air.</p> <h2>9. The Dough Roller Money Podcast</h2> <p>Interviews, Q&amp;As, deep dives into individual money topics, and career advice from a financial perspective make <a href="http://www.doughroller.net/thepodcast/" target="_blank">The Dough Roller Money Podcast</a> one of the most well-rounded personal finance podcasts. The variety of content and format has helped Rob Berger and his 14-member team become one of the highest rated personal finance podcasts with 75,000 downloads per month.</p> <h2>10. Money for the Rest of Us</h2> <p>For everyone who needs their personal finance advice beautifully wrapped in a compelling story that has nothing to do with personal finance, <a href="https://moneyfortherestofus.com/episodes/" target="_blank">Money for the Rest of Us</a> is tailor-made for you. You're going to get the knowledge and lessons you need to create a money mindset, but they'll be delivered with such an immersive and entertaining narrative that you won't even realize you're learning. Some of my recent favorite episodes are &quot;Do Homeowner Tax Breaks Cause Homelessness?&quot; and &quot;Is Infrastructure a Good Investment?&quot; Combining personal finance education with social justice and impact gets people to pay attention and take action.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-new-podcasts-thatll-improve-your-money-mindset&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520New%2520Podcasts%2520That%2527ll%2520Improve%2520Your%2520Money%2520Mindset.jpg&amp;description=10%20New%20Podcasts%20That'll%20Improve%20Your%20Money%20Mindset"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20New%20Podcasts%20That%27ll%20Improve%20Your%20Money%20Mindset.jpg" alt="10 New Podcasts That'll Improve Your Money Mindset" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-new-podcasts-thatll-improve-your-money-mindset">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/these-10-money-podcasts-will-help-you-save-tons">These 10 Money Podcasts Will Help You Save Tons</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-jk-rowling">4 Money Lessons We Can Learn From J.K. Rowling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-money-podcasts">The 5 Best Money Podcasts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson">6 Money Lessons We Could All Learn From Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson</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/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Entertainment advice Help insight listening money management money mindset podcasts radio Wed, 20 Sep 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Christa Avampato 2020342 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times It's OK to Pause Saving and Investing http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-its-ok-to-pause-saving-and-investing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-its-ok-to-pause-saving-and-investing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/paper_boat_with_1_dollar_bill_sail_is_blown_onshore.jpg" alt="Paper boat with $1 bill sail is blown onshore" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In most circumstances, saving and investing should be a priority &mdash; one of your highest priorities, in fact. And we'd never advise you let short-term situations derail your long-term financial goals. However, there are a few particular times in life when investing shouldn't be at the top of your to-do list.</p> <p>That's not to say you shouldn't invest; just that you should focus on the particular situation, and how to handle it, before you turn your attention back to investing.</p> <h2>1. You don't have an emergency fund</h2> <p>If you haven't yet <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund" target="_blank">built up an emergency fund</a>, your savings should go toward doing so before they go to investments or long-term savings plans. An emergency fund is a form of defense, a buffer that keeps a singular financial issue from becoming a big, ongoing financial crisis.</p> <p>With an emergency fund in place, you can handle unexpected expenses &mdash; like that dental work, or car repair, or emergency trip to help a family member &mdash; without depleting your long-term savings or accruing high-interest debt. Before you start investing, save as much as you can each month until you've built up an emergency fund to carry you through those unpredictable times in life. Experts recommend stashing three to six months' worth of salary &mdash; the higher your monthly expenses, the more you should save.</p> <h2>2. You have too much unsecured debt</h2> <p>If you are paying off high-interest, unsecured debt and struggling to make the minimum payments, now is not the time to start investing. Instead, you need to get your debt reduced to a manageable size so you can reduce the amount of interest you're paying. Otherwise you may end up losing money; if you're investing money in something with a 10 percent return, but you're paying a 21 percent interest rate on an equal amount of money, you're losing 11 percent each year.</p> <p>Focus your savings efforts on a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies" target="_blank">credit card debt reduction plan</a>, such as the snowball or debt ladder method. If you feel that your debt is at crisis level, consider debt consolidation (but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-of-these-common-debt-consolidation-traps" target="_blank">use caution</a> when considering your consolidation options) to get it under control.</p> <h2>3. You don't have a dependable income</h2> <p>Perhaps you're starting your own business, just starting your career, or you're self-employed and struggling to keep the monthly income steady. If you're unable to predict what your income will be from one month to the next, you may need to wait on those long-term investments.</p> <p>Instead, focus on regulating your income or using some smart strategies &mdash; such as setting up a slush fund, and having a minimum income budget &mdash; to establish stability on a fluctuating income. Once you feel that you have a good financial strategy in place, and can predict the amount you'll be able to save each month, start looking at your investment options.</p> <h2>4. You're in the midst of a financial crisis</h2> <p>It's always better to take a long-term view of the situation, when it comes to finances. However, when you're handling a financial crisis, the most immediate steps are the most important. You need to stop the financial bleeding, so to speak, before you turn your attention to long-term investments. Otherwise, you'll bleed out your financial resources and end up cashing out your investments early, before they can offer you any return.</p> <p>Therefore, if you're facing a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income" target="_blank">sudden income loss</a>, a potential layoff, a medical or family crisis, or other life emergency that has triggered a financial crisis, deal with the crisis and focus on stabilizing your day-to-day finances first.</p> <h2>5. You don't have enough information</h2> <p>The final reason to avoid investing is less about your financial situation and more about the investment opportunity itself. If you don't have adequate information, don't invest. Instead, take the time to do your due diligence: examine the risks, the potential return, and what the experts say about each investment opportunity.</p> <p>If it seems like a sure thing, and you're tempted to dump the entire contents of your savings account in, take a step back. Hold a counsel meeting with your financial planner and go over the questions they provide, questions you might not have thought to ask. Once you're confident that you have accurate information and understand the big picture of each potential investment, you're in a position to decide which ones are right for you.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-times-its-ok-to-pause-saving-and-investing&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Times%2520It%2527s%2520OK%2520to%2520Pause%2520Saving%2520and%2520Investing.jpg&amp;description=5%20Times%20It's%20OK%20to%20Pause%20Saving%20and%20Investing"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Times%20It%27s%20OK%20to%20Pause%20Saving%20and%20Investing.jpg" alt="5 Times It's OK to Pause Saving and Investing" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-its-ok-to-pause-saving-and-investing">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/9-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-your-credit-cards-are-paid-off">9 Money Moves to Make the Moment Your Credit Cards Are Paid Off</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</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-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</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-paying-off-your-mortgage-early-costing-you-money">Is Paying Off Your Mortgage Early Costing You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-i-learned-about-money-after-using-acorns">Here&#039;s What I Learned About Money After Using Acorns</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment emergency fund financial crisis high interest debt loss of income money management saving money unsecured debt Wed, 06 Sep 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Annie Mueller 2012631 at http://www.wisebread.com The Financial Basics Every New Grad Should Know http://www.wisebread.com/the-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/thoughtful_graduate_student_woman_looking_at_light_bulb.jpg" alt="Thoughtful graduate student woman looking at light bulb" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're a recent college grad, congratulations. As you settle into your first job, you'll probably have more money flowing through your life than ever before.</p> <p>Take a minute to think of your financial potential. Let's say your starting salary is $45,000. If you're 21 years old, earn a 3 percent raise each year, and work until you're 70, you will have made nearly $5 million by the time you retire! (To use your actual salary and change other assumptions, use <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/calculators/ins07" target="_blank">this lifetime earnings calculator</a>.)</p> <p>Here are seven ideas for making the most of your financial potential.</p> <h2>Plan to succeed</h2> <p>To be intentional about your use of money, you need a plan. That's right, you need a budget &mdash; or as I prefer to call it, a cash flow plan. Today, free tools such as Mint.com make the process relatively painless.</p> <p>There are three key activities involved in using a budget: planning, tracking, and adjusting. First, figure out how much of your income you need to allocate to housing, food, clothing, and all the rest of your expenses. Your income will determine how much you have for discretionary spending on, say, entertainment.</p> <p>Then, keep track of your expenses. You can jot them in a notebook or spreadsheet, or link a tool like Mint to your checking account and credit cards, so it can do much of the tracking for you.</p> <p>Don't be discouraged if you don't hit your numbers each and every month. Your assumptions may have been unrealistic. Plus, your goals and circumstances will change, so the amounts you allocate for various categories will need to be adjusted over time as well.</p> <h2>Put some away</h2> <p>The key to building wealth is to set aside a portion of every dollar you earn for saving and investing. There are two separate types of savings that are important.</p> <p>First, there's an emergency fund. In life, stuff happens. An important way to avoid going into debt for that stuff is to have some money set aside in savings. Financial advisers often recommend your emergency fund have enough to cover three to six months' worth of essential living expenses.</p> <p>But when you're just starting out, you probably have relatively few breakable moving parts in your life. For example, renting an apartment is less financially risky than owning a home. If that's you, having three months' worth of expenses in savings is probably enough.</p> <p>The second type of savings is for periodic expenses. These are expenses that occur every year, but not every month &mdash; things like a semiannual car insurance premium, end-of-year holiday gifts, or a vacation. Take the annual total of each of these items, divide by 12, and then put that much in savings each month. That way, when the expense comes due, you'll have the money already set aside.</p> <h2>Invest for your future</h2> <p>A little bit of money invested each month for a long time and at a decent rate of return will eventually turn into a lot of money you can use for retirement. Using our earlier assumptions (age 21, starting salary of $45,000, and a 3 percent annual raise), if you invest 10 percent of your salary (a good target) and generate an average annual return of 7 percent, by the time you're 70, you will have built a retirement nest egg of $2.7 million!</p> <p>Bottom line? If your employer offers a workplace retirement plan, such as a 401(k), sign up as soon as possible. And don't miss out on any matching money.</p> <h2>Keep your biggest expense under control</h2> <p>Aim to spend no more than 25 percent of your monthly gross income on housing &mdash; even better if you can keep it to no more than 20 percent. If you own, that's the combination of your mortgage, insurance, and property taxes. If you rent, that's the combination of your rent, insurance, and utilities.</p> <p>Keeping your housing costs within that range will give you the margin you need to save, invest, and enjoy financial peace of mind.</p> <h2>Avoid a car payment</h2> <p>Vehicles depreciate in value quickly, so avoid financing them. If you can't pay cash right away, see if you can go without a car, at least while you save up for one. That may be viable if you live in a city with good public transportation. If not, get the least expensive used car that's highly rated by Consumer Reports.</p> <p>You're not looking for something flashy. You're looking for a car you can pay off quickly and keep for a long time. By the time you need to replace it, the combination of your savings and the value you'll still be able to get when trading in your current car should enable you to afford a nicer car.</p> <h2>Choose your bank or credit union carefully</h2> <p>Too often, people choose where to open a checking account based on which bank has the best promotion. Once you go to the trouble of setting up online bill-pay with your utilities, insurance providers, and others, the hassle factor involved in changing banks goes up a lot. So, choose carefully.</p> <p>If you use an ATM frequently, you'll want a bank with lots of ATM locations. And you'll probably want a bank that doesn't charge a fee for a low balance.</p> <h2>Get a credit card</h2> <p>Having a credit card in your own name will help you start building a credit score, which is beneficial for everything from getting a job to paying the least for insurance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <p>If you don't have a credit card already, see if you could get one through your bank. If not, a retailer may be more willing to approve you &mdash; but retail cards are notorious for having high interest rates, so make sure you pay off your bills quickly. If you still have trouble, look into getting a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards" target="_blank">secured card</a>. With a secured card, you'll have to put down a deposit, which will usually be equal to your credit limit.</p> <p>Just be sure to be responsible. That means using your credit card only for preplanned, budgeted expenses, recording any charges in your budget right away, and paying the balance on time and in full each month.</p> <p>If you take the steps and build the habits described above, you'll give yourself the best possible chance of making the most of your financial potential.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%2520Financial%2520Basics%2520Every%2520New%2520Grad%2520Should%2520Know.jpg&amp;description=The%20Financial%20Basics%20Every%20New%20Grad%20Should%20Know"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%20Financial%20Basics%20Every%20New%20Grad%20Should%20Know.jpg" alt="The Financial Basics Every New Grad Should Know" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-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-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-12-month-get-richer-plan">The 12-Month Get-Richer Plan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</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/is-paying-off-your-mortgage-early-costing-you-money">Is Paying Off Your Mortgage Early Costing You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</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/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance advice budgeting college graduates expenses financial planning grads investing money management retirement saving money tips Fri, 21 Jul 2017 08:00:11 +0000 Matt Bell 1988263 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Tell You've Become a Financial Grownup http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-youve-become-a-financial-grownup <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-tell-youve-become-a-financial-grownup" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/saving_money.jpg" alt="Saving money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was 22 years old, I thought I had it all figured out. I had landed a job, leased an apartment, and even opened a savings account, all while living 400 miles away from my parents.</p> <p>Of course, feeling like I had achieved financial adulthood did not stop me from some immature money moves &mdash; like asking my parents for money when I couldn't pay my bills, carrying credit card debt, and neglecting to save for retirement. Just because I felt like a financial grownup did not mean I had actually become one.</p> <p>It can be hard to tell if you have reached financial maturity. But financial grownups all tend to do the following five things.</p> <h2>Understand that the time to save is now</h2> <p>We all fall into the trap of believing that it will be easier to save money tomorrow. By then, the credit card will be paid off, that raise will finally come, and it will be much easier to find money to funnel into savings or a retirement fund.</p> <p>It takes a certain level of maturity to recognize that the &quot;right time&quot; to save money will never come, and that you need to be putting money away <em>right now</em>. Waiting for a perfect moment to start saving is a good way to never save at all.</p> <p>You've reached financial adulthood if you make saving an important part of your monthly money management, without telling yourself you'll do it &quot;later.&quot;</p> <h2>Know how much money is coming in and going out each month</h2> <p>Budgeting tends to be a four-letter word among most Americans, which helps explain why only one in three Americans actually prepares a detailed household budget, according to a 2013 Gallup poll.</p> <p>But just because you don't have a formal budget doesn't mean you're not doing the necessary work. All any budget does is keep track of how much money you have coming in, and how much of (and where) your money is flowing out. Whether you maintain a color-coded spreadsheet tracking the progress of every penny, or you have found a productive way to manage your money <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required?ref=internal" target="_blank">without creating a formal budget</a>, you are doing the necessary work of budgeting as a financial grownup.</p> <p>Because no matter how you accomplish the tracking of your income and outflow, the important thing is knowing where you stand financially so you can live beneath your means &mdash; which is the entire point of crafting and adhering to a budget.</p> <h2>Know exactly how to pay for an emergency</h2> <p>Before you've reached financial adulthood, money emergencies feel overwhelming and nearly impossible to deal with. If you are lucky enough to have parents who can help out, you might make a withdrawal from the Bank of Mom and Dad to pay for your emergency. Otherwise, you might find yourself using credit to solve the problem, selling or pawning something to raise money, or even visiting a payday lender to get out of your financial pickle.</p> <p>An important part of being a financial grownup is recognizing that emergencies are an inevitable part of your financial life, and so is planning ahead for them. In most cases, that means you've set aside money in an emergency fund. However, there are other ways to prepare for an emergency &mdash; such as knowing exactly what you can trim from your budget, what items you could sell quickly to raise money, or what side hustles you could take on to raise funds.</p> <p>Even if you are not currently in a financial position to have a comfortable emergency fund, you can still prove your financial grownup bona fides by having an actionable and responsible plan in place for a financial emergency. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>Understand the difference between wants and needs</h2> <p>Distinguishing between something you truly need and something you merely want can be remarkably difficult. This is especially true when something you need (like transportation or clothing) could be nicer, more comfortable, newer than the most basic level. In that case, it's possible to convince yourself that you &quot;need&quot; the nicer version. For instance, the old beater car that will reliably get you to work may be all you actually need, but it's very easy to tell yourself that you &quot;need&quot; a nice car in order to do well in your career.</p> <p>The first step toward financial maturity is simply recognizing the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-vs-what-you-want-and-how-to-tell-the-difference?ref=internal" target="_blank">difference between wants and needs</a> and curbing the impulse to buy things just because you want them. True financial grownups are also able to determine when they are imposing their wants onto their needs. They will recognize that meeting their needs is not an opportunity to indulge their wants. They know that needing new professional clothes does not mean they &quot;need&quot; those clothes to follow the latest fashion trends.</p> <h2>Know the buck stops with you for financial decisions</h2> <p>It takes a level of money maturity to recognize when you need to consult with a financial professional. Understanding when you need advice from a pro &mdash; whether that's a financial planner, a mortgage broker, an accountant, or an insurance professional &mdash; is a big step in reaching financial maturity.</p> <p>But there is a further step that you must take to become a full financial grownup &mdash; keeping your own counsel.</p> <p>Asking for advice from a financial professional is a good idea, but blindly following that advice is not. To begin with, the professional's agenda may not be good for your bottom line. For instance, your mortgage broker may tell you that you can &quot;afford&quot; much more house than you plan on buying, because a bank's definition of affordable is the highest possible loan payments you could possibly pay, based on your income, assets, and debt, rather than the amount you can responsibly afford.</p> <p>In addition, no matter how good an expert may be, he or she does not have to live with your money decisions. You have the ultimate responsibility to understand and decide what is happening with your money, and embracing that responsibility is one of the hallmarks of financial maturity.</p> <h2>Welcome to adulthood!</h2> <p>Despite what we might have thought when we were kids, being a financial grownup is not about being able to order pizza for dinner every night and buying whatever you want. The true mark of financial adulthood is accepting that you will be the one dealing with the consequences of your money choices, and making the best choices for your own future financial stability.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Tell%2520You%2527ve%2520Become%2520a%2520Financial%2520Grownup.jpg&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Tell%2520You%2527ve%2520Become%2520a%2520Financial%2520Grownup.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Tell%20You've%20Become%20a%20Financial%20Grownup"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Tell%20You%27ve%20Become%20a%20Financial%20Grownup.jpg" alt="How to Tell You've Become a Financial Grownup" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-youve-become-a-financial-grownup">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency</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-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Where to Find Emergency Funds 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/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</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-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know">The Financial Basics Every New Grad Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting emergency funds financial advice grownup maturity money management saving money wants vs. needs Mon, 26 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1971131 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-599767404.jpg" alt="Woman learning to budget her money without a budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The basics of creating and maintaining a budget are deceptively simple: Determine how much of your money comes and goes each month. Easy peasy, right?</p> <p>Wrong. If you don't have the time, inclination, or skills necessary to keep careful track of your finances, the &quot;simple&quot; tasks that make up budgeting are anything but easy.</p> <p>But money management is a necessary part of financial health, whether or not you commit to creating and following a traditional budget. Thankfully, there are several options available to the budget-averse who need to get a handle on their finances. Here are three ways to manage your money &mdash; no budgeting required.</p> <h2>1. Have Your Paycheck Deposited Into Savings, Not Checking</h2> <p>Instead of having your entire paycheck deposited into your checking account, have it sent to savings. Once a month, transfer the amount you need for expenses and bills into your checking account. You'll automatically spend less than you earn and save money every month without having to draft up an actual budget.</p> <p>If you correctly calculated your monthly expenses, the money should last until the next transfer. If you are running short before the end of the month, you can decide to move more money from your savings account, or go on a financial fast (that is, make no purchases until the next month begins). If you find that you're constantly adding a second transfer near the end of the month to make ends meet, it's time to evaluate your expenses. Find the sweet spot that allows you to cover your expenses without dipping multiple times into your savings.</p> <h2>2. Follow the 50/20/30 Rule<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with her daughter Amelia Warren-Tyagi, introduced the 50/20/30 budgeting rule in their book <a href="http://amzn.to/2koYERZ" target="_blank">All Your Worth</a>. This proportional budget recommends that you divide your income into three buckets:</p> <ul> <li>50% should go toward essential expenditures like rent or mortgage, groceries, utilities, child care, and the like.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>20% of your income should go toward savings and/or financial goals, such as retirement savings, a down payment for a house, or your child's 529 college account.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>30% of your income should go toward your &quot;lifestyle&quot; expenses &mdash; i.e., the unnecessary purchases you make because you want them. These expenses include things like travel, entertainment, dining out, luxury items, etc.</li> </ul> <p>You can easily follow the 50/20/30 rule without having to specifically follow a budget. Create targeted accounts for each of your spending categories. When you receive your paycheck, have 20% of your income automatically transferred into a savings account or investment account, and have another 30% automatically transferred into a separate checking account. When you make a nonessential purchase, use the debit card associated with your 30% checking account, so that you can never be in the position where you've accidentally spent your rent money on a weekend to Vegas.</p> <p>Finally, the 50% that remains in your primary checking account should cover your essential spending &mdash; although it's always a good idea to maintain an emergency fund just in case. (The 20% transfer into a savings account can help you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund?ref=internal" target="_blank">create an emergency fund</a> in the first few months of adopting this system.)</p> <h2>3. Let an App Do the Work for You</h2> <p>If you know that thinking about money will always be the last item on your to-do list, then you are a good candidate for an automatic savings or budgeting app. These three apps allow you to productively ignore your money.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://digit.co/" target="_blank">Digit</a> is a free program that syncs with your accounts in order to analyze your cash flow. About twice a week, the program will determine an amount of money (between $5 and $50) that is safe to transfer out of your checking account and into an FDIC-insured Digit deposit account. This is a safe way to save money without ever having to think about it.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://www.levelmoney.com/">Level Money</a> syncs with your bank account, calculating how much money will be available in your account after accounting for upcoming bills, recent purchases, and the savings goals you have created in the app. With those calculations, Level then gives you an estimated amount that is safe for you to spend that day, that week, and that month. Like Digit, Level Money is free.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.getpennies.com" target="_blank">Pennies</a> is an iPhone app that requires a little more hands-on approach. If you don't mind some more direct involvement in your budgeting, this one is worth a try. Pennies asks you to set a budget amount for various types of spending, such as monthly fun money, weekly food spending, monthly transportation costs, etc. You will enter in the start date, the length of the budget term, and the amount available to spend, and you will need to enter each purchase you make into the app. Pennies then shows you how much money and time is left in each budget. Pennies costs $2.99 in the App Store, and has no other fees.</li> </ul> <h2>Money Management Doesn't Have to Hurt</h2> <p>Just because you've never held onto receipts or willingly opened an Excel spreadsheet does not mean you can't have a good handle on your money. Consistency is the key to good money management, so finding a system that works for you is the most important part of keeping track of your finances.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-savings-strategy-that-works-for-you">How to Find the Savings Strategy That Works For You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes">Stop Making These 7 Basic Budget Mistakes</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/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</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/heres-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you">Here&#039;s How a Spending Ban Can Help (and Hurt) You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting 50/20/30 rule apps expenses income money management not budgeting paycheck saving money tools Mon, 06 Feb 2017 11:00:10 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1885693 at http://www.wisebread.com Has Cash Become More Trouble Than It's Worth? http://www.wisebread.com/has-cash-become-more-trouble-than-its-worth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/has-cash-become-more-trouble-than-its-worth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cash_money_78583601.jpg" alt="Learning if cash has become more trouble than it&#039;s worth" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You probably know people who have already quit using cash. I do. They pay their bills electronically, and pay for items purchased at stores with debit cards (or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/prepaid-cards-about-to-get-safer-and-better">prepaid cards</a>, or credit cards, or any number of alternatives like Apple Pay or Google Wallet).</p> <p>Those people are making their choice based on what's best for them, but maybe society would be better off if people didn't have the choice. At least, that's what Kenneth Rogoff thinks. He's sure enough to have gone to the trouble of writing a book called <a href="http://amzn.to/2fyfK9H">The Curse of Cash</a> to lay out why he thinks so, and to suggest a path to a (nearly) cash-free society.</p> <p>Personally, I'm not convinced.</p> <h2>Rogoff's First Problem: Corrupt Transactions</h2> <p>That scale issue is what Rogoff wants to solve. Using $100 bills, you can fit $1 million in a briefcase. (You've no doubt seen the iconic aluminum Zero Halliburton case in movies. Its dimensions allow that much money, in new or used bills, to fit perfectly.) Drug lords, money launderers, human traffickers, gangsters, and corrupt businessmen can make and receive large payments in a form that's hard to detect and hard to track.</p> <p>Rogoff's idea is that getting rid of large bills will make illegal payments much harder. Your average corrupt government official, Rogoff figures, is going to be a little less interested in taking a bribe if he's going to need a dolly to cart off a steamer trunk full of $10 bills. And if he <em>does</em> take the bribe, it's going to be so cumbersome to move, store, and spend the money as to make it a lot easier to catch him.</p> <p>The idea that getting rid of large bills will reduce crime, and make criminals easier to catch, is not new. There were $500 and $1,000 bills in regular circulation in the U.S. until 1969, when President Nixon ordered them withdrawn for just that reason. There are still old bills in those denominations around, but they're mostly in the hands of collectors &mdash; and tend to sell for well over face value. They're still worth face value at a bank, but any that get deposited get sent to the Federal Reserve to be destroyed.</p> <p>(Note that with those pre-1970 large bills, we're talking big money. Adjusted for inflation, a briefcase full of $1,000 bills in 1969 would have been worth the equivalent of well over $65 million in 2016.)</p> <p>Rogoff isn't the only one thinking along these lines. Just a few months ago the European Central Bank announced their decision to get rid of their &euro;500 banknote, on the grounds that it &quot;could facilitate illicit activities.&quot;</p> <p>For most of the past ten years a briefcase full of &euro;500 bills would have been worth at least $6.5 million, although just at the moment it's only worth $5,520,350.</p> <p>Even after phasing out the &euro;500 banknote, Europe will still have a &euro;200 banknote, worth about $220, so the euro will still come out ahead in the &quot;biggest bribe in the smallest case&quot; competition. (Although behind the $1,000 Singapore banknote, worth over $700, and the 1,000 Swiss franc note, worth over $1,000.)</p> <p>Rogoff's plan would see the elimination of both the $100 and the $50 bills, followed eventually by the elimination of the $20. (Still later, he'd like to see the $5 and $10 replaced with coins hefty enough to be very unhandy for anyone carrying around more than $60 or so the average person has in his wallet right now.) These changes would make high-dollar cash payments almost impossible.</p> <p>To enable all this, he'd like to see a few changes, the biggest of which would be the creation of subsidized bank accounts and debit cards that would be free to poor people. (The government has been moving in this direction for a while, with things like the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-direct-deposit-safe-for-the-garnished">Direct Express card</a>. It's only good for receiving payments of federal benefits at the moment, but it &mdash; or the now common prepaid cards &mdash; could work for this purpose with modest tweaks.)</p> <h2>Rogoff's Second Problem: Negative Interest Rates</h2> <p>Rogoff's second reason for getting rid of cash has to do with the way the Federal Reserve operates.</p> <p>The Federal Reserve adjusts interest rates with the goal of keeping prices stable while maximizing employment. They have some rules of thumb to guide them as to what the appropriate interest rate should be. Sometimes &mdash; such as the whole past seven or eight years &mdash; those rules of thumb have suggested that rates should be negative.</p> <p>Negative rates are hard to make stick as long as cash exists. If your bank account would pay a negative interest rate &mdash; in other words, charge you a fee to hold your money &mdash; obviously you're just going to withdraw your money and hold it as cash.</p> <p>Despite that issue, several central banks are experimenting with negative interest rates. So far, it's been working okay. If interest rates are only slightly negative, it's not worth it to go to the hassle of handling the cash, finding secure storage, insuring it, and so on. But what if the rules of thumb say that interest rates should be very negative? It would be worth it to rent a big vault and hire a bunch of armed guards, if the alternative was to pay several percent negative interest on $1 billion.</p> <p>If there were no high-denomination bank notes &mdash; nothing bigger than a $20 &mdash; then pulling your money out of the bank and stashing cash in a vault simply wouldn't be an option. You'd be stuck taking whatever negative rate the central bank decided was appropriate.</p> <p>Rogoff, who spent a good chunk of his career working at the Federal Reserve, thinks that would be great.</p> <h2>Going Cash-Free &mdash; Or Not</h2> <p>Rogoff's book deals pretty well with the practical issues of switching over, although he punts on a few. In particular, he figures that the infrastructure to make person-to-person payments with immediate settlement &mdash; the electronic equivalent to handing someone a $20 bill &mdash; will be created soon enough.</p> <h3>Cash Is Good at What It Does</h3> <p>However, the fact remains that there are plenty of problems cash solves very well. If you want to sell something that I want to buy, and if I have cash on hand to pay for it, we can execute the transaction without any third-party support. We don't need cards or a machine to read them. We don't need power or an Internet connection. We don't need a financial institution. We don't need a procedure to handle failures of any of those things.</p> <p>Large denomination bank notes are quite handy for transactions modestly bigger than what we usually carry in our wallets. My wife and I have twice sold an old car, each time for a few hundred dollars. One buyer showed up with a few $100 bills, which I was able to quickly verify and easily count. The other buyer showed up with a few dozen $20 bills, which made completing the transaction much more of a production. (Just counting a few hundred dollars in $20s is a non-trivial undertaking for people without much experience doing so, let alone verifying that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-counterfeit-money">they're not counterfeit</a>.)</p> <p>Most of the other details, where cash seems more convenient than some cash-free alternative, are effectively dealt with in Rogoff's book. It's full of points to flesh out his proposal, even if he fails to acknowledge some of my personal issues, such as the value of bank notes as works of art, and their value as archetypal objects of yearning.</p> <p>Leaving those trivial issues aside, there's still one big issue that keeps me from being on board with his proposal, which is that it traps everyone in a banking system controlled by the government &mdash; a government that is very likely to use the same tools they use currently (such as freezing bank accounts) in ways that will turn out to be vastly more coercive than they are now.</p> <h3>Cash Keeps You Free</h3> <p>Currently, if the government freezes your bank accounts, you lose the use of most of your money. The government isn't supposed to do this in a punitive fashion &mdash; it's just to make sure you don't abscond with the money before things get sorted out. But of course it is terribly punitive, and you're probably going to try pretty hard to sort things out with the government as quickly as possible.</p> <p>Think how much worse things would be if it weren't just your savings that were frozen, but also your ability to make transactions. Right now if your accounts are frozen, you at least have the theoretical option of putting your finances on a cash basis. If there were no cash, you could literally find yourself starving in the dark because you couldn't buy groceries or pay your power bill.</p> <p>Rogoff, I suspect, would wave that problem away as something that could be easily fixed administratively: There would be rules that would keep the government from freezing your bank accounts so severely as that, along the lines of the rules that already exist for garnishing your wages &mdash; transactions under certain amounts or for certain purposes would be allowed.</p> <p>For me though, that's putting a huge amount of faith to put in those rules and the people overseeing them. After all, fundamental rights have been (and are still being) seriously infringed on the grounds that certain people were &quot;suspected terrorists.&quot; Since access to a transaction account isn't currently viewed as a fundamental right, the threshold for limiting such access would be much more easily crossed. Who would object to freezing the accounts of suspected drug lords and suspected human traffickers? But why would it end there? Surely suspected tax cheats are bad people, and suspected deadbeat dads as well. What about people suspected of being behind on their student loans? (The government can seize most of your money for almost any debt you owe the government, but money from Social Security is safe &mdash; unless you're behind on your student loans.)</p> <p>Knowing I have the option to put my finances on a cash basis is a source of considerable comfort to me.</p> <p>Yes, the circumstances that mean I can put my finances on a cash basis if I need to also mean that criminals can put their finances on a cash basis. I'm willing to accept that, even if Rogoff isn't.</p> <p>I like the fact that cash money just works, without depending on any infrastructure. It's one reason I've long suggested that you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carry-some-cash">carry some cash</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/has-cash-become-more-trouble-than-its-worth">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/sensible-ways-to-raise-cash-for-a-wedding">Sensible Ways to Raise Cash for a Wedding</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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-tricks-to-master-for-a-happier-life">Financial Tricks to Master for a Happier Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-frugal-balance-staying-away-from-financial-extremes">The Frugal Balance: Staying Away from Financial Extremes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle cash cash is king corruption interest rates kenneth rogoff money management transactions Fri, 11 Nov 2016 10:30:27 +0000 Philip Brewer 1830889 at http://www.wisebread.com The One Personal Finance Skill You Must Master Before All the Others http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others" 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_working_102244905.jpg" alt="Woman mastering personal finance skill before all others" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently, I detailed <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 personal finance skills to master</a> to improve your happiness and quality of life.</p> <p>Mastering this set of skills will put you on the road to financial independence, but it's hard to master 12 things all at once. If you are looking to get your finances on track quickly, what is the first personal finance skill you should master?</p> <p>Start with budgeting.</p> <h2>What a Budget Can Do for You</h2> <p>A detailed budget holds the answer to one of the most important questions about your personal finances: &quot;Where is all the money going?&quot; When you understand where your money is going, you can find opportunities to better utilize your money to meet your goals instead of letting it slip away on things that are not important to you.</p> <p>And a budget can be a great motivational tool. For example, if you learn from your budget that you are coming up $100 short each month, you can be motivated to solve the problem. Having a specific goal and measurement of progress toward the goal helps you take effective action. Without a budget, you may have a general feeling that you don't have enough money, but this can be hard to turn into tangible results.</p> <p>&quot;Can I afford this?&quot; is another question that a budget will answer. With detailed knowledge of how much money is coming in and how much you need to cover bills and expenses, your budget will show whether you can handle taking on a new expense.</p> <p>Looking at the bigger picture, your budget tells you if you are heading in the right direction, or if your financial situation is a sinking ship and you need to make some changes. Without a budget, it may not be clear whether you are moving up, down, or sideways. But most people don't have a budget...</p> <h2>Why Most People Don't Budget</h2> <p>Clearly there are significant benefits from having a detailed budget, but Gallup's annual Economy and Personal Finance survey shows that only 32% of American households have a <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/162872/one-three-americans-prepare-detailed-household-budget.aspx">written or computerized budget</a> for monthly expenses. If having a budget is so useful, why do so few people actually do it?</p> <ul> <li>Some people have no idea how to prepare a budget.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It takes too much work to quantify expenses and keep the budget up-to-date.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Some people are afraid to know much they are spending. They don't want to change their spending habits, so they avoid facing the numbers.</li> </ul> <p>All of these reasons contributed to me not having a budget for years. I had plenty of other tasks on my list of things to do, and putting together a budget never made its way to the top of my list. Plus, I liked buying whatever I felt like buying and didn't want a budget to get in the way of being able to spend money however I wanted.</p> <p>I finally realized that I didn't really know where my money was going, and this was preventing me from reaching financial independence. Preparing a budget was my first effective step to getting my finances on track.</p> <h2>How to Start an Effective Budget Today</h2> <p>Getting started budgeting is easier than you think &mdash; the hardest part is deciding to do it.</p> <h3>Step 1. Where Is All Your Money Going?</h3> <p>The first step in budgeting effectively is to assess your current cash flow situation, figuring out exactly how much income you have and breaking down your spending by cost category. This may seem like a lot of work, but this will give you insight into where all of your money is really going. You may be shocked. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool?ref=seealso">Start Saving More With a Spending Book</a>)</p> <p>First, total up all of your income during the month. Look at your pay stubs, or check your direct deposits from your bank account statement.</p> <p>Then, figure out your expenses. You will need to keep track of the cash that you spend as well as bill payments from your checking account and spending with credit cards. When I started my budget, I used colored highlighters to mark credit card statements and bank statements to sort the spending into categories such as food, clothing, pets, entertainment, transportation, housing, utilities, etc. I put these numbers into a spreadsheet along with my income, and I had my first budget. Or, you can try budgeting tools like <a href="https://www.mint.com/">Mint</a> or <a href="https://www.youneedabudget.com/">You Need a Budget</a>.</p> <h3>Step 2. Where Do You Want Your Money to Go?</h3> <p>After you know the good, the bad, and the ugly about where all your money is going, you might want to make some adjustments. I found that overall spending was too high, especially spending on food, car payments, and fuel.</p> <p>We started using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">money envelope</a> to pay for all food to help control this expense category. On payday, I put cash for food in an envelope. When the envelope is empty, we know we have spent all we have available, so we wait for the next envelope to spend more on food. We also sold our most expensive vehicle and replaced it with a less expensive one that uses less gas, saving hundreds of dollars each month. Without a budget, I would not have been motivated to make these changes and get my finances on a better track. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-better-budget-in-5-minutes-flat?ref=seealso">Build a Better Budget in 5 Minutes Flat</a>)</p> <p>For your budget to be effective, you need to monitor expenses and make updates to your budget as they change each month. In other words, making a budget is not a one-time exercise. Keep track of the budgeted amount for expense categories and how much you are actually spending every month. As you understand your spending and work to control your expenses, you will be able to create budget items such as &quot;emergency fund&quot; and &quot;retirement fund&quot; and consistently have money to fund your future.</p> <p>Wherever your life takes you on the road to personal finance mastery, it won't take you there if you don't master this skill first.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</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/37-savings-changes-you-can-make-today">37 Savings Changes You Can Make Today</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/financial-iq-test-how-healthy-is-your-budget">FINANCIAL IQ TEST: How Healthy Is Your Budget?</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-ways-to-automate-your-finances">5 Ways to Automate Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting cash flow expenses financial independence mint money management skills Wed, 02 Nov 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1825228 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio http://www.wisebread.com/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/growing_money_trees_84090749.jpg" alt="Finding essentials for building profitable portfolio" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many people, investing is the most complicated and intimidating aspect of managing money. But it doesn't have to be. Here are some of the essentials for building a successful investment portfolio.</p> <h2>1. Know What You're Investing For</h2> <p>Investing is best done with a purpose in mind. Investing for a child's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-you-start-saving-for-your-child-s-education">future college costs</a> is not the same as investing for your retirement. You would use different investment vehicles &mdash; a 529-plan account or Coverdell Education Savings Account for college, and an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/401k-or-ira-you-need-both">IRA or 401K</a> for retirement.</p> <h2>2. Know Your Time Frame</h2> <p>Investing is for goals you want to accomplish in five or more years. Anything shorter than that and you can't afford to take much, if any, risk, so you would be best served by a savings account.</p> <p>Still, a &quot;five or more years&quot; time horizon contains a wide range of options. Someone planning to retire in 10 years should invest quite differently than someone planning to retire in 30 years. The first person can't afford to take as much risk as the second person. By the same token, the second person can't afford the risk of playing it too safe.</p> <h2>3. Know Your Temperament</h2> <p>This has to do with how well you sleep at night when the stock market is in free fall. Vanguard has a decent <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/FundsInvQuestionnaire">free assessment</a> that combines your investment time frame with your temperament to suggest an optimal asset allocation &mdash; that is, what percentage of your portfolio you should allocate to stocks and what percentage to bonds (or stock, or bond-based mutual funds).</p> <h2>4. Know How to Choose Specific Investments</h2> <p>If investing is the most complicated and intimidating aspect of managing money, choosing specific investments is the most complicated and intimidating aspect of investing. Very few people have the wherewithal to do this on their own. It's helpful to acknowledge that. As Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry character noted, &quot;A man's got to know his limitations.&quot; Of course, the same is true for women!</p> <p>There's just too much to know. There are thousands of different investments to choose from. And it can be crazy confusing (and dangerous) to make these decisions based on the all-too-common articles about &quot;Last Year's Best-Performing Mutual Funds&quot; or &quot;Where to Invest to Take Advantage of Advances in Wind Power.&quot;</p> <p>The crucial decision you need to make is not so much about which investments to choose; it's about which investment process to use. Here are three options.</p> <h3>Go With a Target-Date Fund</h3> <p>The simplicity of such funds has made them tremendously popular. Most of the big mutual fund companies offer them. You just choose the fund with the year closest to the year of your intended retirement as part of its name (Fidelity Freedom 2050, for example). The fund is designed with what the fund company believes is the ideal asset allocation for someone with that retirement date in mind, and it even changes the allocation as you get closer to that target date, becoming increasingly conservative. It's a very simple process, but <a href="https://www.soundmindinvesting.com/articles/view/target-date-funds-the-devils-in-the-details">all target-date funds are not alike</a>. So, be informed.</p> <h3>Go With an Investment Adviser</h3> <p>He or she will get to know you and your goals and then tailor an investment strategy to you. Along the way, you will typically pay 1% of the amount of money you have the adviser manage for you each year. Also, advisers usually won't work with anyone with less than $100,000 to manage. If you go this route, ask friends for referrals and opt for a fee-based adviser (as opposed to one compensated by commissions) who works as a &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser">fiduciary</a>.&quot;</p> <h3>Go With an Investment Newsletter</h3> <p>Whereas an investment adviser works with clients one-on-one, an <a href="https://www.soundmindinvesting.com/articles/view/what-investing-newsletters-do-that-financial-magazines-dont">investment newsletter</a> works with investors on a one-on-several thousand (or however many subscribers they have) basis. There are hundreds of investment newsletters, each with their own investment strategies. Subscribers gain access to the strategies along with the specific investment recommendations needed in order to implement the strategies. Subscription costs range from less than $200 per year to over $1,000 per year.</p> <h2>5. Know Some Market History</h2> <p>One of the biggest threats to your success as an investor can be seen in the mirror. When the market falls, it's easy to give in to fear and sell. When the market is booming, it's easy to give in to greed, and invest too aggressively.</p> <p>Far better to understand that the market cycles between bull markets and bear markets (growing markets and declining markets). Even within a specific year, there will be ups and downs.</p> <p>That's why it's so important to have a trusted investment selection process. With a good process in place, you should have some sense as to how your portfolio is likely to perform under a variety of market situations and you should be content to stay with it in good times and bad.</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/5-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-loss-aversion-is-costing-you-more-than-your-fomo">Your Loss Aversion Is Costing You More Than Your FOMO</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-types-of-investors-which-one-are-you">8 Types of Investors — Which One Are 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-too-much-investment-diversity-can-cost-you">How Too Much Investment Diversity Can Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment advice college fund financial advisers money management portfolio retirement risk stock market target date funds Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Matt Bell 1820715 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's Why Multitasking and Money Don't Mix http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-multitasking-and-money-dont-mix <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-why-multitasking-and-money-dont-mix" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_work_86169855.jpg" alt="Woman learning why multitasking and money don&#039;t mix" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Think you're good at multitasking? You're not.</p> <p>Plenty of research has shown that multitasking simply doesn't work. Our brains can't focus on more than one thing at a time. We might tell ourselves that this isn't true, that we can concentrate on several tasks at once. The truth, though, is that we're fooling ourselves.</p> <p>Multitasking is especially dangerous when it comes to managing our money. You might think that you can juggle several financial tasks at once, everything from building an emergency fund to paying off your credit card debt to saving for the down payment on your first home.</p> <p>But just as your brain can't juggle multiple tasks at once, neither can most people's finances.</p> <p>Here are three reasons why you should never multitask when it comes to managing your money.</p> <h2>It Doesn't Work</h2> <p>In 2014, Psychology Today ran a fascinating feature story about multitasking. The story pointed out that the human brain can't take on simultaneous tasks. We might think we can hold a conversation on our smartphones, surf the Web on our laptop, and text another friend on our tablet at the same time. But we can't, at least not effectively.</p> <p>According to the Psychology Today story, when we multitask, our brain just switches from task to task more quickly, employing a sort of stop/start process. This makes us sloppy, meaning that we make more mistakes. It can also sap our mental energy over time.</p> <p>So what happens when we try to multitask with our finances? We try to pay off debt at the same time we try to build an emergency fund? We get sloppy and we make mistakes. We forget to pay our credit card bill and incur a late fee, or we go months without making a payment into our emergency fund.</p> <p>The better approach? Ditch the multitasking and take on one financial job at a time.</p> <h2>We Don't Get Anything Done</h2> <p>You might think multitasking means you are being more efficient. Actually, it's the opposite. When we take on several tasks at once &mdash; say writing a report at work, answering email messages from colleagues, and trying to schedule dentist appointments for our kids &mdash; we tend to get none of these jobs done in a timely manner.</p> <p>The better approach is to again move away from multitasking and attack these jobs one at a time until we finish each of them.</p> <p>When it comes to managing finances, completing one task at a time again pays dividends. Most financial experts recommend that you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">pay off high interest rate credit card debt</a> first by sending extra money at these bills until you eliminate them. It's hard to do this if you're diverting some funds to building an emergency fund at the same time.&nbsp;</p> <p>Money experts recommend creating a plan that starts with eliminating credit card debt, then moves on to building an emergency fund with at least six months' worth of living expenses in it. Once you complete these two tasks, you can then start saving for retirement or for a down payment on a new home.</p> <h2>We Get Depressed</h2> <p>Multitasking is exhausting. If you're constantly juggling three or four tasks at once, it's difficult to focus on any one thing. It's also difficult to take a breather to enjoy life. The constant stress that goes along with multitasking can make you depressed.</p> <p>The same holds true when we multitask money matters. If you are constantly alternating between paying down your credit card debt, saving for retirement, and investing in the stock market, you'll feel like you're not doing a good job at any of these tasks. As your credit card debt continues to grow and your retirement savings don't, it'll be easy to fall into a funk.</p> <p>But if you take on one of these financial tasks at a time? You'll feel a sense of accomplishment when you are able to check off your goals one by one.</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/heres-why-multitasking-and-money-dont-mix">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/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-self-storage-units-are-more-sad-museums-than-savvy-solutions">5 Ways Self Storage Units Are More Sad Museums Than Savvy Solutions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-sluggish-workday-go-a-lot-faster">How to Make Your Sluggish Workday Go (a Lot) Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work">The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-financial-upgrades-you-can-make-during-breakfast">6 Simple Financial Upgrades You Can Make During Breakfast</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization attention span depressed distractions Mistakes money management multitasking psychology Mon, 17 Oct 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Dan Rafter 1813253 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Money Lessons We Can Learn From J.K. Rowling http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-jk-rowling <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-jk-rowling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wizards_magic_wands_62514930.jpg" alt="Learning money lessons from JK Rowling" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While divorced and living on government assistance in a tiny apartment with her infant child, J.K. Rowling wrote the first book in the world-famous <em>Harry Potter</em> series. The rest is history: Rowling became the first female billionaire novelist creating a brand worth an estimated $15 billion.</p> <p>Even though she released the last Harry Potter book back in 2007, she still makes a cool $14 million per year through her proprietary website Pottermore and her other books. When it comes to becoming successful, she is living proof that perseverance and hard work can be just as effective as any spell from the Elder Wand. Here are the four money lessons we could all learn from author J.K. Rowling.</p> <h2>1. Be Prepared for the Worst</h2> <p>Rowling is so talented that her first three Harry Potter books occupied the top spots on numerous best-seller lists in the U.S. and the U.K. With each new book in the series, she went on to set new records in sales. When she published the seventh and final book the Harry Potter series, she set the record for the fastest selling book in the U.K. and U.S. and sales, accumulating more than 375 million book sales around the globe.</p> <p>However, Rowling hasn't taken any of her success for granted. &quot;Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the fates,&quot; she warned the <a href="http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2008/06/text-of-j-k-rowling-speech/">Harvard Class of 2008</a> when she received her honorary degree at that institution. By citing her short-lived marriage, jobless situation, single-parent status, and dependency on welfare, she stated that some failure in life is inevitable and impossible to avoid. The trick is to have the humility to plan ahead and set yourself up to be able to survive the vicissitudes of life.</p> <p><strong>Money Lesson:</strong> Nobody is invincible, life happens. Sometimes your carburetor goes bust or your kid decides to test the water resistance of your laptop. Don't become part of the 67% to 75% of U.S. households that <a href="http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2016/05/28/a-staggering-number-of-us-households-cant-cover-a.aspx">can't cover a $1,000 emergency expense</a>; build an emergency fund that can help during a cash crunch. Also, if you're the sole or main breadwinner of your household, invest in life insurance to prevent a financial crisis for your dependents in case you're no longer in the picture. Realize that today is the cheapest that your life insurance will ever be.</p> <h2>2. Pay With Cash More Often</h2> <p>Being completely skint left a heavy mark on Rowling. In an <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/nov/28/conversation-lauren-laverne-jk-rowling-interview">2015 interview</a> she confessed, &quot;I hate not having cash on me, and that's definitely a connection to having been on benefits and, you know, just watching my cash dwindle through the week and praying it will last.&quot;</p> <p>The empirical evidence suggests that Rowling is doing the smart thing by sticking to cold hard cash as often as possible to make her purchases:</p> <ul> <li>Credit card users spend 12% to 18% more than those using cash;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Diners at McDonald's using plastic spend an average of $7 while those using cash spend an average $4.50;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>States with highway tolls realize that they can get away with charging more to credit card users than cash users; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Credit card users were willing to pay more than twice as much on average as cash users for basketball tickets in a study.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Money Lesson:</strong> While a credit card can help you build your credit score, cash can help you to stick to your budget and hold you back from spending more than you have to. Start paying with cash more often. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-6-reasons-why-using-cash-only-rocks?ref=seealso">Top 6 Reasons Why Using Cash-Only Rocks</a>)</p> <h2>3. Seek Professional Advice</h2> <p>In a world of memorable characters, Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore is sure to stand out. Whether it's due to being the founder of the Order of the Phoenix or having a fondness for sherbet lemon and knitting patterns, Dumbledore just can't be ignored. In <a href="http://amzn.to/2dPCGBZ">Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone</a>, he explains to Harry, &quot;Humans do have a knack for choosing precisely the things that are worst for them.&quot;</p> <p>From the many bad choices that Fred and George make throughout the entire series, you can clearly see that both muggles and wizards have a tendency to make poor decisions, particularly when it comes to making money. Remember the bet with Ludo Bagman? Throughout the Potter series, Rowling clearly suggests the importance of seeking out others for advice and help. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-personal-finance-lessons-from-harry-potter?ref=seealso">21 Personal Finance Lessons From Harry Potter</a>)</p> <p><strong>Money Lesson:</strong> From executing an estate to pulling out a tree from your backyard, there are many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-you-should-splurge-and-hire-a-pro">times you should splurge and hire a pro</a>. Hiring a professional doesn't just help you minimize the potential to cause physical or financial damage, but also prevents you from making bad decisions due to a lack of information. When it comes to finances, you'll often find it's a good idea to seek out the help of a financial adviser as your unique financial situation becomes more complex due to many instances, including a large inheritance, closeness to retirement age, or setup of a trust with relatives. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser?ref=seealso">Who to Hire: A Financial Planner or a Financial Adviser?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Save for Retirement</h2> <p>In the same 2015 interview, Rowling shared the following anecdote:</p> <p>&quot;I met a man a couple of years ago who had grown up with a huge amount of money. And he said to me in passing, 'You know, money is not the most important thing.' Which is both true, and profoundly ignorant. Because when you have no money, it is absolutely the most important thing. Only someone who has never had to worry can make a statement like that.&quot;</p> <p>This is a strong call as to why you need to start saving for retirement or strengthen your nest egg even more. In 2016, 26% of U.S. workers have <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_422.Mar16.RCS.pdf">less than $1,000</a> saved for retirement. This trend is particularly troubling among Millennials: 40% of Millennials say they <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2016-05-27/who-needs-a-retirement-plan-apparently-not-millennials">don't have a retirement income strategy</a> in place and 57% of them report they haven't even begun saving yet. As Rowling indicates, money isn't everything &mdash; but it'll surely become the most important thing when you don't have enough during your retirement years.</p> <p><strong>Money Lesson:</strong> In 2016 and 2017, you can contribute each year up to $18,000 ($24,000 if age 50 and over) to your 401K and up to $5,500 ($6,500 if age 50 and over) to your IRA. Make your very best effort to take advantage of those high limits by increasing your monthly contributions, taking advantage of windfalls, and maximizing employer matches. Remember that contributing to retirement accounts effectively reduces your tax liability every year and defers applicable income taxes until retirement when you're more likely to be in a lower tax bracket. It's never too late to start saving for retirement, and it ain't over till it's over! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-jk-rowling">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-new-podcasts-thatll-improve-your-money-mindset">10 New Podcasts That&#039;ll Improve Your Money Mindset</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-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know">The Financial Basics Every New Grad Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-fantasy-football-teaches-us-about-personal-finance">What Fantasy Football Teaches Us About Personal Finance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson">6 Money Lessons We Could All Learn From Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-money-management-tips-from-john-oliver">7 Best Money Management Tips From John Oliver</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Entertainment advice harry potter jk rowling lessons money management rags to riches retirement success stories Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1811797 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Simple Financial Upgrades You Can Make During Breakfast http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-financial-upgrades-you-can-make-during-breakfast <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-simple-financial-upgrades-you-can-make-during-breakfast" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_coffee_tablet_55252582.jpg" alt="Woman making simple financial upgrades during breakfast" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the biggest misconceptions about money management is the idea that it needs to be time-consuming. But many of the financial moves that help you keep a healthy budget take less time than the average coffee break.</p> <p>Over the next six days, take care of one of the following <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-people-who-hate-math" target="_blank">money management chores</a> while you&rsquo;re enjoying your morning latte. While you&rsquo;re eating breakfast each day, you can improve your financial well-being without spending more than 10 minutes at a time:</p> <h2>1. Set Up an Automatic Transfer to Savings</h2> <p>Everyone knows that they should have an emergency fund, but finding money to set aside at the end of every month is so tough. This is why so many personal finance experts recommend creating an automatic transfer from checking to savings on payday. If you save your money before you have a chance to spend it, then it will actually be there for you in an emergency.</p> <p>While you are eating your morning Wheaties, log onto your bank&rsquo;s website and set up your automatic recurring transfer online. Even if all you can afford to spare is $20 per paycheck, those recurring transfers will add up. In a few months, you can log back on to increase your savings.</p> <h2>2. Kill Your Zombie Charges</h2> <p>Zombie charges are the fancifully-named recurring subscription charges that you no longer want. There is absolutely no reason to keep sending money to Spotify or your gym if you never use those services.</p> <p>Identifying your zombie charges can be easier than eliminating them (just like real zombies!), but you can take time over breakfast to review your credit card and bank account to find recurring charges for services you no longer use. In some cases, canceling the service is quick and easy, and can be done before you clear the breakfast dishes. For anything that requires more than a visit to a website to cancel, set yourself a Google calendar alert to take care of the cancellation sometime in the next few days.</p> <h2>3. Check Your Credit Report</h2> <p>You are legally allowed free access to a credit report from each of the major credit reporting agencies &mdash; TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax &mdash; once a year. Log onto annualcreditreport.com to access your credit information. Getting your report will take just a few moments &mdash; you just need to fill out one form to request up to three credit reports (one from each agency), pick which agency&rsquo;s report you want to check out, and verify your identity to receive your credit report.</p> <p>You can print out your reports while polishing off your toast, but you might need to take a little time to go over the reports in detail to make sure there are no errors.</p> <h2>4. Set Up Reminders for Upcoming Bills</h2> <p>Whether you are still paying bills the old-fashioned way with paper checks or you pay all your bills online, due dates can have a way of sneaking up on you. While you&rsquo;re waiting for the coffee to brew, take a few moments to look up the due dates of bills over the next several months and set up Google calendar alerts to remind you when they are coming.</p> <p>Even if you have completely automated your bill-paying, it can be a great idea to set up bill reminders so you take the time to look over your monthly bills and make sure you have enough money in your account to cover them all.</p> <h2>5. Adjust Your Withholding</h2> <p>The average American receives a tax refund of over $3,000 every year, which amounts to an interest-free loan to Uncle Sam. You can do more with that money if you adjust your withholding so that you keep more of your money in each paycheck.</p> <p>To do this, first use the <a href="https://apps.irs.gov/app/withholdingcalculator/">IRS withholding calculator</a> to determine how many withholding allowances you may take. Remember that the withholding allowances you claim do not determine your tax bill, only how much you pay in taxes per paycheck, so your answers on the calculator can be approximate.</p> <p>Once you have figured out your allowances, request and fill out a W-4 form from your employer&rsquo;s HR department.</p> <p>Granted, this particular money move cannot be completed over breakfast at home, but you can certainly enjoy a conference room bagel in the time it takes you to recalculate your withholding and email HR to request a new W-4 form.</p> <h2>6. Change Your Financial Passwords</h2> <p>It seems as if a major corporation is hacked once every couple of months, which means customer information is vulnerable. You can protect yourself by changing up your passwords on your bank and other financial websites every six months.</p> <p>An easy way to do this without making yourself crazy is to start with a sentence that means something to you:</p> <p>I am waiting for the reincarnation of Elvis.</p> <p>Then substitute letters, numbers, and symbols for each of the words:</p> <p>I@w4troE</p> <p>With that as your base password, you could tailor it to each site so that you can still remember your passwords but each site&rsquo;s password is slightly different. For instance, you might add letters and numbers that represent the site to the end of your base password. For Capital One 360, your password would become:</p> <p>I@w4troECO360</p> <p>Just jot down the original sentence somewhere you can find it. It will remind you of your password, and mean nothing to anyone else.</p> <h2>Breakfast, With a Side of Money Management</h2> <p>Taking care of your money does not have to take you all day. These six money moves can be accomplished over breakfast and will start your day off right.</p> <p><em>What do you do while waiting for the coffee to brew?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-financial-upgrades-you-can-make-during-breakfast">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/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make">7 Money Moves Every New College Student Should Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-organize-your-paperwork-in-just-10-minutes-a-week">How to Organize Your Paperwork in Just 10 Minutes a Week</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-you-can-make-while-stuck-in-an-endless-tsa-line">6 Money Moves You Can Make While Stuck in an Endless TSA Line</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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Organization automatic payments bills breakfast money management money moves passwords recurring charges taxes w-4 withholdings Wed, 07 Sep 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1785402 at http://www.wisebread.com Easy Budgeting for People Who Hate Math http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-people-who-hate-math <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/easy-budgeting-for-people-who-hate-math" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_budgeting_math_98602015.jpg" alt="Woman doing easy budgeting for people who hate math" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many people, budgeting is challenging not because of its tediousness, but because of the math. Numbers make them cringe. If that's you, here's how to get past your dislike of digits and get in the budgeting game.</p> <h2>Make Peace With the Process</h2> <p>Budgets get a bad rap. People who don't use one tend to hate the very idea of a budget. It sounds so constraining. It feels like so much work.</p> <p>But people who use a budget say it's actually freeing. There's peace of mind that comes from knowing where their money's going. That knowledge gives them the power to make proactive decisions about how to best use their money.</p> <p>That perspective can be really powerful. While this article will minimize the math involved in using a budget, some will be required. What'll take the edge off is accepting, at least on faith, that using a budget will be beneficial to you.</p> <h2>Get the Math Part Over With as Quickly as Possible</h2> <p>Planning is the first of three essential steps involved in using a budget. That means deciding how much you're going to divvy up your dough &mdash; how much to save, invest, and spend on everything from gifts to groceries.</p> <p>This is usually the most math-heavy part of the process. But there are plenty of guides available, including the free downloadable <a href="http://www.mattaboutmoney.com/resources/">Recommended Cash Flow Guidelines</a> I created, which shows how much you could allocate to the most common categories based on household size and income.</p> <p>Download the Excel version of the Cash Flow Plan as well and enter the recommended amounts from the Cash Flow Guidelines as a starting point. Then customize your cash flow plan based on your priorities. You may value vacations more highly than buying new clothing, so adjust accordingly, making sure that in the bottom right corner, outgo equals income.</p> <p>At very least, the guidelines will help you avoid having to start from scratch, crunching lots of numbers to figure out how much to allocate to this or that.</p> <h2>Choose the Tracking Tool That Works for You</h2> <p>The second of the three essential steps involved in using a budget is tracking where your money is actually going. This can be tedious, and is often where first-time budgeters bail. Keep in mind, this is not a one-size-fits-all process. There are a variety of tools you could use. The best is the one you <em>actually will use</em>.</p> <p>Among the many options available, two are especially well-suited to those who don't like math. First, there's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">the envelope system</a>. With this approach, you'll write checks or use electronic bill-pay for expenses such as your mortgage or rent, utilities, and insurance. For discretionary expenses, where spending can vary and you have to be more intentional about managing your spending, you'll use envelopes &mdash; one for each category such as groceries, entertainment, and clothing.</p> <p>If you get paid once a month and your monthly clothing budget is $100, you'll put $100 cash in an envelope marked &quot;clothing.&quot; You'll take the envelope with you when you go clothes shopping, make your purchase with money from the envelope, and put any change back in the envelope. If you're paid twice a month, you'll put $50 in the &quot;clothing&quot; envelope each time you're paid.</p> <p>The envelope system requires very little math. At a glance, you can see how much money you have left to spend until the next payday.</p> <p>Second, there are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-free-or-almost-tools-and-resources-for-creating-a-new-2015-budget?ref=internal">online budgeting tools</a>. The beauty of online tools, such as Mint.com, is that they do much of the math for you. Your job is to enter your budgeted amounts for each category and then link your checking and credit card accounts. Your online tool of choice will then automatically capture your spending (you only need to manually enter cash transactions) and show you how your spending in each category compares with your budgeted amounts. With just a few quick clicks, you can see how you're doing this month, this year, or other time frames, and the information is available to you anywhere you can get online.</p> <h2>Review, Revise, and Repeat</h2> <p>The third of the three essential steps involved in using a budget is reviewing how you're doing. If your groceries envelope became empty two-thirds of the way through the month, or if the groceries category in your online budget tool showed the same, you either need to allocate more for groceries or get more proactive about how well you're stretching your grocery budget.</p> <p>Getting the allocations right may take a few months, but it doesn't require much math. You just need to shift dollars from categories where you have money left over each month to those where you need more.</p> <p>Don't let your dislike of math hold you back from using one of the most powerful tools available for wise money management &mdash; a budget. The envelope system is a simple way to proactively plan and manage your spending with no number crunching required. Online tools bring a lot of sophistication to the process, while doing most of the math-related heavy lifting for you.</p> <p><em>How do you budget?</em></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/easy-budgeting-for-people-who-hate-math">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/money-management-in-5-minutes-a-day">Money Management in 5 Minutes a Day</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-one-personal-finance-skill-you-must-master-before-all-the-others">The One Personal Finance Skill You Must Master Before All the Others</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/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting bad at math crunching numbers Envelope system mint money management numbers organization tracking Tue, 06 Sep 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Matt Bell 1785279 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Dumb Places You’re Leaving Your Money http://www.wisebread.com/6-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_9121051_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="stop keeping your money in these dumb places" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you hate compound interest? Don't you know that compound interest is magic? Don't you want to be rich? Are you afraid to retire with zero savings? You should maybe relocate your cash, ASAP. Because, oh, the places you store your money are so completely dumb. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-your-cash-rewards-can-make-you-rich?ref=seealso">3 Ways Your Cash Rewards Can Make You Rich</a>)</p> <p>Here are some really stupid places to keep your money.</p> <h2>1. Fancy Coffee Apps</h2> <p>If you feel like the crux of every other personal finance article is, &quot;You are going to retire as a hobo if you don't stop drinking fancy coffee,&quot; you would be right. The perils of fancy coffee wouldn't be such a hot topic (and by hot I mean beaten like a dead horse) for financial writers if North Americans didn't treat their Starbucks card like the more caffeinated version of a checking account. As of the first quarter of 2016, Starbucks customers had a total of <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/starbucks-has-more-customer-money-on-cards-than-many-banks-have-in-deposits-2016-06-09">$1.2 billion loaded onto Starbucks gift cards</a> or its mobile app. For comparison, $1.2 billion dollars is more money than many large financial institutions like Charles Schwab, Discover, and Mercantile Bank have in deposits. That unused money you have stored on your Starbucks card is not earning any interest.</p> <p>As a side note, Starbucks' mobile wallet is pretending to be your bank so hard that the company is releasing a prepaid Visa card later this year. Of course its main perk will be that you can earn Starbucks stars for every dollar spent on the card.</p> <h2>2. Unused Gift Cards and Credit Card Rewards</h2> <p>Perhaps the people who use the prepaid Starbucks Visa will actually use their coffee credits. But that's doubtful. The gift card industry thrives on consumer confusion and apathy. Every year, people lose thousands of dollars in merchandise and service perks by not using them. Between 2005 and 2011, $41 billion worth of gift card value was lost to expiration dates and misplaced cards. This type of quiet financial bleed is called &quot;breakage&quot; in financial parlance. Instead of you getting &quot;free&quot; perks, gift card and rewards companies get to earn interest on the money you loaned them for free.</p> <h2>3. PayPal</h2> <p>Don't get me wrong. Just like I love fancy coffee, I also love PayPal. Fintech companies like PayPal and Square make my life as an online seller much more profitable and convenient. I used to treat my PayPal account as a slush fund for luxury purchases. I would sell stuff on eBay and the money I earned from my online storefront would sit, sometimes for months, in my PayPal account until I found something on eBay that I wanted to buy.</p> <p>As a frugal training tool, it helped me live on a tight budget without feeling deprived. My bank account was for paying bills and my PayPal account was for fun. But then I realized the obvious: I was not earning any interest on my sometimes sizable PayPal stash. As an easy alternative, I now transfer all my PayPal earnings into a free savings account. I make a smidgen of interest and my funds are immediately available for spending.</p> <p>For expats and professional travelers who cannot open a bank account in foreign lands and depend on PayPal as a workaround for the direct deposit of their paycheck, please note that money in <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/as-banking-evolves-fintech-emerges-from-the-branch-1464806411">PayPal is not insured by the FDIC.</a></p> <h2>4. Under Your Mattress</h2> <p>A survey by the American Express Spending and Savings Tracker found that 43% of Americans keep their savings in cash. If that weren't bad enough, 53% of those cash-is-king savers hide their cash in their homes. Hiding your life savings in your house is terrible for two big reasons:</p> <ul> <li><strong>You aren't earning interest.</strong> Even if you keep your earnings in your crummy savings account with a .06% interest rate, that's .06% more money than you'd make from storing your money in a shoe box at the bottom of your laundry hamper.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Your money isn't safe at home.</strong> Criminals know to check the laundry hamper for valuables because they read all the same blogs that you do. You might have a super secret spot in your house that will never be found by any cat burglar, but it is guaranteed to be found by your teenager who will embezzle from her own college fund in order to buy ridiculous teenage stuff. Even if you can avoid being robbed by strangers and family, you can still lose it all to a flood, a fire, a tornado, or those pesky <a href="http://animals.mom.me/type-bug-eats-paper-11210.html">silverfish</a> (which thrive on paper).</li> </ul> <h2>5. Jewelry</h2> <p>I can think of only two instances where jewelry is a great investment.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Example 1:</strong> <a href="http://www.biography.com/people/hedy-lamarr-9542252">You are Hedy Lamarr</a>. You are a Jewish actress married to the owner of an Austrian munitions manufacturer. Your abusive husband decides to sell arms to the Nazis. After rescuing your mother from Hitler, you use your jewelry to finance your escape to America. In America, instead of investing your Hollywood movie star money back into gems, you invent frequency-hopping, a jam-proof radio guidance system for torpedoes that is the underlying technology for GPS and Wi-Fi. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Example 2:</strong> <a href="http://www.fatf-gafi.org/documents/news/ml-tf-through-trade-in-diamonds.html">You are a terrorist</a>. Diamonds are an easy and portable way to launder money so you don't have to tote suitcases of cash or bricks of heroin through airports on the way to buy weapons.</li> </ul> <p>While generations of women have been told to hoard jewelry as a safety net during hard times, Hedy Lamarr is an outlier. (Also, Hedy didn't buy the jewelry she traded for her mother and their freedom. Her abusive husband bought it for her.) Jewelry can hold tremendous sentimental value, but it's a poor financial investment.</p> <h2>6. Gold</h2> <p>A relative, who apparently doesn't understand the magic of compound interest or macroeconomics, recently lectured me about how America needs to return to the gold standard. He loves gold so much that he's also hoarding these cute, fun-sized ingots for when the (stuff) hits the fan. Even if I don't tell you all the conspiracy theories and urban legends he attaches to his gold buggery, his insistence that I put my money in gold should tell you many things about him, including:</p> <ul> <li>He is conflating the gold standard, which is a fixed value for the dollar, with buying gold as a safe-haven, disaster currency. Despite what you have heard on talk radio, these are two separate things.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>He has not talked to a Greek person, any Greek person, about what happens to your economy when you can't revalue your currency. The euro is Greece's modern-day gold standard. (If you paid attention during high school history, you might recall countries that were first to ditch the gold standard during the Great Depression were also the countries that recovered first economically.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>He hasn't looked at inflation rates over the last 40 years. If he had, he would know that <a href="http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Inflation_Rate/Gold_Inflation.asp#Chart">gold is not a hedge for inflation</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>He doesn't understand that gold lacks utility, which means that its value is determined by the currency in which it is priced, not by supply and demand. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>To quote Warren Buffett: &quot;If you put your money into gold or other non-income-producing assets that are dependent on someone else's values in the future, you're in speculation. You're not into investing.&quot; <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>He is not a fan of science fiction. If you have read anything about the post-apocalyptic world, you know that skills, not gold, are the ultimate portable currency. Also, how are you going to run from the zombies if you're weighed down by all that bullion?</li> </ul> <p><em>Where is the stupidest place you've ever kept your money? Please share your shame with your fellow readers in the comments section. That way, we can all be smarter in the future.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Dumb%2520Places%2520Youre%2520Leaving%2520Your%2520Money.jpg&amp;description=6%20Dumb%20Places%20Youre%20Leaving%20Your%20Money"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Dumb%20Places%20Youre%20Leaving%20Your%20Money.jpg" alt="6 Dumb Places You&rsquo;re Leaving Your Money" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward 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/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</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/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-cash-is-not-king">8 Times Cash Is Not King</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Shopping apps cash stash keep your money money money management money safe money stash smartphone apps Fri, 26 Aug 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Max Wong 1779794 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Gluttony Is Keeping You Poor http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-gluttony-is-keeping-you-poor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-gluttony-is-keeping-you-poor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_56582268_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="gluttony keeps you poor" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This installment in our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/seven-deadly-sins">series of deadly sins</a> speaks to gluttony, and it's important to know how it differs from greed. The two are related, but greed is more of a miserly, selfish sin. You hoard. You acquire. You amass wealth. Gluttony, that's a different animal. Fundamentally, it's all about self-control, or the lack of it. You eat more than you should. Drink more. Spend more. Want more. Waste more. And as you are about to see, gluttony can also keep you poor.</p> <h2>1. You're Buying Way Too Much Food and Drink</h2> <p>Let's start with the most obvious place that you're losing money, and that's on food and drink. If you are a real glutton, you're going to be spending a huge portion of your income on what goes in the fridge and the pantry. Food, food, glorious food, but, way too much of it. From overloading the cart when you go to the grocery store, to eating the whole pizza when a quarter of it would have been fine, your indulgence in food and drink is costing you big bucks.</p> <p>One of the best ways to deal with this is to limit portion sizes by using smaller plates, and to shop using a list of <em>only</em> the items needed. Also, don't go back for seconds when you can save that food and have it as a meal the day after.</p> <h2>2. Your Over-Indulgence Is Affecting Your Health</h2> <p>Directly related to eating and drinking too much is health care costs. It's widely-known that the costs for treating obesity in this country are staggering. Medical costs alone come to over $192 billion in the U.S. alone, and that is only continuing to rise. When you're obese, or just overweight, you are increasing the risk of getting many diseases and conditions, including: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, some cancers, depression, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, and body aches and pains.</p> <p>While some conditions are more serious than others, if you get them, you're talking about paying for doctor's office visits, hospital stays, medications, and therapy (both physical and mental). As the cost of health care skyrockets, you do not want to be paying more and more every year because you lack self-control. It's not always easy to hold back, and diets are no fun. But the alternatives are not just expensive, they can be deadly.</p> <h2>3. Your TV Habits Keep You From Reaching Your Potential</h2> <p>A new phrase entered our vocabularies over the last few years: &quot;binge-watching.&quot; It is the TV equivalent of eating an entire pizza in one sitting, and although it may not be as bad for your health as that kind of gluttonous act, it's also not doing you any favors.</p> <p>Sure, bingeing the occasional show every now and then is fine. But if you find yourself bingeing series after series, week after week, you are spending way too much time in front of the TV.</p> <p>This leads to &quot;checking out&quot; of more healthy activities, like hiking, cycling, swimming, gardening, and spending time with friends. And it also hinders your career and lifestyle. What else could you be doing with that time? Could you be studying to get a promotion or raise? Could you be organizing your finances? Think about the time spent in front of the TV, and how cutting back could make a difference.</p> <h2>4. Binge-Drinking Can Be Dangerous</h2> <p>Although binge-watching is a new term, binge-drinking has been around for centuries. In certain cultures, especially England (where I'm from), binge-drinking seems to be an accepted part of life. You work hard during the week, then on Friday and Saturday nights you go out and get absolutely hammered. And you can spend a lot of money doing it.</p> <p>The physical effects of binge-drinking are bad enough. Too much alcohol can put a lot of stress on your heart, stop your breathing, affect your memory, or make you vomit in your sleep (many people have died this way). But when drunk, you can do things that have a negative impact on your home life, and your career. It is not uncommon for people to be fired after saying or doing things on a night out that they would never do sober. In this day and age, you could seriously damage your career after a binge-drinking night on the town.</p> <h2>5. More Food Means More Waste</h2> <p>Aside from spending large amounts on food and drink, there is another byproduct of shopping for too much grub. Waste.</p> <p>Gluttonous habits in grocery stores can lead to you filling the shopping cart with items you want because they look good. Without sticking to a shopping list, you can easily pile your cart high with items you don't need, and stack them in the pantry and fridge with little hope of eating them before they expire. That is literally cash in the trash. So buy what you need, and what you can freeze &mdash; no more. Even if it's a crazy good deal, spending only $5 on a prime piece of steak is not a savings if the steak then expires and goes in the garbage.</p> <h2>6. Impulse Purchases and Deals Are a False Economy</h2> <p>Most of us love a good bargain. But without self-control, the dazzling deals you see getting served up every day can drain your bank account, and lead to spiraling debt. Remember, deals are only deals if you needed the item in the first place.</p> <p>For example, if you're looking for a new washing machine, and see an ad offering one for 30% off, then congratulations, you found a great deal. But if, at the same time, you see a dishwasher on sale for 30% off, but your current one is just fine, then that's not a bargain. That's just gluttony. You see it. You like it. You want it. You buy it. It doesn't just apply to the big-ticket items, either. Grocery stores use techniques to erode your self-control (like buying 10 items for a $1 each, when you only need two costing $1.50 each). Before you know it, you're over-budget, and stockpiling a lot of items that may never get used. So, before you act, think. Do I need it, or do I just want it because it's on sale?</p> <p><em>What other gluttonous habits are keeping you poor? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-gluttony-is-keeping-you-poor">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-wrath-is-keeping-you-poor">5 Ways Wrath Is Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-feel-better-about-your-financial-situation">6 Ways to Feel Better About Your Financial Situation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-reduce-debt-or-save-for-an-emergency">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Reduce Debt or Save for an Emergency?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</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-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier">How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting glutton gluttony money money management poor saving money seven deadly sins Thu, 25 Aug 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Paul Michael 1778985 at http://www.wisebread.com