debt http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/805/all en-US 4 Ways Pessimism Can Actually Improve Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-pessimism-can-actually-improve-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-pessimism-can-actually-improve-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_rain_umbrella_498559502.jpg" alt="Man learning ways pessimism can improve finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While I've never had bluebirds help me clean my house or anything, I tend to be a pretty optimistic person. I have faith that people are mostly kind, the world tends to be a good place, and life in general will get better.</p> <p>The one major exception to my optimism is my attitude toward finances. I always plan for the worst when it comes to money, and I proudly embrace my paranoia.</p> <p>As it turns out, my doom-and-gloom view of money is probably responsible for some of my healthiest financial choices. That's because optimism and positive thinking can lead you astray when it comes to your financial goals.</p> <h2>Why Optimism Can Backfire</h2> <p>According to a study by Heather Barry Kappes and Gabriele Oettingen, imagining a desired future actually makes you <a href="http://psych.nyu.edu/oettingen/Barry%20Kappes,%20H.,%20&amp;%20Oettingen,%20G.%20(2011).%20JESP.pdf" target="_blank">less likely to achieve it</a>. That's because your fantasy future wherein you have built up a multimillion-dollar empire is missing the obstacles, frustrations, setbacks, and effort that are necessary to make it happen in the real world. So you are more likely to give up upon reaching any of those obstacles.</p> <p>In addition, telling people about your major financial goals can also backfire. According to career coach Shana Montesol Johnson, &quot;when we tell someone that we are going to do something big &hellip; the <a href="http://developmentcrossroads.com/2010/12/enough-already-about-your-new-year%E2%80%99s-resolutions/" target="_blank">praise and positive reaction</a> we get from our audience gives us a part of the experience of having already accomplished these things &hellip; And so we are less motivated to actually work toward these goals.&quot;</p> <p>So quit it with the positive thinking about your money. Embrace your pessimism, since it can help your finances in many ways.</p> <h2>1. Financial Pessimism Prompts You to Save Money</h2> <p>When you live with the viewpoint that there is nothing but blue skies ahead, then it won't occur to you to save up for a rainy day. A pessimistic outlook about the likelihood that you may lose your job (or that your car may need an expensive repair, or that you may get sick) spurs you to save money so you can be prepared for such contingencies. Optimists are often caught flat-footed in those situations because they had been so focused on the pie in the sky.</p> <p>Thinking through the worst that could happen on your current path might seem like a good way to discourage yourself from taking that path. But taking the time to really think through what could happen if X, Y, or Z in your plan goes wrong gives you the necessary framework to deal with such problems. You'll have already put in the thinking time to come up with a solution when the problem crops up, so you'll be in a better position to fix it.</p> <h2>2. Financial Pessimists Recognize Their Own Money Weaknesses</h2> <p>A financial optimist isn't just optimistic about the lack of coming emergencies &mdash; they are also optimistic about their ability to handle a problem. This is a symptom of the cognitive bias known as the <em>restraint bias</em>. (A cognitive bias is an error in logical thinking that is very difficult for people to recognize in themselves.)</p> <p>With the restraint bias, people tend to seriously overestimate their own impulse control. We all tend to believe that we will be able to show more restraint in the face of temptation than is realistic. The restraint bias is a hallmark of financial optimism. Such an optimist might think &quot;I'll spend less this month and bank the savings at the end of the month.&quot;</p> <p>But it's likely that the optimist will be paying for things with sofa-cushion change at the end of the month. The pessimist, on the other hand, set his savings aside at the beginning of the month, since he knows he is not to be trusted with money in his checking account.</p> <h2>3. Debt Relies on Optimism</h2> <p>Whenever you take on debt, there is a risk that you may not be able to pay it back. But feeling optimistic about your finances, your job, your health, and your family makes you less likely to recognize such a risk. Positive thinking about how well your life is going may put you in danger of over-relying on debt.</p> <p>Barbara Ehrenheich, author of <a href="http://amzn.to/2iJKYfo" target="_blank">Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America</a>, suggests that the Great Recession of 2008 may have some of its roots in positive thinking. In an interview with The Telegraph, she states, &quot;Many, many people got way <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/6952353/Positive-thinking-making-us-miserable-says-author.html" target="_blank">over their heads in debt</a> &mdash; ordinary people. And in what frame of mind do you assume large amounts of debt? Well, a positive frame of mind. You think that you're not going to get sick, your car's not going to break down, you're not going to lose your job and you're going to be able to pay it off.&quot;</p> <p>Pessimistic people are more likely to avoid debt because of the possible things that could go wrong &mdash; and that means they are less likely to get into financial trouble or waste money on interest.</p> <h2>4. Pessimists Are Less Likely to Fall for Scams</h2> <p>My first thought, whenever I hear someone offer me a solution to any kind of financial problem, is to wonder &quot;What's in it for them?&quot; Though I believe in the goodness of people, I am incredibly paranoid about sales pitches, &quot;free&quot; lunches, door-to-door solicitors, insurance agents, salespeople, Nigerian princes, or anyone else who wants me to take advantage of a &quot;once-in-a-lifetime&quot; offer. I don't trust anyone's motives when it comes to money.</p> <p>Scams tend to rely on people's greed, fear, and discomfort. Pessimists are no less likely than optimists to feel greedy, fearful, or uncomfortable, but their overriding distrust of people's motives tends to be stronger than any of the emotions scam artists play on.</p> <p>Distrusting people when it comes to money is generally not a bad thing. It forces you to do your own homework and become your own financial advocate, which is what everyone needs to do. Because even if you do have a trustworthy financial adviser/broker/bookie/insurance agent/Nigerian prince, it is ultimately your responsibility to understand what is happening with your money.</p> <h2>Embrace the Darkness</h2> <p>Instead of thinking and talking positively about your financial future, take a page from a pessimist's book and imagine some worst-case financial scenarios. You'll find that seeing the glass as half-empty (at least sometimes) will help ensure your financial future spilleth over.</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/4-ways-pessimism-can-actually-improve-your-finances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <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-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mental-habits-that-make-the-rich-richer">5 Mental Habits That Make the Rich Richer</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/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-use-savings-to-pay-off-debt">When to Use Savings to Pay Off Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management debt financial weakness optimism outlook pessimism saving money Wed, 11 Jan 2017 10:30:32 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1870056 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-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/green_piggy_bank_508107746.jpg" alt="Learning golden rules of personal finance everyone should know" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We live in a world where information overload is part of daily life. But when it comes to personal financial information, maybe simpler is better. Embrace a moment of Zen. Tap into the simple truths that have served you well and the truths you can teach others. Here are the 10 golden rules of personal finance everyone should know.</p> <h2>1. Have a Goal</h2> <p>Without a clear set of goals, it's difficult to know what personal financial success looks like. Define your goals and then create a realistic step-by-step plan that moves you forward.</p> <h2>2. Distinguish Wants From Needs</h2> <p>Confusing wants with needs keeps people in a constant state of financial unrest. Understand that human needs are fairly simple &mdash; food, clothing, shelter, health care, reliable transportation, etc. Broadly speaking, everything else is a want. That doesn't mean we shouldn't indulge in wants from time-to-time (life would be bleak if we couldn't). It simply means we should choose our wants consciously and not let their constant pursuit jeopardize our financial security.</p> <h2>3. Live Within Your Means</h2> <p>Developing a solid budget and living within your means (that is, not spending more than you make) frees you from the maddening loop of working, overspending, servicing debt, and working some more. Learning to live within your means is an achievement in itself, but living <em>below</em> your means is even better. Spending less than you make leaves you with a surplus &mdash; the vital capital that funds your future.</p> <h2>4. Start Saving Early</h2> <p>When it comes to saving, time can be your best friend. Start saving in your early 20s and you'll not only have more time to accumulate significant wealth (even on a modest salary), but you'll have more time for compounding interest to work its magic.</p> <h2>5. Pay Yourself First</h2> <p>There are a lot of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously">reasons to pay yourself first</a>. Perhaps most importantly, it removes the element of choice &mdash; even if only artificially &mdash; from the act of saving. Setting aside money in a savings account, IRA, or 401K plan via automatic payroll deductions helps reduce the temptation to spend first and save later.</p> <h2>6. Know the Difference Between Assets and Liabilities</h2> <p>Here's the easy-peasy definition: Assets are things you own that have value. Your car, home, savings account, and coin collection are all assets. Liabilities are what you owe. Credit card balances, student loans, and car notes are all liabilities. The not-so-secret secret to success is to accumulate assets and reduce liabilities.</p> <h2>7. Avoid Consumer Debt</h2> <p>Don't let savvy credit card marketers confuse you: Your credit limit is <em>not </em>your spending limit. Avoid consumer debt and the nearly usurious interest rates that go along with it. The slow bleed of interest payments, late fees, and other charges will kill your budget <em>and</em> your prospects of achieving personal financial security.</p> <h2>8. Pay Debts With the Highest Interest Rate First</h2> <p>If you're unable to avoid consumer debt, be strategic in the way you pay it off. Knocking out high-interest balances first exposes you to less interest charges over time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>9. Don't Invest in Anything You Don't Understand</h2> <p>Investment success takes clear thinking, discipline, and consistency over time. Taking shortcuts and investing in overly complex products you don't understand threatens your long-term gains and capital. Stick with what you know, strive to learn more every day, and don't be spooked by cyclical fluctuations in the market.</p> <h2>10. Prepare for the Unexpected</h2> <p>Sock away six to eight months' worth of net income in an emergency fund. It's a simple, but effective way to weather a job loss, unexpected health issue, surprise household expense, and other life events that could threaten your family's nest egg.</p> <p>Oh, and at the risk of wrapping things up on a melancholy note, remember that preparing for the unexpected also includes proper estate planning. Protecting your assets and providing for your loved ones is an often ignored golden rule of smart personal finance. If you haven't made a will yet, add it to your to-do list and to-do it!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-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-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-pessimism-can-actually-improve-your-finances">4 Ways Pessimism Can Actually Improve Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moments-that-should-be-on-everyones-bucket-list">8 Money Moments That Should Be On Everyone&#039;s Bucket List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously">7 Reasons You Really Need to Pay Yourself First (Seriously)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance debt emergency funds golden rules money goals overspending pay yourself first saving money wants vs needs Wed, 04 Jan 2017 10:00:08 +0000 Kentin Waits 1865342 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_new_years_498059820.jpg" alt="Friends making personal finance resolutions they can master" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Working on your New Year's resolutions? Unfortunately, an incredible <a href="https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-science-of-new-years-resolutions-why-88-fail-and-how-to-make-them-work">88% of New Year's resolutions fail</a>. The big problem is that most people's resolutions aren't specific enough, or they're too ambitious.</p> <p>Ready to get 2017 off to a good money start? Try out these eight financial resolutions. They're simple enough so that anyone can accomplish them in the new year.</p> <h2>1. Build a Household Budget</h2> <p>We know it doesn't sound like fun, but crafting a household budget is the best financial move that you can make in 2017. Why? A budget tells you how much money you should be spending each month on everything from groceries to eating out to streaming movies on Amazon. Without a budget, your odds of overspending will soar. Fortunately, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps">making a budget</a> isn't nearly as challenging as you might think.</p> <h2>2. Pay Down Your Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>Your credit card debt might look overwhelming, but paying down this expensive debt in 2017 is actually a fairly easy task &mdash; if you commit. There are several different ways you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies">attack your credit card debt</a>, from paying off the cards with the lowest balance first to prioritizing those with the highest interest rates. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">The Fastest Way to Pay Down $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Build an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>What happens if your home furnace conks out? What if your car's transmission dies? Can you cover these unexpected expenses with cash? Or would you have to charge the repairs? If you have an emergency fund, you'll always have cash on hand to cover life's unexpected disasters. Financial experts say you should have at least six months' worth of daily living expenses saved in an emergency fund at all times. That might sound like a difficult goal, but you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund">build this fund</a> as slowly as you'd like.</p> <h2>4. Cut Out One Unnecessary Expense</h2> <p>Vowing to cut your spending isn't the easiest New Year's resolution to keep; it's simply too vague. Instead, vow to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unnecessary-household-expenses-you-can-cut-today">cut one unnecessary expense</a> from your routine. For instance, you might vow to stop buying coffee on the way to work, and instead brew your own java at home.</p> <h2>5. Boost Your Life Insurance Coverage</h2> <p>If you were to unexpectedly die, would you have enough of a life insurance payout to provide financial protection for your loved ones? If not, it might be time to boost your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose">life insurance coverage</a>. Fortunately, this is an especially easy New Year's resolution to keep: Just call an insurance agent.</p> <h2>6. Protect Your Things</h2> <p>Whether you're a renter or a homeowner, you need to make sure that you have enough insurance to replace the items in your home, should they be stolen or destroyed. Resolve in 2017 to meet with an insurance agent to discuss either homeowners' or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance">renters' insurance</a>.</p> <h2>7. Pay Your Bills on Time Every Month</h2> <p>Want a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly">sky-high credit score</a>? Then pay your bills on time every month. Doing this will slowly, but steadily, cause your FICO credit score to rise. And a higher credit score will mean lower interest rates when you're borrowing money later.</p> <h2>8. Find a Better Savings Account</h2> <p>You might think savings accounts are a fairly boring place to stash your dollars. The truth, though, is that some savings accounts are better than others, and some provide far better interest. Make a resolution this year to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-types-of-savings-accounts-which-is-right-for-you">find a savings account</a> that will help you build your savings at a faster clip.</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/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moments-that-should-be-on-everyones-bucket-list">8 Money Moments That Should Be On Everyone&#039;s Bucket List</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/youve-been-saving-money-all-wrong-heres-why">You&#039;ve Been Saving Money All Wrong. Here&#039;s Why</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/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting debt emergency funds goals life insurance money resolutions new year's resolutions saving money savings accounts Wed, 28 Dec 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1863676 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Use Credit Cards Responsibly During the Holidays http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-responsibly-during-the-holidays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-use-credit-cards-responsibly-during-the-holidays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-525827989.jpg" alt="use credit cards responsibly during the holidays" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans enjoy Christmas so much, that they often get carried away. It's one thing to go all-out decorating a tree or preparing the ultimate Christmas dinner, but some take the holiday spirit too far when they charge so much to their credit cards that they begin the New Year under a mountain of debt. At the same time, credit cards are a very secure and convenient method of payment, and shoppers can earn valuable rewards for their holiday spending.</p> <p>Before you pull out the plastic this year, consider these tips for using your credit cards responsibly during the holidays</p> <h2>1. Set a Budget</h2> <p>If you had unlimited money, then you could simply buy everyone you know anything they want, and not worry about the cost. But the reality is that we all must live within our means, or face crippling debt and costly interest charges. Regardless of how much money you make, it's best to set a budget for your holiday spending and stick with it. Start with an overall figure for how much your household can afford to spend during the holidays, and then split that budget among your different expenses like gifts, decorations, parties, and travel.</p> <h2>2. Watch Your Credit Utilization Ratio</h2> <p>Your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit utilization</a> ratio is the amount of total debt you have divided by the total amount of credit you've been extended. A rule of thumb is that you don't want to use up more than 30% of the credit that you've been extended on any one of your cards, or on all of your credit cards as a whole. The lower that percentage, the better. If you find yourself having to keep an eye on your credit limits, you can pay down your balances before you receive your statements. Also, you can apply for new credit cards or ask for credit limit increases on your existing cards. However, you want to have very low balances when you apply for new credit. As the old saying goes, banks only want to lend money to those who don't need it.</p> <h2>3. Use Your Credit Card Account's Alerts</h2> <p>It's because credit cards are so convenient to use that it's so easy to overspend. However, nearly all credit card issuers now offer ways to configure email and text alerts. You can set alerts to notify you when your payments are due, or when you've reached a certain spending threshold. Many card issuers also allow you to configure an alert that notifies you when one of your authorized users spends a certain amount. And best of all, you can use these alerts for free.</p> <h2>4. Look for Holiday Promotions</h2> <p>The credit card industry is intensely competitive, and each card issuer is trying to give you a reason to use its card over its competitors' cards. One of the ways it does this is to offer special promotions throughout the holiday season. Check if your credit card offers exclusive discounts for spending at certain stores. For example, some issuers have a shopping portal where if you click to a partner site through their portal, you will get a discount (or extra rewards) for your purchases. Others might have a Twitter feed that offers discount codes, or another program that requires you to sign in and sign up for offers. However, be careful not to make unnecessary purchases just to receive a discount.</p> <h2>5. Maximize the Value of Your Rewards</h2> <p>If you are using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">rewards credit card</a>, then you may have many choices when it comes time to redeem your points, miles, or cash back. If you are paying interest on your holiday debt, then the best thing that you can do with your rewards is to redeem them for statement credits to pay down your debt. But if you are able to avoid interest charges by paying off all of your statement balances each month, then you might be able to redeem your points and miles for travel rewards that are worth more than the cash back offered. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-miles-and-points-for-holiday-gifts?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Ways to Use Your Points and Miles for Holiday Gifts</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-responsibly-during-the-holidays">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/9-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tricks-to-save-money-with-credit-cards">10 Tricks to Save Money with Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reduce-your-credit-limits-to-manage-your-spending">Reduce Your Credit Limits to Manage Your Spending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-money-moves-to-make-before-the-holiday-season-begins">9 Smart Money Moves to Make Before the Holiday Season Begins</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-strategies-to-wipe-out-your-credit-card-balance">5 Strategies To Wipe Out Your Credit Card Balance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards budget Christmas credit debt Holidays shopping Fri, 16 Dec 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Jason Steele 1855411 at http://www.wisebread.com How Trump's Presidency Might Change Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/how-trumps-presidency-might-change-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-trumps-presidency-might-change-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/saving_college_fund_544603158.jpg" alt="Learning how Trump&#039;s presidency might change student loans" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you were a Trump supporter or not, the $1.3 billion student debt issue is one that needs to be tackled. Trump called student debt an 'albatross' around the necks of borrowers. While he didn&rsquo;t spend a lot of his election talking about student loans, he did offer several plans to solve the debt problem.</p> <p>All of the President-Elect&rsquo;s student loan plans are still just that &mdash; plans. However, here is how Trump&rsquo;s presidency might affect your current or future student loan (or your children&rsquo;s loans).</p> <h2>Cap on Maximum Repayment Amount</h2> <p>Trump addressed the ever-growing student loan debt dilemma in his rally in Columbus, Ohio, on October 13. One of his proposed solutions was to cap how much a borrower would have to repay. He said, &quot;We would cap repayment for an affordable portion of the borrower&rsquo;s income, 12.5%, we&rsquo;d cap it. That gives you a lot to play with and a lot to do.&quot;</p> <p>Currently, the Revised Pay As You Earn, or REPAYE, plan allows borrower&rsquo;s to cap their monthly payments at 10% of their discretionary income. However, this is only applicable for federal loans, and the plan requires borrowers to extend the length of their loan, meaning they will pay for their debt longer.</p> <p>Trump&rsquo;s plan to cap loan repayment at 12.5% might look higher initially, but depending on how he enforces the plan, it could save a lot of money for borrowers. If Trump allows the monthly cap to be applied to private loans, then this plan will benefit many borrowers.</p> <h2>Student Loan Forgiveness After 15 Years</h2> <p>Trump added to his speech in Columbus, Ohio, &quot;And if borrowers work hard and make their full payments for 15 years, we&rsquo;ll let them get on with their lives. They just go ahead and they get on with their lives.&quot;</p> <p>Currently loan forgiveness is available through special forgiveness programs, such as the public service loan forgiveness plan and the teacher loan forgiveness plan. The income-driven repayment plan will also forgive student loan debt after 20 or 25 years of payments, depending on which plan you qualify for.</p> <p>Trump&rsquo;s 15-year forgiveness plan would drastically cut the length of loan repayment and finally offer solutions for individuals weighed down with private loan debt. Trump did not give exact numbers to how much this plan would cost or save Americans, but it was said that it would be paid for through reduced federal spending overall. Also, it is believed that this plan would save the government money through fewer defaulted loans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life?ref=seealso">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</a>)</p> <h2>Cut College Costs</h2> <p>Trump also addresses the root of the student loan dilemma &mdash; costs set by colleges. On his site, Trump wrote that he plans to, &quot;work with Congress on reforms to ensure universities are making a good-faith effort to reduce the cost of college and student debt in exchange for the federal tax breaks and tax dollars.&quot;</p> <p>Colleges have no incentives to lower costs, so why should they? If Trump were to offer significant tax breaks, then students might see lower tuition bills, too.</p> <h2>Aid for Non-Traditional Schools</h2> <p>Right now, federal aid is for students attending schools that are accredited through the Department of Education. This means that if a vocational school or nontraditional school program is not accredited, students cannot receive federal aid to help them attend. Trump said on his campaign website that he would help make it possible for any student to attend and complete whatever school or program they wanted.</p> <p>According to his website, he wants to &quot;ensure that the opportunity to attend a two- or four-year college, or to pursue a trade or a skill set through vocational and technical education, will be easier to access, pay for, and finish.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway?ref=seealso">What Is Student Loan Forbearance, Anyway?</a>)</p> <h2>So What Does Trump&rsquo;s Plans Mean for You?</h2> <p>If you are already paying student loan debt, then there is a possibility that the plans will not fully be developed and implemented for another year or two. Taking on something as big as student debt and bloated college costs is not an overnight job.</p> <p>However, if you are currently in college or are a parent with a child attending college in the next three years, then there is a possibility that Trump&rsquo;s plan will benefit you. For the rest of America, it is hard to determine just how much Trump&rsquo;s plans will cost.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-trumps-presidency-might-change-student-loans">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-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-every-parent-should-know-about-the-new-college-financial-aid-rules">What Every Parent Should Know About the New College Financial Aid Rules</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-trapped-by-these-higher-education-scams">Don&#039;t Get Trapped by These Higher Education Scams</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training college debt donald trump federal aid loan forgiveness president trump REPAYE school student loans vocational school Fri, 02 Dec 2016 12:30:07 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1844379 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off Early? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/married_couple_home_18525549.jpg" alt="Married couple paying off their mortgage early" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hate sending that big payment to your mortgage lender each month? You're certainly not alone. But what if you had the ability to pay off that mortgage loan early, either by paying extra dollars toward your loan's principal balance or by paying off the rest of your mortgage in one giant payment?</p> <p>Should you do it? Or are there times when <em>not </em>paying off your mortgage early actually makes sense?</p> <p>Not surprisingly, it depends on a host of factors. Here is what you should look at when determining whether paying off your mortgage early is the best choice.</p> <h2>Tax Benefits</h2> <p>When arguing against paying off your mortgage early, most people point to the mortgage interest deduction. This allows most homeowners to deduct annual mortgage payments.</p> <p>There is a catch here, though: You can only claim the mortgage interest deduction if you itemize your taxes. And you should only itemize if your deductions are higher than the IRS' standard deduction, which as of 2016 stood at $12,600 for married couples filing jointly and $6,300 for singles and married people who file separately.</p> <p>This means that those homeowners most likely to benefit from the deduction are those who have purchased higher-priced homes, have a high interest rate on their mortgage, or are in the very early stages of paying off that mortgage. For other homeowners, the deduction will either be less than or barely more than their standard deduction.</p> <p>This means that you'll need to determine &mdash; perhaps with the help of your accountant or financial adviser &mdash; whether the mortgage interest deduction is really helping you at your current stage of paying off your mortgage. If it is, then factor this benefit in when determining whether you should pay off your mortgage early. But if it's not? Then don't let the promise of a yearly tax deduction influence your choice.</p> <h2>Other Debt</h2> <p>According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage stood at 3.54% as of Nov. 3. The average rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was an even lower 2.84%. Those are both extremely low interest rates.</p> <p>At the same time, financial website Bankrate reported that the average variable interest rate for credit cards stood at 16.28% as of Nov. 2.</p> <p>The message here is clear: If you are burdened with high-interest credit card debt, and you have enough money to spend extra on your mortgage loan or pay it off entirely, it makes more sense to put those extra dollars toward your credit cards.</p> <p>It makes financial sense to pay off debt that comes with higher interest rates first. It might feel good to make that big monthly mortgage payment disappear, but it's smarter to whack away at your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?ref=internal">credit card debt</a>, which, thanks to high interest rates, can grow quickly each month.</p> <p>Before deciding to pay extra on your mortgage or pay it off entirely, look at your other debt first: Use your extra money to eliminate the debt that is costing you the most each month.</p> <h2>Are You Staying Put or Moving?</h2> <p>How long do you plan on staying in your home? Do you plan on living out the rest of your days there? Or are you already planning a move in five to seven years?</p> <p>It makes more sense to pay extra on your mortgage loan if you plan on staying in your home for a longer period of time. By paying extra each month, you can shave thousands of dollars off the amount you'll pay in interest during the life of your mortgage.</p> <p>But if you plan on moving in five years, paying extra doesn't make as much sense. You'll sell your home long before you come close to paying it off. So if you're not going to be a long-term resident of your current home, put that extra money to better use.</p> <h2>Are You an Investor?</h2> <p>Those who argue against spending extra on your mortgage say that most homeowners would be better off taking those extra dollars and investing them. This goes back to the low interest rates attached to mortgages today. If you are only paying an interest rate of 3.5% on your home loan, why wouldn't you keep that debt and instead invest in the stock market, where you could make a return of 7% or more on that money?</p> <p>This assumes, though, that you'll actually invest the money that you won't spend on your mortgage loan. If you're more likely to spend it instead, you're better off paying down your mortgage or even paying it off early.</p> <h2>Retirement</h2> <p>Are you close to retirement? You might want to pay off that mortgage early. It's best to enter retirement with as few monthly payments as possible. If you plan to stay in your home after retiring, paying off that mortgage early makes sense. You are then free to use that money that you would have sent to your lender each month however you choose.</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/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use">15 Personal Finance Calculators Everyone Should Use</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-last-minute-home-buying-costs">Watch Out for These 5 Last Minute Home Buying Costs</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/home-reverse-mortgaged-heres-how-to-sell-it">Home Reverse Mortgaged? Here&#039;s How to Sell It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing debt homeownership interest rates mortgages paying off early retirement tax benefits Wed, 16 Nov 2016 10:30:27 +0000 Dan Rafter 1833769 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Moves You Will Always Be Thankful For http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-you-will-always-be-thankful-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-moves-you-will-always-be-thankful-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_piggy_bank_72948583.jpg" alt="Family making money moves they&#039;ll always be thankful for" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The air is crisp and the time for family, friends, and fun is upon us! But are you ready for the tons of holiday spending and planning ahead for 2017? Read up on these seven money moves you will always be thankful for/</p> <h2>1. Monitoring Your Credit</h2> <p>Whether you've already got a mortgage, cars, and all the trimmings, or you're a young adult with the hopes of buying an asset like a house someday, you'll need to maintain good credit. Everyone gets one <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-truly-free-credit-report">free credit report</a> each year, and some credit card companies even give you regular updates on your credit score. I know, we love to remind you of this! But when you're meeting with the realtor and they don't laugh at your borrowing limit, you'll be saying thanks.</p> <h2>2. Negotiating Your Insurance</h2> <p>When shopping around for insurance, it's easy to settle for the first average quote you receive and end it. It's boring! But it really is best to gather several quotes to gain some leverage. If there's a company you prefer, show them the cheaper quote and get them to lower theirs. Also, try to ask yourself which types of insurance you actually need. When you've saved hundreds of dollars per year in insurance costs, it'll be easier to agree to host Thanksgiving at your place next time.</p> <h2>3. Stowing Cash Into a Mutual Fund or ETF</h2> <p>How many ways should you save money? Even if you already have some mutual funds in your 401K, even if you have a vacation savings jar in the kitchen &mdash; you might want to consider stowing some cash from your savings account separately in a mutual fund or ETF. They're steady, the rate is far superior to a savings account, and it keeps you from feeling like your savings can be tapped at any time. It takes some thought and some calculus of weighing the fees and taxes to decide whether to take the funds out. Sometimes we need that bit of a barrier so that we can benefit in the long run. Check out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-top-mutual-funds-for-low-risk-investors">these tips for investors</a>. Your future self will be thanking you down the line.</p> <h2>4. Paying Off High-Interest Debt</h2> <p>Carrying balances on one (or a few) high-interest cards? If you have debt at anything above 10% interest, paying those off should be your priority. The longer you carry those balances, the more precarious the situation gets. And of course, if you were to follow the first point in this list, it would be pretty hard without paying off that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">high-interest debt</a>. Once that's done, you can pass the savings around the table.</p> <h2>5. Building an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Why wouldn't you want to be covered if a small emergency happened? Consider the emergency fund as your war chest, defending you from calamities such as car accidents, sudden house repairs, a child getting sick, or getting stuck with unpaid jury duty. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund">Even broke folks</a> can start one. Keep it somewhere easy to access, and by all means, never pilfer it for Black Friday. That's what #7 is for!</p> <h2>6. Getting Your Taxes Done Early</h2> <p>Who doesn't want to get their money early? Or get tax stress off their chests? Starting around November, you really should be gathering your receipts and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-the-tax-season-rush-with-these-early-prep-steps">setting a tax plan</a> &mdash; whether you need to book an appointment with your accountant, or book some personal time in front of QuickBooks. What easier way to be thankful all the way into the dark of January than knowing a refund check is on its way?</p> <h2>7. Setting a Christmas Budget</h2> <p>Going into Thanksgiving with a shopping list and wondering, &quot;How am I gonna do this <em>and </em>Christmas?&quot; Fix that in the future with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls">Christmas budget set in advance</a>. Even if you're a family who slowly buys gifts for each other year-round, that can creep up. By having a set budget every year, you can check against immediately clicking &quot;add to cart.&quot; Imagine how nice it would be to not feel completely tapped out after the holidays. Just get through Thanksgiving and everything else is gravy.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-you-will-always-be-thankful-for">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/where-to-turn-for-help-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Where to Turn for Help When You Don&#039;t Have an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change">10 Money Moves to Make Before the Leaves Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance being thankful credit report debt emergency funds money moves savings taxes Thanksgiving Mon, 14 Nov 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1830894 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Manage Your Money During a Spousal Separation http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-during-a-spousal-separation <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-during-a-spousal-separation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rope_cash_stretched_23510828.jpg" alt="Learning how to manage your money during a spousal separation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When your marriage isn't working out, a separation might be in order. While you might not be certain whether you'll reconcile or move forward with a divorce, there is still an important matter that needs to be addressed together &mdash; your finances.</p> <p>Dealing with finances in a separation can be messy and lead to a lot of arguments. Use these tips to help you and your spouse manage your money during a difficult time.</p> <h2>1. Don't Be Afraid to Get Help</h2> <p>If you and your spouse cannot sit down and talk about your finances without raising your voice, then seek help. A marriage counselor can help you hear each other out and keep the room calm.</p> <p>Talking with a family law attorney can help you understand how costly a divorce can be and give you both a better idea of where you would be financially if you made your split official.</p> <p>Finally, a financial adviser can provide insight on the ramifications of separation and divorce. The goal is to leave both of you in a stable financial situation if you do make your split final. Look for a financial adviser that has some experience dealing with separation or divorce cases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-divorced?ref=seealso">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Divorced</a>)</p> <h2>2. Establish a New Budget</h2> <p>It is important to establish a new budget together. For couples without children, this should be relatively easy. You should each be responsible for half of all shared bills, and agree to take care of your own food and shopping needs.</p> <p>When children are involved or when one spouse does not earn income, then establishing a new budget can be tricky. You have to both admit that you cannot enjoy the same luxuries during this time of separation. Basic bills need to be paid, and of course, all of your children's needs should be met.</p> <h2>3. Aim for Financial Independence</h2> <p>Close as many accounts possible that contain both of your names. If you pay off and cancel credit cards in both of your names, it can protect you from taking on further debt if you move forward with divorce.</p> <p>Having separate checking accounts can also make life easier. If both of you earn a paycheck, set up direct deposit into each of your own accounts.</p> <h2>4. Deal With Mutual Debt</h2> <p>If you decide to move forward with a divorce, know that your debt might be split down the middle along with your assets. Any debt, including student loan debt that was taken on after saying &quot;I do,&quot; is considered mutual property. This means you can get stuck paying off debt that your spouse essentially racked up.</p> <p>While you are still together, make it a goal to tackle your debt. Agree on an amount that each of you should pay toward the debt each month. If money is tight, try putting saving goals on hold for a few months.</p> <p>If managing mutual debt payments is becoming a hard task for you, both of you can apply for a free or low-fee <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal">balance transfer card</a> to split up the debt in your own name. You can do this with a personal loan, as well. The point is to split the debt and put it in each of your names so that you can eventually close out accounts that are in your shared name. This can prevent your spouse overusing a credit card for revenge purchases.</p> <h2>5. What About the House?</h2> <p>If your house is too expensive for either of you to keep separately, then you need to consider selling it. Taking your home into a divorce can be messy and complicated. A divorce can also put a tight deadline on both of you to sell your home, causing you to get less than the full value for it.</p> <p>If you cannot sell your home for the value of the property, try renting it out to pay the mortgage payments. This can take a huge burden off your shared financial situation and you can wait to sell at a better time. If you end up staying together, your home is still there for you to live in.</p> <p>If you both want to live in the house while separated, then you need to know your state's laws. When you file for a divorce, you will need to establish a point of separation. Some states count that point as when one spouse announces they want to pursue divorce, while other states require proof of living separately. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-happens-to-a-mortgage-in-a-divorce?ref=seealso">Here's What Happens to a Mortgage in a Divorce</a>)</p> <p>Nothing about separation or divorce is ever simple. Every couple's situation will be different based on finances and personalities. Dealing with a hard spouse is not easy, but going through a divorce isn't always the quick fix that it appears to be, either.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-during-a-spousal-separation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-divorce-affect-your-student-loans">Does Divorce Affect Your Student Loans?</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/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick</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-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-divorced">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Get Divorced</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family advisers budgeting counselors debt divided assets divorce financial help loans marriage separation Fri, 11 Nov 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1830852 at http://www.wisebread.com Reach Your Money Goals Faster With a Simple Naming Trick http://www.wisebread.com/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/boy_piggy_bank_33365082.jpg" alt="Boy reaching money goals faster with naming trick" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I used to feel crushed by my to-do list. I could never complete all the tasks on the list according to my (unrealistic) schedule, so I always felt like a loser. Even when I did complete all the tasks on my daily list, I never felt the sense of accomplishment that I hoped for.</p> <h2>What Would Han Solo Do?</h2> <p>While researching a better way to manage my list, I stumbled across the concept of <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Create-an-Effective-Action-Plan">action plans</a>. According to project managers who specialize in getting things done, to-do lists aren't particularly useful for a variety of reasons. Action plans lead to success. Learning to action plan was going to revolutionize my schedule!</p> <p>But then I got sidetracked, so I never got around to actually formulating an action plan. But it didn't matter. Just renaming my daily list of chores &quot;Plan of Action&quot; instead of &quot;To Do&quot; made me feel so much better about myself. I became more productive because I'd freed my brain from worry and made more space for creative thinking. Who writes to-do lists? Chumps, obviously. Who writes action plans? The architects of D-Day. The United Nations. Han Solo.</p> <p>Did Han Solo consult his to-do list before he shot first? No. He did not.</p> <h2>Is My Home Equity Line of Credit Half Full or Half Empty?</h2> <p>Currently, my husband and I are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-why-i-need-to-find-31k-this-year">paying down a $15,000 loan</a> that we had to take out to replace the outgoing sewer line of our house. Plumbing is pretty much the least sexy way to spend money on home repair.</p> <p>Other than our home mortgages, this loan is, by far, our largest debt. And, I hate debt. Debt makes me feel unsafe and without choices. The lack of control attached to this debt specifically ticks me off. It's not like we had a choice in the matter. We didn't accrue this debt by doing something fun like taking a vacation we couldn't afford. We have this loan because our sewer line broke and we had to fix it.</p> <p>Since a simple name change made my to-do list feel more manageable, I wondered if renaming the sewer loan would make me feel less angry about paying down this debt.</p> <h2>First World Pooping</h2> <p>&quot;Oh, you're the one with the funny account names,&quot; says the bank teller as she completes my deposit. The HELOC that I had to take out to pay for the sewer line is now named &quot;First World Pooping.&quot;</p> <p>In my hours of grumpy rumination about how much I hate the sewer line loan, I had come to two realizations:</p> <ul> <li>About 60% of the world's population doesn't have indoor plumbing or even adequate sanitation. I have $15,000 in debt because my husband and I made the choice to repair our sewer line, instead of letting raw sewage drain into the dirt under our house. Six out of 10 people on the planet <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/02/22/_60_percent_of_the_world_population_still_without_toilets.html">can't choose to have a working toilet</a>.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Although $15,000 is a huge chunk of change for me, 80% of the world's population&nbsp;<a href="http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats">lives on less than $10 per day</a>, so just my ability to get an emergency loan for $15,000 puts me in the uppermost strata of wealth on the planet.</li> </ul> <p>In other words, my $15,000 sewer repair is a First World Problem. I may not like the cost of my choice, but I have enough financial control over my life that I can enjoy the privilege of flushing the toilet with drinking water.</p> <p>Paying down the sewer loan each month still gives me no pleasure, but I no longer resent this debt like I used to. By renaming the loan &quot;First World Pooping&quot; I get a monthly reminder to practice gratitude for my comfortable, First World life.</p> <h2>Motivated Savings</h2> <p>In addition to renaming my loans, I have renamed all my bank accounts to help me meet my financial goals. I am more inspired to put money into my &quot;OMG Retire Early!&quot; account than I ever was when it was just named &quot;Retirement.&quot; Socking away cash in my &quot;Escape Plan&quot; is somehow more fun than topping off my &quot;Emergency Fund.&quot; Who has emergency funds? People who are worried about future plumbing problems. Who has an &quot;Escape Plan?&quot; Han Solo.</p> <p>My account formerly known as &quot;Savings&quot; has been repeatedly renamed with the location of my next vacation. Every time I open up my bank records I get a positive push to save more money.</p> <h2>Obsessive Compulsive Labeling</h2> <p>I know this will come as a complete shock to anyone who reads this, but I have OCD. When I mentioned to my OCD support group that relabeling chores had a positive effect on my productivity, worldview, and bank account, I discovered that this brain hack is actually a fairly common <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-practice/201301/cognitive-restructuring">Cognitive Behavioral Therapy</a> exercise that is used to treat a variety of common psychological problems. I don't know if renaming every chore will cure my OCD, but it has made reaching financial goals a little easier.</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/reach-your-money-goals-faster-with-a-simple-naming-trick">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/youve-been-saving-money-all-wrong-heres-why">You&#039;ve Been Saving Money All Wrong. Here&#039;s Why</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-manage-your-money-during-a-spousal-separation">How to Manage Your Money During a Spousal Separation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-pessimism-can-actually-improve-your-finances">4 Ways Pessimism Can Actually Improve Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Life Hacks Organization bank accounts banking budgeting debt fun inspiration loans motivation renaming saving money Thu, 27 Oct 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Max Wong 1821541 at http://www.wisebread.com Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here's How We'd Spend it Instead http://www.wisebread.com/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fancy_sports_car_91447401.jpg" alt="Spend $350K on this instead of parking fancy cars" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I came across a news report recently about the construction of a <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/14/luxury/autohouse-car-condo-miami/index.html">luxury condominium for cars</a>. It will allow people with fancy cars to park their vehicles in a secure environment, at the reasonable cost of just $350,000.</p> <p>Yes, $350,000 for a place to park.</p> <p>Suffice it to say, we can think of smarter things to do with $350,000. If you are lucky enough to have this kind of cash available to you, consider these alternative and sensible ways to spend your money.</p> <h2>1. Bolster That Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Before you shell out thousands of dollars for that custom-made personal watercraft, ask yourself if you'd have enough cash left to pay for a major medical bill if you got hurt. Or a hot water heater if it leaked all over your basement. Ask yourself how long you could get by if you lost your job. It's bad to blow money on unnecessary things. It's even worse to blow that money when you have nothing saved for a rainy day. Make sure you have <em>at least</em> three months of living expenses in liquid savings before you make any crazy purchases.</p> <h2>2. Pay Off High-Interest Debt</h2> <p>If you have money, there's no real excuse for carrying high-interest debt, such as that from credit cards. Interest from debt can erode your net worth, so pay off as much as you can. Focus on paying down the debts with the highest interest rates and go from there.</p> <h2>3. Contribute Maximum Toward Retirement</h2> <p>If you have a high income, there's no reason to hold back on putting as much into your retirement funds as possible. Those with 401K accounts can contribute up to $18,000 per year, and anyone with earned income can contribute $5,500 annually into an individual retirement account. Both of these accounts allow you to invest and see your money grow in a tax advantaged way. Focus on investments that mirror the overall performance of the stock market, and you'll see your money grow without much stress. Maxing out retirement funds may very well be the least frivolous thing to do with your money.</p> <h2>4. Invest Even More</h2> <p>Okay, so you've maxed out the amount you can place in retirement accounts. That doesn't mean you can't continue to invest! If you have the funds, consider buying stocks, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds in a traditional brokerage account. You will have to pay taxes on any gains, but if you're investing for the long haul, you'll still come out well ahead in most cases.</p> <h2>5. Go to College</h2> <p>The best kind of investment is an investment in yourself. If you have enough money to pay for college, go for it! A typical person with a bachelor's degree <a href="https://trends.collegeboard.org/education-pays/figures-tables/lifetime-earnings-education-level">earns 66% more</a> over the course of their lifetime than someone who does not got to college, according to the College Board. And the earnings get even higher for those with advanced degrees. If you've already been to college, consider opening a college savings account for your children or another relative who's college-bound. Most states offer 529 plans that allow you to invest money without paying tax on the gains, provided that the money is later used for education expenses.</p> <h2>6. Buy a Home (Or a Second One)</h2> <p>If you're sitting on a sizable sum of money, it might make sense to put some toward a down payment on a house or other piece of real estate. It's better than renting, because you're building equity and may be able to even sell the real estate later at a profit. If you already own a home, consider buying a second and renting it out. This way, you not only get the benefits of real estate ownership, but an additional income stream as well. This sure beats cars or other material items that don't accrue in value.</p> <h2>7. Do Some Home Maintenance and Upgrades</h2> <p>Maybe it's time for a new roof, or your furnace has been on the fritz. Maybe you've always wanted to turn the basement into a nice family room. If you invest a little money into your home, you can stave off expensive repairs later, and any upgrades you make could increase your home value.</p> <h2>8. Give Some Away</h2> <p>$350,000 is a fair chunk of change, so why not give some away to a cause that you support? Remember that all charitable donations are tax deductible, so there's a financial benefit to giving away cash rather than spending it on something silly.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know">The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-myths-about-investing">The 10 Biggest Myths About Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <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/retirement-accounts-and-money-to-spend">Retirement accounts and money to spend</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting 401k charity debt emergency funds investing IRA luxury money retirement spending Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:30:20 +0000 Tim Lemke 1811799 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Politicians Who Struggled With Debt http://www.wisebread.com/5-politicians-who-struggled-with-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-politicians-who-struggled-with-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/abe_lincoln_pennies_100222557.jpg" alt="Discovering politicians who struggled with debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Financial woes know no boundaries. Old or young, rich or poor &mdash; money mismanagement, bankruptcy, and debt can strike just about anyone, even the politicians we entrust to make sound, responsible decisions on our behalf. Read on for our roundup of famous public servants who struggled with debt. Whether it makes them reckless or more relatable to the everyman is for you to decide.</p> <h2>1. Thomas Jefferson</h2> <p>For almost the entirety of his life, Thomas Jefferson was <a href="https://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/debt#_note-0">sacked with debt</a>. The founding father's prestigious reputation kept creditors at bay &mdash; it was not possible to declare bankruptcy during the majority of Jefferson's life &mdash; but by the time he died, his debt had grown so enormous that his family was forced to sell much of the property he left behind.</p> <p>In modern money, it's estimated that Jefferson died with somewhere between $1 and $2 million dollars in debt to his very good name. His debts were partly due to the financial crisis of 1819 and partly due to his penchant for overspending on building projects, furnishings, and wine. Some of his debt he inherited from his father-in-law.</p> <h2>2. George McGovern</h2> <p>George McGovern danced with debt more than once in his life. In 1984, the former U.S. Senator and presidential nominee for the Democratic Party amassed about <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1984/05/06/us/campaign-notes-3-top-candidates-to-help-mcgovern-pay-off-debt.html">$113,000 in campaign debt</a>. Luckily, he wasn't forced to face it alone. Rather, three other contenders for the '84 Democratic nomination agreed to attend a fundraising party to help him pay off what he owed. (The gesture had less to do with kindness had more to do with an attempt to defeat Ronald Reagan).</p> <p>Then, in 1988, McGovern opened a Connecticut hotel that shuttered and fell into bankruptcy less than two years later. McGovern cited the 1990s recession as a partial cause of his failed business venture, as well as the expense of unavoidable lawsuits and regulatory filings with the local, state, and federal governments. &quot;I...wish that during the years I was in public office I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day,&quot; McGovern famously wrote in a <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970203406404578070543545022704">1992 news column</a>. &quot;That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. Senator and a more understanding presidential contender.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Linda McMahon</h2> <p>Connecticut's 2010 Republican candidate for U.S. Senate is of rags-to-riches fame. She and her husband, actor and pro wrestling promoter Vince McMahon, filed for bankruptcy in 1976 after racking up about $1 million in debt, some of which was amassed by an investment in a stunt by motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel. Later in life, the McMahons became <a href="http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/McMahons-bankruptcy-a-murky-chapter-in-her-682114.php">spectacularly wealthy</a> (Vince McMahon is chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.). At the time of Linda McMahon's failed bid for senate, she and her husband has an estimated net worth of up to $370 million. It's unclear whether all her creditors from the 1970s were ever paid.</p> <h2>4. Abraham Lincoln</h2> <p>Honest Abe had many talents, but shopkeeper isn't one of them. Before he became president, Lincoln owned a general store, at which he amassed $1,000 (1800s value) in debt. Unlike Thomas Jefferson's creditors, the people to whom Lincoln owed money took him to court. As a result, Lincoln was <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/personal/11/19/mf.successful.people.survived.bankruptcy/">forced to forfeit a horse</a>. It would take him several years to pay back what he owed.</p> <h2>5. Marco Rubio</h2> <p>Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who has suspended his 2016 campaign for president, has long struggled with debt from his education, mortgages, and an extra loan against the value of his home. In 2012, things started looking up for Rubio. He was paid $800,000 to write a book about his Cuban-American upbringing. The money helped him pay down some of his debts, but he also used $80,000 of it to buy a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/10/us/politics/marco-rubio-finances-debt-loans-credit.html?_r=0">luxury speedboat</a>. It's this apparent financial illiteracy that reportedly caused Mitt Romney's presidential campaign to think twice while vetting Rubio as a possible running mate in 2012.</p> <p>In subsequent interviews, Rubio has characterized his financial imprudence as something that makes him relatable to everyday folks. In a statement to The New York Times, Rubio said, &quot;Like most Americans, I know what it's like for money to be a limited resource and to have to manage it accordingly.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-politicians-who-struggled-with-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-increasing-your-financial-literacy">Tips for Increasing Your Financial Literacy</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-ways-pessimism-can-actually-improve-your-finances">4 Ways Pessimism Can Actually Improve Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance campaigns debt elections financial literacy owing money politicians public figures Senate Tue, 11 Oct 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1810479 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Smart Money Moves to Make Before the Holiday Season Begins http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-money-moves-to-make-before-the-holiday-season-begins <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-smart-money-moves-to-make-before-the-holiday-season-begins" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_christmas_shopping_51383450.jpg" alt="Couple making money moves before the holiday season" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Fall is in full swing, and before you know it you'll be battling the throngs during holiday shopping season.</p> <p>It may be make or break for many retailers, but it can also be challenging for consumers if they don't do a little bit of planning. Making just a handful of minor financial and lifestyle moves before Christmas and other winter holidays hit can save you money and aggravation later.</p> <p>Here are nine tips for getting yourself straightened out before the holiday rush.</p> <h2>1. Push Money Into a Savings Account</h2> <p>If you want to avoid racking up more credit card debt, it will help to have some cash set aside to pay for holiday gifts. Consider using an online savings account and making an automatic transfer from your usual checking account each month until the end of November. Even $100 a month saved between now and Thanksgiving will give you $200 (plus a little bit of interest) to spend.</p> <h2>2. Check the Sales Now</h2> <p>We all know about Black Friday sales, but the reality is that stores place deep discounts on items throughout the year. There's no guarantee that a particular product will be at its cheapest on the day after Thanksgiving or any other day leading up to Christmas. Remember that many stores will roll out Veterans Day and Columbus Day sales, and you may find great deals on clothing at the end of summer when stores are looking to unload inventory and bring in fall and winter items.</p> <h2>3. Pay Off Your Credit Cards</h2> <p>Holiday shopping can be a debt creator. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling reported last year that there is a 25% spike in the number of people seeking help with credit card bills in January and February. If you are already paying the minimums on cards or have high debt, the addition of holiday shopping bills can be crippling.</p> <p>High debt can leave you at risk of maxing out credit limits. At the very least, your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal">ratio of debt to available credit</a> could rise, thus hurting your credit score. Pay down your current debts now, so that any new debt won't be adding to an existing problem.</p> <h2>4. Find Stores With Layaway</h2> <p>For people who want to avoid credit card debt, layaway can be a great option for holiday shopping. With layaway, you can put an item aside at the store and receive it only when it is totally paid for. Many stores offer layaway months before the holidays, so you can select items now and have them paid off in time. Walmart this year began offering layaway on September 2. Kmart has eight-week and 12-week layaway plans now, and Toys R Us has 90-day layaway contracts. One caveat: Some stores do charge fees for layaway services, so be sure to read the fine print before signing up.</p> <h2>5. Track Down Any Money Owed to You</h2> <p>Have you been diligent about seeking reimbursement for work-related expenses? Have you received all money you've earned from freelance work? Now is the time to assess what outstanding cash is due to you. If money is tight, this could help you afford the gifts you want this holiday season.</p> <h2>6. Max Out Your Retirement Accounts</h2> <p>If you have access to retirement accounts, try to put as much money in them now as you can. You can contribute as much as $18,000 annually into a 401K plan and $5,500 into an IRA. The closer you get to these limits, the better off you'll be in retirement. You have until Tax Day next year to max out these accounts, but it may be best to contribute generously now before holiday expenses hit.</p> <h2>7. Make Sure Your W-4 Is Up to Date</h2> <p>If you work for a company, you probably filled out a W-4 form when you were hired. This form tells the IRS how much in taxes to withhold from your paycheck. But it often needs to be updated, particularly when you have gotten married, added a child to the family, or had a significant change in household income. Now is the time to check your W-4 to see that you aren't paying too much or too little in taxes.</p> <h2>8. Do Some Tax Loss Harvesting</h2> <p>If you sold shares of stock at any point during the year, you may be on the hook for capital gains taxes. But you may be able to avoid a tax bill by selling other shares of stock at a loss. In essence, the loss may outweigh the gains. There's nothing wrong with taking the proceeds from a sale and investing right back into the market, as long as you're not investing in the exact same securities. It might make sense to do some tax loss harvesting now, before the holiday rush hits and you forget.</p> <h2>9. Get Your Cars in for Servicing</h2> <p>Wait, what do your cars have to do with the holiday season? Well, car repairs are often a big source of unexpected expenses. And the last thing you want is hundreds or even thousands of dollars in bills right when you're doing the holiday shopping. Get your car in now, and you'll avoid a hefty expense later. Moreover, you'll be less likely to have the car breakdown in unpleasant, winter weather.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-money-moves-to-make-before-the-holiday-season-begins">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts">Here&#039;s How to Monetize Your Unwanted Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow">The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow</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-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</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/flashback-friday-160-gift-ideas-for-everyone-you-know">Flashback Friday: 160 Gift Ideas for Everyone You Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-champion-of-savings-over-spending">A champion of savings over spending</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping Christmas debt Holidays layaway retirement contributions sales saving spending taxes Mon, 03 Oct 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 1803457 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Scary Facts About Credit Card Debt http://www.wisebread.com/6-scary-facts-about-credit-card-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-scary-facts-about-credit-card-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_shocked_face_74060557.jpg" alt="Man learning scary facts about credit card debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know that credit card debt is the worst type of debt that you can carry. That's because of the high interest rates attached. If you don't pay off your credit cards in full each month, the debt you owe can quickly skyrocket.</p> <p>But even though credit card debt is scary, this hasn't stopped many consumers from racking up thousands of dollars of it.</p> <p>As fall arrives and Halloween looms, are you ready for a real scare &mdash; at least of the financial variety? Here are six facts about credit card debt that should spook consumers who don't pay off their card balances every month:</p> <h2>1. There's Too Much Credit Card Debt Out There</h2> <p>Credit card debt is like one of those unstoppable slashers from 1980s horror movies: It's hard to get rid of. That explains why, according to a report on consumer credit by the Federal Reserve, the total amount of revolving debt owed by U.S. consumers stood at a staggering $953.3 billion as of May of 2016.</p> <p>The Federal Reserve predicts that this debt, which is made up mostly of credit card debt, could hit $1 trillion by the end of the year &mdash; the highest this figure has ever been.</p> <h2>2. We're Not Paying Off Our Credit Card Debt as Quickly as We're Adding to It</h2> <p>Credit card website CardHub reported that during the first quarter of 2016, U.S. consumers paid off a total of $26.8 billion in credit card debt. That sounds impressive, right? Unfortunately, it's not. According to the report, that represents only 38% of the $71 billion in credit card debt that U.S. consumers added to their cards in 2015.</p> <p>In other words, American consumers as a whole are paying off far less of the new credit card debt that they are adding.</p> <h2>3. Too Many of Us Owe Thousands of Dollars in Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>That figure above is scary. But what's more frightening is the average amount of credit card debt that Americans owe. This figure is hard to pin down, because how high it is depends on whether you include consumers who use credit cards but don't carry a balance each month.</p> <p>But here are two particularly chilling credit card statistics: In July of 2016, CreditCards.com reported that the average U.S. household that has credit card debt owes $9,600. The average credit card that usually carries a balance has $7,494 on it as of July of this year.</p> <h2>4. Credit Card Interest Rates Are Still Far Too High</h2> <p>Credit card interest rates remain downright scary. According to Bankrate, the average variable interest rate on U.S. credit cards stood at 16.10% as of August 17 of this year. Even scarier are the penalty interest rates that credit card companies can charge you if you're late on paying your bill. Your interest rate could soar to 28% or higher.</p> <h2>5. It Can Take a Frighteningly Long Time to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>As anyone who has struggled with credit card debt knows, eliminating that debt takes plenty of patience. If you make only the minimum payment each month, it can take you a decade or more to pay off your debt. Consider these numbers provided by Bankrate: Say you owe $6,000 on a credit card with an interest rate of 18%. If your minimum payment is 4% of your monthly balance, it will take you 11 years and nine months to pay off that debt making only this required minimum monthly payment. You'll pay a total $9,474 to pay off that $6,000 debt. And this assumes that you won't add any new debt to your card during this time.</p> <h2>6. Making a Late Payment Will Haunt You</h2> <p>Paying your credit card bills late can have a frightening impact on your FICO credit score, the number lenders rely on to determine whether you qualify for loans and at what interest rate.</p> <p>If you are 30 days or more late on your credit card payments, your card provider can report your late payment to the three national credit bureaus of Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. A single late payment will stay on your credit reports for seven years. It can also cause your credit score to fall by 100 points or more.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-scary-facts-about-credit-card-debt">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-12"> <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-dirty-secrets-of-credit-cards">The Dirty Secrets of Credit Cards</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-sobering-facts-about-credit-card-debt">5 Sobering Facts About Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-mistakes-while-rebuilding-your-credit">Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes While Rebuilding Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies">The 7 Best Credit Card Debt Elimination Strategies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Debt Management balances debt interest rates minimum payments overspending scary facts Wed, 21 Sep 2016 09:01:03 +0000 Dan Rafter 1796578 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 of the Fastest Ways to Go Broke in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/4-of-the-fastest-ways-to-go-broke-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-of-the-fastest-ways-to-go-broke-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_piggy_bank_66171067.jpg" alt="Man finding the fastest ways to go broke in retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ah, retirement. The golden years. Time to kick back and enjoy a little well-earned rest and relaxation.</p> <p>Not so fast. For many older Americans, their later years are filled with financial worry. And much of it is self-inflicted.</p> <p>Here are four key mistakes retirees make that can leave them living on financially shaky ground.</p> <h2>1. Investing Too Conservatively</h2> <p>I still remember my high school golf coach stressing the importance of hitting <em>through</em> the ball instead of <em>to</em> the ball. Something similar can be said about investing in retirement.</p> <p>It would be a mistake to think of your retirement date as something you invest to, after which you shift dramatically into an ultra conservative investing mode.</p> <p>Play it too safe with your nest egg and inflation will wreak havoc on your hard-saved money.</p> <p>With the odds increasingly stacked in favor of living a long life, it's important to continue investing in a way that you're likely to at least outpace increases in the cost of living. That usually means maintaining some level of exposure to stocks.</p> <p>One way financial advisers suggest minimizing the fear of stock market investing in your later years is to develop a <a href="http://beta.morningstar.com/articles/714227/bucket-portfolio-maintenance-theres-more-than-one-.html">healthy cash savings account</a> before retirement &mdash; a very healthy savings account.</p> <p>More specifically, they recommend having one-to-two years' worth of living expenses in savings. During times of market decline, the idea is to withdraw from that savings account for living expenses instead of drawing on your investment account, thereby giving your investment account time to recover.</p> <h2>2. Investing Too Aggressively</h2> <p>Of course, the opposite is true, as well. You don't want to hit retirement, realize you don't have enough in your IRA or 401K, and try to make up for lost time by investing like you're a 20-year-old with plenty of time to ride out the markets ups and downs.</p> <p>The time-tested principles of asset allocation still apply. Take a good <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/FundsInvQuestionnaire">risk tolerance questionnaire</a> and set your stock/bond mix accordingly.</p> <h2>3. Carrying Too Much Debt Into Retirement</h2> <p>Ideally, you want to retire your mortgage by the time you retire from your job. Having to continue paying on what for most people is their single largest expense can be burdensome, especially with health care expenses looming as a great unknown.</p> <p>Today, however, more seniors than ever are still making payments on their homes. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, about 30% of homeowners age 65 and older have mortgages.</p> <p>And not only that. Many seniors are still paying off student loans. In 2014, about 17% of outstanding student loan debt was held by borrowers in their 50s, according to the New York Fed. Some of that debt was incurred for the borrowers' own education, perhaps because they went back to school later in life or they refinanced earlier loans. Some of it was for their kids or grandkids.</p> <p>If you still have mortgage, student loan, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">credit card debt</a>, it can be helpful to your sanity and your solvency to delay retirement until such debts are paid off.</p> <h2>4. Keeping the Bank of Mom and Dad Open</h2> <p>According to a Merrill Lynch study, 68% of parents age 55 or older have provided some form of financial support to their adult children in the past five years. That support included helping to make their rent or mortgage payments, pay their cellphone bills, cover their car payments, or pay their health care costs.</p> <p>Many other parents stand ready to help. According to a study by BMO Harris Premier Services, nearly 50% of parents said they'd be willing to put off their retirement if their adult children needed financial help. Some 25% said they would take on debt, and 20% said they'd raid their retirement accounts if necessary.</p> <p>However, in their classic book, <a href="http://amzn.to/2chE54U">The Millionaire Next Door</a>, authors Thomas Stanley and William Danko said many parents mistakenly assume that soon after providing some financial help, their adult children will be financially self-sufficient. Instead, they found that recipients of so-called &quot;economic outpatient care&quot; all-too-easily become dependent on such help, making it bad for the adult children and their parents alike.</p> <p>Far better, they said, to &quot;teach your children to live on their own.&quot;</p> <h2>No Mulligans</h2> <p>My high school golf coach didn't let us take do-overs, or &quot;mulligans,&quot; during practice rounds. He said it was a bad habit. After all, there would be no second chances in a tournament.</p> <p>The same can be said about managing money in retirement. When we get older, we simply won't have time to recover from financial mistakes. So take these lessons to heart as you plan for a financially secure retirement.</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/4-of-the-fastest-ways-to-go-broke-in-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/12-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-retire">12 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-now-that-youll-regret-when-you-retire">5 Financial Moves Now That You&#039;ll Regret When You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-calculators-everyone-should-use">15 Personal Finance Calculators Everyone Should Use</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-strengthen-your-finances-before-retirement">5 Ways to Strengthen Your Finances Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement adult children cash savings conservative investing debt kids Mistakes mortgages nest egg out of money student loans Mon, 19 Sep 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Matt Bell 1794235 at http://www.wisebread.com My 2016 Budget Challenge: Where to Find Cheap Training for a New Career http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-where-to-find-cheap-training-for-a-new-career <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-where-to-find-cheap-training-for-a-new-career" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_computer_stress_84635733.jpg" alt="Woman finding cheap training for a new career" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's Note: This is another episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 this year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0" target="_blank"><em>here</em></a><em>.]</em></p> <p>Yesterday, one of my friends asked: &quot;So, what are you working on?&quot; To which I responded: &quot;Um, you know, stuff. All sorts of things. I'm so busy. Uhhhhh, It's kind of boring to explain.&quot;</p> <p>For the past four weeks I've been grinding away at an increasingly long To Do list. It's always been like this. Or, to be accurate, I've always been like this. I always complete the majority of my projects during the last four months of the year. Perhaps it's because 24 years after graduation, I still feel like September is the start of a new year. Or perhaps it's the change of seasons&hellip; even though Los Angeles only has two seasons: vacation weather and unreasonably hot.</p> <p>Or, perhaps I accidentally schedule all my deadlines for every project for December 31st. Regardless of the motivation, my completion panic kicked into high gear one month early this year.</p> <p>I suspect it's the public shaming aspect of this writing exercise that has accelerated my inner clock. After all, it's September and I am still over $21,000 short of meeting my goal of saving $31,000 before the end of the year. If I want to make this goal, I will need to make or save an additional $5,280 <em>per month</em>. Uhn.</p> <p>To that end, I have been working every moneymaking angle available to me from the confines of my house. I am canning my award-winning fig jam in advance of Holiday Craft Fairs, I have applied to every job lead that has come my way (including one that would require me to wear an abaya everyday for a month &mdash; but since I look weirdly cute in a headscarf, this is actually not a bad thing), and I am selling everything I don't completely love on Craigslist and eBay.</p> <p>At the end of June, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-does-taking-a-regular-day-job-mean-giving-up" target="_blank">I got a really good job lead</a> from my sister. If I can become an expert at Adobe Illustrator and pass her company's skill test, she can hire me for a freelance job that would easily make up my budget shortfall.</p> <h2>Access Free Job Skill Training Via the Library</h2> <p>Once I learned about the job opportunity, I jumped into action. I subscribed to Adobe Illustrator ($30 per month) believing that I would be illustrating everything by the end of the 30-day free trial period. &quot;I totally got this,&quot; I told myself. &quot;I'm going to spend the 4th of July watching 32 hours of Lynda.com tutorials that I can download for free using my Los Angeles Public Library card. Then I will give myself three weeks to cram for the skill test. My education cost will be zero and I can work full time starting in August.&quot;</p> <h2>Cramming Doesn't Work</h2> <p>I started watching the Lynda.com tutorials that same night. Two hours in I began to lose focus to the point that I had to stop and rewind the video several times because I kept spacing out. &quot;Ugh. What is wrong with me? Why am I struggling so hard to learn this?&quot; I asked my best friend. &quot;Well,&quot; she answered, &quot;there's a reason why most college classes are only two hours long. Your brain is actively learning, not binge watching Daredevil, you dummy.&quot;</p> <p>Oh.</p> <p>Now resigned to the fact that I cannot master Adobe Illustrator in one marathon study session, I've had to alter my schedule for total budget domination considerably. Not without a huge amount of denial, I have discovered that my brain can only absorb an hour of technical lecturing per day. So it was 32 days of watching tutorials, not three. I've also had to admit to myself that it's going to take a minimum of 100 hours of practice with the Pen Tool before I have any proficiency. So basically, my free self-education and accelerated learning plan now looks and costs the same as a semester-long class at my local community college, but without teacher office hours so I can actually get one-on-one assistance.</p> <p>What is possibly worse than acknowledging that I am not the quick study I thought I was? The realization that I am now losing paid work hours to unpaid study hours. In order not to backslide into more debt, I will have to get a better-paying job to supplement my job training for a better-paying job.</p> <p>Sigh. Lesson learned?</p> <h2>Progress So Far</h2> <p>My blood tests are fine. My teeth are fine. My boobs are fine. My OCD is&hellip;what it is. My savings this month? Not so much. My regularly scheduled doctors' appointments erased any savings from Mr. Spendypants this pay period as I'm on his health insurance. (Thanks Cutie).</p> <p>Between my new study schedule and my doctor appointments, I only managed to turn in $90 worth in writing work this pay period. Luckily, my bees came through for me and helped me sell $150 in bees and $293.76 in honey. Because I've been under house arrest, and Mr. Spendypants has been working 16 hours a day, we still managed to come out $533.76 ahead, even with all the medical expenses.</p> <p><strong>Goal:</strong> $31,000</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised:</strong> $22,040.17</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent:</strong> $12,153.66</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go:</strong> $21,113.49</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-where-to-find-cheap-training-for-a-new-career">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Everything Breaks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-does-taking-a-regular-day-job-mean-giving-up">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Does Taking a Regular Day Job Mean Giving Up?</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-job-creation">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Job Creation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-what-to-do-with-a-totaled-car">My 2016 Budget Challenge: What to Do With a Totaled Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-reduce-debt-or-save-for-an-emergency">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Reduce Debt or Save for an Emergency?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Career and Income budget challenge career skills deadlines debt job hunting job skills learning max wongs budget motivation Fri, 09 Sep 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Max Wong 1788919 at http://www.wisebread.com