debt http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/805/all en-US 8 Signs You're Making All the Right Moves for Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-moves-for-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-moves-for-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggybank_with_glasses.jpg" alt="Piggy bank with glasses" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute made a disheartening discovery; only six in 10 U.S. workers feel confident that they'll be able to retire comfortably. That means 40 percent think they won't.</p> <p>That's grim news. But you don't have to fall into this group if you're making the right financial moves to prepare for your after-work years.</p> <p>It can be tricky to know for sure how confident you should feel about your nest egg, but some key signs can indicate that you're on your way to building a happy and healthy retirement.</p> <h2>1. You've worked out the kind of retirement you want</h2> <p>The best way to prepare for retirement? You have to plan for it. This means knowing how you want to spend your after-work years. After all, if you plan on traveling the globe after retiring, you'll need plenty of money. If you instead plan to spend more time visiting your grandchildren, reading, or playing golf, you might not need to save quite as much.</p> <p>The key is to determine what kind of retirement you want long before it arrives. That way, you can financially plan for it. And if you're in a relationship, remember that both you and your partner have to agree, and prepare for, the retirement lifestyle that suits you both. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-your-new-identity-after-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Find Your New Identity After Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>2. You've set a retirement age</h2> <p>Do you know when you want to retire? You should. That decision can have a huge impact on your finances once you leave the working world.</p> <p>If you were born between 1943 and 1954, your full retirement age is 66. If you were born after 1959, your full retirement age is 67. You can start claiming Social Security benefits once you turn 62. But if you wait until you hit full retirement age &mdash; or beyond &mdash; the money you receive each month will be far higher. In fact, if you start claiming your Social Security benefits at 62, your monthly payment will be lowered by 30 percent compared to how much you'd get at full retirement age.</p> <p>And if you can hang on until age 70, you'll collect a monthly benefit that is 132 percent of the monthly amount you would have received if you started claiming Social Security at full retirement age.</p> <p>There's nothing wrong with claiming your benefits early, if you've planned for this. But make sure you know how much money you'll need before retiring early. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Claiming Your Social Security Benefits</a>)</p> <h2>3. You've made a retirement budget</h2> <p>Before you hit retirement age, it's important to determine how much money you expect to spend and receive each month once that steady paycheck has disappeared. This means it's time to create a monthly retirement budget.</p> <p>For income, you can include any pensions, Social Security payments, disability payments, rental income, or annuity income you plan on receiving. You can also include the amount of money you expect to draw from your retirement savings. For expenses, include everything that you'll spend money on each month, including groceries, eating out, mortgage, auto payments, health care expenses, and utility bills.</p> <p>Once you know how much you'll be spending and how much you'll be earning in retirement, you can better prepare for it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a>)</p> <h2>4. You've paid off your debts</h2> <p>The best way to increase the odds of a happy retirement is entering your post-work years without any debt. That means paying off your credit cards, paying off your mortgage, and making sure you don't owe any money on your car once you've retired.</p> <p>Paying off debt isn't easy. It's why so many of us are struggling under mountains of credit card debt. Before your retirement hits, though, start funneling money toward your debt. The more you pay off, the less financial stress you'll face in retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. You've maximized your retirement savings contributions</h2> <p>You should be contributing to an IRA, 401(k) plan, or a combination of both. But as retirement gets closer, make sure you are contributing the maximum amount to these retirement savings vehicles. Doing so will leave you with the greatest financial cushion for retirement.</p> <p>It might seem like a financial sacrifice to devote, say, 15 percent of your regular paycheck to a 401(k) account. But by saving that much, as opposed to 5 percent or 10 percent, you can dramatically increase the amount of money you'll have when retirement arrives. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Signs You Aren't Saving Enough for Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>6. You're playing catch-up</h2> <p>Once you hit your 50th birthday, you can contribute even more money each year to your 401(k) plan or IRAs. Take advantage of this benefit to provide a late-in-life boost to your retirement savings.</p> <p>For the 2017 tax year, you are allowed to contribute up to a maximum of $18,000 in a 401(k) plan. But if you're 50 or older, you can make what are known as catch-up contributions and contribute an extra $6,000 &mdash; meaning that you can put a total of $24,000 into your 401(k) this year. For the 2018 tax year, 401(k) contribution limits will be raised to $18,500, which means those age 50 or older can contribute up to a total of $24,500 per year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-meeting-the-2018-401k-contribution-limits-will-brighten-your-future?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways Meeting the 2018 401(k) Contribution Limits Will Brighten Your Future</a>)</p> <p>Traditional and Roth IRAs also have catch-up policies for investors 50 or older. For the 2017 tax year, you can contribute up to $5,500 in either form of IRA. But if you are 50 older, you can contribute an additional $1,000, meaning that you can save up to $6,500 this year in a Roth or traditional IRA. This will be remaining the same in the 2018 tax year.</p> <h2>7. You've prioritized your spending &mdash; even when it comes to your kids</h2> <p>It's not easy telling your kids no, even when both they and you are adults. But when it comes to saving for retirement, you might have to do just this.</p> <p>You might want to help your children pay for their college tuition. And hopefully, you've already saved for this. But if you didn't, you shouldn't be putting off saving for retirement to help your adult children pay for college.</p> <p>Your children have other options when it comes to college: They can find a less expensive school, attend community college for two years, or apply for loans and grants. If you can't afford to save for both retirement and your children's college tuition, you absolutely must put saving for retirement first.</p> <p>If you don't? You might just become a financial burden for your adult children when you can't afford to maintain a healthy retirement lifestyle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-ruining-your-retirement-by-spoiling-your-kids?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are You Ruining Your Retirement by Spoiling Your Kids?</a>)</p> <h2>8. You've tinkered with your savings formula</h2> <p>Early in your working days, it's a sound strategy to invest in a riskier mix of stocks, bonds, and other investment vehicles. The potential rewards are higher, and you have more years to recoup whatever losses you might suffer from a potentially more volatile portfolio.</p> <p>But once you get closer to retirement, it's time to rebalance your investments to eliminate much of the risk. When you're 10 or five years from retirement, you want a safer investment mix because time is running short. You won't have as many years to recover from the downs that sometimes come with a high-risk, high-reward savings portfolio.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-moves-for-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Signs%2520Youre%2520Making%2520All%2520the%2520Right%2520Moves%2520for%2520Retirement.jpg&amp;description=8%20Signs%20Youre%20Making%20All%20the%20Right%20Moves%20for%20Retirement"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Signs%20Youre%20Making%20All%20the%20Right%20Moves%20for%20Retirement.jpg" alt="8 Signs You're Making All the Right Moves for Retirement" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-moves-for-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-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/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings">Half of Americans Are Wrong About Their Retirement Savings</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-face-4-ugly-truths-about-retirement-planning">How to Face 4 Ugly Truths About Retirement Planning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-roadblocks-to-retirement-and-how-to-clear-them">7 Roadblocks to Retirement (And How to Clear Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-so-simple-6-steps-to-a-stable-retirement">It&#039;s So Simple: 6 Steps to a Stable 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/how-to-revive-an-old-retirement-fund">How to Revive an Old Retirement Fund</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) contributions debt family full retirement age IRA nest egg saving money social security benefits Tue, 05 Dec 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Dan Rafter 2066271 at http://www.wisebread.com How a Surprise Credit Limit Increase Can Harm You http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-surprise-credit-limit-increase-can-harm-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-a-surprise-credit-limit-increase-can-harm-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_credit_card_637329676.jpg" alt="Learning how a surprise credit limit increase can harm you" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The email can catch you by surprise: You get a message from a bank telling you that your credit limit has increased. Banks routinely check the financial health of their credit card customers. When these customers have a good credit score and a history of paying their bills on time, they might decide to raise their credit limit by $5,000, $10,000, or more.</p> <p>You might welcome a surprise boost in your credit limit, but you should also be wary of this: An increase in your credit limit can cause problems if you're not careful.</p> <h2>Don't add to your debt</h2> <p>Do you spend more with your credit cards than you can technically afford? Are you unable to pay off your balance in full each month? If so, an increase in your credit limit has potential to make things worse.</p> <p>Credit card debt is some of the worst debt to carry because it comes with such high interest rates &mdash; sometimes as high as 20 percent or more. If you carry a balance on such cards from month to month, the amount you owe can soar solely because of this interest.</p> <p>Here's an example: Say you are carrying a balance of $8,000 on your credit card at an interest rate of 17 percent. Now, say that your minimum monthly payment is 4 percent of that balance. If you only make this minimum payment each month, it will take you over 12 years to pay off your balance. The total interest you will pay during this time is a bit more than $4,272 &mdash; and that assumes that you won't be using that credit card to make any additional purchases.</p> <p>If a credit limit increase inspires you to spend even further beyond what you can't pay off each month, you'll simply be increasing the time it takes to pay off your credit card debt. The smart move after receiving a limit increase is to set your own personal charging limit. Even if your card's credit limit is $20,000, resolve not to charge more than $500 a month if that's all you can afford to pay off when your card's payment date arrives. Don't add to the mountain of high-interest credit card debt you're already struggling to pay off. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pay-less-interest-on-your-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Pay Less Interest on Your Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>Monitor your credit utilization ratio</h2> <p>If a higher credit limit encourages you to spend more, you might also be hurting your credit score, even if you pay your credit card bill on time each month. This has to do with your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit utilization ratio</a>. Your credit score will fall if you use up too much of the credit available to you. It will rise if you are using less of it.</p> <p>Getting a credit limit increase would seem to help your credit utilization ratio. After all, if you have more credit available to you, you will automatically be using less of it the day that credit limit increase kicks in. But if that credit limit increase inspires to you to go on a charging binge, you could quickly use up your credit increase in new purchases. That, in turn, will hurt your credit utilization ratio and your credit score.</p> <p>Again, the key is to set personal limits and stick to them. Determine a reasonable amount of money you can charge each month and don't charge more than that.</p> <h2>Don't cancel that card</h2> <p>If you're worried that you can't handle a credit limit increase, don't cancel your credit card. This will automatically increase your credit utilization ratio and damage your credit score. Once you close a card, the amount of credit available to you will automatically drop without you even charging another cent.</p> <p>You can call your credit card issuer to request that your credit limit be reduced, but that might be a risky strategy. Remember, having a higher credit limit is good for your credit score, as long as you don't swallow it up by charging too much. By removing that increase, you won't get the credit score boost that can come with higher credit limit.</p> <p>Instead, stick to that personal charging limit you've set, no matter how much available credit you have. Maxing out your credit cards is a bad financial strategy, no matter how high your credit limits.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-a-surprise-credit-limit-increase-can-harm-you&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520a%2520Surprise%2520Credit%2520Limit%2520Increase%2520Can%2520Harm%2520You.jpg&amp;description=How%20a%20Surprise%20Credit%20Limit%20Increase%20Can%20Harm%20You"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20a%20Surprise%20Credit%20Limit%20Increase%20Can%20Harm%20You.jpg" alt="How a Surprise Credit Limit Increase Can Harm You" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-surprise-credit-limit-increase-can-harm-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/debunking-8-common-credit-score-myths">Debunking 8 Common Credit Score Myths</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-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-easy-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-during-the-holidays">3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Credit Score During the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-money-milestones-anyone-can-hit">6 Simple Money Milestones Anyone Can Hit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-often-your-credit-score-gets-calculated">Here&#039;s How Often Your Credit Score Gets Calculated</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit limit credit score credit utilization ratio debt interest rates limit increase overspending Thu, 16 Nov 2017 10:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2055071 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Simple Money Milestones Anyone Can Hit http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-money-milestones-anyone-can-hit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-simple-money-milestones-anyone-can-hit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_piggy_bank_599767404.jpg" alt="Woman hitting money milestones" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Achieving financial freedom is really about setting big goals and going after them. But these goals can sometimes seem overwhelming. Saving enough for retirement, a new home, or a college degree is a big task. Eliminating debt can also feel impossible.</p> <p>That's why it helps to set smaller, more manageable goals and work from there. You won't save all of your retirement nest egg or pay off all of your credit cards tomorrow, but there are steps you can take to build your confidence and get you on your way. Here are some achievable financial milestones that you can go after.</p> <h2>1. Open a retirement account</h2> <p>Just <em>open</em> the account. You don't even have to invest more than the minimum: Simply take that first step and open your 401(k) or individual retirement account. By checking this off your list, you have removed a big mental hurdle from investing, and you may even begin getting matching contributions from your employer even if you are not contributing much yourself.</p> <p>With the accounts open, you'll be able to begin putting more sizable chunks of money aside and buying stocks and mutual funds when you feel you are ready. But if your accounts aren't open to begin with, you might talk yourself out of getting started. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-accounts-you-dont-need-a-ton-of-money-to-open?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Retirement Accounts You Don't Need a Ton of Money to Open</a>)</p> <h2>2. Be independent</h2> <p>Do you still rely on your parents or other friends and family for financial help? Do they assist you with rent payments, credit card bills, and other expenses? Getting help from others isn't a bad thing, but there comes a time when a young person must learn how to maintain financial independence.</p> <p>This means being able to live on your own, pay your bills, and avoid debt without seeking &quot;loans&quot; from the Bank of Mom and Dad. This is not always easy, especially in an era when many young people have student loan debt &mdash; but this should be a goal for anyone in their 20s. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-money-habits-that-make-you-look-financially-immature?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Money Habits That Make You Look Financially Immature</a>)</p> <h2>3. Reduce your credit card debt</h2> <p>Ideally, you want to pay off the whole credit card balance as soon as possible. But for some of us, we just want to keep the balance from growing. Sometimes, we're stuck in a spiral of making minimum payments, while interest charges are adding to the debt. You may not be able to get rid of your credit card balance overnight, but you can take a big step toward that goal by simply reducing the balance the next time your bill is due.</p> <p>This will mean paying substantially more than the minimum required to make a real dent into the principal. If you can do this once, you'll prove to yourself it's possible to reduce your debt burden and eventually get rid of it entirely. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Get your credit score over 700</h2> <p>Many people have trouble getting ahead financially because they are saddled with a bad credit score. A low credit score makes it hard to get favorable rates on loans, and can lead to a spiral of debt that's hard to escape. The good news is that you can fix your credit score over time by making the right financial choices, and your bad finances of the past don't have to burden you forever.</p> <p>A credit score of 700 is considered &quot;good&quot; by most credit bureaus. To get there, you need to pay your bills on time and try to pay off all balances in full. If you have missed payments, get current as soon as possible. You don't want to close your credit cards after paying them off, as this can lower your percentage of available credit and ding your credit score. But you should avoid the temptation to open new cards, as that only increases your potential for adding debt. Your credit score may take time to rise, but hitting 700 is achievable if you make the right moves. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Fast</a>)</p> <h2>5. Earn $1,000 in passive income</h2> <p>One of the great ways to give yourself some financial breathing room is to get revenue from sources that don't require a lot of work. This could mean purchasing dividend stocks, in which companies pay out portions of their earnings each quarter to shareholders. It might mean buying and renting out properties, licensing your creative works, or building a website that generates some ad revenue. Passive income may require some work and expense up front, but could provide you with a solid amount of extra cash without extra effort over time.</p> <p>Try to earn a spare $1,000 in the next year. Then try and boost that figure. Before you know it, proceeds from these passive sources could be a significant total of your overall income. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-passive-income-online?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Make Passive Income Online</a>)</p> <h2>6. Save $100 in a month</h2> <p>When your income is barely covering your living expenses, it may seem impossible to save even a few bucks a month, let alone $100. But most people should be able to hit that $100 milestone by taking a good look at their spending.</p> <p>Begin by tracking your spending in a detailed way, making a note of where every dollar goes. Then categorize your spending. You might have a category for eating out, and another for gas or kids' activities. By examining your spending this way, you will likely find areas where you can cut costs. You may have to make some hard choices, but they will be worthwhile. A few dollars here and there can add up to $100 or more. And $100 a month can add up to thousands of dollars over time.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-simple-money-milestones-anyone-can-hit&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Simple%2520Money%2520Milestones%2520Anyone%2520Can%2520Hit.jpg&amp;description=6%20Simple%20Money%20Milestones%20Anyone%20Can%20Hit"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Simple%20Money%20Milestones%20Anyone%20Can%20Hit.jpg" alt="6 Simple Money Milestones Anyone Can Hit" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-money-milestones-anyone-can-hit">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/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</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-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years">10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year&#039;s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-surprise-credit-limit-increase-can-harm-you">How a Surprise Credit Limit Increase Can Harm You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-often-your-credit-score-gets-calculated">Here&#039;s How Often Your Credit Score Gets Calculated</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit score debt financial independence goals money milestones passive income retirement saving Wed, 15 Nov 2017 10:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 2054445 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-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/gift_of_money_against a_defocused_background_and_christmas_lights.jpg" alt="Gift of Money against a Defocused Background and Christmas Lights" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The holidays are here today, gone tomorrow &mdash; and it's easy to get caught up in a tinseled tornado of financial distress if you're not careful. Avoid that fate this season with these self-imposed goals on how to better manage your holiday budget. It'll help you start the New Year financially fresh and fancy-free.</p> <h2>1. Stop spending money on gifts people don't need</h2> <p>When planning out your holiday gift list, think long and hard about what those people on your list may want or need. Don't be afraid to ask them, either. I always ask friends and family if they have something specific in mind &mdash; and I staunchly believe in getting what they'll love and use, so long as it fits into my budget.</p> <p>Sometimes they provide solid ideas, and other times I get the ol' &quot;I don't need anything&quot; routine, even though they know good and well I'm going to buy them something anyway. (Way to help, Dad.) If you're unsure about a gift, or you feel like you're buying something just to buy it, think again. There's no reason to spend your money on something that will go unused, or even worse, be regifted.</p> <p>When in doubt, a gift card to a favorite store generally works well &mdash; and you should take advantage of the ubiquitous &quot;Spend $X in gift cards and get a $X gift card for free&quot; promotions that many retailers and restaurants offer during the holidays. Stretch that cash every way you can. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-christmas-shopping-with-this-clever-gift-card-strategy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Save on Christmas Shopping With This Clever Gift Card Strategy</a>)</p> <h2>2. Stop spending money on people who don't need gifts</h2> <p>Does <em>everyone</em> you know need a gift? Will you even see the recipients this holiday season? Are you disproportionately spending money on the people you do buy for? If money is tight and you're stuck in a pattern of buying gifts because you feel obligated, stand up for yourself and put a stop to it.</p> <p>Several years ago, my brother, cousin, and a few of my best friends started churning out children left and right. I had to make the tough decision to cut the adults off my list. I couldn't afford to buy for everyone, so I chose the kids instead. I've never looked back on that decision with any regrets. I get to be the cool uncle who always gives the best presents &mdash; all while being able to save money despite that distinction.</p> <h2>3. Select, make, and &quot;buy&quot; gifts from stuff you already have</h2> <p>There's only one rule to regifting, in my opinion: Make sure the regift doesn't end up anywhere near the person who gave it to you in the first place. Bad form. Otherwise, please, regift items that were given to you that you haven't used (so long as they're still unopened and/or haven't expired). The same goes for unused items that you bought for yourself throughout the year (like clothing with the tags still on). Gift them to someone you think will appreciate them to help keep more money in your pocket.</p> <p>I'm also a big fan of making gifts by hand. For instance, I'm hosting a small dinner party in December, and I'm making my guests a little take-home gift consisting of a festive homemade body scrub, a hand-poured holiday candle, and a bottle of wine I've recently made from a kit.</p> <p>Simple, inexpensive, thoughtful &mdash; that's the name of the game. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-christmas-shopping-with-this-clever-gift-card-strategy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>4. Concentrate on eliminating existing debt before racking up more</h2> <p>One of your top money goals this time of year should be focusing on debt you already have instead of racking up more buying gifts. That's not always easy to do during the holidays, but the due diligence will pay off.</p> <p>If you have existing credit card debt, try your best not to make only the minimum monthly payments. Instead, begin paying a bit extra toward the principal starting with the card with the highest interest rate. This repayment strategy (otherwise known as the debt avalanche) will save you the most money overall on interest payments. High interest rates are what's keeping you in debt, and the faster you reduce or pay these cards off, the better. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. Make a list of gift recipients and assign a budget per person</h2> <p>I like to plan out my gift buying to the tee, because I know how bad I can be with impulse purchases around the holidays. You know what it's like: You plan to get your mom a nice perfume set, but then you see this great piece of jewelry on sale &mdash; and your entire budget unravels before your eyes.</p> <p>To combat this habit, I make an itemized list of what I'd like to buy for each person and assign a top-line budget based on the advertised retail price. And then I get to work. Before I make the final purchases, I scour my apps for cash-back deals, search the internet for promo codes, cash in my retailer rewards, and try to plan my in-store shopping around major sales. It helps that I get just about every circular and marketing email known to man &mdash; so I'm always abreast of what deals are going down &mdash; but you'll find equal savings with your own resourcefulness and research.</p> <p>The point of all this extra legwork is to drastically come in below the gifts' retail prices so you cannot only stay under budget but, in fact, walk away from the holidays a solid winner. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</a>)</p> <h2>6. Pay for gifts strictly from your holiday-spending envelope</h2> <p>Once you've made your itemized list of gifts and determined the overall budget, take out the cash from the bank, stick it in an envelope, and use only that money to buy gifts. There is no other alternative; this is all the money you have to spend, and you need to stick to this plan. If what you want to buy is online, consult your budget to make sure you're on track, then use your debit card. Then, immediately replace the deduction by making a deposit into your checking account so everything balances out. Yeah, it's old school &mdash; but it works.</p> <h2>7. Put any cash gifts you receive into savings or toward bills</h2> <p>Plan to put any holiday cash you receive from family members straight into your savings account or toward bills. This savings tactic isn't any fun &mdash; I understand &mdash; but you'll likely receive plenty of gift cards that you can spend instead that will help quell your urge to blow everything before the holidays even come to a close.</p> <h2>8. Shop with a buddy to keep each other away from impulse buys</h2> <p>I like shopping alone for several reasons. For starters, I don't have to wait on my companions and they don't have to wait on me, which, when shopping together, can really zap the relaxation out of my leisurely pace. Furthermore, I don't like people's opinions of my purchases or their comments about whether I really need this or that. It's my money, and I'll buy what I want.</p> <p>Except around holiday time.</p> <p>This is the time of year I like to employ the buddy system when shopping for the sole purpose of keeping each other focused on our lists and away from impulse buys. Because if my bestie can't smack my hand in public and tell me no, who can? That's what friends are for.</p> <h2>9. Lay the groundwork for 2018 and the future of your finances</h2> <p>There are a million things happening during the holidays, but that doesn't mean you can't look ahead and prepare yourself financially for the New Year. In fact, you owe it to yourself.</p> <p>Kevin Driscoll, VP of Advisory Services for Navy Federal Financial Group, agrees.</p> <p>&quot;If you're not already doing so, begin contributing to your 401(k),&quot; he says. &quot;Make 2018 the year of financial freedom in retirement by saving now. Check out the retirement plan your employer offers, and if they offer a match, be sure to take advantage of this.&quot;</p> <p>Also worth considering is investing in an online investment platform.</p> <p>&quot;You'll find that there are many sites that allow you to make minimal contributions to buy a portion of a stock,&quot; Driscoll continues. &quot;This is a great way to get your feet wet with investing and hopefully make some extra money, too. Additionally, these platforms are generally low maintenance, and don't require any prior knowledge of the market or investing.&quot;</p> <h2>10. Find ways to spend and save even smarter</h2> <p>Every year, one of your top resolutions should be to stay on top of your finances and to improve your own money management. How do you do that? That's really up to you, but it will require due diligence on your part. It could be as easy as subscribing to personal finance blogs so you'll receive the latest financial self-help articles in your inbox, or maybe you can enroll in a local course that will help you better understand your money and your relationship with it. Both of these tactics combined would be great, too.</p> <p>The point is, you should continue to educate yourself about how to spend and save smarter so you can achieve your goals and live a life free from the burden of debt. Easier said than accomplished, but people just like you do it on a regular basis. Invest in yourself and it will pay off eventually. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year's</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Money%2520Goals%2520You%2520Should%2520Set%2520for%2520the%2520Holidays.jpg&amp;description=10%20Money%20Goals%20You%20Should%20Set%20for%20the%20Holidays"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Money%20Goals%20You%20Should%20Set%20for%20the%20Holidays.jpg" alt="10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-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-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season">8 Secrets to a Debt-Free Holiday Season</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-excuses-we-need-to-stop-making-about-overspending">5 Excuses We Need to Stop Making About Overspending</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-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays">10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays</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/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">13 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-financial-gifts-to-give-your-kids-this-year">6 Smart Financial Gifts to Give Your Kids This Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgets cash Christmas deals debt gifts Holidays sales saving money shopping Spending Money Wed, 15 Nov 2017 09:00:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 2053944 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year's http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_years_resolutions_series.jpg" alt="New years resolutions series" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The new year is right around the corner and with it, a whole new set of resolutions. But why wait? There's still time to reshape your financial life before the ball drops and the Champagne toasts begin. Here are 10 financial resolutions you can conquer before New Year's.</p> <h2>1. Clarify your money goals</h2> <p>Success will always be elusive if you don't define it. Get specific about the goals you want to accomplish in the short-term (within the next year) and the long-term (beyond three years). Do you want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">pay off credit card debt</a> in the next six months? Do you want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home?ref=internal" target="_blank">save for a down payment on a home</a> in five years? Write down each objective and include the mini-milestones you need to hit along the way.</p> <h2>2. Build a budget</h2> <p>Don't let the word &quot;budget&quot; strike fear in your heart. The best ones are simple, realistic, and flexible. With your short and long-term goals in mind, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=internal" target="_blank">develop a budget</a> that accurately reflects your income and expenses. Refine as you go; some variable expense categories can be reduced and others may need to be expanded. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-better-budget-in-5-minutes-flat?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Build a Better Budget in 5 Minutes Flat</a>)</p> <h2>3. Cut your spending by 5 percent</h2> <p>Look for ways to cut your spending by just 5 percent starting next month. Can you finally cancel that unused gym membership? Switch to a cheaper cellphone plan? Brown-bag your lunch three days a week? All of the above? The percent you save is less important that simply being able to consciously change your spending habits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-savings-with-this-easy-budgeting-system?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Boost Your Savings With This Easy Budgeting System</a>)</p> <h2>4. Don't incur any new consumer debt</h2> <p>More debt means more interest, more stress, and fewer options in the new year. Put the credit cards on ice. Switch to cash if it helps control your spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-good-money-habits-that-will-keep-you-out-of-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Good Money Habits That Will Keep You Out of Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. Prioritize (and attack!) existing debt</h2> <p>Once you've cut your spending 5 percent, funnel the extra money toward paying down debt. But be strategic: Prioritize what you owe based on the interest rate and attack the highest interest debt first. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a>)</p> <h2>6. Open an IRA</h2> <p>Whether you choose a traditional or Roth, an individual retirement account can provide valuable tax advantages that make saving for retirement easier and much more effective. Start now. If you're under age 50, you can contribute a maximum of $5,500 in 2017. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-accounts-you-dont-need-a-ton-of-money-to-open?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Retirement Accounts You Don't Need a Ton of Money to Open </a>)</p> <h2>7. Start building an emergency fund</h2> <p>Life is unpredictable. Having an emergency fund large enough to cover three to six months' worth of living expenses is a smart strategy. It can help you weather a layoff, cover an uninsured medical expense, or deal with an urgent household repair. Not sure how to begin? Explore some simple ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0?ref=internal" target="_blank">build an emergency fund from $0</a>.</p> <h2>8. Start saving your change</h2> <p>Every time you pay for something with cash, pocket the change and save it. Stash all those coins in empty coffee cans or Mason jars. At the end of the year, you'll likely have a few hundred dollars to bulk up your emergency fund or IRA. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everyones-using-spare-change-apps-are-they-really-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Spare Change Apps &mdash; Are They Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>9. Get serious about a side hustle</h2> <p>There are two ways to improve your financial position: spend less or make more. And if you really want to shake things up, do <em>both</em>. Brainstorm ways to earn extra income outside your 9-to-5 job. The cash can be used to pay down debt or invest. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Best Side Jobs For Fast Cash</a>)</p> <h2>10. Try shopping secondhand</h2> <p>This resolution may surprise you, but I'm a firm believer in the power of thrift-shopping. Buying quality goods secondhand can save you thousands over the course of a year. Expand your consumer horizons and make paying retail your method of last resort. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-reasons-why-im-in-love-with-thrift-shopping-and-you-should-be-too?ref=seealso" target="_blank">31 Reasons I'm in Love With Thrift Shopping</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Financial%2520Resolutions%2520You%2520Can%2520Conquer%2520Before%2520New%2520Year%2527s.jpg&amp;description=10%20Financial%20Resolutions%20You%20Can%20Conquer%20Before%20New%20Year's"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Financial%20Resolutions%20You%20Can%20Conquer%20Before%20New%20Year%27s.jpg" alt="10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year's" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-conversations-parents-should-have-with-their-adult-kids">7 Money Conversations Parents Should Have With Their Adult Kids</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/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-online-forums-thatll-help-you-reach-your-financial-goals">9 Online Forums That&#039;ll Help You Reach Your Financial Goals</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting cutting expenses debt money goals resolutions retirement saving money secondhand shopping side gigs thrift stores Mon, 06 Nov 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Kentin Waits 2045796 at http://www.wisebread.com It's So Simple: 6 Steps to a Stable Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/its-so-simple-6-steps-to-a-stable-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/its-so-simple-6-steps-to-a-stable-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior_couple_dancing.jpg" alt="Senior couple dancing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you are new to personal finance, you might find yourself thinking that reaching retirement is sort of like reaching a mythical place like Hogwarts. In both cases, the process required for entry is never adequately explained &mdash; and getting there yourself feels more like fantasy than reality.</p> <p>While it's unlikely that an owl will ever arrive to welcome you to a magical school, retirement is actually attainable for each and every muggle. In fact, the rules for reaching a stable retirement are relatively simple and require absolutely no financial wizardry on your part,</p> <p>Here are the only six things you need to do to achieve a stable retirement &mdash; no magic wands required.</p> <h2>1. Always spend less than you earn</h2> <p>No matter how much you make, you need to live on less than you earn. This is the kind of so-simple-it-feels-obvious advice that many personal finance experts take for granted, but keeping your expenses below your income is the cornerstone of saving for a stable retirement. Many people assume that they need to make a certain level of income before they can afford to start saving for retirement, but that's not true. As long as you always spend less than you earn, you can always save toward your retirement.</p> <p>If you're not sure how to go about reducing your expenses so that you're no longer spending everything that comes in, start by tracking your spending. This will help you better understand where your money is going so you can cut back on unnecessary spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-and-spend-less-by-increasing-your-mental-transaction-costs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Save More and Spend Less by Increasing Your &quot;Mental Transaction Costs&quot;</a>)</p> <h2>2. Max out your retirement contributions</h2> <p>Both your employer-sponsored 401(k) and your individual retirement account (IRA) have yearly contribution limits that you should strive to meet every year. The 2017 contribution limits are $18,000 for 401(k) plans (plus an additional $6,000 in catch-up contributions if over age 50), and $5,500 for IRAs ($6,500 if over age 50). The traditional versions of these investment vehicles are tax-deferred, which means you are funding your accounts with pretax dollars. Roth 401(k) plans and IRAs are funded with money you have paid taxes on, but they, like the traditional vehicles, grow tax-free.</p> <p>Many people can't afford to meet the full contribution limit for their 401(k) plan, plus maxing out an IRA as well. However, getting as close to the maximum contribution as you can for both of these vehicles will put you well on your way to retirement stability. In addition, many employers offer a 401(k) contribution match &mdash; and not maxing out this kind of matching program is akin to leaving free money on the table. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-have-saved-for-retirement-by-30-40-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Should You Have Saved for Retirement by 30? 40? 50?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Work at least 35 years</h2> <p>While retiring early is a common dream among many workers, leaving the workforce before putting in 35 full years of employment could damage your bottom line in retirement. That's because your Social Security benefits are calculated using the 35 highest earning years in your career. If you have less than 35 years of work experience, the Social Security Administration uses zeros to create your benefit calculation, lowering your average earnings and your payout. If you don't have 35 years of employment history, it's a good idea to keep working to get those zeros replaced in your Social Security calculation.</p> <p>Doing whatever you can to increase your monthly benefit will make a big difference in your bottom line once you retire. The most important increase you can make is to work at least 35 years total &mdash; although waiting as long as you can to take Social Security benefits is also an important strategy for increasing your monthly Social Security check. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>4. Avoid debt</h2> <p>We live in a society that tells us we can have it all right now and pay for it later. The problem is that we <em>will</em> indeed pay for it later &mdash; with an impoverished retirement. While it may be possible to finance the lifestyle you want with debt, you will have no money available to save for retirement or otherwise invest. In addition, the added interest expense of borrowing money to pay for your lifestyle just makes it that much more expensive and unsustainable. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. Invest for the long-term with index funds</h2> <p>While the movies show investing as a kind of game that you win by figuring out when to buy low and sell high, the best way to make sure your money grows is to follow a long-term buy-and-hold strategy.</p> <p>A 2016 DALBAR study on investment behavior revealed that investors routinely underperform the market despite solid annualized returns. For example, at the end of 2015, the S&amp;P 500 was averaging a return of 8.19 percent. That same year, investors saw returns top out at a measly average 4.67 percent &mdash; and this pattern is not new. Why such a discrepancy? Simple; rather than employing a buy-and-hold strategy, investors routinely try (and fail) to time the market. Year after year, their returns suffer as a result.</p> <p>You can use statistics and a long investment term to your advantage by investing in index funds. These funds aim to replicate the movement of specific securities in a target index, which means an index fund is going to do about as well as the target securities will do. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-your-investments-to-do-better-stop-watching-the-news?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Want Your Investments to Do Better? Stop Watching the News</a>)</p> <h2>6. Take care of your health</h2> <p>Your health can have an enormous impact on your financial stability in retirement. That's because health care costs are a major concern in your older years, especially since this is one aspect of your retirement budget that you may not have control over. According to a 2016 Fidelity study, a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2016 will need about $260,000 to cover their medical and health care costs for the rest of their lives.</p> <p>While kale smoothies and daily kettlebell workouts cannot ensure your good health in retirement, taking good care of yourself throughout your life does improve the odds that you'll stay healthier as you age. You can consider each jog and healthy meal as an investment in your future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-poor-health-kill-your-retirement-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Let Poor Health Kill Your Retirement Fund</a>)</p> <h2>Reaching retirement, one step at a time</h2> <p>Achieving a stable retirement doesn't require any magic. Instead, it's a matter of following some simple rules that will ensure you have the money you need to retire comfortably.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fits-so-simple-6-steps-to-a-stable-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FIt%2527s%2520So%2520Simple_%25206%2520Steps%2520to%2520a%2520Stable%2520Retirement.jpg&amp;description=It's%20So%20Simple%3A%206%20Steps%20to%20a%20Stable%20Retirement"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/It%27s%20So%20Simple_%206%20Steps%20to%20a%20Stable%20Retirement.jpg" alt="It's So Simple: 6 Steps to a Stable Retirement" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-so-simple-6-steps-to-a-stable-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-moves-for-retirement">8 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Moves for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-your-retirement-is-on-track">8 Signs Your Retirement Is on Track</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-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement">5 Benefits of Carrying a Mortgage Into Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</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-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having">10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Retirement buy and hold contributions debt health care index funds investing returns social security benefits stable retirement Tue, 31 Oct 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2041362 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Benefits of Carrying a Mortgage Into Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior_black_couple_standing_outside_a_large_suburban_house.jpg" alt="Senior black couple standing outside a large suburban house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The goal is a simple one: You want to enter your retirement years without monthly mortgage payments. Unfortunately, not everyone meets this goal. According to Voya Financial, 26 percent of current retirees still have an outstanding mortgage balance.</p> <p>If you're one of these retirees, don't despair. It's not ideal, but leaving the working world with monthly mortgage payments doesn't have to be a financial disaster. There are some benefits of carrying a mortgage into your retirement years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-retiring-with-debt-isnt-the-end-of-the-world?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Retiring With Debt Isn't the End of the World</a>)</p> <h2>1. It's better than credit card debt</h2> <p>Mortgage debt comes with low interest rates. That makes it much less painful than credit card debt, for example. While your mortgage loan might come with an interest rate of 4 percent or even lower, you'd be lucky if the interest rate on your credit card was only 15 percent.</p> <p>So if you are nearing retirement and you have both mortgage and credit card debt, it makes more sense to devote any extra dollars to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">paying off your credit cards</a> first. You can start worrying about your mortgage after you've eliminated your debt with the highest interest.</p> <p>Of course, it's best to enter retirement with neither mortgage nor credit card debt. If this isn't possible for you, do the smart thing and tackle those cards first. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-youre-retiring-with-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do If You're Retiring With Debt</a>)</p> <h2>2. Sometimes it's better to invest</h2> <p>You might be able to pay off that mortgage loan before retirement if you sink enough of your extra dollars into it. But it might make more sense to place those same dollars into the stock market or other investment vehicle.</p> <p>The average annual return for the S&amp;P 500 since it was first launched in 1928 has been about 10 percent. And that's factoring in both great years and terrible years. So instead of pouring more money into your mortgage, you might do better financially by investing your extra dollars and enjoying the higher returns. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</a>)</p> <p>This only holds true, of course, if you can actually afford your mortgage payment once you move into retirement. If you're worried that you won't have enough monthly cash flow to make these payments on time, do everything you can to pay off that mortgage first. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-you-can-cut-costs-right-before-you-retire-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways You Can Cut Costs Right Before You Retire</a>)</p> <h2>3. Paying rent can be risky</h2> <p>Your retirement plan might involve selling your home, paying off your mortgage, and downsizing to an apartment. But be careful: Renting comes with plenty of risk.</p> <p>If you have a fixed-rate mortgage, your payment will remain mostly constant until you pay it off. If you're renting, though, your landlord can raise your monthly payment every time your current lease agreement comes to an end.</p> <p>When living on a fixed income, certainty is good. The life of a renter doesn't have as much certainty. Again, if you can afford your monthly mortgage payment, you might want to keep it and avoid the uncertainty of rent that could fluctuate from year to year.</p> <h2>4. You won't lose the tax deduction</h2> <p>Homeowners with mortgage payments do receive a tax deduction every year. Each year, they can deduct the amount of interest they pay on their home loans. If you pay off your mortgage loan, you'll lose this deduction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is it Safe to Re-Finance Your Home Close to Retirement?</a>)</p> <p>It's important to note, though, that this deduction might not be particularly large by the time you're nearing retirement. That's because you pay far more interest each year during the earliest days of your mortgage. By retirement age, you'll probably be paying far less in interest with each monthly payment.</p> <p>Again, though, if having a mortgage payment fits comfortably in your budget, you might want to keep that deduction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-real-estate-cuts-your-taxes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Surprising Ways Real Estate Cuts Your Taxes</a>)</p> <h2>5. You keep your dream home</h2> <p>Most retirees who need to pay off a mortgage do so by selling their homes. But what if you love your home? What if it's located in the ideal location near family members and friends? You might not want to sell.</p> <p>And what if selling your home won't generate enough income to allow you to move into an assisted-living facility, downtown condo, or smaller suburban home? There's no guarantee that you'll fetch the dollars you need in a home sale.</p> <p>Keeping the mortgage &mdash; if you can afford the payments &mdash; could allow you to stay in a home that already fits your needs.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Benefits%2520of%2520Carrying%2520a%2520Mortgage%2520Into%2520Retirement.jpg&amp;description=5%20Benefits%20of%20Carrying%20a%20Mortgage%20Into%20Retirement"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Benefits%20of%20Carrying%20a%20Mortgage%20Into%20Retirement.jpg" alt="5 Benefits of Carrying a Mortgage Into Retirement" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-that-will-ruin-your-mortgage-application">5 Money Moves That Will Ruin Your Mortgage Application</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-home-buying-habits-we-can-learn-from-millennials">4 Home-Buying Habits We Can Learn From Millennials</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/should-you-pay-your-mortgage-off-early">Should You Pay Your Mortgage Off Early?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your Home</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-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Retirement benefits debt homeownership investing loans low interest rates monthly payments mortgages tax deductions Wed, 25 Oct 2017 08:30:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2039415 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Family Money Matters Your Kids Don't Need to Know http://www.wisebread.com/9-family-money-matters-your-kids-dont-need-to-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-family-money-matters-your-kids-dont-need-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/working_at_home_1.jpg" alt="Working at home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you have kids, there will come a time when you want to teach them about money. Some basic personal finance lessons can go a long way toward helping your children understand things like spending, saving, and even investing.</p> <p>But there are many things about your family's finances that your children don't need to know right away, even if they are curious. Information about your family's income, debt, and spending can be confusing and even troubling to younger kids. And kids are prone to share this information when it's best to keep it private.</p> <p>Older teenagers may benefit from learning more about your financial situation as they approach an age when they will be earning money and making purchases on their own. But for younger children, especially, it may be best to keep the following financial information close to your vest. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-parenting-mistakes-to-avoid-when-teaching-kids-about-money?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Parenting Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching Kids About Money</a>)</p> <h2>1. Your income</h2> <p>Your kids don't need to know how much money you make. All they need to know is that you love them and will care for them. Younger kids, in particular, have no real sense of the value of money anyway. You could tell them you earn $100 a year and they would think you are rich.</p> <p>Children also have a habit of blabbing, and you never want to find your children bragging to other kids &mdash; or even worse, their parents &mdash; about how much money you earn. Your kids will be better off learning that happiness and financial security have less to do with your income and more to do with what you do with money when you have it. This means teaching them about saving, about being charitable to others, and about being appreciative of what you have.</p> <h2>2. Which parent earns more</h2> <p>It's common for one parent to earn more than the other. This is especially true if one parent chooses to stop working or works part-time to raise a family. Children should generally be left oblivious to which spouse is higher earning because salaries don't represent a person's full contribution to the family.</p> <p>If one parent stops working, it may mean they are taking on a greater share of household responsibilities. And it's also important to note that many of our more important professions are not particularly high paying. A schoolteacher may bring in less money than their banker spouse, but is likely to work just as hard. Rather than share details with your child about which spouse earns more, simply explain to them the value of all work, and give them an appreciation of the broad, non-monetary contributions needed to keep a household going.</p> <h2>3. Your retirement balance</h2> <p>Let's say you've been saving aggressively for retirement and have several hundred thousands of dollars saved. Now, let's say you just told your daughter she can't have ice cream because it costs too much. A child, if she was aware of your retirement savings, might find this baffling. It's hard for young people to grasp that you may have a large amount in savings but are still pinching pennies.</p> <p>Your retirement savings and overall net worth is not something that should be shared too widely. A child who finds out his dad has hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank may be motivated to brag, and that's not good. So it's best to keep information about your retirement plan to yourself.</p> <h2>4. Your debts</h2> <p>Debt can be a major source of family stress, but it's a stress that only parents should carry. Your worries about how you'll pay off that credit card bill or how you'll make those car payments are your worries, not your kids'. There may be instances when you need to be honest with your children if there is money trouble, and older children may benefit from lessons in money management, credit, and the cost of borrowing. But as long as you are able to provide and care for your kids, they are best left unaware of your financial debt burden.</p> <h2>5. The price of your home</h2> <p>The cost of your house is public information, but that doesn't mean you need to broadcast it to your kids. The only thing that kids need to know about housing is that they have a roof over their head. What you paid for your house should, to the best of your ability, be kept between the buyer, seller, and real estate agent.</p> <p>Additionally, it's best not to share too much detail about mortgage debt. If they ever get a hint that you are struggling to make mortgage payments, that will only lead to anxiety.</p> <h2>6. What you inherit</h2> <p>If a relative passes away and leaves some assets to you, the specifics of that inheritance should be kept as private as possible. This is especially true if the inheritance is quite large. If a child learns of a sizable windfall and shares that information with others, that can lead to jealous family members or friends, and could even make you a target for thieves and scammers.</p> <p>Sometimes, certain family members receive less than others, or are cut out of the will altogether. This can result in family strife that children should not be concerned about.</p> <p>For older children, it is OK to explain to them how inheritances work, as they may take comfort in believing you'll leave them something when you pass. And there will be a time when you need to tell older children about their own inheritance so they have an idea of what they may have to manage.</p> <h2>7. The cost of gifts</h2> <p>Kids have a way of believing that the most expensive item is always the best. They'll reject something if they believe you got it at a deep discount or (gasp!) second-hand. So parents may be best served by not indicating how much they spent on that video game system or that baseball bat. By hiding the cost of items you buy for your kids, they may be more inclined to evaluate the gift on its merits.</p> <h2>8. Child support payments and alimony</h2> <p>If you and your spouse have divorced, you may be on the hook for child support payments, alimony, or both. These costs are usually determined by courts and can be a major source of tension between parents. The children are best left unaware of these details and any drama or conflict surrounding them. It may be comforting to a child if they are aware that support payments are being made, but sharing specific dollar figures can be problematic.</p> <h2>9. In some cases, the cost of college</h2> <p>This is a tricky one. If your child will end up paying for their own college education, he or she will obviously need to know what they'll be on the hook for. And if you are paying for all or part of college, they will be well served to know how much of a financial commitment you are making toward their education. (It will comfort them to know you are saving as much as possible.) But this information should not come to them immediately. A child's first priority should be to stay in school and get good grades. A young high schooler does not need to be burdened with the stress of whether they need to get scholarships or whether they'll be on the hook for student loans later.</p> <p>It's also important to understand that final college costs can vary from family to family, depending on scholarships and financial aid. A wealthy family might pay the full price to send their child to an Ivy League school, while a low-income family may pay next to nothing. This family financial information is really nobody's business, so it's important to be judicious in what you share with your child.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F9-family-money-matters-your-kids-dont-need-to-know&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F9%2520Family%2520Money%2520Matters%2520Your%2520Kids%2520Don%2527t%2520Need%2520to%2520Know.jpg&amp;description=9%20Family%20Money%20Matters%20Your%20Kids%20Don't%20Need%20to%20Know"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/9%20Family%20Money%20Matters%20Your%20Kids%20Don%27t%20Need%20to%20Know.jpg" alt="9 Family Money Matters Your Kids Don't Need to Know" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-family-money-matters-your-kids-dont-need-to-know">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/6-smart-financial-gifts-to-give-your-kids-this-year">6 Smart Financial Gifts to Give Your Kids This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-conversations-parents-should-have-with-their-adult-kids">7 Money Conversations Parents Should Have With Their Adult Kids</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/teach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists">Teach Your Kids About Money With Their Holiday Gift Lists</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-the-holidays-to-teach-kids-about-money">How to Use the Holidays to Teach Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family alimony borrowing child support children debt divorce high earners income kids retirement spending Wed, 25 Oct 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Tim Lemke 2038887 at http://www.wisebread.com The 4 Smartest Things to Do With an Inheritance http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-smartest-things-to-do-with-an-inheritance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-4-smartest-things-to-do-with-an-inheritance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/one_hundred_usd_bills_stack.jpg" alt="One hundred USD bills stack" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever wondered what you'd do if you found yourself with an unexpected financial windfall, such as an inheritance? Chances are, you didn't say what most Americans actually do &mdash; which is, basically, to blow it all.</p> <p>That's right. According to recent research cited by the National Endowment for Financial Education, an estimated seven in 10 people who suddenly receive a large sum of money will lose it all within just a few years. It's not just a couple of bucks we're talking about, either &mdash; $30 trillion is expected to transfer between baby boomers and their heirs during the next 30 to 40 years, according to a recent report released by consulting giant Accenture. That's some serious cash.</p> <p>For many Americans, a modest inheritance of even $5,000 has the potential to change life for the better, so long as the inheritor knows what to do with the cash. Sadly, many of us don't. That's why I turned to financial planners from around the country and asked them outright: What exactly should an heir do with a newfound inheritance? Here's what they had to say.</p> <h2>Take time to grieve</h2> <p>An unexpected financial windfall &mdash; particularly if it was bestowed upon you following the death of a loved one &mdash; can often be accompanied by unexpected feelings of guilt. Many inheritors would much rather have more time with a beloved uncle than a bank account filled with his riches.</p> <p>Still, Matt Adams, financial adviser and partner at registered investment advisory firm Money Methods, suggests inheritors honor the memory of the giver by being a good steward of those newly acquired funds. &quot;It took sacrifice for the inheritor to acquire those assets,&quot; he says. &quot;Have a heart of gratitude and don't blow the money.&quot;</p> <p>Of course, that's often easier said than done, particularly if we don't have experience managing money or if friends or loved ones have designs on your newfound wealth.</p> <h2>Keep mum about your newfound riches</h2> <p>Your true friends will be there to help you grieve, but it may be in your best interest to keep the details about your newly inherited wealth to yourself. Many inheritors are surprised by how quickly their circle of friends and family seems to grow once word gets out about their newfound riches. Particularly during a time of grief, when many of us can fall prey to poorly made decisions, you'll want to know that your loved ones are there because they want to support you &mdash; not because they're hoping for financial gain.</p> <p>Sadly, that warning doesn't just apply to your besties.</p> <p>&quot;As a former banker, I can tell you that as soon as your deposit hits your account, bells and whistles will go off, informing everyone from the teller to the branch manager,&quot; says Jude Wilson, chief financial strategist at Wilson Group Financial. &quot;They will all have opinions of what you should do with your money.&quot; And, if you don't choose your advisers carefully, those opinions could very well be at odds with what is in your best interest.</p> <h2>Seek out sound expert advice</h2> <p>Many inheritors don't know how to manage a large influx of funds and, without the necessary financial know-how, it's easy to make money mistakes. You may intend to take good care of your benefactor's wealth, but &quot;it can be stressful to figure out how,&quot; says Wilson, who suggests new inheritors put together what he calls a &quot;dream team&quot; of advisers. This includes:</p> <ul style="margin-left: 40px;"> <li> <p>A financial planner who can help you develop a money plan that works best for you and your individual situation.</p> </li> <li> <p>A tax planner who can help you work through and perhaps even minimize the tax implications of your newfound wealth.</p> </li> <li> <p>An attorney who can help you navigate any potential probate issues.</p> </li> </ul> <p>If you find the idea of finding and hiring three new experts overwhelming, start with the financial planner. A good financial planner can help you identify any other experts you may need on your team. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-these-5-questions-before-deciding-on-a-financial-advisor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Ask These 5 Questions Before Deciding on a Financial Adviser</a>)</p> <p>If you just want someone to help you get started but don't want to pay for ongoing support, you can get a financial plan written up for a one-time fee from a fee-only certified financial planner. &quot;The cost can be anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 depending on the scope of work and the experience of the planner,&quot; says Taylor Schulte, financial planner and owner of Stay Wealthy San Diego.</p> <p>Ultimately, though, make sure that you or the pro you're working with understands what type of money you're inheriting and how it should be treated. &quot;It could be a major misstep to liquidate and spend qualified money from an IRA [or other retirement account], which would be taxed at ordinary income rates,&quot; says Mitchell Bloom, financial planner, author, public speaker, and president of Bloom Financial.</p> <h2>Develop your money plan</h2> <p>Most of the planners I spoke with generally agree upon the steps new inheritors should take toward using their newfound wealth to build a financial base. Those include:</p> <ul style="margin-left: 40px;"> <li> <p>Pay off your high-interest debts. This is particularly true if you hold <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt" target="_blank">high-interest credit cards</a> or other consumer debt, like loans issued by furniture stores or used car dealerships. Student loans and new car debt also falls within this category.</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund" target="_blank">Create an emergency fund</a>. This should amount to somewhere between three and six months' worth of expenses and, ultimately, should be able to tide you over in the event of an unexpected financial catastrophe like a job loss or illness.</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-retirement-savings-fast-with-this-6-step-plan" target="_blank">Boost your retirement savings</a>. A financial boon can help fill the gap between falling short and being retirement ready.</p> </li> </ul> <p>In short, it's far from easy to manage an inheritance. Make the most of the money your loved one left. That means using the funds to create a better life for yourself in the long run, no matter how much was passed down. It's what your benefactor would want.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-4-smartest-things-to-do-with-an-inheritance&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%25204%2520Smartest%2520Things%2520to%2520Do%2520With%2520an%2520Inheritance.jpg&amp;description=The%204%20Smartest%20Things%20to%20Do%20With%20an%20Inheritance"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%204%20Smartest%20Things%20to%20Do%20With%20an%20Inheritance.jpg" alt="The 4 Smartest Things to Do With an Inheritance" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-smartest-things-to-do-with-an-inheritance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</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-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-money-moves-for-empty-nesters">7 Smart Money Moves for Empty Nesters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years">10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year&#039;s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting debt emergency fund grief heirs inheritance last will and testament leaving money retirement contributions windfalls Tue, 24 Oct 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 2038827 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Money Habits That Make You Look Financially Immature http://www.wisebread.com/11-money-habits-that-make-you-look-financially-immature <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-money-habits-that-make-you-look-financially-immature" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/how_to_make_money_quickly.jpg" alt="How to make money quickly" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Our culture loves the tortured rebel &mdash; that character who flies in the face of convention and refuses to grow up. It's the stuff of great filmmaking. But when it comes to money matters, putting your inner child in charge carries some serious consequences (after all, debt, poverty, and a steady diet of Hot Pockets doesn't look so great on a 30-year-old). If you're ready to reinvent your financial life, stop acting like a kid. Here are the money habits that make you look financially immature. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a>)</p> <h2>1. Spending extravagantly</h2> <p>If you regularly blow your budget to keep up with Joneses, you probably view money as a game piece in a never-ending competition of conspicuous consumption. But while you're trying to amass more toys, your peers are gradually &mdash; and quite inconspicuously &mdash; building long-term financial security.</p> <h2>2. Buying on impulse</h2> <p>Impulse buys are forgivable if you're a kid surrounded by candy in the checkout lane. But for grown-ups, buying on impulse means you're easily manipulated by marketing tricks, have issues with self-control, or need to fill some sort of void. Whatever the reason, it's a habit that hints at deep financial immaturity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-never-succumb-to-impulse-spending-again?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Never Succumb to Impulse Spending Again</a>)</p> <h2>3. Borrowing from friends and family</h2> <p>Constantly needing to borrow money from friends and family shows that you're unable to properly budget, manage your spending, or plan ahead. Oh, and it's probably the main reason people are less likely to take your calls at the end of every month.</p> <h2>4. Overdrawing accounts</h2> <p>Knowing exactly how much money you have to spend is the cornerstone of personal finance. Consistently overdrawing your bank account shows that you're operating on a bad guess and don't mind giving away $33.04 (the average overdraft free in the U.S. in 2016) for every infraction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-common-mistakes-youre-making-with-your-checking-account?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Common Mistakes You're Making With Your Checking Account</a>)</p> <h2>5. Maxing out credit cards</h2> <p>There will always be people who confuse their credit limit with their spending limit. It's a behavior that shows a profound level of financial naiveté. Besides getting hit with interest and late fees, these folks live in a constant state of stress. Caught in an endless cycle of debt servitude, they can't save and are unable to cope with even a minor hiccup in income. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Oops &mdash; I Maxed Out My Credit Cards. Now What?</a>)</p> <h2>6. Receiving calls from creditors</h2> <p>Does your heart skip a beat every time the phone rings? Well, you're either deeply in love or deeply in debt. If it's the latter, you have my sympathy. Creditors are tireless in their attempts to collect on debt. The older and wiser among us avoid being pulled into their exhausting web at all costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-debt-collectors-dont-want-you-to-know?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Things Debt Collectors Don't Want You to Know</a>)</p> <h2>7. Paying late fees</h2> <p>A late fee is a tax you pay for not understanding how calendars work. Getting hit with late charges on credit cards, rent, and even library books shows that you and money have a youthful and complicated relationship. Even worse, all those fees can nickel and dime a budget to death. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</a>)</p> <h2>8. Having services shut off</h2> <p>Dining by candlelight can be romantic &mdash; when it's a choice. But it's hard to put a sexy spin on the electricity, water, or heat being shut off for nonpayment. If your utilities are constantly in question, it's time for some serious adulting.</p> <h2>9. Letting your parents pay your bills</h2> <p>Do your parents pick up the tab for your cellphone or car insurance? Could you make ends meet without their help? If you answered <em>yes</em> to the first question and <em>no</em> to the second, you're still a babe in the woods financially. Make a plan to pay your own way.</p> <h2>10. Dodging the landlord</h2> <p>Do you check the peephole before leaving your apartment? Keep the TV volume on low? Wear a wig to the laundry room? Well, Mrs. Doubtfire, it sounds like you're dodging the landlord. Not being able to come up with the rent month after month is a sure sign of money immaturity &mdash; and a big clue that it's time to get a roommate, move to cheaper digs, or find a way to boost your income.</p> <h2>11. Not saving</h2> <p>If you're not squirreling money away in a savings account or emergency fund, you're either a doe-eyed optimist or woefully uninformed. In today's economy, a financial cushion is essential for dealing with layoffs, unexpected household expenses, and every other &quot;what-if&quot; life throws your way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F11-money-habits-that-make-you-look-financially-immature&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F11%2520Money%2520Habits%2520That%2520Make%2520You%2520Look%2520Financially%2520Immature.jpg&amp;description=11%20Money%20Habits%20That%20Make%20You%20Look%20Financially%20Immature"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/11%20Money%20Habits%20That%20Make%20You%20Look%20Financially%20Immature.jpg" alt="11 Money Habits That Make You Look Financially Immature" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-money-habits-that-make-you-look-financially-immature">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-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays</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/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</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-types-of-overspenders-which-one-are-you">5 Types of Overspenders — Which One Are You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">6 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-you-will-always-be-thankful-for">7 Money Moves You Will Always Be Thankful For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle borrowing money Creditors debt immature impulse buys keeping up with the joneses money moves parents Spending Money Tue, 24 Oct 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Kentin Waits 2038487 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Determine If Your Finances Are Ready for a Big Purchase http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-determine-if-your-finances-are-ready-for-a-big-purchase <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-determine-if-your-finances-are-ready-for-a-big-purchase" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman_with_piggybank.jpg" alt="Businesswoman with piggybank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Maybe you're ready to make an offer on that dream home down the street. Maybe you're eying a new car for that long commute to work. Or, maybe you just want to plunk down a few thousand dollars on a fancy vacation or the latest gadget. How do you know that you're financially ready to make such a large purchase?</p> <p>Whatever it is that you want to buy won't bring you any joy if you can't actually afford it. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself to make sure you're financially ready to commit to a big purchase.</p> <h2>Do you already pay all your bills on time?</h2> <p>If you're taking out a loan for a large purchase such as a house or car, first look at how you pay the rest of your bills. Do you routinely pay your credit card bill three weeks late? How about your utilities or cellphone bill?</p> <p>If that's the case, you're not ready for the financial responsibility of another large monthly payment. If you're already struggling to pay your bills on time, adding another even larger bill to your financial responsibilities will only put you at a higher risk of accumulating debt.</p> <p>You can hurt your credit score doing this, too. If you're late on the monthly payments for a house or car by 30 days or more, your score will tumble &mdash; usually by 100 points or more. If you struggle enough to pay those big payments on time, you might even lose the house or car altogether.</p> <p>Protect yourself financially by holding off on that big purchase until you've already developed the habit of paying all your other monthly bills on time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <h2>How much wiggle room is left in your budget?</h2> <p>Before making any big purchase, it's important to check your household budget. Make sure you have the ability to make the monthly payments comfortably while leaving enough money to cover your other monthly expenses.</p> <p>And if you don't have a budget, you absolutely need to make one. How else will you know if you can afford your new purchase to begin with? Making a budget isn't as intimidating as it sounds. First, list all your recurring expenses each month. Then estimate how much you spend each month on discretionary and non-fixed expenses such as entertainment, groceries, and eating out. Finally, list your monthly income. The difference is how much you can afford to spend on new purchases and save each month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-better-budget-in-5-minutes-flat?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Build a Better Budget in 5 Minutes Flat</a>)</p> <h2>How strong is your credit?</h2> <p>Before taking out a loan for a new car, home, or other big purchase, make sure to check your credit. Lenders rely on your credit score to determine if you qualify for loans and, if you do, how high of an interest rate they'll charge. Lenders consider credit scores of 740 or higher to be strong ones. Generally, the lower your credit score, the higher your interest rate on loans. The higher the interest rate, the more paying off that big purchase will cost you over time.</p> <p>You can check your credit reports &mdash; a list of your outstanding loans, how much you owe on credit cards, and whether you have any late payments or other financial blemishes in your past &mdash; by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. At this site, you can order one free copy of each of your three credit reports (from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) every year. It's important to make sure that there are no errors on your credit reports and that the bureaus don't have any late payments or other financial black marks listed against you. These reports, though, don't contain your credit score. You can order your score for a small fee from any of the bureaus.</p> <p>Before making a purchase big enough to warrant a loan, you might want to check your credit score to determine if you'll be saddled with high interest rates. A score under 640 will almost always leave you with a sky-high rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Fast</a>)</p> <h2>How much credit card debt do you have?</h2> <p>Credit card debt is among the worst kind of debt to have. Interest rates can be as high as 16 percent, 18 percent, or even higher. If you carry a balance on your cards each month, your credit card debt grows quickly.</p> <p>If you are struggling to pay down your credit cards, resist the temptation to spend big on electronics, furniture, or other items. Instead, devote that money to paying down your debt. And if you can only make that big purchase by putting it on one of your credit cards, <em>don't</em> pull the trigger. You will only dig yourself deeper into a hole. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>Can you cover the maintenance expenses?</h2> <p>Sometimes buying an expensive item is only the start of how much you'll actually pay for it in the long run. Many big-ticket items come with high yearly maintenance expenses. Consider a house, for example: Sure, you'll spend a lot of money upfront to buy one. But you can also expect to spend 1 percent of your home's purchase price on maintenance each year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Hidden Housing Costs New Homeowners Don't Expect</a>)</p> <p>If you can't afford to maintain your big purchase, hold off until you can create more wiggle room in your budget.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-determine-if-your-finances-are-ready-for-a-big-purchase&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Determine%2520If%2520Your%2520Finances%2520Are%2520Ready%2520for%2520a%2520Big%2520Purchase.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Determine%20If%20Your%20Finances%20Are%20Ready%20for%20a%20Big%20Purchase"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Determine%20If%20Your%20Finances%20Are%20Ready%20for%20a%20Big%20Purchase.jpg" alt="How to Determine If Your Finances Are Ready for a Big Purchase" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-determine-if-your-finances-are-ready-for-a-big-purchase">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own">5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own</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-bounce-back-from-a-bankruptcy">How to Bounce Back From a Bankruptcy</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-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years">10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year&#039;s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-money-milestones-anyone-can-hit">6 Simple Money Milestones Anyone Can Hit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance affordability big purchases budgeting credit score debt financial readiness maintenance Wed, 18 Oct 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2037388 at http://www.wisebread.com How a Single Mother In Debt Over $200K Is Fixing Her Finances http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-single-mother-in-debt-over-200k-is-fixing-her-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-a-single-mother-in-debt-over-200k-is-fixing-her-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_finances_108359432.jpg" alt="Single mother managing her debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For those of us actively trying to improve our financial situation, it's inspiring to read about others who have succeeded. Dilenia Frias is one such example, embarking upon Wise Bread's Total Financial Transformation Plan, and successfully improving her credit score, better managing her debt, and on the road to higher earnings in just a few, short months.</p> <p>When we first met Dilenia in August, she shared her financial concerns with us: Over $200,000 in student loan debt, tens of thousands owed on credit cards, personal loans, and a timeshare, a damaged credit score, and relatively low earnings despite graduating law school. To top it off, Dilenia was recently unemployed for two years, and is a single mother residing in New York City, an area with arguably the highest of cost of living in the country. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>We decided to help Dilenia tackle these challenges one-by-one, by providing methodical advice for stabilizing her debt, raising her credit score, and improving her earnings. Read on to hear Dilenia's story in her own words &mdash; and even better, her remarkable progress in the two months since we first talked.</p> <h2>Credit Cards</h2> <p><em>I have $8,500 in credit card debt, spread over three cards &mdash; American Express, Children's Place, and Discover cards. My cards' interest rates are anywhere from 10.99-24%, and most are maxed out or over their credit limit. </em></p> <h3>Our advice:</h3> <ul> <li>Contact your creditors, explain your situation, and request lower interest rates, if possible. Always pay on time &mdash; even if it's only your minimum payments.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Try to bring your balances under the credit card's limit &mdash; this will have an immediate impact on your credit score. Long-term, your goal should be to keep your balances under 30% of your total available credit. This will significantly boost your credit.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>One useful trick for repaying cards is to make two payments per month, instead of just one. For example, if you normally make one monthly payment of $100, try making two payments of $50 each. Since interest is calculated over the entire month, this will reduce your interest owed. Plus, depending on what time of the month your card reports to the credit bureaus, it may also show a lower debt level and boost your score.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't close your credit cards &mdash; even once you pay them off! This reduces the amount of credit you have available, which lowers your credit score.</li> </ul> <h3>Dilenia's credit card situation now</h3> <p><em>My Equifax credit score went up 48 points to 677!</em></p> <p><em>I hadn't used my Children's Place credit card in about a year, and the suggestion was to use the card for at least a small amount, so that my account wouldn't get closed for lack of use, so I spent $125 on gift cards in August. I received my bill later in August and paid it on time. I received an email approximately a week ago that my credit limit was increased from $500 to $750. </em></p> <p><em>I also paid my American Express enough so that my statement only showed a $99 balance when the statement printed (so I was using a little under 20% of my credit limit). My Discover card was also a bit over the limit last month, but I brought the balance back down in time for the September statement closing date. I am still using almost 100% of my credit limit, but at least I am no longer above my credit limit.</em></p> <h2>Personal loan and timeshare</h2> <p><em>My $7,000 personal loan was unfortunately charged off in 2015, when, after leaving my job in February 2015, was only able to make payments until May 2015. I am currently paying $150 per month to the collection agency handling the account. Based on the amount owed, I would need to make payments until April 2021.</em></p> <p><em>A $9,000 loan for a timeshare is also in collections. I am currently trying to negotiate a limited-use timeshare based on the payments I have already made, but was told that I needed to make a final payment to the collection agency before they would release my account to the timeshare company. If I am able to regain the timeshare, I might be able to sublease it.</em></p> <h3>Our advice:</h3> <ul> <li>Aggressively try to regain use of the timeshare on a more limited-use basis. Request that the collections agency annotate your credit report to show that your are making payments on time.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Once you regain limited <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-thousands-by-buying-a-timeshare-on-the-secondary-market?ref=internal" target="_blank">use of the timeshare, sublease it</a> using services such as rentmytimesharenow.com. Apply any extra money toward repaying credit cards more quickly, starting with the highest-interest card first.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Attempt to negotiate lower payments or interest rates directly with the personal loan collections agency. Ensure they've annotated your credit report to reflect that your account is being paid on time per your agreement.</li> </ul> <h3>Dilenia's personal loan and timeshare situation now</h3> <p><em>I recently made a payment to the timeshare company, and I am awaiting documents transferring ownership in my previous timeshare to a new timeshare. When the paperwork is finalized, the collection account currently being reported to my credit reports will be removed. That should also increase my score, and also allow me to sublease the unit.</em></p> <h2>Student loans</h2> <p><em>I have over $200,000 in federal student loans, most of which are being repaid via the Income Based Repayment program (IBR). However, I have over $16,000 in Perkins loans which are currently on deferment; I'll need to start making payments on these, too, by March 2018. Due to my limited income and two dependents, my current monthly payment is $0. </em></p> <h3>Our advice:</h3> <ul> <li>Consolidate <em>all</em> your student loans &mdash; including the Perkins loans, so that they can all be placed on IBR and result in a low payment.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Place your IBR account on autopay &mdash; even if your payment is $0, it may result in a slightly lower interest rate.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Contact your law school's employment services office and inquire whether your school offers any debt forgiveness for students in public service or other modestly-paid legal jobs.</li> </ul> <h2>Income, employment, and other credit boosts</h2> <p>In order to be admitted to the Bar, lawyers must pass a Character &amp; Fitness (C&amp;F) evaluation, including a credit check. Unfortunately, given Dilenia's credit issues, being denied entry to the Bar (and a higher income as an attorney) was a real possibility.</p> <p>Thankfully, by bringing all of Dilenia's accounts current and boosting her credit score, C&amp;F should be less of an issue, thus ensuring that Dilenia should be employable as an attorney by late this year. This will likely result in higher income and allow Dilenia to repay debt more aggressively. More importantly, it'll enable her to save &mdash; even a modest amount saved every month toward an emergency fund of three-to-six months' expenses will help ensure she doesn't get into this sort of trouble again. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a>)</p> <p>Dilenia's 19-year-old son is also considering seeking employment to help contribute to household expenses, and once Dilenia's timeshare is subleased, the extra income can be applied to debt and emergency fund savings.</p> <p>Dilenia has made great progress, and she can do more still. Dilenia should request higher credit limits on her cards once she's made twelve on-time monthly payments and dropped her balances. Then, once her cards are paid off, she should open new lines of credit &mdash; such as gas cards &mdash; and not use them. This will all result in lower credit utilization ratios &mdash; and higher credit scores.</p> <p>Recently Dilenia joined eMoneyPool, since it reports user accounts to credit bureaus like Experian. eMoneyPool is an online version of a savings club in which members make regular contributions and receive &quot;payouts&quot; of their savings on targeted dates. She joined two $500 money-sharing pools in August, and by early September the account was added to her Experian credit report.</p> <p>Dilenia can also have her rental payments reported to the credit bureaus using services such as RentTrack or RentReporters. Depending on the lender and the type of credit score they use to determine credit worthiness, this could help her with loans or other credit applications down the line.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-a-single-mother-in-debt-over-200k-is-fixing-her-finances&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520a%2520Single%2520Mother%2520In%2520Debt%2520Over%2520200K%2520Is%2520Fixing%2520Her%2520Finances.jpg&amp;description=How%20a%20Single%20Mother%20In%20Debt%20Over%20200K%20Dollars%20Is%20Fixing%20Her%20Finances"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20a%20Single%20Mother%20In%20Debt%20Over%20200K%20Is%20Fixing%20Her%20Finances.jpg" alt="How a Single Mother In Debt Over $200K Is Fixing Her Finances" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janet-alvarez">Janet Alvarez</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-single-mother-in-debt-over-200k-is-fixing-her-finances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</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/peak-debt">Peak 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/whats-the-big-deal-about-banks-refusing-to-lend">What&#039;s the big deal about banks refusing to lend?</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/recession-journal-part-i-fast-money-in-the-09">Recession Journal Part I: &#039;Fast&#039; Money in the &#039;09</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/whats-the-best-way-to-get-out-of-debt">What&#039;s the Best Way to Get out of Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management credit debt extra income rent student loans timeshare total financial transformation Mon, 16 Oct 2017 16:02:05 +0000 Janet Alvarez 2037681 at http://www.wisebread.com Your Good Credit Doesn't Mean You Have Good Money Habits http://www.wisebread.com/your-good-credit-doesnt-mean-you-have-good-money-habits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-good-credit-doesnt-mean-you-have-good-money-habits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sad_woman_looking_at_wallet_money_dollars_flying_away.jpg" alt="Sad woman looking at wallet money dollars flying away" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your credit score is great. You have no trouble qualifying for auto or mortgage loans. Credit card providers stuff your mailbox with offers for rewards-laden cards. You're obviously practicing good money habits, right?</p> <p>Not necessarily. It is possible to have a high credit score while still struggling with bad financial habits. Don't let your solid score blind you to these key money mistakes that could cause you financial pain.</p> <h2>Carrying a balance on your credit card</h2> <p>If you charge items on your credit cards each month and make at least your minimum required monthly payments, that will boost your credit score. And if you have high enough credit limits, carrying a moderate balance on your credit cards each month won't drag your score down too much.</p> <p>But carrying a balance on a credit card, even if it isn't preventing you from having a high credit score, is a big financial mistake. It's not unusual for cards to come with interest rates of 17 percent, 18 percent, or even 20 percent. If you carry a balance on your cards from month to month, those high rates can cause your credit card debt to soar.</p> <p>The better move? Only charge what you can afford to pay back in full each month. That will help maintain your good credit score without leaving you with an ever-growing pile of credit card debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>You're not saving anything</h2> <p>Maybe you pay all of your bills on time. Maybe you don't have any credit card debt at all. But if you don't have any savings, that's not a good financial sign.</p> <p>How much you've saved, or haven't saved, doesn't impact your credit score. Whether you have $20,000 in a savings account or $100, your credit score won't budge either way. It's important to have a strong credit score <em>and</em> to pay your bills on time, of course. But not having any money leftover to build a savings is a bad money move. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-to-fix-reasons-your-savings-account-isnt-growing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy-to-Fix Reasons Your Savings Account Isn't Growing</a>)</p> <h2>You've never built an emergency fund</h2> <p>An emergency fund is a bit like having savings; only with this kind of fund, you're saving money, usually in a low-risk savings account, specifically to cover unexpected financial emergencies. That way, if you suddenly must shell out thousands of dollars to repair your car, you won't have to resort to charging this expense on a credit card. You can take the funds out of your emergency fund instead.</p> <p>Also like savings, you can have a high credit score and no emergency fund. Having a high credit score is no excuse for not building this financial safety net. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-balance-saving-for-retirement-emergency-fund-and-paying-off-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Balance Saving for Retirement, Emergency Fund, and Paying Off Debt</a>)</p> <h2>You're way behind on saving for retirement</h2> <p>It's possible to enter your golden years with a stellar credit score but no money saved for retirement. That's because the amount of money you've socked away in an IRA or 401(k) plan is not factored into your credit score.</p> <p>Don't let your strong credit score, and your easy access to loans and strong credit cards, blind you to the fact that you're <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement" target="_blank">not saving enough for retirement</a>. It's nice to have a good credit score after you've left the working world, but that score won't mean much if you can't afford to pay your bills. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-have-saved-for-retirement-by-30-40-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Should You Have Saved for Retirement by 30? 40? 50?</a>)</p> <h2>You're struggling to pay the bills each month</h2> <p>You might never miss a utility bill, mortgage payment, or auto payment. But what if covering these bills each month is a constant financial struggle? What if you never have enough money left over to invest or deposit into an emergency or retirement fund? Your credit score won't suffer, but your financial health is a different story. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-escape-the-paycheck-to-paycheck-cycle?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Escape the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle</a>)</p> <p>Again, it's easy to let a high credit score trick you into thinking you're in solid financial shape. But if paying the bills is a tightrope act each month, your high credit score is merely hiding deeper financial problems. One unexpected financial hiccup &mdash; such as a blown hot water heater or leaking roof &mdash; could suddenly set you back. And then you might not be able to cover every bill when the due dates arrive. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a>)</p> <p>The key is to focus on both increasing your savings while continuing to take the steps that have led you to a solid credit score. Cut back on your optional spending to start building savings and an emergency fund. Open a 401(k) plan or an IRA to start saving for retirement. Even saving a little each month is better than doing nothing.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fyour-good-credit-doesnt-mean-you-have-good-money-habits&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FYour%2520Good%2520Credit%2520Doesn%2527t%2520Mean%2520You%2520Have%2520Good%2520Money%2520Habits.jpg&amp;description=Your%20Good%20Credit%20Doesn't%20Mean%20You%20Have%20Good%20Money%20Habits"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Your%20Good%20Credit%20Doesn%27t%20Mean%20You%20Have%20Good%20Money%20Habits.jpg" alt="Your Good Credit Doesn't Mean You Have Good Money Habits" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-good-credit-doesnt-mean-you-have-good-money-habits">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/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past">It&#039;s Never Too Late to Fix These 5 Money Mistakes From Your Past</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-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/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">6 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-you-will-always-be-thankful-for">7 Money Moves You Will Always Be Thankful For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance debt emergency funds financial health good credit score high credit score paycheck to paycheck paying bills retirement savings Thu, 12 Oct 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2031776 at http://www.wisebread.com How Complacency Keeps You From Financial Security http://www.wisebread.com/how-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/i_need_a_break_0.jpg" alt="I need a break" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Complacency is not taking action even when you know you should. It tends to be an issue when you're not sure why a decision matters, or when you're overwhelmed by the details and options involved in making a decision. Complacency may seem like no big deal, but it can have a very negative effect on your finances. Here's how it can hurt you.</p> <h2>You're getting a poor return on your investments</h2> <p>When you're complacent about how you manage your long-term savings, you can miss out on a lot of returns. If you put off moving your money into an investment or fund, and leave your accumulated savings in a low-interest savings account instead, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-might-make-you-happier-but-investments-will-make-you-richer" target="_blank">you're losing money every month</a>. You could be adding to your savings effortlessly with passive income, and by not doing so, you're drastically diminishing your future earnings potential.</p> <p>Take an hour or two to learn the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-your-first-stocks-or-funds" target="_blank">basics of investing</a>. Then set up an account and get started earning a better return. You can always make adjustments later. In the meantime, your returns will be compounding.</p> <h2>Your lack of emergency savings means more financial emergencies</h2> <p>Complacency might make you feel like you don't need to have an emergency fund. Maybe you haven't <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency" target="_blank">rebuilt your fund after a crisis</a>, or maybe you haven't been able to accumulate one at all. When things are going well and your day-to-day life is predictable, an emergency fund might seem unimportant.</p> <p>However, having an emergency fund keeps a small crisis from becoming a big deal. You can't always predict a big expense or income loss; without a plan and some savings, you may end up using a high-interest loan or credit card to handle a financial crisis. That kicks off a fix-it-quick debt cycle, which can leave you backed into an unpleasant financial corner.</p> <p>It can seem difficult to build up an emergency fund, especially if you're already on a tight budget. But even a very small, regular contribution to your savings will add up quickly. Doing what you can is better than doing nothing at all.</p> <h2>You're not adding as much as you could to your retirement savings</h2> <p>Maybe you're not taking full advantage of your 401(k) or haven't yet set up the IRA you've been thinking about. There can be some details to work through, but in the meantime, you're missing out on savings and, possibly, matching funds from your employer. If you're failing to contribute regularly, or putting off setting up a 401(k) and IRA altogether, you're jeopardizing your retirement. You're also missing out on tax breaks that come with these retirement accounts.</p> <p>Not sure where to start? Our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bookmark-this-a-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-401k-investments" target="_blank">step-by-step guide to choosing 401(k) investments can help</a>. If your employer doesn't offer a 401(k), here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-accounts-you-dont-need-a-ton-of-money-to-open?ref=seealso" target="_blank">five Roth IRA accounts</a> you can set up on your own that don't require a lot of money to open.</p> <h2>Your big, unnecessary expenses are increasing your debt</h2> <p>At some point, you made a decision to buy the house or the car or whatever it is. Now, you realize it's not really worth it. The expense is more than you can comfortably handle, and you could live without it. But getting away from this payment &mdash; whether it's a lease, a mortgage, or a car loan &mdash; seems impossible, so you just &hellip; don't.</p> <p>Meanwhile, you're paying interest every month and, if your budget is stretched to the limit, you're not saving like you could be. You may be stuck making minimum payments on debt, or failing to proactively maintain your big purchases because you can't afford to do more. The resulting depreciation can diminish the value of your house or car in a hurry, leaving you with less and less value to recover as time goes on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-purchases-with-financing-options-that-depreciate-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Purchases With Financing Options That Depreciate Fast</a>)</p> <p>Take the first step by finding out how to get out from under this big expense. There may be an option to end the lease early. Maybe you can sell the car and pay off the loan. Or it might be time to get that house on the market and find something more affordable. The sooner you take action, the sooner you stop losing money.</p> <h2>Your ho-hum career is costing you opportunities</h2> <p>Career capital isn't only about what you make in terms of salary; it's also about the skills and experiences you build, which can add to your marketability. If you're bored, disinterested, or otherwise feeling stuck in your job, but you're staying put, you're limiting your future in terms of finances and fulfillment.</p> <p>The more disengaged and unhappy you are in your job, the poorer your performance will be. You're more likely to do subpar work, miss out on opportunities, and be passed over for promotions. Even if you don't love your job, do your best to gain skills and be engaged while you're there; doing so will open up more opportunities for advancement or a complete career change.</p> <p>Meanwhile, start looking for your next move. It might be time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-a-side-hustle-can-advance-your-career" target="_blank">start a side hustle</a>, network for a new job option, or get serious about starting a business. Don't let time go by and kill your enthusiasm (and your bank account). The sooner you take action, the sooner you can increase your salary and your enjoyment in the work you do.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520Complacency%2520Keeps%2520You%2520From%2520Financial%2520Security.jpg&amp;description=How%20Complacency%20Keeps%20You%20From%20Financial%20Security"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Complacency%20Keeps%20You%20From%20Financial%20Security.jpg" alt="How Complacency Keeps You From Financial Security" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-complacency-is-keeps-you-from-financial-security">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/what-to-expect-after-these-5-personal-financial-disasters">What to Expect After These 5 Personal Financial Disasters</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-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays</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/11-money-habits-that-make-you-look-financially-immature">11 Money Habits That Make You Look Financially Immature</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</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/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past">It&#039;s Never Too Late to Fix These 5 Money Mistakes From Your Past</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career Building complacency debt emergency funds expenses inaction investments job laziness Spending Money stalling Fri, 06 Oct 2017 08:30:06 +0000 Annie Mueller 2029863 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things You Might Miss in Your Credit Card's Fine Print http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-might-miss-in-your-credit-cards-fine-print <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-you-might-miss-in-your-credit-cards-fine-print" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_is_shopping_online_with_laptop_computer_and_credit_card.jpg" alt="Woman is shopping online with laptop computer and credit card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Be honest: Do you ever read through all that fine print in your credit card agreement? Or do you simply skim and sign up? While poring over fine print might feel like a waste of time, it's important. It can hold critical information about your new card; read it carefully to understand the following key terms and conditions.</p> <h2>1. How your credit limit can change</h2> <p>First things first: Make sure you know exactly what your credit limit is. Introductory offers often include language like &quot;You can be approved for as much as $10,000!&quot; or &quot;Up to $20,000 credit limit!&quot; Those &quot;as much as&quot; and &quot;up to&quot; phrases are important, because they don't guarantee that amount of credit; they just imply that it's possible. Know exactly what your credit limit is so you don't go over it, because doing so tends to invoke fees and trigger a high interest rate.</p> <p>Once you know how much credit you have on a certain card, find out what actions or events might change your credit limit. If you miss a payment, make a late payment, or incur a fee, will your credit limit change? It's important to know, particularly if you plan to use the card to make a big purchase. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-to-ask-before-getting-a-credit-increase?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Questions to Ask Before Getting a Credit Increase</a>)</p> <h2>2. How the interest rate will change</h2> <p>You'll often see the interest rate for a new credit card in big, prominent print on the initial offer. That's because a low interest rate is often the marketing tactic used to appeal and bring in new cardholders. How soon will that introductory interest rate change, and what will it become when it does? Look through the fine print for terms like APR (annual percentage rate), variable rate information, interest rate, and introductory interest rate to be sure you know exactly when that introductory offer is over, and what happens when it ends.</p> <p>Be aware, also, that something as simple as one missed payment could cause you to lose the introductory interest rate sooner. Those terms should be spelled out in the fine print, and it's important to know that slipping up on a payment may bump your interest rate up sooner than you expect. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-didn-t-understand-about-credit-card-interest-grace-periods-and-penalty-aprs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Everything You Didn't Understand About Credit Card Interest, Grace Periods, and Penalty APRs</a>)</p> <h2>3. How your payments will be allocated</h2> <p>If you use a credit card for purchases as well as cash advances, you probably have two different interest rates. Typically, cash advances come with a higher interest rate than purchases made on the card. And if you use the card for purchases made after that introductory, low-interest period, you'll have three different interest rates in play. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-credit-card-cash-advance-costs-you-more-than-a-purchase?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How a Credit Card Cash Advance Costs You More Than a Purchase</a>)</p> <p>You want to find out exactly how your payment will be allocated for these different interest rates. In some cases, the default terms might put a much lower percentage of each payment toward the higher interest rate charges. Find out in the fine print if that's true, and if you have the option to request a particular payment allocation yourself for each payment you make.</p> <h2>4. How extra fees might add up</h2> <p>Credit cards come with plenty of extra fees: missed payment, late payment, and extra fees for cash advances or particular types of purchases. Look, too, for fees that kick in if you use the card over the credit limit.</p> <p>Read the fine print to find out how many potential fees come with the card, when those fees are charged to you, how much each fee is, if there is a limit to how many fees can be charged, and if the company can change the fees at any time.</p> <p>The ability to change fees can become problematic if you're counting on a particular window of time before a payment becomes late and that window changes. Some credit card companies will even set a time of day for payments due &mdash; say, noon on the 25th &mdash; and if your payment processes after 12 p.m., you're charged a late fee. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <h2>5. How old debts might resurface</h2> <p>Although this particular term may not be as common, it's one well-worth noting. Some credit card companies purchase old debts, then offer cards to those debt-holders. The first statement comes in and the old debt is included in the balance due. If you've ever defaulted on a debt, read the fine print to make sure the credit card company is not asserting their right to include old or defaulted debts on newly opened credit cards.</p> <h2>6. How those terms can change</h2> <p>One last important point to remember about the fine print: What you read in that initial agreement can change, usually at any time. Credit card companies generally retain the right to change the terms of the agreement as they see fit, but they're required to update the card holders when those terms change.</p> <p>That's why reading the fine print isn't a one-and-done event. You need to stay updated on changes to your credit card agreement, which means going over any material you receive with your regular monthly statement. If you see a change you don't like, take action right away: Call the company and negotiate for different terms, or, if the terms are really bad, simply pay the card off and stop using it. It's often better to go this route instead of canceling, since canceling a card can hurt your credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-ditch-a-credit-card-without-dinging-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Close a Credit Card Without Dinging Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-things-you-might-miss-in-your-credit-cards-fine-print&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Things%2520You%2520Might%2520Miss%2520in%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Card%2527s%2520Fine%2520Print.jpg&amp;description=6%20Things%20You%20Might%20Miss%20in%20Your%20Credit%20Card's%20Fine%20Print"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Things%20You%20Might%20Miss%20in%20Your%20Credit%20Card%27s%20Fine%20Print.jpg" alt="6 Things You Might Miss in Your Credit Card's Fine Print" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-might-miss-in-your-credit-cards-fine-print">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/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/how-a-credit-card-cash-advance-costs-you-more-than-a-purchase">How a Credit Card Cash Advance Costs You More Than a Purchase</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-dont-love-capital-one-how-to-get-a-lower-apr-or-possibly-not">How to Get a Lower APR, or Possibly Not</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-reasons-to-pay-your-credit-card-bill-before-its-due">6 Smart Reasons to Pay Your Credit Card Bill Before It&#039;s Due</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards APR credit limits debt fine print Hidden fees interest rates introductory rates payments terms and conditions Thu, 28 Sep 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Annie Mueller 2027476 at http://www.wisebread.com