estate planning http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8328/all en-US When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_property_life_and_health_insurance_concept.jpg" alt="Family property, life and health insurance concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life insurance is a crucial way to protect your family if you should suddenly pass away. The payout from a life insurance policy can help your loved ones continue to pay a mortgage and other large bills they may not otherwise be able to afford.</p> <p>Life insurance is so important that few people ever decide to terminate their policies. But are there times when canceling a life insurance policy actually makes sense?</p> <p>The surprising answer? Sure. It all depends on who continues to rely on your income and who doesn't.</p> <h2>Your children</h2> <p>When deciding whether to cancel a life insurance policy, don't focus solely on your age. Yes, the odds are higher that once you get older (past retirement age), you won't have as many people relying on the money you are making today. With fewer people depending on you financially, it might make sense to cancel your life insurance policy and save the money you are spending on premiums.</p> <p>Life insurance is most important when you are worried about providing your children with a financial safety net. When your children are young, they need the financial protection that a life insurance policy provides. After all, they won't be working or generating their own income.</p> <p>But when your children become adults, they might no longer need the payout that your life insurance would provide them if you should die. Canceling a policy designed to protect your kids is usually a sound financial move once these children become adults who are working and providing for themselves.</p> <h2>Your spouse</h2> <p>What if your life insurance policy is also a form of protection for your spouse or partner? That might change your decision to cancel, even as you get older.</p> <p>Say you die at the age of 65. Would a payout from a life insurance policy provide that extra bit of financial protection to your spouse or partner? Would it help ensure that this person won't struggle with finances after you die?</p> <p>If the answer is yes, canceling your life insurance policy may not be the right move. You may want to hold onto that policy, even as you inch closer to retirement age. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a>)</p> <h2>Getting a better plan</h2> <p>There are other reasons to cancel your life insurance. Say you are no longer happy with your current plan; maybe the monthly premiums seem too high.</p> <p>If you shop around and can find a plan that provides enough coverage at a lower price, canceling your existing policy is not only OK, it ranks as a smart financial move.</p> <p>Just be sure to compare your existing policy with your potential new one carefully. Yes, a new policy might be cheaper &mdash; but it might also not provide the same amount of coverage. Make sure to do your research before canceling any life insurance policy.</p> <h2>You've already paid for your biggest expenses</h2> <p>Life insurance is supposed to be a financial safety net for your loved ones in case you suddenly die. But what if you've already paid off your mortgage? Your spouse or partner won't need a payout from your life insurance policy to cover that bill. What if you've already paid for sending your children to college? Life insurance isn't necessary to help cover this big expense, either. So why not cancel your policy if those big expenses are already in your past?</p> <p>You can take the money you were spending on life insurance premiums and save it for retirement, add it to your emergency fund savings, or invest in the stock market.</p> <p>Of course, this type of plan only works if you actually will take the money you were spending and do something financially savvy with it. But canceling a life insurance policy when the big bills are paid can be an effective way of putting your dollars to better use.</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%2Fwhen-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhen%2520Dropping%2520Your%2520Life%2520Insurance%2520Is%2520the%2520Right%2520Decision.jpg&amp;description=When%20Dropping%20Your%20Life%20Insurance%20Is%20the%20Right%20Decision"></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/When%20Dropping%20Your%20Life%20Insurance%20Is%20the%20Right%20Decision.jpg" alt="When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision" 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/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision">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/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose">Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here&#039;s How to Choose</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-to-your-debt-after-you-die">What Happens to Your Debt After You Die?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance beneficiaries canceling children dependents estate planning expenses life insurance mortgages Tue, 14 Nov 2017 09:31:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 2051050 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mom_is_the_best.jpg" alt="Mom is the best" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I recently had the honor of helping an elderly family member during her final years and carrying out her wishes after she passed on. My relative was a savvy planner &mdash; she had worked for years as an executive secretary, one of the most responsible jobs available to women of her generation. It came as no surprise that she had carefully planned for some of her end-of-life expenses.</p> <p>After handling the financial side of my loved one's final years, I made the following decisions to make things easier &mdash; and more affordable &mdash; for those who must someday do the same for me.</p> <h2>1. Make an estate plan</h2> <p>If I learned one thing from handling my relative's estate, it was this: A revocable trust will save your executor time and money. A revocable trust is a legal entity to which you can transfer all or some of your property, such as investment and bank accounts or real estate. When you first establish the trust, you are the trustee; meaning you control the assets in the trust, and you also name a successor trustee who would take control of the trust if you become incapacitated or die. You can also name beneficiaries in your trust, just like a will, to receive the remaining assets after your death.</p> <p>The beauty of a trust is that many assets do not have to go through probate once you die; in contrast, many assets only listed in a will do still have to go through probate. Because my relative had set up a revocable trust, within months of her death, her heirs had deposited their checks, and the whole process was wrapped up with very little legal expense. If she hadn't set up the trust, I would likely still be working through the probate process and running up attorney fees.</p> <p>Your estate plan can also include life insurance and a will to cover any assets you didn't transfer to the trust, such as personal property or your car. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family's Estate</a>)</p> <h2>2. Consider long-term care insurance while you are still young enough to get it</h2> <p>When my loved one was no longer able to live independently at home, I was naive enough to think that Medicare would pay for her to live in an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Not true! <em>Medicaid</em> pays for many seniors' nursing home care, but only once they've depleted most of their own assets and income. Each state has strict rules that generally prevent seniors from giving their money away in order to qualify for Medicaid support.</p> <p>What this means is that if you need to spend your final months or years in a home, and you didn't buy long-term care insurance, you will pay for it out of pocket, possibly spending everything you hoped to leave to your heirs.</p> <p>It's a tricky financial decision, because long-term care insurance is expensive; you'll pay $1,000 a month or more (potentially much more) for a policy that will cover the high expenses of nursing home care. And of course, you could pay insurance premiums for years and never spend a day in a nursing home.</p> <p>The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance pinpoints the mid-50s as the best age to buy this product. That's for two reasons: One, premiums go up based on age, and in the 60s they start going up 6 to 8 percent per year. Two, you can lock in a discount for good health when you first apply, and you are more likely to experience age-related declines in health after your 50s. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Prepay funeral expenses</h2> <p>It sounds downright eerie to sit down in an undertaker's office and plan your own funeral. But it's a kind thing to do for your next of kin. One reason to pay for a burial plot or urn storage and service now is that this spends down money that might otherwise be paid to a nursing home. If you're in a home for years before you pass, there might not be any money left for your funeral, leaving your heirs in the position of having to pay for it themselves.</p> <p>The other nice thing about prepaying these expenses is that, if you're a no-nonsense frugal person, you can buy your casket at Costco or arrange to rent one for your viewing and save your heirs from feeling guilted or upsold into paying for a more lavish send-off than you would have wanted.</p> <p>By planning when you are of sound mind and body, you also give yourself the luxury of making price comparisons and shopping wisely; something your heirs may not be emotionally ready for or have the time to do once you're gone.</p> <h2>4. Make charitable gifts while you're still alive</h2> <p>Especially if you have a robust income in your later years, don't make your favorite charities wait until you're gone to receive the support you'd like to give them. You can cut the taxes you owe on any income you receive by making charitable gifts each year.</p> <p>This move can also save your executor a little time and money. When my loved one passed, her attorney wrote letters to all the charities she wanted to leave money to, and eventually I had to write the checks. It wasn't a big deal, but it's one more little thing you could do yourself to spare your heirs the trouble. If your estate is large enough that your heirs might have to pay estate tax, giving money away in your lifetime could make a big difference. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-giving-to-charity-is-good-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways Giving to Charity Is Good for You</a>)</p> <h2>5. Consider passing wealth to the next generation during your lifetime</h2> <p>Only the heirs of very large estates &mdash; currently over $5.49 million &mdash; will need to pay estate tax. But if this is your situation, you could save your heirs the tax by making regular gifts of up to $14,000 per person, each year.</p> <h2>6. Make your will very clear</h2> <p>First of all, <em>leave a will</em>. If you don't have time to work with an attorney to transfer your assets to a trust, which does take time, for now at least write that will so that your heirs have something to go on if you die unexpectedly. If you don't leave a will, your estate will be settled by the court, a much more expensive and time-consuming process for your heirs.</p> <p>Make sure that your heirs have the final and correct versions of all documents and that there are no older wills floating around. This could save endless legal fees, especially if you have written someone out of your will. Don't let any relatives or acquaintances expect an inheritance they're not getting. People who expected money in a will but didn't get it could sue your heirs, making their lives miserable and wasting the inheritance on legal fees. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-writing-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know About Writing a Will</a>)</p> <h2>7. Make provisions for valuable property</h2> <p>Have you ever heard stories of homes sold with cash or jewelry hidden in the walls or buried in the backyard? It has happened to families I know, when elders hid items of value and forgot where they were hidden.</p> <p>Even if valuables aren't literally hidden in the walls, they may be lost in the shuffle. In many an estate, sorting through a lifetime's worth of possessions is a huge burden on the heirs. Your heirs may simply turn your home over to an estate sale service and let them deal with it. If that happens, valuable items might get sold for less than they are worth. There is also the risk of hiring an unscrupulous estate sale planner who sells valuable items without giving the family a fair cut. Valuable keepsakes could even be thrown away along with old paperwork and used clothing.</p> <p>If you have jewelry or other items of high value, it would be a wonderful idea to gift them to family members while you are still alive, or sell them to a reputable dealer if that is your wish. If not, keep your belongings organized and labeled, and let loved ones know where any valuables are kept.</p> <h2>8. Sell your home if you're no longer living in it</h2> <p>If you have moved to a senior community or assisted living facility, have relatives assist you in selling your home as soon as possible. This will save you &mdash; and later your heirs &mdash; the expense of keeping up the home while no one is living in it.</p> <p>After your death, when the heirs are busy with your funeral and settling the rest of the estate, they may not have time to sell the home for months. In the meanwhile, costs can really add up: insurance, heat, electricity, lawn service, snow removal, maintenance. And if something happens to your empty home such as pipes bursting or squatters moving in, it could dissipate the value of this asset you worked so hard to acquire.</p> <h2>9. Spend it yourself</h2> <p>If all this advice bums you out, here's an antidote: Enjoy what you have earned while you are alive. Take a trip. Hire some help. Get that new car you've been wanting. You don't owe your heirs a thing. While you don't want to leave them with debts, dying broke is a wonderful thing because it means you literally didn't leave anything on the table.</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-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F9%2520End-of-Life%2520Cost%2520Savings%2520Your%2520Survivors%2520Will%2520Thank%2520You%2520For.jpg&amp;description=9%20End-of-Life%20Cost%20Savings%20Your%20Survivors%20Will%20Thank%20You%20For"></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%20End-of-Life%20Cost%20Savings%20Your%20Survivors%20Will%20Thank%20You%20For.jpg" alt="9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For" 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/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-set-up-a-trust-for-your-child">Should You Set Up a Trust for Your Child?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-smartest-things-to-do-with-an-inheritance">The 4 Smartest Things to Do With an Inheritance</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-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will">Don&#039;t Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</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/who-really-owns-your-digital-assets">Who Really Owns Your Digital Assets?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family attorneys estate planning final costs funerals heirs inheritance last will and testament long term care insurance survivors trusts valuables Thu, 02 Nov 2017 08:30:05 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2041364 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Moves to Make After Buying Your First House http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_woman_holding_keys_to_her_new_house.jpg" alt="Happy woman holding keys to her new house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You bought your first home. This is an exciting conclusion to what was likely a long and winding road. As you are unpacking your boxes, settling in, and decorating your new digs, there are some smart money moves you should make immediately to keep the good times rolling.</p> <h2>1. Adjust your last will and testament</h2> <p>Now that you have a new home, you need to update your will. In this time of excitement, updating a will might feel like putting a damper on the fun, but it's critically important. You need to be responsible for protecting the future of your loved ones and your home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</a>)</p> <h2>2. Get rid of PMI as fast as you can</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway?ref=internal" target="_blank">Private mortgage insurance</a> (PMI) is a necessary fee for most people who buy a home with less than a 20 percent down payment. This can be a significant expense, sometimes costing thousands of dollars each year. Do whatever you can to get to that 20 percent equity mark so that you can drop the PMI payments.</p> <h2>3. Make a plan to pay a little extra every month</h2> <p>At the beginning of a mortgage, you are mostly paying interest and very little principal with every monthly payment. That ratio of interest to principal will decrease eventually, but it will take a few years.</p> <p>To more quickly pay down your mortgage, set aside a little extra every month for your mortgage payment. Why? Anything you pay above your monthly payment goes directly against the principal. (Just be sure those extra payments are going to principal; check with your mortgage lender.) The faster you reduce your principal, the faster you will pay off your home. A lower principal will also make it easier to refinance the mortgage down the line if you choose to do that in the future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What's Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Replenish your emergency funds</h2> <p>Many people use a substantial part of their cash savings, if not all of it, when they buy their first home. It&rsquo;s crucial that you begin to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency?ref=internal" target="_blank">rebuild this emergency fund</a> as soon as you can.</p> <p>An emergency fund is necessary if you lose your job for any reason, have unexpected bills, or if you need to do emergency repairs on your home. Experts in the consumer finance field have varying opinions when it comes to how much to set aside in an emergency fund, but many suggest having three to six month's worth of expenses saved. Some more conservative advisers even suggest saving up enough to cover one year of expenses. Consider your lifestyle and personal risk profile to find the best target amount for you.</p> <h2>5. Reconsider your life insurance policy</h2> <p>Now that you have this beautiful new home, you will need to make sure the mortgage can be covered by your life insurance. You don&rsquo;t want your heirs to struggle to figure out what to do in the event that an unforeseen circumstance occurs.</p> <p>How much insurance do you need? Generally, the guideline for life insurance is 10 times your annual income plus any large debts like a home mortgage. Talk to your insurance company and/or financial adviser to get their perspective, and make any necessary adjustments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn't Just for Old People</a>)</p> <h2>6. Change your locks and install deadbolts</h2> <p>Safety is a huge part of homeownership, and it has financial implications. As soon as you have the keys in your hand, contact a locksmith to get all of the locks on your doors and windows changed, and install deadbolts on doors where you currently don&rsquo;t have them. The previous owners likely gave copies of their keys to neighbors, friends, family members, the dog walker, or people who did work on the home. You don&rsquo;t want those people to have access to what is now <em>your </em>house. You may also want to consider a home security system.</p> <p>All of these safety measures may provide a financial deduction on your homeowners insurance. Contact your insurance company to find out if you qualify for a reduction in your rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance</a>)</p> <p>There is a desire to rest on our laurels after completing the purchase of a home. You should definitely bask in the glow of new homeownership, but this is also a time to remain financially vigilant. Remember that when it comes to your personal finances, remaining responsible and forward-thinking is the key to lasting success.</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-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Money%2520Moves%2520to%2520Make%2520After%2520Buying%2520Your%2520First%2520House.jpg&amp;description=6%20Money%20Moves%20to%20Make%20After%20Buying%20Your%20First%20House"></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%20Money%20Moves%20to%20Make%20After%20Buying%20Your%20First%20House.jpg" alt="6 Money Moves to Make After Buying Your First House" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house">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/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions">Don&#039;t Buy a House With a Pool Until You Can Answer These 7 Questions</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/house-hunting-these-features-will-save-you-big-over-the-long-haul">House Hunting? These Features Will Save You Big Over the Long Haul</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision">When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision</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-benefits-of-carrying-a-mortgage-into-retirement">5 Benefits of Carrying a Mortgage Into Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing emergency fund estate planning first house homeowners insurance homeownership last will and testament life insurance new house private mortgage insurance safety Thu, 28 Sep 2017 08:01:06 +0000 Christa Avampato 2027477 at http://www.wisebread.com Who Really Owns Your Digital Assets? http://www.wisebread.com/who-really-owns-your-digital-assets <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/who-really-owns-your-digital-assets" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sporty_woman_taking_a_break_after_running_outdoors.jpg" alt="Sporty woman taking a break after running outdoors" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Throughout your life, you accumulate a wide variety of assets, including cash, real estate, and vehicles. But you've also probably been collecting assets of the digital kind &mdash; whether that be music downloads, frequent flyer miles, or cryptocurrency. When you put so many of your hard-earned dollars into virtual goods, there are some important considerations to keep in mind if you want to pass them on to your heirs.</p> <h2>What are digital assets?</h2> <p>Many people think of digital assets as digital copies of things that you purchase online, such as music or ebooks, but there are other types of digital assets. They include things that you store in virtual storage systems, such as Dropbox or iCloud. Some examples are photographs in your Flickr account, financial documents in your Box account, and bitcoins in your Coinbase account.</p> <p>Social media accounts are also digital assets. Even if they don't have any monetary value, the contents may be something you want to bequeath to your heirs.</p> <p>It can be easy to assign a dollar value to some digital assets, and difficult for others. The dollar value of an online-only savings account, for example, is as straightforward as it gets. On the other hand, a photo collection of the first 10 years of your son's life could be worth several thousands of dollars to you and nothing to the average Joe.</p> <h2>Taking care of your digital assets</h2> <p>Here are some best practices for taking care of your digital assets once you're no longer in the picture.</p> <h3>1. Read the fine print of your user agreement</h3> <p>Just because you hit the &quot;Buy now&quot; button for a digital file doesn't really mean that it's yours. Unlike physical books, CDs, DVDs, or vinyl records, purchasing digital works grants you no ownership rights. Most companies just license you the right to access and use the song or video.</p> <p>For example, if you read Amazon's Conditions of Use, you'll find that &quot;Amazon or its content providers grant you a limited, nonexclusive, nontransferable, non-sublicensable license to access and make personal and noncommercial use of the Amazon Services.&quot; In Amazon's Music Terms of Use, it also notes that your account can't be shared or transferred: &quot;You may not share your Amazon.com username and password with others or use anyone else's Amazon.com username and password.&quot;</p> <p>In other words, you don't own the asset and you can't get around that fact by giving your account password to anyone else.</p> <h3>2. Double check if digital assets can be in your will</h3> <p>If you haven't already, you need to create a last will and testament. But whether you can include a particular digital asset in the will depends. Not only must you actually own the digital asset, but also you must be able to transfer it.</p> <p>Every company treats digital assets differently. For example, let's take a look at three cases of transferring airline frequent flyer miles upon death:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Air Miles Canada allows you to transfer ownership of air miles at no charge when an account holder has passed away.</p> </li> <li> <p>American Airlines' AAdvantage program indicates that &quot;mileage credit is not transferable&quot; even to estates, successors, or assigns. However, American Airlines includes a clause that it may make exemptions upon its sole discretion and payment of any applicable fees.</p> </li> <li> <p>Delta SkyMiles clearly outlines that &quot;Miles are not the property of any member&quot; and may not be transferred under any circumstances, including death.</p> </li> </ul> <h3>3. Store a repository of all passwords</h3> <p>This is key. While your executor (the person executing your estate after your die) will need your login credentials to access your digital assets, they will have no legal authority to access your passwords under most state jurisdictions.</p> <p>So, plan to leave a letter to your executor with the usernames and passwords of the accounts that you would like to pass on to beneficiaries. While a simple letter containing the account information can do the trick, there are also several digital alternatives. Some digital services that allow you to pass on digital assets are Password Box's <a href="https://www.passwordbox.com/legacylocker" target="_blank">Legacy Locker</a> and <a href="https://www.youdeparted.com" target="_blank">YouDeparted.com</a>.</p> <h3>4. Take advantage of existing programs</h3> <p>Some companies are already taking steps to plan your digital afterlife.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Google's <a href="https://www.google.com/settings/u/0/account/inactive" target="_blank">Inactive Account Manager</a> allows you to instruct Google to transfer data from several services, including Google+, Picasa Web Albums, and YouTube to specific individuals after three to 12 months of inactivity.</p> </li> <li> <p>Facebook can &quot;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/help/150486848354038" target="_blank">memorialize</a>&quot; an account after its owner has passed away.</p> </li> </ul> <h3>5. Designate a beneficiary for all financial accounts</h3> <p>All types of banking and investment accounts provide you the option to designate a beneficiary. Without a beneficiary, your account will most likely end up in probate. While some states may grant your family some protection, designating a beneficiary well in advance is the best way to make sure that your digital moneys reach the right person(s).</p> <p>You can change the beneficiary of your account as many times as you need. Every time that you go through a major life change, such as marriage, birth of a child, or retirement, you should revisit who your beneficiaries are.</p> <h3>6. Check your local and state legislation</h3> <p>In 2014, Delaware became the first state to sign legislation (<a href="http://www.dehousedems.com/press/rep-scotts-first-nation-digital-assets-bill-becomes-law" target="_blank">House Bill 435</a>) granting families the right to the digital assets of loved ones who become incapacitated or pass away. The law includes a wide rage of digital assets, including computer programs, audio files, images, and more. It's reasonable to expect similar legislation to appear in other states.</p> <h3>7. Instruct your beneficiaries to still give it a shot</h3> <p>Even when the company has a reputation of not budging and an airtight user agreement, tell your beneficiaries to try anyway. You never know when a company may make an exception. Airlines, in particular, are often willing to work with survivors who want access to a spouse's frequent flyer miles.</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%2Fwho-really-owns-your-digital-assets&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWho%2520Really%2520Owns%2520Your%2520Digital%2520Assets-.jpg&amp;description=Who%20Really%20Owns%20Your%20Digital%20Assets%3F"></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/Who%20Really%20Owns%20Your%20Digital%20Assets-.jpg" alt="Who Really Owns Your Digital Assets?" 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/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-really-owns-your-digital-assets">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-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/the-4-smartest-things-to-do-with-an-inheritance">The 4 Smartest Things to Do With an Inheritance</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-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will">Don&#039;t Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</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/should-you-set-up-a-trust-for-your-child">Should You Set Up a Trust for Your Child?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology bitcoin books cryptocurrency digital assets downloads estate planning frequent flyer miles heirs last will and testament music rewards video Wed, 27 Sep 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Damian Davila 2025920 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/blue_ballpoint_pen_and_a_last_will_and_testament.jpg" alt="Blue ballpoint pen and a last will and testament" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a task no one likes to think about: With everything going on in our lives, do we really want to add our own mortality to the list of our concerns? As unpleasant as it may be to consider, having a will is a critical way to take care of your family should you pass away. It will also ensure that your wishes are carried out in a way that aligns with your values. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-writing-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know About Writing a Will</a>)</p> <p>For most of us, it's a fairly straightforward process. We have the options of free online kits, using a service like <a href="https://www.legalzoom.com/sem/ep/last-will-and-testament.html?kid=a32c64dc-b16f-422e-bdfd-cc47896bf276&amp;utm_source=google&amp;utm_medium=cpc&amp;utm_term=+wills_on_line&amp;utm_content=204280076284&amp;utm_campaign=EP_%7C_LWT&amp;gclid=CjwKCAjw5PDLBRB0EiwAh-27Mu9zeexWTPYuaCbSnpbP3828RuJ0dJ0x4mT0AbnOJHtPkqJltQzFlxoCaGMQAvD_BwE" target="_blank">LegalZoom</a>, or consulting with an attorney. No matter which option you choose, here are some common mistakes to avoid when creating a will.</p> <h2>1. Not giving anyone responsibility</h2> <p>When a will is executed, there must be a person assigned to settle the will when the time comes. This person is known as an executor, and that person makes sure that your wishes are carried out exactly as you intended. It's very important for you to select a responsible person you trust, and get that person's permission to name them as the executor. This is not something you want to be a surprise.</p> <p>Also, you may want to strongly consider naming a second executor in the event that something happens to the first person you name, or if he or she is unable to serve as executor for any reason. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family's Estate</a>)</p> <h2>2. Not taking care of the kids</h2> <p>If you have children, it's critical that you select who will become their guardian(s) and communicate that to the named guardians as well as to other family members. I have seen this become a bone of contention before and after someone's passing, and it's a heartbreaking ordeal for everyone involved. Unfortunately, the people who suffer most in the battle are the children. It can be a difficult thing to communicate these wishes to your family, but it is far easier to deal with that difficulty now than to have a potential custody battle unfold after you're gone.</p> <p>You must also consider how to give your assets to your children if they are still minors. This is a very complicated financial and legal issue, though there are a number of different options that you can put in place to properly take care of it. Creating trusts or accounts under what's known as the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) are avenues worth exploring.</p> <h2>3. Not knowing your state laws</h2> <p>Wills are state-specific and different states have different laws for them. The state that executes your will should be the state where you claim legal residence even if you have homes or spend significant amounts of time in different states. FindLaw provides a clear overview of <a href="http://statelaws.findlaw.com/estate-planning-laws/wills.html" target="_blank">laws that govern wills</a> in the different states.</p> <h2>4. Not signing the will or having a witness</h2> <p>You've done all of the work to create a will. Make sure to sign it and have a witness sign it in accordance with your state's specific laws. If a will is left unsigned by you or a witness, there is a high risk that it won't be honored. Also bear in mind that you must be of sound mind and body, and you must create this will without being threatened or pressured by someone else to do so. If either of these points could be disputed, a legal battle could ensue before the will is executed.</p> <h2>5. Not making it accessible</h2> <p>Make sure your completed and signed will is easily accessible when the time comes, particularly by your executor. There are a few options for this. You can keep it in a secure location such as a safe in your home or a safe-deposit box. You may also choose to provide a copy of your will to your attorney, accountant, or financial adviser if you feel comfortable doing so. Though you are not required to file your will with the court or place it into public record, some courts may provide the option to store it for you. This last possibility is a good option if the court in your local jurisdiction allows it.</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%2Fdont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FDon%2527t%2520Make%2520These%25205%2520Common%2520Mistakes%2520When%2520Writing%2520a%2520Will.jpg&amp;description=Don't%20Make%20These%205%20Common%20Mistakes%20When%20Writing%20a%20Will"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Don%27t%20Make%20These%205%20Common%20Mistakes%20When%20Writing%20a%20Will.jpg" alt="Don't Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will" width="250" height="374" /></h2> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-writing-a-will">What You Need to Know About Writing a Will</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-reasons-you-need-to-include-pets-in-your-will">6 Reasons You Need to Include Pets in Your Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-remarry">8 Money Moves to Make Before You Remarry</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family assets beneficiaries estate planning executor last will and testament minors state laws will Tue, 19 Sep 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Christa Avampato 2021475 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Things to Know Before Retiring Abroad http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad" 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_on_a_vacation.jpg" alt="Senior couple on a vacation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For an increasing number of Americans, moving abroad to enjoy retirement is an enticing idea. There are lots of reasons that lead people to make this choice, including better weather, cheaper health care, and an increased standard of living at a lower cost. But it's not a decision to be taken lightly. There are a number of important considerations that retirees sometimes overlook. Here are nine things you must know before retiring abroad. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a>)</p> <h2>1. U.S. tax laws are still applicable</h2> <p>Some retirees are under the impression that if you skip the country, the IRS somehow magically stops requiring you to file your income taxes. However, regardless of where you decide to live in the world, if you remain a U.S. citizen, your worldwide income is subject to U.S. taxes. Failing to pay your taxes is a serious offense with sometimes dire consequences that aren't worth risking, and ignorance is not a mitigating factor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</a>)</p> <p>If you are a U.S. citizen or green card holder who lives outside of the U.S. for 330 days during any period of 12 consecutive months, you may be able to apply for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. This allows you to exclude from your taxable income a certain amount of income that you earn abroad. The exclusion amount changes each year as it adjusts for inflation. For 2017, the amount is $102,100.</p> <p>So, if you live abroad for 330 or more days in 2017 and earn under $102,100, you may not have to pay taxes. This exemption is not automatic and you must apply for the exclusion. Check the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/foreign-earned-income-exclusion" target="_blank">IRS website</a> for more details. Keep in mind that even if you don't owe any money, you are still required to file a U.S. tax return every year.</p> <p>In addition to U.S. taxes, you'll need to find out if you're subject to taxes in the country you move to. Check with local tax authorities to learn more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-that-welcome-american-retirees?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Countries That Welcome American Retirees</a>)</p> <h2>2. Medicare doesn't cover you outside the U.S.</h2> <p>The first thing to be aware of is that, except in rare instances, any medical expenses you incur when you're not in the United States cannot be paid for with Medicare. That said, it may still be worthwhile to sign up for Medicare Part A (hospital coverage) because it is free. If you plan to move back to the U.S. or make frequent trips back, it may also be worth paying the premium for Medicare Part B, which covers doctor visits and outpatient care. To determine whether this will be of benefit to you, you should thoroughly check the information provided on the <a href="https://www.medicare.gov/people-like-me/outside-us/outside-us.html" target="_blank">Medicare website</a>.</p> <p>Keep in mind that health care is often much less expensive in other countries. Mexico, for example, is more than 50 percent cheaper for doctor visits, prescription drugs, and health insurance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico</a>)</p> <h2>3. Currency fluctuations may affect your bank balance</h2> <p>Even if your monthly income remains the same, the amount that this translates to in your local currency may go down. This is entirely dependent on the strength of the U.S. dollar at any given time, which could have a large impact on your finances, particularly if you're on a fixed income.</p> <p>Remember, however, that this could also work in your favor if the dollar strengthens against your local currency, allowing you to purchase more of the local currency. Though you can't control currency fluctuations, you should have a contingency in place for if and when they do happen. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a>)</p> <h2>4. You can probably get Social Security &mdash; and maybe more</h2> <p>You can still receive Social Security payments in most countries around the world but it's important to check the <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10137.pdf" target="_blank">list of excluded countries</a> before settling on a location. If you've lived and worked abroad for part of your career, you may also be able to combine retirement credits from the U.S. and another country where you worked, for a larger benefits payout. The other country must be among more than two dozen that has a <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/international/" target="_blank">reciprocal agreement</a> with the U.S.</p> <h2>5. You need to put a plan in place for when you die</h2> <p>There are two main considerations for putting a plan in place for the event that you pass away while you're abroad. First, you should know that the U.S. State Department will not pay for the return of your remains or ashes. Second, different countries have different regulations around what happens to your assets.</p> <p>You need to have funds in place if your wish is to have your remains repatriated to the U.S., as this can be a costly and time consuming process. You should make yourself familiar with local succession rules, as some countries won't automatically honor your wishes for assets that lie within them unless you have an eligible will.</p> <h2>6. You can probably still vote in the U.S.</h2> <p>Just because you no longer live in the U.S. doesn't mean you don't take an interest in the U.S. political situation. In the vast majority of circumstances you are still eligible to vote absentee in federal primary and general elections. In some states, you're even able to vote for state and local office candidates and referendums.</p> <p>You will need to <a href="https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/abroad/legal-matters/benefits/voting.html" target="_blank">submit a new Federal Post Card Application</a> each year in order to qualify, and you should do so at least 45 days before an election. But from there it's a simple process. You'll be able to submit your vote either by mail or electronically depending on where you're registered.</p> <h2>7. You might not like it</h2> <p>Unfortunately, the reality doesn't live up to the dream for some retirees relocating abroad. There are so many factors to consider that it's almost certain that issues will arise that you've not even thought about, from financial problems to culture shock.</p> <p>It's best to try a place out for a while before taking the plunge and relocating your whole life. Even if it's a location you know well from having visited over the years, residing somewhere permanently is different from vacationing there. Just bear in mind that it may not work out as you hoped.</p> <h2>8. Relocation can be extremely expensive</h2> <p>When it comes to calculating just how much it's going to cost you to live in a foreign country, it's important to include relocation costs. Shipping possessions like furniture can be costly, but not transporting them may also be expensive if you have to buy new items when you arrive.</p> <p>If you have pets there may be <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/features/travelwithpets/index.html" target="_blank">vaccinations and quarantine</a> periods that you have to shell out for, as well as separate transport costs. In addition, your own visa application could be expensive and complicated depending on the location. Look out for those hidden costs.</p> <h2>9. Things will be different</h2> <p>It's stating the obvious, but no matter how familiar the country is that you're retiring to, things will be different from the U.S. Everything from the local customs, to what groceries you can get in the supermarket will be new.</p> <p>You'll more than likely be away from close friends and family and there will probably be a sharp adjustment period. It's important not to underestimate the effects this could have on your happiness when making what will be one of the most significant decisions of your life.</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%2F9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F9%2520Things%2520to%2520Know%2520Before%2520Retiring%2520Abroad.jpg&amp;description=9%20Things%20to%20Know%20Before%20Retiring%20Abroad"></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%20Things%20to%20Know%20Before%20Retiring%20Abroad.jpg" alt="9 Things to Know Before Retiring Abroad" 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/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad">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-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</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-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad">Don&#039;t Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often">8 Questions Financial Advisers Hear Most Often</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-steps-to-take-before-retiring-abroad">13 Financial Steps to Take Before Retiring Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-amazing-honeymoons-that-only-seem-expensive">5 Amazing Honeymoons That Only Seem Expensive</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Travel abroad currency estate planning international laws mediare overseas politics social security taxes voting Mon, 11 Sep 2017 08:30:05 +0000 Nick Wharton 2017865 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_hammer_137432908.jpg" alt="stop putting off these adult money moves" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You are not a kid anymore. It's time to start acting like an adult, especially with regard to your money. Procrastination won't help you on the path to financial freedom, so it's time to grow up, and examine whether you've been avoiding these adult money moves.</p> <h2>1. Bolstering your emergency fund<strong> </strong></h2> <p>When you are young, you may not need a lot of extra cash on hand. After all, you may feel like your life is simple enough that very few emergencies would result in financial ruin.</p> <p>As you get older, though, there are more costly events that can crop up. You may own a home and face major, unexpected repairs. You may have children with unexpected medical needs. And because your overall expenses are higher, you'll be hurt more if you or a spouse loses their job.</p> <p>While it's important to invest for the long-term, it's also crucial that you keep enough cash on hand to cover emergencies. At least three to six months' worth of income is a good rule of thumb. Without this savings, you may find yourself in debt or tapping into retirement savings to get by. (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>2. Tracking your money</h2> <p>When you're young and living large, you have no idea where your money is going. You are too busy having fun to worry about it. But now you're an adult, and it's time to actually assess what you are spending your cash on.</p> <p>It's impossible to budget and save if you have no idea where to cut expenses. To begin tracking your money, analyze your bank and credit card statements to view all of the purchases you've made. Enter these into a spreadsheet, or use an account consolidation website such as Mint.com to help you. Once you start tracking, you'll have a good idea of where you've been wasting money and where you can start cutting down on your costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Build Your First Budget in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <h2>3. Sticking to a budget</h2> <p>Once you get a handle on where your money is going, it's time to develop a system that will allow you to save money. The only way to avoid debt and save for the future is to keep expenses below what you earn. This may mean making tough decisions and reducing nonessential spending.</p> <p>You may have to eat out less. You may need to cancel your cable TV or baseball season tickets. You may need to forgo that trip to the Caribbean. Set a budget for groceries each week, drive less, and clip more coupons. None of this is fun, but it's what adults do if they want to achieve financial freedom.</p> <h2>4. Getting your credit card debt under control</h2> <p>Early on in life, your credit card debt may just seem like a number you can hide from yourself. But at a certain point, it's something that truly impacts your ability to build wealth and obtain financial freedom.</p> <p>When your debt is high, this impacts your credit score, which in turn impacts what you will pay for things like a mortgage and auto loan. In essence, debt can become a downward spiral of pain if you don't nip it in the bud early. Be an adult, and start paying down that credit card debt.</p> <p>Try to go after the debt with the highest interest rates first, then go from there (otherwise known as the avalanche method). Begin using cards more sparingly and rely instead on good old cash as much as possible. Soon, you'll see your credit score rise and your overall financial picture will look much rosier. (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>5. Saving for a home</h2> <p>Homeownership isn't for everyone, but there will likely come a time in your life when it makes sense to build equity in real estate rather than spend money on rent. Owning a home gives you a sense of pride, a sense of stability for your family, and is a good financial move in the long run &mdash; as long as you can manage the monthly payments.</p> <p>To make a sensible home purchase, traditional expertise has advised saving enough money for a down payment of at least 20 percent. So if you are eyeballing a $250,000 home, for example, that means amassing $50,000 &mdash; a sizable amount. While you aren't required to put 20 percent down, doing so can help you avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance, or PMI, until you build up equity in your home. Saving for a down payment is not an easy task, and may take many years, so it's best to start as soon as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy Ways to Start Saving for a Down Payment on a Home</a>)</p> <h2>6. Investing toward retirement</h2> <p>The notion of saving for your 60s might seem ridiculous when you're in your 20s. But you can't put off retirement savings forever, and this procrastination can really hurt you down the line. The earlier you start saving, the more money you will have when it's time to leave the workforce.</p> <p>If you're into your 30s or 40s and have little saved for retirement, you need to start socking money away right now. Take advantage of your employer's 401(k) plan and any of your company's matching contributions. You can also open an individual retirement account (IRA). Max out these accounts, if possible. The sooner you start investing, the more time your money has to grow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>7. Saving for your kids' education</h2> <p>It's hard to imagine saving for college when you have no children yet, or your kids haven't even left elementary school. But with college costing tens of thousands of dollars, and getting more expensive every year, you shouldn't put off saving for too long if you plan to help your children with some of the expense.</p> <p>It's possible to begin saving before your child is even born, and there are many investment accounts, including the popular 529 college savings plans, that offer great tax advantages to those that save for education. It's not wise to save for college costs at the expense of your own retirement, but if you have the ability to put aside money for both, do it sooner rather than later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-places-to-stash-your-kids-college-savings?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Smart Places to Stash Your Kid's College Savings</a>)</p> <h2>8. Getting properly insured</h2> <p>Proper financial planning isn't just about accumulating wealth, but protecting it. The best way to protect your assets is by insuring them at appropriate levels. Do you own a home? Make sure you have homeowners insurance to protect the structure and everything inside. Do you and your family members have health insurance to protect against illness or injury? And do you have life insurance so that your family will be financially OK if something were to happen to you?</p> <p>Insurance can sometimes seem like a waste of money if you don't use it. But when something bad does happens, you'll be massively grateful you have it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn't Just for Old People</a>)</p> <h2>9. Crafting a will</h2> <p>Do you know who gets your assets if you unexpectedly pass away? Do you know who will take care of your children if you are no longer around? Have you given any thought to whether you'd like to be kept on life support if you are the victim of an accident? These are unpleasant things to think about, but they are important considerations.</p> <p>In the absence of a will or other documents that outline your wishes, family members may be left to make challenging decisions. The money and assets you wished to pass on to specific relatives may not be passed on according to your plans. Writing a will may not seem like a crucial thing to do when you are young, but it becomes more important as you get older, expand your family, and accumulate assets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-writing-a-will?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know About Writing a Will</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"> <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/Are%20You%20Putting%20Off%20These%209%20Adult%20Money%20Moves-.jpg" alt="Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?" 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/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">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/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money">Don&#039;t Let Outdated Money Advice Endanger Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-best-free-financial-learning-tools">9 Best Free Financial Learning Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-money-milestones-anyone-can-hit">6 Simple Money Milestones Anyone Can Hit</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/first-rule-of-financial-wins-avoid-losses">First Rule of Financial Wins: Avoid Losses</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-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years">10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year&#039;s</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting college costs debt down payments education estate planning investing life insurance money moves retirement saving wills Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:00:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 2005241 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Critical Money Mistakes People Make in Their 40s http://www.wisebread.com/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_calculating_budget.jpg" alt="Couple Calculating Budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The younger you are, the more time you have to bounce back from a financial mistake. As you inch closer to those retirement years, however, and as financial obligations expand, it's increasingly important to safeguard the assets you have &mdash; and to prepare for costly expenses that inevitably crop up as youth glides into middle age.</p> <p>The experts agree: Even 40-somethings who feel confident about their finances are likely to make a few money mistakes. Which are the most common? Here, the financial pros tell all.</p> <h2>1. An expensive home remodel</h2> <p>The average cost to remodel a few rooms is upward of $37,000, according to data compiled by Home Advisor. It could cost even more &mdash; as much as $125,000 &mdash; depending on the size and location of the home.</p> <p>Michael Frick, president of Promenade Advisors LLC, thinks that money could be much better spent by paying down an existing mortgage. &quot;Forty-somethings need to realize that retirement is only 20 to 30 years away in most cases,&quot; he said. &quot;Do they still want to have that large mortgage payment while they are retired on a fixed income? Will they even have enough retirement income to continue making those payments?&quot;</p> <p>Even worse, he added, is that many homeowners finance those pricey home renovations by borrowing from their existing home equity or &mdash; even worse &mdash; by raiding their 401(k) funds. The added monthly payments from a 401(k) loan can crimp the amount of money available to boost retirement savings during critical, high income-earning years.</p> <h2>2. Prioritizing kids' college over retirement savings</h2> <p>Most kids today expect their folks to pony up for the full cost of college, no matter which institution they choose. So says a 2016 <em>Parents, Kids &amp; Money</em> survey released by investment firm T. Rowe Price. Most parents want to comply.</p> <p>Still, midlife is &quot;a period in which you should assess whether you're on track to fund the subsequent stages of your own adulthood,&quot; said Anthony M. Montenegro of Blackmont Advisors. As children age, &quot;it's not uncommon for parents to continue putting kids ahead of themselves &mdash; even at the expense of their own needs.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;One way to look at this trade-off is to ask yourself, 'Am I willing to delay retirement and keep working another five to 10 years to fund my children's college?'&quot; said Alex Whitehouse, president and CEO of Whitehouse Wealth Management. Plus, he added, a student who works to help pay for school will have &quot;skin in the game,&quot; which can create a greater appreciation for the value of the education.</p> <p>If there's an additional need for tuition funds, &quot;money can be borrowed through student loans,&quot; Whitehouse added. &quot;You can't borrow money for retirement.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-too-much-money-for-a-college-fund-is-a-bad-idea?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Saving Too Much Money for a College Fund Is a Bad Idea</a>)</p> <h2>3. Skipping the estate plan</h2> <p>&quot;The term 'estate planning' sounds like something old, rich people need to transfer their mansion and paintings,&quot; said Whitehouse. Still, anyone with basic assets they want to share with a loved one (or even with a chosen charity) should have, at minimum, a basic will.</p> <p>No one wants to consider their own eventual demise but, even so, &quot;lack of planning can lead to painful consequences for heirs, including a lengthy probate process, loss of control, and potentially even disinheritance,&quot; added Whitehouse.</p> <p>For a straightforward will, there are inexpensive online DIY options available like <a href="http://store.nolo.com/products/quicken-willmaker-plus-wqp.html" target="_blank">Quicken WillMaker</a> and <a href="https://www.legalzoom.com/personal/estate-planning/last-will-and-testament-pricing.html" target="_blank">LegalZoom</a>. An attorney can help create a more comprehensive estate plan or set up a trust.</p> <h2>4. Not saving enough</h2> <p>&quot;Lifestyle creep can be a major problem for those in their 40s. As they earn more, many families increase their spending on luxury items or dinner at expensive restaurants, rather than save the extra income,&quot; said Andrew Rafal, founder and president of Bayntree Wealth Advisors.</p> <p>Small spending increases can be detrimental because they tend to happen slowly over time, and tend to mirror pay raises, so it's easy to not take notice.</p> <p>Instead of spending those pay raises, Joshua P. Brein, president of Brein Wealth Management, suggests splitting the difference. &quot;I always say it's a good idea to give your savings a raise if you get a raise yourself,&quot; he said. &quot;If your savings habits don't match your increased income and instead stay small &mdash; even though your income grows &mdash; you could be underfunding retirement and falling behind inflation. When you retire, things will undoubtedly cost more than they do today, so save like it!&quot;</p> <p>Still, Brein still gives income earners carte blanche to spend half their raises. That means you can save more while also increasing your standard of living over time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a>)</p> <h2>5. Being underinsured</h2> <p>Many 40-somethings have children or other family members who are financially dependent upon them. Even so, &quot;many people in their 40s are underinsured,&quot; said Rafal. That means an unexpected injury, disability, or even death has the potential to torpedo even the most seemingly stable situation.</p> <p>Rafal recommends taking advantage of any group life and disability plans offered by an employer, but also maintaining personal policies that are opened outside of the workplace. &quot;That way you have the peace of mind that your family is properly insured even if you switch employers,&quot; he said. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-disability-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Things You Need to Know About Disability Insurance</a>)</p> <h2>6. A skimpy emergency fund</h2> <p>That three to six months' worth of expenses you set aside in your 20s may not be enough to replace your income today, if you were to need it. &quot;Pretty much everything you own today is more valuable than it was 10 or 15 or 20 years ago,&quot; said Charles C. Scott, co-creator of FinancialChoicesMatter.com and founder of Pelleton Capital Management. &quot;Your house is worth more. Your car is worth more. It costs more to take care of your health at this age than years ago, both because you're older, but also because health care costs are a lot higher.&quot;</p> <p>Many midlife workers fail to adjust their emergency safety cushion to account for those increased expenses and earnings. If an unexpected emergency were to arise, and you haven't recalculated in a while, a meager account balance may not stretch as far as expected.</p> <h2>7. Paying too much for investment advice</h2> <p>Lower investment fees and higher performance returns go together like peanut butter and jelly. That's according to the recent research paper<em> Predictive Power of Fees</em>, released by investment researcher Morningstar. Still, many investors, even the most intelligent ones, don't fully understand the investment fees they're paying.</p> <p>&quot;What you don't know could be greatly hurting you,&quot; said Matthew Jackson, president of Solid Wealth Advisors. Fee information is often hidden deep within a mutual fund's prospectus or annual shareholder report. If you don't know what you're looking for, the information can be difficult to find.</p> <p>Then there are the fees you're paying your financial adviser or broker. &quot;Take the time to learn exactly how much you are paying for advice. Often, commissions and fees are obscure and not easily understandable.&quot;</p> <p>The good news is that even &quot;the worst money mistakes people make in their 40s can be fixed rather easily,&quot; said Jackson. First, he suggested, get engaged with your money. &quot;Take the time to learn the basics. In the information age, it's never been easier to learn about asset allocation, maximum portfolio drawdowns, and portfolio volatility.&quot; In short, a little knowledge can go a long way. By learning a little, &quot;people in their 40s can avoid a lot of pain in their portfolios,&quot; Jackson added. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best</a>)</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/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s">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/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/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</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/8-money-moments-that-should-be-on-everyones-bucket-list">8 Money Moments That Should Be On Everyone&#039;s Bucket List</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance 40s college funds emergency funds estate planning inflation life insurance midlife money mistakes retirement saving money Thu, 15 Jun 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1961115 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Questions Financial Advisers Hear Most Often http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business_communication_connection_people_concept.jpg" alt="Business Communication Connection People Concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No one goes to a financial adviser if they already know everything there is to know about retirement planning and investing. So most people will, logically, come armed with a variety of questions when they meet with an adviser, especially if it is for the first time.</p> <p>Financial advisers say they hear many of the same questions repeatedly from clients looking to build their retirement savings or live large in retirement. Most of the questions center around the ability of clients to retire, or the information needed to build wealth in the hopes of retiring comfortably.</p> <p>This list of common questions for financial advisers was compiled with the help of Greg Hammer of Hammer Financial Group in Northwest Indiana, and Willie Schuette, financial coach with JL Smith Group in Ohio.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Can I retire?&quot;</h2> <p>This is really the ultimate question posed to most financial advisers. Clients want to know if they can afford to stop working. And if not now, when?</p> <p>A financial adviser will help you determine how much money you have and how much more you'll need, based on your life expectancy and retirement plans. Both Hammer and Schuette said they often have to break the news to clients that they need to keep working, but that's better than telling them after they&rsquo;ve retired that their money is likely to run out.</p> <h2>2. &quot;Can you help me avoid paying taxes?&quot;</h2> <p>The Internal Revenue Service can take a chunk out of your earnings, and often leave you with less cash than you originally planned. Financial advisers say they get a lot of questions about how to avoid a big tax hit, especially from retirees looking to preserve every dollar they have.</p> <p>Advisers field many questions about Roth IRAs, which allow investors to invest money and withdraw it tax-free upon retirement. Many investors turn to financial advisers for advice on the tax implications of converting traditional IRAs into Roth IRAs. There are also a multitude of other tax questions relating to municipal bonds, inheritance taxes, and tax deductions.</p> <h2>3. &quot;How can I preserve my money?&quot;</h2> <p>Financial advisers say clients are generally aware that they need to invest more conservatively as they get older to protect against market downturns, but aren't quite sure how. What's the right investment mix based on their age, their money saved, and retirement date? What's the best way to go about shifting away from stocks to cash and bonds?</p> <p>Hammer and Schuette say they get questions like this all the time, and are happy to walk clients through the best approach to keeping their retirement nest eggs secure.</p> <h2>4. &quot;When should I collect Social Security?&quot;</h2> <p>Retirees can begin collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but will get larger monthly payments the longer they wait. Financial advisers will usually work with retirees to develop income sources that will allow them to delay collecting Social Security. But both Hammer and Schuette said their recommendations depend on the individual client's circumstances and financial needs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-social-security-you-shouldnt-panic-over?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Sobering Facts About Social Security You Shouldn't Panic Over</a>)</p> <h2>5. &quot;What's the deal with health care?&quot;</h2> <p>With Congress working to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, many clients are wondering how their health care may be affected. Financial advisers have received this question from retirees who are not old enough to collect Medicare, as well as younger clients who don't get insurance through an employer. Advisers say they will walk clients through the cost of health care and the proper plans, as well as assist with setting up things like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money" target="_blank">health savings accounts</a> and emergency funds.</p> <h2>6. &quot;I know I need life insurance, but what kind? And how much?&quot;</h2> <p>Financial advisers say clients usually know they need some sort of life insurance to protect their families, but are often bewildered by the offerings. There's whole and term life insurance, and policies with varying sizes, lengths, and premiums. An adviser can help find the right kind of insurance for each person and their unique situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a>)</p> <h2>7. &quot;My spouse just died. What do I do?&quot;</h2> <p>Many people feel confident in their financial planning, until something changes in their life that throws things out of whack. A loss of a spouse or other major change cannot only be challenging emotionally, but it can drastically change a person's financial needs. There may be a sudden loss of income when a spouse dies, and there are endless concerns about taxes, life insurance, and even real estate.</p> <h2>8. &quot;How do I take care of my heirs?&quot;</h2> <p>For most people, the main financial goal is amassing enough wealth to last their full retirement, and there's not much consideration for the next generation. After all, saving for your own several decades of life after retirement is hard enough.</p> <p>But Hammer and Schuette say there is a segment of clients seeking the best approach to passing wealth onto to their children and other relatives. Financial advisers say that in these cases, the conversation centers not only on amassing wealth, but taking into account things like inheritance taxes, and performing full, in-depth estate planning.</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/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad">9 Things to Know Before Retiring Abroad</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/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do">If You&#039;re Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement">5 Things Your Financial Planner Isn&#039;t Telling You About 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/9-costly-mistakes-diy-investors-make">9 Costly Mistakes DIY Investors Make</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/13-financial-steps-to-take-before-retiring-abroad">13 Financial Steps to Take Before Retiring Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement estate planning financial advisers financial planning health care life insurance questions saving money social security taxes Fri, 02 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1957430 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things You'll Encounter When Taking Over a Loved One's Finances http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-youll-encounter-when-taking-over-a-loved-ones-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-youll-encounter-when-taking-over-a-loved-ones-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/i've_always_been_able_to_count_on_her.jpg" alt="taking over an older relative&#039;s finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your parents took care of you for much of your life. It's not a comfortable moment when you realize that they need <em>you</em> to help care for <em>them</em>.</p> <p>Ideally, when it's time to take the financial wheel for aging parents or other loved ones, you've already done some advanced planning. If not, the process may be more onerous. Here's what you need to know.</p> <h2>1. It's relatively easy if the person's assets are in a revocable trust</h2> <p>A decade ago, I received a letter from an elderly cousin informing me that she'd met with a lawyer to set up a revocable living trust, and that she wanted to name me the successor trustee. At the time, this was mumbo jumbo to me. But a couple of years ago, when my relative's health robbed her of the ability to conduct her own affairs, I was very grateful for her foresight.</p> <p>Because my name was already on her accounts as successor trustee, it was relatively easy to have the banks promote me to &quot;trustee,&quot; which gave me the legal power to manage nearly all her finances. All I needed to do was to provide the banks with a copy of the trust and a signed statement of incapacitation from her physician. Then I was able to set up online banking with my own passwords, giving me the power to pay her bills, deposit her checks, and renew her certificates of deposit as needed.</p> <p>Having this trust also made settling her estate easier when my relative eventually passed away.</p> <h2>2. A financial power of attorney is helpful, too</h2> <p>Having your assets transferred to a trust is a long process. In most cases, a durable financial power of attorney is almost as helpful, and creating one is much quicker and easier. The person who may need your future help simply fills out a few pages of paperwork and signs it in front of a notary. Their bank may have the necessary forms on hand.</p> <p>This power may be set up to kick in only if the account holder has become incapacitated, or can be for anytime use; for example, if your mother wants you to handle finances for her while she travels overseas once a year. It gives you the power to sign checks and tax returns, collect and deposit Social Security checks, sell real estate &mdash; pretty much everything. The main difference between the revocable trust and the power of attorney, in my experience, is that a power of attorney ends when the person dies, while a revocable trust continues after death.</p> <p>Even if you already have a revocable living trust, it's good to also get a financial power of attorney, for several reasons. First, not everyone recognizes a living trust, but pretty much every bank employee is familiar with a POA. Second, your loved one may have forgotten to put some assets into a living trust, in which case the POA can be a backup means for you to handle those assets. Third, there are a few powers, like signing tax returns, that trustees don't have.</p> <h2>3. It can be hard to talk to Social Security on their behalf</h2> <p>Once I took over my relative's finances, I noticed that her Social Security payments seemed low for the number of years she had worked. I wanted to talk with the Social Security Administration about whether she was getting everything she was due, so I took my POA and trust documents to a local service center, took a number, and waited for my turn at the window.</p> <p>No dice. The staff there informed me that the SSA doesn't recognize POAs, and that the only way I'd be able to get any information about her account was to apply to have them appoint me as a representative payee. Representative payees are given the authority to receive the Social Security payments belonging to a relative, friend, or other loved one, and use the money on the beneficiary's behalf.</p> <p>Upon further examination, I decided my relative probably would not qualify for any further Social Security payments, so I didn't go through this rigmarole. If you need to manage a loved one's Social Security benefits, however, be aware that you'll need to apply for this designation.</p> <h2>4. If you need to sell investments, you may have some digging to do</h2> <p>If you sell stock on behalf of your loved one, that person may owe capital gains taxes. Figuring out how much they owe can be a real challenge if they've held the asset for many decades. My relative held some stocks in online brokerage accounts, which sounded like they would be easy to manage. Soon I realized that she'd transferred these stocks to the brokerage after holding them for years as stock certificates.</p> <p>Some of the companies had gone through mergers and takeovers since she'd first invested. She probably had the paperwork showing when they'd originally been purchased somewhere &mdash; but her home contained many, many boxes of papers and I didn't know where to find the stock purchase records.</p> <p>If your loved one is expected to live a long time and will need investments to be liquidated, you'll have to do the legwork to get at least your best estimate as to when stocks were purchased and at what price. But if the account owner is not likely to need those assets in their lifetime, I learned from a financial adviser it may be wise to just leave them be. Why? Because cost basis &mdash; the cost at which the IRS views you to have acquired the asset &mdash; is reset at death. If your loved one passes away, those stocks can be liquidated without worrying about what they originally cost.</p> <h2>5. You must prepare carefully for financing nursing home care</h2> <p>Before I began helping my loved one with her finances, I lived in a fantasy land where Medicaid or Medicare would pay for all U.S. citizens' nursing home care if needed. A meeting with an elder lawyer set me straight.</p> <p>Medicaid will indeed pay for nursing home expenses &mdash; but only after nearly every other asset belonging to your loved one is gone. Once admitted to a nursing home, unless they purchased <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it" target="_blank">long-term care insurance</a>, they'll be expected to pay market rates, which can be <a href="https://www.genworth.com/about-us/industry-expertise/cost-of-care.html" target="_blank">$3,600 to $7,600 a month</a> <em>or more</em>. Once their money and assets run out, <em>then</em> Medicaid takes over.</p> <p>There are ways to shield some assets from going to the nursing home, and it's wise for you and/or your loved one to consult a lawyer who specializes in Title XIX planning in your state. One surprising rule in most states is that the person needing care can't simply give all their money away and expect Medicaid to pay for the nursing home. In fact, if your mother gives you $10,000 a few years before going into a nursing home, and then runs out of money, you can actually be compelled to give back that $10,000 gift &mdash; and if you've already spent it, well, now you're $10,000 in debt.</p> <p>Only a qualified attorney can walk you through all the rules for your state, but in general, what I learned was that it's important to start keeping records. Track money spent and gifts given as early as possible to prevent the system from trying to take back money already given away or spent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-planning-for-a-loved-ones-long-term-care?ref=seealso" target="_blank">A Simple Guide to Planning For a Loved One's Long-Term Care</a>)</p> <h2>6. Check recent statements carefully</h2> <p>Elderly or ailing people can be victimized by everything from outright scams to petty fees that they shouldn't have to pay. Once you have access to your loved one's accounts, look over the past year's worth of financial statements. When I did this, I found that my relative had been unwittingly signed up for some membership programs she never used, and was still being billed for a phone line that had been disconnected months before. I was able to get all these charges reversed with some persistent phone calls. On the same tack, be alert for any signs that your loved one has been the victim of identity theft or other fraud. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-youll-encounter-when-taking-over-a-loved-ones-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-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/what-is-power-of-attorney">What Is Power of Attorney?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-remarry">8 Money Moves to Make Before You Remarry</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-details-your-financial-adviser-may-be-ignoring">5 Details Your Financial Adviser May Be Ignoring</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-steps-to-take-before-retiring-abroad">13 Financial Steps to Take Before Retiring Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-a-family-members-finances-long-distance">How to Manage a Family Member&#039;s Finances Long Distance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance aging parents estate planning long term care nursing home care power of attorney representative payee revocable trusts social security take care of loved ones Tue, 30 May 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1955479 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things You Should Know About Joint Checking Accounts http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-should-know-about-joint-checking-accounts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-you-should-know-about-joint-checking-accounts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-646688660.jpg" alt="Couple learning things about a joint checking account" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Joint checking accounts offer convenient money management for many different types of relationships, including married and cohabiting couples and adult children and their parents.</p> <p>But the convenience of joint checking accounts potentially comes with a cost that families need to consider before signing up. Here are six issues you need to think through before you open a joint checking account with a spouse, a significant other, an adult child, or a parent.</p> <h2>1. There is no accountability for withdrawals</h2> <p>Generally, couples tend to open joint accounts because they are sharing a home and expenses. That means that it's in their best interests to be responsible with the money, since it will affect them both if the rent money is spent on a weekend in Vegas. However, if one person is unreliable with money, or planning to leave the relationship suddenly, a joint account can be dangerous for the other account holder.</p> <p>This issue can be more difficult when the two account holders are parent and child. Often, an adult child will request that they be added to their elderly parents' checking account to help protect dear old Mom or Dad. They can help pay bills, and make sure that there is no fraudulent activity on the account. The problem is that both account holders have every right to withdraw money from the account &mdash; which an unscrupulous adult child could take advantage of.</p> <h2>2. Joint accounts are vulnerable to the financial mistakes of both owners</h2> <p>If either account owner has unpaid debts that go into collection, the creditor has every right to use the joint account to satisfy those debts. This means you might potentially find your joint checking account completely drained in order to pay off debts you are unaware that your co-owner has run up.</p> <p>In addition, if there is a legal judgment against either account owner, the money in the joint account could be considered part of the assets awarded in the judgment. For instance, if Jane is sued because she crashed into a bus, then the assets in the joint account she holds with her elderly father are considered part of Jane's assets in terms of the lawsuit &mdash; even if the account was originally solely in Dad's name.</p> <h2>3. A joint account could hurt your credit</h2> <p>Although your spouse or child's credit rating can't ding your score, the way they handle their money can hurt your credit if you share a joint account with them. Since creditors are required to report joint account information, an account holder who struggles with debt and paying bills on time will negatively affect the co-owner's credit rating &mdash; unless and until the money behavior improves.</p> <h2>4. A joint account can affect eligibility for financial assistance</h2> <p>If either account owner needs to qualify for any kind of financial assistance, from financial aid for college to Medicaid, the money in a jointly held account is included in the eligibility calculations for the financial aid. That means you might end up forfeiting your ability to qualify for the financial assistance if your account co-owner holds more cash in the account than you would as a sole account owner.</p> <h2>5. Your co-owner can close the account without your permission</h2> <p>Certain banks require consent from both parties to close a joint checking account, but most do not. Typically, state laws dictate that any person who can write checks on the account can close it, at any time, regardless if their co-owner is present or even aware. The benefit to this is if one party relocates, passes away, or otherwise becomes incapacitated, there are very few issues the remaining co-owner must go through to close the account. The danger, however, lies in the potential for one co-owner to simply deplete the funds, close the account, and disappear. Always make sure you're sharing a checking account with someone you trust.</p> <h2>6. Parent/child joint accounts can have estate implications</h2> <p>A joint account holder retains sole control of the money in the account in the event of the co-owner's death. In the case of spouses or other cohabiting couples, this kind of financial transfer in case of death is not a problem. However, if the account owners are a parent and child, the issue is much more complicated.</p> <p>That's because the money in the checking account stays with the surviving account holder, bypassing whatever the deceased account holder may have put in their will. For instance, Loretta has three children and has specified in her will that her assets will be distributed evenly among them. But Loretta has a sizable joint account with her son Jason, and upon her death the money in that account will be solely under his control. Unless Jason feels like splitting up the money in the account three ways, his siblings are not going to see that portion of their inheritance.</p> <h2>Merge with caution</h2> <p>While joint checking accounts offer convenience to couples and parent/child relationships, they also come with a number of potential headaches. Make sure you know what you are signing up for before you and your potential co-account owner start picking out your personalized checks.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-should-know-about-joint-checking-accounts">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/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-have-a-kid">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Have a Kid</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-put-your-spouse-on-a-budget-without-ruining-your-marriage">How to Put Your Spouse on a Budget Without Ruining Your Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-average-people-should-consider-a-prenup">6 Reasons Average People Should Consider a Prenup</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision">When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Family children credit score debts estate planning joint checking accounts marriage parents shared finances spouse withdrawals Mon, 17 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1927307 at http://www.wisebread.com The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family's Estate http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-185267899.jpg" alt="Learning the fair way to split up a family&#039;s estate" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I've seen many family rifts created over an estate. Without clear guidance on your wishes, heirs and relatives may descend into fights over your belongings, sometimes taking grudges to their own graves. Don't let that happen to your family. Here are a few tips on how to smooth out the kinks of your will before you take your last bow.</p> <h2>Determine Beneficiaries in Your Life Insurance Policy Ahead of Time</h2> <p>If you have a life insurance policy, you have the option to name beneficiaries before you die. You can divide the payout evenly among those you'd like to name, or you can assign a particular percentage of the payout to each individual. Either way, you spare your beneficiaries the unpleasant conversation of who gets how much.</p> <p>If there are any hurt feelings after the fact because this person or that person didn't receive the payout they feel they deserve, it's really not your problem anymore. At least you spelled out your wishes legally and ahead of time.</p> <h2>Involve Your Beneficiaries in Inheritance Decisions While You're Alive</h2> <p>If you want to involve your family in the asset-dividing task while you're still alive, there are a couple ways to make this work. Certified financial planner Jody Giles &mdash; author of <a href="http://amzn.to/2kFEX8m" target="_blank">Missing Pieces Plan</a>, a guide to help people plan for their final wishes &mdash; offers two options for family participation in asset assignment to avoid infighting when you pass.</p> <h3>Round Robin</h3> <p>One way to give away heirlooms now, Giles says, is to hold a &quot;round robin&quot; where each beneficiary gets a turn picking an asset or heirloom.</p> <p>&quot;I suggest making a list of all the items you deem sentimental and circulate it to your loved ones,&quot; says Giles. They can then choose from the list, or add items you may not have even thought about. &quot;You might find they really care about a coffee mug that you don't see as valuable, but they do,&quot; she says.</p> <p>Once you have a complete list, you may consider separating sentimental items (coffee mugs, trophies, a wine opener, nostalgic popcorn bowl) from valuable items, like furniture, silver, jewelry, and art.</p> <p>Drawing names is a great way to determine who starts the round robin, or you can easily go by birth order or other creative option for deciding who goes first. Then have each loved one choose an item off the &quot;sentimental&quot; list, then the &quot;valuable&quot; list, and so forth.</p> <p>At the round robin's completion, your loved ones have intentionally and thoughtfully selected your heirlooms. Then, you can decide what you give away now or what you intend to keep until you pass. Most importantly, you have a documented list indicating to whom all your sentimental and valuable items shall pass &mdash; as they deem fair.</p> <h3>Play Money</h3> <p>Another idea, according to Giles, is to give an equal amount of &quot;play money&quot; to each intended beneficiary. If necessary, you can hire an appraiser to value and price all of your assets. Each heir is then given the opportunity to &quot;buy&quot; items from the estate.</p> <p>&quot;If you want to downsize,&quot; Giles says, &quot;you can certainly make the transfer during your lifetime or keep track of the 'purchases' to reduce tension and make the transfers seamless after you're gone.&quot;</p> <p>You can also have the satisfaction of knowing that heirlooms you hold dear will continue to be treasured by the next generation.</p> <h2>Include a Letter of Explanation in Your Will</h2> <p>Unless you have the good fortune of being part of the &quot;perfect&quot; family, your assets may not be divided equally &mdash; perhaps for good reason. It's your right to divide your assets however you wish, but you can bet it may leave a sour taste in the mouth of whomever gets the short end of the stick.</p> <p>To quell the hurt feelings, include a letter of explanation in your will. It can go a long way toward helping your loved ones understand your decisions. Maybe you're giving less money and property to a more successful child so some of the less successful ones can turn their lives around. Whatever the reason &mdash; if you think an explanation is necessary, provide one.</p> <p>&quot;Most people say that they allocate money based on need and not love,&quot; says Illinois-based attorney Evan Randall. &quot;Obviously a disabled child requires more money in the long run in addition to possibly not being able to work. It gets harder when the needs are on the same level.&quot;</p> <h2>Assign Assets and Let Loved Ones Swap Rights to Them</h2> <p>Nobody wants to contest a will, but siblings and other close family members often end up doing that if your will isn't watertight.</p> <p>Estate-planning attorney Ashley L. Case with Tiffany &amp; Bosco in Phoenix, Arizona, offers a method to eliminate broken hearts and temper tantrums ahead of your death. It involves creating groups of items that you think are equal in monetary or sentimental value.</p> <p>&quot;Each heir could be assigned a group of items at random, which would represent the inheritance of the heir,&quot; explains Case. &quot;In the event that the heir was interested in an item belonging to another heir, the two can negotiate separately.&quot;</p> <p>This allows you to distribute your assets equally while lowering the chances your heirs will have to resort to litigation upon your death. Because, really, who wants to go to court to duke it out over a dead person's stuff?</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/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">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/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/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will">Don&#039;t Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</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-set-up-a-trust-for-your-child">Should You Set Up a Trust for Your Child?</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/12-financial-moves-to-make-when-a-loved-one-dies">12 Financial Moves to Make When a Loved One Dies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-smartest-things-to-do-with-an-inheritance">The 4 Smartest Things to Do With an Inheritance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family beneficiaries death estate planning heirs inheritance last will and testament legal life insurance valuables Fri, 17 Mar 2017 10:30:24 +0000 Mikey Rox 1907104 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money Moves to Make Before You Remarry http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-remarry <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-remarry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-158851087.jpg" alt="Making money moves before remarrying" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every year, about three per 1,000 Americans <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/marriage-divorce.htm" target="_blank">divorce from their spouse</a>. Since about seven per 1,000 Americans marry every year, there is a chance that some divorcees will eventually tie the knot again with a new partner.</p> <p>But before you remarry, you should evaluate your finances. Let's review eight money moves that will set you both up for financial safety and success.</p> <h2>1. Make Amendments to Your Will (or Make One!)</h2> <p>The joy of finding love again can make you look at everything through a rosy filter. While no one likes thinking about their mortality, especially close to a big wedding day, the reality is that not updating your will could leave your new partner (and potential dependents) with a messy court battle for your estate. Review your current will and update it as necessary. For example, you may redistribute your estate to include your new dependents and choose a different executor &mdash; a person who will manage your estate and carry out the orders in your will.</p> <p>If you don't have a will, then setting one up should become the top priority of all money moves before you remarry. In the absence of a will, a judge will appoint an administrator who will execute your estate according to your state's probate laws. What is legal may not be the ideal situation for your loved ones, so plan ahead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-writing-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know About Writing a Will</a>)</p> <h2>2. Update Beneficiaries Listed on Your Retirement Accounts</h2> <p>Even after setting up or updating your will, you still need to update the list of beneficiaries listed for your retirement accounts. This is particularly important for 401K plan holders. The Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA) stipulates that a defined contribution plan, such as a 401K, must provide a <a href="https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/about-ebsa/our-activities/resource-center/faqs/qdro-drafting" target="_blank">death benefit to the spouse</a> of the plan holder.</p> <p>Your beneficiary form is so important that it can supersede your will under many circumstances. When updating your beneficiary form before you remarry, there are three best practices to follow:</p> <ul> <li>Get written consent from your previous spouse, if applicable, to make changes;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Second, designate only children who are of legal age so they can actually carry out their wishes;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Third, find out the tax implications for beneficiaries other than your spouse as a large windfall could unintentionally create a financial burden.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Consider Setting Up a Trust</h2> <p>Since we're talking about potential financial burdens, many of them could come out of an estate with lots of valuable assets being divided among many beneficiaries, many of them very young.</p> <p>When you have accumulated a lot of wealth over the years, you could be better served by a trust than by a will for several reasons, including keeping your estate out of a court-supervised probate, maintaining the privacy of your records, and allowing you to customize estate distribution. While the cost of setting up a trust can be up to three times that of setting up a will, it can be a worthwhile investment to prevent costly legal battles. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-set-up-a-trust-for-your-child?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Set Up a Trust for Your Child?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Be Aware of Potential Spousal Benefits From Social Security</h2> <p>If your previous marriage ended on very unfriendly terms, you and your spouse may feel that you don't want to leave a penny to each other. Regardless of how you feel, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may still legally entitle your ex-spouse some benefits under certain circumstances.</p> <p>If your former marriage lasted at least 10 years, your previous spouse can receive benefits on your SSA's record as long as he or she:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html" target="_blank">Remains unmarried</a>;</li> <li>Is age 62 or older;</li> <li>Is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits; and</li> <li>Has an entitled benefit based on his or her own work that is less than the one that he or she would receive based on your work history.</li> </ul> <p>Even when you have remarried, your ex-spouse could receive a check from the SSA based on your record. This is a conversation that you should have with your new partner before you tie the knot so that you're both on the same financial page.</p> <h2>5. Set Up Mail Forwarding With USPS</h2> <p>Depending on how long ago you got divorced and whether or not you kept the same home from your previous marriage, you could still receive some correspondence addressed to your ex's name. While getting a letter from an aunt isn't a big deal, receiving a large monetary gift, important bill, or legal notice could create discussions that you don't want to have.</p> <p>To avoid such issues, spend $1 to set up <a href="https://www.usps.com/manage/forward.htm" target="_blank">mail forward</a> with the USPS so that all correspondence under your married name (and maiden name, if applicable) is forwarded to a new address. Chances are that your ex-spouse already did this, but it's better to be safe than sorry. This service costs $1 per name, so you would need to spend $1 for a married name, and another $1 for a maiden name.</p> <h2>6. Put Your Debts on the Table</h2> <p>Transparency is a pillar in any relationship. No matter how large your financial obligations may be, your new spouse will truly appreciate finding out now rather than when you're struggling to cover monthly bills, applying for a mortgage, or trying to finance a new car.</p> <p>Sit down with your soon-to-be spouse and go through your debt payments, such as student loans, credit card balances, mortgages, car loans, and installment plans. Going over your debts will allow you to have an idea of where the money is going every month, start talking about the potential commingling of finances, and be aware of each other's liabilities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-to-your-debt-after-you-die?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Happens to Your Debt After You Die?</a>)</p> <h2>7. Disclose Any Alimony and Child Care Payments</h2> <p>Whether you're the issuer or recipient of court-mandated spousal support, spousal maintenance, or child care, make sure to disclose those moneys to your spouse and the corresponding expenses that they cover. Failing to help cover certain expenses while making large payments somewhere else could cause tensions between you and your new partner when not previously discussed.</p> <p>Be upfront with your partner and tell the whole story. It helps you establish clear expectations about your joint financial future.</p> <h2>8. Evaluate a Prenuptial</h2> <p>Depending on your own financial plans, you may want to fully combine your finances &mdash; or not at all. For example, you may have accumulated some serious joint credit card debts from your previous marriage and you wouldn't want to transfer that responsibility to your new spouse or start a new string of similar debts. Evaluating a prenup before tying the knot is a necessary conversation for any couple with large differences in individual net worths, levels of retirement savings, and stakes in businesses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce</a>)</p> <p>While thinking that your second marriage may fail like your first one did may sound a bit pessimistic, the reality is that it does happen. In 2013, four out of 10 new marriages <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/11/14/four-in-ten-couples-are-saying-i-do-again/" target="_blank">involved remarriage</a>.</p> <p>Consult with your financial adviser, lawyer, or accountant about your unique financial situation and determine whether or not you need to present a prenup agreement to your soon-to-be spouse. Keep a positive attitude, and remember that this is a time for celebration. Once you've done your homework, you'll be able to fully enjoy your marriage without any financial worries holding you back.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-remarry">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-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will">Don&#039;t Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</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-set-up-a-trust-for-your-child">Should You Set Up a Trust for Your Child?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-details-your-financial-adviser-may-be-ignoring">5 Details Your Financial Adviser May Be Ignoring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision">When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance beneficiaries dependents estate planning money moves prenup remarried retirement Second Marriage social security trusts will Wed, 15 Mar 2017 11:00:15 +0000 Damian Davila 1906387 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money Moments That Should Be On Everyone's Bucket List http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moments-that-should-be-on-everyones-bucket-list <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-moments-that-should-be-on-everyones-bucket-list" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_happy_woman_161954601.jpg" alt="Woman celebrating money moments on her bucket list" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The big house. The fancy car. The 'round-the-world vacation. When you think of a bucket list, and mention money, it's easy to start daydreaming about things that cost a fortune.</p> <p>However, you don't have to have your head in the clouds to achieve a bucket list of money moments. Here are eight of the big ones. Many of them are already within your reach.</p> <h2>1. Becoming Debt Free</h2> <p>Let's start with the most obvious money moment we should all be striving for &mdash; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">eliminating our debt</a>. It's certainly not easy, and it's not something that can be done quickly. This requires careful planning, a lot of willpower, and the willingness to forgo the little luxuries we all like to have in our daily lives. But, it can be done.</p> <p>One way to do this is by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-debt-snowball-method-0" target="_blank">snowballing your debt</a>. You take the smallest debt you have, perhaps a store card or a loan, and you figure out a way to pay as much off that balance as you can each month. While you're doing this, you pay the minimum on your other debts. When that small debt has been paid off, you apply that to the next debt on your list, and just keep going. Eventually, you'll have everything paid off, including the car and the mortgage. What does &quot;eventually&quot; actually mean? It might be a few years, but if you stick to it, you'll achieve your goal.&nbsp;</p> <h2>2. Putting Work That You Love Ahead of Salary</h2> <p>All too often, we do work that doesn't really fulfill us, but gives us the money to pay the bills, save for a college fund, and go away on vacation every year. However, as we spend most of our lives working, it makes sense that the job should be one that really brings us happiness.</p> <p>By&nbsp;following some of the advice mentioned earlier, it is possible to put salary and benefits second to job satisfaction. And when you don't need the money, the job market looks very different. Suddenly, your options are wide open. If you love working with animals, you can leave the rat race to care for dogs and cats. If you love working with children, or the elderly, you can find careers in those fields. They don't pay as much, but the rewards to your soul are much greater.</p> <h2>3. Building a Solid Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Some 50 years ago, you could start a job at a company in your youth, and with hard work and dedication, retire from that same company 40 years later. That time has passed. These days, corporations are constantly looking for ways to cut costs and give greater value to their shareholders. That means mergers, streamlining, and of course, layoffs.</p> <p>When the worst happens (and it will probably happen more than once in your lifetime), you need to be adequately prepared. Experts say your emergency fund should have three to six months' living expenses in it. Some say more, especially when the economy tanks and jobs are scarce.</p> <p>How do you do that, especially when you're trying to pay down debt? You need to first set a target &mdash; how much will be in the fund? Then, you need to take advantage of great interest rates, low or no-fee accounts, and apps like <a href="https://www.acorns.com/" target="_blank">Acorns</a> that invest the change from every transaction. Put a dedicated amount to one side each month, and stick to it. If that means no eating out, or no trips to the cinema, so be it. Once your fund is established, you can loosen the reins a little.</p> <h2>4. Creating a Last Will and Testament</h2> <p>Very few people like the idea of creating a will. The whole idea of planning for a life that does not have you in it is morbid to say the least. But, it's essential, especially if you have family and have specific ideas about who gets your possessions.</p> <p>With a will, you can ensure that your last wishes are met. You can name an executor, who will take on the task of wrapping up your affairs. You can be very specific about who gets what, and how it is all divided. You can name a guardian for your children and pets, and a property manager. This is all very important. If you do die without a will in place, it can lead to a lot of infighting and malice. And in some cases, it can split families apart. The state will decide how to distribute your belongings, and it will not be done with the delicacy or care that you would like.</p> <h2>5. Earning Passive Income</h2> <p>Passive income is a way to earn money using little-to-no effort, usually from a business or venture you have set up yourself. Examples of passive income include earnings from rental properties, royalties from intellectual property (books, songs, software, etc.), investment portfolios, renting out tools and equipment, and even interest from lottery winnings. The latter is not something you have much control over, but everything else is achievable.</p> <p>Look for ideas on ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-money-outside-your-day-job" target="_blank">make lucrative money on the side</a> without the need for a lot of regular work. It may take some serious elbow grease on the front end, but once that's established, you can sit back and watch the money come rolling in.</p> <h2>6. Buying Something Big With Cold, Hard Cash</h2> <p>This one is certainly not as important as the money moments preceding it, but it's worth aiming for. When you can buy something big (a car, a house, a boat, an RV) with cash, you have so much more power to negotiate. And you will save a staggering amount of money because you are not paying compound interest.</p> <p>Let's look at a home. Cash buyers usually get a discount, and even if it's only 3%, that can mean $6,000 on a $200,000 home. So let's say the cash price is $194,000, versus the $200,000 mortgage price, and the mortgage buyer puts down 10%. Over 30 years at 4%, that $180,000 loan has become around $310,000! By paying cash up front, you are literally saving the cost of another smaller home. It's not easy, but once you pay off your debts, you can quickly accumulate income. With some savvy investing, you could one day feel the satisfaction of saying &quot;And how much if I pay cash&hellip; right now?&quot;</p> <h2>7. Negotiating a Higher Salary&nbsp;</h2> <p>Some people work hard, put in the hours, and accept the 3% raise they get each year, which&nbsp;barely covers the rising cost of living. Other people grab life by the throat, and get a bump in pay simply by asking for it. Before you do it, you'll need some good data on your side.</p> <p>First, look at the position you are in on Salary.com and Glassdoor. What are people being paid at other companies in your area? Are you earning a competitive salary, or are you underpaid? (If you're overpaid, you may want to hold off on asking for even more&hellip;that could backfire).</p> <p>Next, assemble all the reasons that you believe you are owed more money. Did you save the company a lot of money? Did you bring in new accounts? Did you work 70-hour weeks all year long? Just like buying a car, you want to do your homework. Then, call a meeting with the boss, and lay it all on the line, politely but assertively.</p> <h2>8. No Longer Living Paycheck to Paycheck&nbsp;</h2> <p>The number of people living paycheck-to-paycheck in America may surprise you. It's not one in four, or even half of us. No. Three out of every four Americans are <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/24/pf/emergency-savings/index.html" target="_blank">struggling to make ends meet</a>.</p> <p>For many, it's a case of not being paid enough, or having crippling debt repayments. For others, it's more about bad budgeting and excessive spending. Whatever the reason, you should have a plan to get beyond living paycheck to paycheck. Have a big enough cushion in the bank to make life more comfortable. And, cut out the expenses that are dragging you down. With dedication, you could be&nbsp;one of those people who&nbsp;doesn't&nbsp;count the days to the next check going in the bank.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moments-that-should-be-on-everyones-bucket-list">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> <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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s">7 Critical Money Mistakes People Make in Their 40s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-resolutions-anyone-can-master">8 Personal Finance Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bucket lists cash debt free emergency funds estate planning goals jobs passive income salary saving money Mon, 02 Jan 2017 10:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1865345 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season http://www.wisebread.com/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_wrapped_gift_77878153.jpg" alt="Woman giving financial gifts to herself this holiday season" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The holiday shopping season is around the corner. And while the average holiday shopper will dole out more than $800 for gifts, about half will also spend an average of $132 on non-gift items for themselves. Hey &mdash; there's nothing wrong with treating yourself, especially when discounts are steep and shopping centers are extra cheery.</p> <p>But, you might want to consider putting that buck thirty toward something more substantial, such as your fiscal health. Read on for our guide to the top financial gifts you should consider giving yourself this holiday season. We promise, there will be no buyers remorse involved.</p> <h2>1. Boost Your Retirement Fund Contribution</h2> <p>The best time to start investing is now. Case in point: If you start maxing out your IRA contributions at age 25, you will have saved $1.6 million by the time you're 70. But if you were to start at 35, you'd save about half that sum. So whatever the form of your retirement savings, be it IRA, 401K, or 403(b), consider boosting your contribution this holiday season. Even a 1% increase can go a long way to making your golden years more comfortable.</p> <h2>2. Pay Down Your Debt</h2> <p>When it comes to personal debt, even $100 can make a sizable dent. Without a doubt, every little bit counts. Use a <a href="https://www.calcxml.com/calculators/how-long-will-it-take-to-pay-off-my-credit-card">minimum payment calculator</a> to determine just how long it will take your to pay down your credit card debt &mdash; and precisely how much mileage that $100 can get you.</p> <h2>3. Reassess Your Investments</h2> <p>How are your investments faring? Are you on track to meet your earnings expectations? Or do you have too much riskily tied up in a single company's stock? Gift yourself an hour spent reassessing your investments. Rid yourself of risk you can't shoulder and sour gambles.</p> <h2>4. Invest in Professional Advice</h2> <p>In the Internet age, getting good investment advice is easy and affordable. <a href="https://www.wealthfront.com">Wealthfront</a>, which boasts a stable of world-class financial experts that excels in making small money grow, offers free accounts totaling $10,000 or less. And you can open an account with <a href="https://www.betterment.com/">Betterment</a> even if you have no money.</p> <h2>5. Deposit an Extra $100 Into Your Savings Account</h2> <p>It's simple enough: Rather than buy yourself a couple of new sweaters, take that holiday cash and stow it away as savings. And if you think $100 won't make much difference, think again: If you were to sack away an extra $100 quarterly for the next 10 years, you've have an extra $4,000 in your savings account. That's more than the average down payment for a new car.</p> <h2>6. Boost Your Emergency Fund</h2> <p>It's smart to have funds stowed away for the kinds of emergencies life sometimes throws at us. Natural disaster. Illness. Job loss. If you've got an emergency fund, consider funneling some more funds into it. And if you don't, consider setting one up, even if you inaugurate it with a modest $100 investment. It's far better to be prepared than dumbstruck by a bad set of circumstances.</p> <h2>7. Draft a Financial Plan</h2> <p>A third of Americans have taken no steps <a href="https://www.northwesternmutual.com/about-us/studies/planning-and-progress-2015-study">toward financial planning</a>. If you don't have a plan, invest a day to join yourself among the ranks of the minority of Americans who do. It can be as simple as stating your financial priorities and then mapping out what you need to do to achieve them. Yes, it's drudge work. But you stand to benefit greatly by slogging through.</p> <h2>8. Purchase a Book on Finance</h2> <p>Whether it's the stock market or saving for retirement or paying down debt, most of us have a weak spot in our financial literacy. Why not help yourself close that gap by purchasing a book on your weakest link? For inspiration, check out our list of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-classic-personal-finance-books-you-must-read">classic personal finance books</a>.</p> <h2>9. Write a Will</h2> <p>The hardest part about will-writing is getting yourself to actually sit down and write it. No one wants to rationalize their own death by taking time out of their life to plan for it. Nonetheless, it's an important tool that can help to ensure that your property and wishes are carried out according to your liking when you're no longer around to dictate. If your finances are uncomplicated, consider creating an online will, which is perhaps the quickest and easiest way to complete the process.</p> <h2>10. Review Your Credit Score</h2> <p>It costs nothing to check your credit score, but the price of ignoring it can be huge. Your credit score determines critical stuff such as your insurance premium rate and your ability to get a loan. If you're unfamiliar with your credit score, it's probably a good idea to take a pause and get acquainted with it &mdash; and then commit to reviewing it annually. (Be on the lookout for any errors, which could be preventing you from getting lower rates).</p> <h2>11. Donate to Charity</h2> <p>It pays to help others in need. Not only can making a charitable donation give you the feel-good fuzzies, it can also <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/eight-tips-for-deducting-charitable-contributions">lower your tax bill</a>. Just remember to keep good records.</p> <h2>12. Cash in on Your Credit Card Rewards</h2> <p>Airline miles, hotel rewards, and cash are just a few of the amazing incentives available to those who swipe responsibly. But if you don't use 'em, you lose 'em, so take a moment to assess what rewards you've got, when they expire, and whether now's a good time to cash in. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you?ref=internal">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a>)</p> <h2>13. Review Your Account Statements</h2> <p>Remember all those account statements you've been filing away? Now's the time to actually read and analyze the charges. A bogus charge is a tried and true sign of identity theft, so it'll serve you well to review all your statements thoroughly. Painstaking though it may be, giving your financial records a good read affords you the opportunity to correct any improper service fees that may have been mistakenly docked from your account. If you find a faulty charge, you can get reimbursed from your bank or credit card company. If you don't, then you can rest assured that all is in order. Think of it as a game with no chance to lose.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/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/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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-christmas-shopping-with-this-clever-gift-card-strategy">Save on Christmas Shopping With This Clever Gift Card Strategy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills charity Christmas emergency funds estate planning gifts Holidays investments paying debt saving money Mon, 07 Nov 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1827215 at http://www.wisebread.com