income http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8754/all en-US 4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_retired_happy_62784562.jpg" alt="Retired couple shortchanging their retirement savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether retirement is decades away or if it is knocking on your door, there are some key mistakes that couples sometimes make when planning for their retirement. It's not too late to fix them, and addressing these problems now can potentially stave off issues in the future.</p> <p>Are you and your spouse making these retirement mistakes?</p> <h2>Relying on One's Spouse's Retirement</h2> <p>One common mistake that couples make is that they only rely on <em>one </em>spouse's income and retirement savings. While you might be able to live comfortably off one spouse's income now, when you are healthy, you have to calculate just how much you and your spouse will both need in retirement. Hopefully you will both be healthy well into your last years, but plan for the &quot;what ifs.&quot; Have both partners contribute to separate retirement accounts, if you both are working. If one spouse is self-employed or a freelancer, there are still retirement options for them.</p> <p>Even if one spouse does not work, they can still contribute to an IRA account. Carol Berger, CFP&reg;, of Berger Wealth Management, says that spousal IRA accounts are available for married couples who file taxes jointly. Berger says, &quot;This allows a contribution to be made for the nonworking spouse and helps his or her retirement nest egg grow. For example, in 2016, a nonworking spouse can contribute up to $5,500 to an IRA in their name ($6,500 if age 50 or older).&quot;</p> <h2>Putting Your Kids First</h2> <p>There is no doubt that you love your children and that it is easy to put their needs above retirement needs. However, don't delay on saving for retirement for your kids' sake. Saving for retirement should always trump saving for college education. Furthermore, retirement savings should not be dipped into to pay for college.</p> <p>The simple reason is that your children will have access to scholarships, loans, and work to help support them through college. Even if they graduate with a heavy load of debt, they have a long time to pay it off. There are no scholarships for retirement, and I am guessing the last thing you want to do is return to work.</p> <p>&quot;Time does not favor waiting because you lose the benefits of compounding,&quot; says Good Life Wealth Management president, Scott Stratton, CFP&reg;, CFA. &quot;If you put $5,000 into an IRA and earn 8% for 25 years, you'd have $34,242. Invest the same $5,000 10 years before retirement, and you'd only have $10,794. Or to put it another way, if you waited until 10 years before retirement, you'd have to invest $15,860 &mdash; instead of $5,000 &mdash; to reach $34,242.&quot;</p> <h2>Avoiding the Issue</h2> <p>Money is not always the easiest thing to talk about, however, if you avoid the issue, then you will only cause the problem to grow. Sit down with your spouse and talk about your present financial situation. Talk about where you want to be financially in the next year, in five years, and in retirement.</p> <p>If you both agree that you want to spend your retirement traveling and not tied to credit card debt or a mortgage payment, then you need to put in place the right money habits now.</p> <p>You should develop realistic action steps that will help you reach your financial goals a year from now, five years from now, and most importantly, in retirement. That means you might have to tighten your budget and pay more toward debt. Having clear financial goals will also help you stand firm as a couple when it is tempting to refinance the house to redo the backyard. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>Not Planning for Medical Costs</h2> <p>As discussed briefly above, many couples forget to financially plan for medical costs. It is easy to think, &quot;We won't need that much money in retirement because we won't buy anything or have to care for kids.&quot; However, medical expenses can add up quickly, especially in the last years of life. The cost of caretakers, regular doctor's visits, special medications, and even residency at a hospice can drain retirement savings in a matter of a few years.</p> <p>The worst thing is that many adult children are stuck with the financial burden of their parents' medical costs. Nearly one in 10 people over 40 are considered in the &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-the-sandwich-generation-can-get-ahead">sandwich generation</a>.&quot; This means they are caring for their own children while also caring for aging parents. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reports that Medicare doesn't cover the most common types of long-term care and that a nursing home can cost as much as <a href="http://www.apnorc.org/news-media/Pages/News+Media/Poll-Sandwich-generation-worried-about-own-long-term-care-.aspx">$90,000 per year</a>. If retirement funds don't cover the necessary care for aging parents, their children will either have to foot the bill or try to take care of their parents themselves.</p> <p>Jody Dietel, Chief Compliance Officer at WageWorks says that there is a retirement tool that is often overlooked. A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money">health savings account</a> (HSA) can help cover medical costs. Dietel says, &quot;It's important to understand that there's a place for both a 401K and an HSA. Establishing an HSA gives you the ability to amass savings to be used exclusively for health care expenses and preventing the need to dip into 401K funds for medical-related costs in retirement.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">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-despair-over-small-retirement-savings">Don&#039;t Despair Over Small Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know">15 Retirement Terms Every New Investor Needs to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k couples expenses health care health savings accounts HSA income IRA marriages medical costs Mon, 14 Nov 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1830892 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Crucial Social Security Terms Everyone Needs to Know http://www.wisebread.com/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_social_security_42928626.jpg" alt="Learning social security terms everyone needs to know" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>All Americans expect to receive Social Security benefits during their retirement years.</p> <p>According to the latest data from the Employee Benefits Research Institute, <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_422.Mar16.RCS.pdf">91% of U.S. retirees</a> and 84% of U.S. workers expect Social Security to be a major or minor source of income during retirement. And since about a third of Americans have less than $1,000 saved for retirement, it's not surprising that many expect Social Security benefits to be their major source of income.</p> <p>That's why it's essential you understand these 13 important Social Security terms.</p> <h2>1. Full Retirement Age</h2> <p>Starting at age 62, you become eligible for Social Security benefits. However, you would take reduced benefits if you were to retire anytime before your full retirement age, which for most Americans is now 65 or older.</p> <p>For example, individuals born in 1960 or later have a full retirement age of 67. If a person with a full retirement age of 67 were to start taking benefits at age 62, she would receive a retirement benefit <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/1960.html">reduced to 70%</a>. For every month past age 62 that she waits, she earns about 0.4% more in retirement benefits until she reaches a full 100% at age 67.</p> <p>Depending on your year of birth, your full retirement age ranges from <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/retirechart.html">65 to 67</a>.</p> <h2>2. Delayed Retirement Credits</h2> <p>About 19% of Americans <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-13/-i-ll-never-retire-americans-break-record-for-working-past-65">age 65 or older were working</a> during the first quarter of 2016. One possible reason is that working past age 65 to 67 can increase your retirement benefit from <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/delayret.html">5.5% to 8% per year</a>, depending on your year of birth. For every month past your full retirement age that you wait to start receiving your benefit check, you earn delayed retirement credits that boost your full retirement benefit beyond 100%. Going back to the example of the individual with full retirement at age 67, she would receive a monthly increase of two-thirds of 1% for every month that she delays retirement past age 67.</p> <h2>3. Age 64-3/4</h2> <p>Even though you may decide to wait until or past full retirement age to start taking your benefits, you can still apply for Medicare <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/justmedicare.html">within three months of age 65</a> (age 64-3/4) and apply for your retirement or spouse's benefits later.</p> <h2>Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D</h2> <p>People age 65 or older have access to the U.S. health insurance program known as Medicare. This program helps cover health care costs and has several parts.</p> <h3>4. Medicare Part A</h3> <p>This hospital insurance helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay), some home health care, and hospice care.</p> <h3>5. Medicare Part B</h3> <p>Medical insurance that helps pay for doctor services and many other medical services and supplies not covered by Part A.</p> <h3>6. Medicare Part C</h3> <p>Also known as Medicare Advantage Plans, Part C plans are offered by private health carriers approved by Medicare and available to Americans enrolled in Part A and Part B with Medicare.</p> <h3>7. Medicare Part D</h3> <p>A drug coverage plan available to everyone with Medicare.</p> <p>While you have a seven-month window starting age 64-3/4 to sign up for Part A, you don't have to enroll in Part B. Depending on when you enroll for Part B and other factors, your coverage may be delayed and you may have to pay a higher monthly premium unless you qualify for a&hellip;</p> <h2>8. Special Enrollment Period (SEP)</h2> <p>Every year has an open enrollment period in which you can enroll in an insurance plan. There are certain life events that qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. Qualifying events include losing job-based coverage and losing coverage through a family member. For the full list of life events that make you eligible for SEP, visit this section from <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage-outside-open-enrollment/special-enrollment-period/">HealthCare.gov</a>.</p> <h2>9. Social Security Credits</h2> <p>In 2016, you will earn <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/dqualify2.html">one Social Security work credit for each $1,260</a> of wages or self-employment income. You can earn up to four of these credits per year. The amount of money required to earn one credit goes up every year. Most Americans need to accumulate <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10024.pdf">40 credits</a> (about 10 years of work) to qualify for Social Security benefits. However, adults and children may require fewer credits to be eligible for other certain types of Social Security benefits, such as...</p> <h2>10. Disability Benefits</h2> <p>Those who can't work due to a qualifying medical condition that's expected to last at least one year or result in death can receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.</p> <p>Besides meeting the Social Security Administration's definition of disability, you must also have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Unless you're <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/disability/dqualify8.html">blind or have low vision</a>, you must have earned <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/credits.html">at least 20</a> of your required credits in the 10 years before you became disabled to qualify for disability benefits. For example, if you were born after 1929 and became disabled at age 50, you would require at least 28 credits to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.</p> <p>Certain family members, including your spouse if he or she is age 62 or older or an unmarried child, may qualify for benefits based on your work.</p> <h2>11. Supplemental Security Income Benefits</h2> <p>The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10026.pdf">disabled adults and children</a> who have limited income and resources. Qualifying recipients of Social Security disability or retirement benefits can receive SSI as long as they meet the requirements. The online <a href="https://ssabest.benefits.gov">Best Eligibility Screening Tool</a> can help you determine whether or not you or your child are eligible for SSI benefits.</p> <h2>12. Back Payments</h2> <p>Given that there are an <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/25/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/">estimated 74.9 million Baby Boomers</a> (ages 51 to 69) in the U.S., you can expect that Social Security consistently receives a large number of enrollments. The more paperwork, the longer the time to process your application. So, you'll receive back payments from the Social Security Administration for the months between the date that you applied for benefits and the date you were approved for benefits.</p> <p>There is a mandatory <a href="https://faq.ssa.gov/link/portal/34011/34019/Article/3715/Is-there-a-waiting-period-for-Social-Security-disability-benefits">five-month waiting period</a> for SSDI benefits, so back payments only start once the waiting period ends.</p> <h2>13. Retroactive Benefits</h2> <p>Back payments are available for for both SSDI and SSI benefits, but retroactive benefits are only available for SSDI benefits. Retroactive benefits are the monies that you were already eligible for due to your disability onset date but didn't apply for earlier. Keep in mind that you'll receive no interest on any back payments for SSDI or SSI.</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/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-falling-for-these-6-social-security-myths">Stop Falling for These 6 Social Security Myths</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement">5 Financial Moves You Should Make Five Years Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-for-retirement-when-you-re-ready-to-retire">How to Plan for Retirement When You’re Ready to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement backpayments benefits credits income medicare retroactive social security terms Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Damian Davila 1808267 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Threats to a Secure Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/9-threats-to-a-secure-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-threats-to-a-secure-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_holding_hands_88407163.jpg" alt="Couple learning threats to a secure retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Saving and investing for retirement isn't easy. There's a lot that can happen to take you off track, potentially leaving you less money than you hoped for.</p> <p>From poor financial planning to unexpected events and even nationwide economic woes, here are some of the things that could pose a threat to your secure retirement.</p> <h2>1. Not Investing Enough</h2> <p>It's never easy to figure out how much to invest. After all, you want to make sure you have enough money to deal with your current needs. It's common for people to invest too little, and this can hurt them in the long run.</p> <p>When saving for retirement, it's smart to contribute as close to the maximum each year into 401K and IRA plans. (That's $18,000 for the 401K and $5,500 for the IRA.) If you can't contribute quite that much, at least put enough in to get the company match on your 401K plan.</p> <p>Even a few extra dollars per month into retirement accounts can make a big difference. For example, let's say you have $50,000 in an account and contribute $500 per month for 25 years. Assuming a 7% return, your portfolio would amount to about $677,000. But what if you contributed $1,000 monthly? Then it would hit nearly $1.1 million.</p> <h2>2. Starting Too Late</h2> <p>When investing, time is your biggest friend. The more time you have to invest, the bigger your nest egg can grow. Thus, one of the biggest threats to a secure retirement is failing to contribute to your fund early in life. If you're past 40 years old, you may have only a couple of decades to invest before you wish to stop working, and that may not be long enough to amass the kind of wealth you'll need for a long and comfortable retirement.</p> <p>Let's say you invest $25,000 today and add $1,000 per month until you are 65. If you're currently 45 and get a 7% annual return, you'll have about $625,000 upon retirement. Not bad, but if you had started when you were 25, you'd have nearly $3 million.</p> <h2>3. Raiding Retirement Funds</h2> <p>Retirement accounts such as a 401K or IRA are designed to have money grow more or less untouched until you reach retirement age. You can withdraw money from them, but there's a cost.</p> <p>When you raid these retirement funds, you'll lose the money in penalties, but you'll also lose the potential earnings of the money you take out. Over time, this can cost an investor thousands of dollars.</p> <h2>4. Economic Growth</h2> <p>For decades following World War II, the annual growth rate of the American economy averaged more than 3%, with some years seeing double that. But in recent years, that annual rate has shrunk to barely 2%. In short, the American economy is not growing as fast as it once was, and that has implications for household income, corporate growth, and employment.</p> <h2>5. Possible Entitlement Cuts</h2> <p>Many lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been warning Americans of a looming crisis in entitlement funding. Observers of the federal budget note that unless there is serious reform, Social Security Trust Funds could be depleted within 20 years. This means that for the younger generation, there may not be as much left from the government upon retirement.</p> <p>It's important to note, however, that workers who want to live comfortably after they are done working should not be counting on Social Security to carry them through the end of their life. Someone who saves aggressively and invests wisely should be able to amass enough in a retirement fund to get by even if Social Security benefits are adjusted downward or even eliminated.</p> <h2>6. Declining Pensions</h2> <p>If you currently work for a company that offers a defined benefit plan, you are a rare breed. In recent years, companies have shifted from offering pensions to instead offering 401K plans, in which workers invest on their own. In most cases, they will also get a contribution from their employer, but that's not guaranteed. This doesn't necessarily mean you'll be destitute at retirement, but it does require employees to be much more engaged in their retirement planning.</p> <h2>7. Placing All Your Eggs in One Basket</h2> <p>Even if you are saving aggressively and investing every penny you can, it's possible to end up with less money than you need in retirement. It can happen when your portfolio is too heavily balanced toward a single investment. It's unwise to invest a high percentage of your savings in one company or even one industry or asset class, because one bad day could wipe out a large chunk of your savings. (Consider the plight of Enron employees who lost nearly everything had most of their savings in company stock.)</p> <p>To protect your retirement money, invest in a diverse mixture of stocks in various sizes and asset classes. Buy mutual funds instead of individual stocks, if at all possible.</p> <h2>8. Funding College Instead of Retirement</h2> <p>It's never a bad idea to save money to contribute to your children's education. There are several vehicles including 529 plans that allow you to invest money tax-free toward college. But many investors become so focused on saving for college that they fail to contribute enough to their own retirement fund.</p> <p>Remember that it's possible to <em>borrow </em>money for college, but you can't borrow money to fund your retirement if you find you're lacking in funds when you're done working. Ideally, you'll be able to amass enough money to fund college and your retirement comfortably. But if you have to make a choice, pay your future self first, then contribute to the college fund.</p> <h2>9. Being Poorly Insured</h2> <p>You may feel like nothing bad will ever happen to you. You are young and healthy. You're a safe driver and you live in a nice neighborhood. So you skimp on things like health, auto, and homeowner's insurance. You may think you're saving money, but you're at serious risk for big financial loss if you get seriously ill or have a serious accident.</p> <p>Being uninsured or underinsured can leave you struggling to make ends meet, placing retirement savings on the back burner. You may even have to raid your retirement accounts to pay the bills. It's wise to perform an insurance assessment to determine if you have the proper level of insurance to protect yourself financially.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-threats-to-a-secure-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-your-retirement-is-on-track">8 Signs Your Retirement Is on Track</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-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One</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-best-online-brokerages-for-your-ira">5 Best Online Brokerages for Your IRA</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-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-retire">12 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement college Economy education funds income insurance investing late start pensions risk stocks threats Fri, 07 Oct 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 1807026 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Buy a House Without a Mortgage http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-buy-a-house-without-a-mortgage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-buy-a-house-without-a-mortgage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_moving_boxes_87205321.jpg" alt="Couple finding ways to buy a house without a mortgage" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Although mortgages are a common way to purchase a home, you can only get one if you qualify. The qualifications include an acceptable credit score, a sufficient down payment, and meeting a bank's income and employment requirements. And let's not forget, every mortgage charges interest, which increases how much you pay in the long run.</p> <p>The good news is that a mortgage isn't the only way to purchase a house. If you think outside the box, you can possibly pull off a home purchase without a costly loan.</p> <h2>1. Live Off One Income</h2> <p>Some people like the idea of paying cash for a house, but don't think it's a reality. If you're a two-income household, one method for getting a home without a mortgage involves living off a single income for a few years.</p> <p>If you and your partner work and earn a decent salary &mdash; and live in an affordable area &mdash; you might be able to save enough for a cash purchase by keeping your life as simple as possible and subsisting off one income. This approach allows you to save 100% of the other person's take-home salary. So if you both earn $30,000 a year, rather than maintain a lifestyle requiring $60,000 a year, live frugally and save the other half of your combined income. In six years, you'll have approximately $180,000 cash for a home purchase.</p> <p>Of course, living simpler is much easier said than done. To make it work, consider renting out a room in your house or apartment to help cover expenses, or you can rent a room from family or friends. Other options include skipping vacations, spending less on entertainment, and sharing a car. These are sacrifices that pay off in due time.</p> <h2>2. Sell Your Home and Purchase Another One</h2> <p>If you're thinking about downsizing and you have plenty of equity in your current home, another option is selling your home, taking the profit, and moving to a location with a lower cost of living.</p> <p>This works if you're currently living in an expensive area but thinking of moving to a location where you can get more house for your money. Let's say you sell your current home and walk away with a profit of $150,000. This could be exactly what you need to pay cash for a new property in a different part of the country.</p> <h2>3. Get an Investor</h2> <p>Then again, maybe you're not looking for a primary residence, but rather an investment property. Getting a mortgage for an investment property is tricky. Many lenders require a higher credit score for investment properties, plus you'll need a higher down payment and cash to fix up the property.</p> <p>What you can do, however, is seek out an investor to cover the expense of buying and improving the home. Some investors will pay cash for properties and provide funds to rehab the property. Once you fix up and flip the home for a profit, you split the proceeds with your investor.</p> <h2>4. Use Seller Financing</h2> <p>If you can't get a traditional mortgage loan, seller financing is another option. This can work if your credit score is too low to qualify for traditional financing, or if you have a short employment record and can't qualify for a bank mortgage. Even if you have enough income to qualify for a home loan, most banks require at least 24 months of consecutive employment before approving an application.</p> <p>Sellers who offer seller financing are more flexible. You sign a promissory note saying you'll repay the loan and then the seller signs over the deed to the house. You become the owner of the house, but the seller is the bank, so you'll make payments to the seller every month. Since you're the legal owner, you can still sell or refinance the property.</p> <p>This type of financing typically has a short-term of three to five years with a balloon payment for the remaining balance due at the end of the term. Seller financing gives you time to improve your credit or financial situation so you can refinance into a traditional mortgage, at which point the seller gets their money.</p> <p>But while this mortgage alternative can work in theory, the hardest part is finding a willing seller. Not all sellers will agree to this type of financing. The ideal seller is someone who has plenty of home equity and zero mortgage.</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/4-ways-to-buy-a-house-without-a-mortgage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-house-hunt-without-leaving-your-couch">How to House Hunt Without Leaving Your Couch</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/everybodys-wrong-about-how-much-house-you-can-afford">Everybody&#039;s Wrong About How Much House You Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-prepare-for-a-home-purchase-in-2010">How to Prepare for a Home Purchase in 2010</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-of-home-buying-you-need-to-know">The Only 5 Rules of Home Buying You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-need-to-know-when-renting-to-own-a-home">5 Things You Need to Know When Renting-to-Own a Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing buyers financing house hunting income investor mortgages new house sellers Thu, 06 Oct 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1805233 at http://www.wisebread.com How Much Personal Finance Info Should You Share? http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-personal-finance-info-should-you-share <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-much-personal-finance-info-should-you-share" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shocked_face_71844019.jpg" alt="Woman learning how much personal finance info she should share" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money is one of those topics that is not often discussed freely. In fact, it is common for people to disguise how much money they really have.</p> <p>But then there are a few people who are happy to say exactly how much money they make without holding anything back. Some people even post their income and net worth updates on the Internet every month! Is there a benefit to freely sharing personal finance information?</p> <h2>What Can Go Wrong When Sharing Too Much About Your Finances</h2> <p>There are some good reasons people tend to avoid disclosing details when talking about money. Much like the usual sensitive topics of religion and politics, open conversations about money can result in friction and even damaged relationships. If you reveal how much money &mdash; or debt &mdash; you really have, you can make people uncomfortable or even lose friends.</p> <p>People have a strong sense of fairness about money, and sharing financial details can highlight inequity and cause hard feelings: &quot;Why does that person make more than me when I work harder?&quot; Sensitivity about salary fairness is accentuated among people who work for the same employer.</p> <p>When you reveal your financial details, you may unintentionally hurt someone's feelings and sense of self-worth. Let's say that in a moment of truthfulness, you decide to reveal how much you make to a close friend. Imagine how disappointed your friend would feel if he/she makes a lot less than you. On the other hand, imagine your dismay if your friend surprises you by revealing that she makes a lot more than you. Discussing your income can spark feelings of dissatisfaction that can last for a long time.</p> <p>Money can divide people into &quot;us&quot; versus &quot;them.&quot; The Occupy Wall Street movement with dividing lines drawn at the 99% versus the 1% is a dramatic example of this. It can be hard to relate to someone if you think they are in a different economic situation and that they do not face the same problems and issues that you are dealing with. Imagine if you suddenly learned your friend who you see as a peer makes twice as much income as you. This may impact your relationship since you know your friend has options and financial resources that are not available to you. Your friendships may be stronger if you do not know how much your money your friends make.</p> <p>If you reveal that you have a lot of debt and/or little savings, others may think that you are not competent with money and may assume that you are not competent at other things as well. Some people feel that borrowing money to buy things you don't really need is irresponsible, especially when they are forgoing such purchases in order to pay down debt and achieve financial independence. Discussing money freely may bring up differences in philosophy about saving and spending that can make it harder for people to relate to each other.</p> <p>Once you reveal personal finance details, it is impossible to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Once your secret is out, your financial privacy has been lost and there is no way to get it back.</p> <h2>Why Do Some People Reveal Everything?</h2> <p>Even with all of the downsides to revealing financial details, some people are eager to share full details of their personal finances. Why?</p> <p>Some people use &quot;full financial disclosure&quot; as a way to keep themselves accountable and motivated to improve their financial situation. If I had to publish my income and net worth every month, I can see how this would make me focus on getting the numbers to look as good as possible. Plus, I wouldn't want to have to explain any embarrassing purchases or debt. Publishing financial information to help stay on track is sort of like participating a weight loss program where you share a list of everything you eat with your group. You are less likely to slip up if you know you will have to share your setbacks with the world.</p> <p>Some people share their financial details to get attention &mdash; and money. Personal finance bloggers know that sharing their income and financial details publicly can generate traffic to their blog. People are curious to see how much money other people make and how they spend it. I find it fascinating to look at other people's expenses so I can look for areas where I could improve my own budget. Some personal finance blogs are set up with a stated monetary goal and readers can track the blogger's progress toward the goal over time. Sharing intimate financial details on a blog helps build a following which generates income from advertising.</p> <p>Another benefit of full disclosure is that you don't have to worry about keeping secrets. You can speak freely about money without worrying about something slipping out. If you reveal your financial details to others, they are more likely to share their details with you. You might learn lessons from their experience that you can use to improve your own finances.</p> <h2>How Much Should You Share?</h2> <p>How much personal finance information should you share? The right answer for you depends on your comfort level with your financial situation and what you hope to accomplish by sharing. I see little benefit to sharing my personal finance information and lots of potential drawbacks. I could always change my mind and decide to share later, but for now I am keeping my personal finances personal.</p> <p>One of the biggest problems with sharing personal finance details is that once you share, your information is out and there is no way to get it back. You won't be able to get people to forget that number if you change your mind later and regret sharing it.</p> <p>In the end, your finances matter much more to you and your family than to anyone else. Others may be curious, but your money situation doesn't directly impact anyone outside your family very much. Most people have more to lose than to gain by freely sharing their financial details.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-personal-finance-info-should-you-share">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-couples-fight-over-money-and-what-to-do-about-it">Why Couples Fight Over Money and What to Do About It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-are-more-than-your-credit-score">7 Reasons You Are More Than Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-six-figures-really-that-much">Is Six Figures Really That Much?</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/frugality-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder-5-ways-to-spend-less-and-love-more">Frugality Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: 5 Ways to Spend Less and Love More</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle debts friendships income information oversharing privacy relationships Tue, 27 Sep 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1800653 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retired_old_couple_90300353.jpg" alt="Retired couple finding cities to retire in on social security" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The statistics on how unprepared Americans are for retirement can be terrifying. The <a href="http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/pdf/2015/RetirementSavingsCrisis.pdf">median retirement account balance</a> is $2,500 for all working-age households and $14,500 for near-retirement households, according to a 2015 study by the National Institute on Retirement Security.</p> <p>Two-thirds of working families fall short of conservative retirement savings targets for their age and income based on working until age 67, the report finds.</p> <p>With virtually no retirement savings for the average working household and 45% (nearly 40 million) of working households not having any retirement assets, their best hope for surviving after age 67 may be income from Social Security.</p> <h2>What Social Security Pays</h2> <p>The average monthly Social Security check as of June 2016 was $1,234, according to the Social Security Administration, or SSA. Where could you afford to live on such an income?</p> <p>There are some good options, but before we get to those, let's be a little more generous with the SSA income, based on the government's statistics.</p> <p>While the average monthly benefit was $1,234, 82% of beneficiaries receive a little more &mdash; $1,280 from &quot;Old-Age and Survivors Insurance&quot; SSA beneficiaries. The largest average monthly SSA benefit was $1,348 for retired workers, who made up 67% of the pool.</p> <p>Assuming you're a retired worker receiving the average $1,348 each month from SSA, that's still a low amount of money to live on each month, considering that a retirement planning rule of thumb is to plan on having 70%&ndash;80% percent of your pre-retirement income replaced with SSA, a retirement account, or other form of income in your old age.</p> <p>At 80%, that $1,348 would equate to a pre-retirement monthly income of $1,685, or $20,220 per year. If you were comfortable living on $20,220 per year before retirement, then living on 80% of it during retirement should be just as comfortable, the theory goes.</p> <p>For a couple who are both retired, their SSA income would double to $40,440 per year. But for our purposes, let's assume one retiree is living by themselves.</p> <p>So, where to live on the average SSA check of $1,348 per month for retired workers? In no particular order, here are five cities where it's affordable.</p> <h2>1. Buffalo, New York</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/buffalo_new_york_82224935.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Buffalo may come as a surprise for being a cheap place to live because it's in New York state. But the <a href="https://smartasset.com/mortgage/top-ten-cheapest-places-to-live">median monthly rent</a> in Buffalo is $512, making it the cheapest city in the U.S. to live in, according to a SmartAsset analysis. Buffalo also has the lowest cost of living at 79.34, meaning that the U.S. average is 100 and that $100 in groceries, for example, would cost $79.34 in Buffalo.</p> <h2>2. Johnstown, Pennsylvania</h2> <p>If you're looking for the cheapest rent in the country, this city of 20,576 residents has it with a gross median rent of $466 per month, according to data from the U.S. Census. Since housing is one of the biggest expenses in life, such low rent can make other expenses a lot more affordable.</p> <p>The <a href="http://places.findthehome.com/stories/10260/city-every-state-cheapest-affordable-rent#50-Pennsylvania-Johnstown">average per capita income</a> in Johnstown is $16,153, according to FindTheHome, putting the average SSA income in retirement above the average there. In this city, you'd be rich.</p> <h2>3. Memphis, Tennessee</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/graceland_memphis_91136155.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>If you're looking for a large U.S. city that's affordable in retirement, Memphis is it. This city of 653,450 has low housing costs. The average apartment rent of $709 per month is 21% below the U.S. average, and the median home value of $98,300 is 46% below the U.S. average, according to Kiplinger.</p> <h2>4. Akron, Ohio</h2> <p>Living in the center of the country is usually cheaper than it is elsewhere, and Akron, Ohio proves that point by being one of the <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/media/the-15-most-affordable-places-to-live-in-america/16/">most affordable places to live</a> in the country. Its median home price listing in August 2015 was $120,450, and the median household income was $45,628 &mdash; putting the average SSA income at just below the median. The amount of monthly income spent on housing, utilities, and commuting in Akron was 28.9%, allowing retirees to spend about 70% of their income on other things.</p> <h2>5. Indianapolis, Indiana</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/indianapolis_indiana_62568936_0.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Listed by Trulia as one of the best cities to move to for a high-paying job, Indianapolis has low home prices for <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/millennials-meet-indianapolis-your-new-dream-city-n623021">Millennials looking for work</a> and for retirees, too. The median home price of $130,000 is $58,900 below the median home price in America. That allows about two of every five renters to be able to afford a typically priced home there. For retirees who sell their homes and have enough money to buy a home outright or put down a large down payment, then living with little or almost no housing costs can leave a lot of room in their budget for other things.</p> <p>The good news is that there are plenty more U.S. cities that are affordable for retirees who only have an income from Social Security. These are only five of them, and are a good start to investigate more when deciding on the cheapest places to retire.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know">13 Crucial Social Security Terms Everyone Needs to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement">5 Financial Moves You Should Make Five Years Before Retirement</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/heres-how-much-life-in-the-big-city-will-cost-you">Here&#039;s How Much Life in the Big City Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-falling-for-these-6-social-security-myths">Stop Falling for These 6 Social Security Myths</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Retirement America benefits cost of living income relocating social security u.s. cities Tue, 20 Sep 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1795982 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Smart Ways Young Millionaires Manage Their Money http://www.wisebread.com/3-smart-ways-young-millionaires-manage-their-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-smart-ways-young-millionaires-manage-their-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_happy_phone_73769569.jpg" alt="Young millionaires finding ways to manage his money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're lucky enough to wake up tomorrow as a young millionaire, it's time to learn a few tips to keep your wealth working for you. Here are three ways that financially-savvy millionaires under 40 manage their money wisely:</p> <h2>They Use Buckets</h2> <p>Good financial planners will tell you that it's not so much about the amount of money you have, but about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-asset-allocation">how you spread that money out</a>. It's a concept called diversification, and it doesn't just apply to your 401K mutual funds.</p> <p>Millionaires under 40 understand can't rely on just one approach to save and grow their money. Instead, many young millionaires build an investment portfolio with the traditional securities, such as stocks and bonds, but also add in less-traditional investments like real estate, and other alternative investments.</p> <p>Real estate is an excellent example of how young millionaires use buckets. They might hold a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) in their investment portfolio, and also have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-location-isnt-king-how-to-choose-income-rental-property">rental income streams</a> that aren't tied to their job. Rental income provides an extra source of income that can be used for many smart purchases to grow even more wealth, like investing in a business or starting a small business to diversify further.</p> <p>The best part of utilizing buckets is you're spreading your risk to avoid an all-out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-being-had-learn-from-5-crazy-ponzi-schemes">Bernie Madoff</a> situation with your money. What young millionaires know is that if one bucket isn't performing, they can either reduce the exposure in that bucket or look to another bucket for growth or cash flow.</p> <h2>They Have a Cause</h2> <p>Millennials love a good cause. They're passionate and want to know that their money and time are going toward helping the greater good. Whether it's building an orphanage in Africa, rebuilding a community after a natural disaster, or marching in Washington to champion a cause, young millionaires believe in benefiting society.</p> <p>There are many different options for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-socially-responsible-investing">socially responsible investing</a> that young millionaires are incorporating into their financial plan. Most investment platforms now offer a selection of funds that either exclude certain companies, like oil and gas, or are inclusive of companies that focus on environmental or socially responsible products. Whatever your cause of choice is, there is a socially responsible investment to meet your needs.</p> <h2>They Are Curious</h2> <p>Most millionaires under 40 understand the importance of a financial adviser. When you get to the millionaire status, you probably also have a good lawyer and CPA on your &quot;team.&quot; However, millionaires under 40 stay curious. They don't just rely on the advice of one person. They search for answers to money questions and read articles to find any other gems that might help them grow their net worth. They talk to friends and family about wealth as well.</p> <p>It's a constant cycle that proves to be very successful with millionaires under 40. They understand that you need to spread your money around in different buckets to limit risk and maximize your growth potential. They become passionate about causes and want their money to make a difference in the world. At the end of the day, they stay restless and curious about finding more answers, asking more questions, and being ready to jump at opportunities.</p> <p><em>Do you adhere to any of these &mdash; or other &mdash; precepts for managing your money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shannah-game">Shannah Game</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smart-ways-young-millionaires-manage-their-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/millennial-millionaires-how-the-brokest-generation-can-also-become-the-richest">Millennial Millionaires: How the Brokest Generation Can Also Become the Richest</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-so-smart-why-arent-you-rich">If you&#039;re so smart, why aren&#039;t you rich?</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/if-you-won-the-lottery-you-would">If You Won The Lottery, You Would...</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-cities-the-most-billionaires-call-home">The 5 Cities the Most Billionaires Call Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-millionaire-next-door-riches-de-mystified">The Millionaire Next Door: Riches De-mystified</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance buckets income millennials millionaires real estate investing rich risk socially responsible wealth management wealthy Fri, 09 Sep 2016 10:30:15 +0000 Shannah Game 1788929 at http://www.wisebread.com This Simple Mistake on a Credit Application May Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-mistake-on-a-credit-application-may-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-simple-mistake-on-a-credit-application-may-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_credit_card_17698096.jpg" alt="Woman making simple mistake on credit application" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Besides your credit score, your income may play an important factor in whether you get approved for a credit card, and the amount of credit you will be approved for. But for those with freelance jobs or other variable sources of cash, determining an exact income to report can be difficult.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-credit-card-application-tips-for-the-best-chance-of-approval?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">7 Tips for Filling Out Credit Card Applications for the Best Chance of Approval</a></p> <p>Obviously, you want to be as accurate as possible, but you also want to report the highest amount of income applicable so that you can qualify for your card. Your income is how credit card companies can determine if you are able to pay back your debt. Even if you do not plan on accumulating credit card debt, credit card companies still look at you as a debt risk. If you only say that you make $20,000 a year, then why would a credit card company want to take a chance on you with a $12,000 credit line?</p> <h2>Types of Income You Can Report on a Credit Card Application</h2> <p>Applicants over the age of 21 can list a wide range of types of income that they have reasonable expectation of access to. Here are some of the following types of income considered:</p> <h3>Personal Income</h3> <p>Put simply, this is your gross income figure. If you are a freelancer or self-employed, base this number off your total income the year before or your average monthly income multiplied by 12. For example, if you regularly make $2,500 to 3,000 per month, then reporting an income of $33,000 should be fairly accurate.</p> <h3>Spousal Income</h3> <p>As of 2013, you can count income from your spouse or partner on your application.</p> <h3>Allowances and Gifts</h3> <p>Do you regularly get a few hundred dollars for your birthday from family members and friends? You can add it to your income list.</p> <h3>Scholarships and Grants</h3> <p>This is a benefit for college students who have received scholarships and grants for the school year. If you are not accepted for a credit card, call the reconsideration line and talk about your scholarships and other redeeming qualities (i.e. leadership programs you run at school, GPA, and other accomplishments that can boost your credit worthiness).</p> <h3>Trust Fund Distributions</h3> <p>If you're fortunate enough to have a trust fund, report the average amount you expect to receive in a typical year.</p> <h3>Retirement Fund Distributions</h3> <p>Retired? Great! Don't forget to list distributions from 401Ks, IRAs, or other retirement funds.</p> <h3>Social Security Income</h3> <p>Ditto for Social Security income. List your yearly benefit amount as income.</p> <p>For borrowers between 18 and 21, only independent income can be reported. This includes personal income (including any regular allowances from relatives) and scholarships and grants. Borrowers between 18 and 21 might have better luck being added as an authorized user on a parent's account. This can help build up credit history without having to turn to high interest fee cards.</p> <h2>Types of Income You Should Not Report</h2> <p>Note that student loans do not count as income. Once you graduate, student loans become debt you must repay, and it is best not to pile on credit card debt on top of that.</p> <p>Your mortgage or equity in your home should also not be considered income.</p> <h2>Consequences of Lying About Income on Credit Card Applications</h2> <p>While you might want to gain access to a credit card, it is never a good idea to lie about your actual income. Stretching the truth on your application and getting approved can mean that you are more likely to get into debt without the income to get you out.</p> <p>On a more serious note, lying on credit card applications is considered credit card fraud, which is punishable by up to $1 million in fines and up to 30 years of prison. While these punishments are on the extreme side, individuals caught falsifying income to gain loans or credit cards have been hit with hefty fines.</p> <p>In 2012, 52-year-old New York resident David P. Gaylord faced charges for reporting an inflated income of $90,000 to $122,000 on three credit card applications in 2006. However, the IRS reported his income as $12,488 that year. Gaylord was sentenced to five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $46,914.73 in restitution.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-reasons-your-credit-card-application-was-denied-and-what-you-can-do-about-it?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">Why Your Credit Card Application Was Denied and What to Do About It</a></p> <p>If you are still unsure about how to fill out your application, consider calling the credit card company to talk with a person who can guide you through the application process.</p> <p><em>Do you have multiple sources of non-wage income? How do you report it on credit apps or elsewhere?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-mistake-on-a-credit-application-may-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/prepaid-cards-about-to-get-safer-and-better">Prepaid Cards About to Get Safer and Better</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/stupid-credit-card-tricks-how-your-credit-card-company-lies-to-you">Stupid Credit Card Tricks: How Your Credit Card Company Lies to You</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/heres-what-to-do-immediately-after-a-credit-card-breach">Here&#039;s What to Do Immediately After a Credit Card Breach</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-debit-cards-as-safe-as-credit-cards">Debit Cards vs. Credit Cards: Fees and Fraud Protection</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/is-credit-monitoring-ever-worth-it">Is Credit Monitoring Ever Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards allowances applications credit approval fraud honesty income reporting retirement scholarships trust funds Thu, 01 Sep 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1783711 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Moves You Should Make Five Years Before Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/older_woman_tablet_91678151.jpg" alt="Woman making financial moves five years before retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here you are, five years from retirement. The reality of the end of your career is finally hitting home, but you may not feel completely ready to quit work yet.</p> <p>But with adequate planning and preparation, it <em>is</em> possible to feel confident about your life and finances as you approach retirement. Here are five goals that most workers should plan on reaching when they are five years from retirement.</p> <h2>1. Calculate Your Post-Retirement Budget</h2> <p>It may seem too soon, but now is an excellent time to re-evaluate how much money you will need to live on comfortably in retirement. Many workers assume that their expenses will go down in retirement, since they will no longer need to pay for professional clothing, commuting, business travel, and the like. However, depending on how you intend to spend your time in retirement, your expenses could go down by less than you anticipate, or even go up if you plan to travel more or enjoy expensive hobbies.</p> <p>In order to calculate your post-retirement budget, start by listing all of your monthly expenses that will stay the same, including rent or mortgage, car payment, utilities, groceries, personal care, taxes, and insurance.</p> <p>Then tease out what expenses you incur from working. These might include car maintenance, professional clothing, dry cleaning, dining out, tolls/parking, and professional subscriptions. Don't forget to include the kinds of purchases that are not necessarily work-related, like convenience foods or getting a stress-relieving massage, but that you will have less of a need for in retirement.</p> <p>Finally, calculate how much you expect to spend on retirement-related expenses, such as hobbies, memberships, or travel.</p> <p>These three numbers can give you a sense of how much you are currently spending, what not working will save you, and how much you need to have set aside for activities in retirement. Now is the perfect time to start scaling back on the monthly expenses that will stay the same if you are worried about affording your retirement activities.</p> <h2>2. Take Advantage of Catch-Up Provisions</h2> <p>Calculating a post-retirement budget is often a good motivator to start putting more money aside for retirement. Don't assume that five years before you retire is too late to do any good. You still have time to grow your nest egg, particularly if you can take advantage of the catch-up provisions in your tax-advantaged retirement accounts.</p> <p>Tax-advantaged accounts like 401Ks and IRAs have contribution limits that put a cap on the amount of money you can place in them each year. For the majority of taxpayers, the 401K contribution limit is $18,000 per year, and the IRA contribution limit is $5,500 per year. However, taxpayers over the age of 50 may contribute a total of $23,000 per year to their 401Ks and $6,500 per year to their IRAs (as of 2016).</p> <p>Coming up with that kind of scratch to send to your retirement account might be a tall order, but don't forget that both 401K plans and traditional IRAs are tax-deferred. That means you can deduct your contributions from your annual taxes, thereby lowering your current tax burden.</p> <h2>3. Pay Down Your Debt</h2> <p>Entering into retirement while carrying debt can seriously weigh you down, so the five years before retirement is a great time to tackle it.</p> <p>Start with your consumer debt, such as credit cards or a car loan. These are probably charging higher interest than you could earn through any investments, so <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">eliminating all of your consumer debt</a> will help your money go further and save you a great deal over time.</p> <p>It's also a good idea retire your mortgage before you stop working (although you should prioritize paying off consumer debt before your mortgage). Owning your house free and clear in retirement offers you more options to handle whatever happens next.</p> <h2>4. Calculate Your Social Security Benefits</h2> <p>All of the arcane details of claiming Social Security <a href="http://amzn.to/2bKOeVe">could fill a book</a> (ahem), but it is a good idea for workers nearing retirement to get a basic understanding of what benefits will be available to them based on various retirement timelines and spousal coordination.</p> <p>In order to determine your benefit, the Social Security Administration uses a complex formula to adjust your earnings to account for average wage changes (this is known as indexing), and then calculate your specific benefits. The Social Security website offers several user-friendly calculators and applications to help you figure your potential benefits. Specifically, the <a href="http://www.ssa.gov/planners/benefitcalculators.htm">SSA benefits calculators</a> allow you to enter your information to learn what you can expect from your benefits.</p> <p>In addition, signing up for a &quot;<a href="http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/">My Social Security</a>&quot; account can provide you with a great deal of specific information about your particular earnings record and projected benefits. It's an important planning tool for anyone within five years of retirement.</p> <h2>5. Start Planning Your Income Withdrawal Strategy</h2> <p>Many retirees don't really think about how they'll draw down their assets in retirement, assuming that they can just take a small 3% to 4% of their nest egg each year.</p> <p>There are two problems with this scenario. First, if you have a less than robust nest egg, the small percentage you have to live on might not be enough. Second, if you have to withdraw money during a major market downturn, your nest egg may not recover.</p> <p>Instead, you can plan ahead with the bucket method for retirement income, which starts with the assumption that retirees will have to ride out some market volatility during their retirement. With this method, you split your portfolio into separate income &quot;buckets,&quot; each of which will be intended to handle a different time period in retirement. A common allocation would look like this:</p> <h3>Bucket 1: Years 1&mdash;5</h3> <p>This will be the money you live on in your first years post retirement, while the majority of your nest egg remains invested in longer-term assets. Since you want both stability and liquidity in this time period, the money in this bucket will be placed in cash equivalent assets, such as CDs, U.S. Treasury bills, and money market funds.</p> <h3>Bucket 2: Years 6&mdash;15</h3> <p>You won't be tapping this money until you have gotten a few years into your retirement, so you can afford to be a little more aggressive with your investments. This means your second bucket will generally consist of a mix of bonds and stock, leaning more toward the safety of bonds. You want to reasonably protect your principal here, but still allow your money some room for growth.</p> <h3>Bucket 3: Years 16+</h3> <p>You can afford to be aggressive in this bucket of your portfolio, since you have time to let your money grow. This bucket will consist of higher-risk/higher-return assets, such as stocks and other types of equities, since you have at least 15 years to both ride out market volatility and reap potential benefits.</p> <p>Five years before retirement is the perfect time to start planning your retirement income withdrawal strategy, so you can make decisions without feeling the time-crunch of a looming retirement date.</p> <h2>This Is Your Victory Lap</h2> <p>The five years before you retire can be a challenging and emotional time. Feeling prepared for the financial aspect of retirement can give you the freedom to enjoy the last few years of your career.</p> <p><em>Will you be ready to make these key retirement moves when you're five years away?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-retire">12 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know">13 Crucial Social Security Terms Everyone Needs to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-states-with-the-lowest-taxes-for-retirees">7 States With the Lowest Taxes for Retirees</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-much-can-you-afford-to-spend-in-retirement">How Much Can You Afford to Spend in Retirement?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement approaching retirement budgets catch up contributions cost of living debt end of career goals income social security Fri, 26 Aug 2016 09:00:15 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1779929 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Reasons Paid Parental Leave Is Essential for Moms and Dads http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/parents_new_baby_46762432.jpg" alt="New parents learning why parental leave is essential" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The United States is one of only two countries in the world that does not offer guaranteed family leave for new parents &mdash; the other one being Papua New Guinea.</p> <p>The U.S. isn't completely without family leave policy, of course. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 guarantees that eligible workers can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a new baby or adoption (or to care for an ailing family member) without it affecting their employment. But only about 60% of American workers meet FMLA eligibility requirements, and even those who do might not be able to afford to take 12 weeks off without a paycheck.</p> <p>There are a couple of deeply entrenched economic beliefs behind America's lack of paid parental leave: First, that companies cannot afford (and should not have to afford) the cost of paying an employee who is not working, and second, that having children is an individual choice that does not (and should not) affect society financially.</p> <p>But the truth is that both of those economic beliefs are just that &mdash; beliefs. In reality, we are shortchanging ourselves as a country by not offering paid parental leave. Here are the five most important financial reasons why paid parental leave is essential. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-best-jobs-for-working-moms-and-dads?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Best Jobs for Working Moms and Dads</a>)</p> <h2>Paid Parental Leave Costs Companies Less Than Turnover</h2> <p>It seems like a pretty simple economic truth: An employee is only valuable to a company if he or she is producing work for a paycheck. Paying an employee to stay home with a new baby or newly adopted child costs the employer money without getting any benefit in return.</p> <p>The problem with this view of employment is how narrow it is. An employee's usefulness to a company is much greater than any particular 12-week span, particularly when you consider the cost of hiring a new employee to fill the gap. In California, where 12 weeks of paid family leave has been the law of the state for over a decade, researchers have found that mothers who took such leave were 6% more likely to <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w17715">be working a year later</a> than those who did not.</p> <p>The same researchers have also discovered that California women who took leave and returned to their jobs worked 15% to 20% more hours during the second year of their child's life than those who did not take leave.</p> <p>Looking at the situation from a purely financial perspective, companies are going to be better off paying new parents for leave rather than spending money on hiring new employees, particularly considering the fact that employees who have taken advantage of paid parental leave will feel great loyalty toward their employers.</p> <p>The facts from California bear this out. The President's Council of Economic Advisers reported in 2014 that more than 90% of employers affected by California's paid leave initiative saw either a <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/leave_report_final.pdf">positive or no noticeable effect</a> on profitability, turnover, or morale due to implementation of paid family leave.</p> <h2>Paid Parental Leave Saves Money on Health Care</h2> <p>Mothers who have time to stay home with newborns have healthier babies than women who must return to work quickly. According to a study of European paid parental leave policies conducted by the University of North Carolina, more generous paid parental leave is found to <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167629600000473">reduce infant mortality</a> and improve overall health in children. Considering the consistently rising costs of health care in the United States, the cost of paying for parental leave is going to be much cheaper for our government, society, and private sector than the cost of paying for a sick child's health care.</p> <p>But it's not just the children who experience health benefits from paid parental leave. Mothers who have longer paid maternity leave report fewer symptoms of <a href="http://www.nber.org/bah/winter04/w10206.html">postpartum depression</a>, which means they are better able to be fully engaged both at work and with their babies. And the mental health benefits do not stop with baby's first year. According to a study by the Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging, and Retirement in the UK, women who were able to use a more generous maternity leave policy were 14% less likely to <a href="http://arno.uvt.nl/show.cgi?fid=133880">suffer late life depression</a>.</p> <p>Fathers also experience mental health benefits by getting paid time off. Israeli researchers have found fathers who work as primary caregivers for their children will see changes in an area of the brain called the amygdala that help them to become <a href="https://consumer.healthday.com/caregiving-information-6/infant-and-child-care-health-news-410/dad-s-brain-becomes-more-maternal-when-he-s-primary-caregiver-study-688176.html">better suited to parenting</a>. In addition, a father's immersion in parenting duties has also been correlated with both <a href="http://www.fira.ca/cms/documents/29/Effects_of_Father_Involvement.pdf">enhanced child development</a> and improved marital relationships &mdash; all of which can help the entire family's mental and physical health.</p> <h2>Paid Parental Leave vs. Public Assistance</h2> <p>Several states in addition to California have launched statewide paid parental leave initiatives. In New Jersey, a study from the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University, discovered that mothers who had used the state's paid family leave policy were <a href="http://news.rutgers.edu/news-releases/2012/01/rutgers-study-finds-20120118#.V4P6mUYrLIV">more likely to be working</a> nine to 12 months after their baby was born than mothers who had not used the leave.</p> <p>So what were the nonworking mothers doing? In many cases, families who do not have access to paid parental leave are forced to rely on other methods of getting by. In particular, the Rutgers study found that women who took paid parental leave in New Jersey were 39% less likely to be on public assistance and 40% less likely to receive food stamps in their child's first year compared to parents who did not take leave.</p> <p>It can be difficult to tease out the differences between the taxpayer costs of state-mandated parental leave compared to the taxpayer costs of public assistance, but it seems much more financially beneficial for the family to use paid leave and ensure job continuity.</p> <h2>Paternity Leave Increases Maternal Paychecks</h2> <p>Much of the conversations about family leave centers around the mother-child bond, which is certainly understandable. Mom is the one whose body goes through the wringer during pregnancy and childbirth, and more time for her to physically recover and bond with baby is a good thing.</p> <p>But when Dad takes time off to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, the entire family benefits financially. In Sweden, which mandates that fathers must take two months off for the birth of a new child (and that time can be taken anytime in Junior's first eight years), researchers found that the <a href="https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/45782/1/623752174.pdf">mother's annual income increased</a> by nearly 7% for each month that the father took off from work.</p> <h2>The Children Are Our (Financial) Future</h2> <p>As much as parental leave helps parents, it's important to remember how much it benefits the kids. Mothers who used maternity leave will see their children attain higher education, have higher IQs, and <a href="http://ftp.iza.org/dp5793.pdf">earn higher incomes</a> than mothers who didn't, according to research from The Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn. These effects were biggest in families where the parents had less education and were less likely to have jobs that offered paid parental leave.</p> <p>That means making a relatively small sacrifice now by instituting parental leave will lead to smarter, better educated, and more financially secure adults in 30 years or so. Those kids are the ones I want taking care of things once I'm back to drooling again &mdash; not the kids who were treated as a financial burden.</p> <h2>Widening Our Vision</h2> <p>The view that parental leave is too expensive is the societal version of spending a dollar to save a nickel. Parental leave benefits parents, children, and society far more than it costs. If everyone treated the cost of having children the same way many U.S. employers do &mdash; as a cost that is too great to bear &mdash; then the world would get dark and depressing PDQ.</p> <p>Children are a social good, and we reap much more than we sow by paying the cost of parental leave.</p> <p><em>Does your employer offer paid parental leave?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-reasons-paid-parental-leave-is-essential-for-moms-and-dads">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-great-retail-jobs-for-working-parents">5 Great Retail Jobs for Working Parents</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/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits">New Job? Don&#039;t Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-companies-have-the-craziest-employee-perks">These 7 Companies Have the Craziest Employee Perks</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-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-skills-todays-employers-value-most">7 Skills Today&#039;s Employers Value Most</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Family benefits child care employers having children health care income maternity parental leave paternity salaries turnover Wed, 20 Jul 2016 09:00:13 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1755638 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Celebrities With Shockingly Low Net Worths http://www.wisebread.com/6-celebrities-with-shockingly-low-net-worths <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-celebrities-with-shockingly-low-net-worths" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_39050928_LARGE.jpg" alt="Mike Tyson has low net worth" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being rich and famous isn't all it's cracked up to be. Just ask the famous people who made it big, and then squandered their riches to earn the dubious distinction of being celebs who have struggled financially. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-money-savvy-rap-stars?ref=seealso">The 5 Most Money-Savvy Rap Stars</a>)</p> <h2>1. Mike Tyson</h2> <p>The former heavyweight champion of the world (and sometimes ear biter) was once <a href="http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-athletes/richest-boxers/mike-tyson-net-worth/">worth about $300 million</a> at the height of his career, according to Celebrity Networth. A series of unfortunate events beginning in the late 1980s &mdash; including a divorce from actress Robin Givens, giving his longtime trainer Kevin Rooney the boot, and going to prison for an alleged rape &mdash; contributed to his fortune's decline, which today is estimated at around $3 million.</p> <h2>2. Lindsay Lohan</h2> <p>Lindsay Lohan's career took off after <em>Mean Girls</em> debuted in 2004, but it wasn't long after that personal and professional troubles began to chip away at her budding bank account. Her hard-partying ways and unreliable reputation led to a decline in mainstream acting roles. In 2012, the IRS had seized control of the scarlet-haired star's funds to pay off over <a href="http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/actors/lindsay-lohan-net-worth/">$200,000 in back taxes</a>. In 2013, Lohan did a series of interviews for Oprah that reportedly netted her a cool $2 million, but most of the money was earmarked for taxes, rehab fees, and further IRS debts, leaving her with a paltry $500,000 today.</p> <h2>3. Chris Tucker</h2> <p>Talk about money mismanagement. Chris Tucker, who everybody knows as Jackie Chan's high-pitched, fast-talking sidekick in the <em>Rush Hour</em> movies, was paid $20 million for the first sequel in that series, and then negotiated a $40 million two-movie contract with New Line Cinema. But despite such robust paydays, Tucker is currently $11.5 million in the negative as a result of foreclosed homes and several years of back taxes, according to The Motley Fool. The still-viable actor hopes to get out of the red in another <em>Friday</em> sequel alongside Ice Cube soon.</p> <h2>4. Teresa Giudice</h2> <p>If you're a fan of guilty-pleasure reality TV, then you might know table-flipping Teresa Giudice from Bravo's <em>The Real Housewives of New Jersey</em> (<em>RHONJ</em>). The recently released jailbird, who enjoyed a lavish lifestyle with her husband Joe Giudice and their four children, filed for bankruptcy in 2011, claiming to be more than <a href="http://www.bustle.com/articles/89126-what-is-teresa-giudices-net-worth-the-real-housewives-of-new-jersey-star-has-gone-through">$11 million in debt</a>. In 2013, the couple was indicted on 39 counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud, and making false statements on loan applications. Teresa returned for the seventh season of <em>RHONJ</em> following her release from prison.</p> <h2>5. Pamela Anderson</h2> <p>While $5 million isn't anything to balk at, you'd think that <a href="http://www.therichest.com/celebnetworth/celeb/actress/pamela-anderson-net-worth/">Pamela Anderson</a>, one of the most popular Playboy Playmates to ever grace the publication's pages, would have stashed away a heftier rainy-day fund. Even today, the former <em>Baywatch</em> star is still considered a pop-culture icon.</p> <h2>6. Gary Busey</h2> <p>Eccentric actor Gary Busey, known for films like <em>The Buddy Holly Story</em> and <em>Point Break</em>, devolved into a reality-show staple in the 2000s, appearing on such illustrious programs as <em>Celebrity Apprentice</em> and <em>Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew</em>. In 2012, he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, stating that he had <a href="http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/actors/gary-busey-net-worth/">less than $50,000 in real assets</a> while owing up to a million dollars to various creditors.</p> <p><em>Any other celebs with surprisingly low net worths? Share with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-celebrities-with-shockingly-low-net-worths">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/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson">6 Money Lessons We Could All Learn From Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-audiobooks-about-money-you-need-to-hear">5 Audiobooks About Money You Need to Hear</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-13-numbers-are-the-keys-to-understanding-your-finances">These 13 Numbers Are the Keys to Understanding Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/protect-future-earnings-by-negotiating-the-right-starting-salary">Protect Future Earnings by Negotiating the Right Starting Salary</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprising-sources-of-celeb-income">6 Surprising Sources of Celeb Income</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Entertainment actor celeb celebrity entertainment industry income millionaire money net worth salary Tue, 19 Jul 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1754819 at http://www.wisebread.com The Self-Employed Person's Guide to Getting Credit http://www.wisebread.com/the-self-employed-persons-guide-to-getting-credit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-self-employed-persons-guide-to-getting-credit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_drinking_coffee_97144221_0.jpg" alt="Man finding financing when he&#039;s self-employed" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You work for yourself. And most times, that's great. But when you're trying to qualify for a mortgage loan or apply for a credit card, it can be a real struggle.</p> <p>That's because lenders prefer loaning their dollars to borrowers who have a steady income that stays the same each month. That isn't what happens with most people who are self-employed. Your income can rise one month, and fall the next.</p> <p>There is good news, though: Plenty of people who work for themselves finance homes and cars, and plenty have credit cards in their wallets. How can you join their ranks? Here are four tips for convincing lenders that just because you're self-employed doesn't mean you're a risk to default on your loans.</p> <h2>Prove That Your Income Has Been Steady for Years</h2> <p>It's far easier to qualify for financing or credit cards if you can show lenders that the income you've made as a self-employed worker has been steady or rising each year. If lenders see that what you made last year was similar or better to what you made the year before, they'll be less nervous about loaning you money.</p> <p>To prove that your income is consistent, you'll have to provide lenders with at least the last two years of your income tax returns &mdash; returns that should show that your income during these last two years did not swing wildly up or down.</p> <p>What if you haven't been working for yourself long enough to show at least two full years of self-employed income? Or what if your self-employment income hasn't been consistent and has soared high and fallen low? You'll struggle to qualify for a loan. It might be best to wait until you can show those two consistent years of income before applying.</p> <h2>Build a Top Credit Score</h2> <p>Your FICO credit score is a key number when applying for a loan or credit card. It's especially important for self-employed borrowers, who can rely on a high FICO score to help lessen the anxiety lenders often feel about loaning money to those who work for themselves.</p> <p>Lenders today consider a FICO score of 740 or higher to be an excellent one. Such a score shows that you have a history of paying your bills on time. Such a history can put nervous lenders at ease and improve your odds of qualifying for a credit card or loan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-people-with-excellent-credit?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Best Credit Cards for People with Excellent Credit</a>)</p> <p>Building a good credit score is simple: Pay your bills on time and pay off as much credit card debt as possible. Just don't close a credit card account after you've paid it off. That can actually hurt your credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seeals&amp;utm_campaign=article">7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly</a>)</p> <p>And if your FICO score is low? You might need to wait until you build it up to apply for a loan. Being self-employed and having a low score is no way to convince lenders that you're a good risk.</p> <h2>Build Your Savings</h2> <p>Lenders like all borrowers to have plenty of money saved. This way, if these borrowers should suffer a financial crisis, such as a job loss, they'll have some reserves to make at least a few mortgage or auto loan payments until they can resolve their financial struggles. Having cash reserves is especially important for self-employed borrowers. If you can show lenders that you have money in the bank, they'll be less nervous about the prospects of your self-employment income suddenly drying up.</p> <p>How much savings you should have varies by lender. But most lenders want at least two months of mortgage payments saved up. If you're self-employed, saving even more than this can only help your efforts to qualify.</p> <h2>Come Up With a Larger Down Payment</h2> <p>If you're applying for a loan, coming up with a bigger down payment is one way to convince otherwise reluctant lenders to work with you. Lenders like to work with borrowers who have what they call &quot;skin in the game,&quot; meaning that they are willing to invest more of their own money upfront when financing a home or car.</p> <p>Consider applying for a mortgage loan: It's possible, depending on lender and loan program, to qualify for a mortgage while putting down just 3% of a home's final purchase price. If you're self-employed, though, you might have better luck convincing lenders to work with you if you can come up with a down payment of 10% or 20% of a home's down payment. Lenders think you're less likely to stop making mortgage payments if you've already invested more of your own money into the home.</p> <p><em>Are you self-employed? Have you struggled to find financing?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-self-employed-persons-guide-to-getting-credit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-biggest-financial-decisions-in-your-20s">The 6 Biggest Financial Decisions in Your 20s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-make-the-most-of-your-student-loan-grace-period">4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Student Loan Grace Period</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/cant-get-a-bank-loan-8-other-ways-to-finance-your-business">Can&#039;t Get A Bank Loan? 8 Other Ways To Finance Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-despair-over-small-retirement-savings">Don&#039;t Despair Over Small Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Entrepreneurship credit down payments financing freelancers income loans savings self-employed Thu, 14 Jul 2016 09:31:21 +0000 Dan Rafter 1749904 at http://www.wisebread.com Didn't Get the Raise? Ask for This, Instead http://www.wisebread.com/didnt-get-the-raise-ask-for-this-instead <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/didnt-get-the-raise-ask-for-this-instead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_strong_work_71194917.jpg" alt="Woman doing something after getting denied for a pay raise" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting knocked back when you've built up the courage to ask for a pay raise at work can feel like a real blow. It can seem as if your hard work has gone unnoticed, and will quickly sour working relationships if you let it. But with some segments of the economy still decidedly wobbly, every pay bump is hard-fought, and more of us than ever are getting turned down when we ask for more cash.</p> <p>If this is your situation, don't get disheartened. Instead, think about the different negotiating angles you can work, like requesting a deferred raise, extra pension or benefits, increased vacation time, a personal development payment, or even the opportunity to work from home.</p> <p>All of these can effectively put money back in your pocket, even if your boss says no to a raise.</p> <h2>Deferred or Conditional Raise</h2> <p>If you asked for a straight raise and your boss was not able (or willing) to offer it, then asking for a conditional or deferred raise is an option. A deferred raise simply means a pay raise that is delayed until an agreed date &mdash; and might be worth asking for if your company has specific short-term cash issues, or if the issue is linked to the financial year. If there is no stretch in the budget for right now, that does not necessarily mean that there won't be in future, and getting an agreement in advance is a head start.</p> <p>A conditional raise, on the other hand, is linked to your achievement on a certain task or project. This might mean that you are to receive a raise if you secure a new contract, or pass a professional qualification. You might link it to the company profits or your team performance, depending on the sort of business you work for. This gives you the opportunity to show, not only why you deserve a raise, but also how your boss can find the cash.</p> <p>But for these options to work, they should be agreed in writing, and with as much specific details as possible to back them up.</p> <h2>Boost Your Benefits</h2> <p>Depending on the type of company you work for, it might be possible to effectively boost your overall remuneration by addressing other fringe benefits instead of the salary. This is often an appealing option for bosses if the financial pots for salary and benefits are separate. Even if the one pot dries up, there might still be some wriggle room in the other!</p> <p>You should look at the benefits your company offers, and make a specific request for improvement. For example, if your business has a grading system which is linked to benefits, you might ask to be bumped up a grade &mdash; especially if this allows you access to perks like a company car or share options. If this is hard to swallow for your HR team or boss, then consider agreeing that the grade improvement now could be set off against any future entitlement.</p> <p>Think broadly when you negotiate this one. You might request company pension contributions, share options or grants, reward cards, discounts on products you actually use, or even increased vacation time. All these routes effectively boost your package and leave you with more cash in your pocket overall.</p> <h2>Invest in Yourself</h2> <p>Sometimes, investing in yourself through personal development or improved qualifications is really worthwhile. If you are struggling to get a raise at work, then why not ask for support in achieving this development or qualifications instead? Some qualifications can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-certifications-that-add-big-to-your-salary">give your salary a huge boost</a> over the long term.</p> <p>If you have courses in mind which would give you transferable skills, and also improve your performance at work, then see if your boss will pay for them. Even better, maybe you can get some study time off to reflect the extra work you are doing. These cash investments tend to be relatively small for the company, but the end result is that you have more skills with which to negotiate a better role or raise later down the line.</p> <h2>Flex</h2> <p>Ask for improved flexibility in your work schedule. This can be an equivalent to a pay raise if you can negotiate some time working from home, and therefore cut the costs of commuting or parking. If this is not possible, then perhaps working a more flexible shift would allow you to do some longer days in return for more time off.</p> <p>The benefits here are felt in reducing the cost of commuting, but also the peripheral costs of things like buying lunch at work or stocking up on gourmet coffees. On the other hand, by reducing your travel, you win back time that can be used to boost your income if you wish. To get the biggest return from this approach, use the time you save to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unexpected-side-benefits-of-your-side-hustle">set up a side hustle</a>, and suddenly it's like you're being paid double time.</p> <h2>Try Again</h2> <p>When you're asking for a pay or benefits rise, how you ask is at least as important as what you're requesting. If you've already been knocked back for a straight raise and are going in for a second pass, then it's especially important to get your message straight.</p> <p>Here are some hints to make sure you're making your case effectively.</p> <h3>Pick the Right Moment</h3> <p>If you were refused because the business is genuinely struggling, then putting the request on ice for a few months might be best. Use the time to sharpen your skills and, if necessary, start applying elsewhere.</p> <h3>Don't Whine or Give Ultimatums</h3> <p>Avoid comparing yourself to others. Don't say, &quot;I do way more than the rest of the team!&quot; As tempting as it might be, it's not going to help your case.</p> <h3>Don't Highlight Personal Financial Problems</h3> <p>If this is a real challenge, then be honest with your boss, but don't try to use your cash flow as leverage.</p> <h3>Remember You Are Not Entitled to It</h3> <p>You won't get one because you did everything asked of you, or just because the cost of living has gone up. Assume you're making a business case for the raise and present it as such, not a demand.</p> <p>As uncomfortable as it might be, asking for a raise is part of working life. And if necessary, bouncing back from rejection should be, too. Think of it as an ongoing project to market yourself and your skills and ensure that you are paid fairly, and consider different angles to make your requests so good they can't be refused.</p> <p><em>What is your experience in asking for a pay rise? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/didnt-get-the-raise-ask-for-this-instead">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-important-signs-that-your-job-sucks">10 Important Signs That Your Job Sucks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-after-a-promotion">10 Money Moves to Make After a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-unexpected-costs-of-a-higher-paying-job-offer">4 Unexpected Costs of a Higher-Paying Job Offer</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-times-you-should-demand-a-raise">5 Times You Should Demand a Raise</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/is-this-job-worth-it">Is This Job Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Extra Income ask for a raise benefits income job promotion pay increase raise salary work Fri, 01 Jul 2016 09:00:03 +0000 Claire Millard 1742408 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Escape the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-escape-the-paycheck-to-paycheck-cycle <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-escape-the-paycheck-to-paycheck-cycle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_80116831_XLARGE.jpg" alt="stop living paycheck to paycheck" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're living paycheck to paycheck, you probably think it's a normal part of life and accept it for what it is. To that, I stick my tongue out and blow. There are plenty of people who've broken free from this rut, but your particular cycle won't break until <em>you </em>break it.</p> <p>Living paycheck to paycheck can mean you're one paycheck away from being without lights, a car, or a home &mdash; and that's just not acceptable. Granted, this is worst-case scenario, but it's a possible scenario. This isn't meant to scare you, of course, but it is meant to build motivation to help you improve your financial outlook and say so long to a house-poor existence. Here's what you need to do to stop living on the edge. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-grow-your-savings-without-a-steady-paycheck?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Grow Your Savings Without a Steady Paycheck</a>)</p> <h2>1. Take Stock of What You're Working With</h2> <p>If you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck, you have to live below your means. It's that simple. Some people are happy just to break even every month, but if you never have extra income, you'll never achieve some of your goals.</p> <p>To stop the cycle, do a financial checkup.</p> <p>Here's a little exercise: Comb through your most recent bank statements, credit card statements, and receipts, and then write down every monthly expense from housing to groceries. Calculate how much you're spending on clothes, miscellaneous items, groceries, fuel, etc.</p> <p>Once you have this figure, compare it with your take-home pay. The amount you're spending every month may be the equivalent of what you bring home, or more than what you bring home. If the latter is the case, it's time to trim.</p> <h2>2. Cut the Fat</h2> <p>Don't listen to anyone who says living paycheck to paycheck is normal. It's not, and whoever says that will probably be sad for the rest of their life. Alas, many people have been conditioned to think this way, and it's this exact thinking that keeps people stuck.</p> <p>There's a better way to live, and it starts with trimming your expenses. At this point, it's not about your wants; you have to focus on your needs and get rid of any unnecessary expenses. What to cut? These extras:</p> <ul> <li>Gym memberships</li> <li>Eating out for lunch</li> <li>Grabbing coffee</li> <li>Spending $50 a week on entertainment</li> <li>Subscription services</li> </ul> <p>These costs don't seem like a lot, but they add up. Getting rid of nonessential expenses can give your budget some wiggle room, creating more disposable income than you thought possible.</p> <h2>3. Stop Being Enslaved to Debt</h2> <p>The more debt you have, the more likely you are to live paycheck to paycheck. This is because debt robs you of extra money. Even if you can't get rid of your house payment, car payment, or student loan debt immediately, you can start chipping away at credit card balances.</p> <p>Take the money you're saving from trimming unnecessary expenses and dump all or a large portion of this cash on your debt. You can tackle your debt with the smallest balance first, or the debt with the highest interest rate first. It doesn't matter which approach you choose, as long as you're paying down balances. The less you owe, the more you can keep. To help you, I've recently written an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/5-day-debt-reduction-plan">entire five part series on eliminating debt</a>.</p> <h2>4. Pay Yourself &mdash; No Matter What</h2> <p>Once you've got a handle on your debt, it's time to start paying yourself. If you build a cushy savings account, you may never have to borrow money or use a credit card again &mdash; at least not for an emergency or an unexpected expense.</p> <p>Take the money you were putting toward <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt">debt repayment</a> and set up an automatic savings schedule. Each pay period, automatically transfer a specific amount from checking into savings. Schedule this transfer before you pay your bills to ensure you're always paying yourself first.</p> <h2>5. Create Additional Income for Yourself</h2> <p>Sometimes, it isn't enough to trim expenses and pay off debt. You may earn just enough to get by, and despite living simply, you're still trapped in a cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. The truth is, getting ahead may require more income.</p> <p>Now, as a freelancer, I can run down a list of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-a-living-in-the-gig-economy">side hustles to increase your income</a>. This includes moonlighting as a consultant, cutting lawns, buying and selling online, watching pets, renting out extra space in your home, etc. But I also realize that not everyone has the entrepreneurial spirit. But even if you don't want to be your own boss, there are ways to build your income.</p> <p>Depending on your circumstances, a part-time job might fit your schedule perfectly. If you can earn as little as an extra $20 a day, you'll have an extra $400 a month. For example, you can search online for local office-cleaning companies, and call these companies to see if they're looking for part-time help in the evenings. I have a friend who cleans a small office every day after work. It only takes two hours and the cleaning company pays him $20 per cleaning. It's not the most glamorous or high-paying part-time job, but it's easy work and pays okay.</p> <h2>6. Learn How to Say &quot;No&quot;</h2> <p>One of the best ways to improve a budget is to learn how to say no. If you have a large social circle, there's always someone inviting you to a restaurant, a movie, or another event. If you get into a pattern of constantly saying yes and accepting invitations, you could end up broke. You should never sacrifice your bank account at the expense of fun, especially when there are too many ways to enjoy yourself for free. The key is having an airtight entertainment budget. Decide what you can realistically afford to spend on fun, and then stick to this budget. I learned how to say no, and now &quot;No&quot; is my favorite word.</p> <h2>7. Face Reality and Downsize</h2> <p>Making simple adjustments to your budget can improve cash flow tremendously, but not when you're too far in the hole. Accept that you'll have to let go of stuff. Ideally, your house payment should be no more than 28%-30% of your gross income. If you're paying more, you're overspending and it's time to face reality. You're never going to get ahead when you're struggling to keep up with the basics. Downsizing your house can create a smaller house payment, cheaper utilities, and less maintenance. Your finances also may improve if you downsize from an expensive car. You can enjoy a lower car payment and cheaper insurance premiums.</p> <p><em>Are you living paycheck to paycheck? What are you doing to change the situation? Let's discuss in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-escape-the-paycheck-to-paycheck-cycle">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-audacity-to-waste-money-for-better-finances">The Audacity to Waste Money for Better Finances</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/friends-dont-let-friends">Friends Don&#039;t Let Friends...</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/best-of-personal-finance-credit-where-credit-is-due-edition">Best of Personal Finance: Credit Where Credit Is Due Edition</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/life-after-debt-whats-next">Life After Debt: What&#039;s Next?</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/uk-banks-are-blocking-customers-credit-cards-will-the-usa-be-next">UK banks are blocking customers&#039; credit cards. Will the USA be next?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management debt management finances income paycheck paycheck to paycheck payday personal finance Fri, 17 Jun 2016 10:30:04 +0000 Mikey Rox 1732946 at http://www.wisebread.com 5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Stop Waiting for Tomorrow http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-stop-waiting-for-tomorrow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-stop-waiting-for-tomorrow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_binoculars_000029643960.jpg" alt="Woman learning to stop waiting for tomorrow with debt " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>[Editor's Note: This is the first part of a five-part series on debt reduction. To read more, see <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/5-day-debt-reduction-plan" target="_blank">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan</a>.]</p> <p>Debt sucks. It ties up your resources, robs you of the ability to save, and can cause stress, anxiety, and depression. Still, debt is a big part of our society &mdash; so big that many don't realize the impact it has on their personal finances, even when they're struggling to keep up with payments.</p> <p>Some people stick their heads in the sand because it's easier to ignore debt than take responsibility. The consequences of overcharging and overspending eventually catch up &mdash; and that burden can lead to other consequences, like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-debt-is-killing-you-heres-the-cure?ref=5dayplan">physical and mental health issues</a> &mdash; but it doesn't have to.</p> <p>If your debt is out of control, <em>today </em>is the day to take control of your money.</p> <p>The good news is that you don't have to be a financial guru or have a ton of cash to succeed. Whether you have a little or a lot of disposable income, you can begin chipping away at your debt little by little each day when equipped with the correct set of tools and a handy guideline.</p> <p>See Also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a></p> <h2>Debt Reduction Starts With a Decision</h2> <p>Be honest, how long have you been talking about reducing debt? A few weeks? A few months? A few years?</p> <p>Now think back to the first time you expressed a desire to get rid of debt. Have you successfully paid off (or paid down) some of your balances? Or have your balances remained the same or increased?</p> <p>If you answered &quot;yes&quot; to the last question, you're not alone. Getting rid of debt has its challenges, and at times you might think it's impossible. The fact that you're reading this article demonstrates a desire to change your mindset and your situation. It doesn't matter what you've done (or haven't done) in the past; this can be a new beginning and the first day on your journey to eliminating debt.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-fighting-debt-today?ref=5dayplan">How to Start Fighting Debt &mdash;&nbsp;Today</a></p> <h2>You're Not the Only Person With Debt, But You Still Need to Address It</h2> <p>Some people say debt is a part of life and everyone should stop whining and accept debt for what it is. Don't let the naysayers get in your head.</p> <p>Yes, most of us have some sort of debt, but this doesn't mean we have to accept all types of debt. Student loans and mortgages are &quot;good&quot; debt. They are usually cheap (the interest rates are low), and both generally improve our financial lives (education helps us earn more; a home is a valuable asset).</p> <p>Credit card debt, on the other hand, can be a vicious monster. It's expensive and most of what we borrow for will not improve our financial lives. But the moment we confront the monster and say &quot;no more,&quot; the easier it is to break habits that keep us indebted.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-fighting-debt-today?ref=5dayplan">8 Signs You&rsquo;ve Crossed from &ldquo;Healthy&rdquo; Debt to &ldquo;Problem&rdquo; Debt</a></p> <h2>What Led to Your Debt?</h2> <p>There's not one particular bad habit, but rather several possible habits. Everyone has their own weakness &mdash; mine, for instance, is clothes shopping &mdash; and it's each person's responsibility to identify habits that keep them in a pattern of overspending.</p> <h3>Impulse Buying</h3> <p>Most of us are familiar with this type of buying. You go to the store with intentions of buying one item, but you walk out with three or four items &mdash; basically every trip to Target I've ever had; you know what I'm talking about. This behavior may seem innocent, but it can throw off your budget and increase the likelihood of debt.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-creative-ways-to-avoid-spending-money?ref=5dayplan">13 Creative Ways to Avoid Impulse Spending</a></p> <h3>Lack of a Budget</h3> <p>If you never budget, you probably have no idea where your money goes, which means you could be overspending on nonessentials and using credit cards as an extension of your income. Keeping a paper trail helps you visualize how much you're spending and where your money is going, and that alone can be a deterrent to spending more.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-simple-thing-you-can-do-to-start-budgeting-today?ref=5dayplan">One Simple Thing You Can Do to Start Budgeting Today</a></p> <h3>Keeping Up With the Joneses</h3> <p>If your best friend or neighbor buys a new car, you may feel pressure to keep up and prove you can hang with the big spenders. But in reality, you're digging a financial hole for yourself.</p> <p>We're all guilty of at least one of these bad financial habits. We're human, so we're going to make mistakes. But regardless of the habit(s) you're guilty of, you <em>can </em>break the cycle.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances?ref=5dayplan">How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances</a></p> <h3>Lack of Income</h3> <p>This isn't a habit, exactly, but whenever our income falls short of our expenses, and we've cut as much as we can, it's time to find more money. Whatever side job or career shift you choose, keep your debt reduction goals in mind. The extra money you earn should go first toward your debt reduction plan.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year?ref=5dayplan">100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year</a></p> <h2>The High Cost of Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>If you need help overcoming bad habits and breaking out of debt, it helps to have an understanding of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-most-valuable-thing-debt-takes-from-you-isnt-money-its-this?ref=5dayplan">true cost of debt</a>.</p> <p>Take for example a $5,000 credit card balance. If you're making $100 payments every month, in your mind, you should be able to pay off this debt in roughly 50 months (4 years). It's simple mathematics, right? Well, not exactly. There's this &quot;little&quot; thing called interest, which is what you pay for the privilege of using credit.</p> <p>Let's say the interest rate on that $5,000 is 18%. Making $100 payments every month, it will take almost eight years to pay off the balance, and you'll have paid over $4,000 in interest, for borrowing that $5,000. Think of how much interest you could <em>earn</em> if you invested that money instead.</p> <p>When you get a credit card statement, the amount due is typically between 1%-3% of the total balance. It will take a staggering amount of time to pay off your debt if you only make minimum payments. If you're just making the minimum payments, to pay off $5,000, it would take <strong>more than 39 years</strong>. You would have paid over $8,000 in interest.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;It will take a discouragingly long time to pay off a debt if you stick to only minimum payments,&quot; says Julie Ford, a financial planner in New York City. &quot;Creditors want you to only pay the minimum amount so they can collect interest from you for as long as possible.&quot;</p> <p>The more money you give creditors, the less money you have available for building a rainy day fund. And of course, if you don't have a reserve, it only takes one emergency to put you deeper in debt.</p> <p>According to the American Household Credit Card Debt Study, the &quot;average U.S. household with debt carries $15,762 in credit card debt,&quot; and a recent Google Consumer Survey found that &quot;approximately 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts, and 21% don't even have a savings account.&quot; As a personal finance expert who has experienced debt myself, these statistics are sobering to say the least.</p> <p>When debt prevents saving for a rainy day fund, it may also interfere with your ability to save for retirement. Even if you have a 401K or an individual retirement account, you might only contribute the bare minimum, if anything. As a result, the prospect of working until you're literally on your deathbed is a real possibility.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-didn-t-understand-about-credit-card-interest-grace-periods-and-penalty-aprs?ref=5dayplan">Everything You Didn&rsquo;t Understand About Credit Card Interest</a></p> <h2>Find Your Motivation &mdash; And Stay Motivated</h2> <p>The road to getting your bank accounts into the black can be rough. What's the motivating force driving your desire to reduce debt? If you don't have an end goal or a reason for eliminating debt, it's easy to give up as soon as you hit a bump in the road. I've seen it time and time again, especially from chronic spenders. To avoid this pitfall, brainstorm and write down what you hope to accomplish by reducing debt.</p> <ul> <li>Do you want to set a good example for your children?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are you tired of losing sleep and worrying about your debt?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do you want to buy a house, but fear debt will prevent qualifying for a mortgage?</li> </ul> <p>Of course, it isn't enough to know what motivates you, but rather you have to stay motivated. The best way to do this is to surround yourself with likeminded individuals &mdash; those who share your goal and can offer encouragement along the way &mdash; and avoid those people who encourage your negative spending habits, like your house-poor friends who spend all their disposable income on Thirsty Thursday shots and late-night tacos. (We all still have a few of 'em.)</p> <p>If your close friends and family are in debt and don't have a desire to reduce or eliminate their balances, don't expect these people to steer you in the right direction or provide the support you need. Look outside your inner circle and connect with people who share your mindset. For example, you can work with a financial planner, join a debt support group, or follow the debt success stories of personal finance bloggers.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt?ref=5dayplan">10 Dark-Side Motivations to Get You Out of Debt</a></p> <h2>Stop Procrastinating</h2> <p>Procrastination is the avoidance of starting or completing a task. It's a natural human tendency and we procrastinate for different reasons. These reasons might include the fear of failure, lack of interest, and even the fear of success. But with regard to debt, procrastination might have everything to do with lack of knowledge. You know you need to deal with your debt, but you don't know how, so you put it off.</p> <p>If you want to overcome procrastination, you have to learn ways to make debt reduction a reality. It's a step-by-step process that can take months or years. But the process is easier than you think when you have realistic expectations and set small, manageable goals for yourself</p> <p>But before you can get to that point, you need to first find out how much you owe and learn strategies to monitor your debt. Check back tomorrow, and we'll take that first step by Adding It Up.</p> <h2>Debt Management Resources</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-debt-in-10-minutes-a-week?ref=5dayplan">How to Manage Your Debt in 10 Minutes a Week</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-debt-management-questions-youre-too-embarrassed-to-ask?ref=5dayplan">5 Debt Management Questions You&rsquo;re Too Embarrassed to Ask</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools?ref=5dayplan">6 Free Debt Management Tools</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-your-debt-isnt-diminishing?ref=5dayplan">12 Reasons Your Debt Isn&rsquo;t Diminishing</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-debt-reduction-mistakes-even-smart-people-make?ref=5dayplan">8 Debt Reduction Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-use-peer-to-peer-lending-to-pay-down-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Use Peer-to-Peer Lending to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-common-debt-reduction-roadblocks-and-how-to-beat-them?ref=5dayplan">6 Common Debt Reduction Roadblocks -- And How to Beat Them</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-steps-to-eliminating-your-debt-painlessly?ref=5dayplan">6 Steps to Eliminating Your Debt Painlessly</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-organizations-that-really-can-help-you-with-your-debt?ref=5dayplan">8 Organizations That REALLY Can Help You With Your Debt</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Sell Your Home to Pay Down Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taming-your-debt-aggressive-repayment-strategies?ref=5dayplan">Taming Your Debt: Aggressive Repayment Strategies</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies?ref=5dayplan">7 Best Credit Card Debt Elimination Strategies</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</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/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-stop-waiting-for-tomorrow">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-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snowballs-or-avalanches-which-debt-reduction-strategy-is-best-for-you">Snowballs or Avalanches: Which Debt Reduction Strategy Is Best for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-dont-ever-stop">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Don&#039;t Ever Stop</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-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management 5 day debt reduction plan budgeting impulse spending income interest keeping up with the joneses Mon, 06 Jun 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1723444 at http://www.wisebread.com