It’s not quite 2014, but we’re already sick and tired of promises to help consumers make their resolutions a success. Lose 15 pounds in one week! Never crave a cigarette again! Watch your wrinkles disappear! Make sure you’re ready for intimacy whenever your partner is! Enough with the empty — or questionable — promises. [More]
Reality TV isn’t particularly known for its educational properties, but you can find some useful lessons if you look hard enough. For instance, a show about tow truck operators who repossess vehicles can teach a personal finance blogger how to handle her money.
Although it’s tough to plan nearly half a century ahead, the moves you make now can greatly affect your outlook when it comes time to retire. Small sacrifices today can potentially pay off exponentially as the decades roll by.
Pulling in a monster paycheck that’s so big you’re embarrassed to tell your friends is not necessarily a sign that you’re rich. Living expenses and other budgetary commitments can shrink a large income down to size, making some bogged-down “rich” people relatively less wealthy than middle-classers who make smart plays.
Since the year is only a few days old, you haven’t had much of a chance to screw it up just yet, meaning your New Year’s resolutions are probably still valid. You can plan to ditch that dead-end job, drop those 15 pounds, set up that Roth IRA and plan that road trip you’ve never gotten around to taking.
Your future self – the one that hikes his pants above his belly and whines about the good old days – will thank you for sacrificing today to save as much money as possible for retirement. Or maybe he’ll resent you for not having more fun with your funds before opportunities passed you by.
If you die owing money, that means you won the game of life. But some folks harbor a silly fantasy of actually clawing their way out of the imploded Chilean mines of debt they’ve created for themselves. They put themselves on a budget, hope for job security and the eventual reinstatement of raises and map out exactly when they might taste the financial freedom all too few get to taste.
A tipster wants to know whether adding his name to his mother’s accounts will open him up to credit issues should something go wrong.
You already have home insurance, car insurance, life insurance, and maybe even health insurance—why not insure your marriage, too? For around $16 per month, a North Carolina company called SafeGuard sells “units of protection” that could be worth $1,250 if your marriage implodes in divorce. The company claims that it wants to help defray the costs associated with legal fees and finding a new home, but the insurance, called WedLock, comes with plenty of catches.
Cameron Huddleston, an editor at Kiplinger and a mom, has some advice on how to make the most of your new baby budget. The money you save on things like play mats, changing tables, and fancy first-year clothes can be used to pay for less pleasant but more important safety-net things, like life and disability insurance, health insurance, and a will.
Liz Davidson at Forbes has an article about ways you and your spouse can fine-tune spending and investment patterns so that your marriage isn’t a financial drain. It’s easy enough to compare financial health before marriage (although lots of couples don’t do it, she notes), but even if your net income increases, your net worth could flatline or drop:
You might be doing well with your expenses as a married couple but making poor investment decisions, causing your financial situation to worsen even though your day-to-day money management has improved.
Is there anything more entertaining than having a website assign a letter grade to your financial status? Yes, but whatever it is, it would likely involve spending money you don’t need to spend, at least not if you want to get a good grade. Unlike in-depth financial evaluation tools, Money’s “Your Financial Health” widget just asks for big picture numbers that you can probably enter without needing to open up your budget or spreadsheet app—so it only takes a couple of minutes for you to find out how worried or proud you should be.
Why let banks have all the fun? Run the numbers on your own personal finances, suggests a certified financial planner in the Dallas Morning News, and see whether or not you’re prepared for disruptions like a layoff or sudden interest rate increase.
You’re fired! Now what? It’s the nightmare scenario, and you can prepare for it by conducting a financial drill. Take a moment and pretend you have no income. Ask how you would pay pay for rent and food, and what lifestyle changes you could make on two week’s notice. To guide your planning, the New York Times has a few unorthodox and downright scary suggestions that are worth considering in a worst case scenario.
Just because an angry bear market is mauling your portfolio doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time to fire your financial planner. But you may want to break out the axe at the sight of the following five warning signs…
Are you managing your aging parents’ finances, or looking for a good financial advisor of your own? The AARP has just released a new booklet called “A Financial Professional’s Guide to Working With Older Clients” (PDF). [AARP]
Now you don’t have to dress up in corporate casual-wear and spend half the day screaming in a studio audience to get something free from Oprah, because for the next day she’s giving away digital versions of Suze Orman’s new book “Women & Money” on her website, from now until 8/7c February 14th. Downloads are available in English and Spanish versions, PDF only.
Here they are, the final two mistakes in Sasha’s top-five screw-ups over at Consumerism Commentary. Mistake #4, “Failing to Balance Rental Property Income with Deductible Expenses,” is a bit specialized, although it contains a good lesson that can be applied to other situations. It’s the final entry, however, that applies to pretty much everyone (we’ve suffered from it ourselves in the past): “Failing to Remain Competitive Within My Field.”