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Wouldn’t it be nice to have an extra $1,000 in your bank account at this time next year?
You can, with a little planning and some changes in your money habits, CNN Money says. If saving $1,000 seems impossible, break it down and think of it as socking away $84 each month for a year. It seems more doable now, right?
“There are opportunities in most people’s budgets and lifestyles to find that type of savings,” Dave Abate, a certified financial planner with Strategic Wealth Partners in Ohio, told CNN Money.
So quit dreaming about what you could do with an extra $1,000 and make that dream into a reality in the next 12 months by following these five simple money moves:
- Slash your bills: Review your monthly bills to see what exactly you’re being charged for. Kelsa Dickey, founder of financial coaching firm Fiscal Fitness, told CNN Money that many people are paying more for services, including phone, Internet, cable and utilities, than they really need. For example, if you’re not using anywhere near the data cap on your smartphone plan, you might want to think of downgrading to a lesser plan. If you’re only
Even people decades away from retirement should pay close attention to how Congress just ended two lucrative ways of taking Social Security benefits, known jointly as the “claim now, claim more later” strategy.
One big lesson: Once claiming methods are seen as benefiting the affluent, they are labeled loopholes, and that puts them on the chopping block.
“They can go away, and they can go away fast,” says Michael Kitces, a partner and director of research for Pinnacle Advisor Group in Columbia, Maryland.
Typically, Congress foists big Social Security changes on younger people and phases them in over time, such as when it voted in 1983 to increase over the course of 22 years the age for full retirement benefits to 67 from 65 for people born in 1960 and later.
This time, though, Congress killed the maneuvers quickly. They will be gone in six months since President Barack Obama signed the bill Monday, and the decision affects people close to retirement age.
The outgoing strategies consisted primarily of “file and suspend,” which allowed married couples to start a spousal benefit while allowing the primary earner’s benefit to continue to grow. That worked in conjunction with
The motto of a new company called AirPaper is, “We make painful things surprisingly easy.”
Such things include cancellation of Comcast service and, in the future, other arduous processes such as obtaining a visa to go to China. The hitch is that there’s fee involved.
AirPaper cancels Comcast for $5. The company’s website says that the process involves filling out a simple questionnaire to provide AirPaper with the information it will need when taking care of the process for you.
Yahoo Finance reports that Comcast allows customers to cancel service by writing the cable company a letter requesting cancellation. That is the method AirPaper uses to accomplish the task for its customers.
Since the website went live Friday, it has been nearly overwhelmed with traffic, Yahoo reports. (The founders wouldn’t disclose how much traffic.)
AirPaper was founded by software engineers Eli Pollak, 26, and Earl St Sauver, 24. St Sauver tells Yahoo they “really want to make this kind of tedious process go away”:
“There are a huge of amount of things, whether it’s compliance or going to the DMV, folks are required to do that eat up huge amounts of their time and don’t need to take
Millennials, those born from the early 1980s to the late 1990s, have been considered through the prism of youth for many years now. But we’re growing up and starting to act like adults. Now that millions of people from Generation Y are in their 30s, this generation is starting to have children. In fact, there are well more than 20 million millennial parents already. Even though there are endless publicized (and not invalid) reasons why some millennials are avoiding parenthood, thousands of us are taking the plunge every month. So for new millennial parents, and for those considering the idea, here are three ways to prepare for parenthood, financially speaking.
A recent Pew survey found that 75 percent of childless, unmarried Gen-Yers want to have kids someday. Famously, this generation is strapped with debt from school loans and other sources. About 20 percent of millennial parents are currently living in poverty. In many cases, this is unavoidable. There’s nothing morally wrong with living in poverty, but the challenges of raising children in such a financial state are undeniable. It is difficult, though not impossible,
As home values rise, homeowners are gaining more equity on paper — and they’re taking it out in paper. Cash-out refinances jumped 68 percent in the second quarter from a year ago, according to Black Knight Financial Services. This is the highest volume of this type of refinance in five years.
“People realize that refinancing these funds is extremely inexpensive and that rates will eventually rise, so they’re capitalizing on the strength of home price appreciation,” said Ben Graboske, senior vice president at Black Knight Data & Analytics.
Mortgage holders have gained about $1 trillion in home equity collectively over the past year. On an individual basis, borrowers doing cash-out refinances are taking an average $65,000, which is comparable to what borrowers did in 2006, the height of the last housing boom. While the jump is significant, the volume is still nowhere near where it was back then. In fact, volume is still 80 percent below where it was at the peak in 2005.
That’s not the only difference. Today’s refinancer is in a far more solid equity position in his or her home, compared with borrowers then, who used their homes like ATMs, pulling
As we get older, our money responsibilities often increase: As our 30s progress, we might take on a mortgage, support more dependent family members or manage more money in our retirement accounts. To help you navigate these financial milestones, here are 11 financial steps to consider taking before the decade is over:
Create a solid emergency savings fund. Creating an emergency savings fund can prevent you from relying on a credit card and going into debt when unexpected costs strike, says “Today” show financial editor Jean Chatzky. “You’ve got to watch it with the debt,” she warns, adding that half of Americans lack emergency funds. “Lack of savings and debt go hand in hand … an emergency cushion is insurance against debt,” she says.
Take out insurance policies. “Insurance is always that thing that we don’t think about that we should,” Chatzky says. Rental insurance and disability insurance both tend to be “chronically underbought,” but taking out policies can end up saving you from financial catastrophe, she adds. She recommends looking into policies offered through work because they can be more affordable.
Automate your retirement savings. Automating
Kristina McKinney was left with no recourse when her mother used her identity and rented six apartments during her stint in the army, leaving her on the hook for the unpaid rent.
When the creditors started garnishing her wages, McKinney, 23, who is now a manager at a Walgreens drug store in Colorado Springs, Colorado, faced only two heartrending options — file a police report and send her mother to prison for fraud for the leases she signed over five years or file for bankruptcy. Unable even to obtain a cellphone contract or rent her own apartment because of the debt, McKinney decided her only option was to file for Chapter 7 in January.
“I feel like I did the right thing even though it sucked,” she told MainStreet. “The debt made me look like an irresponsible person.”
“I don’t have that much to my name, but I did it more so that we could survive since I am about to have a baby,” she added.
While many millennials and Gen-Xers may have more debt than assets, they should determine if they need to file for bankruptcy
Seek Counseling Before Filing
McKinney sought the free advice of a
Several members of our staff recently went to an investment conference at which a hot topic was women and money, and they suggested that we do a story on the subject. The office reaction was mixed. “It sounds patronizing,” said one female colleague.
For me, it was a case of déjà vu. Ten years ago, I was asked to write a book about women and money, and I had a similar discussion with my editor at the time. Money is gender-neutral, he argued, so any financial story we did should apply equally to men and women. Wouldn’t it be unnecessary, even insulting, to suggest otherwise? I replied that it certainly would be insulting if we adopted the attitude that financial information needed to be dumbed-down (or softened up) for women. But we’d be doing a real service if we reflected reality: Women often need specific financial advice tailored to their needs.
In the end, I wrote the book, originally titled “Think Single! The Woman’s Guide to Financial Security at Every Stage of Life.” The idea of “thinking single” had nothing to do with a woman’s matrimonial
If you’re a gardener, or even if you keep up with some minor landscaping, then you’ve probably spent considerable time and money over the last two seasons planting, weeding and cultivating. Now that you’ve made a significant investment into your yard, you’ll want to protect it over the harsh winter months, which will be here soon. Follow these steps to prepare your garden for the off-season.
Take advantage of fall-friendly flowers. It may seem counter-intuitive, but you can still plant during the cool season of autumn. Mums do very well in fall temperatures, as do pansies, which will bloom again in the spring. You can still get a bit of color in your yard before winter arrives.
Plant for spring. This is also an important time to add to your spring garden. Look for perennials and bulbs that bloom in the spring, such as daffodils, tulips, peonies and hyacinth. You can also plant vegetables in the fall, especially bulbs like garlic and shallots. The fruits of your labor will eventually be delicious in stews and pastas.
Maintain your perennials. Take an assessment of the perennials you currently have in your garden. Break apart flourishing plants
As employers try to cut their costs for providing health insurance to workers, they’re offering more high-deductible health plans. The premiums are lower, but you’ll pay $1,000 or more — sometimes a lot more — out-of-pocket before the insurance coverage kicks in.
High deductibles also are the rule for many plans available on the federal and state health insurance marketplaces.
How do you get the best use of this kind of coverage? Here are 10 tips:
1. Claim your freebies. Under the Affordable Care Act, certain preventive health services are free to you, even with a high-deductible policy. Make sure the doctor’s office or hospital accurately codes any such procedure you have. That way, the insurance company will know it’s one of the free services and will cover the cost.
You can find the list of free procedures and screenings at HealthCare.gov. There’s a separate list for women and for children.
Before you have a test or screening, check to make sure which costs are covered. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson found out the hard way that some of his annual physical was provided at no cost to
Financial rules of thumb have their place. They can help remove the complexity from financial decisions we have to make. Relying on them blindly, however, can be a costly mistake. In fact, some rules of thumb are flat out wrong in many cases.
Here are five of them to watch out for as you make your next big financial move.
1. Pay off debt before saving for retirement. I cringe every time I hear this one. It’s sad to see families toiling away for what can be years paying down debt while ignoring retirement savings. Watching them is like watching a movie where everybody but the heroine knows the bad guy is lurking behind the door. And If they are foregoing a company match with their 401(k), they might as well just peek behind that door and get it over with.
Debt, particularly consumer debt, creates financial hardships. And getting out of debt is an important goal. But ignoring all other financial goals in the process is rarely the best option. Instead, guard your credit score, refinance debt to the lowest interest rates possible, and begin saving
If you could have Jessica Alba or Warren Buffett as your financial adviser, who would you choose? Nearly half of millennials said they’d pick the so-called Oracle of Omaha, according to a survey by the Insured Retirement Institute and the Center for Generational Kinetics. But more than 1 in 10 preferred to get financial advice from Alba, the actress and co-founder of The Honest Company. Another 32 percent would turn to Oprah Winfrey, and 4 percent said they’d choose NBA superstar LeBron James.
Of course, just because someone has a successful brand — or even a successful investing history — doesn’t mean he or she would be the right choice as your financial adviser. “These are successful superstars and [some] have successful companies, but I’m sure they have knowledgeable financial planners who help them … plan financially and diversify their money,” said Hans-Christian Winkler, a certified financial planner at Claraphi Advisory Network in New York City.
Still, mapping out a long-term financial plan, or even finding a financial adviser, can feel daunting to many — especially younger investors. In fact, 60 percent of millennials in the same survey said it’s harder to plan for
You don’t need to tune in to “Bridezillas” to appreciate that planning a wedding can take a toll on your emotions — and your wallet.
Just consider that the average 2014 wedding topped $31,000, not including the honeymoon.
And sure enough, money is top of mind for many couples preparing to say “I do.” A new joint survey from The Knot and PayPal finds one-third of couples establish a financial plan right after getting engaged.
But that head start doesn’t guarantee smooth sailing — 68 percent of brides admit they find themselves thinking about the wedding budget and finances all the time. Maybe that’s because, despite being proactive in setting an initial budget, only 29 percent of couples manage the wedding finances together.
What happens as a result? Missteps, like going over budget (the case with a whopping 76 percent of couples) and even going into debt (which 57 percent of couples admitted to doing).
How to Get on Track
Wedding budgeting could set a precedent for how you’ll manage future finances with your partner, so it’s important to get it right from the start.
Amanda Miller, PayPal’s “Wedding Guru” and