Money In The 20s Finances For Millenials Sat, 03 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 116873799 10 Road Trips To Take When You Want To Travel On A Budget Sat, 03 Dec 2016 17:00:00 +0000 10 Road Trips To Take When You Want To Travel On A BudgetSometimes the best vacation to take is one that’s spontaneous, fun and sure to provide special memories for years to come. Yes, that would be a road trip. No matter where you are in the U.S., the all-American road trip is always guaranteed to brighten your day and take you on a journey you’ll never forget.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly road trip, you may want to try one of the following.

  1. Mount Washington Auto Road, New Hampshire

The great Northeast is famously known for its heavy snows in the winter and its beautiful leaves in the fall. It’s not that well known as being a great road trip destination. If you take a drive on the Mount Washington Auto Road, you’ll end up on the top of Mount Washington, providing you with fantastic views.

It only takes seven and a half miles, but the view from the top is worth it. Not only are you getting a great road trip, but you also have a chance to spend the night at a hotel on top of the mountain – for only $69 a night!

  1. Route 100, Vermont

Vermont isn’t the most popular place. Can you name any sports teams or historic landmarks from Vermont? This beautiful state doesn’t have a lot going for it, but, it does have Route 100.

Route 100 is a long stretch of road that allows you to see the vibrant Vermont countryside. It links a lot of Vermont’s ski destinations together and helps the driver get familiar with the Green Mountain State. You can also camp at numerous campsites, some for as low as $20 a night.

  1. Highway 7 Scenic Byway, Arkansas

If you live in the Midwest, you already know how gorgeous it is. Farmland surrounds you, and you can form an intense relationship with nature out there. Taking the Highway 7 Scenic Byway is a great destination for a road trip.

Known for hot springs and diverse foliage, the Arkansas highway will open your eyes to the hidden beauty of Arkansas. A popular destination is the Hot Springs National Park.

  1. U.S Route 1, Florida

Florida is an awesome destination for people who are looking to relax in the sun, soak in the beach atmosphere and generally relieve stress. Besides these numerous beaches, Florida has a stretch of road that is perfect for budget travelers.

U.S. Route 1 is a fantastic stretch of road that extends all the way up to Maine. However, the portion in Florida is extremely noteworthy. With the ocean on its side, the road is a relaxing drive. You get to choose how far you go, and you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find.

  1. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Whichever way you are traveling from, a journey to Mount Rushmore is a great road trip. You get to experience American history and see some gorgeous visuals along the way. South Dakota’s countryside lets road warriors pave their own way to fun and excitement. You can also make a pit stop in the Badlands and soak in the view.

  1. Interstate 35 South, Oklahoma

The interstate isn’t that fun. Windy country roads are where the fun is. However, this stretch of road will give you a ride you’ll never forget. The trip takes you to San Antonio, Texas, and spans well over 1,000 miles. Tourist attractions are a big focus on this trip, and most of them are quite cheap.

  1. Portland, OR, to San Francisco, CA

Everybody likes California. Warm weather, hot bodies and a steady stream of unforgettable moments will leave you breathless. One of the draws to this trip is the endless amount of attractions you can visit. One of these is the Trees of Mystery. This attraction includes ziplining and camping among beautiful redwoods. At the end of your trip, you end up in San Francisco! How cool is that?

  1. Black River National Forest Scenic Byway, Michigan

Most people don’t get enough nature. This road trip will help change that. Located in Michigan, Black River National Forest Scenic Byway provides wondrous views and fantastic spectacles. Besides the forest, one of the main attractions for the trip are the waterfalls. They will blow you away and make you reconsider spending more time around nature.

  1. Route 66

This may be the most iconic stretch of road in the United States. Heard about in songs and seen in movies, this lonely patch of highway may inspire you and make you think. The highway goes for 2,500 miles and gives drivers a chance to soak in Americana at its best. Be sure to stop at some of the more famous pit stops, too. Flagstaff, Arizona, is a popular destination.

  1. San Francisco to Los Angeles

This one is filled with so much fun, you won’t be able to do it all. The Pacific Coast Highway is wonderful to drive on and is a delight for the senses. Amusements come in bundles, and one of the most popular is provided by nature itself. The sunsets along the coastal highway are gorgeous and can change your life. In addition to nature, famous attractions abound along the route and give you plenty of opportunities for fun.

Road trips are something not to be missed. If you haven’t heeded the call of the open highway, be sure to give one of these iconic journeys a spin. You won’t regret it.

]]> 0 3433
Will Trump’s Student Loan Repayment Plan Make Your Finances Happy? Wed, 30 Nov 2016 17:00:08 +0000 Will Trump's Student Loan Repayment Plan Make Your Finances Happy?

It seems like Mr. President is all set to create what he has promised – Make America Great Again. With this pledge, Donald Trump is ready to save the country from drowning in the student loan debt of $1.3 trillion.

He has done some new additions to the existing student loan debt repayment plans, which would reduce the debt burden from your shoulder. So, keep reading to know about the proposed changes and how it’ll help you save money at the same time.

The Plan: An overview

Trump’s student loan debt repayment plan doesn’t differ much from Obama’s student loan forgiveness program. But, let us hope that this plan might help people manage their student loan debt efficiently due to decrease in time of the student loan debt cancellation.

Now, check out Trump’s plan on student loan debt forgiveness:

  1. Student loan borrowers have to contribute 12.5% of their income on their student loan for 15 years.
  2. After 15 years, the remaining loan amount will be forgiven.
  3. Combine all ongoing repayment programs into one Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR).
  4. He plans to replace federal student loan with loans from banks and other financial institution.
  5. He promises to downsize the funding for the Department Of Education (DOE).
  6. He doesn’t want the government to make money from student loans.
  7. He’ll make colleges to cut back tuition fees by lowering high administrative fees.
  8. He wants to penalize schools if their students default on their loan payments.
  9. He proposes to abolish university’s tax-exempt status on endowments if they don’t come up with affordable degrees programs.

What Trump did not mention

Trump’s student loan debt repayment program looks interesting. Isn’t it? But, he has not mentioned anything about tax exemption of the forgiven student loan debt amount; or, stated anything about whether or not he would reduce the interest rate on student loans.

Well, as of now, nothing has been mentioned in detail by Donald Trump about his student loan repayment policy. So, we have to just wait and watch what surprises he has in store for the borrowers.

Comparison of Trump’s student loan debt repayment plan with that of Obama

As long as Trump is polishing his student loan program, let’s compare his plan with that of Obama’s student loan debt forgiveness plan.

  1. On repaying student loan
    Trump: Borrowers have to pay 12.5% of their income toward their student loan for 15 years.
    Obama: Borrowers had to pay 10% of their income on a student loan for 20 years.
  2. On forgiving student loan debt
    Trump: After paying continuously for 15 years, the student loan debt will be forgiven.
    Obama: Student loan borrowers had to wait for 20 to 25 years to have their student loan debt canceled.
  3. On tax exemption for the forgiven debt amount
    Trump: Up to now he did not say anything about tax exemption on the forgiven student debt amount.
    Obama: Forgiven student loan debt amount was highly taxable under President Obama.

How Trump’s student loan repayment plan is beneficial for your pocket

Though student loan borrowers have multiple debt relief options, still the current student debt amount in the country has crossed the $1 trillion mark. It has even crossed the amount of credit card, mortgage, and car loan debts in the nation. So, as you can see people are finding it hard to strike a balance between repayment of student loan and other financial obligations.

But, no more! As per Trump’s proposed changes in the student loan repayment plan, the student loan debt crisis may be reduced to zero. Moreover, borrowers will also be able to save money with this plan. How? Read on to know more:

1. Save money with single repayment program and shorter forgiveness duration

We know that Trump wants to combine all the current repayment programs into a single income-based repayment plan. He also has plans to shorten the loan forgiveness period from 20 years to 15 years. Though the percentage of monthly loan payment amount has grown from 10% to 12.5%, yet you can save a lot in the long run.

If you want to get rid of your student loan debt immediately, you can enroll in the present income-driven repayment plan. But, if you’re in no hurry, then wait for some time to see what the new government comes up.

2. Stay updated on your student loan repayment and save your dollars

If you stay current on your student loan payments, you’ll have more options at your disposal. According to the upcoming rules, if you continue paying the monthly loan amount for 15 years, then after that time, the remaining loan amount will get canceled. So, you don’t have to make further payments on your student loan. You can then use that money toward other necessary things.

3. Save money on college costs

Trump wishes colleges to cut back their tuition costs by reducing their high administrative fees. If this comes into effect, students might not have to take out a student loan to cover their college costs. It plan will prevent students from incurring further debt. Thus, individuals could save more dollars to meet other essential needs.

All said and done, I think that student loan borrowers will surely be benefited with the new federal government’s student loan repayment plan. You just have to be patient and wait for what’s coming your way.

]]> 0 3445
10 Hacks For Throwing A Christmas Party On A Budget Sat, 26 Nov 2016 17:00:19 +0000 10 Hacks For Throwing A Christmas Party On A BudgetWould you like to throw a great Christmas party, but you do not have much of a budget? The worst part about hosting a party is planning them. It’s not just the logistics of getting people to come, purchasing everything that’s needed and setting the home or other location up, but the stress of making a good impression, of looking the part, and everyone having a good time.

Nobody wants their festive party to look cheap or to fall flat. But how do you fake it if you cannot afford a truly expensive bash?

Here’s a few ideas and hacks to help you with that:

1. Buy Wholesale

A good idea for any non-perishable shopping, if you want to save money in the long run, go wholesale. Buying in bulk reduces the average price of each item to below that which you would spend in a supermarket or specialist shop. The quality is still good and with any non-perishables, you can save them for next time too! Many wholesalers put on special seasonal fare at bulk discount prices and with other special offers the closer you get to Christmas itself.

2. Consider Co-Hosting

A problem shared is a problem halved. Well, a party shared is an expense halved. Naturally, co-hosting can have its own pitfalls and is best done with a neutral venue or between neighbors. You need to be able to work with the other person, trust them to do their part, to truly share the burden and the costs of hosting a party, and to be able to compromise. If you can do all that, then the party becomes instantly cheaper.

3. Bring Your Own Board Games

Board games are coming back into fashion and for many families, Christmas is a time for family board games. Now people of all ages love a good board game or a card game be it Saboteur or Cards Against Humanity for adults, or simpler games for kids. People will bring their favorite games and with social media, you can all plan them together and you’ll see how excited people get by what other people are bringing.

4. Buy Reusables

This is an argument over long term cost vs short term cost. Buying simple but elegant party pieces, bowls, plates, glasses and so on may be a big expense first time out, but if you are planning on hosting many parties over several years, it can start to look like a bargain. If you are thinking about kids getting bored with the same old party stuff, don’t. Reusing decorations etc.. makes it feel like a tradition, they actually get excited when it’s time to get them out and put them up.

5. Go DIY Whenever Possible

Homemade decorations do not have to be cheap looking. They can be a sign of sheer effort, can sometimes turn into a side business, and give people a lot of ideas. If you pull them off, people will either think you bought some expensive boutique items or will give you tons of kudos for your creativity.

6. Keep to a Theme

Of course, Christmas is its own theme, but you can work within that to have other themes for adults and also for kids whether you encourage them to wear costumes like Santas and elves, or have a “worst Christmas jumper ever” contest, there’s plenty you can do within this.

7. No Dough? – Buy Bread!

Quite a simple one for those who cannot afford to buy enough food. It depends on how good you want your party to look, but bread products fill people up more than other types of food. This way, people feel fuller but eat less, and you save money. An alternative to bread is tacos – people can then fill up their tacos however they like and it is less effort for you on the cooking front.

8. Labeling Cups

If you have 10 guests coming or a dozen kids, you usually have to plan on 2-3 cups per person because they lose them, drop them, damage them and so on. Disposable cups tend not to be valued much by guests. However, one way around this is to give them a sense of ownership. All this requires is labels and sharpie pens. Let them write their own names on the cups, draw designs and whatever. You’ll notice they keep a better eye on their cups this way.

9. Go Cheap But Fake Expensive

For is the staple of any good house party. If you don’t want to go down the bread fills people up angle, then another option is to buy cheap, but good tasting food or to bake your own. Outside caterers and retailers will be out of your budget, but friends and family could help you bake or you could design a home bake set of food that you can cook in advance or bung in the fridge like traybakes.

10. Make it Fun, Make a Good Atmosphere

Finally, the biggest determining factor about a good party is a good atmosphere. This means keeping it fun, circulating and making people feel welcome, ensuring there is a good group dynamic and people interact, have fun, enjoy themselves and want to come back next time. Achieving this is priceless.

]]> 0 3437
4 Ways To Pay Down Student Debt With Extra Income Sat, 19 Nov 2016 17:00:28 +0000 4 Ways To Pay Down Student Debt With Extra Income

Student debt has become a significant financial issue that affects about 44 million Americans. As tuition continues to rise, college students will need to take on even more debt to earn their degrees. Unfortunately, entry-level jobs rarely pay enough for recent graduates to repay their loans while buying homes and starting families.

If you’re struggling to repay your student loans, use one of these four opportunities to make extra money. These jobs only take a few hours a week, but they can make repayment much easier.

Perform Small Tasks for Companies and Individuals

Join a website like Fiverr that will connect you to companies and individuals that need someone to perform small tasks like designing a logo, writing transcriptions from audio recordings, and optimizing websites to make them more visible to search engines.

With Fiverr, you only commit to the jobs that you want to do. If you have a busy week at work, then you may not do anything for Fiverr clients. If you have spare time, then you may schedule a lot of extra gigs.

As the name suggests, Fiverr pay starts at $5 per job. Plenty of jobs may more than that, though. Depending on what skills you have, you could earn $100 or more per week.

Sell Products From a Well-Known Company

Direct sales also give you the opportunity to follow your own schedule. A lot of times, though, you can earn more money by selling products than performing the small tasks that you find on sites like Fiverr.

The key to making money from direct sales is choosing a company that potential customers already trust. Selling Amway products can lead to quick profits because most of the people you sell to already know about the company and its products.

Direct sales can also help you save money when you purchase items for yourself. As an independent seller, you get a discount that will help you buy household goods, cosmetics, clothing, and other products that you need. Earning extra cash while lowering your expenses is a certain way to repay your student loans.

Drive for Uber

If you own a car, you can turn it into a money-making opportunity by signing up with a company like Uber. Most ridesharing companies have vehicle requirements, though. If you want to drive for Uber, then you’ll need a car that’s no more than 10 years old and has at least four doors. You can potentially make more money by driving for UberXL or UberBlack, but there are more requirements.

Assuming that you have a car that fits the requirements, you can drive a few hours a week to pick up extra money. You only drive when you want to, so you never have to worry that your side gig will get in the way of your full-time job.

Make Items and Sell Them Online

Do you have a talent for making clothes, jewelry, art, or crafts? If you do, then you could turn your hobby into a money-making venture by joining a website like Etsy. Etsy lets you sell a wide range of products directly to online shoppers. The website keeps a small percentage of the sale, but you get the rest of the money.

People sell all kinds of things online, so don’t count yourself out just because you don’t know how to make traditional crafts. Some sellers make beautiful quilts, but others make cornhole games, tree swings, and organic soaps. As long as you can find a way to commodify your hobby, you can start making money online.

A lot of graduates have difficulties repaying their student loans. If you’re still in school, then you might want to think about using one of these money-making ideas now so you can begin repaying your debts as soon as possible. If you’ve already graduated, then you just need to find a little time in your schedule to work a side job. As long as you choose an option that lets you set your own schedule, you can repay those loans quickly without letting your career suffer.

]]> 0 3424
5 Obsolete Tools Saved By The Internet Sat, 12 Nov 2016 17:00:34 +0000 5 Obsolete Tools Saved By The Internet

Since the dawn of the information age, more and more commonly used tools have been rendered obsolete as rapid innovations have created technologies that do their job faster, more accurately, and at a lower cost.

But unlike every old technology replaced by a superior digital version, some tools rendered out of date have ironically been resurrected by the internet. Here are some business tools (tools that most people assume have gone the way of the dodo)-that still exist thanks to the internet.

Fax Machines

Ask someone born in the 1990s or the 2000s what a fax machine is, and they’ll likely not even know what it is or how it works. Once the internet became ubiquitous, transferring documents electronically via email replaced faxing as the dominant way business transported information. However, there are a lot of older businesses that still rely on faxing documents. To satisfy this diminished but still active user base, software and services that allow people without fax machines to fax documents have sprung up, including Faxage. As long as there is still a small user base who require documents sent by fax, the fax machine is here to stay.

Direct Mail Advertising

Prior to email, businesses promoted themselves using direct mail advertising. A costly process, marketers would send thousands, even millions of ads through the mail to pitch their products and services.

While the physical direct mail process is long gone, it lives on through email market services such as MailChimp, which help businesses large and small market their products and services in a more efficient and cost-effective way. The high marketing costs of direct mail were once a barrier to entry for many businesses, but now with low cost mass email services, marketing a business has never been easier.

Phone Switchboards

Back in the day, if you ran a place with a lot of individual rooms (such as a hotel or hospital), you needed dedicated switchboard operators to connect guest’s phone calls. The expensive equipment and staffing is long gone, but the service lives on as PBX software. PBX software allows a business to have multiple phones without needing a switchboard or a switchboard operator to direct phone calls.


The Rolodex may have been popular with hotshot salesmen back in the 1980s, but today the only people who have them are probably ironic hipsters. But despite this technology going away, the use it provides (storing information on business contacts) is more important than ever. Address books in business email accounts and cell phone contact lists have become the digital Rolodex, allowing business people to store important contact information.

Time Clocks

The time clock used to be a common site in businesses, keeping track how many hours employees worked. But as more and more people began teleworking, the time clock became an increasingly outdated technology. But businesses still need to track employee’s time: online time tracking software such as has become the time clock of the 21st century, allowing companies to monitor and track employee’s time.

While technology comes and goes, what business needs to survive and thrive never changes. As progress marches forward, faster, cheaper, and more efficient means of doing business will continue to spring up.

]]> 0 3411
3 Ways To Bring Your Passion Into Your Business Life Thu, 10 Nov 2016 08:00:31 +0000 3 Ways To Bring Your Passion Into Your Business LifeYou went into business for yourself because you wanted to do something different with your skills. But your business isn’t your only skill; you also have a passion for something. Maybe it’s a hobby, maybe it’s a sport. Whatever it is, your business gives you the opportunity to explore your passion, even expand upon it.

You don’t have to let your business stop you from doing what you enjoy. It’s a matter of making room for that particular passion. Incorporate it into the daily operations, turn it into a side gig, or get out of your current business and start over with your passion as the theme of the new business. Following are three ways to bring your passion into your working life.

Bringing A Passion To The Business

Your skills are not your passion. Skills are an aptitude, something you’re good at, and you found that going into business for yourself was the best way to exploit them. Now you’re looking to spice things up a bit and nothing’s better than adding your passion into the mix.

What you love doesn’t have to be related to the business itself. For example: Daryl Katz created a large retail pharmacy chain in Canada and eventually sold out. Along the way he purchased the Edmonton Oilers hockey team and moved to Bel Air in order to get involved with the movie industry. While you don’t have to sell out, you can use a blog to talk about your favorite sport or hobby, giving customers a glimpse at the personality that operates the business.

Adding Elements Of Your Passion To The Business

It may be that your passion doesn’t exactly mix with your business. After all, who expects golf to blend with a tool shop? However, that’s not to say that you can’t bring your passion to work.

Think outside the box a little bit. Can your business get involved with a local sports team? Sponsoring them shows your support for the community and your sport of choice. If you’re involved with manufacturing of some kind, look to see if you can create a line of products and market them on a small-time basis.

Create a Business Around Your Passion

This is a common theme, but when you have an existing business, you already have the skills and know-how to run one. It’s a simple matter of taking your passion and turning it into a business model. Make it a stand-alone business or fold it into your current operations and create a new line to sell. It lets you stay fresh, focused, and engaged while adding a whole new facet to your business.

Passions let you blow off steam, engage your creativity, and let you change your focus from work onto something that pleases you. Adding your passion into your business doesn’t mean letting go of it and turning it into something boring; rather, it enables you to offer products that come with your love, sweat, and tears — something that few mass-produced items can compete with.

]]> 0 3416
9 Ideas To Trim Your Entertainment Budget Sat, 05 Nov 2016 16:00:44 +0000 9 Ideas To Trim Your Entertainment BudgetIf you’d like to trim your entertainment budget without sacrificing too much fun, it’s a good idea to plan out your options. It’s easier than you think and you may discover some brand-new interests.

Start by listing out the activities that you already know you enjoy. Separate them out by cost. It’s handy to break up your list into three parts: cheap activities (i.e. those that cost $20 or less), free activities, and more expensive options. Add to this list over time as you discover new entertainment options.

Remember to keep your eyes peeled for coupons, special offers, and other ways to cut down on the cost of entertainment. Online resources can point you towards a lot of great deals.

1. Hiking

Getting out and taking in the natural world is a great way to decompress. If you’re bringing your family along, you can make a hike more exciting and more educational by studying up on your destination in advance. Take note of interesting things around your hiking trail (e.g. fossils, birds, or rare plants) and make a game out of finding them.

2. Local Festivals

Don’t overlook the value of tourist guides to your own neck of the woods! Hit your own state’s tourism website to learn about festivals and celebrations that might be going on in your region. These kinds of events are typically free or extremely reasonably-priced, which makes them great opportunities to have a fun day out in a new environment.

3. Minor League Sports

If you’re a sports fan, the ever-rising cost of tickets to your nearest pro games might be getting outside the reach of your entertainment budget. Take a look at alternatives in the form of minor league and college teams in your area. You’ll often find promotional offers and discounted games designed to encourage attendance. Take advantage of these opportunities to see some live action for minimal cost.

4. Local Theater

Even the smallest communities usually have a theater troupe or two dedicated to staging shows. The tickets are probably fairly cheap, but if you want an even more affordable entertainment options, ask about volunteer opportunities. If you lend a hand a civic venue you may be exposed to all sorts of shows and performances, including concerts, lectures, and plays. You’ll also be supporting the arts in your community, which is something you can brag about to your friends.

5. Family Movie Night

The movie theater is another place where prices seem to be on a nonstop upward climb. Getting a family of four out to see a first-run movie can cost well over $50, especially when you factor in the cost of snacks and drinks. Look for lower-cost ways to indulge your taste for cinema. Find out about your community’s “dollar” theaters, where slightly older movies are shown at significant discounts.

For the most frugal option, you can always curl up at home with a movie from a streaming service or even one checked out of your local library. Remember that you’ll need snacks for a home movie night. With a little planning, this part of the evening can be turned into a fun family activity too.

6. Free Music

Free concerts are offered in a lot of different cities. You can check out opportunities to see a show in your area by searching online or by checking the entertainment section of your newspaper. Stop by your newspaper’s website, as well. Most papers have free email newsletters that will keep you up-to-date on local event schedules.

7. Replace Restaurant Meals With Home Dining

A trip to a restaurant definitely counts as entertainment when you’re stepping out as a family. The cost gets prohibitive if you want to dine out more than once in a blue moon. A good home-cooked meal with a little extra attention paid to the menu can be a notable event all by itself. Get your whole family involved in the selection and preparation of the meal. This can turn a simple dinner into an educational experience for your kids.

Alternatively, you can put your social network to work by arranging a potluck dinner. This can be as casual or as fancy as you want to make it, and if every attendee chips in with a small dish or a bottle of wine, you can put together quite a feast.

8. Game Night

Hold a regular family game night. This adds structure and fun to your weekly schedule with minimal cost.

9. Borrow A Book

Instead of buying that book you’re dying to read, reach for your library card instead. Library borrowing costs you nothing and supports an important local institution.

Besides making you more appreciative of the time you take to go out and have fun, budgeting your entertainment options more tightly will encourage you to get creative and open yourself up to new experiences. Saving money is always a good thing and discovering cheaper entertainment can be a way to have fun while you do it!

]]> 1 3397
It’s Never Too Late To Start On Your Nest Egg Thu, 03 Nov 2016 07:30:36 +0000 It's Never Too Late To Start On Your Nest EggDid you wake up this morning and realize you’re seeing your retirement creeping up on the horizon? Did it hit you that you’re not ready for that? You’re not alone, if that’s any comfort. There are still steps you can take to get ready for retirement so that you don’t end up old and broke.

Run, don’t walk, to your favorite financial advisor and get started now on a late-start retirement plan. There are steps you can take to make this right, but you’ve got to get busy.

Step 1: Don’t Panic

Up until now, your problem has been a lack of intensity about saving for retirement. Now is not the time to do a complete swing to the opposite end of the spectrum emotionally. You need to change your attitude and habits toward money management. You don’t need to freak out. You’ll need to make the most of the time you have left before retirement, so you’ll want to proceed calmly, think clearly, carefully and deliberately.

Step 2: Realize Your Retirement Plan Needn’t Span Four Decades

If you think of your retirement as something that’s going to hit you in about 15 years, it can seem pretty scary. But if you then consider that some people retire in their early forties, then you can see that it is possible to go from zero savings (those just emerging from college) to complete financial freedom (those retired in their forties) in about 15 years.

What you’ll need is a new approach to your savings and some new ideas toward your investing. That’s probably going to mean a new or additional financial advisor.

Step 3: Step Up Your Game

If you’re already 50 years old or older, you just caught a break. The Internal Revenue Service says you can tuck away thousands of extra dollars per year toward your retirement savings. The actual amount can vary year to year, so check with the IRS to find out the exact parameters on your retirement contributions to savings.

Take some risks with your savings. You’re looking at retirement in 10 to 20 years; you can’t afford to be timid. Investigate stocks or mutual funds that can help your savings grow. This can make up for some of the lost time. Talk to your investment advisor about Exchange Traded Funds, or ETF vs mutual funds for your retirement planning.

Step 4: Go For Debt-Free

Carrying credit card debt and paying only the minimum each month will torpedo your finances with interest rates. If you’re paying out all your cash on interest payments each month, you can’t save toward retirement. You need to get yourself out from under all of your debt as soon as possible. Attack your existing debt with a vengeance and don’t make more debt in the process. This will cut your mandatory monthly expenses and free up more funds that you can apply toward your retirement.

Step 5: Consider Postponing Retirement

Simply put, the longer you stay employed, the more you can save for retirement. You may even consider continuing with a part-time job during the first couple of years of your retirement. Hold off on drawing your Social Security benefits as long as you can. Each year you can do this will increase your monthly payments when you do begin accepting your benefits.

]]> 0 3402
4 Steps To Start An Emergency Fund Sat, 29 Oct 2016 16:00:34 +0000 4 Steps To Start An Emergency FundStop.
And Roll.

Growing up, we were taught what to do in times of emergency, much like the steps to take if you catch on fire. However, as you get older and the number of things that could go wrong increases, it’s important to be prepared.

Major emergencies happen every day. According to a 2014 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are 10-billion car accidents a year leading to combined loss of $871 billion. From having good car insurance to using a home security system, there are many ways we can protect ourselves and be prepared in case of an emergency. On top of these safety measures, it’s important to prepare financially because these costly surprises can be major hits to your bank account.

Building an emergency fund can mean the difference between a bump in the road and a significant spiral into debt, or even bankruptcy.  Now, how can you get started on building one?

Step 1: Build/Stick to a Budget and Set a Target Savings Goal

According a survey from the United States Department of Labor Consumer Expenditure, people spend half of their food budgets on eating out. Setting up a budget is the first step to figure out how much you not only need, but can save. It’s crucial to stick to your budget and reduce unnecessary spending.

To start your emergency fund, set your target in order to have enough money to completely cover your living expenses over the course of a few months (your required payments in your budget like food, housing, student loans, etc). This will give you an idea of how much you should have in your fund, but it’s important to apply it to your life and what you can afford to save.

Step 2: Take a Look at Your Debt

The thought of saving alongside paying off the debt you’ve incurred can be a scary thing. However, these required payments, especially your student loans, can be changed and reduced. It’s important to do what you can to make sure you put yourself in the best position possible to not only reduce your debt but to do so in a timely manner. It could be paying off your highest rate loans more aggressively, consolidating into one monthly payment, or refinancing to a lower rate. If you refinance your student loans, companies like Earnest give you the ability to customize your monthly payment to fit your budget.

Step 3: Automatic Withdrawals

After you set up your budget and figure out the amount you can to put into your emergency fund, it can be hard to see the money available and manually put it into savings. The easiest way to make sure you set the money aside is automatically transferring it out of your paycheck. You should be able to use your company’s payment system to separate your paycheck into different accounts. If that’s not available, you can set up automatic withdrawals from your checking to your savings account. This way you reduce the urge to use your savings for anything, but an emergency.

Step 4: Save with a Side Hustle

If you’re struggling financially to build your fund based on the lack of money you have available to set aside, think about any “side hustles” or projects you can do to make some extra money. From driving for Uber, to starting a blog, there are an extensive number of side hustles you can pick up to earn some extra cash to add to your fund.

]]> 0 3387
4 Advantages Of Owning An Apple Sport Watch Sat, 22 Oct 2016 16:00:32 +0000 4 Advantages Of Owning An Apple Sport WatchYou’ve toyed with the idea of a smartwatch for a long time, but spending so much money on a wearable that you might accidentally damage doesn’t seem like a smart move. While it’s true that many wearables aren’t constructed of the most durable materials (unless they’re indestructible fitness bands), that’s not the case with the Apple Watch Sport. A lightweight, durable design and all the functionality of the Apple Watch come together in a sporty smartwatch you’ll have a hard time damaging and you’ll love wearing.

Durable Watches for Sporty People

Smartwatches are a wonderful way to stay connected to your smartphone and your network of friends and family. However, many people avoid purchasing a smartwatch for fear of damaging it. Smartwatches made of stainless steel often scratch easily, and with their large displays it’s easy to accidentally bump into something, scratching or damaging the expensive wearable beyond repair.

You don’t have to worry about being careless with an Apple Watch Sport. The watch is constructed of aluminum and has the same scratch-proof glass that graces the iPhone 6. The aluminum doesn’t show scratches the way stainless steel does, which makes the Sport perfect for athletic and outdoorsy types. Even if you’re not athletic, just clumsy or a bit careless, you’ll love how durable the Apple Watch Sport is. Wearables are supposed to make your life easier, right? Worrying about the expensive technology strapped to your wrist doesn’t make things easier.

Lightweight for Easy Wearing

Before smartwatches, smartphones replaced traditional watches for many millennials. When you can pull out your phone to check the time (and lots more), wearing a watch doesn’t make much sense. That means millennials hesitate when it comes to strapping wearables to their wrists. Other smartwatches are heavy or awkward to wear, and take some getting used to if you’re not accustomed to the feel of a watch on your wrist.

The Apple Watch Sport is lightweight, thanks to its aluminum shell, which means you’ll adapt to wearing it much faster. Its lightweight design makes it easier to wear during strenuous physical activity and working out, too.

Changeable Watch Bands for Fashion Consciousness

The Apple Watch Sport comes with sport bands that are quite durable. They hold up better than the fashion bands other smartwatches come with, especially in conditions involving sweat. But if you’re going out on the town or working, the rubbery, colorful bands might clash with your outfit or your professional presentation.

Thankfully, you can swap out your Apple Watch Sport bands for something a little more fashionable when you want to. Keeping several sets of bands is the perfect way to ensure that you have a band for every occasion. Wear sporty bands that can handle your toughest workouts when you’re lifting or doing yard work, and swap those bands out for elegant options in black or white to go with your work and evening attire.

Affordable Pricing for Many Budgets

Even if you want a smartwatch, they can be prohibitively expensive. If you’re worried that you’re going to accidentally damage the watch, paying $700 for it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Neither does buying something you’re too afraid to use because you don’t want to scratch and ding it up. The Apple Watch Sport typically runs about $300 to $400 cheaper than its Apple Watch counterpart.

When you’re looking for a durable and affordable smartwatch, the Apple Watch Sport is the clear winner. It has the same battery, processor, and apps as the Apple Watch, so you lose no functionality with the Sport model. The materials that allow Apple to produce the watch more cheaply also make it more durable, and it still has the iconic Apple Watch shape.

The investment makes sense: your next wearable or smartwatch should be the Apple Watch Sport. You get the best functions and the most apps of any smartwatch on the market, but without the hefty Apple Watch price tag. The sporty look is perfect for everyday use, and you can always change the band when you want something a little fancier!

]]> 0 3380