Money

Ready to Buy (and Insure) Your Vacation Home?

There’s something so enticing about the idea of owning a vacation home. It’s the vision of a special place that feels both familiar and an escape at the same time. It is a place to make memories. And a place your hard-earned dollars translate not only into luxury, but a return on investment. However, like all large purchases, a vacation home isn’t something you should jump into without lots of thought and number-crunching. Here are five things you need to consider before making an offer on a vacation home:   Practicality Okay, so being practical is probably the furthest thing…

Need to Control Your Spending? Try Zero-Sum Budgeting

Do you have a solid idea about where your money goes each month? You probably can list the big-ticket items – rent or mortgage, car payment, maybe even utilities or other fixed expenses. But hundreds of other dollars have a way of vanishing and you may wonder why your bank account looks a little thin by month’s end and why your savings don’t grow as much as you’d like. Some financial advisors recommend zero-sum budgeting as a way to track your money, resulting in finding big and little ways to cut expenses to a more reasonable level. This budgeting system…

How to Plan for the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

Every year, the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) or Open Enrollment kicks off Oct. 15 and closes Dec. 7. Whether you are newly eligible for Medicare or already in a plan, you’ll want to consider several items in preparation for the enrollment period. We outline steps to help ensure you get the most out of your planning. Already Enrolled in Medicare? The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is an important time for you. Before the AEP starts, it’s always good to review your current needs and anticipate what you might need in the coming year. Perhaps you now need prescription drug coverage.…

How Much Car Insurance Is Enough?

Accidents happen. In the blink of an eye. In a left-hand turn. Life can throw you a curveball. That’s what happened to Maggie. It was a few days before Thanksgiving. Her daughter was home from college. The two were out having a great morning catching up. Then, as Maggie turned out of a shopping center, her SUV hit an oncoming minivan and flipped it onto its side. The accident happened so fast. Maggie and her daughter are still unclear how it happened. Luckily, no serious injuries occurred. However, the passengers in the other vehicle sued for musculoskeletal and emotional damages.…

Are You Being Careful With Your 401(k)?

In time where traditional pensions are all but extinct, 401(k) accounts are key to many people’s retirement strategies. You just set them up, make sure you put money in and that’s it. Right? Trick question. A 401(k) needs management in order to be the retirement nest egg you want it to be. Your employer put it in place for you, but it’s up to you to make it work for you. There’s plenty of information out there on managing a 401(k) and the mistakes people make with their accounts. Even the IRS has some definite opinions on how you should…

Healthy Habits to Help Reach Your Financial Goals

Living a long, full and happy life is a goal most of us share. Taking time to align your financial, physical, professional and social aspects of your life is important. The idea is to get each area to work in concert to reach your goals. Here are a few ways to keep your eyes on the prize and incorporate healthy habits across all areas of your life to help reach financial success. Use Technology to Set Goals Identify what you are trying to accomplish to increase your odds of success. Then use widely available tools and technology to help you…

Renting Cars Through an App and How It Impacts Insurance

Most cars stay parked more than they roam the road throughout most of their lifetimes. Seems like a waste. What if, simply by using an app, you could not only get additional use from your car, but also make a little money on the side? Perhaps to help finance the payments or insurance, take a trip or just to save some extra cash? Copying business models similar to those of Uber and Airbnb, peer-to-peer car-sharing services use apps to make this happen for folks across North America and the world. What do you need to know about any rules, regulations…

How to Talk to Adult Children About Your Estate Planning

If you have adult children, you’ve probably done some planning about what you’d like to leave for them when you’re gone. You may even have a will and keep your paperwork and electronic files in places they know how to access. Many parents, however, have not actually talked to their older or adult children about their retirement years and end-of-life financial plans. It’s a subject that many find intimidating and uncomfortable. Or you may think your children don’t want to have such a conversation about that eventual day just yet. If you’re a good planner, take it to the next…

When to Use Your Emergency Fund

You never know when an unplanned financially disaster may strike. Having money set aside for the hard times means you can worry less during the good times. What’s an Emergency Fund? An emergency fund is a savings account set aside to cover your expenses in the event of a personal financial dilemma. Your emergency fund offers a safety net and helps reduce the need to accrue interest debt through credit cards or loans. How Much Should You Have in Your Emergency Fund? Financial experts have varying views on how much you should squirrel away in case of an emergency. Some…

A Debt-Free College Degree? Yes, It’s Still Possible

Chances are your Facebook feed is lined with cute pictures of the first day of school. And everywhere you turn, there’s a back-to-school promotion. Too bad there aren’t any sales on college education. Quite the opposite, in fact. The average cost of tuition, room and board at American four-year colleges has more than doubled in the past 20 years, while the Consumer Price Index rose only 35 percent. With average costs at $11,970 (public 2-year), $20,770 (in-state public 4-year), $36,420 (out-of-state public 4-year) and $46,950 (private 4-year) per year, it’s no wonder Americans carry a larger student loan debt burden…

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