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Money Can’t Buy Happiness … Right?

Money can’t buy you happiness. It’s an adage reminding us the important things in life aren’t things. And it’s often repeated in times of financial stress or upheaval. But it’s only true to a point. A 2010 Princeton study by Angus Deaton and Daniel Kahneman found money can buy life satisfaction, for a while. They found emotional well-being increased along with salary until about $75,000 annually. At that point – after necessities like food, clothing, shelter and transportation were no longer everyday stressors – emotional well-being didn’t continue to climb. The upper middle class have as many problems as the uber-rich, stemming from relationships, time management, health and other universal factors. For people looking back on their lives in retirement, those who earned more money reported being more satisfied with their lives, without limit. “We conclude that high income buys life satisfaction but not happiness, and that low income is…

7 Bad Money Habits That Can Ruin Your Finances

Habits can make or break our personal finance success. While good habits can help you build savings and live without financial stress, bad money habits can turn into a downward spiral of debt, fees and struggles. Making some small adjustments to your financial habits is easier than you may realize. Break these seven bad money habits to put yourself on track to a happy financial life. Making Only the Minimum Payment When you get a loan statement in the mail, whether it is from a credit card, mortgage or student loan, you can quickly find your minimum payment for the next month. The key word here is “minimum.” Paying only the minimum payment means you pay the maximum possible interest over the life of the loan. Every dollar you pay early saves you on interest every single month for the remainder of the loan’s life. The more you pay sooner…

7 Simple Ways to Save Money on Taxes This Year

It’s officially tax time – a time to look back over the previous year with an eye toward maximizing deductions and tax credits and lowering your tax burden. Do you find yourself cringing at how much you pay in taxes each year though? You’re definitely not the only one who feels knots in their stomach when reviewing how much in taxes comes out of your paycheck each month. Taxes are unavoidable, but you can minimize the impact they have on your bottom line. While every scenario is different, one thing is universally true, and that is that planning is the key to get the most out of taxes. If you don’t plan, then you’re not going to get anywhere. The good news is there are simple ways you can start planning right now to save on your taxes this year. Taking action now can make a big difference in the…

3 Work Life Insurance Drawbacks: Is It Enough?

Is the life insurance you’re getting through your employer enough to take care of your family? And are you paying too much for that coverage? While basic employer-provided life insurance is low-cost or free, your policy’s face value still may not be high enough. If your premature death would be a financial burden to your spouse and/or children, you may need coverage worth five to eight times your annual salary. Some experts have recommended getting coverage worth 10 to 12 times your annual salary. Both millennials and seasoned professionals alike commonly mistake work life insurance as enough life insurance for their needs, but there are some drawbacks to employer-provided life insurance that you should be aware of. Basic Policies Have Low Limits Life insurance from work typically has a low policy value. Sometimes those life insurance policies are capped at around $100,000. Think about it for a minute. If you pass away, is $100,000…

3 Apps to Make Automated Savings Easy

Americans are generally lackluster savers. Forty-one percent of households lack liquid savings to cover an unexpected $2,000 expense, according to research from the Pew Charitable Trusts, which also found that a lack of saving is a top financial worry – even among families with higher incomes. Also, one in three American families reports having no savings, including 1 in 10 of those with annual incomes greater than $100,000. Recent Federal data show the overall personal savings rate in the United States is about 5 percent, and an analysis by Moody’s Analytics finds that Americans under 35 actually have a negative savings rate, meaning they are spending more than they earn. Why is it so hard to save money? For one thing, our consumer culture is designed to encourage spending. Think about it, every coffee shop wants you to buy another cup of coffee, and the technology used today is making…

5 Tips for Improving Work Life Balance

A good work ethic is not only important, it’s vital. Always doing your best and having a positive, proactive attitude will take you far in the workplace, and nothing reinforces a healthy sense of self-worth like a job well done. But with smartphones facilitating around-the-clock accessibility, office hours are starting to extend well past the traditional nine to five, and finding work-life balance is becoming more difficult. While putting in extra hours here and there is inevitable, devoting too much time to work can lead to exhaustion, reduced productivity and compromised job performance. It can also lead to feelings of resentment and neglect on the parts of our families and those closest to us. These five tips can help you strike a balance between your work and your personal life – no matter how busy you are! Prioritize There are only so many hours in a day. To ensure you…

12 Insurance Blogs You Can't Afford to Ignore

Insurance is a personal finance cornerstone. It ensures your savings and investments are not wiped out due to an unexpected illness, injury or other worst-case scenarios. There is so much to learn about insurance, and it is tough to find everything you are looking for in one place.  Also, writing engaging blog articles on a topic that isn’t considered to be the most exciting can be tough, but there are some organizations out there making it happen with their insurance blogs. Get a cup of tea, find a comfortable spot to sit and enjoy these 12 websites that boast arguably the best insurance-related blogs out there. The Insurance Word Blog From Life Happens Life Happens is a nonprofit dedicated to helping people take responsibility for their personal finances, with a focus on life insurance and related products like disability insurance. The blog is a great resource, and you can also…

2017 Money Expert Cheat Sheet: 6 Steps to Achieving Financial Freedom

Here are the rules:  We’ve all been at zero and even below zero several times, we’ve battled back a few times, and then we did it again and believe or not, again.  We’ve all started new jobs and new careers. Sometimes because of our interests and what we thought we wanted to be changed. A few times because all bridges had been burned beyond repair and almost always because we desperately needed money. People who knew you back in those days, don’t know you at all today. And so it goes. Here we are again, saying goodbye to one year and starting a new year, which is the perfect time to change and become a new person financially.  A critical first step is to increase your financial knowledge and get your personal finances on track. Whether you feel like you are on track to meet your goals or need a…

Year-End Financial Checklist: 8 Must Haves

New Year’s is just a few days away and it’s always a good idea to assess your financial situation before the year is up. With a new presidency on the horizon as well, it’s also a good time to start thinking about how new reforms could affect your taxable income and finances over the coming months and years. By using a year-end financial checklist, you can ensure your 2017 will start off on the right foot. Here’s a simple year-end financial checklist you can tackle before December 31st to help get your financial life in order. Review Your  Insurance Policies, and Don’t Miss Open Enrollment Your HR department has probably been sending around reminders about open enrollment. Don’t delay! Set aside some time to tally up how much you’ve spent on premiums, claims and out of pocket expenses over the last few years to help you determine if you should…

Pet Expenses: How Much Do Pets Cost Us?

How much is that doggie in the window? What about that cat, guinea pig, bird or fish? When it comes to calculating pet expenses, “sticker price” is just the tip of the iceberg. To understand how much a new pet actually costs, you have to take into consideration the amount of money you’ll spend on pet food, veterinary care and other miscellaneous expenses for the rest of your pet’s life. Here’s a list of the five most popular pets in the US, which we’ve ranked in order from the least to the most expensive based on data from the ASPCA and Petfinder.        Fish If you’ve never owned a pet before and have a limited budget, start with fish. Freshwater fish don’t need medical attention, and it doesn’t cost much to feed them or outfit their aquariums. Though saltwater aquariums require more upkeep and investment, most freshwater fish…

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