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Personal Finance Habits for Your 50s

After reaching important financial milestones in your 20s, 30s and 40s, things should calm down a bit in your 50s. If you followed good financial practices, you should have sizeable and growing retirement savings, shrinking debt and a clear path to retirement. And if you are off of your ideal plan, be sure to put the right habits in place right away to get yourself on the right track. While you can’t go back in time and change past spending and savings habits, you can start the right habits today. Start with these five personal finance habits for your 50s to get started. Pay Off Non-Mortgage Debt While the average debt for American households overall is on the rise, you should be working hard to fight that statistic for your own family. In your 50s, you should be saving and swelling credit card debt loads can crush those savings rates…

12 Apps to Help Elevate Your Finances

There’s an app for almost everything these days. So, it comes as no surprise you have a wealth of choices to help you budget, save and earn money. With so many options, it can prove difficult to find the best fit for your needs. Here are several of the leading apps in the finance category. Each of these apps has an Apple App Store rating of 4.5 stars or higher. As with any app, the key to success is consistent use. With the help of technology, you’ll have one more tool in your financial toolbelt. Five Awesome Apps That Help You Budget Better Creating and sticking to a budget is one of the best ways to find financial freedom. The following apps keep your budget at your fingertips. Mint: With Mint, you can manage all your finances in one place. Connect the app to your bank accounts, credit cards and…

Are Extended Warranties Worth the Extra Money?

The late comedian, John Pinette, had a routine about buying a $2,000 TV and being asked if he’d also like an extended warranty. The exchange went like this: “What do I need an extended warranty for?” “Well, in case the TV breaks.” “If the TV’s gonna break, I’m not buying it!” According to Pinette, the salesman’s eyes went dead: “Nobody had ever said that to him before. Nobody ever questions them! We just sign on the dotted line, and it’s wrong! And I was gonna stick up for all of us!” The routine comes with an important message: Don’t sign up for extended warranties, just because some extra protection sounds good. You have to find out if the deal makes sense. What Is an Extended Warranty? Extended warranties are insurance policies that extend or supplement the manufacturer’s warranty that comes with a product. Sometimes the coverage comes from the manufacturer…

Understanding Healthcare Costs in Retirement

What to expect to spend on health care in retirement is the big question for future retirees. The reality is there is no simple answer. By understanding estimates of Medicare premiums and other related expenses, as well as some of the ways costs can be reduced, you can start to put some of the pieces of the health care puzzle together. Unpacking Average Healthcare Cost Estimates Several different estimates related to what people can expect to spend on healthcare costs in retirement are out there. One of the most commonly quoted figures is $280,000 from a Fidelity study. Equally staggering is the fact that Fidelity found this number represents a 75 percent increase since they first did a study of retirement health care costs in 2002. The $280,000 figure is based on an average 65-year-old couple. Women can expect to spend $147,000 and men can expect $133,000 on health care…

Early and Consistent Saving Is Key to Paying for College

If you have a child, or are even thinking about starting a family, you may be wondering how to afford to raise and educate your son or daughter with the cost of living ever increasing. Thinking about financing an education for your children is the first step in securing their future. But act – don’t just think. Start a college savings plan right now, no matter the age of your children, or even if you are just in the family planning stage. The earlier you start, the better off you’ll be when it comes to paying for the astounding cost of college. Tuition Shock If you’ve done no research lately on the cost of a college education, it’s time for a reality check. In its most recent survey of college pricing, the College Board reports a moderate college budget for an in-state public college for the 2017–2018 academic year averaged…

Are You Ready for Home Ownership?

Maybe you still consider home ownership the fastest path to the “American dream.” Maybe you’re fed up with increasing rent rates and think paying a mortgage every month could actually be cheaper. Maybe you think buying a house is the best way to get enough room for your growing family or your best (furry) friend. There are many wonderful reasons to take on home ownership, but just as many to avoid it … at least for now. Trying to decide whether you’re ready to buy a house? If any of these seven bullets apply to you, you should wait before putting in an offer: You Don’t Have Enough Saved for a Down Payment Technically you can purchase a home with much less than the suggested 20 percent down. But you shouldn’t. Primarily because a down payment of less than 20 percent requires the buyer to also pay private mortgage insurance,…

6 Tips to Manage Your Finances With a Stay-at-Home Parent

The decision for one parent to stay home can cause tremendous heartburn. Many feel strongly about staying home with kids, but don’t know if they can make it work financially. However, with careful planning and a keen eye on the budget, having one stay-at-home parent can work for many families. According to Amy, a stay-at-home mom in the Midwest, the key to managing finances when one parent stays home is open communication and a solid budget. These six tips will help you shore up your budget and manage your finances when one parent stays home. Include Activities in the Monthly Budget When budgeting, leave wiggle room for outings and extracurricular activities. Becoming a stay-at-home parent doesn’t literally mean saying at home. Account for the memberships, entrance fees and supplies you’ll need to create an engaging and fun schedule for your family. You don’t have to break the bank. There are…

Exposing 7 Popular Money Myths

Myths about money are common. Just because you’ve heard a saying or two through the years doesn’t make it true. Take advice from financial experts and learn the facts rather than accepting these common money myths: Myth #1: All Debt Is Bad Carrying a huge balance on a credit card or taking out a high-interest loan to pay off other debt is not good financial management, but certain debts can help you move ahead and achieve your personal financial goals. Funding an investment – in your home or in your education – can be financially beneficial in the long run. The interest rates on those types of loans are typically much lower than rates on credit cards or personal loans; plus, the interest can be tax deductible. When you do need to fund a valuable investment in your future, be sure to research the best rates available from quality lenders…

10 Thoughts About Money From Favorite TV and Movie Dads

For better or for worse, many of our attitudes about money come from our parents. And no matter their financial situation, profession, age, or number of kids, dads around the world have managed to spout the same cliché “dad-isms” about money to their families: “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” “Do you think I’m made of money?” “The barcode isn’t scanning? I think that means it’s free!” “You get what you pay for.” “Dad, I’m broke.” “Hi Broke, I’m Dad!” Of course, the luckiest of us have gotten some real pearls of financial wisdom passed down from our fathers … and maybe the rest of us have gotten a real-life example of what not to do that we carry with us throughout our lives. In honor of Father’s Day, we’ve rounded up 10 thoughts about money from some of our favorite TV and movie dads, and extrapolated ways that you can…

What You Should Think About When Thinking About Retiring

A Gallup Poll in 2016 reported that nearly two-thirds of Americans worried they did not have enough money for retirement. With other polls showing the retirement age is rising and more data showing Americans should expect to retire even later in life than previous generations, what effect does that have on your future plans? Check Your Savings and Create a Budget It seems to be an obvious first question: Do you have enough money socked away in savings? A majority of pre-retirees probably don’t have enough in savings if they wanted to quit working tomorrow. Life expectancies are growing, yes, but many Americans simply don’t save enough of their income to begin with. Savings should be at least 10 percent, if not more. For whatever reason, and it’s not always for reasons we can control, people tend to save less. How do you know if you’ve saved enough? And what…

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