Don’t Let These 4 Things Hold You Back from a Successful Retirement

Each person’s idea of a successful retirement looks different from someone else’s.

However, no matter who you are, there are some things that can keep you from achieving your vision of retirement success.

As you plan for your future, be careful; don’t let the following 4 things hold you back from a successful retirement:

1. Insufficient Savings

If you aren’t setting aside enough for retirement, it will be hard to live the lifestyle you want.
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Just Because You Can Spend More, Doesn’t Mean You Should

One of the things I heard a lot when my husband and I were shopping around for a new house a few years ago was this: You can borrow this much!

This much invariably turned out to be more than we were strictly comfortable spending.

One lender (specializing in no-doc loans for the self-employed) was even prepared to approve us for a mortgage loan with a payment that would have amounted to about 42% of our monthly income.  This was in the heady days just before the mortgage market crash and the financial crisis.

I wasn’t entirely sure I was ready to buy a home, but I knew I wasn’t comfortable with a payment that large.

Home buying isn’t the only time you need to be guarded in your spending decisions.  You might be told that you can “afford” a certain monthly car payment, or think that it’s easy to buy a brand new electronic device if you put it on a credit card and pay only the minimum payment.

Don’t Spend on Something Just Because You CanContinue Reading

Are Credit Monitoring Services Worth It?

Credit

You know that your credit is important.

From getting a mortgage, to buying a car, to getting the best insurance rates, your credit can impact how much you pay, and whether you get the loan you need.

Staying on top of your credit is important if you want to save thousands of dollars over your lifetime.

On top of that, identity theft is the fastest growing crime, and everyone is vulnerable.

No matter how hard you try to keep your information safe, there is no way to completely guarantee that you won’t end up the victim of identity theft.

One of the earliest ways to catch identity fraud is to keep tabs on what is happening with your credit.

Because good credit is such a concern, and because identity theft is a very real fear, many people turn to credit monitoring services.  These services can help you keep track of whether or not your credit is improving, as well as notify you when someone opens credit in your name (and signaling that someone else might be using your identity).

But are credit monitoring services worth it? Continue Reading

Victim of Identity Theft? Here Are Your Next Steps to Protect Yourself

Credit card security

One of the fastest growing crimes in identity theft.

It’s the theft of information about you — information that can be used by fraudsters to pretend to be you and get access to a number of perks using your good name.

Whether your credit card number has been stolen, or whether someone is using your information to qualify for a car loan, it’s possible for someone else to pretend to be you.

Your stolen identity can impact you and your finances.

Obviously, if someone steals your credit card information and makes purchases, that can impact your abilities to use your own financial resources — at least until you take action.  If someone is using your card for purchases, you could be denied when you go to make purchases later.  And, if someone uses your information to open a loan, it shows up as your debt in your credit report.  If the fraudster isn’t making payments, it’s your credit that is sunk.

Once you realize that your identity has been stolen, it’s important to take action.

Here are the steps to follow as soon as you realize that your identity has been compromised: Continue Reading

What is Passive Investing?

For some, the idea of investing conjures up images of crazed traders on the floor of an exchange.

Others think of someone in a home, sitting in front of a computer screen, desperately trying to time the exact best time to buy — and then to sell.

These images, and the idea that you have to be on top of all the market movements and news, discourage many from investing.

Not all investing is a short-term attempt to profit, though.

Indeed, many investors are passive investors, doing very little to actively manage their portfolios.  Think investing in a tax-advantaged retirement account like a 401(k) or an IRA.

A passive investment doesn’t have to be all about your retirement account, though.  Anyone can be a passive investor and come out just fine in the end.

Definition of Passive Investing

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How to Avoid Investment Scams

We all want to make more money.

And, for many, the dream is to make money quickly and with a minimal amount of work.  This is why investing is such a popular method of making money.

If you take a measured approach, you should be able to regularly invest in carefully chosen stocks, index funds or some other boring investment, and, over time, amass a reasonable amount of wealth as you receive returns on your investment.

Many people, though, don’t want to take the measured approach.

There are stories of people making money fast by choosing the right investment, at the right time.

How many of us regular folks harbor the dream of, perhaps, taking $10,000 in capital and turning it quickly and painlessly into ten times that amount?

The unfortunate truth is that investments that promise such riches, fast and easy, are usually scams.

Does that Investment Send Up Red Flags?

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Education: Your Hedge Against Inflation

education_pays_bls

Every now again, we hear about inflation, and the way it erodes your earning power.

As prices rise, you either have to earn more money, to keep pace, or you have to cut back on your spending so that you aren’t using as much of your money.

Most people prefer to look for better returns.

The right investments, or leveraging your money on low-rate loans to position yourself for the future, can help you make the most of your money now and hedge against inflation.

However, you can also hedge against inflation in a more indirect way: Get an education.

Higher Degree = Better Earning Power

You’ve heard stories about how someone with a degree makes more money than someone without one.  And, for the most part, it’s true.  If you invest in a college education, you are repaid with a higher lifetime earning power.

Take a look at the following chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on how education pays off:

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