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Business Insider lists 19 cities where you can live on $50k per year. Here are my comments related to this: Where you live has a HUGE impact on your net worth. It's a fact of financial life that some places are simply more expensive than others -- some MUCH more expensive. It's hard to get ahead when you live in a place that's 50% more costly than a comparable city. I prefer the option of going low in cost and high in income by making a lot of money while living in a low-cost city. And don't say it can't be done -- I've done it for almost 30 years now. Of their cities listed, I've lived in or near four of them. And I happen to live in one now -- and the most beautiful place we've ever lived in. This is just their list of the top 50 markets that are best to live in for low costs. There are tons of much smaller markets that are inexpensive and still great. I know there are other reasons to live in a spot than money (like family). But if you have the choice and are mobile, moving to a low cost-of living city will help you grow your net worth and ultimately retire much faster than a high-cost city.
CNN Money lists five signs you retired too early as follows: 1. You're bored2. Your expenses are unpredictable3. You don't qualify for Medicare4. You're withdrawing early Social Security benefits5. Your financial planner isn't happy Here's my take on these: Yes, it's true that you need something to retire TO, not just retire FROM something. If you have no life outside of work, you either need to find some things to do or keep working. As for me, I have so many fun things I like to do that I'm busier than ever (in a good way) and get up at 5:30 am each day because I want to do them! Here's where a budget comes in handy. Not only does it help get you to retirement (by being a tool you can use to control your spending), but helps you predict what your retirement budget (both income and expenses) could be. You do NOT want to retire without completing a solid budget beforehand and one that includes margins of safety in case income is lower or costs are higher than expected. We had 20+ years of data in Quicken, so estimating our retirement budget was a breeze. You don't have to have that much info, but I'd suggest at least five years to have a good guess at what your costs will be. Healthcare in retirement is a HUGE issue because it's so expensive. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot...
This piece by financial "expert" Suze Orman came out a bit ago. Here's the headline statement: If I resurrected "How Am I Doing?" today, I'd be handing out plenty of failing grades to anyone who thinks they will be able to retire before they turn 70. Yes, you heard me right: 70 is the new retirement age—not a month or year before. She goes on to elaborate: Look, I totally get that if you are reading MONEY you're probably a diligent saver. But it's always dangerous to assume you're better off than you really are. You likely have plenty saved up to breeze through 15 years or so of retirement. But, people, if you stop working in your 60s, your retirement stash might need to support you for 30 years, not 15. Then she details her three steps to retirement: Step 1: Delay Tapping Social Security Until 70Step 2: Lay the Foundation Now to Work Longer LaterStep 3: Truly Enjoy a Secure Retirement Several thoughts on this one: For most Americans, she's probably right. Why? Because they don't save like they should while working. They spend too much and save too little, which ends up meaning you need to work longer. That said, if you manage your money correctly, you can retire -- and retire quite well -- waaaaaay before 70. I did it at 52 and could have retired almost a decade earlier quite comfortably. If I was stuck at...
Just want to wish you all a very happy New Year! May 2018 be your best year yet! I'll be back next week. As of now I'm in college football heaven. ;)
Just wanted to wish all FMF readers a very Merry Christmas!!!! I'll be taking the next couple weeks off to enjoy the season. Hope you all have a great holiday!!
Money magazine ran a piece on "Four Ways to Cut Your Medical Bills" which inspired this response in a letter to the editor: Here is my list of free measures that can be taken to save on health care costs that are usually underutilized: 1. Don't get overweight.2. Do get some regular exercise.3. Don't smoke.4. Don't overuse alcohol or don't use it at all.5. Don't use illicit drugs.6. Do get enough sleep.7. Do wear your seat belt. Over my 31 years as a practicing internal medicine physician, most of my patients would have been better off just following these rules. My thoughts on these: 1. I work out six times per week (three days of weights and three of cardio.) I also have a trainer that I meet with regularly. I have lost 20 pounds and am in the best shape of my life. I know that there are health reasons to be the right weight. I also know that not being overweight can help you save money and earn more as well.  2. In addition to what I said above, I feel better when I exercise too. There are many financial benefits to being healthy and in good shape. For one thing, it makes you more attractive which is one step in making more money. 3. I've been writing a long time about not smoking....
Here's a piece from Money that says Americans paid $15 billion in overdraft fees last year. The details: In 2016, U.S. consumers paid a total of $15 billion in fees for bouncing checks or overdrafting -- which is when a customer tries to make a purchase without enough money in their account to cover the transaction -- according to new data released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He also pointed out that the average amount of money consumers overdraft by is about $24 -- but that banks often charge fees of around $34 for each overdraft incident. I don't know why I'm surprised at stuff like this any longer. You'd think that after all these years of blogging that I'd have it ingrained how poor Americans are at money management and nothing would shock me. Then something like this comes along. $15 billion in WASTED MONEY. That's what this is saying. People spent money they didn't have and ended up not only paying the original bill but actually paid $15 BILLION more. Ugh. When will these bad decisions end????
Here's a piece by Money magazine which rates the various meal-kit delivery options: A summary of what they found: 1. Plated2. Blue Apron3. Sun Basket4. Green Chef5. Martha & Marley Spoon6. HelloFresh Here's my take on them: VERY EXPENSIVE!!!! Our friend at ESI Money did an analysis on Blue Apron and found these kits cost a fortune: The cost of Blue Apron is $9.99 per meal. Let’s round it off to $10 to make the math easy. Let’s assume you had Blue Apron for every meal for a year for a family of four. That’s 4 people * $10 cost * 3 meals a day * 365 days = $43,800. Let’s assume you had Blue Apron for every supper (evening meal) for a year for a family of four. That’s 4 people * $10 cost * 1 meal a day * 365 days = $14,600. Exactly. We spent $11k on ALL our meals (at home and eating out) last year. Just one Blue Apron meal a day would put us $3k over that. Yikes!!! And yet these meals are growing in popularity. Anyone out there using them? If so, why do you do so?
Here's an interesting piece from MSN Money about paint colors and how they impact home selling prices A summary: Homes with blue bathrooms — specifically light shades like powder blue or periwinkle — fetched $5,400 more than expected when sold, according to a paint color analysis from real estate website Zillow. The analysis looked at more than 32,000 sold homes, comparing the sales prices of ones painted certain color versus similar properties that had white walls. Blue paint isn’t just effective at boosting a home’s selling price when used in a bathroom though. Dining rooms painted in darker blue hues will cause a house sell for $1,926 more than anticipated on average, while homes with light blue kitchens and blue bedrooms will garner a price that is $1,809 higher than expected. But not all paint colors have this positive effect on sales prices. For instance, a brick red dining room will slash a home’s price down by more than $2,000 versus what was expected. Other ill-advised paint choices — at least where a home’s value is concerned — included yellow, pink and brown. Where a paint color is used is also important. While blues may wow in kitchens and bathrooms, when used in a living room it decreased home prices by $820 on average. Those poor color choices all pale in comparison to leaving a bathroom’s walls white though. That decision can reduce...
Just want to wish you and your family a blessed and very happy Thanksgiving. May we all take a break from talking about money and focus on the things that really make us thankful (like football!). ;) Have a great, relaxing, joyful, thankful day!
Here's an interesting piece from Time about moving in retirement. Here are some of the stats they share: 37% have moved in retirement 36% do not anticipate moving in retirement 27% have not moved but anticipate doing so And one quite interesting stat: 30% of retirees who have moved have gone into a larger home This topic is a relevant one for us as we transition in life. As of now we are in a large home in a suburban area of a beautiful city (many people come here for vacation). We have one child at college and one at home plus we love our location and house. For now we're going to stay put until we see where the kids land, but after that, we have some decisions to make. Some thoughts we're working through: We don't need a 3,500 square foot house for two of us, so unless we think we're going to add residents (my parents could move in with us) or that the kids will form families quickly and come back to visit, we likely will move. If we do move, we'd likely stay in the same city and the same area within the city. We'd also be more likely to move into an apartment. This would allow us more flexibility to travel. But who knows what we'll actually do. Time will tell. Anyone out there who's been through this decision-making process? What did you do and why?
The following is a guest post from Evan Tarver, a small business and investments writer for Fit Small Business, fiction author, and screenwriter with experience in finance and technology. When he isn't busy scheming his next business idea, you'll find Evan holed up in a coffee shop working on the next great American fiction story. Not everyone is ready to start a full-time business. Some people just want to start something on the side of their current job so they can generate an additional income stream. This is known as a “side hustle.” What many of these people don’t know is that you can actually buy a franchise that works as a great side gig. However, finding the right side hustle franchise can be tough. You need to find a passive business that can largely run without you, and you’ll need to follow a specific road map when identifying and buying one. Below are the 7 steps you should take when buying a franchise as a side hustle: 1. Find a Passive Franchise Business Finding a franchise that can be run on the side while you work another full-time job is the first step to buying your side hustle franchise. Online sources like as FranchiseGator, Franchise Direct,, and can help you find a franchise business that can match your specific needs and personal preference. When searching these online directories, make sure you consider the following when choosing your side hustle franchise: Low time requirement - Find a franchise that requires little...
Investopedia lists eight ways retirement has changed in the last 20 years as follows: 1. Rising Retirement Age2. More Retirees Working3. Less From Employers4. Lower Savings-Account Balances5. Retiring Abroad6. Inheriting Less7. Living Longer8. Healthcare Costs Rising My thoughts on these: 1. As I've posted time and time again, people are saving less which means they need to work longer. Hence the rising retirement age. This is surprising in some ways since I read so many "retire early" blogs that the average seems like it's getting lower, but it's not. 2. Again, it's savings related. If you can only fund a portion of your retirement from savings, the rest needs to come from work. 3. You are responsible for your retirement even if you do have an employer plan. 4. Been saying this for a long time now -- Americans are saving less. Said another way, they are spending more during their working years. 5. I think there are two kinds of people who retire abroad: 1) those who need the lower cost-of-living to make the numbers work and 2) those who want to see the world a bit and experience life somewhere new. 6. Does anyone count on inheritances these days? Surely they aren't part of a retirement plan for most, right? 7. Of course. We are living longer and thus... 8. ...paying...
Money lists four questions to ask yourself before retiring as follows: Will I have enough income to support myself? What will I do with my time? Where will I live? Do I understand how my financial life will change in retirement? My take on these: Yes. The first thing you need to know about retiring is how much you'll need to spend and if you can earn that much. This is also known as the three steps to determine if you have enough to retire. You may have heard it said that you should "retire to" something and not "retire from" something. In other words, if retirement is simply an escape from a terrible job, you're probably not going to enjoy it much. I have many interests and am thus busier in retirement than when I was working. The difference now is that I work on projects I enjoy. Where you live is an interesting question that you need to ask, but I don't think you have to ask it BEFORE you retire. We happen to live in a vacation spot already in a nice home and nice neighborhood, so it was an easy decision for us. That said, we may still move -- perhaps downsizing into an apartment sometime. But we can decide that in years to come. This last question is mostly a throwaway IMO. If you have done your retirement budget (discussed in question one above), then you already know this. To me, this could...
Nerd Wallet recently did a study on how much cash Americans carry. The highlights: More than three-quarters of respondents to a recent U.S. Bank survey said they never carry more than $50 in currency with them. Nearly one-quarter said they keep $10 or less. Ok, I am waaaaaaaaaay in the minority here. I usually carry $100 or more on a money clip. It's probably because of my "just in case" mentality that I do so. Also it's easy to do as my money clip is combined with my credit card holder, so why not? How about you? How much cash do you usually carry?
Welcome to this week's edition of Star Money Articles. Money Q&A says investing in a 401k is a no-brainer. ESI Money suggests starting with a high salary. Big Law Investor tells of a fate worse than death. Life Zemplified tells us not to let our big but get in the way. Picky Pinchers says to move! Have a GREAT weekend!!!
The following post is from FMF contributor Veselina Dzhingarova. When you have spare cash, it is understandable that you want to make it work harder. Some people put their savings into a high-interest account. Others buy property. But, what if you could use that money to make extra money – and have some fun at the same time? For anyone with an appetite for risk and a desire to make money, investing is a great hobby. You may not end up as rich as Warren Buffet, but if you play your cards right and learn the essential tools of the trade, you could make a tidy profit on your investment account. The good news is that investment is really easy these days. You don’t need a hotline to an investment broker and you certainly don’t need to work on the trading floor of the London Stock Exchange. Anyone can have a go at investing in stocks, shares, ETFs or foreign currencies. All you need is an internet connection and some time to learn the ropes. Create an Online Trading Account Online trading is so easy, anyone can try it. There are several reputable online trading platforms, including ETX, where anyone can set up a trading account. You don’t need any prior experience. You don’t even need to trade using real money. Decide what you want to trade, whether its forex, stocks, commodities, binary options, or CFDs, and look for a trading platform that offers this. Start by creating a demo account. Practice, test...
The following is a guest post from Edwin C, the money hacking millennial behind Cash The Checks. He lives a minimalist lifestyle and is always eager to learn and share his methods to save and make money on his blog. Being a good negotiator can help you in almost any facet of your life. We negotiate our salaries, our rent, our purchases and even our household responsibilities. As you can see, it is essential to be a good negotiator. Today I'll be sharing with you 5 essential negotiation hacks to help save you money on... just about anything! 1. Put Your Offer Out There First One of the greatest marketing and negotiating hacks out there is a little trick known as price anchoring. Price anchoring is when a retailer puts a product on the market for, let's say, $2,500 and then slashes the price drastically to only $1,500. This gives you the impression that you've saved big. But in reality that $2,500 figure was just a made up number pulled out of thin air. The real price was, and always has been, $1,500. To get the benefit of price anchoring in a negotiation, you need to get the upper hand by throwing your reduced price out there first! Make the first offer, but don't make it too low so as to insult the person. The first number you throw out there sets the stage for the negotiation and both parties will begin to work around this figure. 2. Trade Your Skills For...
The following post is from FMF contributor Eric Olesen. Car accidents are unnerving — to say the least. It’s normal to feel scared or anxious after a wreck, but it’s also extremely important to regain your wits quickly. After all, the actions you take immediately after a car wreck could impact your future. If you've been involved in a wreck, avoid these common mistakes. Mistake #1: Failing to Report the Accident If you were involved in a minor accident, you might assume it’s okay to exchange information with the other driver and leave, but you’d be wrong. It’s important to file a police report immediately for two reasons: Your insurance company might require a copy of a police report before paying out any claims. Not all automobile accident injuries show up immediately. Because of this, you might need to file a personal injury claim in the future, and not having a police report might affect your claim. For example, if your New York personal injury lawyer is forced to file a claim without a police report, it could result in a lower settlement or claim denial regardless of their legal expertise. Mistake #2: Inadvertently Admitting Fault Immediately after a car accident, what do you do? Unless you’re badly injured, chances are, you step out of your car and check on anyone else involved in the wreck. While it’s important to access the injury status of everyone involved, you need to choose your words wisely when you speak so you don’t accidentally admit fault —...
CNBC tells us that most Americans live paycheck to paycheck. The highlights: Seventy-eight percent of full-time workers said they live paycheck to paycheck. Overall, 71 percent of all U.S. workers said they're now in debt. While 46 percent said their debt is manageable, 56 percent said they were in over their heads. Even those making over six figures said they struggle to make ends meet. Nearly 1 in 10 of those making $100,000 or more said they usually or always live paycheck to paycheck, and 59 percent of those in that salary range said they were in the red. Ugh. Is anyone surprised? We talked about these facts years ago. Looks like things haven't changed. Eight years ago, during the financial crisis, 69% of Americans lived paycheck to paycheck. Three years ago, nearly half the people were living paycheck to paycheck, so it looked like things were getting better. Appears that was incorrect. As for the $100k crowd, we've seen that it's hard to live on $100k, $250k, and even $1 million. The reason it's hard to live off such high amounts for some people: they simply spend it all. At this point, nothing surprises me about the poor financial habits of people in this country.