July 1, 2022

How to Drive and Get the Best Fuel Efficiency

We’re all feeling the pain at the pump. Unless you decide to walk, bike or take public transportation, you might feel stuck. But all is not lost. Here are some fuel-efficient driving techniques that can help you save hundreds of dollars in fuel each year. Don’t Drive Too Fast Of course, when you’re on the highway, you must maintain a certain speed. However, cars, vans and pickups are typically the most fuel-efficient when driving between 50 and 80 mph. If you go any faster, you’ll use more gas. Consider this: When you’re driving roughly 75 miles per hour, you use 20 percent more fuel than you would if you were going around 60 mph. On a 15-mile trip, if you’re […]
June 1, 2022

Tips to Save on A/C This Summer

You love summer, don’t you? School’s out and BBQs are on. But what you probably don’t love are those higher air conditioning bills. Here are some tried-and-true ways to help lower the cost of keeping cool. Change Air Filters Make sure you switch out your filters before those sizzling summer temps arrive, then once a month after that. When filters are dirty, they block the airflow, which causes your air conditioner to work harder when cooling your home. You’ll not only lower your bills by five to 15 percent, but you will also extend the life of your entire A/C system. If you don’t change those clogged filters, it could create a malfunction and you’ll have to get your unit […]
May 1, 2022

How to Save When You’re Broke

If you think saving money is a waste of time, think again. It all comes down to having the right mindset and strategy – even if you don’t have a penny to spare. Here are some ground rules that have proven effective for many. All you have to do is be willing to dive in, change your choices, and revisit the way you approach your finances. Create a budget and track your expenses. Yes, you’ve probably heard this a million times and you might be thinking: how can I save money if I don’t have any? Here’s what you do. For the next 30 days, try this experiment: track every dollar that’s coming in and going out. Here are things […]
April 1, 2022

The 50/30/20 Budgeting Rule Explained

You may or may not have heard of the 50/30/20 budgeting rule, but it’s a good one – one that will help make organizing your finances a lot simpler. The basic idea is to divide up your after-tax income and allocate it to spend this way: 50 percent on your needs, 30 percent on wants and 20 percent on savings. Below are more details on how to do this. Spend 50 percent on needs. These bills are those that are necessary for survival, such as rent/mortgage, groceries, utilities, health care, insurance and paying the minimum amount on your debts. Other things like Starbucks, Netflix and dining out might feel like needs, but if you get honest, they really aren’t. (They […]
March 1, 2022

How to Manage Your Aging Parents’ Finances

Taking over your aging parents’ finances is not easy. But it’s something that can be handled in an organized, compassionate way. Here’s a roadmap that shows how to embrace it and do the right things for everyone involved. Start the conversation early. Right now, your parents might not need any help. They might be handling everything just fine. But there will come a day when they can’t – and they’ll need your help. The National Institute on Aging recommends that parents give advance written consent to designated family members so they can discuss personal matters with doctors, financial representatives and Medicare officials. If you don’t have this, you’ll be faced with some road blocks. If you open the dialogue now, […]
February 1, 2022

8 Ways to Negotiate Medical Bills

According to statistics from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employer-budgeted healthcare costs increased to an average of $12,792 per employee in 2021. Employees can help keep employer healthcare costs – and their premiums – down by planning ahead and negotiating fees for service. Call Before Your Treatment When you’re busy, sending an email might expedite your request. However, it’s best to stop, take a little time to pick up the phone and talk to a real person. Ask for the hospital’s billing department and get an estimate of how much your procedure might cost. (Write down the name of the person you speak with, plus the day and time.) Send this to your insurance provider to find out […]
January 1, 2022

How to Get Your 2022 Finances in Order

Believe it or not, the New Year is here. If you’re trying to wrap your head around everything that’s ahead, one of the best things you can do is prepare yourself financially. Here are a few tasks you can get started on right away. Look Back at 2021 Depending on how in-depth you want to go, this could take a couple hours or more. That said, ask yourself these questions: Did you spend as planned? Where do you want to adjust, increase or decrease spending thresholds? What kind of unexpected expenses came up? How did you handle it? Think about what you’ll do for the upcoming year. When it comes to money, the cliché “hindsight is always 20/20” will often […]
December 1, 2021

5 Affordable Ways to Share the Holiday Spirit

The holidays are a season of giving. While much of this involves financial expenditures, you can also give in ways that are more affordable and may hold more meaning. Here are some suggestions about how you can engage in acts of generosity and return to what the season is all about. Cook Food Nothing nourishes the heart and soul, not to mention your stomach, like food made with love from your own kitchen. Baking cookies is always an easy and fun thing to do, but a main dish (with protein) or hearty casseroles are also good options. People who are homebound due to an illness, those going through financial difficulties or even new moms will appreciate the gift of a […]
November 1, 2021

10 Ways to Pay Off Student Debt Faster

If the thought of paying off your student loan causes a bit of anxiety, worry no more. Here are some ways to pay it off faster. Check them out. Sign Up for Auto-Pay This might seem like the most obvious thing to do, and yet, some alums don’t take full advantage of it. The psychology of this works well. When you decide to put your payment on auto-draft, you never miss it. You get used to living on a certain amount of money. Better still, there are lenders who offer refinancing at lower rates, ranging from 1.8 percent to 7.84 percent. But there’s more: Some lenders offer cash-back bonuses. With that said, the catch is you give up important benefits […]
October 1, 2021

7 Ways to Save for a Home Down Payment

So you want to save for a down payment for your dream house, but you aren’t sure how to get there. It might even feel overwhelming. But take heart, here are some tried and true methods that you can start today that will help you save sooner than you think. Save a Fixed Amount Monthly This is super easy, but first you need to figure out how much of a down payment you want to make. Remember, the higher your down payment, the lower your loan and monthly mortgage payment will be. With that said, put this amount on auto draft and deposit it into your savings account. Once you get used to this, you won’t miss it. Never use […]
September 1, 2021

How to Catch Up on Your Retirement

If you’re 40 or 50 and aren’t where you’d like to be in terms of saving for retirement, don’t despair. You can remedy this situation. And since people are living well into their 80s and 90s, it’s never too late to start. Here are a few things you can do. Max Out Your 401(k) This could be a game-changer. Stuart Ritter, a certified financial planner with T. Rowe Price, recommends that you save at least 15 percent of your income for retirement, including the amount your employer matches. If your company is contributing 3 percent, then you should save 12 percent. If you can’t go this high, then increase the amount by 2 percent each year. So, if you’re saving […]
August 1, 2021

5 Tips for Job Seekers Over 50

You’ve got loads of experience in your field. You know things that only time can teach you. However, all of your experience and knowledge can sometimes work against you. And even though age discrimination is illegal, it doesn’t mean it isn’t prevalent. You can’t turn back the clock, but you can reshape how you present yourself. Here are a few good ways to get started. Learn New Skills If you see a job posting in your industry that requires knowledge of the software you don’t know, hop on YouTube or enroll in an online class. Certifications help, too, and are available in some of the most in-demand programs, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Systems Applications and Products (SAP), Hootsuite […]
July 1, 2021

5 Tips for Going Back to the Office

Slowly, our world is changing. A percentage of the population has been vaccinated and many employees are headed back to the office. However, this may cause a bit of anxiety – and understandably so. Here are few ways to help take the edge off of returning to the workplace. Wake up Earlier For some of you, working from home might have caused you to shift your office hours. Maybe you’re starting later and staying up later. Whatever your routine, it’s safe to say that generally, office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A few days, perhaps a week, before you expect to go back, set your alarm earlier. Each day, baby step it back a few minutes to the […]
June 1, 2021

6 Ways to Make Saving Money Fun

Let’s face it. Saving money is a challenge at best – and really hard the rest of the time. But what if you made it a fun game to inspire yourself to save? Here are a few ways to do just that. Keep the Change Challenge Anytime you receive or find loose change in your pockets or house, put it in a jar. Don’t touch it for a year, and then see how much you save. But here’s a great plus-up for this habit: download a money-saving app like Acorns and watch your savings grow. Anytime you buy something, Acorns will round up the total and deposit the difference into a diversified investment portfolio. Talk about easy. Weather Wednesday Challenge […]
May 1, 2021

7 Ways to Save 10K a Year

If you’re scratching your head and wondering if we’ve lost our minds, please keep reading. You can do this. All you need to do is plan your steps – and stick to it. After all, Confucius says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So let’s get moving. Save Before You Spend This might well be the opposite of what you do: you get your weekly or monthly paycheck, determine what expenses are ahead, then dedicate what’s left to savings. To save $10,000, the first thing to do is put away the money you’ve designated to reach your goal first (50 percent? 25 percent?), then live off the amount that’s left. Yes, it’s backwards, but in […]
April 1, 2021

3 Best Ways to Save for College

What if you could save enough for your child to go to college debt-free? It might sound impossible, but with dedication, hard work, and careful planning, you can do just that. According to Dave Ramsey, American personal finance advisor, here are the top three tax-favored plans to get started. The Education Savings Account (ESA) Otherwise known as the Education IRA, this plan allows you to save $2,000 (after tax) per year, per child. Let’s do that math. If you begin saving when your child is born and put away $2,000 a year until they’re 18, you’ll be investing $36,000. Not too shabby. And the good news is that qualified distributions are tax-free, which means you won’t have to pay anything […]
March 1, 2021

5 Cities Rank as Ideal Locations for Remote Workers

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, in late spring of 2020 about half of American workers were working from home. Not surprisingly, many researchers believe that this pattern will continue after the pandemic is over. With this in mind, SmartAsset has examined the best cities to work from home in 2021 and evaluated them across seven metrics: percentage of those who worked at home; estimated percentage of those who can work at home; five-year change of percentage of those who worked at home; October 2020 unemployment rate; poverty rate; housing costs as a percentage of earnings; and percentage of residences with two or more bedrooms. Here’s what they learned: Scottsdale, Arizona. In 2019, Census Bureau data shows that […]
February 1, 2021

How to Budget During a Pandemic

Right now with everything that’s going on, navigating your finances might feel overwhelming. However, there are some strategies that will help you manage cash shortfalls. Mariel Beasley of Duke University’s Common Cents Lab offers ways to help you manage during these trying times. Use Mental Accounting Translated, this means prioritizing what’s most important and cutting back in those areas that aren’t. While pretty obvious, the finer point according to Beasley is this approach will help you stick to your spending plan by reminding you of your opportunity costs — i.e. what trade-offs you might be making with each purchase. For instance, you might not be able to buy that special something you’ve had your eye on, but you will be […]
January 1, 2021

Deciding if a Roth IRA Conversion is For You

Roth IRAs can be a powerful tax tool, but they are often misunderstood and misused. Investment income in Roth IRAs compound tax-free and most distributions are tax-free as well. Another benefit is that there are no required minimum distributions (RMDs) throughout the original owner’s life. Long-term Roth distributions are tax-free to the beneficiaries who inherit the IRA as long as they fully distribute the Roth within 10 years of inheriting. As the annual contribution limits are rather small, most Roth IRA contributions are made by converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. The downside to conversion is that you’ll have to pay tax on the gross amount converted. Considering this can require a substantial cash outlay and that all […]
January 1, 2020

4 Financial Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

Believe it or not, it’s 2020. You’re not just starting a new year, you’re entering a new decade. With this in mind, you might want to make some resolutions that focus on your finances. According to  Psychology Today, 80 percent of resolutions fail by February. If you’re thinking about dieting or eating better, this isn’t very encouraging. However, when it comes to your money, there are some changes you can implement now that will have staying power and won’t be forgotten by spring. Review Your Credit Report This is important for your financial future in many ways, particularly if you want to buy a house or a car (and that’s just for starters). If you need to make some repairs […]
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