April 1, 2024

April is Financial Literacy Month: How Much Do You Know?

What started as Youth Financial Literacy Day some years ago is now a monthlong event: Financial Literacy Month. It all started in 2003 when some U.S. legislators got together and decided that we needed more days dedicated to this topic. So, what does that mean for us? Plenty. It’s one month out of the entire year you can dedicate to getting your financial ducks in a row by engaging in fiscally savvy activities, absorbing all the knowledge, and then sharing your learnings with family, friends, and the world. Prepare the Kids Unless you went to a school (K-12) that included business/money classes, chances are you didn’t learn basic finance until you were older.That’s why starting kids early in their understanding […]
March 1, 2024

March Financial To-Do List

Ready or not, spring is right around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to get in fiscal shape for the rest of the year. However, tax preparation isn’t the only thing to put on your list. Here are a few other must-dos to keep you financially fit. Purge Your Papers After you finish your taxes, shred papers you don’t need, like credit card or ATM receipts. Then organize the papers you need to keep, such as car titles, loan paperwork, retirement statements, etc. Store them in a fireproof safe or password-protected file. You’ll also want to deactivate accounts (and apps) you no longer use. When you do this and rid yourself of that extra paper, as well as eliminate […]
February 1, 2024

Your February Financial To-Do List

January has come and gone. You may or may not have stuck to your resolutions, but the good news is that February is here. Now is the perfect time to hunker down and get your monetary ducks in a row. Here are a few things to put on your agenda to get your financial house in order. Pay Off Holiday Debt Yes, it was fun to go shopping for holiday gifts, but those interest rates are high – you’ll want to pay your balances off as quickly as possible. And here’s a tip: you can make more than one payment per billing period. In other words, instead of waiting for your next paycheck, pay some of the balance now and […]
January 1, 2024

How a No-Spend January Can Kickstart Your New Year

Here we go again. The new year is approaching and those resolutions are staring us in the face – and the most common? Saving money. In fact, according to YouGov, this is the most important resolution for American adults. Now certainly, you can’t not spend money in January (you have to eat), but the idea is to rid yourself of any unnecessary cash outflow so you can kickstart the year with some solid financial habits. Limit Trips to the Store Of course, you’ll need food, toiletries and general household staples, but here’s your chance to step back and make lists, as opposed to running out to Target or Starbucks for a quick adrenaline rush. Plan your trips out. Buy store […]
December 1, 2023

4 Smart Ways to Maximize Your IRA Contributions

Unless you’re near retirement, chances are you’re depositing a certain amount of cash each year in your IRA at tax time, then kind of forgetting about it, not thinking much about it until the next year. This dynamic can cost you a lot of money – today and at retirement age. Here are few ways to make all your hard-earned money work even harder. Invest your money, don’t simply fund it. According to a Vanguard study, two-thirds of last-minute IRA contributions end up just sitting in money market funds. The result? They’re just a little more than a checking account with a fancy name. Lesson: Don’t let your funds sit idle. They should be placed in the right investment; perhaps, […]
November 1, 2023

7 Smart Saving Strategies for Retirement

Next year, something called Peak 65 is happening. This moniker refers to the fact that more Americans will reach the traditional retirement age of 65 in the same year than at any time in history. Crazy, right? However, many of these people don’t feel like they’ve saved enough to live comfortably after they retire. Here are some ways to maximize your savings and cut costs so you can be prepared and retire with less financial worry. Use a retirement calculator. This is key. You’ll be able to see if what you have in retirement so far will be enough to actually live on. Here’s the tool. Once you know where you are, you’ll be able to determine your financial goals. […]
October 1, 2023

How to Organize Your Tax Documents

Since tax time isn’t until next April, organizing your documents right about now might not be top of mind or even something you want to do. However, if you don’t want to have to scramble come springtime, you might want to organize your paperwork all year long. Here’s why: It expedites the process when you really do have to begin your tax prep, and it’s actually pretty easy. Start with simple categories (listed below), grab some folders, and put them in a filing cabinet – or any safe place. This way, when tax time comes around, you’ll be ready. Income This is pretty obvious, but it’s not just limited to your paycheck, W-2 forms, or 1099s. You’ll also want to […]
July 1, 2023

6 Ways to Travel on a Budget

The thrill of summer travel is always invigorating, but the prices to get there can be a real bummer. But not to fear. We’re here with some smart tips that will help you navigate in this price jungle and have a wonderful, memory-filled getaway. Plan Way Ahead Even though you can sometimes find great deals at the last minute, if you can wrap your head around thinking in advance about your vacay (especially if you’re buying long-haul flights), it’ll pay off. For instance, if you’re traveling to Europe or Asia, you’ll find that buying your tickets early not only provides significant savings, but also gives you a jump start on exploring other aspects of your trip, like hotels and excursions. […]
June 1, 2023

7 Tips to Save Money This Summer

Summer is here, and so are all the activities. But as we know, these activities cost money. Here are a few ways you can still have fun and, while doing so, save some cash. Look at Your Calendar Summer months are filled with holidays, birthdays, cookouts, weddings – the list goes on. Take a look and make an estimate of how much you want to spend on each event. When you can plan ahead and figure out your budget, you won’t be faced with surprise expenditures at the last minute. Nobody likes that. Go on a Spending Cleanse We’re not talking for months on end – just a few weeks. During this time, make a point to spend only on […]
May 1, 2023

Financial Tasks to Tackle in the Month of May

Now that spring is here, it might be a great time to give your finances a fresh look. Here are a few key items to put on your May to-do list. Say Bye-Bye to PMI If you bought your home for less than 20 percent down, there’s a good chance you’ve been paying private mortgage insurance (aka PMI) on your loan, which is usually an extra 1 percent of what you paid. But here’s the good news: the rise in home prices over the past few years has meant one thing — a bump in your home equity. If your equity position is now at least 20 percent of the original purchase price, you might not have to keep paying […]
April 1, 2023

6 Tax Tips for 2023

It’s that time of year again: tax time. And while many of your money-saving options might be limited after Dec. 31, there’s still a lot you can do to help lower your taxes, save money and avoid penalties. Here’s a quick snapshot. Contribute to Your Retirement Accounts Yes, doing this will help lower your tax bill. So, if you haven’t already maxed out your contribution for 2022, you can still do so up until April 18 for a traditional IRA (deductible or not), and a Roth IRA. If you have a Keogh or Simplified Employment Pension Plan (SEP), you can apply for a tax filing extension until Oct. 16; however, it’s best not to wait that long to contribute to […]
March 1, 2023

7 Steps to Start a Business

The idea of starting your own business is inherently romantic, if not exhilarating: You get to run the show, flesh out your ideas and live your dream. But where do you begin? Here are seven smart steps to get you started – and help improve your chances of success. Come Up With a Concept What’s your idea? Is it profitable and something you’re passionate about? Would others consider you an expert in this area and seek your advice? What kind of funding do you have? Will you partner with someone or go solo? When you can determine all of these things, then you’ll be off and running. Know Your Competition and Market Do your research. Learn about the industry you’re […]
February 1, 2023

Why You Might Not Need a New Budget for the New Year

So, we’re a month into 2023, and the sheen might’ve dulled from all your shiny New Year’s resolutions. Though diet and exercise are the top things you might want to change, there’s one you might not need to touch – your budget. Here’s a discussion about who does and doesn’t need to revamp their finances. Who Needs a New Budget? Budgets are always a good idea. They help you save money and pay off debt. But only a few folks need to create a new one. According to Annette Harris, founder of Harris Financial Coaching, you need a new budget if you are: Unable to keep up with expenses Falling behind on debt payments Borrowing money from others Relying on […]
January 1, 2023

5 Financial Resolutions You Can Live With

For the most part, New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep because many times you either list too many things or ones that aren’t manageable for the long haul – especially those that involve money. Here are a few simple tricks to help you make changes that are bite-sized, easy to implement, and more likely to stick. Do a five-minute daily money check-in. Life is so busy that sometimes it’s easy to just spend money, then move on to the next task at hand. You might think, “I’ll check my bank balance later,” and then you never do. But if you’re serious about getting a handle on your finances, you might want to try this one thing: give yourself a […]
December 1, 2022

Your Year-End Financial Checklist

Believe it or not, the year is coming to a close. If you want to finish strong and set attainable goals for 2023, here’s a handy, actionable checklist to help you navigate upcoming expenditures. Review Your Spending and Create a Budget This might seem like Finance 101, but it’s a tried and true method that works. Take a look back to see where your money went. When you’ve evaluated your patterns of spending, you can reset priorities for the New Year, assuming you want to make changes. If you do, sit down and create a budget. Your tax professional will probably have a downloadable tax planning guild so ask them first, but here’s an example of a family-friendly free, downloadable template […]
November 1, 2022

How to Write Great Happy Holiday Emails

There’s no better time than the holidays to show your employees and your clients how much you appreciate them. Here are five simple steps to help you craft the perfect email in no time. Decide on the Audience and Purpose Before you begin, determine who will be your recipients. For instance, if you’re writing to your team, it will be a bit different than writing to your clients. However, no matter who you are addressing, you’ll probably want to start by expressing your gratitude. After that, you can further refine your message. If it’s to your employees, acknowledging their hard work and dedication is a great place to start. After that, you might tout the many wins you’ve all experienced […]
October 1, 2022

How to Host Awesome Holiday Office Parties

Fall is here and so are many of the holidays we love. Whether it’s Halloween, Thanksgiving or December holidays, here are some fail-safe things you can do to make sure everyone shows up and has a good time. Throw a Potluck One of the easiest ways to lure people away from their desks is – you guessed it – food. Create a sign-up sheet with different categories to make sure you have enough savory and sweet dishes, and provide options for those with dietary restrictions. If you’re the organizer, you might supply the drinks and utensils, maybe even some appetizers or snacks. Depending on the holiday, you might also suggest a theme. If it’s Halloween, you could ask folks to […]
September 1, 2022

Top Side Hustles

In our current economy, or anytime actually, it can’t hurt to have a side hustle to bring in extra cash. Some of these options can be quite lucrative, but like everything, it takes a little work to create a steady income stream. However, with a little pre-planning, you can do it. Let’s take a look. Become a Tutor Are you a math whiz? A wordsmith? History nut? Whatever your specialty, you can earn between $10 and $75 an hour. You might vary your price based on whether you’re tutoring high school, college or adult education classes. You can conduct your sessions online or in-person –totally up to you and your comfort level. All you have to do is create a […]
August 1, 2022

8 Ways to Save on School Supplies

Even though summer is still somewhat in full swing, school will be starting soon. Yes, you heard that right. This means that you probably need to get prepared for the inevitable cash outlay ahead. But it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Here are some ways to navigate the upcoming expenditures and save a penny or two. Start Early We’re talking a few weeks ahead, if possible. If you wait until the last minute, supplies might run out. You may have to spend time online searching and/or driving from store to store – and paying the premium both in terms of products and gas. If you spread out purchases a little at a time, you won’t feel […]
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 […]
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