It may seem like there is a lot to personal finance. And in one sense there is. There are thousands of different approaches to personal finance. And this can get overwhelming. It may seem so overwhelming that you feel paralyzed at square one. But it doesn't have to be. There are a handful of things that are critical in personal finance. All the rest is splitting hairs. So go through each of these items one at a time and make an improvement in each area. . . .
I loved reading The Index Card by Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack. In the book, they try to keep personal finance simple by outlining 10 basic principles you should stick to. They recommending keeping their 10 rules on an index card for easy reference (hence the title). By avoiding detailed "how-to" instructions, this book's broad principles are relevant to almost any personal financial . . .
Going into a holiday weekend seems like a good time to address a reader's question about timeshares and vacation clubs. What are they, what's the difference between the two, and is one better than the other? What Are They? Arguably, vacation clubs are just another name for timeshares. It seems that big hotel and resort chains started vacation clubs in response to timeshares' bad . . .
When you decide to buy a home you'll need to decide what kind of mortgage works for you. The most common type of mortgage is the 30-year fixed rate mortgage. However, don't just assume that this one is the best kind for you. The Big Bad Balloon Hopefully your banker or mortgage officer won't even offer you a balloon mortgage. If they do, run out the door. The only balloons you want on . . .
A lot of personal finance focuses on savings: saving for retirement, saving for an emergency, saving up for a car or house, all in addition to the smaller savings goals that you may have set for yourself. The problem is, it's a lot easier to tell ourselves that we need to save than to actually stash away the money. Whether you're currently saving nothing at all, or just not as much as you know . . .
401k, IRA, Roth IRA. Sounds Greek, but we can keep track of three right? Oh, but there's also the Roth 401k. And 401a, 403b and 457s. If you've heard some of these plans mentioned, you might be scratching your head. In its infinite wisdom, our government has created all these plans for different kinds of situations. The biggest difference between all these plans is who they are . . .
Some people like to know all their choices. Most of us, whether we admit it or not, are overwhelmed by too many choices. I'm going to guide you through one good option to save for retirement. Might there be better options for your particular situation? Possibly. However, not saving for retirement at all is a much worse option. Start with this, and you can always tweak your plan . . .
In a previous post, I mentioned that a good credit card will earn you cash back. The two most important things to me in a cash back card are a simple and flexible rewards and no annual fee. If a credit card adds hassle to your life, it's not worth it. And although cards with fees sometimes have better perks, very rarely are those perks worth the fee. Only after these conditions are met do I . . .
In one of my previous posts on budgeting, I recommended ranking your expenses in order of priority. This way, if you find that you need to make cuts to your budget, you can simply start with the least important and work your way up. Hopefully, cable and internet bills were near the bottom. I know in the 21st century it is hard for some people to imagine life without cable and internet, but it . . .
Almost half of Americans can't cover a $400 dollar emergency. That could be a broken house window, broken leg, car repair or a number of other things that can pop up instantaneously and can't really be put off for very long. It would be nice if you could anticipate every event in life, but you can't. Which is where an emergency fund comes in to play. Building an emergency fund should be one . . .
While I hope I have good insights and advice to share with the world, I by no means think that I am the only or greatest source of financial wisdom. There are many other authors, bloggers, and financial advisors who are way smarter than I am. Everyone dishing out financial advice will have different opinions on personal finance, some differing way more than others. With that in mind, I will . . .