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. . . .
You're in the market for a car. Do you listen to all the commercials and buy a new car? Do you get a gently used car? Or do you buy a well used old clunker? There's no easy or best answer. Each has its pros and cons. But here's 10 reasons to get an old clunker. 1. It's a Cheap Ride This is the most obvious reason to go with an old car. Whether you're shopping for a compact car or an SUV, you . . .
Because life insurance by default is bundled with an emotional dimension, it is a hard topic to look at objectively. Insurance agents may try to leverage the emotional dimension to try to sell you more insurance than you need, but it's important to remember that no life insurance payout will compensate for grief. So when deciding how much life insurance you should take out, put blinders on and . . .
Special thanks to Isaac Naatz and Jon Roen for helping me write this post. Recently a reader asked what an annuity is, and I'm pretty sure they aren't alone in wondering. Annuities are a complicated beast, but the simple answer is that an annuity is a hybrid between insurance and an investment. An annuity is an investment with some kind of guarantee built in. Annuities get complicated when . . .
Health insurance is one of those things that most people find way more complicated than necessary. If you can't keep deductibles, premiums, out-of-pocket maxes and co-pays straight, you're not alone. A lot of people just randomly pick an insurance option and hope for the best. Terminology Premiums are your monthly payment just for being covered by a health plan. Your premium is fixed for the . . .
Sticking to a budget can be hard. It is tempting when you're out and about to just swipe your card to make a purchase you want, perhaps using money that is actually budgeted for bills, or worse money that you don't even have. What makes it even harder is not being able to 'visualize' your budget in real life. This is where the envelope budget excels. Actual Envelopes, Actual Cash The . . .
This time of year, people often find themselves with a small windfall from tax returns. Often they want to know whether it's better to pay off debt or invest extra cash. It depends. It depends on a variety of factors, your personal situation, and your personality. But I'll outline 5 considerations that hopefully will help you make a wise decision. 1. Interest Rate of the Debt vs. Return on . . .
Debt can be destructive. The interest you pay on your debt can consume your net worth and income, and the monthly payments on your debt can make it hard to make it from one paycheck to the next. Dave Ramsey and other finance experts are quick to condemn debt. Yet, we often hear about 'good debt.' Does such a thing exist? Or is all debt bad? Debt on a Spectrum Of course, not all debt is . . .
Your home is likely the single largest expense in your budget. If you don't already own a home, you've likely thought about the possibility. You've probably heard a lot about how buying a home is the best decision you'll ever make. You might already be saving up for a down-payment, which is great! However, before you take the plunge into home ownership, consider both the pros and cons. The . . .
Everybody (and everybody's mom) wants to trim their grocery bill. Eating is expensive! And your grocery bill is probably higher than it could be. There are several ways to trim how much you are spending on groceries. You can watch the ads, stock up on good deals, shop at cheaper stores, etc. But there's one tool that will make or break your grocery budget- the list. Do I Really Need A . . .
If you're like most people, you've probably thought a little bit about what your retirement will look like. It's probably fair to say that you have dreams for retirement. Perhaps you want to trot the globe. Maybe you want to settle in a cozy cabin in the woods. It could be the Florida beaches. Or it might be something completely different. It might even be as simple as living where you're living, . . .