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. . . .
Budgeting is the foundation and road map for your personal finance. A budget is an income and spending plan. The goal of budgeting is to spend less than you earn so that you have enough to meet your savings goals as well. A good budget also anticipates surprises and emergencies that would otherwise destroy your finances. The foundation of any budget is determining your income, your . . .
You may or may not have heard that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates again. Last year, after almost a decade of 0 interest, they decided that the economy was strong enough to budge rates up a little bit. Now they're raising rates for the third time and it's starting to look like a trend. Rising rates will affect almost everything in finance one way or another, but one of the more . . .
I've already shared 10 Reasons to Buy a Gently Used Car and 10 Reasons to Buy an Old Clunker, but there are just as many reasons to buy a brand new car. I know some people have strong feelings one way or another, and that's fine! True, you're probably not going to save money by buying a new car. But at the end of the day, I'm convinced that you get what you pay for. So as long as you only . . .
Many consider gently used cars (2-4 years old) to be the 'Goldilocks sweet spot' of car buying: not too old, not too hot, but 'just right.' Here's 10 reasons they think so. 1. You Miss the Biggest 2 Years of Depreciation True, your car will keep on depreciating for a while, but the first two years are the worst two years. The first year alone can cost you 20% in depreciation. 2. You Still . . .
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 . . .