If you are not already participating in an employer-based 401K program, you should really consider doing so. It is one of the best savings/investment vehicles out there, because it invests your money before taxes are taken out. Briefly, if you are in a 401K, you choose to have a percentage of each paycheck taken out that you do not pay taxes on that is then invested in funds chosen by you (but you ARE taxed upon taking the funds out). Many times, your employer will even “match” the funds in which you invest to a certain percentage. We recommend that you invest in a Roth IRA if your employer doesn’t offer a match for your 401k, because we think it’s be better for you to be taxed now, instead of when you’re in retirement (especially if you’re fund has grown over your lifetime). But if your company has a great 401k plan with a match and you’re contributing to it, you need to have some quality knowledge when it comes to picking the right investment mix for your 401k. Here are some tips on choosing your investments:
So school lets out for the summer and my family did what I’m sure a lot of families did…we went on vacation! Maybe it was to a touristy travel spot or maybe to visit friends and family, but we got out of town. The kids loved it and we loved the break and the relaxation.
However, once we returned home a somewhat grim reality began to set in. How do you entertain the kids for the rest of the summer? Your vacation is what, one, maybe two weeks? Well, the long hot summer is usually about three months long. And, as I’m sure any parent can attest, children (especially smaller ones) are not the greatest at entertaining themselves.
By David Bakke
As I was doing a little research for this article that I’ve been wanting to write about, I never knew that the term “financial triage” was a real term and had an actual definition. I had always thought it was coined by people in the debt management field. I think it has something to do with hospital patients and their ability to pay their bills. Regardless, I‘d like to discuss with you my own version of financial triage, including when it should be performed and how to do it the right way.
What is it?
By David Bakke
I just finished reviewing the identity theft solutions product TrustedID. They offer practical identity theft solutions to protect individuals, families, and businesses. They also offer the industry’s most comprehensive protection regarding your personal information. What I immediately liked about TrustedID is the word “proactivity.” So many other sites out there that either claim to offer protection or claim to monitor your credit only do so in an “after the fact” sense. Meaning, they don’t do much about preventing identity theft, they can only help you once it’s already occurred. TrustedID offers more and that’s a big reason they are highly-touted and have received some great reviews. The website offers three basic products:
When it comes to medical expenses, you probably think that there aren’t too many ways that you can save money. Other than choosing the best and most efficient health care program for you and your family, what can you really do? Well, I recently had a few unexpected trips to the doctor’s office and I came up with three simple ways that one can save on medical expenses. Personally, I do one of these very well and two of them I don’t do well at all. The ones that I don’t do well have cost me significant amounts of money in the recent past.
So you’re about to go on your summer vacation and you’ve decided to visit a tourist destination that you’ve never been to before. You want to have a good time but you also don’t want to have to break the bank to do it. So the question is: How do you find cheap entertainment while visiting somewhere you’ve never been before? It’s a safe bet that all of the “mainstream” attractions are going to be expensive. So, rather than blowing all your money on all of these things, why not mix in a little budget entertainment?
By David Bakke
I recently had the pleasure of reviewing the coupon/deals site CouponCactus.com. They offer coupons to over 3,700 stores, helping you save money every time you shop online. Additionally, they have a cash back feature which allows you to get additional savings back in cash for all purchases made through their site.
Before I begin, I just want to say that I am no stranger to online shopping. In another business endeavor of mine, I do a great deal of online shopping. There are a wealth of so-called “coupon sites” out there. I am here to tell you that Coupon Cactus seems to be head and shoulders above the rest.
By David Bakke
The word “de-clutter” is all over the place. I’m not even sure it was a word until recently. “De-clutter” your house. Get rid of all your junk. “De-clutter” your life. Live more simply. And the beat goes on. Then I began to think. What if that concept were applied to our “financial house”? Isn’t it just as important to get rid of all your financial “crap” as well? The more bank accounts, credit cards, and bills you have, the more complicated your finances get, and you begin to lose track of it all. Once you do this, you’ll start finding yourself missing payments, paying late charges, paying for interest on credit cards, and getting frustrated VERY quickly.
By David Bakke
In a continuing series, what I am trying to do with the Five Minute Money Manager is to show you ways that you can impact your personal economy by taking up very little time. Most can be done in five minutes or less. A great deal of them involve changing our behaviors, and a behavior that is very near and dear to a lot of us is…driving aggressively.
When it comes to student loans, the landscape has certainly changed. Lenders who used to be major players in the game have disappeared, and the rules governing consolidation aren’t the same anymore. Is consolidation right for you? The answer may not be as easy as it seems, but hopefully we can help you navigate those waters. The average student loan debt in this country is right around $23,000, and only about 19% of 2009 college graduates are employed at their time of graduation.
What Does Student Loan Consolidation Mean?
The term “start your own business” used to be one of the most intimidating concepts on the planet for me. The phrase “You can never get rich by working for someone else” has always been very appealing. I just had no idea how to do it and I was scared to death to even try. I thought it involved thousands of dollars in startup costs, making no money at first, and possibly losing everything I have. I feared failure, I feared the unknown, and I feared financial risk.
By David Bakke
I have been living what you would call a “frugal” lifestyle for a little over a year now. I try to save wherever I can, whenever I can. But at some point in time you will have to draw a line. That is, a line that marks where frugality ends and where unethical behavior begins. You probably know what I’m talking about. You come across ways that could save you money, but may not necessarily be ethical or even legal. So where do you draw the line? Let’s define the line that I have drawn for myself. Because when it comes down to it, if you have no morals or ethics, you could probably save a lot more money than you are right now.
By Money Crashers
I don’t know what’s worse–getting my electric bill in the summer or my gas bill in the winter. The Simple Dollar has The Real Reason Your Summer Energy Bills Are So High. The cost of cooling my home just seems to skyrocket in the summer months. Find out some great and not-so-obvious tips on staying cool and still keeping your utility bill in check from The Simple Dollar. The Internet is filled with talented writers who are always coming up with great new topics for personal finance articles. As we do once a week, we’d like to share with you the best of what we’ve found out there in terms of great posts from our friends in the personal finance world:
I was recently able to spend a good bit of time going through the myFICO site. Here you can get your most up to date FICO score for only $15.95. But the site offers much more than just your score. They have several other “tabs” on their home page that provide you with everything from a variety of products related to monitoring and protecting your FICO score to the latest in low interest credit cards.
FICO Score Defined