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5 Important Money Lessons From Video Games

We get it. Personal finance can be a dry topic but financial savvy is important in achieving financial independence.  So if you are ready for a long nap when the talk of money or personal finance arises, you’ll be thrilled to know that video games have added an element of adventure and action to your personal accounting activities. What types of finance lessons can be learned from games today?  Lessons on how to manage money, business strategy, and other life and personal finance are just a few examples. So, the next time you pick up a video game for your kids, score one for yourself and battle to be crowned the ultimate king of financial savvy. Don’t Blow Your Money All on One Farm One of the first mobile games that almost every American has heard of is Farmville. While the game is not as popular as it once was,…

The 6 Best Strategies for Saving Money on Flights

Flying opens up a world of travel opportunities. You don’t have to be rich to enjoy a great vacation and adventure on a budget. But, if you’re paying too much for plane tickets, your budget could end up sky-high.   Are you looking to travel more and save money while doing it? If the answer is yes, then these ideas below are for you. Time Your Travel Last minute plane tickets cost more than ones booked about two months in advance. Flights the day before Christmas and Thanksgiving are some of the most expensive of the year. Traveling during offseasons in the spring and fall can also lead to great deals. Just be sure to miss Spring Break or you won’t get a bargain price. If you don’t have kids in school, use the flexibility of your vacation days to travel in the offseason. After offseason Spring and Fall trips…

Everyone Needs To Know These Common Paycheck Deductions for Taxes and Insurance

Guess what? You’ve got three extra days to figure out your paycheck deductions and file your tax returns this year. Yup. Due to some magic in the calendar and “Emancipation Day”, tax day is Tuesday, April 18th. Taxes fund our military, the roads we travel on, they help support firefighters and law enforcement, along with myriad other benefits that we may take for granted.  Knowing that your hard earned money supports law enforcement and their family may make you feel good, but it doesn’t change the fact that you may still cringe from time to time when we see how much of your paycheck goes to taxes. A salary of $50,000 a year, paid every two weeks or 26 pay periods is $1,923.07 each paycheck, right? Wrong. Your gross pay is $1923.07, but that is the amount before a number of withholdings have been taken from your paycheck and you’re presented with…

12 Savvy Solutions to Taming Your Vacation Budget

If you’re lucky, you’re reading this article on an island while rubbing on sunscreen and mulling over another strawberry daiquiri.  Most likely, you’re reading this in your living room, checking your Facebook page and wondering if a medium latte is really worth that extra 83 cents. Everyone deserves a vacation ―and you don’t have to break the bank to do it. The trick to sticking to and taming a vacation budget is to know how to make the most of your vacation dollars. If you’re trying to sneak in that much-needed vacation within the next few weeks, chances are your efforts to travel on a budget will be difficult to accomplish last minute. Fortunately, cheap flights abound, not all exotic destinations have 4 dollar signs next to their names, and options do exist for families if you plan early and are willing to be a little adventurous. Here are 12…

Life Insurance: Living on the Edge Can Cost You

When it comes to your life insurance, living on the edge can cost you. In 2004, “Along Came Polly” starring Ben Stiller, was in theaters. Ben played  Reuben, a high-strung, by-the-book risk management analyst? One of Rueben’s  biggest clients constantly participated in high-risk hobbies.  Because Reuben assessed risk for a living, these hobbies made him sweat bullets. He understood, the higher the risk, the less likely there was going to be a policy that would protect his client. High-Risk Hobbies What you may deem as regular recreational activities or bucket list agendas may signal a red flag to life insurance companies and people like Reuben. What might be some red flags? For example, if you’re partaking in activities like rock climbing, skydiving or kayaking, you’re a riskier case than someone whose idea of a “rocking” weekend night is a game or two of Mexican Train at home. Also, because you’re riskier…

Should You Transfer Life Insurance to Your Children?

Financial protection translates to security for many parents and knowing their children will be taken care of financially can help provide peace of mind. From the minute your child enters the world, they become your first priority and concern above all else. This won’t change as you consider how to best provide for them, should the unthinkable happen. Did you know you can transfer your life insurance policy to your children?  While this option is not for everyone, you may be in one of the unique situations where this can better help you and your children. For example, if your estate is worth more than $5.59 million, you may consider transferring ownership of your life insurance policy as a means of lowering estate taxes.  You can avoid federal taxation on the life insurance proceeds by transferring ownership to your adult children, or another, trusted beneficiary. Other reasons people transfer ownership of…

7 Simple Ways to Save Money on Taxes This Year

It’s officially tax time – a time to look back over the previous year with an eye toward maximizing deductions and tax credits and lowering your tax burden. Do you find yourself cringing at how much you pay in taxes each year though? You’re definitely not the only one who feels knots in their stomach when reviewing how much in taxes comes out of your paycheck each month. Taxes are unavoidable, but you can minimize the impact they have on your bottom line. While every scenario is different, one thing is universally true, and that is that planning is the key to get the most out of taxes. If you don’t plan, then you’re not going to get anywhere. The good news is there are simple ways you can start planning right now to save on your taxes this year. Taking action now can make a big difference in the…

5 Significant Health Benefits of Pets

According to the APPA National Pet Owners Survey, a 65 percent of American households have opened their homes and hearts to pets, with dog ownership swelling to 79.7 million households and cat ownership growing to 42.9 million. When it comes to pet ownership, besides simple companionship, there are a number of proven physical, mental and emotional health benefits pet ownership can provide. Here are five of the top benefits of pets: Lower Risk of Allergies and Asthma University of Wisconsin-Madison pediatrician James E. Gern has conducted a number of studies that indicate having a pet can lower a child’s likelihood of developing related allergies by as much as 33 percent. In fact, his research shows that children exposed early on to animals tend to develop stronger immune systems overall. Reduced Anxiety, Stress and Blood Pressure Interacting with a pet increases serotonin and dopamine, which produce feelings of contentment and relaxation.…

The Rule of 72: How to Double Your Savings in 10 Years

If doubling your savings in 10 years sounds unrealistic to you, your suspicions are correct – so long as you choose to keep that money in a savings account. Given that most savings accounts will only earn you an average annual return of one percent at best, it would take a whopping 72 years to increase your savings from, say, $10,000 to $20,000. But if you choose to invest your savings in the stock market, the Rule of 72 states that it’s perfectly reasonable to expect it to double within 10 years – or even less! But wait, what’s the Rule of 72? The Rule of 72 An old favorite of financial planners based on compound interest, the Rule of 72 is a simple way to calculate how long an investment takes to double with a fixed annual interest rate. Basically, the rule states that the amount of time required…

5 Ways to Show your Love for Less This Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air because it’s almost Valentine’s Day. For that special someone you want to treat this year, don’t wait until the last minute. Just a little bit of planning and creativity can help make this Valentine’s Day extra memorable without breaking the bank. Did you know Americans spent close to $20 billion for Valentine’s Day last year? That’s a lot of flowers and chocolates.  Men spent almost twice as much as women, averaging close to $196 on gifts versus a $100 by women. Those between the ages of 25-34 were the most active spenders on Valentine’s Day, followed by young lovebirds aged 18-24. Flowers were the most popular purchase made by men, while women spent the most money on greeting cards and candy.[1] To help get your Valentine’s Day planning off to a great start, here are some sweet and sentimental Valentine’s gift ideas for couples at…