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Think Singles Don’t Need Life Insurance? Think Again

A lot of people assume life insurance is something you don’t need to think about until you’re married or have kids. However, this outdated view doesn’t reflect the responsibilities and relationships experienced by many of today’s single adults. Consider Friends – the iconic sitcom about a group of single twenty-somethings. Each character has good reasons to have life insurance, which we saw as their stories unfolded over 10 seasons. Whether you’re a Monica or a Phoebe, a Chandler or Joey, a Rachel or a Ross, if you’re single, you, too, probably have good reasons to have life insurance. So Many Singles America has more single adults than ever before. According to the U.S. Census, 45.2 percent of U.S. residents age 18 and older are single, compared to 28 percent in 1960. This means America has more than 110 million single adults. Furthermore, those who do get married are waiting longer…

Need to Control Your Spending? Try Zero-Sum Budgeting

Do you have a solid idea about where your money goes each month? You probably can list the big-ticket items – rent or mortgage, car payment, maybe even utilities or other fixed expenses. But hundreds of other dollars have a way of vanishing and you may wonder why your bank account looks a little thin by month’s end and why your savings don’t grow as much as you’d like. Some financial advisors recommend zero-sum budgeting as a way to track your money, resulting in finding big and little ways to cut expenses to a more reasonable level. This budgeting system is popular with millions of people. Zero-Sum Basics You assign a job to every dollar you make in order to prevent waste and maximize the use of your income. The premise of zero-sum budgeting is that you use your last month’s income to pay this month’s expenses. So, you probably…

6 Tips to Manage Your Finances With a Stay-at-Home Parent

The decision for one parent to stay home can cause tremendous heartburn. Many feel strongly about staying home with kids, but don’t know if they can make it work financially. However, with careful planning and a keen eye on the budget, having one stay-at-home parent can work for many families. According to Amy, a stay-at-home mom in the Midwest, the key to managing finances when one parent stays home is open communication and a solid budget. These six tips will help you shore up your budget and manage your finances when one parent stays home. Include Activities in the Monthly Budget When budgeting, leave wiggle room for outings and extracurricular activities. Becoming a stay-at-home parent doesn’t literally mean saying at home. Account for the memberships, entrance fees and supplies you’ll need to create an engaging and fun schedule for your family. You don’t have to break the bank. There are…

How to Survive Financially When a Marriage Fails

When the dream of living happily ever after turns into a nightmare of a marriage, divorce may be the only workable solution. In addition to the emotional turmoil surrounding a divorce, couples need to deal with the financial realities of going their separate ways. The cost of a lawyer and the loss of a spouse’s income may come at a high price for one or both parties. Couples may each walk away from the marriage with significantly lower income, assets and retirement savings. Although divorce is not recommended as an easy solution to marital problems, the situation need not necessarily be a financial disaster. Here are a few positive financial outcomes that can somewhat lessen the pain of divorce. Easier Budgeting and More Control Over Money It’s no secret that fights over money are a prime mover on the rocky road to divorce. Left solo, partners are free to choose…

10 Money Tips for New Grads

If you’re a new grad who’s feeling a little exhilarated, a little worn out and a little terrified about finding a job that pays the bills … take a deep breath. The great thing about this stage of your life is that while you have room to take your time, make mistakes and figure out what you want, you are also young enough to do a few key things right that will set you ahead of the crowd for years to come. Especially when it comes to money. Looking for financial advice after graduation? Here are ten tips to keep in mind: Follow Your Dreams … but Don’t Wait Around for Your Dream Job You’re smart, enthusiastic and ready to change the world – surely an employer will see that and offer you a job that pays well, has lots of vacation time and lets you make big decisions. Right?…

Steps to Take to Retire Early

Early retirement has always been a dream of many people, but some are taking solid steps today to ensure an early retirement. Why work until you are 65 or 70 years old when you might be able to retire at 50 or even younger? Follow these steps to get on track for an early retirement. Save Aggressively To retire early, you will need money to support yourself and possibly your family, for the rest of your life. Social Security doesn’t kick in until you reach the government mandated 62 years old. You need a nest egg to live on. Experts agree that most people should save 10 percent to 15 percent of their gross income every payday to maintain the same standard of living in retirement. If you are retire early, you have fewer years to save. In this case, you should work to increase your savings to 50 percent or…

Thinking About Your Monthly Cash Flow Like a Business

If you were a business, would you be a profitable one? At the end of each month, do you earn more than you spend? Is your enterprise profitable? While individuals like us go to work and earn an income each month, few of us look at our finances like a business. However, just like a business, we need to earn more than we spend each month and regularly assess our finances to know we are on the right track. Follow these steps to start treating your finances like a business and establish a path to financial success. The Business of You Before getting into the tactical aspects of managing your money like a business, the first step is to get into the mindset of running your finances like a business. This means a mental shift in how you think about and interact with your money. Businesses use accounting software to…

Real-World Options to Pay Down Debt

Debt—it seems to sink its claws into just about everyone at some point. From student loans and credit cards to car loans and mortgages, eight out of ten Americans have debt of some sort according to a July 2015 study from The Pew Charitable Trusts. Still, becoming debt free isn’t impossible. In fantasy land, you might inherit a cool million from a long lost aunt thrice removed and voila, you have the windfall you need to eliminate your debts. But for those of us facing reality, fear not. These real-world steps will work for anyone who is on a journey to pay down outstanding balances. Understand Your Numbers Total up your debt Before you can begin to slay your debt, it is essential to know exactly where you stand. While you are running the numbers, make sure you are clear on what debt actually is. Anything you don’t own outright…

How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?

Not sure how to determine your coverage amount? You’re not alone. By adding up your basic expenses, you can get a pretty good sense of how much life insurance you need to protect your family. It’s not difficult to understand why life insurance is a great way to protect your family’s financial future in case something happens to you – after all, when your life ends, so does your earning potential. The difficult part is figuring out how much life insurance you need to make sure your family can carry on without you. There are several ways to go about doing this. One method is to multiply your annual income by 10 and use that sum as your death benefit. Alternatively, you could hire a financial advisor to create a comprehensive financial profile with the aid of worksheets and other tools of the trade. A less expensive option is to…

Keep Calm With These Tax Season Tips and Carry on Until April 15

With the April 15 filing deadline less than a month away, tax season is in full swing. If that gives you heart palpitations, take a deep breath. Here are five great ways to relieve seasonal stress and put a little zen into your tax preparation. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff If you’re driving yourself crazy accounting for every last receipt or monthly bank statement, stop. Do your homework so you know what’s deductible and what’s not. Instead of spending your time chasing smaller deductions, focus on larger expenses that will save you the most on your taxes. Don’t Bait the IRS Save yourself from a panic attack by avoiding audit triggers like claiming large deductions on minimal income or reporting dependent exemptions for people who may not actually be your dependents. If you report a business loss year after year, you risk having the IRS declare your company a hobby.…