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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…

6 Big Tax Insights Independent Contractors Need to Know

There are countless benefits for those who freelance or operate as an independent contractor. You control your own time, can be your own boss and have the ability to say yes or no to work based on your overall interest and availability. In addition, the Internet age makes being an independent contractor easier and in more demand than ever. What are we getting at? Many independent contractors fear tax time as it can be complicated. It doesn’t have to be though. Here are six tips for making tax season as painless and stress-free as possible when you’re an independent contractor. Know What to Expect If you’re paid $600 or more by an individual client, you should receive a 1099-MISC from that client. Typically, you include Schedule C with your tax return to report any self-employed income – along with any deductions for business expenses. If your net earnings from self-employment…

5 Practical Financial Tips for Couples

If you’ve been in a long-term relationship before, you know quite well that in reality, things aren’t perfectly peachy all the time. Healthy relationships involve a lot of support, compromise, honesty and a willingness to have difficult conversations. One of the most commonly challenging topics for couples to discuss is money. With the right approach and some practice, however, getting on the same page about your finances doesn’t have to be a battleground. It’s important to talk to your significant other about both your separate and combined finances. After all, studies show that couples of all ages are happier when they talk to each other about money – and the more often, the better.[1] Taking some quality time to set monetary goals together is also a great way to build trust, address fears, join forces and set your relationship up for long-term success. If you’re feeling a little bit nervous,…

12 Insurance Blogs You Can't Afford to Ignore

Insurance is a personal finance cornerstone. It ensures your savings and investments are not wiped out due to an unexpected illness, injury or other worst-case scenarios. There is so much to learn about insurance, and it is tough to find everything you are looking for in one place.  Also, writing engaging blog articles on a topic that isn’t considered to be the most exciting can be tough, but there are some organizations out there making it happen with their insurance blogs. Get a cup of tea, find a comfortable spot to sit and enjoy these 12 websites that boast arguably the best insurance-related blogs out there. The Insurance Word Blog From Life Happens Life Happens is a nonprofit dedicated to helping people take responsibility for their personal finances, with a focus on life insurance and related products like disability insurance. The blog is a great resource, and you can also…

How the Biggest Banks Got Too Big to Fail

During the 2008 Financial Crisis, people around the country became acquainted with a new phrase: too big to fail. Banks like Bank of America were facing a serious cash crunch as subprime borrowers defaulted on mortgage payments and did not have enough liquidity to meet their own obligations. Retail, commercial, and investment banks across the country met their demise, the FDIC was covering bank deposits, and the United States government stepped in to ensure we could avoid a complete economic collapse. As iconic investment banks Lehman Brothers and Bear Sterns were headed into full-scale failure, the government bailed out the banks deemed too big to fail. But how did banks become so big that the entire economy could be destroyed by a small group of businesses? It was a long, winding road that starts hundreds of years ago. Before They Were Chase and Bank Of America Chase and Bank of…

Retirement 101

shutterstock_98725502You’ve worked hard all your life, and retirement’s the time to cash in, to fill your days with vacations, relaxation, grandkids, friends, and fun. But if you don’t have enough money to fund the kind of retirement that you’re envisioning, you could find yourself working just to make ends meet. Whether you’re 25 or 65, taking the time to calculate and plan how much you will need for a comfortable retirement can ensure you make the most out of those golden years.
Calculate How Much You’ll Need
According to the Department of Labor, you’ll probably need between 70 and 90 percent of your current yearly income each year of your retirement to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

Financial Security in the Golden Years

shutterstock_70550545 (1)Yes, life insurance is important…even after you retire.
Most people understand that term life insurance is an important piece of your overall financial picture when you and your children are young. But did you realize that retirees need to be insured, too? Assessing your insurance policy needs with an upcoming retirement in mind is an important step in maintaining financial security. As you enter your golden years, consider the facts about life insurance after you retire.
Previous financial problems = less secure retirement
If you’ve experienced major financial difficulties earlier in life, your retirement might be less secure than you think. Layoffs, being out of work for long periods of time, loss on your investments (say, from a downturn in the stock market) can affect your retirement savings in two ways: by preventing you from adding to your investments, and by making it necessary to dip into the money set aside for retirement. Life insurance can provide a much-needed cushion for your survivors.

Don’t Get Caught Short: The Risks of Being Underinsured — And How You Can Avoid Them

shutterstock_97146533Life insurance should provide its policyholders with the peace of mind that comes from knowing loved ones will be financial secure after their death. However, according to the Life Insurance and Market Research Association, just 44% of U.S. households have individual life insurance plans, and of those, 40% think they are underinsured. Nationwide Financial found that while the average consumer will earn around $1.5 million before they retire, the average life insurance policy benefit is just $300,000. There are several risks to being underinsured:

  • Not being able to afford a mortgage after the loss of a primary breadwinner could result in the loss of your home or significant downsizing.
  • Tapping retirement (such as IRAs) and savings to make up for the loss in income can negatively impact your future financial health.

Spend Time — Not Money — On Mother's Day

shutterstock_134550482May 11th is Mother’s Day. And while tradition holds that a dozen roses, a Swedish massage, and a five-star restaurant are the perfect way to celebrate, these high-ticket gifts aren’t in everyone’s budget. Good news: it doesn’t matter. Showing your mother you love her is not about how much money you spend on her, but how much time you spend with her. Here are some great ideas for sharing this special day.
Memory Lane
Gather images and mementoes (like concert tickets or newspaper clippings) from your mother’s life and create a nice scrapbook that’s all about her.

Choosing the Right Life Insurance Product: A Primer

shutterstock_59964004Life insurance is one of the best ways to protect the financial security of your loved ones. But with so many options available, selecting the policy you need can be a little daunting. Here are the key things you should focus on:
How Much is Enough?
It’s important to be adequately insured to support your family. A ballpark figure is 8-10 times your current annual income, but there are a variety of factors to consider when coming up with your benefit amount. Life insurance should do more than just replace your annual salary. Other things to cover include funeral expenses, retirement, and any special needs (like tuition or healthcare) for a spouse or child. SelectQuote has an easy-to-use online worksheet to help you determine exactly what you need.