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Didn’t Save Enough For Retirement? Here Are 7 Things You Can Do.




OK, so you are among the many who can’t pull off saving $1 million, or 5 times your annual salary, or whatever the current amount is that’s supposed to provide you with a comfortable lifestyle once you stop working.

What should you do about it besides fret? Instead of trying the unrealistic path of saving a mountain of money at the last minute, try bringing the mountain to you: Adjust your expectations of what your retirement will look like if you have less to spend than you thought you needed. It’s not all bad.

Here are a few ideas for living on less in retirement:

1. Move to Expatria, the largest country you’ve never heard of.

Expatria, as the “nation” of expats is known, is flourishing, thanks in part to U.S. retirees looking for places to live for less and still scratch that itch for adventure. There are plenty of parts of the world where the cost of living is less than in the United States and where U.S. citizens in their retirement are welcome. As a general rule, other countries are quite happy to have you come and spend your money there ― just not to come and work, taking jobs away from their own citizens. They are also less keen on paying for your health care, even when they have a universal plan. Yes, Canada, we are talking about you.

About 500,000 American retirees are now living abroad, according to the Social Security Administration, which delivers checks to them around the globe each month. One heads-up if you want to join their ranks: Check the rules of the country where you want to settle to see what the local tax liabilities will be on your income ― including Social Security.

While Social Security has you covered (with a few exceptions) anywhere in the world, Medicare benefits come to a screeching halt at the U.S. border. This means as a retiree living abroad, you’ll either need to re-enter the United States to have your medical care covered by Medicare, or pay for care yourself.

One of the more popular places for retired Americans to live is Costa Rica, which has a thriving expat community of more than 20,000 U.S. citizens. A retiree can live there for about $1,300 to $1,600 per month, according to SmartAsset. Oh, and it’s gorgeous, and they have universal health care for citizens and permanent residents.

The publication Live and Invest Overseas picked Algarve, Portugal, as the best spot to retire overseas in 2017, based on a combination of natural beauty, weather and affordable housing. The publication estimates a retired American couple could live comfortably there for about $2,160 a month, including pool maintenance.

International Living is a great site to begin an investigation into what it’s like to live in Expatria. (For starters, you will likely have plenty of company: InterNations estimates that 20 percent of all U.S. expats are retirees.) AARP also offers a list of the best places to retire abroad.

2. Work part-time.

Social Security, which was signed into law in 1935, was intended to provide a financial safety net for lower-income workers when they retired. It helps if we all keep that in mind, because it isn’t ― and never was ― intended to meet anyone’s full retirement needs. Still, the SSA estimates that 21 percent of couples and 43 percent of single seniors count on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their total income. Other sources of income include any pensions you can collect ― increasingly rare ― and drawing income from what you have managed to save.

However, you won’t be alone if you consider taking on a part-time job in retirement.

The rule of thumb for retirement savings is that you need to have saved $240,000 for every $1,000 you expect to need per month in retirement. So if you haven’t saved that much, one alternative is to replace that income through a part-time job. Remember, $1,000 a month is roughly just $250 a week. Heck, some teenagers make that much babysitting in the summer. (The current baby-sitting rate is about $15 an hour. Here is a calculator to see what you could earn in your ZIP code.)

3. Consider home-sharing.

While paying for health care may be a retiree’s boogeyman, don’t dismiss housing expenses as a walk in the park. They are very much a budget-crippler.

But remember what the Golden Girls did? Sharing a home with like-minded friends not only reduces housing expenses, but also provides a built-in support network.

Or if you love your friends but living with them just isn’t your thing, rent out an unused bedroom to someone and enjoy the extra monthly income. Think broadly: Can you turn the garage into a studio apartment and collect a monthly income from it? How about moving into a granny shack in the yard and renting out your home for even more money?

You can also use your home to reduce your spending. Consider trading some space for live-in help. Giving up an unused bedroom for someone who will do light housekeeping, cut the grass and drive you where you need to go beats paying for those services.

4. Unload your car.

When you eliminate your commute to work, there’s a good chance you will be eliminating one of the primary reasons you even had a car. You’ll certainly be driving less. Figure out what it costs you to own and operate a car for a year ― purchase or lease price, insurance, gas, oil changes, tires, repairs and parking ― and divide that by 12.

Owning and operating a personal vehicle in 2017 cost an average of $8,469 annually, or $706 each month, according to AAA. Depending on where you live, it may cost less to call an Uber or take public transportation to get around. You can always rent a car when you need it.

Plus, your heart will thank you for walking places or getting around with a bicycle.

5. Embrace the sharing economy.

Swap homes with someone who lives where you want to vacation. Form a neighborhood co-op for Costco memberships and buy in bulk. When you travel, stay in Airbnbs, which tend to be less expensive and often have small kitchens in which you can make your breakfast to save even more money.

Sign up to be a home- or pet-sitter with a service like Trusted House Sitters. For $119 a year, this service finds and vets pet-sitters who want to vacation by staying in someone else’s home. You can become a pet-sitter yourself, or use one to save money on a pet-sitter while you’re away from home.

6. Rethink travel.

The beauty of not being tied to a work schedule is that you are free to move about the cabin, so to speak. Travel gets a whole lot less expensive once you aren’t wedded to peak travel times. Travel off-season and fly midweek when the fare is lower. Spend weekends in hotels that cater to weekday business clients.

You can also stay longer and get to live more like a native than a tourist. Think about renting out a whole apartment or house and using it as your base. Access to a kitchen means fewer meals out.

7. Downsize and declutter.

There really is gold in “them thar hills” ― and probably in your attic, basement and the storage unit you pay for each month.

Retirement is a good time to shed the excess stuff you’ve accumulated. And you might as well shed it for money. Here is a starter list of places where you can sell things online. And don’t forget the tried and true unloader of junk: the humble garage sale.


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4 things kids need to know about money




(NC) Responsible spending includes knowing the difference between wants and needs. Back-to-school season, with added expenses and expectations around spending, is the perfect time to not only build your own budget for the year ahead, but also to introduce your own children to the concept of budgeting.

The experts at Capital One break down four basic things that every child should know about money, along with tips for bringing real-life examples into the conversation.

What money is. There’s no need for a full economic lesson,but knowing that money can be exchanged for goods and services, and that the government backs its value, is a great start.
How to earn money. Once your child understands what money is, use this foundational knowledge to connect the concepts of money and work. Start with the simple concept that people go to work in exchange for an income, and explain how it may take time (and work) to save for that new pair of sneakers or backpack. This can help kids develop patience and alleviate the pressure to purchase new items right away that might not be in your budget.
The many ways to pay. While there is a myriad of methods to pay for something in today’s digital age, you can start by explaining the difference between cash, debit and credit. When teaching your kids about credit, real examples help. For instance, if your child insists on a grocery store treat, offer to buy it for them as long as they pay you back from their allowance in a timely manner. If you need a refresher, tools like Capital One’s Credit Keeper can help you better understand your own credit score and the importance of that score to overall financial health.
How to build and follow a budget. This is where earning, spending, saving and sharing all come together. Build a budget that is realistic based on your income and spending needs and take advantage of banking apps to keep tabs on your spending in real-time. Have your kids think about how they might split their allowance into saving, spending and giving back to help them better understand money management.

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20 Percent Of Americans In Relationships Are Committing Financial Infidelity




Nearly 30 million Americans are hiding a checking, savings, or credit card account from their spouse or live in partner, according to a new survey from That’s roughly 1 in 5 that currently have a live in partner or a spouse.

Around 5 million people — or 3 percent — used to commit “financial infidelity,” but no longer do.

Of all the respondents, millennials were more likely than other age groups to hide financial information from their partner. While 15 percent of older generations hid accounts from their partner, 28 percent of millennials were financially dishonest.

Regionally, Americans living in the South and the West were more likely to financially “cheat” than those living in the Northeast and Midwest.

Insecurity about earning and spending could drive some of this infidelity, according to industry analyst Ted Rossman.

When it comes to millennials, witnessing divorce could have caused those aged 18-37 to try and squirrel away from Rossman calls a “freedom fund”.

“They’ve got this safety net,” Rossman said. They’re asking: “What if this relationship doesn’t work out?”

As bad as physical infidelity

More than half (55 percent) of those surveyed believed that financial infidelity was just as bad as physically cheating. That’s including some 20 percent who believed that financially cheating was worse.

But despite this, most didn’t find this to be a deal breaker.

Over 80 percent surveyed said they would be upset, but wouldn’t end the relationship. Only 2 percent of those asked would end the relationship if they discovered their spouse or partner was hiding $5,000 or more in credit card debt. That number however is highest among those lower middle class households ($30,000-$49,999 income bracket): Nearly 10 percent would break things off as a result.

Roughly 15 percent said they wouldn’t care at all. Studies do show however that money troubles is the leading cause of stress in a relationship.

That’s why, Rossman says, it’s important to share that information with your partner.

“Talking about money with your spouse isn’t always easy, but it has to be done,” he said. “You can still maintain some privacy over your finances, and even keep separate accounts if you and your spouse agree, but you need to get on the same page regarding your general direction, otherwise your financial union is doomed to fail.”

With credit card rates hovering at an average of 19.24 percent APR, hiding financial information from a partner could be financially devastating.

But, Rossman adds, it’s not just about the economic impact but also the erosion of trust.

“More than the dollars and cents is that trust factor,” he said. “I think losing that trust is so hard to regain. That could be a long lasting wedge.”

Kristin Myers is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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7 Examples Of Terrible Financial Advice We’ve Heard




Between television, radio, the internet and well-meaning but presumptuous friends and family, we’re inundated with unsolicited advice on a daily basis. And when it comes to money, there’s a ton of terrible advice out there. Even so-called experts can lead us astray sometimes.

Have you been duped? Here are a few examples of the worst money advice advisers, bloggers and other personal finance pros have heard.

1. Carry a balance to increase your credit score.

Ben Luthi, a money and travel writer, said that a friend once told him that his mortgage loan officer advised him to carry a balance on his credit card in order to improve his credit score. In fact, the loan officer recommended keeping the balance at around 50 percent of his credit limit.

“This is the absolute worst financial advice I’ve ever heard for several reasons,” Luthi said. For one, carrying a credit card balance doesn’t have any effect on your credit at all. “What it does do is ensure that you pay a high interest rate on your balance every month, neutralizing any other benefits you might get from the card,” Luthi explained. “Also, keeping a 50 percent credit utilization is a surefire way to hurt your credit score, not help it.”

Some credit experts recommend keeping your balance below 30 percent of the card limit, but even that’s not a hard-and-fast rule. Keeping your balance as low as possible and paying the bill on time each month is how you improve your score.

2. Avoid credit cards ― period.

Credit cards can be a slippery slope for some people; overspending can lead to a cycle of debt that’s tough to escape.

But avoiding credit cards on principle, something personal finance gurus like Dave Ramsey push hard, robs you of all their potential benefits.

“Credit cards are a good tool for building credit and earning rewards,” explained personal finance writer Kim Porter. “Plus, there are lots of ways to avoid debt, like using the card only for monthly bills, paying off the card every month and tracking your spending.”

If you struggle with debt, a credit card is probably not for you. At least not right now. But if you are on top of your finances and want to leverage debt in a strategic way, a credit card can help you do just that.

3. The mortgage you’re approved for is what you can afford.

“The worst financial advice I hear is to buy as much house as you can afford,” said R.J. Weiss, a certified financial planner who founded the blog The Ways to Wealth. He explained that most lenders use the 28/36 rule to determine how much you can afford to borrow: Up to 28 percent of your monthly gross income can go toward your home, as long as the payments don’t exceed 36 percent of your total monthly debt payments. For example, if you had a credit card, student loan and car loan payment that together totaled $640 a month, your mortgage payment should be no more than $360 (36 percent of $1,000 in total debt payments).

“What homeowners don’t realize is this rule was invented by banks to maximize their bottom line ― not the homeowner’s financial well-being,” Weiss said. “Banks have figured out that this is the largest amount of debt one can take on with a reasonable chance of paying it back, even if that means you have to forego saving for retirement, college or short-term goals.”

4. An expensive house is worth it because of the tax write-off.

Scott Vance, owner of, said a real estate agent told him when he was younger that it made sense to buy a more expensive house because he had the advantage of writing off the mortgage interest on his taxes.

But let’s stop and think about that for a moment. A deduction simply decreases your taxable income ― it’s not a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax bill. So committing to a larger mortgage payment to take a bigger tax deduction still means paying more in the long run. And if that high mortgage payment compromises your ability to keep up on other bills or save money, it’s definitely not worth it.

“Now, as a financial planner focusing on taxes, I see the folly in such advice,” he said, noting that he always advises his client to consider the source of advice before following it. ”Taking tax advice from a Realtor is … like taking medical procedure advice from your hairdresser.”

5. You need a six-month emergency fund.

One thing is true: You need an emergency fund. But when it comes to how much you should save in that fund, it’s different for each person. There’s no cookie-cutter answer that applies to everyone. And yet many experts claim that six months’ worth of expenses is exactly how much you should have socked away in a savings account.

“I work with a lot of Hollywood actors, and six months won’t cut it for these folks,” said Eric D. Matthews, CEO and wealth adviser at EDM Capital. “I also work with executives in the same industry where six months is overkill. You need to strike a balance for your work, industry and craft.”

If you have too little saved, a major financial blow can leave you in debt regardless. And if you set aside too much, you lose returns by leaving the money in a liquid, low-interest savings account. “The generic six months is a nice catch-all, but nowhere near the specific need of the individual’s unique situation… and aren’t we all unique?”

6. You should accept your entire student loan package.

Aside from a house, a college education is often one of the biggest purchases people make in their lifetimes. Often loans are needed to bridge the gap between college savings and that final tuition bill. But just because you’re offered a certain amount doesn’t mean you need to take it all.

“The worst financial advice I received was that I had to accept my entire student loan package and that I had no other options,” said Gina Zakaria, founder of The Frugal Convert. “It cost me a lot in student loan debt. Now I tell everyone that you never have to accept any part of a college financial package that you don’t want to accept.” There are always other options, she said.

7. Only invest in what you know.

Even the great Warren Buffett, considered by many to be the best investor of all time, gets it wrong sometimes. One of his most famous pieces of advice is to only invest in what you know, but that might not be the right guidance for the average investor.

In theory, it makes sense. After all, you don’t want to tie up your money in overly complicated investments you don’t understand. The problem is, most of us are not business experts, and it’s nearly impossible to have deep knowledge of hundreds of securities. “Diversification is key to a good portfolio, and investing in what you know leads to a very un-diversified portfolio,” said Britton Gregory, a certified financial planner and principal of Seaborn Financial. “Instead, invest in a well-diversified portfolio that includes many companies, even ones you’ve never heard of.”

That might mean enlisting the help of a professional, so make sure it’s one who has your best interests at heart.

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