Debt Problems

Grow Savings or Trim Debt?

If you’re like most young adults, you juggle many financial priorities at once. With only so much cash to go around each month, how do you know what to put at the top of your money list? Should you build a nest egg or pay off debt?

Most personal financial advice focuses on one or the other but doesn’t explain how to decide if you want to accomplish both. Here’s what to consider:

Take stock of your savings. The size of your savings plays a big role in deciding whether to sock away more or whittle your debt.

Families and College Costs

Planning to afford increasingly costly higher education should be a family affair. Together, parents and their high school-age youngsters must figure out ahead of time how to find the money and spend it. This can be a tricky proposition.

Now is a good point to start thinking about this. Summer is passing by and once again, students are headed back to class. Some teens change buildings, some finish their high school careers and all face big questions about their future.

How to be a Happy Retiree

People who feel more secure about their finances are more likely to be happy in retirement, a survey by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance shows. If you don’t want to fall into the unhappy retiree camp, or even worse, not have retirement as an option, learn to avoid the pitfalls, and start saving today.

Pay Off Student Loans Early?

Temptation runs great to whittle today’s enormous student loans as fast as possible. As with many financial planning issues, a number of questions help you decide if paying off your loans early is in fact a good idea.

First, paying loans off quickly may actually seem more possible than headlines about a looming student-debt crisis claim. According to a recent report from the Brookings Institution:

12 Ways to Thwart ID Theft

More than 16.6 million people fell victim to identity theft in 2012 and lost a total of $24.7 billion, the Bureau of Justice Statistics says. If you don’t want to be one of them, prevention is simpler – and cheaper – than is a cure. Here are a dozen ways to help do that.

Telling Kids ‘No’ About Money

Your financial future starts at home, especially when you begin filling that home with children. Establishing limits is part of parenthood and your skill at teaching this lesson directly impacts your quality of life in retirement.

I remember going to the grocery store when my children were little. I put them in the cart and hurried through the store to get all I needed as quickly as possible. If your store experience resembles mine, inevitably as you wait on the checkout line, the candy display comes into the focus of your chocolate-loving toddler.

How to Prevent ID Theft

With technology come the cyber criminals who steal your identity, credit card numbers and bank account information. While you can’t eliminate all identity theft threats, you can reduce the risk with extra precautions.

Preparing for the Unexpected

You probably go through many days feeling invincible. Bad things – or even just the weird and unexpected – happen to other people, not you. Wrong. When life throws you curves, almost always when you least expect, you need ready cash.

One possible curve: You come home to a wild turkey in your living room. A few months ago, one of my clients took a weekend trip with her boyfriend. On Saturday, they got engaged. On Sunday, they received a call that the patio door on their apartment “blew out.”

Central Banks’ Low-Rate Folly

The folly of artificially low interest rates, courtesy of the world’s central banks, is a threat to economic well-being. When the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) calls central bank market rigging “the fairy dust of illusory riches,” it’s time to pay attention.

4 Bad Money Habits

Often in personal finance, you focus on the things you should start doing, without giving consideration to those you need to stop doing. The bad habits you aren’t aware of could get you into financial troubles or off course from your goals. So read on for four bad money habits you should lose.

1. Throwing down your credit card for every purchase. You have every intention to pay off the balance at the end of the month, and you rack up reward points. This is great in theory, but where people get into trouble is using the credit card without tracking.

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