Putting the personal into personal finance means that everyone does things a bit differently when it comes to money. But there are some similarities among groups of people who share what I call a financial personality. They may each do things their own way, but the same philosophy is behind it. Just like periwinkle and royal are very different, but they’re both shades of blue. All of us can probably be defined in a colorful way when it comes to our money mindset and philosophy so let’s take a look at what I have come up with:
Every so often I just sit around the house and listen to music, usually from my favorite band the Beatles. This morning I was listening to Tomorrow Never Knows, John Lennon’s psychedelic ode to meditation and letting go. It got me thinking about freedom and how we can live free (not to be confused with living for free).
Living free is about having choices, which coincidentally is what we have when we minimize our consumption and maximize our finances. Sometimes our choices are limited, or we make poor choices, and that often takes us away from freedom. But if we are privileged enough to have a liberal number of choices, and we are smart and disciplined enough to make good decisions, living free becomes remarkably easy. Continue reading
The other day I went to my cardiologist for a routine follow-up visit (if cardio issues can ever be routine that is) after my recent required stress test. As they usually do when I visit, I got weighed and they also measured my height. To my surprise, I discovered I am shrinking! I have always thought and told people that I am 5’10” whenever my height was asked or required to be put down on a form. For Pete’s sake, it says I’m 5’10” on my driver’s license, so it must be true. But last week I discovered that I am actually getting smaller. I measured 5’9½” and I had to face the reality of it. I am the incredible shrinking man! After that surprise, I wondered…is it possible that small is the new big?
It gave me pause to think about the concept of smaller versus bigger. I know I’m a little weird, but I digress. I have to admit, I can’t think of any reason why shrinking at my age is a good thing but it made me wonder exactly why we are seemingly obsessed with the concept of “bigger is always better”. I have been guilty of that thinking on more than a rare occasion for sure, but now that I practice the concept of being “older and wiser” I do see things in a little (pardon my pun) different way. Continue reading
We’re coming into the home stretch of one of the most important and memorable election campaigns in our lifetime. History has already been made as we have the first women presidential nominee (in a major party) and that alone is a historic event. But that isn’t all. This time around our nation is facing so many important and troubling things and it’s easy to see why the coverage, discussion and almost obsession about the election have been all over the media ad nauseam. With all this noise, will financial issues in the 2016 election make a difference?
General Issues in the 2016 Election
Under normal conditions we’d be only talking about issues like the candidates tax policies, government spending, the national debt, creating new jobs, our major national security issues and the immigration problems. Continue reading
A hacked bank account…basically identity theft. You may not ever think it will happen to you. It can’t happen to you, can it? It only happens to those other people, right? Or maybe the DNC, or Target stores, or someone who is really, really careless about their information, or I just dunno…anyone but me!
Well hello. Wake up call, it has happened to me. I got hacked and boy does that send chills though my system. I got the call, literally, the wakeup call just last week and it was not fun. For the past 9 days I’ve been in a mental turmoil here wondering who, what, when, where, and why? How could this happen to me? Continue reading
There are some things you should never do because if you do, you can get really burned. I’ll admit that it’s happened to me. In many cases you have to learn the hard way and that’s a true life lesson that you only have to learn one time. That old proverb says “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”. Let’s hope you never have to live that reality! Keep this list in mind so that when that dangerous day comes, you won’t ever experience what many others have had to endure. Remember, never ever and I mean never do these 14 things!
It’s a subject that none of us enjoy talking about: whether you need life insurance. It can be a bit frightening to dwell on our death and planning for it whether you are 25 or 85. Being 67, I can’t help but think that I’m not going to be around as long as I have been, and that’s a subject that makes me worry about my younger wife, my kids, and their financial futures. There are a number of important things to consider here and a number of myths about life insurance that need to be discussed while you can do something about it. Let’s examine the facts we are facing now when looking at life insurance in 2016.
Fewer Americans have life insurance today than they did just 10 years ago. Just 60% of us have life insurance and that number was around 70% before the 2008 “great recession”. The reason is fairly simple. A lot of us feel that having life insurance is just too expensive and doesn’t fit into our budget plan since the economy, unemployment, and the difficult times of 2008 have lingered into the present. Continue reading
Over the past few months, I have been thinking an awful lot about the complexities and more “abstract” points about money and its place in my life (and yours too). Our money mindset, if you will. After all it’s really such a huge part of everyone’s life. Let me try my best to explain what it is that’s going through my mind. Perhaps you have thought similarly or maybe not. In any case, think just for a bit about the following and humor me.
I’ve come to the conclusion that money is the most talked about and thought of subject in life, not today specifically, but in summation of all the days of our lives. We talk about earning it, spending it, saving it, giving it away, winning it, losing it, investing it, and wanting it. We think we need more of it, deserve it, and we are usually jealous of those who have lots of it. We dream about it, or perhaps have nightmares about it, we scheme about it and some even steal it. Money it so very important in our lives even though we know that there are many other things that we should devote just as much attention to everyday. Continue reading
For the first time since 1960 grocery prices have dropped for 9 consecutive months here in the U.S. So far this year, overall prices have declined by slightly over 2% against last year’s prices and in some key categories they dropped even more dramatically according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is certainly good news and an unexpected “gift” after years of steadily inflated food prices that were at a zenith as recently as a year ago. Things such as shorter supplies, avian flu, and viruses affected beef, pork, and chicken supplies around the country. Grain prices were hurt by severe weather and drought which also made prices jump.
For an amount of money like $5,500 a year ($6,500 for those over age 50), all of us have an awful lot riding on an IRA. According to the Investment Company Institute, Americans had over $24.6 trillion dollars socked away in total retirement assets with $7.5 trillion in IRA accounts as of the second quarter of 2016. That makes IRAs the biggest place that people have parked their money for retirement in the country. In addition to direct contributions, a lot of that money has come from rollovers of retirement assets from previous employers’ accounts.
Opening an IRA account seems like it’s a fairly simple thing. You go to a bank or you can pick a brokerage firm or a mutual fund company (even online), fill out a few forms, and then move some money into the account. But, there are a lot of things that can go wrong when and if you stub your toe in the IRA process. It can wind up costing you a lot of money, and that is the money that you are counting on for your retirement and that can screw up your “golden years” if you’re not careful. Continue reading