Managing finances often revolves around investments, but it really begins with expenses. People who are successful in managing their finances are the ones who manage expenses first. By understanding where the money is going, and controlling it, better investment planning and decisions can be accomplished.
When we invest our money we often look at our tolerance for risk to decide how much to put in stocks, bonds and other investments. The belief is that the younger you are the more you put in stocks because you have a longer time frame to ride the ups and downs of the market.
Anthropologists and psychologists like to point to the caveman days for rationale as to why we act certain ways that don't seem normal. Well, now add financial planners to the list of those who are now looking at the animal tendencies for answers as to why people invest their money the way they do.
Many people think that when it comes to estate planning as long as a will is in place everything will be taken care of for them. But a frequent missed part of planning for illnesses and end-of-life situations is what happens when someone is incapacitated and not able to manage personal affairs? In these cases, the "durable power of attorney" comes into play.
Volatile moves in the stock market are leaving many investors scratching their heads in deciding whether to buy or sell. Unfortunately, making a decision based on what the market is doing now is the wrong way to invest.
Workers nearing the end of their careers face complex issues in planning for retirement. Two of the biggest decisions are how much to plan to spend in retirement and how to maximize income through retirement programs, including Social Security.
These days of frugality have many of us second-guessing our expenses and passing over things we normally have bought in the past without thinking. That's not easy. We are called "consumers" for a reason — we love to consume. Retailers now have to try extra hard to entice us, and for the most part they have been successful. But if you know their tricks, you can see the pitch coming and avoid handing over your money without thinking.
Fidelity asked 500 couples age 45 and over about retirement and how much they agreed with their spouse on what will happen when the day comes to stop working. You might guess accurately what the results were — not a lot of couples agreed.
The recession has taken an unfortunate victim — children. Diligent parents now facing difficult times have had to put the future on hold in order to survive the present. They've done this by reducing or stopping contributions to 529 college savings plans. This in turn has hurt 529 plans, like any other financial firm that has seen lower assets, and is spurring change.
The provider of long-term care insurance found the nationwide annual cost for a private nursing home room to be $74,208, or $203 a day, a rise of 4 percent annually since 2005. With that cost rising more than inflation over the same period, by almost double, retirees may want to reconsider where they relocate in retirement.
If the current economic mess results in one good thing, it's the power to make us wake up and be more responsible for our money. The economy didn't sink overnight, so many of us had the opportunity to take action when things started sliding. Some did and some didn't, and I bet the majority of humans who are passive by nature (68 percent, according to psychological studies) are the ones who got hurt the most.
With many of us seeing the value of our retirement savings lower than a year ago, it has caused a panic about whether retirement is even an option anymore. Yes, lower savings does mean work may not end as soon as we are hoping, but it doesn't mean that it's now impossible to stay on our original track..
Many Americans this year found the amount they owed the IRS on April 15 was lower than the year before, thanks to a slower economy in 2008. The good news from this is you can increase the amount of money you keep in your pocket this year by adjusting your withholding or tax payments to lower the amount taken out by the IRS.
If we needed another knife in our gut as the result of the recent economic turmoil, the mutual fund industry has sharpened theirs in an effort to survive. But their knife is not cutting - it's raising the cost of funds to investors.
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