What A Blizzard Taught Me About Retirement Planning

As I write this, I’m looking out the window watching it snow heavily.  A major winter storm is affecting southern Minnesota. The weather forecasters have us pegged for somewhere between 8 and 12 inches of snow by tomorrow afternoon, with strong winds resulting in near blizzard conditions. This winter storm has been in the forecast for the last week, and people went into complete panic mode to prepare. The grocery stores have been packed with people purchasing enough food to be trapped inside their homes for a month. Shovels, ice melt products, snow blowers and outdoor clothing have been flying […] Read more »

Millennials should skip the 401(k) and go ROTH all the way

When I was a young adult there were only two options to prepare for retirement: Pensions and 401(k)s. Well, there was also Social Security – but we won’t go there! The investing landscape has changed dramatically. The government has created other venues for tax favored accounts – and all of them are better than doing nothing. Everyone’s situation is different. I’m not a Financial Advisor so you need to seek the advice of a trained professional but I do think Millennials have the best opportunities to become investors and get complete control over their financial destinies if they skip the […] Read more »

Why you should make your retirement a priority

pension

The other day I was walking our lovely puppy in the nearby park. Dog owners stick together and talk to each other. You’d be surprised what you can learn in the park while throwing a slimy tennis ball around. You don’t believe me? Well, I used to talk to a woman who told me that she’s had lovers all through her marriage. Thing is, I knew her husband as well and liked him a lot. Eventually she caught her and the whole thing ended up in custody battle for the dog. Anyhow, this time there was nothing as dramatic as […] Read more »

Is Investing in Gold A Good Retirement Strategy?

I was recently reminded of Duck Tales, one of my favorite cartoons from when I was a kid. If you’re not familiar with the cartoon, the opening theme song sports a very rich duck in his vault diving into and swimming in a sea of gold coins and jewels. As a kid, cartoons pounded into into my heads the image of a stack of gold bricks being the pinnacle of wealth. How freaking cool would it be to have a room filled with gold to show off to your friends? I don’t know anyone that has such a room, or […] Read more »

3 Reasons To Never Borrow From Your 401k

borrow withdraw 401k

Have you ever needed a large amount of money and dipped into your 401k to get it?  Maybe you wanted to put a down payment on a house, had an emergency, or some other reason you needed the money. If you did dip into your 401k, was it really worth it?   Taking Money From Your 401k Has Consequences When you withdraw funds from your 401k account to take care of a present need, it can be very detrimental to your future.  Even if you take the money out with the best intentions, it can still have far reaching consequences […] Read more »

Warning: The Long Term Effects of Debt Will SHOCK You

Before we enrolled in our debt management plan, many of our credit cards had very high interest rates, some as high as 29.99%. We were making very little progress on the actual balance of our accounts, our payments going mostly to line the pockets of the credit card companies. I know I’ve paid an insane amount of interest to creditors because of our overspending. With the finish line of our debt management plan in sight, I wondered how different my financial picture would look if I had invested that money instead. What I discovered SHOCKED me. Ground Rules First let’s […] Read more »

I Don’t Want To Be A Deadbeat Geezer

Over the weekend my mom had major back surgery to correct her scoliosis. The surgery involved attaching metal rods to her spine to straighten it, and “rouging up” the vertebrae which would cause them to fuse together as she heals. My mom has a long road ahead of her as the estimated recovery time is at least a year. But the result should be a better quality of life than what she had, and definitely better than what her life would have become as her scoliosis continued to get worse. The nine hour surgery gave my dad and I the […] Read more »

Back to Work After 30 Years

I ran to Wal-Mart yesterday to pick up a few things I needed for dinner and had the strangest checkout line experience. The lady in front of me turns around and insists that my husband buy me a bracelet. When he says he isn't going to be buying me a bracelet she says "Well, you must not be married then!" I informed her that we are indeed married and she puts her finger in my face and exclaims something to the effect of "I've been married for 35 years! Never Again!" Then she puts her finger in my husband's face and yells "NEVER AGAIN!!" Um... ok? Read more »

401k’s and Anything Goes

During the last few years of economic upheaval, some people have begin to return to a more sensible way of dealing with their financial situation.  The last few decades have seen the American public give themselves over to the “anything goes” mentality of personal finance by taking on unprecedented levels of debt, which has come back to kick them in the tail over the last few years. Lately though, some stats have been showing that more and more of us have finally started to wake up from our “anything goes” hangover and have begun to pay down our debts substantially.  […] Read more »

Hidden Expenses That Impact Retirement

Anthem Healthcare sent me an advertisement for their health insurance and priced it on a daily basis. “Now just $1.58 per day!” Naturally, that rate didn’t apply to me but to a hypothetical 35 year old “healthy” male. Surely their comprehensive database could have sent the quote for me as a 50 year old. In any case, you don’t pay insurance daily. That $1.58 day rate is paid at $47.40 per month or almost $600 per year, which for health insurance is pretty inexpensive. I called and my daily rate would be $5.04 per day or $151 per month or […] Read more »

Why do so Many Americans Rely on Social Security?

As I checked up on Twitter Thursday morning I noticed that “social security” was a trending topic. Very rarely do you see a trending topic that has any real life value, so it was for this reason I decided to see what all the fuss was about. You don’t have to be Democrat or Republican to know that Social Security is bankrupt. This is a non-partisan issue, or at least it should be. Some seem to believe that reform is not only needed but necessary, while others think it should just be left alone. Regardless of which side you tend […] Read more »

Financial Planning for Retirement – Be Conservative, Responsible, Realistic, and be Successful

Not long ago I had the good fortune to gain insight with respect to one family’s financial planning that was centered around retirement. This had been a young couple with children, with both the husband and wife having lived through the Great Depression and bleak economic times surrounding World War II. Talk about a life lesson in stretching a dollar! What struck me as unusual was the constant focus, from the very beginning, on retirement and taking care of their children. It was unusual in a very good way. This couple knew that the future was coming. They knew that […] Read more »

Mortgage Free – Why This is Essential for Traditional Retirement

Who in their right mind would argue that being mortgage free is the only way to be if you expect to retire in some traditional way, with a house of your own? That would be me. As they say, "opinions vary" and "results vary." But, if you pay off the mortgage before you retire, that eliminates a large financial obligation essential for living - someplace to live. That's one of the big reasons it makes sense to me. From my vantage point, as an early self-retired individual, I see being 100% debt free as an essential part of having peace of mind when you retire, and I'm up on my soapbox to explain why. Gather 'round my financially fit friends and lend me your ears. Read more »

Should You Take Care of Your Parents Regardless?

Should you feel obligated to support your parents at or before retirement — regardless of circumstances? That is the question a caller asked Dave Ramsey on the radio last week. Here was his situation. His spouse’s family wanted to put together a fund that would support their parents for the next 25 years. He and his spouse were obviously affected differently by this question but ultimately agreed that it was not their responsibility to totally care for them financially, especially since the parents said they weren’t willing to go to work. They weren’t unable to work, they just didn’t want […] Read more »