We all would love to have a little extra cash on hand for emergencies. Saving up that cash can be a challenge – but with a little effort, that challenge can be met.
Getting rich quick can be liberating, but it can also be frustrating. Sudden wealth can help you address retirement saving or college funding anxieties, and it may also give you the opportunity to live and work on your terms. On the other hand, you’ll pay more taxes, attract more attention, and maybe even contend with jealousy or envy. You may also deal with grief or stress, as a lump sum may be linked to a death, a divorce, or a pension payout decision.
Installment debt, in itself, is not a bad thing. It enables us to make major purchases that would be nearly impossible to finance up-front. The problem is, in this consumer society, we're bombarded with advertisements for literally thousands of "must-have" products. The result is that while our parents tended to pay with cash and buy only what they could afford, we have the "buy now, pay later" mentality.
Filling out your tax return is like compiling the index of a book -- the book is complete, but you have to rummage (sometimes painfully) through your work again, assuring accuracy and factual content, in order to make the book easier for someone else to read. If you're a mutual fund investor trying to determine your taxable gain or loss for the past year, your tax return will entail additional work. However, if you've kept good records and understand some basic guidelines, the process can be relatively painless.
Picture an 18-wheeler, its 4,000-cubic-foot cargo trailer filled to capacity with stacks of $100 bills. The driver shuts and locks the trailer, closing the door on roughly $10 billion. Now imagine that truck driving off to a landfill, where that $10 billion will be dumped, shredded and buried, rendered useless.
Why do some households tread water financially while others make progress? Does it come down to habits?
Sometimes the difference starts there. A household that prioritizes paying itself first may end up in much better financial shape in the long run than other households.
You know you should start saving for retirement before you turn 40. What can you start doing today to make that effort more productive, to improve your chances of ending up with more retirement money, rather than less?
Why are women so challenged to retire comfortably? You can cite a number of factors that can potentially impact a woman’s retirement prospects and retirement experience. A woman may spend less time in the workforce during her life than a man due to childrearing and caregiving needs, with a corresponding interruption in both wages and workplace retirement plan participation. A divorce can hugely alter a woman’s finances and financial outlook. As women live longer on average than men, they face slightly greater longevity risk – the risk of eventually outliving retirement savings.
As a single parent, you need to understand the financial strategies that can stretch your income and help you lay the groundwork for a secure future. Consider the following lessons to help improve your family's bottom line: