The Money Talks You Need To Have With Your Fiancee Now

If you’re getting married to someone, you’re about to share much more than a deepening romantic relationship. You’re sharing a life together, with all that entails. It might mean kids in the future, where you’re going to live, what kinds of lives you’ll lead. As you might have guessed, it will definitely mean sharing a lot more of your financial life. It’s a step that people, especially those that have never lived together, always get caught off guard by. But a few conversations now can you a lot of headaches in the future.

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Full disclosure

This is where you’re going to face the most embarrassment on either side of the equation, so actually starting off with it can be a great ice-breaker. Find a delicate way to broach the subject of debts, past and present. Be a secure presence, taking on the attitude that you will both be in this together. Going into a deeper relationship only to be hit by the implications of a debt you didn’t know about can feel like a betrayal, so it’s important to have this talk above all else.

Money personalities

Then on to a bit of a lighter subject. Everyone has different habits with money. Debt can be one of those habits, but it can be used well or unwisely. Impulse shopping, the ability or inability to save. These are all aspects of money personalities you two can find out together. You might find that one of you is more willing and able to manage certain sides while another is better at another side. Find out your money personality, your partners, and where you’re compatible or where one of you can help the other.

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The splits

There are going to be lines split in a marriage, especially if you have kids. Someone’s career might take priority over another’s. Someone might be considered the breadwinner. But most important is finding the equal-but-different way to split the money. For instance, it’s rarely a good idea to share assets or debts, whereas it can be sensible to use a joint account to give yourself both a bit of personal spending money when you have it.

Your goals

What do you want to do with your money? That’s a big decision. If someone wants to eventually start a business or buy a dozen houses to live off, you need to know that now. Similarly, you need to make sure you’re considering potential family goals like your children’s future or your retirement. Setting off in the same direction financially is important.

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Protect one another

Full disclosure of debt is another part of this, but you have to come to the agreements of how you’re going to protect one another later, too. This might mean plans just in case one of you is the breadwinner and might have the risk of passing before the other. It might also mean working on wills now, not later, to avoid any potential disputes that could leave one of you deprived. It’s not the happiest of thoughts, but it’s an important dedication you might want to make to your partner.

You will likely have at least one disagreement or even an argument while having the discussions above. Be kind, be honest, and be willing to sleep on a few points. You need to come to some agreements if this is going to work.

 

6 Simple Ways to Cut Costs and Save During Retirement

A safe and comfortable retirement is a goal for most retirees, but living on a fixed income can make it seem impossible. Since there is no safety of a steady paycheck, many are left feeling overwhelmed, looking for options to accommodate their growing needs. So how do you make sure that you spend your retirement doing everything you love, without draining your retirement funds?

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Well, there are subtle things you can do that will help you boost your savings and stretch your nest egg for years to come.  You don’t have to downgrade your lifestyle to live a fulfilling retired life. Though, you do have to focus on some key areas that are known to be the biggest financial worries among retirees and tackle those first. With some pre- planned financial groundwork and strategic planning, you can enjoy a smooth transition to the retired life.

Here are 6 smart ways to save money so you can enjoy your “dream” retirement:

1. Find the Best Health Coverage

One of the primary expenses retirees worry about is health insurance coverage, especially if you plan on retiring before the age of 65, in which case you won’t qualify for Medicare.

If you aren’t eligible for Medicare, you can still get insured through the Health Insurance Marketplace. While comparing individual plans, make sure to consider factors such as premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. Start your search by signing up at Healthcare.gov; if your income after retirement falls below a specific cap, you might qualify for subsidized coverage.

But while comparing premiums, look beyond the dollar amount to see if the package is right for you. If you visit the doctor a lot, look for a plan with lower out-of-pocket costs, but if you don’t visit the doctor often then a plan with a higher co-pay may be good, since it will give you a lower premium. Also, check to see if your current doctor is in-network since you might be more comfortable sticking with your current doctor than change to another. Your current prescription medications are another thing you should see if your plan covers. Before you decide on a plan, examine your drug coverage and see how much you will be responsible for paying out of pocket.

In many families, one person retires while their spouse still works. If that’s you, then continuing your coverage through your spouse’s insurance can help you save a lot.  A pre-Medicare retiree with a working spouse can continue coverage through their employer’s health insurance, provided they request enrollment within 60 days of losing their health insurance.

Or, consider establishing a health savings account. You can contribute $6,750 max if you have family HDHP coverage and the money used for qualified medical expenses is tax-free.

Another option would be to apply for COBRA, which is a federal law that lets you continue your insurance through your employer for at least 18 months. However, this might be an expensive option, since you will be paying the full premium, including the amount that your employer paid while you were employed. Some insurers add on an extra 2% as an administrative fee

2. Take Advantage of Discounts

One of the major perks of being a senior are discounts! There are thousands of deals available exclusively for older adults. From retail, restaurants, travel to activities, there are many incredible savings that you can take advantage of.  One way to get access to these senior discounts is by becoming a member of AARP.  For just $16 a year, you can get exclusive access to a myriad of discounts through AARP. These include discounts on car rentals, cruise trips, vacation packages, hotel discounts and more.

Two alternatives to AARP that are a popular discount destination for retirees are Association of Mature American Citizen (AMAC) and American Seniors Association (ASA). For memberships costing $16 and $15 per year, respectively, you will have access to many great discounts, helping you recoup that membership amount and then some. But if you are mobile savvy, there is a whole world of discounts that you can discover using the power of apps.

Forget Googling for deals. Apps like Senior Discounts can help you discover amazing savings for eating, traveling and shopping through your iPhone or iPad.  Flipp is another great app that helps you discover best deals from popular retailers like Target, Kroger, Walgreens, Walmart and more. It offers discount savings between 20-70% on items.

3. Review Your Expenses and Your Savings

Prioritizing expenses and keeping account of where the money goes is a major step to avoid depleting retirement funds. Downsizing doesn’t always have to mean downgrading. There are many ways to cut expenses to save money such as avoiding impulse purchases, buying in bulk, finding cost-efficient ways for your daily commute, replacing that expensive cable bill with a much cheaper Netflix subscription; are all money saving habits you can embrace.

If you live in a place with a high cost of living, and since you are no longer tied to a job, relocation to a much more affordable city can be an option worth considering. You can then use the saved dollars to pay other huge expenses like health insurance.

4. Save on Auto-Insurance

With middle age, auto insurance rates typically drop because of your years of driving experience. But, senior drivers, even with a clean driving record, and the same driving habits might be faced with a higher insurance rate, because, as a group, they are considered to be more prone to accidents.  Many states require insurance companies to give drivers, 55 and over, discounts for keeping a clean driving record and for taking certain driving courses, like defensive driving. You can access these classes through AARP and AAA for a much lower price.

Not all auto insurance companies increase the premium for older drivers at the same age. Some might increase it at your 60’s, and some might wait till you are 70. You should shop around and see what company is offering the lowest rates. If you are not planning to drive as much, you might be qualified to receive a low-mileage or usage-based discounts that offer breaks in premiums for drivers whose annual mileage falls under a certain mileage cap, which is usually between 7,500 and 15,000 miles per year.

With a usage-based, or pay-as-you-go program, you can get a personalized auto insurance quote based on your driving habits, and other patterns like the average speed you drive, braking habits, average number of miles, and time you drive. All these factors are monitored by a small telematic device that you would be asked to install in your car. Based on the results, you will be able to get a customized premium rate that might be lower than what you are currently paying. Sometimes you can get a discount just for installing that device

5. Take a Part-Time Job During Your Retirement

By having a steady flow of income, you won’t have to exhaust your retirement savings to fund your hobbies. A part-time job will also keep you physically and mentally active. It isn’t just about the paycheck, staying in the workforce, albeit part time, can give you a sense of purpose especially if you don’t know how to spend your retirement. A fatter nest egg is a nice little side effect.

There are several routes you can take after retirement. Starting your own business is a good option for those wanting to work at their hours and pace. If you have a hobby or passion, you can look for ways to start a business around it. For example, for retired teachers, starting a tutoring business can be a good source of income, or if you were a salesperson, you could look into affiliate marketing, where you make affiliate commissions selling things you love. Amazon has a popular affiliate program you can join for no starting fee.

One advantage of being retired after so many years in the workforce is the wealth of knowledge you acquire. You can put that to good use by becoming a consultant. Becoming a tour guide, working part time at your favorite golf course, teaching English abroad, working as a librarian assistant or a bookkeeper are all professional options that let you keep that income coming while allowing you to have ample time for your friends.

6. Consider a Reverse Mortgage Loan

A reverse mortgage loan can enable you to put off accessing Social Security payments till later in life, bringing about a bigger monthly payment through social security if you wait. By drawing on your reverse mortgage loan to cover your expenses, you also get to let your investment assets grow. If your investment portfolio assets are not doing well, a reverse mortgage loan can cover you till the market conditions improve again.

It’s a way to make ends meet, but it’s definitely not free money. It’s a loan that will eventually need to be paid back, with interest, when you move out, upon your death, or if you fail to comply with any terms of the loan. Also, you only get a percentage of your home value, not the full amount. What you may qualify for depends upon several factors including age, home value and interest rates, and the amount received will be affected by any amounts owed on an existing mortgage. A reverse mortgage loan allows you to convert a portion of your equity to cash without having to sell your house. You must continue to pay taxes, insurance, and maintain your home as well as comply with loan terms in order to avoid foreclosure. While processing the loan, your lender will usually charge an origination fee, appraisal fees, closing costs and other fees that are similar to what you paid while you bought your house.

Retirement can be everything you ever wanted it to be if you plan and lay a good financial foundation that keeps your future secure. Thoroughly researching and comparing health and auto insurance plans can help you save hundreds of dollars, while still giving you the satisfaction of staying covered for difficult times. Taking advantage of discounts while shopping for everyday items is a fantastic way to aggregate savings that can add up to a substantial amount over time. Budgeting and taking note of money coming in and going out can help you stay in control of your finances. But if you still need help to cover costs on a rainy day, you can always look into getting a reverse mortgage loan.

*If you qualify and your loan is approved, a HECM Reverse Mortgage must pay off your existing mortgage(s). With a HECM/Reverse Mortgage, no monthly mortgage payment is required. Borrowers must continue to pay taxes, insurance, and home maintenance as well as comply with loan terms in order to avoid foreclosure. **Consult your financial advisor. © 2017 Re-published with permission from original post at AmericanAdvisorsGroup.com

Retire Early, Retire Right

You should always be thinking about your retirement. As crazy as it might sound, you really should be thinking about retirement in your early twenties. Not because you’ll be planning to stop working in the next few years but rather due to the fact that you’ll be there sooner than you think. So, you have to be prepared. You need to make sure that you have enough cash in your account to survive comfortably without the income that you might have been relying on. To do this, you need to consider ways that you can build up your capital, avoid debts that will eat your savings and live smart financially.

Recently, there was an advert for pension saving schemes. It showed two people’s lives in retirement on the saving plan they were currently on. One the one side someone was saving a lot and having a wonderful time after retirement. On the other, they were saving the bare minimum, and the projection for their retirement certainly wasn’t as rosy as they’d probably hoped. So perhaps this is the best place to start when thinking about your retirement.

How much are you saving? Ideally, you want to save around a quarter of your paycheck for your retirement. Unfortunately, for most people, this probably isn’t realistic. Particularly, when you take into account rent, bills, little luxuries and other expenses. You might hear people say that if you can’t afford to save your pension, you’re living past your means. But at what point are you sacrificing your enjoyment now to pay for a great future?

As such, you should really just be saving as much as you can reasonably afford. A few hundred each month isn’t an absurd level, and it’s one that most people should be able to meet. So, if you’re saving around that amount of money, you’ll have a nice pension pot to fall back on when you retire. If you’re struggling to save any money at all, a handy tip is to start thinking of it like another bill or even tax. It has to come out of your account at the end of the month. Of course, saving is a great start, but there is more that you can do to protect the outlook of your retirement and maybe even quit working earlier than most.

Buying Property

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Most people working now will be retired around 65-70 with the retirement age steadily increasing every year. You probably want to retire earlier than that and make sure you can still enjoy those last years in full. That’s why you want to buy property. There is an argument as to whether it’s financially wise to invest in property. And yes, it’s true to say that some people do end up in debt because they buy property and find that they can’t afford it. But that scenario is quite rare. The key thing to remember is that when you buy property, you leave yourself with capital that you can use and fall back on.

You might buy it with a loan but you can steadily pay that off, and if you’re doing this you can probably cut back a little on savings. Essentially, your home is your savings because you’ll be able to use the money you’ve put into it to move to a bigger home and pay the rest of the money on that one off. Then, when you retire, you can sell that and again, free the capital, moving to a smaller home and live comfortably through retirement. Yes, it sounds all too easy, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not, but it’s definitely possible if you commit to this type of plan. You just have to make sure you have some money in your accounts so that you don’t end up in debt when the home needs a repair or two.

Gaining A Second Income

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If you want to be well off when you retire or retire early, you better make sure that you have more than one income. In fact, it’s advisable that you have at least two incomes and ideally three. The good news is that one of these incomes can be completely passive and the other one you can complete in your spare time.

The nonpassive income would be what is essentially a side hustle. It’s something you can do outside of your main job, perhaps at the weekend to earn a little extra cash. The great thing about this is that if you already have a solid plan in place for your finances, that side hustle cash can be spent on things you want. But wait, isn’t that just wasting your money? Actually, no because you probably will be buying these products or services anyway. This way, they won’t affect your overall financial savings.

An example of a side hustle would be tutoring students. You might have experience as a teacher or perhaps an academic. If so, then you’ll be able to offer the support that parents are always looking for to push up their kid’s grades.

Or, you might want to consider working from home, making money online. Fortunate Investor has some great examples of ways to make money on the net. One example would certainly be working as a freelancer writer. With this job, you can provide content to websites and easily earn a lot of money in no time at all.

What about the passive income? Well, that could be any type of investment that doesn’t require a lot of your time. If you’re looking for a great example of this, you should think about flipping properties. To flip a property, you need to invest in a fixer-upper. Spend a few months renovating it on the weekends, using services from pros rather than elbow grease. Once you have done this, you can then sell it on and pocket the profit. Some people easily make double to original value of the home doing this, though it does depend on whether you buy the right property.

Avoid Frivolous Spends

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If you’re going to retire early and retire well, you need to understand the value of money. This means that you should avoid spending money in areas that won’t benefit you in the long run or that will probably turn out to not have been worth it. An example of this would be buying a new car.

According to financial experts, it’s never a smart idea to buy a car brand new because you’re pouring money down the drain by doing this. At best you’ll be wasting a few thousand that you could have saved if you bought the car second hand. At worst, you could be wasting a small fortune because you were desperate to own a dream car that will lose half it’s valued in a few years. There are exceptions to this. You might buy a classic, and if that’s the case, it could even be considered a solid investment. But this possibility is quite rare.

Of course, this is just one silly spend that you want to avoid when you’re working towards a solid retirement. Another would be tech. Tech depreciates almost as rapidly as cars. So, if you want the latest tech, it’s worth just waiting a couple years until it drops in price. Yes, you’ll always be a couple years behind the trends. But you’ll also be saving a lot more money compared with the typical consumer.

As you can see then, it is possible to retire earlier than most and to make sure you have a solid cushion of cash to fall back on. Goodluck!

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How To Plan Today For Your Child’s Tomorrow

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You want the best for your child, and you’ve probably already striven to provide them all that you can offer. You might be giving them a great education and offering them some of the things you may or may not have had as a child, or simply treating them with kindness and teaching them the values you wish you’d known at a younger age. We’re all going to age, so it’s better to prepare today for that eventuality.

Of course, there are lessons to be taught to our children outside of moral values and what it means to be a good, well-rounded person. It’s never too early to start teaching them about ‘boring’ financial things, such as affording a home, or what to do with your finances so that they’re prepared for life after their career. These are all things the world forces upon us if we want to have a comfortable life, so it’s important that you don’t shield your children from them. Help them be as prepared as possible for the challenges they’ll face in the future.

Planning a will now could be a sensible move.

Yes, I know that’s a weird thought. Perhaps you’ve put off writing a will, but, as you may know from experience, life can be unpredictable. Planning a will today could help to safeguard your child, should the unimaginable ever happen. You want to keep on protecting them no matter what happens to you, and financial support is a vital way to do that.

Help them plan for their retirement.

That probably sounds insane, doesn’t it? Your child has yet to leave school or find a career of their own, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be thinking about what to do when they retire. In fact, this is the perfect time to do so, because it means they won’t have to worry about these things when they’re an adult. Think about the way you did things, and help your child do them in a better way.

There are so many ways you could help your child secure themselves for the future, before they’ve even started earning. Companies such as Blueprint Wealth offer self managed super fund services, as this could really kickstart your child’s future. If you’re not sure how to help your child put together some planning goals, there’s no harm in searching around for advice and help with doing so. Perhaps it took you too long to do so yourself, and you could’ve been better prepared if you’d done something earlier. Sound familiar? Well, there’s some great advice out there if you want your child to have better options.

At the end of the day, planning today is the best piece of advice I can give. Your child’s future is a long way away, so don’t feel too overwhelmed by the prospect of planning retirement funds and wills. Think of it as planning way in advance, because your child does have a lot of time before that day comes, and they should be spending that time enjoying life, rather than worrying halfway down the line if they should have done things differently in order to prepare for their financial future.