This Money Zone covers-no, no, no!-the “B” word that so many of us dread. A budget is a diet for your finances, and who likes to diet? But diet we must, if we want to fit into that swimsuit or achieve our financial dreams. So here’s the (relatively) painless Money Club guide to budgeting. Icebreaker [...]
What’s your money style? Do you save every dime or live it up for today? Do you avoid the topic of money altogether? Are you a Hoarder, Splurger, or Avoider? This Money Zone will help you learn about your Money Style-so you can build on your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. Icebreaker Go around [...]
Take this quiz to see if you are a Hoarder, Avoider or Splurger. Circle the answer that best describes how you feel. The profiles are rendered in the extreme for quick recognition.
Whether your husband’s death is expected or sudden, dealing with the details of death is not an easy job. At a time when you feel least able to cope with life, you must often make serious financial decisions that will have a lasting impact on your future well-being.
You may be wondering: How the heck do I find what I’m looking for in the vast expanses of cyberspace? How do I tell good quality information from junk?
Let’s see where you stand on the whole savings issue. How many of these items can you check off?
To estimate how much you’ll need in retirement, look at several factors: how early you plan to retire, your longevity (and that of your spouse, if you’re married), the income you will earn in retirement from part-time employment or consulting, your expenses in retirement, and the effects of inflation. Here is a worksheet you can [...]
Before you tie the knot again, take steps to make sure you’ve finished with old business, set up your new arrangements, and made agreements to handle your financial lives together.
We are all members of an intricate financial network that spans the globe, relating gold miners in South Africa to rice farmers in Japan to bankers in Switzerland to restaurant owners in the United States. The name of this financial network? The global economy. Reading the financial news is how you find out what’s going on in this delicate yet powerful system.
Every day you are bombarded with a bewildering array of financial and economic information. Reports on such items as the GDP, unemployment rate, consumer price index, and the money supply are publicized not only in the financial news but also in local newspapers.
Women are born nurturers, and we have a tendency to overextend ourselves emotionally as well as financially when it comes to taking care of loved ones. We too frequently take on the role of caregiver without fully realizing all that we’re being asked to do.
How much are you worth? As a human being, your value is priceless, and has no relation whatsoever to what accountants and bankers call net worth. Net worth is merely a way of calculating where you stand financially-do you have assets to call your own, or do you they really belong to your creditors? It’s [...]
What is your net worth? Quite simply, it’s what you have minus what you owe, your assets less your liabilities.
It’s smart to shop for financing before you shop for a new house. Pre-qualification can be a valuable negotiating tool, since the seller will know you’ll be able to close on the home quickly. And by pre-qualifying, you can make sure you’re shopping in the right price range, so you don’t fall in love with a house that costs far more than you can afford.
A big dilemma is whether to choose a fixed-rate mortgage or an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). With a fixed-rate mortgage, your monthly payment is set at the beginning and will never change. If you opt for an adjustable-rate loan, your initial interest rate may be lower, but the interest rate and monthly payment can climb quickly as interest rates rise.
Teaching your children about money is the best way to impart your most important values-as well as to make sure that they don’t wind up broke on your doorstep at 35. Giving your kids the tools to manage their own money wisely can instill in them a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence as they set [...]
Learning about money doesn’t have to be tedious or dull. Games are a fun, non-threatening way to teach your kids about money, saving, and responsibility. Use the three games below to get you started “playing with money” in your family. Once you have the hang of it, see if your kids can come up with [...]
To help you figure out your relationship to risk, we’ve created a short quiz. Take a few moments to complete it, choosing the answer that best describes you.
Long-term care is a subject on many people’s minds nowadays-and for good reason. Medicare does not cover extended stays in nursing homes. Medicare only covers a short period of time, after which-sorry to say it, gals-you are responsible for footing the bill! Since most people will spend an extended period of time in a long-term [...]
Here’s a quick and easy exercise to see if long-term care insurance is for you.
To stretch your savings this holiday season, create a holiday budget.
Getting organized is a never-ending process-just when you think you’ve gotten it all together, something changes and you need to organize it all again! This Money Zone will help you get more organized and (believe it or not) enjoy the process. Icebreaker Go around the room and give an example of an organizational technique that [...]
Got records? Most people do. But can you find last month’s bank statement? A copy of your will? The manual for your VCR? If your answer was something unprintable, you might need to get a bit more organized. This is an excellent time to set up a financial record-keeping system for your family. So, let’s [...]
Finding a trusted advisor is one of the most important steps along the road to financial freedom. A financial advisor who knows your situation and has your best interests at heart can motivate you to move quickly toward your dreams and can provide an essential sounding board for your financial plans. An advisor you trust [...]
Just as when choosing a doctor, you want to find a financial advisor who has the experience and expertise you need and whose opinion you trust. Some planners are focused on selling products to boost their fees rather than tailoring an investment strategy for your individual needs, while others can be “pushy” or condescending. But [...]
What can you do to make a difference? When we Money Guides began our quest sixteen years ago, we developed five guiding principles to make sure that we were using our time, talents and money in the most effective way. We continue to use these principles today. And so can you. Use them as you [...]
Everyone has fears about money. We worry that we won’t have enough money to pay our bills at the end of the month. We worry that we won’t be able to afford a vacation. We worry that we’ll outlive our money. We picture ourselves working behind the counter at McDonald’s at age 85, while bizarrely [...]
Let’s clean out the old subconscious, shall we? People hang onto their money fears long after the danger has passed, and they worry about things that will never, ever come to pass. How much of what you worry about actually happens? For this one, you’ll need some paper and a timer. Set the timer for [...]
If you don’t have a will, you don’t have a way.to control your own estate and ensure that your assets will be distributed as you wish. Yet millions of Americans don’t have a will or trust in place. You shouldn’t add to those numbers-providing for what happens after you go is the responsible thing to [...]
Because you never know what might happen in life, we encourage everyone to schedule a “Contingency Day,” a day on which you and your partner discuss your finances frankly and openly. After going through the process once, you should update your discussion by having a contingency day meeting each year. The most caring activity in [...]
Establishing credit in your own name (or fixing the credit you already have) will help you buy a house, a car, or any other major purchase you desire-at the very best rates. Improving your credit is easier than you think. We’ll show you how. Icebreaker When did you first use a credit card-your own or [...]
If you don’t have credit in your name. Then, you need to get some! Getting your first credit card can be tricky, because many credit card companies want to see a credit history before they give you credit, and you need to develop a credit history by having a credit card account. Seems like an [...]
If you have children, chances are that providing a college education for them is high on your list of goals. With the cost of tuition, fees, room and board for four years at a private university averaging $108,000 and state school costs averaging $42,000 for four years, it’s no wonder parents are in a cold [...]
Given the high cost of a college education, you might sometimes say “Why bother? I’ll never be able to save enough.” But as a future Money Star, you know that ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. There are lots of ways you can conquer the education cost woes. We know of someone who [...]
You can still bring home the bacon without a full-time job. Making money from your own business (of whatever size) can be rewarding financially as well as emotionally. You are in control. The business can be part time or full time, solo or with partners and employees, big or small. It’s all up to you. [...]
Before you decide to start your own business, figure out whether that’s the right move given your circumstances and personality. Remember, if you go into business for yourself, you will have no one to report to. While that may seem like a blessing, you must also be prepared to do many jobs yourself, at least [...]
You might be happily married, or divorced, or you may find yourself somewhere in between. Or perhaps you have a friend or family member going through divorce. Divorce touches almost everyone’s life, at some point. As devastating as divorce can be, it is also a time for growth and new opportunity. Icebreaker If your parents [...]
A bit of advance planning goes a long way. Before you begin divorce proceedings, take steps to prepare for what lies ahead. When you divide property and income, each of you will have only half of what you had before, or perhaps less. If you don’t have your own regular income, you will need money [...]
To cut expenses, you will need to find out where your money goes. This is not much fun but we’ll try to get it over with as quickly as possible. And when you are finished, you’ll be so glad you did this exercise. Step 1. Document your spending Begin by getting a little notepad, the [...]
Whether you are married, single, or somewhere in between, you can’t depend on Prince Charming. No marriage lasts forever, and many women never marry at all. As a result, you are likely to be handling money on your own for most of your adult life. So what’s a gal to do? Taking responsibility is the [...]
Download this Quiz (PDF) Love may be blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener. For a marriage to succeed, both partners must work together financially as well as emotionally, rather than competing against each other. What’s the answer? Repeat after us: communicate, communicate, communicate. Talk openly and frequently about your finances. Here’s a quiz to help [...]
How you define success may depend on your gender. Often, a man’s sense of accomplishment is closely tied to his professional achievements-a prestigious title, large salary and material possessions are integral to his sense of self-worth. Generally, women are more multi-dimensional and place as much value on time spent with loved ones and on self-development [...]
To figure out what you like to do and get someone to pay you for doing it-that’s the goal. Get focused by taking some quiet time to complete the worksheet below. Don’t dwell on each question or over-think each answer. Simply jot down any idea that comes to you, no matter how ridiculous it may [...]
Your financial institution can be your partner in pursuing financial freedom. Whether you use a bank, credit union, savings and loan, a money market account at a brokerage company, or some combination, your choice of financial institution can make your financial life much easier. Icebreaker What kinds of financial institutions have you used in the [...]
People generally choose a bank based on three things: location, location-and, of course, location. But is your neighborhood bank the best financial institution for you? By examining your needs and available options, you can make sure that you are getting the best deal. And that research can really pay off, possibly saving you hundreds of [...]