5 Habits That Will Inevitably Sabotage Your Finances

Money is an important part of our lives. We buy what we need with it, we fund our future with it and we support others with it.hfymkfhykm

Unfortunately, there are a number of bad habits that can sabotage our financial well-being. Some of these habits won’t destroy our finances right away, but over time, we may find ourselves in a dire situation with little hope of recovery.

Let’s take a look at some of these bad habits and how you can avoid or conquer them as quickly as possible.

1. Smoking. According to the CDC, “Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.” Talk about bad for your finances and your health.

Let’s pretend for a moment that the only cost from smoking is what hits your wallet — not your lungs. OK, how much will you be spending?

Let’s say that a pack of cigarettes costs you $4.49 — although the price widely varies from state to state. And, let’s say you smoke two packs a day. That’s $8.98 a day.

What to Do When Your Budget Exceeds Your Income

Every now and then, I’ll reach out to the Good Financial Cents community for their input regarding what they’d like to see on the blog.hyxfk,xhf

One person said their biggest financial fear wasn’t generating enough income to maintain their current plan. I thought I’d address that fear in this post. After all, that’s pretty scary, right?

Imagine not bringing in enough income to pay your bills or those unexpected expenses that come up every so often. Perhaps you don’t have to imagine that scenario — you’re living it!

You know exactly what it’s like to be late on your bills and have to borrow using credit cards to make ends meet. Whether you’re in that scenario or you want to know what to do should you find yourself there, this post is for you.

The Financial Blogger’s Conference community provided me with some of their best tips that I’ll incorporate into this article. You’ll love what they have to say.

Alan Steinborn at DestinationDebtFreedom.com has some important preliminary advice for those who find themselves in this situation:

One important thing is to not be hard on yourself.

5 Reasons Your Credit Score Matters in Retirement

Finally…you’ve said good-bye to your last job and you’re settling into retirement. Along with xgh,lxhf,the daily commute, one of the things you can cross off your to-do list is maintaining a pristine credit score, right? Not really. There are reasons why, even in retirement, having excellent credit can be a boon.

Here are five scenarios in which having and maintaining great credit can help you reach a goal or address a lifestyle issue that may come up when you’re no longer working.

1. You Plan to Travel
One dream you may be longing to fulfill as a retiree is seeing the world, now that you have more time to do it. Whether your destination is Cape Town or Cabo San Lucas, what can help get the best deals on expenses like airline tickets and hotels is a credit card that’s generous with rewards. (See Top Airline Miles Credit Cards for specific examples.)

Of course, you need excellent credit to secure one of these cards. You also need to use the credit cards you have and pay off any balances in full to maintain a good credit history. “Use it or lose it,”

At the beginning traders often have questions

What brokers makes sense to work with?

As soon as it comes to your money, do not rush into the Forex market at breakneck speed. First of all – the right choice your broker.

First, choose those who you can trust, look at the feedback what the Internet gets this or that company, how widely it is represented in the information flows (it’s also easy to make using any internet search systems), what it offers to customers.

Second, carefully review the benefits of Internet-based platforms. Some brokers are holding too high spreads, charge commissions for deposits and withdrawals. Choose those who set the minimum commission – is significantly save your money. Look at the most appropriate forex trading services for you.

What guided opening of the transaction?

The successful trader Forex market is crucial economic information affecting the state of the global currency market. Equally important is the economic and technical analysis of the Forex market, which is done on the basis of forecast currency movements in the market.euro dollar forex forecast.

Experts comprising Forex forecasts tend to have the highest skills of the

How Can I Fight an Unfair Medical Bill?

This week’s question is from a reader who’s ticked off at a doctor. Literally.

On April 29, I went to a walk-in clinic to have a tick removed from my head (I could not remove it because I could not see it) and on Friday, May 31, I received a bill for $750 to be paid by May 28. Is this normal, and is there anyone who can help me? Am I to blame for not asking the cost of this before they helped me? I am in my 60s, and this has been so stressful. -Sara

If this story had been about any business other than health care, I would have thought this reader was pulling my leg, because the price is so out of line with the service received. But because it concerns medical costs, I find it not only believable, but likely.

Exactly What Are These Services Worth?

A couple of years ago I had a high fever and couldn’t immediately get in to see my doctor. I was in such misery, I drove myself to a nearby hospital emergency room. After a few hours, a few tests and a shot of antibiotics, I was on my way.

Several days later I

These 13 Numbers Are the Keys to Understanding Your Finances

Understanding a few basic numbers can give you a good picture of your financial health and help you plan your future. You may have seen these terms mentioned in personal finance articles and in the news. Learn what these numbers mean and how to use them to improve your money situation.

1. Net Worth

Net worth is the most important measure of your overall financial health. The calculation of net worth is simple — in short, subtract everything you owe from everything you have:

Net Worth = Total Assets – Total Liabilities

Assets include all property you own (including cars, a home, etc.), savings, investments, and the money in your checking account.

Liabilities include credit card debt, student loan balances, mortgage balance, auto loan balances, and other debt. It is possible to have negative net worth if your liabilities exceed your assets — this is a common situation for new college graduates who have student loan debt and few assets, for example.

There are two ways to improve your net worth: Increase your assets, or reduce your debt. Do both simultaneously, and you’ll be on your way to improving your financial health quickly.

2. Home Equity

Home equity is a measure of how much of your home you

Do You Want to Be Filthy Rich? Here’s How

It’s a fact: Most people don’t have to face the “problems” that come from getting too rich too young. Which begs the question of when and how to start some financial planning — and possibly becoming wealthy a little later in life.

The easiest and best answer is start now, said certified financial planner Geri Eisenman Pell, CEO of Pell Wealth Partners.

“You’re never really to young to start or too late to start figuring out when you want to be financially independent and when to create that road map to retirement,” she said, adding that everyone needs a financial plan and a financial planner to help craft it.”You need to figure out what your goals are, how you’re going to achieve your goals, and what you’re going to do on a daily, monthly [and] annual basis,” Pell said.

How to Avoid Financial ScamsStart Now »View all Courses

Key components to consider include a Roth individual retirement account, 401(k) plan, cash reserves and education savings, which Pell called the “foundation blocks” of a financial plan.

Some retirement vehicles can be considered “gifts,” thanks to “fabulous” financial perks, said Pell.

“If you put money in a

Best 3 Mortgage Calculator Websites with PMI

Private mortgage insurance is a risk-management product designed to protect a lending institution from losing money if the borrowing party defaults on a loan. Most lenders require private mortgage insurance (PMI) for loans that have a loan-to-value percentage that exceeds 80%, meaning the homebuyer gave a down payment that was less than 20%. A smaller down payment allows borrowers to obtain a mortgage faster as they do not have to spend as much time saving money. A borrower is required to make monthly payments on his PMI until his home accumulates a certain amount of equity, at which point the lender does not consider the borrower high risk.

PMI is only applicable to traditional loans. A Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan has its own mortgage insurance and comes with different requirements. Veterans Administration loans allow a borrower to make no down payments but do not require mortgage insurance.

Private mortgage insurance typically costs anywhere from 0.25 to 2% of the borrower’s loan balance every year. However, the percentage depends on the amount of the down payment, terms of the loan and borrower’s credit score. A greater number of risk factors translates to a higher rate. In the United States, there are six

Expert Tips for Cutting Credit Card Debt

Being smart about credit card debt can help the average investor bank a guaranteed 18%. It is a conscious decision that could save the average household approximately $1,500 a year. So how can you bank these savings? Read on for tips from financial experts on how to tackle debt and grow you savings.

The Debt Dilemma
Let’s say you owe $5,000 on your credit cards and are paying 18% interest. The credit card companies, which of course like having a steady stream of revenue, might ask you to make a minimum payment of $150 a month. But just making a minimum payment will result in years of debt.

Assuming you make no new purchases and pay a fixed $150 each month for the next several years, how long will it take to pay off the $5,000 debt? Three years and 11 months. You will also end up paying approximately $2,000 in interest. That’s a lot of money to pay for credit.

Average Household Credit Card Debt
In relying on credit cards, some people throw away tens of thousands of dollars over decades.

As of 2015, the average amount of credit card debt carried by the average American household was $5,746.92, according to a Harris

Follow These Rules When Borrowing Money for Your Business

After a long hiatus in the aftermath of the financial crisis, small business lending has started to perk up. The conditions are much better for obtaining financing, but the rules have changed. Banks and other lenders are more willing to lend than they have been for several years, but they have also raised the bar for small businesses looking for funding. Lenders are looking for the best and the brightest, and they’re expecting complete transparency of your business. To get the attention of small business lenders, much less a loan approval, make sure you understand the new dos and don’ts when borrowing money for your business.

Don’t Try to Wing It
Lenders want to see preparation. Long before you seek capital, you need to be prepared with a business plan to convince lenders that you know what you’re doing and that the venture can make money. Your business plan needs to include a current balance sheet, profit-and-loss statement and a detailed budget that shows how you expect to make money over the next three years.

Do Think Beyond Year One
Think about your business’s cash flow needs in the first several years. It’s better to get all the cash you need upfront,

5 Tips to Boost Your Credit Score in Retirement

How to Raise Your Score

The steps you need to take to raise a lagging credit score are essentially the same during retirement as they were while you are working. And without a salary to bolster your income, they are especially important.

  1. Check your credit report. Your credit score is derived from information in your credit report, so you need to go over it carefully to make sure there are no errors that could be dragging down your number. You can get a free report from each of the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) once a year; one website to use isAnnualCreditReport.com, which the bureaus sponsor. Put in a request from each bureau every four months, and you can effectively monitor your report year round for free. (For more, see Top Places to Get a Free Credit Score or Report.)
  1. Pay down your debt. A portion of your score is calculated on the total amount of debt you carry, and many seniors are still burdened with hefty amounts. More than 40% of individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 are still paying off a first and even a second mortgage, according to AARP, with

How Much to Save for an Emergency

A sound financial plan begins with stashing a pile of cash that you can tap in case of an emergency. Experts differ on how much you need to set aside, from as little as three months’ worth to as much as a year’s worth of living expenses. How much you need may depend on your personal profile.

Now, HelloWallet, a developer of personal finance software, has created a tool that can help you nail down the amount that’s right for you. Atwww.hellowallet.com/emergencysavings, you’ll enter information including your take-home pay, regular monthly expenses, whether you rent or own your home, and your health insurance policy’s annual deductible and out-of-pocket maximum. The tool then estimates the amount of easily accessible savings you should have in the event of a minor emergency, a major emergency or a layoff from work. Starting from the ground up? You can use each figure as an incremental goal toward building your emergency fund. To track your regular monthly expenses, use a budgeting site such as Mint.com so you can link your bank, credit card and other financial accounts.

The best place to keep your emergency fund is in a savings or money market deposit account with a high yield

5 Ways to Prioritize Your Student Loan Payments

NEW YORK — When you’re fresh out of college and bringing home your very first substantial paycheck, it’s sometimes hard to remember that some of that money needs to be used responsibly.

Years later when people are moving to the more “balanced” stage of their lives, their 30s, loan repayments still aren’t always top of mind. When you have a robust social life, savings goals, vacation plans, rent payments and a bad Seamless or Uber habit, it’s easy to forget that student loan payments should remain a financial priority.

As someone who has learned the hard way but managed to turn it around, below are five tips to help you stay on track when paying back your college debt.

1. Research the Best 401(k) Option for You

Upon landing your first job, there are a lot financial decisions to be made, including signing up for medical insurance through your employer and joining your company’s 401(k) program. Depending on your situation — your total loan balance, monthly payment, and overall income and expenses — it may make sense to hold off contributing to your 401(k). This choice isn’t for everyone as it depends on a variety of factors. For example, it depends on your tax

6 Tidbits of Financial Advice You Should Ignore

At some point, we’ve all been given financial advice that later left us scratching our heads in disappointment or confusion.

Unfortunately, it’s tough to weed out all the bad information that can be found in books or on the Internet, especially because so many self-proclaimed financial experts abound.

But there is help to figure this out. For instance, CreditCards.com says bad financial advice usually has at least one of the following qualities:

  • Confusing.
  • Comes from someone with a vested interest.
  • Unsolicited.
  • One size fits all.
  • Framed as the only option.
  • Promises quick and easy results.

Here are six common tidbits of financial advice you may want to ignore:

1. Credit cards are evil. Credit cards do not have any inherent qualities, good or bad. It is human behavior that determines whether they are beneficial or problematic.

If you are unable to resist swiping the magic plastic for an extended period of time or if you use it to fund outrageous shopping sprees, your issues go way deeper than a credit card.

Used responsibly, credit cards offer great rewards and eliminate the need to have a wad of cash in tow. They also provide buyer protections. You just need to be disciplined enough to pay off the balance each month.

Besides, you will want

Steps You Must Take Before the Next Financial Crash

You’ve probably been seeing headlines about yet another financial crash on the horizon. It’s true, the International Monetary Fund has released grim projections for the immediate future of world finance. Why? Well, it’s complicated. Basically, the forces which were put in place to fix the last recession may just have caused another bubble in another sector.

The 2008 Recession

The last bubble and subsequent recession were caused when Wall Street took on huge amounts of cheap debt. This debt, as it was repaid, was meant to pay off many times over. But the reality of the situation was much different. In many cases, the debt was put on the back of private individuals who couldn’t handle it, who shouldn’t have been offered a loan in the first place. They defaulted en masse and — among many other factors — it caused the bubble to pop. Debt is only worth something if it gets paid back, plus interest. In 2008 the whole house of cards collapsed. Massive firms like Lehman Brothers went under and a lot of money just disappeared.

The ‘Brittle’ 2015 Global Market

Things are different this time around and Wall Street isn’t on the hook. In an attempt to stabilize global markets

9 Times It’s Smart to Be in Debt

It’s never advisable to rush out and take on debt, but there are times when it actually makes sense not to pay off debt.

Debt, it turns out, can be a kind of friend, even if it’s just that flaky friend who can’t really be trusted. You see, all debt is not alike. Some of the worst kinds, such as unsecured credit card debt, can wreck your budget, but even there, you have cases where it won’t and could even work to your advantage. Other kinds of debt might seem imposing with those big red “Past Due” stamps but pose less of a threat to your financial future.

Here’s a guide to handling that debt — rather than bemoaning your inability to pay it all off — either by slowing down the payment process or leveraging or reorganizing what you owe in clever ways. These are the nine instances where it might make sense not pay off debt.

1. Leveraging Zero Percent APR Credit Cards

Many zero percent APR credit cards have hit the market, and the idea behind them is great if you’re part of the credit card industry: Lure customers in with a low-low introductory rate, and then make money off

Key Financial Steps to Take Before Year End

OK, it’s early November, and there’s plenty of time left on the calendar until year-end, right?

Maybe, and maybe not — at least when it comes to tidying up your household money matters. You’ll need more time than you think to get your financial house in order by Dec. 31, and the clock is ticking. Time constraints with Thanksgiving and Christmas beckoning will surely swallow up some valuable time, as will end of the year (and quarter) workplace deadlines, leaving less time than you think to make financial decisions that could mean big bucks (and less in taxes) to the financial side of your life.

Managing your PortfolioStart Now »View all Courses

Financial consumers should take end-of-the-year financial deadlines seriously, as tax, retirement savings and other household financial decisions can spell the difference between sizable individual assets, and missed opportunities that curb the size of those assets.

No worries, though, as help is on the way. In the latest edition of Fidelity Investments Viewpoints report, the Boston-based mutual fund behemoth lists its top 10 end-of-the-year “smart financial moves,” including a thorough review of your investment portfolio for asset allocation purposes (that’s number one on the Fidelity list.)

Turning investment losses into

Which Debt to Pay First: Lowest Balance or Highest APR?

The average American household debt is $15,706, and $7,327 of it comes from credit cards alone, Nerdwallet found this year in an analysis of government data and other statistics. About 44 percent of those polled pay off their card balances monthly (good for them!), which leaves the other 56 percent holding some expensive debt.

Taboo topic. While people have a hard time dealing with debt, they also have a hard time talking about it. A poll by CreditCards.com found that Americans would rather discuss their salary, weight, politics or religion with a stranger. They found the only topic of discussion rivaling debt as a taboo was “details of your love life,” with only 19 percent willing to discuss.

And if people can’t talk about debt, maybe that’s why research shows most of us take the wrong (or at least more expensive) approach to paying it back — paying off the smallest accounts first. There’s a more cost-effective way to do it, as we’ll explain, but both approaches require one common element: motivation. If you aren’t going to make consistently paying down debt a priority, you lose out regardless of strategy. So while there is a clear, mathematically correct approach to dealing with

What are Government Loans?

Some government programs offer loans to help individuals, communities and businesses address various needs.

There are many reasons to seek a government loan rather than one from a private lender. Government loans typically have low interest rates and offer fixed or subsidized options, as well as deferred or flexible repayment plans. Some also offer partial loan forgiveness in exchange for public work. Note that governments may consider the worth of enterprises that private lenders would overlook.

Government loans provide access to low-cost capital needed to buy a home, pay for an education, fund a business and more.

Educational loans are extremely popular. They fund research-focused areas as well as foreign-based endeavors. They’re considered risky because they depend on individuals and are rarely backed by physical collateral, like property in a home loan.

Most government loans involve financing home purchases, which are safer than educational loans because they’re backed by physical property.

Other loan types include business and industrial loans, loans for veterans, disaster relief loans, and agricultural, rural and farm service loans.

The application process for government loans is often slow since the demand for them is high. But government loans are often a win-win for borrowers and lenders when weighing the impacts and risks for

Chances That Mortgage Rates Will Decrease Are Low

Heading into 2016, chances are slim that mortgage rates will decrease. Rates have hovered at historic lows since the financial crisis of 2008. For many consumers, this was one of the few positives of a deep and prolonged economic slowdown that eroded wealth, eliminated jobs and killed consumer confidence. Those with the means, not to mention the nerve, to jump into the housing market when everyone else was staying away enjoyed some of the lowest borrowing costs ever seen.

Mortgage rates have stayed low for longer than economists expected. However, the economic landscape is shifting, with most signs pointing to modestly rising rates in 2016. The economic recovery has finally found solid footing, demand for mortgages is rising and the Federal Reserve has hinted at a looming interest rate increase.

Economic Strength
Mortgages rates correlate strongly with the federal funds rate, which rises when the economy is strong and drops when the economy is weak. The Federal Reserve uses open market operations to raise or lower the federal funds rate. In response to recessions, the Fed lowers the rate to encourage borrowing and spending. Because inflation can be an unwanted side effect of keeping interest rates too low for too long, the