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Grow your net worth.



Updated: 2018-01-22T05:05:00-05:00

 



Where You Can Live on $50k Per Year

2018-01-22T05:05:00-05:00

Business Insider lists 19 cities where you can live on $50k per year. Here are my comments related to this: Where you live has a HUGE impact on your net worth. It's a fact of financial life that some places are simply more expensive than others -- some MUCH more expensive. It's hard to get ahead when you live in a place that's 50% more costly than a comparable city. I prefer the option of going low in cost and high in income by making a lot of money while living in a low-cost city. And don't say it can't...

Business Insider lists 19 cities where you can live on $50k per year.

Here are my comments related to this:

  • Where you live has a HUGE impact on your net worth. It's a fact of financial life that some places are simply more expensive than others -- some MUCH more expensive. It's hard to get ahead when you live in a place that's 50% more costly than a comparable city.
  • I prefer the option of going low in cost and high in income by making a lot of money while living in a low-cost city. And don't say it can't be done -- I've done it for almost 30 years now.
  • Of their cities listed, I've lived in or near four of them. And I happen to live in one now -- and the most beautiful place we've ever lived in.
  • This is just their list of the top 50 markets that are best to live in for low costs. There are tons of much smaller markets that are inexpensive and still great.

I know there are other reasons to live in a spot than money (like family). But if you have the choice and are mobile, moving to a low cost-of living city will help you grow your net worth and ultimately retire much faster than a high-cost city.




Five Signs You Retired Too Early

2018-01-15T05:05:00-05:00

CNN Money lists five signs you retired too early as follows: 1. You're bored 2. Your expenses are unpredictable 3. You don't qualify for Medicare 4. You're withdrawing early Social Security benefits 5. Your financial planner isn't happy Here's my take on these: Yes, it's true that you need something to retire TO, not just retire FROM something. If you have no life outside of work, you either need to find some things to do or keep working. As for me, I have so many fun things I like to do that I'm busier than ever (in a good way)...CNN Money lists five signs you retired too early as follows: 1. You're bored2. Your expenses are unpredictable3. You don't qualify for Medicare4. You're withdrawing early Social Security benefits5. Your financial planner isn't happy Here's my take on these: Yes, it's true that you need something to retire TO, not just retire FROM something. If you have no life outside of work, you either need to find some things to do or keep working. As for me, I have so many fun things I like to do that I'm busier than ever (in a good way) and get up at 5:30 am each day because I want to do them! Here's where a budget comes in handy. Not only does it help get you to retirement (by being a tool you can use to control your spending), but helps you predict what your retirement budget (both income and expenses) could be. You do NOT want to retire without completing a solid budget beforehand and one that includes margins of safety in case income is lower or costs are higher than expected. We had 20+ years of data in Quicken, so estimating our retirement budget was a breeze. You don't have to have that much info, but I'd suggest at least five years to have a good guess at what your costs will be. Healthcare in retirement is a HUGE issue because it's so expensive. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of great alternatives, but some gaining popularity are health sharing ministries like Samaritan Ministries and Medi-Share. You may want to check them out. There's a whole debate on when to take Social Security. No one knows the best time for any one individual since we don't know when a specific person will die. That said, generally taking it later is better and if you have to have it to make your retirement work, it's probably best to delay a bit and build up some more savings. LOL! First of all, I'm pretty skeptical on the wisdom of many "planners" (who are really just glorified sales people). Second, he may not be happy simply because you're moving from accumulating assets which he gets paid to manage to drawing down those assets. I wouldn't put much weight on what my planner thought as long as I was confident in my own ability to manage my finances. If you know nothing about money, you're kind of stuck and will need to listen to someone more knowledgeable. Anyway, that's my take on these five. What do you think of them? [...]



Suze Orman Says 70 is the Correct Retirement Age

2018-01-08T05:05:00-05:00

This piece by financial "expert" Suze Orman came out a bit ago. Here's the headline statement: If I resurrected "How Am I Doing?" today, I'd be handing out plenty of failing grades to anyone who thinks they will be able to retire before they turn 70. Yes, you heard me right: 70 is the new retirement age—not a month or year before. She goes on to elaborate: Look, I totally get that if you are reading MONEY you're probably a diligent saver. But it's always dangerous to assume you're better off than you really are. You likely have plenty saved...

This piece by financial "expert" Suze Orman came out a bit ago.

Here's the headline statement:

If I resurrected "How Am I Doing?" today, I'd be handing out plenty of failing grades to anyone who thinks they will be able to retire before they turn 70. Yes, you heard me right: 70 is the new retirement age—not a month or year before.

She goes on to elaborate:

Look, I totally get that if you are reading MONEY you're probably a diligent saver. But it's always dangerous to assume you're better off than you really are. You likely have plenty saved up to breeze through 15 years or so of retirement. But, people, if you stop working in your 60s, your retirement stash might need to support you for 30 years, not 15.

Then she details her three steps to retirement:

Step 1: Delay Tapping Social Security Until 70
Step 2: Lay the Foundation Now to Work Longer Later
Step 3: Truly Enjoy a Secure Retirement

Several thoughts on this one:

  • For most Americans, she's probably right. Why? Because they don't save like they should while working. They spend too much and save too little, which ends up meaning you need to work longer.
  • That said, if you manage your money correctly, you can retire -- and retire quite well -- waaaaaay before 70. I did it at 52 and could have retired almost a decade earlier quite comfortably.
  • If I was stuck at retiring at 70, I'd be very, very depressed.
  • Even if you're "older" (like in your 40s or 50s) and haven't saved much, there's still a way you can retire before 70. For details check out this post on how to retire in ten years.

Anyway, that's my take on her thoughts. What's yours?




Happy New Year

2018-01-01T05:05:00-05:00

Just want to wish you all a very happy New Year! May 2018 be your best year yet! I'll be back next week. As of now I'm in college football heaven. ;)

Just want to wish you all a very happy New Year!

May 2018 be your best year yet!

I'll be back next week. As of now I'm in college football heaven. ;)




Merry Christmas

2017-12-25T05:05:00-05:00

Just wanted to wish all FMF readers a very Merry Christmas!!!! I'll be taking the next couple weeks off to enjoy the season. Hope you all have a great holiday!!

Just wanted to wish all FMF readers a very Merry Christmas!!!! I'll be taking the next couple weeks off to enjoy the season.

Hope you all have a great holiday!!




How to Save on Healthcare Costs

2017-12-18T05:05:00-05:00

Money magazine ran a piece on "Four Ways to Cut Your Medical Bills" which inspired this response in a letter to the editor: Here is my list of free measures that can be taken to save on health care costs that are usually underutilized: 1. Don't get overweight. 2. Do get some regular exercise. 3. Don't smoke. 4. Don't overuse alcohol or don't use it at all. 5. Don't use illicit drugs. 6. Do get enough sleep. 7. Do wear your seat belt. Over my 31 years as a practicing internal medicine physician, most of my patients would have been...Money magazine ran a piece on "Four Ways to Cut Your Medical Bills" which inspired this response in a letter to the editor: Here is my list of free measures that can be taken to save on health care costs that are usually underutilized: 1. Don't get overweight.2. Do get some regular exercise.3. Don't smoke.4. Don't overuse alcohol or don't use it at all.5. Don't use illicit drugs.6. Do get enough sleep.7. Do wear your seat belt. Over my 31 years as a practicing internal medicine physician, most of my patients would have been better off just following these rules. My thoughts on these: 1. I work out six times per week (three days of weights and three of cardio.) I also have a trainer that I meet with regularly. I have lost 20 pounds and am in the best shape of my life. I know that there are health reasons to be the right weight. I also know that not being overweight can help you save money and earn more as well.  2. In addition to what I said above, I feel better when I exercise too. There are many financial benefits to being healthy and in good shape. For one thing, it makes you more attractive which is one step in making more money. 3. I've been writing a long time about not smoking. Check out this post from 2005. My summary then holds true today: You're paying a lot of money to kill yourself. ;) 4. I don't use alcohol as I have a policy against drinking my calories. Besides, I generally don't like the taste. 5. Uh, no drugs. 6. If you work out, you'll probably sleep better (I do). And sleeping better has a whole host of positive benefits. 7. Of course. Does anyone NOT wear their seat belt these days? How about you? How do you rate on these seven tips? [...]



Wasted Money

2017-12-11T05:05:00-05:00

Here's a piece from Money that says Americans paid $15 billion in overdraft fees last year. The details: In 2016, U.S. consumers paid a total of $15 billion in fees for bouncing checks or overdrafting -- which is when a customer tries to make a purchase without enough money in their account to cover the transaction -- according to new data released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He also pointed out that the average amount of money consumers overdraft by is about $24 -- but that banks often charge fees of around $34 for each overdraft incident. I don't...

Here's a piece from Money that says Americans paid $15 billion in overdraft fees last year. The details:

In 2016, U.S. consumers paid a total of $15 billion in fees for bouncing checks or overdrafting -- which is when a customer tries to make a purchase without enough money in their account to cover the transaction -- according to new data released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

He also pointed out that the average amount of money consumers overdraft by is about $24 -- but that banks often charge fees of around $34 for each overdraft incident.

I don't know why I'm surprised at stuff like this any longer.

You'd think that after all these years of blogging that I'd have it ingrained how poor Americans are at money management and nothing would shock me.

Then something like this comes along.

$15 billion in WASTED MONEY. That's what this is saying. People spent money they didn't have and ended up not only paying the original bill but actually paid $15 BILLION more.

Ugh. When will these bad decisions end????




The Best Meal-Kit Delivery Service is None

2017-12-05T05:05:00-05:00

Here's a piece by Money magazine which rates the various meal-kit delivery options: A summary of what they found: 1. Plated 2. Blue Apron 3. Sun Basket 4. Green Chef 5. Martha & Marley Spoon 6. HelloFresh Here's my take on them: VERY EXPENSIVE!!!! Our friend at ESI Money did an analysis on Blue Apron and found these kits cost a fortune: The cost of Blue Apron is $9.99 per meal. Let’s round it off to $10 to make the math easy. Let’s assume you had Blue Apron for every meal for a year for a family of four. That’s...

Here's a piece by Money magazine which rates the various meal-kit delivery options:

A summary of what they found:

1. Plated
2. Blue Apron
3. Sun Basket
4. Green Chef
5. Martha & Marley Spoon
6. HelloFresh

Here's my take on them: VERY EXPENSIVE!!!!

Our friend at ESI Money did an analysis on Blue Apron and found these kits cost a fortune:

  • The cost of Blue Apron is $9.99 per meal. Let’s round it off to $10 to make the math easy.
  • Let’s assume you had Blue Apron for every meal for a year for a family of four. That’s 4 people * $10 cost * 3 meals a day * 365 days = $43,800.
  • Let’s assume you had Blue Apron for every supper (evening meal) for a year for a family of four. That’s 4 people * $10 cost * 1 meal a day * 365 days = $14,600.

Exactly. We spent $11k on ALL our meals (at home and eating out) last year. Just one Blue Apron meal a day would put us $3k over that. Yikes!!!

And yet these meals are growing in popularity. Anyone out there using them? If so, why do you do so?




Make Thousands by Painting Your Home the Right Color

2017-11-28T05:05:00-05:00

Here's an interesting piece from MSN Money about paint colors and how they impact home selling prices A summary: Homes with blue bathrooms — specifically light shades like powder blue or periwinkle — fetched $5,400 more than expected when sold, according to a paint color analysis from real estate website Zillow. The analysis looked at more than 32,000 sold homes, comparing the sales prices of ones painted certain color versus similar properties that had white walls. Blue paint isn’t just effective at boosting a home’s selling price when used in a bathroom though. Dining rooms painted in darker blue hues...Here's an interesting piece from MSN Money about paint colors and how they impact home selling prices A summary: Homes with blue bathrooms — specifically light shades like powder blue or periwinkle — fetched $5,400 more than expected when sold, according to a paint color analysis from real estate website Zillow. The analysis looked at more than 32,000 sold homes, comparing the sales prices of ones painted certain color versus similar properties that had white walls. Blue paint isn’t just effective at boosting a home’s selling price when used in a bathroom though. Dining rooms painted in darker blue hues will cause a house sell for $1,926 more than anticipated on average, while homes with light blue kitchens and blue bedrooms will garner a price that is $1,809 higher than expected. But not all paint colors have this positive effect on sales prices. For instance, a brick red dining room will slash a home’s price down by more than $2,000 versus what was expected. Other ill-advised paint choices — at least where a home’s value is concerned — included yellow, pink and brown. Where a paint color is used is also important. While blues may wow in kitchens and bathrooms, when used in a living room it decreased home prices by $820 on average. Those poor color choices all pale in comparison to leaving a bathroom’s walls white though. That decision can reduce a home’s sales price by more than $4,000. Some thoughts here: If I was selling my house I would re-paint using their suggestions in a heartbeat. Paint is not that expensive and if I could get a few more thousand dollars for the right colors, why not???!!! Personally, I like white/tan walls. I wonder what that says about me other than I wouldn't get the most out of my home's sale. I'm wondering if blue just happens to be "in" now and in a year or two the colors that sell will change. What do you think? Any other thoughts from the facts above? [...]



Happy Thanksgiving

2017-11-22T05:05:00-05:00

Just want to wish you and your family a blessed and very happy Thanksgiving. May we all take a break from talking about money and focus on the things that really make us thankful (like football!). ;) Have a great, relaxing, joyful, thankful day!

Just want to wish you and your family a blessed and very happy Thanksgiving.

May we all take a break from talking about money and focus on the things that really make us thankful (like football!). ;)

Have a great, relaxing, joyful, thankful day!