The Best Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

by Lucy Oake on April 21, 2017

Tax Refund

Do you plan on receiving a tax refund this year? It’s easy to fall into the trap of viewing your refund like a bonus. But just like your paycheck, you should give your refund money a purpose. Your tax refund can be a great tool to meet your financial goals. Here are the best ways to use that extra money from Uncle Sam.

Pay off debt

Getting rid of some of your debt is one of the smartest ways to use your extra money. Although it might be tempting to go on a shopping spree, you’re much better off tackling any debts that are accruing interest. The cost of interest over time can make paying off your debt a never-ending cycle. Making a bulk payment toward your credit card or student loans can help save you money in the long run. It might not be the most glamorous way to use the money, but your future self will thank you!

Build your emergency fund

Most financial advisors recommend having an emergency fund with enough money to cover 3-6 months of expenses. Using your refund to grow your emergency fund can give you more peace of mind and protection against any future unknowns. Building up savings can be tough if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, so making a deposit from your tax refund can help build up that account more quickly. Plus, once it’s in your savings, you’re much less likely to spend it on something frivolous.

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Fear and Anxiety Make Saving Difficult

by Amber Berry on April 19, 2017

Fear and Anxiety

Fear and anxiety manifest in many ways. When it comes to money matters, it is very common for people to express fearful and anxious feelings through avoidance. They may avoid looking at their bank account balances or opening bills. No matter what it looks like, people often find themselves drowning in the worry that they will lose everything. As a result, they do nothing.

This is a problem because inaction can keep you from meeting your saving and investment goals.

What causes this fear and anxiety?

When it comes to saving, the question “How do I save?” always comes up.

Deep down, people know that it is pretty straightforward. You set aside a designated dollar amount or percentage of your income for savings. But accomplishing this requires two things: that one take a hard look at the numbers and exercise discipline.

Generally, neither of those things are very pleasant. And research shows that when it comes to finances, it’s very common for people to wait until there is a crisis to ask for help. Which makes looking at the numbers traumatic for some individuals. Sometimes, just the idea of making a budget can throw people into a panic attack. The fear of running out of a money is a very real experience for many, many people.

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Upgrades That Boost and Reduce Property Value

by Sean Bryant on April 17, 2017

Kitchen Remodel

Every homeowner makes a house their own by updating the décor and making upgrades. Whether it’s for a functional reason or strictly aesthetic, everything you do to your home can potentially boost or reduce its value. Before you decide which project to tackle next, take a look at which upgrades are most likely to increase value and a few that can reduce it.

Upgrades That Boost Property Value

The best way to boost property value is to add features that are in demand for your area. Another rule of thumb is that the more cost-effective the upgrade is the better the return will likely be. Below are suggestions based on what buyers are looking for collectively throughout the nation.

Energy Efficiency Improvements

Buyers look at energy efficiency improvements as what they are – money savers. It makes sense to pay a little more for a home that’s equipped to lower your monthly utility costs and reduce your carbon footprint.

With companies like Ion Solar, a top ten nationwide solar installer offering installation with no money down, solar panels can be a great investment. A few other energy saving upgrades to consider include replacing single-pane windows with double pane windows, adding attic insulation and updating the HVAC system.

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If you consistently live paycheck to paycheck and are thinking about getting a second, or third, job, take heed: instead of busting your behind for another boss, it might be better to focus on the money that you have and how to spend less of it. This will allow you to start saving some money and finally feel like you are on top of your finances. With this goal in mind, check out these tips and ideas:

“Find” Money in Your Bills

While most of us think we have a pretty good idea of where our money goes every month, chances are, you are spending at least some of your hard-earned cash on services and products you don’t need. Look at your bills and see if you can eliminate any of them — for example, you might be paying $25 or more a month for a gym membership that you never use, or you might have a smartphone service with tons of data and minutes that you don’t really need. As Glamour notes, paring down your paid subscriptions is another great way to end up with more money in your account each month — for example, you might have Netflix, Hulu and cable. Unless you are watching tons of TV every day, you can probably cut back to at least one of these services and pocket the rest of the savings.

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How to Shop Around for A Reverse Mortgage

by Sean Bryant on April 12, 2017

Reverse Mortgage

For years, reverse mortgages were considered an obscure and often frowned upon option for seniors. However, that has changed and today reverse mortgages are widely considered a more viable option for a growing number of senior citizens who are looking to make ends meet during their retirement.

There are a number of reasons for this. First of all, the twin financial crises of the dot-com bubble and the Great Recession have set many Baby Boomers back could not have come at a worse time. These crises hit just as millions of Baby Boomers were in their peak earning years, wiping out trillions in savings. Another reason is that for most of us our home is our most valuable asset.

Given these factors, reverse mortgages deserve another look. So, if you are considering one of these loans, then here are some tips on how to shop around for a reverse mortgage.

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TradeKing Review: Is it Among the Royal Few of Discount Brokers?

April 10, 2017

TradeKing Review After its April 2016 acquisition by Ally Financial, discount broker TradeKing has generated a lot of buzz for its user-friendly interface and affordable fee schedule. With an increasingly crowded market for low-cost online trading platforms, TradeKing stands out as a top choice, although not without its drawbacks. Low Fees TradeKing truly brings the […]

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5 Personal Finance Books About Money and Relationships

April 7, 2017
Personal Finance Books

Managing money on your own can be a challenging and adding another person to the mix can make things even more difficult.   In the context of personal finance, it is very common for couples to struggle with their money issues and there are a variety of obstacles that can arise. Whether it’s learning to […]

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