Buying a vehicle? Check the TCO

If you are in the market for a new or used vehicle, then it is important to do some homework before you settle on make and model. Here are a few things to consider before you pull the trigger on buying that new or used vehicle:  Continue reading “Buying a vehicle? Check the TCO”

How to maximize the money you make from payments

Individuals can use similar methods employed by businesses to monetize payments made to vendors. For individuals that diligently optimize payments the results can generate hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars in extra cash with the same level of budgeted spending.    Continue reading “How to maximize the money you make from payments”

3 ways the new tax act impacts your personal finances

The new tax act, also known as the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, includes a number of important changes that will directly impact your tax liability and indirectly effect your investments. Here are three key ways your personal finances will be impacted by these changes:  Continue reading “3 ways the new tax act impacts your personal finances”

How much money do I need to retire?

I was recently asked by a friend if I’ve calculated the amount of money I need for retirement, and if so, how did I do it?  I think he was surprised by my response that I calculated the amount a long time ago when I first started working and have been updating the plan numbers every year based on new information. I asked him if he had a retirement plan and his response was that he’s also been saving for retirement since he started working many years ago, but his “plan” was to save as much as he could, whenever possible.  Continue reading “How much money do I need to retire?”

How to donate your money more wisely

Caution:  This article contains graphic images that may help some people make more informed decisions about donating money.

Ever wonder how much of the money you give to a charitable cause actually finds its way into the hands of the people that need it?  Well, you can find that information and most anything else you want to know about a specific charity by using independent organizations that rate the quality of charitable organizations.  Two of the more well-known organizations are Charity Navigator and CharityWatch. Both have very useful websites and information to help evaluate charities.  Continue reading “How to donate your money more wisely”

3 questions every parent and child should answer before choosing a college

If you’ve been reading my recent articles you may sense a theme (or an obsession) with figuring out the costs and benefits of going to college.  There are clearly benefits of going to college, but it is a ‘big money decision’ and should only be made with the appropriate level of due diligence.

While the decision about which school is the “best fit” is somewhat subjective, the cost of obtaining a diploma and how to pay for it should be viewed more objectively.  Continue reading “3 questions every parent and child should answer before choosing a college”

How to prioritize your list of colleges

My son will be going to college next year and we are working with him to narrow down his choices. After a first cut, we arrived at a list of 6 schools that he would be interested in attending based on location, programs, admissions requirements, and taking a campus tour. He applied to all 6, and we expect that he will get into at least 4 of them, but he could get into all 6. We now need to figure out how to help him further prioritize that list.

To help us make informed decisions, we are going to weigh both qualitative and quantitative criteria to prioritize the list.   Continue reading “How to prioritize your list of colleges”

What financial return have you received from getting a college diploma?

Ever wonder if going to college was worth it? I’m not talking about the great time you had, or will have, socializing or “finding yourself”. I’m talking about the financial benefit received from going to college.  For most students college is worth the investment as indicated by the growing earnings gap between college-educated and less-educated Millennials, based on a report from the Pew Research Center.  The research also shows that college-educated Millennials:  Continue reading “What financial return have you received from getting a college diploma?”

Savings evolution: Use these three measures to become a money master

When my kids were younger we taught them to save money by using three envelopes:  One to save money for charity, another for short-term spending, and the last one for longer-term savings (deposited into a bank account).  For example, if they received a $25 gift for their birthday then the money needed to be split as evenly as possible among those three envelopes.  This approach was a very useful way for my wife and me to help our young children understand the importance of saving for different purposes and timeframes.   Continue reading “Savings evolution: Use these three measures to become a money master”

Great sites for staying up-to-date on money matters

If you read my prior post on developing financial know-how, then you’ll know that keeping up to date on personal finance news and information is one of the steps in the advancement cycle.  The great thing is that in this age of online subscription services you can select topics that matter to you and have the information delivered directly to you.  I have a few different information services that feed updates on personal finance to my email and Twitter accounts.  These feeds provide information on a range of topics and are particularly useful if you are nearing a significant life goal like starting or changing careers, or deciding when and where to retire.  I receive feeds from a number of different sources, including those specific to industries or technologies I’m following for investing purposes.  It’s easy to get overloaded and overwhelmed with all of the different sources, so I recommend getting started with a few that allow you to better understand how to financially plan for life events, stay on top of your money, and comparison shop products and services.

Continue reading “Great sites for staying up-to-date on money matters”