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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money
Credit and Debt

The Student Loan Chronicles: The Average Amount of Debt

The Student Loan Chronicles: What is the average amount people owe? Back in May, I started the Student Loan Chronicles blog series. Last month I covered "What is it?" trying to define what is a student loan, and how does it work. This month we w...

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Credit Card Rules

Creating Credit Card Rules

I know several people that use their credit cards for everything from buying a pack of gum, or a cup of coffee all the way up to a car. One even used a credit card to buy and remodel a house! Think about the way you use credit cards. I'll give you a moment…… Research shows that when you use credit, on average, people spend 30% more than if they use cash. The reasons are many. Some small...

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Holiday gift cards-Beware the Scams!

Holiday gift cards-Beware the Scams!

Over the years, gift cards have become a favorite gift. You don't have to worry about color or size, and there is one for every taste. Shipping costs are minimal, and you can purchase them almost everywhere. If you get a gift card for somewhere you don't shop, or for a store that's not in your area, there are websites where you can sell or exchange them for cash. However, gift cards hav...

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Freedom from Credit Card Debt!

Back in December of 2014, I wrote a blog post called " 2014 Financial Goal Challenge: All About that Debt " describing how my husband and I had been trying to pay off all of our debt, especially our credit card debt. Well avid readers, I can tell you that we accomplished that goal in August 2016! We paid off $12,500 worth of c...

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Compare Auto Loan

Save Money on Your Car Loan!

Did you buy a car or truck in the past year? Twenty-four percent of adults surveyed did, according to the latest Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households. We tend to buy a lot of cars over our lifetimes. How we go about purchasing these vehicles matter. Car loans are the third largest category of household debts for American consumers, behind mortgages and student loans, and are oft...

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First Credit Card - part 3

Care and Feeding of your first card. Steps toward your first Credit Card part 3

In previous posts, I have talked about deciding if you can handle a credit card by looking at your spending habits ( read that post here ) and the next step of determining which card is for you ( read that post here ). By now you have...

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Steps Toward Your First Credit Card-part 2

Next Steps Toward Your First Credit Card

In part one, we talked about the preparation needed before choosing your first credit card ( read it here ). Knowing your financial habits and background is necessary before entering into the world of credit. Credit can be a useful tool if utilized carefully. It can be your worst nightmare if used recklessly. Once assured that your financial habits ca...

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First Credit Card - 1

Steps Towards Your First Credit Card

I was asked recently about how someone should go about choosing their first credit card. I remembered the first card I got and how poorly I handled it. I was so thrilled to have one and immediately made plans to buy a big color television set so I could watch the Olympics in color. Growing up, we only had a black and white set and a small one at that. My father did not see a need for color. How...

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401k loan

Transitions: What Happens to a 401(k) Loan When You Leave Your Job?

Did you borrow money from your 401(k) that you haven't paid back yet? You're not alone. According to a study by Aon Hewitt, one in every four participants in these plans has a loan. What happens to that loan when you leave your job? Whether you retire, are laid off, or move to another company, the o...

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Don't Get Stuck by the Financial Ghosts of Christmas Past!

2016 is here! It's in full swing and most people have the best intentions to start something new, but what about financially? Sure we want to lose weight, read more, or visit more of the world, but when do we ever set up new financial resolutions? If you're stuck in 2015's financial ghost of Christmas past, below are some tips to combat them! The Ghost of Debt T...

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j0410163

What’s the Total Cost of that Loan?

Interest rates on loans vary tremendously. For example, the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan rate is 4.01%, according to Bankrate's recent survey of large lenders. In contrast, a vehicle title loan's annual percentage rate is often over 200%! What is a title loan? Auto title loans are high-cost, relatively small dollar loans. A person's vehicle serves as collater...

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Cut loan cost

Cut the Cost of Student Loans

Recently a friend asked me, "Could she pay back her student loan more quickly and avoid some of the interest charges?" This is a great question! The answer is yes; most federal and private loans allow people to pre-pay their loans without penalty. Illinois students who borrow money for their undergraduate degrees average $28,984 in student loans upon graduation, according to the Project...

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blogaward2

Plan Well Retire Well Wins National Award

I'd like to take a minute to toot our own horn. The writing team behind the Plan Well Retire Well blog just won two awards for Internet Education Communications from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) at their annual conference held November 2-5, 2015 in White Sulfur Springs WV. We received first-place in the Central regi...

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Credit Score Relationships3-01

"C-Harmony": Using Credit Scores to Predict Relationship Success

There's a new tool you can use to help predict if the person you are dating is a good prospect for a long committed relationship. It is your credit score. It is one more reason to improve your credit report and keep it good. A recent study by the Federal Reserve Board looked at 12 million randomly sel...

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Why Everyone Should Check their Credit!

Why Everyone Should Check their Credit!

When the topic of credit comes up in one of my classes, people tend to have lots of questions about it. However, I am always shocked on the amount of people who don't check their credit on a regular basis. Below are some great reasons on why you should check your credit report! Check Your Credit for FREE The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the three credit bu...

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Sasha Learns  2

Sasha Learns: How to Buy a House - More on Credit

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about "The Credit Question" for my series on How to Buy a House! This week our focus is more on credit utilization as well as ways to potentially fix your credit before you go down the path of becoming a homeowner. Credit Utilization This is a fancy word for un...

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The Year of Suck - Didn't!

Last February, I wrote about a conversation I had with a coworker titled  "The Year of Suck " where she detailed the plan she and her husband had for paying off their credit cards by adding money to their payments. However, finding that extra money meant cutting back on many little things that (in her words) would make life suck. Challenged by her declaration...

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2014 Goal Challenge FU Debt

2014 Financial Goal Challenge Follow Up: All About that Debt

Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about creating a 2014 Financial Goal and I challenged our readers to write and share their goals with us. At the time of the posting, I deliberately failed to mention what my goal was, which has been and will continue to be in 2015 to pay off our debt . This year...

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Student Loan Pin final

Having Trouble Repaying Your Student Loan? Ask CFPB for Help!

A recent report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) indicates some of the business practices of large student loan lenders may be making it particularly difficult for borrowers to repay their loans. In the last year, the CFPB handled approximately 5,300 private student loan complaints. The largest category of complaints were related to the lack of repayment options and flexibilit...

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credit score ratings from e-news

FICO 9 May Improve Your Credit Score – Someday

You answer the phone. Or open a letter that came in the mail. It's from a collection agency. A medical bill that you never knew existed has been turned over to collections. What goes through your mind? "My credit score just went down the tubes." I may have some good news for you. Under FICO 9 – the new version of that credit score which was just released – that collection action...

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BlogPins4

Top Five Tips and Strategies to Save Your Sanity and Budget This Holiday Season

Top Five Tips and Strategies to Save Your Sanity and Budget This Holiday Season Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, the end of the year is a budget buster, and the financial hangover can last for months. The problem is no one wants to be seen as a Scrooge or a Grinch. One key is not just to buy less but shop smarter. Retailers are masters at running promotions...

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PINTREST pins

Son of a Breach!

With the news that JP Morgan Chase's breach of accounts was much larger than previously reported, millions of people and businesses are shaking their heads and wondering when this will all stop. It will not. Hackers have the upper hand and we mere mortals are at the mercy of those we entrust with our financial information. To be fair, the JP Morgan Chase breech...

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401k loans

401(k) Loans: Whose Advice Should You Trust?

I was stunned this week when I read a research article contending that taking a loan from your 401(k) is preferable to most other kinds of loans. That flies in the face of what we've all been told over the years. Two days later, I received my November issue of Consumer Reports Money Adviser, which had a sidebar titled Decision: Borrow from your 401(k)? And it began lik...

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woman in convertable

Three Rules for Car Buying You Should not Break….and Why I Broke Them!

Rules were meant to be broken- but not on a regular basis. Living a life according to the seemingly conservative and boring rules may not be exciting, but will enable you to weather life's storms when you must then break a rule or two to achieve your needs. I try to live a good financial live- prepared for life's little setbacks. I have some absolute rules I live by and so far that has...

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college student

College Education: Is it Worth It?

People invest a lot of amount of time, energy and money to earn a college degree. The financial cost of attending college is much larger today than it was a generation ago. It's reasonable to ask, "Is it still worth it to get a college degree?" Recent reports from Pew Research Center's Social and Demographic Trends project explores this question, and the results are quite intriguing. (B...

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