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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

The Easy Way to Set Up a Spending Plan.

Have you ever thought about setting up a spending plan (aka budget) but it seemed like too much work? Here's an idea that can help jumpstart that process. Usually financial experts suggest that you track your expenses for a month first, to see where your money is actually going. Then you create your budget based on that information. That's a useful process. But I have a different approa...

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MSW Secondary Date 2018

Money Smart Week: A Chance to Keep Up with Changing Realities

After over 20 years of teaching personal financial management, I am still looking for more ways to empower people to use money to reach their goals and dreams. As our economy, societal practices, and laws change, our approaches to financial management education need to change too . In the past few weeks, our Extension office presented "Welcome to the Real World," a finan...

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mind your money

Mind Your Money

Greetings! I am so thrilled to contribute to the Plan Well Retire Well blog. My name is Camaya Wallace Bechard and I am the new Consumer Economics Educator for Livingston, McLean, and Woodford counties. I love learning about new research and approaches to improve and maintain our well-being. Recently, I read an article about using...

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How will the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 affect you? Inflation Adjustments, IRAs, 529 Plans, ABLE Accounts, Student Loans, & Estate Tax

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 affected so many different parts of the tax code that it's taken us three posts to cover them (see Part 1 – a line by line comparison for 1040 and Schedule A , and Part 2 – Tax Rates ). But that's OK because these rules don't affect the taxes you're filing now for 2017. They went into e...

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Pay Down Debt or Invest My Money?

Should I pay extra on my student loan or invest in a Roth IRA? Build up an emergency savings fund or pay off my credit card debt? Pay off my mortgage or put more money in my 401(k) retirement plan? In one form or another, the trending question lately has been, "Is it better to pay down debt or build up savings and investments?" Like many real-life questions, the answer is not black and...

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tax brackets 2018

Tax Rates: How Will the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 Affect You, Part 2

How much income tax you owe is depends on two things: 1) how much taxable income you have and 2) the tax rate applied to that income. Taxes = Taxable Income x Tax Rate Last month , I showed you how the new tax law will impact the calculation of your taxable income, as a result of numerous changes to deductions, ex...

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Utilizing the Library to Keep Costs Down

Utilizing the Library to Keep Costs Down

For many people it may be obvious that by using your local library, you would save money, but many people don't even utilize their library! According to a 2016 Study on Libraries by the Pew Research Center , "just under half of all those age 16 and older (48 percent) say they have visited a public library…in person...

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