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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money
Organizing Finances
online-banking-3559760 1920

Banking mostly online even though I love walking into the local branch of my financial institution

About six years ago, my partner learned about a new bank (and like he does with everything), he did a lot of research and decided that this was the financial institution for him. This bank helps him set goals, stay disciplined, keep track with his spending, and it offers good interest rates. In other words, it offers great automation options and web-based and technical support services that mak...

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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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jazzcat

Singing the Credit Card Blues

Now is when the holiday bills arrive and our budgets feel stretched! It's easy to feel overwhelmed by debt payments and end up avoiding them. But when you don't take control of your debt payments, the interest charges pile up – and grow and grow! Let's consider strategies to help take control of credit card bills. First, get organized. Make a list of each credit card or...

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1040 2017 NOT VALID FOR 2018

How will the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 affect you? Check this head-to-head, line-by-line comparison of your 2017 and 2018 tax returns

As you're filling out your 2017 tax return, take the opportunity to think about how the new tax law will impact you for 2018 and beyond. To help, I've put together a list of the changes, organized by line number on the 1040 and Schedule A (Itemized Deductions). If you file the 1040A or 1040 EZ, your lines numbers will be different. There's been a lot in the news about the changes, but i...

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Investing 101: Mutual funds can make investing simple

You don't have to have a lot of money to get started investing. You don't even have to buy stocks and bonds to be an investor. And you can reduce the risks associated with owning individual stocks and bonds. It almost sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? But a thing called mutual funds can do all that. This is the third post in a series about the basic...

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DECISIONS 2

Buyer's Remorse: The Consequences of My Quick Decisions

Anyone who knows me, knows that I tend to overthink things. I'll research even the smallest decision. Major decisions can take forever. I like to joke that I do my buyer's remorse before I make the purchase: I'll already know what the potential disappointments are, or trade-offs I've made, before I hand over the credit card. No surprises! On the one hand, I know that this is ho...

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Don't risk a lot to save a little. Or said a different way, stupid ways you can waste your money!

"Don't risk a lot to save a little." That simple phrase has stuck with me through many years since I learned it while studying for my Certified Financial Planner designation. It was one of three basic principles of risk management. (I've forgotten the other two.) The idea is, don't try to save a nickel when that decision might end up costing you $10. Over the years, I have often thought...

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1040-es

I thought I hated estimated taxes. But maybe I don't.

Over the past several years, my tax prep software has often said that I should file estimated taxes. You know, those pesky payments that you send to the IRS four times during the year so that you pay enough in advance to not be hit with an underpayment penalty when you file? I always saw estimated taxes as a bother and a detail that I just didn't want to deal with. Who needs to keep tra...

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financial house v2

Getting My Financial House in Order for the New Year

It's that time of year when our minds turn to getting our lives ship-shape. Big box stores have set up huge displays of storage containers and gadgets to get us organized. Ads are pushing dieting and getting in shape. My personal goal is to get my paper and electronic records cleaned out and ready for another year. I want to know that I can find a document when and if I need it,...

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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,...

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Financial clutter 2

Do you have financial clutter?

Most clutter is obvious: the stacks of papers on the desk, the recipes torn from magazines or printed from websites, the collection of cords, cables, and power supplies that seem too valuable to toss. I once wrote an entire website about how to deal with it! But what about financial clutter? The symptoms are more subtle, but just as r...

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SOCIAL SECURITY

How to Guard Your Social Security Number!

Back in February, I wrote a blog post about scams and what tasks you need to do right away if you become a victim . Recently my sister had her...

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Last  Will and testament

Who Gets Your Money When You Die? Maybe Not Who You Think

Who gets your IRA when you pass away – assuming there's still money in it? Who will get your house? Your life insurance payout? Your 401(k)? The answer could be different from what you think. An Example Your will says that your daughter gets all these things. That's how you want all your worldly good to be distributed, so you think everything is fine....

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Blog image Jan 2016

Why the Next Four Weeks are Critical to Filing Your Taxes

Death and Taxes - two things we can't avoid. I don't know about you but I really hate filing taxes. It is so much paperwork and time consuming, even when my paperwork is organized. I usually put it off until later, much, much later. What I have been reading lately about identity theft and stolen identity refund fraud is making me change my mind. Accordin...

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tax time

Seven Things you can do NOW to Prepare for Tax Time.

It's tax time! I know it's only December and you'd rather do anything but think about filing your income taxes which aren't due until April 15 th 2016, but I am urging you to start preparing now and file as early as humanly possible. There are lots of reasons to begin your income taxes before the end of the year that could save you money. Making tax deductible contribu...

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PWRW blog Death over a dead turkey

Talking about Death over [a dead] Turkey

Thanksgiving is a time where families and friends come together to be thankful for all that they have. However, one conversation you should consider having around your family dinner table is about death. Did she just say "death"? That's right, I said death. As much as an uncomfortable topic as it is, it's one you should be having with almost every family member you have. Whether it's wi...

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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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5 Easy Steps to Save for Big Ticket Items

Please welcome guest blogger, Tammy Greynolds from America Saves! Very few of us have money at the ready to cover an emergency, never mind the money for the larger purchases we'd like to make. This is why it's that much more important to prioritize savings to cover both the items you need as well as those you want. Whether you're saving for a new compu...

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When to Shred Financial Documents?

Half the battle of paying bills on time, being reimbursed for expenses, and keeping financial tools like insurance up-to-date is finding the right document when you need it! And, one of the reasons it's hard to find the right document is that many of us keep too many documents. Everyone needs to find their own system for organizing financial documents. For me, the key is to minimize wha...

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Dear Young Friend: “Cheap Insurance” for the Things You Worry About

Dear Young Friend, If you're twenty-something, what do you worry about? Karen ___________________   That's the question I posed on my Facebook page when I was working on last month's post, How to Think about Risk and Insurance , as part of my...

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Dear Young Friend: How to Think about Risk and Insurance

Dear Young Friend, We haven't talked much about insurance and risk. Before we wrap up our conversations, I wanted to share some thoughts on this. Karen ________________   Here's a question for all my twenty-something friends: What do you worry about? What kinds of things should...

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roth traditional scale

Dear Young Friend: IRAs Offer Tax Breaks on Your Long Term Money

Dear Karen, You mentioned that putting my long term savings into an IRA could save me some money on income taxes. How would that work? Your Young Friend ________________ Dear Young Friend,...

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Buckets for your money larger

Dear Young Friend: Investing Your Long Term Money

Dear Karen, We've talked about the need to keep some money handy for expenses, and some more where I can get to it in case of an emergency. So what do I do with Bucket #3. I'm still a little uncomfortable with the idea of investing. It seems like the stock market has been a bad place to have your money pretty often over the last few years. Your Young Frien...

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Online banking

Dear Young Friend: Thinking About Online Banking

Dear Karen, One way I might be different from a lot of other young adults is that I'm not enthusiastic about online banking and I haven't done much of it. Other than being able to bank from home and potentially finding higher interest rates on savings accounts, are there any advantages? Other than losing the experience and comfort of in-person banking, are there...

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Financial March Madness

March is a big part of a financial time of the year. For those sports fans, especially of college basketball, the all-important "bracket" is the subject of many studies, guessing and possible financial "investing". It can be an exciting or agonizing time as favorite teams are defeated, and a "Cinderella" team takes the bracket. It can also be a time when lots of discretionary mo...

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