Quantcast
 

thYesterday I had a stimulating conversation with a Surviving and Thriving reader who was traveling with her family. It was a frugal meet-up: We talked for a couple of hours in the play area of a Carl’s Jr. restaurant, since I figured the two kids would be bored spitless by grownup blather about  money and frugality.

Both the reader and her husband have names that begin with the letter K, so henceforth they’ll be referred to as “K-she” and “K-he.” (Didn’t get permission to out their true identities.) We talked about not just how to save money but also about the sense of freedom that comes with taking control of your cash.

K-he revealed that initially he was nervous about his wife’s proposal to be a full-time parent, fearing it would deal a death blow to their finances. But now he’s not only in awe of his wife’s mad frugal skills, he’s on board with the whole idea.

He also asked an interesting question: “Why aren’t more people like you two?”

 


read more

What(1)Physical health is more than merely the absence of symptoms. Ditto financial health.

Just being not-sick doesn’t mean you’re actually well. Ever know someone who seemed fine until the heart attack? It’s likely he had underlying issues such as poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle.

Now: Ever know someone who seemed fine until the bankruptcy? Chances are he had issues, too, such as compulsive spending or champagne tastes and a tap-water budget.

He’s not alone: According to the Center for Financial Services Innovation, 57 percent of U.S. adults struggle financially.

We get annual physicals because catching a problem early beats trying to cure an entrenched ailment. Our finances need checkups, too.

 


read more

thI’ve noticed a lot of summer blooms lately. And by “blooms,” I mean “yard-sale signs.”

The hand-lettered, brightly colored notices are tacked to utility poles, taped to trees (really?) or stapled to big boxes that have rocks inside to keep them from blowing away.

Narrowly missed attending a couple of these this morning. My niece e-mailed to see if I’d be interested, but we were entertaining an unexpected guest and then working in the garden, so I didn’t get online until mid-afternoon.

In addition to her e-invite I saw “Tag sales: Don’t buy the fantasy,” a Time magazine column written by my former MSN Money colleague M.P. Dunleavey. It’s a darned amusing (and darned true) story of the ways we sometimes lose our minds in the face of a bargain.

Even a bargain we don’t need. Especially a bargain we don’t need.

 


read more

th-2Dear Members of the Class of 2016,

You’ve gotten that diploma and landed a job – maybe even your dream job. Now that your career has officially begun, it’s time to think about how it will end.

Even though the ink is barely dry on your new business cards, you need to focus on retirement – specifically, on the need to save for it either through the workplace or on your own. Retirement is decades away but your new best friend, compound interest, is here right now.

Some financial experts say you need $1 million or more for your old age. The median starting salary for the class of 2014 was $45,478, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Your mileage may vary, of course. If you majored in something like early childhood education, music or communications your paycheck is more likely to be in the $31,500 to $39,800 range. Or maybe you haven’t landed the right job just yet and are making do with retail or other gigs.

Scary, huh? But you have a secret weapon: Time.

 


read more

thSome very interesting reader comments appeared on my April 6 post, especially as regards grown sons and daughters who expect help with down payments and furnishings.

“Just got an email from my stepson who wants us to co-sign on an FHA home loan because they don’t have enough income to qualify for the loan,” wrote Kandace.

She hasn’t said “no” yet, but she will. But she knows that won’t be the end of it.

“Then they will likely want us to co-sign on an apartment, but I’m not comfortable with that either. I’m thinking about what I would be willing to give – or lose – financially. It will probably be an amount that helps get them (he, his wife and their two kids), into an apartment. But no co-signing for me.”

Not everyone was able to make that kind of call – at least initially.

 


read more