Here are some things that I read recently that I wanted to share my thoughts on:
How A Personal Loan Helps Save You Money (Forbes, by Zack Friedman)
With the growing popularity of personal loans, and online lending predominantly, I am often asked my opinion so I wanted to weigh in with some comments. If someone is going to have debt (most people do have some debt), I am all about them seeking the options that offer the lowest cost of borrowing available to them. Whether it’s credit card balance transfers, online lending, or borrowing from a family member…if it’s an option, I think it needs to be explored. There will always be someone willing to lend money, and they often evaluate your ability to pay back…even family. If the terms and rate are more favorable that what you are currently getting, I say have at it! For example, if you can get a low-cost loan from dad, or a lower rate using a site like lendingclub.com, it would totally make sense to switch your higher rate credit card balances. It could help you manage debt more effectively, and potentially pay it off quicker. Let’s say you are paying $1,000 a month in high interest credit card interest, but after getting a personal loan you get that payment cut in half to approximately $500. You can probably kill two birds with one stone (pay less interest, pay off balances quicker) by not just making half the payment but maybe paying more (i.e. $600-800) and making major progress in your debt repayment. Not that I am encouraging everyone to go out there and get into debt, but my point is explore your options and make a change if it enables you to get out of your debt sooner (don’t just rob Peter to pay Paul).
I have a 6-figure job and my husband stays home with the kids — here are the 10 best pieces of advice I can give you about money (Business Insider, by Liz Gendreau)
I love reading these stories about couples with kids, and how they make the finances work. In my work with clients, I see this often…and I also help facilitate these discussions. It’s also refreshing to read how other everyday people out there are making it happen. This author in this case tells the story of her and the stay-at-home dad/husband. I am pretty impressed how this self-proclaimed “Chief Mom Officer” learned so much about personal finances at such a young age, and how they balance work and life with such discipline. My main take-aways from this are to 1) learn about personal finances early (um…hello parents!) and 2) start saving early. There are so many things that will happen that you will not expect, but become educated and prepared as much as you can. Control what you can control! There are many good pieces of information that Liz shares here, I hope you find it worthwhile.
Social Security: Monitoring your earnings record can really pay off (Tribune Star, by Brian Hewitt)
Here’s something I do every year, and was reminded of it this week when I helped a client access hers – access her online social security statement. Some of us might recall receiving a green-colored annual statement in the mail… up until a few years ago. The statement is still “generated” today, but the Social Security Administration is saving a few bucks by not mailing them out each year. But I would encourage everyone to check their statement out – it’s located via the SSA.gov website. The attached article walks through the steps and provides talking points, and if you haven’t created a profile yet – get crackin! Besides the fact that it’s pretty neat looking back at your annual earnings history, you should also have an idea if you have qualified for social security in the first place (typically a 10+ year employment history will do it). If your income history looks inaccurate, you either didn’t pay taxes that year (!) or you should probably contact the administration to get it corrected ASAP. You can also learn approximately how much you can expect to get paid at certain ages, as well as what your “full retirement age” is. I recommend pulling up your social security statement annually, and stashing it with your tax paperwork…that’s what I do, and it helps me double check that the government has my accurate income history.
I hope you enjoyed my thoughts!