The $10 a Day Lottery Habit That Pays Off

Lottery QuoteStrike it rich! It’s the happy ending for millions of lottery dreams and the quick fix to all life’s problems. Right? That’s why we play. Who doesn’t want to be an instant millionaire?

There’s just one small problem with playing the lottery. Your odds of winning this week is exactly the same as the next. Low. Unbelievably low. And it never changes.

But its okay. You have a system. You play birthdays, ages, anniversaries, phone numbers, addresses, your license plate number, and divorce date. Those lucky numbers are bound to pay off soon. Continue Reading…

A Simple Plan To Save More Money

Save More MoneyA successful plan to save more money is very straight forward. Set aside a decent chunk of your income early and let the power of compounding grow it over time. This doesn’t always go as planned. Other obstacles get in the way, like paying off debt and instant gratification (buying things you really don’t need).

Those obstacles are why the personal savings rate sits below 5%. The guru’s say to save 15% of your income and live off the rest. That’s a big difference between reality and what’s recommended. That means most people will fall short of their retirement needs, unless they plan to save more money now. Continue Reading…

Compound Interest: The Accelerating Power Of Money

Compound InterestHave you ever picked a number and doubled it over and over again until you can’t do the math in your head? The magic of compounding drives the numbers so high, so fast. Of course, this works with money too, just at a slightly slower pace. It’s called compound interest and it’s one thing all of us can take advantage of now no matter how investment savvy you are.

Willingness to Save

The most repeated financial advice is to save and invest early. Saving early puts time on your side and compounding plays a big role in that. The best way to show compound interest in action is with an example: Continue Reading…

Year End Financial Review To-Do List

financial review checklistA year end financial review is a great way to take stock of your money goals each year, see what worked, what didn’t, and make adjustments for the new year.

It’s really no different from an annual checkup at the doctor (with less poking and prodding). You want to make sure everything is in working order. In case it’s not, you can catch and fix any problems early before it gets worse. Then you can relax knowing you won’t be back for another year.

Well, your finances need that same annual review to measure your progress, keep you and your family protected, and moving forward toward your goals. Otherwise, one day you’ll check in on your progress only to find you’re a decade behind the times.

That’s because life rarely follows a straight line. Things change. Goals, dreams, family, you name it, and your money needs to be updated along the way. Continue Reading…

How To Save More Money Now

Save More MoneyWe just ended the biggest instant gratification decade of our lives. Every financial borrowing tool was built to feed our immediate wants, if we paid for it later. Literally.

Excessive credit card use was an obvious offender. But the best was no money down mortgages. Who needs to save with zero down loans. But that period didn’t end well, for good reason.

Saving money is the foundation of a successful financial plan. The hard part is knowing where to begin. That is why most people need a plan to save more money.

So let’s get rid of the confusion, keep things simple, and get started now. Because once you’re started, saving money only gets easier.

Saving Confusion

Saving money has very different and distinct meanings. Continue Reading…

Gifting The 21st Century Savings Bond

Savings Bond GiftFor decades the savings bond was the gift you knew would last past the year.  That was the idea.  It was the easiest way to gift money that would grow over time.

A Little History

The bulk of the savings bonds I got as a kid happened before I was teenager.  I may have received some for eighth grade graduation, since all those bonds were earmarked for college.  A savings bond gift with 4 years to go was a wise and safe investment.  In the end, I had enough to buy a semester of books and a few late night pizzas – which was the point.  Looking back, you have to wonder what that money would have grown to under a solid investment plan.  And how many more pizzas I could have purchased as I studied for exams.

I can’t complain too much.  The rates on those savings bonds were great compared to the interest rates we have today.  Back then, there really wasn’t any other option either.  You couldn’t open a brokerage account with $25, $50 or $100.  That would barely cover the brokerage fees.  The internet didn’t even exist yet.  Discount brokers hadn’t been invented.  Those two missing pieces would eventually bring investing to the masses.  The low-cost transaction fees and easy account access of today almost makes the savings bond a thing of the past. Continue Reading…