The vast majority of the people that come to me to file bankruptcy do so because of out of control credit card debt. The totals can run from the tens- to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Credit card debt can drag you down and prevent you from having financial freedom.
But are credit cards, in and of themselves, bad? Is it the card (and the system) itself that is bad or how we use them? Personal finance expert Dave Ramsey writes on his web site questioning whether you really need a credit cards and gives six reasons why you shouldn’t. But is he right? That’s why in this episode of the podcast I take a look at those six reasons and discuss the case for (and against) credit cards.
Graduating from college or university with your degree is a momentous occasion. You finally made it! You’re ready to go out into the real world and make your mark. But this occasion brings with it new challenges that you will have to face, such as finding a job (if you haven’t already) and figuring out how you are going to deal with your student debt.
That’s why in this episode of the podcast I wanted to talk about how you can meet those challenges by finding the right job, figuring out how you are going to live on the income that job will provide, and how you are going to start payments on your student loans before the grace period ends!
We all fall into some bad habits at one time or another, and it can be difficult to get out of them. But sometimes those bad habits can have lasting effects on your life and can affect your financial freedom. They can get in the way of your saving money, spending responsibly, and having an enjoyable life both now and in retirement.
That’s why in this episode of the podcast I talk about 8 bad habits that you should avoid or break that could be keeping you from saving money and realizing your dreams for a great retirement!
In order to complete any project, you need the right tools, and it’s no different when you are trying to establish and maintain financial freedom. For that you need the financial products that line up with your needs, priorities, and goals. They need to be the right ones for you.
That’s why in this episode of the podcast I talk about how to identify and find the right banks, credit cards, and financial advisors that will give you the greatest chance for success. You might end up switching products down the road as your goals and priorities change, but these will at least get you started.
Even with the Affordable Care Act, many people, especially millennials, struggle with the cost of health insurance premiums. People in their 20s are less likely to need healthcare than those over 40, but when they need it, it can be beyond reach without insurance.
But how does a young adult, just starting out in the workplace, balance rent, car payment, student loan payment (if they graduated with debt), and a health insurance premium? The answer may lie in something called a Health Savings Account. That’s why in this episode of the podcast I talk about these accounts, how they help balance health insurance costs, and can benefit you later in life.
A key part of establishing and maintaining financial freedom is having a job you love that provides you with an income that allows you to have the lifestyle you want while still saving and investing for the future.
But what if you don’t have that job right now? What if you find yourself dead-ended in a position with no real opportunities for advancement and increased income? What if you followed all of my tips from Episode 66 on asking for a raise, but didn’t get one?
If that’s the case, then you need to move on to a new position elsewhere. That’s why in this episode of the podcast I talk about what you need to know to look for and secure a better job with a better future!
When it comes to investing for retirement, the earlier you start the better. People that start in their 20s, rather than their 30s, or even 40s, give their money more time to grow and therefore give themselves the best chance at financial freedom.
No one knows personal finance for 20-somethings like Broke Millennial Erin Lowry, a writer, speaker, and blogger that I had on the show in Episode 70. She is returning in this episode to talk about her crusade to get us thinking about “investing for retirement,” not “saving for retirement,” and to make a big announcement!
Before anyone sets out to find financial freedom, they need to understand what that term means to them, as it is different for everyone. This definition can depend on your financial goals, both now and in the future. Do you want to retire or keep working? Do you want to travel? The financial strategies for each can be different, and it is better to know that now rather than later.
That’s why in this episode of the podcast I talk with Ross Stryker, the CEO of Smart Asset Opportunities to get his thoughts on defining financial freedom, “Finding Your Why,” and making the right plan for it now.
For those in their 50s and early 60s, planning for retirement has a different, more immediate feel. For millennials, it’s starting to save for it; for those further on in life, it’s figuring out its implementation. A lot of decisions have to be made, including the downsizing of your home, especially if you’re an “empty nester.”
That’s why in this episode of the podcast I talk to Jeri McClenaghan-Ihde and Julie Whelan Capell, whose podcast, SeniorTopia, recently launched to talk about all things related to opportunities and challenges on the road to retirement. Every week they talk relocation, long-term care, housing options, wellbeing, dementia, end-of-life and more. However, in my discussions with them, we will talk about downsizing your home in retirement.
Financial planning and a good investment strategy, started as early as possible, is key to achieving financial freedom in retirement. The sooner you do it, the better off you are (and will be).
But many people start off doing this with no clear idea of what they are doing, which can really derail the train soon after it leaves the station. Out of ignorance, or listening to the wrong advice, people can cause serious problems for their retirement plans.
That is why in this episode of the podcast I talk to Lorraine Ell, of the company Better Money Decisions, to talk about what she sees as the Top 10 Mistakes People Make in Financial Planning and Investing.
Getting your financial house in order means cutting down on spending, living within your means, and staying within a budget. You need to reduce or cut out spending, while using your money wisely and for the right purpose.
In many ways, this is like going on a diet, but instead of cutting calories, you are cutting spending (dollars), and instead of eating the right foods, you are putting your money in the right places.
That is why in this episode of the podcast I talk with a personal finance expert who actually coined the term, The Financial Diet, through her blog and YouTube channel. Her advice goes beyond finances to discussions about lifestyle and mindset, and I encourage you to listen to what she has to say.
A major part of any effort to attain financial freedom is establishing and maintaining a good credit score. It can make the difference not only in whether you get a loan, but the interest rate that you will pay if you do. It can also decide many times whether you will get a particular job or affordable car insurance.
But how can you work to establish and maintain good credit if you don’t know how it works? How can you increase your credit score if you don’t know what goes into it? That’s why in this episode of the podcast I talk about credit reports, credit scores, what they reflect, and what you need to do to maximize it and maintain it!
In this episode, you will learn:
Starting a new year, to a lot of people, means starting fresh. One popular new year’s resolution, in fact, is getting one’s financial house in order. The first step to doing that is to have a budget, so that you will know at the outset whether you are living within your means or overspending. But is there more than one way to budget, and if so, what are they and which one is best for me?
That is why in this episode of the podcast I talk about the five budget types discussed in Erin Lowry’s book, Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together. Discover which budget will do the job for you this year, so that you can take that essential first step towards financial freedom.
Many people, at one time or another, have thought about starting a business, but don’t have the money to make a go of it initially. Others have started a business but need money or credit to solve a cash flow problem or fund an expansion. But how does a business get credit and loans?
The entrepreneurial itch can be hard to scratch, and not proceeding properly and thoughtfully with running a business and handling credit can seriously harm your financial freedom. At the same time, doing it right can help you to be successful, make more money, and attain financial security. That is why, in this episode of the podcast, I talk with Ty Crandall, CEO of Credit Suite to talk about how business credit works and how you can use it successfully.
As with any goal in life, the sooner you start working towards it the better. That is certainly true of attaining financial freedom, since habits established when you are young tend to stick with you, and things like saving for a comfortable retirement are easier if you start tucking money away as soon as possible.
That is why in this episode of the podcast I talk with a personal financial expert who has literally been there, done that, and is now spreading the word to others in an effort to, in more ways than one, share the wealth. She is a millennial speaking to millennials, who knows what she is talking about, and I encourage you to listen to what she has to say.
Now that Santa Claus came to town in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the holiday season has officially begun! However, this season can be rather treacherous from a financial standpoint if you do not keep a tight rein on the spending (not just the reindeer). Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, or some other December holiday, the “season of giving” can be a huge budget buster. Everything is great until those credit card bills come in in January!
That is why, in this episode of the podcast, as I did in Episode 45, I talk about some things you can do to be sure that you are celebrating the new year on a firm financial footing after having a wonderful holiday season.
According to CNBC’s reporting on a WalletHub study of taxes as a percentage of personal income New Jersey has the 9th highest tax burden in the country, with a total tax burden of 10.02%, with over half of it (5.12%) going to property taxes. New York has the highest tax burden of personal income overall (13.04%), but when it comes to property taxes, it is a lower 4.78% of income for residents. In fact, only Vermont edges out New Jersey in property tax burden at 5.2%, making our state the second highest in the country!
With this in mind, it is no wonder that New Jersey residents are looking to lower their tax burdens as much as they can (assuming they are not leaving the state altogether). That is why in this episode of the podcast, I talk to local real estate broker and appraiser Lynn Stambaugh of Cardinal Real Estate Services in Woodbury on how you can appeal your taxes and give yourself the highest chance for success!
Having a smart and affordable strategy for college financial aid is critical to starting off on the right financial foot upon graduation and the start of your life. Getting it wrong can mean living with crushing student loan debt. The first step in this process is the completion and submission to the U.S. Department of Education their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or FAFSA) form.
This can be a daunting task for those doing it for the first time (or even those doing it again). So with the 2019-2020 form having just been released on October 1, I wanted to discuss, in this episode of the podcast, some guidance and tips on how to handle the submission of the form. Hopefully, this will assist you in eliminating mistakes and doing it right the first time!
In this episode I will discuss:
Increasing income is key to maintaining financial freedom. It not only allows you to pay living expenses that are increasing with inflation, but it also makes saving for retirement and special life events like vacations that much easier. But sometimes the only way to get a raise is to ask, which is never easy to do.
That’s why in this episode of the podcast I wanted to talk about some tips and strategies to help you be more effective in making the ask. What do you need to do to prepare and execute a plan to get a raise and be paid what you are worth?
People with bad credit, living paycheck to paycheck, often find themselves with few options when unexpected expenses crop up, or they have a drop in income due to a reduction of overtime or their work hours but not a reduction in their living expenses. As a result, they become desperate for a way to pay the bills, creating a recipe for desperation.
Three of the options they turn to are payday loans, car title loans, and pension loans. However, they have a tendency to make matters much worse, and as such, should be avoided at all costs. That is why in this episode of the podcast I wanted to talk about these loans, why they are the wrong solution, and why you should avoid them if at all possible.
Many of us get involved in activities outside our jobs. We volunteer for organizations like the Elks or the Masons, or we coach our child’s soccer or t-ball team. But did you know that being involved in those activities could possibly get you sued? Having to pay for a lawyer (and possibly damages, if you lose) can break you financially.
The good news is that a little due diligence, and the right insurance coverage, can work to protect you. That is why, in this episode of the podcast, I talk with local insurance broker Dave Strout of Cettei and Connell in Woodbury about what you need to do to get the right coverage to protect your financial freedom!
Older Americans heading into retirement often discover that they don’t have enough money set aside for living expenses. Or they may need to pay down debt because the large amount of equity in their home is preventing them from filing bankruptcy. They need the cash to pay the debt, but don’t have they money in their budget.
This is where a reverse mortgage may be the solution. They’re not for everyone, but in the right situation can be a lifesaver. That is why in this episode of the podcast, I wanted to talk about these loans, what they are, what they aren’t, the pros, and the cons. If it sounds like the right solution for your situation, you should talk to a financial professional about taking the next step.
If you or your spouse are age 62 or older, find out:
One of the things that can happen that can threaten your financial freedom is if your identity is stolen. According to the company LifeLock, nearly 15 million consumers experienced identity theft in 2017, and early 60 million Americans have been affected overall. It can damage your credit status and cost you time and money to restore your good name.
That is why in this episode of the podcast I wanted to discuss what identity theft is, the different kinds, how to prevent it, and what to do if it happens to you!
When people who are struggling with student loans look to ways to get rid of them, they assume that bankruptcy is the only option. Then they are told the myth that student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy and think that there is nothing they can do. They are stuck with the loans for the rest of their lives.
However, for many people, there are discharge options outside of bankruptcy that can give them the relief that they need, under certain circumstances. So on this episode of the podcast, I discuss the administrative discharge of federal loans and New Jersey CLASS loans. If you have a loan from another state, check out whether they have these same options.
Most of what you read online about student loans tends to focus on struggling college graduates who can’t repay their debt. Difficulty finding a job, the costs of living like rent and a vehicle competing for those income dollars, and insanely high loan balances upon graduation, combine to make repayment seem beyond reach.
But what about their parents? We hardly ever hear about the moms and dads who are stuck repaying Parent PLUS Loans for children that they put through college. According to an article on the web site Student Loan Hero, Parent PLUS loan debt currently stands at about $77.8 billion.
On top of that, these loans have the highest interest rates among all federal student loans. For the 2017-18 school year, the rate is 7.0%, and older Parent PLUS loans could have rates above 7%.
So in this episode of the podcast I wanted to talk about what parents can do to fit their loan payments more affordably into their finances.