Info The Cheaper Dates to Fly This Summer

Summer is almost upon us and no one loves it more than those who decide how much you’ll pay for airline tickets. This is their time to pump up the prices, something we’re already seeing in sales for peak travel periods in June, July and August.

Demand is the culprit, as usual; the kids are out of school, the weather is good, that’s when people want to fly. The airlines know this, and they also know we’ll pay (and should ticket buying slack off, they simply lower them a bit before attempting another increase). You know all this, too, but you may not know the summer dates to fly (or avoid) that can ease the strain on your wallet. See if any of these travel periods work for you.

Summer Dates to Fly, Summer Dates to Avoid

These dates are based on average prices from my company’s vast storehouse of airfare data. For certain routes and cities, it may be off a day or so for the very cheapest flight. This is why I also urge any airfare shopper

Best Budgeting Software For You

The best budgeting software helps you manage your money in a way that is organized, provides the detail you require and yet is easy enough to follow that you will actually stick with it.

Here are four budget software systems that meet those criteria. Each system is distinguished by how it best fits your personal approach to managing your finances.

1. Best for Fans of Zero-Based Budgeting

You Need A Budget (YNAB for short) is built on the zero-based budgeting principle that calls for you to “give every dollar a job.” With YNAB you need to be involved in your finances and willing to change old habits to make the system work.

In addition to “give every dollar a job,” YNAB follows three other rules: “embrace your true expenses,” “roll with the punches” and “age your money.” According to YNAB, following those four rules will allow you to get out of debt, save money and stop living paycheck to paycheck. It’s a tall order, but YNAB users say it works.

This browser-based subscription system

Make $50K a Year and How Much Rent Can I Afford

The rent you can afford on a salary of $50,000 – or any salary, for that matter – is not the same as the amount for which you qualify. Qualification is often based on a rule of thumb, like the “40 times rent” rule, which says that to be able to pay a certain rent, your annual salary needs to be 40 times that amount.

In this case, 40 times $1,250 is $50,000. Therefore, if you make $50,000, you qualify for $1,250 per month in rent. For more on the topic see Renters’ Guide: The Rental Process.

Problems With the ‘40 Times Rent’ Rule

One drawback with this formula is that the calculation uses pretax or gross income. Although you make $50,000 a year, the amount you have to spend – your take-home pay – is less.

Another issue with the “40 times rent” rule is that it is a general rule and doesn’t take into consideration your particular financial situation. It doesn’t calculate your expenses. Instead, it simply assumes that if you spend one

About Amazon Monetizes Convenience (AMZN)

Convenience is addictive and dangerous. With no incentive to be inconvenienced, the modern world allows us to bask in our ability to be as lazy as possible. We can live like 19th-century lords and ladies with a variety of products and services to cater to our whims as if we still employed servants. Today, Inc. (AMZN Inc
+1.45%) has found a way to monetize convenience culture and to provide us with ample opportunities to do as little as possible.

The Ultimate Convenience

Amazon provides the perfect excuse to never leave the house again. For a $99 fee, Amazon Prime will literally delivery anything you could dream of needing — a small price to pay for endless convenience. In some cities you can have that item within two hours or pay an extra fee to have it in an hour.

The U.S. has a huge convenience culture, from drive-thru restaurants and banks to fully stocked supermarket shelves year-round. With Amazon, not only do Americans now get to enjoy all of this convenience, but they can also find and buy anything they’d like without

Method to Prepare an Expense Budget and Why

All of us look to the future and hope for the best, but not everyone makes the effort to collect the data needed to answer the question: “Will I have enough?” Indeed, most people just roll the dice and trust that an optimistic attitude will be sufficient. Yet the reality in most cases is that the future may not be the most comfortable of times.

A proper budget and financial plan requires input on four key categories: what you earn, what you spend, what you own and what you owe. The information needed for three of the four categories is relatively easy to find. It’s the spending that’s trickier, sometimes a lot trickier.

The hitch with spending is that it needs to be viewed from four different perspectives. What most of us focus on is current spending. But then we get into the retirement years and the what-ifs. The time of retirement is generally predictable. What is not predictable is the early demise of a spouse (often the key wage-earner) and the impact on expenses before and during the retirement years.

So a sensible expense budget encompasses the outgoing cash flows as they are today,

Here When to Talk to Your Kids about Finances

When should you start talking about financial matters with your kids? I suggest as soon as possible. My father worked in the investment field his whole career and I grew up hearing stories about how putting a little away each year can add up to a lot in 30+ years. I remember being a freshman in high school and my dad telling me if I put $2,000 in my IRA for 20 years, when I was ready to retire I’d have a million dollars. Now that got the attention of a 15-year-old. Don’t worry if you or a family member aren’t in the financial industry, there are a lot of resources to help educate your kids about money.

There are plenty of books, websites and YouTube videos that not only educate, but can confuse and overwhelm. Therefore, I suggest keeping the message simple: “save a little every month until you retire.” The amount will change as income increases but the premise of paying yourself before you pay others is the message you want your kids to understand. My father gave me a book that I have given many of my clients who have given it to their

Tips How Much Cash Should I Keep in the Bank

Everybody has an opinion on how much money you should tuck away in your bank account. The truth is, it depends on your financial situation.

What you need to keep in the bank is the money for your regular bills, your discretionary spending and the portion of your savings that constitutes your emergency fund.

Everything starts with your budget. If you don’t budget correctly, you may not have anything to keep in your bank account.

Don’t have a budget? Now’s the time to build one. Here are some thoughts on how to do it.

The 50/30/20 Rule

First let’s look at the ever-popular 50/30/20 rule. Instead of trying to follow a complicated, crazy-number-of-lines budget, you can think of your money as sitting in three buckets.

Costs that Don’t Change (Fixed): 50%

It would be nice if you didn’t have monthly bills, but the electricity bill cometh, just like the water, Internet, car and mortgage (or rent) bills. Assuming you’ve evaluated how these costs fit into your budget and decided they are musts, there’s not much you can do other than pay them.

Fixed costs should eat up around 50% of

Finance : How Long Must Take to Save for a Down Payment

The more money you can put down on a purchase, the less your loan will cost. That’s because you will pay less in interest. This is true of any loan, regardless of how large a sum you are borrowing. For this reason, it’s important to save as much as you possibly can before making that big purchase. The question is: How much should you save? That – and your resources, of course – will determine how long it will take to reach your goal.

Differing Views on Loans and Down Payments

Many personal finance gurus believe that taking out a loan for any reason is not a good idea because the amount of money you’ll pay over the life of the loan makes the asset you purchased way over priced. Let’s say you buy a $200,000 home with a 4% interest rate; on a 30-year loan, you would pay more than $140,000 in interest. That’s a lot of money thrown away.

But it’s not that easy, right? For most of us, if we didn’t take out a mortgage, we would never purchase a home.

Others argue that the responsible use of credit is healthy.

This Top 7 Most Common Financial Mistakes

Here we’ll take a look at seven of the most common financial mistakes that often lead people to major economic hardship. Even if you’re already facing financial difficulties, steering clear of these mistakes could be the key to survival.

Mistake No. 1: Excessive/Frivolous Spending

Great fortunes are often lost one dollar at a time. It may not seem like a big deal when you pick up that double-mocha cappuccino, stop for a pack of cigarettes, have dinner out or order that pay-per-view movie, but every little item adds up. Just $25 per week spent on dining out costs you $1,300 per year, which could go toward an extra mortgage payment or a number of extra car payments. If you’re enduring financial hardship, avoiding this mistake really matters – after all, if you’re only a few dollars away from foreclosure or bankruptcy, every dollar will count more than ever.

Mistake No. 2: Never-Ending Payments

Ask yourself if you really need items that keep you paying every month, year after year. Things like cable television, subscription radio and video games, cell phones and pagers can force you to pay unceasingly but leave you owning nothing. When

How to Banks Can Notarize Your Documents for Free

If you need to get a document notarized, a simple, free solution can usually be found at the nearest branch of your bank. Getting a document notarized is typically very simple. Present the document to a notary public and sign it in her presence. After that, she officially notarizes the document using an official stamp, writes in the date, and adds her own signature. The notary usually asks to see photo ID to verify that you are indeed the person whose signature she is notarizing on the document. Having a document notarized is essentially a third-party verification of your identity as the person signing the document.

Examples of legal documents that commonly require notarization are mortgage documents, wills, trusts, power of attorney authorization and medical documents.

Banks and Other Places You Can Find a Notary Public

Nearly all U.S. banks – certainly all the major money center banks, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corporation and Wells Fargo & Company – usually have a notary public on staff in most of their branches. If the branch where you most frequently do your banking is a small one in a rural area, there

Tips to Create an Effective Budget For You

Do you think budgets are a concept only for penny pinchers? If you have a high salary, you may not see the necessity of tracking every dollar you spend. But creating an effective budget can still be highly beneficial to your wallet—no matter how big or small.

Wealthy people are anomalies compared to most of the world. Unlike most of us, they have plenty of savings and no debt. A budget will help keep things that way. Remember this universal truth: the earlier you start budgeting and saving, the harder your money will work for you. Frivolous shopping purchases, regular restaurants visits, and frequently giving to family and friends all add up quickly.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t indulge in these things from time to time, but being mindful of your spending habits allows you to save and invest a larger chunk of your paycheck each month. That way, instead of your money mysteriously disappearing, it will multiply.

“Planning and controlling consumption are key factors underlying wealth accumulation,” wrote Thomas Stanley and William Danko in The Millionaire Next Door. “Operating a household without a budget is akin to operating a business without a plan, without goals, and without direction.”


Tips to Create a Budget (Even if You Hate Budgets)

Many older clients I talk to have never had a budget and don’t want one. But at the same time, they are worried they won’t have enough money to retire. This is where some tough love comes in. Whether you like it or not, following a basic budget is the best way to live comfortably in retirement.

It’s very easy to talk about budgets and the importance of a budget, yet many clients have worked for 40 years and have been able to save, so whatever budget they had worked for them. And I understand that clients want to be enjoying their money in retirement––not stressing out over what they can afford. In fact, the worrying is the advisor’s job––that’s what the client is paying for. But it makes life so much easier for an advisor if they know what their clients’ spending habits are like.

I don’t mean that you necessarily have to log each and every dollar you spend either. Most people are guilty of not having a perfect budget––and it’s okay. Work out a compromise between having a full-blown budget and having none. And at the very least, create a budget that breaks

Tips and Tricks to Manage your Grocery Budget

For most families, the grocery budget seems to be the hardest to control. Busy seasons might mean more wasted money on food waste and fast food, whereas the holidays could mean higher grocery bills for hosting social gatherings. How can a person save in the kitchen?

Address Food Waste

One way to manage your grocery budget is to take a good look at your food waste. How much food are you wasting each month? If you frequently throw away produce and other fresh goods, it could be a sign that you need to buy less. A lot of wasted food may also be a sign that you need to be more disciplined in the kitchen and actually prepare and eat the food you buy rather than ordering a pizza at the last minute. Every time you have to throw food away, it’s like throwing away a few dollars here and there. According to USAToday, “American households throw away about $640 each worth of food every year.” Who wouldn’t want an extra $640 at the end of the year for holiday spending or a small family vacation?

Meal Prep and Plan

The number one reason

Here 5 Ways to Manage Wide Income Swings

According to a survey by the Pew Charitable Trusts, more than half (53%) of American families experience wide income swings. From 2014 to 2015, 34% of U.S. households had income shifts (up or down) of 25% or more. There’s a good chance that you, too, will experience some degree of financial inconsistency during your lifetime. Therefore, knowing ways to manage income volatility should be a priority for you and your family. (For more, see Surviving on an Irregular Income.)

Reasons for Wide Income Swings

If you are about to get married or divorced, your household income is going to change. Getting a job, changing jobs, receiving a raise, taking a leave of absence – all can affect pay and benefits a little or a lot. If you are self-employed, subject to fluctuations in the number of hours you work each week or dependent on commissions for much of your compensation, income inconsistency is a never-ending fact of life.

Step 1: Create a Budget

The first step in solving the problem is to list your monthly household expenses in one of three columns on a sheet of paper. The first column is for recurring bills,

Ways to Improve Your Finances by Tracking Expenses and Net Worth

I hate the word “budget.” It reminds me of being on a diet. For some reason, In this day and age our human nature struggles with limits. So when I speak with people about their cash flow, I don’t talk about budgeting, I talk about expense tracking. I don’t care what you’re spending your money on, I just want to know how much money you’re spending and if those will costs be the same in retirement. Having this information is crucial to better understanding your financial position.

Tracking Monthly Expenses

I am old-school. I don’t use a pencil and graph paper, but I do use a spreadsheet and I store it in Google Drive, so at least the next time my hard drive crashes I will be ok. I started a perpetual spreadsheet that has nearly eight years of columns—a lot of historic information. Each month I can see how much my total expenses are because I enter the actual cost of living into my spreadsheet. I put the months across the top, and the categories on the side. At the bottom of the sheet, of course, I total up the cost of living and then also

The Financial Planning It’s About More Than Money

Life planning is different than traditional financial planning because the focus is more about who you are and who you want to be than it is about money.

Unlike people engaged in the traditional planning process, people engaged in the life planning process don’t look ahead to figure out how to maintain their current lifestyles in retirement. Instead, they look at how to change their current lifestyle to achieve the lifestyle of their dreams.

Read on to discover how you can use this approach to financial planning.

The Ideal Lifestyle

Many people credit the baby boomers for this trend – former flower children who grew up and were absorbed by corporate America, but who never lost their ideals. Just as the boomers redefined their “golden years” as a time to be more active than their predecessors were, some want to go a step further and redefine themselves.

For these people, the concept of money is intertwined with the concepts of spirituality, creativity, family, service and other emotional aspects of personal satisfaction. Happiness is measured in more than just dollars and cents. It’s not, “he who dies with most toys wins,” it’s, “he who

News The True Cost of Attending College

College is expensive, and the costs appear to be rising. According to “How America Pays for College,” a recent study released by Sallie Mae, in the 2014-2015 academic year, the average family spent $24,164 on college fees, which represents a 16% increase from the previous year.

Many college students and their parents mistakenly think that tuition is the only cost that they need to prepare for. However, whether students major in English, biology or business there are many costs associated with the higher education experience–and they can add up rather quickly.

Room and Board

At many in-state universities, tuition isn’t even the biggest expense, according to Sean Moore, the founder of SMART College Funding. Moore says at many public schools, room and board cost more than tuition. According to research from U.S. News & World Report, the average student paid approximately $10,000 for room and board in the 2014-2015 school year.


“While some colleges, especially public universities may promise lower tuition, they tend to increase costs,” says Mike Pelosi, the digital media director for CardBlanc’s personal finance education platform for young adults. He explains that this allows schools to keep the sticker

How to Teaching Financial Literacy To Kids

Financial literacy is the ability to use knowledge and skills to make effective and informed money management decisions. Personal financial literacy encompasses a range of money topics, from everyday skills such as balancing a checkbook to long-term planning for retirement. While literacy – the ability to read and write – is a fundamental part of the education system, financial literacy is often left out of the equation. In the United States, fewer than half of states have any financial literacy requirements for their K-12 education systems, and only four states require high school students to take personal finance classes.

While there is a movement to include more finance-related coursework in elementary, middle and high school settings, parents and guardians are the primary educators when it comes to teaching children the skills they need to develop a strong foundation for life-long financial competence. Many adults, however, avoid talking to kids about money, because they lack confidence in how they’ve handled their own finances. This is unfortunate, because adults have two things that children do not when it comes to finances: experience and perspective. You do not have to be a financial rock star with a perfect track record

Letter Of Instruction Finance

In this article we’ll take you through everything you should include in your letter of instruction and explain what it can and can’t do for you. (To begin with the basics, read Getting Started On Your Estate Plan and Six Estate Planning Must-Haves.)

A Simple Remedy
One of the most important features of a letter of instruction, sometimes called a letter of intent, is it provides specific information

Some Tips for Family Wealth Transfers

A lack of communication and planning can be costly to the family in terms of taxes and other issues involving transferring parent’s wealth to the next generation and making sure they are cared for properly in old age. While this might sound like it only pertains to the very wealthy this is not the case.

Family money conversations are important and a trusted financial advisor can be a help in facilitating and moderating these family discussions as well as in guiding them through the entire estate planning process.

Family Financial Discussions

Fidelity’s study suggests four key ground rules to having successful family money discussions:

  • Initiate family discussions early.
  • Don’t be shy about bringing up detailed questions.
  • Let parents have the final say about their finances and care.
  • Have follow-up conversations.


This acronym from Fidelity stands for Priorities, Readiness, Estate Plan and Papers. The PREP approach can help everyone be prepared