When it comes to retirement accounts, there's one debate that almost everyone must consider: A Roth IRA vs. Traditional IRA - Which one is better? What are the differences, and how do I know which one is the right one for me? As someone who has both a Roth and a Traditional account, let me tell you: Each one has traits that can be very valuable to you in their own way! In general, no matter which one you choose, you’re doing a great thing by taking advantage of a unique opportunity from the IRS to save and grow your money without having to pay taxes right away (or in some cases, … [Read more...] about Roth IRA vs. Traditional IRA – Which One Is Better for You?
Have you ever wondered when to drop collision and comprehensive coverage from your auto insurance policy? Without a doubt, auto insurance is a must-have when your vehicle is relatively new, higher in value, and you need the financial protection. But what happens as time goes on and our vehicles begin to decrease in value? What about when you've racked up hundreds of thousands of miles, and you know the trade-in value of your car will be next to nothing? Is there a point where full coverage simply doesn't make good financial sense any longer? This is a question I struggle with every … [Read more...] about How Do You Know When to Drop Collision and Comprehensive Coverage?
Have you ever thought to yourself: What's the least amount or minimum retirement savings I could get away with? Don't be bashful about asking it. It's a perfectly valid question to consider; especially when you think how little retirement savings most people actually have. (In case you're wondering, its $107,000 for Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 according to data from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).) While the major media outlets would have you believe that you need somewhere between $2 and $3 million dollars, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that … [Read more...] about What is the Minimum Retirement Savings You Could Comfortably Live On?
As humans, we tend to value a lot of different qualities and abilities in ourselves. But when it comes to appreciating the value of knowledge, this is one asset we tend to underestimate. Consider this: Would you say you're an "expert" at something? Don't be too humble. According to the author Malcolm Gladwell, author of the incredible book "Outliers", it takes at least 10,000 hours to become a master at something. While that might sound like a crazy amount of time to invest into something, chances are that you may have already put that much time into your favorite hobby or … [Read more...] about Never Underestimate the Value of Knowledge
Are you wondering how to maximize your 401(k) contribution without feeling like you won't have any money leftover to spend? Hey, I get it! When I was just starting out as a young professional, I started off by contributing what I thought was a decent amount to my 401(k) retirement plan (10 percent or so) ... But as we started really defining how much money we'd eventually need to retire, especially as our goal timeline transitioned from our 60's down to our 40's, it quickly became apparent that our savings rate wasn't enough. If we were going to retire early successfully, then we … [Read more...] about How To Maximize Your 401(k) Contribution
Which is really the better option - Should I pay off my mortgage early, or look for higher yielding ways to use my money responsibly (like investing it, paying down down debt, etc.)? It's a financially responsible question I believe most people ask themselves at some point; especially when they find themselves with some extra cash that they'd like to put to good use. More than once after my wife and I have found ourselves with a new raise or bonus, we've questioned whether it would smart to use that extra cash to pay off some additional mortgage principal every month. Why is that? Because … [Read more...] about Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Early or Not?
If there's one question about retirement planning that many people feel unsure about, it's this: How much should I contribute to my 401(k) each year? Seriously ... what's the magic answer? Is it 5%? 10%? 15%? Take a stroll around the Internet, and you're bound to find a number of opinions from reputable sites. For example, Investopedia is quoted as saying that "a good sweet spot is between 10% to 15%". That's not surprising; especially when you consider that when you're young (in your 20’s and 30’s) and just starting out, retirement can feel like such a long ways away. You know you … [Read more...] about How Much Should I Contribute to My 401(k) Plan? This is the Number You Need to Hit!
If you've ever wondered how to fly to Hawaii on points, give your family the type of vacation that others only dream about, and save thousands of dollars in the process, then you're in luck! It's a goal that is completely possible, and this is our story about how my family and I were able to make it happen! Traveling to Hawaii has been a dream of our's for quite some time. Ever since I was a small child, I could remember my elderly relatives talking about what incredible memories they had of their vacation in Hawaii. Combine that with that fact that Hawaii serves as the backdrop to dozens … [Read more...] about How to Fly to Hawaii On Points – We Saved Over $5,000!
Christmas has always been a special time for me. As a small child, I would spend every night leading up to Christmas morning wondering what was going to be underneath the tree waiting for me. As a young parent, Christmas became a whole lot less about "what I wanted" and more about how much my wife and I could surprise our kids. Now, Christmas means just a little something different to me. It was Christmas 2014 when I was a seemingly perfectly healthy 34 year old husband and Dad. Then, not 15 days later into January, I went to the hospital only to find out that I had Stage … [Read more...] about Financial Freedom Has Never Been About The Money
Have you ever wondered how to get a perfect credit score? So MUCH of what we buy or finance depends on our creditworthiness. Everything from which type of credit card rewards you enjoy to your mortgage is determined by this one score. So it's definitely not something to be taken lightly! Recently I applied for my fourth credit card in the past 12 months. I've been doing this to get tons of rewards points that I can then use for travel. Last summer, we were able to take two incredible vacations and saved almost $5,000 in the process! Whenever I tell people I'm applying for this many … [Read more...] about How To Get a Perfect Credit Score & How You Can Improve Yours