Safest Cars for Teen Drivers

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has new recommendations for the safest cars for teen drivers.  The stereotype of a car for a teen driver is a loud, muscle car, while the common reality may be an inexpensive, small used car.  However, teen drivers are among the most risky and most likely to get into an accident.  Therefore, recent advice has been for teens to get recent model cars with as many safety features as you can.  Now the IIHS has even more specific recommendations.

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Money Checklists, Freebies, Tools, and Apps

Managing your finances well requires more than just applying sound financial principles.  I also like to use and share useful money checklists, tools, apps, and internet resources.   Today’s post includes a variety of these I have recently found.

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How to Save Money on Groceries

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Groceries can be one of a family’s largest monthly expenses, but it is also the single easiest expense to save money.  There are so many ways to save that you could easily cut your grocery bill by one third.  Coupons are not the most important way to save money on groceries.

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What To Do After an Auto Accident

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What should you do after an auto accident?  Be prepared with this auto accident checklist.  Today, I’m returning to one of our popular categories, automobiles.   See the prior posts here.

Accidents can ruin more than your day or even your car.  It’s a stressful time, so photocopy this checklist and keep it in your glove compartment.  Laws differ from state to state for reporting accidents, whether police will respond to minor accidents, who you should report an accident to, and how long you have for reporting an accident.  In all jurisdictions, you need to report an auto accident when there is an injury or serious damage that exceeds a certain dollar level, but that level varies widely.

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Do-It-Yourself Repairs

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Appliance repair people, look away and skip this post.  The rest of you can save hundreds of dollars with the tips in this post.  Appliance repairs routinely start at a couple hundred dollars which can be one-fourth to one-half of the cost of a new appliance.  Most of that cost is for labor and even the cost for parts can be surprisingly high, but here is a way to drastically reduce that cost – do it yourself.  Wait don’t groan, I’m serious.

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Applying Financial Principles and Meetting Financial Goals

I discuss many personal finance principles in the Financial Guide To Life (FGTL) like reaching financial goals, but sometimes discussing theory can seem more theoretical than practical, or just too hard to actually do, like the latest diet trend.  So today’s post will be about applying financial principles and advice to a real life example — buying my Fitbit health tracker.

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Bucket Strategy, Safely Withdraw Your Savings for Retirement Spending

Last time, we discussed how to determine how much of your savings you can withdraw in retirement while ensuring that savings will last as long as you (and your spouse) do.  Now let’s discuss retirement spending – how to manage your withdrawals from savings in retirement.  Whether you have many or few accounts and assets, you need a plan to manage the withdrawal of your assets, converting them to cash, and investing the rest for both income and growth.  One of the first questions you should answer when investing is what is your time horizon, i.e., when will you need your money?  You should use this same principle when getting ready to use your savings.  When you are ready to start using your retirement savings, the answer to when will you need your retirement savings is this.  Your retirement spending will need some of your money now, some within a few years, and some many years from now.  So you should divide your retirement savings into categories that meet each of these time horizons.  This strategy is known as the basket  or bucket strategy.  Continue reading

Spending Your Retirement Nest Egg – Part 2, Retirement Savings Withdrawals

How much of my retirement savings can I spend in retirement so I don’t run out of money?

Last week, I discussed how to save the big money you will need to live comfortably in retirement, especially if you don’t have a pension. Now let’s turn to spending your retirement savings which can be as confusing as saving for retirement.  Hopefully, you have saved a GIGANTIC pile of money in your tax-advantaged retirement accounts before you are ready or have to retire.  Once you retire, managing your retirement savings becomes even more challenging because you have to balance the need for immediate cash withdrawals versus your long-term need to make your savings last for as long as you live.  You have the challenge to make it last for perhaps 30 years or more, while guarding against stock market crashes, failure to keep pace with inflation, and spending it too fast.   Let’s discuss several strategies to manage your retirement savings withdrawals.

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Spending Your Retirement Nest Egg – Part 1, Saving

I read a new recommendation for determining how much of your retirement nest egg you can spend in retirement without running out of money before you run out of life.  But before we cover the spending topic, let’s quickly summarize what you need to know about saving for retirement.  (Also see my more detailed post here.)

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What Is A Jumbo Loan

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Someone recently asked me what is a “jumbo loan” and what makes it different than getting a regular mortgage to buy a home, so here is my recap for American readers.  A jumbo loan is not simply a big mortgage, but specifically a loan that exceeds what can be guaranteed by the federal agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  For most areas, this has long been $417,000, but increased in 2017 to $424,000.  Loans can be substantially more in expensive urban areas.

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