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Should I Pay Off The Mortgage?

One of the more difficult questions that I get from both younger and older people alike is whether or not it is a good idea to pay off their mortgage. If you have locked in a low interest rate recently when they were hovering around all time lows, you are probably happy about not having to shop for a new mortgage. If your rate is in the 3% to 4% range, you may be wondering if you should take your excess monthly discretionary income to pay down your home note faster. Or, would it be a better idea to take that cash and invest it for the long term. This decision has both financial and emotional ramifications, so let’s review the pros and cons of paying off your mortgage. The first part of this analysis is the black and white calculations on whether your money can work harder for you than the interest rate you are paying on your debt. ...

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Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage?

One of the more difficult questions that I get from both younger and older people alike is whether or not it is a good idea to pay off their mortgage.  With interest rates continuing to hover around all time lows, many people are still in the process of refinancing their existing homes or buying a new one.   If your rate is in the 3% to 4% range, you may be wondering if you should take your excess monthly discretionary income to pay down your home note faster.    Or would it be a better idea to take that cash and invest it for the long term.    This decision has both financial and emotional ramifications, so let’s review the pros and cons of paying off your mortgage. The first part of this analysis is the black and white calculations on whether your money can work harder for you than the interest rate you are paying on your debt.   Let’s say, for example, ...

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Why The 401(k) Needs To Be Replaced

You would think because I’ve been doing financial planning for 21 years that I would be a flat out 100% advocate for 401(k) plans.    With the ability today to put away money on a pre-tax basis in your 401(k) or now the use of a Roth 401(k) there are many different ways to save for your future.    Many employers even offer a ‘match’ of some of the funds that you put away into your plan as an incentive and some companies even give a year end profit sharing contribution if the company has done well.    The 401(k) has now become the Gibraltar Rock for most people in the 30’s and 40’s as the main driving force for their future retirement.    In most 401(k) plans there are even more options including a multitude of mutual funds and in some cases a self directed brokerage account if you are savvy enough to manage the 401(k) on your own.     With all of this ...

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Is Georgia One Of The Best Tax States To Retire In Today?

Inevitably all of us have the dream of being able to make work optional. I’ve written lots of articles regarding the subject of retirement, but as we approach another Presidential election you may need to consider which state to live in when it comes to saving money in taxes. Outside of how you like the overall lifestyle of the state in which you live, where your family resides, and other factors, taxation certainly should be in the top five list on where you choose to make your final place of residence. Since states are changing their laws all the time, I wanted to share that I think Georgia will continue to be a top ten player for retirees over the next twenty years. I recently had the opportunity to do an interview with Susan Garland who is the editor for the retirees section of Kiplinger and we had a candid conversation around their article of the 10 most friendly tax ...

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Do You Eat Out Too Much?

If you’ve noticed that your disposable income may be sneaking out the back door of your family finances, one of the causes could be between the lunches and dinners that you eat out every week.    With our family of five, I’ve noticed that even eating out at a basic Darden casual fare restaurant can run $60 to $80 with basic fountain drinks.    Add in a couple of appetizers and you could be reaching $100 for a family of five.    In addition, your lunches at the local deli in the basement of your building or a casual fast fare type restaurant can set you back $10 a day pretty quickly during the work week.    Total up all of your lunches and dinners, and you could be losing those valuable disposable dollars that can help you build a college education or retirement fund.    Dining out and entertainment expenses have become a blurred line in the family budgeting process because of so many ...

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Why Do We Love Coupon Sites So Much?

It’s true, we all love to get a deal.  In fact, I’m pretty certain that if your married, your wife your husband came home one night and said, “Don’t you just love this new (insert word) that I bought today.  Even better, I got it on SALE!”    Why is it that the word SALE or DEAL puts into a hypnotic state reminding me of how Fred Flintstone looked in that one episode where he turned into a zombie every time he heard the word bet?   There’s just something so juicy about thinking that you got something for nothing.   Or at least that you got something for something less than you thought you were going to pay for it when the buying process started. Gary Lipovetsky, CEO of  DealFind (www.dealfind.com) says, “Everybody wants a great deal and a cool way to save money.”  With the proliferation of different coupon and deal sites, it can often be hard to figure out whether ...

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It’s March Madness – Are Money Decisions Like Picking An NCAA Basketball Winner?

With the first big day of March Madness tomorrow, we all have our brackets filled out and ready to go with our Final Four picks.   This year is sure to be filled with some Cinderella stories along with some dominant favorites making their way down the brackets to the eventual winner. While we all get focused on the office pools, March Madness can really teach you some great money lessons to help you make more smart money moves for the rest of your life. When two teams compete in the NCAA tournament beginning with the total of 64 (now 66) teams that make the tournament, they each get a line in a bracket.   Bracketology is the process of predicting the field of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, named as such because it is commonly used to fill in tournament brackets for the postseason. It incorporates some method of predicting what the NCAA Selection Committee will use as its Ratings Percentage Index ...

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Don’t Get Tricked On Black Friday

After the turkey, the football, and the one awkward conversation with your cousin that happened to get stuck at the card table with you at the end of the big Thanksgiving table comes the second holiday during Thanksgiving week called Black Friday.  The day’s name originated in Philadelphia where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term began by 1966 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that “Black Friday” indicates the period during which retailers are turning a profit, or “in the black.” (source: Wikipedia) People often ask if me if Black Friday really offers good deals.    I have always responded with the answer, “It depends”.   The reason is that if you aren’t careful with your shopping you could end up paying the same prices you would have paid for ...

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Personal Finance 101: Generation X Series – Three Simple Steps To Managing Your 401K

Generation X is classically defined at people born between the years 1965 and 1979. Pretty much those of you in your early 30’s to the mid 40’s. However, having given personal financial advice to thousands of people, I can tell you that many of you who were born 1960 to 1964 fit within the Generation X type of financial and personal attitude. Since I am 42 and have had a good deal of financial success, I’ve noticed some big mistakes that I see my generation making with their money and how they think about money. This week I wanted to discuss three simple steps to help you better manage your 401k plan at work. For most Gen X’ers who are not business owners, the 401k plan offered through your workplace will be one of the mainstays for you to build up enough money to make work optional. Next year in April, you will begin to be able to transparently see ...

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