In January, many of us take the time to reflect on our progress and trajectory in life, mentally scribbling a personal scorecard for the past year. We analyze and comb through the personal, the professional, the spiritual and the financial. Did I crush that credit card debt? Increase my 401k contributions? Save more, spend less? Kick my online shopping addiction? Then we map out our new and improved goals, because it’s a new year, damn it, and we can do it! But by mid-March, just as the packed treadmills at the gym are free again, the air has deflated in our hopeful money balloons.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to planning one’s financial future: visualization and goal setting, or the most powerful, the combo. The Frisky turned to finance expert and author Manisha Thakor for tips on how to successfully accomplish both. Keep reading »
You’ve probably made your shopping list and checked it three or four times by now this holiday season. Some of the people on there are no-brainers; you know you have to buy your mom a gift. But after you put the obvious folks on there and move further down the list, you always get the point where you can’t help but think, “Do I really have to buy them something?” Even if you grudgingly accept that yes, you really need to leave that person on your “nice” list, there are ways to show them holiday love without blowing your budget. Gifting expert and New York Times best-selling author Robyn Spizman, who has partnered with Office Depot to serve as a Smart Gifting Expert, offered these tips for tackling those obligatory gifts your list with your holiday spirit – and budget – intact. Keep reading »
Despite reports to the contrary, the recession seems to be alive and well–especially if you ask those of us in our 20s and 30s who are still looking for jobs, and who might have had to move back home. I know all too well what that’s like. When I was 26, I returned from a graduate program abroad and spent two months living at my parents’ suburban two-story house. It was the home I grew up in, and coming back to it in my mid-20s felt like a grand failure. I spent every day on Craigslist, searching through terrible job after terrible job. I took a series of low-paying positions, and would sometimes work two or three shifts a day, borrowing my parents’ car to get there. I saved some money and was able to put a deposit on a two-bedroom apartment with a friend and regrouped.
Eventually, I got a better job (well, better-paying, at least) and life stabilized. But I’ll never be able to thank my parents enough for allowing me to come home. Have you ever had to move back in with your folks? Keep reading »
As much as I would love to tell you to take the holidays off from having to worry about money, the fact is, the bazillion dollars we Americans spend every year celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s are all the more reason to be responsible about your finances. The blur and excitement of the season can have you blowing your cash as if it were Monopoly money, and if you aren’t careful, you’re gonna wake up in January with a worse feeling of dread than you did the morning after your office party with vague memories of drunkenly puking on your boss’s shoe. Keep reading »
Even though it’s less than two weeks until December 25th, I’m experiencing a small Christmas miracle: I’m not feeling the holiday panic. Why? The day after Thanksgiving I put together a gift-giving plan for my loved ones and accompanying to-do list and I’ve been chipping away at it — both online and by shopping here and there — ever since. But in terms of my wallet? Yeah, I’m feeling a little anxiety there. According to the National Retail Federation, the average American spends around $700 on Christmas. And for a lot of us, myself included, I think that’s a conservative estimate …
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In the latest episode of “Therapy For Your Pocketbook,” Connie, who recently moved in with her boyfriend, shares her desire to move away from their bongo-playing, hippie neighbors and move into a house of their own. But she’s torn between saving for retirement and saving for a home. Finance Expert Manisha Thakor advises her to split her extra money in half — half CD, half IRA. [Therapy For Your Pocketbook]
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In fun holiday news, a new type of investment company is popping up around the country. If you’re intimidated by the stock market, maybe you’ll want to invest in divorce proceedings? Or not. Two companies—Balance Point Divorce Funding in Beverly Hills and Churchill Divorce Finance in New York—let you contribute to a woman (or man) going through a divorce proceeding and cover, say, a part of their lawyer’s fee or the cost of an investigator to seek out hidden assets. In exchange, you get a percentage of the settlement that’s reached in the end.
Before you get all up in arms about the state of our society, this actually isn’t the worst idea ever.
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Raise your hand if you’ve ever avoided looking at your credit card bill (easier now, thanks to automatic payments) or bank balance? We’re oftentimes guilty of not managing our money as best we could, and we hate to use technology as the culprit, but you can’t deny that money
is becoming increasingly abstract with online banking. That’s an issue a group of MIT students address with a project that creates mechanical wallets to make you more conscious of spending. One wallet buzzes when you make a transaction, another inflates or deflates to reflect your bank balance, and one (our favorite) includes a hinge that becomes more difficult to open as you get closer to your monthly budget max. Check it out! [Gizmodo
] Keep reading »