Author Ramit Sethi makes a case in his newsletter to not get an MBA unless it’s in the top 5 school. Sometimes heading to graduate school might be the right decision, but don’t waste a lot of money and time for a chance to delay what to do with your life. “What’s really going on is our tendency to delegate our life decisions to someone else – in this case, a business school. It doesn’t cost $150,000 to figure things out.” Make sure you “investing” in your career for the right reason, not just using it to procrastinate major decisions in life. (lifehacker.com)
Personal finance writer Dan Caplinger says: “Most Americans rely more on Social Security for their income than on any other source. That makes it absolutely crucial to avoid making mistakes with your benefits. Yet with so much confusion about how Social Security works, it’s easy to fall into a trap without even realizing it.” He shows us 3 key Social Security mistakes to avoid:
- Thinking there’s a one-size-fits-all strategy for when to take benefits
- Ignoring potential benefits for your family
- Not keeping up with law changes
New generation in America today are the luckiest crop in history. As usual Warren Buffet released his annual letters to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shareholders and he has a message to a broad audience to reject the economic pessimism that candidates espouse during election year: “As a result of this negative drumbeat, many Americans now believe that their children will not live as well as they themselves do. That view is dead wrong: The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history. American GDP per capita is now about $56,000.” Berkshire and America in general will continue to benefit from the “all-powerful trend” toward more productivity that has made the country great. Buffet wrote that over the course of his lifetime the nation’s economic output has risen six-fold per capita, “a leap far beyond the wildest dreams of my parents or their contemporaries.” (berkshirehathaway.com)
One of the biggest expenses for any family’s monthly budget is grocery. Here are 4 great apps to help you save on groceries and they are all free.
- Checkout 51: Check available rebate offers then send the ones you like to your phone. Snap a picture of your receipt when you buy the item, and the rebate is automatically added to your account. Once you reach $20 in rebate funds, you can request a payout check.
- Coupon Sherpa: New coupons are added daily, and the app sends you reminders to use these digital coupons when you’re in-store. It also displays the expiration dates prominently.
- Ibotta: Get paid to grocery shop with this rebate app, which works in a similar way to Checkout 51 but pays out at $10 instead of $20. Use the two in combination to maximize your savings.
- Cellfire: Save your store loyalty cards right to your smartphone, then “clip” digital grocery coupons that you add to your cards. Simply show the cashier your phone when you check out and the savings are automatically applied to your total.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 17.6 million persons, or about 7 percent of U.S. residents age 16 or older, were victims of identity theft. In fact, two thirds of the victims experienced a direct financial loss, while 14% of which lost $1,000 or more. But there is an easy and quick way to help protect your identity for free. By law, each year you are entitled to see your own credit report from the three major credit bureaus. The only requirement is you have to ask for it. So make sure to request your annual reports for free at www.annualcreditreport.com. With the report in hand, you can check for any suspicions. Forbes personal finance contributor Laura Shin advises, “if you believe you’ve been a victim of identity theft, file reports with the Federal Trade Commission and your local police, close the affected accounts and follow the steps on IdentityTheft.gov. Keep records of all your correspondence until the matter is fully resolved.” Alternatively, you can check your free credit score and free report online at CreditKarma and can dispute directly from its site. (forbes.com)
Health Savings Account (HSA) is the best saving vehicle for health-related spending with triple-play tax benefits: Save money on a pre-tax basis, earn interest on the funds, and withdraw the money tax-free. To take advantage of HSA you have to understand more about it.
Forbes contributor Nancy Anderson shows you how best to withdraw funds from HSA account for medical expenses. There are two main ways to withdraw:
- Using HSA debit card that comes with your account
- Paying out of pocket then get reimbursement back from HSA account
Make sure you save all your receipts for tax report later on. The main advantage of a Health Savings Account is tax savings, and if you have the savings capacity and want to max out the tax savings, you want to fund the HSA to the max. For 2016, the annual limit is $3,350 for individual coverage and $6,750 for family coverage.
Having a perfect credit score of 850 is a dream for many people but, of course, not a lot of people will ever get it. According to Fool.com, only 1% of the population has that perfect credit score. Don’t fret if you are not one of them or will never be one of them. If you have an excellent but less than perfect credit, you can still pat yourself on the back. There are tips or ways that you can apply to improve your credit score, whether yours is bad, good, or excellent. Is a 100-point improvement realistic? Rod Griffin, director of public education for credit bureau Experian, says yes. “The lower a person’s score, the more likely they are to achieve a 100-point increase,” he says. “That’s simply because there is much more upside, and small changes can result in greater score increases. It’s harder to improve scores when you already have a strong credit history.” Here are three ways to improve your credit score by 100 points from NerdWallet:
- Knock the errors off your credit reports
- Pay your bills on time, all the time
- Don’t go anywhere near your credit limit
Some people may earn a high income, but that doesn’t necessarily make them wealthy. Economist Jay Zagorsky found that people with high IQ scores missed payments and maxed out their credit cards more often than those with slightly above average intelligence. The problem stem from the faulty mindsets. To increase your wealth you need to change the way you think first. As personal finance blogger Michael on Financially Alert explains: “Finding financial freedom really comes down to 80% psychology and 20% mechanics. So, guess where you should focus your efforts? By raising your standards, you immediately begin to impact the quality of your thoughts (psychology). In fact, if you only concentrated on becoming financially alert, you will find yourself naturally adjusting your mechanics automatically.” (financiallyalert.com)
If you live in a frugal lifestyle, you will have fun reading about the never-ending buying and consuming of material possessions in the modern middle class. Being middle class is not quite enough now that everyone wants their own bourgeois bunker in “mass affluent” competition. “Yet the list is out there, and it rings true. It is also indicative of how we have turned our homes into post-Cold War nuclear bunkers. Heated with an underfloor system, naturally. The MA class doesn’t need to go out any more; whether due to economics, the internet, fear or, frankly, cooking standards, it more and more chooses to stay at home, drinking fine wine, looking at art and listening to professional-level music on a Sonos system. Who needs to indulge in office banter when you have your own private office? Who needs to engage with a local nursery when your child has its own playroom? The rise in home cinemas and restaurant-style range ovens is part of the same mindset.” (independent.co.uk)
The IRS held $1 billion in unclaimed refunds for those who didn’t file tax returns in 2011 alone. Mistakes can delay your refund, increase tax bill or give back smaller refund. Kiplinger describes 9 costly mistakes taxpayers make so you can smartly avoid. they include having too much tax withheld, missing deadline to file, making common math errors, using the wrong filling status, entering the wrong bank account for direct deposit, and failing to report all incomes. (kiplinger.com)
The median savings accumulated by workers ages 30 through 40 is $30,000. That is still a far cry from a comfortable retirement. But with self determination and financial planning, there are 10 guaranteed ways to retire rich. They include spending less than you earn, saving early as possible, minimize your tax and maximize your income potential. (moneytalksnews.com)
According to Diana Clement, having a manageable student loan is the first step to future happiness. She advises students 10 good ways to leave university with below average debt. First, borrow wisely and spend less. Beware of the banks and be picky with credit cards. Get a job and earn more than the minimum wage. Most importantly, make a budget. “A lot of your financial success comes back to what’s percolating around your head. People who think positively — see the cup as half full — get ahead in their career and financial life.”
Going out to eat with friends who have higher income than you or have a bigger appetite that order steak with extra glasses of wine, how do you split the bill? Should everyone just split it evenly? If you’re being cost conscious, Equipay might has an solution as the new app helps you split up the dinner bill with some adjustments for race and gender income inequalities. For instance, when using the app, women would only pay 78 cents for every $1 men pay of the bill. Other apps that help to split the bill include Foodivide, Splitwise and Venmo. Pleasing others is what leads to subsidizing your friends’ drinks and dessert which then leads to resentment, so don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself after ordering the cheapest item on the menu. (kshb.com)
The parking lot at the Vault, belonging to Bighorn Golf Club east of Los Angeles, may be the world’s most expensive place to park. Members of the club have to pay $110,000 annually for the privilege to park their vehicles there. Don’t tell this to Mr. Money Mustache or he’ll get angry at the stupidity and destruction of these rich folks. “Paying for parking is a sign from God that you’re in an area not designed for a car,” Mr. Money Mustache said. Beside the extremely high price of $110,000 to park, the cost to play golf at the club is even higher. An individual club membership, without golf privileges, costs $100,000 USD. Throw in golf, and the cost climbs to $250,000 USD. Indeed, this is a bizarre concept where you pay hundred of thousands of dollars in advance, for the privilege of paying even more hundreds of thousands of additional dollars to play golf. It’s just insane! (stuff.co.nz)