Insurance is the way you financially CYA.

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Insurance feels like a waste of money. However, the reality is that you probably need it. Without it, your assets — meager as they may be — are at risk.

When you buy the insurance you need, you can cover your assets in many situations. Let’s be real: if you totaled your car, and you still owe money it, could you really afford to buy a new car right now? Plus, you’d still have a loan to deal with.

In this episode, we look at the disturbing reality that insurance is a necessary part of financial planning. In some cases (like health insurance and auto insurance) it’s even the law.

We’ll help you figure out what insurance you need to be effective.

Concepts

  • How insurance works.
  • Ways insurance can keep you from ending up in a worse financial situation.
  • Types of insurance required by law.
  • Insurance policies everyone should have.
  • Insurance policies that can be beneficial, depending on your situation, but that aren’t for everyone.
  • Types of insurance policies you should avoid.
  • Tips for figuring out what insurance you need.

This week, DO NOWs look at what you need to do in order to get the insurance you need. This includes writing down your needs, and documenting what you have in your home so you’re ready in case of a claim.

This week’s listener question looks at how you can feel better about the whole insurance thing. We look at ways you can get over the idea of “wasting” money on insurance.

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More than 6.5 million people in Florida were instructed to evacuate before Hurricane Irma struck the state. Leaving everything behind is not easy for a family — and it’s not cheap. While insurance may cover damage due to the storm, how do you handle the expenses you have when you need to change your plans with a moment’s notice?

You need an emergency fund. It’s one of the first steps for preparing for the unexpected — and handling your money like an adult. If you don’t have an emergency fund yet, you need to start it now.

Here are some of the best banks for emergency funds today — because they pay out some of the highest rates.

My friend’s brother lives in Florida, and his home was hit hard by Irma. He, his wife, and his daughter secured their home as well as possible and left town, driving with thousands of others north, away from where the hurricane would do the most damage. Because he had an online savings account with CIT bank, an emergency fund for the family, they were able to come up with the money they needed to get out of town and stay in a hotel for a few days before reaching family.

Start that emergency fund now.

Add to your emergency fund little by little. Transfer a small portion of every paycheck. It won’t hurt you to miss 1% of your pay today, and it will help you later when you need to come up with money fast.

Could you make more money by investing your money in stocks instead of a savings account? Sure, but it could take more time to withdraw the value of those stocks when you need the money, and chances are good you’ll need the money at a time when the stock value is lower than you’d hope.

Add the taxes you have to pay on top of that, and it’s easy to see why investing is not a good option for money you might need in an emergency. That’s why high-yield savings accounts are the best options for emergency funds — like the one you need to withstand the next hurricane.

Choose a bank below to start your emergency fund.

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Amassing debt is easy. It’s a lot harder to answer the “how” and “why”. These answers can help you avoid mistakes and they can help you remedy them.

When the topic of credit card debt came up on the Adulting editorial calendar, it only made sense to assign it to one-half of the Debt Free Guys.

In case you’re not familiar, my husband and I acquired $51,000 in credit card debt despite having years of experience in financial services. The reason we amassed that impressive total was that we were living and spending unconsciously and trying to make up for years of insecurity and self-doubt.

Our story is just one example of how people find themselves in more debt than they can handle. There are numerous reasons why people get into debt.  Below is a list of what to look out for so you can avoid getting into debt yourself. And if any of these describes your story, know that there is a way out.

Don’t know their financial goals.

It’s my belief (and my husband’s) that more people are in debt than there needs to be because they aren’t clear on what their financial goals are.

It’s like knowing your destination when you’re in the car. The very first and most important thing you need to know is where you want to go. You can have the nicest car, years of experience driving, and it may be a beautiful, bright, and sunny day. But if you don’t know where you want to go, you’ll never get there.

This issue was my challenge. I didn’t know what my financial goals were and so I spent my money on any and everything. I sought short-term, easy satisfaction rather than long-term, secure satisfaction.

Don’t know their life goals.

The sister reason why people get into too much debt is that they aren’t aware of their life goals. Financial goals and life goals are not synonymous.

For example, our stepson just graduated high school. He recently asked for help to create a plan to ensure he’ll be financially secure, not necessarily wealthy, but stable. Financial security is his financial goal. After doing some exercises with him, we’ve since attached a dollar sign to what financially secure means to him and how to get there.

His life goal is to be an artist. He’s currently interested in videography and photography and is going to college for photography. He knows there’s a chance he won’t make a fortune in photography, but in that instance, his financial goals will support his life goals.

Without knowing what you actually want and developing a strategy to get it, you’ll go in any direction the wind takes you. Have you met people like that? Every time you meet them, they have a new goal, they’re moving elsewhere, they’re focused on something new.

Try to keep up with the Joneses.

It is challenging to live in such a consumption society. Everywhere you turn, someone has something newer and nicer than you. Whether it’s your neighbor or the guy on television who you want to be like or be with, it’s easy to get sucked into competitive consumption.

My sister and brother-in-law experienced this in their neighborhood. Theirs is an interesting case study. They lived in a quiet area full of homeowners about their age and children all about their children’s ages. They were all middle-income earners, all within the same income bracket.

Sure enough, when a neighbor did an upgrade to their home, suddenly several other neighbors did upgrades. When someone bought a new car, suddenly there were new cars all over the neighborhood. It all ended finally when one couple said they had to move away because the competition was hurting them financially.

Trying to keep up with The Joneses is like trying to live someone else’s dream. In either case, you’ll never achieve true happiness if you’re living someone else’s life.

They don’t know how to manage money.

Most of us never learn how to handle money. It’s a major disservice of our school system. We motivate and encourage our students, regardless of student loan debt, to get the best and highest job possible, and yet they don’t know how to manage their money.

Being financially secure is not contingent on how much money you earn, but how you handle the money you do earn. With the accessibility of the internet, there is a host of financial information at anyone’s fingertips.

They live and spend unconsciously.

This issue is synonymous with sticking your proverbial head in the sand. Often people live and spend unconsciously because taking the time to learn about their financial situation would mean they’d have to live and spend better. Whether they earn too little income to support their lifestyle or are trapped in an increasing cycle of amassing debt, they continue not to pay attention because it’s easier than addressing the truth.

Unfortunately for many, they learn Stein’s Law the hard way. That law says that if something can’t go on forever, it won’t. Stein’s Law is why most of the emails my husband and I receive are from people who are about to file bankruptcy or have reached retirement age and can’t retire.

They just divorced.

Divorce can be paralyzing to one’s life and finances. No part of divorce is fun, and it can leave both parties bruised emotionally and financially.

Not only is divorce itself expensive due to legal and court fees, but the division of assets rarely seems fair to both sides. The compound effect is that contractual obligations, such as requirements to repay debts, don’t disappear when you divorce.

Over 75% of Americans are in debt. It’s logical to conclude that 75% of couples in America who get divorced also have debt. Those debts must still be repaid despite the status of your marriage.

They have unexpected or large medical bills.

Healthcare in the United States is not getting cheaper, and a health scare or issue can easily wipe out one’s life savings. Even with an increased usage of HSA accounts and access to retirement funds to cover medical expenses, the wrong ailment can ruin one’s financial life.

For this reason alone, more Americans need to have an emergency savings account. But, with the estimation that 47% of Americans would go into debt if they had a $500 emergency, we have a long way to go.

They have an addiction.

People don’t make logical decisions when they have an addiction. You might automatically assume that this point is about gambling. To be sure, gambling does ruin a lot of people’s financial lives. They lose life savings and acquire numerous, even sketchy forms of debt.

This point also applies to people with drug and alcohol addiction who may make poor financial decisions that can cause them to acquire debt. It’s easy to get wrapped up in letting debt subsidize your addiction.

They don’t understand how credit cards work.

In part, because many people don’t understand money, most people don’t know how debt works. We receive too many emails from people saying that they weren’t aware that their interest rate could increase. They assume that the only reason their credit limit increased was that they’re doing well financially. They assume that the only reason they were offered a credit card was due to their creditworthiness – because they’re doing well with their existing credit cards.

That’s simply not true.

Just as with purchasing investments, it’s important for people to understand the nuts and bolts of how credit works. This is where reading the fine print helps and reading personal finance blogs that you can trust helps even more.

They’re unemployed or underemployed.

Even though the economy has been recovering since 2008, and wages are increasing, too many people are unemployed or underemployed. The economy is changing, and more jobs are being automated.

It’s incumbent upon American workers to increase their skill-sets and diversify income streams. This is one of the reasons why I recommend to everyone –everyone – to start a blog. Regardless of your career or skill set and regardless of what direction you want to take your career, a blog is a critical component of future career and financial success. Some people, in fact, think having a blog is more important than having a resume.

These are the top 10 reasons why many people find themselves in more debt than they can manage. Once you know what to look out for, it’s easier to avoid the mistakes. If you see yourself in one or more of the reasons above, now that you know your problem, you’ll more quickly remedy it.

Have you experienced one or more of the reasons above? Were you able to climb out of debt? We’d love to hear about it in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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Your retirement plans may be a bit different than your parents’ and you’ll probably need more money than they’ve saved up. It won’t be easy but here’s how to get there.

For many of us, retirement seems a million miles away. And, with more and more companies handing retirement responsibilities into the hands of their employees, many of us are wondering: how on earth do I retire with more than my parents?

Fortunately, it is possible to retire with more money than your parents-if you have a financial plan that you work ruthlessly.

Let’s be clear, your parents may have a completely different vision about retirement than you do. When conceptualizing your own retirement, you need to be clear on what retirement will look like for you and an understanding of what your monthly expenses will entail during the duration of your retirement.

Are you just dreaming about golfing or fishing in your old age?

Retirement in 2017 has become somewhat sexy and there are a ton of different ways to create the perfect retirement that reflects both lifestyle and your future finances.

You may want to embrace FIRE (financial independence retire early) and retire in your thirties. Your retirement may be on a boat sailing around the Caribbean. Or, you may want to live in a large house in your hometown.

Own your vision for retirement and then begin working a plan to move you towards that vision.

Look for ways to save more.

For those of you who are younger and are currently  in the process of deciding where to go to college, double down on going local. Local tuition is always cheaper than out of state. In fact, if you’re still in high school, earn college credits

In fact, if you’re still in high school, earn college credits at  a discounted rate before going to college so that you can decrease your time in school. With the money that you save on tuition, begin saving for the future.

Negotiate every financial expenditure with the idea of investing your savings for the future. Keep your housing costs as low as possible and work hard on keeping your overall monthly and yearly operating budget as low as possible.

Currently, I have a budget of $2500 for both my personal and business expenses and I’m aggressively working hard to lower that number. It took awhile to lower my expenses, but once I did, I’ve been able to reallocate my money towards financial choices that will serve me well in the future.

I also embrace the “keep it small” philosophy.  You’ve probably heard the buzzword “minimalism” and, in my view, keeping it small and simple is basically the same thing without the snazzy  black t-shirts that minimalists always seem to wear.

I’ll be honest and say that I have no interest in super sizing my home and having a larger mortgage. Keep your housing and car expenses low so that you can invest your savings for your future.

Finally, don’t drive away your savings by purchasing too much car for your needs. In 2016, CNBC reported that the average monthly car loan payment was $503. Imagine if you paid cash for a used car and used the money that you saved on transportation costs towards retirement savings?

You also need to earn more.

Look at every opportunity to earn more money and to save money on every financial transaction you find yourself in.

Earn more money.  Let’s be frank, financial conversations seem to always cover: paying off debt, spending less, and changing your habits, but never seem to cover earning more money.

As you look at your career and your earning capability, focus on careers that start with higher earning potential.

Don’t mind dealing with blood and can get scholarships? Think about becoming a nurse or doctor.   Do you love teeth? But, you don’t want to take on student loans to become a dentist? Become a dental hygienist instead. Do you love science and computers? Become an engineer of a highly specialized field or a computer coding badass.

Embrace a financial strategy that includes finding employment with an organization that matches your retirement savings. Increase your savings as you earn more (while being mindful of savings limits). Don’t let your lifestyle costs creep up, just bank your earnings so that you save more over time.

If you want to retire with more money than your parents, keep your eye constantly on your ultimate retirement savings goal and work your plan unapologetically.

Start a business. One of the best things about becoming an entrepreneur is access to retirement savings tools that enable consumers to save substantially more than for someone who is employed.

It’s not too late.

And, for those of you who started late, all of this advice still is applicable to you. But, in all honesty,  you’ll have to double your efforts and approach your long-term retirement goals with a single-minded focus and tenacity that someone who started early won’t have to deal with.

Have you begun mapping out your retirement plan? Are there any helpful methods you could share? Please join us in #Adulting Facebook community

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How to be wealthier and healthier — at the same time.

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Show Notes

Harlan and Miranda are joined by Jessica Moorhouse and Jaclyn Phillips. Jessica is a personal finance expert (blogger, podcaster, speaker) and Jaclyn Phillips is a fitness expert (fitness coach, yoga instructor, champion bodybuilder). We talk money and fitness — and how they go together.

Jessica Moorhouse is an award-winning personal finance blogger, speaker and host of the popular Mo’ Money Podcast, who regularly shares helpful money tips with major news outlets and magazines as a go-to millennial money expert.

Focusing on building her community offline (in addition to online), Jessica founded the Millennial Money Meetup in 2016 to promote financial literacy amongst millennials in her city of Toronto. Aside from being passionate about personal finance, she’s also a fitness & balance advocate, having launched her first e-course with fitness coach Jaclyn Phillips, the Rich & Fit Bootcamp, in June 2017.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessicaimoorhouse/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jessicaimoorhouse/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jessi_moorhouse
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/jessicamoorhouse1

Jaclyn Phillips is a registered yoga teacher, fitness coach and international bikini competitor based out of Toronto. She has been active her entire life and approaches health and wellness from a holistic perspective. Finding balance between work, fun and health has always been her focus and lifestyle.

Priorities for Jaclyn are making the time to eat healthy, work hard and train hard, and she has a passion to share this with others. Her goal is to inspire and motivate others by sharing her fitness journey and experiences through progress, nutrition and workouts. Jaclyn has a soft spot for animals too – especially dogs – and loves all things nature.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jaclynphillipscoach/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaqioh/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JaciPhillips
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaDJnkBMVkdlR6Yz41GqcGA

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Don’t let student debt destroy your budget.

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Student loans are a huge burden for many graduates — and the economy. With 44 million people affected and $1.4 trillion in student loans outstanding, there’s a good chance you feel the weight of your own student loans.

So, what happens when you can’t pay your student loans? What are your options? This weeks episode tackles that thorny issue.

Concepts

  • A look at some of the reasons there’s so much student debt.
  • Prices to attend college continue to rise.
  • The importance of developing a marketable skill.
  • Stagnant wages make it even harder to repay student loans.
  • Income-based repayment plans for when you can’t pay your student loans.
  • How to talk to your lender about your options.
  • Downsides to deferment and forbearance.
  • Tips for spending less money and boosting your income.
  • The importance of making a plan to pay off your student loans.

This week, our DO NOWs are all about solving the problem when you can’t pay your student loans. Start by getting all your student loan information together, using the list offered by Department of Education. You should also see what programs you are eligible for. If you qualify and are struggling, you can start the loan consolidation and income-driven repayment process.

This week’s listener question deals with the question of what happens if you don’t want to pay off your student loan debt quickly. Does it ever makes sense to keep the student loans for a little longer?

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College tuition is on the rise.

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Choose one of these best bank accounts to handle your finances like an adult.

If you don’t have a bank account yet, you should open one. (Continue reading for some suggestions.) Anyone who earns money from a job or any other source — even if there isn’t a lot of money to spare — should be using a checking account at the very least.

My bank tells me I’ve been a customer since the year I turned 13, so whether it was from an allowance, from taking care of my neighbor’s cat while they were on vacation, or from my first job in retail, I was at least trying to have a positive money attitude, inspired by my parents.

It’s possible to be successful without a bank account, but without one, you’ll have obstacles in today’s society. You can work at a job where you’re paid cash, or you can use check-cashing services at Walmart or storefronts. Prepaid debit cards can help you buy things in an increasingly cashless environment. But all these workarounds are expensive and limit your financial possibilities.

Bank accounts can be expensive, too, and many of these financial corporations will try to fleece you at any opportunity with overdraft fees, minimum balance requirements, maintenance fees, and ATM fees. The list of hidden fees seems to go on forever. Avoiding fees sometimes requires some attention, but when you can, checking and savings accounts are much better than “alternative banking products.”

You don’t need to go crazy. You can do everything you need with one checking account, but to make the most out of benefits banks have to offer, you’d need one savings account as well. That will help you earn interest on the money of yours you let the bank use — yes, when you deposit money in a bank account, you’re letting the bank use your money, so they should be giving you something in return (in addition to your ability to withdraw any amount of your money at any time).

I prefer the KISS strategy when it comes to bank accounts: Keep It Simple, Stupid. (No offense.)

Choose one of these best bank accounts to open.

Best Overall Bank Account for an Adult.

Fidelity Cash Management Account. This is the best example of the KISS method of banking. It’s a checking and a savings account in one, though the amount of interest you earn is minimal. But for a primary bank account, that’s just fine. Everything is free. Let me repeat: Everything is free. There’s no minimum balance. When you want to use an ATM, the owners will charge a fee, but Fidelity pays you to cover that fee.

You receive free checks to use. (You should learn how to use a checkbook and how to write checks if you don’t already know.) You can deposit any checks you receive using an app on your phone. Of course, you receive a debit card to access your money using an ATM or for purchases. Open a Fidelity Cash Management account.

Best Bank Account for an Adult Who Doesn’t Trust Banks.

Your local credit union. Not a fan of the financial industry? Credit unions don’t answer to Wall Street, so they’re not always trying to profit from their customers. Credit unions are owned by their members (who are also their customers), so it’s a system that makes the needs of the customers their priority.

Many community credit unions are open to anyone, but some have restricted membership. Navy Federal Credit Union is one of the best-reviewed credit unions out there, but you need to be affiliated with the military or the Department of Defense (or have an immediate family member who is) in order to join.

The Navy Federal Credit Union e-Checking is that organization’s best option taking all the facets of banking into account.

An independent credit union may also be the best option for Socially Conscious Adults. (Trump fans should head to CitiBank or Wells Fargo; the president owns stock in these companies.) Search for a credit union.

Best Bank Account for an Adult With Limited Mobility.

The branch that’s local to you. For a while in my adult life, I didn’t own a car. That really limited my ability to get around to a distant branch. This might apply to someone who lives in a walk-able city, too, like New York City.

Convenience is an important factor in choosing a bank account, sometimes more than a tiny bit of interest you might earn. So if you have a bank within a walking distance of 60 seconds, no one would ever judge you for choosing that bank’s free checking option over another bank.

Almost every bank account in existence today can be managed online, so there should be very few things you need to actually travel to a branch for. But sometimes, something comes up. But any online account should also be good for someone without access to transportation. Ally Bank is a strongly-reviewed online bank with a standard checking account. Simple is another interesting choice.

Best Bank Account for Adults Who Earn Interest.

Synchrony High Yield Savings. If you want just one bank account, choosing a checking account like one of the above. If you’re ready to have both a checking account and a savings account, and you’re moderately good at managing your money, a high yield savings account is a good choice for a second bank account.

And in recent years, Synchrony has offered one of the highest interest rates around. As of right now, that’s 1.05% APY (annual percentage yield). What does that mean? If you deposit $1,000 on day one and do nothing else, on day 366, your balance will be $1,010.50.

Not a huge increase, but it’s better than ending up with less. And we’ve been at a low point in interest rates. They will rise in the future — we just don’t know when. Open a Synchrony High Yield Savings account.

Best Bank Account for Adult Entrepreneurs.

Citizens Bank Clearly Better Business Checking. It’s important to separate your business finances from your personal life. If you develop a business, or you start earning money from your hobby in a serious way, you’ll want a business checking account. Make your business official with the state and federal governments, then open this account.

There are no maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirement, so it’s perfect for your side hustle. The bank offers 200 free check transactions, which should be sufficient for most small businesses. Open a Clearly Better Business Checking account.

If you have a bank account, which account do you have?

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Are your retirement dreams bigger than your 401(k)? If you’re ready to retire, but your wallet isn’t, here are some ideas to get you on your way.

If you’re thinking about retirement, you’re probably ahead of the curve. Most Americans don’t have enough saved for their golden years, and a substantial amount have nothing saved at all. If a retirement fund is your nest egg, most people haven’t even started looking for a chicken!

If you want to retire early, you’re going to need to get creative. Living costs continue to rise, the future of social security is dubious at best, and most experts predict that millennials will struggle to retire on the same timeline as their baby boomer parents. It’s a harsh reality, but it doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.

Here are a few practical ways to retire when you want – and one you probably haven’t thought of.

Keep a budget.

When your heart is set on early retirement, you need to hit those numbers consistently in order to reach your goal. If you stop contributing to your 401(k) for a few months to pay off some debt or go on vacation, you could miss your target retirement date.

Stay on track with a budget and designate how much you can spend per category. Not sure how much you should budget? Track your spending first to see what your current numbers are, then see if you need to make any changes.

“Once you’ve tracked your spending for a few months, you’ll be able to see spending patterns,” said anonymous early retirement blogger Mrs. 1500 of 1500 Days.

Earn more money.

When you decide to retire early, you’ll probably find that you have to save far more than the average person. Your two choices are to live below your means or find an additional source of income. Depending on how much you make and when you want to retire, even living below your means might not be enough.

Go through the math and see how much you need to save to reach your goal. Can you do that on your current income? Or will you need work more?

Mrs. 1500 said people should “get a second job, improve [their] current earnings, get a side hustle or use [their] funds to invest in passive-income producing ventures such as real estate, stocks that pay dividends, or Private Money Loans – essentially being the bank for investors.”

Know your number.

Being aware of how much you need to retire is crucial. Some people assume you need millions, while others think Social Security and Medicare will be enough to string them along. Both answers are probably wrong.

Everyone’s number is different and depends on their lifestyle, location and when they plan to retire. There are many retirement calculators online to help you figure out how much you need, but you should see a financial planner if you want a personalized figure.

Mrs. 1500 said you should save 25 times your annual spending “so that you can safely withdraw 4% every year.”

Downsize your home.

Housing costs make up the largest portion of the average consumer’s budget, and a hefty mortgage can delay retirement.

Instead of holding onto your home, find the least expensive option you’ll still be happy with. You might even have enough equity in your current house to pay off a new mortgage. Many retirees like the convenience of a condo where they’re not responsible for mowing the lawn or general maintenance.

A smaller house will also come with lower utilities, property taxes and more. Use the difference to save for retirement.

Move to a cheaper country.

Your nest egg might be too small for a retirement in America, but it could be just enough to spend your golden years overseas. Many South American and Asian countries offer a low cost of living and welcome American expats.

Joseph Hogue of Peer Finance 101 lives in Medellin, Colombia with his wife and son. Their total living expenses equal $1,400 a month – a sum far smaller than anywhere they could find in the US.

“That includes health insurance for a family of three, internet, cable and all the amenities we had when we lived in the States,” he said. “The city is the second largest in the country and has a metro system as well as everything you’d expect in a large metropolitan area.”

Other popular options include Belize, Thailand, the Philippines, and Nicaragua. In many of these destinations you can live on $1,000-$1,500 a month and get access to the same level of healthcare as you had back in the States. Many of these countries have significant expat communities where you can meet other Americans.

“Sometimes it can feel like you never left at all,” Hogue said.

Before you pack your bags, do some research on your chosen destination. Make an approximate budget and factor in flights back home, which may be pricey and exhausting.

Are you prepared for retirement? Do you have any other tips to get ready? Let us know over at the #Adulting Facebook community!

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Money = happiness, yo.

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Could money be the key to happiness? It may not lead to true fulfillment, but it does provide you with a way to meet your basic needs and lay a foundation for future happiness.

If you look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the bottom two pieces of the pyramid generally include items that require at least some financial resources.

So, can you spend money, be happy, and move forward with your life? Here’s how to make it work.

 

Concepts

  • Spend money, be happy? Maybe it’s more about staving off complete misery.
  • What you need to think about when it comes to subsistence.
  • Once you reach a certain point, more money doesn’t add to your happiness.
  • You are more likely to spend money, be happy when you spend on other people.
  • Figure out what you value and what makes you happy and focus spending on those things.
  • Money can also be used as a resource to help you pay for what you need and some of what you want.
  • Be careful of using money as a status symbol. You are far more likely to be miserable when it’s a means of keeping score.

Here are some cool money quotes:

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul” – Democritis, the ancient philosopher

“It’s a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money.” — Albert Camus, early 20th Century philosopher

“Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has, the more one wants.” — Benjamin Franklin

This week’s DO NOWs focus on helping you take a closer look at your relationship to money. We talk about writing down your feelings about money, reviewing your spending to see if it follows your values, and identifying spending that doesn’t make you happy or provide things you need.

This week’s listener question looks at how whether or not earning more money will really make you happy. The spend money, be happy situation is further explored in our answers.

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$75,000 a year might be the perfect salary.

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A promotion. More money. All your problems are over, right? Actually … No. Depending on how you treat money, your next promotion could actually make you poor.

It’s tough for many of us to accept, but for most of us, our financial security is not contingent on how much money we earn.

It’s not about how much money comes in but how much money goes out. For most of us, our lifestyle increases with increases in our income – and even increases in our available credit.

When you tie those increases in income to increases in spending, pretty soon you have this problem: Could a promotion make you poor?

Learn from others’ wins and losses.

How many celebrities and athletes who earn millions of dollars a year have we heard have gotten into financial trouble?

From MC Hammer to Johnny Depp to Lenny Dykstra to Marion Jones, the world is full of millionaire income earners with no money in their bank accounts. A couple of years ago, it was reported that about 80% of retired NFL players go broke.

On the other end of the spectrum, Oseola McCarty, a former washerwoman from Hattiesburg, Mississippi bequeathed her $150,000 fortune to the University of Southern Mississippi. At the time, she was its most famous benefactor. That $150,000 in 1999 would equal $220,957 today.

To be sure, $150,000 or even $220,957 isn’t millions of dollars. But considering McCarty’s low-wage paying job and the fact that 47% of Americans today can’t come up with $400 cash, that’s a solid amount of savings.

Likewise, consider Ronald Read, a former gas station employee and janitor. When Read died at 92 in 2014, he was worth an estimated $8 million. Read was an avid and consistent investor and lived frugally, way more frugally than I ever would. But he’s another example that it’s not about how much money you earn. It’s what you do with the money you make.

With your next raise or promotion, will you do better than McCarty or Read?

Know if you’re on a cycle of rinse, recycle, repeat.

Most of us go about making a living instead of making a life.

We go to school to get the best job we can to make the most money we can and then, for any number of reasons, spend all the money we can and then spend more money than we have. Despite each promotion and each raise, we eventually find ourselves living beyond our means.

Today we finance our phones, our music, our education, our homes, our vacations, our everything. The problem is that a growing number or economists are becoming convinced that prosperity is contingent on our property rights.

Property rights usually relate to law. However, it’s logical to conclude that if we give up our property rights by financing from the cradle to the grave everything we would otherwise own, our affluence will suffer the same negative consequence as if we had no legal rights to ownership.

If everything from music to television to mortgages to education is on a small, affordable monthly payment, when do we stop making payments and start amassing wealth? What do we pass to our heirs for our family’s long-term financial security?

Jim Rohn said, “Once in a while, somebody says to me, ‘Boy, if I had a million dollars, I’d never work another day in my life.’” He goes on to say, “That’s probably why the good lord sees to it they don’t get their millions.”

With your next raise or promotion, how long will it be until you’re back in the same financial position?

Know why you should do well.

I read and listen to a bunch of personal finance information, and it astounds me how I keep returning to the same conclusion. Financial success, even life, personal, career – any success – is contingent on your purpose or your ‘why.’

As I’ve shared here, my husband and I amassed $51,000 worth of credit card debt – despite knowing better and notwithstanding the fact that we could do better.

At the time (and like many people today), we were unsatisfied with many aspects of our lives. It’s important to acknowledge that our economy is designed to keep us feeling unsatisfied.

Television, the internet, Facebook, movies, magazines and everything else tells us that we need more of this, that, and the other thing to feel happy, feel good, be liked, or be like someone else. When everyone in the neighborhood is drinking this Kool-Aid, it’s hard not to take a sip.

For this reason, the best thing we did to turn our financial situation around was to decide what we most want and not what we think we should want or what others want for us.

When we realized our most important goals, everything came into perspective, and we could manage our financial lives accordingly. It’s because we know our purpose that we’ve turned our $51,000 deficit into a $700,000 surplus and now work for ourselves.

Learn how you can do better, even without a raise or promotion.

How do you figure out your most important goals? For us, we did a lot of personal reflection and had lengthy discussions about what we most want in life. Everything we said was put on the witness stand and cross-examined until our purpose came down to three things. For you, it may be more or less, but if it’s too much, it’s too broad.

Next, we assessed what it was that was blocking us from our primary goals. Everything from not paying attention to our cash flow to being insecure came up.

Finally, we decided what it was we were willing to do to overcome those blockers. This step helped us determine how committed we were to change our situation and lay the foundation for a strategy.

Just as climbing the corporate ladder won’t solve all your problems, your next promotion or raise won’t make you rich. In fact, your next promotion might make you poor. What happens when you get a raise or promotion and you spend right up to it? What happens when you have a vision of the things you “should” have with your fancy new job title?

It’s easy to get caught up and overspend because we have the idea that’s what you do when you get a promotion. But that thinking just puts you back where you were – or even makes things worse financially.

When we realize that it’s not external factors or our circumstances that dictate our success, but our choices and behaviors, that can be better than any promotion.

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