Education about investing for retirement does not happen soon enough, if ever for many people. The math of retirement investing is simple, so simple that if educated early enough on the subject, more Americans could live comfortably in retirement. Saving $1 million is very attainable, this article explores how.
by Christian Scully
When I was growing up there was never any talk of retirement. Retirement was a far off place where I knew something called Social Security existed and that employees were taxed now in order to ensure monthly payments later. Other than that, there was no discussion of retirement accounts, what purpose they served and how they worked, or what the proper steps were to ensure a comfortable lifestyle after working year were over.
I knew the word millionaire, and that was a magical word. It definitely didn't feel a real possibility, but I knew millionaires existed and as I got older I could certainly take a guess at who might be a millionaire.
Though I'm almost certain many of my guesses would have been accurate, I've come to learn that you never really know what the state of someone's finances are behind the curtain. When we began our personal financial freedom journey I read a frequently recommended book, "The Millionaire Next Door". The author surveyed and compiled data on millionaires in the United States and created a profile with simple, easily copied attributes that lead to their financial success. It revealed to me the lifestyle differences between appearing rich and truly being wealthy. I also highly recommend this book to everyone to define a realistic lifestyle target for growing wealth, you can find this book here.
Combining finances as a couple can be a big decision. There are pros and cons, of course, and couples can find success on either path as long as they communicate and have clear goals and a clear plan. In this article, I share our experience with combining finances after marriage and what we have learned since.
by Christian Scully
When Brittany and I were married in 2016, we immediately decided to combine our finances, thinking that was the more logical choice for us. After nearly 5 years of marriage, and so much change along the way, we can reflect and consider how combining our finances has affected our relationship and our family.
We can definitely say that our finances and financial goals are fluid and evolve over time, quite frequently in fact. Communication is key, and regular communication is even better. There are three great results that we got from combining our finances. These may not be the same for everyone, but there are lessons you can take from each, even if you and your partner might want to keep your finances separate.
Short term investing, viral meme stocks and gambling have become part of a big conversation. Experienced investors believe it a sign of an economic cliff, while others call it a movement to take on the wealthy few on Wall Street . Those often not discussed are people who fear investing because of the risk of losing everything, or those who have lost everything and who's appetite for investing has been squashed. This article will discuss this story and examine how having a long term outlook is the answer for most people.
by Christian Scully
Let's begin by noting that if you have no idea what "meme stonk" means, you live in perhaps a more peaceful existence already. Several forces boosted by the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 brought meme stonks, or trendy, often highly speculative stocks, into the mainstream.
Groups like Reddit's r/WallStreetBets rose to the top of media popularity with their cult-like efforts to bring down the hedge fund giants who dared to place heavy short positions on beloved corporations like GameStop and AMC Theatres. The result was a storybook rise in stock value, experienced and inexperienced FOMO investors alike stacking bets on top of one another in such numbers that one hedge fund, Melvin Capital, lost 53% in January 2021.
These trendy meme stocks, rising to such heights due to a mix of speculation and social media published theories on options contract expiration dates, were bound to come crashing down hard, draining millions from investment accounts of thousands of young investors who hopped on what was marketed to be a rocket ship to the moon.
The vast majority of the diamond handed "hodlers" saw their investments wiped out. Some early investors did manage to ride to the moon, hopping off the ship towards the peak and sending it crashing back down to earth. Stories spread of people that lost their life savings, all for a chance at hitting it big and joining the millionaire club.
Navigating credit scores can be confusing and frustrating. Even if you have a low credit score or no credit history, there are ways to build your credit without obtaining a regular credit card. You should seriously consider these options if you have a history of late payments or your employment is not secure. It is too easy to get a credit card and quickly rack up a balance and fall behind on payments, which will only hurt you financially and emotionally. This article shares several ways you can build or improve your credit score without a traditional credit card.
by Christian Scully
Credit reports are unfortunately a flawed and necessary evil we have to deal with. They are confusing, can change for no apparent reason, can go down when you think you've done something good and certainly cause a lot of stress for people in today's world. Because financial education is mostly not taught in school and the bulk of that education needs to come from parents and mentors, most kids don't understand the importance of a good credit score. I would argue that most kids don't even know what a credit score is. At least I like to think that because I certainly didn't!
Like a lot of young people with no concept of personal finance, I destroyed my credit score in college, borrowing money to pay for living expenses without a thought of how I was going to back the money back. By the time I first started learning about personal finance and began working towards buying our first house, my credit was in the low 500's... not good. It took about 18 months to get the credit score to above a 620 to qualify for a decent interest rate on a government backed mortgage.
A lot of people will be in this category and will need to commit to digging their way out of the bad credit hole. Another group of people, however, will have never opened a credit account and thus won't even have a credit score. I've had borrowers seeking my help with applying for a mortgage with no credit score. In this case, there are things you can do to get the credit bureaus to calculate a score for you and to start building a good credit history. The following are a few of the best ways you can either build credit from scratch without a credit card, or to start repairing bad credit.
Remember that if you are recognizing that your credit score is less than ideal, and you are motivated to improve it, you are already ahead of the game! So many people never even think about it and just continue missing opportunities or struggling due to poor credit. It takes time to improve, but not as long as you may think! Stay focused on your goals, know why you are trying to improve your personal finances and credit rating, and you will keep doing better every day.
This article explores some of the ways that paying off debt can impact your life. The elimination of debt can have both positive or negative impacts on your credit score, which could effect your ability to qualify for a mortgage. Paying off debt could positively or negatively impact your quality of life, depending on your goals and financial situation. Paying off debt could save or cost you money over time depending on the size and type of debt. It is important to have clear goals and intentions when eliminating debt and to take into account potential effects.
by Christian Scully
Paying off debt should definitely be a goal of anyone seeking to live what we consider to be a better life. Being financially free from creditors, not having monthly payments to worry about, and having the ability to save and invest more of our hard earned income should be everyone's goal. The idea that we forever have to have some sort of debt bill, we have to owe somebody money just to live a decent life is engrained in our society. When the Diners Club card was first offered in 1950, it began a shift in the culture's view of money and lifestyle aspirations. It was easier to appear rich as opposed to slowly build wealth over a lifetime. Those who remained frugal, bootstrapped small businesses, bought goods with money they had and invested any budget surplus managed to grow wealth enough to live incredible lives with generational financial security.
When our mindset shift occurred and we began our debt-free journey to financial freedom, we were only focused on the main goal: pay off all debts as fast as possible. We didn't have a target date in mind, but I had long held a personal goal of not having children while in debt. Not having the financial strain of debt interfering with family life and raising children was number one on my list of reasons to be debt free. We used this as a starting point, but over the next couple years we learned about the different types and effects of debt and how we could find a balance to reach our goals and not put our lives on hold.
I think there are two basic things to keep in mind from the start. First, when making any plan for the near or distant future, make a list of what you are hoping to achieve. What is the ideal result? What is the end goal? Then second and most important: fully expect those goals and the plan to morph over time. In fact it is super important that it does. Things come up, events happen, opportunities arise, markets change. Keep your eye on your goals, re-evaluate your list of goals regularly to make sure the targets don't need to be adjusted, and then shift and alter strategies as new opportunities or roadblocks come up. Once you have your goals targeted, consider the following ways paying off debt can effect you: