Turn budgeting into date night #WMW16 @12LocalNews @sslatton

Turn budgeting into date night  #WMW16  @12LocalNews @sslatton

This week you can find more financial advice for women, as part of National Women's Money Week. Several topics and articles are on www.womensmoney.org. Maple Grove personal finance author Carrie Rocha is involved with the nonprofit that promotes financial education for women.

"So much financial information is geared and written toward the way men think, however women are central to a family's financial experience, so it's really set out to target and empower women," says Rocha, who encourages readers to learn something new this week about smart money management.

"Whether it's setting a budget or getting out of debt, or investing or managing your assets, wherever people are, they need to make the wisest choices for their unique situation," she said.

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When it comes to retirement saving, many women lag behind many men. Historically, that has been the case. The 2015 edition of Financial Finesse’s annual survey, The Gender Gap in Financial Wellness, offers more evidence of the problem – along with a few encouraging signs that women may be catching up.

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Career Advice for Women Looking for Work Life Balance #WMW16 @moneycrashers

Career Advice for Women Looking for Work Life Balance #WMW16 @moneycrashers

Women wear hats. A lot of hats. So many hats, in fact, that one could say that they wear more hats than any other group in society, including ball players and construction workers. Women’s hats include the mom hat, the wife hat, the friend hat, the daughter hat, the sister hat, and the employee hat.

With so many roles that women have to play, the role of career often becomes rushed, half-hearted, or interrupted. Women have so many demands on them that they cannot always live out their dreams in the workplace. Working can become a burden, instead of a way to fulfill ourselves.

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How to Start Saving for College - #WMW16 @BrightwaterFin

How to Start Saving for College - #WMW16  @BrightwaterFin

When I talk with parents about their biggest financial concerns and goals, saving for college inevitably comes up in the conversation. And I understand why college savings is on their minds. The average 2015 graduate will have to pay about $35,000 back in student loans and about 70% of 2015 college graduates left school with student debt, as shared in this Wall Street Journal article. Yeesh! Not to mention the results of this college cost calculatorcan be a little depressing.

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7 Ways to Become a Better Parent and Investor - #WMW16 @BrightwaterFin

7 Ways to Become a Better Parent and Investor - #WMW16  @BrightwaterFin

Now that we have two kids, the stakes are a little higher in the parenting department. Lately, I’ve been reading the book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids. While feeding our newborn son at 2am or trying to fall back to sleep, I started thinking about how parenting advice also applies to investing.

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Rent or Buy? This decision can save $100-$500 or more each month! #WMW16

In some areas of the country, you can save thousands of dollars a year just by making the decision of renting or buying.  

Never follow the advice of "it's always better to own".  THAT'S NOT TRUE!!  And, many of us found that out in 2008 or after.   

So what do you need to know to just if it is right for YOU. 

Here are some key "tests" to judge for yourself. 

  1. Check Your Local Economy - Some places are hot markets right now, and it makes it so tempting to buy a home "before they are all gone".  It's like a fire sale, but don't get sucked into the crowd mentality.  Get a calculator, and figure it out for yourself.  For example, let's say homes are selling for $100,000 in your area - that's somewhere about a $500 monthly payment at current interest rates. If similar homes rent for $800-$900 a month - buying a home would save your $300-$400 a month.  Conversely, if rents are lower than what you would pay for a mortgage, and you really have no other compelling reason to buy...renting might be better for you.
  2. Check Your Lifestyle - Your lifestyle is a good predictor of renting vs. buying. If you travel or move around a lot, you may not be ready for that dream house on a half acre.  You may best be served by renting now and saving for when you are ready for your dream house.
  3. Check Your Tolerance Level - Do you have the tolerance to manage pest control, taxes, HOAs, lawn maintenance, plumbing and other household repairs? Consider your spouse's tolerance too.  The great thing about renting is you make one call to the landlord or management company. You don't have to call service providers for quotes and hope they show up.  Many people fall in love with the idea of buying a house, but rarely calculate the additional emotional and irritation costs of home ownership.
  4. Check Your Additional Home Costs - The follow up of #3 are the financial costs to those home issues you have to tolerate.  You will have to add a few hundred dollars a month to pay for plumbing, HOA, pest, lawn, upgrade costs to a home. You don't want to have to put these on a credit card because you can't afford them.  Depending on your rental, some or all of these may be paid for. 
  5. Check Your Deduction - Mortgage interest and property taxes are tax deductible ONLY if you itemize on your federal return. Also, keep in mind, if you have to pay the alternative minimum tax (AMT), you can't take itemized deductions for real estate taxes. 

Was saving for college a New Year’s resolution? #WMW16 @NVTreasury

Was saving for college a New Year’s resolution?  #WMW16 @NVTreasury

Raising children is quite challenging, and doing it alone brings its own set of financial and emotional setbacks and choices. As we juggle financial priorities between life’s needs and wants, I reflect back on the New Year’s resolution I made a few years ago, to purchase a prepaid tuition program for each of my children.

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