Ever Changing Plans

Car

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. If you’ve learned anything about me over the last few years, you’ve learned that I am a planner.  I am always thinking about then future.  This is especially true when it comes to my personal finances.  I have short, medium and long-term plans.  Our next car replacement is falling into the short-term bucket.  We finish paying off my wife’s car this year and the plan was to wait a little while, maybe a year, then get a new car for me.  That plan is getting a revision. My Wife’s Car We bought my wife’s car in December of 2011 just after the little guy was born.  We had a smaller 4-door sedan, which was just not going to cut it with 2 small kids.  We sold the sedan for a slight loss and rolled the negative equity into the new car loan with a 6-year payment term.  Our financial shape at the time was ok, … Read more

Changed Mindset

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. I like how my thinking has changed over time.  Gone are the days when I would just spend my annual bonus like a drunken sailor.  Not that I ever was a drunken sailor, but you get the idea. I just found out my annual performance bonus for the year.  My wife and I had plans for it, we were thinking of putting a screened-in deck on the back of our house.  Instead, we are doing the very boring thing of just putting it into savings.  That would not have happened 10 or 15 years ago.  It’s nice to see the change. Annual Bonus It’s not technically an annual bonus, but I have received one every year.  I have performed well enough to merit one every year that I have been with the company.  We had been given warnings that the bonus pool this year was not going to be as big as it had been … Read more

4 Reasons Why People Can’t Get Out of Debt and How UDC May Be Able to Help

Having debt can limit your life so much, and feel like such an incredible burden. On top of all that, the more debt you have, the more debt you seem to accrue over time. Here are just a few reasons why so many Americans find themselves too deep in debt to ever get out. If any of the following applies to you, contact UDC for a consultation today, and work to stop debt in its tracks. Paying the Minimum on Credit Cards Credit cards can be a great tool for spending money while allowing your savings to accrue interest. However, if you rack up more charges than you can actually afford by the end of the month, it’s easy to fall into a spiral of paying off the minimum on your statement and letting the debt pile up. UDC’s debt settlement program is intended to get clients back on track and have them establish budgets as part of the program process. Saving Money is Impossible If the idea of setting money aside from each paycheck seems not only improbable, but impossible, you’re in good company. Many Americans are struggling from month to month and unable to contribute even a small … Read more

Rewards Summary

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. Curiosity got the best of me recently.  I wanted to know just how well I had done with credit card rewards in the past year.  My basic credit card rewards strategy is simple, essentially consisting of only two cards for the joint family expenses. The first is the Citi Cash Back card which pays 2%.  I have adjusted that slightly in the short term, but I’ll explain that later.  The second is the BJ’s MasterCard which pays 3% back at BJ’s and gives 10¢ back per gallon of gas. That is all we use for the household expenses, but it isn’t the only place I was able to rack up my rewards last year.  Both the wife and I have our own credit cards for our personal spending that also offer rewards.  I then opened up another card to take advantage of a quick cash back offer.  In total for 2016, I was able to … Read more

Raise Time

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. Let’s hear it for more money! I will never complain about receiving a higher salary.  With times being what they are at the company, I was not expecting to receive much this year, just hoping for a little.  I was awarded an increase of $1,500 to my annual salary.  So, where did I spend this windfall you might ask? Budget Balancing Truth be told, I didn’t really do anything fun with it.  I simply balanced my budget.  When my wife began babysitting back in September, I increased my 401k contribution at that time, going from 8% to 9%.  That obviously meant a reduction in my take-home pay. I used some of the additional money that she was bringing in to bring to make up that difference.  The difference worked out to be about $85 a month.  I figured my wife was likely to continue babysitting again this coming fall, but I did not want to … Read more

How Much Do You Need For Retirement?

How much will you need for retirement? Everyone would love to know the answer. Humans, after all, find comfort in certainty. This is why we read the latest investment news and calculate down to the last penny, it’s an attempt to crack the code. We shy away from ambiguity and are driven to do whatever it takes to find answers. Studies have concluded that our choices are influenced by our hunger for answers. The answers to well researched questions refer to generalizations and averages, but it is of the utmost importance that you consider your personal goals and needs when you formulate a financial plan. It may be worthwhile consulting an independent financial advisor to evaluate your situation and provide some tailored advice. How much should you save? It’s widely believed that an income of 75% of your salary allows you to retire comfortably. This accounts for any adjustments you need to make as you age (i.e. increases medical costs). Here are a few factors to consider when evaluating your potential needs. Housing Will your mortgage be paid off by the time you retire? If the answer is yes, then remove the home payments line from your budget. You will … Read more

Life Insurance: How Much Is Enough?

Life Insurance: How Much Is Enough? Thinking about your life insurance needs is probably not your favorite topic. At best, it may seem boring. It may even be depressing. However, thinking about and purchasing appropriate life insurance is really just the responsible thing to do. It is a way to take care of those you love most, even after you are gone. At the very least, life insurance guarantees that funeral costs and other costs associated with your passing will not be a burden. But more than just that, life insurance should make managing finances workable, at least for a time, for those you leave behind. Many people have a life insurance policy through their employers, as a part of their benefits package. But is it enough? What Kind of Life Insurance Do Employers Provide? Most employers provide what is known as term life insurance. Term life insurance is a basic type of policy. Term life policies do not accrue a cash value, so they are not investments. Should the insured die while the policy is in force, the person or people listed as beneficiaries on the policy will be paid death benefits. Term life insurance policies are not connected … Read more