Take a hike! What a rate hike means to you, index investing myths, student loan defaults, divorce among baby boomers, and many more bits

Dollar Bits

80% of parents keep this financial secret from their adult children – People usually wait to talk about this crucial family matter — until it’s too late. Inheritance is a touchy subject for a lot of families, one that neither the parents, children nor other family members know how to bring up. Only 21% of children were told how much they’d receive.

How Money Can Buy Happiness—Wait, What? – Happiness means something different to everyone. Happiness could be getting out of debt, buying a home, or it could be owning an island—but think of all of the sand and upkeep! (Clearly, I’m not an island guy.) In reality, once we have decided what makes us happy, money actually can buy us happiness…or at least make us happier.

What a Fed rate hike means for you – The Federal Reserve is expected to raise its key interest rate today. It would be the second rate hike since December and a sign that the central bank plans to raise rates faster this year. One rate hike won’t change the world but higher rates affect millions of Americans. If you have a credit card or savings account, want to buy a home or a car, and invest in stocks or bonds, pay attention.

Investing Bits

An early retiree confesses to 4 big investing mistakes (and 2 things he did right) – It doesn’t take brilliant investing to retire early. Predicting the future and picking stocks that outperform the market averages played no role in his success. In fact, his attempts at outperformance usually backfired. Good read.

5 Myths About Index Investing – Excellent observations here, especially his comments concerning many investors who have only been investing since the bull market began about eight years ago. He wrote, “After observing investor behavior for 20 years, I am reasonably certain that many of those investors will abandon their strategy when things go south. As a matter of fact, many investors will also abandon their strategy when things go north, or if their investments tread water for extended periods of time. Most index investors from today are recent converts, who have mostly seen a bull market.”

Borrowing Bits

A Record Number of People Aren’t Paying Back Their Student Loans – One out of every six people who have any federal student debt haven’t made a payment on their loans for at least nine months; the number of defaulted federal student loans hit a new high in 2016: about 8 million borrowers have given up paying on more than $137 billion in education debts.

How to send or request money in Gmail for Android – You now have a new way to split the bill for dinner: Gmail for Android. While the ability to send money using Google Wallet has been available for quite a while in Gmail on the web, you can now send money from within the mobile app.

States Where Credit Card Debt Has Shrunk the Fastest – In 2015, 73% of Americans had credit card debt, according the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Credit card debt can sneak up on you. One month you’re on top of it, making regular payments, and the next you find yourself behind and unable to catch up. Sometimes it’s an unexpected emergency that puts you behind. Data shows that overall people in some states are better at staying on track with their credit card payments than in other states. We looked at average credit card debt levels in each state and how they’ve changed from 2006 to 2015.

Retirement Planning Bits

Retirement savings option beyond the 401(k) – It is well known that Americans are not saving enough money for retirement in their employer-sponsored plans. But what if you don’t have access to a 401(k) or other work-based option? In this case the task is even more daunting, and demands familiarity with alternatives to help save for a more secure retirement. You could put money into an IRA, but few people consider an option that is likely worth further exploration: the Roth.

The No-Drama Approach to Personal Finance – It’s not easy to develop good financial habits, and it is easy to be led astray by all sorts of advice which could end up separating you from your hard-earned cash. Your primary focus should be paying down debt, saving for future goals and spending wisely. It’s all about making it a habit.

Real Estate Bits

Shhh! 5 Real Estate Tax Secrets the Rich Don’t Want You to Know – Do you ever feel like the rich just keep getting richer? Well, allow us to let you in on a little secret: Part of the reason they keep on raking in dough is that they take advantage of real estate tax strategies that many ordinary homeowners have no clue even exist. So what are they, exactly—and can we ordinary mortals take advantage of them, too?

A realtor who works with first-time homebuyers reveals a common mistake millennials make when they’re house shopping – Logical, sound advice from someone who got the real estate bug. After buying and then renting out her own condo, she and her husband saw the income stream and now own six homes and 18 apartments in and around Boston.

Mortgage applications rise 3.1% as borrowers rush to lock in rates – With an impending rate hike, mortgage applications rose 3.1% last week from the previous week. Regardless, that’s 12% lower than a year ago, when refinance volume was much more robust.

4 easy ways to pay off your mortgage early – I’m a big proponent of paying off your mortgage before you retire. If you have a 30-year loan, and you buy your house when you are 50 years old, chances are you will retire before you have the house paid off. This article presents logical ways to expedite the process. Here’s a goal: If you are 30 and you can pay your house off by the time you are 50, you can retire completely debt free!

How Facebook and Instagram are changing American home design – Social media impacts your life in many ways. Your friends bragging about their new kitchen could impact what home improvements you are going to make and how you spend your money.

Budgeting Bits

Here’s What Our $150-a-Week Grocery Budget and Meal Plan Looks Like in Real Life – One couple’s real life experience of spending less money on groceries. Here’s a simple solution to spending too much: Dining out at least twice a week, cut that down to once a week.

Frugal Bits

The unexpected frugal habits of rich people – Warren Buffett lives a simple life. Each morning, he asks his wife to set out $2.61, $2.95 or $3.17, which determines which breakfast he gets. “When I’m not feeling quite so prosperous, I might go with the $2.61, which is two sausage patties, and then I put them together and pour myself a Coke.” How much did you spend today on your coffee at Starbucks?

Matrimonial Bits

Baby Boomers are Divorcing at a Stunning Rate – The divorce rate among U.S. adults ages 50 and older has roughly doubled since the 1990s. Statistically speaking we’re healthier and probably going to be living a lot longer — possibly 30 years longer — than average retirees once did. The surge in late-in-life — or “gray” — divorce is one possibly unintended consequence of this so-called longevity bonus.

8 Money Moves to Make Before You Remarry – Every year, about three per 1,000 Americans divorce from their spouse. Since about seven per 1,000 Americans marry every year, there is a chance that some divorcees will eventually tie the knot again with a new partner. But before you remarry, you should evaluate your finances. Let’s review eight money moves that will set you both up for financial safety and success.



Image credit: smartassetMoyan Brenn


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