The Frugal Toad http://www.thefrugaltoad.com Money Saving Advice for Everyday Living Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:54:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Why “ Working Retirements ” Are a Growing Trend http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/personalfinance/working-retirements-growing-trend http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/personalfinance/working-retirements-growing-trend#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 18:27:48 +0000 http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/?p=5994 In the past, retirement meant the beginning of a life of leisure. Retirees were free to spend their time pursuing hobbies, spending time with family and friends and doing everything that they didn’t have time to do while they were working. These days, though, retirement doesn’t always mean slowing down and enjoying the results of [...]

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working retirementIn the past, retirement meant the beginning of a life of leisure. Retirees were free to spend their time pursuing hobbies, spending time with family and friends and doing everything that they didn’t have time to do while they were working.

These days, though, retirement doesn’t always mean slowing down and enjoying the results of decades of hard work. In fact, according to a new study by Age Wave, a think tank devoted to issues related to aging sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the majority of retirees want or plan to work even after they technically retire. 

According to the survey, only about 28 percent of the retirees surveyed have no plans to work again after they retire. The remaining 72 percent plan to work in some capacity; most plan to work either part time or rotate periods of part time work with time off. Only about 5 percent plan to work full time after retirement.

What’s behind this considerable shift in the definition of retirement?

Working Keeps You Young 

With all of the headlines and financial experts warning that most people don’t have enough money saved for retirement, and that no one should rely on Social Security to meet all of their needs during retirement, the most obvious explanation for the desire to work is that seniors need to money to cover their expenses.

In some cases, this is true. Some older Americans have to work to make ends meet. However, what’s interesting about the results of the Age Wave study is that most of the respondents noted that they don’t have to work. Their good financial decisions during their working years allowed them to build a foundation of wealth; so they can work because they want to, not because they have to.

In fact, personal fulfillment was one of the most common reasons that survey respondents gave for their desire to work after retirement. Many people noted that work energizes them and gives them purpose; because work was such an important part of their identities, they are reluctant to move on. The desire to do something different was another common reason for retirees looking to stay in the workforce. For many retirees — both those nearing retirement and already retired — retirement presents an opportunity to explore passions or interests that they did not have time for when they were working. 

working retirementsThings to Consider

Many retirees choose to take a few years off between their retirement date and going back to work full time. Some experts call this a “career intermission,” as it’s a chance to take a breather, reflect and explore options for going forward. 

However, experts caution that taking an “intermission” can make it harder to re-enter the workforce later on. Getting another job can take longer when you are over age 60, as many employers are reluctant to hire older workers. 

For this reason, many retirees opt to become consultants or entrepreneurs in their post-retirement years, a move that some financial experts recommend as it can create a significant passive income stream going forward. 

If those options do not work, experts recommend volunteering or taking classes to keep your skills fresh and relevant, or perhaps working with your current employer to develop new opportunities that will keep you challenged and involved. 

Finding a job is not the only issue to consider post-retirement. Retirees who wish to return to work should also consider:

  • Health. While more than 80 percent of working retirees note that working helps them feel younger, there’s no getting around the fact that as we age, we cannot handle the same stresses as during our early career. It’s important to consider the effect that working will have on your health, and avoid taking on roles that will increase stress or negate the effects of retirement.
  • Social Security. Working after you reach full retirement age (70) will not have any effect on your Social Security benefits, but working between ages 62-69 will affect how much you collect each month. Depending on your age, you will have limits on how much you can earn before your benefits are reduced. If you amassed enough wealth during your working years to cover your expenses completely, this benefit reduction will not affect you, but it can be detrimental if you’re relying on Social Security to cover a significant portion of your expenses.

For many retirees, the ideal senior lifestyle balances work with leisure, and offers the chance to explore passions and interests. Even if you don’t have to, consider keeping one foot in the working world to continue building your wealth and keep your mind and skills sharp.

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Money and Marriage: Financial Questions To Settle First http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/personalfinance/money-marriage-financial-questions-settle-first http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/personalfinance/money-marriage-financial-questions-settle-first#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:46:50 +0000 http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/?p=5975 Now that the question has been popped, you can get on with the matter of setting a date and securing a venue. But before you start trying on formal wear and choosing colors for the bride’s maid dresses, there are a few more questions to be popped, hashed out, discussed, and debated till there is [...]

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money and marriageNow that the question has been popped, you can get on with the matter of setting a date and securing a venue. But before you start trying on formal wear and choosing colors for the bride’s maid dresses, there are a few more questions to be popped, hashed out, discussed, and debated till there is 100% agreement. Those questions have nothing to do with the flavor of cake, and everything to do with finances.

Among other things, marriage is a business arrangement. There are business decisions to be made that have everything to do with money. Until now, you and yours have been involved in an unofficial, ad hoc partnership. Now, you are about to move to a full-on merger. It is perfectly appropriate to sit down with an estate attorney and financial advisors as you sort out your various financial planning options.

There are many questions about finances that need to be settled before getting married. Couples should spend a bit of time researching the Web for a whole host of topics including:

• Investments
• Types of bank accounts
• Insurance
• Loans
• Retirement

You can go to sites like Wisebread.com, or BankingSense.com, that deal with all of these financial matters and more on a continually updated basis. Beyond the major topics, there are specific questions every couple should be asking:

How much financial independence will there be in the marriage?

There is no one right answer to this question. Some marriages work well when one person is the financial manager. There can be less conflict about who spent what, and how much is available. Financial matters can be greatly simplified with that arrangement.

On the flip-side, when accounts are separate, each party is responsible for a certain portion of the bills. Assuming each party pays the bills on time, there may be less opportunity for conflict over spending money.   Whatever your ultimate answer, the question most certainly should be asked before the marriage license is signed.

Do we have compatible spending habits?

Studies show that we seek out compatibilities in a mate in most matters with the notable exception of spending habits. Those same studies also show that incompatible spending habits make for a less happy marriage. A spendthrift hitched to a penny pincher is an unlikely combination for success. The more conservative party will always be frustrated with the fact that there is never any surplus for saving an debt relief. The sloppy spender will want to enjoy the now even if it means suffering later.

These issues do not go away over time, and if they are not dealt with before marriage, these differences can lead to conflict.

How much debt are we dealing with?

Another often overlooked financial matter to be sorted before the wedding is debt. It is almost impossible for two adults to come together without some debt liability. If both parties are paying on a car, that is debt. There is also the matter of a mortgage. Beyond managed debt, there are the student loans with outstanding balances, and are not going away. There are the hospital bills which just keep piling up. There was that one mistake with the taxes four years ago. There is the credit card balance you keep meaning to pay down.

Debt adds up. But the thing that really hurts the marriage is the debt you don’t know about. If your partner carries debt that was not previously disclosed, it can feel like a betrayal of trust. Unaddressed debt that enters the marriage has a good chance of sticking around for the long haul. It may be a good idea to postpone the merger until each of the principals have addressed their debt. Make it a priority to go debt free as soon as possible.

There are more questions that should be asked, but this is a good start. More than half of all marriages end in divorce, and that number just keeps going up. I suspect that a good many of those divorces started out with unasked financial questions. Make sure your marriage isn’t one of those. Be sure to ask the big questions. There is plenty of time to sort out those bride’s maids dresses.

Readers: Do you have any tips for dealing with finances for newlyweds?

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Easy Ways for Moms to Save Money on Summer Travel  http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/travelandleisure/easy-ways-moms-save-money-summer-travel http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/travelandleisure/easy-ways-moms-save-money-summer-travel#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 18:49:03 +0000 http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/?p=5967 Tips to Save Money on Summer Travel With the summer season fast approaching, many people are starting to consider their travel plans. One major factor in those plans may be cost. With a little planning ahead, you can save a lot of money during your summer travel. Whether you’re going on a cruise, a road [...]

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save money on summer travel

Tips to Save Money on Summer Travel

With the summer season fast approaching, many people are starting to consider their travel plans. One major factor in those plans may be cost. With a little planning ahead, you can save a lot of money during your summer travel. Whether you’re going on a cruise, a road trip or flying to a themed destination, there are some easy ways to save through the whole process.

Save on Food: There are a couple of ways to save on food when you travel. The first is to bring it with you. If you’re taking a road trip, this part is pretty easy. Simply pack a cooler or grocery bag with snacks, fruit, crackers or any non-perishables that you can pull out easily and eat on the road. Don’t forget about beverages. Getting a case of bottled water at your local grocery can be a huge savings over individual bottles or sodas purchased during gas stops.

You can also look for places where kids eat free. There are restaurants around the country that offer free meals for children under 12 with the purchase of an adult meal. Typically, they only offer these deals on certain days of the week. Be sure to look for these restaurants ahead of time and match them up with the days and locations you will be travelling through.

Theme Park Tickets: Theme park tickets can be really pricey. However, a little online searching in advance can save you quite a bit.  It is a good idea to do book in advance as many theme parks offer special summer discounts or package deals. Don’t discount the possibility of a year-long or family pass. In some cases, the cost of the pass is less than if you purchased one-day tickets separately. Look for parks that are grouped together in a small geographic area. You can usually get discounts if you purchase tickets to two or more parks at the same time.

Get a Group Discount: You affiliation with some groups can get you more discounts than you realize. Military personnel and Veterans, teachers, and even those who carry specific insurance can receive discounts around the country. Beginning in the retail stores that sell the clothes for your trip, continuing with the hotels you stay in, and on to the museums you visit and the meals you eat while you’re away, there many ways to save. If you don’t belong to any special groups, you can always look to the internet for travel related Groupons.

Save on Gas: Whether you’re driving across the country in a car, taking an RV trip or renting a vehicle at your destination, the cost of gas is bound to be a factor in your planning. Thankfully, there’s now an App you can get to tell you where the cheapest gas in at any spot in the United States and Canada. You can get the Gas Buddy App for Android, iPhone or Blackberry. If you don’t have a smart phone, but still want to look up the best prices along your route, there are many websites that let you look up gas prices by zip code.

Save on Airfare: There are many tricks of the trade that can help you save money on your airfare, for example, MileCards.com suggests that using a credit card to purchase flight tickets can not only save you hundreds of dollars but you can also accumulate miles in case you use a SkyMiles credit card, which is specially catered for air travel. Moreover, simply checking the different times of day that a flight leaves can save hundreds if you’re flying with your family. Check for flights on Tuesday or Wednesday rather than Saturday or Sunday, and consider a flight with connections. It might be a little more hassle to change airplanes if you have kids in tow, but the extra headache might be worth a cheaper flight. If your kids are school age, let them each hold their own carry on. This can reduce the amount that you have to pack in their checked luggage, allowing you to combine into fewer bags.

Book together and Save: Many places offer huge discounts if you book airfare, hotel, and car rental together. Some even offer event or park tickets as part of a package. Just be sure that the deal you’re getting doesn’t include some hidden fees to the company or that you can’t do better by booking separately on your own. Finally, look for all-inclusive deals. Meals or vouchers to local restaurants, drinks, child care, and transportation to local attractions are examples of benefits that some resorts offer in their all-inclusive prices. Even if it’s just breakfast, that can save big over the course of your vacation.

With summer quickly approaching, now is a great time to start thinking about the type of vacation you’ll want to take. Most moms will be looking for ways to save on their travel this year. With a little research and planning, there are lots of easy ways to save on everything from food and gas to theme park tickets, hotels, and airfare.

Readers: How do you save money on summer travel?

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I’m Over 50 Do I Need Life Insurance? http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/personalfinance/im-over-50-life-insurance http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/personalfinance/im-over-50-life-insurance#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 17:08:29 +0000 http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/?p=5435 Do I Need Life Insurance if I’m Over 50? Traditionally life insurance is something that we get when we have a young family and a high mortgage, in order to provide for our family should we die. But what if we are older and want to invest in some life insurance? Insurers will often provide policies [...]

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Do I Need Life Insurance if I’m Over 50?

over 50 life insuranceTraditionally life insurance is something that we get when we have a young family and a high mortgage, in order to provide for our family should we die. But what if we are older and want to invest in some life insurance?

Insurers will often provide policies specifically aimed at people over 50 which have both their benefits and their problems.

What are the good and bad points of a policy for someone who is over 50?

If you are over 50 and looking to get some life insurance you may be attracted by the positives that some insurers provide in their over 50s policies.

  • No health questions.
  • No medical
  • Guaranteed acceptance

It is important to note that there is a cost for these benefits in that premiums are usually quite high. This is understandable given that being over 50 you are getting more likely to die and the insurers are taking a high risk by accepting you for a policy with no questions asked. The only problem is that if you are a completely healthy individual you may be paying a high amount to compensate for those that are not in good health. You can read more about Suncorp and their life insurance benefits by following this link.

Why would you want life insurance if you are over 50?

The wish to acquire life insurance when you are over 50 years old usually comes from a wish to protect others. With the problems that the recent world financial crisis has caused many parents are keen to protect their adult children from any further financial burden which may occur should they die.
There is also the question of the cost of care. As the world population continues to live longer, so care costs in advanced age rise; these costs can be crippling and there may be no money left on death, hence the need for life insurance.

What are the alternatives?

Given the nature of the costs incurred as people age many people consider the option of long term care insurance which can be expensive to acquire but helps to mitigate against some of the exorbitant care costs which can be encountered.

Recently another option has come onto the market, a hybrid of the life insurance and long term care insurance policies. This is usually a permanent rather than a term life insurance policy and is paid by the individual through premiums or sometimes a lump sum of amounts such as $50,000 and $75,000. The amount paid out on death is usually approximately double the amount paid in and some insurers will guarantee the minimum amount payable.

In the meantime if there is a need for long term care the policy will pay out approximately six times the amount paid in. The amount paid out for care is usually deducted from the amount paid out at the time of death; this is why having a guaranteed pay out on death can be useful. It should be noted that the costs of these hybrid policies can be high and there may be a waiting period before any money is paid out for care, but it is still worth considering if you are over 50 and looking for life insurance.

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7 Careers That Let You Work the Most Overtime http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/personalfinance/7-careers-let-work-overtime http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/personalfinance/7-careers-let-work-overtime#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 13:49:25 +0000 http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/?p=5432 The idea of saving money often seems limited to cutting costs and practicing a frugal lifestyle, but finding ways to earn more money in your current job is also a crucial part to saving money. A sure-fire way to increase your financial cushion and make bills more bearable is to put in more work for [...]

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work the most overtimeThe idea of saving money often seems limited to cutting costs and practicing a frugal lifestyle, but finding ways to earn more money in your current job is also a crucial part to saving money. A sure-fire way to increase your financial cushion and make bills more bearable is to put in more work for more pay, or work overtime; however, not every career offers these lucrative overage opportunities to practitioners. Choosing a job that offers the option to make more money after-hours sharpens your skills and puts you ahead of the saving game. Here are a few careers that offer the most overtime.

IT Professional

Whether you are having trouble with your latest tech purchase, or you just need a friend (we won’t judge you), you can almost always count on a technical support or help desk representative being there for you. These information technology specialists are available often 24 hours a day, so it is no wonder that the job requires median overtime. These extra hours can increase their hourly income by up to $7. This extra cash-flow will beefs up their savings.

Investment Banker

The business world is challenging and demanding, but if you can take the high-stress environment, a job as an investment banker offers fruitful overtime opportunities. Nonetheless, these overtime hours are not as straight-forward. Investment bankers are not paid directly for the hours worked overtime. In fact, these hours aren’t even tracked. The overtime money is actually more indirect–increases in hours allows employees to excel in their job and get generous bonuses.

EMT

Emergency medical technicians need generous overtime to meet their goal of saving lives. This job requires employees to work overtime so that all emergency calls are met in a timely fashion. Overtime for this job often exceeds the 40 hour work week, Indeed, employees can average eight extra-hours a week in overtime. The loss of time is certainly made up for in pay, with hourly overtime rates averaging $21. These profitable extra hours give this career an edge for saving.

Nursing

EMTs are not the only healthcare professionals that benefit from the ability to work extra hours on the job. A career in family practice nursing also gives professionals the freedom to advance their pay. The demand for nurses remains high due to increased population sizes throughout America, and without the proper staffing, nursing positions offer overtime opportunities at, or above, pay.

Manufacturing

There are a variety of jobs in manufacturing that need overtime during peak production. Overtime is most likely gained in the lead production field, particularly by product line managers or production supervisors. In this career, 60 percent of workers report receiving overtime work, giving skilled workers an extra opportunity for money-saving. Other jobs in this field, particularly as a forklift operator or assembly line worker, also acquire overtime.

Controls and Instrumentation Technician

An already profitable job, careers in control panel operations, particularly in nuclear and chemical plants, offer overtime work. While the career does need some technical school at the associates level, a median salary of over $60,000 and overtime incentives give this job a leg up in the realm of money-saving.

Construction

A career in construction is a valid choice for workers looking to make gains after hours. From general labor workers to more specialized workers, i.e. HVAC technicians or welders, construction workers often need overtime, giving them the ability to pull in extra cash for their savings. The demand for construction continues to increase after a lag period; however, today workers enjoy expanding paychecks and a stimulating, always changing work environment.

In the right career, it’s as simple as work more, earn more, save more. A diverse collection of fields that offer workers the chance to gain overtime. This wide array gives professionals of all interests the chance to increase their savings and build a more robust financial future. With the ability to extend your hours, gain more crucial skills, and advance in your career of choice, choosing a job with overtime benefits should certainly be a reason for your upcoming career choice.

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How to Save Money With Vacation Home Rentals & $275 Cash Giveaway http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/travelandleisure/save-money-vacation-home-rentals http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/travelandleisure/save-money-vacation-home-rentals#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 13:16:53 +0000 http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/?p=5415 When is the last time you took a vacation? Where did you stay? If you are like 95% of the world, you found a hotel in the area and spent your vacation time there, in your 350 square foot hotel room which included nothing more than a bed, a chair, a bathroom, and a small [...]

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vacation home rentalsWhen is the last time you took a vacation? Where did you stay? If you are like 95% of the world, you found a hotel in the area and spent your vacation time there, in your 350 square foot hotel room which included nothing more than a bed, a chair, a bathroom, and a small TV. Basically, it is a place to sleep when you complete your activities each day. I know I’m not making this sound too glamorous, but is there really a better option? For many, yes there is! By renting a vacation home, you can most likely save a bunch of money and add enjoyment to your trip. To be fair though, let’s look at the pros and cons of vacation home rentals.

Pros of Renting a Vacation Home

While you may not have thought of renting a vacation home for your next vacation, there are many pros to doing so:

  • Lower cost per night – I know this may shock some of you, but renting an entire house can often be cheaper than renting a dinky hotel room. If you are looking to rent a hotel room in NYC or San Diego, you will likely pay $350 a night, but if you travel just a few miles outside the city, you can find an entire house for rent for only $209 a night. Pretty crazy huh?
  • Can split the cost with others – Hotel rooms are small and most often cannot be split with more than one other couple. Houses have multiple rooms and can often be split between three or more couples. Plus, you each have your own room!
  • Can save money on food – When you’re at a hotel, you typically either have to order room service or eat at a local restaurant. Neither of which is as cheap as cooking your own meals. When you rent a house, you can buy a bunch of groceries before you get there and eat cheap meals all week! This option is fantastic for people with allergies, for picky eaters, or for those that just want to save money.
  • There is on-site “free” laundry – When you’re in a hotel, there aren’t often too many options for doing laundry, so you just have to pack enough clean clothes to get through your entire vacation stay. If you plan to stay longer than a week, vacation rentals are very handy. They often have onsite laundry for no added expense.
  • You get tons of space – Which is bigger, a house or a hotel room. The answer is obvious. You get way more bang for your buck with a house. Plus, with a house rental you reserve outdoor space as well! This is huge if you have kids that need to burn off some energy from time to time.
  • House rentals more often allow pets – Sometimes one of the most expensive parts of the trip is leaving your pet behind to be cared for by someone else. At $30 or $40 a day, the costs can really add up if you need someone to take care of your dog for you. Hotels rarely allow pets. Vacation home rentals will much more easily entertain the option, which will allow you to enjoy your vacation with your pet(s) and for no extra cost!

 
Airbnb

 

Cons of a Vacation Rental Home

Yes, there are a ton of positives to renting vacation homes, but there are of course cons as well.

  • Not in the city – Chances are, your house will not be smack dab in the middle of the city like a hotel would be. If you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city and want to hit the clubs at night, a hotel room in the city might be more enjoyable for you. A house is likely outside of town a few miles and will force you to drive in each day. This can be quite a pain when parking is limited in the city. Plus, this could increase your costs substantially (the cost of parking garages, parking tickets, lost time, etc.).
  • You might not get what you expect – With hotels, they pretty much always deliver as promised. Their hotel rooms are clean, in order, and if they fail you can always get an upgrade. With a house though, you pretty much have to take what you’re given. The place might be dirty, in a bad area of town, and everything might not be fully functional. These are just difficult (or impossible) things to know before you arrive. There is definitely a lower level of conformity between rental houses, and you’ll have to be prepared for that.

So what do you think is best for you? A vacation rental house, or a hotel stay?

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