Money

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build your savingsSavings. The dreaded term for millions of Americans. Trying to build your savings shouldn’t be dreaded, it should be something that's celebrated!

From childhood, we are urged to save our birthday money, Christmas money, allowance, etc.

Sadly thought, those habits often don’t carry across into adulthood. Many Americans don’t have a savings account, let alone a retirement account (but that’s a whole other post).

If you haven’t started a savings account, go start one! Depending on the account, you can get started with just $5.00.

If you are struggling to build your savings, here are some great ideas to help build your savings account starting today!

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sales taxesI've never considered moving to Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire or Oregon as a way to avoid paying local or state sales taxes, but I see how it can be tempting — especially to retirees looking to save money.

Other than some local resort areas in Montana, those four states don't have local or state sales taxes, giving residents and visitors plenty of reasons to shop there.

Some states make up for low or zero sales taxes with high income taxes. Oregon has no sales tax but high income taxes, while neighboring Washington state has high sales taxes but no income tax. In theory, it could pay off to live and work in Washington state and buy everything in Oregon.

But which states should you avoid for high sales taxes? The Tax Foundation recently put out a mid-year report of state and local sales tax rates, combining the state and average local sales tax rates for each state.

Highest sales taxes in the Bayou

The full list is in the report, but here's the top 10 states for combined local and state sales tax rates, followed by the combined rate: ...continue reading

marriageMy wife and I celebrated 17 years of marriage recently, and like other anniversaries in life, it caused me to ponder what I've learned during those 17 years.

As someone who writes about personal finance every week, I of course thought back to the money lessons I've learned during marriage. Some, such as saving for retirement and investing in mutual funds, may just be from getting older and aren't entirely attributed to marriage.

But other money lessons I've learned were either from my wife or something we came across together as a married couple. Here are five money lessons I've learned while married:

Joint accounts

In the months before we got married, I asked a married couple we were friends with if we should have separate or joint checking accounts. I was leaning toward separate accounts, figuring we'd split the bills and pay them together, as a couple.

But that sounded too much like having a roommate. Our friends said that having a joint account was best because once you're married, everything is shared and her money is his and vice-versa. Your money as a couple is commingled and it doesn't matter where it came from when you're paying life's expenses. Two people become one, at least where money is concerned. ...continue reading