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Plan Well, Retire Well

Great retirements don't happen by accident. Tips for saving and investing your money.

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Avoid overspending with smart holiday shopping strategies

It takes extra effort around the holidays to stay within a budget. We tend to spend more when we're tired and stressed, and holidays can add tasks and expectations to our already busy lives. In addition, everywhere we turn are spectacular sales, deals, and wish lists full of gifts and gadgets to buy! As the season for giving begins in earnest, think about ways to save a little money here and there for big savings overall. Simple strategies to help you get started Stay organized:...
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Piggybacking credit: Adding an authorized user on a credit card

I had a few conversations with a friend who decided to add a loved one to his credit card as an authorized user. Over the years, we had many discussions about some of the challenges he faced building his credit history as an immigrant with a thin credit file. He had been a joint account holder in previous situations, and now he was in a position to help someone else. Like my friend, I have been a primary account holder, joint account holder, and an authorized user, which lead me down this path...
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After a year of quarantine, how can you save money and travel safely?

Travel is the spice of life!  Travel is an opportunity to see and do things differently from our daily lives, connect with family and friends, and re-energize ourselves. Whether you choose to out of the county, across the country, or around the world, thinking about ways to decrease costs can be helpful – maybe it’ll even mean you can do more travel! How can you decide where to pinch your pennies and when to splurge when traveling? Your likes and dislikes will dictate what you consider...
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Should I do my own tax preparation?

Every year people gather up all their tax documents, organize them and then think about their options: do their income tax filing themselves, pay someone else do it, or find another option! Today, let’s explore these options. Is it better to pay someone else or file your taxes by yourself? This is a very important question to ask yourself. Many people can do their own taxes effectively, especially when using the tax preparation software programs that help complete the forms....
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Our Conference Experiences: Teaching Personal Finance in 2020 - Part 3

Attending conferences is one of the best ways that I get to learn new ideas and research, as well as getting to network/brainstorm with other professionals. This year at the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education’s annual symposium the constant theme from the conference we heard was hope and empathy. Here are a few takeaways from this year’s AFCPE conference: More Research is being done with couples and money From a study done on the spender-saver...
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Our Conference Experiences: Teaching Personal Finance in 2020 – Part 2

One of the best parts about attending professional conferences is the chance to update and reset my thinking about teaching personal finance. While teaching about money might sound like the same old, same old, there’s always something new to learn and share! Three topics stand out in my mind as I reflect on sessions I attended during the AFCPE Symposium. How is COVID affecting people’s finances? While it’s clear that the pandemic is having a financial impact on people’s lives...
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Winterize your home: winter weather checklist

With the way this year has been going, I wanted to get a head start on preparing my home for cold temperatures before old man winter makes a full appearance. Taking steps to get your house ready for colder weather can save you money and help you and your family stay safe and warm. Each year, I start with this checklist of tips for winter home prep to keep the cold out and the heat in: Get your furnace checked According to the ...
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Weathering the unexpected

I grew up in Jamaica, where one of the seasons is fondly referred to as the “rainy season,” which seemed like most of the year. Hurricanes, flash floods, earthquakes, and tropical storms are prevalent in the Caribbean. As a young child, I remember the adjustments my dad would make to our house. He would buy construction materials to batten down the windows and protected his workshop. I also can picture my mum securing essential documents such as our birth certificates, bank account information...
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Bills, Surprises, and Quick Decisions when You Lose a Loved One

Kathy Sweedler: This blog post was originally posted in 2013 by Karen Chan, CFP, retired Extension educator. A reader recently requested it. This is a timeless topic, still helpful today, and I’m happy to repost it. When our father, died, I think my sister and I both felt like we were wading through a sea of details. Individually, most of them weren’t a big deal. But the volume and speed with which they had to be handled made it stressful. Depending on the situation of your loved...
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