Savings

Why Using Your Savings for Bitcoin (or other High-Risk Investments) Isn’t Smart

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Wealth Building Tip of the Day:              

Recently, I stumbled upon this article: “After the Bitcoin Boom: Hard Lessons for Cryptocurrency Investors.”

Remember the Bitcoin/cryptocurrency explosion a few months ago? Back then, just about everyone began asking financial experts if they should invest in it. At the time, some well-known experts were saying what a great investment it was. And now...silence.

Let me be clear. I myself am not an investment expert. But I do know that it is absolutely necessary to invest to create long lasting wealth. I invest. Investing creates wealth in a way that regular savings accounts do not. But as with all your wealth building practices, you need to proceed in an INFORMED and wise manner.

The article talks about several people who used their savings to invest in Bitcoin. One woman (and mom) used her savings, an insurance policy and took out a loan to invest in cryptocurrencies. At the time the article was written, she saw her investments drop 90%. One man took $100,000 out of his savings to buy Bitcoin and saw its value drastically drop. They – and other individuals – lost tens of thousands of dollars. It is NOT a wise strategy to take money from your savings to invest in high risk funds.

When it comes to your savings, you should always have a few different types of savings accounts. You should have set purposes for each. Then you’ll be clear on what you are saving for and why. And what money you want to invest. Once you decide what you want to – and can actually – invest, you should invest using your disposable income/extra money left over. NOT your savings.

The way to succeed in investing is not to jump on what’s “hot” at the moment, but to become knowledgeable about how to invest. In most cases, you will need to invest FIRST in working with a financial expert to help you learn.

But THAT is an investment well worth making to create long lasting and true wealth, which won’t quickly lose its value.

Are You Getting Ready for the Next Recession?

Are You Getting Ready for the Next Recession?

Financial Tip of the Day:

When the economy is doing “good” that's when we feel least like saving. When the money is flowing in, we start to feel like it's never going to end. Maybe we’re raking in the overtime, or our businesses are doing extremely well. And that’s when it feels like the money spigot will continue forever. But, the truth is, when your money is “good” is the time when you MOST need to save.

Have you ever looked at celebrities or athletes who were making millions at one point in their lives, and then a few years later you read or hear about them and they’re broke? This is because they didn’t save for the rainy days.

No matter who we are, our income IS going to drop at some point in our lives. We may have to take a pay cut, lose our jobs, retire, or our businesses may not make as much profit.

THIS is when savings come to the rescue as a buffer. Savings can help you maintain a (relatively uninterrupted) pleasurable and secure quality of life at these times.

If you don't have any savings in place, NOW is the time to make it happen. Get your savings plan together and start saving REGULARLY.

History has shown that recessions occur naturally and consistently in our economy. Remember the last one? And as Black women, WE tend to get hit quickest and hardest when these happen.

Get ready for the next one.

Focus on the TRUE Purpose of Saving Money…

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So, as someone who is a “natural saver,” just seeing the money in my savings accounts grow is enough to give me a warm and fuzzy feeling of satisfaction. It’s because deep down, savings signal to me that I have options. Ultimately, acquiring savings provides me with feelings of freedom and security concerning any “unexpecteds” that may arise.

However, as a financial educator/coach, I fully realize that many people are not motivated by this type of thing when it comes to saving. Quite a few of us are more motivated by the promise of what our money can give us NOW, rather than later. So, stashing it away and doing with less money now feels like a huge drag with no apparent rewards. The truth is, some of us are more “today centered” and some of are more “tomorrow centered.” And there is NOTHING WRONG with either approach - when they’re not used in the extreme.

The goal is to achieve a balance. Admittedly, this can be very tricky. In fact, overall, this balance is not being achieved. This recent piece shows that 65% of Americans have ZERO to very little money saved at all: 65% of Americans save little or nothing—and half could end up struggling in retirement

To me, this indicates that a big part of the problem is the perception of saving. Far too often, we focus on the “pain” of saving and “doing without” in the moment. The focus is on what we're NOT getting as opposed to what we ARE getting. In order to be motivated to CONSISTENTLY cut back in our everyday lives, we must have something to look forward to - both NOW and in the future - that makes it feel worthwhile. This is the only way we can tackle any goal that feels hard or unpleasant.

Even for me, the promise of saving for future reward alone is not enough. I too, want immediate pleasure out of my well saved money. For instance, after my trip last month to a business summit, I noticed that my luggage bag was fraying and some of the foam was coming out. My bag had accompanied me on many pleasant trips over the last few years. But it was time to go. So rather than trying to squeeze more trips out of it, I disposed of it when I got home.

Since I had another trip coming up, I needed to get a new one quickly. And let me tell you, when it comes to shopping, just call me the “Savings Queen.” Whenever I buy something, I always try to get the best deal (price-wise) possible. As a “frugal minded” spender, this is usually my top criteria (all my “frugal minded” people KNOW what I’m talkin’ bout).

But this time around, I decided that price would not be the top deciding factor. The longer I continue my life’s journey of living abundantly, the more I have come to focus on what makes me HAPPIEST as opposed to what costs me less.

Now I just want to make this totally clear: that DOES NOT mean I just throw price out the window. It simply means that figuring how much money I can keep in my wallet, when comparing buying one thing over another, is not my guiding principle anymore.   

Focus on thte TRUE Purpose of Saving Money....

I finally settled on this beautiful purple (my favorite color) two-piece luggage set (above). I LOVE it and I cannot wait to use on my next trip. I was comparing this set to a three-piece Black luggage set that cost almost $20 less. My last luggage bag was also Black. But every time I looked at the purple set, I felt so ‘“up” just looking at it. So that’s what I bought. Economically the Black set was a “better” value and would have put some savings into my pocket. But I have come to appreciate more and more that sometimes buying what you LOVE and paying a bit more for it - rather than paying less for something that you only LIKE - is the way to go.

The invaluable discipline of saving money is about learning how to cut back on the things right now that really don't matter that much, so that we can invest instead in the things that REALLY DO.

So, for me, buying “no-name” paper towels, foregoing brand name clothing (most of the time), and learning how to get by with a little less income right now in order to make mandatory contributions to my retirement account, are some of the things I am willing to cut back on in the present. This then frees up the money for me to buy the slightly more expensive luggage that makes me feel energized and stylish and brightens up my day – in the here and now.

The TRUE purpose of saving money in the present is to invest that money in what really matters. It's NOT to deny our current selves happiness and pleasure. The true purpose of saving money now is to make possible the present AND future things that give us the MOST happiness.  And isn’t that what saving money is REALLY all about?

What about you? Have you ever cut back on something that didn't mean very much to you so that you could save for/invest in something else that really did matter to you? I'd love to hear about it! 

About Yolanda Ransom

Yolanda Ransom teaches professional Black women how to confidently master their money, so they can achieve all of their financial dreams. She is a financial educator, coach and CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting. She speaks and writes about personal finance and personal development. Find out more about Yolanda and her work at yolandaransom.com

I Bet You'll Never Guess What MC Lyte Prayed for: What We Can Learn from Her...

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Last week, I attended the Black Enterprise 2018 Entrepreneurs Summit. And my absolute favorite session of all was the one I attended where MC Lyte spoke. 

I’ve always admired MC Lyte for her authenticity and for uncompromisingly representing herself with ultimate strength and class. So, I was eager to hear what she had to say.

To be honest, I was not prepared for what she shared with us during the session. What she shared was very surprising - and extremely hopeful at the same time.

Lyte explained that there was a point when she felt so lost and needed help so desperately in one area of her life that she prayed and asked God to send her someone.

And no. It was not a man.

She asked God to send her someone…to help her get her finances right.

She realized that she wasn’t able to figure out how to get to where she wanted to be financially. So she sought help.

This legendary, super successful, intelligent and self-evolving lady realized that she needed help with her money. She needed help reaching her big money goals.

And guess what? The help she sincerely asked for and desired showed up.

During that session we met Lyte and the financial expert who helped her transform her money and life in ways she had never imagined.

I was so excited to hear this because this is exactly what I help my clients do. I help them transform their lives and money journey.

Hearing MC Lyte’s story was so hopeful to me because it confirmed for me that there are more and more Black professional women just like Lyte who are willing to take action on their dreams.

She asked for help, and when it appeared, she participated by taking action towards her dreams of financial abundance and success. And Lyte listened to her financial coach.  

Lyte said that she could never give her coach enough credit for helping her turn her finances around and credited her coach’s guidance with creating her money and business transformations.

We can learn a lot from MC Lyte:

What about you? Are you doing everything you can to invest in your financial future?

The longer you wait to take action, the longer you will stay where you are and keep doing what you’re doing.

Or worse yet - you will fall even farther behind on your dreams.

Are you making excuses about money and time to avoid getting the coaching and support that you need?

The thing is, we always seem to find the money for that new pair of shoes, that new handbag, that new hairdo, etc., right? It really all boils down to a matter of priorities, doesn't it?

Each day that you make an excuse is another day that leaves you feeling increasingly more hopeless about ever achieving your big financial dreams.

Instead of making excuses, you could be taking actions towards – and living – your big dreams. Just like MC Lyte (and me).

It really is true: “Time waits for no one.”

Minimize Grocery Trips to Save Hundreds

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Financial Tip of the Day

I finished my grocery shopping earlier today. Twice a month, my husband and I do a large grocery run to replenish everything we need until our next trip. Shopping twice per month saves us LOTS of money.

The more trips you make to the grocery store, the more you end up spending monthly. This is because you often end up buying smaller sizes of items with the idea of needing them to last a shorter period of time.

Take milk, for example. When you buy four quarts of milk instead of buying one gallon in a month, you end up spending quite a bit more. Multiply this by all the other items you do this with, and you can easily overspend by hundreds.

With clients, I’ve noticed that those who make larger shopping trips, less frequently, spend considerably less than those who shop every week. I even had one client who shopped EVERY day. Needless to say, they had a HUGE grocery bill.

By making fewer, but larger, grocery trips every month, you’ll save so much on your shopping bill. Plus, your savings automatically increase because you end up spending less on gas/transportation to get to the store. The net result: having more money to spend or save on the people and things that you love even more than groceries 😊.

Still Haven’t Saved a Dime This Year? Try “Tricking” Yourself into Saving

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As we move through the fourth month of the year, it’s the perfect time to re-evaluate how we’re doing with our money goals so far. Saving up money is a goal that most of us have. (And if we don’t, we should). But putting aside money for savings is a real challenge for the majority of us. Either we have too little saved or not at all. Am I right?

Truth be told, we often treat saving as optional, negotiable or non-essential. Don’t we? But we know that is not the case. Having a savings cushion really IS a necessity. Living without savings is a sure recipe for falling into debt.

The great news is, saving is a habit that can be DEVELOPED through practice.

The way to ensure that you save money every pay period, is to add in your savings goal to your budget. When we do our budgets, we typically include expenses that we must pay to someone else. But we don’t include what we must pay to OURSELVES. Savings are what we pay to ourselves.

The bottom line is that there is no lasting financial success without the use of a budget. Visually seeing what you spend and earn shows you the reality of your actual situation. Budgets help to clarify our expenses. In other words, they detail the absolute necessities that MUST be paid to avoid losing things we consider vital to our happiness, health, and comfort (like shelter, water, heat, electricity, etc.)

A trick that I use to help me save is to include savings in my budget as an EXPENSE. I treat it like a necessity. Just like all my other major bills. I also set up my savings to be automatically deducted and transferred into my savings account, so I don’t have a chance to spend it on something else (like all the music, movies and other things on my huge Amazon Wish List).

When you add your savings amount goal into your budget, make sure you add it in as a SEPARATE additional item in your budget. That is what I do. This method has helped me save thousands for my retirement and emergency fund at the SAME time.

Initially, you’ll feel the drop in your available spending cash. So just adjust other areas of your budget to account for this. In no time at all, you will get used to working with this new cash flow and will create new spending habits.

Begin treating your savings like a NECESSITY. When you start doing thing, saving will become a habit, and you won’t even think about it anymore. It will become as automatic as the deductions you’ve set up to fund your savings account (make sure you don’t forget this step!).

Then you can watch your savings grow. And grow. And grow. There’s just no feeling like it. That feeling of increased security and accomplishment, as you see yourself steadily moving closer and closer to your dreams…

About Yolanda Ransom

Yolanda Ransom is a financial educator, speaker, coach and workshop trainer who teaches people how to confidently master their money so that they can achieve all of their financial dreams. She is the CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting and speaks on topics of personal finance, personal development and Black issues. You can book her to speak at your next event about this topic or her other speaking topics by visiting Yolanda Ransom Speaking

Today is the Deadline…

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Financial Tip of the Day:

Today is the last day to file your taxes. Here’s some info on what to do if you plan to file today: How You Can File Taxes Online at the Last Minute—for Free.

And remember, if you DON’T t make it by today’s deadline, be sure to ask for an extension TODAY. This will give you up to an additional six months to file your return. Any taxes owed will still be due - with late payment penalties added on. But an extension WILL save you from having to pay the late filing penalty too. The article tells you how to request an extension as well.

Are You Choosing Progress or Settling for Failure?

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Financial Tip of the Day

Well, we’re in the beginning of a new month – and the second quarter of the year. This is a very important time of year because it holds so much opportunity. Typically, by this point, many people have started petering out on their New Year’s resolutions or goals.

On that note, I’d like to ask how’s it going for you: if you continue what you’re currently doing, where will you be financially by the end of 2018?

If your actions are resulting in steady progress towards your goals, good for you. Keep it up!

But if your actions are resulting in more credit card debt, no savings, or poor finances in general, it’s time to seek out help. Isn’t it?

I’ll be the first to admit that change is NOT easy. And the longer a bad habit has existed, the more challenging it can be to change it.

Especially when it comes to money, we may have “inherited” poor habits and beliefs from our families. But the good news is that no matter WHERE or what we have come from, we can reclaim ownership of our money and financial futures.

I want to encourage and remind you to seek out the help you need to make the changes you desire.

Seeking help DOES NOT make you weak. It actually shows you strong you REALLY are. It shows strength to acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers. And to be open to receiving help from others with more experience and/or new ideas.

So, if you’re struggling to keep your 2018 goals – or have stopped trying altogether – there is STILL plenty of time to make 2018 YOUR year of progress. Find a trusted financial resource or professional and seek out all the help you can.

I get coaching help myself, and it’s made all the difference for me on my own journey. Help is there. Have the determination and willingness to seek it out.

*Ladies, by the way - because I want to offer you ALL the support that I can, I’m delighted to say that I will be opening up individual and group coaching again soon! I’m creating some exciting programs aimed at helping you ladies uniquely master your money. Email me at yolanda@yolandaransom.com if you’d like to be personally notified when I open up my schedule for coaching.

How I’m Saving My Health, PLUS Lots of Dollars…

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Financial Tip of the Day

I rarely post pics of food simply because rather than photographing it, I would simply rather just eat it 😊. But I was inspired to post about my new lunchtime meal for 2 reasons: 1) I’m eating healthier AND 2) I’m saving lots of MONEY doing it.

To be 100% honest, I LOVE junk food. Yes. I said it. But junk food doesn’t love me back. It leaves both my waistline and my pocketbook in worse shape. You know what I mean? Plus, I’ve committed to taking much better care of myself because I’m worth it. I want to continue to have my good health until I’m no longer here.

The truth is, I like salad, but am very picky about which ones I’ll eat. So far only McDonald’s and Chopt have had chicken salads that I enjoy and would happily eat every day. But spending about $7 a pop every day for salad just DOESN’T work for my budget.

So while shopping at Walmart recently I spotted these Bistro pre-packaged individual salads and got so excited! They cost $3 each. And while I know it would be cost even less to buy a head of salad, fixings and everything, and mix them myself, I know how I am. That’s just NOT going to happen. I’ve thrown away way too many heads of lettuce and salad fixings because I didn’t have the patience to toss together a salad once my stomach began rumbling.

Anywho, I bought a bunch of these salads, some tomatoes and a bag of breaded chicken cutlets. I baked the cutlets and diced them up. Now I just mix in tomatoes and chicken and replace their dressing with Light Balsamic Vinagrette. And I genuinely look forward to my healthy salad every day.

I feel good about my food choice AND I’m saving money in the process (which ALWAYS makes me happy). I figured out how to make my own “gourmet” salad that I enjoy just as much as the restaurant ones.

What about you? What food hacks do you have that save both your health and your wallet? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear some more great ideas from you!

3 Weeks & Counting: How You Can Still Save Big...

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Hi there! I’m here with a friendly reminder that we have just 3 weeks left to file taxes this year (due April 17th). Are you still stressing over getting your taxes done this year? Imagine if you could have confidence that they were filed by a certified tax pro and all for FREE? Imagine what you could do with all the money you usually spend on filing your taxes? How would it feel to know that your taxes were filed on time, done right, AND that you saved lots of money doing them? Instead of stress, imagine the peace of mind you’d have knowing they’re ALL taken care of this year.

If you STILL haven’t filed your taxes, check out “5 Ways to Save Money Filing Your Taxes.” In it, I tell you where to go so you don’t have to search all over for an IRS approved certified tax pro. Plus, you can stop worrying about how much your taxes will cost/how EXPENSIVE they are. I also tell you how you can potentially save HUNDREDS of dollars or even pay NOTHING to file your taxes.

Make it easy on yourself. Don’t wait until the last minute. Get the info you need you need NOW to file your taxes - stress-free - in my short and quick FREE training. Get instant access (plus a Bonus Gift) here “5 Ways to Save Money Filing Your Taxes."

Winning Money Habits…

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Financial Tip of the Day

I located this fabulous piece chock full of excellent money tips and wanted to share it. These tips so resonate with my own principles. Practice. And enjoy the increased financial freedom that they bring... 5 Old-School Money Habits You Should Start Using Today:

P.S. - Make sure that you NEVER miss the Financial Tip of the Day here: http://eepurl.com/c2D_Sz

Save Big Bucks by Filing Your Taxes…at the Library

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Financial Tip of the Day

Did you know that many libraries offer FREE in-person tax filing and assistance? During tax season, the New York Public Library hosts several organizations that will help you file your taxes in-person and/or offer tax guidance.

You can potentially save HUNDREDS of dollars on filing your return.

Get the details here: Tax Assistance at the Library.

Keep in mind, the service is typically “first come, first serve,” and slots can fill up super-fast in a day. I suggest calling ahead to the library to find out the process and eligibility requirements before going there.

Even if you don’t happen to live in New York City, your public library may offer a similar program. Just search “free tax help at library” to locate information about your local  branch.

Set Yourself Up For Saving Success

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Financial Tip of the Day

For the past couple of weeks, the flurry of W2s and tax documents began arriving in our emails and mailboxes – and will continue to for the next few weeks. Tax filing time is upon us! And while my tax situation varies from year-to-year, many of us have typically come to expect a refund based on our tax situation. If you typically receive a refund and have no savings built up, now is the ideal time to change that. In my blog post How to Save $400 For An Emergency Here & Now, I discussed the Federal Reserve’s report stating that many people couldn’t come up with $400 for an emergency if needed.

If this hits home for you, resolve this year to save half (or at least $400) of your tax refund this year – no matter what. Even if you have debt! Why? Waiting to pay off debt before you begin saving leaves you financially vulnerable. If it takes years to pay off your debt, you’re left with no safety net that entire time. Think of it as starting to save for your dream. Or to give yourself peace of mind before the next emergency. And you’ll still get to spend the rest of your refund as planned (on new clothes, a new phone, etc.)

So, this year when you gather up all your tax forms, make sure to include your savings account information.  Have it ready when you file your taxes. And once you see your refund amount, set up half (or at least $400) for automatic deposit into your savings account. Remove the temptation factor. Isn’t that best, anyway? The less we touch it, the more likely the money will end up where we planned. Right? Set yourself up for saving success this year by using some of your refund to jump start your savings into your next dream/emergency fund.

Now, doesn’t that sound easy?

P.S. - Sign up for more money mindset shift inspiration and practical tips to help you achieve your financial dreams at http://eepurl.com/c2D_Sz

FREE Tax Prep Option

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Financial Tip of the Day

That time of year is about to roll around again... Ah yes, TAX time.

If you 1) earned less than $64,000 last year, AND 2) are comfortable self-filing, then you may want to check out this FREE electronic filing option: https://www.unitedway.org/myfreetaxes

H&R Block has partnered with United Way to provide FREE filing. If eligible, you can file both federal and state returns for free – thus saving you lots of cash on tax prep! If so, Happy filing!

A Few Minutes Now Can Equal Bliss Later...

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Financial Tip of the Day

Many people don’t reach their goals simply because they don’t realize how much time and/or money their goal truly requires. And they’ve never taken the time to do the research to see what’s involved. The same is true for retirement. Many now-retired people never stopped to figure out how much they would need to save in ADVANCE to enjoy the type of retirement they desired. So they got there and had a rude awakening…often having to drastically scale back their lifestyle.

After working so hard for SO many years shouldn’t we be able to live the lives we TRULY want at that point? Take the time to use your plan’s retirement calculator to figure out how much you’ll need to save NOW to have the life you want then. It may be scary to see how much you’ll need (my figure was larger than expected). But isn’t it better to find out NOW and make the necessary changes rather than live unhappily during your non-working years? Take out a few minutes to get clarity on this (if you haven’t yet). Here’s a calculator you can use, if you’d like: Retirement Calculator

P.S. – Are you looking for a speaker to show your organization/group learn how to find money to save for retirement? I am available to speak to your group! Visit my Speaker Page at https://yolandaransom.com/yolandaransomspeaking/ or email me at yrconsulting@optimum.net to arrange a time to discuss your needs/goals.

 

Hey Self-Employed, Sock Away $ For Your Retirement Dreams Too!

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Financial Tip of the Day

Business Owners/Self-Employed, take advantage of Solo 401Ks. If you are self-employed or are the sole owner of your business, the Solo 401K may be an excellent retirement savings option for you. If you happen to be a sole proprietor, independent contractor, or consultant, this option is available and you can sock away plenty of money for retirement too!

Since Solo 401ks allow you to contribute as both employee AND employer, you can potentially save more than DOUBLE the amounts allowed by traditional employer sponsored 401k’s. Whoopee! For more info on what they are and how they work, read on: What Is a Solo 401(k)?

P.S. – Write down your daily business vision, financial goals, and personal dreams in your very own “My Abundant Money Book.” Journal your way to success! Get it here:  Shop.

Automate Your Savings Online

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Financial Tip of the Day

Automating your savings and making it “hard” to get to is one proven way to ensure that you build up your savings. And setting up an online savings account completely SEPARATE from your regular checking account is the best way to be a successful saver. This is true for me and many that I’ve worked with.

One of my favorites savings account is American Express’ online savings account. No minimum balance is required, there are NO FEES and it offers one the higher interest rates available for an online savings account. HSBC is also another savings account that I’ve had a great experience using. This piece provides some other options: Top 11 Best Online Savings Account Banks – Start Making Interest Today! Happy Saving for your dreams!

P.S. – I do not receive compensation from any companies and only personally recommend those that I myself have used and trust. To get more daily tips and info like this, sign up for my mailing list at https://buff.ly/2B6yf02

Special Report on Retirement: Catch It!

Financial Tip of the Day

Nightly Business Report did a special show on retirement on Thanksgiving. Did you catch it? It addressed why we’re not saving and/or not saving enough. It’s worth a watch. Catch it here : Nightly Business Report

Saving for retirement may feel boring, overwhelming and daunting. In all honesty, I myself am not where I want to be with my retirement savings goals. It turns out I’ll need a LOT more than I thought. But I’m not giving up. And neither should you. Catch the show for tips on what to do here: Nightly Business Report

More Shared Tips to Reduce Thanksgiving Stress & Costs

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Financial Tip of the Day

As the day arrives (along with the hustle and bustle) here are some more helpful tips if you happen to be hosting Thanksgiving at your house. Plus, there’s a downloadable list to print out and use to plan your dinner: Hosting Thanksgiving? Here are Some Ways to Reduce Your Stress & Cost