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steering wheel with a piggy bankGetting a car loan to purchase a vehicle is a common practice for American consumers. In fact, using credit for a lot of purchases is a preferred payment method for a lot of buyers. Whether that is buying a home, a new TV, a kitchen equipment – we all love to use our plastic or go to the bank to get a loan.

But while the practice may be common, that does not mean you should automatically assume that this will be your mode of payment. It is important for you to consider all your options first before you actually proceed to apply for a loan.

Smart spending is not really about using cash alone. You can still use credit but you have to do so properly. Make sure that you understand the pros and cons before you finalize your decision to use a loan to make a purchase – especially if it is for a car.

In truth, there are purchases that are loan worthy. For instance, a home is an expensive expense that nobody really expects you to pay it in cash. However, there are purchases like buying a car that you need to think twice before you take out a loan to buy it. That is because a car, once you drive off from the dealership, starts to depreciate on you. No matter how short the term of your car loan is, you will always end up paying more than the actual value of the vehicle.

How to maximize your auto loan

But if a car is needed and there is no way for you to save up for it to buy one in cash, you may want to consider these important tips when you are getting an auto loan.

  • Set a budget. As soon as you decide to buy a car, whether you intend to use cash or credit, you have to set a budget first. That way, you can limit your search options. You can do this by considering your other expenses and debts. Make sure that you do not only consider the monthly loan payments – you should also consider the other costs involved in car ownership.
  • Get as much cash as you can. Even if you cannot pay 100% in cash, save up at least for a downpayment. That way, you can minimize the loss in value that is usually present when you buy a vehicle through a car loan. Even 25% can make a big difference in your budget.
  • Take a look at your credit score. Before you apply for a loan, make sure you check your credit score first. Do you need to improve your credit score or is it in fairly good condition? If it is the former, then you may want to consider working on your score first. That way, you will not be charged with high interest rate on your loan – which is very common for borrowers with a bad credit. In case there are errors in your credit report that is causing your score to be lower, you need to correct that so you can get the lowest interest on your car loan.
  • Understand the APR of loans. The APR is the annual percentage rate. When you are borrowing money from any financial institution, the loans rates usually reflect the APR. This is a combination of the interest and fees involved in the loan. The rule is, the lower the APR, the more you will save money.
  • Know your loan term options. When you have a long term loan, that means you will be paying less each month because your debt will be divided into more payments. However, you will be paying more on interest amount. But if you get a short term loan, you will pay more each month but you will end up saving more because you pay less interest. According to Reuters.com, regulators are quite concerned because financial institutions, banks in particular, offer long term loans to borrowers with bad credit. That means they pay much more than the actual value of the car. It ends up compromising the finances of the consumer all the more.
  • Compare the loan rates and terms of different lenders. There are many websites that has a list of rates and terms from various lenders. You may want to look at them so you can check which of them will give you the most savings. You can also look for online calculators that will help you determine the monthly payments that you are expected to make on the car loan each month.
  • Get to know your lenders. There are different ways for you to get your car financing. Aside from banks, you can also borrow money from credit unions. The car dealership also has their own financing terms that they can offer you. Make sure you consider the loans being offered by each. Most of them have their own discounting schemes and you should consider each carefully. Generally, credit unions have the best rates but it is up to you which you will use.
  • Detail all your payments. Remember that your loan is not the only thing that you have to pay off. Do not forget the interest rate too. Factor that in your payments.

It is also a good idea if you can trade in your old car and include it in the deal. It will help lower the car loan that you have to borrow. But make sure that you ask the dealer to detail all the prices. For instance, get the price of the car you will buy, the trade in value of the current car, and the financing terms of the dealer. That way, you will know just how much you are really paying for.

Know the car costs on top of your loan

We have mentioned earlier that you have other costs to worry about apart from the monthly payments on your auto loan. These include your car repairs, maintenance, gas and car insurance. There are other payments too but these are the general costs of car ownership.

According to an article on CBSNews.com, these are the estimated costs of owning a car.

  • Small sedan – The cost of gas and basic maintenance per mile is 16.3 cents. The annual cost of driving 15,000 miles a year is $6,957.
  • Medium sedan – The cost of gas and basic maintenance per mile is 19.1 cents. The annual cost of driving 15,000 miles a year is $8,839.
  • Large sedan – The cost of gas and basic maintenance per mile is 21.7 cents. The annual cost of driving 15,000 miles a year is $10,831.
  • SUV – The cost of gas and basic maintenance per mile is 23.8 cents. The annual cost of driving 15,000 miles a year is $11,039.
  • Minivan – The cost of gas and basic maintenance per mile is 21.4 cents. The annual cost of driving 15,000 miles a year is $9,753.

According to the article, this is lower than the estimated cost of car ownership in 2013. These data comes from the AAA. If you wish to learn how to compute the actual cost, then you may want to view the report from AAA.biz. It has instructions on how you can calculate the amount of money that you need to spend on the car that you are eyeing to buy. This will give you a good idea on how you can budget your money. It will also help you decide on the amount of money that you should get on your car loan.

family buying fruitsEveryone wants to learn how to be a financial success. It is what we were groomed to be right from the beginning. When we were young, we were encouraged to study well so we can get into good colleges. We were told that a college education will help us get a great paying job that will allow us to succeed financially.

Everything about our life seems to be about this pursuit of richness. We think that wealth is what will help us feel accomplished in life. We believe that if we have a certain amount of money, it will bring us happiness, contentment and a long-fulfilled life.

While being rich certainly has its perks, you need to be wise about how you will reach that goal. It is true that being wealthy will allow you to be happy – since most of what makes us happy costs money. But make sure you achieve that goal without losing sight of the other priority things in life.

You see, some people think that if they work longer hours, spend more time in the office and less on their personal lives, they will be financially successful. Well financial success goes beyond what you earn. That is a very important truth that you should know about being a real success.

2 ways your health can make you financially successful

Health is wealth. That is true. We are not trying to go on cliches but this is one of the vital truths that most of us fail to consider. When you fail to take care of your health, it will cost you – a lot. But if you keep yourself healthy, you will be more likely to achieve financial success.

There are 2 ways that a good health can make you successful financially.

Getting enough sleep

This may seem trivial to some people but it is very important if you think about what lack of sleep will cost you. According to a study published on Harvard.edu, scientific evidence linking sleep and mental performance go way back in the 1930s. This discovery was done by Nathaniel Kleitman, one of the pioneers in the sleep medicine field. He observed a pattern in the cognitive performance of people who are deprived of enough sleep. It is discovered that even one night of sleep deprivation will have a significant effect on the ability of your mind to focus. Not only that, it has a negative effect on our ability to perform cognitive functions – like decision making.

So if you are on the verge of making an important financial decision and you feel yourself losing sleep over it, you have to stop that habit. Force yourself to have a good nights sleep. That is the only way that you can condition your mind to logically weigh the pros and cons of your decision.

The same article from the Harvard website also mentioned that lack of sleep affects our mood too. So it is not just your brain that is going to be compromised – your emotions too. Whether you like it or not, your financial success is also affected by your emotions. If your mind is weak and your emotions are fluctuating, you might be more inclined to rely on your feelings to make decisions.

If there is an important decision to be made, make sure you sleep it over before you make your choice. According to WebMD.com, sleep allows you to put energy back into your body bank every time you go to sleep. Your body is being repaired on a cellular level – that makes you more fit to make the right decisions that will lead to your financial success.

Preventing illnesses

Another contribution that a good health has on your way to being financially successful is it keeps you from spending on high medical treatments. According to the HuffingtonPost.com, Americans pay more on healthcare compared to other countries in the world. The International Federation of Health Plans compared various drugs and medical services from other developed countries and they found out that we pay a lot more. For instance, American pay $215 for a prescription of Nexium – a common remedy for acid reflux. This is the most expensive of all. The second most expensive is in Switzerland and they only pay $60 for the same medical need. In Netherlands, they only pay $23.

For Copaxone, a popular remedy for multiple sclerosis, Americans pay $3.903 while those in Switzerland, the second most expensive, pay only $1,357. Those living in England only pay $862.

Imagine the amount of money that you have to spend on getting yourself healed from illnesses. If you live a healthy lifestyle by eating the right diet and getting enough exercise, you may not need these prescriptions. What you save by not spending on medical expenses can be used on something else. Things like investing more money is the first that comes to mind. Contributing to your retirement fund is another. Boosting your emergency fund is also something that can help you achieve financial success. Even if you think that you are physically okay now because you are still young, you should not abuse your body. Because your irresponsible behavior now will cost you a lot of medical expenses when you get old. That might compromise what you have worked so hard to accomplish in your financial standing.

3 steps to achieve a healthier you and improved finances

When it comes to keeping yourself healthy, what you need to focus on is your habits. You have to identify the old habits that will ruin your health because eventually, it will lead to you being a financial failure.

In truth, the way towards a healthier lifestyle is similar to improving your financial situation. Here are three steps that you need to follow.

  1. Eliminate the excuses. Most people believe that the first step is always the hardest. That is because this is when all the excuses will try to bring you down. You can blame your work, your need to buy stuff and to provide for your family. These are the excuses that you usually make to make abusing your body okay. Stop the excuses and focus on the benefits of living a healthier lifestyle.
  2. Strategize. Once you have gotten rid of the excuses, you can now concentrate on making a plan. Nobody accomplishes anything worthwhile by going with the flow. What you need is a detailed plan that will allow you to meet your new goals while still satisfying the old ones. It will also help you identify the old habits that are compromising your good health. Just like you need financial planning, you also have to plan how to live a healthier lifestyle.
  3. Implement. The last step is to implement your plan. Some people are so enthusiastic in creating a plan but end up failing because they did not do a good job at following through their plan. Make sure that you follow your plan to the letter. If you have exerted all the effort needed to make it work but it still fails, check your plan. It might not be realistic. If that is the case, then you may have to change your plan.

Being a financial success is not really a rocket science. But you have to make sure you understand all the factors that will help you reach it. Do not think that something that is seemingly non-financial can contribute to your finances. Nothing is too small when it comes to your finances. One mistake can be enough to put you down a spiral of debts.

interest rateDo you think that you can get lower credit card interest rates? Of course you can! All you have to do is ask. It is not against the law to request for a lower credit card rate. However, you also have to understand that you cannot force your creditor to lower it if they do not want to.

Truth be told, lesser consumers should have no problems with their credit cards if only the rates were not too high. Of all the other debt types, this is the debt with the highest rates. According to the latest data from Bankrate.com, the average interest rate for credit cards is at 15.66%. It is more than half of the next highest loan rate – which is for student loans at 6.8%. Mortgage loans has an average of 4.24%, home equity has 4.38% and auto loans has an average of 3.22%.

Imagine how much money you are wasting on your credit card rate. If you owe $10,000, there is a chance that you will be charged $1,566 on that debt. Seems unfair right? Some card even have an interest of 36%. You should seriously consider than every time you swipe your card. It is no joke to waste that much money on purchases that you can pay in cash.

Important things to know about the interest on your cards

According to the credit card rate report from CreditCards.com, the lowest interest rate that are offered averages at 10.37%. That is still a high rate compared to other types of debt. The rate will also vary depending on what type of card you have: balance transfer (12.73%), business cards (12.80%), student cards (13.27%), rewards card (15.04%) and airline cards (15.46%). If you have a bad credit score, it gets worse because the average credit card interest that you will get is 22.73%.

To make things worse, the law allows creditors to raise their interest rates for no reason at all. They are only required by the law to give all consumers that will be affected at least 45 days notice before the implementation of the new rates. According to ConsumerFinance.gov, the significant changes that creditors are allowed to make includes the interest rate, minimum amount requirement, grace period and even their method in computing the charges on your card.

The website states that although these are allowed, there are certain limitations to what creditors can change. Like they cannot change the interest on an existing balance unless you are 60 days past your due. But if you already solved that problem, you can request them to lower your rate and they should comply.

Other than that, they have no legal obligation to agree to lower your rate just because you asked them to. But that does not mean you should not try at all.

5 reasons to give creditors for a lower interest rate on your card

A lot of consumers have called their creditors to ask for a lower rate on their credit card. Your creditors are not heartless and if you explain the situation to them, they might agree to lower your interest rate. Sometimes, you don’t even have to be in a bad financial situation. As long as you know how to negotiate your case properly, you should have a fighting chance to succeed in lowering your credit card rate.

Here are 5 arguments that you can give to help convince your credit card issuer that you deserve a lower interest rate.

You have a good credit history. One of the strong arguments that you can make is that you have been a good credit card holder. If you have been paying your dues on time and you do not miss any payments, you can use this reasoning. Let your creditors know that you are a responsible credit manager and that they do not have to protect themselves by giving you a high interest rate.

You have a long credit history. If you have had that card for several years, you can also use that to help convince your creditor to lower your card rate. The credit card company still views you as their customer. The prospect of losing old clients will make them more amenable to agree to your proposal.

You are thinking of transferring your balance. This is applicable to those who are struggling with a lot of debts. Using balance transfer to solve credit card problems is one of the ways you can convince your creditors to lower your rate.  If you have found a card that offers a lower interest if you open with them, then this is something that you can bring up with your existing creditor. Let them know that you are having a hard time paying off your debts because of the high interest rate and that you have received a lower offer from another bank. Ask them if they can match the offer of other bank so you do not have to transfer your balance.

You are torn between loyalty and practicality. This uses the same scenario as above. However, you will play on your loyalty towards the card. This will work if you have been with the company for a couple of years. Let them know that you received a good offer from another bank about a lower credit card rate than your existing. Tell your creditor that the offer is appealing but you would like to know if they can match it first because you would rather stay with your old creditor instead of transferring to a new one.

You just make an offer. Sometimes, you do not have to make any excuses. Just make an offer and let them know that you think your rate is too high and that you believe you deserve a better credit card rate.

What to do if your creditor refuses to lower the rate of your credit card

While all the above mentioned arguments are sound, not all creditors will agree to lower your rate. If that happens, you have a couple of options before you.

  • Wait a few months and try again. If they did not agree the first time, let it go and wait a couple of months before you try again. See if you get better luck at negotiating a lower rate.
  • Do not add to the balance and slowly pay it off. In most cases, any high interest rate that was just implemented only applies to new purchases. If this is the case, then just do not make any purchase for the meantime and pay off what you owe. When you have paid it off, you can call the creditor again to ask for a lower interest rate. If they refuse, then you can do the next option.
  • Transfer to a new credit card. When the credit card issuer refuse to lower your credit card rate, you can tell them that you will just transfer to another creditor who offered you a lower interest rate. Since you do not any balance with the old card, this should be easy to do.
  • Get debt help. If you cannot transfer to a new card and your high interest rate is really troubling you, then you may want to think about debt relief. Some people deal with credit card interest rate that is too high through debt relief. Call a credit counselor and ask them for your options to pay off your credit card debt. There are non profit credit counseling agencies that you can go to for help. They should be able to help you with a payment plan that you can afford. In some cases, they can even help you negotiate for a lower interest rate.

Do not think that you have no power to change your credit card rate in case it gets too high. Even if your creditor refuses to agree to your proposal, you have the option to transfer to another credit can company with better rates and terms.

stethoscope and billsDealing with medical debt is not easy – especially when you cannot afford all your medical bills. This is one of the expenses that you know that you should make even when the high cost of health care will compromise your finances. You just have to take it on because there is nothing more important than your health.

Some people would prefer to be in debt especially when the medical need is a matter of life and death. However, there are some who would forego the initial health care requirement because they do not want to compromise their already fragile finances.

With the increasing cost of getting medical attention, the latter’s decision is not surprising. According to the data taken from the CDC.gov (website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), more than one out of four families feel the financial burden of health care. Most of these people are those who are in poverty and have children. The same site revealed that one out of ten households have admitted to their inability to pay back their medical bills – at all. This is dangerous because medical debt is something that might keep you from getting any future health care need.

What to do if you cannot afford to pay your medical debts

Not being able to afford any debt payment is stressful. Your medical bills might make recovery harder to come by. There are many things that scare people when it comes to medical expenses – even those with health insurance. According to a recent article from Credit.com, 62% of patients are unprepared for the out-of- pocket expenses. 54% said they are confused by these costs.

It is obvious that the payment procedure in the medical industry greatly affects how people look at health care in the country. These health-related debts can affect the credit score of consumers and that is why patients are sometimes torn between getting the appropriate medical care or not. But as we said, if the health care will make the difference between life or death and if it involves children, it is hard not to get any help at all.

But what can you do if you know that you cannot afford to pay off your medical bills?

  1. Face the bill. As scary as that piece of paper may be, you need to face it. Ignoring the debt will only prove to be more destructive than your current position. Refusing to pay the debt will have a huge and negative impact on your credit score. The longer you ignore it, the more stressful it will become. You will be harassed by debt collectors. You will also get a negative mark on your credit report. While credit scoring companies like FICO have changed their scoring formula to give more consideration for medical debt. After all, this is usually an unexpected debt that should not be judged as a financial blunder quite easily. But nevertheless, ignoring the bill will not make it go away. It will still be your responsibility.
  2. Check your bill thoroughly. A lot of people have claimed that they are billed for medical treatments and services that they never received. If this is you, then you should make sure that you contest these wrong entries. Do not pay for anything that you did not receive. It is bad enough to be ruined financially by high medical debt, it is worse if you are being billed for something you did not benefit from.
  3. Negotiate the cost. Yes you are allowed to negotiate your medical bills. You can simply call your healthcare provider and explain your situation to them. Explain to them your financial condition and ask if you can waive some of the fees that you are billed for. Perhaps they can slash the professional fee or put you in a charity program that will make your payments more affordable. If you are not insured, your bill is usually higher than those with negotiated packages. You can still ask them to lower this amount.
  4. Get professional help. If things get really tough to handle on your own, hiring a professional to help you negotiate is a great idea. There are non-profit organizations that can give you advice and assistance without demanding any payment. If you are really going through a tight financial situation, this can prove to be very useful. With a professional on your side, you will feel less stress in handling your medical bills.
  5. Set up a payment plan that you can afford. When you try to negotiate your debt, it will help you pay off what you owe if you set a payment plan. This plan can be something that you will negotiate personally with your healthcare provider or through the professional you will get in touch with.

Debt relief options to get out of medical expenses

There are a couple of debt relief options for medical bills. If you want to make lower monthly payments, here are some of your options.

Debt Consolidation Loan

Debt consolidation loans can be a great way for you to make your payments easier. If your medical debt hasn’t ruined your credit score yet, you may be able to borrow money for  through a low interest personal loan. You can combine your medical bills with your credit card debt to make your overall debt payments more affordable. Or you can use your home’s equity to help pay off the medical bill. This can be a great option as long as you have a stable job to sustain the payments on the new loan that you took out.

Debt Management

Another option is debt management. This enlists the help of a credit counselor who will help analyze the financial situation of the one in debt. For a monthly fee of no more than $50, the credit counselor will help you create a debt management plan that will be sent to everyone you owe money to. The plan will basically contain your proposal for a lower monthly payment and possibly a lower interest rate. When approved, you can send a single payment to your counselor who in turn will distribute it to your healthcare provider, creditors and other lenders.

Debt Settlement

This debt relief program aims for debt reduction. You can negotiate on your own or you can enlist the help of a debt professional to negotiate on your behalf. The idea is to ask your healthcare provider to accept your payment proposal of pennies for a dollar. In most cases, you have to come up with a lumpsum amount that can be a smaller amount than what you originally owe. Then, you will negotiate to pay your debt with that amount and once paid, anything that is not covered will be forgiven. Since debt settlement records that you do not pay your debts in full, it will be a negative mark on your credit report – but not as much as bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy

If all else fails, you can always file for bankruptcy. If you do not see any improvement in your financial situation in the next few months, then filing for bankruptcy might be the only way to solve your problems with medical bills. In fact, FoxBusiness.com reported that medical debt is the number 1 cause of bankruptcy filings. This data came from the 2013 study of NerdWallet Health. Do not prolong the agony of being in debt if you really think that your unaffordable medical expenses cannot be paid off in any way.

social security benefits formDo you think your Social Security Benefits will be enough to support you through retirement?

One of the most common retirement regrets of the elderly is failing to save enough money for their retirement fund. Although we have received a lot of warnings from financial experts and even our own elder relatives, we still failed to put importance in saving up for our retirement money. In fact, in a recent article posted on this site, we discussed how some single parents have chosen to save for college over retirement.

As selfless as it may be, it puts older adults at a disadvantage when the time comes for them to retire. You can expect that the limited income of single parents will put them at a disadvantage compared to households with two parents. It forces them to make tough choices like foregoing their own future just so their kids will have theirs. If you were placed in their shoes, you can understand how difficult it is to let your children be in debt for school if you can save up for it. Most parents would help out their kids even if it means putting your retirement in jeopardy.

An article from WashingtonPost.com highlighted some troubling data from the recent household economic wellbeing survey conducted by the Federal Reserve. According to the survey, 31% of adults say that they do not have money saved towards their retirement fund. They are also not expecting any pension. This percentage included 19% of respondents who are near the age of retirement at 55 to 64 years. Most people said that they just didn’t think about retirement yet. The younger they are, the less they thought about it.

Well if you failed to save up for retirement, your obvious source of funds will be your Social Security Benefits. While this is a guaranteed source of income, the question is, will it be enough?

Is it possible to rely solely on your benefits from Social Security in retirement?

In all honesty, the answer to that is no. According to the basic facts published on SSA.gov, 9 out of 10 retired individuals receive Social Security benefits. The average monthly benefit that retired workers receive is $1,294. 47% of unmarried retirees and 22% of married couples rely on this amount for 90% of their income. Do you really think anyone can live on that in comfort?

For some people, it may be just enough to supply their daily needs. It will be like living from paycheck to paycheck for them. But what if your monthly requirements go beyond the basic needs? Here are three scenarios that will guarantee that your Social Security Benefits will not suffice as your retirement fund.

If you have debt. Obviously, those who retired with debt will have a tough time making ends meet with only your Social Security Benefits. Whether it is your credit cards or your house that is being paid off, your retirement fund will never be enough. It might even cause you to take on more debt just to finance everything you need to pay off.

If you have a sickness. Another reason for your Social Security to fall short is when you have a sickness. The rising cost of health care is way beyond the inflation rate. If you suddenly contract an illness, even with Medicare benefits, you might find that the out of pocket costs will still bury your meager income from social security.

If you have someone to support. Living on this amount alone is tough enough. Imagine if you have to support someone too. It can be your spouse, child or a disabled relative. You cannot hope to feed one more mouth with the retirement fund that you currently have.

Even if you were able to finance what you need during the first few months of your retirement, relying solely on your Social Security Benefits will not be enough after a year or two. If you get an illness or even with the current inflation rate, you can quickly go under in terms of your retirement fund.

How to increase your retirement benefits from Social Security

So what can you do if your retirement looms ahead and you do not have anything saved in a retirement account? Here are a couple of suggestions to help increase your Social Security income.

  • Make sure you have worked at least 35 years. Your benefits will be calculated based on the 35 highest earning years of your life. If you do not meet this requirement, some of your years will be computed with a zero income and that can pull down that amount that you are entitled to receive.
  • Increase your income. This can be done in two ways. One is to ask your employer to give you a raise and the other is to choose a second job to earn more money. An increase in income should help boost your entitlement for a higher Social Security benefit.
  • Wait as long as you can before claiming your benefits. If you continue working until your full retirement age, you should be able to maximize the amount that you will receive from Social Security. If you wait even longer at 70, that should give you a higher monthly benefit.

What to do to increase your retirement money

In case you are already in your retirement, you have no other choice but to financially downsize your lifestyle so the $1,200 benefit will fit your monthly budget.

Here are some of the things that you can do to decrease your lifestyle

  • Move to a new state. Retiring on Social Security Benefits in New York will not cut it for you. The high cost of living will bury you. Moving to Auburn, Alabama or Blacksburg, Virginia may be more practical if you have to live on a lower income. These places are ranked as one of the top places to live in when you are expecting to retire on your Social Security Benefits alone.
  • Live in a small home. According to the data found on AgingStats.gov, housing costs take up 35% of a retired individuals budget. If you are living on government benefits, that will even become 40%. If you live in a smaller home, your expenses will go down because it is cheaper to heat or cool a smaller home.
  • Sell your stuff. Over the years, you have surely accumulated a lot of possessions. Sell them off and put the profits towards a savings account – or more specifically, your emergency fund. If you will live in a smaller home, you have to get rid of your other items anyway.
  • Check how you can lower your food budget. Planting your own produce is one of the best ways to lower your food costs. After all, you have all the time in your hands now. Why not go into gardening. It is the healthier alternative and you get to save more in your budget.
  • Give up your car. The average cost to own a car is around $9,000 a year. Do you really want to share your small retirement fund with your car? Trade your car for a sturdy bike. It will provide you with some exercise and you also get to protect the environment too.

Your financial goal in retirement is to make sure that your retirement fund will outlive you. All it takes is some changes in your life and accepting that you cannot live the way you did when you still had work. Once you have embraced that, you will realize that living off on your Social Security Benefits do not have to cause you some stress.