1(877) 610-6990

Get A Free Savings Estimate

Latest Blog Posts

Our debt relief providers offer a simple 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.

We're so confident that we can help you achieve your goal of becoming debt-free in a reasonable time, that if you are ever unsatisfied with our recommended credit card consolidation loan programs you can cancel at anytime without any penalties or fees.

piggy banks fighting over moneyBeing a single person is a whole lot different from being a single parent. You can even say that they are at the extreme ends of the status range. They also have very different saving problems. When you are single, you only care about your own needs. But when you are a single parent, you have to take care of your child or children – alone.

There are money management tips for a single person but it is nothing like what a single parent needs. There are so many financial struggles that the latter requires and it is not something that you will take lightly. Raising a child is hard. Doing it alone is a different level entirely.

According to the WashingtonPost.com, single mothers in general are having it rough when it comes to their personal finances. In fact, one third of households that are headed by single women are living in poverty. 45% of children who live without a father are also in poverty.

The same article also mentioned that children who live in a poor home headed by a single mother are more than likely to stay in poverty. They have lesser chances for moving up the ladder in society. While this does not necessarily mean marriage can help sustain a more stable financial situation in a household, the financial struggles of single mothers evidently affect the future of their children.

This is probably why more and more single parents choose to save for college instead of contributing towards their retirement.

Single parents can only pay for college savings and not retirement

Saving problems arise when you have to choose between two important goals. But one can only assume what single parents are going through. They probably do not want their children to think twice about going to college because they know that it is the ticket to improve one’s financial situation. They want their kids to have a fighting chance to get proper education without immersing themselves in too much debt – which is the norm for college students coming out of poverty.

This assumption is supported by the results from a survey done by Allianz and published on their website, Allianzlife.com. The study was titled LoveFamilyMoney and it revealed that although children can be a cause of financial stress, they can also be a cause of motivation – especially for single parents.

Apparently, a lot of single parents are focusing on their children’s future rather than their own. That means they are more inclined to finance the college education of their children before their own retirement. The results of the survey reveals the following about the saving problems of single parents:

  • 45% of respondents who are single parents admitted that they develop and execute long term financial plans so they can save up for their children’s education.
  • 76% of single parent respondents find it stressful to save up for both retirement and their child’s college fund.
  • The annual income of households headed by single parents (at least for the respondents in the survey) average at $85,000. 64% of these single parents do not receive child support.
  • 41% of single parent respondents showed a certain level of expertise when it comes to making financial plans – which is more than the percentage in traditional families.
  • 62% of single parents confess to being savers compared to 38% who are spenders.
  • 76% of single parents reveal that they are worried about not having enough money in retirement. 70% of parents from traditional families feel the same way.
  • 45% of single parents say they have a plan to ensure they will have a comfortable retirement.
  • 37% of single parents know that they are putting their futures at risk by choosing to save for their kid’s college fund instead of their own retirement.

The saving problems of single parents are understandable because their limited financial resources does not allow them to work on multiple goals. However, it does not mean that it should be left that way. 45% of the single parent respondents believe it is the parent’s responsibility to assist in setting up their child’s financial future. While it is noble and something that parents would really do, it is also dangerous for them to put their future on the line.

There are many mistakes that will cost you a good retirement and choosing not to save up for them is on top of the list. The respondents of the survey who are single parents indicated that they knew the repercussions of not saving for their future but they can chosen to sacrifice themselves for their kids. However, there are still options that these parents should do to help set up both their future and that of their kids.

Tips to pay for both college and retirement savings

Admittedly, it will be tough to save up fro both college and retirement. This is one of the popular saving problems of all American households today. However, that difficulty does not mean it is impossible.

Here are some tips that we have for all the struggling single parents out there.

  • Save a little for both. A small amount is still better than nothing. Any amount that your budget allows you to save can be split in two and sent towards your retirement and your child’s college fund. It is just like debt payments and savings. You will always be better off contributing to both. Do not choose one – make both of them grow. While the immediate need may be to save for college, because it will happen sooner than your retirement, it does not erase the importance of the latter.
  • Involve your child. Since it is for their future, let your child or children contribute to their college fund. Encourage them to get part time jobs during the summer and save everything they make (or a huge portion of it). This will teach them financial responsibility and will make them appreciate the importance of earning money and saving it for future goals. If your kid is still too young, you can encourage them to save a portion of their allowance for college. This will help increase their college fund and keep you from feeling guilty about putting aside money for your own future.
  • Apply for scholarships. According to Fastweb.com, there are certain scholarships that are intended of children of single parents. The benefactors understand that the financial responsibilities of single parents can be very demanding. Couple that with the need to balance work, school, caring for the kids, etc, then it all can be quite overwhelming. Look into these scholarships and see where you can get help. Encourage your child to study well so they can qualify for these scholarships and grants.

The saving problems of single parents are not really impossible to overcome. Even those who are earning a minimum wage and living in poverty are hopeless. But it is important that parents understand that they can share these financial responsibilities with their children. These kids may not get it in the same level as adults do but they can get used to the idea of being responsible for their own future. It is not really parenting cruelty if you have to enlist the help of your child when it comes to financial concerns. It will actually make them more independent and hard working. As long as you are able to support their schooling and encourage them to build a better future for themselves, then it will benefit them all the more.

man sowing moneyThere are still a lot of financial improvements that need to be made by American households. Although the economy is showing signs of recovery, a lot of consumers are not too aggressive in making improvements in their financial life. That is because they lost too much after the Great Recession that making plans to boost their personal finances is not that easy to do.

But after a recent study from Gallup.com, building up your financial security might be more possible. The survey revealed that more consumers feel confident about their job security. Only less than 20% of workers, both full time and part time, fear that they will be laid off from their work. This went down from 29%. Lesser people also think that their benefits (34% from 43%), wages (24% from 31%) and work hours (24% from 25%) will be reduced.

Your income is one of the ways that will allow you to work on financial improvements. After all, you need funds for that. Your main source of money is your job. Now that people have a higher sense of job security, working on improving your finances will be easier to do.

4 ways you can improve your finances after job security

So what can you do to improve your personal finances? After your job security, you want to build up your financial security so you can survive a job loss. Do not be overconfident about your job. You need to work on these 4 financial improvements to make your job and financial security last.

Make bigger debt payments.

If you feel that you job is secure enough, you might want to work on making bigger debt payments. Regardless if your income increased or not, you should put more money into your monthly credit contributions. Put in as much money as you can so you do not have to lose too much on paying interest. For example, if you have credit card debt, the longer you stay in debt, the more you will end up paying on interest. If you feel like your money is secure because your job is stable, you may want to take what is allotted towards your savings and use it to pay more of your debt. The interest on your debt is much bigger than what you will get from your savings account.

Build up your savings.

Once you have slashed a huge amount of debt from your balance, it may be time to put your attention towards your savings. The most important part is your emergency fund. According to an article published on USAToday.com, more than 25% of Americans do not have an emergency fund. Those who have savings, majority of them have less than 6 months in their account. You want to make sure that any future emergency will not force you to borrow money just to get out of it. Build up that fund beforehand so you will feel more secure.

Once your emergency fund is okay, you may want to save up for future purchases. If you plan on buying a home or a car or even a new equipment, save up for it. That way, you do not have to buy it on credit.

Contribute more towards your retirement.

As you are working on your savings, you may want to contribute more into your retirement fund too. After all, you should not only prepare for future purchases, you should also make sure that your retirement will also be secure. A lot of pre-retirees are having problems with their retirement because they did not save enough when they were in abundance. Well now that your job is secure, this is one of the financial improvements that you need to work on.

Be more aggressive in investing.

Lastly, you want to focus your resources on investing. One of the best ways for you to increase your wealth is by investing it in stocks, bonds, mutual funds or equity. Instead of just putting it in your savings account, make your money work for you by earning you extra income. After all, the rate in investments is a lot bigger compared to your savings account. Why not put it where it can grow the most? Some people have aggressively increased their wealth by investing. If you do it well, this might even be a significant source of income for you. This is one of the best ways for you to achieve what everyone dreams of – early retirement.

Make sure you improve your finances and not your lifestyle

When your job security comes with a higher income, make sure that you will resist the temptation to use the extra money for something else. The reason why it is hard to improve finances is because we are tempted to upgrade our lifestyle immediately. While we deserve one or two upgrades in our life, you need to be careful that it will not spiral into more improvements.

There is this social phenomenon called the Diderot effect. According to Wikipedia.org, this refers to the introduction of something new and how it leads to a series of consumption and purchases. For instance, if you feel that your new found job security and income increase is a sign that you can buy your own home, be careful to limit this upgrade in your life. In some cases, a new home leads to buying new furniture, a new car and everything else that will compliment that one upgrade that you planned.

If you are getting all of these through credit, then you are in big trouble. You may think that your job is secure for the next year, but most mortgages and car loans require payments that last more than that.

So instead of focusing on improving your lifestyle, make financial improvements instead.

When is it okay to improve your lifestyle?

Although we are discouraging you from upgrading your lifestyle, we do not want you to become Scrooges. You can improve your lifestyle but make sure that you know your priorities first. Here are 5 signs that improving your way of living is okay.

  • When you do not have debt. As long as you have debt, you should be very careful of how you use your money. Do not splurge or be careless with your spending. You need to prioritize your debt payments first. Once they are eliminated, that is the only time that you can think about upgrading your lifestyle.
  • When your retirement contributions are steady. It is also alright to focus less on your financial improvements and put more money into your lifestyle upgrade when your retirement contributions are steady. Determine how much you will need to retire and see if you are up to date with your contributions. As long as the changes you will make in your life will not compromise your monthly retirement savings, then go ahead with the purchases you want to make.
  • When you have enough money in your emergency fund. If you have at least 6 months worth of expenses in your emergency fund, it is okay to make purchases that will improve your standard of living.
  • When your investments are giving you extra income. When your investments are giving you profit, you may want to use that to finance any improvement that you want to implement in your life. This increase in income can serve as your extra source of funds for unexpected purchases.
  • When it can improve your productivity. Lastly, it is okay to upgrade your lifestyle if you know that it can make you more productive. For instance, renovating your home so you can build a better home office is a good idea as it can help you work more productively. The same is true for your car. If it is costing you more money because of repairs and gas consumption, then it should be okay to upgrade it.

Bottom line is, financial improvements should be prioritized before an upgrade in your lifestyle. That way, you can maximize the security that your job is giving your financial life.

After you have taken the time to sit down with all of your assets and investments in front of you, you might have found some things that you feel need to be changed or replaced. However, it’s important that you don’t just dive in and start moving thing without any research. When you try to consolidate your retirement money, it can take some fine tuning to be sure that everything is working like a finely oiled machine. In order to prepare your portfolio properly, you will have to take a couple of things into consideration because this is essentially planning your entire future around what kind of capital gains you can expect to see.

Consolidate Your Retirement Money

Consolidating Your Retirement Money for Success

When you start trying to plan for the future, you will first need to figure out just how much money you are going to need to maintain whatever standard of living you are planning for your retirement years. It’s important to factor in any changes that might affect your budget. For example, pay attention to the fact that your utility bills may rise when you are home more, although you will be spending less on gas by not driving to work. Also, take into consideration any lifestyle changes that you want to make in your retirement like more travel or moving to a different town. Looking at your future budget is an integral part of consolidating your retirement money to make sure that you are comfortable.

Your next step is to see how much your current assets will be worth by the time you reach retirement age. Try looking up a time-value-of-money calculator in order to factor in inflation as well. After you get this number, then factor in your pension or social security benefits, as well. This should give you a good idea of whether or not your investment strategies are going to be appropriate for your retirement needs.

Planning Properly for Consolidating Your Retirement Money

Now that you have a budget in place for your retirement costs and you have all of your assets organized properly, it’s time for you to think about how to plan for the future that you envision. This is the point that you might consider seeking the assistance of a financial planner if you have not done so already.

Even if you decide to take on your financial planning and your goal to consolidate your retirement money on your own, then you should take into account all of the what-ifs that can come along. It can be a good idea to try to plan for all eventualities, because once you are not employed by others or making a stable income anymore, an accident can really be damaging to your household.

Take a Second Look At Your Assets

After you have a financial plan in place for your future and you know what you need to do in order to consolidate your retirement money, for the most part, then your next step is go back over your assets again. Pay attention to your portfolio and ensure that you are keeping it well diversified while comparing it to your new financial plan. If you are coming up short, then it might be the time to become a little bit more aggressive with some of your investments in order to make up some lost income.

You should also take into consideration those time horizons. If you are trying to retire in just a few years, then you probably want to stop thinking so far out and make some adjustments to your investments so that there is less of a chance of you losing as much money. Try to keep at least some risk involved so that you can gain higher from it, but consider moving more of your money into areas that aren’t as high growth so that you have income waiting on you when you retire.

Wrapping It All Up

You should be in a place now where you understand exactly what you have to do to consolidate your retirement money and set yourself up for a comfortable and possibly even successful life after employment. Making a financial plan for the future that you look forward to is certainly a necessary part of investing your money in the most effective manner and getting the most payout from it. While you should never just go in and play with your portfolio without doing a good amount of research first, don’t be too wary of making any important changes to keep your investments in line. Whether you decide to take this on by yourself or with the help of a qualified financial advisor, you should look at revisiting your plans and your portfolio at least once a year to better prepare yourself for any eventuality that you might encounter in your retirement. With proper planning you can easily achieve everything you want in your golden years!

elderly woman working on a laptopAre you planning to work in retirement? Well you are not alone.

According to a recent press release published by the FederalReserve.gov, a lot of households are still not prepared for retirement. 1 out of 3 Americans are not prepared for it. 19% are even between the ages of 55 to 64 – the age before retirement. It is even more scary to note that almost 50% of adults are not even thinking about planning for retirement – or at least have thought very little of it. Of those who have thought about planning, a lot of them are not sure where they will get the finances to support their retirement needs. 24% said that they plan to keep on working as long as possible.

4 reasons why people opt to retire working

There are 4 specific reasons why some people plan to work in retirement.

They still have debts.

After the Great Recession, a lot of people have started to accumulate debt. When they lost their jobs or had to deal with a lower income, they were unable to support the usual expenses of their lifestyle – that included the usual payments they made on their debts. After all, they had to prioritize their basic needs. That led to a higher debt amount for pre-retirees. A lot of them were not able to deal with debt problems and retire comfortably. That is why they had to work in retirement.

They are helping their children or grandchildren.

In connection with the above reason, some pre-retirees, and even retired individuals decided to help out their struggling children and grandchildren. They tapped into their retirement funds to lend a helping hand. This may have given their children hope but it did nothing to help their future selves.

Their retirement fund is not enough.

Since a lot of people dealt with a lower income, they had to sacrifice some expenses from their budget. Apart from debt payments, the other sacrifice that most people made was on their savings. More accurately, they sacrificed their retirement contributions. By the time they needed to retire, they had insufficient funds. Or, it could also be that they started out with enough funds but due to unforeseen circumstances (someone getting ill, mismanagement of funds), they are running out of money. With the life expectancy today, it is not impossible to reach a point wherein your money will expire before you do.

They just want to.

Surprisingly, some people choose to work in retirement just because they want to. According to the article published on CNBC.com, Millionaires are more than likely to continue working while in retirement. A survey done by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave revealed that ⅓ of those with assets between $1 million to $5 million are still working past their retirement age. In comparison, only 15% of those who have $250,000 in assets are working. The main reason why the rich works because they enjoy it. Not only that, they said that it keeps them youthful and their minds remain sharp.

What to expect when you go back to work while retired

For whatever reason that you want to work in retirement, there are a couple of things that you need to remember.

  • Income tax. The rule is, if you earn more, you get to pay more income tax. Those who merely rely on their 401(k) or IRA are usually in the lower, if not lowest, income-tax bracket. That means you will be paying less tax. If you add a salary to your retirement fund, that would put you higher in the tax bracket. Not only that, if your work classifies you as a self-employed individual, you might find that filing your taxes will be different. You need to make sure you learn this because tax evasion cases will target any age.
  • Social Security Benefits. There are so many factors to consider about your Social Security Benefits when you are working in retirement. When you are not yet getting your retirement benefits, your work will not affect your benefits. Some people delay getting this so they can get a higher monthly benefit. When you have not yet reached the normal retirement age (66 years old) and you are already getting your benefits, then an increase in income will cost you. According to SSA.gov every $2 that you earn that is above the annual limit of $15,480 in 2014 will cost you to receive $1 less from your benefits. In the year that you will reach your retirement age, $1 will be deducted for every $3 that will go beyond the annual income limit of $41,400. As soon as your birthday month arrives, the full benefit will be given to you, regardless of how much you are earning.
  • Medicare Benefits. Those who are covered by Medicare and decided to go back to work as an employee, you might want to check out any health care plans that is offered by your employer. Some employer offer insurance coverages that might affect your current Medicare benefits. When you are 65 years or older, any group health insurance (either yours or through your spouse) will pay your medical expenses first before the Medicare benefits will take effect.

You may also want to look into any changes in your household budget – in case you used to retire full time and now you are going back to work. You might have forgotten how costly it can be to work again. You need to buy your work clothes, commute to work, eat and drink while you are there etc. Not to mention the fact that you might have to pay someone to take care of certain household chores or maintenance tasks that you can no longer do because you are busy with work. Consider these additional expenses that you may be faced with.

How to search for work options while retired

After considering all of these factors when you work in retirement, it helps to find the right kind of career that you will enter into. You want to avoid stress at work because, let’s face it, you are not as robust as you once were.

Given that, here are things that you may want to look into when choosing your retirement career.

  • Be an educator. The perks of being one of the elderly is that you are perceived to be very wise and patient. These are characteristics that will make you a great teacher. You are not as burdened as the young ones because you have lived a full life and you are not out to prove anything. That makes you more relaxed and patient as a teacher. Try to be a tutor. There are also websites that hire people who can teach the English language to foreigners. This might be something you will be interested in.
  • Use your experience and expertise. Sometimes, your experience in the field makes you qualified to spearhead or become a consultant in a company. Make sure that you are updated of the current changes in the industry though. But nevertheless, a lot of companies are looking for people who can lead a team or point the younger generation of employees towards the right direction.
  • Capitalize on a hobby. If there is something that you are good at doing, you might want to capitalize on that. Some people look down on making a career out of their hobbies but when you are retired, you want to spend the time you have left to do the things that you love. If that is the case, why not hit two birds with one stone? Do what you love and earn from it.
  • Venture into something new. If you can risk it, why not venture into something new? Put up a business and be the boss of your own company. Look for great passive income business options. That way you only have to work on something once (or a couple of times) and it will continue to earn you good money.

Although there are cases wherein work in retirement cannot be avoided, it does not mean it has to plunge you into a life of stress like it did before. Try to enjoy your retirement despite the workload and remember to always take care of yourself. Your main priority right now is to take care of your body. What good will it do for you to earn extra income when it will all go to your health expenses?

loan application formA cosigned loan is one of the most dangerous financial agreements that you can enter into. This is like you are signing in to allow someone that is less creditworthy than you are to borrow money so you can pay it for them. In most cases, in fact, that is what happens.

To co-sign a loan is dangerous because not only will you be putting your credit history in danger, you will also be jeopardizing your relationship with the person you are co-signing for. Your intentions may be good, but it does not always end well.

According to the Consumer-Action.org, 90% of private student loans in 2011 were co-signed by either the parent or the grandparent. This is according to the report from the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). The reason for this is because students do not have their own income yet. The private lending companies ask for more qualifications to protect themselves from borrowers who will end up not paying them back.

But while cosigned loans can protect lending companies, it does nothing to protect the cosigner. It is like opening a door for financial disaster to come in. You should avoid this at all cost.

5 ways to remove your name from a loan your cosigned

But if you are placed in a situation in the past that got you to sign into this agreement, there are ways that will allow you to remove your name from the cosigned loan. Some of them might involve making certain payments but others, if you do them correctly, might end up freeing you for no cost. The latter is also possible if the one your co-signed for will cooperate.

There are 3 options to get out of a cosigned non-revolving debt and 2 options to remove your name from a revolving debt. Let us begin with the former.

Non-revolving debts

When we say non-revolving debts, these include personal debts, mortgage, car loans, student loans, etc. This is also debt that you only apply for once. It usually involves a high amount so you need to be careful with this. Here are the three ways that you can use to get out of this responsibility.

  • Ask for a cosigner releases. There are some loans that will allow the cosigner to be released from their obligation after some time. Usually, the measure of this will depend on the payment behavior of the primary borrower. The norm is paying the monthly contributions on time for the past 24 months. You may want to review the loan documents to make sure this is an option for you. If there is none indicated, you may want to get in touch with the creditor or the lender. You might be able to come up with an agreement that will allow you to get a cosigner release.
  • Refinance or consolidate the debt. This second option requires the cooperation of the primary borrower. If you only have one debt, it may be possible to refinance the original debt. If the payments for the loan had been good, this can build up the credit history of the borrower. That means the next loan that he or she will apply for does not require a cosigner anymore. But if the debt involves more than one debt, you can opt to consolidation the debt into one payment. You can talk to the borrower you cosigned for and ask them to consolidate the debt under their name this time. You can explain that debt consolidation is one way to pay off a debt with lower monthly contribution and can possibly give them a lower interest rate too.
  • Sell off the collateral. This option is only applicable to those who cosigned for secured loans. If the original borrower is not paying the monthly amortization of their mortgage or car, then you can opt to sell off that collateral so you can use it to pay off the cosigned loan.

Revolving debts

The second type of debt that you may have cosigned to are credit cards. This is a popular arrangement between parents and student or between spouses with only one income. According to Kiplinger.com college students used to be able to qualify for a credit card easily. As long as they know how to sign their name, this is something that they can apply for and be approved to own. However, when the Credit Card Reform Act was passed, tighter rules on student credit card applications were enforced. Now, students have to be evaluated to prove that they can pay off their own bills.

This is one cosigned loan that is understandable for you to get into. In case you want to get out of cosigning a revolving debt, you have to make sure that there is no balance on the card. Otherwise, the creditor will not agree to remove your name from the card ownership and you will continue to be liable for any purchases that will be made on it. You have two options for this.

  • Use balance transfer. If the original borrower already got themselves adequate credit history, it may be possible for you to ask them to apply for a new credit card that is only under their name. Then, you can transfer the balance on the cosigned credit card to that new account. That will free you from being responsible for any purchases made by the one you cosigned for.
  • Make payments towards the account. If the amount is not yet big and you have the extra money anyway, you can opt to pay off the debt yourself. Then, close off the account and let the other owner open their own credit card account. If the amount is big, you may want to ask the one who made the purchase to pay it off. Or you can pay it off yourself then have them pay you back. While this seems unfair, this is the only way that you can avoid putting more strain on your credit score.

How to avoid cosigning a loan

Dave Ramsey, noted financial guru pointed out some interesting truths about a cosigned loan. In an article published on his website, DaveRamsey.com, he said that lenders only require cosigners when the primary borrower is not creditworthy. When there is a high chance that the borrower will run off without paying them, lenders will require them to look for a cosigner who will equally be responsible for paying off the debt.

He also mentioned that people only get into this situation because of emotions. After all, you will never agree to cosign a loan if you do not know a person deeply. But even that makes this situation wrong. You have a high chance of destroying your relationship with a person by agreeing to co-signing their loan. Not only that, you are increasing the chances of completely ruining your credit score.

If someone close to you approaches you for financial help and this is what they are asking you to do, politely decline and do the following.

  • Try to help them figure out why they cannot get a loan on their own. It may be because of a bad credit record or a thin credit history. Identify the reason for the need to co-sign the loan. If they have a habit of not paying, then declining to cosign should not make you feel bad.
  • Come up with a plan to improve what is causing them to be un-creditworthy. You can help them build up their credit history by suggesting that they apply for a secured credit card or something similar. You can also help them improve their credit report.
  • Help them boost their financial literacy. In most cases, people who have problems with getting a loan because of a bad credit history also have poor financial literacy skills. You may want to help educate them so they know what to do with their money next time.