Emergency funds are necessary. We all need to be prepared for those unplanned rainy days. Therefore, it’s not a question of whether or not we need an emergency fund, but how much of an emergency fund we really need.

When speaking with others about their emergency funds, I’ve encountered funds anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. There’s really no magical number. Everyone’s situation is different and hence, the optimal size of an emergency fund will vary from person to person. Here are some tips to help you decide how much to put into your emergency fund:
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apartment with view
Apartment complexes are notorious for raising their rates on a yearly basis (and they have every right – just look at your lease agreement). If you’re already dissatisfied with your living situation for one reason or another, getting out at the end of your lease – before they raise your rent – might be a good idea.

There are both advantages and disadvantages of shopping around (and moving) every time your lease is up. For instance, if you moved for a new job, you may have needed to snatch up the first place you could find, rather than shop around for the best price, neighborhood, and apartment conditions. This is why most people who move to a new area move after the first year – they’ve had time to figure out what they got, what they want, and what’s out there. On the other hand, moving every year is labor-intensive, stressful, and may not land you in a better position than you started, so it’s important to weight all the information carefully. Here are a few works of advice if you think you’re ready for a move.
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people in their 20s
We know that public education today is short on the subject of financial literacy, so unless parents are teaching kids about finances, many youngsters are finding out about good financial decisions the hard way — through making mistakes. I just turned 30, and I wish I had done quite a few things differently. The following are 7 financial moves to make in your 20s that I wish I had made. If you want to increase the chances of prosperity down the road, do it, and remember to teach your kids:
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Be sure to read the rest of the eBay series: part 1, Picking What to Sell, part 2, Finding Inventory, and part 3, How to Drive More Business to Your Listings.

Shipping is a huge factor in your eBay business. It can suck up your profits if you price shipping too low, and it can drive potential customers away if the shipping prices are too high. How can you handle shipping costs while still maximizing eBay profits? Here are my tips.

Reuse and Recycle

Since I do a lot of buying online and receive several free books or products from companies, I save and reuse as many packages as I can. This tip alone has saved me about $50-100 a year. I also will save and reuse tissue paper from presents to wrap clothing in before placing it in a packing bag.

Some people have shipped items jammed in old cereal boxes or cracker boxes. To me, that is taking the recycling part a bit far, and I always attempt to make my packages look nice, not like leftover trash. Bubblers are easy to reuse because you can cut a little bit off the top and place a new label over the old label so remember to save those whenever you get them.
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A couple of weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with a young man (20 years old) about his credit situation. He understood the value of good credit and was trying to figure out how he could take the next step in boosting his score. We talked about the moves he made to this point and what he should do next to diversify his credit and present as a better prospect. He wants to buy a home at some point, which is why it’s important to him to manage his credit now.

As we talked, I was reminded of a recent survey from Credit Karma about the financial mistakes made by young adults as a result of lack of financial education. My friend’s mistakes weren’t as devastating as what others have done to their situation, and he had been sufficiently conservative with his money to avoid serious debt problems. Others aren’t so lucky, though. According to Credit Karma, some of the major mistakes many young adults (68%) make before turning 30 include:

  • Overspending on credit cards
  • An account sent to collections
  • Defaulting on a loan
  • Missing payments

According to the survey data, about 75% of the respondents felt like their financial mistakes made before age 30 impacted quality of life in a negative manner. The mistakes made in your 20s can affect you years down the road, and even prevent you from moving forward with your life as you would like.
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The idea of retiring early and living on a beach somewhere sounds like a dream to many people. And for most, it may be a harder-to-reach goal than they realized. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 57% of workers have less than $25,000 saved up for retirement when they estimate that they’ll need $500,000. Being prepared for retirement can seem like a world away, let alone early retirement. However, retiring early is definitely possible.

More and more people are striving to retire early. Why? Simply put: time. Retiring early gives you the ability to spend more time with the people you love and do things that excite you. It isn’t easy but it can be done. You have to start preparing now in order to do that. Here’s how:
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