toilet train

It wasn’t long ago when the nearby plaza’s parking lot spent most days of the last few months being empty. That’s why I was so surprised to see people and cars everywhere when I went there last Sunday. Aside from the obvious potential problem of people getting sick, I’m not sure if I want this to become a trend for people’s finances.

Our economy probably needs us to shop irresponsibly again, but the thought that we might be back to “living beyond our means” is scary. I never understood why, but America is one of the only developed countries where the average resident consumes more than his/her income.

Some people blame the educational system for not having personal finance classes, but there are ways to learn outside of school too. It’s not like my teacher taught me how to use the toilet. I don’t know about you, but I learned because:

  1. I had to (out of necessity) and was told about this fact.
  2. It never occurred to me that there was an alternative.
  3. I did it enough times so I could do it without thinking.

Maybe the reason why I save while most people don’t is simple. I thought I had to save, I didn’t think borrowing was a lasting alternative and once I got used to saving, I just didn’t think about it anymore.
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We are a few days from closing escrow on our old home, which means that our house would be sold by the time this article is published.

YES! Finally!

Selling the house during a pandemic took way longer than we thought. Aside from the ordeal being financially painful, I had quite a bit of anxiety while the house was sitting on the market. I was extremely nervous even after we accepted the buyer’s offer because he was self employed and he was trying to qualify for a loan on top of carrying a mortgage on his old place.

Luckily, the buyer must be making quite a bit of money because the lender approved them for this additional loan too and he’s about to sign the loan documents shortly.

I didn’t think much about this problem before, but how do most people move from house to house without moving to an apartment first? My buyer is making enough money to cover two houses, so he can just take his time while he moves. How does he do it though? I did some research and here are five ways people come up with the money.
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For years, I tried to stretch my money to its maximum potential. Moving money across different online savings accounts for better rates, taking money out of my checking account as soon as it’s there, paying bills on the last possible day to get more interest,…, the list goes on. Basically, whatever you can think of to earn a few extra dollars or two of interests, chances are good that I’m doing it. My motto was simple – a dollar is better than no dollar.

It was fun at the beginning, but as the number of accounts and bills I needed to keep track of began to pile up, managing the cash flows became a mini part-time job. At times, it was even a little stressful because inter-bank transfers take time, and you don’t want to miss a payment because you mistakenly transferred too much out of the checking account.

Many of you know about my recommendation of investing in low-cost index funds. Again, I’m not in the camp that believes stock picking isn’t a better investment. It’s just that when I weigh the burden of the part time investment analyst job that comes with active investing, it’s not worth the time.
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In many ways, insurance is a lot like a game. The goal? Trying to get a payment for a claim since you have been paying insurance for that very purpose: Protection against large expenses due to unforeseen events. However, opposing you is the insurance company, which will be on the lookout for red flags and indications that fraud may be at work. What you say to your insurance agent can mean a delayed claim — or even one that ends up denied. If you want to come out on top and be the winner, here are four things to avoid saying to your insurance agent:
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Sara turned 10 this year, and we recently started to give her a small allowance. For now, the monthly amount is tiny but it’s good for her to start making choices on how she wants to spend her money.

Everything is going well so far, as she’s having to weigh the pros and cons of paying for everything she wants. We plan to continue this monthly stipend for years to come, but when should we stop giving her money? There will come a time when we need to stop supporting the kids. When is it appropriate to turn off the financial faucet? And how do we even do it once we figured out it’s time to revoke ATM access to the Bank of Mom and Dad?

How I Stopped Living Off My Parents

In retrospect, my parents were parenting geniuses, as my sister and I were weened off of support without any formal discussions on how the transition was going to work. We basically stopped getting financial support when we got our first job, and it’s a plan I want to follow with my own kids. Here are a few insights on some of the things my parents did right, and how you can stop supporting your child financially too.
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Millions of people fall victim to identity theft each year. The number seems to be decreasing the past couple of years, but even one is too many in my opinion. To prevent the possible emotional and financial stress of having your identity stolen, just praying that the government and credit report agencies will further improve their system isn’t enough.

Below are 45 precautions you can take to prevent identity theft. Incorporate these into your way of life to greatly reduce the chances of fraud knocks on your door.

  1. >Never give out your social security number unless it’s absolutely necessary for what you need to do.
  2. Even if you have to give it out, make sure you know for sure who you are giving it to. Being comfortable with them is not enough. Know the other party and what they do, how they will use that number and where their privacy policy is located.
  3. Don’t carry your social security card anywhere.
  4. Get a paper shredder so no one can piece together important information (at the very least, rip up the documents yourself).
  5. Protect those PIN numbers – Cover the number pad when you are entering pins at the ATM machine and never tell anyone about them. Also, never use something like 1234 as your pin please.
  6. Pay a little more for an unlisted number – Again, fewer telemarketers mean fewer chances that you can become a target.
  7. Try to separate your personal information as much as possible – Don’t write your SSN on your checks or keeping your driver licenses with your SSN card.  If something is lost, at least the crooks only have one piece of information and not everything about you.
  8. Don’t Trust Anyone Over the Phone – Never give anything out over the phone. It’s just too dangerous.
  9. Do not keep any sensitive information in your car – Credit cards, statements, checks are a nono.
  10. Buy a safe – Better yet, get a safety deposit box at the bank where you can put important documents.
  11. Educate Others – If everyone teaches others about protections, there will be fewer identity thefts and fewer people who will try to do this because it’s not as lucrative.
  12. Be Alert – Think about how your identity can be stolen whenever you are dealing with your own sensitive information.
  13. Be Clam and Patient – Don’t do something with checks, credit cards, SSN numbers, etc when you are in a rush.
  14. Blank Spaces – Always draw a line on blank spaces: On credit card receipts, always write your amount with a $ symbol followed immediately with the numbers.  On checks, always draw a line after you write the amount in English (or in numbers).

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