David,

I have a dilemma that may sound ridiculous but hear me out. I’m in my early 50s and want to retire for what feels like forever now but I can’t for the life of me calm my anxiety to leave so much money on the table by forgoing employment. I have $4 million dollars saved up and spend about $80,000 a year. I’m sure you know by the numbers already but every retirement calculator tells me that I have enough to quit for good, but I just can’t quite pull the trigger. Every time I am this close to finally telling my boss I’m done, my head wanders to the $200,000 I am giving up every year if I make the leap.

I grew up poor and I just can’t fandom giving up what could be $3 million or even $4 million by quitting now versus working until I’m 65. In the meantime, I’m burned out at work and I feel tired and exhausted all the time.

Am I insane? Because if I’m not quite there yet, I will be soon if I keep overthinking this. Help!

Take a deep breath! You’ve done very well for yourself, and you should take a step back and the finances you’ve built up for yourself. You didn’t say whether you were single or have a family, but the amount of money you’ve made is not only going to help you out, but it’ll help those around you as well. Congrats!

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One of the problems I have with goal setting is that I often set too many goals. Indeed, I’ll make a whole list of goals I want to accomplish – only to have most of them fall to the wayside. That’s the problem with setting too many goals. Many of us can’t do that many things at once.

Instead of setting a whole bunch of money goals, consider whittling it down to just one. You are likely to be more effective overall if you concentrate your efforts on one thing at a time.

What is Most Important to You?

Look at your financial situation, and consider your financial priorities. What do you think is the most important financial thing for you to accomplish? Do you want to be able to max out your retirement contributions? Look at your monthly expenses, and see what you can cut out. Work, a little each month, to reduce your unimportant expenses and increase your retirement account contributions. Find ways to increase your income to meet your goal.

You can set up a similar plan to pay down your debt or save up for a family vacation. Look at your long-term financial goals, and decide what you can realistically do to reach your goals later on. Make this year one that really helps you kick your most important financial goal up a notch.
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low income tips

Most of us want to save money so we can build wealth and plan for the future. We have goals we want to reach (like traveling) or things we want to buy (like a dream home). However, this can seem impossible when you’re surviving on a low income.

According to CNN, 25 million American households are living paycheck to paycheck. When money is tight, saving any amount can be the last priority on your list. You’re just trying to get by.

So how do you save more money when you’re making minimum wage? How can you reach your financial goals on a low income?

When it comes to finances, it’s important to not only think about the now but also the future. Even if you’re earning a minimum wage, you can still save little by little. Here’s how:
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We all know that health care costs continue to skyrocket, but how many of us consider what those rising costs will mean for retirement? Gone are the days when retirement meant a lifelong pension and health care. Even some current retirees who were promised these things are having the rug pulled out from under them when their former employers find that they can no longer afford to insure them. So when it comes to your health care in retirement, it pays to plan ahead and not count on your employer. Here is what you need to know about staying healthy (and financially stable) after retirement:

Hang In There Until Medicare Kicks In

If you can hold off on retirement until age 65, you’ll have a leg up on health care costs, since you’ll then be eligible for Medicare, the federal health insurance program for seniors over 65 and the disabled. While all the rules and regulations for Medicare are dizzyingly complex, here is a basic breakdown of the four types of Medicare:

Medicare Part A covers seniors who need to be hospitalized. As long as you have paid into Social Security for at least ten years, you pay no premiums for using Part A.

Medicare Part B covers doctor visits and some outpatient needs, such as physical therapy and medical equipment. Some preventive care is also covered under Part B. Seniors using Part B must pay a monthly premium of around $100, although the premiums go up depending on their income.

Take special care to enroll for Medicare Part B when you are eligible because there’s a stiff penalty for not doing so. For each 12 month period you delay, the premiums go up 10% for the rest of your life if you ever sign up. One of my aunts mistakenly thought she could save some money by waiting 3 years after she became eligible before she signed up. Big mistake. Not only did she not have coverage and paid all her checkups out of pocket for 3 years, but her premiums are also now 30% more than what she would’ve been paying and that penalty will continue for the rest of her life.

Medicare Part C is also referred to as Medicare Advantage. Part C consists of private insurance plans that are run through Medicare. Basically, these plans offer additional coverage to what you get through Parts A and B. You will have to pay a monthly premium for Part C, which varies from state to state and insurer to insurer.

Medicare Part D is a separate policy that you purchase through a private insurer. This policy covers prescription drugs.

Maintain Coverage

If you choose to retire early or are laid off from your job before age 65, find a way to continue your health insurance until you are eligible for Medicare. According to US News and World Report, “workers who retire before they qualify for Medicare at age 65 often face the steepest health care costs. According to a Towers Perrin survey, the average cost of premiums for employer-provided coverage for retirees under 65 is $13,308 a year. The typical early retiree is expected to pick up $6,960 of that tab.”

If you are laid off, remember that you have the option of continuing on your employer’s coverage through COBRA, which lasts 18 months after your termination date. Alternatively, you could join your spouse’s health care plan or purchase an individual plan. You can also look for a plan in the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace. The good news is that anyone who becomes unemployed qualifies for the Special Enrollment Period, which allows the participants to enroll or change their healthcare plan. None of these options are cheap, but you may be able to get a higher subsidy in the case of the marketplace plans because your income is now projected to be lower. In any case, all of these options will help keep your retirement nest egg safe—rather than seeing it all eaten up by one medical emergency.

Consider a Health Savings Account (HSA)

An HSA can work much like an advanced version of retirement investment accounts: you contribute money on a pre-tax basis and grow tax-free. Withdrawals are also tax-free even if the account grows into the millions as long as you use the funds for medical costs. That’s why you sometimes hear how HSAs are triple tax-free accounts.

Be careful if you use the funds for non-medical costs though. Any withdrawal from your HSA for non-medical costs will cost you in taxes, and withdrawal before age 65 costs you a 10% penalty as well. Unlike contributions to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), the money you contribute to an HSA won’t be lost if you don’t use it by year-end. That’s why you can put money in there and just let it accumulate until the time you need it.

There’s one more caveat. To get the tax breaks on an HSA, you need to also be enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan. This means that you will have to plan for paying for the deductible every year for even your routine medical needs.

The Bottom Line

These days, retirement planning needs to include specific plans for health care. Costs keep going up year after year and there are no signs of it relenting. Like I said before, one mishap can ruin your retirement. That’s why you need to make sure you take the time to decide how you will handle your health care costs in retirement.


There’s a traditional approach to getting rid of student loans: you pay them off. Depending on the type of degree you got, that can mean a sizable chunk of your income going to student loans for years to come. Repayment isn’t the only way to eliminate student loans, however. There are other options that offer alternatives. Each program offers different options in terms of how much of your loans it will pay back, and repayment from certain programs is only available for specific types of loans. Here are a few others ways you can eliminate that debt.
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There are two basic schools of thought when it comes to personal finance: spend less or earn more. Spending less sounds simple enough, but it can be a tough adjustment for anyone who’s used to a certain lifestyle or has set behavioral patterns.

Not only that, but the temptation to spend is everywhere you look. If you are trying to spend less but having a difficult time changing your habits, here are 5 ways to avoid spending temptations.

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