Category: Savings tips

Tools for getting out of debt

Getting out of debt is easy, stop spending and pay off your bills.  The overweight person gets very similar advice: eat less and exercise.  They are both pieces of good advice, but they rarely work all by themselves because we are creatures of habit, whether it’s spending or eating.  So here are my twin tools for helping you with the debt issue (for the dieting part, you’re on your own.)

First, get a copy of Dave Ramsey’s book    “The Total Money Makeover.”  It’s a virtual 12 step process designed to get you debt free and build wealth.  The book costs about $25.00 and is worth every penny.  Dave Ramsey has built a business around personal finance advice that includes books, a radio program and courses that are being offered throughout the country.  The course is offered by many churches and is both entertaining and filled with outstanding information.

Second, if you have a computer, get a copy of “Quicken.”  It is the number 1 selling personal finance software.  If you are in debt you have to know where your money is going before you can fix your problem.  Quicken allows you track every penny that you spend.  In addition it makes balancing your checkbook a snap and has other features that are useful once you begin to accumulate wealth.  The program costs less than $50.

A look at 5 unusual ways to boost income in retirement

In the Retirement Planning section of the Wall Street Journal we found some “different” ideas about generating retirement income.  Frankly, some of these, like the wood lot, probably require more physical effort than most retirees are prepared to spend, but we bring them to you for your enjoyment.

1. Grow Trees 

If you live in an area where people routinely burn wood to heat their homes, you might consider buying some woodland. Not only can you use the wood to heat your home, you can sell logs to others.

2. Make Loans

You’re probably getting less than 1% on your bank deposits—but your bank, using your money, can get as much as 15% for an unsecured loan. Suddenly lending seems appealing.  The problem is that the people who typically want to borrow your money are probably your relatives, and relatives are notorious for not paying back the money they have borrowed, even if you have a signed note.

3. Rent Out a Room

If your kids have left the nest, you might have a spare room. Instead of downsizing to a smaller home in a weak housing market, consider renting out a room to a lodger.  But are you really ready to have a stranger live in your house after you have finally said goodbye to the last child?

4. Tutor Students

Anyone who has reached retirement age should have amassed a wealth of knowledge on a variety of topics, all of which could provide the basis for a part-time career.  This may actually be a good idea.  I know someone who retired and went on to teach classes in using computers.  Teaching math classes to students struggling in school may be a good part-time job for retired engineers.

5. Preferred Stock

Buying preferred stock is not at all unusual, but like any investment you have to know what you are doing and what the pitfalls are (and there are many).   The preferred stock market is a specialized area of the financial universe that you should only explore with the help of an experienced RIA.


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