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Archive for December, 2009

Are You Preparing for Retirement?

December 12th, 2009 at 10:50 am

Do you sometimes wonder where the years have gone? My thirty's is like a blur. Oh yeah, I remember I had my daughter when I was 35 years old, but what happened before and after that in my thirties? By the time you get use to writing the latest year down, we are already heading into the next one. Time moves swiftly and quickly. And when you look around, you are older, hopefully wiser, and wondering how much time do I have left to reach my goals. .

I meet people daily who dream of retiring one day, but many have never actually implemented a plan of action to make it happen. Retirement doesn't just happen with a hope and prayer, it takes time, preparation, and planning. Regardless of how old you are, one day you will want to stop working or at least work part-time. Do you have a plan to make it happen? Do you or your spouse have a pension? Have you set aside money in your 401K or IRA's? Do you still have 20 or 30 years left on your mortgage?

In this economy or any other, you cannot put the responsibility of your retirement on a company, spouse, or government. Nothing is promised forever, therefore, regardless of your situation or circumstance, it is your responsibility to look out for you. Whether you are married or single, you have to take the responsibility to make sure your future is secure financially. It may mean putting money in a different account for your retirement.

My sister who has two sets of twins, and had always been a stay at home mom decided she wanted to save since her husband is not a saver. What did she do? She got a part-time job in the evenings, stocking shelves, and saved $50,000 in just three years to go towards their retirement. They are only in their early forties, still relatively young.

What about you, what are your financial goals for retirement? Are you working towards meeting them? If not, what do you plan to do?

Do You Loan Money to Friends and Family?

December 6th, 2009 at 11:16 am

It is usually not a good idea to loan money to family. So many things can go wrong. In this economy many family and friends may need help, and of course we want to help ease their stress and pain. Even though lending a financial hand seems like the right thing to do, it can actually backfire and cause drama and distress.

Have you ever used your hard-earned money to help someone that is broke keep their house, car, utilities, or put food on their table? Then to see them a few days later with a new manicure, pedicure, or hair cut. Have you loaned money with a promise to repay and after they ditched and dodged you for months and even years, you realized you would never see your money again? So what should you do when you are approached by family or friends to borrow money? First, find out why your friend or family member is having a difficult time. If they have a history of being irresponsible or reckless with money, why should that be your problem? If they are consistently bad with money, giving them money would do more harm than good. In fact, if you give someone money that is not interested in changing their spending habits, loaning money can ruin them and your relationship.

Below are some suggestions on loaning money to family:

Do not lend money you do not have. You have your own bills to pay. If you are in a jam who will be there to help you? If you cannot afford to lose the money, do not do it.

Do not co-sign for a loan. You want to ruin your credit and get in debt? Co-sign and take on someone else's financial obligations. If you want tension, stress, possible resentment, and a stained relationship, go right ahead co-sign. Not a smart move.

Teach them how to budget. Giving a loan or money is not always the solution to someone that is having financial troubles. Show them how to manage their money, prepare for the unexpected, and take preventative financial measures to be sustainable.

Give a small gift. I never loan money. But, what I will do is give towards a person's need if I feel lead to do so. Many times I do not feel lead to do so, but when I do I let them know it is not a loan and they do not have to repay me.

Get a loan in writing. If you do decide to loan money, make sure you put all the terms and conditions in writing. The agreement should include a date for repayment, monthly or lump sum amount, signatures of both parties, and copies should be made. The original should go to the lender and a copy to the borrower.

There is no shame in saying no.

If your answer is no, that is okay. You do not have to give a long explanation or reason, keep it short-n-sweet. Let them know you cannot loan them money, but you can offer a small gift (if you can). Bottom line, it is up to you to look at all the options and make the best decision for you, your family, and your situation.

Have you ever loaned money to family or friends?