Inheritance disputes: Avoiding the war when there’s a will
The holidays are upon us. It's the time of the year when family moves from the shadows of a busy life to the foreground. That probably makes it as good a time as any to consider one of the most difficult topics to discuss pertaining to family and finances -- the subject of inheritances. Nobody wants to talk about it because it is inextricably linked with, well, death. Someone has to die for an inheritance to come about, and none of us enjoys looking a loved one in the eye and saying, "Hey loved one, you are going to go the way of all flesh soon, so can we talk about what you are going to leave behind?"
How Family Disputes Over Inheritances Arise
When a dispute arises over an inheritance, it can help to recognize some of the issues that might be contributing to the problem developing between family members -- and there are a number of things to consider:
What is an apprenticeship?
Given that student loan debt in the U.S. tops $1.2 trillion and the average graduate owed over $30,000 in 2015, it's no surprise topics like how to start paying student loans are necessary.
However, if you're still in school or are still saving for college (or you have kids or grandkids in that category), there's an option for reducing or eliminating the amount of student loans you take out: apprenticeship programs.
What is an Apprenticeship Program?
The basic idea behind apprenticeships is that students/apprentices learn by doing. While apprenticeships used to be a very common way for people to train for a wide variety of professions, as higher education became ubiquitous, the apprenticeship model fell out of fashion.
Year-end tax planning – 2015 checklist
Know your taxes! I am a big fan of the philosophy: No one cares more about your money than you do. Even if a professional prepares your taxes every year, learn to do it yourself. Aside from what you'll save in fees, here are two benefits of learning to prepare your taxes yourself:
- By doing your taxes on your own, you can learn quite a bit about your finances and get a lot of ideas on how to make your money work more for you.
- Sometimes a professional might not ask the right question because they don't know everything that went on in your life this year. If you learn to prepare your taxes yourself, you will become more aware if a professional is missing any deductions.
Educate yourself. This is an excellent place to start — IRS tax tips.
If a professional prepares your taxes…
Set up a meeting with your accountant/tax adviser.
Why investing can be better than repaying debt
It's a difficult choice: On the one hand, you understand the need to begin investing early to make the miracle of compounding work for you; on the other hand, you know that, when you have debt, making those payments hampers the ability to harness the miracle of compounding.
So, what should you do with that $500 you have -- invest it or pay down the debt? The answer is not as simple as some make it out to be.
Reasons to repay debt first
1. Risk of disaster
As I mentioned in the article about starting to save for retirement, life is not always fair or kind. Most of us depend on a paycheck for everything: rent or mortgage, food, gas, utilities and so forth. When something happens, like losing your job, divorce or severe illness, those checks get smaller, or may even disappear temporarily. We can cut back some of our expenses like gas, clothing, etc. But some things are impossible to cut back. That list is usually headed by rent or mortgage payments and those monthly payments all other forms of debt require. You can't cut those back in times of trial.
Starting to save for retirement at 40
There's something about reaching the big 4-0 that often causes you to re-evaluate your direction in life. And when you do, it's hard to escape the fact that your day of retirement is indeed approaching faster than you ever thought possible.
If you're one of those who eliminated debt and made investing for retirement a habit since your 20s, there's very little to do other than enjoy your 40th birthday and continue on with what you're doing. But if you're heading into your 40s having done nothing to prepare for retirement, the prospects can be downright scary.
3 ways to beat McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast menu on speed and price
Are there seasons in your life where you're more likely to swing through the drive-thru because you're tired, stressed, or overwhelmed?
Fall is like that for me. My friends start talking boots and flannel. Pumpkin Spice Lattes start showing up in my Instagram feed. And the corn mazes and pumpkin farms open for business.
And me? While I love colorful leaves and impossibly blue autumn skies as much as the next person, I cringe when fall arrives.
Great small cities for millennials (or anyone seeking affordable urban spaces)
Millennials are weird. I should know; I am one. For years, our unorthodox lifestyle choices and money habits have been confusing to our elders. And perhaps the most unprecedented millennial-ish move we've been making is the avoidance of home ownership.
With home-buying at an all-time low according to the Census Bureau, the finger is easily pointed at us as a likely cause. But instead of leveling the typical charges that we're lazy and stuck in wanderlust as the root of why we still live at home, perhaps it's because we're just trying to learn from the mistakes of the past.
Consider what we've witnessed: As millennials, we lived through the late '90s and early '00s, we've seen our parents go through tech bubbles bursting and the entire housing market crashing. We saw firsthand what can happen if you buy a home when you can't afford it or if your job just suddenly vanishes.
7 sure-fire strategies to win college scholarships
How much can hard work in school and when applying for scholarships reduce the overall costs of getting a college degree? Well, in our family's experience, it's amounted to nearly $150,000 so far. (I say that because we have two more children to put through college.)
Hard Work Over the Years Brought Choices
Our oldest, Aziza, is a high-achieving, ambitious student. She plans to graduate in four years with a triple major: Business Honors, Marketing and English. Needless to say, I'm a proud mother who is thrilled at all that Aziza has accomplished -- and what lies ahead for her.
When she began getting college acceptance letters, it kind of felt like we were winning the jackpot again and again. But really it was because of the years of planning and hard work. We were excited not only because Aziza was accepted to seven great schools located all across the country, but five of them offered her terrific scholarships as well.
11 frugal ways to prepare for an emergency
According to the U.S. government, all citizens should have enough supplies to survive for at least three days in an emergency. Depending on where you live, "emergency" could mean tornado, earthquake, blackout, flood, wildfire, hurricane, ice storm or zombie apocalypse.
How ready do you feel?
It is possible to put together an emergency kit without breaking the bank. In fact, you may already have some (or much) of what you need already.
How to optimize your resume for employment gaps
Are you currently taking a hiatus from paid employment? Maybe you want to stay home with your kids until they're in school. Maybe you haven't been able to find another job after a layoff. Maybe you had some savings and took a mini-retirement. Or maybe you just wanted a break.
Self-imposed or not, taking a break from the paycheck can be scary.
You know what I find even scarier? Trying to re-enter the job market after a long hiatus.