What Did We Learn in 2013?

We are on the edge of welcoming the new year and there is a lot to think about from this past year. Everyone has had their own victories and struggles, but that is what made 2013 the year it was.

Merrill Lynch CIO Ashvin B. Chhabra reviews the six themes of 2013 financially, revealing also, the themes that will effect our year in 2014. They are listed below:

1. The Great Rotation and Fed Tapering
2. Budget Battles
3. Abenomics and Future Monetary Policy
4. Eurozone’s Return to Growth
5. China’s Credit Crisis
6. Gold – Losing Its Glitter

Here is the link to the full article with overviews of each theme: http://insights.wm.ml.com/assets/pdfs/Nov-2013-CIO-Monthly-Letter.pdf

Comment below with your thoughts on these themes and if you think they will effect 2014.

Another interesting article about the themes we will likely see in 2014 is: http://insurancenewsnet.com/oarticle/2013/12/29/chief-investment-officers-of-merrill-lynch-and-us-trust-report-us-economic-g-a-441695.html#.UsLQ-zKx4dU

Happy New Year Everyone!


Tax Season — Meet Government Shutdown

Since the government shutdown back in October, there have been many things that have taken a hit. The latest arising problems come along with the upcoming tax season and being able to receive your check at an early date. Due to the shutdown, the early birds who get their taxes done lickedy split are going to have to wait a little longer than usual to collect.

Other than that, tax season will still end on April 15th, unless you submit for the six month extension.

More here: http://money.cnn.com/2013/12/18/pf/taxes/2014-tax-season/

More Reason to Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

Eating your fruits and veggies is good for your health, but it is also good for your wallet and our economy! Not only does eating fruits and veggies make your heart healthier, but it will also save you a ton of money when those foods help you avoid cardiovascular disease (CVD). “In 2010, the medical costs of CVD alone came to some $273 billion, and lost productivity due to CVD cost an estimated $172 billion,” states Sydney Brownstone in her article for Fast Company.

So how about that! Now you have all the more reason to eat fruits and vegetables!


Tax Free Weekend – Success or Bust?

tax free

This weekend in tax free weekend and people will be lining up everywhere to get items that they want at a “great” discount. And usually, with a deal like this, people tend to purchase items with a larger price tag, such as TVs.

But is tax free weekend really all it’s cracked up to be? Experts say that you would be better off with any regular sale that a store is having that offers 20% off. When you get down to the nitty gritty, tax free weekend only takes off around 6% of your purchase. “‘Tax free’ sounds impressive but it’s only about a 6.25% off sale, compared to routine advertised store sales of 20% off or more,” states Joseph Henchman from the Tax Foundation.

The reality of all this is that tax free weekend is a good idea, but not as good of a bargain as everyone makes it out to be. You can save much more by just going to a regular sale at the store any other time of the year. Feel free to go out and enjoy the weekend, but be aware of how much you spend and when other sales will be occurring for those bigger items, in case you can get a better deal another time in the near future.

What is your take on tax free weekend?


Savings in Retirement


It is never too late to start saving money. Whether is it for a house, car, or retirement, it is always a good idea to have money saved away for the big things and so that you feel comfortable making these big steps.

I feel as though the biggest thing to save for, and to start saving for right away, is retirement. Everyone wants a good retirement that is financially stress-free and that they do not need to worry if they spend a little too much on their grandkids. And the only sort of work anyone wants to do during retirement is usually just to keep themselves busy and is not considered much of an income. When you retire, you want to have enough money saved that you do not need to have a little part-time job on the side to keep you afloat; you want to enjoy your well-earned time!

You want to start saving for your retirement as soon as you can. Right out of college, you can put away a portion of your paycheck to retirement every week to slowly, but surely, build up a hefty retirement fund for yourself. Do some research on different kinds of accounts that you can put your money into so that you can build a good amount of interest as well. You would be amazed at how much you can save when you commit to putting “X” amount in every month for a long time. And as you get older and get paid more, you can put away more.

Many times, people will need money or they want to buy something (maybe a car, home, debt, etc.) and they will possibly take money out of their retirement fund to use towards this thing. Restrain yourself! Remember that that money is for your long term gain. And if you are willing to dip into that fund once, who says you won’t try it again? Keep that money under lock and key until you have retired and need the income. If you don’t, you are only hurting yourself and your time.

The last thing you want to be doing with your retirement and your retirement money, is using it to pay off debt. Make sure that all of your debts are paid so that debt is not a concern for you. And keep yourself out of debt by budgeting with the retirement money that you have acquired. Make sure that you have enough to possibly surpass the age you expect to live. Debt is only going to hinder you from relaxing and enjoying your time.

What are your tips for saving for retirement? If you are already retired, what strategies did you use to save enough money for your retirement? Comment below!