Ultimately, deciding when and how to leave the workforce isn't about some number in a retirement account.
I recently returned from my annual weekend trip to Oregon's Opal Creek Wilderness Area. Every year, I join five other friends to hike into the forest, pitch our tents on the banks of the creek, and sit around the fire talking about life. We drank a lot of whiskey this year, and spent a lot of time at the swimming hole.
This year, we also talked a lot about where we're going in life. All six of us are about 40 years old, and we're all dealing with career transitions of some sort. We chatted about "talkers and doers" (a topic I hope to write about soon), about building social capital, and about retirement. I mentioned that my wife hopes to retire when she's 52, and that caused a lot of envy. It also prompted an interesting discussion on Sunday afternoon.
Only new borrowers will be hit by rising mortgage insurance premiums next month. But there's also a consolation.
This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.
The cost of getting an FHA mortgage is growing -- by about $38 a month, on average. The price hike in FHA mortgage insurance premiums, which takes effect Sept. 7, will hit only new borrowers. Current holders of FHA loans won't be touched.
- Video: Mortgage relief ahead?
The fee hike was approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate this week. The House already had signed on. President Obama is expected to sign the change before the end of the month.
FHA takes away -- and gives a little
Even if breakfast to you is just a cup of joe, you're going to pay more for your first meal of the day.
The cost of the most important meal of the day is edging up. Look to pay more for coffee, orange juice, cereal, pancakes, toast and bacon -- yes, even bacon (and chicken-fried steak) -- in the coming weeks and months.
Due to heavy rains in Colombia, the J.M. Smucker Co. this week raised the price of its Folgers, Dunkin' Donuts and Millstone coffee brands by an average of 9%. Expect Kraft (Maxwell House, Yuban) to do the same. You should notice the difference on supermarket shelves in the coming weeks. (Hint: Stock up now.)
Bad weather is mostly to blame for coming price increases in other breakfast fare.
Don't pitch surplus zucchini into the compost bin. Try these tactics instead.
Are squash the size of Louisville Sluggers overrunning your garden? Have you stumbled over a "gift" bag of zooks left on the doorstep by an anonymous (read: frantic) neighbor?
If you haven't made the mistake of planting too much squash, someone you know probably has. Just how much zucchini bread and steamed zooks can one family stand?
Recently I heard about an extremely, uh, creative way to use the extra squash:
What's cheaper: Tuna or egg salad? Len Penzo adds it all up in his second annual survey of how much homemade sandwiches cost.
Yes, school is right around the corner, and the honeybee is once again gearing up for another season of endless sandwich making for the kids' brown-bag lunches. She won't be alone.
Every day, millions of people pack a sandwich or two to eat for lunch at their school or place of employment, and who can argue with that strategy?
While I realize that packing a homemade lunch is more economical and more healthful than eating out at a burger joint or some other greasy spoon, this intrepid personal-finance blogger was not satisfied to simply accept the obvious financial wisdom of forgoing a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese in lieu of the handmade ham and Swiss cheese sandwich. Uh-uh, not me.
So last year I took a vow to never rest until I knew which of the 10 most common brown-bag sandwiches offered the best value of them all.
You don't have to be a billionaire to make your donations count.
As of this week, 40 billionaires have pledged to donate the majority of their wealth to charity. Consumers inspired by the gesture can give just as effectively -- in smaller amounts.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett announced Wednesday that their "Giving Pledge," a recession-inspired commitment to sign over at least half of their assets to nonprofits over their lifetime or after their death, now numbers 40 signers, including themselves. Among the philanthropists: Oracle founder Larry Ellison, film director George Lucas, designer Diane Von Furstenberg and hotel mogul Barron Hilton.
Paper or plastic? Here are eight reasons why credit cards beat cash (or debit cards) at the checkout line.
Like many consumer advocates, I'm certainly no fan of credit cards. It's hard to like plastic when I've done so many stories about people who end up in a financial death spiral due to revolving debt. (I've even written a book called "Life or Debt.")
And I can't begin to count the stories I've done over the last 20 years about banks abusing their card customers with usurious rates, unfair fees and all manner of sneaky tactics specifically designed to transfer wealth from Main Street to Wall Street.
With all the negative press and recent legislation exposing the seamy underbelly of the credit card industry, it's easy to believe that credit cards are the downfall of Western civilization. But maybe this pendulum has swung too far.
Should you refinance? With rates this low, it's something to consider, but it's not for everyone.
We're starting to sound like a broken record here: For the sixth time in seven weeks, mortgage interest rates have fallen to yet another record low. No one has seen the likes of rates like these since the 1950s, when Dwight Eisenhower was president, June Cleaver cleaned house in a shirtwaist dress, and mortgages typically were for 20 or 25 years.
The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan is 4.49%, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey, down from 4.54% last week. The average rate for a 15-year fixed is 3.95%, compared with 4% a week ago.
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