If you have been reading Mr. ToughMoneyLove for a while (thank-you BTW), you know that we have been planning on paying off one of our mortgages. (We own two homes, one of which we use now as a vacation home and later, as a full or part-time retirement residence.) My original target date for mortgage payoff was December 2008 but that date slipped a bit once we learned of the outcome of the election, plans for the economy were in flux, and things got busy around here. We had been earnestly accumulating cash over the last 24 months to get this done.
Baby boomers have been receiving a lot of criticism in recent months for their collective contributions to our country’s economic problems. First, we are blamed for an extreme amount of debt driven consumption that inflated highly leveraged real estate and credit bubbles. Second, we are now being blamed for an excess of saving when many so-called economic experts are calling for increased consumer spending. In general, boomers are probably guilty on both counts. I have a suggestion. Read more
The news yesterday that Chrysler was shutting down all of its U.S. factories for 30 days got me thinking about a larger question: Why is it that in a recessionary economy, employers primarily use layoffs to cut labor costs? Why don’t they look for alternatives?
By alternatives, I am referring to labor cost-cutting measures that allow employees to keep their jobs while lowering their costs of employment. Read more
With so much consumer and mortgage debt having been accumulated in the U.S. over the past 10-20 years, it was inevitable that those who have become addicted to credit would create a separate feel-good category that they like to call “good debt.” Student loans are often touted as being “good debt.” In this regard, Mr. ToughMoneyLove believes that our colleges and universities have not received enough of the blame for promoting student loans as “good debt’ and for making students and parents alike feel all warm and fuzzy about going off to college riding on a staggering pile of student loans. Read more
Yes, folks, yet another CNNMoney personal finance sob story, this one about a fearful GM retiree. Is this retiree disabled? No. Then he must be old and feeble. No. Actually, he’s a healthy 54 year-old. That’s all I need to read to drop my sympathy level to barely above the “I don’t care” level. It’s second career time, my friend, and quit the whining. I’m older than you and still working in my second full-time career and as a part-time blogger. The rest of us have to wait until at least 62 to get paid for not working. Read more
Some of you may be old enough to remember Jerry Reed of “Smoky and the Bandit” cinematic fame. Sadly, Jerry died recently, leaving a musical legacy that includes his 1982 classic “She Got the Gold Mine, I Got the Shaft.” OK, maybe it wasn’t a true classic but it was funny.
I’ve been thinking of that song recently, as our government continues to confirm that when it comes to acts of responsible money behavior by some American consumers – the “savers” – no good deed goes unpunished. Read more
Warning: Municipal bonds can be boring. But, if you are looking to squeeze a little more yield out of your fixed income and cash-equivalent investments, keep reading. But while you are reading, be sure you monitor all of the developments in the market that have occurred in 2008 and 2009. Read more
Senator Obama said in a speech yesterday that Senator McCain is “out of touch on the economy.” I wonder who wrote that killer line? That got me thinking again about the competence and clarity of our politicians when it comes to matters of economics. Read more
Mr. ToughMoneyLove has participated in many online debates among readers of personal finance blogs and retirement planning message boards. A frequent topic of debate is the wisdom of using available free cash flow to invest or instead to make an early payoff of an existing mortgage loan. I am not a fan of debt generally but I do respect logical arguments supporting overall wealth building in combination with reasonable debt used to purchase an appreciating asset, such as real estate. Read more
If you ever listen to Dave Ramsey, you know that he acknowledges that what he teaches is “abnormal” compared to the “normal” financial behavior we see engaged in by a substantial majority of American consumers. I don’t agree with everything that Ramsey preaches but his statements about normal financial behavior ring true to me.
So, I have compiled my own list of ten signs or indicators that someone is engaged in bad financial and money behaviors that are now, unfortunately, considered normal. These are not in any particular order of significance. You may have others to suggest.