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The Fierce Way to Curb Holiday Spending

Cherish Relationships, Creativity and Crafts, Finances
holiday spending

As I mentioned in my recent post about love, gift giving is my love language. I show my love by sending the most thoughtful gifts to those I love. I must say I’m quite good at it.

But there’s just one little problem. 

Things can get, well, a little out of hand. 

It’s so easy to get caught up with the gift-giving spirit of the season, and the catchy Christmas carols don’t exactly help…Santa honey one thing I really do need, the deed to a platinum mine…or I want a hippopotamus for Christmas…or all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth…or all I want for Christmas is you…

You get the idea. Whether it’s your Instagram feed or your friends or the displays at the store, everywhere you look, you are prompted to want something or buy something. Charge it and pay for it later.

I’m not saying gifts are bad. But really, do your loved ones and friends want you to blow out your budget on things you can’t afford? Probably not. 

This year, make a plan and stick to it. My friend and financial sherpa Peggy Doviak, whose book has been helping the Chairman and I get a handle on our finances, shares a few ideas on how to make this the best Christmas ever without breaking the bank. 

We had such a great response from Peggy’s last post on planning for retirement, I wanted to bringing her back to shower us all with her bright, shining financial wisdom. 

Here’s what she had to say. 

The Best Christmas Ever

Do the upcoming holidays fill you with joy or dread? Are you already wearing cozy holiday sweaters, drinking hot cocoa, and watching Hallmark movies? Or do you find yourself wondering whether Scrooge was right, and we really should be boiling people in their own plum pudding?

I think money is one of the leading causes of holiday stress for people. We want to create the perfect event, and we try not to think of the bill that will arrive in the mail around January 15th. Well, here’s the good news—it’s possible to have a great holiday season and stay out of debt. Planning ahead, being willing to spend hours rather than dollars, and knowing how to say “no” can help you have a wonderful, prosperous December. continue reading

When can I retire? What if I can’t afford to?

Finances
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Have you noticed that here at FierceBeyond50, I post about all kinds of topics relevant to the beyond 50 lifestyle, everything from health and fashion, to downsizing and personal relationships, but not finances?

There’s a reason for that.

I suck at money. Big time.

When the conversation drifts toward topics of personal finance, one of two things happens. Either I start to feel very bored and very sleepy, or I experience the anxiety that can only be overcome by starting a new craft project.

Financial discussions confuse me and scare me.  The first response tends to exacerbates the second response, I’ve noticed. The less I understand about money matters, the more frightening they become.

Even in my ignorance, I do understand that it’s important for a woman to have a handle on her finances, especially in the years beyond 50.  That’s why, with a certain amount of trepidation, I’ve recently undertaken a personal quest to do exactly that.

Not surprisingly, my search began with books.  And, lucky for me, it soon brought me to the exact book I needed – 52 Weeks to Prosperity – Ask Peggy Doviak: What Your Accountant, Banker, Broker & Financial Adviser Might Not Tell You.

I highly recommend this book.  It’s very clear and easy to understand and has specific action plans to help readers corral and steer their financial futures. If you know me at all, you know how I love a good action plan! Having a whole year to work through them seemed less intimidating, like something I could actually do. My husband and I are already working through some of these steps and it’s been an illuminating experience. (I’ll be blogging more about that in the future, so stay tuned.)

Something else I loved about this book was the warm, conversational tone of the author.  Peggy Doviak seemed like somebody who would be easy to talk to, the kind of lady who I’d want to invite into my kitchen for a cup of coffee and a good gab.

Since Peggy lives in Oklahoma and I live in Oregon, a coffee date would be complicated. That’s why I decided to do the next best thing – invite her to guest blog. Actually it’s even better than a coffee date because I get to share her with all of you.

Today I’ve asked Peggy to write about a question that’s on the mind of so many Beyond50 readers –  When can I retire?

Read on for Peggy’s answer to this very important question!

 

Are you terrified you can never retire? If so, you’re in good company. We’ve all seen the statistics about saving money in our twenties, and the young people who have committed to that strategy just rock! However, many of us did not plan for our retirement in our twenties, thirties, or sometimes even forties. We always had a “good” reason, but still, we didn’t save. Suddenly, OMG, we’re closing in on being 65! We need a solution, and we need it now.

Unfortunately, the financial services community understands our panic and, all too often, tries to exploit it. Over plates of cold chicken fettuccini and a never-ending PowerPoint, a local financial adviser tells us that if we haven’t saved a million dollars by now, we will be eating cat food during our twilight years. The adviser may also warn against counting on the viability of both Social Security and any pension we have earned. But never fear—he has the perfect product to meet our needs, whatever they are. Just sign here.

DON’T! Maybe the sales pitch really does offer an appropriate product, but don’t make your decision from a position of fear. When people are anxious or ashamed, they are desperate for a quick solution that provides peace of mind. When an investment product claims to offer financial certainty, it’s appealing. But remember—they bought you the fettuccini. continue reading