Rising college fees is a national problem, with teens around the US struggling with the daunting prospect of paying back expensive multi-year college fees. Families who in the past were able to save and put money away in a college fund now find that those funds simply do not stretch far enough to cover college education for their children.
Why education is becoming more expensive
The price of education is creeping up due to a combination of inflation, rising demand for places, and greater expectations from students. In the past, students were content with simple campus facilities and functioning sports programs, but this has changed. Colleges now have to hire the best coaches for their sports teams and provide campus facilities that are extensive if they want to attract the best students.
College degrees have also become increasingly popular over the years as students shun alternatives such as apprenticeship programs. This factor and a rising population have driven demand for college places higher, and institutions have had to invest substantially to accommodate the demand. There is also the factor of annual inflation, which pushes up the amount that colleges have to spend on staff salaries and running expenses.
Alternatives to formal education
A college education is not the only way to prepare for a well-paid career. Many successful employees in managerial positions achieved their status by working very hard at their first employer after leaving school. Climbing the career ladder in a progressive and carefully considered way is entirely possible without formal education.
Another alternative to taking time out to sit classes is to attend an apprenticeship program. Apprenticeship programs have a formal aspect but are essentially a way of training while working. As an apprentice, you would also face academic challenges, including reports and exams, but your training will be orientated to the practical in a way that a college education isn’t.
Community college can be another very useful stepping stone to a college education. If you can prove your academic abilities in community college, you have the chance of winning scholarships to top universities. Merely completing a community college program will also improve your employment prospects as it illustrates a certain level of commitment and ability to a prospective employer.
Affordable formal education
If you would like to achieve a college degree but can’t afford to do so, you could consider a cheaper alternative to a full-time, residential degree course. One option that is particularly attractive for students who already have a degree is online learning. You should visit college websites to learn more about their online masters in accounting, technology, and medicine to get an idea of what courses you can take without spending a fortune.
You could also opt to do a residential course on a part-time basis, which would allow you to spread the cost of tuition while still doing your day job. Many employers are supportive of employees who wish to study, so try proving yourself in your job to the extent that your employer is willing to sponsor you for further education.
Why formal education is seen as important
Though you have a number of alternatives to formal college education, many employers in a lot of fields still see a degree as the gold standard in education. There are very valid reasons for this – a degree shows that a student has the commitment to follow through on a goal, given that most first degrees require at least two years of full-time study.
Degree programs also have an academic intensity that other forms of education do not necessarily have. When you have completed a degree, you can prove that you are capable of deep, analytical thinking on a variety of topics. In fact, it is the fact that most degrees cover a range of subjects that make graduates so interesting for employers – in comparison to someone who has only studied one topic intensely, a degree holder generally has a more rounded education.
Don’t let the cost of education discourage you
Education boosts your career prospects, informs you about life, and is an excellent way to meet friends and contacts for the future. If it is unrealistic for you to fund a full-time degree course over several years, think about the alternatives. Both adults and school leavers take advantage of online learning, while you can get educated in your field of choice in ways that do not necessarily involve college tuition. Whichever route you choose, intensively studying a subject for a planned period of time is crucial to building career opportunities.
Owing the IRS or your state department of revenue can be scary, particularly when you begin getting threatening letters. A tax liability doesn’t have to ruin your life. As long as you are honest with the IRS, make an effort to pay, and keep any agreements you make, they will be willing to work with you. Whether it’s a few hundred dollars or tens of thousands, here’s how to manage a tax liability.
Pay What You Can
It’s easy to become so overwhelmed with a large bill from the IRS that you ignore it and pay nothing. Don’t do this. Pay whatever you can now. That will be money that doesn’t cost you interest payments. It also shows a good faith effort to be cooperative. Make a payment now, and continue paying whatever you can until you work out an agreement for the long-term.
Get Sound Financial Advice
It’s rarely a good idea to make major financial decisions on your own. Particularly if you have a large tax liability, consult with a financial or budgetary advisor. Then work with an accountant or tax lawyer who can advise you of your liability and negotiate with the IRS on your behalf. If you filed your own taxes, it’s also a good idea to have someone look over the numbers. There may be credits or deductions you missed, and these could help reduce the total balance.
Ask for a Payment Plan
The IRS almost always is willing to issue a payment plan. If you owe less than $50,000, you’re eligible for such a plan even without submitting a financial disclosure statement. Most repayment plans last about five years, so the minimum monthly payment will depend on your total liability. Make your monthly payments each month, no matter what, and you’ll have no further problems form the IRS.
Consider an Offer in Compromise
Taxpayers who can’t afford their full tax liability, but who can make a large upfront payment, should consider making an offer in compromise (OIC). The IRS always prefers to get money now instead of later, and an OIC capitalizes on this. It can also save you money in interest and penalties. The key is to make a reasonable offer. If you owe $10,000, paying $500 is not reasonable, but paying $6,000 might be. Talk to your accountant or tax lawyer about reasonable offers clients in situations similar to your have made, then submit your offer. If it is approved, you can pay the compromise amount to wipe out your tax liability.
Borrow Money Intelligently
Borrowing money to repay your tax debt may be an intelligent decision. If you can get an interest-free or low-interest credit card or loan, borrowing to pay down your debt is a no-brainer—as long as you can quickly repay the loan.
What if you can’t get a low-interest loan, or you’re unable to quickly repay it? Borrowing may still be a good idea if you can’t get a payment plan, make an offer in compromise, or tolerate the stress of owing the IRS money. Sometimes financial decisions aren’t entirely matters of numbers, so if the stress is keeping you up all night, a loan might be worth the additional payments it will require if it gives you peace of mind.
Being financially responsible is one thing, but finding out that you need to pinch your pennies even harder than ever can feel like an overwhelming task. Some families experience just such a situation when a vehicle or major appliance breaks down unexpectedly. Others must find new ways to save money after the birth of a child and a lengthy maternity leave.
No matter what your reason for reviewing your budget, it is seldom an experience that you look forward to. Thankfully, there are many experts in frugality who are willing to share tips, tricks and even hacks that may fit into your lifestyle, as well as your bank account.
5 Frugal Suggestions
While certain money-saving tips may seem extreme to some people, other ideas may seem very doable with your lifestyle. Learning some ways that others increase their level of frugality is a great way to help you decide just what you can live without in order to save money. Some of the best money-saving hacks include:
- Ditch the dryer – When you stop using an electric dryer for your wet laundry, you will be able to save just over $16.00 each month. While some may turn up their nose at this amount, it is important to do the math as you are hanging those clothes out in the fresh sunshine. In just a year, your savings will be $200.00.
- Sleep when the sun sleeps – Instead of staying up late to catch up on projects or watch the latest sitcom, try going to bed near the time the sun goes down. As strange as this idea may seem, it was a way of life before the electric light. Not only will you wake up refreshed and ready to face the next day, you will also save money on your electric bill.
- Be blind to brand names – In order to save as much as possible on your groceries, you need to be open to the idea of using generic items instead of their brand name alternatives. The chance that those cans or boxes hold the exact same product, manufactured at the same location are high.
- Use your arms instead of a cart – Quick trips into any store can end up resulting in over a hundred dollars in unplanned spending. In order to make sure you are not impulse shopping, avoid the shopping carts when you just need to run inside and pick up an item or two. Your arms will, quite literally, put a limit on your spending.
- Get tips from local insurance agents – Take time to shop around for a better insurance rate. Make sure to go beyond the realm of the internet and visit with a local agent over the phone or in person. Because they are familiar with the area in which you live, they may have just the money saving trick up their sleeve.
The most important thing to remember, when every dollar counts, is to take time and count every single dollar. Do not let small savings discourage you. Instead, keep a running tally of how much you have managed to save. This ever increasing number will help to keep you aimed directly at your financial goals.
Globe Newswire reports that Dr. Iris Mack’s mathematics edutainment book is “turning heads across the country in a response similar to the widely promoted ‘Hooked on Phonics,’ that improved children’s reading skills.” Her unique approach to math became one of Xlibris/Random House Publisher’s top children’s picture book royalty earners.
If there is one word that sums up our recent economic woes, it is interest. There’s interest on credit card balances, student loans, car loans, home mortgages, corporate borrowings and most prominently, on state and national debt. But there is surprisingly little interest in this interest. We all pay it. But not many of us really understand how it works. Dr. Iris Mack has filled the gap – and for young consumers.
Her financial literacy book “Mama Says Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!” is focused on teaching students that math can be fun and key to understanding money and interest. In today’s world of subprime mortgage crises, bankruptcies, massive credit card debt and predatory lending, Dr. Mack’s book is more relevant than ever. In “Mama Says Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!” a group of smart, animated characters explain how money and interest work, as young consumers are introduced to mathematics and financial literacy.
Professor Ø, Ms. Madonna Sorenson and Dr. Mackamatix lead students Al G Bro, Frakshun, Nada, Queen% and Material Girl Ma$ through a fun-filled math class all about how money and interest work in their everyday lives.
Learn more: MathQED TV
Praise for this book:
“I think the work you do showing how math can be beautiful and practical is great, keep it up!” says Javier Tordable, Senior Software Engineer at the Google Corporation.
“Making math fun and relevant is a real public service. Old fashioned, boring textbooks aren’t the thing that will capture the imagination and engage our children in the fun and yes, joy, in math and problem solving. Iris Mack has created a group of characters and scenarios that will draw young people into the fold of knowledge.” says Karen Pritzker– Producer of The My Hero Project and Editor of The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity website.
Buy the Book: Amazon
Iris Marie Mack, PhD, EMBA, earned a doctorate in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University. She was also awarded a Sloan Fellowship Executive MBA from the London Business School. Dr. Mack worked at various energy and financial institutions, acted as a faculty member at MIT, and worked at NASA and AT&T Bell Labs – where she obtained a patent for research on optical fibers.
Dr. Mack currently lectures on Energy Trading and Risk Management for the Fitch Learning Certificate in Quantitative Finance Program on Wall Street and at Tulane University. Because of Dr. Mack’s extensive knowledge of the derivatives, energy trading, and investment banking world, she has been invited to write opinion columns for the UK edition of the International Business Times.
Dr. Mack has also been named one of Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 Working Women, and she is no novice writer. This publishing will be her third financially-focused and published book – including her energy trading book published with Wiley Finance and a financial literacy book for teens and adults. With this breadth of experience and sheer intellectual prowess, Dr. Mack is more than able to help readers reach the financial stability they deserve.
In addition, Dr. Mack founded The Global Energy Post and MathQED – a homework help site for K-12 and college students. Previously known as Phat Math, this service has even been named one of the Top 50 Social Sites for Educators and Academics, 25 Savvy Social Media Sites for Grad Students and 25 Useful Networking Sites for Grad Students. Such accolades illustrate Dr. Mack’s ability to clearly inform the masses.
Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card
If you are looking for somewhere to invest your hard-earned money, it is harder than ever to find traditional investments that will bring in a good return. Despite a slight rise in interest rates over recent months, banks are still offering less than 1% rates, and it is little wonder that so many people are looking to less conventional alternatives.
The alternative investment market covers diverse commodities that are market resilient and can be traded online. Some of these typically include gold and bitcoins and according to Lear Capital, even though the cost of precious metals continues to be influenced by so many different factors such as Central Bank purchases, the strength or weakness of the U.S. dollar, economic instability, money printing around the world, these, alongside venture capital and fine art have a far lower correlation to the overall financial markets than traditional investments like stocks, bonds and even real estate.
Difficult financial times
These remain difficult and uncertain financial times, both in the USA and globally. The most important thing to bear in mind is to manage your finances with eyes wide open and regularly look at your budgeting. But if you do find that you have a little surplus to put away, simply leaving it in the bank could cost you money in the long run. This is when you might seriously consider investing your wealth elsewhere.
Real estate has traditionally been seen as a good alternative, but this can be fraught with risk, and of course means your money is tied up and cannot be easily accessed if you suddenly need it. So how about gold and bitcoin – could they be for you?
Gold versus Bitcoin
At first glance, these commodities could not be more different. After all, one is a precious metal that has been used as a form of exchange for thousands of years and is widely regarded as a sound long-term investment. The other is a coded, crowdsourced virtual currency that did not even exist ten years ago. However, the common factor is that these are both commodities that can be easily traded online, and that can potentially realise excellent returns. Unlike property, they are also highly liquid and can be converted to cash at the click of a mouse.
Like all commodities, both are subject to drastic price fluctuations. From its introduction till 2013, the bitcoin price rose gradually from zero to almost $200. It then rose dramatically to more than $1,000 in the space of a few months, almost surpassing the price of gold. This proved unsustainable, and over the subsequent three years it steadily dropped to just under $400. The price of gold has also shown variation, though not to quite such a dramatic extent. It reached an all-time high of almost $2,000 an ounce in 2011, which also dropped significantly to around the $1,000 mark in 2016.
The moral of the story is simple. Greater potential returns also carry higher risks. While both gold and bitcoin can be great investments, it is always wise to take good independent advice before you invest your hard-earned money.
If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, Medicare does cover hospice. Medicare beneficiaries might not know about the hospice benefit that’s available to support end-of-life issues.
Dealing with a terminal illness is extremely challenging for the patient and his or her loved ones. Worries about care-giving, pain management, and costs of medication are overwhelming.
Financial planners say that Medicare hospice benefits are underused by beneficiaries. Hospice care can help the dying patient with medical care, emotional support, and pain management per his or her wishes.
For qualifying patients, Medicare pays for comprehensive hospice care delivered in a hospice facility or in the patient’s home. Importantly, Medicare Part F supplement plans cover patient deductibles and co-pays for Medicare eligible hospice beneficiaries.
Medicare Hospice Benefit
The hospice benefit includes an array of services that aren’t typically covered by Medicare. CMS says that approximately 90 percent of hospices across the nation are Medicare-certified. The Medicare hospice benefit includes:
- Doctor and nurse practitioner (NP) services
- Medical supplies and appliances
- Short-term respite care and in-patient care
- Nursing care
- Home health aide (CNA) and homemaker services
- Social worker services and counseling services
- Spiritual support
- Bereavement services
Medicare Pays for the Hospice Patient’s Comfort, Not Cure
Hospice care is aimed at making the patient more comfortable. Items like chemotherapy and physical, speech, and occupational therapy may be paid for by Medicare if they provide comfort or palliative care.
Medicare won’t pay for therapies that are intended to cure the patient in a hospice setting. A Medicare Part F supplement plan can help terminally ill patients and their families to absorb end-of-life care costs.
Medicare Hospice Services
If the Medicare beneficiary isn’t already in hospice, Medicare will pay for the patient to receive a consult with a hospice physician. The consultation may occur at home, in hospital, or nursing facility.
The hospice physician will perform a pain assessment and help the patient and his or her family to consider care options.
The Medicare hospice benefit can help the patient to save money at a time when he or she shouldn’t have to worry about high costs of pain medicines.
When the beneficiary elects the Medicare hospice benefit, medicines related to his or her terminal illness may be covered under Medicare Part A. A Medicare supplement plan covers the patient’s copay or deductible for Medicare-eligible services as well.
Medigap Supplement Plan F
A Medigap Part F supplement plan covers costs that exceed the coverage limits of Medicare, including:
- Hospital stays. Medicare Part A covers a limited amount of the patient’s hospital stay expenses. Medigap Plan F covers hospital costs for 365 days after the beneficiary’s Part A coverage is maxed out.
- Medicare co-insurance. Medicare Part B requires the policyholder to pay a 20 percent co-insurance amount. A Medigap Plan F supplement covers co-payments for services approved by Medicare.
- Medicare hospice benefits. Medicare Part A requires the patient to make co-pays for his or her hospice care. A Medigap Plan F supplement covers these co-payments.
- The Medigap Plan F supplement adds coverage to Medicare Parts A and B. It goes beyond merely paying for deductibles and co-pays that original Medicare doesn’t, including:
- Nursing care. Costs of skilled nursing facility services are covered by Medigap Plan F.
- Travel insurance. If the patient is traveling outside of the U.S., his or her basic medical and health care needs are covered in an emergency.
- Additional charges. Fees that exceed the Medicare Part B cap are covered.
- Medicare Part A. The Medigap Plan F supplement covers the patient’s deductible for hospital services.
- Medicare Part B. A Medigap Plan F also covers the deductibles for outpatient services.
- Medicare Hospice Eligibility
- If you are an original Medicare beneficiary and you’re entitled to receive Medicare Part A, you may receive hospice benefits after a physician certifies that your life expectancy is six months of less (if the illness runs an expected course). If you live longer than six months, you don’t lose the Medicare hospice benefit:
- After the first certification period, the beneficiary is provided with an unlimited amount of 60-day certification periods.
- The hospice patient may live for years using the Medicare hospice benefit if the physician or facility medical director believes that the patient is terminally ill and has a life expectancy of less than six months.
- To elect the hospice benefit, the Medicare beneficiaries signs a statement of requesting it if he or she has the capacity to do so. In this action, the patient agrees to forego curative treatments. Instead, he or she wants to make the end-of-life experience more comfortable.
Fortunately, the patient isn’t locked into hospice benefits after electing them. He or she may revoke the hospice benefit and re-elect it later—as many times as is necessary.
The hospice patient doesn’t need to stay homebound. He or she doesn’t have to have an advance directive or DNR order in place to elect hospice benefits.
The beneficiary can keep his or her doctor or NP, as Medicare believes there’s potential value in an independent medical provider’s oversight of the patient in hospice.
Medicare Hospice for Nursing Home Residents
If the Medicare beneficiary is already a nursing home resident, the hospice benefit doesn’t cover the costs of his or her nursing home room and board.
However, if his or her Medicaid or another insurer pays for the cost of the nursing home, Medicare typically pays for hospice care. The hospice and nursing home must sign a contract that describes respective responsibilities to the Medicare beneficiary.
Many people believe that hospice care is only electable in the last few days of life. CMS reports that the average beneficiary stays less than a month in hospice before death.
As you can see, it’s possible to get the hospice care you or a loved one needs for longer periods when necessary. Along with Original Medicare, a Medigap Supplement Plan F can help pay for compassionate care.
Today’s housing market has a number of unique qualities. There has been a substantial downturn in property value in many places; but in others, property value is skyrocketing, and no one actually knows where the upper limit is as yet. A perfect example of this would be San Francisco.
Though much of America is currently struggling with recessionary economic difficulties, and the uncertain housing market is expected to see an increase in mortgage rates set to dampen refinancing, there are still areas of the country that are wildly booming.
Look At The Situation Carefully
The key to retaining assets and not losing money in the real estate game today is to buy smart, and know what your goals are. There are quite a few worthy strategies that stand to yield lucratively. As an example, in San Francisco, buying while rates are continuing to climb virtually ensures a positive return on your investment over time. The key is selling before property drops below purchase price.
In contrast, right now Detroit has some of the cheapest land in the country. If you’re looking for real estate polar opposites, contrasting Detroit and San Francisco is like contrasting day and night. Where San Francisco is booming, Detroit is quickly dwindling. As a result, both regions have opportunities and dangers that savvy real estate buyers can take advantage of.
San Francisco is seeing value skyrocket, meaning those who’ve bought earlier and are willing to sell will see substantial increase. Detroit’s cheap land is, in contrast, an excellent opportunity for starting businesses such as card processing for dentists or internet-based businesses which don’t have location-specific services. The land is cheap, as are the property taxes that go with it.
Getting A Real Idea Of The Situation
Whatever your needs are in real estate, what you’re going to want to do is shop around. Debt is bought and sold in America today, and often considered an asset; as are loans. But you want to be informed before you get into a venture which could exhaust these financial components of modern business.
Amerinote Xchange can “provide you with a written proposal within one business day (or less), which will allow you to make a sound decision on your available options when taking your loan-assets to market.” Such information can be instrumental in helping you make the right decision pertaining to whichever assets you’re bringing to the table.
Of course, the best course of action in any transaction of the magnitude often associated with real estate involves buying outright; but who has that luxury? Buying outright ensures you own the property and none but you can lay claim to it.
Most people simply don’t have the resident assets to do such a thing. And, unless you’re a savant when it comes to real estate, you’re likely not going to know how to properly work with loans or debt pertaining to property. At least, your acumen won’t be the same as a professional agency’s.
Once you’ve called around and learned where you truly stand as far as assets are concerned, you can purchase property, sell property, or retain property in a way that will increase your personal wealth. Real estate is big business, and getting a handle on the market won’t just serve you; it’ll serve your family.
Uncertain markets are full of opportunities for those who know where to look. Even though some markets are frightening right now, profit is waiting for those clever enough to find the right angle and properly exploit it. Provided you have the knowledge to focus your vision, you may find there are gold mines all around you.
Title: SEO Marketeer
Kevin is an SEO marketeer with Towering SEO and Youth Noise NJ who designs value-rich content aimed at increasing clientele for expanding businesses. Networking, building partnerships, and providing quality products with shareable value make this possible. He’s an author (Amphibian and The Thief and the Sacrifice to his credit) whose professional writing follows business trends in technology, marketing, SEO application, and much more.
What visions come to mind when you think about money? Do you have negative or positive associations with earning and accumulating wealth? Do you believe anyone can achieve wealth or do you believe in the scarcity mentality that most of us will struggle to achieve financial success throughout our lifetimes?
What have you learned about money from your grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and neighbors? What memories do you have of your parents succeeding or struggling in their day-to-day lives or early on in their careers?
In order to attain wealth I believe you must first understand your relationship with money. What is it and what can it do for you?
Think back on your first memories of money. Try to remember the first time you saved money in your piggy bank, paid for a toy or were told you couldn’t buy something because your parents did have enough money to pay for it.
Now imagine you were seated in a class with students of different races and religions. Imagine you all came together to discuss the topic of finances and wealth. Imagine how many differing opinions and points of view you might have. Also, imagine how many common themes and feelings you would share.
Cara MacMillan’s book It’s Only Money and It Grows on Trees introduces us to the concept of money in a diverse classroom.
The kids sat down just as the guest professor walked in.
“Hi, my name is Catherine. I am here to teach you about money. Let’s start with a question—let me qualify, every answer is right—so, what is money?”
There was silence for a while. Then finally, the answers started to come…
“Money makes you popular.”
“Money is power.”
“Money means shopping.”
“Money means rich.”
“Money means you can buy whatever you want.”
“Money means you don’t have to work.”
“Money is something you fight over.”
“Money is greed.”
“Money is fun.”
This book encourages readers to reflect on their upbringing, their culture, their past, present and future in order to define a new relationship with money. MacMillan tells us there is abundant money to be had by all. The key is to figure out how to earn it, save it, invest it and let it grow.
This would be a great book for a young high school or college student. It focuses on the importance of figuring out your talents, living within your means and finding ways to let your money earn money for you.
I would love to give away a copy of this book to one lucky reader. If you are interested simply leave a comment below or drop me an email.
As you fight traffic, bosses, and backstabbing co-workers day after day, you probably fantasize about a day when you can build your vineyard, vacation with your spouse, or sit peacefully in your garden. For too many seniors, retirement dreams take a backseat to the realities of inadequate funds. 1 in 3 Americans has no retirement savings at all.
Retirement is no fun if you’re constantly worried about money. No retiree wants to pinch pennies or miss out on their retirement dreams. So how can you tell how much to spend in retirement? After all, you don’t know how long you’ll live. Here are some helpful clues.
Plan for Long-Term Expenses
Health care expenses, including long-term care, are major cost drivers in retirement. You can cut down on these expenses, thereby maximizing the amount you can spend each month, by signing up for Medicare. Late enrollment can mean higher premiums for the life of your Medicare account, so sign up during the enrollment period surrounding your 65th birthday. A few other strategies can help you keep unexpected and long-term expenses under control:
- Pay down debt as quickly as possible, so that market shifts don’t drive interest payments through the roof.
- Invest in long-term care insurance.
- Ensure your home and car are in good working order before you retire.
- Take proactive steps to maximize the value of any pensions your employer offers—even if that means working an extra year or two to vest.
Try the 4% Rule
Retirement analysts have long suggested a 4% rule as a good guide for retirement spending. It works like this: in your first year of retirement, you can withdraw up to 4% of your savings. In each subsequent year, withdraw 4% plus enough to cover inflation. For someone with a retirement of about 30 years, this will ensure more than enough money—but only with a well-balanced portfolio. Your financial adviser can help you determine whether 4% is conservative, aggressive, or just right given the specifics of your savings.
Make Projections With an Analyst
The amount you can withdraw each month is heavily dependent on the type of investments you have, and how much they are projected to grow. Don’t assume that your investments will continue growing at their current rate. The market always shifts, and downward trends are inevitable. A market analyst can explore how previous trends might predict future changes. This can help you arrive at a reasonable projection of your retirement accounts’ total value. Stay conservative by withdrawing less than the amount your adviser recommends, and it’s likely you’ll never run out of money.
Don’t Forget About Potential Alternative Revenue Streams
Your home is probably your most valuable investment. Particularly if you have a small retirement account or a large number of expenses, it can form part of your back-up plan if you land in financial trouble. That’s why it’s wise to pay down your mortgage can keep your home in good condition leading up to retirement.
A reverse mortgage can help you stay afloat in retirement. If you’re over 62 and own your home, you’re eligible. As long as you obey the loan’s terms, you don’t have to repay it until you leave your home. The money can be used on anything you want, including savvy financial strategies such as paying down debt, buying a vehicle in cash, or repairing damage to a home you hope to sell.
Often it seems that a small handful of charities receive the lion’s share of attention. More popular organizations like Make a Wish and UNICEF take in millions of dollars in donations every year, and while their messages and actions are certainly heartwarming and beneficial, there are thousands of other charitable groups eager to do good but desperate for resources. This year, instead of contributing to a well-known charity, you should consider donating to any of the following seven underrated nonprofit organizations.
1. Global Links
Though health care systems might be in turmoil, hospitals and health care facilities in the wealthy West are rarely wanting for essential medical supplies; in fact, a good amount of medical necessities are thrown out every day. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for developing nations, where health care professionals are in dire need of nearly every medical resource. Global Links works to bring health to all and make health care organizations more sustainable by taking in unused supplies destined for landfills and providing them to needy communities. As an individual, you can donate money or gently used medical supplies like canes or wheelchairs, and if you work for a health care facility, you can partner with Global Links for even greater good.
2. Kids in Distressed Situations
Kids in Distressed Situations (or K.I.D.S.) is devoted to improving the lives of children around the world by connecting retailers and manufacturers with children in need. The charity works to distribute clothing, toys, furniture, books, and other kid’s items to those affected by tragedy of poverty, and it is remarkably efficient at doing so: More than 97 percent of its donations have directly benefited troubled children. You can help K.I.D.S. by making individual donations of money and items or by partnering your kid-specific business with the organization.
3. Boat Angel
Boat Angel is a charity that eagerly accepts donations of unwanted boats, as well as jet skis and cars. The organization reconditions the vehicles and sells them in auctions, donating the proceeds to various good causes. This nonprofit organization is diverse in its good works, but generally it focuses on organizing children’s programs teaching the importance of leading drug-free and crime-free lives. Helping Boat Angel is incredibly mutually beneficial if you have an ignored, old vehicle because your contribution creates a sizeable tax deduction.
4. Adopt a Classroom
Unlike other education programs that help kids learn, Adopt a Classroom indirectly benefits needy children by helping teachers and schools afford supplies. Around the country, K-12 public schools are underfunded, resulting in educators spending personal funds to help their students, and this organization hopes to ease their burden with charitable contributions. Your donations can be targeted to benefit specific programs, such as the arts or STEM, or you can ensure your contributions affect your local schools.
5. Books for Africa
According to USAID, roughly 40 percent of children in Africa do not attend school, and of those who do, many are forced to share textbooks and other supplies. Books for Africa aims to end book scarcity around the continent by supplementing collections in school libraries, community resource centers, orphanages, and more. By donating to Books for Africa, you are increasing opportunities for African kids and adults to learn and helping African communities grow and become self-sustainable.
6. National Alliance to End Homelessness
The National Alliance to End Homelessness knows that homelessness isn’t merely a result of laziness; complex social and economic systems that perpetuate poverty and punish disability creates the homelessness problem. Yet, the solution to homelessness is simple in concept, if not in execution: The homeless need housing, and donations to this charity can help them find warm, stable places to live. Your donations will help the Alliance effect permanent change, through both emergency re-housing and community-building endeavors.
7. Animal Rescue Corps
While millions of animals wait to be adopted in shelters around the country, millions more are being thoroughly mistreated by careless and cruel owners. Animal Rescue Corps (ARC) is dedicated to improving animals’ lives in many ways: by rescuing animals from abuse and natural disasters, by increasing awareness of animal suffering, and by training shelters and professionals in proper treatment of animals. If you love your furry friends, you can donate to this charitable organization to help others like them.