Home > Author Archives: Kim Parr

Author Archives: Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.

How to Fully Fund an IRA When You Have No Extra Money

saving for retirement

Everyone knows how important it is to save for the future but sadly, about half of families in the U.S. have nothing set aside for retirement. Whether it’s lack of access to an employer sponsored retirement plan, stagnant wages, or the lure of instant gratification that makes paychecks disappear, it’s clear that Americans are not saving enough. No one can make companies offer 401(k) plans, and it isn’t always possible to control what a job pays, but there are other ways to fund retirement, even when you seem to have no extra money. Set up an IRA If you’re job does not offer a retirement plan, it’s very easy to set up an IRA. I personally like Betterment for beginners because you won’t have to choose funds or rebalance, but there are many low cost brokerages that will allow you to open an account with no minimum. For 2016, IRA contribution limits are $5,500 with an extra $1,000 catch up contribution allowed if you are over age 50. A Roth IRA offers no tax benefits upfront, but any money deposited can grow and be withdrawn tax free after age 59 and a half. Singles earning less than $117,000 and married ...

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Win a Trip to Hawaii From Personal Capital

win a free trip

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Personal Capital is giving away a trip to Hawaii for new users! It’s really simple to enter. Sign up for a free Personal Capital Account Link your financial accounts. That’s all. The contest runs until February 14th, and the odds of winning obviously depend on how many people sign up. You can read the official rules here, but basically the winner gets two $1,000 gift cards for airfare on Hawaiian Airlines and a $1,000 gift card to Airbnb. This could fully fund a trip or not, depending on where you live, when you want to travel, and how picky you are about accommodations. Regardless, the odds for winning are much better than buying a lottery ticket. If you’ve been on the fence about signing up, now is the time. Why Sign up for Personal Capital? Tracking your finances is perfectly doable without using an automated program, but it’s much more time consuming. I like Personal Capital for a number of reasons. Their dashboard is easy to read and understand. It gives you an honest picture of spending, earning, and net worth. They have an awesome retirement calculator. You get weekly emails that let you know if ...

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Are You Wasting Money on Fitness?

wasting money on fitness

Good health is one commodity that can’t be priced. I would always value health over any amount of wealth, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to waste money on fitness. Sadly, only 44 percent of people who pay to use a gym actually go more than 100 days a year, and about half of new health club members quit going within the first six months of signing up. Unused gym memberships are not the only way to waste money. Billions of dollars are spent on the fitness industry each year. From vitamins, weight loss products, wearable activity trackers, to gym apparel, it’s easy to spend a fortune on being fit before you’ve even broken a sweat. How do you know what fitness costs are worthwhile? Define Fitness Goals Before spending one dime on fitness products or services, define what you hope to achieve. How many people do you know who decide to “get fit” then run out to buy new treadmill or elliptical machine only to use them as very expensive clothes hangers? Set a goal first. Whether it’s being able to run a mile nonstop, play on the playground with your kids, or losing 20 pounds, define what fitness ...

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Why Forex Trading is so Appealing

forex trading

Forex trading, or the buying and selling of currencies against one another, is sometimes viewed merely as an alternative investment that can be used to diversify a portfolio. Some see it as risky, some see it as tedious, and some even view it as something of a gimmick when compared to ordinary investing methods. The fact remains, however, that the daily volume in forex markets is usually over $5 trillion in circulation. So what makes forex so appealing to so many around the world? More Trading Volume For starters, that same massive volume is appealing to a lot of traders, which makes it something of a self-fulfilling cycle: more traders means more volume, which attracts more traders, and so on. In a high liquidity market, there are more transactions on a daily basis. And with that higher rater of turnover, there’s simply more data available to traders attempting to gauge the directions of their own investments. This isn’t to say the forex market is inherently easier to read and predict than an ordinary stock market, but some certainly like the broad picture painted by massive liquidity. Narrow Focus Despite that liquidity, another aspect of the forex market that’s appealing to ...

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Tricks for Saving Money

saving money while gas is cheap

For years, we had the hardest time saving money. Although there was money coming in, it made the briefest of stops in our checking account and was out the door before we could even register a bump in the account balance. We used debt, busy lifestyles, and the Joneses as excuses and figured it was normal to be living paycheck to paycheck. After deciding to dig in and finally get out of debt, we also learned a few tricks for saving money along the way. Gas is On Sale, Save Up! Perhaps one of the best tricks for saving money right now is based on oil and gas prices being lower than they were two decades ago. Unfortunately, most people will end up spending any money saved at the pump. I have no problem with taking a cheap road trip to cash in on savings, but don’t waste extra dollars on eating out or even worse, buying a brand new gas guzzler just because you can. If I have learned anything during the years since obtaining a driver’s license, it’s that gas prices fluctuate. Everyone loves cheap gas. Then, once prices rise, out come the articles and testimonials about how ...

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