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.

Retiring on Social Security


I was reading this article over the weekend about how folks who depend on social security aren’t getting much of a cost of living increase this year and haven’t for several years. Of course, there was the requisite moaning and groaning from seniors and from advocates who always seem to be talking about how hard seniors have it and how meager one’s existence is if social security is your only income. For those people who have retired with no income other than social security, I have one word: Lucky! Seniors Are Lucky! Yes, you read that right. I think people who are receiving social security are lucky. In 2014, the average social security payment per month was $1294. I realize that’s not a ton of money. Hopefully you have other assets and/or income streams, but even without those, you’re still lucky. You might not be able to live in that gated golf community or travel around the world. You probably can’t pay for your grandchildren’s college education. You might not even be able to live in many expensive areas of the country. However, there are plenty of areas in the US where you can rent a modest place, cover utilities, ...

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Mortgages in Distress: How Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Handles Short Sales and Foreclosures

foreclosure and short sales

If you have a mortgage, there’s a good chance that’s it’s passed through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. These two lending institutions are responsible for creating massive liquidity in the mortgage market. They’re also involved in foreclosures and short sales – something many homeowners are facing today. If you’re one of them, here’s what you need to know.  Short Sale A short sale is when you sell the home for less than what you owe on it. This is usually done when no other option, aside from foreclosure, is available. A short sale must be approved by the bank, since it is guaranteed to lose money on the deal. In some cases, the bank will enter into a cooperative short sale. In these instances, the bank works with you to sell the house, often gives you a cash incentive to remain there so that it can be sold, and sometimes even pays for relocation once you do sell it. Other times, the bank will stipulate that you must pay the deficiency, and a court grants the bank a deficiency judgment. This means that you must sign a promissory note for the remaining balance. These promissory notes can be interest-free, but ...

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Should Parents Control Their Kids’ Money?

"Me, join the circus? No way, I want to be a princess when I grow up!"

I don’t remember having much money as a kid. Aside from the tooth fairy and a few $5 bills I got for birthdays, income was pretty low. As a teenager, I got a part time job as soon as I could. I spent MY money on clothes, cassette tapes (yeah, I’m old), and all sorts of crap I’m sure I “needed” (a $30 Hypercolor t-shirt and some cool Ray Bans come to mind). My parents never gave me rules on what I could and could not buy (except for the obvious illegal things). If I earned it, I could spend it. It seemed like a good deal at the time, but now that I’m a Mom, I wonder if parents should control their kids’ money. How Much Money Should Kids Have? My parents or in-laws never did allowances, so Jim and I aren’t really into that. We think it’s not unreasonable for a kid to keep their stuff neat and be able to do some basic chores appropriate for their age without getting paid for it. If our daughter does something extra helpful or wants to sell her toys at a yard sale or consignment, she gets money for that. ...

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Confessions of a Super Saver: I Wore a Pair of Disposable Contacts For Two Years


This is a post from Brent at Vosa.com. Enjoy! When I think about this story, I can’t hardly believe it. I can’t hardly believe that there was a time in my life where I wore the same pair of one month disposable contact lenses for more than two years. Yes, you read that right. I wore the same pair of disposable contacts for more than 24 times longer than I should have. The worst part is that I didn’t, and still don’t, have a really good excuse. I was a year or two into my first job out of college as an engineer designing medical devices. I made a reasonable wage for a second year engineer and I could definitely afford to buy new contacts. Apparently my priorities were more closely aligned with my savings and investing goals than the health of my eyes because I put off buying a supply of new contact lenses for two long years. You don’t need to be an optometrist to know that this is a terrible idea. I’m pretty sure I even knew it was a terrible idea at the time and I’m happy to report that my eyes survived my two years ...

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My Ambitious Plan To Get 3 People To Europe With Points And Miles

Dublin Castle

One of the main reasons I’ve completely changed my work and money habits over the last few years was to spend more time with my family.Travel is one of our main priorities, and we’ve taken some really sweet trips. Since learning to use credit cards responsibly, we’ve taken advantage of some amazing bonus offers to vacation for pennies on the dollar. Right now, I’m in the process of planning our most ambitious trip yet: 3 weeks of travel. We’ll be starting on the east coast, then on to Europe next summer, mostly with points and miles. I honestly never thought we could afford a three week trip to anywhere, let alone one with multiple flights and hotel stays, but I promise it’s possible and here’s how we’re going to do it. A Word About Travel Hacking If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know we used to be bogged down in the swamp of credit card debt. It really was like slogging through sludge to pay it off. I can totally see how someone who pays off debt would never want to use credit cards again, but I also see the beauty of taking advantage of all ...

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