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.

Back in the US!

Big Ben tower in London

  If all goes well, by the end of the day, my family will be back at home in Colorado. After 21 days, seven countries, and eight times of having to pay to use the bathroom, I’m really glad to be back in the US. I wrote this mini-post early yesterday in the dark from our hotel room in New York. It seems like I should have been up hours ago, although it’s still very early. Gotta love jet lag! Because I can’t yet hold a coherent thought, I’ll share a few pictures from our trip and hopefully be back to normal next week. Most Exciting Moment I would love to say the most exciting moment during our vacation was watching Tom Watson play his last British open or seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night, but honestly, it was finding out the night before we were supposed to leave Europe that our early morning flight had been cancelled. After almost four hours of phone calls and speaking to agents at the airport, we did make it home. It ended up working in our favor because the original flight left Amsterdam, connecting through Vienna, before going to NYC. Instead, we ...

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How Much Should You Anticipate in Hidden Homeownership Costs?

hidden costs with buying a home

This post is from Jennifer Riner at Zillow.  Making the switch from renting to owning? While historically low mortgage rates might mean your monthly mortgage costs are lower than what you paid while leasing, buyers must plan for more than a mortgage. Although you might factor in the high cost of a down payment, and the title and insurance fees you now face as a homeowner, it’s also important to consider the extra or hidden costs of homeownership. Courtesy of: Zillow   These extra costs can range from property taxes to minor landscaping fees to major roof repairs – depending on your region and the size of your property. According to a recent report from Zillow, the leading real estate marketplace and Thumbtack, a website that connects consumers with service professionals, homeowners might face $9,000 or more per year in hidden or extra homeownership costs. These include both unavoidable costs, such as utilities, and optional maintenance expenses like gutter cleaning. Unavoidable Hidden Costs The report identified three unavoidable hidden costs, which include homeowners insurance, property taxes and utilities. These are non-optional costs, meaning almost every homeowner is responsible for these dues – regardless of where they live. On average, homeowners ...

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Investing Made Easy With Betterment

Investment returns with Betterment

It’s been two years since I started investing with Betterment, and I feel their service is ever better now than when I started. I love a company that makes investing easy and adds benefits and features without increasing costs. For beginning investors or those who are too busy to research and rebalance, investing is made easy with Betterment. Why We Invest Outside of our 401(k) You can read about my first year of investing with Betterment here, but basically, the reason we put money into a non-tax advantaged account is for flexibility. Jim and I plan to retire before age 59.5 and might need to withdraw funds before our tax advantaged accounts are eligible for penalty free withdrawals. \ We have an emergency fund in a regular savings account, but it’s nice to have some of our liquid money earning interest. While we plan to let this money grow for many more years, we could withdraw it for a good business opportunity or to buy another rental property. If you have no investments, I would start out with a 401(k) if your work offers it and gives you any sort of a match. If you are investing outside of a ...

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Think Twice Before Moving in Retirement

deciding where to live in retirement

Many of us dream of moving to a new and exciting location after retirement. Whether the desire to move comes from wanting to be closer to family, the hope for a slower or faster pace of life, or to enjoy nicer weather, there are a number of reasons why people pull up stakes to explore somewhere new. Sometimes, though, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Make sure to do your homework and think twice before moving in retirement. A few weeks ago, I ran into one of Jim’s former work colleagues who retired a couple of years ago. We knew she and her husband had moved to Fort Collins, CO, so I was a bit surprised to see her. After some small talk, she told me the whole story about wanting to leave small town life for a bigger city with the added benefit of being closer to their children. In reality, she and her husband hated the city. There was too much traffic. They didn’t know anyone, and their children were so busy that visits had to be scheduled several weeks in advance. They ended up moving back to our hometown. It wouldn’t have been ...

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Need Extra Income? Five Options After Retirement

jobs for retirees

Retirement isn’t what is used to be. The death of most corporate pensions, Social Security that hasn’t kept pace with inflation, and an increasingly tight economy mean that fewer people have access to comfortable retirements. A 2015 survey found that more than half of retirees intend to continue working after they leave their careers. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you’re not alone, but the good news is that there are plenty of potentially lucrative options—none of which require you to return to work full-time.  Freelancing For many employees it’s the boss, not the work, who is the problem. If you want complete control over your schedule, consider freelancing. You can take on as many or as few clients as you want, offering years of hard-earned wisdom to businesses, individuals, and nonprofits. If you’ve accumulated in-demand experience in a specific niche, consider becoming a consultant. Consultants command premium rates for their hard-won experience and insight, and since you’re providing a service rather than a product, the work is fairly low-stress.  Part-Time Jobs Many retirees are surprised by how isolating it is not to go to an office every day. If you’re a social butterfly, you may miss your routine, ...

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