Jean Chatzky's Money Blog
4 Keys to Starting Your Own Business in a Down Economy
If you're thinking of starting a business, you also have to be realistic. There's a difference in launching when the economy is chugging mightily along and when it's simply putting one wheel in front of the other. What do you do to make your enterprise The Little Engine That Could?
1. Shore up your personal credit. When the economy is tougher, lending standards tend to be tighter. If you want the best chance of securing a lifeline for your new venture should you need it, you're going to have to keep your personal credit in pristine shape. So tamp down on borrowing for non-essentials. Make sure you're paying every bill on time. Reduce the amount of debt (particularly credit card debt) that you're revolving. And give your credit report (accessible at annualcreditreport.com for free) a once over.
2. Negotiate harder. In a down economy the folks from whom you buy the things you need to run your business—from space (i.e. rent) to services (i.e. I.T.) to help (i.e. salaries)—may be willing to... read Jean’s full advice and watch her one-on-one consultation »
How to Plan for Emergencies
When it rains it pours isn't just the Morton's slogan. Many people find—fortunately or unfortunately—it's also the way life goes. That was true for Gina, diagnosed with cancer shortly after losing her gig as an independent contractor. While you can't plan for these individual events (or, I suppose you could try, but it would be a real bummer) you can—you should—plan for emergencies in general.
I've written often in this space that you should aim to have a liquid emergency cushion of three to six months living expenses to tide you over in cases just like this. And I do believe that's optimal. But there are some times when it seems impossible to amass this much money, and others when it seems like other financial to-dos take priority. So this week, we discuss emergency cushion nuances:
Which takes priority: building up an emergency cushion or paying down debt? Particularly with interest rates on savings as low as they are now, you get a much bigger financial bang by... read Jean’s advice and watch her one-on-one consultation »
Karen H. Wimbish's Budgeting Blog
Take the $1 a Day Savings Challenge
There's no question that saving for retirement can be difficult. Even in a recovering economy I frequently hear people on TV or the radio talking about how difficult it is to set aside money for retirement and still pay the bills. The only problem is that now more than ever we all need to be saving as much as we can for retirement. With fewer workers receiving pensions, and spiraling national debt threatening the long-term health of programs like Social Security and Medicare, we are forced to be more self-reliant where retirement is concerned than we have had to be for generations.
While that probably sounds a little scary, it's important to remember... Continue reading Karen's blog entry here »
The Unchartered Territory of Renovation
After contemplating apartments, condominiums and final retirement home options, we decided we still wanted to be in a house—and proceeded to purchase a 75-year-old house with some renovation required.
This was uncharted territory for us, despite having built four houses together over the years. But still, we felt like we knew about construction and thus what we were in for—and opted to stay in our apartment until everything was ready.
Well, just as in life, things don't always go as you plan, even when you plan! Rather than having the property inspected by one individual, we opted for... read Karen’s complete blog post here »