April Masterson

5 Questions to Ask Before Buying A Home

March 22nd, 2018
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As winter melts into spring, you’ll likely start to see “For-Sale” signs popping up in your neighborhood. Buying a home can be an exciting milestone in your life, and it’s important to educate yourself on the financial implications of homeownership before you make an offer. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a current owner looking to sell or refinance, there are a few key questions that should help guide your decision: 5 Questions to Ask Before Buying A Home 1. What are the pros and cons of owning vs. renting? Owning a home is a long-term commitment. Recent studies show [ read more ]

How to Plan for Early Retirement

March 1st, 2018
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If you want to retire early, your investment strategy may need to be a little different from a person who plans to keep working well into his or her 60s and beyond. That’s because with many retirement savings plans, including 401(k)s and IRAs, you could be charged a tax penalty if you withdraw money before age 59½. You also generally won’t be eligible to start receiving partial Social Security benefits until age 62, or full benefits a few years later. If you plan to leave work earlier than that, you may need to tweak your investment efforts. Here’s a look [ read more ]

Saving for Retirement While Paying Down Debt

February 15th, 2018
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When faced with two big financial priorities, such as paying off old debt and saving for retirement, it can be easier to focus on just one. For people repaying student loans for themselves or their children, for example, 38% weren’t able to put money away for retirement, according to a 2015 survey from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and NerdWallet. But there are ways you can contribute to retirement savings even while paying off student or other debt. Neglecting either one can be a losing proposition. If you focus just on repaying debts, you can lose out on potential [ read more ]

10 Tips to Get a Home Ready for Sale

January 25th, 2018
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Preparing to sell your home can be difficult. You have to create enough ambiance so that buyers can envision themselves living there but make sure it’s not so cluttered that all they see is you. Make some changes inside and out to get top dollar for your abode. Do a drive by. If a person sees trash on the lawn or overgrown weeds, they won’t be enticed to come inside. Boost your home’s curb appeal by planting a few colorful flowers at the entrance and mow the lawn. Declutter. Most people are familiar with the deceptive clean-up strategy of stuffing [ read more ]

The Benefits of a Mortgage Preapproval — and How to Get One

January 11th, 2018
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Unless you were recently selected as the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft or released a hit album, you probably won’t pay for your new house in cash. Like millions of Americans, you’ll take out a mortgage. Before you begin your housing search, try to get a mortgage preapproval, which is usually good for up to 90 days. After reviewing and verifying some of your financial information, lenders will tell you how much money they’d be willing to let you borrow. Getting preapproved can speed up the sale process and demonstrates to sellers that you’re serious about buying. Here’s [ read more ]

Organize Your Finances for the New Year

December 21st, 2017
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A new year brings a chance to start fresh with just about anything. If your midnight toast includes a resolution to improve your financial health, here’s how to make it happen. Get on a budget To get ahead, it’s important to know where you stand and to create a plan with realistic goals such as a comfortable retirement, education and home ownership. Budgeting may sound old-school, but it’s still one of the best ways to accomplish this. Start by totaling your income and subtracting your monthly expenses for a quick financial snapshot. Then set goals, reduce unnecessary spending and, if [ read more ]

6 Ways to Save More Money in the New Year

December 7th, 2017
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Even if saving has never been your thing and money is tight, the coming of a new year is an opportunity to change old financial habits. Here are some ways to become a more efficient saver. 1. Budget Budgeting helps you organize your finances so you have money left over to save each month. It may seem laborious, but budgeting doesn’t have to be hard. Mobile apps cut a lot of the work and can help you track spending throughout the month. 2. Pay yourself first Firmly commit to making a savings deposit monthly, even if you can only afford [ read more ]

Figuring Out How Much to Allocate to Your 401(k)

November 16th, 2017
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When your employer offers a 401(k) plan, you have a great opportunity to save for retirement. You’ll want to contribute at least enough to get the full employer match, if your employer offers one. Beyond that, here are some ways to know how much to allocate to your plan. Decide how much you’ll need It helps to first decide how much money you think you’ll need to live on after retirement. You’ll also want to consider other sources of income you may receive, like Social Security benefits. (If you have a partner, it’s good to plan together, but you probably [ read more ]

What Not to Do on Your Facebook Small Business Page

November 2nd, 2017
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More entrepreneurs are tapping into the world’s largest social media network: There are more than 70 million businesses now on Facebook, up from about 18 million in 2013, according to Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg during a recent investor call. Facebook gives businesses a platform to showcase new products and services, promote specials and provide customer service. But with these benefits comes the potential for mistakes that can damage your brand. Here are five common small-business mistakes to avoid on your Facebook business page. 1.) Don’t post too often Most industries should aim to post no more than once or twice a day to [ read more ]

3 Reasons You Need An Automatic Savings Plan

October 5th, 2017
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“Save money” is a timeless bit of personal finance advice, but actually doing it can be another story. If you need a way to boost your savings and stay consistent with your goals, setting up an automatic funds transfer can help. There are two ways you might do this. You can set up a transfer from your checking to a savings or investment account at your financial institution. Another method can be having a portion of your paycheck directed into a retirement or other account by your employer, if possible. Here’s a closer look into why saving this way might [ read more ]

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