Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Before I Retire?

Many people, including me, dream of having a “mortgage burning” party the week they retire. The very thought of making my last mortgage payment makes me jump for joy. No mortgage payment means peace of mind, freedom and a strong sense of security.

But is it a false sense of security?

Given today’s low interest rate environment, it might make sense to hold onto a mortgage, since the cost of money is relatively inexpensive. With the uncertainty around health care costs, maybe it’s not smart to tie up assets in an illiquid investment.

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Big Money Wasters: Break These 10 Expensive Habits Today

While we may have goals to build a solid emergency fund, buy a home, retire early, or pay off debt, sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.

Let’s face it — we all make poor money choices. Sometimes we may even be sabotaging our finances unconsciously. We are only human, after all.

Breaking those bad financial habits can get us closer to meeting our goals.

Here are a few to avoid:

  1. Letting groceries go to waste because you picked up takeout on the way home.

I have to raise my hand here and say “guilty,” because I’ve done this many times in the past. When you are hungry and tired after a long day at work, it is tempting to pick up food on the way rather than taking the time to cook.

Financial Planner tip: Plan meals ahead with a weekly system. Add “take out” to the meal plan on certain days when you know you won’t want to cook. Set up the slow cooker or make extra meals and freeze them to make weeknight dinners easy.

Check out Just a Girl and Her Blog for some free printable weekly meal plans.

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5 Powerful Money Lessons To Teach Your Daughters

When you teach your children about money, you have to be aware of the unspoken messages you impart to them — especially to your daughters.

My parents always told me that the sky was the limit, and that I could be anything I wanted — but their actions told me something different. When my brother was 12 years old, he was gifted 200 shares of stock for his birthday. When I turned 12 the following year, I was filled with anticipation of receiving my very own shares. But none came.

I am sure I received a wonderful present for my 12th birthday, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what that gift was. All I remember is that I didn’t get stock shares like my brother did. The unspoken message I heard was, “Investing is for boys.”

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Missing Money: How I Found $140 In Five Minutes And You Can, Too

Our financial lives can get complicated, and sometimes things slip through the cracks.

I forgot about an old account when I moved from California to Utah a few years ago. I kept $140 in a checking account at a credit union to maintain membership, since credit unions often have great auto loan rates. The account slipped my mind, and I never notified them that I had moved.

I often run “missing money” searches for my clients, and for fun, I ran one for myself. Lo and behold, I got a hit! I found that old checking account. So I called them to prove my identity, and they sent me a check for a little over $140.

According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, in 2015 $3.2 billion was returned to its rightful owners by unclaimed property administrators.

Could you unknowingly be owed money?

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10 Impactful Books To Give The High School Graduate In Your Life

When you stop to think about it, a book is truly amazing. With the turn of a page, a lifetime of knowledge from the world’s most learned people is right in front of your eyes.  


A great book can make a lasting impression on a young person. Because of this, a basket of books can be the best present for a high school senior who is moving on to the next stage of his or her life.


Here are some ideas:


  1. “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl

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5 Not-So-Obvious Financially Savvy Graduation Gifts For Your High School Senior

Are you on the hunt for a great gift for the special graduate in your life?


Back in the day, I received a special present — a gold cross pen — from my older cousin who was already in college. I felt so sophisticated!  


While writing instruments are a great gift, there are a few less obvious options that can help a college graduate set herself up for financial success in the future. With students graduating with an average of $35,000 in student loan debt, they need a financial leg up more than ever.

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Finances Are Complicated: How To Know If You Really Have Your Spending Under Control

If you were lucky enough to have financial education classes at school or work, you probably learned to save, invest, and reduce debt. But did anyone ever teach you how to spend money?

Living below your means is one of the most important factors of long-term financial success, but it can be tricky — especially as your income increases. I have quite a few clients who make a million dollars a year and spend all of it.  

In order to learn to spend your money well — meaning on your needs and things that bring you great value — ask these three questions:

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5 Hands On Exercises To Teach Your Teenager How To Master Their Money

Teenagers want three things, according to parenting expert Mark Gregston, “To make decisions about themselves, to feel like they’re in control, and to have opportunities to prove their maturity and to show you that they can do it.”


For parents, the good news is that giving them those three things can make them better with money as adults. Teaching kids about finances is best done through experience. The lessons can be like getting a learner’s permit (with adult guidance) before getting a driver’s license (with complete control over the vehicle).


Parents who give their kids control over a portion of their money — and guide them in their decision-making — raise teens who are better prepared for the world. Here are some ideas for giving teens a framework for making money decisions.

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