Thursday, March 4, 2010

One Trillion Dollars!

Check out this entertaining look at exactly what a trillion dollars would look like if you had it in your (ware)house.

Think about this the next time you hear the talking heads on the news talk about our economy in trillions!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Today I want to pass on a web site that I have used for some time now. It's called Firecalc, and it is a retirement calculator. While there are many, many calculators out there, this one is very interesting. It back tests your investments and retirement year for over the last two hundred years of the stock markets ups and downs.

Would your portfolio get through the Great Depression, Great Recession, or a similar financial calamity?

Firecalc can help steer you in the right direction as to what you may want to change about your finances. Whether that means saving more, starting earlier, or investing in different asset classes (like bonds), Firecalc gives you a huge amount of data.

Firecalc is a very powerful retirement calculator, but it takes a few minutes to get set up. The amount of data it gives you is amazing, but the way it gives it to you is understandable. The website has instructions, answers, and info for most questions. In addition to letting you set up a set amount of withdrawal starting in 2050 (for example), Firecalc lets you include Social Security income as well. Whether Social Security will be around in forty years is another post entirely, but it includes other options for income as well.

Overall, this tool can help you spot weaknesses in your financial plan and empower you with a sense of security even during years like 2007. If you structure a plan and stick to it, with low cost investments, you will definitely be happy when you retire. This calculator is a great tool, if you have a few minutes to work with the different settings, and will help you evaluate your finances!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

1 minute drill

Take one minute to review these ideas for saving money and living better.

Make more money. (Get a part time job? Sell stuff on Ebay?)

Debt is your enemy, make a plan to get out of it and stick to it even when it's tough

Spend less. Easy to say, hard to do, but buy what you need not what you want. Eat out less, cook more, and drink less.

Cut monthly expenses. Reduce your cell phone bill, cut your cable, get a better rate on your car insurance (if you have not gotten quotes from multiple companies in a year, you are probably missing a better rate.

Start the habit of saving.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Paradise Falls Fund

The wife and I watched "Up" a little while back and enjoyed it. We thought it was a well made movie with a good plot, and we especially liked one of the ideas in the movie.

In the movie, a married couple had a jar on their shelf for their dream vacation. They wrote on it "Paradise Falls" named after the amazing place they wanted to go. Over time, the movie shows them breaking the fund many times for various expenses. The movie has a good message in that regard, life happens, and it usually costs more money than you thought it would.

One day I took a pasta sauce jar and made our own "Paradise Falls" jar. We've already had to "break" it a few times, but it works well as a memory device for saving change and extra one dollar bills. We try to make a habit of throwing some random cash in there every week. While we have some automatic deductions set up for bank accounts and such, this is an easy way for us to save some extra cash for unseen stuff. If we use the money for something, we replace it, and add more money on top of that the next chance we get. If nothing else, it works as a visual way to remind us to save. As an added bonus, we actually do intend to use the fund someday (when it's bigger) for a random awesome vacation.

As you can tell, I put a lot of effort into the label. Not.

Do you have a way you try to save some cash around the house?