The One Financial Mistake 86% of Older Americans Are Making

Written By: Guest Contributor - Dec• 27•18

We all know we’re supposed to save for retirement and do our best to estimate our future living costs. But if there’s one major expense countless Americans continue to miscalculate, it’s healthcare — specifically, long-term care. According to recent estimates, it costs $43,539 a year to reside in an assisted living facility, while a nursing home costs $82,125 per year — and that’s for a private room. If you want to bunk solo, you’re looking at $92,345 annually. And in case you were wondering, Medicare won’t pick up the tab for either type of service.

The solution? Long-term care insurance. The right plan can help defray these astronomical costs and open the door to more options when you’re older and your health starts failing. The problem? Most Americans don’t have long-term care insurance, and they’re making a huge mistake in the process.

Older woman with younger womanIMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Why you need long-term care insurance

It’s estimated that 70% of seniors 65 and older will need some form of long-term care in their lifetime. Yet only 14% of adults 50 and over have a long-term care policy in place, according to Nationwide. Additionally, only 27% of older workers are confident they’ll manage to pay for long-term care expenses in the future.

Why the coverage gap? For the most part, it boils down to money and a glaring lack of awareness about long-term care costs. The typical 60-year-old couple, for example, pays $3,400 per year for long-term care insurance, and that’s a lot to spend on something you may never actually come to use. On the other hand, a good 20% of today’s 65-year-olds will need long-term care for five years or more, in which case multiple years of long-term care insurance premiums might easily pay for themselves.

But while the bulk of older Americans don’t have a long-term care policy in place, they also worry that they’ll become a burden to their families once they get older. Furthermore, more than half of older Americans have yet to even discuss long-term care with a spouse, partner, child, or even financial advisor. And that’s a mistake that could come back to haunt them.

The time to apply for coverage is now

If you’re in your 50s and haven’t put much thought into long-term care, now’s the time to get moving. For one thing, read up on the costs involved so you understand what sort of numbers you’re looking at. Second, understand what long-term insurance is meant to cover. More than half of Americans think these policies are primarily used for nursing home stays, but actually, the majority are applied to offset the cost of home healthcare.

And that’s another thing — 61% of older Americans claim they’d rather die than live in a nursing home. But those seeking to age in place may not get that option without a long-term care policy to help cover the cost of in-home care.

Finally, get moving on your insurance application once you come to your senses. The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance reports that more than 50% of applicants aged 50 to 59 qualify for health-based discounts. That number, however, drops to 42% among 60- to 69-year-olds, and it plunges down to 24% for 70- to 79-year-olds. Furthermore, the longer you wait to apply for coverage, the greater your chances of getting denied, so that’s reason enough not to delay.

Save for the unknown

Of course, in the absence of a crystal ball, it’s impossible to predict how your health will fare over time. But insurance aside, the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from what could come to be is to save aggressively during your working years. If you’re 50 or older, you currently get the option to sock away up to $6,500 a year in an IRA or $24,000 a year in a 401(k), and the latter limit is rising by $500 next year. Work on maxing out whichever account type you have, and you’ll be better positioned to cover whatever medical expenses come your way in the future.

One more thing: Get your facts straight about Medicare. Countless older workers assume that Medicare will cover all of their health-related needs once they enroll, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. One major benefit of discussing long-term care with a financial professional is that you’ll get access to the information you need to make an informed decision about what lies ahead. And the sooner you have that talk, the more time you’ll have to adequately prepare.


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5 Steps to Take Immediately If You’ve Been a Victim of Identity Theft

Written By: Guest Contributor - Dec• 22•18


The discovery of identity theft is bound to be one of the most anxious and stressful moments a person can experience. When an identity thief gets his (or her) hands on your personal information, they gain the power to wreak havoc on your finances, credit and reputation.

Minimize the chance that you will fall victim to an identity thief, and find out what to do if you suspect your identity has been compromised. Credit Sesame has created this guide to arm you with knowledge about how and when identity theft can happen, what the warning signs are, what prevention measures you can take, and what you can do to respond to identity theft in your life.

What is identity theft?

In simple terms, identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as your name and Social Security number, without your permission. You might think of identity theft as most often related to credit or banking. For example, a thief opens a credit card in your name uses it to make purchases. In reality, the scope is much broader.

1. Tax- and wage- related identity theft

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Tax- and wage-related fraud is the most common type of identity theft, accounting for 45 percent of all reported cases. Tax identity theft happens when someone steals your identity and files a fraudulent tax return in your name. Wage-related fraud occurs when someone uses your identity to earn and collect wages.

2. Financial identity theft

Financial identity theft is the use of your personal information for financial gain. The credit card example above is a good example. Fraudulent access to your bank account is another. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that credit card fraud and bank fraud account for 16 percent and 6 percent, respectively, of all identity theft cases reported annually.

3. Medical identity theft

A medical identity thief uses your identity to get healthcare. If you’ve ever received a doctor bill in the mail for treatment that you don’t remember getting, you could be a victim of medical identity theft. Medical identity theft not only leaves a stack of medical bills, it also causes incorrect information to be placed in your medical file.

4. Child identity theft

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Children are often targeted by identity thieves. One reason is that children have clean credit files. They haven’t had a chance to let any bill go unpaid. So with careful use, a child’s identity is the ticket to a smorgasbord of credit. Also, in many cases the fraud is not discovered for many years, so the thief has plenty of time to fully leverage the stolen identity. Perpetrators are often relatives. Javelin estimates that in 2015, 1.2 million parents received notifications that their child’s Social Security number had been compromised.

5. Driver’s license identity theft

When an identity thief targets your wallet, he may be looking for more than cash and credit cards. Your driver’s license can be used to hide the criminal’s true identity in the commission of various types of crimes. Imagine the financial and insurance nightmare you’ll face if a fraudster gets speeding tickets or wrecks a car while claiming to be you.

6. Criminal identity theft

In an even worse -case scenario, an identity thief could use your information to commit a more serious crime, or hurt someone.

How much do identity thieves steal?

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Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the U.S. Between 2014 and 2015, identity theft complaints to the Federal Trade Commission increased by 47 percent. According to Javelin Strategy & Research’s 2016 Identity Fraud Study, identity thieves stole $15 billion from 13.1 million U.S. consumers in 2015. Collectively, identity thieves made off with $112 billion over the past six years, which breaks down to $35,600 stolen every minute.

The Javelin study revealed that one type of identity theft increased by 113 percent in 2015: new account fraud. This spike is in response to the nationwide implementation of the EMV Compliance Mandate, which places fraud liability on businesses that fail to upgrade their point-of-sale systems to accommodate EMV chip credit cards. Overall, new account fraud accounts for 20 percent of all fraud losses.

Identity theft can happen anywhere. Here in the U.S., Missouri has the highest per capita rate of identity theft reports, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, followed by Connecticut and Florida.

Identity theft and your credit

Your credit score is a primary consideration when lenders evaluate your application for a credit card, car loan, mortgage or other credit product. Identity theft can impact your score in a big way.

Generally speaking, credit scores are based on a handful of factors, including:

  • Payment history
  • How much of your available credit you’re using
  • The age of your credit accounts
  • The types of credit you’re using
  • How often you apply for new credit

Identity theft can affect all of these factors and bring your score down in the process. For instance, if a thief opens three new credit cards in your name, the inquiries will each lower your score, your overall file age will go down (and your score with it), the balances will affect your utilization ratio, and the payment history (or failure to pay) will have a big impact on your credit rating. o affects the average age of your credit history.

The key thing to remember is that identity theft hurts your credit the most when it goes unnoticed. Once you catch on, you can take steps to shut down fraudulent accounts and clean up your credit. More on that in a minute.

Are you legally responsible for fraudulent charges?

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When you find out that someone has racked up debt in your name, the first thing you may wonder is whether you’ll be on the hook to pay it back. When the identity theft involves a debit or credit card, your losses are limited under the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act.

Liability for fraudulent credit card charges

The Fair Credit Billing Act caps your liability for unauthorized credit card purchases at $50, and many credit card issuers lower this to $0. If you report a lost or stolen card before it is used, your liability is always zero. Also, if someone steals your credit card number but not the card itself, you’re not liable for any unauthorized use.

Liability for ATM and debit card fraud

For stolen ATM and debit cards, your liability depends on how quickly you report the loss or theft.

Your liability is $0 if you report a lost or stolen card before any unauthorized charges are made. Your liability is $50 if you report within two business days after you learn of the loss or theft. If you wait more than two but less 60 days to report a lost or stolen debit card, your liability is $500. After 60 days, your liability has no upper limit. Report identity theft as soon as you suspect it.

What to do when your identity is stolen


If you suspect identity theft, act quickly to minimize any negative consequences. Below are some key steps to take to stop an identity thief in their tracks.

The first thing you should do is to sign up for Credit Sesame’s credit monitoring service now, before you become a victim. Credit Sesame membership is 100% free, and no credit card is required to sign up. All Credit Sesame members get $50,000 in free identity theft insurance and live support through the process of identity restoration.

1. Put a fraud alert on your credit reports

A fraud alert puts a red flag on your credit report and notifies lenders and creditors that they should take extra steps to verify your identity before extending credit. To place a 90-day fraud alert on all three of your credit reports, you only need to contact one of the three credit reporting agencies (ExperianEquifax, or TransUnion). When you place the initial alert, the agency will automatically notify the other two for you.

When you place a fraud alert on your credit reports, you’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three agencies. Be sure to obtain them. If you find fraudulent items on your credit report(s), the simplest way to begin the dispute process is to click the dispute button while viewing your credit report online. Some items must be disputed in writing and with supporting documentation. Hard inquiries cannot be disputed, but may give you a clue as to where a thief has applied for credit in your name.

Initial fraud alerts are free and remain in place for 90 days. In some cases, extended fraud alerts incur a small fee, but under most circumstances fraud alert services are free to victims of identity theft.

Another option—and a more effective identity theft prevention measure—is to place a security freeze on each of your credit reports. A freeze prevents creditors (except those with whom you already do business) from accessing your credit report(s) at all. Most new applications will automatically be declined because without access to your file, the creditor will have no way to evaluate your credit. With a security freeze in place, you will need to take extra steps if you wish to apply for new credit. Each agency has a procedure for temporarily “thawing” your file in order to allow a legitimate application to be processed. Unlike a fraud alert, you’ll need to contact each credit reporting agency individually to place a freeze on your files. See more information about credit freezes here:

– Experian:
– Equifax:
– TransUnion:

Not every state allows credit freezes to be placed by consumers who are not victims of identity theft, but every state allows identity theft victims to freeze their files. Some states charge a fee to freeze the file, and another fee to thaw it.

2. Contact any institution directly affected

If you know your credit card was stolen, report the theft to the credit card issuer. If your checkbook or debit card was stolen, contact your bank.

For this step it’s really helpful if you’ve prepared a list of institutions and phone numbers in advance. Don’t write down account numbers, PINs or passwords — that would be just one more way for a thief to gain access to your personal information. But know what you’ve got. Keep a list of what’s in your wallet, along with the contact information for each item. The best place to keep this list is on an encrypted secure online file storage site.

3. Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

File an Identity Theft Affidavit and a police report (see #4 below), and create an Identity Theft Report. You can file your report online, by phone (toll-free): 1-877-ID THEFT (877-438-4338); TDD (toll-free): 1-866-653-4261, or by mail — 600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington DC 20580.

The FTC will provide you with information about what to do next, depending on what type of fraud was (or may have been) committed.

4. File a police report

To complete the Identity Theft Report, you’ll need to contact your local law enforcement office and report the theft. Be sure to get a copy of the police report and/or the report number. Both your police report and the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit combine to create your Identity Theft Report. Your Identity Theft Report will help you when working with the credit reporting agencies or any other entities the identity thief may have contacted to open accounts in your name.

5.  Protect your Social Security number

If your social security number was or may have been compromised, contact the Social Security Administration (800-269-0271) and the Internal Revenue Service (800-829-0433).

It’s important to talk to the SSA and the IRS if you have reason to believe your Social Security number has been compromised, even if you don’t yet see any evidence of financial fraud. A thief could be planning to swipe your tax refund, or to obtain employment or health care in your name.

6. Contact the Post Office

If you have reason to believe the identity thief may have submitted a fraudulent change-of-address to the post office or has used the U.S. mail to commit the fraud against you, contact the Postal Inspection Service, which is the law enforcement and security branch of the post office. Fill out the online form.

This list is not exhaustive. These are only the first few steps. Indeed, clearing the wreckage of identity theft can be a laborious and complex process. For more information about how to prevent or recover from identity theft, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission offer a wealth of information and will walk you through the steps.

Preventing identity theft


The best defense against identity theft is a good offense. The more proactive you are about preventing identity theft, the better. Here are some things you can do to minimize the risk that you’ll fall victim.

  • Lock down your Social Security number. Carrying your Social Security card in your wallet is a big no-no. Store it in a safe or a bank safe deposit box if you have one, or in a place at home where no one will stumble across it. Be very cautious about who you share your Social Security number with. Many people who ask for it routinely – including your doctor or dentist – do not need to have it. Your social security number should never be used as a form of ID. If you’re not applying for credit, keep it private. Never give out your SSN over the phone (unless you are 100% of the identity of the caller) or via email.
  • Steer clear of phishing emails. Technology has made it possible for hackers, scammers and identity thieves to find their way into your inbox. You might receive a seemingly legitimate email from your bank or credit card issuer asking you to click on a link to verify your account information. When you click on it, however, you inadvertently give an identity thief access to your login details. Always verify the source of emails, and double check the URL on any website where you log in or enter personal details. Don’t downloading files unless you are sure of the sender.
  • Be smart about mobile banking and shopping. Shopping and banking from your phone or mobile device is convenient but it will lead to headaches if an identity thief is able to intercept your personal information. If you use a shopping or banking app in a public place, don’t log in through public Wi-Fi. Also, shelter your entries from the view of anyone nearby who may be able to see your screen.
  • Use complex, unique passwords and change them regularly. Security experts agree across the board that we shouldn’t use the same user ID or password for multiple accounts. Otherwise, any identity thief who cracks the code can access all of those accounts. Instead, use different passwords update them every few months. The passwords you use should include letters, numbers and symbols. Use a random password generator to create unique, complex passwords for each account, and keep them in an online password safe so that you won’t have to worry about remembering them.
  • Sign up for free credit monitoring with Credit Sesame. Credit Sesame’s free credit monitoring service offers you free access to your TransUnion credit score and a complete debt profile. You also get free identity theft insurance and real-time notifications when something changes in your credit file. If you receive a notification that your credit score has changed and you suspect identity theft, coverage is already in place and an identity theft restoration specialist is standing by to help you resolve the situation. The insurance and support are offered completely free to all Credit Sesame members.

Identity theft is no picnic. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to ward off thieves and fraudsters.

Rebecca Lake contributed to this post.

Smartphones aren’t designed for seniors, but these tweaks make them more accessible

Written By: Guest Contributor - Nov• 19•18

Bigger text, hands-free controls, and read-aloud options.

By David Nield Yesterday at 9:30am

 senior couple selfie



Smartphones should be accessible for everyone.


For many of us, navigating around a smartphone’s menus and settings seems like second nature. But not everyone feels the same way. People with visual impairments may have trouble seeing text and images, those with shaky hands or decreased mobility have difficulty pressing on-screen buttons, and many seniors find the interface confusing rather than intuitive.


It doesn’t have to be this way. By tweaking the settings, you can make text easier to read, simplify the controls, and interact with the screen vocally instead of manually. Here’s how to make a smartphone much more accessible.

1. Make text more readable

make text more readable

Increasing the contrast can make icons clearer and text easier to read.

David Nield

To render screens more readable, you can boost the size of the text. But to really make text and objects more visible, you should increase the contrast as well, which will render colors more distinct.

On iOS, head to Settings > General > Accessibility. Use the Larger Text submenu to increase the text size across all apps. A toggle switch underneath lets you make words bold as well. For contrast, go to Increase Contrast, which makes colors sharper and more distinct, so icons will look more well-defined. The same menu screen has options to reduce the transparency of overlays and cut down on motion effects, which might also make iOS visuals clearer.

On Android, you’ll find a similar set of options through the Settings > Accessibilitymenu. Head to Font size to adjust the size of on-screen text. This change will apply to all of your apps. Just below that option, play with Display size to adjust the size of buttons, icons, and other objects. To adjust contrast, switch the High-contrast textswitch to On. Android will now make text clearer and easier to read with tricks like adding a black outline to letters when white text appears on a colorful background. While you’re here, you can also turn off Android animations and invert colors within apps and menus.

One of Android’s handiest tricks is an on-screen magnifier, which you enable from the same Accessibility menu. Just tap Magnification > Magnify with button. Once it’s on, you can hit a button in the lower-right corner to get a closer look at anything on screen.

2. Simplify the interface

simplified phone interface through Big Launcher

Apps like Big Launcher will revamp a phone’s interface so it’s easier to use.

Big Launcher

Instead of changing individual settings, you can completely revamp an Android device to make it easier to navigate. That’s because this operating system supports apps called launchers, which essentially reskin the entire interface of the phone, including home screens, the app drawer, settings menus, and so on. Some launchers aim to serve seniors with streamlined menus and options, large text, and bright colors for easy readability.

Big Launcher ($10 for Android) serves as a good example. It includes chunky, clearly-labeled buttons that are easy to tap, provides quick access to favorite apps and contacts, automatically makes the text large for basic apps such as the text message client. If you want to see what this will look like before paying, check out the free demo.

Necta ($7 for Android) works along similar lines, although it has a more muted color scheme than Big Launcher. We like the integrated SOS message option, which lets the phone’s owner send an emergency message to a designated contact with one tap. The bundled SMS, calendar, and alarm clock apps all make use of larger text and strong contrast. Like with Big Launcher, you can test out a free trial before you purchase the app.

If you own a Samsung phone, this version of Android actually comes with a built-in “Easy Mode” that will simplify the interface without a separate app. On a Galaxy phone, turn it on and off again in Settings > Display > Easy Mode.

On iOS, Apple doesn’t allow apps to take so much control over the phone’s interface. Although you won’t find any equivalent launchers for iPhones, many of the other tweaks on this list will make the default interface much easier to use.

3. Enable voice control

Google Assistant

AI apps like Google Assistant will give you hands-free voice control over your phone.

David Nield

Even with help from magnifiers and over-size buttons, tapping away at a touchscreen can get tougher as we age, particularly if we lose manual dexterity. That’s why every handset on the market now comes with some form of voice-controlled digital assistant. Instead of relying on your fingers to type messages or look up the weather forecast, you can speak out your requests.


For iPhones and iPads, Siri comes built into iOS. From Settings > Siri & Search, enable both Listen for “Hey Siri” and Allow Siri When Locked. Once you do, you can call out “hey Siri” followed by your command—whether or not the screen happens to be locked. For instance, you might try saying, “Hey Siri, text [contact name],” or “hey Siri, what will the weather be like tomorrow?” Apple has a full list of commands here.


Google Assistant is available for both Android (it might come built-in) and iOS. On an iPhone, you have to actually open the app to use Google Assistant’s voice control. But on Android, you can launch a voice command with “hey Google” or “okay Google” even when your phone is locked. To enable this, go to Settings > Google > Search, Assistant & Voice > Settings > Assistant > Phone > Access with Voice Match. As with Siri, you can try “hey Google, send a text to [contact name],” “hey Google, what’s the time in Sydney?” and so on. The full list of commands is here.


If you don’t get along with Siri or Google Assistant, enlist the help of another digital assistant. Samsung’s Bixby comes with Galaxy devices and you can also download it on other Android phones in an early preview form. Microsoft’s Cortana has versions for Android and iOS, and Amazon’s Alexa is also available on Android and iOS.

4. Listen to text

Android select-to-speak

Android phones have a select-to-speak option. Once you enable it, you can tap text to hear the device read it aloud.

David Nield

If you’ve tried adjusting text size and contrast, but still have trouble reading things on your phone, you can have the device speak the words out loud. This can be really helpful for people who struggle to read a screen, but it’s also great for those who want to save their eyes from strain.


On an Android device, return to Settings > Accessibility and enable either Select-to-Speak (a mode where you tap on-screen text to hear it aloud) or TalkBack (the phone automatically reads out all on-screen text and menu options). Once you’ve chosen one of those, tap the Text-to-speech output option to set the speech rate, pitch, and language.

To enable a similar feature on iOS, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver and turn the toggle switch to On. Now your iPhone or iPad will automatically read out any text that appears on screen. From the same menu, you can adjust the reading speed, as well as other options, like whether the device will read notifications aloud.


For both operating systems, once you turn on the audio, you will hear the text from all of your apps, at least until you switch the setting back off. To reduce the amount of noise, you might opt to turn on reading for individual apps, instead of the entire system. For example, read-it-later app Pocket (for Android and iOS) will read a saved article when you tap the headphones button in the toolbar.


On an iPhone or iPad, check out NaturalReader Text To Speech (free or $10 for iOS), which will read short documents, PDFs, and ebooks for free, although it charges $10 for audio longer than three minutes. For your web browing, Speech Central (free or $6 for iOS), will pull recent headlines to read out loud, free for a few stories per day but $6 to get more articles.


On Android, SayIt (free for Android) will read almost any text, article, or website. Voice Aloud Reader (free for Android) also covers documents and websites, and it will also save audio recordings to your phone.

5. Get help with real-world reading

illuminating and magnifying text with smartphone

Apps like Magnifying Glass with Flashlight can give you a better view of the fine print.

Magnifying Glass with Flashlight

Now that your smartphone has become easier to manage, it can make the rest of the world more accessible as well. Case in point: Its built-in flashlight and camera can illuminate menus in dimly-lit restaurants and clarify hard-to-read text on other documents.

The flashlight is easy enough to activate: On modern iPhones, swipe down from the top right. On iOS models that predate the iPhone X, swipe up from the bottom. Then tap the flashlight button to turn it on and hold it to change the brightness. On Android, swipe down from the top with two fingers, then tap the flashlight button.

If you need something a little more advanced, try EyeReader ($2 for iOS). It turns the flashlight on, while simultaneously using your phone’s camera as a magnifier. This makes viewing books, menus, and other documents doubly clear. On Android, a similar app is Magnifying Glass with Flashlight (free with ads or $2 without ads for Android). Again, it zooms in on any text in front of your phone’s camera, while illuminating the words. If the brightness gets annoying, both of these apps let you disable the flashlight.

How to unsend messages you’ve sent via Facebook and other apps

Written By: Guest Contributor - Nov• 14•18

old stress

By Stan Horaczek

There are lots of reasons someone might want to un-send a message on one of the many messaging apps that currently populate your smartphone and computer. Maybe there’s a typo in the message you just sent to a potential employer or you wanted to complain about a co-worker putting fish in the office microwave— and sent it to the wrong person. Just this week, Facebook recently introduced an upcoming feature that allows users a short window of time in which they can recall messages sent through Messenger. It’s not the magical tool that lets you go in and nuke old messages from past conversations like Mark Zuckerberg reportedly enjoys, but it’s a start.


Here’s a quick guide to recalling messages on some of the most popular communication apps. Some are easier than others, and some are downright impossible.

Facebook Messenger

With the 191.0 release of Facebook Messenger in the Apple App Store, users will have a 10 minute window to recall what they sent. The feature comes just a few months after some controversy about whether Facebook was deleting messages from CEO Mark Zuckerberg from other people’s inboxes. Until the update, you can delete a message you send on your own device, but the recipient’s version of your conversation remains untouched.

If you unsend a message with the new feature, however, it will disappear from the recipient’s feed, as long as you do it within that 10 minute window just after sending.


Facebook’s other messaging service, Whatsapp was its first to allow unsending, but until recently, you had to blow-up your message within seven minutes of sending. The current rules, however, give users “about an hour” to delete their messages from everyone’s feeds. The feature is called Delete for everyone and, while it will get rid of the original message that you want gone, it leaves a placeholder to indicate that a message was deleted. So, it’s not a perfectly clean way of scraping away your ill-advised or accidental communications.


Pulling back an Instagram message might be the easiest out of the bunch. Select the conversation and go to the message, then tap and hold until a menu pops up and you can push “unsend.” It disappears from both users’ histories.


Google’s ubiquitous email service offers you a chance to grab that flawed message you just sent with a feature called Undo Send. Your send confirmation comes with a “message sent” confirmation as well as an option to “undo,” which will attempt to recall the mail. You only get roughly 10 seconds to regret and recall your bad decision, so move quickly

Earlier this year, Google made this recall feature available through the Android version of the Gmail app as well. It will show up in a black bar at the bottom of the screen just after you push send.

Google Hangouts

Unlike the other services we’ve discussed so far, Hangouts is a stickler for getting your messages right on the first try because it doesn’t have a real unsend feature. You can turn off your own history so Hangouts won’t keep track of the conversation on your end, but it won’t hide it from the other person. Also, deleting a message or even an entire conversation from a group won’t scrape your contributions out.


The fleeting nature of Snapchat is a large part of its appeal—the app started the trend of self-expiring “stories” that currently dominates the social media landscape on Instagram and Facebook. Some content on Snapchat does last forever, however. Earlier this year, Snap gave users the chance to use a features called Clear Chat, which lets you delete stickers, audio, text, or pictures and videos that you sent from Memories. It won’t, however, let you unsend pictures or videos you send to groups or individuals. It basically only allows you to delete messages sent using archived content.

Twitter DM

Pulling back a Twitter direct message is a fairly straightforward process. On the web, there’s a little garbage can next to the message that makes it easy to trash. On the app, you have to select and hold the message you want gone, but it’s still relatively simple. It automatically removes it from the other person’s inbox as well. However, people often check Twitter notifications immediately so there’s a chance they might see it before you can tug your message back out of their box.

Apple Messages

Apple’s default texting service doesn’t have a recall function, and deleting a message in your feed will only remove it on your end. Now that 10-minutesages live in the cloud, however, thi10-minuteally an upgrade over how it was before where deleting a message on your own phone didn’t necessarily mean it would get deleted on your laptop or iPad. So at least there’s that.


There’s no official way to unsend a text from Android, but there are some workarounds. An app called “On Second Thought” gives you a sixty second window to call back a message sent in error. You can also always try the old last-second trick of quickly turning your phone onto airplane mode to try and cut off the connection before it can send. Fast connections and quick phones have made that one hard to pull off, however.


The 15 Most Common Health Concerns for Seniors

Written By: Guest Contributor - Sep• 10•18

Getting older can bring senior health challenges. By being aware of these common chronic conditions, you can take steps to stave off disease as you age.

By Madeline R. Vann, MPH
Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH


People in America today can expect to live longer than ever before. Once you make it to 65, the data suggest that you can live another 19.3 years, on average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For many, then, senior living includes carefully managing chronic conditions in order to stay healthy.
Making healthy lifestyle choices, like quitting smoking and losing weight, can help you avoid senior health risks, though “you also need to be physically active and eat a healthy diet,” explains Jeanne Wei, MD, PhD, executive director of the Reynolds Institute on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. Including a geriatrician, a doctor who specializes in the health concerns of aging, on your senior healthcare team can help you learn how to live better with any chronic diseases.

1. Arthritis
“Arthritis is probably the number one condition that people 65 or older contend with,” says geriatrician Marie Bernard, MD, deputy director of the National Institute on Aging in Bethesda, Maryland. The CDC estimates that it affects 49.7 percent of all adults over 65 and can lead to pain and lower quality of life for some seniors. Although arthritis can discourage you from being active, it’s important to work with your doctor to develop a personalized activity plan that, along with other treatment, can help maintain senior health.
2. Heart Disease
According to the CDC, heart disease remains the leading killer of adults over age 65, accounting for 489,722 deaths in 2014. As a chronic condition, heart disease affects 37 percent of men and 26 percent of women 65 and older, according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. As people age, they’re increasingly living with risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, that increase the chances of having a stroke or developing heart disease. Dr. Bernard’s advice for addressing this senior health risk not only helps with heart disease but can improve senior health across the board: “Exercise, eat well, get a good night’s rest. Eating well means eating in a fashion that will allow you to keep a healthy weight with a well-balanced and healthy diet.”
3. Cancer
Cancer is the second leading cause of death among people over age 65, with 413,885 deaths in 2014, according to the CDC. The CDC also reports that 28 percent of men and 21 percent of women over age 65 are living with cancer. If caught early through screenings, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and skin checks, many types of cancer are treatable. And though you’re not always able to prevent cancer, you can improve your quality of life as a senior living with cancer, including during treatment, by working with your medical team and maintaining their healthy senior living recommendations.
4. Respiratory Diseases
Chronic lower respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are the third most common cause of death among people 65 and older, with 124,693 deaths in 2014, according to the CDC. Among people 65 and older, about 10 percent of men and 13 percent of women are living with asthma, and 10 percent of men and 11 percent of women are living with chronic bronchitis or emphysema, according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. Although having a chronic respiratory disease increases senior health risks, making you more vulnerable to pneumonia and other infections, getting lung function tests and taking the correct medication, or using oxygen as instructed, will go a long way toward preserving senior health and your quality of life.
5. Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease accounted for 92,604 deaths of people over age 65 in 2014, according to the CDC. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that one in nine people age 65 and older, which is about 11 percent, have Alzheimer’s disease, but because diagnosis is challenging, it’s difficult to know exactly how many people are living with this chronic condition. Still, experts acknowledge that cognitive impairment has a significant impact on senior health across the spectrum, from issues of safety and self-care to the cost burden of care, either in the home or a residential facility.
6. Osteoporosis
“Osteoporosis can contribute to becoming less mobile and potentially disabled should you fall and have a fracture or as the vertebral bodies collapse,” Bernard said. The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 54 million Americans over age 50 are affected by low bone mass or osteoporosis, putting them at risk for a fracture or break that could lead to poor senior health and reduced quality of life. What’s more, they estimate that by the year 2020 that number will rise to 64.4 million.
7. Diabetes
The CDC estimates that 25 percent of people ages 65 and older are living with diabetes, a significant senior health risk. According to CDC data, diabetes caused 54,161 deaths among adults over age 65 in 2014. Diabetes can be identified and addressed early with simple blood tests for blood sugar levels. The sooner you know that you have or are at risk for diabetes, the sooner you can start making changes to control the disease and improve your long-term senior health outlook.
8. Influenza and Pneumonia
Although the flu and pneumonia aren’t chronic conditions, these infections are among the top eight causes of death in people over age 65, according to the CDC. Seniors are more vulnerable to these diseases and less able to fight them off. Senior healthcare recommendations include getting an annual flu shot, and getting the pneumonia vaccine if recommended by your doctor, to prevent these infections and their life-threatening complications.
9. Falls
The risk for falls requiring emergency room care increases with age. Each year, 2.5 million people ages 65 and older are treated in emergency departments because of falls, according to the CDC. That’s more than any other age group. And, one-third of people who go to the emergency room for a fall may find themselves there again within one year, according to a study published in August 2015 in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine. Also be aware that most falls occur in the home, where tripping hazards include area rugs and slippery bathroom floors, according to a study published in January 2013 in the Journal of Injury and Violence Research.
10. Substance Abuse
An analysis of data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions suggests that one in five people over 65 have had a substance or alcohol abuse problem at some point in their lives. Alcohol and tobacco topped the list of nonmedical substances abused by survey participants. Substance and alcohol abuse are a concern for senior health because of possible interactions with prescription medication, their impact on overall health, and the increased senior health risks, such as falls, associated with intoxication.
11. Obesity
Obesity is an important senior health risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer — all chronic conditions that impact quality of life. As the numbers on the scale increase, so does the risk for disease. Of the adults between 65 and 74, 36.2 percent of men and 40.7 percent of women are obese — meaning that their body mass index is greater than or equal to 30 — according to the CDC. It can also be a signal that an older adult isn’t as active or mobile as he or she once was.
12. Depression
According to the American Psychological Association, 15 to 20 percent of Americans over 65 have experienced depression. A threat to senior health, depression can lower immunity and can compromise a person’s ability to fight infections. In addition to treatment with medication and therapy, other ways to improve senior living might be to increase physical activity — 59.4 percent of adults 65 and older don’t meet CDC recommendations for exercise— or to interact socially more — seniors report spending just 8 to 11 percent of their free time with family and friends, according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics.
13. Oral Health
Healthy teeth and gums are important not just for a pretty smile and easy eating, but also for overall senior health. According to the CDC, 25 percent of adults over 65 have no natural teeth. As you age, your mouth tends to become dryer and cavities are more difficult to prevent, so proper oral health care, including regular dental checkups, should be a senior healthcare priority, Dr. Wei said.
RELATED: 6 Ways Your Body Gets Better With Age
14. Poverty
In 2013, 45 percent of adults ages 65 and older had incomes below the poverty level, according to a 2015 Kaiser Family Foundation report. This number takes into account available financial resources, liabilities such as taxes, value benefits like food stamps, out-of-pocket medical expenses, geographic variations in housing expenses, and other factors. Older women are slightly more likely than men to be living in poverty, and that gap widens in those over 80. Single older adults are also significantly more likely to live alone with fewer resources. Poverty affects senior health if you’re unable to afford doctor visits, medication for chronic conditions, and other essential senior healthcare needs.
15. Shingles
Remember that bout of chicken pox you had as a kid? It can come back as shingles when you’re an adult. According to the National Institutes of Health, one out of three people over 60 will get shingles, and 50 percent of all Americans will experience it before they’re 80. It usually affects only one side of your body, starting out with severe pain or tingling and then developing into an itchy rash and possibly blisters. There is a vaccine available, so talk to your doctor about it.

Nearly two-thirds of people age 65 to 80 are interested in sex, new poll says

Written By: Guest Contributor - May• 04•18

sex old


Nearly two-thirds of adults 65 to 80 years old say they’re interested in sex, and more than half say that sex is important to their quality of life, according to a new poll that seeks to shed light on a little-discussed topic.

Forty percent of those surveyed said they were sexually active, according to the new results from the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging.

“This survey just confirms that the need for and interest in sexual intimacy doesn’t stop at a certain age,” Alison Bryant, senior vice president of research for AARP, said in a statement from Michigan Medicine, the university medical center.

The poll, sponsored by AARP and Michigan Medicine, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,002 people in October. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 to 8 percentage points. It’s the latest in a series of reports on healthy aging.
“While sex is an integral part of the lives of many older adults, this topic remains understudied and infrequently discussed,” the study said.

The poll found sexual interest diminishing in later years among those sampled. A third of the people in their late 60s said they were extremely or very interested in sex, but that number dropped to 19 percent for those in their late 70s. Sexual activity also declined, from 46 percent to 25 percent.

The poll found differences by gender. Half of the men said they were extremely or very interested in sex, while only 12 percent of women said they were. Seventy percent of men strongly agreed or agreed that sex was important to their overall quality of life, while 40 percent of women said it was. Forty-three percent of women were extremely or very satisfied with their sex lives, compared with 31 percent of men.

“Gender differences in perspectives on sex may result in differing expectations and challenges, even for long-term relationships,” the study said. “To this end, conversations about sex in a relationship are important.”

Other findings of the poll included:

■ Nearly three-quarters of the total group said they had a romantic partner, while 54 percent of that group said they were sexually active.

■ Forty-five percent of people who rated their health as excellent, very good, or good said they were sexually active, while 22 percent of those who reported being in fair or poor health were sexually active.

■ Eighteen percent of men and 3 percent of women said they had taken medications or supplements to improve sexual function in the past two years.

Written By: Guest Contributor - Apr• 23•18


Retirees Often Make This Major Social Security Mistake

Many people take Social Security early and put off tapping into their IRAs and 401(k)s until they must. But that’s the opposite of what most should do, because waiting until 70 to take benefits can pay off in more ways than one.


social security

April 18, 2018

Most people are aware of the advice “delay your Social Security until age 70.” Many reject it because they created an Excel spreadsheet that seems to contradict it, or they think they won’t live long enough to make it pay off, or because they just can’t stand working past age 65 (or 66 or 67). In addition, they look at the idea of putting off taking Social Security by funding their living expenses with withdrawals from their IRAs or 401(k)s with disdain, because those accounts are 100% taxable upon receipt and they hate “giving money to Uncle Sam.”

Unfortunately, for many people, the decision to start Social Security before age 70 and delay withdrawing money from a traditional IRA until age 70½, when required minimum distributions (RMDs) begin, is completely backward.

Let’s break this down into three main points:

1. You’re giving up on a higher Social Security benefit.

Once you reach your full retirement age, your monthly Social Security check gets 8% larger for every year you delay taking benefits through age 70 (technically, it’s 2/3% per month). Mathematically, the “crossover point” is about 12 years.

For example, suppose at full retirement age (which is 67 if you were born in 1960 or later) your Social Security check is $2,000 per month (or $24,000 per year). At age 70, that check would be $2,480 per month ($29,760 per year). By waiting until age 70 to start taking benefits, by the time you reach age 83 you would have been paid a total of $386,880, compared with the $384,000 you would have gotten if you had started at age 67, even though you got income for three extra years. The average life expectancy of a 67-year-old is at least 85, and growing, so any year you live past age 83 is money in your pocket.

Basically, the advice to delay Social Security is correct.

2. You’re still going to have to pay taxes on your tax-deferred accounts no matter what.

Your traditional IRA, 401(k), 403(b), etc., is 100% taxable to you or your heirs, and at some point it will be fully liquidated to you or them. Putting off taking withdrawals from it does not change those facts. You get no tax benefit by delaying.

3. It’s not how much money you make that counts, but how much you keep.

Social Security income is never more than 85% taxable, but it could be 0% taxable. The taxed amount is determined by an 18-step calculation in the return instructions for Form 1040. Essentially, the process tells you to take half of your Social Security benefit, add that to all your “other income” and then perform a series of calculations to determine how much of your Social Security (between 0% and 85%) is taxable.

In other words, the bigger your Social Security check and the less “other income” you have (for the same total income), the less your adjusted gross income and the less tax you will pay.

SEE ALSO:The Scary Facts About Social Security’s Future

Putting this strategy to work: One couple’s story

The realization of these three points offers insight into sound retirement planning: If you plan to retire before age 70, consider delaying your Social Security until age 70 and living off your retirement accounts from your retirement date until then.

For example, Bob and Mary, both age 65, have just retired. Together, they receive pensions of $1,500 per month and are eligible (at age 65) for combined Social Security benefits of $3,500 per month ($42,000 per year). They need $5,000 per month for their living expenses. They also have 401(k)s worth $300,000.

Succumbing to “conventional wisdom” myths, Bob and Mary start their Social Security at age 65, justifying that in combination with their pensions, they’ll get the $5,000 per month they need. Over the next five years, their 401(k)s grow at 5% per year. Five years later, they are worth $382,884 with a first year RMD of $13,306. Their gross annual income is $73,306, of which only $13,360 of their Social Security is taxable. Their adjusted gross (taxable) income is $44,366. Bob and Mary are happy.

Conversely, if they delayed their Social Security and instead withdrew $3,500 per month from their 401(k)s until age 70, at that time their 401(k)s would have been depleted to under $140,000 and they would generate a first year RMD of $6,371. But, by waiting, their Social Security has grown by 8% per year for five years and now pays $58,800 per year of which only $14,305 is taxable. Their gross income has increased to $83,171 and their adjusted gross (taxable) income has dropped to $38,676. In other words, while their total income increased by $9,865, their taxable income fell by $5,690. That’s a net improvement of $15,555, and this advantage will continue for the rest of their lives.

Further, whoever dies first, the survivor will get the larger of the two Social Security checks, either of which is now a lot larger by having waited. This is important, because the surviving spouse’s standard deduction just got reduced by half and having more 100% taxable income from 401(k)s (vs. Social Security) may serve to increase the total income tax load. If Bob and Mary are of different ages, whoever passes first, the survivor gets to assume the other’s 401(k) and take RMDs on that account based on the age of the younger spouse.

Finally, if Bob and Mary have any non-IRA type investments, they can grow those without spending them down for routine income. If an emergency arises, they can access that money at a lower tax rate (long-term capital gain) and if they don’t need the money, when they pass that money transfers to their kids with a Step-up in Income Tax Basis, meaning their kids will owe no income tax on that money if liquidated at the time of inheritance. That’s not the case with IRAs.

The value of delaying Social Security until age 70 is far more than just getting “more money per month.” There are tax advantages, surviving spouse advantages, even inheritance advantages when the entire portfolio and estate are considered as a whole. However, there are times and circumstances when this advice is not suitable, and this is the reason for seeking professional financial guidance before implementing decisions about when to start Social Security and when to start withdrawing from your IRA, 401(k), etc.

SEE ALSO:Social Security 101: How to File for Benefits

This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.



Tech Gadgets and Older Adults: What Helps, What Doesn’t

Written By: Guest Contributor - Mar• 16•18
blog 2

Specialized gadgets–and accessibility features on smartphones–can enhance a senior’s quality of life.

By Allen St. John
March 08, 2018

New technologies, even successful ones, often seem more like toys than tools—for most of us, telling a smart speaker to turn on the lights is fun but not really life-changing. But digital advances can make a big difference to older adults, making it easier for them to maintain social contacts, monitor their health, and preserve their independence.

Experts in aging say that caregivers sometimes hesitate to introduce new devices to seniors, assuming they’ll resist learning how to use them. But it’s often untrue.

“I’ve seen the opposite,” says Michael Wasserman, M.D., a geriatrician and CEO of Rockport Healthcare Services, which provides clinical and professional support to nursing homes. “Older adults can easily embrace a lot of tech resources.”

The key, according to Wasserman, is finding the right devices. Some general-use electronics, such as smartphones, feature impressive accessibility functions. Other devices, designed specifically for older adults, can ease both physical and social challenges.

However, experts say, a number of gadgets designed for seniors overpromise and underdeliver.

Wasserman and others in his field offered some tips for finding the best electronic assistance, for yourself or for older friends and relatives.

Charging It, Installing It, Protecting It

Get what you need to know when it comes to tech and gadgets.


Look for Mainstream Devices

Seniors don’t always need specially designed technology. Mainstream gadgets are a good place to start because they’re often economical, easy to find, and designed for customization.

Smartphones are a prime example. Some phones, like the Jitterbug, are marketed specifically to older users, but ordinary Android devices and iPhones include a variety of powerful accessibility features, combined with high-quality screens and great performance. And they don’t have to be expensive: There are many good, affordable phones in CR’s ratings (available to members), and you can often find discounts on models from previous years.

On an iPhone, go to Settings > General > Accessibility and you’ll see many options, such as closed captioning on apps that support it and a built-in magnifier that uses the phone’s camera. You can also reduce the potentially confusing animations that play when apps open and close, boost the screen contrast or type size to make things easier to read, and more.

Android phones have a menu of similar functions, including TalkBack (a function that enables the device to speak user-interface commands), which can be found under Settings > Advanced > Accessibility.

Check out other settings, as well, to adjust factors such as the size of icons and the brightness of the screen and to create contact lists for close relatives and medical providers.

Beyond phones, these can range widely, from a Fitbit to monitor activity levels, to a smart speaker such as an Amazon Echo to introduce some voice-activated home automation, to cars with advanced safety features such as lane-departure warning. An electronic tracker, like a Tile, can help people keep track of their keys or a TV remote.

And, Wasserman says, the greatest benefit of today’s technologies may be to address the isolation that often accompanies aging. “One of the most important things is socialization,” he says. “There’s nothing like FaceTiming with your grandson.”

Focus on What’s Really Useful

Something like a smartphone or Fitbit may have obvious utility, but how do you decide among the many other technologies clamoring for attention, many of them designed specifically for use by seniors?

“It’s difficult to know what’s going to be the most viable,” says Nancy Avitabile, board president of the Aging Life Care Association, a national group of geriatric-care managers. But, she says, you can start by asking, “Will this enhance the user’s quality of life?”

Wasserman says the most useful products targeted to seniors tend to be those designed for a specific task. He points to practical devices like a stabilizing spoon for patients with hand tremors, or an inexpensive smart blood pressure cuff that reports readings directly to the doctor’s office instead of requiring the patient to keep a log.

On the other end of the spectrum, according to the experts, are devices that are promised to deliver broad, ill-defined benefits—say, a robotic puppy marketed as a device to keep grandma company.

And as in any area of technology, a even a good idea can yield a poorly executed gadget.

“A lot of design for older adults hasn’t been all that good,” says Bruce Leff, director of the Center for Transformative Geriatric Research at Johns Hopkins University. “They don’t understand the needs of adults with physical impairment or cognitive impairment.”

It can be a positive sign if a company already had a solid track record of making elder-care devices—such as ADT and Philips, which are known for their personal emergency response system devices—but it also pays to carefully consider a gadget’s controls and features and imagine how well a product will work for the specific person using it.

“We talk a lot about delivering ‘person centered’ care,” Wasserman says. “We need to understand that everyone is an individual and one size does not always fit all. You need to be willing to try things and see how the individual responds.”

Further, a device a senior finds useful now may become frustrating as his or her condition changes.

Avitabile reminds caregivers to also consider low-tech solutions. For instance, a GPS tracking device could be a vital tool for a loved one with memory loss, but users can forget to charge the devices—or forget them altogether. She encourages caregivers to supplement these beacons with a low-tech “safe support bracelet” with the patient’s address and phone number printed on it.

Finally, she warns against becoming too dependent on the devices. “Technology isn’t a replacement for individual care.”

Safeguard Seniors’ Privacy

Experts say there’s one more thing to consider as you weigh the benefits of technology, for yourself or someone you’re caring for: the delicate question of privacy. This arises with many devices that caregivers may use to monitor the safety and well-being of older adults.

Avitabile notes that many seniors have expectations of privacy—especially as it relates to sharing personal information—that are different from, say, their grandchildren’s expectations.

An obvious privacy challenge comes if there’s a security camera with a motion detector in a senior’s home to help family members monitor their well-being—it may not be obvious to everyone that these cameras can continuously beam video across the internet to other people’s phones or computers.

You may face subtler privacy challenges, too, ranging from how to keep prying eyes from seeing personal information displayed in large type on a tablet, to how delicate information is reported to a medical caregiver.

As an example, Avitabile points to a newly developed urinary tract infection sensor. The device analyzes a patient’s urine and can detect some signs of infection before symptoms appear. (For purely medical reasons, it’s smart to consult a physician before using such a device, Wasserman says, because they have the potential to lead to unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.)

Avitabile says that the sensors could be a godsend for some patients. But for others, a UTI means TMI: too much information.

“It’s a very personal” device, she says. “After all, it’s in your underwear.”

3 Secrets for a Better Retirement in 2018

Written By: Guest Contributor - Jan• 08•18


Middle aged African American woman by the sea, vertical

By Elizabeth O’Brien

January 1, 2018

Retirement, like all life stages, is a work in progress. Whether you’ve been out of the paid workforce for days or decades, there’s always room for tweaks to improve your finances—and your fun quotient. “No matter what step you’re at, take some time to say, ‘what’s next?’” advises Keith Lawrence, co-author of Your Retirement Quest.

Here are three steps for making your retirement even better in 2018:

Check Your Spending

It’s common to worry about your spending rate in retirement. A conservative way to ensure your money will last is to avoid dipping into your principal and instead let the income and investment gains your portfolio generates cover your living expenses, along with Social Security and any other income sources.

If your portfolio isn’t big enough to generate enough income, or the markets go into a prolonged slump, a general rule of thumb holds that you can annually withdraw 4% of your nest egg—regardless of its size—and never run out of money throughout retirement. While some financial experts have questioned the sustainability of the so-called 4% rule amid expectations of lower future investment returns, it’s still a reasonable starting point, many advisors say.

It’s important to note that this 4% should be enough to cover both your regular expenditures and one-time items like a new roof or a big vacation, says B. Kelly Graves, a certified financial planner in Charlotte. “Retirees should save up for the large expenses and build a kitty for them,” he says.

A tool like T. Rowe Price’s retirement income calculator can give you an estimate of whether your portfolio is on track to meet your spending goals in retirement. The tool estimates how much of your monthly income will come from your own portfolio versus Social Security, pensions and any other income sources, and projects how long your savings might last.

If your goal is to spend, say, $2,000 each month from your investments, you can ask your brokerage firm to set up a “paycheck”: the firm will transfer the desired amount each month from your investment portfolio to a checking or savings account. (It’s best to create a “cash bucket” for this purpose, so you’re not forced to sell stocks in a down market to generate the needed amount.) It gives many retirees peace of mind to replicate the paycheck they got while working, says Jay Hummel, head of direct sales and service at American Century Investments.

Take That Big Trip

You want to ensure a sustainable spending rate in retirement so you don’t run out of money. But you don’t want to be so conservative that you miss out on the fun that’s your reward for a lifetime of hard work. If you’re not comfortable doing the math yourself, a good financial planner can assess your situation and give you permission to spend. (Certified financial planners have passed a rigorous exam and must adhere to a code of ethics.)

If your budget and your health allow, don’t delay checking big-ticket activities off your bucket list, Hummel says. That means, go ahead and take that wine tour of Italy, or the snorkeling trip to the Maldives that you’ve been dreaming of for years. “Health issues happen, family issues happen,” Hummel says, and folks wind up with regrets: “Boy, we really wish we could’ve done it when we had the opportunity to.” Since research suggests that experiences bring more happiness than things, you’ll be boosting your bliss in the process.

At the same time, proceed with caution on making big purchases, Hummel says. He’s seen retirees rush to buy second homes in places where they enjoy vacationing. But then they feel pressure to spend a lot of time there to justify their investment. This can lead to stress and marital discord, if one spouse wants to spend every vacation at the second home while the other wants to spend time with family members or explore new vacation destinations.

A better bet? Use the 6% to 8% of the home’s value that you would spend in annual carrying costs on the second home and stay in a hotel or a short-term rental instead, Hummel says. If you and your spouse both still love the location after test-driving it for a few years, then you might be ready to buy.

Make Some (Good) Friends

Loneliness can damage your physical health as much as smoking, research indicates. Feeling alone may also contribute to your risk of developing dementia. (It’s thought that loneliness produces an inflammatory response in the body that’s similar to what an illness might produce.)

To combat these health risks, you need “2am friends,” Lawrence says. Not to be mistaken for Facebook friends, “2am friends” are people who, as their name suggests, you can call in crisis in the middle of the night with the expectation that they’ll pick up and do their best to help. You need at least several of these friends and your spouse, while potentially a great source of support, only counts as one, Lawrence says.

Affinity groups are a great way to develop close friends. Choose something you love to do, whether that’s reading or restoring old cars, and chances are there’s a group devoted to it near you. Check the web site for like-minded people. Volunteering is another great way to make friends; is a site that connects volunteers with worthy causes.

101 Ways to Make $1,000

Written By: Guest Contributor - Jan• 05•18



By Alicia Adamczyk, Kaitlin Mulhere, Elizabeth O’Brien and Kerri Anne Renzulli – TIME.COM

We’d all like to finish next year with a bit extra in our pockets. The good news is, when your goal is relatively modest, there are plenty of ways to get there. On the following pages you’ll find our best saving and earning ideas—each with the aim of winning you an extra $1,000 in 2018. Few of these strategies are easy, but none will require a major life change. While you are certainly free to give up your daily trip to Starbucks ($3.65 for a grande latte x 365=$1,332.25), we aren’t even going to ask you to do that.

• Rejigger Your Bills
• Lower Your Cost of Living
• Get a Gig
• Hone Your Health Care
• Eat Right
• Control Your Spending
• Cheapen Your Thrills
• Make Your Hobby Pay
• Get There For Less
• Make It In the Market
• Earn More at Work
• Make Money Off Your Stuff
• Get Ready to Retire
• Tackle Tuition
• Save as a Family

Rejigger Your Bills

Trump James Comey firing Time Magazine Cover
Cover illustration by Adam Hayes

1. Cut the cord

Tens of millions of Americans have dropped ­cable—and for good reason. The average bill hit $103 a month last year, according to the Leichtman Research Group. But there are countless streaming options. A comprehensive package would include HBO Now, Netflix, Hulu, and CBS All Access, totaling around $37 a month, or $444 a year, for a savings of ­almost $800. Go with just HBO and Net­flix and you’ll save $968.

2. Switch your cell phone plan

The average family of four’s cell phone bill adds up to about $2,880 a year. But Sprint’s prepaid Family Plan—the cheapest plan we found—is only $1,260.

3. Switch credit cards

The average household with credit card debt pays $1,292 in ­interest a year, according to NerdWallet. A balance transfer can give you a year of 0% APR to help you catch up.

4. Boost your credit score

Doing it in a year won’t be easy, but you can get there, says Greg McBride, chief ­financial analyst at Bankrate. Paying your bills on time is the first step. Also focus on keeping your “credit utilization ratio”—the amount of your credit limit you use—below 10%. Your new, higher credit score could shave as much as one percentage point off your mortgage rate in today’s market, says McBride. That will save you $1,000 a year on a $150,000 home loan.

5. Refinance student loans

On a $90,000 parent PLUS loan with a 6.6% ­interest rate, you’re shelling out $1,025 a month on a standard repayment plan. Re­finance to a private loan at 4.5% and you could save $93 a month, says Christine Roberts, head of student lending at Citizens Bank.

6. Skip the gym

The average membership costs $50 a month—and much more for boutique classes like SoulCycle. Try a free fitness group like the November ­Project, which is active in over 40 cities, or an intramural team through work. If all else fails, Janis Isaman, a nutrition coach and ­Pilates instructor based in Calgary, Alberta, recommends looking on Facebook and Craigs­list to find people nearby who also want to form an ad hoc fitness club.

Lower Your Cost of Living

7. Think about an ARM

Adjustable-rate mortgages got a bad rap during the financial crisis, but they can make a lot of sense if you aren’t planning to stay in your home long term. Right now the average 30-year rate is 4.1%, according to Bankrate, compared with just 3.6% for a five-year adjustable-rate loan. On a $300,000 mortgage, that half a percentage point should save you about $86 a month, or $1,032 a year.

8. Rethink your remodel

“When we redid our bathroom this year, we couldn’t get many contractors to return our calls for such a small project—so we scaled back our plans. We avoided major plumbing, electrical work, or anything else that would require a permit or that our handyman couldn’t handle. Instead, we had him redo all the surfaces: We subbed in new tile, faucet hardware, lighting, paint, and a new vanity. The bathroom looks brand new, but the end cost was half of the single contractor bid we did receive—a savings of more than $10,000.” —Rachel F. Elson

9. Get a roommate

As many as 14.9 million Americans live with a roommate, according to the U.S. Census. It’s easy to see why: In cities like San Francisco, a roommate can save you more than $1,000 a month, per a 2017 report from SmartAsset, a real estate website. In less expensive markets like Detroit, you’ll save over $300 a month with a roommate, totaling almost $4,000 each year.

10. Sell in May

Homes sold between May 1 and May 15 sell for about 1% more than the average listing, according to a 2017 report from Zillow, translating to an extra $1,500 in your pocket.

Get a Gig


11. Get a gig with Postmates

Delivery men and women have lots of freedom with Postmates, which allows workers to walk, bike, or drive to deliver goods and food in major cities across the U.S. Log on whenever you want. The company says that you can earn as much as $25 an hour, plus tips.

12. Get a gig with Uber

Uber drivers make an average of $15.68 an hour, according to the popular RideShareGuy blog, though that varies by city and doesn’t include the cost of maintenance or gas (Lyft drivers make even more, $17.50). Still, a few hours each week will easily net you $1,000 by year end.

13. Get a gig with TaskRabbit

If you really enjoy building Ikea furniture or don’t mind carrying a couch up three flights of stairs, you can make some serious money on TaskRabbit—about $35 an hour, on average, the company says. Many of the in-demand tasks, like installing shelves or moving furniture, require a skilled hand (or a truck), but if you have the know how you can bank a lot of extra money in your off time.

14. Take surveys

Blogger Jason Wuerch says he’s earned $10 to $15 an hour filling out online surveys. While Survey Junkie and SwagBucks are the best known, you can maximize your haul by signing up for 10 to 15 and rotating among them, focusing on each site’s most lucrative offers. (Find a list on Wuerch’s site, Spend an hour or two a few mornings each week—or work on them during your commute—and you’ll reach $1,000 by year end.

15. Test websites

Make money from home by providing feedback on new websites at sites like,, and, through which you can earn $10 per testing session. is another option that has a user fee but guarantees you’ll make $100 in your first 30 days. You won’t be eligible for every testing session, so this is a less steady stream of income than surveys, according to blogger Scott Alan Turner, but it could add up to hundreds of dollars a month.

16. Try freelancing

Whether you’re a writer, designer, or coder, you can sell your skills in your free time at sites like Upwork and Fiverr. Some of the most popular services on Fiverr’s marketplace are graphic design–oriented like creating logos, as well as copywriting and translation services, says a spokesman. Prices vary per project, from $5 for a simple WordPress bug fix to hundreds or thousands of dollars for something like website design.

17. Help Santa

Retailers hire tens of thousands of extra workers for the holidays, with some gigs paying as much as $16 an hour (although $11 to $14 is more common).

18. Mind your neighbors’ kids

Nationally, babysitters earned $13.97 an hour on average last year, according to a survey. That means by working 6 p.m. to midnight one Friday night a month you can earn $1,006.

19. Take an extra shift

For everyone from retail clerks to housekeepers, job website SnagAJob focuses on hourly work. You can search for part-time jobs and specify when you want to work, like nights or weekends.

Hone Your Health Care

Stethoscope and heart
BrianAJackson—Getty Images/iStockphoto

20. Get a high-deductible plan

Workers with health insurance through their employer pay an average family premium of $467 a month for a PPO vs. $321 for a high-deductible health plan, according to Mercer. That’s $1,752 a year in premium savings. The strategy can pay off even if you aren’t in perfect health. Just make sure you have enough cash on hand to cover your higher deductible.

21. Open and fund an HSA

Paired with high-deductible health plans, these portable accounts allow you to set aside pretax dollars for medical expenses now or in the future. A single person making $60,000 (in the 25% federal tax bracket) who puts away $288 a month in an HSA would save $863 a year in federal income taxes. Once you’re retired, you can use HSA money for Medicare premiums.

22. Deduct your health care costs

You need to itemize, and your medical costs must exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income. You can then deduct any amount you paid above that threshold. If you’re dealing with an illness or injury this year or if your income is particularly low because of retirement, job loss, or a break from work, you’re best poised to claim this deduction.

23. Sign up for a wellness program

Nearly all large employers offer wellness programs, and about three-quarters of those offer financial incentives to employees to participate. You can earn money for activities like getting your cholesterol checked or signing up for a workplace exercise program. The average employee incentive adds up to $742, according to the National Business Group on Health. Make a healthy salad for dinner instead of getting takeout a couple of times a month, and you’re up to $1,000.

24. Quit smoking

“You don’t have to be a heavy smoker to waste big bucks on the habit. In New York, the cigarette minimum is $10.50 a pack (some brands cost $14 or more), which at two packs a week carries an annual cost of $1,000. Last year, I left the smoking section for good and saved more than $900. And not a moment too soon: In 2018, the minimum price for a pack in New York City will jump to $13.” —Kristen Bahler

25. Use Groupon for wellness visits

You’ve probably already heard about Groupon’s restaurant, fitness, and beauty deals, but did you know you can also use the site for discounted eye, dental, and chiropractic exams? If you visit the chiropractor twice a month, and your insurance doesn’t pay the average $68 fee (as per Chiropractic Economics magazine), you’ll save around $1,000 by using packages advertised on Groupon—which often work out to $25 or less a visit. Just be sure to research each office on Google, Yelp, and social media beforehand. Groupon doesn’t vet its merchants, so if a business doesn’t have a solid Better Business Bureau rating and plenty of good customer reviews, it’s probably worth skipping.

26. Sign up for Medicare on time

Generally if you don’t sign up for Medicare Part B by age 65¼, your monthly premium increases by 10% for every 12-month period that you’re late. This penalty lasts as long as you have Part B. Most new beneficiaries paid $134 a month for 2017, which means that enrolling a year late will cost you $1,000 extra after just six years.

27. Shop around for Medicare Part D

Prices for medications under Part D drug plans vary widely, even within the same zip code, according to a study by the Senior Citizens League. The price of Ventolin, an inhaler used to treat asthma, varied by $119 a month, for example. Choosing carefully during open enrollment, which runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 each year, could save you $1,400 annually for that one drug.

Eat Right


courtesy of Marley Spoon US

28. Eat at home

Want restaurant-quality fare without spending the money for a meal out? Budget meal-kit services, like Dinnerly, can take the hassle out of cooking and save you money if you are willing to skip dining out. A couple spend about $3,000 a year in restaurant and takeout expenses. Dinnerly charges $38.99 for three meals a week—saving almost $1,130 a year.

29. Buy the store brand

The typical family of four with school-age children spends $1,054 a month on food, ­according to the U.S. Department of ­Agriculture. On average, store brands are 30% to 40% cheaper than ­famous name ones, says food marketing analyst Phil Lempert. That means, over the course of a year, shaving $1,000 from your ­grocery bill should be well within reach. One tip: Compare ingredients and nutritional ­information on the packages. If they are the same, chances are both products are being made by the brand-name company and are basically ­identical, according to Lempert.

30. Stop ordering alcohol when you eat out

The average menu price for an imported beer is $5, according to Numbeo. In other words, treating yourself and a date to two drinks with dinner once a week will cost you $1,040 a year. Skipping those drinks won’t just save you money, but also thousands of calories apiece.

31. Stop wasting food

The average American household throws out between $1,350 and $2,275 in food each year, according to the Natural Resources ­Defense Council.

32. Cut out meat

Vegetarians save $750 a year, according to the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition. Those figures still include plenty of pricey ingredients like olive oil. Want to save a bit more? Swap in cheaper alternatives like canola oil.

33. Pack your lunch

People who buy lunch every weekday burn through serious cash—about $2,500 a year, if you spend $10 on an average meal. Mona Meighan, author of What Are You Doing for Lunch?, estimates that brown bagging can cut your costs by 80%. You don’t even have to go that far. Swap your $10 lunch-out habit for a meal from home that costs $4, Monday through Thursday, and you will save about $1,200.

Control Your Spending

iStockphoto/Getty Images

34. Just say no to impulse buys

84% of us have bought something on a whim. Many of these purchases are $25 or less, but 54% of people say they have spent more than $100, and 20% more than $1,000, according to ­ Set up a rule, say a 24- or 48-hour hold period, before you buy anything over a certain price threshold. “We tend to provide a greater weight to current payoffs than future ones, so waiting 24 or 48 hours before making a bigger purchase is an excellent way to overcome our present bias,” says Joe Sterf, a CPA and founder of Average Joe Finance. “Instituting a holding ­period gives us time to think about the future and not impulsively react. With that extra time, we’ll be less likely to make the purchase.”

35. Use Mint

You can’t save if you don’t know how you’re spending your money. “By seeing how much money is going in vs. going out, you will be able to make better buying decisions to help reach your financial goals,” says Andrea Woroch, a consumer finance expert. Apps like Mint or PocketGuard help because they make it easy to see which needless purchases you can eliminate in the future. Woroch says most of the wiggle room will probably come from clothing, grocery, and entertainment spending.

36. Put savings on autopilot

“With Digit, you select a goal and a time frame in which to accomplish it (mine is to save $2,000 in the next year for a vacation), and the app saves small amounts of money for you. Digit has a monthly fee of $2.99 after a 100-day free trial, which is something to be aware of, but so far I’ve saved over $400 in just a few months, which I just wouldn’t have done on my own. Plus, I get daily text messages with my bank balances and how far I’m progressing toward my goal.” —Alicia Adamczyk

37. Check your banking app more often

Research by economists Shlomo Benartzi at UCLA and Yaron Levi at USC found people who downloaded a financial app looked at their account 12 times each month, compared with going to the website twice a month. The results: Spending fell 16% in the four months after people loaded the app, led by less discretionary spending. Dining out expenses dropped by 19%, and grocery bills by 21%. Annual savings on the average grocery bill alone could net you over $880.

38. Make it fun

The 52 Week Money Challenge is simple: Save an extra dollar every week of the year—$1 the first week, $2 the second week, and so on, until you reach $52 saved in the last week of the year, for a total savings of $1,378. “So many of us don’t deal with money, because we have negative associations with it,” says Kristin Wong, author of the forthcoming book Get Money, who led a similar challenge for “If you can make it fun and empowering to save money, you’re going to actually want to deal with it.”

39. Make it fun (part II)

Try a “no spend” month, or a day each week, by picking a time in which you pay bills but buy nothing except the necessities (groceries, gas, etc.). It may seem difficult, but there are plenty of forums on the web for support—try Reddit’s 12-million-­subscriber-strong ­Personal Finance subreddit, or NPR’s Your Money and Your Life Facebook group, where commenters update their “no spend” challenges daily. “Small challenges lead to small wins, and it’s ­super empowering to see that you’ve actually saved some cash,” says Wong.

Cheapen Your Thrills

40. Book holiday flights in advance

For a family of four, booking flights before Halloween saves about $1,200 on average if you are planning to travel for both Thanksgiving and Christmas or Hanukkah, based on price estimates from Hopper.

41. Drive instead of flying

Booking early doesn’t save enough? With the average cost of a roundtrip U.S. flight hovering at $367, the rule of thumb is to drive if the destination is less than 500 miles away. A family of four can save more than $1,200—even when you include an overnight stopover.

42. Shop around for lodging

For your next trip, check out a vacation rental through sites like Airbnb, VRBO, or HomeAway. A recent study found that in 16 of the top 22 cities for travelers, Airbnb stays were cheaper than hotels by an average of $56 a night. That may net only the heaviest travelers $1,000 a year. But in some cities, like London and Paris, the savings were much greater—eclipsing $100 a night. In other locations, including Toronto, Vienna, and Madrid, you could save $90 to $100 on average by renting a room in an apartment where guests share the kitchen and bathroom.

43. Stay as a family

For a weeklong vacation with kids, consider skipping a conventional hotel where you’ll have to book two rooms and instead take advantage of an ­extended stay hotel like TownePlace Suites or Candlewood Suites. On average, you’ll save $157 a night at this type of lodging—which usually includes a kitchenette and a sofa bed for the kids.

44. Play the rewards game

For frequent travelers it can pay to rack up points on a rewards card. Put all of your purchases, especially on dining and travel, on a card like Chase ­Sapphire Preferred or American Express ­Platinum, and your miles should save you $1,000 or more a year on flights.

45. Stop playing the lottery

Americans spend more than $70 billion a year on lottery tickets, well over $1,000 per household in some states like Massachusetts ($1,976) and Georgia ($1,211), according to data site Metrocosm. Your chances of winning Powerball: about 1 in 292 million.

46. Skip gadgets

The new iPhone X is priced at $999 and up. Don’t buy it.

47. Use all of your beauty products

The average American woman spends $8 a day on makeup and other skin care products, according to retailer SkinStore. The good news: Most women have plenty of unused makeup at home—more than $2,000 worth, according to beauty site

48. Get cash back

“­, a ‘cash back’ site—you can also try and ­—has become part of my online shopping routine. Many brands’ discounts are in the 2% to 3% range—hardly worth my time. But Sephora, one of my favorites, routinely offers 8% off. Next year I’m planning a family wedding—and the 23% off from could save me several hundred dollars. By shopping strategically and taking advantage of other perks ($25 for each friend I sign up) I am targeting $1,000 cash back.” —Veronica Quezada

Make Your Hobby Pay

close up view of colorful decorative handmade flowers isolated on white
LightFieldStudios—Getty Images

49. Pen greeting cards

Publishers pay anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars for a “complete concept”—the text and the idea for an illustration, says Ron Kanfi, president of gag card company NobleWorks. Carefully research the publisher ahead of time, so that you can write in the house style, then send six to 10 of your best ideas, he recommends.

50. Sell your crafts on Ebay or Etsy

Whether you cross stitch or handcraft jewelry, the trick to selling your stuff online is promoting it with frequent social media posts and beautiful photos, says Debby McClain, who operates two Etsy shops. “In a huge sea of sellers, you have to make sure you are seen,” adds McClain, who has sold crafts online for 19 years.

51. Become a high school referee

Youth sports officials make around $20 a game, says Barry Mano, president of the National Association of Sports Officials. High school referees can earn between $50 and $70, while college game pay starts at over $100. As an initial step, join your local officials association, which will provide training, and begin scheduling games.

52. Sing in a choir

Many churches and synagogues pay singers to perform as part of their regular ensemble or for special events. While rates vary, common listings offer anywhere from $50 to $200 for each practice and performance. The easiest way to find such gigs in your area: Reach out to local institutions, and search online ads such as those at

Get There For Less

53. Get some carpool buddies

At $3.08 a gallon—the five-year national average for gas—a 25 mile commute costs about $2,000 annually in gas alone. And while gas prices have been low recently, gas price researcher GasBuddy predicts they will go up in 2018. By alternating the days you drive to work, you stand to save roughly $1,000—and that’s before you factor in tolls, depreciation, and any parking costs. Bring in a third buddy, and the savings climb to $1,300.

54. Scale back on car insurance

Check the value of your car via Kelley Blue Book. If you’re driving an older model that is worth less than 10 times your insurance premium, consider dropping comprehensive and ­collision coverage, ­suggests the Insurance Information Institute, which could save you between $375 and $1,500 a year on that item alone, ­the group estimates. And always shop around for a new policy: According to J.D. Power, consumers who switched insurers saved an average of $388 in 2015.

55. Wait a year

These days the average car is on the road for more than 11 years, up from nine in 2000, ­according to the Transportation Department. Resisting the urge to trade in for a newer model will easily save $1,000 in payments.

56. Improve your mileage

Keeping your tires inflated could save you $112 a year in gas money, according to one survey by Edmunds—or as much as $800 if they’re severely deflated. Additionally, aggressive driving can lower your gas mileage by anywhere from 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic, according to SAE International, an auto industry trade association. With the average American estimated to spend more than $1,500 on gas this year, that’s another $156 to $624 in your pocket.

57. Buy a ‘dark horse’ car

Buying the most popular model of a vehicle—commonly a Honda or Toyota—may mean you’re paying more than you need to, according to car site Edmunds. There are often comparable, less popular vehicles that cost much less after cash-back incentives.

58. Be very patient

“We broke down and bought a new car this summer, but only after three months of waiting out dealerships. We wanted a Honda Pilot, and dealers had plenty of models, but all with extra features we didn’t want and which cost $5,000 to $7,000 more. So instead we waited. Two dealers eventually got the base model we were looking for—and one offered to sell it for $1,000 less than the other.” —Brad Tuttle

59. Sign up for pretax transit programs if offered by your employer

Do you spend up to $255 for parking and/or transit a month? For someone making $37,950 to $91,900, that translates into savings of more than $750. If you park and ride, or make more than $91,900, you can easily surpass $1,000.

Make It In the Market

iStockphoto/Getty Images

60. Trade your broker for a robo-advisor

Ditching your human advisor can save you some money if you’re comfortable with an online, technology-first solution. Robo-advisors like Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and WiseBanyan don’t charge a fee to manage your money, compared with the 1.1% fee, on average, charged by human advisors. If you have $100,000 saved up in your retirement piggy bank, switching could easily net you an extra $1,000 a year.

61. Index your 401(k)

The average actively managed stock fund charges investors 1.02% of assets a year, according to Morningstar. Popular large-cap index funds, including versions from Vanguard and Fidelity, routinely charge less than 0.1%.

62. Get your dividends abroad

Sick of U.S. stock funds’ anemic 0.8% average yield? International stock funds boast 1.7%.

63. Harvest your losses, part 1

If you sell now and lock in the loss, you can count it against gains realized on your winners. You can’t buy back the loser for 30 days, but you can buy something similar, a large company stock fund, say, instead of a midcap one. Workers making $37,950 to $418,400 (15% capital gains bracket) will save $1,000 for every $6,667 in gains they offset.

63. Harvest your losses, part 2

If your market losses exceed your gains, you can also deduct up to $3,000 of capital losses from your income. You need to make more than $190,000 to net $1,000. But even if you earn $91,900 to $191,650 you will still save $840.

65. Invest in value stocks

Boost your investment returns by tilting your stock portfolio toward small value stocks, which tend to outperform blue-chip names over the long haul. Just remember it’s not a free lunch. Small value stocks tend to be more volatile, meaning steeper bear market drops.

Earn More at Work

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66. Get your boss to hire your buddy

“Most companies will give you a referral bonus if you recommend someone for a job and the company does indeed hire her. The most common referral bonus is between $1,000 and $2,500, according to a 2016 report from WorldatWork, a nonprofit human resources association. (Referrals for clerical positions are typically lower, from $500 to $1,000, the report found.) In 2015 an average of 13% of new hires came from referrals. I recommended a friend from my college paper. She got hired just as I was moving apartments, and the bonus paid for the movers and some new furniture.” —Alicia Adamczyk

67. Provide social support

While you may think getting a raise is the key to making you happier, research suggests it actually happens the other way around: Fostering a positive attitude in your day-to-day work could help you move up in your company or land a big project. According to the Harvard Business Review, an easy way to do so could be through simply helping your coworkers. A 2011 study found that people who coordinated lunches and organized office activities were 10 times as engaged at work—and 40% more likely to get a promotion (and a raise)—as those who didn’t.

68. Look elsewhere

Job switchers averaged a 4.5% wage increase in 2017, according to ADP. Workers between the ages of 25 to 34 in full-time jobs saw their wages increase the most. Chris Martin, lead data analyst for compensation data company PayScale, says a lot comes down to your job—those in “hot markets,” like software development, will likely see an increase if they switch, while pay for administrative assistants depends on how long they have been with a certain company.

69. Exercise

A recent study by Cleveland State economist Vasilios Kosteas found that frequent exercise led to 6% higher pay for men and 10% higher pay for women, on average. Kosteas attributes the wage ­increase to a boost in productivity that results from hitting the gym routinely.

70. Job hunting? Save receipts

If you’re looking for a new gig in the same line of work, you can deduct search-related expenses, from résumé prep to travel costs like mileage and lodging to job placement or employment agency fees. The only catch? First-time job hunters, those looking for a position in a different occupation, and those with a large gap between the end of their last job and their current search don’t qualify.

71. Get a cost of living increase

In some cases, earning an extra grand could be as simple as doing nothing but continuing at your current job. Salaries are expected to increase 3.2% on average next year, according to the Economic Research Institute, meaning if you make the average U.S. wage of $49,630, you’ll bank almost $1,590.

72. Get a merit raise

Consider yourself a top performer? In recent years more and more companies have been favoring merit raises as a way to get the most out their employees, according to payroll company ADP. The average merit raise for full-time job holders was 4.3% in 2017—or $2,134 for the average earner.

Make Money Off Your Stuff

73. Rent out your house

Though not everyone has extra space to rent out, those who do can earn a decent amount of money via platforms like Airbnb. “I pulled in over $800 a month—all from renting out a spare room that was getting no use,” says Kevin Han, who writes the Financial Panther blog. Earnest, a lending company, reports that Airbnb hosts make an average of $924 a month, although the median, which may reflect a more typical experience, is $440.

74. Rent your home for 14 days or less

Cash in on a tax exemption by renting your house for two weeks or less. Doing this keeps you from having to pay taxes on any of the income from your short-term rental. Go up to a 15th day and you’ll owe taxes on the whole sum you earned from all rental days. This move can be a major boon to your budget if you live in an area that hosts ­popular annual sporting events like a major golf tournament, says Draper, Utah, CPA Troy Lewis.

75. Rent your car

Similar to Airbnb, sites like Getaround and Turo provide marketplaces where individuals can rent out their vehicles. Again, how much you make will depend on your car: A Honda Civic can earn over $367 a month, according to data provided by Turo, while the average monthly earnings for all users is $539, which accounts for insurance costs.

76. Rent your boat

You don’t have to have a super-yacht. Catamarans, sailboats, motorboats, and even kayaks are in demand. Renting your bowrider in Miami could earn you $39 an hour, while a weeklong rental of a deck boat in Seattle could net you $5,000, according to listings on GetMyBoat.

77. Rent everything else

There’s no shortage of sites that want to be the Airbnb for your other stuff. On ShareGrid, professional photographers offer gear for as much as $1,000 a month. If you have a parking space or driveway in a city like Chicago or New York, CurbFlip and JustPark help you find renters—about a third of parking space owners earn $1,000 a year or more, according to CurbFlip. Omni is a San Francisco–based company that stores your extra stuff—from bikes to camping gear to Halloween costumes—and rents it out for you if you opt in.

78. Hold a garage sale

“Of course it’s possible to make $1,000 at a yard sale,” says author Chris Heiska. Her tips: Make sure to advertise properly, and if your home is in a remote area, consider renting out space at a location with more foot traffic, such as a local church or synagogue.

Get Ready to Retire

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79. Avoid the procrastination penalty

It may not seem like much at first, but if you were to fund your IRA on Jan. 1 of each year—and not wait until the IRS deadline on April 17 of the following year—that 15½ months of additional tax-free compounding will boost your nest egg by around $30,000 in additional savings after 30 years, or $1,000 a year.

80. Get a bonus from your retirement account

For middle-income savers, squirreling away money in a retirement account like an IRA, 401(k), or 403(b) can result in big benefits not only for your retirement but also your tax bill. You can claim a saver’s credit for such contributions equal to either 50%, 20%, or 10% of the total you put in this year up to $2,000 (or $4,000 if married, filing jointly) depending on income.

81. Put off taking Social Security from 66 to 67

Each year you wait to start collecting Social Security checks, your benefit grows by 6.5% to 8%. If your monthly benefit was $1,300 at 66—the average for that age—waiting one more year will result in $104 more each month or about $1,248 in total for the year.

82. Get your company match

Most large employers now automatically enroll employees in 401(k) plans, but about a fifth of workers still don’t participate, according to Vanguard. Even agreeing to sock away 1% to 2% of your salary each year can easily net you $1,000, considering most plans boost your contributions with a match—worth up to 4% of your salary, on average.

83. Defy the default

Merely being enrolled in a 401(k) is a great first step. But it’s not enough to secure your retirement (or maybe even get the full match). A majority of employers auto-enroll workers at a savings rate of 3% or less, Vanguard reports. Up that to 6% and you’ll finish the year with an extra $1,000—plus a lot of peace of mind.

84. Seniors, use age-related tax breaks

Owning a home past age 65 comes with a host of state tax perks. In nearly every state, tax exemptions can lower your home’s assessed value. Most states offer “circuit breaker” credits to give pensioners back some of the real estate taxes they have already paid throughout the year. And finally, in more than 40 states, seniors can capitalize on limits to annual increases in their property’s assessed value, caps on property tax rates, or freezes on assessments.

Tackle Tuition

85. Fill out a FAFSA

About 60% of high school seniors filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid last year, according to the National College Access Network. But every college-bound senior should be filling out the form. Why? It’s the gateway to billions of dollars awarded in federal and state grants each year, including the Pell Grant for low-income families. The average Pell Grant is about $3,700 a year.

86. Don’t overlook community scholarships

These tend to be less competitive than larger national ones, and checks worth $500 to $1,000 a semester can add up quickly. Start by looking at nearby Rotary clubs, veterans groups, American Association of University Women chapters, Elks clubs, and church groups. Ask your high school’s guidance office for more ideas.

87. Ditch your dorm

Room and board now cost more than tuition and fees at public four-year colleges, according to the College Board. Reduce the average $10,800 expense by searching for bargains off campus. Even better? Look for a co-op, where residents do weekly chores in return for lower rent. The North American Students of Cooperation says this option can save 20% to 50% off the cost of private market rent in your college town.

88. Get your employer to pitch in

Many large companies offer up to $5,250 a year in tax-free tuition reimbursement. That money can pay for part of a second degree or for one-off courses to develop skills in high-demand areas like coding, data analytics, or entrepreneurship. Even if your employer doesn’t have an official program, ask your boss about subsidizing your training. Make sure your pitch includes program costs, an outline of what you’ll learn, and how that will ultimately pay dividends for your team.

89. Hit the books overseas

“Considering study-abroad programs? Think about going as a foreign exchange student instead. While you may get less handholding, you can avoid the hefty program costs and even tuition in some countries. In college, I attended the University of Southern Denmark through an exchange program. Because higher education is free in Denmark, I spent only $5,000 for five months of housing, food, transportation, and other necessities—less than a third of the $18,000 the International Institute of Education estimates the average study-abroad experience costs per semester.” —Megan Leonhardt

90. Take the American Opportunity Tax Credit

Recoup tuition costs by cutting up to $2,500 off your tax bill. Don’t owe that much? You can have 40% of the remaining amount, or up to $1,000, refunded to you. One catch: You can use this credit only for a student’s first four years of college.

91. Take the Lifetime Learning Credit

Offset 20% of the first $10,000 of qualified education expenses you or your family rack up and reduce your tax bill by up to $2,000. The best part: This break can be applied to any courses at an eligible school that go toward a degree or credential, or simply to improve job skills—and there is no limit on the number of years you can use the credit. To qualify, your modified adjusted gross income must be below $65,000 for single filers or $131,000 or less for married joint filers.

92. Deduct your student loans

Deduct up to $2,500 of interest paid if your modified gross income is below $65,000 for singles or $135,000 for joint filers. Singles earning up to $80,000 ($165,000 for couples) can claim a partial deduction. This means the most you can expect to save each year is $625. Still, if you hit the max, you can stretch the savings a bit by signing up for auto­pay with your loan servicer, which should shave 0.25% from your interest rate, netting an extra $10 to $15 a month for heavy borrowers.

Save as a Family

93. Potty train your kid

With diapers costing 33¢ a pop (Pampers, size 5, on, for example) you can easily save $1,000 by potty training your child at age 2 instead of 3. As recently as the late 1950s most Americans did this, and parents in many other countries still do, says Michelle Swaney, who runs the website

94. Share baby-sitting duties

Set up a local babysitting co-op. Amy Suardi, the mother of five behind the blog Frugal Mama, says aim to enlist about five families, at least at the start. It’s “kind of like a fire,” she says. “You have to fan the flames a lot in the beginning to get it going.”

95. Say no to the wedding

Average cost to attend an out-of-town ­wedding: $1,184 per couple, says American Express. Take the newlyweds to a Champagne dinner instead, suggests relationship ­expert April Masini.

96. Hire an au pair

The average weekly cost for a nanny: $556, says Willing to try someone with a bit less experience who perhaps speaks a foreign language? You can save about $200 a week with an au pair, according to the website.

97. Get discounts on kids’ sports

Activities like gymnastics can easily top $1,000 a year. But you don’t always have to pay full freight. “Call and ask,” says Elisabeth Leamy, host of the Easy Money podcast. “It’s not always on the website.” Leagues that don’t offer aid may still know about government grants. Local city councils near Leamy’s home in the D.C. suburbs offer grants for both low-income and military kids, she says.

98. Wedding tip #1: Change days

“If a venue costs $7,000 on a Saturday, you can most likely negotiate [to lower] that price on a Friday, a Sunday, or a Thursday,” says Norfolk wedding planner Crystal Salazar. For instance, the Kimpton Hotel Eventi in New York City offers promotional packages discounted for weddings on Fridays and Sundays by $36 to $66 per person—meaning for weddings of 100 guests, this could save you $3,600 or more.

99. Wedding tip #2: Cut back on flowers

Flowers can cost upward of $5,000, according to ­ Lower your bill by hanging colored linens on the walls and tables, then combining the flowers you do buy with eclectic vases or a centerpiece, says San ­Diego wedding planner Nahid Farhoud. Doing so can save about $2,000 for weddings of 100 to 200 guests.

100. Wedding tip #3: Serve wine and beer

Mixed drinks typically cost $10 to $12 at the bar, while beer costs $6 and wine around $8, according to Farhoud. That means for a wedding with 150 guests, skipping hard liquor can easily save you about $1,000, assuming three drinks per guest. Another tip: Serve tap water instead of bottled—which can run up to $6 a pop at high end venues.

101. Hire an accountant

“As a personal finance writer I always took pride in doing my own taxes. But my wife is a priest, which adds a lot of complexity. A pro cost us several hundred dollars, but he not only handled my wife’s situation, he also pointed out deductions I missed—like my union dues.” —Ian Salisbury