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The best recent personal finance articles

#FinLit Month 2016 best articles
May 04, 2016

By Pam Leibfried

Today, I’m sharing a few of the best personal finance articles that I read during April, which was national Financial Literacy Month.

The 30 Day Money Challenge 

The 30-Day Money Challenge, with a different financial task announced each day of the month, was published throughout April on Money magazine’s website.  Although the challenge was designed for younger consumers who are “personal finance novices,” many of the tasks are beneficial to everyone. For example, I’m long past Millennial age, but the challenge inspired me to review and negotiate discounts for some recurring bills and reminded me that it had been a while since I’d reviewed my credit report. My favorite statement about the #Money30 Challenge was this: “Maintaining a healthy financial life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon…think of this challenge as your first 5k.”

Looking to vacation or retire in another country? 

If you’re thinking of retiring to live in another country where your retirement nest egg might stretch a little farther, you should check out the list of the 50 cheapest countries that was published by GoBankingRates. And even if you’re not thinking of an international retirement, you might still get some great ideas for economical vacation destinations!  

Cutting your grocery spending 

The headline here might seem intimidating at first glance:  The 81 Best Tips for Saving Big at the Grocery Store. But it’s really not a single, loooong article with 81 tips, so don’t be afraid to click through! It’s part of WiseBread’s Flashback Friday series, so it’s a compilation of links to a few older articles on grocery shopping tactics. You can skim the various article descriptions within this summary and click through only on the ones that interest you. For example, if you don’t buy organic produce, just skip the article about which organics aren’t worth the extra money.   

Following a Brangelina budget?

Few of us will ever bring in the big bucks that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie earn as movie stars, but one of my favorite budgeting blogs, Budgets Are Sexy, recently called out an interview in which Jolie talked about the budgeting and saving rule that she follows. Her budget? Live on one-third of her income, save one-third and give away one-third. Although some incomes would make that very challenging, striving to save one-third of your income is a good goal for all of us.  

Borrowing from retirement accounts

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about using your Roth IRA as a backup emergency fund, but what are the criteria you should look at when considering borrowing from your retirement accounts? Wisebread recommends five questions you should ask yourself before you take money out of any retirement account.  

Changing your mindset about money 

Danielle Howard wrote a great column in Colorado’s Post Independent newspaper sharing an insightful tip for changing your mindset about money goals and tasks. She describes how changing the way you talk and think about money and financial to-dos can help you complete your money goals. Rather than saying/thinking that you “should do” or “have to do” something, try an outlook that is more intentional and say/think that you “get to” or “choose to” do something. Howard says this mindset change puts you “in a position of power” and can make the difference between saying you want to do something and actually doing it.  

Pam Leibfried is a marketing content specialist whose love of words led to a writing and editing career. After a brief stint teaching English, she transitioned to corporate communications and spent 20 years at The Nielsen Company before joining Alliant’s content development team. Early in her work life, Pam’s friend Matt explained the benefits of a 401(k) and her dad encouraged her to start a Roth IRA. Their good counsel prompted her to prioritize retirement savings, which just might enable her to retire early so she can read more and live out the slogan on her fave T-shirt:  “I have a retirement plan: I plan on quilting.”   

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