Home Insurance Premiums Rising

My friend, Jeff, texted me last week asking for an insurance agent reference. He just got his homeowners insurance premium estimate for the coming year and it was up a whopping +29% higher than what he paid last year – which was +23% higher than two years ago! I haven’t gotten my new home insurance estimate yet, but we are definitely going to competitively shop … Continue reading Home Insurance Premiums Rising

What is Your Household’s Largest Budget Item?

Mr. FireStation has been tied up with a family emergency over the last week. Coincidentally, regular reader, “Klaus” Wentzel offered to step in with a post, which was great. Klaus and I have never actually met in real life, but he often shares very insightful comments. This post is based on one of his observations from a couple years ago that is relevant today. Thanks, … Continue reading What is Your Household’s Largest Budget Item?

Wait, Sign What?

We’re back in Florida for our fourth year snowbirding from cold Minnesota. We toured models at the giant Latitudes Margaritaville/ Daytona Beach development yesterday. A weird thing happened when they asked us where we were from. Being from Minnesota, we had to sign an “Out-Of-State Non-Solicitation Affidavit” to acknowledge that we arrived “voluntarily”. What? Yes, apparently it is against Minnesota law for a Florida developer … Continue reading Wait, Sign What?

A Bad Year, A Good Place …

I spent the evening of New Year’s Day (observed) tallying up the ugliness of our 2022 year-end financial performance. The returns weren’t great. Not at all. It looks like our retirement savings took a huge dive. Our retirement nest egg fell a whopping -16.9%. That’s much worse than I had imagined. Our losses were all centered in the plunge in our equities. The S&P 500 … Continue reading A Bad Year, A Good Place …

Inadequate Advice for Saving

It’s as if the financial press WANTS people to be poorly prepared for a happy retirement. This chart from CNBC – dubiously thought of as a business channel – suggests the amount of savings people should have at different ages before retirement. A friend sent it to me a while ago and I think it’s simply terrible. First, the chart starts with the frequent financial … Continue reading Inadequate Advice for Saving

Ignorant Is No Way To Go Through Life

Northwestern Mutual just published their 2022 Retirement Planning & Progress study. It’s not a surprise that people are quite worried about the huge drop in their retirement accounts & soaring inflation over the last year. As a result, people are concerned their savings are way behind. Still, this chart was quite surprising to me. It shows that almost one-half of Americans have no idea how … Continue reading Ignorant Is No Way To Go Through Life

IRS Changes Don’t Keep Up With Inflation

With inflation (CPI) running a hot 8.3% for the twelve months ended in August, the Federal Government is busy adjusting numerous spending & tax parameters for the new year. Social Security is leading the way with a 8.7% cost-of-living adjustment for 2023. Here are some of the other changes due to inflation: IRS tax bracket “break points” are going up 7.0%, on average. The standard … Continue reading IRS Changes Don’t Keep Up With Inflation

Fight Those Vampire Fees!

With Halloween in the air this month, perhaps it’s fitting that regular reader and disciplined dividend investor, Klaus Wentzel, sent me this outstanding case study in fighting ‘Vampire Fees’. You know, those hidden fees and billing changes that companies increasingly tack onto our routine bills? Klaus has had extraordinary success in getting into the details of his monthly bills and uncovering hundreds of dollars in … Continue reading Fight Those Vampire Fees!