Posts by Mandi Woodruff

  • These RV-riding retirees will make you incredibly jealous of their life on the road

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 1 day ago

    Carroll and Basil Melnyk decided 12 years ago that they didn't want to retire when they were too old to enjoy life. Carroll, who was 56 at the time, had worked more than 30 years as a teacher and college professor, and Basil, 55, was a mechanical engineer in their hometown of Lubbock, Texas.

    “We knew that things for our families had not worked out health-wise as they aged and we knew that we wanted to travel,” says Carroll, now 68. “So we got out the old spreadsheet, took a look at our finances and decided that whether we worked another five years or not, it wouldn’t make a big difference.”

    So the couple sold their 4,000-square-foot home, gave their friends and family first dibs on their furniture and sold the rest of their belongings in a massive garage sale. They packed what was left into a U-Haul truck and drove to Key Largo, Fla to visit their daughter. Shortly after that, they purchased a 29-foot trailer and an old pick-up truck and took off.

    Click here to see photos from their life on the road >

    Managing finances on the road

    ‘We don’t sit around’

    One destination at a time

    --

  • RV-riding retirees

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 2 days ago
  • What really happens if you don't pay your taxes?

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 2 days ago

    We are taking your burning personal finance questions at Ask Yahoo Finance .

    This week, Yahoo reader Rebecca asked: “ Last year I tried to file my taxes on Turbo Tax, however, when it came to the end, it told me I owed $800 to the state and $900 federally. I did not have the money then [and] after a very long and stressful year of continuously putting off this problem due to other issues I am now panicking. What do I do?”

    --

    Rebecca, you certainly aren't alone. American taxpayers came up $385 billion short on income taxes they owed in 2006, according to a 2013 study by the IRS.

    While there can be a lot of guilt associated with falling behind on your taxes or simply not filing your tax return at all,  the good news is that it doesn’t automatically make you a criminal. But the longer you wait to make things right, the more your procrastination will cost you.

    Here’s a rundown of what fees you can expect if you don’t file your taxes:

  • Money Minute: What do you do when you find out your coworker earns more than you?

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 3 days ago

    Don’t be bitter. Be rational. Do they have special training or skills that you don’t? Did they negotiate when they were hired? You may not like it, but maybe they deserve a higher pay grade. Rather than reacting emotionally, try to think of rational ways that you can prove to your manager that you are a member of the team that he or she should be investing more in. If you make yourself truly indispensable to your company, trust me — the money should soon follow.

    More from Mandi:

  • How these 5 Americans planned their perfect retirement abroad

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 3 days ago

    Now that Americans are living longer than ever than ever before, more retirees are choosing tomove abroadafter they leave the workforce. In 2013, the Social Security Administration sent benefit checks to more than 373,000 retirees living outside the U.S., up from 307,000 in 2008.

    As far as choosing the perfect destination for your golden years, the options are practically endless. If you receive Social Security benefits, you can still get your check in just about every country in the world (with a few exceptions) . Some countries offer perks specifically aimed at attracting expat retirees, like Ecuador, which peddles discounts on everything from public transportation to flights. And Panama gives expats a break on utilities and offers a special visa that allows anyone receiving a monthly pension to live there permanently.

     

    Richard Wold, 57

     

  • Baby limbo: Millennials struggle to find the right time for parenthood

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 8 days ago

    Mandy Wallace, 30, never doubted who she would wind up with. She was a teenager when she met her high school sweetheart, Nathan, 31, in their hometown of Bakersfield, Calif. By the time they graduated college in 2009, both with degrees in English, they were already married.

    They had talked about having children for years, but with graduation came an unwelcome reality check: a combined $60,000 worth of student loan debt.

    “It was paralyzing thinking about how we'd manage to give kids everything they deserved [with this debt],” says Wallace, a fiction writer and writing coach. “It's enough to make me wonder why anyone feels safe having kids at all.”

    Like many other recession-era millennials, she and Nathan decided to put off parenthood for a few years, following a trend that, along with an apparent lack of interest in homeownership, some have worried might stymie economic growth.

    Stuck in limbo

    But how do you know you’re ready to have a kid?

    1.  Practice living off of one salary for at least a year.

    2. Make lifestyle adjustments now, not later.

  • Get a pro to help fill out your FAFSA for free

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 10 days ago

    With 100 questions – twice as many as the typical income tax form  —  the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be intimidating to parents and college hopefuls alike. Screw it up, and you could miss your best shot at getting loans, need-based grants and some merit-based grants that could help bankroll your child’s college education.

    For a couple hundred bucks, you could hire a professional to take care of the form on your behalf. But don’t open your wallet just yet. The three-month period between January and March is the best time for families to find free help.

    Thirty-four states are participating in College Goal Sunday this year, a program that provides hundreds of free college planning events for parents and high school students. At more than 1,000 events running through March, states will deploy college aid experts, school counselors and financial planners to walk families through the FAFSA process.

    Timing is everything

    --

  • 3 lies millennials tell themselves about investing

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 16 days ago

    Your 20s and 30s have the potential to be some of the most powerful investing years of your life. With decades of working years ahead of you, the sooner you start investing in your future, the happier and wealthier you’ll be when you’re finally ready to kick back and relax.

    And yet, we tend to let a few convenient lies get in the way.

    1. I need to buy stocks in individual companies.

    One of the pitfalls of newbie investors is their tendency to pick individual stocks, despite the fact that reams of research have demonstrated that investing in individual stocks isn’t a solid strategy.

    In a recent analysis of its users’ behavior, Openfolio , a site where investors can privately and publicly share their investment holdings, found that younger investors’ tendency to bet on individual stocks doesn’t pay off in the long run.

    Younger millennials (18-25) put nearly 60% of their portfolios in individual stock and 40% in mutual funds, and their returns were a paltry 2.37% in 2014.

  • 5 ways to maximize retirement savings in your 20s and 30s

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 18 days ago

    Saving for retirement in your 20s and 30s can feel a lot like trying to build a three-story house with toothpicks. You may have dutifully signed up for a 401(k) or IRA and are socking away as much as you can stomach. But with report after report seemingly spelling doom for America's future retirees, you might start to wonder whether you should go beyond saving in a traditional 401(k) or IRA.

    If you’ve taken the first step and are contributing to a retirement fund, there are ways to maximize your savings potential —  especially if you’ve got extra cash to burn. It’s all about strategy. 

    1. You won't get far on a cash-only savings plan. 

    According to a recent survey by Bankrate.com, millennials are three times more likely than other generations to choose cash over stocks as their preferred long-term investment.

  • 5 ways to cure a holiday debt hangover

    Mandi Woodruff at Yahoo Finance 19 days ago

    That queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach after the holidays may have more to do with your credit card bill than all that Champagne you knocked back on New Year's Eve.

    In a recent Yahoo poll, nearly 70% of readers said they used credit cards to pay for their holiday shopping this year. Unless you got a fat wad of cash from Santa, you’re probably kicking off 2015 in a world of debt.

    But don’t worry. With these tips, you’ll be debt-free in no time.

    1. Get real about your debt.

    Check out your credit card statements and take stock of what you owe. Just try not to freak out.

    Figure out what you can afford to pay. Add up your fixed expenses  -- like rent, car insurance or your student loan payments. Then add up stuff that’s more flexible, like groceries and gas. Once you’ve got your tally, subtract all of these expenses from your monthly income. Or, make it easy and use a site like Mint or Learnvest, which do all that work for you.

    If you’ve got cash left over, awesome! That cash can be used to start paying off your credit debt, and you’re on your way to debt freedom. If you don’t, you’ve either got to find ways to cut those costs OR bring in extra cash.

    3. Kick bad money habits.