When the holiday season hits full swing, retailers do whatever they can to attract online shoppers—free shipping, easy returns, coupons and bargains on things for your favorite foodie or your animal lover. Online shopping “holidays” like Cyber Monday have been rivaling and beating brick-and-mortar sales in many industries. Unfortunately, increased online activity entices scam artists, putting your personal information at risk. Learning how to prevent identity theft is key for safe shopping over the holidays and all year.
Here are six online shopping safety tips you can use to protect your identity while finding the perfect holiday gifts.
Know your vendors
Thwart cyber attacks by shopping on sites you know and trust. Make sure you get to them through a reputable search engine, like Google, or by typing in the URL directly. Online con artists are skilled at making web destinations look and feel like a familiar or legitimate retail sites. This is something to be particularly aware of when clicking on links in emails. As a rule of thumb, make sure the URL looks legitimate and isn’t made up of multiple long strings of numbers and letters. If you’re planning on using your phone for holiday shopping, consider downloading apps from each vendor so you know you’re going straight to the source.
Confirm the site’s security
There are two ways to verify a website’s security. First, examine the URL in the address bar of your browser. If it starts with https://, the site is designed with added security in mind. Nowadays, all sites should be moving to be https, especially if they’re selling products online.
Another security indicator is an icon that looks like a lock that appears either next to the URL or in the bottom corner of your web browser. This universal symbol informs shoppers the site is safe. If you can’t find either marker, your web browser may be doing the verification work for you. Online browsers such as Chrome and Firefox will now warn you before making a purchase from – or even visiting – a non-secure site.
Avoid unknown networks
Restrict online-shopping to your home computer, rather than using a public network. You can run regular virus checks and updates on your hardware, but you can’t be sure a community computer or network is secure. Plus, a network used by the masses is generally not a safe place to share your credit card information.
If you must buy on the go, consider using a personal VPN to encrypt your transmission data, or at the very least, stick with known wireless networks. And always shield any personal information from prying eyes.
Opt for credit over debitWhile not everyone can be trusted to use credit cards wisely, credit cards do offer a level of fraud protection that you may not get using debit cards. In addition, credit card providers will likely notice identity theft activity even before you do.
If you’re worried about getting into debt, shop instead with a cash-loaded disposable gift card. There’s no fraud protection, but there is also no connection to your personal information. Plus, it can also help you stick to your budget.
Don’t store payment information
Decline vendor offers to keep your credit card information stored in their system. It may save time, but it’s risky in the long run. As evidence by recent years, data breaches are common, even among the largest retailers. Stored information could compromise your identity in such a breach.
This can also be a good move for your budget, as it’s very easy to make impulse buys when payment data is already stored. Entering payment information by hand helps make you more aware of exactly what you’re spending.
Use a reputable third party to handle transactions
Using a third party program like PayPal, ApplePay or GooglePay can be a useful way to add an extra level of security to online purchases. It prevents vendors from actually having your credit card number.
That being said, other third party payment apps, like Venmo or SquareCash, should only be used to pay people you know and trust—especially since they connect directly to your checking account.
Make it a safe season
In addition to assuring your online shopping security, remember to take precautionary measures offline too, when shopping at the local mall or retail store. Always be aware of your wallet or purse, be cautious entering your PIN at the ATM and cash register, and leave your Social Security card at home.
Give yourself a gift of peace of mind. Identity theft coverage can help protect your vital information, and keep you from having to spend countless hours trying to restore your credit.
All cars have four wheels, so what exactly differentiates four-wheel drive from other driving systems? Four-wheel drive (4WD) refers to vehicles in which the engine powers all four wheels at the same time. These 4WD cars often allow drivers to switch from two- to four-wheel drive as conditions require. If you like going off-road for an adventurous drive in the thick of nature, the 4WD setting is for you.
“The byproduct of seeing nature this way is that you gain respect for it,” says Bruce Elfstrom, the CEO of Overland Experts, a Connecticut-based off-road driving school.
It’s not all about going rough and tumble, though. Many feel 4WD vehicles are also better in bad weather conditions, such as rain, snow and ice. But don’t let the added grip make you overconfident. Instead, Elfstrom offers the following guidance for safe 4WD handling:
Stay in the no-spin zone
While traction is generally much better with 4WD, you still need to be sure to maintain it while being careful about spinning. “The grip needs to remain spread to all wheels, if possible,” Elfstrom says. “To accomplish this, go soft on the throttle and give power gently. It’s like walking on ice.”
Maintain personal space
Here’s a disadvantage of 4WD vehicles: They weigh more than two-wheel-drive vehicles, and thus are slower to stop. Allow ample distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you. “Aggressive drivers end up in accidents long before drivers with forethought and finesse,” Elfstrom says.
Give your vehicle some room
Don’t tailgate. If you can read the license plate in front of you at anything faster than 45 mph, you’re too close. Keeping distance between your 4WD vehicle and the vehicles ahead enables you to avoid slamming on the brakes. With 4WD, the brakes will lock up in this situation for just a second, even if you have an anti-lock braking system, and you could lose any grip that you had. “This means your vehicle becomes a sled,” Elfstrom says. “It’s out of control. Instead of slamming, brake softly over a long distance before turning a corner. Always assume you’re about to lose traction.”
Focus on the vehicles ahead of you to anticipate and avoid collisions, especially if you require more time and distance to stop. “A driver has to drive for others around them,” Elfstrom says. “Not everyone has the same reaction time as you, or can see as well as you, or has the same pulling power as you.”
Accidents happen. Learn how Nationwide Accident Forgiveness can help offset the rate increase that would occur after an accident. Ask your agent about adding coverage to your Nationwide policy.
It’s no secret that most car enthusiasts enjoy displaying their passion for all things automotive. From calendars and clocks to accent furniture, many classic car lovers incorporate that interest into everything from the clothes they wear to their home décor.
If you’re shopping for gifts for a classic car lover, the hardest part might be finding something that they don’t already have. Here’s some classic car-themed gift ideas that will delight any auto enthusiast.
Cuff links that celebrate the need for speed
Your classic car-loving friend loves displaying their devotion to their preferred automaker or car parts distributor. If you really want to help them wear their passion on their sleeve, surprise them with a pair of cufflinks shaped like a classic car or a speedometer. Today’s speedometers might be digital displays, but vintage car lovers can appreciate this blast from the past.
An engine-themed ensemble
Gift them something fun to wear to the next collectors’ meetup — and encourage them to bring their little one along for the adventure. A set of comfortable T-shirts emblazoned with large line drawings of engines makes a fun gift for a grown-up classic car enthusiast and their young car collector in training. Available in adult and child sizes bearing big and small block engines, these gray, raglan-style shirts with navy sleeves are the perfect gifts for a car fan’s wardrobe. In addition to looking great, these shirts help keep future drivers safe — all proceeds are donated to provide car seats to families in need.
Fast and fantastic furniture
If you have a muscle car fan who also happens to enjoy a round or two of pool, a billiards table may be the gift to end all gifts. Look for a regulation-size table that’s actually molded from a real collector’s car. Some models available include the 1959 Chevy Corvette, 1965 Ford Mustang, 1969 Camaro and Shelby GT 350. Everything that people love about each car is meticulously reproduced, from the gleaming grilles with their iconic headlights to details that might include full-size whitewall tires with steel rims and chrome covers.
They don’t make engines like they used to, and any classic car lover can remind you that yesteryear’s engines were works of art. They can display that art in an imaginative way with a metallic silver engine block coffee table. Made from a cast iron block with pistons and heads permanently attached, this unique addition to any game room, den or man cave is topped with a piece of tempered glass to make a stunning coffee table. Custom colors are available, too.
The beloved 1969 Dodge Charger is a favorite of many classic car lovers. A hand-painted, bright red resin wall shelf brings the car inside for an eye-catching addition that makes a useful gift for classic car lovers. Hand-painted and topped with a tempered glass shelf, it brings a bit of muscle (car) to any room.
Accessories with a touch of class
Transport your classic car collector back to the good old days with a set of driving gloves, a driving cap or even a pair of leather driving moccasins. Caps come in a wide range of fabrics and colors to suit your recipient’s style, and Nappa lambskin gloves provide great grip on a classic car’s steering wheel. Look for driving moccasins with thick, grippy sole nubs to provide traction on pedals.
A creative crate
Classic cars require some extra TLC, but the ritual of caring for them is almost as fun as driving them. Put together a gift crate filled with supplies that help your recipient care for a vintage car. Start with special automotive soap and a washing mitt that’s designed to be gentle on automotive finishes. Include a soft microfiber towel, clay bar and tire dressing for a well-rounded gift basket. Finish things off with a monogrammed keyring.
Shopping for the perfect gift for a classic car enthusiast might be almost as fun for you as it is for the person receiving the gift. If your shopping excursion has piqued your interest in vintage autos, learn more about what can make them so fun and interesting to collect.
Whether you’re apartment hunting and the perfect place is slightly out of your price range, or your landlord is raising the rent on your current apartment, you have the option to try and negotiate your rent. It sounds intimidating, but with a little strategy, you just might win over the landlord. Here are some ways you can go about negotiating your rent price:
Ask the landlord if rent price is open to discussion
Politely ask if the landlord is willing to discuss rent prices and when a good time to talk would be. If you’re negotiating price for a new place, it’s important to know who you are talking to. A large property company is less likely to negotiate terms, while an independent landlord has more leeway to change prices.
If you’re facing a rent increase, start the conversation at least a month before your lease ends so your landlord has enough time to consider your offer or, if need be, you have time to make other plans.
Highlight your strengths as a tenant
If you’re looking for a new place, you can show you’re financially stable by offering the landlord a few concessions, such as paying a few months of rent in advance or signing on for a longer lease which saves the landlord money in turnover.
In the case of a rent increase, you should remind the landlord what a reliable, responsible tenant you’ve been. If you’ve always paid your rent on time, are courteous to other tenants and have kept the property in good shape, make sure your landlord knows it. It can help prove your worthiness and give them an incentive to keep your current rent.
Inquire about extending the lease
Showing that you plan to stay in your apartment for a substantial length of time can demonstrate that you’re a stable investment. If the lease is annual, offer to extend it to 18-24 months in exchange for keeping your current rent. If the landlord knows he or she won’t have to take a risk with a new tenant, this could be a good compromise.
Offer to end the lease in the summer
Landlords know the summer is usually an easier time to find tenants. Since most people have more flexible schedules then, such as recently graduated college students looking for first apartments, there are simply more people looking for rental spaces. Offering to end your lease in the summer can be an attractive option for a landlord, and they might be willing to shave prices in exchange for the convenient end date.
Research the property’s value
Consider if the is rent beyond the actual worth of the prevailing market. Research rent rates by talking to other landlords or neighbors in the area. Knowing average property prices and frequency of rent hikes in the neighborhood may give you leverage.
Be open to compromise
Unless you’re simply unwilling or unable to afford the rent rate, suggest a compromise amount that you can afford. For instance, if the rent is $100 higher than you’d like, offer to pay $50 instead. Back up your offer by mentioning your research findings and focusing on your stability as a tenant.
Negotiate in person, follow up in writing
Try to talk to the landlord in person as face to face negotiation is usually best. Remain calm, polite and professional during the discussion – never rude or defensive. Follow up the discussion within 24 hours with a brief email thanking them for the meeting and reiterating your “ask.”
Have a backup plan
If you’re looking for a new place, you should have more than one apartment, house or condo on your radar. Banking on a landlord decreasing rent prices can be risky, especially if you have a set date you need to move out of your old place.
If you’re facing a rent increase, you have to decide if you’d be willing to pay the higher rate just in case negotiations don’t go as planned. If you are definitely unwilling or unable to accept the new rate, it’s a good idea to start researching new apartments. If you decide to stay and pay more each month, you can request property upgrades to make the increase more palatable, such as repainting the walls or updating the landscaping.
Rent increases aren’t the only unexpected thing that can happen to renters. Find out how Sterling Peaks Insurance renters insurance can protect you against theft, damage to personal belongings, and more.
Having proper Car Insurance ensures your independence behind the wheel. From accidents and injuries to hit-and-runs and theft, it’s important to keep your car insurance so you’re prepared when accidents do happen.
Why Car Insurance?
If you’re involved in an accident without car insurance, you’re looking at high out-of-pocket costs, injury liability – even serious legal issues.
Keeping your car insurance is simply the responsible thing to do, and it’s an essential financial decision that you can’t drive without. Car Insurance helps to reduce or cover property damage costs, replacement parts for your car as the result of an accident, medical expenses from injuries, road-side assistance and much more. Since policies vary with protection options, it’s important to talk to a specialist to create a policy that insures your needs.
Car Insurance Coverage and Additional Protection options, such as:
• Liability Coverage
• Comprehensive Coverage
• Collision Coverage
• Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage
• Diminishing Deductible
• Accident Forgiveness
• Minor Violation Forgiveness
• Roadside Assistance
• Specialty Auto Insurance
• 24-Hour Customer Service
• Rental Reimbursement
• Mexico Auto Insurance
• Medical Payments Coverage
At Sterling Peaks Insurance, we combine premium Car Insurance with personalized service to give you the best coverage possible. Our insurance specialists will work with you one-on-one to find a policy that keeps you and your drivers protected at all costs – for peace-of-mind driving assurance.
Ken Block announced earlier this year that he would be taking on select rally events with his race-prepped 1991 Ford Escort RS Cosworth. The New England Forest Rally was his second event, but following a rather crispy end to the race it appears to be the last for this car.
The Escort RS was built to modern specifications, including a 350-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, paired to a seven-speed sequential transmission. Power goes to all four wheels, and the race car was equipped with custom wheels replicating the original equipment RS pieces while fitting modern race rubber.
The car met its end after rolling twice after clipping a boulder on the inside of the fast left-hand turn. Almost right after the car continued on, the front end caught fire before spreading all over. Fortunately both Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino were able to escape before the car became engulfed in flames.
Block posted on Instagram that the gearbox botched a shift going into the corner, which combined with his line choice, placed the car on trajectory for the boulder hiding just off the apex. The team was holding third place in the multi-stage event at the time, which is impressive in a field of modern high-budget race machines.
The video served as a reminder that fire is no joke, and the rush to get out of a burning car is a terrifying endeavor. We’re glad Block and Gelsomino are safe and will hopefully rally again, even if it won’t be in the same great vintage shell.
A whole host of young drivers have stories about receiving their grandparents’ old car as their first car, but Reddit user eriegin found out that her dear Granny used to drive a Lamborghini.
In a post on Reddit last week, eriegin created a post titled “Despite the dust and rust, Grandma’s 1981 Lamborghini Countach is the coolest.” Just dropping the name of the quintessential ’80s supercar is sure to draw interest, but the thought of a grandmother adjusting the seat of the angular supercar before taking a spin might have drawn a few more.
The car appears to be a 1982 LP500S (also called the LP5000S), which shared its 5.0-liter V-12 powerplant with the LP400S, but it has revised fender flares and front spoiler. The wheels appear to be the correct cast magnesium Campagnolo pieces. The paint looks to have suffered a bit while in storage, but overall it appears that the car could be returned to its former glory. This was the first time eriegin had seen the car since she was a kid. "Pulling the cover off made me feel like an archeologist."
When commenters begin asking eriegin how her grandmother found herself with such a car in the garage, she replied, “My late grandpa bought it for his exotic car rental business in 1989, but after insurance costs became too high for him to operate the company, he kept the car (and many others, including the Ferrari 308 in front of the Lambo) outside/in leaky garages for 20+ years instead of selling them. Don’t ask me why, I have no clue.”
There appears to be other interesting cars sharing the garage space. The photos show the aforementioned Ferrari 308 and the lines of an MG T-series just behind the Lambo, and eriegin also mentioned her grandparents used to have a 300 SL Gullwing. Hopefully all of the garage-find cars can be returned to the road soon, if only to make all the people who had Countach posters on their walls a little happier.
By Brandan Gillogly September 18, 2018
There’s no replacing 1960s and ’70s muscle cars. They have style and road presence that can’t be matched. However, they also bring with them 1960s and ’70s suspensions, brakes, and fuel economy. As manufacturers rediscovered how to make power efficiently in the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s, huge strides were made in vehicle safety as well. A vehicle built in the last 15 years is a lot easier to live with on a daily basis and has fewer compromises overall when compared to its 40-year-old counterpart.
If you’re after something with a little more punch than your average commuter sedan, the following 11 vehicles from the last 15 years all pack at least 350 hp and would leave just about any vintage muscle car in its air-conditioned dust. Better yet, they can each be found for less than $20K in #3 (Good) condition. For models that aren’t covered in our database, we looked to eBay and local classifieds to check prices for examples that were still in good, original condition.
2004 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra
While the run-of-the-mill Mustang GTs were kicking out an unimpressive 260 horsepower, and the naturally aspirated Cobra produced a respectable 320 hp in 2001, its replacement was an entirely different animal. The “Terminator” Mustang was equipped with a 4.6-liter four-valve Modular V-8 topped with an Eaton supercharger to bring 390 horsepower to America’s favorite pony car. That kind of power was expected from exotics, but not a Mustang. Aside from the limited-production, race-bred, no-A/C 5.4-liter Cobra R, the SVT Cobra is the New Edge to have, especially for street use. Cobras in #3 (Good) condition go for $11,900 on average.
2004-06 Pontiac GTO
2005 Pontiac GTO
Plenty of Pontiac purists were upset when the last GTO came to the U.S. by way of Australia. Critics harped on the subtle styling of the Holden-sourced coupe. Perhaps they forgot that the 1964 GTO was quite literally a LeMans with a hood scoop and a big engine and were expecting hidden headlights, Carousel Red paint, and flashy “Judge” graphics. What we got was an LS1-powered coupe with one of the best interiors GM had put into a muscle car. The LS2 showed up in 2005, boosting performance and melding perfectly with the responsive chassis. We feel its styling, which earned it derisive comparisons to a ’90s Cavalier in contemporary reviews, has improved with age. Solid LS1 cars can be found for about $16,000, while LS2 cars you might have to bargain a tiny bit to get under $20K.
2008-09 Pontiac G8 GT
2009 Pontiac G8 GT
The only Pontiac G8s available with a six-speed manual were the LS3-powered GXP versions. Thanks to its low production volume and high desirability, finding one for $20K would be tough. The automatic-only Pontiac G8 GT, however, still offers the same excellent platform as the GTO and Camaro, with four family-friendly doors. The GT’s 361-hp 6.0-liter L76 engine is similar to an LS2, although it comes equipped with Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation. Like the rest of the LS engine family, the V-8 is ripe for hot-rodding and low production numbers mean that they’re a rare sight. Nobody would expect this plain-Jane sedan to be packing V-8 power. You can find a good G8 GT for $16,900 on average.
2012-14 Ford Mustang GT
2013 Ford Mustang GT
The Mustang got a significant cosmetic upgrade in 2010 when a new front fascia, grille, hood, and fenders dramatically changed the face of the car while the tail panel was trimmed to incorporate shapely taillights that visually lightened the car. It wasn’t until the 2011 model year, however, that the aging 4.6-liter V-8 was replaced with the 5.0-liter Coyote, the next iteration of the Modular V-8 architecture. In one year, the standard GT jumped from 315 to 412 hp, marking a tremendous improvement in performance, sound, and driving fun. The popularity of the newly improved GT means that there’s a huge number on the used market, keeping prices in check and making the Coyote an absolute performance bargain. Higher-mileage automatics and modded versions can be in the neighborhood of $15K, while lower mileage manuals will be right around $20K.
2010-15 Chevrolet Camaro SS
2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS
The long-awaited return of the Camaro came when the fifth generation was launched as a 2010 model. The SS cars equipped with the Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual transmission came with a 426-hp version of the 6.2-liter LS3 V-8, sending a volley towards Mustang in the pony car horsepower war, no doubt spurring Mustang engineers to work a bit harder on the Coyote V-8. Don’t expect to find a 2015 1LE to have depreciated much, but early fifth-gen SS models are finally under the $20,000 range, and thanks to Chevrolet Performance, those early fifth-gens can easily be upgraded to 1LE spec for lap after lap fun on the track.
2004-06 Dodge Ram SRT-10
2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10
The most powerful of the factory muscle trucks ever to come out of Detroit, the Ram SRT-10 added the 500-hp aluminum-block V-10 from the Viper to a regular-cab, short-bed Ram and backed it with a six-speed manual transmission. It was excessive, it was grotesque, it was magnificent. In 2005, Dodge offered the SRT-10 with an automatic transmission in a crew cab that’s nowhere near as cool, but still one heck of a cheap way to get a Viper V-10. And before you mention the Ram Heavy Duty, the iron-block V-10 found in those trucks has little in common with the Viper V-10. Although production was low and prices were high, plenty of the SRT-10 Rams can be found under $18K, and we’ve seen them much lower, especially when gas prices edge up.
2006-10 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
Drunk on Hemi horsepower, the SRT division put 420-hp 6.1-liter V-8s into everything, even the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Bless them. With its AWD system sending the torque to all four wheels, the SRT8 Grand Cherokee launched like no other Hemi Mopar, and with big Brembo brakes, it scrubbed speed well too. Although these Jeeps have been available for more than a decade, it seems that the general population hasn’t caught on, making them the ultimate sleeper. Only the earliest versions come in under $20K, but if you keep your eyes open, they’re out there.
2009 Dodge Challenger SRT
These four models are getting lumped in together because they’re all on the same platform and were available in the same showroom at the same time. Like the Grand Cherokee, the early models equipped with the 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 are finally coming in under $20K. The 6.1-liter is one of the most sought-after Hemi engines for hot-rodding and its cast aluminum intake manifold makes it the best looking late-model Hemi to boot. So whether it’s a grand-touring Challenger coupe or the Magnum’s wagon practicality, the 6.1-liter SRT8 models are a great entry point to late-model Mopar muscle. Expect to find the earlier, automatic models starting at about $16,000, while lower-mileage, manual transmission models creep closer to the $20K ceiling.
A 2015 Gallup poll showed 37% of Americans won’t retire until after age 65, up from 31% in 2009 and 14% in 1995.
Some of these newly minted senior citizens are delaying their retirement years out of need, having taken a hit in their investment portfolio during the 2008-2009 recession. Perhaps they tried timing the investment market and got in or out at the wrong time, or perhaps they didn’t get back into the market until it was too late.
Seniors are going into what would normally be retirement years, but they aren’t able to retire or don’t want to. Other seniors work after retirement age because they want to keep busy and stay mentally active.
Whatever the case, those retiring after the traditional retirement age have different financial planning considerations. Government benefit plans including Social Security and Medicare, for example, have an impact on seniors whether or not they use them.
Here are three financial planning areas to consider if you’re planning to work past age 65:
If you really need the Social Security money, then take it, especially if you’re not earning much from your employment wages. But know that you’ll be penalized in benefits. Those younger than full retirement age (which the government says is 65-67, depending on when you were born) will lose $1 in Social Security benefits for every $2 you earn above $15,720 in income in 2016.
Before deciding whether to take this government benefit while working, it’s a good idea to look at your cash outflow. That means considering whether you’re putting a lot of charges on credit cards, and spending unnecessarily in other ways.
While you may be covered under your employer’s health plan, you shouldn’t ignore Medicare. People who are working still need to be aware that there are substantial penalties if you don’t sign up for Medicare by age 65, even if you’re staying on your employer’s health plan.
When you sign up for Medicare, you are signing up for part B, which includes outpatient care and preventative services, as well as part D, the prescription drug benefit. You don’t have to tap into the benefits right away, though you’ll get billed for the premium. You can still use your employer-provided healthcare for primary coverage.
For most people, though, it makes sense to use Medicare as primary insurance, and employer coverage as backup, especially since employer coverage may pick up coinsurance and deductibles.
You’ll be hit with a 10% penalty for every year you don’t sign up for Medicare after age 65, and that penalty stays with you. That means you’ll pay 20% more at age 67, which is an ongoing penalty. Some people who are working aren’t aware of it.
Why does Medicare do this? The government wants to know what its costs will be. It’s part of the government budgeting and allocation process.
Retirement account withdrawals
Working after retirement age lets you continue adding to your retirement account. Once you hit age 70 1/2, however, you are usually required to take the minimum 401(k) or IRA distribution, even if you’re still working. (Roth IRAs don’t have this requirement.) That can be damaging from a tax standpoint. You might be getting investment income, wages and then taxable retirement account distributions. While you might not need the money if you’re still working, taking the withdrawals might still put you in a higher tax bracket.
One break, though, is if you’re working and contributing to an employer-based 401(k). You don’t have to take withdrawals from that active account, even if you’re older than 70.5.
If you’re planning to work past age 65, consider consulting with a financial advisor to make sure your bases are covered.
When your son or daughter begins playing a sport for the first time, there are many things that might make you nervous. How to explain sportsmanship? How can I help them stay safe while playing sports? But what parents might not consider when their child shows an initial interest in a particular sport is how that passion can take a toll on their finances.
As a child becomes more skilled at a sport, the minimal per-season fee can increase to become a costly commitment, especially if you have multiple children who want to participate. The necessary items for a child to be on a sports team, league and tournament deposits, coaching fees, travel costs, equipment, uniforms and other apparel, can not only take up space in your home, but they can also clear out your wallet, costing up to thousands of dollars per year!
Cutting down on the cost of kids’ sports doesn’t have to mean giving up the game. Here are some money saving tips that can help your child, and your finances, win:
Don’t invest until your child is committed to a sport
When your child is still deciding which sport he or she likes best, there’s no need to invest in expensive equipment that might only gather dust in a couple months. Only buy what is necessary until he or she finds the right fit.
Along the same lines, while select leagues may seem exciting, for a child still trying out a particular sport, this type of commitment might be a waste. Instead, start your child off in a recreational league, which only requires a couple hundred dollars to participate, versus a select league, which requires a far more expensive deposit, larger travel fees and a packed schedule of practices and out-of-town games.
Encourage children to try cheaper sports
If you’re child hasn’t picked out their favorite sport yet, push them to try sports that require less upfront costs. Leagues are usually cheaper when kids are young, so that is the best time to try a range of sports that don’t require pricey equipment. Here are some of the least and most expensive youth sports to help you pick the right activity.
Cheap sports for kids to play
Keep an eye on the deals
Many parents and sports organizations support and facilitate trading, selling or buying gently-used uniforms and equipment in order to cut down costs and waste of perfectly good apparel. If you can’t find the items you need in your community, check online retailers for clearance sales.
If you need to travel and are free to book your own lodging, look online for cheap hotel deals on sites like Kayak.com, Hotwire, Expedia and many more. It is also worthwhile to explore hotel loyalty programs, which can help you accrue points for future trips to get future savings.
Search for athletic sponsorship's
Some athletic organizations offer sponsored scholarships for skilled children who lack the financial resources. If you think you have the next MVP, check to see if you are eligible.
Get involved in leagues or organizations
Sometimes you can do more to help your child’s dream, beyond just providing transportation, equipment, and a cheering section. If you have time to become a member of the booster club, you may be able to take advantage of waived fees in exchange for membership.
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