Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial advice, gathered from around the web:
An affordable new car
If you're looking to purchase a new vehicle, shop around for your car loan first, said Susan Tompor at the Detroit Free Press. "Car loans continue to be relatively plentiful" and affordable for those with good credit. Try to line up financing from a bank or credit union before you visit a dealer. That will remove pressure and let you focus on negotiating. "Don't discuss the monthly payment — until you find the right car and agree to the right price." If the sticker price on the vehicle you like is too high, "see if you can find a similar model with less costly features." For better deals, look beyond trucks and SUVs. "Small, midsize, and large cars — new and used — are in the doldrums in terms of sales, so they have the biggest incentives and more negotiating room."
Advisers for the nonwealthy
One of the most common requests I get from readers is "Please help me find reasonably priced financial advice from someone who won't rob me blind," said Ron Lieber at The New York Times. The truth is that there are "precious few" planners who will work with nonwealthy clients. That's why it was "refreshing" to hear about a new collective of advisers who charge not a percentage of assets, as many planners do, but a recurring fee, allowing middle-class clients to afford them. In less than four years, the XY Planning Network has grown to nearly 600 recommended advisers, with recurring fees equivalent to roughly the price of a "bundled cable bill." If you "want to meet a real live human, face-to-face," to talk about your money goals, "you no longer have to be rich to do so."
Staying on track for retirement
How do you measure your retirement plan to see if it's on track? asked Ken Fisher at USA Today. First, add together the sum of your assets. Then, using an online inflation calculator, total your likely retirement costs. If your total is, say, $75,000 a year in 2018 dollars, and you want to retire in 20 years, you'll likely need $135,000 annually from your assets. Getting there is not as daunting as it sounds. Let's say you want to have $100,000 annually from your assets and only have $100,000 saved now. Saving $30,000 annually for 20 years and getting historical stock market returns "puts you near your goal." Still feel discouraged? You shouldn't. Remember "compound growth is miraculous," and simply delaying retirement from 65 to 70, as many Baby Boomers are doing, "makes a huge difference."