About Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is an award-winning writer, author, money coach, and retirement expert. Her four books include The Five Years Before You Retire, Choose Your Retirement, Making Social Security Work For You, and End Financial Stress Now.

Best Automatic Savings (& Investing) Apps to Round Up Savings in 2021

  Saving money has a lot in common with flossing: you know it’s important, professionals wag their fingers at you when they find out you’ve been neglecting it, and it seems like a major pain to get in the habit of doing. Luckily for reluctant savers, technology has come to the rescue in the form of automatic savings apps. (Unfortunately, automated flossing technology is still years away.) Even the most budget-averse user … [Read more...]

Best Identity Theft Protection Services for 2021

Identity theft is one of the modern age’s most pervasive and expensive financial problems. According to the 2018 Identity Fraud study released by Javelin Strategy & Research, $16.8 billion was stolen from 13.1 million American consumers in 2017. That's up from the $15 billion frauders stole in 2015. The credit card and banking industries are working to thwart identity thieves. They've instituted chip-and-pin technology on … [Read more...]

The Best Accounting Software for Small Business (2021)

  A few years ago, I took over as financial secretary for my local synagogue, and I had my first taste of using accounting software. It didn’t go well. Our synagogue was stuck with an outdated program that ran slowly on my laptop and caused me any number of headaches. Without a background in accounting, I found the user experience of the old program to be counterintuitive and difficult to learn. I made many mistakes during … [Read more...]

TurboTax Review: Get Your Best Tax Return In 2021

TurboTax is one of the most popular tax preparation software programs out there, and for very good reason. It offers a step-by-step process for preparing your taxes so you can rest assured that every I is dotted, every T is crossed, and every eligible deduction is taken. They take care of yearly tax updates, making sure that their customers comply with the confusing and constantly changing tax code. TurboTax is a popular tax … [Read more...]

The Best Personal Finance Budget Software with Apps (In 2021)

Managing your money is a complex skill, especially now that you no longer have to leave the house or even pull out your wallet in order to spend money. That’s why it is more important than ever for you to track spending and stick to a budget. But the old-school methods of budgeting can be far too onerous for the new Millennium. Hardly anyone wants to be carrying an old-fashioned ledger book around with them to record financial … [Read more...]

How to Invest Money: What You Need to Know to Get Started

Making investment decisions can be a scary and overwhelming process. We are constantly bombarded with conflicting information about the market. One moment everyone’s excited, and a few hours later they are all disappointed. We hear that investing is inherently risky, but also that it's the clearest path to wealth. And then there's the alphabet soup of investing lingo, from IRAs to ETFs. So just how are you supposed to feel … [Read more...]

Everything You Need to Know to Get Out of Debt

Debt is a vicious cycle, and once you're stuck, it's very difficult to get out. I signed up for my first two credit cards in college (you know, to get the free t-shirt). By the time I left college I had a decent amount of debt and two worn out t-shirts. I wasn’t paying this off every month and so I was paying 20% or more in interest charges. Looking back, it’s hard to believe I left college with this debt. After all, I graduated … [Read more...]

How to Make Money Playing Video Games–and Manage Your Earnings!

  Making money by playing your favorite video games sounds too good to be true. It may not be quite as unrealistic as receiving an inheritance from a Nigerian prince, but making money from playing video games does sound a little far-fetched. Your parents repeatedly told you so while you spent hours leveling up on weekends. As they pointed out when you were a kid, no one is going to pay you to play video games. Turns out Mom … [Read more...]

Self Employed? Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Disability Insurance

  According to the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA), "over one in four of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before they retire" and the average length of disability is a frighteningly long 31.2 months. These statistics reflect the fact that illness, rather than injury, is the leading cause of long-term absence from work, accounting for 90% of all disability claims. And even the most safety-conscious among us … [Read more...]

Make Extra Cash Renting Out Your RV with RVShare and Outdoorsy

  On our annual camping trip each year, my family is always impressed by the comfort and style of the RVs that share the national park sites with us. We sometimes wonder if purchasing an RV might be a good way to get the most out of our vacations. But we worry about what we’d do with the RV when we’re not using it. We would struggle to store a large recreational vehicle. And we would have to deal with maintenance costs whether … [Read more...]

Do You Need Insurance For Your Internet Business?

Killer internet business idea: check. Business plan: check. Domain name: check. Customer base: check. Insurance: ch…wait, what? For many internet business owners, internet business insurance is not one of their first (or even fifth) concerns. While no traditional small business owner--with stock to lose, a storefront to maintain, and payroll to meet--would consider operating without insurance, many internet startups do just … [Read more...]

Get the Most from Your 2021 Mileage Tax Deduction

Do you drive for your job or business? Then you might be eligible for a mileage deduction. Here is an easy-to-understand guide to the IRS standard mileage deduction. Happy filing! In 2020, you can deduct 57.5 cents per mile driven for business. If you drive a lot, either for your business or for an employer that doesn't reimburse your expenses, then keeping careful track of your miles will give you the biggest tax deduction. Hurdlr … [Read more...]