Author: Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams was named one of Empower's "Top 50 Women in Personal Finance" in 2018. She's one of the nation’s leading personal finance and small business authorities who works as an on-camera spokesperson, voice-over talent, and multimedia creator. She’s written multiple books, and the latest title, Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side-Hustlers, was an Amazon #1 New Release. As an award-winning author and host of the top-rated Money Girl podcast since 2008, millions of readers, listeners, and loyal fans benefit from her practical advice. Laura is a trusted source of practical financial advice for the national media, including TV, radio, digital, and print outlets. She’s been featured on most major network news outlets, Bloomberg, NPR, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Money, Time, Kiplinger’s, USA Today, US News, Forbes, Fortune, Consumer Reports, MSN, and many more. Her mission is to empower consumers to live healthy and prosperous lives by making the most of what they have, planning for the future, and making smart money decisions every day. Laura received an MBA from the University of Florida. She lives in Vero Beach, Florida, with her husband. Visit LauraDAdams.com to learn more.


What tax documents do I need? Knowing how long you should keep tax records and other financial documents can be confusing. Many people are so afraid to throw away papers that they store boxes of documents for decades. I have to admit that I used to be one of them! This post will review five tips for keeping the right documents. You’ll learn which financial records you can toss, what to save, and for how long. Here’s what you should know about tossing records and staying compliant with IRS regulations. 1. Keep digital copies of your filed tax returns The…

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What are the differences between a sole proprietorship and an LLC? Wasittha says, “Hello, Laura! I’m a big fan, and thank you so much for providing good financial information. I’m starting a local cottage business creating freeze-dried foods that I can operate in my kitchen. My startup capital is less than $5,000, and I plan to work alone. What’s the difference between having an LLC and a sole proprietorship, and which is better for protecting my finances?” Thanks for your question, Wasittha! The business entity you choose is an important consideration that many small business owners, freelancers, and contractors need…

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Debt is a powerful tool that can boost your success or cause your financial life to crash and burn. The trick to using debt wisely is knowing the difference between good and bad debt and the right amounts based on your income and goals. Today, I’ll cover tips to use debt strategically, so it helps not hurts you. Plus, you’ll learn eight ways to know if you have too much debt and action steps to protect your finances. Debt is a complex topic because people have different opinions about it. Some insist that no amount of debt is acceptable, not…

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Introduction A 401(k) retirement plan is a financial powerhouse, offering unparalleled benefits for those fortunate enough to have access to one. Whether through an employer-sponsored 401(k) or its non-profit counterpart, the 403(b), this savings vehicle is a valuable asset that demands attention. In this article, we delve into the world of 401(k) plans, exploring the advantages and drawbacks and providing insights to ensure you make the most of this opportunity. Understanding the 401(k) Retirement Plan What Is a 401(k)? A 401(k) is a widely used retirement plan available exclusively through employers. Self-employed individuals with no full-time employees, except a spouse…

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Creating your own definition of success and being proactive about reaching it is a surefire way to accomplish more with your money. 13 Things You Must Do for More Financial Success No matter your money goals, use these 13 tips to build more wealth and financial stability. Protect your ability to earn an income. Protecting your income or creating additional sources of income is probably the best thing you can do for more financial success. Not only does an extra income stream help you pay the bills and eliminate debt faster, but it allows you to stay safe if one…

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What is a 401(k)? A 401(k) is a popular type of tax-advantaged retirement plan that an employer can offer. And if you’re self-employed, you may choose a similar account called a solo 401(k). They allow you to contribute a portion of your paycheck or self-employment income and select investment options, such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), to accelerate your account growth. With either type of 401(k), you can usually choose a traditional or Roth account.  Traditional accounts give you an immediate benefit with tax-deductible contributions, which reduce your annual taxable income and tax liability. You defer paying income…

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How do you make the most of an HSA? Jack G. says, “Hi, Laura. I recently enjoyed your finance podcasts on HSAs–thank you! I heard about a unique HSA feature allowing me to buy qualified items, save receipts, and reimburse myself later, potentially growing my HSA dollars tax-free. Could you confirm or elaborate on this?” Jack, thank you for the great question! I’m sure other Money Girl listeners and readers would like to know more about optimizing a health savings account or HSA. I’ll answer your question, review which health plans qualify for an HSA, and discuss strategies to maximize…

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If you have a workplace benefits package, some of your perks may come with a “vesting schedule” or “vesting period.” It’s critical to understand how vesting works and consider it before deciding to leave your job.   This post will explain different types of vesting and answer frequently asked questions, so you get the most from your benefits at work. What does it mean to be vested with a company? Vesting is a legal term that means you have the right to something, such as a payment or benefit. It’s typically used in retirement plan language to set a timeline for…

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In a recent episode of my personal finance podcast, Money Girl I was joined by a special guest, Adam Levin. He’s a consumer affairs advocate and nationally recognized expert on cybersecurity, identity theft, fraud, and personal finance. He’s the author of Swiped, How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Fishers, and Identity Thieves. And he’s the host of the podcast, What the Hack with Adam Levin.  Protecting your personal finance As you’ll hear in the interview, Adam’s mission is educating consumers, businesses, and government agencies about security issues. He graduated from Stanford and the University of Michigan…

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Chris C. says, “I’ve used Mint to track my finances for years based on many recommendations you made on the podcast. With the announcement that Mint will be migrating to CreditKarma, I wonder if you have any recommendations for alternatives or think it will be a solid replacement. Thanks for all the knowledge and information you share weekly!” Thank you for your excellent question and for being a long-time listener to the Money Girl podcast, Chris! I know many people have been disappointed by the news that Mint will be discontinued in 2024. It was founded in 2006 as one…

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