Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why Do Many Middle Class Americans Feel Trapped When It Comes To Finances?

Even with some of the recent economic problems slowly improving, more and more middle class families feel as if they are trapped in their socioeconomic level with no options for upward mobility. 

Here is a closer look at just a few of the reasons that many working professionals feel as if the odds are stacked against them. 

Predatory Loans

Predatory loans and the banking industry in general are often seen as the biggest concern when it comes to class mobility. 

Stick to Your Financial Plan by Making Your Goals Exciting
You don't see the words “finance” and “exciting” used in the same sentence very often. Personal finance is a pretty boring topic. Because of that, it's easy to neglect our financial goals. To build momentum and stay motivated to ...

Teenagers and young adults are expected to earn their degree with loans, enter an extremely competitive job market, take out more loans for a house, and then hope that their income over the next 30 or 40 years is enough to cover payments. 

A single missed payment could mean an increase in the loan's APR or being immediately sent to debt collectors. This means a hit to one's credit score and difficulty attaining any loans in the future. 

Decline of Middle-Skill Jobs

There is no longer any stability when it comes to middle-skill jobs, or jobs that do not require a degree or advanced training. 

The “value” of a high school degree has gone down significantly as well as the return on investment for an advanced degree. No matter whether students are looking to enter into the job market immediately after high school or would like to explore their options for higher education, there is never really an ideal time or field that will come without risks. 

The Threat of Major Injuries or Other Financial Drains

Even a family that has made decent gains when it comes to their savings or financial security may see it all torn away from them in an instant. 

Although sweeping changes have been made to the healthcare industry, medical bills remain the number one cause of bankruptcy. In situations such as an auto accident, victims may not see money for years on end as their bills continue to mount. 

This is one of the reasons that many have turned to financial services such as structured settlement buyers that can offer a lump sum instead of ongoing payments.

Limited Safety Nets

For quite a few years, many workers that were considering their options for retirement simply assumed that Social Security payments would be paid back after years of being taken from their wages. 

Up until a few years ago, these programs were then considered to be a supplemental form of income when retiring, but those days are long gone. Today's middle income families often assume that there will be absolutely no financial safety net unless they turn to the private sector for their savings. 

'The One-Page Financial Plan' -- Simple, But Not Simplistic   
Therefore, when my colleague and New York Times contributor Carl Richards first asked me a couple years ago to think about what a financial plan might look like if it was constrained to a single page, I was skeptical. After all, I'd dedicated my life ...

Medical Bills

Unexpected medical bills can take a toll on anyone's finances. Even though you may get compensation for injuries sustained to due to another person's neglect, you may not see the money right away, making it difficult to pay medical bills. 

If you have won a structured settlement, consider selling it to pay off your debt. Visit myLumpsum.com for more information.

Studies carried out by the PEW Research Center show that the divide between middle class families and upper class families continues to widen. 

This is why so many must now search for inventive ways to gain some momentum when it comes to financial mobility. 

Talk to a financial expert if you feel stuck or can't find a way to get out of debt. It's important to take control of your finances now if you feel overwhelmed. 

The sooner you make a better financial plan, the better off you will be in the long and short run.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How to Know When You Can Finally Afford to Buy a Home

If you have always dreamed of owning your own home, you might be afraid that you can't afford one. 

Even with the right planning and months or years of saving, it can be a big step that doesn't always seem attainable. 

However, there are a few signs that you can look for to determine if you truly can afford to purchase a house. These are a few signs that your bank account can handle a mortgage payment.

Should I Buy a Home or Just Keep Renting? For a long time, conventional wisdom seemed to be that you grow up and buy a home because that's just what you do. But lately, people are realizing that it isn't always the smartest financial move. Obviously, the housing crisis has a lot to do with ...

You Have a Down Payment Saved Up

First and foremost, you will probably be required to save up a down payment to purchase your home. In many cases, you will need to have at least 20 percent of the price of the home in savings. 

Even if you don't have to pay this much, having saved up a down payment is a great first step. After you have saved for a down payment, consider allocating that monthly savings amount to something else like closing costs. 

Once if you have reached a savings goal, continue to add that money to your savings so it never feels like a burden, but rather an expected “expense” each month. 

You're Paying All of Your Bills On Time

It's important to be paying all of your bills on time before you think about purchasing a home. Not only do you have to worry about your credit rating, but you don't want to fall even more behind on your bills after purchasing your home. 

If you can comfortably pay all of your bills and have money leftover to save, buying a house could be a good option for you. Ideally, you should be putting money into your savings for a house that equals what a monthly payment would be. 

This will allow you to see how much money you have leftover if you really did have a mortgage payment. 

You Qualify for a Mortgage

Before you can purchase a home, you have to ensure that you qualify for a mortgage. Luckily, you can find loans which can make home ownership easier than you think. 

For example, if you are a veteran or active service member, you can purchase a home with a VA loan, which requires no money down. Take a look at Low Va Rates to find out how you can afford to buy a home. 

You Have an Emergency Fund in Savings

It's important to have an emergency fund in your savings account. Then, if something goes wrong with your home, you will have the money that you need to cover the expenses. Your emergency fund can also help you if you fall behind on your mortgage due to unforeseen financial emergencies. 

Your Income is Steady

Your income should be steady, and you should know how much money you will bring in every month. If your income is unreliable, then you will need to be able to make your mortgage payment with the smallest amount of money that you receive in a month. 

This is a good indicator of how much you can really afford for a new home. 

You've Had the Same Job for a While

Your mortgage lender will probably want to know that you have had your job for a while. Different lenders have different requirements, but you will probably need to have the same job for at least one year before you can look into a mortgage.

Don't Let Your Student Loans Affect Your Ability to Buy a Home A recent study by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reported that graduates with a debt burden greater than $25,000 are less likely to own a home compared to those with smaller financial burdens. Millennial's are stricken with high debt levels, which have in ...

Purchasing your own home can be a wonderful milestone. Although you might be afraid that you can't afford to purchase a home of your own, these are a few signs that it is finally time. 

If these things apply to you, then you can schedule an appointment with a banker to find out more about qualifying for financing and purchasing your first house.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

5 Reasons to Become a Trader

English: A view from the Member's Gallery insi...
English: A view from the Member's Gallery inside the NYSE (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Many scams and illegal schemes have created a negative perception of the stock trading business. 

The truth is that, in reality, this has very little to do with real stock trading and should not be taken into consideration when thinking about it as a career. 

This can be very lucrative and dynamic work for those who are well-informed and who have the knowledge and know-how to make use of this information. 

Therefore, if you are considering becoming a trader, here are five good reasons why it is worth considering and how to make the most out of a profession that can be truly life-changing.

Working Hours

One of the best perks about trading online is that you choose your own working hours. It’s easy to escape that 9 to 5 routine and do what you like whenever is most convenient. 

Moreover, if you know you will earn more money if you put in more time, you will gladly do so due to the direct incentive of satisfaction in terms of profit and good deals made. 

How To Become A Day Trader - Investopedia
During the heyday of the tech bubble in the late 1990s, day traders made easy money buying and selling Internet stocks.

Vacations and days off are all up to you. You earn as much as you put in, so a balance between these two can be easily made.

Only One Boss: You

For all those people who have problems with

others giving them orders, authority that is based only on the name tag and shots called for them, trading online is the right way to go. 

None of these things are something that you will have to deal with in the future. You will have one boss and one boss only and that is you. You will be the one that calls the shots and the one that makes it all possible. All the success and all the failures will be just yours, so prepare for the responsibility that comes with the freedom. 

This kind of accountability may not be for everyone and not everyone is cut out for it. But if you want to be someone who takes control and responsibility, this is the job for you.

Learning about the World

There much to learn about the world that people who are not engaged in this trade don’t know about. 

However, once you have become immersed in the world of stocks and trade, you’ll start to become familiar with an enormous amount of information about many countries worldwide and their economies. 

How to Become a Wall Street Trader | eHow 
Wall Street is often glamorized as a fast-paced, exciting place to be in the financial industry. Because of this, many people dream about becoming professional traders at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)....

You’ll get to learn about the climate and its influence on agriculture. You’ll learn about geopolitics and the local politics in some countries in order to predict the rise of fall of their economies or certain stocks that are related to them. 

In time, you’ll become aware of how much you’ve expanded your horizons without even realizing it.

The Amazing Variety

Another really interesting aspect about stock trading is the way it’s done. There is not just one way to trade and there is not just one type of stock. This is a business with many approaches and you are free to choose the one you like best. 

Moreover, you don’t have to stick to just one. You are free to combine all your knowledge and to combine stock trading approaches along the way. 

For example, while you may want to conduct extensive research and create a source of steady income through a fundamental approach, meaning you hold on to the stocks for prolonged periods of time, there may also be times when you want something more dynamic. 

One option for this is to take an amount of money you are not afraid to lose and invest it into the dynamic environment of penny stocks. The infographic on this site is great introduction to this exciting option.

Dynamic and Less Risky than People Believe

Parkett-Boerse in Ffm
Parkett-Boerse in Ffm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Some people say that there is less risk or at least the same amount of risk in starting a business as there is in trading stock. 

However, unlike in business, the upside of stock trading is that you can always change your mind, change your stocks, change the way you trade and do something completely different. 

This environment is anything but boring and is flexible enough that you can make what you want out of it. Risk is there, but the risk is manageable if you take proper precautions.
There are many more reasons for choosing the life of a trader. It takes courage, knowledge and education to become a stock broker, but in the end it is worth your while. 

All you are doing is investing in yourself and your own growth in every possible way: as a provider, as a person, and as a good businessman. It’s worth giving some serious thought to.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Career Advice for the Baby Boomer: If Han Solo is Old, Then So Are We

You think you have problems keeping a job and staying relevant. Consider an aged Han Solo from Star Wars fame. Even in space you have to watch your back to stay on top or even just in place. Remember who shot first.

A couple of years ago I was looking at references on a career hire, my number one pick for an administrative job search we had actually been doing. It was an essential job: challenging, interesting market, a major competitive employment.

And although it's unlawful to ask questions about age and even bring up that somebody may be too old for a given position, I do not believe I can get in any predicament now by pointing out that this prospect turned out to be well into his 60's.

Use the Force

I believed he was an excellent catch and his age was never mentioned. All the same, I required delicate information from the applicant -- and had no choice however to obtain it in an underhanded way to stay within the law. So I made use of the common euphemisms, inquiring about his "bandwidth" and "energy level" and "endurance" and "capability to endure continual pressure."

While speaking with the final reference on my checklist, he stopped briefly and stated, he grasped exactly what I was asking and would certainly tell me what I wanted to know. His response was then "The Force is really strong in him."

Ultimately, our prospect was presented the position, accepted ... and carried out exceptionally. Not a surprise, actually.

Do Or Do Not. There Is No Try

If you're a baby-boomer exec who's just recently arrived at the ripe side of 50, there's most likely less to fret about than there was a generation earlier. 

With the exception of the economy, obviously. Not that you do not need to watch out for a million boys who wish to eat your lunch-- specific things do not change.

Yet if the present trend in hiring is any indication, companies have actually become extremely risk-averse and seem more prepared than ever to sacrifice youthful edge and momentum for a couple of gray hairs.

Something that might need some modification, however, is that the risks are measurably greater. It hurts a lot more now when you get fired. As we commonly see in professional sports, being too important can wind up feeling like a downgrade. 

If you're not a hero, you're a bum, a has-been. Isn't that why we say "washed-up," by the way given that our professional has left the field and gone to the showers?

Growing older?

Growing older? Do not wait till you're at the top of your game to perform like you mean it. It will not come about unless you make things happen. We simply acknowledge the peak achievements in retrospect. Keep moving, keep fighting! 

Guard your bad ankle and attempt to prevent hits to the chin. Sure, you're vulnerable. C'mon, you're old! And yes, it's a lot harder to pick yourself up once you've been hit on your ass.

Nevertheless, ignore how you look, wipe your nose and make your way back into the huddle. There is no uphill or downhill any longer. There's simply being in the match. And hoping that "The Force" sticks with you.

If you ever envisioned that you may leave this world with your self-respect basically in one piece, think about the Heroic Han Solo: Winning by the regular miracle, however still losing one piece at a time. It needs to be an allegory for living.

Join 1000's of People Following 50 Plus Finance
Real Time Web Analytics