Sunday, September 24, 2017

How to Financially Handle Unforeseen Circumstances In Your Family

If your family is like most, there never seems to be enough money to go around. Therefore, every dollar that the family does have must be accounted for and spent wisely. 

Unfortunately, there may be circumstances beyond your control that may stretch or break your budget. What can you do to handle those events as best as possible?

How to Handle Automobile Repair Costs

While you may be able to anticipate the need for some car repairs, you never know when your vehicle will simply refuse to start before work one morning. 

Even worse, it could refuse to start in the mall parking lot or when you are out of town. The first thing that you need to do is get the vehicle to a shop and yourself to a safe place. 

When you get the estimate for the repair costs, you shouldn't panic. Instead, ask about any financing programs that a service center may offer. Depending on the reason why your car won't start or otherwise won't run, it may be possible to file an insurance claim. 

If those options aren't available, you can ask for money from your friends or parents. In an absolute worst case scenario, payday lenders may be able to send the money to your bank account within minutes.

How to Handle Unexpected Tax Bills

Most people get refunds from the IRS and from their state government each year when they file their taxes. 

However, if you owe money, it may be tough to scrape together the necessary funds to pay that debt. It may be even harder to pay the bill if you don't know that you owe the money until you file your return in January.

In this scenario, you should request a six-month extension to file your return. Although it doesn't give you an extension to pay, the penalties for not paying on time are generally less severe than the penalties for not filing on time. 

Other options include asking for an offer-in-compromise, which is similar to a debt settlement with other creditors.

How to Handle Unexpected Dental Costs

It is difficult to deal with tooth pain for more than a few hours. Failing to see a specialist at a family dentistry in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina or one such establishment that is in your area quickly after breaking a tooth could also cause long-term oral and other related health problems. 

In many cases, dentists offer payment plans to help you better afford your care. It may be possible to use personal credit cards or CareCredit to get the work done. 

CareCredit is typical an interest-free loan, which means that you don't have to worry about the expense compounding if it isn't paid off in a timely manner. If you have insurance, your policy may cover some of the work that needs to be done.

How to Handle Unexpected Property Damage

If your home is damaged by a storm, a pest infestation or some other unexpected event, it could cost thousands to repair the damage. If you need emergency repair work to a furnace or some other component to your home, that could cost even more. 

Your first option is to file a claim with your homeowners’ insurance company. Other options include applying for personal loans or using credit cards to pay for the repairs if the insurance claim is denied. In the aftermath of a devastating storm, relief funds may be available to help you rebuild.

There is never a good time for an emergency expense to arise. However, it may not be possible to simply let your car, home or tax bill linger for weeks or months. 

Therefore, knowing where to go to get help paying those expenses can keep your family safe and healthy despite your financial issues.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

How to Decide if Bankruptcy is Right for You and Your Situation

There are several things bankruptcy can do and several things it cannot do. Bankruptcy can discharge most unsecured debt such as credit cards, past due utility bills, business debts, medical bills, and civil court judgments. 

Secured debts such as mortgages and auto loans can be discharged if you no longer want to retain the property. Bankruptcy cannot discharge debt for child or spousal support, student loans in most cases, restitution owed for damages or injury to others, payroll taxes, and more.

Qualifying for Bankruptcy

Debts discharged in bankruptcy can depend on the type of bankruptcy you file. Chapter 7 discharges all allowable debts and leaves you with a clean slate. Chapter 13 is debt-consolidation that allows you to pay off your debt within a few years. 

Chapter 11 is similar to chapter 13 except it's applicable to businesses. For the best information on dischargeable debts that are specific to your situation and the type of bankruptcy you should file, you should contact a bankruptcy attorney. 

Professionals, like those at the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel, realize that The Bankruptcy Reform Law of 2005 tightened the filing eligibility by establishing a means test for filing bankruptcy. 

As a result, fewer people are now eligible to file for bankruptcy. Your income must be less than the median for your state in order to file. If it exceeds the median for your state and you have money to pay some of your bills, you are ineligible to file.

Determine if Bankruptcy is the Solution

If you're eligible to file, you might consider a few more criteria to determine if this is indeed the best solution for you. Bankruptcy has long-lasting ramifications, so it should be the last option rather than the first one. 

You'll be required to obtain financial counseling and the negative impact will be on your credit report for at least 10 years. You must be comfortable with the concept of walking away from legitimate debts and realize that you may feel guilty for doing so.

Consider Other Options

There may be options other than bankruptcy that would work for you. Instead of filing for chapter 7, you may be able to file chapter 13 and pay off most of your creditors. 

This would be significantly less detrimental to your credit score. If you can foresee an improvement in your financial situation in the near future, you might want to delay filing bankruptcy.

Make Permanent Changes

Often, filing bankruptcy is only a temporary solution because an individual's poor financial habits don't change. 

If you decide to file, you should seek credit counseling so that you don't end up in the same financial quagmire in the future. Making positive changes to your financial attitude is the best solution to avoiding bankruptcy.

Sometimes, situations occur that necessitate filing for bankruptcy. Often, it's circumstances over which you have no control, such as a catastrophic illness or accident. 

If filing for bankruptcy is the best solution for you, then by all means avail yourself of it, but realize that it's a temporary solution and do your best to change your future financial habits.

Learn How Smartphones Can Help You Grow Your Retirement Nest Egg

Your retirement may be close, but you've got plenty of time to grow that nest egg. Your smartphone is a potentially untapped resource for growing your retirement money, so make sure you take advantage of the opportunities it presents.

Use Investment Apps

Personal finance apps like E*Trade let average people invest in the market without a broker. Before you jump on personal finance apps, do some research about the types of investments you want to make. 

Many people later in life prefer safer investments, though there is definitely an advantage to short-term investments that could bring higher returns. As long as you understand what investment strategy you're comfortable with, you're ready to try out an investment app.

Start slowly until you get the hang of how it works. Investing is difficult even for the pros, but one piece of advice endures: invest in businesses and people, not in market trends. 

If you know about or can learn about a business, entrepreneur, or an industry, center your investments there. Industry information will be more helpful than trying to analyze what the market is doing.

Save Spare Change

Getting the money to invest can be a struggle. If you have kids in college, have medical bills to pay, or are on a fixed income, you may not have much saved for investing. 

A spare change app rounds up every debit card transaction you make and puts the spare change into a separate account. Then, most of those apps, like Acorns, invest or save that spare change for you.

You don't have to put in a lot of effort in the investments, because the app companies have financial advisers creating portfolios for the app users to invest in. Spare change apps have another advantage: the minimums for investing are very low. 

You don't need $1,000 to open an account; the amount is more like $5 or $10, an easy amount to accumulate in spare change over a month.

Create a Budget

You're no stranger to making a budget, and you've probably had money pulled from your paycheck for your 401k for years. When you reach your 50s, it's time to make a more aggressive investment budget. 

Take a look at your finances, especially your expenses and how much you're saving. If you're not saving much each month, try to trim some of those expenses so you can put away more money. 

Switching from digital cable to a streaming service like Hulu can save you almost $100 each month, for example.

Use a budgeting app like PocketGuard to keep track of exactly where your money is going. A visual will help you discover places you could be spending too much. When you set aside savings each month, remember to invest some. 

However you decide to invest, whether on your own or through a financial adviser, make sure some of that money is going into a higher-yield account than your savings.

Video Chat With Financial Advisers

We don't all have time to visit a financial adviser's office in person, especially with kids in high school, doctor's appointments to go to, and homes to care for. 

But fitting in an appointment with a financial adviser becomes easier when you do that appointment via video chat. Let your adviser explain your financial information face to face instead of over an impersonal phone call.

For a successful video chat experience, use the right equipment and the right network. Let's face it, using new technology isn't always the easiest, and focusing on a small screen while trying to talk to another person can be frustrating. 

Focus on finances, not on a bad video connection, by connecting with a quality smartphone on a good network. The Galaxy S8, paired with T-Mobile's 4G LTE network, for example, is a great combination. 

The Galaxy has a 5.8-inch infinity screen with a sharp display, and 4G LTE will give you a high-quality video connection.

It's never too late to start saving for and investing in retirement. Personalize your investment strategy with your smartphone, whether you use it to connect with a financial adviser or choose to manage your own investment apps.

Impact of GST on Insurance Premium

Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Insurance

The implementation of GST is aimed at reducing the burden of double taxation from the price of goods and services was a positive move to restructure India’s current tax system. However, this restructuring has impacted various sectors of the economy, including insurance, in different ways.

The insurance sector is a buzz and concerned with the hike in the percentage of taxes to be paid on the premium component of a policy. 

Earlier the highest tax percentage for a policyholder was 15%; with the implementation of GST, the percentage has increased by 3% resulting in levying a maximum of 18% of taxes on premium value.

Insurance Sector in India

Insurance Sector is an upcoming area in India and only a small percentage of population opts for insurance policies. In 2016, the fraction of people opting for insurance saw a dip in overall percentage and recorded a low of only 2.6% in insurance subscription or renewal from existing policy holders. 

Therefore this increase in percentage of taxes from 15% to 18% is seen as a great concern from the insurance sector.

Impact of GST on Insurance premiums

Tax on health insurance, family health insurance, auto insurance, travel insurance, corporate insurance and various other non-life plans would be 18%. For general insurance, corporate insurance holders can enjoy input tax credit on the GST paid on their policies.

Future of Insurance for policy holders

Though the increase in tax percentage is likely to create short term inflation, this change must not undermine the importance and benefits of insurance for the policyholder and their loved ones. 

Financial and health cover for an individual and their loved ones is of utmost importance and must not be neglected. Such covers protect a policyholder with facilities like cashless hospital services in case of individual health and family health insurance.

GST and India

GST is implemented to eradicate the twofold taxation on the price of goods and services. Indirect taxes will have an impact because of GST and a comprehensive restoration of taxation is about to happen in India. 

Though it proves to be difficult for the time being to bear a higher tax value, Indian economy will surely benefit from the implementation of GST. Simplified taxation on cost price and reforming the indirect tax plan is the prime objective of bringing GST to the forefront.

To conclude, GST is a way to control and simplify the confusion in the Indian tax sector. Always insist on knowing the premium value excluding GST to know the exact amount of premium paid. Take help from online aggregators to compare various policies and arrive at the desired cover.

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