Friday, October 23, 2020

Understanding the Benefits of Funeral Planning No Matter Your Age

Living in unprecedented times, you might begin to feel and think about how fragile and short life really is. For this reason, you may also wonder about the appropriate age at which you should begin planning your funeral. Honestly, the best time for funeral planning is at any age, rather, any time except at the time of the funeral. Today, we will discuss understanding the benefits of funeral planning no matter your age.

A Celebration of Life

Attending a funeral may be considered a solemn affair for many, but it does not have to be. If you really think about it, funerals should be a celebration of a person's life, your life. By planning your funeral ahead of time, you are allowing your family and friends to spend quality time with one another to celebrate your life.

Financial Responsibility

Whether you decide on a traditional burial or cremation, one thing is for certain. Funeral costs are rising significantly, year after year. Planning early will offer cost-saving benefits by locking in today's rates. Just like a home loan, financing options are available. 

This means by planning ahead, you will ease the burden of funeral expenses on your family while giving them peace of mind by assuming full financial responsibility for your funeral. Funeral planning also helps prevent overspending.

Reimburse Travel Expenses

Along with taking full control of your funeral expenses, another benefit of planning your funeral ahead is that it will provide you an opportunity to reimburse long-distance friends and family for their travel expenses to attend your funeral. This allows them to fully stay focused on celebrating your life.

Final Wishes Honored

Perhaps you may have a specific preference for the disposition of your remains and want to clearly express them. Funeral planning allows you to leave specific instructions to fulfill your final wishes. Your final wishes may also include detailed instructions on the type of music that will be played during your funeral, the epitaph that will be engraved on your headstone, and others.

Whether you are in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or beyond, and regardless of your health status, funeral planning at any age offers several benefits, as mentioned above. So, take full control of every aspect of your funeral and ensure your final wishes are honored by preventing unwanted surprises from happening. Allow your family and friends, near and far, to truly focus on celebrating your life by planning ahead.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score and Save Money

A credit score refers to a vital number that moneylenders use to determine if they will grant you credit and the terms and interest of the loan or credit. If your score is low, then you have lower chances of your loans getting approved. If approved, you might have to repay higher interest. 

That is why you want to score very high if your plan is to get a car or personal loan, a credit card, or make a mortgage application to purchase a home. Discussed below are five ways you can use to increase your credit rating and save cash.

1. Manage Your Debt

Since the second most important factor in your credit rating is the total debt, it is significant to keep your loans under control. In case you presently have a substantial amount of unpaid debt, your main concern should be to avoid having another loan and work to reduce the figures.

This is not always easy; however, the only means to enhance your debt condition is to stop utilizing credit cards or borrowing and continue making well-timed payments that minimize your balance.

You must also consider the amount of available credit. For instance, if you have several credit cards that have reached the maximum or are close to the bounds, it will negatively affect your score. Dual credit cards, which have a limit of $5,000 and a balance of $1,000 each, look better than one card with a limit of $2,500 and a balance of $2,000.

Use notifications to inform you of fresh purchases with a debit or credit card to better track your balance and expenses. You may also establish a split alert to notify you when the credit card amount hits a certain value. Consider scheduling biweekly or weekly payments to the cards to lose some interest and lower your debt balance faster.

2. Pay Promptly

The most significant thing you should do to maintain or improve your credit score is to pay promptly. Disbursement history is the single most important factor used to calculate your credit rating. Payments past due one month or more will point up on the report and affect your credit rating negatively. These negative numbers typically stay on the report for around seven years.

Consider scheduling automatic overheads from your current account to make it easy to pay on time. If you are not at ease with payments automation, you may set up prompts with your billing agent or through the account to inform you when the due day is approaching.

3. Use Different Forms of Credit

A minor portion of your credit rating is according to the kinds of credits you are using at a given time. Moneylenders would like to perceive your responsibility for returning credit, that is, loans and credit cards. If you do not possess a credit card, consider having one. In case you do not have a loan on your report, you can apply for a small individual loan to build credit.

4. Keep Your Old Accounts Activated

Credit history length is another significant creditworthiness factor, so keeping old accounts open can be an advantage. While you need to keep all your accounts manageable, it can sometimes be harmful to your score if you close the old account. 

Locking the old account while you still have a balance may also affect your score, as it directly upsets your credit use. For instance, if you want to purchase a credit mortgage and have a low score, consider using a bad credit mortgage broker instead of closing your old account.

5. Be Cautious When Opening Fresh Accounts

Although fresh credit is not a significant feature in your credit rating, it is an essential concern. If you are looking for a credit card or new loan, make your purchases quickly. You do not want your credit report to display that you always look for credit.

Also, you do not want to apply credit accounts that you don't want to utilize. It can be luring to get the extra 10% off for opening a new loyalty card; however, the little cash you save can be negligible when several new accounts like this lower your score. 

Also, loyalty cards can regularly have a greater annual cost compared to the conventional credit card. If you fail to immediately reimburse the balance, the greater APR may offset the savings you get when you open the account.


Improving your credit rating can save you money. Use the above methods to build your score.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

4 Things Retirees Should Know About Estate Planning

You have planned for retirement, prepared for covering healthcare, and researched living expenses. Hopefully, you have also created a will. But one thing that many retirees don’t realize is that even with a will, their death can create financial and emotional complications. For this reason, it is vital for retirees to look into estate planning.

Like most people, you may not have given estate planning much thought until your retirement rolled around. When you retire, it makes you think about your future, your assets, and your death. While it may be a big task, you should start your estate planning today by learning these four facts.

Plan for Probate Costs

All retired individuals should make sure they have money saved or individuals prepared to cover probate costs. After your passing, your will is going to be executed by the specific person you named. When this happens, it’s called the probate process. 

The amount of time it will take for the probate process and the fees charged will highly depend on the state you’re in. In most states, you can expect probate fees to cost around 10 percent of your estate’s value. If you are not already prepared for this, it can cause financial strain on your loved ones.

Financial Beneficiaries

Probate is complicated, and many people find it useful to avoid it altogether. As you’ve discovered above, probate can be a lengthy and expensive process. You can help to avoid probate with financial beneficiaries. 

To do this, you’ll have the financial institutions that are holding your specific financial assets include a beneficiary. This way, they can hand over the asset or funds to your beneficiary upon your death. This is a well-known loophole of probate in the estate planning process that you should be taking advantage of.

Consider Living Trusts

While financial beneficiaries can be named for assets like brokerage accounts, savings, and checking accounts, they don’t work for all types of assets. For larger physical assets such as your car or home, you’ll need to set a living trust. 

This type of trust can also be referred to as a revocable trust. The living trust allows you to state beneficiaries, called trustees, that can retain control of the asset in the event of your death.

Know About POAs

One document that is often discussed during the estate planning process is the power of attorney, or POA. This document comes in two forms, which include financial and medical. In a financial POA, you’re giving the right to give control of your assets to a specific person in the event you become physically or mentally unable to do so. 

With a medical POA, you’re specifying a person who will have control over your medical preferences in the event you become physically incapacitated.

Estate planning is something that everyone should consider doing. Retirement may be the perfect time to sit down and take your individual wishes and assets into consideration. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how estate planning works and are more confident about contacting your lawyer to discuss starting your own planning.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at or Twitter @BrookeChaplan

Thursday, October 15, 2020

4 Items in Your Home You Didn't Know Could Be Worth Good Money

Most of us can find useless things around the house that we want to get rid of. The good news is that there may be buyers waiting to pay cash for your unwanted possessions. 

All you have to do is market them online and be prepared to mail the items or have them ready for pick up when the deal is confirmed. Here are four surprising things you might own that could be worth a fair amount of money.

Books and Toys

People who take good care of former toys and collectible sets can often sell them for surprising amounts of money. Some buyers are looking for toys that were popular decades ago and will pay a good price for those in great condition. 

Toys that still have their original packaging are especially valuable for many collectors. Before giving away your grown kids' old playthings, look through them to see if any might be worth selling. The same holds for vintage books of any genre. Browse your titles online to see what they might be worth.

Dishware and Kitchen Equipment

Complete sets of authentic china in good condition, particularly those by renowned companies like Wedgewood, can fetch a tidy sum from interested buyers. Antique cookware and kitchen utensils handed down over several generations also attract interest from dishware collectibles. 

Certain types of kitchen equipment, like brand-name deluxe blenders and old-fashioned stoves, are frequently in demand. Before taking pictures to market your items, clean them up, and make any minor repairs. Indicate whether they still work the original way or if they have been modified for modern kitchen use.

Vehicles that Don't Run

Cars, vans, trucks, motorcycles, and just about anything on wheels, whether it runs or not, is likely to attract interest from people who rebuild cars or need a used part for the vehicle they are driving. 

Just put up a sign or post an ad that says "buy my junk car," and you may be surprised by the number of calls, emails, or texts you receive.

Cosmetic Jewelry

While valuable gemstones are often available from someone's inheritance or an estate sale, costume jewelry is growing in popularity as well. 

Retro-style necklaces, bracelets, and earrings are in demand by drama troupes, film companies, and those looking for accessories to complete their Halloween costumes.

Don't let your marketable goods go to waste. Set aside the best ones and advertise them to the appropriate market to earn money on what you might have otherwise given away.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Top 4 Benefits to Look for in a New Checking Account at a New Bank

Forging a relationship with a new bank can be exciting for first-timers but daunting to anyone who has enjoyed a previous institution. In either case, most banks are excited to bring on new clients, and they will offer incentives as a way to entice people to make the switch. 

A checking account is one of the most basic things into which people will put some assets. While most of them share similar features, there are a few perks you can look for when shopping for a new one.

Sign-Up Rewards

In addition to offering stellar services to newcomers, many banks like to encourage signers by offering special rewards for making the switch. Many of these rewards are tied to money that you can get by making at least one deposit over the first month that you open the account. 

The bank will add the money to this account once you meet the requirements. It will usually appear in your checking account after no more than 10 business days.

No Minimums

Some banks require you to keep a minimum balance in your account, charge you monthly fees just for storing your funds, or both. These numbers aren't usually high, but they can hit you out of nowhere if your account falls below the minimum and is overdrawn before you notice. 

You should look into a free checking account that doesn't ask you for minimums or charge you such fees. Most of these packages come with free online banking programs as well.

Return Percentages

Standard rewards that give you cash back for what you buy don't seem as common as they once were, so going with a bank that offers them could be a great perk for you. It works well when the bank links its cashback rewards directly with the debit card that is connected to your checking account. 

If you make purchases that add up to a particular dollar amount in a given month, you can earn a percentage of those expenditures back.

Early Direct Deposit

You never know when you might need some of your money a bit earlier than you expected. Some accounts can offer you access to your directly deposited funds by as much as two days early. In most cases, they determine this by studying the traditional policies of most banks and how quickly funds from paper check deposits are usually available. 

If you're used to having access to your money on a particular day, knowing that it will be ready for you early could be a big help.

Some people sign up for the first checking account they see at their local bank, and others who have had one for years like to stick with what they know. These approaches are easy, but they mean that you might not be getting all the benefits you could make use of with a better system. 

Don't forget to see if some checking accounts offer special maintenance privileges to target demographics that could include teens or seniors.

Monday, October 12, 2020

How to Work with Your Employer When You Need Short-Term Disability Pay

After sustaining injuries, an employee may become incapacitated and thus unable to perform their duties like before. When such an incident happens, the short-term disability cover comes in handy.

Short-term disability is a unique insurance cover that offers some income replacement or compensation for injuries and illnesses sustained outside the workplace that render you unable to perform your duties. It is imperative to note that it only covers non-job-related injuries. Injuries sustained while in the workplace are covered by worker's compensation.

Sick Leave

Some employers provide paid sick leave as a benefit. If your employer compensates for time off due to illness or injury, the first thing you should do is to check whether you qualify for the program. 

Some employers require workers to give notice when they need sick leave. An employee can only take advantage of such a program if the purpose is foreseeable, such as planned surgery or childbirth.

Short Term Disability Benefits

A short-term disability cover guarantees a portion of a worker's salary if the worker is temporarily unable to perform duties due to illness, injury, or pregnancy. The benefits can be offered in several ways. These ways vary from one state to another. 

In some states such as Hawaii, California, New York, Rhode Island, and New Jersey, the benefits are paid through a policy acquired by the employer or through a state fund. If your state doesn't require employers to purchase short term disability cover, your employer might decide to acquire a policy voluntarily.

Regardless of the cover, the programs abide by the same rule. You are entitled to a portion of your salary for a specific period. The percentage you will get is determined by the terms of the plan or by the state.

How Can You File for Short Term Disability?

If you feel that you deserve compensation, the first thing is to ensure that your injury or illness is well documented. According to an unpaid wages lawyer, you need to provide medical backing or evidence when making a claim.

The first thing you should do is consult a doctor and speak honestly about what you are experiencing. After getting a well-prepared medical record, you should approach your HR department to kick off the process of making a claim.

Short-term disability benefits enable an employee to meet their needs even when they can't work due to an illness or injury. Short-term disability benefits are commonly offered for a period of three to six months.

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