Showing posts with label Personal Finance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Personal Finance. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

6 Time-Tested Strategies to Manage Your Cash Flow

In the grand dance of personal finance, few facets are as vital and as underappreciated as the ebb and flow of cash – the monarch of your monetary kingdom. 

For many, financial fortitude is not about becoming an accounting aficionado but about learning how to navigate the currents of daily expenditure and income in a way that sustains and grows a healthy financial profile.

Cash flow management isn't just a buzzword among business moguls; it's a practice that can elevate anyone's financial well-being. 

This blog will unfurl six streamlined, real-world tactics that demystify the often complex and surprisingly personal world of cash flow management.

Harness the Power of the Digital Ledger

The journey to understanding and owning your cash flow begins with clarity. Invest in a user-friendly finance tracking app to monitor the minutiae of your monetary movements. 

These digital powerhouses transform the laborious task of manual tracking into a seamless, often automated process. 

Whether it's a high-end application that syncs with your bank accounts or a more rudimentary tool that demands your transaction inputs, the key is to develop a habit of reviewing your financial pulse regularly.

Cut Out Frivolous Spending with Daily Tracking

The subtle art of cutting down on unnecessary expenditures lies in tracking daily debit card purchases. This vigilant approach not only narrows down your spending habits but also starts shaping those habits. 

When you monitor the seemingly inconsequential purchases that collectively carve a significant slice out of your income, you become adept at recognizing what's essential and what's merely convenient. 

Some debit cards, like TAPT Debit Card, are also paired with tracking apps, making your tracking easier than ever!

Build a Contingency Plan for Unexpected Costs

Life's arc is often punctuated with unexpected expenses – a medical bill, a home appliance in dire need of repair, or a sudden surge in utility charges. 

Embrace these not as harbingers of financial doom but as challenges that a well-planned contingency fund can gracefully avert. Allocate a portion of your income to a high-yield savings account or an easily accessible cash reserve, and gradually amass a balanced buffer that would be the envy of any financial planner.

Negotiate Wiser Deals to Reel in Expenditure

Recurring monthly bills are more negotiable than you might think. From your smartphone contract to your car insurance, there's often room for negotiation. 

Carve out some time to research competitors and call your service providers who are knowledgeable about better deals elsewhere. 

This bold step not only potentially slashes your regular expenses but also sharpens your financial acumen, turning you into a more astute consumer.

Use Credit Cards Strategically

The credit card, often vilified but sometimes misunderstood, can be a double-edged financial ally. Aim to use it strategically, not as a loan but as a prompt, temporary line of credit that consolidates your purchasing power and offers valuable protections. 

Always pay off the balance in full whenever possible to avoid the shark-infested waters of interest rates. 

With a disciplined approach, your credit card can actually bolster your cash flow by providing cashback rewards or travel miles – perks that inject a bit of sweetness into the sometimes bitter act of expenditure.

Invest in Your Financial Literacy

Our final voyage in the sea of cash flow management brings us to an invaluable asset: knowledge. Educate yourself continually on personal finance, from reading blogs and books to taking courses or attending seminars. 

By deepening your understanding of financial principles and instruments, you empower yourself to make smarter, more informed decisions that not only manage your cash flow better but also set you on a trajectory toward long-term financial stability and growth.

Final Thoughts

Finances, like life, do not come with a manual, but they do come with the opportunity to learn and adapt. By implementing these wealth guidelines, you're not just a spectator of the economic tides but a seasoned captain, navigating with prudence, purpose, and the promise of prosperous shores.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

How to Choose a New Bank for Better Personal Finance

There are so many different banks, and types of banks available these days that it is very difficult to choose a new one. Their ads are numerous and made to be appealing, so what are we to do when narrowing down where we want to do our business? Some of the subjects to check on to see where you would stand to include the following.


Most commercial banks have fees involved, so watch out for them. Find out if you need a minimum amount to even open a checking or savings account. While these can be hefty, some banks offer enough rewards to offset the cost if you use the account enough. However, if you’re looking for no fees, credit unions are typically the way to go.

Also, consider, will you have to maintain a minimum balance or only write a maximum number of checks or make a minimum number of withdrawals each month to avoid fees? That can make a big difference over time if you have to lose money dealing with that bank. 

Are there any monthly service charges, or is everything free including unlimited checks, which may only be a possible “perk” for those over a certain age? These and any other potential fees should be considered before making an account with any bank.

ATM rates

Will you be subject to a fee every time you use an ATM that is not located right at your bank? This is important if you do it regularly. Either find a machine at a store that lists your ATM at no charge or make sure to go by your bank instead. That being said, you’ll want to make sure there are plenty of ATM’s for your chosen bank available in your area if you want to save money.

Interest rates

The rates on credit cards sometimes are astronomical, so look at that closely to see what your bank charges. Continue to look until you find the unusual bank or credit union that has a much smaller interest rate. If you need an auto loan or any type of loan, also check out all the particulars so you can see what you are really being charged.

Rewards options

Rewards can be quite different from one institution to another. Browse what that bank offers to make sure it has the choice that you prefer, whether it is gift cards or redemptions only at particular stores, or the ability to apply the amount of the reward to the balance on your credit card.

It is well worth the time to know exactly what costs and fees you will be faced with. First, take the necessary time to think long and hard as to what your individual needs are and then start comparing a few of the banks to offer the perfect one that offers exactly what features you are looking for.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Advantages of CLSS Scheme for Home Buyers in 2019

In an effort to make housing affordable to the people living in India, the government launched a scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana in June 2015. It came to existence as the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme. In it, the government pays a part of the home loan interest as subsidy, to ease the financial burden on the borrower. As of 2018, almost 2.75 Lakh people have taken advantage of this scheme in question.

The PMAY CLSS can help you build or purchase your dream home too. However, here is a brief look at how the scheme affects your loan interests, depending on the annual income of your family.

Income Slab and Subsidy on Interest

  1. Economically Weaker Section (EWS) - If the annual household income of your family is less than Rs. 3 Lakh, the government categorises your family as EWS. As such, you can enjoy interest subsidy of 6.50% on home loans under PMAY.
  2. Low Income Group (LIG) – The government classifies you as LIG if the average annual income in your family is more than Rs. 3 Lakh, but less than Rs. 6 Lakh. Families in the LIG group can avail the same 6.50% subsidy offered to those EWS.
  3. Middle Income Group I (MIG I) – You belong to this group if your family earns between Rs. 6 Lakh and Rs. 12 Lakh. For families in this group, the Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme offers a 4% subsidy on home loan interest payable.
  4. Middle Income Group II (MIG II) – If you earn between Rs. 12 Lakh and Rs. 18 Lakh in a year, your family falls under MIG II. For these people, the subsidy stands at 3%.

Now that you know the different income slabs eligible for a subsidy, you might wonder how the scheme works. Here is a detailed example to help you understand the benefits of this scheme on home loans.

Suppose, you belong to MIG I and you opt for a home loan of Rs. 9 Lakh at 8.5% for 20 years. At this interest rate, you would incur a monthly EMI of Rs. 7810. During the entire tenor of 20 years, you will end up paying Rs. 9,74,498. Now, after considering the 4% subsidy, net present value or NPV for the said home loan comes to Rs. 2,65,000.

Under this credit linked subsidy scheme, you do not have to pay interest on your principal loan amount but on the amount resulting from subtracting the NPV from the principal, which in this case is Rs. 6,65,000. Therefore, your EMI would reduce to Rs. 5771 and, at the end of 20 years, you end up saving Rs. 2,54,453 in interest payments on your loan.

Benefits of the Scheme

The price of land and property is skyrocketing in India. At such a time, people belonging to weaker financial strata of society have no hope of affordable housing. With the help of this subsidy scheme, such individuals can now look afford a residence at par with average living standards. Here are some benefits of availing such subsidised home loans –

Reduces Financial Liability - Since this subsidy scheme reduces the EMI payments for a home loan, it, in general, helps reduce financial burden. With such a subsidy, repaying the loan becomes easier and more convenient.

All Reputed Lenders support the PMAY CLSS Scheme - You do not need to find a separate financing company to avail a home loan with subsidy. If you match the eligibility criteria, any reputed lender will allow you to utilise the benefits of PMAY scheme in India.

Points to Remember for Availing Subsidy on Home Loans

This scheme is available only to first-time homeowners. Therefore, if you already own a property and want to purchase a new house, you cannot avail the subsidy on a loan to purchase the new property. However, such a person can still avail a subsidised home loan for the purpose of renovation or improvement of his/her owned property.

You still need to furnish all documents required for home loans to your lender and meet the specific eligibility criteria for the same.

To avail the subsidy on the loan, you must meet the carpet area criteria based on whether you belong to EWS, LIG or MIG groups. If the property you are buying surpasses the maximum carpet area allowed for your economic group, you will forfeit the subsidy.

Subsidy on home loans can save a considerable amount of your finances. However, you must check all terms and conditions for the scheme before the loan application to ensure that you qualify and benefit for the same.

Monday, March 23, 2015

5 Ways Veterans Can Optimize Their Personal Finances

Becoming a veteran proves that you've served your country. It puts you in a class of your own, but it does bring a few unique challenges with it as many of our veterans today become very poor and homeless due to a variety of circumstances.

Of those challenges, one of the most problematic tends to be personal finance. Obtaining loans, keeping your credit straight, and finding the right job to build a financially secure future are just a few of the challenges you might face.

Let's examine five ways you can optimize your personal finances as a veteran to ensure that you and your family both have bright futures.

1. Seek the Right Job

Hopping from active duty to civilian life can be a drastic change, though the largest difference that most veterans struggle with is acquiring the right job.

To acquire it, there are a few things you can do. Always present your leadership abilities and any technical skills you might have learned while on active duty. Join one of the many networks maintained by veterans to help other veterans acquire jobs and education.

Never settle for a job that's less than what you think you can handle. You're valuable, so never sell yourself or your skills short.

2. Reduce Your Debt

You may have some debt from before you entered the military. Other debts may have accrued while you were on active duty. You may even have taken out a few personal loans to help you get on your feet after returning to civilian life.

The point is that you should begin reducing your debt as soon as possible. Work with your creditors and they'll work with you. This will help you become financially viable in the long run. You might need consider working with a financial consultant to help resolve some of your outstanding debts.

3. Utilize VA Loans

Veterans have access to special VA loans. These typically have lower interest rates than traditional loans, which is why you should always seek to utilize them.

If you're new to VA loans or have questions about them, then utilizing an expert website like Low VA Rates is something you should try. They have 10 years of experience working with veterans seeking to make quality financial investments in real estate.

4. Start Saving for Tomorrow

Bonds, stocks and other methods of financial investment require you to spend some money today for significantly larger returns tomorrow. That's why investing a little at a time now will eventually pay off.

You may not be an expert in finances, but you can make use of stock brokers and mutual funds to help make your future secure when it comes to finances.

5. Save Every Penny

Frugality is the one thing that separates a person whom worries not about money from one whom barely has enough to pay the bills. That's why every penny maters when it comes to making a financially secure future.

The extra pennies you save by choosing to dine at home, opting for store brands over name brands, and buying in bulk can be used to invest in other things. These financial vehicles will pay off in the future, which greatly optimizes your personal finances at a future date.

Making the Most of Your Personal Finances as a Veteran

You may have limited funds now, but stretching them as far as you can while investing in the future will ultimately pay off.

Given the number of options available to you as a veteran, such as low-interest loans for a home and for college education, you need only take advantage of them to optimize your personal finances.

Monday, September 15, 2014

6 Things to Budget for Now If You Plan to Retire

Did you know that over 46 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement? Not planning for the future is one of the easiest ways people fall in debt, and unless you plan to work well into your 80s, you should start taking a more active approach to your future today by planning for it. It doesn't matter whether you’re 15 or 50, saving for retirement today can help you live a better, less stressful tomorrow.

1. Long-term care costs

While most people plan on retiring in their mid-60s, people are living longer, which means that age-old retirement plans just aren't cutting it anymore. In fact, the average American now spends over 20 years in retirement.

Don't underestimate long-term healthcare costs, as studies show it can cost around $100,000 per year to live in an assisted living center. Insurance can sometimes help alleviate these costs, but not always. If you have a family history of debilitating illness or a chronic medical condition, make it a priority to budget for higher assisted care costs. 

2. Medical emergencies

It's hard to budget for unexpected medical costs, especially since you never know what's going to happen, but you should have some money reserved specifically for medical emergencies. At the very least, a good rule of thumb is to try to have enough saved to cover the cost of your highest deductible. 

3. Debt resolution.

If you're dealing with more debt than you can handle, you're not alone. In fact, the average American household is over $15,000 in credit card debt. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you may want to consider using a site like to help lower your outstanding rates and plan a budget you can stick to.

4. Day-to-day costs

In addition, budgeting for everyday costs, like buying food and paying the utilities, is important as well. It’s easy to forget about these things when you are pulling in a steady paycheck, but they can become very expensive when your fixed income is gone. Keeping track of regular, day-to-day expenses is one of the best ways you can plan for your retirement budget. Consider free sites like to help you prioritize and budget.

5. Property taxes

Though property taxes vary by location, it’s important to budget for these as well. The government will take a portion of the value of your land through property taxes. Make sure that you budget enough to pay for the average cost of these taxes, which can change based on property values. Since property value is often correlated with your local real estate climate, keep an eye on the housing market in your area to make sure your property tax budget will remain sufficient for years to come.

6. Insurance policies

There will probably be a number of insurance policies you'll want to retain during your retirement. These could include home insurance, car insurance, health insurance or life insurance plans. Unfortunately, the fees themselves aren't the only things you should budget for; extra expenses like vehicle maintenance and home improvements should also be factored in. It is important to prioritize your insurance expenses; if your budget is tight and there are a few policies you can live without, consider ending these and focusing on only the essential plans.

There are many expenses to plan for in your retirement budget, even excluding major costs like a mortgage or a car payment. That's why it's so important to plan ahead so that you are ready for the financial changes to come when you retire.

This article was co-authored by Maria Rivera, who has spent the last 13 years helping people overcome their financial hardships. She currently manages CreditGuard of America’s credit counselors and helps prepare individuals who are seeking their credit counseling certification. A resident of Boca Raton, Florida, Maria is always on the lookout for great new recipes and beauty tips. She's also a self-admitted pop culture junkie. You can follow the latest from Maria over on Google+.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Avoid Overspending: Six Services And Items You Can Save On With Little Effort

Although many people consistently overpay due to self negligence and laziness, there are many individuals who are simply unaware of the numerous money-saving opportunities that require little physical or mental expenditure. 

Personal Money Management Websites

Want to create a personalized budget on the fly or create a savings goal to meet by the end of the quarter? It's important to know where your money is being spent and exactly how much you have left in your account. Money management sites like and Yodlee Money Center offer software to users for free. Take the time to set it up and see exactly the state of your financial affairs. 

Add Insulation to Your Home and Attic

This age-old advice is not put into practice nearly enough. Heat is measured in the form of BTUs, or "therms", and each BTU costs about a dollar. When not insulated correctly, BTUs will be lost through a process known as thermal transmittance. Evaluate the amount of heat you lose and fix the deficiencies to ensure your money isn't being wasted. 

Library Registration

Instead of shelling out hard-earned cash each week for the latest Grisham novel or the most recent Blu-Ray release, register for a card at your local library. Most have extensive collections of Movies and TV shows, both current and classics. Because the registration for a library card is inexpensive, it pays off to go there for your next read or new movie.

Cash In With Rewards Cards

Game the system with rewards credit cards. Most people, unfortunately, associate credit cards with needless debt, but there are many cards that offer significant perks for their users. Search the web and peruse the plethora of options available. Use a credit card that offers rewards for services you use a lot or are interested in, like gas, travel and food.

House Swap

Planning a trip to a far-off or expensive place? You might want to look into swapping residencies with someone from your intended area of visit. Instead of paying extravagant hotel fees, the two parties simply switch places, free of charge to both. Be sure to thoroughly research website that offer these services to make sure it is reputable. 

Home Maintenance

This is an oft-overlooked area of saving for homeowners. Most people see home maintenance as an avoidable expense, but as any homeowner knows, this is not the case. Sometimes, homeowners can fix repairs and minor problems around the home, but many don't know that calling in a professional can actually save future costs and jobs done incorrectly. This is especially true with plumbing problems. Calling an expert can save you a lot of money and time on repairs you can't do yourself, says the professionals at Amyotte's Plumbing & Heating Ltd.

Too often, people choose what is expedient over what is proactive. Start saving today by following these simple tips to avoid unnecessary overspending.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Finance 101: How To Stay Debt Free In Today's Economy

Having some level of debt is common in today's society. However, you don't have to let debt consume you. What are some things that you can do to stay out of debt and put your money to good use? Let's take a look at how you can live without a large credit card balance or expensive monthly payments:

Rent Instead of Buy

When you acquire something, you need to consider the total cost of ownership. While renting a house may appear to be more expensive than buying a house, you have to consider the additional utility costs as well as taxes and mortgage interest. Whether you are looking at homes, cars, home tools or more, renting could save a lot more money than buying.

Buy Used Instead of New

Buying items that are used can allow you to buy something nice without paying full retail for it. For example, buying a 2012 car in 2014 may be the better deal because it won't depreciate as much. When you buy clothes or shoes at a thrift shop, you can pay pennies on the dollar for the latest fashions. Most items won't give you any problems if they are gently used, but it will save your wallet a lot of extra money. 

Save Money Ahead of Time

Instead of financing 100 percent of the purchase price, try to save up as much as possible. Having equity in your asset makes it easier to sell it if you can no longer afford to make payments on it. 

Keep Your Credit In Good Standing

Those who have good credit will pay less in interest charges than those who have bad credit. Borrowing $100 at 10 percent interest means that you pay $110, while you would pay $130 at 30 percent interest. Over a larger scale, that savings adds up. 

Create a Budget That You Can Stick With

Make sure that you create a budget for your monthly and yearly spending. It will keep you within your means and ensure that you don't deplete your savings and rely on credit cards to pay bills. While you may want to be strict with your budget, it's important to still be realistic so you can meet your financial goals.

Resist the Urge to Upgrade

Driving your car for as long as possible after it is paid off enables you to avoid a car payment. Keeping your current TV allows you to save $500 or more that you can put in the bank or use for an emergency situation. If your items are still working, wait until you save more money to upgrade.

If you want to stay debt-free, you have to be willing to make some sacrifices to stay within your budget. If you feel overwhelmed with debt, it's important to talk to professionals who can help. Staying debt free is very possible, and following these tips will help get you started on having better control of your finances.

Informational credit to A C Waring & Associates Inc.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Six Items Or Services You Didn't Realize Are Draining Your Wallet

One of the best ways to get control of your finances is to focus on products and services that are not needed or you are simply spending too much money on. Once you become aware of your spending habits, you will most likely recognize issues specific to your own finances. The following are only six ideas, and some of them may apply to you.

Impulse items at the supermarket

Most of us waste money at the supermarket. Often it is due to not knowing specifically what you are going to buy, and you impulsively purchase something you could do without. The way around this is to make sure you have a list before you go to the store. 

Too much fast food

Getting into the habit of buying fast food is costly. Although it may seem cheap to buy fast food, making your meals at home and even making a lunch for work is lower in cost. It is healthier when you choose your food carefully, and quick meals can be made at home as well. 

Bottled water

It is difficult to convince people, but tap water can just as healthy as bottled water. While bottled water may be more convenient in some situations, using that as your only source of water can be very costly. Not only is it a drain on the wallet, but those plastic bottles are polluting the planet. Find yourself a good sports bottle that can be reused. If you prefer bottled water, consider getting a large, refillable cooler instead of buying cases of water bottles. 

Use your dealer for car repairs

Car dealers have certified mechanics, so they have the specific skills and parts needed to fix your car. They use the genuine replacement parts and honor all manufacturer warranties. Having the job done right the first time is a big money saver. Click here for more information about how you can save money in car repairs buy going to a dealer. 

Banking fees

The number of banking fees that a typical person experiences is high. Even when they are low, by the end of the year, they can add up to a larger amount than expected. The best way to reduce this drain on your wallet is to open an account with a credit union. The fees are lower, and in some cases, they will waive some of those fees. When the time comes to get a loan, you will find out that they have lower interest rates than banks. 


Consumers often pay too much for their insurance policies. This is especially true with car and home insurance. One reason you may have too much insurance is that there are specific types of coverage that are not needed, or the value of the policy is greater than the asset. One of the biggest issues with paying too much money is not getting quotes. People get into the habit of paying for insurance with the same company year after year, not realizing there may be a much better deal with someone else.

These ideas are only a few possibilities. You need to take a look at your own expenses and search for possible money burdens on your wallet. Making simple changes to your spending habits can make a big difference in the amount of money you can save.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Personal Finance Tips: Financial Freedom for you at Any Age

Financially free can sound like an idea that most single women would love to adore. An average American spends more than he earns and gets trapped into financial problems. But becoming financially independent is not a big deal. Keep reading and may be you will find a way to become financially independent. 

Steps that lead to financial freedom

Your first step should be to make a budget irrespective of your income. This will help you to know your exact position where you stand financially in terms of your debts, requirements, needs, desires, income and all. Imagine your budget to be a road and finance your destination . Without a proper road map you would not reach your destination and end up wasting time and fuel; same is the case with your finance. Why would you work so hard if you do not how to manage four financial condition and what you should do with your hard earned money. Budgeting will help you to figure out your priority.

Savings and staying away from loans

You should start saving early. If you save every month it will improve your financial condition. It gives a back up for our tough times and also help us to follow a disciplined way of spending the money. Saving money secures your future. Saving will help you trust your own funds rather than trusting on some credit card services at the time of emergencies. You should save enough for any kind of emergency that may pop up. Once you have saved enough of emergency fund, start planning your retirement funds. It is never too late or too early to plan your future. If you keep waiting for better times to come like better jobs and all then there are chances that you might never begin.

Take care of your debts

To get financially free the debt need to be calculated and moreover eradicated so that you could start saving for future you should begin by paying the smallest debt and once that debt is over than you should pay the next smallest and slowly and steadily you should pay off all the debts. If you get any kind of raise in your salary you should devote it to cover your debt instead of spending it. The little things contribute to the most when it comes to saving money. If you spend $5 extra everyday then this could sum up to $150 in one whole month. But if you save this amount then this could contribute to your savings a lot and effect them. This may be difficult especially for single women but controlling the finance is all about behavior if you change some of your habits then this could result in a large and positive impact on your savings and finances.

Taking to some of the simple steps can give you results which you might have never expected. When you are young and have just begun earning, there are two paths in front of you. Either you start spending into acquiring all the luxuries of life or you start on calculated spending, and go on a planned savings wherein you always divert a portion of your income towards investments. 

The latter is a difficult path and one needs to take a long term approach towards the same. One can actually get very good returns on the investments they make over a longer time period. Looking at this one can really enjoy the efforts they have put in into building their lives and finances and over a period of time they can always become financially free. For more information you can visit our website.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Personal Finance Tips for Millenials

saving and spending
saving and spending (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)
According to a 2007 study by the American Psychological Association, 73% of those surveyed claimed money is a primary source of stress in their lives. But personal finances don’t have to be a formidable enemy to avoid. In fact, by making a few smart choices now, you can eliminate future financial burdens and alleviate stress. 

Reduce Debt 

Too often, millennials choose to celebrate landing that first job by making a large purchase. Before you rush out to buy a new car, know the difference between “good debt” and “bad debt.” According to, “good debt” is generally debt with a lower interest rate than the rate you could be earning by investing. For example, a home loan would commonly be considered “good debt,” while a car loan or credit card debt are more likely “bad debt.” 

If you already have debt from a credit card, car loan, or student loans, start by paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. Top Ten Reviews suggests writing out a game plan for how and when you are going to pay off your debts. Pay off as much as possible, as quickly as possible. 

Start Saving 

Now Utilize a budget. Keep your spending under control and allocate a designated amount each month to your savings. A good strategy would be to have three types of savings funds. 

Emergency Fund 

According to U.S. News, in a stretch of hiring slowdowns, it is crucial to have an emergency fund to cover an unexpected period of unemployment.This fund should be enough to cover your living expenses for three to six months. 

Short Term Savings

  • Planning on buying that new car after all? Want to take a weekend trip to Vegas? Minimize your debt by planning ahead and saving now. 
  • Having a short term savings fund can give you the financial freedom to do the things you enjoy, without breaking the bank. Long Term Savings 
  • When you’re in your twenties, “retirement” seems light-years away. However, being in your twenties is the best time to start saving for retirement, because of the power of compound interest. The earlier you start saving, the more interest you’ll earn! 
  • If your employer sponsors a 401K plan, make sure you are taking advantage of this opportunity. In addition, consider opening a Roth IRA. The Roth IRA is especially a good option for someone at the early stages of their career, because once you exceed a certain level of income, you can no longer contribute. Essentially, with a Roth IRA, you can pay taxes now and avoid paying taxes on any future earnings from your investment. 
  •  Consider a Target-Date Retirement Fund. Not only do these funds typically have low expense ratios, but they eliminate the added work load of trying to manage your portfolio yourself. These funds are fully diversified and managed by investing professionals. As you approach your target retirement date, the fund will automatically become more conservative. 
  • It’s important to remember that withdrawing early from a 401K or an IRA will have significant financial penalties. This is why it is important to have your emergency fund and a short term savings fund; do not tap into your long-term savings. 

Put Your Technology to Work 

Today, there are so many resources available to help get your finances under control. For example, is a great tool to monitor your budget and track your spending – and the smartphone app is both fun and user-friendly. Another example would be using or Credit Karma to watch your credit score and prevent identity theft. 

Make your life easier by setting up automatic payments. Find out if your employer offers automatic paycheck deductions for your 401K. In addition, most banks allow you to set-up automatic scheduled transfers. Make your finances your first priority by scheduling an automatic transfer into your savings account. Pay yourself first. You can also set up automatic payments to pay off your student loans and pay your monthly bills. Automatic bank drafts ensure that you always pay on time, thus avoiding any unnecessary late charges. 

Reigning in your finances can seem like a daunting task at first, but you can conquer your financial fears by managing your debt, maximizing your savings, and using technology to your advantage. 

Chris is a blogger for his blog The Financial Park. He is also a golf fanatic and loves to be outdoors. You can find him on Twitter @ChrisLindsey23.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Examples of When to and Not to Get a Loan

A loan can be a good tool to help people make a purchase when they do not have the necessary funds available. While a loan is great for some reasons, no loan, including credit cards, should be obtained hastily. It is important to remember that when you take out a loan, you are still responsible for repaying the loan, plus any additional amount for interest. It is vital that you carefully consider any loan that you may want to take out to determine if it is the right solution for you or not.

Below is a look at three great reasons for taking out a loan, as well as, three reasons not to take out a loan. Lying in between these two choices are non-loan options which can include alternative money help. Below are some examples of when and when not to take out a loan. 

Reasons to Take Out a Loan

1. Home. The majority of homeowners cannot afford to purchase their home with cash. Instead, they take out a mortgage to cover the cost and then repay the mortgage over the course of ten, twenty or thirty years. This is a good reason to take out a loan because purchasing a home is a sound investment. Just be sure to shop around to find the best mortgage options for you.

2. Education. You may also need to take out a loan to complete your education. Unfortunately, you may not make enough money right now to cover the costs of higher education, but without a proper education, you cannot get a higher paying job. Before taking out a loan for your education be sure to apply for all the governmental benefits available to you because this may reduce the loan amount you have to take out. Also, look for low-interest loans that are specifically designed for students.

3. Car. Whenever possible, it is best to pay for a car with cash instead of taking out an auto loan. However, there are times when you may not have an option and you must take out a car loan in order to purchase a vehicle. This is true if you live in a rural area where public transportation is not available, or you need a vehicle to get back and forth to work. Be sure to keep your car loan payments within your budget limits.

Reasons Not to Take Out a Loan

1. Holiday. A holiday is not a good reason to take out a loan because it is not something you need, but rather something you want. If you want to take a special holiday, create a short-term financial goal for yourself and readjust your budget to help you put some money aside each week or month to go towards you holiday. Before you know it, you will have enough money saved and you will not have to pay any additional money for interest.

2. Gifts. A lot of people make the mistake of pulling out their credit cards or taking out a loan to cover the costs of purchasing gifts especially at Christmas time. Many times they do not even realize how much they spent until the bills start coming in. You should set a budget for purchasing gifts and make a commitment to not go over budget. Try making homemade gifts or only shop when things are on sale.

3. New Furniture. Many furniture dealers offer their customers loans in order to buy the furniture they want. This is not a good enough reason to take out a loan, even if they claim to offer an interest-free loan for a set period of time. Instead, save up your money and only purchase new furniture when you have enough saved.

This list of good and bad reasons to take out a loan, may help you determine when it is a good time to take out a loan of your own or not. Remember that taking out a loan requires a long-term commitment and you will have to make the payments on a regular basis until the loan is paid off. Make sure that you take everything into consideration before making this vital decision.

Try looking at borrowing through an advantage and disadvantage point of view. Reasons for borrowing that are positive include purchasing assets or items that will benefit you in a positive way – education, vehicle to get to and from work or as part of a business, etc.. Examples of a disadvantage is purchasing items/services which will lose value and do not provide any real benefit outside of short-term gain.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Importance of Personal Finance Budgeting

Budget (Photo credit: Tax Credits)
The principles of a sound wealth building system all require the foundation built on personal finance fixus. Solid and consistent budgeting is one of the laws of personal finance that you break at your own expense. Finance is often made more complex than it needs to be, and proper personal finance budgeting to build wealth need not be stressful. Simply by following a few simple basic rules of personal finance your budgeting will not only get you back on financial track but begin the process of wealth creation that we all deserve The cost of not following your money, and knowing how your money flows in and out of your possession is dear, and a very common mistake. But, what are the principles of successful budgeting.

The first principle of personal finance budgeting that comes before any dreaded calculations or budget sheet assessment is to remove all the emotion from your finances. This is the hardest and most important of the personal finance budgeting secrets to be revealed. If you find yourself wracked with debt anxiety, overwhelmed by countless financial obligations, or just simply hate counting bills and income, you are not alone. Removing the emotion from your personal finance budgeting will be a work in progress, and you should always remain on guard for its returning. But it is an essential and important to take effort to remove any emotion from this process. You are simply counting numbers,, to paint a map of where you are now, and to measure progress towards your wealth destination. Personal financial budget is a key component of building wealth. It allows you to quickly and stress free, debt repayment, college, regularly, so you can enjoy an early retirement and residential investment can Are you adequately budget, you can easily come and how much you can afford to spend money to know exactly how to go about your life, if you can.

The next step to when personal finance budgeting will be to compile a list of both your assets and your liabilities. With this step in the budgeting process we are trying to evaluate your net worth. With this information you can now make wiser decisions and streamline your finances, all with the help of a little personal finance budgeting each month. You simply need to make a list of what you own, assign each item a number as to what it could be sold for, or its current worth, and subtract from this list what you owe. For example, if you own a boat that can be sold for $1500 and you still owe $750 you would be left with a value of $750 that could be considered a part of your net worth. By determining these numbers in personal finance budgeting we are able to a better idea in the broad sense of what you are worth financially. Boring personal finance budget can guess, most people do not like the numbers work, but it's really simple. I have a budget, sometimes every other week, maybe 10 minutes a week, I had the hard way.

Following the determination of your net worth, our next budgeting step is to determine what your dynamic finances are. This sounds more complicated than it is, I am only asking that you make a list of what your monthly income sources are and how much you bring in each month from these income streams. Your budget provides you with a clear understanding of where your money is and how it is flowing. We then need to compile a list of your monthly expenses, what they are and how much the subtract from your monthly income. Proper budgeting your personal finances means leaving no expense or item off the list, no matter how small, account for everything. This budgeting task reveals to us the speed that you are travelling with your finances, either to financial ruin or towards your wealth building destination.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Top 10 Money Management Tips For Newly Weds

All newlyweds look forward to a life of love and bliss. While we certainly hope for the best for all newly married couples, it is foolish to think that married life will always be a bed of roses. One problem a lot of married couples face is their finances. Sadly, this is one important issue that they don’t take the time to plan well. To avoid this, we’re featuring 10 money management tips for all you honeymooners out there.

1. Do an honest financial self-assessment with your spouse

It’s important for couples to do an assessment of themselves and each other before tying the proverbial knot. Not only should they be secure in each other’s love, but they should also be secure in each other’s ability to provide.

Therefore, couples should know each other’s net worth. They should be up front about their income, assets, and investments. Couples who are honest about their personal financial information tend to make better financial decisions in the future. 

2. Set SMARTER goals

SMARTER is an acronym for S-simple; M-measurable; A-attainable; R-realistic; T-time-bound; E-enriching; R-rewarding. Newlyweds, and even those who are getting married, should keep this in mind when setting goals. It’s crucial that they set up realistic and attainable financial goals they know they can achieve. But they should also make it a point not to become a prisoner of their goals.

3. Plan ahead

Financial planning is all about creating a workable budget. A family’s budget is hard to do without doing an honest self-assessment and setting goals. Couples, especially newlyweds, will benefit by creating sub-accounts. These are the monthly payables that take care of their “overhead” expense. Examples of these sub-accounts are rent, utilities, transportation and communication expense, groceries, insurance, etc.

Part of planning is creating a strategy to meet the target budget (meaning: not go over it). But it’s also incumbent among the couple to come up with a contingency plan whenever certain situations dictate that they need to go over their budget for the month.

4. Stick to the planned budget

When the couple receives their individual monthly earnings, they need to deposit money into these sub-accounts first before they spend for their indulgences. This is the best way for them to stick to their planned budget. This method instills discipline in the couple, and at the same time ensures that they are not living beyond their means. Whatever is left after paying the sub-accounts can be used by the newlyweds however they wish.

5. Have a weekly “business” meeting

Couples need open communication in their marriage. And this holds true not only for love, but for finances as well. A lot of times, couples fight or argue because one of them brought out a touchy topic about finances at the wrong time.

This can be avoided by scheduling a weekly “business” meeting. Newlyweds can set aside an hour a week to discuss everything about their finances—from credit card debt, bank accounts, investments, and insurance. In the business meeting, the couple has a chance to confer and iron out financial details with each other. The goal should be to settle financial concerns during the meeting to avoid discussing finances until the next scheduled business meeting.

6. Control or manage debt

This should be easy to do if the couple started off on the right foot by planning and managing their budget early on. But if they were already deep in debt even before they got married, they should make it a priority to get out of debt as fast as they can.

They can start with the debt with the higher interest rate. Between a credit card debt that has an APR of 22% and a student loan with a 17% rate, they’re better off funneling more funds into the student loan. It might take a heavy toll on the couple’s finances on the get-go, but at least they’re not accumulating more penalties and interest on their unpaid debt.

7. Build an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund should be one of the allotted sub-accounts. It is advisable that the couple set aside 10% to 15% of their monthly income to go into the emergency sub-account. At least when the rainy days come, they know they have readily accessible funds they can reach into.

8. Plan for retirement early

It’s never too early to start planning for retirement. Couples will gain a lot if they talk to or ask their employers about retirement options (even on the first day of work). Some companies offer competitive retirement plans where they match employee contributions. Another approach is to invest in a retirement plan with a financial institution.

9. Invest

Another financial aspect that doesn’t get much attention is investments. Newlyweds need to decide early on where their surplus income will go. They need to research on investments that can give them a good yield without tying-up their money for a long time. Or they can talk to an investment or fund manager. These professionals can help them come up with investment packages to suit their current needs.

10. Remember: “For richer or poorer”

All couples should remember the vows they made, especially when dealing with financial issues. Things can get testy when discussing the household budget or when dealing with credit card debt. Therefore, it’s best that couples take a step back before they get eaten up by their financial problems, and remember their promise to love each other for better or worse and for richer or poorer.

Get your married life started on right foot. Take these money management tips to heart and you and your spouse will be on your way to financial freedom.

Do you like this article? You can find more tips and guides and everything about your wedding at

Monday, January 13, 2014

Easy Tips For Simple Money Management

The process of managing money, including investments, budgeting, banking, and taxes. Also called investment management. So let's turn to the 21st century's primary source of information: Google. And that's when it gets a bit hairy. This is how a prominent website defines 'money management': Money doesn't buy happiness. 

It's not more important than your family, your friends or your health. But let's not kid ourselves - financial security gives you the freedom to make the choices that are right for you, and freedom can be the key to happiness. We'd all like to improve our money management skills, and the first step toward getting better at something is understanding it. 

Money management is a broad topic with a lot of different facets, so it's not surprising that Google pulls up some confusing results. But definitions of money management that get bogged down in the details miss an important point: the secret to good money management is simple. Price action just need commitment and organisation. But it isn't anywhere near as scary as it can sound. 

Analaura & Wilson Luna are Authors, Licensed Financial Planners and Founders of Your Family Your Money - a financial literacy resource hub designed to help families with Money Management. By being conscious of what you do with your money, you can use the principles of money management to build wealth and take control of your future. And hey - Google isn't always scary. After all, if you ask it to, it will bring you here. 

You're probably not feeling very inspired right now. In fact, if you're like most people, reading that has probably got you thinking that 'money management' is something best left to the professionals - people who know something about money. But what you may not have realized is that, when it comes to your money, the person who knows the most about it is you. 

Let's be clear: money management is a big topic, and there are lots of books, articles and advice that will help you deal with the specific issues you'll face as you work toward financial freedom. If you find out what they are and learn how to use them to make money management a part of your daily routine, you'll be able to make the best use of your resources and create a lifestyle for yourself that's a lot less stressful, with a lot more options for Money Management. 

This terminology can be a bit intimidating but the thing to remember is that these are just names for the tools that will help you sort out how much money you have, where it's going and how you can generate more of it. You know how much money you make and how much you spend - after all, you're the one spending it! Whether you're investing in the stock market or buying a sandwich, you make money management decisions every day of your life, and if you don't like the results you're getting all you need to do is change your habits. 

Like any subject, financial advice comes with its own language, so you've probably heard words like 'budget' and 'statement of net worth'. So what exactly do you do? Well, as we said, money management is a big topic and the learning process is going to be a lot easier if you take it one bit at a time. You can browse our list of articles for specific topics and you can check out our online store for comprehensive guides on how to create strong financial foundations for your family.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Money Management Tips for Seniors

When it comes to senor money management, there are a few important aspects to keep in mind, since older individuals often have to have a different approach to spending and managing money. While some people start saving for their retirement immediately after they start their first job, others wait until they only have a few years left before they start saving for their retirement.

In order to have enough for your retirement you need to calculate your current lifestyle requirements; you need to maintain at least 70% to 80% of your current working income. However, you might outlive your income or you might not have time to save enough to maintain your lifestyle. Retirement experts believe that you should not use more than 5% of your savings every year, should you need it, so that you don’t run into trouble when it comes to retirement time.

Consider Health Care Expenses

Healthcare expenses can make out a huge part of your retirement savings, especially if you have a chronic illness or an unforeseen accident. Ensuring that you have a proper medical aid plan can make this much easier to manage, which is why you need to consider medical coverage early on in your career.

Consider things like Medicare Savings Programs where you can reduce your co-payments and save money in the process. There are four different programs to read about, so you can choose the one that suits you best. Each of these programs has different income limits so you can compare them to see which one will suit you. 

Daily Money Management

Senior citizens can benefit from daily money management (DMM) services as this will allow them to have someone take care of their bookkeeping requirements. This can include writing checks for bills to be paid, keeping records of all payments made and received. This will give the individual, as well as their families, peace of mind, knowing that bills are paid and that money is not wasted on unnecessary purchases.

Money management and retirement savings don’t have to be difficult to manage. You can get help from a licensed financial advisor to guide you throughout this process, which is a great help for many individuals. Always make sure that you verify these individuals, though, to ensure that they have the skills and experience necessary to handle your finances and give you professional, practical advice. 

There are a few other aspects to consider:

  • Senior discounts. Many retailers are happy to offer senior discounts on specific days of the week or month.
  • Community service. Some senior programs provide payment for services, so you can get paid for giving back.
  • Stay at home. If you own a home, it’s a huge asset. Stay there and save money on old age homes where possible. 

Saving for your retirement is just as important as properly managing your finances when you are retired. With a few tips and clever choices you can make sure that you live a comfortable life after retirement. It’s a good idea to work with a financial planner if you are still in the early stages of saving for retirement, making it easier to make the right decisions and know how much money to save.

License Direct provides a centralized license search for more than 20 million registered professionals across the United States.

Friday, January 3, 2014

How to be Ready for the Unexpected When it Comes to Saving Money?

When it comes to saving money, most of us have some sort of budget that we will use in order to guide our spending and help ensure we put away as much as we need on a regular basis to fund our future plans. Often these budgets will consist of complex and in-depth spread sheets with detailed break-downs of precisely what we're going to spend money on and exactly how much we're going to save over a set period of time.

The problem though is that budgets are consistent and inflexible and they don't tend to have much room for error. When unexpected expenses crop up then that you didn't anticipate – and they will – your saving can end up going on hold and you can end up running out of cash.

Sometimes it will be because the boiler broke, sometimes it will be because your energy bill is obscenely high for unknown reasons, sometimes it will be because you get invited on some amazing night out/trip abroad that you just can't say no to. Whatever the reason though, you will find that budgeting and saving rarely goes unhindered and that there's almost always something that will surprisingly cost you money.

If you have the right attitude however, these costs can be managed and dealt with. Read on and we'll take a look at some of the best ways you can prepare for those unexpected expenses.

Save When Times Are Good – Don't Rely on the Future

You know when you buy yourself an extravagant gift one month because your finances are going strong and because you promise yourself that you're going to pay it back later? Well unfortunately that just doesn't work. You promise yourself to save more money next month, but then something unexpected comes up and you end up losing more cash – thus the panic starts. You can justify things all you like, but ultimately buying on a whim will always be a mistake as far as your savings are concerned. Don't rely on having more money later – save now. 

Of course you should be able to treat yourself to things from time to time, but when you do this it should be as a reward for having already saved a certain amount. Set yourself targets and buy yourself rewards when you reach them – that's a much healthier and safer way to occasionally get what you want.

Expect the Worst

It goes hand in hand with the above point, but more generally you should just make sure that you plan for the unexpected. Not specifically, but overall – by putting aside a little extra in savings so that you can dip into those when you need to, by making conservative estimates of how much you can save. It's better to expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised with extra cash than it is to hope for the best then be shocked because you have much less.

Have Contingency Plans

But it's not enough to just acknowledge that you'll sometimes be spending extra money – you also need to plan for that eventuality and know what you're going to do about it. That means having a contingency plan for those emergencies – perhaps that involves dipping into a savings fund, maybe it means asking your parents for a loan, or maybe it means doing a little extra work on the side to get by. Whatever you do though, make sure that you don't end up getting desperate and taking out expensive pay day loans.

What's also useful is to take out insurance which can help to prevent some of those dire situations. Insurance won't protect you against every outcome, but it can help to prevent situations where you're working out for a new phone or paying for new furnishings in your home and lots of repair work.

Live Cheaply

Life will generally be easier financially if you find ways to live within your means. Don't spend as much as you can while still saving – rather find ways to make do with less and treat yourself occasionally when you can. By requiring less money day-to-day you'll be less caught out by those one off expenses and better able to save under any conditions.

Author Bio:

Miley Brooke, the author of this post, works for Donnelly's, providers of life insurance in Australia. She likes to write and is keen to learn new languages. You can connect to her team on Google+ and have a look at their profile on LinkedIn.

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