Monthly Archives: November 2016

Taking Care of Your Personal Finance

Taking responsibility for your personal finance has never been more important than it is now. The largest and supposedly strongest markets in the world are fighting to keep their heads above water, so it’s important for you to know and understand your exact financial status to weather the storm.

When it comes to personal finance, Don Taylor from Bankrate recommends that the first thing you need to do is identify your life goals and map out a financial plan that will help you to achieve them. This plan should be revisited on a semi-regular basis and adjusted as goals change. After which you need to determine where all of your money goes. This means you need to get to grips with your credit card spending, your casual spend, your accounts and any investments or annuities that you already own. Then draw up what Taylor calls a spending plan. He refers to a spending plan rather than a budget because “spending plan” sounds more positive and less like a monthly chore than budget.

Once your spending plan has been completed, you need to determine how much you can afford to spend on securing your future, i.e. investments, pension plans and retirement annuities. If you already have some money invested you should relook at them and possibly try to increase your monthly payments. But before you do anything on your own you need to consult a financial advisor; someone who will help you with your financial planning.

According to Taylor, financial plan needs to be comprehensive. It’s not a short term thing and needs to consider the bigger picture. It includes all of your insurance, employee benefits, taxes and investments and retirement and estate planning. At this stage you should also assess your risk tolerance. High-risk investments tend to have a high-yield, but, obviously the risk that you could lose almost everything is great. Low-risk investments, on the other hand, are relatively stable and safe, but they won’t net as much money. If you decide to go the safer route, Taylor recommends that you try to invest as much money as you can afford every month, so that your investment base is as high as possible.

And then, of course, you have to know your portfolio. Understand what it is that you have bought, know the risks, know the fees and most importantly, understand the implications of cancelling or surrendering your investment. Annuities can be particularly tricky cancel with an assortment of associated fees and penalties.

Personal Finance Tips For Graduates

To a young college student fresh out of school the world may seem rosy, but sooner or later they have to understand that many things are regulated by the finances we have. Till now their needs were fulfilled by their parents and it is time for them to understand they need to regulate and manage their finances so they do not fall into any sort of financial problems. Most of the college students today, opt for jobs at the entry level of their field of study. This article provides some valuable information about personal finance management for graduates.

Although entry level jobs do not pay much, it should not be a pretext for saving less. Plan a budget and stringently follow it, so that you can track your expenses and income. Plan wisely and invest in schemes that will give you good returns later.

You may love to splurge on expensive restaurants and alcohol, but keep in mind that even small amounts of saving that may seem negligible to you can do wonders later in life. So, skip the outing your with friends just one week a month and see for yourself how much you can save.

Using credit cards can seem like easy money coming your way, but do not avoid the payments and be lethargic in repaying your credit card bills. Mounting them will only lead to more troubles in the form of accumulated interest and even cause bad credit ratings for you.

Early in your job you can opt for car or home loans. Although it is a good option to invest in property while you are still young, remember that a huge loan can lead to personal bankruptcy. In case you feel that your loan amount has exceeded your limits or due to problems you have skipped on few payments. It will be a wise decision to negotiate with the credit organizations to deal for lower repayment process.

Planning Ahead With Personal Finances

The holidays are over and summer is upon us! it’s time to take hold of your life and get it back on track. Being serious about this now means you won’t be subject to grim news later, especially when it comes to matters pertaining to your personal finances. Reforming how you think about money is the key.

And maybe how you think about money means that you need to start thinking about it: what your relationship to money is, how you might have let expensive habits rule you, and how to work on using willpower to get you out of debt. Once you’ve figured these things out, you’ll be on your way to a successful relationship with your budget.

First, consider the kind of relationship you have to money. Just like a motive is important in solving a whodunit, so is this step vital to solving your financial woes. Any doctor could tell you that identifying a symptom is the first step to establishing a cure. So: do you burn through your paycheck as soon as it arrives, rushing off to get the latest fashion or the just-released game or the updated electronic device?

Or are you a hoarder, too scared to part with a nickel more than you have to? You may wonder, what’s wrong with that? At least my spending isn’t out of control. But fear, when it comes to financial matters, can be just as destructive as ignorance. Either way, you’re letting the money dictate to you instead of vice-versa.

Once you’ve thought about taking emotion out of your relationship with money, turn your attention to the practical. Take pen and paper and a cold hard look at your monthly expenditures. What is your greatest extravagance? New shoes, dining out, expensive coffee drinks, video games? Be honest. Check your debit and credit card statements. Note not only where, but when, you’re prone to spend the most money.

Now challenge yourself to drop one of those pricey habits for the New Year. That’s not depriving yourself of every pleasure; just one. And the boost to your bank balance will be immediately obvious. Frequent trips to the espresso shop can average out to five dollars a day, which adds up to over one hundred dollars a month. That’s on something you could make at home, and probably better.

Finally, take that new savings and start paying down those debts you acquired last year, most especially for the holidays. This reduces the principal, and as that balance goes down, so too does the interest you owe. And interest is the “silent killer” of the budget. Even if you bought that shirt for 50% off, it doesn’t turn out to be such a bargain sitting on a store card that charges 23% for unpaid balances.

It’s not as hard as you imagine, getting control of your personal finances. All it takes is re-evaluating your relationship to money – and adjusting your thinking accordingly. From that practical vein you can proceed to cutting out an extravagance and funneling that extra cash into paying down your debt.

Four Personal Finance Programs You Can Use Free

It is time to get your finances into order. You work too hard for your money to handle it loosely. It is important to manage your budget properly. I know this does not sound like fun and that is before I tell you it is easier said than done. Back in the “old” days you had to either track your spending by tediously making entries in a paper ledger or investing in expensive software and making tedious entries in the computer.

Fortunately, times have changed and technology has come a long way towards making budgeting, if not fun at least easy. There are several remarkable no cost programs that can help you establish and monitor a budget. If the thought of budgeting is enough to send you into shock, do not panic yet. Certainly disciplined spending can be a real pain! However, if you want to enjoy financial success a budget is a necessity. These programs can show you exactly where your money is going. And they will help you spend your money more wisely.

My personal favorite is Mint.com. Mint is brought to us by the makers of Quicken and provides “At-a-glance insights.” This service will download and categorize your balances and transactions automatically every day- making it effortless to see graphs of your spending, income, balances, and net worth.

SimpleD Budget – If you need help establishing a budget, try downloading SimpleD Budget. This program will help you sort out your monthly income and expenses. It is good for creating a personal or household budget. Once you have entered your monthly income, you can allocate it across a number of categories such as bills, savings, entertainment and more. Finally, you can track your spending through the program and monitor how closely you are meeting your goals.

GnuCash – Maybe you want to manage all of your expenses. With this program, as with mint.com, you can track several checking and savings accounts. You can also keep on top of loans, stocks and mutual funds. This program can be labor intensive. But it is also incredibly useful. All of your financial information is compiled into reports and balance sheets with the push of a button.

This program can give you a real snap shot of your financial situation. But it does require some serious work. Just like in the old days, you will be entering a lot of data, especially when getting started. So, this program is a good fit for advanced users or those who do not want to bank online.

AceMoney Lite – This program lets you track a single bank account in detail. It is a toned down version of a more complete program (that costs money). With the free version you can watch all the activity on one account. And you will be able to generate monthly and yearly income and expense reports. It does have all the features the full version, however it is limited to one account. AceMoney Lite will assist you in organizing and managing your personal finances quickly and easily. It also supports all the functions required for home and small-business accounting needs.

I am sure there are more programs available, but these are the ones I am familiar with. Now all you need to do is take a look, choose one, and get that budget set up. You will soon be on your way to a less stressful relationship with your money. By understanding your current financial situation, making financial changes, and following a budget, you will be in a strong position to repay your debts in the most efficient manner and start building financial reserves for your future.

Personal Finance Myths

If you have ever had financial troubles or issues with your credit score, you may be looking to re-examine your personal finances. You can fix any issues or imperfections that you may have from your past so that you can be financially stable. There may be several different ways for you to repair any previous damage, but you should know the facts before you do anything. Learning how to save and spend your money reasonably is very important, so you need to know the truth about some myths about personal finances.

When it comes to your savings, people say you should always put a portion of it into stocks or mutual funds. Only do this if it is something that will fit in your financial plan. Everyone has different ways of saving or investing their money, but it normally fits their financial goals in the end. You can use your savings account in whatever way that you want, and depending on where the account is, you may be able to earn interest if you stay above a certain amount.

Some people think that they will be better off buying than renting a home. Yes, there are cases when buying is better than renting, but it is different from person to person. If you have bad credit, it may be better for you to rent so you can repair and establish new credit instead of buying a house. Buying a home with bad credit may mean that your monthly interest will be higher than someone with a good score. Your credit score shows lenders how big of a risk you are, so if you hold off on buying so you can improve your score, it is possible you will pay a lower monthly rate and save money in the long run.

Closing your credit cards will help your credit score and prevent you from acquiring debt. It is true that if you have no credit card, then you won’t be able to build up credit card debt. However, closing your account can actually hurt you in the long run. Instead, pay off your debt as you are supposed to, then simply don’t use the card anymore. Doing so will keep that card and card history on your credit report, but will also show that you have paid it off. After about seven years, the information will no longer show up in your credit history. Also, by keeping your credit card accounts open you can teach yourself how to properly use and pay off your card.

Another very popular myth is that you cannot get a loan if you either have bad credit or have debt. There are loans out there that are specifically for people who have bad scores. Getting a loan like a personal loan can help you pay off your debt, and even work to rebuild your score. A lot of people who have financial troubles may opt for a personal loan so they can use it to consolidate their debts. Doing this allows for the person to pay off multiple debts they may have with the personal loan, and then only have to make one payment instead of multiple.