Wednesday, July 8, 2020

6 Ways To Get Your Finances In Better Order

You don’t have to live always strapped for money and worried about how you can make ends meet. There are steps you can take to get your finances in order, so you can make wiser decisions in the future.

Take the time to fix what’s broken and adjust poor habits so you can remove some of the pressure you’re feeling about your money circumstances. Focus and pay attention to your finances so that there are no hidden surprises, and you can proceed in an organised and orderly manner. Putting it off for later is only causing you to ignore reality and may put you in a worse off position in the long run.

1. Review Your Situation

A wise first step when trying to get your finances in order is to review your situation in detail. Create a budget you can follow and understand what money you have coming in, and that’s going out and what bills you have to pay each month. Half the battle is collecting all the pertinent information and then taking the time to look it over, so you have a clear picture of what’s truly going on with you and your money. There’s no denying the fact that the key to financial health is to have a realistic budget in place. You may come to discover that you want to find ways to earn more money or that there are areas where you can cut back your spending.

2. Understand Your Taxes

There may be ways to get more money back or opportunities to improve your finances when you are knowledgeable about your taxes. Understanding taxes will reduce the likelihood of making mistakes of ignorance. Having a solid basic knowledge helps you avoid not only difficulties, but also avoid missing deductions. While investing in cryptocurrency can be rewarding, you should review the Australian Crypto Tax Guide to know the differences between crypto investing and other forms of investing.

3. Save More

Saving your money should always be a top priority when you’re looking to get your finances in order. You never know when an emergency will arise, and you’ll need to access a large amount of funds immediately. It’s wise to have at least six months’ living expenses saved up in case you lose your job, and your situation changes. You’ll sleep a lot better at night knowing that you have money saved up that you can quickly access as you choose. It’s also essential to begin saving for retirement as soon as possible so you can continue to increase your account as time passes.

4. Pay Down Debt

Too much debt looming over your head can be frustrating and hold you back from reaching your life goals. You can also get your finances in better order by paying down your debt. Student loans and credit card balances can add up quickly and wreak havoc on your financial situation and mental health. It’s best to address them head-on and figure out a plan to put money toward your debts each month. Stay patient and set up automatic payments so that you don’t have to be thinking about them constantly. You may even want to consider going cash-only and not using your credit cards if you tend to overspend.

5. Work with an Expert

There are plenty of financial professionals out there that can help you get your finances in order if you’re struggling to do so. You can meet with an advisor and get all your questions answered and develop a plan for the future. Having another perspective may help you to see there are options for improving your situation and that you don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. Not only rely on their expertise but also perform the research yourself and understand financial terminology and best practises so that you can make informed decisions.

6. Set Goals & Track Your Progress

You’re more likely to see results when you set goals and track your progress when it comes to your finances. Get your finances in better order by knowing what it is you want to achieve and putting measures in place to guide you in the right direction. For example, it may be that you want to buy a house or start a family in a few years. Know the score and what’s giving you the most trouble so you can zero in on and focus on making adjustments in these areas. These goals can help motivate you to change your habits and not fall back into old ways.  

How to Maximize Your Personal Finances

If you’ve never felt particularly confident about your personal finances and you still don’t feel like you have a good grip on them, it’s time to take action. There are lots of things you can do to start maximizing your personal finances, and it all starts with recognizing that you’re not currently doing enough. If you coast along without putting in the time to improve your situation, it simply won’t improve. It’s not rocket science.

But the right interventions in the right places can make a real difference. It’s worth putting in the time and effort it helps to alleviate your financial pressures, while also giving you the chance to spend your spare money on the things you want to. Personal finances don’t have to be a ceaseless headache for you and your family.

So if you want to find out more about how to maximize your personal finances, this guide will tell you what you need to know. Read on to find out more.

Organize Things with a Financial Calendar

Organization really is key when it comes to managing your finances better and maximizing their potential. This starts with creating a financial calendar that makes it clear when you need to make certain payments and repayments by. You can also incorporate your own personal financial goals into this calendar format as well. The better organized your finances are and the less confusion there is in your financial life, the easier the challenge of maximizing your personal finances will be. So this is definitely a good place to start.

Understand Interest Rates

When it comes to credit, one of the most important things to understand is interest rates. When you understand how interest rates function and the impact they have on your debt and borrowing, the better you’ll get at making the right financial decisions and ensuring you pay off the right debts first. So take some time to really get to know how interest rates function and what they all mean. It’s a lesson that will serve you well now and for many years still to come.

Set Yourself Strict Budgets

Budgeting is important and if you haven’t yet started setting regular monthly budgets for yourself, this is something you should definitely change. When you have budgets that are strict that you hold yourself accountable to, you start using your money in a much more sustainable way. Your budgets should be realistic and allow you to pay for the things you need to pay for, as well as leaving you some money leftover to spend on things you enjoy. If they’re too rigid, you won’t stick to them.

Motivate Yourself with a Financial Vision Board

If you want to motivate yourself and give yourself some solid financial end goals to work towards, it might help you to create a financial vision board. This should display in a visual way the things you want to achieve and the outcomes you see yourself as working towards. If you’re looking to make a change right now, there must be a reason for that. Maybe you want to buy a house next year or perhaps you simply want to become debt free for the first time in your adult life, that’s something for you to decide.

Diversify Your Income

Having a diversified income is the sustainable way to earn. If you only have one source of income, you’re going to cause yourself problems if something goes wrong and that job or income source disappears for you. By looking for new ways to earn and ways to add other revenue streams to your income brings that diversity and it means you can feel more confident regarding your earnings going forward. It might not sound like a big deal now, but it might turn out to be one day.

Claim All the Financial Support You’re Entitled To

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t claim all the benefits that you’re entitled to. If, for example, you fit the criteria for claiming Disability Support but you’re not yet doing so, that’s something you should change. Lots of people don’t even realize that they’re entitled to certain benefits and support money. Be sure to look into these options in your local area. You might find that you’re entitled to monthly payments that you haven’t been making the most of, and that extra little bit of money can make a big difference.

Negotiate Your Pay

If it’s been a long time since you tried to negotiate your pay with your boss, now is the time to do that. Perhaps you haven’t had a rise for years and you feel like you’ve been doing good work for the company. If so, there’s nothing at all wrong with wanting to negotiate your pay and maybe get yourself a rise. Of course, you shouldn’t make it sound like a demand because that approach won’t go down well. Instead, discuss your value to the company and make a suggestion and see where things go from there.

Adopt a Little Frugality

You might have heard a bit about the frugal living lifestyle and it’s certainly not for everyone. However, being at least a little frugal each day and doing what you can do to save money wherever and whenever you can will make a big difference in your financial life. There’s nothing at all wrong with looking after the pennies and refusing to waste money. Other people might use frugal as an insult, but it’s something you can also wear as a badge of pride if you want to.

Always Look for Discount Codes and Coupons

Whenever you’re about to make a purchase, especially online, you should go out of your way to find a discount. This is far easier than many people realize. There are so many discount codes and online coupons out there, and you can find them with a quick Google search. So if you’re about to checkout, before you click that ‘Make Payment’ button, be sure to see if there’s a discount code out there that can get you 10% or 20% or maybe even more off your purchase.

Clear Your Small Debts Before Moving On to the Bigger Ones

When you have multiple debts that you want to pay off, it can be overwhelming and a real challenge. It’s also very confusing if you’ve never done it before and don’t really know how to approach it. One basic rule you can follow is that it’s better to have fewer debts, and that means the best way to clear yours is to begin by paying off your small debts before later moving onto the bigger ones. It makes things much more sustainable and manageable when clearing your debts.

Start Saving for Retirement

Even if retirement feels like a million miles away right now, that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start saving for those retirement days. The earlier you start saving and putting money aside for your retirement, the more comfortable your retirement will eventually be. So, now is the perfect time to get started. And just as it’s never too early to start, it’s also true that it’s never too late to start either. Starting late is always better than not starting at all when it comes to saving for your retirement.

Know Your Consumer Rights

There are many instances when companies will do everything they can do to keep your money and refuse you a refund. It can make you feel powerless when you’re up against a giant corporation, but it helps if you know and understand your consumer rights. That’s why you should familiarize yourself with your rights. 

Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score

Your credit score will have a big impact on how you manage your money going forward and how flexible your finances will be in the future. If you want the option to borrow money or buy a house with a home loan in the future, you need to have a good credit score. So be sure to keep an eye on this and check it regularly. The best thing you can do to maintain a good credit score is make sure you pay your bills and make your debt repayments on time and don’t miss any financial deadlines.

Cancel Unused Subscriptions

Finally, you should remember to regularly check what you’re paying for and what you don’t need to be paying for any longer. With the rise of digital monthly subscriptions, it’s so easy to forget what you’re paying for and you might not even notice the small amount of money going out of your account each month. So keep an eye on these payments and cancel them when they’re no longer needed.

We all owe it to ourselves to maximize our personal finance and make our financial lives as organized and healthy as possible. That’s exactly what the tips and ideas above will help you to do. Be sure to put as many of them as you can into action in your personal life and see the difference they make for you.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Why Are The Wealthy So Keen To Snap Up Unused Land?

When the vast majority of people think about what it means to be wealthy in the modern economy, stocks and bonds are the first assets that come to mind. But when you study the portfolios of the wealthiest people, you find a different story. The vast majority of them plow a good chunk of their money into land. 

Why Land Is A Source Of Wealth

Land doesn’t sound like a significant source of wealth. And when it sits there doing nothing, it isn’t. Land, though, is still a substantial chunk of the economy and represents a vast amount of the total wealth it contains. 

When investors think about the economy, they typically believe there are two sources of returns: labor and capital. You can either sell your time directly for cash. Or you can store it up in the form of savings and then spend that on assets that you hope will generate returns.

People tend to forget, though, that land is a separate asset class with the potential to generate returns all by itself. What’s more, the returns to land are higher than you might imagine. It, like other resources in the economy, is scarce. We don’t have infinite space on the Earth's surface to construct new developments or provide space for agriculture. The room that we have is limited. 

Furthermore, land is becoming increasingly scarce as populations grow. It is highly likely that it will become a significant source of wealth in the future as pressures increase. 

The Returns To Land

When you look at the long-term returns to land versus equity, you find some fascinating patterns. In most countries, the returns to property are mostly the same as they are for investments. There are some exceptions, like the UK, but, in general, there’s virtually no difference. In the US, for instance, historical returns to both housing and equities are identical. 

Even so, homes with land for sale tend to be undervalued. The vast majority of non-wealthy people don’t understand the real value that lies in land, and so they tend to ignore it. This behavior means that people who do understand the returns that it offers can snap it up on the cheap. 

Next time you do a property search, take a look at the cost of properties with land compared to similar examples without. Ask yourself whether the price difference between the two reflects the value of land or not. Usually, it doesn’t. 

While there are some technical issues in buying property, the critical point here is that it offers similar appreciation over the long-term. Property taxes are a problem in some cases. And the market is rife with friction. But many researchers have shown that the primary driver of wealth inequality is land. People who own more of it tend to remain wealthy, compared to those who own less. 

That’s what primarily drivers the wealthy into snapping up unused land. They know that the market underappreciated the returns that it offers. So they invest heavily in it, taking advantage of whatever opportunities that they can.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Your Long-Term Retirement Plan And Life Insurance

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A life insurance policy, which pays out a sum of money upon the policyholder's death or after a set period, is typically designed to ensure financial protection for any dependents that rely on your income or support. That is why a family's primary breadwinner often purchases one. Does life insurance have a place when it comes to financial planning for retirement?

Here is a look at the many benefits associated with incorporating this into your long-term retirement plan.

  • Make sure your assets are distributed equally among your heirs -- First and foremost, one of the main benefits associated with life insurance for retirees is to ensure that your assets are divided equally among your heirs. For example, if you wish to leave your house to your first child, and your stock portfolio to your second child, you could then use the benefit of your life insurance policy to equalize those gifts for your third child.

  • Cover any unexpected costs -- A cash value policy such as life insurance is beneficial because it can assist you when paying off any unexpected expenses. You can do this by either taking out a loan against the policy or withdrawing some of the cash value. Of course, this means that the death benefit will get reduced, but in times of need, this can be extremely advantageous.

  • Protect against downturns in the stock market -- Are you worried that a market crash could impact your investments? If so, it is a good idea to take out a life insurance policy, as this could be a useful backup plan should the value of your portfolio go down to the point whereby your lifestyle gets affected and your income stream reduced.

  • Effective estate planning -- Another reason to incorporate life insurance into your retirement planning is that it is an excellent estate planning tool. Worrall, Moss, Martin Lawyers can assist with your estate planning. For instance, you can pay estate taxes by using life insurance death benefits as opposed to having to sell assets at a time that is inopportune.

  • Pension replacement -- Finally, one of the key reasons to consider life insurance is to replace your pension. If your pension furnishes a big part of your retirement income, life insurance is ideal if your dependents cannot access your pension once you die.

As you can see, there are lots of benefits associated with incorporating life insurance into your retirement plan. However, you need to consider carefully whether this is right for you. One thing you need to look at is whether your spouse and children are self-sufficient. If you have a young family, it is likely you will need the security provided by life insurance, but this need can change over time. You also must consider whether you need to pay estate taxes, as life insurance can be an excellent estate-planning tool, as mentioned above.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

How to Borrow Money With Bad Credit: 3 Short-Term Cash Options

Around 1 out of 3 Americans have a credit score of lower than 601, which is considered bad credit. If you're one of these Americans, then you'll know how hard it is to get things accomplished, such as rent an apartment or buy a car.

When you fall on hard times, it can be even more difficult, as lenders are hesitant to front you cash. Although there are some legitimate ways to make extra money from home, it’s also not impossible to source some money with low credit. You just have to be smart about it.

If you need to borrow money with bad credit, here are 3 short-term cash options you can try.

1. Ask for an Advance

You might already have a side hustle job in addition to your regular job. But for some, as hard as you try, you still can't make ends meet.

In this case, you might want to ask for an advance at either job. Depending on how generous your employer is, this may be just enough to tide you over to pay for next month's rent or some groceries for the next few weeks.

2. Consider Personal Loans for Credit Score Under 550

There are lenders who specifically have personal loan requirements that are more lenient when it comes to credit scores. This enables people with less than stellar numbers to take out a loan when they need it.

However, do know that this option comes with a caveat; since lenders are taking a bigger risk with you, interest rates of these loans could be slightly higher than with someone with good credit or loan with collateral attached. So make sure you can make your payments on time. Otherwise, you're not only paying late fees and more interest, but you're also risking your credit score dropping even lower.

If you're confident in your repayments, then personal loans can be excellent for building your credit score back up. 

3. Take out a Payday Loan

If you're currently employed, you can also consider getting a payday loan. This is also a type of personal loan and you can get a loan approved basically instantly.

A payday loan is great if you need money quickly and can't wait for a normal loan to be processed. However, do be aware that just like with personal loans for bad credit, the interest rates for payday loans are very high.

Plus, your next paycheck is used to pay the amount back. So if you have plans for your next paycheck, you might end up needing to take out another payday loan to get through the next period until you get more income.

It's Possible to Borrow Money With Bad Credit With These Tips

As you can see, it's definitely possible to borrow money with bad credit. Just remember to be responsible and pay back the amount as soon as you can. Otherwise, you may get into a vicious cycle where you get into more debt since you keep being unable to repay the full amount.

Would you like to get on the road to financial freedom? Then take a look at our Make Money section.