Avoid Racking Up Credit Card Bills this Summer

Summer is the time for travel, entertainment, and the kids are now out of school and freed up to participate in more activities.  All of this adds up to big spending, not to mention gas, airline, and lodging costs are increasing to peak levels.  While summer means fun, there needs to be discipline when it comes to opening up your wallet.  With a few spending methods it could add up to a lower credit card statement by the time the summer comes to an end.

Use Cash Instead of Plastic

Using your credit card seems like play money, can add up the charges and not notice until the statement comes in the mail and sends you into shock.  A great way to curb spending habits is to use cash instead of credit.  With a set amount of cash on hand, if you stick to spending what you have you will not go over, will start to think long and hard about purchases as you hand actual money over during a transaction.  Maybe the thought of handing money over will reduce unnecessary spending and leave a little left over for important purchases.

Plan a Staycation

Instead of plunking down thousands to send your family to Disney this summer during peak travel months, plan a stay-at-home-vacation.  There are plenty of activities to do that are within driving distances, such as a zoo, beach, amusement park, and are able to save on lodging and drive home after.  Entertainment expenses are the first to be cut when money is tight, so instead of putting the annual family vacation on the chopping block, plan shorter trips and stay local.  If you are lucky enough to have family on a lake or a pool, start sucking up now.

Check Garage Sales

Items do not have to be new to be in and around your home.  Garage sales will be on the rise during the summer months as the spring cleaning sessions are over and items are piled up to try and sell to clear space, so spend a Saturday afternoon seeing if there are any hidden gems.  Go through your own basement and attic and see if there are anything you can sell, and take the profits to treat your family to a night out.  If you are not interested in selling, then take a trip the thrift store and shelves will likely be stocked with the spring donations.

If, inevitably, you find yourself in a pinch and start seeing those credit card balances rise, then there are alternative options. Credit cards can be good for rewards points, but paying interest fees can eat away at any benefit from using them. Instead, if you own your car then consider title loans. These can be especially useful if you are unable to even meet your minimum card payment each month. You don’t want to ruin your credit over a few tight months. These title loans allow you to borrow against the balance of your car.

 

Why Is Personal Finance Taught at Such a Late Age?

Not to say parents escape blame for not teaching their children about the beginning stages of personal finances, which include spending wisely and contributing to savings accounts, but why was it not taught it school?  Currently less than half of the states in the US require a personal finance class to be taught in public high schools prior to graduation.  Many of us actually do not learn until we make mistakes on our own, which as long as the issue is caught right will not cause long term damage, but continuing with current behavior and you could be off track, setting you years into debt, with little to no savings.  Here are a few important pieces of being financially responsible that should be taught to everyone at an early age.

Credit Score

Like most young individuals feeling invincible, you may not realize how your credit score will affect you later in life.  When it comes time to make a home purchase, lease or buy a car, purchase insurance, or open a new credit card, your credit score is the highest factor in the decision.  Bills need to be paid on time, no exceptions, otherwise late payments can hurt your score, taking up to seven years to wipe away.  Debt balance compared to debt available also is a huge part of your score, so avoiding racking up credit cards is obviously important.

Start Saving Right Away

You may not think a few dollars at a time makes a difference, but if you avoid saving for years, you will wish you would have started young.  Once you get a “real job” after college, you should contribute to 401(k) right away, as most companies offer matching up to 3-6%, so think of all of that free money you could be leaving on the table.

Investing

Today the Jim Cramer’s of the world teach us that a 30 minute syndicated talk show is enough to educate us on the rigors of investing in the market. You should look to real life sources, like Banc De Binary, that can show you examples of how to invest in binary options. Investing for the future is the cornerstone of a happy and secure retirement.

Use a Budget

As you go on your own the bills will start to add up, so having an accurate budget, whether you are living with parents or own your own home, is important.  Figure out the monthly expenses, set aside minimal spending money, plan for emergencies, and make sure there is enough money left over to contribute to savings accounts.  Sure you may think there may not be enough money to go around, but you will need to cut corners somewhere, and unnecessary spending should be the first.

 

Ways to Boost Your Finances in 2016

The start of a new year is tough on most people, once the all the presents have been bought and gym memberships paid off, bank balances can be left looking pretty empty. A much needed bank boost is required but it’s not always easy to make extra money whether that’s due to time constrictions or lack of ideas it makes earning that extra pocket money that bit harder and definitely not fun. However what if there was a way to make some extra pennies and actually enjoy it? These tips will definitely give you some ideas as to where to start off.

Deal Hunting

This is great for those just looking to save money anywhere they can, there are plenty of discount and voucher sites out there on the web it’s just about finding the one that works for you. Acquiring a good database of discount codes is key in saving money and the thrill of seeking down the ultimate deal can be a fun way to save money.

Online selling

You may have a closet of unwanted clothes or a garage full of what you think is old junk, however if in good condition all of this could be making you money. The use of online selling apps is increasing and that means there are people waiting out there to buy your stuff, just remember if you once spent money on an item then there is a chance someone else might do to, all you have to do is get it online.

Online Gaming

Online gaming has seriously taken off recently and what was once considered a very nerdy activity could be making you massive amounts of money. With games now considered e-sports pro gamers can be sponsored and can also win massive cash prizes at international competitions. Should you not have the talent of a pro gamer other options are available such as playing blackjack at sites such as mobilecasino.co.nz after reading some blackjack guide which has the potential to send your bank balance through the roof from the comfort of your own living room.

Personal Blogging

If you have a passion and way with words this is a great option for you, the initial cost of setting up a domain and finding a host may seem like a lot but it could be the best investment you make all year. Blogs can make money through sponsors and online brand advertising. If your blog gets up and running well then you could be on your way to making some serious money from it.

Using A Forex Currency Converter For Trading Online

Various traders and institutions buy and sell currencies regularly in order to gain profits by exchanging one currency with another. For every foreign trade to occur, one currency needs to be exchanged with other. For example you buy GBP using USD and this forms a GBP/USD pair. While you are trading online, depending upon the fluctuations in the prices of this pair you take a buy or sell decision with the motive of achieving profits.

What is an exchange rate?

The exchange rate here in this pair is the price of GBP in terms of USD at a particular time. This exchange rate is constantly fluctuating and it may rise of fall depending upon the market behavior of the currency pair. There are various ways to know about the current exchange rate and Forex currency converter is the most important tool to calculate the Foreign exchange rates while trading online.

Why do we need a Forex currency converter?

Take USD/CAD as an example. If the exchange rate of this pair is 1.0850, it means it costs 1.0850 CAD to exchange 1 US dollar. The exchange rate always shows that how much of the second currency in the pair is needed to get one unit of the first currency in the pair. So this calculation is very important because calculating exchange rates is always required if you want to travel abroad, perform Forex trading or perform any business in foreign countries.

A day trader in Forex needs a continuous knowledge of current rates of currencies and that is done through a good Forex currency converter. A tourist traveling to other countries need to know how much foreign currency he will take with him when traveling abroad. A businessman having employees working in abroad or dealing business in other countries of the world needs to be updated about the exchange rates on a regular basis. The knowledge of current exchange rates is extremely helpful for people wo are into trading online but the source for knowing exchange rates should be accurate and should match exactly with the current market rates.

How to calculate currency exchange rates for trading online

A forex currency converter is used for the purpose of knowing the current exchange rate while trading online. For this purpose a Forex currency converter has two input fields and one output field. In the input field the value of the currency to be converted is put and in the second field the name of the currency is selected into which you want to exchange the input currency. When you click on “Calculate” the resulting currency value is shown in the third output field. In this way a currency converter works. The currency converter used must be tested first for accuracy and relevance with the actual market prices with automatic updates.

 

Budgeting for a Healthier Life

Investing in your health has numerous benefits – increased levels of happiness, lower stress, a longer life and ultimately a better financial situation are all reasons to take your health at least as seriously as your finances.

We all budget for the normal expenses – rent, utilities, food and savings – but there’s a lot of value to be found in optimising your budget for better health. From getting in better shape to having higher quality healthcare, there are plenty of reasons to set a personal budget for your health.

Food Budget

If you don’t track how much you spend on food every week, you may be surprised by the figures. Most families will have one major supermarket trip a week and will know roughly how much they spend, but it’s the little trips throughout the week that can really add up.

Track your spending over a couple of weeks to see what the average is, then look to see where you can make improvements to save money. While choosing healthy food can be more expensive, effective planning can actually reduce your overall grocery bill.

Planning your meals in advance, preparing a shopping list and ensuring you don’t deviate from it are great ways of sticking to your budget. Bulking up meals with cheap vegetables can save money, as can saving your leftovers and using them for lunches. There are some great tips here on reducing your food bill while keeping things healthy.

Fitness Budget

The cornerstone of the commercial gym industry is people signing up for a membership, turning up for 2 months and then continuing to pay their member fees without actually using the facilities. We’ve all been that person or know a couple of friends or family members doing this right now, and it’s a huge waste of money!

If you use your gym membership regularly by all means stick with it, but there’s usually a few ways to save money. Is there a more affordable gym in your area? Is there one closer to your home or your office which would help reduce travelling expenses? Would it be cheaper to buy a weight set and train at home?

The same applies to any sports or other fitness hobbies – always shop around to see if there’s a better deal on things like equipment or clothing. It’s easier than ever to find a good deal online, so invest the time and you’ll start to see the financial benefits.
Healthcare Budget

Budgeting for your healthcare is a lot like budgeting for anything else in your life. There will be a few regular costs like health insurance, and several one-off costs like a new pair of glasses or physical therapy.

Setting aside the right amount for these one-off expenses can be tricky, as you never know if (or when) you’ll need them and how much it will cost. The best approach is to use a ‘rainy day fund’ type approach and commit to saving a certain amount every month, ensuring you have money available if it’s needed.

When it comes to budgeting for health insurance it all depends on your existing health, your risk factors and the type of policy you want. If you can reduce your risk factors for the conditions most commonly claimed for on insurance policies, the likelihood is that you’ll be offered a more affordable premium. Quitting smoking, cutting down on the amount of alcohol you drink, and eating less fatty and processed food are all simple ways to reduce your premium.

Choosing a more comprehensive policy will obviously be more expensive, but you need to weigh up the pros and cons of picking better coverage. If you have a family or are self employed, you may decide that better coverage is worth the additional investment. It’s a very personal decision, and the monthly cost isn’t always the deciding factor.

Federal Income Taxes and Receiverships – What You Need to Know

With respect to federal income taxes, the obligations of a receiver can be very complicated, especially given the various circumstances in which a receivership may arise. Whilst a receivership generally does not create a separate taxable entity, it may be required of the receiver to notify the Internal Revenue Service of the receivership, along with filing income tax returns for the owner or entity in the receivership.

For receivers of an individual who is unable to file their own returns, the receiver must file the returns of the individual, unless the receiver is in possession of just a part of the individual’s assets. For receivers of corporations, it is required that the receiver files the returns of the corporation when the receiver is in possession of all of the corporation’s assets.

It can often be difficult to determine when a receiver is required to return files, even for simply a rents-and-profits receiver in possession of a single property, or a single equity receiver in possession of a business. This is often due to a lack of information on the ownership structure of the entity, or other assets belonging to the owner. In a situation where the receiver is not required to file returns, the owner must be provided with the necessary information to file their own returns.

Qualified Settlement Funds

Although a receivership is not usually viewed as a separate taxable entity, if a receivership constitutes a qualified settlement fund (QSF) it will be treated as such. In general, a QSF is a fund, trust or account that is either established by government or court order, a trust under state law, or a trust that is set up in order to segregate its assets from other assets. QSF’s have been found to exist as part of the recovery of fraudulent investment schemes, and are likely to arise in any other cases where the elements for a QSF are satisfied.

Filing and Payment

Exact requirements for payment and filing should be carefully ascertained as the receiver may be held personally liable for any failure to pay federal claims, including tax-related claims. In general the receiver is held responsible for paying any federal income taxes that are incurred during the pendency of the receivership, although this is dependent on the type of receivership that is held, as certain types of receivership – such as those appointed by federal court – expect the court appointed receiver such as the professionals at FedRecevier to be responsible for paying all taxes, not just federal.

Complications

For a receiver who is required to file returns, complications may arise if it is discovered that the owner has either failed to file previous returns or has filed returns that are materially incorrect. There is a lack of clear guidance as to when the receiver must amend and/or file previous incorrect returns. Due to this and a number of other traps, a receiver is advised to seek advice from experienced professionals at the commencement of the receivership.

This article is intended to provide general advice – expert advice should always be sought about your specific circumstances.

New Book Looks at New Ways Americans are Achieving Financial Freedom

Depending on which analyst or talking head you listen to, the “American Dream” is doomed, or at least highly endangered.

According to Liberty for All: A Manifesto for Reclaiming Financial and Political Freedom however, there are still a lot of things that ordinary consumers can do to build their own fortunes, especially in this day and age where traditional rules of success have been thrown out the window. Below are a number of “new rules” taken from the book. Enjoy

One of the first is also the most interesting. It’s the ability to stay mobile and move wherever economic opportunity exists. Amazingly, while Americans have always been adept at moving to wherever they needed in order to find work and prosper, labor mobility in the United States has dropped to its lowest rate since the 1940s. That’s a problem because there are still a lot of areas of the country where economic opportunity exists. Indeed, there are quite a few companies in the United States that are having problems finding enough workers, meaning that the opportunity is there but the workers aren’t.

Surprisingly, one of the core American dreams, homeownership, is actually a detriment for young families because it can anchor them in place and keep them from being able to take advantage of opportunities in other areas of the country. Since the housing bust of a number of years back, home values are only rising modestly and buyers in many areas of the country are scarce. What that means is that, if an opportunity arises, it’s quite easy for a homeowner to lose money if they have to sell their home in a hurry. Also, most larger companies in the United States aren’t offering the generous relocation packages that they once used offer. What that means is that, if possible, staying mobile is your best bet. If that means renting rather than buying, so be it.

Knowing what skills will be valuable in the future is also a very big plus. With globalization and the digital revolution putting the hurt on many industries, and robots taking over human jobs, looking at your skill set and determining whether it needs to be updated is a must. If it’s possible to blend two disparate skill sets, that’s an excellent way to guard against suddenly becoming outdated. Let’s face it, if you used to be a travel agent, a clerk at Blockbuster Video, or even a print journalist, and you didn’t have any type of fallback skills, you know exactly what we’re talking about. Adding to your skill set is a must in the 21st century.

Next is simply this; work more, save more and spend less. It’s no surprise that most Americans are up to their eyeballs in debt, especially with the constant barrage of television, Internet and radio commercials telling us that we need more, more and more. The fact is, one of the biggest contributors to the financial meltdown of 2008 was excessive borrowing and use of credit and, even though it fell after that, it’s on its way back up yet again.

Many economists will tell you that the economy needs consumers to spend but the fact is that saving your money is not unpatriotic.

And there you have it, three excellent ways to achieve financial freedom that you might not have thought about previously. Being able to move when necessary to find gainful employment, have extra skills that you can fall back on just in case, and saving your money rather than spending it needlessly will all help you to become financially free, or at least help you on your way.

 

A calculated gamble that could make your money work for you

If you feel like you spend your life making economies and trying to live on less, there comes a point when you decide you want the money you do have to start working harder for you. The big question is how to do this.

Many money-making ideas usually require having a lot of spare cash to invest in something like a buy to let property or a business. But what if you’ve only managed to put a little bit aside each month in a saving account? What difference can you make with that? With interest rates as low as they are at the moment, your savings certainly aren’t going to multiply when sitting in the bank.

What you need to do is find a way of getting a better return on the money. One way that offers that possibility is through trying your hand at trading online. If you have never traded before, you may think it is too risky as you do not know what you’re doing, and you may lose those hard-earned savings when you’re ‘having a go’. Of course, this is a sensible thought-process.

But there is a way to see what kind of talent you have for trading without any real risk. And that’s through a provider like Tradefair. You can learn spread betting with Tradefair without using real money as an account is available in simulation mode. This is where you make decisions about the different trades you want to place, but the trades are virtual – in other words you’re playing at trading or spread betting. When you get it wrong, it doesn’t matter, as it’s not real money that you’re moving around. The only downside is that when you get it right, you also won’t reap any actual rewards. However you will gain experience, and that counts for a lot in the trading world.

Spread betting can cover many different markets. The biggest trading market in the world is the foreign exchange market. You can spread bet on this in just the same way that you might choose to do so on the number of bookings, number of goals or corners in a game of football. Anyone who has been following the news stories about Greece will know that the financial problems of the country have had an adverse effect on the Euro in recent months. If you’d been able to spread bet, you might have been able to make a profit. Whatever market you’re spread betting in, it’s never possible to know all the future outcomes. But you can identify probabilities and trends and make your decisions from there.

Once you’ve tried out different trades and decisions in simulation mode and started to make some good calls, you can opt to start placing real trades whenever you feel confident to do so. Of course, you’re never guaranteed a positive outcome – you may lose money. That’s why you should invest in tiny amounts at first, testing the water and seeing which way your luck goes. But, if you do get the hang of spread betting, you could soon see a small investment multiply and soar in value.

If you happen to do really well in your first few money trades, don’t let yourself get carried away by your initial success and start to place greater value trades too quickly. It’s tempting to want to see your profits climb quickly, but you’re better off remembering the tale of the hare and the tortoise. Slow and steady progress is the key to greater investment happiness, rather than having a rush of good luck and then crashing and burning.

You may also start off your spread betting experiment but then decide that a particular market doesn’t suit you. If that’s the case, you can always try another market – Tradefair has more than 3,000 markets that its users can trade in from a single account. For example, if you don’t get on well with the foreign exchange market, you could try the commodities market instead and see if you’re any better at speculating on the future values of products such as gold, cocoa and sugar.

Money Market Account or Savings Account?

Although you won’t find them at as many banks as you will savings accounts, money market accounts are definitely an option at many of them. If you glance at both briefly, there are some similarities, including that both pay interest and offer liquidity, as well as both being protected by the FDIC, and similar check writing rules.

On the other hand, money market accounts almost always pay a higher interest rate, making them a more attractive option for most savers.

The simple truth is that, when it comes to what they can do with funds that are being saved in a savings account, most financial institutions are extremely limited. That’s one of the reasons that their interest rates on savings accounts are so low. On the other hand, money market accounts offer them a good bit more flexibility, including being able to invest that money into certificates of deposits (CDs), and other safe investments like government bonds. Because of this, most banks are able to offer interest rates on their money market accounts that are higher than savings accounts, so that they can attract savers to put their money in the former rather than the latter.

Although the differences between the two are not extremely significant, one major difference between a savings account and a money market account is that there are restrictions on how often withdrawals can be made. For example, some financial institutions will have a one-week waiting period for taking money out of your money market account, so if you take money out of your savings account regularly when you need it, a money market account might not be a good idea. On the other hand, if you want to make more money in interest and can let your money sit for a longer period of time, a money market account will definitely earn more money for you.

Now, to be sure, neither a savings account or a money market account offers a great interest rate. For example, a savings account probably will offer somewhere around .5% while money market, even though it doubles that, will usually only offer around 1% in interest. That’s not very much and, if you have a significant amount of money, and you won’t need to access it for a long period of time, there are other investment options that will definitely give you better interest rates.

Also, be sure that you don’t confuse a money market deposit accounts with money market funds, especially because money market funds are covered by the FDIC and are quite different from traditional demand deposit accounts.

How Building Wealth Changes your Life

We’ve talked about it many times here on our blogs, that saving money is extremely important for many things, including giving you financial freedom. What most people who take our advice find is that, once they actually start putting aside a large chunk of change, and building up their wealth, many new opportunities come into their life, and their outlook changes quite drastically

Interestingly, spending money on everything in sight loses its appeal. It’s not that you won’t want to buy anything, but just that accumulating wealth will actually give you the same satisfaction that purchasing things used to give. The fact is, if you measure your wealth by how large your portfolio is, and how much income your assets are generating, it means that you’re much closer to being able to not work anymore, or at least work only when you want to. For many, that reality is much more attractive than, say, the latest piece of tech or a new set of golf clubs.

Having a large amount of money in savings, an IRA, 401(k) or invested in a well diversified portfolio will also give you a taste of financial freedom before you actually become completely free financially. For example, if you have enough savings and investments, you can weather many different kinds of storms, including being able to start a new career if the one you currently have makes you want to jump in front of a bus.   Relatively small expenses like having to replace your car or get a new roof on your home won’t be nearly as stressful either.

Being able to invest more money with a financial firm will also make it less costly to grow your assets. For example, if you invest at least the minimum in a specific share class, Vanguard will offer you funds with smaller expense ratios. As your assets continue to expand you’ll find that many financial firms will offer tax preparation software and financial plans at no cost, as well as cheaper trades. Even better, if you work with a financial advisor who gets paid a percentage of assets under their management, there’s a good chance that they’ll offer you lower fees.

Lastly, when you get to the point where retirement is looming and you’re wondering whether or not you should continue working for an extra year or two, you’ll have the financial ability to make that decision with a lot less stress because you’ll know that, even if you walk away from that steady paycheck, you’ll still be able to support yourself and your lifestyle. If you do decide to work longer, the chances are much better that you‘ll be happy at work because you will have made the decision to keep working, not your bank account.

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