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Personal Finance for Young Professionals

Investing to improve your personal finance can be a particularly tricky situation and there are different roads to achieve this common goal. It is entirely dependent on you to decide how you want to save your money, but we will surely lead you to get the best routes!

Investment market is the best way to save some money as well as discover some returns. Many young professionals think of the present only and fritter away money in chase of happiness now. However, what they forget that the infinite future lays ahead when they would also need to meet other commitments in life. Therefore, it is always wise to plan for your future now and here.

Story of Dave Ramsay

You must plan for your financial stability unusually early in life. In fact, you must think about it as soon as you are out of the hallowed portal of college! You can darned well see the example of Dave Ramsay who became the youngest brokers to enter the Graduate Realtors institute in Tennessee.

Nevertheless, with the Tax reform Act initiated in 1986, Dave’s financial support began to falter. Dealing in notes led him to bankruptcy. He was not left with any finance in hand, but he was not running low in spirits. He analysed his awkward plight and put his book out called Financial Peace to assist young Americans towards financial security. Dave Ramsay has been instrumental in preaching the tit-bits of financial investing via television and radio.

In a dilemma- mutual fund or 401k plan

Most young professionals are in a dilemma as to where and how to achieve financial security. Most people will encourage them for stock and mutual funds, but before that, he must line up his salary and budget. He must organize the budget such that it is not particularly tough but is still not extremely flexible. Employers will also provide you with 401k plan, which cpuld be a compelling choice because your employer will give you the idea that will fit your availability of funds, but yet again, you must know where your money is being invested. Do not use 401K plan in the emergencies, as it would cost you penalty taxes.

Mutual funds are exceptionally strong options for people who want to invest further on. For example, a young professional can invest in small rise with calculated risks or high growth with many risks. There is the multi-sector, short-term corporate and so on investment category.

Use the credit card judiciously

Many young professionals overused the credit cards and quickly caught up themselves in the dire financial situations. Use credit card with a responsible approach and do not be trapped in the marketing gimmicks of shopkeepers.

Attain information about investing

Try to understand the distinctive schemes yourself and keep your eyes and ears open to different financial schemes to save the hefty fees of the financial adviser or broker.

Financial Stress Does Affect Your Health

You probably already know that your financial difficulties are making you stressed, but have you really stopped to consider what that means for your health?

When something affects our health in a tangible way we are usually proactive about fixing it—when we have a cold we take vitamins and go to bed, when we start putting on a little weight we cut back on the chocolate and start exercising (hopefully you do).

However, when you are struggling with financial difficulties it becomes second nature to ignore the consequences and affect it’s having on your health because we think there is nothing that can be done, it’s just a part of life.

Instead, identify the ways in which your finances are affecting your health and you can then take steps to get healthier, financially and physically, and you don’t have to wait for a miracle cure for either.
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Tired of Being Frugal?

My wife and I have been transitioning to a primarily cash based budget. It’s been easy in some respects and harder in others. That’s why this resonated with me.

If you are getting a little frugal fatigue, you might consider treating yourself with a little spending splurge, just to take the edge off.

Problem is, I probably splurge too much! Keeping it small is the way to go.

Taking the time to provide yourself with a small treat, something out of the ordinary, can have an amazing effect on your mood. Think about what you enjoy, and what might provide a pick-me-up.

And, of course, you don’t necessarily have to spend money to get a quick lift me up.

Some activities that I enjoy that don’t require spending extra money include:

  • Going for a walk.
  • Riding bikes.
  • Popping corn on the stove top to watch a movie with my family.
  • Visiting the local zoo.
  • Window shopping in the downtown historical district.

How do you like to splurge? Big ticket or small? Spending or not?

Reference: MoneyNing.com

Passion isn’t Found – It’s Pursued

I write quite a bit about side gigs, starting a business, and other related topics. At least more than I thought. Here’s a sampling:

Stop Job Shopping, Start a Business
Multiple Streams of Extra Income
Why Not Start a Business?
5 Ways to Generate a Second Income

More than likely, you want to pursue your own gig doing something you’re passionate about. Which is another buzz word that’s been a lexicon of the business startup vocabulary for years.

So, that’s all good and well, but what does that mean? According to recent studies, your best option is not necessarily to go with your gut. Turns out that passion is a by-product of something else—the pursuit of it. But, passion pursuit has it’s own drawbacks.
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Those Pesky Obstacles Are Your Life

Smile

Once upon a time, in the not too distant past, I went through a period where I felt like my future self was just over the next hill. Just past the next obstacle, which there always seemed to be plenty of. I wanted to start a business so bad I could barely hold back my enthusiasm for when it (self-employment) would deliver itself into my lap.

I spent a lot of time “getting inspired”. I would read books about entrepreneurs. Then I would switch to the writing aisle and read about writing. Then I found the self-help section. And, oh boy, did I have a hay day with that one.
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Stop Job Shopping – Start a Business

Stop Job Shopping

I quit trying to find the perfect job. After nine years of high expectations and much disappointment, I decided the perfect job was more elusive than real.

And if I wanted to work hard and earn a living in the process, I would have to be the career I was looking for instead of relying on luck and someone else’s good graces.
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Grab Your Wealth

We live in precarious times when as it relates to our incomes, investments, and—ultimately—our livelihoods. So, how do we make sure our wealth, now and in the future, doesn’t slip through our hands?

We must first acknowledge that our wealth is our responsibility. Once we take responsibility, then we must go out and seize it.
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The Money and Happiness Relationship

I have an unexpected fascination with money and happiness. Unexpected because I didn’t realize how far my quest to learn about the subject would take me. I’ve written about it before here, here, and here.

A recent Bucks Blog article by Carl Richards resumes my fascination with money and if/how it impacts our overall happiness.

Mr. Richards cites a recent study by Princeton University quoted in Time magazine.

According to the study,

people reported an increase in happiness as their incomes rose to $75,000 a year. Then, the impact of rising income on happiness levels off.

What’s odd about this statement is that it pegs happiness at a specific number—75K per year. Happiness would seem a much more complex issue, don’t you think? What about work environment, level of tangible impact a job has, and whether you actually like your job? And, of course, what about the world’s billions who live in abject poverty?

If you believe that happiness can be reduced to a functional equation up to $75,000, then how do you explain all those stories of people around the world with very little money and a whole lot of happiness?

As soon as you’ve defined happiness in such distinct terms, you’ve drawn a line where most of the world’s population falls woefully short. The moment we do this

we have to deal with the reality that there are plenty of people who seem to have very little money and lots of happiness.

The problem I see with this, and the problem the author finds as well, is that our westernized/capitalistic driven society likes to compare and contrast everything using numbers. We like to know where we stand in our company’s pecking order. And salary is the easiest most clean cut way to do that.

I wonder if linking happiness to money might be part of this continuing obsession we seem to have with measuring, comparing and competing.

I wonder too. I also believe that happiness is more complex. That one man’s happiness may be another man’s nightmare. And that if we can’t define happiness using an objective measure, why keep searching for it? After all,

[p]erhaps the more we try to define, measure and compete for happiness, the harder it is to find.

My thanks to Carl Richards for his enlightening insights.

Life is Change – be Prepared

I’ve been noticing something lately. Something that’s really had me thinking. Life seems to hit those who are most unprepared…the hardest. Especially those who are financially unprepared. I work with a guy (a very nice guy) who always seems to be flirting on the edge of financial disaster.

If it’s not car trouble it’s trouble with the college where his two oldest kids attend. If it’s not doctor co-payments, it’s air conditioner problems. Here recently, he bought a near brand new car (because his other car was about to disintegrate). Turns out this nearly “new” car had been in an accident. Despite a clear CarFax report.

It’s as if the financial grim reaper follows close behind him. As if life picks on him, throwing him curve ball after curve ball precisely because he’s not prepared financially. Needless to say, he’s stressed. I can see it in his eyes. Hear it in his voice.

So what’s the lesson here? That we have to be prepared for the inevitable life changes. And what’s the operative word? Inevitable. The phenomenon I’ve been observing with my coworker isn’t some kind of conspiracy against the helpless. What I’ve been witnessing is called unpreparedness in action. If he had the financial cushion to absorb these hits, I probably would notice slight irritation if anything at all.

Solid financial footing will give you greater freedom to choose; it will reduce the stress inherent in any unwanted circumstance. Also, it will allow you to focus your energy on what needs to be done.

Choice. When my coworker erupts in financial panic, it’s because he’s run out of options. Whatever choice he makes either worsens the problem or worsens his debt load. He really does have to choose his poison.

Being financially prepared will help you adapt to your new circumstances more quickly and with less resistance. Planning for change can reduce the stress of the event and give you greater peace of mind today, knowing you are ready to handle what’s coming.

Resilience. How well do you cope with stress and adversity? I can tell my coworker, and friend, has borne much adversity over the last 20 years. I can see the toll it has taken—psychologically, emotionally, and physically.

Financial preparedness acts as an antidote to the daily dose of adversity and stress. It turns mountains into speed bumps. Caverns into small cracks in the road.

So, how do you do this? How do you give yourself more options and create more space between you and life’s trials?

A monthly budget that reflects the reality of your income and expenses is one of the most important stress-reduction tools you have. With a realistic budget, you can more easily manage the changes you expect, while an emergency fund and proper levels of insurance can leave you ready to handle the unexpected.

My family and I have experienced this the last few months. I’ve had a budget my whole life, more or less. But I haven’t always used a budget like I should. But that’s changing for the better. And we’re saving again. Saving for those inevitable times when life just happens.

What about you? Do you see yourself in constant financial trouble? Or have you stepped away from the edge?

Quotes from the Durango Herald.

When you Walk Away from Your Mortgage

I know I’ve been tempted to walk away from my mortgage. I have renters who are taking care of most of the monthly mortgage (not all though). But I’m having to rent another home as a result. While the net financial result is +$400 per month, there’s still a psychological toll. I don’t like being an absentee landlord. I don’t like not being able to check on my house every few weeks.

But what happens when you make that choice? To abandon your mortgage? According to a recent Miami Herald discussion, walking away from your mortgage isn’t risk free.

Yes, it might take as long as a year before you’re permanently evicted. Yes, it may seem like a boon to live in a rent free home during that same period. Even taking the ding in your credit seems like a small price to pay. Everyone’s taking a ding, right?

The biggest wild card for borrowers is whether banks will go after them for the remainder of the unpaid loan or what’s known in the legal world as a “deficiency judgment.” A foreclosure or even a short sale doesn’t necessarily mean that your debt is forgiven.

What does that mean? It means that if a bank determines you have the means to pay (i.e. you were vacationing on their dime while your payments languished) then it’s worth their time to come after you. Obviously, if you don’t have a job then you probably don’t have the means. But even joblessness isn’t as safe a haven as previously thought.

“It is my belief that banks will begin to sell off the money they are owed to collection companies in the coming years that will, in turn, aggressively pursue collection efforts,” says Matt Englett of Kaufman Englett & Lynd, a law firm that specializes in foreclosure cases. “There will be a whole new cottage industry created as a result of this.”

A lender or collections agency (or worse) coming after you may be the least of your worries. You may also owe back taxes. Declaring bankruptcy won’t help you on the tax side. Remember, taxes are forever.

And of course there’s the credit score issue. A foreclosure remains on your credit report for 7 years. This may have even more of an impact in the current economic environment. Whereas lenders (or landlords or apartment owners) may have been quick to overlook past financial mistakes just a few years ago, your poor credit score may not be worth the risk.

Read more about walking away from a mortage.

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