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June 2019

Advantages of Using a Financial Planner

Saving Time

Even if you feel confident about your ability to handle these tasks, managing these issues can take time and effort. You can streamline your own schedule and avoid spending time on this work by hiring a financial planner to do it for you. This can be especially helpful for people experiencing a high volume of work professionally or for people with time-consuming family responsibilities.

Peace of Mind

Knowing that you have a professional working for you to manage these important details can be comforting for many people. The expertise applied to your finances can ensure that you plan and strategize correctly to work toward your goals. Without this expertise, you might make costly mistakes. With the assistance, you could even achieve your goals more quickly. You can also enjoy the confidence that comes with knowing that the professional will be continually monitoring and reviewing your situation. If any modifications are necessary, you can contact them quickly to correct the situation.

Expert Analysis

It is easy to be overloaded with information in today’s Internet age. Anyone without expertise in this specific area may have difficulty assessing this data accurately. A financial planner can provide expert analysis and planning for assets and liabilities, as well as insurance, taxes, and investments. Consumers usually have different priorities during early adulthood than they have in later ages, so planning and strategy vary. Having a professional opinion about investments as they pertain to short-and long-term goals and individual ability to withstand risks can also be invaluable to consumers.

A Cool Head

People may panic or become excited in certain circumstances. Fluctuations in the financial market may lead you to want to jump into investments with both feet or pull everything out to protect yourself against major losses. In either situation, a professional will lend solid expertise to help you make the correct decision. Perhaps it would be best to wait it out. Or, moving quickly might be the best course of action. The calm expertise of a professional who is not emotionally involved with the issues will deliver the best outcome.

Managing Money Through Debt Negotiation

Debt Negotiation

Many creditors and lenders are willing to work with their debt holders individually in order to get debt paid off, even if it means giving the debtor a break and not requiring the full sum. Good faith can take a debtor long way when it comes to dealing with debt collectors. Many debt collectors are not accustomed to getting paid in full. And, because they routinely deal with people who have poor money management skills, if a debtor shows good faith and comes up with a plan through reasonable debt negotiation skills, the creditor will often be willing to work with the debtor.

Debt negotiation happens on all debt playing fields. Whether the debt involves the IRS or a neighborhood community bank, most lenders and debt collectors are going to be happy to take something when they are used to getting nothing. Using good debt negotiation skills to determine how much you are going to pay as well as agreeing on a fixed timeline for repayment can take a debtor a long way. This money management skill is essential for a debtor to start practicing immediately.

How Can I Learn More?

There are many books, classes, and services willing to help debtors develop debt negotiation skills that they can use to get out of debt faster than they would have thought possible. Check the money management section of your library, or do a search online to find a reputable class near you!

Debt negotiation is an excellent money management skill to learn sooner rather than later. Not only will you find it helpful in handling your debt, but the skills you learn in this area of money management are transferable to other areas of life that require a little bargaining and deal-making!

Cost of Active Fund Investing

Before getting into which of the products are suitable for you, there are some aspects that need to be considered so that you understand what the variations are among the products.

Active investing is when someone (a portfolio manager) picks the stocks that are in the fund and decides how much of each one to hold (the weighting). This portfolio manager would also monitor the portfolio and decide when a security should be sold off, added to or have its weighting decreased. Since there is ongoing research, meetings and analysis that must be done to build and monitor this portfolio, this fund manager would have research analysts and administrative personnel to help run the fund.

Passive investing has the same setup as active investing, but rather than someone deciding what securities to buy or how much of each one to buy, the portfolio manager would copy a benchmark. A benchmark is a collection of securities which the fund is compared against to see how well it is doing. Since everything in investing is about how much money you can make and how much risk it takes to make that money, every fund out there is trying to compare to all of the other funds of the same type to see who can make the most money. The basis for the comparisons is the benchmark, which can also become comparing between peers or funds managed the same way. Comparisons are general in done only for returns. The risk aspect of the equation is handled by looking at what type of securities the fund holds or how specialized the fund is.

The short answer is that you have to get to know how the fund manager operates the fund. Some clues to know more quickly if the fund is active or passive are given next. If they are intentionally trying to pick securities according to some beliefs that they have about the market, this is active management. If the fund description talks about “beating the benchmark” or “manager skill” then it is actively managed. Looking at the return history, if the returns vary versus the index by different amounts each year, then the fund is actively managed. Lastly, the fees may be expensive and have sales loads.

If the name of the fund says “Index” or “Index fund” there is a good chance that the fund is passively managed. If the name of the fund says “ETF” or “Exchange Traded Fund” this could be a passive fund, but you need to make sure of this because some ETFs are actually active funds, but they are managed in a certain way. Most of the passively managed ETFs are provided by BMO, iShares, Claymore, Vanguard and Horizons in Canada and Powershares, Vanguard and SPDR (or Standard and Poors) and others if the holdings are from the U.S. Most of the other companies would have actively managed funds only. If the fund description states that the fund is trying to “imitate” the performance of an index or benchmark, then this implies that it is copying the index and this is passively managed. From the return perspective, passively managed funds will be very close to the index that they claim to imitate, but slightly less due to fees each year. The amount that the returns are under the index will be close to identical each year unless there are currency conversions or variances in cost which may come from currency fluctuations or hedging that the fund may do. Passive funds typically do not have sales loads as they are geared toward people who invest for themselves.

Start a Savings Plan

Once upon a time, people saved for things before they were able to buy them. However, we have gradually drifted from being savers to spenders and being in debt, due to the easy availability of credit. For many people, their expenditure is more than their earnings, which means they are using credit to purchase things. Put another way, they are using tomorrow’s income to fund today’s consumption.

But another and better way is to live within your means and save for the things you want, particularly consumable items. While interest rates are low it may seem like a good idea to buy what you want now and pay for it later. Unfortunately, with the possible exception of housing, most items purchased are what’s known as depreciating items or assets, where the value of the good decreases over time. If this item has been purchased on credit, it is most likely that by the time the item has been paid off, the value of the good is far less than when it was purchased.

In addition, there has usually been interest charges applied to the loan, which means the actual cost of the item ends up being far more than the initial purchase price. Wouldn’t it be better to save the cash for the item, save on the interest expense and be in a better negotiating position to obtain a discount because you’ll be paying in cash?

The easiest way to start saving is to have this happen automatically without much or any effort required. This can be done by establishing a special savings account, preferably one that you can’t access easily or penalizes you, for example with lower interest rates, for withdrawals.

Then set up an automatic transfer to move a set amount from your regular account into this new savings account. Or you might be able to speak with your payroll department about having your salary paid into two accounts, your regular and your savings account.

How much should you put into your savings account? It’s completely up to you! A good rule of thumb is 10% of your income, but you can change this figure to suit you. Ten percent might be a bit much to begin with, especially if you do have outstanding debt. Start with whatever you can comfortably afford to begin with. This percentage can always be increased over time.

Be aware of all facets of your income which can include overtime, commissions, bonuses, tax returns, cash gifts, sales of assets and myriad other things. If your automatic transfer only transfers a set amount of your fixed base salary every pay cycle, you might need to manually transfer your percentage amount to your savings account on any additional income.

Use the miracle of compound interest. It is said that Albert Einstein referred to it as the eighth wonder of the world. This is when you start earning interest on your previously earned interest, although its most dramatic effect is after a longer period of saving.

Eventually you might think about setting up a number of savings accounts such as a consumable items savings account (there’s that TV, car and holiday we were talking about) and what you might want to call your “wealth account”. This is your investing account and from where you purchase income producing assets.

How much you earn has no bearing on your ability to save. It’s not about how much you earn, it’s what you do with what you earn that’s important. The point is, it doesn’t matter how much you save or when you start saving, what matters is that you start.

Selling Gold For Cash

This is the big question! There are a few choices available to those that want to sell their gold. For those that own scrap gold, the refineries or pawn shops are the first two choices. On the other hand, if you have old jewelry made of gold, you can also try at jewelry stores, collectors, refineries etc. First decide what you are going to sell and afterwards decide which buyer might pay more.

This is one of the options. There are a lot of sites (eBay for example) that can allow you to show your metals to the world. Of course, this is not the most common place when it comes to selling worthy metals, but it works, because there are a lot of interested people.

This is the greatest thing about displaying your stuff online. Some might not pay the price you want, but this does not mean that you have no chances in getting the price you had in mind. A good tip is to do some research and discover the price that people are willing to pay. Either way, be prepared to get a different offer from what you had in mind.

It is important to know that the majority of buyers might not offer you the price of your dreams. So try to have realistic expectations on the price that you will have to receive for your gold. Prices that vary between five and ten percent less than what gold is really worth are quite common. This happens because the person buying needs the chance to get a profit when they are reselling your gold.

For instance, think about a scrap jewelry where you want to sell for the price of $100, because this is how much the market says it is worth. The person buying this will not be able to offer you this price because they will not manage to sell the piece for a profitable deal. Buyers seldom pay more than the price offered by the market.

The place of the transaction is not the only one that is important in this situation. You also have to be careful on the manner of payment. Cash or certified checks are the only methods which you should accept. This way you will avoid getting scammed. The most usual scam is the one with the credit card. Buyers who purchase with their credit cards can easily reverse all the charges and get all their money back. Losing your gold and your money does not sound like a good deal to anyone.

Tips for Paying Down Debt

  • Try to pay more than the minimum monthly amount required by your card issuer. Keep in mind that paying just the minimum amount required by your card issuer can cause your interest charges to balloon out. So, if you are serious about your desire to pay down what you owe, in the soonest possible time, then try to consider how you can allocate more funds to pay off your monthly credit card bills.
  • Come up with strategies that you can use to gradually pay down your credit accounts. To do this, you may decide to concentrate first on paying the debt that imposes the highest rate of interest. After all, this strategy is proven to help consumers save a great deal of money on interest charges. You may also decide to settle either the oldest or lowest credit transactions, whichever you find easier to pay off first.
  • Alter your spending habits. It would be counterproductive for you to continuously use your credit card to finance your purchases as well as your monthly bills, especially when you have started working on your plan to get rid of your credit card debt. This means that you have to limit the use of your card account until you are able to fully retire your credit obligations. So, you may need to change your spending habits and activities, for the time being. For example, you should resolve to use cash to pay for all your transactions. And you may need to lay low on the use of the extra facilities of your card account, such as cash advance.
  • Seek for professional assistance. You may also decide to seek professional help, especially if you do not have any prior experience in paying off huge credit card debt. Look for blogs and articles written by finance experts on how you can get rid of your debt, fast. You may also decide to sign up for credit counseling services. After all, a certified financial adviser can provide you with helpful tips that you can use not only to completely retire your financial obligations, but also to fully-rehabilitate your credit history.

Profitable Options for Gold Investors

Physical Gold

The simplest way to buying physical gold is to procure bars and coins. The practice has been widespread for a long time and continues to be a favorite of many people that enjoy having physical possession of this precious metal as a kind of investment. Possessing gold in its physical form brings peace of mind to many.

However, one must be careful and do some homework when buying gold. It is reported that Chinese-made counterfeit gold coins are in circulation in the US market. So, you should stick to buying gold coins produced in government-owned mints only. Often, these are sold at a premium. Some of the recommended gold coins worth buying are the American Eagle, Canadian Maple and South African Krugerrands.

Gold Mutual Funds

The benefits of buying mutual funds are well-known. Investing in gold mutual funds allows you to expand or restrict your risks. When considering to invest in such mutual funds, look for funds that have stocks in companies using modernized techniques of mining and purifying the metal. You stand to profit more through such companies, compared to old companies following the traditional style of mining, or those that are rather new in this business.

ETFs

The latest trend is to buy stocks of SPDR Gold Trust ETF. This is an exchange traded fund (ETF) and its working is just like any other stock or a mutual fund. The main benefit of this kind of investment is the fact that you are saved the hassle of looking for a source for the gold and you also avoid any expense for its safe storage.

Junior gold stocks

If you have the capacity to take more risks, you can invest in these stocks, which are most likely not to have their own mines. Generally, they are occupied with the exploration of gold and thus more prone to incur loss. Their capital is quite low, compared to matured gold companies.

Gold futures

Unless you are a highly experienced investor, you should refrain from this activity. This is easily the most difficult form of investing in gold and it is very risky. Trading in gold futures is too difficult to be understood by majority of investors.

Laws Affecting Money

Growing up I think it’s safe to say that, we all learned how to earn money. Go to school, do well then get a good job. A good job with benefits that pay well and has security. Then there are jobs that aren’t secure and most times don’t require good education. They are the jobs that are based on commission. For many people, it’s a bad word that they run away from but for the ones that work at it, it pays well. Dividends. Whichever way you choose to earn money, your goal should be to earn as much as possible when you’re young. Earning money is simpler than making money but the result is the same, you would have obtained money that needs to be managed. The choice to make money instead of earning money will most times depend on how you were raised. Employees earn money and the self-employed or business owner make money. Either way we choose to get money, we are all subject to laws that regulate the various methods. If you are an employee then your concern should be the Employment Standards Act, which protects the rights of employees. The ESA sets out the minimum you should be paid, how you should be treated and a few benefits that you are entitled to such as vacation pay and holiday pay. If you’re self-employed or own a business then Income Tax Act and various Municipal By-laws should be of more concern for you.

Managing money, not a lot of us were taught this or it wasn’t emphasized. Managing your money is all about budgeting it. Simple, yes but a difficult habit for many to adapt. Most people just think of their bills when they get paid. Now the tools for creating a budget can be as simple as a piece of paper and a pen or a software like excel or even more advance Microsoft Money. Whichever you choose it is important that you make it a habit. Don’t worry too much about staying on track because that comes with time. Just start. When you start try to create budgets that are one to two months ahead only till you get better at staying on track. If you are not paying your bill on time you may end up in collection where a collection agency starts calling you to get you to pay your debts. In this case you would be affected by Consumer Protection Act and the Collection Agency Act. “The average Canadian’s consumer debt load hit $27,485 at the end of 2012, a six per cent increase over the previous year’s level and the first time the figure has been above $27,000.”, according to¬†http://www.cbc.ca. This amount doesn’t include mortgage debt but things like credit cards, car loans and lines of credit. Here is a tip about dealing with collection agencies, you can request that they only contact you by mail and not call you anymore. If they don’t comply with your request then you can report them to Consumer Affairs which would issue them a fine. Individuals whose income and other assets are not sufficient to pay their financial obligations as they come due are insolvent. At this point you might have to declare bankruptcy. In which case, you would be affected by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. This act performs 3 functions: protect creditors, give debtors a clean slate and help debtors and creditors compromise. So it is important that you manage your money well.

Now if you can do a decent or great job at the former two then you have some money to invest. Now you’re ready to have money work for you instead of you working for money. At this point I suggest you speak to a financial professional. Make sure they are qualified. It’s best to talk to your bank. Make your banker your friend. Have a regular dialogue with an account manager at your bank. Do your own research on investments but keep it simple. If the book starts out with formulas then put it down and look for another book. There are 4 basic things you should know about investing. One, start now. Long-term compounding is one of the most powerful tools available to investors. With compounding, your savings generate earnings, which are then reinvested to generate their own earnings. It’s never too late to start, but the sooner you begin, the better. Two, don’t avoid risk; manage it. A well-balanced portfolio divided among asset classes such as stocks, bonds and cash equivalents may help you manage risk and reduce the ups and downs of the market. This is where your banker plays a big part when you’re starting. Three, maintain a long-term outlook. Investing is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Four, Avoid or postpone taxes when possible. This means deposit heavily into your RRSP then into your TSFA then if you got any left over to invest talk to your banker. The Securities Act protects investors from unscrupulous investment professionals and other investors.

Easy Debt Elimination Methods

Debts can always have very bad effect on your life especially if you want to borrow loans from the banks. This is because debts usually have very huge effects on your credit score. It would therefore be very important that you find a way of eliminating debts. This calls for a lot of financial discipline when it comes to using credit facilities like the credit cards. To help you eliminate debts easily, there are always a number of steps that you may take.

These steps include avoiding impulse buying as much as possible. Impulse buying can always lead to exhaustion of your resources way too far before your next pay day. This may force you to borrow more funds from friends or lending institution. This will in turn lead to increase of your debts. It is therefore important to eliminate impulse buying as an easy way of debt elimination.

Stop Spending What You Can’t Afford In order to eliminate debt, it is important that you stop spending what you can’t afford. If you can’t afford it, then don’t buy it. Many people today are living above their means, putting themselves further and further in debt. If you want to pay off debt, stop spending. If you don’t take this step, you will never be able to fully get out of debt.

Another easy way of debt elimination is using common sense when you go shopping. This may seem very obvious but is very efficient and effective. This will help you getting into much debts that would prove very difficult to repay. To easily achieve this, it is always advisable that you pay for everything you buy in cash and only utilize your credit cards during emergencies.

You may also research on money saving opportunities like the low interest rates and credit card offers. This can help you save a lot of money on interest rates you pay. Credit card offers will also allow you shop at reduced prices and this may help reduce that amount of debts that you take.

Only Use Cash Let’s face it; it’s far too easy to pull out a credit card whenever we see something we really want, and for someone struggling to clear his or her debt, this can spell disaster. Additionally, it’s incredibly more difficult to keep control of your spending when using credit cards. On the other hand, when you pay for everything with cash rather than with plastic, you tend to be far more careful with regards to your spending.

You can also eliminate your debts by repaying for you in good time. This will eliminate the fines that you pay late may be charged. This in a way will also help in debt elimination.

There is no doubt that if you have a serious debt problem it can really cripple you in so many ways that it takes over your entire life. If this is the case then you should really try to get some help with your situation and for this you can consult a number of debt relief companies no matter where you live.

Ways to Make Extra Cash Today

  • Babysitting
    Babysitting is a very easy to make some extra cash when you are in need. If you have a young neighbor or young brother or sister you can probably make about $15 an hour to watch them for short periods of time. Offer to watch your friends kids so they can go out on a date, it is fairly easy to find a kid who needs a babysitter.
  • Return Past Purchases
    Recently bought some electronic or got a crappy gift and still have the receipt? There’s a good chance that you can take the product back to the store you purchased it at and get that money back for yourself. A very easy way to get some extra cash for yourself.
  • Recycle Scrap Metal
    Have a car? You can go around your town during trash day and take scrap metal from people’s trash, like copper piping, and sell the metals to scrap metal yards. A very easy way to make some cash today and it offers a great opportunity to make a lot of it.
  • Sell Roadside Items
    You can buy a $5 30 pack of water and sell the bottles for a dollar a piece on hot days. It is a quick and easy way to make an extra buck for those desperate times. While it may be embarrassing, chances are you can sell a few packs of water in under an hour, making you a lot of cash.
  • Make Things to Sell
    If you are crafty you can make your own business and sell things such as t-shirts, soaps or perfumes. You can sell your product on websites like Etsy and make a lot of money for yourself.