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Jeremy Schalf

Basic Financial Planning

  1. Know your financial needs, priorities, goals, etc: What do you wish to achieve in your life, from a financial perspective? Is there a realistic way, to do so, by using personal discipline, and a focused approach/ plan? Will you begin financial planning, for your present, and future needs? What will you do, to plan, for your children’s educational costs? How about your retirement? Many give up, because they feel, they do not have the ability to achieve these objectives, but, most people do, if they plan, far enough ahead, and discipline themselves, consistently. After all, you pay many bills, every month, including your mortgage/ rent, utilities, and other current needs, so wouldn’t it make sense, to proceed, with the discipline and attitude, to pay yourself, first?
  2. Periodic payments/ installments; dollar – cost averaging: For the average person, the best way, to attain and maintain, a significant, diversified portfolio, is to use, what is referred to, as, a periodic payment plan. This means, every month, preferably on a specific date (same time each month), putting the same amount into a mutual fund. This should be, a diversified, balanced fund, in order to perform, in a variety of market conditions, etc. Dollar – cost averaging means, since, the price of the fund, generally fluctuates, you will purchase a different number of shares, for the same dollars, but, hopefully, over – time, this approach will be extremely beneficial, and grow.
  3. Discipline: This type of approach, will only work, successfully, when you proceed, with a self – imposed, discipline, to pay this bill, to yourself, every single month. In the longer – term, you will benefit, because, you will, without feeling much pain, build up a significant portfolio. Wise people realize, your success, is up – to – you!

Get Debt Free by Writing Online

Search engines judge a website based mostly on its content, and the content of those linking in. Audiences are built on the strength of that content, and expect to get regular updates with more fresh and useful articles, blog posts or newsletters. This has made many businesses unable or unwilling to cope, and as such they need others to write high quality content in plain English for them.

You can approach those businesses directly, but if you are starting up your best option is using third party websites that act as a middleman, guarantee payment and protect both buyers and sellers from unscrupulous scammers. If you are looking to write in English sites such as oDesk or Elance offer projects, Fiverr allows you to place an article writing gig paying you $4 and Textbroker has a steady stream of requests directly from website owners at varying prices depending on your writing skills.

If you want to get rid of your debt, you’ll need to come up with a plan. Decide how many articles you can write during your week. Maybe you can wake up one hour early every day, and fit two articles on that time that you can edit and submit at lunchtime. Or maybe instead of watching TV during the evening you can research and write articles for your clients. The key to this is being regular and making it part of your daily routine. If you manage to write 4 articles a day, at $15 each, that’s about $1200 a month. After taxes it would be a nice dent on your credit card debt, wouldn’t it?

Everybody can write, but not all writers are paid the same or enjoy the same levels of demand. If you have specialist skills on a particular area, from nursing to business management or computer programming, make sure to write your profile in a way that showcases that experience. Building up a portfolio of grammatically perfect work and satisfied customer reviews will help you catch the attention of higher paying customers, reducing the amount of articles you need to write in order to get rid of your debt and giving you access to more interesting projects.

Debt Management Mistakes

Mistakes People Make

When you’re burdened with multiple debts, it’s easy to lose track and end up not paying on time, thereby attracting late payment fees and perhaps even eventual debt recovery process. You might not only miss out on interest free periods, but also end up paying hundreds of dollars a month for late fees.

Another mistake people make is that they make only the minimum payment to cover the interest amount without thinking about ways to clear off the principal.

People try to avoid banks, especially if they are sure they won’t be able to meet a repayment schedule – that’s unfortunate because communicating with the bank might actually help you to defer payments or save you from late fee charges.

When people opt for consolidation, they may forget to close their high risk personal loans which would still attract charges even if they’ve moved it to a low interest consolidated loan.

Efficient Debt Management Solutions

One of the best ways to achieve efficient debt management is to seek the advice of professional debt management companies, but more on that later.

The first step you can take is to stop accumulating more debts on your credit cards and overdrafts. This simple step can help in reducing your minimum monthly repayment schedule.

You can get rid of all your debts on high risk personal loans by opting for consolidation method. Some lenders might be charging you up to 20 % or more by way of interest. A possible solution for this is to combine all your debts into a single debt which can clear off by taking a low interest loan. Professional debt management companies have contacts in the finance industry and can easily source such loans for you. This will help to shelve your interest liability and lower your overall debt burden.

Find Cheap Service Providers

Budgeting is another simple, effective means that even professional debt management solutions providers advise. You can easily make a note of your expenditure and income every month and see if there are any areas where you can cut costs. For example, you can always find good deals and bigger savings for services such as internet, phone, cable TV or health insurance. You can use the money saved to clear off your debts.

Reducing the Principal

Consolidation packages offered by debt management companies can help with interest rate reduction, but you also need to think of ways to pay off the principal amount or else you might end up having to deal with debt recovery hassles.

You can do it by giving priority to your debts and using any monthly savings to pay them off. Traditional savings avenues such as bank deposits hardly offer more than 6% rates of interest whereas your debts attract much higher rates; it makes sense to use part of your savings to eliminate debt completely.

Professional debt management companies offer affordable and realistic debt relief services – they can help with consolidation loans for debt, mortgage refinancing loans, debt agreements and more. Speak to a professional to have your financial matters sorted out. It’s worth the time and money to get some peace of mind.

Get Rich These Days With Talent

building your career

There are jobs which pay very well (i. e. manager positions), with which it is not difficult to build a fortune. With conscientious career building, very much dedication and with some luck it can be achieved.

The question is how great is the sacrifice we have to bring, and whether the high salary compensates it.

becoming a criminal

There are many immoral or criminal ways of making money. I don’t want to give tips to anybody, the media give us information about such cases in many ways all the time.

I wouldn’t urge anybody to choose this way. In this case, we risk not only money but stricter penalties, too (i.e.prison).

with talent

Many people get their wealth by being good at something, eg.: sportsmen, musicians, writers, artists. Others invent something new, it is enough to think of the internet millionaires being born by the dozens these days.

Most of those who have such a career behind them, say that the way leading to success is not a smooth one but loaded with hindrances, and it is not as simple as it looks like. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t reject this option.

with luck

We can be lucky many ways in our lives: we can win the lottery, we can inherit suddenly, or, we can find some art treasure in the attic.

A very insidious danger lies in the way of those who became rich thanks to luck.

Many of them are not used to handling great wealth, so the money leaks from their hands. When the money is over, they can even have a great number of debts, and finally, they can find themselves in a worse situation.

If you get wealthy unexpectedly, it is highly recommended to ask for advice from a financial expert.

Productivity and Efficiency

The success and failure of a business entity depend highly on how it performs in the market, which is based on three important factors, i.e. productivity, utilization, and efficiency. So try to increase your productivity.

Certificate Of Deposit Accounts

Certificate of deposit accounts are special accounts offered by banks & brokers, they’re basically the reverse of a regular loan: the investor loans their money to the bank for a specific period of time during which the bank pays you interest for the use of the funds.Traditionally interest is generally paid periodically based on a percentage, or other predetermined factor (such as the stock market), for the life of the CD.

Many institutions offer fixed interest rates but variable interest rates are also available. This type of account differs from bank savings accounts in that depositors can not withdraw the money at any time; they have to wait for the them to mature or pay a severe penalty.

Certificate of Deposits are perceived as safe because they are insured via the FDIC. The FDIC is federal insurance coverage provided by the government, instituted during the Great Depression, it was meant to provide consumers reassurance & protect against bank runs.However, there is a cap on the volume of funds insured by the FDIC per account.

Since the FDIC is backed by the United States Treasury, many people look at CDs as the ultimate risk-free” investment. As such, rates of return tend to be very low, but are still a bit above savings account rates to compensate people today for their income being tied up with the bank. Normally certificates provided by smaller banks, who have great monetary needs, will offer a greater interest rate than large banks flush with cash. Because of this consumers can typically find much far better return rates for their investment at smaller banks.

The reality is that there is no such thing as an investment that carries no risk. There are dangers associated with CD accounts that many shoppers do not take into account.

The first danger is the inflation threat. Lets imagine you tie up your savings in a 5 year CD with a 2% rate of interest, but, during those five years, inflation spikes to 5%. Because of the high penalty for accessing your money before the term ends, your money is inaccessible and is essentially dwindling away and losing value. On the other hand, for those who had access to their money via a standard savings account, you could simply withdraw the cash and invest in something tangible, like assets or land, prior to it becoming worthless.

One more commonly overlooked threat, which can be closely related to inflation, would be the rate of interest threat. If an investor deposits funds a 5 year CD with a 2% rate of return,and the base rate of interest spikes to 4% in the following days or weeks, then there is an opportunity cost to holding the money. An individual with a common savings account around the other hand, will see their rate of interest adjusted as the rates spike. Of course in a savings account the rate of interest is usually lower to begin with.

Inflation and fluctuating interest rates are risks that increase with the term of your investment. The longer the time before to maturity, the much more considerable the chance of interest and inflation changes.Short term CDs, on the other hand have incredibly low threat simply because there might be less opportunity costs more than the shorter time. Because of this, many investors choose options with shorter terms, or options that allow them some control in case of inflation of interest spikes.

Ways You Can Detect a Financial Fraud

  • Read your monthly bank statements. Know every purchase and credit to your accounts. Scammers can steal your information and set up charges you might mistake. Check for hidden “membership” fees or any other unapproved charges.
  • Give to recognized charities. When a disaster occurs, your instinct is to give to those who lost their homes, clothes, etc. Do your research and give to a recognizable charity or a credibly ranked one. You can find more donating tips by using a website like Charity Navigator.
  • Investing is taking a chance. There is no sure profit when investing. An investment opportunity with a low-risk, high-return investment can strike red flags! Take time to learn about the product and company beforehand. Also, prepare for a sales pitch. Watch for words like ‘guarantees’ and ‘promises’ with little ‘financial risks’.
  • Don’t deposit a check from, or wire money to, an unknown recipient. The law requires banks to have deposited checks available within days. However, to recover a fake check can take weeks. Someone who overpays using a check is likely connected with fraud.
  • Use strong passwords. Passwords should have eight or more characters. Use a combination of letters, symbols, and numbers that have no significance to you or records that lead back to your password.
  • Don’t reply to messages that ask for personal or financial information. These messages are likely waiting in your inbox, but send via telephone or text message too. Do not click these links or return these calls, remember you are a click away from a fraud.

Clean Up Your Budget

  • Clean up and clean out our house this fall and have a yard//garage sale. This is going to be a LOT of work, but in the end, we will have extra space AND some extra cash to put toward bills or savings.
  • Pay bills second, pay ourselves first. This means taking the 30 seconds to log in to the bank account and throw in some extra cash into the savings account. This is like, rule #1 of saving. Rule #2 is “Don’t touch your savings unless it’s an emergency, and even then, reconsider it!” Haha. Okay maybe not, but clearly for us financial discipline is lacking.
  • Create a daily spending limit and stick to it. That’s right. Daily. Because sometimes, those of us who aren’t so good with budgeting, need serious boundaries. This way, we can really look at “What am I spending my money on? Is this a necessity, a treat, or should I//do I need to save my daily allowance for something in a few days?”
  • Commit to paying down debt. There are a few ways to do this effectively, but, as I’ve been reading, the simplest is to take it in small chunks and pay off the smallest one first. Then tackle the next smallest, and so on. This is a great way to see progress! (And I like to see progress sooner than later!) There is a school of thought–and a wise one at that–that says pay off the debt with the highest interest rate. This is a really good idea too.
  • Focus on needs instead of wants… for now. I think we have to look closely what we want to spend our money on… for me, I like getting my nails done. I also like buying clothes for myself and my family. But right now these things need to be put on hold. We have more than enough, and frankly–even though I loathe it–I can do my own nails for a little while. I don’t want to deprive anyone, but I think it is a valid exercise to simplify life a bit; get creative with what we have, use what we have, and then, after a period of two or three months, see where our financial priorities are.
  • Choose DIY over convenience. This sort of goes hand-in-hand with #5, but I think it’s worth mentioning on its own. It takes five more minutes each morning to make your own cup of coffee rather than shelling out $2.00 for it everyday. ($2.00 x 7 = $14.00 a week! That’s $56 a month!) It takes 10 minutes to pack a lunch at home. See where I’m going here? Time and money are definitely precious commodities, but again, if you’re on a budget, it’s time (no pun intended) to consider what is worth our time versus what is worth our hard-earned money. 10 minutes for a healthier lunch packed at home means more to me than ordering a quick lunch in the cafeteria and not really knowing where the food actually came from.

 

Calculate a Debt to Income Ratio

First, you need to find your gross monthly income. This is listed on your pay stub or leave and earnings statement. If you don’t receive a pay stub, you can use the W-2 form that you receive at the end of the year from your employer.

Second, you need to know the total minimum monthly payments you make each month towards debts. The easiest way is to review your monthly bill statements to find the minimum amount due each month. Another way is to find payments listed on your credit bureau report (CBR). If you don’t have a copy of your CBR, then you can obtain a free copy of your credit report once a year from an online source, or contact your financial institution for more information. On the CBR from TransUnion, the monthly payment will be listed under TRADES>TERMS. Depending on the company (TRADES) they can report your debt as “Min97” which means Min payment is $97, or “24M204” which is 24 monthly payments (TERMS) at $204 a month. The minimum and monthly payment, and monthly term, will be different for each person depending on what is owed. You can also contact each company that you pay a monthly payment to and find out the minimum monthly payment amount. Don’t forget to ask if they report to the credit reporting bureau agency.

Finally, once you have the gross monthly income and your total minimum monthly payments of your debts, you divide your total minimum payments by your gross monthly income.

See calculation example below:

Total Minimum Monthly Payments (debt) =$1,000

Gross Monthly Income (income)=$2,000

Divide $1,000 by $2,000 =.50 or 50% debt to income (D/I) ratio

So, what does this mean for you? This means that 50% of the money you make goes to debts. How do you feel about that? Great I hope! If you have a 100% debt to income (D/I) ratio that means you have no money left for essential needs like food. Having 50% debt probably means you are living paycheck to paycheck, but able to pay all of your bills on time, go out to eat once in a while, or go on vacation. Now you know, it can be good that the D/I ratio is at 50%, but what do financial institutions think if you have a 50% D/I ratio?

Financial institutions know you need some debt in order to build a credit score. They prefer your D/I ratio to be under 50%; ideal is 30%; best is under 10% because that means you have more money to pay back your loans.

Beware! There are some financial institutions that will loan you money if you have a higher D/I ratio, but they usually charge extremely high interest rates-making it very difficult to pay back. You can always call and see if they will tell you what their requirements are to obtain their lowest rate.

Debts Are Down in Phoenix

A Leap in the Right Direction

People are making finances, and paying off debts, a priority again and that’s a great shift. Writing off uncollectible debts is also on the rise, and that’s contributing to these lower numbers. When considering the 25 areas surveyed, only four reported a debt increase, and none were in Arizona. Phoenix folks have something to be proud of, and this is a great trend that will hopefully continue to grow.

Overall, Phoenix residents aren’t leaping on opportunities to take on more debt. They’re doing better at managing their credit cards, they’re not financing vehicles they don’t need and the mortgages that are getting approved are manageable for most. Basically, people in Phoenix are treating their credit seriously, just like they should. Gone are the free-for-all years when McMansions were standard and everyone drove a luxury car.

Avoiding a Fallback

Even though Phoenix residents are spending more carefully, there’s always the risk of slipping back into bad habits. Just one faux pas or an emergency can reverse these efforts. For example, a medical emergency or layoff can quickly undo a year or more worth of work. It’s crucial to pay off debts, but every budget should allow for an emergency fund. Ideally, a person or family should have a year’s worth of emergency funds in place, but any amount is better than none.

It’s also crucial to save for retirement and/or contribute to a 401(k) as well as actually designing and sticking to a budget that works. This means there are options for entertainment and no surprise bills down the road. Paying off debts is just one aspect of financial savviness, but it seems like these Arizona residents have that part down. It’s a tough climb out of debt, but with the right tools in place, it can be done-and the Valley residents are proof of that.

Secrets of Well Managed Checking Accounts

Don’t ignore your statements.

This seems so obvious – to the point of not even worth mentioning. But it’s amazing how many of us fail to look at our statements every month, or to look at them thoroughly. Besides balancing your account – in other words, reconciling your posted balance against outstanding drafts or checks that have not been presented for payment – you need to examine your account thoroughly every month to make sure there isn’t something there that is out of place. Did the restaurant you went to a couple of months ago record a five dollar tip or a $25 tip? Did the shoe store who took your catalog purchase back really process the credit to your account like they were supposed to? Are there fees or debits that you can’t seem to account for? These are just some of the issues you’ll want to bear in mind as you’re studying your statement.

View your bank as a partner, not just a provider.

Even if you have the most basic of checking account products, your bank should demonstrate an interest in helping you manage it successfully. (And if they don’t, shop around for another bank.) Ask a banking customer service representative what tools, consumer education, and resources your bank provides or recommends to help their customers manage their finances properly. You may be surprised to learn that your bank offers website articles, free online or in person classes, apps, or even just free friendly advice that can help you run your checking account and your overall for personal finances with great efficiency.

Take the terms of your account seriously.

If your checking account agreement assesses additional fees for transactions that exceed a certain number, or for minimum balances that drop below prescribed amount, it’s important to take those restrictions seriously. Blowing them off here and there may not seem like a big deal at the time, but over the course of a few years it’s easy for those extra fees to pile up.