Category: Debts

Finances: Avoid Sorrow And Plan For Tomorrow

money planningFinances are a tough thing to manage. Even if you’re earning a high-figure salary, poor money-management can lead to a very sparse bank account. It’s not so much about the level of your income but what you do with that income. Even on a minimum wage salary, you can make those earnings go a very long way if you screw on your financial head and start to spend or save your money in sensible ways. It’s all about taking a look at all the necessary costs you face in life and then making smart decisions as to what you do with the rest of your money.

Of course, whilst you might be sailing on by smoothly at the moment, you have to think about the future. Earning a lot of money and spending it all is fine today because you’ll get another paycheck in a week. However, you need to start planning ahead for the day on which you retire because very few people want to work for the entirety of their lives. We’ll get onto that in more detail later, as we will with all the other points touched upon briefly in this introduction. If you want to avoid sorrow and start to plan for tomorrow then these sound nuggets of financial wisdom should help you on your way.

Organize your finances.

First of all, you need to get your house in order. “That’s why I clicked on this article,” you say. Fair enough. If you need a little guidance then you should start by making a budget for the month; you can do one weekly but planning for the month is always a nice place to start ( bills such as rent are often faced on a month-by-month basis). Write down how much you earn in a month. If you’re self-employed then write down an average and alter the budget on a monthly basis depending on whether your situation changes. Either way, you’ll end up returning to your budget frequently to make changes when things change in your life; whether you change energy providers, move house, reduce your petrol costs, and so on.

The most important thing is that you estimate how much your necessities cost; rent, food, utilities, everything else we’ve mentioned and anything else you can think of. Once you’ve added up the sum of these things, you’ll know how much money you have to set aside for necessities and how much disposable income you have left over. Don’t exceed this figure and you’ll never end up in debt. It’s that simple. Just don’t spend beyond your means. Cut down on expenses by using less energy around the house or cycling to work instead of wasting money on petrol.

Avoid debt.

Of course, continuing from the point above, if you’ve overspent in the past and had to borrow money to make ends meet then you should dedicate all available earnings to debt repayments; it’s important to pay off your debts in life as soon as possible in order to improve your credit score. Even if you don’t overspend, we all have to borrow money at some point (perhaps it’ll be for a car or a house). The point is that you shouldn’t borrow money to fund bad habits such as poor money-management, excessive shopping, or gambling. Track your expenditures so that you live within your means and your bank account will grow each month, even if only marginally. In terms of the future, you’ll thank yourself tomorrow for doing more to manage your money today. We’ll get onto smart ways to use your “excess income” throughout this article.

Think about your retirement.

It’s so important to plan ahead for your retirement. If you ended up on this article then this was probably already on your mind. You might be worried that you’re not earning enough from your job to provide for you and your family once you stop working. Perhaps your pension plan isn’t looking very good. It’s good to think about these things today because there’s always time to improve your situation before you retire. You might want to look into power of attorney solicitors who can act on your behalf if you’re thinking about a future in which you might not have the mental or physical capacity to manage your personal, business, or financial affairs.

Your retired years shouldn’t be filled with doom and gloom by any means but it’s smart to start thinking about tomorrow. You can make rational decisions regarding your finances today but you have to think about your later years. Will your family be well looked after? Do you want to authorize those close to you to make decisions for you if you no longer can for yourself? Sort out these things today and you won’t have to spend your retirement worrying about money or other things when you should be relaxing and enjoying life.

Get an advisor or an accountant.

Of course, you could go one step further than the suggestion in the point above. Even if you’re nowhere near retirement age yet, why wait until you’re older to start getting good financial advice? As explained throughout this article, you need to start taking action today to protect your finances for tomorrow, so it makes sense to get somebody to start helping you today as well. A financial advisor could help you out if you’re struggling to get your head around proper financial management, even with the advice given so far in this article.

It’s all very well to understand the concept of managing your money but life can get hectic and overwhelming very quickly. An advisor could take a load off your shoulders by teaching you how to better look after your money (and an accountant could help you file tax returns if you need other forms of financial aid). Better yet, there’s great return on your investment here; pay an advisor to help you and they’ll show you smart ways to invest your savings to make more money. Remember, this is in their interests because they’re getting paid to help you; they want you to do well financially. You’ll end up more than making back the money you’ve spent.

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The Golden Rules of Taking Out a Loan

loan timeIf the world was perfect for everyone, no one would ever need to borrow any money. Unfortunately, things just don’t work like that yet – and as long as we have a banking system, it’s unlikely to change. The reality is that we have to borrow money to lead the lives we want. However, there are limits, and many people are guilty of stepping over the mark.

The truth is there are good debts and bad debts, as you probably already know. And even if you are in good enough shape to take out the former, after a few missed payments or a challenging life event, it can quickly turn into the latter.

When it comes to personal loans, the temptation is strong enough to turn heads of even people with the strongest financial constitutions. Advertising is everywhere, and almost all speak to your aspirations and the life you could have – if only you would borrow a few thousand dollars or more.

To make sure you don’t fall into a trap, there are a few things you need to consider when taking out a loan. These golden rules should be set in stone, as when you step outside of them, it’s often the first step down a slippery slope to unaffordable, bad debts. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.

Always shop around

It doesn’t matter whether you are borrowing money to buy a car, a home, or just pay for something quickly with cash loans, always shop around and look for the best deal possible. You should compare percentage rates for interest, but also check the length of the loan. Sometimes, cheaper interest rates over a longer time period will result in a higher overall cost.

Always check your credit score.

Another thing to consider before applying for a loan is your credit rating. When you make an application and get turned down, your credit score takes a hit. Not only that, however, but when you are attracted by a fantastic looking deal that you see in an advertisement, you have to remember that these deals are only offered to consumers with the best credit scores. If your rating is anything less than perfect, you won’t be offered it, and instead, have to put up with a much more expensive deal than you applied for in the first place. A lot of people fall for this, so ensure your credit rating is up to scratch before you apply.

Always read the small print.

The terms and conditions on loans are notoriously detailed, and the vast majority of borrowers never pay them a blind bit of notice. It’s no surprise – who has time to read the reams of paper that often come with your application form? However, you should make time. Banks and lenders of all varieties depend on your ignorance and lack of time, and will often include some pretty dire conditions that you need to meet to qualify for any of the supposed advantages. Another thing to watch out for is early repayment charges – you should always include them in the overall cost of the loan when you do your initial sums. Ideally, all loans would be free to pay off whenever you want, but the reality is somewhat different.

Consider insurance

Loan insurance gets a bad rep, because of a lot of malpractice in the past. However, it’s a valuable protection if you can find the right deal. For a few dollars a month you can protect yourself in the event you suffer an injury at work or get ill and can’t earn any money to pay the loan back. Again, shop around – there are varying rates from all kinds of lenders and insurance companies, and you will often find it is more expensive to buy insurance from the company offering the loan.

Compare with a credit card.

Another major misconception is that personal loans always have better deals than credit cards. To be fair, this used to be the case, back in the day when credit cards were only for the very wealthy, but times have changed. When you consider the long 0% deals you get on credit cards – some of which go for around 18 months at the moment – they often compare very favorably to a personal loan at, say, 6%. And if you can pay off the card before those 18 months are complete, it won’t actually cost you a penny.

Pro tip: borrow more money

As a rule, you should never borrow more than you can pay back. However, when you consider that banks and lenders will offer lower interest rates for higher loans, wouldn’t it make sense to get the better deal? In short, of course, it would, but you have to have a lot of self-discipline. You could borrow a larger amount of money, only spend what you need, and then pay it back over time using a combination of your personal repayments and the surplus. Over the course of a 4-5 year loan, this could actually save you a four-figure sum, so it’s well worth investigating – if you have the discipline, of course.

Be careful with secured loans.

Secured loans will always give you a fantastic sounding deal. But there is a reason – it’s because you have capital at stake. When a loan is secured against your possessions, lenders tend to sleep easily, content in the knowledge that if you fail to pay, they get your house, car, or treasured objects. Yes, the deals can be tempting. But unless you are 100% sure that you will be able to pay them back. Unsecured loans may attract higher interest charges, but ultimately if you have a problem paying them, there is little a lender can actually do.

Always stake the shortest path.

Finally, whenever you take out a loan, the cheapest option will always be to pay it back as quick as possible. It’s down to your personal circumstances, of course, but if your idea of the perfect loan is that it ends up costing you less, it’s the only way to go.

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Mortgage Repayments: What to do When You Can’t Pay

payment for home loanStruggling to pay your mortgage can be a scary time. When taking out a mortgage, every person is told that failure to make repayments could result in repossession of the property. For many people with families, this is a terrifying thought. In fact, it’s so terrifying that many people bury their heads in the sand and try to ignore the problem instead of addressing it. However, addressing the problem before it gets out of control is the best way of handling it. So, what do you do if you’re worried about making your mortgage repayments on time?

Talk to Your Mortgage Provider

There are lots of consequences to not paying your mortgage, including bad credit reports. The more you ignore the problem, the worse off your credit score will become, which puts you at risk of not being accepted for future credit. Take a look at some tips from bestcreditrepair.co for restoring your credit ratings. If your lender knows you’re struggling to come up with the repayments for your mortgage there could be something they could do. For instance, many mortgage lenders offer payment holidays if you’re unable to work. You could also ask if it’s possible to extend the term of the mortgage so you’re paying smaller amounts for a longer period.

Get Advice

There are so many agencies out there that are ready and willing to help in a financial crisis. You don’t have to feel like it’s all on your shoulders to get the problem solved. Managing debt well takes a lot of skill, so it’s okay to ask professionals for their help. If your debt problems are making you feel depressed, it’s also worth calling a depression hotline to talk to someone about your worries. Bottling everything up won’t help you find a solution to your problems and won’t help you maintain your health.

Repayment Holiday

There are certain times when a lender may consider giving an account holder a repayment holiday. Often times, many people just need a financial boost to get back on track and a repayment holiday could be the ideal solution. Talk to your lender about a repayment holiday and agree to the terms and conditions. During your repayment holiday, do what you can to save up as much money as possible so you don’t have to face the same struggle again.

Create a Budget

Creating and sticking to a budget is easier said than done, but once you get used to it, you may never have to face financial pressure again. Write down your income and all of your outgoings and stop any unnecessary payments, like TV subscriptions. Limit your spending to things you need, instead of things you want, and use any disposable income to lower your debt. The less you have going out on a monthly basis, the less likely you are to find it difficult to pay your bills when something unexpected occurs.

The most important thing you can do when you can’t make a mortgage repayment is be open about it.

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Can You Afford The Real Cost Of Property Investment?

investments in propertyOodles of cash flowing in. That is what most folks think they will get when they chose to invest in real estate. However, this isn’t always the case. In fact, it’s important to realize that there are plenty of outgoing expenses to think about as well. With this in mind read on for some advice on what you will need to pay out if you are looking to invest in property so you can establish whether its something that you can comfortably afford.

Deposits

Usually the most significant cost for people investing in properties the initial deposit they need to make. After all, the larger the deposit you can put down the less monthly fees you will have to pay. Maximizing your profit potential, whether your lease it out or sell.

The problem is though that while investing in property may be a great long-term way to make your money work hard for you, there are some situations in which it isn’t the best idea. In particular, if you have a lot of outstanding debts, it’s always better to pay these off first rather than start saving for a house deposit. To work out how to do this, you can see sites like debtreliefprogram.co for some advice on how to get out of debt. The idea behind this being that your debts will always cost you more, because of the rate of interest you are paying on them.

Therefore it’s just a false economy to start saving for something else while theses still need to be settled. Meaning if you have large outstanding debts it’s always better financially to settle these first before you venture into the property investment market.

Renovation

The initial costs of purchasing a property are not the only ones you have to worry about though. In fact, there are quite a few others. One that can be pretty pricey is the cost of actually renovating the home that you buy, making it livable and attractive to buyers and tenants.

Of course, this will depend on the initial state of the property, as well as the standard you are looking to raise it too. While time is also a factor here. Many people spend more to get the home they have bought ready quicker, so they can then flip it quickly for a profit and ensure continued cash flow. So you will need the resources not only to purchase but also to renovate for your investment to be a success.

Fees

Unfortunately, these are the only cost you have to worry about when investing in property either. There is also a myriad of other things including property management fees and upkeep for lettings, and for sales legal fees, surveys, and realtors fees, usually at 6% of the total sale. Get a breakdown of where this goes at sites like bankrate.com if you want to understand this process better.

Something that demonstrates you do need to have substantial funds that are freely accessible to make a success of this type of investment.

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Saving Up For Christmas

christmas moneyChristmas is only a couple of months away, and many people are already way into their Christmas shopping. But the real task is budgeting for your perfect Christmas as well as making sure you enjoy the festive season as much as possible.

Work Out What You Can Afford

Before you start planning all of your decorations, food and gifts for everyone you know, first take the time to sit down and look at what you can realistically afford. Think about it this way- Christmas is only one day a year. You don’t want to splash out on 24 hours and regret it for the next year. Be smart and think about how much expendable income you have saved for the festive season.

Stop Buying Unnecessary Presents

Sure, Christmas is a time for puzzle games and silly gifts; but if you are trying to save up and stay smart with your finances, it’s not really a great idea to buy 10 whoopee cushions for your friends. Stick to presents you know your loved ones will love.

Or, if you really hate the idea of not being able to be a bit fun- give yourself and your friends a small budget to stick to for silly presents. Maybe even arrange a secret santa

$100+ in time for Xmas

Yes, that’s right. You can bag yourself some extra cash for the festive season by simply switching bank accounts. Make the switch and get yourself a nice little bonus to go towards your festivities.

Supermarket Saving Stamps

Supermarket saving stamps schemes are used to help families save up for Christmas throughout the year to cut the bow at the end. However, if you are smart about it you could get an extra 4% bonus on your savings in time for Christmas. If you add in a large amount to the card at once, the supermarket will give you a bonus. So pay in, get your extra cash and spend on all of your winter essentials.

Christmas IOU generator

As many of you will know, during December the price of even the simplest item can sky rocket. However, in contrast the prices drop in January. So if you are trying to save up for something big such as a TV or Games Console, just wait for it. Yes, it might mean that the kids are opening an empty box (or a cheaper gift in the meantime) on Christmas Day, but it will save you a huge amount of money in the long run.

Black Friday

When you think of Black Friday, you may have visions of riots in the street and carnage at the supermarket…you wouldn’t be wrong. But you don’t have to step out into no man’s land this November to bag yourself a bargain. Instead, shop online. Sites such as Amazon run week-long events for Black Friday and chop the prices of products by anything up to 80-90%. If you are waiting for a game or DVD release, hold out for Black Friday because the likelihood is that a deal will come on for it.

Sell Your Old Stuff

Out with the old, in with the new. And money goes straight into your pocket ready for the festive season. We get a lot of things around Christmas, and often it can be difficult to move in a sea of gifts for the week afterwards. Get onto GumTree and sell some of your old things to make room for the new stuff, it’ll also mean a nice financial bonus for the festive season.

Home Or Away?

Although staying at home is the obvious choice for most of us, you don’t have to spend Christmas in your house using up all of your own electricity and water. Why not club together as a whole family and rent a lovely cottage or apartment from a site such as Meriton? It will be exciting for the whole family and means that you all club together for a great holiday and amazing memories.

Avoid Expensive Turkey

Now, of course turkey is the star of the show for your Christmas Dinner, but to be honest, you don’t need to splash out for the most expensive brand to get a good quality bird. Try swapping out your usual choice for a lower brand option, you probably won’t even notice the difference!

And there is another option… you could eat a different meat.

‘That’s sacrilege!’ you say- but it is well known that stores will hike up the price of turkey through the winter months because they know people are willing to pay for it. But actually, not everyone likes turkey, and a great alternative would be a beautiful joint of roast beef.

Consider the Risk of Gift Cards

You might think that getting someone you don’t know very well a gift card is much better than buying them a gift that they won’t like, and that can be the case. However, sometimes there can be a few risks with opting for a gift card over money.

• Big Retailers can go under. It’s happened before, and it could happen again. When a retailer declares bankruptcy, they will stop accepting gift cards as payment.

• Expiry Dates – always check that there is a good amount of time for the recipient to use the card.

Kids Don’t Care

If you have children, you’ll know that you could buy them the most expensive and elaborate toy for Christmas and they will still play with the box. Children don’t care how much you’ve spent on decorations, how many presents they have in front of them or whether you’ve bought a budget turkey. For kids, it’s the magic of Christmas and the thought of Santa visiting which makes it special.

So save up your cash for a rainy day and keep it simple. Put out a cookie and a carrot for Santa and his reindeer, read them a bedtime story and sleep safe in the knowledge that you can have a perfect family Christmas without spending all of your savings.

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