Category: Financial Planning

The Secrets You Don’t Know About Attending College

educational loansAttending college may be part of the American dream and something that you assumed would be part of your future. The reality is that many prospective students are put off by the harsh realities of the situation. At the beginning of this decade, young people started to question the true value of a college education. The point has been debated in homes all over the country ever since.

Think about what is in it for you

It is absolutely true gaining a qualification at college will give you many opportunities that those who do not attend college miss out on. Statistics show that, in the past, college graduates can expect to earn a higher salary than other employees and they tend to get jobs where they have greater job security. It is easy to see why this is the case. Graduates have spent three or four years attaining skills that are highly valued by employers. They are able to express themselves accurately and confidently in verbal and written communications. They approach life with an analytical and critical attitude but they can also think abstractly.

These skills are not just useful when it comes to getting a job. They are extremely useful attributes in the ‘adult’ world where the graduates act as consumers, voters and members of society.

Consider the sacrifices that it takes

All of these benefits do come at a cost and the main one is financial. There are several ways of financing your college education and many students take out loans. This would be paid back, gradually, when you graduate and get a job. However, the cost of tuition is rising and there is no longer a guarantee that you will walk out of college and walk into a very highly paid job.

This is when financial problems can set in and settlement loans are a good way of getting through this difficult period before a dream job comes along.

Other students are able to access scholarships, grants, or other financial support and this eases the financial burden, especially in the post-college period.

There are some things that money cannot buy

Perhaps, when viewed at a purely financial level, there is an argument that college is not the best life choice. This is missing the point. The truth is that college provides a young person with life experiences that they would not obtain in any other way.

The freedom of not having to listen to your parents telling you what to do on a daily basis is highly attractive for most 18 and 19-year-olds. You are in charge of your own destiny. You have ultimate freedom before you enter into the confines of a relationship and parenthood where you always have to consider the needs of others.

The world of work is no picnic and comes with psychological pressures that you may not want to deal with at such a young age. College gives you space to ‘grow up’ at your own pace and become an adult in your own time.

The Ins And Outs Of Buying Your First Credit Card

your credit cardCredit cards are an ever expanding form of payment in the financial world, for both the consumer and the provider. If it is your first time buying a credit card, it can be quite overwhelming and confusing on what it all means. Here is a simplified list of what to expect from owning and using a credit card.

The Procedure of Making Payments

A credit card allows you to make instant purchases without the requirement of physical cash. Whatever provider you choose, you are set on a prearranged amount of money which you can spend on, but must pay back. This is when it gets a bit complicated, so let’s clarify. After a purchase, you have a ‘grace period’, which means you have up to 56 days to pay off the card without incurring any interest. Ensure that you never delay the payments of your bills. If you do, you can expect to have unexpected charges and penalties to pay off.

How to Keep your Financial Details Safe

We all like to feel secure when it comes to money, which is why it’s important to understand credit card safety. As soon as the card arrives in the post, sign the back of it straight away. This means that if it gets lost or stolen, you’re protected. Never give your account number to an incredible source. This includes giving any information over the phone (unless you initiated the call and talking to a bank), posting anything on social media or answering emails which ask for personal information (a bank would never do this). Check your account activity regularly for purchases which you haven’t made, either online, on the phone, or through paper statements, it’s easy and doesn’t take up a lot of time. If you feel like you’ve made a bad decision or the card looks fake, you can establish the legality of your card by using a reliable credit card validator. Finally, if you have lost any cards or feel like any fraudulent activity has occurred on your bank activity, go with your gut instinct and contact your bank or card issuer.

Features of a Credit Card

Many credit card users don’t understand all of the features which come with it. The biggest quality of a card is the credit limit which is attached. For first time consumers, a lower limit may be set by the issuer, meaning you need to watch how much you spend. Contact less payments are great for quick and efficient payments, especially when you’re in a hurry to get home for the football game. Any purchases under $100, simply tap your card against a contact less reader to make a fast purchase. You can also use a credit card for cash advances and balance transfers. Specific credit cards come with extra features such as, international travel insurance, extended warranty with best price guarantee cover and complimentary airport lounge access. Before deciding on a credit card, do your research and pick the best one which suits your needs.

Expert or not, credit cards can catch out the smartest of users. Which is why it is essential to always plan ahead and utilize the web for helpful information.

Ways to Invest in a Comfortable Future

better finance futureThe future is hard to predict, a little scary, and full of opportunities. Life is about taking calculated risks and understanding the importance of predictability, which is why many people over the world have turned to investing in their future in order to live comfortably. But what exactly does it mean to invest in your future, and how can you go about doing it?

Reducing Your Debt

There’s always the problem of student debt. It’s something that we can end up paying back over the course of our lives. If we don’t make use of our schooling, then it can make us feel like we’ve wasted a lot of time in college and university. If you’re still young enough to consider going to college or university, then take a moment to look at other options. For instance, you don’t need a degree in anything if you have ample experience and a portfolio to show off. Many employers are now shying away from degrees and have begun to look more at someone’s experience and skills than their paper degree. Avoiding student debt by simply not attending college or university is a legitimate strategy. When you consider that some of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time dropped out of college, it’s easy to see how unnecessary a formal education is.

Seeking Assistance

There’s plenty of help you can get to help you invest in a comfortable future. For instance, hiring a financial adviser comes with many perks. For starters, they’re great at managing wealth and teaching you how to reinvest your savings so that they continue to grow. This is both to beat inflation and give you a great sense of satisfaction by just watching your bank balance grow. You can also seek assistance from more experienced people you know. For instance, asking an elderly relative or your parents how they saved for their retirement and questioning them about mistakes they made could reveal some helpful insight.

Building relationships

It’s difficult to get through life on your own which is why you need to have friends and family members close to you. Investing in your relationships sounds easy enough, but very few people in the world have real relationships with people that they can count on. It could be a significant other, a really close friend or even just family members who are reliable and will go the extra mile to get you out of trouble. These are the people that will help you when you turn 60 and finally retire, and they’re also the people that will help you out of mentally stressful situations.

Saving Money

And of course, we can’t forget about saving money. Whether you’re an incredibly dedicated worker or someone that only works part time, it’s important to live a frugal and healthy lifestyle that will ultimately give you all the financial security you need. Spending money on luxuries is important to maintain a happy life, but there are times when you also need to save money in order to get the most out of your future.

Increase Real Estate Value With Cost-Effective Improvements

real estate valuesIt goes without saying that there are ways in which you can make smart investments and ways in which you can make dumb ones. Investing your money in real estate is a smart investment. It’s a great way to tie up your money in a physical asset that can increase in value over time.

Generally speaking, all real estate investment earn money over time, as the market tends to always increase in value. However, there are ways you can speed things up and improve the value of your real estate investment in a short space of time.

How? By making home improvements. But, not just any improvements, cost-effective ones. You want to make improvements that don’t cost a lot of money but can add serious value.

Here’s how to do it:

Look For The Best Value Option

No matter what work you want to carry out on your property, always look for the best value option. This could mean looking for an option that uses different materials, but costs less.

As an example, say you’re building a garage – which is a great way to add value to the property – you have different materials to choose from. There’s the regular brick and mortar, then there’s steel. Most people go for the first option because they think it’s more traditional. However, the metal building cost per square foot is a lot less than this option. So, in this scenario, steel is the best value option. You still get a garage, it’s still sturdy and strong, you just pay less – simple.

Apply this tip to all your home improvements too. Say you want to replace your roof with a more modern structure, weigh up the material options and find one that offers the best value.

Try And Cover The Cost Of Labor

Often, it’s not the actual improvements that cost a lot but rather it’s the cost of labor. What I mean by this is that paying for someone to come in and make the improvements could cost a lot of money. So much so that it could prevent you from making a profit on your investment.

Bearing that in mind, what you should do is try and cover the cost of the labor yourself. Try and carry out the home improvements yourself or with the help of friends/family. You won’t have to pay any labor costs, and it could save you a fortune. Now, you’ll earn more from the improvements you make yourself, as they don’t cost as much.

Of course, there are probably some home improvements that you can’t make yourself. In which case, you will be forced to hire some outside help. But, refer back to the first point; find the best value option. Look around for a contractor or handyman – or whoever you need – but choose one that offers the best price as well as a proven track record of quality service. Even if you can only do one or two improvements yourself, you still save some money.

It’s all about finding cost-effective ways to improve your home and increase its value. Now, you could sell it earlier than you intended and still make a sizeable profit.

Why Flipping Houses Is A Good Business Opportunity

flipping house for financePeople who flip houses sometimes have a bad reputation because the work that they do necessitates that they be rather ruthless. To buy a house and quickly try to renovate it so that it can be sold for a profit is not an easy job at all, not least because so many factors in the success or failure of the enterprise are out of the person’s control. For instance, if someone was to buy a house and start pouring money into it to get it to the point that it is marketable and then the economy started to suffer, that person could potentially lose lots of money. It is not just shifts in the country’s economic well-being that can be a factor though. There is so much paperwork and legal fees that have to be processed to buy and then sell a house. Also, sourcing all of the materials and redesigning an entire house is something that some people spend years doing (although with the intention of creating a home rather than a profit). If you flip houses, you have to do it all much quicker. However difficult it may be, here are a few reasons why it is a great way to make money and something that you may want to consider doing:

It is not always the case that shifts in the economy are necessarily going to work against you. While it may seem rather callous, property foreclosures offer a good business opportunity. If you can buy a house as cheaply as possible, that gives you a greater chance of making a profit. Another good thing about the recent financial crisis was that it has lowered mortgage interest rates. This means that more people will want to take out mortgages, which means that there will be more potential buyers. Besides, the market is good right now. There are lots of people who are thinking ‘I want to sell my house fast’, a fact demonstrated by 5.71 million existing homes being sold last month, up from 5.47 million in February of this year. You always have to be aware of the rate of inflation, but right now is the best time to buy, renovate and sell houses in several decades.

Do not let anyone tell you that it is easy though. The sweat equity of flipping houses plays a big part in your final profits. If you do lots of the work on the property yourself, you can cut down on costs, but if you do not have the time or the skills and choose instead to hire outside labor, you can quickly see your future profits disappear. If you are not as handy with a tool belt as you’d like to be, you should consider trying to find contractors with whom you can negotiate a deal. If they work for a lesser rate, you could perhaps guarantee them work for several years.

Finally, to make money flipping houses, you have to be patient. Do not buy a house unless you are confident that it is the perfect one. Do not accept the first quotes that you receive from contractors and do not try to sell the place as soon as it is finished. Timing is everything.