Posts tagged: personal finance

Building a Nest Egg for a Happy Retirement

happy financial retirementWhen you are young and care-free, planning for a silver-haired future might feel weird. It’s difficult to image how next week is going to go, never mind figuring out how you are going to support yourself when you no longer want to work.

However odd it might be, planning for the future while you are young will give you the best chance of a happy retirement. It may be unpleasant to imagine a day when you will need full time care or perhaps can’t make decisions for yourself, but thinking about it now will certainly help.

Start Young

As soon as you start earning, you should be thinking about how you are going to save up and build your retirement nest egg. By starting young, you are giving yourself plenty of time to build up your financial portfolio and save without really feeling the loss. The older you are when you start, the more aggressive your saving plan will have to be.

Set out your financial goals early on and work steadily toward achieving them over a long period of time. This method will help you to budget properly without sacrificing all the good things you enjoy like meals out with friends or holidays.

Invest Smart

In order to accumulate, you must speculate. This means making smart investments in things such as stocks and shares or alternative opportunities like antiques or gold. In fact, a gold-backed IRA is an excellent supplement to your portfolio as it reacts slightly differently to the rest of the market. This is an advantage because it will help to smooth out any risks as the market naturally fluctuates.

If you aren’t too confident about what you should and shouldn’t be investing in, or how to balance risks, you must see an independent financial advisor before you part with any cash. They will be able to create a personalized financial plan for you and offer good advice to ensure you can save enough for your future.

Save, Save, Save!

If you have a budget, and stick to it as best you can, then saving a portion of your income each month should be fairly easy. In fact, if you get the balance right, you probably won’t even notice it’s happening.

Some of the best advice for building your nest egg is to put any windfalls into savings rather than splurge on things you don’t need. Find other ways to treat yourself without completely blowing your budget out of the water. This isn’t to say that you can’t treat yourself every now and again, but just to make sure that you adjust your budget accordingly.

With a sensible portfolio, your retirement plan should be easy to manage and your nest egg will gradually build up over the years. Try to keep this fund separate from your other savings to prevent you from being tempted to dip in for some extra cash. Keep a rainy day fund as well as a contingency fund and your nest egg will be safe for the future.

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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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Need Some Extra Cash? You Could Get It Without Working Harder

more money in needThere might come a time in your life when you could do with some extra capital. Maybe you want to start a business, or you fancy taking the kids away for the holiday of a lifetime? Either way, most people think they have to work harder than they do at the moment to build their bank balances. However, in many instances, it’s possible to do that without making too many changes to your routine. Believe it or not, the average family wastes thousands of dollars every single year, and so you just need to stop doing that as soon as possible. The advice below should come in handy.

Transfer the balance from your credit cards

Lots of people take out credit cards and then only make the minimum payment every month. That is fine for the first year because most cards come with 0% interest. However, after twelve months, the provider will often begin to charge interest on the balance, and that’s where folks tend to make mistakes. If you continue to send the minimum amount, you will never make a dent in the debt according to sites like thesimpledollar.com. So, search online for a new credit card that offers 0% on balance transfers. You can then move the money you owe to a different creditor and continue reducing the amount you owe.

Look for a debt consolidation deal

Debt consolidation arrangements have many advantages including:

  • Only having to deal with one creditor
  • A single affordable monthly payment
  • Lots of breathing space

The people behind debtconsolidationprograms.co and other industry leaders claim that a significant percentage of individuals could benefit from a deal of that nature. In most instances, you just have to get in touch with a consolidation expert and explain your situation. They will then take a look at your finances and let you know if they can assist or not.

Use comparison sites to find better contracts

You live in the digital age, and so it makes sense that you should use technology to your advantage. There are many different price comparison websites around today for almost everything. That means you could secure some astonishing savings if you visit the right domains and shop around. People who compare deals online could save a fortune on:

  • Home energy
  • Home insurance
  • Cell phone contracts
  • Car insurance
  • And more

If you’re not aware of the top comparison domains at the moment, just search Google, and you should discover lots of sites that will help you to reduce your outgoings.

The suggestions made in this article are almost guaranteed to provide you with some extra cash. Now you just have to work out the best ways of spending that money to improve your situation even further. Some people might want to use it to start a business or make investments. Others may choose to pay more than the minimum amount each month and get themselves out of debt a little faster. The decision is down to the individual. Just make sure you don’t waste the money or get yourself deeper into financial trouble.

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There’s a Difference Between Good and Bad Debt

money debtsMost people contribute the word debt to something negative. If you’re in debt, it’s usually because you’re bad at managing your money and you’ve somehow ended up in the negative. You probably had to resort to loans to pay for something important, and that set you on a slippery slope that has plunged you into debt.

At least, that’s the stigma against people who take out loans and say they’re in debt.

Fortunately, it’s not as bleak as it sounds. There is such a thing as good debt despite what many people say. Before you start borrowing money, it’s a good idea to understand the concepts of good and bad debt because it could change your entire opinion on loans. In fact, you could go as far to say that being in debt is actually a positive thing if used correctly. But before you go apply for a personal loan and get yourself in trouble for misunderstanding this idea, here is some advice.

What is Good Debt?

Good debts can be characterised by good and productive uses of the money. For instance, if your car breaks down and you need to fix it so you can ferry your kids to school, then it can be considered a long-term investment for your future. Another example is taking out a loan in order to start a business. These are positive uses for your money because they serve as investments, which is the general idea that your borrowing should follow.

Thanks to sources like cashloans.co, it’s possible to look up all the different types of loans you can take out so you can fit the interest rates and terms to your needs. As long as you’re able to pay it back in a reasonable amount of time (or even make earlier repayments) there’s almost no reason not to take out a loan as long as it’s put towards something useful that can help you. Other good examples of good debt are student loans, mortgages and paying for child services.

What is Bad Debt?

Bad debt covers anything that is used to pay for your personal enjoyment and luxury. A week-long holiday to China paid with a personal loan? Bad debt. Purchasing a luxury new television that you didn’t really need? Yet another example of bad debt. Borrowing money to pay back other loans? That’s probably the worst thing you could do.

Bad debt is characterised by bad decisions. If you struggle to pay all of your bills at the end of the month, then you might be living a lifestyle that you really can’t afford. Perhaps you’re subscribed to too many entertainment services or maybe you eat out far too much. Good financial management will eliminate all sources of bad debt, but you need to be self-aware that you’re overspending.

If you’re still unsure if your reasons for getting a loan is good or bad, then this article from nasdaq.com has a couple of examples that you could follow. In short, make sure you take out a loan for a good reason, not a personal one for your own enjoyment.

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Your Flexible Friend? Four Things That You Should Know Before Getting a Credit Card

before getting a credit cardIf you’re thinking about getting your first ever credit card, then it may just seem like another way of spending money and making purchases. But in reality, and something that is often forgotten about, it can be much, much more. If you use a credit card wisely, it can help to give your credit score a boost. If you weren’t aware of that, though, then it could damage your credit score without you even realizing it. Experian.com explains that a credit score can be an influence when it comes to things like mortgages, loans, and even a new cell phone contract, you want to make sure that your score is a positive one.

So, what are the other things you should know before getting yourself a credit card? Here are some things to be thinking about or finding out the answer to before you commit to a credit card.

You Should Know What a Credit Card Is

It might silly, but you’d be surprised at just how many people think that a credit card is like a debit card. In the ways you physically use it, they are basically the same. But in terms of money, they couldn’t be more different. A credit card is like a small loan essentially, that you have been approved for. But you have to pay it off each month. Otherwise, it costs you more than it would have been if you’d used your debit card.

You Should Know Why You Want a Credit Card

If you’re looking to get a credit card, simply because you find yourself in your overdraft each month, then that is not the wisest of reasons to get one. If you’re looking to get it to help build a credit score and to practice discipline with money, then that will stand you in much greater stead.

You Should Know How To Budget

Again, in order to make your credit card work for you, then it is a good idea that you know how to budget. A credit card can be helpful when you don’t have money right now, but you have some coming in. You need to know your finances well, as well as being able to budget, to really make your card work for you. If not, it can spiral out of control, and the next thing you know, you could be looking at a site like consolidate.loan in order to help you to consolidate your credit card debt. So budget, know your finances and pay off your card as soon as you have the money to do so.

You Should Know About Interest Rates

If you are getting a credit card, then you need to know all about interest rates. What interest rate does the card you have, or are looking at, have? If you don’t pay off your card in full each month, then what will it mean for your finances? How much will it end up costing? A credit card only works for you, if you don’t have to pay any interest.

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