Personal finance is a scary subject for some people because it conjures up all sorts of personal fears about budgeting, managing investments and buying Vs renting a home. Fear and anxiety are common responses to the topic of personal finance regardless of an individuals level of education or experience in other areas, particularly business. As a result, many people avoid dealing with their personal finance issues until they are almost at crisis point and in serious credit or debt trouble.
But before you can make any decision about your personal finance or take any action regarding your finances, you should obtain a firm understanding of your current financial position. Surprisingly, many people have only a vague idea how much income they actually bring in each month and then how much they actually spend each month and whether there is a positive difference between these amounts that are in you favor.
So the first thing to do is assess you financial situation. Gather together all of the information and documents that will give you a picture of your financial position. Tally your net worth, including real estate, superannuation, monthly income and all other assets. You may be pleasantly surprised by the total. Then, set yourself up a budget by listing all of your expenses. Be completely honest and dont leave anything out. If you cheat on this you will only be cheating yourself. List everything including luxury items such as take out, cosmetics, magazines and movie tickets.
While a budget is absolutely the first step to taking charge of your personal finance, this is by no means the only step you will need to take. You can investigate other services in the marketplace, such as electronic bill pay, investment counseling and seeking out hints and tips for financial health. Electronic bill pay or BPay as it is more commonly known, is particularly useful for people who tend to be disorganized or who procrastinate on keeping their bill paying in order. You can even arrange for your bills to arrive by e-mail rather than through snail mail. You then pay them electronically, by direct withdrawal from your bank account and the transaction gets processed straight away.
Once you have assessed your budget and established a regular and efficient bill paying mechanism, you might feel that you are then brave enough to investigate other areas of personal finance such as investments and stocks and shares. Once again, the Internet can be an invaluable resource, allowing you to thoroughly explore all of the different options and strategies available. You can find all sorts of useful references about investments such as term deposits, managed funds, purchasing stocks and shares and participating in share clubs. You might like to start simple though and merely open a short term savings deposit account so that you can deposit from your pay check each week or month. This way, in no time at all you will begin saving for your next goal whether it be for a car, holiday or some minor surgery.
The application of the principles of finance to an individual's or family unit's monetary decisions is called personal finance. There are many aspects to personal finance, and they include but are not limited to checking and savings accounts, credit cards, consumer loans (car loans, mortgage), market investments, retirement plans, and insurance policies.
A great personal finance tip that can help you save money is to sublet a room in your house that you aren't using. If you have a spare room in your house that you aren't using, you can make a good amount of money by subletting it to someone that's interested.
Do you often spend too much at the grocery store? To save money and calories, make a shopping list and stick to it. Make a weekly menu and write up a list of what you will need for the week. Buy only what you need and resist the temptation to buy impulsively. And if you really want to save, leave the kids at home!
Create a budget – and stick to it. Make a note of your spending habits over the course of a month. Track where every penny goes so you can figure out where you need to cut back. Once your budget is set for the month, if you find you spend less than planned, use the extra money to pay down your debt.
The first step in managing your personal finance is to pay down your debt. Debt carries interest, and the longer you hold on to debt, the more interest you will have to pay. You may also pay penaties if payments are overdue. So to rein in the runaway interests, pay off your debts as soon as possible. When you have done that, then you can start saving.
Keep your credit card receipts and compare them to your credit card bill each month. This allows you to spot any errors or fraudulent purchases before too much time has elapsed. The sooner you deal with problems, the sooner they are corrected and the less likely that they will have a negative impact on your credit score.
Buying and selling stock can be a good way to boost ones personal finance provided they do it in an educated way. If one does not put research behind their stock decisions then there is no guarantee that one will stand to make any profit from their investment that they have made.
Eliminate unnecessary credit cards. You do not need to have a multitude of credit cards open on your credit report. This costs you a lot of money in interest fees and drags down your credit score if you have them all above 20% of the available maximum balance. Write the creditors a letter and pay off the balance.
Personal finance is a way to address the various uses of monetary resources allocated to an individual or family unit. It takes into account the ways in which the monetary resources are obtained, budgeted, saved, or spent over time and also encompasses the various financial risks and possible future events.Continue reading
About Money Market Investing – Is It For You
Money market investing is depositing money with a bank or financial institution that keeps its cash in financial obligations that span a short term. This is done to provide low risk money market investing that yields modest returns. Money market investing is not for the individual who wants to get rich quick. The short-term debt strategies held in money market investing are usually made in highly rated companies and government agencies.
Money market investing yields an average of 2% to %5 per year. You can, theoretically, lose money in a money market investment, but it is highly unlikely. The FDIC does not insure money market investments. You can lose all of your investment if the company holding it goes bankrupt.
Money market investing is beneficial because of its low risk. Many investors hold their money in a money market account when they are not investing in a more aggressive strategy. This gives the money a place to rest where it can still earn moderately, at low risk. Because of this procedure, money market investing represents one of the most widely held securities in finance.
Investors often deposit profits from bonds, stocks, and mutual funds into money market accounts. Dividend and interest proceeds from more aggressive investments are generally deposited directly into money market accounts.
Initially, you must deposit higher sums of money into money market investments than into bank accounts. Money market investing generally requires deposits of at least $100 to $5000 at the onset. The per share price of money market investments is usually one dollar. Proceeds from money market investing are paid in shares. Check writing services are provided as a part of most money market investing.
Money market investing is not one-size-fits all. Money market investing firms put their money in dissimilar securities. Because of this, they pay different interest rates. You can deposit your money into a money market savings account that will yield a low interest rate, but is somewhat higher in interest than a standard bank account, or you can do your money market investing in a mutual fund.
A mutual fund pools the resources of many money market investors. The mutual fund’s manager buys money market securities for the mutual fund.
Money market investing is generally open-ended, which means that the investors can deposit or withdraw monies at any time without risking penalties. Most money market accounts and funds require that a minimum balance be maintained.
Interest rates from money market accounts are usually based on risk. The money market accounts and mutual funds paying the highest interest are, thereby, likely to run the highest financial risk. This is where the money market investor needs to weigh the security of their monies against the promise of return.
Different money market accounts make varying demands on the investor. Some will maintain a higher minimum balance, while others will limit the number of allowable withdrawals, some might do both.
It is important to be aware of the restrictions and obligations placed upon your money market investing before you decide where and how to make your investments.Continue reading
Financial Education Can Pay Dividends for Youth
According to statistics from the National Council on Economic Education, only seven states require high school students to take a personal finance course while eight others require courses with personal finance content.
This was from a 2004 survey that also showed only nine states test personal finance knowledge. These numbers are beginning to change as the state of Missouri joins the fray and will require one-half unit of credit in personal finance instruction for graduation in 2010.
A 2004 national survey by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy measured 12th graders' knowledge of basic personal finance. On average, students who participated in the survey answered correctly only 52.3 percent of the questions – an “F” in most high school classrooms.
Financial illiteracy isn't a problem limited to students. Half of U.S. adults received a failing grade for their knowledge of basic economic concepts, according to the NCEE.
But there is hope in education. The National Endowment for Financial Education has confirmed that as few as 10 hours of classroom instruction can improve spending and saving habits.
Because financial literacy is fundamental to personal success and a benefit to society, American Century provides support for financial education.
In cooperation with a premier education consultant, the investment manager developed Tips for Kids and Tips for Life, curricula for use in the classroom. To date, these programs have been used by more than 3,000 educators in all 50 states. The free programs are delivered via the Internet to educators and are presented to education conferences to help users implement the programs in their schools.
American Century's efforts to improve financial literacy extend beyond the Tips for Kids and Tips for Life programs. Free educational materials and tools are available on its Web site. And the information presented in American Century founder James E. Stowers' “Yes You Can…” book series is designed to share the personal experiences and ideas that helped him become successful.
Educating today's students on basic financial principles will pay dividends in the future because they are tomorrow's social, political and economic leaders.Continue reading
Tips On How To Manage Your Personal Finances
Whether you know a little or a lot about managing your personal finances, you can always benefit from knowing a little bit more. Education is key when it comes to controlling your money. The article below discusses tips and advice to help you stay on top of your personal finances.
A useful personal-finance tip is to investigate different funding sources prior to shopping for a new vehicle. Local banks and credit unions can be terrific sources for advantageous auto finance rates, often beating the manufacturers' captive finance arms. By arranging your own financing prior to visiting a car dealership, you can be certain of getting the very best rate possible.
If you are trying to repair your credit score, you have to be patient. Changes to your score will not happen the day after you pay off your credit card bill. It can take up to ten years before old debt is off of your credit history. Continue to pay your bills on time, and you will get there, though.
A good personal finance tip that can help you save money is to share an entree with your spouse or friend when you decide to eat out. Some restaurants serve portions that are too big for one person anyway. By sharing an entree, you'll save a lot more money.
A great personal finance tip is to start improvising with your workout routine. You don't have to spend a fortune on a gym membership or on expensive equipment. There are a lot of great body weight exercises that you can do at home, and you can get plenty of cardio done outdoors.
Giving children an allowance is a great way to introduce them to personal finance and teach them how to manage money. When they are given age-appropriate chores and paid for a job well done, not only are they motivated to continue doing good work, they are learning about responsibility and the value of a dollar.
Keep your checkbook balanced. It's really not so hard and can save you the expense and embarrassment of bounced checks and overdrawn fees. Do not just call the bank for a balance and count on having that amount in your account. Some debits and checks may not have cleared yet, resulting in overdrafts when they hit the bank.
Read books about personal finance and make a point to do this consistently. Motivational books about personal finance keep you on your toes and help make you make great strides in this department. Dave Ramsey has some really great books out, and I definitely recommend his book “Financial Peace.” It is a great read!
By buying gasoline in different areas where it is more affordable, you can save great amounts of money if done frequently. The difference in cost can add up to savings, but be sure that it is worth your time.
Now that you've come to the end of this article, it is clear what you need to do to manage your personal finances so that they don't spin out of control. Take what you've learned here to heart, and apply the information as necessary. You are now on the road to being financially independent.Continue reading
What’s a Career in Personal Finance?
A lot of people often don’t know what they want to be. Those who enter college will often get the course they thought they are interested but later on will change courses as they come to realize their actual calling. For me personal finance was one of the courses in college that really called out at me.
You might say it yelled at me. “Take me as your college course!” That would be ho personal finance would be yelling inside my head. It may be weird to some of you but to most of you who had that epiphany of what you want to be, I know you can relate to what I mean.
To the uninitiated, personal finance is simple taking care of your own or someone else’s money. Although, there’s truth to that, but the process and the responsibilities are not as simple as what you might think. Personal finance is using financial principles to help individuals, families, or a singular unit get money, use that money wisely, save some, learn existing and possible life risks that would affect how they will gain and spend their money.
Okay, it may sound simple but combining all these principles to elements like checking and saving accounts, insurance policies, tax management, credit card loans, investments, retirement plans, and social security benefits, efficiently managing the finances is definitely a challenge.
Part of your job as a personal finance professional would be informing people how their financial decisions will come into play with their lives today or in their future. It is your responsibility to educate them on the consequences of their financial actions. With this in mind it is important to provide regular assessments of the client’s finances. Reevaluating the steps that were previously undertaken for financial gain and security should be conducted also on a regular basis to keep the financial situation updated and always in perspective.
Assessing where you are so far financially would mean getting all those balance sheets and income statements in order and trying to balance the values. Simple balancing of assets and liabilities is always the first step in assessment.
Once you know where you stand, you can set goals and objectives. It’s planning aside where you will be financially in say ten or fifteen years. Living off your pension after ten years, enjoying the good life is a goal that most people set for themselves. This is a good goal, since after working for years you earn the right to live the rest of your life relaxed and comfortable. Personal finance professional is supposed to help clients reach their personal goals.
To reach their goals, it is imperative that one has a concrete plan of action. In this plan, financial details will be laid out. Short term and long term goals with corresponding financial computations will help make overall financial planning a lot easier both for the client and the personal finance professional .
Now, assessment, setting objectives, and planning can all be tiring and time consuming stuff but the reason for all these meticulous planning is to ensure that implementation of the personal financial plan will go smooth. Admittedly, the most difficult phase of personal finance management is setting the plan in motion and sticking to it. Discipline is the word here. You need to constantly remind yourself of your final goal to keep you motivated and stick to your financial plan.
With this in mind, it would be important to conduct regular assessments and evaluations along the way. This will keep you focus and see if you have deviated from the main financial plan. You can put yourself back on track through regular reevaluation of your financial status.
This is basically what a career in persona finance will take you. Focusing on individuals or families and helping them with their financial management while incorporating philosophies, ideas, and elements of business and financial management techniques. Is this for you? For me it is.Continue reading
How to Find the Best Retirement Plans
You have been longing for the day that you no longer have to rush for the bus or step on that gas, head for the office as fast as you can in order not to be late.
All of these will come true by the time you reach your retirement age. It is a point in your life wherein work is no longer attractive yet income remains the top most necessity. If the day comes that you will no longer have to work, the biggest dilemma will be on what will happen next?
A retirement plan is a requirement if you are to take pleasure and benefit from the moment after you have decided to retire.
Most often than not, people are not concerned about retirement plans. They simply pass the time and believe that retirement will eventually take place, with or without retirement plan.
What they failed to realize is that creating a retirement plan is the next most important thing any working individual should work with. What lies ahead is never too clear for people who do not have solid retirement plans.
What Is Retirement Plan?
Retirement plans are, forms of agreement that cater to give people with a considerable amount of money by the time they have reached their retirement age. These amounts are enough to compensate their continuous struggle for existence even if they are no longer working or earning the kind of income they used to make before.
In most cases, retirement plans are established by government, employers, trade unions, or some financial institutions such as insurance companies.
In essence, there are only two major types of retirement plans — “defined contribution” and “defined benefit.” These plans are classified according to how the remunerations are resolved.
Defined contribution refers to retirement plans that will give disbursements based on the amount of contributions that the benefactor has paid.
On the other hand, defined benefit refers to a particular type of retirement plan wherein the disbursements are based on the flat rate as computed from the employee’s membership years and the amount of his income while employed.
Considering these facts, not all retirement plans are deemed equal. Hence, it is best to analyze your status and determine what type of retirement plan will work best for you. You need to consider some factors to help you with your decision.
1. Reflect on the advantages and benefits
Retirement plans were especially designed to give you the benefits that you need by the time you reach your retirement age.
However, not all benefits are the same. What may seem beneficial for the others may not necessarily work for you.
Therefore, consider the type of benefits that you need and consider them upon evaluating a particular retirement plan.
2. Know the law
Be sure that the retirement plan that you will take is inconformity with the present law on retirement. This will guarantee your safety in the future.
3. Read the fine print
Reading the fine print is important in analyzing the reliability of a particular retirement plan. Every benefit and rule should be explained in details through the catalog.
If you think that the conditions are too good to be true, then, they probably are. Hence, try to consider other choices.
Familiarize yourself with retirement plans before making a decision. This will help you create a dependable future ahead.Continue reading
Best Retirement Planning Software-how To Find The Right Software For You
What’s the best retirement planning software to help you achieve your retirement goals? Most of the retirement planning finance software is very simple to use, and offers a clear cut formula to mapping out your retirement plan-something most people don’t do until too late.
Numerous retirement planning software programs are being sold today, which can often times make it difficult to choose the best one for you. There are many different brands to fit different budgets, so no matter how little money you have, there is software that’s right for you. During your search, try to find software that possesses the following abilities:
Budget Analysis and Planning
All retirement planning software is there to help you plan in depth your retirement, and how much you will need to live your dream lifestyle. It will guide you in various ways, including personal budgeting, investment management, debt management, managing medical expenses, retirement planning and so on.
The best retirement planning software makes it very easy to keep tabs on your money flowing in and out, so that you don’t find yourself in debt, which makes retirement planning almost impossible.
If you are ready to start planning for your retirement, then finding the best retirement planning software will be an absolutely essential part of your goals. Without this, it will be very difficult to map out a proven course to follow. Therefore, invest in a good software program, and watch yourself reaching your financial goals faster than you ever thought possible.
Remember this important point: while retirement planning software can certainly give you great budgeting advice to keep you on track in your retirement planning, only you can take action on that advice. Unfortunately, most people never start planning for retirement or watching their finances carefully until it’s too late; when they hit retirement, they realize they have no money to do anything they wanted.
Retirement should be a time where you get to experience everything you didn’t have time to do while you were working; therefore, it is never too early to start planning and taking action. Once you formulate your plan with the help of the best retirement planning software, don’t delay; take caution today, and you will be well on your way to achieving the retirement of your dreams.Continue reading
If you think that you will be financially secure when you decide to retire just because you invest in a retirement plan, think again! Did you know that there are common mistakes on retirement planning that you should know about in which you can also use as a guide to reevaluate your status? If you are making these mistakes, you could be in a big trouble.
Here are some of the mistakes of retirement planning:
§ Not taking full advantage of your company retirement benefits – it is wise that you invest money into your company retirement plan as much as you can afford.
§ Withdrawing money from your retirement plan – Be very aware when availing of loans or withdrawals, because aside from losing interest, you could face penalties or early withdrawal fees.
§ Not actively monitoring your investments – it is extremely important to keep track of your investments in order for you to be aware of any discrepancies.
§ Relying on Social security for your retirement income – social security may provide a considerable share of your retirement income, still it can be of great help if you have other means of income as a back-up in case there are other unexpected expenses that might come up. In addition to social security, it would be best if you have a company pension or retirement plan and personal savings.
§ Relying on your spouse’s retirement plan – this is one of the most common mistake of retirement planning people do. It is possible that a spouse with a retirement plan could die leaving the other spouse with no income. Instances like divorce or illness can also bargain the only spouse retirement, therefore both spouses should have a separate retirement plan to best secure your retirement days.
§ Forgetting to review your plan regularly – always conduct periodic review of your retirement plan to ensure that you are making the most of your plan.
§ Practicing poor asset allocation – poor asset allocation can sometimes be a financial suicide. The secret is to broaden your horizons so that if one investment decreases in value, another will hopefully increase.
§ Not checking your booklet/financial advisor- there are plenty of highly regarded brokers and financial advisors who have the expertise about how your portfolio should be set-up and maintained, but there are also who aren’t and are simply ill informed. So, be aware and make sure to check up on credential and track records on anyone you wan to entrust your retirement savings.
§ Relying too heavily on your stock – your company stock is one of the excellent ways to save for your retirement. But, it is also best to have a good investment mix in your retirement account.
§ Not taking retirement planning seriously – this could be the worse mistake you can make with your retirement plan. If you start early on retirement planning, you may be able to retire early and keep the lifestyle you like once retired.
Getting Serious with Personal Finance Budgeting
Have you ever noticed that no matter how much money you make in a month, there is never enough?
You most likely know how much you earned last month, but do you know how much you spent? If you dont, you are not the only one who doesn't. According to survey, most people spend 10% more than they make!
Why is it hard to track spending?
It is difficult for people to track their spending and whether it is wise or not because they cannot decifer between needs and wants. This is one of the biggest hindrance towards putting into practice good personal finance budgeting.
You may need things in life including food, water, shelter and clothing. Needs are those things that we cannot live without. Needs are also those that living without would case difficulties and distress. Knowing between needs and wants is essential since your perception will determine whether you spend your money on it or not.
Advertising is so powerful these days that you may think of luxuriuos items as “needs” when in fact you dont actually need them. These deceiving commercials on TV greatly influence your purchasing and personal finance budgeting behavior. It is your job to make a wise decision whether each new product is something that you really need and cannot live without. Some things may make life easier and add up to the quality of life you are living, but it is more important to know whether you can truly afford them or not.
After learning between needs and wants put what you have learned into practice. Here is a simple spending system that can greatly help your personal finance budgeting:
– Create a personal finance budget that you can use
– Save 10% of your income
– Always know exactly how much you have left to spend
– Instantly know the impact of every spending decision
– Track all your purchases
– Pay your bills on time
– Effectively manage credit card spending
Many people create a financial budget based on other people financial worksheets. As much as it is good to have some sort of reference, do not forget to make it personal. Customize your personal finance budget according to your expenditures. You are the only one who will refer to it on a daily basis so go ahead and make it your own. This way, it will also look more familiar to you.
Many people purchase items with credit card more often than they would with cash. Always remember that it is better to buy items with cash as you are already free from obligations in the future. Some people may forget that a credit card does not do magic and a real bill comes at the end of the month – adding to your long list of financial obligations.
The key is to have patience in the process of the creation and maintenance of your personal finance budgeting list. It takes time to verify information on expenditures and income so that nothing is missed. Also the accuracy of information is one of the most important factors in making a personal finance budget that really works.
In your personal finance budgeting, always remember the consequences of your spending. If you are going to spend your savings today on one thing, remember that this becomes money that is no longer available should you need it in the nearest future.Continue reading