Personal Budget Planning is Crucial!

March 14th, 2009

Create a budget.

Personal budget planning is absolutely crucial if you want to build personal wealth and overcome things like the credit crunch and the current problems that the economy is experiencing. The word “Budget” is one that worries a lot of people because it often seems more like a hassle and a chore than anything else, but there are a lot of easy things that you can do in order to create a personal budget planning process that is beneficial to you and your entire family and household. Here are a set of basic steps that will help you build a personal budget that is going to work well for you and your household as a whole

– Begin the personal budget planning process by collecting at least three months worth of bills, expense statements and receipts.

Look at your bank statements, cash transactions and any receipts that you have saved. Look through your credit card statements as well. What did you purchase? What bills did you pay? Were there any fees that you paid? Are there any habits in your monthly bank statements that are worth noting? Are you spending basically the same amount of money every month? Are there expenses that are the same or similar every month? Answering these questions will give you a good foundation for your personal budget planning.

– Now that you have a firm handle on your expenses, the next step is to gather documents relating to your income.

If you are on salary, put together your paychecks and make sure that you are getting the same amount every month. Otherwise you should gather between three and six months of income statements to get an average amount that you earn in a single month.

– Now that you have a good idea of both your expenses and your incomes, the next thing to do is to compare them to see how much money is left.

This may seem like a frightening step, but it is important if you want to know how much discretionary income you have every single month.

– Now that you know how much money exists at the end of the month on average, you can start looking at what expenses can be eliminated or reduced.

Review your expenses carefully to find out how you can leverage additional income on a monthly basis, because this extra money can be used to reduce debts and begin to save money for the future.

Now that your basic budget is outlined, you can begin to work on prioritizing your debts by reviewing interest rates and listing your debts beginning with the highest interest rate and working down. Once your budget and discretionary income have been outlined you can begin to plan for your financial future by outlining both short term and long term goals in your personal financial life. The last step is simply to exercise patience and to stay the course for as long as you can. Personal budget planning is not going to become a habit as quickly as over night, but it will eventually become a habit if you practice it regularly.

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Originally posted 2020-11-13 05:58:04. Republished by Old Post Promoter

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3 Tips for Teen Investing

March 13th, 2009

Parents like to complain that their teenage children do not listen to them. However, when it comes to matters dealing with money, the opposite is actually often true. Teenagers often welcome the advice that their parents have to give regarding finances, money management and investments. In the past few years, teenagers have been earning billions of dollars through summer jobs and part time after-school work. Many of these teenagers have gone on to spend all of the money that they have made, while only a few have saved it up, only to end up spending on a larger purchase down along the line. Kids these days need to become more aware about their income and investment basics so that they can learn how to better manage their money as they get older. If you want your teenagers to manage their money more effectively in adulthood, then they absolutely have to learn the investment basics now.

Start training your teen about money.

It is your responsibility as a parent to begin training your teenage children to use their money more wisely now while they are listening. Here are some of the things that you can do to teach your children how to save and invest wisely so that they can have some money left over at the end of the weekend following payday.

1 – Lead by example!

This seems simple but it has an extraordinary impact. Your children are going to look at how you spend money and act accordingly. If you show them how you allot money to different purposes for household needs, bills and budgets, they will learn how to do the same over time.

2 – Help open a bank account for your teen.

Establishing a bank account for your teenager will allow him or her to have instant financial responsibility. Sit down with them and explain how they can manage their own account, and take a moment to talk about the rewards that can be received once they have saved enough money. These savings, for example, could go toward their college tuition or even to purchasing a car. The entire process of saving and earning will give them a significant sense of accomplishment, and they will have something concrete to show for their hard work and dedication to saving and investing wisely.

3 – Construct a spending plan for your teen.

Teens tend not to like the idea of budgeting, but you should not allow them to get by without a budget or a spending plan just because they don’t like the idea. Instead, you and your teenaged son or daughter should sit down and build a spending plan that will help them get excited about the idea of earning, saving and investing their money. Take the time to teach them the differences between what they need and what want, and what things are worth saving for. Once they know what they can do without, it becomes easier for them to save their money for investing.

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Originally posted 2020-11-12 05:57:23. Republished by Old Post Promoter

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What Are the Best Small Investments?

March 12th, 2009

D.R.I.P.s

In times of uncertain economic future, it is important to look at your investment strategy and tweak it as needed. One of the ways that you can improve your portfolio is to take on small investments with lower risks associated with them. Taking in smaller rewards and returns may seem like a waste, but these smaller ROIs can actually add up fast in the right investment vehicles. Fixed income investments are some of the best small investments that are available to you, like savings accounts and CDs. Another excellent investment vehicle for someone looking for small investments with great rewards is an investment called DRIPs.

DRIPs are a truly cost effective way to raise equity for a company, and they are beneficial for investors as well. The reason why they are beneficial for investors is because they allow for the investment return drawn from dividends to be invested immediately back into the investment for price appreciation and compounding, but without incurring any brokerage fees. Additionally, there is no waiting for the investor to accumulate enough cash for a full share of the stock, which is another excellent advantage making these some of the best small investments that you can make.

DRIPs have numerous advantages associated with them, but they’re not perfect. They do allow investors to take advantage of dollar cost averaging for cost effectively investing the dividend income that is being paid out by the company. Not only will the investor receive a guarantee for the return on the dividend yield, but they will also earn whatever has been appreciated by the stock during the time that they own it. Another advantage is the fact that you do not need an exorbitant amount of money to begin. You can participate in such a program without more than a single share of stock, but it would be wise to consult your broker or the company’s investor section of their website to get more details on this.

DRIPs also allow you to grow your investment capital in a cost effective way by purchasing more company shares rather than simply spending money or having it sit idly in another account. Most company-offered DRIP investment programs have no fees for transactions, brokerage fees or account-keeping fees so 100% of your returns are being invested back in.

Some of the disadvantages of DRIPs include the administrative hassle associated with the cost basis of all the different small stock purchases, maintaining records of these purchases, and the fact that you do not get to choose the timing for when the stock is purchased. Most DRIPs have specific schedules that they are meant to follow, so there’s a little bit of uncertainty built in to this particular investment vehicle.

Still, if you are looking for one of the best small investments that you can make, these DRIPs are a good way to go if you can find a suitable program to buy into. They are worth checking out if you are trying to build your investment portfolio and are looking for something new, and profitable for that matter.

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Originally posted 2020-11-11 05:57:21. Republished by Old Post Promoter

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To Borrow or Not to Borrow against a 401K

March 11th, 2009

Question –

Because of the credit crunch, is this a good time to consider borrowing against a 401(k) savings as a means of paying off other loans? My current 401(k) planning investment return is 5 percent, and the interest I will be paying on it is 9 percent.

To borrow or not borrow against a 401K.

Answer –

If you only really consider the numbers in the situation, taking out a loan against your 401(k) in order to pay off a high interest credit card or some other higher interest debt may seem like a no brainer decision. This is because you would be paying yourself back the interest by paying back a 401(k) loan, but with credit card debt or a high interest loan you would be paying as much as 15 percent or more straight to the bank. Plus in today’s market, the 9 percent that you speak of is more than you would make if you were just keeping the money to sit in your account.

With that said, however, most 401k planning experts would shudder at the mere idea of raiding tomorrow’s intended nest egg to fund the financial indiscretions of today. This kind of thing may work out in terms of pure numbers, experts will gladly agree, but that does not make this a good idea, or even one worth putting consideration into. Financial planners generally agree that there are a number of concerns to touch on before you ever make a decision as large as this one, for example:

What if you leave your company?

If you leave your company for any reason at all, you generally only have 30 days to pay back the entire loan in full; otherwise you will have to pay ordinary income taxes on the withdrawal along with a 10-percent IRS penalty, assuming you are under the age of 59 and a half.

The bottom line here is that this is a pretty foolish move in most if not all situations, even if you are desperate to pay off a high interest credit card or some other high interest debt that has been accrued. If you are likely to rack up more debt in the process, have concerns relating to job security, or are paying off loans that are tax deductible or low interest, then this is definitely a foolish way to go. On the other hand, there are scenarios where this could allow you to come out financially ahead, but they tend to be few and far between. If you’re not sure, then it would be wise to sit down with an investment advisor or financial advisor who can help you weigh your options.

Before you take out any loan you should sit down with an expert that can help you review your choices. You just may discover that there is a better, less risky and less costly option that you have not yet explored for this particular situation.

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Originally posted 2020-11-10 20:58:13. Republished by Old Post Promoter

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Loanio Roundup – Congratulations President-Elect Obama

March 10th, 2009

President-Elect Obama

Loanio extends its congratulations to President-Elect Obama for running an excellent campaign.

This week’s edition of Loanio’s roundup takes a look at the election and what it means for the economy. What are your thoughts to the issues? We’ve also included several links for business entrepreneurs and on p2p lending for your weekend reading.

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Originally posted 2020-11-09 05:33:00. Republished by Old Post Promoter

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When Disaster Strikes

March 8th, 2009

Stockpiling can adversely affect prices.

As Hurricane Ike took aim for the Gulf Coast, the financial markets reacted much in the way that they were expected to. Gas prices jumped to $5 a gallon along the gulf coast, and many expected the price jump to go nationwide, particularly if the hurricane caused damage to any offshore oil rigs. Since the industry in the area was still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, it comes as no shock that the worst case scenario was trotted out with the approach of Ike.

But, what does this mean for the average consumer? How badly will prices be affected by another adverse event? We’ve seen the economic damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, so we have some form of basis to go on as to what to expect, but that does not mean that panic is necessary. There are a few things the average household can do to shore up their own defenses against natural disasters, whether they hit right at home, or thousands of miles away.

Panic is an ugly thing, and as people raced to the pumps to fill up their tanks, it is apparent that fears over even higher gas prices are running rampant. It is important to stock up on necessities such as fuel, but going into a panic mode over it is certainly counterproductive. Preparation is very important but the key is remaining calm. Panic serves only to weaken economic situations, and by looking at the issues rationally, you can rise above this problem and come out on top.

If you have extra gas containers, there is nothing wrong with stocking up, but hording is not recommended. This serves only to impact the overall balance of supply versus demand and can actually make prices worse. Stocking up on other necessities is also a good idea, but again, within reason. There is no need to run and clean out the grocery store and give into that panic mentality.

Preparing for natural disasters should be done well before they strike, no matter where you live. By waiting until the last minute, consumers can end up overspending, only to find that there was no real reason for all of their upset. If you are in the path of a natural disaster, or your area is at risk, keeping a special disaster kit is the perfect response to this problem. Preparing ahead of time, while prices are low and panic is not present, will help consumers beat the common problems of panic-fueled prices.

In today’s society, there is definitely a raised awareness of how disasters, both manmade and natural can affect us all. Preparing is essential, there is no doubt about that. However, the key to getting ready is taking the time to stock up before disaster strikes, so that when it does, you have everything you need on hand. This will help you save money, reduce overall stress and keep you prepared for any eventuality, and without putting you through the paces of panic.

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Originally posted 2020-11-07 05:10:16. Republished by Old Post Promoter

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8 Tips for College Student Budgets

March 7th, 2009

#4 Pace Yourself

Below are eight tips for college students about money and finances.

1. Track your Expenses

If you track your spending for a few weeks, you will be better able to figure out where your money is going. Are you spending an exorbitant amount of money on Starbucks? You may want to cut back. Most college students do not realize where their money is going until they really take the time to pay attention to their receipts at the end of the week.

2. Formulate a Plan

The best way to manage your finances over the course of a semester is simply to sit down and really take the time to map out a budget. List all of your sources of income, tracking potential income and actual income earned. Then list all of your expenses, including tuition, books, groceries, and so on. When you have a plan formulated, you can better track money coming in and going out.

3. Make Room for Good Time Money

You need to make plans to have a little bit of personal spending money for entertainment purposes, eating out or other special purchases, otherwise you can easily throw your entire budget plan out of whack. Make some room for entertainment money and just vow to stay within your budget from month to month.

4. Pace Yourself

If you spend too much money at the beginning of the semester you will run out of money before the end. Give yourself a weekly spending limit based on how much income you have, and stick to it so you don’t end up tapped out by the end of the semester.

5. Go Easy on Credit

Credit cards are nice, and useful, but only for some purchases and not all. One quick way to spend way beyond your means is to use credit in the wrong ways. Use your credit cards sparingly if you have them, otherwise you may end up hooked on charging things, which is a great way to rack up unavoidable, unnecessary debt.

6. Set a Personal Credit Line

Just because your credit card has a limit of $2,000, that does not mean you have to spend that much. Only spend what you can actually pay back. If you only have $500 to attribute to paying back a credit card, only spend that much on the card and you will be fine.

7. Be Realistic

You can do what you want to do, but you cannot necessarily do everything that you want to do. Make some choices and be prepared to make some sacrifices because doing things and buying things is going to make a dent in your wallet, but some expenses can be easier on the wallet than others and provide just as much return on investment.

8. Plan Ahead for Emergencies

If you bust your entire budget this week on something you want to do, make sure to make up for it next week. If you constantly spend your entire budget frivolously, you can end up unprepared for emergencies like auto maintenance costs, course materials, health costs and so on.

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Originally posted 2020-11-06 05:11:31. Republished by Old Post Promoter

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Managing Money Wisely

March 4th, 2009

Managing your money wisely in 4 steps.

One of the hardest things for many people to accomplish is managing money wisely. We may all know the basics, and understand that spending too much is a good way to get on the road to financial ruin. However, when push comes to shove, we end up making mistakes that may take years to undo. If you’re serious about managing money wisely, there are a few tips that you can implement today that will help you reduce the mistakes you make and help you take better advantage of your successes.

1. Always weigh the consequences.

Impulse buying that cannot be controlled is a sure recipe for disaster. If you are trying to start managing money wisely, the first step to take is to make sure that you weigh the consequences before making any purchase, big or small. When you start to consider the consequences of a frivolous purchase, resisting the urge to buy it will be a lot easier. For example, let’s say that you have had your eye on an LCD television that costs $6000. Once you spend that money, it’s gone, since your television will never earn any more for you. What could you do if you invested that $6000 instead?

2. Set yourself up for success.

Many people fail at managing money wisely simply because they make it too hard to succeed. Whether it is a strict budget that can’t possibly be kept, or constant spending that can’t be controlled, if you are not setting yourself up for success, you may have a hard time getting there, especially at first. Try setting a budget that you can easily keep. Once you have this down and you’ve gotten into a routine you can start saving more money. By making changes gradually, you can ease into managing your money more effectively and it will be easier to get there.

3. Set goals.

Setting financial goals is a vital component of managing money wisely. When you are working towards something, sticking to a budget or waiting to make a big purchase are a lot easier. Try to set financial goals for this year, five years and then further into the future. Create milestones along the way of what you would like to achieve and then keep these goals in a prominent place. They will help you stay focused and motivated to keep managing money wisely.

4. Pick yourself back up if you fall.

We’re not perfect and even the best of us do make money mistakes from time to time. The key is getting right back up and trying again. Anyone can keep a budget, and anyone can learn to create more opportunities for income. The key is staying motivated, and avoiding having discouragement keep you from managing money wisely.

These are four easy steps that you can start using right now in order to start managing money wisely. Don’t wait to formulate a plan for your financial future. The best time to start preparing for tomorrow is today.

Photo Credits: 1

Originally posted 2020-11-03 15:40:29. Republished by Old Post Promoter

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