Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Secrets from the Top: How to be Fearless about Money and Life



Earlier this week, Forbes.com published an article titled “6 Leaders Share their Secrets for How to be Fearless about Money and Life”.  After reaching out to several business leaders, including successful entrepreneurs and courageous investors, the authors of this article discovered that much of the leaders’ points of view on money and investing were also reflections of their personal life mantras.  Read below for their 6 tips, or click here if you would like to read the full article.

1.  Don’t let the unknown throw you off your game.

2.  Make sure your passions pay off.

3.  It’s okay to take a risk, it just might be worth it.

4.  Never make uninformed decisions.

5.  Plan early so you can pursue your future with confidence.

6.  Giving back should be part of your plan.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

HOW TO: Save Money and Pay Off Debt

By Olivia Sandham
Although the two don’t seem to logically go hand-in-hand, saving money while also paying off debts is certainly possible.  With a few simple adjustments to your lifestyle and budget, you can create a comfortable and debt-free future.
 
The first step to saving while paying off debt could be to create a household budget that trims unnecessary expenses.  This budget will only be feasible if it allows for some discretionary spending to avoid feeling trapped or “broke”.  Examples of areas that could easily be trimmed without too much lifestyle shock include eating out one less night a week, consuming one or two less high-priced beverages (such as cutting back on a latte or cocktail), and switching groceries to generic brands.  Think about how much you could save each week by making these changes, then multiply that by 4-5 times per month!  These small changes can certainly impact the amount of additional money you will have to put toward paying off debts and increasing your savings.
 
The second step to saving while paying off debt is to consider designing a debt payoff strategy that best suits your needs.  Paying off debts utilizing the “snowball” effect is a popular method of paying your debts in a specific order.  You could choose to either 1) Pay off the smallest balance first, which can be motivating in a short period of time because you see the number of debts you owe drop, or 2) Pay off the highest interest rate first, which makes the most sense from a pure financial approach, since you will keep more of your money in the long-term.  Choosing the best debt payoff strategy will be a personal choice so that you find a strategy that you will want to maintain over the long-run.
 
The last step to saving while paying off debts is to build your emergency fund and future investments.  Once you have designed a trimmed budget and chosen your debt strategy, you can plan to have additional money placed into an easy-to-access emergency savings account.  Although this account will not produce much (if any) interest, there will be no penalty for taking the money out should you absolutely need it.  However, once you are able to build your savings to a sufficient amount (three to six months of expenses is typically recommended), you can then start to invest part of your monthly additional money into accounts that will produce higher return rates, such as an investment account or an IRA holding diversified mutual funds.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Credit Card Mistakes to Avoid

Whether due to confusion or carelessness, credit card mistakes are all too common. The fallout can be costly, no matter what the cause. Even a single slip-up can result in higher interest rates, lower credit limits, unwanted fees or dings to a credit score.

New rules put in place by the Credit Card Act of 2009 and the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 help, as does the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which monitors the credit card industry. But ultimately it’s up to you to use credit wisely.

Take a look at this slideshow on Kiplinger.com to see a detailed explanation on 11 of the most common credit card mistakes and to learn how to avoid making them.  We have also included a simple list below.

1. Paying bills late
2. Bundling balance transfers
3. Making minimum payments
4. Using up all available credit
5. Ignoring monthly statements
6. Racking up foreign transaction fees
7. Taking cash advances
8. Spending to earn rewards
9. Paying excessive annual fees
10. Chasing teaser rates
11. Neglecting credit scores

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Make Getting into Financial Shape Your New Year's Resolution

By Olivia Maragna
 

One of the most popular New Year's resolutions is to get into shape with an exercise program.  So, why not also apply this to your financial health?  We found these six steps to be motivational toward getting your financial fitness looking better than ever in 2014.  Click here to read the full blog posted on brisbanetimes.com.au

1.  Follow a program - Set yourself a budget and stick to it.

2.  Trimming down - Minimize your debts.

3.  Bulking up - Contribute into retirement funds.

4.  Cross training - Invest in multiple types of retirement accounts.

5.  Injury prevention - Adequately insure yourself.

6.  Endurance training - Prepare your estate to ensure your loved ones are taken care of in the future.

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