How Prepared Are You to Retire?

Do you dream of the day you can say goodbye to the 9 to 5 grind? Retirement is something many older adults anticipate, but very few actually prepare for. Unfortunately, most adults nearing retirement have made very little effort to plan for the lifestyle changes that lie ahead. This, in turn, results in debt, limited incomes, and more. As you want to enjoy your retirement, it is important to start planning as soon as possible.

No one wants to end up having to return to work, live on a shoestring budget, or be unable to accomplish any goals after they’ve retired. To ensure you’re on the right path for setting up for a positive future, ask yourself these questions to determine just how ready you are to retire.

Have You Met or Exceeded Your Savings Goals?

You won’t have your stable income to live off of anymore once you retire. Though you may receive social security benefits and/or a pension, the more money you have saved the better you can survive and enjoy retirement. It is recommended that you try and save at least 25 times your annual retirement expenses. So, if you review your retirement account statements, are you on target to save that much? Have you exceeded that amount? Or, are you nowhere near your goal?

Are Your Affairs in Order?

Of course, the plan is to live years and years after your retirement, but it’s never too soon to think about when you pass. You’ve accumulated a lot over the years and want to make sure that your loved ones are secure after you’re passing. An estate planning lawyer can help you to get your affairs in order. From drafting a will and naming beneficiaries to develop a living trust and dividing your assets, they will work with you to ensure you’re secured before you retire. If you haven’t made these preparations yet, unfortunately, you’re not ready to retire.

Have You Paid Your Debts Off?

Remember, you’ll be living on a fixed income once you retire. In order to maximize the money you do receive, you need to reduce the amount of debt you have. If you’re nearing retirement and still have thousands of dollars in credit card, mortgage, and medical bills, you’re putting a huge financial burden on your shoulders. You can determine what kind of shape you’re in by checking your credit reports. Calculate all outstanding debt. Do you have a lot of debt? Are the accounts you still have maxed out or are they under 30% utilization rates? Are you on track to pay off your debts by the time you plan to retire? The answers to these questions will let you know if you’re actually ready to retire.

Can You Live Off Your Retirement Income?

Though some expenses will disappear or reduce drastically once you retire, you still have bills that need to be paid and expenses you have to cover. Before you retire, it’s a good idea to determine whether or not you can live on this limited income. You can start by calculating your retirement income (what you’d receive monthly from social security, pension, and other financial sources). Using that number, tally up your expenses and compare it. Are you able to live on the amount you’ll make in retirement, or are there some adjustments that need to be made?

Have You Thought About What You’ll Do?

Sitting around the house catching up on television shows and rest is fun for a few weeks, but after that, you’ll find yourself really bored during retirement. Seniors who don’t do anything after retirement is at increased risk to suffer from both physical and mental health problems. That’s why it’s important to think about what you’ll do once you retire. Would you like to start a business, travel outside of the country, learn a new hobby, or visit family?

There are a lot of things to consider when preparing for retirement. Whether it’s decades or just a few short years away, planning your future is imperative to living a long, happy, and healthy life. If you’ve answered no to even one of the above questions, the truth is, you’re not really ready to retire. Fortunately, it’s never too late to start. Using information like what was provided above will help get you on the right track for a bright future.

Continue Reading

How Did Online Forex Trading Become So Popular?

Using different styles of financial trading has long been something that people have done as a way to invest or generate a secondary income. However, one of the most popular forms of online and mobile trading in the modern world was actually relatively unheard of until fairly recently. While almost anybody with an interest in financial markets, economics, or current affairs these days is familiar with forex, it wasn’t so long ago that currency trading simply wasn’t accessible to normal people. Rather, it was something only done by banks.

Today, advances in the internet have made forex a part of modern trading for everybody who wanted to try it.

Currency Trading Before Mainstream Internet

Louis Hernandez Jr highlights that there have been mechanisms in place to change money between currencies for about as long as organized currency has existed. However, up until the mainstream internet really took hold, it wasn’t possible for ordinary people to get prices on international currencies and make instant transactions in a way that could really leverage currency pair fluctuations. Banks were able to work with different currencies thanks to their infrastructures, but for the average person, the only time they were really concerned with changing money was to obtain currency when they traveled abroad, usually from a bureau de change or, later, by using cards at foreign ATMs and letting their bank handle the prices.

There was certainly no way to trade currency in any meaningful or profitable way.

The Biggest Advances to Help Forex Gain Traction

Forex trading online became possible because the internet made it possible for people to access trading platforms, hold online accounts, and make transactions. This was possible even in the late 1990s, however, it still wasn’t really something people found reliable. With slow dial-up internet speeds and problems with connectivity, it was hard to trust that your transactions would go through at the price you were seeing. Equally, there just wasn’t the knowledge and technology in terms of online security that there is now. Essentially, it wasn’t until broadband internet became widely accessible that forex trading online began to really ‘work’ as most people wanted – and to be trusted.

The Mobile Revolution

The second big change after broadband was the smartphone revolution. With apps that can connect people to trading platforms and forex resources, the 24-hour nature of forex became more accessible. Traders were no longer tied to their computers for a session and could be notified when conditions they have set up as triggers for them to act are met, allowing them to be available to trade and to avoid missing out on profitable transactions. Between mobile and fast internet speeds, people can now get the most out of forex trading and can also use a lot of analysis and news tools on their mobile devices to help them become more effective as traders.

As you can see, forex has come a very long way in just two decades and it will be interesting to see how its popularity continues to grow moving forward.

Continue Reading

Getting A Mortgage – Top Advice

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and buy your first home. Congratulations! Owning a home can be a stressful experience, but it can also be an extremely fulfilling and satisfying one. When you’re a homeowner, your property is your oyster; you can fill it with as much decoration as you like, as well as carrying out renovations and DIY projects whenever you want to.

Taking out a mortgage is pretty much the most common way people buy homes. Most people don’t have the cash to pay for the property upfront, so they negotiate a long-term loan with a bank or building society in order to pay off the cost of the house (plus interest, usually) over time. It can be pretty daunting applying for your first mortgage, so we’ve gathered together a list of handy tips for you to consider when you’re about to apply.

One quick tip before we start: don’t be afraid to take out a second mortgage once you’re comfortably into your first one. Second mortgages can be great for DIY projects, renovations, family planning and many other aspects of life. Check out StepOneFinance’s second mortgage loans to get you started.

Pay off as much initially as you can

Of course, it’s very unlikely that you’ll have anywhere near the requisite amount of money to pay off the entire value of the property immediately – otherwise, why take out a mortgage? With that said, it’s definitely advantageous for you to pay off as much as you can outright. The reason is twofold. First off, you’ll obviously have less to pay on the mortgage over time if you pay more initially, or you’ll be able to negotiate a shorter term. Secondly, many mortgage providers offer lower interest rates to those who are able to put down larger deposits; if you’re able to provide around 40% of the property’s overall value, then you can look forward to lower interest rates in the future.

Thoroughly research the property

The last thing you want as you move into your new property is to discover something ugly or unwanted about it that you didn’t know when you moved in. Estate agents are just doing a job, but it’s in their best interests to cover up or circumvent potentially problematic aspects of the property in order to secure a sale. Make sure that you visit the property as many times as possible before you buy; in addition, see if you can find anything out on the Internet in terms of the area in which the property is located. There’s nothing worse than moving in to what looks like your dream home, only to find out that it’s a crime hotspot or there’s a local source of unbearable noise day in, day out.

Find out your credit score

If you want to get a seriously good mortgage deal for yourself, you’ll need a good credit rating. Failing to pay back loans, accruing big credit card balances and holding multiple credit accounts at once can all negatively impact your credit score, which in turn can be a big blow to your ability to get a mortgage. A low credit score isn’t necessarily a complete barrier to getting a mortgage, but the better deals require a higher score. You can use services like Experian and Noddle to check your credit score, which you should do prior to beginning any mortgage proceedings; coming armed with that sort of knowledge can save you a lot of time and hassle further down the line.

Self-employed? Have documents to hand

Most mortgage providers will require your latest payslip to prove your income, and in some cases they’ll want to see a bank statement to prove the income is regular. That’s if you’re in regular employment. If you’re self-employed, getting a mortgage can become a real headache. Self-employment is a difficult prospect for lenders, because it can be hard to understand how being one’s own boss translates into a regular, dependable income. You’ll need to collect proof of your earnings over the last 2-3 years to show to your lender, whether this is via an official HMRC form or your own meticulously kept records. If you don’t keep records, you should absolutely start doing so if you want a mortgage.

Settle as many debts as possible

Mortgage lenders don’t like outstanding debts, as they look like a good indicator of your inability to pay a mortgage. One top tip offered by Your Mortgage Solutions, based in Rugeley; Examine your income and expenditure closely and see where you can pay off debts you’ve accrued. Outstanding credit card debts, unsecured loans and unused accounts can all contribute towards mortgage lenders passing you over, so get your affairs in order before applying.

These are just a few tips to get you started on the road to your first mortgage. Owning a home is an arduous process; there’s paperwork to be filled out and a thorough assessment of your finances to go through. Once that’s done, though, it’s an unmatched adventure.

Continue Reading

6 Ways to Save for a Wedding

The happiest day of your life will be an occasion to remember. Unfortunately, it costs money to hold the biggest party of your life. Saving for a wedding can be a struggle if you’re starting from ground zero.

But we’re going to show you some of the tricks you can use to save for a wedding. Let’s take a look at some of the secret saving tips that can get you ready for your big day.

Know Where You Stand

The first step to saving money for a wedding is to know where you stand. In other words, you need to be aware of how much you need to save and how much you already have saved.

Use an app like Mint to track this. It aggregates all of your bank accounts so you know exactly how much you have. You can also use it to track your expenses.

Whenever you manage money online, make sure you install a VPN for extra security. For help with this, use a guide from Troypoint and they will show you how to get started.

Garnish Your Own Paycheck

Always pay yourself first. Instruct your bank to send a portion of your paycheck to your savings account so you don’t run into any problems with saving.

Most banks have this facility available. Use the previous step to know how much you can safely garnish from your paycheck and still cover your daily expenses.

Be Careful Where You Spend

Saving money for your wedding shouldn’t be confined to pure saving. It should also include saving money ON your wedding. Don’t think you have to have a huge wedding in order to have a great day.

Get married on the right day, choose an affordable venue, and don’t worry about not splurging on the little accessories nobody ever notices anyway.

See how you can keep your wedding costs down when planning your wedding and your savings journey will be a much easier one.

See What You Can Get from Others

The chances are you already know people who have got married. Use this to your advantage. See if they have anything from their weddings that they would let you borrow.

One quick tip is to take an old bridal wedding gown and have it tailored according to your tastes. This is much cheaper than spending thousands on a brand new dress.

Ask for Help Instead of Wedding Gifts

Request that your family and friends chip in with help, either through their time or through helping out with the cost in lieu of a wedding gift.

Most people would rather help with setting things up instead of agonizing over which wedding gift to buy. A wedding organized by your family and friends is always that much more special.

Hold the Wedding and Reception in the Same Place

Want to know how to cut your savings goal by thousands with one decision?

Just hold the wedding and the reception in the same place. It’s becoming increasingly trendy to rent one venue instead of two. This will save you thousands because you don’t have to worry about preparing two different venues.

Unless you’re a rabid traditionalist, this won’t affect the outcome of your day.

Last Word – Saving Doesn’t Have to Be a Nightmare

These tips will not only help you to save money for your wedding but they’ll help you to save money on your wedding. You don’t have to live like a monk in order to get the money together.

And you certainly don’t have to take out loans to enjoy your big day.

Do you have any other tips for saving for your big day?

Continue Reading

How TD Ameritrade Can Help You Make Money

When you are looking for an online broker that will help your reach your goals as a trader and an investor, you should be looking at TD Ameritrade. It is a long time brokerage house that got into the online game in the mid to late 1990s, making it one of the most lasting institutions in online brokers and Internet trading.

In the late 1980s, TD Ameritrade began a quote and order entry system over the phone, which established the companies bonafides with modern technology. Then in 1996, TD Ameritrade merged with TransTerra, which owned Accutrade, which was one of the first online brokers in the very early days of the World Wide Web. That knowledge of the industry and early entry into the world of online investing makes TD Ameritrade a great place to start investing online.

When you take control of your financial future, you take control of your freedom. You can create a whole new reality for yourself, when you take money that you make and put it to work making more money for you. The way that capitalism works is that the ones that control the capital can create new worlds for themselves, where they don’t have to answer to the old way of doing things.

But to become a successful investor, you need to stay disciplined and smart. You need to be able to read the market and understand how to move from one trade to another with the company’s fundamentals in mind. Doing your research is very important when you need to be on top of your investments. TD Ameritrade has third party research and in-depth tools that help you make sense of the market.

For more frequent traders, TD Ameritrade offers a platform called thinkorswim that allows traders to make lightening fast trades on their desktop or their mobile devices. There are chat rooms where you can interact with other traders and swap tips or advice. For beginning traders, there are a plethora of learning tools that allow you to learn about the market while you are in the platform, trying out trades and learning as you go.

TD Ameritrade also offers great educational videos and CNBC streaming news that allow you to stay on top of the market throughout the day. Watching breaking news is very important when you want to be an effective frequent trader. There is no substitute for staying informed about the market. And then there is the paperMoney feature.

That is TD Ameritrade’s paper trading platform, which allows you to trade virtual currency  and learn how to trade without risking any real money. That is one of the more valuable tools for day traders that are just starting out. It allows you to game out trades in real time and project what they might start to do without risking real cash. Paper trading is a great way to get good at trading before you start really risking real actual money.

Continue Reading

Should You Give up on Gold and Invest through Your Bitcoin Wallet Android App Instead?

Did you think that gold is a dead commodity that you shouldn’t invest in anymore? If so, you would be wrong. In 2013, Germany started to repatriate gold to it, and at least 50% of it is now stored in Frankfurt. Other parts are stored in Paris and in New York and around 13% is stored in London. But what does this have to do with the bitcoin wallet android app?

The Bitcoin Wallet Android App and Other Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies and digital cash services are becoming increasingly popular. What this also means is that gold seems a bit archaic nowadays. However, gold has a status that it will never be able to lose, and it will always be valuable simply because people want to have it. No other fiat currency, not the Euro, not the Dollar, has this type of security.

The Link between Gold and Bitcoin

You cannot get away from bitcoin and cryptocurrency anymore, but gold isn’t going anywhere either. Both also see quite significant price fluctuations, but they are rising overall and rising a lot. Then, there is the fact that other forms of economy, such as stocks and bonds, are problematic, not in the least because they are so strongly affected by geopolitical events. Consider:

  • There has been an overvaluation of stocks. So much so, in fact, that they must come crashing down soon.
  • President Trump is causing major ripples around the world, and no matter how much he would like to call every negative report about him and his policies “fake news”, the reality is that the world is not happy with his administration.
  • Europe is in turmoil. The United Kingdom has voted to leave the EU, a process known as “Brexit”, and other countries are seeing a popular opinion swaying towards the same thing. Meanwhile, there is a serious swing towards right-winged politics in almost every European country.
  • Nobody can keep track of derivatives anymore, which is precisely what the five biggest banks in this country have tied their interests to, making it very dangerous.
  • The Federal Reserve has now agreed to start rising interest rates again, which has a significant impact on people’s disposable income.

Gold isn’t impacted by this, nor is cryptocurrency. That is because both are available in finite amounts. Both are also tied to supply and demand, with demand rising significantly. One of the key things about bitcoin, however, is that it is decentralized. This means it is not owned by a country or a bank, but rather by its users, which is known as “open source”.

All financial experts agree, all investment portfolios have to be diversified in order to retain their value. They also all agree that precious metals should be an integral part of an investment portfolio. So why not double protect yourself, and purchase precious metals like gold by using bitcoin? Could it be possible that the two investment underdogs are actually the strongest of them all?

Continue Reading

How to Finance Your Honeymoon Expenses

Your wedding is probably one of the most memorable experiences in your life. You and your partner have planned for this event for so long and you’re about to spend a lot of money.

Although weddings will always make us happy; it is the honeymoon that will increase that happiness manifold.

Now, weddings are already expensive and during the honeymoon, you will also need to spend some money as well.

Fortunately, there are ways to finance your honeymoon expenses. Here are some tips:

1.    Wedding Loans

Wedding loans- or personal loans that are used for wedding expenses- is a great way to finance your honeymoon.

In this type of loan, you can borrow as much as $35,000, provided that you have a good credit score. Typically, you can get the money within 3-5 days after applying for the loan.

Just remember to pay it promptly since there are financial institutions which have high interest rates.

2.    Crowdfunding

Another great way to earn money for your honeymoon expenses is through crowdfunding. Although some people might not agree with this, most people that do crowdfunding for their weddings actually do not mind. In fact, there are some people who are willing to donate some money for such a momentous event.

When you’re planning for the wedding, you’re also planning for the honeymoon. The money that you can get from crowdfunding can be used for all of the expenses; including your honeymoon vacation.

3.    Credit Card Perks

If you own a credit card, you can make use of the perks. There are some credit card companies that offer frequent flyer miles or points that you can use for travel.

There are also some perks that make use of points in exchange for cash or other things including food, clothing, etc.

4.    Cash Advance Schemes

There are some cash advance methods you can apply for. Cash advance is a way to get some money, especially for your honeymoon.

Fortunately for you, getting money from this method is easier than ever. Aside from your local lenders, you can also apply on the internet as there are cash advance programs online.

If you borrow money from cash advance programs, make sure that the lender you’re going to get money from has a license to operate. This is to ensure your safety when transacting with them.

5.    Book in Advance

This is not financing, per se, but you can save more money when you book your honeymoon plans beforehand.

There are some packages out there that give you amazing discounts if you book way ahead of time.

Furthermore, booking in advance will ensure that you will get a reservation, especially when you’re going to a place where there are a lot of people.

Conclusion

Financing your honeymoon expenses is actually quite easy. You can book in advance so that you can avail of certain discounts.

If you own a credit card, you can make use of the points or avail of the perks. There are also cash advance programs as well. The options you have are limitless.

Continue Reading

How Did I Miss That Trade?

Are you a Forex trader? Are you “in it to win it?  Are you looking for profits wherever possible? That means you will be examining the results of the trades that you take and learning from both your successes and your failures. But what about “the ones that got away”, the trades that for one reason or another never happened and nearly always would have turned up trumps.

Why do we miss out on trades, especially the ones that will cause us so much heartache subsequently? There are of course loads of different reasons. You could have chosen to “sit this one out” having had a couple of losing trades just previously.  You could have been too preoccupied with another trade or considered that it just didn’t fit into your preconceived trading pattern. You may have had enough for the day having met your daily target or you might not have had enough balance to proceed.

Now these are all good reasons, but the fact remains that a missed opportunity is a missed opportunity which will cost you in the fullness of time.  You might not realise how much money you are actually losing by not taking up those missing trades and all the potential profits that have vanished unless you are honest enough to track everything in a journal.

If you are a mechanical trader, you can well find that your performance will be down and you will not get a full idea of whether the system is working for you.

If you get into the habit of missing trades, especially after a losing streak, you must treat that as a really bad one.  You have to accept losses as an integral part of trading and you shouldn’t have the baggage of previous failure over-influencing your decisions.

Perhaps the most hazardous result of when you miss out on a trade is that your psyche says “hey we made a big error there, let’s make up for it”. This is what is called “looking for revenge” – you go into something that’s a long way short of ideal and trade it aggressively. You lose control of your emotions and at the same time, lose a good deal of money as well.

Missing trades therefore is a bad place to be in. So what can you do to avoid all that?  Firstly you could log all your missing trades which would be an incentive to sticking to your trading plan.  Secondly set your trading style alarm clock – you could fix price alerts or use entry orders; perhaps even design a mechanical system for your platform. We know you can’t be everywhere but you can help yourself!

Are you missing trades through lack of confidence, worried about the dangers that could affect your funds? If you decrease your position size, you will ease up on a great deal of pressure.

Finally if you focus on the process you will accept loss, take care of it but have the courage to carry on trading sensibly and methodically and in the end you will make a lot of money.

Continue Reading

Do You Know How to Spot a Deal?

Are you someone who can spot a deal a mile away? If not, has the time has come for you to start doing so, yes?

For many consumers, getting a good deal is part and parcel of their life.

When many watch their dollars, finding some good specials can make the difference.

With that being the case, will you sharpen your skills when it comes to spotting a deal moving forward?

Internet is Great Starting Point

One of the best places to begin your quest to find deals is the Internet.

That said too many consumers don’t take advantage of all the worldwide web can offer them. As a result, they miss out on keeping more money in their wallets and purses.

Are you someone who focuses on finding discounted tickets for Universal Studios? If so, you can locate them much easier than you might first think.

With the right online search, you can get deals for Universal Studios and other venues. Once you have your deal, the fun is about to begin.

Keep in mind many companies in the theme park business and similar venues are active online. In fact, their websites are oftentimes tended to on a daily basis.

Among the important areas of interest many of them cover on a regular basis online:

· Blog posts about respective attractions

· Specials and when to collect on them

· Customer testimonials

You should also look for the locations of interest for you and yours on social media.

Sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest are popular with countless business.

Word-of-Mouth

If you have a sizable group of family, friends, and even co-workers that you communicate with, lean on them too.

An example of word-of-mouth marketing is designating people to stay on top of deals for venues.

If you have someone in the group who can’t get enough of amusement parks, let them alert others with a love for such. The same is true for someone who loves sports. Let him or her alert others via text or email about deals on ballgames etc.

Traditional Marketing

Even with the web and word-of-mouth leading the way, traditional marketing is there too.

Do you get your fair share of specials in the regular mail for various activities in and outside of town? If so, do you take advantage of them?

While many such marketing pieces end up in the garbage, others have more shelf life.

Don’t always be so quick to throw those pieces of mail out. You may in fact end up finding some great deals right at your fingertips.

When it comes to spotting the best deal out there, how good is your eyesight?

Continue Reading

How Forex Makes You Better at Making Money

Forex is an interesting way to make money, but it also gives you money making skills that transfer into other financial endeavors. To understand that, you have to understand how Forex works. We’ll start with a simple explanation.

Forex terms can get a little complicated, so a free trial with a brokerage source like ETX Capital is really the best way to go. When you get there, you’ll see a lot of different currency pairs. The first currency listed in the pair (if you were to bet money on it) is the currency that you think will gain value relative to the other listed currency, over a specific amount of time.

Forex trading allows you to leverage your trades, sometimes as much as 200:1. This was, you might be able to effectively trade one hundred thousand pounds, for example, while only being required to deposit a thousand or so.

The finer points of Forex (and its cousin, spread betting, also available through ETX Capital) are best learned through experience, so try out free accounts with reputable brokers to learn the ropes. Alternately, you can watch plenty of Youtube videos about Forex trading, which use images to convey concepts which are harder to grasp through words alone.

How Forex Gives You Money Making Skills in All Disciplines

Now that you understand more or less what Forex trading is, it’s time to explain how trading Forex will give you transferable money making skills for all kinds of purposes.

At its core, this form of trading is all about exploiting opportunities. You’ll quickly learn when you make an account of your own that you won’t have much success if you’re simply guessing about value behaviors. There are so many complexities that influence the relative value fluctuations of global currencies. In order to make money regularly, you’ll have to do some homework. Fortunately, this will yield an education that can make you a very sophisticated investor in disciplines outside of the world of Forex.

Let’s say you do really well at Forex trading and earn $100,000 in your first year. You want to use some of this money in the traditional stock market so that you can earn excellent returns without having to make regular trades as you do in your fast-paced Forex account. Your knowledge of the United States Dollar gives you the inside scoop on companies like Coca-Cola, who are being challenged globally by the strength of the US Dollar.

You knowledge of currency would tell you that because the dollar is so strong, money that Coca-Cola makes outside of the United States (an international market which the soda giant is actively trying to increase its market share within), loses value every time it is brought back into the United States where Coca-Cola does its banking.

You would expect, therefore, that the international brand would be having revenue difficulties in the present (they are), and that any time the Dollar starts to lose some steam, that revenue for Coca-Cola would increase (it will).

Then you hear that President Donald Trump is announcing measures to slow down the progress of the too-strong Dollar, as a way of preventing another market bubble. We’re not recommending that you take action on this hypothetical scenario, but just as an example, what would you do next?

If you thought that Coca-Cola stock would be a good bet based on that information, a lot of investors would agree with you. And you made this insightful decision based solely on your knowledge of the power that global currencies have over consumer brands. This is knowledge that the average investor lacks, and you got it just by trading Forex. Forex is a great way to make money on its own, but it’ll also prepare you for all kinds of other opportunities.

Continue Reading