Invest in Your Financial Future Today

What would happen going forward if you lost your ability to work for the remainder of your life?

Would you have the financial means with which to survive? Have you spent years building up your “rainy day” fund? What “fallback” solution do you have in place to get through tough financial times?

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These are all questions that you should be able to answer, yet many people simply have no answers for such important matters in their lives. As a result, major financial dilemmas can creep up on them in a hurry, leaving some with nowhere to turn.

So, have you invested in your financial future?

Put the Funds in Motion

For starters, take the time now (not when you are in a pinch) to see where you stand financially.

Look at the following if you reside in North America to see what is most applicable to your financial needs:

  • Resources – What are your current and projected financial resources whether you live in the States or Canada? Will you be getting an inheritance of any sort down the road? Are you in a relationship where you are both working full-time or is it just your income that you two essentially rely on? About how many more years can you and/or your spouse expect to work? Have you taken advantage of a company-sponsored retirement plan? These are all topics that you should have an answer for in order to better secure your current and financial future;
  • IRA – Have you been setting aside money in a regular or Roth IRA? The two best-known of the IRAs available, the former is tax-deferred as you put money in it, with taxes being taken out when you start minimal withdrawal of money (you must begin taking funds out at age 70 ½). Meantime, there is no age when you must start taking money out of a Roth IRA; however that IRA is grown with after-tax dollars, so you do not get taxed when you begin pulling funds from it. Once you’ve reached the age of 59 ½, you are allowed to take out funds from the Roth IRA minus any penalties. Just like purchasing life insurance, having a retirement vehicle or two in place for not only your well-being but that of your family makes sense;
  • 401K’s – With a 401K, you can build up your investments through your employer. Unfortunately, too many employees miss out on the opportunity to participate in such workplace plans, plans that are even better when the employer matches a portion of the money the employee is investing (essentially this is free cash from your place of employment). If you are over the age of 50, you can put additional money in as you are essentially “catching up” in the race to fund your retirement. Another item to keep in mind is that you don’t necessarily have to be a full-time worker to become involved in a company 401K, so check with your company if they offer such opportunities in the event you work there part-time;
  • RESP’s – With a registered education savings plan (for Canadian residents) you can put away funds for a child’s education when they reach the post-secondary level. The money earned over time grows at a tax-deferred rate. It is important to keep in mind that the plan ends no later than when the individual it was taken out for turns 35.

Many Factors at Play

As you might imagine, there are many factors at play when it comes to determining your best financial scenarios.

The most important factor to remember is not making any rash decisions when it comes to your financial well-being.

Undoubtedly, changes will occur in both your professional and personal lives over time, so be able to adjust and plan accordingly.

That said starting sooner rather than later to plan for retirement no matter where you reside is a smart thing.

When you have a plan in place to manage your financial future (and take action if things go bad) is of the utmost importance.

Lastly, talk with family, friends and co-workers as to the choices they’ve made or will be making in their financial plans.

Getting feedback from them can be of great benefit to you as you invest in your financial future today.

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What You Need to Know Before Purchasing Life Insurance

Life insurance is a tough thing to think about. But something that everyone should have for sound financial planning. It is essential to protecting your family and your estate should something happen to you. A non working spouse should be insured as well, as help the surviving spouse would have to hire help should something happen. Purchasing insurance can seem as daunting as thinking about it, though, so doing a little research beforehand is usually a good idea.

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Where to go

As you begin your insurance research, it’s important to take a look at some reputable companies and their websites. Most companies that you’d want to work with have a thorough website that can help you know what you need. For instance, a site like the one the Leibel Insurance Group has is full of relevant information that will be helpful even before you’ve decide what you want or who you want to work with.

It’s a good idea to take a look at these sites and find out what they offer and what pertains to you. If you’re not even sure how to find sites, ask some of your friends and family. You want someone strong in the community with a good reputation who will not only help get what you is fitting for you and your lifestyle, but be there if and when your family needs them.

You can also research some blogs pertaining to life insurance, and you can find those through your search engine or by checking out some social media sites. Experts can offer some great advice, and online it’s free!

What to think about

No one really wants to think about life insurance, but it’s something you need have to provide for your loved ones should something happen to you. It’s important to weigh things like coverage and policies before purchasing. Here are a few items regarding insurance to consider…

  • Decide what and how much coverage you need. Think about your contribution to the family income and current debts and expenses you have. What will be sufficient should something happen? What about your spouse, what kind of insurance should he or she carry?
  • What can you afford? Make sure that you can afford what you’re thinking of purchasing. Sure, it will be an expense but make it an affordable one.
  • Think about your needs. Different policies cover different things. And while you’re at it, do you need more than just life insurance. Sometimes it’s smart to have all your insurance needs with one company. Other times you can save money by going to different agents, and some agents specialize in one thing or another.
  • Review your policy every few years. Once you’ve purchased a policy, it doesn’t mean you can stick in the back of your mind and forget about it. Things change and your policy needs to change with it. Everything from promotions to inflation to dependents will affect your policy needs so a review every so often is important.

When looking for an agent and/or company

Choosing an insurance company is a personal decision. Often with work you don’t have much choice when it comes to certain insurance, but when you’re choosing on your own, you get to make the choice. It’s smart to look around and decide what works well for you. Some people love a big name company and feel secure with it, others prefer a smaller company that makes them feel like an individual

You also want a company, no matter what size, that has a history of good ratings and excellent customer service. Make sure there aren’t any major complaints against the company, and if there are, why and what was done. You want someone who will see that everything is smooth should something happen. Also, when you talk to any agents, make sure they are doing what you want, not convincing you to do what they want.

Purchasing Life Insurance

As hard as it is to think about, you’ve got to do it. You won’t want to leave your family in debt or in financial struggle should something happen to you. Life insurance can offer not only financial security, but also a piece of mind.

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Ways to get a loan when you have bad credit

If you have a poor credit rating, that means banks, credit unions and other financial organizations will define you as “high risk” and most likely refuse to lend you any money. As such, if you’re having trouble saving money and need to get hold of some cash quickly you may feel as if you’re at the mercy of notorious pay day loan companies that charge enormous interest rates on their loans. But you should be wary of pay day loans as they often lead to a vicious cycle where you end up borrowing money before your pay check comes simply to pay off last week’s loan, and on, and on.

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So what other options do you have to obtain cash fast?

Obtain a car title loan

If you own a vehicle, a car title loan is definitely a good option. Car title loans are quite similar to how pawn shops operate, in that the lender will asses the value of your vehicle and make you an offer based on that, with your vehicle being used as security for that loan.

If you accept the loan, the lender will keep hold of the title of your car until you have paid back the full amount. These loans are usually short-term loans though the interest rates are more affordable than with pay day loans. Make sure you do pay the loan back however. If not, the lender could repossess your vehicle.

Borrow from your friends or family

This is the most obvious option when you’re caught short. Most people know someone, either their parents or a sibling, or a rich mate, who can afford to spot them a few dollars if they need. Still, be sure to pay the money back, because not doing so is one of the fastest ways to poison a good relationship. If you’re looking to borrow a large amount of money from a friend or family member, it might be a good idea to legitimize the loan by creating a contract that includes the terms of the loan and the amount of interest to be paid, if any.

Apply for a peer-to-peer loan

Unfortunately not everyone has rich friends and family, but that doesn’t mean there’s no hope. A relatively new form of loan called a peer-to-peer loan might be a good option. This kind of loan is obtained from an online platform wherein you borrow cash from an individual as opposed to a bank.

Borrowers simply post a listing on one of the multitude of peer-to-peer loan sites asking for a certain amount of cash and stating what it’s needed for. Investors can then review your listing and decide if they want to loan you the cash.

Lenders will still check your credit rating, but because they are individuals you’ll likely be granted a lot more leeway, which means even those with bad credit have a good chance of borrowing the cash they need. In addition, peer-to-peer lenders usually offer lower interest rates than banks.

Pawn some valuables

If you have any valuable possessions you can choose to pawn them at a local pawn shop. The way it works is very simple, the pawn shop will appraise the value of whatever it is you wish to pawn, some jewelry for example. Based on that appraisal, the pawn shop will make you an offer to borrow some cash (at interest) and then you must agree on a time frame by which you can repay the loan and claim back your items. Be warned though, if you don’t pay up in time the pawn shop has every right to confiscate your items and sell them to recoup the money it has lent you.

 

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Bachelor Tips: How to Furnish an Apartment

Furnish an Apartment

Got your first place? Just got out a long-term relationship? Whatever the reason is, you are a man living on his own now and you should have an apartment that reflects your sophistication and style. Here are some tips for bachelor’s on how to furnish an apartment.

Ditch the Dorm Room Decorations
Unless you want every guest you bring over to know you peaked at age 19, get rid of your frat-house tier accessories. I’m talking specifically about your Bob Marley poster, “keep calm” poster,  any beer related posters, or pretty much any poster. If you have a unique poster sized print you really cherish, spend a few bucks and get it framed. If it isn’t worth getting framed it isn’t worth putting on your wall. Also make sure you limit the amount of sports memorabilia in your house, a subtle pint glass or single banner are enough to show your love for your favorite team. Some people may like cereal but you don’t see their rooms covered captain crunch jerseys. Most importantly, ditch the empty booze bottles, there is no need to show guests how many bottles of Fireball or tequila you have consumed, in fact as an adult you should be concealing your booze bottles not showing them off as trophies.

Invest in the Essentials
If you are on a budget, that is okay, embrace minimalism.  Instead of buying one of everything from Ikea, invest in quality essentials. For example a quality classic leather sofa that will last is a must. Also a nice table and chairs, it doesn’t have to break the bank but a nice dining room set can last a lifetime and will be the center of countless memories. Once you have a dining room set, a couch, the only thing remaining is a bed; again this is an item that is worth spending a bit extra on. Now you are set, you can eat, relax, and sleep in comfort and style. Once you have these you can pick up secondary items at your discretion, when you see the perfect piece for your apartment and you have the budget, pick it up. There is no rush.

One-of-a-Kind
Furnish an Apartment

You’re unique and your apartment should reflect this. While department store serve a useful purpose and place, you don’t want your place to look like it was put together over night. You want an authentic and personal style. Make sure you include furniture and artwork that is one of a kind. Look for something at an antique market, an art’s fair, the thrift store. Not only is this a great way to save money, it is also crucial in making your place feel like home and a great conversation starter.

I hope this tips on how to furnish an apartment will help you make your bachelor’s pad reflect success and not the stereotypical messy studio. If you plan right you can have a unique, stylish, modern apartment  on just about any budget.

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How to Make Money While Sitting on Your Couch

Work From Home

It’s everyone’s dream. Make money while sitting on your  couch. But it is not always easy to earn cash while sitting around in your bathrobe.  Here are some tips to help you find the dream job you can do from your sofa.
Work From Home
Utilize a Skill You Already Have
The best way to start earning money from home is to take advantage of skills you already have. Are you a natural writer or have experience doing so? Perhaps you could find a job as a copywriter. This is often a flexible position as far location and you could definitely find a gig that would allow you to work from your couch. Do you have experience in computer programming or design? Then you are in luck! Many tech industry positions often allow flexible work environments including working from home. Some other popular work from home industries are medical transcriptionists, call center operators, travel agents, and tech support staff. So look at your work history and maybe you are already qualified for one of these positions.

Make Use of the Global Economy
Maybe an at home  job may seem like a low pay rate but it is all relative. A small hourly rate in Manhattan could be a king’s ransom amount in a country like Vietnam. So if you can flexibility where you work, you are opening yourself up to a plethora of opportunities. A recent publicized trends of of “digital nomads” is highlight workers who are taking advantage of this and working abroad while making a U.S. salary. If you choose a low cost country to visit while working remotely, not only can you work from your couch but you can travel the world as well.

Do Your Homework
If a job is too good to be true, it likely is. Be skeptical of banner adds about retirees earning $100,000 a with nothing more than laptop. Check out legitimate job sites and referrals from people you know. There are plenty of work from home jobs but remember they are actual jobs that require actual work. You will still have to work just as hard as in the office, if not harder! Also, it is important to make sure working form home is for you. It’s not for everybody. Some people think working from home will be ideal but after a few weeks get bored or miss the routine. For some it is nice to get out of the house ever once in a while.

So whether you are looking for a little extra cash on the side or a full time career from the couch; if you do you research and are qualified you can find it. Make sure you have a strong internet connection and a fast laptop and update your resume. The next thing you know you could be logging 40 hours a week from the comfort of your couch.

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Tips For saving Extra money for a rainy day

Saving Money For Rainy Day

Every wants a few extra bucks for the proverbial rainy day, am I right? While everyone knows they should be saving money it is not always as easy as you’d think. Whether you you want to stash cash for a dream vacation, a wedding, retirement, a down payment on a house, or just a bit of stability;  here are a few tips for saving extra money for a rainy day.

Saving Money For Rainy Day
Make a Budget
Writing out a budget, whether it is on a fancy new app, a spreadsheet, or the old school pen and paper; it doesn’t matter so long as you write down how much money are making and how much you are spending. This will help eliminate the ever present “where does all my money go” we have all been asking ourselves since our first paper route. Having a budget will allow you to make a realistic expectations for savings as well eliminate wasteful spending. It will also put things in perspective, 4 bucks a day on coffee doesn’t seem like too much until you realize that it is $120 a month that could easily be building your savings.

Enroll in a “Keep the Change” Program
Fewer and fewer of us are using cash. While some say a debit card makes it harder to stay on a budget, there are plus sides. Many banks over a “round up” or “keep the change” program which will round your transaction to the next dollar and put that extra money into a separate account. For example every time you buy lunch for $6.49 or your gas is $28.08,  the 51 or 92 cents will be moved to your savings account. While this may seem like (and is) just pennies, it can add up very quickly. These programs are incredibly helpful for those who want to These programs are incredibly helpful for those who have a hard time putting money into a seperate account. Now the only trick is to leave your savings account alone!

Teamwork
Everything is easier when you a partner. Just like are more likely to go to the gym if you have a gym buddy, you are more likely to save money if you have a saving. If you are planning a vacation with your best friend, make an agreement that you will both save $20 dollars a month until you reach your goal. Planning a wedding? You and your spouse could open a joint account and add equal amounts each week until you have enough. This way you have someone to hold you accountable and encourage you to put money into your savings and more importantly someone to deter you from taking it out!

No one has ever complained about having too much money saved for a rainy day. So follow some of these tips and hopefully it will help you in saving money for a rainy day.

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