27
Jun

Why You Must Understand Financial Literacy

ff20Financial literacy is the knowledge necessary for managing your personal finances. This is indeed a necessity for financial health. It will create a perspective that will allow you to avoid financial pitfalls. Most importantly, this will help you come up with wise decisions involving your hard-earned money. Experts highly emphasized that if you understand financial literacy, you’ll be able to make excellent choices and come up with a very strong financial management habits.

Financial Facts

When children leave their homes for college, they will certainly face a lot of new responsibilities, experiences, and environments. In order to help your student in this transition, they must be aware of the financial facts of life. These include how to open the first checking account or perhaps how to make the first purchase using a credit card. They must be ready to enter the world of becoming independent. Most people today view managing money as a symbol of independence and maturity.

Make sure that they fully understand the fundamentals of personal finance as this will guarantee that they know how begin their financial future. As a parent, be aware that you are the most important source of financial education for your young ones. Though it is not easy to talk about money, discussing personal finance with your children will show that you see them as responsible young adults.

Great Tips For Interacting With Your Kids About Money

  • Approach the conversation with an optimistic attitude.
  • Since laughter can help, consider lightening the mood with a joke.
  • You must set a tone of openness, trust, and confidence.
  • Ask several questions, and be sure to listen to the answers carefully.
  • Do not make it look like a lecture but an equal exchange.
  • Do not bring up an old financial disagreement.
  • Ensure that your kids know that they can always turn to you in case they will need financial help, information, and advice.
  • A great way of teaching your children about the fundamentals of finance is to develop a budget for college.

How To Develop A College Budget

  1. List your regular monthly expenses.
  2. Know your total income – these may include part-time job, financial aid refunds, and allowance.
  3. Subtract your expenses from your income to determine if the budget is reasonable.
  4. When the expenses are more than your income, you must work together in order to reduce your expenses until the numbers agree.
19
Jun

Modern Financial Advising For Beginners

ff19The Internet is a testament to the fact that there are DIY approaches to practically every need for which one might have traditionally requested another’s assistance. Financial planning is no exception. Those looking to start investing in careers often tend to believe they are capable of creating their own success. While individual success is not completely unheard of, it is rare. Services to expand financial gain are no longer exclusively for the wealthy. In fact, according to many experts, hiring help could drastically improve one’s chances of coming out on top financially in the long run. Still, many find it difficult to initiate the process. Here are some tips from a seasoned financial advisor for beginners.

Admitting It Is The First Step

Like with any significant self-improvement, determining whether or not you need assistance is the key to financial success. Unless you are a natural at portfolio management, you probably could benefit from the help of an expert. Deciding to allow someone to help create your monetary triumph is crucial. There is no shame in needing their expertise, especially when it has become so easy to do so affordably. Many modern companies have significantly lower minimum account requirements than previously held by traditional firms. Financial advisors have never been more accessible to new investors.

Decide to Invest

According to a seasoned financial advisor, the heart of financial planning can be summed up pretty simply: “You either have a plan, or you don’t.” Those without a specific approach often fail. After recruiting assistance, dedication to investment is crucial. Realize that attention to the status of your current portfolio is an investment into the status of your future portfolio. Decide that you are going to take a guided, methodical path to a more comfortable financial end. Sporadic, overly passive investment approaches are common pitfalls of individual investors who fail when attempting to go it alone. A solid strategist will encourage your desires by motivating you to remain dedicated to your plan. Remember-the sooner you begin planning, the longer your plan has to succeed.

Focus On The Future; Be Aware of The Present

The end goal of investment is the future increase. Trends in finance are constantly changing. A financial advisor can be of great assistance in this area, being more knowledgeable of these changes in a way that will increase the probability of multiplying your returns. Vigilant monitoring of the current climate is vital. Be sure that you have enlisted the assistance of someone who is dedicated to such surveillance. While your strategy might not necessarily always be comfortable, keep in mind that your future will be.

With the widened availability of financial advisors, it is more realistic than ever to begin investing. Regardless of the account size bracket into which you fall, there is undoubtedly a service for you. Realize that hiring a partner and having a plan are ways of presently managing your future. In the wise words of an experienced CFP, “The first step in planning is deciding to have one.”

11
Jun

From Checks to Cash The Basics of Check Cashing Services

ff18The idea of using and issuing check has gotten a notch higher. Now, people are no longer required to head to banks to have the check cleared, deposited, or encashed to the individual whose name bears it. A growing industry that offers check cashing services is now gaining ground to help people have a quick access to cash when a check has been issued. The money service industry has gotten larger and this is one of the latest additions to the range of services one can avail.

So, how does this check cashing system work?

Well, it is relatively simple. A person whose name appears on the check can go directly to any of these check-cashing providers. The business will then have to make the necessary verification of the identity. The person may be asked to provide at least two identification cards and/or a bank account. Upon verification, he will be asked to endorse the check and the business will then deposit the amount, less all the deductions and processing fee directly to the bank account. Most of the check cashing business also offer affiliate businesses such as payday loans, bill payments, and money order cashing. The processing fee may vary and some check cashing enterprises may likewise impose a minimum amount.

Advantages of using Check Cashing Services

• This method is advantageous to people who do not have any existing bank accounts. As banks tend to be relatively stricter in handing out cold cash, having to endorse the check to a legitimate business would be more convenient.

• Queues in banks can be extremely time-consuming. Having to spend the entire morning at a bank is not only inconvenient but would require so much effort especially for those who work during banking hours.

• You can have quick access to your money even on a bank holiday. Most check cashing businesses are open seven days a week. They also usually have online portals where your questions can be accommodated any time of the day.

• If there is no check cashing businesses close to your house, simply head to Walmart. They offer check encashing for a minimal fee. A $3.00 fee is deducted to checks, payroll checks, money orders, and tax checks amounting to $1000 or less. For larger amounts, a fee of $6 is deducted. Note that they only encash checks with a maximum amount of $5000. If you live far from Walmart, you may opt to check with major retailers close to your area such as 7-11.

• If you do not have a bank account where the money can be deposited, ask if the check cashing business offers pre-paid card loading system. This is another option. However, this would require activation fee of usually less than $10 per card.

Disadvantages of using Check Cashing Services

• The fees may be quite high. For instance, losing 3% of the check amount of $5000 could instantly mean losing $150 dollars instantly.

• Bounced checks can result to a major legal problem for the person who requested for the check endorsement.

• Not having the right identification card may likewise be a problem. Misspelled names and illegible penmanship on the check can also be questioned by the cashier.

How to put up a check cashing business?

As any type of business, registration and licensing are paramount. There are federal policies as well as local or state policies that have to be considered. As a general policy, any business that entails cashing for a fee fall under the Money Service Business or MSB. The business is required to use approved and checked bookkeeping methods. You are likewise expected to provide your list of agents and any reports that may be associated to money-laundering cases. Having a lawyer to help you with the process is highly recommended. Note that aside from the federal and state laws, the business must comply with the Patriot Act and Bank Secrecy Act as well.

As part of the business establishment process, you also need to identify your own check policy, especially if you intend to branch out someday. The policy fundamentally offers a quick list of which type of checks are you willing to cash out. Examples are money orders, payroll, personal, business, out-of-state or government checks. On top of these, you also need to identify which ID you would require your customers to show – driver’s license, government-issued, passport, or company ID’s.

As money service businesses are also considered high risks, you only need to conceptualize which type of cashing method you would employ. It is encouraged that ‘cold cash’ not be used for any transaction. Debit cards and other PIN-enabled cards are good options, too. Loading ATM or pre-paid cards are advised. In addition, ensuring that your establishment is equipped with 24-hour security system, surveillance cameras, sensor-sensitive doors, and bullet-proof glass would also help.

3
Jun

Holding on to Our Money

ff17Why is it so hard to manage money and hold on to it? How can we save more and spend less? It has become an issue to make and save money.

The world is geared in such a way that it’s difficult to hold on to our money…

Everyone is after money – our money, their money, everybody’s money – because of greed and because they never have enough. They spend years in higher education, in colleges and universities, to master the art of finding ways to get our money with such ease. They have become experts in their field and their field is to find more ways for our money to escape from our wallets faster and faster.

The funny thing is, there is a collaboration between the financial institutions and the commercial world to create more wants than needs. People, in general, are innocent and ordinary. The majority work hard to try to have a life without paying too much attention to the details… and that is when it happens…

I remember when banks were not so greedy. They made it easy and a pleasure to bank with them. Now it’s all about them making more and more billions in profits every year. They charge for every little detail, and we are not done yet, because they have their geniuses looking for ways to get every hard-earned dollar from our bank accounts into theirs-the latest being that, with every transaction at the teller, if you want a receipt, there is a charge of one dollar.

The government raises taxes, and if you don’t have a good accountant, you are doomed. There is a well-organized plan to find ways for our money to fly into someone else’s nest. Therefore, people will never get out of debt unless they get smart, spend less, and save more. As the saying goes, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

How about our young ones? Do you think there is more we can do to educate them about money matters, to help them manage their resources, money, time, and so on? I don’t think we do enough to prepare our young people for life and its money challenges!

We teach them history, the arts, geography, economics, and so on. Please, don’t get me wrong, these subjects are important, but I feel it’s more important to teach them practical and smart ways to deal with their personal finances, starting from when they’re young and into their teen years.

It would make such a huge difference in their lives. It would determine how successful they are going to be… or not.

But here is the question: Who is responsible for this task-the school system or the parents? Why do we as parents depend on others, such as schools, to ready our children for life? Isn’t it our duty to make this happen?

Here is my opinion: Parents care more for their children than anyone else does; therefore, they are responsible for teaching their children about personal finances if the school doesn’t do it. Remember, economics is not the same as personal finance. We have to teach young people to spend less than what they make, a lesson that can prove to be as valuable as gold if it’s put into action! It’s a very simple lesson but a very important one.

29
May

3 Things You Must Overcome in Order to Make More Money

ff16The number one thing to know is this: More and more Americans are rightfully concerned about wage and income disparity but few see that government has any real solution to this concern. This is a step in the right direction because although many members of low-income households work heroically and waveringly at very low wages the “Census Bureau data shows that for every hour worked by those in a low-income household, those in a wealthy household toil 5 hours.”(I) Furthermore, “6 out of 10 households have no one working at all.”(ii)

Secondly, according to the latest Quantitative Analysis of Investor Behavior (QAIB) “The average investor in a blend of equities and fixed-income mutual funds has garnered only a 2.6% annualized rate of return for the 10-year time period ending December 31, 2013. The same average investor hasn’t fared any better over longer time frames. The 20-year annualized return comes in at 2.5% while the 30-year annualized rate is just 1.9%.”(iii)

Thirdly, checking the market performance as of the date of this writing, December 10, 2015, CNN Money reports that the S&P 500 Index is trading 0.56% higher than it closed yesterday. The year-to-date change is -0.12% and the 1 year change is currently -1.59%.

So here are the 3 things you must overcome in order to make more money:

1. You will need to overcome by working harder or longer, maybe both.

2. You will need to overcome by depending more on guarantees, less on market returns.

3. You will need to overcome by avoiding market volatility in order to keep more of what you make.

The first of these is easy enough to overcome. There are literally thousands of things that you can do, if you are willing, that will create more income for you. Saving at least 10% of that income will put you on track to becoming wealthier regardless of where you are today on the income scale. This isn’t rocket science. It is called work ethic. Being willing and ready to trade your skills, knowledge and time for money so that you can set aside money that can begin to work for you, instead of you always having to trade your time for money, is the most important thing in making more money.

Next, forget about putting your hard earned money into the market in hopes of it making you more money. Statistics document, as the QAIB research above proves, that this model of saving hardly keeps pace with inflation. That means you could save all your money in things like 401(k)s, IRAs, Roths, Mutual Funds, Securities and Bonds and end up with less value down the road than what you started with initially.

Finally, overcoming or avoiding market volatility is critical if you are planning on keeping more of the money that you and your money can create for you. Consider this based on the CNN Money report above. If you had entered the market this morning you would be making slightly over ½ of a percent on your position. Of course, you would have to pay the fees to make the trade either to enter, exit or both and that means you would have lost money today in the S&P 500. But let’s say you entered the market on the opening bell the first day of trading this year. That means you would have lost the trading fees plus you would have lost another 1/12th of a percent just because of market volatility. And if you had entered the market 1 year ago today then your losses would include all the fees plus an additional -1.59%.

Logic tells us that saving in places that provides guaranteed returns and opportunity to participate in market returns without assuming the risk that is inherent in the volatile market place while having complete access without fees or penalties to the capital saved is more reliable than what the average investor is accomplishing with their money today. That is why The Perpetual Wealth Code™ is based on overcoming these 3 things that most investors are plagued with in their portfolio. Guaranteed, Available, Manageable Equity is the GAME that you need to win in order to make and keep more money.

20
May

A New Year’s Resolution for Your Finances

ff15It’s shortly after New Year’s, and that means resolutions. And it’s not too late to set a New Year’s Resolution for your finances. The goals that are most successfully accomplished are those that are manageable, not too overwhelming. So let’s look at one financial goal that is manageable enough to be accomplished this year.

Pay a little bit extra on your mortgage every month. Make it small enough that you can manage it every month, but not so much that it is stressful. Start with a small success and then build on it.

Let’s see how paying just a little more on your mortgage could really benefit your finances in the long run.

For example, if you have a 30-year mortgage for $150,000 at an interest rate of three percent, paying an additional $100 each month would save you a total of $17,214 and you would pay it off six years early. If you were only able to increase the amount to an extra $50 per month, you would still save $9,719 and pay it off three years and four months early.

If you have a 20 year for $100,000 at 4% interest, and added $50 a month to your payment, your loan would be shortened by 26 months, saving you a total of $5,563. If the same loan had an extra $100 paid on it each month, that would be $9,883 saved and it would be paid of three years and eleven months early.

So making a small sacrifice each month to pay a little bit extra on your mortgage can save you a significant amount of money in the future.

Now for the question of where to get an extra $50-$100 each month. One recommendation would be to make this extra amount automatic. Have it taken out of your paycheck or bank account automatically. If you never see it, it’s a small enough amount that hopefully you won’t feel it too much. For example, if you are paying an extra $50 per month and get paid weekly, that’s only $10 or $12.50 out of the paycheck (depending on how many weeks are in the month).

Here are a few suggestions to help you with that extra money you need each month. Don’t buy lottery tickets. Take a lunch to work and eat out a few less times each month. Make your own coffee instead of stopping to buy some on your way to work.

12
May

What to Do When You Need Money

ff14Budget and expenses are two of the most important and critical aspects in one’s life. From bills, to school fees and household expenses, a lot of money is required and that it ends up quickly before the month’s ends as well.

Suppose you do not have money, then there are plenty of ways to get it either through the loan, or a credit card. Before making a decision, need to consider a few things so that you don’t end up in any trouble at all.

Make an assessment of your financial situation

You need to deliberate thoroughly, before you plan to borrow money. That is, you should debate whether you really require a loan or not. If there is some solution to your shortage in money, kindly address it soon.

You need to review your household budget as well. If you can save money by changing the broadband supplier or the amenities (gas or electricity) supplier, then do so. You would be surprised how much you have saved at the end of each month. This would help you to sort out your cash problems for sure.

But if there is no option left, you can opt for a credit card or a loan.

Credit Card

Before you decide to select the credit card, you need to address the following questions.

· What is the rate of interest?

· How much time will it take to pay off the balance?

· Do you need to use the card for paying other expenses that would increase the balance and eventually increase the interest rate that you need to pay?

· Are you already having some balance on the card?

· How close will you be with your credit limit when you use the card for the respective expense?

Sometimes, it happens that you have the option of spreading the payments with your creditor through a payment plan. If such is the case, you should discuss it, and if the expense is not an emergency, you can delay it too. This will help you to save some amount of money that would enable you to pay the partial cost without the need to burrow.

Personal Loan

A loan is a good option, but the following questions need to be pondered upon and clarified before applying for the loan.

1
May

Tips for ATM Safety

ff13ATMs and debit cards offer quick access to your money when you’re on the go. Most of us have come to rely on the convenience they provide, but it’s important to use caution to keep ourselves and our finances safe. To protect your identity and ensure your personal safety, it makes sense to exercise caution when using an ATM. The tips below are meant to make you aware that although rare, ATM crime can happen.

Follow these tips to help keep you and your money safe!

    • Protect your ATM card as if it were cash. Report lost or stolen cards immediately.

 

    • Safeguard your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Don’t give your number to anyone; don’t write your PIN on your card, avoid using numbers that are easily identified (birth date, etc.).

 

    • Try to use ATMs with which you are familiar. Choose well-lit, well-placed ATMs where you feel comfortable. If you need to use an ATM late at night, ask a friend to accompany you.

 

    • Before approaching the ATM, scan the surrounding area. Avoid the ATM altogether if it is too dark to see, isolated or looks unsafe. If there are bystanders loitering in the area, go to another machine or come back later.

 

    • Be prepared to conduct your business as soon as you reach the machine. Have your ATM card ready in your hand. Do not dig through a purse, bag or wallet in front of an ATM or while you are in line. Secure your money immediately after the transaction. Count your money later, not at the ATM.

 

    • Use your body to shield the screen and keypad before entering your PIN. Make sure other individuals in line stay a reasonable distance from you while you’re performing your transaction.

 

    • Do not allow anyone to distract you while you are at the ATM. Be cautious if strangers approach you or try talking to you – even if your card is stuck or you’re having trouble with your transaction. If someone takes interest in your transaction, leave the area and report the suspicious behavior to the police.

 

    • Never leave your receipt in the ATM. Discarded ATM receipts are a primary source of identity theft and account fraud. Shred receipts before discarding them.

 

    • If you are using the ATM at night make sure there is nothing compromising your personal safety like overgrown bushes or poor lighting.

 

  • Be wary of an ATM scam called “skimming, where thieves attach electronic devices to the ATM that are designed to capture your card information and PIN. If an ATM card reader appears unusual compared to other ATMs, use another ATM.

Remember, if your ATM card is lost or stolen; contact your credit union immediately. They will take the proper steps to ensure your finances are safe and assist you in getting a new card.

29
Apr

Are You Confident About Your Financial Future

ff12We all use it, it is the common way we acquire services and goods on a daily basis. We trade our time for it. We rely on it to provide for our future, stash it away in belief that it will still have value in the future. It is our currency be it Dollars, Euros, whatever, but it is not as trustworthy as you may think. Look I am by no means a qualified financial adviser or guru in any form, but I am going to explain to the best of my ability; that you should start looking at other forms of investment to secure your financial future.

Fiat currency

All national currencies are called fiat currencies. What does this mean? Well Investopedia’s definition of a fiat currency is:

“Currency that a government has declared to be legal tender, but is not backed by a physical commodity. The value of fiat money is derived from the relationship between supply and demand rather than the value of the material that the money is made of. Historically, most currencies were based on physical commodities such as gold or silver, but fiat money is based solely on faith. Fiat is the Latin word for “it shall be”.” – investopedia.com

So basically, that piece of paper you carry in your pocket is exactly that, a piece of paper that is based on your faith that it will still have the same purchasing power tomorrow as it has today. So what is wrong with that?

Fiat currency, unfortunately, has had a long history of failure. Since the Roman Empire in the first century began with the practice of debasing their currency (adding impurities to their money thereby reducing the value but increasing the amount of currency in circulation) it has led to devaluation and eventual collapse.

Maybe you are thinking that it could not be happening today, I am sorry to say that it is. Our history has had several failed attempts at using paper currency and fiat currencies have never been successful except for political systems trying to prevent the debasement of their currency by letting the printing presses run amok.

It is not all doom and gloom though. I am also not saying this will save everyone, but if you look at countries like China who are stockpiling in gold, maybe we should follow in their footsteps? We all know that gold is valuable and there is only so much of it on our planet, this allows it more stability than fiat currency. Gold has also shown a consistent growth in its life time.

Like I said I am by no means a qualified financial adviser, I am just stating my thoughts and how I feel. And I feel that there is a definite shift in the way the world economy is moving right now. I can’t say if it is going to happen tomorrow or in the next 10 years, but I am sure it will happen. So maybe it will be a good idea to create a secure foundation for your financial future. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

22
Apr

How To Send Money Abroad In An Efficient Manner

ff7Every day, countless people make international money transfers. Is it easy to send money to someone in another country? Well, it depends. If you don’t take enough care, it may cost you much more money, as most people are oblivious to the hidden fees. Let’s find out more about how to make the process safe and cost effective.

For sending money overseas, you will have to bear two types of costs: the currency conversion cost and the cost to transfer the money to your desired country. The service provider can be an FX broker, a bank or a money transfer company. The thing is that they don’t convert one currency to the other on the basis of the inter-bank rate. Instead, they make the exchange at a lower rate making a good deal of profit. Give below are a few tips that may help you go through the process efficiently.

Foreign Exchange Brokers

Acting as intermediaries, foreign exchange brokers deal with a lot of banks and provide the best exchange rates. While their primary role is to convert currencies, they can also help you send money abroad for a reasonable fee.

While this option is cost effective, especially if you want to transfer over $5000, the process can take longer to complete. Choose this option if you don’t have to send your funds abroad urgently.

Commercial Banks

Banks are the most common means of international money transfers all over the world. However, the fact of the matter is that banks are known for charging hidden fees for money transfers, and the fees will continue to go up as the amount of money that needs to be transferred goes up. But the advantage of using a bank to do this job is that banks are considered the safest way of transferring money abroad. So, if you are planning to do the transfer through a bank, make sure you choose a bank that charges a minimum amount for transfers.

Money Transfer Providers

If you want to send less than $5000 to someone in another country, money transfer providers is probably your best option. They are best in terms of cost of transfer. Typically, they offer bank-to-bank transfers. You can also find some providers who allow you to receive cash at cash pick-up branches.

Online Money Transfer

These service providers allow you to send money abroad charging a minimal fee. Usually, they charge just $1 extra for the transfer. Some providers don’t even charge this fee.

These providers are regulated by the financial authorities of the same country they operate in. They use the state-of-the-art financial technology for sending and receiving funds. So, you can count on them with your eyes closed.

With online money transfer, you don’t need to visit a financial office. All you need to make the transfer is a computer and a fast internet connection.