5 Online Resources for Better Financial Education

Now more than ever, understanding how personal finances work is important for living a more stable and more comfortable life. It gives anyone the ability to have control over their own money and see to it that they know where it goes and how it is actually spent.

Many people have already been able to recognize the importance of creating educational materials about subjects of financial concern, and the availability of published content pertaining to this broad topic can be overwhelming. Forbes, Fortune and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance are just some of the best magazines that share the lime light in terms of learning about finances.

However, learning about money isn’t only limited to printed articles in newspapers, magazines and books. Those who are in need of financial guidance can now have a more comprehensive understanding of personal finances with the help of online materials, from well-constructed articles to highly engaging video tutorials.

Accessing this massive content database is just a matter of fully understanding the topic and determining which sites provide the perfect content that matches your needs. Now, prepare to go on a journey to better financial literacy. Unveil the secrets of the world of finance with these five online learning materials.

New York Times’ Your Money

New York Times is one of the most compelling newspaper companies in the United States. What sets it apart among other reputable resources is the keen understanding of how money goes around and comes around. The Your Money section in the newspaper is one of the most read pages in the US since it provides up-to-date news about financial regulations and changes in the financial outlook for the country.

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The section has migrated online to provide longer, more instantaneous narratives about budgeting and finance. In fact, the website now holds hundreds of articles pertaining to budgeting, investing and saving. In terms of credibility, these articles are written by experts and columnists such as Ron Lieber and Tara Siegel Bernard, both of whom tackle personal views about individual financial management.

One of Your Money’s aims is to update readers about financial trends and discuss how these trends can affect people in their daily lives. Such articles are highly effective because they are specific and relatable. Recent articles include topics such as a piece on renting or buying a home, the realities of student loans after graduating, and rainy day saving, just to name a few.

Wise Bread

Personal finance learning should not be limited to listening to financial coaches and reading about the topic in books and magazines. Sometimes, the best kind of learning comes from regular people who share the same problems. This is how Wise Bread began. Now, it has become one of the biggest learning sites in terms of finances. They’ve also got some excellent videos which you can use a video converter to be able to watch for free,  forever.

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Wise Bread is composed of a community of bloggers that help other individuals live their lives to the fullest with proper financial management. Its personal take on a wide range of financial situations makes the frugal living tips much easier to understand. However, the personal answers don’t necessarily sacrifice the depth of discussion of the topic.

Articles such as the “5 Ways to Turn Credit Card Rewards Into Real Wealth” show how one can take advantage of a rewards card to make a couple of hundred dollars on the side. Another notable article is the “How to Live a Retired Life Before Retirement” piece where the author discusses in detail how financial preparedness and clever planning can be advantageous as part of an individual’s short term and long term goals.

Investopedia’s Investing 101 tutorial

Another aspect of learning about finances is understanding how investing works. This online learning tool can help anyone interested in investments, even those who have no background in the field.

While this can be taken within a full year as part of a degree, Investopedia’s Investing 101 tutorial has made the program much more engaging and fast-paced, narrowing the science down to an 8-step course. It is a comprehensive guide that allows people to fully digest the importance of investing as part of their financial lives, and how it can be done successfully.

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The first and second part of the tutorial introduces the learner to the idea of investing, discussing how it is a tool for building wealth. At that point, anyone can answer the question “What is investing?” Along the way, the course helps the audience to understand the concept of compounding and how it relates to one’s spending habits.

Eventually, the types of investments are discussed, as well as the concept of investment portfolios and diversification. At the end of the tutorial, the learner should get have a good understanding of the investing world and be able to identify effective techniques that are useful in real life investing.

Entrepreneur Channel on YouTube

Video lectures prove to be one of the best ways for people to learn. Not only do they engage students to learn and participate in their own ways, they are also proven to help in problem solving and memory retention as well as independent critical thinking. This is the technique applied by Entrepreneur Online in teaching people about how to make more money and increase savings.

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This YouTube channel offers a variety of tips that anyone can utilize in their daily lives. What separates this from other channels is that the articles are based from business ideas in Entrepreneur Magazine and Entrepreneur Network partners. As such, the videos boast expert advice and comprehensive content.

Small Business Owners can get a whole lot of expert information from this channel. By simply clicking on the specific videos on the list, anyone can access a wide array of topics. The channel includes videos on business technology, business psychology and debt management. It gives the viewers a chance to expand their understanding of business techniques that they can then employ in their own companies.

Another advantage of video lectures, especially in Youtube and other online video platforms, is that it can be easily shared with other people. With the use of any specialized video downloader, learners can save their videos in high definition for offline viewing or for information dissemination with other people who have the same interest in the field.

Money Tree Investing Podcast

As video tutorials make their way along the path to being of the more effective learning tools, audio lectures and podcasts are also engaging aspiring learners. This is what Money Tree Investing Podcast tries to employ in its discussion about money, investments, passive income and personal financial management.

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Money Tree sets up a panel of experts to interview a special guest and ask a set of questions pertinent to the topic at hand. After which, the panelists open a discussion on what can be learned from the special guest and the whole program.

One of the more recent episodes includes a discussion about retirement planning, paying down student loans and taxes. In this podcast, they shared with their audience the variety of tax strategies anyone can employ in planning their retirement, as well as defensive allocations, and investments if they have the money to work with.

In another episode, they discussed the worst financial advice they’ve heard. Hillary Hendershott from Profit Boss was the special guest at that time, and she noted the worst financial advice she ever heard. She talked about discounted life insurance, house-flipping seminars, cash envelope systems and the “Bucket Investing” strategy.

Given this type of academic conversion, the podcast becomes more engaging and highly relatable to the viewers because the video shows real personal stories and genuine opinions on the topic. On top of that, the answers are drawn from expert knowledge of the subject and could prompt listeners to do their own research for a better personal understanding on the topic.

How Having High Cholesterol Can Affect Your Life Insurance Rate

For those who are planning to apply for a life insurance policy but are diagnosed with a high cholesterol level, this is for you.

Cases of high cholesterol have become widespread nowadays all over the world. In the United States alone, 33.5 percent of Americans have high levels of LDL or low-density lipoprotein, also known as the “bad” cholesterol. As such, the risk of heart disease is at an all-time high for all those 71 million Americans who have high cholesterol.

Given this unfortunate situation, those who are diagnosed with a high level of cholesterol but still want to apply for a life insurance are up for huge challenge. Find out how your medical condition can affect your policy and ultimately, your life.

Understanding High Cholesterol

Regardless of if you are physically fit enough for a reasonable life insurance policy, you still need your health checked as part of your life insurance policy application. Basically, this procedure gives insurance companies enough information to find out whether they would be willing to take the risk on you or not. They need to determine if you can live long enough to pay the policy premium up to maturity.

As part of the health examination required in your application, you need to undergo a blood cholesterol test. This test reveals if your cholesterol is high enough that it increases your risk of contracting any serious, life-endangering disease.

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Having a high blood cholesterol level paves the way for you toward getting heart diseases, which is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In fact, those who have high cholesterol are twice as likely to acquire heart disease as compared to those with a regular cholesterol level.

Whatever results come up, it affects various elements of your life insurance. Primarily, your cholesterol test results would reflect the amount of the claim you can get as your benefit and how much your premium would be to necessary keep the insurance policy enforced.

High Cholesterol vs. Life Insurance

Specifically speaking, when you undergo a cholesterol level test as part of your life insurance policy application, what insurance companies look at is your total cholesterol level. This includes LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and very low density cholesterol (VLDL). This information is important in determining the rates for your life insurance.

In order to qualify for the best rates for any policy, companies like Big Lou would want to see your total cholesterol level below 200-220 mg/dL and a ratio of total cholesterol/HDL at 5.0 or below. In some cases, if you do not initially meet the required level, you are allowed to take prescription drugs to make sure that you do keep your cholesterol levels controlled.

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On the other hand, there are other companies that look at your cholesterol level prior to any medicine and base their decisions on the results of the premedication test. This is probably because only 1 out of every 3 adults with high LDL cholesterol can actually get their condition under control.

Then again, if your cholesterol levels go a little bit over the standard levels, you can still get a policy but at a different rate. Now, if your cholesterol level goes far beyond the acceptable rate even after taking in necessary medicine, you might still get approved. However, you might get the policy at a much higher rate, sometimes reaching up to 50 percent more than the regular rate.

Of course, if your test shows a critically unacceptable result (i.e. cholesterol level above 400), your life insurance application may just be rejected completely.

At the end of the day, the approval of your policy application it really depends on the company that wants to help with your desire to be insured. Keep in mind that the insurance industry is all about risk. The riskier you are for the company, the more likely you might be disqualified for the policy.

Easy Ways To Learn How To Save

It has been said thousands of times that it is important to save. Your savings serve as your backup plan in case things gets messed up for you financially. However, at one point or another, you face different challenges on keeping your savings intact or even starting saving in the first place.

For those who are persistent enough to start saving early, when they hit a bump on the road, they forget about continuing on with their financially responsible habit. On the other hand, those who just can’t seem to start saving may see it as a hindrance to their goal rather than a tool.

To finally learn how to save consistently, remember these two tips, and soon, you can enjoy living a more financially secure life.

Be Organized

People become overwhelmed with saving because, oddly enough, they see the money they set aside for this cause as a form of “expense” that they have to pay every time money comes in. Unfortunately, this mindset can never work if you really want to start saving soon.

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To avoid this financially unhealthy thinking, you need to start seeing money as a tool that can help you pave the way towards your goals. As it is a tool, remember that money is a resource that you need to appropriately allocate to certain aspects in your life. With that said, you need to be more organized than usual in order to take that first step to financial freedom.

Find ways to organize your cash flow. You can use a logbook to jot down money that comes in and out your pocket. You can also use spreadsheet programs to be more efficient. There are also a lot of applications you can download to ensure organization with your funds. Whatever option you go for, you need to find a way to see the bigger picture with what is going on with your money.

For instance, jotting down your expenses on food can give you a different perspective on what, where, and how often you eat. When everything is written down, you can see exactly what you are spending and decide whether it’s the appropriate amount. You can also determine if there is enough wiggle room for you to reallocate some of your budget to other aspects in your life like in transportation, life insurance, or occasional leisure trips.

Take it Slow

Some people feel the need to start big in terms of their savings. Primarily, this is due to the pressure they feel when they learn that other people have “big savings.” They immediately act on their ego without thinking about it much or planning enough to actually get things done.

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In reality, the best way to start saving effectively is to start small. Yes, you can use that piggy bank you have stored away, collecting dust instead of coins. Those who earn well (but can’t save well) can start putting in loose change or spare cash to start off their financial journey.

What this does is teach you how to create the habit of saving. If you have just started working and have just received your first paycheck, put an amount that you feel comfortable with. In the same way, if you are a tenured manager but simply can’t start saving for whatever reason, start building up your home savings with your piggy bank.

When you have created the habit of setting aside money regularly, you begin to realize that you need to put a little bit more. After a while, you add a little bit more until such time that you want to save in a bank, then go for time deposits and ultimately, invest. It may sound too far out, but huge things do start with something small.

Tips on How to Get Life Insurance for Seniors

Life insurance is important, but not everyone knows that.

As you get older and start your family or get married, it looms larger and larger in importance. It can be a safeguard for the people in your life so that they can feel secure no matter what. It can give you piece of mind know that if anything happens, your family will be covered.

You may be a late bloomer when it comes to understanding life insurance. You may even be one of those people who thought having life insurance is unnecessary.

Despite your delayed realization on what you’ve been missing all these years, it is never too late. You can still get a life insurance and feel protected. Then again, because of your delay, there are certain factors that you need to take into consideration in terms of what you can still get from your insurance.

Senior couple with financial adviser. Isolated on white background.

In any case, it is always a good decision to step up, take control of your life and get your own life insurance. Follow these two tips to put yourself on the path to get there.

Get it the Traditional way

Depending on certain key factors, you can still get a life insurance policy from a good number of insurance providers even though you are a senior. Luckily for you, there are certain policy regulation boundaries that can still allow you to apply and be covered by a suitable insurance plan.

One of the most critical factors will be your age. There are companies that still cater to clients up to 65 years old. As long as you pass the other requirements, you can still apply for a policy and be covered for life. However, since the claims for any life insurance policy are primarily based on the length of time that you have kept the policy enforced, you might get benefits that are relatively lesser when compared to the benefits of those who have been insured much longer.

Now, if you passed the age criteria, you also need to make sure that you are in good health. Just like anyone applying for a life insurance policy, you need be in tip-top shape to be given a policy that maturity enough to be worth it in the long-term.

There is a variety of options for you if you plan on going through the regular route of getting insured. Do your research and talk to a financial adviser who can help you know more about insurance products that fits your needs, wants, and your place in life. 

Go for GUL

Surprisingly, there are lots of people aged 60 and older who are on their way right now to get themselves insured. Some have had term insurance or have been part of a group insurance in their previous occupations. Whether the policy has expired or they have left their company thus effectively losing their slot in a group insurance, some people may need a new plan to stay insured.

However, if you are a senior and you want to continue on with your insurance, you would either need to pay more or have your application denied.

This is where GUL comes in. Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance or GUL is like a term insurance but has the far reaching benefits similar to whole life insurance. It is a policy option that is designed to last you a lifetime.

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With GULs, policies are set to specific ages. For example, if you set it to age 90, the plan is effective up until you are 90. Now, if you set the age to 100, an age that has a likelihood of paying out a death benefit, you are practically getting the benefit of a whole life insurance.

Also, this insurance product has a fixed premium rate throughout the life of the policy. This makes it a cheaper option for seniors. However, despite of the relatively lesser cost, the insurance benefit goes beyond that of a regular plan applied at ages 60 and above.

Just like any other policies, it is better to know more about GULs’ ins and outs. If you feel that this is the best option for you, contact your local insurance advisor and learn more what makes this product a viable option to a lot of seniors world-wide.

How the Financial Service Industry Evolved through the Years

Gone are the days when people needed to wait in line just to get things done at their banks. Never again should one worry about rushing to the bank just to get everything done quickly and “conveniently.” Thanks to technological advancement in the world of banking, everything has drastically changed for the better.

Simply put, technology has merged with financial services so well that it has become its own bustling industry.

Although traditional banking still exists today, the financial service industry is leaning toward transitioning completely with the integration of technology. As the world seems to be brought closer and closer by the second, banking and other financial services are made more convenient with innovative systems that are designed to help each company meet the demands of today. Transactions are done faster, and customers are less frustrated by the waiting game.

While there are countless technologies being developed today for better customer experience and quality service, there are those that pushed the industry into a whole new level of convenient customer service.

Here we’ll list the innovations in the financial services industry, the various transitions they have undergone, and the different factors that led the entire financial services business to its current state. 

Primary Shift: Bank Card Convenience

During the earlier days of banking, checks and passbooks used to be a common option by almost every bank account owner. Later on, banks acknowledged that they needed to provide customers with something that was more mobile, something as good as money. Hence, bank cards were born.

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According to MasterCard, the first bank card was introduced by Brooklyn banker John Biggins in 1946. He fondly called it “Charg-It” and when customers used it for purchase, the bill was then forwarded to Biggins’ account. Afterwards, the bank reimbursed the merchant and obtained payment from the customer.

It turns out, Biggins’ simple idea shaped the whole future of the banking industry. The plastic credit and debit cards came soon after the “Charg-It”. Soon enough, other transaction cards were invented. ATM cards, fleet cards, and free gift cards became popular with different types of users.

Today, everyone seems to have bank cards on hand all the time, enabling them to pay a merchant for goods and services with one tap or swipe. Since almost everyone has a card or two, it is about time to know how bank cards of today work.

As everybody is aware, there are a variety of cards available for each person, depending on his or her needs. A credit card for example, is a payment card issued to users to enable the cardholder to pay a merchant for goods and services. All of this is possible based on the cardholder’s promise to the card issuer to pay the amoun, potentially with other agreed-upon charges.

What card issuers do is to create a revolving account and grant card holders a line of credit, from which the user can “borrow” money for payment to a merchant or as cash advance. The catch about credit cards is that there is a credit limit with every account, and a requirement to pay the cash borrowed within a specific period of time. All things considered, credit cards prove to be beneficial if maintained properly.

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The other popular type of bank card is the debit card. A debit card is slightly different from the credit card. It does offer the same convenience of a credit card, but works in a different way. Debit cards draw money directly from your checking account when you make the purchase. This means that when you purchase goods or services for a certain cost, it is placed on hold until the amount is deposited by the purchaser. This is why it may be best to keep a running balance on the debit card so that transactions may be done faster and more smoothly.

Second Gear: Mobile Banking

As the world of finance and banking moves forward to integrating technologies to make everyone’s transactions faster and more customer-friendly, the banking world has recognized that there is a next step toward helping people benefit from using bank cards.  The mobile industry has boomed in the last decade because of its convenience and connectivity. Now, most people could not live a day without their mobile phones. This is exactly why bankers and corporations needed to shift their business to second gear through mobile banking.

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Mobile banking has been many financial service corporations’ answer to the increasing demand for convenience and easier transactions. It is technically defined as a service provided by a bank or other financial institutions that permits customers to do financial transactions online. Using a mobile phone or tablet, banking is made available 24 hours a day. This is possible because of a developed mobile application that can be downloaded to mobile devices, depending on the user’s type of operating software.

The earliest recorded type of mobile banking used to be done in SMS. In  1999, smart phones were introduced into the market, which included WAP support that enabled users to connect to the internet. European companies made sure to take the first step, launching their mobile banking platform. However, with the rapid growth of mobile applications in the last decade, banking corporations evolved to produce applications that fully support banking processes such as viewing account details and previous transactions, balance inquiries, and fund transfers.

However, there is more to mobile banking than what exists right now. With the development of new technology and increasing use of smartphone and tablet-based devices, mobile banking can now enable customers to link their accounts across various aspects of their online life. Certain functionalities on the business end help create new ways of lead generation, prospecting, as well as developing deep customer relationships. Plus, the world of mobile banking would achieve superior customer experience with bi-directional communications.

Tertiera: Variety of Trading Platforms

As mobile banking made spending online more convenient and more accessible, many companies have also tried to tinker with the possibility of establishing various platforms where people can both earn and spend their resources. Usually launched online, these trading platforms allow the power of online banking and trading in one. One of the leading platforms in this regard is PayPal.

PayPal is an online payment service that allows individuals and businesses to transfer funds electronically. The idea behind PayPal is simple: Use encryption software to allow people to make financial transfers between computers. That simple idea has turned into one of the world’s primary methods of online payment.

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PayPal now boasts over 100 million active accounts in 190 markets worldwide. Anyone can send funds to anyone with an email address, whether they have a PayPal account or not. However, in order to receive the funds, the recipient must have a PayPal account associated with a specific email address. Basic PayPal accounts are free, and many financial transactions are free as well, including all purchases from merchants that accept payments using PayPal.

Even the best technology companies lean towards playing a part in this trading platform. Google Wallet, a renowned platform in the United States, boasts the same capabilities, enabling users to wire money even if the recipient has no Google Wallet account. Payza, Paymate, PayMaya and many other platforms are taking part in this bustling business, enabling customers to choose from a wide variety of brands.

It can be expected that banking technology will only move forward from here, with a goal to make it even more convenient for more customers all around the globe.

Six Important Things To Do In Your 20s

Twenties. It’s that period in one’s life when you can either be too adventurous or too conservative. If you want to set yourself up for success in your 30s (or much later in life), it’s best if you make the most out of your 20s by building a career, experiencing new things through travel, connecting with your family and friends, and saving up.

Search or build a career that enables you to work from home

Remote employment has become increasingly popular these days, and you should take advantage of it. One of the best ways to have more control in your life is by working from home, because once you’re home, things can start to shift in your favor as you call the shots in how you do your work.

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Of course, there are various challenges with this set-up. There are relatively few types of jobs that translate to a career from home. That’s why you should first survey the different careers that are typical of at-home workers before you set yourself up for one of them.

Almost every professional who is now working from home has either worked very hard in their twenties to build their own business or has worked hard enough in the past to specialize on a certain skill that has made them highly valuable in the company to replace. The bottom line is that there’s just much freedom and flexibility about this kind of job that it could lead to bigger career changes in the next decade of your professional life.

Travel

Heading out to faraway places and discovering new parts of the world – especially on your own – is definitely a spiritually rewarding experience. It can also tell you that are mature enough to go on your own and learn from other cultures.

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During this time, you won’t have any other pressing obligations and could be carefree for a few moments. Use this opportunity to meet different people, live with them, and understand their thoughts and culture. Plus, you can learn how to survive independently outside the comforts of your usual environment.

In itself, traveling is a great provider of knowledge. There are tons of things that you can learn if you invest in a form of travel during your 20s. Try not to go from one hotel to another, but also try going from city to city, or country to country, staying with, when possible, with local families. People learn through struggling, and if you can push yourself to struggle with language, customs, foods, and arts, you can definitely learn a lot.

Build muscle.

There are many rewards of trying to live a healthy life. Unfortunately, it is a sad fact that “aesthetically pleasing” people tend to be those who are more privileged in life. According to Daniel Hamermesh’s research, “Attractive people are likely to earn an average of 3 to 4 percent more than a person with below-average looks. That adds up to $230,000 more over a lifetime for the typical good-looking person, Dr. Hamermesh estimates. Even an average-looking worker is likely to make $140,000 more over a lifetime than an ugly worker.”

When you do decide to start to working on your dream body, you should do it as early as possible. What you probably didn’t know is that you can buy yourself some time if you’ve been lifting weights regularly during your twenties. When muscles have been built earlier in your life, they tend to stay strong long enough that you can do relatively simpler workouts in your thirties. This plan allows you a lot more flexibility with your workout regimen later on.

Of course, fit and more buff people are generally healthier than the average man. This means that not only do you get more attractive, but you also live longer and not worry too much about avoidable ailments in your old life. There are many other benefits to being fit, and you should start aiming to be one in your 20s. Because living healthy is a lifestyle as much as it is a habit, you need to build up that pattern as early as possible so that your own body would be groomed for a healthier life.

Connect with your siblings

Staying in touch with your siblings in your twenties may not be as fun as it was when you were a toddler. This is the period when people are beginning to make their marks in their communities. They begin to establish their own identities. Some even go as far as becoming their parents or become romantically engaged with someone like their parents.

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At this point, you might be in denial of this new turn in life. You might even stay in that denial stage as long as possible.  This can lead to avoiding anything related to your parents. This includes avoiding your siblings because siblings can always tell when you’re acting like your parents.

According to a study from Harvard, one of the indicators of people who are happy is their relationships with their siblings as an adult. Those who remain close with their siblings are generally happier and more directed in life.

If believe the path to happiness lies in being able to get into exclusive clubs or have the fanciest things money can buy, you should probably choose a new path. These things don’t last. Your siblings are the ones who stay the longest. Give them regular visits and see a different light in your life.

Save as much as you can, even when it means being stingy sometimes.

Money shouldn’t be your primary motivator, but nearly everyone could easily say that you should still focus on sensible financial planning, especially setting away a rainy-day fund to cushion you when you hit inevitable bumps on the road. Start saving and look for guides on the internet on how you can live a generous life without having to spend a lot.

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You can set aside six to 12 months of living expenses. You don’t want to panic or change your lifestyle if something bad happens like injury, sickness, or job loss.

When it comes to treating others, always remember that you really don’t have to impress your friends. For example, you can just look for cheap but memorable – or practical – gifts to your best friend’s wedding like a water heater from your local store or something creative like a survival kit that you can buy online. Indeed, it’s not your task to impress your friends by spoiling them with an expensive night out. Rather, save now and be prepared when the time of need comes.

Realize that 20s is not practice

Your 20s shouldn’t be a rehearsal for your old age. It is real life and the poor choices that you can make can haunt you when you’re older. Don’t worry about something like relocation – it’s true that you can live anywhere, but it’s not true that you’re going to want to live just anywhere. Go on and live with your parents if money is a big issue, but make sure that you are looking ahead after a certain amount of time.

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People in their twenties spend too much time making dead-end decisions that they pretend don’t count. Instead, focus on using a systematic way to try new jobs and new relationships to figure where you fit. Don’t worry that things don’t feel right in your twenties because everything happens so fast. Time does speed up as you get older, and you’re not going to believe how fast your twenties are over.

The Pros and Cons of Angel Investing

The idea of being an angel investor is really tempting, and many angel investors have found a lot of success with their endeavors. Technically, angel investors are those who invest in small startups or entrepreneurs, and often, they are among the entrepreneur’s family and friends. The angel investors may provide a one-time investment to help the business propel or an ongoing injection of money to support and carry the company through its difficult early stages.

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They are called “angels” for a reason. Angel investors, according to other definitions, are also called informal investors, angel funders, private investors, seed investors, or business angels. They are usually affluent individuals who inject capital for startups in exchange for the company’s equity or convertible debt. Some angel investors invest through crowdfunding platforms online or build angel investor networks to pool in capital.

The biggest takeaway as to why most people would consider becoming an angel investor is that being a private investor allows for more favorable terms for both parties as compared to becoming a lender. Lenders would normally invest on the entrepreneur starting the business rather than the viability of the business itself. As an angel investor, they are more focused on helping startups take their first steps, rather than the possible profit they may get from the business.

Essentially, angel investors are the opposite of venture capitalists.

However, there are still challenges that could come along with this investment. It’s like when you get a physical gold IRA or simply invest in the stock market – you need to have a certain level of risk appetite to take on those challenges.

As such, before you decide to go out and start helping entrepreneurs, find out the pros and cons of becoming an angel investor to make sure that you make the most out of your investment money.

Pros:

You do become the Angel that a startup business needs

Becoming an angel investor would mean that you can really make one’s dream a reality. When entrepreneurs have exhausted money from friends and family, personal savings, bank loans, and credit cards for their startups, they may seek angel investors to help them fill their needed equity gap. According to studies, nearly 2/3 of funding for new enterprises is obtained from angel investors. Therefore, angel investor capital can provide a great source of funding for new businesses that have a high potential for growth.

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Flexible Business Agreements

Becoming an angel investor can yield the most flexible business agreement, and you can always get the better end off of a startup business. Angel investors have a more informal investment criteria compared to the traditional financial lenders, including banks and venture capitalists. Since they are investing their own money, their business deals can often be negotiable. Because of this flexibility, they are more likely to be excellent sources of capital for early-stage businesses.

Raising Capital Continuously

Most early-stage ventures require small amounts of money, typically less than $500,000. Angel investors can provide this needed amount by using their own personal funds for the investment. This really gives a lot of mileage for startup businessmen because of the higher potential for more capital. Venture capitalists, on the other hand, typically pool money from different sources, generally invest in later-stage companies that have already established stability and success, and invest in enterprises in need of at least $500,000 to $1 million.

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Getting Rid of High Monthly Fees

Another benefit from raising an angel capital is that there are no outstanding payment rates such as the ones that bank loans and credit cards require. Many entrepreneurs enjoy this element of angel investors, concentrating their time and effort into taking their new business forward rather than worrying about high monthly payments and fees that traditional lenders enforce. It’s like you’re passively gaining the income while getting rid of that extra hassle of outstanding fees.

High Risk, But Definitely High Rewards

You can consider this as either a pro or a con. Angel investing is definitely a high-risk maneuver, but surely a highly rewarding experience. An angel investor’s capital in a new business is considered to be a high-risk investment since the new company has not yet established a solid track record of success. Since they often provide the initial funding for a new company, it can be quite difficult to determine if their invested enterprise can become successful in the long run. Despite the fact that most new businesses fail in their initial years, angel investors tend to be quite optimistic about their investment choices and often request a large amount of returns to counterbalance the risk.

Providing Money That’s Not a Loan

As you take out your small business loan, your bank expects you to repay it, whether the venture succeeds or not. As an Angel investor, you operate inside a different framework. You offer the capital needed to get the ball rolling. The startup businessman would definitely feel blessed because of your existence, especially when most banks would decline him off a business loan. Surely, if the startup takes off, both parties reap the financial rewards. Then again, this might also be considered a con: while providing lesser headaches for the startup businessman, essentially giving away your money without definite collateral might fire back at you when the company falls flat.

Helping Others, Especially the Community

Many angel investors choose to invest locally – therefore, as an angel investor, you are extending your help to someone as they grow inside the community. The capital investment that Angel investors provide for a new business not only assists the launch of a new enterprise, but also helps create employment opportunities and stimulate economic growth by encouraging consumers to purchase their products. Many angel investors take pride in using their expertise in giving back to their community. These are the angel investors who look beyond monetary return.

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Cons:

No Recognition

Anonymity can either be good or bad for Angel investors. While there are well-documented directories of venture capital firms available, there is no national register for angel investors. Due to these differences, angel investors do not have the national recognition as their venture capitalist counterparts. They remain hidden and mysterious but choose to do so in order to have a degree of separation from entrepreneurs who may pester them with their business plans and telephone calls.

Extremely High Risk

Like mentioned before, becoming an Angel investor is a very high risk. Sure enough, you can gain a good amount of control to the business venture, but oftentimes, this wouldn’t be enough to necessarily steer the startup venture in the right manner. Also, the business enterprise could easily fail because you’re making a deal with startups. While everybody has to start from somewhere, not all startup entrepreneurs are good, and they can even be too ambitious for their own good. The high risk of becoming an angel investor may easily be rewarded with results, but they are risks nonetheless.

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Becoming an Angel Investor is Quite Costly

In exchange for providing the needed startup capital for a new company, many angel investors often require a certain percentage of stake in a company, starting at 10% or more, and expect a large ROI for their exit. However, as mentioned earlier, becoming an angel investor requires a huge amount of investment with no return in a short amount of time.

3 Financial Benefits of Being Healthy and Where to Start

Keeping yourself fit and its effects on your overall health is something that you’ve already read about many times. What you may not know is that working out and eating right actually has tremendous financial benefits, too. A lot of research suggests that overweight people spend more on health care. Then again, it’s not just the lean who stand to save. The fact is that regardless of your weight, if you’re a couch potato, you’re most likely missing out on earning and saving opportunities.

Here are some of the benefits of being healthy overall, and how to keep a simple exercise regimen for starters:

happy and healthy

Benefit 1: Total Payoff in every bit of your paycheck

Health care costs aren’t the only way physical activity is a benefit. People who work out regularly – e.g. at least three times in a week – are more productive at work than those who don’t, according to research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Generally, those who get sufficient exercise also miss fewer workdays, according to the same study.

Again, those absences can translate to lost income and lost opportunities for advancement.

Devoting work time to physical activity can lead to higher productivity, a research from Stockholm University also suggested. The study shows that it is possible to use work time for exercise or other health-promoting measures and still attain the same or higher production levels.

The same production levels with fewer work hours means greater productivity, while individuals benefit from better health as a result of the physical activity. This increased productivity comes from people getting more done during the hours they are at work and from less absenteeism owing to sickness.

business professional

Another study published in the Journal of Labor Research found that men who work out regularly can expect to make 6% more than their sedentary counterparts on average. For women, the pay boost is higher: Fitness-savvy females make 10% more on average.

Benefit 2: Lose Weight, Lower Healthcare Costs

This is a no-brainer, but in case you take it for granted, lowering healthcare cost is probably the best reason to start exercising and losing weight. The World Health Organization has stated that people who exercise regularly save an estimated $500 in annual healthcare costs.

Elective procedures are always going to be expensive. Unexpected trips to the emergency room because of unforeseen accidents and illnesses, like fractures and infections are always pricey. Additionally, paying for the medical treatments you can’t predict is hard enough – it is always better to stop shelling out hundreds per year on preventable healthcare costs.

Having an inactive lifestyle is one of the many causes of heart attack, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, and depression. Just by doing regular exercise, like walking or swimming a few times a week, you can greatly reduce your risk of serious health conditions and diseases. You breathe better, sleep better, have more energy, and, if you make it a serious lifestyle change, you would most likely be able to dodge pricey health treatments and prescriptions altogether.

Benefit 3: Breaking the Habit

One of the best, if not the best, reasons why you should go out and exercise more often is that it changes your mindset. There’s a cycle that most people follow that keeps them in debt, and makes saving any money at all seem impossible.

say no to sweets

People oftentimes work too much, are constantly stressed out, and never have enough time to eat quality meals or take care of their bodies. This is where the health challenge comes in.

Break the cycle by introducing one of the best stress-busters out there into your routine.

Get excited about trying new healthy recipes, and scour the web for meal plans, snacks, and coupons to keep costs down. Fill up your free time by trying a new class at the gym, or exploring a new hiking trail with your family. Carry your new mindset over into healthcare, treating common aches and illnesses with gentle exercises like yoga, and nutritious foods.

Baby Steps to Getting Fit: Where to start?

If you want to start your road to being healthy, it’s always best if you start small. Commitment to exercise and other workout programs could be daunting to anyone, and what usually happens is that people would stop working out after Day 1 simply because it was just too tiring.

If you have a gym membership, it’s always best to look for an instructor, because they can teach you the proper workout plan, the proper diet, even the proper supplementation. More importantly, they can help you decide on how to properly start your training regimen, like suggesting the best time to workout depending on your working schedule, recommending the top 5 pre workouts for energy before working out (so you can maximize your results), and determining a better meal plan for yourself.

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If you don’t have a gym membership, you can always go to the internet for different programs to follow, especially the ones where you can perform them at home. You can try these simple workouts for beginners:

Note: Perform this workout as a circuit, completing the prescribed number of repetitions of each exercise without resting. Once you’ve done one set of each exercise, rest for two minutes, then repeat the entire circuit one to two more times.

 Bodyweight Squat:

Stand as tall as you can with your feet spread slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold your arms straight out in front of your body at shoulder level, so that your arms are parallel to the floor.

Keep your torso as upright as you can for the entire movement, with your lower back slightly arched. Brace your abs, and lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees.

Pause, then push yourself back to the starting position. That’s one repetition. Do 15 to 20 repetitions.

Incline Push-up:

Assume a push-up position, but place your hands placed on a raised surface—such as a box, bench, ottoman or one of the steps of your stairs—instead of the floor. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head.

Keeping your body rigid, lower your body until your upper arms dip below your elbows. Pause, and then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as possible.

Do 12 to 15 repetitions.

Hip Raise:

Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your arms out to your sides at a 45-degree angle, your palms facing up. Now try to make your tummy as skinny as possible and hold it that way—this gives you a tight core—while breathing normally.

Keeping your core tight, squeeze your glutes and raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Pause for five seconds—squeezing your glutes tightly the entire time—then lower body back to the starting position.

Do 10 repetitions.

Side Plank:

Lie on your right side with your knees straight. Prop your upper body on your right elbow and forearm, which should be directly below your right shoulder. Place your left hand on your left hip.

Similar to the hip raise, try to make your tummy as skinny as possible and hold it that in while breathing normally. Then raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. With your core tight, hold this position for 30 seconds. Roll onto your other side and repeat.

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You can also always start off trying out running and/or jogging for at least 30 minutes per day. Cardio exercises go a long way in terms of keeping yourself healthy and active with just a little bit of time commitment every day.

3 Financial Factors to Consider When Buying Your First Car

Buying one’s first car is something that is special because it is all enthusiasm from that point and moving forward. With good reasons, considering the fact that having a car can provide convenience since one is now able to take the road for new exciting adventures faster and easier.  For some, it can be a symbol for luxury, its leather seats providing the best comfort and that majestic sensation.

Either way, getting a car entails some major financial implications to a person or family who is making the decision. This is why it is important for every person to consider a number of financial factors before making that big purchase.

buying your first car

Many people have already recognized that a car is more of a need than luxury. In fact, almost everyone in the United States has a car or has registered for a driver’s license, accounting for a rise from 167 million to about 214 million just in 2014. Car ownerships are continuing to rise mainly because of the benefits of having a personal or family automobile, all the more reason why everyone else should take time to list down some important things first before purchasing their own.

Here are some of the considerations one should sit down and look at before deciding to buy his or her first car:

How much is Affordable?

The rookie mistake for each person trying to get a new car is that it’s almost always certain that he will want the best line of the top tier brand. No one can blame them, as having a new car can induce a kind of excitement that is incomparable. Financially, however, the primary factor to consider for anyone about to purchase their dream vehicle at this point is his budget and how much is he willing to actually spend on it.

getting the keys

Setting up a realistic budget before any decision to purchase is compulsory to any person wanting to be financially smart. This is to project whether the purchase would bring more benefits or more financial stress in both the short term and long term future. Is that new Cadillac 2017 XT5 Crossover fit one’s budget, or is it just there only to put more financial stress? Is the 2017 Toyota Yaris of great value to a person and his family considering that it’s cheaper?

Making a decision for a new car can be both exciting and stressing at the same time.

With regard to prices, one does not only have to look for brand new cars. The point is that there are so many car lines being produced today, and as the integrations of technology add to its mechanisms, the prices are pushed to the ceiling. As a smart consumer, it isn’t necessarily good.

Cars being introduced today are not really affordable for many people, which is why buying used cars can be the answer to this hindrance. According to Experian’s most recent State of the Automotive Finance Market report, used vehicles definitely cost less – a LOT less, with an average financed amount of $18,850. That’s more than $10,000 less than the amount for a typical new auto!

bought new used car

The common misconception of buying a used car is it is not as classy and as hot compared to brand new ones. The image formed in one’s mind when looking for second hand cars is it is ragged and craggy, rusty and may be break down easily when you drive a mile up.

That’s not necessarily true.

Secondhand cars can still provide the same dreamy, classy ambience emanated from a brand new car. Buying used cars is gaining popularity over the years because beyond its apparent cheapness, they are tuned, durable and most definitely reliable. In fact, for as low as $10,000, people can find good quality Toyota used cars in the market today!

Availability of Payment Options

As one has already set the budget and has projected the amount that he needs to pay, it is now time to take into account the availability of payment options. A good payment option lessens the financial stress of a person as he or she continually pays for the car. Usually, cars are sold less when bought at a full price, but that is not the common thing for many people to do as car prices are steadily going up.

A variety of banks are actually offering car loans which actually help those who want to purchase a new car. It is a good payment option mainly because a carbuyer doesn’t have to take out a huge amount of money in the succeeding payments. This partitions the full amount to a number of payable months which is achievable for many. The important thing however is to look for banks which offer little interests or collaterals since a missed payment can cost huge losses for a payor. Reading the contract with full understanding should be mandatory.

car loan applicatioin

There are also numerous payment options for second hand vehicles. While it is true that one would typically pay a higher interest rate on a loan for a used vehicle than he will on a loan for a new vehicle, historically low rates mean that many automakers can offer attractive financing options for their Certified Pre Owned (CPO) vehicles. Certified pre-owned cars (CPO) present an attractive alternative to buying a higher-priced new car. For less money, a CPO buyer can afford a car that feels almost new, even if the odometer is showing some miles.

In addition, shopping for a CPO car is easier than shopping for a used car. This is because the certification process removes one of the major drawbacks to buying a used car: uncertainty about the mechanical condition of the vehicle. A factory-trained mechanic inspects a potential CPO car to ensure it measures up to the requirements of that manufacturer’s program. The dealership that’s performing the certification replaces or repairs anything that’s worn beyond the limits of that manufacturer’s program.

Ownership Expenditures

What most people fail to consider in buying their first car is their assessment of what is called the ownership costs. Most people think that the cost for a car is seen on based on what the salesman offers. This is a wrong notion since the purchase is just the start of the financial stress.

When buying a car, many customers determine the value that a vehicle offers by comparing the price tag versus the features and benefits. For example, if one car costs a bit more money but has better gas mileage and more cargo room, most would consider that a good value. Based solely on that criterion, they would be correct. However, most customers don’t consider all the costs that go into a vehicle.

keys on keys
It may be smart to check out Intellichoice.com, a site which does a great 5-Year Cost of Ownership projection for new and even used cars. This projection takes all of the different factors into account including costs depreciation, financing costs, repairs, maintenance, fuel, and insurance. It totals them all up over the cost of 5 years, and compares that to the industry average for that vehicle’s class. Depending on how far above or below the total number is from the average, Intellichoice places a rating on the car.      

3 Financial Considerations Before Starting a Family

Starting a family can be one of the most fruitful decisions a person can make in his or her life. This opens doors for any couple as they become more aware of their responsibilities to each other and, soon enough, as parents. Then again, starting a family doesn’t necessarily go smoothly every time, especially when it comes to finances.

building a home

As adults, each person has to face the financial stress of this chapter in their lives. Starting from the expenses related to marriage and then having children, and eventually, having to provide for those children – all of which becomes a trying, albeit fulfilling, challenge for those involved. Normally, the latter is one of the toughest realities but offers the most lessons for any family. Ultimately, management of financial resources is vital to ensure that everyone’s needs are met.

For this reason, it is integral for every family to be aware of the things that can help them endure the ups and downs of their financial aspect of their marital life. Even from the start of the marriage, each person in a blossoming relationship should be kept accountable for and to each other in order to take on any challenges to come. As such, these financial tips should be kept in mind to help ease, if not totally avoid, any financial distress of starting a family.

Evaluate Personal and Family Expenses

An unfortunate fact in this world is that people often disregard proper financial management in their lives, causing monetary disasters evident in the many cases of debt, unpaid and growing interest in bank loans, and even bankruptcy. The experience can be quite excruciating, given the implications of such financial problems, not to mention today’s economic instability and decline.

doing their finances

In this day and age, financial advising and management can draw the fine line between an impending catastrophe and smooth sailing most notably for anyone who wants to start a family.

Assuming that both partners are working, it is important that people grow a better understanding of financial management to better prepare themselves for their future. The most modest yet most profound lesson any professional financial adviser can give anyone is for them not to spend money he or she doesn’t have.

As for anyone living in the trend-dependent, erratically extravagant and luxurious lifestyle of this generation, the inevitable thing to happen is for a person riding the mainstream waves. This can ultimately have people running off to swipe their credit cards left and right anytime and anywhere they like. There is nothing wrong about wanting and having the fancy accessories, luxurious gadgets, and the expensive clothing from time to time. However, the real issue comes in on how a person programs his or her mind on spending, or how he or she evaluates the significance of any purchase.

Sadly, and most ironically, ‘Shoppaholics’ are now more socially-accepted than ever. Impulsive buyers are swinging around in Gucci bags and Louis Vuitton’s not caring whether they have enough savings or finances for future use. This is something that people in the working bracket should be avoiding. To break the curse of being an impulsive buyer, one should always try to evaluate the importance of their major purchases. Looking it over and over to process if it really is essential is important because purchases entail financial repercussions.

Both partners should be held responsible for each other’s expenses as each should be responsible for themselves in the first place. A good financial status in a family starts when all individuals involved have discipline and self-control with regard to their spending. If people in a relationship are already under financial stress, it may be best to make that call to Creditfix – IVA to ask help with the family’s finances. It may very well be that one thing that can help avoid any further financial downward spiral.

A Family that Saves Together Stays Together

The most common way to go about being financially learned is by saving. As a child, it is rewarding when a person actually fills his piggy bank, and then eventually open it for Christmas to buy his desired toy. Come to think of it, this is the same rewarding feeling any person can have if he or she decides to save. This feeling of euphoria is compounded if couples are one with the goal of saving up for something really special – like a house or a brand new car.

Saving is an important facet in everyone’s financial life. This is because there comes a time when financial problems arise. It may happen when business may not be doing too well, or when one becomes ill and is unable to be productive. These challenging circumstances are exactly when saved money can provide its best benefit.

Nothing beats having an emergency fund or rainy day stash to expend on these harsh times, especially when the other person in the relationship is struggling with regard to his or her health.

saving pennies

In essence, the bigger question is not how important saving is, but how one goes about it. Any good saver first establishes where to put his or her money. This can be manifested in opening bank accounts, preferably savings accounts where the person can deposit his money. Even a traditional coin bank may actually be a good idea, considering it can be significant money when the time comes.

At the end of the day, each penny counts when a person is aware of the inevitable financial stress that may come his or her way.

Investing is Genius

Investing is integral for people who are aware of the financial wonders it can bring to any individual. Investing early is much more preferred especially for those starting a family. The question is – where does one invest?

Banking is one of the most common used approaches for saving money. In fact, it is a form of investing as well. Over time, money saved in a bank account can accumulate interest. The amount of interest can be noteworthy for people who put a lot of money in their account. Couples can opt to have a joint account to share ownership, but they can still opt for individual accounts to make it more personal.

couple talking to financial advsior

Most banks only part interest not greater than 5% to the savings account. Naturally for lower money deposited, lower interest is accrued. Considering this, an alternative method to actually save wisely is by investing the money in the stock market.

Various firms and companies cater to those who want to start using their bank-deposited money in stock market. In a nutshell, the amount is used by the investing companies as their principal in during stock exchange. Eventually, mutual funds “promise” an interest at the end of the year that may be much higher than that of the banks. It is a brilliant alternative to save up the money while not actually getting involved in any task.

Considering this path, the name of the game is patience.

On another note, a person can actually “play” at the stock market personally by investing at the stocks companies. A person can buy or sell his stocks online, giving him an idea of the current money he has. By calculated selling and buying trends of the stocks, one can exchange a previously bought stock for a higher amount. The small earnings one gets from each stock unit eventually multiplies as the number of sold stocks arise. This is the core of Wall Street and the expertise of many professional money makers.

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Ultimately, all the money saved can be used for other ventures such as setting up a new businesses or franchising brands.