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.

image2

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.

image1

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.

image3

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.

image6

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.

image4

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.

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.

image03

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.

image02

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.

image04

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.

image00

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.

image01

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.

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.

planking on chair

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.

running together
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.

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

3 Financial Tips for Business Starters

Starting up a new business presents a variety of challenges that not only extends to the physical and mental side of things but also to the financial facet of the professional endeavor. Business planning and market studies involve intricate methods that need a lot of mental fortitude. The truth is that establishing a start-up business requires ample amount of time and actual physical presence for any involved business owner in order to check if everything is going as planned.

business-plan

The bottom line is that one of the most important factors to check is whether the business’ finances actually balance out. Simply put, money and financial management eventually become the deciding factor if starting a business is feasible in the first place.

Start-up business owners and aspirants alike are having a hard time finding out solutions to the challenges of these hard economic times. This is the main reason why anyone who’s aspiring to be a success in the field of business should look to inform themselves about some important financial tips that can actually make a difference in their work. In this regard, these financial tips and tricks that for startup business owners can help guide the any entrepreneur find their footing in the business world:

Financial Management Starts Personally

One thing that stands out as a part of the basics for any successful business is that a business should minimize expenditures and maximize profits. Business owners do the best that they can to cut luxurious services or even redundant equipment in their establishments, while still producing at the optimum level.

Then again, being money-smart is not a one-time thing if a person really wants to be a significant player in the market. It should be part of a consistent attitude that roots from culturing one’s self to be financially wise. Thus, financial management starts personally.

Financial advisers would always tell their clients that there are a variety of ways on how to handle their finances. It should take into account both the present and future of one’s money management.

financial-management

This is where saving comes in. Saving is an important facet in everyone’s financial status. This is highly critical especially when financial problems arise or the business may not be going too well. In fact, these unfortunate circumstances serve as the perfect moment when saved money presents its best benefit.

An alternative method of saving is investing. Investing is an integral for any individual, especially for those who wants to make it big in the long run. As such, investing early is much more preferred since money does require time to grow.

But where does one invest?

Banking is the most common used approach for saving money, and is in fact a form of investing in itself. Over time, money saved in a bank account can accumulate interest. Similarly, investing money in the stocks market can also be an option for those who want to involve themselves in trading.

While everything mentioned above tackled gains, financial management also puts a highlight on considering future events like retirement. Being able to get an individual insured is one of the better things when it comes to finances. Getting an insurance policy which entitles a person financial protection or reimbursement against losses is imperative for a money-smart individual.

Taking this into consideration, insurance serves as an individual’s protection from the risks of financial losses, damages or liability from damages caused by a third party. Insurance companies can vary in wide arrays, but the most significantly popular ones involve health and protection. The truth is that rigorous medical examinations are involved in getting the actual policy, but smarter people opt to take advantage of no exam life insurance which is much simpler.

Whatever form of investment one opts to go for, at the end of the day, using money to earn more money is a good set-up for any business.

Breakeven is not Necessarily Bad

The ultimate goal of any business is to gain profits consistently. However, before any real gain happens in a business, the inevitability of losses should also be considered since business may not be flourishing every time.

Losses are particularly hard to take especially for starting businesses, since it might bring about professional discouragement. While there are various possibilities in business, there comes a point when everything just ends up leveling to zero –no gains, no losses. Simply put, breakeven.

The bigger question now presents itself – is breakeven bad? The answer is not necessarily so. The actual decision whether it is good or bad comes from the circumstance it is in. If breakeven points come at a time when the business incurred losses from the months before, then it might be a good thing. If a business is consistently breaking even from the start, then it may be time to rethink about the business model of one’s establishment. Breakeven is studied deeper in economics. This is called break-even analysis.

break-even-analysis

Break-even analysis is used to determine the point at which revenue received equals the costs associated with receiving the revenue. Break-even analysis calculates what is known as a margin of safety, the amount that revenues exceed the break-even point. This is the amount that revenues can fall while still staying above the break-even point.

Break-even analysis is a supply-side analysis; it only analyzes the costs of the sales. It does not analyze how demand may be affected at different price levels. The break-even point is the point at which gains equal losses. Reaching the break-even point is a business’s first step toward profitability.

Good Profits with Better Business Partners

Establishing a new business is not always a one-man team. Often times, it comes as a result of collaboration from business partners with the same goal: to gain higher profit. Business partnering is not new. However, as today’s business world becomes more uncertain and more volatile, the imperative for business partnering is greater than ever.

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) defines business partnering as a finance professional who works alongside other business areas, supporting and advising their strategic and operational decision-making through insights that drive better business. The speed and quality of decision-making is becoming increasingly essential to a business’ success, and may actually be that competitive edge they need. New research with senior executives from around the world identified a common need for faster, better decision-making processes.

good-deal

Real business value is created through knowledge, intellectual property, collaboration and partnerships throughout the company. Now, more than ever, financial leadership has an opportunity to contribute tangibly to the success and future of the business. However, they can only do this successfully if they are effective business partners, which require a special set of both technical and behavioral skills: an understanding of the business and what is actually driving the numbers, as well as good people and leadership skills.

Before anything else, getting a good business partner should be done carefully and with proper thinking. Because partners join forces for a variety of reasons and expectations, sometimes, the strengths of each individual may be overlooked. The most obvious strengths are evidently recognized; however, underlying strengths, when effectively brought out, can often make a big difference in long term motivation, commitment and success.

Each person in the partnership has his own reasons for being in the business endeavor. Sometimes, people seek a partner for capital, expertise, and even connections. These are not always expressed, yet they remain as an underlying expectation. If the expectation isn’t met, the relationship can become strained.

Because each person’s expertise, motivation and personality are different, it’s important to have this discussion before anything is committed contractually.

Penny Power – How to Save Money without Pain

Saving money shouldn’t be too painful a task for you. You don’t need to be hungry, nor be that stingy friend who wouldn’t come to concerts or basketball games because you’re trying too hard to save every penny. The following are painless ways for you to save money that can lead you to your much deserved financial freedom.

Track your money

It’s usually in doing the little things that you can start to save up bigger and bigger as the days go by. There could be parts of your expenses that you may have overspent on, and you still would’ve enjoyed your life without it. The best way to know this, though, is by keeping track of your money.

recording-finances

Tracking your spending also forces you to look at your financial reality, and that’s not a bad thing. If you ask anyone older than you if they regret not getting a handle on their finances sooner, most would say yes. Take advantage of your younger years – start tracking your spending now to have more security and freedom later. Your future self might thank you.

The truth is that you have a finite amount of money to allocate to certain categories, as they are usually based on what you earn. Laying out your expenses compels you to prioritize where you want your money to go. Mindlessly spending on things isn’t going to get you where you need to go. You need a plan, and tracking your spending is one way to create that plan. If you want to accelerate saving or paying down debt, having a clear picture of your finances can also help you determine how you can accomplish both all at the same time.

Improve your credit score

A good credit score can save you thousands of dollars in interest on everything – from a home loan to a car loan, and from school loans to credit cards. When you apply for a credit card, mortgage or even a phone hook up, your credit rating is checked. Credit reporting makes it possible for stores to accept checks, for banks to issue credit or debit cards, and for corporations to manage their operations. Depending on your credit score, lenders can determine what risk you pose to them.

credit-score

According to financial theories, increased credit risk means that a risk premium must be added to the price at which money is borrowed. Basically, if you have a poor credit score, lenders may not shun you (unless it is utterly awful); instead, they would lend you money at a higher rate than the one paid by someone with a better credit score.

If you’ve never focused on your credit score before, the place to start is to get your free FICO score online. Once you know where you stand, you can begin to improve your score and lower your interest payments.

Refinance your mortgage

The results of improving your credit score can also affect other aspects of your finances, like with your mortgage. Some people opt for refinancing to get a new mortgage to replace their original mortgage, which ultimately aids in the improvement of their credit score.

saving-money

Refinancing is done to allow a borrower to obtain a better interest term and rate. The first loan is paid off, allowing the second loan to be created, instead of simply making a new mortgage and throwing out the original mortgage. For borrowers with a perfect credit history, refinancing can be a good way to convert a variable loan rate to a fixed, and obtain a lower interest rate. Then again, for borrowers with less than perfect, or even bad credit, or too much debt, refinancing can be risky.

One of the main advantages of refinancing, regardless of equity, is reducing an interest rate. Often, as people work through their careers and continue to make more money they are able to pay all their bills on time thus increase their credit score. With this increase in credit comes the ability to procure loans at lower rates, and therefore, many people refinance their mortgage aiming to get better rate. A lower interest rate can have a profound effect on monthly payments, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars a year.

If you can reduce your interest rate by one percent or more, it is often beneficial to refinance. By doing so while making payments on a mortgage, people are able to take out substantial home equity lines of credit as the difference between the appraised value of their home increases, and the balance owed on a mortgage decreases. This is particularly true for those with high rates due to less than stellar credit scores. If your score has improved, you may qualify for a better rate.

Start Cooking!

Another big source of spending splurge usually comes off of eating out in fancy restaurants, or trying to get by lunch through fast food. The thing is, no matter the situation, eating out is always more expensive than cooking for yourself. Plus, cooking your own food allows you to keep track of the nutrition (or lack thereof) of the food that you take in.

cooking-money

They say that the key to saving money with meals is to look for healthy foods that are versatile and nutritious. The long list includes: peanut butter, oatmeal, canned beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, eggs, almonds, apples, bananas, grapes, fresh or frozen spinach, carrots, kale, canned tomatoes, chicken breasts, broccoli, onions, garlic, brown rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, nuts, tofu, and milk (almond, soy, rice or cow’s). Thankfully for you and for the rest of the world, many online guides are showing this trend of making cheap and easy meals under $5.

By the end of the day, you would find out that you won’t need to spend so much money just to eat good food.

Take the cheaper or the more valuable options all the time

Look at your constant expenses and see if you can lower their costs. For example, try looking at your internet connection and how much you really need: if you won’t need so much data allowance or so much speed, you can lower your monthly costs to an internet connection that would cater to your needs.

You can also consider getting rid of your home telephone. This is a great way to save money. Many don’t do it because of the 911 service, and that’s understandable. Other than that, with today’s technology, more often than not, there’s no reason to keep a landline. If you do, consider reducing your service to the minimum, and only use the phone in an emergency.

stacking-pennies

Also, if you can choose appliances labelled as “energy-saver,” look long term and calculate if you can save more money if you replace your current appliances. Try to replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFLs) bulbs. These bulbs use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer. They do take some getting used to, and they won’t work in every light fixture. However, using them where it makes sense can save energy and money.

Furthermore, do look at your variable expenses, especially your leisure ones. Even buying concert tickets or flight tickets can be lowered significantly if you know how to. For example, look for tips to save on tickets for the Clippers games online, and you would learn that you won’t actually need to spend hundreds of dollars if you just find the right timing to purchase one.

There’s so many ways that you can get the most value out of your money, you just need to know where to look for them.

The Financial Benefits of Online Learning

Students around the world are continuously seeking alternatives for traditional education, especially now that high tuition fees, shortage in terms of course availability and institutionalized budget cuts, among many other challenges, have been on the rise. The most famous and effective alternative for the past four years, however, has been online learning. As world-wide technology improves, the viability of full-time online learning has become more established month after month.

learning-online

With more than three million students currently enrolled in fully online degree programs, and six million others who are taking at least one online course as part of their degree program, online education has clearly become one of the most popular higher education alternatives. The continually improving reputation of online learning has also helped fuel its expansion, as initial skepticism has faltered in the face of overwhelming evidence that shows how online learning can be just as effective as face-to-face education.

The benefits of enrolling in online courses and programs span not only from the elimination of traveling; it also involves the availability of more programs and courses, higher levels of academic productivity, and significantly lower financial requirements imposed on students. Below are eight benefits of enrolling in online courses that can make anyone consider taking up this alternative learning method:

Variety of programs and courses

Before, online courses have been limited to arts and creative writing, such as Multimedia Studies, Multimedia Arts, Literature and other arts disciplines. Nowadays, the plethora of available programs and courses has grown exponentially. Furthermore, because of the viability of online courses, the availability of these programs has increased – now, anyone can be enlisted in their choice of university/college with their preferred course without the fear of classes being “full”.

From traditional four-year-university programs to completely online vocational workshops, higher education today offers a variety of options for students. This means that no matter what students wish to study, from Nursing and Neuroscience to Education and Environmental Science, they can find the courses or degree programs they need online. They can also earn every academic degree virtually – all the way from a career certificate to a doctorate.

Reducing the Total Cost of Studying

Online programs can be a more affordable option than traditional colleges, because of the amount of money that can be saved simply by not physically being in a school. Though not all online degrees have less expensive net tuition prices than traditional colleges, associated costs are almost always less expensive.

online-learning

For one, there are no commuting costs. A student can save $40 to $60 (sometimes even more) every month just because they don’t need to take the bus, a cab or even their cars when going to school. Renting out a dormitory is out of the question, and that’s a lot of savings for a student. Furthermore, there are much less required course materials such as textbooks or handouts because their digital alternative is often available for free online.

Eliminating Commuting

Aside from the amount of money that students can save by eliminating the requirement of commuting, there are also safety issues that can be solved through online learning. Students can be safe from natural disasters, road accidents, or even rogue attacks from pick-pockets (though that’s not exactly likely) through in-house schooling.

During snowstorms and thunderstorms, colleges may cancel classes; if they don’t, you run the risk of getting hurt in dangerous driving conditions. Rather than miss important class sessions, students in online courses can always “attend” by participating on discussion boards or in chat sessions, turn in their work on time, and watch lectures or read materials. Not having to commute from home to the college poses a lot of benefits for all types of students.

More comfortable learning environment:

Studies have shown that students with the most comfortable learning environment learn the most – that is, depending on how the students perceive comfort. Some students prefer studying in their pajamas. There are students who prefer studying in cooler environments, while some prefer room temperature. Sometimes, campus seats aren’t the most comfortable ones, too! The truth of the matter is that enrolling in online courses allow students to choose (or make) their own comfortable learning environment.

learning-at-home

At the end of the day, there is one underlying benefit of being enrolled in online courses: there are no physical class sessions. Lectures and other materials are electronically sent to the students who can then complete assignments in the comfort of their own den. Students do not have to endure the stresses of going through heavy traffic, finding parking spaces, leaving work early to get to class on time, or missing out on other important engagements as opportunity costs.

Plus, online course students can also take a power nap whenever they want to without having to deal with the banter of professors. Their learning environment is of their own making, and they can customize it to the fullest to achieve the best learning environment.

Aside from comfort, students can also make their learning more effective by having access to tools or supplements that aren’t generally allowed during class. For example, students can enjoy munching on brain food such as nuts while listening to a lecture or taking an examination.

Convenience and flexibility:

Online courses give students the opportunity to plan their study time around the rest of their day, instead of the other way around. Students can study and work when they are at their peak energy, whether that’s early morning or late at night. If a student is an innate night owl, they can easily adjust their schedule to effectively attend to their class requirements.

studying-on-home-desk

Also, course materials are always accessible online, so there’s no need to schedule special trips to the library. The best part is that should a student miss a lecture (because of an emergency or a medical issue), he or she can view the materials any other time of the day. Furthermore, students have the chance to use the resources from available applications like that from Team Treehouse or Khan Academy as the need arises. All of these makes online learning a good option for students who need to balance their work, family time or any other commitments.

More Ways for Students to Concentrate:

Online courses offer students facing challenges in terms of socializing (such as innately shy ones and socially anxious ones) the opportunity to participate in class discussions or chats with more ease than face-to-face class sessions.

Online courses help introverts or students with social anxiety cope better in terms of learning. They won’t need to talk more, to be forced in recitations, to put themselves in embarrassing situations, or be hindered from learning just because they simply can’t socialize as well as others.

Career advancement:

With the technology right now, students can take online courses and even complete entire degrees while working, while in-between jobs, or while taking time to raise a family.

woman-working-at-home

This academic work can explain any discontinuity or gaps in a resume as well. Also, earning a degree can show prospective employers that the student is an ambitious and driven individual, and would want to remain informed and prepared for any new challenges.

Improve other skills like technical skills:

Even the most basic online course requires the development of new computer skills. As students learn to navigate different learning management systems and programs online, they acquire basic skills pertinent to their future profession.

The skills students learn while participating in their online courses translate to actual profession job skill set, including creating and sharing documents, incorporating audio/video materials into assignments, completing online training sessions, among other functions. These are tasks that students, however they completed their education, need to know while working in the workplace anyway.

4 Tips for Better Personal Financial Management

Don’t wait for next year to start paying attention to your finances – you should start managing them as soon as possible.

Personal financial management is not something that you can master overnight. It takes effective understanding on how to create a budget and stick to it, among other things. If you’re looking for the basic and most effective guidelines on financial management, here are your four top tips that can help you with your money matters:

graphs-and-charts

First Tip: Make sure you get paid based on what you’re worth, and then spend less than what you earn.

To discover your Point A on your money management journey, start off by making sure you know the industry standards on how much your job is really worth: you can do this by conducting an evaluation of your skills, productivity, job tasks, contribution to the company, and the going rate, both inside and outside the company. Being underpaid even a few hundred dollars a year can have a significant cumulative effect over the course of your working life.

This seems like a no-brainer, but the concept of professional worth tends to be set aside due to various reasons – lack of confidence, feeling of desperation, or even guilt. This may seem basic to any professional, but it is a critical element to make sure you can actually get what you deserve.

tablet-with-finance-graphs

Then again, no matter how much or how little you’re paid, you can never reach your financial goals if you spend more than you earn. Often, it’s easier to spend less than it is to earn more, and a little cost-cutting efforts in a number of areas can result in big savings. Start off small by choosing the cheaper options of what you usually buy. Keep in mind that it doesn’t always have to involve making big sacrifices just to create that balance.

Second Tip: Create a Budget Plan, and stick to it!

It doesn’t matter if you’re living paycheck to paycheck or earning six-figures a year, you need to know where your money is going if you want to have a handle on your finances. Unlike what most people believe, budgeting isn’t all about restricting what you spend money on and cutting out all the fun in your life. It is about understanding how much money you have and where it goes, then planning how to best allocate those funds.

The first step is to create a budget plan. What you do is to gather every financial statement you can, record all of your sources of income and create a list of monthly expenses. You also need to determine the fixed and variable expenses, total your monthly expenses, and finally make adjustments based on your needs and wants.

Now that you have a budget plan ready, make sure you’re going to stick to it. Of course, it’s not wrong to make adjustments when you’re just starting out, but be sure that you’re always on track with what’s really going on with your plan. Remember: numbers don’t lie.

Third Tip: Have a Savings Plan

You may have heard someone say, “Pay yourself first”. The chances that you’ll never have a healthy savings account are high if you prioritize paying off your other financial obligations before seeing what’s left over for saving.

Resolve to set aside a minimum of 5% to 10% of your salary for savings before you start paying your bills. Thanks to technology, there are many automated ways online for banks to save a certain part of your money to another savings account; use this to your advantage.

Fourth Tip: Maximize Your Employment Benefits

Employment benefits like flexible spending accounts, medical and dental insurance, etc., are worth more than their face value. Company benefits are part of the reason why employment rates are rising even in the midst of global financial problems. The sad part is that more often than not, these benefits are often unused by most employees.

virtual-graphs

Make sure you know what your job offers. Maximize your benefits and take advantage of the ones that can save you money. Without you knowing, you can reduce your daily expenses and other costs of living, especially when emergency situations call for it, such as medical bills or dental check-ups.

How I Learned to Track My Personal Expenses

Not so long ago, one of the most challenging aspects of my day-to-day life was handling my finances. Anyone would agree when I say that everything that we do is all attached to how well, or not, we handle our finances. From my professional engagements to my personal agendas, how much money I have keeps popping up as a factor in my decisions.

After this realization, I just had to check how well I was doing with my “personal financial management.” Apparently, I needed some help.

doing-your-finances

One of my closest friends, who happened to be a licensed financial planner and the Chief Financial Officer of his own company, decided to come to my rescue. I asked him how he keeps track of his finances. I thought he would throw me a one-liner answer like “Go to the bank” or “Just stop spending.” He gave me much more. He gave me insights that would turn out to be my guide which I could use for my journey towards better money management.

I have learned that everyone has his own story tell. The same is true with the way one handles their own money. Though there are 1,001 guides in money management out there on the internet, knowing my challenges and realizing the need to act upon my financial needs is always a good way to start.

That fact alone has helped me take on the challenge of taking my money matters head on.

True enough, his concepts – a path, if you will – which I still use up to this day, on how to make sure I have money when I need it have indeed cleared the way for my personal betterment. I have to admit, I still slip up from time to time. However, as long as I stick to the basic ideas he taught me, I know I can always catch myself in times of financial turmoil, and begin to steer toward the brighter side of things.

Let me share with you what I have learned:

Follow the map – Know your Point A

First, I realized that I need to follow a financial map of sorts. Just like any other map, there are three main components: Point A, Point B and the path from A to B. Simple enough.

follow-the-map

With regard to keeping track of my finances, my financial planner friend emphasized that it is important for me to know where I am coming from. I needed to dig deep to see where I am right now in terms of my finances – am I a positive, i.e. I still have money left every month after using most for my expenses and setting aside for my savings; or negative, i.e. l already run on fumes half way through the month and always end up dry by the end.

After learning that I vary from positive to negative erratically every month, we later on settled that I am, in fact, ending up as negative in my finances, as it happens more often.

All the information I got from knowing my Point A was critical as it determined my action plan. It also helped me choose what would be the most viable and rewarding Point B for me.

Call it a huge wrecking ball of a wakeup call.

From Point A to Point B

After shaking off the shock, I decided it was time to move forward and look for the light at the end of the tunnel. I had to raise the bar and start acting on the financial results I wanted for myself. True enough, he asked me “where do you want to go?” Starting from a negative monthly balance, I needed to decide what positive state I wanted to achieve before I took any action towards tracking my finances and achieving financial freedom.

where-to-go

By this point, I felt as if I was talking to a professional bookkeeper from Xero Castle Hill – we were actually going somewhere as I started creating declarations of where I wanted to be. It absolutely did help me in my cause to know the amount that I wanted to be at by the end of every month and the amount I needed to spend in that same month. It was all about that numbers that would work for me.

It seemed basic at the time, but I later learned that we tend to be overwhelmed and lost when financial disasters strikes, making everything else seem more chaotic than usual.

Be open to the path

It is quite unfortunate to learn that people are used to just acting and doing things without even planning. And it is even more unfortunate when you learn that you are the one doing it! More often than not, this leads to a vicious cycle that tends to go round and round until something goes catastrophically wrong.

new-paths

I just consider myself lucky that I was led out of that mouse trap before any irreparable damage was done!

Now that I was made aware of how I was handling my money and what financial state I wanted to achieve, I learned what to do next. Though the actions I needed to do were based on what I specifically needed, these tips can serve as a general  guide to others whom I shared these basic concepts with:

  • Prepare for the what’s coming

I have learned that I need to be committed, honest and open with the fact that I have to deal with my finances. Sometimes, finding out the state in which my finances are in can cause me to want to go back to the hole of indifference that I had been hiding in previously. Being open to any feedback that I’m lucky enough to receive and reacting to it with positivity is the most important step in improving. Plus, it always helps to be prepared!

  • Keep track of your spending

Every expense should be noted down in order to serve as your “financial breadcrumbs.” It may be daunting at first – keeping receipts for groceries, noting how much gas you get every week, even the daily budget for my food. However, the benefits are well worth it. You get to have a record of where you could have gone overboard. In doing so, you’re able to create a database that could lead you to save more, be more, and achieve more. At the end of the day, that is what is most important.

  • Plan

Before you go into your “financial battle,” you need to lay down your course of action. I do this not for the world to see but for me to see my financial vision more clearly. Just like in the old saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” I want to make sure that what I do achieves the success I deserve since I have already planned out my next step. Also, any plan in tracking my finances aims to lead me to the right path every time – my ultimate goal of financial freedom is definitely a possibility.

piggy-bank

  • Execute

With my path already laid out in front of me, it is just a matter of sticking to the plan until I achieve my financial goal. Throughout my working years, I have experienced the challenges that often come along with any financial journey. However, with the passion, conviction and the drive to follow the goals I had set for myself, whether it is the stern budget, expense threshold or mindset to avoid using credit cards, I learned to strictly stick to it because that is the commitment that I have set for myself.