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Five Ways You Succeed at Money Management (Even When It Doesn’t Feel Like It)

The funny thing about finances is that you can be succeeding in your financial life but not really believe it. This is due to the fact that the markers of financial success can be overlooked. When you are living a busy life: meeting deadlines, paying off debt, carving out social events, staying on top of tuition fees and whatnot—it can be quite easy to feel like you are not as financially well off as you would like.

However, we have come up with five particular markers that mean you are succeeding at money management—even when it does not feel like it.

No Late Bills

Utilities are a regular monthly expense that many in the world struggle to meet. So if you happen to have your bills paid off in advance or on time, then you are pretty good on your money management. You comprehend the fact that utilities are big responsibilities and must be met appropriately.

Existing Savings

We believe that we have emphasized time and time again how savings is truly important. It is a concept that everyone needs but a majority of people put off when they can. It doesn’t even have to be a large amount. As long as you have a steady habit of putting aside some money from your earnings, no matter how much it is, you are already managing your finances well.

Good Credit

Credit scores determine the likelihood of getting good deals for loans and other things. You do not even to be on the ‘great’ credit ranking yet. As long as you are on the ‘good’ credit ranking, you are already doing better than 70% of people in the USA. If you make it a habit to check up on your credit score by asking for your credit report and keeping track of your expenses, you manage your money better than most.

You Can Give Gifts

People like to show they care through gifts. Birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays are an annual thing. As social creatures, we like to show our appreciation through gifts. If you are able to do that without having to put off another expense, that is another marker of your good management.

No Financial Stress

Any relationship expert will tell you that the fights about money are a bigger cause of breakups than infidelity. Lying about money, stressing over the next big expense, and all the problems that come with it all end up damaging the everyday harmony that you should be experiencing. If you do not have to deal with massive and consistent financial stress, you are in a good place.

Conclusion

It does not take a lot to really determine if you are managing your finances well or not. If you have been feeling like you were not doing well but find that you are able to accomplish the item above, we’re happy for you.

Savings “Challenge”: What You Can Pick Up From Popular Savings Trends

In the last two years there has been quite a rise in “savings challenge” trends. Today, we take a look at the main lessons and tips that you can actually pick up from those trends.

What is a “Savings Challenge”?

In the world of today, trending and viral ideas tend to gain a massive foothold in the consciousness of many—particularly the youth. This is what those savings challenges are. They are a savings plan with some strict parameters that need to be met. Then after a set amount of time, you should reach your goal.

One of the more popular forms of a Savings Challenge is the 52 Week Money Challenge. The trouble with some savings challenges is that they are not exactly feasible for people who have a regular monthly expense like mortgages, utilities, and so many other things. The savings challenge trend is popular with the young to late 20s because they are the generation that usually still lives with their parents or do not have the same weight of expenses to bear.

However, when you truly dissect the savings challenges, there are certain virtues that you can actually pick up and use in your everyday life. For example:

Strict Adherence

A savings challenge, like we mentioned above, has a pretty strict guideline. It has specific amounts that you need to put in on specific days (usually everyday) toward the savings fund. While this may not be feasible for those who are paying for a lot of things, one thing you can pick up from it is a strict adherence to a savings schedule.

Let’s say that you have a day after every payday that you have set to put aside money. You can apply a strict adherence policy to your own savings fund.

Solid Structuring

What makes a savings challenge something that is appealing to many is the fact that the scope and parameters of the savings challenge is already set up. People can see how much they need to save up and what the end result of all their efforts will be.

What you can apply to your own savings is the structure. Know what your goal is beforehand. What is the span of time that you are willing to allot to meet that goal? What increments do you need to meet in order to make that goal a reality? Having a clear plan is a good way to give yourself incentive to build your savings fun.

Conclusion

There are other savings trends that will pop up in the coming months and years. While not all of them can fit you, this does not mean that you cannot pick up useful parts and apply them to your own savings plan.

Should You or Shouldn’t You: the Great Cryptocurrency Investment

There have been massive fortunes that have been made in the recent months. Those that invested in Bitcoin have enjoyed a massive boom in their finances making everyone else wonder if they should invest in it. It was in around December of 2017 when Bitcoin surged to around $10,000 per unit—making instant millionaires of those that had been mining it long before.

Should You Invest In It?

As there is serious money to be made in Bitcoin, there are now a lot of individuals who are highly interested in securing some of that good stuff. However, an investment must be studied thoroughly before you get into it. When you are thinking of investing into anything, it is important that you consider certain factors beforehand.

Factors like:

Cost

Any investment will cost you money—otherwise it would be highly suspicious (like getting a call or a text that you won a raffle that you never joined). So is this investment feasible in your current economic status? Brokers will tell you that you should not invest a large sum of your finances toward an investment. You should realistically start with money that you have specifically set aside for it. If the cost is doable within the confines of your investment budget, then you should give it a try.

Bitcoin is in an ever present state of flux February of this year saw Bitcoin at around $8,851 per Bitcoin. So buying into it can take a huge chunk out of your finances.

ROI

This refers to the return of investment. What are the chances that your money that you invested will grow into a bigger sum within three months to six months? There is no sense in sending your money into an investment and not have a foreseeable return within a set amount of time.

As Bitcoin has massive return, getting your hands on just one can yield an immediate uptick for your ROI.

Sustainability

When you look at an investment, you should consider the longevity of it. Is the subject of your investment for a short-term or a long-term one? While it is important to know when to put your money in, it is also equally important to know when you should take it out. Knowing when to buy and when to sell can determine the strength of your finances.

Bitcoin is still in at a high so buying it can be quite steep. You must look at the trends to see if it is able to sustain its high and go even higher (and for how long) before you can actually make a good sell.

Conclusion

Bitcoin continues to be a highly volatile subject of investment. There are people who pretty much sold everything they owned to invest in Bitcoin. There are those that tell you to avoid investing in it altogether. It is all up to your understanding and willingness to take on a risk in order to obtain something that can either help or hamper your finances.

Available Life Insurance Options For Elderly Above 70

Ever wondered what will happen if your life is not kind enough to give you sufficient time? What will happen if one day you are left with a few moments to say goodbye to your family and see them for the vey last time? All you can think about in your mind is about how will your family will survive without you? In order to ensure that the education of one’s kids and other financial matters of one’s family after your passing keep on running smoothly, you may want to consider investing in a life insurance plan.

Insurance products allow your family to continue life smoothly after you, the sole bread earner of your home have left for your next journey in the spiritual world. The person who holds an insurance policy keeps on paying some amount on a regular basis. After the financier dies, the whole amount is given to the family so that they can carry out their life processes smoothly with enough finances.

Life Insurances are of various types for various people and are very important for everyone regardless of their age, gender, family size, financial class, etc. Whether you are 27 or 70 years of age, if you earn and have a family that is dependent on you, you must buy an insurance policy as soon as possible if you don’t have one right now.

It is commonly believed that only people younger in age or in the early years of their earning life can gain benefits from the life insurance contracts. This is a complete misconception as even people in their late 60s and 70s can also buy such insurance policies that can assist their families after their death. Here are some most common and easily accessible insurance contracts people older than 70 years of age can undertake to secure the lives of people that will be left after their death on the verge of financial issues otherwise. Check out some available life insurance options for elderly above 70.

1- Term Life Insurance

Every human is a mortal and we must not forget this fact for even a second that sooner or later, we all have to die. Even though there is no fixed age or time for all individuals to die, old age is usually perceived as more closely towards the dead end. Once you successfully enter your 60s, life starts seeming a little shorter day by day.  When a person is buying an insurance plan for himself or herself in his 30s or even 50s he needs a longer plan as he does not consider himself dying soon. But while you are buying any life insurance plan in your 70s, you don’t need a very long plan. In such cases, buying plan for next 10-20 years is usually more than enough. These short-term policies are called as the term insurances and they have an expiry date written on them. Another benefit of buying these term insurances is that they are less costly as compared to other types of insurances and are follow and easier roundup method to be granted. In case of term policies, the beneficiaries will surely receive a death benefit if the person insured dies during the tenure of the policy effectiveness.

2-   Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance

This type of life insurance policy is especially suitable for those people who do not want to undertake any medical test before buying any insurance. The only requirement this policy has is the age limit and sometimes the nationality of an individual. Such insurances are usually subscribed by the people who are addicts of tobacco and other drugs as this policy never penalizes you for your tobacco usage, alcohol consumption etc. For adults and elderly people having chronic or even minor health issues, this policy is the most suitable one and can be very easily bought without needing to answer even a single medical question. Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance policy promises to pay your outstanding medical bills, funeral expenses and other bills after your death.

3- Final Expense Life Insurance

This type of insurance policy is also sometimes referred to as the burial insurance policy. As obvious by its name, this policy covers all the expenses and other finance-related issues of the holder after his or her death. It covers the burial costs, any hospital expense or rent left unpaid and other such unpaid bills of the holders. It only differs from the guaranteed insurance policy that the person might be asked about medical history and in some cases has to take a medical exam too.

4- Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance

A G.U.L is usually the easier and cheapest insurance policy for older people that promise best coverage in lowest rates possible. This insurance policy is customizable to a large extent and hence suits various sorts of budgets people can manage. This is very different from other life insurances for older people as the cash value paid by the holder in initial years is later used to normalize the increases in premiums in later years and keeping them down the line. You can add flexible premiums, benefits, and growths in this policy whole customizing so as to meet your needs and budget both.

5- Survivorship Life Insurance

This type of life insurance is also called Second to die policy. This policy is best suited for old age couples for an advanced financial planning.  This insurance policy only pays for the expenses of the holders when both have passed away. This means that there is a lower risk of paying out sooner by the holder as compared to other cases thus holding the costs for the buyer for longer times. It is a relatively complex policy and needs a lot of advice and considerations before signing.

However, always remember that the sooner you buy an insurance plan, the more are the chances of benefits to your family after your death.

 

Thinking Retirement: What Things You Need to Save Up For

Retirement is a concept that everyone has looming in their horizons. It can be easy to neglect a retirement fund because, really, it is way far off in the future…right? What many of us (people behind the site included) failed to realize is the fact that each passing day is another wasted day that could have been another day toward stability in our old age.

Everyone grows old. This is a fact of life. If you haven’t thought to start up a retirement fund, even when you are in your twenties, you really should. There are several large expenses waiting for you down the line. Here are a few of them:

Healthcare

As much as we would like to believe that we would be young and healthy forever, this simply isn’t true. Sooner or later, despite all the healthy living and diets, our body starts to wear down. Insurance premiums can be challenging to weather through the years so many of us end up not having it. This is when things are actually worse off.

Around $6,000 is the average annual cost of health related expenses. This goes up when you are dealing with a chronic illness.

Housing

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a home that they will be able to stay in once they are in their autumn years. A lot of elders often express the desire for independence. Depending on their physical state, however, this can be a far off dream.

What usually happens is that elders are sent to live in a retirement home. While you are still young, it would be good to start saving up so that when the day comes you have a say on where you go. Fancier retirement homes can cost a pretty penny so it is important to be prepared.

Family Expenses

In an ideal world, the young would always take care of the elders. However, with the economy being horrid and the many struggles that younger generations have to face, it is more and more commonplace that the elders are still helping to care for the younger generations of their family.

These expenses can include education and many other things. It would be good to have something extra set aside that you can use to help out your loved ones. Mind you that you do not exactly have to—it would just be nice to have the ability to help out. There is nothing more horrid that the feeling of wanting to help but being unable to.

Conclusion

Old age and infirmity comes with its own set of challenges. These challenges often equate to more spending. This is why it would be smart to start up a retirement fund and let it grow for a few decades so you can reap a bountiful harvest.

What other things do you need to save up for in terms of retirement?

Eyes Wide Open: Are You Making These 5 Common Money Mistakes

No one comes into this life with a complete understanding of how to manage their finances. This is why, despite our best intentions, we end up making several money mistakes. When you are not careful, you can let those mistakes balloon into something that can ruin your financial standing. In order to provide a rather stern reality check, we’re going to talk about five common money mistakes we’ve come across in the last few years.

Letting FOMO Get Out of Hand

The term “FOMO” is something that is relatively new but the concept it discusses is quite old. The term that is used to refer to “the fear of missing out” is a very common money mistake. Several decades ago, this was referred to as “Keeping up with the Joneses”. Everyone’s financial situation is different. There are those that are seemingly blessed with a lifestyle and spending capacity that we wish we had.

When you let FOMO get out of hand, you end up spending more than you should—simply because you did not want to be left out.

Not Having Any Savings

The word ‘savings’ is often mentioned and it often part of New Year’s resolution but many fail to follow through on it. Savings are not just about having a tidy sum set aside so you can supplement it toward a more expensive purchase.

Savings is all about having an amount of money that is totally out of your reach and is just maturing through interest rates. This is what will help you later on in your life.

Chasing Sales

When you go into a mall and fine that they have an ongoing sale, it can get pretty tempting. However, you have to remember that you did not actually save 20 or 30% off the original price. You still paid 70 to 80 percent of what it is worth. So you still end up spending when you should be saving.

Not Having a Budget

Having a budget is one of the best ways to safeguard your finances. It serves as a good way to have clear guidelines and restrictions on what you should do with your money. The trouble is, not a lot of people make use of a budget.

Prioritizing Going Out versus Staying In

Going out whether for leisure or anything else is one of life’s pleasures. However, like everything, there needs to be balance. If you, like so many others, prioritize going out rather than staying in, chances are you end up spending more than you should. It always costs money to pay for gas and outside entertainment. Eating outside can cost you quite a bit—especially if you do it all the time.

Conclusion

The mistakes posted above are easy to avoid. So if you look at the things above and realize that you are guilty, it is high time to clean up your act. Always remember that earning money can be a finite thing—especially since you will not always be fit to work.

What other common money mistakes have you seen?

Debt Management: How You Can Get a Leg Up On Student Loans

College is not cheap. It is not something that you can truly afford to pass over either. So when you are looking to obtaining a loan for your college education, you may want to read on.

There are a lot of horror stories of how people carry student loans with them well into several decades of adulthood. However, there are a few exceptions that manage to deal with their student debt within a few years. What’s great is the fact that they share how they did it. Today, we’re going to give some tips on how you can get a leg up on your student loans—based on our own personal experiences.

Study Your Loan Options

It all begins with the loan you get. One of the most common reasons why people struggle with student loan debt is the fact that did not fully understand what they signed up for. The interest rate varies from lender to lender so it would be good if you shop around for your lending establishment before signing up with one. Be very clear on when you are supposed to start paying back the majority of the loan: day after graduation or a set amount of time after you find employment.

Start Repaying the Interest Immediately

If you’ve already selected your lender and loan, then it would be time to look toward the next thing on the agenda. A lot of students tend to think of student debt as something far off. The whole mentality of “crossing that bridge when its there” is a prime reason why so many default on their loans.

Get started on doing away with the small interest per month while you’re a freshman and you would be surprised at how much you’ve already paid off by the time that you near graduation.

Stay In Touch With Your Lender

This is one of the best things that you can do to square away your debt comfortably. Build a good relationship with your lender so that they can see that they can trust that you are intending to pay back your loan. Those that do not keep in touch with their lenders tend to miss out on any updates to the terms of their loan.

Conclusion

There are several other things that you can do to help get a leg up on your student loans. We chose to emphasize the ones above as they were the more prudent tips that we could provide as based on our own experiences. Student loans can feel heavy but with proper planning, they are completely manageable.

What did you do to get a leg up on your student loan?

Budgeting 101: Four Things You Can Do To Handle Your Finances

It’s the year 2018 and you should say it with us: Budgets are sexy! The old belief was that budgets were boring and simply for housewives. Well today you’ll learn that budgets is for everyone and can really help you with your finances.

Keep Track of Your Spending

Before you can build your budget, you need to see what you’ve been doing so far. Where does a majority of your money go? What regular expenses pop up on a regular basis? In order to determine the answer to those questions, it would be good to track your spending.

You can have a little notebook to jot down the things that you spend on or you can even use a budget app. Keep your receipts. Use your phone to take a clear photo of the receipt before you toss it so that you can include it in your app or your notes for later on.

Put Things into Categories

When you track your expenses, you’ll be able to comprehensively categorize which expenses are necessary and which are unnecessary. It goes without saying that priorities should be the primary destination of your funds.

You can put things into “annual”, “monthly”, “weekly”, and “daily” expenses. This way you can realistically ascertain what you end up spending as a whole. That way, you can compare it to what you earn and see what needs to be adjusted.

Prioritize Your Savings

It does not matter if you start with $5 or $100, what is important is that you jumpstart your savings. Eventually, putting money toward your savings will be automatic. Remember that you are working to not just be able to provide for yourself in the next few years. You are working to be able to be self-sufficient by the time you retire.

Stick to an Established Budget

Again, budgets are sexy. Use the tips above to lead into a budget that is pretty structured but not constricting. The last thing you would want is to feel like your money is all allotted toward something else.

Conclusion

Everyone needs a budget. You can’t build a house without foundations to hold everything else—and that is exactly what a budget is: your foundation. It is the gateway to obtaining things that you want, the things that you need, and the things that are just too good to pass up. A good budget helps to protect you from any sudden expenditure that comes your ways.

What budgeting tips do you make use of in your current financial state?

Cheap Days Out For The Kids

While your kids might get excited for the holidays, it can be stressful keeping them occupied, especially when you’re on a budget.

Following this guide from our friends at https://www.creditfix.co.uk/ it should make it easier for you to entertain your children while still staying on track with your finances.

Always Plan Ahead!

This might seem like an obvious tip, but a planned day will often be cheaper (and more relaxed) than taking a more haphazard or risky approach to your schedule.

While actually planning out your day is an important part of this, there are several ways you might save money just by thinking ahead. For example, local theme parks may be significantly cheaper when tickets are booked online ahead of the trip, and if you collect coupons like the Grown-Ups Go Free vouchers from Kellogg’s cereals you could cut down even further. Using supermarket reward points could also get you a much cheaper deal than you would otherwise have access to, so you should look into attractions your weekly supermarket has partnered with.

Remembering to keep your children fed might seem obvious but planning those meals ahead of time can really cut down the price of an excursion. Taking a packed lunch and having some snacks from home on-hand can avert both a tantrum and a costly trip to the museum or theme park café.

Go Outdoors!

If the weather is nice enough a cheap way of entertaining the kids can be to take them to a local park. While this might sound like something which could get boring quickly, there are a lot of free activities available on the Woodland Trust website. These range from colouring activities, which you could use even if the weather ruins your day, to guides for finding different types of birds and insects.

Going for trips outside of towns and cities can also limit your spending, as the absence of shops means you won’t have to reject your kids’ pleas for a souvenir. Combine this with a packed lunch and a mountain to climb, and you have a full day planned fairly cheaply.

Free Museums!

A lot of large museums offer free entry, so if you live in a major city they can be a cheap way to fill a day. Checking the museum’s website beforehand can also clue you into whether the museum has any children’s activities going on during the day you visit.

While you might not want to go to a museum every day of your holidays, you can fill up at least some of your half-term with something educational and fun. This is especially true in larger cities with more than one museum, as the museums often have different themes, meaning your kids won’t get bored!

In-Store Activities!

Some chain stores offer free activities during school holidays, for example, the Lego Store and Pets at Home both provide workshops for kids. This is a great plan for holidays when the weather is unlikely to be in your favour.

Again, planning is key to making sure you pick the right days for each of your activities, as some, like the Lego Store, operate their workshops on a strict cycle each month. While this can limit the amount of activities you can attend, especially if some activities are happening on the same day, it’s better than turning up for an activity that isn’t on.

Get Historical!

If the weather’s good enough for you to be outside, a fun activity for slightly older kids can be finding the history in the local landscape. Whether this is a local castle or some standing stones, or even the mysteries of ‘cup and ring’ marks, giving a trip into the countryside an objective can keep kids focused.

Lots of these historical attractions will be free to the public, but if you’re planning on visiting a popular site, Historic Scotland, English Heritage or the National Trust might charge you a fee. A way to cut down on the cost of these visits, especially if you plan on visiting repeatedly, is to get a membership to one of these organisations. For example, a monthly membership fee to Historic Scotland for one adult (and up to 6 children under 16) is cheaper than the entrance fee for one adult to Caerlaverock Castle.

Loyalty to these organisations is also rewarding, as if you renew an English Heritage or Historic Scotland membership after the first year, you get free entry to the other organisation’s sites!

Take Your Own Activities!

While lots of places will have activities put on for the kids, they might create extra cost, or simply not be what your child is interested in. It’s always a good idea to have something on hand just in case that workshop costs too much or your toddler doesn’t feel like painting today.

This should be something simple, like a sticker or colouring book, that they can do without disturbing other people at the attraction.

Go as a Group!

Just having an extra pair of hands available is generally helpful when it comes to taking kids out and about, but there are lots of other benefits to asking if someone would like to bring their kids along. For one, a lot of sites and attractions will become cheaper per child if there are more of you, due to group deals.

Going as a group can also mean that your kids are more occupied, especially if they are friends with the other children. While this reduces the likelihood of them focusing on possibly expensive activities or souvenirs, it’s also important for your kids to socialise outside of school or playgroup, which can otherwise be difficult to arrange on a budget.

Ways to Avoid Bad Credit

Every day, people work to survive the struggles. They get themselves jobs so that they can provide for the daily needs of their family. Some people even have second jobs to make ends meet. However, others would say that all their efforts are just not enough. Even with the best of their efforts, they still do not have enough money. And so, others would resort to having debts which often result in the need for an IVA.

Debts are fine as long as you can still manage in paying them and also that you do not need to borrow money just to pay another debt. When you do not know how to manage your finances such as having too many debts, or not paying your monthly dues, and even trying to forget about your credit card, you are getting yourself into trouble by being labeled as someone who has “bad credit.”

When you have bad credit, you cannot easily get a loan especially when you need to. Moreover, some people even cannot apply for a mobile phone plan, or worst you cannot get hired. Due to technology and the internet, everything can be checked even your credit. So, it is important to avoid having bad credit and here are the effective ways on how to avoid it.

First, it is very important to have your own savings account. A lot of people would say that their savings account is usually their hero when it comes to difficult times in finances. Others would also call it as their emergency fund. By having a savings account, you do not have to borrow money, especially from the bank or loan sharks because the interest is extremely high. You can save at least 5 to 10% of your monthly income.

Second, you need to pay your monthly dues on time. You may not see it coming, but when you do not pay your monthly dues, you tend to have more obligations a month or two after. Though the phone bill is a small thing, it can contribute for you to have bad credit.

Third, be cautious in using your credit card. There are so many who would resort using their credit cards because they want to earn points or even miles for travel. However, people usually have problems with their credit cards when they overuse them, but they do not know how to pay the bills monthly. If you just pay the minimum amount, it will not help because the interest will only go bigger and bigger as the months come. So, think before you swipe.

Lastly, do not attempt to have loans or debts if you cannot afford to pay them or else, you will fail and will end up in your problems. Be responsible enough for thinking about how to get out of your monthly dues and do not start up new ones. If there is no choice for you but to have a loan, it is best if you go for something that has a lesser percentage or best if you borrow from family or friends. They will most likely not charge you up for interest.

Overall, financial management and discipline are the keys to avoid bad credit. If you have both, surely you know how your cash flows properly, and you will have fewer problems when it comes to your finances. If you know how to discipline yourself, you have better things to do, and you do not get problematic about debts or even looking money on how to pay them off. If you succumb to debts, you have no one to blame but yourself.