1) Paying yourself every week : – this is perhaps one of the best way to start budgeting for yourself. You can do that on a weekly or a daily basis. Keep aside $25-$50 or any amount of your choice and put that in a safe place. This is an amount that you are trying to save from your budget and use it later. So you won’t touch this money unless or until there is some serious emergency and you are in dire need of money. This kind of saving money will also help to minimize or eliminate your impulsive spending habits. By saving $50 every week, you can actually save $200 in a month and $4800 in two years. Of course this is not including the interest, but still this is a good money-saving opportunity.

2) Minimize your shopping habits : – people who love shopping very frequently can actually save a lot of money every year if they minimize their shopping habits. Before you spend money on anything, you must ask yourself first whether you really need it or not. Many a times, people buy things that is actually not required urgently, and therefore it leads to wasteful spending. One pair of jeans, a sweater and one pair of shirts can be enough for a few months, so just buy what you absolutely need and pass on those items that aren’t necessary.

3) Use your bank’s own ATMs : – it is always recommended to withdraw money from your own bank’s ATM machines. Whenever you withdraw money from other bank’s ATMs, they will charge you a fee. This can build up to a good amount in a year, just in fees, which can be easily saved.

4) Keep an eye on your spending : – it is a good idea to track your spendings on a daily basis. Write down every single dollar you spend. This will give you a “birds-eye” view and see where your money is exactly spent on a regular basis. You can refine your spending habits seeing this list and essentially save more money from your regular expenses.

Financial planning

5) Keeping your credit card balances to the lowest : – On an average, most of the credit card companies charge 15% – %20 in interests and fees, if the outstanding balance is not paid in full every month. Therefore it is important to pay off those pesky credit card dues as soon as possible.

6) Using your debit cards regularly instead of the credit cards : – Get in the habit of using your debit card rather than using your credit cards. Debit card is linked with your checking account, so whenever you make any purchase, you are sure of having that money in your checking account. Using a credit card can be quite expensive if you are not able to pay the full amount within the due date.

7) Rolling over the 401K when you are in between jobs : – Whenever people are changing jobs, they will be in a situation whether to roll over their retirement funds or to withdraw it since it is a good substantial amount. It is always suggested not to withdraw the retirement funds because it is that money that can be used in your old age. Moreover you will have to pay fines and penalties for an early withdrawal and it will take away almost 40%-60% of your savings. This is like giving your hard earned money to a stranger for nothing.

8) Avoid getting too many credit cards : – People having multiple credit cards and if they are not able to pay the amount in full are getting charged in more interests and fees by different banks. A person having just one credit card is in a much better situation than another person who is having 5 or 6 credit cards because he is paying more money in interests and fees. It is good to have one or two credit cards because it will help you to build credit and used during emergencies, if these credit cards are managed properly.

9) Checking your credit report at regular intervals : – it is always recommended to check your credit report once in six months. In many cases, credit bureaus are reporting inaccurate negative information on consumer’s credit report. This can often hurt your credit scores. If you find any inaccurate information on your credit report, get it solved with the credit bureaus to improve your credit ratings. Many a times, people are not aware about the unsettled accounts, or accounts that are still open/active when they should be closed. Pay attention to these items when you are checking your report.

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By financen | April 23, 2015 - 4:47 am - Posted in Financial planning, Investment

Every parent wants their children to get the best education possible and be successful in life. However, life is uncertain and the path to fulfilling all your desires may be a convoluted one. Hence you need to implement a sound investment strategy. With proper planning and a variety of investment options, your child will have a good journey to a valuable college degree. Follow these tips for an efficient planning for growing children.

1) Creating a financial plan and know where to end: When you are planning for your children’s education, work out an estimate of all the costs involved. Keep this estimate as a guide and start piercing together your investment plan. You will see a variety of education planning options each with its own risks and benefits and you will use it accordingly to achieve your goals.

  • a. To get started, make an education saving plan in the early days. You will have money available when your child enters college. These education savings plan come with different protection benefits to the child and the parent.
  • b. If you have property, it will provide rent and capital appreciation and this can be used in your child’s education. Rent money can be used to pay for your child’s tuition fees and other related expenses. And when the value of the property increases, it can be sold to obtain capital gains. When you invest your money in the property market, do a thorough research because this market will fluctuate and you may not get the selling price as anticipated.
  • c. Unit Trusts and Structured Investments can also be a part of your investment planning.

2) Set up an automatic system to invest regularly: Make an action plan where your savings or investing can be made automatic. Many savings, investment linked plans and unit trust funds can be operated monthly, quarterly, half annually or annually. When you are investing regularly, you will also benefit from Dollar Cost Averaging. It is an average of highs and lows of an investment and lower the total average cost per share of the investment.

financial planning

3) Reviewing the plan: When you reviewing the plan regularly, you will stay on track with your target goals. Make sure that you review it at least once in a year and with any major change in your life, such as a new child, career advancement or move to a bigger house, find ways to top up if it is not up to the mark in reaching your investment goal.

4) Top up annually or whenever you can: You can always increase your contributions annually or top up your contributions when there is an increase in your income or you get a bonus or increase in your pay. You will be able to meet your target quicker and achieve a large fund.

5) No dipping into the funds: Choose the right plan that will lock your funds for your children’s education until they are ready to go to college. You should not be able to withdraw the fund easily otherwise you will use the money for other emergencies or needs that may come up.

Financial planning for child

6) Contributions from family members: You can encourage grandparents or other relatives in your family to not to spend money in gifts but opt for a cash contribution towards their education fund instead.

7) Making a team effort: Encourage your children to do savings for their future education. While you are reviewing your investments for their education funds, you can discuss it with them so that they know how hard you are working and putting your efforts towards achieving their goals. If they want to contribute a small portion towards their education fund, appreciate it. And when they are ready to leave for university, make sure that they have learnt good money management habits so that they are able to live within their means.

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In many cases, annuities are used as retirement investment vehicle. They provide the investor with a tax deferred way of calculating interest. There are many types of annuities for different investors with many options, their opportunity for a sizable return, and their safety. Variable annuity is often considered as the riskier annuity. The investor is able to invest the annuity in the stock market, or in mutual funds. Any person over the age of 60 will receive monthly payments, depending on the results of the investments.

AnnuityIf the investor is not 60 years of age, he will still receive the tax benefits, but he won’t get the payment until he reaches 60. Variable Annuity can be for a fixed time period or for life. Most of these annuities offer a money market sub account. This will allow the investor to switch to a secure fixed rate, at any point of time.

Advantages of Annuities :

If you look at the stock exchange market, especially S & P 500 who have an annual return averaging 12%, while historically Fixed Annuities, Treasury Bills, and secure Bonds usually offer single-digit interest rates. A Variable Annuity will allow you to earn much higher returns.

All annuities are tax deferred, and it will be beneficial for many investors over other investment vehicles. It will provide you inheritance probate-free, thereby allowing your loved ones to avoid estate taxes. You can also provide gifts which are completely free of tax up to $10k per year, per person.

Fixed annuities do not provide such higher liquidity like variable annuities. You can make withdrawals as much as 10% annually in the first year without any sort of penalty. And if there is any market change and you are not feeling confident about it, you can move to a fixed rate of interest, providing a very secure investment vehicle. Based on the current market conditions, you can change you risk/return.

Disadvantages of Annuities:Annuities

Variable Annuities are not that secure like Fixed annuities or CD’s. When you put your money in the market, it means that you are willing to risk your share. There are some management fees, just like a mutual fund. You must check the commissions or the fees involved.

This investment will give you enough liquidity, but it is not the right one if you need that money tomorrow. Income withdrawals before the age of 59.5 years or by more than the allowable percent per year will result in a 10% IRS penalty.

You must do all your research before putting your money in the market. Overall variable annuities are a good investment vehicle to grow your nest egg tax deferred, but at the same time, there are lots of risks involved. Always seek professional help before making this important decision.

Helpful Resources:

http://www.sec.gov/answers/annuity.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annuity

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By financen | January 15, 2014 - 5:53 pm - Posted in Financial planning

When it comes to financial planning, many people make this common mistake of ignoring it completely and it keep it aside for so long and it so happens that the real benefits of financial planning expire. It’s important to start planning at the earliest so that you get the real value of your money.

Financial planning

Financial planning

Many people do not want to put their efforts in financial planning because they think that the process of planning will be too lengthy and also they remain unaware about the benefits. A financial planning surrey was done and it was found that many people had the following misconception:-

  • They were not able to properly plan their financial goals.
  • Take a financial decision without even understanding its effects on other financial issues.
  • Many people confuse financial planning with investing.
  • They often neglect to re-evaluate their plan periodically.
  • Many people think that financial planning is only for wealthy people or for people when they get older.
  • Financial planning is often confused with retirement planning.
  • They wait till the time when there is a money crisis and then start planning.
  • Expecting unrealistic returns on investments.
  • Sometimes they think that using a planner means losing control.
  • They often think that financial planning is primarily tax planning.

You should always make your money count with a plan. And in order to avoid the mistakes mentioned above, you most focus in a proper way. You can get the best ROI from your financial planning by following these tips.

Start planning as soon as you can: It is not worth to delay your financial planning. People who start to invest at an early age will get more benefits than others who wait until later in life and do retirement planning surrey. When you have developed good financial habits like saving, budgeting, investing and regularly reviewing your finances early in life, you will be able to handle the challenges in life in a better way.

Be realistic in your expectations: Proper planning of your finances will help you reach your goals quicker in life. However there will be some events that will be beyond your control such as inflation or fluctuations in the stock market or interest rates. So it is important to be prepared.

Setting up your financial goals: You must set your targets that you want to achieve and when you want to achieve them.

Taking charge: When you are working with a financial planner, make sure that you understand the financial planning process and how your money will give you the returns. The planner will require all your information about your financial situation and your purpose. Get all your questions answered and play an active role in decision making.

Re-evaluating your financial situation regularly: Financial planning is a dynamic process. Your financial goals may change over the period of time due to changes in your lifestyle such as marriage, inheritance, birth, house purchase or change of job status. Always revise your financial plans periodically so that you can stay on track with your long term goals.

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