Tag Archives: finances

Popular logic when you are trying to improve your finances is to consider drastic measures to create a noticeable difference but making these major moves is not always the best course of action and a series of small changes can have just as much impact, if not more.

Here are some savvy financial tips to consider and some insights on how you can implement some lasting positive changes to your financial situation. Including a suggestion to take an alternative view on reaching your goals, why you need to analyze your monthly costs, plus some tips that should help you keep more of your cash.

Think small to improve the bigger picture

It’s easy to adopt the mindset that paying an extra $30 or so extra toward your credit card debt payments is hardly worth the bother and won’t really make much of a difference.

It is perfectly understandable that you look at the balance and think how can I clear the debt in one go? But it often pays to take an alternative approach to clearing your debts and adding to your savings pot.

Those seemingly insignificant additional payments actually make a substantial difference to reaching your goals and rather than keep wondering how you are going to raise a chunk of cash in one go, start chipping away at your balances with these small additional sums of money.

It is a good strategy to think small as those extra payments will ultimately get you to where you want to be a lot quicker than if you keep holding back trying to raise enough cash to make what you might consider a meaningful contribution.

When you are committed to clearing debt and putting more toward your savings, don’t try to do it all almost immediately, make regular additional payments when you can and also try to make small changes to your finances to help you free up extra cash. ...continue reading

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resolutionsNew Year’s resolutions can be difficult to keep, as anyone who has tried to spend January losing weight, saving money or doing some other type of self improvement knows. Too often, the resolution is thrown to the side by February, and that includes financial resolutions.

With a late start being better than no start at all, I’m starting February with three financial resolutions that I hope to keep on track. These go beyond my resolution to lose weight, which I started in October 2015 after getting the idea that an early resolution might help motivate me. So far, not much, but I’m working on it.

After losing weight and getting organized, spending less and saving more was the third most popular resolution in 2015, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute. Forty-six percent got past six months, which gives me some hope.

Here are three financial resolutions I’m working on immediately in 2016:

Find a better business checking account

I accept payment in various ways as a freelance writer and editor, and as owner of three other websites, and I’ve been mostly happy with my business banking account. PayPal works great, but I’m never thrilled with the fees they take out of the payments I receive.

I also have direct deposit from a few clients, which I think is the best solution for both sides. For others, I accept checks, and taking a photo of a check on my phone and depositing it via my banking app is swift.

The problem is with the checking account that I keep my business income and expenses in. When I first started freelancing as an independent contractor, an accountant recommended having a separate account from my family’s checking account. I quickly set one up, but a few years into it my bank changed the requirements for having a free account. ...continue reading

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worst financial mistakesAnyone can make a mistake. They're part of everyday life. Financial mistakes, however, can lead to problems for years to come if not corrected soon.

After talking to financial experts and others who have either experienced or seen other people make the worst financial mistakes of their lives, we compiled the following list of 25 of them. Many are common after graduating from college and starting a financial life on your own, but they can still happen to anyone at any age.

We should also note that these worst financial mistakes aren't listed in any order. We'll leave measuring their importance to you:

25 Worst Financial Mistakes

1. Not going to college

The average starting salary for a high school graduate is about $28,000. That figure almost doubles to $48,127 for college graduates in the class of 2014 with bachelor's degrees, according to a salary survey by National Association of Colleges and Employers. Starting your working life by being that far behind in pay is one of the worst financial mistakes you can make.

2. Not paying off student loans fast

The average student loan debt for a college graduate is $28,400, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

For a college grad who is earning some real money after four or more years of living like a student, it can be tempting to spend much of their new income before paying off debt. That's one of the worst financial mistakes a graduate can make, says Alfred Poor, a college speaker and author of books about problems young people are having in the workplace.

"If college graduates tighten their belts and lower their expectations, and live like they only have the high school diploma, they will rapidly pay off their average $27,000 in student loans," Poor says. "If they spend their whole salary on a more comfortable lifestyle, they could be struggling to pay off that debt for decades, and end up paying much more in interest."

3. Paying off student loans too quickly

Paying off student loans quickly can also have a downside, says Steven Fox, a financial planner in San Diego with NextGenFinancialPlanning.com. If they use all of their extra income paying off student loans, they could be in financial trouble if they don't put some in an emergency fund and lose their job or get in a car accident and have unexpected medical expenses, Fox says.

"They should really think about whether they should pay off their student loans as fast as they possibly can once they get their first job if it means that they're doing so at the expense of not saving or investing anything," he says. "Ending up with zero debt is good, but ending up with zero savings is very bad."

An emergency could lead to borrowing money at a higher rate than what they were paying on student loans, says Fox, who reminds graduates that student loan interest is tax deductible for up to $2,500 for individuals making $80,000 or less without having to itemize.

4. Using max credit card limit

"Just because a bank offers you a credit card that allows you to spend money doesn't mean you should," Fox says.

This goes for all debt, he says. Being approved for a $20,000 auto loan doesn't mean your budget for a car is $20,000. ...continue reading