Four Simple Tips to Save and Manage Your Money

One of the most important steps you can take right now is to put your budget in other. Setting a budget can help you to live within your means and keep you away from impulsive spending.

Here is what a good budgeting can do for you:

• It gives you control over your spending
• It helps to you to organize your savings and spending
• It keeps you focus
• It makes you aware where your money is going
• It enables you to save for raining days and to avoid unexpected costs

How you spend and manage your money can have a profound impact on your life. Learning how to save and manage your money should be an integral part of your life. You don’t have to be an accounting guru to start nor does it require a lot of paperwork.

Here are 4 steps you can take right now to start saving and managing your money:

Do not spend more than you earn

This sounds like a simple concept but in reality, it is hard to implement. But the good news is that with a few change to your lifestyle you can easily put it into practice. So the first thing you need to do is to analyze your spending habit. You need to track how you spend money. With the help of a simple financial tool like Quicken, you can track all your spending and manage your money more effectively. You can search online for more money management tools that can help you to track and plan your spending. The more you do this the easier it becomes.

Cut back on some of your expenses

You should look for ways to cut your expenses so that you can have more money to save. There are lots of ways to chop down on your spending without much hassle. You can cut on energy and car gas by just being more energy efficient or adopting a good driving habit. There are tons of things you can do to save more on energy, so look for an easy-to-implement system that works for you.

Build an emergency fund

You need an emergency fund to help you prepare for unexpected expenses. If you don’t have an emergency fund and you are hit by unseen events such as job loss, major illness, dental expenses, car repair and home repair etc. you’ll be forced to rely on a credit card, take out a loan or even worse tap into your retirement account. This could leave you in debt and less money for your retirement. The true importance of emergency fund is that it can save you when disaster struck.

Make your money work for you

Finally, make your money earn more money. While there are no simple ways to do this, there are many ways to put your money to work. Here is what you can do to make your money earn more: open a high-yield savings account, invest your money in the stock market, create a passive income, store your money in a retirement account, become a partner in a new business.
These are simple ways to start saving and managing your money. When you form a saving habit, you’ll be inspired to save more and hit your financial goal faster.

5 Harmful Credit Report Myths

As the world rockets toward an all-digital economy, maintaining good credit is more important than ever. With that said, the use of credit cards has increased for everyday purchases, making them a key to participate in online shopping.

A 2015 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found that the share of American retail purchases made with cash dropped from 40 percent to 32 percent between 2012 and 2015. That’s an astonishing eight percent change in just three years!

Given the importance of credit, it is no wonder that consumers are increasingly worried about their credit scores. Requests for credit reports from American credit reporting agencies have skyrocketed in recent years.

Here are five of the most pernicious myths, along with the facts about maintaining your good credit.

MYTH #1: YOUR CREDIT SCORE IS A SINGLE NUMBER
A credit report does provide a single number to potential lenders, but it contains a great deal of additional information as well. Your credit report includes details about the loans you have taken out and the credit cards you have been issued. Details about your payment history are included. The report contains a wealth of information for the lender. Lenders count on all of that information when making a determination about whether to extend credit, what your credit limit will be, as well as the types of credit you might be eligible for.

America’s three credit reporting agencies almost never report the same score when asked to analyze the same person’s account. There are several reasons for this. Second, different lenders report credit information to different credit reporting agencies. Most lenders report to all three, but many do not. Finally, different lenders may calculate credit scores slightly differently.

That’s just for generic scores. You’re also likely to have a different score calculated according to the specific criteria of lenders in real estate, for instance, and/or auto loans, and department store credit cards. the following

· Current accounts. Note that credit cards and mortgages are analyzed according to different criteria.

· Payment history. Lenders want to know whether you pay your bills on time.

· Outstanding credit. Reporting agencies calculate your outstanding balance compared to your total amount of available credit.

· New credit. If you have recently opened a bunch of new accounts, that could be a red flag.

· Credit history. Lenders want to know how long you have been borrowing.

Thus, lenders take much more into account than a single number.

MYTH #2: CHECKING YOUR CREDIT REPORT WILL HURT YOUR SCORE
This pestilent myth has a basis in fact. If your credit report shows a great many inquiries from potential lenders, that may indicate you are in financial trouble and shopping around for loans. A flurry of requests for credit reports can be a red flag.

The credit reports you request don’t show up as negatives on your history. In fact, many lenders believe it is a positive sign that consumers stay on top of their indebtedness by checking their credit histories at least once a year. It’s part of good credit management. Requesting a credit report is more likely to increase than diminish your chances of getting new credit approved.

MYTH #3: THE BEST WAY TO IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT SCORE IS TO PAY OFF ALL YOUR ACCOUNTS AND CLOSE THEM
This myth is partially correct.

Conversely, closing your accounts can have the opposite effect. Lenders and reporting agencies care about how much of your current credit limit you are currently using. That is, they are less interested in how much you owe than in how much you owe compared to how much you are approved to borrow. Sounds complicated, right? Think of it as a ratio. The following example will help shed more light.

If you owe $5,000 in credit card debt, that may not be significant if your credit limit across several cards is $30,000. On the other hand, if you have just one card with a limit of $5,000, then the $5,000 in current debt is quite significant and may disqualify you from opening an account with a second lender.

When you pay off your credit cards, you are decreasing the ratio of credit used to approved credit. That’s great. When you close the accounts, your approved credit is reduced, and that means future credit purchases will represent a higher utilization of your total approved credit. In other words, closing the accounts actually hurts your credit score.

MYTH #4: A BAD PAYMENT HISTORY DOESN’T AFFECT CREDIT SCORES ONCE ACCOUNTS ARE UP TO DATE
Unfortunately, getting caught up on payments doesn’t erase your history of late payments, accounts referred to collections, and bankruptcies. All of that information stays on your report for up to seven years – or longer, depending on the type of bankruptcy.

Getting current is still important. It’s a great sign and it reassures lenders that you are serious about paying your debts. Lenders understand that sometimes circumstances cause us to fall behind on payments. What they need to see is that you are committed to repaying what you borrow and that you don’t walk away from debt.

Missed payments stay on your credit report for three years. If you are a good customer but you are temporarily having trouble paying your bills, it’s worth calling the lender to see if you can reschedule payments. Many lenders are willing to work with customers to allow a few months without payments as long as they are arranged in advance. These arrangements are not reported to credit agencies and do not harm your credit score.

That said, it is still true that a bad payment history continues to affect your credit score for years, even after you have brought the accounts current.

MYTH #5: ALL CREDIT REPAIR SERVICES ARE SCAMS
Corrupt companies have given the credit repair industry a bad name. A simple Google search will reveal many companies that promise to erase derogatory information in your credit report for a fee.

Reputable credit repair companies do exist, doing a lot of good for a lot of people. They understand the rules about credit reporting and how to use those rules to improve your score.

Credit repair services can have incorrect and harmful information removed from your report.

Repair services might advise you to petition creditors for goodwill corrections, in which they remove information about a few late payments from an otherwise unblemished account history. effective A reputable agency can also provide reliable advice on prioritizing payments to existing accounts, applying for new credit, paying down your old debt, and much more.

Many lenders give extra weight to recent credit activity. Showing a trend toward responsible debt repayment can persuade them to be more forthcoming when extending new credit and favorable terms. Follow your credit repair agency’s advice and you could well find yourself with a higher score and more access to home loans, auto loans, and credit cards than you dreamed possible.

The 10 Most Common Sales Tricks

If you’re ever with someone who is trying to sell you something – a home, car, insurance, clothes, new phone or whatever – here are 10 common tricks and traps you should look out for.

1. The Probe
On your first contact with any salesperson, they’ll usually ask you a few questions. These have two main goals. Most obviously, they’re trying find out what you’re looking for. But they’re also aimed at finding out how serious you are about buying. For example, a car dealer would want to work out if you’re a tyre-kicker (someone who is just looking around but not intending to buy) or a fish (someone who can be caught and reeled in).

2. The Psychology Test
To be successful in selling to you, a seller must quickly work out what kind of a person you are so they can adjust their sales pitch to appeal to someone like you. If you’re a positive, extrovert, glass-half-full person, then they’ll probably try to sell the dream – stress how what they’re selling will improve your life. But if you’re more of a glass-half-empty worrier, then the seller will sell security – focus more on the features and performance of what’s being sold.

3. The Make-a-Friend
Sellers will have many tricks to make us like them as the more we like someone, the more likely we are to buy from them. One of the most frequently used techniques is called active listening. With active listening the seller will use all kinds of non-verbal gestures such as leaning forward, inclining their head slightly to one side, widening their eyes, pursing their lips thoughtfully and stroking their chin to show their interest in us. Some sellers even sit in front of the mirror at home practising their active listening skills.

4. The Trust Me
Many salespeople are trained to portray themselves as trusted advisers helping us make the right buying decision rather than being seen as commission-hungry vultures slavering to get hold of our money. One of many ways of achieving this is the same side of the table. Rather than standing or sitting opposite the customer creating a situation where the seller and buyer are like adversaries facing each other, the seller changes their position so they’re standing or sitting almost beside the customer as if they’re working together with the customer to solve the customer’s problem – which house, car, TV, phone or insurance to buy.

5. The Persuaders
Having managed to get us interested in buying something, the seller then needs to get us to make the decision to move ahead. To put pressure on us, they might try the closing door – suggest there’s only a limited time to get the deal they’re offering; or the phantom buyer – tell us there are other people interested in buying what we want even if this isn’t true; auction fever – use other real or phantom buyers to make us feel we have to offer a higher price if we’re to get what we want; or even the deliberate mistake – when adding up the price of something, they deliberately ‘forget’ some small part so that the buyer, thinking they’re smarter than the seller, rushes to complete the deal.

6. The One-Step Negotiation
In the West, we’re used to most things we buy having fixed prices and so often feel uncomfortable haggling over price. Sellers understand this and will often quote an inflated price then allow us to negotiate a small reduction. Relieved at having supposedly achieved a price cut, most of us will then buy. Very few buyers will do two- three- and even four-step negotiations.

7. The Absent Authority
If we do try to do more than a one-step negotiation, then a seller might use the absent authority trick. They could say something like, ‘I’d love to offer this at the price you want, but I’m not allowed to. If you want, I can ask my manager to see what they say’. Then off they’ll go to apparently fight for you against their tough sales manager. After a few minutes, they’ll come back with a small concession claiming this is the best they can do. But as the manager is an absent authority, you can’t negotiate any further.

8. Feel-Felt-Found
If a buyer is worrying about the price or features or reliability of what’s being sold, the seller might try the feel-felt-found. They may say, ‘I know how you feel. Many of our best customers felt like that, but when they bought this they found they were delighted at having gone ahead’.

9. The Close
Most sellers will have the ABC (Always Be Closing) drummed into them by sales trainers and their sales managers. This means that at all stages of the sales process, sellers must be absolutely focused on the end result – closing the sale and getting their commission. Any seller who can charm customers, get them interested but doesn’t get the close will either have extremely skinny children or else no job at all.

10. SSI
Once a seller has closed the sale, then it’s time for SSI (Sell Second Item). If we’re taking a car, SSI might be all kinds of extras, additional warranties and GAP and payment protection insurances. If we’re buying a suit, SSI might include a couple of shirts, ties and a belt. With TVs or phones, SSI would be a care plan – paying a lot of money for an extended guarantee. And with a home, an estate agent might pressure us to take out a mortgage with the mortgage broker used by their agency.

3 Mistakes Most Investors Make

Gather, don’t scatter.

Over the years investors have been convinced that proper investing meant taking their money and spreading it out amongst several investment professionals. Over time, many investors accumulate, on average, four advisors and several accounts. From his 401(k), Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, brokerage and mutual fund accounts, to her 401(k), Traditional IRA, trust and saving accounts, a family can accumulate several accounts with several financial institutions.

This scattering of assets leads to a false sense of “diversification” by “not putting all of your eggs in one basket.” Trouble is, this strategy really hurts most investors.

Many investors have unknowingly scattered their assets, resulting in no one person managing or fully understanding their entire situation, goals or dreams. Without comprehensive planning, there actually is no plan at all.

1. Improper Asset Allocation

Most investors have their assets dispersed with several advisors and several financial firms. No single advisor knows what the other is doing resulting in an uncoordinated portfolio. One advisor in firm A might be selling the very asset that an advisor in firm B is buying. Unless there is one coach reviewing the entire portfolio, then your money is not coordinated.

Your asset allocation should always reflect your current position in life, your current goals, future, feelings and family characteristics. When your hard earned money is scattered to other advisors and institutions, you alone are left to properly manage your portfolio. Many individuals are not trained to monitor this correctly and consistently. Unfortunately, the overall plan suffers.

2. Improper Correlation Within Investments, Managers and Funds

Without saying, each investment needs to be excellent on its own. The investment, manager, or mutual fund needs to have a strong track record (I like a ten-year record). You might be able to select quality investments. That’s not the problem. Where the breakdown occurs is knowing how these investments interrelate. This is nearly impossible to track when one advisor is doing one thing, and a different advisor is doing just the opposite.

Let’s think about a recipe analogy. You might have the best ingredients to make your favorite dish. You might even have quality chefs at your beck and call, ready to make this dish for you. If you put all of these chefs in the same kitchen, but don’t let them know what the other is doing, a culinary disaster awaits. You can see that the likelihood of your dish coming out correctly is very low, no matter how good the ingredients were. Same is true with your investment portfolio.

3. Failure to Monitor the Consolidated Portfolio

You know life is not static. Life is constantly changing. Whether it’s your job, children, the economy, world events, new laws, unplanned expenses (and the list goes on and on), your world constantly moves. Your entire portfolio needs to be dynamic as well. When market forces move, the properly managed portfolio needs to move with it. I am not talking about day-trading, but rebalancing when and where appropriate. Additionally, your goals, future, feelings and family characteristics are changing as well. Every day is either a day closer to your goals, or not.

Having your assets scattered makes it nearly impossible to properly monitor your portfolio based on your changing life. With the technology and tools available, along with the new “open architecture” available at full service financial institutions, you are better off hiring one advisor to help you monitor your portfolio. This trusted advisor will coordinate all of your “eggs” and not put them in the same “basket.” He/she can manage your diversified portfolio to meet your goals, future, feelings and family characteristics and make sure your entire portfolio works in unison to make your dreams come true.

In conclusion, years ago, many firms were limited to the solutions they could individually bring to the client. Many had their own proprietary funds or investments, which may or may not have been in your best interest. Today, full service firms have an “open architecture” and are able to go out into the market place and bring any solution to you that is appropriate. For your strong consideration, only hire an advisor who can go anywhere in the marketplace without limitation!

One Dollar

What does one dollar buy today?

For everyone, less than what it could buy twelve months ago. We live in an economy with inflation, cost of living rises, and unemployment. Add to that, job insecurity, downsizing, and offshore job relocation.

So it is no wonder we are preoccupied with survival. Getting by from pay check to pay check. And for many, trying to struggle with, more month than money.

No doubt you’ve heard, “if I could just come up with one good idea.” And many have. Even you have been thinking of an idea. And six months later there it is on the shelf of a supermarket, in a newspaper or a social media news feed.

“That’s my Idea!”… and somebody else has put it in front of you, to your bewilderment. You see, it’s been estimated. That some twenty-six people in the world are thinking of the same idea at the same time. But one person acted on that idea.

It’s the same for three frogs sitting on a log. One decides to jump. How many frogs are now sitting on the log?

Three. One of the frogs decided to jump. But until the frog actually, jumps, there are still three frogs on the log.

Getting back to that one idea. Yes, and, if only you had the time. That little one dollar idea that could make all the difference to your life and your world.

Just the same as the one person of the twenty-six, you need to act. Not on stage. Take action.

All those ideas that pop into your head. Don’t just make a mental note, thinking you will save it for later. And at the same time giving yourself some self-indulging importance of how clever you are. You need to take action. And write them down, as they pop into your head. Otherwise, they drift on to someone else and are gone forever.

I don’t know how true it is, that everyone has a million dollar idea in them. Maybe they do. Only you know for you. And if you were to continually ask yourself, what million dollar idea can I come up with. You might surprise yourself.

With the busy-ness of living and making ends meet. Give yourself some time every week. Quiet time, on your own and just let your mind wonder. Of course, with pen and paper. You never know where this may lead. And it gives you time to cultivate an idea you’ve been thinking off. And you have that pen and paper handy.

Those are basically all the tools you need.

Your free and open mind, pen and paper.

Don’t Squander Your Income

Today’s world is brutal for anyone trying to get ahead. The expense of everything makes it hard to save and the cost of living is rising daily. Jobs are also hard to get and people falling through the cracks are now living on the streets in many cities. From the time one leaves school the pressure is on to succeed and that can take many twists and turns. The first and most vital thing to do is to get a good job.

From the first pay packet one must have a strategy for long-term survival. Set it out on paper and begin a bank account in which a certain percentage of the money is lodged each payday. This is essential for future benefits.

It makes me shudder to see images of people pouring money into poker machines or other gambling devices. These are money cows for the clubs, pubs, and societies that use them to boost their income. What it does to one financially is often so tragic that they end us losing everything. Families can be broken home, homes repossessed or tenants tossed out.

Living on the streets is a dead-end. There is hardly any way up unless you do it by sheer will power and clever tactics. The best thing is not to get into that situation.

While the going is tough it’s really time to get going and do yourself a favour. Don’t squander your income and make doubly sure that you bank as much as possible each week. If you do that then when these times have passed you will be overjoyed because of your sacrifice