How to Improve Your Personal Finance Starting Now

Sure you can pay attention on penny stocks to watch when it comes to investing, but before you go down that road, it’s a good idea to take a look at your overall personal finance to ensure you’re on the right track.  Although it may be decades before you retire, it’s never too early to start preparing, so the better money moves you can make now, will set you up for success in the present and future, the more you can free up extra money.

Check Your Credit Report

With the amount of fraud there is these days you never know who has your info, whether it was stolen at the gas pump, or while you left it out paying a bar tab, even stores and credit bureaus are having information compromised, so it’s a good idea to check to ensure all accounts are up to date and accurate.  The major credit bureaus offer a free copy of your credit report, although you will have to see your credit score on your monthly credit card statements to ensure you continue to trend in the right direction.

Take Advantage of Credit Card Rewards

There are so many credit cards out there these days that you probably get hounded with offers every day.  Instead of putting them directly in the trash or recycle bin, check out the rewards.  By selecting a card with cashback rewards in the form of points or dollars just by making the purchases you would be making anyways, so ignoring this benefit would be leaving free money on the table.  APR is important, but you should avoid carrying over a balance each month as that just leads to debt problems down the road, sometimes making it hard to get out, so it’s best not to even start now.

Reduce Unnecessary Expenses

To really free up extra money you need to reduce your hard-earned dollars that are going out, so that may involve making sacrifices.  A good place to start is avoiding going out to eat and opting for going grocery shopping instead, as preparing meals at home instead of going out or grabbing carrying will have instant savings.  Beyond that, if you are looking to save a hundred or two, you can get rid of cable, that you probably don’t watch many of the channels anyways to necessitate paying every month, where you can go for a streaming service instead, of which you’re probably paying for one now anyways.

Build Yourself a Cushion

You never know what life will throw at you so it’s best to be as prepared as you can be.  If you can put a few months’ worth of expenses in an account to have in case unexpected charges do come up such as car repair, vet bill, or even a job loss, you can avoid putting on a credit card and save yourself from probably going into debt for a while if you’re not able to cover now, and paying back monthly will interest will throw your budget off for sure.

5 Ways to Enjoy Your Spring Break

Spring Break is just around the corner, and for some restless college students, it can’t come fast enough.  Having lived through tough exams, late night cramming sessions and last-minute revisions on papers and thesis, students are eager for a break from studying and from the cold of winter.  For many, heading to the tropical climes or straight to the closest beach is all they can think about.  And while they may have fantasies about fruity cocktails with little umbrellas, string bikinis and partying into the wee hours, the reality is that you have to pay to play.   For too many students, this means using their student loans to fund their trips.  As eager as they may be to frolic on the beach, the sobering fact of more student debt should give them pause.  With a little planning, Spring Break can be a time to refresh your mind and relax your body, catch up with friends and visit family.  Here are five ways to make your Spring Break a social and financial success.

  1. Make your travel plans early – You can save a lot of money and headache when you confirm your hotel reservations weeks before leaving. The earlier you book your rooms, the greater your discount is likely to be.

 

  1. Pool your resources -If you know you’re going to travel with friends, don’t forget to allow for extra luggage, sleeping accommodations and the like. Pool your resources and buy bulk shampoo, and other toiletry items you can divvy up among yourselves.

 

  1. Use a Groupon coupon – Rent a car and drive to your destination.  Driving will cost less than flying, and you can share the expenses with friends.  Not only will you have more control over your experiences along the way, but you can often find places where parking is free.  With a dollar car rental coupon you can save as much as $40 off a weekly rental, and even more when you apply a money saving Groupon to your rental fees.

 

  1. Set a spending limit and don’t exceed it. – Spring Break is a time to get away – but not go crazy.  Remember, what goes up must come down.  When you’re talking about your credit card balance, it can take a long time to pay off a few days’ worth of frivolous spending.

 

  1. Bring your student ID – Not only will you need it to verify your identity, you can get local discounts at many places along the way.

Why HR is Good for Your Business

HR is unfortunately one of the most overlooked and maligned departments in the business world. It’s not hard to see why, when looked at from the top down: the head of HR can never report to a CEO about the revenue they’ve brought into the business this year. They’re focussed on regulations and compliance, so they might find themselves in the position of having tell managers ‘no’ to ambitious plans and instead recommending longer and apparently less efficient courses of action.

Writing them off, however, is a path towards failure and low morale. A business that makes full use of its HR team, and goes to the best HR Executive recruiters for its hires will be at a huge advantage. Let’s look at why.

Employee Development

Run badly, an annual appraisal is simply an awkward conversation that employees have with their managers once a year. Getting it right, however is a vital way to identify problems with your business, find employees who could be tomorrows leaders and retain the talent that makes your business unique.

One of the things that drives employees to leave a business is a feeling of stagnation: if they’re not learning anything, and have nothing to aim for they’re likely to look around for greener pastures where they can develop more skills, more responsibilities and of course a bigger pay cheque.

A well run employee development programme uses regular appraisals to find areas where employees want to grow and allows them to develop those skills in the course of the year so they can achieve those aims. This keeps everyone engaged with your business and prevents attrition from dissatisfied employees.

It can also identify problem managers who may need some development and mentoring themselves. If a whole team is rating themselves poorly, and showing signs of unhappiness, that may in fact be a cue that something is wrong with management rather than the individual employees.

Communication

If you think of your C-Suite Executives as the brain of your business as your brain, and your different teams as limbs, HR is the nervous system that connects them all.

Good communication in your business is what allows everyone to work efficiently towards the same goal. Poor communication means wasted effort and resources, and resentment from employees who feel they aren’t being heard, and for whom the decisions coming down from above are opaque and incomprehensible.

Using your HR team to its full effect means your decisions are communicated clearly and people understood what they are doing and why, so they can work with you happily and productively!

Day Trading Basics: Limit Order and Other Terms

Day trading is an excellent way to figure out how to come back from a terrible cublice job and embrace the real work of capitalism. The essence of capitalism is to acquire capital that will do your work for you. The return on capital is greater than the return on labor, so you should choose capital. Day trading, if you learn the proper strategies and techniuqes is a great way to get capital and put it to work for you.

Limit order is a term which day traders must be familair with. It is essentially and order to buy or sell a stock at a specific price. So, if you want to buy a stock, you can set your limit order to a set price and the order will only happen if the stock hits that price in the exchange. For selling, it is much the same thing. You set your price and the sell limit order will only be filled if the stock reaches that price. These do not guarantee execution of a transaction, but they ensure that a trader does not pay more than a pre-set price for a stock.

When you start out as a day trader, you need to understand terms and concepts like limit order if you want to be successful. Many traders out there start out without much experience in the market and they can get overwhelmed by how complex everything is. There is a stat out there that says 90% of traders lose money. That means that only 10% actually turn a profit.

That 10% has one advantage. They put in the time and effort to get good at day trading. They took classes before they risked their money and they learned strategies like looking for gappers in the early morning. Gappers are stocks whose share price is gapping up above its closing price the day before. These can represent a great opportunity for profit.

Also, when you take the time to learn strategies and attend day trading classes online, you can begin paper trading. That is where you trade virtual currency in a simulated market environment. It is a great way to pracitice day trading without risking any real money. Practicing in a paper trading environment can allow you to get a feel for day trading and the intracacies of risk management, without worrying about risking any real hard money. It is like a video game for day trading.

Once you spend time in a paper trading simulator, you need to work your way up to $200 a day in virtual profits. That is how you get to a level that is acceptable as a day job. Two hundres bucks a day is $52,000 per year. If you can do that in the real stock market, you have a solid place to start from.

But the key is screentime. You need to park yourself in front of monitors in order to learn about the trends and advanced charting that day traders need to understand. Once you get all that downloaded into your system, you can become profitable.

Trading with Tact

Different things attract people to trading. For some it’s the opportunity to minimize their debts with relatively little work, for others it’s a chance to supplement their retirement plan, while still others just enjoy the thrill of it and the shock of adrenaline. Everyone’s situation is also different, as some use their savings, some their extra income, and others consider borrowing money so that they have something to start with, something that we personally don’t recommend.

However, one cannot forget that financial trading comes with risks. There are no guarantees of success and massive or even modest financial gains. Many have been burned before, however those entering the market for the first time might not be fully aware of the implications which come with trading. There are definitely safeguards you should have in place when investing your money, and your trading should have some kind of strategy behind it.

So how do you integrate tact into your trading?

1) Know Your Limits. Play within It.

Who couldn’t benefit from some extra cash? Whether to use for paying down your debts or put towards your dream vacation, success on the market is something we all dream of. However, in order to win you have to take the risk, the questions is always “how much?”. The answer is simple: never play with more than you can afford to lose. If you lost everything you invested, would you be able to recover? If the answer is no, then you are biting off more than you can chew. If you would feel it, yet still be able to exist, then you are probably still within your limit. Also adjust your limits to your comfort level so that you are not driving yourself into a state of constant worry. Your limits are only as good as your nerves are, even if according to your bank account you could play with more.

2) Look for Professional Advice

More and more people are starting to take a hands on approach to trading. However, unless you have a wealth of information on the topic or are willing to invest a lot of time into monitoring, that’s something that you should ease into. For people starting out, it’s a good idea to subscribe to professional recommendations that will make trading much easier. These detailed reports give exclusive tips on how to best invest your money based on your priorities. Others still might benefit from some personal coaching in which a seasoned trading veteran guides you through the initial steps and provides personalized pointers as you encounter your first sets of decisions.

3) Look for Variety

The farmer who first said “don’t put all your eggs on one basket” was a wise man indeed. When investing in stocks, especially at first, it’s a good idea to create variety in your selection. Think about your long term and short term goals simultaneously, addressing them with the investments you have in place. By having a varied selection of stocks, bonds, commodities, and more, you’ll find that you will learn the pros and cons of each while experiencing how the risk levels affect you and your financial situation.

4) Start Small

Don’t be afraid to start small. When initially trading, you don’t need to have a lot of money to see results. Once you feel comfortable with the market and how to respond to different scenarios, you can begin to approach your risk limits and alter your choices to create a portfolio that you will feel confident about.

Trading with Tact doesn’t require a great deal of intelligence or your full-time attention. It does, however, require patience and a willingness to learn from professionals and from experience. When you start small and in an informed manner, you will naturally gravitate towards a varied portfolio that fits your budget. The most important thing is to play within your means to avoid a disaster.

Credit Card Mistakes You Want to Avoid Making

Having a credit card account comes with plenty of responsibility, which is crazy to think that creditors try and lure you in right away at the age of eighteen with free goodies, and once you start using, increase your credit limit until you have virtually an endless amount of spending you can do.  When it comes to credit cards, you do want to make sure you are financially responsible.

Not Using Cards Enough

That may actually sound strange hearing that you could be making a mistake by not using your credit cards, but in fact, the less you use them, the less it is helping your credit score.  As it turns out, the more you use for purchases and pay off your full balance, the more credit will be available, and if you leave your card put away, the creditor could close your account, which could actually hurt your score, reducing your available credit.

Missing Due Dates

Now this should be common sense, and if it’s not, then you should never pay another bill late again.  Not only will your score be virtually ruined if you are thirty days late and show up on your report, but even a day late can cost you a late payment fee, let alone even worse, boosting up your APR so that if you owe a balance going forward, you will have huge interest payments to make before you can chip away at the balance.

Only Paying the Minimum

Making only the minimum payment could hurt your credit score if you are near the ceiling of your credit availability, but more importantly unless you have a 0% APR promotion, paying only the minimum will hardly even cover the interest payment.  That means that depending on the balance of your account, it could take decades to pay off the balance, so that just means that paying even a little over the minimum could reduce the payment plan by ten years!

Maxing out Available Credit

Hitting your available credit wall just puts you in financial turmoil.  If you are charging up your account, that probably means you will not be able to pay off the full balance by the statement due date, at which you will carry over a balance and be charged interest, and depending how much you can pay at once, the balance will remain out there for years until you finally make a dent.  On top of all of this, your credit score will significantly be reduced as it shows you may not be financially responsible.

Closing Accounts with Zero Balance

Sort of along the lines of sounding funny that it may hurt you by not using your cards, the same goes for closing an account.  I certainly understand that you have worked hard to pay down your balance, probably taking years to finally pay it off, only to think you are doing yourself a favor by closing the account so you never get in that mess again.  As it turns out, if you were to keep it open and just cut up the card and never use, you would be doing your credit score more of a service.

Growing Your Wealth in Tough Geopolitical Conditions

“Wealth can only be accumulated by the earnings of industry and the savings of frugality.” – John Tyler

There is no doubt that the global geopolitical and socio-economic uncertainties are beginning to bite into our monthly salaries. This problem is particularly true of the people living in countries that are not as wealthy as first-world countries such as the United States of America and Great Britain, etc. However, rising costs and stagnating salaries are starting to catch all but the wealthiest people in the aforementioned first-world countries.

Geopolitical events: The threat of War looms closer

Unfortunately, I don’t think that this problem is going to resolve itself shortly. Every morning we wake up to the fact that yet another global event such as the fact that Trump has sent naval ships to North Korea. North Korea retaliated by holding a large-scale military parade on Saturday 15 April 2017, showing off a bevy of new missiles and weaponry.  Just a day later, the USA and South Korea have reported that North Korea’s attempted missile launch failed.

Furthermore, we cannot solve these international crises. We can play our part by letting our country’s leaders know that we are not happy about the current global events that are taking place, but that is all we can do. Therefore, the question that begs is how do we survive the current global economic conditions that are brought about by the volatile and unstable geographical regions. Actually, in my opinion, the aim is not only to make ends meet financially, I believe that our aim should be to increase our wealth portfolios.

Growing our wealth portfolios

Before we look at ways to increase our investments and savings, let’s look at what the definition of a wealth is. According to Investopedia.com, “wealth measures the value of all the assets of worth owned by a person, community, company or country… Essentially, wealth is the accumulation of resources. Specific people, organizations and nations are said to be wealthy when they are able to accumulate many valuable resources or goods.”

In other words, our personal wealth is our investments, savings, and assets less our liabilities. Hopefully, over time, our liabilities decrease and our investments, etc. increase. The good news is that there are several ways we can actively pursue our goal of increasing our wealth:

Cut down on monthly expenses

The quickest way to save and invest more money every month is to cut down on you monthly expenses. Ergo, we need to trim all of the fat from our budget to save as much as possible. The practical application of this concept is not as easy as it sounds because it’s easy to get used to a certain standard of living. For example, you might be in the habit of purchasing a new Playstation game every month. Is this purchase necessary? If not, then it’s advisable to cut it out of your monthly budget.

Pay off any outstanding debt as quickly as possible

Apart from cutting down on your monthly savings, it’s advisable to pay more than the minimum amount back on your credit card bills and any other debt that you might have. You can even reduce the number of years that you have to pay for your house by increasing the your monthly mortgage repayments.

Consider investing on the global financial markets

Investing in the global financial markets via one of the conventional trading instruments such as options, CFDs, as well as trading in stocks and bonds are all viable options when considering growing your wealth.

It is, however, vital to note that trading on the world’s financial markets can be a high-risk venture; therefore, it is important to mitigate your risk by educating yourself on the ins and outs of financial market trading as well as researching the price movement trends of the underlying assets that you wish to trade on.

Furthermore, it’s advisable to maintain a cautious outlook especially when the stock markets are volatile and unstable, and it is wise to invest small amounts when you are placing trades. Therefore, should you make the wrong decision, you will not lose your entire investment.

Final words

In conclusion, I believe that it is possible to thrive during tough economic times. It might not be easy; however, if you increase your savings as well as your earning potential, you will not only decrease your debt, but you will grow your wealth portfolio substantially.

Paying with a check or with the credit card?

In credit history, there is an indicator called credit score for rating the solvency. It is calculated in points, which range from 300 to 850. The higher the score is, the higher the rating of the borrower will be. It increases or decreases when credit cards and other products are used.

Money transactions today

It is important to know that when making many transactions (buying on credit, renting real estate and others), the credit history and the credit score are checked, and when verified, the credit score is slightly lowered. The more often it is checked, the lower it falls. This is due to the fact that the client becomes potentially less solvent for possible creditors since payments for a future transaction will fall on his shoulders. But this fact practically does not affect the real possibility to conclude these deals (get a loan, a mortgage, rent a house).

Credit Score takes time to accumulate. And for this, it is not necessary to take loans! You just need to live, managing your finances correctly, like paying rent, utility bills, parking fines, and medical bills on time. Best Credit Cards service to help you chose the card you need. In short, just live and do not spend more than you have to give back. It has nothing to do with loans! It’s just “points of trust”.

In the past, it was like this: people carried cash around with them and paid for everything using it. Then the banks came up with checks. A person could sign a check for any other person, and that person could cash out this check in his or her bank. Even at this stage, the situations began to emerge when the check was issued, but there was no corresponding money on the account! The person simply told the recipient of the check, “cash a check at the end of the month, when I have a salary.”

Depositing money into an account in the USA

You can replenish a bank account in the US in several ways, most of which are known for working with banks in other countries. In addition to the usual depositing of cash in the cashier’s bank or ATM, as well as transferring money from one account to another, in America, a deposit of paper checks is still common. When depositing a check, money is withdrawn from the account of the person who issued the check and is credited to your account.

You can make a deposit of a check in the cashier’s office of your bank, at an ATM, or by photographing it with a smartphone.

When depositing money from a check using the ATM, you need to follow the instructions on screen and place the check in a special receiver – the ATM will take a photo and identify it. If you make a check deposit through a mobile program, it’s also easy, but you need to make sure that the check photograph is clear.

If you came to the branch of your bank with a check, then you will need to fill out a special form. Of course, you can ask the bank officer to do it for you, but it’s better to fill it out yourself.

Investing in Your Own Health

Everyone has assembled their own health care team over the years. It usually takes quite some time to find health professionals we are happy with in terms of compatibility, quality of service, as well as value. Though this process seems perfectly normal and reasonable to some, others might be puzzled as to why take the time to research and meet potential doctors, dentists, massage therapists and more. In the grand sense of things, you don’t even really see the that often, do you? We can see that the logic seems at little flawed at first, but let’s delve into this a little deeper…

  • You only have one health

This might have been a saying which your mom would repeat to you over and over again, but it doesn’t make it any less true! If you have a car and you miss a couple of oil changes, you risk having your engine clog up. Worst case scenario, you completely destroy the engine and either replace it or the entire car. Now consider your body. If you have spent years neglecting regular maintenance like going to doctor’s appointments, meeting with a nutritionist to ensure you are getting the right fuel, or getting your teeth cleaned at regular intervals, you risk putting your body in a state which can be difficult, if not impossible, to recover from.

  • There is a difference in care

If you think that every doctor or dentist provides the same level of care, you are sadly wrong. Though there is a standard they must adhere to in order to get licensed, there is a lot of things they can differ on. Some have their own clinics and invest in the newest technologies and services while others are satisfied with having access to the bare minimum. Choose a doctor or a dentist who invested in the best available technology to serve you better. The health field is constantly advancing and you don’t want to be stuck with a practitioner using old-school methods when there are newer and better alternatives available!

  • Mitigate further costs

One thing which is true with most things, including your health, is the better quality something is, the better value it ends up being in the long run. For example, if you purchase an high-quality dining table made of solid materials and professional craftsmanship, though it might cost more at first, ends up serving you for many more years than a cheap one which you would have to replace after just a short time. Over the years, while your solid table might have cost a lot initially, its per year cost goes down while the lower quality option was only a fraction of the cost but had to be replaced 5 times over the same span of time. The same goes for your health. For example, if you are having problems with your hip, it’s better to take the time and money to treat it properly, be that with rest, physiotherapy, or surgery under the hand of the best doctor, than have this be a reoccurring health problem throughout your life. Over a few years, if quality treatment isn’t applied, you might find yourself taking unpaid leave from work, having to go on disability, or have to deal with a combination of personal, professional, health, and economic stresses.

Many find it difficult to justify spending money on getting good quality vitamins, seemingly expensive medical and dental services, and supplementary things like therapeutic massages or chiropractor visits, when they have a strict budget in place. However, it’s important to remember that you do only have one health and that your life literally depends on it. Treat your body well by giving it all it needs and everything else will fall into place.

4 Easy Steps to Reduce Payments on Your Debt

This is a guest post from Pauline of investmentzen.com

We have all been there. Debt payments are creeping up, and it is starting to get hard to keep up with them.

Whatever the reason you got indebted in the first place, this is not the moment to blame yourself, or to give up. It is time to take action, to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and you get back on track for a solid financial future.

Paying of debt is tedious. It’s like losing weight. You enjoyed that meal last week, but you don’t really want to spend your Sunday at the gym to work it off. Yet, if you don’t, things will get worse, and soon you’ll be overweight.

So let’s tackle your debt, one step at a time.

Step 1: Reduce the interest on your debt

You owe a certain sum of money, and we will see later what we can do about that, but for now, let’s try to lower our monthly payments by reducing the cost of our debt.

Make a list of all your debt:

  • Credit cards
  • Car loans
  • Student loans
  • Personal loans
  • Mortgage
  • etc…

And next to it write down the interest rate you are paying on said debt. It might look like:

  • Credit card A 19.9%
  • Credit card B 12%
  • Student loan 6.9%
  • Mortgage 4.3%

Your priority is to reduce the interest you are paying on your debt. A $1,000 balance over 12 months at 19.9% is costing you a whopping $199! Look for a 0% balance transfer and move all your credit card balances over there. If your credit score is too low for that, try calling your credit card company and let them know you would like your rate lowered, because paying off your debt is becoming increasingly difficult. Lowering the rate will be cheaper for them than chasing a customer in default so they might oblige.

Step 2: Reduce capital payments on your debt

Doing so will likely lengthen your debt repayment period, so that should be an option only if your current payments are too hard to honor. Unless you had a grace period on that 0% balance transfer. In which case, you should pretend like you are making the repayments, and put the money on a high yield savings account in the meanwhile, so it earns a little bit of interest for you.

Remember to put a date in your calendar for when your 0% deal is over, to pay the full balance, or it will revert to a super high rate. That is how companies make money. If you are still short, make another 0% transfer.

Step 3: Refinance your mortgage

Refinancing your mortgage is one of these “big wins” that won’t take a lot of time and can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. A quick online search will tell you what the current rates are depending on your credit, and then a mortgage repayment calculator will tell you what your new payments will be.

Like with credit cards, if you keep your mortgage payments the same, you will be overpaying a little every month, and can shave months or even years off the life of your loan by doing so.

When refinancing, you might be tempted to open another line of credit to pay off your credit card balance. The catch is, you are switching from unsecured debt to secured debt. That means if you don’t pay your line of credit, your creditors can sell your house. If you don’t pay your credit card, the debt is not secured against an asset.

So now that you are aware of the risks, that might be worth considering if you were unable to get a 0% balance transfer.

Step 4: Refinance your other debt

Refinancing your student loans and other kinds of debt can be done over the same term, for a lower interest rate, or over a longer term, in order for you to have some breathing room in your budget thanks to lower payments. BUT if you go for a longer term, the final amount you’ll end up paying will probably be higher than the original loan figure.

So make sure you understand what the implications are before you sign anything. You can refinance all your loans together, also known as debt consolidation, or go on a per case basis with each lender.

All these steps are pretty straightforward and can not only save you a bunch in interest, but also lower your payments and help your cash flow right now. Even if you are able to make your current payments, why pay more in interest?