Favorite The No B.S. Quick and Easy Financial Guide

Instead of fluffing all this up, I’m going to get straight to the point and quickly.

Do you have good credit?

Yes- Are you sure? Is your credit report and score spotless and impressive?

No- Do you want good credit?

Why is it important to have good credit?

Do you ever in your entire life want to get a home loan, car loan, personal loan or credit card? Some employers check your credit report as part of the hiring process, bad credit can negatively impact your chances of getting some jobs.

Get your credit report and scores for free. DON’T pay a cent for either of these. Some places offer a free trial, don’t do it. All you need is the free versions.

Free Credit Reports– You can go to annualcreditreport.com and get your credit reports for free once a year from each of the 3 credit reporting bureaus. You can get these all at once or spread them out over the year (such as 1 every 4 months). (est. time about 8-15 minutes) Print it out or save a copy to your computer.

Free Credit Score– You can get your credit score for free through Credit Sesame and Credit Karma and then check it as often as you wish. I usually check mine once a month and have never paid them a cent. My FICO score was amazing close to my credit score from credit sesame, so if you’re planning to get a loan this can save you from purchasing your FICO score.

Why should you check your credit report and score? Basically, it gives you a starting point to see your progress, makes sure all the information is accurate and gives you an overview of your financial standing.

Some of my posts to help you with credit:

 


 

Saving for retirement:

Are you getting older each day? Me too. Do you have ridiculous amounts of money saved up for retirement or can you guarantee that you are going to win the lottery one day? Me neither.

Overall, we’re all going to get old one day and we can’t work forever. So we need to have money set aside to live on when we’re older. It’s simple, but it can be hard for people to see the importance of saving for retirement especially when it’s a way in the future.

How to get started saving for retirement:

401k– Most companies offer 401k programs, where employees can contribute a percentage of their pretax income. If your company offers a match, that is free money and you should try to take advantage of as much of it as you can.

You can get started by just contributing 1% to your 401k, it’s not much but it’s a great starting point. Then later on after you have adjusted your finances, you can increase it in 1% increments.

Can you afford to contribute 1% to your 401k? How much is 1% of your pretax income?

$500 = $5.00 per paycheck before any taxes come out, so it’s not actually $5.00 less of your take home, it’s probably more around $3-4

$750 = $7.50
$1,000 = $10.00
$1,250 = $12.50
$1,500 = $15.00
$1,750 = $17.50
$2,000 = $20.00
$2,500 = $25.00
$3,000 = $30.00
$3,500 = $35.00
$4,000 = $40.00

I’m sure you get the point by now, 1 percent of your pretax paycheck isn’t much. It’s enough to get you started and won’t have much impact on your take-home pay.

What if you don’t know what to do with the money once it’s in the 401k? You have a few options here:

* You can put (or keep it) in cash reserve form

* You can randomly pick a few funds or stocks (whatever your plan offers) and hope for the best

* You can pick a target date fund close to your expected year of retirement. Or if you want to be more aggressive, pick one way later than you want to retire. Or for a more conservative strategy with less risk, pick a target date fund in the next 10 years.

* Ask somebody who knows about investing to take a look at the options and help you choose.

Getting started saving for retirement is really what is important, not so much what you’re choosing off the bat. You can always switch things later down the road.

Roth IRAs

Roth IRAs are another great way to save for retirement. The money you contribute to these your aftertax dollars (take home pay).

Sharebuilder.com is where our Roth IRA is and I’ve been fairly happy with them so far. You can even get a bonus for opening your account which is helpful to get started. You even earn a little bit of interest on you money that just sits in the account, so you can take your time to figure out what you want to do with it.

Betterment.com: Betterment also offers Roth IRAs and the great thing about having your Roth IRA with Betterment is that they take care of everything for you. You don’t have to worry about what to invest your money in. You just choose your allocations, how much you want to go into stocks and how much you want to go to bonds and that’s it. I’ve been looking into Betterment and will be switching our Roth IRA over here soon, it’s good stuff.

Roth IRA savings accounts: Captial One 360 offers Roth IRA savings accounts where you just let your money sit and earn interest. I’m not sure that this is the best way to grow your money, but if you don’t want to worry about investing, it’s better than not saving at all. I started out with this and was able to easily transfer the money to our Sharebuilder investing account when I was ready to start investing it. There are many options out there, you just have to look.

Some of my posts to help you with retirement are:

 


 

Budgeting:

How sick are you of hearing “spend less than you make”? Probably a lot, but there is a reason why everybody and their dog continuously spews this most basic point.

So do it! Spend less money than make each and every paycheck and things will get better. If there is anything left the next time you get paid, save your leftovers.

If you’re currently spending more than you make, you have 3 options (none of which include lottery tickets).

Option 1: Reduce your expenses (cut out non-essentials and anything you can honestly live without, use coupons, take advantage of rebates, start a garden, cook more meals from scratch, reduce the amount of meat you use in your meals or go without it more often, make your own laundry soap and cleaning solutions, shop the sales, stretch every dollar as much as humanly possible).

Option 2: Increase your income (try to get some overtime, sell off stuff you no longer use, get a 2nd job, get a paper route, mow lawns, earn money online, whatever you can do).

Option 3: Reduce expense & Increase your income (really drive it home in the budget department)

If you get paid bi-weekly, you can use this to your advantage (see my post: Paying Your Bills With Bi-weekly Paychecks).

Some of my posts to help you out with budgeting are:

 


 

Spending:

If you don’t have the money for it, then you can’t afford it. If you have some available credit on your credit card, that does NOT count as having the money for it.

Spend your money on things that are necessary and things that are truly important to you.

Put off purchases for a set amount of time, 1 week or even a month to make sure you truly want the item as much as you think. Oftentimes, the desire fades or something new and better takes it’s place. Don’t give into instant gratification and your finances will be much healthier in the long run.

You work very hard for your money, so don’t waste it.

When you do decide to spend your money on something, look around for the best deal. Is there a cheaper price at a different store? Any rebates for the item? Can you earn gas rewards at your grocery store if you purchase a gift card to pay for your purchase? Can you earn money back on your purchase by using Cash-back shopping online?

Whatever you do though, do NOT completely deprive yourself or you will have a very hard time. Sometimes it’s best to start with baby steps.

Some of my posts to help you with your spending:

 


 

Saving Money:

Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult, but there will always be times that are worse than others. Most times, the hardest part is not touching the money you have saved.

The easiest way to not touch your saved money is to keep to your budget and pretend you don’t have any money saved. This works best if you have an online savings/checking account that is separate from your everyday accounts.

Personally, I use CapitalOne360 (formerly ING Direct) and have been since 2007 and our everyday banking is with a local physical bank. The ability to transfer small amounts (yes, even under a dollar) was what got me started with all this finance stuff in the first place.

Starting out to save money doesn’t have to be painful. Do you have a buck? Then you can start now. Don’t wait, just do what you can, when you can. I promise, in the end it all adds up and the sooner you get started, the easier it will be.

A few of my posts to help get you saving:

 


 

Obviously, I can’t shove every morsel of my financial knowledge into one post, but this should be enough to get you started and point you in the right direction.

If you found this post helpful, please consider sharing it via social media or email. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Saving!

Saving and Side Hustles! Using Forex Trading Wisely

Although there is somewhat of a short-term nature regarding the Forex markets, we should always keep in mind that such a side hustle can quickly evolve into a lucrative financial strategy for years into the future. Due to recent market instability, a growing number of traders are wisely considering the ways in which they can turn their side hustle into a genuine savings plan. To clarify things a bit, let us take a look at some powerful methods to keep in mind. Preparation is the key to success with any investment.

The Rule of 30 Per Cent

Many traders who are new to the currency exchange sector could be unsure how much money they should put away after a successful trade. This can be especially confusing when the lure of short-term profits interferes with long-term goals. Naturally, every individual will gravitate towards his or her own preferences. Novices should embrace the rule of 30 per cent. To look at this concept from another angle, 30 per cent of all savings will be allotted into a dedicated account. These are not to be used for any future trades. This can help to add momentum to any side hustle.

Margins: To Be or Not to Be?

Some view margin trading as a decidedly risky venture. To be sure, losses can far eclipse the initial amount that was invested towards a specific position. The exact opposite is also very true. The benefit of any margin trade is that although the investor will only put down a fraction of the total value of an asset, the full profit can be realised if its momentum is predicted correctly. This can be a wonderful opportunity for those who may not have a great deal of spare capital. However, it is IMPERATIVE that margins be correctly understood before any such position is chosen.

Tight Spreads

The term “spread” is frequently used in conjunction with the Forex markets. A spread is the difference between the buy and the sell price. Different online brokers will naturally provide different spreads. Tight spreads below a single pip are associated with lower transaction costs per trade. This will benefit those who are executing multiple positions during a given time period. Also, low spreads such as those which are associated with CMC Markets are great ways to experiment with different trading styles. Finally, favourable spreads (such as 0.7 pips) can help to maximise the rewards offered by automated trading systems.

A side hustle does not necessarily have to be associated with an excessive level of risk. Understanding the importance of the concepts mentioned above is a prudent way to enter into the exciting world of currency trading. Still, losses within this industry are a fact and not every trade proves to be profitable. Using the services only found through CMC Markets is a powerful way to enjoy a profitable long-term stance. Smart trading requires patience, knowledge and experience. The architecture utilised by CMC Markets will help to provide such a financially bright future.

Five Ways You are Secretly Overspending

Many look at their bank statements and wonder what happened to all of their money. Financial advisors understand very clearly that the biggest problem a client faces is their own bad habits. Though most people mean well with their finances, overspending can be a difficult habit to kick. The most important step in learning how to stop overspending is to become conscious of the ways you continue to spend without thinking. Below are five things that may be costing you big money over time:

Credit Cards:

Credit cards are designed to make people feel as though they have more spending power than they actually do. This mind-frame alone makes having a credit card a big danger for those trying to spend less. The simple act of swiping a card is easier on a guilty conscience than counting a stack of cash. After getting rid of your credit card, you may find that the act of using an ATM to withdraw physical cash is enough to lower your spending substantially.

Peer Pressure:

Buying a new pair of shoes or even a car because a friend has is something not many are willing to admit; however, there is little doubt that most have experienced this to some degree. If your friends always want to eat at high-end restaurants or shop at expensive stores, you may want to reconsider who you spend time with. More importantly, ask yourself whether a true friend should make you feel compelled to spend money more money than you should. Even friends with the best intentions can negatively influence you financially. Awareness of a friend’s power is the best weapon you can have.

Unhappiness:

Studies show that the more anxious or stressed you become, the more likely you are to overspend. While shopping has been shown to temporarily make us happier, in the long-term it tends to trap people in a cycle of financial self-destruction. Awareness of yourself and why you are truly spending is the best weapon anyone can have in combating this issue. Develop cost-free ways of feeling more fulfilled so that you can begin to only spend on necessities.

Gifts:

Scientists who study what makes us happy have learned that buying things for other people does make us feel better about ourselves. However, when it comes to finances, there is a big difference between supporting a child’s education or buying a modest birthday gift, and over-indulging. Whether it is a spouse we want to romance or a child begging for a new toy, saying no to ourselves and others can be difficult. Try taking the time to establish financial priorities with your spouse and children in a way that creates a healthy and sustainable dialogue.

Subscriptions:

Many falsely see the monthly phone and cable bills as necessities that must be purchased. However, these expenses have only recently become the norm. Ask yourself how often you truly make a phone call, could you simply use Wi-Fi to send texts? Perhaps cancelling your cable subscription in favor of reading more books could be the best way to save money this year.

5 Money-Saving Tips on Legal Expenses

Getting sued or suing someone is quite expensive. Either way, you are still going to spend a significant amount of money when you face a legal matter.

In case your lawyer works for the Public Defender’s Office or Legal Aid Society, then you won’t be thinking of the fees that you need to pay because it’s free of charge. But if you have your own lawyer, you will be paying for his legal assistance. If can be expensive of course. But if you want to save money, here are the tips that you must remember:

Read the agreement contract

Before signing anything, be sure to read the agreement contract regarding the service and fees of your lawyer. Understand each clause and ask if you are confused. Doing so, will help you understand the limitations of the lawyer and avoid paying for extra charges.

Learn how to negotiate

Don’t hesitate to make negotiations with your lawyer. You can ask him to lessen his hourly rate for you and tell him upfront that you are comparing various firms for your concern. In reality, he is not the only lawyer in town and you’ve got a lot of options out there. Since the standard firm rates are usually flexible, he will most likely to agree and give you a discount. Any reduction will be of great help in saving more money. Additionally, you may propose an alternative fee arrangement to cut down the lawyer’s charge.

Provide quick and positive information as requested

Make things lighter for your lawyer once the case starts. Your emails and documents should be organized all the time, because it will be easier to find them when the need arises. Remember, you’ll be paying extra fees if you request your lawyers to get documents you know you have, but can’t find.

Perform some tasks yourself

Apparently, there are numerous tasks that you can do by yourself. Public record and documents for example can be accessed without the help of your lawyer. You can ask your lawyer what documents you can process on your own. If you don’t do this, your lawyer might get a paralegal and bill you for it. So, talk to your lawyer openly and have everything settled.

Take advantage of obligation-free consultation

From time to time, law firms provide obligation-free consultation to their clients. This is an initial step to make sure your case needs lawyer intervention, and to promote the firm’s services as well. In Australia for example, if you call law firms to ask how to file a divorce, win a custody or challenge a will, NSW lawyers can assess your case for free. You also have no obligation to hire that lawyer in case you need one. In other countries, law firms even provide free one-on-one assessment each month as a way to give back to the community. This is why it is important that you do not hesitate to contact lawyers to ask if you can avail a free legal assessment to save money.

Indeed, getting into a legal battle is both stressful and costly. These helpful tips mentioned above will help you trim down the legal expenses, so might as well consider them.