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!

Top methods of promoting your blog

cup-mug-desk-officeThe arrival of the internet has meant that it’s now easier than ever to express yourself thanks to blogs that are easy to set up and can also provide a little pocket money should you choose to feature some advertising.

But what can you do to not get lost in the abyss of Google’s search rankings? Here are some tips from blogs that range from sites offering blackjack games to fun and friendly lifestyle blogs!

Consistency

The hardest thing to achieve with a blog is a consistently good output of content. The only way that award-winning lifestyle blogs such as Chapter Friday have been able to climb up the search rankings is by delivering a daily output of readable and relevant content. As most blogs tend to run out of steam in the first three months, it’s important to realize that if you want your blog to succeed, you’re going to have be in it for the long-haul!

Stay relevant

Another trick to boost your ratings is to try and tailor your content to current events that the global populace are interested in. Whether it’s the Oscars or a big sporting event, it not only can provide fresh inspiration, but also will attract new visitors. So whether it’s Who What Wear commenting on the latest looks at the Golden Globe awards, or merely a quick commentary on the latest showbiz scandal, staying up-to-date is key to making your site more attractive to new visitors.

Lists

One of the strange things about the internet is the way that it proves that humans love lists. Not only do they prepare readers for what to expect, but they help deliver information in handy, bite-sized chunks too. Lists are great for quickly covering a lot of information whether they be a top three tips for hair fitness or even features like Lucky Nugget Casino’s 2015’s top 5 gambling gifts for Christmas that features in their blog alongside a massive range of online games. So if you’re trying to get people to read your blog on beauty or blackjack, list are a great place to start!

Make friends

And finally, the best way to get heard is to reach out to like-minded souls and use the communicative powers of the web to rise above the deafening buzz of the internet. Linking to sites that you like in the main body of your text is a great way to get noticed, and the positioning of keywords in a blog can have dramatic consequences on your page ranking.

So whether you’re running a blog about blackjack games, or merely posting snapshots of your latest hairdo, be sure to stay relevant and consistent, use lists and get social in your bid for blogging glory!

Shopping Online for Mortgages

Searching and securing the right home loan is often more work and more stress than people anticipate. Truth be told, it’s tedious, and can be troublesome if you don’t have much knowledge about mortgages and rates. While there’s plenty of information out there, it can be a real slog to get through it all. Property Wire reported that there has been a surge in mortgages available to small deposit buyers in the UK. Knowing where to look online, and which resources are worth your time, can save you a lot of hassle. It can also get you a better deal on your mortgage.

A Basic Approach to Finding an Online Mortgage

Getting a quote for a mortgage is easier than ever. While in the past you’d need to arrange an appointment with the bank to go and discuss your options (often at multiple banks), you can now get multiple quotes by simply filling in a form online.

There are a great many handy online tools that are specifically designed to allow you to calculate mortgage repayments based on how much you’re looking to borrow and what their rates are. You can complete the application online and wait for a response, saving a lot of time and effort.

Monitoring Rates

One of the great advantages of looking online is the ease with which you can see all the rates being offered by different brokers. There are numerous comparison sites which collect this information to make it easy to find, while checking the websites of the main banks will give you access to their latest mortgage rates. Keeping an eye on the rates and making a move at the right time could save you a lot of money over the course of your repayments. Websites like Mortgage News Daily have rate trackers that allow you to see this information in more detail.

Taking Things Offline

While it’s generally much easier to apply for a mortgage online, you’ll likely still have some direct contact with the bank at some point. It’s worth reading up on some of the more common terminology used in the industry to make sure you understand everything that’s being discussed.

Don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions – you could be paying the loan back over 25 years, so it’s important to get everything right first time. Find out about things like the length of time you’ll get the introductory rate for, if there are any penalties for early repayment and anything else you may be curious about.

Finding What You Can Afford

Shopping around online gives you more time and less pressure to work out what you can afford to repay every month. You can take your time to look around, find out the rates and the anticipated monthly payments and work out how much you can afford to borrow and over how long.

When making your application in person there’s often some added pressure involved, and it’s possible to commit to something when you’re not entirely sure if it’s in your budget.

By checking online you may find you’re actually eligible for a bigger mortgage than you may have anticipated. Putting your income, deposit and a few other details in to the quote tools available on bank websites will give you a rough idea of what they can offer. This can change the kind of property you’re looking for, and the repayments may not be as high as you’d think.

Don’t Discount Professional Advice

While it’s far easier to shop around for mortgage deals online, there’s still a case to be made for working with an independent financial advisor. They may be aware of deals you won’t be able to find on your own, and can help you get the ideal mortgage for your circumstances.

While there may be a fee involved, it can often be the cheaper option in the long run if you’re not confident in finding a good deal.

Shopping for financial products has changed dramatically in the last decade, and it’s easier than ever to compare the various deals that are out there. Take your time, do your research and you’ll get a great deal!

Important Finance Things to Review After a Divorce

A divorce represents a huge change to your life. You are in a situation where the joint accounts have to be split up and you have to divide the assets up equally. Finance is one of the integral aspects of divorce proceedings and their aftermath. There are some financial things you have to review following a divorce, and we are going to go through the main ones.

Joint Accounts

The bank accounts are an immediate issue that has to be resolved. To begin with, those accounts have to be closed. However, you have to get together with your legal team and determine how the funds are going to be split. You also have to ensure that your employer is made aware of the changes made to your family life, so they can alter your salary details.

Wills and Power of Attorney

Since you don’t intend on dying anytime soon, the issues regarding wills and power of attorney can be shuffled under the carpet. You need to review your will to update your next of kin. The chances are this probably is no longer the person you just split up from. You also have to alter issues regarding power of attorney so your ex-wife or ex-husband doesn’t inadvertently have power of attorney over you. This has to be made clear in writing, legally, to be valid.

Life Insurance

Couples will usually take out a life insurance together, or at least it will involve their other half. Nevertheless, it’s your responsibility to review your policy and update your insurer on the situation in the event of a divorce. This is critical because it could impact the level of care you receive, your premiums, and the amount of money that’s paid out, as well as to whom the money is paid out to.

Healthcare Policies

Regardless of how you cover the cost of healthcare, your policy must be updated. For example, the premiums may come out of a joint account, or your former spouse may have been covering the costs altogether. This has to be changed to reflect the current situation. In some circumstances, you may be able to reduce the amount of coverage you have, or you may have to alter your policy to reflect your current financial state.

Run a Credit Report

Your credit score means everything when it comes to your ability to rent, buy a home, and take out a loan. As a couple, you likely used a joint credit score. Nevertheless, after divorce proceedings you will revert to using your individual credit score. The transition isn’t always smooth. Get a copy of your credit report and ensure that there’s nothing on there that has nothing to do with you. It’s reasonably common to see issues relating to joint accounts, or worse your former partner. Have these removed so the actions of someone else don’t damage your future.

These are the five main aspects of finance you have to address when you divorce. Look at them today and start your new future the right way!