Month : November 2010

Guest Post Money Management

Read This Before You Hire a Financial Advisor

Tim Chen is founder and CEO of NerdWallet.com, a website that helps consumers to compare credit card rewards.  Tim also educates consumers about credit cards and debt management at the Forbes Moneybuilder Blog, the Huffington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor.

 

Tempted to Seek Out Personal Finance Advice?  Look in the Mirror First

While managing your finances is certainly not an easy task, personal finance at its most basic level is simply making sure that you are earning more than you are spending, and that your savings will be able to carry you through life after you’ve stopped working full-time.

Even though it sounds simple enough, there are a lot of moving pieces to balance in a financial package, including investments, insurance, credit cards, mortgages and more. And with the global economic downturn humbling many of us, more and more people are turning to outside advisors for personal finance help.

But even hiring outside help can be confusing if you don’t fully understand what you’re getting yourself into, and it’s certainly not cheap. So before you pay someone else, your time and effort is probably best spent uncovering the answers to some basic questions and gaining a deeper understanding of your inclinations, your financial habits, and what you can do to control them.

You’ve got questions?  You’ve got answers.

Answers to such questions may be difficult to face, but should not be difficult to find. Taking greater control of your personal finances means first and foremost analyzing your income and your personal daily expenditures.  All those bank statements may seem foreboding, but they are great tools for analyzing your personal cash flow and figuring out how to maximize it.

You might even want to try a finance website, such as Mint.com (free) or Quicken (fairly cheap) to get a clear picture of your finances without wading through all that paperwork. Transactions like charges to your card are recorded automatically and easy to see.  And they display easy-to-read graphs and charts, showing you exactly how much you’ve spent on shopping or dining out in the last few months.  Without such hard data, most of us will tend to underestimate how much we’re spending frivolously. These apps will also allow you to sign up to pay bills online and spread your payments around, giving you more control over what comes in and what goes out.

Credit cards are another good way to keep track of your spending.  Most credit card companies issue very detailed statements, breaking your spending down into categories and issuing quarterly or annual summaries of where your money went.  American Express in particular has a number of such online tools that are meant specifically to give you better insight into your habits, and therefore better control over them.

Plus, knowing where you use your credit cards the most also has the advantage of helping you to maximize the money you can get back in rewards. For example, if you find that you spend more money on restaurants than you originally thought, you would do well to get a Costco Amex card or a Citi Forward card as your main credit card, and use it to earn money back on that spending.  Alternatively, if your main expense is gas for your car, you would be better off with a gas credit card like the PenFed Platinum Cashback and earn 5% rebates.

Knowing yourself pays off.  Learning about yourself in this way will give you a clearer sense of what steps to take to eliminate unnecessary personal spending, and to make sure you’re getting the best discounts or rebates on the necessary spending.

One last option before you go the financial advisor route

Even after you’ve gotten a handle on how and where you tend to spend money, it’s not always easy to make the necessary changes.  Part of understanding your own inclinations is knowing your weaknesses and getting help when you need it.

There are plenty of books out there that are intended to help you overcome your own psychology, like Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich.  But you may even be better off with a “pseudo-advisor” like Suze Orman or Dave Ramsey.  Gurus like this have well-respected and proven plans for eliminating debt, controlling spending, and getting started saving.  Plus they each have a large community of people like you that you can talk to, share war stories with, and who will encourage you along the way.  This is basically what a financial advisor would do, except you’re still in control and it’s not nearly as expensive in the long run.

If you’ve had a financial advisor, what was your experience like? If not, have you considered trying one?

 

Announcements

Crazy Hosting Deals At HostGator For Black Friday

HostGator, the hosting company I use for all of my sites (including this one), is having a crazy deal for Black Friday. I’m talking CRAZY. First, it starts at 12:00 AM Friday November 26th CST (-6 GMT) and will run until 11:59PM CST (-6 GMT) 11/26/2010.

Here’s the deals:

They’re offering 50% OFF EVERYTHING From 12:00AM CST – 5AM CST

And the CRAZIEST offer is 80% OFF EVERYTHING From 5AM – 9AM CST WHILE SUPPLIES LAST (first come, first receive; so definitely don’t miss out!)

From 9AM – 11:59PM CST OR after 80% OFF accounts have sold out, they will continue to offer 50% OFF EVERYTHING

This applies to ALL Accounts and ALL Term Lengths. So you have the opportunity to receive up to 80% off of up to 3 years worth of Hosting! That would come out to $35.64 for 3 FULL YEARS!

That includes Shared Hosting, Reseller Hosting, VPS Hosting AND even Dedicated Servers! Never before have they allowed the promotion on EVERYTHING including reseller, VPS and dedicated servers AND ALL Term Lengths!

This will apply to your first invoice (first term length you sign up for whether that be 1 month or for 3 years).

This promotion gives you their award winning hosting for as little as:

Shared Hosting – $4.95/month AS LOW AS $0.99/month

Reseller Hosting – $24.95/month AS LOW AS $4.99/month

VPS Hosting – $19.95/month AS LOW AS $3.99 First Month

Dedicated Servers – $174/month AS LOW AS $34.80 First Month

As you can see, this is an absolutely CRAZY DEAL and you have an opportunity to save a LOT OF MONEY by taking them up on this Black Friday 2010 Offer!

Get your Hosting plan here on Black Friday

Are these deals crazy or what?

Entertainment

5 ways money could help you survive a zombie outbreak

So, you’re walking around just hanging out, when all of a sudden someone starts slowly walking towards you. You think to yourself “Man, this person is really ugly.” You should be ashamed for being so superficial. All this person is look at is on your inside……BRAINS!!!

That’s right, there’s a zombie outbreak and all you have is a safe full of millions. What do you do? What do you do?

Here’s 5 ways money can help you survive a zombie outbreak:

Money Talks

What would you do for a million dollars? What would you do for a million dollars during a zombie outbreak? Money still talks when there’s zombies out there. Why? Because everyone wants to be positive and think that the zombie outbreak won’t be forever. What happens when it’s over? Well, you’ll need some money then. So just talk other people into that mindset and they will help you out with food and shelter. Of course put some safeguards in place so they don’t kill you and take the money.

Security force

Know how to shoot a gun? No? Well good thing you have money to hire your own combat ready forces. If you have a lot of money then you can have your own zombie killing force. How cool would that be? You wouldn’t have to worry about zombies attacking you when your swimming or eating. You can have them go scavenge for food and water for you.

Once again, you want to make sure you have some safeguards in place so they don’t mutiny. You have to be more careful with these guys because they are trained to kill.

Fire

Need some heat or light? Then you need a fire. But in order to start a fire you need some kindling. What better than a nice 1 dollar bill? Sure, it’s technically illegal but I’m sure rules can be broken during a zombie outbreak. Just saying.

Bottle Opener

Need a beer after a long, hot day of zombie killing but don’t have a bottle opener? Well, use a dollar bill and then have a drink. It’s pretty easy and it will be a cool trick to know how to do once the zombie outbreak is over.

Barricade

OMG, you’re stuck in a room, what will you do to hold that door shut? Well of course use that stack of 1 million single dollars. That weighs over a ton, so it will surely hold a door shut. You might have a problem doing that, but you can always use your security force to help you.

So if you’re stuck in the middle of a zombie outbreak without millions of dollars then I feel sorry for you. Perhaps you should have been saving instead of spending it all. Oh well, there’s always robbing a bank. Just make sure there’s an actual zombie out break and not a bunch of actors pretending to be zombies. That would be pretty awkward.

How would you use money to survive?

Friday Night Likes

Friday Night Likes

Another great week has passed us by. Next week is going to be filled with a lot of action. First there’s Thanksgiving and then there’s “knock down the other person before they get the last one” day. I can’t wait.

If you’re having financial problems or need some help figuring out this whole personal finance thing, I highly recommend my Financial Freedom eCourse. It’s free and I’m getting a lot of great feedback on it. Did I mention it’s FREE?

If you’re enjoying the articles posted here be sure to subscribe by RSS or Email for free to stay updated.

If you’re not happy with your life then do something a change it. There’s no reason to live an unhappy life. Start your change now!

If you haven’t noticed, I’m a member of a network of many different personal finance blogs. Our main goal is to selfishly give to others. I want to put focus on a scholarship program we are currently running. If you know anyone that could be helped by this scholarship, then please let them know. This is out first scholarship and there’s not much awareness, so that means you will have a great opportunity to receive it. All you have to do is try, I promise it won’t hurt. So go enter now or tell someone about it. We want to help people but we can’t unless people ask.

Now on to the Likes:

@GRSblog Emergency Fund vs. Debt Snowball- What’s the Top Priority

@OutOfYourRut Surviving Unemployment – One Woman’s Story

@viktantry Taking Risks While You’re Young

CJAnyasor Experience is Nothing

@JWhite 10 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in My First 30 Years

@Yakezie The Best Personal Finance Blog

@MoneyCrush Finding Work You Enjoy

@SmartOnMoney Retiring Wealthy On An Average Salary- The Story Of The Persevering Parking Attendant

@DanielPacker How to Use Personal Finance to Make Friends

@InvestItWisely Challenging Your Thoughts and Beliefs

@Money_Reasons Being a Genius Doesn’t Equal Success In Real Life

@PunchDebt Daily cost

@Financial Samurai Fixing The Airlines Industry

@frugalzeitgeist IS ARGUING GOOD FOR RELATIONSHIP

@ButLikeBuffett How To Start An Investment Club

@NealFrankle Laid Off- How People Survive

Friday Cool Links @BitRebels

Play That T-Shirt- Electronic Music Synthesizer

FlyRad- The New Cool In… Odd Transportation

Tech Fashion- Style and Life Saving Function

 Pillow Remote

World’s First Holographic Concert

Lululemon- The Hoodie That Converts Into A Pillow

Have a great weekend and think about starting something you always wanted to do.

Announcements

The Only 6 Personal Finance Blogs You Will Ever Need

Personal Finance blogs are all around us. What if you could only pick 6 of them to read for the rest of your life?

Why 6? Why not? geez.

This list was hard to narrow down but I’ve managed to do it. I’ve included blogs with different mindsets so you get different points of view. That allows you to open up your mind and actually think. I’ve also included some of their best posts and an easy way for you to get their updates.

Here are the only 6 personal finance blogs you will ever need:

Get Rich Slowly

J.D. Roth has been around a while in the PF blogosphere and is one of the most popular sites, and for good reason. He has great insight and has a wide variety of articles including How to make money.

Best Posts:

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I Will Teach You To Be Rich

Ramit Sethi has the ultimate blog on increasing your income. He takes the point of view that cutting back on your spending will have less of an impact than increasing how much money you bring in.

Best Posts:

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Consumerism Commentary

Flexo does a great job of sharing his own life experiences to expand your mind. He also has a great podcast that will expand your financial mind.

Best Posts:

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Financial Samurai

Sam does a great job of making you have an opinion. He writes a lot of controversial posts that will make you for m an opinion and let him know.

Best Posts:

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The Centsible Life

Kelly is a mom blogger, so her posts are family related and has a lot of deals. She offers a family view on personal finance that is second to none.

Best Posts:

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Girl With The Red Balloon

It’s like reality TV for personal finance….and it’s a blog instead. Red has great posts about family life that will keep you hooked. Want her opinion? She’ll let you know.

Best Posts:

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There you go, that’s all of them. I would have loved to include myself but I write my blog, not read it. But feel free to add me on at the end :)

What personal finance blog can’t you live without?