Month : March 2014

Money Management

January Financial Housekeeping

It’s January. The holidays have come and gone, and you are starting to settle back in to your normal work, family, and/or recreational routine.

With things getting more back to normal, now is a good time to take care of some financial action items to get organized and optimized for the New Year.

Below are 3 such housekeeping items that you may want to take a look at this month:

1.      Update Your List of Financial Accounts

In today’s competitive banking/financial environment, it seems like people are accruing more and more financial accounts. For example, it’s not uncommon for people to have at least 5 credit cards, 2-3 bank accounts (one savings, one checking, one joint account), and multiple investing accounts. Generally, this accumulation of accounts happens because we often open up one account and then find another better deal elsewhere or an enticing sign-up bonus.

Regardless of how the accounts were accumulated, you need to maintain a listing of all of these accounts, both from a perspective of knowing your current net worth and also in the unwanted event that you are injured or killed and someone else needs to access/manage your accounts on your behalf.

Because of this, a wise move this month would be to create (and share with your wife, significant other, parents, siblings, etc) a Google Doc Spreadsheet that lists out what types of accounts you have at various financial institutions.

2.      Reduce Your Credit Card Interest Rate

With it being January and Christmas behind us, you might have accumulated a little bit of credit card debt from your holiday purchases. If so, and you are paying a very high interest rate on your credit card, now might be a good time to do several things. First, call up your credit card company and simply ask for a lower interest rate. Second, if you have a fairly small balance that can be paid off within a year, think about switching to another card that features a 0% balance transfer offer.

3.      Calculate What Percentage of Your Income You Saved Last Year and Your Goal For the Current Year

Our financial housekeeping step for the month of January involves figuring out what percentage of your before or (preferably) after-tax income you saved last year and also what your target is for this coming year. These are good things to know in order to plan for retirement and see if you are saving effectively. 

Insurance

Efficient Gadget Insurance Aids You in Saving Your Money

According to a survey an average individual carries gadgets of worth Rs. 30,000 with them, daily. Having a dedicated and efficient insurance for your gadgets will help you in saving a lot of money, as it provides protection against break down, theft, accidental and loss damages. Today, insurance covers are available for almost all types of electrical gadgets including laptops, cell phones, iPods, iPads, GPS devices and desktops, etc. Hence, it is a must for all gadget owners to look for an efficient and affordable gadget insurance scheme which can protect your precious and day to day electronics and gadgets, in the best way possible.

Today, theft and burglary of costly electronic devices is very common. At present, every year millions of gadgets are stolen, lost, damaged or they break down. Even in one single year, around one million electronic devices gets damages or lost. Some of us lose our expensive cell phones just by dropping them in laundry wash or in the toilets. An average electronic insurance cover premium is around Rs. 600 a month. At present, some of the renowned companies even offer group electronic insurance schemes, in these policies; you can insure or safeguard different gadgets under one gadget insurance cover.

Hence, with these insurance cover, you need not to make enough expenses and you can easily achieve peace of mind and satisfaction, too after realizing that your gadgets are safe. It is important to check that under what circumstances your insurance policy will protect your gadgets.  It is advisable to choose an insurance that is versatile which means, it must protect your gadgets and electronics against all types of threats such as theft, lost, damage, etc. A good insurance policy safeguards your gadgets against burglary as well as against accidental damages where electronics are kept unattended in safe premises and vehicles.

The policy must cover all types of electronic items and gadgets such as phones, electronics, laptops, desktops, etc. and provides extensive guarantees on all damages. Some key points that the insurance policy must include are accidental coverage, global coverage, 48 hours mobile phone replacement warranty and free of charge cell phone contact back-up. For instance, if your devices gets broken or damages, then a good insurance policy is liable to replace or repair your gadget. It is the insurance company who will decide whether the gadget will get repaired, or it has to be replaced.

For theft insurance coverage, you need to report to the police and the cell phone service provide. This will instantly stop the mobile phone services to the phone and will blacklist the device. After this, you can ask for a replacement within 72 hours. Hence, good gadget insurance certainly brings enormous peace and satisfaction for one’s mind that even if you have lost or broken your gadgets, accidentally, you can relax. So, don’t wait any more and start looking for a suitable, versatile and affordable insurance policy that can safe guard your electronic devices and gadgets against all types of threats. 

Money Management

5 things about Pay Day Loans you should know

Pay day loans are taken out by all sorts of people to cover all sorts of expenses.  Here are five facts you should know about pay day loans in Canada before you take out a pay day loan.

1.     In Canada pay day loans are strictly regulated

Canada has laws in place to protect consumers from unscrupulous pay day loan practices. These laws have been commended by other countries which have perceived problems with the pay day loan industry.  A pay day loan is permitted under section 347.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada.  However, the provinces need to enact their own specific legislation.   Most provinces have put into place specific laws to regulate pay day loans, these include, a cap on the amount of interest which can be charged.   You should therefore check what the rules are for your province and ensure that your choice of pay day loan provider complies with its legal obligations towards you as its customer. 

2.     They should be avoided by people who are struggling with debt

If you have problems with your debt and are thinking of using a pay day loan to shift a debt from one creditor to another you may end up making your problem worse.   Pay day loan providers expect to be paid by your next pay day (or whatever date you set for the repayment of the loan).  If you are late with repayment this will cause you problems:  for a start the interest rates charges by pay day loan providers are not intended for long term borrowing so you are likely to end up further and deeper in debt.   It can become difficult to break the debt cycle.   If you have problems with debt you should consider seeking help from an organisation like Credit Counselling Canada. 

3.     Consider your other options

Pay day loans are not the cheapest way to borrow money.  Consider all your options.  Clearly if you have savings this is likely to be the best way to fund an emergency purchase.  You may also have a credit card or a pre-authorised overdraft.    Bear in mind however that even if a pay day loan is not the cheapest option it may be the most suitable for your circumstances.  Some of the key advantages of taking out a pay day loan is that they are quick, have virtually no paperwork and are accessible 24/7.   Whether you need a pay day loan or can use some other, equally suitable, cheaper form of borrowing will depend on your circumstances.

4.     Shop around

Not all pay day loan providers are the same.  Use a lender who sets out all its fees and charges in a clear and easy to understand way.  For example, the sliding scale as provided by http://wonga.ca.    On this lender’s website you enter the amount you wish to borrow and the number of days you wish to borrow for and you will immediately be told how much you will be charged in interest and fees.  Do not be tempted to borrow more than you need to and set the number of days you borrow for at a level which is as soon as possible (but realistic). 

5.      Read the terms and conditions

Hopefully you wouldn’t enter into a long term loan without understanding all the implications – Just because it can be quick and easy to get a pay day loan don’t ignore the terms and conditions.  Check you understand the terms of borrowing and what exactly you are getting into before you sign up.   If you are too keen and discover something you are not happy about remember that pay day lenders will have a very short period of time in which you can cancel an agreement if you change your mind.  The cancelation period will differ from province to province but is around one or two days. 

Financial Freedom

The Making Of Australian Money

Money makes the world go around is an old say. Every country has their own quirks when it comes to their money. The US has Giant heads on their new bills.

One country I’d like to highlight today is Australian money. This infographic is awesome. Like did you know that their banknotes are made from plastic? Check out some more interesting facts about their money below.

how australian money is made infographic Infographic   How Australian Money Is Made
Courtesy of: LendMe Finance
Money Management

9 Tips to Help You Become Financially Fit

checklistHere are some tips I’ve learned through the years that will have a good financial impact on your life. Feel free to do them all or 1 or 2. Just be sure to do something to get your financial life on the right track.

Spend Less Than You Make

This is common sense advice and a pillar of personal finance. If more is going out than coming in then you have a problem that needs to be fixed.

Cut out Extravagancies

Do you really need a 52 inch Hi Def TV or a Coach purse? No, you really don’t. It’s like when you’re a kid and you see something shiny you say “oooo shiny, I want that”. It’s pretty much the same thing but on a more expensive level. I promise you’ll live with out it and be much better off using that extra money to pay down your debt, put into saving, or save up for your child’s education.

Make a Budget

Just seeing where you money goes can help you realize “Wow, I spend that much money on that”. It’s a lot more eye opening when you actually see where your money’s going versus where you think your money is going.

Let Time Work for You

Compound interest is amazing. It works for you by growing over time. The more you add to it the more it will grow.  So open up a retirement account a start contributing to it.

Save Your Extra Income

Whenever you receive a bonus check, a tax refund or a raise just put it into savings. Pretend like you never received it and you won’t miss it at all.

Contribute to a Roth IRA

Open up a Roth IRA today and start contributing to it. The money you contribute is after tax and any interest you earn isn’t taxed if you start taking it out after the age of 59 1/2. You are able to take out the principle amount early without penalty if you need to, but you should have an emergency fund for that.

Get Free Money from Your Employer

If your company matches your 401k contributions be sure to at least contribute up to what they match otherwise you’re losing that benefit and free money. Plus that compound interest will work here as well.

Have an Emergency Fund

This is used for emergencies only. I repeat, Emergencies only. Start with whatever you can and start contributing to it monthly so that it eventually builds up to 3-6 months of expenses. The important thing is that this makes you feel secure so that you don’t get stressed out because you hit a bump in the road of life.

Reward Yourself

It can be tiresome saving every penny so buy yourself something every now and then to give you a break. Just be sure you don’t go crazy and ruin all that you have accomplished.