Month : April 2019

Money Management

Ways to Alleviate the Cost of Your Largest Expenses

Consumers are always searching for ways to reduce their living expenses. This effort typically includes reducing the cost of maintaining a home, operating a vehicle and buying groceries. There are many opportunities live more frugally, but sometimes the best way to achieve these goals can be a simple adjustment. By freeing up extra money, you can put your hard-earned income towards better use such as building an emergency fund, paying down debt, or saving for retirement. Here are some of the most potent ways to instantly lower the cost the “big three” consumer items: housing, vehicles and groceries:

Opening the Wallet to Owning a Home

The average U.S. homeowner spends about one-third of their annual income on maintaining and operating a home. For apartment dwellers, the percentage is only slightly less. Because home ownership represents the largest single expense on the personal budget, it only makes sense to protect that investment wisely. Sadly, too many property owners are under-insured or carry no catastrophic-style insurance at all. With that thought in mind, here are the top three ways to lower the cost of home ownership:

  • Immediately slice monthly energy bills by installing a “smart” thermostat. The cost of the unit is minimal and will likely be paid for by the first month’s savings on your utility bill. 
  • Carry the right amount of insurance. Having no coverage, or too little, might seem to boost the monthly bottom line but in the long run it’s a dangerous move. Paying a slightly higher monthly insurance bill now can mean huge savings for the average homeowner should something unexpected happen, like a fire. 
  • If you’ve been in your house a while, it’s possible your credit scores are better than when you obtained your mortgage. See about a refinancing deal that might carry a lower interest rate and immediately reduce your monthly house payment. 

Operating & Maintaining a Vehicle

Each week, make a list of every trip you took in your vehicle. Try to identify two or three journeys that were totally unnecessary and eliminate them the next week. One way to reduce the cost of your vehicle is to protect it for less. Too many consumers don’t comparison shop for auto insurance and end up paying much more per month than they should. 

You can Boost your car’s MPG by having regular oil-changes and tune-ups. Don’t forget to keep track of all car service in a paper record or e-log. When the time comes to sell the vehicle, all your careful attention will pay off. Buyers will be happy to pay more for a used car that has been well-maintained. 

Groceries Instead of Restaurants

You may remember your parents always making a grocery list before shopping, but it can still hold true as one of the best ways to reduce household expenses. It’s easy and effective to simply walk through the kitchen and write down each item you need for the upcoming week. That way you can avoid going up and down the grocery shopping at will. Also, most grocery chains now sell dozens of generic staples, which can mean big savings for sharp-eyed consumers.

Debt Management

4 Key Types of Debt Consolidation Loans to Choose From

If you have a lot of debt weighing down on you, you have several options for debt relief that can help you find financial freedom. Debt relief is amongst the better options that you have to get rid of your debt because it allows you to make manageable monthly payments at better rates than all the individual debts combined.

The different types of debt consolidation that you can choose from include the following:

  1. Personal Loan

By taking a personal loan that can cover all your debts, you can more manageably pay for all your original debts and remain with a single loan that you can pay off with more friendly terms.

Depending on your credit rating, a financial institution can give you quite attractive rates that may be better than your combined individual loans.

  1. Home Equity Loans

A home equity loan is an attractive option for debt consolidation because the loan usually has very low interest rates and its payment is over a very long period. With a home equity loan, the limit and basis for the loan is the value of your home.

The idea is to take a low interest home equity loan in order to pay off all your other debts and remain paying off just the home equity loan.

  1. Debt Consolidation Loans

You could also get a more direct debt consolidation loan from a financial institution or a debt relief company for the sole purpose of consolidating your loans.

  1. Credit Card consolidation

Credit card consolidation involves transferring debt balances from several credit cards to a single credit card that offers better terms.

Credit cards with interest rates as low as 0%, are usually promotional campaigns by credit card companies that seek new clients. These promotional rates are usually for a relatively short period.

If you are to use this option in order to consolidate your debt, you should make sure that you take note of the period when the promotion ends and when normal interest rates will take effect. You should also confirm if the limit of the promotional credit card is long enough for you to hold most or all of your debt.

It is important that you are able to settle all the consolidated debts transferred to the promotional credit card on or before the time when normal interest rates take effect, otherwise you may not benefit from this form of debt consolidation.

It is imperative to note that with a debt consolidation loan, you are actually just bringing together all your loans under a single roof, so to speak, so that you can gain control of your debt by benefitting from better payment terms for the combined loans.

You will need a lot of discipline to remember that you should avoid getting into further debt while still settling your debt consolidation loan. To help you stay on course with paying your debts through a debt consolidation loan, you should find out how others have managed to stay the course through reading debt consolidation reviews. These reviews should keep you focused on achieving your goal of being free from debt.

Investing

Answering the question – Why should I trade CFDs?

According to one of the top financial analysts at Olsson Capital, CFD is a common term within the financial markets and you will come across it every time you research about the financial markets. CFD is an acronym of Contract for Difference, which is a form of derivative trading. CFD trading is a pervasive form of trading and one of the fastest growing industries after Forex.

 

What is the difference between CFDs Trading and Forex trading?

There are several similarities between Forex and CFDs like the fact that both involve similar types of trade executing process and both are traded on similar trading platforms with market pricing and charts being similar. Also, when trading either Forex or CFDs, you do not own the underlying asset. You only speculate how the exchange rates will change over time.

 

Forex has become a very common term among traders to the extent that they tend to think that every other trading is just Forex. No! Forex typically involves currencies from different countries and economic regions while CFDs involve trading other forms of contracts like indices, metals and energy. When trading CFDs, you only speculate how the prices of these securities will change in the future as a trader.

 

The most significant difference between Forex and CFDs trading it the factors that influence the two markets. The forex markets are affected by events around the world like political changes and rate of employment.  On the other hand, the CFDs markets are influenced by the demand and supply within the business sector since it involves real goods which are typically bought and sold across business entities across the world.

 

What are the benefits of trading CFDs?

With all said, what is the benefit of trading CFDs in relation to other financial trading ventures? Why should you opt to trade CFDs as a financial trader?

One, almost every financial broker offers CFDs trading securities and especially those brokers who provide Forex trading since the CFDs utilise the same trading platform as that of Forex and the process of executing trades is also similar to that of used in trading Forex. The instruments involved in the CFDs trading are fast moving goods and therefore the CFDs financial markets are relatively volatile. This makes them a very lucrative market for traders since they have large daily ranges which translate to huge profits when the trader places a trade. The prices of the indices, metals and energies are known to change as fast as the exchange rates of currencies although relatively slower.

Also, when it comes to CFDs trading, there are no trading commissions involved unless trading Shares CFDs, which is Contract for Difference derived from stocks markets. For all the other forms of CFDs, the only charges are the spread. The spread is the difference between the selling and buying price. The buying price is normally higher than the market price to create the spread which is usually the profit of your broker.

Since when trading CFDs you do not own the underlying asset, you will not be charged any stamp duty. However, you will be charged capital gains tax from the profits you make when trading.

CFD trading is usually done over the counter meaning that it is done over the internet through trading platforms offered by financial market brokers. Therefore, you can trade CFDs from the comfort of your home since the only thing that you require is a good internet connection and a good computer.

There are no academic qualifications required to become a CFDs trader. The only thing that you will have to do is to research and learn about how to trade CFDs, and you can do that online. There are lots of materials on the internet to help you sharpen your trading skills. In addition, most brokers offer demo trading accounts where trader practice trading before going to trade with their real hard earned saving.

CFD trading is one of the best ways of earning an extra coin in addition to what you get paid in your formal employment. And it doesn’t matter how busy you are because you can use automated trading strategies or even open a managed account to invest in the CFDs trading.

Money Management

3 Ways To Get Over Your Financial Demons

Magnera Human Skull 2 

We all have them.  Those little things that we love to buy that totally blow our budgets.  Some people love buying shoes and clothes.  For others, the latest technological gadgets are their downfall.  Whatever your financial demon, overcoming it and learning to control is essential for financial freedom. 

Have you ever looked at your monthly credit card statement only to be amazed that you spent thousands on particular item?  This is a good way to know that you have a problem. 

Often, when people recognize they have these financial demons, they decide to eliminate them cold turkey.  Not a good idea.  You buy these things because they matter to you.  Cutting them out of your life entirely will only lead to frustration and possibly the eventual abandonment of your financial goals. 

Of course, you can’t just spend all of your money on these pleasures like you have been doing.  The trick is to find a balance between buying every item that you want and buying nothing. 

Finding a balance can be tricky at first.  Spending money can almost become an addiction.  Having the latest and greatest things can make you feel better about yourself.  A new purchase can make a bad day seem a little less miserable.  To successfully break your habit of overspending, you need to establish a plan. 

Learn how to overcome these demons using these three simple tips. 

You Better Recognize

The best way to overcome your spending demons is to first recognize them. A little bit of this recognition probably occurs each month as you look at your bank statements.  Did I really spend that much money?  It can also come through contemplation.  Think about where you spend your money and more importantly why.  Figure out a reasonable budget for these favorite things. 

Cash Out

A great way to start controlling your spending demons is to start carrying cash.  You don’t need to use cash for all of your purchases, just for the ones where you tend to overspend.  Each check, take out your decided budget from the bank and then use this money to buy whatever it is that you can’t resist.  Everyone’s purchases will be different.  If you have the cash, don’t feel bad about your purchases.  When the money is gone, wait to buy the item you are wanting until the next check. 

Walk It Out

If you see something you feel you really need to have, walk around the store for 15-20 min. Eventually that feeling will wear off and you will have a clear head to make the decision on if you need it or not.  If you do need it and don’t have the money available right then, the item will still be there next week. 

Financial freedom isn’t about never getting to have the things you love.  It’s all about controlling yourself so that you can have these things more often and without guilt.  These three tips will get you started and along the way, you may find some ideas of your own. 

Do you have any great ways to overcome these financial demons? 

photo credit: L.C.Nøttaasen 

 

Employment

How to Land a Job in Finance Fresh Out of College

The financial industry is notoriously difficult to break into. Being a recent graduate with no real work experience makes it even more difficult. However, it is not impossible. Prepare yourself now so you can land a great job in finance shortly after graduation.

Start Preparing Yourself Now

Preparation is key to developing yourself into an attractive candidate. The following steps will prepare you to find your ideal job in finance once you have graduated.

  • Have a Vision for Your Career. Take time to figure out exactly what you want for yourself. Consider if the financial industry is right for you. If you decide it is, specify which role in this industry you would like. Do you want to be an equity trader, a financial analyst or an account manager? Creating a vision will help you take consistent steps towards realizing it. It will also help you decide which degrees to pursue. You may find that your bachelor’s degree will help you get started but that you will eventually need to earn a master of science in management onlineto advance.

  • Embrace the Right Major for You. Deciding on the right major will be one part of your vision, but its importance must be emphasized. You must be positive that your chosen degree will help you advance your professional goals. Kristi Hedges, a reporter for Forbes, suggests that you fully embrace your major once it’s been declared. Be passionate and enthusiastic about your degree. Hedges suggests that a passionate student will become a passionate candidate when interviewing for jobs — an incredibly attractive quality.

  • Never Stop Networking.According to Forbes, the most valuable skill a student can develop is the ability to network. Forbes suggests that you should request meetings with every relevant professional you meet. During these meetings, you should explain your career vision to them. Ask who they would suggest you meet with to accomplish your vision, and reach out to the people they provide. Follow up and let them know how the new contacts have helped you. This practice will help you establish a solid, professional network. Forbes also states that most people get jobs through connections.

Make the Most of Your Internships

Internships are the backbone of breaking into the finance industry. This means that having an internship will not differentiate you from other candidates. According to Investopedia, maximizing these internships is essential to finding a job in finance.

  • Intern Every Summer.If you just graduated high school and are about to start your bachelor’s degree, use the summer to intern. If you do this every summer during your undergraduate degree, you will have five internships once you graduate. You will receive professional advice while you intern, and you will be able to refocus your vision after each internship. You may discover that you will need to earn a masters of public administration online after you receive your bachelor’s degree, for instance.

  • Learn the Terminology. Some interns have a tendency to lack passion for their internships, largely because they are given low-level jobs. However, use these opportunities to learn the terminology of the financial industry. You will be in direct contact with professionals who will gladly teach you the terms you need to know.

  • Diversify Your Experience.Many interns are tempted to repeatedly intern at the same firm. However, this will limit your marketability after graduation. Investopedia suggests that interns seek internships at different types of firms. Intern at a stock-trading firm one summer and a wealth-management firm the next. You will discover which area of the financial industry is the best for you and have a variety of experience to discuss during a job interview.

Hard Work and Dedication Are Requirements

It will take years of effort and preparation to land a great financial job immediately after graduation. You will need to relentlessly network, intern every summer and be passionate about your chosen field in order to be considered an attractive candidate.

About the Author: George Russell is a contributing writer and financial analyst who recently returned to school for his master’s degree. He was fortunate enough to find his ideal job right after graduating with his bachelor’s degree.  

Image Source: http://www.123rf.com/photo_5632061_view-of-busy-stock-traders-office.html