Unravel The Hold Your Debts Have On You With These Tips

There may come a time in your life where you are no longer able to keep up on the same financial path that you have been on. Maybe you technically can keep paying all of those debts but why would you want to do that forever? If you are ready to make a change and live without an abundance of debt hanging over your head, then you will want to consider the following tips.

When To Pay Off A Debt

If you have a large supply of extra funds and it would not hinder your day to day living right now, then you could just call all of your creditors, ask for the payoff amount for your loan, and pay it off. However, if that is not an option for you, then you need to go slowly. First, if you can, try to worry about paying off your debts one at a time and do not start to make these arrangements until you are free from seasonal obligations. For example, in good faith, you may make payoff arrangements with a credit agency three weeks before Christmas, but the holiday pressure might get to you and you could fail to meet your obligation.

What To Do When You Can’t Pay Your Debts

After sitting down to calculate your total bring-home income each month and the amount of your monthly expenses, you find that you are simply unable to crawl out of this financial hole on your own, you may want to consider something such as a California bankruptcy filing.

You will need to sit down with a quality bankruptcy attorney to discuss whether you qualify for a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. With the Chapter 13, you have a sufficient amount of income that would be deemed necessary to repay your debts under a payment plan created and protected by the bankruptcy courts. If you are too bad off financially, you may find that you quality for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

How To Prevent This From Happening Again

Once you get your debs under control, you will need to begin the planning phase so you never find yourself in this position ever again. A great way to improve your chances of being financially sound would be to set up an emergency fund and have at least a thousand dollars in it. This way, should a major appliance break or your furnace needs repaired in the middle of a cold winter, you will not have to worry about turning back to personal loans or credit cards to get the job done. The more you save in your emergency fund, the better off you will be.

Getting Professional Assistance

Should you find that you are continuing to have an on-going problem with debt, even after trying the previously mentioned tips, you will want to speak to a professional financial advisor. According to the Financial Planning Association, a financial advisor can help you set realistic goals, creates a comprehensive financial plan, and will help you adjust those goals and plans along the way as needed. There is a lot that can be learned from someone who has made financial planning their career.

While you may stumble across additional useful tips on your journey to financial freedom, this is certainly going to give you the best head start you could ask for. Before you know it, you will be free of the shackles your debts had placed on you and you will experience a sense of freedom that only comes from having a debt free life.

Why You Should Consider a Career in Accounting

Accounting is a field that offers financial opportunity as well as growth in your career.  For those entering college and deciding what major to pursue, accounting may well be on the list. Those already in school (or in their career) may be thinking of entering a new field that provides more financial freedom or exercises strengths you have not been able to use.  In either case, accounting has many benefits beyond the crunching of numbers.  Here are some of the many reasons you should consider a career in accounting.

  1. Demand is High. Accountants are always wanted.  Every company, government, non-profit, and individual needs some sort of accounting.  Often, they will need to hire an accountant to do that for them.  An accountant’s expertise is always necessary to keep a company running smoothly and ethically.  Also, consider this:  because you are already in-demand, you will be able to take your skill set wherever you go.  Becoming an accountant means that you can move just about anywhere.  It does not matter the state of the economy—in high times and low times, you will always be essential.
  2. Accountants—especially private accountants—enjoy a high level of job stability.  If you decide to be a private accountant, you will often work regular hours in a facility and perhaps in your own office.  You will often specialize solely in the company’s product or service and its capacity to earn profit.  Therefore, you will not have to learn from the ground up with every client; you can instead build knowledge within your own niche.  Like travel?  Public accountants will have the opportunity to be paid to travel more so than private accountants.  You may work with clients across the country or across the world that will allow you
  3. Great Salary Prospects. One of the biggest reasons people become accountants is for the impressive salary.  Because accountants are always in-demand, companies offer competitive rates.  Those interested in accounting will receive, over time, a drastic increase in salary due to experience and promotion.  According to salary.com, the national average entry-level salary is about $48,000, with the potential to grow into the hundreds of thousands over time depending on position and experience.  This is no doubt appealing to anyone looking make more money and live a lifestyle suitable to their needs.
  4. Use Your Skills. If you want a career in accounting, you need to seriously assess your natural talents.  You will undoubtedly need to be detail-oriented, analytical, and highly organized.  In addition, you must be an effective communicator.  You may often have the task of breaking down complex financial scenarios into easily digestible information.  Being an effective communicator also means building relations with other people—especially if you strive to be in a leadership position.  While some accountants, such as private ones, may have more solitary time in an office, there will be many times you will still need to create and strengthen solidarity with others.  Consider whether these are innate talents you have, or whether you can properly develop them.
  5. Accounting positions allow you to learn a wide breadth of information; the amount of knowledge and expertise is only as limited as the company you work for.  Working for the government may teach you a lot about the government structure, process, and law, while a non-profit may teach you more about cancer research or disadvantaged third world countries.  Working in accounting is just one way to have a variety of experiences and meet various people.
  6. The Education is Worth it. The road to becoming an accountant is by no means easy.  You will have to go through rigorous education, with most people gaining not only a bachelor’s, but also a master’s degree in accounting or even a doctoral degree.  You will also have to gain a lot of experience at an established firm to gain credibility.  The most trying of all of these is obtaining the correct certificate.  As a public accountant, you will have to get a CPA.  In order to do this, you must dedicate yourself to months of studying.  Luckily, there are many reputable resources to help you.  Make sure you invest in the best CPA review course to suit your educational needs.  In the end, many accountants believe that the hours of studying are worth the pay off.

The Big Question: To Invest or Pay off Debt?

A common battle takes over the minds of millions of consumers who are near the beginning of their wealth building life. Debt, which comes at a cost, and investing, which has the potential to pay off significantly in the future, are two financial tools often at odds with one another, and not much direction is provided by the financial powers that be on which to tackle first. While both serve a purpose, it can be daunting to determine which is the right path for you and when. Fortunately, there are several questions to ask yourself that will help in making the best decision for your specific financial situation.

How Much is Debt Costing Me?

The first question you should ask yourself when it comes to paying down debt or investing is how much your debt is costing you. High-interest rate debt, like credit cards and some short-term loans, should be your focus before dipping your financial toes into investing waters. That’s because, over time, compounding interest on a debt costs you tremendously, especially when you’re only paying the minimum amounts due. While you could be earning a high return on your money in an investment account, more likely than not, it won’t be as high as the interest you are paying to a lender. Focus your energy on paying down that debt first.

Do I Have an Emergency Fund?

If you’re considering taking some funds away from your debt repayment plan to put toward investing, you should take a look at your rainy day fund first. Everyone needs an emergency savings account that can be easily accessed when a financial emergency or unexpected bill pops up. Counting on credit cards or loans to manage a big bill in a hurry isn’t always the best option, as it could cost you quite a bit over the long haul. Set aside some of your discretionary income to build your emergency savings to an acceptable level before you start investing.

How Well Do I Understand Risk?

Hands down, investments are the sexiest part of a financial plan. That’s because some investments boast high returns with little risk, along with access to your cash without any withdrawal penalties. However, all investments carry some degree of risk; without an understanding of how that affects your bottom line, you could be headed for financial trouble. Before you get seduced by investments, you have to ask yourself if you’re prepared to take on risk. Investments fluctuate in value (yes, even the safer ones), and if you can’t stomach volatility right now, it’s best to work on your debt first and then explore investment options when you have more discretionary cash.

Can I Do This Alone?

Just about any financial strategy can be implemented – and championed – on your own. Resolving your debt issues may take some time to calculate and fit into your budget, but it’s manageable without the help of a pro. Investing, on the other hand, can be a complex strategy to grow your money, and as such, getting expert help from a financial professional may be your best move. Figuring out the balance between paying down debt and investing for the long-term can be done easily by employing the help of someone who’s been there, done that, or an expert who is actively helping others accomplish the same thing.

Before rushing down one path or another, it is important to understand that everyone has unique financial circumstances that should be considered prior to making a significant financial move. Ask yourself these questions to get a better understanding of what your priorities are, and then develop a plan to get to the next level of your financial life in a balanced, logical way.

How to start investing with a small budget

With the economy taking a turn for the worse now and then, it’s wise not to store one’s eggs in one basket. This may be through relying solely on one’s paycheck. One has to find alternate ways to raise extra money on the side. A great way to do so is by investing in the hope that you will get huge returns in the future. However, this is not always the go-to option for most people. This is because most people have the illusion that investing is only exclusive to those with deep pockets. However, they couldn’t be further from the truth. It is actually possible to invest while on a small budget and here is how:

Start by saving

There is a thin line between saving and investing. In order to raise some money to invest, you’ll first need to save up a bit. If you are new to saving, here are some few pointers to saving. First, start off with stowing away a little at a time, say, $10 dollars per week. This may seem like a small amount, but over time it will grow up into a sizeable amount. Ways to starting saving include putting an amount of money in an envelope, a small safe, a shoe box or even in a cookie jar. There are also online savings options and apps that can assist one in saving. With saving also comes the need to spend less than one earns.

Direct Stock Purchase Plans

Once you have saved up a small amount, one of the best places to invest in is in direct stock purchase plans. This is where one buys stocks directly from companies with the absence of a brokerage account and middlemen. However, a drawback to this is that very few companies offer these plans so one is limited in options. However, you can’t dismiss the benefits of this plan where you don’t have to pay large sums of money as commission to a broker and you can even buy half shares.

Find fund companies that offer low minimums

In one’s search for fund companies, it is very easy to get turned off by well-known no-load fund companies that command large amounts of money as investment to the tune of several quid. However, be on the look for no-load fund companies that cater for new investors and don’t require one to raise high limits.

Other ways of getting investment advice are through books by well-renowned entrepreneurs such as Jack Welch or Robert Kiyosaki. Taking the time to read and learn them by heart is a good start to saving which you can find in various stores near you, say Barnes & Noble. Look for coupons and promo codes available to save bucks. All in all, these tips will help start you off investing even on a small budget.

Today’s Top Personal Finance Apps: Manage Your Money No Matter Where You Go

Keeping track of your money can be a difficult proposition for people who either don’t take the time to make a budget, or just don’t understand how to create an effective one. This can create financial problems that you may not be able to solve simply.

Fortunately, in today’s ever-connected world, help is just a mobile device away. Application developers have created hundreds of different apps that can help you set a budget, track your investments and give you a general overall sense of your financial situation. Some of the apps are even free, so you don’t have to spend anything to get on the right financial track. Here are some of the better financial apps that are available on Android and iOS that can help you keep an eye on your money from anywhere.

Mint

The Mint Budgeting App is a great, all-in-one tool that can help anyone set a realistic, sound budget and stick to it month in and month out. It’s also a free app for all mobile devices, so there’s really no downside to giving it a try.

If you do try it, you won’t be disappointed. Mint is a very easy, hassle-free way to follow all of your saving and spending. The app syncs directly to your bank account, so many times you don’t even need to input any information yourself. The app will know when you make withdrawals or deposits and when you use your debit card for groceries, gas or other monthly expenses.

The app is very secure and will give you alerts when you approach your monthly spending limit or when there are unusual charges to your account. It can even give you your credit score, so you know where your overall financial health stands.

All of these features will help you save more and spend less, strengthening your financial position.

PocketGuard

PocketGuard is another budgeting app that tracks your financial situation from anywhere. It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles that Mint does, but it is free as well and boasts a simplified outlook to your finances.

PocketGuard connects directly to your bank account and, once you input some information like your take-home pay, will keep honest track of your money. From the home screen, you can see your overall financial situation, from the total amount in your account to deposits and withdrawals. The app will also analyze your spending and recognize recurring payments, such as utilities and credit card bills, so it can give you alerts a few days before those payments are due. This will help keep you ahead of your debts and on track to saving money.

Wallaby

Wallaby is a financial tracking app that works a little differently than the previous two. Rather than just linking your bank account, Wallaby links to all of your credit cards as well, making even more financial information available to you in one place.

By linking to your cards, the app keeps track of all of your credit spending and can notify you when you are spending too much. It also analyzes your credit cards and gives suggestions as to which card to use in which store, maximizing points and rewards that each card offers and taking each card’s interest rate into account.

While the app uses top-notch security, linking your cards to the app may concern you, but you don’t have to worry. Wallaby allows you to just tell it what type of card you use and the app can still analyze the cards for the best opportunities to use them.

Digit

This app is for people who have trouble saving money. Like the other apps, you link your bank account to Digit so it can analyze your saving and spending habits.

Unlike the other apps though, Digit will use that analysis and take a small amount of money based on your overall account balance and deposit it into a personalized savings account.  This makes saving money an automated procedure that you never have to think about. Of course, you can block the app from moving money and you can withdraw from the Digit savings account at anytime, so your money is never tied up and unavailable. If you use this app for several months, you will see savings results that may surprise you.

These apps can help you stay on track. However, if you need loans to help pay outstanding debts, you can find out from King of Kash.

Joseph Birch could probably tell you to the dollar how much he has in his bank account. He’s a frugal guy helping people online to manage their finances better to become happier through his articles.

How to Have the Frugal Wedding of Your Dream

Weddings and engagement parties are expensive. Adding the cost of a honeymoon onto the tab makes the idea of spending money on getting married particularly unattractive. However, destination weddings or engagement parties can keep the costs lower and add the honeymoon into the whole package.

Forget the US, Give Australia a Go

One of the easiest ways to save money is to make the money go further and be worth more. While it sounds like asking for a magic money tree, currency conversions provide this.  With $1 dollar currently equivalent to $1.34 in Australia, traveling to the land down under becomes even more attractive. Although places like England, France, or Italy may sound traditionally romantic, the US dollar doesn’t stand up as well to the British pound or the Euro. This means that a single dollar doesn’t count for as much when traveling there. If you want your wedding and engagement party budget to feel larger, Australia is the place to be.

Although the idea of an international flight might seem too much for the wallet, roundtrip flights to Australia can be found with a little research and patience. When thinking about the idea of a destination weddings or engagement parties, most people would think that the Caribbean would be the best place. However, the Caribbean is almost as expensive to fly into, and the US dollar doesn’t go as far. What this means is that for a couple wanting to fly somewhere exotic, Australia provides the best benefit overall.

Final Stop: Australia, Brisbane

Now that you’ve decided on Australia as the destination, the question becomes what destination is best. Sydney or Melbourne might seem alluring since they’re the first cities that most people associate with Australia.  Over the last twenty years, however, Brisbane has seen a revitalization making it the best of the three capital cities in Australia. In fact, over the course of the last few years, ambitious chefs have started moving to Brisbane to start new restaurants that are raising the bar for the foodie experience there.

This means that there are now a multitude of cool, new places to hold your reasonably priced destination wedding or engagement party. Whether you’re looking for something classic or something more urban chic, Brisbane has something to meet your needs. Traditionalists can find high tea served and treat their guests to something that mixes the modern into the quintessential experience.  For those looking to give their guests a unique foodie experience, check out the options for wedding and engagement party venues in Brisbane. Whether sitting down to a traditional experience or something more chicly modern, Brisbane has something for every taste.

For those couples looking to cut down on cost while still having a unique wedding or engagement party experience, destination weddings are rapidly becoming the most obvious choice. Finding the right destination, however, means thinking not just about the cost of flights, but the cost of food and boarding, as well. Brisbane and its reinvigorated urban culture provide the perfect option when combined with the current currency conversion rates.

 

Image source: Factory51, wedding venue in Brisbane Australia

 

Creative Cunning: Tips for a Budget Friendly Vacation

Vacations and getting away from everyday life should relax people. The idea of being distanced from daily responsibilities and feeling free from everyday worries takes a lot of planning. However, for a lot of people, this desire to be out of the normal routine also comes with the added stress of being able to afford time away to recharge. While a staycation may seem like the answer, frugality does not mean just making the best of the situation. With a little creativity and cunning, a budget friendly vacation is just one planning session away.

Cheap Lodging

One of the best ways to save money on a vacation is to find affordable places to sleep. If you are an outdoor person, pitching a tent is one of the best choices since it is flexible and frugal. If you want a longer term investment, use an RV. Campground rentals are reasonably priced for anyone trying to find cheap lodging. Tenting is excellent for outdoor lovers. For those who trend more towards the city folk side of things, the RV rental can save on expenses and feel like a home away from home. If being budget conscious, keep in mind that you want to factor in gas prices so traveling cross country may not be in the cards, but staying still in one beautiful outdoor location would be perfect.

Cheap Food

Eating on a vacation is the second cost deterrent to an affordable vacation. Assuming the need to eat out means assuming a larger cost than necessary. Finding local grocery stores and storing up on things you can make easily on the road is a good way to keep down costs. Whether camping, using an RV, or staying in an inexpensive hotel, food is a top priority. Treating yourself to a nice dinner out over the course of the trip can be a great way to relax. However, some meals simply aren’t worth the high cost. Instead of eating breakfast in a restaurant or eating fast food to keep it cheap, try buying boxes of cereal or breakfast bars. Even fi traveling long distances, having multiple coolers can also help if you need to keep things cool. When looking for a way to add the extra space, attaching a trailer using Westcott Towbars’ gear selection can also help.

Coupons

Frugality means deals. Deals come with coupons. With coupons abounding online and in local newspapers, it’s a good idea to do some research before you go. Going into the local grocery stores to get food means that you can probably also see what the coupons are for the week there. Take a look at apps for those big box stores that are in the places you’re traveling. If you download the apps for them, you can pick up necessities on the go for a lot less. Take a look at local libraries, also, to see if they have some options for rental of tickets with a valid library card.

Additional Income

Sometimes, the best solutions are the simplest. If you’ve always been a fan of the open road and have an RV you use for your own adventures, don’t let it languish in your driveway between trips. Rent it out to help pay for future trips.

The reality is that travel feels more expensive than it has to be. The ability to get a mental break from the daily grind doesn’t need to create the kind of stress that a vacation is meant to alleviate.