Finance

Financial Tips For Unforgiving Economies (Part 1)

If there’s one thing we know about the economy, we know that is pretty unpredictable. Some days it’s up, some days it’s down. Sometimes the pundits are saying we’re in recovery, other times they say things are just getting worse and worse. Here are few tips to cut through the confusion, tips that will help you reach a stable financial platform.

First, establish a budget. I know, setting a budget is probably one of the least sexy things anyone has ever said. It’s much more exciting to hear dreams of setting up remote, automated businesses that will pay for your every whim and dream. It’s even sexier to think about hitting it big overnight and going from rags to riches in the blink of an eye by thinking up the next big thing. While I won’t argue against the attractiveness of the instant-riches approach, I will tell you this- your spending habits won’t change when your income changes. If you’re spending more than you earn when you make $30,000 per year, you’ll be spending more than you make when you earn $1,000,000 per year.

Now, budgets come in a multiple flavors but boil down to two types- simple budgets and complex budgets. Some people really love to make complex budgets that micromanage each and every dime that they spend. Those people like to know that they’re going to spend exactly $157 a month on coffee and that they average $47.69 a month on utilities so that they can plan precisely. While this approach works for some, the rest of us are far less structured people and will quickly give up on our budgets if we try to figure it out to the smallest minute detail.

For the rest of us, simple budgets work best. Just because a budget is simple doesn’t mean it isn’t effective- it just means that the budget focuses on the big wins instead of the little details. Rather than having separate budget columns for coffee, tea, hot chocolate, alcohol, rice, beans, beef, broccoli and bread, a simple budget would simply make a column called “food.” Budgets can get even simpler, while still being extremely effective. For instance, consider making a budget that simply allocates a certain percentage of all income to these three categories: Savings (which includes investments), Needs (such as rent, utilities, non-restaurant meals, cell phone, etc.) and Wants (everything else, discretionary spending). Elizabeth Warren advocates this formula, and recommends setting aside 20% for savings, 50% for needs and 30% for wants.

Once you create a budget and set up how much money you’ll spend on each category, it’s a good idea to start finding out what you’re actually spending that money on. By tracking your spending you can identify your spending habits and make adjustments as necessary. Most of the time we just plain don’t know where our money goes, and we end up with nothing left but confusion and guilt at the end of the month. It’s one thing to feel like you’re spending too much on coffee every month, it’s another thing entirely to know exactly how much you spend, and where you would rather put that money.

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Finance

Financial Tips for People Starting Out: 20 to 30 Year Olds

STAGE: Learn to Budget, Save & Invest

At this stage of life, most young people are just starting to join the workforce or have been working for a few years. Whether you’re studying, working, travelling, living at home or with friends, saving to buy your own place, or you already have a mortgage, now is the best time to get smart with your money. The choices you make and the habits you form in your teens and twenties may impact how much financial freedom you have through the years and even decades ahead.

Unfortunately in today’s world of easy credit, the culture of “Why wait? Buy now, pay later” has taken a strong hold on our society. Many young (and not so young) people get caught in this trap. It sounds enticing but remember, credit will cost you. Most people don’t even think about it, but fees and interest payments can add up to thousands of dollars. If you are unable to fully repay your “interest free” loan before the due date, you will find that the interest rate is a killer and you will be paying a lot more for your purchase than you realised. If you have one of these deals, check out the interest rate on your contract. You might be very unpleasantly surprised at how high it is. The cost of the loan has already been factored into the cost of the product. It might sound a little basic, but you can put yourself way ahead, simply by budgeting, saving and managing debt well.

Those who are already smart with their money would have started budgeting, saving and investing for their future. They would also have learned that it’s not how much they earn that matters, but how wisely they save and invest. For example, someone who earns $30,000 and saves $3,000 per year is building good security for their future, compared with someone on a higher income who earns $100,000 or more and spends everything on their lifestyle. If the high earner was to suddenly lose his/her job they would have no savings and would no longer have any financial security. They would be at a disadvantage because they have not learned how to live within their means or manage their money well.

It is important not to fall into the credit card trap of thinking that you can buy lifestyle items now, even though you don’t have the money at the moment. By using your credit card for the purchase and thinking that your next pay packet will cover the cost, you are “living on credit”. What can and often happens to many people is that they make the purchase this week and find that next week they want other things. This means that their next pay packet will not cover all purchases, leaving a debt on their credit card at the end of the month. Credit card debt attracts a high interest cost, meaning that you pay far more for your purchases when you include the cost of the interest.

It is never too late to start planning for your future.

There are basic principles to follow and pitfalls to avoid for successful money management. You can learn how to become smart with your money and put together a plan using the following strategies to help you to create a solid base upon which to build your future wealth.

  • Create a Budget
  • Regularly Review Your Situation as it Changes
  • Start Your Wealth Creation by Setting up Your Investment Account
  • Ask for Help to Stay on Track
  • Get Rid of Personal Debts
  • Beware the Sneaky Banks
  • Debit Card Option if You are not Good with Discipline
  • Consolidate your Super
  • Get Free Money for Your Super

Copyright 2010 Roseanne Van Boheemen

Money

The Evil Influence of Money: Can Mankind Dispose Of the Concept of Money and Live In Peace?

Discovery of Money:

According to anthropological studies, the first discovery which changed man’s life and directed him to a better civilisation was ‘fire’. Then came the discovery of wheel. Fire changed his food system and wheel improved his transportation tremendously. Then man discovered hundreds and hundreds of machines to improve his lifestyle. He learnt to fly like a bird by inventing aero planes, to swim like fish by inventing boats, ships and submarines. He invented radio, television and above all Computers, the modern age miracle. But his discovery of money, rather the monetary system is the greatest evil to the society because the entire human society is corrupt by greed of money.

How did the entire system start?

Man is a selfish animal. He wants to keep everything which comes on his way under his possession. The land on which he lives is his, he alone has the right to use water, plants, animals etc. Thus the process of ownership started from early stages of evolution itself. If others wanted a lawful share on his belongings, they had to part with some of their belongings in return.

As civilisation developed, man started living in societies. Each society had its own leader. The leaders then became kings having enormous powers with respect to the area under their rule. People had to pay some charge for whatever they utilised like water, food grains etc. Initial transactions were only through exchange of articles known as Barter. In due course, barter exchange was found tedious and cumbersome and hence a ‘token’ was introduced for exchange of articles. These tokens were modified as Leather strips with king’s seal having universal acceptance inside the kingdom. Gradually the leather strips were converted as metal coins with king’s ‘muhar’ or ‘rupa’, both meaning a replica of face. This is the origin of the words Muhar or Rupees to identify money. In modern days paper currency has replaced all other coins and each country has its own currency. Gold, the only equivalent of money is kept as a reserve by various countries. In countries like India alone, gold is still powerful and more valuable than cash. But its value is so high that nothing could replace the value, the paper currency is occupying in day to day life.

This is the story of money, cash or paper currency.

The influence of money on human kind:

From the above it will be clear that selfishness is the motivating force behind money. On one hand civilisation develops and there is a tremendous advancement of Science and Technology and on the other, the selfishness and the greed for money crossed all the boundaries and nowadays money is everything for man. In the past, money was a via media between various business transactions. But now the situation has changed that it is the prime concern for any action of man.

Quoting Indian conditions, starting from birth of a child, medical facilities are available only for the affluent. Healthy foods are also available for them. Regarding school and college admissions, they are converted as pure business. Getting a job, a bride etc all are revolving around monetary considerations. When a person becomes sick, unless he is rich, he won’t get necessary medical treatments. Even after death, his burial or cremation demands huge bribe. There is a proverb in Tamil which states that ‘ A living person, if he does not have money, is equivalent to a dead corpse’. But even the dead corpse requires money for its funeral. Another proverb is ‘ if you offer to pay currency, even the corpse will wake up and sit down”. Even parents do not get the respects form their children. In India, there is a mushroom growth of senior citizens’ homes which are taking care of the abandoned parents, that too against financial payments. The treatment differs person to person depending on the amount paid by the wards who admit them.

A funny situation may be quoted here. There is a very great pilgrim centre for Hindus in South India, almost like VATICAN to Christians. People offer their hair by having complete shave of head, known as Mundan or Mottai. If a good amount is paid, there will be a nice and smooth shave. There are so many poor pilgrims who can not afford to pay. Government has ordered free shave to all, but those who can not afford to pay can have partial shave only, with some hair left and with wounds on the head caused by rough handling of razors. If a person is able to pay thousands of rupees, he can have quick Darshan of Lord, if he can’t offer money he will be handled very roughly and to have a glimpse of the Lord, he has to wait for hours. Influence of money has entered even in Sanctum Sanctorum.

Now we shall see how real values are lost for considerations concerning money:

There is no real affection nor attachment among family members. People are not taken care by their children when they attain old age. Sometimes parents and siblings are murdered for gain.

It seems LOVE has also lost its real value. A girl prefers an affluent to a person who cannot afford to spend. This aspect has also given place to acid throws and murders.

Getting a good job depends on the money spent as bribe. For any work to be completed one has to part with money as bribe. The author does not know about other countries. In India, corruption is rampant. It is a sorry state of affairs that India which is the religious capital and the largest Democracy of the world is a bad example in corruption and bribery.

Education is costly. Even for LKG admission people have to spend in lakhs. For medical admissions one has to part with at least 5 million. The medical graduate, after graduation, tries to bill heavily and people have to sell their properties to settle the bills,provided they come back alive from hospitals.

Huge money is spent by candidates on elections. Once elected, the winners resort to all type of money collection methods. Even awards and other recognitions for real talents are purchased by spending money.

Thus one can see the evil influence of money has spread in all the fields thus corrupting the entire human value. Now, we are at a crucial stage to stop further spread of evil influence and bring back the lost values. In fact, India which gave four Vedas and Bhagavath Githa to the world is to start this exercise.

How to end influence of money and bring back values?

From the above paragraphs, it is clear that selfishness and craze for ownership is the primary reason for money, holding the prime position in man’s life. Money instead of being a via media or a reference object has occupied the prime position pushing all the values behind. One is reminded of the monkey which assured to divide the sweet cake between two cats and finally eating the entire cake. Now money has eaten or corrupted all the human minds.

The primary need to fulfill in reducing the influence of money is to reduce ‘selfishness’. The feeling of ‘possessiveness’ is to be totally annihilated. Claiming everything one comes across as ‘my own’ is to be stopped. This can be done by reducing the desires. Yes! One cannot annihilate totally the desires as Buddha told. But it is possible to reduce desires.

Reduce desires. Practice sacrificing dear things. Try to have empathy. Help others by reducing your own comforts. Try to live a simple life.

These five steps will automatically bring the influence of money under control.

Role of Governments: We need not expect Government to exercise control over expenditure. Instead, we should elect such a Government which will stand as a testimony for simple expenditure. Especially, in a democratic country like India people should not be carried away by pomp and show, but elect simple leaders who show austerity in their day to day living.

Is it happening? Unfortunately the answer is a firm ‘no’. People are carried by empty promises and elect leaders who empty the exchequer for personal ends.

What is needed today is leaders like Mahatma Gandhi who toured the entire world and had the courage to meet the British queen with a loin cloth on his lap. One need not be a replica of Gandhi, but may follow at least some of the principles which he followed in his life. Mahatma Gandhi’s life and teachings are the best emulations to an austere and simple life.

Let me conclude the article with the sayings of not a much well known South Indian Saint preaching a medium approach in every aspect of life to his disciples:

Be kind, but don’ be a slave.

Show pity, but don’t get conned.

Donate liberally, but don’t lose everything and become a beggar,

be thrifty, but don’t be stingy.

Be active, but don’t be hurried.

Be patient, but don’t be a dunce.

Be chivalrous, but don’t be a rogue.

Be a family man, but don’t be sex hungry.

Have detachment, but don’t become a Saint.

Love Good people, but don’t hate evil people.

The above sayings applied mutatis mutandis to monetary considerations will solve most of the evils of the world and bring back human values which are lost.

Money

Do You Think Money Is Dirty? Follow These Steps to Bless and Purify Your Relationship With It

Almost everyone in our society has issues with money. To be effective and successful – to live the life of your dreams – it is essential to identify your money issues and heal your relationship with money.

I use the word money deliberately. Money is the dominant medium by which we acquire goods and services in our culture. Yes, it is important to cultivate Abundance Consciousness, and we can manifest finding money on the street. But at some point over-emphasis on Prosperity Consciousness instead of Money Consciousness becomes a means to avoid the issues that money – the word, concept and material fact – triggers for us.

To live well in our society, we need to come to terms with the reality of money. For many of us, this means identifying and releasing dysfunctional experiences, ideas and attitudes acquired about money in our childhood, young adulthood or past lives.

Money is freighted with your personal baggage as well as that of our culture. It’s time to work through these issues. Whether you want to achieve business success, enhance your salary or expand your income in other ways, the time is now. And the Cosmos supports you – this is a propitious time to deal with money issues and attain wealth.

Many psychically and spiritually sensitive women avoid acquiring wealth because they think or feel money is dirty or a source of pain.

These women feel – consciously or unconsciously – the pain, conflict and attempts at control that can be in money’s vibration. They hear the stories money picked up while circulating in our economy and society that are present when it comes into their possession. “There’s no money for baby food because you drank it up at the bar.” “I can’t make the rent because I gambled my paycheck at the casino, and lost.” “I’ll give you money for a new car, but you have to promise… “

The negative energies these women sense in money leads them to avoid pain by avoiding money.

Many psychically and spiritually sensitive women avoid dealing with money altogether because of this sensitivity. They have no idea how much money they have because they don’t balance their checkbooks – it’s just too painful. This pain is compounded by the shame and guilt they feel over their inability to properly manage their money.

Money can be fraught with painful vibrations. However, money carries positive energy, too. Isn’t it great to have the money to put a roof over your head and food on the table?

Take This Action Step:

If this is you, an essential first step to increase your money mindset and expand your Wealth Consciousness is to bless and purify your money.

Do this by clearing your money of any limiting or negative vibrations it has acquired as it circulates in the economy and society. This action step releases shame and guilt, too.

A simple and easy way to do this is to visualize a rectangle the size of your checkbook or debit card. (This works even is you rely on electronic bank transfers and never handle real cash.)

See this rectangle shape fill with Divine light and love. You may experience resistance at first. The rectangle my appear dingy, gray or dark. Keep at it. You soon will see it fill with beautiful white light and love.

Do this frequently. It works. You will begin to have peace with money, handle and manage it well, and balance your check book.

Finance

Helpful Financial Tips for Couples Considering Divorce

Many people considering a divorce are finding that they cannot afford to be separated. Anyone can have difficulty paying bills, covering the mortgage, keeping their jobs and running a household. In today’s trying times, spouses who want to divorce are realizing that they may have to stay together just to survive financially.

Helpful Tips

Divorce rates are dropping. A few suggestions for couples considering a divorce:

  • Acquire a current market value of your home from a Realtor, and while you’re at it, discuss other housing options with the Realtor.
  • Limit your use of credit; close credit cards and home-equity lines that you don’t need. Try not to increase your debt any further.
  • Consider putting off a home sale until your divorce is completed.
  • Consider counseling to overcome your marital issues; if that’s not possible, think about using a mediator to resolve your divorce issues. Many divorce attorneys are also licensed mediators.
  • Copy your financial documents and gather all your financial information
  • Order a copy of your credit report early- from all three reporting agencies to have this as a base line to know where you stand at the end of your marriage. This way you’d be able to see whether any new unauthorized debt is being added in your name.
  • Make sure your tax returns are prepared in a way that you will be comfortable with for years to come. If you are preparing to divorce but have not yet started and it’s anytime around tax season, this is an area of great potential hazard and you should proceed with caution.
  • Consult your accountant and have him or her advise you about the possible tax savings that married jointly filing couples enjoy, and also on the potential future liability you could face should the returns be found deficient