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5 Financial Tips Following The Death of a Loved One

There are few things more traumatic in life than the death of a loved one. Alas, this is part and parcel of being a human, something that we all need to face at some point in our life. Though you’ll need time to adjust to the emotional response to the loss, it’s important that you’re also keeping an eye on the practical matters of your life. If you let these fall by the wayside, then by the time you make it through the other side, you might find that you have a lot of mess to clean up. Below, we take a look at some important financial steps to take, even while you’re in the mourning period.

 

Assume Control

It doesn’t matter if you were heavily involved in your partner’s finances or not; once they’re gone, it’s up to you to assume control of their affairs. This will become especially important if you were married, as their finances will be closely linked to you, even if you had previously maintained a “hands-off” approach. Get an overview of all the expenses that are in their name, and get in touch with any companies to whom they owe money to explain the situation.

Claim What’s Rightfully Yours

You’re not necessarily going to be out there all on your own when it comes to finances. They may have left money for you in their will or may have died as a result of negligence. They may also have had life insurance. Whatever the circumstances are, make sure you’re working towards claiming what’s rightfully yours. If there’s a case for wrongful death, get help from a website like gbw.law/personal-injury/wrongful-death/. Also, speak to the company in charge of their life insurance policy. It may take some time to sort out these things, but the earlier you get the ball rolling, the better.

Rethink the Expenses

If your loved one was supporting you, then you’ll need to get used to handling your own finances. To begin with, this will mean rethinking your expenses, to ensure you don’t get yourself in some financial difficulty. If you’ve got any expensive luxury monthly expenditures, then put a pause on them. While you’re figuring out your financial situation, it’s best to keep all your costs to a minimum. There are always ways to tighten your belt, at least for a while.

Be Willing To Accept Help

This will be one of the most traumatic experiences of your life. There will be people on hand who want to help you make it through. But in order for them to do this, you’ll need to be willing to accept help. If a close relative offers to loan you money until things are sorted, then you’d be wise to accept.

Make Rational Decisions

We’re prone to acting out of character when we’re under stress. When it comes to the big financial decisions, make sure you’re thinking in a clear and logical way. This will prevent you from making mistakes that you might later regret.

Say No to Employee Turnover

Experiencing employee turnover is inevitable, especially in this day and age where top talent only hangs about for three-or-so years before wanting to wave their wand of awesomeness elsewhere. Lifelong careers are no longer a thing, and so it’s only natural for employees to come and go. Most of the time this is manageable.

The problem starts to become horrendous when you are experiencing high-employee turnover and this isn’t just because it is financially ruining you or upsetting the apple cart, but because a high-turnover will show up on something called Glassdoor, and that site knows how to rank highly on Google et al.

Basically, if you have a lot of employees coming and going, you need to do something about it. That’s why we have pulled together a few tips and tricks that will encourage your talented employees to stick around a lot longer:

  1. Hire Right, Alright

The best way to keep your employees is to perfect your recruiting process and only hire people that are right for your business. That means looking beyond a candidate’s application and resume and seeing if they are actually a good fit for your company’s culture and not just someone who has the right skills. After all, skills can be taught but personality can’t.

  1. Pay Them Better

Sure, people want to work somewhere they feel valued and important and zen and all that stuff, but they also want to be well-compensated. There’s no escaping that fact. Food costs money, and so do the tiles over their heads. Alas, you need to pay them a competitive salary and offer attractive perks and, if you don’t, they will find a company that does.

  1. Lay Down A Career Path

No one wants to feel like they are standing still as the world around them turns at an increasing rate. No way. People want to better themselves. They want to feel like they are growing and learning and climbing the career ladder. To do help them, have team development days, employ a digital marketing firm, send them to seminars, have monthly workshops, mentor them and show them what they need to do to get from where they are to where they want to be.

  1. Praise Them Like You Should

Us humans are sensitive souls. We thrive on motivation and encouragement and praise. Know this and use this. When an employee does something good or great, show them how much you appreciate it. When they crush a big project, congratulate them and do it in public. When you promote someone, make your entire business aware of it by sending an around robin email. Whatever it takes to praise those who deserve it.

  1. Flexible Is Forever

The biggest change in the workplace is the new need for flexibility. Employees want flexibility. They want to work flexi-hours and have the chance to work remotely, and no matter how preposterous you think this might be, there are enough companies out there that allow it for your employees to up sticks and move.

How to Save for a House Down Payment

Saving up for a deposit is much harder than it used to be and there is plenty of advice out there for doing it. However, as so much of this advice is virtually useless like ‘stop buying coffee and avocados’, it feels necessary to provide some simpler advice.

Millennials aren’t wasting their money on coffee or avocado and just cutting these things out won’t exactly raise you a deposit unless you are willing to wait a hundred years or more, depending on your passion for avocado toast! However, millennials can make the most of a more flexible working lifestyle to ensure that they can earn more and save more.

Know Your Target

The first task is to set yourself a goal. Find out how much the average deposit is in the area or areas you are looking at and then write this number down. Now, you should start working out how much you will be able to save each month and therefore how many months you can expect to save for. So if you are aiming to save a down payment of $10,000 and you can save $300 per month, you’ve got just under 3 years of saving to go.  

However, you should also look at the various mortgages out there. It may be that you could get a better mortgage by saving more or you could pay more towards your mortgage and move into your new home sooner. Have a look at Altrua Financial to get an idea of what you can expect. This is about balance so make sure you have your priorities in order.

Cut Back Expenses

So, now you know how much you need to save and how long it will take at your current rate, it’s time to find ways to save more. Let’s start with your bills. Utilities are probably one of your biggest costs but you could easily save by switching providers. Many utility companies rely on you forgetting about your payments so gradually nudge your costs up. By switching each year, you will ensure that you get their lowest offer.

The next thing is to look at your other spending. Now, for all that never drinking coffee won’t do it alone, it does represent a big markup in the market and you could be saving. Instead of buying coffee while you are out, you could make a thermos instead. Similarly, batch cooking is a good way to make lots of cheap and healthy meals and nights in will always be cheaper than nights out.

Earn Additional Income

If cutting back is too difficult or you are a normal, sensible person who knows that a treat is good every so often, you should also look at ways to grow your income. This doesn’t mean taking another job or working all hours, just find ways to make a bit on the side while you watch TV in the evening.

Things like blogging, answering questionnaires, proofreading and selling crafts are always popular online and hopefully won’t feel too much like hard work. Plus, these are all things that you can do when you feel like it and not when you don’t.

Investment For Dummies: 7 Ideas For Beginners

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With a doubt, the best way to secure your finances for the future is to invest. As scary and risky as it sounds, it’s a far better option than leaving money in a savings account. How much do you really expect to gain from low-interest rates? And, at the moment, they are about as low as they have ever been post-World War Two. Yep, a gamble, all be it a calculated one, is a savvy move.

The problem is that you’re a novice with no knowledge or experience of the industry. So, it’s a little much to expect you to grasp the complicated stuff and start making money over fist. Warren Buffett you are not, which is why it’s essential to begin at the bottom and work your way up. Let’s face it – we’ve all got to start somewhere folks.

Like many things in life, research helps. Reading books and Googling phrases and terms will be the foundation of your success. Still, it’s also a great idea to know where to begin, and that is where this post comes into play. Here are the best areas for beginners.

Real Estate

There is nothing easier than securing a building or a residential property. In fact, the odds are high that you already have a piece of real estate in your portfolio. Therefore, you do have experience and knowledge of the system. Happy days! Unless there is a spare hundred grand lying around the house, a mortgage will be on the cards. Don’t worry though because the terms are favorable, especially if your credit is bulletproof. One thing you shouldn’t assume is that you will make money. Latimes.com points out that whether it’s in the short or long-term, there are zero guarantees in this industry. However, buying property is a good starting point because it’s relatable and understandable. Plus, there are dozens of options at your disposal. Should you not want to flip it for a quick profit, some renters will pay off the mortgage. Of course, only purchase a home that you can afford as the bank may take the asset as collateral if you forfeit the agreement. Usually, location carries more weight than the state of the house as you can always renovate and redecorate.

Land

Now, this is a little complicated for many reasons. Firstly, the majority of average Joes have never bought a plot of land in their life. For the most part, we obtain the buildings and the grounds are already included. Secondly, there are extra titles and paperwork which needs taking care of before the deal gets ratified. As a result, a comprehensive team of professionals is a must just to be on the safe side. Looking at it, you may be wondering why on earth you would bother? Well, the answer is supply and demand. Currently, plots of land around the country are at a premium because they are in short supply. As the population grows, local authorities need to find new ways to house the baby boomers and any plot will suffice. Anyone who owns the deeds to the land, then, is set to make a fortune. You may have to pay a high rate, but the chances are high that you’ll make it back somewhere down the line. Look for plots which are fair-sized and don’t have any building restrictions. Otherwise, no contractor will want to take the risk.

Bitcoin

Cryptocurrencies are the new fads of 2018. Except, they aren’t flashes in the pan like the “experts” thought in the beginning. Some are clearly bad investments as they are novelties, yet others seem to be making a difference. Bitcoin is a prime example. Created around a decade ago, its value has rocketed year by year, culminating it in reaching $10,000 per coin this year. Earlier, in 2017, the total amount was closer to $20,000, which is incredible. It’s obvious that Bitcoin is here to stay and the market suggests the shares aren’t going to tank anytime soon. Obviously, investing now when the costs are high is difficult but not impossible. In fact, Xcoins has a simple solution: get paid in the cryptocurrency. You can find out more from Xcoins.io by checking out the link, but remember that there are people with coins to spare. As a result, they are happy to exchange goods and services for Bitcoin, which is how you diversify your portfolio. Please be careful because there are horror stories, such as money laundering and dealing with shady characters. If you trust the source, however, there is nothing which says this transaction is against the law.

Gold

Compared to currency, gold is a smart move because it doesn’t lose its value says Moneymetals.com. The same goes for a variety of precious metals, too. The market has been and always will be receptive to bars and bullion, so it is logical to get in on the ground floor. Like Bitcoin, finding a profitable and affordable investment option isn’t going to be a walk in the park. Everyone who has gold understands their position; plus, the majority of people don’t like to sell because it’s shiny. Seriously, it’s amazing how Gollum owners get when it comes to signing on the dotted line. Thankfully, loopholes exist and you can exploit them to your advantage. Consider checking out jewelry stores for cheap pieces, for instance. Auctions are fantastic places to peruse the listings also. Because some people need a quick influx of cash, they are happy to sell to pawn shops and the likes. Although the owners will jack up the price, the amount should be lower than retail value. Another cool trick is to check the draws in the house. You never know – there may be a treasure trove of gold right under your nose.

Insurance

The idea of investing in an insurance policy doesn’t sound right. Isn’t a premium something you have to pay just for peace of mind? Yes, lots of people hate the idea of rewarding insurance companies with money they may never see in the future. However, it’s worth the risk, particularly if you’re an investor. Sometimes, unforeseeable circumstances strike and it leaves your portfolio in a huge mess. The good news is that a policy will cover the damage and some. Indeed, some individuals come out better after a crash than when they started. Sure, you have to be lucky, and you won’t be one of the lucky few, but you can have a safety net. What would you rather do – spend money and get it back or take the risk and lose everything? It’s tempting to see a policy as just another expense, yet it is an investment and one worth considering for beginners. If the pros believe in this method, then you have no excuse! Whatever the area, ensure there is a contingency plan should the worst happen.

Stock Market

Of course, the elephant in the room is the stock market. After watching DiCaprio in Wolf of Wall Street, it’s easy to say “No thank you. Not for me!” granted, the antics in the movie put the industry to shame. And, they are by no means an anomaly. But, to avoid trading in stock options and shares is an unwise move because of the profit range. With minimal startup capital, you can transform a couple of bucks into a million dollars with the right steps. Smart investors know this doesn’t happen often, but there are examples so don’t dismiss it out of hand. Even if you can down the conservative route, the scope for success is pretty high. Buffett himself recommends investing in low-yield, low-risk stocks. Why? It’s because, over time, your portfolio will begin to grow and that’s when you up the ante. It’s worth noting this is not by taking more risks but by increasing the amounts and sticking with the same method. Forbes.com has handy hints for those who are worried by the prospect of going into the lion’s den. Remember that they are as scared of you as you are of them!

401k

CNN.com has a great roundup of how retirement plans work, but the gist is this: you deposit money into an account sponsored by your employer. The company then passes the dough onto a third-party, also known as a middleman, who invests the cash into stock options. So, you’re not quietly saving money but advancing it to make more in the long-term. Here’s the kicker – you’re in control. Yes, the employer transfers the funds yet you are in charge of the stock options and investment plans. Therefore, by having a 401k, you are an investor looking to double your money. Indeed, a “safe harbor” strategy hands complete control over to you if you prefer to have your hand on the wheel. Because there are in your name, the money will still be yours because there are your assets. A 401k is scary because it’s your future, but it’s the best way to plan for retirement.

Out of the seven options, which of them are you likely to pick? Don’t worry because you can choose more than one!

Making Sure You’re Financially Settled In Later Life

Most adults would agree that finding comfort financially is a prime goal. That is because many of us spend our entire lives struggling to make ends meet. We work around the clock to pay our bills, and there is little left over at the end of the month. So, it makes sense that everyone will want to take actions that ensure they don’t have to stress about cash in later life. While nobody wants to think about reaching retirement age, it is something that will happen to all of us. If you don’t create a plan while your young, there is a reasonable chance you will never develop financial security. With that in mind, take some of the suggestions from this page and incorporate them into your strategy for the future.

Take out private pensions

Some countries and companies still offer pensions to their citizens. Unfortunately, that is not the case for most people living in the US. For that reason, it’s essential that you search for the best private pension deals while you’re still young. At the moment, you have the ability to earn a stable wage every month. That could change when you begin to mature due to illness or other unexpected events. So, there is no time to delay, and you need to make the most of your opportunities. Try to pay as much of your spare cash as possible into the pension fund. That money will then increase with interest over the years. If someone decides to add $20 a week to their pension accounts from the age of thirty, they would have access to thousands when they retire.

Make smart investments

There are lots of ways in which anyone can make money from conservative investments according to experts like those at Bloomberg. Contrary to popular belief, there is no need for you to come from an upper-class family or attend the best colleges. In most situations, you just need to read some books written by successful investors. While there is always an element of risk involved, that strategy is much better than gambling. That is because it’s possible to tip the scales of balance in your favor with inside knowledge and reasonable predictions. Just make sure you employ the services of an experienced broker when you’re just starting out. Those professionals will make sure you avoid any schoolboy errors and always create a healthy return.

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Clear your mortgage debt

When most people reach the twilight of their lives, they still have at least some mortgage debt these days. That is terrible because it means they will never become financially free. Considering that, you need to work hard to pay the money you owe to the bank before you retire. That way, you can sell the property to specialists like those at Wren Realty Inc. and jet off around the world, or you can live in the house without having to worry about monthly bill payments. Either way, you should end up living the good life and getting rid of all that stress. Also, you will have something of value to pass down to your kids or grandkids, and that could help them to secure a decent start in life.

Start collecting valuables

There are lots of collectible products available on the market that tend to increase in price. For example, anyone who has original Star Trek figures at home is probably a millionaire these days. With that in mind, you need to keep your eyes peeled for items that could become hot property in the future. Maybe a new movie series comes out that you know will grow popular and attract a lot of attention. Perhaps you encounter an amateur artist with incredible talents who you think might become world famous one day. You get the idea, right? By making smart purchases now, there is a reasonable chance you could create lots of profit in the future when you retire and decide to sell.

Open high-interest savings accounts

The places in which you put your wealth could determine how much it increases through interest. For instance, some banks offer accounts that pay high rates of interest to their customers. So, if you leave $50,000 in one of those accounts, it’s possible that you might earn up to $500 a year without having to do anything. People who follow that strategy for thirty or forty years will manage to boost their savings significantly. It’s just a case of shopping around and making sure you choose the most suitable banks. Some websites will point you in the right direction and ensure you leave no stone unturned. So, just conduct some research online and take a look at the best options on the table.

Live within your means

Lastly, and this is something you must do every day, it’s critical that you live within your means. There is no use paying for everything using credit cards because you will have to clear the balance at some point. Also, driving cars that are too expensive and consume a lot of fuel is not doing you any favors. Don’t try to show off to your neighbors, and never attempt to keep up with your work colleagues. Just try to create a comfortable and stress-free life for yourself where you never overspend or make financial errors. People who do that during their youth stand a much higher chance than most of continuing the practice into their twilight years.

The six ideas mentioned in this post should be enough for most readers to ensure they don’t face financial issues when they retire and stop working. When all’s said and done, many folks have ambitions of selling their homes and traveling the world. Nothing should stand in the way of you doing that if you follow some of the suggestions made here today. It’s all about taking control of your life and choosing to plan for your future in the most logical and reasonable ways possible. No matter how old you are at the moment, there is never a wrong time to start planning for retirement. Catch you back here again soon!

Are Credit Cards Really Worth It?

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Have you been thinking about getting a credit card lately? Even though these little cards do sometimes get a bad rep, there are some reasons why you might want to sign up for one. For instance, lots of banks try and entice new credit card customers by offering them various benefits with their new account. But do all of the benefits really make it worth it? Well, it usually depends on your own situation. Here are some questions that can help you figure it out.

Can You Afford The Repayments?

When you buy something with a credit card, you won’t need to pay for it straight away. That’s because you are using credit from the bank to purchase it with. You then need to repay this credit at the end of the month. Some banks will split up repayments over a set number of months. First of all, before you decide to take out a card, you need to work out if you will be able to make all the monthly repayments. If not, you will only end up getting quite deep into debt, which could be very difficult to get out of.

What Kind Of Rewards Can You Get?

Now, it’s time to look at the rewards and work out if they are really worth it. Cashback is one of the most beneficial rewards that you can get with a credit card. This just means you will get some cashback with every purchase. However, most cash back credit cards come with a limit as to how much cash you can get in the month. Another popular benefit is store credit if you purchase a shop’s own credit card. It’s important that you weigh up the pros and cons of each benefit that you are offered, though, before you make a decision.

Would You Be Better Suited To A Different Type Of Credit?

Of course, credit cards aren’t the only credit option available to you. Your personal situation might mean that you are better suited to a different type of credit. For instance, if you just need a short-term boost of cash then you might prefer to go for a payday loan or a bank loan. As you need to use a credit card for a minimum length of time, you might not want to get tied into monthly repayments if you just need some short-term help, for example.

What Is The Fee?

Don’t forget that the majority of credit cards come with a fee. You need to take this into consideration when you decide whether or not to take out a card. Can you afford it along with the monthly repayments? Also, it’s important that you don’t forget about the card’s interest rate Interest will be added onto your monthly repayments, so you also need to remember this when you are figuring out if you can afford a card or not.

Credit cards aren’t for everyone, so make sure you use these tips when you try to figure things out.