Thursday, August 28, 2014

10 Effective Ways of Debt-Free People

Statue Of Liberty 3
First a story:

One day . . . a wealthy family man took his son on a trip to the country, so he could have his son see how poor country people live.
They stayed one day and one night in the home of a very humble farmer.   At the end of the trip, and when they were back home, the father asked his son, "What did you think of the trip?"
The son replied, "Very nice dad."
Then the father asked his son, "Did you notice how poor they were?"
The son replied, "Yes."
The father continued asking, "What did you learn?"
The son responded, "I learned that we have one dog in our house, and they have four.  
Also, we have a fountain in our garden, but they have a stream that has no end.  
And we have imported lamps in our garden . . . where they have the stars!  
And our garden goes to the edge of our property.   But they have the entire horizon as their back yard!"
At the end of the son's reply the father was speechless.  
His son then said, "Thank you dad for showing me how poor we really are."
Isn't it true that all depends on the lens you use to see life?
One can ask himself what would happen if we give thanks for what we have instead of always asking for more.
Learn to appreciate what you have. Wealth is all in one's point of view.

Author unknown

Debt-free people are master of money. They make the best of what they have to enjoy a care-free and debt-free life. Here are their wise ways of managing their personal finance:    

1.      Smart use of credit cards: They only keep credit cards which are free for life. They just want to take advantage of credit cards to earn reward points or pay less with cash-back offer. They totally avoid credit and pay promptly and fully every time.

2.      Pay themselves first: They understand that the source of their wealth is from their savings accumulated over time with compound interest. It is their habit to incorporate an amount for savings as part of their “expense” budget. They will do it by way of auto-transfer or they will set aside an amount regularly and consistently.  

3.      Read and learn: They are hungry for knowledge and the latest happenings in the financial world. The want to be on top of things to preserve their wealth. They learn and explore ways to invest their hard-earned money for maximum gain at risk levels they can tolerate. 

4.      Live within their means: They know that their financial resources are limited; they choose to live within their means to avoid their fund being depleted. Their lifestyle is tailored according to what they can afford and not how they want to live according to the standard of others.  It means they spend less than what they earn and so there is no debt to be incurred.  

5.      Have an emergency fund: They have ready cash to meet unexpected expenditures such as paying for a major repair of their house or car. They also foresee the uncertainty of job security and they are ready for it financially for a period of time.   

6.      Invest for retirement: They know that they need a replacement source of income when they are no longer capable of earning for a living. They invest their savings regularly while they are still at work and slowly build a stream of passive income for their golden years.     

7.      Monitor their spending and net worth: They use spreadsheet to record and monitor their spending and compare with what they have budgeted.  They review their net worth once a year to measure their effectiveness in accumulating wealth.

8.      Simple lifestyle: They are practical people with practical needs because they appreciate what they have. They don’t follow their neighbors and spend unnecessarily to match other people’s way of life.

9.      They are in control: They are patient people and impulse spending is not their way. They think first and spend later and not to allow money to control them.

10.  They have an ultimate goal: Financial freedom is their financial mission. They want to live a financially independent life. They want to be self-supporting. They do not want to live a miserable life at the mercy of others.    


Finally:

A man in debt is so far a slave. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, August 25, 2014

7 Ways to Make More Money from Your Job

Money
“The law of work seems unfair, but nothing can change it; the more enjoyment you get out of your work, the more money you will make.” -Mark Twain

According to an article, Only rich know wage gains with no worker raise in U.S. inflation, Five years of economic expansion have done almost nothing to boost paychecks for typical American workers while the rich have gotten richer.

What can you, as a wage earner, do?

1.     Ask for a raise: It is the easiest thing to do but you have to do a lot of homework. First you have to check career websites and find out the salary scale of your position; if you are getting less, you stand a good chance .If it is within the ranch or above you still can ask for a raise but proceed cautiously. Here are important questions to ask yourself: Are you performing and contributing to the company such as making increases in sales, cutting costs or improving productivity? Are you doing more than what your job description required? Are you in the good book of the boss? The most important issue is to find out whether the company is making money or running at a loss.

2.     Take on more responsibilities: Is there an opportunity to move up the ladder. Getting promoted is one good way to earn more money. Are you prepared to move up? Have you got the essential skills for the job? Have you ever assumed the responsibilities for the post you aim for in one way or another like temporarily acting on your boss’s behalf during his absence?  

3.     Move on to a new environment: With your experience and the skills perhaps you are in a position to get a higher pay package in a new company. Working in a new place within the same industry after a few years is another excellent way to get more pay. 

4.     Invest in yourself and hone your skills: There is nothing better than to obtain additional paper qualifications, learn new skills and add more value to yourself and the company you work for. Be more productive with you extra expertise. Ask for new assignments. Indirectly you are promoting yourself to be paid more.   

5.     Do more: Employers are always happy to take note of workers who are doing more than expected like helping up in another department or working overtime.

6.    Appearance: Though your image has nothing to do with what you can do at work, it plays a very important part when a boss decides to appoint someone to a higher position. When you dress smartly, display an image of confidence and you are always cheerful and happy you radiate an air of positivity.  It transmits a message to your boss that you can get the job done.  Are you projecting an image of success? Do it right and be the best candidate to get spotted and promoted.    

7.      Networking: Get connected with the right people at work so that you are on top of things and know in advance the latest development in the company. News about staff movement and new openings are important for you to decide and act before it is publicized.   


What else can you do to get more money from your job?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

7 Objectives of Personal Finance

Financial News
The goal of personal finance is financial freedom. There are 7 objectives to achieve this goal:

1.      Income: Your earning power is limited by what you can do with the ideas and skills you have. There are also other factors that contribute to the amount that you can earn. Among other things, luck plays an important role. Money may not bring you happiness but without money you cannot survive. You can try to make more money but the point is that money is one of the scarce resources. This brings us to the next point.   
 
2.      Expenses: Your lifestyle is determined and limited by your financial resources. It does not matter how much you earn, if you don’t live within your means, you will incur debt and end up as a bankrupt.  The objective here is to spend less than what you can earn so that you can achieve your next objective.    

3.      Savings:  The objective of saving money serves many purposes. Having an emergency fund is on top of the list. You need an amount sufficiently to meet unforeseen circumstances such as getting retrenched or meeting an exceptional expense like a major repair to your plumbing system. It is also prudent to save enough for a big ticket item or an oversea trip.  Needless to say you need to save for down payments to purchase your dream house and your dream car. One important objective of savings is to accumulate and build an investment fund.  

4.      Investment: The objective of investing is to grow your wealth to serve two important purposes. You need money for your children’s education and for your own retirement. Investment provides a source of passive income when you are no longer working to earn a living. It is all so well and good but life is full of unexpected events. That is the objective of the next topic.

5.      Insurance protection: Accidents do happen. You may suffer from one of the lifestyle deceases because your life is so stressful that your body cannot cope with it anymore. You need a life policyto compensate your earning capability when you are disabled because of an accident or a critical illness. You also need insurance protection for your assets like your home and your car against unforeseen perils.
        
6.      Estate planning: When you are alive, you are there to manage your wealth, but you are not going to live forever. The objective of estate planning is to take care of your wealth when you are no longer around.  Drawing up a will is the sensible thing to do and a hassle-free way to distribute your wealth to your loved ones.   

7.      Constant monitoring: Life can present opportunities for you to earn more; you have to be prepared and ready for it. On the other hand you have to control your spending and avoid over spending and getting into debt. You have to closely monitor your investment to meet changing environment for the purpose of wealth preservation. You may also need to rewrite your will to reflect current situation. Personal financial management is not a one-off thing; review your financial standing periodically. 

Conclusion

You can be financially independent when you achieve the seven objectives. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

MAS Plans to Strengthen Oversight of Credit Bureaus

Monetary Authority of Singapore
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has published a consultation paper outlining proposals to strengthen oversight of credit bureaus so as to safeguard sensitive credit information and protect the interests of consumers.
The plan to subject credit bureaus to formal oversight under a new Credit Bureau Act comes as such entities collect more detailed borrower information from members such as banks, finance companies and credit card companies.
MAS on Tuesday (Aug 12) said a key focus of these requirements will be for credit bureaus and their members to ensure data confidentiality, security and integrity.
For example, members of licensed credit bureaus will be required to provide to a consumer a copy of his credit report at no cost within a specified period of approving or rejecting a credit application. MAS said this is to better enable consumers to access and verify the accuracy and completeness of their credit records.
MAS also said the proposed Credit Bureau Act will impose a legal obligation on licensed credit bureaus and their members to adopt clear and effective procedures to facilitate investigation and rectification of credit data when consumers dispute the accuracy of their credit data.
In addition, as part of good governance, a licensed credit bureau will be subject to annual audits by an MAS-approved auditor and will need to seek MAS' approval for changes to its substantial shareholders, board of directors and chief executive officer.
The consultation paper on credit bureaus is available on the MAS website and comments should reach the central bank by Sep 12.
Currently, there are two credit bureaus in Singapore - Credit Bureau (Singapore) Pte Ltd and DP Credit Bureau Pte Ltd - that are recognised by MAS to collect and disclose credit data to members.

Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS) said in a statement on Tuesday that "the role of the credit bureau will also become increasingly important now that new measures on unsecured credit have been introduced." It adds that "on the consumers' end, the regulatory oversight will boost consumer confidence in their credit bureau".

Source:MAS Plans to Strengthen Oversight of Credit Bureaus

Thursday, August 14, 2014

10 Soul Searching Questions about your Personal Financial Position

10 Soul Searching Questions about your Personal Financial Position

How often do you review your financial standing? It is good to scrutinize your personal financial figures at least once a year. Ask yourself these relevant questions. If your answers are mostly affirmative, rejoice and keep up the good work. If you are getting nowhere and you are unable to break you bad habits to improve your net worth, you can always start now.  It is not too late.  

1.       Paying yourself first: Are you putting aside an amount monthly from you income? The habit of paying yourself first will pay off handsomely in the long run because of compound interest. When you have accumulated a substantial amount you can invest and make more money.   

2.       Reducing your debts: Are you paying off your debts consistently to reduce the outstanding amount?  A smaller amount will attract less interest charges and faster for you to clear your debt. It is wonderful feeling to be debt-free.

3.       Growth in your Investment: Do you see an improvement in your investment? Does it appreciate in value? Have you increased the size of your investment? In other words is your wealth growing?  

4.       Net worth:  Is your net worth improving? It means your assets are growing and your liabilities such as your outstanding loans are shrinking.

5.       Earning power: Are you making more and taking home more money than before? The ability to get a pay rise or earn more is a positive sign of success.  

6.       Living within your means: Are you able to live within your means? Are you able to discipline yourself and avoid getting more material things? Avoiding spending unnecessarily is the way to stay out of debt and live within your budget.

7.       Giving: Are you donating and giving to charity? The amount is immaterial; it’s kindness and compassion that count.

8.       Insurance: Are you reviewing your policies regularly? Is the sum insured adequate? Doe the coverage meet your requirements? A life policy will be able to replace your earning power in case of an accident or critical illness. A houseowner policy and a householder policy provide a comprehensive coverage against unforeseen perils and compensate you for your losses.

9.       Kick your bad habits: Have you stopped smoking? Do you still have the urge to go for it one more time and bet for it? Are you able to moderate your drinking habit? Are you watching less TV and spending more time outdoors exercising? You will be able to save a tidy sum to replace your bad habits with good ones.  

10.   Learn: When is the last time you read a book about personal finance? Be wise, read and learn more to be knowledgeable in money matters.


"Financial peace isn't the acquisition of stuff. It's learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can't win until you do this." - Dave Ramsey

Monday, August 11, 2014

10 Productive Habits to Enjoy Financial Freedom

Freedom
Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones. – Benjamin Franklin

Is your daily habit of managing your finance helping you to grow your wealth or depleting your financial resources? Here are ten ways to get away from debt, protect your nest egg and be financially independent.   
 
1.      Savings: Did your parents teach you about savings while you were young? If you have consistently followed the habit of savings, the magical power of compound interest will make your savings to grow substantially over time. Following this habit persistently is vital because the source of your wealth is from your savings.    

2.      Think: Every time when you want to spend money, think and ask yourself this question, “Is this a want or a need?” Be wise to resist spending unnecessarily.   

3.      Investment: It is not wise to keep your money in the bank; the inflation rate is much higher than the rate of interest that you can earn from your bank. You can keep your emergency fund in a bank but invest the extra cash for a higher rate of return. Do it regularly and take advantage of average cost of investing.  (dollar-cost averaging – DCA)

4.      Budget: Do you have the habit of doing budget and stick to it?  How about preparing your monthly cash flow forecast to see that you have sufficient fund to cover an exceptional expense item in a particular month? Read “Why you need to do a personal cash flow forecast” to find out more.

5.      Live within your means: The habit of not spending more than what you have requires self-discipline. It is the only way to stay out of debt and avoid bankruptcy.    

There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means. – Calvin Coolidge

6.      A simple life: In line with living within your means, a simple life is developing the habit of not getting more material things in life.  Live with what you need and not what you want. 

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants. - Epictetus

7.      Learn: Get into the habit of learning more about personal finance and the latest business news to see what is trending globally. Stay abreast of the latest development in those sectors that you hold investment.      

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. – Benjamin Franklin 

8.      Insurance: It is important to review regularly your insurance policies to ensure adequacy in the sum insured and  the scope of coverage to meet your requirements  

9.      Health and fitness: The habit of following a balanced diet and doing daily exercise is to maintain optimum health. You will avoid incurring medical expenses.  

10.  Giving back: When you have a roof over your head and are not missing your three meals daily you are better off than many others who are destitute in this world. Be charitable and donate regularly to relieve the sufferings of those in need.


Do you have other good habits relating to personal finance? Please share your story. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

10 Things to Know About Personal Finance

10 Things to Know About Personal Finance
The aim of personal financial management is about financial independence. To be able to enjoy financial freedom you will need to know the 10 topics and act wisely:

1.       Savings: Savings is a good habit to build a solid financial foundation from young. However, you can start at anytime time to save as long as you have regular income; the most important thing is to avoid procrastination. Do you know how long it takes you to double your money? Use the magic number of 72 divides by the rate of return. If the interest rate is 6% your original $1000 will double in (72/6) 12 years. You do not save for the sake of savings. It is the starting point to build your wealth and be financially independent.

2.       Expenses: Spend time to record your daily expenses because you want to find out where your money goes.  You will be able to do a meaningful budget when you know your actual spending every month.

3.       Living within your means: You know how much you are getting each month  and you also know your spending pattern by recording your expenditures, it is time to do a budget so that you will spend less than what you have earned and also set aside an amount each month for savings. The purpose of a budget is to avoid overspending and getting into debt. If you want to spend more you have to earn more.

4.       Good debt and bad debt: Distinguish between good debt and bad debt. A housing loan is a good debt because property appreciates in value over time. A car loan is not a good debt but it is a big ticket item that you can’t buy with cash. The trick is to put down a bigger down payment so that you will settle the loan in a shorter period and incurring   less interest. Credit card debt is definitely bad debt because you pay more for an item that you can buy in cash. An educational loan is a loan and it is a bad idea to be in debt before you can earn a living. Besides, you are not certain that you will get a job upon graduation. 

5.       Wise use of credit cards: Credit cards are wonderful tools to establish your credit worthiness. The right way to use is to settle outstanding amount fully every month. You need a credit card to do online purchases and you pay less with a cash-back credit card. You can also redeem goods with points earned for all your card purchases. Most of all do not get into credit card debt.

6.       Emergency fund: One of the reasons to save is for a rainy day. You never know when you need an amount quickly and easily. An emergency fund is also needed just in case you are out of job for a couple of months and you still can live normally without financial constraint. Keep some money in a savings account good for about 6 months.

7.       Investment: If you do not save, you will not be able to accumulate fund and build your wealth. You build your wealth for your children’s education and also for your retirement. The key is to diversify and invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and real estate. The word to remember is long-term. Never believe in get- rich-quick schemes or other scams. 

8.       Insurance: You need insurance protection to cover personal disability, critical illnesses, property damages and personal liability in case of lawsuits. Insurance coverage will lessen the impact of your financial losses.

9.    Financial learning: Adopt a learning attitude about finance. When you learn more, you know more and you can make wise financial decisions.

10.  Retirement: The tragedy of life is when you stop working there is no more money coming in for your retirement. To get peace of mind and a care-free living, plan early for your retirement. Live you golden years independently.

If you are in debt now, the most important thing to do is to get out of debt as soon as possible to avoid incurring more and more interest. It can reach a point where the debt is beyond your control and you could be a bankrupt.

Use this article as a check list to determine how healthy your personal financial well-being is. 

Source: 10 Things to Know About Personal Finance
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