Important to maintain a few good investments

investment

When you’re in your twenties, it makes sense to work hard and earn active income. As you continue to get older and your body continues to age, you’re naturally going to want to earn more passive income. This is why it’s important to maintain a few good investments. They will help you build wealth and secure your financial freedom for the future. For the best investment ideas, consider these four.

1. Real Estate
Many people purchase multiple properties to turn them into investment properties. Once you purchase the home, you can turn it into a rental. Once you rent it out to the right tenants, they end up paying the mortgage. Once the mortgage is paid off and you continue to rent it out, you’re earning passive income. Make sure to choose a good area that people will want to move to. One of the great parts of real estate investing is that you can pass the properties down to your children and keep the money flowing into the family. It’s a great way for your children to establish their own financial foundation and continue the tradition.

2. Stock
You can choose to become a day trader, swing trader or a long-term investor. In this case, it might be better to do long-term investing. Consult the help of a great financial advisor. When you’re deciding to make certain investments in specific companies, make it a point to do your research. For example, if you decide to invest in a company like Hubbell, Inc., take a look at the owner John F. Malloy. Take a look at the different moves John Malloy Victaulic is making in the company. This will help you get a better understanding of the company behind your financial investment.

3. Foreign Exchange Currency
Many people are learning more about the foreign exchange (forex) market and how to take advantage of the many ways to profit from it. Within the Forex market, approximately $4 trillion dollars are traded every single day. A great way to learn more about the market is through joining investment groups and getting an experienced coach. You can take the money that you earn from the Forex market and add it to completely different investment as well.

4. Entrepreneurship
There are so many avenues to consider when you’re ready to take on entrepreneurship. Take a look at your skills and figure out what you have to offer to the world. If you’d like to be a consultant or sit as the CEO of a boutique, it’s up to you. Make sure that whatever route you choose, it’s a route that provides an answer to the marketplace. You don’t want to create a product or service without making sure there’s an actual need and demand for it. It’s also important to make sure that you hire people to do the dirty work. You don’t want to be in a position where you’re in the trenches when this is supposed to be a passive investment to help you build long-lasting wealth. Remember to be strategic about your approach.

Whether you choose to implement one of these strategies or all four, know that it’s best to approach them wisely. As long as you do your research and implement a smart approach, you’ll be able to enjoy excellent returns on your investments.

What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?

no-fault-insurance-cover

Your home is the most precious asset in your life. You must ensure quality home insurance protection for your home, since you’ve worked very hard to build or buy it. This subject might seem a bit complex if you’re a new home owner. You’ll be able to take key decisions once you’re aware of the true worth of your property and belongings to be covered under home owners insurance.

The worth of your home

Sometimes you aren’t really sure of the nature and amount of coverage that you have from your home owner’s policy. You might just believe that you’ll be compensated for the market value of your home in the event it gets destroyed. You must understand that home insurance isn’t about reimbursing the market value of your home. It is meant to reimburse the rebuilding cost, which is often much lower than the market value of your home.

The cost of rebuilding your home might just go beyond the policy limit. You may come across some built-in limitations while reading through the papers of your home owners insurance. In order to be confident on bearing the entire cost, you may choose to pay for extra coverage.

You may need to spend more towards alterations caused to your building codes. A special rider may only allow reimbursement of the cost that you bear towards mandatory upgrades of sections that remain undamaged. You must also remember that you can’t have coverage for all types of losses. For example, you can’t have coverage for losses or damages caused by flooding. You may opt for an additional flood insurance policy for this purpose.

The worth of your belongings

Home owners insurance offers coverage for the structure of your home as well as your valuables. At the same time, you must remember that your plasma TV won’t fetch you compensation worth $1000 after using it for 2 years. It is on the basis of actual cash value that your loss of valuables is reimbursed by a usual home owner’s insurance policy. Depreciation is also taken into account while reimbursing on the basis of actual cash value. You’ll even have the option of adding replacement cost coverage, which yields the much needed amount to utilize a fresh item that’s easily comparable. The basic coverage shows a limit worth $1000 towards jewelry, rugs and other valuables. In case you need, you may avail more riders.

Lower your out-of-pocket expenses

The policy caps and limitations need to be analyzed carefully whenever you’re trying to buy a new policy or comparing your existing policy. In order to ensure additional protection for your valuables and your household, you may need to buy extra coverage. This is likely to turn you glad in case things don’t seem to work in your favor. You may obtain an insurance quote without obligation and for free if you take your time. You’ll soon feel how easy it is to obtain inexpensive rates online.

There are a number of insurance websites that will provide you with vital information regarding policy benefits. Although you shouldn’t accept such information as insurance advice, it makes things more convenient for you. In addition, there are a number of blogs and forums that express opinions and experiences of insurance users across the globe. You’ll get a clear picture when you count upon the experiences shared by a majority of users.

When Working from Home Really Pays Off

working from home

Working from home has all sorts of advantages to it over the alternatives. Naturally it’s better than being unemployed because you still get paid. It also has numerous benefits over having to go to an office. For one you don’t have to adhere to a dress code. For another you don’t have to commute on a frequent basis. Finally, you get a great pay-off when your schedule needs to be flexible and you can still accomplish your workload when an office serf would be struggling with their schedule. Also, working from “home” doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be at home when you do your work.

No Dress Code

Dress codes aren’t very fun. Often you have to spend most of your day in something uncomfortable. You may even have to wear something that doesn’t look that great or feel that appropriate for your personality. When a t-shirt and jeans kind of person gets a “grown-up” job they usually have to suck it up and wear ties and uncomfortable shoes. However, when you work from home you can dress however you like. One of the biggest advantages to working from home is that you can dress like its laundry day any day you want.

No Commute

One of the great ironies of the modern world concerns people’s automobiles. Almost everybody loves to drive, but almost nobody enjoys going to the office. When you work at home you don’t even have to commute to use the fax machine thanks to the new release of the app for the iPhone. This app lets you send and receive faxes from anywhere. Couple that with how you can e-mail, call and text and you start to wonder what all the expensive equipment most offices have is actually useful for. When you can spend a fraction of the money for more compact equipment it starts to look silly.

Couple that with not having to care much about gas prices and you really have a winner. When you don’t have to commute you no longer care very much about traffic, weather and a lot of other silly concerns all those office workers need to worry about. Being at home frees you in a way that’s hard to describe.

Flexible Scheduling

Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to both work in an office and have time for emergencies and personal errands in your day? You find problems like that aren’t a big deal when you work from home. You can work at 3 a.m. if a project is especially challenging or exciting and sleep in if you feel like it. You don’t even have to call in sick.

When you work from home you have more responsibility. However, this is more than made up for when you realize how much additional freedom you take on from not having to commute anywhere. There’s no dress code and you can do practically everything at home that people used to need an office for. Overall, the benefits of working at home really shine. It’s especially good when your schedule lets you do things you couldn’t in an office.

Do It Yourself – Discouraging Words

Money saving DIY_Project

I was somewhat surprised on one of my web surfing jaunts to see a blog dedicated to ways of saving money weigh in against the notion of doing odd jobs and building projects yourself. Because for my homestead – and very likely yours as well – if we didn’t do our own odd jobs and building projects, then no needful jobs or building projects would ever get done.

The article is Saving Money – Or Not – With DIY Projects, and it’s worth a read if you’re genuinely unsure of whether or not you’ve got the ability to tackle a project on your own. Of course for big projects it’s very important to understand going in exactly what will be necessary – time, tools, materials and a certain degree of skill. Homesteaders already know about budgeting their time toward the “work in progress” that describes our way of life, as there are always a dozen or more projects and repairs that need doing. Most of us, if we’ve been living this way for some years, have amassed more tools than many city-folk even know exist. In fact, for most projects the primary concern is coming up with the money to purchase the materials, and making sure we’ve got every little nut, bolt, pipe, sealant and extraneous parts before we start.

do it yourself

Perhaps the author is speaking more to urbanites than those of us who live out in the boonies on purpose and strive continually to be ever more self-sufficient. When the faucet washers wear out and start wasting our precious water supply (and driving us crazy with drips), or the drain clogs or cracks, or the windows break or the door needs replacing, we aren’t usually inclined to call a plumber or contractor. Heck, many of us would laugh at the very idea of paying some stranger extra to drive from town to our property and repair or replace what we could repair or replace, for ten times more than we could do the job for. But even urbanites with some tools, patience and an ability to turn screws/wenches could fix a leaky sink or hang a door without breaking the budget.

DIY disasters can cost big money to fix. Before starting any home improvement project you will need to understand each step from start to finish. Research potential pitfalls and problems you may encounter along the way to determine if the project is over your head. Be honest with yourself because your enthusiasm will quickly wear thin if something goes wrong – and if you don’t know what you’re doing, things can head south quickly.

That paragraph in the Money Bucket article made me chuckle. Sure, the author is talking about ‘home improvement’ more than simple repairs, but we homesteaders are quite used to those type of projects. We remodeled our kitchen last summer, which included replacing a window and door, re-siding the exterior wall, re-plumbing so we could move the sink, re-wiring, installing new cabinets and countertops, removing a bar to make room for the dining table we inherited, drywall installation, re-framing, flooring and insulating the attic space, and even reinforcing the main load bearing beam. It cost a pretty penny for all the materials, and we did have to replace the drill twice (old chestnut and locust beams are literally hard as rock). And of course things discovered along the way once we got into the walls and attic weren’t planned for but had to be dealt with anyway. Such is life.

Hiring a reputable contractor to complete an upgrade at your home generally gives you the peace of mind that the job is done right the first time. You will pay dearly for that peace of mind, but in some situations it can be worth every penny.

Heh. That’s kind of a surprising bit of advice to give to people described in the first paragraph of the article as “…planning to sell and need to update your home to make it more attractive to potential buyers…” I mean, if you have to pay dearly to upgrade your home in order to sell it to somebody else, then your improvements aren’t likely to cover the costs in this awful real estate environment. If you’re already underwater on that mortgage, digging yourself in deeper isn’t going to help.

It’s a little different if your home is where you plan to live for the rest of your life, but not much different when money’s tight. I had no kitchen all summer (it wasn’t officially finished until Thanksgiving), had to cook on the grill out back while a big sheet of plastic served as a front wall to my house. We all worked very hard, this is not the kind of project that allows much time for other things, and it involves everyone. It even upset the dogs and cats. But if we could have found a contractor to do that much structural damage to a hundred year old chestnut cabin with a crew of a dozen, it would have cost more than we paid for our entire homestead. Literally. And no, that would NOT have been “worth every penny.”

Sure, those kind of huge projects – new roof and/or installation of solar panels/wind or hydro generators, reworking the entire water supply (my next big project), tearing out walls or floors to get to wiring or plumbing, building a barn, etc. aren’t things one undertakes lightly. Or often, if you can help it. And it certainly helps to build up your confidence in the meantime by tackling small repair and replace projects first, learning to handle all the tools, and such. And exercising your mind about how to plan clever ways of getting around serious issues that may be encountered.

It’s all good for you, and just puts that much more of yourself into the overall Being we lovingly call “Homestead.” Good planning works too, so that several projects can be tied into one – the solar panels at the same time the new roof goes up. Replacing the old water-guzzler toilet with a low-flow at the same time you replace the sink and shower. Going ahead with the better insulation when any section of wall comes out. Things like that deserve the time it takes to plan ahead.

Money Bucket is correct in their bottom line that doing things yourself doesn’t always save you money, especially if you’ve got more money than time, skills and tools. But for those of us who have dedicated ourselves to a broader, more expansive and involved way of life that highly values self-sufficiency, doing things yourself is simply another aspect of the life we’ve chosen for ourselves. And we’ve usually got way more time, skills and tools than money to spend. Plus at least one friend with enough time, skills and tools to help us out if we need it.

In an economy like this one, sometimes a friend will help just for the nightly cook-outs, fresh garden veggies and fruit, refreshing cool-down at the swimming hole after swinging a hammer and wielding a circular saw all day, and maybe some iced beer and story-telling around the fire while the fireflies rise.

Money, after all, isn’t everything.

4 Safety Features That Lower Car Insurance

The nation’s highways and bi-ways are safer to drive on now than ever before. With the help of modern technology, car manufacturers are equipping vehicles with various safety features that can prevent and reduce auto accidents. While purchasing a car with these safety mechanisms can keep you and your family safe, it can also help you put money back into your pocket.

Many car insurance companies offer significant discounts to individuals who own or operate a vehicle that is equipped with certain safety features. Cars with the following four safety features are known to produce lower auto insurance quotes:

1. Automatic Seatbelts

Automatic Seatbelts
Automatic Seatbelts

Manual seatbelts that require drivers and passengers to buckle-up can be easily forgotten. Car insurance companies offer discounts to individual driving cars with automatic seatbelts, as it is almost guaranteed that the seatbelt is strapped when the car is in motion. With over 15,000 lives being saved each year because of the use of a seatbelt, it’s no wonder insurance companies give drivers with automatic seatbelts a discount.

2. Tire Pressure Sensors

Tire Pressure Sensors
Tire Pressure Sensors

Tires are one of the most important features on a vehicle as they are the only things that separate you from the road. While they are the most important, they can also be the most dangerous. Tires with low air pressure can cause problems with steering and moving the vehicle, which can result in an accident. Likewise, too much pressure and the tire can explode, causing an accident.

Car insurance companies offer discounts to those with a tire pressure sensor as it can reduce the likelihood of being involved in an accident. A tire pressure sensor will alert the driver when the tires are over or under-inflated, giving ample time to fix the problem.

3. Lane Departure Warning System

Whether due to falling asleep at the wheel or distracted driving, lane drifting is a problem that can result in serious and potentially deadly accidents. Vehicles equipped with lane departure warning systems use motion sensors to detect when a car is traveling close to the painted highway lanes. In an effort to alert the driver and bring their focus back to the road, the warning system will issue a beep.

4. Blind Spot Alert System

Blind Spot Alert System
Blind Spot Alert System

Every vehicle — no matter how big or small — has some type of blind spot or reduced area of visibility, where drivers are unable to see vehicles traveling in adjacent lanes. Without the ability to fully see other vehicles, drivers have an increased chance of getting into an accident when changing lanes. Car insurance companies support the use of a blind spot alert system as it alerts drivers when cars are traveling in the dangerous no-visibility zone and prevents them from making lane changes that can result in an accident.

The advanced technology of vehicle safety features has created a win-win situation for drivers. They are able to drive safer and save money. What safety features will car manufacturers come up with next that offers these same benefits?

Secrets to An Effective Financial Plan

Tracking your money is a crucial part of owning and operating a business. Without knowing where your money is coming from and where it is going you’re slowly creating problems that will become insurmountable if you don’t address it immediately.

A good business owner creates a financial plan even before the business starts and that plan is revisited with regularity and check it against actual business data that you have. This is the way to find out if the business is performing within expectations or not. Corrections to the business should then be made to address any problems. Here are some steps you should take to ensure that you’ve got an effective financial plan:

Make sure your financial plan is well made

Ensure that your financial plan will provides you with a clear idea of the revenue you should ideally have every month, and also a projection of your monthly expenses. These figures shouldn’t be pulled from the air – consult business books or an accountant.

Make a monthly review

After you’ve made a financial plan, make sure that you actually use it. Look at your plan every month and make sure you are meeting the financial goals you’ve set and you’re not overspending.

Make the necessary adjustments right away

In every review you make, if you find out that your profits are not meeting your revenue expectations or your expenses are going way beyond your own expense projections, make immediate adjustments to the business to address these issues. Cut your overhead costs and look for ways to increase your profits.

Be thoughtful in spending

You should think hard about making any new expenses. This obviously includes expenses that will benefit your business – for example, marketing or sales related activities. To do this properly, you should measure the potential earnings you will gain against the actual cost of implementing a new business expense. If the expense can potentially lose you money don’t scrap it immediately. File that idea and revisit it at a future time. Sometimes, the idea is sound it’s just the timing that’s off.

Hire people if it’s needed

Under staffing is not a sound business strategy because the business itself will suffer. If you need to get staff then do so, it’s for the good of the business.

Remember that profit is the key

Some people, especially the new business owners, have a problem distinguishing between profit and revenue. Even if your business is raking in the dollars, if your expenses are also as high then you’re not running your business efficiently and you’re ultimately losing profits.

Financial Mistakes that Newlyweds Make

Many couples differ in their methods of spending and when you agree to wed, it may come as a shock to discover that your future spouse doesn’t exactly have the greatest finances. Marriages often revolve around the idea of compromise and honesty. Even so, around 50 percent of all marriages will end in divorce, many of which are caused by lack of communication and money troubles.

In this article, you will have the opportunity to see what kinds of monetary stresses couples face and how they can be resolved with minimal conflict.

1. A spouse loses their job

The problem with losing a job is, for the most part, a lack of multiple incomes for wedded couples. While it is unfortunate, you have to start tightening your budget in order to survive. If you haven’t done so already, make a note of both of your debts, expenses, and account totals. Start with your static expenses such as your rent or mortgage, car payments, student loans, and any other necessities. Next, you’ll want to write down your variable expenses which can change according to your lifestyle and work on reducing them.

 

Designing a budget based upon this information will reduce your chances of requiring emergency cash. Following this method could also help with future finances, even after your spouse returns to work.

2. Separation of church and debt

Though you are now in an equal partnership, the debt may not be equal for both parties. Make a financial plan to get yourselves, as a couple, out of debt. If nothing else, avoid getting married until you can afford it or until you have paid off your negative balances. Sit down with your partner and decide what you can afford to spend on various expenses. Don’t be afraid to compromise when deciding what is necessary and what isn’t. Just don’t sacrifice your finances for things you don’t think you can absolutely afford.

3. No emergency fund

Life is always going to throw those curve balls at you and if you’re financially unprepared for these little hitches, you may find yourself in a hole. If nothing else, this will give you financial security and ensure that you both can sleep at night. By the time you establish a fund, it should be able to support the two of you for at least three to six months of unemployment. Although it may sound grim, looking into getting a will drafted up in the case of you or your new spouse’s untimely death may be wise.

4. Buying the house on the hill

It may sound like the American dream to buy a house after you get married, but it may not be a reality. Before buying, realize your house payments shouldn’t exceed more than 25 percent of your pay after taxes, though you might bump that down to 15 percent if you’re unsure about the future.

5. A baby

It’s important to keep in mind that it costs around $300,000 to raise a child from diapers to college. Babies also require a lot of time, patience, and a definite plan for emergencies so don’t put off saving up money. Keep the unexpected expenses in mind, the cost of college, and the possibility that you’ll be sending them money after they graduate while they work to secure a career for themselves. Regardless of all your careful planning, if you run into an emergency situation you’ll always have the ability to get money.

Conclusion

Marriage is a bond between two people and is the start of managing everything together as a team. One person’s financial problems can quickly pull down the other if you don’t manage it wisely from the beginning.

Facing a Pay Cut Emotionally and Financially

Paychecks are something you depend on. Whether you’re living from paycheck to paycheck or allocating funds for retirement, you’re hoping you’ll never be faced with less pay. Pay cuts can happen without warning and you might not be in the best position to quit your job. If you are looking for an answer to your conundrum, know that many people face the same situation and there are ways of handling your pay cut without losing hope.

free time

Planning For That Day

Find out the time frame of the pay cut so you can schedule your finances around the reduction accordingly. No one wants to plan his or her finances around receiving less pay in the long-term, but it’s better than being unprepared. For one, save as much money as possible within reason before your pay cut. Also, if you have a particular skill set that applies, look for freelance jobs or take on additional projects on the side to try to make up for the income you’ll be missing.

Spouses who aren’t employed or have a part-time position should take the opportunity to pursue full-time employment. [1] For emergency expenses, there are options such as finance, which will help to alleviate monetary concerns during a time of crisis.

What’s the Scope of the Cuts?

You may be receiving benefits, and if this is the case, you need to understand how much you stand to lose. The second biggest cost for many companies is their health care benefits, and this may be one of the places they make an additional cut. Even if you’re told that you must pay more for your coverage, take it. It also wouldn’t hurt to ask if everyone at the company is taking a salary hit, either. If you discover that only your department is being asked to make a sacrifice, perhaps you might want to consider looking for a new job–though you shouldn’t make this knowledge public. [2]

Get Rid of Some Expenses

The last thing you want is to be making less money and still have large, outstanding debts. Look carefully at your expenses and avoid unnecessary interest accruing by paying off negative balances as quickly as possible and refrain from accumulating any new debt. The average family spends half of their budget on transportation and housing. If this best describes your household, cut these expenses in half and you’ll have 25 percent more of your income to distribute how you see fit. [1]

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

It’s hard to disassociate your self worth from the number on your paycheck, but you’ll have to try. Instead of considering yourself as a depreciating asset to the company, think of your position as an evolving one and your pay merely represents your skill set’s market value. This perspective helps to make the reduction in your pay less personal and helps remove some of the emotional pain involved. [3] When you move to a new job, you should be honest about receiving less pay and paint it in a realistic scenario so your future employer will understand. For instance, if your company was downsizing, it would make sense for you to take a pay cut. [2, 3]

Come Out on Top

If you are asked to endure a cut in your pay, negotiate a fair deal in which you can possibly receive additional time off. A reduction in pay should warrant less time spent on the job, though you shouldn’t expect your employer to pay you for this time. You may still not be making money from the deal, but you certainly will be earning valuable time to do other things instead. Of course, if you do work for a company going through pay cuts and you still work the same number of hours, they’ll remember your loyalty. [2]

Conclusion

You may be dealing with a great deal of stress during this time, but you may have more control over the situation than you may think. Time is one of the most important factors when negotiating and reevaluating your new pay. Lastly, you should never feel like your employer, no matter how willing they are to accommodate your needs, is cheating you.

Sources

[1] http:/.management.fortune.cnn.com/2011/10/31/pay-cuts-how-to-deal/
[2] http://career-advice.monster.com/salary-benefits/negotiation-tips/how-to-deal-with-pay-cuts/article.aspx
[3] http://career-advice.monster.com/salary-benefits/salary-information/when-to-take-a-lower-salary/article.aspx