Why you should focus on savings first

If you can make the minimum payments on your debts, personal loans, and credit cards each month but don’t have a sizable emergency fund, this might be the year to put debt repayment on the back burner temporarily and focus on emergency fund management first. While traditional financial advisors have suggested that customers focus on reducing debts first and savings seconds, new situations have turned that advice on its ear.

With credit card reform coming in 2010 and lenders still reeling from the economic downturn last year, it is getting harder and harder for customers without great credit to get loans and credit. Some companies are actually closing down credit cards. What this means is that if you do not have an emergency fund and you lose your job, you may not be able to secure payday loans or any other kind of loan and you cannot just rely on your credit card to act as emergency money. Now, you need an emergency fund and you need to make creating that fund a top priority.…

Should you save pennies or save big with bad credit?

For years, customers were being told that they could save money by saving on the little things – saving the cost of a coffee a day can add up to hundreds saved in a year. Now, however, consumers are being told the opposite. A few new financial books are recommending that customers should place their focus on large expenses – such as housing, cars, and credit card costs – to save big.

The thinking is that while you can save hundreds of dollars by scrimping on small expenses, you can easily save thousands of dollars or even tens of thousands of dollars by focusing on your biggest expenses. For example, getting rid of a car can save you thousands a year in car loans alone. Even if you keep that car but negotiate a better rate, pay in cash, buy a cheaper car or negotiate car costs you could easily end up savings thousands of dollars – with minimal time and no scrimping. Choosing a less expensive home or negotiating home closing costs can also save you tens of thousands of dollars.

Lenders know desperation and they usually get concerned when they see it in an applicant with bad credit. The time to apply for a credit card, personal loan, line of credit, or loan is when you are flush – not when you really need the money. When you are in a strong financial position, you will have the leisure to select the right lender for you and you will be able to shop around for a good interest rate because your finances are strong. If you don’t need money at once, you’ll also have the time to research loans and find the right one for you, apply, and wait for results.

When you wait until you need money, you may have no choice but a higher-cost payday loan. Traditional lenders may be wary of your financial situation and unwilling to give you cash and you simply may not have the time to research and apply for traditional loans. Build up your emergency fund, pay down the loans you have, repair your credit and apply for lines of credit and other forms of credit when you are doing well so that the money will be there for you if and when you need it.…

Finding the right tax preparer

Now that it’s income tax season, many people are wondering how they will get their taxes done on time. Your best two choices are: do it yourself or get a professional tax preparer to file your taxes on your behalf. If you choose to do it yourself, get a book that will guide you through the process or buy good quality software to help you file your taxes. One caveat: If you decide to use software, make sure your computer has up to date security systems as well as current patches for all your programs. You don’t want to be the victim of identity theft.

If you have a complex situation in terms of income or taxes, or if you don’t feel life doing your taxes yourself, find a good income tax preparer. Your friends and family might have someone they trust. Look for someone with expensive experience in the industry, a good track record with the Better Business Bureau and past customers, and a professional office or business. Find someone you feel comfortable with. If you have an unusual situation – you are self-employed, for example, or you invest in real estate as well as earn income – find someone with specific expertise in these areas.…

It’s almost the end of the first quarter: how are your financial plans?

At the end of March, 2023 will be one-fourth over. Only three-quarters of the year remain. For many people, New Year’s resolutions are just a distant memory at this point – how are yours doing? You likely made a number of plans in January. Maybe you decided to get out of debt, increase your credit score, go back to school, pay off your payday loans. Whatever it was, now is a good time to reevaluate your progress.

Dust off those January plans and take a close look. Are your finances in better shape than they were in January 2023? Has your debt load decreased? Are you paying bills each month? Have you been able to avoid payday cash advances? If not, take a close look at your habits. Try to find out where you have gone wrong. Maybe you are not creating a budget or maybe you need help to tame some emotional spending. Make a resolution to take care of some of those items on your list this week, so that the next eight months of the year will bring even more success.…

Refinancing your mortgage: should you do it?

Refinancing your mortgage generally means changing the terms or the interest rate of your home loan. Usually, this is done by taking out a new home loan. There are many reasons why you might want to consider a new mortgage:
You did not research your options carefully the first time around. If you did not carefully consider which mortgage is right for you and did not go out of your way to find the lowest interest rate possible, you may be paying more for your home loan than you intended. By doing research now, you can make better choices with refinancing.
Your financial life has changed. If you have repaired your credit, paid off some underscored loans and personal loans, you may be able to qualify for a better mortgage or pay off your mortgage more quickly. Or, you may be struggling to make your mortgage payments. In either case, changing your mortgage can help you.
You qualify for a lower interest rate. Some people take on bad credit loans when applying for a mortgage because bad credit home loans are the only mortgage they qualify for. If you have a bad credit mortgage, you will want to seek refinancing once your credit rating improves and you qualify for a better rate.…

Winning habits of the wealthy

People who are successful with their money have a few tricks up their sleeves to make the most of their cash. You can do the same with these tips. Keep track of your money. Find out how much eating out and those little indulgences are really costing you. Most people who rely on payday loans, cash advances, and other types of unsecured loans get into debt because they do not know where their money goes. Don’t fall into the same trap. Carry around a small notebook and write down every penny you spend for at least a month or two.

Plan ahead. Set between one and three big financial goals you want to achieve and start developing a budget and a plan that lets you achieve those goals. For example, if you want to live debt free, you may need to funnel extra earnings into your bills.
Don’t get mired in debt or manage the debt you do have. Debt drains your paycheck and makes you pay more than you need to for the items you purchase. Work as hard as you can to pay down your debts as much as possible.…

Good financial professionals

And the very wealthy have a few basic rules that they follow to achieve financial success. Following these same rules can bring you closer to financial success, as well:

1) Do not lose your money. Successful investors and financial professionals do not gamble their money and they do not part from it for frivolous reasons. If they want to invest, for example, they learn as much as they can before they invest a dime, so that they do not have to resign themselves to losing money on a bad investment. The same goes for borrowing. The wealthy know that it costs money to borrow and so they avoid personal loans, signature loans, credit card balances, and other forms of unsecured loans.

2) They have specific goals and know how to make them happen. If a financial professional decides to invest in the stocks of a specific company, he or she does so when there is a good reason to do so.

3) Buy investments the smart way and hold onto them. Investors who do well are more concerned with getting quality for their investment money rather than paying the lowest possible prices. Once they have good quality assets, they hold onto them unless there is a very compelling reason to sell.…

Do you need life insurance?

Life insurance is a type of insurance which is for the family rather than for the customer. Life insurance pays a person’s beneficiaries (usually their family) after the insured person’s death. This insurance covers funeral costs as well as living costs for the family in the event of a death. No one likes to think about life insurance because it may seem morbid, but there are many reasons why you might want to consider this type of insurance.

When something happens to a family member, the family not only grieves, but is also usually faced with a significant financial burden. Funeral and memorial arrangements can cost ten thousand dollars or more. There are often final medical costs as well, which can be substantial. Many family members need to take time off from work while grieving, which results in income loss. As well, if someone has personal loans, payday loans, credit card debts, and other forms of debt, these will usually have to be covered by the survivors. In many cases, an estate does not cover all these costs comfortably, but an insurance plan can.

As well, there are two types of life insurance, and some types of life insurance are an asset which insured persons can borrow against. These insurance policies provide an emergency asset which can be liquidated in the event of a financial emergency.…