August 25, 2016, 8:11 am

Three Expenses You May Be Forgetting to Budget

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

 
Learning to make and stick to a budget is one of the most important duties of adulthood. A well-kept budget is the key to financial stability, but a few too many mistakes in your calculations can send you reeling. One of the most common budget mistakes is forgetting to plan for financial obligations that occur less than once a month. Just when you get excited about having a little extra money to spend, you get an unexpected bill in the mail, and there goes your extra cash.
To avoid finding yourself in this situation, sketch out a rough budget several months in advance that includes these less-than monthly expenses. You do not have to be very detailed, but it is helpful to at least have some notes in your planner or spreadsheet. Some common expenses to watch for are detailed below.

  1. Insurance Costs

If you own a home and/or a car, then you need to have them insured. Payment amounts and schedules vary wildly depending on your property, provider and plan. Be sure to go over the specifics of your policies so that you know when you are responsible for making payments and how much those payments will be.
For example, homeowner’s insurance is often, but not always, paid with the escrow portion of your monthly mortgage payments. Car insurance is sometimes billed for six months of coverage at a time, but in other situations, it is billed monthly. Failing to make your payments can result in hefty fines, so it is critical that you stay on top of them. Discussing your policy with an insurance agent can help you get the best prices for your situation.

  1. Upgrade Costs

Most cell phone service providers offer their subscribers free upgrades approximately every two years. It is always fun to pick out a pristine new phone and play around with its special features. What’s not so fun is receiving a higher-than-usual bill later that month. The fact is, even if your new phone is free in the store, there is often an associated service charge that is only mentioned in the fine print. Next time you are due for an upgrade, double-check the terms of your plan so that you are not blindsided by hidden costs.

  1. Vehicle Registration

One of the most irritating budgetary surprises is vehicle registration renewal fees. How often you must pay these fees depends on where you live. For example, Washington vehicle owners must renew their vehicle registrations once a year. You should get advance notice of the fees you owe, but they can still be shocking if you had not planned for them, especially if you have multiple vehicles. The cost of your registration fees will depend upon your vehicles’ specific characteristics. It is also worth noting that some states allow you to renew your registration several months in advance.
No Surprises, No Sweat
If you want to stick to your budget, then you must eliminate the possibility that you will have to deal with surprise expenses. Budgeting is a skill that can take years to master, and it is normal to experience a few hiccups along the way. Don’t worry, though—by planning in advance and remaining diligent, you will eventually experience the freedom that comes with financial security.

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August 18, 2016, 8:27 pm

3 Reasons to Start an IRA With Betterment

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Investing Ideas

 

 

Betterment is a novel new investment platform that takes the guesswork out of investing. They’re not the new kids on the block anymore, having been around since 2008, but they’re still new to a lot of investors. If you’re hoping to learn more about Betterment, here are three reasons that you might want to consider the service. Betterment offers a whole lot of value to users, especially users who are new to investment. We’ll examine some of their most important value propositions below.

 

  • Betterment’s Automated Diversification. Diversification is central to the strategy of any good investor. It essentially prevents investors from putting all of their eggs in one basket. When a single stock or an entire sector goes south, being invested in entire markets makes these losses a lot easier to compensate for. Betterment achieves automatic portfolio diversification through their new robo-advising methods. They put investors’ portfolio contributions into several pre-chosen ETFs. These ETFs represent index funds from US markets, international markets, developing markets, and more. The user also has a choice of how much of their portfolio to place in stable bonds, which are also automatically diversified.

 

  • Betterment’s Great Prices. Betterment charges their active customers only 0.35%, at most. People who deposit larger balances could pay only 0.25% of even 0.15% annually. That’s much less money than one would ever pay for a traditional investment advisor. Betterment is also likely to outperform these traditional advisors, many of whom don’t even beat the index every year. For such high prices, one would expect traditional managers to make the investor a lot more money, but they generally don’t. Betterment’s model is often described as “set it and forget it”, and there’s good reason why. By starting a simply account and making regular contributions, a user can set the stage for reliable returns in the long run, with little money paid and little daily oversight required.

 

  • Betterment Makes it Easy to Follow Goals. Lots of Betterment users use the service to prepare for distant retirement. Betterment makes this easy by showing you just how much money you can expect to make in the time between now and your planned retirement date. You’ll see how your funds can be expected to grow in strong investing climates, as well as weak ones. You’ll see how much you need to contribute to comfortably achieve your goals. The platform brings a lot of great visualization tools to the party, one of the most difficult aspects of understanding our portfolios.

 

Betterment offers a lot more value to users, especially people who have never invested before. They make it easy to roll over accounts like IRAs, they offer free tax-loss harvesting, and they even offer free service for new users. Their algorithms are powerful, giving reliable returns to users based on insights gleaned from millions of data points, not the hunches of a few experts. The market is too diverse and wild for anyone to legitimately claim expertise over it. Instead, the automated diversification methods built standard into Betterment are enough to do better than investors of yesterday.

 

 

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August 12, 2016, 12:37 pm

The world’s most influential lawyers/attorneys and how they got there

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business

 

Broadly speaking, people from legal backgrounds hold some of the most powerful positions in the world – from presidents to highly respected journalists and executive directors, there seems to be something about those who have previously studied to be a lawyer or attorney that drives them to rise to the top.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the most influential lawyers and attorneys in the world today, and how they achieved their goals.

Samantha Power

With a distinguished career as a journalist, advocate, lawyer and UN ambassador, Samantha Power has it all. Samantha worked her way through the prestigious Harvard Law school to get to where she is today.

Elizabeth Warren

This Harvard Law professor comes from humble beginnings. Elizabeth Warren is of Native American origin and specialises in commercial law. Despite ruling herself out of the running for the Democratic Party leadership to leave room for Hilary Clinton, she is hotly tipped to enter the political arena in the future.

Bryan Stevenson

Another lawyer with multiple strings to his bow, when not dispensing legal advice Bryan Stevenson can be found working as director of the Equal Justice Initiative, as well as working as an NYU law professor. He is well known for his liberal stance that “forgiveness is a necessary means” of achieving equality.

Vladimir Putin

Believe it or not, Vladimir Putin received his degree in International Law as a student at Leningrad State University (now St. Petersburg State University), which is the oldest law school in Russia. It’s no surprise to learn that Putin’s experiences of university inform his pulls-no-punches leadership style, particularly when it comes to foreign policy.

Barack Obama

As his second and final term as President of the United States comes to an end, it’s easy to forget that Obama worked his way through Harvard Law School as a youngster. Barack must be a quick learner, as he believes law school should take no longer than two years.

Marine Le Pen

Le Pen is a right-wing politician who heads the National Front, the third-largest French political party. Prior to becoming a political figure, Le Pen gained a Master of Laws from Pantheon-Assas University in 1991, followed by a Master of Advanced Studies in criminal law a year later. Le Pen began practising law after this as a lawyer representing illegal immigrants who could not afford a lawyer – ironic, given her political stance on the current refugee crisis.

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August 4, 2016, 12:04 am

A Banker’s perspective on your loan application

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Banks and You

I’m sure you already heard that from a friend or from a family member: “the bank declined my loan, they don’t know what their doing!”. Banks and other financial institutions are often seen as the bad guy who doesn’t understand. This situation often occurs because most people don’t know how loans workout. I have a Norwegian friend who works in a bank and told me how it works. Here are they look at Norwegian consumer loan application:

#1 Who are you?

The first question is related to the person who applies for a loan. The banker wants to know where you work, for how long, if you are married, have children, etc. This helps him drafting a portrait of the kind of person you are. The point is to know if you are in a situation that you will need more credit later on or if you are relatively stable. Loan officers love when someone is stable, it makes credit behaviours predictable.

#2 What have you done so far?

Then, the banker will look at your balance sheet. If you have been working for the past 20 years, he will expect to see some assets. If you ask for more credit and you show a negative balance sheet (more liabilities than assets), your chances of getting the loan are not very good. Usually, cars, furnitures and jewels are not accepted as asset in the eye of a financial institution. They will most likely look at your bank account, investments and real estate properties.

The financial institution will also pull out a credit bureau to see which kind of payer you are. A bad credit is a direct breach of confidence in your relation with the bank.

#3 How will you pay your loan?

Finally, the banker wants to know who you will pay off your debt. This is often a misconception from the population who has assets, but little revenue. If your house is free of debt but you don’t work anymore, it will be harder to convince the lending firm to give you a new mortgage. In the end, the banker doesn’t want to take back your house. He is not in the housing business, he is in the lending business. He wants to make sure you have an income stream that is sufficient to pay for your living and reimburse your debts.

A quick tip to get approved

My friend finished his explanation with a great tip to put all your chances on your side to get approved for you loan: tell the truth! A good explanation of the worst situation is better than a good lie. Most bankers will read you and find out about your lie instantly. Then again, lying to a financial institution will definitely not get your loan approved!

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July 13, 2016, 5:07 pm

How You, Too, Can Capitalize Off Of Brexit

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Investing Ideas

How You, Too, Can Capitalize Off Of Brexit

Despite the fact that some time before the British referendum to leave the European Union, four out of five European hedge funds had bravely put their money on the UK remaining in the EU, a certain number of firms saw some pretty impressive returns after their betting against the grain of popular opinion of economic policy and the cash debate. According to Craig Weynand, the NuWave Matrix fund rose in profits by 12% on the day of the vote. Other hedge fund managers, like CIO Ryan Tolkin of Schonfeld Strategic Advisors among others, as well as legendary investors George Soros and Stanley Druckenmiller also made fantastic gains from the sudden market volatility. How did these people achieve such successful gains even if, in the case of the hedge fund managers, they did not place bets on the outcome? The answer is simpler than you might think…

karatbars.safety-for-our-kids

Understand The Risk

 

China is being crushed by their debt and poor economic policy, as is most of Asia. The Brexit decision is a testimony to the success (read: absolute failure) of the EU’s experiment in artificial currency, the Euro, which has been a central point in the cash debate. The whole world will feel the consequences of Brexit, consequences that will change depend on how prepared economically those countries are.

 

As an individual, you might be wondering what you can do to prepare for a volatile and risky market. A great place to start is to look to the greats; for instance, the aforementioned Soros and Druckenmiller. What did these incredibly wealthy and influential men do long before the Brexit decision was even brought to referendum?

 

Well, Druckenmiller just told the attendees of the Sohn Investment Conference in May to get out of stocks and get into buying gold. George Soros dialed back his US holdings and invested in the SPDR Trust. Really, investing in gold may be the best move in the wake of the British referendum. Every group or individual who made returns of any major kind after what Remain-ers claimed would be the fallout after the vote on the 24th of May has one thing in common: they all invested in, or already owned, precious metals.

 

A Safe Bet

 

Peter Donisanu compared the economic results of the referendum to Black Wednesday. Part of his comparison is correct: People have flocked to “safe haven” assets, such as government bonds, but even the prices of the precious metal have been predicted to begin to fall starting in August. A different safe option would be the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, which has many of the trademark qualities of a safe-haven investment.

 

Diversify, Diversify, Diversify

seiz

As in any great shift in economy, the safest move after the UK’s departure of the European Union is, as usual, to diversify your portfolio with a variety of safe investments. There has never been a better time to get a few more eggs in your basket, and your financial health will certainly be better for it.

By Harald Seiz, Multi-Business Entrepreneur & Expert on Gold

https://karatbars.com

 

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