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September 23, 2019, 7:54 am

What is Financial Planning?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Financial Planning

Financial planning is beneficial for everyone, no matter how much money you make or your economic status. You don’t have to make a lot of money in order to enjoy the benefits of financial planning. The earlier you take a close look at your finances, the better off you’ll be far into the future.

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Here’s what you need to know about financial planning as well as tips to get started.

Financial Planning 101

Financial planning isn’t a one and done process. Instead, it’s an ongoing part of life that ensures you can comfortably support your financial needs while also preparing yourself for retirement. The process involves many factors; including your income level, expenses, and your goals.

Many people who are new to financial planning seek expertise and direction from a financial advisor. Financial advisors are a great resource for helping you to determine how much money you need to reach your goals while also helping you to create a path to meet them. These professionals can even manage your investment accounts. This less stress on your part!

To ensure your money and financial health is in good hands, you want to research an advisor before ultimately choosing one. You can use the Careful Cents site to compare the best financial advisors in Tampa.

With thorough financial planning, you can have peace of mind that your money is working for you. With a roadmap of your finances, you can create a solid financial foundation that will serve you well for years to come.

The Benefits of Financial Planning

Financial planning won’t make you rich overnight, but what it will do is allow you to develop a plan that enables you to make smart financial decisions. Without financial planning, you’ll be stuck wasting money on interest charges and frivolous spending, both of which can impact your financial stability for years to come.

There are endless benefits in taking the time to plan your finances. Some of the best benefits include:

  • Building financial confidence
  • Being able to boost your savings
  • Having financial peace of mind
  • Making it easier to maintain or increase your standard of living
  • Planning for the future and retirement

Now that you know what financial planning is and why it’s so beneficial, the next step is to put everything together. Financial planning is something that you can start at any time. But the sooner you start, the sooner you can begin to improve your financial situation.

How to Get Started

What’s great about financial planning is that it isn’t hard. No matter if you’re working with a financial advisor or doing all of the planning on your own, it’s not rocket science!

Know Your Goals

One of the first things you’ll want to do is to think about your life goals and what they cost. For example, maybe you want to buy a home, have kids, or retire early. These are all life events that cost money.

In order to turn these plans into something tangible, you have to plan for them! Buying a house means not only figuring out how much mortgage you can comfortably afford, but it also means saving up money for a down payment and building an emergency fund in the event of a large household expense.

By taking the time to plan your finances, you can determine how much income you’re going to need in order to meet each of these goals.

Track Income & Expenses

Once you’ve identified your financial goals, the next step is to examine your income and your expenses. First, figure out your net worth. This includes cash, investments, and other owned assets, such as a home. Then you’ll want to look at your expenses. Figure out how much cash you have coming in compared to how much is going out.

Take a look at your weekly and overall monthly expenses. Pinpoint where your money is spent. To make tracking all of these numbers a little easier, consider using budgeting apps such as Mint, Goodbudget, and Tiller.

Map It Out

Now that you have your goals and your financial data mapped out, the next step is to put everything together. Compare your goals with your net worth, income, and expenses. While you may not have the income to meet all of your goals right now, remember that financial planning is all about comparing where you are financially now to where you want to be in the future.

The next step is to create short-term and long-term plans. This includes creating a budget, reducing debt, and investing your money. As you meet financial goals, always create new ones! Remember, financial planning is a life-long effort. There’s always something that you can strive for financially, even as you entire your retirement years.


Financial independence and security don’t come without years of planning, budgeting, and smart decisions. No matter where you are in life, it’s never too late to reap the benefits of financial planning. Follow these tips so that you too can work towards a more sound financial health.

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January 29, 2019, 1:20 pm

How to Collect Savings for your Kid’s Education

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Financial Planning,Personal Finance

Post-secondary education can open doors for your kid in the future. It can forge their path to a fulfilling career and increase their chances of gaining a comfortable salary. As a parent, you want your kid to have every opportunity to follow their dreams. You can help make that possible by saving up for the costs of tuition, right now.

Start Saving Immediately:

It doesn’t matter if your child is still a toddler — it’s the right time to put money away for their education. The sooner, the better. The costs of tuition are high, and you’ll need time to generate enough savings to cover these costs.

A survey from the College Board found that the costs for attending an in-state public college average out to $25, 290 in a single academic year. These costs include tuition, housing, service fees and supplies. For a private college, the average costs rise all the way up to $50, 900 per academic year.

What’s more concerning is that the price of tuition grows with every year, so parents with very young children will have to plan for the real possibility of higher costs. In comparison to the averages from 2017-2018, the costs of college in 2035 are predicted to be $54,070 per year at public institutions and $121,078 per year for private institutions. That’s only 16 years away. If your childis still in diapers, these are the prices you might be dealing with when they’re applying for college.

Strive For A Third:

Financial experts advise that parents saving for college aspire to put away enough of their earnings to pay for a third of their child’s overall education costs by the time they apply for college. Another third should be paid off with earnings, grants and scholarships while the child is in college. The final portion should be handled with student loans and paid off after they have finally graduated. If you start saving for this goal now, you’ll have made good progress by the time your kid is in high school. According to a recent survey, the average family saves up $19,784 per child to pay for their college education —  this is lower than the average saving goal of approximately $38,953 each. Don’t be discouraged by the possibility of missing the mark — keep pushing towards the goal you’ve set. What
you end up saving will be of more help than if you hadn’t begun this process in the first place.

Open The Right Account:

Parents have good intentions when they open up a savings account in their child’s name.

The better move is to open up a 529 plan because it is specifically designed for college savings and it offers tax and financial aid benefits that won’t come with your regular savings account. The plan has no limitations on age, so your child can use it even if they don’t move onto college right after high school. Every state has their version of the plan, so do your research to see what benefits yours offers.

Leave The Fund Alone:

The only time you are supposed to touch the contents of the fund is when your child is finally accepted into college and paying the tuition. Grabbing money from the fund will stifle its growth and encourage you to keep finding reasons to take from it again.

As a specialty savings account, it comes with the benefit of compounding interest that benefits from a larger balance. By syphoning money from this fund to pay for unexpected bills, you’ll lose out on this extra cash. You’ll also likely face penalties in the form of taxes and fees for withdrawing cash early for reasons other than education.

If you’re dealing with an emergency payment and you need some extra cash to take care of it, don’t dip into the college fund even if it’s only for a small amount. If you need a quick fix for this minor crisis like an overdue bill or unexpected car repair, consider using an installment loan. To see if you’re eligible this product, check out to learn more.

Online installment loans are short-term solutions that can help you deal with your problem right away. The repayment term is long so that you can tackle it at a convenient pace. You can learn more about the process at the official MoneyKey website.

The costs of post-secondary education are intimidating. At times saving for tuition may seem like an impossible mountain to climb. But with planning and determination, you can make it happen. You can save up enough to get them into the school of their choice and proudly watch them earn their degree.

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November 22, 2017, 2:44 pm

How millennials can save money

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Financial Planning

Group of young people using laptop.

The millennial generation – generally considered to be those born in the last 20 years or so of the 20th century – face many different financial challenges. Many of them are paying mortgages for the first time, or else are trying very hard to save enough to get on the housing ladder. At the same time, they may be paying off student loans and other debts, whilst trying to pay their regular bills, and enjoy a decent social life.

Wonga South Africa recognises the financial challenges faced by today’s millennials, and has published some money saving tips on its website.

If you are a member of the millennial generation, the company’s advice includes:

  1. Put together a budget. Work out what income you have from various sources, then work out what you spend each month on food, clothing, mortgage and debt repayments, transport, utilities, telecommunications, insurance and other areas. This will then show how much you realistically have left to spend on entertainment, socialising, hobbies and other areas that might be classed as ‘discretionary’ or ‘non-essential’ expenditure. There are many different budget planning tools on the internet that you can use free of charge
  2. Be selective when it comes to your social life. Although you may have an understandable FOMO (fear of missing out), it is not realistic to accept every social invitation that comes your way. Decide which social occasions are most important, then place the money you have saved from declining your other invitations into a savings account
  3. Cut down on your treats. Do you really need, for example, to buy your lunch at the most expensive café in town, or to regularly buy high-end, designer clothing?

Other money saving tips for millennials include:

  1. Shop around for low borrowing costs. Before taking out a loan, or borrowing on a credit card, consider how you can do this as cheaply as possible
  2. Audit your subscriptions. You might be paying all manner of subscriptions, such as gym membership, internet services such as Netflix, magazines and online newspapers, sports clubs etc. Are there any of these that you’re not using, or are hardly ever making use of? If so, maybe it’s time to cancel them
  3. Find the telecoms plan that best suits what you need. You may be paying for phone contracts that provide all manner of features that you don’t need, while you may also be paying for TV channels that you never watch
  4. Compare prices. The internet allows you to compare the costs of many different goods and services before you buy. Searching the internet can also alert you to special offers and discount vouchers
  5. Identify your costliest debts. When paying off your debts, prioritise clearing those with the highest interest rates
  6. Find the best savings rates. If you are able to put some money aside each month, shop around for the savings accounts with the best interest rates


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September 13, 2017, 9:30 am

So you’re in debt – now what?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Financial Planning,Pay off your Debts

The reasons people fall into the debt trap are varied and complex – from a simple lack of financial education or poor budgeting, unemployment, gambling problems or an unexpected illness that wipes out your savings, or just plain overspending! Cultural values also play their part, with some countries just seeming to instill a belief in the importance of saving and living within your means more than others.

Whatever the underlying reason, debt is a growing issue that more and more people find themselves facing, and sitting down and crunching the numbers can create an almost paralyzing sense that you just won’t be able to get out from under the beast. Because of this, many people try desperately to ignore the reality of their circumstances, ducking and diving and living in constant anxiety. In some cases, this type of lingering stress can even make you lose focus at work and become a threat to your career, which certainly isn’t going to help the situation!

The answer is obvious, but you have to be willing to accept it. If you ever want to get out of debt, you’re going to have to face some possibly awkward conversations, man up to your mistakes, and yes, your lifestyle may have to change, possibly drastically. But facing the problem is the only way it’s ever going to go away – and with a little bit of help and some discipline – it can.

Get help!

Contacting a professional firm to investigate your debt review or credit counseling options is a great place to start. One thing’s for sure, you certainly won’t be the first person to face this problem, and you’re sure to receive solid and nonjudgmental advice. Debt review firms and credit counselors can help you in a variety of ways, from helping consolidate all your debts into one manageable monthly payment, helping you come up with a realistic budget, negotiating better interest rates on repayments and even protecting your assets from repossession.

Many lenders will even offer a lower total repayment on your outstanding account when they see that you are serious about paying them back – it makes financial sense for them to recoup a smaller amount rather than run the risk of you not being able to pay anything at all. This will depend on your personal situation of course, so you will need to be completely upfront and honest about what your income and expenses are. Taking the first step is the hardest, but the relief you get from knowing the journey back to financial freedom is actually underway is more than worth it!

Getting out of debt for good

If you have several debts to pay off, it may make sense to harness the power of the snowball effect. This concept revolves around starting with your smallest debt, and paying that off first, which offers two benefits. The first, and perhaps most important if you’re at the beginning of your journey, is the psychological boost you get from ticking one debt off the list for good. And secondly, not only are you now used to getting by without that money each month, but your overall debt has shrunk too.

Really evaluate your spending habits. It’s so obvious that people underestimate just how important it is to have an accurate idea of where your money is actually going each month. This doesn’t mean scribbling down what you estimate you spend on groceries, fuel, fees and contracts – this means actually getting the real figures. Commit to either keeping your receipts (if you tend to draw cash) or only using your card so you can track payments on your monthly statement. Draw up a spreadsheet, use an online tool or whip out your calculator, whatever works for you. The important thing here is creating an accurate picture (maybe even a pie chart if you’re so inclined) of where your hard earned cash is going. Prepare for some shocking truths! Once you have the data in front of you, seeing where and how much you can cut back becomes simple.

Once you’ve committed to making payments each month, have them set to come off your bank account automatically via debit order or automatic deduction. If you have a good relationship with your employer, ask them to deduct the money from your salary each month on your behalf. This means you’re less likely to find an excuse not to make a payment because it would mean having to explain yourself to them too!

Getting out of debt entirely really is possible – and even better, once your debts are cleared, you’ve learned an even more valuable lesson. Don’t go back to your old habits and spend that money you were setting aside each month. Keep the trend going, and set the same amount each aside to save and invest each month. The lessons you’ve learned in getting out of debt can now serve you in saving up for retirement or a reward you’ve truly earned!

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April 3, 2017, 9:35 am

You May Be Ready but Have You Prepared for Retirement?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Financial Planning,My Plan to Retirement

In the USA the figures don’t make good reading. Many citizens are carrying credit card debt that incurs a high rate of interest. Too few have sufficient in their retirement fund and seem to think that Social Security will make a significant contribution to comfortable retirement. The latter is simply untrue; it was never designed for that and the System is increasingly under pressure as the fund is dwindling. Don’t expect the Republican Party to increase taxes any time soon to boost it. You need to be saving and one thing that you can do immediately to help if you have credit card debt is to borrow ironically. A personal loan can pay off that balance and the interest you will be paying is significantly lower.

You deserve a comfortable retirement after a long working life but you have to earn that as well. The sooner you start to save, the more chance you have of success. If your dreams of traveling, fishing and spending time with the grandchildren, you will need money and after the regular monthly paycheck stops, you must know where the finance is coming from. Today’s population that is approaching retirement has begun to understand the problem. According to a recent survey by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies almost half fears that its investment is insufficient.


Things for Serious Consideration

Here are a few things to consider when you are thinking about retirement:

  • -You can draw Social Security as early as 62 but you will receive significantly less per month than if you wait until full retirement age, 66 and rising to 67. If you can wait until you are 70 there is more again.
  • -You should not be carrying any significant debt if you are considering retirement. Some as normal as a credit card balance will be a problem because of the interest you will be charged.
  • -Hopefully all your children will now be financially independent. That means they are working and in control of their own finances, including the repaying of their student loans direct lenders where applicable.
  • -If you are helping to support elderly parents then it may be you need to delay the decision to retire.
  • -You certainly must sit down and work out a realistic budget. If you have lived by one throughout your life there is nothing that should cause you too much concern. However, if you have found that over the years you have been spending virtually all your monthly paycheck to cover your bills, you should reflect that on retirement, your paycheck stops.
  • -Those of you that have had an investment portfolio and can afford to maintain one after retirement should look at whether you have too much risk in that portfolio. The recession hit many portfolios but although the recession has gone, there are some economic indicators that suggest there is no boom on the horizon even if Donald Trump suggests he can get the country moving ahead. If you have any concerns, you should talk to a financial advisor and address those concerns.
  • -Home loans come in several forms. Mortgages are the traditional types of home loans, but reverse mortgages are also available to you if you are of retirement age. As a retiree you can obtain money based on your home equity from your chosen mortgage lender. Your lender will distribute that money to you a little bit each month, or you can opt to receive the funds as a line of credit or lump sum. Regardless of how you are paid, you will not have to make monthly repayments as you would with a traditional mortgage. Since you will have repayment flexibility, you can use the funds obtained from your reverse home loan to help you meet financial obligations during your retirement without the stress of an extra bill each month.
  • -Retirement affects more than just yourself. There may be wife, children and even elderly parents. You should certainly discuss everything with your wife to reach the best possible answer to your circumstances. If you are both working then you may decide that one of you retires immediately and the other continues for a while. It is a matter of doing the calculations.


So What Do You Think?

After looking at each of these aspects, you may be closer to reaching a decision on retirement. You need to consider how you will spend your time, bearing in mind you will need to be able to finance those activities. If you have many friends who have retired that is a different position than if your friends are mostly working. One thing is certain; there are too many Americans today who have not got the luxury to retire early with plenty of money to enjoy the dreams they had when they were younger. If this is you and retirement is still some years away, act now, reduce any debts you have and start to save.

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