Managing and controlling your personal finances is no easy task because it involves careful planning, experience and continual learning to reach the point where you finally feel at ease about the direction your financial future is taking. As such, it’s inevitable that you’ll make at least one or two money-related mistakes along the way.
Below are some common financial mistakes that can be avoided:
It has been said that great fortunes are often lost one dollar at a time. It might not seem like a big deal when you splurge on eating out or buying that coffee every morning, but in reality, every penny you spend will add up over time.
Spending $30 on that restaurant meal once a week will cost almost $1,600 per year, an amount that could make a sizeable dent in an auto loan or mortgage balance over time. Although you may feel that you deserve this weekly splurge, you should only give in to it if you know that it won’t affect your long-term financial goals.
Not Having an Emergency Fund
More than half of working Americans have admitted that they would have to pay for a $400 emergency by using a credit card because they have no savings set aside. This behavior will not only cause debt to accumulate quicker than you realize; over time, that $400 emergency could end up costing you double that amount because of accumulated interest and finance charges.
It’s recommended to have an emergency fund that can cover a minimum of three months of regular expenses – this will become a literal financial lifesaver over time.
Making Minimum Payments on Credit Cards
Although many individuals think credit cards are helpful and provide them with reward points, the hard truth is that they become dangerous where financial responsibilities are concerned – especially when you only make the minimum required payments on outstanding amounts each month.
If you have to use a credit card for any reason, ensure that either the full amount is repaid as quickly as possible or that you repay a fair bit more than the minimum required payment. This will reduce the amount of interest that is being charged over time.
Failing to Save for Retirement
Several Americans delay starting retirement funds because they think ‘there’s still lots of time to do this.’ However, this time of your life will arrive before you even realize it.
Starting a retirement fund in your 20s or 30s will not only mean that you’ll need to set aside smaller amounts each month; the power of compounding interest over a few decades will help ensure that your money grows by a sizeable amount – giving you enough to retire on when the time comes.
It can seem overwhelming to try and compile a budget, establish an emergency fund and save for retirement at the same time. However, taking one step at a time will help you achieve these goals and provide you with the peace of mind you deserve where your financial future is concerned.Continue reading
Although most individuals see downsizing as a highly undesirable chore, the truth is that you could find this to be an emotionally and spiritually freeing process – especially if you have recently left the workforce. Having fewer possessions to keep track of will allow you to focus more energy on aspects that are important to you, such as spending more time with family, traveling or even having the ability to move into a smaller home.
Below are some examples of items that can do with being de-cluttered:
Items such as old greeting cards, ornaments, photos, trophies and any other similar items fall into this category. Although you should hold on to items that are really special to you for any reason, you may not be able to take all of it along with you if you’re moving to a smaller home or retirement facility.
Consider choosing a few of your most treasured items that mean the most to you and find out if other family members or close friends would be keen to take any of the others over from you. A great way to be able to remember the items you’re parting with is to take pictures of them that can be kept forever.
Most individuals are guilty of holding on to far more paperwork than they are required to. Once paperwork is older than seven years, it should be discarded responsibly – shredding these documents is usually a good idea. If there are sentimental items such as old report cards or certificates of achievement, these can also be photographed before discarding them.
Large appliances, oversized furniture items and that unused exercise bicycle that has been used to hold everything except an exercising individual over the years should all be downsized at this time. The same can be done with those boxes of items you’ve had in your storage unit or garage and haven’t opened in the past few years – chances are that you’ll never need the items in them again anyway.
This can also be the ideal time to downsize your household to one vehicle – you’ll then only have to cover the servicing, maintenance and insurance costs of a single vehicle instead of multiple units.
Books take up a lot of space, are quite heavy to move and in many cases have digital alternatives available these days. If you’ve been collecting a lot of books over the years and won’t have the space to take them all with you to your new home, you’ll need to consider selling them or donating them to various charities or schools.
The only exception you should make is if you have any autographed books. If you enjoy reading, consider joining your local library – they have thousands of books that can not only be borrowed for free – you won’t have to worry about storing them either.
While de-cluttering your physical possessions is an important part of the downsizing process, don’t forget about de-cluttering your debt as well (if you have any). The fewer expenses you have to cover in retirement, the less you’ll have to stretch your available finances to survive.Continue reading
While some individuals are forced to take early retirement due to job losses, deteriorating health, or unexpected family responsibilities, others may choose to retire early so that they can spend more time engaging in activities that they enjoy such as traveling, volunteering, or spending time with friends and family. Regardless of why you may be considering retiring early, it’s essential to consider the following pros and cons before pulling the plug on your job.
Pros of Early Retirement
It can be Beneficial for your Health
When you no longer have to rush to work each day, you’ll be able to get the sleep you truly need, spend more time out in the fresh air and sunshine than before and generally enjoy a more relaxed pace of life.
You’ll have Time to Travel
Having more time on your hands will also mean that you’ll be able to travel more – no more limitations due to only having a few vacation days per year at your corporate job. The earlier you’re able to retire, the more time you’ll have to see as many places as possible before age-related health issues arise.
You Have the Chance to Embark on a New Career
If you’ve been considering changing careers, doing so sooner rather than later will allow you to stand more chance of being noticed by potential employers. You may even be considering starting your own business, and the earlier you can do this, the more chance you’ll have of making a success of it. Launching your own business at age 55 could provide you with intellectual stimulation for at least another 15 to 20 years.
Cons of Early Retirement
A Smaller Social Security Benefit
The earlier you take Social Security, the smaller your payments will be. For example, if you were born in 1960 or later and you start taking benefits at age 62 (the earliest age you’ll be eligible to do so), you will receive payments that are 30% lower than if you had to wait until age 67. For every year that you don’t take Social Security from age 67 to 70, your payments would be 8% higher each month.
Retirement Savings will have to Last Longer
If you retire at 50 or 55 and live to age 90, your IRAs and other retirement accounts will need to have sufficient balances in them to support you for 35 to 40 years. However, if you retire at 70 or 75, these funds will only have to last for between 15 and 20 years.
You’ll have to Foot the Bill for Health Insurance
In many cases, you’ll have to cover the cost of health insurance yourself until you become eligible for Medicare when you turn 65 – and premiums can be double or even triple of what you were paying while working.
Deciding when you should retire is not just a matter of making up your mind and handing your notice into your boss. If you would like to learn more about making the most of retirement, contact us today.
Many families are finding it more and more difficult to make ends meet each day, which has resulted in a number of individuals taking on second (or even third) jobs to ensure that they can keep meeting their monthly obligations. While it can seem like a good idea to have more than one job at a time, there are some aspects to consider beforehand.
Increased Mental and Physical Fatigue
Taking on a second job could result in you wearing yourself down mentally, emotionally and physically – far quicker than if you were only working at one job. While it may sometimes be possible to overcome these feelings after a while, it’s essential to evaluate your position every few months to determine whether the additional fatigue is worth what you’re being paid at the second job or not.
Less Focus on your Main JobMain
Another issues you may encounter when taking on a second job is that you won’t be able to give as much focus to your main job as you did before. Over time, this could become problematic, especially if the lack of focus prevents you from being able to perform, as you should.
Less Family Time
When taking on a second job, it not only means that you’ll be spending more hours working; you will unfortunately also be spending less valuable time with your family. While this may not seem important initially, young children can often become upset when they aren’t able to spend as much time with a parent as they did previously.
Take Additional Expenses into Consideration
Many individuals only see the initial amount of money they’ll be earning after taking on a second job. However, it’s essential to take additional expenses that will be incurred into consideration.
For instance, your gas bill will more than likely increase as a result of driving to and from your second job. You may be required to purchase uniform or other items that can only be used while working or even cover the cost of additional meals out while on the job.
Another expense that many parents forget to take into consideration when looking at taking on an additional job is that of childcare – especially if the second position is going to require night shift hours. Many sitters will charge higher than average rates for taking care of children during evening hours.
Before agreeing to take on that additional job, it’s essential to calculate how much of your extra earnings will be going towards job-related expenses. If you’re only going to be netting a dollar or two per hour after deductions, it will probably not be worth your while to take the position.
Another point to consider before taking on additional employment is taxes on the earnings from it. As such, it may be a good idea to chat to a professional financial advisor beforehand. They may be able to help you trim your existing budget in such a way that you won’t need to take on additional employment in order to make ends meet.Continue reading
If you want to be financially successful, it’s essential for you to set money-related goals at the beginning of your journey. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to chart your progress along the way and see whether any adjustments may be needed along the way.
Goals Enable you to Set Up a Realistic Financial Plan
Determining what your financial goals are will give you the opportunity to compile a realistic plan to help achieve it. Simply receiving your paycheck and paying recurring bills without realizing where all of your money is going will not allow you to make the most of your finances over time. For instance, if you would like to retire with a balance of $1 million, you’ll need to know how much will have to be saved and/or invested each month and how long you still have to get to that amount.
You’ll be Able to Track your Progress
Being able to track your progress will not only allow you to see if you’ll be able to realistically achieve your financial goals; if one of your goals is to eliminate all of your consumer debt within a specified timeframe, seeing the amount of money owing shrink each month will be an excellent motivator over time as well.
Goals Help Keep you Focused
Another reason why it’s essential to set financial goals is that they help keep you focused. In other words, it will make it easier for you to ‘keep your mind on the prize’ so to speak.
Regardless of whether you’re saving to buy a car, house or even an overseas vacation, it’s a good idea to take pictures of the items you’re saving for and place them in a spot where they can be seen regularly. This has been proven to be one of the best motivators around that will help prevent you from overspending on impulse purchases.
Enjoy a Sense of Achievement
Although it may seem like it’s taking forever to achieve some of your larger financial goals, there’s little else that feels as good as that sense of achievement you experience once one has been reached.
Once you’ve achieved your first financial goal, you’ll be even keener to see how quickly you can reach any others you’ve set. Consider giving yourself a small reward for each goal you achieve – maybe treat yourself to a coffee that you don’t usually purchase, for instance.
Enjoy Peace of Mind
Once you start achieving your financial goals, you’ll be rewarded in another way that you may not even realize initially – being able to enjoy peace of mind in knowing that your financial future will be more secure than it was before.
If you’re unsure of how to go about setting realistic financial goals, you may need to enlist the help of an experienced financial adviser. They will be able to let you know whether you’ll need to reduce current expenses or increase your income in order to achieve your financial goals. Contact our team today to learn more about planning ahead for a financially secure future.Continue reading
It’s no secret that the earlier your kids are taught how to save, spend and invest their money, the better money managers they will become as they grow older. This will enable them to live independently and manage their lives far better over time as well. Here are a few compelling reasons why you need to start teaching your kids about money as soon as possible.
It Helps them Develop Good Money Habits
A study undertaken by the University of Cambridge noted that in most cases, a kid’s money habits are solidly formed by the time they reach the age of seven. This means that if you are whipping out the plastic to pay for everything from groceries to clothing to school supplies, your kids will think that it’s OK to make all of their future purchases on credit. However, your kids will notice just as much if you are paying cash or using a debit card for purchases and in most cases, they will follow suit as they become older.
They Learn to Earn their Money
Many parents make the mistake of simply handing out allowances without expecting their kids to do any work in return for the money. This not only creates a sense of entitlement over time; it will not show your kids that that they have to earn any money they receive when they become adults. Instead, it’s recommended that allowances be linked to chores that are over and above those that they perform regularly.
They can Learn about the Dangers of Credit Card Misuse
Once your kids turn 18 years old, companies offering them credit cards will inevitably hound them. If you haven’t taken the time to teach them how to use credit cards responsibly, they could find themselves in financial dire straits within a very short time.
They can get a Head Start on Investing their Money
Kids who are taught about money and how investments work from a young age stand a far better chance of being able to manage their funds, as they grow older. If you are actively investing money into various platforms, there is no reason why you cannot teach them how these can be used to enable their money to work for them over time in the form of compounding interest.
They can Practice Setting up a Budget
It’s far better to have your kids learn to budget and make their money mistakes while they’re still living under your roof because financial errors that occur once they’re out on their own will cost them dearly. Providing them with an app such as EveryDollar will not only help teach them to budget even the smallest amounts of money; it will do so in a way that they enjoy – by means of using a phone app.
If you have kids and would like to teach them how to master their finances from a young age, but aren’t sure where to or how to get started, contact us today. Our team will be more than willing to assist you.Continue reading
Servant leadership is a phrase that was made known by Robert K. Greenleaf in his essay entitled, “The Servant as Leader,” which was first published in 1970. Listed below is each of the principles of servant leadership discussed in a little detail.
In most cases, leaders are valued and appreciated for their superb decision-making and communication skills. It’s essential for servant-leaders to reinforce these crucial skills by committing to really listening to those around them. They should strive to determine and clarify the will of a group of people, while also listening receptively to everything being said. Listening receptively enables you to her your inner voice, and learning to understand what the body, mind and spirit are communicating.
A true servant-leader will be able to not only understand, but also genuinely empathize with those around them. It is not only crucial to acknowledge and accept people as they are; you need to understand their point of view completely as well.
This refers to healing on a more holistic level instead of physically, which can be achieved by means of coaching, discussion, mentoring and encompassing a relationship-oriented style of leadership.
Being more self-aware as well as being more aware of those around you is a common characteristic of genuine and effective servant-leaders. Understanding your weaknesses, strengths and areas where development is possible is an essential component required to maximize performance.
An inherent difference between servant leadership and other types of leadership is that servant-leaders tend to work with cooperation and persuasion instead of delegation and harsh authority. Servant-leaders have been gifted with the ability to convince those around them instead of forcing them to comply with requests.
A true servant-leader will be able to look at and consider a problem or challenge from a conceptualizing perspective, which means that they have the ability to think further than just the daily realities of the work they do. Although conceptualization is extremely important, servant-leaders possess an ability to carefully balance this with their day to day focus.
This is a characteristic that allows genuine servant-leaders to understand and learn lessons from past experiences, while also understanding the realities of ‘right now’ and the potential outcomes of any decisions that are made in the future.
All leaders such as managers, CEOs, directors etc. should ensure that they play a crucial role when it comes to establishing their organization in trust for the greater good of all of society.
Committing to Helping People Grow
Servant-leaders firmly believe that people have far more value than simply being recognized for the work they do. They are therefore able to lead and commit to the professional and personal growth of each person in their organization.
Establishing and Developing Community
This is a crucial aspect of servant leadership. Servant-leaders are constantly looking for ways to build and develop task-oriented communities for everyone working within their company or organization.
Adopting and using the above mentioned principles will ensure that you are able to provide the best level of servant leadership possible, regardless of the position you hold within your organization.Continue reading