All Articles Tagged "Personal Finance"

Make It Rain! 10 Reasons To Spend Money For Spring

March 20th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Yay! We made it through another winter which means we can enjoy the fruits of spring! Which means it might be time to invest in some new stuff. Here are 10 reasons to spend money for spring.

Springtime and shopping? This really is a great day.

When Money Setbacks Happen: How To Handle A Financial Disaster

March 14th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Unexpected financial disasters can happen anytime–a medical emergency, your car breaks down, your home needs urgent repairs. Instead of panicking and hunting for money under every rock, the key is to be prepared.

Financial Disaster Preparation Tips

–Save For A Rainy Day: “Don’t spend all of your money. Set something aside each payday for emergencies,” financial coach Ozeme J. Bonnette of Tri-Quest Investment Advisors told MadameNoire via email.

Financial educator Tonya Rapley, founder of My Fab Finance, agrees and suggests setting up a “Financial Disaster Fund.”

“Calculate how much your life costs you including all of your needs and save at least three times that amount,” she explains. “This account is for emergencies so once you reach the goal amount, set up another savings account so that you don’t dip into this one.”

–Make A Budget, And Stick To It: “Control your spending. You don’t have to live like you are experiencing a disaster, but be conscious of your spending and question each purchase. This will help you save more and will soften the lifestyle blow should a financial disaster occur,” says Rapley.  Don’t buy things you don’t need. “Cut back on unnecessary expenses so that a financial disaster is easier to deal with if it were to arise,” advises Bonnette.

–Diversify Your Income Streams. Get a side hustle and try to have money coming in from different avenues. Maybe your hobby could generate extra cash. “Get resourceful and tap into your creative abilities. Create side hustles so that your survival does not depend on an employer. It could remain a side hustle or it could turn into a full-fledged business,” notes Rapely. “You’d be surprised at the ways people are creatively funding their lives.”

–Get Organized: Have all your financial papers in one place and in order. “In a disaster, it can be hard to think straight. Have everything in one place so that it is easier for you (or someone else) to manage,” says Bonnette.

What To Do When Financial Disaster Hits

–Reexamine Your Spending: “Redefine your needs, wants and desires. In a disaster, there are some things that become less important. Rather than moving ‘as usual,’ reconsider what your true needs are and focus on meeting those,” says Bonnette, also founder of the The Christian Money Coach.

–Look for areas of your life you can downsize.”Contact utility companies and find out if you can reduce your cost by taking advantage of promotions or downgrading your package. Eliminate unnecessary bills and reduce your spending to needs not wants,” says  Rapely, adding “Sorry to tell you but weekly manicures and dry cleaning services are not needs.”

–Speak Up: Need more time to pay? Ask for it. “Communicate. Many people do not realize how flexible and accommodating companies can be, especially if you have had great payment history,” Rapely points out. “Reach out to your creditors, explain your situation, and find out if they have a hardship program that you would qualify for.”

–Ask For Help: If you haven’t saved for such a situation, you will need to seek assistance. “There are services and programs that can help for a short period of time until things settle down. Don’t be too proud to ask for help. There are local, national, governmental, and church organizations that can help,” says Bonnette.

–Say No To Payday Loans: Be careful where you turn for money. “Don’t allow companies to take advantage of your situation. Pawn shops and check cashing companies are often more predatory than helpful,” says Bonnette. “The fees involved are astronomical, and do not help when in a tough spot. It only appears to help initially, but does not in the long run. Seek other options before turning to these.”

How To Resolve Money Issues In Your Marriage

March 3rd, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Marriage takes more than a fancy ceremony and tearful vows to work. Heck, ask any veteran in the marital game and they’ll admit there has to be more than love to stay boo’ed up for the long haul. As arguments over coins tend to be one of the main reasons for divorce, here are some pointers on how to solve money fights in your marriage.

Is Your Money Working For You? Things You Should Do With Your 401(k)

February 28th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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When it comes to the coin, all of us want to do everything we can to make sure they keep coming in and last for the long haul. There are tons of ways to let your money grow with the most popular being retirement investment platforms like a 401(k). When’s the last time you took a serious look at yours? Do you even invest in one? Here are some things you should do with your 401(k).

Reader Question: How To Save Money When You’re Living Paycheck To Paycheck

February 25th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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We’d like to once again thank our special guest, financial expert Lynn Richardson, for taking a reader question. Known as the “Madea of Money,” Richardson is a money coach, author, the president of Hip Hop Sisters and COO of Russell Simmons’ Hip Hop Summit. You can follow her on Twitter and on her website. And be sure to join us next Thursday at 7pm ET on @MadameNoireBiz for the next in our #MNBizChats series. We’ll be offering tips and discussing all manner of financial matters. Don’t miss it! 

Reader Tomeya Coker asked us on Facebook: How can you save money outside of a 401K when you’re living from paycheck to paycheck?

Lynn Richardson: According to author Pepper Miller in her book What’s Black About It?, African-American females are making the financial decisions in our households more than 80 percent of the time, whether we are married or not. Yet we are lagging far behind in the wealth gap, with an average net worth of less than $6,000, according to a recent Pew Hispanic Center report. Even though we may be educated, paid and gifted, the unfortunate truth is that many of us find ourselves not just living check-to-check, but Living Check to . . . Monday and a long way from achieving the financial freedom and retirement security we dream of.

With pension plans being virtually obsolete, the amount of money we are contributing to our 401k plans will not be enough to sustain us in retirement in most cases. So we must find new ways to make sure we will have a “playcheck” when we can no longer work to get a “paycheck.”

How can you save for retirement when the ends aren’t meeting and the next payday seems like forever? 

Well, the first step is to track your spending.  That’s right — each and every penny. Some say “money talks,” but I say “money walks” away from you quietly and you don’t know where it went!  In order to find additional money to add to your retirement account, you must get control of your cash flow so you can make better decisions.

The second step is end your spending addiction, which is what you have when you go into a store with the intention of buying toothpaste, but you walk out with $179.47 worth of stuff you don’t need! We’ve all been guilty of it, and if we’re honest with ourselves, we can all find ways to skim some of our unplanned and unnecessary spending so we save extra money and build our retirement nest eggs.

Here’s a few tips:

- Cease and desist all coffee shop activity. Drink free water instead. But if you absolutely must have a daily boost, pick up your favorite blend at the grocery store, add your favorite flavored cream, get generic hot chocolate packets for a rich mocha flavor, and if you absolutely must flaunt like you’ve actually visited the coffee shop, get the decorated cups at your local discount warehouse. Instead of spending $6 per day on coffee, you can spend $15-$20 per month and retain the additional cash to add to your retirement account.

-  Get rid of your landline.  Chances are, you and every breathing soul in your household owns a mobile phone. If you’re holding on to your landline for faxing, go to your local office supply store and spend the $5-$7 if and when the need arises. The number of faxes you need to send is probably not worth the $600-$2400 spent annually per household on landlines.

-  Contact all of your essential household service providers (electric, gas, mobile, cable, etc) and negotiate a lower payment.  If they tell that you must be a “new” customer, ask to speak to the boss and explain that you may just have to leave them in order to become new again! Chances are, they won’t want to risk losing you as a customer and will find a way to keep your business while saving you a few dollars.

- Eliminate housekeeping expenses and do the work yourself.  Better yet, if you have children and they aren’t making their own beds, doing their own laundry, and earning their keep, then shame on them and you, too!  Any person who can use any kind of electronic device, including the TV remote control, can do chores and this is a great way to build responsibility and cut expenses.

-  If you are a member of any kind of group that requires regular meetings, conduct the majority of your business via conference call.  It’ll increase the available cash you can allocate towards retirement by ending the impulse spending, preserve your time and gasoline, and help you keep a few pounds off in the process.

The only difference between where you are and where you want to be financially is the choices you make. Remember that, “A penny saved really is a penny earned.” (Really!) So make better choices with each one so your savings and retirement accounts will have more when it’s time to enjoy the fruit of your labor in your later years.

America Saves Week Starts Today!

February 24th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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From Black Enterprise

Today kicks off the official start of America Saves Week (February 24 to March 1). The goal of America Saves Week, which is coordinated by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council, is to encourage consumers to save as much of their money as they can and to develop sound saving habits.

According to the 2013 Annual National Survey Assessing Household Savings, only roughly half of Americans said they had good savings habits.

Read more about the results from this survey on BlackEnterprise.com.

Sigh… How To Handle Financial Stress

February 17th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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As if life isn’t hard enough with personal obstacles and struggles here comes the stress over finances. Will I have enough to make rent this month? How can I save when I am barely making ends meet? There is something money-related that we all deal with that’s a pain in the you-know-what. Here are some tips on how to handle financial stress.

Learn The Mindset: Things Debt-Free People Do (And Don’t Do)

February 17th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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You don’t have to be a millionaire to live a life with money in the bank. All it takes is some good financial sense and the right budget. It also doesn’t hurt if you don’t owe anyone as debt can really zap your wallet. Rather than be a slave to IOUs, start living a life of financial freedom. Here are a some of the things debt-free people do and don’t do.

Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems? The Dos And Don’ts When Your Pay Increases

February 14th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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There’s nothing that will make a person do the two-step quite like receiving a bump in their pay. Big or small, extra money in your check is something you can always use – just make sure you don’t blow it all. Believe it or not you can set yourself back and even into debt if you aren’t too careful. Here are the dos and don’ts to consider when your pay increases.

Ballin’ On A Budget: How To Fund Your First International Trip

February 13th, 2014 - By Kimberly Wilson
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Budgeting for any bucket list vacation abroad can be discouraging if you don’t plan wisely. Luckily for you, there’s no need to beg, borrow, or steal to indulge in your wanderlust fantasies! MadameNoire Business has practical suggestions for saving and budgeting for your dream vacation. Trust us: with proper planning it’s more affordable than you think!

Here are 5 tips to begin funding your next trip:

Start planning early. Want to go to Greece? Paris? Istanbul? The first thing to do when planning your first trip abroad is to determine an exact location and date to begin planning your itinerary. It’s important to do your research. The only way to know the full cost of your trip is to be as specific as possible when mapping out exactly what you want to see and do. Also, if you want to save a few coins, consider traveling during off peak season or staying in a hostel to reduce costs. These are all things to consider in the initial planning process for your trip.

Save a portion of every check and put into a vacation savings account. Once you have a destination or date picked, calculate how much you’ll need, and then start a separate savings account to fund the trip. Be realistic. Set a goal to put aside a certain percentage or set amount of your paycheck each month towards your travel fund. Create or revise your monthly budget to identify where your money is going each month and identify how much money is available after paying for bills and cost of living.

In order for this to be effective, it has to be a savings fund that’s completely separate from your other checking accounts. You don’t want to be tempted to withdraw or make purchases from your travel fund. Make sure the account won’t face any minimum balance penalties once you start spending what you’ve saved.

Need additional help with budgeting? Mint.com, Budget Tracker and Budget Pulse are great (free) online tools to track transactions and create your monthly financial plan.

Live without excess. Has budgeting helped you keep your finances in order? If you have any funds left over after paying all of your bills and living expenses, do not succumb to your monthly fashion addiction! Why not put those additional funds into your travel fund? Every penny counts. This will put you one step closer to your travel dreams, and you may even be able to add an extra excursion to your itinerary.

Fund your trip through freelance work. Are you a writer? Social media savvy? Are you good at making jewelry and or working on DIY projects? Play an instrument? You can utilize your talents to work on side projects that can fund your travels. If you can’t kick start freelance gigs on your own, Elance, ODesk and Craigslist offer great listings for jobs nationwide. Doing part- time work or short-term projects is a feasible way to fund your travels if it’s not possible solely on your current income.

Still don’t think your first trip is feasible? Teach English abroad! For native English speakers, teaching English abroad is an excellent way to see the world and share your native tongue. Some teaching gigs are not paid and are geared towards those interested in volunteering for a shorter period of time. However, schools, universities and even foreign governments are interested in paying native English speakers a decent wage on a renewable or longer-term contract. A few organizations and resources for interested teachers are TEFL.com, TeachAbroad.com, Transitions Abroad and World Teach.

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