All Articles Tagged "Personal Finance"
Is anyone else tired of hearing about how the “other half” lives? Who says we can’t be part of that population? Rather than settle for a so-so life and career, let’s aim for something bigger. Here are some practical tips on steps you can take right now to build your financial empire and become a millionaire.
The time has come to take a hard look at your finances. Are you comfortable where you are, or do you desire more? Hopefully the latter is on your mind as too many of us are comfortable miserable in our situation. Here are a few financial goals everyone needs to have on their bucket list.
We Need To Be The Change We Wish To See! The Long Financial Battle Black Americans Face… And Are Losing
As I sit here and reflect on the most recent news of wealth inequality from the Urban Institute I only get more and more enraged. We as a people need to do better for the sake of our children and future generations.
There are really no words to express how it makes me feel to know Black Americans accumulate less wealth than Whites and Latinos, barely save for retirement and have the highest student loan debt. It’s like we have taken a step back somehow on the road to equality and continue to lose our way in the game of financial security.
This obviously is nothing new. We know what the deal is when it comes to the perks of passing down wealth from generations. Many of the setbacks minorities have faced in this country have made us fall behind the curve of doing so. I understand the lack of access is a very real concept and have seen firsthand how it can play out. Yet in the same breath, there are many members of our community who would rather focus on the right now instead of their future. Or justify their lack of participation in bettering their situation with excuses.
The time has come to stop Waiting for Superman and make better decisions for our lives. Yes Whites and others may never know how it feels to be Black in America, but we can show them (and ourselves) that regardless of how much less we make, we too can be savvy when it comes to things like investing. After all, there’s no reason why one of the top consumers in this country can’t save a portion of the money we spend for our future.
If I can be honest for a moment, I really want to shake some friends and family members in my life Lawrence Fishburne-style and yell “Wake up!” I use to get clowned for trying to navigate through The Wall Street Journal years ago and figure out ways to make my money work for me. “Child you’ll never have what a White family will have,” I heard. Yet here I am today as a married work-from-home mother with a business, investing in my own individual 401(k), saving for a house and growing 529 college savings plan for my son.
“Oh you just had it easy.”
“I can’t save what you can.”
Well for starters let’s put some of the money you spend on frivolous gifts, eating out and unnecessary expenditures into the bank as those hundreds add up. One of the reasons I have been able to invest a little more is because I made the choice to spend a little less, and find ways to build what I bring to the table. It’s always amazing how much money we have left over when we don’t go out and blow it.
I understand how real things can be, how it feels to go home and know you only have iced tea and Stovetop stuffing in your refrigerator, and the art of taking a cold shower because the electric bill was past due. I might not understand your struggle thoroughly, but get what it means to go without. It sucks and makes you question why it happens to you. Yet through those struggles, I discovered the importance of making a dollar stretch, doing what’s necessary to help support my family and the value of education.
The Urban Institute report really opened my eyes as I read about Hispanics earning a bit more in the wealth department. This sparked a conversation between my husband and I ( he is Black Latino). Growing up in Panama, his parents did their very best to provide for their children. His mother would cater on the side that helped with bills while his father worked and went back to school for his degree. By the time they moved to the United States they had enough money for a home. My husband attended a top university for engineering and was able to score a job shortly after college which still employs him today (10 years and counting). For about a year and a half after graduation, he stayed with a nearby aunt to save money to purchase a condo. He also paid off his car loan in three years. My husband never came from a family of wealth or status, but one with financial principles. Even though they didn’t have a ton of money, his parents built up an importance to pay down your debt instead of go after frivolous things that don’t add value. For heaven’s sake my mother-in-law owns two rental properties that she bought with her own money—and this was a few years ago when she was working part-time at a grocery store.
The “American dream” is still possible and obtainable. It might not look the exact same as others, but that shouldn’t discourage you from trying. Will I ever be the next Martha Stewart or Donald Trump? I don’t know. Even if I’m not, that doesn’t mean I won’t continue to reach for the stars and utilize the resources made available to me. If your company offers a retirement savings plan, participate. Don’t pay the minimum amount on your loan and decide you’ll live with it until whenever. Realize that you’re paying for what you borrowed three times over.
We need a revolution when it comes to our finances and the time is now!
Whether you have a hefty tax return coming your way, a nice bonus, or happen to have some extra money left in your monthly budget, it’s good to invest. Creating a game plan for your financial future and backing it with money is a wonderful way to help ensure your plans come to fruition. If you have been dancing around the idea of investing the time has come to start.
Did you make a resolution to become financially free? It’s a quest many of us start but fail to accomplish in a timely manner. Sometimes there are unexpected life events that take precedent, but that doesn’t mean we should fall behind on the things we owe. Check out these things you shouldn’t do when trying to pay off your debt.
President Obama would’ve had an unexpected guest at the White House if he achieved his proposal to end 529 college savings plans.
As a mother of a one year old and expecting my second child in June, my husband and I are relying on our son’s 529 to grow over the years and help with college. I first learned about this program many years ago and always wondered why some of my friends had it a little easier when it came to paying their educational bills and expenses. Simply put, it’s a low-maintenance way to invest (think mutual funds) and receive some nice tax benefits.
Once my child had a social security number, he had a 529. We plan to do the same with our second child once he gets here. While we aren’t a family making Trump money, we do work hard to allocate a portion of our monthly budget to invest in our child’s future. It’s something grandparents and other loved ones can contribute to and feel great about their gift. I’ve even become savvy when it comes to shopping as I can earn money for my son’s account with purchases made through Upromise.com.
With gifted money in hand from my son’s first birthday and ready to make a 529 plan contribution, I saw news stories of policymakers–from both political parties–and parents upset over President Obama’s proposed ideas to change how the plan works. Sure my household is not one of the high-income families he wants to target (the plan allows tax-free withdrawals for qualifying educational expenses), but it does hurt our wallets. My son’s college savings plan probably won’t have the same amount in it as someone of a certain pedigree, but I’ll tell you what, he’ll be better off than others who never invested over the years. Monthly investments into a 529 plan–regardless of size–can and will add up.
This country has a major issue with tax fairness, but a 529 college savings plan is not solely available to the elite, or should be the focus. Heck in most cases you can start one with as little as $50. Think how much money we could save for our children if we focused more on their future instead of over-the-top birthdays, designer labels and other expensive gifts. Mark Kantrowitz, senior vice president of Edvisors.com made an interesting point: college savings showing up on a prospective student’s financial aid application (the proposed plan would make it taxable income) and can very well result in lower-income families receiving less money. Whereas students from a wealthier background wouldn’t be as affected because they would likely not qualify for aid.
I honestly don’t know what the solution is for helping more students obtain college degrees, or where we get the money. I’m just a wife and mother who works hard to utilize whatever options are available to better my family’s situation. A change to this would hinder those efforts.
Despite a miserable financial reality—bounced checks, late mortgage payments, bank overdrafts, inner turmoil, and lack of sleep—you will still find people telling you that they can’t afford to save.
The reality is that they can’t afford not to save.
Helping a friend or a loved one move from the “I Can’t Afford to Save” mentality which focuses on financial problems instead of solutions is a heavy load. While you can’t take on their burdens, here are some concrete solutions and baby steps to help them move from living paycheck to paycheck to financial solvency.
-Point them in the direction of simple savings challenges. Simple savings challenges like the 52 Week Challenge can help them save $1,378 by the end of the year by having them put away a dollar amount corresponding to the week of the year. For example, Week 1 of 2015, you save $1, Week 2, $2, and Week 52, $52.
-Have them write everything down. Putting all of their spending on paper is a great way to get them out of the “I Can’t Afford It Mentality.” A simple budget like this allows them to really see where their money is going and where simple changes can be made. This financial roadmap helps them get more in tune with how much they spend, where they spend, and even why they spend; once they gain control of their spending, they will soon be able to plan where their money goes daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
-Help them identify two costly bad habits and/or addictions and help them strategize ways to eliminate them. None of us are angels, but some of us have expensive habits or addictions like smoking, drinking, and shopping that bring little or no value to our overall well-being. In fact, smoking and drinking can negatively impact your health and make you a prime candidate for a hefty medical bill down the line. Quitting is easier said than done, but the effort to reduce the impact that these influences have on your life is good for your mental health and wealth.
-Suggest that they open up an online account that is not easy to access. Accounts like Ally or Capital One 360 are great places to start because they take an average of three days before they dispense funds. This forced “cooling down” period allows you to think twice before dipping into the account for an impulse buy.
Once you deposit the minimum required to keep the account open, eek out $10 a week to deposit into this account and increase the contributions by $2, $3, or any amount with which you are comfortable. What’s important it that you week no ATM card or checks associated with this account.
-Encourage them to work smarter. If they can’t save with their current salary, it’s time that they bring more money in. Is there overtime at the job? If they don’t want to exchange time for money, have them consider creating products to sell (i.e. ebook, a hot sauce, hair and body products). If they have no desire to create products, encourage them to use what they have. If they have extra space in their home, rent it. (Airbnb is a place to begin). If they have extra garage space, point them in the direction of ParkAtMyHouse.com.
-Tell them to sell and downsize. Have them go through each room in their house and find items that are gently worn and unwanted and sell them. Sites like Poshmark, eBay and Craigslist are solid resources for making money from unwanted items in your home.
Connect with Kara @frugalfeminista. Learn more about The Frugal Feminista at www.thefrugalfeminista.com Download her free ebook The 5-Day Financial Reset Plan: Eliminate Debt, Know Your Worth, and Heal Your Relationship with Money in Just 5 Days. Join Kara’s closed $20 Cash Crash Diet Facebook Group to get some sistergirl support and accountability for reaching your savings goals.
Update: Since publishing the first story on the LIVE RICHER Challenge the amount of participants has surged to over 10,000 people, surpassing Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche’s original goal.
The LIVE RICHER challenge is a free online advice forum that helps women achieve seven financial goals within 36 days. Women are taking part nationally and internationally in countries like Kenya, China, Australia and The United Arab Emirates. The LIVE RICHER book that accompanies the challenge has also made it to the Amazon Best Seller List.
As a result of tasks within the challenge, participants have found ways to save over $125,000 collectively. The challenge is currently in Week 3, which covers issues surrounding debt. There’s still time to participate. Continue reading our original story for additional background on the challenge and instructions on how to join the movement.
Originally published January 5, 2015
Let me guess. You’ve resolved to improve your financial situation in 2015, but you’re not sure where to begin the overhaul process.
Well, you’re in luck.
This week personal finance guru Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche kicks-off the highly anticipated LIVE RICHER Challenge. During this 36-day challenge, she’s helping women achieve seven key financial goals. All completely FREE of charge.
I had the pleasure of assisting Tiffany with a project for the LIVE RICHER challenge last year and it was one of my most rewarding experiences. The number of challengers has grown from a few hundred to 7,500 women. Through this challenge, Aliche has created a space for women to stop feeling ashamed about their position and start taking steps toward a richer life.
The story behind The LIVE RICHER challenge
Aliche decided to develop this resource when she began receiving personal messages for financial advice. She noticed a need for a community where women could get together and discuss money without judgment. The LIVE RICHER challenge was born.
Participants (also known as Dream Catchers) show up eager to take a financial stand and share their journey with friends, family, and other members inside the group’s Facebook forum.
Why you’ll love “The Budgetnista”
Aliche’s coaching style is that of a best friend or cheerleader with the message that building vast wealth isn’t the purpose of personal finance. Instead it’s a means to live the life you desire.
She’s experienced the financial fear and despair that so many of us have encountered after she lost her job and built up $30,000 in credit card debt. Support from her peers was the motivation she needed to dig her way out of a rut. The LIVE RICHER challenge is offering the same will to persevere to others who’re ready to make a change.
If you’re thinking no amount of financial advising will help you repay your student loan or improve your credit score, think again. According to Aliche, no financial situation is too dire. As long as you’re alive and breathing you can make a change; failure only comes with giving up entirely.
What to expect during the challenge
Dream Catchers will receive daily, easy financial tasks plus short videos from Tiffany throughout the month. Each week covers different financial goals about your money mindset, budgeting and saving, raising your credit score, debt repayment, investing and insurance.
The LIVE RICHER challenge workbook is an additional resource published on Amazon that you can use as a diary or reference after the challenge is complete. And finally, the LIVE RICHER forum on Facebook is available to share your progress with other challengers and Tiffany.
Afterwards, stay tuned for additional financial resources. Aliche has projects up her sleeve to continue the effort including a tour, an investment club, and regional MeetUp empowerment groups.
To subscribe to the challenge, head over to the LIVER RICHER sign-up form.
Some shows we watch just for the fun of it. Others can teach us a little something. And no, you don’t have to turn to the History Channel or PBS for smart entertainment.
Nothing speaks to the viewing population like making money. Here, we take look at a few shows that teach us a thing or three about how to do just that.
Are you tired of turning on the television or reading online about how good people have it? Yes certain luxuries require a ton of money, but that should not discourage you from enjoying your life. Here are some practical ways you can have your cake and eat to too without breaking the bank.