All Articles Tagged "Personal Finance"
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have you ever asked yourself if you are satisfied with your bank’s service? If you take a closer look, you may become increasingly dissatisfied with the fees, hidden penalties, or lousy interest rates you’re dealing with. Frequently, however, people don’t know where else to go. The solution may be as close as your nearest credit union. Take a look at these three important distinctions that define a credit union and its services:
Credit Unions Are Member Owned. Being member owned means having an account at a credit union makes you a part owner in the enterprise. Unlike a bank, therefore, you’re more likely to be treated as a person rather than as simply a number and a nuisance.
Credit Unions Are Not-For-Profit. Their nonprofit status helps explain why interest rates at credit unions are significantly better than at banks. Additionally, fees are fewer and smaller than what is found at banks. Profits that credit unions make are distributed as dividends to their members. In contrast, you find banks that are continuously inventing new fees and policies to boost profits.
Credit Unions Are Thriving In Spite of Bank Efforts. Almost since their inception, banks have been working to legislate credit unions out of existence, or at least limit who can join. Clearly, banks have failed in their efforts. Virtually anyone in the U.S. can belong to a credit union, based on where they live, work, or the associations they belong to.
Credit unions count nearly 90 million Americans as members and save those members thousands in lower interest rates and reduced fees. For example, credit unions issue credit cards that tend to forego annual fees or charge punitive interest rates for a single late payment. Additionally, most credit unions offer free checking accounts and penalties for overdrawing tend to be lower. You may indeed be satisfied with your bank, but isn’t it time you asked yourself and found out?
Join us Thursday, January 30 at 7pm ET for our first Twitter chat of the year with The Frugal Feminista, Kara Stevens. We’ll be taking questions about all of your budgeting concerns for 2014!
On New Year’s Eve, I know many of us promised to commit ourselves to living a better life, which for many of us has everything to do with getting in front of our finances— reigning in the spending, improving our credit, saving more, and thinking about major boss moves that will bring in more income.
It’s almost the end of January and I am hoping that the momentum is still going strong. If not, that’s okay. Here’s a gentle nudge, a lot of resources, and useful tips to get your finances where you want them to be before 2015 rolls around.
Change your relationship with money. You can take all of the advice, tips, and tricks to improve the state of your finances, but if you don’t shift your relationship with money, your success will be temporary and fleeting, at best. In order to see major improvements, you have to approach budgeting, frugality, and wealth accumulation as a way of life. Once you see the value in saving your money, investing your money, and building your network to bulk up your social capital, you will find it easy to say no to impulse buys, overspending, and moocher friends.
Sell your old electronics without the Ebay hassle. Instead of letting your old Androids and iPhones go to waste or collect dust in a drawer, turn them in for cash. Sites like www.cashforlaptops.com and www.cashforiphones.com are decent. The site www.usell.com is as well, even though I have received higher quotes for my damaged iPhone 4S 16GB at other sites.
Use your gift cards or trade them in for cash. Check your wallet, your dresser, your purse, or anywhere else in your house/apartment, and you will find a gift card, used or partially unused. If you have no interest in buying another thing, consider redeeming your gift cards for cash. Here are a few sites with a range of policies with respect to minimum gift card amounts, payment options, and the price at which you can sell certain gift cards: www.plasticjungle.com, www.raise.com, www.giftcardrescue.com, www.cardpool.com, and www.giftcardgranny.com
Prioritize your debt. The two most popular strategies for tackling debt are the “high-interest” approach and the “smallest balance” approach. One is no better than the other. Use whichever makes you feel as if you are making the most progress toward your $0-balance dream. With the former, you pay your bills with the highest interest rate first. The rationale behind this strategy is to get the most financially draining bill out of the way first. With the latter, you pay your bills with the smallest balance first of its psychological impact. There is an immediate sense of accomplishment and progress when one bill is completely accounted for.
Calculate your net worth. In order for you to make progress in your financial life, you have to begin with a clear baseline assessment of what you owe, what you own, which is another way of assessing your net worth. To calculate your net worth, it is a three-step process.
First, list ALL of your assets. Assets are the things that you own that carry value. So, the cash balances in your savings, checking, and money market accounts are considered assets. In addition, equity in your home, investment portfolios, real estate property, or the Blue book value of your car are also considered assets.
Next, list all of your liabilities or all of your debts which include your student loans, car loans, mortgages, credit card debt, and the like.
Finally, subtract your liabilities from your assets to calculate your net worth. If the final number is positive (i.e. larger than $0), congratulations! On the other hand, if you net worth is less than $0, at least you know where you stand, and have no where to go but up.
We will be talking about money, financial management, and making 2014 all about financial abundance during our Twitter Chat next week.
For more information and inspiration, connect with at Kara @thefrugalfeminista and her site The Frugal Feminista.