All Articles Tagged "Personal Finance"
It goes without saying that paying your bills — and paying them on time — is critical to good personal financial maintenance. But in our efforts to pay our bills and take care of other matters, it’s possible that someone falls through the cracks. You.
Putting money to the side for yourself is a critical money management step that people often overlook until something goes down. Then, having a little extra money to cover the expense is needed. Part of the reason a lot of people don’t have this money set aside is the sense that it’s a daunting task that will require thousands of dollars. Not true says Black Enterprise.
“[T]here is no reason why you cannot save $20.00 per payday,” the site writes. “ If you did this every pay day, within a year that $20.00 would amount to $520.00 (assuming you get paid every other week) that is a great start to saving for a rainy day.”
Of course, saving a few thousand dollars is a good idea. But having something for an emergency should be your baseline. For more about paying yourself, just in case, click through to BlackEnterprise.com.
Our last Facebook chat with the Double Saving Divas tackled a variety of issues having to do with budgeting, saving, and personal finance. Here’s a quick summary of nine of the topics we tackled.
We host Facebook chats with the Double Saving Divas twice per month. Don’t miss the next one! Besides their regular articles, which appear on the MN Business site, we also send reminders on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with the latest!
A new study by personal finance content producer Bankrate.com finds that just over half of Americans have more emergency savings than credit card debt. Only 55 percent of Americans have more emergency savings than credit card debt. This is up slightly from last year’s study that found that 54 percent of Americans had more emergency savings than credit card debt. The figure was 52 percent in 2011, according to a press release.
According to another survey that was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, Americans are feeling barely more financially secure. Among the highest-income households (income of $75,000 per year or more), all five components — net worth, job security, savings, debt and overall financial situation — all declined. Nearly half of all Americans have just $500 in the bank, as we recently reported.
Setting up an emergency fund isn’t that difficult. Here are a few steps to take, according to About.com’s Frugal Living column:
1) Decide how much you’d like to save. How much you would need to have tucked away to feel secure?
2) Calculate your monthly expenses. List all of your regular monthly expenses — housing costs, food, utilities, debt repayments, transportation costs, insurance, and all your “must-pay” bills. “Then, total your monthly expenses, and multiply the resulting figure by the number of month’s that you chose in step 1. For example, if you need to cover $2,500 in monthly expenses for three months, you’ll need to set aside $7,500 in your emergency fund,” explains the website.
3) Put this money aside in a separate account.
Another option is using the “60 Percent Solution” we wrote about. Under this savings theory, you use only 60 percent of your income to live on (cutting out any expenses that go over this amount) and you set aside 40 percent for savings. We think the savings plan is a little easier than chopping away at your monthly expenses this way, but whatever gets the job done for you is the best path to take.
With so many people struggling to make ends meet, prepaid debit cards have risen in popularity. The problem is, these cards have big fees.
“There are initiation fees, maintenance fees, and paper statement fees along with payment inquiry fees and don’t forget the fees on theses cards to reload with your own money range from $3.95 to $5.00 every time…” Black Enterprise reports.
However, these cards have become one of the fastest growing forms of electronic payment, up 20 percent with more growth expected in the int he next year.
Besides the fees, there are other reasons why these cards aren’t good for consumers. Click through to BlackEnterprise.com to learn more about prepaid debit cards and some of the pitfalls of their use.
Can Using Social Networks Help Blacks Get Loan Approval? New System Checks Out Social Media Data For Credit Worthiness
Some high-tech startups have come up with a way to determine your credit worthiness using not only your financial data, but your social media profiles. The conclusions are drawn from things like whether you “shout” in all caps online or never bothers to capitalize at all; how many friends or connections you have; and if you are the type to fire off negative or racist commentary.
“On a public forum like Facebook, it’s like talking in public,” Navin Bathija, founder and CEO of Neo told Time magazine. Neo evaluates car-loan applicants (with their permission) based not only on traditional lending metrics but on the strength of prospective borrowers’ professional networks on LinkedIn.
According to Bathija, if you have a robust network you’re more likely to repay a loan. If you have a big network combined with a solid employment history it not only means you probably have the means to pay back a loan, but with more connections, you can find a new job if you’re laid off from work.
Neo is working on a way to determine how racist tendencies on networks such as Facebook correlates with a lack of creditworthiness. “The theory goes like this: People who express racists beliefs online probably vocalize them in the real world, as well. In the workplace, this could lead to conflicts with co-workers, clashes with suppliers or customers, and even legal trouble,” explains Time.
There are other companies like Neo offering similar data analysis, such as a startup called LendUp and ZestFinance, which is a lending site that uses a mashup of “Google-style machine learning” and “Capital One-style credit scoring” according to its website, to yield default rates 40 percent lower than comparable services that target under-banked Americans, explains the magazine.
This method of determining loan repayment potential might benefit African Americans, who are often penalized on loan applications because of low credits scores. Minorities, immigrants, and young people it is theorized “would no longer be penalized by a lending system that takes a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ approach.”
Of course, if you’re posting crazy things on social media, your troubles could continue.
Tax refunds help Americans in more ways than one. Instead of spending on shoes, clothes and other frivolous items, many Americans are looking forward to their tax money being spent on bills, past due payments and their families, especially with the economic outlook of 2013 and its impact on American spending. Even the IRS has been having trouble keeping up with the influx of tax return requests, asking taxpayers to give them more time to complete filings, which could slow down your refund.
There are about seven weeks left until the final April 15 deadline. But with so many people getting a jump, it’s not too soon to give some thought to how best to use that refund. Find better ways to spend your tax dollars this season, and even get ahead for next year’s tax season, with these wise tax season purchases and investments. You’ll be glad you took the time (and money) to do so!
In 2010, NBA player Lorenzen Wright was shot to death and his decomposed body was found in the woods southeast of Memphis. His ex, Sherra Robinson Wright, who had just divorced the NBA player and was a suspect at one point, received a $1 million life insurance settlement 14 months after his death. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, she has spent $973,000 of that in 10 months, reports Black America Web. Here’s how she burned through a cool mil: $32,000 for a Cadillac Escalade; $26,000 for a Lexus; $69,000 on furniture; $11,750 for a New York trip; $339,000 for purchase and improvement to a new home: $7,100 for a pool deposit: $5,000 for lawn equipment; and $34,000 on legal fees. You can’t do anything about legal fees, but that $7,100 doesn’t even cover the whole cost of the pool!
She’s not the first person to waste a large lump sum of money fast. Don McNay, blogging on The Huffington Post, quotes a National Endowment for Financial Education report that found that 70 percent of those who receive a lump sum, from any source, run through it in a few years.
Need another example? New York Knicks center Eddy Curry, who found himself in debt though he had a $60 million contract. He spent $6,000 per month for a chef, $16,000 a month for an allowance that he set aside for friends and family, and had a $570,000 personal loan he was paying off that carried an incredible 85 percent interest rate, says the Sports Fan Journal.
“Lump sum windfalls come in many forms: a legal settlement, insurance payout, or an inheritance. Instead of spending frivolously, use a lump sum to improve your family’s financial future,” says Toni Husbands of Debt Free Divas, financial coaches helping men and women address common money struggles.
Here are nine tips on how to manage a financial windfall.
Everyone is looking for great advice when it comes to careers and personal finance. Always. In the African-American community, there are several super-smart bloggers who have figured some things out and are willing to share the wealth, figuratively.
Looking for a new job? Want to branch out and start your own? Having trouble saving money or getting into investing? Check out these nine blogs and hopefully you can learn about something new.
Whether a job cut is expected or unexpected, it can be a harsh blow. Rent is due on the 1st, the car insurance in due on the 2nd, and possibly baby number three is due in a couple of months. When the unexpected happens and your financial lifestyle is threatened, it could be unnerving, leaving you feeling powerless and and fearful for the not-so-distant future.
Don’t feel trapped by the binds of finances and money. Prepare better for unexpected financial situations that could put you in a bind, like unemployment, children or a sudden rent increase with a few of these money-tightening techniques.
Many of us get so busy with the hustle and bustle of everyday life that our insurance policies typically get overlooked. Now’s the perfect time of year to take a look at all of your insurance policies such as auto, health, life, and homeowners in particular. Here are a few key pointers to keep in mind while reviewing each policy.
Health Insurance: If you are covered by an employer’s plan than typically you have one time of year where you can update or make adjustments to your insurance policies outside of a family life change such as birth, death, or marital status change. “Open enrollment,” for most, takes place in the fall, towards the end of the year. Therefore, any changes you make will take effect starting the new calendar year.
Plan ahead and review your current plan’s premiums, co-pays, out-of-pocket expenses, and annual deductibles. Compare them to other plan choices and possible increases for the next year if possible. Be sure to read each option carefully, weighing the pros and cons because your health plan choices can impact your take home pay tremendously.
Also, contact your benefits department to see if they have a health and wellness program for their employees. Many employers are adopting these programs to help encourage a healthier lifestyle. Extra incentives and cost deductions may be applied to your health insurance just for taking part in your company’s health and wellness program.
Life Insurance: Most people are under-insured when it comes to life insurance. Sit down with a specialist to review your policy at least once per year. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 10 times your annual income in life insurance coverage. This can allow your family to pay for college education, mortgage, funeral expenses, and other necessities to name a few. The aforementioned healthier lifestyle can be a cost savings to you. The higher health risk you are, the higher in cost for your coverage. There is not a “one size fits all” when it comes to choosing coverage. They will ask you questions and have you fill out a questionnaire to see what coverage fits best for you and your family.