Financial Planning at Every Life Stage

Just like there are four seasons in a year, there are different seasons of financial planning during your lifetime. Financial planning can help you can gain a better understanding of where you are at financially, how to prepare for challenges that may be ahead, and how to plan for where you want to go.

Of course, every situation is unique, including the age and circumstances under which you begin implementing a financial strategy. And what suits you at age 25 is typically different from what meets your needs at age 55.

In a nutshell, the stages include:

· Building assets

At the beginning of your career, your financial focus is typically on accumulating your assets. Your ability to earn income may be your most valuable asset, so investing in your career is critical. It’s also important to establish an emergency fund, build your personal savings and pay off student loans.

· Investing for the future

When you grow more successful financially, you will increase your discretionary income. During this stage, you’ll start planning and saving for future goals, such as a child’s college education and/or a comfortable retirement. Make sure you have a well-balanced and tax-diversified portfolio to provide potential growth opportunities.

· Planning for retirement

As you near retirement, planning for it often becomes your financial priority. Begin by thinking about your retirement goals and dreams. Then, create a detailed plan that will help you get there. You’ll want to make sure you have the flexibility to take income in tax-efficient ways that will enable you to continue your lifestyle and be prepared for the unexpected in retirement.

· Generating retirement income

Once it’s time to enter retirement, begin implementing your retirement plan and enjoying the assets you’ve accumulated. After a few months, reevaluate your plan and make adjustments so you stay on track.

· Leaving a legacy

As you become older and more financially secure, leaving a legacy becomes paramount. Legacy is about the impact you’ll make on people, charities and causes that are important you. It’s also about making sure you have the right beneficiaries in place to protect your assets.

Of course, there is some overlap in each of these stages. For example, you may take steps to get the right protection in place while laying a foundation to grow your assets. Or you may take retirement income while planning ways to transfer your wealth.

Regardless of the stage you’re in, it’s important to make sure that your legal and financial documents are properly structured to ensure the most efficient and effective transfer of your assets – including property, personal belongings and investments – in the event of your death. Doing so can give you the added peace of mind that comes from knowing your family is as financially stable no matter what happens.

Financial Planning Tips For Couples About To Start A Family

Couples, especially newlywed ones, would usually enjoy a bit of financial windfall for the first few months or years of their marriage. This is mainly due to the fact that two people are now sharing the expenses on food, utilities, and other expenditures. There are also more opportunities for couples to save money since they have lesser expenditures to pay for.

This happy situation can easily turn sour though when couples are expecting their first child. With this new bundle of joy come various additional expenses that parents will sometimes find it hard to cope with their financial needs and even adjust their lifestyle.

Couples, though, don’t need to find themselves broke simply because they are expecting or already have their newborn baby. Below are some useful financial planning tips couples about to start a family can follow:

Start living a simpler lifestyle.

It is not unusual for newlywed or childless couples to have date nights once or twice a week wherein they have dinner at a fancy restaurant and give each other lavish gifts. They will also go on vacations abroad once or twice a year because they want to get some rest and relaxation and because they “deserve it”. Unfortunately, all of these will have to change or even stop once a couple is expecting a baby. All the money you will save from these activities or events can go to something more important like payment for the hospital bills, medicines and vitamins, diapers, and other expenses that come before and after the baby’s birth. The last thing you want to happen is to be covered in debt just because you are expecting a baby. You can avoid this problem by living a simpler lifestyle once you know that you are expecting.

Anticipate your expenses.

Make a list of all your anticipated expenses. These include hospital bills, doctor fees, maternity clothes, birthing classes, and necessities for the baby (a crib, stroller, feeding bottles, blankets, etc.). Then, calculate the total. You now have to rework the budget you and your partner are currently on to include this cost. Expect that there will be expenses that have to be added in the future but don’t fret; you will be able to figure them out as you go.

Increase your emergency fund.

If you already have a safety financial net, you and your partner or spouse should now work on increasing it. Financial advisors recommend having six-to-nine months of living expenses set aside in case of job loss, which can become more of a problem if one spouse is at home on childcare duty. Look at your budget again and figure out how much you can afford to put into an emergency fund after all the basic necessities are covered.

Top Ten Financial Mistakes Young People Make

Most young people dream of becoming financially independent and even rich by the time they are past middle age. However, most of the time, this depends on a host of factors, the most important of which is how financially responsible they are. The issue of financial responsibility is unfortunately very difficult for many young people to grasp, and this in turn means that they may not have a chance to put their financial life in order when they are young. There are a few mistakes that most of them make, and which often have a negative impact on their finances. Some of these include:

Not making full use of discounts

These days it’s very easy for one to use discounts to buy various goods and services. For instance, you could go online to get coupons and then use them to buy whatever you need at a much lower price. However, the problem is that most young people don’t think much of such discounts. The fact that the nominal value of each normally seems very small usually makes such individuals think that they won’t save much anyway if they used the discounts. However, this is essentially faulty reasoning, since regular use of such discounts has beneficial effects on long-term finances.

Improper use of credit cards

Most youngsters also have a difficult time using credit cards and other forms of credit. For instance, they might fall into habits of not paying off the bills on time, which could end up ruining their credit scores. This is not a good thing when you consider the fact that they do this from an early age, which means that when they reach middle age they usually have very bad credit scores. This in turn means that it would be difficult for them to get loans or other forms of credit at friendly rates.

Not getting a hang of budgeting

When you need to take control of your finances, one of the most basic yet important skills you can have is how to budget. However, most young people don’t do this right, and this means that they end up having a hard time later on. With the advent of Internet Technology and the use of apps, budgeting should be very easy to do today compared to the past. The fact that economic times are harder today compared to in the past also means that most young people have more to lose by not budgeting properly, so this is something they need to keep in mind.

Not assessing limits when getting credit

In life, it’s usually necessary to get a loan or mortgage to buy something of very high value such as a house or a car. In fact, it’s better to do this when you are young, since it means that you will have enough time to pay off the debt before you get too old to enjoy your investment. However, one problem that most young people make is not applying for such things in the right manner. For instance, they might not adequately figure out how much of a debt they can handle, and then end up chewing off more than they can swallow. This often leads to problems such as difficulty in paying back the debts.

Not keeping in mind the fact that little things do matter

Some habits count as little things, and these tend to add up over time. For instance, there are some people who make a habit of drinking coffee regularly, even if it’s evident that they would still be able to function without it. Most of the time, this is done with the idea that this habit is not very expensive. However, the costs of these little habits can add up, and with time you may end up spending a huge chunk of your income on them. It’s therefore best to take even the smallest of expenditures wisely, especially if they are regular.

Not having an emergency fund

Whenever problems that need urgent attention crop up, most people who don’t have emergency funds to handle them end up having a difficult time handling them. In some cases, they might have to borrow money at exorbitant rates in order to deal with them. Making sure that one has an emergency fund for such occurrences is wise, and ultimately cheap as well.

Using automatic payment systems

Using automatic payments seems like a good idea. The fact that they get deducted from your account automatically means that you need not focus on some of these recurring bills, which is a good thing for a busy young individual. However, some of these payment services cost money, and there are times when you may end up over drawing your account as such costs eat into your deposits. If you want to take control of your finances, it would be easier to set reminders to pay such bills manually.

Getting joint accounts

Most young people open joint accounts with their partners on a whim. However, this might turn out to be a source of trouble, since you may end up having trust issues and even having disagreements over how money is used. Before doing this, it’s wise to first iron out the fine details such as how you are going to operate the account, and who will be responsible for what expenditures.

Not understanding ATM fees

Most people draw money from ATM’s, and this might turn out to be a drain on resources if one does not understand how they work. It’s important for young people to minimize how much they spend on ATM fees, such as by always withdrawing from ATM’s of their banks, and also making sure that they minimize the number of withdrawals they make.

Having no long-term plans

In order to secure themselves, people need to have long-term plans, and also make a point of making such plans work. This is something that most young people don’t think of, mostly because they don’t find it necessary given how much time they have. However, this is an attitude that should not be used. Having long-term plans increases the chances of one being at a better place by the time they are at a more advanced age, at least in terms of finances.

Six Things You Should Do About Your Money

Money doesn’t just happen. You work hard to earn it and get the best from it. But if you’re not a good expense manager and too much of it slips through your fingers like dry sand, today is the day to think about things differently to change the rest of your life for the better.

1. Perk up your pension.

The pension climate is changing so much that many financial advisers don’t talk about pensions anymore; they talk about ‘retirement income’. Do you know how much you’ll have? With auto-enrolment putting people into company schemes up and down the UK, this is probably a good time to look into just what your pension pot will be worth to you when you get to retirement age. The government’s Money Advice Service has a really useful online calculator allowing you to get an idea of how much you might have when you retire. If you’ve done the calculation and find there’s not as much as you thought there might be, now’s the time to pay more in. The sooner you start, the larger your pension pot will be. Talking to an independent financial adviser can be invaluable.

2. Keep saving.

Living ‘hand to mouth’ with your money is fine – until something unexpected happens, like needing a new central heating boiler, a big bill on the car, or a sudden hike in season ticket prices for your commute. Putting a little bit away each month will cushion the blow when it comes (and it surely will eventually), but before then, you’ll reach the point where you have sufficient funds for a holiday without spending it all. The equivalent of a month or two’s salary is a good cushion to aim for.

3. Divide and conquer.

If you’re not a good money manager, and find you’ve overlooked a standing order the suddenly dips your bank account into the red, consider setting up a second bank account. Get paid into the first account. Add up all the monthly bills that go straight out from the bank, and leave enough to pay them all in that account. Include a little extra for the cushion we talked about. Transfer the rest into the second account. That’s what you have to spend for the month, so you’ll have a better idea of what you can – and can’t – afford later on, to stop you having too much month left at the end of your money. Sure, there might be lean times towards the end, but you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your bill are all paid, so you’re not going to get into arrears. Setting up the arrangement could hardly be easier. The bank will help, and you can make the transfer on a standing order so you never need to think about it again.

4. Fight the impulse.

So much is bought on impulse today. The thrill of the chase and the adrenaline rush of the purchase may seem less appealing if you decide later that you don’t really want, or worse still, can’t afford, your latest purchase. Never fear! If you still have the receipt, you can probably take back the expensive shoes and put the money towards the electricity bill instead. Who needs a pair of Kurt Geiger shoes anyway?

5. Count the pennies.

If you’ve done what we suggest in tips 4 and 5, you can build on that success by using money management apps on your smartphone to track the spending of funds in your second account. Simply key in the value of everything you buy and assign it to a category, then the clever app will do the money management for you by adding it all up. You can even photograph receipts or do voice recordings to record your spending. Expense management was never so easy! And what’s more, seeing what you spend will let you see if there are better (or more enjoyable) ways of spending your money.

6. Make a will.

This might be a tough one to talk about, but it could save your family a fortune in the long run. For example, if you’re half of a couple living together and one of you dies without having made a Will, the other may have no claim on funds you’ve saved together. A Will is the only way to issue instructions about where you want your money to go. And it’s not just about money; you may have things of great sentimental, or even financial, value that you want to go to specific people.

Secure Your Finances With Three Simple Actions

 

Millions of people do not understand how important it is to be financially stable. Financial stability does not necessarily refer to having a well paying job and a lot of money. In order to be secure, one has to know how to handle their monetary resources. You need to be able to determine how you will spend, save and invest your money. This will make sure that you are financially secure.

How to use your money

There are simple tricks you can apply to your life to ensure you are utilizing your money well. The three main elements are to make sure you can;

· Spend

· Save

· Invest

When you get your salary or profits from your business ventures, you must be willing to pay attention to all these three areas. The secrets to maintaining a constant structure that will ensure you are financially stable is by following the pointers below.

1. Budget

Always budget whenever you get your money. Be logical when you do so. Write down all your expenses and needs. When you budget, always indicate payments you have to make to insurance companies or loan payments if they are not part of your net pay. Once you have a clear picture of how much you are spending, you can now know how much to save.

2. Saving

Choose a savings account that will generate more funds for you. You may need to do some research before you settle for one. If you have dependents, you may want to put money aside for their needs as well such as tuition savings. Allocate your savings according to your needs.

3. Invest

Investing ensures that your future is secure. Once you have done your savings and budgeted well, make sure you take a leap of faith and invest your money in other ways. For instance, you can put some money into company shares.

For the sake of your family, you can also apply for insurance. Life insurance is the best since it covers both you and your loved ones. There are many options available for such insurance covers like new policies that offer life insurance without medical.

With these three factors in place, you can begin to take charge of your finances. In the event that you have extra money to spare, hiring a financial manager will ensure you keep track of all your expenditures. Be sure to prioritize in the first stages so that you meet your goals and live within your means.

Financial Planning – Create Surplus

My personal financial plan is the road map that navigates me to my dreams. Cash flow management always the first part of a financial plan. It is all about my income and expenses. It leads me to know exactly my yearly take-home pay and spending. It is not just about counting pennies, it allows me to plan for next year budget, create a significant amount of surplus and subsequently plan for my luxuries.

Surplus or savings is an amount left over when requirements have been met. It is a financial situation in which income exceeds expenditures. It might be used to pay off debt, save for future, or to make a desired purchase that has been delayed.

Increasing income with well-controlled expenditure effectively increases my savings.

Increase Income

There are active income, passive income and portfolio income. Active income is an income for which services have been performed. This includes wages, tips, salaries, commissions and income from businesses in which there is material participation. Passive Income is an income received on a regular basis, with little effort required to maintain it. It could be generated from rental activity or “trade or business activities” in which you do not materially participate. Portfolio income defined as income from investments, dividends, interest, royalties and capital gains.

Multiple sources of income help in increasing income. You may create your second active income by having a part-time job. Options could be tutoring, authoring, sales and etc. However, converting active income to passive income would be the challenge. Lastly, portfolio income could be created by diversifying savings into various types of investments.

Well-Controlled Expenditure

Increasing income with increasing expenses at equal amount does not help in increasing surplus. A budget plan plays an important role in determining how much to save and control expenditure. If you spend below budget, you would have surplus higher than expected. If you overspend, you would leave a smaller sum for saving.

Quotes by Warren Buffett:

  • on spending: “If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need”.
  • on savings: “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving”.

It is important to know the difference between what you want and what you need. Whatever not in your budget is not a need. Before any spending, please ask yourself: “Do I really need it?” If the answer is “No”, forget about it! There are more important goals waiting for you.

How to Invest Your Funds Smartly

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Starting a new business can be a very tedious task that comprises of several steps and decisions. Cost plays a very important role here. It is not a rarity to hear about the startups that start with a very positive sign to be closed down due to the lack of financial resources. So you should be very wise in spending your money if you really want your business to remain profitable in the long run. Here are some tips for the same.

 

 

Due Diligence

Before you decide to invest any amount you should know the returns it can fetch you. Many times the startups invest the funds lavishly as they are supported by angel investors. But when they fail to bring in the objected returns the rotations stops and they stop getting any help that situation is detrimental to the startup entities, so always make a plan before investing.

Be Miser

It is also important to invest as small as possible. To be precise instead of investing a large amount at once you can better break it into different parts and then invest in a strategic manner in different phases. You can have a projected returns on each phase. You can proceed only after realizing those returns.

Demand Value

You can also afford to spend more if you are getting a good value out of it be it in terms of performance, quality items or the reputation.

Have a Passive Income

Though you should avoid too much indulgence in passive income as it can act as a hindrance to our startup’s growth you can always have a certain amount invested in securities, stock market, real estate and other entities where you can get the passive income It will prevent you from getting boot strapped.

Pay Yourself a Salary

One of the best ways to keep yourself from being bankrupt or bootstrapped is start a habit of paying yourself a certain salary every month apart from the profits you earn. It will help you to remain profitable even in the unlikely event of your business faring badly.

Rope In Partners

Another thing that can make your startup run smoothly with adequate finds is roping in several partners. You can find out the business entities that belong to the similar field that you are working in. For example if your field is hospitality then hotels or travel agents can be an ideal partner. It will help you to get more funds.