Mastering The Financial Implications Of Injury

When you suffer at the hands of an injury, or some kind of ongoing illness, there are many ways in which it can affect your life. Obviously enough, there is the actual injury itself - nobody wants to experience pain and suffering of this kind, and health is one of the most important things in life. But something else which you need to take into account when you are injured is your financial life. Your money is affected by such circumstances too - especially if it is a particularly bad injury and you are looking at a potential loss of earnings as a result. With that in mind let’s take a look at some of the financial implications of a serious injury - and how to master them.

Mastering The Financial Implications Of Injury

Your Entitlements

In a situation such as this, you often find yourself thinking in the negative about it all. This is fair enough, as it can seem like there is nothing good to come of it. However, this might not be the case if you are clever about it. The truth is, when you suffer an injury or this kind, there is a good chance that you are entitled to certain financial benefits. These can come in a variety of forms, but among the most common and popular is that of compensation. To see if you can claim some compensation, you will need to find some legal help after an injury. As well as compensation, you should remember to look into whether or not you are entitled to any legal benefits. Chances are, there is something you can claim - and you will want to make the most of it if you want to get out of your present situation as well as possible.

Your Income

One of the worst things about a serious injury is that you might suffer a loss of income. When this happens, it can add an inordinate amount of stress to an already upsetting and stressful situation, so make sure that you look into your options as soon as possible. You might be able to make a deal with your employer if you are careful about it, such as receiving a percentage of the normal sick pay for a term. Alternatively, or additionally, you could consider finding alternative income streams for the short-term. This could help to keep you in a good position until you are able to return to work.

Your Family

Something which might be of help is your family and your friends. With any luck, they will be able to give you a hand with your finances, no matter how bad things might have become. If you are keen for your friend and family to help you, then make sure you are not afraid to ask. Don’t be embarrassed, if you can help it, and be sure to pay back anything you owe at a later date. As long as you do that, you should find that it is no problem at all for the people who care about you.

The Cure To Costly Medical Bills

We all want to maintain our health. But what happens if you can’t afford to? Thankfully there are lots of options out there for those that are sick of high medical bills, certain to keep your bank balance staying healthy.

Make use of company schemes

Company insurance schemes can be some of the best out there. If your employer offers such a scheme, you’d be daft not to buy into it. Some company schemes can allow a certain amount of free medical spendings a year through FSAs (Flexible Spending Accounts). Even if you never need to take an emergency trip to the doctors, this allowance can still come in handy allowing you to load up on household supplies such as band-aids, baby products, antihistamines, paracetamol and other medicines that may be available through the scheme. In many cases, prescription glasses and contact lenses can be available through such company schemes. Even if you don’t need corrective vision yourself, a family member or friend may be able to benefit from this scheme.

Medical Bills

Avoid big brand medicine

If you need prescription medicine, don’t automatically opt for the big brands. There are many medicines out there that are likely to have exactly the same effects, having gone through the same testing methods – they may just not be advertised on the TV or be as widely available due to being a small manufacturer. Shop online for such medicines and see if you can save money. You can also try alternative medicines such as holistic and herbal remedies with less serious conditions. These will often be much cheaper and could have similar healing effects.

Join a Farm Bureau

Farm Bureaus are associations set up predominantly for farmers that can be found in every state. You don’t have to be a farmer to join, and such groups often have great financial perks, one being the possibility of massive discounts on medical bills. Like an insurance scheme, you will have to pay a regular fee to be a member, although it’s much less than a medical insurance scheme. Check first that your local Farm Bureau offers such a scheme and if so, consider signing up.

Get money through legal compensation

There are various instances in which you may be eligible for legal compensation, which could cover medical bills. Personal injury lawyer firms such as harrybrownlaw.com specialise in offering such services. Times when you could be eligible for cover include car accidents and workplace accidents that weren’t your fault, medical negligence (such as misdiagnosis or an operation that could have been handled better) and defective prescription drugs. There are also other cases where you may have been billed incorrectly by medical staff or an insurance company. If you have any doubts, ask a lawyer who can confirm whether you have a likely case and should pursue action.

Raise your deductibles

Most insurance schemes will allow you to offer a deductible cost. This is the amount of money that you are willing to pay out of your own pocket for any medical bills before your insurance company has to pay anything. By raising this amount, your insurance rates will dramatically drop. Be careful of offering to pay more than you can comfortably afford. Try to set up an emergency fund that can cover such an eventuality – keep it safe in another account to stop you from touching it.

Certain accounts such as Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings accounts can have their perks when it comes to taking out an insurance scheme. FSA’s can allow you up to five hundred dollars’ worth of spending money that in some cases rolls over into the next year, allowing you to save up money on medical bills. HSAs work similarly but can be carried with you from job to job.

Use an advocate

Advocates are largely used to help with difficult medical decision making, in which a party may not be able to make the decision for themselves. However, they can also be used to help negotiate incorrect medical billing or to find cheaper solution to expensive medical treatment. If you are financially struggling and are in need of medical treatment, using an advocate might be your best option for getting the care you require within your budget. There are all kinds of advocacy groups across the country that can be contacted by phone or online – some may even be able to offer free advice if this is all you need.

Selling A House Quick Isn't Impossible

If you know someone who has sold a home in the past, or you have done it yourself, you know that it can be a painstakingly long process. It can take you a long time to get any bites on the market, to negotiate and finalize a sale, and then to wait on all the necessary paperwork. But it doesn’t have to take you an age and a half to get rid of a property. The right prep work is going to see you out of that house and enjoying the funds reaped from it a lot sooner.

Get the legal ball rolling sooner rather than later

In case you weren’t aware, you’re going to need a lawyer to see through the sale of a home. There are many who don’t know this going in and they’re going to get everything set up and ready to go only to realize they don’t have the paperwork to make it legal. If you look for a lawyer to process a sale late in the game, you’re potentially adding weeks if not months of waiting time. Make sure you have your lawyer at the ready from the start of the selling process and that anyone buying the home is just as ready to go.

Selling A House

Know who’s going to buy it

It’s worth identifying the people most likely to buy a home so you can hone your approach in terms of selling it to them. For instance, if the location is close to a school, then you’re going to get more bites from families. To that end, your listings and how you find buyers should be geared at targeting families first and foremost. If you’re having trouble finding anyone to buy the house, however, and you’re asking yourself “who can buy my house quick?” it’s worth getting in touch with some companies that can help you find the answer. Housing agencies, home-buying companies and the like can guarantee a quick sale when you’re having trouble finding the market for your property.

Know what they’re looking for

It’s not just about who you sell it to but how you sell it as well. One of the reasons your home might not be getting any interest is because you’re not paying enough attention to what they want. Think about what you want to see from a house. If your home needs some investment in giving it a better outward appearance or improving the amount of space, then that can add some huge appeal to it. But if the house is already worthy of a sale, it might just be that you’re not advertising it as well as you could be. Make sure you include flattering (but not misleading) pictures and details in the description of your listings. Underselling a home is an easy way to hold the whole process up.

Sometimes, waiting on a better deal is the best course of action. However, when you need a quick sale, there are always options to get one. Hopefully, the tips above help you shift the house without too much waiting around.

The Surprising Ways That Being Honest Makes You More Money

Throughout history, people have tried to make money dishonestly. Take Bernie Madoff for instance. Back in 2008 it emerged that he had stolen more than $65 billion from his clients in a series of bets on the stock market which all came crashing down when the financial crisis hit. Madoff went to prison for what he did. But when some people heard the news that he’d made billions of dollars, they were a little jealous. Even though the money had been made by screwing over thousands of people, many people looked at what Madoff had done and thought to themselves: “I wish I could have gotten away with that. I would have cosmetically altered my face and then moved to Brazil.”

business plans

But the truth is that dishonesty rarely pays off in business. Not only did Madoff steal a huge sum of money, but he also failed to keep any for himself. Everything he stole all went back into funding his scheme of lies and deception. Ultimately, Madoff lost everything: a cautionary tale for anybody thinking that they can get rich by being a crook.

Honest is more important than you think. Here’s what to do.

Make Others Look Good

Some people who find themselves at the top of business like to attribute their success to their own efforts. But honest people realize that most of the reason they are in the enviable position that they are in comes down to the effort of the people around them.

A good businessperson needs to apply the Pareto rule: 20 percent of their success comes down to their own skills and abilities; 80 percent is the result of the work done by other people. Everybody wants to be perceived as special, but it’s important to make sure that the people who really do the work and get you to the position you are in are properly recognized. If they’re not, then they won’t work hard to further your individual ambitions.

Be Honest About Who Is To Blame

Successful people aren’t “yes men” or “people pleasers.” They look at reality and objectively determine who is to blame, rather like a personal injury lawyer. If they are to blame, then they’ll take the rap, even if it is damaging to their future career prospects. If they’re not to blame, then they’ll vociferously argue to the contrary and make sure that blame is directed in the proper direction.

If you’re a stock market investor, then it is ultimately your decision where your money goes, even if you employ a money manager. If your portfolio loses 20 percent of its value in a month, you might be tempted to blame your broker. But ultimately, you are the person who chose that broker and need to accept it if you’re going to make better decisions in the future.

Give Credit

People like being appreciated. In fact, they like it so much that they’ll usually go out of their way to help you. Showing appreciation is free, but in return, you’re likely to get rewarded with things like pay rises, promotions, and better business connections.

Before Filing Bankruptcy, Consider These Solutions

When you’re faced with overwhelming amounts of debt it can be fairly easy to want to get rid of it. Naturally, bankruptcy is an option that could give you the “fresh start” you need. Although filing can minimize your debt and give you more time to repay them, bankruptcies can haunt you for years. Preventing you from being able to obtain things like a home, car, or personal loan, filing for bankruptcy can have a negative impact on you financially for 7 to 10 years. So how does one avoid it?

1.  Negotiate or Settle with Creditors

Creditors are willing to work with customers who have delinquent accounts. Why? Because they’re trying to cut their losses and collect what is owed to them. So, before you file bankruptcy, reach out to your creditors to see if you can negotiate a settlement amount for your outstanding debt. Usually, they will remove some of the fees so that it is a smaller amount owed. This way you avoid bankruptcy and they can retrieve some of their losses.

Filing Bankruptcy

Once you’ve agreed on a settlement amount, you can then apply for installment loans online. This allows you to pay the settlement amount to the creditor right away and gives you more time to repay the loan. Obviously, this should only be an option if you have a job and can afford the payments in the loan agreement.

2.  Sell Your Home or Assets

When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your home and all your assets are up for grabs as a means to pay off your debts. Why not skip the whole bankruptcy process, the negative mark it will leave on your credit report, and just sell your home yourself? If your home will generate a profit, sell it and rent instead so that you can use the money from your home to pay down the debts. Don’t own a home? Sell your car and use public transportation for a while. Or sell some of your unwanted clothing, jewelry, or electronic devices.

3.  Tighten Up Your Budget

Sometimes, we think we can’t afford things because we’re not properly managing our finances. Small expenses add up to a lot of missing cash. Before filing bankruptcy, take another look at your spending and budget. Have you really cut back in all the areas you can? Maybe you need to make more sacrifices.

For instance, maybe you have to make your coffee instead of grabbing a cup every day. You might need to ditch cable and stick to free streaming services like YouTube to watch shows and movies. You may need to downgrade your cell phone package. Really evaluate your spending and pinpoint the areas of weakness so that you can begin correcting the behavior. If you can’t seem to find the weakness, consulting with a financial advisor is ideal as they have a third party opinion that you may not have thought of.

4.  Generate More Income

At the end of the day, if you don’t have enough money there are ways to make more money. The internet is filled with ways to make cash fast so that you can increase your income and get out of debt faster. Answering surveys, doing customer service work on the side, writing product reviews, and even reading emails and reviewing websites can bring in cash fast that you can apply to your debts so that you don’t have to use your regular income for it.

There are circumstances in which filing bankruptcy is the only answer that you have. However, because bankruptcy is a serious decision that can have a lasting impact on your financial future, it is imperative that you’ve considered all other possibilities first. Should you find that you still cannot generate enough money to afford your debts, be sure that you work with a bankruptcy attorney to get through the filing process.

Why Smart Customers Are Switching Their Savings Accounts

How long have you had your savings account? If you’re like the majority of Americans, you’ve had it for as long as you can remember, and probably only chose it because it was the same bank as your checking account. Yet, as competition increases between providers, customers can often benefit from sweet bonuses for switching.

When You Should Think About Switching

If you're stuck with a miserable interest rate, chances are your savings account is barely working your money any harder than a regular checking account. It’s easy to put the cash aside and forget to check how much it’s earning you, but you could be throwing money away by not doing so.

Savings Accounts

It’s a good idea to check that your current bank won’t charge any severance fees, although some joining bonuses run into hundreds of dollars and often outweigh any such costs (if they do exist at all). Bank savings account promotions can be found here, so you can check the latest offers on the market.

Many customers also put up with lousy customer service or haven’t thought about new benefits such as great mobile apps with other banks, and so looking into what’s available is well worth it.

Don’t Have a Savings Account Yet? Here’s Why You Should

According to financial site ValuePenguin, as many as 27.3% of Americans don’t have a savings account. If you can put even a small amount of your monthly earnings away, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your nest egg can build up.

The U.S. Census Bureau states that in 2013 the average family income in 2014 was $73,298. If even 5% of that were put into a savings account, there’d be almost $4,000 tucked away each year, which could easily create a comfortable cushion to fall back on in emergencies.

This makes planning for the future that much easier, too. Many families could afford to put aside much more than that, and the cumulative effect will begin to make your savings snowball into ever-increasingly large figures. Hey, you may find watching your money grow quite fun!

Make Your Switching Plan

Thankfully, switching savings accounts is often a lot simpler than doing so with a checking account, because you’ll very likely only have money going into it. Direct deposits and automatic bill payments don’t usually come out of savings accounts, so the only thing to bear in mind will be changing the details for any automatic payments that go into the account.

Many banks make the process seamless though, so be sure to ask if any switching can be done for you. In any case, the combined benefit of a cash bonus and better savings rate can make switching well worth it in the long run. Thankfully, switching can usually be all done online or over the phone, so you won’t even need to leave the house to start increasing your savings power.

When it comes to something as important as personal finance, it’s important not to be ignorant of what’s available and to check what benefits you could be eligible for, to be sure your money is working hard for you.

8 Steps To Your First Home

1. How much deposit will I need to save before I can buy a house?

The first, and most difficult, step all first time buyers need to take before they start viewing properties is to save for a deposit.

8 Steps To Your First Home

A good rule of thumb is that you will need between 5 and 20 percent of the cost of the home you want to buy. For example, if you want purchase a property worth £100, 000, you’ll need to save at least £5,000 (5%). 

The more you save, however, the better your options will be when it comes to choosing a mortgage. 

2. Can I afford the monthly repayments?

The most important thing of all to consider is whether you can afford to keep up with the mortgage repayments. 

It’s a wise idea to sit down before you start and use a mortgage affordability calculator to work out what you can afford. 

Lenders are strict and will run background checks on your financial circumstances and history as part of the application process, and you’ll need to show clear evidence of your income and outgoings.

3. What other costs will I incur?

Monthly mortgage payments are not the only costs to consider when buying your first home. 

Others include, but are not limited to solicitor’s fees, surveyor’s fees, removal costs, and Stamp Duty (in Scotland the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax). 

If buying an older property, you may also need to consider the costs associated with redecorating. 

4. Are there any schemes to make getting on the property ladder easier?

The government underwrites numerous schemes to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder. These include but are not limited to affordable housing and shared ownership schemes. As ever, it’s best to do as much research as possible. 

5. How do I find a mortgage? 

With so many options to choose from, choosing the right mortgage deal can be difficult. Your personal financial circumstances will shape the decision you make, but seek out the advice of expert mortgage advisers and brokers before signing anything. 

6. What’s better: freehold or leasehold? 

The majority of houses are freehold - meaning that you own the property and the land it sits on outright. However many flats or apartments are leasehold, which means you are buying a share of the freehold. Again it is best to seek the advice of property specialists. 

7. What’s the application process? 

Whatever you decide, your lender will first of all want to know you can afford to meet the repayments.

You’ll need to provide evidence of your income, outgoings, and a list of any debts you have as well as household bills. 

If you’re self-employed, you could be asked for tax returns and to show your business accounts.

8. What if I’m rejected? 

If you are rejected, you might want to consider approaching a close family member or guardian to see if they would be willing to act as a guarantor - which means that if you default on the repayments, they will be liable to pay instead.

You’ll need to talk to a mortgage adviser to see which lenders offer mortgages on this basis. If you were rejected because of bad debt, again, your options will wider if you address these before applying to any lender.

Preparing For Monetary Mayhem

Everyone wants to have secure finances. The idea of having your money safe and sound while you go about your business is a dream that many strive for. But, this sort of peace is impossible with so many threats looming over the bank. Thankfully, though, it’s possible to deal with these threats; making sure that they have as little impact as possible. It will take some work. But, in the end, it will be worth it. To help you out, this post will be going through some of the ways that you can secure your money without having to do loads of work.

Preparing For Monetary Mayhem

Insurance

When it comes to sudden loss, one of the biggest threats is accidents. When you cause an accident, whether it be on the road, at work, or anywhere else; you’re responsible for making things right. This will usually mean paying out to the other people involved. And, this can have a huge impact on your finances. Having the right sort of cover will help you here, though. Most people will only insure their car. But, it can be worth having other aspects of your life insured, too. Having legal cover in place will usually cover the costs of any compensation or legal fees you have to pay. And, some will even help you after the fact, too. Finding a good company like this will take some research, though. So, you need to be ready to put in some work.

Legal Help

Insurance will only get you so far, though. Once you have the money to pay legal fees; you need to find someone to represent you. Choosing the right lawyer in incredibly important. It can mean the difference between having to make huge payouts or pay nothing at all. So, the money that you spend on a good lawyer will be very much worth it. A representative like www.mbpersonalinjurylaw.com can be a great start. But, it’s worth looking at as many options as you possibly can. Different lawyers will specialise in different areas; so, it’s important to choose the right one for your particular case.

Savings

There are loads of ways to make sure that you have protected your money for when things get tough. But, nothing beats simple saving. One of the best ways to make sure that you have enough money in the future is by saving enough for it. Saving money can be hard. So, you will need to be hard on yourself with it. But, once you have some money saved up; you’ll be able to sleep easier at night. And, you won’t have to deal with issues as they come, because you’ve already dealt with them.

Hopefully, this will inspire you to start working hard to make sure that your money is safe. Life can change at the drop of a hat. And, you need to be ready for it. With so much unrest in the world, it’s hard to predict how money will go. So, now could be the best time to start preparing for disaster.

What To Do With A Big Fat Windfall

We all dream of getting a windfall. For many, it remains a dream, but for some of us, life throws us a lucky break.

Perhaps you won the lottery. Perhaps you got a settlement. Or perhaps you sold an old vase you found in your attic for millions on Etsy.com. Whatever it is, all of a sudden you’ve got loads of money and no idea what to do with it.

What To Do With A Big Fat Windfall

Facing the dilemma of what to do with a large chunk of money is an envious one, but one that you must face bravely. Here are some popular approaches to dealing with a sudden, massive wad of cash.

The 3-Pocket Approach

Karen Altfest is the vice president of a financial planning firm based in New York City. Her advice for people who suddenly come into a lot of money is to use the 3-pocket approach.

The three pocket method is exactly what it sounds like. Altfest says that people should put their money into three pockets. In the first pocket, they should put enough money to pay down anything that needs paying down. That might be a mortgage, auto debts or kids college fees.

In the next pocket, she says that they should put the money they need to save for the future. For instance, money for your next car or retirement.

In the third pocket, they should put any money leftover to spend on what they want. This could be for a holiday or something special that they’ve always wanted but could never afford, like a kitchen.

Build Up Your Savings

David Jones is a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. Over the years, he’s witnessed thousands of people fall foul of debt and get themselves into all sorts of problems, financial and otherwise. His advice for anybody who has received a windfall is to immediately squirrel some of it away - $10,000 at least, he says. The next step, he says, is to use the rest of it to pay down debts. Given that 47 percent of people are living paycheck to paycheck, most have outstanding debts that need to be cleared.

Some people don’t have any debts. For these people, Jones suggests putting the extra cash into a money market fund. Money market funds are low risk, he says, and offer a balanced return across a range of assets.

Take It Slow

Settlements can win people a lot of money. Just visit https://www.ColoradoInjury.pro for more information. According to that site, they can easily top $8 million. Because that’s such a large amount of money, it’s often best to take things slowly at the beginning. Lynnette Cox, the author of Debt Zero: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom, says that it’s best to take little baby steps. The first thing she advises people do is to find a financial advisor. Financial advisors can help people to do long term financial planning and get their finances in order.

Next, she urges people to give themselves time to rest. Many people end up splurging on one investment or another without giving themselves time to think through whether that’s the best thing to do.

It’s also important, she says, to make a plan for dealing with money requests. Sometimes it’s hard to say “no” but it's essential, if you don’t want to wind up supporting people forever. She says that a plan helps to create a buffer between you and your friends and family. Sometimes intermediaries who can respond to requests can help.

Be Honest About Your Weaknesses

Everybody has areas where they are financially weakest, according to Gail Cunningham, the chief spokeswoman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. And so when they receive a windfall, she says that they should focus on these areas first. One common financial weakness is the mortgage. Leading up to the financial crisis in 2008, many homeowners took out the biggest loans that they could. When the interest rate went up, they could no longer afford to pay the mortgage payments and the entire mortgage market went up in smoke. Many wound up foreclosing on their homes, simply because they hadn’t built up enough equity. Cunningham says that people need to use windfall money to bolster their finances in these situations. Overpaying the mortgage is an excellent way to avoid interest rate hikes in the future.

Save Your Windfall

When most people get a windfall, they want to spend it straight away. But that might not be the best strategy, according to Larry Winget, the author of The Idiot Factor. He says people should do three things when they come into a lot of money: save, save, save.

It might sound like boring advice, but with the right investments, a big chunk of money can produce a handsome income for things like retirement. Once you’ve saved the money for your retirement, you never have to think about pensions again.

What To Do If You’re Already Loaded?

Even if you’re loaded, many experts recommend you save most of your windfall income. Wayne Bogosian, a man who writes books about saving for retirement, says that people should obey the 80/20 rule - save 80 percent, spend 20 percent.

The cool thing about Bogosian’s rule is that there are no restrictions on how to spend the 20 percent. You can spend it how you like, he says. He does recommend, however, that people living in America aim to max out their IRAs and 410(k) plans because of the tax savings.

Do Home Repairs

What’s the most valuable thing you own? Besides your own body, it’s your house. Ron Phipps, the president of the National Association of Realtors, says that people who own their own property should reinvest some of their windfall money into doing them up. Investing in your home, he says, can help bolster its retail value and give you a much higher standard of living.

Once you’ve finished with all the repairs and installing a new kitchen, he says people should spend the money on something that they’d really enjoy, like a spa.

Start Investing in Stock

The younger generation are more likely to be risk-averse. According to a study, the young-guns hold 52% of their savings in cash and only 28% in stocks. For the previous generations this cash to stock ratio was in reverse, 23% in cash and 46% in stocks. The millennials need to understand the primary rule of the game that is to invest aggressively now, while you’re young, as you’ve a long time horizon that will allow you to recover from any losses, so you can reap the compounding benefits of growth.

Learn about the different types of investments

If you’re a newbie to investing in stocks, get the lay of the land first. Browse through some magazines, read some basic books, research on the internet, join an Investing 101-type Meetup group, glance through the Bogleheads forum on the web, it’s specially catered for do-it-yourself investors.

Stock market

Invest in a broadly diversified portfolio of low-cost ETFs and index funds

If you keeping your costs low, it’s surely going to reap higher returns. Gradually over time, miniscule percentage charges and/or small fees add up. For a middle class family, this will consume almost one-third of the investment returns, this data is according to a study published by the public policy organization ‘Demos’.

Don’t try to beat the market but participate in it

In an effort of trying to beat the market, young investors frequently underperform not just the market, but also in the investments they choose, because they buy and sell at less than optimum times.

If you want to try investing in stocks, put aside a minor percentage of your portfolio and be prepared to lose it all

Once you’ve got a great start, you should have an investment advisor or financial planner who will give you advice that’s in your best financial interest. When you meet your planner, discuss with him a percentage that you can safely set aside for stock investing purposes. This amount of money should be expendable and shouldn’t be required to achieve your goals.

Follow these pointers if you’re planning to invest as that is a right thing to do. For a young generation, savings is essential and investing in stocks is one of the best options to go for.

Help Your Friends In Financial Difficulty

For a lot of us, we know all too well what it is like to struggle for money and having to live frugally, while not being able to buy ourselves treats or even splash out on things which we have always wanted. Unfortunately, being strapped for cash is an all too common problem which affects a lot of us. Some people come to the conclusion that it is just a matter of life, and is simply something which happens to us all but we do not necessarily have to live our lives struggling for money if we organise our finances well. Some people can find it difficult to manage their money as that is just an aspect of their personality, or they have never been educated properly in money management. We all know someone who, once payday comes around, splurges their cash on unnecessary items or spends all their money on paying off bills which they have accumulated from using too much gas, water or electric. We all know someone like this, as these people can be our friends or these people can actually be us. If we do know someone who struggles with money, or has financial problems, then it could be beneficial for us to help them. Especially if we have gone through money troubles and now know how to manage our finances much more frugally.

Help Your Friends In Financial Difficulty

When a friend is struggling with money, it can be a difficult time for them as they may not be able to afford aspects of life such as being able to go out and socialize, pay for decent food for which they can provide meals for their family, and could also be struggling with paying off debts for bills. It is well known that money problems can be an instigator of many mental health problems, so it is important that we - as friends - do our best to help our friends and advise them on how to manage aspects of their financial life so that they can benefit.

If a friend is struggling with their financial situation because they have no experience in researching the best utility providers for them (such as gas, water, electric), then you could give them some guidance in how to research the best deals. If you have a good deal with a company, you could recommend that company to your friend. When a recommendation occurs, a lot of companies do give the person who gave the recommendation money off their next bill or vouchers to spend at popular public outlets such as coffee shops, supermarkets, restaurants, so you will not only be helping your friends but will also be helping yourself in some way.

Or, if your friend is struggling with debt simply because they have not allocated enough cash for the month so that they can pay off those bills, or if they have had to take a pay cut or have had to lower their hours in their job, you could advise them to contact Money Expert debt advisors who can provide guidance and advice on a range of debt problems. Or, you could help them manage their money better by sitting down with them and looking at what it is they need to buy exactly every month, and what things they can take a cut on buying because it does not benefit them in any way.

When it comes to knowing your friend well, you should take into consideration as to whether they have helped you out in the past when money has been tight for you. You should think about this because if money is tight for your friends, then there is a good chance that they are avoiding social situations as they do not want to pay for things when they are out and are trying to save money. If money has been tight for you in the past and your friend has helped you out, then you could think about helping them out by inviting them for a drink or a meal and offering to pay for anything that they want. Your friends may feel embarrassed about this, but if you were to reassure them that it is your treat and that you do not really mind about paying for the evening, then there is a likelihood that they will feel much more secure about you paying for their things. Offering something like this is the mark of a good friend, and when your friend is doing well with money again they are likely to return the favour.

Can You Give Your Personal Finances a Boost by Changing Your Attitude to Money?

Are you sick and tired of your poor financial situation? It’s a situation that many people find themselves in. But you don’t have to feel down about it for too long. It’s much wiser and better for you if you take action and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Sometimes, changing your overall attitude to money is one of the best and most powerful things you can do.

Changing your entire way of thinking about your money is easier said than done, however. There are many ways in which you can improve your attitude toward money. Most of them begin with being more aware and attentive to your financial situation. If you just expect things to fall into place for you, you’ll never get very far at all.

investing your money

Below, you will find details of many of the things that you should do if you want to change your attitude to money and give your overall finances a boost. Start reading them now and make the most of the ones that are applicable to you.

Understand the Power of Your Attitude

Your attitude does have an overall impact on how you manage your money and how financially secure you are. This is the very first thing that you should understand and accept when it comes to changing your attitude to money. You’ll never make that kind of big change unless you completely believe in the power that change can have. It’s a simple case of getting in the right mindset before the real changes start. So, start by thinking about what your current attitude to money is and why it has to change. Then you can imagine the direct implications of those changes.

Be Honest with Yourself Regarding Your Attachment to Brands

Are you one of those people who always have to have the latest brand products? Well, if you are, you should have a think about why that’s the case. This could be the best place to start when it comes to changing your attitude to your money and spending habits. Make yourself try some of the cheaper and better alternatives out there, and see if those cheaper, non-branded products are actually any worse than the brands you’re used to. You might find that you’re able to spend a lot less each week and each month by purchasing those alternatives.

Take Responsibility for Your Situation

Taking responsibility of your financial situation is another step that you should try to take as early on as possible. If you don’t do this, you will simply find that you keep going round and round in circles. You can ‘t keep blaming other people for mistakes that you are making by yourself. When you do manage to take full responsibility, you will start to feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders, and that’s always a really positive feeling to have. So, make sure that you face up to your situation and own it, no matter how bad it is.

Stop Paying Attention to What Other People Are Doing

Too many of us care too much about other people and how they’re doing compared to us. But if you are constantly trying to compete with your friends and neighbours, you will end up spending more than you can afford to. Life’s not a competition, so stop trying to keep up with trends and buying things that you think make you start out. This kind of hyper consumerist attitude won’t bring you happiness, but it could certainly lead you down the path to financial ruin if you’re not careful. Pay attention to your situation and don’t worry so much about other people’s.

Don’t Make Constant Credit a Part of Your Budgeting

If you are one of those people who are reliant on credit to get you through the month, this should be one of the things you change. It’s not just about taking concrete actions either. A lot of it comes down to the mindset you have when it comes to budgeting and borrowing. If you ask me, you should aim to get back to basics as soon as you possibly can. By making that happen, you can make sure that you only spend the money that you actually have available to you. Eliminate credit from your mind and don’t even consider it as an option. If you only spend what you have, credit won’t be necessary anyway.

budgeting

Take an Interest in Your Financial Ups and Downs

The ups and downs of your finances always happen for a reason. By spotting trends, you can make sure that you understand the reasons for your own mistakes. You can then make sure that you experience more of the ups and less of the downs throughout the year. It’s something that you should definitely try to keep in mind as you aim to change your attitude to money. You’ll be surprised how much you can change simply by being aware of your own shortfalls and mistakes when it comes to money management. This is something that you should be paying attention to right now.

React to Situations; Don’t Just Accept Financial Struggles

When you’re having financial problems, make sure you react to them. Being alert and aware of your financial situation will put you in a better position to sort things out and keep your books balanced throughout the year. Simply knowing what’s going on with your money will help you to spot problems as soon as they arise. And when you do that, you can contact the necessary people and make sure that you get to the bottom of the problem as soon as possible. Don’t just accept things that are thrown your way if you think they’re unjust in some way.

Don’t be Afraid to Fight for the Financial Assistance You’re Entitled To

If you think that you are entitled to some form of financial assistance, then make sure that you get it. There is a significant number of people out there who are entitled to help but never actually take it. For example, you could be entitled to some form of social security support. You should make sure that you make the most of this and accept it if you’re entitled to it. And if you’ve been wrongly denied it in the past, you can get help from a social security disability attorney. They will aim to help you get what you’re entitled to.

Get in the Habit of Comparing All of the Options

There are so many options out there when it comes to choosing what you spend your money on. Whether it’s car insurance or your internet service provider, don’t just be happy to stick with the service that you’ve already got. If you want to do the right thing and save your money, you should get into the habit of comparing all of the options that are open to you. That way, you will be able to ensure that you always get the right deal

Take Seriously the Idea of Investing Your Money

Investing your money is not something that you have to do, but it can be a good move. Most people don’t invest their money. Instead, they just let it sit in a bank account. But what is that bank account actually doing for you? Interest rates are at record lows, so your money won’t be doing much growing, even if it sits in that bank account for decades. That’s why, at the moment, it makes a lot of sense to invest your money in some stocks and shares. You can use a fund if you don’t want to do the investing yourself.

Stop Viewing the Future as Something That’s Far Away

You need to plan for your financial future if you want to stay financially stable and achieve your goals. This is something that far many people don’t do just because they see the future as something that is way off over there in the distance. But the future’s coming at you fast, and you need to be prepared for it. So, start thinking about your retirement fund and how you can improve it before that time arrives. You will want to be able to live comfortably when you eventually do enter retirement, but that will only happen if you start taking action now.

Don’t Leave Changes Until Tomorrow

It’s so easy to put things off until tomorrow, but if you keep doing that, you’ll never change a thing. So, change your attitude to action. Rather than those actions being things that you will do tomorrow or next week or next month, take action right now. There is nothing stopping you from taking immediate action if you really want to change your situation. Stop being that person that wants to make changes but never actually does so. There are already enough of those people out there, so make sure you’re different to all them.

Now that you know a bit more about the importance of your attitude toward money, start enacting the advice above. It could be one of the best things you ever do.

Steps To Become A Property Millionaire!

When someone mentions “buying real estate”, the first thing that probably jumps to mind is your own home. While buying property has this very clear practical benefit, it can have an important role to play in your portfolio as well, especially as a hedge protecting you from the fluctuations of the stock market. Although property investment has become very popular over the past few decades, it can be a lot more complicated compared to things like bonds and equities. If you’re about to take your first few steps into the property market, it’s essential to approach it in the right way. Here’s some of our best advice for becoming a property millionaire…

Target Apartments, Rather Than Houses

Property

Talk to anyone with some level of experience with property investing, and they’ll tell you that apartments tend to generate greater returns than houses. There are various exclusive benefits to buying a home, or foregoing brick-and-mortar property and looking into land for sale instead. However, when it’s a simple question of ROI, apartments always make better buy-to-let investments than houses. If you have a budget that can stretch to purchasing a two-bed two-bath apartment, then this can also be a very smart move. Yes, a second bathroom may sound unnecessary when it comes to apartments, but the more flexible any property in your portfolio is, the better off you’ll be.

Learn to be Patient

Before you jump into a property investment, it’s essential that you take the time to weigh up all the pros and cons. Making money from your property investments is a long-term process. If you want good returns, you should never put yourself in a position where you’re forced to sell. Far too many newbie property investors will jump on a property as soon as they hear a sales pitch from the developer or owner. Be sure to talk to some local agents, and do your own research, before signing any dotted lines.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

egg basket

Just like trading stocks and shares, a diversified property portfolio is going to be much more likely to weather all the turbulence of the market than one that isn’t. Don’t put yourself in a position where you’re relying on one bold gamble to generate returns. Yes, the potential for returns in that beach house may be very tempting, but if it lets you down, it’s good to have a little student property that you can fall back on. Put all your eggs in one basket, and you’ll live to regret it.

Keep an Eye Out for Ways to Add Value

One of the most effective ways to make money out of a property investment is to actively add value to it. Even seemingly small-fry purchases can prove to be incredibly lucrative. For example, if a maisonette above a shop doesn’t look too appealing, but there’s potential for an attic conversion, then you should dig a little deeper. Flexibility for adding value to a home isn’t always obvious, so make sure you’re keeping an eye out for long-term opportunities.

Learn to be Tax-Efficient

You’re never going to make your fortune from a property portfolio if you’re paying more tax than you have to. There are a lot of different ways to minimise your tax bill, and you should be leveraging all of them if you want to achieve as much capital growth as possible. If you’re married, take steps to ensure that all the rental income you draw from your portfolio is divided between you and your partner in the most tax-efficient way possible. You should also look into maxing out your savings through tax-deductible purchases, for example furniture.

Take Advantage of Local Knowledge

When you’re looking to add to your property portfolio, spotting a bargain from miles away is never easy. In many instances, you should be looking in your own backyard for property that’s so generously priced that its value can only go up. Aside from these homes and apartments being much easier to spot, you’ll already have all the important information about transport links, schools, crime and so on. It will also be a lot easier to keep tabs on tenants than it would be from another town.

Find Partners Who You Can Trust

Unless you’re a DIY wizard, have a law degree, and can manage your finances like a professional, you’re going to need at least a little help with building up a good property portfolio. The partners in your property investment mission should be people you can trust, with a lot of expertise in their field. It’s a big mistake to think that you can be successful in property investment on your own. Finding the best contractors, lawyers, accountants and so forth is essential for maximising your profits, and giving yourself a certain peace of mind throughout the complex processes you’ll come across.

Target Young Professionals as Tenants

If you want to pursue a high-income investment strategy as a means of building a seriously valuable portfolio, then young professionals are the people you should be targeting as tenants. Go for high-quality, low-cost accommodation for professionals who are fresh out of university. When you can attract the right tenants, converting a single-occupancy property into one for multiple occupation can breed significant capital gains. You’ll be able to cover the cost of refurbishment easily, with a lot of money to spare. Furthermore, you’re much less likely to get problem tenants!

Look Out for Urban Gardens

If you’re investing in a built-up urban area, then it’s important to remember how much people value a bit of fresh air. When you look at capital cities around the world, particularly London, properties with some kind of outdoor space, even if it’s just a small patio, will be worth a lot more than properties without it. The difference can be as much as 20%. While you should always look at the other typical screening factors when checking out available properties, it’s essential that you don’t go by neglecting the potential for growth in gardens and outdoor spaces.

Stock Market: Beginners Guide

With shares and gold being the most sought after investment arena for Indian investors, how can a novice invest in shares? People will suggest you a lot of things when it comes to the stock market. Several words will be thrown around and you won’t understand any of these technical jargons. It can be tough for a newbie to enter in the world of stocks and shares, as this entire market is a maze and if not guided correctly can result in you being lost forever. To simplify the entire process, following are 6 important steps you need to keep in mind when you get started with stock market investments:

1.Get a PAN Card 

A Permanent Account Number (PAN) card is a basic requirement for entering into any financial transactions in our nation. This unique 10 digit alpha-numeric number is assigned to all the individuals by the Tax authorities of India. PAN is required in investing in mutual funds, filing Income Tax returns, opening a bank account etc. and it’s also required if you want to invest in shares. 

Stock Market

2.Get a Broker 

You can’t directly go to the stock exchange and buy/sell stocks or shares, there are certain authorized people to do this job and they are known as brokers. They can be individuals, companies and online agencies that are licensed by Securities and Exchanges Board of India (SEBI). 

3.Get a Trading and Demat account 

After hiring a broker, be it an individual, online agency or company, you now need to open Trading and Demat accounts. The Demat account is used to hold the shares or stocks that you’ve purchased and it will reflect in your portfolio. The selling and buying of stocks or shares will require a Trading account, usually your broker takes care of this. Trading and Demat account should be opened simultaneously as one without the other is useless. 

4.Depository participant 

There are two depositories in India – Central Depository Services Limited (CDSL) and National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL). The shares stored in electronic form are managed by these two agencies. This too is taken care by your broker but you need to know about this nevertheless. 

5.UIN for large amounts of money

Unique Identification Number (UIN) is required if you want to trade for INR 1,00,000 or more at a single time. It’s only required if you plan to invest large amount of money, not required for regular investors. 

6.Buying and selling 

You need to inform your broker about buying or selling shares, if you’ve subscribed to an online agency then read their ‘how to buy shares online’ section in their website, you can login to their online portal and buy or sell shares otherwise call up their customer care number if internet is not accessible. Keep a track on the stock or share market price and invest smartly, the more knowledge you gain about this market, the more beneficial it’s for you in the long run. 

They Prey On The Old

Everyone wants to keep their elderly loved ones safe and secure. Of course, life is usually far too busy to dedicate a lot of time to family members in this situation. And, they don’t want to see you throw your life into looking after them. So, a lot of people end up having to leave their loved ones in the hands of a business. In most cases, this is absolutely fine. But, in others; things have gone slightly wrong. It’s not easy to see how someone could prey on an elderly person. It happens, though. So, you need to be extra aware.

They Prey On The Old

In most cases, nursing home abuse or neglect is the fault of a single person. They will be doing things behind the backs of other works. And, they will eventually get caught. In other situations, though; whole companies have been behind this sort of behaviour for a variety of reasons. In the past, examples of physical and verbal abuse have been recorded in nursing homes. And, medication has been abused so that residents get ill. Of course, this sort of activity is completely illegal. And, nobody would want to see their family members in this position. It’s quite often that family members won’t speak out about these things. So, you need to be constantly aware of their condition and mood while they stay in a place like this.

It’s hard to see why someone would deliberately neglect or abuse an elderly person. Especially when their job revolves around looking after them. But, this behaviour isn’t unique to nursing homes. We also see it in prisons, too. A great example of this is the Stanford Prison experiment; which was used to explore the effect of perceived power on students. In this experiment, it was found that people will mistreat their peers at great length, just because they can. Over time, this sort of issue will develop and become much worse. And, this is exactly what we see in nursing homes. Of course, most of the people perpetrating these acts also have other issues; but, this doesn’t excuse it.

Most people see this sort of behaviour as incredibly wrong. These people have a responsibility to look after the people in their charge, And, instead; they abuse them. If you or a loved one have experienced this, though; there’s help that you can get. Cases like this are taken very seriously by courts. And, with the help of a company like Strom and Associates, you can make sure that you get represented in a way that reflects the issues your loved ones have faced. It’s important to get professional help with something like this. Otherwise, you could find that you don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to the dispute.

Hopefully, this will give you a good idea of what needs to be done if you want to fight back against abuse in a nursing home. This sort of issue can be very emotional and hard to deal with. So, it’s important that you get the right sort of help where you can.

Understanding Business Payment Gateways in SME Banking in India

These days, several individuals opt for e-commerce websites to make various purchases. Furthermore, they use debit or credit cards to pay for their purchases. This results in the need to bridge the gap between the banks and the e-commerce vendors.

Understanding this need for connecting banks and online sellers, several service providers developed payment gateways. These gateways are used by not only large e-commerce vendors but also various home-based business owners.

Working of payment gateways

When an individual purchases any item online, he uses his debit or credit card or Internet banking to make the payment. The e-commerce website provides this information to the payment gateway service provider. In the case of a net banking transaction, the service provider directly engages with the buyer's bank for the collection of the payment. 

Business Payment Gateways

These gateways are also used by Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) owners. When the SME owner inputs the bank and card details to pay for his purchase, the e-commerce website transmits this information to the gateways. Once the service provider confirms the accuracy of the details, the payment is made from the user’s account to the seller’s bank account.

The entire procedure comprises several steps. Here are eight steps involved in the working of the payment gateways.

1. The buyer places an order on the e-commerce site and this information is transmitted to the seller’s server in an encrypted format through a Secure Socket Layer (SSL)

2. These details are then sent to the concerned gateway

3. The gateway service provider, in turn, transmits this information to the merchant’s bank

4. The merchant’s bank then sends these details to the credit or debit card issuer

5. The issuing bank replies to the gateway confirming or declining the payment; in case the transaction is declined, the issuing bank also provides a reason

6. This reply is forwarded to the merchant’s server

7. An encrypted format of this response is sent to the buyer confirming the order placement

8. At the end of the day, the issuing bank credits the approved amount into the merchant’s designated account

Although there are many steps involved in an online transaction, the entire procedure is completed within a few seconds.

Here are the two main types of payment gateways in India:

1. Hosted gateways

Such a gateway directs the online users away from the vendor’s website. The customers are redirected to the gateway’s page to complete the payment procedure before returning to the e-commerce site. A major advantage of such gateways is that sellers do not need a Merchant ID because confidential details are not required from their websites.

2. Shared gateways

The buyers are taken to the payments page without leaving the vendor’s website. A form is used when the users click the payment button. Users need to input their card or the Internet banking details on this form maintained on a secure server. On completing the payment, the buyers are taken back to the main page. The payment process through such gateways is faster and user-friendly.

Merchants may choose from a wide range of such gateways for payment. Here are three factors business owners must consider before making their decision:

1. Pricing

Most of the gateway service providers levy a per-transaction fee. Some of them charge a monthly usage fee. Searching for a gateway that charges reasonable fees is recommended to ensure the transactions are cost-efficient and affordable.

2. Automatic billing support

Businesses that offer paid memberships to users for accessing content or subscriptions must work with service providers that provide automated payments for recurring transactions. If they do not work with such a gateway, the customers will have to manually complete the transaction each month, which may be inconvenient to them.

3. Purchasing procedure

It is recommended that online vendors evaluate the appearance of each of these payment gateways on their websites. Furthermore, they must determine the ease of using the service provider’s platform. Merchants must consider the total number of steps their buyers will have to undergo right from placing their order to receiving confirmation of a successful payment. This ensures customers do not quit mid-way because of a long purchasing procedure.

To get an idea of how the entire process will work, business owners may ask the gateway service providers to show them a demo. Moreover, reading comments, testimonials, and feedback provided by past users of the gateway will also help businesses make an informed decision.