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Monthly Archives: September 2017

Debt Consolidation

Consolidation combines all or some of your debts, such as credit card debts, into a single bill with one easily manageable monthly payment. Rather than paying multiple creditors each month, you would make a single payment to the consolidation company who would then distribute it to your various creditors. The consolidation company may be able to negotiate with your creditors to reduce monthly balance, eliminate late fees, lessen monthly payments, and reduce time frame in which the debt will be repaid. These changes could possibly save you money over the long term.

It is advisable to determine how much you owe prior to applying for consolidation. The first step is to list all of your creditors and how much you owe each one. Also include the monthly payment due for each creditor. This process of evaluating your debts may help you to determine how much you owe in total and what you can afford for a loan payment if you do consolidate.

Consolidation is one option to eliminate or reduce your debts. Consolidating your debts into a single monthly payment may enable you to manage your debts more effectively by allowing you to concentrate on this single payment rather than several every month. Additionally, it is much easier to maintain one payment than several payments all with different due dates. This may reduce missed or late payments, which in turn could improve your credit score over time.

Debt may be consolidated either with or without a consolidation loan. Many companies that specialize in consolidation may offer packages to manage your debts without requiring you to take out a loan. They will make arrangements with your creditors to have your interest rates lowered and manage your payments for you. These companies generally charge a fee for their services.

Secure consolidation loans are another option to help manage your debts. If you are a home owner you may also wish to consider an equity loan. Equity loans use the appraised value of your home and other capital to obtain the financing you require.

Borrowers are advised to research consolidation companies carefully. While there are many reputable consolidation companies available, there are also some that are less reputable. Be wary of any companies that make too many promises that do not seem realistic. One way to ensure that you are about to deal with a reputable company is to contact the Better Business Bureau. If there have been complaints issued against the company you are considering, you will be able to obtain that information there. You may also be able to determine how many complaints were issued against them and why.

Identity Theft Protection

Identity theft has become one of the most widespread crimes in the United States. Hackers are becoming more capable than ever to tap into highly secured information. Sometimes they only have access to credit card numbers. The assailants can use these stolen credit card numbers to buy items fraudulently. In situations where all information is available, the crimes can range from opening new credit accounts, draining bank accounts of all funds to filing fraudulent tax returns. All of these activities can affect the victim’s credit and put the victim in a compromising position without access to money for bills or even not able to apply for credit for their own benefit.

It seems identity thieves are always one step ahead of the latest internet security programs and unable to solve the most complex of encryption. However, since this crime these types of crimes are happening more often and to larger databases, most financial institutions have systems in place to protect the customers. Constantly upgrading and improving the security on their systems is one of them. Large companies used keep quiet about something within their operations failed. Now, threats are so prevalent that these large institutions make announcements and take preventive measures for their customers when they find out that their databases were compromised. They may also monitor accounts for suspicious transactions, issue new credit cards, start a new account for you, among other things. Some institutions will offer complimentary identity theft protection for a limited amount of time.

Identity theft protection is like insurance for your identity. If someone falls victim to this sort of crime, having protection in place can give them peace of mind. These services can offer benefit such as reimbursement of stolen funds, monthly credit score monitoring, spyware/malware protection while you’re shopping or paying bills on the internet, legal coverage, use of a credit restoration specialists, generating suspicious activity reports and much more. Identity theft protection may have seemed frivolous twenty years ago, not now. Living in the information age, it is important to protect the most valuable information you possess, your identity. Crimes continue to evolve just as technology does. Having identity theft protection has become just as important as car insurance and homeowner’s insurance. Every protection plan is not made equal but having some coverage is not having any.

Financial House Cleaning

Whether it be daily, weekly, or at the very least monthly! Because between you and me, bottom line, it’s not getting done very well now! So it’s very practical, yes, even logical, to spend a few bucks to enlist the help of a professional to help tidy up a few things around the house on a regular basis. Just think, with that small monthly, reasonable expenditure taken care of, I can now add more or less to my daily “to do list” of activities. My quality of life could dramatically improve, less stress, guilt, back pain, etc… This makes perfect sense doesn’t it? But do I really want someone seeing my underwear on the floor! I can get over that, for some peace of mind! But can I afford it? I can probably make some adjustments here and there but where?

Right then, I came to the realization that not only did my house need some upkeep, but my financial house needed some foundation work as well! There were a few cracks that needed to be fixed. And we all know that a solid financial foundation must be in place in order to build a strong financial house on it. Now I find myself back to square one, who has time for finances! I would rather do housework for crying out loud! At least I can see the results of my hard work! Money just seems to disappear like my socks in the dryer! I need a vacation just thinking about all this!

You had to mention vacation didn’t you. Isn’t it funny how we spend hours, even in some cases days, weeks, months planning our much needed vacation. Yet, that one or two week time frame is just a millisecond in the grand spectrum of our entire lives. We all need to put more planning effort in our financial house, so we can take that permanent vacation (retirement)

It doesn’t matter how much dirty laundry we piled up, or how much we make now, or how much or little we have set aside for our future, the time to start planning is not tomorrow, but now. So how do you get started, how can this be accomplished?.

One way to start this financial house cleaning search is to obtain a “financial needs analysis,” this is the first step in the process of putting together a personal financial house cleaning strategy. Like a good house cleaning, we all could use a little help cleaning our financial house as well and it does not cost anything to have your house inspected and recommendations made.

Right then a horn blast woke me out of the temporary nirvana of house cleaning bliss, the light had changed and it was back to reality, back to the hustle and bustle, but I did manage to catch up to the car with the house cleaning placard, and jotted down their number. It’s also time to find the number of a good financial house cleaner as well.

Power of Time Make Rich

Take a moment to think about what is most important to you.

Now, what small actions have you taken that kept you from achieving these goals?

What different small actions could you have taken that would have helped you achieve your dreams?

It is those positive small actions that will get you towards those financial goals.

And the power of time.

The way you improve your fortunes is to take small positive steps. Just save a bit more every month. Nothing drastic. Just a little bit more than you’ve been doing.

The same goes for debt. Just pay a little bit more every month.

That little bit extra for one month doesn’t make a huge difference. But over 12 months you’ll notice a massive improvement with your finances.

You see, saving a bit extra every month means there is a little bit of extra money that can be invested to work for you. It is the power of compounding. Every little bit extra that is saved can earn a bit more money. This will magnify over time and work in your favour.

Debt works the same way. Paying a little bit more means the next month you pay less in interest, allowing your next month’s payment to pay more off the debt. These payments compound to help you pay off your debts much faster.

Time is now working for you rather than against you.

Look, I know I am probably not telling you anything you don’t already know about money. I’m sure if you could pay more off your debts or save a bit more you would be doing it.

I get it.

But I wanted to remind you that this doesn’t have to be complicated and that there is not one magical step that will get you where you want to be financially. It will take many small steps.

Now, to give you a boost and to help you change your habits, I want to make you aware of the opportunity to use money you already earn towards these goals.

You see, everyone one, myself included, spends money on a whim that could be used to improve our overall finances.

I call this The Financial Black Hole.

It is the money that is spent, usually based on an emotional decision that makes very little impact on your life.

In fact, you will likely completely forget what you spent your money on within 24 hours.

Now, it is impossible to destroy The Financial Black Hole completely, but it is very possible to shrink it down dramatically.

It just takes learning to control those small negative spending decisions. The method that works best for me and those I help with cash flow planning is a Weekly Spending Allowance. Naturally, by cutting out those negative spending decisions you now have extra money that can go towards saving for retirement, vacations, a car, starting a business or any other dream you have.

It can also go to eliminating your debt faster.

With the power of time and controlling your Financial Black Hole, you’ll have more money than you ever thought was possible.

It just takes small steps. And time.

David Field is a financial advisor and a Cash Flow expert in Oakville, Ontario with expertise helping professionals and families better utilize the money they earn to fuel their goals.