Category Archives: Budgeting

How to Recover From Bankruptcy

Millions of individuals have filed for bankruptcy since its inception. This may come as a shock to many people who generally view bankruptcy as a state in which irresponsible individuals find themselves. Although bankruptcy occurs when someone is unable to pay their debts, there are a variety of circumstances and decisions which can bring about this unfortunate situation.

According to Investopedia, medical expenses, employment loss, excessive spending/misuse of credit cards, marital divorce, unforeseen financial emergencies, and more expenses than revenue are some of the most common factors which have prompted bankruptcy. In the best case scenarios, people would proactively take steps to avoid digging themselves into this hole, but the best scenario is not always the one which ends up playing out.

Thankfully, there is still hope and various ways in which people can recover and otherwise break free of the bondage that is bankruptcy.

Pinpoint Your Financial Habits Which Prompted Bankruptcy

Many great minds have stated that those who fail to learn from history and past mistakes are doomed to repeat them. This is especially applicable to financial habits and money-related decisions. As a matter of fact, U.S. News recommends people to evaluate their financial choices and pinpoint exactly what led them into bankruptcy. Someone who went bankrupt because of debts should actively seek out additional revenue streams. An individual who experienced bankruptcy due to an unforeseen emergency should be sure to habitually put aside funds in the event of unexpected expenses. Failure to prepare is, in essence, preparation for failure.

Make Payments with Cash or Debit ONLY

So many cases of bankruptcy can be traced back to people living way above their means and constantly swiping credit cards for things that they can’t afford. This type of reckless spending is extremely problematic and will certainly kill any potential for forthcoming financial gain and security. Therefore, making payments exclusively with cash or debit not only prevents excessive credit card use, but cash and debit payments furthermore motivate the individual to earn the necessary funds to cover their expenses.

Credit cards can be beneficial if the person exercises discipline and self-control. As a matter of fact, many companies have advised individuals who are recovering from bankruptcy to use credit cards. However, a person who still lacks the control to not swipe, swipe, swipe the card at every turn will probably do well to simply make cash or debit payments. After gaining some financial security and acumen, one can then look into applying for a credit card.

Relinquish Self Blame

Although taking responsibility for one’s actions is paramount, so is not falling into the trap of negative self-talk. Bankruptcy is not fun, nor is it an easy state to be in; therefore, many people can eventually begin to feel perpetually discouraged. This feeling will not change bankruptcy, however, excessive self-blame does have the potential to distract from steps that the individual could take as they work to improve their financial health.

Remember…getting knocked down happens to all of us, but the decision to stay down is entirely different. There is always room for self-improvement. It all begins with you.

 

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

Financial Advice for Immigrants

Many individuals who immigrate to various countries have experiences and journies which differ from natives. This is not to say that immigrants cannot be successful and prosperous; however, the playing field is somewhat different. Having the right information and the proper financial awareness always comes in handy. There have been countless immigrants who have been successful in their lives and endeavors after moving to new countries.

The following financial advice will furthermore ensure that more and more immigrants get to continue on the same path as those before them.

Be Open to Working Multiple Jobs

As documented by Mint Life, many people who emigrate to new countries may not be able to sufficiently meet their needs with one, singular day job. Thankfully, in this day and age, there are many options for people who are looking to diversify their income and revenue streams. In addition to working a day job, immigrants may also benefit from marketing their other skills within the freelance and gig economy. Platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer are amazing and can be great for immigrants to supplement their income. Some people even become so proficient within the freelance market that they are able to quit their day jobs and work full time within the gig economy.

Do Not Spend More Money than You Actually Have

One of the most critical factors for success is economic security and prosperity; this is especially applicable to individuals who happen to be immigrants. Therefore, immigrants should proceed with extreme caution regarding credit cards or even borrowing money from institutions which will certainly expect a return on the borrowed funds (coupled with likely, subsequent interest fees).

The Luxe Strategist strongly recommends immigrants to live within their means and abstain from spending money which they do not currently have. This means that immigrants who are struggling financially should seek legal means of increasing their income and not apply for credit cards or borrow money from banks or agencies.

Always Keep a Watchful Eye Out for Opportunities

One of the greatest things about immigrating to a new country is the plethora of opportunities which come with hard work. Giving one’s best effort and getting the job done is always important; simultaneously, immigrants should also keep a watchful eye out for the opportunities which may be around them. Opportunities could manifest as a potential promotion at work, a new client within the gig economy, etc. The specific possibilities will vary for different immigrants, however, the opportunities are always out there.

A Final Word

Never underestimate the power and efficiency of hard work. There have been many immigrants who have worked their way up and created amazing lives for themselves and their families. Anything is possible with the determination to succeed combined with the will to put in the work. Moreover, immigrants will greatly benefit from working multiple jobs, living within their means, and always keeping an eye out for opportunities which may present themselves.

There will be good days and bad days. Never give up. Always keep pushing forward. When there’s a will, there’s a way.

 

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

How to Financially Plan for a Startup Business

As the world of work changes, more and more people are taking steps to go into business for themselves. Sometimes this is done via freelancing, the gig economy, or simply by launching a startup company. However, making the right moves when launching a startup business is absolutely imperative and can be the determining factor in success or failure. One of the biggest and most common mistakes made by aspiring entrepreneurs is the failure to engage in full financial preparation. Thankfully, there are a series of steps that each person can take as they work to create or get their startup business off the ground.

Write an Excellent Business Plan

According to reports from Inc, having an understanding of the financial section of a business plan is paramount for any startup. This includes taking note of matters such as accounting, cash flows, profits/losses, etc. Essentially, the purpose of a business plan is to serve as a guide for how the entrepreneur will run his or her own business. Without a business plan, it is impossible to assess the structure of the startup and determine what is needed in order to turn it into a success.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs who are new to the world of business and startups remain unaware of how to write business plans. In these particular cases or situations, hiring a professional or accountant to help one come up with a business plan can be wise. Even though the added fee of doing so may seem initially scary, it is a worthy investment. The fact of the matter is that anyone who is serious about success and launching their startup needs to have a clearcut business plan. It is the only way. Going forth without one is a virtual guarantee for disaster.

Determine How to Manage the Day-to-Day Operations

Financial planning for any startup business is all well and good; however, management of the day-to-day operations is equally as critical. As noted by Startup Grind, the ins and outs of accounting play a very big role in whether or not one succeeds or fails in business. Thankfully, there are a variety of apps which can help with day-to-day tasks such as creating invoices and estimates, tracking transactions, generating receipts, managing payroll, pitching to investors, and more. The list, quite literally, goes on and on.

Some of the available apps to manage the aforementioned tasks (and others) include PlanGuru, Wave, FileThis, and CalcXML.

A Final Word

The intricate and required financial planning that comes with building a startup business should never serve as a deterrent or a cause of discouragement. While getting starting as an entrepreneur can be difficult in the beginning, the merits and rewards which come later are indescribable and immense. As automation and artificial intelligence begin to emerge into society, business ownership and self-employment will be some of the most lucrative ways to build a life and ensure financial and job security.

Putting in the work now ensures that entrepreneurs are able to reap the benefits later.

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

How to Financially Plan for Having Children

Having children is one of the most significant milestones in the life of any adult. In the best case scenarios, knowing that a baby is on the way can be very exciting and even a little nerve-wracking. However, without the proper financial planning, excitement can quickly become stress while nerve-wracking can morph into downright terrifying. This is why financial preparation for the newest member(s) of the family is absolutely imperative.

Understand that Children are Incredibly Expensive

Virtually everyone has heard the infamous phrase: “Kids are expensive.” Many people even believe it and rightfully so. However, hearing that children are pricey and getting a numerical breakdown of the associated, ongoing costs of childcare are two different things. The exact digits can help people understand the gravity of the costs which will definitely become real.

Anyone who is preparing to have kids needs to, at the very least, have an idea of the specific average costs. Thankfully, Discover thoroughly breaks down each facet of childcare and how much they amount to. For instance, the average annual expenses of raising a child within the first two years cost over $12,600.

This breaks down to the following average, yearly costs: $2,900 for education/childcare, $1,800 for transportation, $800 for clothes, $3,700 for lodging, $1,600 for food, $1,200 for healthcare, and $900 for various other expenses. Granted, these costs can be higher or lower depending on assorted factors, but nevertheless, the aforementioned costs provide an idea into how pricey it is to care for one child just within the first 24 months.

Have a Plentiful Emergency Fund Stashed Aside

An emergency fund is paramount for all adults; however, it becomes fifty times more critical when a baby is involved. The truth is that no matter how much money is carefully budgeted out, unforeseen costs have a way of arising, especially when babies are involved. According to USA Today, new parents are advised to save up to [at least] six months of living expenses in the event of any crises or urgent matters. Even after the arrival of the baby, the aforementioned emergency fund should not be touched unless it is absolutely necessary.

Ensure the Existence of Steady, Reliable Income

While budgeting and saving money are incredibly important financial planning steps for having children, the positive impacts are severely counteracted without the existence of steady and reliable income. This is why Money Crashers recommends for expecting parents to have ongoing pay and preferably an established position, particularly if one works in a company.

Each family has varying work situations and what is applicable to some parents may not be suitable for others. While each circumstance and career path is different, steady and reliable income is utterly paramount when starting and expanding a family.

A Final Word

Children are a blessing to any loving couple who is ready to grow as a family. The ability to enact strategic financial plans is guaranteed to make raising kids much easier and stress-free than it would be without any preparation. Understanding the expenses associated with children, maintaining a healthy emergency fund, and ensuring streams of reliable income will make a significant impact. Although the ups and downs of parenthood are unavoidable, even with the best of plans, following the foregoing steps will prevent many problems both in the short-term and the long-term.

How to Financially Plan for an Upcoming Trip

Wanderlust, also known as the strong desire to travel, is more common than some people might imagine. The truth of the matter is that the world is a very big place. There are many places to visit and an amazing plethora of things to see and do. While the upsides of traveling (such as learning, exposure to new, diverse cultures, etc) are well-documented, financial planning is absolutely critical, especially when a forthcoming trip is involved. Financial planning can often make the difference between a successful trip or a failed trip.

However, despite the paramountcy of financial planning, there are still many individuals who struggle with the involved technicalities. Thankfully, the following steps will prove to be helpful and answer many existing questions.

Start Saving Money Ahead of Time

Saving money prior to one’s trip is one of the most critical steps of financial preparation for any traveling excursion. According to Pocket Sense, individuals who are getting ready to go on a trip should start putting funds aside for food, shopping, airfare/transportation, lodging, and other travel-related expenses. In most cases, a monthly budget is best because it permits the person at hand to still meet their ongoing expenses, whilst stashing aside capital for their upcoming journey.

Remember to Stay on Track with Your Regular Bills

It is not uncommon for the excitement of forthcoming or current travel to sometimes serve as a distraction. Often times, the hustle and bustle of travel can engender forgetfulness about certain matters; this can be especially problematic when bills and other expenses are involved. Therefore, Quicken suggests setting up automatic payments which are linked to one’s bank account. This ensures that expenses are covered even during times of travel. Imagine the horror of coming home from an eventful, fun trip only to realize that the lights or heat have been shut off.

In this day and age, virtually every bill can be paid automatically. Automatic payments are especially applicable and recommended for persons who will be traveling for weeks or months on end.

Take Advantage of Opportunities to Reduce Certain Expenses

As a general rule, travel is widely regarded as a costly endeavor. However, taking a trip does not have to be as expensive as many people might think. In this case, it’s not about who you know; it’s about what you know.

First and foremost comes transportation. Nine times out of ten, travelers arrive at their desired destinations via plane. While airfare can be pricey, there are some ways to get around sky-high fees. First comes how far in advance the individual chooses to book their flight. Generally, purchasing airline tickets anywhere between six to four weeks in advance is wisest. Flying on weekends or holidays is often always more costly than buying a ticket during the week. As U.S. News reports, the Skyscanner app is an excellent tool for comparing airfare prices and getting the best bang for one’s buck.

Another opportunity to reduce travel expenses comes in the form of the Airbnb app. Although this app has become more popular in the past few years, there are still many travelers who book hotels as lodging accommodations. However, using Airbnb instead of hotels can determine whether or not a traveler pays $50 per night or $150 per night for lodging.

A Final Word

Traveling is a luxury that can greatly enrich each person’s life if they allow it to. However, financial planning for any trip is incredibly important. Although no one journey will be exactly the same, saving money ahead of time, keeping up with ongoing expenses, and using apps like Skyscanner and Airbnb to reduce some of the most costly travel fees can make a world of difference!

Happy traveling!