Category Archives: Managing Financial Stress

An Overview of Freelancing and the Gig Economy

As the world changes, so do work options and the workforce in general. The inevitable emergence of artificial intelligence and automation has also played a role in the shift and perception of work. Traditionally, when most people thought of work, they were reminded of a specific place where they went to offer a particular service or product. However, this, too, is changing. More and more people are rejecting notions of traditional work and pursuing other options and avenues such as freelancing and the gig economy. Findings from the Harvard Business Report moreover affirm that over 150 million individuals across North America and West Europe are pursuing the aforementioned work avenues.

Thriving in the Gig Economy/Freelance Market

Many people dream of a carefree lifestyle where they can work when they want, how they want, and where they want. Despite the possibility and attainability of the foregoing lifestyle, it does not come without hard work. The first year as a freelancer can be most challenging. It takes time to network, get work from various customers, and build up a network of clientele. However, with persistence and gumption, it can be done.

One of the most important, yet frequently overlooked requirements for freelancers is the ability to work well with others. While many freelancers can work from their laptop in any location with internet access, they still have to interact with the clients who are contracting their services. The clientele is absolutely paramount to success in the gig economy. Without clients, freelancers have no business or autonomy.

Freelancers and others who work in the gig economy must also meet deadlines, complete assignments, and communicate with their customers. All of this goes back to the ability to work well with the clientele that breathes life into the freelancer’s ability to do what they do. The preceding requirements are applicable regardless of whether or not one is a freelance writer, editor, graphic designer, etc. While each field varies, the general must-haves remain the same across the board.

Getting Started in the Gig Economy/Freelance Market

When breaking into the gig economy, one of the most important factors entails knowing where to begin and how to reach clients. Thankfully, there are many job platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer which are excellent for freelancers at all levels. Not only do the aforesaid platforms connect freelancers with clients, but they also allow freelancers to market their skills and abilities on their profiles. Clients who have worked with freelancers can then leave feedback on their profiles. If the feedback is positive, it may result in additional work. Feedback from past clients can also impact whether or not future prospective clients choose to do business with a freelancer or move onto others. As previously stated, clients are the ones who make it possible for freelancers to succeed in the gig economy.

A Final Word

There is no step-by-step success manual on how to succeed in the gig economy. Each freelancer will inevitably encounter their own difficulties and struggles that they must overcome in order to enjoy the perks. While each journey varies, the right tools, a strong work ethic, and the determination to succeed will make all the difference in the world.

Authored by: Gabrielle Renee Seunagal

Should You Keep All Your Money in the Bank?

In this day and age, money management is a critical skill for financial success. A considerable aspect of money management involves knowing where to store one’s funds. Although people have traditionally kept their money in banks, more and more people are beginning to question the wisdom of the aforementioned decision. Furthermore, those who are against keeping some or all of their earnings in banks are wondering about the existence of other alternatives. Thankfully, there are options for people who wish to store their funds elsewhere. The case for keeping minimal capital in the bank is also quite strong.

The Necessity and Flaws of Banks

In 2018, banks are, arguably, a necessary evil. Virtually everyone has a bank account. In most situations, these accounts are essential for transferring, receiving, and withdrawing funds. Nevertheless, banks are inherently flawed and while closing a bank account is ill-advised, exercising certain degrees of caution and pragmatism is highly recommended.

First and foremost, whenever one deposits money into a bank, it is no longer truly “theirs.” Granted, the numbers of the deposited amount shows up on any account, but in actuality, banks loan out deposited funds. These funds are why accounts which incur negative balances are still able to function in at least some capacity. Nestmann furthermore states that were everyone who deposited money into a bank to withdraw all their money simultaneously, the bank would not be able to cover it. This, in and of itself, serves as credence to the reality that your money stops being “your” money when you deposit it into banks.

Despite the aforementioned flaws, keeping somewhat minimal amounts of money in the bank is still a sound judgment call. There are still some businesses which do not accept cash payments. Therefore, a credit or debit card will be necessary in order to receive certain goods or services. Transportation via Lyft/Uber, travel accommodations such as Airbnb, and the purchase of plane tickets are several instances where a credit or debit card is required for payment.

In the case of banks, keeping some, but not all or even most of your funds in an account is the smartest decision in 2018.

Other Places to Store Capital

While many people are aware of the problematic factors of banks, they remain unaware of other places to store their earnings. While some individuals opt to keep large amounts of cash in safe boxes or other hidden places, Investopedia confirms the variety of options for those who wish to store their capital outside of banks.

Government bonds, precious metals, and other collectible assets are great avenues for those who wish to store their money outside of traditional banks. Unfortunately, there is not a risk-free location where money can be stored, however, with the proper steps and decisions, each person can greatly minimize the risk of losing capital. Many people have found that storing various amounts of earnings in different locations is preferable than keeping all of their money in one metaphorical basket.

A Final Word

Banks should be viewed and treated as necessary evils. While some people may view banks as virtually secure, this is not as accurate as most would like to think. Ultimately, the decision lies with each individual; however, most people usually feel the inclination to protect and preserve their earnings.

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

The Dangers of Borrowing Money

Virtually everyone has found themselves in a sticky financial situation. Unfortunately, it can happen to even the best of us. Sometimes emergencies happen, unexpected events take place, and without the proper savings, these occurrences can seriously disrupt our budgets and financial health. In cases like the aforementioned, the temptation to borrow money from a relative, friend, or financial institution can be great. While borrowing money has helped people in certain situations, an awareness of the potential and probable dangers is still paramount.

Interest Rates Can Be Astronomical

Assuming that an individual does not receive a loan from a relative or friend, they are almost guaranteed to owe interest on top of the original amount of borrowed funds, affirms Credit. When lending services loan money to customers, they are not doing it to help the person in need. Lending services are loaning out money to help their own company and make a profit. Therefore, in many scenarios, borrowing money can be even costlier than simply going without whatever the borrowed funds were intended for.

Nine times out to ten, lending services are not the best places to seek financial loans. It is almost always better to seek out help from a family member or trusted ally. However, even this can come with potential risks and pitfalls.

Personal Relationships May Experience Tension

While borrowing money from personal friends and relatives comes with less financial risk, the act can potentially breed tension within relationships between loved ones. Most people loan money with the expectation that they will be paid back, preferably within a certain time period. Issues definitely have the potential to arise if someone is told they will be paid by within a certain time period and then it does not happen.

Therefore, Credit furthermore suggests for both parties to have written agreements whenever borrowing money occurs. Although some people may view the aforementioned agreements as unnecessary, written terms can ensure that both parties are clear and aware of each other’s expectations. A written agreement can also serve as a great reference in case one or both people become confused or uncertain of the original terms surrounding the borrowed capital.

In the best of situations, a person who borrows money from his or her relatives or friends pays back the money within the agreed upon time. Unfortunately, not all scenarios play out as they ought to. Some people borrow money from loved ones without ever intending to pay it back. Other individuals borrow funds with the intention of returning them at a later date, only to find out that they can’t do so for whatever reason. Each of the foregoing instances is very problematic and can engender serious issues. Depending on the situation, relatives or friends may be within their rights to sue the person who has borrowed money and failed to pay it back.

A Final Word

The preceding, potential circumstances are why each person should tread carefully regarding borrowing money. Sometimes going without something is better than finding oneself in massive debt or having a treasured relationship ruined.

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

How To Improve Bad Credit

The negative impacts of bad credit are extremely well-documented. The Balance strongly affirms that bad credit is generated by bankruptcies, property repossessions, late payments, and other poor financial decisions. Individuals who suffer from bad credit are furthermore likely to be charged higher interest rates and higher security deposits. They may also be denied loans altogether or have apartment applications turned down. Nevertheless, with the right lifestyle changes, bad credit can be transformed into excellent credit.

Do Not Buy What You Cannot Afford

One of the most common causes of bad credit stems from the individual’s decision to make purchases which surpass their budget. This could mean making excessive credit card charges or buying a house or car that one simply cannot afford. The consequences of living above one’s means come in the form of paying interest, having property repossessed, and, of course, maintaining a low credit score.

To avoid this unfortunately common mistake, people must remember to live below their means. Just about everyone wants to have a fancy house and trendy car, but not everyone can afford these luxuries at the desired time. In the foregoing situation, putting money aside for nice things and gradually saving is considerably wiser than making unaffordable purchases and being stuck with the devastating financial consequences.

Make Payments In Full and On Time

Another common error which often breeds bad credit is the failure to pay charges in full by the time they are due. Unfortunately, many individuals believe that they only have to make the minimum payments. Of course, this theory is incorrect. People who only make the minimum payments on their credit cards will face considerable interest charges on top of the funds that are already owed. In certain cases, interest charges have been known to outweigh original charges.

Interest should be avoided at all costs. It can take decades to completely pay off and moreover serve as metaphorical dead weight for anyone who is striving to improve their credit score. Some of the best ways people can keep track of the amounts owed to credit card lenders are by keeping track of payments and even calling the credit card company to find out how much more money needs to be put on the card to avoid incurring interest.

Look Into Getting A Secured Credit Card

A secured credit card is very much like a regular credit card, however, there are some differences. For starters, secured credit cards generally require customers to make deposits which amount to half or all of their credit limit. For instance, individuals who want a secured credit card with a limit of $1,000 will be mandated to make a $500 or $1,000 deposit before the card can be used. The purpose of the aforementioned payment is designed to cover customers who fail to make applicable credit card payments.

Many secured credit cards do come with application fees, annual fees, and processing fees. Individuals should be aware of the foregoing fees prior to obtaining a secured credit card.

A Final Word

Transforming bad credit into good credit is a step-by-step process which requires time, discipline, and patience. It may not occur in one day, but people who adhere to the aforementioned suggestions will inevitably see their credit scores improve with time.

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

Personal Loans Improve Credit and Might Pay Off Debt

Why take out a personal loan when you’re not sure if it will benefit you? The answer is simple–there are programs that just might and it doesn’t hurt to try ones that have no impact on your credit score. There are bad personal loans for those with damaged credit. If you use these wisely (and choose the right ones) you can repair your credit and begin paying off debt. This can help you get back on the right financial path, but you must be willing to make sacrifices. We never recommend taking out a personal loan just to have extra funds available. But, we do recommend going this route when you need to pay off debt and begin shining up your credit report. Installment loans work best and often have the lower fees and most flexible repayment options.

For consumers who have maxed out credit cards–this can be an excellent option. But remember–not just to increase cash flow. It should be vice versa. Also, if you want to consolidate debt this is a viable choice. This works well if you hope to do away with credit cards and other loans that have unreal interest rates. You do want to weigh all the pros and cons before you sign on to a short term loan like one we are describing here.

The Pros and Cons of a Short-Term Personal Loan

What you might not know is that short term loans can help you repay debt and pay off other loans that might have higher interest rates. Now, when it comes to the repayment of the loan, depending on what type you took out determines the duration of repayment. However, short-term loans almost always have feasible options that work for anyone. You can choose an option that will be the easiest for you when it comes to repayment ability and/or any personal circumstances you have. A loan officer will work with you on these circumstances.

So a short term loan approval offers easier approval for most, and gives you a short period of time to pay back without higher interest costs.  Some variations of short term loan repayments are normally 6 months to 1 year.  Now, long-term is quite different, and offers other options that might provide more flexibility too.  We do want to point out that there is a difference between a payday loan and a short term loan.  Remember, it offers more flexibility.

Just remember, simply because you need funding fast doesn’t mean it is wise to jump on just any short term loan or payday loan.  You need to weigh your options and understand them clearly.  Talking to the right people makes all the difference and can save on repayment penalties and other service charges.