Category Archives: Managing Financial Stress

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

Financial Advice for Married People

While many people are often given advice on how to manage their sole finances, the game somewhat changes after marriage. This change is not bad, but simply a reality of life. Therefore, learning how to manage, protect, and grow funds with one’s spouse can be invaluable. Every marriage is different and no two couples are exactly alike; nevertheless, the awareness and application of the forthcoming advice will certainly engender fruitful and properly managed finances.

Handle Money Both Separately and Together

When two people are married, the most common questions regarding money often pertain to bank accounts in one way or another. Chances are that both individuals maintained their own personal checkings and savings accounts prior to the marriage. After getting married, couples often wonder whether or not they should create a joint account or continue working with their current personal accounts. The correct and proper decision just so happens to be all of the above.

Marriage is a partnership. However, within said partnership, it is still important for both parties to feel as though they have an identity outside of one another. The Balance affirms that married couples should have a joint, shared account and then their own personal accounts. More often than not, the joint account can be used for expenses which both individuals in the marriage will incur. Examples of the previously mentioned expenses include (but are not limited to) rent, mortgage payments, utility bills, etc. The personal accounts which both spouses had outside of their marriage can now be used for individual expenses, such as going to the movies, dining out, shopping, etc.

Ensure that Both Parties are on the Same Page

Arguments over money are some of the leading causes of divorce and failures within marriages. In many instances, this problem can be counteracted prior to its inception; this happens via communication and ensuring that both spouses are on the same page regarding financial matters. Discussing financial goals, investments, accounts, and potential forthcoming purchases is extremely important in a marriage. Both parties should be absolutely clear on where money is going, how much money is leaving accounts, and how much money is coming in.

Moreover, both spouses should be comfortable with money and the associated feelings. Different individuals have different perceptions regarding monetary capital. Therefore, seeking out the services of a financial advisor may be a good idea if spouses are unable to come to similar terms regarding money, its management, or other associated issues.

Steer Clear of Debt

Maintaining joint and separate accounts whilst being on the same page regarding finances is all well and good. However, the benefits of the foregoing advice can quickly be counteracted if spouses fail to steer clear of debt. As the ultimate foe of financial prosperity, debt can wreak serious havoc on bank accounts and marriages.

This is why both spouses have the obligation to live within their means and be honest with one another and themselves. Sometimes, putting aside money and then paying for something in cash is a lot wiser than charging it to credit and then being unable to foot the bill when it comes due.

 

Authored by Gabrielle Renee Seunagal

Financial Advice for Senior Citizens

As people get older in age, they may believe that their acquired money habits will continue to serve them well. While decades of proper financial choices certainly have their merits, there are still particular strategies which senior citizens can benefit from.

Senior citizens will inevitably witness changes in their lifestyles, circumstances, and other factors; this is natural and to be expected. Therefore, proper preparation, acute awareness, and adherence to the forthcoming advice will prove helpful.

Manage Money Conservatively

According to U.S. News, one of the best financial habits for senior citizens is handling their money frugally. Since older adults have lived longer (and likely had exposure to more experiences), chances are that they’ve also accumulated more capital than their younger counterparts. However, with higher amounts of funds comes a greater need for protection.

Many older people may feel compelled to help those who are struggling, especially if they happen to be friends or relatives. While generosity can be great, moderation is paramount. Constantly dishing out funds or always paying someone’s way can backfire. Furthermore, older adults should be careful about loaning out money. Some experts recommend only loaning out funds which one can afford to lose; this is because many people who borrow money are not in the best financial state. Therefore, they may not be able to pay back the borrowed capital in a desirable amount of time…if ever.

It is absolutely imperative for senior citizens to wisely and conservatively manage their money. It will immensely pay off for them.

Shield Yourself from Fraud and Money Scams

Countless research has affirmed that scammers, grifters, and other dishonest individuals view older people as easier targets. This is partially attributed to the fact that these individuals may not be as savvy with technology. There are countless ways in which con artists attempt to steal money; being prepared and guarded is gravely paramount and always an effective safety precaution. Even older people who are never targeted will feel better by simply knowing that they’re covered.

U.S. News advised senior citizens to put certain alerts on their bank accounts, block certain phone numbers, and ensure that credit cards and debit cards are programmed with particular safety features.

Maintain Exceptional Mental Health

As people age chronologically, their bodies follow suit. Consequently, with natural aging comes an increased susceptibility to certain mental ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and the like. However, there are certain steps which can actively combat the likelihood of mental ailments among senior citizens. Regular physical activities, human interactions, and getting out of the house can work wonders.

Believe it or not, the state of one’s mental health greatly impacts their ability to make sound judgment calls, especially when finances are involved. There also exists a documented link between mental fitness and higher amounts of capital. Senior citizens who currently own stock shares, bonds, or otherwise invest in various entities will be particularly in need of exceptional mental capabilities.

A Final Word

Conservatively managing money, having safeguards against fraud, and maintaining exceptional mental health are excellent first steps for senior citizens as they strive to protect and manage the capital which they have earned over the course of their lives. However, some older people may also benefit from contracting the services of a business manager or financial advisor.

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

Financial Advice for College Graduates

Graduating from college can be one of the most exciting milestones in any young person’s life. Hard work truly does pay off and depending upon one’s chosen occupation, college can open up many doors. However, an awareness of certain financial strategies can particularly come in handy for college graduates.

While the aforementioned graduates may have worked part-time jobs during their years of academia, there are still some critical points which they are unaware of, which is to be expected. Moreover, it’s worth noting that the game completely changes once students leave college and enter the real world.

This is why understanding and heeding the following tidbits of financial advice will prove to be extremely advantageous.

Pay off Student Loans ASAP

One of the most important steps for college graduates is paying off their student loans as soon as possible, as affirmed by Fidelity. While some grants and scholarships do provide full rides to university, most college students end up taking out loans. After graduating from college, the now former students are expected to pay back their loans. Moreover, there are usually interest rates which are added on top of remaining, unpaid loans after a certain period of time.

Virtually everyone has heard the nightmares of individuals who have taken decades (or a lifetime) to finally pay off their loans. Despite the necessity of loans (for most people) to attend college, they are still a form of debt and should be taken care of. College graduates can tackle their loans by getting part-time jobs, freelancing, or otherwise earning income to return the previously borrowed capital. Failure to do this can subsequently breed longterm and undesirable consequences.

Start Building an Emergency Fund

USA Today recommends that new college graduates immediately begin putting money into a savings fund. Between 5% and 10% of one’s regular payments are generally the advised amounts; not only does this built positive financial habits, but establishing a healthy emergency fund moreover ensures that one will have their bases covered in the event of unforeseen occurrences. It is better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it. Proactive, preventive maintenance is always wiser than reactive damage control.

Do What You Love

Virtually everyone wants to do well in life and make money. However, a huge part of success is being passionate about one’s career or occupation. Now, there are some individuals who maintain that passion is overrated, but they’re wrong. Genuine passion is often a motivating factor; it’s the source which drives people to work hard, overcome obstacles, and keep pushing forward during times where others would have given up.

Sometimes, unearthing one’s passion can take awhile. Many people take certain classes for fun or try new hobbies. One of the best ways for college graduates to tap into their passions and interests are to consider acitivities they would partake in, even without being paid. While everyone has to make a living, the foregoing consideration can be quite eye-opening. Nine times out of ten, our passions are our callings. Once they have been recognized and identified, the process of building a career can commence.

 

By Gabrielle Seunagal