Tag Archives: budget

How to Pay Off Student Loans

Taking out student loans is a fairly common practice. Many young people do this for the sake of investing in their education or otherwise being able to attend college or university. Initially, being able to take out student loans and attend college may seem like a dream come true. However, this dream can quickly turn into a nightmare when young people are not only billed for the money they borrowed, but also the subsequent interest fees which come along with it.

Virtually everyone has heard of the countless horror stories of young people who spend decades or even lifetimes attempting to pay back their student loans. Thankfully, there are some helpful tips for those who wish to pay off their student loans in a reasonable time period and enjoy the upsides of being debt-free and financially well-off.

Look Into Certain Occupations

Student Loan Hero explains that there are various occupations which offer certain mandates in exchange for forgiveness of borrowed funds. Usually, jobs of this nature fall into the category of teaching or providing some other type of public service. However, taking advantage of such an opportunity requires more than simply applying for the job and being accepted. In most cases, these type of occupations also require work terms in addition to various mandates.

Finally, if an individual is ineligible or otherwise barred from receiving student loan forgiveness, they will have likely incurred additional interest fees during the time they spent towards acquiring forgiveness. For this reason, students should always look into whether or not they are eligible for this opportunity prior to pursuing it.

Make Certain Lifestyle Changes…at Least Temporarily

Rarely does anyone enjoy changing their lifestyle for the sake of having to pay back previously borrowed funds. However, the reality is that student loans must be returned, one way or another. Hence, Nerd Wallet advises young people to look for various ways to reduce their expenses and put the extra money towards paying off their student loans.

This doesn’t mean that individuals who owe student loans can never go to the movies or dine out; however, they would do well to perhaps engage in these activities less frequently or find similar ways to decrease what they owe to the government. This is can be done by either decreasing expenses or increasing income. Ideally, if both changes are successfully implemented, young people will be able to pay off their student loans at a much faster rate and save thousands of dollars, if not more.

A Final Word

The amount of young people who owe student loans is increasing each and every day. For this reason, more and more individuals are questioning whether or not college is truly worth it. Nevertheless, those who have already incurred loans will have to pay them off, one way or another. Many young people make the mistakes of either delaying payments or only paying the minimum amounts. This is not conducive to financial or economic success.

Finally, individuals who believe they can cheat the government out of getting returns on borrowed funds should tread very carefully. People who play this game never really win; the government almost always get their money back — on top of the sky-high interest fees.

 

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

What Self-Employed People Need to Know About Taxes

Virtually everyone dreads tax season and the inherent complexities which often accompany it. The process of doing one’s taxes have become so difficult that many people hire professional accountants or tax specialists to take care of the procedure. However, taxes are somewhat different for self-employed individuals and whether they choose to do their taxes on their own or employ the services of a professional, it is still critical for people in business for themselves to have certain tax-related knowledge.

Self-Employment Taxes Vary from Person to Person

The amount of taxes that self-employed individuals will have to pay depends upon many factors. Taxes for sole proprietors will vary from taxes owed by LLCs, S-corporations, etc. Another important factor is income. Generally, people who earn more money owe more money to the government, although deductible expenses and applicable tax write-offs can decrease taxes for self-employed persons.

The Balance moreover cites increasing one’s business-related expenses as the most efficient ways for self-employed individuals to reduce the amount of taxes that they owe to the federal government. There are many applicable deductible business expenses including, but not limited to, insurance, advertising, rent, security, travel, etc.

A full list can be viewed by clicking here.

Preparing for Taxes Can Make a Considerable Difference

According to TurboTax, one of the best ways for self-employed individuals to prepare for taxes is by using a Schedule C. Not only does this somewhat simplify the process of doing taxes, but it also allows the individual to see how much money they earned or lost. As a matter of fact, the use of a Schedule C is mandatory for sole proprietors.

Self-employed individuals are also advised to prepare for tax season by securing a personal tax ID number and a business tax ID number. This truly comes in handy if business owners are mandated to provide their employees with W-9 forms.

Finally, the use of online financial tools like Quickbooks and Mint are excellent for helping self-employed individuals track their income, business expenses, and growth. Each of the aforesaid elements will play an integral role during tax season.

Knowing Whether or Not You Fall into the “Self-Employed” Category

Believe it or not, sometimes people mistakenly classify themselves as self-employed when they are actually employees. This mistake can severely complicate the process of doing taxes during tax season.

According to additional reports from The Balance, the official definition of self-employed individuals reads as follows:

“If you are in business for yourself, or carry on a trade or business as a sole proprietor or an independent contractor, you generally would consider yourself self-employed.”

A Final Word

Tax season can be inherently challenging for even the savviest business people. This is why many people choose to hire accountants or tax specialists. Although this option is available and often advisable, self-employed individuals who have, at least, somewhat of an understanding of taxes will be infinitely better off than their completely unaware counterparts.

There are many benefits of being self-employed. As the world of work changes and evolves, going into business for oneself is an avenue that more and more individuals are venturing towards.

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

Are You A Poor Money Manager?

We would all like to think we are good at managing money, but unfortunately–many of us are not! Good money management is a process, it’s not something you are just good at. Now, even if you want to become proactive and become a good money manager, you’re going to have to do more than just read a bunch of articles. You have to be willing to take accountability and take that responsibility.

You shouldn’t wait until your drowning in debt to begin to be a responsible money manager either. If you don’t begin to pay attention to your habits and especially, your spending habits–it’s easy to end up in a nightmare situation you can’t get out of fast enough! So, how do you know if you are a poor money manager? Well, there will certainly be signs.

Let’s examine some of the characteristics of a poor money manager right now and see if we can find solutions to correct these traits.

How You Can Avoid Becoming a Poor Money Manager

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  1. Not keeping or maintaining a budget is a sure sign you’re a poor money manager and this will always set you up for failure. Setting a budget and managing it well is the only real way you can begin to take control of your financial life. Also, don’t think because you have few bills you have more reason to spend. The wise thing to do is save your money and plan for the future. Here is a fact–if you don’t know how much money you have how can you properly establish and set up a budget? You can’t! So, get smart and start making a plan for your money today.
  2. You don’t have to buy everything new, but there are so many Canadians who fall into this trap. You also don’t have to buy name brand either. If you visit a second hand shop, you’ll see the quality is still there. You don’t want to go broke trying to keep up with every new gadget or clothing fad that materializes. So, don’t! New items do cost more, and staying in this bad habit is just no good!
  3. Stop spending more than you make! Too many Canadians use credit for personal expenses and other unnecessary spending. You don’t need to try to pretend you’re something you’re not and then end up financially blind-sided down the road. Be happy with what you have and start enjoying life without endless shopping! You’ll be far happier and live with minimal stress too.
  4. Are you saving for emergencies? This is also an area that many people don’t pay enough attention to. Emergencies arise at one point or another in life–the question is “Are you ready?” Being financially prepared for the unexpected really demonstrates proper money management!

If you follow just one of these tips you can improve your financial situation and become a better money manager as well. Don’t follow the crowd and end up with the same problems. Be independent and be ready to make a difference in your financial life! As you grow older you’ll be glad for making those smart choices now!