Debt is more like a pain, which is hard to avoid. If you have used credit cards or paid medical bills without thinking the future consequences, then you are more prone to debt. However, if you are well-acquainted with the best relief plans, then it is not hard for you to work on your debt bills. You just need to procure help from leaders, who happen to work with people in debt for so long. Their years of experience along with best and thoughtful deals are enough to get you out of debt. All you have to do is just rely on them, and ensure that they have the best tricks up their sleeves to help you out.
Avoid being in bankruptcy
When you are in debt, you forget the most important part of all; the plans. You are so drown in debt that bankruptcy is the only option left in your mind for actual freedom. However, you might never know but being in bankruptcy and filing under Chapter 13 or 7, will lead you with a sudden hit in your balance. It will degrade your credit score, and will further help you to be in full time debt. Furthermore, if you ever think of claiming a loan afterwards, it will be hard for you to do so.
Look for the other plans
There are so many different ways to get rid of debt. You can start it with the help of debt settlement plans. Here, you will be taught various ways to get rid of debt, by settling for a lower amount, which you can pay. On the other hand, you can even file for debt consolidation routine. This can form an integral part of your debt plans. Here, you will have to pay an amount on monthly basis to the experts of the debt consolidated firms. They will ensure to make the other payments to the creditors.
You have to qualify first
It is not that easy to work with these debt helping non-profit organizations, as you have to qualify for the routine first. They are likely to work on those cases, which have a minimal balance under debt. If not, then you are not supposed to work on these sectors now. According to them, if the cases are minimal, then they are not likely to handle it for you, and you have to deal with it yourself. You can work on a settlement plan now, and can pay off debt in the most promising manner.
Various forms of debts
From secure debts to unsecured one, there are various forms of debts available now. Thanks to the reputed debt firms, it will not be difficult to get rid of such problems, with ease. Just be sure to click here and you can get your problems solved. Make sure to work on the routines properly, or else; you might not be able to work on debt ridden plans properly. From medical bills to credit unions, no matter whatever kind of problem there is, you can always find the best solutions here.
When looking for debt settlement, you might have one question, in mind. Is debt settlement a proper plan for you? Can you ever get rid of debt after following this plan? This kind of work solely depends on the non-profit organization you have chosen. The reliable firms are likely to offer you with unique programs, which are designed mainly for individuals, and help them to get rid of debt. However, there is a minimal balance, which you must be in debt, if you ever want to procure help from the organization. You need to be in unsecured debt with a minimal amount of $7,500. If not, then debt settlement is not a proper service for you.
Debts to be qualified
If you are already in debt-ridden solutions, then you must look for the qualified form of debt. The options over here are departmental store cards, major credit cards, medical bills and personal loans. On the other hand, you can work on credit unions and collection accounts, which can root from the options in the account types. There are some situations, where secured debts are likely to be settled. On the other hand, there are some private student loans available too, which need to be settled. You have to call experts for some other details.
Dealing with unqualified debt
If you are looking for unqualified debt, then you must work on other features, too. The first one is truck, car, motorcycle and van loans. On the other hand, it further deals with federal student loans along with child support. Even the personal loans from present bank can work in your favor. You can further work on mortgages, which are mostly secured with the collateral form of monetary services. All you need to do is just click here, and look for the options, which are best suitable for your help.
Working on other structures
Apart from the qualified and unqualified services, there are some other areas; you need to be aware of. If you cannot afford to pay minimal credit card payments on monthly basis, then you have to work on the best features now. You can even procure help of experts of debt settlement plans, if you are already falling behind in payments. In case, you are seeking for any alternative to the bankruptcy segment, then debt settlement can prove to be a great offer for you. It can further help in working on financial hardships or experienced personal hardships, like divorce, unemployment, medical expenses, income loss and family death.
Unsecured account services for you
If you ever want to procure help of unsecured account service, then you must look for qualified unsecured accounts. The qualification is always working in your favor. The settlement situations are different and the specialists and debt consultants are likely to train to set realistic expectations. It further helps in visualizing and accomplishing the perfect financial goals. Once you have chosen the right features with unsecured account services, it will not be difficult for you to work on account services along with debt settlement, for help.
Dealing With Debt Consolidated Loans Over Personal Loan For Help
If you want to enjoy a healthy financial life, you have to pay off debts first. You can further procure help of debt consolidated loan to help you in this matter. With the help of this debt consolidated forum, the lender is likely to issue you with single personal loan, which you need to pay off your debts. Some of those are medical bills and even the balances on your once chosen high interest credit cards. You have to pay fixed amount and on monthly basis, when you have procured debt consolidated programs. These services are meant for a particular time, from 2 to 5 years.
Dealing with interest rates
Well, the interest rates, you have been dealing with, while working on debt consolidated forum, mainly depends on credit profile of the individual. It will not change while working on the loan life. In case, you are having hard time to keep with multiple payments, it is likely to be a strategy, worth working on. Just working on personal loan will not solve your problems, and you have to simplify the finances. Personal loans can further prove to be quite expensive. It is during such instances, when you need to work on other debt consolidated plans for help.
Ways to choose the best lender
With so many lenders, how can you possibly choose the best one among them? If you happen to work on debt consolidated forum, then you must take a deep look at the lender first. They are going to charge you with a minimal amount but with services, which are proper enough. You might even have to look at the kind of support; you will receive from the same lender.It mainly works on payment flexibility along with the financial education. You must look for those lenders, allowing you to use so-signer with lower interest rates.
More about the lenders
If you happen to choose credit card loan consolidation, lender plays a pivotal role. How can you choose the best one among them? Well, the answer is simple! You have to work on those lenders, ready to charge you with minimal origination fee. Moreover, these lenders should follow certain financial discipline and must allow co-signer for help. In case, the credit score is good, you can always apply for credit cards with 0% interest rates. It will prevent your future time to fall in debt. As you are free from paying interest rates, therefore; it will be easier for you to handle cases with ease.
Working on promotional period
There are some points, you must consider while working on 0% interest rates on chosen credit cards. These rates are likely to stay for a particular span of time. Therefore, you have to repay back the payments within that particular time only, before the promotional period expires. If you cannot do so, then you might end up paying higher interest rates. So, keeping a note in your promotional period time can prove to be a proper proposition to consider. You can even work on experts for some better help.
Forex market is a great opportunity for the investors and traders all around the world. But before you enter into the world of Forex with XTrade it is important to understand the basics of Forex trading. Basic knowledge of Forex is important for every beginner to start Forex trading in a great manner and take a good step ahead.
Basics of Forex trading- What is traded in Forex market?
Currency pairs are the instruments which are traded in the Forex market by the investors. It is the exchange rate of one currency against another which is mentioned in pair quotes. Though there are many currencies in the world, basics of Forex trading teach you thatthere are only a few major pairs around which all the major portion of the Forex trading is done. Those are –EUR/USD, GBP/USD, USD/CAD, USD/CHF, USD/JPY, AUD/USD and some others. Nearly 85 percent of the trading volume is generated for these currency pairs trades.
How a trade is done?
In understanding the basics of Forex trading, it is important to understand how a trade is done in your XTrade account. For instance, if a trader is dealing with EUR/USD pair and he buy EUR simultaneously selling the USD. His anticipation is that the EUR price will increase relative to the USD in future. If it actually happens then the trader gets profit when he sells the EUR again, making more dollars out of it as a profit.
In every quote, there is a base currency and a quote currency. Here in EUR/USD, an example price or quote is 1.25 which means that 1.25 USD needs to be exchanged to get 1 EUR at the present price. This price or quote is never constant and it keeps on changing constantly over time due to several factors affecting the market.
What is bid/ask spread?
Another important thing XTrade emphasizes in understanding the basics of Forex trading is to know about bid/ask spread. The bid price is the price your broker is willing to buy the pair and the ask is the price in which the broker is willing to sell at. The bid price is always lower than the ask price.
Example – For EUR/USD the quote is 1.2536/39
This means that the bid price is 1.2536 and the ask price is 1.2539
What is Leverage?
Today most of the traders offer you the feature of Leverage and this is in contrast to the traditional markets where you need to deposit the full amount of every trade you want to perform. When you open an account at XTrade, you can trade with the requirement of only a margin deposit and this may be in a very small fraction of the total amount. For example your leverage ratio is 100:1. In this case you can deposit just $10 dollars and trade with 100 times more money i.e. $1000. Thus you get the chance to multiply your profits to 100 times if the profit occurs.
Although business growth is typically a concept that corporate leaders contemplate regularly, this does not mean that they are always able to quickly devise and implement techniques that will result in ongoing company expansion. If you find yourself challenged in coming up with systems and strategies that will facilitate business expansion, this article is for you. You can use some or all of the following techniques to keep your company alive and thriving:
1. Buy Your Materials Via Internet.
Shopping online is a great way for business owners to save time and money. This strategy enables you to do a ton of comparison shopping in a short time, thereby enabling you to attain cost-effective prices on the materials your company needs to function optimally. Additionally, Internet shopping enables you to avoid the long check-out lines, pushy retailers, and inconsiderate shoppers that oftentimes give shape and substance to the traditional shopping experience. In the event that your company finds itself in need of overhead bridge cranes, you can visit the online retailer ProServCrane Group to obtain the materials you need.
2. Market, Market, Market.
Business growth is almost always at least partly contingent upon your ability to generate new customers or turn existing clients into lifelong buyers. The key to building your customer base is excellent marketing. There are numerous marketing techniques you can implement to attract new people to your brand, some of which include developing a strong, substantive online presence. Digital firms can implement a plethora of online advertising strategies to facilitate this objective, some of which include content marketing, social media optimization (SMO), search engine optimization (SEO), and online reputation management (ORM).
3. Place Primacy On Health Optimization.
In many cases, businesses fail to grow because company leaders don’t take time to keep themselves healthy. Don’t let this happen to you. The ugly outcomes of poor health can include things such as lethargy, impaired concentration, physical aches and pains, and mood swings. All of these factors can detract from your work performance, thereby compromising your company’s ability to move forward. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, implement strategies that will contribute to health optimization. Some of them can include going for a daily walk, drinking a green smoothie, and keeping a journal through which you can vent your feelings.
If you’re interested in making your business profoundly successful, you can start moving towards the goal right now. To get things underway, consider the value of buying your materials via internet, optimizing your marketing platform, and placing primacy on health optimization.
One invests with the expectations of getting good financial returns. And thanks to the evolution of financial markets, there are more financial avenues available to an investor than there were ever before. Some top investment avenues at this time are.
Bonds/Bank deposits: It is easy, and one of the safest type of investment tools available today. Bonds and deposits are less volatile to any change and offer steady returns, however when inflation is taking into the account, the returns are pretty abysmal. That is one of the top reasons why it is the last resort of investors for investing their money.
Stock Markets: it is quick and easy to make money here. The returns and volatility, both are extremely high here. You can make more money here than at any other avenue. With stock markets, you need to do a lot of research and harness smart tools to stay up to date with the current happenings in the financial markets. There are numerous apps like IIFL Markets, and newspapers, channels etc that are dedicated to this channel of investment due to its popularity.
Mutual Funds:Mutual funds are varied, they can be either focused on gilt (gold), money markets(bonds) or stock markets. They are handled by professional investors who have great expertise in their respective field of investments. Just as with any other financial commodity, a mutual fund focused on stock market too carries risk and there is no guarantee that it would outperform the markets.
Investing in property: Recently, real estate has taken things by storm and it is one of the most popular investment avenues. However, it is marred with a lot of transparency issues. Since a lot of money is put into real estate at one go, there is a lot more money on risk than with any other financial avenue. And unless you really do a lot of groundwork about the property and get a sound legal advice on the prevailing laws in the region where you intend to buy a property, you should strongly desist from putting in your hard earned money.
Out of these avenues, the stock market is the only one that gets you higher rewards for diving into it. And you have a choice as to how much amount you want to put in. More than the skills of the trade, you need good skills to force yourself from trading when it is against common sense and resist the temptation to trade based on emotions.
To do that, you should get access to both data and knowledge, and apps that are dedicated to financial markets like IIFL Markets can help you in the long run. You can download this app for free of cost from either apple or android platform and get going with your exploration of stock markets.
This stock market app is not a substitute for your reasoning, and just like with anything, you should take a rational decision by using the app just as a tool for getting information and knowledge.
The housing market continues to gradually recover from the Great Recession, supporting economic growth.
“The housing market continues to gradually recover from the Great Recession, supporting economic growth,” Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC. “Stronger demand and good affordability are supporting home sales and pushing up house prices.”
Many economists are predicting that home prices will continue to increase this year. PNC said prices will rise by 3.7 percent in 2015 and 2.7 percent in 2016, down from 6.6 percent in 2014.
“This year we [saw] inventory continue to grow in August and while overall demand is strong, the trend in median days on market is suggesting that the market is finding more of a balance,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist of Realtor.com, the San Jose, California, real estate service company. “This bodes well for would-be buyers who have been discouraged by the inability to find a home to buy this spring and summer.”
Consumers who are still eager to purchase a home still have many opportunities left to negotiate a deal within their price range. While it is tougher to buy a house in a tight market, here are some tips to give homebuyers a head start.
Looking for a house in the fall is generally a better bet. Even though there are fewer homes on the market right now, there are “definitely less buyers, so there’s less competition,” said Mark Lesses, a broker with Coldwell Banker in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Buying a Townhouse
Opting to buy smaller houses such as a townhouse might give you more possibilities. Townhomes tend to be more affordable than single family houses, he said.
“There will be people living on one or both sides of you, leading to a more congested living experience,” Lesses said. “In addition, you don’t have control over what you can do to the exterior of your home. For example, you usually can’t garden or landscape. If you can, it’s very limited and restrictive.”
Moving to the Suburbs
If commuting to work daily doesn’t pose itself as a stressful issue, then buying a house in the suburbs could make sense.
“There are quality of life issues on both sides of this conversation,” he said. “It’s more about lifestyle. If you work downtown and live in the city, you’re going to have a shorter commute, but your experience of living in the city can be more stimulating to you.”
Having a larger yard is more appealing to many people, so living in the suburbs isn’t only more affordable, it is also practical, said Lesses.
Look for pockets in various neighborhoods that are starting to gentrify because fewer people will be putting in offers.
“I always recommend buyers look in fringe or up and coming areas of a town because common sense would say that if they are on the verge of becoming more popular and in demand, prices will strengthen and increase down the road,” said Monica Webster, a licensed real estate salesperson at William Raveis in New York City and Greenwich, Connecticut.
Or look for the least expensive property in a more expensive neighborhood, said James Simpson, CEO of SQFT, a Boulder, Colorado-based company that offers an app that allows sellers to create home listings on hundreds of real estate sites.
“Buy a place you can afford, so that if the market does correct, you can ride it out,” he said. “It always comes back.”
Higher Down Payment
Being able to afford a higher down payment for a house that is on the top of your list means you might beat out offers from potential buyers who have less savings.
Having all of your savings tied up on your house can prove to be an issue if the market hits a downturn or you lose your job, Lesses said.
That’s why it’s important to get your finances in order.
Obtain a pre-certified or pre-approved mortgage and not just a pre-qualification, because it shortens the approval process, said Webster. A pre-certified mortgage means there is a written commitment from a lender who has verified your income and creditworthiness.
“Most lenders now offer a full pre-approval in which you go through the whole underwriting process ahead of time,” said Bill Golden, a real estate agent with RE/Max Metro Atlanta Cityside. “When you find the right house, the only thing that will need to be done is the appraisal. That will also give you a leg up in the eyes of a seller.”
While a pre-qualification is helpful, it is just an estimate on whether a consumer would likely be able to obtain credit. If you are sure this is the right home for you, aim to put the first offer in, because “time delays allow other buyers to enter the process,” she said.
Potential homebuyers also need to determine what they can afford to pay monthly, because the tax savings from a mortgage means they could increase their current offer.
“When homes are selling over the asking price, many people are afraid to come in with a stronger offer because they haven’t done the actual math of what owning a particular home will cost,” said Sean Nagy, executive vice president of operations for The Money Source, Melville, New York mortgage loan servicer. “Taking the extra 30 minutes to lookup the property tax rate can mean the difference between putting an offer in at the asking price or actually getting the house by putting in an offer $10,000 over the asking price.”
Renters Who Wait Can Benefit
Buying a house during a tight market could prove to be an expensive endeavor. Staying out of the market might be a good option, because housing prices could level off and decline, said David Reiss, a law professor at Brooklyn Law School in Brooklyn, New York.
“Sometimes it is cheaper to rent,” he said. “Don’t try to time the real estate market. Look at your needs and what you could afford, and consider if it is a good choice.”
The pent-up demand has made buying a home to be a challenging process, lengthening the “selling season.”
“With such low inventory, homes are being snatched up the day they come on the market or before, and most have multiple offers,” said Golden. “During the winter holidays, you may have less competition, as people tend to be distracted with other things.”
A competitive real estate market dictates that buyers must “get out of their comfort zone” such as being flexible with the closing date, said Jeremy Swillinger, an agent with Level Group, a New York City-based brokerage firm.
“I believe that purchasing a home in a tight market is part art and part science and is really about doing whatever possible to find the right balance that makes the sale terms attractive on both sides,” he said.
It goes without saying that sometimes life, well, happens.
It could be that you’re joyfully expecting the birth of your first baby, or reeling from something unexpected (and less happy), like losing your job.
Perhaps it’s simply that you’ve moved onto a new phase in life — be it that you’re becoming an empty-nester or inching ever closer to retirement.
Whatever it is, big life changes can bring on the need for equally significant financial adjustments.
Once you’ve had time to process what’s coming, it’s natural to begin thinking about all of the money moves you have (and haven’t yet) made to date that could help set you up for success in this new chapter of life.
Do you have enough in savings? Should you consider buying a bigger — or smaller — house? Is it time to sit down with a financial pro and review your investment portfolio?
To help you navigate some of the most significant life-changing moments, we spoke to certified financial planners for their thoughts on how you may want to reboot your finances for what’s to come.
Life Changer No. 1: You’re Expecting a Baby
Considering that the average cost to raise a child now clocks in at over $245,000, it’s safe to say that this milestone tops our list of moments in life when your finances could probably use a reboot.
Step 1: If you haven’t already started estate planning, and named a guardian for your baby, now’s the time.
“You don’t want your child to end up a ward of the state if you [and your partner] should die,” says Michael Goldman, a certified financial planner and founder of Goldman Financial Planning in Falmouth, Maine.
And while we’re on the topic, you should also give thought to life insurance, which can help take care of your child should something unforeseen happen to you. A policy that’s active and in good standing can make up for your lost income, as well as help provide for your family’s future living and educational expenses.
Step 2: Your next new-parent to-do is to consider starting a college fund when your little one is still in diapers.
You heard right. That early.
According to FinAid, if you start socking away for college with the birth of a child, the money saved during that first year could be worth about five times as much (assuming a 10% return) than if you were to begin saving the year before your kid heads to college.
Similar to a 401(k), a 529 college savings account enables you to funnel up to $14,000 a year, per parent, into a tax-deferred account. And although you can’t deduct the contribution from your federal taxes, you won’t owe taxes on the growth — as long as it’s used for qualified educational expenses.
Life Changer No. 2: You Nab a New Job — or Lose One
If you’re like many people riding the high of scoring a new, higher-paying gig, your first inclination may be to book a trip to Rio or upgrade your wheels.
And that’s exactly why now’s a prime time to take another look at your investment game plan before that first fatter paycheck hits your checking account.
“It’s actually an ideal time to raise your savings because you won’t even notice it,” adds certified financial planner Chuck Roberts, founder and CEO of Financial Freedom Planners in Richmond, Virginia.
Step 1: Aim to create a plan that enables you to use 10 percent of your extra income for indulgences — and earmark the rest for paying off debt, padding your emergency savings, and investing for the future, suggests Goldman.
And be sure to also think about new I.R.S. implications, particularly if your salary now bumps you into a different tax bracket.
For example, you can consider contributing a greater portion of your paycheck into your 401(k) plan, especially if you’re eligible to receive an employer match.
“The 401(k) max is $18,000 for the year,” Roberts says. “And the truth is that most people aren’t maxing it out.”
Step 2: If you’re planning for a shorter-term goal — like buying a house — consider funneling some of your increased earnings into a traditional savings account designated specifically for that financial goal.
If you have a longer time horizon of at least five years, you can also consider investing in a high-quality, higher-yield mutual fund or an exchange-traded fund, or ETF.
But keep in mind that other financial priorities should come first — such as building up a healthy rainy day fund of ideally six months’ worth of your take-home pay.
While you—and your kids—can take out loans to finance everything from college to a home, you can’t take out a loan to finance your golden years.
Bottom line: Your employment situation could change at any time, says Goldman, so don’t get too used to living on that plum raise.
To that point, if you do find yourself suddenly unemployed, experts say that it doesn’t necessarily signal a time for drastic action.
“If you’ve done your job in regard to having a sufficient emergency fund, you may not need to change your investment strategy — at least initially,” Roberts says.
For example, if you receive a severance package, Roberts suggests keeping that money in liquid form until you find new employment. “Then when things get back to normal, you can focus on investing as you did before the job loss,” he adds.
This approach helps buffer you in the event that you burn through your emergency funds because it takes longer than you anticipated to secure a new gig.
Life Changer No. 3: You Become an Empty Nester
Whether you have one child or several, sending your grown kid off into the world can be an emotionally charged time — so it’s not surprising that personal finances can be the last thing on Mom and Dad’s mind.
But the minute your kids are on firm financial footing as adults, you should consider taking stock of your own money situation — particularly what you might need to do to ramp up saving for retirement.
Step 1: “At this point in their lives, people should start catching up on their savings,” Goldman says.
So in addition to ramping up your 401(k) contributions, says Goldman, you should consider putting money into a Roth IRA, if you’re eligible.
A Roth differs from a traditional IRA in that you pay taxes upfront at today’s tax rates. In return, you don’t have to pay taxes on your investment earnings when you withdraw the funds at retirement.
But there are specific rules and income limits for opening a Roth, so be sure to do your research first. If and when you do become eligible, you can also consider doing a Roth conversion from a traditional IRA, if you’ve held the funds in a non-deductible IRA for a year.
Step 2: While it may be tempting to funnel all of your money into retirement savings the moment junior nabs his first post-college gig, it might not be your best bet just yet.
Translation: You don’t want to get overconfident about your child’s independence.
“After their college years, your kids may need more help than just a roll of quarters for laundry, so you may want to keep some of your assets available,” says Sarah Maskill, a certified financial planner and founder of Financial Answers in Somers, Connecticut.
Just remember this one golden rule of financial planning: While you — and your kids — can take out loans to finance everything from college to a new home, you can’t take out a loan to finance your golden years.
Life Changer No. 4: You Cycle Into the ‘Sandwich Generation’
According to a Pew Research Center study on the sandwich generation, about 15 percent of adults between the ages of 40 and 59 find themselves having to provide support to an aging parent and a minor child — at the same time.
In other words, they’ve joined what’s often referred to as the sandwich generation — an unenviable membership that can take a toll on your finances.
Step 1: “If you are indeed supporting both sides, you may need to build up your emergency fund,” Roberts says.
So, maybe instead of having three to six months of net take-home pay saved up, you have nine.
And as tempting as it may be to dip into your retirement nest egg to help pay for eldercare expenses as they crop up, resist the urge and find time to talk to a financial pro before you make any such moves.
Step 2: It’s also important to think about what may need to be done to safeguard your parents’ finances — to help keep them from putting undue strain on yours.
“It’s best to have conversations with your parents early, when everyone is still healthy,” Goldman says.
So do a deep dive into their finances as a team, making sure to compile an inventory of all your parents’ bank, retirement and investment accounts — along with the necessary passwords.
It’s also helpful to broach executorship decisions, end-of-life wishes and, perhaps most important, long-term care plans.
Long-term care insurance, says Goldman, can help pay for such costly eldercare expenses as regular home visits from a nurse.
Another key to-do? Figure out who has power of attorney, adds Goldman, especially if your parents are contending with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Life Changer No. 5: You’re Getting Close to Retirement
Congratulations! According to the calendar, you are just a few years out from calling it quits — and doing that daily commute for the last time.
To help protect yourself from market volatility, dial down the aggression in your portfolio by rebalancing your asset mix to focus on less volatile investments.
But in order to help set yourself up for a successful new chapter of life in your golden years, you may want to consider making some fine-tune adjustments to your investment strategy.
Step 1: You’re now at a stage when you may not have time to wait for the market to recover from downward swings.
So to help protect yourself from market volatility, dial down the aggression in your portfolio by rebalancing your asset mix to focus on less volatile investments.
Step 2: It’s also time to start thinking about when you or you and your spouse will start taking advantage of your Social Security benefits — ideally in conjunction with a financial professional.
It all depends on your individual financial situation as you near retirement, but you may opt for anywhere between the ages of 62 and 70.
“There is strategy as far as coordinating with the benefits of a spouse, and there are thousands of permutations on what is the best thing for you to do,” Goldman says.
To help keep track of your money, and get an estimate of future benefits payouts, you can sign up for a My Social Security account.
Life can pose all sorts of ups and downs — some welcome and others less so — but if you thoughtfully navigate these reboots, you can help keep your finances on track.
3. Consider a conversion. Ben Wacek, certified financial planner and founder of Wacek Financial Planning in Minneapolis, says anyone who has a lower income this year, perhaps because of a gap in employment, should consider converting money from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. That way, you’ll pay taxes on that income during a year when your tax rate is lower than usual. The deadline for Roth conversions is Dec. 31, he adds, not April 15 like regular Roth IRA contributions. “It’s a great chance to pay tax in the year that you’re in a lower tax bracket,” he says.
4. Think big. Katie Brewer, certified financial planner and founder of Garland, Texas-based Your Richest Life, suggests stepping back and examining your overall financial situation. If you changed jobs, sold or bought a house, or expanded your family, you might need to add new insurance policies, adopt a more ambitious savings policy or rebalance your long-term investments. “Life changes almost always necessitate a review of your financial situation,” she says.
5. Give yourself assignments. Storjohann adds that after holding a money review with yourself, you can give yourself one assignment a week for the rest of the year. That could include creating a plan for paying off debt, reviewing investments or calculating your net worth. The weekly approach helps prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and also guarantees that you’ll end the year on strong financial footing.
6. Change up your goals. Eric Roberge, certified financial planner and founder of the firm Beyond Your Hammock in the Boston area, says he often finds that clients’ goals have changed by the time fall rolls around. If you’ve already achieved your target for funding an emergency savings account, for example, then you can shift the excess savings into a more aggressively invested account to maximize returns. After one client reviewed his goals set earlier in the year, he realized he no longer wanted to be saving for a home, so he shifted his savings into other investments. “You might want to be putting that money toward something else,” Roberge says. “If the goal is 10 years down the road, then maybe shift some money into the stock market.”
7. Rebalance accounts. In light of the recent market volatility, now is a great time to rebalance your investments, suggests Kristi Sullivan, a certified financial planner based in Denver. ”Rebalancing means taking those assets that are above your target percentage and selling what you have too much of to buy what you have too little of,” she says. “Professional money managers usually do this quarterly for clients, but once or twice per year will do the trick, too.” If you’re selling positions at a loss in a taxable account, then you can take advantage of a tax write-off for 2015, she adds.
8. Look back at spending. Reviewing where your money has gone so far in the year will help you plan for next year, Brewer says. “Figure out if you need better systems in place, like a separate savings account for travel and vacations, or putting business expenses on a separate credit card,” she says.
9. Rein in kid-related expenses to prioritize college savings. If you have children, then you are probably familiar with the exorbitant expenses that can come with a new school year and new activities. Kevin Reardon, president of Shakespeare Wealth Management in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, warns that many parents end up overspending on club sports in particular at the expense of college savings. He has spent thousands of dollars on his three children’s athletic pursuits and questions the high school culture that encourages that kind of spending. “If I hadn’t spent $25,000, that money could have gone elsewhere,” he says.
10. Watch monthly costs. If you haven’t reviewed your cable and wireless bills recently, now is a good time to do so, suggests Andy Tate, a certified financial planner at Tate & Setterlund in Minneapolis. He calls his providers at least once a year to request a lower rate and saves money every time, he says. When he called his phone company, he got a new and cheaper data plan that still fit his needs. When he called his cable company, he mentioned a competitor’s offer and received a matching offer. “They almost always are willing,” he says.
11. Dream of next summer’s vacation. It might seem early, but planning for next year’s summer vacation now can help ensure you have the funds to pay for it, says Jason Reiman, a certified financial planner based in the Tucson, Arizona area. He adds that by encouraging clients to focus on such an enjoyable goal — vacation — it gives them more positive feelings around saving and budgeting.
12. Save any surplus. Employees earning over $118,500 will get a boost in their paycheck toward the end of the year after they’ve maxed out their Social Security contributions for the year. “Instead of just consuming this ‘bonus,’ put it to work to increase your emergency reserves, pay down any consumer debt, fund a Roth IRA or set it aside for a vacation or holiday travel,” suggests Charleston, South Carolina-based Tim Maurer, director of personal finance for the BAM Alliance, a community of investors and advisers, and author of the forthcoming book, “Simple Money.”
13. Contribute to a 529 account. Evan Beach, a certified financial planner and wealth manager at Campbell Wealth Management in Alexandria, Virginia, suggests contributing to a 529 college savings plan to help pay for children’s or grandchildren’s future educations. He points out that for grandparents, the annual gift limit of $14,000 a child can actually be combined up to five years in advance. That means you can put $70,000 in a 529 account in one year without triggering federal gift taxes. That way, the money gets into the market more quickly.
14. Check your emergency fund. Artie Green, a certified financial planner at Cognizant Wealth Advisors in Palo Alto, California, encourages clients to have at least three to six months’ worth of expenses in the bank and to adjust the amount based on family size and current savings. “It should be kept in very liquid and very safe investments,” he says.
15. Review beneficiaries. Tate says clients often forget to update their employer benefits after marriage or other major life events. “It’s good to align beneficiary designations with your estate planning documents,” he says. Similarly, he suggests reviewing your current insurance coverage to make sure you’re not overpaying for coverage you no longer need (or are underinsured because you’ve acquired new assets).
16. Get more insurance. On the same note, Maurer recommends making sure you have enough auto coverage and checking that your liability limits are sufficient. Some people, especially those with significant assets, might want to also take out an umbrella liability policy for more coverage. Disability insurance is also an important category to review to make sure you and your family would be protected in the event of a disability interfering with your ability to work.
17. Organize your taxes. Sure, April 15 is still a long way off, but Brewer says if you start collecting information now, including any relevant receipts, then it will be much easier to submit your taxes early in the new year — and get any refund earlier, too.
18. Take advantage of tax credits. Also with taxes in mind, Charlotte Dougherty, a certified financial planner based in Cincinnati, recommends using your credit card to purchase items in December that might be tax deductible, even if you’ll pay the bill in 2016. “If you are able to charge some deductible expenses on your credit card prior to Dec. 31, then it can generate deductions for this year,” she says. Examples of deductibles or tax credits include investments in energy-efficient home improvements or certain school expenses . “Taxes are something that many of us don’t want to think about, but you can get a lot by paying a little more attention to your tax return,” she says.
19. Make donations. Mitchell Kraus, a certified financial planner at Capital Intelligence Associates in Santa Monica, California, encourages clients to finalize their charitable plans this fall and make contributions by Dec. 31 so it counts toward your 2015 contributions for tax purposes. Charitable giving can also be a great way to teach children about the value of giving back, he adds.
In the spirit of giving back, Lynne Strang, a Washington-based author who used to work in the financial services industry, says that as a result of her and her family’s love of reading, they have a lot of books around the house. “I usually donate some of them to a public library during the last quarter of the year, which provides a charitable donation and more room on our shelves.”
20. Make preventive care appointments. You have until March 2016 to spend any remaining money in your health care flexible spending account, says Pamela Capalad, certified financial planner and founder of financial planning firm Brunch & Budget in Brooklyn. She suggests replacing your contact lenses, as well as making any preventive care appointments you need.
From a roadside chain specializing in comfort food serving up its latest quarterly results to a pair of premium streaming video platforms rolling out new content, here are some of the things that will help shape the week that lies ahead on Wall Street.
Monday — Monday Night Lights
The opening weekend of the new NFL season culminates Monday night with Disney’s (DIS) ESPN kicking off a new season of Monday Night Football. Disney’s sports network has been making waves this summer after the media giant conceded that it suffered a sequential decline in ESPN subscribers.
That sent ripples through the ranks of media networks, with Disney and many of the leading players suffering double-digit percentage declines in August. ESPN will need to bounce back this quarter, and the NFL is well positioned to be a big part of the potential rebound.
Tuesday — Kaling Calling
The fourth season of Mindy Kaling’s “The Mindy Project” returns Tuesday, but it won’t be on Fox (FOX). The network canceled the show back in May after wrapping up its third season. That’s when Hulu stepped up, offering to bankroll a fourth season of the sitcom.
That just goes to show that there’s always new life for a cult fave if the right audience rallies behind the revival. Just as online streaming services gave us new seasons of “Arrested Development,” “Longmire” and “Community,” the Internet has come to save the day when network execs cancel some shows.
Wednesday — Comfort Food
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (CBRL) hopes to be rocking like the chairs that line its front porches when it reports quarterly results Wednesday. The chain that specializes in Southern vittles served in rustic dining rooms with attached gift shops is one of the more unique concepts in the casual-dining industry.
Cracker Barrel’s growing slowly these days, but profit margins are expanding. It also commands one of the better yields among eateries with its nearly 3 percent payout. Cracker Barrel has also beaten Wall Street’s profit forecasts every single quarter over the past year, and that’s a good sign as we head into Wednesday’s report.
Thursday — The Rite Stuff
One of the few companies reporting fresh financials Thursday will be Rite Aid (RAD). The once-struggling drugstore operator has turned things around. It was once mired in red ink and on the cusp of bankruptcy, but it has gone on to rattle off 11 consecutive profitable quarters.
Rite Aid will try to stretch that streak Thursday to an even dozen.
Friday — You Can’t Always Stream What You Want
It’s not just Hulu streaming new content this week. Netflix (NFLX) — the top dog with 65.5 million streaming subscribers worldwide — is debuting a documentary Friday about legendary Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards.
“Keith Richards: Under the Influence” looks at the influences, songwriting process and musicianship of Richards as he records his first solo album in more than 20 years. The new record — “Crosseyed Heart” — will also be released Friday.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., Netflix, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Netflix and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days and check out our free report for one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.