I decided to take a leap of faith and start this new blog about finances as my first step to getting out of it. Yes, you read it right, I have been in debt for almost 10 years and counting. I’m pretty sure it is also the reason why you found me. Perhaps, we’re both in the same journey.
Everything else in my life seems to be working really well, except for one thing. I don’t have ENOUGH money. I have an outstanding credit card loans, car mortgage, a business to run, a family to feed, and taxes to pay. I work 9-16 hours a day just to get by. Yet, even if i have gazillion tasks to complete, there isn’t just enough. It took me a while to finally accept I need some help. Blogging, is one of my therapy.
I know for sure that there are people like us out there, frustrated, scared, worried about what our future looks like. This blog is for them too.
I will courageously share my experience – whether good or bad in this site. Along the way, I do hope that others will learn from it too.
Today is the day I liberate myself from debt chains. Thank you for joining me.
Having problems with loan and other debt you couldn’t catch up with? That certainly isn’t an easy thing to deal with. Financial difficulties are doubtlessly tough but never impossible to weather. If you are looking for advice on how to get rid of debt, go over the discussions below to get some insights. They may not be right on point in addressing the specific problems you have but they should be able to provide some useful guidance on how you can manage your financial obligations better.
For the following discussions, focus on this word ASAP—which spells out Austerity, Savings, Additional Sources of Income, and Payment.
The reason your indebtedness is piling up on you is your lack of resources. You are spending more than you are earning so you need to leverage your earnings with borrowings that entail costly interest expenses and service charges. As such, you have to learn to practice austerity. Learn to cut on your unessential expenses. Of course, this one’s easier said than done. You have to be careful especially when you think you don’t really have anything unessential to let go of.
Start with the utilities. You don’t really need anything else other than electricity, heating/cooling, water, and rent for your appointment. You may need to stop your cable TV service and Internet connection. Know how to prioritize. Don’t keep using power-consuming appliances to lower electric bills. Avoid using your credit card. Learn to hunt for bargains and sales to save on your grocery and toiletry spending.
Pursue savings whenever you encounter the opportunity. This is not just limited to getting savings from buying groceries or other consumer items. This also applies to trying to find savings from the interest payments you need to pay. When you have debts, you are expected to pay for interests, service charges, and other associated fees. In most cases if your debt is not completely paid off the soonest, you will continue having to pay for higher interest. There are even cases when loan balances with interest also incur additional interest.
Small debts become unmanageable over time because of the amount of interest you have to pay for them. If you can find loans with better interest rates and payment terms, try obtaining them to use the proceeds in paying smaller debts with higher cost of borrowing. Consult people who can help you in undertaking debt consolidation. There are credit unions or cooperatives that offer this assistance to those who are deeply troubled by their enormous debts.
Also, as much as possible, try to have savings even in very small amounts. This is to help yourself change your attitude. For most people, it really helps seeing some amount of money accumulating over time. This stimulates and sustains the desire and eventual habit of wanting to have savings. There’s usually that inexplicable feeling of fulfillment in seeing some amount of savings regardless of the amount.
Additional Sources of Income
Of course you are troubled with debts because you are not earning enough. What’s the best solution for that? Logically—it’s seeking more income! You may need to look for an additional job. Just be sure that the new job does not affect the one that you already have. The last thing you would want is knowing that you have been fired in your first job because you are becoming less productive as you struggle to fulfill multiple obligations.
If you are doing business, try changing your strategies if you are still not improving your earnings. If your operations are doing great, consider expanding although you need to be very careful about obtaining a new loan to fund an expansion. You can also try making joint ventures or collaborating with other businesses to capitalize on certain advantages. For instance, if you have a good place in front of a busy street, you may want to contact online sellers to have their products displayed or consigned on your store. You may then ask for commissions for sales made. If you have to sell properties, go ahead but be careful not to sell them at a loss or a very low price.
Of course you can’t get rid of financial obligations if you don’t pay them. You have to make sure that you always allocate some amount to slowly pay off debts. If your current financial standing can’t really deal with all the debts you are having, find ways to minimize the interests. For instance, if you have unpaid credit cards, stop using them or have them cancelled and negotiate with the credit card company some setup to make the obligation less onerous. Some credit card companies are willing to stop the accumulation of interests for those who promise payment with a specific timeline. Obviously, it’s better for them to have this kind of compromise instead of having to completely write off bad debts.
Try to fit these ASAP guidelines in your specific situation. You need to employ all four: living an austere lifestyle, pursuing savings, looking for additional sources of income, and ensuring payments. The important points here are to minimize your expenses while increasing your income, changing your attitude in handling money, and coming up with compromises to make the debts less costly to completely pay off.
Being in your 30’s is the usually the start of many worries. Often, this is the point in your life when you have a lot of questions to ask, a lot of insecurities, and a lot of doubts and confusions you didn’t bother thinking about when you were younger. If you still don’t have a job or if you are still not in a place where you want to be, your age will certainly make things even worse, especially when it comes to your finances. Consider using the following finance help tips below to weather financial difficulties in your 30’s better.
Get a good sense of your financial standing.
This is a basic step in improving your finances. You have to know how you are doing financially. Understand the situation you are in. If you are in a job that does not pay well enough, look for other employment opportunities or try to obtain additional qualifications that can get you promoted to higher ranks with better compensation. If you are a businessman and you don’t see increases in your earnings, consider expansion or try vertical ventures that are feasible. Don’t think that because you already have a job or a steadily earning business, you already have enough of what you need. Also, examine the financial obligations you need to attend to.
Track the earnings and expenses you incur over a period (monthly or yearly). You have to be conscious of how your cash flows. Of course, you should have more income than expenses. Breaking even is just never enough. You can’t really have a good sense of your financial standing unless you consciously look into it and see everything quantified.
It always helps having some budgeting skills. There are many free online budgeting tools that feature intuitive interfaces. You can pick one of these or install a budgeting app on your smartphone or tablet computer. They will always be handy in tracking your cash flows and learning how to prioritize expenses.
If you have several debts, make sure that you allocate funds to get them extinguished. Remember that the longer they remain, the bigger the interest expense becomes. Consider debt consolidation. If you can obtain a new loan with a lower overall cost of borrowing, avail of that loan to completely pay off smaller debts that actually have bigger interest rates.
You save for a number of reasons. For one, you have to save for retirement. It also helps having savings so you can have some liquid asset to spare in times of emergencies. Likewise, when you encounter great investment opportunities, it’s always great having had some money set aside to fund meaningful acquisitions like the rock bottom priced houses or lots.
These are just some basic personal finance help pointers worth knowing. However, they should provide enough guidance on how you can do better in managing your finances. It’s easy to learn the rest once you get well acquainted with the basics.
The skill to manage personal finances is something everyone should learn. Being knowledgeable in handling money is not just a privilege but something every person should know, considering how inevitable it is to deal with financial decisions in everyday life. Fortunately, you can get a useful finance calculator software easily. This software makes it easy to plan, calculate, and manage costs without the need for any formal training on financial management.
Personal Finance Overview
There are six main areas of focus in personal finance. These are financial position, adequate protection, investment and accumulation goals, retirement planning, and estate planning. These are the topics most personal finance software are centered on. They can be described as follows:
Why Use a Financial Calculator
As mentioned, almost every area of focus in personal finance involves numbers. Things need to be quantified in order to come up with more sensible financial decisions. Without looking at numbers, it’s almost impossible to properly pinpoint the right decisions like choosing which insurance policy offers the better deal or which loan should obtained (the one with the lower interest and charges). You can do “guesstimates” as you look for insurance plans or personal loans but it is always better to have some degree of near-accuracy in terms of numbers. In tracking household cash flow, for instance, you can’t just look at what you have and what you have been spending away by ending balances. You need to monitor how the cash flows in and how it flows out.
A good finance calculator is one that covers as many of the personal finance areas of focus described above. However, you can hardly find one software suite that covers all aspects of personal finance comprehensively. Most of the time, it is more convenient to use different financial calculator tools to deal with different matters. Fortunately, there are several of these sets of tools readily available online.
The following are some good examples. They are offered by some of the most reliable names in the field of personal finance.
Investopedia’s Calculators are great tools for computing various personal finance and investment related figures, including present and future values, annual effective interest rates, periods to grow sums of money, tax brackets, and mortgage payments. The Online Financial Calculators of TCalc includes various personal finance calculators that include tools for computing college savings, debt consolidation, loan affordability, and credit card payoff. Additionally, there’s also Bloomberg’s Personal Finance Calculators that make it easy to compute mortgage numbers, plan your retirement, and come up with estimates on potential savings.
If you’re good with numbers, you may not really need a calculator software of sorts to plan and track your finances. However, for most, a calculating tool provides significant help as it provides guidance and simplifies the whole process of evaluating decisions when it comes to personal finance.
If you are looking for an online resource from which you can get regular insights, updates, or other useful information related to finance, blogs are some of the best options you can have. There are many blogs created to provide useful financial details, especially those that are of current interest. Presented below are the ten best daily finance blogs you should consider subscribing to.
This blog may not be the top choice for financial analysis and insights but it is certainly a very good option for a wide range of economic and business news. It even features Wall Street rumors. It is not really well known for original articles or stories but the frequency of reliable financial updates it provides makes it a good enough blog to consider reading.
This is a blog under renowned The Economist publication. It features articles from the publication’s leading economics reporters. What makes it different from the other articles of The Economist is the free-flowing nature of the articles that are typically shorter. Unlike Business Insider, this blog is rich in arguments and writers’ opinions.
Oozing with character and humor, Dealbreaker is one blog noted for having captured the zeitgeist of Wall Street’s trading floors. Overall, the blog feels like a combination of Bloomberg News and a gossip section like New York Post’s Page Six. The posts may appear humor-laden but they actually make sense.
The Big Picture
Filled with sense of humor and astute observations, this blog is known for fiercely attacking misguided pundits, public officials who seem to not know their finance, and industry spokespersons. More than just serving as a resource for stock jockeys, this blog offers quick breakdowns of breaking news and developments in the economy.
Many are saying that this financial blog is a tad too pessimistic. Fortunately, the pessimism isn’t really something you can call a drawback. It can be a good read for those who are fond of intellectual miniculture, conspiracies, and somewhat abused criticisms against Goldman Sachs and their ilk.
The best thing about Planet Money is that it is a financial blog written to be understood. It does not rely on jargons and technical language to sound credible or knowledgeable. It is intended for those who don’t have ample exposure to the technical aspects of finance. You may not always agree with what is written in the blog but they are thoughts certainly worth considering. The blog is written by David Leonhardt, a columnist for the New York Times.
This is a consumer advocacy centered blog that zeroes in on various topics affecting consumers—from fees to inflation and bank policies. It is notable for its annual listing of companies in the negative light. It crowns the worst companies, companies that suck, and other similar “distinctions,”which are of course based on the author’s opinion with some external inputs.
Calculated Risk is a great finance and economics blog that provides quick summaries of key economic data and developments. This blog stands out for presenting financial and economic facts that really matter. The author’s opinions may not jibe with yours but it’s worth rethinking your position if you ever find yourself contradicting with the things written on the blog.
Generally providing fair and honest financial and economic discussions, Marginal Revolution is known to be a blog of public intellectuals who are also playful. The blog is authored by Alex Tabarrok and Tyler Cowen, two economics from George Mason University. Although these authors have been associated with libertarian principles, the articles posted on the blog don’t really show the kind of partisanship that usually irks many readers.
Felix Salmon is a great blog because it is well written – as simple as that. It is a blog of someone who is an extensive reader. It is a blog for those who prefer practical and empirical insights and information. There’s just so much financial and economic information to obtain from this blog on Reuters.