This is Why You’re Not Saving Money

Man with no money in his pocketIf you’re one of those people you like “to live in the now,” you probably don’t care much about saving or preparing for the future. While living in the present may seem exciting and glamorous, it actually isn’t. This is because you will constantly find yourself needing to wait for your next paycheck, especially if you want to do something fun like taking a spontaneous trip or adventure.

If you don’t have a respectable amount of savings, Fcacu.org and other credit unions suggest looking into and overcoming these reasons.

  • You don’t follow a budget. Having an opportunity to track your spending can help you identify ways to save. If you don’t know how to create a budget, you can start with listing down all your monthly expenses and know how much you’re spending on each item listed. Then, you can add up the cost and compare that to your take-home pay. If the total eats up or exceeds your earnings, you need to make some lifestyle changes.
     
  • You have a lot of debt. If your debt situation makes you strapped for cash, you need to take an action to change your situation. You can start tackling your credit card debt, as they are costing you a lot more on interest. You can also apply for a personal loan with a lower rate that can help you pay off your balances. When it comes to other debts, it is best to cut back on other expenses or take a second job.​
     
  • You always make excuses not to save. If you’re young, you may feel that you can start saving later or when you reach a certain age. Other excuses for not saving include: "I don’t make enough money, I am no good with numbers, or I don’t know how to save." If you hold on to these reasons and attitude, you are likely to be trapped in a bad financial situation. It is best to start saving now — you can open a savings account or set up automatic deductions for savings.

Saving may seem like a chore, but it can actually give you a financial freedom. It will make you better equipped to buy or afford the things you want without having to borrow money or put things in credit. You can get the help of a financial planner or a credit union when building your savings.

Take Control of Your Finances with This 5-Step Monthly Spending Plan

Piggy bank, coins, and calculator on a tableHave you been on a tight budget for quite some time now? Do you find yourself scratching your head once your monthly bills start to come in? Maybe it’s time to sit down and sort out your finances like you should’ve done years ago.

Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union believes that a monthly spending plan can help you take control of your finances. Here’s a step-by-step process on how to start yours.

Step #1: Determine your total monthly income.

This is the amount minus taxes and any other company deductions you may have. If you have any other sources of income, include them as well. Use averages if monthly amounts vary.

Step #2: List down all your monthly expenses.

Then, subtract it from your income. This would include school tuition fees, groceries, date nights, and even ice cream weekends. You must include anything that you spend every month.

Step #3: Allot for unexpected expenses.

After Step #2, if you still have much left, set aside an amount for any unexpected expense. If you can’t come up with an amount on your own, 10 percent should be a safe amount.

Step #4: Work on your budget.

This is where your saving skills should come in. If you reach this step with a negative amount, go back to Step #2 and see where you can cut down on expenses. Then move on to the next step until you can work with enough money to continue.

Step #5 Invest.

No matter what amount you come up with by this point, you must still invest in yourself. The savings you set aside every month can be your lifesaver, your future, or your next business investment.

No two months are the same. Make sure you’re ready for any changes and adjustments your finances will need like emergency dental or medical appointments. It’ll only take you half an hour to come up with your monthly spending plan. Take control of your finances today, before it takes control of you.

Grow Your Savings Using These Strategies

Person putting coin into coin bankCreating a life of financial freedom is a worthy goal for many people. However, is it achievable with all the payments you have to settle and things you want to buy for yourself? You may be thinking to yourself that you will only be able to save if your salary increased or if you do not have to worry about paying bills every month.

One way to grow your wealth is to learn about different personal banking services in Illinois. Banks like American Bank & Trust provide you with savings and investment options that will help you save for the future.

Financial freedom is something that anyone can achieve with the right mindset and discipline. Whether you are earning big, or just enough every month, you can build a financial foundation that will let you take control of your money, instead of money controlling you.

Here are useful strategies you can utilize to achieve financial independence:

Start early

There is a reason why you were told to start saving money at an early age. Learning to put away money helps you develop the habit of being smart about handling money. As you get older, you will take this habit with you, and it will be easier to control unnecessary spending. Another advantage of saving early is that you will gather more money than those who start late. People who start saving at an early age will grow up with an understanding of its benefits in securing a more stable future.

Live within your means

The key to doing this is by knowing all your sources of income as well as your regular expenses. Start by making a list of all the income you receive from your job, side projects, or any other freelance work you are doing. Then jot down your bills: car payment, rent, insurance. Once you have a clear idea of your expenses per month, you should set aside a part of your paycheck for settling them and sufficient funds for other needs. Whatever is left after this can be listed as savings and investments.

Separate wants and needs

No one wants to get into debt because of too much spending, which is why it is important to know the difference between wants and needs. Before buying anything, ask yourself whether you need it or you can do without it for now.

What to Look for When Choosing a Bank

A man saving moneyThere are 70 banks in Connecticut, each having several branches in towns and cities across the state. Of the 70, 34 are state-chartered banks, three foreign banks, 20 national banks, four federal savings banks, one federal savings and loan association, and eight out-of-state banks. But which one should you choose?

When choosing banks in Connecticut, there are several things worthy to consider.

Acceptable rates and diverse banking products

It is typical that the bank you choose offers low loan rates and higher savings rates. It must also have several products that you can benefit from. If it is personal banking, you must find services like personal savings, eChecking, college-bound checking, health savings, youth savings, or credit services. If it is business banking, it must have options for small businesses, business checking and savings, money market, and growth capital finance, to name a few.

Quality technological infrastructure

Banks that offer technology features like electronic transactions and mobile services are more operationally well-rounded and market-oriented. They ensure new and current customers get the best banking services they need. This also accounts for a larger marketing base with which to advertise bank products; hence, inform customers. An online presence is also fundamental. Online banking, for example, is becoming a norm as physical banking transactions are getting less appealing.

Reliable customer service

A bank that cares about its customers also maintains a caring customer service department. More than pure advertising rhetoric, reliable customer service must serve and treat customers well. Serving over the counter must be consistent with serving beyond the counter since it shows that an institution is willing to protect and improve a customer’s finances.

When choosing a bank, critically examine the bank’s rates, products, technology, as well as its customer service.

A Beginner’s Guide to Investments

Investment

InvestmentSo, what is Investing?

American business magnate Warren Buffet calls investing “the process of laying out money now to receive more money in the future.”

Investing, therefore, is the act of putting money into something today and using that thing to generate profit tomorrow, or further down the line. With that definition in mind, an investment can basically be anything you’ve spent money on, but also rely on to earn money. This could be a car you use for deliveries, or work boots for the factory.

In this article, investments, such as company shares and unlisted investments, will be discussed. For the first-time investor, these might all seem a little intimidating. However, with a little math, insight and a bit of luck, investing can be a viable source of long-term profit.

Do I Really Need It?

Investing your money is a great way to “diversify your revenue stream”, which is simply multiplying the ways you earn income. The right investment can double, or even triple your initial capital.

Investments are a patient man’s game. While it is possible to make quick money through trading, there are wiser applications of investments, such as real estate, or corporate bonds. Those options may take time before they generate revenue, but the payoffs are bigger and more secure and are less stressful to manage.

Figure Out What Sort of Investment You Want

Listing down all the possible types of investments would take a considerable amount of time, so let’s focus on the most common ones.

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission, or the ASIC, lists the three most common investments in Australia. These are shares, unlisted investments and managed funds.

Shares are the most common type of investment, and are probably the ones that sound most familiar to casual observers of finance. Investing in shares means that you are buying a part of a company, and your profit (or “returns”) comes from any capital growth or dividends if your share increases in value over time. To simplify further: if the company you invested in makes money, then your share becomes more valuable. Once this happens, you can sell your share for a higher price than when you initially bought it, thus making profit.

An unlisted investment, or debenture, is when an investor loans money to a company or organisation, and in return, that company or organisation pays off the loan with a fixed rate of interest. This loan is repaid within a set amount of time. Usually, debenture investments are used by companies or entities as a loan to other borrowers, usually people looking for mortgage financing or debt capital funding.

This makes it riskier than investing in shares, which is why the ASIC heavily regulates debentures and other unlisted investments.

Managed funds, or managed investment schemes, are created when your capital is pooled together with other investors’ money and used to buy shares, or some other kind of investment. Investors then earn based on how much their initial capital was, gaining returns relative to the percentage of the pool that they own.

Because managed investment schemes usually have multiple investors, it’s heavily regulated and controlled by a constitution, and is managed on a day-to-day basis by a professional investment manager.

Other investment options exist, from indices and warrants, to real estate. Do your research on the type of investment you want, and consult with a professional.

Generally, investments are things that generate revenue in the long-term. While there are low-risk investment options available that earn you a decent profit quickly, other options such as managed funds have higher risks with bigger profit. The latter is more often the investment of choice for people who are willing to wait for their initial capital to grow.

Diversify!

It’s generally never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket, and this is especially true for investing. Having multiple investments in place means that, if one investment fails, you’ll still have other sources of profit.

One example would be to buy shares of a company, and then using the profit from those to purchase real estate. Your real estate property then generates money, either in the form of rent or the proceeds from a sale, which you can then use as a contribution to a managed fund, the profit of which you can use to buy stocks, or more company shares. Thus, an investment cycle is created.

The concept of investing is simple. However, there are a lot of intricate investment types, processes and laws that govern investing. Beforehand, always do your research, and consult professionals.