How to manage your money better

Managing money is part of self care and, surprisingly, financial health is a form of self-care. Financial health enables you to prosper and sets you ready for future. These steps will help you manage your money better and afford you some peace of mind.

Have a budget


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Many people don’t like hearing the word ‘budgeting’ as they see it as a long, tiresome and boring process,  especially when it comes to doing the calculations. However, to manage your money better, having a budget is very vital. Instead of looking at it as tiresome, focus on the value that budgeting will bring to your life.

Use the budget

Now that you have made a budget, adhere to it. Refer to it to clear any doubts and update it as you pay bills and spend your monthly expenses.

Give yourself a limit for unbudgeted spending

Unbudgeted spending is inevitable as sometimes it occurs involuntarily. If you have any money left over, you can spend some of it on entertainment as long as it does not interfere with anything that you might have planned.

Track your spending

Managing your money better does not stop at having a budget. You need to keep checking now and then and be careful not to over spend .

Make sure you pay the best prices.

Look out for discounts, coupons and cheaper alternatives whenever you can. You can save more money when you pay the lowest prices for products and services.

Save up for big purchases.

When you save up for big purchases you give yourself time to compare prices and also decide on the necessity of the purchase.

Limit your credit card purchase.

Avoid using the credit card when you do not have cash.

Contribute to savings regularly

Healthy financial habits can be built by depositing money into a savings account every month.

Practice makes perfect

For beginners it may not be easy. It may not also be easy to put off purchases but it will get better and easier with time.

 

 

Managing money after high school

– Executive Director of Cents Ability, Roy Paul, stopped by to give us some advice and tips needed to manage money after high school. 

Watch video above for me!
 

The Great Recession was a decade ago, but 23% of Americans are worse off now than before

Though it’s been roughly a decade since the Great Recession plagued Americans and turned their finances upside down, a large number of U.S. adults are still struggling to recover. One in four Americans say that their financial situation hasn’t changed since the Great Recession, according to Bankrate, while 23% say they’re worse off now financially than they were back then.

Much of the problem boils down to stagnant wages. Although the job market has been relatively healthy in recent years, 54% of Americans say their wages have yet to return to their prerecession level.

Compounding the issue is the fact that we don’t know when the next economic downturn will hit. Those still struggling to recover from the Great Recession stand to feel the impact if the economy soon takes a turn for the worse.

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Still, all is certainly not lost. If you’re still working on recovering financially from the last major recession, here are a few things you can do to expedite that process, all the while preparing for what may lie ahead.

1. Get a handle on your spending

If your finances are still hurting from events that transpired years ago, it may be time to reexamine your spending and aim to cut back. The easiest way to do so is to map out a budget, see where you’re spending more than necessary, and reduce those specific categories. Dining out less frequently and canceling a rarely used monthly gym membership could conceivably save you more than $1,000 in the course of a year, and those are just a couple of options to consider. But having that budget will put you in a better position to evaluate your expenses and make smart decisions about them.

2. Build emergency savings

A big reason so many people’s finances took a hit during the Great Recession was that they lacked emergency savings to tide themselves over during periods of unemployment. To prevent that from happening again, make an effort to build an emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of living expenses. That fund could come in handy if you lose your job in the coming years, and it could also give you some much-desired peace of mind along the way. Once you identify some bills in your budget to cut, you can use your savings to slowly but surely build those cash reserves.

Savings: 3 times my emergency fund has saved me

3. Shed some debt

The less debt you carry, the healthier you’ll be financially. If you’re sitting on a pile of unhealthy credit card debt, paying it off quickly could save you money on interest –money you can then use for other purposes, like building more savings. But it’s not just credit card debt you ought to get rid of. If you’re carrying a large mortgage that’s hard to keep up with, you might consider downsizing to a smaller home and slashing your living costs in the process. The same holds true if you’re making payments and covering the cost of maintenance and insurance on a car you like having but can technically get by without.

4. Boost your earnings

Earning more money could be your ticket to recovering financially from the last recession, managing your bills, building savings, and eliminating debt. But chances are you can’t just march into your boss’s office and demand a raise. What you can do, however, is work on boosting your job skills so that you’re eligible for a promotion that comes with a higher level of compensation. Additionally, it pays to consider getting a side job on top of your regular one. That way, you’re guaranteed an increase in income, and you’ll also have a gig to fall back on if another recession hits and your main job is yanked out from under you.

The Great Recession hit a lot of people hard. If you’re one of them, don’t resign yourself to a lifetime of financial instability. Instead, take steps to improve your personal economic picture, even if it means changing the way you spend and manage your money.

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Wealth, debt and spending: How cardiologists manage their money in 2019

Cardiologists’ salaries are up, their savings are steady and their debt is minimal, according to Medscape’s annual Cardiologist Wealth and Debt Report.

Medscape’s yearly report surveyed 19,328 practicing physicians across more than 30 specialities between October 2018 and February 2019, collecting data on doctors’ spending habits, salaries, investments and debt. This is what the picture looks like for cardiologists in 2019:

Cardiologists’ salaries are on the up and up

Medscape’s numbers suggest cardiologists’ average yearly earnings are up slightly from last year, rising from $423,000 in 2018 to $430,000 in 2019. For employed physicians, that includes compensation for all patient care, including salaries, bonuses and profit-sharing contributions. More than half of cardiologists reported a net worth of between $1 million and $5 million, making them among the richest physicians in the U.S.

Of physicians with the greatest net worth, cardiologists rank mid-pack, with 13% of the specialty—mostly physicians aged 55 and up—worth more than $5 million. In comparison, 20% of gastroenterologists, 19% of dermatologists and 18% of plastic surgeons can say the same.

Here’s what investors would do to never have to manage their personal finances again

What would you be willing to do if you never had to manage your personal finances again?

A new survey from Merrill Edge posed that question to 1,000 investors with up to $250,000 in investible assets. And some of the answers are surprising.

Topping that list was giving up all social media platforms for good, which was chosen by 41% of respondents. That was followed by permanently cutting all carbs, sugar and alcohol, at 37%; giving up smartphone access for a month, 35%; running into your ex every time you’re out with your current partner, 25%; and moving back in with your parents, 25%.

“It’s something that people just simply don’t like to talk about,” said Aron Levine, head of consumer banking and investments at Bank of America, which owns Merrill Edge.

“Financial health is a challenging and difficult topic that many people would rather avoid but, in the end, it’s something you can’t avoid and you have to deal with it,” he said.

When given a five-year outlook, many investors cited one concern: insufficient savings. That was followed by other worries including political instability, a looming recession, market volatility and debt.

Those concerns come even as a majority of respondents — 85% — have worked over the past year to improve their finances. Efforts they have made include raising their credit score, paying down or eliminating credit card debts and establishing an emergency fund.

It also comes as many investors expressed high confidence that they would be able to achieve their long-term goals. That included achieving the retirement they want, leaving money to their children, paying off student loan debt or buying a second home.

“I think it says a lot about the American spirit,” Levine said. “People feel, ‘if I work hard and I do the right things over a longer period of time, things will work out well.'”

To that end, 55% surveyed said they have turned to professional financial help, either in person or online, and about 66% said they plan to seek that guidance in the future.

Merrill Edge’s survey was conducted online between April and May.

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Social Security’s looming crisis is political, not economic

There are few traditions in American politics as cherished as the semi-regular panic over Social Security. There are equally few that are such utter balderdash on the economic merits.

The latest example of this time-honored practice comes to us courtesy of The New York Times. “Social Security’s so-called trust funds are expected to be depleted within about 15 years,” the outlet warned this week. “Benefit checks for retirees would be cut by about 20 percent across the board.” The cuts could potentially rise to 25 percent in later years. About half of all seniors rely on Social Security as their primary means of income, and the program reduces the poverty rate among the elderly from 39 percent to 9 percent. If the benefit cuts do happen, that would be devastating. The question is whether the cuts, at the basic structural level, are actually necessary at all.

Social Security’s trust funds were created back in the late 1930s, along with the benefits program itself and the payroll taxes intended to finance it. The idea was that the money brought in by the payroll tax would be deposited in the trust funds, then used to pay retirees’ benefits — essentially mimicking the function of a private retirement account. The problem is that the baby boomers are now retiring, and as their name suggests, there’s a lot of them. Average life spans for the elderly have also increased. Social Security is paying its promised benefits to more people, and paying more of them per person. That spending has overtaken the flow of money from the payroll tax, and the trust funds are draining faster than they’re being replenished. They’re currently projected to run out entirely around 2034 or 2035. At that point, the law says benefits have to be cut until total payments going out match the total payroll tax revenue coming in; hence the 20-to-25 percent benefit reduction.

Okay then. That sounds pretty bad, right? How is this not a looming crisis?

The problems begin with that whole point about how the Social Security trust funds mimic the function of private savings. It’s widely assumed the federal government is just like a private household or business; it can run out of money if it doesn’t manage its spending and revenue properly. Indeed, Social Security’s trust funds are designed on this premise. But that’s actually not how it works at all. As I’ve written many times before, the federal government is the sole legal issuer of U.S. dollars into the economy. Its finances work more or less backwards: it has to spend money into the economy before it can tax it back out again. The federal government can never “run out” of money, nor can it ever suffer an involuntary debt crisis. The federal government can cause too much inflation in the economy, but that’s it.

The implications for Social Security should be obvious. As far as the federal government’s ability to procure dollars is concerned, the depletion of the trust funds is a meaningless event. It can keep right on paying every last Social Security benefit it has promised in perpetuity.

Yes, the laws governing Social Security require benefits to be cut anyway. But that’s just a rule Congress imposed on itself; there’s no hard objective reality forcing it to cut benefits, the way you or I really would be out of money if we spent everything in our retirement portfolio. And since Congress wrote that law, it can also unwrite it. In point of fact, the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) long-term projections already assume this will happen: “In CBO’s extended baseline projections, Social Security is assumed to pay benefits as scheduled under current law, regardless of the status of the program’s trust funds,” as it says on page 16 here.

Why on earth was Social Security designed this way to begin with? In a word, politics. President Roosevelt felt Social Security would be harder to eliminate if voters believed they had “earned” their benefits by first paying into the program via payroll taxes. “We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits,” Roosevelt allegedly told an adviser at the time, “Those taxes aren’t a matter of economics, they’re straight politics.”

Now, maybe you think Roosevelt was right on the necessary politics, and maybe you don’t. But the artifice is apparent everywhere, once you know to look for it. The very first Social Security beneficiary, Ida May Fuller, got her initial benefits check in 1939, after paying into the system for just three years — hardly enough time to build up the necessary “savings” to fund her retirement. The very fact that benefit cuts would reduce Social Security to a cashflow basis demonstrate that current workers finance the benefits for current retirees, as opposed to payroll taxes being stored up for the future retirement of the citizens who payed them.

The actual function of the payroll taxes is to remove demand from the economy, thus making room for the demand that Social Security’s spending injects into the economy. Which is what keeps inflation on an even keel. Meanwhile, those long-term CBO projections anticipate inflation will remain at a very modest and manageable 2.4 percent through 2050. In short: the system is fine.

Of course, Congress still faces the fact that it made a rule for itself that benefits must be cut when the trust funds run dry. If it wants to maintain the fiction, Congress could do what previous reforms have done, and bring spending and revenue back into line through some combination of benefit cuts and payroll tax hikes. At some point, however, you’d think the better move would be to acknowledge the trust funds are a political gimmick, and just spend whatever benefits our elected representatives deem appropriate.

Social Security may face a very interesting political crisis in the coming decade or two. But in hard economic terms, there is no crisis at all.

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Father’s Day: Help your parent go digital, financially

If you have felt annoyed or frustrated when explaining how to operate a gadget or manage a social media profile to your father, you’re not alone. The phenomenon is so common, in fact, that YouTube comedy channel TVF produced a series called, Tech Conversations with Dad, to make light of the rambling and often futile phone calls where children try to explain tech matters to their parents.

But the reason for this disconnect is clear. “Parents were introduced to technology much later in life, but they try to learn and adopt its several uses to communicate with their children or grandchildren who are tech savvy,” said Raj Khosla, founder and managing director, MyMoneyMantra, a financial services firm. One aspect of technology that your father can find extremely useful is managing his personal finances using the myriad platforms and tools available online.

This Father’s Day, here’s how you can help your dad adapt to new technology and use it to his advantage.

Dismantle distrust

Part of the problem when it comes to adoption of technology is that people from older generations often distrust digital interfaces when it comes to managing money. “Older investors are not comfortable with the new ways of investing and financial planning. The main reason is lack of trust in digital methods of investment. There’s limited experience with the online world and lack of understanding about how it works. The elderly are not willing to trust their hard-earned money to a digital platform, especially if there’s no one to guide them,” said C.S. Sudheer, CEO and founder of IndianMoney.com, a personal finance education company.

“Digital platforms are increasingly incorporated into marketing plans of companies and people are using digital devices or platforms instead of visiting physical shops,” said Khosla. You can handhold your father through the basics and dispel any misconceptions about safety concerns. But make sure he uses trustworthy apps and platforms.

Even day-to-day household transactions can be taken care of digitally now. “Children can teach their parents to pay utility bills online so that they don’t have to stand in long queues at banks. They can also guide them about investing in fixed deposits and mutual funds through banking apps and how to track their investments. Using digital platforms could also do away with the need to chase insurance agents to pay premiums,” said Sudheer.

Choose wisely

Start with the basics when it comes to helping your father get online. For Bharat Dhawan, 46, partner at Mazars India, a business consulting firm, the easiest way to get his dad Vijay Dhawan, 73, managing partner of a chartered accountancy firm, online was to buy him an iPad. “With a laptop, logging on and using software like Outlook can be tedious. An iPad, on the other hand, has brought about a generational shift in technology, because it’s easy enough for anyone to use,” said Dhawan.

The older Dhawan took to it pretty quickly after he got past the initial mental block. “I can comfortably navigate the internet and have my own set of apps that I use regularly. If I have to buy something online, I can get it done. I’ve learnt a little late in the day, but now I know how to do it. My son Bharat is especially happy about it,” he said.

Dhawan’s dad is proof that it’s never too late to start learning something new.

According to Sudheer, choosing the right device is a key factor in getting your parent used to transacting online. “Avoid smartphones if your father has sight-related difficulties. Opt for devices which are easy to use. Large screens make it easy to invest, manage personal finances or check bank balances online. Teach your father how to use AI-enabled chatbots which most apps have. These chatbots can help him navigate the platform or app easily and manage personal finances online,” he said.

Security matters

The older generation’s fears about managing money online are not entirely unfounded, given that they are often the first to fall victim to various scams due to their unfamiliarity with certain digital platforms. “Precautions and safeguards on avoidance of online frauds are paramount,” said Khosla.

Software and applications come with their own set of vulnerabilities and pitfalls. Make sure you warn your parent about the possibility of accidentally downloading phishing apps and exposing his financial data to fraudsters. “An older person must always check the publisher of the banking or financial app, before downloading. This holds true for all people, but the elderly are more vulnerable to fraud. The interface of many unofficial apps is designed to look like the original. Ask your father to download only those apps which belong to the official service provider,” said Sudheer.

If explaining to your father how to spot a fake app seems too challenging, you can also do the downloading on his behalf to ensure that all the apps he uses are authentic ones.

Also, ask him to be careful when granting permissions for apps and websites. “They should be taught to keep sensitive information like bank login IDs and passwords safe and never reveal any sensitive personal and financial information over the phone,” said Sudheer.

Learning something new takes time, so remember to be patient and empathetic when teaching your father how to invest and transact online. Ensure he has the right device and a way to resolve any problems that may arise when carrying out such processes. Last, but not the least, be available to help out whenever needed.

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How to open a high-yield savings account online to earn up to 200 times more interest on your money

Why should you carve out a quarter of an hour to apply for a new account and move over your money? To make more and save more. Online-only accounts often come with more favorable interest rates and fees.

In a recent look at my own savings, I shared the three high-yield savings accounts I use to hold my own cash. Between my emergency savings and other savings for future real estate investments, I’ve signed up for my fair share of online accounts.

Compared to some nationwide banks, which can pay as little as .01% interest, some of the best online banks ( like Ally) pay more than 200 times more interest, offering 2% or more. And at the same time, they usually charge no recurring monthly fees with no minimum balance requirements. That’s a big win for your money.

I recently signed up for a new account at Capital One to take advantage of a big $500 bonus for new accounts. It took me less than 10 minutes of work and I was off and running with my new account. If you follow the simple steps at your favorite bank’s online form, you’ll be set up in no time.

Unless you have a job where you get paid in cash, there is no reason you can’t go entirely online-only for your banking. But if you just want to start with a high-yield savings account like those offered by Ally, Marcus, or Wealthfront, you can follow these basics steps to get started.

How to get a high-yield savings account

1. Gather your personal information

The first step with any new bank account is getting your personal information together. Banks are required by law to collect customer information. Expect to provide your name, address, phone number, and Social Security number when applying for any new financial account.

Many of the laws regarding providing your information to banks come from the PATRIOT Act introduced after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. In the banking industry, this is known as KYC or Know Your Customer requirements. For us law-abiding customers, that just means we have to provide a little extra information compared to a couple of decades ago.

2. Fill out the application

Most online banking applications take less than 10 minutes to complete. If you are working with a bank that offers a strong customer experience, it may take even less than five minutes.

Most of the application details should be things you already know off of the top of your head. Outside of some employer details, everything in the application is personal.

Online banking may be intimidating if it is new to you, but rest assured that it is safe and simple to use. If you have enough computer skills to make a purchase online or send an email, you can handle the online banking application process and anything you need to do to maintain your account.

3. Fund your account

In many cases, your identity confirmation is instant and you can fund your account right away. If you’ve ever filled out a direct deposit form for payroll or linked a checking account to pay a mortgage or credit card bill, this will feel very familiar.

My favorite online banks have no minimum balance requirements to avoid monthly fees, though some banks do require a minimum to open a new account. Whether you plan to deposit $1, $100, or $1,000 in your new account, the process is almost always the same.

You may also have the option to mail in a check, deposit a check using your new bank’s mobile app, or make a transfer with a bank wire. Outside of wire transfers, there are typically no fees or costs with transferring funds to or from an online savings account.

4. Bonus: Set up your online banking and bill pay

If you add a new checking account at the same time, which is easy to do at most banks and credit unions, you shouldn’t stop when you fund your account. Taking a few extra minutes up front can help you get moving on an automatic financial plan.

One of the biggest benefits of online banking is the ability to manage your finances from one central hub. If you connect all of your account including other banks, investments, credit cards, and bills, you’ll be able to save a lot of time in the future.

If your account is linked, it makes it really easy to transfer funds. Whether you need to pay for an emergency, want to add to your savings balance, or pay a utility bill, you can do it in a few clicks from your online banking dashboard.

Considering a high-yield savings account? Take a look at these offers from our partners:

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