Sunday, January 31, 2016

Are You Saving for the Unexpected



                               

Do you have an emergency fund? If your answer is no, why not? Many Americans today still don't have a savings account or an emergency fund. I heard on the news on recently that some Americans still spend all the money they have. One cause of this is instant gratification. We want everything right now instead of delaying gratification to save up to purchase an item. Nothing remains the same so it's best to be prepared for lean times than to get caught off guard.

Your emergency fund is a savings account that is used as your safety net – to help you in case you get sick or lose your job. You can use your emergency fund to hold you for a few months until you can find a new job or to help you through a financial crisis. Your emergency fund account should be separate from you’re your other accounts and should only be used for emergencies such as an unexpected expense, unemployment, etc. 

Your emergency fund money should be easily accessible and stored in a checking or savings account, preferably a high interest savings account such as Emigrant Direct, HSBC or ING or in a money market account which allows you to make money while saving money.

An emergency fund savings account should have enough money to pay your bills for at least 9 to 12 months. To determine how much money is needed to pay 9 to 12 months worth of your bills do an inventory and write down all your bills and expenses and the monthly amount spent on each item. Calculate the total. Use this amount and multiple by 9 or 12 to determine the total amount you need to save in your emergency fund.   

I know what you are saying, I can't even save enough to pay my bills for one month, how on earth can I start an emergency fund!  Start small, even if you save $1.00 a day at least you are saving and continue to do this until you are able to contribute more to your savings account. 

Once you have saved enough money to pay one bill pat yourself on the back. Then keep saving until you have enough to pay three bills and so on.

Once you have reached your emergency fund goal then you should start developing some long-term goals such as planning for retirement.  A great site to learn about retirement planning is www.morningstar.com/Cover/Classroom.html. They provide a great tutorial to show you the basics of investing. The site also has other great resources on personal finance, the stock market and other financial topics.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis the current personal savings rate is just a little above 5.5%. This which means more Americans are paying down debt, planning for retirement and saving instead of spending.   

Don't wait - start your emergency fund today, it can save your financial life.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

9 Ways to Reduce The Instant Gratification Syndrome



                                   
   
Do you use your check card or debit card to make all of your purchases? Have you stopped carrying cash? Do you feel lost without your credit card or debit card? You are not alone.  There are over 520 million debit cards in use in the United States.      

It can be difficult to resist the temptation of the instant gratification or immediate gratification culture of America. Advertisers make it easy for consumers to buy everything instantly by creating online shopping, instant cereal, instant coffee, instant meals, text messaging and the ability to make credit card or debit card purchases anytime anywhere. Most Americans buy an item immediately when they see it either in a store or online. This bad habit has caused many Americans to overdraw their account, pay overdraft fees, spend more money than they have, damage their relationship with their bank and may lower their credit score.

Some advantages of using a debit card:  it is easier to obtain versus a credit card, can be used in place of checks, accepted everywhere, transactions can be made quicker and can be used to get cash from an ATM or retail store that offers cash-back during a purchase. The disadvantages of using a debit card are:  you can spend more than you have in your account; you can incur overdraft fees and can become a victim of identity theft.  Here a 9 ways to rein in your spending:

  1. Pay your bills first. Put a portion of any extra money left over in a savings account.
  2. Alternate payment.  Use cash when making a purchase.
  3. Get a receipt. Get a receipt each time you make a purchase and keep it.
  4. Track spending.  Take all of your receipts from your credit card or debit card purchases and put them in an envelope.  Use pen and paper, an Excel spreadsheet or a software tool to track spending.   
  5. Wait.  Wait a few days before making a purchase that is more than $50.  Go back to the store to see if you still want the item. If you still want the item, comparison shop to see which store offers the best price.
  6. Retail therapy. Avoid shopping when you are emotional.  This will prevent you from spending more than you have or buying unnecessary items.
  7. Create a budget. Create a budget to track your spending daily or weekly.  Set aside a specific amount for extra things you want. 
  8. Leave at home.  Leave your credit card or debit card at home unless you know you will make a purchase. This helps to reduce the temptation to make an unnecessary purchase.
  9. Get cash.  Go to the bank and take out the amount of cash you need for the week.  Once you spend that amount don’t get out any more money or use your credit or debit card unless it is an emergency.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Get the Financial Help You Need Now

                                      


You go to see a dentist when you have a tooth problem, a doctor when you are sick, a mechanic when you car needs repair, a lawyer for legal advice, so why don't you hire a financial expert to help you with your finances? You can.  

Get the advice of a true, talented and passionate financial expert to help you blast away bad financial habits and achieve the life you always wanted. 

Using my financial programs you will have: 
  • Less stress
  • More options, more choices
  • Peace of mind
  • Access to products and services
  • Save money
  • Increased cash flow
  • Increased net worth

                   I have some great financial programs to help you with your finances! 
                                                 Take charge of your finances now.


Credit Score Mastery Program
If you have bad credit, I have a Credit Score Mastery Program. After completing this program clients: will feel better, will get easily approved for personal or business credit, will have negotiating power, increase job opportunities, will save money in fees, will increase liquidity, and have more options and more choices when spending money. I had a client who had a 420 credit score and I assisted them by increasing their credit score to 700. They were able to purchase a home and create financial stability for their family. If you want to have good credit click here to purchase this program now!

Identity Theft Program
If you have been a victim of identity theft, I have an Identity Theft Program. After completing this program clients: will feel better, get their identity back, save money in fees, save time, learn ways to protect their identity in the future. If you want to get your identity back click here to purchase this program now!

Budget Mastery Program
If you are living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to pay your bills or are overspending, I have a Budget Mastery Program. After completing this program clients: will learn how to track and categorize spending, differentiate between wants and needs, save money on purchases, and increase your monthly cash flow. If you want to be a better steward of your money click here to purchase this program now!
If you woud like more information feel free to contact me at consulting at hefreemanenterprises dot com.
I also create customized programs to fit your specific needs. Take action today. Don’t wait. Contact me at consulting at hefreemanenterprises dot com.

Kind regards,

Harrine Freeman

Owner, H.E. Freeman Enterprises
Financial Expert, Speaker, Freelance Writer
Author of How to Get Out of Debt: Get an "A" Credit Rating for Free
As seen in Forbes, MSN Money, Marketwatch, NASDAQ.com, Yahoo

Friday, January 22, 2016

Best Online Tax Software

                                             

Enjoy this Post from Reviews.com by Sara Altschule on the Best Online Tax Software to help you choose the right tax software for you this tax year.

http://www.reviews.com/online-tax-software/


Monday, January 18, 2016

11 Steps to Financial Wellness



                                        

January is Financial Wellness Month. Financial Wellness is the overall financial status or state of an individual that involves a combination of the mental and physical aspects of money. Financial wellness is based on a strong financial mindset that determine an individual’s thoughts, actions, behaviors and attitudes regarding money. Financial wellness involves understanding your financial situation and having the desire, skills and knowledge to adequately handle risks and changes to your financial situation. Financial wellness involves knowing how much money you earn, spend and owe at any given time and developing a plan for the future. Financial wellness can also be called financial security, financial freedom, financial independence or financial stability.

Financial wellness ensures that you don’t have to stress or worry about your finances and involves developing a financial plan on your own or by hiring a financial expert that will help you to achieve your financial goals and consistently live within your means. Financial wellness means having a consistent cash flow to pay for all of your needs and wants and being able to achieve the dreams and lifestyle your desire in a balance manner.

According to the Federal Reserve, 43% of Americans live above their means. Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck and are living in either low-income or middle-income households – some just one paycheck away from being homeless. If they lose their jobs, they have no backup plan, no savings and no safety net to help them through a financial crisis. Many school systems do not teach financial literacy. This statistics show the importance of financial wellness in America. To successfully navigate through life Americans must make the right financial decisions that will affect their future and their future generations.

Here are some questions that will help you determine if you possess financial wellness. If you answer "no" to 5 or more questions, you need to gain knowledge about financial literacy and change your mindset – your thoughts about money.

  1. Do you have a bank account?
  2. Do you frequently overdraw your bank account?
  3. Do you have an emergency fund? Do you have at least 9-12 months of savings in an emergency fund?
  4. Do you cash your checks at a check cashing store or liquor store?
  5. Do you pay bills late?
  6. Do you have a retirement account?
  7. Do you know what your current credit score is?
  8. Do you reconcile your purchases and financial transactions against your bank and financial statements?
  9. Do you have a budget?
  10. Do you know how much debt you owe?
  11. Do you know your net worth?
  12. Do you owe taxes or have you owed taxes in the past?
  13. Do you have adequate insurance?
  14. Do you have an estate plan?

Here are 11 effective ways to achieve financial wellness.

  1. Organize. Get your finances organized – file, categorize, prioritize, automate your finances.
  2. Hire. Hire at least one financial professional – CPA, financial planner or financial coach.
  3. Use tools. Use tools to help you such as online banking, alerts, software, webinars, teleseminars, TV shows, seminars, classes, boot camps or radio shows.
  4. Revisit. Continually review information that you find helpful to refresh your memory and help you stay on track.
  5. Mindset. Change your mindset. You have to change your thinking regarding finances. It takes 23 days to start a habit and make a new action part of your daily life. If you want a different financial outcome, you have to make a permanent change regarding your finances.
  6. Estate planning. Hire an estate lawyer to setup a will, trust and advanced medical directive.
  7. Taxes. Hire a CPA to prepare your taxes (personal and business) to minimize tax liabilities.
  8. Financial planning. Hire a financial planner, advisor or financial coach to help you map out a financial roadmap and plan for retirement.
  9. Avoid YOLO. Think about your future today, every action you take today affects your financial future so plan ahead and develop contingency plans.
  10. Use apps. Use apps such as Mint or Mint Bill, Build Guard, Yodlee, You Need a Budget, Expensify or Toshl to manage your finances.
  11. DIY. Read self-help books on personal finance that discuss budgeting, investing, retirement, saving, and taxes. Read articles on websites such as CNN Money, Yahoo Finance, Bankrate.com, MSN Money and morningstar.com. The more you know the more you grow. Money can generate wealth or generate debt, you make the choice.