The Key to Personal Finance

Additional effort in managing one’s personal finances will result to a more positive usage of personal resources. With attainable, realistic goals, ones financial standing will progress in no time at all. However, for the part of the individual concerned, this calls for proper planning and monitoring. There is also a need to assess at some point to see if the goals set are being met or further intervention is needed to alleviate the financial condition.

Available Income:

  • Regular household cash flow
  • After Budget cash or net flow

Regular household cash flow is what remains after the expected yearly expenses are subtracted from the expected yearly regular income. After budget cash or net flow is simply what one ends up with after subtracting regular household liabilities from the known assets. The part of the regular income that does not go towards normal expenses is a very important resource that can be diverted towards other personal financial goals. A balance sheet should be able to determine the net worth before proceeding to plan further on how to save enough for bigger and more important purchases.

Factors to be considered if 50% net increase is desired:

  • Full liabilities
  • Outstanding debts
  • Investment Instruments
  • Savings yield- savings + interest gained
  • Outstanding student loans

It only goes to say that when liabilities decrease, a person’s net worth increases along with it. The number one advice for people with plans to progress financially is to avoid taking juicy bank loans on offer as they are ever-potent dangers to one’s credit score specially when the interest pile up. Recovery from debts will be a much needed boost to personal finance. The more payables are settled, the fewer the liabilities are and this carries a positive reflection on one’s balance sheet and also his credit standing.

Personal investments make up most of a person’s net worth and thus it is a perpetually good move to gain as much valuable assets as a person possibly can in the course of his lifetime. This is not to say that forethought should not be employed here but the contrary. Investing by buying up profitable assets should always be preceded by careful analysis, so that a purchase will actually add vigor to one’s portfolio. The general trend is that if you are the risk avoidant type of investor high risk investments are avoided. These are properties which have value that changes with the ebb and flow of time like real estate, precious metals like gold and other physical goods that are known to have volatile values.

The riskier among us, those whose mettle are undeniably more resistant to fear easily trade in stocks and other financial instruments of our time. In this type of assets, the rule goes that the higher the risk, the higher the possible gains. This kind of investments no doubt needs to be studied and studied again due to the very nature of it to avoid excessive losses and to catch gains when and where they are likely to fall.

As savings is an important and integral part of a person’s net worth, due research is called for to yield the names of institutions that offer better products or simply better rates for one’s hard earned dollars. For example, American soldiers have the option and the privilege to take advantage of the DOD Savings Deposit program that has very high interest rates at 10%.

Savings accounts and CDs serve you in two ways: firstly by increasing your total net worth and secondly by giving a much needed buffer zone to your personal finance portfolio, as seen by prevailing trends all over. The reason for this is because such instruments are federally insured and grows at a steady, favorable rate every year.

One thing that has perennially damaged net worth are student loans as they can persist a long time after a person has graduated and worked. To counter the negative impact of this, one effective practice is to take advantage of seasonal tax breaks. With American opportunity tax credit alone, an individual can save as much as $2,500 and those who are still studying should altogether shun away from private student loans in favor of federally funded loans as these carry a lower, or fixed rates in general.

Most effective ways to maximize cash flow:

  • Highly informed financial decisions
  • Making and adhering to a budget
  • Controlling impulsive buying
  • Putting Cost cutting measures in place

Smart financial choices can sometimes spell the difference between ruin and progress. For instance, there is a choice between buying a house which becomes unaffordable later on as opposed to renting a modest accommodation. If the sale price of the house is proven to be a figure greater than 20, when the actual sale price is divided by the yearly rental, then you would be wiser if you rent. Managing personal finance need not be a daunting task; it only requires patience and practice.

Where you can cut costs:

  • Cut back on unnecessary expenditure
  • Cooking instead of dining out
  • Look into car insurance cost cutters
  • Collecting and using coupons
  • Buying wholesale instead of retail wherever applicable

There is absolutely no shame in using coupons and the benefits are tremendous, it can even get to be a habit. Why pay the full price when a little vigilance in cutting and saving coupons goes a long way? If no printed material is available from where to glean coupons, the internet is always there, the perfect place to search for printable coupons.

Cook at home and cook in batches. Then freeze for later meals. Have the due diligence to look after leftovers and you will probably save a fortune in take-out budget. There is no shame in keeping eatable food and it does wonders to a family or individual’s food budget.

Cut down on company offers, like phone packages, cable or internet packages, whatever has hidden charges, zero in on them and ask to get only the basic service, pay only for what you actually need and use. The extra features cost and pile up in the long run.

Carpooling is also one way to save, and if you must absolutely drive, drive safely to avoid charges. These small things all contribute towards managing one’s finance in a sane and productive way. And the habits that are changed also stick, so it is best to make sure that you make changes for the better.

How to estimate: Tools in Determining Worth

  • Simple Net worth calculator
  • Retirement calculator- many are downloadable
  • Mortgage rate calculator, again downloadable
  • Spouse or partner income calculator for multiple income households
  • Loan calculator, for free from many sites
  • Currency converter- already in wide use everywhere
  • Home budget calculator- a standard for many housewives
  • FICO score range tool- again available for free online
  • Student loan calculator- for up to date interest rates

These personal finance calculators are absolutely necessary when strategizing and setting up your long and short term goals, tax payments and schedules, mortgage resolutions and other financial steps. The closer the estimates are to real figures, the closer you will be to realizing your plans and these depend heavily on calculators.

Personal finance is simply net worth, cash flow, the relevant planning, savings, investment instruments, budget or allocations and cost cutting. If effort is made to understand the concepts in theory and applied wisely, a personal balance sheet and credit score will improve continuously beyond recovery and go well into growth.

Top Signs That You Need Small Business Finance

It is easy to start a business. To keep it rolling and then grow is the tough part. As one goes along there will always be instances of cash crunch that prove to be roadblocks to further progress. Smart businessmen always keep lines of finances open so that they can take care of such situations. That is not the only reason to have a line of funding; growth and expansion are also equally viable reasons to have access to funds. There are signs that you need finance for small businesses.

Pay vendors and pay salaries

You are already running a business and your funds are committed. It depends on cash flows to keep it running. All of a sudden a customer may delay payment but you must meet your commitment to vendors and to employees. You may consider borrowing from friends or relatives but there is no guarantee they will be forthcoming. This is when you need small business finance from the right lender. There is nothing wrong in borrowing if one has receivables incoming but which are delayed for some reason or the other.

You secure a large order

Small businesses need large orders in order to make a big leap. If a businessman secures a large order the problem is how will he execute it? He needs to buy raw materials, processes it and supplies it. He needs funds to buy materials and then he must manage while the materials are processed and supplied. It takes time from when he invests to when he recovers the money. This is when small business finance comes in handy. He can process orders quickly and by satisfying customers he can expect even more orders.

Expansion

One may start small and as one grows one finds that the present circumstances stand in the way of growth. Equipment may not be capable of high production that the growing business requires. Premises may be too small and cramped. This is the right type to access finance for small business and expand production capability and move into larger premises. One can engage more staff. It is necessary to take this step and expand or just be left behind as customers cannot wait for orders to be executed and they are likely to shift their business elsewhere.

Promotions

A business may have a satisfactory number of clients but it must always engage in promotions, especially during some seasons. Promotions help keep the business visible and attract new customers and one can explore regular channels as well as others such as online. Periodic campaigns will net more customers and help the business sell its products in bulk. Obtaining finance for small business for these purposes will pay rich dividends.

All these signs that a business needs extra finance may or may not occur concurrently. However, they do happen and a businessman is always alive to the signs and takes immediate action to access funds that will help him progress to the next level.

The 10 Great Strategies On How To Improve Your Personal Finance Immediately

1. Know your current financial standing.

Before you can make any plans to save for any activity, be it for your children’s education, retirement or buy that dream home, you need to know where you stand financially today. You may need to take the trouble of getting a financial planner if you do not know how to create a financial plan. If you do know how to create a financial plan then you can save a fair bit of money in engaging a financial planner.

2. Save regularly.

Getting into the habit of saving is a good virtue. You will never know when you are in dire need of that extra cash when unforeseen events happen like job retrenchment or a loved one becomes ill which requires a lot of medical attention incurring high medical costs. As a guide it is a must for you to have set aside 3-6 months of your current salary to meet emergency needs.

3. Control your cash flow.

No matter how rich you are, you must be able to control your cash flow. The simple rule is what comes into your pocket needs to be more than what goes out of your pocket. You need to be aware which item is giving you income and what is causing you to spend.

4. Reduce your expenses

Start by keeping track of your daily, weekly then monthly expenses. Find those expenses that are not a necessity and eliminate them. A good example of this is paying for magazine subscriptions which you do not read. When you have identified all these items that are not worth your dollar, you can greatly reduce your expenses by 25-30%. It is advisable to only have one credit card so that you can better track your expenses. Make sure you pay the full amount by the due date of every credit card invoice before it snowballs into an incredible debt.

5. Review your debts

As a rule of thumb, your debt incurrence should not exceed 30-35% of your total income. Gambling and vices are good candidates that can lead you into debt. Poor money management can also lead you into debt even you could have struck the 2 million lottery or inherited a big wealth from your relative.

6. Be frugal but not stingy

Only purchase goods when it gives you good value for your money. It is wise if you know when to buy something of quality and pay a premium versus when to buy something less branded but still serves the same purpose as a branded item. If you were to always choose the items based on cheap pricing, that item could fail in a short time causing you to purchase another, this will lead you into greater expenses than you originally did not anticipate. You will also be labeled as someone who is stingy, not willing to spend the money when it is absolutely necessary.

7. Review your investment portfolio

If you have invested in stocks, mutual funds (unit trusts) or the various funds, you would like to review them on a regular basis. Your review period could be quarterly, half-yearly or annually. For example, when you have done your quarterly analysis and find that the company stock you have invested is not giving your target returns based on financial figures or external interference, then you would want to replace that stock with a better performing company stock.

8. Educate yourself financially

There is a wealth of financial information and it is free when you surf the internet or go to your neighborhood library. You could attend seminars, read books, read newspapers and listen to audio tapes which are some of the ways where you can get more knowledge.

9. Be generous

There is a famous saying “You get what you give”. When you are generous, some how the spiritual forces know this and reward you back many times over. When you give, there is a natural tendency for the other person who receives will want to give you back.

10. Pay yourself first

Before you pay all your monthly expenses, you should cultivate the habit of paying yourself first. If you have a day job, when it comes to pay day, you can start putting say 5% of your salary into another bank account. You can gradually increase this percentage when you have more take home pay or you feel you deserve more reward. Many people pay themselves last. By the time they have paid off other expenses, they will have nothing to pay themselves.