Friday, September 21, 2012

Business and Life Goals

How to Set Creative Goals That Literally Draw You to Success

"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading." Lao-Tzu

Viva La Difference

What life goals are you pursuing? Are you wanting to shed some pounds, or perhaps wanting to lower your blood pressure, or just have fewer and fewer headaches? Or, are you simply wanting to attain good health? Can you see a difference?

Look at another major area of challenge for many folks--finances. What financial goals are you going after? Are you wanting to get out from under all these bills that seem to come in so frequently, or are you wanting to reduce your large mortgage or monthly car payment? Or are you simply wanting to achieve financial freedom-whatever definition you put on that term? Can you see the difference?

Yes, the differences are subtle. They are small. To some they may seem trivial, largely semantical, and maybe even nonsensical. But I would like to propose that the differences are huge and will have a major impact on whether or not you ever attain your goal.

Running From or Running To?

You see in one case they are stated as what you are running from, trying to avoid, unsatisfied with, etc. In essence, they are stated from a rather negative point-of-view. On the other hand, the other goals are stated in a more positive manner, i.e., what it is that you are running toward, wanting to bring into reality.

Did you know that most people can't answer the simple question, "What do you want in life?" They can easily tell you what they don't want, but can't begin to tell you what they do want. Their response to the question will always be stated in terms of what they don't want. Isn't that sad? Where is their focus? Obviously, it's on what they're dissatisfied with. I'm sure you've heard that what you focus on multiplies and grows. Are you beginning to see the problem here?

When defining a goal, you want the focus to be on where you want to be rather than on where you are. Don't misunderstand me, both are important, and a little later we'll talk more about the importance of really getting a handle on where you currently are. But for the goal articulation step, the focus should always be on what it is that you are wanting to see.

Simple, Three-Step Approach

I recently was exposed to a new goal setting approach for business that made me realize that it's not only applicable to our network marketing business, but also to our coaching business, and to almost any other area of our personal lives where we want to move from our current reality to a desired future. The process is called the creative process and has been developed over the course of several years by Robert Fritz, widely recognized as an expert in the area of structural dynamics.

Step 1

It's an incredibly powerful process while being amazingly simple at the same time. You start by stating your goal or desired future. And of course, that's what we've been talking about up until now. It must be a goal stated in terms of what you want, not what you don't want anymore. I won't go into it in this article, but a goal should be a SMART goal to be effective (SMART = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time specific).

Step 2

Next, you need to articulate the current reality, or where you are now, at this moment. I believe you can see the necessity for this--for example, if your goal is to go to Chicago, it would be helpful to know whether you're in Virginia Beach or in Los Angeles. Otherwise you're feet might get pretty wet. It's in this step of articulating current reality that it's entirely appropriate to state what you want to move away from.

In actual point of fact, the more dissatisfied you are with your current reality, the more power (Fritz calls it "structural tension") you will have to move toward your goal. So there is an actual advantage in making what you don't want sound as unlikable as you can while still being truthful about it.

Step 3

Then finally, the last step in the creative process is to define a few action steps (along with dates) that will move you toward where you want to be. They don't have to be big, gargantuan steps...they could be quite simple and small steps. An amazing fact is that, over time, the even the smallest of steps will add up to that big gargantuan step. If you're not too sure about what steps to take, follow the Nike commercials, "Just Do It!" Just do something...anything. Action is the magic key to goal attainment. Of course the action has got to be moving you in the right direction.

Failure not Allowed

And that's the beauty of the creative process. What if you find your action steps have been taking you in the wrong direction? Simply stop doing those action items and replace them with ones that are going in the right direction. No failure! No condemnation! It's just a learning process. It's growth! You've learned that what you were doing is going in the wrong direction. Just make the change. No big deal. Isn't that simple? And empowering?

All you need to add is a little support in the form of accountability and you're off and running toward fulfillment of another goal.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How to Manage Your Personal Finances - Retirement Capital Requirements

Many articles have been written about the subject of retirement planning and there are many books published by experts on this very important issue. I have just recently joined the fold of the retired group and I have been through the mill (so to speak) of planning and executing my retirement plan in it's initial phase. It is this, the initial phase, which I would like to concentrate on in this article.

So, how do I plan my retirement date?

Most companies have contractual dates for retirement. For example, retirement ages could range from 55 years old for early retirement to 60 years old for Directors to 65 years old for operational staff. These dates are generally a guideline since companies do exercise some flexibility when applying these parameters. However, each individual should be using these parameters as a benchmark and then build a projected financial model to see if they are adequately provided for in retirement. Note: The use of a financial advisor is highly recommended in this planning process.

Despite the above guidelines, your retirement date is in fact flexible provided that you can satisfy the golden formula which is expressed as: " Accrued income plus passive income must exceed your current cost of living plus an adjustment ( up or down) for lifestyle choice in retirement plus inflation projections and sufficient liquid cash for emergencies".

Let's face it, the thought of early retirement is in the minds of all of us but if you cannot afford it, you are heading for suicide.

Let me expand the golden formula as follows:

Accrued income is the monthly pension or income that you can derive from your pension accumulation through your working life. This figure will be provided to you by your pension fund or your investment institution.
Passive income is income from investments that you made through your working life. Here you consider regular income from property investments, equity investments, dividends, savings interest, business partnerships and any other form of reliable income which you will derive on a monthly basis.
Current cost of living is the full annual cost of your current lifestyle. Be extravagant in estimating this figure and be sure to include everything that you incur as a cost.
Adjust your retirement requirements up or down depending on your circumstances and your intended lifestyle in retirement.
Make adequate provision for inflation during your retirement years. Your financial advisor should project your retirement capital adequacy over your expected lifespan.
Ensure that you have a 'nestegg" of cash available for emergencies such as buying a new car, unexpected medical bills, renovating your house, helping your kids, taking some holidays and anything else which is relevant to your situation.

I spent many hours pondering the above elements and I suppose it is only natural to be very conservative about whether you can actually go ahead and retire. Assuming that the criteria for the golden formula are met and in order to make the decision a little easier, the following points are highly recommended:

You should have no heavy debt burdens. Your mortgage should be paid off, your car hire purchase agreements should be settled and you should have no major debt commitments. In fact, you should be able to live from cash out of your wallet.
Your "wish list" for your activities in retirement must be catered for in your planned expenditure.
You must not have any plans that requires you to erode your capital base.
You need to be sure that your monthly income is pretty secure and you need to have alternative plans if for some reason, your monthly income drops.
You need to be able to save some of your retirement income monthly just to prove that you are coping.

In this planning exercise, you need to budget for everything that you want in retirement. Once you have taken the step, there is no turning back if you are serious about retiring. You also do not want to find out that you cannot afford some of the things which you had in your vision.

In conclusion, the most important factor in planning your retirement is to ensure that your life partner ( if appropriate) is fully informed and on board with the plan and that you create a mutual acceptance and excitement about your future in retirement.

The above article is created to stimulate thought on your own unique circumstances and you need to tailor your plan accordingly.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Try These Tips For Managing Your Personal Finance

Many people learn how to be financially responsible before they reach adulthood. Take these tips into consideration if you want to brush up or you missed the boat on how to take care of finances. It is never too late to improve your money management abilities. Here are a few tips to help you manage your money.

Check over your bank statement every month. Make sure that none of your rates or fees have increased. Your bank might raise your fees without notifying you and keep billing you for services you do not need. Scrutinize all of your statements to be aware of this.

Put your expenses into their own categories. Establish two categories-- one for the fixed expenses, such as your rent or your monthly car payments, and the other for your variable expenses. Doing so makes it easier to follow a household budget. It is a good idea to keep track of how much you have available for expenses if you are trying to improve your money situation.

Instead of having a debit card, you may want to think of getting a credit card. You can use your credit cards on daily purchases, like food or gas. Most of the time, you'll get rewards or cash back when you use a credit card to purchase these items.

Keep a record of your spending habits. Once you have this record in hand, create and follow a budget that takes your spending needs into account. See in what areas you are spending too much money. Not tracking your money and where you spend it is one of the main reasons people end up in debt and with no savings. One good way to track your spending is with software or online tools. Any money that remains should be allocated to reducing debt or increasing your savings.

Simply said, spend less, earn more, is the best financial advice out there. People who spend 100% of their income each pay period, or worse, 110% of their income, never increase their net worth since they are spending everything that comes in. Determine how much money you have coming in every month, and make sure your expenditures don't exceed this amount.

Control the flow of cash in your account. Look at your expenses compared to your income, this is a good indicator of your spending habits. Be sure you have a firm property budget established to refer to as a guideline.

Create a savings account that can be used for emergencies. Saving for specific goals, like college, is the best way to prepare for expenses that you know will be in the future.

You might want to try working from home to save money. It's probably costing you a lot to go to the office. After you pay for gas, parking and lunch, you may spend half your business checks!

You have to get out of debt before you can rebuild your credit score. You'll need to pay off what you owe first. Consider cooking your own food or limit hanging out on weekends. The only way to save and repair your credit is to spend less. Going out to eat is one of the simplest things you can cut back on.

Get rid of the debt on your credit cards as soon as you're able to. You may only owe a small amount, but rolling it over would still accrue you interest charges from the bank every month. That's a complete waste of money! Try not to have a credit card balance at the beginning of each new month.

You could give homemade presents for Christmas to save money. Not only could you save lots of money, you could also avoid the hassle of holiday-time shopping. You can be sure that creativity can really keep your wallet full.

Instead of using one credit card and almost maxing it out, try to have 2 or 3 cards with lower balances on them. If you go over your limit, you will be paying a larger amount in charges than the fees on smaller amounts on two or more cards. In most cases, this won't do much damage to your credit scores, and, if you manage your cards wisely, it may even help you improve the state of your credit.

Whether is seems believable or otherwise, buying a home saves you a lot of money in the long run. Owning a home does involve paying a mortgage and home maintenance costs, but the key difference between owning and renting is that when you own, you are building equity. When you rent your home, you are simply pouring money into another person's pocket.

As you probably have already seen and experienced, it can be difficult to save money. The different voices that urge one to spend money only make it harder for one to hang onto it. Having a big amount of helpful finance tips like the ones in this article can really go a long way towards saving you plenty of money.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Personal Finance and Money Management 25 - How to Reduce Your Taxes

Paying income tax out of your income is a federal law. Understand your personal situation and the basic of the income tax laws will help you to reduce the risk of overpaying. We all want to be fair, but we don't want to pay when we do not need to. In this article, we will discuss how to reduce your income taxes.

I. Reduce your taxable income
1) Employment income.
a) Contribute maximum amounts to your 401K or registered retirement saving plan, borrow them, if necessary depending on your affordability.
b) Keep track of all child care expenses. The Canadian government allows you to deduct up to 2/3 of your working income for lower income spouse.
c) Keep track of all learning programs spending for children, such as hockey lessons.
d) Keep track of all medical expense,such as group insurance, you can deduct from your taxable income for any amount over 3% of your income.

2. If you are self employed
a) Keep track of all business expense receipts
b) If your spouse and children help in your business, pay them, according to the amount allowed.
c) If you manage your rental home, you can pay yourself for managing service, according to the amount allowed.
d) Keep your car miles and gasoline paid receipts.
e) Keep track of your business lunch and entertainment for your customers.
f) Business home expenses, if your business requires you to work at home sometimes.
g) Gift for your customers for your business.
h) Other business office expenses such as stamps, rent, etc.
i) All of 1) if applicable

II. Reduce your effective tax rate
a) Adjusting your portfolio so you receive more dividend income than interest income (dividend income is not taxed until it is taken out of your portfolio and they have tax preferred status)
b) Establish an educational trust for your children, or a spousal RRSP for income-splitting.

III. Defer your taxable incomes
a) Unrealized capital gains are not taxable until assets are sold.
b) Contribute to your 401K or registered retirement saving plan until retirement or when you have no income.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Personal Finance: Is Investing for You?

Investing your hard-earned money in financial securities such as in mutual funds is such an exciting personal finance activity that will beef up the funds that you could set aside for your future. It's a sure way to make money, because when you invest, you make your money "go to work" and "grow" more money for you almost on autopilot.

However, many people thought that investing is something that only the rich can afford to do. They thought it involves a lot of money and that it only involves participating in business ventures or the procurement of expensive real assets or properties. It's very sad that the proven ways to make money via investing are some of life's most important stuff that are not taught in schools.

Participating in legitimate financial instruments such as the stock and bond markets, unit investment trust funds (UITFs) and variable universal life insurance (VUL) used to be enjoyed only by rich people and institutional investors. However, with the advent of low cost pooled assets such as mutual funds, average people can now participate in exciting investment opportunities where their money will be put to work and grow.

Today, for only as little as P5,000, an average working class individual can set up a mutual fund account. He can also add as little as P1,000 as often as he wants to beef up the value of his investment. With pooled funds, average investors are given an affordable opportunity to participate in equity investment, or an investment allocated in stocks. This type of investment is the riskier sort, but the most exciting in that returns could be as high as 40% a year, depending of course on market conditions.

With pooled funds such as UITFs and mutual funds, investing in the financial markets has now been made more accessible and more affordable for the average working class individual. Now, getting rich has been made more accessible and easier.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Car rental abroad can be af a great benefit

Frequent travelers know how it may be important to have a car at your disposal when on a business trip or vacation. In case you happen to visit a place that doesn't feature a well-developed transport infrastructure or where you'll have to travel a lot outside the main place of your destination, renting a car is the only viable option available. Unless you are greeted by your local business partners or travel company and taken everywhere on their behalf. But if you're not that fortunate or just want to explore a new country on your own, renting a car is a must.
Apart from the obvious benefits of renting a car, there are certain aspects that you may be unaware of, which will still provide you with certain advantages. First of all, if you are the type of a person who prefers taxis, be prepared that in some countries you will be charged twice as high as the locals just for being a foreigner. Yes, this is certainly unfair and it's not highlighted officially, but you may end up having a driver who will charge you a "special" rate just for being a foreigner. And even if you're not limited by a strict budget, this is certainly a very upsetting phenomenon that still takes place in some European countries and other places around the world.
Don't forget that the place and time for renting a car is also very important. Most airports have dedicated rental services, even with several car rental companies represented in some places. Still, the pricing in such places as airports can be inadequate because of the low competition and high demand. You can easily end up paying up to 50% more for the service as compared to the rates provided by the same car rental companies somewhere in the city. So it might be not the best solution for you to rent a car right upon your arrival.
The most beneficial option for renting a car when going abroad is learning the local car rental prices beforehand over the internet or even booking a car in advance. The majority of car rental companies that provide their services to international customers always have the option of booking cars over the Internet. They will even have the car delivered to the airport at the time of your arrival. So why not taking care of things in advance and enjoying full mobility for a reasonable price?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Perception of Personal Finance

Personal finance is a new subject in our life. Managing your personal financial is very important for everyone no matter who you are, how high is your position, how big is your income and how educated you are. There is no school, college or university that provides subject on personal financial or money. If you are thinking that personal financial is as important as your health then you can think how bad our education system is. But, we should not put the blame only on the government. It is definitely our fault. I mean that if you do not want to take care of your own financial problems then you will put yourself in high level of danger. Many peoples just define money and personal financial as a taboo that should not be discussed. Peoples will not expose their money problems and it is a very bad thing if they just assume that everyone is facing the same problem as they are without any solutions. The situation shows that the problems occur because of themselves. They do not want to figure out what are the solutions that available and can be practically used in order to solve their life-time problems.

The only best teacher here is the experience. It is about your experience or other's. Both types can be used. Many peoples do not realize that they are facing financial problems. The reason is only they do not want to admit that they are having it. They just simply said that since they are having the job and the economy is good, they are doing fine. They are correct but what happens if they are losing their job or the economy is down? Then they will realize that life is not as easy as they think. The experience will become their best friend then. There are many books, journal, articles and materials that are available in the market. Those materials are describing a lot of 'thing' or experiences as I said before. They are many peoples in the world that are looking for the same information and having the same nightmares. Then managing personal financial or money matters will become something as important as their health. The equation is simple. If you are having serious financial problems then definitely it affects your health too. Thus, it is true if I said a financial matter is as important as your health. They must also open their mind for a new thing that happens in their personal financial world. The subject is having a lot of interesting things. The concepts, approaches, formula and tips are quite different. Let say if you think that you should work for money then you are in the wrong position/world. If you are planning to get a success in your financial world then the concept should be like this: the money have to work for you. It sounds weird right? But, it is the reality. You have to know how to push your money work for you. Then your life will be good as what you have dreamt before. If you do not believe this, ask the experience. It will tell you the truth. But you have to pay the price. That is definite.

Hey folks, let's make a change in our life. Get ready for a better life without financial problems. It is simply your choice either you take it or leave it. Do not worry if you are having a very serious problem with your financial. Just do your homework and do a practical of what you have learnt. It should be a very interesting way of learning. Trust me, bro!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Personal Finance 15 - Other Investment Vehicles

As we mentioned in a previous article, we know that our government only represents about 30% of our retirement income, the company retirement pension plan offers another 30% and many of us do not have one. It is up to individuals to invest wisely short and long term in order to make up for the short fall if he or she would like to live comfortably after retirement without giving up some retirement plans. In this article, we will discuss Other Investment vehicles.

Beside investing in short, long term certificates and equity market of some public companies, investors may invest their money in private companies (non public), mortgage security of amusement parks, as well as certain private bonds.

Remember, all these types of investment are presented without following any guide line of the security laws and you are the one that have to make the decision. It is wise to ask for additional information from such companies to reduce risk.

These types of private investment usually pay a higher interest rate, but remember the higher the return, the higher risk.

1. Amusement park investment
For what ever reasons, some companies can not borrow money or don't want to borrow money from financial institutions, may pool some of their real estate assets and use that as collateral for a first mortgage bond issue with higher than market interest rate and guaranteed by the companies. Normally, under this types of offer, the companies will only present the independent asset assessment, history of company business and years of experience in such business in the prospectus, it is up to the investor to decide that type of offer is worth to invest.

2. Real estate pooling
For the reasons above, some private real estate companies pool together some of their residential real estates and use that pool of asset as first mortgage for a bond issue.

3. Over counter stocks
Some private companies can not list their companies in public stock exchange may offer their stock in over counter stock exchange. These types of stock use to be bought by investment dealers and re sell them to their clients.

4. Your personal real estate
Real estate always remains an investment option. As you retire, your paid-up home represents a major investment and you can gain extra equity through a home equity loan. Many institution will be happy to lend you the money if you use your home as collateral.

The equity from your home allows you to borrow money to invest in the equity markets and the interests are tax deductible.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Four Tips to Effectively Manage Your Personal Finances

If you are looking for information that can help you manage your personal finances responsibly, then you have found the right article. In the remainder of this piece, we have enumerated and discussed five tips guaranteed to help consumers like you to succeed in their quest to handle their respective financial resources in the best way they can.

Helpful Tips for Consumers

• Come up and stick to a personal budget. We encourage all our readers to come up with a personal budget. This tool will not only help you manage your personal finances in the most responsible way you can. It can also help curb overspending, which is the main reason why a lot of consumers today have huge financial obligations and severely damaged credit profiles.

To do this tip, you need to take your time examining your income as well as your monthly expenses. Consider what percentage of your income goes to your expenses and how much money goes to your savings account. If you think that you need to reduce your expenses for the month so that you can save more, then list down all the items that you have spent cash on for the past months. Then, think about which goods and expenditures are necessary and which are not. By doing this, you can eventually come up with a final budget that you can use not only for managing your day-to-day finances but also for reaching the financial goals that you have set for yourself.

• Sign up for automatic savings. If you find it hard to set aside cash that will go directly to your savings fund, then we suggest that you sign up for an automatic savings arrangement with your bank. In this arrangement, your bank will automatically deduct an agreed-upon amount of money from your salary, and transfer it to a savings account, which imposes a significantly higher rate of interest.

By employing this tip, for sure you will find it easier to save up for your future. And, at the same time, you can have a sure source of funds that you can use to finance emergencies and other urgent needs.

• Take out lines of credit only when necessary. Before you apply for and take out a credit account, like a personal loan or a credit card, you need to consider not only if you really need it, but more importantly if you can afford it. Always remember that most credit programs offered to a majority of consumers these days impose steep rates of interest and fees and very stringent payment terms. And if you won't be careful in choosing a line of credit, you might end up with one that will not suit your needs, preferences and your financial capability. This is why we encourage you to take out credit programs only when it is absolutely necessary.

• Look for additional sources of income. If you think that you need more funds to sustain your lifestyle, then you might as well consider applying for a good-paying home-based job that will fit your schedule. For example, you can serve as a part-time virtual assistant to an offshore executive. You can also start your very own online business so that you can supplement the income you earn from your full-time job.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tips to Teaching Personal Finance

The current economy has motivated many to begin to provide their children practical financial literacy lessons. Teaching personal finance and raising money smart kids will help keep America strong.

James Truslow Adams, the man that coined the phrase "American Dream" in his book Epic of America, is quoted: "The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement."

Teaching personal finance and raising money smart kids give our children the ability to recognize and capitalize on opportunities which will help them in pursuit of their own personal American Dream. This "Dream" can be achieved with practical financial knowledge and through teaching personal finance our children's future will be much brighter.

Our children face an almost certain future of higher taxes, less services, and the elimination of the current social security & Medicare system. Read the reports from the Government Accountability Office and you will find that the SSI system will be bankrupt in 2037.

Although it is true that our children will face bigger economic challenges than we had to go through; however by teaching personal finance and raising money smart kids they will be able to achieve their own personal American Dream.

What is available for us to begin teaching personal finance to our kids? Schools' With all the requirements placed on testing (No Child Left Behind) and the disturbing fact that most schools aren't given the budget they need - this probably is not where most of our children will receive their financial training.

Parents - Most youth do rely on their parents as the primary source of their money knowledge; however, as the statistics clearly show, most parents do not possess the knowledge necessary to effectively teach their kids about money. They want money smart kids but most were not trained on how to begin teaching personal finance to their children.

There are financial literacy courses that are designed to help you raise money smart kids. Recent home-study financial literacy courses are now on the market and are designed to educate & entertain youth while instilling practical financial lessons. Some even have partnered with sport stars & celebrities to create a powerful draw so your children want check out what their favorite celebrity is doing and picking up money lessons along the way.

There have been several courses that are specifically designed to help parents to begin teaching personal finance. These courses walk parents through the basics of raising money smart kids and often the parents learn as much as the children.

Nonprofits - There are many nonprofits doing great work helping to spread the message of financial literacy and training our youth with practical money skills. Fortunately, financial literacy grant money and corporate sponsorship are empowering many nonprofits with the ability start teaching personal finance so the next generation the pickup the practical financial lessons we "learned the hard way".

Private Companies - There are companies that thrive in every type of economic environment and in an environment where a lot of people are going through tough circumstances, financial education companies stand to profit while helping people improve their financial situation.

Right now the financial literacy movement is expanding faster than ever at the grassroots level. People want to begin teaching personal finance to their children because they want money smart kids. We commend you on reading this article and looking for ways to empower youth with the financial literacy skills they need in the 'real world'

Through collaboration with parents, nonprofits, schools, teachers and business leaders - we can begin teaching personal finance and ensure we are raising money smart kids. Doing so will help these youth get the skills they need to live the American Dream.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How to Choose the Best Personal Finance Software

When it comes to budgeting, personal financial software can be of great benefit. However, with the variety of choices on the market, it may be difficult to choose. How do you choose between Quicken, Microsoft Money and YNAB Pro? All of them come from well respected companies. Money and Quicken have differences in their appearance but the goal of the two programs is pretty much the same. YNAB looks to change your way of budgeting and thinking completely.


As far as personal finance software goes, Quicken is the current leader. The company that has created Quicken has expanded the product line to provide several different versions of Quicken. Some of the current versions are Starter, Deluxe, Premier and Home & Business.

I suggest you take a look at the comparison chart, but even the Starter edition should provide you enough bells and whistles if you are just starting out with personal budgeting software. As you move up their product line additional features are added that expand from your normal day to day banking. These features help you keep track of your personal investments, small business finances and property management.

Quicken is easy to get up and running quickly. It has a well designed user interface that is very user friendly for beginners. My main issue with Quicken is it can be an overkill for people looking to set up a simple budget. However, if you are looking to handle all of your financial needs using one product Quicken may be right for you.

Microsoft Money

If you are used to running Windows or Microsoft Office you will immediately be familiar with Money as soon as you install it. Just like most of Microsoft's products their is a universal feel of the layout and menus. This helps current Microsoft product users get up and running fairly quickly.

Microsoft Money really emphasises web related content. The program has tight integration with Microsoft's online web services. If you do not currently have an internet connection or are not always connected, you will want to take that into consideration prior to purchasing Microsoft Money.

Microsoft Money offers a web based version. If you are a person who is always on the road or is constantly moving from computer to computer you may want to look into this. However, just like accessing any personal information online, make sure the computer you are using has all of the latest security updates.


YNAB Pro is a new comer to the personal finance arena and this may be the first time you have heard of it. YNAB Pro prides itself on being a completely new way of managing your money. The program is based around four simple rules which you can read more about here.

The interface of the program is well designed and provides pleasant graphs and visuals to show you exactly where you are succeeding and failing at your budget. Each month you set up a budget amount for each category you have created. As you enter your transactions either manually or by synching with your bank you can see immediately how much money you have remaining in each category for the remainder of the month. If you happen to go over, you just "roll with the punches" and that amount will be deducted from the following month in order to keep you on track.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a bunch of bells and whistles in your budgeting software take a look at the first two recommendations in this article. If you are looking for a simple program that will get you on track quickly give YNAB a look.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Personal Finance and Money Management 20 - Risk Management

As we mentioned in previous articles, we know that our government only represents about 30% of our retirement income. The company retirement pension plan offers another 30 % and many of us do not have one. It is up to individuals to invest wisely short and long term in order to make up for the short fall if he or she would like to live comfortably after retirement without giving up some retirement plans. In order to protect yourself against inflation, interest rate, business and market risks in your investment portfolio, it is wise to understand current economic conditions, knowledge of investments, and diversification. In this article, we will discuss risk management.

1. Life cycle risk
In fact, the amount of risk that will be acceptable will vary with the stage of the life cycle.
a) A young person with no dependents will have a higher risk level than a middle-age person with a family.
b) A retired couple requiring income to finance their life style every month tend to be more conservative than middle age people with a family.

2. Employment risk
Government employees have more income security than someone self-employed, someone working in a service industry that often lays off workers, or seasonal workers. It is wise to balance your risk if you doubt your job security, you may consider putting some savings in very low-risk debt securities in case of lay off.

3. Diversify your investments
Diversification is a basic principle in portfolio management that helps to reduce total risk by choosing securities of different types of investment vehicles (do not put all your eggs in one basket) so you spread your investment money over a variety of investments and adjust your investment according to your needs, life cycle, and economic conditions change.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

What is the Definition of Personal Finance - Budgeting

If you find yourself asking where to begin with learning proper finance, start with the definition of personal finance, budgeting. Why the definition of personal finance is budgeting we will outline in the following article, because truly there is no more important lesson as to what proper financial management entails, and what will most directly contribute to your success with your money.

Proper Budgeting is Personal Finance Mastery

There is no need to look beyond budgeting when beginning your journey towards personal finance mastery. Budgeting can be a scary prospect when you have not done so for a long time, the money tale told by your expenses and income can paint a poor picture. But whether you are a millionaire with investments, countless loans, mortgages and stock holdings, or an honest hardworking fellow just beginning your financial journey, budgeting is the key to continued success with your money.

Proper personal finance budgeting allows you to account for what monies you have coming in and what monies you have flowing out of your accounts. Mastery of your finances, no matter your level of income is a matter of using this information to make decisions that increase the money you have coming in each month, and decrease the flow of cash you have leaving your possession. If you choose to achieve this through additional investments, decreasing interest rates with consolidation loans or a job promotion the basics of personal finance budgeting remains the same.

Proper managing of one's debt, income and expenses is the soul of managing your money and that is why the definition of personal finance is budgeting. There is no need to get more complicated than this, with your credit cards, payday loans, investments and stock options, you will find yourself on a sound financial footing if you keep a detailed budget, follow your money, and ensure that you spend less than you earn each and every month.

To properly budget your personal finances you simply add up your sources of income, account for every penny that you have flowing to you each month, and track every expense. I am not concerned with the exact system you employ as long as you are detailed and know how your money is flowing. Track your loans, and if you have bad credit lenders, know how much you are spending in interest. Track your credit cards and what amount of your payments applies to principle and what cash goes towards interest. Make knowing your finances your business and when you have an accurate picture of the flow of your money, then work to improve your finances.

Most mistakes of personal finance are made because honest, hardworking people have an unclear, or foggy idea of how their money is spent from month to month. With a little attention to the details of your cash flow you will find that there are countless ways to save additional money, and increase your income. Keep a focus on the basics of personal finance and never forget that the definition of personal finance is budgeting. You too can start making a profit today.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Master Personal Finance Basics

Managing your money effectively provides incredible rewards in your life, including more free time to pursue your interests, better means to help your loved ones, travel etc. Yet I am constantly surprised at how many people have not been taught the rudiments of finance, the personal finance basics that if followed undoubtedly lead to increase and wealth. Let's cover some of these personal finance basics that will serve you well as you begin your life of healthy financial management.

The first rule of personal finance and most basic precept that must be absorbed for successful money management is to believe that managing your money is important and deserves focus and energy. You are capable of managing your own money, and making sound financial decisions with your own given common sense. Finance and money management is not magic, it is not so complicated as necessitating a high paid expert to tell you how to spend your money. Develop your own common sense money instincts and then follow them over the advice of any others, ultimately you are responsible for your personal finances.

The next personal finance rule is to focus on spending less than you make and earning more than you do today. Personal finance basics are all about discipline, and setting yourself on a long term track for growth with sound financial habits. Set yourself up for success with a constant focus on reducing your monthly spending and increasing how much you make. This should be a constant, lifelong, focus and worth of your effort. Learn the use of budgeting and projecting as tools to help you understand your financial present, past, and future.

The next basic rule of personal finances that will lead to your success is to make understanding how money works important in your life. Dedicate a little time in your life to understand the various financial instruments, investment tools, and successful business practices that exist today. In creating wealth you will have extra savings in need of investment and you should know what the options are available to you. Mastery of personal finance basics will lead you to more advanced financing techniques, constantly expand your capabilities.

Finally, it is essential to give back, and learn the power of giving. A tried and tested staple of personal finance is the incredible rewards of giving. Create excess in your life and then freely help those in your life you can, when you can, with money, charitable donations or other tools. Why it works, this article on the basics of personal finances is too short to cover, but giving 10% of what you make each month will bring back much more.

In summary, master the personal finance basics, your life depends on it.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Personal Budgeting - Four Simple Personal Finance Categories and How to Manage Them

Finance categories make it simple to manage your cashflow and to keep more of your money for investing and for using toward securing financial freedom. Many clients who I speak to have tried budgeting and have set up finance categories which were far too complicated to keep up with when life started to get busy. In this article, I'll be showing you four simple personal spending categories which you can use to achieve financial freedom starting right now.

The Four Simple Personal Finance Categories

Most likely you have seen the budget spreadsheets which are 60 feet long and which contain numerous personal spending categories. The problem with these is that they are far too numerous and complex to live on and even if you do succeed, they take all the fun out of your life. You can become more involved with the budgeting procedure and lose site of the intent of budgeting. When it comes to succeeding with your personal spending, you need to keep things simple. Here are the four personal finance categories which I found to be the most basic when it comes to managing personal cash flow:
  1. Living expenses
  2. Giving
  3. Cash Reserves (for planned spending or for emergencies)
  4. Investing

Every kind of spending that you do can be narrowed down to one of these four categories. By keeping track of your spending in these areas and planning your cash flow management according to them, you will have a much easier time getting control of your financial life. Let's look at a simple way for managing these categories...

The Order of the Four Personal Finance Categories is Key

Making the four personal finance categories work is all about allocating your disposable income according to what your highest priorities are. Here's an example:

1. Investing of 10%
2. Giving of 10%
3. Cash reserves of 10%

Once you've made these three a priority, the remaining 70% is usually more than enough to pay your expenses. Of course, this can be difficult to believe if you've been living paycheck to paycheck, but just try it for a month. Even if you think you cannot allocate the percentages above, choose a lesser amount, which you can allocate consistently until an increase can be made. If you manage your spending according to these four personal finance categories, you'll discover that you have more money than you thought and having more control of it will help you get more value out of it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Business and Finance - Thinking of Buying an Online Store?

Are you thinking of starting your own business, say purchasing your own website store? I did just that six months ago and thought it would be helpful to write about and share my experiences with you all.

My reasons for buying a website are irrelevant in that they matter only to myself. It's what happens after you've bought your website that's the issue and more importantly whether or not you make your website work for you. Make no mistake, as with any business you must put in the time and effort to drive your business forward.

Having said that, it is not easy and if things don't work out as quickly as you'd hoped or were led to believe, it's very simple to become more than a little disheartened. Which is the stage I am at now. I can honestly say that I have never worked so hard for no pay in my entire life. To say that I am frustrated and angry and in desperate need of motivation (but preferably an income) at this point is an understatement.

The initial information I was given, or sales pitch if you prefer, seemed to me to be quite hopeful perhaps even optimistic. Who would, especially in this time of recession (or maybe depression?) turn down the opportunity to work from home for only 2-3 hours per day in order to be financially rewarded within 2-3 months and to make more money doing this than you ever did or could in a mainstream 40 hour per week job! Well not me, obviously!

Initially I was very excited about starting my online business and couldn't wait to get cracking with it. The online training provided helped me to get my website set up and linked with certain organisations and companies which sold my particular niche products so that I could download them to my site. What I wasn't told at the outset was that there was a limit to the number of products you could download so unfortunately I fell into this particular trap quite early on so I would urge you not to repeat my mistake (although as far as I'm concerned it wasn't my mistake).

As I had never done this type of thing before I was totally unaware and unprepared for just how much writing of things such as articles, web content and press releases it required in order for my website to attract online traffic and eventually rankings through the use of good key phrases, which are in themselves rather problematic in the beginning. It is possible to pay someone to write all these articles for you, in fact you can even pay someone to get your website ranked and save you all the bother. However, if finances are somewhat tight I would recommend that you persevere with this yourself. Plenty of time to do this once finances are stable enough to allow you to outsource these things.

The worst part of writing an article is choosing a title which will stand out and make people want to read it. I haven't so far managed that yet. The next thing is the beginning of the article. How do I start? I'm still having problems with these issues even after six months. I am of course hoping that it will get a lot easier.

It's a surprise to me but I have had other people like my articles and a few have even subscribed to them so I guess I must be doing something right.

Social networking is another obstacle you have to overcome. Until I bought my website I had never been involved with this in my life so far and could have gladly proceeded through the rest of it without this association too. I use it quite often now for business purposes but still don't understand the point of it at all.

What has the last six months taught me? That there's so much information to take in and digest and lots of new skills to master. That I have to try and be patient (not an easy task at the best of times) and trust in all that I hold dear that the paltry fifty pence I have accrued thus far will increase a hundred-fold, preferably in the next five minutes (told you I wasn't the most patient person in the world didn't I).

From the outset I had many hopes and dreams for a successful venture and maybe if I'd known sooner that it would take much more of an effort and time than I was led to believe I'm almost certain I wouldn't have purchased this business in the first place. But there's no point dwelling on that now. I took the risk and I just have to keep working at it and trust that all my hard work will eventually pay off. I'm always being told these days that if it was that easy everyone would be doing it! Unfortunately that doesn't make me feel any better.

Now, after robbing Peter to pay Paul I have paid off my initial investment but at what cost to me only time will tell. The business is now entirely mine and if nothing else it gives me something to keep me occupied during the day. Will the risk pay off - I really don't know. At this moment in time it doesn't look like it to me but I'm determined to try and be optimistic because basically I have nothing else. It has to work, there's no two ways about it. So I am stuck with it. Would I do it again? Probably not, although if I wake up one morning and find zillions of pounds (mind you I'd settle for zillions of pence at this point) in my bank account then my answer would almost certainly be a lot more positive.

So to all you prospective online store owners reading this I hope it has helped with your decision making process and has prepared you in some way for what may be about to come. Personally I wouldn't attempt this unless you have another source of income. In my experience it is foolhardy to pin all your hopes on the success of this type of venture and most certainly if you can't afford to lose your investment my experience should at least make you think twice about doing it at all. Whatever you decide good luck and I wish you every success!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Robert Kiyosaki's Cashflow Quadrant - Why You Need a Home Business to Help Your Personal Finances

This is a simple review of one page of Robert Kiyosaki's book the Cashflow Quadrant. Imagine what's in store for you if you read the whole book! If your personal finances are not where you would like them to be this article will explain why instead of taking on a second job you need to consider starting your own home business; your own online home business. Imagine working in your pj's if you would like!

p.4 is Robert Kiyosaki's famous buckets of water analogy.

At the end of the story he asked the question: Are you carrying buckets of water or are you building a pipeline?

WOW! OPRAH LIGHT BULB MOMENT! AHA MOMENT! REVELATION! LET THE BELLS RING OUT AND THE BANNERS FLY. [Who said that by the way? A cartoon character?] Call it what you will. If you have read Cashflow Quadrant and this wasn't your experience you need to read it again.

My thinking was forever changed.

I had a job. I was carrying buckets of water. When I stopped the money stopped. I had all my eggs in 1 basket. Any number of things could take me down. My health, my employment situation could change, my family situation could change. We see it all the time and in this economic downturn it is magnified. We all know someone who has been down-sized, had health issues, become widowed or divorced. Any number of catastrophes can befall us. Yet we never believe it will happen to us.

When you are completely reliant on wages or salary for your income you are in a very precarious position.

If your personal finances are not where you would like; consider diversifying. Instead of getting by with less and less; instead of having an ever decreasing income circle; why not expand it? Why not take Robert Kiyosaki's advice? Instead of taking on a second job; why not start your own business? Why not start a home based business?

As long as you are working a job; you are carrying buckets of water. When you stop the money stops.

The definition of insanity is to keep doing what you are doing and expect different results. Perhaps this economic downturn is a wake-up call? It should be. Is your ladder leaned up against the wrong wall? If you are in corporate America that could well be the case.

Most people think they are financially literate but then you look at their personal finances. Their personal finances are a shambles. If you could see what people actually own versus what they have on credit there would be a lot of naked people driving around in phantom cars and sleeping in empty houses. Kind of like the story of the Emperor's New Clothes.

People tend to think if I only made an extra $10,000/year everything would be fine. Not true. People with 6 figure incomes are simply broke at a different level. They are wearing more expensive clothes, driving fancier cars and living in larger houses but they are still broke.

How many people do you know that have 3-6 months of wages saved? Do you?

If I ask you: "Is your house is an asset or a liability?" If you answer an asset you are not financially literate. People have stopped reading Kiyosaki's book at this point. So to clarify; he is not saying not to buy a house he is just making sure you understand the vocabulary of the financially literate. His definition of an asset is something that puts money into your pocket and a liability is something that takes money out of your pocket. If you stopped working tomorrow would your house feed you?

The confusion arises when you go to the bank and they get you to list your assets. They even let you name your car as an asset. And it is an asset; an asset for them! Not you! If you re-neg on your payments they get your car.

In conclusion the reason I recommend Robert Kiyosaki's Cashflow Quadrant is to give you a desperately needed wake-up call. What are your personal finances really like? Do you pay yourself 1st? Does 10% of your income get put where you can't touch it? Instead of taking on a 2nd job; I strongly recommend that you seriously consider starting your own home business.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Simple Ways Regarding How To Organize Your Personal Finances

Money is one the best causes of stress for individuals. Dealing with money takes some skill. However, an understanding of the best way to solve personal finance problems can make a huge difference in how you perceive the situation. This information will give you some advice and tips about how to get a grip on your finances.

Your credit score could even dip a bit when you first begin working on it. However, this is not an indication that you have designed a misstep. While you continue adding positive items to your credit score, your score increases.

No one is perfect with regards to personal finance. For those who have only bounced one check, your bank may accept waive the returned check fee. This may be a one-time courtesy that banks extend to get affordable customers.

Each individual should be aware of the value of their possessions. It can help a person decide whether it's better to throw something out, or start to sell it when they decide to eliminate something. You'll want to check on the significance items you might not have bought that you're considering eliminating. Sometimes an ugly vase may be a collectible to another person. A simple Internet search can give you some good info about the worth of certain items.

Some debt is actually great for your credit score. Good debts are investments like real-estate. Real-estate often increases in value over time, and all interest allocated to the loan can be deducted out of your taxes. One other good debt is affording university. Student education loans are known for their low rate of interest, and generally, students don't need to start the repayment process until after graduating.

A credit score of 740 or more will make your mortgage application a lot easier. More advantageous rates of interest are available to borrowers with scores only at that level. Improve you credit score before you take out a new loan. Whenever your credit score is low, you shouldn't apply for a mortgage unless you haven't any other choice.

Find out if anyone in your family or amongst your mates has worked in finance, as they can provide you with great advice for your business. If one does not have anyone like that, a friend or member of the family who manages money well can be sufficient.

Dealing with finances could be somewhat stressful. It will take away stress if you realize how to manage your personal finances. The preceding article was written to show you how to reduce your stress and proceed with confidence to manage your financial issues.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Educating the Next Generation on the Importance of Personal and Consumer Finance

Personal financial success in life can only be achieved through proper management of your finances. It is important that a parent educate their children, starting at a young age, to understand their personal finances and how to manage them correctly. This will set the child up for success later in life. There are many ways to teach a child about personal and consumer finance and how they can manage their own and we will address a few easy ways to start in the following article.

The most obvious way to start to teach your child about personal finance is to give them an allowance. One of the best things about having an allowance is that it teaches children about finance and helps to control their spending. It makes them evaluate and place determinations on which of the many items they want to purchase is the most important. It can also teach your child the value of the items he owns, as he will associate the cost with the item.

There are lots of ways to teach your child about earning money and you can start very young. Make sure that you can set up a "time-sheet" for your child, even if you are paying them in piecemeal for tasks. This allows a child to begin to associate and understand that money is a value placed on the time that is spent earning it. As the children get older, you can help them start small businesses of their own, such as lawn care services. This also can give your child confidence and self-esteem in life by showing that success comes to those who earn it.

You should start a savings account for your child just as soon as they can add two plus two. Starting early and establishing correct saving habits are a lesson that will serve your child very well in the years to come. It shows them that saving money makes them money. It can also be a great way for them to start saving for the big items that come up in life, like a car or car insurance when they are a teenager. Having a savings account is also a way to teach that you should have a cushion to deal with unexpected expenses that come up in life. Having that cushion can save you from financial ruin.

Take your child to the grocery store with you and don't just stick them in the cart and ignore them. Grocery shopping starts before you get into your car to go to the store. Walk them through reading sales ads, clipping coupons, and planning menus so as to stick to a budget. You can show them price per volume values and where to look for the best deals, like the bottom shelf. It is a great opportunity for you to teach them about advertising and how marketing affects spending.

By following some of the techniques listed above, you will be able to give your child a great head start in life by giving them the tools needed to handle their consumer finances as capable and mature adults.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Earn Extra Income Through Personal Finance Techniques

There are many advantages to having other sources of income. With the economy as it is these days, you can never really tell how long you could be financially stable. In this article, you will learn about some personal finance tips to help ensure that you could sustain the family's needs even during tough times.

Before delving further into tips on your finances, let us first go through the benefits of having other income streams besides your main job. Here's a quick list:

· When another economic downturn comes and you lose your job, you will still have some income. It may be lowered, but at least it won't totally disappear.

· Other income streams can also help you get to your financial goals sooner.

· They can give you financial freedom.

· They can provide you with enough leverage and flexibility. You can afford to not be totally dependent on your job and be in a more powerful position to decide on many things.

Now, are you already convinced that having other income streams is beneficial? If yes, then let's move on to the techniques you have to learn. With these personal finance tips, you can start earning extra in no time.

First, you have to think of what you love to do. It is only when you work on something you are passionate about can you give your all without reservation. Besides, when you are doing something you love, it would feel more like you're engaged in a hobby and not a taxing job.

Second, focus on what you are good at. Every person has his or her own special skill or talent. Think of yours and focus on it. This way, you won't have to exert too much effort being good at something you're truly not.

Third, practice more patience. Bear in mind that you can't always see results right away. In fact, more often, you have to wait before the fruits of your labor become apparent. Nothing in this life is easy. If you want something, work hard for it and learn how to wait.

Fourth, be committed. Not all your plans would work. If some fail, don't lose focus. Stay committed all the time.

Finally, embrace diversity. Even if your first plan succeeds, don't stop there. Keep looking for other ways to spice up your business endeavor.

These are five fantastic personal finance tips you should always keep in mind. With them, you will never go wrong!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Finance Articles

Finance is a strong field and a department in almost every organization and firm throughout the world. Finance basically means the dealing and matters of money and savings. It has a lot of further branches that works in different disciplines all regarding money and its issues. The strength of a company or organization is known by observing its finance department. Today finance matters to al lot of people who have been in business and are new in the developing field. Internet being a big source of business dealings and daily basis work performance values finance a lot.

Finance is an affair in which every small or big person is involved. When it comes on Internet, it directly connects with finance articles. Articles help a lot and works great on finance, the article submission done on the finance subjects are most wanted on Internet. A finance article has either news information, newly offers, changes in rates, exchange updates, selling and buying prices, banking information, loans, payments, and orders and much more or they provide complete knowledge on every topic that is discussed below as an academic purpose. Finance articles are circulated freely and on payment to businessmen and dealers; to whom it may concern.

Students of finance subjects find their articles on each topic to gain more clear knowledge regarding the topic and use them in their reports, where as the money making people get their alerts, newsletters and discuss their points on forums through financial articles. There are a lot of experts present on Internet who are there to solve finance queries and daily problems of the business related people. The experts themselves are quite experienced in the field of finance and they give tricks and tactics to manage customers and deal with the ups and downs that occur in people's business. Learning finance is now easier through the finance articles; a lot of beginners seek guidance on Internet to get their questions solved related to finance. There are a lot of tools and softwares developed that are used in financial concerns and their information and benefits are discussed in the finance articles.

Many people place letters and their experiences on article, as an article itself is an extract of knowledge that is published for people's awareness, for reader audience to read whatever makes them interested. Many companies show their financial assets and historic review on financial articles. Banking involved articles as well. Thus in every need finance articles work a lot for the people who are more into Internet. It is very sensitive, as the finance articles are purposed to describe facts and figures of the matter very accurately and this needs sharp brains to secure the knowledge in an article.

I have a huge team of content writers, providing content writing services to various companies in the world. Our services including SEO, Content Writing,Website Designing and development.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Successful Personal Finance Has Nothing to Do With Money

What do I mean by saying that successful personal finance nothing to do with money? Most people think that if they had loads of money then all their money problems would be cured. Actually I think the reverse is true - their money problems would just be starting. We've all heard about lottery winners who suddenly get millions of dollars but within a few years it's all gone. Some people will simply put this down to poor money management but it goes deeper than that. Whether you are successful in personal finance and create wealth in your life, starts with what you think and feel about money.

When we are young we are like a dry sponge soaking up all the information around us - the good, the bad and the ugly. That's where we learn our first attitudes towards money and personal finance, even if we don't realize it at that stage. We accept the financial attitudes and money management of our parents, family and friends without even thinking about whether we agree or disagree with them. Sayings like "Money doesn't grow on trees" and "I'm not made of money" stay with us as we grow older. What did your parents and family say to you about money as you were growing up?

When you think about what you were taught back then you may not agree with it now, but it may have been valid then. Unless you are aware of what you were taught you may follow the same financial awareness even though it may no longer be valid. Now don't get me wrong I'm not blaming your parents for this, they did their best and taught you what they knew, but in some cases it's simply doesn't work any more. The idea of going to school, then University, getting a job for life and then a state pension isn't valid any more as the population ages. A recent article on This is Money explains the problem we'll have with changing demographics.

What else were you taught about money as a child? Many people were given money on birthdays if they were good children. I stress the 'if they were good children' because as we grow up we tend to associate money with being good. I know we can all find examples of where getting loads of money has absolutely nothing to do with being good, yet we still link receiving money to actually deserving money. If people only received money when they deserved it then I can think of some millionaires who would be much poorer!

Thinking about rich people: who do you think about when you think of when you think about wealthy people? Do you think of wealthy business people who gives millions of dollars to charity such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, or do you think of con and scam artists? This is actually important as to whether or not you can create wealth. If the first people you think of when you think of the wealthy are actually con artists then it's unlikely that you'd want to be like them. If you associate money with bad attitudes and sayings such as 'the filthy rich' then why would you want to become wealthy? It'd be like someone who hates the sight of blood becoming a surgeon.

Money itself is neutral. It's not good and it's not bad - although what you do with it can fall into either of those categories or somewhere in between.

So in conclusion, take some time to be aware of how you think and feel about money. How you think about money and personal finance will reflect on how you deal with money and the ways you accumulate money. You could be sabotaging yourself when it comes to personal finance simply because your thoughts and feelings around money are negative. When you realize that money is actually good for you and your family, and that you deserve it, then dealing with money and acquiring it, will become easy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Personal Finance Software Review of Quicken Product Offerings

In this article I would like to conduct a personal finance software review of the Quicken product offerings designed for personal use. There are several personal finance software products on the market that do wonderful jobs of helping families manage their finances, but I am most familiar with Quicken as I have been a user of its products for over eight years. I have been completely satisfied with the features Quicken provides and would like to review and compare the benefits that its product offerings deliver.

Quicken Starter Edition

Formerly known as Quicken Basic, the Quicken Starter Edition is an excellent solution for individuals who will be using personal finance software for the first time. The three main features the Quicken Starter Edition delivers are: (1) balancing of your checkbook electronically, (2) tracking how you spend your money by being able to categorize purchases, and (3) monitoring and updating all your investment and banking accounts in one place. It basically provides a "one-stop shop" for all of your personal finance concerns.

Quicken Deluxe

Although the Quicken Starter Edition is a fantastic product, I believe the average family considering a personal finance software product should start with Quicken Deluxe. The reason is that, in addition to offering all of the features of the Quicken Starter Edition, Quicken Deluxe provides the capability to download banking and investment account transactions automatically. This makes reconciling your checking account, as well as your other accounts, extremely simple. In addition, Quicken Deluxe allows you to create savings goals and track their progress, store statements and records electronically, and plan for a new home, a baby, or retirement. For most families, this is the best place to start.

Quicken Premier

For those families who manage their own investments and require additional tools to monitor and measure their progress, Quicken Premier is the perfect solution. Quicken Premier offers all of the wonderful features from Quicken Deluxe plus several others, including: (1) generating various investment performance reports, (2) analyzing and optimizing your portfolio with special tools, (3) generating Schedule A, B, and D tax reports, and (4) setting investment alerts to notify you when certain conditions are in place. A truly remarkable tool for the do-it-yourself investor!

Quicken Home & Business

The three software solutions above are all excellent choices, but if you own your own business, none of these will be sufficient for the additional monitoring and record keeping required of you. Enter Quicken Home and Business. Though not as powerful a solution as Intuit's QuickBooks products, it is the perfect choice if you have a small business with no payroll requirements, or especially for a part time business. In addition to providing all of the wonderful features of Quicken Premier, Quicken Home and Business allows: (1) tracking and categorizing of both business and personal expenses, (2) creating customized estimates and invoices, (3) generating profit and loss reports, (4) tracking vehicle mileage and other Schedule C items, and (5) monitoring upcoming bills and unpaid invoices. If you are considering a small part-time business, this solution is perfect to get you started.

In conclusion, Quicken offers a wonderful lineup of products that are designed to meet the varying needs that different families require. This personal finance software review has aimed to provide you with a basic overview of each product to help you decide which solution would be most appropriate for your family. Hopefully this discussion convinces you of the incredible value personal finance software delivers to its users. I can only speak from personal experience.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Personal Financial Freedom - Personal Finance Budgeting

The topic for this article is Personal Finance Budgeting. The first step in becoming financially responsible is starting out with a personal financial budget. Absent a budget there is no way one can possibly track their income and expenses.

Before getting into what personal budgeting finances are I want to explain why budgeting is important. For this idea we will say that you have decide to startup a business, a personal financial advising firm. When establishing your financial advising firm the first thing to be done is the planning out of your company expenses. Most people would logically budget for their expenses before they began because without this financial planning you would have no idea of whether or not your financial advising firm could potentially be profitable. The next thing is to plan out your revenues. Then you would take the difference between the two and see whether things looked good or not.

This is what a financial budget is for a company and people should handle their personal finances in the same manner. When establishing a personal financial budget it is important to include everything that involves your money.

You can find personal finance software on the internet. This software is made so that you can easily enter all your income and expenses and it does everything else for you.

The components in a personal financial budget include both income and expenses. Examples of income in a personal finance budget include job income, gambling winnings, capital gains, social security, tax refund, etc... Examples of expenses in a personal budget worksheet include SAVINGS, electric bill, health insurance, cell phone, groceries, books, shoes, clothes, car insurance, gas, entertainment, travel, miscellaneous, etc.

This expense list does not include all potential expense, I'm sure you can think of others right now. Anything possible thing that you can think of that you might need to spend money on should be put on your personal budgeting worksheet.

I know that some of you are thinking to yourselves "Savings? What? Thats not an expense!" Well I'm here to tell you that savings should indeed be thought of as an expense. Each month one should personally budget for a certain amount of their money to be saved. This should not be an "if I have money left over" situation. It should be definite and as automatic as writing that check for your mortgage every month.

The most basic concept of personal budgeting is to control spending and use your money wisely so that you have money left over rather than having no money or going into debt.

After listing your income and expense on your budget worksheet you need to subtract the expenses from your income and get a Net Cash Flow for the month. The idea is to include all income and costs and come out with a positive cash flow on your personal financial worksheet. If the number comes out negative then you have a problem and your expenses will need to lowered.

Now you know exactly what a budget is and how to make one. The next thing to is run a few Google searches an find a budget template to make things easier.

You need to keep a budget every month. No, you cannot simply make one plan for the whole year and stuff it away somewhere to forget about it. Our income levels change and our expenses change and these changes need to be accounted for.

To be successful with your personal budgeting plan you need to make out a projected personal budgeting plan for the whole year. Then as each month passes you can make monthly adjustments.

The other thing to do is keep a record of your actual income and expenses and compare that to your personal financial budgeting worksheet. You want to make sure that your original estimates were correct or at least close.

The thing about a personal financial budget is that it sets you up for success and helps keep you from needing to use credit cards or other debt to make it.

If you have an accurate personal financial budget then you will be prepared for the unexpected financial burdens that happen from time to time.

There should be no issues when your car breaks down and you suddenly need $300 to fix it. All is good because you have been putting money into savings each month.

This is the most basic idea of personal financial freedom and personal finance budgeting. If you can establish a sufficient level of savings then you can begin to be at ease with your financial situation.

Most people are clueless and don't realize that their unplanned/unwritten actual personal finance budget includes something like $4500 of income and $4700 of expenses each month.

Next time I will take a short break from the Mini Series and instead suggest a few personal financial budgeting software programs that are available out there.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Business and Personal Communication Skills - Finding Our Life Energy

Communication Skills that Provide Energy

Many times we wake up in a bad mood, not happy, maybe upset about something that happened the day before. Especially during these difficult times with the unpredictable economy and turmoil in our government, this is an excellent time to use this communication exercise. Energy deprivation also happens to us during the day and we go from functional to dysfunctional consciousness. Here is a fun exercise to try when your energy is depleted.

The exercise that I will talk about in this article is powerful and only takes 3 steps and a few seconds to execute. It can take you from being upset to being in an exuberant mood during the day.

Here are the 3 Steps:

1: Think of a need or value not being satisfied at this time.

An example of a need could be respect, safety, peace of mind, ease in what you are doing, creativity or even fun. There is a needs list at the website below. Our needs are our life energy and if they are not satisfied our energy level will dissipate. If our needs are satisfied our energy level will rise.

For example: When I think about my financial security (my need), I become upset or frustrated. My energy level lowers. My need may also be for abundance, peace of mind, safety for my finances or family, ease in my life, or to have fun with a vacation.

So there are many needs that are not being met because of my finances. Again, look at the needs list and you will see other needs that can be listed. For this exercise, I will pick one of these needs. You may do the same thing and pick a need of yours that is not being satisfied. Again it could be a different situation, yet this exercise works for any need. You'll be pleasantly surprised as your energy level raises. I will pick the need for "abundance" for this exercise.

2: Now, I will say this statement to myself, " I am abundant." My need for abundance is being satisfied."

Yes, it sounds like an affirmation. It is an affirmation. Yet, we will go a little deeper with step three. So say this to yourself, I am __________. My need for ____________is being satisfied." In the blank space place the need that is not being satisfied at this time. So, if you're need not being satisfied is for safety, say to yourself, I am safe, My need for safety is being satisfied." say it again, Say it one more time for good luck. " I am safe, my need for safety is being satisfied." Now take a deep breath, and we will go to step three.

3:Say to yourself: How is my need for safety being met? Take a deep breath, ask yourself 3 times. How is my need for safety being satisfied?

As you ask the question, you will start processing how your need for safety is being met. This is where the dramatic change may happen.

So, for clarity, here are the 3 steps.

1: Think of a need or value that is not being satisfied at this time?

2: Say to yourself. I am__________. My need for abundance is being satisfied."

3: Now ask yourself, how is this need being satisfied. Speak Slowly

These simple three steps will bring your energy back. In fact, it will probably give you even more energy than you can imagine. After you go through the three steps just let your mind imagine how this need is being satisfied in your life. You must take a few minutes and dwell on this need, and the question, how is that need being satisfied? Write down these steps and place it next to your computer. As your energy level may diminish during the day, perform the exercise and watch your energy rise. Be proactive and use it hourly to maintain your energy.