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.