Financial Planning

633553504166942disability.jpgYour career is a direct result of hard work and a substantial investment of time and money. Doesn’t it make sense to fully protect it? A disability could render you helpless by taking away the one thing that you need to safeguard all of your assets: your income.

Home, auto, life, and health insurance are certainly valuable investments, but failure to couple them with disability insurance will jeopardize your full financial security. For example, health insurance might cover the potential fiscal pitfalls of the medical bills that result from a disability, but the rest of your financial obligations are not going to come to a halt. Vehicle payments, mortgages, insurance premiums, and even savings for the future are all important expenses that cannot be ignored just because you are disabled. Unfortunately, the chances of becoming disabled might be greater than you think.

According to the 1994 Statistical Abstract of the United States, in the course of a year, odds are that 1 in 10 people between the ages of 25 and 64 will suffer a disability. When comparing that ratio to the odds of being victim of a house fire (1 in 122); injured in an automobile accident (1 in 160); or even of death (1 in 117), the advantage of disability insurance is clear. A February 2000 article in the New York Times reported that 1 in 7 people between the ages of 35 and 60 will become disabled for five years or more.

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retirement-planning.jpgWhen people discuss retiring or having a sea change or chasing their passion, the different reactions usually involve money: “I’d love to do it but I don’t have enough money.”

You reach retirement age and don’t have enough to retire on, you’ll be left with two options, either to delay your retirement or reduce your standard of living in retirement. Which one would you choose?

It always helps to know what you are aiming at and wealth creation is no different. I will assume that you want to build wealth in order to be able to retire and still live well. How much money will you really need?

I was attending a wealth building conference and one of the other speakers, a financial planner, made a statement that when you retire you only need about 50% of you pre-retirement income. I was amazed at this statement and I asked him back stage how he came to that conclusion. He told me that all retired people do is sit around and watch television all day.

My response to him was that this was a description of what broke people do (namely his clients). Retired people who have successfully built a decent wealth portfolio are living the time of their life! What are you aiming at? The lifestyle of the television watching clients of our financial planning friend or the time of your life lifestyle that comes with wealth?

How much will you need for a good lifestyle in retirement?

The short answer is that, if you want to maintain the lifestyle that you are accustomed to then you will need a monthly income equal to your monthly income one month before you retired. Anything less and there is something that you will have to give up.

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2145040288_df02530170.jpgThe best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time. And that might well be the best way to tackle 2008. This year is almost over and while it’s a time of festivities, a look back may be a good idea if you’re thinking of some forward financial planning for 2008’s bills.

But you don’t need to resort to blaming yourself for what you could have saved if you had handled your expenditure more wisely. Crying over spilled milk isn’t only a negative way to start a new year, but also it gives you no recourse to whatever has been spent, lent or accumulated on your credit card bills.

A better way is to assess the damage or where you stand on your finances, and think of how to move forward. Even if you’re dragging a heavy load from 2007, just be clear about how much and to whom.

But keeping a positive attitude doesn’t mean that you should sit back and relax. Remember like everyone else, your bills are meant to increase in 2008 because of inflation, rent increases, your own growing needs, etc. So try to have a rough assessment of such increases and possible extra income as well. Then grab a notepad and a pencil to draft a budget for at least six months.

When you set your liabilities, income and estimated expenses side by side you should be able to see on paper where and how you’ll settle the 2007 debts, pay your new bills and be able to put aside some savings. If you cannot detect such a point in the coming six months, now you need to be alarmed. So what may have gone wrong?

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633553504166942disability.jpgDisability Income Insurance protects your most valuable asset, your ability to earn an income. It’s easy to forget that your income is dependent on your ability to earn it.

When a disability leaves you unable to work for an extended length of time, you lose the ability to earn an income- the one thing you’ve always relied on to provide for yourself and your loved ones. Meanwhile, your living expenses continue-in fact, they’re likely to increase for a number of reasons.

You could need help around the house or have higher medical expenses, for example. That’s where disability insurance comes in. It’s designed to help you maintain your standard of living when you cannot work. If you don’t have much in the way of assets for a financial cushion, you need enough to cover costs and supplement your income until you can go back to work.

Individual disability insurance is truly a basic concept. It is an insurance product designed to replace anywhere from 60-70% of your gross income should a sickness or illness prevent you from earning an income in your occupation. All disability insurance quotes and coverage from every insurance company are very different; this is not a product to simply shop for the most competitive rate.

If you became sick or hurt and couldn’t work, how would you pay your bills? How would you maintain your living standard? If you’re like most people, your ability to get up each day and earn an income is one of your most valuable assets. Furthermore, your chances of becoming disabled at some time during your working career are probably higher than you would expect, so you also need more disability insurance information.

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credit_cards1.jpgCredit cards can be an excellent tool to help you manage your finances. But sometimes we make poor choices, or sometimes the events in life take us beyond our expectations and we are left to foot the bill. Perhaps you have had a few months of extra, unexpected expenses that you are now paying for. What can you do? Bank of America is known to help you manage your money successfully. If you see their terms and conditions they can assist you with you money management program.

Credit cards can be an excellent tool to help you manage your finances and buy the things you want or need. But when things go on a ride and your bills get out of hand, which happens to even the best of us, choosing a personal loan as a way to consolidate those bills will help you reduce your interest rates and set up a fixed amount of payment. Reduced interest rates will ultimately increase the amount of money you keep and a fixed amount due every month will help you plan your budget.

Gather together all of your credit card bills and add up the amount that you owe. Factor in the extra expenses you haven’t heard on your credit cards since you receive those bills. Add to that about ten or twenty per cent, which is the “whoops, I forgot about that” factor. Then, with that figure, start shopping around for a loan.

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einstein-compound-interest-rule-of-721.jpgYou may have heard the saying ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true’. But how do you work out what could be too good to be true?

Start with the rate of return you have been offered. Most investments illustrate their rates of return using percentages. While that’s perfectly reasonable, research suggests that many people have trouble working out percentages, especially in their heads.

To determine how many years for your capital to double, you bring to mind the Rule of 72, which tells you to always divide the capital by the interest, and the result is in how many years it will be doubled. This is simpler than it seems. Before calculators or spreadsheets, investors used the trusty old ‘Rule of 72’.

How the Rule of 72 works

Suppose you were offered an investment with a return of 10% per year and you reinvested all your returns. How many years would it take to double the value of your original investment?

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probate1.jpgClients often ask me, “Why do I need a will?” Many people share common misconceptions — that only the wealthiest need a will, or that the process of making one is complicated or costly. What I have learned through the years is that everyone needs a will and that it is far more costly to avoid making one.

Without a will, you leave important decisions to someone else to make after your death. Make a Will now for real peace of mind. I have noticed that people generally manage their lives quite well but leave things in an utter mess when they die.

A will lets you specify how your assets will be distributed and how taxes, if any, will be paid. You can select whomever you wish to administer your affairs. Without such a plan, your state of residence determines who receives your assets and how the taxes will be paid. The courts may become actively involved in administering your affairs, and they may award property to relatives you would never include, but overlook friends or charities you want to remember.

It is a strange fact that around 70% of people have not made a Will, but the consequences of dying without one can be serious. Everyone urgently needs a Will; If you don’t make a Will you die intestate, which means that everything you own is distributed under rules laid down by law irrespective of the wishes of your family.

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andresr050700039.jpgEveryone has a unique situation, and there are no concrete financial numbers that define success, but there are some rules of thumb that can help you gauge your progress. While following these rules won’t guarantee success, they will put you on the right track.

Keep in mind, these rules represent guidelines, not gospel. Life doesn’t always stay inside the lines, and what may work for some may not work for you. Nevertheless, these are worth aiming at if you’re ready for some target practice and want to build a serious financial cushion.

How much Debt should I have?

Ideally, no debt would be the best answer, but you have to realize that for some assets it is almost required you borrow money, such as buying a house. If you have taken more debt than you can handle, don’t be discouraged. It doesn’t matter how much money you make. If you can’t live within your means, you become a slave to your creditors. Most experts agree that your total monthly debt payments shouldn’t exceed one third of your gross monthly income.

How Much Worth House Can I Buy?

So how much should you spend on a house? The traditional way to calculate that is to add up all your income and make sure that your housing expenses — mortgage payment, homeowners insurance and property taxes — don’t exceed a certain amount of that total. The traditional limit, still used by many lenders, is 28% to 32% of gross monthly income. For example, if you and your spouse together earn $100,000 per year, you shouldn’t spend more than $250,000 on a home.

Read (more…) There has always been a need for retirement planning and today is certainly no different. There are many other types of retirement plans that are available to you. You will need to take the time needed to evaluate what your current financial needs are and what you expect the future to hold.

You must keep in mind that your planning today is not just for the ideal future, but the future that will be reality for you if things turn out to not be ideal or according to your plans today. By starting early and contributing the maximum that you can afford, you will have a better chance of being prepared for the unforeseen.

Unsure of what you will need for retirement? Are you on track or not? Don’t forget that life expectancy is getting longer. Today you can expect to live 20-30 years past retirement and, suddenly, the amount you need to retire comfortably with a major change in lifestyle gets very large.

Lets say that today you need $40,000 to live on and you retire in 20 years, you will need a minimum of $850,000 to carry you through retirement. That is assuming that you will live an additional 20 years after you retire and are in good health.

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ist2_3145028_monkey_wrench_squeezing_money_isolated_on_white1.jpgAre you short for month money at the end of each month? Do you have 5-10 credit cards, all maxed out to the limit? Do you forget to pay your bills on time? If you have answered, “Yes,” to any of these questions, don’t feel bad and don’t worry. I have some tips that can help you improve your financial picture: Create a Bill-Paying System

The first thing you’ll need to do is to go out and pick up some colored hanging folders. If you don’t have a file cabinet, get a file box that you can find in any stationery store or discount department store. They’re very inexpensive. Then, make a folder for each expense. Use one color for your bank statements, another for your utility bills, and another for credit cards. Keep the system pretty simple or complexity could let procrastination) take over.

Each day when your mail arrives, separate it immediately into what you don’t need and want to throw away and your bills and other things that need attention right away. Do the things that are needed and either pay the bill right away or put them in a central place where you can retrieve them when the money is available for paying the bills. This could be the front of a desk drawer, for instance, or even a basket on top of your desk. Just be sure that nothing goes into that basket besides your bills.

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