How to Get More – But Not Lose Anything – PART II Deferred Fixed Index Annuities

What if I said that you can earn more interest when the stock market goes up, but have no principal or interest taken away when the stock market goes down? Would that interest you? This is the second in a series of articles that stands for that proposition. The previous installment of this series explained…

What if I said that you can earn more interest when the stock market goes up, but have no principal or interest taken away when the stock market goes down? Would that interest you? This is the second in a series of articles that stands for that proposition.

The previous installment of this series explained how fixed index interest works and calculates. That method is what creates the positive result of safe growth of interest that ties to selected stock market indexes (such as the S & P 500). The result increases interest without the risk of market loss. To review that installation, go to the prior article published on March 27, 2015.

Fixed Index Annuities and Indexed Universal Life Insurance policies both use the Fixed Index interest calculations to add interest and build the account until you are ready to start taking payments. Each has several other features and benefits that make them unique.

This installation will focus on Fixed Index Annuities.

“Annuity” is a phrase with multiple definitions and variations. The basis of an annuity is it provides a series of payments. That series can start immediately or defer to a time in the future. There may be a limited number of payments or they can last for the rest of your life.

My focus is on how to use a Deferred Fixed Index Annuity for safe growth of your retirement account and to have an income for the rest of your life.

A “Fixed Index Annuity” is a form of “deferred annuity”. You put principal into the contract right away. Payments start later; based on a higher future balance. That higher balance includes the earnings during the deferral period; plus your first deposit. Because of the tax rules about annuities, tax on that growth happens only on distribution payments. If the money is in a qualified plan or IRA, the entire payment is taxed; and at ordinary income rates. That is the price of getting the tax deduction at the beginning when you contributed to the plan years ago. If the money is “Nonqualified” (it was what you had left after-tax on what you earned) then the tax rules let you get your “investment” back tax-free. This calculates with a statutory “exclusion ratio”. That divides each payment into the nontaxable return of principal and the taxable portion of earned interest.

ASSET PROTECTION. In Florida, annuities that you own individually are protected from your creditors. The sheriff can not “levy” on annuities when a lawsuit against you is collected. If the annuities are in an IRA or qualified plan, Federal rules give even extra protection.

This is important for several reasons. First, even though Certificates of Deposit have guarantees from loss by the FDIC if your bank goes bust, they are not protected from your creditors. You might set them up in “tenancies by the inheritance” with your spouse. That works. But if your spouse dies before you; the protection goes away. Stock brokerage accounts are protected to a degree by SIPC. However, they are also subject to the claims of your creditors. Again, there are some steps you can take (such as setting up a qualifying irrevocable trust in certain states) which can protect stock brokerage accounts. But, by themselves, the sheriff could come get them if you have a judgment against you.

Florida law automatically makes annuities unavailable to sheriff's to collect on if you have judgments against you. Simple.

Now, you can not put money into an annuity if you already have a claim against you. They call this a “fraudulent conversion”. You are taking collectable money and converting it to money exempt from collection to avoid a creditor. So, if you want asset protection get the money safely into annuities as quickly as makes sense for you.

GUARANTEES. Many people live with historically low interest rates to get FDIC protection for their certificates of deposit. When you learn more about the guarantees an annuity can give you, with much higher interest, you may well be more comfortable. See, the issuing company (an insurance company or an annuity company) guarantees your principal. In a deferred fixed index annuity, the company also guarantees the interest you earn.

Is this guarantee worthwhile? There are at least a couple of reasons you can rely on the guarantee of a company that issues an annuity.

First, your State's Insurance Commissioner regulates the companies that offer annuities. This includes audits and other oversight. They also regulate how annuities are sold to you. The Insurance Commissioners do not want long-term annuities sold to people for what they are not suitable. In a moment, I will point out their long-term nature. So, if you need early liquidity (access to the cash you put in), a deferred annuity may not be smart for you. Rules help guarantee (or at least influence) that you do not make an unwwise purchase in that case.

Second, Insurance Commissioners demand that an issuing company has enough reserves set out to pay its obligations to you and other annuity and life insurance contract owners. That means if the company goes under in its general finances, your money is set aside and safe.

Third, if a company does go under, the tradition is that other companies come in and buy up the contracts that are still outstanding to contract owners. The benefits get paid one way or the other.

So, with all these protections, the contractual guarantee of a life insurance or annuity company is very strong. There are few instances of anyone losing their money in a fixed interest annuity. [NOTE: “Variable Annuities” are a tax deferred way to invest in mutual funds. So, there is a potential for market loss in those instruments. However, we do not recommend “Variable Annuities” here.]

LIQUIDITY. Your principal earns interest in a deferred annuity. The first installment of these articles points out how that can be more than typical interest because what you earn is tied to a stock market index like the S & P 500. When it goes up interest is added to your account. If it goes down, nothing is taken away.

The result of these periodic additions of interest is an “account balance.” That account balance is available to you, subject to surrender charges.

Surrender charges in a deferred income annuity are similar to those in Certificates of Deposit. The company's commitments to you call for it to invest in long-term bonds. If you take the money out early, those bonds may need to be sold; and perhaps at a loss. To make things more even, and to encourage you to keep your money in the annuity, there is a charge if you take the money out too soon. This is the “surrender charge”.

As a result, a deferred fixed index annuity is not the way to go if you need access to the cash you invested. The surrender charges would lessen how much you can get out. However, if your circumstances change and the cash is need to deal with some emergency, you can get it subject to the surrender charge. In any case, you do not want to put money in a deferred fixed income annuity if you think you will need the money before the surrender charge period is over.

When the surrender charge period ends, you can take the money out without further penalty. At that same time, you can choose, instead, to start taking payments of income.

In the old days, people were afraid to start taking payments because they were afraid of this. If they died before their investment was used to pay them income, their heirs would lose out and the annuity company would take whatever was left. There are new choices.

First, when the surrender period is over you can withdraw all your money.

Also, an alternative for a “Guaranteed Life Withdrawal Benefit” lets you take payments, but not have your family lose the remaining balance if you die before you use the principal. A calculated amount is a remaining balance your family can take under a few choices.

Fully annuitizing the payment stream could offer you more in each payment. But then you give up saving any remaining balance for your family.

For these reasons, deferred fixed index annuities are recommended for a long-term hold. Let the account balance grow. Sometimes get an income rider (see below) to insure what your income will be when you start taking payments. If you hold onto the contract until the surrender period is over, then you grow a higher balance free from worries about creditors, and with guarantees not available in other investment contracts.

INCOME RIDER. Some annuity companies offer a feature called an Income Rider. For an extra charge you can get a guarantee of the amount your income payments will be. It is the amount on the schedule in the year you start taking them. When your goal is to guarantee an income, this feature can increase what that income might be.

This is how it works. The Income Rider offers you a schedule. When you target a year you want to start taking income payments, you will know what the payment will be starting then. It might be more than what the payments would be from the account balance you grow during the deferral period. If the account balance would support a higher payment, that is what you would likely select.

There is a charge for the income rider. This reduces how much your account balance can grow. But a comparison often makes the payment stream on a guaranteed income rider more attractive and worth the cost. That is a personal choice you make as you decide how much guarantee you want of the income you will receive.

DEATH BENEFIT. Typically, if you die before you start taking income payments from your deferred fixed income annuity, your heirs can get the contract balance. However, if you have started taking income payments, the full amount is not returned. Your family may get a remaining balance less the payments you took. Some companies insure your heirs would get something if you pass on before a certain period has occurred, like 10 years or 20 years.

Often the death benefit is some portion of the then remaining balance under the Guaranteed Life Withdrawal feature.

These features are important to many people. However, typically annuities do not offer a “death benefit” like in an insurance policy. Their death benefits are usually limited to some portion of the balance remaining on your passing. This may change in the future as companies innovate and add new features to their contracts.

TAX BENEFITS.

  • Deferred Fixed Income annuities defer tax on incremental earned interest. This allows for faster compounding.
  • Also, the 3.8% tax on investment income called for by the Affordable Care Act does not apply during the period the income is deferred.
  • If the source of money for the annuity is “post tax” (not in a qualified plan) the payments are broken up so only the earned interest portion is taxed. Return of principal is not taxed.

LONG-TERM CARE. It is expected that seventy percent of those who reach age 65 will need long-term care. There is insurance coverage to help with the costs. However, it can be expensive, limited in its benefits, and many people will not qualify for it. Some annuities provide an ability to have your payments increase by some multiple (such as a “double”) if you need long-term care. The number of payments increased this way may be limited and reduce your overall payment stream. However, it provides extra cash flow at a time when needed.

LIFELONG PAYMENTS. First and foremost, deferred fixed index annuities are designed to provide, in some fashion, lifelong income. This is the main guarantee from the company and a key reason to buy one. If you take enough payments that your principal and account balance is reduced to zero, it does not matter. The promised payment for life continues. Everything else is about how much those payments will be.

WHO SHOULD GET A DEFERRED FIXED INDEX ANNUITY? This kind of contract is for the person with money beyond what they need to meet current or expected expenses before the payment stream starts. Safety is chief on their mind. So, the guarantees of regulated companies provide comfort. Index interest can provide more than other interest bearing investments; a lot more than Certificates of Deposit under current rates. They enjoy the protection from creditors. Most important, the deferred fixed index annuity offers growth without market risk, and lifelong income after the payment stream starts.

The deferred fixed index annuity is an important tool to guarantee we have a comfortable retirement; especially if we are fortunately to live a long time.

In the next installments I will describe how life insurance contracts that provide fixed index interest work. These are called Index Universal Life Insurance. Like anything else, there are pros and cons, depending on what you are trying to carry out. We will review those so you can best decide what suits you.

For answers to your questions or information on how this applies to you get in touch with me at scottfbarnett@scottfbarnettconsulting.com .

12 Tips to Become Financially Fit in 2015

By now every friend of mine knows that I am working in a Finance domain. They have started teasing me now-a-days. Recently when we met for New Years Eve, one of my friends asked me what's your “financial resolution” for this year. How much are you saving and planning? Let's keep these teasers away. But…

By now every friend of mine knows that I am working in a Finance domain. They have started teasing me now-a-days. Recently when we met for New Years Eve, one of my friends asked me what's your “financial resolution” for this year. How much are you saving and planning? Let's keep these teasers away. But I am sure most of us are worried about money at start of New Year (actually we are always worried about money. I have compiled plain and simple tips to keep you financially healthy and can be followed easily.

1. Become your own CFO

You can not take control of things which you do not know. To take control of your money you need to first check where you are spending it. Track down what and where you are increasing your money. Nobody cares about your finances more than you.

2. Go on a diet

Please do not close the window. I am not suggesting you to stop eating. I am asking you to track down that one expense (unimportant expense) which is not allowing you to achieve your goals. It's a fable in finance, if you can avoid certain expenses for 30 days you can avoid them easily for near future.

Example: Simple expense to choose is buying online clothes. If you have an urge or habit of buying clothes (let's say T-shirts / shirts costing you 1000s / -) every month. Then you can calculate expenses for whole year. ie Rs.12000 / – I am sure you will survive without this expense. Try to invest the amount for yourself.

3. Be selfish

Think about yourself first and then help others. This mostly happens with ladies (be it mommies or sisters), they put their family first and then are unable to help themselves. Ladies you should understand once, you invest for yourself and then you get flexibility of helping others.

4. Automate your money

I am not asking you to use your debit / credit cards for shopping. I am suggesting instead of paying manually for your investment, just automate the investment. Your money is straight away taken from your paycheck for your retirement investment account or mutual funds investment account. This makes you worry less, save time & money and stop you from expenses money. Automation helps you save more, keep priorities intact taking emotions out of it.

5. Add another income stream

Do not rely on single source of income. There are numerous sources wherein you can apply for second income. Make 2015 more lucrative for yourself by choosing second income source.

6. Get a library card

Do not just let things go off. If you do not understand things related to finance / investments, either get them cleared from your financial advisor or look for answers in books. There are loads of books on finance and investment written by experts.

7. Make your investments boring

I am not asking to delay your investment. I am asking to invest and forget about it. When people invest money they are kind of excited about returns on that time! They start monitoring investments every day and buy and sell according to market. This might lead you now. To make money, you need to take out your excitement and stress. This reminded me about the statement made by Paul Samuelson – “Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grows.If you want excitement, take $ 800 and go to Las Vegas.”

8. Track your progress

Everything matters in finance is how much you save. Keep track have you started saving better than before? Every month track your networth (I use moneyfrog.in to track it). This gives you idea about Investment, Savings, Expenses or Taxes. This can make great impact on your finance / financial planning

9. Cut out 10%

Try to reduce your expenses by 10%. List down your expenses and see which can be stopped or reduced. Invest these few thousands or hundreds in yourself or in your future via paying off your debts, investing for your planned business, etc. Try to maximize do this for better savings. This idea works each time.

10. Cut your 2015 taxes

Word Tax makes us run. Before it gets deducted from your paycheck get done some tax saving investments. You can start saving your taxes for financial year 2015-16 as market is good for investments.

11. Reduce your goals

When most people do not create goals (You can use moneyfrog.in for your life goal tracking), but it's an extreme when people create too many goals. Do not just dump your goals. Successful people keep their goals simple and create single challenge in front of them.

12. Spend smartly at the holidays

This year with many long weekends can tempt you to go on mini vacations. While planning your vacation do not forget to plan the expenses too. Try to compare different traveling and staying packages at different places which are easily available online can help you plan your holidays better and will save more.

Apply for Online Grants in Florida

The state of Florida proffers a list of grant programs and monetary assistance plans for its economically constrained residents. The state, recognized agencies, nonprofit associations and the government allocates funds to eligible candidates, helping to cover the expenses and facilitating in fulfilling the basic requirements. If you have a thin bank balance and require financial…

The state of Florida proffers a list of grant programs and monetary assistance plans for its economically constrained residents. The state, recognized agencies, nonprofit associations and the government allocates funds to eligible candidates, helping to cover the expenses and facilitating in fulfilling the basic requirements.

If you have a thin bank balance and require financial assistance then choose and apply for online grants in Florida. Check the complete list and start applying today!

List of Grants That You Can Apply for in Florida

Image Educational Grants in Florida

The Florida Department of Education offers countless state-funded student financial aid programs and scholarships through the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) to Florida needy students to meet the cost of post secondary education.

Florida Public Student Assistance Grant Program (FSAG): it is a undergraduate program for financially deprived students.

Florida Public Post-secondary Career Education Student Assistance Grant Program (FSAG-Career Education): it helps students obtain voluntary training. Students enrolled in certificate programs in Florida college or in any career center can avail this grant program.

The Florida Private Student Assistance Grant Program (FSAG-Private): students with financial need can attain this monetary aid program to get enrolled in independent colleges or universities. Candidates need to fill the FAFSA form to apply for the program.

Florida Student Assistance Grants: it is a need-based program given to resident, undergraduate and degree-seeking students enrolled in postsecondary institutions and in need of funds. The Florida general revenue and Federal Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program offers the funds for the program.

In addition to these, Florida has several scholarships programs for its aspiring students that are funded through the state, government, nonprofits, recognized agencies and institutions. Some of the scholarship programs are:

• The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program

• Scholarships for Children and Spouses of Deceased or Disabled Veterans

• Rosewood Family Scholarship Program

• Minority Teachers Education Scholarship Program

• Florida First Generation Matching Grant Program

Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant Program

• Florida Academic Scholars (FAS)

• Florida Academic Scholars

• Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars

• Florida Medallion Scholars

Housing Grants in Florida

US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): low income Florida residents can avail funds for rental needs and apartment owners can also offer subsidized apartments to tenants through HUD. Applicants can also apply for Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8).

Florida Housing Finance Corporation: it offers affordable housing opportunities to financially displaced residents, functioning in co-ordination with local Governments, elected officials and non-profits. The Housing's homeowners programs include down payment assistance programs, First Time Homebuyer (FTHB) Program and the Homeownership Pool Program. Applicants can also avail multifamily development programs like Multifamily Mortgage Revenue Bonds, HOME Investment Partnerships, Florida Affordable Housing Guarantee, Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Elderly Housing Community Loan and others.

Florida has provision for several house repair programs also.

Rural Housing Service Repair and Rehabilitation Grant: homeowners looking for home repair assistance can avail as much as $ 7,500 grant amount from USDA Rural Development. To apply for the program the applicants must be staying in rural areas, earn 50 percent below the state median and need to be above 62 years.

Weatherization Assistance Program: the Federal Department of Energy provides aid to its residents for weatherization assistance like installing solar screens, updating heating and cooling units, repairing or replacing hot water tanks and installing attic ventilation.

Besides these, there are other housing assistance programs too:

• Disabled Housing Assistance

• Fannie Mae

• Low, moderate and middle-income housing assistance

• Habitat for Humanity

• Florida Housing Coalition

• Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

Single Mother Grants in Florida

Florida has also made provisions for single mothers residing in its state. For financially constrained mothers it becomes difficult to manage multiple responsibilities like managing household work, children, meeting daily needs and others. The state thus, provides grants that cater to all essential requirements of daily life that enable mothers to cover up the expenses and lead a fulfilling life. Some of the specific grant categories are:

• Housing Assistance

• Food and Nutrition

• College Education

• Child Care

• Health Care

Residing in Florida is now an enjoyable experience for even the low income people with the huge list of grants available. Apply free online grants money in Florida that benefits you with their varied funding programs. Get your dollars and fulfill your dreams.

What Is On An Income Statement And A Step By Step Process Of How To Make An Income Statement

Many of you may think that writing a financial statement is very hard and needs professional skills. Well! I highly recommend to visit a financial planner and let him / her to write a financial statement and financial plan for you. There are four good things in visiting a financial planner: 1. They know lots…

Many of you may think that writing a financial statement is very hard and needs professional skills. Well! I highly recommend to visit a financial planner and let him / her to write a financial statement and financial plan for you. There are four good things in visiting a financial planner:

1. They know lots of things that you may have not thought or heard about they have experience in financial items and terms.

2. They have no emotional feelings attached to your financial situation, so they can devise a plan just for you without any emotional problem involved.

3. They solve the problem of learning, knowing and lots of financial and accounting terms and lingo that you might rarely use. So you can focus on other issues like making more money.

4. Having a financial planner and accountant is a serious part of being rich. Rich always have expert and knowledgeable accountants and financial advisors helping them. So, if you want to get rich and stay rich, you'll have a good team and financial planner is an important part of the team.

But do not get frustrated or scared! If you do not have any assets or any income from your assets and still have a 9-5 job, having a financial planner may only cost you about $ 100-200. But if you think you do not need a financial planner or you think you can write one for yourself, that's OK. I want to help you here starting to write a financial statement.

Which Type Of Income Do You Like To Have?

One of the most important parts of any financial statement is Income Statement. This is the learning part of the statement and shows you how much you exactly earn over a certain period of time. It contains three parts and each part may have some more sections.

There are different types of income available in the financial world. I list them here and explain each a little so you get an idea of ​​what an income can be.

Earned Income : This is the most known type of income. It's the income you get from a 9-5 job. At the end of each month (or week or fortnight, depending on how you receive your income) you get a check for a month of work you have done.

Portfolio Income : This is the income you get from investments in stocks, bonds or mutual funds. It is also called dividend.

Passive Income : This is the income you receive from a real estate investment or a business that does not need your presence to generate money.

These entries are totally different and can be discussed in detail, but let me tell you a little about the differences between these types and which one is mostly used by rich people and why they prefer it over the other types.

If your only source of income is your earned income, you pay the highest rate of tax possible. People who only have earned income pay about 40-50% tax because they think they pay only 20%. That's why sometimes it's called 50-50 income because for any dollar you earn, government receives 50 cents.

Note : any type of bonus or extra money you receive must be considered and valued as an income. If you make a profit in a deal or sell your car, that money should be listed in the earned income column.

If you have investments in stocks, bonds or mutual funds, you get your income as portfolio income. This is called 20-80% income because you pay about 20% tax for it. This type of income is very fluctuate depending on the conditions of the market.

If you buy some properties and earn your income from the rent you receive or you have a business that is run by somebody else, you get passive income. This is the income that rich people earn most of their income from because of the tax advantages it has and it does not need them to be there. It is called Passive Cashflow and it's the type of income that I talk about in PassiveCashflowAcademy.com.

Now you know why rich prefer passive income over the other two types. They can earn huge amount of money without physically working paying tax.

Which one of these is your current income type and which one do you want to earn more in the future? This is an important part of the financial plan that you must decide on before starting your journey to become rich. If you know the exit, you can look back and build a strategy that gets you there faster and easier. So take some time and think about the type of the income you like to have in next 5 or 10 or 15 years from now and then plan for it.

Do We Really Need An Income Statement?

Although many think that having an income statement is only for businesses and companies, but in rich people world, every person who wants to have control over his wealth must have a periodic income statement. Any type of financial statement gives you a general and also detailed look at your financial situation and with the help of other financial experts you can find the weak points as well as strengths and then you can fix the weaknesses and improve the power points. This way you can fast forward your move to reach your goal very soon.

How To Write An Income Statement

Let me tell you how I wrote my income statement so you can copy it or make some adjustments to match your conditions better. You can download the excel sheet from my blog and use it.

I start with the main three types of incoming I talked about above. Then I added the numbers. The reason I include the portfolio and passive income in the statement although I do not have any income from them is that I believe in the law of attraction. Anything that you like and follow will come to you. Any type of empty space will be filled with the things you want if you do your part which is planning and working. So It looks like this:

At the end I calculate the total amount of income in each section and the total of all sections. That's my total income.

Remember that the amount of money listed here is called gross income, because there is no expenses added yet. So after adding expenses and calculating, if the balance is positive, it's called net income. But for now, I only talk about the gross income.

Then I add some charts so I can track my income growth over time and have a good view of my money stream.

Thanks for staying with me to the end. I tried to make it easy for you to understand these complicated terms and make it simple so you can apply it to your life very fast.

Dedicated To Making Late Payments

Why are some people so devoted to making utility companies richer than what they already are? I am not referring to business management or shareholders of a utility company. The dedicated folks that I am referring to are people who add to the utility companies are coffers by consistently being required to make late payments…

Why are some people so devoted to making utility companies richer than what they already are? I am not referring to business management or shareholders of a utility company. The dedicated folks that I am referring to are people who add to the utility companies are coffers by consistently being required to make late payments month after month. Even when they have the funds to make a timely payment each month, such devotees persistently and consistently will not pay their utility bill until they receive a cutoff notice.

Being a procrastinator can be considered a factor as to why one would shelf their bills. Moreover, keep them shelved until the company that is sending them is forced to use threats before they make any effort to pay them. However, there has to be something more than just procrastination that causes a person to be so faithful in making late payments. True, there are those folks that want something for nothing and feel that they are being infringed upon by a requirement to pay for the product or service that they have purchased.

However, there has to something else happening within the habitually late payers thinking that makes it a must for them to ignore a bill until they are forced to pay attention to it. Normally these routinely late payers are not people pressed to the wall for cash, and they are not experiencing a temporary economic crisis. In general, a chronic late payer is an individual who prioritizes things by the standards they feel most relevant to them personally. Spending money on non-essentials is placed on a higher level of importance than making sure that the electricity holds on, and other utility bills remain current.

People who have dedicated themselves to making late payments totally disregarded what they should have learned from experience. That the bill they are placing on the shelf is accumulating interest each day that it exceeded its due date. People who make it a habit of being tardy with payments seem not to appreciate that the cost overrun due to late charges is a much higher cost than the initial cost before those fees were applied. Giving away their hard-earned money does not seem to register as being something of an ill-advised approach to proper money management. Moreover, how can it register as being unwisely to them, and to a certain extensive irresponsible since this is their same payment pattern month after month?

Now if the person that will not pay their bills until they are forced to will obligingly keep this to themselves, it would only be a personal issue. However, that is usually not the case because they have let the bill take on a life of its own and now find them facing a payment demand that is beyond their resources. Under pressure to get the bill paid, they reach out to family or a charitable organization for help. They feel that they have some Divine right to get what they are asking for without question. They do not consider that a family member have their bills to pay or that they are taking funds away from people who are genetically undergoing a period of financial hardship. By seeking assistance from an organization for a bill that they could have, and should have paid themselves they place an unnecessary burden of people in need.

I have a sister that is like this and I just can not understand why she puts herself through this month after month. I know that this is her choice, so it is very frustrating for me to see her do this. I made the mistake of placing her electric bill in my name and month after month, without fail. I receive an email after email from the electric company reminding me that my payment is past due and giving a cutoff date if I do not come through with the cash. Living hundreds of miles away and having my bills to pay you can imagine how dismaying these emails are every month. I love my sister and I sincerely hope that she gets her act together and stop paying these utility companies above and beyond the services rendered.

I have made hints to her regarding this, but it has been like shooting at a target in the dark. I have considered using the direct approach, but I do not want her to be angry with me. If she needs help and I can help her, my hands are always open, but this routine of late payments is unnecessary and expensive and very inconsiderate of others. I can not see why she does not see that the money that she is paying on late fees is an addition to her bank account that she is squandering. And not out of necessity, but because she refuses to pay her bills on time. This habit of hers is like an addiction that has a hold on her, one that she seriously needs to quit. Oh well!

5 Simple Tips for Long-Term Wealth Management

We all desire the comfort of a stable income, a beautiful home, and a nice car. These are within reach of most budgets, as long as you consider your wealth management strategy. Simply put, personal wealth management is the organization and improvement of one's financial situation. There are many different ways that you can do…

We all desire the comfort of a stable income, a beautiful home, and a nice car. These are within reach of most budgets, as long as you consider your wealth management strategy. Simply put, personal wealth management is the organization and improvement of one's financial situation. There are many different ways that you can do this, and a little planning and wisdom are all you need to start living comfortably within your own means. Here are five tips that will help you on your way.

Expenditures

First, do a little research and make sure you are getting paid what you are worth. Being underpaid, even by a few hundred dollars, can be extremely detrimental to your financial position. Next, chalk out your monthly pay and expenses. This includes what you make on a monthly basis from your job and any additional imports that you may have. Spend a month watching where your money is going. Are you spending extra on little things like a cup of coffee at a shop instead of making your coffee at home? Remember that the little things can add up, and cutting those unnecessary purchases can go a long way.

Savings

Having income properties and investments is, of course, important. However, for you to be truly content, cash savings is a must. It is highly recommended that you save a minimum of 20% of your income. The easiest way to do this is to have it directly deposited from your check into an interest-bearing savings account. This ensures that you will not forget to set the cash yourself yourself, and it prevails you from being tempted to spend the money while you have it. Having that extra cash in your back pocket will put you at ease in case any emergency situations arise.

Credit

It is essential to know how and when to use your credit wisely. This includes credit cards, mortgages, and loans. Do not overextend yourself when using credit by making impulsive purchase decisions or by taking out loans that you can not afford. Paying any types of loan debts on time is the key to a good credit score, which will help build a positive impression for a future lender.

Goals

Take your investments slowly by first concentrating on small, achievable goals. If it is your desire to purchase that dream home or car, know your allowance and what you can realistically save. These purchases usually involve a large sum of cash, so they may take you longer to afford them, but patience goes a long way!

Plans

Do not get caught up in the risky get-rich-quick schemes. As an investor, have a long-term strategy in multiple markets. Consider your interests, and invest in rental properties and stocks. These may not pay off huge dividends in the beginning, but think about your retirement: in 30 to 40 years, your properties will likely be paid off, and the rent you generate from these homes is cash in your pocket. If you have invested well, your stocks will grow grow and grow.

A little organization can go a long way when it comes to your wealth management. Knowing your budget, having cash savings, using credit wisely, establishing realistic goals, and investing in long-term strategies are five simple ways you can live your life in financial comfort.

The Impact of Money In Your Life: When Is Enough Realized?

The progress of industry and social economy is balanced by the drive that people visualize, a time when they will have everything they need. The urge to work hard and fulfill dreams dominates the human reasoning. There are many who have gone past that point where they have provided themselves with everything they could ever…

The progress of industry and social economy is balanced by the drive that people visualize, a time when they will have everything they need. The urge to work hard and fulfill dreams dominates the human reasoning. There are many who have gone past that point where they have provided themselves with everything they could ever want, but yet the dream still seems to escape them. When is the point where enough is reached?

It is an indisputable fact, quite sadly, that we live in a materialistic world. There is no escaping it; society is totally controlled by it. In all reality, if you consider it closely, most everything we do-from the beginning of our day until the time we go to bed-we are doing for the money we can make or for some other kind of material gain. Certain things that we do for other reasons, such as our humanitarian outreach, our spiritual growth and our physical development are very minute compared to the things we do for money.

We are money addicts. The more we get, the more we want. We want money to be within our grasp 24/7, rain or shine, and we want money stashed away safely, so that we can feel secure that our future will be comfortable and free of hardship as well.

But what it all comes down to is the important question-how much money is enough? When should we put the restraints on it?

The bitter truth is that our lifestyles today have become such that we are ploting and planning ways to satisfy our constant need for personal funding, which causes us to be chasing after money all the time. When we earn enough money to meet the needs of our current state, then we feel the urge to expand our horizons to something larger, which in turn requires that we earn more money. Wants are a bottomless pit, which is totally unlimited. We constantly generate higher levels of wants and desires in our mind and then set ourselves to bring it to fulfillment as well.

If we take all this and put it in the very simplest terms, then you are doing well if you have enough money to:

1. Pay your bills
2. Pay for all your necessities
3. Pay for luxuries such as clothes, certain electronic products, and so on
4. Pay for your vacations
5. Pay for investment projects in the growth of your business
6. Pay for your future plans and health concerns
… and so on.

If we forgot to add something into the list above, you can still get the picture. The main point is that we all have to have money in order to provide everything that is important to our survival, for the pursuits of our mind and for the security of our future. Remember the main cruelical theme, we earn money to live-but it should never happen the other way around. Living to earn money would be devoid of all the virtuous qualities.

Having said that, we need to point out that it is not bad to dream about being rich … Dreaming is what keeps most of us going, but in order to make it viable, you will need to rotate your money. You earn money, which you then put into your business, which allows you to expand. Then you earn more money and grow and improve your business even further.

In the overall picture, money is important, but you should not have money just for the sake of getting fat with money. You should use it to enhance yourself; not for making yourself more vain and complacent about your accomplishments, but to be a help to your family and friends and society all around you.

Housing Grants For Single Moms in Michigan – First Time Home Buyer and Home Repair Grants

Good news for single moms! The state of Michigan offers a list of housing programs that enable you to have a secured shelter for your family within your income reach. Managing all responsibilities and seeking for homeownership can be a complex situation for mothers but with the state grants, financial assistance, and housing programs there…

Good news for single moms! The state of Michigan offers a list of housing programs that enable you to have a secured shelter for your family within your income reach. Managing all responsibilities and seeking for homeownership can be a complex situation for mothers but with the state grants, financial assistance, and housing programs there is help to fulfill your dreams.

Do complete research about the varied programs and remember to apply as early as possible because there can be huge waiting line and it might take time to get selected.

List of Housing Grants in Michigan for Single Moms

If you are running the risk of getting evicted, becoming homeless or need assistance for home ownership then there are multiple choices and support for you to get started. Let's have a look at them.

Single Mothers Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher in Michigan

The federally funded rental program offers subsidized housing to needy single mothers, elderly, disabled and others. Almost 24000 Section 8 vouchers are administrated by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority that offers assistance to mothers with financial crisis who are residents of Michigan or are legal immigrants. Visually impaired or disabled single mothers get special priority over others.

Mothers must contact their Michigan community action agency or public housing agencies to apply for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. Some criteria for the program are:

• Single mothers need to pay 30% of her income to the landlord and the rest is paid by the program

• The house chosen by the mother must meet the set standards by the PHA

• The income limits must comply with the set standards and must not be more than 50% of the area median income set by HUD

US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

The HUD offers subsidized rate apartments to single mothers in Michigan. This federal program offers funds to the state that in turn offers affordable rental homes to eligible single mothers. As per stated rules, the applicants need to a pay a small portion of their income to the landlords and the remaining amount is paid by the government.

Single Mother Homeownership Program in Michigan

All eligible single mothers are provided an option to transfer rental assistance to homeownership program. Mothers must be working for at least 30 hours a week and earn $ 15000, must have a good credit score without criminal record and must not have home ownership for previous 3 years.

The Family Self-Sufficiency program helps single mothers to become financially self-dependent by offering job-training skills.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity has actively worked for Michigan and almost every county in the state has an affiliate of the organization. It helps eligible applicants, including single mothers, avail affordable residence within their limited income. It is not actually a grant but asserts deprived people to have a shelter. After construction of the house, the owner pays a reasonable mortgage amount on the basis of his financial condition. It is a State Support Organization that also helps in training, resource development, and technical assistance.

The qualifying criteria for the program are:

• Be a US citizen

• The earned income must fulfill the income prerequisites

• Must have sufficient savings account

Michigan State Housing Development Authority

Administered by the state of Michigan, it is a quasi-public agency that offers technical assistance and financial support for providing decent and safe housing to eligible Applicants. Michigan State Housing Development Authority was established with the purpose to offer funds for land acquisition, land development, housing development and rehabilitation.

Single mothers can now look for the best housing solutions for their rental needs in Michigan. Not only housing, the state also offers several other grants for daily needs for its residents for a comfortable, secured living. To know about other grant programs in Michigan have a look at Apply for Online Grants in Michigan and Single Mother Financial Assistance in Michigan.

How to Create a Financial Panic Room – Your Cash Stash

Financial advisors and the media make Americans feel like losers because they're not understanding the alleged gaudy financial returns touted in their public relations releases. As part of their mind game, Americans are made to feel math-challenged so they feel compelled to hand over money and control to obtain these selective and unsustainable financial returns.…

Financial advisors and the media make Americans feel like losers because they're not understanding the alleged gaudy financial returns touted in their public relations releases. As part of their mind game, Americans are made to feel math-challenged so they feel compelled to hand over money and control to obtain these selective and unsustainable financial returns. Indeed many financial advisors do provide good returns but over the long run they're not necessarily noticeably larger than if the investor did it himself. Without an advisor, the investor has total control, and sometimes even has a Forrest Gump moment in striking it big with an up & coming firm or niche emerging market. And we've heard countless stories of professional financial advisors going 'rogue' and putting their client's funds legally in investments that do not match the risk tolerance limits of their clients.

Whether you utilize the services of a financial advisor or handle all your investments yourself, the creation of your financial panic room nowdays is of utmost importance. Even if you already have substantial cash in your accounts you may not be able to access them for several reasons.

The first is the possibility of the implementation of a bank holiday in which all financial institutions are closed until the Fed sorts everything out from the economic rubble.

Second, even after the banks open, do you really want to be seen at a bank or ATM with many others withdrawal monies? This chaotic environment is the perfect hunting grounds for criminals and the desperate making you a juicy target.

Third, ATMs may have run out of cash and establishment may not accept credit cards.

And it's not just an economic meltdown that can create this unpleasant scenario but also a natural disaster or electrical grid power failure all of which can produce the same results of potential societal anarchy because of a breakdown of services.

Keep cash in small denominations like $ 1 and $ 5 bills because businesses may not be able to provide change, accept credit cards or are unable to do so because of electronic shutdowns. This cash stash, the amount contending on the number of people in your household, should last one month for survival necessities like food, medicine, and gas. And whatever the amount you calculate, tack on 20% as contingency for unexpected costs, illegal surge prices by stores. You'd rather pay the extra couple of dollars on a necessity rather than look around farther from your home which increases the exposure and risk of getting robbed.

To capture these expenses accurately, create, review and update as needed, a spreadsheet to itemize your basic necessities including things you may not consider such as purchase of prescription medicines, pet food, laundry detergent, etc.

From an internal security perspective the cash should be divvied up and hidden in several places and preferably in a metal container in case of water damage or fire minimizing the risk that the cash will be rendered useless. The reason is that if there's a home invasion, they would never think that there are multiple boxes of cash.

Why You Should Create a Financial Safe House

Bubbles are fun when you're sipping champagne, or soaking in the tub, or when your toddler gurgles or sometimes when you're hand-washing a vehicle you love dearly. However when these bubbles occur in the financial markets, it's the equivalent of a mutating virus. That's why you should seriously give thought to becoming a financial prepper…

Bubbles are fun when you're sipping champagne, or soaking in the tub, or when your toddler gurgles or sometimes when you're hand-washing a vehicle you love dearly. However when these bubbles occur in the financial markets, it's the equivalent of a mutating virus. That's why you should seriously give thought to becoming a financial prepper before everything goes south and everyone jams the exits to liquid their holdings.

Little substantive work has been done to overhaul the financial infrastructure to make it more durable and to make corporates ethically responsible so that we can weather the next economic downtown, an inevitability in a capitalistic society, yet one which will not severely impact society like the Great Meltdown and subsequent 2008 Great Recession. Unfortunately the financial structure is still a house of straw, not brick, and is highly vulnerable to the next economic tempest.

Large corporations have been hoarding unusually amount of cash since the Great Recession however their cache is far and beyond what would have considered a normal financial cushion. They have invested sparingly this overwhelming cash hoard into development and the creation of quality jobs, let alone maintaining jobs. Their financial restructuring has benefited primarily the shareholders through the sale of operations and laying employees off to increase shareholder returns.

According to the Financial Times article “US Companies Hoard $ 1.7 Trillion in Cash But Tap Debt Markets” dated May 11, 2015, of this amount, five US firms: Apple, Microsoft, Google, Pfizer and Cisco, hold $ 439 billion in cash.

The nation's financial structure has not been overhauled because these same large corporations' powerful lobbying groups prevent the introduction and implementation of stronger financial supports. Any changes are aesthetic akin to the application of fresh paint on a wobbly building.

Moreover, China is in a similar economic position as the US was in 2007. And because of their lack of transparency and heavy government control, no one, not even Chinese insiders, know the true values ​​of these investments. This means that two economic superpowers which are dangerously highly dependent on each other, face acute risks simultaneously. And finally the shadow market, a world in which billions of investments are legally leased but are off-the-blocks with no oversight, compound the problem.

Cash is a de facto insurance policy in a highly unstable and volatile economic environment when investment values ​​can plunge rapidly as clearly demonstrated by the 2008 meltdown. For this reason, it's prudent to allocate considering more into cash and any other investment instrument which can be converted quickly into cash such as short-term government bonds and money market accounts. When the next economic avalanche occurs most people will get buried under the rubble.

I certainly encourage consumers to continue to invest in those fields with stock purchases which they have researched so diligently and feel will provide solid returns. However for the purposes of greater financial security as an insurance buffer and overall peace of mind, consumers should boost their cash allocation or any quick-to-cash financial instruments such as government securities to be available during any future economic meltdown.