Why You Need to Review Your Insurance Portfolio

Consumers of insurance are often unaware that their insurance needs are constantly changing. While there may be numerous circumstances and events that may lead to this. It is only logical to conclude that you should reevaluate your insurance coverage as years roll by. As a rule of thumb, you should revisit your insurance portfolio annually…

Consumers of insurance are often unaware that their insurance needs are constantly changing. While there may be numerous circumstances and events that may lead to this. It is only logical to conclude that you should reevaluate your insurance coverage as years roll by. As a rule of thumb, you should revisit your insurance portfolio annually to keep up with ever-changing predicament and dynamism of life.

There are many reasons why you should revisit your insurance portfolio from time to time. Here is a checklist of what you should look for when reviewing your insurance portfolio:

• You just moved into a new home, condo, or apartment
• You bought a new car or additional one
• You just got married, divorced, birth or adopt a child
• Some relatives moved in with you
• You or your spouse changed job or one of you lost his / her job.
• You become self-employed or start your own business

This is not an exhaustive list and there are lots more but anytime there is a change in your family or lifestyle it can affect your insurance needs tremendously. It is known fact that financial commitment increases with time or when a new member joins your family.

You may need to adjust your insurance policies to fit your current circumstances, for instance, if you are single with no children your insurance need will not be much. Couples with kids should consider some form of permanent insurance which is useful for providing a death benefit to survivors but this type of insurance is expensive and not every couple need this type of coverage.

It does not matter what your circumstances are you need to rethink your insurance needs. Your current coverage may not be sufficient to cover your insurance needs in a year or two. As every year presents its own challenges, you must adjust your coverage accordingly. To better prepare for all these, at the beginning of each policy year, it is advisable that you reevaluate your insurance needs. You can also purchase a new policy to complement those already in your portfolio.

Eliminate what you do not need anymore, for instance when your kids are grown and the mortgage is paid off, then your insurance policy may have outlived its purpose. So it's either you let it lapse, cash it in or repurpose it for a new coverage.

All these factors and changes are the reasons why you should always review your policy at least once a year and making sure that you on a safe side. You do not know what life may throw at you tomorrow, so you have to be prepared and get your insurance in other.

Why you should always consult your insurance broker

Your insurance broker is in the best position to advise you on a wide range of products available on the market. Once your broker assessed your individual needs he / she can find you the right coverage at a competitive price.

Assessing your insurance coverage is often one of the smartest financial move you can make to help you eliminate the possibility of staying underinsured.

From Great Recession to Grand Illusion

From the Great Recession to the Grand Illusion of recovery, growing house debt and the number of families struggling to make ends meet is the story left behind the curtain. Only a few leaders, authors and bloggers expose the underbelly reality hiring for strength in the numbers of those who wake up to the window…

From the Great Recession to the Grand Illusion of recovery, growing house debt and the number of families struggling to make ends meet is the story left behind the curtain. Only a few leaders, authors and bloggers expose the underbelly reality hiring for strength in the numbers of those who wake up to the window dressing. As Charles Hugh-Smith puts it, “Welcome to debt-serfdom, the only possible output of the soaring cost of living for the unprotected many who are governed by a hubris-soaked, subsidized Protected Elite.”

I could not have said it better, myself. Yet first-world culture appears to be all about looking good for those in it even if living in a world of hurt.

Not unlike the story of The Emperor's New Clothes, we're supposed to go along to get along and never mention the emperor is butt naked, ie that you're living precariously on the edge. As an issue deemed “negative” in a “think positive” world and way too personal to talk about, people tend to consider they are the only ones navigating rough financial waters. Conversation must stay upbeat. However, this tacit agreement to silence seems to only ever lead them to deeper and murkier circumstances, until they are betrayed as if by a cheating spouse.

Methinks suffering in silence (by the little guys) is part of the big guys' strategy to secure the longevity of their own financial domination. All along, you honestly believed you were doing everything you were told to because that's what the experts said to do. But, alas, you learned the hard way. Bad news for you; good news for the Emperor.

Given corporate commerce has the mandate of a profitable bottom line, if to stay in existence, markets must expand and sales must grow. Marketing and advertising serves to cloud the non-commercial human's innate ability to recognize their array of choices as they head down the road of increased consumption. The banking industry touts the benefits of their product, credit, and since everyone else ties on credit, why not? Some call the income, debt-slavery.

Despite the distraction of a booming stock market masquerading as an expression of a healthy economy, household debt levels tell another story; they surpass debt levels of the Great Recession in 2008. The Federal Reserve reports on household debt for the 1st quarter of 2017.

“Aggregate household debt balances increased in the first quarter of 2017, for the 11 th consecutive quarter, finally surpassing the 2008Q3 peak of $ 12.68 trillion. As of March 31, 2017, total household estimatedness was $ 12.73 trillion, a $ 149 billion (1.2%). increase from the fourth quarter of 2016. Overall household debt is now 14.1% above the 2013Q2 trough. “

A Bankrate Inc. January 2017 survey revealed 57% of American respondents (6 of 10) did not have enough cash to cover a $ 500 unexpected expense. Almost half of the 1,003 adults surveyed said they or a member of their family were hit with a major expense in the past year.

However, if you discern with eyes wide open, you can see marketing manipulation for what it is. Greater awareness brings into focus the greater range of choices available to you beyond those prescribed by a marketplace that benefits at your expense. With a curiosity to advance your financial IQ, alternatives to traditional wealth building and management start to make sense.

What this proves, in my estimation, is that suffering in silence does advance the cause of financial and personal well-being in the lives of everyday people. Bottom line, the problem is systemic, not personal. Until more people are willing to discover how the monetary system undermines their best efforts, and speak up about it, I fear more suffering behind closed doors.

7 Levels to Win Financial Freedom

You can think of financial freedom like a video game. You've got to get through 7 levels to make it to financial freedom. What does financial freedom mean? It's when your income is higher than your expenses. When you can get your money to make enough money to cover your expenses, you've reached financial freedom.…

You can think of financial freedom like a video game. You've got to get through 7 levels to make it to financial freedom. What does financial freedom mean? It's when your income is higher than your expenses. When you can get your money to make enough money to cover your expenses, you've reached financial freedom. It's like running a gauntlet, but it can be accomplished! So let's first outlay what the seven levels are and how to make it to your goal of financial freedom.

The 7 levels of financial health and freedom:

1. Level I – Handle all bad debt

Bad debt is distinguished by it being used for consumption rather than production. Bad debt typically does not have beneficial tax treatment like good debt does. By getting rid of all bad debt, you've established you budget and you can produce more than you consume. These habits are critical to achieve financial success. In addition, these habits must be learned before anything else can be accomplished.

2. Level II – Start a Retirement Account and add 10% per year

Retirement is the first goal you should tackle after handling your bad debt because you want to add small amounts of money over a long period of time. You need your money to have a chance to compound over time. So, you need to start a retirement account as early as you can, preferably in your 20's. I like the automatic investing approach provided by “robo-advisors” such as Wealthfront, Betterment and Personal Capital. The earlier you start, the more time your money has to compound and the easier it will be to retire with enough money.

3. Level III – Create a Savings Account with three months of expenses

This is an important step and many people try and skip this step. I did. Everything goes fine with your investment account (# 4) until it does not. Inevitably, something comes up in life. If you do not have a cushion built up, all your investments come crashing down at the worst time possible when you have to cash out. Needing to cash out investments early, with bad timing and losses, destroys wealth. Before you can invest, you need savings savings of ~ three months of expenses, minimum.

4. Level IV – Start an Investment account (taxable brokerage account)

Your first goal may be to build income for a home payment. Setting up an investment account could go several ways. You could set up a Wealthfront account and use passive index investments like retirement. Or you could open a TD Ameritrade account and invest in particular stocks or ETFs that usually generate a higher return. What determines this is how much time you're willing to spend on active investment. It's important to be able to generate consistent returns based on outlined risk.

5. Level V – Buy a house

Once you are able to generate some return from your investment account and you saved up enough money, the next goal is to buy a house. Buying a house allows anyone to fix the second highest expense, rent as well as creating aforced savings plan. The house is an asset and has the chance for capital appreciation. An additional benefit of real estate is that you can use leverage, in the form of a mortgage, to help boost your returns. Mortgage interest can also be tax-deductible, which makes it favored tax treatment and a good path to increasing annual net income by reducing taxes. A home is an important part of successful financial plans.

6. Level VI – Build multiple streams of income

Start building income-generating assets. These could include REITs (real estate investment trusts), LPs (limited partnerships), Equity Income Accounts and Fixed Income Accounts, such as municipal bonds and annuities. Now that you've finished Level 5 and you're on Level 6, you're on the more advanced aspects of the game. Deferred annuities can be one method. Real estate, in the form of REITs, can be another method. The goal is to invest in income generating assets and start to pay attention to the income and cash flow that generate more than the principal value. There is an investing shift that's going on where you are less interested in capital appreciation and more interested in cash flow. Buying partial businesses in the form of stocks for equity income, or REITs to invest in real estate, and generate yield, all represent early stage vehicles for cash flow investing. The goal is to build this up to a semi significant amount so that a portion of your expenses are now offset by your newly found cash flow income.

7. Level VII – Buy cashflow businesses or income-generating real estate

This is the critical level to work on until you can passively produce more income than expenses. OR, build your own growth start-up company you can sell for millions. I distinguishing this final stage from the previous stage in that you're buying “whole” businesses or real estate investments. At the previous stage, you're buying “portions” of investments in the form of stocks, units of companies or limited partnerships. The final step in the financial game of life is to be able to buy cash flow businesses or income generating real estate in sufficient quantity that your income is higher than your monthly living expenses. Once you can do that you have won the financial game of life. You are financially free.

This is the basic financial life plan. For me, I've made it to Level VII, but was cast back down to Level V, where I'm currently playing the game of Financial Freedom. Where are you in the current Financial Game of Life? What are your next moves?

5 Amazing Ways Banking Apps Are Enhancing User Experiences

There has been a rapid increase in the number of people who manage their money via online these days, which, certainly embasise importance of banking apps. Gone are the days when we need to spend long hours while standing in the queues for cash withdrawal and deposits in banks. With apps becoming a necessity for…

There has been a rapid increase in the number of people who manage their money via online these days, which, certainly embasise importance of banking apps. Gone are the days when we need to spend long hours while standing in the queues for cash withdrawal and deposits in banks. With apps becoming a necessity for every industry, almost every other bank are developing apps for making their service more accessible and personalized.

Considering the same, following here are some of the best innovations in the domain of mobile banking for maximizing downloads, enhancing user experience and increasing customer loyalty.

User Experience Innovations
Giving focus to an excellent user experience has become the major concern of banks and eying this fact, here are some of the innovative features released by them.

  • Improved Transactions
    Banks are making great efforts to cater the basic needs of users and included a series of essential features. Nowadays, people can make P2P payments, pay bills and even add a payee without no need of online registration. Furthermore, the number of 'real-time' money transfers is rapidly increasing along with the wide acceptance of contact-less mobile payments.
  • Money Management Tools
    With apps, customers can get access to their transactional history, suggestions or tips on financial planning, forecasting and much more. Furthermore, good communication between the customer support team and customers becomes much easy with mobile banking apps.
  • Simple Login and 'Explainer' Videos
    Not all customers are tech-savvy and so, banking apps mostly host a simple login process and easy-to-navigate features. With specific and easy to understand explainer videos, you get the right way to access your accounts easily and faster. You do not need to get tied to your personal computer or laptop to check account balances or make online transfers anymore. All you need to do is just pick your phone to stay abreast of your finances.
  • Extensive Security
    Customers often feel that these are comparatively less secure than visiting the local branch or nearest ATM. However, the security systems and user password of apps are generally proven and strict. While considering the security perspective, the user must deploy a good and tested Internet hygiene while using a banking app. Moreover, it is important for them to download apps from trusted web sources and websites.
  • Synchronization with other Money Applications of the User
    All the money managing apps of users get automatically synced with their online banking information. This helps users to stick to their budget. Updating your accounts on other money management apps becomes simpler with these banking applications and users can get better scope of viewing a clear picture of their financial inflows and outflows.

Banking apps no longer represent a niche service these days as the number of users is increasing to a great extent. Irrespective of whether it is about simplifying payment processor availing customer support, these apps are here to make our financial transactions easier and faster.

The 6 Habits of Financial Health

From the moment you wake up to when you go to sleep, you make constant choices. Should I eat the salad instead of the burger? Should I go jogging after work? And much much more. Over time we form habits, good and bad ones. Every day, we constantly try to implement more good habits in…

From the moment you wake up to when you go to sleep, you make constant choices. Should I eat the salad instead of the burger? Should I go jogging after work? And much much more. Over time we form habits, good and bad ones. Every day, we constantly try to implement more good habits in our daily routine. “Running on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday; High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on Monday and Thursday”, those are mine with few “Should I go and grab a coffee with a friend and skip the HIIT for today?”. Of course, the better your lifestyle is the better your physical fitness will be. Financial fitness, like physical fitness, is mostly about good habits. Here are the 6 habits to adopt for better financial health.

Don’t Squander Your Income

Today's world is brutal for anyone trying to get ahead. The expense of everything makes it hard to save and the cost of living is rising daily. Jobs are also hard to get and people falling through the cracks are now living on the streets in many cities. From the time one leaves school the…

Today's world is brutal for anyone trying to get ahead. The expense of everything makes it hard to save and the cost of living is rising daily. Jobs are also hard to get and people falling through the cracks are now living on the streets in many cities. From the time one leaves school the pressure is on to succeed and that can take many twists and turns. The first and most vital thing to do is to get a good job.

From the first pay packet one must have a strategy for long-term survival. Set it out on paper and begin a bank account in which a certain percentage of the money is lodged each payday. This is essential for future benefits.

It makes me shudder to see images of people pouring money into poker machines or other gambling devices. These are money cows for the clubs, pubs, and societies that use them to boost their income. What it does to one financially is often so tragic that they end us losing everything. Families can be broken home, homes repossessed or tenants tossed out.

Living on the streets is a dead-end. There is hardly any way up without you do it by sheer will power and clever tactics. The best thing is not to get into that situation.

While the going is tough it's really time to get going and do yourself a favor. Do not squander your income and make sure sure that you bank as much as possible each week. If you do that then when these times have passed you will be overjoyed because of your sacrifice

Success in Retirement Planning May Start With the “B” Word

Think of budgeting as you would think of a road map. A road map facilitates your trip and makes the exit more enjoyable. Budgeting should be, at least, one of your financial road maps. If your goal is to save money for future use (retirement) then the first step is to track current spending for…

Think of budgeting as you would think of a road map. A road map facilitates your trip and makes the exit more enjoyable. Budgeting should be, at least, one of your financial road maps.

If your goal is to save money for future use (retirement) then the first step is to track current spending for a few months to determine where savings dollars may come from. Please note that a “few months” is a realistic time frame. If one tries to do this exercise with just one month of income and spending there would be no leeway for those emergency or extraordinary items that may pop up. A real life example will help. In analyzing our family spending I tracked our income and expenditures for a few months and noted that we were spending too much at the grocery store each week. A look back at the receipts and we discovered impulse purchases and grocery and non-grocery items that were not really needed. Thus, if our goal was to save money, then we have found one source of funds to accomplish our savings goals. Does this mean that we can never again splurge on a treat? Absolutely not, but it does signal budget items that needed our attention.

Let's put this in dollar terms. If you were to find $ 100.00 per month (just $ 20 to $ 25 dollars per week) of off-budget spending and saved that money at a 3% interest compounded annually, in 20 years you would have accrued $ 33,211.80. If you skipped 3 of your tall coffees and a muffin ($ 10.50 combined) each week, at that same 3% interest in 20 years you would add another $ 15,111.37 to your growing pot of savings. Now you have squirreled away almost another $ 50,000 in 20 years! Maybe that's a lot of money, maybe not. If you have no use for an extra $ 50K and are looking for volunteers to relate you of that burdensome extra cash, a short list of names comes readily to mind.

Budgeting does not have to be and should not be a straight jacket to your life style. Consider it “awareness therapy”. Your road map shows you where you are going and with a little effort provides you with either the most efficient way to travel or the more scenic route. If you are looking for efficiency, a budget can help you target spending and reduce overspending. If you're looking for the scenic route, budgeting can help you to be free of the slavery imposed by having too much month left after the money is gone. We should not make budgeting rocket science; it is simple math; tracking income and expenses in hopes of finding a way to balance the two and keep that little extra in your pocket (savings or retirement savings).

You are encouraged to take control of your financial life and budgeting is a solid beginning. No need to fear the “B” word. There now, that did not hurt a bit, so stop squirming in your seat.

5 Benefits of a Multi-Generational Advisory Firm and What It Means For You

Many clients of financial advisors share a common concern and fear. Because the process of finding an individual to trust with their money is not something to be taken lightly, this concern can be magnified. Clients wonder what happens to them if their financial advisor retires or unexpectedly dies. This is a legitimate concern. What…

Many clients of financial advisors share a common concern and fear. Because the process of finding an individual to trust with their money is not something to be taken lightly, this concern can be magnified. Clients wonder what happens to them if their financial advisor retires or unexpectedly dies. This is a legitimate concern. What would happen if your adviser decreed to retire to warmer weather and sunnier places? Is not that something most people work hard for? Or a worse case scenario, what if your advisor was involved in an accident. As a result they have been deemed physically or mentally incapacitated of handling your finances. Now what …?

Is your financial advisory firm prepared to deal with these what if scenarios?

This commonly voiced concern is why advisory firms and the financial industry have begun focusing more on succession planning and multi-generational advisory teams.

If multi-generational has you thinking “Big Deal” or “Who Cares?” … here are 6 benefits of a multi-generational advisory team and what it means for you.

Built In Transition Planning
Life is unpredictable and we can not predict the future. What we do know is that change and growing older are inevitable. Just as you are working hard to save enough to retire, your financial advisor is doing the same.

Multi-generational advisory firms have a built-in transition plan. These firms are acclimating their newer and younger associates with current clients. They are leveraging the experience and wisdom that the senior advisers have gained to help train and guide newer associates. Newer advisors will gain experience, knowledge and expertise in the field while working with senior partners. This built in transition plan ensures continuity and no disruption of service to the client.

While this will not happen over night and will require a lot of work, this type of planning is in the client's best interest. Feeling confident that your advisors have a plan for you and your future should be encouraging and expected. Multi-generational family practices offer an additional dynamic where family life, familiarity and genetics can also contribute to the trust factor.

Experience And Wisdom Meet New Technology And Expanded Communications
As an advisor enters into the industry, there is one valuable thing that all of the studying, textbooks, and exams can not provide … experience. Experience is undeniably an important attribute when looking at an advisor. This can only be obtained with time and is something every new associate has to go through “on the job”. Multi-generational advisory firms are more prepared to alleviate this concern. While they can not completely eliminate this, aging advisors are able to pass down their experience and wisdom to the next generation of advisors through training and mentorship. This is extremely valuable asset for any new advisor in the field and can play a huge role in their development and client successes.

The veteran advisor also stands to benefit from this relationship. After doing things the same way for a number of years, a fresh new outlook and access to new communication tools will be of tremendous help to the senior adviser and their clients.

Financial planning 30 years ago is not the same as it is today. With technology evolving by the day, the younger advisor can help bridge the gap towards better client service that has continued to evolve over the last 30 years.

Technology. It allows for information to be distributed quickly and efficiently. Next gen advisors are more apt to develop an effective contact management strategy that utilizes modern technology. They are more comfortable with technology which helps implement better client communications.

Couple this with the experience of a veteran advisor and your financial team is better equipped to help you and your family at any stage in life.

Longevity and Continuity
Life expectancies are increasing past age 80. Younger generations are expected to live longer than their predecessors. Because individuals are living longer, they need to build this into their retirement expectations. Americans are not saving enough as it is. It is more important than ever to plan accordingly.

With clients of all ages having advisors of different ages becomes even more important. Today many advisors are in their 40's and 50's. Let's say you start to work with an advisor in their 50's. What will you do if in 10-15 years your advisor decides to retire and you, as most people, need guidance well into your 80's or 90's? During those years change is inevitable. From a financial standpoint, change requires the adjusting and readjusting of your financial plan to reflect those changes.

With multi-generational support as you progress through life and all of its challenges, you'll have someone there through to help guide you and search for a new advisor ..

Fiduciary Responsibility
All investment advisors have a fiduciary responsibility to act in your best interest.

Having a success plan in place is part of this responsibility. There should be a plan for how clients will be handled if an advisor retires, dies or is incapable of acting as your financial advisor due to an accident. Some owners plan to sell their business 100% to the highest bidder. Others decide to have a succession plan where a familiar face of the advisory firm steps in to take ownership.

Having an existing and familiar adviser be appointed as an owner prior to being needed is another benefit of a multi-generational advisory firm. Knowing that your advisor has helped trained and trusts the next generation advisor enough to personally recommend them can make the decision to continue the advisory relationship much easier.

As an advisor, I would prefer to train and work hand-in-hand with the advisors that will absolutely become my successor. This way I can screen them in advance to make sure they are familiar with the expectations of my clients and the relationships we have formed. I believe this advances my clients best interest and multi-generational firms make this possible.

Working With Your Multi-Generational Needs
If you're currently working with a financial advisor, you understand and see the benefits of financial planning. Most parents who have a financial advisor want their children to do the same. Knowing what they know now, many clients want their children to start sooner than they did. Multi-generational firms' continuity helps you and your children.

Next gen advisors may be able to relate better with next-gen clients because they are from the same generation. They grow up with the same technology and may even be facing some of the same financial concerns. The advisory relationship may begin with the veterinarian advisor and evolve naturally to the younger advisors over the years.

In Conclusion:

Whether its you or your children you're concerned about, figuring out the answer to these “what if” questions is important. There is nothing more stressful than being content and comfortable with your financial advisor and then being forced to find a new one.

Ask your financial adviser these questions and see what his or her response is. If you're unhappy with the response start doing your research at other advisory teams. Look for an advisory team that has that built in transition plan like multi-generational firms. These firms have planned for your advisory needs now and in the future. They are trying to make sure you are comfortable with the relationships for a long time to come. But remember, the decision is always yours.

One Dollar

What does one dollar buy today? For everyone, less than what it could buy twelve months ago. We live in an economy with inflation, cost of living rises, and unemployment. Add to that, job insecure, downsizing, and offshore job relocation. So it is no wonder we are preoccupied with survival. Getting by pay check to…

What does one dollar buy today?

For everyone, less than what it could buy twelve months ago. We live in an economy with inflation, cost of living rises, and unemployment. Add to that, job insecure, downsizing, and offshore job relocation.

So it is no wonder we are preoccupied with survival. Getting by pay check to pay check. And for many, trying to struggle with, more month than money.

No doubt you've heard, “if I could just come up with one good idea.” And many have. Even you have been thinking of an idea. And six months later there it is on the shelf of a supermarket, in a newspaper or a social media news feed.

“That's my Idea!” … and somebody else has put it in front of you, to your bewilderment. You see, it's been estimated. That some twenty-six people in the world are thinking of the same idea at the same time. But one person acted on that idea.

It's the same for three frogs sitting on a log. One decides to jump. How many frogs are now sitting on the log?

Three. One of the frogs decided to jump. But until the frog actually, jumps, there are still three frogs on the log.

Getting back to that one idea. Yes, and, if only you had the time. That little little dollar idea that could make all the difference to your life and your world.

Just the same as the one person of the twenty-six, you need to act. Not on stage. Take action.

All those ideas that pop into your head. Do not just make a mental note, thinking you will save it for later. And at the same time giving yourself some self-indulging importance of how clever you are. You need to take action. And write them down, as they pop into your head. Otherwise, they drift on to someone else and are gone forever.

I do not know how true it is, that everyone has a million dollar idea in them. Maybe they do. Only you know for you. And if you were to continuously ask yourself, what million dollar idea can I come up with. You might surprise yourself.

With the busy-ness of living and making ends meet. Give yourself some time every week. Quiet time, on your own and just let your mind wonder. Of course, with pen and paper. You never know where this may lead. And it gives you time to cultivate an idea you've been thinking off. And you have that pen and paper handy.

Those are basically all the tools you need.

Your free and open mind, pen and paper.

Scrap the Paper and Go Paperless

The accumulation of documents like bank statements, bills, receipts and more can cause unnecessary stress and paying bills by check can eat up a lot of your precious time. Fortunately, it's easy to streamline your home office by going paperless and initiate an online bill-paying system. The payoff to this modification is vast. Below are…

The accumulation of documents like bank statements, bills, receipts and more can cause unnecessary stress and paying bills by check can eat up a lot of your precious time. Fortunately, it's easy to streamline your home office by going paperless and initiate an online bill-paying system. The payoff to this modification is vast. Below are some reasons to go paperless and how to achieve this new lifestyle.

What are the benefits of a paperless lifestyle?

• Be environmentally friendly and reduce the demand for paper and other natural resources. The average American receives 41 pounds of junk mail per year. Almost 50% winds up unopened in the landfill. Fiserv, a financial services technology solutions company, estimates if every American household was paperless, it would reduce solid waste by more than 800,000 tons a year and save approximately 18.5 million trees.

• Deter theft. You do not have to worry about sensitive information being stolen in your mailbox, home or office. Instead, your statements / invoices will be protected by a username and password and any additional security you have placed on your computer.

• Ability to access your information promptly. Digital files make it easy to audit and search information. An e-based online storage system keeps all your files in a single secure location and allows you to search for sensitive information with the click of your mouse. No more digging through paper files and folders.

• Spend less on paper checks. Paying your bills online can save you approximately $ 30 per year in the use of paper checks.

How to go paperless at home

Sometimes the undertaking of going paperless can be frustrating. Transitioning requires patience and commitment and your plan must be pertinent to your lifestyle. Review these strategies and choose the ones that work best for you.

• Opt out of junk mail. Reduce the amount of unnecessary mail you receive by opting out of junk mail and catalogs. There are many services that can help you manage the influx of mail.

• Sign up for E-Statements. Sign up to receive electronic bills and bank statements. You can do this on each company's website. It may take a lot of time to set up your online accounts but you will immediately see a decrease of unwanted mail coming into your home.

• Pay your bills online. Most financial institutions offer online banking and the majority of utility, credit card and cable companies allow customers to view and pay bills online. You may even sign up for automatic bill payment plans for added convenience.

• Start purging and recycling. Once you have stopped receiving junk mail, signed up for e-statements, and your online banking, it is time to organize your existing paperwork. As you begin this tedious task, keep in mind that it is estimated that we never look at 80% of the papers after seeing them for the first time. So, shred it or toss it. Keep in mind, papers you must keep include bills, tax records, investment information and of course any sentimental papers. This can be a long-term project so do not get discouraged.

• Digitize your documents. Scan all the documents you need to keep and store them on an external hard drive on your computer for go “to the cloud” for extra security. This process will save space and reduce your clutter.

• Rethink your subscriptions. It might be a good time to cancel most of your subscriptions to help reduce the paper coming into the house. You might be able to get the same news online.

• Rethink your printing and use of unwarranted paper. Think twice before printing anything. Read documents on your tablet or laptop and if you need to share a document, use your email.

As I've said before it takes time to go paperless. But if you follow these recommendations it's a solid plan. You will save time, money and you will reduce your environmental impact. It's a win-win for everyone so say “Yes” to paperless.