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Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Freedom Plus Program could help you put your debt behind you

Freedom from debt is only a step away
We all make mistakes in life, especially when it comes to finances. Unforeseen expenses, irresistible opportunities, and sometimes just sheer lack of willpower can cause you to spend more than you have. 
If this describes you, you are not alone. According to a report by the Federal Reserve, currently, U.S. households carry over $1 trillion dollars in total credit card debt. 

The good news, however, is that with a few new habits and the help of programs like the FreedomPlus program, you could become free of your credit card debt.

Good Habits for Debt-Free Living

If you want to get out of debt and stay out of debt, you need to take a good look at your current spending and saving habits. Examine them honestly to see ways you can improve. This is a crucial step to living debt-free. There are great loan options, like FreedomPlus, that could help you eliminate your credit card debt. But, if you pay off debt and don’t change your habits, you could find yourself back in the same situation in the near future. So, here are some questions you need to consider:
  1. How often do you look at your finances? For many, the answer to this question is not often enough. People sometimes fail to establish a budget and address it regularly. Or, they create a budget but don’t stick to it. And then avoid the bills when they arrive each month. Unfortunately, ignoring your bills is not going to make them go away. In fact, if you miss payments on them you’ll get hit with late fees and possibly even over-the-limit charges. Then these bills are going to go up, not down. So make it a habit to address your bills when they arrive. Even if you cannot pay them immediately, set up a system to do so. This could be a filing system on your desk, a spreadsheet, or even reminders on your phone. Find a way to address them that works for you and stick to it.
  1. Are you saving money each month?  This may seem impossible to do, especially if you are in debt and living paycheck to paycheck. But it is a crucial habit to learn if you want to live debt-free. Savings not only provides security for the future, it means that you have money available when those unexpected expenses arise. A good habit that will help you stay out of debt is to build up an emergency fund that is separate from your retirement savings. So when your vehicle needs a repair, or you have to go out of town suddenly, you can use your emergency fund instead of charging your credit card. Even if you can only put a few dollars aside each month, get into the habit of doing so. Treat your savings as one of your monthly bills and pay yourself regularly.
  1. What are some ways you can reduce your monthly expenses? If you start looking at your finances regularly and try to save each month, then you will naturally begin to look for ways to reduce spending too. No matter how dire your situation may seem, there are always ways to cut costs!  Look at your monthly spending habits. Could you eat at home or pack a lunch for work more often? What about shopping the sales when you need groceries or clothes? Today, there are so many coupons and deals available on virtually anything you want to buy. Take advantage of these to help reduce your monthly spending. Another way to cut costs is by reducing or eliminating your existing credit card debt. FreedomPlus could help you do just that.

What is FreedomPlus?

FreedomPlus is a personal lender that is part of the Freedom FinancialNetwork, the largest debt resolution company in the nation. With a loan from FreedomPlus, you could reduce your monthly expenses by paying off your credit cards and having a single, manageable loan payment each month at a lower interest rate that your credit cards. And this could free up more money for your savings so that you can develop the habits you need to stay out of debt.
The process is simple and fast. You can start by applying online. Then talk to one of their friendly loan consultants who will look beyond your credit score, at your entire life situation, to create the right loan for you. You will get an answer in minutes. Their borrowers receive loans ranging from $10,000 to $35,000. If approved, the money will be in your account in as little as 48 hours. Start the process today and put your debt behind you.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

How not to let lifestyle guide your finances

Getting ahead in your career feels awesome and can come with many perks. Typically, one of them is an increased paycheck. If you haven’t ever heard of “lifestyle creep,” it is something you should pay close attention to. It is easy to find places to spend your money, and when you have more of it, you may be surprised at how quickly it can disappear if you aren’t careful.

When you get more money per month, it is not unusual to let things go a little, spend a little more than you used to, or make impulse buys under the assumption that you deserve it. The problem is that if you overestimate how far that extra income will go instead of planning ahead, the money could disappear pretty quickly, leaving you living outside your means.

The Millennial generation views finances differently than previous generations. They aren’t huge savers; they believe in YOLO (you only live once) and living life large. After all, you never know when the ride here on earth is going to end. Unfortunately, what they don’t consider is in the same respect, if you live here a long time then you will have many years to support yourself.

According to a credit union Winnipeg financial institution, those entering the workforce are in jeopardy of being one of the first generations to pay into the social security system and never get anything out of it. Not only is this unfair, but it is also making an entire generation vulnerable to poverty as they age, which is not something that many 20-somethings think about. If you are working your way up the corporate ladder, it is important to remember to watch out, so your lifestyle doesn’t expand more than your income and leave you cash-poor.

Live within your original means

Lifestyle inflation is when you spend money in proportion to what you make. When you get a raise, you raise your standard of living to accommodate it. For example, if you get more money at work, you go out and financea car or you find a bigger apartment. It isn’t that you don’t deserve rewards for your time and effort. It just might be that things were just fine before you had the additional income, so don’t try to find more ways to spend it once you do have it.

The person who will end up with the greatest wealth is the one who gets more money and stays at the same lifestyle level and begins to save instead of finding things to spend their money on. The extra income that you put into your savings or invest will make a huge difference on your financial security in the future. Your bigger apartment likely won’t.

Have a safety net

To stay out of the lifestyle creep it is important to give your money, a purpose. That means to plan where your finances are going. It is easy to run the debit card and cross your fingers, but if you take the time to designate where to put your money and prioritize what is important, you can take money out of your budget automatically. Then, you are going to have a safety net if something should fail, and you won’t be tempted to spend outside of your means or unwittingly put yourself into a financial bind.

It is also very important to have a rainy-day fund. YOLO is true, but it is also true that you can’t predict what is going to happen. That means that accidents or unanticipated expenses will always be there. If you don’t have some savings to cover them, you are going to be financing them. That is a recipe for disaster. You should included in your financial plan, have a safety net for those things that you can’t see coming.

Trick yourself

Everyone tells themselves little lies to help. The best financial thing you can do is tell yourself a lie about what you have to spend. The best way to do that is to have money taken out of your paycheck before you even have your hands on it, by investing in a retirement account or sending it directly to savings. That way you never have the opportunity to make excuses or find ways to spend it. In your mind, it should just not exist.

Lifestyle creep is something that everyone is prone to. When someone has more money, it is easy to find ways to spend it. Instead, make a plan to save, and you will find that your financial future will be much better and your stress much lower.

Tips to help you find a great car loan

Finding the right car loan becomes necessary when the life of your car comes to an end or when you need to buy a new car.

Maintain a clean slate

A poor credit history might just keep you from seeing the green light from your favorite lenders. You may need to bear a much higher rate of interest if you get a borrowing opportunity with others. When the time to apply for a car loan comes, you must prove your ability to repay loans by developing a uniform savings pattern and clearing all outstanding dues in advance.

Know how much you can afford

Give in your best attempts to determine how much you can actually repay every month. You must get a clear picture of your overall financial situation before taking the plunge. An online car loan calculator will help you arrive at the right repayment figure.

Comparison shopping is important

You may have seen people shopping around while buying cars. Likewise, it’s also important that you shop while choosing your car loan provider. While doing a financial comparison, you’ll save time that could be wasted while visiting various insurance provider websites besides saving much of your hard-earned money.

Limit your applications

You may be eager to achieve the best deal by applying for several credit cards and loans at once. But in doing so, your credit rating might just take a hit, especially when your requests are turned down. It’s in your interest to find one single financial support and pursue it.

Credit cards may be a good option

When it comes to borrowing a small amount, you may check out your credit cards that don’t charge any interest for a certain period. But you must pay them off in time or pay hefty rates from there on.

Loans are either secured or unsecured

Personal loans tend to be more expensive than that of car loans. The fact that your car loans are tied to a valuable asset makes them easier on your pocket. In the event of your failure to repay the borrowed amount, the lender has the right to repossess your car and sell it off in their attempt to realize the unpaid loan balance.

Early repayments could cost you

Exit penalties might just hit you back if you see additional funds in your account and are able to repay your debt earlier than planned. You must check out the repayment clauses prior to signing up. Remember there are a few lenders that won’t even take additional payments on the loan.

Consolidating your debt simplifies things

If you already have a car loan, credit card or other debts, then you may choose to combine them into a single loan as it will help you achieve a lower rate for borrowing less. You’ll find it easier to understand and track your consolidated debt as you continue repaying a single sum.

Your financial situation needs to be organized

There are times when your loan application process gets stretched for long. So, don’t get tempted to buy your car until you’re certain about how much money you can have in your account. It might cause financial problems for you, especially when your lender isn’t able to provide as much financial backing as needed. You may go for shopping once all of your financial doubts are clarified.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

6 things precious metals naysayers get dead wrong

Answering the Most Common and Current Objections

By Stefan Gleason

Gold attracts its fair share of detractors. But the most common objections to gold as money, and as a safe-haven asset within an investment portfolio, are misplaced. Anti-gold myths are ubiquitous.

Mega billionaire Warren Buffett remarked derisively of gold that it “gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again, and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility.”

That brings us to the first thing precious metals naysayers get wrong…

Myth #1: “Gold has no utility.”

Warren Buffett is without question one of the world’s greatest investors. But he is not without biases.

Buffett’s primary business interests are in banking and insurance.

He has literally made fortunes off the fiat monetary regime. He took part in (and benefited from) the government bailouts of the financial system. He (along with most other Wall Street and banking titans) supported Hillary Clinton for president.
So maybe, just maybe, Buffett’s hostility to gold has something to do with his deep, symbiotic connections to the political, banking, and monetary establishments!

In any event, the claim that gold has no utility is false. It's been chosen by the market as money because of its many useful features, including fungibility, divisibility, durability, and rarity. Gold also functions as a store of value precisely because it, unlike Federal Reserve notes, has uses beyond that of a currency.

Even if gold weren’t hoarded in vaults, people would still dig it out of the ground at great cost for its uses in electronics, jewelry, art, and architecture. In an economic sense, $50,000 in physical gold is just as useful as a $50,000 sports car – as determined by the market.

Myth #2. “Gold is the money of the past. Digital crypto-currencies are the money of the future.”

Every generation comes up with some new reason to regard gold as a “barbarous relic.” Previously it was the advent of paper money. Then the creation of the Federal Reserve. Now the rise of internet-based crypto-currencies is hailed by some as a technology that will render gold obsolete as money.

The reality is that no paper or electronic or currencies ever have or ever could replicate the unique monetary properties of gold. Central banks continue to accumulate it. And new crypto-currencies actually backed by gold and silver are in the works.

A crypto-currency that combines the convenience of digital transactions with the security of metals backing could ultimately knock Bitcoin off its perch – and be a source of billions of dollars in new demandfor gold and/or silver.

Myth #3. “Precious metals markets can’t go up while the Fed is raising interest rates.”

This persistency of this myth is surprising given how often in market history it has been dispelled. Gold prices hit a major bottom in December 2015 just as the Fed initiated its first interest rate hike. Gold and silver rallied big during the rate hiking campaign from 2014 to 2016. Back in the late 1970s as interest rates rose dramatically into the double digits, gold prices rose in tandem – until, finally, nominal interest rates actually exceeded the inflation rate by 1980.

The direction of the gold price is keyed into real interest rates, not nominal rates. When real rates are negative or inflation expectations are rising, that tends to be bullish for precious metals.

Myth #4. “If the economy crashes, then so will gold.”

Gold is one of the least economically sensitive assets you can hold as an investor. The yellow metal exhibits virtually no long-term correlation with the stock, bond, or housing markets – and a relatively low correlation with industrial commodities such as oil and copper.

When every sector of the stock market including mining stocks crashed in 2008, gold itself managed to eke out a positive gain for the year. Gold isn’t impervious to economic shocks that may affect things like demand for jewelry, but safe-haven buying by investors is often more than enough to pick up the slack.

Myth #5. “Ordinary investors can’t win in gold and silver markets that are manipulated.”

A distinction needs to be made between physical metals markets and manipulated paper markets. Most of the manipulation that occurs in futures (paper) markets is done for short-term technical purposes – to game a few cents on bid/ask spreads, break resistance levels, force options to expire worthless, etc.

Ordinary investors absolutely should not try to trade the paper markets. They won’t beat the big banks and other institutional traders at their own game.

To the extent that paper prices are artificially suppressed, however, that’s actually an advantage for buyers of physical metal.

They can obtain it at a discount.

Meanwhile, artificially low prices serve as a disincentive to new mining production, which makes the long-term supply/demand fundamentals for gold and silver even more favorable.

Myth #6. “Gold pays no interest so it’s therefore a poor investment.”

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway shares pay no interest or dividends. Venezuelan junk bonds yield more than 50%. Which is the better investment?

Obviously, the size of the nominal yield doesn’t in itself tell you whether a financial asset is a good investment. Even the “safe” yield provided by U.S. Treasury securities isn’t safe from inflation. Or from taxation.

Since physical precious metals aren’t debt instruments and therefore pay no interest, their inflationary upside potential is all tax-deferred growth. You owe no taxes until you actually sell (or take distributions from a traditional IRA).

Stefan Gleason
Stefan Gleason is President of Money Metals Exchange, the national precious metals company named 2015 "Dealer of the Year" in the United States by an independent global ratings group. A graduate of the University of Florida, Gleason is a seasoned business leader, investor, political strategist, and grassroots activist. Gleason has frequently appeared on national television networks such as CNN, FoxNews, and CNBC, and his writings have appeared in hundreds of publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Detroit News, Washington Times, and National Review.

Images: Author owned and licensed