How Has Your Financial Picture Changed This Past Year While Erasing Debt?

The end of the year is a good time to step back and do an analysis of your overall financial health and your financial plan. How has your financial picture changed this past year while erasing debt? At the end of the year, in the last week or last few days of the year, review your financial picture to see where you are and evaluate how you are doing.

1. Budget

Take a look over your monthly budgets for the past year. Have they been right on target? Did you miss any big expense that should have been anticipated? Figure out what could have been improved and then make an effort to correct that going forward with the following year’s budget.

2. Spending

Analyze your spending. Did you manage to keep your spending under control? Were there areas where you over-spent and were surprised that you did? What unexpected expenses came up during the year that caught you off guard and unprepared to effectively deal with them? Identify areas of spending that could use improvement and make a plan to adjust differently for those in the new year.

Also identify areas where your spending patterns were well in control. Identify whether these good areas of spending were due to planning in advance or were accidental. If accidental, determine ways to continue these spending patterns on purpose with better planning.

3. Savings

Look at what you saved over the past year. Was it more or less than you expected? Were you surprised by this number? Come up with a savings goal for the following year and plan for this savings by incorporating it into your budget. This may mean setting goals to open a new savings account or a new Money Market Account at your bank. It may require that you increase your 401k contributions at work. Or maybe you have to start it. Set some goals and get going on saving more in the new year.

4. Net Worth

Best of all, review how your net worth has changed over the past year. Has your net worth increased? Hopefully it has. Has it increased dramatically? Meaning has it gone up a lot more than you expected? If so, congratulations, you are making great progress. If it has gone down, then try to figure out why and make corrections where appropriate. Use the analysis of your net worth as a gauge on how well you are doing and to help grade the progress you have made over the last year.

So at the end of the year, analyze how your financial picture has changed over the past year. Hopefully for the better. Erase debt and build wealth.

Five Years Since The 2008 Financial Crisis

The 2008 financial crisis was hard on everyone. How far have you come? It’s been 5 years since the 2008 financial crisis. Lehman went bankrupt. Stocks were down big. Home prices were down between 10-20%. 2.6 million people lost their jobs.

Fidelity did a really cool study 5 years later. They surveyed 1100 adult investors and asked them what they do differently.

So how do you think about money today vs. 5 years ago?

Here are the findings of the survey. Plus I’m including my 2 cents along with some financial tips as well…

42% of adults have increased their contribution rates to their retirement accounts or IRA.Do you feel like you are behind on your savings? The easiest way to increase your savings amount is to just do it. Then set it up on an automatic basis. Pick a monthly savings # that works for you, and set it up electronically. Pay yourself first.

55% of the people surveyed feel better about their retirement plan than they felt before the 2008 financial crisis.Why? They have actually done some retirement planning!

My guess is that they also feel better because they have sought out some professional help, and gotten clarity on what they need to do to fund a retirement lifestyle that works for them.

They know how much they have to save every month. They most likely have a target rate of return that they need to earn on their investments. You need to know this stuff for your retirement plan.

42% of the people surveyed have increased their emergency fund.An emergency fund is where you have money in the bank. In savings. Not invested. For some of you, it might make sense to create an emergency fund before investing, or add to your emergency fund before you continue investing.

So do you have enough money set aside for an emergency? Shoot for 3-6 months of living expenses in a savings account. If you are an entrepreneur, consider having 6 months plus set aside. Why? If your income isn’t steady and predictable, a larger savings account could help you get by.

80% of the adults said they now have a better understanding of their finances than they did before the 2008 financial crisis.That’s huge!! That means 4 out 5 people surveyed took the time to get clearer on what is going on with their money situation. Open up the hood of your financial car. Invest some time into learning. The more you understand, the better the decisions you will be able to make.

72% of the people said they have less debt than they did before the 2008 financial crisis.Be clear on what you can and can’t afford. Most of the time, paying down debt could help you in the long run. The key thing is that you need a debt pay down plan. You need to know where the money will be coming from to pay the debt down, and how much you are going to pay down every month.

Sometimes we have to go through experiences and learn from them. But the key thing is to use what we have learned and take action.

So I am challenging you right here to do one thing to improve your financial life. Whatever it is, take the first step. Do it this week. You will feel so much better about yourself.

Important Disclosures: These blogs are provided for informational and educational purposes only, represents our views as of the date of the posting only, and may change without notice. Some of the information has been obtained from third parties and believed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. We have not considered any investment objectives or financial situations of any investors and we are not responsible for consequences for any decisions made based on the information in the blogs. There is risk of loss from investing in securities, which varies depending on different types of investments. Forward looking statements are based on assumptions only and no reliance should be placed on such statements. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information displayed.

Five Tips for Link Trading

Link trading is a great, free way to promote your small or home-based business. However, many links pages are crowded with inappropriate or disorganized links, taking away from the professionalism of the website. Here are a few tips to make your links page work for you:1. Place your links page at the end of your website. Believe it or not, I’ve actually seen links pages placed high on the site map. The first thing you want your clients to see is your services, not the services of another company.2. Don’t trade links with online gambling or game sites, unless it truly relates to your business. For example, if you are a financial planner, yet include links on your site for online gambling, it takes away from the professionalism of your site.3. Don’t trade links with competitors. While you want to keep the links on your website relative to your business, you don’t want to lose business.4. Trade links with companies that can provide useful information or services to your target audience. Your clients will appreciate the information, and your business will gain a reputation for excellent customer service.5. Organize your links page. Links that are crowded too closely together look unprofessional, as do links that are in no particular order. Organize your links into categories using headings and lines or dividers to separate the categories. Do not list categories with links to other pages that actually contain the useful links. This detracts from your site and uses extra bandwidth.If you follow these simple guidelines, you will build a professional links page that boosts your business and offers you a great reputation for professionalism and customer care.

Tips On How To Create The Best Gambling List

When it comes to the best gambling list, only you know what that list is going to contain. I can give you some pointers as to what would appear on my best gambling lists.The criteria for inclusion in your list is probably totally different from mine and consequently the lists will be completely different. For example I have a list of bookmakers that I use regularly.Why do I have a list of them you may be asking?Well I like to gamble on National Hunt racing in the UK. When I do so, I like to get the best odds available. This means that I have an account open with virtually all reputable online bookmakers, to enable me to obtain the best value available at the time I place my bet.How do I determine which bookmakers to include in my list. I have a list of criteria that each bookmaker must meet before I will open an account.If they fail to meet any of the criteria I have listed, I don’t open the account. Similarly I have a list of online casinos that I have accounts with.You could argue that this is my best gambling list but really I have more than one list of resources that I use when gambling online. Once again, I have a list of criteria that an online casino must fulfil before it makes it onto my list of casinos that I frequent.So perhaps I would say that my best gambling list is the list of criteria that sites, be they bookies or casinos, must meet before I will risk my cash and gambling profits.I would strongly recommend that you develop a similar list of criteria to ensure that your cash is going to be safe and accessible when gambling online.

Reasons For Losing at Online Roulette

Gamblers try many strategies for succeeding in online Roulette. Many players desire to win by hook or crook, but by using all these things, they cannot avoid loss. It is a known fact that Roulette is one of the most unpredictable gambling games. Therefore, no matter which technique you use, it cannot ensure 100% win.Numerous people get bankrupt while playing this game and they are themselves to blame for their condition. Few reasons for the loss of people at online Roulette are as follows:People presume that luck is at their side: Roulette is a game, which entirely depends on luck and the outcome is unpredictable. If you are going through a good phase, then whatever you bet, the outcome will be in your favor. However, if you are out of luck, then even making use of the best strategies will not help you.Unfortunately, you may find that most of the players believe in good luck and bet large amount, but there are certain instances, where they lose the entire money. Therefore, it is advisable to bet sensibly.Greediness: It is commonly seen that if people continue winning in Roulette, they do not leave the game and eventually results end up losing all the money. This is a general tendency among humans. If you are on a winning streak and if you have won considerable amount of money, then it is advisable to pack up for the day and play some other day.People presume that they can beat casino: Most of the players aspire to beat the casino, but in vain, because many a times, they end up losing. Like most of the gambling games, Roulette gives advantage to the casino. Therefore, you need to avoid thinking this and concentrate on enjoying the game.