5 Financial Freedoms You Must Protect

We’ve all dreamt about the day we can retire, the free time we’ll have to find a new hobby, travel to a new place, or simply, do nothing but sit and relax. But in order to enjoy the retirement years like you want to, you’ve got to plan ahead. In particular, you need to protect … Continue reading “5 Financial Freedoms You Must Protect”

We’ve all dreamt about the day we can retire, the free time we’ll have to find a new hobby, travel to a new place, or simply, do nothing but sit and relax. But in order to enjoy the retirement years like you want to, you’ve got to plan ahead. In particular, you need to protect five financial freedoms. They are:

1. Guaranteed Income

Have you taken the steps today to secure your financial future: for yourself, your spouse and your family?

Remember when you retire, you won’t receive a regular paycheck. Not having that steady income may come as a shock. You may start to panic as you begin to dip into savings for daily expenses. You may need to live on a strict budget. You may end up needing to find a job. And, if you decide you need to return to work, it most likely won’t be in a full-time position with a full-time salary.

As you think about retirement, you need to realize this: the day you stop working is the day you surrender your guaranteed income. However, by developing a strategic plan now with your financial advisor you ensure that your financial situation is set up so that you can enjoy your retirement years worry free.

2. Travel

The number one thing most people want to do when they retire is travel. In fact, retirees are in the top 3 groups of travelers in the United States and spend about 20% of their retirement income just on travel.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that retirees are on the move. They have the freedom to take vacation whenever they want since the job isn’t tying them down anymore. However, the question that needs to be asked is that as retirees, while you may be able to pack up and go whenever you please, do you have the financial freedom to do so? How can you fulfill your dream of visiting new locales in America or around the globe if you live on a fixed income?

By working with your financial advisor, travel is possible. Together, you can create a retirement plan that includes travel in your financial future so that you don’t need to give up your desire to explore the country and even the world.

3. Legacy

As parents, your instinct is to take care of your children even when they become adults with kids of their own. One of the most important ways you can do this is by giving an inheritance to your kids once you’ve passed on.

While you have many years of making memories with your family, now is the time to make sure you’ve invested your money wisely. Making wise choices means considering the various tax benefits that different financial options have to offer. I know it can be confusing and frustrating to compare the options available to you, and that’s why it’s a good idea to turn to a financial advisor to counsel you on these important decisions. Your family’s well-being is at stake.

4. Autonomy

Life prepares us to be independent, doesn’t it? Sure, at first, we depend on our parents to care for us, to protect us. As we grow older, we build our independence. We start our own families. We become the providers.

However, during the retirement years doubt may begin to creep in about your ability to live autonomously. Without a steady stream of income, you start to wonder if you need to find a job or whether you can afford to live on your own. Talking with your financial advisor and planning for your future can alleviate these doubts and give you peace of mind knowing that you can continue to live the independent life you want.

5. Choice

When you think of retirement, a number of things come to mind, particularly a list of all the things you want to do and the age you want to retire. However, one vital piece of information that you may not have thought about is how much you’ll need to retire AND live comfortably. If this describes you, talk with your financial advisor today. Believe me, you don’t want to wait until you’re close to your targeted retirement age because you might discover that you’ll need more to live the retirement lifestyle you want. Your financial advisor will work with you to make sure you’re saving enough now so your dream lifestyle can be your retirement reality.

Fixing Your Credit – The Real Story

Over the years of working in the family law field, I have observed different trends with regards to debt and bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy laws have changed drastically and I tend to steer my clients away from bankruptcy because there is a much easier route to get debt relief and most people are not aware of how easy it really is.

When I use the statement “easy” I do not mean simple. There is work to be done and patience to be had. My approach to credit repair is the same regardless of the number of debts that need to be addressed.

While I will not share trade secrets, I will share some basic information that may help with the decision on what road you should take to get some financial relief.

My approach is not to use bankruptcy as an out. The reason is obvious. With my system, your credit will get better not worse. Not only will your credit rating improve, your debts will disappear at the same time, this is a win win scenario.

With bankruptcy you will go through the hassle of appearing in court, paying an attorney to prepare the bankruptcy documents, and then the 7 to 10 year mark on your credit.

No matter what, this is the ONLY thing that cannot be removed from your credit report. By law it must remain on your report for at least 7 years.

I have had many of my clients try other credit repair companies with little success. Part of the reason we are successful is we understand the laws and we do not quit until all items are removed.

I caution people to stay away from companies that charge by the month because common sense says that there is no incentive to getting the job done in a timely manner.

Keep in mind that there is no set time that this can take. I have had clients who I was able to “get clean” in four weeks and some take four months. There is no method to the madness. The process is the process and there is really no way to take short cuts as there are laws that govern the process.

The reality is sometimes it takes guts to take on some of the debtors and collectors so someone with thin skin may not be as successful. As a former Settlement Administrator for a Public Company I have no problem going up against the best of the best. I have studied the laws regarding debt collection and reporting and am confident in my ability to remove anything.

At the end of the day you have to make the best decision for you and your situation. Getting your credit report clean is a very real thing and you can have clean credit in as little as four weeks.

Valuable Car Finance Tips

The second largest investment you will have in a lifetime perhaps is getting your own car. After you have scrutinized every model and zeroed in on the best car to purchase, the next process is to determine how you are going to pay it.

The road to car ownership is paved with car finance options. The package you choose will make the difference between monthly struggles and easy payments. Will you get to keep driving your car or have to default on the loan over a certain period?

When looking at your financing options, here are valuable tips to consider:

Think about interest rates. Your interest rate will depend on a number of factors such as the type of the car, the length of the loan term, your credit rating and the lender. Generally new cars have much lower interest rates. Higher interest rate is required for longer car loans. You will get lower interest rates if you have been pretty good at keeping a good credit rating score. Focus on the interest rates as different companies provide varying options.

Choose from as many lenders as possible. Your options for car financing could be banking institutions, the automaker, credit unions, and other lending sources. Weigh the pros and cons of the different types of lenders. Going through all the interest rates and loan-terms of the different lenders will be overwhelming task. Experts not only help you make the right choice, but also offer you a number of good options. Consumers today get the right financing for their vehicles with finance consultants working exclusively on helping consumers.

Seek expert guidance. A financial consultant would point out key features you may want for your loan, allowing you to get a tailored approach, and therefore an ideal solution, to your financing. Such expert help would also come in handy for businesses looking to invest in company cars and employers who may want to offer a lease (also known as salary packaging) to high performing employees.

Ask for special deals. Special deals on certain loans are offered by some lenders in order to get fairly competitive in the market. Depending on the automaker you have chosen, you could be given zero-percent financing or offered lower rates for short-term lengths.

Companies are able to help employees on their car financing needs through a special form of lease. The lease is a three-way agreement between the employer, the employee and the finance company. As the employer though, be aware that while you should be able to finance a car after a bankruptcy, you may not be able to get the best car finance rates.

Effects of Engine Oil on the Fuel Economy of a Car

The type and quality of a car’s engine oil can make a drastic change in the fuel economy of your beloved car.

Here is a brief guide to help you pick the right oil for your car.

There are many ways to improve the fuel economy of your car while driving steadily and no sudden accelerations to inflating your car at the right pressure. You should also know that car engine oil also contributes as a major factor in helping your car reach the extra mile without any extra costs.

There are three kinds of oil available in the market:

a) Mineral oil

b) Semi-synthetic oil

c) Fully-synthetic oil

Normally, mineral oil is the regular oil that lubricates your engine, but requires frequent changing. Semi-synthetic have minute polymers inside them that reduce engine wear and tear and also help protect the engine from cold damage and cold-starts. Fully-synthetic oil enhances performance of the engine by reducing carbon build-up and has excellent, ability to avoid cold-starts.

Which Oil Is Right For Me?

To choose the right oil for yourself, you should always look at the car’s engine manual for recommended oil and make. Apart from that, your car mechanic will also suggest you the best oil based on the car and the conditions you drive in.

For most buyers, the fully-synthetic one is the best since it proves economical in the long run and does not require changing as frequently as the mineral oils do. Since these are manufactured in specialized labs by adding additives to the basic oil, they are able to provide performance, engine longevity and better efficiency.

However, there are more factors you should consider, like:

1) Oil Quality

There are dozens of brands in the market, but the oil rating labelled on the container, like 5W30 tells you that this kind of oil can work in both high and low temperatures. The W tells you the winter rating and the second number tells you the summer rating. Fully synthetic ones are meant for winter conditions mainly.

Similarly, the brand should also be of repute. Do not opt for any unknown brand.

2) Viscosity Level

Thicker or thinner oil is what matters most. The lower viscosity oils work best and should be used in your car. Oils that are thinner work the best in cold conditions and turn thick when conditions become warmer. You can also go for multi-grade oils that have extra polymers in them that activate only when the oil gets heated up, unless they keep the oil thin.

3) Car Servicing Intervals

Always follow the oil change interval diligently! These oils can last only up till the time the manufacturer prescribes for them. After that, they will kill your engine slowly. Do not use oil more than its intended life; your engine may clog beyond repair.

So, always go for oil change when it is due since it increases the life of your engine and helps it perform at an optimum level.

3 Effective Ways to Avoid Inheritance Conflicts

These issues come up mostly while talking with those who have gone through conflicts in their families during property division process in any of their estate settlements. In most of the cases there are references to the input from one of the members of family “once removed”, and not necessarily the ones who are the so called immediate heirs. These other people who are usually spouses or grandchildren don’t always have the similar emotional connection when compared to the ones who are immediate heirs. In most of the cases this may be unintentionally done. But, when children or spouses have things they want and they make demands, they often end up creating situations that finally result into conflicts.

Here are 3 ways that can help in avoiding such conflicts.

Understanding the Personality of other Heirs: It is very important that you try and understand what kind of people the other heirs who are also involved in the settlement issue are. Analyse their basic traits and find out the way to communicate with these heirs. This approach often resolves most complications even before they arise and clears off lot of misunderstandings. Personality difference is often the main cause behind a conflict concerning settlements. It will become more and more difficult to avoid conflict or maintain peace without understanding the differences.

Keep the Home Untouched before Formal Division: It is very important that you don’t claim your right on something that logically belongs to other heirs. It can also mess with their emotional sentiments and can further complicate the case for you. This is why it is important that the house remains untouched or undisturbed till a legal division is announced. An in-depth scrutiny of the property is important before there is any legal division and you can contribute to the process by not disturbing anything. Without the consent of other beneficiaries or heirs if you remove items from an estate or a home it is very much possible that the issue will get complicated. Very often we see people making this mistake of just going into a property and picking what they want without any consent with the concerned people and such actions are often justified by them through some facts or instances of the past. That being said, legally it will only complicate the case.

Only Beneficiaries or Immediate Heirs should be Part of the Property Division: Property division is a sensitive case and hence it should not be made a mass trial. Only immediate heirs or beneficiaries should become part of the process and other outside influences like children of heirs, grandchildren, in-laws, spouses etc should be kept away from the process. This is particularly more important at the beginning of the division process.