Protecting Your Financial Future – Debts, Habits and More

Two focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money. One of the keys to winning with money is protecting your financial future. To do so, you must take several methodical and timely steps. The following contributed post is entitled, Protecting Your Financial Future – Debts, Habits and More.

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We know that taking care of our health and wellness is one of the most important things we can do to live a long and happy life. But alongside taking care of ourselves and our families with nutritious food and an active lifestyle, we need to take care of our finances.

Our finances have highs and lows throughout our lives, and sometimes it can get a bit worrisome.

Tackling your wayward finances and taking control of your financial future might feel and sometimes look scary – but with these few tips, there are plenty of ways that you can kick your finances into touch.

One of the most important things to think about when you go through your finances is that not everyone has the same amount of cash. So, you can choose the ones that will make an impact on you and those that make sense to your own financials.

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The basics

The basics of your cash will give you the information you need to make positive changes. IT is a good idea to create a spreadsheet or something where you can make notes.

Income

Where is your money coming from? Look at your income, passive income, benefits, and any other income that you get.

Make a note of all the individual places and amounts, then a total. Go back over a few months of your income records so that you can work out an average.

Outgoing

Most of us spend more money than we need to, or that we ever recognize. Look at all of the subscriptions you have. Do you get takeout a little more often than you should? Where do you spend money that you could trim?

Make a note of all of the outgoings you have. Just like the income, it is essential to get a more comprehensive overview – so go through 6 months of spending.

Create a calendar

Often the missing part of the process is knowing when things are going in and when things are coming out. Many of us let our automatic payments come and go without paying attention to anything more than the total. You can ask to move some payment dates around that allow you to have an easier cash flow.

Reworking your current attitude


No matter how you want to tackle your finances now, you could probably benefit from some reframing. Since you have a good overview of your finances now, it is time to align your outgoing and your income.

Budget/cash flow

If you notice that things get a bit tight by the third week of the month, or you end up in overdraft and using credit cards – it’s time to check the cash flow. Your cash flow is the timing of when money is coming in and when it is going out.

Date changes

If all of your bills go out and leave you struggling in the second week of the month, it is a good idea to talk to all of the companies and see if you can spread them across the month instead. Align the income and outgoing dates to never leave too far out of pocket.

Month on Month

As you start to make these changes, you need to keep track of how things are going. It will take several months or more to compare and look for a positive difference.

Emergency funds

Many people don’t have an emergency fund because most people use almost precisely what they have in terms of income on expenses. Build significant emergency funds with small, consistent changes.

Why do you need an emergency fund?

When broken washing machines, car breakdowns, and other big things happen, it is easy to turn to hire purchase and short-term loans to replace and repair what you need. But most of the time, this will cause further financial issues at a later date.

Emergency savings are a little nest egg that can help you to avoid needing to take out loans. One of the easiest ways to do this is to opt for an automated savings program.

With automated savings, an algorithm will automatically calculate how much you can save and put it aside for you—taking the work out of saving and overtime building an emergency fund.

Here are some apps that make saving automatic and easy:

Acorns
● Digit
● Empower Finance
Chime
● Keep The Change
● Mint
● Qapital

Make sure that you read the T&Cs to find an automatic savings app that works for you.

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Set rules

What should and what shouldn’t constitute an emergency when it comes to spending the fund? These guidelines can help stop you from dipping into the fund when you ‘want’ something, not ‘need’ something.

And, every time that you need to use some of it make sure that you keep saving and adding to it afterward.

Bonus cash

Any time you have extra, split it between your savings and your regular account. Getting into the habit of seeing extra cash as a nest egg rather than fun cash can make it easier to enjoy saving.

Debts and insurance

There are two things that, no matter what, need to be paid. Debts need to be paid down, and insurance needs to be paid up. Debts are often scary because they stack up quickly – often come with high repayments, and after a default or two, you might end up in a lot of trouble.

Insurance

You need to have insurance that covers everything, from your home and content to family and auto. Your insurance is much like your emergency funds, it might seem like an expense, but it is one worth the time. Find a full-service insurance agency, so you get everything you want.

Debts

Often when people have debts rather than look at the total amount owed, it can be easier to hide and just pay small regular results. Look at where you owe money across the board, and make a note of the totals. Look at what you are paying off, how much of it is interest, and how much is paying down the initial debt. Often monthly payments are made up of more interest than paying it down.

Once you have your total, look at how much you are paying against the total, and then you will know how long it will take to pay off.

There are a lot of different debt reduction strategies that you can use, so it is important you find one that works for you and that is realistic. The snowball method is the one that most people have success with.

You can also get in contact with all of your creditors and renegotiate your payment terms. In many cases, they will be happy to reduce your monthly payments if you need to. It is also important to look at the options you have for paying off student loans.

Money Habits

Creating good money habits isn’t something that just happens. Unless your parents or guardians teach you good money habits – they can be hard to learn. Making a few financial mistakes is something that happens to many people, but it doesn’t have to be the whole story.

Create some healthy money habits that help you keep building on your success.

Credit

Before you apply for anything, ask yourself do you need the credit, or could you wait? Having a few small lines of credit (that are kept in good standing) can help you keep a good credit score.

Credit report

Your credit report will tell you your score, and it will also tell you where you can make some improvements. If there are any mistakes on it, you can have those rectified and clean up your score. Some credit score companies can also highlight how you can improve your score.

Ahead of trouble

If you run into trouble, like you need to have some time off work or your work situation changes, then it is in your best interest to get in touch directly with your creditors to freeze the payments. Missing a bill will give you double or more to pay and with fines and charges on top.

The call might feel overwhelming, but once it is done, you will feel better in the end.

Short vs. Long

Short-term loans and payday loans are designed to keep people in a spiral of taking and paying loans. Long-term loans are much nicer in terms of APR%, but they also tie you into long repayments.

Try where possible to avoid short-term loans and anything payday when you are trying to get your debt and money management under control.

Part of building good money habits is learning how to make your money go further. Making your money go further can help with your saving goals, increase your proactive approach, and more. Here are some extra tips for you: Tips To Make Your Money Go Further.

Once you have the basics and face your finances head-on, you might be surprised just how comfortable you get with your cash and just how quickly you see positive results.

3 Fool Proof Ways To Escape Your Debt

A key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money. A key to winning with money is controlling and eliminating debt. As such, figuring out ways to get rid of your debt is critical to your long-term strategy. The following contributed post is entitled, 3 Fool Proof Ways To Escape Your Debt.

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If you are struggling with debt you are certainly not alone. Recent statistics suggest that a massive percentage of the national population is facing debt that they can’t manage by themselves. Some will let it build and build to the point where they feel completely helpless. Others will file bankruptcy in the hope it will give them the fresh start that they need. While bankruptcy can provide anyone with a certain level of financial freedom, there are issues. For instance, you can lose a lot of your assets including your car or your home. That’s why you might want to explore alternative ways to deal with your debt. Here are some possibilities.

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Cut Your Credit Cards

It is worth noting that dealing with debt isn’t just about wiping out the money that you owe to different sources. That’s just one step because you also have to make the right changes to your lifestyle. If you don’t do this, then you will find yourself back in debt a lot quicker than you would like even after you clear it off. That’s why it might be worth cutting your credit cards and ensuring that you are no longer able to rely on them in your life. You could also think about setting a budget. This means that you won’t have to worry about ever accidentally spending more than you can afford.

Look At Debt Consolidation

You could also explore the option o debt consolidation. Debt consolidation is useful because it means that you can push all your debts into one sum rather than them being spread out. This is going to make your debt easier to manage and can provide a lot of relief. Of course, the main benefit of debt consolidation is that it should mean that your interest rate is reduced. If you can’t cut down the interest rate, then debt consolidation probably isn’t going to be worth it for you. This usually depends on your credit score.

Find The Right Support Structure

You do need to make sure that you find the right structure for dealing with your debt. You will find a lot of different choices on the market here so it’s important that you find the right one for your needs. If you explore DTSS reviews, you’ll find that there’s a lot of information suggesting that the company does have success in helping people escape their debt the right way.

Alternatively, you might want to rely on friends and family members for help here. The benefit of using these individuals is that they won’t charge you interest but it can put a strain on your relationships with them.

We hope this helps you understand some of the best ways that you can escape your debt and get your finances back on track. Once you do this, you’ll find that you are in a far stronger position all around. You will improve your quality of living and you’ll be able to stop worrying about money being a constant burden in your life.

Your Business Is In Debt. Now What?

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. While debt can be an important tool in business, it can also be a danger if misused. What do you do if you business goes into debt? The following contributed post is entitled, Your Business Is In Debt. Now What?

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If your business is in serious debt, it can cause an enormous amount of stress and misery. You may wonder what your options are and what you can do to turn the situation around. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some frequently asked questions so that you have the knowledge you need to proceed if the bailiffs come knocking.

What Are My Options If My Bank Calls In My Business Overdraft?

Many businesses rely on their business overdrafts to provide them with the capital that they need to survive. Unfortunately, some banks can demand that you pay back the entire overdraft immediately, not giving you any time to actually earn the money you need. If you don’t pay back the money you owe, then you can lose access to your account altogether. The best strategy in this situation is to go to another bank and open a new account, or open a separate account right now with an overdraft facility if you think your bank may shut your account.

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Can I Get Debt Counselling?

Debt counseling business services help you reduce stress, manage your finances, and work out whether you can afford to repay the money you owe long term. Through the debt counseling process, some people discover that they can no longer sustain their businesses and have to shut them down. Others realize that they can better manage their money for a happier, more productive working life.

Can My Landlord Change The Locks On My Business Premises?

The rules for business premises are different from those for your private residence. A landlord can evict you immediately from commercial premises if you fail to pay the rent. They are also allowed to change the locks, but in most cases, they must apply to the court first to do this.

What Happens If I Cannot Pay An Employee?

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In most cases, you have up to fourteen days to pay an employee any money that you owe them. If you can’t pay them because you don’t have the money to do so in your business account, then you must make alternative arrangements. Most business owners will try to come to some resolution with employees, paying them through installments if and when the money comes through.

Can Debt Collection Agencies Take Your Tools And Business Property To Repay A Debt?

Debt collection agencies are not the same as bailiffs. They do not have the right to force entry into your property and take your possessions. Usually, companies will hire debt collection agencies if you’ve missed a payment or two. After that, they may then pass the matter onto the courts and bailiffs who may decide that they can take possessions from you by force.

Can I Still Have A Bank Account If I Go Bankrupt?

In general, the answer is yes, but these accounts tend to be very basic. It’s unlikely that you’ll get an overdraft facility or the option to borrow money. You’ll also probably have to stick with a debit account.

Issues That You Could Face If You Get Yourself In Debt

A key focus of my blog is Financial Literacy/Money. A key piece to managing your financial health is controlling debt and making sure that it doesn’t take hold of your life. Allowing debt to run out of control could cripple your future and the futures of those around you. The following contributed post is therefore entitled, Issues That You Could Face If You Get Yourself In Debt.

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If for some reason you have got yourself into debt, you could end up facing a lot of issues. Whether this is a debt that you have accumulated as an individual or one that you have got as a business, you could be facing the same kind of problems. People tend to believe that debt is okay, as long as you know that you can get out. Well, this is not going to be the case because a lot of the time, they never do. Let’s look at some of the issues that you could face if you or your business is in debt.

Never Getting Out

One of the main issues that you will find with getting into debt is that it is extremely hard to get out. You might have the money to do so, but many people then don’t do this as they think this payment can wait. After a while, the interest has accumulated, and they can no longer pay their way out of the debt. As such, they are not going to be able to get out of debt, even when they get around to paying it.

This is the most common issue that people find when they are in debt, next to never being able to pay it in the first place. This is why it is never a good reason to get yourself into any form of debt, as you never know how it is going to pan out in the future.

Having To Borrow More

The next issue is that if you get into trouble for any reason and get arrested, you might not be able to pay your bail. This is where you are going to need a bail bonds person to put the money up for you. If you have a history of not doing what you said you would, for example, paying off your debts, you are going to find that nobody is going to help you in this situation. Even if you do get this help, you are then going to have to borrow more to cover the costs. It’s a vicious cycle that never ends.

Or, if you are desperate to pay off your debt, you might borrow off someone else to do this. You will then owe the full amount to someone else, and this might be worse for you than who you owed to before. This is why it is always going to be better to avoid debt if you can.

Accumulating More

Finally, interest on debts is terrible. The lender gets to determine the amount of interest that you are going to have to pay, and you don’t usually have a say in this. So, your lender could decide to charge you 20% interest, and they can adjust this if and when they want without any reason. Interest is a killer when it comes to paying back debt because you usually end up paying a lot more than you borrowed. This is not going to be something that you want, and that is why again, you need to try and stay out of debt.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now understand some of the issues that you could be facing if you get yourself into debt.

Save Your Business Ship From Sinking Into The Abyss

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy and Money, and Business and Entrepreneurship. Starting any business venture is like setting off on a voyage across the ocean or the sea. As such it’s critical to understand what provisions to load onto your ship, and what protocols to use in various circumstances. The following contributed post is thus titled; Save Your Business Ship From Sinking Into The Abyss.

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Over ninety percent of startups will fail within their first year. This means that many business owners won’t even get out the gates with their company. You have to be prepared for this possibility. You have to know how to right a sinking ship. Luckily, there are a few possible courses you can take here, and we’re going to check a few out right now.

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Manage What You Owe

If your business is starting to sink there’s a good chance, it’s being submerged in debt. When you start a business, you may have to borrow a lot of money, and you probably won’t be able to pay it all back at once. That leaves debt to build up more and more in different areas. The fact it’s in different areas can make it seem smaller and less significant when in reality, it’s eating away at your company. How do you handle this?

Well, you can think about consolidating your debt. Debt consolidation lenders are brilliant because they will provide you with the tools to put all the your debt into one sum that’s easier to pay off. You can start to treat it like another monthly bill. Be aware though, this is a loan, and you have to make sure that you understand the conditions before taking it on.

Alternatively, consider getting the help of an accountant. They’ll be able to make sure that you find out where the money is leaking out and whether you have unpaid invoices from clients. This can help shift some of the weight.

Cut The Costs Right Back

You might find that your company is struggling because it’s just too darn expensive. If that’s the case, it’s time to think about cutting the cost, bringing them in line with the level of demand you’re getting rather than what you hoped to claim when you entered on the market.

There are many ways to cut costs, but if you’re running your business from an office, that is definitely the place to start. Consider whether you can instead move towards a home business model with mobile workers who can come in and help when the needs arise. Or, just move to a smaller office and move most of your workers back to their own homes. This is possible with most company models thanks to the latest tech available on the market.

Go For Broke
Or, go in a completely different direction and push your costs right up, throwing most of the weight into new marketing campaigns. By doing this, you can give one last hit and try and get your audience to grow to the point you need it to be. Yes, this is definitely going to drive up the debt that you might already be facing. But if it’s successful, this could be the risk you had to take to save your company from doom. Make no mistake though, this is a seriously risky move, and it’s one that a lot of businesses won’t survive.

We hope this helps provide you with some choices of how to stop your business from sinking completely.

Managing Your Debt More Effectively

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy and Money. From experience, losing control of debt or misusing it can adversely affect your financial and even personal health. It’s thus important not to get involved with it in the first place, or to get rid of it as quickly as possible if you have. The following contributed post is thus titled; Managing Your Debt More Effectively.

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If you have a great deal of debt, it is no doubt affecting your life in a number of ways. Anyone who has ever experienced being in debt will testify to the fact that it can be incredibly worrying and damaging, an it’s one of those situations that you wouldn’t wish on even your worst enemy. However, the truth is that even the worst debt in the world can be improved by being managed more effectively, and that effective management begins with a proper understanding of debt, how it works, and what you can do to try and improve or fix it. In this post, we will take a look at some of the things you can do to manage your debt much more effectively and fully in the future.

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Understand Your Options

Something that can really help with the psychological part of debt is understanding what options you have, so that you are much less likely to feel as though all is lost. As it turns out, this is something which you will be able to do pretty easily, and it will mean that you will immediately feel a lot better about your debt in the process too. One of the options always available is consolidation, which can be a hugely helpful way of lumping all your debt into one. This then gets the other creditors off your back, and ensures you can start paying it all back in manageable portions. Sometimes a company will also allow you to call debt forgiveness, which can be the best option if you are able to get it. And other times, there is the bankruptcy route, which can help you to get back on track.

Take It Slow

Once you know what the route is that you are likely to take, you need to start taking it – but somewhat slowly. If you rush into anything, it is likely that you will only cause yourself further and further stress, so it’s something that you definitely want to avoid doing if you can help it. By taking it slow, you make it that much easier to keep on to of things and not let yourself get too stressed, and it means that you will be in a much better position at the end of it too. Remember this important advice if you are wondering what you can do to make it all seem a little easier, as this ensure that psychological side of it is considerably less stressful and worrisome.

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Get Help

Sometimes all it takes is to have a little help from those around you, so this is an option which you should absolutely consider too. You need to make sure that you are aware of what options you have in terms of who can help you, as knowing that is central to being able to get to a better financial position faster. Bear that in mind, and it will make a huge difference in the long run.

Know When To Call Upon The Power Of A Loan

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy and Money. In some instances, it’s important to know when to take out a loan if there is a financial crisis and there are no other options left. The following contributed post is thus entitled; Know When To Call Upon The Power Of A Loan.

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The rut of financial baggage is relentless and tiring. It happens to us all at least once through our lives, but because it can go on and on, we feel like it’s normal. Well, newsflash, it isn’t and no one should ever think that it is something we should be okay with either. Firstly you need to pinpoint the reasons as to why you are in this mess whereby you can’t seem to pay your bills on time, you’re cutting back on the things you need for your family such as groceries and clothes, and yet still here you are sat up late at night with a calculator in your hand. Life shouldn’t be a game of catch up but it ends up being that way when we are irresponsible with our finances, going in over our head and getting into debt. Slowly but surely, if you cannot seem to stop the ball of debt and financial burden from rolling, eventually it will roll over you. But when is it really the best timing to go for a loan to help alleviate the pressure?

Living lavishly

Human beings are just strange creatures at the end of the day, we mostly cause our own problems. It’s hard to admit but you need to seriously question if you’re living a life that you honestly should not be. Have you bought a car that looks and feels good to drive but the gas mileage is pathetic? Do you buy too many clothes just to look good at events that don’t really matter? Could you possibly be a little too passionate and keep buying tickets to your favorite sporting team’s matches? We need to stop living lavishly when we know we don’t have the money. Many people will try to make excuses such as needing to feel good about yourself when you’re sad and depressed, or trying to live a normal life for the family etc. well, tough luck, it’s time to seriously question whether you should be buying some things when you know you are in a pinch.

Do you have a plan

What if you had a bag full of money thrown at you, what would you do? Just for the sake of argument, it’s only enough to pay off your debts and start to control your finances. Do you know what you would do first? What bills, debts, credit cards and such would you pay off immediately? If you haven’t even thought about the long-term solution to your financial burdens, your short-term plans are almost nonsensical. Paying off this week’s debt is a single drop in the ocean, what about the tens of thousands of dollars you owe for your mortgage, car payments, phone contracts and more? Create a plan that deals with a point by point analysis of what is most important financially, and then come up with monetary rules for paying off those problems first and foremost.

Measure the deepness

Loans are a great financial tool to use when you need to just throw money at the problem to make it go away. They do provide you with a lot of power to end some financial crisis situations, that much cannot be denied. But, they come with their own set of rules as they are a solution but also a new addition to your financial responsibilities. Use this information that compares direct lenders only and see what kind of APR rate and interest is best suited to you. Some lenders charge high rates as they want to aggressively control how and when you start repaying them. Others are more open to allowing you to figure out what the best plan would be. You can get a small loan of around three to four figures or you can get into the five-figure sums if you need a large quantity of cash.

Take the hit

No one wants to dip into their savings account to get from under a financial jam, but you have to be willing to do so. If the worse comes to worse, then you need to set a limit on how much you will be eating into the money you have been saving all your life. Take the hit and stop yourself from going under. Filing for bankruptcy is going to be much worse than halving or completely devouring all your savings. As much as it hurts, set a plan in place for how much money you will take out of your savings account to help pay for your debts. Setting a threshold for how much money you have left in your main bank account is a common way of doing this.

Loans have the ability to put a large chunk of money right in your hand, in a very short amount of time. Therefore they have a lot of power to aid you in your financial troubles. However, know when you need to call upon a loan and devise structures so you make good use of the money.

Breaking Free From The Shackles of Debt

Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy and Money. A key aspect of one’s financial health is controlling and minimizing debt. The following contributed post is thus titled; Breaking Free From The Shackles of Debt.

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If you’re in debt then life can start to feel quite gloomy, indeed, having a huge amount of debt can sometimes make people feel trapped like they are a prisoner confined in a prison where they are emotionally paying for what they might feel they have done ‘wrong’.

Yet, debt isn’t as dirty a word as some people feel it is, it doesn’t make you a bad person, and it doesn’t even mean you are necessarily irresponsible. Life is unpredictable and we’re all just a few twists and turns away from being in financial trouble… the greatest challenge is the fact debt is often a slippery slope where one or two missed payments suddenly mount up, and escalate to the point things start snowballing out of control.

The worst thing, though often the most natural thing to do in such circumstances, is to bury your head in the sand. The challenge here is that this is the time you need most to take control and get a handle on the situation.

If your financial situation has snowballed out of control then all is not lost; even if you feel on the brink of despair in most western countries the option to declare bankruptcy exists, meaning you can have a second chance to get things back on track.

People often over complicate the process of breaking free from the shackles of debt as their emotions take over their logical thinking, in psychology this is known as an amygdala hijack where essentially the brain goes into survival mode, and when feeling such intense financial stress, a common response is to bury one’s head in the sand.

The greater challenge, however, is that people in debt often focus on the “debt” as almost a definition of who they are, it’s as if being in debt becomes their identity, and this is dangerous as what we focus on the most we become.

If we liken this to being a prisoner trapped in debt, it’s like looking down at the shackles around your feet, focusing on how trapped and impotent you feel to change the circumstances you’ve found yourself in – yet, it’s only when you stop focusing on the shackles around your feet, start looking up, and shifting your focus that you can get out of debt.

See, the fuel you require to get out of debt is money, as this is the source of freedom in that having money is the only thing that will help you break free from the shackles of debt – whether that’s in the form of a consolidation loan from The Ascent or by earning an extra income through business or employment activities.

When you are focused on the shackles of debt, your attention is not focused on doing the thing that is required to break free – therefore, the predominant thing you need to do to “break free” from debt is to stop focusing on the debt and start focusing on taking the required action to get out of debt.

The Signs You’re Carrying Far Too Much Debt

Two of the main focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy and Money. The following contributed post was written by Emma Morgan. It discusses The Signs You’re Carrying Far Too Much Debt.

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We live in a time of consumerism and most of us have a mindset of ‘I need it now’, which makes us impulsive when it comes to credit. The problem with credit, though, is that we can have whatever we want, and the consequences come later. While credit seems like a great idea in the moment, when you’ve got too much month at the end of your money and you can’t make your repayments, it becomes a big problem.

Debt is, for most people, a very unfortunate part of life. Buying a house, a car and even getting an education can put you into debt. While these are the debts you’d want to have, rather than because you couldn’t put the Manolo’s back at the store, it’s still not nice to have to deal with debt in that way. Having a house is a good thing, until you can’t make the mortgage repayments and you’re getting help from DoveBankruptcyLaw.com/chapter-13-bankruptcy to get you back on track. There are some signs, though, that can tell you whether you are carrying too much debt. It’s time to get your head out of the sand and start sorting out your finances, because they’re not going to sort themselves.

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1. The first sign you’re carrying too much debt is that this is where your money goes. You should have enough money to cover your mortgage, your bills and your savings before having a portion for disposable income. If your disposable income is covering the minimums on your loans and cards, there’s an issue. Working to pay debt is not living, and you need to start making some adjustments so that this is no longer the case for you.
2. The next sign is that you won’t ever pay off your debts early, because the money that you have can only cover the minimum payments. Get onto the creditors that you have and ask them to lower the repayment amounts for you. Creditors are not easy to deal with – in your head. In reality, if you have a good history, they’re usually more than happy to help you out. As long as they are getting paid, they will work with you and not against you.
3. Your health is important, but if the stress of debt is starting to manifest physically, you’re going to suffer. Your sleep, your happiness, the jumpy feeling you get when the doorbell goes? All of these things are not healthy, and they can be affected by debt.
4. Trying to get a consolidation loan to cover your debts is the move that most people make so that they can pay things off quickly. However, if you’re being turned down even for this, then you’ve got too much on your plate. The more debt you have, the harder it is to get credit.

It’s important to recognize when you are carrying too much debt as much as it is to know where to ask for help. Don’t suffer alone – get the debt help you need now to lessen the burden on your shoulders.

Father’s Day 2018: Dad’s doctor and his lawyer, and a discussion on careers

Your brother is going to be my Doctor, and you’re going to be my Lawyer!”

Happy Father’s Day. My 2017 Father’s Day blog post talked about some of my father’s life and money lessons, and there were many. I wrote some more about us in my second essay submitted to A Voice For Men entitled: Two very well-behaved boys left to figure things out on their own: Reflections on growing up ‘Blue Pill’, which discussed how my brother and I had to figure out several aspects of manhood on our own. There weren’t a lot of men around growing up, and there were limitations in what we were taught by the men we did know.

For this 2018 post, I’m going to go in a different direction and will discuss what Dad wanted both me and my brother to be career-wise, versus what we actually became. This piece isn’t an “ode to fathers” per se, but instead a set of thoughts and ideas based upon something my father said to us as children, which will serve as a jumping off point for things me and those in my circle regularly discuss today as adults – things that have impacted our family dynamics as the years have gone by. As described in my piece Challenging stereotypes and misconceptions in academic achievement, Dad’s fatherly guidance helped me reach my academic potential. He also stimulated me to start thinking about potential careers at an early age.

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“Your brother is going to be my Doctor, and you’re going to be my Lawyer!” Dad said on one of our summer visits in the mid-1980s. The three of us were crossing a street in downtown Schenectady, NY and he turned and gave his proclamation to the both of us – communicating with one of his hands – his signature style. Like many parents, Dad had his own plans for what we should be. Somewhere along the line, he determined that it should be a medical doctor and a lawyer, and as with everything Dad said, he said it with lots of authority, pretty much commanding us.

Not having either in my immediate family circle on either my mother’s or father’s side, I didn’t know much about what lawyers did. I had some idea of what medical doctors did because I had gone to see them on numerous occasions as a child. One of Dad’s first cousins was in fact a medical doctor, but we didn’t see him enough to be able to ask him about his career. In elementary school it hadn’t occurred to me what I wanted to be career-wise, though I got the inkling that it would be something scientific after really enjoying “Life Science” in the seventh grade – essentially beginner’s Biology. My brother had begun showing signs of being both artistic and creative.

But what made my father so enamored with medical doctors and lawyers in terms of careers for his sons? Dad was always one for stability which is why he became a junior high science teacher. Neither of his parents had gone to college, so he was a first-generation college graduate. From what I can see, some parents naturally want their children to do better than them. In the mid-1980s, the conventional wisdom was that medicine and law were two very high-profile professions which would lead to affluent and comfortable careers/lifestyles.

“I know that your grandfather would be very proud of you being a doctor and all,” Dad said on several occasions regarding my Ph.D. years later. He didn’t necessarily understand what my doctorate stood for, or the skills it represented, but the title of ‘doctor’ meant a lot to him – something I witnessed in the coming years both positively and negatively. Coincidentally, I think he initially discouraged me from pursuing a doctorate – potentially because he only knew Ph.D.s in the context of the school system, and not the ‘research’ and ‘regulatory’ worlds.

With one of the principles of my blog being “Critical Thought”, I believe it’s important to look at things in their entirety. So, while Dad wanted these two prestigious careers for us, what would it have taken for us to get into these two professions? The answer is it would’ve taken lots and lots of school for the both us and then, most likely, considerable debt to pay back. This is something very important to consider for parents and students looking to attend college to pursue ‘White-Collar’ careers.

In terms of higher education, thinking out the entire plan long-term is critical – considering the cost of the degree, how to get a quality degree for the least amount of money possible, what the expected salary will be on back end, and finally how much debt will need to be paid back. According to a 2014 article in Forbes, the average amount of debt for Law School graduates ranged from $84,000 to $122,158. Also, according to a recent 2018 article by Credit Donkey, the average medical school graduate finishes with $192,000 of debt.

Keep in mind that these are on top of however much debt was accrued during one’s undergraduate studies. The numbers probably weren’t as high thirty years ago, but it’s important to be mindful of blindly chasing certain careers based upon titles and prestige. If it’s something a student really wants to do, that’s different, but the costs still ought to be considered.

If you run the numbers and your prospects aren’t good, I would recommend not going into debt for that particular degree. A mentor recently taught me that the economy actually dictates the need for specific careers at a given time. I don’t know what the prospects were like for lawyers in the mid-1980s when Dad announced his wish for me, but as I progressed in my education, I heard more and more stories about the market being ‘saturated’ with them. I likewise heard that the landscape for medicine had changed, and in some ways, it wasn’t as lucrative a career as it once was.

In terms of my career, I figured it out as I went along. I had an interest in the biological sciences and thus followed that path. I pondered going to medical school at one point, but decided against it after a professor at Johnson C. Smith University encouraged me and some of my classmates to study up on what it entailed – the demands, the lifestyle, and the backend costs.

It’s also important for students and parents to keep in mind what the student is good at, and where their gift/passion lies. While I turned out to be the son that was interested in the Biology, my brother’s gifts were completely different. He turned out to be a ‘design and build’ –type of guy. He had the gift for designing things, constructing things, taking them apart, and he was quite formidable with tools and devices. He started studying Architecture in college but didn’t finish, but in hindsight, he may have also been well suited for one of the ‘skill trades’ – something that didn’t come up as a child as college and ‘White-Collar’ careers were emphasized as opposed to ‘Blue-Collar’ careers.

Speaking of the trades, since finishing my own education, I’ve realized that there is power in learning one or more of the skill trades. There will always be the need to build and fix things. That includes: the electricity and plumbing in your home, airplanes we travel on, the public transportation vehicles we ride to work on every day, and so much more. If your refrigerator breaks down as mine did recently, for example, you either have to buy a new one or hire someone to come and fix it – unless you can do it yourself.

Unfortunately, our society looks down on the Blue-Collar careers in some ways, though they pay very, very well and don’t require the years of schooling doctors and lawyers need – the same is true for the debt required to train for the latter two careers. In my opinion, individuals who are proficient in the trades people are willing to pay for; and those who also have some business training, stand to make lots of money as they can do things like start their own companies and hire other people.

My brother never finished college and has become a bit of an inventor/entrepreneur which actually is the route that our technology giants like: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg took. There may have been some luck involved for each of them, but these men are reminders that in some instances, ideas and skills are more powerful than the degrees themselves. Today for example, there are quite a few individuals making significant incomes without being ‘degreed’ – those who can write code for Blockchain Technology applications for example. Also, while my brother isn’t degreed, he’s also not saddled with a significant debt payment of any kind – a tremendous advantage.

As for me, depending on your belief system, I got lucky. I pursued a Ph.D. in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field at a time when the economy rewarded individuals with such degrees. What’s even more significant is that I finished only with a little bit of debt from my undergraduate studies. Because I pursued a STEM degree, I didn’t pay for any of my graduate studies so I didn’t have a hefty loan to pay back for those five to six years of graduate school. This brings me to my closing point. It wasn’t until I finished that phase of my science training that I realized that I was missing something very, very important – something some kids are given early, and something others stumble upon later in life if at all.

Regardless of whether or not you get a college degree, a trade or some sort of entrepreneurship, the critical piece is understanding money. Something not discussed much in our younger years was wealth-building – something that is possible for everyone, and independent of one’s career choice as it involves a specific set of behaviors that I’ve written about in my Net Worth and Debt Snowball pieces. Understanding the concepts of wealth-building: budgeting, living within one’s means, delaying gratification, investments, and ‘Compound Interest‘ – these are the keys to a great and bountiful life, not necessarily the careers and titles themselves, contrary to what many people think.

Prestige and titles are nice, but if you read Dr. Thomas Stanley’s The Millionaire Next Door, you’ll see that there are many high-income professionals who look the part, but who are actually struggling. In my blog post about the Tax Reform and Jobst Act, I referenced a 2016 article in the Washington Post entitled: The shocking number of Americans who can’t cover a $400 expense which showed that even some individuals making over six figures, surprisingly couldn’t cover such an emergency.

I never wanted to be one of those people. I may be different from most, but I’d rather secretly live nice and comfortable with a simple outward appearance, as opposed to looking wealthy and struggling behind closed doors. That’s a personal choice however – one which everyone must make for themselves.

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In closing, our parents sometimes have dreams of what they want us to be. Some kids actually go ahead and fulfill their parents’ dreams while others go their own way. In some instances, our parents can discourage us from what we really want to do based upon what they know and feel from their lives.

There is thus a complex set of decisions to be made based upon: what one really wants to do, their unique gifts, what they’re passionate about, and how they’ll be able to earn a living on the back end. In the end, the economy dictates what’s needed at that particular time – it will determine who gets hired and how much they will be paid. Lastly, no matter what path is chosen, the critical piece is understanding money. Once again, Happy Father’s Day.

Thank you for taking the time out to read this blog post. If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

Two very well-behaved boys left to figure things out on their own: reflections on growing up ‘Blue Pill’
Father’s Day 2017: reflections on some of Dad’s money and life lessons
Mother’s Day 2018: Memories of my grandmothers
Mother’s Day 2017: one of my mother’s greatest gifts, getting engaged, and avoiding my own personal fiscal cliff
Challenging stereotypes and misconceptions in academic achievement
The benefits and challenges of using articulate speech

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