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Great Tips and Advice for Managing Your Money

Growing a family can throw a wrench in your finances, no matter how well you budget. But planning for the future is a crucial part of protecting your loved ones and ensuring you can reach your goals. Here are three smart ways to begin planning for your finances and future, plus how you can start today.

money to pay debtsTake Small Steps Toward Saving for a Down Payment

If one of your financial goals isn’t to save for a home, you might want to reconsider. Buying a home is often the best decision for couples and families who hope to one day live rent-free. That said, it’s not always a simple financial path toward homeownership. The first hurdle is coming up with a down payment.

It’s possible to purchase property without a down payment, such as by using a USDA or VA loan, if you qualify. But by putting at least five percent of the purchase price down, you may be eligible for a better rate. That means increased savings over the life of the loan—and a more manageable monthly payment.

Plus, as Bankrate highlights, the average down payment in 2019 was 12 percent. So, you don’t need 20 percent down to buy a home these days. What you do need is a plan—and a family budget—for putting away funds so that you can stop renting and start owning.

Invest in Your Retirement from Day One

Though you may have good intentions, neglecting your retirement account to pad your children’s college fund isn’t wise. Focus on your retirement first, and budget for college savings second. After all, your child could always take out student loans or receive grants for college expenses.

In contrast, you have no safety net if you skip diverting cash for retirement. Most Americans receive Social Security after retirement age, but in an ideal scenario, the maximum potential payment would equal $3,790. That said, not every worker waits until age 70 to claim their benefits, which is only one part of the equation when it comes to receiving the highest disbursement possible.

The good news is that it’s not too late to begin building a retirement fund, especially if you start now. Less than half of Americans start saving for retirement in their 20s, while the average age hovers around 31. There’s still time to begin contributing to a 401(k) or IRA, and both involve significant tax benefits. 

Think About (And Beyond) College Funding

Most parents want their children to be able to attend college, and a financial boost is often helpful. But there is more than one way to pay for college, and not every path is right for every family.

The most common college savings option—a 529 plan—offers tax benefits if your child uses the funds for their education. They can choose to use the money elsewhere, but taxes will apply at that point. But you don’t have to have thousands of dollars in a savings account for college. NPR’s expert recommends that parents start small, if necessary, saving an amount each month automatically. Any balance you accrue will help your child pay for expenses—even if it’s for gas money to get to campus or the cost of their books.

If money is tight right now—or continues to be as your child grows—consider alternatives. For example, many students receive financial aid packages in the form of grants. As CNN explains, you can even “haggle” for a better financial aid offering from the college your child is admitted to. Private scholarships and work-study programs are also options that can ease the financial burden from parents’ shoulders.

It can be challenging to know what to plan for when growing your family. When it comes to finances, though, saving anything is better than not saving at all. Plus, increasing your savings now can help your family buy a home, give your kids an education, and allow you to enjoy a comfortable retirement when the time comes.

Blog contribtor: Emma G. Brown

Photo via Rawpixel

7 Advantages of Installment Loans Online

There are times that you badly need some cash to cover unplanned expenses or emergency needs. But what if your savings can’t shoulder the amount it requires.  In this case, taking out an installment loan is a good idea.

Installment loans are perfect for anyone who needs instant cash because you can get the money within the day of your application, and the repayment term is advantageous on your part as well. The amount of the loan plus interest rate is broken down into smaller portions that you need to pay on a regular basis over the lifespan of the loan.

You can even apply for an installment loan online to make the application process more convenient. If you have some doubts about this type of loan and its online application process, you better read these advantages of availing online installment loans.

Simple Loan Application Process

The number one advantage of online installment loans is that the application process is pretty straightforward. You can avail it wherever you are as long as loan approved handshakeyou have a smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

You just need to read the terms and conditions (read them carefully for your own sake) and fill out an online application form, and then you wait for the approval.

You Can Get Your Much-Needed Cash Fast

Aside from the simplicity of the application process of this type of loan, you can also take out your much-needed money fast. Once you submit your application form, there will be a notification of its status within several minutes.

If the lender approves your application, the amount will be deposited into your account just within a day. This speedy access to money enables you to cover important, immediate expenses timely.

Flexible Payments

Another good thing about taking out an online installment loan is the benefit of flexible fees. Depending on the lender or the locality where you apply for this type of loan, you can decide on the repayment schedule. For instance, you can choose to repay the amount of the loan monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.

The lender will also match your income volume/frequency so that you won’t find it financially difficult to repay the entire amount. You can also get great deals such as a low-interest rate, depending on the lender you choose.

Lenient Qualification Requirements

Nowadays, it’s challenging to take out a loan if you have a poor credit history. Traditional banks, for instance, impose strict qualification criteria before they approve your loan application, and one of the requirements is that you should have a good credit score.

That’s why online installment loans are advantageous to borrowers who have imperfect credit ratings. It’s because online installment loans offer a more lenient qualification requirement, and lenders who provide this type of loan don’t conduct stringent checks on your credit profile.

Some websites can connect you with various lenders who offer online installment loans. Once they see you fit to repay the entire amount of the loan over a period of time, they’re willing to approve your loan application despite you having a poor credit score.

You Can Pick The Lender That’s Best for You

Well, since there are many online lenders to choose from on the internet, this is an excellent opportunity for you to pick the best deal. You should look at factors, such as the speed of approval, interest rates, loan terms, and overhead fees when choosing a lender.

Moreover, you should make sure to choose a legit website when you’re going to apply for an online installment loan. Read the reviews on the site, whether they’re positive or negative. Read the terms and conditions and privacy policy of the website to ensure that your personal information won’t be compromised.

You Can Get a Higher Loan Amount

Lenders who offer online installment loans also allow borrowers to take out higher loan amounts for longer loan terms. This feature is beneficial if you have to cover costly immediate expenses. 

Higher loan amounts with manageable repayment terms also prevent you from getting multiple loans at the same time. So, if you need a significant amount of money in times of emergency needs or unplanned expenses, consider taking out an online installment loan that offers higher loan amounts.

Rollover Option

It’s an excellent idea to repay a loan on time. Still, circumstances may not be in your favor all the time. For instance, there are times that you’re not able to repay a loan according to the schedule because you use the money for more important matters. Indeed, you don’t know what life throws at you sometimes.

But there’s an option to roll over an installment loan in such a case when you fail to repay it on time. You can also take out another loan with favorable terms and pay off the original one. In this way, you can avoid paying for penalties or having a bad credit record.

Takeaway

Yes, there are several advantages when you get an online installment loan. Most installment loans have a simple application process and speedy loan approval. They also come with lenient qualification requirements, flexible repayments, higher loan amounts, and a rollover option.

Author Bio:

Bree Diaz is a blogger who writes about investing and loans. She often talks about installment loans online and what you should know about them, as well as tips on how to invest your money. Bree is also a musician and a traveler.

Here’s What You Need to Know about Microlending

Microlending has become a popular way to get quick and easy loans nowadays. However, microloans are not issued by banks and credit unions but rather by an individual or an aggregate of individuals who each contribute to the total amount of the loan. And, as its name suggests, microlending provides small loans to people who want to start a business.

Yes, it’s like small business loans, per se. But a microloan is different when it comes to the motivations behind it and the individuals involved. So, if you want to know more about microlending or microloan, read on below. hand cash hand

Where Microlending Originated?

The concept of microlending was introduced in the 1970s by the economist and social entrepreneur Muhammed Yunus. Then, Yunus went on to establish Grameen Bank, a microlending organization and community development bank in Bangladesh in 1983. In 2006, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the idea of microfinance.

The concept of microfinance spread into various developing countries where traditional financing is not readily accessible, especially to the poor. Now you can see some individuals and organizations worldwide using this noble idea to help people in need who want to launch and develop their own business.

The Motivation That Drives Microlenders

The difference between a traditional lender and a microlender is that the former is solely interested in earning a profit through exorbitant loan fees and interest rates. A microlender, on the other hand, is all about community and economic development.

It’s in the microlender’s interest to help potential entrepreneurs build their own business by providing them accessible and affordable loans. A microlender also provides training programs to teach would-be entrepreneurs how to develop and manage a successful business.

Such training programs not only get the borrowers out of poverty but also helps ensure that they can generate enough profit to pay off their loans. Microlending is a trailblazing concept that helps spur the social and economic development of people living under the poverty line in third-world countries.

Size of the Loan

You can obtain a microloan as small as $30. But the maximum amount can go up to $30,000 or $50,000 depending on the lenders or the circumstances. Small entrepreneurs can borrow a small amount enough to pay for their supply of inventory and other necessities to jumpstart their business.

People Using Microloans

As mentioned previously, borrowers of microloans are not wealthy people or rich business owners. People using such a type of loan have relatively low incomes and are not qualified to acquire a traditional loan from banking institutions. Such borrowers are prioritized under microlending.

Borrowers only need to have a business idea and a motivation to make that idea into reality. If you have the drive to be an entrepreneur and get yourself out of poverty, you can qualify for a microloan.

loan agreementHow to Borrow?

Microlending has become popular due in part to the internet. Nowadays, you can find microlenders that offer microloans online. For instance, in the United States, you can visit the website of the Small Business Administration to look up the list of local microlenders by state.

Make sure to read their microloan requirements and instructions on how to apply for a microloan. Choose the microloan options and microlenders that suit your business funding needs.

How to Become a Microlender?

There’s a lot of opportunities for you to lend money to entrepreneurs. You just have to look for microlenders in your locality through the same SBA list, or you can visit sites like Kiva.org for that purpose. However, you should keep in mind that microlending doesn’t generate large amounts of profit. It’s all about helping small business owners to realize their potential.

Takeaway

Microlending is indeed an excellent way to help small entrepreneurs build and develop their own businesses. This type of loan is perfect for those low-income earners and business owners who are not qualified to apply for traditional loans.

Author Bio:

Bree Diaz is a blogger who loves to write about entrepreneurship and business financing. She often visits sites like Siloans to look for resources for her write-ups. When not writing, Bree loves to go hiking and scuba diving.

Interested in Self-Care? Stop Neglecting These Things

Practicing good self-care can be difficult if you’re ignoring the important elements that comprise total wellness. Total wellness is made up of different areas that you should address to make sure you’re feeling and doing well. When you take care of at least one thing from each area, you’ll wind up taking care of yourself.

Financial Wellness

happy friends toastingYou can’t hope to be well if your finances aren’t in order. According to Discover, you can get a handle on your finances with an easy five-step approach. It’s important to set a budget as well as set up saving accounts for your immediate and long-term needs. If you’re in debt, then make sure to make a plan to pay it off. Your route to financial wellness shouldn’t only take care of your immediate needs but also future ones like funeral expenses. When you put things in place to ensure your funeral is arranged and paid for well ahead of time, you won’t have to worry about leaving that burden on your loved ones. Make sure to contact funeral homes to determine the best way you can carry out your pre-paid funeral plans while keeping your budget intact.

Physical Wellness

When dealing with the demands of your daily life, it can be easy to let your physical wellness slide. You can put a stop to that by focusing on two things: rest and activity. These might be direct opposites, but they’re definitely on the same coin. To get a good night’s sleep, it’s best if you develop a consistent sleep routine and stay away from electronic devices or large meals close to bedtime. Even if you have a busy schedule, MoveGB suggests squeezing in workouts during commercial breaks when watching TV or doing a quick High Intensity Interval Training session, which will still provide a good workout.

Mental Wellness

lady on labptop sept 2019 blogTaking care of the first two areas on this list will go a long way towards your mental wellness, but you can go even further. If you’re dealing with a high level of stress, then it’s vital that you find a way to manage it properly. While it would be good to just remove yourself from the stressful situation, that’s more of the ideal than the norm. It might be helpful to cut down on your caffeine content and take supplements that can boost your mental health. Writing down your stressors and having a good laugh with friends are also good ideas. In your downtime, consider practicing some of the relaxation techniques suggested by Mayo Clinic like muscle relaxation and visualization. When you make a concerted effort to relax, your stress levels will not only decrease, but you’ll also stave off certain symptoms that come from stress such as high blood pressure and body pain.

Emotional Wellness

Before you tackle the emotional part of your wellness journey, it might be helpful to define it. Emotional wellness focuses on your awareness of your emotions and handling how they may change with time or circumstances. It can be tricky to get the hang of this at first, but it’s not something you should avoid. To keep on top of your emotional wellness, you’ll need to become aware of your emotions and accept them as they are before moving forward. You’ll then need to explore the link between your emotions and external circumstances so you can practice being in control of how you react to what’s happening around you. As you’re working through the steps, don’t try to force positive emotions as that’s not the point. The point is simply to become better at identifying and expressing your emotions in a healthy way.

Sometimes when people talk about wellness, they place more emphasis on the things you should add to your life without mentioning the things you’re currently ignoring. You should make the effort to stay active, rest well, eat right and take breaks so your life can be healthier and more fulfilling.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Blog contributor: Emma Grace Brown

 

If you have been declined for a mortgage loan due to bad credit, you may find the same reason will prevent you from getting that dream apartment.  Credit checks are tools that landlords use to attempt predicting whether tenants will be paying their rent on time.  Unpaid debts from previous landlords may get bought by collectors who may then report the debt on your credit.  So, how do you improve your chances of getting that dream apartment or at the very least any apartment?  Here’s a few points to keep in mind.

Keep an eye on your credit score. apartments 2

As mentioned, landlords may check your credit to decrease their chances of renting to someone with a history of not paying their rent.  How good a credit score do you need?  The fancier the apartment the higher the credit score you will need to have.  Assuming you are not wanting an apartment with a river view, most landlords look for a minimum credit score in the low 600’s as a starting point.  So, keep an eye on your credit score and pay bills on time.

What can you do to improve your chances?

One approach may be to offer to pay a higher deposit.  If the landlord requires one month deposit, offer two months deposit.  This will give the landlord a good impression about you and you willingness to pay your rent on time and not make a mess of the place.

Another idea is to find someone to be cosigner for you.  The cosigner should have a better credit history that yours.  However, finding a cosigner may be difficult.  It is hard to find someone who is willing to take on debt or past due rent in case that you can’t pay.  Particularly, since it can affect their credit also.  So, don’t ask someone to cosign unless you are really sure that you can afford the new rent.  Don’t let a friendship get broken over this.

Getting letters of recommendation may also help if you are disciplined enough to remember to get them from previous landlords.  If you had a good payment history with past landlords, you can still ask them for one.  All you want is recommendations to show the new landlord that you can be trusted to pay your rent on time and to not leave the places in worst conditions that when you moved in.

apartmentsShowing a steady work history is helpful.  The longer you stay with an employer it shows landlords that you can be trusted to stay with a job and pay the rent.  If you job hop a lot then this puts fear in a landlord that you will have months when you can’t pay your debt.  So, may be bring w-2’s to show the new landlord longevity with current employer to increase his trust in you.

What if I still can’t get my dream apartment?

If you still can’t get your dream apartment due to bad credit, then settle for an apartment that may be not meet all expectations, but, that does not require credit checks.  This will be most like mom/pop rentals.  Most of them will be safe enough.

Lastly you may consider a roommate. Hope this points help a little bit in your search for an apartment.  Do remember to keep an eye on your credit score by using free credit reports offered.

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Customer Notice: Personal loans, title loans, and car loans have terms 6 months or longer. There are no early payoff penalties. We currently report to one of the 3 major credit bureaus, TransUnion. However, many factors affect your credit score. Therefore, we can't promise that your credit score will improve while having a loan with us.

Requirements: We are able to service Ohio residents only. Approval depends upon meeting legal, regulatory and underwriting requirements. America's Loan Company may, at its discretion, verify application information by using national databases, including but not limited to Teletrack and any of the national credit bureaus. America's Loan Company may take this information into consideration in the approval process. Due to state and verification requirements, not all applicants for loans may be eligible for approval by America's Loan Company. You may be required to submit additional documents due to state law and qualification criteria.

Products & Services: Products and services offered to customers may vary based on customer eligibility and applicable state and federal law. Actual loan amounts vary. The availability of loans and extensions may vary. Auto loans and secured personal loans are subject to minimum auto value requirements.

Further Personal Loan Disclosures: For qualified customers, America’s Loan Company offers bad credit personal loans with terms of 6 months to 5 years, with APR under 35.9%. As an example, you may borrow $1,500.00 over a 24 month period, with a $10.00 credit investigation fee, $100.00 loan origination fee, and $452.32 in interest, for a total payment of $2062.32, with an APR of 32.6514%, and monthly payments of $85.93.

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