Maybe you've already seen this list, maybe not. But, so many folks are struggling with heavy student debt burdens. I hope the list provided in this link offers you a solution that will make your life more manageable! Understanding is powerful. Peace!
Have you heard about this program from the US Dept of Education? The Income Based Repayment plan could be very helpful to some of you! Check this out!
Don't know if you have learned much about Health Savings Accounts? Called HSAs, these are developed within the US tax code as a means for people to pay for medical expenses not covered by their health insurance plans. The way I see it, HSAs are an okay idea, as far as they go... But they are flawed.
Congress should permit people to participate in HSAs regardless of whether or not they participate in a high deductible "catastrophic" health plan. Right now you can't have an HSA without also paying for expensive health insurance.
Think of it, wouldn't it be great if you could build up a savings account that you use to pay for your health needs? And what if the government gave you all sorts of incentives to build this account? Then you could have cash money to allocate toward your own (and your family's) health needs.
This almost sounds like an HSA, except with and HSA you have to pay big premiums on a high deductible health insurance plan. Problem is, most people will never use that insurance because they'll never have a catastrophic health need.
We could, you know, make both the liberals and the conservatives happy (I know, I know, ain't ever gonna happen). What if the government covered catastrophic health care needs (making liberals happy) and then gave us incentives (tax breaks, matching grants) to build up our own health accounts? Wouldn't we make wiser health decisions? Wouldn't that accomplish the free market, personal responsibility buzz words that conservatives talk about?
Hmm, makes me wonder why they don't do it this way. Could it be that insurance companies have lobbied to make sure they aren't taken out of the equation?
I wish Washington DC could make simple solutions...
I found this interesting. Thought provoking for sure, and not all Matrix/Terminator/The Road. Click here.
I came across a good resource for those of you who want to learn more about credit scores. Check out this link.
I hope this helps!
IRA - This stands for "Individual Retirement Account." There are many different types of IRAs: some are used for small businesses (SEP IRAs or SIMPLE IRAs) and some for individuals (Traditional IRAs and ROTH IRAs). What each of these have in common is that they are accounts that a person can put money from income into, and receive a tax benefit in return.
An IRA is a tax deferred account. For tax deferred accounts (Traditional IRAs, SEP IRAs, 401Ks, 403bs), money invested is then deducted from the contributor’s income in the current year, so the contributor pays lower taxes in that year. Then, contributions can grow and no taxes are owed on the gains or income until distributions begin in retirement (indeed there are penalties if a person tries to take money out of a retirement account before age 59.5). When distributions occur in retirement, the account owner will have to add the distributions to their income, and pay income taxes on the total amount.
ROTH IRAs are different in that contributions are made with after tax dollars, so there is no tax break in the year of the contribution. And, no taxes are owed when the account owner goes to take distributions in retirement. In summary, for a Traditional IRA, taxes are deferred until retirement. For a ROTH IRA, distributions in retirement are tax free.
Make sense? Ask me questions if you want more info.
Mutual Fund - This is an investment that you can put money into if you want an easy way to diversify your investment. Basically, if you have say $1000 to invest, it might be hard for you to diversify that investment... it'd be difficult to buy shares in 100 different companies with your one grand. Mutual funds do this for you. They take your one thousand dollars and pool it with many other investors, then with that larger pool of cash, they invest into a diversified portfolio.
There are many types of mutual funds, from aggressive to conservative, from cheap index funds (which are only supposed to mirror the performance of a certain index, like the S&P 500) to actively managed funds (which, for a fee, employ supposedly smart people to make active trades in the fund in an effort to provide performance that is better than an index).
There are thousands of mutual funds out there: funds for each type of scenario, from aggressive to conservative. Which fund is for you is a matter of preference and depends upon things like your age, how much risk you want, how sensitive you are to volatility and fees, etc.
Main thing is that if you decide to invest into a mutual fund (assuming you've figured out your asset allocation plan), then make sure the funds you plan to use are good, relative to their peers. This is easy to figure out. Go onto yahooFinance or some other website and look up the morningstar rankings of the fund you're looking at. You want to make sure that the fund you plan to use did well on its 3 and 5 year rankings. You don't need the absolute best (stars rise and fall), but choos
Some people out there can claim to have things all under control: no debt, a nice working budget, all their ducks in a row. Well good for them. They are rare. Most people in America, middle class people, have way too much debt. We have car-loans-credit-cards-department-store-cards-home-equity-lines-mortgages-student-loans-and-on-and-on-and-on.
Here is my fondest wish, prayer, and challenge for anyone who reads this: let's set goals to be completely DEBT FREE within (pick the time frame that realistically will work for you): 5 to 10 years. This will mean you have to pay down things faster than you might want to. You might have to scrimp and save. You might have to forego things like vacation or that big new whatever it is.
But your life will be better. If you get out of debt, your life will be better.
Don't worry about your credit score. You'll be better off.
And, most importantly, you will have inoculated yourself against the influence of the banks. You may not be able to completely avoid all influence by the financial behemoths, they will still have influence in your community. But, if you have no debt, they don't have control over you.
Think about it. If you have no debt, then when interest rates go up, it won't matter to you. If there's another financial collapse and your income goes down, you can't be foreclosed on or repossessed or otherwise worked over.
And, your life will be simpler, cheaper, better.
Maybe this approach will help. Click here.
This is my wish for you. Make a plan. Follow though. It will take some time, but hang in there for as long as it takes, hang in there. Good luck!
You can do it.
Using Financial Statements
You only really need to know three financial statements: The Income Statement, The Cash Flow Statement, and The Statement of Net Worth. These are fundamentally the same statements whether you are analyzing an individual person, a non-profit, or a big company.
Each statement provides a different way to look at things. Taken together, they tell a well-rounded financial story. Sometimes, one statement might be more important to you than the others. Say you have a cash flow crunch...well, then guess which statement is the one you’d want to construct or refer to? That’s right! The Cash Flow Statement! Damn, you’re good. Then, if another time, you find you’re swimming in debt...the statement you’ll want to review is the Statement of Net Worth (okay, so the statement names don’t really have to use upper case, like a proper noun. But it does make them look super important, doesn’t it?).
The Income Statement - Sometimes called an income and expense worksheet, this shows you how money flows in and out of your life. Income comes in, expenses flow out. The difference between total income and total expenses clarifies whether they are making or losing money. A corporation or small business would use the same basic format for their own income statement, but their line items would be different, of course. The sample Income Statement on the following page is done on a monthly time frame, but these can be constructed with a different period, like annually or quarterly. Look at this sample.
The Cash Flow Statement - This statement helps you figure out whether enough cash is coming in, where cash is going, and whether there is enough to cover expenses during a certain period. If someone is in dire financial straits, they’d want to construct this statement on a week to week, or month to month basis. Look at this sample.
The Statement of Net Worth - This shows a snapshot in time of someone’s financial value. Now, of course someone’s value can be judged on a whole lot of different criteria (how are they as an artist, friend, parent, lover, athlete, and so on). This statement only judges the one dimension of money. It’s important but not everything. Okay? Look at this sample.
NOTE: If the links don't work, go to my website www.peaceloveandfinancialplanning.org and click on Tools You Can Use.
Get Out of Debt, slow and steady:
For those of you who haven't seen this yet (and for those who want to refresh their memories) here's a Debt Repayment Plan that is simple and will work if you stick with it!
Unless you come into a big chunk of money (inheritance, lottery, mana from heaven), there is no easy way to get out of debt. Debt works that way: it’s really easy to get into debt, and hard as heck to pay your way back out.
So if you have a situation like many many other Americans, where you have different debts spread about on various accounts and cards, here’s a good way to pay it off. To be sure, this approach takes time (as in years), but if you’re diligent, it will work.
Again, this is not a fast process but it works. This means you won’t be focusing on paying down the one with the highest interest or the largest outstanding balance. The point is to try to focus on cash flow. You want to pay down debts that you can get rid of quickly, freeing up cash flow that you can use.
Good luck and hang in there!