Elf-Employed? The Freelancer Struggle During The Holiday Season

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One thing that self-employed people struggle with at the best of times is the holiday season, regardless of whether it is Christmas time, Easter, or you just need a break, the difficulty in taking time off, whether self-imposed or not, is that you don’t get paid for it. So, the self-employed group of workers needs the same amount of time off like everybody else, but because of the nature of the work, this is seldom the case. And as nice as it would be to give yourself those four weeks off, you know deep down that it’s not plausible. So, what can you do to lessen the burden of not being paid, but while also having a good time yourself?

Plan Ahead

Yes, this is, unfortunately, the most sensible solution. You know your working patterns, and you know when you are liable to burn out, so you should structure your finances accordingly. Lots of people make the mistake of taking one job after another, and before they know it, they have worked 6 months straight without a break. While you may be rolling in the monies, your health reserves are very likely at an all-time low. You may have thought instead it’s worth taking a loan out to help cover those free dates in the calendar that you have set aside, but if you get into the habit of taking a loan out so you can enjoy yourself, the burden of debt will very likely rear its ugly head. But while there are resources online on how to deal with debt, the best approach is to plan your finances accordingly. If you’ve been self-employed for some time, you know the peak and off-peak seasons so you can plan your breaks around those.

Holiday With The Family

This may not sound like a great sounding option, but the one thing about taking a vacation back at your parents’ house, or in your hometown, is that it will be a lot cheaper than going to the Algarve for two weeks. And besides, your parents would be happy to see you, even if they didn’t show it! And, time it around peak holiday seasons, like Christmas, and you will get fed! This means that minimal money will be spent on your part and you get a decent break. If this doesn’t appeal, then it’s a Netflix box set, your pajamas, and some chocolates for a week. Again, cheap and cheerful, and it achieves the desired effect!

Being A Social Butterfly

Wild nights out are incredibly expensive, instead, why don’t you propose to have a gathering at your home, or someone else’s? Dinner parties, parties, or any type of social gathering which doesn’t require you to go anywhere, is very cheap, and you will be grateful for the break away from your self-employed life. No doubt, you have been slaving away, day in and day out, for months on end. So, make the most of your time off, and socialize!

Being self-employed doesn’t mean constant vacations where you have no money, but if you find yourself in these trappings consistently, not only should you have a reassessment of how you tackle self-employment during the holiday season, but also how you tackle your finances.

Are Your Debts Your Age?

Debt has become the cross to bear almost all adults have to live with these days. Answering why would be like trying to make sense of anything Jaqen H’ghar has ever said (a little Game of Thrones reference for you there), which is nigh on impossible. At the more innocent end of the scale it has a lot to do with unexpected circumstances popping up in your life, at the more sinister end of proceedings it is to do with the lack of any formal education on money matters, and somewhere in the middle, it is to do with the cost of living.

Whatever the case, debt is something most adolescents don’t think about, getting help with paying debt down is something all middle-aged Americans have to focus on and enjoying a debt-free retirement is something more and more retirees are seeing as a pipedream.

To break this epidemic down a little more, we’re going to delve into the circumstance of each age group, something that will help you know you’re not alone and hopefully motivate you to change your fortunes, literally.

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Under The Age Of 35

The average debt for a household whereby the main breadwinner is under the age of 35 is a staggering $82,764. That is quite terrifying because most people won’t have started accumulating debt until they were eighteen, which makes that a dozen years of heavy spending. Of course, not all households that fall within this age bracket have debt, which is why this is simply an average based on those that do. It also worth pointing out that a mortgage is a big chunk of this – the average mortgage debt at this age is $143,890.

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Between 35 And 44

No surprises for guessing what happens here because, with more years to accumulate date and upsize a home, the debt increases with those that fall within this age group. In fact, the people residing in this bracket have the highest average debt of all at $153,239, with the average mortgage debt being closer to $190,000. This is a terrifying number if your debt is made up of personal loans and credit cards and not a mortgage and just one of the reasons why staying out of debt needs to be of the utmost importance to people growing up.

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Between 45 And 64

This is where the debts a household has accumulated starts to decline, which will have a lot to do with the sudden rise in average salaries at the age too. More money means less financial burden when paying off debts. For those closer to the 44 -ear marker, debts will stand at around $150,000, with this figure slipping away to $131,000 in that twenty year period as they start to focus on the kind of retirement they want to enjoy. They may well have assets that are worth a lot more than this figure or they may have a negative net worth. It i a flip of a coin at this age.

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Between 65 And 74

Most people hold the same dream: to be debt free by the time they retire. Unfortunately, though, this is becoming less and less realistic, especially for us Americans, and by unrealistic we mean carrying the burden of $108,765 with us. That is quite substantial. It is also worth pointing out that many of these secured debts are held against an average mortgage of $130,400.

A Millennial’s Guide To Mastering The Art Of Investing

Just because you’re twenty-something doesn’t mean you don’t have your financial head firmly screwed on. Now that you have a secure career, a good monthly salary and you have managed to pay off your lingering student debt, you may find yourself with disposable income every month. At the moment you are squirreling this extra cash into your savings. However, there’s a niggling voice telling you that this money could be better invested elsewhere to enable you to see more lucrative returns on your excess cash. You’re not wrong. Take a look at this helpful guide to point you in the right investment direction.

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Your Mortgage

It may not sound like an investment but if you’re lucky enough to own your own home, making overpayments on your mortgage means that you’ll end up paying it off a lot quicker. While you may not see lucrative returns as such, you may find that you are mortgage free and own your home outright two, five or maybe even ten years earlier than you expected. This is a massive asset that you can claim much quicker leaving you with even more disposable income to invest at a later date.

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Real Estate

The old adage is that bricks and mortar is the safest investment. If you’re after a long-term investment that isn’t super high risk, real estate is a viable option. You could choose to purchase a property in an up and coming urban area with your client focus being young professionals and long-term leasing. However, you could also take a look at the world of vacation lets. Companies like Chinquapin real estate can guide you through the process of purchasing a property in an established area that already attracts holidaymakers. The maintenance costs may be greater, and you’ll need a greater emphasis on marketing your property, but get it right, and you could have near maximum occupancy every year and secure a much greater rental yield than with a more traditional long-term lease. Just ensure that your income from the rent exceeds your mortgage repayments so you won’t be out of pocket.

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Forex

If you’ve always fancied yourself as financially astute and keep up with the nuances of the investment world, you may want to try your hand at a bit of Forex trading. By trading in currencies you are embarking on a more high-risk investment, but naturally, the rewards can be more lucrative. Predicting how foreign currencies will fluctuate takes practice which is why you should set up a free dummy account and ‘pretend’ you are trading with monopoly-esque money. This way you can master the art of trading before you commit to investing your hard-earned cash.

Being young and affluent means that you’re in an incredibly fortunate position. The fact that you’re reading this post shows just how keen you are to invest your money wisely. Follow this advice, and you could find that your money, invested astutely, could go a lot further than you think.

How Important is a Healthcare Insurance?

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Healthcare Insurance: Do you have one?

Let me tell you how my family struggled in paying for medical bills of my brother and my mom when they got sick. We lost whatever money we had including resources and such when my brother was diagnosed with leukemia. It was a six-month battle that we didn’t won. We lost my brother and we also lost big time in paying for all the medical bills incurred during those six months and after. The same thing happened when my mom got diagnosed with a rare kidney disease. My mom and the family battled it out with amyloidosis of the kidneys for three long years. My mom was in and out of the hospital, had four to six specialists who checked on her regularly, and was in several medications for her other internal organs. You can just imagine the amount of money we needed that time for her to get better. Which in the end didn’t really took place because she lost the battle to her disease.

Two sickness and deaths in the family. Both times we lost so much money, which was not really an issue with us, but had there been health insurances in both cases, we wouldn’t have had to undergo so much stress in looking for money to pay for their medical bills.

That’s how important healthcare insurance is!

We learned our lesson. We had to go through the process of grieving and rebuilding our resources once again. Twice. But now that we know what to do, we are getting healthcare insurance so that when it happens again, which I pray so hard that it won’t, we have something to fall back on, to tap into.

Entrepreneurship, etc.

I have been reading a lot about businesses, what is the best one I can put up with the little capital I have now, and how to put up one. I have gathered quite a number of information about putting up a small business and I thought I’d share it here for those who are also interested in being an entrepreneur themselves.

I am an accountant by profession. So, the financial side of a business is quite easy for me. I also know a lot about securing permits and licenses and certifications from the local government units. I will also share it here.

You can expect a series of posts about it. I am just jotting down a list of things I want to share as I want everything in order, not haphazardly shared only.

You can also expect a couple of posts about handling finances. I am very much interested in it, reading a lot of articles about separating money for savings and adventures.

Stay tuned.

Sage Financial Advice For These Worrying Times

I don’t know about you, but right now, every time I turn on the TV or listen to the news on the radio, it’s pretty clear that there is a lot of worrying things going on in the world right now. No matter what side of the political divide you lie in, it’s clear to everyone that we are on a rocky road, the likes of which we haven’t seen before.

It got me thinking – what is our future, and that of our kids, actually going to look like? And what on earth can we do to ensure we are safe, happy and content?

Some things are out of our hands, of course. None of us can stop global problems and world leaders doing what they like on an individual basis. But what we can do is to give ourselves an opportunity to forge a secure future, no matter what happens. Here are some suggestions that might help you get through this particularly rough patch and come out the other side intact.

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Have yourself some fun

While you’re young, it’s important to get out there and enjoy yourself. Sensible financiers might tell you to pump all your money into a retirement fund and investments, and while this is excellent advice that you should consider following, it’s not the be-all and end-all. It’s all about striking the right balance, between spending good times with those you love and preparing for a sound financial future at the same time. You don’t need to live like it’s the last day of your life, but you do need to enjoy yourself – so make sure leisure and social activities are on your agenda, as much as financial planning. Ultimately, the friends you make now could be the support you need in the future – and money can’t buy you that kind of loyalty and friendship.

Invest in yourself

If you want to enjoy a happy lifestyle in your later years, you need to invest in yourself. Ultimately, the rewards you get from life will be down to your knowledge, skills, and experience you pick up, and the sooner you invest in your education and learning, the better off you will be. Start seeing yourself as an asset, and one that if you invest in will pay off for many years into the future. Work hard, learn everything you can, and make the right career choices, and you will not have to worry about financial dependence in later life.

Plan properly

It’s easy to say you want to be a millionaire by the time you retire. But if this is your only goal, it will be almost impossible to achieve. You have to break that aim into small chunks and focus on setting yourself a string of short-term goals, which will eventually lead to achieving the long-term objective. A lot can change in the next 25-30 years, so take thing slowly and make your decisions based on the current climate. For example, perhaps you could start matching your company’s retirement contributions so that you maximize your returns. Or maybe you could focus on paying off all your debts within a couple of years. Take baby steps, and you’ll find that your overall dream starts becoming more likely.

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Take care of yourself.

Your genetics will have a significant role to play in your later years, but there’s even more you can do right now to ensure you are happy, healthy, and content. It’s critical to start living a healthy and active lifestyle, and the earlier you start, the better. No one knows what the future holds, of course, but if you invest in your health and fitness right now, your life expectancy will increase.

Plan for ill health

However, as everyone knows, the older you get, the more likely it will be that you suffer from ill health. You just don’t know what’s going to happen, and the best time to start preparing for potential problems is right now. You might need money to fund your memory care, meet your physical needs, or even expensive medical costs that aren’t available via social security or your insurance plan. All of this can add up to an eye-watering sum, and unless you have a solid financial foundation, you will either go without or have to rely on your children’s money. So, start saving, making safe investments, and ensure you are ready for anything.

Educate yourself financially

Anyone can make money – it’s what you do with it that counts for the future. And given that financial literacy isn’t taught in schools, the best thing you can do for yourself is to learn about how to manage and invest your finances in the right places. Research proves that those who know their numbers will almost always be better off in old age – and their kids will enjoy a wealthier lifestyle, too.

Check your lifestyle

Most people earn more money than they actually need to spend. The trouble is that this excess income is often wasted, and pumped into fleshing out a more luxurious lifestyle. But at the end of the day, a $4,000 TV is going to last just as long as a $500 alternative that you find in a sale. And once you start spending on your lifestyle, it’s a lot harder to return to a more frugal way of living. So, no matter how much or how little you earn, always make sure the cost of your life is less than your income growth – and put what is left away in savings.

Borrow to invest

Finally, don’t be afraid to borrow money. As long as you are doing it the right way, debt can be a useful investment tool. However, never put lifestyle choices on credit, and only ever use debt as a platform to make money. Mortgages, business loans, stocks and bonds – and even your education – are all areas where borrowing should pay off.

No one can be certain of what will happen in the future, particularly in these troubling times. All you can do is focus on your future and that of your family. Make the right choices now, and you should be able to avoid any of the potential clouds that could show up in the years to come.

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