When Family Life Is Put To The Test

Family life is never going to be easy, it’s a lesson we learn right from the end. But family life is one of the best things to happen to us all. Even if you never get to the stage of having your own family, you will no doubt cherish the hundreds of memories that you’ve been able to make with the family you’ve grown up with. From the family holiday’s, to the parties that you’d have each time a special occasion comes around. But that doesn’t mean that family life isn’t out to throw a few tough times at us, and when the calm is put to the test, it can often be hard to deal with. Some people are crippled with family issues that are going on at the minute. So we’re going to try and give you some advice with some of the problems that you might be facing at the minute. Just keep on reading, and see if you can relate to any of these problems.

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Family Fall Outs

Family fall outs are bound to happen at some people. As a family you’re such a close unit that’s around each other a lot of the time, and often that can lead to so many clashes that cause arguments. Time usually get tough when the family is strained. But there’s nothing quite like a family fall out, because those are the people who you need the most. So to get through family arguments like you should be doing, rather than dragging them out, you should be thinking about the different ways of communication and how you can approach it. Often people mistake communication with confrontation when a family is trying to resolve a problem, so always make sure that it doesn’t feel like an attack, and just get things back on track. Having a close family unit is so much better than having a distant one.

The Elderly Getting Older

The elderly getting older is a sensitive subject that nobody likes to talk about, but it’s definitely one that we should all be thinking about. Their lives are so important to us, and when their health starts to go downhill, your heart can really sink. Medicare Nationwide is just one of the sources you could go to for insurance that would make the whole process easier. No doubt they’ll need medical care at some point, and good insurance is going to mean the difference between good insurance and great insurance. But most importantly, make sure that you’re the support system that they need.

Family Money Problems

Pretty much every family can relate to money problems, because as soon as you go from having to pay for just the two of you, to having to pay for another little human to pay for, things can get tight. One good bit of advice we have is to use apps that help you to manage your money, so you can better understand where everything is going and how to put it to better use.

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6 Ways To Protect Your Savings

When you start making an effort to be more responsible with your money, you will soon see the benefits. If you have a strict budget, you can afford to put more aside each month and your savings account will begin to grow. When you start to build up more savings, it’s important that you protect that money. If you don’t, you may end up undoing all of your hard work in the future. But a lot of people don’t realize this and they just let their savings sit in the same account, which can be a big risk. If you are starting to build up some savings, these are the best ways to protect that money.

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Stick To Your Budget

This sounds obvious, but a lot of people start to be a bit more relaxed with their budget as the savings account grows. They don’t think that they need to worry so much about it because they have a healthy amount in their savings and it doesn’t matter if they go over budget and contribute a bit less this month. The problem is, it soon becomes a habit and you are going over budget more and more each month. Eventually, you may end up taking money out of your savings account instead of contributing to it, and you will slowly chip away at it until it’s all gone. That’s why it’s so important that you continue your good spending habits and stick to your budget. If you are in a much better financial position, you could consider writing a new budget that allows for a few more luxuries, but make sure that you are still making good contributions to your savings account each month.

Build An Emergency Fund

Unexpected bills can really put your savings at risk because if you don’t have the money to cover those expenses, you will have to dip into your savings. If it’s something big like car or home repairs, you can wipe out a big chunk of your savings in one go. The best way to avoid that is to build a separate emergency fund. Each month, when you are contributing to your savings, you should also put some money into a separate emergency fund. That way, you can use that money and leave your savings alone if you are hit with any unexpected bills. This is one of the most important things if you want a long term savings plan.

Write A Will

If you have a lot of money in a savings account, you need to start thinking about where it will go if something happens to you. If you don’t have a will in place, your money may not necessarily go to the people that you want it to after you are gone, so it’s important that you make the arrangements now. Get in touch with a probate attorney and see what your options are in terms of a will or a trust, so you can protect your money and have more control over what happens to it after you are gone. A lot of people neglect writing a will because they don’t think that they need to worry about it until they are older. In most cases, that is true, but you never know when something bad could happen to you, so it’s best to be prepared for any eventuality.

Set Up Some Investments

If you just let your savings sit there in an account, they are not really working very hard for you. There is also the chance that you could actually be losing money in real terms because of inflation. If the rate of inflation is higher than the rate of interest you are getting, the purchasing power of your savings is actually going down and your money is worth less in real terms. That’s why it’s a good idea to set up some investments instead of letting the money sit there doing nothing. If you put money into stocks and shares, you can earn money on your savings. You could also consider real estate investments if you have a larger amount of money in your savings. Just make sure that you spread your money out and you don’t put all of it into a single investment because you need to protect yourself against investments that go bad.

Move Your Savings Around

You can also protect your money from inflation and maximize your savings by moving them around on a regular basis. It’s important that you shop around for the best interest rate when you first open your savings account, but the deals are always changing and there may be a much better interest available right now. That’s why you should always keep an eye on the different savings accounts that are available and if you can, open a new one with a higher interest rate. Moving your money around regularly is the best way to offset the impact of inflation and increase your savings. If you can put it in an account that is not as easy to access, you will find it easier to avoid spending any of it.

Stop Using Credit Cards

If you are using credit cards on a regular basis, you are cancelling out any interest that you make on your savings. The interest payments on your credit cards will be a lot higher than the interest that you earn on your savings, which means that you are probably losing money. That’s why it’s a good idea to put the extra money into paying off your debts instead of putting it into savings to start with. Once your debts are cleared, you can start saving more money each month without wasting anything on credit card interest.

When you have paid off your debts, you need to avoid using credit cards again in the future if possible. Having a strict budget is an important part of that, and you should stop carrying them around with you so you are not tempted.

Building a healthy savings account is the first step, but now that you have the money there, it’s important that you take these steps to protect it.

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8 Reasons To Buy Your Home in the Summer

Buying a home doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience. Here are eight reasons why the lazy days of summer are the best time to contact your realtor Marina del Rey and kickstart the home-buying process.

1. Summer’s the best time to sell your old home.

If you’re moving from a rental property, all you have to do is navigate your lease agreement. If you own your soon-to-be-former home, however, you may need to coordinate its sale with the purchase of your new home. Summer’s the best time to do that.

2. You’ll have more properties to choose from.

Since summer is an ideal time to sell, you’ll have more options as a buyer. Year in and year out, the number of homes on the market rises along with the temperatures. This means you can be flexible and avoid having to settle for a property that offers less than what you were looking for or that isn’t right for your budget.

3. The weather is better for moving.

This is particularly important if you’re moving to or from a part of the country that experiences brutal winters. Lugging furniture and boxes through the snow is no fun. Neither is paying professional movers to endure the elements in your place.

4. Mortgage rates are usually lower.

While markets certainly fluctuate, generally speaking, mortgage rates are lower in the summer. Locking in a lower interest rate and cheaper home loan has the potential to deliver considerable savings in the long run, no matter if you’re interested in single-family homes, condos, or townhomes for sale.

5. Your kids are out of school.

Moving is a big adjustment for kids, no matter their age. You can ease the transition, especially if they’ll be changing schools, by making your move during the summer.

6. It’s a good time for DIY projects.

If you’ve got your eye on a fixer upper, summer can be the best time to buy. The weather is more cooperative for DIY projects, and it’s often easier to take time off of work as well. If your children are out of school or home from college, you can stick a rake or a screwdriver in their hands, too.

7. You can get a better feel for the neighborhood.

What do you do when the weather turns cold? You stay inside with a good book or a Netflix binge as frequently as possible. Your potential neighbors likely do too. That’s why summer presents the best time to get a real idea of what the neighborhood is like. In the warm weather, your future neighbors will be out and about, allowing you to get a feel for things such as how many kids are on your block and who needs to break out the lawnmower more often.

8. You could snag a spring price drop.

Spring is also a popular time for sellers to list their homes. Come summertime, however, if a house hasn’t sold, some sellers are motivated to lower their prices in order to get things moving and avoid spending another season with their homes on the market.

Buying a home during the summer can alleviate many of the stresses that moving brings. If you’ve been thinking about a change of address, contact your Los Angeles real estate agent today to start the search for your dream home.

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Fiscal Stability Comes Down To Spending Sensibly

A lot of people think that fiscal stability is an unattainable goal. They might think that they could only improve their financial situation if they started earning much more money. Perhaps you feel this way too. Obviously, your income plays a huge part in your financial situation, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Whether you’re on a 5-figure or 6-figure salary, everybody needs to focus on their spending if they want to manage their money effectively. That’s what truly matters. Fiscal stability comes down to spending sensibly, so let’s expand on that.

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Refer to your budget monthly.

You probably know that budgeting is a smart way to manage your money effectively. Of course, a budget isn’t something you should simply make, file away, and try to keep in mind. It should be an ever-changing thing. Keep returning to your budget to make amendments where necessary. You should track your monthly expenses so that you can continually assess your spending habits. Obviously, the primary goal is to spend less than you earn, but simply making ends meet isn’t enough if you want to save money for the future. That’s why it’s smart to reduce wasteful spending.

You could cut your energy bills by insulating your windows with thicker glazing to trap heat, for example. You could also reduce your grocery bills by searching for online coupons before you go shopping. You don’t have to make cutbacks to save money; you just have to spend your money wisely to get the things you need. Still, not all costs can be mitigated so easily. If you have outstanding debts (e.g. money you owe for student loans or your mortgage) that you’re struggling to repay, then this might be taking a big chunk out of your budget on a monthly basis. You could seek help from an attorney such as Rashad Blossom to help you with debt relief. This could help you to get your money back under control and start putting your funds towards other costs in your life.

Keep looking for new investments.

You should also keep looking for new investments if you want to start thinking about your future wealth. If you’ve improved your budget and started spending your money more sensibly, then you’ll have more money available for investments. Improving your spending doesn’t mean that you should avoid using your money; it means that you should use it well. You could look into the property market. That’s always a good investment route for beginners. Whether you buy to lease or buy to sell, you could make a lot of money in the world of real estate. Just make sure you do your research and act cautiously when investing.

Never stop saving up for tomorrow.

If you want to spend your money sensibly, then you should save it. You might find yourself focusing on your many present-day costs, but what about tomorrow? If you want to have a pleasant retirement and perhaps even help your kids with college funds or other future costs, then you should start setting aside some of your earnings. Do this on a continuous basis. You should never stop saving up for tomorrow. Fiscal stability could be achieved by simply putting aside 10% of your monthly earnings. Those monthly transfers into your savings account will quickly accumulate and turn into substantial funds for the future. You could even look into getting an IDA to match your contributions into your savings account.

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Beginners Budgeting Basics

An awful lot of us are bad with money. When we’ve got it, we spend it. We accept credit cards when they are offered, and increase our limits when we can. We put things on credit because it’s easy, and even when we can afford to buy something outright, we take the finance option so that we don’t feel the loss.

If you’ve got a significant income, this can be fine. If you’ve got enough money that you can spend without worrying, you won’t get into trouble financially. But, it’s still a mistake. You won’t ever have savings, you might eventually need credit cards for bad credit because you are out of options, and you’ll struggle to make large purchases like buying a house. Then, one day you’ll realise that you’ve got nothing out aside for your retirement, and your options decrease further.

If you live paycheck to paycheck it’s even worse. Failure to take responsibility for your money can mean that you spend much more than you can afford to. Getting into debt is all too easy, and soon your debts can start to mount, making it impossible to get out. You can quickly find that by simply being bad with money, your options are vastly reduced, your debts have skyrocketed and your financial situation is dire. This won’t just affect you now. Severe damage to your credit score can mean that your future prospects are limited, and it can seem impossible to see a way out of your mess.

Fortunately, whatever your situation currently looks like, it’s never too late to make changes. The first should be learning to budget. Here are some tips to help you get started.

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Take Responsibility and Change Your Mindset

Yes, it’s easy to get into debt. Banks, loan companies and credit card companies are always offering you credit. When you make a large purchase, the offer of credit is there. If you’ve already got loans, credit cards and overdrafts, the companies will always want to find ways to give you more. This is how they make money. As someone with debt, you’re an ideal customer, they can make more from you.

But, this isn’t an excuse. Just because it’s easy to get into debt, doesn’t mean that you have to. Stop thinking “it’s ok, I’ll put it on credit” and start asking yourself “can I afford it right now?” And sometimes more importantly “do I need it?”. If you want to be better at budgeting, you first need to take responsibility and change your attitudes towards money, sometimes going against everything that society is telling you.

Assess Your Situation

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Are you guilty of avoiding bills and statements when you know it’s not good? You’re not alone. Most of us have at some point put an unopened statement straight into the bin. It’s even easier now that so many of us have gone paperless. Deleting emails or avoiding online accounts is easy.

But, it’s not going to help. Sure, short term, looking at your bills and statements might be upsetting and cause you worry and anxiety. But, long-term, it’s the only way to help yourself to make things better. You’ll also struggle to budget without really knowing what is going on in those accounts.

Free up a morning, or an afternoon. Sit down with a cup of coffee and no distractions. Print out your most recent bank statements and bills. Look at what you’ve got and what you owe. Take your time to really look into your financial situation. This is often the most crucial step in creating a budget and getting on top of any financial problems that you might have.

Organise Your Debts

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Few of us that are in debt only have one. You might have store cards, credit cards, loans and overdrafts. These debts aren’t all equal, and sometimes, the smaller debts are actually costing you the most money, so don’t assume that these are the best.

Now that you are aware of what you owe write a list. Write down every debt, its amount, its minimum repayment and its interest rates or fees. Look at how much each debt is costing you each month, how long it will take to repay at your current levels of repayment and how much it will cost you in total over its lifetime. By now, you should be able to see which debts are costing you the most money.

If any are interest and fee free, put them at the bottom on your list, but take note of how long that interest-free period will last, so you know when you will start to pay for them.

Find Ways to Decrease Debt

Then, it’s time to find ways to decrease these debts. Balance transfers are a great idea if you are eligible for an interest-free period and you can get the card. Debt consolidation loans are another great option, as the interest rates are much lower than credit cards and all your debts can move to one place. Just remember that even if you can only transfer a small amount of your money to an interest-free account, it’s worth doing as it will save you money.

If you are moving money like this, make a note of when that interest-free period ends. Try to pay off the debt before then, and if you can’t look at moving it again.

If these aren’t options for you, look at your accounts with the lowest interest and see if you could move debt from a higher interest account. When it comes to repayments, remember, even a little bit more than the minimum will help.

Prepare a Spreadsheet

Now you are in control of your debts. You understand your money. You need to actually build your budget. Prepare a simple spreadsheet and add everything. Add your income from wages and benefits as well as any other money that regularly comes into your account. Then, add all of your outgoings. Start with things that you have to pay each month, like rent and utilities. Then, add things that you often purchase, money towards holidays and luxuries, debt repayment, savings and luxuries. The more you include and the more accurate you can be, the more helpful your budget starts to become. Once a month sit down and look at your budget and your finances, make any changes that are necessary, don’t just assume that your budget will stay the same.

Find Ways to Save

You’ve taken control of your debts, you are making repayments, and you’ve got a budget. So now you can spot ways to save more easily. Look at those outgoings on your budget for any easy ways to save. Any contracts that you could cancel or reduce. Then, spend some time checking to see if you could make savings by switching providers.

Things like meal planning, writing shopping lists, shopping sales, preparing for holidays and events in advance and using less gas and electricity at home can also be a big help.

Set Financial Goals

Setting goals is a great way to motivate yourself. If you’ve got debts, your first goals should be about paying them off. If not, start to focus on saving money. Try to have a long-term goal, like saving for a mortgage or paying off a credit card, and then break it down into monthly or weekly targets to help you to stay on track.

Be Realistic

Setting goals that you can’t manage can be demotivating. Push yourself but make sure you’re goals and realistic and you’ll have much greater success.

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