A home upgrade in this crisis: doable or not?

home-upgrade Like any other large family out there, our family also struggle with space. Currently, our home is a three-storey, fully-functional old structure that we first rented out before we purchased it. The ground floor is being used as home office, the second floor as dining and living area combined, and, the third floor has the bedrooms. What we love about the old house is that every space inside it is being utilized by every member of our family. No space is wasted.

So, why the thought of upgrading the house, then?

This side of the world was put in lockdown back in March 2020. Scary times. Also, being stuck inside, it became a time when you zoomed in every little thing at home. Number one thought: why haven’t someone from the family noticed how cramped we are with the space we have now? Every sound echoes and can be heard in your meetings and online classes. Every space is being occupied by computer tables/desks, laptops, printers, and even writing areas. With three kids in the family and a couple of adults all in Zoom meetings every few hours, the cramped space is making us crazy!

Thus, the thought of an upgrade. Several considerations have to be discussed amongst family members, of course. Finances, for one. Timeline. And, there’s also the matter of a temporary house for everyone while the upgrade is being done. If you are considering a home upgrade like us, here are three considerations we are currently mulling over.

Financing the home upgrade. These are scary times to be shelling out our hard-earned money but this is also a time when banks and other lending institutions are lenient in loans. Why not take advantage of it? Interest rates are down, amortizations are more affordable. We are actually considering a home remortgage. Remortgage the house to upgrade and repay it in a couple of years. One idea is to use the space above the garage. We can convert it into two rooms to be used for online classes of the kids. Another idea is to put up a fourth floor which will give us ample space a room for home office and two rooms for online classes. We are tossing the ideas and we have been computing, using a mortgage calculator.

With the budget for the upgrade secured, how long will it take for the construction to finish? Timeline is another big consideration. Time is money. The time for the upgrade to complete is the money we will have to spend. We are also reading up on help with the home upgrade. We are weighing the pros and cons of a bigger budget and shorter timeline, or a smaller budget and longer timeline.

A temporary shelter for all of us should the upgrade begin. We are a large family consisting of six adults and three kids. Work and school will be interrupted with the internet connection being affected, plus, the noise of a home construction will cause havoc in our online meetings. This is another consideration being weighed by the adults in the family. We might rent out a house temporarily or stay with a relative but it will put a dent on the upgrade budget.

This pandemic has put so many things into perspective. That is one positive outcome of the lockdown, being inside the house 24/7. You see issues and you find ways to solve it. Every problem is now being zoomed in because we all have time, and that’s great, if you think about it.

So, is a home upgrade in this crisis doable? Yes, I believe it is. Just make sure the whole family is on board the idea and every little aspect will be discussed and decided on.

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A steady passive income.

This pandemic has taught us so many things but the uppermost is that we should have a steady passive income from which we can build a fund for emergencies such as the lockdown that happened last year. Several co-workers were retrenched because the company was in dire straits. We needed to cut costs to be able to stay afloat and not close shop like what so many other companies did.

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My brother is looking for used tire for sale and it made me think of a car repair shop. My Dad used to own one but it folded and closed shop when someone in the family got sick and we needed the money to pay for his hospital bills. My Dad liquidated his business to use for the hospitalization. But we grew up around that shop so my siblings and I know how to run one. Plus, I am an accountant by profession so it would be easy for us to set up shop again and start that kind of business from ground up. It will become a steady source of passive income for my siblings and I because we do not really plan to quit our nine to five jobs.

Another idea is to go ahead with the plan to put up an online shop for our handmade candles. It has been months since this idea came up but I am really busy so my sister and I put a hold on it for now. My sister has been testing, researching, polishing processes. She is also completing documents so we can register our company very soon. This will be a work-in-progress for now but very soon, I am sure it will come to fruition. This business idea excites me the most because it was a long-standing dream of my sister and I to dabble in candle and soap-making. We love the idea of making something out of our own hands and for others to use the product for their enjoyment and relaxation.

These are just two ideas of our family on how to have a steady passive income flowing into the family coffers. We want to build a sizable egg nest in preparation for old age and also for the little ones. The idea also is to have them grow into businesses and not rely solely on paychecks like what we have been doing for how many years now. We want them to learn that it is totally fine to be an employee but it is so much better if there is a business that they can grow and earn so much from.

This pandemic really made us think and look back to some goals that we have set aside in the past years. Now, more than ever, is the right time to begin working towards those goals again. If not for us, for the little ones in our family. For their future.

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Vlogging: Can you really earn from it?

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A couple has been on the hunt for furniture toronto for a few days now. Not for a brand new home or renovation. Not to give as a welcome home gift or for a newly-wed couple starting to build their forever home. The furniture will become the backdrop for their videos. The couple is into video blogging or, simply called, vlogging.

Vlogging has become such a trend nowadays that even ordinary individuals have their own YouTube channels you can subscribe to. Do you know why? The money to be earned in a video viewed by the millions. It is rumored that a YouTube video viewed at least five hundred million times will earn you a whopping one million US dollars!!! Not too sure about the accuracy of that article I read but if it is true, then you cannot really blame the hundreds of ordinary individuals who would do anything just to get their videos to go viral online.

But, can you really earn from vlogging?

Apparently, yes. You need to reach a certain number of viewers in order for your uploaded YouTube vlog to start getting advertisements. Those ads will pay you depending on the popularity of your channel. I believe celebrities command a higher rate for their vlogs especially as their videos generate millions of views in a span of weeks.

Very recently, an unknown man uploaded a vlog of his. He was spaced out in the video, looking somewhere in front of him, eyes wide open and unblinking. The caption of the video was this… wait and see if the man will blink his eyes. It was a two-minute video with nothing but the wide-eyed man spaced out. It went viral! The video was viewed millions of times by netizens who got curious if something would happen in between 1 second and two minutes. Nothing happened. I was also duped by that video but can you imagine the amount of money the vlogger earned just by that simple vlog of his?

In reality, vlogging was coined to connote a new performance art or music released by an artist. It was used in a different manner, with everyone who has a video camera and some confidence to record themselves, would create a video to be uploaded in YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or even their own blog sites. In all honesty, had I know that vlogging will generate a big chunk of income, I would have joined the bandwagon a long time ago.

Still, I wish that some people respect the platform. Not everyone can vlog! And not because you have the equipment, you can now record video after video, then find a way to make it go viral just for you to earn. Vlog if you have something important to say or impart. Vlog if you really think you will entertain someone to lighten their daily load. Vlog if you must but hopefully with the good intention and not only for you to earn from it.

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Budgeting as a side effect of lockdown.

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When the year 2020 came in, a lot of positive stuff came with it. Everyone was hopeful. People have kept their faith that everything would fall into place that year, with luck being on our side. January 2020 was good, February even better. Then, came March…

A super typhoon wreaked havoc in several parts of the country through flooding. A volcano erupted after it. The eruption left so many families without their livelihoods, destroying crops, tourism, and so much more. Then, this corona virus claiming so many lives and causing massive lockdowns around the world!

One side effect of the lockdown due to the virus is retrenchment. A number of people lost their jobs because companies had to let go of some of their employees in order to stay afloat. Can you imagine losing your steady source of income? It is scary. But I’d like to think that this virus also brought about some positive changes in our lives. One such positive outcome is budgeting. Majority of individuals, especially parents, learned how to budget properly.

money-organizer These days, instead of immediately buying a brand new appliance when the one at home gets broken, an appliance repair brampton specialist gets called instead. Practical, cheaper. Economical.

When a double-income household becomes a single-income household, you learn to tighten the belt, fix this and that, to make ends meet. You learn to budget properly. You learn how to keep track of your family cash flow in order to make sure all the needs are met and some spare can be saved.

If you are having a hard time budgeting, here is a suggestion, an easy way to budget your income. Get a money organizer, label it with the expenses you need to pay off and spend on for the next fifteen days (this is particularly for salaried income earners), and start putting cash in every pocket until you have enough for every item of expense you have there. Mommies have been swearing on the effectiveness of this method of budgeting. One way of being able to properly budget through the money organizer is by sticking to the plan. Writing down what is truly needed for the next fifteen days, sticking to the list, doing meal planning… it is a big part of a successful budget.

Not everything brought on by this virus lockdown had negative effect on our lives. The lockdown taught us hard lessons. Save up for emergencies. Create and stick to a budget. Learn to tighten the belt when the household income drops. Get to know the needs of every member of the family living under one roof in order to avoid clashes. Be sensitive to the needs and quirks of everyone around you. The lockdown is probably a way of the world to teach us to look beyond what is in front of us, to improvise again like we used to, to become better versions of ourselves.

I would like to believe that we will come out of this virus period stronger and better.

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2021 Investment Update By: Arthur Doglione

Raise your hand if you predicted 2020 would see a global pandemic, massive unemployment caused by
the first ever government mandated economic shut down in history, a highly contested election, and a
stock market recovery from the lows that was amongst the strongest in U.S. history, all in the same year?
Ok, put your hand down, there is always one in a crowd! While the calendar has turned all the pages of
2020, there are many differing opinions as to the current health of the U.S. economy and financial
markets, have they come too far too soon, what effects will government stimulus and economic
dislocations have on the financial markets in 2021 and beyond?

Widespread uncertainty in 2020 failed to dampen the outlook and recovery of equities in Q2 and Q3
2020, record low interest rates were certainly the fuel and spark the markets needed, however the markets
took a pause in early Q4 as election chaos gave investors pause, until positive vaccine news once again
provided the spark in November 2020. Stocks across the board have risen to new heights, awakening even
value stocks from their multiyear slumber. However, following such an impressive rise some on Wall
Street believe the rally has come too far too soon, prompting calls of a “bubble” in both stocks and bonds.

While it is our opinion that we are not currently experiencing a bubble in equities, we will grant that the
most striking characteristic of economic bubbles, the very thing that fuels their existence is our blindness
to them! Perhaps we should first define what a bubble is, one definition of a bubble is that an assets price
rises rapidly to the point of being disconnected from any reasonable measure of its inherent value. This is
typically caused by emotional inertia driving future expectations higher causing an implausible gap
between price and value, some might say Bitcoin! Just an observation largely based perhaps on an
inability to make a case for its value given many still can’t even determine if it’s a currency or a
commodity! If it’s a currency there is not, and cannot ever be enough in supply to serve this role, if it’s to
be viewed as a commodity similarly to gold or silver, I’ve yet to find anything that requires Bitcoin in its
manufacture. It may very well continue its explosive price ascent, but attempts to determine “what it’s
worth” have been difficult, if not futile.

One asset class where we believe weakness will continue is bonds; with rates at record lows and
significantly elevated federal spending to support the economy as well as fund party pledges, we are
aware the Fed’s desire is to keep short term rates at low levels, this does not preclude the free markets
from pulling the intermediate and long end of the yield curve higher. This realization may seem unsettling
to some investors, however, if the economy does start to show better growth in the second half of 2021 as
we expect it will, we will likely see rates rise and bond prices fall. Alpha Fiduciary has focused on bond
allocations largely supported by real assets or special circumstances which we believe are preferable to
own, relative to traditional fixed rate bonds, in rising rate environments.

Finally, earning season will likely provide support for stocks as we begin to see the world return to a
more normal operating environment, it would not surprise us to see at least a temporary surge in
economic growth before settling in to a more gradual and sustainable GDP growth in the 2.5% range as
pent-up demand is satisfied in 2021.

While we don’t think most longer-term investors should underweight stocks in this environment, we favor
a core/tactical approach to equities as we believe this presents an attractive upside capture while posed to
potentially reduce downside exposure should factors signal to reduce equity exposure in the event it’s
warranted.

There are many different approaches to the tactical management of equities, designed and employed with
the goal to gain exposure to asset classes when they are rising, and to reduce exposure to those asset
classes to limit or reduce downside capture.

If you would like to discover if Alpha Fiduciary’s wealth management approach can benefit you, please
visit Alphafiduciary.com, or call us at 480-505-4033.

Alpha Fiduciary is a SEC registered investment advisory firm. This blog is provided for informational
purposes only and should not be construed as personalized investment advice and should not be
considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security or investment advisory service. Please refer to the
Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website (www.adviserinfo.sec.gov) to review our Form ADV
Brochure for more information.

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3 Financial Tips For First-Time Car Owners

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When beginning to drive for the first time, no matter if that’s when you’re eighteen years old or fifty, it’s easy to feel worried about the financial cost of operating a vehicle. Of course, you have nothing to fear (not really). Vehicles do require maintenance and sometimes they do break down, but if you are willing to look after the pennies, it’s possible to run a car without having to pay over the odds for the privilege.

That being said, financial wisdom applies to all areas of life, and running a vehicle is no different. For those who wish to save as much as they can, or rather spend in the areas that are most important, it’s worthwhile to know what your options are. Thankfully, you don’t have to learn these tips through trial and error, instead, you can come to rational conclusions based on worthwhile tips and tricks you deserve to know.

So – what do you deserve to know? That’s a great question in itself. Let’s move forward and share all we know about financial guidance for first-time car owners:

Consider Financed Options Or Loans

Financed options or loans can help you achieve a vehicle that is more reliable, more affordable in the long run, and more worthwhile. New Roads Auto Loans can help you secure a car you’re looking for, because ultimately if you purchase a sustainable vehicle (or one that can operate well without proprietary repairs), you are saving money in the long run. No matter if you buy a gas-guzzler or a tiny hatchback, the same principles apply. This way, you’re more likely to benefit.

Understand The Basics Of Maintenance

If you’re able to change a tire, check and change your oil, and understand the basics of maintenance, you can avoid having to call someone out for the privilege each time a difficulty springs up. Something as simple as checking tyre pressure before a journey or replacing brake fluid can help you avoid nasty callout charges. At the very least, invest in great insurance so that you are covered even if there’s something you can’t fix. This will help you avoid issues (and financial holes) in the long run.

Buy Fuel On A Credit Card

Buying fuel on a credit card is useful. It helps you pay for your gas wherever you need it, without having to overly worry about the exact penny cost to your limited debit account funds. This can also grant you the means of paying off your expenses later on, building your credit score, and ultimately helping you secure a better option (or better insurance) next time. When you know you can afford fuel no matter what and pay it back at a later date, you will have peace of mind on the roads, and feel very comfortable as a result. That’s a greata place to start.

With this advice, you’re sure to manage the 3 best financial tips for first-time car owners.

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4 Ways to Free Yourself From Debt

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Debt is something that everyone will experience, and it will likely follow you through life until you finally get to the point where you can pay it all off, however long that might take. But debt isn’t just a fact of life, whether credit card debt or student loans, it can also have a severe effect on your mental and physical well-being, which is why it is vital to try to escape and free yourself from debt.

Pay Off More Than The Minimum

One common reason that people struggle to escape debt is that they will only pay off the minimum amount each month, and if you’re working with thousands of dollars in credit card debt, 20 bucks every month is not going to make much difference. Even paying twice the minimum will slash the amount of time you need to repay in half, so if you can afford to do so, consider changing your monthly payment to slightly more. Ideally, you want to pay off as much as possible while still having money to live and save, but if you can double, triple, or quadruple your monthly repayment, you will free yourself from debt much faster.

Snowball It

Snowballing is a technique where you analyze your finances and identify what you owe. They start paying off the smallest costs to reduce the payments while still making minimum payments on everything else. Once the smallest debts are paid off, they move to the next and so on until they are only left with the most substantial charges. While there is still some way to go, they at least don’t need to worry about defaulting on payments, and all of their excess funds can go directly into paying these charges off, which will speed up reducing the balance.

Cut Your Expenses

We all have expenses that we deem necessary to survive, but the reality is often quite different from this. It’s possible you have plenty of monthly charges for services you don’t even use, so you’ll need to get rid of these before anything else. Once you have achieved this, consider things you could cut out of your daily life, such as a morning coffee from Starbucks, or even your cable TV, especially considering you can access unjust information about everything online nowadays.

Seek Lower Interest Rates

Seeking lower interest rates from your lender is something many people explore when they cannot handle the extortionate interest rates. Considering Mark of Freedom says all banks are a scam, high-interest rates are no surprise. However, some lenders may take pity on you and allow you to negotiate a reduction to help you manage your money better.

Freedom

Paying off all of your debt and finally being free is not something you can achieve overnight, but the feeling you will get when you see your credit card balance at zero is hard to beat. It will take time, and it will take plenty of discipline with a few bumps along the way, but with these methods, you can start the process of freeing yourself from the nasty clutches of debt in all its forms.

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Tips To Help With Your Savings This Year

Savings are something we can all benefit from having in our life. You never know what’s around the corner and what you might need to be financially prepared for. Here are some tips to help with your savings this year.

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Try To Avoid Using Your Savings

Firstly, it’s important to try and keep your savings as savings until you need to use them for bigger expenditures and things that might be very meaningful. You should be spending it like any spending money you have available for the month ahead. Try to avoid having that attitude towards your savings and instead make your savings hard to access so that you’re only going to end up using them when it’s really necessary to do so. If you’re treating your savings like another spending pot, then you’re not going to have any savings left, so use them wisely. For bigger expenditures that you might want to hold onto your savings, you can always look to apply for Installment Loans so that you’re not having to spend all your savings on things when you could pay it off in parts.

Save Something Each Month Regardless

It’s always good to try and save some money each month, even if it’s only just a small amount. A little bit here and there is going to make all of the difference when you’re trying to build your savings pot. Look at how you could save more and try to set aside some money, whether you get paid at the end of every month or whether it’s every week. If you’re saving anything, it’s going to help you improve your attitude towards saving money, so try and do more of it where you can.

Create A Better Budget

Budgets are good to have when you’re trying to save money, and whether you’ve got one already or not, you can always make it better. We can always cut down luxuries and find ways to make your money stretch further. Think about how you can set out a budget if you’ve never made one before and if you already have one, is there anything that you can wiggle in order to help you save more money? Be strict with your expenditures and try to direct as much as you can towards your savings pot.

Find Ways To Make Extra Money

We’d all like to earn extra money and for some, it can be easier than others. However, with the online world, there’s so much out there where you can make extra money. It’s all about being aware of what’s out there and what you could with the opportunities that you’re presented with. There are plenty of ways to make extra money, so think of what you can take advantage of, whether it’s starting a blog and making a living from it or selling your services to the local community in your area.

There are lots of ways that you can help improve your savings, so do what you can to help make a difference to your savings.

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Three Ways To Live Below Your Means

Living below your means can seem impossible sometimes, especially if you are already struggling to make ends meet, but spending more than what you can afford regularly will eventually lead to financial ruin if you aren’t careful.

If you are fed up with continually trying to keep up with your monthly credit card bills, increasing debt, and lack of financial breathing space, use these three tips to help you start your journey to improve your finances by living below your means.

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Stick to your budget

To successfully live below your means, you need to have a budget in place; otherwise, you will keep overspending. A budget is vital to ensure success and will give you an accurate picture of your monthly cash flow. Once you can see the whole picture, you can then focus on your weak spots and areas for improvement to help you save as much money as possible and get out of debt. Doing this will help you to identify habits that you need to change and where you are wasting your money. Make sure to do a new budget at the beginning of every month, either in a dedicated planner or an Excel spreadsheet, and aim to stick to it. Just leave a little bit of wiggle room for those last-minute surprises that life inevitably throws at us from time to time. Remember that your budget is very individual and will differ from everyone else’s, the most important thing is that it works for you. If you find that realistically your budget doesn’t work in the first month, then that’s also fine – you can always go back and tweak it, but having a budget, even if not perfect straight away, will stop you from mindlessly spending money allowing you to save more.

Make more money

If you have budgeted as much as possible, and find that you are still struggling and feeling deprived, then it might be time to start thinking of ways to increase your income. Easier said than done? Of course. But there are also many money-making opportunities out there if you are willing to look around and work hard enough. In an era where just about everyone has a side hustle, there are plenty of part-time, freelance jobs that you can easily do in your spare time on evenings and weekends, and many from the comfort of your own home. The trick is to simply get started, keep persevering, and take every opportunity you can. If you don’t want to work for someone else, why not start your own business on the side instead and look into starting your own blog or promoting your skills and becoming a freelancer? This will help you to save more and live below your means a little easier, meaning that you are more likely to stick to this new way of living.

Don’t spend more just because you earn more

Should you be successful in finding ways of making an extra income, then congratulations! Just make sure that you don’t fall victim to the vicious cycle of spending more now that you are earning more. It might be tempting to go after lusted-over purchases now that you have some extra money, but remember what your overall goal is. Instead of using your extra income on mindless spending, start using it to pay off current debts and add to your savings. Regardless of how much you earn, if you elevate your lifestyle every time you get a pay rise, you will never gain control over your finances, and you’ll always be living in debt. If you are struggling with severe debts and don’t know how to deal with them, reaching out for professional help from specialists such as gaining a DTSS Membership is a great first step to finally gain control over your finances. Living below your means is challenging, yes, but think about why you’ve boosted your income, all of the progress you’ve made in the first place and the financial freedom that you are ultimately trying to achieve.

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Why You May Have More Money Than You Realize

Of all things that can cause stress, none are quite like our money situation. The problem with finance-related problems (or even just worries) is that it seems like they rarely, if ever, go away; it’s an all-consuming issue. However, while there aren’t any magic bullets when it comes to solving these issues, there is something that could help: you may have more money than you think you do. A lot of this will be wrapped up in untapped sources. We’ll take a look at how to reveal that cash below.

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In the Drawers

Most of us are guilty of buying more stuff than we really need. We buy and buy and buy, to the point where our homes are overflowing with things that we don’t necessarily need (or even want). Take a look in your drawers, and you might just find that you have many goods that you could sell for a significant amount. Go through, figure out the items that you don’t need, and then look at listing them online for sale. Within a week or so, you might have earned the equivalent of a month’s pay.

What You’re Owed

We tend to think that the only source of cash is through our jobs, but that’s not really the case. There’s a lot of money in the world, and some of it may be owed to you. For example, if you were injured and it wasn’t your fault, then you may be entitled to financial compensation. However, it’s not as if that money will automatically come your way: you have to fight for it. The best personal injury lawyer can help you to get the money that’s rightfully yours. You will also want to see if there are any tax credits or other state money that you’re entitled to.

Daily Expenses

If you’re one of those people that reaches the end of the month and always thinks, ‘where does all my money go?’ then it’s worthwhile digging a little deeper, and seeing where exactly your money goes. For example, many of us spend more money than we realize on things like coffee and takeout food. Individually, these things don’t cost too much — but collectively, they can add up to a pretty penny. Just by cutting down on these expenses, you’ll find that you have a lot more money in your bank account.

Putting Your Assets to Work

It could be that you’re actually fairly wealthy — it’s just all your financial worth is tied up in your home or car. If you want more cash in your life, then put these assets to work. You could rent out a room in your house, for example, or offer rides in your car (such as to work).

Earning Potential

Finally, take a look at your earning potential. If you’re currently underpaid, then you’re more valuable than you’re currently being paid. If that’s the case, talk to your boss about getting a raise — if you’re worth it, they’ll give it. You can only ask!

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