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28
May

Why Living Beneath Your Means Isn’t a Sacrifice

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9e344e349634408da3b4707eefdd5480At 29, I would consider myself to be a full-on grown up person. And one of my big takeaways from full-fledged adulthood is that in order to get your finances right, you’ve got to change a lot of habits. Waste is the most natural thing for people like you and me to do. Frugality comes naturally to some (or so I here), but most of us are not this way. And that’s a shame, because the average adult financial life is packed with waste and missed savings opportunities. But for the average person, it simply doesn’t feel this way. You look at your finances and think, “I work hard, I don’t have any extra time, I’m not running up huge restaurant and bar tabs every night, I don’t live anywhere fancy. Why don’t I have any extra money?”

It’s because money slips between the cracks. When we get busy and stressed out, the details of our lives start to follow the paths of least resistance. That’s why it’s hard to keep up an exercise regimen when you’re stressed. It’s hard to keep in touch with your friends and family if you’re working all the time. Following a budget is the same way. If you’re running in the red, you are going to start spending outside the bounds of your budget, every single time.

This begs the question, “What are we working so hard for?” In many cases I have found that we have to work ourselves to death to fund our inefficient lifestyles. It’s like driving a 2005 Hummer. You’ll have to get a second mortgage to the payments you’re making at the pump. But this all begs the question, “Why not sell the Hummer and buy a car that doesn’t guzzle gas?”

Our lifestyles are a lot like this. If you have huge food costs, rent or mortgage payments that take up a third or more of your income, credit card debts, and a dozen other expenses that are dragging you down, you’ve either got to dramatically increase your earning potential or start cutting some of these expenses. This is where the miracle of frugality comes in. Many people can actually save more, while working less, simply by changing the way they live.

Start with the big stuff. Can’t afford your car? Sell it. Can’t afford to live where you do? Move. Those are the biggest and the most potentially painful changes you’ll have to make. From there it gets easier. Cancel entertainment subscriptions your can’t afford or don’t use. Use your extra income from the above savings to get rid of expensive debt. Start cooking at home rather than paying 3-4X as much for restaurant foods. Make any of a dozen different changes, if only for a month to see what a difference it makes.

At the end of the month, take a deep breath. Do you feel the change in your anxiety and restfulness? That’s because living beneath your means is easy. It’s not a constant grind. It allows you time to focus on stuff that matters: your family, your health, your other interests. It’ll also enable you to save and invest to a degree never before possible. Open an IRA, buy your house if you can, start doing some Forex Trading.

In the end, you’ll be happier and healthier, not to mention richer, than you were when you were working yourself to death for an unsustainable lifestyle. Living beneath your means is nice. It might take you a year or two to really figure out how to do it best, but believe me, it’s worth it.

25
May

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Title Loans

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car title loansPeople who need to borrow money very quickly often turn to car title loans to help them out. These are very flexible loans and are not just very quick, but also available for people with bad credit, which makes them very interesting. However, before you go ahead and apply for car title loans in Gardena, you should make sure you fully understand these types of financial products. Hopefully, this FAQ will help you with that.

Q – What Is a Title Loan?

Basically, they are loans that are secured against your vehicle. It can be any vehicle, from a regular car to a personal airplane or even a boat. What matters is that you are the title owner of this vehicle and that the title is free from any liens. This includes finance. If you do still have finance on your vehicle, an auto equity loan may be more suitable.

Q – Will I Qualify?

It is impossible to guarantee that you will be qualified unless you actually put in an application. However, the requirements for these loans are really easy to meet. Besides be a clear vehicle title holder, most lenders look for someone who:

  • Is at least 18 years old (21 in some cases).
  • Is a permanent and legal resident in this country.
  • Has an active bank account with direct deposit facility.

Credit status is not important and many lenders don’t even require you to be employed, although it is often preferred.

Q – What Kind of Car Is Accepted?

Generally speaking, any type of vehicle and any make and model will be accepted for a title loan. However, the minimum a lender will usually borrow you is $601 (from which point higher interest rates are allowed to be charged by law), and they will usually not borrow you more than 50% of the value of your vehicle. Hence, your car should be worth at least $1,300 in order for you to be able to get a loan against it.

Q – How Much Can I Borrow?

Again, this depends. The minimum tends to be $601 and most lenders have a maximum of $5,000, even if your car is worth more than that. If this is the first time you have applied for a loan through a certain company, you are likely to be offered less than if you have gone through several successful applications.

Q – How Long before I Get my Money?

The application for car title loans in Gardena is very quick. A decision will usually be made almost instantly. Most lenders also guarantee that you will have the money in your account within 48 hours. Some even guarantee the same day, so long as it is within banking business hours.

Q – Can I Keep my Car?

Yes. Some lenders will want you to hand over your spare keys, or they will put a remote locking device on the ignition. Usually, however, all they will want is to hold on to your title deed.

25
May

Even High Earners Are Living Paycheck To Paycheck

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Living paycheck to paycheck is not just a problem for lower-income workers. Studies have found that many high earners are also finding themselves trapped in the living paycheck to paycheck financial cycle. A recent survey by SunTrust found that almost one-third of survey respondents making $75,000 per year or more are living paycheck to paycheck on occasion. The same survey found that nearly one-fourth of the respondents making over $100,000 annually do as well. The SunTrust survey polled 518 adult respondents in households with a combined income of $75,000 or higher.

One of the biggest culprits for this trend in living paycheck to paycheck is lifestyle inflation. Many people that receive a raise, a bonus, or some other type of increase in their income begin to spend more money instead of maintaining their current lifestyle and saving the additional money. For example, 68 percent of the survey respondents that acknowledged they were not saving as much money as they should cited expenses from dining out as the main reason for their lack of saving. Entertainment and clothing expenses came in close behind. This shows that their discretionary spending is out of control, not that they are not making enough money to meet their necessary expenses.

So how do you break the living paycheck to paycheck cycle? The first step is to figure out where your money is going each month. Establishing a budget and tracking your expenses will show you what you are spending your money on each month and how much you are spending in each category. If this sounds like a lot of work, it can be if you do it by hand in notebooks or on sheets of paper. Fortunately, there are a number of free apps that will link to your bank and credit accounts to log your transactions and categorize them into easily viewed budget categories. A favorite app for this task is Mint.

The next step is to reduce your spending to a more manageable level that allows you to have money left over for saving. This could mean limiting dinners out to once or twice a week and cooking the rest of the time, getting rid of memberships and subscriptions that you do not need, establishing a set amount for entertainment each month, or getting rid of the premium packages on your cable bill. Most people have many areas of spending that could be trimmed if necessary and living paycheck to paycheck makes reductions in spending necessary.

23
May

Unclaimed Money May Be Waiting For You

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Millions of people across the nation are owed money from housing deposits, refunds, old pension plans, and forgotten bank accounts, as well as numerous other types of financial windfalls. It is estimated that nearly $41.7 billion is currently held in government unclaimed-property programs. By law, companies can’t keep that money and must turn it over to the state for safekeeping if they can’t find you. The great thing about finding this unclaimed money is that the money already has your name on it because it’s yours.

It is free to search for unclaimed money using websites provided by the government and related agencies. One of the best websites for finding unclaimed money is the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) website. NAUPA links to every state’s unclaimed property database, making it easy to find whether you have any unclaimed money under your name by doing a simple search.

Another large source of unclaimed funds are mature treasury bonds that have gone unclaimed. The Treasury Department holds billions in unclaimed bond money from the 25,000 payments it gets back annually. The Treasury Department maintains a Treasury Hunt webpage to help people find if some of that money is owed to them.

You may also be owed money from the IRS that you are unaware of. This frequently happens when an employee makes too little money to file taxes, but the employer withheld money from the paychecks to pay income taxes. To get that money back, you need to file a return with the IRS within three years. If you moved and missed receiving a refund check, the IRS will reissue the check if it’s within 12 months of when you filed.

If you were ever employed by a company that offered a retirement plan or had a failed pension plan, you might be owed money from the company. Many people leave the company they are employed with before they are able to claim the money in their retirement plan, leaving millions of dollars in the hands of these companies. The National Registry of Unclaimed Retirement Benefits post the names of employees due retirement benefits that the companies have been unable to locate and make contact with. Failed pension plans are generally taken over by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, which maintains a website to help workers find out if they have pension benefits available under the old plans.

When searching for unclaimed money, you must be careful because a number of scammers and scam websites try to trick you with the promise of finding your unclaimed money for you. Some of these scammers try to charge you a fee for conducting the search while others use the allure of unclaimed money to get you to reveal personal information, like your birthdate and social security number. If you find that the website you are on is asking you for money to proceed, you are probably on a website that is trying to scam you.