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26 Week Savings Plan Saving money is hard. Committing to a savings plan requires cut throat motivation and determination. Even setting up automated transfers can seem like a daunting task, and squirreling away money minimizes that instant gratification of spending your hard-earned money.

 

However, without having a robust savings, so many crucial purchases are out of reach. When it comes to holiday shopping, you struggle to afford anything on your loved ones’ wish lists. Renovations and home projects are impossible without a sturdy nest egg to fund your ideas, and you end up arriving empty-handed to major life milestones like baby showers and weddings. Worst of all, if catastrophe strikes, you have no cash to rely on while you get back on your feet. Savings plans are not only essential for adult living, they’re also lifelines.

 

It’s easy to tell ourselves that we’re “bad at money” as an excuse for never establishing a savings plan. YOLO, right? What’s the point of saving money when momentary happiness depends on bagging that $500 outfit? Yet, the inability to save has become a national epidemic. According to a Bankrate.com survey, only 37 percent of Americans have enough funds in savings to pay for an unexpected expense. Sixty percent said they would cut back on spending in order to cover those costs, and 12 percent would rely on credit cards in the case of a financial emergency. In a survey conducted by Google, 62 percent of Americans said their savings accounts have less than $1000. Twenty-one percent of those surveyed said they don’t even have a savings account. Back in 2015, the Pew Charitable Trusts found that one in three Americans had absolutely no savings, and for folks making over $100,000 a year, that figure was one in 10.

 

With low CD rates and high-yield savings accounts only offering unpredictable and often stingy rates, there’s very little appeal in opening a traditional savings account. However, there are other creative and ad-hoc approaches to savings that are turning out effective results. Take for example, the 26-week savings plan. In just six and a half months, you can save $1,000 with very little effort.

 

The 26-week plan is both easy to follow and requires minimal capital to get started. The first week requires a deposit of $26, the second week $27, the third week $28, and all subsequent deposits for the next 23 weeks are made with dollar increments. That means by the middle of the fourth month, you will already have $416 in savings.

EYF 26 Week Savings Plan

The 26-week plan is easy to remember, and feasible for people from a wide variety of income brackets. In a matter of six months, you’ll be able to accrue enough cash for a summer of weddings or to install new floors in that bathroom or kitchen. Schedule your 26-week savings plan accordingly. If you know that you tend to spend more money during the holiday months, then start your plan in May, so that by the time November rolls around you’ll be walking tall on Black Friday.

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tim_grittani_legitIn “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jordan Belfort, a young stock broker from Long Island, who after defrauding thousands of people with a penny stock scheme, becomes a multi-millionaire hedonistic playboy. Although the 2013 blockbuster was a salacious depiction of just one stock broker’s wild and illegal venture trading penny stocks, these tiny and generally high-risk stocks were how Tim Grittani made his fortune. Or so he says. Is Tim Grittani legit?

In 2011, Grittani graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, and decided he wanted to play the stock market. With zero experience and $1,500, he opened up a few accounts. His parents lent him $12,000 for the sole purpose of having more day trades a week. However, he was only allowed to explicitly trade his own nest egg. Getting his sea legs in the stock market was no easy feat. Soon after he opened his first account, he quickly drained the $1,500 and had to replenish it with cash he made at a summer job. At the start of 2012, he moved in with his parents so he could just focus on stocks. They gave him one rule: either make $10,000 by March, or he had to stop trading or move out. He made his goal, and at the end of 2012, he had $150,000 to his name. Today, he says he’s managed to maintain $2.5 million in his accounts.

Grittani studied under Tim Sykes, a famous penny stock trader who claims to have turned his $12,415 Bar Mitzfah cash gifts into $2 million. Before Grittani met Sykes, he says he was buying random stocks and hoping to sell them for a profit in a couple of weeks’ time. However, this method proved to be a surefire way to quickly deflate his funds. So he reached out to Sykes who mentored and taught him how to strategically buy and sell penny stocks. Grittani attributes his $2.5 million in trading profits to Sykes’s teachings.

Sykes has established himself as an expert on short selling and betting against penny stocks in order to turn a profit when they crash. He’s considered an authority on the subject — albeit an extravagant one. Sykes showcases his indulgent lifestyle on his Instagram, while also maintaining a training program for aspiring traders. He also starred on the reality show “Wall Street Warriors,” a program following the lives of various stock traders, that ran for a mere three seasons on the Bravo network.

Although Grittani’s lifestyle is nothing like his mentor’s, he has also created an educational program. In his 16-hour course, he provides a step-by-step system on how to turn a few thousand dollars into millions over the course of four years. Overall, Gittani is very transparent about his money-making systems. According to CNN Money, one of Gittani’s biggest wins was a series of “long and short trades” of the Fannie Mae stock that earned him $250,000 in one day. He has never made grandiose statements or a flashy social media posts. Grittani is 100 percent legit.

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adult-1850268_1920We’re currently experiencing the calm before the storm. Last year, the UK voted (by a slim margin)to leave the European Union. Article 50 has been triggered and now we’re waiting for negotiations to begin.

In a year, perhaps, we may begin to understand exactly what the consequences of leaving the EU are. Businesses can begin to look at extra costs affecting them, the loss or gain of markets where they can sell their products and extra processes or forms needed to access previously easy trade in the European Single Market. There will even be issues of staffing to address as citizens of EU states may not keep the right to remain working in the country.

For now, however, businesses cannot make specific plans and can only speculate about the future. This doesn’t mean that a lot of preparation is being done behind the scenes, however.  Here are some ways you can begin to get ready to Brexit-proof your business.

Exposure

It’s hard to make plans unless you understand the risks involved. Try to list the risks to your business post-Brexit, both in a worst cast (hard Brexit) and best case (soft Brexit). Which of your assets stands to be most affected? If you mostly export your goods, your income stream stands to be most harmed. On the other hand, if a lot of your workforce is from Europe, you must prepare to lose access to their skills and labour.

Develop a Post-Brexit Plan

You’ll know from your preparation above where Brexit will likely harm your business the most. Now you can look for ways to compensate for that. In the above two examples, you can look for new markets to sell your products in. Consider what countries have a similar profile to the EU you began to sell in: this could be an opportunity to repeat your early success.

If you’re going to lose key expertise, start courting replacements soon. Consider offering entry level positions with scope for development to graduates with a relevant background.

Change Internally

You’re likely going to have to restructure to an extent to enact these plans. It’s worth calling on interim management specialists to help you get there. Chris Williams says “Interim commercial leaders are uniquely positioned to support organisations during change”, and specialist recruiters like Savannah Interim can get you the people you need to help you change course.

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firecalc_reviewHow much money do you need to retire? It’s one of the most difficult questions you’ll ask yourself as you approach your 60s. There are hundreds of retirement calculators out there that aim to help you assess how much money you’ll need when you call it quits. The vast majority claim to be able to predict your financial future simply by plugging in your age, salary, and annual savings. Yet, life isn’t simple enough to rely on such a basic formula. No one really knows how long they’re going to live or what the economy’s going to look like down the road. Firecalc sets itself apart from the pack, because it uses an algorithm based on the trajectory of investment returns from the last 146 years. It avoids patterns and general assumptions, and instead generates data based on the stock market’s historical activity.

Firecalc considers inevitable factors such as stock market crashes, high unemployment rates, recessions, and inflation to determine the health of your portfolio over the course of 30 years. Firecalc utilizes the Monte Carlo Analysis to give you various perspectives on where your money could be headed. The Monte Carlo Analysis delivers a probability distribution that allows you to compare results with risk tolerances. It’s basically a “what if?” aggregator that produces data-driven outcomes to help you make your decision on how you want to use your savings.

These potential portfolio balances are calculated based on your average predicted spending, retirement nest egg, and number of years you plan on using those funds. You can also input pension, asset allocation, and social security. Although these are the basic elements that most retirement calculators look at, Firecalc takes into account historical volatility and actual market trends. As rudimentary as this sounds, Firecalc illustrates its unique objective with three examples: Bill, Betty, and Bob.

All three retired in the mid-1970s with $750,000 in savings. Leaving the workforce behind without social security or pensions, they each put 75 percent in stock index funds and 25 percent in bond index funds. Every January 1, they withdrew $35,000. Fast-forward 19 years later, Bill had nearly run out of cash, Betty only had about $375,000 left, and Bob had grown his fortune by two-fold.

Although Bob was lucky because he jumped in the market when prices were rising, his story is clearly not a common one. Firecalc preaches that it is unsafe to take out the same amount of cash every year. It examines 111 possible outcomes over the span of 30 years with a portfolio worth $750,000 and annual spending quotas. Out of the 111 cycles, 25 cycles failed. Cumulatively, the lowest balance is $-1,029,531, the highest is $3,806,818, and the average figure is $896,280. That means that Firecalc has a success rate of 77.5 percent.

Firecalc performs most accurately when you’re nearing retirement or past the midpoint of your career. However, it best serves folks 60 and older, as traditionally most people first build their nest egg when they’re 40 and only start withdrawing once they’ve reached 60.

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bi_weekly_budgetWhether you are on salary or make an hourly wage, most of us get paid every two weeks. It’s a system that makes it easy for us to envision our finances and estimate are earnings every year. However, our bills and other expenses are not in sync with our bi weekly pay-outs, and many of us are forced to think creatively when managing our finances. Here’s how to make a bi weekly budget that works.

Have a nest egg in your checking account. We’ve all experienced that queasy feeling of checking your balance at the ATM. Sometimes you truly feel like you have no idea if you’re about to over-withdraw or if you have a few hundred dollars to your name. There’s an easy way to cure the stress. Always make sure to keep a “nest egg” or “buffer” amount of money in your account. Whatever your average weekly spending is, base the nest egg on that quantity. For example, if you usually spend around $600 a week, make sure that there’s at least a few hundred always sitting there. Tell yourself that it’s a basic minimum that must stay there — or else you’ll be punished by the banking gods. Actually, tell yourself whatever you need to make sure that amount will stay safe and secure in your account.

Magical five-week months. There are usually four months a year that are five weeks long instead of four. In 2017, those months are March, June, September, and December. Instead of expecting the two checks a month, you’ll get three. If you make $1,700 every two weeks, there will be three weeks a year that you’ll get an extra $1,700. Use those three extra pay checks as a starting point for your savings. However, don’t spend more than your regular monthly pay-out just because you’re anticipating those extra weeks. There are a lot of ways you can creatively use those “extra” paychecks for the better good of your finances.

You can:

Save up for a special vacation. If you’ve always wanted to check out the beaches of Southern Spain or go kayaking in the French Alps, now you can! It usually takes a good several months to book and plan an exciting week or two away. Use that time to strategize how exactly you plan on traveling and your price points.

Pay for major repairs and renovations. There’s no joy in having a constantly leaky sink or a heater that sounds like poltergeist when you turn it on. Use those patiently-earned savings to replace that stained carpet or broken appliance.

Grow your retirement fund. Folks of any age can contribute to a Roth IRA. The money that accumulates in a Roth is tax-free. Unlike other IRAs, there are fewer requirements and restrictions, and instead of being taxed on money deposited, you’re only taxed when you withdraw. There are other easy investment options, like a CD, mutual funds, and EFTs. Talk with a financial advisor on the best way to harvest your budget so that you’re able to live comfortably while growing your savings.

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live off interest of a million dollarsIs it possible to live a comfortable life from the interest in our bank account? Most likely not. But, what if we had a million dollars in the bank? Would that generate enough interest to be considered a passive income? Maybe.

“Can I live off interest of $1 million?” is a common question asked by people on the cusp of retiring or anyone trying to get creative with their finances. The answer to this query depends on several factors – many of them having to do with a person’s lifestyle and bank policies. Here’s what to consider when trying to figure out if you can live of the interest of a million bucks.

Interest rate. Today, most savings accounts only offer an interest rate of around one percent. That’s not a lot. According to Magnify Money, the bank with the best interest rate for saving accounts this month is Synchrony Bank, and they only offer 1.05% APY. That means if you put $1 million in their savings account today, you would only make $10,500 after the first year. The second year and third years, taking inflation into account — which is usually around 2.9 percent — you would earn another $10,610.25 and then $10,721.66.

Living expenses. To live off the interest of a million dollars, you’ll need to budget. The federal poverty line for a single person is $12,060, so by only earning around $10,000 or $11,000 the first few years of your investment, you would be barely scraping by. However, if you’re hell-bent on living off your interest, then you might want to consider moving. In Fayetteville, Arkansas, the average two-bedroom apartment goes for around $543 a month. After the first year, you will be able to spend approximately $833 a month. If you rent out the second bedroom in your apartment, then that leaves you with $562 for living expenses — a very modest but manageable sum for an individual. According to CBS, food is cheap in Fayateville, and a loaf of bread will only set you back $1.25. To really minimize your spending, live in a state with low taxes. Wyoming’s average state and local sales tax is 5.42 percent and there is no state income tax. Although it might be hard to find housing in Alaska, local sales tax in the Last Frontier is only 1.78%.

CDs and Treasury Bonds. Although there is more freedom with a savings account, it obviously doesn’t generate enough income. Consider opening up a 30-year U.S. treasury bond. With 3.33% interest, you’ll collect $33,000 a year. However, that’s after 30 years, and in the meantime, you can’t touch the funds. Bonds don’t take into account inflation, so in 30 years that $1 million will probably only worth about $412,000, and money accrued will probably ring in at only $13,590. CDs are a slightly better bet — with an average 2.25% APY, after five years, you’ll rake in $25,000. However, interest rates can fluctuate, and they might dip over the course over five years. These are all factors to keep in mind when weighing CDs and treasury bonds.

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YouTube hosts an underground of sometimes ad-hoc entertainment that has evolved into a booming industry over the last handful of years. PewDiePie, the gamer and comedian rules this market. Time and again, he has been named the world’s wealthiest YouTube star. This Swede’s charisma and high energy has attracted nearly 55 million subscribers and his channel boasts over 15 billion views. Felix Avrid Ulf Kjellberg, whose handle is meant to resemble the pew pew sound a videogame gun makes, reportedly made $15 million in 2016, a 20 percent increase from 2015. So how much does this YouTuber make? Here’s what we found:

Books. Kjellberg’s New York Times best-seller, This Book Loves You, a satire on self-help books that features jokes, illustrations, and aphorisms sold over 130,000 copies in the U.S. within ten months of its release. The 250-page advice book includes such golden nuggets such as “Don’t be yourself. Be a pizza. Everyone loves pizza.” It can now be purchased for as low as $1.99 at Barnes & Noble.

Advertisements. YouTubers make money through ad clicks, not views. According to Variety, YouTube keeps 45 percent of advertisement revenue and gives 55 percent to talent. In 2016, Kjellberg made $10 million alone in ads.

Games. How much does this YouTuber make from games? Kjellberg’s mobile games such as Tuber Simulator, which is free to download but includes in-app purchases up to $99, and Legend of the Brofist, a retro adventure game with a $4.99 price tag, also contribute this YouTuber’s fortune. Tuber Simulator offers an existential take on YouTuber culture, as the goal of the game is to increase your channel’s view count.

Commercials. In 2016, Kjellberg signed a major deal to promote Scott toilet paper. According to Forbes, Kjellberg banked $1.5 million in advertisement and brand deals last year.

Merchandise. Although the PewDiePie shop is currently “down,” the YouTuber attributes some of his earnings to product sales. On Redbubble, shirts with his logo and catch phrases start at $25. He has also sold backpacks hats, and phone cases.

Tour. Like any diligent YouTuber, Kjellberg maintains his success by performing in various cities. He’s not currently scheduled to appear anywhere in the near future, but in 2015 he made stops in major cities throughout the U.S. and U.K.

“I really think money doesn’t make you happy,” Kjellberg said in one of his videos. “I’m just as happy now as I was five years ago.” His feelings might have changed recently, since Disney cut ties with the star and YouTube cancelled the release of Scare PewDiePie’s second season after Kjellberg posted nine anti-Semitic videos. He after the videos came to light, he issued an apology on his Tumblr, saying, “I am in no way supporting any kind of hateful attitudes.” His follower count has apparently grown since the incident.

Although very few if hardly any reach Kjellberg’s level of success, if you’re able to generate a modest following on YouTube, then leveraging books, products, and branding strategies are ways to fuel a comfortable income.

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forexTrading forex is the answer to many needs to increase market exposure and beat the environment of zero interest rates. It is so popular that it has become the biggest financial marketplace around the globe. The forex market, which was once governed by major investment firms and banks, is now accessible to everyday investors. Here are 7 reasons why investors prefer forex.

  1. The forex market is available around the clock. Somewhere in the world, the market is open and ready for business at any given time. If you’re trading from home, it really doesn’t matter what time it is in Tokyo or London. Through the internet, you have access to markets that are open 24/7.
  2. The forex markets like to stay active. They are volatile and changes are not always predictable. For intraday trades, that volatility between different currencies can be used to result in nice profits. When compared to regular liquid stocks, the volatility usually falls between 60 and 100. Compare that to forex trading, which is about 500. That makes room for high profits from any level of trader.
  3. Forex trading tends to be transparent. This takes a lot of the surprise element out of making trades. In short, what you see is what you get. There aren’t hidden surprises if you’re careful to watch the news around the world and analyze the charts.
  4. There is a huge potential to make high profits in forex. And unlike other markets, profits don’t necessarily happen only when the market is rising. Take the stock market, for instance, where you keep your eyes glued to the board for the prices to rise. In forex, you can also earn big in when currency pairs go down. Since trades are based on two sets of currency and not only one, one of those pairs could be going up while the other is going down and you can still make money. By watching the charts and planning your moves, you can profit in either direction with forex.
  5. You don’t need to be super wealthy to begin working in the forex market. You can leverage what you have with a minimum of 100:1 and still be able to play the game. This opens up the field to any trader who wants to learn and earn.
  6. The market is outrageously big all around the world. There has never been anything like it in the international market. It is estimated that the amount of money traded in forex on a daily basis is somewhere between two to five trillion dollars. It is a huge draw to investors who want the excitement of being in something that is really big and can profit them with wild amounts of money.
  7. The foreign currency market cannot be influenced by large banks or financial institutions. It’s a level playing field for everyone, from the smallest individual trader to the largest financial organization. Due to its overall size, everyone trading in forex is equally important.

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