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29
May

Month-To-Month Leases: Advantages And Disadvantages

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Photograph Courtesy Of Cincy Project

When renting a home or apartment, renters are often faced with the question of whether to sign a long-term lease of a year or more or sign a month-to-month lease. The decision can have a significant impact on the finances and security of the renter so it is important that the decision be considered carefully before it is made. Unfortunately, many people do not consider all of the factors before making their choice. Here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages of choosing a month-to-month lease.

Advantages

The biggest advantage of month-to-month leases is the flexibility they give to the renter. With these leases, the renter can leave the home and end the lease at any time as long as they give the property owner the appropriate amount of notice. This is great if you must move to another area for employment or family reasons. Short term leases like month to month leases gives you the ability to do what you need to do without having to pay a hefty charge for breaking your lease or having to find someone else to assume the rest of your lease for you.

Once you have arrived in a new city, you can use month-to-month leases to stay in several different neighborhoods over the course of a year or two to see which one would be the best one to move to permanently. If you find a place that you really like, it is usually easy to convert a month-to-month lease to a lease with a longer term. Property owners love it when tenants decide to stay for lengthy periods of time because it guarantees them income from the property for a set amount of time and they do not have to spend money turning the property for a new renter.

Disadvantages

It is important to think about the disadvantages associated with month-to-month leases as well when making your decision. Month to month leases are often more expensive than long-term leases. The difference between the two could be several hundred or several thousand dollars over the course of a year. If you are committed to staying in a particular area for a significant amount of time, you can save a lot of money by signing a longer lease. Month to month leases also mean more flexibility for the property owner to terminate your lease or raise your rent while you are living in the rental property.

By carefully considering all of your options and their financial impact, you will have an easier time making the decision on whether a month-to-month lease is the right lease for you.

26
May

Make Money Management Easier With These Great Tools

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Image Courtesy Of Gustavo da Cunha Pimenta

Managing your money can be a complicated task that can take a significant amount of time to complete correctly. The frustration of having to do everything correctly and consistently results in many people putting off financial tasks until the last minute and then rushing to do them as quickly as possible, increasing the chances that they will make mistakes. To make financial management easier, several companies have created online tools that you can use to track your expenses and spending with a minimal amount of effort. Here are some great tools to try.

Mint

One of my favorite financial management tools is a program called Mint. Mint allows users to enter their online login information for their financial accounts, like bank accounts, credit card accounts, and investment accounts, and it will download all of your transactions and balances each time you log into the program, giving you an up-to-date snapshot of your finances at any time. You can also enter information about your regular bills and their due dates and receive alerts when these bills come due.

Mint is also a budgeting tool, allowing you to create a budget based on your past spending trends. The budget can be adjusted at any time, allowing you to completely customize your budget to best suit your needs. The program also categorizes most of your transactions automatically so you can see your spending habits and see how well you are sticking to the budget you have created. If you put in the effort of managing where all of your money went each month, you are much more likely to stick to your budget and reach your financial goals in the future.

Finovera

Andy Prescott of ArtOfBeingCheap.com wrote a great article about using a program called Finovera to manage his bills and store his bill statements. The program allows users to enter online login information for all of the accounts that they would like the program to monitor, like utility accounts and credit card accounts, so the program can automatically retrieve statement information and compile it all in a single location. This makes it easy to keep track of all of your bills, when they are due, and how much they are.

There are a number of features available on Finovera that make managing your bills simple. The list of bills can be sorted in multiple ways so you can see them the way that you would like to pay them. You can also look at your activity over time and see how your bills have increased or decreased or set up alerts to let you know when a new statement has been received or a payment is due. There is also a “to-do” feature that you can use to keep track of financial tasks that need to be completed.

Both of these programs are designed to make managing your finances much easier. If you have used one of these programs, tell us about your experience. We would love to hear your opinion.

22
May

Questions To Ask Before Deciding On A Broker

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Photograph Courtesy Of Lucas

Finding the right broker can be an arduous task. A good broker can help you build wealth and answer your questions about investing accurately and honestly. A bad broker can leave you in a worse financial position than when you began. In order to find the best broker for your needs, you will need to do some research and ask the right questions before deciding on who to choose. Here are some questions you should ask before deciding on a broker.

What Tools Are Available For Research Or Education?

It is important to be able to educate yourself about the investments you are considering before you spend any money. Research tools and education materials provided by the brokerage can help you pick the right investments for your current financial need and risk tolerance. Online brokers often offer trading software and other tools that include real time data to assist investors in making decisions on which investments to choose. In some cases, the brokers that offer these services charge more, so review multiple options to ensure you are getting the best price for the services offered.

What Is The Commission Rate?

Brokers make their money by charging a commission on the trades or purchases you make through the brokerage. The commission rate that you will be paying will eat into any profits you make on your investments, so it is important to ensure you are paying a competitive rate. Some people end up paying commission rates as high as $10 per trade, but it is possible to pay a rate as $2.50 per trade at a discount broker, like Just2Trade. You may also be able to find a broker that offers a certain number or type of trades for free during a predetermined time period, usually a month.

What Is The Account Minimum?

Many brokerages have a mandatory minimum amount that they must keep on account with the brokerage to ensure that they are not charged additional fees as a penalty. Different types of brokers have different account minimums based on the expected investment amount of their target market. Discount brokers will generally have lower account minimums than brokers that cater to investors that invest much higher amounts. Make sure that the minimum brokerage account balance is an amount that you can meet and maintain for a significant period of time without financial hardship.

What Other Fees Are Charged?

In addition to the commission fee, there are a number of other fees that may be charged by the brokerage. These fees include annual account fees, inactivity fees, document fees, and account maintenance fees. Some of these fees are charged to every investor that invests with the brokerage while some others are triggered by specific events. Make sure to ask about all the fees that are charged and their amounts before making your decision.

21
May

How to Gamble Safely

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[Enjoy this article provided by Harley today]

As the economic crisis continues, more and more people are turning to alternative methods to make a little extra cash. Pay day loans, second jobs and even gambling are all tempting prospects when it comes to making ends meet, but it’s important to know how to play it safe with these, particularly gambling.

There are many ways in which you can play safely for pleasure, so long as you know your limits. Follow our comprehensive guide to keep you safe when gambling and hold on to your hard earned cash.

Play online

Though the prospect of being able to play anywhere and at any time can sound dangerous to the cash-strapped gambler, online casinos can be advantageous. The main reason for this is that online casinos give the player the chance to have a practice round before they commit to making any bets, so you can brush up on your skills and improve your chances of winning before you take the plunge.

Know your limits

It’s a cliché, but it makes sense – never gamble more than you can afford to lose. Whether you’re in a land based casino or playing online, give yourself a small, realistic limit to start off with and do not gamble beyond that, particularly if you are on a losing streak. Chances are, if you’re on a losing streak, it’s unlikely that you’ll come out of it with more money than you started, so know when to stay stop, and ask a friend to help you if you think this is too hard a task by yourself.

Limits are more than just financial, too – commit yourself to no more than a realistic amount of time spent gambling, and that way you can keep a better hold of your finances, particularly if you are gambling in a land based casino.

Keep a log

If you’re a regular gambler, keep a written log of your gambling habits. Write down how long you spent gambling, where you did it, and how much money you lost and gained. If you’re in denial about how much you’ve spent, you’ll have solid evidence as to where you may have gone wrong, so you can refer back to your own notes if you need an incentive to stop.

Find other pleasures

Quite apart from being lucrative, gambling can also be extremely fun, so it’s important that you have other focuses and distractions to stop gambling from taking over your life. Take a walk, visit friends or just put on your favourite movie – you’ll soon find there’s more to life than spinning the wheel.

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If you need information about gambling awareness, visit www.gambleaware.co.uk.

Photo cred: Wikipedia