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Everything You Need to Know About Finance and Investing in Under an Hour

We all want to be financially stable and enjoy a well-funded retirement, and we don’t want to throw out our hard earned money on poor investments. But most of us don’t know the first thing about finance and investing. Acclaimed value investor William Ackman teaches you what it takes to finance and grow a successful business and how to make sound investments that will grant you to a cash-comfy retirement.

How to Calculate Your Net Worth

Your net worth is arguably the most important number to know in regards to your finances. It is a number that will change over time, hopefully increasingly as you get older. Calculating it doesn’t usually take very long, as it is just a matter of simple mathematics. Once you have the information right in front of you that you need, you can calculate your net worth. Continue reading

What You Should Know About Business in Emerging Markets

Businesspeople and investors alike have used the term “emerging markets” to describe most developing countries. It was popularized by Antoine van Agtmael in the early 1980’s to replace the less appealing term “third world country.” This new phrase serves a better purpose of positioning those countries that is on the verge of a developed status.
As a matter of fact, some of the countries are as good as developed. Take China, is it still emerging? Personally, I don’t think Beijing is an emerging market due to the income levels, internet and mobile phone penetration which is at par with developed countries. But if you consider the fact that a substantial part of the population dwell in rural towns and villages, then you will not be wrong to say it is an “emerging market.”
Be that as it may, investment opportunities in these emerging economies continue to wax strong with a vibrant middle class and a hunger for the things that the middle class desires. That is where domestic markets enter the picture.

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Are You Guilty Of These 7 Money Mistakes?

If you want to preserve money and build enduring wealth for your family, this is the most important article you will ever read.

Here’s why: A surprisingly large amount of people believe that all they have to worry about is selecting either the right stocks or money manager.

That’s not true.

Generational wealth depends on having the proper mix of family culture and values. Wealthy families instill in their children these values because they understand that their family’s success rise or fall on these strengths. Beware of the following mistakes: Continue reading

Have a Structured Settlement and You Need Cash Now?

If you spend any time watching television, you’ve probably seen commercials with catch jingles, discussing the benefits of selling off a structured settlement or annuity for immediate cash.  Many companies will try to catch you with slogans talking about how it’s “your money” and that you should “use it when and how you need it.”  It’s important to know what you’re getting into before settling on a lump sum payment for your annuity. Continue reading

What Money Is Not

What Money Is Not

I have no idea how much money you have. Maybe you have enough. Maybe you don’t even know how much enough is. I’ve been around the world enough to know that most people don’t know much about money.
That’s why you keep hearing that money is the root of all evil. Obsessing about how money will make you happy is another problem a lot of people have.
And, guess what? You will never have any of these problems if you remember this blog post. Continue reading

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Money and Life

Money & Life is a passionate and inspirational essay-style documentary that asks a provocative question:
Can we see the economic crisis not as a disaster, but as a tremendous opportunity?
This cinematic odyssey connects the dots on our current economic pains and offers a new story of money based on an emerging paradigm of planetary well-being that understands all of life as profoundly interconnected. Money & Life invites us to meet the challenge of our time: to participate in the great transition to a sustainable, equitable and restorative economy that meets the needs and realities of the 21st century.

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How to Choose a Financial Advisor

While personal finance and investing can be complicated subjects, there are certainly thousands of DIY investors who have earned huge returns on their investments.  Even for the most talented do-it-yourself investor, there are subjects that may require the assistance of a professional financial advisor.  In this week’s article, we’ll examine the traits that you should look for when hiring someone to provide financial advice.

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The Frugal Art of Saving Money

Wonder why saving money is considered an art? Like any time-honored art form, like the most beautiful, breathtaking masterpieces in the world, saving and the creative process demands one thing: practice.

It’s not enough to do it once or twice. You need to perfect it. You won’t get it right the first time so you’ve to take it step by step. You’ve to finger-paint first before you can use the paintbrush. You’ve to use primary colors before you can blend them into different shades.

Like painting or any kind of artistic venture, saving isn’t an overnight process. Below are a few things to remember so you could master the art of saving money too—long though the time it may take:

1) You don’t need instant satisfaction.

This goes for two things: your spending habits, and the sum of your savings account.

a. Spending Habits:

A new appliance, a stress-free day at the spa, or that mobile phone you’ve been waiting for just came out in the market—you will see or hear of certain things you will want to buy. That’s what businessmen want you to do, after all. They want you to buy everything you want. Always ask yourself if it’s something you actually need. Weigh the pros and cons before making a purchase.

b. Your Savings Account:

Now, it’s normal to want fast results, especially if you’re making plenty of sacrifices. However, if you see that your savings account isn’t living up to your expectations, don’t beat yourself up over it. As mentioned above, saving money takes time and baby steps. Lower the targets you’re aiming for and only gradually increase those targets to make sure you always reach what you aim for. That way, you’ll feel like you accomplished something every time you reach your goal, which in turn, will inspire you to continue until you’ve made a habit out of saving.

2) Pick quality vs quantity.

A lot of people love to shop in bulk. Everyone just loves cheaper items, especially the ones on sale! However, are you getting items that’ll break or rot overnight? Let’s say you purchased a new furniture set, are you sure you’re getting your money’s worth? If you got it at a cheap price, are you sure it’ll last for a good amount of time or at least serve its purpose? Sometimes, you might be compromising long-term use for money saved short term.

This means you’ll have to invest your money on the right things. Items on sale or by the dozen could be a ruse to make you spend money for goods and services that won’t last very long. On the other hand, if you’re buying something costly with lasting use in mind, make sure these items come along with excellent warranty conditions.

3) Mind the little things.

Some people might just tell you not to sweat the small stuff, and if you listen to them, then your savings account won’t likely grow any time soon. Making little adjustments in your life is the key to save money the easy way. For instance, it might be your daily visit to Starbucks that’s draining your allowance and hindering your efforts to save. And do you really need to call a cab whenever you go out? What about those regular weekend dates or parties? Why don’t you start living without them?

These things aren’t always evil at first glance, but they’ll eventually wear you out, and destroy your resolve to save. To avoid this, have a budget, or plan your purchases in advance.

4) Wise credit card use.

Just as you know how to save your cash and coins, it’s most important to know how to use your credit card with extra care. To enjoy perks or benefits, consider getting a rewards card. However, make sure you practice the following:

• After purchasing something, pay the item back in full in the next 2-3 months

• Pay above the minimum so the debt won’t grow

• Don’t use your card to make sudden purchases like food or clothes

• Don’t open new accounts and just focus on one account to increase your credit score

Mastering the art of saving money is very doable. For as long as you keep on practicing these principles every single day, you’re certain to see great results—sooner rather than later. So, good luck and happy saving to you!

Author’s Bio

Mark Yasay is a social media enthusiast and a writer for MoneyMax, the Philippines most comprehensive online platform for comparing financial and telecom products. MoneyMax aims to consistently find the best broadband plans, credit cards, loans, and other services and products that suit your needs.

What is myRA?

The concept of a pension is quickly going extinct as businesses look for ways to reduce legacy costs.  This places a large part of the responsibility upon workers to begin saving for retirement, using defined benefit plans, such as IRAs and 401(k) plans.  Last night during the State of the Union Address, President Obama made brief mention of retirement accounts called “myRA,” a retirement savings option for middle-class Americans.

Many employers don’t offer their employees with more traditional savings plans, such as 401(k) or 403(b) plans.  Workers looking to save are forced to use IRA or Roth IRA accounts, either bearing the risk of their own investment options, or at the cost of hiring a financial advisor.  The perceived complexity and inconvenience of doing so prevents many entry level or low-wage workers from setting up retirement accounts.  The President’s plan aims to make saving for retirement easier on working class Americans.

President Obama’s plan has some familiar attributes.  The myRA plan, unlike Social Security will be voluntary for all workers.  Savings will be made via automated payroll deduction, and invested in government bonds, which provide favorable tax treatment to investors.  All accounts would be treated like US savings bonds, backed by the full faith and credit of the US government.

When the myRA (which many pundits are calling a “starter IRA”) account reaches a certain size, through savings or capital gains, the account will be rolled into a more traditional IRA, and the worker will have to make investment decisions on their own behalf, or hire the services of a financial advisor.

Offering new means of automated savings for retirement could open up the world of investments to millions of Americans who’ve never saved due to inconvenience or complexity.  Investing millions or even billions of dollars in government bonds could help to repair a collapsing American infrastructure.  More people saving could potentially

The myRA plan could provide a great solution to all of these problems.  The problem for President Obama is going to be getting the idea off of the ground.  With Washington at a standstill, we’re at the point where partisan bickering prevents Congress and the President on agreeing for what to eat at lunch, let alone a new government-backed retirement plan.

The myRA is certainly an interesting concept with a lot of possibilities.  I’m excited to see where Congress and the President land on the measure.

401(k)? 403(b)? I’m Confused!

To a new investor, knowing which type of account to use to save for retirement can be daunting.  You’re hit left and right with acronyms and numbers, 401K, 403B, IRA, and Roth IRA.  Each account has different features, restrictions, and tax implications that will be enforced by everyone’s least favorite acronym, the IRS.  In this ongoing series, we’ll discuss the features of each type of account, so that you can make an informed decision on investing for your future.

401(k) and 403(b)

The most common types of retirement accounts are 401(k) and 403(b) accounts, which are provided by an employer, and they operate in much the same way.  Companies offer 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans are offered by nonprofits and public sector employers.  For the sake of convenience, I’ll make reverence to 401(k) plans as they are more common, but know that they terms are basically used interchangeably.

A 401(k) savings plan works as you make systematic contributions (usually a set dollar amount or percentage of your paycheck) to your account.  These funds accumulate and are invested with the goal of providing you income in your retirement, supplementing Social Security.

Funds that you contribute to your 401(k) plan are made with pre-tax money, similar to health benefits offered by employers.  This can lower your annual tax burden.  When you retire, as you withdraw money from your account, it will be taxed as income.  The government is always going to get its share, but better later than now in some cases.  Withdrawing from your 401(k) early comes with steep penalties and taxes, and is usually considered a really bad idea.

Your company’s HR department will provide you with options to invest these accumulated funds in.  Most popular are “target retirement fund” allocations, which are designed to invest aggressively while you’re young and can tolerate risk, and moving to a more conservative allocation as you near retirement and retaining your investment is necessary.  Note that 403(b) plans typically include more conservative investment options than their corporate-sector counterparts.

In many cases, an employer will match your contribution.  For example, if you contribute 6% of your salary towards your retirement, your employer may contribute an additional 6%.  That is known in the real world as “free money,” so you should take advantage of any employer matches available.   The catch is that any money your employer contributes usually adheres to a “vesting schedule”, meaning that if you leave your job, you may not be entitled to everything your employer has contributed to your savings plan.

Given the benefits of a 401(k), it’s advisable by investing the maximum amount possible.  A good rule of thumb is 10% of your salary.  The IRS allows contributions of up to $17,000 annually (not including employer matching) if you’re under 50.  For those over the age of 50, you’re allowed a “catch up” contribution of an additional $5,500 annually.  These figures change often to keep pace with inflation, so be sure to discuss maximum contribution limits with your human resources department or a financial advisor.

A 401(k) or 403(b) plan is a great way to save for your retirement, and a wonderful benefit as an employee.  Talk to your HR department today to see what’s available to you.  Compound interest (a topic we’ll explain in the future) is one of the most powerful forces known in finance, and saving from a young age could make you a millionaire in retirement!