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4 Financial Decisions You Can’t Afford To Put Off In 2014

Financial Decisions Not To Put Off In 2014

We’re now just two weeks in to the New Year. By now, most resolutions have crashed and burned into a fiery mess of disappointment and inaction. However, there’s still time to turn things around. One resolution, in particular, that needs your attention: finances. Here’s what you can’t afford to put off in the weeks ahead:

Life Insurance

If you’re in the 18 to 35 demographic, and you’ve yet to sign up for a whole life insurance policy, what are you waiting for? It gets more difficult to qualify for coverage as you get older and health issues arise. Buy in now, and you can get significant coverage at affordable rates. It doesn’t matter if you’re single and without children. If you plan on having a family one day, now’s the time to set the wheels in motion, and earn cash value in the process.

Controlling Healthcare Costs 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been a troubled experiment in government-run healthcare, and the current numbers aren’t very encouraging. According to Businessweek, the dominant buyers thus far have been older individuals and women — two groups historically expensive to insure. Furthermore, more than 79 percent of sign-ups are eligible for subsidies, leaving 21 percent (mostly middle class families) to make up the difference.

If you can get ACA subsidized, then it can help defray out-of-pocket expenses, but if costs continue going up, don’t count on the subsidies to be around forever.   

In 2014, you can fret over this trajectory, or you can take proactive steps for controlling healthcare costs. For many, that means purchasing catastrophic health insurance plans or jacking up deductibles to afford premiums, then negotiating with hospitals to pay normal check-ups out-of-pocket. While you’re at it, don’t forget to eat healthier and exercise four to five days per week. Healthy living is one of the best things you can do to keep down costs.

Setting Up An Estate Plan

If you want to ensure your loved ones are taken care of when you’re gone, then make sure you’ve got an estate plan. First, create a will that details your financial wishes. Then, decide whether a living trust is right for you. Trusts can protect your assets while still making them available to you while living. Next, make sure that you have an advanced medical directive in place to detail your wishes should you become incapacitated as the result of an accident. Finally, choose an executor and a medical power of attorney that you can trust to fulfill your last will and testament. For more on setting up an estate plan, here’s the first in a 15-part series that’ll help you get started: 

 

 

Updating Beneficiaries

Have an estate plan, retirement account, and/or life insurance plan in place? Don’t forget to revisit your beneficiaries on a regular basis. Life circumstances change. You get married, divorced, have children — wherever you’re at and whatever you’re going through, make sure your financial plans are always reflective of your true wishes.

In Summary

New Year’s Resolutions can be hard to keep 365 days out of the year. But it doesn’t require 365 days to do all you need to do for financial peace of mind. Get your affairs in order today because you never know what tomorrow might bring.

[Featured Image via Flickr Creative Commons]

5 Immediate Steps to Take When You Become an Identity Theft Victim

Being online today can expose people to both positive and negative things. And while the positive may outweigh the negative, it can definitely be a scary and traumatic experience if one becomes a victim of hackers and other fraudulent people. It is for this very reason that internet users need to take the necessary precautions every time they’re online to protect themselves including their identity.

Identity theft cases have been growing in recent years and in the U.S. alone, an estimated 15 million residents have been victimized each year. Specifically, some seven percent of all adults have their identities misused resulting in thousands of dollars in losses.

identity theft victim

People with dark motives now utilize sophisticated technology to achieve their goals. And if internet users don’t arm themselves with the right knowledge and fail to follow best practices regarding online security, they can have their assets, credit and reputation badly damaged without them knowing it. [Read more…]

Should I Trade Stocks & Commodities on the Metatrader Platform?

trader

Until recently, if you wanted to trade stocks, stock indexes or commodities such as oil, natural gas, wheat or sugar, you needed to deposit large amounts of money and use cumbersome trading platforms.

Recently a good alternative emerged, which is trading stocks and commodities through the popular Metatrader platform, which up to now was used exclusively for Forex (currency trading).

First of all, we must consider ourselves lucky as the technology has advanced so much that we can now trade stocks and commodities using the Internet. There are several trading platforms that are linked to many stock exchanges to perform trading transactions. One can now easily buy and sell stocks as well as commodities with the help of such trading platforms. [Read more…]

4 Reasons Why Borrowing from Your 401(K) is a Bad Idea

Borrowing money from a 401(K) is unfortunately a pretty common practice. Though majority of people with 401(K) plans do not touch their retirement savings and take out a loan against it, there are enough people who do so, committing a mistake with serious financial repercussions.

Photo Credit: 401(k) 2013

While borrowing from your 401(K) may seem like a good idea at first glance, especially because of the convenience it brings with no credit checks required and a lower interest rate than most commercial loan products in the market, doing so often means a greater financial loss for you. If you’re major reason is to avoid the credit check requirement, then it is not reason enough because there are loan products out there, like title loans, that also do not ask for such requirements. After you’ve read our reasons for staying away from 401(k) loans, then you’ll probably end up doing the same as well.

[Read more…]

Loan Options for People with Poor Credit History

Getting approved for a loan can be difficult if you have a bad credit score. Whatever the reason for your poor credit history may be, you can bet that approaching financial institutions for the the usual loan options will end up in one rejection after another. In cases where you do get approved for a loan, you can expect higher than standard interest rates.

Poor credit score FICO

Image Credit: Casey Konstantin

Not everything is bleak for people with poor credit scores though, because there are several loan options you can still choose from. Below are 3 such options, with each option equally sound, depending on your particular circumstance.

[Read more…]

Online vs Offline Loan Application: What’s the Best Option?

Car-Title-Loan application

There’s no denying that the internet has made life so much easier for people. With so many financial transactions that can be done online these days, consumers enjoy the convenience they never experienced in the past. From buying and selling to banking and applying for loans, people can now do it via the internet.

But while the tech savvy are delighted to do their financial transactions online, there are still those who prefer to do it the traditional way. Applying for personal loans over the internet, for instance, has not been fully embraced by many consumers particularly the baby boomers as well as those who are not active internet users.

Comparing the traditional or offline and online loan application methods, the steps are almost similar. The differences may be minimal such as in the fee and the processing time. Convenience wise, however, the internet way is the winner.

Online Application

Applying for no credit check title loans today is possible through the banks that do online banking and through lenders that have interactive websites. This option does not need traveling as you can do it in the comfort of your home thereby saving time and money.

The first step is usually to fill out an online registration form and the next is to submit the requirements specified.

This can be done round the clock, every day of the week. And as one is not required to visit an office branch, there’s no need to wait for the office to open and wait for your turn.

Processing time is also often faster when applying for a personal loan over the internet. As an example, payday loans can be processed within a few hours which means you can get your cash by waiting for a short time only.

Offline Application

Doing it the traditional way is more preferred by older people including the seniors who don’t feel very secure processing their financial transactions online. As they’re used to visiting a bank or lending company every time they want to avail of a loan, they would rather still do it even with the existence of the internet today.

These people could not be blamed if they want to do it the old fashion way particularly if they’re aware of the news about phishing and identity theft cases and were affected by them. And if these borrowers are applying for a loan involving a huge sum of money, it’s natural for them to be very cautious and choose to apply at a branch office instead of online.

In the end, it’s still the borrower who has the last say on which method to use when applying for his much needed loan. Either way, what matters is you’re able to get the cash you require to meet your financial needs.

Image via currencyintelligent

About the guest author:

James Jones is a professional blogger that provides advice and information on debt, loans and auto title loans. She writes for InstaLoan, the best place to apply for a car title loan online.

Benefits of Being on a Wedding Registry

Image source: Flickr

Bridal or Wedding Registries … there was a time in the not so distant past that you cannot even think of suggesting to a bride that she should sign up for a bridal registry.  It was just … not done. Back then, people felt that the soon-to-be-married couple were being cheeky for even suggesting what they wanted to receive as wedding presents. Engaged couples don’t drop hints about things like that, they should just accept whatever gift they are given with a smile and send a monogrammed thank you card afterwards.

How times have changed. Today, most couples wouldn’t think twice about signing up for a bridal registry. And their guests wouldn’t feel the least bit offended if the wedding invitation came with a little notecard identifying which shop the couple had registered in, or the kind of gift they wanted to receive. It’s quite practical really … for the couple, they receive the items that they need, while the guests will no longer have to rack their brains trying to figure out what present to give. If you need more convincing, here are some more benefits of signing up for a bridal or wedding registry.

[Read more…]

Ten Thrifty Traveler Tips (traveling on a shoe-string budget)

Image source: Flickr

Even though the world has not shrunk in size, advancements made in communication and transportation has somehow, made it smaller. People are bombarded with news items, travel documentaries, pictures, videos of amazing and exotic places – raising curiosity and feeding on man’s innate travel bug. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to walk on the Great Wall of China? Or celebrate New Year at Times Square? How would it feel to dip into the clear waters of Tahiti? All of these play in everyone’s mind and everyone dreams of someday, going to these places to answer these questions.

Unfortunately, traveling, especially to overseas destination, can be quite expensive and, if you have a family to support, and children to look after, the costs can appear overwhelming. This, however, should not deter you from planning a holiday. Make this holiday a goal you and your family can work towards on. Have your kids save a little every day so they can have their own “spending money” (even though you know that you’ll be paying for their purchases anyway).

If you’re keen on going somewhere, whether on your own or with your family, but have limited funds to work with, here are ten tips for the thrifty traveller.

[Read more…]

Everyday Power Saving Tips

We’ve all been told that, if we want to bring down the cost of our electric bill, we have to turn off the lights when we’re not in the room, and to turn off the TV / Radio when no one is around. Those are sensible advice and they do help bring the power bill down. However, power saving does not stop there. Here are some other ways you can reduce your energy consumption. [Read more…]