10 Ways to Earn and Save More in the Spring

This is a guest post from Pauline of InvestmentZen.com

Spring is just around the corner, and what better time for a little spring cleaning of your finances? Today we will cover areas of your financial life that may help you save more, earn more, and invest better.

  1. Have a financial audit

It is not as bad as it sounds, with a quick audit, that should take you a few hours at most, we are going to make sure you are not spending in areas that don’t bring you value, or paying more than you should for products and services you do need.

Going through a few months of bank statements, try to challenge your expenses. Are you still going to the gym? Now that the weather is getting better, it may be time to cancel and go for hikes instead. Do you watch enough cable to justify your monthly fee? Can you transfer your credit card balance to a 0% deal and stop paying interest for the next 12 months? A one time phone call to your internet or utility provider to get on a better deal can save you a couple hundreds over the course of the year.

Also make sure you open a high yield savings account to earn interest on your cash, instead of keeping it in checking.

  1. Use your tax refund wisely

A tax refund is not free money. It is money worked hard to earn, and overpaid to the state, that is being given back to you. With the average tax refund from the IRS around $2,800, we are talking serious money. You don’t want to spend it mindlessly. Since you weren’t missing it before, that is the perfect time to open a brokerage account and start investing it.

Pick a low fee broker, and simply start with index funds. You don’t need to understand much about investing to get started. Just know the average returns for the S&P500 over the past 30 years are over 8%, and that is much better than any instant access saving account on the market right now.

But if you are in debt, you will get even better returns by paying off your credit cards or any outstanding balance with a high interest rate.

  1. Prepare for Spring break

And summer holidays, while you are at it. You will need cash, so make a budget, and divide the sum you need by the number of weeks until your holiday. That is how much you need to save every week. Better yet, start locking out the best deals in flights and accommodations, instead of waiting until the last minute.

Consider a cheaper holiday, like a road trip to a nearby state, or a camping trip to a state park.

  1. Go out!

During the winter, you were probably tempted to meet with your friends at a coffee shop, or order comfort food from the take out. Now that it is getting warmer, and the days are starting to get longer, it is time to go out. Meet in a park and bring a picnic, dust off your bike and go cycling, or try Meetup for fun activities with people from your town.

Exercising outside will allow you to ditch the gym membership as mentioned earlier, and doesn’t require more than a pair of shoes and an old t-shirt.

  1. Check your local calendar

There are tons of free events all year round, but spring is a great period for cultural events, outdoor concerts, garage sales, and more. The nearby college, the free newspaper, or the city’s Parks and Recreation department should have a calendar listing all these cool things. Instead of resorting to the usual diner and a movie, get creative and use these for affordable dates or family outings.

  1. Get a side hustle

It is easy to get lazy in winter, and just want to go home and snuggle by the TV after work. But with more daylight, you should have more energy and time to make money on the side. You could either look for one off ideas, such as selling water bottles at a sports event, or more regular activities, like tutoring a kid after school to make sure they finish the school year strong. Many side hustles don’t require you to spend a lot of money, if at all. If you are just going to market your skills, like with tutoring, or offering a service to your neighbors such as dog walking, you can get started in no time. Just ensure you will have time to commit for a few months if the job requires you to do so.

You can use the extra money to pad your holiday savings, pay off your debt, or simply for fun money.

  1. De-clutter

De-cluttering your space will make you feel good, and can make you money too. You can organize a garage sale or try to sell your stuff online. Go over your books, clothes, and any item you haven’t used in a while. While you are at it, try to organize all your important documents in one place. That will save you a lot of time later. And make sure the things you don’t use regularly are still working. Nothing worse than needing that leaf blower and finding out it’s broken. Fixing up things is generally not as complicated as it seems, there are tons of tutorials online and it is a cheap hobby!

What other suggestions do you have to earn more and save more during spring?

How to Make a Living Day Trading

The minute you tell someone you are a full-time day trader, everyone wants to know “how.” Well, in today’s blog post we are going to walk you through the first five steps on how to make a living day trading.

Start Calling Yourself a Day Trader

You have to first believe you are one before you can become one. Pretty Zen, right? Day traders have confidence and part of that confidence comes from knowing they “can” do something; not that they “will” do something, or that they will “try” and do something. From this point on you are a day trader. Now you have to figure out how to make a living being one.

Get Your Equipment in Order

If you want to make a living day trading, you are going to need the right tools. Here is what we consider the day trading starter kit:

  • a dedicated place to work (this can be your home office, an executive office you rent, or a quiet Starbucks but you need to find somewhere where you can concentrate and not be distracted);
  •     a highly functioning laptop and fast internet connection (you do not want to miss selling that tanking stock because your computer crashed or your internet is too slow); and
  • time (dedicated, non-distracted, fully alert, not watching ESPN, not doing laundry time).

Find a Community

You are not reinventing the wheel here, learn from the people who have already figured out how to make a living day trading. Warrior Trading is our favorite place to find a community because they put a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips and their chat room is both friendly and welcoming to beginners but also engaging enough for more advanced traders. And don’t forget to connect with DayTradeWarrior on StockTwits. Trust us, you do not want to miss his mid-day recaps!

Set Time and Money Goals.

Set your work hours and set money goals. Start slow in regards to both and ramp up as you get more comfortable with the systems and processes. Make sure you schedule time off. Some beginners make the mistake of diving head first into the deep end of the pool and quickly realize they forgot their life vest. Healthy, well-balanced day traders are more likely to find success making a living day trading.

Now, you are all set to start making a living day trading. Best of luck to you and let us know in the comments below what questions you may have about how to make a living day trading. You never know, you might just inspire our next blog post!

Ways to Get Money when Your Credit Sucks

Credit scores seem to dictate your financial future. If you happen to have a bad credit score it can seem nearly impossible to get the money you need. Thankfully, there are a number of options open to you. It’s still possible to get money when you have a low credit score. This article is going to show you some of these options.

Get a Credit Card for Those with Bad Credit

Need a small loan? You might not qualify for the best credit cards but there are still cards available to you. These cards are designed for people who need help with rebuilding their credit scores. The credit limit may amount to no more than $500, but if you need a small amount of money fast they can be great. In many cases the lenders perform no credit checks for a loan. More importantly, using them correctly will help you to repair your credit score.

Opt for a Payday Loan

Payday loans are short-term loans that can allow you to borrow in excess of $5,000. These are for the emergencies that hit before you get paid; hence the name. These loans are designed for short-term use only, which is why they always come with high interest rates. Make the repayments and you’ll never be hit by these enormous rates. Shop around online for lenders. The money can be in your account on the same day and you can take advantage of online calculators to help you with determining how much you’ll eventually have to pay back.

Consider a Secured Loan 

Sometimes you have to think about a secured loan instead. Secured loans are better because they rarely take into account your credit score. A pawn shop is the best example of a secured loan. You submit a valuable item and if you don’t pay the money back you lose that item. The item is always worth more than the loan, so the lender never loses out. A type of secured loan is a mortgage. As you can see, if you have an asset you can get one of these loans.

A Cosigned Loan

Some lenders will give you money if you can find a cosigner to guarantee that loan. The way it works is if you fail to pay back the loan the cosigner is responsible. The cosigner can be anyone from a family member to a friend. Think about whether you can pay the money back before asking someone to take this position of responsibility.

Borrow from Family and Friends

A final alternative is to borrow money from family and friends. Tell them what you need the money for and ask if they’ll grant you your request. Set down the terms of the loan in writing and treat it as seriously as you would treat a loan from a bank.

Conclusion – There are Options

As you can see, there are options on the table for those with bad credit that need a loan. Take a look at which one works for you based on your personal financial circumstances.

How will you get money if you have a low credit score?

What is a “Good” Credit Score?

In the eyes of a lender your credit score is the most important when it comes to giving not only approval, but to decide your interest rate and terms that come along with the product.  The difference in a few percent could change a monthly payment by hundreds of dollars depending on the size, so it is important to have the highest score you can. It’s so important that many people with sub-par scores tend to utilize the best credit repair services out there just so they can improve their financial outlook going forward.

FICO is the most widely used scoring model, with the worst starting at 300 and the highest being 850, with the range as follows:

Excellent:            800-850

Very Good:         750-799

Good:                   700-749

Fair:                       650-699

Poor:                     600-649

Very Poor:           300-599

What do Those Ranges Mean?

In the “Excellent” range, you have done a great job managing your finances and you are rewarded with pretty much a guaranteed approval and the best possible interest rates and terms that are available.

Typically, a “Very Good” borrower is not much different than “Excellent”, so from scores below this is where you will start to notice a significant difference the lower the scores go.

“Good” will get you approved, you just will not have the lowest rates that will be awarded to “Very Good” and “Excellent”, with the real problems starting next.

“Fair” is average, and probably will be approved, but by the skin of your teeth, going through a lengthy approval process to show you are on the right track and are worthy of approval, only to receive higher rates and fees.

“Poor” is usually referred to as having bad or subprime credit, and with your troubled history, may have to require a co-signer to prove your worthiness, and selling your soul to the lender’s terms.

“Very Poor” leaves you with very few options, so instead of pursuing approval right now, time should be spent improving credit now.

Where do you Rank?

Most creditors are now providing credit scores in the monthly statement, or clickable in the online account, so can view pretty easily where you fall.  If you are not able to view for free, you can purchase your credit score through one of the credit bureaus or third-party sites.  It is important to view a copy of your report each year to check for inaccuracies anyways, so although a score is not included, now would be a good time to request a free copy of your credit report through any of the bureaus, and request annually going forward.

9 TED Talks That Anyone Working in Stockbroking Should Watch

The renowned TED Talks is arguably one of the most innovative ideas of the 21st Century. Each TED talk discussion provides the viewers with an excellent resource to increase their knowledge on any subject imaginable.TED hosts thousands of visionaries and some of the greatest minds in the world, and the best stock brokers and financial experts are not left behind.

In this article, we compile a list of 9 TED Talks that anyone working in stockbroking should watch.These talks will challenge your worldview and offer valuable insights and techniques.

1. Kevin Slavin: How Algorithms Shape Our World

In this funny and compelling talk, Kevin Slavin shows how we are living in a world that is heavily controlled by algorithms. He states that algorithms are increasingly changing our world.From researchers who use algorithms to predict behaviors, to the people at Wall Street, who create algorithm trading, algorithms are transforming and controlling our lives. Slavin gives examples of the Wall Street Crash as an example of the unexpected impact of algorithms.

2. Sheena Iyengar: How to make choosing easier

Sheena Iyengar is a Professor of Business who is famed for her research on choice and innovation.In this TED Talk, she presents a study of CEOs that shows that they make up to 70 decisions each day.Sheena explains the consequences of making too many decisions and the techniques that can be used to avoid choice overload.

3. Tobias Preis: Can Google Predict the Stock Market?

Tobias Preis is an Associate Professor of Finance at the Warwick Business School. His research on how to exploit the volumes of data generated by our interactions with technology can be very vital to anyone working in the stockbroking industry. With his keen interest in future predictions, Tobias Preis offers great advice on the stock market.

4. Geoff Mulgan: Post-Crash, Investing in a Better World

In his lecture, Geoff Mulgan talks about rebooting the world’s economy after the Stock Market Crash of 2008.Mulgan presents the idea of giving the huge government bailout packages to entrepreneurs, healthcare, green technology, and other socially responsible companies instead of the doomed old companies.This TED talk is a must watch as it focuses on the future of capitalism and the positive impacts of social innovation.

5. Marco Vangelisti: Investing for the World We Want

A fascinating story that introduces the concept of “regenerative investing.” Marco Vangelisti is a great speaker with exceptional knowledge of traditional finance.Being a former financial advisor, Marco has a lot of experience in investing and the stockbroking industry.He talks about a new way of investing that is based on direct relationships and aligned with good values.

6. Eddie Obeng: Smart Failure for a Fast-Changing World

Eddie Obeng, a business educator, notes that the world is changing faster than most people have realized.In his inspiring and entertaining talk, Eddie highlights the three crucial changes that we should all understand to boost productivity. He calls out for the culture of what he terms as the “smart failure.” It is time for everyone in the stockbroking industry to take steps towards understanding where we are, and where we want to go.

7. Shlomo Benartzi: Saving for tomorrow, tomorrow

Even as the systems for preparation for retirement continue to improve over the past decades, the national savings have continued to decline. The economist Shlomo Benartzi talks of the great ways to improve money management. He gives an excellent introduction to behavioral economics and tries to understand the money mistakes that people make.Schlomo provides great solutions and tools for saving more tomorrow and how everyone can apply them.

8. Jihan Bowes-Little: Trading as a Way of Life

The California-born trader turned writer, Bowes-Little, learned plenty of lessons while he was trading.In his TED Talk presentation, he offers three valuable trading tips that helped in through the years financially as well as discover his passion. He believes that many traders have the wrong mentality which makes them no longer capable of proper control of risks.

9. Mellody Hobson: Financial Literacy

The value investor Mellody Hobson simply has it all.She is one of the top women in the investment world and a strong supporter of financial literacy, value investing and the power of diversity. Hobson talks about the importance of working through tough economic times and being able to ‘stand on your feet.’ The thought provoking and energetic talk will help anyone working in stockbroking to determine their financial destiny.

Just watching these incredible TED Talks will provide the much-needed insight to anyone working in stockbroking.As companies continue to evolve, ensure that you grow with them.

Making Your Office the Perfect Work Space

As working adults, most of us spend up to and even more than 40 hours a week in our work space. Now let’s take a minute to think about that. What a statistic! It is surprising how much time we spend working to make a living. The time spent in our work space is significant compared to the time NOT spent in our work space. By now (adulthood, career, etc), most of us have realized the importance of making ourselves feel comfortable in our own homes as our living space is where we spend a huge chunk of our time. Why not feel exactly the same about our work space? It is, after all our second most time consuming space.

One of the necessary factors in creating the perfect work space is organization. In order to have an organized office we need to consider furniture, especially the desk. What is an office without a desk? A large desk with drawers for filing and space for working is a must as it is the key to us keeping organized. You would be surprised at how something as simple as desk space and storage can contribute to work efficiency.

Let´s discuss the most imperative thing when it comes to our perfect work space. Ergonomics!Many of us become so consumed while working that we lose sight of how incredibly important it is to maintain healthy posture. In fact, when we are not careful we can often times injure ourselves by spending endless hours in an inappropriate chair. What better way to take care of ourselves than to purchase the most comfortable, yet ergonomically sound chair. There are many chairs on the market these days and you can find a number of options at Office Depot.

Last but not least, the personalization of our office space is the icing on the cake. By placing pictures of family and friends, or maps of the world for travel, books, art etc. in our office, we not only create a more comfortable space, but we are surrounding ourselves with reminders of the most important things in our lives. The very reasons why we spend those long hours working. It all pays off in the end, especially if you have the perfect work space!

Tips for First Time Loan Borrower

Thinking of availing a home loan or mortgage for the very first time?

First time home loan shoppers are highly likely to fall for the sugar words and marketing tactics of banks or home loan providers. The following tips may help you strike the best deal without having to sulk over potential mistakes usually committed by inexperienced borrowers.

For your First Time Home Loan…

(Please note that these are just a few guidelines and there may be a lot more that you might want to check out with respect your specific scenario in your country or state)

1. Shop around for the best deal

You may want to compare the loan offers – in terms of rates, monthly installment as well as overall mortgage package – from at least four to five different financial institutions before arriving at a final decision. In addition, you may want to discuss with your friends or relatives who might have had experience with each of these banks. Please note that the lowest interest rates do not mean the best deal. You have to know exactly how they calculate the interest (daily reducing balance, monthly reducing, quarterly reducing etc) and if there are additional charges. In addition, understand if there are any processing fee or lawyer fees along with the rules for prepayment or foreclosure.

Click here for some loan ideas!

2. Negotiate for a discount rate

It might sound odd but most of the banks have the flexibility of offering 0.5% or 0.75% (might vary in certain countries) less interest than the standard advertised rate. This is particularly true if you are having a stable and high earning profession (e.g. doctors, lawyers,…). In addition to these so-called ‘professional packages’ there are also corporate discounts available from some banks targeting specifically people from certain high profile corporates. Hence don’t be ashamed to negotiate.

3. Plan the rest of your life ahead

Never take a home mortgage assuming certain raise in salary or additional income that ‘might’ come in the future. Instead, plan from the point of view of additional financial burdens that you might encounter in the coming years (or the tenure of the loan). This may include wedding expenses, child education, purchase of vehicles or even expensive vacations.

4. Insurance, riders and deposits

It is highly advisable that you take home mortgage insurance for 25% to 30% of your home loan value to avert any risk of non-payment due to critical illness, accidents, job loss due to the above or even death. Mortgage insurance is mandatory (from the lender’s point of view) in most countries if the home purchase contribution from your side is less than 20% or so. If you do not wish to take mortgage insurance, set aside 10% to 15% (or even 20%) of your loan amount towards a term deposit or low risk bank investment. This will indeed help to repay your loan in the case of temporary no-income situations. This will also help in reducing your monthly outflow towards loan.

(You can have both the deposit as well as mortgage insurance which can help you with a little bit of tax planning as well)

5. Go for it ONLY when you are ready!

A home loan is a lifelong burden for most people. Hence before taking a loan, do a readiness and feasibility check from your end to see if it’s the right time to go for such a financial commitment. Also chew only as much as you can swallow – a huge home may be your dream but you have to really think whether you can afford it.

The other aspect of readiness check is to have a good credit history and stable background. Building your credit history by paying back your credit card bills on time, not withholding tax dues, not having several loans etc will boost your credit record. In addition, you may jump jobs and rented homes as little as possible to establish a good history. Frequent address changes are not considered good by financial institution in certain countries.

I hope these tips for first time home buyers were interesting to you. You may want to share this page with your friend who is in the lookout of a home loan.

What’s In Your Wallet? Paper or Gold?

When I was living in Japan I’d have to carry all these coins with me. They had coins for 1 dollar bills and 5 dollar bills. Can you imagine 4 single dollar bills in coins plus all the other coins you already have. Throw in a fat 5 dollar bill coin too and your wallet would be stuffed! You’re now ready to sink to the bottom of the ocean.

Along time ago we switched from gold coins to paper money. At least the majority of the world went to mostly paper money. One dollar bill equaled the equivalent amount in gold. And then someone came along and decided that paper money no longer needed to equal the same amount in gold. Now we have FIAT currency. Sounds like a car, but it’s not. If you’re curious about the details on all this then head on over here for all the money answers.


Save Money with Metal Recycling Machines

There are two ways to increase a company’s profit margin: either the company can bring in additional income, or it can reduce some of its expenses. The success of every business, no matter how small or large it is, rests on its ability to find unique and creative ways to do these two essential tasks.

One way many companies, including well-known companies such as Ford, GM, Ebay and UPS, are reducing their costs is by using metal recycling machines to turn their unwanted scrap metal into new, valuable metal they can use to create new products. Large companies aren’t the only ones who can greatly benefit from metal recycling, either. Any company that works with metal products can save a great deal by investing in a metal recycling machine.Both throwing away and buying new metals can be expensive. Companies often spend a significant portion of their profits every year just on disposing their metal waste products in landfills, which are getting increasingly more full every year. By recycling the metals they have on hand already, companies can drastically reduce the amount of money they spend on purchasing and disposing of their metals. This money can then be either invested back into the company, or it can simply be turned into profit.

Aluminum and steel are the two metals that are most commonly recycled and reused. Not only are they widely used and available, but they can be recycled many times without losing any of their important properties. Recycled aluminum and steel are just as valuable as brand new aluminum and steel, and they can both be recycled several times. Plus, recycling these materials can sometimes cost even less than disposing of them, without even factoring in the cost of purchasing new materials. Gold, silver, copper and brass can be recycled as well, although these materials are not as widely used as aluminum and steel.

While smaller companies might find significant savings by taking their scrap metal in to a nearby recycling center for cash, larger companies or companies that are not near a recycling center may want to cut out the middle man and invest in their own metal recycling machine. For companies that deal with a large amount of metal, these machines can often pay for themselves many times over within a short period of time. Plus, having a machine on hand reduces the cost of gas and labor to deliver the scrap metal to the recycling center.

Metal recycling machines do not just help companies save money; they are also good for the environment as well. As more and more companies simply throw their construction waste away, the landfills are filling up at an alarming rate. Recycling and reusing materials keeps them out of landfills and in the hands of paying customers instead. Recycling also uses far less of the Earth’s resources, and it produces far less carbon dioxide emissions as well. In fact, recycling aluminum only produces a mere five percent of the carbon dioxide emissions that manufacturing aluminum makes.

The amount of money that each individual company can save by investing in a metal recycling machine will vary based on factors such as the type and amount of materials they usually buy, the amount of money that these materials cost on average for their area, and the cost of the metal recycling machine that they choose. It is safe to say, however, that any company that uses a large amount of metal, such as steel or aluminum, can see great savings by investing in a metal recycling machine.



Saving Money in Waste Management by Recycling Metals

Can You Pass a Background Check?

Cybersecurity is a rapidly growing field in which there are plenty of jobs to be had. Trained and qualified cybersecurity professionals are in high demand, and starting salaries average at about $116,000. In order to get one of these desirable positions, though, you’ll need more than just a degree.

If you plan to go into the cybersecurity field, you can expect potential employers to run a background check before any offer of a position is finalized. This is especially true if you want to work for the government. When you go to grad school online to earn your MS in Cybersecurity, you’ll learn why it’s so important for employers to be able to trust you as a law-abiding employee of good character and stable background.

What does a background check entail? It involves delving into your criminal history, but can also involve credit checks, verification of past employers and other measures designed to certify that you are who you say you are, that you have the education, training and experience you claim and that you’re not a criminal. Here’s what potential employers will look for in your background.

Criminal Activities

If you have been convicted of or pled guilty to a felony in the past, you’ll probably be automatically disqualified for the position. Unfortunately, many people find that even 10 years or more after a felony conviction, their employment prospects are still slim.

If you’ve been convicted of a serious misdemeanor, especially if it’s been longer than 10 years ago, there’s still a chance you might get the job. Much depends on the exact nature of the misdemeanor. Violent crimes and crimes that reflect a lack of integrity or poor character, like theft, are more likely to hold you back here.

Other past crimes that could hold you back include drug use, especially if you used hard drugs or used drugs habitually. If you’ve been involved with a gang, that’s another black mark on your record; so is a prior domestic violence charge. A bad driving history could also reflect poorly, especially if it involves serious or repeated driving infractions. Any crimes you committed that remained undiscovered by law enforcement could work against you if they come up in a background check.image002

Civil Lawsuits

Any civil lawsuits you’ve been involved in will turn up on your background check. Whether or not they hurt your chances of getting the job depends on the nature of the suit or suits and whether you were a plaintiff or a defendant.

Credit History

Your potential employer isn’t checking your credit history because he or she wants to loan you money. Your financial activities paint a pretty clear picture of how responsible and stable you are as a person. If you have unpaid collection items and a terrible credit score, your employer may be concerned that your financial instability could leave you vulnerable to corruption. Your employer also wants to make sure that the salary you’re offered will be enough for you to meet your obligations to creditors. Credit items more than seven years old won’t appear on your credit report.

Previous Addresses

Your potential employer will look up your Social Security records to verify your previous addresses and any name changes you may have made.

Education History

With so many recent news stories about people rising to prominence in their fields on the strength of falsified qualifications, employers are more stringent than ever about verifying that the people they hire really do have the qualifications they claim. Your employer will contact your previous schools to verify that you earned your degrees legitimately.

Employment History and References

Don’t worry too much about your old boss who hated you. One bad reference isn’t likely to stop you from getting the job, since it could be a sign that the position wasn’t right for you or your boss really did hate you for no reason. Your potential employer mostly wants to verify your experience, including the positions you’ve held in the past and the dates of your previous employment. If you have a spotty work history or a series of bad references, that’s an issue.

If you want to go into cybersecurity, you’re going to need to pass a background check for most positions. Don’t worry about it too much — assuming you have a clean criminal record, legitimate credentials and a fairly solid employment and credit history, you’ll pass your background check with flying colors.