Personal finance is as much about HOW TO SPEND MONEY as it is about HOW TO SAVE AND INVEST YOUR MONEY. By placing these tips into your day-to-day life, you are certainly on a much better road to securing your financial future.
People who have successfully managed to pay off their debts and put away a considerable amount of money into their savings accounts all agree on one major thing - if your goal is to take charge of your personal finances, setting a budget, and sticking to that budget, will be essential to your success long term.
Make sure that you review your investments periodically to see if your investments are still suitable for your life goals. You might need to rebalance your assets if there have been any major life changes since the last time you looked at it. Keep in mind that every time you trade shares, you may be incurring trading fees, so think carefully before you just move a bunch of things around.
Think about starting your own business if you have free time on your hands (check out the article here). You could benefit from tax incentives and perhaps make a nice profit once your business is established. Look for an a business idea that corresponds to your skills and interests.
Buy quality items that you can resell later. If you need a crib or stroller, for example, then save money by purchasing at an online resale site or from a similar discount retailer. Once you are done with the item, sell it and get some of your money back. This works best with popular items that have well-known brand names.
You might be paying too much for insurance (see this article). If you want to reduce your premiums, you should think about raising your deductibles. Open a savings account and put money aside to pay these deductibles, if something should happen. You can keep your deductibles low by looking for discounts and not filing small claims.
Most companies no longer feel a responsibility to provide a comfortable retirement for their workers, so it is up to you to plan for your own future. With life expectancies increasing, covering the cost of retirement is more expensive than ever. Saving for your retirement years should be an essential part of your budget. Once you have paid off all the bills, and can keep yourself in good financial shape each month, then more money should be diverted to retirement planning.
Bankruptcy is not a quick fix solution for making poor financial decisions in the past. Filing for bankruptcy is a major decision that will affect your financial health for the next ten years of your life. As such a big decision, the decision to file for bankruptcy should not be taken lightly. Use the following tips to plan for the bankruptcy process and decide if it is truly the best solution to your personal situation.
#1) Don't let bill collectors or debtors try to convince you that you are ineligible for bankruptcy. Debt collectors do not want you to file bankruptcy under any circumstances because it means that they will not get most (if any) of the money you owe them currently. Debtors will always tell you that you may not qualify for bankruptcy when they are given the chance. The only way to ACTUALLY know if you qualify for bankruptcy is to speak with a bankruptcy attorney or spend a ton of time and effort doing research on bankruptcy laws and qualifications.
#2) Before you meet with a bankruptcy lawyer, make a complete list of all of your assets and debts. Any assets that are not listed in your bankruptcy case can be seized to pay for your debts. Your lawyer needs to see a complete list of every asset you own to properly advise you on which type of bankruptcy is best for your unique situation. Also, you and your attorney will want to protect as many of your assets, as possible.
#3) Become fully educated about the rules of bankruptcy. If the courts were to find that you have disregarded any of the rules, your petition could be dismissed. Laws prohibit picking and choosing some debts to pay off prior to filing for bankruptcy for example. Family members cannot be paid off within one year of filing and creditors are limited to ninety days.
#4) Watch your paperwork carefully. Your lawyer will have multiple cases going on at the same time and may not be able to keep up with every little detail of your case. Be sure to carefully read all of the paperwork that you plan to file. Make sure that everything piece of information is filled out correctly.
#5) Do not go into your bankruptcy thinking that your student loans will be discharged. Only in cases of extreme hardship (read: almost never) are your student loans considered for bankruptcy. If the job you received from pursuing your degree will never allow you to pay off your debts, then you may have a small chance of getting them discharged, but it is still highly unlikely.
#6) There are free resources online that you can review. The federal government's justice department website has a number of educational resources that can answer many questions for you. This saves you some time and money with a lawyer.
#7) Be prepared to see your name publicly when you file bankruptcy. While the story probably isn't going to make front-page headlines unless you are a very prominent or famous figure, all bankruptcy cases are public record. As such, they are often reported in a small section of local newspapers.
#8) If you are trying to avoid ruining your credit by filing for bankruptcy, think again. Research the internet to find a reputable credit counseling company and see if you can dig out of your financial situation. When you find a good company, they will help you find ways to reduce expenses, work on a manageable budget, and pay-off all your debt without filing for bankruptcy.