Financial Moves That Can Help You Get Ahead
By Bernard Freeman
Survive a Job Loss
It can happen to anyone. A corporation lays off a mass of employees. A small business shuts its doors. An entrepreneurial bubble bursts.
No matter where you live or what your employment situation may be, dosage there is always a chance you could suddenly lose your job. The less warning you receive, no rx the more difficult it will be for you to properly plan for the tough financial and emotional road ahead.
If you’re fortunate enough to be offered a severance package from your former employer, case it will be up to you to wisely maintain the lump sum or payments you receive.
Review your severance package closely to understand all of its working parts. Typical agreements contain your pay terms, vacation pay terms, benefits information, return of property standards, non-compete clauses, and confidentiality requirements.
One of the highest costs you will incur on your own is that of health insurance, especially if you’re used to your company paying a majority share of it. It is important to maintain your insurance, including health, life, and disability because the last thing you need while unemployed is to suffer a major injury or sickness that you cannot afford to have properly diagnosed.
Weathering the Storm
Other tips from the Financial Planning Association include:
• Talk to your spouse or other close family members about what you’re facing financially. They will be able to offer their support, as well as ideas for helping you through the situation.
• Consider government or private assistance, especially if either can mean the difference between you paying your bills and ending up in major debt.
• Start looking for work soon. Rely on your connections to find your next paycheck. Network through social media and job boards, through which you may be able to also find headhunters, job placement opportunities or professional services to improve your search.
While school is a great place to become educated about math, science and English, the art of savings and maintaining good credit are lessons that generally are taught at home.
As a parent, it is up to you to devise unique ways to teach your children to be smart money managers. The values you instill in them from an early age are ones that can carry over into lifelong principles and lead to excellent financial health. Depending on the age of your child, there are many ways to teach smart financial sense, even from as young as 2 years old.
Give Them Control
An allowance is the first interaction your child will have with earning money. It may seem minor to you — probably only a few dollars a week — but the most important aspect of receiving an allowance is deciding how to spend it.
With only light guidance from you, let your child have the power of spending his or her allowance. Teach your children about the importance of savings and also buying for others. Having the responsibility of money management gives children the opportunity to feel both the positives and challenges of making financial decisions.
One of the best ways to guide your budding finance enthusiast is to engage them in shopping. Before you even head out the door for your groceries, sit down with your child and clip coupons. Give them a stack of coupons you won’t be using and teach them how to find great deals and compare product prices.
Once you arrive at the store, build in a few game-like activities that your child can take the lead on. Make a contest out of finding the products that correlate with the best coupon deals. Show your enthusiasm as you rack up the savings, and be sure to give your children plenty of positive reinforcement while they help you cut your grocery costs.
Teamwork is a paramount value of smart money management that your children need to learn early on. By providing them responsibilities and giving them choices, you are automatically offering them a voice at the family’s financial table.
Remember that they are probably going to make financial mistakes as they age. Even a decision as small as spending their entire allowance instead of saving a dollar or two from it can be addressed by you. By working together, you can help raise a child who respects money and the responsibilities that come with it.
Deciding to enter the world of property rental can be lucrative. Whether you’re fixing up and renting out affordable homes or becoming a landlord because your home won’t sell, it’s a great way to earn money.
There are some things to consider before drafting up a lease and putting your home on the rental market – ones that can save you financial headaches later on down the road. As always, consult with a professional realtor, lawyer or financial advisor on any questions that are out of your area of expertise.
Creating a Lease
A quality lease protects both the landlord and tenant, and also complies with fair housing, rental, health and safety, and insurance laws of your region. These laws differ across states, counties and cities, so it is best to work with a local lawyer in creating your lease.
A lease should spell out the following, according to the American College of Real Estate Lawyers:
• Lease term: A month-to-month lease offers more flexibility if you’re still trying to sell, while an annual lease provides more stability.
• Security deposit: This is usually one month’s rent or more. • Due Date: Define rental due dates and penalties for late payments.
• Maintenance: Clear lines on who is responsible for repairs, mowing, and general upkeep.
Finding the Right Tenant
You can find tenants by advertising in the print and online versions of local newspapers. Remember that as the owner of the home, you have the power to turn down prospective tenants.
Ask interested parties to fill out an application, listing their name, employer, salary, previous landlords and references. Once you select a few potential tenants, it’s time to run their credit and criminal backgrounds. You can do this yourself though the use of various online credit and background check tools, or by hiring an accredited agency.
Handling an Inheritance
An inheritance brings with it a range of emotions and responsibility. Along with the pain of losing someone you love, you also may be experiencing an influx of cash that you feel overwhelmed in handling.
Americans lose 90 percent of inherited wealth by the third generation, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal. You can avoid suffering the same financial fate by remaining disciplined in your spending and smart in your investments.
Start a Savings Plan
Depending on the size of your inheritance, one smart option is placing the majority of it in an FDIC-insured money-market account. There are options for short-term accounts with larger interest rates than a regular savings account.
Keeping the money separate from your checking account will help you in avoiding irresponsible spending – the main reason for the previously mentioned wealth loss statistic. Create a little distance between you and your new money by finding safe, interest- friendly havens for it.
You can find a fee-only planner who doesn’t work on commission by visiting www.napfa.org, the website of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. The organization urges people to interview several advisors before you select one.Your advisor will help you come up with a customized financial plan, guiding you in defining your short- and long-term financial goals. You may be able to find free financial counsel in your area through events like Financial Planning Days – a collaborative effort between financial planning organizations, government agencies and schools, municipal buildings and libraries that delivers free financial counsel.Keep Your Job
“Take this Job and Shove It” may be a song that comes to mind if you inherit a large sum of money. But you may want to reconsider singing that tune to your boss. Some people treat their windfall of money as an opportunity to rapidly improve their lifestyle by buying a bigger home, a new car and other luxuries all at once.The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors urges clients to spread out their spending over the years while still maintaining employment to pad their savings or retirement account.Set a plan in place to limit your monthly spending – and stick to it.