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When many people purchase a new house there are always things you didn’t notice on the last inspection or didn’t even think about needing. To help you out please find a list of the top items you could use for a new house below. These items also make great gifts for someone you now has just bought as house.

  • Zip ties
  • Duct tape – Useful for sealing any gaps or holes quickly.
  • Bungee cords – Great for moving the Christmas tree along with anything else you need to bundle to your car.
  • A tarp – Helpful for yard work, useful in case your grill cover blows away, can help cover a broken screen, and can even be used as a drop cloth while painting.
    Have a broken screen panel on your screened in porch from the same storm? Hang that tarp.
    Need a drop cloth while you paint your kitchen? You get yourself a tarp.
    Need to catch branches on the ground while your prune your trees? Get a bucket.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries – In case of a power outage or other emergency.
  • Fire extinguisher – One for each floor, along with one in the kitchen and garage.
  • Studfinder – Great tool for fining the right place to hang anything you need.
  • Toilet plunger – Better to be ready for what might happen and not be s… out of luck.
  • Long high quality extension cord – You never know when the power might go out in a room or area and how far away that place might be.
  • High quality hose – You will need it for a long time so make sure it lasts and doesn’t leak.
  • Tool set – Start with a cheap one but as tools break from use understand which one’s are used the most off and slowly replace them with the best quality one’s you can afford.
  • Carpet cleaning machine – Spring the couple hundred dollars and keep your house clean.
  • Ladder – Useful for changing light bulbs, cleaning gutters, and anything else you can’t reach on your own.
  • Carbon monoxide detector – Better to be safe than sorry.
  • Level – A very helpful tool to check if pictures you are hanging are flat or any other project you are working on.
  • Voltage pen – To easily make sure the various outlets are wired well and won’t zap you or your appliances.
  • Dolly – To move heavy items around easily.
  • Make sure the house receives cellular signal and if it doesn’t look into getting a signal boosting device or make sure you are utilizing Wifi when calling.
  • Cash – You will never know when the pipe will leak or what other small issues will come up.

770-306-9386

Sankey diagrams are a type of flow diagrams with differing widths of arrows that track where an initial amount goes.

They make for a great budget tool to see how your money ends up going. You can easily plug in your weekly or monthly expenses and paychecks or even put in your yearly W2 data to track our how your expenses and money have been going.

Sanekmatic.com is a great free tool to make your own charts.

Here is sample Sankey chart made using SankeyMatic:

A Perfect House And A Long Commute

This is a dilemma most home buyers have to face. On one hand, they have their dream property right in front of their eyes and on the other; they have the ignominy of a long commute. But before discussing the long and short of this, what defines a long commute. Is it a 30 minutes drive, a 45 minutes exercise, an hour and a half gruel? The time needs to be factored in. Also, if one is commuting for that long, you need to calculate the returns you are getting while doing so. The ideal question should have been, is it worthwhile?

Now, money is and will forever be a finite instrument. Just like life and time.  So how much of it would you be spending in the car, stuck in traffic and not being happy about it at all? Perhaps nothing at all. However, let’s look at the other possibilities. Your workplace, even though at a great distance from your new home, pays you well. It pays you to afford a great house, bills that you need to pay each month, education for your child et al. If that is the kind of job you are currently in, the journey is worth the while. Also, the title did mention a perfect house. Now that would mean, it did fit your budget more admirably than the other ones which you had checked out. The advice would be stick to it. Both your job and your perfect house matter and what links both of them is the paycheck you receive every month. Of course, if either one is suspect, then you have to start looking for newer possibilities. If it is not and I presume it surely is not, a commute should not be the deciding factor. Certain other things to look out for. Is the new house, which seems perfect to you, in a good school district, provided you are a couple. Even if you are not, the future needs to be factored in.

Statistics show that while the average commuting time has remained unchanged at 25.5 minutes those traveling for more than an hour rose to 11.1 million in 2012. Now that is a rise of 300000 from 2011.

Hence, idea is to strike a balance and it greatly boils down to priorities and find the perfect mix.

Five Easy Tips for Young Homebuyers Buying Their First Home

Buying a home for the first time can be both an overwhelming as well challenging task. You have so many things to consider while buying a property that you will call home for the rest of your life. Young couples often face the daunting task of deciding on a house that fits their pocket as well as aspirations. Thus, it is imperative to do a little financial homework before you can actually get down to some legwork.

Here are 5 easy tips for young homebuyers that will make their task much easier:

  • Check your credit score – To qualify for a loan, your credit score is going to play the most vital role. Every bank follows very strict loan approval criteria when it comes to credit scores. You will have to check your credit report for unpaid accounts or collection accounts or mistakes and rectify anything that can adversely affect your credit score. If you have a damaged credit score then you will have to invest some money and time to get it rectified. You need to keep in mind that only a good credit score will make you eligible for a loan.
  • Weighing your assets and liabilities – First time homebuyers need to weigh their assets and liabilities. They must be aware of the amount of money they draw in and the money that they actually owe. This will give them a clear picture regarding the money that they will need after buying a house.
  • Arrange the documents – You will need documents at every stage of home buying, so be ready with documents like two recent pay slips, tax returns, last two month’s bank statement etc. Buying a home is a time consuming process but when you are ready with the documents, consider one third of the job done.
  • Find out whether you qualify – You will need to find out whether you actually quality for a housing loan or not. For these you can ask the bank officials and find out the amount of money you will need to repay the loans and the exact amount of loan you qualify for.
  • Determine the down payment – You will have to get in touch of your bank and find out the exact down payment that you shall have to make. This again can be determined from the loan amount and the time period for which you wish to take the loan.

Retirement 101: Will I Ever Be Able to Retire?

Most of the people today are busy spending more time contemplating about the future hobbies, adventures, and travels that they would do during retirement. This is also the reason why they are saving and investing as early as today to support the lifestyle that they are envisioning when they already decided to stop working.

However, there is one question that remains in their minds, “Will I ever be able to retire?”. Even though they already have a vision of what is waiting for them in the future, there is still this hint of uncertainty. This is normal. Of course, we can never be so sure of the future, right? Read on and find the answer to your question about retirement.

While 2/3 of people are now investing and saving for their retirement, 15% of them are planning on winning the lottery and 1% of them expect that they would be money-gifted. There are really many factors that intervene when it comes to retirement. But there are ways for you to be sure if you will really be able to retire. Here are some:

  • Know Your Expenses – Knowing your expenses is very critical for your retirement. If you have not been tracking your expenses, now is the best time for you to start your expense analysis. If you understand where your money goes, you can assess how much you will be needing for you to live in comfort during retirement. Do this by:
  • Plan for changes in your retirement expenses
  • Consider downsizing
  • Consider changes in healthcare cost
  • Understand Your Income Sources – Understand what is your income source when you are already retired. Are you depending on annuities, pensions, Social Security, distributions, or your own retirement savings? If you have savings, know if you can convert them into income stream or investment account.
  • Generate extra income
  • Take some risk
  • Do not forget inflation
  • Save More Often – Your savings play a big role in your retirement. It is actually the top consideration during retirement because it is the amount that you can surely use when you stop working. You can use your savings to invest in anything that you would like to do when you reach the age of 60 and up. If you are saving now, save more often. It would really be great help on your retirement.

The answer to the question “Will I ever be able to retire?” will always depend on how you work on it before the time comes. Retirement is not something that people should ignore. It is hard to work and earn money. You would no want your effort to come to waste in the end.

As early as now, do something to remove the uncertainty in you. The above mentioned are tips on how you can guarantee your retirement soon. Doing these tips will significantly determine your future lifestyle and status when you reach the age of your retirement.

(618) 993-7578

TSP or Thrift Savings Plan comes under the 401k plan of the U.S. federal government. In terms of participant account and investment balance, TSP is the largest among all 401k-like plans. In this article, we are going to find out whether TSP is actually suitable for your portfolio or not. However, in order to determine this, we will need to dig deeper and find out the pros and cons of this savings plan while also finding out some strategies to include TSP in your portfolio.

TSP or Thrift Savings Plan

Under the retirement plans of US federal employees, TSP forms an important one besides Social Security and The Federal Employees Retirement System (pension). Both the military as well as the civilian employees of the federal government are eligible for this contribution plan.  Both traditional as well as the Roth accounts are offered by TSP.

Benefits of Thrift Savings Plan

  • Expense ratios are low
  • The five L funds along with the other six core funds have an expense ratio of 0.029%, which is $2.90 on an investment of $10,000. Thus, TSP maintains the lowest expense ratios for the mutual funds.
  • No hidden costs or fees – There are no hidden costs or fees for investing in TSP
  • Wise selection of funds – Core funds of TSP include C fund, S fund, I fund, F fund and G fund which cover majority of the asset classes.
  • Lifecycle funds – The five core funds are maintained in different percentages that matches the Lifecycle of Thrift Savings Plan.
  • Covers your entire life – Even when you separate from the federal service, you can still keep the account active while including any retirement plans into TSP.
  • Civilian receive an agency match – The civilians coming under the purview of FERS retirement system are entitled to receiving an agency match.

 

Downsides of Thrift Savings Plan

  • Withdrawal Limits – You will be entitled to only a single partial withdrawal prior to giving you the opportunity to withdraw the entire fund. Thus, there are many people who move to the IRAs post retirement.
  • No conversions within the plan – You are not allowed to convert any part of your traditional balances into Roth Balance.
  • I fund is not that great – I fund is considered to be among the weakest of all the five core funds.

 

Conclusion

Thrift Savings Plan is great for the federal employees but is not considered great for others. Thus, if your financial planning includes TSP then you must weigh your options before putting in your money.

236-557-8651

One of the well known online budget and expense tracking app is Mint which allows you to track your money transactions from home without any trouble. Mint was formally introduced in September 2007. In November 2009, Intuit purchased Mint for $170 million. At the time, Mint had more than 1 million clients and was including a couple of thousand new clients consistently. After four years, Mint has more than 10 million clients. It can be used for checking your financial statements, savings, credit card bills, monthly and yearly incomes, future goals involving money, and funding for trips and hotel bookings.

Advantages of using Mint.com

  • As this is budgeting software, it notifies you every time you are due to pay a bill or payment which ensures you don’t end up being penalized for paying fees lately.
  • It helps to guide you in making the perfect financial statement for you bringing out every scope for you to spend and save as well.
  • You can keep a look on your daily expense and if you have a future goal of buying something, you can reduce your current spending according to it.
  • It is easily portable and you can track your money records through phone, tablet, laptops etc. So even if you are on a tour, you can track your transactions.
  • It keeps a track on your credit bills, home bills, savings etc for you.

Disadvantages of using Mint.com

Although the Mint.com has some great advantages but there are some disadvantages too which is making people lose trust over the app and ending up calling it bad software for budgeting.

  • There is not guaranteed security in this online software. com could get hacked and the cyber hackers can get hold of all your financial information. The only thing the hacker needs to do is get your password and to be honest, it is not that hard to get.
  • People don’t feel the necessity of an online finance tracker and they are good on their own.
  • They are more loyal users of other online budgeting sites like Quicken or 6019031799.
  • There is sometimes a necessity of keeping a manual transaction record. Mint does everything through automated calculators but it sure has some flaws now and then causing you to lose track of your real money matters.
  • The site is full of advertisements of their credit cards and software. You would end up getting lost in them and being unable to put any digit in peacefully.

These are the basic reasons causing Mint to lose customers even though they provide quality service. If these issues are fixed soon they will be able to gain back their popularity as an online budgeting site.

(830) 251-0827

In the connect world today everyone looks so busy to in connecting these three dots called Work, Life, and Salary. To have a good life you need good salary and for getting the good salary you need to have a good job, which demands loads of time at work. If you spend loads of time at work, then where is time for life? Are you in a similar situation? Are you still running every day to connect these three dots? Not able to balance? Confused?

Don’t worry you are not only one with this problem, most of us get into this problem. The main reason is we focus on one goal and forget other. The mantra to achieve balance is knowing you. Pause the run of the life for some time and do deep thinking on what makes you happy? Absolutely there is no one answer.  Once you know the key to your happiness, you can prioritize the three dots to get the right balance.

If you don’t achieve the right balance it will lead to poor work-life balance which results in stress, unhappiness, and even reduced productivity. Here is a quick tip for achieving happiness by creating the right balance.

  • Spend time to understand yourself: pause your busy life sometimes and write answers for the key question of life Who I am? Do I know myself? What makes me happy? who I want to be?. Keep scribbling until you land on the stable and self-convincing answer. Remember there is no right or wrong answer, every answer is right until you are convinced.
  • Priorities the key goals of life: Once you know who you are and what makes you happy, you will understand pathway for happiness? What is your number one priority in life?
  • If you can’t track you can’t progress: As now you have understood where you need to be, it is equally important to get the correct measurement of where you are today. Start measuring the time you spend on different aspects of life. If you can’t measure you can’t improve. This is not your exam result, so no pass or fail, measure genuinely
  • Analyze and reschedule your days: Now you understand where you spend more time, start planning your day and assign more time to activity in the path of your balanced life. Nothing changes in one day, have discipline and dedication.
  • Have personal time: have some time blocked for yourself. Spending time with yourself is most important. Keep revisiting your goals and reprioritizing tasks. Remember no multi-tasking during your personal time.
  • Influencers: Understanding yourself and measuring yourself will let you understand key influencers.
    • Example less sleep leads to less productivity and more stress. Less productivity means more time you spend in the office. This cyclic process leads to poor performance and fewer chances of promotions or higher salary.
    • Health, as everyone says health is wealth, poor health leads to poor performance and poor work-life balance.
  • Social life is important: Build good friends circle, family relationships and dedicate time for your social life. You need to draw energy from society, end of the day you live in society, positive circle creates positive energy.

Finally, it is your life; you live the way it makes you happy. Never forget it is all about Life balance.

Save for the Days It Rains

An emergency by its very nature will strike at the most inopportune of moments. And the greatest fear that tags along with an emergency are the lack of funds. It is to overcome and be prepared for such unforeseen challenges that one should have a substantial amount of savings in place.

Warren Buffet had once famously quoted: “Savings in not what is left after you spent on your needs but it is the first investment you make before you spend on anything else.”

In today’s time of financial uncertainty and extreme competition, health and wealth are both victims. And after a point in time, there comes a situation where falling back on reserves, however unwise that would be, become a necessity. Let us list a few of them to see why people need and emergency fund or in other words, a saving.

  1. A loss of a job is a reality. Companies will restructure, downsize or maybe right size and the first casualty will be you. What would you do in that case? Jobs will never come on a platter and hence expecting one soon after you have lost one is simply wishful thinking. Also, even if you get one, there is no guarantee the salary currently drawn will be as attractive as the previous one.
  2. You or a family member has an illness. A debilitating one at that too. Where do you think you will have the funds to help you or the member get treatment? Also being too sick can make you lose your job. You would then be in a situation explained in point number 1. In addition to which the cost of treatment will add up.
  3. That property tax which you knew was under control for a long time has suddenly been raised. While previously budgeting for the taxes, you had never ensured some extra buffer for the future and now the future strikes back. It is again the savings which will come handy.
  4. You have been downsized and your hours rolled back. You are now a part time employee with very little cash in hand.
  5. An accident is a rude shock. Can happen to anyone of us at any time. Hence we call it an accident. The money needed for treatment needs to be saved from the beginning.

There is a myriad of reasons for people to start saving. The list is long and exhaustive.

If you haven’t started saving, this is the time.

Start now.

Why Are People Scared to Have Multiple Credit Cards?

In the recent world, banking business has provided new technological facilities that are making our lives easier than ever. Starting from online banking transactions to payouts through cards, transferring money from world’s one end to other has become a regular exercise. The two basic types of cards, Credit and Debit cards have made the transaction a simple process. However, some people are yet not used to the system and some are afraid of using it for various purposes. Here, we will talk about why people are afraid of using credit and debit cards and how can these issues be solved.

Reasons to be Afraid of Multiple Credit Cards

People usually use multiple credit cards to earn more credit points which can benefit them in getting a loan, reducing insurance rate and even get themselves a job. But not everyone is familiar with these advantages. They mostly fear using multiple credit cards because –

  • They don’t like using banks for money transfer. They fear banks might loot them instead of saving their money. They think using a credit card will increase the chances of a bank trapping them with debt.
  • The idea of taking or borrowing money from a bank makes people feel indebted towards the bank. They don’t prefer to have such a risk which can become a serious issue if there is any problem with transactions.
  • Everyone does not have a fixed monthly salary. While using a credit card, the amount taken from the bank will be charged from your account on a monthly basis. Usually, depending on the salary these allowances are given which is not applicable in some people’s cases.
  • They fear to spend too much through credit cards and end up going to jail for not being to pay the debt back.

How to Get Over the Fear

These above fears are likely to come in mind of a novice in bank dealings. If you are a regular you know there is nothing to worry about. But for that, you must keep a few things in mind –

  • Build credit history by transacting through credit cards for future loans and insurance benefits.
  • Stay alerted about fraudulent websites and try to keep a check on your payments and debt rate. Your payments on the card should never exceed your income.
  • Have an insurance and cash coverage for unexpected situations.
  • Know the law and try to follow it to avoid legal issues.