Month: February 2016

Personal Finance and Personal Investing Tips

Once you have your personal finance house in order another area of finance, personal investing, looms as a challenge. How do you finance major goals like retirement? Personal investing is the answer, so here are some investing tips to help you avoid disaster.

Get your personal finance foundation on firm ground before rushing into personal investing in a big way. Poor credit and money management can force you into bankruptcy even if you have considerable assets. Scenario: You pay $1,000,000 for a house putting next to nothing down in 2006. The only real money you’ve saved has been in your 401k at work, which is 100% invested in stock funds and company stock. A few years later you lose your job as your employer falls upon bad times, the stock market falls like a rock, and your house is worth $700,000 if you’re lucky. Sound familiar?

If you can’t pay your bills you are technically insolvent. In the above case you go broke and end up with a lousy credit rating at the same time. The truth is that millions of Americans have invested in real estate they couldn’t afford and stocks investments they didn’t understand; and many paid dearly for their financial mistakes. Concentrate on personal finance first: your insurance needs, credit management, and a cash reserve to cover financial emergencies should be your first concern. The truth is that as long as you can stay current on your bills and you have an excellent credit rating, you’re still alive financially. Any weakness in the above personal finance areas makes you vulnerable to financial disaster.

Personal investing is the area of finance that puzzles many people, even some who are well off financially. After all, most folks work for a living and have no financial education, especially in the investment and investing arena. Stocks and bonds are not that difficult to understand, but without any financial education or background, they may as well be a foreign language. The best investment tip I can give an inexperienced or new investor is to start investing with mutual funds. These funds were designed for the investing public. They offer diversification and professional management at a reasonable cost. You can invest large or smaller amounts and have access to your money on any business day.

Now for some mutual fund investing tips. Different funds have different financial objectives, risks, and cost structures. Get your feet wet with the safest funds, money market funds. They pay interest in the form of dividends, their share price does not fluctuate, and the cost of investing is usually low. If you need some or all of your money back there is little chance of taking a loss. Once you have some money accumulated there start small in stock funds if you are younger, and bond funds if you are closer to or in retirement. Bond funds pay higher income in the form of dividends with moderate investment risk, while stock funds feature higher profit potential along with higher risk.

 

 

Some Real Home Improvement Tips to Increase Your Homes Value

You may not be aware of it but many home improvements really do not increase the value of the home as much as they end up costing you. If you are considering the sale of your home and want to increase its value there are some home improvement tips that you can do that will actually help increase the value.

For example, before showing your home to prospective buyers, de-clutter it; experts claim that this is considered as much as a 970% average return on your investment just by cleaning it. Store items that you do not need in boxes or containers in an attic or basement, or better yet, in a separate storage facility; if need be, have a garage sale prior to having an open house.

More home improvements tips that increase the value of your home include making the house brighter; by simply replacing burned out bulbs or bulbs with low wattage, to a higher wattage and keeping your curtains and blinds open during open house you can expect an approximate 855% average return. Another is to make sure that your yard is free from clutter and that your grass is a healthy green. If possible hire a landscaper or gardener to trim everything back; this will gain you an average return of about 420%.

Additional home improvement tips include what is called “staging”; purchase some live plants and flowers or other new decorations and placing them around your home. You may also want to get rid of old furniture and large items that take up a lot of room in order to give the area a bigger more open appearance and gives you an average return of 250%.

Updating your bathroom and kitchen, nets a return of about 165% and can be accomplished by painting cabinets with a neutral color, replace old and dated fixtures with newer ones. It is also advisable to redo the grout in your sinks, tubs, showers and counter-tops; as well as using fresh caulking where necessary.

A few other improvement tips that will increase the value of your home include painting the inside of your house (140% return). Patch all of the holes, cracks or chips and then touch up or repaint with a neutral color. Basically, anything that you can do to outwardly clean up the appearance of something will help to increase your homes value.

Home Security Tips That Are Free Or Low Cost

Over 78 million Americans share a few things in common. First, they are all homeowners and that home represents the biggest single investment they have. Second is that home is a target for burglars who salivate at getting into your house to steal items of value, so they can feed their drug habit.

Burglars victimize one of every six homes on an annual basis. It is one of the easiest crimes to commit and there is little fear of getting caught with only 15% or less of these crimes ever being solved.

Here are five home security tips that are at no or at very low-cost. They will greatly enhance the security of your home, if you follow them.

  1. In over 60% of all home burglaries, the bad guys do not even need to break in. Why? Because American homeowners are so accommodating, most leave their doors and windows unlocked. So tip number one is to lock all doors and windows even when you’re at home. It is a good habit to get into.
  2. Start or join a neighborhood watch program. They are free and if your neighborhood doesn’t have one already, it’s easy to get one started. All you have to do is contact your local police department and one of their officers will help you get one going. They are one of the premier ways that neighbors can band together to fight crime.
  3. If you haven’t done so already, install home security alarms on all your doors and windows. If a burglar does get in, a 120 dB alarm will more than likely scare him away. A loud alarm will also alert neighbors to trouble inside your house.
  4. Depending on manpower and time availability, your local police department will do a free home security evaluation. This is an opportunity for a professional to look at your house and see weaknesses that a burglar would see, to give you an opportunity to enhance security in that area.
  5. Burglars spend less than 10 minutes, on average, inside every home. They just don’t want to get caught and the more time they spend there the greater the opportunity to get caught. That’s where diversion safes come in. Most are food or drink containers with removable tops or bottoms that are hollowed out to reveal a hiding place for smaller valuables such as credit cards, cash or jewelry and some are even big enough to hold handguns.

Simple Property Investment Tips For You

Nowadays, there are lots of investments individuals can choose from. These investments can help individuals improve their lifestyle and profits. Therefore, it is important for individuals to properly choose their investment. This is needed since choosing the wrong investment may lead to serious financial problems that may also affect your future. Luckily, one of the best options is to invest in properties.

Real estate experts state that property investment is really profitable. This is possible since investors can opt for different kinds of platforms, which can generate substantial finances. In addition, individuals can also opt for different types of properties that can cater to your needs. However, in order obtain the profits and benefits you need, there are certain factors you need to deal with. Listed below are simple property investment tips you need to know.

Properties

There are lots of factors when choosing properties. These factors are essential to help you find the ideal property that can accommodate your needs. Some of the most common properties you can choose are residential or commercial properties. These two options can provide you the benefits you need. However, you need to carefully choose which property can cater to your needs.

Property features

After choosing the kind of property you need to invest in, you need to determine the features of the property. This is important since these features can help you obtain better finances. For one, size is important when choosing. Large properties tend to provide better profits due to its size. Location is another factor when choosing. Of course, properties situated in good locations are more expensive. As a property owner, you can take this opportunity in your advantage.

Taxes

Some individuals may think that property investment is all about profits. Little do they know, individuals also need to pay taxes. With this said, you need to be knowledgeable about your taxes. By knowing these taxes, you can properly maintain your profits. On the other hand, property owners can also benefit from these taxes since expenses like interests in your loan are tax deductible.

Property condition

Lastly, you also need to know the condition of the property. This is important in order for you to attract renters or buyers. In this way, you can easily obtain the profits you need. So, when it comes to property condition, you can opt for the services of an inspector. These experts can help you check house details and find areas where renovations or repairs must be done. Inspectors can also help you ensure that your properties are safe and secured.