Monthly Archives: November 2015

A warming planet could wreck the economy

Climate change may already be depressing wages and living standards, right here at home.
Source: Yahoo Finance

7 Steps to Living Debt Free

carry debt Are you sick and tired of being in debt?
You’re not alone!

In this economy, more and more Americans are struggling with credit cards, car payments, student loans, mortgages, and more.  So let’s talk about how to get rid of it-every dime owed, every tick on your credit report.

7 Steps to Living Debt Free

Step 1: Stop adding to the pile. People who’ve managed to juggle a big pile of debts tend to get overly comfortable with debts. They’re more willing to charge to a card, get financing, and add to the pile. After all, nothing’s gone wrong yet.   debt slaveThis is madness. Don’t do this. The bigger your stack of debts gets, the worse your interest rates on future debts will get, the more you’re spending on things that reference your credit report, and so on and so forth. You don’t have to go cold turkey…but seriously, go cold turkey. There’s no telling how close you are to the edge on your debts, even ignoring the myriad subtle ways that many debts are wasting your money.  

Step 2: Figure out where you stand. Acting without proper information is a waste of time—maybe you make your situation better, maybe you flounder. Better to take the time to familiarize yourself with your debts and get a firm understanding of the specifics. Which debts have the worst interest rates? Do you have any smaller debts you could rapidly clear? Are there opportunities to consolidate, renegotiate, or defer–student loans in particular might offer possibilities here.   This might be a good time to break out the spreadsheets and calculating tools, if you know how to work them or are willing to learn. Income matters just as much when figuring out how your debts impact you in the short and long term,  

Step 3: Develop long term goals. As you gain insight into your financial situation, proper long-term goals will probably come into focus on their own. Figure out what debts you simply can’t expect to eliminate completely in a short time frame—you might even have debts where slower payments are beneficial; maybe you’re on schedule for your job to pay off student loans, or some form of debt forgiveness. Taking these unusual circumstances into account, you’ll want figure out absolutely everything you need to pay, prioritized in order of interest accrual (based on the size of the debts and their interest rates).   Once you have the big picture, it’s time to dig a little deeper into nuance and figure out what to do right now.  

Step 4: Develop a short-term goal. Small short term goals are great for any task, when paired with a ‘big picture’. They give you something you can aim for and hit in a reasonable time-frame, giving you that little morale boost you need to keep up your good efforts. Your short-term debt goals should fit a few criteria:   Something beneficial to payoff quickly. This goes without saying (or the need for any explaining).   Something that’s going to be a little difficult to pay off, but not unreasonably so. A goal should challenge you to do your best, not serve to disappoint you as you aim for a hopeless ideal. So set something you can hit, if you budget wisely and don’t waste too much.  

Step 5: Build a budget. If you’re deep in debt, you’re almost certainly living beyond your means, especially if the bulk of your debts are from credit cards instead of, say, a mortgage and student loans. That means you’re going to have to really rein in your spending to get your debts where they should be—gone. You’re already going to take a hit from not adding to your debts any further, if you’re reliant on credit cards, but you also need to make room to make bigger payments on your existing debts.   Remember, a low monthly payment isn’t your debt-holder doing you a favor. It’s because they make more money charging you less for years and years and years than they do charging you a lot for a shorter period of time. Paying more on your mortgage or credit cards now saves you money in time. So build a budget which gives you room for bigger payments on your most pressing debts each month.  

Step 6: Fix your budget. Okay, look at your budget. It’s probably wildly unrealistic. Did you account for all the nonsense you spend money for each month—the fast food, the unplanned gift for the children, makeup, movie rentals? You’re not going to avoid spending that money just because you didn’t write it down before—you’re far more likely to spend it, then reach the end of the month and once again make the minimum payments on your various debts.   So fix your budget, including all the nonsense, then give all that nonsense a decent shave. You don’t have to give up on having fun and wasting the occasional dollar, but you do have to start spending that money consciously. Because if you don’t, you’re going to treat the money you planned to spend on paying your debts down faster like a piggy bank with no guard.  

Step 7: Keep at it. Past this point, you need only keep plugging away at your goals while maintaining a smart budget. Make sure to take a step back and re-evaluate on occasion, in case circumstances have shifted and your best path to being debt-free has changed. And when you payoff everything, don’t treat it as a reset, a new opportunity to go build up debts again. Now you have money to save, to invest, to profit from.

Charles Koch: My body is full of harpoons

Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries, tells Yahoo Finance editor-in-chief Andy Serwer why he’s decided to go public.
Source: Yahoo Finance

Wall Street looks to big week ahead

U.S. stock index futures indicated a mixed open Friday as traders digested a 5 percent slump in Chinese stocks and looked towards a big week ahead.
Source: Yahoo Finance

Nardelli: $15 minimum wage will put some businesses in jeopardy

More protests for a $15 minimum wage are planned for Black Friday. Yahoo Finance talked with veteran CEO Bob Nardelli about the debate.
Source: Yahoo Finance

Nobody really cares if Pfizer stiffs Uncle Sam

Everyone bad-mouths the tax-avoiding move known as an inversion, yet there’s no real momentum to change the practice.
Source: Yahoo Finance

Here's why a recession is 'several years away'

Deutsche Bank’s chief international economist Torsten Slok says business cycles “don’t run on a clock.”
Source: Yahoo Finance

Yellen defends Fed policy, calls for gradual hikes

In a letter Monday, Yellen called an interest rate hike “appropriate” if officials see progress toward labor and inflation goals.
Source: Yahoo Finance

Warren Buffett’s master class

Legendary investor and CEO Warren Buffett is also a teacher.
Source: Yahoo Finance

Kudlow: We need to destroy ISIS

What ISIS has done in Paris is an act of war. Let’s destroy them, says Larry Kudlow.
Source: Yahoo Finance

The 18-yr-old CEO who wants to change they way you buy, sell online

Jihad Kawas is not your ordinary start-up CEO. Find out why.
Source: Yahoo Finance

Stocks march higher, ending their best week so far this year

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market closed out its best week of the year Friday as big gains by retailers and technology companies pushed major indexes upward.
Source: Yahoo Finance

Square jumps after lackluster IPO pricing

Shares of upstart credit card processor Square jumped almost 50% on Thursday after lackluster interest from investors in the company’s initial public offering depressed its value.
Source: Yahoo Finance

Volkswagen says 120,000 U.S. diesel owners will get gift cards, repairs

Last week, Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) said it was offering a $500 prepaid Visa gift card, a separate card good for $500 toward services at a VW dealerships and free 24-hour roadside assistance for three years. VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said 120,000 owners have signed up to receive the gift cards – or about one quarter of the 482,000 vehicle owners covered by the emissions scandal. VW said taking part does not prevent owners from filing lawsuits.
Source: Yahoo Finance

One Big Secret the Rich Know About Home Finances

How to design a personal budgetTheFamilyBudgetSmall

When it comes to managing your personal finance, a monthly budget is a vital element. Without one, you will lack a guide to direct and control your spending. Think of it as driving on a strange road without signposts. You will have to guess where you are going and the best way to get there. You may get lost and run out of time and gas before you reach your goal.

Drawing up a budget is like putting up signposts on your spending. True, it takes time and energy, but it is a worthwhile investment if you are to manage your personal finances effectively. Once you have the signposts in place, you will be able to travel the spending road knowing where you are headed and what your goals are.
Here are the steps you should take to draw up a personal budget:

1. Write down the categories on which you spend money each month.
Go over your bills for the last six months and note your major monthly expenses, such as groceries, gas, rent/mortgage, electricity, water, clothing, entertainment and insurance.

For smaller incidentals that can add up you may want to set up a category, such as “household expenses.”

2. Calculate your monthly spending on each category.
Add up all you have spent on, say, groceries in the past six months. Divide the total by six. That will give you the monthly average that you have been spending on groceries. Do the same for each category on your list.

For items that you pay only once every six months, such as auto insurance or property taxes, divide the amount by six to obtain an average for each month. Do a similar calculation for items that you pay once every two or three months.

3. Separate your list into three major sections.
In one section, list the categories that do not change every month. Examples are your rent or mortgage, your television bill, your internet costs or your bill for medical insurance. Label these items your non-variable costs. Add them up.

In the other section list those items that are subject to change, such as groceries, gas and household costs. These are your variable costs. Total them.

Now add a third section for savings. You will want to set aside as much as possible each month for this purpose. That money will be needed in case of unanticipated or emergency spending. If you are not saving any money now, write down a realistic number that you feel is affordable.

127320474. Do the math
First, add all the amounts — non-variable, variable and savings — to arrive at your total monthly spending.

Compare that amount with your total monthly income after all deductions. If the income total is the same or more than your monthly spending, you already have a workable plan to handle your personal finance. All you have to do is to make sure you continue to spend the average amounts each month. But if your monthly income is less than your total monthly spending you are going to continue to bleed financially and you will have to do some tweaking to make sure you come out as close to parity as possible each month.

5. Adjust until it hurtshousehold-budget
Now comes the challenging part of this whole exercise. First, examine your non-variable costs and see whether there is something you can cut out of your life, such as cable TV. Or perhaps you can find a less expensive telephone service. Chances are, however, that there is little you can deduct from the non-variable side of the balance sheet.

Avoid the temptation to cut out the amount you have set aside for savings. That item is a crucial part of your new spending pattern; you cannot eliminate it. It represents costs you cannot foresee, but you can be almost certain will occur from time to time. If you do not have such savings, one bad month will wreck your whole spending plan.

Your only choice to cut your costs, therefore, is to work with those items that you have labeled variable. You will need to pare them down until the total of all your spending gets as close as possible to the amount you receive in your monthly income.

How are you going to do this? Say you have eight items. One method would be to divide by eight the amount by which you need to cut your expenses and deduct that amount from each item. But a better idea is to go through the list and see whether you can spend less on some non-essential items, such as clothing or entertainment, while maintaining more or less the same level on items such as groceries, which are for the most part essential. Of course, if you know that you are spending too much on luxury grocery items, you should by all means reduce that amount, too.

But by being realistic in your spending cuts you will have a better chance of keeping to your new spending plan. Simply cutting everything down is easy to do, but if you cannot keep to it you will be frustrated and you will want to give up after the first month.

When you are done, you will have a monthly spending amount for each variable category on your list. Write it down in a place where you can see it regularly.

Budget-11456087-644x3206. Keep to the plan
From now on, keep a running tally during the month of how much you spend on each category for which you have budgeted. Once you reach the limit for an item in your list, stop spending in that category. Wait until next month for that new sweater. When your grocery limit is reached and you’ve run out of coffee, stop drinking it, even if it is just for a day or two, before the end of the month. Be disciplined. No one said this would be easy.
If you keep to the plan you have drawn up, you will find that it becomes possible to make ends meet. And to save money each month. You will be well on the now-signposted road to financial stability. And that’s a really good place to be.

One Big Secret the Rich Know About Home Finances

How to design a personal budgetTheFamilyBudgetSmall

When it comes to managing your personal finance, a monthly budget is a vital element. Without one, you will lack a guide to direct and control your spending. Think of it as driving on a strange road without signposts. You will have to guess where you are going and the best way to get there. You may get lost and run out of time and gas before you reach your goal.

Drawing up a budget is like putting up signposts on your spending. True, it takes time and energy, but it is a worthwhile investment if you are to manage your personal finances effectively. Once you have the signposts in place, you will be able to travel the spending road knowing where you are headed and what your goals are.
Here are the steps you should take to draw up a personal budget:

1. Write down the categories on which you spend money each month.
Go over your bills for the last six months and note your major monthly expenses, such as groceries, gas, rent/mortgage, electricity, water, clothing, entertainment and insurance.

For smaller incidentals that can add up you may want to set up a category, such as “household expenses.”

2. Calculate your monthly spending on each category.
Add up all you have spent on, say, groceries in the past six months. Divide the total by six. That will give you the monthly average that you have been spending on groceries. Do the same for each category on your list.

For items that you pay only once every six months, such as auto insurance or property taxes, divide the amount by six to obtain an average for each month. Do a similar calculation for items that you pay once every two or three months.

3. Separate your list into three major sections.
In one section, list the categories that do not change every month. Examples are your rent or mortgage, your television bill, your internet costs or your bill for medical insurance. Label these items your non-variable costs. Add them up.

In the other section list those items that are subject to change, such as groceries, gas and household costs. These are your variable costs. Total them.

Now add a third section for savings. You will want to set aside as much as possible each month for this purpose. That money will be needed in case of unanticipated or emergency spending. If you are not saving any money now, write down a realistic number that you feel is affordable.

127320474. Do the math
First, add all the amounts — non-variable, variable and savings — to arrive at your total monthly spending.

Compare that amount with your total monthly income after all deductions. If the income total is the same or more than your monthly spending, you already have a workable plan to handle your personal finance. All you have to do is to make sure you continue to spend the average amounts each month. But if your monthly income is less than your total monthly spending you are going to continue to bleed financially and you will have to do some tweaking to make sure you come out as close to parity as possible each month.

5. Adjust until it hurtshousehold-budget
Now comes the challenging part of this whole exercise. First, examine your non-variable costs and see whether there is something you can cut out of your life, such as cable TV. Or perhaps you can find a less expensive telephone service. Chances are, however, that there is little you can deduct from the non-variable side of the balance sheet.

Avoid the temptation to cut out the amount you have set aside for savings. That item is a crucial part of your new spending pattern; you cannot eliminate it. It represents costs you cannot foresee, but you can be almost certain will occur from time to time. If you do not have such savings, one bad month will wreck your whole spending plan.

Your only choice to cut your costs, therefore, is to work with those items that you have labeled variable. You will need to pare them down until the total of all your spending gets as close as possible to the amount you receive in your monthly income.

How are you going to do this? Say you have eight items. One method would be to divide by eight the amount by which you need to cut your expenses and deduct that amount from each item. But a better idea is to go through the list and see whether you can spend less on some non-essential items, such as clothing or entertainment, while maintaining more or less the same level on items such as groceries, which are for the most part essential. Of course, if you know that you are spending too much on luxury grocery items, you should by all means reduce that amount, too.

But by being realistic in your spending cuts you will have a better chance of keeping to your new spending plan. Simply cutting everything down is easy to do, but if you cannot keep to it you will be frustrated and you will want to give up after the first month.

When you are done, you will have a monthly spending amount for each variable category on your list. Write it down in a place where you can see it regularly.

Budget-11456087-644x3206. Keep to the plan
From now on, keep a running tally during the month of how much you spend on each category for which you have budgeted. Once you reach the limit for an item in your list, stop spending in that category. Wait until next month for that new sweater. When your grocery limit is reached and you’ve run out of coffee, stop drinking it, even if it is just for a day or two, before the end of the month. Be disciplined. No one said this would be easy.
If you keep to the plan you have drawn up, you will find that it becomes possible to make ends meet. And to save money each month. You will be well on the now-signposted road to financial stability. And that’s a really good place to be.

Bob Nardelli: I would be very cautious about hiring right now

Bob Nardelli, former CEO of Home Depot and Chrysler and long-time executive at General Electric says he’d be “very cautious” about hiring right now. He tells Yahoo Finance editor-in-chief Andy Serwer why.
Source: Yahoo Finance

Charles Koch: We’re creating welfare for the wealthy

Charles Koch, the billionaire CEO of Koch Industries, says welfare is making people’s lives worse, but he’s not talking about welfare for low-income parents or the elderly. He’s aiming at a much bigger target. He’s talking about welfare for some of the most valuable companies in the world – government handouts in the form of tax breaks and subsidies.
Source: Yahoo Finance

Charles Koch wants to find 'common ground' with Obama administration

The man many consider to be the banker and high priest of political conservatism and libertarianism says you can call him a “classical liberal.”
Source: Yahoo Finance

Charles Koch: You can call me ‘liberal’

Charles Koch sits down with Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer for a candid, wide-ranging interview about politics, his business and his new book, “Good Profit
Source: Yahoo Finance

How to Retire

To most Americans, retirement planning is a mystery suretirement_roadrrounded in lore, fairy tales, and bad advice. With all the misinformation floating around, it’s no wonder most of the country remains in the work force until a ripe old age.

The Retirement Bucket Fallacy
A very common misconception is that retirement is like a bucket of water; you spend your life filling it and the last few years of your life draining it. This brings up questions like, “How much money do I need in savings to retire?” Wrong thinking like this will have you saving for far too long and outliving your retirement savings. Let’s consider a better way.

Passive Income

One concept you must familiarize yourself with is the concept of “Passive Income”. Chances are you go to work every day to earn a paycheck. You’re exchanging time for money, or work for money. More likely, you’re exchanging blood, sweat and tears for money. This is called Earned Income.

When you own an asset that produces cash flow for you without you having to work, this is called Passive Income. For example, you could own a stock or a REIT which pays monthly dividends. You make the investment once, and continue to collect passive income indefinitely.

Now this should not be confused with owning a job, as many entrepreneurs do. For example, if you own a sandwich shop and go to work behind the counter every day. Some portion of that income is earned from your daily efforts, while some part of the income comes from your ownership interest. Ask yourself, if I quit working in this sandwich shop today and hired somebody to replace me, how much money would I still get? That portion is passive income, the rest is earned income.

How to Retire
Straight out of the Robert Kiyosaki book Rich Dad Poor Dad… You can retire when your Passive Income is greater than your monthly expenses. Think about it. If your monthly passive income from investments is greater than your monthly expenses, you don’t need to go to work. If your ownership interests in assets produces an income, and that income meets or exceeds your expenses, you no longer need to work to earn income.

This means you have two options which can work well together.

1. Reduce your expenses.
2. Increase your passive income.

Reducing Expenses
You can take some pretty simple steps toward reducing your monthly expenses. For example, most Americans are used to having a car payment. You could pay off your car and drive it for the next 20 years. Sure you’ll need to budget some money for repairs and maintenance, and put a little aside for your next car. But living without a car payment can save you hundreds of dollars per month.

What about that home mortgage? A paid off home is a huge step toward retirement.

Think about the expenses you pay every month. Consider ways to reduce or eliminate every one of them.

Increasing Passive Income
Saving toward retirement should never be stuffing money under your mattress. Consider places you can put your retirement savings which will produce an income for you. There are many stocks and REITs which produce great dividends. Once you’ve amassed a few tens of thousands of dollars, you can start doing more advanced investments. Did you know you can own a business or rental property in your IRA with no income taxes or penalties? You can ask me personally for details.

Another option is to put your retirement savings in a Self Directed IRA, such as those offered through NuView IRA. You can then invest your retirement savings in real estate syndications to own an equitable interest in Apartment Buildings and other Commercial Real Estate. Check out ThatApartmentGuy.com for an example.

Fannie Mae logs lower profit amid murky growth prospects

Fannie Mae’s profits halved during the third quarter.
Source: Yahoo Finance

Fed's Lockhart: Rate liftoff 'will soon be appropriate'

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said continuing economic improvement will probably necessitate the first increase in interest rates since 2006.
Source: Yahoo Finance

Exclusive: Bass Pro Shops explores bid for Cabela's – sources

Bass Pro is working with an investment bank on the potential offer, the people said this week. Cabela’s has recently begun to explore its options and has also reached out to private equity firms to solicit interest, the people added. Bass Pro Shops declined comment, while Cabela’s did not respond to a request for comment. Shares of Sidney, Nebraska based Cabela’s jumped as much as 13 percent on the news, giving it a market capitalization of around $3 billion.
Source: Yahoo Finance

Wells Fargo to pay $81.6M to homeowners in bankruptcy

Wells Fargo Bank has agreed to pay $81.6 million to settle claims that it failed to notify homeowners in bankruptcy of changes in their mortgage payments. The Department of Justice said Thursday that the …
Source: Yahoo Finance

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