Tag Archives: Finance

How to Look Rich When Leading a Paycheck-to-Paycheck Lifestyle

The economy is crashing with lightning speed, and your bills are overwhelming with shut-off notices every few days. You juggle the finances as fast as you can to keep everything running smoothly. You live paycheck to paycheck while trying to keep up with the Joneses, and little do you know it probably means they are about to file for bankruptcy!

But do not fret for there are ways to appear in a class of your own, living the life of the rich and silent with a few well placed stories and good front. Like putting lipstick on a pig, you are going to look a lot better than you truly are! No one will realize the trouble you have at night when you try to fall asleep. The bills will fly through the air mocking you only in your dreams while neighbors and friends will envy your smart investments.

Your home, your car and your appearance will appearance will mask the poverty under the cushions and the car the barely keeps going. They will never know how close you are to becoming homeless because you carry yourself with confidence, a winners smile and the greatest fantasy of all time. You are a credit to all who walk the line of defeat against the odds and just keep walking no matter what.

Your fa├žade help you to face each new money crisis and as you watch your savings very slowly grow until one day you can finally move to easy street. But first you present fantasy of wealth, happiness and good taste in the face of financial ruin. Never show the stress and never admit failure!

  1. If you drive an older car and it’s paid off you have already won half the battle! How? No car payment and for the little extra you can change it’s appearance and history. No matter what kind of car you drive make sure you have a decent paint job on it and a high polish. Invest in some nice hub caps to make it a beautiful “vintage” auto.

Brag to everyone you just love the year and make of your car and it was a great find at the right time. If you appear to love the car for it’s year, make and model and it’s well cared for you are creating a history for it and yourself without anyone knowing you couldn’t afford a new car if it fell out of the sky! Adorn the inside with nice seat covers and hand made pillows to match . Shine every part you can. What a beauty it will be as your neighbors envy your good taste.

  1. Get a good hair cut. A good current style and a little hair gel goes a long way in convincing someone you only settle for the very best. Can’t afford to color your hair? You will let everyone know you believe in the wonderful and natural “you”! No amount of money or riches can make you better than you already are!
  2. Learn to sew! Make most of your own clothes with a touch here and there for a change in the pattern. Your story is you never buy off the rack unless it is very special or an emergency. YOUR clothes are all custom made by a new designer that will one day rule the walks of high end modeling. It’s your secret and you just cannot give the name for now. After all you will own the original designs of a future king or queen.
  3. Your home needs to be very well cared for even if it is a basic lawn front yard. Use a few well placed decorations, a rock collection and a few solar lights for effect. Make sure the outside front of the house has a nice paint job and good trim. Your story is this is just your little investment until you decide where you want to build your “dream” home. Keep it simple and keep it trimmed.
  4. Make your decoration simple and few. This is the least expensive way to decorate and looks the most elegant. Buy a few nice pieces of glass from retail outlet stores at a low price, but make sure you always relay they were purchased at full price. Add a few plants, candles and mirrors, family pictures in nice frames you can get at thrift stores and resale shops. Always decorate in groupings.
  5. If your furniture is on the older side this is where learning to sew will come in really handy. A couch cushion can have stuffing or foam added to it for extra firmness. Cover all your basic pieces with good, matching cloth. Sew it to custom fit each piece and add several large, overstuffed matching pillows in the same color and a few complimentary colors.

While at the machine make decorations for your home with small amounts of finer cloth such as small pillows and stuffed animals. Place on various pieces of furniture. Even lampshades can be made to match the rest of the room for that designer touch. Very chic, very modern and very cost worthy to those living a on a non-exsistent budget.

  1. Eat cheap when dining with just the family. But when you serve company and need to keep up appearances buy chicken and inexpensive white wine to cook it in. Serve with very little fresh vegetables and an unusual bread you can get from any deli or bakery section of your grocery store. Serve any left over wine from an inexpensive decanter you pick up at an under price store or thrift shop. For desert serve slices of frozen pound cake with strawberries and a good coffee. The effect is to look rich without spending a lot of money.
  2. Now you must be wondering how to serve such fine fare on your plain everyday dishes. You can’t afford a set of good china, but you can buy pieces of good china cheaply at thrift stores. The trick is to make sure every piece is different and tell your guest you planned it that way. It makes a beautiful setting on china most people will never eat off of again anywhere in there simple lives! Make sure your table is covered with a light weight table cloth and one single flower in the center. The vase can be from a dollar store or an empty, but well labeled perfume bottle you have found on your search through antique shops.
  3. Do not be afraid to go to consignment shops and look for labels or good quality items for much less money than new. It is good for appearances and for the budget. If you like jewelry choose costume pieces from an earlier era. Make sure they are clean because it is another one of your collections you are willing to share the beauty of with the common people. Following these simple suggestions will make you feel rich and prepare you for the day you are in a class of wealth like no other.
  4. If you work a job that cannot be disguised from others then you are only working in the position because you are a silent partner in the corporation and this is your way of making sure your investment is safe and know what makes the employee’s and customer’s happy. You must stay connected with the classes that spend the money for maximum profit and future improvements. Sounds good doesn’t it!

If the day never comes and your dreams are in a small neighborhood of a small but fine home, then at least you will have lived the fantasy just for the fun of it. So many of us do not live a life of luxury, but sometimes just a few fine items or the appearance of good taste gets us through the day and to the next paycheck. If you feel truly poor just remember you are not alone.

The next time one of your neighbors look like they are able to afford the very best while you try to figure out how to keep the power on, remember they may have read this article. Have fun, appear rich, enjoy the fantasy, but always be nice to those less fortunate. Because they may one day be nice to you when you need a shoulder to cry on or a hug to face the rest of the day.

The New Income Tax Slabs for the Financial Year 2008-2009 in India

The financial year in India starts from 1st April every year in India. The finance minister of India presents the budget for the next fiscal year on every last day of February. The budget for the financial year 2008-2009 was accordingly presented by the finance minister of India on 29th February, 2008, applicable for the financial year 2008-2009. Each and every Indian had his eyes riveted on this budget as it was very likely that the income tax slabs would be reduced considerably, thus, helping the poor and middle class people of India. This expectation proved very right and lot of relief was offered in the income tax slabs. We would discuss this relief in details but prior to that, it is perhaps mandatory to know the past rates of the income tax and then, compare it with the new rates of the next financial year.

The earlier tax structure was nil income tax till the annual taxable income as Rs.110,000, 10% income tax between the income slab of Rs.1,10,000 and Rs.1,50,000, 20% income tax between the income slab of Rs.1,50,000 and Rs. 2,50,000, and finally, 30% income tax between the income range of Rs.2,50,000 and above. The additional education tax of 3% of the tax payable was also levied. Some selected investments like PPF, govt. mutual funds, bonds of some special types etc. were considered tax free up to Rs.1,00,000. The senior citizens above the age of 65 years were allowed tax free income up to Rs.150000. The women were offered the tax free income up to Rs.175000. This was the existing scenario of the income tax structure for the financial year 2007-2008.

The new budget presented pleasant surprise to one and all as the income tax structure was changed drastically. The new income tax slabs applicable to financial year 2008-2009 are as narrated. There will be no income tax up to the income of Rs.150000. 10% income tax shall be payable between the income slab of Rs.150000 to Rs.250000, 20% income tax payable between the income slab of Rs.250000 to Rs.500000, and, finally, 30% income tax shall be payable above the income of Rs.500000. The 3% education tax on the income tax amount is kept unchanged by the finance minister. The tax free income limit is raised to Rs.210000 for all the senior citizens above the age of 65 years. The tax free limit of the income has been raised to Rs.225000 for all the women for the upcoming year. This new structure was welcomed very warmly by one and all as it would result in to financial benefits ranging from Rs.4000 to Rs.45000 annually in various income slabs. For example, the persons having annual income of Rs.150000 would have the yearly benefit of Rs.4000. Accordingly, the persons having annual income of Rs.300000 would be benefited by Rs.19000 yearly. The persons having annual income of Rs.500000 would derive yearly benefit of Rs.39000. You can work out your own financial benefits based on these new income tax slabs. The additional education tax of 3% on the income tax payable is kept unchanged for this year also. Some selected investments like PPF, some mutual funds approved by govt., and various govt. bonds up to Rs.100000 are also considered tax free, same as per previous year. That means that if a person invests Rs.100000 in such funds, he would not be liable for any income tax payment till his annual income reaches Rs.250000.

This change is definitely considered very positive and would bring benefit to almost all the tax paying persons in India. Though, it is believed that these benefits are given due to the fourth coming elections in 2009 in India. Whatever may be the reasons, most of the people of India shall be benefited by this new tax structure and would certainly give their blessings to the present ruling government, particularly to Mr.Chindambaram, the finance minister of India.

How to Deal with Financial Stress in Your Life

Every month you tell yourself things will get better, but after a certain amount of time has passed you realize it may not. If your family or you are experiencing a downturn in your financial picture, it may time to decide to make some serious changes. Studies have showed that in the last recession of the 90’s a huge majority of those that got laid off, did not recover financially to what they made. By being proactive you may save yourself a serious financial crisis down the road.

Should You Stay or Go: If you have found yourself trying to find a job in the area you live in with little to no success, it may be time to relocate. Many families are finding themselves leaving cities they grew up in because jobs in their fields are just not readily available. Do some research regarding where the hot spots are right now for your type of employment. You may just have to move to keep a roof over your head.

Sell The House: We may be in the worst housing recession this country has ever seen, but there are still people buying homes everyday. You may have purchased your home based on how well you were doing in the past years, but now as the decrease or lack of income may be playing a role, selling that house may be a smart move. Many people try to hold onto their home hoping things will be ok. But there has to be a point agreed upon by all parties, that if things do not improve selling the home and renting something cheaper may be a good idea. Check out the surrounding area you live in for rentals and their rates. If you have a family, keeping your children in the same school district may be your goal. Minimizing the expense of maintaining a residence can help stretch the income even more. Remember, in the future you can always purchase a home again.

Discuss the Finances: Hiding the finances from the family is the worst thing you can do. By discussing it and letting everyone know that it is group effort, things much less stressful in the house. This is a time to teach your children a valuable lesson about the real world. Life is all about ups and downs.

Look at Cost Cutting: Major corporations do it everyday and even have whole departments devoted to reducing costs and expenses. The same should go for your household. Do the kids really need all those channels on cable? Can you do without the land line at home? Can cellphone costs be cut? How about combining trips with the car for errands or places the kids want to go? Less buying out lunch and more bagging? Let teens get a part time job for their extra money. They are less likely to spend it on impulse items when they know its money they earned. Forget the housekeeper and let everyone pitch in. Make a list of all the items you spend money on each month and cut it down. Try using online coupon websites for savings.

Seek Counseling: For some people, who examine their finances, they may find that trouble is a lot closer to their door than they realize. Counseling about your finances may be a good decision. A counselor may decide that you are too deep into a financial position to be able to pull out. They may recommend credit counseling to try and consolidate your bills or even bankruptcy in a worse case scenario.

Examine your financial situation immediately, so you can make clearer decisions without the emotional turmoil than can happen as things get worse. Attacking it as a unit makes the decisions that have to be made much easier on all those involved. Your not facing this alone, as many other people around you, even some you know are dealing with it. Starting on this today, can prevent heartache and stress for tomorrow.

 

How to Evaluate Mortgage Reduction

If you have a mortgage you may want to consider a mortgage reduction plan. When you pay off your principal balance faster you will save yourself money in finance charges. The longer your loan term is the more money you pay in finance charges. A mortgage reduction plan can help you achieve your financial goals and objectives.

When you add additional principal payments to your mortgage you are able to pay it down faster, which increase the amount of equity in your home. Equity if determined by taking the value of your home and subtracting the outstanding balance. If your home is valued at $100,000 and your balance is $65,000 you have $35,000 of equity. Any additional principal payments should be sent to your mortgage company with written instruction, to your mortgage lender, explaining how the funds should be applied.

The price of your home can be reduced substantially if the economy is facing a recession, but adding additional payments to your loan can help counter the effects of having the value of your home reduced. When you get ready to sell your home the extra payments will help you realize more of a profit as the balance is lowered.

An amortization schedule or table will let you know exactly how much more money should be added to your standard payment if you want your mortgage paid off by a particular year. You can change up the amounts of money added to your payment to see how much time is cut from your term. A new amortization schedule can be run every time an extra payment is made to see how much time has been cut from the original mortgage loan. You also get a run down on the amount of money you save with finance charges.

Once your mortgage is paid off you have a number of things the extra money can be used for such as investments, credit card debt, home improvements, or even tuition. Having a home that is paid in full can go a long way towards helping you achieve your financial goals and objectives. If you need to borrow additional money you can even use your home, which is free and clear for that purpose.

There are a number of companies that will do a free mortgage reduction analysis which allows you to see how much is needed to get your home paid off on a particular date. Using an amortization schedule and mortgage calculator can give you the mechanisms needed to perform this task yourself.

The Business Class and Style of Singapore

Singapore has surpassed the heavy weights in the world of international finance by becoming the leaders in business travel satisfaction. World Bank has voted Singapore number #1 for business location in the world. Singapore is a vibrant country full of surprises and wonderment for tourist. But, for the business class sect there is no greater nation on the planet for first class business facilities and convenience. International business travelers continue choose Singapore as their first choice for international business gatherings. The astonishing business class services from hotels to restaurants in Singapore goffer the extra mile for those in Singapore on business rather than mere pleasure purposes. During their stay in Singapore, professional businessmen and woman can expect only the best. From the minute you touch down at the Singapore Changi Airport business class impeccable services commence. Singapore Changi Airport has come up with the perfect solution for the business traveler on the go. Creating an airport porter style service for those rushing to business meetings with no time to store their baggage at the hotel. This porter service will check your bags in and transport them directly to your hotel while you are away at your meeting. For those looking for an instant hotel option upon touching down at the Singapore Changi Airport there is the Crown Plaza Hotel situated at Terminal 3. This hotel boast of being the only one to greet you as you exist your plane, assist you to your hotel and get you settled into to room personally.

The M Hotel is also one of Singapore’s great business class options for travelers. This 4 star hotel spares nothing when it comes to making your business stay the best in town. It is fully equipped with no less that 40 business offices for hotel business guest to use. The hotel is located in the hub of the financial district adding additional convenience for those conducting business in the neighborhood. With all the amenities of a luxury end hotel at your finger tips this hotel is one to place at the top of your list. When in search for a hotel providing you with state of the art in business center facilities but located in the heart of everything, the St. Regis Hotel is perfect. Located on the glamorous Orchard Road, this hotel is first class all the way especially for their business traveler guests. The stylish suites make you feel right at home. The most astute art collection is housed within this most elegant hotel for guest to appreciate. This hotel makes the business travelers stay a breeze with butler services that takes the stresses of the day away. Being located on the shopping road of the century in Singapore does not guarantee that you will have time to do a spot of shopping yourself. That’s where your butler services come in handy as luxury goods can be brought to you in your suite for a private viewing making shopping a real cinch. Singapore continues to impress all who arrive at its shores with stylish living. This is especially so for the business travelers of the world who return to Singapore again and again.

Budgeting Tips for Students

After graduation I took a trip with my friends. The trip was immense fun but it wasn’t fun when I did the expenses. When I sat down to settle the trip bills, I knew I had to be stricter with my finances. Here’s a plan I made for myself and it has continued to help me to stay on track. I hope it helps recent graduates like me.

Make a budget for variable expenses: We all have expenses that are fixed- rent and bills. But expenses such as food, laundry and other personal expenses can change. Set a budget for such variable expenses.

Track your expenses, ALWAYS: if you don’t know how much amounts to your variable expenses, track them for previous months. You are sure to come to an average amount. Then set a ceiling for how much you should spend on them and stick to this number rigidly. Don’t give up tracking. Always track your expenses.

Avoid swiping your credit card for lesser amounts: pay by cash or use your debit card to pay for smaller amounts. Smaller amounts like the 10s and 20s amount to quiet a big number on your bill. It feels good to get them out of your way when you pay by cash.

Start cooking at home, because that is much cheaper than eating out every day. And it can save you a lot of money.

Avoid eating out as much as possible. Need I say again that it can save?

Say no: you don’t need to always catch that flick with your friend or go out every weekend for dinner. It is difficult to say no but your friends will understand.

Pause before you shop: Before you are ready to swipe your card, ask yourself if you really need the item you are buying. Can you do without it? If the answer to this question is ‘yes’ you know what to do. Few days back I was in BJs doing grocery shopping. I picked up a lovely winter jacket which was costing only $30. I was tempted to buy it. I roamed the entire store with it in my cart knowing I shouldn’t buy it. Eventually I put it down and bought only the required groceries.

It can be difficult to curb yourself from shopping in the beginning. But after you see the difference it makes it isn’t that difficult. All the best!

Money Management Tips for Your Child’s College Degree Education

Proper financial planning and money management for the purpose of college education of your children is absolutely essential, in view of the fact that the cost of college education has almost doubled in the last ten years and it is likely to become more expensive in the future. As we have entered an era of knowledge economy the advantages of a college degree have increased manifold.

It is an undeniable fact that young people who earn a college degree are more likely to have a higher income, enter an occupation that is more satisfying and get more opportunities for growth, than someone who doesn’t have a college degree. College education equips young people with critical and analytical thinking skills that are important in almost all fields today, especially the highly technical fields.

The cost of college education includes tuition fees, room and board fees, cost of books and transportation costs. If you wish to provide college education for your children you must plan ahead from now and this is where personal money management comes in. The earlier you start the more flexibility and choices you will have. Later on you will have other expenses and financial goals like buying a house and planning for retirement. In fact it is best to start saving and investing for your child’s college degree from birth to ease the pressure later on.

Saving and investing for college education will require a special program to be pursued specifically for this purpose. Your financial planning and money management strategies for college degree will depend on how early or how late you start. If the goal is far into the future, say ten years or more you can use aggressive investment strategies that involve some risks. When you are planning for long term you can use a variety of investment options so that your money can grow significantly. In case it is near you can use only low risk investments

The advantage of long term planning is that through compounding your money can grow to a significant amount over time putting less pressure on your earnings. Just setting aside a small amount every month will be sufficient to cover future college degree expenses of your children and you will not be under pressure when you will need to buy a family home and plan for retirement expenses. Of course these can also be included in your early financial planning. This will allow your children to complete college with less or no debt and they will have more choice of colleges and courses to join.

For the purpose of proper planning and execution of your college degree financing plan you need to assess the number of years until your child goes to college, projected cost of college education at that time in view of the past rates of escalation, amount that can be easily set aside from the household income, rate of inflation, possibility of student employment during college, availability of student loan, etc. A clear picture will no doubt help you to clearly chalk out your money management strategies for savings and investment. You can then look for and evaluate investment alternatives that will help you achieve your goals by balancing safety and yield.

You should diversify your investments so that the growth of your funds can outpace the rate of inflation to a great degree. According to financial experts you should aim at a return of around 3 percent over the rate of inflation because promises of more returns can be risky. You must keep in mind that investments with much higher yields will put your capital at risk. Liquidity may be also an important consideration for you but you should remember the fact that more liquidity might mean slower growth of your investments.

Various investment options are available for you depending on the age of your child. If you start before your child is 12 you can consider investing in stocks and/or growth-stock mutual funds. For children up to 16 years a series of bonds that mature each college degree year can be considered as they carry lower risk. If the child is above 16 then you should move into low risk investments so that the capital is protected. Short term government securities, money market funds, savings bonds and certificates of deposit are a good choice at this time.

In addition to the money management strategies described above other options for funding college education of your children are also available. Some states allow you to prepay college tuition fees. You can purchase one, two, three or four years of college in advance for your child’s college degree but you have to be sure that your child will not need to study out of state as each state has its own procedures and policies. If the refund policy and other terms suit you then this avenue should be definitely explored.

Another possibility is to borrow from a 40(K) retirement account but the limitation is that the amount has to be repaid within five years. A home equity loan which may also be tax deductible, can also be considered for funding your child’s college education. Thus if you wish to save for a college degree for your child, the essential money management and investment strategies are to begin as early as possible, save regularly, evaluate the risk and return of various types of investment and diversify your investments. It is important to regularly keep reviewing and adjusting your investment portfolio for maximum return on investment.