4 Ways to Put an End to Your Debt

We have strong impulses that can quickly get us in trouble, and that’s a fact. Probably the strongest is the impulse to spend money – too much money. Sometimes it’s just a stupid thing, like relying too much on the power of our credit cards, but you don’t have to be reckless to end up in large debt.  Borrowing money has become a pretty normal thing in every grownup’s life – in this capitalistic society it may be the only way to get things we want or even really need. You’d say that there’d be a great debt awareness by now, but that’s not always the case. Even when it is, not many people are prepared for the unexpected that can take many forms – childbirth, lost job, an accident, etc. All these life-altering experiences will also quickly alter your finances and prevent you from paying back your loans on time.

Even if you lead a pretty steady life and are punctual with your repayments, their end may seem far out of reach. You’d want to pay off your loans faster and be done with it, but coming up with enough money seems impossible. That’s how you get accustomed to your debt. If you’ve signed a loan to finance your business you might expect that the growth of that business will take care of the repayments. But nothing can grow in financial shackles – not your business, not your life. And you’re the only one who can break from them. Poor financial decisions can be overcome with the right ones, and debt can become a thing of the past.

1. Make it a Priority

This is the worst thing about debts – the bigger they get, the less we want to look at them. You might say that you’d rather live your life than deal with numbers all the time, but there’s not much life in the situation where you’re running in circles. If you want to find the way out you need to look the numbers straight in the eye. It is actually a pretty obvious move and a really simple one. All you need is a Google Spreadsheet or a piece of paper if you’re a pen person. First, you need to visit the websites of each financial institution you have a debt to. Then simply copy down all balances along with their respective APRs, exactly as they appear – and pay special attention to your minimum payments for every account. Only after you track down all your debts this way you’ll know how much exactly do you owe and that is the road to getting rid of it.

2. Set Goals Along The Way

Knowing the exact amount you need to pay back can be overwhelming even for the most goal-oriented person, so the best way to go is to break it. Once your debt is in the form of manageable parts it won’t be scary anymore, and every small victory will provide you with more determination. The first thing you need to do is to assess how much money can you set aside for monthly repayments since that will shape your periodic goals. It will also provide you with a rough estimate of how long it will take you to get out, eliminating the factor of a neverending financial nightmare. To make these goals even stronger and boost your motivation, try to negotiate a lower interest rate with your creditors. Most people think that this possibility of interest rate reduction is a fairytale, but if you’ve done your homework on comprehensive credit reporting you should know better.  And now you have a bigger monthly repayment budget.

3. Catch The Big Fish First

When you have a clear list of debts in front of you it might be difficult to figure out where to start and decide on debt payment portion. Most people decide to pay balances low to high, not thinking about interest rates. It is understandable to try to keep your money, but that way you’ll do quite the opposite. If you’ve succeeded in reducing your interest rates you might be encouraged to take this road, but this should actually serve as a motivation to attack the debt with the highest interest rate and continue with the buildup of your budget. Debt is probably the only area in life where working your way down will get you much quicker above the surface. So you need to focus on the big fish you wish to eliminate first, making the minimum payment on other accounts. Then simply pass onto the next debt on the list, adding the money you’ve freed up to the minimum payment. People call this the snowball method, but once you try it it will seem more like a cleansing avalanche.

4. Balance Your Work And Savings

It is obvious that you’re gonna need to work more to pay off your debt faster. People go at great lengths, working overtime, taking second jobs, babysitting in their free time, etc. Although this is a very responsible thing to do, it could take you to the extreme where you’ll make your final payment in the nuthouse. That’s why it’s important to find the perfect balance between your work and savings. Yes, but you’ve thrown your complete savings on that big fish we’ve talked about above. Well, there are other ways to save up without working your ass off. It is just the question of how you look at the money. You have your bonuses, tax returns, birthday and wedding gifts, don’t you? Instead of treating that indirect income as a reward which you’ll use to buy you something nice, apply it directly at your debt.

But this windfall money is still not the only way to save up. You can downsize, for start. You have a shiny new car in your driveway, but you also have debt. So trade it for something cheap and you’ve saved up. Do the same with all your ʽtoysʼ – there’ll be plenty of time to play once you’re out of your debt. Once you’re out of big-ticket items that don’t mean your race is run. Every house or apartment is full of things we’re never gonna need, and yours is not an exception. And there are many people who do need (or think they need) that stuff, so it’s time for a garage sale.

In the end, you’ll save up by careful spending. Start with your utility bills. It’s pointless to pay for cable if you only watch Netflix, right? Then take a look at your fridge. Do you really eat all that? How about planning your meals? Maybe you can walk to the store instead of calling delivery every time? When you go shopping, leave your credit cards at home – handing cash will always remind you that you have to save up.

There you have it – looking your debt straight in the eye and breaking it down into manageable pieces it’s already half of the work done. It will boost your motivation to work harder and determination to keep the cash flow in the right direction.

Guest author Lucas is a business consultant with a passion for writing. Doing his research, exploring and writing are his favorite things to do. Besides that, he loves playing his guitar, hiking and traveling.

7 Proven Strategies To Successfully Manage Your Investment Property

Properties have always been considered a safe and profitable investment. In most of the cases, these assumptions are true. However, there is one common belief the real estate newcomers are usually wrong about – troubles don’t go away once you find a hot property and sign the papers. They are just beginning.

Although it doesn’t seem that way, rental investments require a great deal of careful management, and their eventual success hangs on the investor’s ability to perform it. Let’s take a look at a couple of strategies that can make this job considerably easier.

Keep the reliable tenants happy

The properties that are not necessarily considered hot and have a history of sitting vacant for months before finding reliable residents can cause their owners huge financial problems with each turnover. That is why landlords have to go out of the way to make tenants happy. Here are some of the ways you can do this:

  • Maintain open and friendly communication.
  • Be quick to respond to tenants’ requests.
  • Make strategic upgrades to accommodate tenants’ habits.
  • Do your best to keep neighbors under control.
  • Encourage longer leases even if that implies discounted rates.

Create a financial plan

Rental properties are not that different from any other business. As a result, if you want to make them profitable you need at least a rudimental business plan. This document should cover the property’s market value (as determined by size, location and amenities), expected revenue, monthly and annual expenses, and the list of upgrades intended to increase the property’s market value. This simple plan prevents rash decisions, excessive spending and gives landlords an excellent reference point for measuring their current progress.

Take care of the maintenance

Keeping up with property maintenance is one of the most important things you should do with your investment. This issue is so complex that some countries like Australia demand that strata managers and lot owners provide professionally made initial maintenance schedule that specifies obligations of maintaining the common property assets. These documents are a great roadmap for all future property interventions, so it is a good idea to hire trained professionals to make you one.

Study the law

Knowing the legal provisions regarding the landlord-tenant relations can be of tremendous help in handling potentially troublesome situations and streamlining the management process. Some of the most important topics you need to cover are the regulations regarding the security deposit, reasons for evicting the tenants out of the property, the very process of eviction and the circumstances in which tenants are allowed to legally withhold the rent.

Manage your property like a hospitality business

This plays out in two ways. On the one hand, you should treat your property with the same level of care and attention as you would if you were running a hotel. On the other hand, running the rental property like a hospitality business sets a great frame for establishing the relationship with the tenants. Yes, you should be pleasant and do your best to make them feel comfortable. But, at the same time you should maintain a professional distance and keep your doings within legally binding terms.

Market your properties

This is another topic where you could take notes from hospitality businesses. Waiting for the tenants to come to you instead of reaching out and marketing your properties to them is a horrible mistake. And remember this – listing your investments on Airbnb and similar websites is not marketing. Instead, your venture should follow all the steps other small businesses make and devise a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes branding, and actions across several different marketing channels.

Consider hiring a property manager

Managing several properties can be an overwhelming process. In such circumstances, hiring a professional whose sole job will be to manage your investments may be the only viable option. Managerial salary will make a cut into your profit, but your business will be set on solid ground, and you will have your hands free to explore other ventures. Alternatively, you may opt for businesses providing managerial services. This option practically outsources management outside your enterprise, but you do get a top-notch service for the price of a monthly subscription.

Managing a rental property is a task that requires a lot of patience and effort. And yet, a lot of landlords approach this duty like their job consists solely of picking up the rent and hiring contractors to perform annual maintenance. Such landlords don’t have staying power. Learn from their mistakes and use the seven strategies we gave you to turn your investment into a profitable business laid out on rock solid foundations.

About the author: Mike Johnston is a lifestyle and business blogger from Sydney. He is a regular writer at Smooth Decorator and Divine Magazine. He also contributed to real estate and environmental blogs as well. Mike’s goal is to create and share meaningful content that helps and inspires people.

Is Your Retirement Planning Blog Financially Sound?

Retirement is supposed to be a time for relaxation and enjoyment, without the demands and responsibilities of a job. However, many people find themselves facing certain challenges after they enter retirement.

shutterstock_2549261resize

One of the main reasons why retirement has turned out to be a difficult experience for some people is because they did not prepare themselves properly for this phase of life.

Planning for retirement can be a daunting task, but there are many excellent online resources, such as retirement blogs, that can help soon-to-be retirees and retirees achieve their desired retirement outcomes.

Here is a look at why you should read retirement blogs and how you can start one of your own.

Why Read Retirement Blogs?

Reading retirement blogs can be very beneficial to near-retirees and retirees, because they provide a wide range of information, tips and advice on how to prepare for and deal with every aspect of retirement.

These blogs are either written by experienced and successful retirees, or experts in the subject of retirement.

Some of the types of information that you can find in retirement blogs include:

Relocation Information

Many people wish to relocate after they retire, and they may need advice on how to select the right locations, find the right homes and move their belongings.

Those who are planning to move to another country will also have to find out about the visa requirements, living standards and costs, and quality of healthcare in their countries of destination.

As the following article looks at, retirees can find a lot of information about relocation in retirement planning blogs, including location-specific retirement information and real estate classified ads.

 

Financial Advice

It is common for retirees to face financial problems, simply because they no longer have a steady source of income.

Retirement blogs contain helpful information on retirement-related financial topics, such as pensions, Social Security, 401(k), investments, business management, taxes, budgeting and others. Some of them even have calculators for retirement financial planning.

 

Health and Well-Being Information

Most retirees are elderly people, and they are more susceptible to health problems than younger people. They can learn to deal with their health problems and improve their quality of life by reading retirement blogs.

Many retirement blogs have detailed information about specific age-related health conditions, as well as general health advice, healthy eating tips, health insurance information and tips for transitioning psychologically and emotionally into retirement.

 

How to Create a Successful Retirement Blog

As the Baby Boomers continue to enter retirement, now is a great time to start a retirement blog.

If that is what you want to do, you can make your blog successful by following these tips:

  • Design your retirement blog in such a way that it is easy to read and professional-looking.
  • Add a unique twist to your blog content.
  • Make sure the content is informative and helpful, and written with the best interests of your readers in mind.
  • Post fresh content regularly.
  • Encourage your readers to post comments and feedback, share their ideas and interact with each other.
  • Use social media, mobile and other marketing channels to promote your blog.

 

Presently, there are numerous retirement blogs on the Internet, and some of them are dedicated to specific retirement situations.

If you spend some time doing research, you should be able to find a blog that has answers to all your questions about retirement.

 

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.