Archive for May 2017

4 Steps to Take When Moving Cross-Country

4 Steps to Take When Moving Cross-Country

4 Steps to Take When Moving Cross-CountryThere is no way around it ? moving cross-country is an intimidating proposition. Picking up your entire life to move it from one location to another is always a challenge, and that challenge grows even greater when you are traveling a great distance between your old home and your new home.

If you are facing an upcoming cross-country move, you have probably spent your share of sleepless nights worried about how you are going to bring it all together successfully.

To help you overcome this challenge, we have listed four helpful tips below. Hopefully, with the assistance of these tips, you can get through moving cross-country?without any trouble.

1. Streamline Your Possessions

One of the keys to a great cross-country move actually takes place before moving day even arrives. In advance of your move, work on decluttering?possessions that you don?t want to take with you to your new home. Look carefully through all of the stuff you have in your home to determine what you want to keep and what can go. You might be surprised to find just how much stuff you don?t really want anymore. Remember, your move is only going to get easier ? and more affordable ? and you reduce your total number of possessions.

2. Contact a Mover Right Away

When moving a long distance, you are almost certainly going to need the help of a professional mover. You can?t ask your friends and family to load up their trucks and drive 2,000-miles to drop off stuff, so you will need a moving team on your side.

To make sure they aren?t booked up during your intended moving date, schedule your move as soon as possible. Having a quality moving team on your side is one of the best things you can do in this process. The money you spend on good movers will be well worth it.

3. Get Your Housing Arrangements in Order

Are you under a lease in your current home? If so, what are the terms for breaking the lease, or when does the lease end? You need to be brushed up on these details in order to time your move just right. You could wind up spending a lot of money to break a lease. So, try to avoid this outcome if at all possible. Also, if you are moving for a new job, ask your new employer about any relocation benefits which may be offered.

4. Label, Label, Label

You might think that you will remember what is in each of those boxes you put onto the truck, but your memory won?t be so sharp after a long trip. To make the unpacking process as easy as possible, be diligent about labeling all of your boxes as they are loaded. This might seem like a simple step but it can make a big difference when the move is complete.

Moving is never easy, especially when you are moving cross-country. But these tips can help you make the most of your move and help you avoid stress as much as possible.


Have you ever moved cross-country? Do you have any other tips?


Photo courtesy of: Pexels

4 Summer Jobs to Teach Kids the Value of Money

4 Summer Jobs to Teach Kids the Value of Money

4 Summer Jobs to Teach Kids the Value of MoneyIt can be hard to teach kids the value of money. When kids are young, they don?t have any concept of money ? the food just shows up on the table, and the roof just stays over their heads.

As they get older, kids might have an increased awareness of the importance of money, but only as it pertains to their world. For instance, if they want a new toy, they may know that they need to save their allowance for a couple weeks.

Once kids move into their high school years, it becomes more and more important to teach them about the value of money. Of course, one of the best ways to do just that is to send them out into the working world.

Having your child get a part-time job ? or a full-time job in the summer ? is a great way for them to learn how to handle a paycheck. Below are four possible summer jobs which could provide your child with a real-world financial education.

1. Fast Food

This is sort of the ?classic? summer job for a teenager. While it might not be particularly exciting to sell burgers and fries, this type of job will be a good introduction to the working world. Your child will be responsible for their shifts, and he or she will have to learn to work as part of a team. These types of businesses are also used to employing teenagers, so they are comfortable providing flexible schedules that can work around any other commitments your child may have.

2. Work at a Golf Course

Most golf courses hire seasonal workers for the summer, as the nice weather usually keeps the course busy from June through September (or so). There are a variety of indoor and outdoor roles for teenagers to play at a golf course, from taking money at the counter to cleaning up the driving range and more. Kids who are into sports and like to spend time outside will take naturally to this type of job.

3. Landscaping

This is another outdoor job which is good for kids who have plenty of energy to burn. Landscaping, much like golf, is an industry which picks up in the summer, so these jobs are not too difficult to find in most cases. Some landscaping jobs require early mornings and long hours, which are great for teaching the value of hard work and determination.

4. Lifeguard

We finish our list with another ?classic? summer job. Working at the local community pool or other location as a lifeguard is a great choice for a number of reasons. There is obviously a lot of responsibility in this kind of role, which may cause your child to step up and be a leader. Also, spending the summer outside near the water is a nice way to earn a paycheck. Of course, there are certifications required for this type of work, so planning in advance will be necessary.

Making kids get summer jobs is a great way for them to learn the value of money and give them a head start on saving money for the future.


Do your kids work at summer jobs? What are their summer jobs?


Photo courtesy of: rseigler0

4 Reasons Millennials May Have Trouble Budgeting

4 Reasons Millennials May Have Trouble Budgeting

4 Reasons Millennials May Have Trouble BudgetingAccording to many studies, Millennials seem to have trouble?creating or sticking with a budget. Unfortunately, this also means that other areas of their lives may be suffering as well. Millennials who don’t have a solid budget and financial foundation may not be saving for retirement as they ought to either.

But why do Millennials have trouble budgeting? Is it that they don’t know how? That they don’t care? Or some combination of both? Here are four reasons why Millennials may have trouble budgeting.

1. Millennials Are Underemployed

With the economy still not being back at its full strength after the recession, many Millennials are working jobs that do not pay what their degree is worth. Some Millennials are even underemployed, begin able to only find a few part-time jobs to string together to make ends meet.

They are taking these positions in order to have?a job, but they aren?t earning high salaries. It?s harder to pay off debt and live on your own when one?s paycheck isn?t enough to meet expenses. So, many Millennials don’t even bother with a budget.

2. Many are Living at Home

There have been multiple articles and expos?s on why this generation is living at home longer or returning to live at home after college. But no matter the reason, it’s happening.

One of the main points of budgeting is to make sure your bills are paid and you are letting your money work for you. But, some parents do not charge rent or other bills to their adult children. So, when you bring home a paycheck you don?t really need to divvy out and worry if there is enough, because your expenses are hardly any. Theoretically it should be easier to budget, but it can be difficult habit to adopt when you don?t have to worry about living expenses.

3. High Amounts of Student Debt

According to numerous sources, the average student loan debt for college graduates is around $35,000. Pair this with underemployment and budgeting is harder to do. Higher student debt is holding Millennials back from purchasing homes, automobiles and possibly even?marriage and having children. You may begin feeling deprived if a large portion of your budget is being put toward student loans. Plus, it’s harder to stick with a budget when you don’t feel like you’re making a dent in your debt.

4. Other Economic Factors

The rising cost of the national debt is staggering. As the government?s debt increases, the option of using social security for retirement is dwindling. Combined with?increasing costs of living, higher student debt, and a slowly recovering economy, budgeting gets harder for even the most financially savvy. Unfortunately, many Millennials are focused on the now to live and pay their bills, making the thought of saving for the future daunting at best.

Millennials aren?t the only ones facing tough economic times. But as more of them emerge into adulthood, it?s becoming clear that this generation is struggling financially. That’s not to say Millennials can’t or shouldn’t budget. However, it does make things difficult when the odds are stacked against you. It will simply take more of an effort to stick to your budget and get your personal finances in order.


Why do you think millennials have a hard time with budgeting? Do you struggle with budgeting?


Photo courtesy of: Freepht

5 Simple Tips for Investing

5 Tips for Investing

5 Tips for InvestingIf you are looking for ways to get into investing, then you are probably also looking for tips on how to do it successfully. You also might want to take a look at all of the different options when it comes to investing.

It is never too soon to start worrying about retirement and investing is a great way to make sure that you will be able to retire comfortably when the time comes. Here is a look at some of the best tips on investing.

Learn Something

If you are one of the people who think, ? I don?t know how stocks work,” or, ?What is Genesis Mining?? it is time to make sure that you educate yourself. You really don?t need to be the next Warren Buffet in order to gain a bit of working knowledge when it comes to investing and retirement. Just pick a few different things that you don?t have a good understanding of and make a goal to learn about them. For instance, you might want to learn the difference between Bitcoin mining and flat out buying and selling Bitcoin.

Know Your Limits

It doesn?t matter if you are trying to start investing when you are young, or if you are starting out a bit later in life; you need to determine what your limits are when it comes to risks. If the market happens to drop, you might look at your balance only to discover that it is a bit lower, and this is something that is going to happen from time to time. However, if the very thought of that is something that turns your stomach, imagine what your reaction will be when it actually does happen. If this sounds like you, then it might be wise to take a bit of the risk off of the table. One rule of thumb is to take your age and use that as a percentage of what your total holdings are for safer investments that are fixed, such as bonds.

Getting Your Money Back

One of the things that you will want to learn when it comes to saving and investing is how long it will be before you can get your money back. Things like shares in a mutual fund, stocks, and bonds are assets that can typically be sold at any given time. That being said, if you bought when prices were high and sell when they are lower, you will not get back everything that you put into them, and that kind of negates the purpose. Then you have other types of investments, such as IRAs, CDs, and limited partnerships that will put a bit of restriction on the ability that you have to cash in your assets. If you want to be able to liquidate your assets at the drop of a hat, invest in the things that will allow you to do just that.

Risk vs. Return

If you are of the opinion that investing in stocks is something that is simply too much of a risk for you, you should know that remaining conservative and trying to avoid any sort of market risks at all can also be a strategy that will lose money. Where there is no risk, there is typically not that great of a return. Staying away from the stock market can also boost your risk for inflation. How much a dollar is worth will go down as inflation goes up. Investing actually helps your money appreciate in terms of value. If you are just holding your money in a savings account, you won?t be making any money with it and this can cause it to decrease in value over time as inflation rises.


One of the best tips you will get for investing is to read. Reading about investing will give you the foundation that you need. It gives you a method of thinking about retirement and a way to look at the investing world. Think about how much of a difference accomplishing just a fraction of what someone like Bill Gates accomplishes would make in your life. For most people, that would be a very large difference.


Have you started investing? What tips do you have for those looking to start investing?


Photo courtesy of: stevepb

Fighting Back Against Student Loan Debt

student loan

student loanStudent loan debt?has grown from an expected part of education to a bonafide crisis in the making. As of 2017, it has become the second highest consumer debt category, second only to mortgage debt. To give you a bit of perspective, the average student in the Class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt. The fact of the matter is that even if you work through school or try to get scholarships, the vast majority of students will still require some sort of loans. With higher education being a vital part of many career paths, knowing about student loans and how to handle them is a vital skill. This article will discuss what types of loans you may take, how to pay them back, and what options you have when the debt becomes too much. Whether you are thinking of taking a loan out, are in the midst of repaying, or have your back against the wall, it is important to know your options.

Understanding Your Loans

Before taking out a loan, it is important to understand the difference between?federal and private loans. Federal loans, as expected, come from the federal government. A private loan comes from a lender such as a bank, credit union, state agency or school. As a rule of thumb, the trade-off between the two is that you get a variety of benefits with the federal loan, but can borrow more with a private loan. Also, there may be a limit to?federal?money you can borrow.

In general, many students will require a combination of the two, depending on the price of their education and how much they need to take out in loans. Here are some of the?special benefits?you can get when you take out federal loans:

  • You don?t have to repay your federal loans until graduating, leaving school, or changing enrollment status to less than half-time. Some private loans do not require this, but that isn?t always the case.
  • Generally, federal loans have more stable interest rates. A private loan can have a lower rate as well, but they may fluctuate.
  • Federal loans offer the possibility of a subsidized loan, where the government can pay interest while you are in school.
  • Federal loans also can potentially qualify for loan forgiveness programs (more on this later).

If you do choose to use private loans, be certain to do your research on each lender before borrowing. Some private lenders will give you more options than others. Make use of resources like your school?s financial aid office, online information, and other sources to guide your decision.

Repayment Options

Whether you have to pay while still in school or after you?re done, coming up with a proper plan for repayment of your loans is something that guides your financial health for much of your life. In many cases, the standard plan is a perfectly viable option for federal loans. This is a fixed payment over the course of 10 years. There are some variations on this option. These include Graduated Repayment plans, where the payments start lower and increase over a ten-year payment period. Another option is an income-based plan. In this case, your loan payments are recalculated each year based on your income and family size.

One unique option is the?Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.?You can have the balance on your federal loan?forgiven?after 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer. Generally, these jobs include government organizations or non-profit organizations. Be sure to check that your job is a match before pursuing this route.

For?private loan repayment, your options are generally more limited. Don?t expect forgiveness or income-based repayment plans. The lack of choices is why many experts recommend focusing on paying off your private loans before your federal loans. However, at the same time, depending on your interest rates, you may want to do otherwise. An online repayment calculator may be the tool that you need.

What To Do When Repayment Isn?t An Option

Generally, people only think of declaring bankruptcy for student loans as a last resort. While there is indeed a lot to lose if done improperly, it is an option with pros and cons like everything else.?One study?showed that 40% of borrowers who include student loan debt in their bankruptcy filing end up getting them discharged. The reason why so many people think it isn?t a viable option is because very few people try.

In general, you should try and weigh your other repayment option before thinking about bankruptcy. Many courts use the Brunner Test to try and determine ?undue hardship,? meaning that:

  • You would not be able to keep a minimum living standard if you pay the loan.
  • Your financial hardship would last for much of the repayment period.
  • You?ve made an effort in good faith to repay the loan before filing for bankruptcy.

Should you choose to go this route, one of the best things you can do is enlist the services of a skilled?debt lawyer. While many may not think of them as resources when it comes to student loan debt, the truth is quite the opposite. With student loans becoming a primary source of debt as mentioned earlier, the time has come to treat it the same way that one would handle credit card or mortgage debt once it spirals out of control. A lawyer?s assistance can be a vital tool, whether you are looking to strike before debt becomes an issue, or dig your way out of a financial hole.