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Jan 212021

Fixed vs. Variable Expenses: What to Know

By |January 21st, 2021|Personal Finance Tips|0 Comments

Fixed and variable expenses are terms used to describe costs that are either consistent or fluctuate over time. Understanding how the two are different can help you improve your finances and understand where your money is going. Keep reading to find out more about both types of expenses.

What are fixed expenses?

Fixed expenses, also known as fixed costs, are expenses that remain static on a regular basis. Fixed expenses typically make up the largest percentage of your budget since they consist of necessities like your monthly rent.

However, not all fixed expenses are necessities. For example, your streaming service subscriptions are fixed costs but are not necessary for you to survive (unless you really, really need to finish binge-watching Bridgerton).

Examples of fixed expenses

Common examples of fixed expenses include:
Rent
Loan payments
Insurance premiums
Car payments
Gym memberships
Health insurance
Tuition fees

Can I change my fixed expenses?

Yes, you can lower your fixed expenses. While they don’t change month to month, you can, for example, look for cheaper alternatives to services that you don’t use a lot. If you don’t use your gym membership often but still want to have the option should the fitness mood strike, you can swap your premium studio for a more budget-friendly, no-frills gym. Lowering your monthly fixed expenses can help you save money and free up your budget.

Another benefit to lowering fixed expenses is that you probably won’t feel like you’re sacrificing much to do so. You only need to make a cost-cutting decision once for each category to save more money.

What are variable expenses?

Variable expenses, also known as variable costs, are expenses that can continuously change. They are more difficult to estimate than fixed expenses since they can increase or decrease over time. Variable expenses are partially comprised of discretionary spending. For example, do you pick regular or premium gas when filling up your car?

Variable expenses can be tougher to cut out than fixed expenses because trimming them may require daily discipline to say no to more expensive decisions. You may not notice that your insurance copay is lower on a regular basis, but you might mourn the loss of your daily Frappuccino.

Examples of variable expenses

Common examples of variable expenses include:
Utilities
Taxes
Groceries
Gas
Entertainment
Clothing

How to predict variable expenses

Variable expenses can change, but that doesn’t mean they’re impossible to predict. For instance, you could go through last year’s bank statements to see how much you spent on variable expenses overall to give yourself a rough estimate. Check out your grocery bills, utility bills, etc. Unless your life circumstances or spending have changed drastically, you’ll be able to use these as a benchmark.

How to create a budget

If you have a stack of bills due and want to know how to pay off credit card debt, you may want to create a budget. Sticking with a budget can help you stay on track with both your fixed and variable expenses. Here are a few tips for creating a budget:

Here are a few tips for creating a budget:

Assess your financial situation
Take time to gather your financial paperwork and assess your finances. Calculating your net worth and disposable income can be helpful for knowing your full financial picture.

Calculate your fixed and variable expenses
Determine your average monthly fixed and variable expenses to the best of your ability. While variable expenses can be hard to predict, you should be able to make a rough estimate.

See where adjustments can be made
Once you’ve reviewed your monthly expenses, see where small tweaks can be made to help you cut costs.

Jan 192021

Gold investing for beginners

By |January 19th, 2021|General Personal Finance|0 Comments

 For centuries, gold has been an essential commodity as ancient people use it to buy goods. Gold is even seen as a symbol of wealth. That’s why gold owners are buried with their gold bars and coins.

The value of gold dates back to ancient times because of its stability. That’s why many investors consider gold as one of the safest investments, making its prices higher than stocks during economic downturns. There are more reasons why most investors have gold investments, and you’ll find them below.

Types Of Gold Investment 

Gold investment doesn’t only mean buying gold coins or bars. There are other types of investments that involve gold. If you want to learn more about gold and other precious metals, check out useful sites like investingingold.com.

By doing further research, you’ll find it easier to decide whether to go for gold or settle for other precious metals. If you want to invest in gold, you can choose one of the following or all of them:

  • Physical Gold: It means owning physical gold like gold bullions, coins, and jewelry. That means you have direct ownership of the gold, and you have the advantage to do anything with it. Or you can either use your own vault or seek the help of companies that offer safekeeping of gold bullions in secure vaults. That way, the gold can have higher liquidity and lower costs.
  • Gold Funds: This type of gold investment is an excellent way to increase one’s wealth using the potential of gold as a commodity. You can invest in a Gold Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) unit with your gold funds instead of holding it physically.
  • Gold Backed Securities: This type of gold investment allows you to invest in gold indirectly. It uses the traditional liquidity of traditional securities market like the stock market. With such, you can capitalize on gold exchange-traded funds on stock exchanges.

Reasons To Invest In Gold 

As mentioned earlier, investors choose to invest in gold for so many reasons. Not only is it considered a safe way to invest but also because of the following reasons:

  • Protection Against Inflation 

Because of inflation, the worth of your money decreases especially during crisis and other economic strains. For example, you can only buy a little with your USD$10 now compared to years ago. However, gold does different in times like this. Typically, this precious metal can be a hedge against inflation and other economic uncertainties. That’s because its value increases through the years and becomes more valuable in securing your financial future.

  • Provides Liquidity

In investment, liquidity pertains to the number of people willing to invest in the trade. With gold, it provides high liquidity because of various things. For instance, gold is rare, and many people can use it to protect their assets against inflation. These reasons alone make gold have high liquidity, so investing in such is a way to earn more in the long run.

  • Diversifies Portfolio 

Another vital reason why investing in gold is a good decision is to diversify your investment portfolio. It’s because gold has no significant correlation to other asset classes. So, when all else goes down, your gold investment can balance or protect your portfolio from volatility.

How To Invest In Gold 

Since you know the importance of investing in gold, you can start building your portfolio now. First, determine what type of gold investment you prefer to invest your money in. Remember that investing in gold lets you earn more if you do it for a long-term basis.

Also, include your knowledge about the investment. It’s best that you fully understand the advantages of investing in gold and its risks. That way, you won’t get your emotions involved when your portfolio becomes volatile.

If you want, you can choose to own physical gold such as jewelry, gold coins, or bullions. When you do, you should make sure to place it in a secure and safe location such as vaults and companies securing such assets.

You can also buy gold funds as they’re low-cost and more liquid. Just like stocks, you can trade gold funds any time of the day. Whatever you choose to invest in, make sure you do it in reputable sites or sources. That way, you won’t have to run into problems.

Conclusion 

Investing doesn’t only involve stocks or mutual funds, but it also includes gold. It’s because of its liquidity and ability to protect one’s assets from inflation. Moreover, gold investment diversifies one’s portfolio, making it safer from the volatility of other investments. For these reasons, you can invest by buying physical gold or gold funds. Whatever type of gold investment, it’s best to understand where you’re putting your money into.

 

Jan 182021

How Much Do I Need to Trade in Forex?

By |January 18th, 2021|Personal Finance Tips|0 Comments

The amount you invest in forex trading directly influences the size of your gain from the venture.

However, the challenge comes when you are unsure of what to start trading with, the minimum legal amount to invest, and the best investment amount to ensure a substantial win from forex trading. If these are your fears, then worry no more.

This article simplifies your trading. It digs into the amount to start trading with as per industry standards. It then recommends the best amount for you to trade with, besides the forex industry standards.

Finally, the article highlights other factors that affect your forex trading success concerning investment amount. Let’s get started.

Amount to Invest

Several factors influence the amount to invest. Specific determinants of your trading amount are your experience, mode of trading, and the industry standards.

There is no legal minimum currency amount to open a trading account. The platform you choose sets its prices.

For example, if you trade on the mt4 platform via https://www.equiti.com/platforms/metatrader-4/, you can open an account and start trading with $50.

Also, the amount varies with your broker. Some brokers can let you start trading with as low as $5 or even $1! However, here’s the catch:

How to Invest in Forex Trading

Don’t think starting to trade on $1 or less is making a kill until you understand what lies under the hood.

Most brokers will lure into investing a minimum amount with a target. They present lucrative account types, bonuses, and superb client services.

Once you deposit their target lump sum, then the deal starts going worse. Not only do the brokers stop solving your pain points, but they also will stop you from withdrawing the amount from your account.

Here’s the trick to deal with such scams:

Start trading on a demo account. Most brokers let you open a demo account for $0. This is the best time to examine the broker’s services. Besides, a demo account lets learn how forex trading operates.

After operating a demo or nano account for some time, you can take either of these paths. First, you can proceed and deposit the average industry trading deposit of $100. You should invest more if you want to gain more from forex.

Secondly, you can deposit the broker’s minimum deposit then try to withdraw the amount after a few days or weeks. If they permit your request, proceed and invest an amount that can reasonably (according to your wish) earn you a reasonable profit.

Other Factors that Determine Your Trading Amount and Forex Success

Level of Trading

Now that you know the minimum amount you should invest in forex trading and why to focus on the amount you should use to buy the currency pairs.

Since forex trading is a high-risk venture, strive to invest 1% of your portfolio balance. For example, if your mt4 platform says you have a balance of $100 000, invest $1000. Feel free to invest more than 1% on a currency pair, especially if you are not a beginner forex trader.

Related to the level of trading is your knowledge of forex trading basics. For example, you should grasp concepts such as base and quote currencies and how they relate to each other, pips, and slots.

The Platform

The type of broker and platform determines how much technical analysis you can undertake. For example, the mt4 platform eases your analysis by letting you hire collaborative robots.

The software analyzes the market on your behalf, enabling you to invest the right amount and at the right time.

Conclusion

Knowing how, when, and the amount to invest in forex trading is the key to unlock a success door while trading in forex.

Reading this article should equip you with such skills, enabling you to settle in the forex industry faster and propel you towards making a profit.

Jan 182021

How Much Does It Cost to Change Your Name?

By |January 18th, 2021|Life, Personal Finance Tips|0 Comments

Name Change Cost

Do you enjoy the music and burgeoning acting career of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta? Don’t know who that is? You may know her better as Lady Gaga. One of my favorite comedians/actors is Eric Marlon Bishop, better known as Jamie Foxx. Ilyena Vasilievna Mironoff was born to a Russian-born father and English mother, grew up in England, and became of the most acclaimed actresses of the 20th and 21st century. You know her better as Helen Mirren. I think you get the point by now. However, these are entertainers who may have assumed stage names but not necessarily changed their names legally. Have you ever thought about legally changing your name? And what does the usual name change cost?

If you are interested in changing your name, keep in mind that it could be an expensive and expansive process depending on your circumstances.

The basic name change cost is relatively cheap. This process can get a little more expensive when you consider how changing your name affects the rest of your life.

Name Change Cost Basics

Where you live, and the local laws of your region, determines the name change cost you ultimately pay.

You may have to go to a local court, receive legal documents, and then pay to file those documents. It could be a short legal and bureaucratic process with no lawyer required.

If you live in a small town or city, a name change cost could start as low as $50. A name change cost in a big city could easily be triple that cost or more.

There is no standard cost to change your name. It could cost as little as $50 or as much as a few hundred dollars.

The legal name change process varies state-by-state. You will have to pay court filing fees. Some states or cities legally require you to make a notice or ad in your local newspaper announcing your name change.

You will have to pay to get certified copies of documents certifying your legal name change.

Also, you will need to pay to officially change the name on your birth certificate and Social Security card and get new ones.

So, while it may cost $100+ to start the process, you may end up paying up to a few hundred dollars to finalize the process.

You could change your name because of preference, divorce, marriage, surname hyphenation with a spouse, or religious reasons.

And just because you request a name change does not mean you will automatically get it.

Your new name can’t be a racial or pejorative insult, include punctuation or numerals, or be shared with the name of an established famous person.

Don’t go to a courthouse to change your name for the purposes of shrouding criminal behavior – if you are caught, you may not be able to leave.

Now Get Ready to Pay a lot More for a Name Change

You may be able to legally start your name change process online at Legal Zoom. The process starts at $140. You can download all of the documents you need and start from there.

And that’s it!

No, not really.

If you are worried about the basic name change cost, you should know that there are a host of ancillary costs that follow in the aftermath of the process.

Paying for a new birth certificate and Social Security card is just the beginning of the process.

Consider: just because you legally and bureaucratically change your name does not mean that your name legally recognized in your everyday and professional life.

After paying for the basic name change cost, you must then pay a myriad of fees to change the everyday documents bearing your former name.

Make sure that you bring your newly changed birth certificate and Social Security card and original name change certification documents when changing other ID.

You may need a copy of a court order verifying that you legally changed your name in some states.

It costs nothing to change your Social Security card after you legally change your name.

Driver’s License

After you legally change your name, you will have to change your state ID, learner’s permit, or driver’s license.

Call ahead or check your local DMV’s guidelines online before you go to change your ID. After all, you will be standing in line all day, so make sure you bring the right documents.

Changing your state ID or driver’s license may cost $50 to start with, but may cost more where you live.

Passport

Generally speaking, you should be able to change your passport via name change for free if your passport is less than 12-months old.

To change the name on your passport under these circumstances, just fill out form DS-5504.

If your passport is over a year old, you may need to pay up to $170 to get it changed.

Also, remember that unless you utilize a one-day express service (which will cost even more money) expect to wait a few weeks to get your new passport.

Bank Account

As long you bring your supporting name change documents, it probably shouldn’t cost you anything to change the name on your bank accounts.

However, be prepared to pay to change your debit and credit cards and checkbook. How much you pay depends on your local bank fees.

Personal and Professional Life

It won’t cost you money, but it will cost you a lot of personal time to inform everyone you know of your name change.

Changing your last name due to marriage is one thing – changing your first and last name affects everyone around you.

You will have to inform your boss, work colleagues, family, friend, and everyone you know of the name change. Give them time to get used to it.

Name Change Cost

No one can stop you from changing your name.

Just remember that a name change cost can cost you more than money. It can cost you in paperwork and readjusting your life to accommodate your new name.

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Jan 112021

Do You need Demand Planning?

By |January 11th, 2021|small business|0 Comments

Running a business can be truly challenging, especially if you offer a service or a commodity that you might not have in stock or on hand all the time. Keeping this in mind you do need to take the time to prepare and have the right supplies or products on hand when they are needed, this is where demand planning comes into effect.

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Jan 112021

How to Invest in Unpaid Tax Liens

By |January 11th, 2021|Personal Finance Tips, Real Estate|0 Comments

Everyone aspires to gain liberty, justice, and prosperity in this life, with varying degrees of success. But only a select few ever gain the tax bracket that they desire.

And I am not only talking about income taxes. While many people aspire to own a home, many don’t consider the annual property tax implications.

The average annual property tax rate is about 1.1%. Now while that may not sound like a lot of money, that is the average annual equivalent of $2,375.

And the amount of property tax you pay depends on your state of residence. If you live in New Jersey, the property tax is a whopping 2.47%. If you have an expensive home, you might pay $8,100 annually in property taxes.

So, it’s no wonder that homeowners struggle with property taxes as much as their mortgage payments.

Consider a report by the National Tax Lien Association that shows that over $14 billion in property taxes go unpaid annually.

Now, why do you need to know this information? If you are shrewd about investing, you can now invest and make passive income by investing in tax lien certificates.

Tax Lien Certificates

A tax lien is a legal act of a local or federal government claiming property to satisfy unpaid tax bills.

Since over $14 billion in property taxes are unpaid annually, that means a lot of tax liens get issued. And since local governments hate unpaid tax bills, they mitigate their losses by auctioning tax lien certificates at local auctions.

A tax lien certificate allows you to invest in a stranger’s tax lien for the purposes of gaining interest payments. And the local government offering them gets their tax payment via a third-party in this manner as well.

You can buy a tax lien certificate for as little as $100 at a courthouse or online government auction. A tax lien interest rate ranges between 5% to 50%.

After you buy the tax lien certificate against someone’s property, you get an interest payment every time the original homeowner pays their tax bill.

In many states, the annual property tax interest penalty payment is applied after a lien is sold. So, you could get an interest payment even if the lien isn’t paid back at that point.

If the original owner doesn’t pay their taxes for three years, then the tax lien investor can make a legal claim to foreclose and claim the deed. (This can get dicey if there are multiple tax lien investors for the same property)

Diversify and be Cautious

If you opt to invest in tax lien certificates, make sure you invest in a few. That way, you could have a few streams of passive income coming in.

Also, you shouldn’t invest in a tax lien certificate in the hopes of snagging a house for cheap. For one thing, there are usually multiple tax lien certificates auctioned against the same property.

Even if you could buy out other investors and take over a property, beware of what you wish for. The property could be in disarray and need expensive repairs.

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