Financial Planning – The Key To Your Lifelong Success

Financial planning is not limited to asset allocation, mutual funds, and fixed-income investments – planning should include every aspect of your life.

Should you apply for that credit card? What type of car insurance should you buy? Should we save for our child’s college or put money in our IRA’s instead? These and many more questions are all part of financial planning.

The Larry Rule – A Little Known Financial Planning Fact

Larry Lindsey is not a famous name, even in financial circles. Currently, Mr. Lindsey is the chief economic advisor to the Bush Administration. In 1996, he was a Federal Reserve Board Governor – and he was denied for a Toys ‘R Us credit card!

To apply or not to apply, that is the planning question. Larry Lindsey, who had excellent credit and a high-income level, set out to demonstrate a flaw in credit scoring algorithms.

He simply applied for every retail store credit card he was offered, and in no time he had “too many inquiries.” Never mind the fact that he had millions in assets and nary a late payment in his 30-year credit history.

Knowing the Larry Rule is key to your financial planning. If you apply for retail store credit cards every time you are asked to do so, it will have negative effects on your credit.

You may then be asked to pay a higher interest rate on your mortgage or home equity loan, which could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Sacrificing $10,000 for a 10 percent discount at Fashion Bug is not smart planning!

Auto Insurance and Financial Planning

Most people think of insurance as a legal necessity, but in reality, it is a financial product, and that’s important to keep in mind. Don’t ever buy insurance just because it’s legally required or in order to give yourself peace of mind. Insurance must serve a financial planning purpose!

You need to have a planning strategy in mind when you purchase auto insurance. The insurance company’s goal is to get you to pay more in premiums than you take out in claims – thus, they profit.

Your goal should to pay as little in premiums as possible in order to be adequately covered. You don’t want to have to use your auto insurance, but at the same time, you don’t want to be subsidizing the bad drivers who take out more in claims than they pay in.

In order to develop a financial planning strategy for auto insurance, it’s important that you become as educated as possible on the subject. Luckily, there are dozens of great sites on the internet that provide free information on the various types of auto insurance plans, and the particular laws of your state.

Everyone has to own some form of auto insurance, and thus it should be the cornerstone of any intelligent planning strategy.

The Financial Planning Dilemma – College vs. Retirement

American parents love their children and will do almost anything to ensure they have every possible advantage. As a result, many parents save for their children’s college instead of saving for their own retirement. This act of selflessness is usually not a good planning strategy.

In order to avoid this mistake, one must have a decent understanding of financial planning tax implications. Most college savings accounts are taxed on some level, whereas financial planning products for retirement purposes generally are not. What’s more, saving for your child’s college can prevent him or her from receiving the maximum financial aid available.

In other words, by foregoing your retirement in favor of your child’s college, you are actually subsidizing the children of less responsible parents – or smarter parents who chose to save for their own retirement, in light of these facts.

Five Key Principles To Real Estate Investment Riches

Real Estate Investing is the craze today with people involved in the Carlton Sheets program spending money on courses to find out how they can make money in no money down real estate investing. This article hopes to help you create some sort of mental picture of five key principles that can help you make more money with real estate today.

Principle #1- The money is made in the purchase
Real estate investing is like value investing in stocks and you want to purchase the real estate during a period of a real estate slump. The reason for this is so that you can get a huge capital appreciation when the real estate market heats up again.

Spending time doing real estate valuation is critical since if you cannot satisfy yourself on the maths that is a viable proposition, there is no way that your real estate investment would be a good one.

Principle #2- Monitor Cash flow
Real Estate investment typically have a monthly rental income which then is used to pay for mortgage instalments and other problems with the building like a roof leak. You would thus have to keep a close watch on interest rate hikes since they can potentially erode any calculated return on investment quite quickly. Once you have enough cash coming in, it is suggested that you then keep some of it in a rainy day fund in case some of the rental tenants do not renew their property and then take the rest and consider investing in another real estate investment property.

Principle #3- Leverage on other people’s time
Remember that no one can do everything, so the key is to focus on what you do best. If your strength is in negotiating deals, spend time looking for property and then get professionals and contractors to handle all the rest of the deal for you. Similarly, if you are good at decorating property, then find deals and focus on the interior design of the property. By focusing on what you do best and getting other people to do the rest of the work, you are leveraging on their time and you can then make more money from each new real estate investment that you undertake. Spend your time to build your team of advisors and employees who work for you and you will see your profits start going up. Remember that by rewarding them financially, you will get a group of dedicated people helping you make more money from your real estate investment.

Principle #4- Learn how to use leverage with a good rainy day cash balance
Did you know that many real estate investors started off with very little money to invest? Even large real estate developers like Donald Trump have learnt the power of leverage when investing in property deals. You want to leverage as much as you can so that you can control property worth many times more than what you own. Remember however to keep a rainy day fund containing a portion of the rental payments so that you can hedge yourself against a possible period where unit occupancy of your real estate investment is low. Leverage when used well can make you lots of money but if managed badly, will bankrupt you. Thus planning your cash flow and learning how to use debt is critical before you start serious real estate investment.

Principle #5- Spend time networking with real estate professionals
Do you want the latest real estate investment deals? The best way to learn of them is to break into the local real estate professional group and make friends with them. Learn some real estate investment lingo and spend time making friends with them because they are your eyes and ears on the ground and they can tell you about recent developments and changes in rental, property and infrastructure of their geographical location. Having the first player advantage is what many large real estate investors have and by spending time to network with real estate brokers, you will substantially close the gap.

In conclusion, spend time looking at these five principles and determine how they can be applied to your real estate investment and you might start seeing an increase in your real estate income.

Financial Planning Tools Deciphered

Financial planning is a necessary thing for all people. Many people have a hard time knowing where to start, and having the right financial planning tools at your disposal is helpful. Here are some great financial planning tools to help you reach your financial goals.

The first financial planning tool is the most important. That is a good, workable budget. You cannot reach your financial goals if you do not have a plan to get there. A budget will help you to allocate your funds in such a way that will satisfy your debts and help you plan for the future.

The next weapon in your arsenal of financial planning tools is a savings account. Although you should have other investments, a savings account is a place to park your liquid cash so that you have easy access and are earning some interest at the same time. Check with your bank to find out what different levels of savings accounts are offered. Many are on a tiered scale, meaning that the more money you have in them, the more interest you earn. You may need to upgrade your account from time to time though.

Third, check your credit report. Many web sites offer you a “for fee” credit report, but you should also know that you are guaranteed a free credit report from the three major credit bureaus once a year from the government web site annualcreditreport.com. If you feel you need to check it more often, then a fee-based credit report service may be the way to go.

The next thing to manage is your debt. Although this can be daunting, it’s a necessary part of establishing financial security. A few financial planning tools can help make this easier for you. For most people, credit cards are a necessity today to at least some extent. However, for smartest use, you should carry only one or two, pay off the balance every month, and use the credit card companies’ competitiveness to get such perks as no annual fee. If for some reason you must carry a balance, pay it off as soon as possible. You should never use your credit card to help you live beyond your means. Only use your credit card to make shopping convenient and provide such things as buyer protection, but treat the purchases you make with your credit card just as you would those with cash. Many people who carry credit cards but who pay off balances each month make note of and “deduct” money for credit card purchases from checking accounts each month as they go, so that they don’t spend cash on hand that’s meant to go toward credit card payments at the end of the month. Then, at the end of the month, they pay the credit bill, but the credit card balance has already been deducted from checking throughout the month, so they are essentially writing one check for the total of their purchases throughout the month.

Fifth, one of your most major bills is probably your rent or your mortgage. Of the two, a mortgage payment usually better for you, since you can usually deduct interest you pay on your mortgage from your taxes. When interest rates drop or some other financial situation arises where refinancing would be a good option for you, make sure you check into this and refinance if possible, in order to lower your mortgage payments. Usually, the most prudent way to handle a refinancing is to roll your refinance savings into your mortgage, so that you save on the mortgage itself rather than taking the cash out to spend on something else. This will save you up to several years on mortgage payments, depending on the length of your loan.

One of the greatest financial planning tools for anyone is to have a good retirement plan. If you are working, you should be contributing to your employer’s 401K plan. You should have a diversified plan that will allow you to save enough for retirement while still allowing you to meet your current obligations. The earlier you begin, the harder your money will work for you.

A few good financial planning tools can help you manage your money wisely. Make sure to do your homework and take advantage of all the resources available to you. There are many financial planning tools out there for free or at nominal cost on the Internet. In addition, your financial institution also has financial planning tools that you can use. If you use these tools wisely, you’ll get the most out of your money.