Top 5 Personal Finance Podcasts

Podcasts sure have a come a long way since their early years over a decade ago. They are now considered a serious alternative to get valuable information on just about any and everything under the sun. The truth is there are many people who feel uncomfortable lending their voice for TV or radio, will do so for podcasts. This includes personal finance podcasts. The following are some of the best examples.

1. Stacking Benjamins
Joe Saul-Sehy, the host, definitely knows his stuff. A retired financial planner and former radio financial-show host for 15 years, Saul-Sehy brings you a ton of money-management experience. Stacking Benjamins’ format includes interviews with money experts like Mark Iwry from the US Department of Treasury.

2. Feed The Pig
Not one of your typical finance podcasts, Feed The Pig is a static podcast that isn’t updated very often. However, it is a top-rated financial podcast because it goes to great length to assemble some of the best minds in the financial world for you, such as members of The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. From advice on buying your first car to mutual-fund investing, this podcast covers all basic stuff you need to know and that never gets old.

3. The Clark Howard Show
Clark Howard has been in the personal finance advice industry for years and hosts one of the most-popular and listened to financial podcasts. By age 30 Howard had made enough money to retire and now hosts a radio show from 1 to 3 p.m. EST. The show focuses mainly on how you can reduce expenses, build savings and smell money scams from 10 miles away.

4. Smart Passive Income
A solid personal finance podcast, Smart Passive Income teaches you how to earn more while working less. Host Pat Flynn interviews successful entrepreneurs who’ve generated large amounts of passive income. The show’s goal is teaching you some of the proven strategies for running a successful online business and how to optimize it to generate your own passive income.

5. Mad Money
Master finance guru and host of “Cramerica,” Jim Cramer ran a hugely-successful hedge fund for over 20 years, averaging over a 20-pecernt return for his investors. If you want learn how to invest in stocks, smartly and safely, Jim is your go-to guy. Cramer has a daily TV show that is also aired as a podcast.

Credit Cards for Bad Credit

One of the most detrimental stigmas when managing finances is a low credit score, which can be caused by any number of reasons which may be no direct fault of the card holder. It doesn’t help that companies aren’t inclined to give second chances, regardless of reason or circumstance. If you have bad credit, it will follow you every time you attempt any sort of financial transaction. This being said, there are still some credit companies who understand and are willing to work with you to provide you with several options to bring your finances under control.

Low deposit credit cards
One example are low deposit credit cards, which require you to pay only a fraction of a deposit for a credit limit, while typical ones require an equal deposit. You can also pay off deposits in installments, making this card ideal for those with damaged credit.

No credit check cards
No credit check cards don’t require credit checks or even a bank account at the expense of no method to upgrade to an unsecured card.

Rewards cards
Rewards cards have no annual fee and give cash back rewards on restaurant and gas spending and lower rewards for other spending, at the cost of requiring an initial deposit from a bank account.

Low interest and fee cards
Low interest and fee credit cards offer an APR of only 12.50%, half that of many secured and unsecured cards with no deposit restrictions at the cost of requiring a credit union membership.

Secured cards
A particularly appealing option are first progress secured credit cards, which require no minimum credit score or even a credit file, though your security deposit must equal your credit line.

Pre-paid debit card
While not technically a credit card, pre-paid debit cards set a limit to your spending without requiring a credit score but don’t affect your credit card score positively either.

There are options for you if your credit is less than ideal but they’re still not a free pass and come with the expectation that you will work take responsibility to rebuild your credit. If your finances are in the drain you can still bounce back, as long as you work to not repeat the same mistakes in the future.

Finance Tips for Small Business Owners

All too often we find ourselves with big dreams of owning our own business without the capital to match. This is by far the most difficult part of building a business from the ground up. Small business owners need to be sure that they are saving enough money to act as an umbrella on a rainy days but they also to need to be sure they have enough funds to purchase materials, advertising, necessary software programs, hire human resources, etc. Needless to say, there is hardly ever enough money to go around at the beginning stages of developing a small business. Here are a few tips that can help.

Credit Reports
Credit is important! That can not be said enough. Maintaining and keeping track of your credit score is essential to the growth of your business. If maintained properly, your credit can help you secure future business and investments.

Cash Management
How is your business going to survive if you don’t have systems in place that allow you to track and monitor the cash flow? You need to be aware of the financial condition of your business at all times and have the ability to identify any possible issues or risks. In order properly manage your cash-flow, you need to be able to:

  • Manage receivable accounts
  • Manage payable accounts
  • Have a crisis management plan prepared
  • Have a financial emergency plan prepared

Be sure to keep accurate records by tracking and monitor all the above mentioned.

Balance Sheet
Your balance sheet is a clear and simple way of reflecting the financial security of your business. Your balance sheet should include:

  • Expenses
  • Available assets and liabilities
  • An acceptable amount of capital to increase assets and reduce liabilities

Many small business owners update their balance sheets daily in the early stages of their business and move to updating it weekly once the business is established.

Welcome to College! Finance Tips for Freshman

The time has finally come! You are off to college and are beginning to experience many of the freedoms that go hand in hand with adulthood -no one telling you what to do, where you have to be, or what to do with your finances. However, as we all know, “with great power comes great responsibility. And how to properly handling finances is one of the greatest lessons you will ever learn.

Balance is key. It will be tough to juggle your schooling, new responsibilities, and financial freedom. So, here are a few tips to help make the transition a little bit easier.

Economics, accounting, investments, oh my!
One of the first steps in learning how to handle your new found financial freedom is to enroll yourself in some sort of finance course at your university. Depending on the knowledge you already possess, you can opt to enroll in a basic finance course or advance. It is suggest that no matter what you already know, you should begin with a basic course. In doing so your memory will be refreshed or you will learn:

Financial principles
Create and balance a budget
How credit card interest works
The best to ways pay off debt
How to be money savvy

These invaluable basic principles will assist you immensely in years to come.

Say NO to credit…for now
It’s difficult to receive those generous credit card offers in the mail and not be tempted to apply. DON’T! Using credit the wrong way will not benefit you in the long run and can possibly damage your credit in the long run. Before you apply for credit cards try:

Living on your own for a minimum of one year
Have experience successfully living within a budget you have set for yourself
Successfully demonstrate financial restraint

Did you say budget?
Yes, now that you are on your own it is essential that you understand how to properly budget your finances. Creating a budget is simple. All you need to do is:

Make not of your net income
Make note of your expenses (including rent, utilities, food, travel, laundry, etc.)
Add a miscellaneous section for recreational activities (movies, dinners, etc)

Pay close attention to your budget to be sure that you do not overspend. The whole point of a budget is to help you save money you do not necessarily have to spend.

The paths of your new found freedoms will take you on the most important journeys of your life. Embrace it all. Do not be afraid. Instead, Do your research and take your time. You are going to be just fine.

Finance Apps

Apps make everything easier, especially personal finance. If you’re like most people your day is usually busy, and you don’t always have the time to fire up your computer to check your bank statement. In fact, you might only check your finances once per week due to your schedule and responsibilities. Or you might be the sort of person who very rarely thinks about budget and spending. The good news is that there are many apps that can help you stay on top of your finances and track your money. Here’s a list of some of the top finance apps available.

Mint
I’ve written about Mint a number of times in the past. The site is so popular for a simple reason: it’s one of the best personal financial tools on the market. Mint’s app is just as useful as the site—if not more useful since all of the information you want to access is right there on your phone. The app gives you the ability to sync all of your accounts in one place so you know how much you spend each month. One of the most useful features is the alerts that you receive when you are close to going over your budget.

Level Money
After you enter your accounts and bills into the Level Money app, it will present set a monthly spending goal for you. Additionally, the app will give you recommendations on how much money you should save each month. The app updates in real time, so you can review your budget after every purchase to make sure that you’re on track with your spending and savings goals.

Digit
If you have trouble saving money each month Digit can help. You can connect your bank account to the app, and it will gain an understanding of your income and how much you spend on a regular basis. Once it has this information Digit will create a savings account and withdraw small sums of money from your checking account. Every month it takes into account how much you spend, so the amount that it withdraws is different each month. Digit’s savings account doesn’t earn interest, so in the long run, you should transfer your money to a better account. However, it’s a great place to start.

Goodbudget
Goodbudget gives users the ability to create “envelopes” for different categories. For example, you can create envelopes for food, entertainment, and bills. Then you decide the budget for each envelope. If you go over your budget, the app will let you know. Goodbudget doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles that Mint has, but it is a simple budget app that anybody can easily use.

Tips for Paying Off Student Loans

Debt is one of the biggest hindrances to financial health. Today just about everyone under fifty years old who has attended college has some sort of student loan debt. The more recently you went to college the more likely it is that you have student loans. This means that millennials are well acquainted with the real cost of attending college. Fortunately, it’s possible to pay off your student loans quickly. You just need to be smart about your payment strategy. To learn how you can eliminate your student loan debt, take a look at the below tips.

Larger Payments
The easiest way to pay off your loans quickly is to simply pay more money. When you pay more than the minimum payment your money goes after the principal balance faster. Some people make larger monthly payments while others choose to make payments every two weeks. Ultimately, how you decide to make larger payments depends on your financial situation. Keep in mind, though, that you shouldn’t put so much money toward your loans that you end up not having money for savings.

Automatic Payments
Most loan providers allow you to set up automatic payments. It’s a good idea to create an account where you can deposit money that gets automatically deducted each month. By keeping your loan repayment money separate from your regular checking account, you won’t be tempted to spend the extra money that you want to go toward your loans.

Extra Work
If you’re reading this and you’re still in school, consider finding a part-time job that will help you save money. Then you can use that money to pay your loans. After graduation when you work full-time, you can earn extra money by doing different small jobs. For example, if you make crafts you can sell them on Etsy. Or if you’re an artist you can sell your art on the side. You can take the money that you earn from your side job and apply it to your loans.

Be Smart
Ultimately, paying off your loans quickly comes down to a simple formula of saving money and applying it to your loans. If you want to save your money, though, you have to make the right decisions. Don’t needlessly waste your money every month. Create a budget; stick to it, and in time you’ll have extra money saved up that you can apply to your loans. While it’s true that you will need to make some sacrifices in order to pay off your loans quickly, in the end, you’ll be happy living a debt free life.

3 Ways You Can Save Money This Summer

During the summer there are many ways that you can overspend. When the weather is warm and inviting it’s difficult to stay inside. Plus, there’s a good chance that you want to purchase new clothes for the vacation that you planned. If you live in an area where it gets hot, then you likely spend a lot of money on your electric bill each month. However, it’s possible to save money and enjoy the summer months at the same time. Below are some of the simplest ways that you can save money during the hot summer months.

Staycation

Every family knows how expensive vacations can be. If you really want to save money, think about some of the ways that you can have an enjoyable staycation. Do you know anybody with a pool membership? Maybe they will let you and the family tag along for a day. Other ideas include the movies, miniature golf, or even a local amusement park if you want to go on rides. Eating out while on vacation is one of the most expensive aspects of the trip. You’ll save a lot of money just by cooking at home or packing your lunch if you visit an amusement park.

Turn Off the Air Conditioner

It might sound crazy, but turning off the air conditioner is one of the easiest ways to save money over the summer. Instead of blasting the AC every day think about using a ceiling fan instead and open up the windows. Obviously, in some situations (like during a heatwave) you should absolutely keep the AC running. However, on days when it’s not too hot or humid, don’t be afraid to turn off the AC, get a drink of something cool, and dress lightly. Then you’ll save money and stay cool at the same time.

Don’t Waste Water

If you want to save money over the summer, then be careful not to use too much water. One of the biggest wastes of water is lawn sprinklers. The possibility of drought is a real concern for many areas of the United States. Even if you don’t live in a part of the country that has experienced a drought, it’s still a good idea to put the sprinkler away. In most cases, it’s better to let Mother Nature take care of your lawn for the most part. If you must water your lawn, just make sure you’re not overdoing it.

6 Tips for Saving Money

When it comes to saving money, Americans are notoriously bad. Last month CNN reported that “nearly six in 10 Americans don’t have enough savings to cover a $500 or $1,000 unplanned expense” (Vasel). If you are one of the six Americans that CNN is referring to, then you’ll find the below tips useful.

Track the Money You Spend

You can’t save money if you’re not sure how much you spend each month. Every time you buy something make sure you get a receipt. Then at the end of the month tally up all of your expenses. If you’re comfortable with online tools, Mint is one of the easiest ways to track everything in one location. Tracking your expenses will show you where you spend the most money. If you find that you spend too much money on entertainment each month, then you might need to rethink your spending habits.

Plan a Budget

After tracking your expenses for a couple of months, you can create a monthly budget. This budget will help prevent you from overspending. Once you have a budget you’ll be better able to make spending decisions each month.

Start Saving

You should include a savings category as part of your budget. Saving 10-15% of your income each month is a good starting point. If you find that percentage to be too high, you might need to take a second look at your expenses. Think about cutting back on non-essential expenses like buying coffee each day or dining out each week.

Create a Savings Goal

It’s easier to save money when you have a goal you’re saving for. It’s easier to give up your daily latte when you’re saving for a vacation or a house. An emergency fund is another good savings goal. The above CNN article mentioned how unplanned expenses can catch a lot of people off guard. An emergency fund will help you avoid this unpleasant situation.

Pick Your Priorities

Saving money is easier when you prioritize what you’re saving for. For example, if you are saving for a new car you shouldn’t neglect your retirement savings in the process. Once you prioritize your goals you’ll find it easier to start saving money.

Decide How to Save

When most people think about saving money they think about savings accounts. While savings accounts are a great way to save your money, they aren’t the only way to do so. Take a look at this article to learn about the different ways you can save money.

5 Best Apps for Budgeting

Have you been thinking about trying out a new budget? There’s an app for that. The list below highlights some of the best money management apps on the market. What are you waiting for? Get downloading!

Mint.com

Mint.com is a great free app to track a multitude of financial area. You can track earnings, savings, spending, budgeting, and even retirement accounts. There is a bit of initial set up because you need to sync all your accounts to the app, but after that it’s smooth sailing. Mint.com is great in the regard that it supplies you with a financial overview, but also tracks cash flow in real time. You can see your money coming and going so you can adjust accordingly.

GoodBudget

Goodbudget is another excellent free app that want to budget based on cash caps. You can separate spending into “envelops” and track how much you’ve spent against what you previously allocated for yourself. GoodBudget even takes into account those people who receive an irregular source of income. Freelancer and service industry folks – rejoice!

PocketGuard

PocketGuard is a free app that is available on both iPhone and Android markets. There is even an Apple Watch component available! PocketGuard is a simple app that connects to your bank accounts so you have access to your current transactions. The app lets you know how much money you have in your “pocket” now, what your cash flow looks like, and even analyzes spending so you know what to plan for.

HomeBudget

HomeBudget is a paid app that allows you to sync a budget up between devices. Each device needs to purchase the app, but it allows a hands on approach across multiple devices. The comprehensive platform give multiple people access to the family or home budget so you can all be on the same page. Pretty nifty, huh?

Wally

Wally’s a free app that at it’s core is an expense tracker. It allows you to manually enter expenses or take a picture of your receipt. The app will adapt to your spending habits and goals to help you achieve whatever you set out. If you want to pay down debt or save more money, Wally has your back.

How To: Setting Financial Goals

In order to attain a desired financial security and status, there is a great deal of planning that goes into it. This is where detailed financial goals come in. Goals allow you to set realistic end points and then develop an action plan to achieve them. Before you go setting goals there are a few things you need to consider. The steps below take you through the steps of how to create realistic financial goals that you can achieve both now and in the future.

Set Guidelines

Guidelines are the first step of setting your financial goals. Guidelines will keep you accountable, but also keep you from putting things out of your reach. There are a few parameters you will want to keep in mind.

First, be specific. Vague goals only muddle the process and will distract you.

Then, you will need to make sure the goals you set are measurable. If there is nothing to gauge your success of off, how will you know when you’ve gotten there?

Be honest with yourself. Set goals that are attainable. Lofty goals are great, but a lofty goal should still be possible with enough tenacity and planning.

Finally, have time constraints. If you do not set a deadline, nothing will get done. It’s in our nature to work harder for goals that have a reasonable, concrete deadline.

Identify Financial Goals

Now that you have guidelines in place, it’s time to think about what your goals actually are. What do you want to achieve? When identifying goals, ask yourself the tough questions about your finance to see where improvements can be made.

Here’s a few things to get your wheels turning:

How much would you need to save to stop working?
Are you happy with your spending habits or could you make a change?
Do you want to retire early? If so, what will you be comfortable living off of per year?

Once you have given your financial situation proper attention, it’s time to come up with goals. Your goals should range from short term to long term. Some goals should piggyback off each other. They will make a road map on your way one ultimate financial philosophy. For most people, this means financial independance.

Long Term vs. Short Term

Once you have a list of defined goals, you’ll need to label them long term goals or short term goals. Short term goals should be things you can achieve in a year. They will often be the stepping stones for long term goals. You will never be able to declare you’re debt free without paying off things like credit card debt.

Prioritize

Now that you have made a distinction between the goals that are more urgent than the others, we need to take it a step farther. Prioritize the short term goals in order of the most urgent and possibly damaging. If you have many credit cards that are maxed out, they are a financial burden and also detrimental to your credit score. Something of this nature will certainly be put at the top of the list.

Similarly, you will want to prioritize long term goals. If you have a goal that is going to take more aggressive measure of saving or investing to achieve, then this will be your top priority. Labeling each goals in an order of importance, will provide you will clarity and direction to achieve your goals.

Periodically Evaluate

Goals are set with the purpose of signaling when your hard work has paid off. Periodically check in on the progress you are making on your goals. If you are ahead of where you thought you would be – great! If you are behind, you now have the chance to work harder or reevaluate your situation. No matter what, it’s imperative to know where you are and how far you have to go.