5 Ways To Repair a Low Credit Score

Having a low credit score can cost you thousands of extra dollars in loan repayments for car loans, home loans, and other personal loans. First, let’s talk about how your credit score is calculated.

1. 35% – Payment history. Are you paying your minimum payment on time each month?

2. 30% – Credit Utilization. This is how much of your total credit you’re using. You should only ever use a third of the credit you’re given.

3. 15% – Length of Credit History. This is how long you’ve had each credit account.

4. 10% – New Credit. If you’ve opened too many new credit accounts, your credit score can be penalized. 

5. 10% – Credit Mix. If you only have one type of credit, you can be penalized. Consumers with multiple types of credit are more likely to pay their bills on time.

How Do You Repair Your Credit Score?

1. Payment History
The easiest way to repair your credit score in this category is to start paying the minimum payment for every single bill on time. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

2. Credit Utilization
Keep any lines of credit you have open. Don’t cancel any credit cards once they’re paid off. This will help keep your credit utilization low.

3. Credit History
If you have a few credit cards that you’ve had for several years, don’t get rid of them. Your score improves over time as you keep accounts open in good standing.

4. New Credit
You should refrain from opening new credit accounts or taking out new loans if your credit score is low. It’s better to repair your credit score first, and then take out more money.

5. Credit Mix
Over time, you need to develop a healthy mix of credit that includes loans and credit cards. This is the cherry on top when you get everything else fixed with your credit.

3 Financial Planning Tips For Your Startup

Issues that doom startups include lack of innovation, mismanagement of finances, hiring the wrong people, and an inability to adapt to a changing business environment. Here are three financial planning tips to help your startup company thrive.

1. Be familiar with your business cash flow analysis.

Not all small business owners are finance savvy, but most are curious about the inflow and outflow of cash to their business. Many small business owners can tell you how much their goods cost and how much they upset those goods. However, many additional cash outflows are typically ignored. An effective cash flow system will help you manage funds and plan for the future.

2. Hire a consultant.

Consider hiring a consultant instead of a full-time employee. Consultants can specialize in certain tasks and complete them more effectively than a standard employee. As a startup, you want your business to be run by the smartest and most business savvy individuals possible.

3. Be strict with your finances.

Small business owners need an annual budget to account for seasonal spikes and dips. Don’t plan solely for the best case scenario, and never spend more than what you have budgeted. In addition, don’t give loans to friends unless you’re positive they can pay you back.

3 Financial Tips For Newlyweds

Summer is wedding season, and love is in the air! While couples tie the knot and enter a new season of life, it’s more important than ever for them to sort out any existing money woes. Here are three important financial tips for newlyweds.

1. Define shared goals. Money might be uncomfortable to talk about, but you have to do it. It’s important to be on the same page as your spouse regarding how you want to live your life together and the goals you both want to achieve. This will be an ongoing conversation that will help you both understand each other’s money views and values. These discussions will help you plan for significant life events, such as buying a house, having a baby, or saving for retirement.

2. Establish good patterns early. The patterns you establish as a couple will exist for the coming years. Whether it’s getting out of debt or simply keeping track of monthly expenses, the financial routines you cultivate will become lifelong habits. Make it a point to purposely build these habits with your spouse.

3. Start with small steps. Small steps will make the process of reaching a healthy financial situation smoother, and it will help you measure your achievements. To be more consistent with your finances, make some payments automatic, such as your cell phone bill or you auto insurance. The more consistent you are, the faster you’ll build positive habits.

5 Financial Tips For College Grads

Today’s college graduates are starting out with higher college debt and difficult job markets. These circumstances affect their ability to establish financial independence. How can college grads overcome these obstacles as they stumble into adulthood? Here are six financial tips that can help.

1. Make a budget.

Creating a budget has never been easier, thanks to smartphone apps like mint.com. However, people generally avoid the tiring task of calculating monthly income and expenses. First, determine your known expenses, such as rent, cell phone service, car payment, and utilities. Then, track your spending on luxury costs, such as entertainment and clothing. After this, consider your long term goals, and determine if you need to change your spending habits.

2. Create a plan to repay college debt

When you create a budget, don’t forget to include the repayment of your college loans. Graduates with a higher income can work to pay off their debt more quickly, while graduates with a lower income may have to tackle their debt in a slow and steady fashion.

3. Pay yourself first.

Savings accounts are extremely important. It’s also important to contribute to some type of 401k or other retirement savings plan.

4. Contribute to a Roth IRA.

Roth IRAs are tax-favored savings plans, and they’re great tools to build wealth. They also have provisions allowing access to funds for education spending.

5. Establish credit.

Get a credit card with a low credit limit and start slowly building your credit. Having a positive credit rating will help you save money on car loans, home mortgages, and future life insurance.

4 Ways to Budget For Vacation

Several studies have shown that more than half of American workers leave vacation time unused each year. Is the cost of planning a vacation holding you back from leaving your office? Don’t let it. Here are four ways to plan an epic vacation without breaking the bank.

1. Plan, plan, and plan some more.

Most workers have a set number of days off each year. Calculate how much time you have, and plan out how you’d like to spend those days. Next, think about where you want to go. Check out flight options, hotels, and even discount sites like Groupon and LivingSocial.

2. Save cash.

Put away a small amount of money into a savings account each time you get paid. Thinking in small amounts will make paying off your vacation less stressful. Before you know it, you’ll have a good chunk of cash saved up.

3. Don’t forget to save for something special.

If you’re going somewhere that’s been on your bucket list for years, make sure you put aside some extra money to splurge on something special. The cost might make you hesitant, but it’s a memory you’ll cherish forever.

4. Realize you’ll probably go over your budget.

Don’t be cheap when you’re on your vacation. You already paid a lot of money to take the trip. You might as well splurge on something nice! If you see something you really want, go for it. Be reasonable, of course, but let yourself have a little bit of fun.

8 Smart Finance Tips To Help You Save

1. Earning: Never depend on a single income. That’s risky. Take steps to create a second source of cash. These days, procuring a side hustle is extremely common. If there’s something you love doing, such as photography or web design, create a side business. That way, you can get paid for doing something you enjoy.

2. Spending: If you buy things that you don’t need, you’ll soon be left with a precariously low bank account and a pile of material items that aren’t necessary. Think carefully about each purchase you make, and be responsible with your money.

3. Saving: Instead of saving what you have left after spending, spend what you have left after saving. Essentially, transfer money to your savings account as soon as you get paid. This way, you won’t be tempted to spend money that should really go into your savings account.

4. Taking risks: High risk can mean high reward, but don’t dive in without thinking things through very carefully and creating a backup plan.

5. Investing: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Invest in multiple places, and learn as much as you can about the stock market.

6. Honesty: You should always be honest, but you should be skeptical of the intentions of other people. Unfortunately, not everyone abides by the phrase, “honest is the best policy”.

7. The past: It’s more important to move forward than to look back. The past is the past, and you can’t change it. You can only change what you do and how you act moving forward.

8. Mistakes: Mistakes will happen, but that’s how we learn and grow. Minimize your mistakes by doing plenty of research, being patient, and talking to knowledgeable experts.

6 Financial Planning Tips for New College Grads

It’s graduation time for the Class of 2017. Some grads studied physics, and some studied history. But how many of them can balance a checkbook and manage their finances? Here are six financial planning tips that can get your post-college life off to a great start.

  1. Learn how to create and live on a budget. Until you’ve implemented a budget, you won’t be able to utilize any other personal finance strategies. First, determine your monthly income and expenses. Then, subtract the former from the latter to see if you’re currently spending more than you make. Hopefully you’re spending less, which means you can start thinking about how to save or invest your money.
  2. Make saving your top priority. No matter how small your paycheck is, you can probably afford to save something. The amount isn’t as important as the actual discipline of saving. Set an initial goal of saving between three and six months’ worth of living expenses in a savings account. This can serve as a “rainy day” fund that you can use in case of an emergency.
  3. Learn the basics of investing. Saving money and investing money are not the same thing. After you’ve built up your emergency savings account, you can consider investing your money. Investing comes with the risk of losing some or all of your money of the potential of earning a higher return.
  4. Start thinking about retirement. It might seem far away, but you need to start thinking about retirement. The earlier you start putting money in your 401(k) plan, the more money you’ll have when you turn 65.
  5. Get out of debt, and stay out of debt. Excessive debt can destroy your long-term financial security. If you have student loans, set a goal to pay them off by a certain date in the future. If you’ve racked up any credit card debt, pay this off, too.
  6. Build a strong credit history. Your credit score is one of the most important parts of your financial life. It affects everything from whether you’re approved for a car loan or mortgage to the interest rate you’ll pay. Some employers even check credit history before extending a job offer. The best way to build a strong credit history is to pay your bills on time.

4 Ways to Dig Yourself Out of Debt

If you’re swimming in thousands of dollars and debt with no idea how to work your way out, check out these four tips that will help you become debt-free as quickly as possible.

1. Wake up.

It’s typical to hit a rock-bottom moment before realizing you need to turn your life around. Once you experience a wake-up call that forces you to face your financial problem, you’ll be better prepared to do whatever you need to do to get your life in order.

2. Change your mindset, and create a budget.

If you truly believe there’s no way to solve your financial problem, you’ll remain deep in your mess and continue to make it worse. Start to believe that you can take control of your finances, and you will. Your outlook will brighten, your situation will change, and things will start to look up. Once your mindset is right, create a budget, and stick to it. Plan where your money is going, and don’t give yourself the option to spend more than that.

3. Prioritize more than just finances.

While you’re prioritizing your financial goals, focus also on your relationships and your experiences. If you focus solely on your finances and ignore your spouse, children, or other things going on it your life, you’ll struggle. There’s a way to do both successfully.

4. Live within your means.

One of the keys to paying off your debt is making the strict decision not to incur more debt. This forces you to live within your means, and there’s no way around that. Stick to your budget, live within (or below) your means, and you’ll slowly chip away at that intimidating number on your loan or credit card.

4 Ways To Find a Great Tax Advisor

If you’re an entrepreneur, one of the most important things you can do is protect your wealth. The right tax advisor can save a business owner millions of dollars over a lifetime. While most companies only chat with a tax advisor a couple times a year, fantastic tax advisors regularly meet with clients. Here are five ways to find a great tax advisor for your business.

1. Find a passionate CPA instead of a corporate company.

The best tax professionals are always CPAs. Make sure you hire one, because these professionals are both knowledgeable and passionate about reducing taxes. Business owners should never use a mass production company or do their own taxes. There’s too much risk involved.

2. Look for a CPA with a great education.

A CPA’s education can make an enormous difference in his/her tax reduction abilities. Search for tax advisors that graduated from top universities and worked for a Big 4 Accounting Firm.

3. Find a CPA who thinks in a unique way.

Most accountants think in a straight line, but a better accountant will find unique ways to save you money. The right accountant will spend several months developing a long-term strategy to create long-term tax savings.

4. Make sure the tax advisor asks you plenty of questions.

If you’re the one asking all the questions during the interview, walk away. Look for a tax advisor who wants to know all about your long-term goals and financial dreams.

Retirees to Millennials: 3 Finance Tips

Wisdom comes with age and experience. This applies to many areas of life, especially finance. When retirees were asked about what financial advice they’d give their younger self, they responded with these three things.

1. Keep compound interest in mind.

It’s best to start saving money for the future as early as possible. This way, your money has several years to grow. Once you consider the technicalities of compound interest, you really begin to see the value of time.

2. Follow the Rule of 72.

How do you determine how fast your money is growing? The Rule of 72 states that you can figure out how fast your money will double if you divide 72 by the compound interest rate you’re getting. This is a good way to keep track of your finances.

3. It’s all about savings.

Don’t forget to set up an emergency fund in case something unexpected happens. You don’t want a huge financial hit to wipe out your savings account. Even in a dire situation, protect your nest egg.