How lifestyle changes can improve your bottom line
Another year comes to an end and many of you are starting to think about 2012. Perhaps you may try to come up with resolutions like getting out of debt, quitting smoking or losing weight. Every year approximately 45% of American adults will make 1 or more resolution. However within 6 months almost half of those resolutions were abandoned.
There are many reasons why these resolutions fail including unrealistic goals, not having a plan in place goals that are too broad and no accountability. According to some experts, resolutions are about taking something away, leaving a person feeling deprived. By accentuating the positive you change the whole mindset. Instead of making a resolution, make a commitment to change in the New Year.
Whether it is looking better, feeling better or breaking the cycle of debt you need to look at what are the underlying cause of the problem and address it first. By breaking habits such as shopping when you are depressed, not taking account small daily purchases and stop impulsive spending you will be headed in the right direction.
Another issue is that consumers are often too optimistic about potential earnings. For example, relying on a tax refund, future raises or selling future annuity payments to pay for items later can be dangerous to your finances. If you do not get the amount of money you need to pay off your purchases you leave yourself open to huge interest rates or penalties.
So maybe you decided you want to make a change but you’re not sure how to get started. The best way to start is to define what you want to accomplish and make a plan. Make sure you develop obtainable, measurable goals and develop rewards for when you accomplish your goals. Below are some suggestions on how to get started.
- Define your financial goal. Whether it is to become debt free by 2013, create an emergency fund or go back to school put it in writing.
- Determine what is holding you back from accomplishing those goals. Is your spending getting in the way of your dreams, perhaps you are not sure.
- Create a spending diary to see where your money is going. Track every purchase you make no matter how small it is. Identify places you can make small changes that can really add up.
- Create a budget and stick to it. Don’t forget to save money too. It will help you avoid the debt roller coaster when emergencies happen.
- Reward yourself. Give yourself little treats that won’t derail you when you hit milestones.
- Don’t let setbacks derail you. If you have a setback, don’t quit trying to obtain your goal. Just regroup and move on.
- Change your relationship with money. Avoid triggers like shopping your way out of a better mood and spending mindlessly by developing better habits such as exercising when you’re depressed or leaving your credit cards at home.
- Get organized. Late fees and penalties waste money and they are damaging to your credit score. Develop a system that works for you and pay your bills on time.
- Get professional help. Sometimes you are in over your head. Perhaps you need professional credit counseling or financial advisors who can help you develop a system that works for you.
- Keep your options open. Sometimes your financial situation requires a more drastic approach such as selling some of your future annuity payments to avoid foreclosure or to pay off high interest debt. Remember to research all your options and don’t make hasty decisions.
If you have periodic payments from a structured settlement annuity, a divorce settlement, a single premium immediate annuity, life insurance policy, inheritance, royalties, or even a pension and you want to know more about selling some your future payments, call Rescue Capital at 866.688.3532. With today’s lower rates, your future payments could be worth more than ever before.
With the end of the year approaching many people are starting to make resolutions. Some of which include getting out of debt. Instead of making a resolution, I would make improving your finances a priority for 2012. To help you get started here is a list of our favorite financial blogs.
- Rescue Capital – Our blog contains a little bit of everything from budgeting to selling your future payments.
- Get Rich Slowly – This blog provides practical advice on saving money, getting out of debt and investing.
- Kiplinger – Gives advice on personal finance and how to secure your future.
- MSN Money – Saving, investing, retiring and getting out of debt advice.
- Smart Money – Advice on how to save, spend, borrow, plan and more.
- Learn Vest – How to live frugally.
- Savvy Sugar – Advice on money, careers and travel from a woman’s point of view.
- The Consumerist – Gives independent advice on scams, deals, issues, recalls and more allowing to readers to make informed buying decisions.
- Daily Finance – Money and finance tips galore.
- Bankrate – Bankrate publishes personal finance tips as well as rates on mortgages, credit cards, savings accounts and more.
California’s new law protecting the elderly from dishonest financial product salespeople goes into effect January 1, 2012
The LA Times has reported starting January 1, 2012 California’s new law protecting the elderly from dishonest financial product salespeople goes into effect. The long overdue law, designed to protect seniors from purchasing unneeded annuities, requires insurers to verify that the annuity will deliver the promised benefit to the annuitant.
Annuities are financial products sold by insurance companies used to grow money in order to give the owner a constant stream of payments in the future. Annuities can be paid for a specific period of time such as 20 years or during the annuity owner's life time. Often these low-risk products are discredited by financial experts because of low returns and excessive fees.
Recently, some unscrupulous agents have been aggressively marketing annuities to unsophisticated seniors that will not provide them with the financial security the seniors crave. This legislation is an attempt by California to guard seniors from these aggressive tactics by requiring insurers to determine based upon the buyer’s age, income, liquidity needs as well as financial goals whether the product will provide the desired result. In addition, the seller must prove that the annuity has a tangible net benefit to the buyer.
The law also gives the state insurance commissioner the ability to pull agent’s licenses, impose fines and restitution.
Unfortunately, the aggressive marketing to seniors is not exclusive to California. In recent months, Florida and Illinois have revoked the licenses of individuals who sold unsuitable annuities to elderly clients.
When it comes to selling all or some of your future payments many things can affect the outcome. If you’re properly prepared the transaction can go smoothly. However, if you don’t do your research ahead of time the sale might not go as planned. Here are some tips to get you started in the right direction.
- Do your homework-Research a few companies with the Better Business Bureau, talk to them to see what they have to offer. Some funding companies have merged but are still acting like they’re separate companies. Get multiple offers from separate companies and discuss the different options available to you such as deferring the sale or selling only a portion of your payments.
- Getting it in writing-Get a concrete offer in writing. If the company you’re talking to won't put it in writing go elsewhere. Reputable firms put their offers in writing and won’t give you the run-around.
- Going with someone you don’t feel comfortable with-If your representative avoids your calls, gives you the run-around or doesn’t take the time to explain things to you they may not be the right company. Go with a company that provides you with excellent customer service and treats you with the respect you deserve.
- Wasting the money-Instead of using the money to pay off high interest credit card debt or purchasing a home as intended, some people will go on costly shopping sprees or buy extravagant gifts. By using your money wisely you can avoid getting yourself into a deeper financial hole.
- Being Hasty-Haste makes waste. In other words, don't make rash decisions. Think everything through and don't just go with the first company that sends you an unsolicited check in the mail or has a memorable TV spot.
- Not reading the fine print-If you don't read your contract completely you could be getting in over your head and not even know it. Read your contract thoroughly and ask for help from a trusted advisor.
- Using a broker-Why pay someone part of your money in order to get you a good deal. By calling around to different companies you can get competitive quotes without the expense of a middleman.
- Selling too few or too many payments-Sit down and figure how much you need and the purpose. For example, if you need a new heating system you don’t need $300,000. Make a list of the things you need to purchase or pay off. Bring any estimates or bills with you when you appear in court. Make a budget and stick to it.
- Not getting advice-It’s important to talk to an independent advisor to determine if selling your future payments is in your best interest. In addition, make sure you understand your paperwork and the consequences of your transaction.
- Not calling Rescue Capital at 866.688.3532-Rescue Capital offers highly competitive rates, some of the best around. They take the time to listen to you and understand your financial goals. At Rescue Capital, you’re not a number but a person who needs our help.