What to Consider Before Selling Structured Payment Settlement

Structured payment settlement has been quite popular in America since 1970s. This financial instrument allows people to receive tax free payments regularly instead of a lump sum of money. At one side, structured payment settlement is a great choice as the recipients will be protected from any judgment. Besides, having structured payment settlement is a wise solution to avoid unexpected stress as well as management issues unlike receiving a lump sum. Regardless of the stability structured payment settlement might be able to provide us; sometimes there are some situations that force us to prefer having a lump sum instead. Therefore, selling your structured payment settlement will be unavoidable.

Procedures of Selling Structured Payment Settlement

Any situation which needs you to sell structured settlement payments can be the need to pay your debt, start or invest in business, buy a new or simply repair your house, fund your education, and etc. The procedures of selling your structured payment settlement are actually not complicated. However, still you need to decide how much you want to sell and go before the judge to grant your request before accessing your cash.

Guidance on Selling Structured Payment Settlement

Decide to Sell

If you have valid reasons, first you need to decide the sale of the settlement process so the sale of the payments will not affect your future finance.

Do Research on the Discount Rate and Service

This is the important step before you decide which company you will take to sell your structured payment. Every company offer different discount rate, but normally it goes around 8% – 18%. When in doubt, opt for the A+ rating reputable company with the lower discount rate.

Assure the judge

After finishing all the documents required, the court will hold a hearing where you need to justify why you need the money and that you’re not in a position which will put your and also your family’s financial future in danger.

Where to Find Sharia Complaint Investments

As a devoted moslem, you are trying the best to become a kaffah moslem or living the fullest of life based on the guideline of the religion. As a faithful person, you have huge respect on sharia and want to make sure that every aspect of your life is always in line with its rule. It is including the financial aspect must be able to meet sharia guideline.

In this modern time, we all know that having a good investment is very crucial to prepare for a better future. We are investing our money for retirement plan, education plan, or for tax saving. The core idea of investment is to get a prospective return from the money we invested. However, as a devoted moslem investing for afterlife is also very important and obeying the law in the Quran is how to ensure we can go to heaven. It is important that you have a halal way to invest and that’s only possible when you invest your money on a portfolio compliant with sharia rule. It can be quite challenging to make the right Sharia complaint investments but you no longer need to worry. ShariaPortfolio will help you to manage your investment to meet the rule of sharia.

ShariaPortfolio is a professional investment management firm specializing in sharia compliant investment portfolio. It has team of professional investment advisers who have extensive credentials in both financial management and in sharia finance. The adviser can advise and recommended which portfolio suitable with your needs and goals where you can invest your money. This firm guarantees that all recommended portfolios are compliant with sharia law and has been certified by the sharia counsel. With ShariaPortfolio you can be sure to make a good investment without violating religious’ teachings. Don’t hesitate to contact this firm for more detailed information.

Basic Money Management Skills

Money. That which makes the world go round. It all boils down to the money that we have at the end of the day. Money determines the way we live, what we do, and basically every other decision of our lives. Without money, we are basically nothing. And that, I know, is something that no one will want to go through. So it becomes imperative that we earn well. But earning well is not the end all of everything. It actually begins from there. Money which is earned, needs to be managed well, so that we continue to benefit from it for a long time. And therein comes the part where we need to learn some basic money management skills. Because without these, we will not be able to develop effective methods of money management.

Most of us do not have the knowledge of what some of the most simple and effective money management skills are. So to help you out, this article shall provide you with just that.

Money management skills are not difficult to learn once you get the hang of how to go about it. Given below is a step by step plan that you can follow in order to nurture some of these skills.

Take Stock
The first thing you need to do is calculate how much you are earning. Add in all the resources. Once you have this figure, calculate how much money you need to spend every month. To learn how much you spend every month, the best method is to write down each and everything that you spend for a couple of days. The amount will most generally exceed the amount that you had in mind―that’s because we don’t realize how much we end up spending on small things. Keep in mind that you need this spending figure to learn the basic skills. It is also important to note that the figures of two months will never be the same, there will be more expenditures incurred in a particular month and not so many in the next. But an average figure can be definitely arrived at.

Allot Amounts
Now that you know an average amount of the money that you need to spend for a month, it’ll be easier to allot amounts to different things. Make a list of all the things that you need to spend on―rent, tuition, bills (newspaper, Internet etc.) groceries, emergency (very important), and miscellaneous. You can make a long term-short term list as well. Like monthly/weekly/daily, and segregate the items accordingly. Now calculate the amount that you need for each and allot the money accordingly.

Many people use the envelope method for household items and it seems to work for them. For this, use different envelopes and mark them―for example ‘vegetables’, ‘toiletries’, ‘groceries’ etc, and at the beginning of the month fill the envelop with the amount that you need. Stick to that amount no matter what. When you put it down on paper like that, you are constantly reminded of it and the tendency to overspend is curbed.

Take Care of Debts
Never ever keep a debt. Pay a debt off as soon as you can, because if you keep on piling it, it’ll just keep getting bigger and bigger and cut into your regular saving plan. Find out how much you owe and what you need to pay off―that is the first step in managing your debt. Credit cards, surplus bills―everything needs to be paid off. Make a plan for the same. How? Along with the other envelopes, make another one for the debts so that you have a clear segregation made. It might be difficult in the beginning, but once you start physically putting in the money, you’ll deal with the problem head on and with continued efforts, the amount will be paid off.

Plan the Future
Now that the preliminary stage is taken care of, you’ll need to save for the future. The most important thing to do here is draw up a goal. What do you want to save for? Retirement? Children’s education? A house? Car? Or even small plans like a music system, a new phone etc. Calculate the amount you’ll need to save for it. This is your first step. The next steps will be how to get that money in a stipulated period of time.

Budget
Having a budget is really important. One way of budgeting is the envelope way, so that you don’t end up spending more when you have already allotted a fixed amount to yourself. The second method of making a budget, and this is somewhat of a conscious change in attitude, is that you get it in your head to budget things. Consciously decide that you want to budget. Do not spend recklessly. Other than that, planning for the future and drawing up plans of the things you need to save for will help you to budget well. This is because you’ll know what and how much you need to save up on to get that amount.

Invest
After paying all the bills, the surplus amount that lasts needs to be invested well. There is nothing worse than stagnant money. So consult a financial adviser or an investment adviser who will calculate how much you can afford to save per month, after deducting the expenditure and surplus. After this he will draw up a scheme that suits you best. It could be anything from a fixed deposit account to investing in mutual funds or buying property as assets.

Easy Saving Tips
Along with budgeting and drawing up plans, you can also consciously decide to save. Here are some money saving tips that you can use:

Buy things in wholesale.
Instead of buying books, join a library or start a club. Use this same formula for different things.
Car pool to work, that will save on money for gas AND is good for the environment.
Buy things on sale.
Go through your daily expenditure sheet, you will find that there are several things in there that you can easily give up. Like a very expensive brand of hair product.
Turn off the power when you don’t need it.

Earn Extra
It has been found that we never tap the full potential when it comes to expending our talents or finding other means of earning some extra money. This is one of the more indirect money management skills that we need to learn. Here are some of the easiest ways to make money―taking on freelancing jobs, giving tuition, making use of your hobbies and talents like singing or dancing (giving classes, singing in a club) or cooking (providing snacks for a establishment or making a fixed amount for a bakery). Other methods include, selling things for scrap, holding garage sales etc.

Acquiring money management skills allows you to live better. It secures your future and helps you gain control over your life rather than the debts and money problems controlling you. It should therefore be our prerogative to learn and practice the several money management skills to lead a more fulfilling and comfortable life.

Financial Problems in a Marriage

It is said that marriage is the best thing that can happen to two people in love. It is true, provided the spouses understand each other and are aware of the responsibilities that come with marriage. However, married life can suffer a setback, if there are financial issues in a relationship and the partners do not work it out properly to solve these problems. In studies conducted by experts, financial issues have been included as one of the top reasons for a divorce. So, it is always better to be aware of financial problems, if any, and find effective ways to deal with them.

Monetary Issues and Their Solutions

Handling Finance
This is one of the basic issues that married couples face. They are not clear about whose salary should be used for household expenses and whose should go in for savings. Lack of planning leads to confusion, ultimately resulting in differences between a couple.

Solution: Couples should try different ways to handle their finances and check which one works the best for them. According to surveys, around 64% of couples have joint accounts, 14% of them have separate accounts, and 18% of couples have both joint as well as separate accounts. There is no particular method to handle finances; it depends on a couple as to how much they want to spend and how much they want to save. So, sit down to decide among yourselves, and make the best call for your future.

Excessive Spending
Among the various money-related problems affecting a marriage, spending habit is a contentious issue. Many a time, one of the partners is inclined to shop and spend more than the total earnings with the help of loans and credit cards. Mounting bills and high interest rates can really make things difficult for the family.

In certain cases, among the two partners, the wife mostly has the habit of presenting her family with goodies every now and then. The expenditure made, might irritate the other partner and ultimately give rise to arguments.

Solution: Couples should fix a budget for the month and keep a check so that the expenditure does not exceed the limit. As far as possible, use of multiple cards should be avoided. When going through tough financial times, couples need to cut down on entertainment and leisure expenses. Wives and even husbands, if either is into the habit of buying unwanted gifts, should keep away from doing so. This is because, occasional exchange of gifts does not affect, as much as the usual ones do.

Mounting Debts
Sometimes while making hasty decisions, it might happen that married couples tend to apply for house loans or car loans without figuring out their repayment capacity. Apart from that, some are even in a habit of using credit cards in excess. This negligence in handling money leads to rising debts which becomes difficult to repay in future.

Solution: Taking loans only as per one’s need and repayment capacity, is the first solution to avoid the problem of mounting debts. One should have realistic aspirations and dreams, and think twice before applying for loans and pledging assets with the lenders. And, if both the spouses are working, they should contribute equally to pay off the EMIs.

Improper Investments
In order to lead a settled life, couples have to think about their future and secure it. Investment done inappropriately is one of the prime factors to be looked into, especially when you have a family to take care of. For this, couples have to make precise investments and while doing so, they have to be careful as it might be a risky affair.

Solution: Couples should figure out the investment goal and time frame, and make sure to review their investments at least once a year.

Unnecessary Expenses
Love is blind and people in love know no boundaries when it comes to spending for each other. They tend to buy expensive stuff in order to please their respective partners. This act of unwanted splurging causes problems later on, and couples start blaming each other for mismanagement of money.

Solution: In order to avoid financial hassles, couples should refrain themselves from buying expensive gifts and going for lavish holidays. As is rightly said “cut your coat according to your cloth” couples should spend according to their capacity.

Crisis
An unstable monetary situation arises due to the lack of savings for your future use. An accident, a major illness or an unexpected pink slip, or any other emergency – all situations which require you to dole out a large sum of money – can land you in peril.

Solution: Problems are unavoidable and can never be predicted. So, instead of waiting for the problem to arise, couples should keep themselves prepared for the bad times. They should make sure that they have an emergency savings account. They should plan their monthly savings together along with a target amount to be saved every month, so that they have enough in hand when a sudden need arises.

Ego Clashes
This is the age where women have caught up with men in every field and are the breadwinners. These days, in many households, we can find women earning more than men which hurts the male ego to a great extent, and if a man is jobless then the situation gets even worse. In such cases, it becomes really difficult to save the relation, as both the partners have their self-pride and none of them is ready to bow down.

Solution: Marriage is a union of two souls and bodies, so couples should treat each other as one. To avoid ego clashes, men should see situations in a broader perspective, and instead of getting offended by their respective wives’ earnings, they should encourage them to work. After all, whoever earns, eventually the income will be utilized for the family.

Keeping Financial Secrets
This is undoubtedly one of the biggest financial problems in a marriage. Many spouses are seen hiding their financial documents, bank account statements and information about their assets, which can be frustrating for the other spouse.

Solution: It is always better to speak the truth, and show all your financial details to your partner. By doing so, your better half would be able to suggest ways of dealing with finances, if need be.

Some Tips for Managing Family Finances

A family begins with ‘We’ and not ‘I’. So, while dealing with money matters, always remember that you should think for the well-being of your family.
If your problems are too big, take suggestions from a financial planner.
When you commit to managing finances, fulfill it at any cost, because the other person relies on you.
Think before you spend, because money should be used wisely.
Try to avoid interference from relatives in your family finances (if any).
Don’t be jealous of a higher-earning spouse. Instead, motivate your partner to do well in his/her career and earn even more.

Marriage is a lifetime commitment, so never ignore the petty issues. Financial issues can be resolved easily, so do not waste time crabbing about it. Your family’s betterment and future depends on the same.

Financial Planning Tips For Couples About To Start A Family

Couples, especially newlywed ones, would usually enjoy a bit of financial windfall for the first few months or years of their marriage. This is mainly due to the fact that two people are now sharing the expenses on food, utilities, and other expenditures. There are also more opportunities for couples to save money since they have lesser expenditures to pay for.

This happy situation can easily turn sour though when couples are expecting their first child. With this new bundle of joy come various additional expenses that parents will sometimes find it hard to cope with their financial needs and even adjust their lifestyle.

Couples, though, don’t need to find themselves broke simply because they are expecting or already have their newborn baby. Below are some useful financial planning tips couples about to start a family can follow:

Start living a simpler lifestyle. It is not unusual for newlywed or childless couples to have date nights once or twice a week wherein they have dinner at a fancy restaurant and give each other lavish gifts. They will also go on vacations abroad once or twice a year because they want to get some rest and relaxation and because they “deserve it”. Unfortunately, all of these will have to change or even stop once a couple is expecting a baby. All the money you will save from these activities or events can go to something more important like payment for the hospital bills, medicines and vitamins, diapers, and other expenses that come before and after the baby’s birth. The last thing you want to happen is to be covered in debt just because you are expecting a baby. You can avoid this problem by living a simpler lifestyle once you know that you are expecting.

Anticipate your expenses. Make a list of all your anticipated expenses. These include hospital bills, doctor fees, maternity clothes, birthing classes, and necessities for the baby (a crib, stroller, feeding bottles, blankets, etc.). Then, calculate the total. You now have to rework the budget you and your partner are currently on to include this cost. Expect that there will be expenses that have to be added in the future but don’t fret; you will be able to figure them out as you go.

Increase your emergency fund. If you already have a safety financial net, you and your partner or spouse should now work on increasing it. Financial advisors recommend having six-to-nine months of living expenses set aside in case of job loss, which can become more of a problem if one spouse is at home on childcare duty. Look at your budget again and figure out how much you can afford to put into an emergency fund after all the basic necessities are covered.

How to Plan Financially for the Future

Well, living in today is alright but we also have to think about tomorrow and hence, it is important to plan for the future. Since there is apparently only one thing that seems to control the world, that is money, one has to plan his or her finances wisely to have a secure future after retirement. Though, everything that one needs to ‘live’ cannot be bought with money, certain things that one needs to ‘survive’ have to be bought in exchange for money. So, one has to carry out meticulous financial planning for the future. If you are also of the same opinion, then you must read this article further.

Financial Planning for the Future

Well, there are many things one needs to consider while planning for the future in terms of finances. Given below are some of the factors you need to look into:

Current Economic Status: You must analyze your current economic status including your annual income. It will give you a direction towards financial planning for the future.

Expenses: You must also consider the expenses you make on a yearly basis. It is suggested to make a list of your ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ and determine how you decide your priorities and make expenditures accordingly.

Asset Analysis: Yes, this is one of the important aspects of financial planning. You must know and ascertain the number, or quality, of your assets before you start financial planning.

Liabilities: Liabilities are as good as expenses. So, you must pay attention regarding how you would deal with liabilities, and how you would manage and sustain them.

These were some of the crucial factors one has to consider when it comes to financial planning for the future. Now let’s take a look at some of the ways and ideas that can help you plan well for the future.

Financial Planning Ideas

Given below are some tips cum ideas that would answer how to plan financially for the future, take a look:

Saving is one of the most important steps to ensure a prosperous future, especially when you carry out financial planning for the future. The early you start saving the more time you give to your money to grow. It is never too late, so start saving as early as possible.
Once the significant savings are there in your account, there are many things you can do to invest these savings wisely. You can either buy gold, or invest money in assets that guarantee continuous income in the future as well. You can also think of investing money in stocks and bonds too, for long term benefits.
Learning to plan a budget for daily day-to-day expenses is a key to financial planning for the future. You must try to balance between the income and expenses every month so that you save a certain amount.
Along with a budget, one has to plan one’s lifestyle as it can have a major impact on your financial planning. You must learn to alter your lifestyle according to a stipulated amount every month and save the rest of the extra money for unexpected financial expenses in the future.
Insuring important assets is also an important aspect of financial planning. Health insurance and car insurance are some of the must have insurances for greater security in the future.
Another interesting way of investing in future is working after retirement. Yes, you can think of starting your own small business after retirement that guarantees income even after retirement. It can help you earn not only money but it would also help you kill the boredom and time, which many retirees are faced with.

These were some of the tips and ideas that can help you plan your finances well for the future. Go ahead and implement the aforementioned ideas and tips, and have a financially secure future.

 

Managing Your Finances After Buying Your First Home

If you are young and buying your first home, it can be a very scary time in your life. However, it’s also very exciting to think that you are going to own your property for the first time ever. This is truly the American Dream at work! Chances are, your mortgage payment will be more expensive than whatever rent you were paying before you were a homeowner. You may be worried about how to budget after you close on the house, but you will catch on quicker than you think. If you couldn’t afford the house, the bank wouldn’t have given you the loan, so get ready to crunch some numbers and enjoy the first year living in your new abode.

Pay Attention to Your Lending Officer

Before your loan is even approved, your lending officer should sit down with you at the bank and give you a quick run down of the numbers. If they don’t, you should ask them to do so, or find a lending officer that will; it’s totally OK to shop around for lenders, especially in this economy. When you meet with your lending officer, don’t be afraid to ask questions and/or take notes. When you lock in your interest rate, they will tell you exactly what your mortgage payment will be, and if you choose to keep your taxes and homeowner’s insurance in escrow, they will calculate that in, as well. Pay attention to that monthly number, and use that to set your new budget.

Set a New Budget

Hopefully, if you’ve bought a house, you have already set some sort of budget for your living expenses pre-homeownership. If you have, it should be relatively easy to set a new budget that accounts for your increased living expenses. Just plug-in the number from the bank for your monthly payments and make adjustments as necessary. You will have to cut some things out; that is almost inevitable. However, make sure it is something you can live with. Spend less money on clothes, for example, rather than cutting your grocery budget in half. You need to eat!

Communicate with Your Partner or Roommate

If you are buying this house with your spouse or partner, or if you are having someone move in and pay rent, be sure to communicate expectations and concerns openly. This can make or break a partnership when it comes time to pay all that money at closing. When you figure out what everyone owes, make sure you tell everyone upfront. If you are having a renter live with you, it’s not a bad idea to draw up a lease arrangement and have a lawyer look at it. That can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

Learn to Cook

Cooking your own food can be significantly less expensive than eating out every night. When you cook, you often have lots of leftovers, too, which you can eat the next night or for lunch the next day. It would be such a shame to waste your new, awesome kitchen in your new house, so if you don’t already know how to cook some simple meals, now is a great time to learn how.

Find Free Entertainment

Entertainment is what costs most people the most out of their budget. Once you learn how to cook, you can also find some free or inexpensive entertainment options. Staying in can be fun, too. You can go to the library and rent movies and music for free, or visit your local park and explore your new town.

 

Financial Planning for Women

Financial planning – the term in itself refers to making of concrete plans to improve your financial power. Now, unlike what some people may think, financial planning is not at all difficult, all you need is to be aware, think and calculate. After all, financial planning is a mathematics, which is rational and as simple as 2 plus 2 equals 4. So fear not, here are some tips, plans and some do’s, also some don’ts.

Now, here, I shall be taking you through some great investment and planning channels, plus some tips for planning your expenses well in advance. Financial planning for women involves handling two primary aspects related to personal finance, expenses and investment. When you receive your paycheck, there are two things that you can potentially do: one, use the money for essential expenses; and two, investment the money. Note that common savings is also included in expenditure.

Planning for Expenses

Personally, guys no offense, I believe that since women are capable and do manage one of the most difficult institutions in society, that is their family; they are better at handling expenses (not through credit cards), than most men. This was not a compliment, but a fact.

So, principally, about 20% to 40% of your income is going to be spent on essential expenses, food, clothes, make-up and cosmetics, rent and commutation. Now before the month starts, calculate and estimate how much you would spend on each item. Also you would need to include some expenditures such as a couple of parties, sleepover and hangouts while doing so. Some of you may have medical expenses hence consider those too. Listing these out was the first step, next analyze and make a list for identifying the expenses which you can cut down. If you look, observe and think properly, you will notice that, except for things such as food, rent and medication, you can cut down on almost everything.

The third step is to make a table of budget with 22-30-31 columns (covering days of a month), whichever is appropriate. In this table, write down the expenses that you have estimated and throughout the month try to stick to them. This can be quite difficult and also quite easy. Since sticking to the budget is not always possible and some unexpected expenses tend to come up, one can always put away certain amount of money as a backup fund.

Planning for Investments

After you have paid off all your expenses, you can turn your attention to investments. Again this can take about 30-40% of your income. The following are some excellent options which you can use.

Life Insurance: If you have a family, then this is the most important investment for you, as a life insurance not only pays off all the returns on investment, but there is a death benefit which is available which ensures your family’s financial security and well-being. You can invest up to about 10-15% of your income in such an insurance policy.
Funds and Securities: Mutual funds, variable annuities, Systematic Investment Plans (SIP), Collective Investment Schemes (CIS) and other mutually invested funds are medium risk investments. Here you have a 5-7% return on investment along with the total amount that you invested initially. This facility is termed as guaranteed minimum returns facility. Apart from the minimum returns in such schemes, you also receive the bonus and portfolio performance returns, which chiefly depend upon the portfolio performance and also economic conditions. Again this can take up about 10-15% of your income.
Government Provided Investments: These are the most secure of all as investment options. Channels such as IRA, 401(k), government bonds and certificates tend to provide a good rate of return that accounts to about 5%. Such investments will take up even lesser than 5% of your income.

You can also consider some options such as real estate, direct share investments, gold, silver and bullion and futures and options. However, such investments are quite risky and worst of all you have to invest a lot of time in them. Apart from that it is also recommended that you maintain a 30% balance in your bank account as a safety precaution. Now, all you have to do is plan accordingly and choose the right expenditure and investment.

 

How to Financially Survive the Wedding Season

Research suggests that attending one wedding can leave you $500 lighter (spending on yourself, your clothes, the gift, and other miscellaneous expenses). And this does not include travel expenses in case you have to travel to another city for the wedding. While insurmountable expenses are inevitable for the couple headed into wedded bliss, for the guests attending the wedding, the day(s) can be saved. You are obviously going to have to shell out a few bucks for the gift, your attire, and the parties before and after, but these can be controlled significantly by one simple measure – planning! Head into the wedding season without a plan, and you won’t know what hit your savings. On the other hand, a little planning, even though it may end up with you going slightly out of budget, will keep you within spending limits and help you get through the wedding season financially. To make a plan, consider the following questions:

How many weddings have you been invited to?
How many weddings do you absolutely HAVE to attend?
How many involve the same group of guests?
How many people are you close to among the guests?

Why is this important you ask? So that you can prepare a budget, your wardrobe, choose a gift, and make travel plans accordingly.

Is Attendance Necessary?
Bombarded with too many invitations? Choose the weddings you genuinely want to attend above the ones you know you could give a miss. You don’t have to feel guilty for missing someone’s wedding. Wouldn’t you rather spend more on your buddy’s big day than for someone you’re not so close to? Just politely decline the invitation at the appropriate time so that the couple can make arrangements accordingly.

Dress Up or Dress Down
Most of us end up spending a lot of money on clothes for the wedding of someone we may not be very close to. But there are ways in which you can look your best at a wedding without having to make a hole in your pocket. Consider the following factors when deciding on your outfit for the event.

The Venue:
This will decide whether you are going to wear a simple, light floral dress, or a designer cocktail dress; a pair of linen pants and a simple, light shirt or a formal suit, and how much you technically have to spend.
Can You Repeat your Outfit at Multiple Weddings?:
This is possible if the group of guests attending one wedding are unlikely to be present at another wedding. This makes it easier for you to repeat your outfit. (Of course, you may have to deal with being tagged in multiple pictures on Facebook in the same outfit.)
Can you Borrow?:
So if you know that the same group of guests will be attending, or if you can’t stand the thought of being tagged in the same outfit at different weddings, consider exchanging outfits with your friends so that you have something new to wear without having to spend much.
Your Closeness with the Couple:
You are expected to dress in a particular way if you are closer to the bride or groom or both of them. For a wedding where you aren’t so close to the couple, you may tone it down a little and save some bucks.
Mix and Match:
If you can fish out a good skirt and accessories, then all you have to do is find a good blouse. Or if you have a simple dress, you can jazz it up with a good belt and a nice pair of shoes. If you find the right jacket, you can get a good shirt and trousers to go with it. Sometimes even a good tie can make all the difference. If you can find even one item in your closet, it saves you that amount, and you get to sport a unique look at every wedding.
How Good You are at Doing Your Own Hair and Makeup:
This one is specific to women. If you aren’t good at it, learn from online tutorials. There’s no way you can survive the wedding season on a budget if you go for professional services all the time.
Why not Rent Your Outfit?:
If you can’t afford to buy a different outfit for different occasions, you don’t have clothes that you can mix and match, and you can’t wear the same outfit at different weddings, rent your outfit. You’ll find it at half the price as compared to retail stores, and can hence save a lot of money.

What about the Gift?
You just can’t go to a wedding without a gift. But there are lots of things that count as gifts and don’t cost too much. Try out these ideas.

Rush to the Gift Registry:
If the couple has signed up at a gift registry, try getting there as early as possible to get the good and the less expensive stuff for them.
Chip in for a Bigger, Better Gift:
This is why you need to know lots of other people who will be attending the wedding. Get together and buy a gift that will truly wow the couple! This way you don’t have to spend too much money, yet you get to give them a great gift!
Make Something Yourself:
If you are really close to the couple, and you know they will appreciate the effort, make something for them yourself. Use your knowledge or learn how to do it through the Internet, and give them your love and affection through your handmade gift.
Offer your Help/Services as a Gift:
If you think you can’t afford expensive gifts, offer to help the couple with the wedding arrangements and ensure that they know this is your gift to them. For instance, if you know people and can pull strings to get one of the many things they badly want for their wedding (such as a particular decorator, a band, or even an ice sculpture at a discount), this could be a perfect gift for them. Also, if you are involved in the planning, you can help save the couple’s and your own costs in certain areas, e.g. if it is a destination wedding, you can get bulk discounts by making bookings for the entire group.

When the Wedding is Out of Town
This is when it can get real difficult. While some couples are generous enough to make arrangements for all their guests, there are some that can’t. In such a case, you’re left to fend for yourself. How do you make the most of this situation?

Chip in for Bulk Discounts:
Yet another reason knowing other people attending the wedding can help. Bigger bookings help get better discounts. It’s as simple as that.
Be the Early Bird and Save:
The sooner you make your bookings, the cheaper they will be. This may not be feasible for everyone, but if you can travel on an off-peak day, you can even save flight costs to a certain extent. Lots of websites offer packages at discounted rates which you can make the most of in the financially burdening wedding season.
Stay with your Friends/Acquaintances:
If you know someone in the place you are traveling to and who will willingly put you up for a couple of days, you my friend, have struck gold and saved a LOT of money. Of course, remember to repay your friend/acquaintance with a nice gift, or offer to do the same for them when they come to your town.

The best way to avoid getting hit unawares in the wedding season is to plan, and to save. You have to keep some amount aside if you know weddings are coming up and you just can’t avoid them. Finally, don’t let the expenses bog you down. Just go and have a good time at these weddings and give yourself a break!

 

Career As a Financial Planner

With more and more people investing in the stock market, the demand for financial planners is increasing by the day. There is a lot of competition for jobs, with security brokers and dealers paying top dollar, for skilled financial planners. This profile is recognized by several names like financial planner, financial advisor and personal finance consultant, but it is rarely referred to by its ideal name: Financial Product Sales Representative.

Every small occurrence in our life has an effect on our financial planning, be it a thought to buy a car or start a new business. It is a famous misconception that financial planners are important only for businessmen, actors or other wealthy people, but in reality even the most average earner makes investments and takes the help of a financial planner for it.

Duties of a Financial Planner

These professionals make recommendations and give guidance to individual investors regarding financial planning. Financial planners have knowledge of tax laws and use it to provide tax advice.

Financial planners also help in estate planning. They use their knowledge to gauge the need for expansion of the estate or merger with another business entity. Every investment or expense goes through the hands of financial planners before the final approval.

A financial planner has to advise many clients in order to be considered successful. There is a difference between financial analysts and planners. Financial planners work with personal investors while financial analysts work with organizations.

If you want to know how to save money for a college education, you will need the services of this financial planning professional. If you want to write a will, or plan for a secure and comfortable retirement, you will need a financial manager.

They also sell life insurance to their customers. Private bankers also fall into this category, since they help rich people manage their money.

Educational Qualifications

To become a financial planner, you have to get a degree in economics, business or mathematics fields. It is even better if you have a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA). You can also take courses in taxes, estate planning or risk management. There are certain colleges and universities, too, that offer a degree in financial planning.

Before working as a financial planner, he may work as an accountant, auditor or even a lawyer. There are also certifications available such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), or Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC).

You can also get a license by taking the Series 6 exam, to become an Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Representative. You can take the Series 7 exam, to become a General Securities Representative. You can also take the Series 63 exam, which is the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination.

All three of these exams have been developed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which was previously known as National Association Of Securities Dealers (NASD).

Skill Set

Apart from the qualifications mentioned above there is a requirement for a basic skill set as follows:

Analytical Skills- A financial planner has to advise his clients on investments they need to make for which the client should be able to acknowledge a profitable investment.

Interpersonal Skills- The major aspect of his job is to make the customers feel comfortable. They should be able to trust you with information they are providing you; for this having excellent interpersonal skills is a must.

Math Skills- You should also be able to work with numbers, because they need to use math to analyze data.

Speaking Skills- To convince clients and to explain complex financial aspects in simple words you need to have a good command over English or whichever is your local language and communicate well.

Selling Skills- Marketing strategy and sales techniques are required to get more customers and clients at events such as seminars, lectures or conferences.

Acquiring a New Deal

If you wish to gain success in this field then a broad social network is a “must have”. The key principle is to build a strong customer base because satisfied customers’ referral is an important source of expanding business.

There is no portal over the Internet which will find for you your next customer. Whether you opt for giving seminars and lectures or using social and business contacts, you have to hunt them yourself.

Workplace
More than 50% of the financial planners work for insurance and finance companies, it can be a bank, broker, insurance carrier or a financial investment firm. Even so, 4 out of 10 are self-employed having an independent advisory firm. Such cases are more common in urban areas than in rural areas.

Advancement Opportunities

With time and experience, a financial planner can climb up to the position of a manager. In general, most of them build up to establish their own advisory or security firm.

Earnings and Job Outlook

According to the statistics of 2010 provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of financial planners in 2010 was $64,750 per year, with half of the total employed earning below this level and half above it. This does not include self-employed and the bonuses. A fresher may earn anywhere around $32,660 per year.

This sector is believed to accelerate 32% by 2020, increasing job opportunities by 66,400.

A Day in a Financial Planner’s Life

The tasks in hand during a typical day at work includes:

Gathering new clients via marketing and channel building
Meeting with the existing clientèle to assess their financial requirements and future goals
Updating clients with the current scenario and scope for investments
Conforming clients’ financial plans in line with their life changes such as marriage, childbirth, divorce, disability and death of spouse, etc.