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Archive for July, 2008

5 Ways to Teach Your Kids the Importance of Savings

July 31st, 2008 at 04:29 pm

Many kids nowadays do not understand the value of earning and spending money. They were not taut that investing is necessary even if they are still at school. As parents, you play a crucial role in this area.

You should be able to teach your kids how to save. They should be able to understand the concept of money and investment as early as childhood. This will prepare them to learn money management, as they grow older and start to think about cars loans and mortgages.

Here are 5 essential tips that will teach your children how to save:

1. Your children should be educated of the meaning of money. Once your children have learned how to count, that is the perfect time for you teach them the real meaning of money. You should be consistent and explain to them in simple ways and do this frequently so that they may be able to remember what you taught them.

2. Always explain to them the value of saving money. Make them understand its importance and how it will impact their life. It is important that you entertain questions from them about money and you should be able to answer them right away.

3. When giving them their allowances. You need to give them their allowances in denominations. Then you can encourage them that they should keep a certain bill for the future. You can motivate them to do this by telling them that the money can be saved and they can buy new pair of shoes or the toys they want once they are able to save.

4. You can also teach them to work for money. You can start this at your own home. You can pay them fifty cents to one dollar every time they clean their rooms, do the dishes or feed their pets. This concept of earning little money will make them think that money is something they have worked for and should be spent wisely.

5. You can teach them to save money by giving them piggy banks where they can put coins and wait until they get full. You can also open bank accounts for them and let them deposit money from their allowance. You should always show them how much they have earned to keep them motivated.

The importance of money and saving is not something that is learned by children in one sitting. You should be patient in teaching them and relating the value of money in all of their activities. Children will learn this easily if you are patient and consistent in guiding them and encouraging them in this endeavor.

What the Tour de France Taught Me About Investing

July 28th, 2008 at 03:23 am


Everyone who trades on the stock market - and many who donít - will be aware of the highs and lows experienced. When the price of shares is soaring everyone is happy, but when they start to tumble investors may start to get a little panicky and want to get out of that particular investment. Online investing is a bit like riding in the Tour de France - there are many ups and downs, but if you stick with it through the hard times, youíll come out a winner in the end.

Even eventual winner Carlos Sastre knows that he will not win every stage of the Tour de France. He makes allowances for that and fixes his sight firmly on the end result. Sure, getting to wear that yellow jersey before crossing over the finish line might feel good. But it is not the most important part of the whole picture. Sastre trained hard and learned the correct strategies to come out winner in the long run. Thatís what investors need to do when share trading.

Think of share trading as the course Carlos Sastre rides in the Tour de France. Some days there are steep mountains to ride up and other days the terrain flattens out to level - good, easy riding. So in share trading there will be the good times with shares soaring to new heights and hard times when things plunge steeply. Then there will be those times when trading levels out and there are no steep plunges. When Carlos gets to the top of his mountain, he expects the course to flatten out a bit before going down the other side. He doesnít have a panic attack and stop riding when the going gets tough.

So with online trading there will ascents, levels and plunges over the course. If you have a financial goal, donít start to panic when the plunge starts. Share trading will always have its ups and downs, but overall, the steady investor comes out on top.

5 Steps to a 5 Star Lifestyle

July 21st, 2008 at 05:38 am



Step 1 - Get a plan

Decide what you really want and focus on the most important goals Ė a car, holiday, retirement, or deposit for a home You might want the lot, but you've got to prioritise.

Estimate how much you can save by depositing funds at regular intervals, and how long it will take to get there. Establish a budget to make this happen and stick to it. The best time to start saving is now.

Step 2 - Minimise existing debt

Make regular payments off your cards or personal loans. Minimise your costs by taking a cut lunch to work Ė putting $5 aside daily can mean $1000 extra for Christmas.

Use layby during the year to shop at sales for Christmas presents rather than having a last minute spending blow out.
Cut bank fees by reducing the number of accounts you hold. Use cash instead of credit cards if you canít pay off the monthly balance. Use a debit card if you find having a credit card increases your spending.

Step 3 - Maximise Your Savings

Even small things like putting your change into a savings jar at the end of each day can make a difference.

Put away a small amount each payday into your bank account and set up an automatic deduction so you don't have to think about it. Add any pay rises, bonuses, special payments or that tax refund.

Think ahead - is there a Christmas Club at work? If you put away $25 per week into such an account , it would mean $1300 in Christmas cash.

Savings are a security buffer to cope with unexpected expenses. As they build you will be able to think beyond day-to-day expenses and pay for larger things.

Step 4 - Set up separate savings accounts

Save for longer term goals such as a car, holiday or home deposit with special purpose savings accounts which are separate from your everyday transaction account. Special purpose savings accounts offer carrot and stick incentives (eg higher interest if regular deposits are made but penalties if money is withdrawn in a particular period).

When these accounts grow to larger amounts, move into term deposits, where there is limited access - and less temptation to spend them, leaving the growing interest to compound.

Popular new online savings accounts (accessible through an ATM and piggy backing onto your transaction account) pay top interest rates and cuts bank fees, while giving instant access for an emergency,. However, the instant access means they are not for the weak willed.

Step 5 - Know your finances

Savings for retirement are best made through superannuation because of the tax concessions. Make extra superannuation contributions from your pre-tax salary ('salary sacrifice'). This will increase your retirement pension Ė and choices.

Wealth Gap Between The Sexes

July 18th, 2008 at 02:30 am

Traditionally, men were the big earners in society. They received the best education and so were able to grab the best jobs. Further down the track women have moved into managerial positions, but often not for the same remuneration that a man would have received. While this creates a wealth gap between the sexes, traditionalism is fast going out the door and women are now both getting good jobs and being paid what they are worth. In fact, statistics show that the wealth gap between the sexes is closing rapidly - at least in western countries.

At the moment, women tend to leave money on the table when it comes to wealth creation, due to the fact that they are not so well educated about investing. They live longer than men, but they are often not paid as much, so this increases the wealth gap between the sexes. Where women have taken the trouble and interest to educate themselves in the area of wealth management, they have done a better job of making money than many men. This is due to their more conservative nature. Theyíve worked hard to get financial and they donít want to lose it buying risky shares. They buy something safe and leave their money there.

Men, on the other hand, tend to be more daring with wealth creation. They are not so careful about researching the companies they invest with and they buy and sell quickly in an attempt to chase the big money. But they get their fingers burnt more often than they make a profit. According to statistics, the number of wealthy women in North America grew by 48%, while in the same time frame, wealthy men only increased by 36%.

Another point in womenís favour is simply their nature. In general, they are more patient than men. This is an advantage in wealth management, because investments take time to increase and it takes patience to sit on the sidelines and watch them grow. Those who are impatient want to see faster growth, so they tend to chase the hot tips of the day. But in many cases, the cost of frequent buying and selling outweighs any advantage.

Women and Their Money

July 17th, 2008 at 12:41 am

Most women can manage their day-to-day finances very well. In fact, according to some experts, they are highly skilled at budgeting and finding ways to reduce spending. This is really important, since women traditionally donít usually earn as much as men do. Where their skills donít match up to those of the menfolk is in the areas of investment and retirement savings. Nor do they understand financial terminology as well as men. But they are eager to learn and should make every effort to do so if they are to take full control of their financial future.

Reports show that many women donít feel that money is necessary to be happy in life. And while this sentiment is admirable, it is also likely to cause them to have less money than they need as they get older and cannot work. If women were to work on building up their confidence in investing, they would find that the stress and boredom of handling money in this way would be gone and they would soon be able to see all the benefits.

Women have gradually broken down many male dominated barriers in the past; now they need to hone their skills in the area of money management and investments. But first they must change their attitudes. Money is not the be-all and end-all of life, but we do need a certain amount of it. And itís only wise to work towards protecting your future. Women live longer than men, so they cannot expect to have a man around into their old age to take care of finances for them.


101 Highly Effective Ways to Sell Your Stuff Using Online Classifieds

July 10th, 2008 at 05:00 am

Classifieds seem to have a great attraction for most people - even when they donít actually want to buy anything. Itís all to do with wanting to know what the neighbours are up to. We just like to read them because we can see whatís happening in someoneís life. It might be that they are going to live overseas so have to sell all their stuff. Or if you see a whole lot of baby things for sale you can tell that their children have grown older. Thatís why the smart person sells through classifieds and what better way to go online and do it?



Online classifieds are the ultimate selling tool, so whether you want to sell property, a car, other stuff or maybe you need a job, here are 101 ways to get what you want through online classifieds.

Using Classifieds Ads to Sell Your Home


1. Take great photos of the outside. Make sure you washed all the mould off the wall first.

2. Take photos of the back and front yards - but be sure the dog hasnít left a whoopsy in the middle.

3. Take photos of the entrance - without those old socks and thongs littering the front door mat.

4. In fact you should buy a new mat and a new pot plant to make the photo look fab.

5. Buy some shrubs that are in flower and plant them before taking photos of the yard.

6. Take a movie of the inside rooms - but only when they are clean and tidy. Juniorís dirty undies will do nothing to sell your house.

7. Take some of the small furniture out of the room before photographing it to make it look less crowded - hence bigger.
8. Wash down the walls and make sure all pictures are straight.

9. Describe the property in positive terms.

10. Be honest - but if thereís a brothel right next door, donít mention that. You are selling your house not that one.

11. Mention something good that is close to your house, such as park, golf club or other amenities. Some people will overlook faults in the home to be close to other things they like.

12. Even if itís not all that close to the golf course/beach/clubs/mall mention how far they are in terms of driving time. Only 5 mins to golf club sounds better than 10 ks.

13. Draw up a floor plan of your home, photograph it and upload it to the website.

14. If you have too many photographs, provide a link to your own website with more photographs and descriptions.

15. Give more than one way for prospective buyers to contact you. Phone, mobile phone, email address all ensure that the buyer will get in touch one way or the other.

16. Provide address and clear, correct details of how to get there. People might want to take a look at the outside before contacting you.

17. Draw a clear map of how to get there and upload to website. But make sure it is correct.

18. Mention any obvious landmarks in your directions.

19. Price the property a little above what you really want, then allow your buyer to beat you down. That way he will feel like he got a bargain.

20. If the property has any good features - e.g. cathedral ceilings - be sure to mention them.

21. Donít waste space with unnecessary wording such as ďIf you like it make a reasonable offer.Ē Itís obvious thatís what they will do anyway. You can use that sentence to tell them what else is good about your house.

22. Donít repeat what youíve written in other words. Make each sentence count. If you mention 3 bedrooms once, there is no need to do so again.

23. Make sure you photograph the home from the right angle. You donít want to include a rickety shed or rusted tank in the photo - nor even a good tank. Show the home off to its best advantage and tell about the tank - itís a good Ďgreení point.

24. Add a way in which the buyer can save money, such as Ďgreení light bulbs, insulation or even a sunny aspect that will save on heating.

25. Comment on the storage space. Everyone loves plenty of storage. If there isnít much, point out corners or niches that would take a cupboard - or have it put in first.

Using Classifieds to Sell Your Car


26. When selling a vehicle then you should certainly take photos for the buyer to view. They should show the vehicle from front, back and sides.

27. Also photograph the interior.

28. Be sure to wash and polish the vehicle before the photo. You want it to look its best.

29. Clean and polish the interior too.

30. Polish the tyres with black polish to make the car look like new.

31. Make sure the tread is not worn out.

32. Park the vehicle against a contrasting background so it will show up better in the photo.

33. Make sure the dog, and that old bucket is out of the picture.

34. Likewise your washing should not be in the background.

35. Get creative and take the photo against a classy backdrop of forest, autumn leaves, rocks or similar. This is what they do for TV ads.

36. Add a sexy chick or guy to the photo. Or for a family car add something else appropriate.

37. Add props to the photo; a picnic basket for family - a surfboard for a single guyís car.

38. If the vehicle is a caravan make sure the interior is clean and tidy, with nothing on either the sink or the mattresses, before photographing it.

39. If the vehicle needs minor repairs, have them done. It wonít cost you much and your reputation will stay intact ready for your next sale.

40. Mention whatever you have had done in the ad. as a good selling point.

41. Make sure you have a pink/green slip when necessary.

42. If possible sell with many months still on rego. Buyers really donít want to have to register the vehicle just after they buy it.

43. If you are not selling the seat covers or other extras, then donít photograph the vehicle with them still in place.

44. If the original seat covers look crappy, consider buying a pair of front seat covers and sell them with the vehicle. They need not be expensive ones.

45. Donít waste your word limit by having the words Ďfor saleí or ĎIím sellingí in the ad. Itís already in the for sale section isnít it?

46. Give the model, age and mileage and make sure they are correct.

47. Use good grammar and correct spelling. People take you more seriously when you do.

48. Keep records of the car services and show them to buyers.

49. If the vehicle has been kept undercover, say so, especially if you live by the beach where rust could be a problem.

50. If it hasnít been kept undercover, donít mention that unless asked.

51. Always be honest when describing your vehicle. Age and condition will be obvious when it is inspected, anyway.

Using Classifieds When Looking For Work


52. When advertising for a job, list all your skills honestly. If you want a specific job, then advertise in that section. If not, then advertise in a broader section.

53. Think of some things you can do that you may not consider skills. You may get on really well with senior citizens, dogs or children. These skills can get you odd jobs.

54. If you include a photo of yourself, dress appropriately. A bikini is not suitable for a nanny, but if advertising for a surf watch job it could be.

55. Create a professional resume - if you canít do it, pay someone else to. It wonít be in the classified, but youíll need one eventually.

56. If listing a position available, state the minimum qualifications, hours and pay clearly.

57. If advertising your delivery service, show a pic of your vehicle so prospective users can tell if it will be big enough.

58. When advertising for a position, state clearly what you will not do. E.g. some people expect the baby-sitter to clean out their oven, wash the dayís dishes and vacuum the house when the baby goes to sleep.

59. When advertising a service using the word Ďweí instead of Ďmeí, even if there is only one of you. It will make your ad seem more professional. It may also prevent any monkey business.

60. Avoid using terms of endearment such as luv or my dear, as these can create a wrong impression of what you are offering.

61. Donít use past tense such as ďI was looking for a Öjob.Ē It raises a question in the readerís mind, Are you still looking for it?

62. Use present tense. ďI am looking for a (type of) job. I have these skills.Ē

63. Include a call to action. Call me on (ph. number).

64. Sound positive and upbeat, but donít use slang. It does not sound professional or serious.

65. When looking for work, be wary and donít get ripped off.

66. When advertising your work for hire, be clear about what you will do. If gardening, you may not want to hand-dig an extensive garden bed from lawn. If you mow and edge, you may or may not want to weed the garden.

67. Donít offer services unless you can do them properly. People these days expect professional work done in a professional manner - even mowing the lawn needs to be done properly if you want work.

68. When advertising a position vacant, be clear about the hours, pay and what you expect to get accomplished.

69. Offer fair pay for fair work. Some farming jobs demand 12 hours a day, 7 days a week and pay peanuts. Is this fair?

70. Donít expect the impossible. No one person can be fantastic at several jobs when they are under 20 years of age.

Using Classifieds to Sell Stuff


71. When selling your household stuff, make sure it actually works before you advertise it.

72. If selling whitegoods, try and include the original instruction book with it. Add make and model number.

73. Describe the goods correctly. Donít call drawers shelves.

74. Measure height, length and depth of furniture correctly.

75. When photographing furniture, move all your other stuff away from it. Showing sofa and coffee table in front of the TV unit you want to sell detracts from it and adds confusion as to what is actually being offered.

76. Donít waste your word count with a greeting. It may sound friendly, but it is unnecessary. You are selling, not making friends.

77. Add a free gift if bought before a certain date. E.g., add a free CD, to CD shelves.

78. Package small items together, rather than singly. E.g. a pack of two or four books.

79. Clothing can be sold as sets e.g. set of four t-shirts or set of t-shirt and jeans.

80. If selling in sets of pants and tops, make sure they are the same size.

81. Make sure clothing has no missing buttons or broken zips.

82. If you donít want to add expensive freight to the cost, label the item as pick-up only. Buyers often prefer this option as it can save them money if they have their own pick-up vehicle.

83. If you are selling expensive stuff, be sure to have it insured for posting.

84. If the goods are damaged, say so and offer a lower price. People are still happy to get things like books with stained pages - as long as they know about it. Then they donít feel ripped off.

85. When selling jewellery photograph it on a contrasting background. Black velvet is good. Avoid shiny cloth like satin.

86. Rings can be photographed on the finger so they show up better - but apply polish to the nails first.

87. Caps or hats can be photographed on a head, even one of those model dolls heads that kids love.

88. Include the actual length of necklaces, watches and bracelets. Some people have really thin or thick wrists.

89. Belts should be photographed on a model. You donít have to include the rest of the body, though.

90. When advertising a garage sale, photograph at least some of the items. One photo is worth a thousand words.

91. Grouping items together for a photo is a good idea, then you can fit more in.

92. When photographing non-solid items like bicycles, have them against a solid background like a wall, rather than a garden. It sure helps with clarity.

93. State all sizes clearly and with clothing, add waist, chest and length measurements. This will give your buyer the assurance that the items really will fit.

94. For pants, state the inside and outside leg measurement plus the ankle width.

95. For coats measure across the back of the shoulder and from the base of the collar at the centre back down to the hemline.

96. Make sure all clothing is freshly washed and ironed before photographing it.

97. In some cases, the reasons for selling can be stated - e.g. moving or wrong size. This assures the buyer that there is nothing wrong with the item.

98. If the item is near new and in perfect condition, describe it as new without tags. New with tags for never worn clothing, and good condition are two other categories.

99. Some items can be listed in more than one category to attract a wider buying field. E.g. car accessories such as radio or speakers can also be listed in the Ďstuffí category under audio.

100.Leave exclamation marks off your text. They are unprofessional and look ridiculous.

101. Donít copy other ads. Make yours stand out with the use of creative and positive wording

Pros and Cons of Self Managed Superannuation

July 10th, 2008 at 04:49 am

Pros of Self-Managed Superannuation

While

Text is self-managed superannuation and Link is http://www.macquarieprivatewealth.com.au/products_services/products.aspx?id=SelfManagedSuperannuationFunds
self-managed superannuation will not suit everyone, there are some people who will find it is just what he or she wants. These are people who have had some experience in buying shares, or at least know how it is done. One of the main advantages is that you can choose what shares to invest in. This may be very important to those who have strong beliefs about say, not gambling. If this were the case, then you would not want your money invested into something like casinos.

The manager of an SMSF will not be afraid of a whole bunch of figures staring at them from their computer screen, and keeping records of everything will not faze them in the slightest. In fact they will be able to keep the most intricate records without worrying. And they will be able to keep up with the regular reporting that is necessary.

Of course, all of the above will take a great deal of time, so the person who is suited to run an SMSF will have plenty of time up his or her sleeve. They will also be smart enough to avoid any shady schemes to access their money early, and they will understand that the Tax Office will be onto their case quick smart if any illegal scheming is suspected. While they may need more financial advice than they thought, they also will realise that any financial advisor needs to be licensed to give advice. Who would want to take advice from someone not qualified to give it?

The person who can successfully set up his or her own
Text is SMSF and Link is http://www.macquarieprivatewealth.com.au/products_services/products.aspx?id=SelfManagedSuperannuationFunds
SMSF will have at least $200,000 to invest. They will be able to make sure that they don't miss out on all those benefits available with a super fund that is managed by a third party such as life and other kinds of insurances. So if you think you have these skills and the time, then an SMSF may be just the thing for you.

Cons of Self-Managed Superannuation

Many people think that they will gain by switching to a
Text is self-managed superannuation fund and Link is http://www.macquarieprivatewealth.com.au/products_services/products.aspx?id=SelfManagedSuperannuationFunds
self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF), but there are several disadvantages. One of these is the sheer time it takes to administer the trust in the way the law dictates it should be managed. There is a great deal more in running your own super fund than first meets the eye. Not only do you have to find good investments, but you must be sure that they are going to perform in a way that enhances your investment and meets your goals.

Finding investments may seem easy, but to make your investment as safe as possible, there needs to be diversity in the type on investment. Another disadvantage is that being a single investor, you donÔŅĹt have the funds to purchase shares, benefits or insurance at a wholesale price like a managed fund has. And depending on your area of knowledge, your running costs will be more than with a managed fund, because you will have to hire both an auditor and a financial advisor. Experts suggest that an SMSF can cost up to $1700 per annum to run.

They also believe that a DIY investor needs at least $200,000 to make doing it himself worthwhile. And if fact, if the Australian tax office finds an SMSF of less than this, they will look into it very closely, as they have found that many such investments are simply schemes to get at those super funds before retirement - and that is illegal.

Finally, when you have an SMSF, the buck stops with you. That means if you lose money, there is no one to sue and no one to blame but yourself. And if you have done anything illegal - even inadvertently - then you must pay the penalty, which is likely to be a hefty fine, at the least. All this means that those people considering an SMSF should look at their options very closely before deciding to go ahead.




This post is intented for Australian Readers only.

5 Powerful Ways to Manage Your Millions

July 9th, 2008 at 04:06 am

Those people who have managed to acquire - or inherit - a large amount of wealth know that it needs to be looked after to avoid loss. There is nothing so easy as spending money if you have plenty, so the first thing you need to do is be sure that your wealth is actually increasing rather than decreasing. Unless certain procedures for wealth protection are followed you may wake up one fine morning to find creditors knocking on your door.

One way to ensure your millions actually increase rather than decrease is to take advantage of private retail banking. Private banking is when a bank creates products especially for the needs of the high net worth individual, rather than simply offering commercial products already available. Other services in private banking include special wealth management advice, as well as financial planning suited to the needs of the individual. This should not be confused with private banks that are not incorporated.

Special estate planning is also necessary to protect and maximise the goals of the owner. This will include making sure that your intended beneficiaries do actually get what you want them to get, with a minimum loss to taxes and other costs. It is especially necessary for minor children to be looked after correctly. And you need to have plans in place in case of incapacity in old age.

Legal resources and special taxation advice are necessary for those with millions; otherwise they could see the taxman scoot off with most of their money. Legal advice from those who are specially trained in advising high net worth individuals is necessary. An ordinary solicitor or accountant would not have the experience or training to do what is necessary. To sum up, wealth management includes using tailored banking services, special investment management, estate planning, taxation advice and special legal resources.

10 Things That Helped Me Successfully Sell My Home

July 8th, 2008 at 03:33 am

1. Place a Property for Sale sign in your front yard. Make it big enough so that people can read it as they drive past.

2. List your property with one or more real estate agents.

3. List your property for sale with an online real estate agent.

4. Advertise your property for sale through online classified websites such as Gumtree and Craigslist.

5. Get your own website or blog and advertise your property for sale on it, complete with digital photos. With a paid website will you be able to have Ďproperty for saleí in the first part of the URL.

6. Word of mouth is another good way to advertise your property for sale. People love to gossip and once you tell all your friends, they will tell all their friends and so on.

7. Advertise in the classified ads section of your local or national newspaper. You can make this ad a small one, or spend the extra for a larger classified ad that will catch the eye.

8. Mention it on Facebook or create a YouTube video.

9. Classified ads in the Trading Post may also bring results.

10. You could auction your property to sell it. This will need to be done by your local real estate agent.

Managing a Cash Crisis

July 8th, 2008 at 03:13 am

Unfortunately, cash crises happen more than they should; let's face it, once is too much. The best thing to do in a cash crisis is to act without delay. The very first thing you need to do is get down to business and draw up a credible plan of management. Don't wait until the creditors are pounding on your door. Schedule meetings with them before the money runs out completely. Then you can help them focus on what they will get, rather than what they will miss out on.

Get help from an accountant and draw up a plan to show your creditors what you are going to do about your cash crisis. While the assessment should be realistic, you don't want it to be so gloomy that investors and creditors panic and refuse to supply the goods you need.

At the same time, never promise something that you won't be able to deliver. If things are bad now, they are not likely to improve any time soon - at least not without hard work. But if you promise stuff that you can't and don't deliver on, then you will destroy that bit of hope and trust that is left. If you can still make a small payment on bills that you owe, it demonstrates good faith on your part and makes creditors feel you can be trusted.

Once you have the meetings set up, behave in an appropriate manner. If you go in biting your nails and looking harassed, it won't exactly inspire confidence. But if you tell them straight out what the problem is and then present a reasonable plan to fix it, then that will be more likely to inspire trust. While you do need to be honest, it's not necessary to reveal absolutely everything - especially if that would prevent your suppliers from dealing with you again. Balance is the key; the problems of the present must be balanced with the hope for the future. In this way you will be able to manage your cash crisis and hopefully, learn from it for the future.

The Importance of a Good Financial Plan

July 8th, 2008 at 01:59 am

A good financial plan is important, not only to help in the creation of wealth, but also to help people make the most of what they have. Many people donít take much heed to the actual planning of their finances apart from paying the bills and saving or spending what is left over. Many people depend on credit cards for their financial needs and end up with a debt they cannot manage. Financial advice and planning can avoid this stress.

When you consult a financial advisor, you will gain valuable insight into ways and means to both save money and spend what you have wisely. A good financial plan will take into consideration your long and short-term goals and aid you in becoming financially independent by building wealth, while at the same time being able to enjoy your life.

A financial advisor will need to gather all your financial details and identify your goals - and if you donít have any, he may be able to help you think this through. He will need to be told of any financial issues such as debts before he can properly advise you. Then he can draw up a financial plan that is suited to your particular circumstances. This is called a Statement of Advice (SOA) and can be implemented by your financial advisor.

But circumstances often change as life progresses, so another part of the financial advisorís task is to review the SOA from time to time to make sure it is still the best financial plan for you. Having a sound financial plan in place will enable you to reach your goals and give you peace of mind that your future will not be one of miserable despair as you struggle to make ends meet. Even those who are just starting out with their first jobs should consider implementing some kind of financial plan.

A Guide to Estate Planning

July 2nd, 2008 at 01:45 am

Planning for your estate ahead of time will enable your wishes to be carried out in a manner that is timely, easy to do and reduces debt to your heirs. A good estate plan will see to it that probate is minimised or avoided and tax liabilities deferred. It will have plans in place to protect your assets and plan ahead for illness or incapacity. Guardians and personal fiduciary representatives will be considered or chosen.

Succession strategies will be put into place for family businesses with the formation of family limited partnerships looked at. You may need to use a trust to distribute your assets to any children who are still minors. Assets will include real estate, stocks and shares, life insurance, personal property that is valuable such as art collections or jewellery and other things such as cash.

A good estate plan takes into consideration the fair market value of assets and their growth or liquidity. With the correct estate plan in place, you can rest assured that all your assets will be disposed of in a manner of your own choosing. This will save your children the burden of making decisions that you may not have wanted, and will certainly save them squabbling amongst themselves.