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I am so glad you stopped by! Here at Everybody Loves Your Money we believe that you should spend less money than you earn, invest as much as you can as early as you can, and avoid the materialism mindset. Read more here.

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The Absolute Easiest Way to Start Investing

Does investing intimidate you? I used to be the same way! Then I found this tool. Here's the absolute easiest way to start investing.When I look back just a couple years ago it’s funny to think of how hard I thought investing was going to be. It completely intimidated me.

So of course, like an idiot, I started with individual stocks and then penny stocks. I lost almost all of my money on the penny stocks and the others aren’t doing too great either.

And then when I decided to open up a retirement account I stumbled upon Betterment and investing became super, super easy!

If you’re feeling completely intimidated here’s the absolute easiest way you can get started investing.

Choose Your Goal

First you need to choose your goal. With Betterment you can open up a Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, general savings and investing account, or save your kid’s college.

Once you know what you’re going to be investing for you can go ahead and open up your account.

Open Up An Account

Next go to Betterment and sign up for an account. You’ll have to provide your personal information and bank information for deposits and choose your goal. (Don’t worry you can have multiple goals.)

Take the Risk Tolerance Survey

Next you’ll answer a few questions and Betterment will assign you a risk tolerance. If you feel like they’ve got your risk tolerance wrong you can manually adjust this to whatever you please.

Set Your Goal Amount(s)

When you’re setting your goals you can choose how much money you want by the time you reach a certain age. Betterment will then show you how much money you need to invest each month to reach your goal.

You can play around with this calculator to see different results.

Deposit Some Money

You can open up an account with Betterment with any amount of money. (Seriously. I started with $50.) After that you can choose whether or not you’d like to make monthly auto deposits.

That’s It. They Do The Rest.

After you set up your deposits Betterment will do the rest. They’ll invest your money in low cost ETFs (which are like mutual funds) based on your risk tolerance.

Check in from time to time to see how your investments are doing and to rebalance your portfolio anytime you want.

It’s that easy folks!

With tools like Betterment that you let start investing with ANY amount of money and do all of the grunt work for you it’s pretty hard to find a reason not to invest.

PPI Claims Calculator

elym ppiMany people today are claiming back their PPI (payment protection insurance) from their mortgages, credit cards, and loans. Payment protection insurance is actually an insurance protection plan which is mostly sold with a loan & is there to protect the borrower especially in the event that he or she is not able to make the minimum payments because of illness, injury, unemployment, hospitalization, accident, or even death. The cover is also known as loan protection, credit insurance, account cover, loan repayment insurance, ASU (accident, sickness & unemployment) insurance or payment cover. The insurance should make the minimum payments of the borrower for up to twelve (12) months when he or she is out of work.

Mis-Sold Plans

One of the major problems with payment protection insurance (PPI) is that it has been mis-sold widely to clients. One way it was mis-sold is that most clients paid for PPI without knowing that it had been added on. For instance, the lender may give a price for a loan which is fully protected without informing the borrower that he or she is paying extra for an insurance plan which is costly. Another way in which this insurance was mis-sold was by failing to notify the borrowers that PPI was optional.

How much can you get?

Before you choose to make a claim for your own payment protection insurance payments, you will want to figure out how much money you are owed. With the help of PPI claims calculator, you will be able to get a nice idea of the amount of money to claim. PPI plans are always sold in two ways; as a monthly payment, or as a single premium which is added to the loan`s total cost. You should have an accurate statement of the amount you were paying every month over the life of the insurance policy. This is important because it is the amount of money you will claim back. It is often tricky to figure out the amount you are owed as far as lump sum payment is concerned. This is so since the lump sum is part of the loan`s total cost. You should ensure that you go over the details of your current statements and the original agreement in order to find the correct number you were paying out every month as far as mis-sold plan is concerned. For sure, PPI claims calculator will help you know how much PPI to claim.

Making a claim

In case you have been mis-sold a payment protection insurance (PPI) plan, you are eligible to make a claim. Most lenders usually don’t keep original documents after a 6-year period. Therefore, one of the things that you should do first is to ensure that the insurance is still active, or that the insurance was sold within the last 6 years. Then, write to the person who sold you the insurance policy directly. Don’t write to the insurance Co. itself. This person is the loan officer, credit or banker provider and he or she is responsible for the original sales. In case they reject your claim, consider going to the Financial Ombudsman Service to register your complaint. You can also consider employing a claims company to act on your behalf.

In conclusion, PPI was meant to assist clients who are not able to pay their minimum payments due to reasons such as accidents, sickness or unemployment among others. In case you want to claim back your payments, PPI claims calculator will enable you to know how much PPI to claim.

 

Not Too Thick, Not Too Thin: Spending Your Money Just Right

live off one incomeImagine for a second that when Goldilocks came across that hut in the woods, instead of finding 3 bowls of porridge, she found 3 slices of toast with peanut butter. The first slice had way too much, the second had too little, and the third was just right.

Now step into Goldilocks’ shoes and replace the toast with your financial goals and the peanut butter with your money and assets. Achieving the optimum thickness of peanut butter on each of your toasted targets is vital if you are to maximise your financial utility.

In case you haven’t quite figured out what my breakfast based analogy is referring to, today we’re going to examine the process by which you allocate your resources to hopefully work out how to hit that sweet spot.

What Goes Where And When?

With myriad saving goals established across a range of time frames, deciding how to split up your income to achieve each of them poses more than a few problems. Is the dog’s hip operation more important than sending your child on a school trip? Should you be saving for a house or investing in a pension? Should you install solar panels or convert the attic? These are the sorts of predicaments that we may find ourselves in, but how can we go about deciding where our money should go?

Prioritize

The first trick is to assign a score to each of your options based upon how important it is to you. So the health and well-being of the family pet will probably be more important in the short term than putting money aside into a pension or making home improvements, so it should score highly.

Don’t, however, fall into the trap of only considering the present moment when calculating your scores. Just because your retirement might be a long way off, it doesn’t necessarily mean that making provisions for it shouldn’t rank towards the top of your list.

For items where there is a deadline for the money to be saved, note this down on your list, or if they are longer term visions, mark them as such. Based upon the scores and timeframes you’ve come up with, you can start to allot amounts to go into each pot. This exercise should be carried out once a month to enable you to budget accordingly.

Say that your car breaks down, for example. Assuming that it needs to be mended urgently because of its importance in getting you to work, it can be assigned the highest possible score. To counter this, you might reduce the score associated with your leisure activities that month.

One of the beauties of life is the degree of unknown, so think of your scores as fluid and flexible to a certain degree; don’t be afraid to change them from month to month.

Think About the Future

The second principle to efficiently apportioning your money is to consider the future value of your spending today. In other words, try to work out how your choices will impact your prosperity in the months and years to come. Maybe putting all of your effort into saving for a deposit on a house will allow you to escape the current high rents you are paying sooner; in which case you might forego a holiday this year knowing that you’ll be able to afford more holidays in subsequent years.

There is a certain skill in figuring out the future value of expenditure in the present because not only do you have to consider the interactions that can occur, such as the example above, you have to factor in things such as inflation, interest rates (or any other form of investment growth), and compounding among other things.

A dollar saved into a pension today might be worth many times as much upon retirement thanks to compound interest. Or you might think it’s a wise decision to buy into gold, but its value can vary significantly over time and it could be that your investment is not worth as much as you had hoped when you come to liquidise it.

Separate the Savings

The third tip to ensure that you are managing your budget effectively is to use distinct accounts for each of the major things that you need to spend on. While it may not be practical to have your money in 10 different places, for the biggest savings goals such as a home deposit, car, or a child’s college fund, there are benefits to segregating them.

For one, when the money is separated like this, it is easier to understand how much has been saved towards each target. Were it to all be pooled into a single account, knowing what’s what can prove much more difficult.

A second benefit of splitting things up like this is that the temptation to spend the money that has been saved for a specific purpose is less. Once you have transferred that month’s sums from your main pot to the individual accounts, you have a better understanding of your remaining budget and won’t be so easily persuaded to dip into other funds.

Locating the Goldilocks Zone

In Astronomy, the Goldilocks Zone refers to the range of positions a planet can be in around its star for the potential for life to exist. Too close or too far away and the chances are virtually zero.

With your personal finances, there is a similar zone corresponding to the amount of money that is saved or spent towards each of your needs and goals. Based on the 3 principles above, you should now be in a position to figure out how best to spend and save the money that you earn. It will take a bit of juggling at times and the process will constantly evolve, but by efficiently allocating funds, you can be a better saver, a better investor, and a more astute consumer.

Your own Goldilocks Zone won’t mean life or no life, but it can impact your experience of life by relieving stress and providing a more comfortable and fruitful existence in the long term.

10 Sustainable Frugality Tips

Looking for some frugality tips that are easy to implement and stick with? Here are ten things you can do to save money for the long run.I’m a believer that when it comes to personal finance you need to look at both sides of the equation: income and expenses.

But before you focus too much of your time on income you first need to make sure that you have your spending in line. After all, if you spend every penny you earn then you’re never going to be able to save any money.

Here are ten sustainable frugality tips that I have used to keep my spending in line for the long term.

Invest in Quality Items

Frugality is not being cheap. Instead frugality is making smart decisions about your money.

Instead of cheap items that you’re going to have to replace every few months (or years) invest in a higher quality item the first time around. This will save you money in the long run.

Boss Your Money Around

Or, in other words, create a budget.

I have a feeling that you already know what a budget is so no need to rehash that here. (If you don’t know check out this article on budgeting for lazy people and this one on how to create a bare bones budget.)

Plan Your “Splurges”

It’s unrealistic to think that you’re never going to spend money on “wants”. Trust me, you are going to occasionally spend money on yourself.

So, instead of caving to impulse purchases assign yourself a little “fun money” that you can guiltlessly spend each month.

Learn to Cook

Eating out all the time can get soo expensive. You need to learn how to cook for yourself instead!

If you have no idea what you’re doing in the kitchen then look online or check out some YouTube videos. There are more resources on budget friendly cooking than you’ll be able to read in your lifetime. Take advantage.

Buy Used

Always look for used items before buying new. You can get higher quality items at a much lower price.

Use It Up

There’s a fun little saying floating around Pinterest and it is the golden rule to frugality “Use it up, make it do, or do with it.”

The first rule is use it up. Use what you have. Don’t go grocery shopping until you’ve cleared the pantry. Don’t buy new tennis shoes when the ones you have are perfectly fine. Don’t throw away a bottle of shampoo that still has a few washes in it. You get the point……….

Make It Do

This rule will challenge your creativity. Instead of running out to the store and buying items you need try and work with what you already have.

Let your imagination run wild. This can be a fun thing.

Do Without

This rule is self-explanatory. Instead of caving into your normal, comfortable routine do without the things that you don’t absolutely, positively need.

Have a Goal

Frugality for the sake of frugality is downright pointless. You need to have goal behind your frugal ways. A strong financial goal will motivate you to keep going when saving money gets tiring or boring.

Experiment

There are no set-in-stone rules to frugality. You don’t have to follow the trends or do what everyone else is doing to save money. Keep experimenting until you figure out what works best for you and your family?

What’s your best frugality tip?

Looking for more money tips? Check these out:

4 Realistic Ways to Save Half Your Income

save half your incomeAfter calculating my new two person budget I realized that combined we would be socking away 47% of our income on a bad month and even more on the months where we earn more than average.

The good news was that we will able to do this at a quite comfortable spending level. (Note that I’m not talking about spending ungodly amounts of money on wasteful things but that we have a small entertainment budget, satellite TV, a healthy food budget and so on.)

It feels good to finally say that I can save half of my income without a problem. That means when things are going great we can add a lot of money to savings and if things are going bad and one of us were to lose a significant source of income we’d be just fine.

It’s financial security at its best.

If you’re wanting to increase your financial security here are four realistic ways to save half of your income.

Live Off of One Person’s Salary

If you’re one half of a working couple then save the other persons income. Even if it doesn’t equate to half of what you bring home it will still get you on the right path.

You might have to cut back your expenses but it will be well worth it.

Create and Save Specific Income Sources

I work from home. My income comes from more than ten different sources each month. Some of these income streams started out really small but have immensely grown over time.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had two of those income sources deposited directly into savings. I have a third income source that is solely for paying self-employment taxes each month.

Here are some online income ideas and some offline income ideas.

Challenge Your Budget

If you’re single and only have one source of income then you’re going to have to temporarily lower your standard of living to reach that savings mark.

Concentrate on the big items like car payments, rent, and mortgage payments. These are going to make the biggest difference.

Count Your Debt Payments as Savings

I have the luxury of not having debt. My husband and I have never been the type to take out debt for frivolous things. Neither one of us went to college either and therefore don’t have student loan debt. And despite not going to college our combined income is more than the twice the median household income for our town.

If you have a lot of debt the reality is that it’s much better of an idea to get rid of your debt rather than put your money into savings. So start counting all of your debt payment as savings.

There’s a lot of freedom that comes along with being able to save half of your income. You can build up a significant amount of savings and won’t be destroyed if you lose a job. It might take a lot of work for you to get there but it will be completely worth it.