Many people live paycheck to paycheck. This means that there is no savings and most of the previous check is gone before the next check is received. The goal of most should be to save as much as possible for a rainy day. However, saving eludes most people because folks buy today and figure out how to pay for it later. Unfortunately later comes faster than many expected. Understanding how to start the saving process is the first step to establishing and growing savings.
Create a budget
The first step is to create a budget. The budget will help identify all of the bills that have to be paid monthly and the associated income available to do so. Determine if there is enough income to pay the bills with anything left over. Then evaluate the bills and expenses to see if there are any that can be eliminated immediately and not have an ongoing expense. If so, eliminate those bills. Now calculate what we have left over that can be earmarked for savings or debt reduction.
After documenting your income and expenses, evaluate to see if there are any places where the income can be increased or the expenses decreased. Be sure to include all of the little purchases as well including coffee, gas and fast food. This allows you to fully identify where every cent is spent in order to ascertain the potential cutbacks.
No matter how well our lives may be going, many of us seem to be at our wit's end when it comes to attaining that next level of success, but there is a solution to this challenge, says world-traveling entrepreneur Julian Pencilliah.
Whether we want to improve our relationships, spiritual development, emotional well-being, health or monetary ambitions, we so often find that we're our own greatest enemies, says Pencilliah, author of "The Jetstream of Success," (www.thejetstreamofsuccess.com).
"You see it time and time again – individuals rise out of the most devastating circumstances and transform their lives into greatness," he says. "If you're in a place where you feel that life's closing in on you, and you have a pressing urgency to transform your misfortune into a positive opportunity, then you must embrace the fact that realizing your potential is a process."
Like most consumers, you have probably paid interest on a loan, whether it was a credit card, student loan, auto loan, or home mortgage. As an investor, it might be advantageous to be on the other side of the lending equation by purchasing bonds.
When you invest in a bond, you are loaning money to the bond issuer in exchange for the issuer's promise to repay the principal on the specified maturity date, plus the interest, which is usually paid every six months. Bond maturities typically range from 30 days to 30 years. Bonds with longer maturities generally pay higher interest rates than do similar bonds with shorter maturities.
He was just a kid, much like any other kid growing up in Memphis – except for a couple of things. Chris O'Conner was being raised by a single father, Donald O'Conner. Yes, that Don O'Conner. The director of Memphis' own Watoto De Afrika Performing Arts Academy.
Watoto De Afrika (Swahili for "Children of Africa") created the perfect backdrop for Chris O'Conner growing up to even think that the Memphis was due its first animation studio.
"I always knew I could never be a 9-to-5 guy," he said. "If I was on someone else's job, I would always want to do things my way. Prodigi Arts is what I've wanted to do my whole life. When I was a kid, I loved comic books and cartoons. I loved the art of storytelling."
The beautiful May flowers nurtured by April showers are usually accompanied by overgrown grass and weeds. With very little upfront investment, a lucrative business can be created for landscaping residential and commercial properties.
Many men have flashbacks of their younger days when their parents demanded they mow the lawn. Equipped with little more than a push mower and a rake, the teens went to work on the lawn. The more industrious teens became entrepreneurs, mowing more than just their parent's home. They made contact with the neighbors and began their summer jobs tending to the lawns in the neighborhood.
With a standard of expertise above the norm, lawn care now is a thriving business. Whether the business is independently started as a sole proprietorship or a franchise is purchased, there is money to be made in the industry. The benefit of an independently started business is that the profits are not shared and the entrepreneur is free to make his or her own rules. The benefit of a franchised business is that most of the documents needed to begin the business have already been created by the franchisor. Depending on the geographic region, marketing may also be included in the monthly fees.
When a university failed recently to award Marlon D. Cousin's nephew thousands of dollars in anticipated financial aid, the managing partner of an Atlanta-based recruiting firm was happy to step in and close the financial gap.
In fact, he had set aside a fund for such family emergencies, especially those that pertain to education. And he advises other individuals and families in the process of building wealth to do the same. It's especially important at a time when jobs in the African-American community are sparse and financial needs high.
"I have an emergency investment account that is funded by one of my businesses," said Cousin, managing partner of The Marquin Group. "If something happens, it's there for that. If you prefer to set aside a certain amount for emergencies instead of setting up a fund, you could set aside up to 10 percent of your wealth. But you do need to set parameters. Do you use the money to get your brother out of jail? I don't know. The fund isn't set up for that, but it's really real-life stuff."
When the latest bull market for U.S. stocks reached the five-year mark on March 10, 2014, only five bulls had lasted longer. The Standard & Poor's 500 index posted a gain of 177 percent for the five-year period.
The current bull followed on the heels of the Great Recession and the worst stock market decline since the 1929 stock market crash. The most recent bear market began in October 2007; the S&P 500 fell 57 percent before hitting the bottom on March 9, 2009.
In typical fashion, investors who sold stocks during the downturn may not have participated fully in some of the subsequent bull market gains. A recent Morningstar study found that emotional trading practices had a negative effect on investment returns over the last decade. For the 10-year period ending December 31, 2013, investor dollars returned an average of 2.5 percentage points per year less than the average mutual fund's performance, largely because people have a tendency to buy high and sell low.