The 7 Steps Of Do-it-yourself Financial Planning

You are in control

You are already your own financial planner. Regardless of the extent of help you receive from professionals, you ultimately are the decision maker and you are responsible for your own finances. Although the financial world has become increasingly complex, it is becoming easier today to do a lot of your own planning. The variety of resources has expanded such as software for money management and planning; online tools for banking, financial planning and investing, and resources, and books and blogs that are easy to understand. These resources may be good news for you if the cost of professional fee only financial planners is out-of-reach to you. Besides the cost of fees, others may avoid planners because they have heard stories of advisors trying to sell a product that didn’t fit their situation. Cost savings and avoiding product pitches are excellent benefits of being your own planner.

Everyone should take a more active role in their financial affairs. Not only does it help with educated decision making and fraud avoidance it also helps you better communicate with your other professional advisors such as your accountant and attorney. You will also find yourself spotting opportunities when they cross your path.

Becoming a better manager of your family’s finances will also help you ‘dig out’ if you are struggling financially. When you consider the low savings rates and the high household debt, many more people find themselves in this category today.

The following are 7 steps to do-it-yourself financial planning:

Step 1: Commit

The first step to financial planning always begins with commitment. Whether you are having financial difficulty, or have just avoided setting goals and mapping out a plan – commitment is the first step. Commitment provides the discipline and focus needed to help sustain you on the path towards your goals.

Step 2: Set Goals

Without specific goals and a plan to achieve them financial success stays a foggy dream. Therefore the second step is to list the dreams that will motivate you. Write down all of the goals you want to achieve in the short and long term. This will serve as the driver, or the fire in the engine giving you the motivation to move forward. Everyone has dreams, but without constant watering and attention dreams will go dormant. Leave your past mistakes and inaction behind you, light a new fire and chart a course forward. You have an enormous amount of potential and talent, and if you have made mistakes you now have more experience and wisdom. Dare to imagine what you could achieve because your best years are ahead of you.

Step 3: Assemble and Organize Information

Get your stuff together. Planning is easier if you assemble everything in one central location. Make an organized filing system either in a cabinet, accordion file, a box, any way that works for you. Now locate and file all of your tax returns, receipts, insurance policies, contracts, wills, mortgages, deeds, titles, pay stubs, employee benefit statements, banking (loan, savings and checking), bills, investment and retirement plan statements and any other important papers.

Step 4: Manage Cash Flow

Your household is a business. You need to know how much you are earning and spending each month. Balance your checkbook and establish a budget. There are dozens of books and software to help with this, and your bank’s website may provide this as well. This will help you know when and where you are overspending.

Step 5: Self Educate

Establish a sound foundational knowledge base about financial matters. Start with books about budgeting and money savings tips, debt, basic insurance and investing. Be sure to include reading about mutual funds and financial planning. Avoid get-rich-quick, real estate, gold or innovative ‘secrets’ books. Stick to the fundamentals. I find the “For Dummies, ‘For Idiots’ and ‘D-Mystified’ book series to be very helpful for many people. Lastly, stay informed about current financial topics by reading financial magazines, newspapers, the business section of papers, and blogs.

Step 6: Create a Written Plan

A written plan serves as a road map towards your financial destination. It helps you understand where you are presently and the steps that you need to take to move forward. A financial plan is a process. Your life will change, therefore you should revisit your financial plan at least once a year to make any updates or to include items in your checklist for completion. You should revisit your financial plan at least once a year to make any updates or to include items in your checklist for completion. If you write your own financial plan, you will have to obtain financial planning software. Your other options are to pay to have a written financial plan completed by a fee financial planner or by an institution or professional that provides products. Be sure to find out about how the planner is compensated and what your fees will be.

Step 7: Engage Professionals

Most people can’t entirely do all of their financial planning by themselves. Assemble a team of trusted professional advisors that you can rely on to help you implement different aspects of your plan, answer your questions and be on the lookout for you. The professionals that can be the most advantageous are a proactive tax accountant and financial advisor with extensive planning, investment and insurance knowledge, an attorney qualified in estate planning, and a banker that can help with credit ratings and debt management. Before committing to anyone, get referrals for trusted professionals from people whose opinion you respect and don’t be afraid to ask challenging questions.

Hotels Muscatine Iowa Is The Ultimate Choice While Traveling

Everyone wants to have a hotel that is well equipped with all the features needed for luxury repose. Travelling is done to give a rest to our stressed nerves and also for viewing the nice world around us. In such a situation staying in the right place creates a lot of impression in our mind. No one likes to stay in a shabby hotel and murder their vacation. As we all are in a nice mood we want to get pampered and have the finest dishes in our dining table every moment. Hotels Muscatine Iowa is one such name in this regard who has all that is needed for a perfect vacation out of the boring and monotonous life of ours.
A perfect hotel is the one which has every bunch of special offers and travel deals to suite your needs. There a lot of things that comes with a hotel. It’s not just its services, but what it offers in its location is also very much vital while considering a hotel for the vacation. For this reason, it is best to look for tourist spots near the hotel. Hotels Davenport IA offers you a chance to have a look at some of the most renowned tourist spots like Isle of Capri Casino, John Deere Museum, Jumar’s Casino, North Park Mall, Rhythm City Casino and Walcott Coliseum surrounding it. As a tourist you would love to have a look at all these.
Not just this there are a lot more to do with Iowa city hotels. They are not simply regarded as the ultimate destination without any reason. People flock over there to taste the real class and hospitality. Even if you are on a business trip you need not have to worry over here as they got the most affordable internet rate in the hotel. You can stay connected with your business all the time. Keep your health fit with the exercise room available for the guests. They are loaded with top-class fitness equipment for keeping your muscles in shape. Thinking about what would you get in breakfast? Well, it’s a pleasant surprise for you as they offer you with complete set of free breakfast as you order it. Overall, the interior of the hotel is simply breathtaking and makes you stay over there more than your planned schedule.
Hotels Muscatine Iowa looks into every aspect of fine hotel business and so for the guest they have an international standard indoor heated pool. Just get inside it to shed away all your stresses and get a fresh feel to your soul. Parking has never been a problem here with the facility of outdoor parking. If your have a lovely pet, he is welcome to in the hotel. There are proper facilities to look after the well-being of your beloved pet in the hotel.
You can just be sure of one thing while staying over there that you will carry with you lifetime memory of pleasant stay. A person who has once visited there comes for more. That is the charm of the place. If anybody wants to stay over there he/she can easily book their room online. There are various packages and rates for every pocket size. Choose your one and stay over the hotel once for having a dream vacation.

Home Improvement Tips To Help Sell Your Home

If you are a total layperson as far as home improvement is concerned, then you should hire help or enlist friends if you’re tackling areas where it does make a difference how you get the job done. Simple home improvement projects like painting can be attempted by everyone as the worst you can do is a patchy job that can be painted over.

Have Realistic Time, Money and Expertise Expectations – If you want to replicate a room that you have seen on Trading Spaces or Design on a Dime, get the inspiration but keep your expectations in check.

The people behind the work in such shows are experts; professionals in their field with years of experience. They can do things faster and better than an average person and if things go wrong, they also know how to make them right. When planning home improvement projects, keep your expectations real as far as budget and time considerations go as well.

The designers on the show often get great discounts from others in the business as they need the promotion on popular television shows. Plus, they often accessorize rooms with flea market finds and things picked up at garage sales. You could strike gold too, but it doesn’t happen very often.

Home improvement shows boast of the latest faux paint techniques and the hottest colors for the season. However, the green you like for your master bedroom may not appeal to prospective homeowners. If you do have hot pink bedroom walls for your daughter, tone them down or make them neutral as well. This is because new owners may not have a daughter who will use that room and they may want to move in to something that requires minimum effort.

The designers on the show are experts themselves plus they have a lot of help from back up crew and the like so they can delegate tasks and get more done in less time.

What You Can Do On Your Own – There are things shown on home improvement shows that you can easily replicate like rearranging your furniture, de-cluttering and even painting so don’t give up a home improvement project just because you can’t compete with the pros. However, assess your strengths and keep a plan B in mind. For instance, while you are redoing your kitchen, factor in the cost of eating out for all the days that the floor is ripped out and the appliances unusable.

Go through the entire home and toss, donate or store anything you do not need immediately. This will free up walking space, wall space, counter space and the like and prospective owners will feel they are getting more footage for their dollar. If there are pieces you can not part with, hold them in a separate storage area not your garage or basement. Then if you still feel they are important, bring them back in your new home.

Types Of Online Games And Its Popularity

Few years ago, thinking of online games was incomprehensible. Though internet was there, it was used for basic purposes like emailing and browsing for information. In the past few years, game developers have taken the world of internet by storm.

Now days, not only can you play them online, but they come for free. The opportunity to play free online games is with you 24 hours a day throughout the year. Either you download the games or you use them with particular browsers, Flash enabled.

Though some people do argue the authenticity of free online games in terms of disclosing private information and details, it is an undisputed fact that these free games does help to improve our minds, both young and adults.

How do online games help improve our mind? Thousands of free games are available categorized into different compartments such as arcade games, strategy games, action games, board games, puzzle games, shooting games and others.

Arcade Games- An innovation of the 1970s of neighborhood games played with coins, the arcade games soon enveloped the mind of gamers when arcade games opened online. Online arcade games are a rage these days.

Strategy Games- These games are time consuming and require tremendous practice. It is all about applying your mind to devise new strategies in order to win.

Action Games- The action-oriented games involve futuristic space adventures, fighting, and target achieving games where the players perform actions to gain the number one slot. Skeptics complain about the action games being too gross and bloody, but until one plays with a sane mind, there should not be problems!

Board Games- Evidently, online board games are the animated rendition of traditional board games such as chess.

Puzzle Games- They attract the interest of young and old alike. It sharpens the mind; mind is where all the action takes place.

Shooting Games- It is a safe way to vent your anger and irritation. They generally come under action games but has been kept in separate category due to its popularity.

Card Games- They continue to be popular since the ancient days. With online gaming, card games have become a favorite pastime.

All these games concentrate on churning our minds. Through our mind, we have to combat with speed and actions, make strategy to topple the opponent and be victorious. The opponent could be the computer itself or another human person sitting at another end.

It is amazing to see how the popularity has not ceased. Most of the games are available to players for free and some sites even offer bonuses on winning, like the casino games. You can actually earn as an online gamer. Whether you play for money or pleasure, online games are here to stay.

Some Of The Most Popular Card Games For Kids

It may surprise you to hear that kids can be entertained by products other than high-tech, high-dollar video game systems, DVDs, and television. They don’t have to spend their game-playing time blasting aliens, swinging digital golf clubs, and blowing up buildings. Amazing as it may sound, kids really do enjoy traditional games like board games and card games. Card games are a great way for you to spend more time with your children and get them away from the television. In addition to being fun, card games can be educational.

One such fun, educational card game for children is CardWord. The CardWord deck consists of cards with letters on them instead of numbers. The object of the game is to spell words. It’s challenging and educational.

Another fun, thought-provoking card game for kids which you’ve probably played yourself is Concentration. This can be played with a conventional deck or you can purchase specially made decks which feature fun pictures, words, numbers, etc. The cards are laid out face-down and the object is to find the matching cards. This game, of course, develops concentration, and almost every kid loves it.

Some other old favorites are Old Maid or Go Fish. Probably the most loved of all card games for kids is War. Kids of all ages can learn the simple rules to this game which can keep them occupied for as long as any video game.

One of the more acclaimed card games for kids is Apples to Apples Jr. This game consists of cards that on one side have red or green apples on them, and on the other side they have a word with its definition. The object of the game is to match the word on one card that best fits with the word on another. For example, if the word “beach” is laid down, then the winning card will likely be “sun” or “ocean”. The winner is determined by a player acting as judge. This allows for a lot of leeway.

Uno is a game almost everybody has played. Uno is great because it can be tailored to suit children of all ages. If your child is very young and not able to comprehend complex rules, you can ignore the cards which involve skipping turns, drawing extra cards, and you can ignore the wild cards. With older children, you can utilize the entire deck and you’re likely to find yourself in quite the Uno battle with your progeny. Be assured that even if you’re playing your best, you’ll lose to your kids sometimes, and they’ll love it!

Card games provide a wealth of educational and entertainment possibilities for children. Even at their most formative stages, children can learn about words and numbers from card games. Card games will improve their concentration and enhance their logical reasoning abilities.

Easy Card Games To Entertain

My own experience makes me feel that every child will benefit from playing card games.

It is a healthy experience for a child to play with grownups as an equal; and to play with other children without noticing difference in age.

It is good for the child’s character to get practice in losing without squawking and in winning without crowing. (Many adults could use some of this practice too!)

A young child can learn about numbers and easy arithmetic from a simple card game. A child of any age can exercise his brain by the logical thinking that is needed in the more advanced games.

Moreover, card games are fun. And this is the best of all reasons for teaching them to children.

These games are for children who are too young to think… and for grownups who would rather not think! Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the children or the grownups laugh harder!

PIG

This is a very hilarious game for children or for adults to play with children. Anybody can learn the game in two or three minutes, and one extra minute makes you an expert!

Number of Players: 3 to 13. Five or 6 make the best game.

Cards: Four of a kind for each player in the game. For example, 5 players would use 20 cards: 4 Aces, 4 Kings, 4 Queens, 4 Jacks, and 4 10′s. For 6 players you would add the four 9′s.

The Deal: Any player shuffles and deals 4 cards to each player.

Object: To get 4 of a kind in your own hand, or to be quick to notice it when somebody else gets 4 of a kind.

The Play: Each player looks at his hand to see if he was dealt 4 of a kind. If nobody has 4 of a kind, each player puts some unwanted card face down on the table and passes it to the player at his left, receiving a card at the same time from the player at his right.

Each player looks at his hand as it appears with the newly-received card. If, still, nobody has 4 of a kind, each player once again passes a card to the left and gets a new card from the right.

The play is continued in this way until some player has 4 of a kind in his hand. That player stops passing or receiving cards since he is satisfied with his hand as it is. Instead of playing on, he puts his finger to his nose.

The other players must be quick to notice this, and each of them must stop passing in order to put a finger to his nose. The last player to put a finger to his nose is the Pig.

DONKEY

This is the same game as Pig, except that when a player gets 4 of a kind he puts his hand face down on the table quietly instead of putting his finger to his nose. He still gets a card from his right and just passes that along to the left, leaving his 4 of a kind untouched on the table.

As each player sees what has happened, he likewise puts his hand down quietly. The idea is to keep up the passing and the conversation while some player plays on without realizing that the hand has really ended.

The last player to put his cards down loses the hand. This makes him a D. The next time he loses, he becomes a D-O. The third time, he becomes a D-O-N. This keeps on, until finally some player becomes a D-O-N-K-E-Y.

Trade Video Games Online

If you are one of the millions of people who love to play video games but cannot afford to buy all the games you want, there are now websites that offer cheap video games through innovative trading systems. These sites allow you to trade video games that you bought and are tired of playing for video games that you want. The best trading sites also verify the games to determine that they actually work, and most of these sites have affordable fees for helping you trade your games.

Video games are not cheap and buying all of them is impossible. You need money and you need time to play them. There are countless video games with new games or new versions of popular games always being released. The only extremely cheap video games you can find are usually pirated which means they are counterfeit and in violation of copyright laws. Sometimes you can find cheap video games at yard sales or through auction sites, but no one guarantees that they are actually working. Consequently, the best way to get cheap working video games is to find a trading store online or visit your local game retailer which may not have a good selection. Also, when you trade video games there are usually terms and conditions you must agree to in order to protect yourself and the retailer.

If you live in a big city you should be able to find a store and trade your games there. However the odds of finding the video game you want online is much greater because the community of traders is much larger on the more popular sites. A website that offers this kind of services will usually have a reasonable fee you have to pay for each game you trade. The trading system is usually fairly simple and intuitive.

First of all you need to set up an account, choose a user name and a password. Then you create a list of the games you own and want to trade. The next step is finding the game you want. Both lists are saved in your account and can be updated on a regular basis. To find available games that you can trade you simply check the list of the available to trade video games. When a game you want becomes available you will be notified. Similarly, when someone wants a game that you own you will also be notified.

Trading games is made easy with the help of the latest incarnation of online trading sites. They do the hard part for you by checking the games that are traded though their system to ensure that they work properly and are the requested game. Once you trade a game the video game is yours and as soon as you are tired of it you can place it on your have list and trade it for another video game. This way you are able to stretch your video game dollars to the limit.

The other benefit of trading games online is that you keep only your favorite video games and trade the rest. In comparison, when you rent a video game you have to pay for renting it for a certain period of time. You can only rent a few games at once and the newer the game the shorter the period you can keep it. Also if you do not return the games in time you have to pay additional fees and you end up spending more than you anticipated. When you trade, you pay the same fee for every game no matter when the game was released or how long you keep it.

Financial Planning – The Key To Your Lifelong Success

Financial planning is not limited to asset allocation, mutual funds, and fixed-income investments – planning should include every aspect of your life.

Should you apply for that credit card? What type of car insurance should you buy? Should we save for our child’s college or put money in our IRA’s instead? These and many more questions are all part of financial planning.

The Larry Rule – A Little Known Financial Planning Fact

Larry Lindsey is not a famous name, even in financial circles. Currently, Mr. Lindsey is the chief economic advisor to the Bush Administration. In 1996, he was a Federal Reserve Board Governor – and he was denied for a Toys ‘R Us credit card!

To apply or not to apply, that is the planning question. Larry Lindsey, who had excellent credit and a high-income level, set out to demonstrate a flaw in credit scoring algorithms.

He simply applied for every retail store credit card he was offered, and in no time he had “too many inquiries.” Never mind the fact that he had millions in assets and nary a late payment in his 30-year credit history.

Knowing the Larry Rule is key to your financial planning. If you apply for retail store credit cards every time you are asked to do so, it will have negative effects on your credit.

You may then be asked to pay a higher interest rate on your mortgage or home equity loan, which could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Sacrificing $10,000 for a 10 percent discount at Fashion Bug is not smart planning!

Auto Insurance and Financial Planning

Most people think of insurance as a legal necessity, but in reality, it is a financial product, and that’s important to keep in mind. Don’t ever buy insurance just because it’s legally required or in order to give yourself peace of mind. Insurance must serve a financial planning purpose!

You need to have a planning strategy in mind when you purchase auto insurance. The insurance company’s goal is to get you to pay more in premiums than you take out in claims – thus, they profit.

Your goal should to pay as little in premiums as possible in order to be adequately covered. You don’t want to have to use your auto insurance, but at the same time, you don’t want to be subsidizing the bad drivers who take out more in claims than they pay in.

In order to develop a financial planning strategy for auto insurance, it’s important that you become as educated as possible on the subject. Luckily, there are dozens of great sites on the internet that provide free information on the various types of auto insurance plans, and the particular laws of your state.

Everyone has to own some form of auto insurance, and thus it should be the cornerstone of any intelligent planning strategy.

The Financial Planning Dilemma – College vs. Retirement

American parents love their children and will do almost anything to ensure they have every possible advantage. As a result, many parents save for their children’s college instead of saving for their own retirement. This act of selflessness is usually not a good planning strategy.

In order to avoid this mistake, one must have a decent understanding of financial planning tax implications. Most college savings accounts are taxed on some level, whereas financial planning products for retirement purposes generally are not. What’s more, saving for your child’s college can prevent him or her from receiving the maximum financial aid available.

In other words, by foregoing your retirement in favor of your child’s college, you are actually subsidizing the children of less responsible parents – or smarter parents who chose to save for their own retirement, in light of these facts.

Gender, Sexuality And Religion

Gender and sexuality have been issues that are in discussion for sometimes now. Gender all around the world in every religion regards to some important discrimination that has been made. God is not gender bound as His role to us as human beings is like a father and a mother. The two sexes were created when he created this world, male and female. The sex is another biggest creation of God when he chose the two male and female to love and show their feelings.
Gender discrimination is an issue in all the religions and predefined rules are determined to the role of each. The male is the dominant part of the family including the females. Females are supposed to be the generation builder for the families. In the contemporary periods, the definition of all these issues has been changed. In various religions like Jews and Christians various modern ideas have been generated which have made the woman if this age to be lot more rights that were supposed to be practiced by them. According to the religion, the relation between male and female is the god gifted and provides you with the experience of love. Even in Christians the gender issues are highly distinguishable from all the issues and their importance was determined at the times when the holy books were written.
Gender is a necessary object for evolving. The human generation only evolve when the male and female get together to experience sex. Nowadays, in American society comprising on most of the Christians, the role of females is pretty much changed. The teachings of Jesus have not been followed in this time. Where the females are free to occupy any place they want. Also the respect that is given to the females is long gone in this modern society. The government seems to support the rights of females but that has made the females to leave their duty of generation. The sex was considered to be a sin in the long gone ages when the teachings of Jesus were followed strictly. The one committed this sin was subjected to various punishments. But now in this American society, sex is very common. Not in America only, in all the parts of the world where Christians live, they don’t feel it as a sin but look at this as their right of freedom that has been given to them by the governments.
The females are not secured in this society as well. We are looking at various attempts of rape going on in the country. That is the reaction of the relaxations that have been given to the people upon the practice of their religion.
Another important factor in the gender issues related in the Christians is the homosexuality. This issue is a hype issue that has gained popularity in recent years. Church prohibited this act as the biggest sin of the humanity to have same sex, but we are looking at the people who are committing this sin and there is no stoppage on them because of the freedom of choice that has been given to them.

Understanding Your Current Personal Finance Situation

It is important: understanding your current personal finance situation is something that every person needs to do. By understanding what is going on with your personal finances you will be able to better control them. This can be one of the best ways to avoid money problems and debt.

Getting started is the hardest part. It can seem almost impossible to figure out where to begin when tackling finance issues. The best place to start is to simply look at expenses and income.

As the staples of a good budget, something every person should have, expenses and income are the main financial issues a person needs to understand. To begin you should gather all the relevant information. You may want to get bills, pay stubs and anything else that could help you list out your expenses and income.

The first thing to do is to track your daily expenses. This includes eating out, shopping and gasoline. You want to include these on your expenses list. You may need to gather receipts or actually keep a log for a week to be able to come up with an accurate account of your daily expenses.

Write out a list of expenses and then write out your list of income. At this point you should concern yourself with ensuring everything is listed. If your expenses or income vary then try to get a good average. You should have expenses separated into daily expenses and monthly expenses so you can see where your money is really going. Plus this will help when you go to budget your money.

Now you can begin to look at your debt. You should make out a list of your creditors. Your list should include the creditors contact information, the balance of your debt and the interest rate.

Now you should look at your personal finance accounts. This includes things like checking, savings and stocks. You want to list them all, including their current value or balance.

After going through your expenses, income, debt and personal finance accounts you should have a fairly good idea of where your personal finance matters stand. This should be a great platform for you to build upon to get your personal finances in good order. From this information you should be able to create a budget, get debt under control and best manage your personal finance accounts. You should be able to get the big picture about your personal finance situation and to understand it completely.