Learning about Money- the Financial A, B, Cs

When it comes to learning about money there is so much information that it is challenging to know where to start. That is no excuse however for burying your head in the sand and making money someone else’s responsibility.

This simple guide outlines a few essential money principals.

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A is for Awareness

Typically people know how much they earn. Whether it’s by the week, month or hour, you know how much you earn and notice when something is different. But what about the other side of the equation? Do you know how much you spend?

Lack of awareness of spending can lead you to run out of cash, go overdrawn or rely on credit cards. Each of these has financial consequences. Being in charge of your money gives you a sense of wellbeing and control. A good place to start is by checking your bank statement, either online or a paper version. Go through line by line, can you identify each item? Many people find things they do not recognise or regular payments which they had forgotten about such as subscriptions. Maybe you accepted a trial offer which now is being charged?

Another example of awareness is being conscious over small regular amounts which you might spend every day. If you spent for example £5 a day on lunch, that may equate to over £1000 during a year. Would it be worth making a sandwich or salad at home and have £1000 for a holiday or other purpose?

B is for Budget

For many, Budget is a four letter word, but it need not be a negative. Taking a few minutes to plan what you are going to spend is a great step to putting you in control of your money and not the other way around. You can set a budget for any area of your life including fun and socialising. Many people find that by setting aside money for fun purposes means they can enjoy it more and be free of any guilt that they should be saving or spending the money elsewhere.

Setting a budget is a really simple task. Take a few minutes to list all the areas in which you spend money, then put your best estimate of the amount you currently spend next to it. When you add up the figures hopefully the total will be less than you earn. If not you will need to adjust the spending until it does. While you are feeling virtuous why not include a category for saving and reward yourself with a fun or play budget which you have to spend each month.

C is for Compound Interest

Einstein described compound interest as the eighth wonder of the world. The trouble is that it can work for you or against you. If you are paying interest on loans or credit cards the power of compound interest is increasing the debt and draining your current and future income.

If you have an outstanding balance on a credit card and just pay the minimum percentage each month it may take over 20 years to clear the debt! If you are only able to pay a fraction each month, make sure you are paying a fixed money amount rather than the percentage sometimes offered when you take out the card.

With interest so low at the time of writing there may seem like little incentive to save. This may be true in terms of financial gain from the savings alone, but the accumulated money saved can eventually be invested and grow at a better rate. The habit of saving money and living on less than 100% of your income is the important financial gain.

Begin Financial Education Early: It Makes Perfect Cents!

As a responsible parent, you want to ensure that your child is healthy, safe and happy. Part of instilling confidence and self-esteem within your child is making sure that they understand money and finances, and that they’re ready when they do eventually fly the nest into the big wide world. It’s never too early to start teaching your youngsters about money. Having an open and transparent attitude to family finances and being there to answer any questions that your toddler, adolescent or teenager may have means that they’ll be clued up when they have to make major financial decisions later in life. Take a look at how you can teach your kids the value of money.

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Structured Play

Two-year-olds are now able to open up an iPad, swipe across the screen and watch their favorite nursery rhyme on youtube.com without any intervention from mom or dad. Technology is taking over, and this is the same when it comes to money. Internet banking and paying by card means that toddlers rarely see any real money. When you are playing shop or heading down the local store to purchase a small item, get your real life notes and pennies out. Allow your child to feel the genuine article, not a plastic replica. Little kids love nothing better than feeling more grown up than they are, so allow them to pay the guy behind the counter when you pick up your newspaper and see if they can count their change.

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Family Finances

As your kids grow older, they may begin to want for more things whether this is the latest smartphone, console or tablet. If you are struggling to afford their wishlist, it’s vital that you tell them why. You may have recently renovated the kitchen, had to fork out for a new gasket on the car and paid for them to head off on their annual school trip. This meant you had to take out more short-term loans and credit cards putting you into debt. Explain to your child that this is manageable but only if you reign in the spending for a while. If this situation is familiar to yours, consider heading to a site like consolidate.loan and compare debt consolidation lenders. This way all those tiny chunks of debt can be merged into one monthly repayment.

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Incentivise

The best way to get kids saving is to make it worth their while. As you give them pocket money, they may choose to save up for something like a drum kit or a trip to the cinema. Motivate them by pledging to top up their funds with $5 every time they save $20, giving them an extra impetus to save. As they see their nest egg accrue, you may want to introduce the idea of a bank account or other avenues down which they could see their money grow even further. As they get older, it’s important that children understand the importance of saving, so they don’t become frivolous with money as they enter college and adulthood.

Financial education is only sometimes taught in schools, but it should also be an integral part of the home. Teaching sound money sense from an early age will enable your child to grow up feeling confident, content and happy when budgeting, saving and spending.

 

We need to talk about financial literacy: things your kids should know

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We live in a strange world where, unfortunately, not many people have learned to master the skill to properly manage their own finances. Personal financial literacy encompasses a range of money topics, from everyday skills such as balancing a checkbook – to long-term planning for retirement. Although there is a movement to include more finance-related coursework in elementary, middle and high school settings – parents and guardians are the primary educators when it comes to teaching children to be financially competent.

Teaching children about financial stability and responsibilities can not only help them in their future when they lead their own personal lives, it is a great potential to change the country’s financial situation. When a generation comes along which has been properly educated about money, it means that the economy can get a very much needed boost.

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The important thing to remember is: don’t shy away from talking to kids about money. Even if you lack in confidence in how you handle your own finances, you still possess invaluable experience and perspective that you can bestow on your children. In fact, you can get to work them in order by taking advice from bookkeepers in Ultimo which can help you solve those problems, and become a positive role model for them. Children as young as 3-years-old can begin to grasp the concept of saving and spending money by simply turning your day-to-day activities into learning experiences. Every trip to the bank, store or the ATM machine can be turned into a valuable lesson.

Your children can learn to save money from a very young age if you have the right approach. They’re not usually keen on spending all the money the same moment they get it, so that’s an incredible opportunity to teach them about what they could do with the money if they saved it. The important aspect of this lesson is that they get the sense of gratification for something they bought after some time has passed (while they were saving). It’s also a good way of preventing your child of becoming an impulse buyer – try not to let them spend all their money at once, no matter how much they wanted that.

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Another example of teaching children to have a realistic approach to money is to avoid telling them you can’t afford something. Children don’t usually grasp where money is coming from; therefore they won’t understand the reasons behind that statement. Instead, tell them exactly what the money is for: for example, it has been set aside for groceries, and groceries only, and if you buy a toy or candy – then you won’t be able to cook them their favorite lunch. With that comes the talk about priorities – what comes first, and what things come as a luxury or a treat that needs to be well-deserved.

Don’t let your children become misled by what they hear from outside their home or from peers – many children often spread misinformation that can be detrimental to your teachings. Some might even say that rich people are lucky for example – which can be harmful to their opinion. If your child believes that wealth is a result of luck, then they won’t have the right motivations to handle money responsibly. Teach them that only hard work and making smart decisions make people wealthy.

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As your child matures into a teenager, you should have already established the basic principles of saving money and being financially responsible. At this point, you can open them a bank account, and it may be a good idea to give your teen a basic credit card. Teach your teenager about saving long term and how interest affects them both with their savings and their spending. It may also be a good idea to let them take some accounting lessons. It won’t be long before your child ventures into the adult world and leaves the nest, so they should be all set when it comes to being financially responsible.

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By teaching your children about money, you help them discover the relationships between earning, spending and saving. In doing this, children also begin to understand the value of money. Don’t wait too long to teach your child the basics of managing money, because it will thank you later in the future.

What Practical Help Can I Give My Child When They Buy A Home?

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For the past hundred years or so, children have always ‘had it better’ than their adults had it at the same age. But when you look at the instability in the world right now, it’s clear to see that this isn’t necessarily the case anymore. And parents of young adult children have a lot on their plates – not just financially, but practically, too.

One of the perfect examples of this is the price of buying a home these days. The ratio between the average property price and average wage has never been bigger. Work hours are longer. And parents who want the best for their children will need to contribute a lot, in many different ways.

So, if you are wondering how best to help your child buy their first home, read on. We’ve pulled together a few ideas for you that should help you negotiate the major issues.

Teaching

First of all, the best thing you can do with your kids is to help them understand the concepts of finances, mortgages, and interest from an early age. If you are new to this blog, please feel free to take a look around – we have hundreds of excellent advice for parents on teaching children about the value of money, and they can all help your child become financially literate and make better decisions.

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Planning

Parents should always be involved in the planning stages when their kids want to buy a home. It’s especially true if you are – like many other parents these days – contributing some money towards it. So, go through their finances with them, and look at a mortgage calculator with down payment details to see if the home they love will be a viable purchase. Don’t forget, while mortgage calculation tools will give your child a rough guide of what they can afford, the lender they approach might feel differently about their finances. With this in mind, it might be worth helping your kids find a professional mortgage advisor who can work with them to find a home that fits them best.

Contributing

There are various ways of helping your children out financially when they buy a home. You are allowed to gift them money each year, tax-free if below $14,000 (or $56,000 if both parents give to a child and their spouse), which a mortgage company will allow as a ‘gifted down payment.’ You can also offer a family loan – a sensible option if you want to teach your child a valuable lesson in lending and borrowing. This method means that your child gets a cheaper loan, while you can get your money out of a low-interest savings account and you could even charge your child slightly more to ensure you don’t lose any money. Finally, you can co-sign the mortgage. Using this method means you take away some of the financial obligations of buying the home – but bear in mind that you will then be under the lender’s microscope, too.

So, there you have it – any more tips to add? Feel free to let us now and join in on the conversation!

 

 

How To Get Out Of Debt & Stay Out

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The decision to get out of debt is always a good one, but it’s often hard to know where to begin – especially if the debts you have are quite large.

While the scary numbers will cause many people to bury their head in the sand and choose to ignore it, taking the first step to eradicating the debt from your life is a crucial step in the overall process, and one that, if you stick to it, will help create a much better relationship with money in the future, even if it wasn’t taught to you as a child.

Below are some tips on how you can begin to, not only get out of debt, but actually stay out.

  • Get honest with yourself: so many people are afraid to open bills as they start mount up, but this avoidant behaviour can lead to serious problems down the road, so no matter how scary it seems, you need to open those letters and face them head on. In most cases, the idea of something is much worse in our head than it is in reality, and you normally find that it’s a loss less intimidating once you know what you’re dealing with, and that it’s a lot less in terms of numbers, too. You need set aside a couple of hours one day and go through everything you owe, then either write it down, or put together a spreadsheet.
  • Make a plan: if you’re going to pay off all your debt, then you need to really make a strict plan for yourself that you know you’ll stick to. How you choose to pay things off is really up to you – you can choose to pay small amounts towards each debt, or you can focus on one debt at a time, but what’s important is that you have a plan with a deadline that you can realistically achieve.
  • Reach out to those you owe to: this is actually a pretty important step that many people overlook because they either find it too scary or don’t think there’s any point in doing it, but in actual fact, reaching out to those you owe money to can help you in a big way. All you do is either write to them or call them, and explain your situation.

You can ask them for a payment plan and really let them know that you’re ready to pay everything back. In most cases, they will be more than happy to work with you, and typically they will waive the interest as long as you stick to the payment plan you agreed with them. As interest that keeps adding up is really one of the biggest issues when controlling debt, then this can make a huge difference.

  • Consolidate: if you just want to be done with the debt as quickly as possible and bring everything into one single payment instead, then looking for a way to consolidate your debt is a good idea. There are a few ways to do this: one would be through a loan from someone like Enness Bridging Finance – the other would be to speak to a debt consolidation agency who work on your behalf with the companies you owe money to. Usually these companies can get the interest, and instead of giving you a cash loan, they basically take on the debt and then you agree to pay them a small monthly amount which they divide across all of the people you owe money to. Doing it this way obviously takes longer than a loan, but it’s a good way to go if you can’t afford to pay back a loan or have trouble obtaining credit.