Monthly Archives: March 2016

Tips for ATM Safety

usATMs and debit cards offer quick access to your money when you’re on the go. Most of us have come to rely on the convenience they provide, but it’s important to use caution to keep ourselves and our finances safe. To protect your identity and ensure your personal safety, it makes sense to exercise caution when using an ATM. The tips below are meant to make you aware that although rare, ATM crime can happen.

Follow these tips to help keep you and your money safe!

    • Protect your ATM card as if it were cash. Report lost or stolen cards immediately.

 

    • Safeguard your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Don’t give your number to anyone; don’t write your PIN on your card, avoid using numbers that are easily identified (birth date, etc.).

 

    • Try to use ATMs with which you are familiar. Choose well-lit, well-placed ATMs where you feel comfortable. If you need to use an ATM late at night, ask a friend to accompany you.

 

    • Before approaching the ATM, scan the surrounding area. Avoid the ATM altogether if it is too dark to see, isolated or looks unsafe. If there are bystanders loitering in the area, go to another machine or come back later.

 

    • Be prepared to conduct your business as soon as you reach the machine. Have your ATM card ready in your hand. Do not dig through a purse, bag or wallet in front of an ATM or while you are in line. Secure your money immediately after the transaction. Count your money later, not at the ATM.

 

    • Use your body to shield the screen and keypad before entering your PIN. Make sure other individuals in line stay a reasonable distance from you while you’re performing your transaction.

 

    • Do not allow anyone to distract you while you are at the ATM. Be cautious if strangers approach you or try talking to you – even if your card is stuck or you’re having trouble with your transaction. If someone takes interest in your transaction, leave the area and report the suspicious behavior to the police.

 

    • Never leave your receipt in the ATM. Discarded ATM receipts are a primary source of identity theft and account fraud. Shred receipts before discarding them.

 

    • If you are using the ATM at night make sure there is nothing compromising your personal safety like overgrown bushes or poor lighting.

 

  • Be wary of an ATM scam called “skimming, where thieves attach electronic devices to the ATM that are designed to capture your card information and PIN. If an ATM card reader appears unusual compared to other ATMs, use another ATM.

Remember, if your ATM card is lost or stolen; contact your credit union immediately. They will take the proper steps to ensure your finances are safe and assist you in getting a new card.

3 Things You Must Overcome in Order to Make More Money

cgThe number one thing to know is this: More and more Americans are rightfully concerned about wage and income disparity but few see that government has any real solution to this concern. This is a step in the right direction because although many members of low-income households work heroically and waveringly at very low wages the “Census Bureau data shows that for every hour worked by those in a low-income household, those in a wealthy household toil 5 hours.”(I) Furthermore, “6 out of 10 households have no one working at all.”(ii)

Secondly, according to the latest Quantitative Analysis of Investor Behavior (QAIB) “The average investor in a blend of equities and fixed-income mutual funds has garnered only a 2.6% annualized rate of return for the 10-year time period ending December 31, 2013. The same average investor hasn’t fared any better over longer time frames. The 20-year annualized return comes in at 2.5% while the 30-year annualized rate is just 1.9%.”(iii)

Thirdly, checking the market performance as of the date of this writing, December 10, 2015, CNN Money reports that the S&P 500 Index is trading 0.56% higher than it closed yesterday. The year-to-date change is -0.12% and the 1 year change is currently -1.59%.

So here are the 3 things you must overcome in order to make more money:

1. You will need to overcome by working harder or longer, maybe both.

2. You will need to overcome by depending more on guarantees, less on market returns.

3. You will need to overcome by avoiding market volatility in order to keep more of what you make.

The first of these is easy enough to overcome. There are literally thousands of things that you can do, if you are willing, that will create more income for you. Saving at least 10% of that income will put you on track to becoming wealthier regardless of where you are today on the income scale. This isn’t rocket science. It is called work ethic. Being willing and ready to trade your skills, knowledge and time for money so that you can set aside money that can begin to work for you, instead of you always having to trade your time for money, is the most important thing in making more money.

Next, forget about putting your hard earned money into the market in hopes of it making you more money. Statistics document, as the QAIB research above proves, that this model of saving hardly keeps pace with inflation. That means you could save all your money in things like 401(k)s, IRAs, Roths, Mutual Funds, Securities and Bonds and end up with less value down the road than what you started with initially.

Finally, overcoming or avoiding market volatility is critical if you are planning on keeping more of the money that you and your money can create for you. Consider this based on the CNN Money report above. If you had entered the market this morning you would be making slightly over ½ of a percent on your position. Of course, you would have to pay the fees to make the trade either to enter, exit or both and that means you would have lost money today in the S&P 500. But let’s say you entered the market on the opening bell the first day of trading this year. That means you would have lost the trading fees plus you would have lost another 1/12th of a percent just because of market volatility. And if you had entered the market 1 year ago today then your losses would include all the fees plus an additional -1.59%.

Logic tells us that saving in places that provides guaranteed returns and opportunity to participate in market returns without assuming the risk that is inherent in the volatile market place while having complete access without fees or penalties to the capital saved is more reliable than what the average investor is accomplishing with their money today. That is why The Perpetual Wealth Code™ is based on overcoming these 3 things that most investors are plagued with in their portfolio. Guaranteed, Available, Manageable Equity is the GAME that you need to win in order to make and keep more money.

Holding on to Our Money

sddWhy is it so hard to manage money and hold on to it? How can we save more and spend less? It has become an issue to make and save money.

The world is geared in such a way that it’s difficult to hold on to our money…

Everyone is after money – our money, their money, everybody’s money – because of greed and because they never have enough. They spend years in higher education, in colleges and universities, to master the art of finding ways to get our money with such ease. They have become experts in their field and their field is to find more ways for our money to escape from our wallets faster and faster.

The funny thing is, there is a collaboration between the financial institutions and the commercial world to create more wants than needs. People, in general, are innocent and ordinary. The majority work hard to try to have a life without paying too much attention to the details… and that is when it happens…

I remember when banks were not so greedy. They made it easy and a pleasure to bank with them. Now it’s all about them making more and more billions in profits every year. They charge for every little detail, and we are not done yet, because they have their geniuses looking for ways to get every hard-earned dollar from our bank accounts into theirs-the latest being that, with every transaction at the teller, if you want a receipt, there is a charge of one dollar.

The government raises taxes, and if you don’t have a good accountant, you are doomed. There is a well-organized plan to find ways for our money to fly into someone else’s nest. Therefore, people will never get out of debt unless they get smart, spend less, and save more. As the saying goes, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

How about our young ones? Do you think there is more we can do to educate them about money matters, to help them manage their resources, money, time, and so on? I don’t think we do enough to prepare our young people for life and its money challenges!

We teach them history, the arts, geography, economics, and so on. Please, don’t get me wrong, these subjects are important, but I feel it’s more important to teach them practical and smart ways to deal with their personal finances, starting from when they’re young and into their teen years.

It would make such a huge difference in their lives. It would determine how successful they are going to be… or not.

But here is the question: Who is responsible for this task-the school system or the parents? Why do we as parents depend on others, such as schools, to ready our children for life? Isn’t it our duty to make this happen?

Here is my opinion: Parents care more for their children than anyone else does; therefore, they are responsible for teaching their children about personal finances if the school doesn’t do it. Remember, economics is not the same as personal finance. We have to teach young people to spend less than what they make, a lesson that can prove to be as valuable as gold if it’s put into action! It’s a very simple lesson but a very important one.

I wish I knew more about money management. I wish someone had told me early in life about money and how very important it is to save more and spend less… to pay myself first and then spend the rest with no guilt. Life will never be without its bills and expenses. It is what it is, and nothing is free… well, I’m trying to think what things are free-not too many! The air we breathe is still free, but I don’t know for how much longer!

Money matters. Let us be wise about it so we can have it in times of need!

Modern Financial Advising For Beginners

trThe Internet is a testament to the fact that there are DIY approaches to practically every need for which one might have traditionally requested another’s assistance. Financial planning is no exception. Those looking to start investing in careers often tend to believe they are capable of creating their own success. While individual success is not completely unheard of, it is rare. Services to expand financial gain are no longer exclusively for the wealthy. In fact, according to many experts, hiring help could drastically improve one’s chances of coming out on top financially in the long run. Still, many find it difficult to initiate the process. Here are some tips from a seasoned financial advisor for beginners.

Admitting It Is The First Step

Like with any significant self-improvement, determining whether or not you need assistance is the key to financial success. Unless you are a natural at portfolio management, you probably could benefit from the help of an expert. Deciding to allow someone to help create your monetary triumph is crucial. There is no shame in needing their expertise, especially when it has become so easy to do so affordably. Many modern companies have significantly lower minimum account requirements than previously held by traditional firms. Financial advisors have never been more accessible to new investors.

Decide to Invest

According to a seasoned financial advisor, the heart of financial planning can be summed up pretty simply: “You either have a plan, or you don’t.” Those without a specific approach often fail. After recruiting assistance, dedication to investment is crucial. Realize that attention to the status of your current portfolio is an investment into the status of your future portfolio. Decide that you are going to take a guided, methodical path to a more comfortable financial end. Sporadic, overly passive investment approaches are common pitfalls of individual investors who fail when attempting to go it alone. A solid strategist will encourage your desires by motivating you to remain dedicated to your plan. Remember-the sooner you begin planning, the longer your plan has to succeed.

Focus On The Future; Be Aware of The Present

The end goal of investment is the future increase. Trends in finance are constantly changing. A financial advisor can be of great assistance in this area, being more knowledgeable of these changes in a way that will increase the probability of multiplying your returns. Vigilant monitoring of the current climate is vital. Be sure that you have enlisted the assistance of someone who is dedicated to such surveillance. While your strategy might not necessarily always be comfortable, keep in mind that your future will be.

With the widened availability of financial advisors, it is more realistic than ever to begin investing. Regardless of the account size bracket into which you fall, there is undoubtedly a service for you. Realize that hiring a partner and having a plan are ways of presently managing your future. In the wise words of an experienced CFP, “The first step in planning is deciding to have one.”