By

Lois Center-Shabazz

How Minimum Wage Effects All Lives

Corporate CEOs Can Do Without Their Third Yacht and Mansion and Pay A Livable Minimum Wage

Not a day goes by that I hear something about minimum wage laws. Some lawmakers think it would be a good idea for low-income employees to have a livable wage. Some think increasing the minimum wage is not a good idea for the companies that have to pay. I feel differently.

When you do not make a livable minimum wage, life without money is almost impossible

Because of the constant arguing around the topic, I think many Americans are confused. They can’t understand why politicians would not want employees to make a livable wage with a higher minimum wage.

I will try to explain here why it is important for all of us to engage in the conversation around getting all Americans to enjoy a livable wage. By implementing a fair minimum wage this can happen, and how it affects personal finances and the economy.

Why Most States Minimum Wage is Not a Livable Wage

I personally do not feel that most minimum wage salaries are a livable wage, regardless of the area of the country you live in, and therefore it should be increased. My argument is outlined here.

The conversation around getting all Americans to enjoy a livable wage starts here

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the minimum wage is normally controlled by laws of the individual states. There is also a federal minimum wage law. In states where the federal minimum is higher than the state minimum, the federal wage is used.

If the state wage is higher than the federal, the state minimum is used. There are several states that base their minimum wage on the consumer price index. Those states are, AZ, CO, FL, MO, MT, NV, OH, OR, VT, and WA.

They usually adjust their minimums every January.   There are some states that don’t have a minimum, those are AL, LA, MS, SC, and TN.

Washington D.C. has the highest minimum at $15.00 an hour as of July 5, 2020. California is next with $14.00 an hour. The lowest are Alabama ($7.25 federal, no state minimum), Alaska ($10.00), Arizona ($12.00), and Arkansas ($10.00).

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The average appears to be around $9.50 per hour in the U.S.  If the minimum wage kept up with 1963 rates, the wage would be $23 per hour. Employees are only asking for between $9 to $15 an hour.

A recent highly publicized report stated that just eight men in the United States own more wealth than half the population. This was not the case or even close forty years ago.

At Least One State in The United States Has No Minimum Wage, and That is Sad

But, as corporations figure out how to keep more of the company earnings, employees are getting paid less and less over the years. Investors are getting paid more.

THE OBVIOUS DISADVANTAGES

There are the obvious disadvantages to earning the minimum wage or below, the first being; you will not have enough to rent a decent apartment or home. Some states make up for this with apartments they call “the projects” in the cities, or subsidized affordable rental apartments in the suburbs.

In “the projects’ apartment rent is based on income, so if your wages are low, your rent is low. The problem with this is the quality of tenant that good people are forced to surround themselves with is low.  and repairs often go undone.

Why a livable wage that includes a minimum wage too low hurts everyone.

One example of complexes that are considered “the projects” are in my city.

I have had the opportunity to speak to a few people who lived in one of these apartment complexes and they told me it is miserable.

Even with low rent, these low wage earners are usually not left with enough money to purchase or run a car or save for emergencies. Life becomes one painful emergency after another.

The next disadvantage five minimum wage workers I spoke to in my city told me is that, in order to have a semblance of a normal life they have to work two jobs.

This means their kids are left alone frequently, they are usually over-tired driving home from their second job — a road hazard, and they have little or no time to take care of their personal affairs or that of their children.

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Reporter Shaila Dewan, wrote in the New York Times, “Rent is Rising Out of Reach For The Middle Class”.  My question is if rent is too high for the middle class, where does that leave the lower middle class or the low-wage worker?

What type of future does this group of workers have, if rent continues to climb,  and low-income apartments continue to be torn down for high rise, high-income buildings; like we see in most cities around the United States?

Many of the major cities are so expensive that in order to live there you have to find a dwelling similar to a third world country. With lots of people living with you, and the building is usually in disrepair. A few years ago, a city near me had several articles in our local newspaper about a gentrification issue.

They wanted to tear down low-income “projects” near a fancy new shopping center — problem was, there were 1200 people living there and they could not figure out where to put them.

Lucky for them, the economy collapsed, and discussion was halted, at least for a few years.

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Now, the economy has improved, so I suspect the discussion is quietly taking place somewhere behind closed doors to tear down the low-income apartments and replace them with high-income dwellings.

There has been a huge apartment building boom in our 7 sister cities area. A small percentage of the apartments are set aside for low-income dwellers, so this may be a partial answer to their relocation problem. These are called “affordable income subsidies”.

The drawback to depending on low-income apartment rent is that they are limited compared to the number of renters who need them. You usually have to get on a waiting list for an available apartment – as long as a few years.

According to Zillow, the rents for middle-income wage earners are running from 35% of income in (Hattiesburg, Mississippi) to 47% of income in Los Angeles, California.

A major disadvantage of a minimum wage job is that you can’t afford an apartment in most areas of the country. Since low-income apartments are very limited (as mentioned before), and can take a few years to land at the top of a rental list.

Even when the average low wage earner does get a low-income apartment — then the issue becomes food, utilities, healthcare, transportation, and emergencies.

If the average low wage income is $15,000 per year (an average usually quoted by media sources), and you have a family of 3, your monthly take-home could be a little as $900.

Most rents are at least $1000 per month for a 2 bedroom home in an average priced city. That means you are behind before you pay rent. It will take some work to find affordable housing, and pay all other living costs.

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THE MOST EGREGIOUS DISADVANTAGES OF LOW WAGE JOBS

Low-income communities have a lower tax base for their school system,  mostly because the school system’s funding is based on local tax dollars.

So, lower-income communities suffer low taxes and low funding for schools. This means they have fewer resources than middle income or rich school districts.

The end result is that students often get a poor quality of education. This may be one of the reasons they have a higher high school dropout rate. In some communities, there is an increased crime rate since high school dropouts find it difficult to get jobs.

Another disadvantage, which seems to go unnoticed by professionals, is an ongoing depression in poor communities. It is the result of trying to live within the confines of a miserably low wage job while working long hard hours.

Many in poor communities are forced to work two jobs in order to live within their miserable low wages, this also adds significantly to depression.

Some major cities have affordable mass transit, others don’t. So, minimum wage workers are forced to purchase and maintain a car which makes life even more difficult than it would be with mass transit.

THE MINIMUM WAGE SOLUTIONS

What are the solutions?   Some politicians are in favor of new laws that would increase the minimums, others are not.

I encourage you to Google, your congressman, and senator — encourage them to vote to increase the minimum wage.

People who make a fair livable minimum wage can afford to pay rent on an apartment or small home. They can shop for necessities and food, and spend more time with their kids by avoiding the 3 job day.

Schools will have more taxable money for better schools, and higher-performing students.

Because people have more money to take care of their needs, crime will be reduced in their immediate community and those around them.

So, as you can see a livable minimum wage benefits communities the employees live in, adjacent communities, and the economy.

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Lois Center-Shabazz | Course Delta Agency
Personal Finance: Author, Blogger, Course Creator, Money Strategist

Interested in a Free Discussion about how I can help you with Fantastic Finances? Let’s Chat – Make an Appointment Here

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3 Ways to save money when you have a small business
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3 Ways to Save Money When You Own a Small Business

Save Money When You Own a Small Business

Owning a brick and mortar business or an online business can both be expensive, I have done both, but there are many ways to save money when you own a small business.

So, you must know what to spend money on and how to limit and analyze your spending. If you don’t Spend on the right items, you will not have movement with your business.

After deciding the business structure, the importance of knowledge of the product, and your target market, then you have to find out how to get customers.

3 Ways to Save Money When You Own a Small Business

  1. Create a Marketing Budget

Most of the small business people I know spend a lot of time and energy on creating content or products but forget about marketing them. One of the most effective ways to get noticed is effective marketing.

The more you market, the more you are loved. Don’t fail to market because you don’t have a marketing budget, create one.

You can save money when you have a small business by doing your own marketing until you get established.

  1. Create a Monthly Advertising Budget

Advertising is trickier than marketing. The graphics and the text need to be ultra-attractive, otherwise, you will not attract any attention.

No attention means wasted advertisement. The best way to get effective ads, is to use an ad specialist.

Ad specialist study and know advertising better than you know because it is their constant study and analyses.

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  1. Create an Outsourcing Budget

You can’t grow alone. The best way to grow if you are online is outsourcing. There are people who specialize in the most minute areas from social media marketing to copy-writing.

There are many web businesses that specialize in providing an independent contractor who will work for you.

You save money when you own a small business by outsourcing due to the fact you don’t have to pay employee taxes and salaries.

 

The Secrets to Successful Home Buying for Women

Lois Center-Shabazz | Course Delta Agency
Personal Finance: Author, Blogger, Course Creator, Money Strategist

Interested in a Free Discussion about how I can help you with Fantastic Finances? Let’s Chat – Make an Appointment Here

GET YOUR FREE Fantastic Finances Tips Course by eMail

7 STEPS OF NEW INVESTORS FREE PDF

YOUR FREE PRINTABLES FOR HOME OR BUSINESS MORE FREE PDFS

JOIN MY PERSONAL FINANCE FACEBOOK PAGE

5 Ways to Become Rich Using These Good Habits

 

Become Rich With Good, Honest, Hard Work to Start

Become rich, seems impossible. But when you consider the real definition, it is possible. Become Rich is defined as the process of having all that you need and much of what you don’t. The needs include all bills paid monthly, money in the bank, investments, 401k, low-debt, and understanding finance. All of these will put you on the road to become rich.

A surprising number of people don’t have most of what they need, and many who do, have very little excess after bills are paid. To Become Rich understand it begins with hard work and ends with saving money.

Most folks will swear they work hard, including young folks. But, when questioned about tactics common to successful people they fail.

They don’t research the best jobs or work enough hours to get promoted. They are not constantly improving themselves with training and education, they admit to being negligent.

Become rich with personal finance tips, saving money and investing right

The earlier you start working hard, the more likely you are to achieve financial success and end up with a job you like.

Also, you will have more time to save and accomplish your long-term goals when it comes to paying bills, general savings, and retirement savings.

Work hard when you are young since you have better health and more energy, and time to accomplish life-long goals.


Don’t Over Invest in Education

In today’s educational climate, you can spend $10,000 on college living at home with no student loan debt, or $200,000 going away to college. Going away could leave you with huge student loan balances. You can get the same degree and job with a $200,000 student loan debt as a $10,000 student loan debt.

If you have rich parents who don’t mind paying the larger bill that is fine. But, to take out student loans on the larger college cost makes no financial sense at all.

When you add the emotional toll it will take when you try to pay down huge student loan debt for the next 25 years.

Student Loan Debt

Those large student loan payments are amortized like a mortgage, which makes it even harder since the loan is paid over such a long period of time.

Do your research, know the total cost of all colleges you are considering. List several colleges you or your child is interested in and include the cost of tuition, books, room, and board, and then add 5% for hidden cost.

The more expensive the college is, the more student loan debt you will have to take out. Choose from affordable colleges. Financial aid only covers about 80% of costs for the poorest students, concentrates on scholarships, and family support.

How Many Degrees Are Necessary At Once

So no matter what your financial level, you will always need to come up with some out of pocket money. The exception is if you are covered by a full guaranteed scholarship, but these are rare.

Once you get a marketable degree, concentrate on getting a job after your training, instead of more degrees. Some people get multiple degrees, and therefore, deep in student loan debt.

Later you find out the first college degree was perfectly adequate. Many who make the mistake of choosing a college with too much student loan debt find they spend most of their time figuring out how to get student loan debt under control.

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Research Everything, Before You Take Personal Finance Tips

We were taught to do research in college, remember all of those late-night college research papers, but now many of you do what I call the anti-research. The anti-research is when you approach salespeople and ask them what you should buy. Don’t blindly take personal finance tips either.

Salespeople mysteriously suggest the most overstocked item on the shelf since they need to make room for new stock. The most overstocked item may be such, due to high returns or bad reviews also. This is the same with personal finance tips from online, unknown brokers, or friends. Get the facts before you do anything.

Personal Finance Research is Important

Do your research about everything, especially big-ticket items such as cars, homes, home building, mortgages, colleges, and investment companies. Use these personal finance tips to start your finance journey.

I mention investment companies because of Bernie Madoff of Madoff Investments. Madoff was not a registered Investment Advisor most of the time he was in business, but none of his victims checked his credentials at finra.org.

You can start your checking by calling the company you are interested in and asking a lot of questions. Try to get a list of 10 questions, then search government websites to find information on the industry or company in question.

Where to Find Information

Check independent consumer sites for reviews, and lastly, ask those who have used the company or services you are considering.

It is hard to get the truth about some companies because there is so much false information in circulation. But if you do your research you can reasonably be sure you will get most of the truth.

Some buyers make purchases based on a “free-gift seminar”, buying anything based on a free gift is what I call high-risk buying. I call it high-risk because it is usually something you don’t need and the gift is charged back to you with your purchase.

Some buyers even sign long term loan commitments based on a seminar gift and presentation, only to regret it later.


Live Below Your Means

This sounds like it is good old fashion common sense. But one of the biggest reasons for home foreclosures and personal bankruptcies is because many people believe it is ok to live above their means.

Living below your means you will have a much greater chance of keeping your home or car if you get laid off your job or pay decrease. It also means you will have money freed up to save for important things, such as home maintenance, car repairs, and vacations. Keep home foreclosures and personal bankruptcies at a distance before you have trouble with your job.


Make Savings A Bill

You know what happens when you get a bill, you do everything you can to pay that bill, no matter what. Some bills are on automatic deduct, which makes them really easy to pay since you don’t even have to write a check.

Do the same with savings, it is easy when you make “savings a bill”, making it an auto deduct bill. Savings should include; emergency savings, extra to retirement savings, college savings, and vacation savings.

A habit that makes us poor is, every time we need money for emergencies, we borrow the money by charging them on high-interest credit cards. The lowest credit card payment is amortized over a 20 year period. Making “savings a bill” makes saving money easy.

Sometimes it is necessary to use a credit card, like securing a hotel room, renting a car, or getting credit card points. Just keep it within an affordable range, and use them sparingly. Make more than the minimum payment to get the balance paid off quickly. Making savings a bill will increase your savings balance instead of a credit balance. 

When you have substantial savings based on monthly additions to a few accounts, emergency, basic needs, vacation, and retirement; you will see yourself on the road to become rich beyond your wildest dreams.

Summary

It is time to become uber conscious about your personal finance using the above personal tips. Understanding what it means to become rich, will enable you to grow your money the right way. You will put your savings on autopilot by making your savings a bill. Home foreclosures and personal bankruptcies will never become a threat. You will know how to keep student loan debt low, and you will have financial peace of mind.

5 ways to become rich when you understand student loan debt, personal bankruptcies, home foreclosures, how to make savings a bill and other financial tips.

Easy Ways to Save Money When You Are a College Student

Easy Ways to Save Money In College

Many college students, stifled with the sudden high cost of college, upon entering, have probably stopped to ask themselves, “what are some easy ways to save money as a college student”? At different times during their college years. College is all about acquiring quality education. But focusing on a degree, and the side advantages, including making new friends and enjoying the educational and social processes.

But a lack of financial “awareness” on a student’s part, can create a period of constant financial turmoil and emotional strife.

Most students entering college arrives with a dream of collegiate success. But many don’t complete their course of study due to financial hardships.

The reason for this disparity is not because few students are financially superior. But because they possess the ability to budget and save while in college.

College Can Be Both Fun and Educationally Rewarding When Done The Right Way

Earning money during college is one thing, but students can increase rainy day savings by starting a habit of focusing on easy ways to save money. Having money in your pocket feels good. And the habit of saving money gives you peace of mind and a bit of financial security.

The challenge is, of course, how to achieve the goal of saving money while in college. Well, to help college students, I’ve come up with some amazing practical ways of saving money listed below.

Great financial habits start when you buy a car the right way for saving money, budgeting and simple investments, you will have emergency money, saving money for college students

Start With Budget Preparation For Easy Ways to Save Money

Most college students shun the idea of preparing a budget but believe me this is the best way of initiating your saving process. A budget is nothing but a statement showing your estimated expenditures coupled with income.

You have the freedom to go in for minute details or prepare a superficial budget based on your needs. But I advise you to prepare a detailed budget, so that leaking cash can be easily spotted.

After preparing a full-fledged budget, let us find out the ways in which cash leaking can be avoided. The main question when preparing a budget should be, “easy ways to save money on just about everything you do and delete things you don’t need to do”.

slay your finances,learn to save money when you are a college student

Apply For Scholarships and Financial Aid

The first step to saving before and after entering your college life begins with applying for scholarships or financial aid. This kind of aid is generally given to two kinds of students- 1. meritorious and/or 2. needy, so if you belong to either of these categories, do apply for scholarships as it would help you save a lot of money which would otherwise come out of your personal budget.

Understand FAFSA (also known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is crucial. You can download it from the government website used for getting private and government aid for college or fill it out online.

You can file your FAFSA application online as soon as it comes out, the sooner you apply, the better your financial aid. List every single college you may apply to, and the award will later be sent to the college of your choice.

Do everything you can to keep student loans to a minimum. The number one consideration when choosing a college is staying out of debt as much as possible, your college must be affordable to start.

Buying Old Books or Clothes

We live in a time where many college students are actively participating in various environmental savings activities. They believe in the concept of ‘renew, reuse and recycle’. You will be surprised to know that for college students, this can be a process for saving a lot of money.

Yes, buying old books and clothes not only allows you to save a lot of money which eventually adds up to a lot in savings. But also allows students to contribute to the environment, by saving resources and energy. Look for stores where used books and clothes are sold, and purchase those in good and usable condition.

Roommates in College May be a Good Bet

Saving money is not an easy task, it takes a lot of effort on the part of a student. But for a college student, there are plenty of answers to the question ‘how to save money’. Living in college dorms or apartments is costly, but if you find yourself a few roommates, you can avoid a lot of extra expense, and thus save money.

Do a careful analysis of the people you choose as roommates, make sure they are in college for the right reasons, and they pay their bills on time.

Affordable Transportation Options

College campuses are scattered over large areas. Because of this, having a vehicle becomes a necessity when you must move from one place to another on campus. Some campuses are huge with several acres. But who said that only a motorcycle or a  car can solve your problem if saving money is your target then go for a bicycle or bus.

A used bicycle is easily available from any shop near a college. So take advantage of this healthy transportation option and save on your fuel and repair expenses. Create ride share teams with other students when you must take a car, and use public transportation to get to and from school when it is available.

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A Part-Time Job

The task of saving money can be eased by taking up a part-time job on your college campus or any store nearby college where you shop. By taking a part-time job on your college premises or nearby, you can pay minor expenses such as gas or food.

If you don’t want to get a job at your college, then look for a job opening at a retail shop nearby college where you shop regularly. This would help you get things you need at a discount, which can be considerable.

 Student Discounts and Freebies

Many e-commerce websites and retail shops offer a variety of student discounts such as hair products, grooming accessories, clothes, and food items. Receiving discounts will help you save a lot of money and reduce your expenses, considerably.

But not everything is available with discounts and this is the reason why I recommend you stay on the alert to look out for freebies and giveaways, don’t be afraid to use coupons when you are in college.

 I hope you’ve got some useful and exciting answers to the question ‘how to save money in college’ that would help you make your college life more affordable.

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Money Saving Tips For Single Moms

Money-Saving Tips

Creating a List of Money-Saving Tips is Essential for Single Moms

The list will vary considerably from one person to another. The money-saving tips working for a single Mom would be different than for a student, and a working professional and entirely unique saving methods would apply for a couple.

Being a single parent is not an easy job and this job becomes even more difficult when a single mother is pressed to save money. Life is not easy for mothers especially in today’s financial climate when single Moms must play the dual role of breadwinner and homemaker, therefore a lot of introspection is in order.

Single Moms Savings Creates Peace of Mind

Personal Financial Details

A single mother needs to take care of all types of personal financial details that exist, this is the main reason why financial success is possible.

If you are a single mom and looking for techniques to save money, then you’ve come to the right place. I will present you with some of the most successful money-saving tips available for single moms.

As a single Mom, you will understand there are many money-saving tips such as getting out of the debt trap, saving money for emergencies, and decreasing household bills.

Money saving tips for single moms

Save Money on Groceries

Groceries are expensive, but it is not impossible to save money on groceries. A mother is responsible for providing her children with a balanced diet and nutritious food. But a single mom is responsible for doing all this in an affordable way.

A single mom can save a lot of money by planning family meals in advance. You can also receive bulk and coupon discounts from most grocery and retail stores.

You Can cook meals in bulk that can be used over a period of 1-2 weeks when you freeze the excess. When you do this, you save on grocery expenses and save a lot of time and energy.

Try to purchase seasoned vegetables and fruit, and avoid expensive cuts of meat and off-season vegetables. As this will weigh heavy on your supermarket bills.

The Second-Hand Option!

Children are always full of demands. And in fact, I won’t be exaggerating if I say that their demands are never-ending. As a single Mom, you need to handle these demands without jeopardizing your monthly budget and savings.

You can save a lot of money by buying used toys and clothes for your kids and, and even for yourself. No one will ever know they are used after a good washing and ironing. 

Recycle for Savings

If second-hand clothes are not something you like, go in for recycling your clothes and save a lot of money on buying new ones.

There are several shops that offer second-hand products used and in good condition, and available at 70-80% of the original price. You can also sell your old clothes to consignment stores. 

Your discounts will include consignment shops, thrift shops, or Salvation Army type shops. You can see that there are many options for saving money on clothes, you can think of others.

Look out for discounts and coupons

The life of a single mother is full of struggles and difficulties but one should never feel hesitant or be shy about asking for discounts from some stores and shopping only for the lowest prices.

Take advantage of different types of shopping coupons, store loyalty, and reward cards. Make the most of your shopping experience by paying the lowest price as a rule and not an exception. Looking for discounts and coupons should be a part of your daily life. 

You can go in for kid’s clothes shopping during sales at regular stores and at deep discount retail shops when looking for money-saving tips.

Team up with other moms

There is one famous quote saying ‘Divided we fall, United we stand’,  this is an inspirational quote for all single Moms.  

Befriend single Moms in your area and form a group where you can all trade babysitting when any of the group members are in need.

Trading services has multiple benefits, not just saving money. But also don’t forget the value of fostering friendships within the group.

Organize group activities such as cooking demonstrations, excursion trips, picnics to nearby places with kids, and carpooling.

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Save on household bills

Household bills will always be with us, but unnecessary bills can be cut out. The process of saving money on household bills begins with cutting back on cell phones, cable, electricity, and water bills. Understanding how to decrease household bills is essential. 

Single moms can take advantage of the internet to compare various cellular plans and should consider discount friendly options only.

Always ask your electricity, water, or gas companies for a subsidy or discount.

Because many companies give subsidized electricity and other amenities at lower rates to people belonging to certain income groups. Take advantage of government offers for moderate-income people.

Single Mom's Helping Single Moms - ‘Divided we fall, United we stand'

The Tip Jar

For those of you who complain that you can’t save any money in an account. Start with a tip jar.  Choose any large jar in your home. Place it somewhere safe. This jar is for immediate money for emergencies.

Whenever you have an excess of change in your wallet or purse, place most of the change in your jar. In anywhere from 4-12 months, you will notice the jar filling up, depending of course on the size.

The larger the better, 1 to 1/2 feet high is good. With your tip jar, your immediate money for savings will grow in no time. 

Money For Emergencies Only

When you have an emergency you can turn in your coins to a local store coin deposit machine and get cash for something pressing.  Remember to
keep adding to your jar.

I suggest you open a bank account at a bank, a regular passbook savings account. At this point you are not concerned about interest, your goal is to accumulate money for a rainy day.

It doesn’t matter if it is $20 a month or $200 a month. Make this a bill, pay into the savings account every single month when you pay your bills, it’s even better if it is auto-deducted from your checking account or payroll check, that makes it easier. So, now your immediate money for emergencies can be taken from your tip jar or your savings account. 

Get Out of The Debt Trap

Debt is an integral part of the lives of a single parent, the trick is to keep it low. Many people know that debt is the enemy of savings, and to increase savings, one needs to get out of the debt trap as soon as possible.

I suggest you replace your big car with a small one or a big house with an apartment or a small manageable home. This is the start to get out of the debt trap.

Big assets acquired in the form of a loan only adds to your liabilities and increases the outflow of your cash by the way of down payments, loan installments, and big repair bills.

Get rid of bigger loans with huge installment payments, and high-interest rates;  and save up your monthly income for a healthy budget and securing your children’s future. You must get out of the debt trap to get finances under control. 

Summary for Money-Saving Tips For Single Moms

We know as a single mom, you know the importance of money and savings. This is the reason why you can see plenty of single moms working terribly hard from morning to evening to earn an income for their children.

There are many ways single-moms can save money and have peace of mind with finances. From ways to get out of the debt trap, creating money for emergencies, decrease household bills, to saving money on groceries and clothes. 

This is the reason why we’ve given you the best workable tips for achieving the task. Take advantage of the money-saving tips here and see your budget consistently improve over time. 

Money-saving tips for single moms from the get out of debt trap, money for emergencies, save on household bills, save money on groceries and clothes.

Money Before Marriage-Until Credit Do Us Part, Part 2

Money before Marriage

 Money before marriage is an essential conversation everyone should have prior to marriage when you consider the divorce statistics associated with money before marriage

Financial surprises after marriage run the gamut from, “I assumed he owned his home”,  and, “I did not know he was deep in debt to his x-wife”. These are just two of hundreds of surprises newly married couples encounter.

The problems go both ways, there are men who are surprised that their new wife got married only to quit her well-paying job shortly after marrying. And there are women who are surprised to learn their new husband has been laid off his job and didn’t tell her.

These are very serious issues, and they signal the fact that too many couples are taking money for granted before they marry.  Before getting married, couples should have more in common, than not.

Besides respect and understanding for each other, having good financial habits in common are important.  If not, after the honeymoon period is over, fights may ensue over the smallest money issues.

Marriage partners bring their bad money problems or good money habits to the marriage, so understanding what your partner’s money habits are before you marry is crucial.

Money quotes, Skills should not be predatory

Psychologists say the glue that holds marriages together is the number of things you have in common. The more you have in common the more likely you will stay in a happy long-term marriage. At the top of that list, is finances.

The more you have in common with great finances, the better your marriage will fare, financially. I have listed some of the financial habits you should have in common, that will foster a healthy marriage relationship, below.

The Financial Aspects You Should Have in Common Before Marriage,

Both of You Should:

  • Believe in living within a budget
  • Live within your means
  • Purchase products you can afford
  • Have supplemental savings accounts before you marry
  • Have good credit reports before you marry
  • Invest in a pension or other retirement account at work or personally
  • Be interested in buying an affordable home after marrying
  • Identify and alleviate poor money habits before you marry

Most couples are still in the admiration phase of their relationship before they marry, so they assume that all is to be admired on the financial front also.

But, unfortunately, just as the experts will tell you, people don’t change for marriage. It may take some time to understand that your spouse has poor money management skills, and in most cases, those habits were there before marriage.

Home buying the right way take skill

How Do You Determine if Money Before Marriage is a Problem?

There are many ways to spot financial dysfunctional behavior in a potential spouse. You have to be willing to understand what a wasteful person does and be willing to look honestly at money with your fiance.

Some people don’t understand what financial problems look like and some are hidden. Your best bet is to look for signs of financial mismanagement. Here are many to consider:

1. Does he or she live in an apartment with no furniture? – sounds funny, but this could mean your partner is super frugal-paying off bills, unreasonably cheap, or can’t afford furniture because of financial mismanagement.

Even if it is second-hand furniture. The functional sign would be that he/or she is super frugal and waiting to buy furniture after some crucial bills are paid off.

2. If he/or she makes a modest income, but owns an expensive car. The problem with an expensive car is that not only is the monthly payment painful, but the upkeep could consume most of a monthly paycheck. This is a very bad sign of financial dysfunction.

3. If he/or she lives in and owns a home that is too expensive for their income and assets.

4. That he/or she takes expensive vacations and their salary is modest.

5. That he/or she carries a large number of credit cards and pulls out a different one each time you go out.

6. The absolute must is to share your bill/credit history with each other. Excessive bills for his/or her income is a huge sign.

7. Your partner should be willing to pay down excessive bills before marriage.

8. If your partner can’t make a pack with you to keep debt low during your marriage, you may need to reconsider your choice and alleviate a lifetime of financial pain.

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How Money Before Marriage, Until Credit Do Us Part

7 Ways To Save Money To Buy A House

Start Saving to Buy a House Now

There are literally thousands of ways to save money to buy a house. With many ways to buy a house,  purchasing a home is not as difficult as you may think.

First of all, you must understand that you “can’t have it all,” so discontinue that form of thinking. You must make sacrifices to buy a house and think of it as an investment for life. This should help to motivate you

You must make some sacrifices if you want to save money to buy a house. There are many ways to purchase a home with a number of home buying programs.

You must curtail your spending in other areas. Home prices are up all over the country. But you can still find affordable housing in the way of a cosmetic fixer (that is a fixer with no major repair problems), or a home with an anxious seller.

It takes skill to buy a house, but you can find that in these tips.

To buy a house understand the monthly payment of P+I+T+I, translated, this is the principle, plus interest, plus taxes, plus insurance, which, added together, equal the total monthly payment.

In order to buy a house, you must put down a down payment and pay additional escrow costs. Learn more here.

Understanding the P+I+T+I for different loan amounts will enable you to better prepare for homeownership. For example, if you could afford $1400, the total for a P+I+T+I monthly payment.

Determine what home cost would fall into this price range. Your mortgage broker will assist you.

Search the Internet or anonymously call mortgage companies for quotes. To purchase a home there are home loans that require 0%, 3%, 5%, and 10% down, plus the closing cost. There are many different home buying programs available.

The lower the down payment, the better your credit should be, to get a reasonable interest rate. The standard down payment is about 10% plus escrow and closing costs. It is a good idea to calculate escrow or closing costs upfront.

You will either pay a down payment or points (toward interest rates). The lower the down payment the higher your points to buy a home or vice versa, depending on your home buying program.

Save money to buy a house with different home buying programs.

Ideas for saving for your new home could include:

1. Selling a car or furniture for the new home buyer

Many of us have an extra car or a car with excessive monthly payments, insurance, and gas. Sell the car you are not using, or in the case of the overly expensive car, sell it to purchase an affordable model.

2. Get a part-time job and save the money as your new home buying check

You can create income for your home purchase. Even if the job is every other weekend, it will help. The money adds up fast, adding an additional $400 a month will end up adding $4800 to your home buying fund.

That amount of money is substantial for a new home buyer in many of today’s markets.

3. Temporarily discontinue a whole host of unnecessary things for serious homebuyers:

Saving money for home buying is a serious endeavor. If you are serious, you will not miss any of the things that bring you immediate joy. You will instead think of the long-term joy you will get as a new homebuyer.

Here is a list of things to discontinue if you are a serious homebuyer. Movies, parties, vacations, clothes, cable TV, voice mail, newspaper, and excess clothes shopping. You can think of more.

4. Use your tax return:

Put your tax return in the bank toward a down payment on your new home. After purchasing your new home, speak with an accountant. Find out how many more exemptions you can take during the year with your new home.

The accountant will tell you how to adjust your exemptions in order to get the money during the year to help with your new home payment if you are over-paying your taxes during the year.

Pick up your free debt-free cheat sheet, get out of debt at msfinancialsavvy

You can use your future excess taxes (or home deduction) toward your current monthly payments.

5. Use a windfall, such as an inheritance or large bonus:

Take this money and place as much as you can afford toward your down payment. There are many unexpected windfalls, everyone has them at various times. Be ready to save your windfall toward buying a house, just in case.

6. A few of you can live with your parents or in-laws while saving money for your homebuying fund:

There are a few parents or in-laws who will be willing to work with you. If you are willing to give your family a low monthly rent, this helps them and you.

That is, if you are not willing to live with them for free it takes a burden off of both of you, and you don’t feel like you are freeloading.

For example, if regular rent is $1200 dollars a month, offer your relative $600 a month and save the additional $600 a month. In a year you would have $7200 to contribute to your homebuying fund.

7. Ask for cash as gifts to add to your homebuying fund:

When you have a birthday, graduation, wedding, or any other celebration, explain to family members in advance that you are saving for a home. Request that you prefer cash gifts.

You can do this over and over and in no time you will have a substantial amount of money to add to your homebuying fund.

Summary

Purchase a home when you understand financing options and costs to buy a house. Your down payment and escrow costs can vary depending on many factors.

There are many ways to save money to buy a house, so don’t be dismayed. There are many home buying programs to assist you in buying a house the right way. Use this information too. 

7 Simple Steps to Buy a House, purchase a home with home buying programs. Save Money to Buy a House.

Who Manages Your Personal Finances

Who manages your personal finances? Seems like a silly question, but if you ask many people they will tell you, “no one, my money doesn’t need managing”. “I just pay my bills and spend what I can”. I hear this quite often with those who make a lot of money and those who make a little money.

They are clueless about the fine tuning of their budget and creating finances that will create money that lasts. It is imperative that you
understand budgeting tips and investing tips that create financial
growth.

When I give meeting attendees just a few of my suggestions they are surprised at the information that will change their lives. They were surprised to find how hard it is to get the right information.

The following are three things you can do to improve your personal finances. This is part 2 in a four-part series I am writing this month on personal finance.

Budgeting tips, investing tips and save money;Money, Understand that it is complicated, budgeting counts


MANAGE YOUR OWN FINANCES

Managing your own personal finances is crucial. Why does that sound strange – most would say, of course, I manage my own finances? But, for many, that is not true. Wives let husbands manage all the family finances, and there are husbands that let wives handle all the family finances.

Then, there are elderly people who allow adult children to manage their finances. There are even people who allow complete and total strangers to manage their finances since they are convinced they are not capable.

You can and you should manage your own finances – get personal with your finances and stay that way. Married couples should manage their finances together, and everyone else I mention should stay close and manage their own finances – this is the core of personal finance.

If you don’t feel competent enough to manage your own finances, you should think seriously about finding the time or finding help learning how.

Home buying the right way take skill


YOU CAN GET YOURSELF OUT OF DEBT

I have heard of folks turning their money over to a small business that manages their money to get them out of debt. You can get yourself out of debt if you got yourself into debt. With budgeting tips from MsFinancialSavvy and understanding investing tips, you can monitor your own finances. You know far more about your finances than strangers will ever know.

It is ok to use someone to help you get out of debt but work with that person hands on. Don’t turn your money over to someone else to do it for you.

Not only should you not turn it over, but it is important that you stay close to the process so you can understand how to get out of debt and how to stay out of debt.

Once you have an awareness that you are at a level of debt you should not be in, start to think of what got you there and create ways to stay clear of returning to debt.


UNDERSTAND YOUR FINANCIAL HABITS

Managing your finances and getting out of debt begins with an understanding of your personal finance habits. Some habits are so automatic, it is as if some are spending money with their eyes closed.

They fail to understand the seriousness of their blind spending and the future implications.

You know you are engaged in blind spending when you ask yourself at the end of the month, where did my money go? Create your own budgeting tips, investing tips and create your own ability to save money. You will never be blind to your own finances.


Get Your Finances Right With This Detailed Money Management System, Get honest with your finances, get honest with your spending, and start your journey now.

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Make sure you watch my latest video here.

Who Manages Your Personal Finance - Here are 3 Ways to Manage Your Personal Finances with Budgeting tips, Investing Tips and Save Money

9 Great Financial Habits to Start Before You Are 30

The earlier you start great financial habits, the easier your life will become over time. It is hard to make money and stay out of debt. But, when you realize that as a debt snowball happens quickly, a change of financial habits can create a money snowball.

This happens when you understand the power of a budget pared with saving money and investing in dividend stocks and mutual funds.

There are many types of investments, but here I speak of simple investments that are low risk, low cost and low stress. Once you become more experienced with investing you can study investments that are a bit more complicated.

The major concern at this point is to start great financial habits that concentrate on budgeting and simple investments. At the core of budgeting is to also to learn and practice emergency money skills.

A Change in Financial Habits Can Go From A Debt Snowball to a Money Snowball       -Lois

1.How to Get Out of Debt, Save Money with Simple Investments and Budget

Ask your parents or grandparents and they will tell you life happens fast, really fast. Two years becomes ten years, in to twenty years and then thirty. it seems like it all happens in the blink of an eye.

So, if you concentrate, you can get out of debt now, save money, budget and invest. In ten years, twenty years and thirty you will be set financially.

Instead of compounded debt, no savings, a sideways budget and nothing invested, you will have a peaceful financial life.

Because, now you have compounded interest on savings and investing through your dividend stocks and mutual fund investments. Your budget keeps you in top notch financial shape.

These are simple investments, so they are easy to learn, easy to maintain and monitor on your own.

Budgeting, Saving Money and Simple Investments Starts With the Right Home buying Skills to Great Financial Habits

2. It is hard to make money and harder to keep it–stay cautious. That is why budgeting is essential

No matter what you do, it is hard to make money. You have to know the right field to go into, how to get into it with low cost, and how to stay in it.

This takes help and mentoring, so don’t be shy; get involved by asking experienced people in the field for help. Start with those you already know.

You have to understand how to write the right resume and research companies best for you and your career. Then you must know who to trust to show you the right way to navigate your field.

There are good people to look up to and emulate in a business, and those you should avoid. This is one quality that makes successful people successful. Approach people carefully.

3. Money doesn’t grow on trees, so stop acting like it does. It will with Simple Investments

The saddest statement I hear unsuccessful people say is, “if only I believed mentors when they told me it may not last”. In this case, my example wage-earner (a female), made a lot of money.

Because there was so much, and sometimes so fast, she thought she was set for life. She felt there would never be a worry about time or money, because it’s happening now, and it will always happen.

Then time started to creep up on the her and she realized there are no guarantees, but it was too late. Just because she once worked for a great company with a great boss, she didn’t understand things can change quickly.

Now, her next company demands more time, more energy and pays less money per hour. All she can think about is the good ole days her only thought was “money grows on trees”.

Fast forward to now, she got a rude awakening seeing that money doesn’t not grow on trees”. Her mentor told her, don’t give up, keep thinking forward, things will get better.

Great financial habits start when you buy a car the right way for saving money, budgeting and simple investments, you will have emergency money

4. No matter how much money you make you can lose it all overnight

You see the stories of the once wealthy entertainers with mansions and several Mercedes. Then, there are the athletes with beautiful houses on the beach. Entertainers and athletes are not the only ones. But also big business owners or the businessman CEO who lived lavish lifestyles, also once wealthy.

Fast forward a few years, the contracts have dried up, the business went under, and the CEO fell out of favor with the board. All of these previously successful people went from seemingly wealthy to poverty overnight.

Losing their income, their lifestyle and the home and cars that came with it. It happened to them, and it can happen to you.

Therefore, when you make good money, it is important to understand you can lose it overnight too. Live a frugal life, put money away, buy homes and cars the smart way.

Save money, and remember that a debt snowball can happen quickly, but also a low debt money snowball can happen quickly, when you save money and budget the right way.

5. Money grows in simple investments such as mutual funds and dividend stocks over time.

Understand how money works in investments to get the  best results. Mutual funds pay compounded interest and high asset stocks can pay dividends as they grow. If you add money to a mutual fund on a regular basis, called dollar cost averaging, you will make even more money.

Passbook savings accounts pay simple interest, but they have a purpose too. Some folks won’t use passbook savings account, but one good use is, they can keep money for other purposes to be used later.

Even your coin and dollar jar has a function for immediate small emergencies.

Understand How Money Works In Investments for Best Results       -Lois

6. Your emergency money can be kept safely in a passbook savings account.

It’s important to be able to borrow from yourself if you have an emergency so you won’t have to go to the bank and take out a loan. Taking out a loan for an emergency creates another emergency.

It’s even worse when you have to ask others to borrow money. Borrowed money makes for broken relationships in many cases. Borrowed money should be limited to those who are close to you and vice versa.

When the debt snowball of money borrowing starts, you can get backed into a wall with your finances. This does not have to happen if you just take a small portion of your monthly earnings and put them away for a rainy day.

Get savings auto deducted and pretend the money does not belong to you – that will make it easy.

7. Your emergency money is for your emergency, not your friends and not your family.

A big problem some people have is they don’t keep their personal business to themselves. When you don’t, you have a tendency to brag about things no one else should know about.

Be proud of yourself for your financial accomplishments, like building an emergency fund, creating a great budget and learning simple investments. But, keep it to yourself, people will not ask to borrow money they don’t know you have.

This way, you do not run the risk of not having needed emergency funds because you loaned them to someone who did not repay you.

8. Constantly Improve your knowledge, your skills, and your Income.

Grab every chance you can to increase knowledge in your field. Read books, talk to mentors, take classes offered by your employer, and attend conferences.

The more you know the more of a valuable employee or business owner, you become. As you become more valuable, you can rightfully ask for more money or create more income.

Things are constantly getting more expensive, so if you have the right employer or small business practices, your income should keep rising from year to year.

9. There are very few people you can trust, especially with your money and finance.

There is no law saying you have to trust anyone with anything you own, anything you do, or what you invest in.

Educate yourself, do lots of research and know your options, when it comes to everything. Do not put your life on autopilot and do things because they seem good or someone else does it.

Understand money and finance, as though your life depends on it, because it does.

There are very few people you can trust with your money, even professionals. You need to know what investments are available and right for you. If your company has a 401k plan, it’s a good idea to invest in it, understand it, and know your options.

If you want to start a supplemental retirement plan, understand the best investments that are right for you also. So, if you choose an investment advisor you will know what they are doing with your money.

And understand when they are on the right path for you, they don’t always work for your benefit.

Great Financial Habits to Start Before You Are 30

Great Financial Habits In Summary

Budgeting, saving money and simple investing seems easy. But, believe me if it were more people would do it, so I am here to help you. It is hard to make money and hard to keep money, some wealthy people lose all of their money overnight.

Starting with this knowledge will help you to be careful and stay safe. Instead of building a debt snowball, understand that when you do things right it is just as easy to build a money snowball.

This happens when you use budgeting, and then onto investing in dividend stocks and mutual funds skills as a way to build wealth.

Your investments should be low cost and low risk as you are learning and growing in knowledge. It is all a matter of habit, starting great financial habits early, will make creating great finances easy.

Emergency accounts seem simple so it is easy to put it off until you have an emergency and you realize you could have been prepared. Do not wait; do it now. The peace of mind you will get with an emergency fund is phenomenal. Keep learning, keep building and keep moving up the pay scale, no matter what you do.

9 Great Financial Habits to Start Before You Are 30

Personal Finances That Rock

To get personal finances that rock understand that there are many ways to achieve a given task. You only need to use one to be successful. The one that works of course.

I have used many ways in the past to create successful personal finances that rock, so I will attempt in this article to outline a few that have worked and will last.

The first thing you must understand is my definition of personal finances. In my opinion it is simply staying close to your finances. Understand everything possible detail, about every single financial decision you ever make. That begins with decisions about the smallest items to the largest.

Do personal finance research, ask people you know who have had to make those decisions. Many of them will tell you the mistakes they made so you won’t do the same.

I speak to people all the time who tell me they must consult with a salesperson about funding a retirement account. Then they ask salespersons about buying a home, which car loan to get, or if they should take out student loans.

7 Mistakes of old and new investors-Free File, organize finances, create personal finances, do personal finance research, make personal finances that rock

You should have the ability to answer the above questions yourself if you are involved in your personal finances, the right way.

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Do your research, talk to people close to you, get an idea of what is best for you, so at least you are in the ball park before you think about a purchase.

That way you will not let a sales person lead you a stray or someone else who is not qualified to tell you what to do.  You instead, will direct him or her. Here are three suggestions for developing personal finances that rock by organizing your finances and doing personal finance research.

1. PERSONAL FINANCES THAT ROCK ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY

Make up your mind that it is your responsibility to get personal with your finances. There is no one out there who will cherish and adore your finances as you will. If you are having a hard time making finances personal, you can use a series of techniques to make peace with your finances.

Many of you have heard messages over the years that you can’t manage your own finances. It must be either a spouse, parent, salesperson or other person. Not true.

The More You Know, The More You Grow,Your Money               ---Lois Center-Shabazz

You can change that way of thinking by changing the way you think. Use personal  affirmations, and visualization.

Just like any other positive thing you want to bring into your life, you can bring in the ability to manage your finances. By writing positive affirmations about managing your finances and visualizing yourself managing your finances from daily to monthly – you will be successful.

2. GET YOUR FINANCES ORGANIZED

Get organized like you’ve never organized before. Don’t be afraid to guerrilla organize your finances. Set up a system for bill paying, saving money, and paying down debt.

Then set up a system for spending money on things you need first and things you want second. If you can’t afford to buy it, it may be that you can’t afford to buy it now. You may afford it down the road as you pay off bills, and save money for it.

In your record keeping system start with what you have and what you want to end up with in 2 years, 3 years and then 5 years.

Major purchases take a lot of research, to purchase a car correctly, a home, or an education. Realize that it takes time to get your finances in order and research is necessary.

Your personal finances will not be build up in a day or a month. But, if you organize your finances and create a plan, they will be eventually build up. You will create personal finances that rock.

3. CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT PERSONAL FINANCES

Get help and follow directions, remove your old ways of thinking about your personal finances that did not work. Things that don’t work are keeping too many credit cards, charging too much on credit. Also using loans to replace loans (like loan consolidation), will keep you in debt.

Work to pay off  loans with money from savings or income or simply buying what you can’t afford.

Home buying the right way take skill, organize finances, create personal finances, do personal finance research, make personal finances that rock

Thinking that things will make you happy, when in fact the happiness with things last only a short period. This is especially true when you find you can’t afford to pay for them, major depression sets in.

Write down the advantages of getting personal with your finances. There are many

1. You save money easier
2. You will purchase what you can afford
3. You can work your way out of debt or stay out of debt
4. You can avoid getting cheated in purchases by unscrupulous salespeople 5. The peace of mind you get when your finances are in order
6. You can hedge against losses if you lose your job or the economy goes bad.
7. You can concentrate on other important things in your life that need your attention.

Summary: Now you should understand that if you want personal finances that rock there are a few things to do. You must first know the definition of personal finances. After you understand that organize your finances, then start your journey of personal finance research.

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How to Invest in Bond Funds or Bonds, Why You Should

When You Purchase a Bond or Bond Funds; What Happens

Investing in bond funds or bonds are two different entities. When you purchase a bond, you are loaning your money to a corporation or to the government.

In exchange for loaning your money, you will receive the promise of regular interest payments. The bond will also be given a maturity date.

When the bond matures, you will be given your principal investment back. This will include several years’ worth of interest on that principal.

You can use a bond to live off the interest (although, in such a case, you would need to have invested quite a bit of money).

7 Mistakes of old and new investors-Free File

Alternatively,  you could reinvest the interest, or use the bond for the purpose of balancing out a stock portfolio. This would work, because bonds are generally income investments, and stocks are generally growth investments.

Individual Bonds or Bond Funds as Income Investments

Income investments give you interest, and growth (or equity-stock) investments give you capital gains investment returns, if you have chosen your investments wisely. Therefore, usually when stock prices are up, bond prices are down, and vice versa.

This is one reason stock investors add bonds or bond funds to their portfolio. As the stocks go down the bonds go up and can balance out the portfolio’s bottom line.

Understand individual bonds, bond funds and bond investing with Lois

Many people think that because bonds pay interest, they are 100% safe, because you can never lose your principal investment. This is not true!
The price of a bond (which is separate from the paid interest of a bond) can fluctuate. You can lose your principal if the price of your bond were to fluctuate to nothing (zero).

"There is an Important Difference Between Stocks and Bonds"    -Lois

This is where bond ratings come in: there are high-yield bonds, and there are high-quality bonds. You must know the difference between the two, before you start to place your money into bonds.

Bond Ratings – Some Are Called “Junk”

The higher the interest rate of a bond, the lower that bond is rated— this is known as a high yield bond. The lower a bond is rated, the higher the interest will be that is paid on that bond.

This is why some financial advisors recommend that you buy short-term bonds, so that your bond can “mature” before its price decreases.

The highest-yielding bonds are usually the lowest-rated,  high-yield bonds are called “junk bonds”. These are rated “C” by ratings services.

On the other hand, the lower the interest rate of a bond, the higher that bond is rated—this is known as a high-quality bond. High-quality bonds, which usually do not have high yields, are generally rated “A” or above by investment rating services, such as “Moodys”. There are several bond
rating services.

RATING DEFINITION’S:  S&P MOODY’S 
——————————————-
Highest quality and grade. Prime. Maximum safety.          AAA Aaa

Bonds which are judged to be of the best quality. They carry the smallest degree of investment risk. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligations is extremely strong.
————————————————————————————————-
High quality. High grade.                                                                 AA Aa

Bonds which are judged to be of high quality by all standards and only differ in small degree to the highest graded bonds. The obligor’s capacity
to meet its financial commitment on the obligations is very strong.
————————————————————————————————-
Upper medium quality and grade.                                                 A A

Bonds which possess many favorable  investment attributes and are
to be considered as upper-medium-grade obligations. They are somewhat    more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in higher rated categories. However, the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligations
is strong.                         
————————————————————————————————

If you are an individual investor who is purchasing a bond, it is usually
best to stick with a bond that has a rating of “A” or better. (see the “Summary,” at the end of this article).

BONDS DIFFER, BASED MOSTLY UPON WHO ISSUES THEM:

  • Government-issued bonds are called Treasury Bonds.
  • Corporation-issued bonds are called Corporate Bonds.
  • State- or Local-issued bonds are called Municipal Bonds, or “Muni’s,” for short; this type of bond is generally exempt from all state and
    local taxes.

Individual Bonds Versus Bond Funds

Purchasing an individual bond can be an overly complex endeavor, and generally requires a large sum of money at hand. To fund even a single bond, you will often need at least $10,000 (but sometimes less).

Institutions, such as pension plans and insurance companies, will often purchase bonds. But they also have teams of people who can thoroughly analyze which bonds to buy, along with when it is best to buy—and sell—them.

Some Investors Use Bond Funds to Balance Their Portfolio     -Lois

Individuals don’t have this kind of investigative power, and it would require an individual with a lot of individual bonds. Therefore, you need a lot of money—for your individual “bond portfolio” to be considered diversified.

An alternative would be to invest in bond funds, in Treasury Bonds or Muni’s. You can invest in bond funds, which is significantly different from an individual bond.

The obvious difference is that an individual bond is just what its name implies—i.e., one bond—while a bond fund is a collection of individual bonds. Before you invest in bond funds, start a series of simple ways to save money first. 

Another big difference is that, while an individual bond will mature, a bond fund never matures. (Remember, you can cash-in on your bond when it matures and get your principal investment back).

If you invest in bond funds, it is best to look for one whose individual bonds have average, short-term maturities. As investors get older the tendency to invest in bonds more than stocks, because the fluctuation in prices tends to be lower. Disclosure: I do invest in bond funds, as well as other investments.

SUMMARY

  1. There are high-yield bonds and high-quality bonds.
  2. High-yield bonds pay higher interest rates but are not very stable; the highest yielding bonds are known as “junk bonds.”
  3. High-quality bonds pay lower interest rates but are usually more stable than high-yield bonds.
  4. Bond prices fluctuate: a low-quality, high-yield junk bond’s price could even fluctuate to zero; this would cause you to lose your principal, should you have invested in such a bond.
  5. The highest-quality bonds are rated “Aaa” and “AAA,” by Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s rating services, respectively; and the lowest-quality bonds are rated “C” (junk), by the same two services
  6. To decrease your chances of landing a bond with a price that fluctuates too low, it is best to buy short-term bonds.
  7. There is big difference between individual bonds and bond funds; one important difference is that, while individual bonds mature, bond funds never mature.

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3 Ways to Invest in individual bonds or bond funds.

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