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3 Areas You Must Invest in During an Economic Recession

3 Areas You Must Invest in During an Economic Recession

20090428-invest3 Areas You Must Invest in During an Economic Recession

    The global economy is plummeting and people are starting to lose hope, faith in our government practices and in their

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      ability to be successful during these challenging times.  With millions of job losses and the media poisoning our minds with information that may be only half accurate, we need to start taking the time to invest in three main areas: our financial education, our personal brands and building strong relationships that will last through the recession.  It’s really easy to lose hope now, but you must remain calm, cool and collected or else you’ll lose focus, money and you won’t get a job anytime soon if you’re currently unemployed.   Many people who are getting laid off are taking a risk to start their own businesses because  they feel like they have nothing to lose.  One in four workers who have not found jobs is considering launching a business, according to a CareerBuilder.com survey.  For the rest of workers, who feel like they could be unemployed today, tomorrow or in two weeks, please read this post so that they can at least start protecting yourself against a future tragedy.

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      1.  Having a financial education

        We don’t really learn how to manage money in College, so we have to figure out how to on our own.  Of course, school teaches us the basics, such as balancing our check books, but we aren’t prepared for a financial crisis and we don’t have enough of an understanding of “cash flow.”  I recently started reading Robert Kiyosaki’s new book, which is being published free online for the time being, called “Conspiracy of the Rich.”  So far, I’ve read to Chapter 6, patiently waiting for the next few chapters to be complete and uploaded to the site.   Robert, who also wrote the bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad, is convinced that we’re headed into a depression (worse than a recession) because of bad debt, a corrupt banking system and the reality that the our paper money isn’t backed by anything anymore (our money will be worth nothing at some point).  Understanding our history, as well as new trends (the internet), and how money is changing, will benefit you greatly during this time period.  I recommend reading this book, finding someone whose rich (that has money coming in even if they stop working) and getting advice.

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        2.  Your personal brand

          Investing in your personal brand is going to be critical to surviving in the future because of the popularity of the internet, the fact that more business is being taken place each day on the internet and because, competitive, you have to.  There are two main things you need to know.  First, protecting your personal brand is something that you can’t neglect now because other people may share your own name and claim your digital real estate first and then charge you later (possibly).  Second, promoting your brand is how you’re going to find work during these tough times because visibility creates opportunities and because you need endorsements from other people in order to secure a job without much effort.  Obtaining digital assets in your name, such as your domain name and profiles on social networks, is what’s going to get your name out there, at the cost of your time.   During this recession, you’ll need to spend more of your time on building your brand because you’ll need to invest your money to be financial stable.

          3.  Building strong relationships

          It’s not just about forming any type of relationship.  During this economic crisis, strong ties are going to count and weak ties are going to break.  The key is figuring out who you want to be extra close with and being honest with yourself as to who you think will actually take care of you and become your “safe haven.”  Your family and closest friends will hopefully be there for you, but, depending on their own interests and financial situation, things may change a bit.  Relationships are more valuable than money because they can help you become more productive, allow you to scale your personal brand so you can service more people (clients/management), and because they can help you stay employed or find a new job.  Aside from investing in your financial education and your personal brand, spend at least 10 hours a week forging stronger relationships with other people.

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          Last Updated on January 2, 2019

          How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

          How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

          Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

          Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

          Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

          This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

          Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

          What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

          Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

          When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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          How It Leads to Financial Improvement

          It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

          Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

          Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

          It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

          Types of Personal Finance Software

          When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

          Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

          For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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          Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

          When to Use Personal Finance Software

          So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

          Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

          1. You Have Multiple Accounts

          There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

          If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

          Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

          2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

          Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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          There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

          With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

          3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

          Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

          Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

          Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

          4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

          Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

          You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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          How to Get Started

          From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

          Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

          It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

          When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

          Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

          Final Thoughts

          Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

          In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

          Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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