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6 Sales Traps You Need To Avoid If You Want To Get Rich

6 Sales Traps You Need To Avoid If You Want To Get Rich

Most of us have an inner desire to develop wealth, primarily because it affords us the type of financial security that makes life easier. There are a number of misconceptions that surround the accumulation of wealth, including the assertion that people can’t get rich simply because they earn too little. This is a consequence rather than a cause, and the fact remains that people struggle to accumulate wealth largely because they spend too much time and money on things that lack value.

A reckless approach to expenditure or a lack of focus will undermine any attempts to generate income, whereas frugality and hard work will drive success. In practical terms, those with a desire to build wealth must avoid prominent sales traps. These schemes are used by companies across multiple sectors to target those with a propensity to spend impulsively, although they rarely offer anything of tangible or long-term value. This is also an issue with short-term investment plans, so you must tread carefully when faced with the following examples:

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1. Marking down a marked up price

When companies or distributors hold sales events, you could be forgiven for thinking that any subsequent purchases represent far greater value than usual. It is not unusual for sales teams to inflate the price of a particular product in the weeks prior to a sale, however, before reducing this drastically and creating the false impression of value. Although huge reductions in excess of 50% are extremely enticing to customers, this means nothing if the original sale price was manipulated to mislead individuals about a particular product’s value. To avoid this, you need to take responsibility as a customer, recognize the dangers and shop around aggressively for the best possible deal. A specific percentage discount does not translate into pure savings, as it simply reduces either the manufacturer’s suggested retail price or the one initially set by the distributor. By comparing prices across the market, you can delve beyond individual deals and achieve value for your hard earned money.

2. The lure of exclusivity

Online price comparison technology has proved extremely challenging to retailers, as it creates an informed and motivated army of customers who are less susceptible to traditional sales techniques. This is where the concept of exclusivity comes into play, as this is a ploy used by stores to justify high price points and deter consumers from shopping around. By marketing goods as part of an “exclusive line” that is not available anywhere else, retailers can drive a far harder bargain and force the hand of impatient customers. This has proven to be a successful scheme, especially when it is aimed at impulsive spenders who are in the market for a specific product. Exclusivity deals are usually restricted to specific regions, meaning that you may be able to find your chosen product elsewhere. These deals are usually signed for a fixed period of time, and once this has passed the product will become available in other stores nationwide. Patience is therefore crucial, while more flexible customers can also shop around for a similar product that serves the same purpose.

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3. Persistence wins the day

The majority of successful salespeople are aggressive self-starters, meaning that they are generally self-reliant and persistent in the pursuit of their goals. This leads us to another common sales trap, through which customers are implored to make a purchase as a way of satisfying a relentless and driven sales effort. Although this is an obvious trap that relies more on direct communication and tenacity than psychology, customers can easily be influenced to buy if they feel pressured by the attentions of a sales representative. In this instance, the key is to remain grounded and communicate authoritatively with salespeople. If you have no need or desire for a specific product or service, remember that this is unlikely to change throughout the course of any dialogue. By focusing on this and communicating your stance clearly to a sales team, you can quickly discourage them from pursuing your custom. Time represents money to salespeople (especially those who rely on commission), so they are unlikely to chase leads where the customer shows a clear and unwavering lack of interest.

4. The art of accessorizing

Have you visited a furniture store recently? If so, you will have probably noticed perfectly standard centerpiece items, such as beds or sofas, adorned with a number of high end and visually engaging accessories. While the store will justify this by claiming that such a practice helps customers to visualize how their property will look in a fully decorated and accessorized room, it actually serves to enhance the appeal of ancillary products that are not included in the sale price of the core product. Not only does this make the core product itself look more enticing, but it also drives additional purchases. Awareness is crucial in this instance, as once you recognize this sales trap you can refocus on your needs as a consumer. The first step is to make a concise list of everything that you need prior to hitting the high street, while also establishing a fixed and viable budget for the trip. In order to ensure that the core product in question meets your needs, you should also look to strip it of any accessories or ancillary items before making a final decision. You could even bring in some of you own accessories from home, as this will present the product in a more realistic light.

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5. When insurance has no purpose

In addition to corporeal items, there are also a number of lucrative insurance products sold on an annual basis. As the ongoing controversy surrounding PPI claims proves, however, not all of these products offer value to the buyer or are sold in an ethical manner. There are two damaging sales traps to be wary of in this instance, as vendors will either sell erroneous policies that offer no discernible value or inadequate coverage that fails to deliver long-term, financial savings. The former policies tend to be sold aggressively by call center operatives, and they usually look to capitalize on client ignorance or gaps in knowledge. How do you avoid the insurance sales trap? The first step is to assume the role of aggressor when communicating with service providers, especially if you are in need of a specific product. More specifically, you will need to set out exactly what you are in the market for, detailing your need, budget and any additional data that helps to reduce risk. If you are contacted directly by a firm offering their products, you should also look to challenge their knowledge and ask them to clearly explain the terms, purpose and salient points of the policy.

6. The quest for high-yield, short-term investments

In the quest to build wealth, you may be tempted by any of a number of investment opportunities. You will need to be cautious, however, as the demand for instant, high returns has triggered a rise in the number of risk-laden schemes and ill-considered investment traps. While some of these investment opportunities may well have the capacity to trigger quick returns, they are primarily aimed at inexperienced investors who fail to understand the relationship between risk, return and long-term gains. To avoid this, you will need to research your chosen market and ensure that there is an opportunity to earn reliable, long-term gains that offer a suitable reward for your investment. The market for sustainable assets and green investment is particularly strong at present, for example, especially when you consider that there are now viable technologies that reduce carbon emissions and consumption in sectors such as fuel, energy, and even data storage. This trend is likely to continue for the future, making this a far more suitable investment option than those that revolve around real estate flipping and pyramid schemes.

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Featured photo credit: Wallet Credit Card Cash Money/Steve PB via pixabay.com

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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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