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The 5 Money Nightmares You Can Avoid While Traveling

The 5 Money Nightmares You Can Avoid While Traveling

I’ve been mugged, had my identity stolen and been ripped off overseas more times than I can count. For seasoned travellers these things are part of the job description. If you’re planning to go overseas or have found yourself in one of these situations, here’s how to tackle five money nightmares every traveller risks encountering – because no holiday should be cut short due to money misadventures.

Identity theft

A close friend had his identity stolen at an Australian airport. Had he of known where he threw his trash, it may have been different.

    source:picjumbo.com

    An English friend of mine arrived in Sydney to the news that a personal loan he’d taken out was maxed out. This is devastating news for anyone to hear, but it’s even worse when you never took out a personal loan to begin with. Turns out someone had stolen his identity from a plane ticket stub he had thrown in the airport bin.

    You always think identity theft won’t happen to you until it does – take extra precautions when you’re moving from place to place and dispose carefully of anything with your details on it. As it turns out, you need to know where your personal details are disposed of even in the relative safety of Australia, and though you don’t think about it initially the hardest part of identity theft isn’t regaining your identity but rather repairing it. Luckily, the Federal Trade Commission detail steps on retracing your alter ego.

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    Mugging

    Having cash on you is important when travelling. It’s also pretty important to thieves.

      source:picjumbo.com

      I was mugged in Amsterdam of all places, but luckily the thief only got away with 20 Euros. This is because I listened to the advice of a fellow, seasoned traveler: I split up my money and then sewed a pouch under my chest pocket to keep my passport, ID and credit cards safe. This is why listening to other travelers experiences is so vital – you can ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to you, and that your belongings remain yours.

      Credit card account hijacking

      You’ll be paying for some pretty crazy things while abroad – just make sure all your transactions are actually yours.

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        source:pixabay.com

        I had already been stung by some unexpected overseas fees and ATM withdrawal fees, but it was after a night out with friends abroad that I noticed some unusual transactions on my credit card (It was also then that I remembered the waitstaff staring at my card during payment multiple times that night).

        I didn’t waste any time – I called the bank and they reversed the charges immediately. This ease of reversing charges is one of the godsends of credit cards – If I’d been using a debit card it might not have been as quick a turn-around. In certain situations it always helps to be using credit as banks may be able to retrieve funds more quickly.

        Make sure your card is going to work with you when you travel and be mindful of how you’re spending on your credit card overseas.  In any case, your bank will tell you what you need to do the second something fishy appears on your statements.

        Getting stuck with no cash

        Cash is king, so make sure you always have access to it.

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          source:gratisphotography.com

          Everyone knows South-East Asia is the world capital of bartering prices, so I wanted to make sure I actually had cash to barter with. I went for a travel card with no foreign transaction fees, so I was only paying for money I was actually spending. Many travel money cards also let you lock in exchange rates, so you know how much cash you have to spend before you leave.

          Make sure you’ll be able to withdraw cash from ATMs in the country you’ll be visiting, otherwise your negotiation powers may not be that influential for very long. Oh, and for those of you with little negotiating skills, here’s a quick guide to get you up to speed.

          Getting ripped off when exchanging currencies

          You’re going to have to hand over cash this holiday, so make sure it’s to the best hands possible. 

            source:pixabay.com

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            Arriving in Heathrow airport for the first time and with no local currency, getting to an exchange service was my first priority. Spotting a foreign exchange stand in the airport, I couldn’t believe my luck – I wasn’t even in London yet. Once I was in London, however, I noticed that the exchange rates on offer outside of the cushy airport were much lower, with some being almost half the price. Like domestic travel, don’t just look for the quickest deals on services – get your money’s worth by looking for the best deal possible

            Just because you’re travelling, it doesn’t mean you should care less about prices. Give every financial decision the same weight you would as if you were making it at home.

             

            Traveling offers you no plenty of surprises, but they’re not all going to be free hotel room upgrades. Next time you travel be smart about your finances and savvy with your cash to avoid waking up in a scene from The Hangover.

            Featured photo credit: picjumbo.com via media.lifehack.org

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            Published on May 7, 2019

            How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

            How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

            When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

            Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

            Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

            You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

            Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

            1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

            Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

            But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

            • Will you spend more time with your family?
            • What does retirement mean to you?
            • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

            Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

            Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

            2. Figure out When to Invest

            “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

            It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

            The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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            A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

            Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

            3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

            Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

            Why?

            Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

            Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

            Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

            Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

            4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

            Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

            If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

            You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

            1. Vanguard
            2. TD Ameritrade
            3. Charles Schwab

            5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

            Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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            Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

            That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

            Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

            A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

            6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

            The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

            Robo Advisors

            Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

            Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

            Bonds

            Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

            Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

            Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

            1. Treasury bonds
            2. Government bonds
            3. Corporate bonds
            4. Foreign bonds
            5. Mortgage-backed bonds
            6. Municipal bonds

            Mutual Funds

            Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

            One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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            Real Estate

            Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

            Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

            This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

            But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

            Savings Accounts

            Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

            7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

            Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

            So how can you master delayed gratification?

            By building your discipline.

            Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

            Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

            8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

            I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

            It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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            More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

            But, how can you invest yourself?

            Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

            Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

            But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

            Retire Happy with Excess Money

            The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

            It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

            I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

            Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

            One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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            Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

            Reference

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