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Time,Tide, and Bill-Pay Wait For No Man

Time,Tide, and Bill-Pay Wait For No Man
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    Bills are the bad guy–your ultimate nemesis.

    At the least, they’re like those annoying second-cousins at family functions you’ve labeled as  “Hoverer” and “Close-talker.” The point is, they’re always there. No escaping. You’re tied to them.

    Because of this inescapable connection, we often let bills consume our thoughts, and—even more valuable—our precious time. We trudge through the same cycle of  worries with each glance towards the fridge and see that bill stuck there staring back, unyielding. You owe me $64, chump! And I want it by the 16th of this month or its overdue!

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    You answer back in your head. I’ll get you the money, I swear! I…I just need a little more time. I don’t get paid ‘til next week. I can’t pay it right this second. I need my paycheck first.

    Add  another three or four bills and after a while you feel like the Mob is after you (or worse, the IRS). Everyone wants your money but you have to coordinate your bills with your paychecks. It usually goes something like this:

    I’ll pay bill 1 on Monday. No. Oh right, I have these other three bills due. Bills 2, 3, and 4 are all due at about the same time. 2 definitely needs to be paid first or it’ll be turned off. Bill 3 I suppose can wait for a bit… I can definitely put that off until… when would I get paid the next time? Where’s my calendar?

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    This. Is. Exhausting.

    Which leads me to my main point. The biggest time drain in money management is trying to time bills to paychecks. Most people spend somewhere between 4-8 hours each month trying to “manage” their finances this way. Luckily, there is a way for you to cut your planning time down by 90% and regain some precious hours of your life.

    The paycheck to paycheck cycle

    First, the root problem needs to be addressed: the paycheck to paycheck cycle—a problem so many deem unavoidable. It is avoidable. The answer is not more money, rather it’s how you time your spending.

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    Create a financial safety zone by slowly building up your funds (I call it your Buffer) so you can live one month behind your earnings…and one month ahead of your bills. Translation: your take home pay from November won’t be used until December. Everything made in December won’t be touched until January, and so on. Savvy?

    Building your Buffer

    Now, how to get there. For most people, it takes about four months to save up and make this spending shift. You have a handful of options as to how to do it: Go on a spending fast—just for one month—then do it again a few months later. Any money saved can be put aside for the Buffer. Work overtime. Sell some stuff. Discontinue a few niceties (again just for a month or two). The point is, once you’ve made the timing change, spending last month’s income this month, you’re there! It’s a sprint, not a marathon.

    Living on the previous month’s earnings will allow you to streamline your bill pay process like never before. Your needed funds will be right there, already earned and ready to go. If you’re on a variable income, the guess-work will be eliminated. Bills can be taken care of in one hour or less. Throw in auto-pay options and you barely have to glance over your bills. No more wasting time on valueless activities: fretting, bill/paycheck coordinating, or stressing. The money is there. You earned it last month. Done and done.

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    Take the time to get out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle and say hello to a world of time….at least a few more hours of it, anyway.

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    Last Updated on July 20, 2021

    Financial Freedom is Not a Fantasy: 9 Secrets to Get You There

    Financial Freedom is Not a Fantasy: 9 Secrets to Get You There
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    Have you ever considered your life now, and how it would be if you had more time to spend with your family and less worries about money?

    Nowadays, financial stress is one of the most troublesome weights in life. If you’ve ever encountered financial stress, you know the difficulty of not having enough income to pay your obligations or bills.

    Many people say that money is not the ultimate goal of life. While that’s true, money certainly plays a very significant role. The meaning of financial freedom changes with the different phases of our life, but ultimately, it is something that many people strive for.

    In this article, we’ll explain how to capture that financial freedom you’ve been looking for. Read on to learn the secrets to financial freedom.

    Break Free of Your Finances

    Financial freedom is about having a constant flow of cash from your assets to cover all your regular needs.

    When you are not worried about your income, or living paycheck to paycheck, you gain a great sense of freedom. It’s the freedom to be obtain and do what you truly need to make your way through everyday life.

    Gaining financial freedom, though, is a process of growth, making small improvements and gaining emotional strength.

    Though it seems hard to believe, it is really very simple to get financial freedom.

    To do so, you simply need to make sure that your assets exceed your liabilities. In other words, you’ll need to find the sweet-spot where your residuals meet or surpass your expenses. This is something that you can achieve with the proper plan.

    While not every person will accomplish financial freedom, the potential for anyone to do so is certainly there. Anyone can achieve this success, regardless of their income level.

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    Outlined below are 9 secrets that will help you in your goals of achieving financial freedom.

    1. Stop Unnecessary Spending

    We often spend money inwardly, instead of objectively.

    For example, you may spend when you’re anxious, depressed, restless, exhausted, from fear of missing out, or to please others. This is a very unhealthy way to handle your finances.

    To stop this habitual spending, log down all your spending over the course of a month.

    Just as some people keep a food diary, keep an expense diary. Remember not to just write down how much and what you spent the money on, also include the circumstances of why you spent the money. Was it an impulse buy at the checkout line or was it something you planned to purchase?

    This increased self-awareness could enable you to avoid triggering situations in the future when you are considering an impulse buy.

    2. Plan a Monthly Budget

    This is a great opportunity to get serious.

    Take a seat with your spouse or partner and make a monthly budget based on your income, not your expenses. You are never again going to spend more cash then you have on hand.

    Overspending is the thing that led you to more financial obligations. Make sure you decide every month what is coming in and what will be going out and stick to that budget… no matter what.

    3. Cut-up Credit Cards

    Perhaps you are the type of person who always pays your credit card balance in full before the end of your billing cycle, and enjoys the reward points you gain. If this is the case, then you’re already way ahead of the game.

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    If not, you may want to consider ridding your life of the burden that credit cards bring.

    Many cards have strategies set up so that if you make a certain number of late payments, they will raise your interest rate much higher. This can really add up in the long run and you won’t be doing your financial situation any favors. If you’re prone to late payments or have a large balance due on your cards, cut them up!

    Without proper self control on credit card spending and payments, you are basically throwing your money away. To ensure that you have better control over your spending, use only cash or debit for all future purchases (and don’t forget to pay at least your minimum payment on your cut-up cards each month!).

    4. Increase Savings

    There is no doubt that for a comfortable retirement you must accumulate satisfactory savings throughout your working life.

    It’s good practice to save up to 15% of your income.

    Start with your workplace 401(k), if you have one. If not, a Roth IRA (if you are eligible) or a traditional IRA (if you are not eligible for the Roth) are the next logical steps.

    Increase in longevity means you might be able to look forward to 25 to 30 years in retirement, or possibly even significantly more. Investing now in good retirement plans will ensure that you have a guaranteed a stable monthly income when the time comes to stop working. [1]

    5. Invest Wisely

    Consider investing in funds.

    Specifically, you will gain higher returns if you invest in different types of mutual funds such as Debt funds, Equity funds and Hybrid funds with a proper balance, although it absolutely relies on your personal preferences and sense of risk taking.

    To get the most of these benefits, make sure you are investing in a variety of assets. Another resource of investing in mutual funds is SIP (Systematic Investment Plan) where you invest some money every month in funds. SIP works by averaging the per unit price of the stock.

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    Mutual fund investors are aware of the benefits of an SIP (Systematic Investment Plan). For one, it is the most secure way to invest in equity mutual plans so that wealth is created over a long period of time. This plan also helps you to gain a better sense of financial discipline, which will come in handy in all your financial endeavors.

    6. Invest in Gold

    There isn’t really a better way to invest in gold than to have the physical gold itself in your possession.

    You can purchase gold coins and bars from mints as well as from coin dealers and other private sellers.

    Another way to invest in gold is through ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds).

    These are is similar to mutual funds but they are exclusively investments of gold. ETFs are great because they offer more liquidity; the ETF owns the actual physical gold, stores it, and retains the value of the shares. These shares can then be bought and sold in the stock market, and one big benefit is that the transaction costs of gold ETFs are much lower than the that of physical gold.

    With its consistently-increasing demand, investment in gold can be very wise long-term investment to make.

    7. Stash Emergency Funds

    Whether it’s a cash gift or a work bonus, always try to save any extra money that comes your way rather than making unneeded purchases.

    If you get paid every other week, you’ll get an “extra” paycheck (three rather than the usual two) twice a year. Either save those paychecks towards your emergency funds or utilize the money to pay down other obligations, such as loans, credit cards or other debts.

    Make it hard to get your cash.

    Put your savings in an alternate bank, maybe an online bank that forces you to delay for several business days before transferred money hits your regular bank account.

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    8. Find Fabulous Mentors

    Find a mentor, such as a friend or family member, who has exceptional control over their finances and pay attention to everything they do.

    If you do not have any friends or family that are enjoying financial freedom, then find a mentor online! There are numerous blogs and guru websites featuring the advice of many people who have reached financial freedom, and they exist primarily to let you in on how to achieve it for yourself.

    There are also plentiful forums available that share tips and tricks on how to best achieve financial freedom. Read as much as you can and start changing your habits for the better.

    9. Be Extra Patient

    Patience is the key of financial success.

    Being patient can be quite tough, especially when you’re struggling with your finances, but having faith is worth it. You’ll continuously be on the right track if you are taking the proper steps above.

    So don’t be discouraged, even if you are only saving a few dollars a month; it all adds up. Within just a few years you’ll look back proudly at your accomplishments and be glad that you had the patience to get there.

    Financial Freedom for All

    Anyone can achieve financial freedom, regardless of their financial circumstance.

    Use the tips provided above to get yourself on the track to financial freedom and toss your monetary concerns out the window. If you wish to achieve a life with financial freedom for yourself and your family then you must adopt a disciplined approach towards your finances.

    Following the simple secrets above is a great start to making your money work for you, so you can work less and live more!

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Hartford Gold Group: IRA Retirement Accounts

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