5 Ways To Use Credit Cards Wisely In The Coming Year

As the year 2023 rolls in, I have decided, after many a setback, to be more careful while using my cards, especially credit cards. Credit cards are the black holes of the financial world; everyone knows what they are, but very few people actually know everything there is to know about them.

I won’t be getting into the nitty-gritty of credit cards and all there is to know about them as I am no financial expert (not even by any proverbial stretch of the imagination!) I am merely an artist, trying to live off my art and striving to not drown under the debts incurred because of the rates of interest because of my credit card bills!

So as someone who uses credit cards regularly (Way more than I probably should) I have resolved to be wise while using my credit cards in the coming year.

5 Ways To Use Credit Cards Wisely In The Coming Year

1. Spend within your means

Overspending while using a credit card is an extremely easy and alluring trap to fall into because the money is RIGHT THERE! But wait, is it really?! That money is not there, it is the money that you will pay in the FUTURE! So you are actually spending the money you do not have right now. But the illusion is pretty solid, and that’s what the credit card system is based on. So be smart and spend only where necessary and do NOT spend beyond your means at any cost.

2. Understand the terms of use properly

Let’s face it, no one, at least no one who is not a financial genius, can fully understand what credit card terms really are. So be vigilant and try to understand as much as you can. Ask the guy at the bank, do your own research online as well as by asking friends in the finance sector and by doing some extra legwork because, in the end, it would pay off really well as the knowledge would be with you for life and hopefully, you’d pass it on to your kids and other family members too.

Trust me when I say people are surprisingly ignorant of how credit cards really work and keep on paying without ever fully realising what are their rates of interest at all!

3. Maintain a separate budget

Maintaining a budget sheet is always advisable. Nothing complex, just a basic one where you can see everything that you spend so that you are aware of where your money is going. One dedicated to your credit card will help you keep a score and an eye on what’s really going on without having to rely on the monthly statements.

You can use a simple calculator too to help you create a budget and calculate the interest rates as per your credit card terms like this one. But remember to keep it simple because you just want to be aware in order to not spend beyond your means and not get lost in the technical hoo-ha of the credit card’s financial system.

4. Make payments & repayments on time

Make payments and repayments on time. In fact, if possible, make them before time. Not only will it save you the hassle of avoiding the late fee, but it will also help you in maintaining or even improve your credit score. Set a reminder on your phone and make those payments on time or before and successfully ditch the charges and the negative impact the score can have on your overall financial health.

5. Be wary of the subscriptions

I call subscriptions a big TRAP because that’s what they are. This year alone, I spent over $500 in subscriptions without even realizing I spent so much on them!

Netflix, Buzzsprout, Zoom, WordPress, Audible, Prime, Disney Hotstar, and a couple hundred other OTTs, cable TV, a couple of writing mags and software, online newspapers and ebook websites and BOOM! I was paying so much that I felt so crippled when my brother, who is a finance graduate, pointed it out to me. So now. I am off half of those and have paid for them in yearly bills to save on the monthly subscriptions.

So in these 5 ways, you can use credit cards wisely in the coming year and be in a better place both financially and mentally.

I hope you’ll find these tips helpful. Do you like using credit cards and the ease they provide, or are you sceptical of them and try to avoid them at any cost?

Please share your experiences regarding credit card usage in the comments below as I’d love to hear your experiences too!

5 Ways To Improve Your Finances in 2023

After being hit by the pandemic, the entire world is still reeling from the consequences they had to face emotionally, physically, and financially.

As the end of 2022 is almost upon us, here are a few suggestions for you to improve your finances in the coming year of 2023 and make this a better year for you both financially and mentally, as better finances translate to increased peace of mind.

5 Ways To Improve Your Finances in 2023

1) Create a Budget (and Stick to it!)

Creating a budget is a habit that will never go to waste. You will always know how much you are receiving and how much to spend based on your income, which cuts the scope of overspending to a great spend, provided that you stick to it.

Since it is the holiday season, keep in mind to not overspend and keep your budget updated at all timed.

2) Map out smart investments

Take advice from someone who’d already invested well and has been reaping the benefits for quite a while. Don’t go too big; start small and be consistent. Remember to create and stay within your threshold for loss. This will save you from unnecessary stress.

Do check SMSF: Self-Managed Super Fund Property Investment

3) Prepare a plan to repay debts smartly

While planning your budget, always keep room for repaying your debts, but make sure to do it in a way that it doesn’t cause you unnecessary stress. As tempting as it may be, don’t pay your debts all at once. Pay little by little.

4) Prepare your will

A lot of people, especially younger people, do not consider making their will necessary. But as a simple rule of thumb that should be applicable in all cases where an individual earns money and has assets is that they should have a will. Having a will would ensure that your assets are well-disbursed in the unlikely event of your death, no matter how small or insignificant you think your assets might be.

5) Find a source (or two) for passive income

Never rely on a single source of income. In the coming year, if you don’t already have an additional source of income, especially a passive income, then get to work on it because you’d be surprised by the level of ease it would offer you in your day-to-day expenses.

With these points in mind, hopefully, your next financial year would be better than the previous one.

5 Important Factors To Consider Before Buying A New Car

More often than not, buying a new car, especially one’s first car, is one of the most important and the biggest decisions of one’s life. And just like any other important decision, before taking such a huge step, a careful consideration is important as is market research.

Today I will be sharing 5 important factors that should be considered before buying a new car to help you make an informed decision.

5 Important Factors To Consider Before Buying A New Car

1 Car Type

The first thing that you need to consider is need Vs want. You ming want to buy an SUV, but if you need is that if a small hatchback, then why waste money on an impractical SUV or maybe a shiny new sedan. Or maybe you simply need a practical second-hand station wagon instead of the new convertible that’ll definitely be difficult to park just anywhere.

2 Budget & Financing

The next thing on my personal list is financing. My father was a car collector and owned more than 12 luxury cars in his 60 years of life. The one thing I can tell you from my own experience (and his) is that the first thing you need to consider before buying a car (or anything that expensive) is to figure out your budget and the financing schemes and options available in the market. There might be a million schemes, of course, but you need to make an informed decision and consult a friend or a wealth manager and figure out the best finance scheme that would sit comfortably in your budget and that would easily accommodate the price of the car you’ve been eyeing. Or simply use a webiste like CarPaymentCalculator.net and use their features like ability to calculate car price that fits a monthly payment or loan payment amounts, printable amortization schedules, figuring your MPG, calculating your fuel budget, exploring the cost of underwater trade ins and saving money with biweekly payments.

You can even visit websites like NerdWallet or CreditKarma to better understand your credit scores and figure out the loan amount before actually applying for the loan.

3 Features & Technology

While it is important to know what kind of car you need, it is also important to know what features you want your car to have. For example, airbags, navigation, automatic windows and locking mechanisms, folding seats, air conditioning type, etc. These things also affect the cost of the car so it is always advisable to consider these things before you actually finalise the options.

4 Insurance Policy

Insurance policy and roadside assistance are major players when it comes to buying a car. You need to make sure that the insurance policy and assistance you are going for will cover the majority of the situations or scenarios that you might possibly get involved in. For example, if you are into a lot of road trips then make sure that you have complete roadside assistance and anti-theft and accidental protection as opposed to petty theft and damages.

Age and the premium amount that you are willing to pay, play a big role in determining the quality of your insurance policy so make sure to investigate thoroughly and do the required groundwork with your insurance agent before settling for an insurance policy.

5 Residual Value

While buying a car you don’t just have to think of the present but also the future, so thinking of what the car will fetch you after a couple of years if you decide to sell it off and go for another car is always smart. Some cars and models have a high residual value as opposed to others. If you are sure to not sell then this might not matter much, but most people upgrade their cars on a regular basis -especially keeping in mind the technological advancements, so it is always better to have the option of being able to sell your car in the future for a good price a good idea.

So these are some factors to consider before buying a new car. If you have anything more to add (there are many other things that have not been added in this article for the sake of brevity) then please feel free to share them in the comments below. We welcome all views and comments 🙂

Top 3 Strategise To Retire Comfortably

After having spent our entire lives studying, working and earning money, retirement seems to be like the light at the end of the tunnel for many, but for other, it can be a dark and cold cloud; it all depends on how you plan for it and how well you prepare.

Many people don’t have the habit of thinking ahead, at least not so far ahead that they start preparing for their retirement until it is too close. But this is where most people go wrong and hence, the dark and cold cloud lingers.

In order to have a comfortable and peaceful retirement, it is important to strategies and plan as soon as you can possibly begin, no matter how young or old you may be. Today, I am here with my Top 3 Strategise To Retire Comfortably which will offer you an insight into how you can start preparing for the sweet sixty (or fifty in case you retire at 50.)

Top 3 Strategise To Retire Comfortably

1. Invest Wisely

Investment is the one thing that will keep you happy and secure when you walk into your retirement. All the investments that you’ve invested in in your younger years will bear fruits once you retire. Therefore it is necessary to invest in notably affordable but smart investment schemes, possibly taking help with a financial advisor (in case if you lack the knowledge.) Make sure to invest not only in government but also in profitable private bonds and schemes too. And do not forget to invest in a good medical plans. Click here to find some great investment solutions in Australia.

2. Downsize Your Debts

Start downsizing or if possible finishing off your debts. You do not want to walk into your retirement with the worry of paying mortgages or to lenders once you stop working and earning. The lesser debts you have going into your retirement, the more peaceful and secure your retirement would be. So start now and work towards clearing off your debts.

3. Keep Your Insurances Updated & Renewed

Never default on your insurance, especially when you are near your retirement. Insurance companies always try to find loopholes in order to hold off your money, so don’t be naive or lazy and give them a reason to stop or delay your fruits of labour. Make sure all your insurances are repaid and renewed in time so that once your time of maturity comes, you can claim your money without any hassle.

So these are some tips on planning an easy and comfortable retirement. There are many more ways in which you can make your retirement a comfortable experience for not only yourself but also for your family, but this is a great place to start. Start now, start small and slowly and steadily build from there. It would be far better than not having prepared for your retirement at all.

If you have any more suggestions to add to this list then do let us know in the comments below.

5 Tips To Make A Great First Impression With New Clients

“First impressions matter. Experts say we size up new people in somewhere between 30 seconds and two minutes.”
– Elliott Abrams

When it comes to making a sale and developing long-lasting relationships with your clients, one must make sure to present their best self to create not only an impressive but also impactful first impression. Your first impression of a client will most likely be the deciding factor whether the client chooses to go ahead with you or your business or company or not. And as you already know, this choice would be detrimental to your as well as your business/company’s growth.

But how can one make sure to put the right foot forward when it comes to making a great and long-lasting first impression with new clients? Read on to find out my 5 tips to make a great first impression with new clients.

5 Tips To Make A Great First Impression With New Clients

1. Research Your Client In Advance

A little research on who your client is and what their general business model or style is will help you figure will go a long way. It will not only give you an advantageous starting point but will also help you in steering the conversation in the right (or fruitful) direction. Spending some time in finding out about your clients’ needs will help you in presenting yourself in a better way because you will already know what is it that they are seeking. New clients welcome eager candidates and always appreciate the work you will put into the research.

2. Be Punctual

Never be late for a meeting! Ever! This is the unspoken rule of any client meeting, new or old. If you are late to your first meeting with a new client the message that you send across is that you are unreliable and that is never a good way to start off a meeting with someone who can cost your business. So always be on time, better yes, be 10 minutes early. Spend that time going over your notes for the meeting and giving your client research a quick once over. You can also use this time to calm your nerves by doing some breathing exercises as it will help you put forward a relaxed posture.

3. Be Polite

Always be polite; not too over-friendly and loud or too reserved and intimidating. Try to develop a cozy rapport with your client and a smooth rhythm that will instantly put your client at ease. This will be very crucial as the first 5 minutes of the meeting will set the tone for the rest of it. So make sure you are polite and greet them with the required curtesy, a firm handshake and a confident smile on your face.

4. Be A Good Listener

Don’t just talk, give your client enough time to share their ideas, vision and goals with you. Try to understand what they say and go ahead according to what they tell you. After sharing the details of your proposal always give enough time to and encourage your client for asking questions or doubts they may have regarding your presentation. Listen to those concerns and try your best to answer their queries with as much assurance as you can. This will give your client the much-needed confidence to go ahead with you or your business thinking that your customer service will be reliable.

5. Focus On Your Body Language

Be relaxed yet attentive. Smile and nod often. Don’t come off as either too eager to please the client or too off-putting. You have to maintain a straight-backed yet forthcoming posture, letting the client feel relaxed and comfortable in your company. The client needs to feel at ease while talking to you and should be able to trust you and what you are trying to see (whether it is a product or a service or an idea.)

So these are the ways in which you can make a great first impression with new clients. If you have any more tips or some experiences related to this then feel free to share them in the comments section below!

5 Important Laws In The US

Amidst the raging war between Russia and Ukraine, it makes one wonder about where the world is headed, socially as well as politically. When we look at the horrible images and videos continuously running on the channels covering the ongoing war, it makes us question what humans can be reduced to – practically nothing.

In times of such uncertainty, I have been thinking about the laws and bills that keeps a country going and helps the governments make their people feel safer if not entirely safe. Here is a list of the 5 most important laws in the US that played a key role in stabilising US as the world’s leading country as it is today.

5 Important Laws In The US

1. Civil Rights Act (1964):

In 1964, Congress passed Public Law 88-352 (78 Stat. 241). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Provisions of this civil rights act forbade discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as, race in hiring, promoting, and firing.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and later sexual orientation and gender identity.

If you need Civil Litigators, then visit Wade Law Group: https://wadelitigation.com/civil-litigation/

Source - https://www.dol.gov/agencies/oasam/civil-rights-center/statutes/civil-rights-act-of-1964 & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964

2. Voting Rights Act (1965)

This act was signed into law on August 6, 1965, by President Lyndon Johnson. It outlawed the discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests as a prerequisite to voting.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting.[7][8] It was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson during the height of the civil rights movement on August 6, 1965, and Congress later amended the Act five times to expand its protections.[7] Designed to enforce the voting rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Act sought to secure the right to vote for racial minorities throughout the country, especially in the South. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Act is considered to be the most effective piece of federal civil rights legislation ever enacted in the country.[9] It is also “one o…

Source - https://www.archives.gov/milestone-documents/voting-rights-act#:~:text=This%20act%20was%20signed%20into,as%20a%20prerequisite%20to%20voting & https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_Rights_Act_of_1965

3. Medicare and Medicaid acts (1965)

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare and Medicaid Act, also known as the Social Security Amendments of 1965, into law. It established Medicare, a health insurance program for the elderly, and Medicaid, a health insurance program for people with limited income.

The Social Security Amendments of 1965, Pub.L. 89–97, 79 Stat. 286, enacted July 30, 1965, was legislation in the United States whose most important provisions resulted in creation of two programs: Medicare and Medicaid. The legislation initially provided federal health insurance for the elderly (over 65) and for financially challenged families.

Source - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security_Amendments_of_1965 & https://www.archives.gov/milestone-documents/medicare-and-medicaid-act#:~:text=On%20July%2030%2C%201965%2C%20President,for%20people%20with%20limited%20income

4. National Defense Education Act (1958)

The National Defense Education Act of 1958 became one of the most successful legislative initiatives in higher education. It established the legitimacy of federal funding of higher education and made substantial funds available for low-cost student loans, boosting public and private colleges and universities.

The National Defense Education Act (NDEA) was signed into law on September 2, 1958, providing funding to United States education institutions at all levels.[1] An Act to strengthen the national defense and to encourage and assist in the expansion and improvement of educational programs to meet critical national needs and for other purposes.

Source - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Education_Act & https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Sputnik_Spurs_Passage_of_National_Defense_Education_Act.htm

5. Economic Recovery Tax Act (1981)

The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (ERTA) was the largest tax cut in U.S. history. Signed by President Ronald Reagan about six months after he took office, ERTA slashed the top income tax rate and allowed for faster expensing of depreciable assets.

The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (ERTA), or Kemp–Roth Tax Cut, was an Act that introduced a major tax cut, which was designed to encourage economic growth. The federal law enacted by the 97th US Congress and signed into law by US President Ronald Reagan. The Accelerated Cost Recovery System (ACRS)[1] was a major component of the Act and was amended in 1986 to become the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS.)

Source - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_Recovery_Tax_Act_of_1981 & https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/economic-recovery-tax-act.asp#:~:text=The%20Economic%20Recovery%20Tax%20Act%20of%201981%20(ERTA)%20was%20the,faster%20expensing%20of%20depreciable%20assets

I hope this article will provide you some insight into the fundamental laws of the US and how it sets it apart from other countries.