Building An Emergency Fund – A Vital Part of Financial Planning

612

None of us have the ability to foresee the future or predict the hurdles which lie ahead of us. This makes building an emergency fund a financial priority. Building an emergency fund is healthy for your financial well being, since you’re rarely given advance notice of a setback or an accident which will keep you out of work for an extended period. It is also a safety net that can save you from bankruptcy or severe financial hardships in the event of an unexpected change in your income or expenses.

Personal Finance, Planning, Financial Planning, Emergency Fund, Rainy Day Fund, Worst Case

None of us have the ability to foresee the future or predict the hurdles which lie ahead of us. This makes building an emergency fund a financial priority. Building an emergency fund is healthy for your financial well being, since you’re rarely given advance notice of a setback or an accident which will keep you out of work for an extended period. It is also a safety net that can save you from bankruptcy or severe financial hardships in the event of an unexpected change in your income or expenses.

Housing a small rainy day fund should be a vital part of an individual’s financial goals. This is of high importance if you don’t already have readily available funds in your account for covering any unanticipated expenses. They provide financial security because they give you funds to fall back on if you become ill, or if you or your spouse loses your job, you incur large medical bills, or have an unexpected large bill such as a major car or home repair. You do not want to end up in a situation where you have to buy daily necessities on credit and end up payments on groceries you bought two years back on credit, with a further 10-18% interest on it.

Saving your money in an small account for emergencies is definitely a better alternative to taking a loan or cashing in your long-term investments. If you take a loan, there is the additional burden of paying interest. Encashment of your investments before maturity means not only will you lose out the interest, but also some part of the original investment. This will also set you back significantly in your overall financial plan.

Success at building an emergency fund depends on consistency of saving money on a regular basis, and resisting the urge to dip into this rainy day fund for non-emergencies. This money should be kept separate from the general savings account. Otherwise you will be tempted to dip into these monies even if you simply run over your budget at a certain point. A substantial part of this emergency fund account should be invested in low risk funds. This ensures that your investment does not lose its value in case you need the money. Also, it should be extremely liquid, to give you access to the cash easily and quickly if you need it.

The size of the special savings account will depend on your personal situation. People often keep three to six months?salary in the reserve. But you will have to decide on an appropriate amount based factors such as your dependants and fixed monthly expenses.

If you are single with no obligations, and have a reliable support system of friends or relatives during a financial crisis, you might not need a substantial amount stashed in this fund. This is opposed to someone who needs to pay nursing costs for his aging parents and supporting a young family. The more people you support, the more likely you are to have unexpected or unplanned costs.

While making a decision about an emergency fund, you should also take into account the degree of difficulty you’d have in finding a new job if you lost the present one. In case of a two-income household, the contribution of both parties should be weighed while calculating how much you should keep aside.

You may not be able to gather your emergency fund money together at once. Treat it as a financial goal and add to the kitty over time. If you get a tax refund, put it in your special rainy day account. Maybe a part of the bonus at work!

Do You Know What’s Going On With Your Pension Plan?

481

Provides information and tips on how you can stay informed of the changes to your pension plan.

pension plan, pension, employee pension plan,retirement,retirement fund

That’s a good question, do you know whether or not your pension plan is stable, and if so will it remain that way? Well, if you’re part of your employers pension plan, you should find out the answers to these questions. Once you find out, stay informed about your pension plan.

You say you know you have a pension plan but really don’t know what this is. A pension plan is a retirement account that your employer contributes funds as part of your future retirement. The amount paid to your retirement fund by your employer is based on the number of years you have worked and the amount of income you have earned.

How long will it take for me to become eligible for my employer’s pension plan? It is normally between 3-5 years that you become eligible for the plan offered by your employer.

What if I no longer work for the employer after I become eligible will I still be vested? Yes.

I hear some employers have terminated their pension plans, why is this? Some employers are finding it very expensive to continue with their pension plans due to: increased number of retirees, low interest rates and instability of the stock market.

My employer is terminating our pension plan, how will this affect me? The government agency Pension Benefit Guaraty Corporation will pick up pension payments when the employer defaults. Note, this agency pays a certain amount of your pension benefits on an annual basis. Unfortunately in most cases you will receive less for your annual pension amount then you would normally have received via your employer.

Is there any way to know if my employer’s pension plan is in trouble? If your company is showing signs of financial trouble, normally the first thing to go is the pension plan. If you are trying to find out if your employer may be headed for financial trouble consider checking the following: financial news information on your company, newspaper financial section, stock market, business financial magazines and the internet.

I just recently found out that an employer I worked for a few years ago just went out of business. How would I find out about the status of my pension plan that I had with this employer, I’ve been unable to contact them directly? If your past or former employer defaulted on it’s pension plan, check the Pension Benefit Guaraty Corporation website at www.pbgc.gov to see if this program has taken over the handling of your former employer’s plan.

Stay on top of your pension plan, by keeping yourself informed of your plan’s current status. This is important because your pension is part of your retirement for your future! If you don’t stay informed about your pension, you may loose valuable funds that are important for your future retirement funds.

Boost your savings

444

It is general knowledge that residents of the United Kingdom are typically not savers.

loans, uk finance

It is general knowledge that residents of the United Kingdom are typically not savers. They tend to spend much more than they save; according to studies, saving money is not as popular as it once was. Saving is extremely important to the quality of life you expect to live in the future. Think about it, what would happen if your car suddenly quit working? What would you do if the heater or refrigerator within your home just decided to give up one day? Imagine a situation where an emergency occurred and you had to travel immediately for some reason, what would you do?

Saving your money within an account can be an excellent source of immediate funds for an unexpected emergency. It makes a great deal of sense to simply put away money into an interest bearing account for these types of events, instead of having to take out a loan or bill a credit card for them. If you do either of these things will result in more debt and higher interest payments. Many experts believe that you need to set your priorities in the right direction and you should attempt to, over time, save an equal to your salary over a three month period.

Many people may find this a lot of money to put back when bills need to be paid, that is fine, consider saving as much as you possibly can without setting yourself into a deeper hole. If you simply saved ?00 a week over a three-month period you would have saved ?,200 (not including any interest accrued), that would likely pay for a broke refrigerator or a significant amount on a new or repaired heater. There are many different types of savings accounts that you can consider, some of which do not require substantial deposits.

Typically, a banking institution will access a tax on the interest prior to adding it into your savings account, for example a taxpayer at the basic rate level will be accessed twenty (20) percent, while a taxpayer at a higher rate will be accessed forty (40) percent. For those who do not pay taxes, no taxes are deducted from the interest. For those who are non-taxpayers, you will be required to fill out a R85 form, this will allow you to avoid the taxes and receive the total interest accrued on the account.

One thing people should definitely consider is an ISA (Individual Savings Account), the government of the United Kingdom, created these types of accounts in efforts to encourage residents to save their money. In this account, they allow you to save your money in an amount of ?,000 or less yearly, that will be considered tax-free.

5 Simple Ways To Lower Your Monthly Bills ?And Save Lots Of Money!

430

Here you’re going to learn several ways to save money every month by lowering your monthly bills.

There are lots of ways to save money, no matter how much of it you have – or don’t have!

Having struggled for many years paying my own bills, I learned many ways to save money. From simple things like food, gas, and clothing, to bigger expenses, like insurance and your mortgage.

All you need to know is where to look to find the savings.

Several Ways To Save Money

save money, get out of debt, monthly bills

Here you’re going to learn several ways to save money every month by lowering your monthly bills.

There are lots of ways to save money, no matter how much of it you have – or don’t have!

Having struggled for many years paying my own bills, I learned many ways to save money. From simple things like food, gas, and clothing, to bigger expenses, like insurance and your mortgage.

All you need to know is where to look to find the savings.

Several Ways To Save Money

The first thing you need to do is eliminate ALL of your unnecessary expenses:

?eating out on the weekends
?buying lunch at work every day
?magazine and newspaper subscriptions (especially those you can get online and at the local library)
?cable TV (you’d be amazed at how many other ways you’ll find to spend your time once you get rid of cable TV)
?groceries (you can save lots of money with coupons and specials.)

It’s OK to reward yourself once in a while, but if you are really looking to get out of debt faster, you owe it to yourself to save every single penny you can!

To find other ways to reduce your expenses, take a close look at your checkbook and credit card statements. You should also call your credit card companies to see if they will lower your interest rates, even if it is only for a short time.

You’ll be amazed at how many ways you can save money, especially once you start looking carefully at how you spend your money every month.

Shop Around For The Lowest Prices

For those expenses you can’t eliminate, it’s time to start shopping around for the best prices.

Once I realized you can shop around for just about ANYTHING you spend money on every month, I learned how to save myself SEVERAL HUNDRED DOLLARS each and every month!

In fact, by shopping around I ended up saving myself more than $750 a year on car insurance alone!

The same is true of many of your monthly expenses – like long distance telephone service, internet service, all types of insurance, mortgages, and in some places even your utility bills.

It DOESN’T take any special skills. All it takes is a few clicks and you can save yourself a bunch of money in no time at all!

So, if you’d like to save yourself lots of money every month – and who doesn’t – start shopping around and looking for ways to lower your monthly bills right away!

7 Tips on Preventing Identity Theft

366

In the course of the day, you do many activities that put your personal information at risk – from writing a check at the store to charging merchandise in person or over the phone. You may not think twice about these transactions, but others might.

7 Tips on Preventing Identity Theft

In the course of the day, you do many activities that put your personal information at risk – from writing a check at the store to charging merchandise in person or over the phone. You may not think twice about these transactions, but others might.

Identity theft – when a perpetrator assumes someone’s identity for personal or financial gain, like stealing a credit card to make financial transactions in the victim’s name – is the fastest-growing crime in America.

According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, there were almost 10 million cases of identity theft in 2004, which cost consumers $5 billion.

The National Citizens’ Crime Prevention Campaign, sponsored by the National Crime Prevention Council, aims to educate consumers about what they can do to prevent identity theft. The council offers the following tips.

* Do not give out your personal information unless you initiate the contact or know the person or company with whom you are dealing. Also, never disclose personal information, such as a Social Security number or bank account number, in response to an email. Legitimate businesses will not ask you to do this.

* Do not disclose your credit card number to an online vendor unless it is encrypted and the site is secure. Look at the first part of the Web address on your browser. It should read “https://.”

* Do not write your Social Security number or telephone number on checks or credit card receipts.

* Remove all documents with personal information from your hard drive before discarding your computer or sending it in for repair.

* Shred discarded documents, including preapproved credit card applications, bank statements, store receipts and utility bills. “Dumpster divers” can gain access to your personal information if such items are thrown in the trash.

* Cancel all credit cards that have not been used in the last six months. Open credit is a prime target for thieves.

* Order your credit report at least twice a year and report any mistakes to the credit reporting agency in writing.

If you are a victim of identity theft, contact your local police department as soon as possible. If your identity was stolen in one jurisdiction but used in another, you may have to report the crime in both jurisdictions.