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Welcome To Money Smart Guides!

Overwhelmed by debt? Want to make investing a breeze? The goal of this site is to help you get out of debt and start investing for your future. If you are unsure where to start, click here to begin. I will break everything down for you in small, obtainable steps so that you can take control of your finances once and for all.

A Little At A Time Or All At Once

moneyA common problem, with many applications. But we’re talking about finance. In the lives of most, money comes in a little at a time. We work X number of hours and get $X on our paycheck or salary. Very occasionally (but in the lives of most), we get a lot of money in one fell swoop. This is typically called a “windfall”, though it can be a court settlement, an inheritance, lottery winnings, or any other several sources of big money fast.

When and if you receive funds like this, you’ll likely wonder to yourself if it’s better for you to be able to access the funds all at once or over time. After all, wouldn’t it be better to tithe it out over months or years? In fact, there are financial products which are structured to give you your money in this way. Annuities are a perfect example.

Annuities – A Little At A Time

Annuities are usually set up by someone on your behalf, though you may create one yourself. Money will be paid, gradually or all at once, into the annuity, then paid out over a set amount of time until the money is gone. That way, there’s no way to spend it all at once. This is a sort of idiot-proof approach to passing along big sums of money to another person. It’s very unlikely to blow up in someone else’s face. (It’s also why some rich parents set up a trust for their kids that only pays them a certain amount each year. It lowers the chances they blow the family fortune in one crazy night of partying.) [Read the full article]

5 Little White Lies That Will Destroy Your Insurance Claim

After a difficult working relationship comes the letter you’ve been dreading; your client’s not happy and is “seeking legal advice”. Even where client care and risk management are top of your list of priorities, it’s impossible to completely eliminate the chances of a dispute arising - but such a dispute need not be the end of the world. Now’s not the time for brushing things under the carpet - and here are five tempting little white lies that are to be resisted at all costs...“I only take on a certain type of work...”The key to dealing with client disputes in … [Read the full article]

Refinance My Car. Wait, What?

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A few years ago, I was in the market for a new car. At the time I was driving a 2001 Volkswagen Golf and to say it was nearing its end of life was an understatement. The car only had about 150,000 miles on it, but there were numerous ongoing issues:There was a small oil leak from somewhere (I couldn’t figure out where) There was another small oil leak from the turbo The transmission was starting to slip The check engine light would come on because of an issue with the exhaust There were electrical gremlins - the radio and interior lights would randomly … [Read the full article]

Pay Off Debt or Invest?

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On any given day, you can visit a random personal finance blog and I bet you will find this very question: should I pay off debt or invest in the market? The standard answer that you will find 99% of the time is if your debt is costing you more than you can earn in the market, then yes you should pay off debt.For example, let’s say you have a credit card that has an 18% interest rate. Given that 8% is a very conservative long-term return assumption for the stock market, you can see that paying off debt makes sense here. After all, why invest to earn $0.08 per … [Read the full article]

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Stock Options eTrading

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There’s no doubt that stock options eTrading is a fun and profitable approach to investing. Still, if you’re new to it, you’re probably concerned about the advantages and disadvantages involved. Let’s take a look at these now. Excitement This probably isn’t the most important advantage to list, but it’s worth mentioning that stock options eTrading is a lot of fun. Unlike other types of trading, you can log on, place a trade and see the results within minutes. … [Read the full article]

Who Can Help With Your Debt

Happy Wednesday!! Please welcome Tahnya, who will be sharing stories with us every other Wednesday. She got herself into debt trouble and dug herself out – all while being a financial planner. Learn from her debt experience so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes she did. Be sure also to check out her site, Tahyna Kristina.If you've ever sat at your computer screen looking at your bank account balances thinking "How did I let it get so out of control" or if you've ever gone to the bank and had to decide whether to pay your electric or cable bill while waiting in … [Read the full article]

Cutting Monthly Expenses: Save A Ton Of Money Each Month

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If you are like many Americans, you are struggling to get a handle on your monthly expenses. Many of you might even be living paycheck to paycheck. I’ve talked before about if you want to become wealthy, you need to focus on both sides of the wealth equation. Today, I am going to focus on the savings side of this equation. More specifically, I am going to talk about how to cut monthly expenses from your budget so that you can save a ton of money each month.In order to cut our monthly expenses the most, we are going to take a top down approach to cutting our monthly … [Read the full article]

End of June 2015 Update

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Well it is officially summer and July 4th has come and gone. Most people now are looking forward to summer vacations (if you haven’t taken one yet) and eventually Labor Day. But for now, let’s just focus on enjoying the nice weather!A lot has happened since I posted my last update the end of April. So much so that I going to get right into things and not keep you waiting! Personal Updates MoneyMy wife and I are in the home stretch with combining all of our accounts. There were some stragglers out there that needed to be taken care of and most of this is done. … [Read the full article]

Money And Freedom

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When I was younger, I wanted everything that money could buy. When I dreamt of what my future adult life looked like, it included a mansion. But not just any mansion, my mansion would have:An indoor AND an outdoor basketball court A go-kart track An indoor pool An outdoor pool and hot tub (the pool would have a tall stone wall on one side with small caves that would lead to a hidden hot tub) A heated 5+ car garage A movie theater A gym A secret room (think of Scooby-Doo turning the wall sconce to open a secret passage in the fireplace)Of course, … [Read the full article]

The Power Of Dividend Income

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Would you be interested in getting paid to invest in the stock market? Who wouldn’t? While it might sound far-fetched or even a scam, the reality is that you can get paid to invest in the stock market. In fact, you are probably getting paid and don’t even realize it. The way you get paid to invest is through earning dividends and this post is going to show you all you need to know about the power of dividend income. What Is A Dividend? In order to show you the power of dividend income, we first have to make sure that we all understand what a dividend is. A dividend … [Read the full article]