9 Interesting Ways to Get Your Financial Life in Shape, Directly From Your Phone

In the tech-savvy era, your phone would be your one-stop solution for almost everything such as shopping, notepad, time tracker, calculator, music playlist so why not use it as your financial advisor as well. Today, there’s an app for everything so it makes sense to get the best out of it. There are many apps and chatbots that sync with your credit cards and bank accounts, which provide all the control straight from your phone.

9 Interesting Ways to Get Your Financial Life in Shape, Directly From Your Phone

But which app is right for you?

As you scroll down the play store to check for apps, there will be numerous apps in a list and you might get frustrated if don’t find the right one. Some apps just not worth downloading and it might be just of time. Once you have the right app with all the requisite data filled and bank account synched, then you can just relax and let the app be your financial advisor. The app would help you stay on top with your bill payments and look for areas where you can save more. Automate the process to handle finance and see how easily you can handle your finance straight from your phone. Your financial advisor is just in your hand and can be controlled from anywhere, anytime. We share with you 9 interesting apps or chatbots that will help you save more and rescue you from visiting bank every time and there’s no room for any overdue fee.

9 finance apps for the tech-savvy people:

The all-in-one app: Mint

Mint, is the app for those who wish to pay all bills at one place. It may take more time to set up than other apps; however, it’s an all-inclusive app for credit card statements, investments, bank accounts & more. Also, track all bill payments, set due date reminders to avoid any late payment charges. Download Mint: App store&Google play.

Your trip planner app: Trail Wallet

Trail Wallet is your personal travel planner that handles all the money matters related to your travel, right from your travel expenses to exchange rate conversions so that you can enjoy your travel with eating, shopping & sightseeing. Download Trail Wallet: App store.

Track all your expense reports, app: Expensify

Tracking down all the monthly expenses and filling receipts is never fun but with Expensify, you won’t feel the pain of it. Create a new report plus click a photo of your receipt, the inbuilt scanner will filter the important information like a place, amount etc. and add it in the entry. Download Expensify: App store&Google play.

See where your money goes, app: Spendee

Similar to Mint but Spendee is easy to navigate as it comes with infographics that give you an idea about where you’re spending more. Additionally, you can invite friends & family to add their expenses and make it a shared expense. Download Spendee: App store&Google play.

To save more money, app: Digit

If you want to save more money, then Digit is the right app for you. It connects to your checking account and analyses your spending pattern to look for any small amount which can be used as savings. Further, it moves this small amount to an insured savings account and is completely secure. Download Digit: App store&Google play.

Track how much you owe a friend, app: Venmo

Gone are the days when we used to struggle with splitting bar tabs and bugging our friends to pay the share, all thanks to Venmo. It’s best when dealing with smaller transactions and keeps a note of how much you owe others without payments stocking in your head. The latest version is integrated with iMessage and Siri that allows you to do secure on spot payments without the need to open the Venmo app. Download Venmo: App store&Google play.

For the freelancers, app: Tycoon

For any freelancer, the toughest part of work is to track payments. So, with Tycoon, it becomes an easy process by just creating entries for all the various jobs and you get a notification for any payment made or payment overdue. In the case of overdue, you can set up an automated email as a reminder to your employer. Download Tycoon: App store&Google play.

For banking questions, app: MyKAI

Today, there are bots for everything ranging from giving gift ideas, recipes, clothing & more. Mykai is a financial bot that syncs with your bank account, Venmo account & credit cards. Once done, you can text Kai regarding personal (Where did I spend more last month?) and general financial questions. Download Mykai: Kasisto

To find deals, ATMs & more

Most of us, don’t utilize the primary bank apps which can provide information about the deals, nearest ATMs & other services. Majority of the banks like Citi, Bank of America&Chase provide free apps for the customers to track their bank statements, cash back deals & more. You can even deposit a check through the app.

Summing up

Make your finance journey a techie experience and explore the ease yourself with the above-mentioned apps.]]>

Your Complete Beginner’s Guide to 401(K) Plans

Your Complete Beginner’s Guide to 401(K) Plans

What is 401(k)?

401(k) is indeed an amazing tool that helps you to save for your retirement and enjoy the benefits at the time of retirement. It is like a savings account in which you put a part of your money right from your paycheck. The good thing is you don’t have to pay any taxes now for this amount but you’ll have to pay it once you retire. And, the post-retirement income would obviously be less and hence you will end up paying less tax.

What are its benefits?

  • Tax benefits
  • Flexible choices for investments
  • Employer’s contribution (Employer match)
  • Manage loans and hardship withdrawals
  • Portable

Have you heard about Roth 401(k)?

It is more or less similar to normal 401(k) plan but the main difference is that you will have to pay the taxes yearly. However, on a positive note, you don’t owe anything to the bank at the time of retirement. All the money saved in your account can be taken as such once you retire.

What happens to your money once you put it in the 401(k) account?

A 401(k) might seem like normal savings account on the outskirts but is not. One of the best things about saving your money in 401(k) account is that you can decide from the options given by your company on what should happen to your money. In general, the options offered are:
  • The safe option: Keep the money safe in your account and get a steady return (small returns).
  • More volatile and risky option: Invest in stocks or real estate and grab good returns.
  • The mediocre option: Invest in bonds and get returns.
  • Try a small hand in all!
When you see lots of options, chances are you might be unsure about which one to choose. The risk factor might be the main criteria to choose when it comes to huge chunks of investment and there are chances to lose all of it. Once you have saved a good amount, the thought of losing it in stocks might be a nightmare. “Life is all about taking risks. If you never take a risk, you will never achieve your dreams.”~Unknown But before you jump into conclusion, keep in mind that more the number of years for your retirement, the more time you have to take the risk. However, you will have enough time to recover your loses(if any). On the positive outlook, you can have enormous gains in these years. Whether to invest more or less (short-term or long-term) depends on the number of years left for your retirement.

How about the mix of investment options?

Have you heard about something called “Target-date retirement funds”? This is an incredible option when you’re not much sure of right investment option for you and you don’t want to put all your hard-earned money at stake. What is target-date retirement fund? The target-date retirement fund is a combination of all possible investment options such as stocks, bonds, real-estates and cash. There are other potential options as well such as international stocks, save in foreign currency, precious metals etc. Initially, it starts with stocks then moves to less risky options like bonds to no-risk options of cash with the time of retirement. The below table gives you a better idea of how target-date retirement fund works:
S No. Time left for retirement       Risk Type of investment
1 20 years or more Most risky Stocks
2 10 years risky Bonds/ real estate
3 5 years No-risk cash
 

What if you don’t have a 401(k) option?

 If in case, 401(k) plan is not available to you then you have the opportunity to set a similar option where you put your money in the account and withdraw it in retirement. There are lots of investment firms that help you to set up a program similar to 401(k) and open an individual retirement account (IRA).  Here, the amount does come from your paycheck instead it comes from your checking account.

Utilize the employer match funds!

If your employer offers a matching fund with the 401(k) plan, don’t miss it for any reason. Sometimes, the employer contributes the same % of funds as you (10%- you & 10% – your employer) and thus there is already twice the amount saved in your account for your retirement.

Summing up

401(k) is ideally a wise move and if your employer offers that along with matching fund, then not taking it up would be the foolish thing to do. Once you retire, the money in your 401(k) account would serve as the income along with your social security check. Hope this guide helped you to understand 401(k) in a better way.]]>

Personal Financial Lessons From Comic Book Superheroes

As the fan of comic books and superheroes we try to mimic a lot of things from the characters. Their way of leading a life creates some examples in front of us to follow.

Financial Lessons From Superheroes

Here is the list of a few superheroes and their unique way of living, which might increase the desire in you to lead a simple life – frugal life.

Spider Man:

Spider Man ranks on top among all the superheroes of the world. The love this guy has been getting since a long time is simply awesome. Peter Parker is a regular guy, who earns some money by indulging in freelancing photography.

Unlike Batman, Spider Man is a commoner who does not like to spend too much money in making his costume. On the other hand, he always makes his spidey costume all by himself.

Thus, we should all follow this normal way of living like Spider Man, where he opts for doing everything by himself. Spending too much money on useless items should never be there in your agenda.

Super Man:

If you are really willing to find some thrifty ways of living life then, you should definitely think about following the lifestyles of our beloved superheroes. When it comes to having a discussion over the most frugal comic characters, then there is no reason for us to discard Super Man from the list. The Man of Steel truly knows how to lead a normal life without spending too much on the items of luxury.

Super Man’s same old costume and cloak also reflect his strong belief in maintaining a simple but unique way of living. He likes to save all his earning for the future needs. As there is no need for him to spend some big bucks in impressing Lois, he can think about saving his salary for the future. This frugal nature of Super Man is enough for us to become interested in leading a planned life like him.

We all love to spend some quality time with our favorite characters of childhood. In spite of getting some happy moments, we can also learn a lot of things from these comic characters. Leading a humble but frugal life should be the main mantra of your life, just like your lovable superheroes.

Hulk:

If you truly want to learn the thrifty ways of living life then, you must observe the unique lifestyles of your favorite comic characters. Hulk can actually be your ideal when it comes to lead a simple life without any hint of luxury.

As he is a homeless wanderer, he doesn’t need to bother about the cost of fooding and lodging. After becoming a huge-green monster, Bruce can easily stay away from the civilization month after month. As a monster, he doesn’t need to depend on grocery and continue living by hunting. The regular bills, which we all have to pay does not trouble Bruce at all.

His another habit can actually be an ultimate thing for you to follow. Bruce does not carry any credit card with him as he always likes to maintain all his expenditures with cash. This would also help you to keep a track of all your spending habits.

Goku:

Goku is one of those superheroes from whom we should all learn the art of simple living. This incredible character of Dragon Ball Z, surely knows how to lead a simple,  rustic life in spite of transporting himself to the outer space. Along with his wife Chi Chi, he contributes to hard toil for earning a livelihood.

Above all Goku is quite comfortable with his same orange uniform and black boots and does not feel the necessity of buying some new apparels.

The way Goku leads his life is definitely amazing and we all should try to imitate that particular way of living where he tries to save some money for securing his future.

Flash:

He is one of the most famous and loving characters to the admirers of superheroes. His amazing speed has provided him with an opportunity of being present in two different places at a time.

Flash is a character, who holds the capacity of managing everything single handed. From taking care of the household jobs to fighting crime, he has the capability of doing everything. Thus, in spite of being a policeman, he can also deal with all the other pieces of stuff too. As he is a compassionate traveler, who keeps on traveling throughout the world, he knows some great places to get everything at a cheap price. But, the main reason why we should follow the lifestyle of this superhero is, he doesn’t own a car. Thus, there is no need for him to think about the increasing cost of fuel.

The commoners should also think about cutting the cost of living like their lovable superhero Flash.

]]>

Why You Should Invest For Your Retirement?

One of the most daunting financial challenges a person faces is ensuring that the savings built during his/her career will support him/her through retirement. However, it does not have to be that hard. You can plan well in advance and have a hassle-free retirement. The thumb rule to follow is set a budget and self-fund your retirement. But how to do it?

The basic idea behind budgeting is to create a plan on how to spend money and determining in advance how much money will be sufficient to do the things one needs to do or would like to do.

Why You Should Invest For Your Retirement?

Let us start by making your worries fly away. Before you set a budget, let us see the common mistakes that we incur during the planning stage.

Retirement Planning Mistake #1: Living Too Large

The first question one needs to keep in mind while creating their retirement plan is, ‘how much income do I need to maintain my current lifestyle in retirement?’   Not surprisingly, the vast majority doesn’t know the answer to this question or they’ve made an inaccurate assumption. Living too large might be vulnerable if you don’t plan for your retirement.

Studies show that we need about 80% of our current annual income in retirement. Things to note is that in general, retirees spend more on travel, entertainment and eating out especially earlier on in retirement when they have the time and good health to enjoy those activities. But in their later years, the main thing that plays a role in the healthcare and the cost can escalate.

Although it is important to make some assumptions, so as to have a pretty good estimate of how much you’ll need to save.

Retirement Planning Mistake #2: Disregarding Higher Health Care Costs

One of the most overlooked areas of retirement planning is estimating what health care costs could be in retirement, and including this in the calculation of income needs.

Fidelity estimated that a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2016 will need an estimated $260,000 to cover health care costs in retirement, according to Fidelity’s Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate. This is a six percent increase over last year’s estimate of $245,000 and the highest estimate since calculations began in 2002.

Retirement Planning Mistake #3: No Long-Term Care Plan

Anyone who has cared for an ageing parent knows first-hand the toll it can take on their loved ones and their savings. Both the time and money needed to give quality care can be staggering.

Check out all possible long-term care options and how you need to plan to pay for these future expenses if you need to.

Experts suggest that it is wise to plan for your retirement from the day you start earning.

Let us glance through seven rules of retirement planning advocated by experts for decades:

Rule 1: List down your financial goals

Your spending choices depend on your financial goal, so be wise enough to set realistic goals. A question you need to ask yourself before you set goals: One year down the line, what should be your financial status and achievements? List down your answer and decide your priorities.

Rule 2: Know your income and expenses

You probably know how much you earn each month but have you wondered where it all goes? Find out by tracking what you are spending. Spend as you normally would, but for a few weeks, jot down every cent you spend. It’s easy and you might be amazed by what you find out.

Rule 3: Categorize your needs and wants

Before you set your feet to buy anything, ask yourself -Do I really want this or do I even need it? If it is not something that is necessary at this point of time, then skip it. When you spend on something, ask yourself if it takes you closer to your financial goals or further away?

Rule 4: What’s your budget?

Ensure that you don’t end up spending more than you make. A good balance in your budget can help you save more. Your budget should accommodate everything you need to pay for like monthly bills, groceries, rentals etc.

Rule 5: List, plan and act

Your spending should match the time when you receive your income. Plan in advance how you would utilize your paycheques and pay according to your list. List down your necessities and allocate money for housing, food, utilities, transportation, etc. Also, track down your debt payments, unexpected expenses, savings, and the fun stuff.

Rule 6: Seasonal Expenses

Sometimes things crop up suddenly and if you don’t prepare in advance you might end-up in trouble. Things like school expenses, new shoes or an annual membership etc. that might require you to set money aside to pay for these expenses without going into debt.

Rule 7: Plan ahead to save more

Planning a budget and live with it can take a month or two to just fit in. All of a sudden, you cannot bind yourself to a budget, so give yourself some time to gel.

Summing up

Planning your retirement is an essential step if you want to be merry and enjoy your retirement phase. Once you have saved enough for your retirement do not think of taking money out of your retirement savings until you retire. Lastly, there is no one size fits all approach to retirement planning. Most resources tell you to save a lot and invest wisely but it all depends on how well you follow it.

]]>