Financial Planning – The Key To Your Lifelong Success

Financial planning is not limited to asset allocation, mutual funds, and fixed-income investments – planning should include every aspect of your life.

Should you apply for that credit card? What type of car insurance should you buy? Should we save for our child’s college or put money in our IRA’s instead? These and many more questions are all part of financial planning.

The Larry Rule – A Little Known Financial Planning Fact

Larry Lindsey is not a famous name, even in financial circles. Currently, Mr. Lindsey is the chief economic advisor to the Bush Administration. In 1996, he was a Federal Reserve Board Governor – and he was denied for a Toys ‘R Us credit card!

To apply or not to apply, that is the planning question. Larry Lindsey, who had excellent credit and a high-income level, set out to demonstrate a flaw in credit scoring algorithms.

He simply applied for every retail store credit card he was offered, and in no time he had “too many inquiries.” Never mind the fact that he had millions in assets and nary a late payment in his 30-year credit history.

Knowing the Larry Rule is key to your financial planning. If you apply for retail store credit cards every time you are asked to do so, it will have negative effects on your credit.

You may then be asked to pay a higher interest rate on your mortgage or home equity loan, which could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Sacrificing $10,000 for a 10 percent discount at Fashion Bug is not smart planning!

Auto Insurance and Financial Planning

Most people think of insurance as a legal necessity, but in reality, it is a financial product, and that’s important to keep in mind. Don’t ever buy insurance just because it’s legally required or in order to give yourself peace of mind. Insurance must serve a financial planning purpose!

You need to have a planning strategy in mind when you purchase auto insurance. The insurance company’s goal is to get you to pay more in premiums than you take out in claims – thus, they profit.

Your goal should to pay as little in premiums as possible in order to be adequately covered. You don’t want to have to use your auto insurance, but at the same time, you don’t want to be subsidizing the bad drivers who take out more in claims than they pay in.

In order to develop a financial planning strategy for auto insurance, it’s important that you become as educated as possible on the subject. Luckily, there are dozens of great sites on the internet that provide free information on the various types of auto insurance plans, and the particular laws of your state.

Everyone has to own some form of auto insurance, and thus it should be the cornerstone of any intelligent planning strategy.

The Financial Planning Dilemma – College vs. Retirement

American parents love their children and will do almost anything to ensure they have every possible advantage. As a result, many parents save for their children’s college instead of saving for their own retirement. This act of selflessness is usually not a good planning strategy.

In order to avoid this mistake, one must have a decent understanding of financial planning tax implications. Most college savings accounts are taxed on some level, whereas financial planning products for retirement purposes generally are not. What’s more, saving for your child’s college can prevent him or her from receiving the maximum financial aid available.

In other words, by foregoing your retirement in favor of your child’s college, you are actually subsidizing the children of less responsible parents – or smarter parents who chose to save for their own retirement, in light of these facts.

Getting Over Someone

Basic question here: how can I tell when I’m over someone and ready to be with someone else?

- C.G., Boston, MA

That is a basic question, but not a simple one. I’m not sure I can even answer it.

Sometimes hearing someone else’s experiences put things in perspective. Here is a situation concerning a person I dated, how I personally view it, and how I make it work for me. Maybe this example will help clear things up a little bit for you too.

In my life, I’ve seen a lot of relationships and been envious of very few. I see a lot of phoniness, relationships of convenience, and people together for all the wrong reasons.

But I knew that my relationship with her was something incredibly, incredibly special. I’d never felt anything like that; it was something totally different than all the rest I’d ever been in. It was comparing apples to oranges, as the saying goes.

In every way, I found her to be the most beautiful thing that I’d ever seen. We showed each other our best and our worst and remained together because we believed in each other as individuals and believed in us as a couple.

It’s interesting to think of all the things we are taught and all we are not. People are taught a million things growing up: how to read, how to use a stove without burning their hands, how to fold a towel, how to drive, and so on.

But we’re never taught some of the things that are imperative in relationships; we’re somehow expected to learn them as we go and by trial and error. I, like many others, never learned how to trust someone to give them all of my feelings, so I’d always held something back, which isn’t fair.

I also never learned how to forgive someone that I loved when they hurt me. And I certainly never learned what to do when you find someone who is perfect for you. It sounds like such a great thing, but it can be one of the most overwhelming feelings you ever experience because you want it to work out more than you want anything else in your life.

And sometimes, by the time you start to realize these things, it’s too late to make everything right.

Making her cry was the worst thing I’ve ever done and just thinking about it hurts me more than anything I’ve ever lost, never achieved, failed at, or I could really explain here.

And now she’s gone. We had talked about “forever” but this isn’t the kind of “forever” I thought we meant.

Who we were at the time we made our memories, we’ll always be – that man will always love that woman and that woman will always love him just as much. I still miss so many things about her, namely counting on – and believing in – us.

I still think about her every day and wonder, wonder, and wonder. I made her an enormous part of my life and now that she’s gone, that life as I knew it is too.

The pain is normal. But don’t think that because you feel pain you can’t move on. What happened between the two of you obviously affected you, so the hurting is expected. Truthfully, and unfortunately, it may be felt for a long, long time.

If you think about it, you probably still don’t feel great about the moment you found out you didn’t get that job you really wanted or a pet that died when you were a kid. You may never feel perfectly fine about this situation either.

What I realized, and what you must too, is that you have to move on. They have. They have their own life going, and whether it’s them being alone or them being with someone else – it’s still them being without you.

There is no other option; you can’t stay closed off and emotionally unavailable forever in hopes they will change their mind about you or that it will work out somehow. Knowing when to let go and move forward it is the hard part.

You don’t want to do it when you’re emotionally unavailable, angry at life, or will be anything but the best person you can be to whomever it is you end up with next. I don’t know if you’re there. Maybe you don’t even know if you’re there.

Financial Services Funds For A Down Market

Buying into a financial services fund may not seem like the best idea, especially with the amount of instability in financial markets right now. But many experts and investors are saying that now is the time to invest in these kinds of funds. With prices so low, they are only going to grow from here on out as the financial climate of the nation continues to be repaired.Financial services funds are a type of mutual fund that is specifically focused on banks, lending institutions and other financial services companies. Mutual funds allow investors to get into the stock market without spending a lot of money on one type of stock. With a mutual fund, you are technically pooling your money with other parties and buying stocks as a group. The manager of the mutual fund will choose the stocks or bonds that will offer the best return for the category.Financial services funds offer a better deal than investing in financial services directly. When you use a mutual fund such as this, you get a number of different advantages. Your money is diversified across many different companies and institutions. If one financial institution has trouble, you aren’t left up a creek without a paddle. The rest of your mutual fund portfolio should balance out the hits that the individual company is taking.Another benefit of investing in the financial sector with mutual funds is that you get professional management of your funds. The financial services fund’s manager has the experience necessary to be able to determine when to buy and when to sell specific stocks and bonds. Their experience will help your money grow.Pooling your money also allows you to have more cost efficiency. If you have $5,000 to invest, you may be able to buy shares in two to three companies. However, when you invest in a mutual fund in the financial services sector, your money will be spread out far more equally. Mutual funds can contain stocks and bonds for up to 100 different companies. When you invest this way, you’ll be able to spread your money over a wide variety of companies which can act as a measure of protection.In late 2008 and early 2009, financial services funds were fairing too well. Based on the trouble with banks and lending institutions due to the stock market slumps, it’s easy to see why many people would shy away from investing in this sector. However, history shows that after a financial crisis the financial services industries have been boosted up in the following years. After the early 1990s recession, financial services funds rose 30% in 1992 giving investors a nice profit. Purchasing a financial services fund, or any fund for that matter, is not something that should be gone into lightly. Before you place your money in a fund, you should research the history of the fund, the company that runs the fund and even the fund managers. Once you evaluate this information you can figure out if investing in financial services through mutual funds will be your best bet.

Electronic Editions Of Board Games

Many of the classic board games are easily adapted so that they can be played in a number of ways. Computer games are so advanced these days that pretty much anything can be played on one. Video games as well can have the option of allowing players to find classic games on these systems. One of the greatest things about these electronic editions of classic board games is that it can allow multiplayer options without needing those players to actually be present. Through networking and the Internet, anyone can play games with people from all around the world.

Monopoly, Clue, and Risk are three of the biggest board games which have found life through computer games and the Internet. All of these games can be found with electronic editions that will allow you to connect with other players over the Internet and play a highly competitive game with people that you may have never even met. They all have options as well which allow you to play against the computer, meaning that you do not need any other people to actually be present in order to enjoy the board game.

This can be a great feature for killing some time in an enjoyable way. Traditionally, the only way to play any of those games was with a group of people and since that can often be harder to organize than one would immediately think, the option to play against some computer opponents can allow you to enjoy the fun of Monopoly, Risk, or Clue at any time that you wish.

Those aren’t the only three games available with computer play, though. Chess was one of the earliest games adapted to the computer and any number of editions of chess can be found for a player. Chess against the computer can actually be one of the hardest games available, as well as one of the most addictive. Playing against a computer has actually been one of the features of many different chess tournaments, trying to figure out once and for all how well the computer chess systems were written. (It actually turns out that most of the best players in the world can beat some of the hardest computer systems for while the computers can calculate every possibility in the world, they are not so good at handling the random aspects of a game and planning for a change of tactics.)

Networking with others on the Internet to play these board games can actually be a great way to make some new friends as well. Playing a great game with someone can raise a lot of camaraderie between people and when you are looking for a good game in the future, you might be able to find it again with the person you played in the past. After finding a good opponent with them and playing a number of games, you may find that you actually have more in common than just a love of games. In this way, electronic board games can actually benefit you in more ways than just one!

Food For Thought When Travelling

That’s what most people try to tell themselves when they go travelling. The stress of remembering the lights you left on in the house, the rubbish you forgot to throw out or the toothcrush that didn’t make it into your suitcase will make your trip agonizing.

If you’re one of the people above then you know that life’s little lessons are tried and true – buy a travel checklist. This will help you to ensure that your essential travelling documents like passport, flight tickets and itinerary are with you as well as your tanning cream and bathing suit.

Finding the right packing style for your trip is actually kind of fun. Even if you don’t know where you’re going yet or about how much you want to pack with you, take the time to shopg and compare. You can compare the measurements and weight of suitcases, flight bags, carry on luggage, garment bags, and hand bags online or in the retailers near you. Try to look for accessories that are light but of durable quality. Lots of sales assistants try to sell you the colors you’re looking for and don’t think about what you need to put in the case. The more appealing cases and bags, usually high quality, tend to be the heaviest of them all. When you find something you like, literally weigh it out in your mind before buy it.

Travel diaries and disposable cameras are a very important of your trip. Without these accessories you have no real way of recalling the most craziest and most fascinating experiences you’re about to have. You know what it’s like when you ask someone how their holiday was and they tell you they saw the beach and a couple tourist areas and took in a show in the evening for fun. You want to see it too! Take a look online or in the shops to find the product you like and will actually use.

Most people don’t think they’ll last long on a journey before they get comfortable and fall asleep. For some that is true but for others, like me, we need something to keep us entertained. A good book to lose yourself in will take your attention off the clock and allow the chance to escape the journey into a whole different time and/or place. Best sellers can be purchased at the airport at a slightly higher cost to the average retailer or bookstore but usually carry a wide selection.

Pronunciation: Get Better In Another Language

Pronunciation can affect how we communicate. Many people, who have had a go at learning a foreign language, have experienced that sinking feeling when they try a well-constructed sentence in another language only to be met with a blank face.

Why is this?

Languages are built on sounds. If I speak English and live in an English-speaking country I expect a speaker to say sounds in a particular way. In French or Spanish I would expect to hear different sounds. When we can’t recognise the sound we try and adjust how we are listening, a bit like tuning a radio, but if we can’t guess the sound, the chances are we won’t understand what is being said.

The Blocks of Pronunciation

Pronunciation has two main aspects to it, physically producing it and the sound that is produced from it, the hearing of the sound. As we get older the ability to do both of these, i.e. physically work out how to make the sound and recognise it, can diminish. This doesn’t mean we can’t continue to learn new languages but we need some extra tricks to help us.

Let’s look at some ideas on what we can do when we learn a new language.

How am I saying it?

Try saying the letters. Notice how your mouth is working. If you don’t know how a sound is physically made you may find it harder to say it.

What sounds are the same?

English has many more sounds than other languages but it also has a lot of sounds in common with other languages. Good dictionaries in a new language will usually offer an English sound or word to compare with. Use it to check what sounds are similar.

Which sounds are hard to say?

Go through the alphabet of the new language and mark out the ones you find hard to say. Give them some attention. Try and physically make the sound and see how your mouth works. Say the alphabet. Look at how children use the alphabet song in English to help them remember the alphabet, doing the same in a new language will also help memorise the letters and sounds.

Read out loud.

Find some reading form your course book or any other book. There are two advantages here. One you get to say the letters and words. Secondly you get to practise sounds that you expect to hear and you become accustomed to the sounds of the language.

How good do I need to be?

There is much discussion on this. For many of us the ability to get by in other languages is good enough. If we can say what we want, simply, slowly and the person we are speaking to, can understand us, then our pronunciation is probably good enough. After that it is a matter of choice. Some people become very good at other languages and get to very good levels of pronunciation. Not many of us are such gifted linguists but there’s no reason why we can’t make the words so that people can understand us.

General Of Financial Services

The most highly regulated sector in the world is financial services and this is likely to continue and accelerate. Financial institutions struggle with complex data systems and procedures and must comply with strict reporting requirements from the regulatory bodies to protect their assets and customer data. Additionally, financial services organizations are clearly the target of both individual and organized fraud. Key to meeting regulatory audit requirements and detecting fraud is the ability to collect and analyze log and event data from both IT infrastructure and applications.

The technical and economic challenges of storing terabytes of log and event data, the systems of record from applications used for customer transactions, are staggering, and traditional security, log management and data warehouse database solutions are poorly suited to address the challenges of both data volume and query access. Event Data Warehouse solutions that provide actionable results from massive amounts of log and event data.

More and more consumers need access to sound financial products and independent, honest financial advice. The government requires financial product makers and sellers to be licensed. Among other things this scheme gives increased legitimacy to financial advisers.

Benefits to the Financial Services Sector:

The Centre for Financial Services works with key allied partners to anticipate industry direction and fulfill its changing needs. It is committed to providing leading edge, cost effective and customized education, as well as professional development and training programs to assist firms to train and develop their people to keep pace with competition.

1. A pool of well educated, highly trained graduates and co-op students
2. Curriculum and training integrated with the newest technology to meet the changing job requirements in the global workplace
3. Highly trained financial services educators and instructors
4. Top facilities and resources for collaborative applied research
5. Teaching fellowship opportunities
6. Client contact centre laboratories for employee training
7. A forum for financial industry partners to exchange ideas
8. A business network into the private and public sector

The 7 Steps Of Do-it-yourself Financial Planning

You are in control

You are already your own financial planner. Regardless of the extent of help you receive from professionals, you ultimately are the decision maker and you are responsible for your own finances. Although the financial world has become increasingly complex, it is becoming easier today to do a lot of your own planning. The variety of resources has expanded such as software for money management and planning; online tools for banking, financial planning and investing, and resources, and books and blogs that are easy to understand. These resources may be good news for you if the cost of professional fee only financial planners is out-of-reach to you. Besides the cost of fees, others may avoid planners because they have heard stories of advisors trying to sell a product that didn’t fit their situation. Cost savings and avoiding product pitches are excellent benefits of being your own planner.

Everyone should take a more active role in their financial affairs. Not only does it help with educated decision making and fraud avoidance it also helps you better communicate with your other professional advisors such as your accountant and attorney. You will also find yourself spotting opportunities when they cross your path.

Becoming a better manager of your family’s finances will also help you ‘dig out’ if you are struggling financially. When you consider the low savings rates and the high household debt, many more people find themselves in this category today.

The following are 7 steps to do-it-yourself financial planning:

Step 1: Commit

The first step to financial planning always begins with commitment. Whether you are having financial difficulty, or have just avoided setting goals and mapping out a plan – commitment is the first step. Commitment provides the discipline and focus needed to help sustain you on the path towards your goals.

Step 2: Set Goals

Without specific goals and a plan to achieve them financial success stays a foggy dream. Therefore the second step is to list the dreams that will motivate you. Write down all of the goals you want to achieve in the short and long term. This will serve as the driver, or the fire in the engine giving you the motivation to move forward. Everyone has dreams, but without constant watering and attention dreams will go dormant. Leave your past mistakes and inaction behind you, light a new fire and chart a course forward. You have an enormous amount of potential and talent, and if you have made mistakes you now have more experience and wisdom. Dare to imagine what you could achieve because your best years are ahead of you.

Step 3: Assemble and Organize Information

Get your stuff together. Planning is easier if you assemble everything in one central location. Make an organized filing system either in a cabinet, accordion file, a box, any way that works for you. Now locate and file all of your tax returns, receipts, insurance policies, contracts, wills, mortgages, deeds, titles, pay stubs, employee benefit statements, banking (loan, savings and checking), bills, investment and retirement plan statements and any other important papers.

Step 4: Manage Cash Flow

Your household is a business. You need to know how much you are earning and spending each month. Balance your checkbook and establish a budget. There are dozens of books and software to help with this, and your bank’s website may provide this as well. This will help you know when and where you are overspending.

Step 5: Self Educate

Establish a sound foundational knowledge base about financial matters. Start with books about budgeting and money savings tips, debt, basic insurance and investing. Be sure to include reading about mutual funds and financial planning. Avoid get-rich-quick, real estate, gold or innovative ‘secrets’ books. Stick to the fundamentals. I find the “For Dummies, ‘For Idiots’ and ‘D-Mystified’ book series to be very helpful for many people. Lastly, stay informed about current financial topics by reading financial magazines, newspapers, the business section of papers, and blogs.

Step 6: Create a Written Plan

A written plan serves as a road map towards your financial destination. It helps you understand where you are presently and the steps that you need to take to move forward. A financial plan is a process. Your life will change, therefore you should revisit your financial plan at least once a year to make any updates or to include items in your checklist for completion. You should revisit your financial plan at least once a year to make any updates or to include items in your checklist for completion. If you write your own financial plan, you will have to obtain financial planning software. Your other options are to pay to have a written financial plan completed by a fee financial planner or by an institution or professional that provides products. Be sure to find out about how the planner is compensated and what your fees will be.

Step 7: Engage Professionals

Most people can’t entirely do all of their financial planning by themselves. Assemble a team of trusted professional advisors that you can rely on to help you implement different aspects of your plan, answer your questions and be on the lookout for you. The professionals that can be the most advantageous are a proactive tax accountant and financial advisor with extensive planning, investment and insurance knowledge, an attorney qualified in estate planning, and a banker that can help with credit ratings and debt management. Before committing to anyone, get referrals for trusted professionals from people whose opinion you respect and don’t be afraid to ask challenging questions.

How Airport Parking And Airport Hotels Make Travelling Easier In Gatwick?

Besides the businesses are growing and they can no longer survive being localized. Thus for various conferences, events, trade fairs etc even corporate engage in air travel etc. The massive increase in air travel has also led to the increase in the utilization of the services offered by Gatwick Airport Parking and Gatwick Airport Hotels. The use of same offers great savings in the budget and makes available to you superior services.

Gatwick airport parking is a smart decision if you are driving yourself to the airport. Besides international flights may have very inconvenient timings. If in case you have an early morning flight, why not start your vacations a night earlier? Instead of driving yourself to the airport at odd hours, drive in by the night, park your car in the safe Gatwick Airport Parking and then possibly go and relax in the Gatwick Airport Hotels. This way there will be no pressure to get up early else you’ll miss the flight. Wake up at your convenience and then simple board the flight.

You should also consider this if you are travelling from a far off location. Gatwick, in case you are not aware of, is the second busiest airport in London. Thus you can’t predict the traffic conditions and etc. Thus instead of being in rush, drive in early, park your vehicle in the Gatwick Airport Parking, relax in the Gatwick Airport Hotels and calmly board your flight on its scheduled time.

Gatwick airport parking services are very beneficial for you. You not only have the freedom to book in advance and online, but Gatwick Airport services provides you with chauffeur services, a meet and greet service, short-term parking, long-term parking and now even a hotel and parking option.

Besides as against to the widespread misconception that Gatwick Airport Parking is expensive and he indulgence of riches, it is in fact very affordable. Further you may also book the same sitting online and enjoy heavy discounts on the total costs, sometimes up to 60% and beyond.

And you receive responsible services at Gatwick Airport Parking. You may use the service for a short period of time or long, depending upon your need, but be assured that your vehicle will be kept safe and secure. So you may go on and enjoy the vacation or the business trip, while your vehicle will be continuously monitored, reassuring safety of it.

In case you are a little clumsy with car parking and can’t remember where you parked it and it causes a wee bit of a mess, you may also access the meet and greet services provided by Gatwick Airport parking. With the meet and greet service, you have the liberty to drive up till the terminal of the airport. There you’ll meet the driver who will carefully take the car from your and will park it in the parking area. Once when you arrive back, the driver will bring your car back to you. And don’t worry; they are all trained to do this.

Five Home Improvement Tips To Help You Transform Your House Into A Stylish Home

When deciding to transform your house into a stylish home, you can use different approaches to the various parts of the house in order to minimize your renovation costs.

- The Interior Design Approach

1. One approach that you can employ is by focusing your renovation design towards your staircase. You can change the design of your staircase to make it appear more cozy and modern or use wooden materials with carving designs to have a more traditional and yet stylish look. Redesigning your staircase would also depend on which part of your house, it is located.

2. Once you have redesigned your staircase, the part of the house where it is located should also follow to match with it. If it’s in the living room, then the living room should be redesigned as well. In renovating your living room, you can repaint the walls to match the color of your staircase railings. If the railings are made of wood, then it would best to have a wall paint colored beige or other variants of earth colors. If you still prefer a light colored wall, you can repaint the base of the wall with a darker tone of brown.

3. Aside from transforming the staircase or the ceiling you may also redesign the flooring of your house. A quick and easy way of doing this is by replacing your old flooring with laminate floorings. You can choose from the variety of materials that are used for laminate flooring. For example, if your theme is the more traditional look, then you may use the laminate flooring which resembles wooden parquet flooring. If you are looking for a more environmentally sound floor, then one of the incredibly stylish and durable bamboo flooring options currently on the market may well be a better choice.

- Transforming by Changing the Furniture

4. If renovating the entire interior of the house is too costly for your budget, you may opt to buy new furniture to replace those old and tired looking pieces that are an eyesore. You can purchase new designs of living room sofas with matching sleek and modern center and side tables. 5. You can also purchase a made to order bar if your living room has more space to accommodate this. A living room bar adds excitement and style to any boring traditionally styled living rooms.

So there you have it, five simple yet extremely effective tips for transforming your house into a stylish home. Have fun!