Compared to some of my friends, my student loans are minuscule but nonetheless, it’s debt. And in the Personal Finance world, debt is as bad of a four-letter word as most cuss words.
Like most of us in this realm, getting rid of these debts was a main focus of mine for such a long time. It was an unhealthy obsession. I used to know exactly how much more we had left to pay. I used to know exactly how much we’ve paid in interest and I used to know that if we’d pay a little extra, exactly how much quicker we could become loan-free.
Those things were pointless.
Knowing those things isn’t fun. It isn’t going to help us get out of debt any quicker if I just knew the numbers but didn’t do anything about them. I know it was annoying to my wife because I wasn’t looking at the big picture.
It wasn’t helping anything.
All what it did was make me feel helplessly stuck and make me think that it wouldn’t be possible to enjoy life as long as we had these debts.
That’s complete and utter nonsense.
So I got to thinking recently and asked myself a couple of questions:
- Would I be any happier if I was debt-free?
- Would our quality of life improve?
- What would my wife and I even do with the money that we save?
So would I be any happier if I was debt-free? That’s a difficult question because happiness is a complex concept. I used to be very money driven. I chased promotions that I didn’t even want and I stayed in an industry that I hated for way too long because “that’s where the money was at.” Literally.
My wife hit the nail on it’s head when I was thinking about being a life insurance salesman when she said that “all that I see is the money and not what I’d have to do get it.” It was true.
I don’t think that debt was my problem. My job was.
I had this mindset that these debts were forcing me to stay at my job…that if I finally got rid of these debts once and for all, that I could finally leave my job. That’s probably why I was so obsessed with our debts in the first place.
I hated our brand new cars. I hated that I got into student loan debt to get a degree that I didn’t even want anymore.
I was full of hate and it was easy to place the blame on our debts and that’s what caused this obsession.
If you asked me if I’d be happier if I was debt-free about a year ago, I would, without hesitation, say most definitely, yes.
But if you ask me that same question today, I’m not so sure because that’s not what I’m so focused on these days.
At this point, it is what it is when it comes to our debts. They’re something that we’ve dealt with for a couple of years now so it’s just something that we go through each month. We made the decision to get new cars and get a loan for them so we’re dealing with it. They aren’t making or breaking us but it would certainly be nice to have at least one car paid off but we have other things that we need to figure out first.
I’m happier than I was a year ago with all the other major aspects of my life that these debts have taken a backseat to the more important things; mainly just enjoying life and being content with all that I have.
I didn’t want to change jobs because I didn’t want to make less money.
I didn’t want to get a dog because all I could see was the dollar signs.
I didn’t want to go on vacation because it would cost money.
What’s the point of working so hard if you can’t even enjoy it?
Back to the original question at hand….would I be happier if I was debt-free?
Yes. I would be a little happier but not as happy as I already am from no longer obsessing over debt.
Onto Question #2:
Would our quality of life improve if we were debt-free?
To a certain extent, yes. But I don’t think it would be such a drastic change. We’d still live in the same place, drive the same cars, work at the same job, and live the same lifestyle.
The only difference is that we’d be saving more.
Maybe we wouldn’t feel as guilty treating ourselves to eating out after a crazy day at work? Maybe I wouldn’t feel as bad spending so much money to go on vacation to Germany to see family so we’d go more often? Maybe life could be more spontaneous since we’d have a little more wiggle room when it came to disposable income? Maybe we’d buy a vacation home?
But if you aren’t having fun while you’re in debt, you probably won’t have much fun once you’re out of debt too. You’ll probably splurge on things you don’t really need because you “deserve” them for working so hard and depriving yourself for so long, that you’ll get right back into debt.
Last question: What would we even do with the money that we save?
Most likely, we’d save it.
When I first started my blog (nearly a year ago!) I had a page that was dedicated to my “financial commandments.” They are the rules that I try to live by and the ethos of this blog. After redesigning the website a few months ago, I realized that they had gotten lost in the shuffle.
The “commandments” were the reason I decided to create my blog and the guiding principles with which I try (and sometimes fail) to live my life. (J. from Budgets Are Sexy was also kind enough to feature the on my favorite blog ever—his own!)
A lot has changed in the 8 months since I wrote them: I paid off my debt, I
learned am learning how to be kind to myself, and I’ve made somebig life changes. But somehow, the “commandments” still ring true.
So without further ado, here they are:
1. Avoid Waste
99% of humans are wasting insanely large sums of money. Don’t be one of them
2. Only spend money on things that truly make you happy.
If it doesn’t make you happy or make you a better person, don’t even bother opening your wallet.1
3. Learn what happiness actually is
…and what it isn’t.
4. AVOID ALL FINANCIAL EXTREMES.
Never sacrifice important things like your relationships or self-care in order to get ahead financially. Instead, ignore societal norms and cut out pointless expenses. Never save money to the point of misery or spend to the point of excessive. Binging and purging is unhealthy in both eating and spending.
5. Debt is evil.
Dispose of it immediately and never take out loans again.
6. You can do anything you set your mind to
…even if it is not the norm or seems hard.
7. Saving money will make you1 happier than spending ever could.
8. Life is short and fleeting.
Financial freedom is about creating a life that allows you to focus on the things and people that truly matter. Never lose sight of those things (and people) as you work towards your goals.
Minimalism isn’t deprivation, but sometimes temporarily depriving yourself creates a path toward financial freedom. That was certainly true for me: I had six figures in debt—nearly half-a-million dollars if you include my mortgage—but today I’m debt-free. Of course, it took diligent budgeting to get there:
Cut cable TV, wrote more.
Drove less, walked more.
Cut credit cards, spent cash.
Stopped eating out, cooked meals at home.
Silenced satellite radio, meditated more.
Canceled gym membership, exercised at parks.
Lived without home Internet, used public Wi-Fi.
Sold large home, rented a smaller apartment.
Canceled magazine subscriptions, borrowed from library.
Ceased upgrading, found a détente with “outdated” tech.
Refrained from purchases, better utilized possessions.
Separated needs from wants, developed a comprehensive plan.
You see, I didn’t simply go without—I replaced expenses with alternatives, which made my momentary forfeiture feel less like a sacrifice. Interestingly, once I becamedebt-free, I was able to bring some of these indulgences back into my life, doing so deliberately, discovering which ones I could afford, which ones would add value to my life, and letting go of the rest.
How to Get a US Visa Through EB-5 Investment Options The EB-5 immigrant investor visa is certainly a fantastic US Visa category. This is usually misunderstood just like a lot of US visa categories. You should understand that the main principle of the EB-5 visa is that in exchange of obtaining an investment that is able to stimulate the economy of the US, then you can have the US visa. This kind of visa is actually intended for promoting growth and also creating new jobs and there are also three key investment options that you must know under the EB-5 visa category. You must know the three options in detail and have them reviewed. The regional center is a private or a public economic entity that has been recognized by the US citizenship and immigration services and as part of the immigrant investor pilot program. Regional center must focus on the geographic region in the US, and also make jobs with the capital investments and have an impact on the regional or national economy. Job creation can be indirect or direct and such would allow slightly more flexibility in the business plan. You have to understand that the EB-5 visa aims to promote economic development and also job creation in the US. One of the ways that it does so is with the new commercial enterprise requirement. New commercial enterprise under the US visa category is known as commercial enterprise that is established after expansion, reorganization or business restructure.
What Almost No One Knows About Options
The investor may invest the amount of capital required into the new business venture. Commercial enterprise can be defined as any profitable activity which is made for the ongoing conduct of lawful business. This may be a joint venture, sole proprietorship, holding company or corporation and other options.
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You must know that the EB-5 visa is mainly geared towards the establishment of a new commercial enterprise; however, the investor may invest in the commercial enterprise that was established on or prior the year 1990 if they fit one of the two US visa criteria. The criteria include the reorganization of the existing business or structuring it in a manner that results in new commercial enterprise and if the business is expanded due to the investment result that has 40 percent increase in the number of workers or the increase in net worth. You should also understand that the US visa category has other requirements as well that the potential investors should know. When you like to invest in the business established after or go for the reorganized or restructured business, then there is actually a job requirement that must be met. Commercial enterprise must preserve a minimum of 10 fulltime jobs to US workers. The job creation should take place in two years of the EB-5 visa holder’s admission to the US as the conditional permanent resident.
Ways to Getting an EB5 Visa One of the best ways that are available for you to get a USA green card in these current times would be through the route of your immigration investment. Known in other terms as the EB5 green card visa, this is an arrangement of sorts which will allow you in living permanently in the USA. Without the process of investment, the same privilege can actually take a person for up to 10 years in order for them to attain it. This sort of investment has to be made in any USCIS regional centers which is approved by the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Service. Investments like these will be able to enable a person in applying for an American citizenship after a period of 5 years. This means that it is possible for you to become an American citizen through a USA green card in just 6 years to making the immigration investment. It is essential that you understand that this is not a form of payment and you will not be buying citizenship from any form. This in fact is a simple investment to where you are helping the US economy and as a form of appreciation, they will be granting you your citizenship. The government actually wants more jobs to be created and since your investment helped to make it possible, the privilege will be given. Furthermore, you need to place an investment for at least $500,000 to an approved regional center. There are currently about more than 100 regional centers in America and every one of these are being operated like an organization. The investment will actually help these centers to function and it also helps you to get your visa within 6 months to 1 year of your investment on the said amount. After five years to getting a visa, you could then apply for a citizenship and get a USA green card. It is important that you know that your investment placed must be able to generate a minimum of 10 jobs in that region, which must be able to last for 2 years. Due to the fact that the setup is like that of the private companies, there are chances of risks which makes it really important to first get professional advice before you take on a big step.
What Has Changed Recently With Investments?
The popularity of the EB5 visa is increasing continuously and this is also expected to increase more. With 10,000 of such visas made each year, there is a big amount of capital and there are 100,000 new jobs being created. This kind of program is just one of the many ways of US projects which raises capital, lower unemployment rates and give assurance that you are getting the best possible candidates for US green cards.The 5 Laws of Documents And How Learn More
Everything You Need to Know about Private Money Loans Are you thinking about putting up a business of your own? Whatever the case, you actually have to have money in order to develop your ideas in the best possible way. There times when you could be thinking about expanding your business but are not sure if the bank will actually grant you the loan in order to afford it. The fact of the matter is, you are going to need money for these things. There are private money loans you can avail of when it comes to this kind of business venture. There is really no need to worry about your funding when you have these amazing establishments to rely on. The investors of these companies actually make a good return from their business so there is no need to feel guilty about it. Make sure to avail of the lower rates so you won’t have any problems paying these things off in the future. Choose companies that have an excellent reputation for providing the ideal payment plans as well. If you have found the right company yet, make sure to do some proper planning as much as possible. You will be able to make decisions a lot more efficiently when you do some research of your own. When you read more of this article then it would easier for you to avail of private money loans in the future. If you have any friends or family members who have availed of these loans in the past and were satisfied with the payment plan then make sure to ask them for some advice concerning the matter. These guys will surely give you genuine advice in more ways than one because of their concern that everything goes right for you as well. You can actually take full advantage of many other options just in case this one doesn’t really work out for you.
Finding Similarities Between Loans and Life
Building a business means making sure that everything turns out perfectly. You cannot engage in this venture when you don’t have the means to do so. You certainly don’t want things to go wrong in any way. You have to see to it that all goes according to plan by making sure all your finances are fixed and ready. Of course, there are times when you fall short of your budget and in such cases, you have to have the right company to fall back on as well. There is little to no doubt that your business would be saved with the help of private money loans. Choose companies that will not rob you with their sky high interest because that would only cause problems for you in the near future.5 Key Takeaways on the Road to Dominating Lenders
Finding the Right Tax Preparer
If you choose to hire a paid tax preparer, it is essential that you find an experienced professional. Even if someone else prepares your return, you are still answerable for the content and for any extra payments, penalty and interest that might come from a miscalculation.
You may be a resident of a state in which tax preparers have no need for a license. However, various tax professionals are licensed and certified, belonging to professional organizations that demand a specific level of education and provide continuous training. Tax preparers without qualifications may miss legit deductions and/or credits, which may have you paying more tax than you ought to. Services vary from one preparer to another, so you have to find one who provides the services you require.
Asking questions is very important if you want to ensure you are hiring a professional with the right skill level. Below are good questions to ask ahead of hiring the services of a tax preparer:
> What kind of recognized tax training do you have?
> Are you a holder of any professional licenses or designations, for example, accredited tax preparer (ATP), certified public accountant (CPA), or registered accounting practitioner (RAP)?
> Do you take continuous professional education courses from year to year?
> How long have you been working as a tax professional?
> Have you ever done a tax return similar to the one I need?
> How much do I have to pay you and how do you set your fee?
> Are you available throughout the year to help me with any difficulties I may have in the future?
> Do you provide e-filing service?
> Are you authorized and will you be able to represent me with the IRS or the state treasury if necessary?
> Can you give me a list of names of your past or current clients whom I can talk to about the quality of your work?
Consider checking with the Better Business Bureau in your area to learn about complaints against the preparer, if any.
> If the refund is to be direct deposited, will it end up in my account or yours? Your refund should always go to your account, period.
Keep away from those who assert they can fetch you more in refunds than other preparer can, those who “promise” this or that result, and those would like you to pay them a certain percentage of of your refund. Select someone you can get to after the return has been filed and is receptive to your needs. Consider that e-filed returns are more often than not processed sooner than returns which are mailed. E-filed returns are still be subjected to evaluation, and you must rely on Treasury with respect to return processing time frames, not the preparer.
Source: Online Tax
3 Frequently Made Tax Return Mistakes You Need to Avoid Despite the fact that preparing tax returns isn’t the most enjoyable thing to do, there really is no skipping the task. While preparing tax is generally tedious and time consuming, automated methods of tax preparation have made the process relatively easier and less prone to mistakes. But despite the software that people can use to prepare their tax, they aren’t always completely free of errors. It’s possible for you to go through inconvenient delays or even get insufficient refunds if your tax return has mistakes. Be sure that you get your taxes right every time by avoiding these common mistakes that people make when preparing their tax return. 1. Mathematical Errors – Majority of the mistakes that people make when preparing a tax return are caused by bad math. The reason why you really can’t risk making mistakes with the numbers is the fact that it could cause you to pay more than you really need to, or get less in the form of tax refunds. Tax preparation software is ideal for those who struggle keeping track of different, numerous computations, allowing users to automate the calculation process. It’s possible to still make mistakes though if you punch in the wrong numbers. If you plan to use a tax preparation software, at least be sure to double check your numbers to make sure everything’s error free. 2. Misspelled Names – while you might think you know your name and the names of your dependents or spouse well enough, there are still people who make errors with names. It pays to know that the IRS won’t take the time to decipher the mistake and might even completely disregard your tax return if they see that the tax identification number and name don’t match. Before you submit your tax return, be sure that you write your name correctly. For newly married individuals, you have to make sure that your name change has been recognized by the necessary government agencies are your current legitimate name before you use your spouse’s surname on your tax returns.
The Best Advice About Services I’ve Ever Written
3. Choosing the Wrong Filing Status – There are at least 5 different filing status options that you can choose from, and this should be able to define your financial capacity based on your family status. Single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, and qualifying widow/er with dependent child are the five options that you can select. The IRS will be able to determine if the tax you paid is right for your situation by finding out which of the five categories you fall under. It might seem straightforward and simple enough, but it’s easy to make a mistake here especially if you don’t know what each option entails, so do your research before you choose anything.A Simple Plan For Investigating Services
Different Models of Credit Card Terminals
In case you are suing a merchant account, you need to establish a credit card terminal to accept payments from buyers. The credit card terminals laminate the need for customers to carry cash to make payment for purchases. The security and identity of the credit card users have to be protected while trying to achieve client convenience.Among the primary factors that need to be evaluated are security features, ease of use, reliability, and charges. There are different credit card terminals offered by various vendors.
There are about four classifications of credit card terminals for merchant accounts.The brick and mortar terminal is known as the stand-alone credit card terminal. This is the predecessor of all merchant credit card terminals. Every merchant who has used merchant account is used o this type of terminal. Reading of credit cards and debit cards is their basic role. Their main components include the magnetic stripe reader, keypad, printer, pin pad and display screen. They have to be connected to a telephone line or over the internet. There are newer models that feature the EMV and NFC capabilities.
Wireless credit card processing machines are also available. They function in the same way like the stand alone credit card machines only that you can access them away from the mortar store front. The virtual credit card terminals are the other model. With this terminal, you manually upload credit cards and upload transactions from virtual locations. You only need to source a computer and internet connecting to get working.
The mobile credit card processing is the latest terminal in the world of merchant accounts. The credit card readers are mounted on your mobile phone converting it to a terminal. From Then onwards, you can swipe cards using your phone. However, one needs to download the mobile credit card processor app to make it a credit card terminal.The process, however, needs to be completed by downloading and installing a mobile credit card processor app to your phone. This technology is the way to go if your business requires high level of mobility.
The mode of operation of your business is critical in determining the type of terminal to use. The stand alone terminal remains unbeatable for stores with a high number of clients. For the online business with internet merchant accounts, they need to have the virtual credit processing terminal.The virtual credit card processing terminal is the choice for online business with internet merchant accounts. Varied price offers may be given by different vendors for the initial setup. It is also possible to get the mobile credit card reader together with the application for freeform some companies. One of the factors that can never be ignored is the transaction fees. A small difference in rates can translate to large amounts in aggregate charges. You need to compare the setup costs, the monthly fees and the fees per transaction.
How to Get Started With a Merchant Account for a Business
The merchant accounts are bank accounts that are used to accept payment made using credit cards and debit cards. It is viewed as a contract involving the retailer, the merchant bank and the payment processor with regard to the payment of the debit card and credit card transactions. Payment made by a customer using the debit card or the card for a product or service is deposited to the merchant account. The money is then transferred to the business bank account. The money is usually sent to the business bank account daily of per week. There are internet merchant accounts for businesses which transact online. Both the internet merchant account and the normal merchant account are necessary for a business that sells both online and offline.
Getting a merchant account is easy though the application has to be vetted. The different banks offering merchant accounts packages gives the merchant a chance to compare the different packages. The risk elements of a business has to be assessed before a qualification of an account. They will assess this against the returns. The length of the time a bee has been in service is given a check. Firms established over many years are viewed as less risky and more stable.
Credit history and bankruptcy are also put at a focus. The poorer the track record is, the more disadvantage, the more disadvantaged the merchant is. Being risky does not mean that a business will not get a merchant account. To minimize the risks in such a case, the initial setup costs and transaction fees will be high. The terms can be renegotiated, and the rates lowered once the business starts to use the merchant account well. The vendor will have an interest in whether the business is new to the merchant accounts or have history with the accounts. They will want to know how one fared with the account. Customers who have no history with merchant accounts do not have problems when setting up a new merchant account.
The processor will also have an interest in the credit history of the business owner. A person with bad credit will find it difficult to get a merchant account.
Using internet merchant account will attract higher charges than the offline merchant account. This is due to the riskier nature of online merchant accounts. The near recent has seen the merchant accounts work with mobile phones. To use this facility; there is an app that needs to be downloaded to the phone. The merchant can start using the account once the application has been installed on the phone. The seller has got the power to sell to customers away from the business premises.
Payday cash loans have got obvious positive aspects nevertheless they furthermore possess down sides individuals should keep in mind prior to making an application for one. The rewards include things like obtaining funds easily and receiving the chance to repay it after a while. Since it is simpler to qualify for one of those financing programs, individuals who need to have them can easily receive the funds and take care of their immediate problem without their monetary problem snowballing out of control. When there are no relatives or maybe friends accessible who can provide a quick financial loan, instant payday loans might be the ideal option. With payday loans bad credit individuals could possibly get that loan anytime nobody will give them capital based on their earlier credit score. However, there are some drawbacks to such short term loans. The key reason why most people avoid them is because they normally have a high APR. It can cost you a lot more to pay back the cash in comparison to what was really received. Occasionally, these lending options must be paid off very quickly. It really is necessary for credit seekers to understand the pay back conditions before they make a loan application. Paying back the loan around the individuals following payday may possibly cause a considerable difficulty and result in more significant credit history difficulties. Loan companies that provide expanded repayment programs make it easier for individuals that need to have immediate funds to pay it off in numerous calendar months as an alternative to two weeks. Picking direct payday lenders as opposed to ones that broker loans for several diverse loaning companies. These businesses work straight along with individuals to successfully fit these to the ideal financial loan with regard to their circumstance. Even though some folks might just need to have a modest loan they can pay back in a couple of weeks, other individuals could need a much bigger amount of money along with a for a longer time period of time to pay back the loan. These options make it less difficult for individuals to get the support they want while not wrecking their credit history or having to resort to other awkward steps similar to taking personal loans from their moms and dads or different immediate loved ones that include constraints and basic questions they just don’t want to respond to.
How Small Business Loans Can Promote Business Initiatives
It is always challenging to own small businesses. Aside from the general issues that small businesses can have, there are issues when it comes to raising some finances. It is always challenging to think of fundraising events, more specially in environments where small business owners are holding great credits. For instance, an example of a not so good credit would be self-employment since income cannot always fall into the most stable conditions. It has been said that small business owners can pay stable installments if there are income fluctuations in a particular month. Thus, it is important to keep credit ratings high in order to provide people with the best trust when they are lending you some money.
There are beneficial loans that the small business owners can avail for their particular needs. There are some institutions who might want to lend some finances to these emerging small business owners, and devise some measures to help them. These loans have been called as small business loans. When these small business loans are availed, business owners can gain access to finances that can fuel their expansions, technology, buying of tools and equipment and buying raw materials for their operations.
When dealing with small business loans, the clients are gaining access to the moderate risks which can always be the same as what regular loans are working under. These designs are for business loans in order to provide the customers with the fall back when there are risks that are involved. The lenders are the ones who are using these principles when providing the small business loans for their clients. There are lenders who are keen on keeping the best interest rates at bay for the use of these borrowers. Therefore, higher interest rates are provided to keep the fair game between the providers and the customers. To ensure security in the transactions, several lenders will choose to just offer particular amounts of small business loans, usually in partial divisions to these clients. These kinds of managing risks are what businesses and institutions are after, and can always arise in the future.
There are several differences when you look at the different small business loans available around, but be sure that you can choose according to your best advantage. Borrowers can always avail of arrangements designed to repay installments without stresses. To address issues of less credit ratings, fluctuations in income, self employment and more, you can always aim to solve various issues with particular plans that some small business loans can offer these businesses. These small business loans that have flexibility in their schemes can offer these loans with repayment terms that will not be very strict within a pre determined time.
The Significance of Financial Plans
Financial planning is described as a course of action whereby a person or a few settles goals, assesses all means and property, estimates any foreseeable future financial needs, and would make necessary plans to obtain any monetary goals they could have. It includes a range of factors, such as dollars flow management daily, selection and administration of investments, along with insurance needs. You will discover numerous elements that happen to be involved with financial preparing.
The strategy that may be created offers a customized solution that satisfies any current financial concerns in addition to offering financial protection for the future. When a person needs the most outside of the money they make, this tool can engage in a starring function in attaining that final result. Through careful financial setting up individuals or married partners can establish certain priorities and do the job toward attaining any long-lasting goals they have established forward.
It also delivers a certain amount of a safeguard in conditions of the unexpected, which include income loss, unexpected health issues, or work-related injuries. No two people today will have a look at financial planning a similar because everyone has distinctive ideas with regards to what their it will eventually encompass. For other individuals, it is building investments and saving to acquire money prepared for when children set off to get a college education.
When heading about financial planning, it’s best to obtain the products and services of an expert financial planner. Financial planners supply guidance and advice regarding any issues relating to financial planning. With lifetime being complicated and from time to time hectic, it may be difficult to find the mandatory time to manage long-term financial affairs.
Don’t just that, but financial organizing is usually a multi-disciplinary undertaking that “normal joe’s” are merely not capable of knowledge. A financial planner will take a look at the current situation of the client and all upcoming objectives. They will evaluate the current financial standing of the client after which you can recommend a financial strategy that will suit both of those present and future requires.
Details of your financial plan may involve retirement approach contributions, the portfolio of investments, a budgeting strategy for all current residing expenses, and projected price savings growth. Unfortunately, many people hold off in preparing for the long run as they are much too busy maintaining their present-day financial situation. Regardless of the person’s income degree is or their potential plans, financial planning is critical to any future aims.
With the assistance of the financial advisor, any particular person can implement prosperous financial goals. They can also aid in protecting the necessary self-control to keep on with the plan. And don’t worry if you will discover changes to a private situation, for instance, a birth of a kid, financial plans are certainly not published in stone. The financial planner will assist in changing things all around to ensure all the things is properly preserved, and somebody’s financial upcoming is properly looked after.