How to find the right apartment

Finding the right apartment is not as easy as it sounds on paper. You need to be sure of what you want to be able to narrow down your search.

The easiest way to look for an apartment is to search on the web. You can go to Google, search for ‘studio apartments LA’, and you will be bombarded with tonnes of websites offering apartments in LA. Similarly, if you have to look for apartments in another city or state, you can change your keywords, i.e: search ‘apartments Reseda CA’ for apartments in Reseda.

Now that you know how to search for an apartment, let’s look at tips on how to find the right apartment.

Keep Your Budget in Mind

The very first thing that you should be looking into before buying an apartment or renting it is your budget.

Construct a boundary of budget that you won’t cross and put effort into finding an apartment that is within your budget. Remember that you might have to give up on certain amenities if you have limited budget.

If you have good budget, you can look at exotic options like Eighth & Grand.

Be Sure of What You Want

You have to keep several things in mind. These include:

  • The location
  • The rooms and size
  • The amenities (lift, terrace etc.)

You must be sure what you are willing to compromise on to narrow down your search. Also remember that the price you pay largely depends on these factors.

An apartment that is in a rich locality would be expensive for obvious reasons.

Survey Various Apartments First

Do not be hasty in renting or buying an apartment. This is a job of patience.

Search for potential choices, list down all the apartments that interest you, and give them a visit. You should also find more details about the locality online before you pay it a visit.

Also, look at the apartment carefully and find out all information regarding security, amenities, extra charges etc.

Do not pick the first apartment you like, unless you are in a hurry. Always compare and choose. You may also seek help from experts to do the job for you. They can shortlist a few good options for you to pick from. This way you will not have to worry about going places and zeroing in on options as half your job is done by professionals. It is also recommended to get a market price before you finalize a deal.

Paperwork

Finally, the last thing you need to do is fill out the application and read the terms and conditions of the lease. Make sure to be clear about everything, including terms related to leaving the apartment.

You should ideally show the paper to a trusted lawyer in case you do not understand legal language.

Once everything is okay, it is time to sign on the dotted lines, make the payment and shift to your new house.

Creative Ways of Covering Surprise Expenses

For many people, living on a tight budget is the norm. You may barely make enough money to pay for your regular expenses with limited income each month. However, there are often times when unexpected expenses arise, such as vehicle and appliance repairs, insurance deductible, medical bills and more. These can create a true financial burden on your budget. If you are facing unexpected expenses today and are stressed out about how you will make ends meet this month, rest assured that you may have a few solutions available to consider.

Use Your Savings Account

Your savings account should be your first line of defense for dealing with unexpected expenses. Many people have at least a modest rainy day fund available. Your savings account may be used to pay at least a portion of your unexpected expenses. However, many people do not have a high balance in their savings account, and because of this, you may be looking for additional methods to pay for your unexpected expenses.

Turn to Your Credit Card

A credit card is a great financial resource to turn to when you need extra cash. If you do not currently have a credit card, now is a great time to apply for a new account. You can use the available credit limit to make charges. If your unexpected expenses require you to have cash available, you may be able to take a cash advance out on your available credit limit. This can be an expensive option to consider, so you should use credit and cash advances with care.

Ask for a Payday Advance

If you are on good standing with your boss, you may consider asking for an advance on your next paycheck. Some bosses may be more than happy to do this for you, but you should use this option with care. The last thing you want is to constantly be asking for an advance on your next paycheck. Also, be aware that this does not give you extra money. It simply gives you the money you would have earned sooner. You may still need to find some extra money to access to pay for your extra expenses this month even if you can get an advance on your next paycheck.

Sell Your Unused Items

You can also consider selling your unused items to get access to extra cash. Many people have items of value lying in their drawers, closets, attics and other spaces. Take a closer look at your belongings as you walk from room to room. By selling some of your items, you may be able to easily raise hundreds of dollars or more.

Pick Up Side Jobs

Another smart idea is to pick up a side job. Consider your time availability and skill set as you explore odd jobs you can do to earn extra money. For example, if you have a lawn mower and a few free afternoons, you can ask your neighbors if they are interested in your mowing services. If you have friends in need of childcare, you can offer to watch their kids for a few years to earn extra money.

Get a Car Title Loan

If you have significant equity in your car, you may be able to tap into that equity through a car title loan. This is a special type of auto loan that has a short term, and most need to be repaid in full within 30 days. You may be able to obtain a few hundred dollars or more through a title loan, and this may be just what you need to make it through this rough patch. Read the terms carefully, and have a plan to pay off the loan.

As you can see, there are many financial solutions available to you. It may be smart to explore multiple options and even to combine a few ideas for the best overall results. If you need cash urgently, there is no better time to begin exploring the options than right now.

Nearing Retirement? Don’t Overlook These Expenses

retirementYou’re getting closer and closer to retirement, but are you prepared? Retirement planning is an imperative step to ensuring that you can live life without stress weighing on you. Unfortunately, many people do not effectively plan and thus leave out important details. Overlooking expenses and not having a quick solution for resolving the matter can alter your retirement experience and in some cases, cause you to have to go back to work.

Financial Backup

While you may have a pension, 401K, or IRA ready for retirement, having a backup plan is a must. In most cases, you’ll be living on a pretty small budget. Your income is not as significant as it was when you were working and you must adjust to live within those limits. So, when an unexpected expense occurs, how do you pay for it? Here are some considerations:

  • Borrow from loved ones
  • Apply for a short-term installment loan

  • Generate passive income for emergencies
  • Find financial assistance for seniors

Each of these avenues provides you with financial backup should you find yourself in a jam during retirement. Be that as it may, the idea is to create a soundproof plan that will minimize the chances of you getting into financial trouble. Below are some of the expenses you need to budget for.

  1. Medical Expenses – If you plan on relying on Medicare to cover your medical expenses, you should know that it won’t cover everything. You’re going to need to have funds for things like prescription meds, long-term care, dental visits, and eye care. Using one of the above financial backup solutions can ensure that you can get the treatment you need without being under financial duress.
  2. Inflation – The cost of living will continue to go up and if you haven’t properly budgeted for this inflation, it can begin to impact your finances. Be sure that during your planning you account for inflation and create a financial cushion or nest egg from which you can turn to in the event that you don’t have the upfront cash to pay for it.
     
  3. Taxes – No matter how old you get you’re going to be paying taxes. From property taxes to individual income taxes, you will be required to report your income for the year and may be required to pay the state or federal government.
     
  4. Entertainment – You’re going to be home all day long. Chances are you’re going to want to find new hobbies and activities to occupy your time. Whether you want to travel the world, take up golfing, or just have money to go to dinner and a movie, you’re going to need to make sure that you’ve properly budgeted for these costs.
     
  5. Home and Auto – If you own a home or a car, you need to make sure that you have budgeted for hidden expenses such as repair costs. The older your vehicle and home get, the more they will require repairs and servicing. From simple maintenance like a tune-up for your car or gutter cleaning for your roof to major repairs like a new transmission or a new hot water heater, the costs of hidden repairs can add up.

Retirement is meant to be enjoyed. You have worked hard all of your life and deserve the opportunity to be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Be that as it may, if you don’t properly plan for retirement, you’ll find yourself dealing with unnecessary financial stress. Having a financial backup plan, and saving for those unexpected expenses will allow you to live your retirement years in peace.

How to Make Money with a Credit Card: Important Rules

A credit card is a wonderful piece of plastic in your wallet because you can use it to pay for goods or services.  Apart from its paying function, a credit card can give you great opportunities to save money or even create a capital on purchases.  You can even get rewards, such as travel, refunds, gift cards, and other “goodies.”

But never trust appearances, and you should know how to use your card in a smart way.  Here are some rules from the experts who know how to save money and get the most out of your credit card.

  1. Track Shopping Portals

On some websites, you can find a list of lucrative offers from different shops, airlines, etc. when you make purchases with a credit card. Thus, you can get some small bonuses or points for each dollar spent in various stores.  

  1. Pay Attention to the Discount Categories

There are different reward programs with varied incentives for credit card owners. Most people use one card for all their expenses, which can cost them valuable points and miles. That is why it is important to know which card to use to get bonuses for such purchases like groceries, gasoline, restaurants, and travels.  Not all credit cards give the same rewards for the same types of purchases.  This will help you get the most benefit for your buck.  One of the most profitable offers on spending money with a credit card can be found on the effectify.com website; with it, you can generate capital by simply spending your money. Check their website for more information.

  1. Pay Attention to Deadlines

Your credit card has a regular cycle on monthly billing, which is important to remember when making biggest purchases. This way you can save money by getting an extra month to repay the loan for an expensive commodity.

  1. Use Cards with an Annual Fee

Use of credit cards is always associated with an annual fee charge.  As a rule, credit cards with the most generous programs, such as travel and cash bonuses, have fees.  And sometimes it is more profitable to pay once a year and get all the benefits since you can get even more in the form of bonuses.  As a general rule, this annual fee doesn’t cost much.

  1. Call and Cancel an Annual Fee for the Card

On the other hand, you can save more money if you do not pay an annual fee for a credit card.  Many cards are cost free if you do not need the full bonus offered by the bank.  Before paying an annual fee for the extension of your credit card, call and ask the manager if it is possible to cancel the payment.  In this case, they may offer you an equivalent value of the card number of points so that you could continue to use it.

Become a Blogger for A Great Confidence Boost

Bloggers have become more and more successful over the last couple of years taking into account that there are over 150 million blogs over the internet as we speak. There are a whole lot of advantages to take into account when starting a new blog and if one desires to know more, click here for details.

Starting a new blog is one of the most amazing hobbies to take and can trump any other one as it has an amazing potential and can even turn out to be extremely profitable if marketed correctly and the articles posted there are of good quality. Writing such good articles will go a long way in attracting readership and the benefits of owning a blog will be sure to follow.

Blogs are extremely diverse in nature and people write about what they like such as food, travel, business or any other sector which is desirable. There are a lot of benefits to take into account when starting a brand new blog and people should immediately take advantage of them.

Blogging Will Develop Thought Process

Writing is a difficult activity to do, especially if done on a daily basis. Those who’ve just started their blogging careers will have it tough at first but one of the most amazing benefits of owning a blog is that it encourages people to think deeply about a topic in order to transpose it into an article for their readership to enjoy. They have to be of great quality in order to become popular and having a great thought process will go a long way in terms of becoming popular on the internet.

Blogging Offers Great Discipline and Control

There are a lot of activities to take into consideration when starting a new blog and once they have started to write about their own lives and experience as well as things that they like, bloggers are able to review what they are doing and immediately see a possible change for the better. They will have a significantly better control over their lives and have the option of improving various aspects of their daily routine in terms of improving both physically and psychologically.

Blogging Gives a Great Confidence Boost

People who have self-confidence issues need to immediately start a blog in order to become more ambitious and self-confident by expressing themselves in the online medium. Readers will offer some amazing feedback and will make sure to support a blogger in whatever he or she is doing. Gaining a rush of positive emotions from the readership’s comments will not only improve the way a blogger will write articles but it will also improve the blogger as a person by giving them a great confidence boost.

BRIC Equity Funds Are On The Move Again

Brazil and Russia were investor favorites ten years ago. But a nasty recession in Brazil and Russia, plus the sanctions placed on Russia, have those emerging markets in a financial hammerlock. BRIC equity funds were off-limits to investors, but over the last couple of weeks, those funds have come alive. According to a Boston-based fund tracker, Brazil, Russia, India, and China received $45 million from investors in first two months of 2017. BRIC equity funds are enjoying the longest inflow of cash since June 2016. Commodity prices, corporate earnings and the fact that the Federal Reserve may not raise interest rates are the catalysts for the increase in investor interest. But even with this surge in investor interest, the four emerging markets are still a long way off from the 2007 boom days.

Lackluster commodity prices threw Brazil and Russia into a recession in 2014, and China didn’t help the situation. China was Brazil’s largest trading partner five years ago, but the Chinese manufacturing-based economy started to fall apart in 2012. Productivity and new orders continue to slow down GDP output in China, and that slowdown impacts the BRICS alliance. Chinese banks have too much bad debts on the books. The government is trying to hide the drain on capital reserves, but investors like Jim Dondero, the president of Highland Capital Management think, China’s debt could be the straw that breaks the global economies back over the next 18 months. India is the only country in the BRICS alliance that is posting positive GDP percentages. China GDP output is still better than most, but it is not as good as it was in 2012.

Even though there is renewed interest in BRIC equity funds, Dondero believes investors will support individual funds rather than the BRIC fund going forward. So far in 2017, Russia and Brazil funds received $1 billion each. That is the biggest inflow since the end of 2014. India funds received $380 million so far in 2017 because there is talk that India’s economy may be slowing down. India funds enjoyed cash flow of more than $2.3 billion in 2016.

The number of active BRIC funds continues to drop from the high of 106 funds in 2014. In 2016 there were 79 active BRIC funds. Net assets in those funds shrank to $4.87 billion from $7.6 billion in 2015, according to Jim Dondero.

The BRIC alliance is considered strange by many investors. Dondero and other investors say there are few similarities in those countries in terms of commodity use and commodity production. Many investors are concerned about the political systems in BRIC countries and that keeps many investors away.

James Dondero is a University of Virginia graduate with degrees in finance and accounting. James has more than 30 years of experience in the investment and finance industry. In 1984, he started his career at Morgan Guaranty. He was hired by American Express that same year. Jim spent four years at American Express before he took the job at a subsidiary of Progressive Life. In 1993, he founded Dallas-based Highland Capital Management with his partner Mark Okada. Dondero is responsible for the incredible growth of the company. Highland Capital has more than $16 billion in assets under management. Dondero is also known for his work with nonprofits in the Dallas area. The Highland Dallas Foundation supports several organizations in the Dallas area.

Make The Right Decision Regarding Owning Or Renting An Apartment

reasons why renting is better than buyingPurchasing or renting an apartment can be one of the most important life decisions and making it right will go a long way in terms of being contempt with the place you will rest your head every night of your life. A decision of this magnitude should be done with extra care bearing in mind a lot of financial components such as utilities and the amount of money required for maintenance. When it comes to the factors which involve owning an apartment there are a lot of them to take into account and if treated accordingly, one’s life will be a breeze in respect to housing and owning such a property.

Financial Aspects

When it comes to the financial aspect, the best benefit of owning an apartment comes down to the aspect of having it rented. Rent is a lot cheaper than having a mortgage and factors such as upkeep are generally lower in price taking into account that these aspects are generally covered by the landlord as opposed to a tenant. One is advised to look for Vintage apartments as they usually come at a cheaper price.

Maintenance

Maintenance wise, they are a lot lower as mentioned before. The lack of such worries is going to be great in the long run as it removes some extra care which should be given to a property. Various conditions such as heavy snow will not hamper you as there will be no need to shovel or mow the lawn when it grows. The landlord will take care of that as not only will renting be more convenient but in some cases it will also prove to be cheaper.

Amenities

Apartment complexes usually offer the benefit of coming with a set of amenities such as pools or gyms if one chooses to opt for Altana luxury apartments or Aventine apartment homes. Convenience stores as well as laundry facilities will be right next to you and not only does it offer some flexibility and saves some time but certain chores such as doing laundry will be completely ruled out of one’s worries.

Safety

Safety is an important factor when it comes to investing in an apartment which provides such benefits and investing in a security system in an apartment complex will go a long way in making one sleep better at night by not having to worry about potential burglars and dangers which might otherwise occur if such systems are completely absent. The community factor should also be taken into account as some neighborhoods tend to have a night’s watch patrol which takes care of areas in rotation so that everyone feels safer in the place they live in.

Why Are Millennials Struggling with Retirement Savings?

Most of the older generation is of the mindset that millennials don’t know how to save for retirement (or even care), but that’s not 100% true. Gen Y is actually thinking about retirement planning rather early in life:

  • For adults under the age of 30, the biggest retirement fear is that they will run out of money by the time they retire, and many plan to continue working.
  • More than 80% of millennials believe they cannot rely on Social Security to keep them comfortable in retirement.
  • Most believe their retirement will be self-funded, and over 70% started saving for it at an average age of 22.
  • Millennials are also using modern tools to their advantage, such as mobile apps that help them manage their retirement savings.

However, there’s a flip side as well. For instance, over 60% of millennials believe they need expert guidance, yet only one in three actually consult a professional financial advisor. Over 50% have not calculated how much they will need for retirement, relying on “guesswork” to reach an estimated figure.

Retirement Planning Obstacles for Millennials

 Here are some of the main obstacles that millennials face while planning for retirement:

  • No Savings in IRAs – Individual Retirement Accounts (especially Roth IRAs) offer some heavy-duty tax breaks, but most millennials haven’t started using these accounts to their advantage. 401(k) accounts allow millennials to gain from matching employer contributions, but they also need to park some savings in a Roth IRA for tax-free withdrawals in retirement.
  • Student Loans and Debt – The use of student loans is widespread, especially among the younger generation. When you’re making plans to pay off debt and save for retirement, the process can be rather challenging. For those still paying for their college education, it’s crucial to work with a financial advisor who can help formulate a repayment plan as well as build assets for the future.
  • Job and Income Instability – The recession left behind a host of problems, creating an unstable economy with a tough labor market. Unless they were lucky enough to graduate in a high-paying field, most students take whatever work they can get. With lack of stability and low earnings, retirement savings get pushed aside by simple survival and the struggle to meet basic expenses.
  • Higher Lifestyle Expenses – Students fresh out of college earn less than their older counterparts for at least the first 10-15 years, if they’re lucky enough to find employment at all. At the same time, inflation has been on the rise. This creates a vicious circle for millennials, since it’s hard to put aside funds for tomorrow while struggling to keep a roof over your head today!
  • Lack of Emergency Savings – Even millennials who understand and work toward retirement planning neglect to create an emergency fund. Wonder why “saving for a rainy day” matters when you’ve already saved in a retirement fund? It’s all about protecting those savings from early withdrawal penalties, and avoid running up debt for unexpected expenses.
  • Ineffective or No Budgeting – Millennials are accused of being too focused on the latest gadgets, gizmos and personal items, which is often true. It may seem like a good idea to splurge on something because “YOLO”, but it’s also critical to factor in the long-term impact of any expense on future financial security. A well-planned budget is the only answer.

Millennials and Retirement Planning: The Bottom Line

Most millennials are hoping to retire early (by age 65 or earlier), so they have more time and energy to enjoy the things they’d like to do when there’s no more work pressure. However, without a proper financial strategy, it’s going to be hard for young investors to meet their goals.

Contributing to a company 401(k) and an IRA is a good start, but it’s equally important to consult a financial advisor and work on a smart savings plan for retirement!

Author Bio:

Rick Pendykoski is the owner of Self Directed Retirement Plans LLC, a retirement planning firm based in Goodyear, AZ. He has over three decades of experience working with investments and retirement planning, and over the last 10 years has turned his focus to self-directed accounts and alternative investments.

Rick regularly posts helpful tips and articles on his blog at SD Retirement as well as MoneyForLunch, Biggerpocket, SocialMediaToday, WealthManagement, SeekingAplha, and NuWireInvestor.

How Is Gold and Silver Valued?

Whether it is about trading, mining, or recycling metals like silver and gold, it is important to understand how each is valued. Pricing metals is not the same as attaching a value to assets. Valuing silver and gold is something that consumers, miners and exploration companies must know their way around.

Where Does the Value of Gold and Silver Come From Anyway

Historically, people were challenged to come up with a form of currency. This medium of exchange was supposed to be practical and portable to replace the barter system, which landed them to the choices of metal. Unlike many other metals on the periodic table, gold and silver can be melted over flame to make coins, do not corrode, and are fairly rare in the world. Between silver and gold, gold stands out far better too as it is easier to recognize because of its unique properties like it absorbs some light when exposed to it.

Gold and silver do not have to have any intrinsic value. The rule of currencies is that it only has any value when societies determine a value for it.

Forward to current day and economies have applied a certain value on these metals, perpetuating their worth. Gold has always been the metal everyone falls back on when a specific form of currency does not work. Gold will always have some sort of value and act as insurance in tough times too.

Sources of Pricing

There are two types of prices. The market price at which something is sold or bought for fast payment and delivery is called spot prices while future price is simply the value at which participants enter an agreement contract to transact on a certain date.

Large Bullion Traders and Banks

Bullion traders and banks work with large volumes of metals with their clients. They sell and buy metal which becomes a part of their trading process. As a result, these work as reliable sources of valuing precious metals.

OTC Markets

This is a market of securities off the exchange market. Here people trade through the electronic network. Financial organizations work as market makers and bid a value that works as the spot price.

Future Values of Silver and Gold

Precious metals futures contracts are traded through major exchanges around the world. These exchanges are important sources for the future values of metals like silver and gold.

Fixing

Fixing is referred to the agreements between participants on one side in a market to sell or buy metals like silver and gold at a certain price while maintaining market conditions so that the price remains the same. This is done by controlling demand and supply to an extent. Throughout the proceedings as price is moved higher and lower as orders are changed until the time comes that orders are satisfied and price is fixed.

Sources:

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/071114/why-gold-has-always-had-value.asp

https://www.goldbroker.com/investing-guide/how-gold-silver-prices-are-determined

How to Save Money by Eliminating Debt

debtIs one of your goals to improve your financial health? If you want to save more money, the first step is getting out of debt. There are many different methods about how to best manage and eliminate debt, and the important thing is to find the one that works for your lifestyle. The best method for eliminating debt is the one you can actually stick to for a long period of time.

The easiest way to start is to do a little research to learn about the different types of debt, consolidation and payoff strategies, and budgeting methods. Once you have a good understanding of the options, you can choose the one that’s the right fit for you. Here are some possible strategies for reducing your debt, saving more, and improving your overall financial situation.

Understand Your Personal Debt

If you are like most people, you have a combination of “good” and “bad” debt. Good debt refers to secured debt where there is a reasonable expectation of a return on investment. A mortgage is generally considered good debt. Credit card balances are generally considered bad debt because the interest rates are extremely high and the debt is unsecured. Before you come up with a plan to pay off your debt, look at your overall financial situation and determine how much good and bad debt you have. It’s usually best to pay off the bad debt first.

Stop Overspending

Before you can start paying off your debt in earnest, you may need to rein in your spending habits. For some people, this isn’t possible. If all your monthly spending is truly necessary (such as utility bills, school tuition, mortgage payments, and food), then you may not be able to change it. But most people have at least a few unnecessary expenses every month, such as eating out, daily lattes, or magazine subscriptions. Take a good look at your spending and find any areas where you can cut back until you get your debt under control.

Prioritize the Payoff Strategy

Once you have a good understanding of all your debt and have cut back on unnecessary spending, you should prioritize which debts you want to pay off first. There are several different theories about whether you should pay off “bad” debt first, or the debt with the highest interest rate, or the one with the largest balance, or prioritize according to any number of other aspects. You should choose the method that makes the most sense to you and the one you feel you’ll be the most motivated to achieve.

Create a Plan

Now that you know which debts you want to pay off first, it’s time to make a plan. Budgeting is an important part of the plan, so you know exactly how much of your income you can put towards debt repayment and how much you need to keep for living expenses. Some people find that using an automatic payment plan works well for actually sticking to the payoff plan.

Consider Refinancing

One option for consolidating debt in order to reduce interest payments is to refinance your mortgage. The options for refinancing depend on the current state of the economy, your equity in your home, your credit score, and many other factors. Refinancing is a very smart financial move for some people. It’s a good idea to read about how a refinancing plan works, and if possible talk with a financial adviser or another expert to determine if it’s the right move for you.

Research a Personal Loan

One way to consolidate your debt and start rebuilding your credit is to secure a personal loan. While this type of loan can be used for many things, one particularly good use is to pay off high-interest credit card balances. There are many personal loan providers so it’s important to use a loan comparison tool to figure out which one is the right fit for your situation. Once you know a bit about the providers, terms, and options, you can apply for your loan and get those credit cards paid off.

One of the best ways to save money and improve your financial situation is to get rid of your personal debt as much possible. Paying off debt can be a complex process, so the best way to start is through careful research and planning, and then staying with your plan until you pay off your loans.

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