Your Debt Repayment Timeline: What to Pay When

It is important to create a repayment plan when tackling debt. When deciding which debts to pay and when, you will want to consider the payment amount, the length of the loan term, and the current interest rate.

Credit Cards

Debt repayment

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Most households have some type of credit card debt spread among numerous credit cards. In fact, American credit card debt has reached an astounding one trillion dollars in 2017. When you owe to multiple credit cards each month, creating a repayment plan can feel overwhelming. When it comes to paying down credit card debt, you can organize your debt either by amount owed or by the current interest rate.

Organizing credit cards by the amount owed allows you to pay off larger debts first. These are the credit cards with higher monthly payments. You can also choose to start at the lowest amounts owed, giving you a sense of success upon quickly paying off lower credit cards. Organizing credit card debt by interest rate can save you money in the long run by avoiding costly fees. This will lead to the lowest amount paid over the life of the credit card.

Student Loans

Shortly after college graduation, you will begin receiving student loan bills. Depending on the amount owed, monthly student loan bills can be quite high. Instead of ignoring them, gain control of your student loans by consolidating or refinancing them. Consolidating your student loans combines them into one monthly payment that is easier to track. If you have good credit, you might even qualify for a more affordable monthly payment with a lower interest rate.


Many homeowners wonder if they should prioritize paying down their mortgage over other types of debt. A mortgage is considered good debt. This means that it is a debt that offers a return on the investment. Mortgages represent one of the longest loan terms and also one of the biggest purchases you will make. As long as you keep up with your monthly mortgage payments, it is unlikely to hurt your credit. The interest rate on your mortgage is also likely to be less than your credit cards. While your lender may offer the option to pay ahead on your mortgage principal, consider allocating extra cash to high-interest debts like credit cards and personal loans first.

Auto Loans

Auto loans are fairly easy to get but often come with higher interest rates. Paying off an auto loan early can free up monthly cash flow, but it is best to tackle even higher-interest payments first. Refinancing your car loan is another option if you qualify for a lower interest rate. Maintaining a responsible payment schedule on auto loans can boost your credit score.

Personal Loans

Personal loans come with higher interest rates and shorter repayment terms. Defaulting on a personal loan can also severely affect your credit and your ability to take out future loans for a mortgage or student loan. Because of the financial effects of personal loans, they should usually be paid off sooner.

Eliminating debt requires you to organize and evaluate your debt repayments. Considering term length, type of credit, and interest rate can help you get a better grasp on your debt.

How to Manage Your Finances During Divorce

Manage finances during divorce

Divorce is never an easy time.  For starters, there is the emotional strain of a relationship coming to an end and this is even more complicated if there are children involved.  Then there is the time and money lost to lawyers, etc.   But the complications don’t end there are you might need to find a new place to live or even figure out how to make ends meet.

As such, managing your finances during a divorce is extremely important but it is often overlooked and with good reason as there are so many things to worry about when a relationship is disintegrating.  However, bills don’t care if your marriage is going well or is on the rocks and for this reason, we will look at ideas on how to manage your finances during divorce.

  • Cover Your Assets, and Liabilities

Even if you aren’t independently wealthy, you will need to take stock of your financial position when you are going through a divorce.  If you are not sure where to start, then it might make sense to sit down with a financial adviser.  Not only will they help you map out your finances but this information will be useful for when you need to sit with your lawyers.

Beyond this, you should freeze any line of credit that you and your spouse have opened as a joint account. The reason for this is simple as you want to limit any joint liabilities to those that were in place on the day divorce papers were filed.

In addition, if you have any joint credit card accounts then you want to come to an agreement very early in divorce proceedings on how these will be managed.  Ideally, any supplementary cards should be turned over on day one and any open balances should be paid off as soon as possible.

Then we get to the asset side of things – i.e. homes, cars, businesses, etc.  In this case, you want to have a complete accounting of these items and, if possible, the bills of sale as this will help to prove ownership.

In addition, you may want to liquidate some of your assets to help cover the cost of a divorce.  Granted this isn’t for everyone but in this scenario,you can sell mortgage notes or other items of value to get you some additional cash.

  • Budget Time

If you were like most married couples, then you have two incomes to help cover monthly expenses.  However, getting divorced means that you are now on your own when it comes to paying the bills.  This means that you will need to make a plan for making ends meet – starting with mapping out your income and your expected monthly expenses.  Beyond this, you need to also look at when your cash will come in and the due dates of your respective bills.

Now if you are reliant on your soon-to-be ex-spouse for your monthly income, then you want to make sure the terms of your separation clearly spells out how much support you will receive each month and when it comes in.

Remember, that divorces can get tense and just because you are getting support doesn’t mean that you need to spend it all.  Instead, you need to look at your expenses and figure out which ones you can do without as this will help you to save some of your support for a rainy day – something which could come in handy.

How can you achieve this?  Well, it starts by breaking down your expenses and figuring out what you can cut out completely.  Once you have done this, then you want to look at which expenses you can save money on.  Maybe this can be achieved by getting a discount or switching providers altogether.

  • Prepping for the Tax Man

An often-overlooked aspect of financial planning during divorce is tax planning.  Again, there are a lot of things going on during a divorce but you would be surprised how quickly tax season can come around when you aren’t prepared.

The first big hit comes from changing how you are filing – assuming you were married, filing jointly in your pre-divorce life.  However, this is only part of the story.  Another item of note are the potential tax implications of any asset sales or transfers as part of the divorce settlement.

For this reason, it behooves you to talk to your accountant or tax planner to figure out the specific implications in your case.  If you don’t, then you risk getting hit with a massive tax penalty – talking about adding insult to injury.

Getting divorced is never fun but use these tips to make sure you protect your finances this way you can start your new life on a firm financial footing.

Get the Youngsters Clothed for Spring

Congratulations!  Now that you’ve brought that cute tiny squalling new child home to make your household a family instead of a couple you need to learn the real facts of life.  Not the ones your parents taught you when they talked about birds and bees, or those you heard about in class at school.  These facts of life deal with things like seeing that a new person is well fed, educated, protected, and clothed.  And you will find for the first time that the money you two felt was so readily available when you were enjoying life together as two runs out a lot faster when it must serve the needs of three.

Fortunately, many expenses can be met through careful planning and management.  Using a carters coupon to provide for the new family member’s wardrobe can be a strategy that will help save a lot.  And a strange thing about kids is their talent for growing out of clothes almost before they’ve worn them for more than a month.   Using a Groupon coupon or promo code can help you to save a great deal when buying for your newborn, as well as when he or she becomes a toddler. You can get them the best new outfits for the coming season at 20% off when you use a Carter’s promo code.   Using them is so convenient, you can shop while you wait for baby to take an afternoon nap.

And the money that you save by shopping to fill their wardrobe this way can be the first coins that are deposited in the child’s future savings account or college fund.  As we all know, the true secret to long-term savings and investing is not large single amounts, but steady, consistent deposits.  Just begin putting a portion of what you save when shopping with Groupon coupons into the child’s long-term savings account, and you’ll be more than gratified at how much that will accrue by the time their sixteenth birthday rolls around.  That’s when you can look back at the pics you took of them in those Carter’s clothes and savor how much you can appreciate the wisdom you showed back when those pics were first taken.

How To Save For Your IRA

It is a new year and it is time to get serious about savings. For decades, many people relied on their companies and employers to provide pensions and retirement packages that would supplement Social Security in their golden years. There is no way that is happening now. Even with Social Security needing all the supplementing you can get, you want to have your own safety net, like an IRA in place that will help you bring down your fear of retirement.

Now that it is time to get serious about savings, there are all sorts of ways to save money. From bank shopping to cutting down on your television to selling off a lot of your possessions, you can take some real strides towards putting extra money in your bank account. There are drastic ways of saving more money and then there are less drastic ways, like cutting down on your daily coffee shop runs. They can add up quicker than you think.

Moving your bank account around can seem like a time consuming and annoying thing to do, but you can take advantage of sign up bonuses or better interest rates by shopping around for new banks. It is worth exploring even if you don’t end up switching all that often, because you can really make strides towards learning as much as you can about personal finance. A little knowledge can be a game changer when it comes to saving money.

Cutting down on watching television can bring about the most benefits by saving time. And saving time can result in more time to build skills in your career and more time to devote to a side business. A side business can be the most important financial move you make as a young person. Not only are you developing important money management skills, alternative income can really save you during a difficult time after a job loss or company downsizing.

Cutting out your cable bill can also mean more money in your IRA right away. There is no substitute for doing away with unnecessary spending and immediately adding it to your savings. The benefits are both immediate and long lasting. Plus, when you don’t have cable or TV, you are spending less time getting bombarded by ads inducing you to spend more money.

Do you have burdensome collections of books, DVDs, action figures or some other collectible items? It might be time to look into selling them and banking that money into your IRA. Not only can you add some real money to your retirement savings, you can get rid of the headache and time suck of managing all those collectibles. Plus the cost of storage and upkeep. And buying more things. It all goes away.

Saving money is a choice and it is one that can really balloon your IRA and allow you to have a comfortable cushion in retirement. When you get to that age you are going to want to be able to feel safe and secure. Learning how to cut  down on your lifestyle today is a great way to keep your finances healthy for rest of your days.

Put Your Knowledge of Debt Reduction Strategies to the Test

Debt reduction

As a loyal reader of Frugal Rules, you should know something about attacking and eliminating debt. Care to put your knowledge to the test? Health IQ’s Debt: Snowball or Avalanche? quiz checks how much you understand about debt reduction strategies, especially the snowball and avalanche methods.

Do you know the fastest way to pay down your debts? What about the debt reduction method that attracts the least interest? Did you know that sometimes debt reduction strategies don’t attract any interest at all? Taking the quiz is a great way to test what you know about reducing your debt and learn what you don’t. With only 10 multiple choice questions, you can take the quiz over your coffee break. Health IQ provides instant feedback on your answers so that you’ll know why you were right or wrong while you learn more about the snowball and avalanche methods.

Since nothing is wrong with a little healthy competition, Health IQ tells you what percentage of Americans answered each question correctly. Once you complete the quiz, you can check how your score compares to your friends and other people in your area on the Health IQ leaderboard. Taking the quiz isn’t only a great opportunity for learning; it’s also an opportunity for earning. You’ll earn Elite points for every right answer, redeemable for prizes such as donations to your favorite charities and tickets to sporting events. What are you waiting for? Take the quiz, Debt: Snowball or Avalanche? and start earning Elite points.


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Stock Trading For Dummies- Where To Begin?

You can just walk into a supermarket and choose what you want from variety of products. Stock trading isn’t exactly the same. Stock market investment looks like a golden goose from far, but it comes with its own set of risks. But if you get involved in this smartly, you will surely reap profits. Gold and shares have always been a sought-after investment area for Indians.

If you are just entering this treacherous world, the main question in your mind would be –

“Where do I begin?”

You might choose to ask your friends and relatives and everyone would give you different opinions. Even those who have never invested in shares will start pouring pieces of advices on you. If you search on the internet, you might find a few tips and tricks but these at times are very risky.

Here is a guide to help you get started with stock trading.

  • PAN Card

A permanent account number is a primary requirement for doing any financial transaction in our country. This 10-digit unique number is assigned to every individual by the tax authorities for assessing tax liabilities. To be able to invest in shares, the first thing you will need is a PAN card.

  • Find a Broker

Like we said, stock trading isn’t like buying stuff from a supermarket. You can’t simply go to a stock exchange and ask to buy or sell stocks. Authorised people, called as brokers, sell and buy on the market. These individuals, companies or even online agencies are registered by the Securities and Exchanges Board of India and are reliable people who are licensed to trade. Finding a right broker is very important for starting your journey in trading.

  • Demat and Trading account

After getting a pan card and a broker, the next step is to get a Demat and Trading account. Demat account holds stocks or shares in your name and eradicates the need to store shares in a physical state. All the selling and buying happens through the brokers, while the shares are stored in your Demat account.

Trading account is an intermediary which facilitates the buying and selling. The buying and selling of shares requires a trading account. So, in short, you Demat account shows the number of shares you hold, while your Trading account reflects the buying and selling happening in your account.

If you approach a broker, he will take care of all this and open a Demat account for you.

  • Depository Participant

NSDL, National Securities Depository Limited and CDSL, Central Depository Services Limited are the two depositories in India. They have agents in the form of depository participants who are responsible for providing you with an account to store the shares you hold. These hold the shares you buy and release the ones you sell. A broker will help you register with one.

  • Unique Identification Number

If you want to go all out in the share market and if you wish you invest more than Rs. 1,00,000 at a single time, then you will need a UIN.

  • Buying and Selling

The buying and selling takes place through two exchanges: Bombay Stock Exchange(BSE) and NSE (National Stock Exchange) Usually there is a slight price difference between both the exchanges and hence you need to mention the exchange to your broker.

Let us see an example to understand how the buying and selling actually happens.

You need to start by telling you broker about which share you wish to buy in what quantity. If you wish to invest in SBI, by buying 20 shares at a price of Rs.1000, you will inform your broker about the same. After placing the order, online or offline, the broker processes your order when that price is reached. Selling of stocks is done in the same way. The orders remain valid only for a certain time and if the buy or sell price is not reached, your order will get cancelled.

Stock trading is a dangerous place and always use your common sense before making any decisions. Don’t make mistakes like blindly following “Market Analysts” in fancy suits or by borrowing money to invest which might lead you into a debt trap. Don’t blindly follow any trends and observe a company’s long-term stability before making any big commitment.

Happy Investing!