If you’re like many people, you want to start using online platforms to invest but you think it’s hard, expensive and downright scary. Because investing can be risky, you’re afraid you’ll lose a lot of money you can’t afford to lose because you’re not sure how to do it right. But it doesn’t have to be like that if you know what you’re doing. We asked two personal finance educators to provide the best strategies for beginners moving into online investing. One is Dr. Mary Ann Campbell, CFP. A professor at Central Arkansas University, where her students call her “Dr. MAC,” she is a frequent television commentator on personal finance and she uses magic to teach personal finance in her classes. The other is Rebecca Schreiber, CFP, principal of Pure Financial Education in Silver Spring, MD, which focuses on helping early and mid-career professionals to make smart financial decisions. Both have been fee-only financial planners in the past, pride themselves on providing unbiased financial education, and are well-versed in investing strategies for beginners. After reading this article, you’ll know what to do and be able to formulate your own strategy to get started.
Choosing a financial planner can be easier than you think if you just know how. Given that this is one of your most important decisions—your financial planner will help you with major money decisions—you need to know what’s key to consider. In fact, learning to choose the right financial professional is an important part of your personal finance education. This article will give you the tools necessary to make the right choice by asking seven questions about the process and having experts answer them. What is the purpose of financial planning? You should understand the purpose of financial planning before beginning this process. According to certified financial planner Rebecca Schreiber of Pure Financial Education in Silver Spring, MD, “Financial planning is not about just the numbers; it’s about comfort and control.” The fundamental question financial planning addresses, she says, is “What are you worried about and how can financial planning make that better?” The objective, says Schrieber, who got her certified financial planner designation at age 23 after being a child entrepreneur, “Is to use the numbers obtained through the process to change your life in meaningful ways so you’ll be more comfortable and less frightened. ”P. Jeffrey Christakos agrees, adding, “The basic dream most people have is financial stability: bills paid, heat on and enough living space, for example.” Financial planning helps you achieve those goals, says this CPF, CPA and lead advisor at Westfield Wealth Management in Westfield, NJ.
You’ve probably heard that foreclosures and bank-owned homes are a quick way to get a great home well below market price. That’s true. Often, however, it’s challenging to buy foreclosures, especially if you’re not experienced. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible—you can get some exceptional deals. But you must know what you’re doing when investing in a foreclosure for it to make financial sense. Here are some things to keep in mind when contemplating purchasing a bank-owned home as a primary residence or investment property.
Americans are a charitable bunch, giving more than $358 billion in 2014, according to research by the National Philanthropic Trust. That’s up 7.1% over 2013. And it's organization found that individuals represent the largest source of charitable giving at $258.5 billion, or 72% of total giving. But in May 2015 there were approximately 1,521,052 charitable organizations in the United States. Media stories of fraud and other scandals related to charities have been ubiquitous in recent years, making some reticent about donating. In general, however, giving is still safe and can be good for both your heart and your bank account. But how do you choose the right charitable organization? How do you know if a charity is a good investment? Are all charitable donations tax deductible? In addition to asking these questions, there are specific considerations when you’re choosing the right charity. Selecting a charity using these criteria will satisfy your need to give and help you be financially savvy with your donations. Here are seven questions to ask yourself when making this important choice.
Your home is one of the biggest investments you’ll make during your lifetime, and the process of buying and selling can be emotional and stressful. So whether you’re a first-time home buyer, buying a second home, or an investor or a seller in any of these stages, you want to work with the right real estate professional for your situation. Choosing the right real estate agent or realtor (and there’s a difference between the two) will make the process easier and more secure. But how do you choose? First, you’ll want to know the difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor®. According to Realtor Fallon Traylor of Berkshire-Hathaway HomeServices, Georgia Properties, “A Realtor® is a real estate agent who has met the additional educational requirements and national standards to earn this special designation.”