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.

Things To Know About Real Estate Loans

Investing in real estate is quite expensive. Most people cannot afford to buy real estate with cash. With a real estate loan, the dream of your own property can be realized.

Many agencies such as banks, credit unions and lending companies offer real estate loans to those who can avail it. There are certain qualifications in order to qualify for a real estate loan.

Real estate loan is a loan on real estate usually secured by a legal document by which the owner transfers to the lender an interest in the real estate to secure the repayment of a debt or mortgage. There are two classifications of real estate loans: commercial and residential real estate loans.

In order to qualify for any of those two classifications of real estate loans the following are some of the requirements needed:

Commercial real estate loan:

Commercial real estate loan application form and real estate addendum.

Current business financial statements and most recent year tax return.

Guarantor’s current personal financial statement and most recent year personal tax return.

The applicant should sign the application form and the application materials should be submitted to the agency or institution where the applicant wants to apply for a commercial real estate loan.

Residential real estate loan:

Residential real estate loan application form.
Financial statement and most recent year income tax return.
Guarantor’s current personal financial statement and most recent year personal tax return.

In the same way as commercial real estate loans, the application materials for residential real estate loans should be submitted to the agency or institution where the applicant wants to apply for a residential real estate loan.

The materials needed for a real estate loan varies according to the requirements of different agencies and institutions.
Whn applying for a real estate loan, there are certain steps that the applicant should follow.

The following are the simple steps that an applicant should follow in order to hasten the processing of the real estate loan.

Select terms. Mortgage terms affect both interest rate and payment. With large amount of flexibility, lenders allow the applicant to tailor the loan to fit the budget needs.

Research the lender. In order for the applicant to save money, the easiest way to purchase real property in low rates is by finding the lowest costing loan. Research and find lenders who offer low cost loans.

Apply for real estate loan. After finding the right lender, the applicant can now apply for real estate loan accompanied with the requirements.

There are common mistakes when applying for a real estate loan. The following are some of it. To make the right impression and secure the loan, it is important to be aware of these common mistakes.
Not thoroughly researching the options. Thorough research on options should be made.

Not having the ducks in a row. Make sure that all the documentation the lender would expect is at hand and an applicant should be prepared to show why the property makes fiscal sense.

Failing to negotiate the best deal. Negotiation should be done to have the best deal.

Not selecting the best lawyer. Hiring the best lawyer is important. Hire lawyer that is very experienced in negotiating the types of real estates loans.

Going straight to a family lender. It is good to have a rapport with a lender, particularly when loan is needed. However, there are new real estate products offered constantly, ant it is worth the time to check out some of the other possibilities before going straight to favorite lender.

Knowing everything about real estate loans is very important when investing in real estate. Make sure you follow all the steps mentioned above.

Easy Card Games To Entertain

My own experience makes me feel that every child will benefit from playing card games.

It is a healthy experience for a child to play with grownups as an equal; and to play with other children without noticing difference in age.

It is good for the child’s character to get practice in losing without squawking and in winning without crowing. (Many adults could use some of this practice too!)

A young child can learn about numbers and easy arithmetic from a simple card game. A child of any age can exercise his brain by the logical thinking that is needed in the more advanced games.

Moreover, card games are fun. And this is the best of all reasons for teaching them to children.

These games are for children who are too young to think… and for grownups who would rather not think! Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the children or the grownups laugh harder!

PIG

This is a very hilarious game for children or for adults to play with children. Anybody can learn the game in two or three minutes, and one extra minute makes you an expert!

Number of Players: 3 to 13. Five or 6 make the best game.

Cards: Four of a kind for each player in the game. For example, 5 players would use 20 cards: 4 Aces, 4 Kings, 4 Queens, 4 Jacks, and 4 10′s. For 6 players you would add the four 9′s.

The Deal: Any player shuffles and deals 4 cards to each player.

Object: To get 4 of a kind in your own hand, or to be quick to notice it when somebody else gets 4 of a kind.

The Play: Each player looks at his hand to see if he was dealt 4 of a kind. If nobody has 4 of a kind, each player puts some unwanted card face down on the table and passes it to the player at his left, receiving a card at the same time from the player at his right.

Each player looks at his hand as it appears with the newly-received card. If, still, nobody has 4 of a kind, each player once again passes a card to the left and gets a new card from the right.

The play is continued in this way until some player has 4 of a kind in his hand. That player stops passing or receiving cards since he is satisfied with his hand as it is. Instead of playing on, he puts his finger to his nose.

The other players must be quick to notice this, and each of them must stop passing in order to put a finger to his nose. The last player to put a finger to his nose is the Pig.

DONKEY

This is the same game as Pig, except that when a player gets 4 of a kind he puts his hand face down on the table quietly instead of putting his finger to his nose. He still gets a card from his right and just passes that along to the left, leaving his 4 of a kind untouched on the table.

As each player sees what has happened, he likewise puts his hand down quietly. The idea is to keep up the passing and the conversation while some player plays on without realizing that the hand has really ended.

The last player to put his cards down loses the hand. This makes him a D. The next time he loses, he becomes a D-O. The third time, he becomes a D-O-N. This keeps on, until finally some player becomes a D-O-N-K-E-Y.

Play Some Card Games

Are you looking for a way to spend a rainy afternoon with friends? Or are you trying to plan some fun activities for your next big party? If so, the answer to your questions is simple: card games. It seems so obvious, but perhaps that is exactly the reason you forgot about it.

Card games are great for a lot of reasons. One of the best reasons that card games are great for almost any social gathering or party is because they allow people to be social and enjoy time together. There is nothing worse than planning a party for friends that includes nothing other than watching movies. Who wants to gather at a social event and then do a totally non-social activity? Card games are great because they offer more focus and entertainment than simply allowing people to mingle and yet they maintain the social atmosphere. People can share in great conversations while spending hours playing card games.

Another great reason to include card games at your next event is because they are fun. I cannot think of many people that do not enjoy good card games. Card games are tried and true fun for almost everyone. It can be hard to keep people entertained with the variety of new games that are on the market simply because people do not know how to play them. It can be easier and just as much fun to entertain people with card games that they are familiar with. Something about a great hand of rummy or euchre never gets old.

If you have invited people to your party that are not familiar with the classic card games, don’t worry because it is easy and fun to teach card games to people. That is another great benefit of card games. You will not have to waste half of your time teaching the card games. Most people pick them up easily. So allow yourself to invite people who are masters at your favorite card games and who are novices at the games. Everyone can be having fun together in no time.

Card games are great because there is such a variety to choose from. Don’t like euchre? Don’t worry, you can try poker or rummy instead. Card games provide literally endless hours of fun. If your guests have been playing poker for hours, change it up and teach them canasta or bid euchre instead. There are enough good card games to keep any party nothing but fun. Look no further than card games to make your next party or social gathering the one people will not want to miss.

Commercial Real Estate Appraisal

Probably most of you are informed about the nature of commercial real estate appraisal, but the fact that some of us are ignorant of what the commercial real estate appraisal is all about, the need for thorough explanation about this matter must be given attention.

So for that reason, I would like to discuss some important considerations about the nature of commercial real estate appraisal. Just remember that this information is just some of the fundamentals for a successful commercial real estate appraisal.

According to many resources, the commercial real estate appraisal is just like some forms of home appraisals that most of the people need when buying or selling a home. For that alone, the commercial real estate appraisal is therefore an estimate of the value of the commercial real estate property. It is important to note that the commercial real estate appraisal is not just done by any person, but the commercial real estate appraisal is performed by a qualified and certified professional called an appraiser. Along with that fact, the commercial real estate appraisal is generally recognized with one of three approaches, which include a cost approach, a comparison approach, and an income approach.

With a cost approach of commercial real estate appraisal, the appraiser investigates what would be the cost for a replacement or improvement of the commercial real estate as of the date of the commercial real estate appraisal. In the sense of the second approach of commercial real estate appraisal which is the comparison approach, the appraiser in this sense of commercial real estate appraisal approach really make some comparisons with the value among other commercial real estate properties of the same size, quality, and location that has been currently sold. On the other, the use of the commercial real estate appraisal’s third approach, which is the income approach of commercial real estate appraisal, the appraiser then identifies the value of the commercial real estate property based on the estimate of what an investor would pay with respect to the net income that the commercial real estate property contributes. Nevertheless, the income approach of the commercial real estate appraisal is said to be only available for income producing commercial real estate properties.

Finally, the commercial real estate appraisal will be only made successful if the commercial real estate appraisal includes the estimate value, the effective date of the appraisal, the purpose of the appraisal, the identification of the commercial real estate property and its ownership. Aside from that, the commercial real estate appraisal must also include the condition of the neighborhood, factual data, qualifying conditions, analysis and interpretation of the data and the assumptions made the processing of the data by a single or more of the three approaches to commercial real estate appraisal to value and the certification and the signature. Such considerations must be given attention when doing a commercial real estate appraisal for the benefit of the parties involved in the commercial real estate appraisal.

Get Control Of Your Personal Finance With A Budget

It is fairly common knowledge that money matters can be simplified and controlled with a budget. One of the keys to personal finance management is creating and using a household budget. It is not a really hard task, but one that many people avoid. The reason is that it can often be hard to avoid overspending and having a budget really puts spending problems out there.

A budget is basically a list of expenses and income. It should include all expenses, even the seemingly little expenses like a morning coffee purchase. The budget can be made out weekly or monthly, whatever way is best for the household. For someone who gets paid once a week, a weekly budget may be best. For someone who gets paid once a month, a monthly budget would work nicely. Although, it is really a matter of personal choice as to how the budget is made out.

The income section of a budget is usually fairly simple. Most people can easily track their income. Some people choose to list their income after taxes, while others list the income before taxes and include taxes as a expense. That is strictly a matter of choice.

The expenses section is where most people have trouble. It can be hard to see our spending habits in black and white. It is really important, though, to be honest and list everything. You may find it is helpful to keep a spending log for a week. Your spending log is where you will write down every purchase you make. This can be a good way of tracking all the little expenses you incur throughout a week.

Your expenses section of your budget should also include utilities and housing expenses. If you have a car payment, include here as well. You need to include money spent on gasoline, bathroom items, food and any other thing you spend money on. You do not have to include large, one time purchases, though, as they are not a routine part of your expenses.

Once you have your income and expenses listed you need to add each up. The total of your expenses should not exceed the total of your income. If it does then you need to cut back on your expenses. You may have to stop some spending or try to find creative ways of reducing your spending.

The whole idea of a budget is to ensure that you are not spending more then you are earning. Your budget is a blueprint for how you should be spending your money. Once you have your budget made out and it is balanced you need to stick to it. Only spend as much as you have allotted in your expenses and you should find your personal finance situation becomes much easier to deal with.

Black Jack In The Casino

Whether you’re new to casino gaming or a casino veteran, blackjack is one of the simplest and most fun card games casinos have to offer. The objective in blackjack is to beat the dealer by getting a hand as close to 21 as possible without going over. To play casino blackjack, you need only a basic understanding of the rules and a desire to have fun.

So how do you reach 21? In blackjack, the cards have values. Number cards two through ten are counted at face value, while all face cards (King, Queen and Jack) are worth ten points. The ace is a special card in blackjack: you decide whether it’s worth one or eleven points. Since casino players are dealt two cards to start, if you get an ace and a face card or ten, you have 21, an instant win, as long as the dealer doesn’t get 21 as well. This two-card winning hand is called a blackjack hence the name of the game!

Casino rules for blackjack are basically the same at all casinos. After you get your first two cards, your options are to hit, stand, double down, split, or sometimes surrender. Hit means to take another card; stand means to keep what you have. A double down means you will double your bet in exchange for taking only one more card (you can draw up to five cards in blackjack). If your first two cards are the same value, you can split, or separate them and play each card as a different hand. Not all casinos offer the option to surrender, which means you would withdraw from the hand and receive half your bet back.

When you play blackjack at a casino, be sure to know which table to choose. Most casinos have color coded blackjack tables according to the minimum bet the table accepts, usually $3, $5, $25 or $100. In any casino, it’s a given the $3 and $5 tables will be crowded, but they’re great for beginners at casino games because all of the cards are dealt face-up, as opposed to the one-up, one-down method at higher tables. So the next time or the first time you visit a casino, make a stop at the blackjack tables and aim for 21!

However you have to realise that you can loose alot of money in a casino if you are not careful, always warm up on a low betting table befor joining a big game. you have to see if lady luck is on your side. also give your self an ammount limit and do not exceed that limit, buy your chips once there gone leave! gambaling can be addictive and cause you many problems.

Types Of Online Games And Its Popularity

Few years ago, thinking of online games was incomprehensible. Though internet was there, it was used for basic purposes like emailing and browsing for information. In the past few years, game developers have taken the world of internet by storm.

Now days, not only can you play them online, but they come for free. The opportunity to play free online games is with you 24 hours a day throughout the year. Either you download the games or you use them with particular browsers, Flash enabled.

Though some people do argue the authenticity of free online games in terms of disclosing private information and details, it is an undisputed fact that these free games does help to improve our minds, both young and adults.

How do online games help improve our mind? Thousands of free games are available categorized into different compartments such as arcade games, strategy games, action games, board games, puzzle games, shooting games and others.

Arcade Games- An innovation of the 1970s of neighborhood games played with coins, the arcade games soon enveloped the mind of gamers when arcade games opened online. Online arcade games are a rage these days.

Strategy Games- These games are time consuming and require tremendous practice. It is all about applying your mind to devise new strategies in order to win.

Action Games- The action-oriented games involve futuristic space adventures, fighting, and target achieving games where the players perform actions to gain the number one slot. Skeptics complain about the action games being too gross and bloody, but until one plays with a sane mind, there should not be problems!

Board Games- Evidently, online board games are the animated rendition of traditional board games such as chess.

Puzzle Games- They attract the interest of young and old alike. It sharpens the mind; mind is where all the action takes place.

Shooting Games- It is a safe way to vent your anger and irritation. They generally come under action games but has been kept in separate category due to its popularity.

Card Games- They continue to be popular since the ancient days. With online gaming, card games have become a favorite pastime.

All these games concentrate on churning our minds. Through our mind, we have to combat with speed and actions, make strategy to topple the opponent and be victorious. The opponent could be the computer itself or another human person sitting at another end.

It is amazing to see how the popularity has not ceased. Most of the games are available to players for free and some sites even offer bonuses on winning, like the casino games. You can actually earn as an online gamer. Whether you play for money or pleasure, online games are here to stay.

Home Improvement Tips To Help Sell Your Home

If you are a total layperson as far as home improvement is concerned, then you should hire help or enlist friends if you’re tackling areas where it does make a difference how you get the job done. Simple home improvement projects like painting can be attempted by everyone as the worst you can do is a patchy job that can be painted over.

Have Realistic Time, Money and Expertise Expectations – If you want to replicate a room that you have seen on Trading Spaces or Design on a Dime, get the inspiration but keep your expectations in check.

The people behind the work in such shows are experts; professionals in their field with years of experience. They can do things faster and better than an average person and if things go wrong, they also know how to make them right. When planning home improvement projects, keep your expectations real as far as budget and time considerations go as well.

The designers on the show often get great discounts from others in the business as they need the promotion on popular television shows. Plus, they often accessorize rooms with flea market finds and things picked up at garage sales. You could strike gold too, but it doesn’t happen very often.

Home improvement shows boast of the latest faux paint techniques and the hottest colors for the season. However, the green you like for your master bedroom may not appeal to prospective homeowners. If you do have hot pink bedroom walls for your daughter, tone them down or make them neutral as well. This is because new owners may not have a daughter who will use that room and they may want to move in to something that requires minimum effort.

The designers on the show are experts themselves plus they have a lot of help from back up crew and the like so they can delegate tasks and get more done in less time.

What You Can Do On Your Own – There are things shown on home improvement shows that you can easily replicate like rearranging your furniture, de-cluttering and even painting so don’t give up a home improvement project just because you can’t compete with the pros. However, assess your strengths and keep a plan B in mind. For instance, while you are redoing your kitchen, factor in the cost of eating out for all the days that the floor is ripped out and the appliances unusable.

Go through the entire home and toss, donate or store anything you do not need immediately. This will free up walking space, wall space, counter space and the like and prospective owners will feel they are getting more footage for their dollar. If there are pieces you can not part with, hold them in a separate storage area not your garage or basement. Then if you still feel they are important, bring them back in your new home.

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.