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Monthly Archives: July 2017

All about Rewards Card

Rewards cards come in three main varieties and one is a cash-back or fixed-value card. These have a straightforward and clearly defined benefit accrual. They’ll usually give one point and sometimes a bit more for every dollar you spend. In addition to travel related redemption’s, these cards offer a wide selection of merchandise purchases through companies such as ScoreCard Rewards. Plus, they can offer cash back paid directly to you on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.¬†Cash-back card values are about the same but you can use the money for anything. Remember, the ratio is the same. With a $1,000 in charges to the card, you can purchase $10 worth of merchandise. Both require frequent use to meet financial goals.

The second type is the co-branded credit card, and which aligns with hotel companies and airlines. The benefit here is that you earn points for their loyalty programs, and some of these programs are extremely lucrative. In addition to frequent flyer miles, these cards often have added benefit such as elite club membership, special hotel rates, special event packages, priority boarding, and free baggage check.

The third type is the card with a transferable points program. These give you the best of both worlds. You can redeem points for any flight, and you can also transfer points to a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs. Most of these programs also allow you to redeem points for cash. For the flexibility of using points in a variety of ways, these cards often carry annual fees, some quite high.

While there are any number of reasons for using rewards cards, several basic considerations should be explored before a decision is made. The starting point for anyone should be to define the reason for wanting a rewards card. Ask yourself what you want it do that your traditional bank card doesn’t offer. Be specific as to what the card will offer you personally and how often you’ll use it.

Frequency of use is an important consideration in choosing a rewards card. If you’d like one to use for travel but you’re only an occasional traveler, a rewards card may not be for you. As example, for $1,000 charged to the card the rewards point value equals 1,000, and this equates to a $10 value. It takes a lot of purchases to build enough points for a hotel room, let alone an airline flight.

Another decision to make is knowing how many cards you want. Ask yourself whether you can handle keeping track of multiple credit cards at the same time. Consider whether you’ll need more than one co-branded card to match different airlines. Generally, only people who travel often or fly often gain worthwhile benefit from multiple cards, especially co-branded ones.

Starting with a single card buys time to develop a system for staying organized and tracking points, spending requirements, annual fees, and so on. List on paper the points and/or miles you really feel that you can build using a card on a regular basis. List specific perks that you may receive from the card, such as elite travel status, hotel comp’s, free luggage check, and other bonus programs. Then, simply ask yourself if these are important to you.

Rewards cards are both popular and used by millions of people. But, careful consideration should be given before choosing this path, as they often carry higher interest rates or annual fees. Monthly balances must be paid in full for the cards to make financial sense. For many people, cash-back cards, co-branded cards, or transferable point cards make good sense and pay personal benefits for the holder. Follow the guidelines suggested here and you may find a rewards card is a good fit in your financial life.

Handle Finances After Marriage

It is important that you make any significant financial decisions jointly as a couple to avoid creating financial frustration and aggravation in your marriage. The first thing you should do with your spouse is to establish a joint budget. To do this you will need to be completely honest with your spouse about your income, debts, assets, and credit history. The easiest way to create a joint budget is to itemize your monthly income and all your debts. This information should include all your monthly bills from your rent or mortgage, auto loans, student loans, installment loans, and credit card balances. Both of your individual financial plans have just become one joint plan, so it is important to know exactly what both you and your spouse spend your money on. Whether you decide to share in the bill paying responsibilities or to entrust one spouse, both parties should be aware and able to find out what the household income is being spent on. When creating your new joint budget, you will find that there are many areas that you will be able to save money. Most households can save quite a bit of money by combining insurance, utilities, consolidating debts, and eating at home more often. Your joint budget will help you cut down on your monthly expenses and allow you to save money. Once you’ve decided on your new budget, it would be in your best interest to put aside any savings that you have towards an emergency fund for future unforeseen events or possibly save the excess money towards the down payment on a house. You could also use any excess funds in your joint budget to pay down debt. The best place to start would be high interest credit cards, installment loans, or student loans. Paying off debt will improve your overall financial picture in the future.

Most financial advisors state married couples should have enough savings in an emergency fund to cover three and six months of expenses. Also, all the assets that each of you have should be discussed, these include: checking accounts, savings accounts, 401(k)s, stocks or bonds, or other valuable assets. It is important to discuss not only your current financial situation, but also your personal goals with your spouse, such as: homeownership, eliminating debt, vacations, and even retirement.

Some Habits of Financial Health

Develop a long-term financial plan
If you do not know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else. Your financial future is much more important than your next holiday. My work colleagues are always busy planning their holidays, if you do the same, channel some of that energy and focus on what your long term plans are. Write them down.

Stay Insured
A study done at Harvard University indicates that Medical Expenses are the biggest cause of bankruptcy, representing 62% of all personal bankruptcies in the States. A good health insurance can protect you. However, one of the interesting caveats of the study I just mentioned, shows that 78% of filers had some form of health insurance. My own take is that you need to select an insurance that is personalized to your needs. If you have dependents you would need a different insurance compared to your single friend.

Be prepared for the unexpected
One year ago I lost my job, my monthly salary went from five figures to zero within two weeks. With today’s mind, I can say that being laid off was probably one of the best events for my career. When that happened I was emotionally devastated. Before I started a new adventure in the special place I am right now, I spent few months without any income. I was able to sustain my previous lifestyle with few adjustments, thanks to the money I had saved. Most will call this “rainy fund”. I much rather call it “Opportunity fund”. Rainy fund brings the memory of scarcity, whether opportunity fund is something full of optimism. I had to use some of my funds during my unemployed days, and having a positive mindset helped me go through that difficult time.

Earn more
Your income matters. Saving 20% of 1,000 is different than saving 20% of 10,000. Everyone has the opportunity to tap into their free time and find something that could produce extra income. Baby-sitting, tuition, music lessons,… The only limit is your imagination. It may be awkward and difficult at first, but with time and persistence you can succeed in developing one or more sources of extra income

Collecting Rent Online

Controls management costs

Collecting rent online reduces property management expenses. This allows you to cut down on operation costs, and lets property management fees remain low, which is definitely an advantage for property owners.

Improves customer service

Instead of collecting and processing paper checks, your team can spend more time focusing on their marketing efforts and improving the relations with the residents.

Lessens past due accounts

Since there are different online payment options – such as PaypPal, eCheck and credit card – there will be a considerable reduction in late payments. In addition, mobile alerts that remind the residents that the rent is due, or when the due date is drawing near, usually prompts an immediate payment when your system is mobile device optimized.

Adds more security

Paying rent online gets rid of the risks involved with cash payments. Moreover, your insurance company is more likely to reduce your coverage when you do not maintain cash on-site.

Makes dispute resolutions easier and makes an audit track

Online rent payments generate a digital paper trail. If ever a resident claims that he/she paid online, you can check the system at once to confirm or refute the claim. With a fully incorporated property management software package, you can update owner statements, evaluate late fees and automatically trail split payments. The processing of rent payments and owner disbursements are more secure since sensitive personal info is never compromised. Your accounting group can just click to get a snapshot of those who have or have not paid to allow well-informed financial resolutions.