The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. Whenever I have budget surprises, they normally aren’t the happy kind.  They usually mean something has been more expensive than I anticipated or there was an unexpected expense.  This time is different however.  There is going to be a surprise source of income. My wife will start bringing in an income starting in September.  She will be providing childcare for someone 5 days a week.  She will be earning between $1,000 and $1,400 dollars a month depending upon the number of days she watches the baby.  Since I don’t count on her for any income, this certainly will be bonus income. What to do? The easy answer to this question would be to save it all.  Though it would not be easy to convince my wife this is the best course of action.  So, I need to balance saving some of the extra income with the need to enjoy some if it too.  What I … Read more

Positive Aspects of Using Credit Cards

When credit cards were first introduced they were not seen in anything other than a positive light. They were convenient of course and did away with the need to carry too much cash. These days all the advantages of convenience remain and those who ”trade” online could not really operate without one. However they are also a cause for concern because of the level of debt that many Americans have built up for themselves. It is not a card’s fault as such because companies have not forced users to spend to their limits but it has been so tempting and remains so. The average American debt on credit cards is over $6,000 but if the group who pay off their balances routinely at the end of the month are taken out, the debt leaps to over $,000. That is the real downside of cards and if users were to accept one word of advice it would be to get rid of this expensive debt by taking out a cheaper personal loan and pay balances off. Credit cards do have a particularly positive side if used properly. You will need to do your research to get the best deals but if … Read more

How to Manage Money: The 5 Vital Keys!

Knowing how to manage money is an essential thing in a society gifted in consumption. I share in this article five practical ways to manage your money. If you’ve already had difficult ends of the month, then you know how important it is to know how to manage your money. I gathered for you the best keys to financial management. Learn to say no! It’s amazing how we all have many needs that we are unable to meet. We must therefore learn to say “no” to things that we are sure will hit our finances hard and prevent us from achieving our main goals. Have a budget! The budget is important and essential for anyone trying to learn ‘how to manage money.” Indeed, it is the foundation for the efficient management of finances. Your budget allows you to have a clear idea of what you earn and what you spend or have to spend. It allows you to have your feet on the ground and prevents you from embarking on costly adventures. One important thing: it is one thing to set a budget. But the most important part is to respect it. Educate your family Effective money management cannot be … Read more

Learning the Right Lesson From Debt

Debt Sucks

Debt is a terrible thing to weigh down your life financial plan, but it’s possible to learn from debt a great lesson. Living beneath your means is an essential part of good personal finance living, but it’s something that’s not often taught or practiced in the United States. If you’ve failed to live beneath your means in the past, it’s important to start doing so now. That’s a great goal, but I’m sorry to say, if you’ve got a lot of debt, you’ve got to live even farther below your means than you would otherwise. We’re talking about real frugality here. If you’ve been living off of borrowing for some time now, this might not be a mode that is natural to you. But it’s necessary if you want to turn the tide on your debt. Let’s start by understanding what you’re up against. Lots of people think about their loans only as monthly payments. If you can afford the $300 a month for that car payment, then it means the car is affordable, right? Not really. This is a trick that low level lenders tend to play on their customers. It’s not a trick, really, but it is often … Read more


The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. The stock market has always amused me.  One day the world is apparently caving in, the next day everything is rainbows and butterflies.  I keep track of my 401K balance relatively often, more so to keep an accurate net worth number, not to see my rate of return.  Market gyrations do not change my investment plan.  My asset allocation is based on my risk tolerance and daily or monthly fluctuations are not going to change it.  I thought I would give you a peak into how my 401K has done over a 12 month time frame at monthly intervals as well as how it did during the Brexit volatility. Monthly Ups and Downs I went back and looked at the last 12 monthly statements from my 401K.  I was only interested in the change in market value, not the ending balance.  The ending balance would have been impacted by my contributions, so I wanted to … Read more

Net Worth Summary

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. One of the tasks that I do with my finances is to track my net worth. It’s my scorecard on how I am doing financially.  I have only been diligently tracking the number since the end of 2008.  I am positive the number wasn’t pretty before that time, as I was not very good at managing my finances before then.  So, how did I do this year and what were the drivers of the overall change?  Let’s take a look. Net Worth My net worth increased 14.8% from the end of 2014 till the end of 2015. It was a roughly $19,000 increase year-over-year.  I will say that I am pleased with the number.  It’s going up and the markets did not contribute much of anything to the increase.  The increase was driven entirely by debt reduction and savings.  It is also a far cry from the roughly -$19,000 net worth I had when I … Read more

11 Ways to Completely Revamp Your Spread Betting

1.Don’t complicate things Use a simple trading plan. Stick to markets you are familiar with and are comfortable trading in. Make sure you know almost everything there is to know about those markets from their trading hours, to the margin requirements and factors that influence their price. 2.Be up to speed with the latest news If it is a stock, you should be aware of things like when the company is about to announce a trading update or even when it is about to go ex-dividend. For forex pairs and indices, you should always be up to speed with important macroeconomic data news. 3.Study the markets If you watch and study a market for several days (or even months) you will gradually understand how it tends to move and how it trades. So whether you use fundamental or technical analysis, the longer you study a particular segment of the market, the more you can spot its idiosyncratic pattern. If you are looking at commodity markets, then make sure you’re literally an expert and can easily write a whole thesis paper on it. 4.Choose your trading hours wisely Unless you are fully confident in your strategy, avoid trading during the first … Read more