In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.
When we were younger, many of us were asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Well-intentioned adults may have been excited to get a sneak peek into our little minds and identify what we were passionate about. If you had asked me, I would have said a naturalist (think Steve Irwin); if you asked my brother, he would have said a dragonfly. What makes this innocent question quite layered, actually? Following our passion implies that we have a clear calling that will not only make us happy but will also be lucrative.
In June of 2020, the daily number of people trading with the popular Robinhood investing app reached record levels, exceeding 4.3 million daily average revenue trades (CNBC). Robinhood is a new breed of commission-free investment apps that allows anyone to trade stocks and funds through a simple mobile app that rewards investments with confetti and other fun graphics. The company recently came under increased scrutiny, for creating a user experience that encourages risky behavior, when a twenty-year-old user committed suicide because he thought he had lost $730,000 dollars (CBS News). While apps like Robinhood provide an innovative and exciting new way for anyone to become an active investor, they are also causing significant harm to unseasoned investors who are unaware of the dangers of risky investment tactics. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you dip your toe into the market and risk gambling away your money.
Do you feel like your finances are a mess? What exactly qualifies your finances as a ‘mess,’ anyway? There are lots of rules of thumb and general advice out there—you should have two months’ worth of wages saved as an emergency fund, you should have three times your salary saved for retirement by age 40, and the like. What if you don’t; are your finances a mess? If you’re like most Americans, that may be the case. The truth is that about 63% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and 30% of Americans struggle to come up with $400 to pay for an emergency expense. Regardless of your personal circumstances, here are five steps to consider taking to improve your financial situation.
Prior to entering the adult world, personal finance was not a topic I had learned much about. More recently, it has become a topic of conversation among family and friends out of both necessity and curiosity. I get the sense that there are a lot of people out there, like me, who would love to learn more about how the world of finance works, and more specifically the implications for their own personal finances. There is a myriad of options for your listening pleasure out there, some that tackle the financial world in broad strokes and others focused on personal finance. Here are a few of my favorites.
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One day your child will start their way in the world, and as a parent, there are things you can do to help invest in your child’s financial future. While some children may continue their educations going on to college, others may choose a different path looking for a job after High School graduation. Both paths are admirable, with different financial tools a parent can use to help their child on whichever journey they end up taking. Read on to look over options to start planning for your child’s major financial events.
I’m a big fan of the envelope method of budgeting, and I’ve written about it in the past. Essentially, whenever money comes into our household, it immediately gets divided up into specific “envelopes” that denote what it’s for. We call this giving every dollar a job, and it makes managing expenses and saving extremely efficient. Once you’ve become good at it, a lot of the usual stress that comes with trying to stick with a budget goes away. Part of the reason I think this philosophy works so well for my family is that it lifts the mental load of spending and worrying that you can’t afford something. Rather than guessing how much you can spend on a given category, you just check its designated “envelope.” If there is enough money in there to buy what you need, you’re good to go! It might sound like a minor difference, but in practice, it revolutionizes budgeting. This method is amazing for nearly every type of spending, save one: groceries!
You’re thinking about starting a side hustle. It’s a topic that comes up in conversation more and more. And while you may be in a standard 9:00 to 5:00 position rather than working the gig economy, you are still looking for something more. You have a hobby, and you’re looking to finance your interest by making a profit from an activity you enjoy. You could be looking to supplement your income. Finding a skill to turn into a side business could help you reach your financial goals You may want to start your own business and a side hustle could help you test the waters before making a plunge into the entrepreneurial world. No matter what you’re looking to make your side hustle, you’re about to start a business. You can no longer take a passive stance once you have the expectation of profiting from your side hustle. And since this is your side job (with an emphasis on side), making money is easier said than done while also managing your full-time job.
Growing up, I was given a register to keep track of my checking and savings accounts. As time moved on and technology advanced, I began relying on online resources to do my banking and manage my accounts. Using online tools to help me track my finances has saved me a lot of time and money over the years, and now that I work at a financial institution, I have fine-tuned my habits to save even more. So, how can simple technology save you time and money? Here are some ideas...