Surviving the Sandwich Years: Smart and Secure Financial Steps to Take in Your 40’s and 50’s

In the normal scheme of things, when you reach your 40’s or 50’s and have a family, you are most likely going to be looking at funding some college expenses for your children, and that need will be immediate or not so very far away.

Add in medical bills, helping them onto the housing ladder and funding a wedding, and you can soon see why this life period is often referred to as the sandwich years.

Developing a survival strategy

Different periods in your life will present changing financial challenges along with milestones in your career and personal life, so it makes sense to try and anticipate these events well in advance.

None of us ever knows exactly what the future holds, but if you have children for example, you can at least map out some financial events that are going to happen along the way.

There will always be some unexpected expenses, which is why resources like www.kingofkash.com/payday-loans are there to offer a short-term solution. One of the best strategies to employ if you can, is to have access to some cash reserves. In an ideal world, having access to anywhere between three and six months of monthly cash needs, should help you ride out most financial storms, but with everything else to pay, it is not always that easy to accumulate that sort of spare cash.

Another key point to remember that is often used in business, but applies to your personal financial planning too, is that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Not having some sort of financial plan and a list of priorities, could leave you exposed at key points in your life.

Every little helps

It is often surprising to see how even a small amount of money put away on a regular basis, can build into a decent pot of cash, before you know it.

One of the reasons why a lot of people don’t start building up their cash reserves and saving for the future, is that they don’t think they can put enough money aside to make it worthwhile.

Any amount of money put away regularly is going to help. Never think that you don’t have enough spare cash to justify starting some savings. Skipping on your regular coffee on the way to work each day for example, is one way of generating some extra cash. Simply put what you would have spent each week aside instead, and see how quickly that small sum can add up.

Make clearing debt a priority

The vast majority of us have some sort of debt obligations, some more than others of course.

Credit card debts, student loans and medical bills can all eat away at your financial stability and it would be a good idea to make clearing debt a priority, so that you can then put that monthly money to good use, by saving and making some investments that should help you to secure a better future.

A good strategy would be to work out exactly how much debt you currently have and how much spare cash each month to work with. Allocating some of that spare cash to paying down debt and the rest to savings, will help put you in a stronger financial position quicker than if you just keep making the normal payments.

Make the most of your employee benefits

As your career develops, there is a good chance that not only will your salary increase, but you will most likely also be offered some increasingly attractive employee options.

It can often pay to take full advantage of these employee benefits. Retirement plans are a clear example of why it may be rewarding to max out your employee benefits, as the amount your employer contributes to your 401 (k) each month is a tax efficient- way of saving for when you retire.

It is often worth looking at matching their contribution with your own money, and you may want to find out what the maximum contribution you can make is, so that you can make the most of the opportunity.

It often pays to get professional advice when you think you need it. If you want to see what options you have or what you need to do to make the most of your money, spending some cash to get an educated opinion, can often be justified if it saves you making mistakes and boosts your earning potential.

Molly Peters writes about personal finance. She is a personal finance advisor with years of experience and enjoys helping people to master their money.

 

Here’s why it is important to document your finances for your family

Life is unpredictable and being healthy today does not guarantee you the same tomorrow. Death and incapacitation are common occurrences that take place on a daily basis and thus one needs to have a plan. Documenting your finances does not mean that you are predicting own death as many people tend to think. It just shows that you are smart and responsible enough to direct others how to use your estates when you are gone. The following are reasons why you should document your finances.

  1. Appoint your beneficiaries

The government shares property among the immediate family members according to the laws and regulations regarding inheritance if there is no valid will. Such property is not given to charity or friends unless there is a will that directs so. You can distribute your finances among family, friends and other noble courses through writing.

  1. Avoid conflicts among family members

Family feuds and fights over property often happen due to lack of documentation. The government in such a case appoints a lawyer to handle the sharing. Inheritance disagreements can lead to enmity and mistrust among family members. The only way to ensure that family members protect and respect your decisions is putting it in writing.

  1. To cater for emergencies

Accidents are inevitable, and you can become ill or incapacitated such that you cannot make logical decisions. You can designate someone to handle your finances in such instances for smooth running. You can draft a Power Of Attorney to deal with all your legal and financial matters. You can also prepare a living will that dictates how to handle your medical health when you cannot speak for yourself.

  1. Avoid losing property to the government

The crown takes all the assets when someone dies with no valid will or family. The process of inheriting unclaimed assets is tedious because one has to prove that he/she is an entitled relative. Friends can also fraud your loved ones after your demise.

  1. Plan ahead for a decent send-off

You can direct the family members on how to conduct your funeral service, particularly if you want specific things to happen. Funeral plan companies like Golden Charter are also worth checking out, considering the considerable cost of a funeral. The last thing you want is to lumber your family with debt. Paying into a plan will stop that problem from happening.

A proper documentation gives your inheritors an easy time when managing your estates. It is only through writing that you can direct your loved ones on how to use the property.

How Volvo is Doing Their Part to Promote Sustainability

In recent years, Volvo has been breaking its own sales records, with more than a half-million cars sold in 2015 alone. As the brand expands its automobile and parts manufacturing and distribution efforts, many are wondering what steps the automotive giant is taking to reduce their carbon footprint and limit pollution. The Volvo Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department is in charge of handling the company’s efforts to have a positive impact on the environment and the global economy. Here are a few ways the Swedish automobile manufacturer is doing its part to promote sustainability:

volvo

Photo by Karl Baron

Producing Even Longer Lasting Volvo Parts

In addition to focusing on lower emissions and responsible manufacturing, Volvo is also reducing automotive waste by designing, producing and offering genuine Volvo parts with longer lifecycles. Volvo parts already have a strong reputation for being some of the most durable and well-designed, so even third-party (aka aftermarket) parts – designed to simply mimic OEM Volvo parts – actually last longer than those same aftermarket parts made for many other brands. In fact, on average Volvo has the second-longest lifespan of any brand, behind only Mercedes Benz. There are a number of Volvo cars that have lasted for more than 1 million miles, and one is even registered with more than 2.6 million miles on the odometer and still running.

Publishing Annual Sustainability Report

Every year since 2007, the Volvo Group has released an annual sustainability report. By maintaining such a high level of accountability and transparency, they’re motivating other automobile and parts manufacturers to follow suit. The report outlines the company’s effort to develop sustainable infrastructure, highlighting key statistics that illustrate the ongoing efforts put forth by its CSR team. Each year, between February and April, the report is released to the public in PDF form, outlining key goals and achievements that do and will contribute to a cleaner and brighter future for society and the planet.

Spearheading the Sustainable Transport Movement

Volvo is also known to invest a great deal of research and innovation into developing more sustainable global transport systems. The Volvo Group currently co-chairs the United Nations High Level Advisory Group, partnering with policy makers to ensure the entire automotive industry is on board with striving for more socially-responsible business practices. Facing the challenge of transporting its genuine OEM Volvo parts and automobiles around the world has led the automaker to develop some of the best policies regarding low emissions for transport vehicles and tracking fleet performance.

Societal Engagement Program and Other Efforts

Volvo is also running a program called Moving Business and Society Forward, which focuses on promoting societal engagement with and awareness of the ongoing push for sustainability in the auto industry. These efforts are intended to be mutually beneficial, creating value for shareholders while also motivating consumers to get more involved in the smart and strategic environmental initiatives. Volvo is facilitating important changes in a sector that has the potential to have profound environmental impacts. As we inch closer to 2020, and every major car brand and parts manufacturer starts feeling more pressure to participate in the eco-friendly movement, Volvo has not shown any reluctance to being a leader in the field.

Upcoming Coupons for 2017

When 2017 rolls around, it is time to start thinking about how much you can save while online shopping. MyFavDeals has the best promo codes on the internet. Coupons for everything from vape pens to vitamins. And the upcoming coupons for 2017 will cover even more stores and products.

Once we get into the new year, it is time to start thinking about a new beach chair. You know your old one is super sandy and very musty from spending the whole winter in the back of the garage. This coupon site has great deals on stuff from EverywhereChair.com. The beach chairs, director chairs, quad chairs and backpack chairs. Are you going to a bunch of baseball games in 2017? Make sure you have the best tailgating chairs and stadium inserts in the world.

It is super easy to use www.myfavdeals.com. Just to the homepage and you can start by browsing through featured coupons, which will include incredible upcoming coupons for 2017. You can also peruse the product reviews sections which will give you the lowdown on the best TVs, computers, kitchen mops, vacuum cleaners and pretty much anything that you can think of.

The mission of the site is to help people save as much money as possible, while offering products and services that the moderators have used and enjoyed themselves. The team gathers the best coupons, promo codes and discounts that they can find, so they can help regular people save tons of money and tons of time researching for the most effective online coupons.

No matter what kind of product you are looking for, you will find a discount for in on www.myfavdeals.com. And the list of upcoming coupons for 2017 is stellar. Every kind of product is available. Laptops, furniture, light fixtures and even all the products featured on Shark Tank. The team at MyFavDeals has it all.

And the site has its very own blog, which breaks down great products and things you can do with them. There are posts for every kind of shopper.

When you start searching for upcoming coupons for 2017 during this December, make sure to check out www.myfavdeals.com. You will be sure to find what you are looking for.

Yes, You Can: Actually Save Money Using Your Credit Card

If you believe using a credit card is nothing more than an expensive exercise, it is probably time for a rethink, as there are a number of ways you can come out on top when you use your card instead of cash.

Not convinced?

Here is a look at the positives attached to using a credit card you might not have even thought about, as well as the extent of some of the credit card benefits you may not have realized you could get.

No Scissors and Coupons Required: You Can Save Cash with Cards

There is a fair chance that you are one of those people who quite happily cuts out a coupon to use at your local store or restaurant, as it seems that well over 80 percent of us are noted to be occasional to regular coupon users.

That stands to reason, as most of us are not likely to turn down the chance to get some money off, or maybe even a free gift. The same mentality can also be applied to using your credit card, as there are literally hundreds of card-linked offers out there that you can take advantage of nowadays.

Sites like Upgraded Points specialize in hunting down enticing credit card offers. Reward schemes like cash back, unlimited purchase discounts and cash back rewards are the kind of deals that card issuers are offering. Other cards offer discounts at certain participating restaurants and gas stations, while others offer free flights or hotels.

If you use coupons to get money off, or like getting something for nothing or for little effort, it makes sense to use your credit card to unlock some of these rewards, unless you are happy missing out.

It is also worth pointing out that it is a lot less hassle to get your hands on credit card rewards, as you don’t have to cut any coupons out, and there are no codes to scan. Once you have signed up for a rewards scheme, just pay with your card and the rest will happen automatically.

Even More Savings: You Can Get Some of Your Money Back

Cash back deals are always worth looking out for and this is a prime example of how using your credit card could actually save you money.

If you see a cash back program being offered with your credit card, it is always worth signing up for the program, as you could get some of your hard-earned cash back to spend again in another way. You get rewarded just for using your credit card when you pay for your groceries or almost anything else you use your card for on a regular basis.

Although many of these schemes offer you cash back, as the description implies, this can also be offered to you as discounts, travel vouchers, hotel and travel rewards, and plenty of other ways to spend what is effectively “free” money from the card company.

Getting a percentage of the cash back that you had to spend anyway is a real no-brainer and a persuasive reason to use your credit card, so that you get the maximum benefit from your cash spending.

Retail Reality Check: You Get Easier Returns

There is almost nothing more frustrating than purchasing an item that doesn’t turn out to be right for you or just not what you expected it to be. In reality, there is one thing more frustrating than that: when you discover the retailer is not playing ball and won’t accept a return for whatever reason.

If you can’t get your money back, or only get offered a store credit, which you probably don’t want, that can turn out to be a costly experience. If you paid for the item using your credit card; however, it makes it easier for you to get your money back and cancel the transaction.

If something is faulty, not as described, or there are other viable reasons you don’t want to keep what you’ve purchased, the extra layer of consumer protection you get when you pay by credit card gives you more options than if you paid by cash or debit card.

There are certain rules and limits relating to cancelling a card transaction, but they are normally far more generous than other methods of payments. Using your credit card could save you money in this scenario, as you are less likely to get stuck with something you don’t want or are unhappy with in the end.

It is fair to say that saving money isn’t the first feature that springs to most people’s minds when talking about credit cards, but when you look into what they offer, there is actually a good chance your card could do just that. Start by finding out what your credit card provider offers, so you can take advantage of the benefits using your card could bring.

About Erin Bradshaw

Erin Bradshaw knows from experience how credit cards can be the root of all evil, but now almost debt free she can also see their positive sides. She writes about a range of personal finance matters in her online articles as she shares her own views, experiences and tips for managing your money better.

Urgent environmental action needed by Obama before Trump enters the White House.

The US election results are in and Donald J. Trump is the president-elect. It should be a time of jubilation in the United States, however his win is shrouded in darkness and uncertainty due to the ludicrous claims that he made on his campaign trail. Race, sex, ideology and science have all been in the firing line and with his ascension to the White House; his pulse is on a trigger that could send the world into an uncertain era.

Advocates for combating climate change and preserving the planet through sustainable initiatives are appalled at his election due to his dismissal of climate change.

Current US President Obama has taken significant action towards combating global warming and climate change. With less than three months left of his tenure, any environmental plans need to be put in motion. During the presidential race, Trump was vocal about unraveling everything that President Obama has done; with Obamacare being one of the first things in line, but environmental projects won’t be too far behind.

Steps towards using renewable energy are unlikely to go forward with a Trump presidency.

Despite President Obama’s initiative to rollout wind and solar energy, Donald Trump attacked him and his administration for proposing an inefficient solution. Donald Trump explained in one interview that while he was fond of the idea of solar power being used as a renewable energy source, the products that were being proposed weren’t economical and that people wouldn’t buy into them.

He was right in this case. The same thing happened with the rollout of LED light technology. Even though the lights have been around for more than 20 years, it’s only when they reached a price point where consumers would be able to see the financial savings payoff for the light bulbs after a few years that the popularity of LED lights started to take off. Donald Trump knows that a similar solution is needed, but at the moment, no formal solution has been proposed.

Another statement that he made that has environmentalists on the edge is that wind farms did more destruction to the environment than the current power sources such as coal and oil. His claims were unsubstantiated, but since he will be in power from 2017 it is likely that coal and oil power companies will receive a ‘Presidential Pardon’ for their carbon emissions and their impact on the environment.

The Paris Agreement could be torn to shreds.

Donald Trump bragged during his campaign about his ability to get the USA a good deal. And the environmental deal with the rest of the world in the form of the Paris Agreement was not a good one and he would get the US out of it!

The Paris Agreement was the world’s biggest chance for combating climate change by getting governments to reduce their economy’s carbon emissions and invest in sustainable technology that would help the environment. Even though over 190 countries ratified the agreement, the US is one of the leading culprits of carbon emissions along with China, Russia and India. Without US involvement, the agreement would be rendered useless.

President Obama can put laws and actions in place that can lay the essential groundwork for proactive sustainable measures that Donald Trump can build on. At the same time, those measures need to be difficult to unravel and Donald Trump’s motive towards sustainability to change.

Why do plastics continue to threaten our aquatic ecosystems?

Plastics are like a double-edged sword. They have contributed to amazing improvements in preservation and manufacturing, however it has come at a significant cost to the environment. There are serious concerns for these plastics ending up in landfill and our aquatic ecosystem. In a way, most people are either unaware or turn a blind eye to how much plastics that end up in aquatic ecosystems affect people’s quality of life, health and wellbeing. There are countries such as Australia and Japan which have promising systems in place, but in places like India and China whose countries contain 1/3rd of the world’s population; plastics still cause significant issues to their aquatic environments which will lead to water shortages in the future that will affect wildlife and humans.

In Southern China, millions of residents have been affected by e-waste plastics that have contaminated their water source with toxic chemicals such as mercury, lead, bisphenol A, copper and zinc which can cause neurological diseases and cancer. The towns that are affected need to have their drinking and irrigation water brought in from nearby towns because the local water is too polluted to consume.

People need to prevent plastics from ending up in aquatic ecosystems.

Firstly, it is important that plastics are disposed correctly at the end of their life cycle. This means sorting the plastics into categories so that they will distributed and processed at the right recycling centres. The world can learn from the small Japanese town of Kamikatsu, whose authorities are striving to create a zero waste economy and minimises the threat of plastics going to landfill and ending up in waterways. The townsfolk need to sort their waste into 34 categories so that items can be distributed to the correct recycling facilities.

Secondly, plastics can enter the aquatic environment during the supply chain. This was evident when cargo containers full of ink cartridges fell off a cargo ship and lay on the seabed for over a year. Then reports started to surface saying that its contents started to wash up on the coastal shores of Britain, Spain, Portugal and France. Not only did it affect the ecosystem of different countries coastlines, but it also contributed to the growth of plastic islands in the ocean, as can be seen in the video below.

The threat comes from some of the plastics, which contain toxins and absorb organic pollutants from the seawater. Small sea life such as jellyfish will consume the toxic plastics and will then be eaten by bigger fish, which are then eaten by humans. The result is that humans end up consuming these toxic chemicals. A Greenpeace report cites 267 species of marine life being affected by plastics in general.

One of the ways the marine ecosystem is being affected is from the loss of cargo at sea.
It’s common for cargo spills to happen and product manufacturers and distributors do make efforts to prevent these disasters from happening. However,when these issues occur, it’s usually left to beachcombers and conservation groups to do the clean-up.

Thirdly, it’s important that any water that is used for washing or processing plastic uses the right drainage to prevent any toxins or residues that may have contaminated the water to flow into waterways that affect the ecosystem. It’s important that any sewerage water flows to water treatment plants so that the water can be recycled and used for non-drinking purposes such as irrigation.

There are specific schemes that can be implemented such as a cartridge recycling scheme for printer and ink cartridges. Businesses and residents can sort their cartridges into satchels or boxes and then send it to the right recyclers for processing.

It’s time for the citizens of the world to become more responsible when it comes to plastic in our aquatic ecosystems. Governments need to put more pressure on residents and businesses to dispose their plastics through the correct recycling distribution channels. Furthermore, organisations need to improve their response to clean-up efforts should plastics end up in aquatic ecosystems before reaching the end of their supply chain.