Category Archives: Personal Finance

Four Tips For Improving Your Credit Score

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Credit scores are an important part of life and can greatly influence the livelihood of people.

Credit scores are established through payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, types of credit in use, and new credit.

Due to loans taken out or having debt on credit cards, credit scores can often be low. Low credit scores make it hard to be able to apply for credit cards or get loans when money is needed.

Ontime Payments

One of the ways people can improve their credit scores is by making sure to pay their payments on time.  Payment history makes up a good chunk of the credit score itself.

One way to make sure payments are made on time is by writing down on a calendar when the bill is due. Also, a reminder can be put on the phone to make sure to pay a bill.

Also, some companies allow customers to opt into a text service, which will provide a text as a reminder to pay the bill. It is just as important to pay credit card bills as well as normal utility bills on time.

Open up new revolving accounts

Credit scores can be improved by opening up a new credit card and keeping it open.

As long as there is no annual fee involved when it comes to the credit card, there is no reason to cancel the card.  This will help with the length of the payment history component of the credit score.

It is just as important to make sure to be using the credit card once in a while because it might be closed due to non-usage.

Along with usage, it is just as important to make sure to be able to pay off the credit card purchases in a timely manner. It is very important to make sure not to open up too many credit cards because that is not helpful to improving the credit score.

Manage debt

Credit scores are greatly influenced by any debt that is accrued over time.

Everyone knows there are interest rates on loans and credit cards. These interest rates become steeper and make it hard to pay back the longer the balance goes unpaid.

When there is debt involved, people tend to try to pay off the debt by opening other credit cards or taking out more loans. This might seem like a great idea at the time, but often times the new loans end up being even harder to pay off later on.

The best thing to do is put aside certain money each month as part of the budget to pay off the debt. By doing this, the debt will slowly be paid off without adding on any more debt or loans, which will have to be repaid later.

It is important to plan out a budget of all the expenses and to make sure to include a portion of the money toward debts or loans involved. Also, people should pay off any loans or debt in small amounts without letting the balance continue to stay open.

Monitor credit reports for errors

Although credit scores are circulated every day, there can be errors in the calculation itself. It is important to double check to make sure no error were made when calculating the credit score.

There are many online sites, which could give the credit score and if any errors are present, they can be disputed. Sometimes due to these errors, credit scores can be affected without actually having any actual debts.

Credit card companies often put credit limits on credit cards based off the credit score. By continuing to make payments on time and leaving the credit card open, credit card companies will be willing to create a higher limit.

It is important to make sure customer’s spending habits don’t change as well even though the credit limits change.

Photo: Mighty Travels / CC 2.0

The Big Subjects to Talk About Before the Big Day

 

Families in poppy field in summertime

 

Finances

Most couples will talk briefly about finances. Stuff like who will work, where the money will be spent, budgeting, common things like that. But, did you ever once mention who will be the main person to pay the bills? Is there going to be one joint bank account, or will each spouse keep separate bank accounts? It is important to decide just who will handle paying the bills and setting up the online accounts for those bills. This is very vital to discuss because of the confusion that can come if there is not a designated person. Now, just because one spouse is the designated bill payer that doesn’t mean that the other is completely cut off knowing anything about bills. They do have the right to know how much each monthly bill is and the password to those online accounts. Knowing the password is key because if something ever happens to the bill payer, then the other spouse will have immediate access to all that.  Also, the matter of separate or joint bank accounts is a personal one. Some people love joint accounts. It makes budgeting much easier and is very transparent. Joint bank accounts are more time consuming to budget. Remembering which account has which bill coming out or will the bills come out of one spouses account and the play money is from the other spouse. However you want to do it is fine as long as you can make it work for you.

Children

Now on to the subject of children. You have probably discussed the number you would like to have. Did you discuss who will be their main caregiver? It used to be no question, Mom was in charge of the home and family and Dad worked. But, nowadays those roles are changing and so is the scope of the family. If both parents want to work that is great, but who will be the one to take the day off to take care of the sick child? Who will be the designated chauffeur when it comes to sports, ballet, school functions, etc.? It is also important to decide on the type of punishments you both find acceptable for your future children. Kids are notorious for pitting parent against parent. They love to play I asked mom and she said no so I’ll go ask dad because I know he’ll say yes (or vice versa). Deciding on how to handle those situations will save your sanity in the long run.

Religion

Religion is a tricky subject to converse about. If you are marrying a person of a different religion you want to make sure you respect their beliefs. Even though this is difficult to discuss it is a crucial conversation that you will both need to make time for. Some of the talking points could center on what religion your children will be raised in. How will you handle holidays and celebrating certain religious specific ones? How will you attend church, will you go together to one spouse’s specific church or will you go separately to your respective churches? Is converting to a different religion open for discussion and if so which spouse will convert?

Politics

Politics is a huge one that you need to talk about before the big day. Some thing to remember about voting is that when you go to vote, don’t cancel each other out. Take the time to discuss which candidate you like and why. This may be hard if you like opposite parties, but still try to do it. You don’t want to get into that booth and essentially have your vote not count because you voted against each other.

You love your spouse enough to stay with them until “death do you part”.  If you can talk to your spouse openly about these subjects your marriage will be all the better for it.

Six Tips For Creating An Innovative Business Card

Are you a new graduate on the job hunt? Are you in an established career and you’re looking for a new challenge?

If you’re getting ready to venture into the world of job searching, you need a great business card that will be memorable, is clear and will get you noticed.

Don’t know where to start? Follow our guide of creative ideas for business cards and get started on making an impression with your future employers.

The key to remember in deciding on a business card is to avoid cards that are too gimmicky or cute that they leave an impression that you shouldn’t be taken seriously. That’s a fine line to walk, but we’ll help you right now:

Increase the Weight of Your Card

There is something that happens in the psyche when you have a weightier card. It feels like more a library card or a credit card. It feels more serious.

Consider increasing the weight of your business card’s paper stock, and you’ll have an instant payoff in the minds of whomever is holding your card next.

Invest in Letter-pressing or Embossing

If you’ve got the budget for it, consider adding an element of letter-pressing or embossing to your card. It’s going to be a little pricey, as this is a craft, niche operation, but your card will look beautiful.

This is something for designers especially to consider. Your business card needs to match your profession or the field you hope to enter.

Try Out a Smaller Card

One trend in business cards today is to try an alternate shape from the traditional rectangle. A square card or even a smaller rectangle add interest and set your card apart from the pile of others.

Consider Wood

Are you going into a field involving sustainability or the environment? Are you a craft woodworker? Consider a wood business card.

These cards are made of layers of thin wood, but they are sturdy, creative and are much different than any other card your future employer may receive.

Die-Cut Cards

Add some creativity and professionalism to your card by adding a die-cut element to your business card. This could just be in the form of your business logo or the initial of your last name.

It may be a little pricey to get a die-cut because it is a custom design element. However, it will add some style and interest to your card and make it memorable to future employers.

Digital Cards

A new trend in business cards is to forego paper altogether and make your business card digital. You can do this by making a digital card on your iPad.

Take the iPad with you to visits with employers. The card needs to have a QR code on it so that the person can scan your card with his or her smart phone and record the information about you.

An alternative is to keep the traditional business card but to include a QR code directly on the card. You’ll not only make it easy for a future employer to keep up with you, but you’ll score major cool points for being tech savvy.

Are you inspired yet? Use our guide of handy tips for finding an innovative business card that is professional and memorable. You’re on your way to finding a great job — or least leaving a really great impression by investing in a great card. Good luck in your search!

A Personal Story: Evaluating Your Investment Portfolio

Retire with peace of mind by making sacrifices at a young age and living a disciplined lifestyle. Once you get in the habit of saving and investing, you can expect to start increasing your personal wealth. Due diligence and regular inspections of your finances should ensure a promising retirement for you.

Funny Girl Student With Glasses Reading Books

The first thing I did was to determine what kind of retirement I wanted. This helped me to determine how much money I would need to make it happen. I started by calculating my daily expenses and increasing them every year of my life expectancy, a trick I learned from my grandfather and www.aarp.com. Next I determined what my portfolio should look like. From then on I checked on my investments regularly, just to see how they were doing, but a re-evaluation was not really necessary unless I intended to add, delete, or change my investments.

I was fortunate to learn a little about investing from my grandfather at an early age. He did not know a lot, but he did know the importance of saving money and not to just dabble in the stock market by jumping around from stock to stock. I filled in the blanks with my own research by asking experts and reading financial articles. All types of portfolios agree that the amount of risk I am willing to take, diversification of investments, and saving money are essential to having money for retirement, and that my age would determine how this would change over time.

Risk is a part of all investments. As a younger person in my twenties, I was willing to take a greater risks. I was in a position to buy into several different companies that seemed sound to me.  Stocks are more high-risk, but I made sure that I could afford to lose what I invested, that my livelihood did not depend on the performance of my investments. Some provided steady income, and some only showed a return when their value increased. I took Warren Buffett’s advice and did not invest in any company that I did not understand, and I slept great at night by avoiding those “hot tips” from other investors.

Preparing for the worst was the best way for me to diversify my portfolio. I looked to www.forbes.com and www.fool.com to tell me about different types of investments, and turned to www.investopedia.com for specific definitions of terms when I needed it. Together they gave me free and solid advice and information. According to these sources, my investments should be designed to counter any losses that I may experience with any one of them, and provide other sources of revenue. I attempted to stabilize my portfolio by investing about 50 % of it in domestic and foreign exchanges, 40% in fixed-income securities, and the rest in cash.

By investing in domestic and foreign exchanges, I relied on different economies that usually were not directly connected to one another, like the United States and companies in other countries that do not depend on U.S. economy to thrive. I also chose to invest in real estate through mutual funds. I invested with others in office buildings, apartments, shopping malls, and warehouses in the United States and abroad.

My fixed-income securities were government bonds. I was practically guaranteed thousands of dollars in increase on tens of thousands of dollars of investments. I got a percentage of the investment in increase, plus the original investment of the bond.

I also learned from www.time. com/money that certain credit cards are better for loans, financing, bonus points, etc. I use them to purchase necessities like groceries and gasoline, utilities, etc., and pay them off every month. I save myself finance charges and consistently build my credit.

My cash assets were in CDs and savings accounts. I took advantage of a company-matched 401(K) and maximized my IRA, which allowed me to save a sizable amount to put in my personal savings or invest in my fixed-income securities. My grandfather was also wise enough to leave me money as a beneficiary of his life insurance policy. This allowed me to collect the full amount of my benefits without taxes or fees incurring. This is a part of the money I invested in my portfolio.

By the time I retired, my portfolio remained diversified, but reflected a shift in dynamics to roughly 20% in the exchanges, 45% in fixed-income securities, and the rest in cash. I was able to live in retirement instead of having to work to supplement it.

 

Four Tips For Saving For That Summer Road Trip

15114724336_189eb3e636_zSaint Augustine, theologian and philosopher once said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” In the common world road trips create an escape from the daily routine.

In order to have a successful trip you need to be fully prepared, and financially able to handle any unforeseen circumstances while on your trip. However, the first thing you need to figure out is how to start saving.

There are several tricks that can be utilized to help save money gradually over a period of time, most of them take an extremely minimal amount of effort and actually make saving easy.

Keep a jar of change

This is one of the oldest methods to holding on to money; in day-to-day life change often just gets thrown in a cup holder and forgotten. That change does build up, and it will build up faster than you realize.

Consider putting the jar in your laundry room, every time you find money in the laundry put it in the jar as well.

Pick a number

Every bill, of any value has a serial number, with 2 letters followed by a series of numbers.

Pick a number from 1 to 10, every time you get a bill that has that number at the end of its serial code put it away and save it.

Make a budget

Figure out all your expenses every month, and find out how much extra spending money you have after your bills are covered.

Once you have determined the amount extra you have, decide on a percentage and then take that amount out of your account each month and place it in a savings account.

Say no

Be aware of what you are spending money on, this is something to keep in mind while you are on your trip as well. Choose not to spend money on unnecessary purchases, if you buy a cup of coffee every morning of the week, go at least one day a week without buying your coffee.

So now you know how to save for a trip, but how can you prepare and plan out your expenses for the actual trip. Creating a budget specifically for your trip can allow you to maintain your spending and stay within your budget.

If you are able to plan your budget in a way that overestimates your spending, then you will end up with extra money to help cover for accidents or unforeseen issues.

Figure out your gas cost, and make an allowance for the fluctuations in gas price. Be aware that the cost of gas is different depending on what state you are in, find out which states you will be driving through and their gas prices.

Always be familiar with the distance in miles, and then make sure you have enough in cash to cover the cost of gas home with a little bit extra to help cover food. You do not want to get stuck at your location because you lost your debit or credit card. It is ideal for the cash to be kept in the car or in your suitcase, out of your wallet.

Being aware of your potential cost and budget will help you know how much to save, and extending that awareness throughout your trip will help you have a successful and enjoyable trip.

Photo: Richard PJ Lambert / CC 2.0

10 Can’t-Miss Tips to Help You Make a Dazzling First Impression

Business People

A positive first impression is worth more than a forever diamond. According to a Princeton University study, you get 100 milliseconds (1/10 of a second) to win someone over—that’s faster than you can text, “Like me.” Let’s look at 10 can’t miss practices for making a good first impression.

  1. Pay attention to your appearance. Everything about your appearance should broadcast “neat and meticulous.” Show, don’t tell—a neat appearance proves your attention to detail. There’s no need to mention it if you can show it. Arrive on time and mind your manners. We shouldn’t have to mention not to chew gum, but when elected officials meet foreign dignitaries while chomping on gum, it needs to be repeated. Nails should be trimmed and neat with neutral polish, if any—no “Long Island Medium” nails. As your mother probably repeated in an endless loop, “Don’t slouch.” Hold your body erect and look at the other person. Finally, turn off your phone. If someone died, the body will be just as dead in a half-hour. If a loved one is at death’s door, reschedule.
  2. Dress for success. In a job interview or a first meeting with a client, dress one step up the position you are seeking or up a step from the client will wear (do your homework), according to CBS Money Watch. “If your prospect is in denim, you wear khaki. They wear sport coats without ties; you are in suits without ties. The point is that you always dress one step further up the clothing ladder than your prospect, but not two.”
  3. Be yourself. People can see through phonies a mile away.
  4. Trustworthiness vs. confidence. We’ve all been led to believe that we must show confidence 24/7/365—or at least “fake it ’til you make it.” Wired magazine reports that social psychologist Amy Cuddy of Harvard Business School says that in a first impression, trustworthiness and confidence levels comprise 80–90 percent of the overall impression we give. Studies have shown that people place more importance on trustworthiness than confidence because if a person senses that you’re competent, he or she will be interested in your intention (trustworthiness) toward them. If you’re a highly confident person, you might want to dial back the confidence a bit and show more of your trustworthy side.
  5. Victims are not winners. According to Psychology Today, “Feeling victimized is not adaptive.” You need to feel empowered to be nimble and to act proactively. If you are a bona fide “victim,” you’re also a survivor. Accentuate the positive and show your strength.
  6. Show integrity. Demonstrate that your actions are in line with your values. If you were the star salesperson, demonstrate it with metrics. When you’re asked to talk about a weakness, answer honestly.
  7. Prepare an elevator speech. You never know when you might have a chance meeting that could change the course of your life. An elevator speech takes 30 seconds. Address three things in the first 20 seconds: who you are, what you do, and what you want to do. That leaves 10 seconds to quiz the listener and show “what’s in it for them” and why you’re just the person to fill the need. Rehearse your elevator speech with a mentor who will tell you the truth and offer constructive criticism. Practice until you can give your speech in a natural, sincere manner, not as if you’re reading a teleprompter. End your speech with a call to action.
  8. Don’t let social media kill your chances at success. It’s simple to search someone online, and the Internet is forever. If you wouldn’t want it broadcast on the 6 o’clock news, don’t put it out there on the Internet. If you’re social media image is less than sterling, clean it up. Delete your accounts and start new ones that give a better impression. You can remove yourself from Google but start building better online profiles—people without a past are no longer mysterious, they’re questionable. Even if you take all these steps, there are other ways people can discover your past.
  9. Perfect your email netiquette. When you give your first impression via email, start with a succinct message header, an appropriate salutation and stick to business, according to Inc. Leave out off-colored jokes, private information, LOLs, OMGs and emoticons. Keep it short and write in complete sentences with proper capitalization and grammar. This isn’t Twitter. Before hitting “Send,” check your email for tone.
  10. Pay close attention to the other person. The University of Kentucky suggests that you listen twice as much as you speak. Only through listening can you pick up clues about what needs you can fill.

Bottom line: You are not going to make a good first impression every time. Everyone has a bad day, and someone could take an immediate visceral dislike to you. It happens. But if you think that first impressions don’t count, ask yourself if you would let a surgeon to whom you took an immediate dislike cut you open on the operating table? There’s your answer. People want to trust and like those with whom they do business.

Buying Vs. Leasing A New Car: What Makes More Sense Financially?

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There is nothing more exciting than driving off the dealer’s lot in a brand new vehicle. However, before you can take the keys and drive home, you have to determine whether or not to buy the car or lease it.

Let’s take a look at a few of the factors that need to be considered before making such an important decision.

How Much Can You Afford to Spend?

If you don’t have a lot to spend each month, it may be best to lease the new vehicle. This is because the monthly payment is almost always lower when you lease as opposed to buy the vehicle.

However, you may need to pay a security deposit and an acquisition fee when you lease a vehicle that you don’t need to pay when you buy a car outright. Those who have a trade may be able to put their trade toward some or all of the money that needs to be paid upfront.

How Many Miles Do You Drive Each Year?

Those who drive more than 12,000 miles a year should consider buying instead of leasing. In most cases, the lease allows you to drive 12,000 miles a year before charging as much as 20 cents per mile or more after that.

Therefore, it could actually cost you more to lease if you have a long commute or travel regularly for any reason. The good news is that you may be able to prepay for additional miles if you think that you will need them.

How Long Do You Plan to Drive the Car?

Drivers who want to drive the latest model may want to consider a lease because they can simply turn in their current vehicle when the lease expires.

Whether you decide to buy or to lease, you get the same manufacturer’s warranty, which can be important if you want or need something that is reliable. As a general rule, if you don’t plan on driving the car for more than three years, opt for the lease.

Do You Know What You Want to Buy?

At any time during a lease, you can trade in the vehicle if you find something that you really want. You can also try to transfer the lease if you decide that your current driving arrangement isn’t working out.

When the lease expires, you can decide to buy the car at its residual value if you like it and can afford to keep making payments. By purchasing the car, you agree to pay for it until you sell it, trade it or make the final monthly payment.

Therefore, you are often better off leasing if you aren’t sure that you are ready to commit to a particular vehicle.

There is a lot to think about before deciding whether you want to buy or lease a vehicle. For those who aren’t ready to commit or can’t afford to make a large monthly payment, a lease may be the best decision.

However, if you plan on driving the car for a long time and rack up the miles each year, buying is probably the better option.

Photo: Joe Ross / CC 2.0

Is It Time To Ditch Your Bank?

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The banking industry has never been as competitive as it is at this current time. This competitiveness creates an advantageous service and financial environment for consumers.

When a customer encounters a situation in which they believe that their bank is not providing them with the type of service or products they desire, they have the option to switch to a bank that offers products and services that are more in line with their expectations.

According to J.D. Power and Associates, approximately 9.6 percent of banking customers have switched banks over the past 12 months. This figure is on the rise, being significantly higher than the 8.7 percent from last year.

While the reasons that customers give for leaving their bank differ, there are certain indicators that are clear signs that it is time to leave your bank. Additionally, this move should be made expeditiously.

There are two key elements that are at the core of determining if it is time to ditch your bank, and they are the security associated with your money, and the level of satisfaction you are consistently experiencing.

Financial Strength

The financial strength of a bank is extremely important in providing security for the funds that are deposited by their customers.

Although the FDIC insures up to the first $250,000 per account holder who is a part of an FDIC-insured bank, no one wants to have to go through the process of filing a claim for their money. This is why customers should check the financial strength of their bank periodically.

This can be done by checking the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp’s website. This will allow you to confirm if the bank is maintaining its FDIC insurance.

If your bank is not maintaining its FDIC insurance, this should send up an immediate red flag. This means that if your bank should go under, you could lose all of the cash and certificates that you have deposited with the bank.

Excessive Fees

Currently, there is a push by larger banks to increase revenue by raising fees. These fee increases are an attempt to offset losses that have been incurred as a result of a loss in credit card fee revenue, which is a direct result of some significant regulatory changes.

This means that customers from some of the major banks will more than likely begin to see some changes in fees on checking accounts, ATM usage, debit cards, online banking and more.

All banks will vary in the fees that are charged for these services, however, traditionally, local banks have lower fee costs, and they may actually waive some of the traditional fees charged by larger banks.

Lifestyle Changes

Another important element that impacts customer satisfaction is convenience.

Maybe you are in a situation in which your bank no longer fits your lifestyle. Initially, your bank was ideal, providing operating hours and locations that effectively serviced your needs and preferences; however, certain changes in your life has created a number of conflicts that make your bank less attractive.

An example would be switching to a job that require you to travel substantially. If you are banking with a local bank with limited locations, this could present a problem. Finding a national bank might be more beneficial to your new lifestyle.

The same is applicable to banking hours. If you have a situation in which you are consistently leaving your office at 6:30 p.m. or later, the chances are that your bank’s branch office will be closed.

This is an instance where switching to a bank that can better accommodate your schedule might be in order.

Photo: Bryan Rosengrant / CC 2.0

How I Made $30,000 in One Day by Mistake

valuable papers, charts and diagrams - a collage

It was the go-go 90s and the stock market was on fire. In those days it was easy to make money in the market. It was a great time for momentum stocks and if you could get your hands on some shares of an IPO you had a chance to make a big score. From amateur investors to the most sophisticated traders on Wall Street, everyone was caught up in the exciting world of IPOs and short-term trading. I wanted to be part of that world!

TIP: Short-term trading carries higher risk than long-term investing. Traders can make a lot of money and also lose a lot of money.

Before I go any further let me just say that I have gone through different investment phases over the different stages of my life. Out of college, I preferred mutual funds and had my money invested with Fidelity, T.Rowe Price and Vanguard. In my early 30s I built my own portfolio of stocks. I invested some money in gold and silver bullion and I kept my retirement money in mutual funds. For a few short years, roughly from 1995-2000, I became a more aggressive investor. These were the years I got into day trading. They were also the years when I made the best investment of my life.

TIP: Base your investment strategy on your stage of life, tolerance for risk, and investment goals.

Online discount brokerage firms were in their infancy during the last decade of the twentieth century. Stock trading software was not nearly as sophisticated as it is today. However, it made it possible for people to trade frequently because you could buy or sell a stock for less than $10 per trade (a full service broker might charge $100 for the same trade). I opened a discount brokerage account and learned how to place market and limit orders. I eventually opened a margin account and it was nothing to buy or sell $10,000 worth of stock three or four times per week.

TIP: Open an online discount brokerage account and make your own trades. You’ll save on transaction costs, have a universe of stocks, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds, be able to view live quotes, do research, and track performance.. 

I am not going to lie and say I always made money on my trades, but I did make more good trades than bad ones. Most of the time I would make $200 – $300 on a stock I bought on one day and sold several days later. Sometimes the stock would go down and result in a loss. One thing I quickly learned was that you have to recognize when you made a wrong pick. I swallowed my pride, sold the loser, and went on to another stock.

TIP: Don’t ride a bad stock all the way down. Even Warren Buffet makes an occasional bad stock pick. When he does, he accepts a small loss (relatively speaking) and moves on. Limit your losses!

My best day ever in the stock market was the day I decided to buy into the IPO of a new stock called Books-a-Million (BAMM). The new issue was in great demand and I knew that it would immediately surge when the day’s trading session began. I got to my computer, proceeded to my online discount brokerage account, and placed an order for 2,000 shares at the market price (I wanted to make sure I was not shut out by a limit order).

TIP: Be ready when a great opportunity comes up. An IPO or a promising quarterly report can result in a rapidly rising stock price. Don’t be 100 percent invested. Have some cash on hand to take advantage of “special” situations.

For some reason, I thought that the market order had not been transmitted so I re-entered it. As you know, once you place a market order it is almost impossible to cancel it. A few minutes later I checked my account to see if my 2,000 share order had been executed. It had, and a second 2,000 share order also was executed. The IPO was priced at $12 and my two orders were filled at $17 and $20 as millions of shares traded in the first five minutes after trading began. It was not long before BAMM got very close to $30 and I was ecstatic. Then, reality set in and the stock sold off. I sold 2,000 shares at $27 and the remaining 2,000 shares at $25, netting me a one-day gain of $30,000. Although I did not sell at the very top I was still thrilled about being 30,000 richer!

TIP: Sometimes lucky is better than smart. If you buy a stock and it takes off, don’t be too greedy. Take some profits while it is going up and maybe hold on to some shares in case the stock continues to rise.

I would hardly call myself a brilliant investor, but I have been fairly successful over the last 30 years. Getting lucky is not an investment strategy. Sticking with some proven investment principles has helped me profit over the years.  

  • Define your investment goals.
  • Know your investment time horizon.
  • Never buy on impulse.
  • Always do your research before investing.
  • Create a risk-adjusted portfolio
  • Periodically review, adjust, and rebalance your portfolio.
  • Be diversified. 
  • Don’t invest under pressure. 

 

Celebrating Summer’s Imminent Arrival With Checkworks

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Paying bills is never fun. CheckWorks, however, has some really fun check designs that can make the experience more enjoyable.

Enjoy the bold colors of summer and escape to a tropical paradise by the sea. Check out some of the great designs for summer (links are in the headings).

Woodies Checks

Go back in time to the beach parties and sock hops of the 1950s and 1960s with four popular paintings by Scott Westmoreland. Each design features a scene with a classic Woodie. Imagine driving the Woodie to the beach and parking it in the sand next to a row of surfboards.

Step out onto the sand and join the surfers watching the waves come to shore. Drive your Woodie to a quiet spot along the water to relax, and enjoy coming home to man’s best friend waiting in the driveway.

Escape to the Seas Checks

Escape to the sea for a few minutes with these four sepia photographs of beach scenes. The first photo features a quiet view of a beach dune with a wooden fence weathered by the salty winds.

Next, a lone motorcycle is parked at the beach with the sea shining in the background. Then, there is a collection of beautiful shells and starfish. The final scene captures the power of a large wave crashing down against the beach.

Dancing Butterflies Checks

Imagine sipping a glass of lemonade in the summer sun while watching the butterflies flitter in the sky. These checks showcase the beauty of butterflies in the bright colors of summer.

Each design highlights the gorgeous colors and swirling patterns of the butterfly wings against backgrounds of green, pink, purple, and yellow.

Bahama Breeze Checks

Take a journey to the Bahamas with four iconic prints from the islands. Of course, there are crystal blue waters, palm trees, and coconuts.

There are also pineapples, tropical flowers, and a perfectly woven straw basket. Bring your own fruity drink topped with a paper umbrella.

Sunny Side Up Checks

Pack up and get ready for a day of fun in the sun.

First, grab your bathing suit. You’ve got yellow polka dots, tropical blue floral, and bikinis from which to choose. You’ll need a bag to carry all of your supplies. Square or round? Big or small? Pink, yellow, or blue?

The sun is bright. Don’t forget to pack a hat and sunglasses. Straw hat, bucket hat, big hat, or floppy hat?

You are almost ready to go. Slip on a pair of flip-flops and you are out the door. It doesn’t matter if you choose the stripes, the wedges, or the flip-flops with the flowers. You are ready for your day in the sun.

Tropical Paradise Checks

Welcome to Paradise! Gaze at these tropical scenes for long enough and you might actually start to smell the salty air.

In this tropical paradise you will find palm trees on white sand beaches next to a crystalline turquoise sea. Brightly colored surfboards are lined up in front of crashing blue waves.

Rocky coastlines give way to soft, sand beaches and the rolling tides. A quiet pier leads you to relax next to the glassy green waters. Paradise awaits.

Photo: Nick Morozov / CC 2.0