Financial Planning Tools Deciphered

Financial planning is a necessary thing for all people. Many people have a hard time knowing where to start, and having the right financial planning tools at your disposal is helpful. Here are some great financial planning tools to help you reach your financial goals.

The first financial planning tool is the most important. That is a good, workable budget. You cannot reach your financial goals if you do not have a plan to get there. A budget will help you to allocate your funds in such a way that will satisfy your debts and help you plan for the future.

The next weapon in your arsenal of financial planning tools is a savings account. Although you should have other investments, a savings account is a place to park your liquid cash so that you have easy access and are earning some interest at the same time. Check with your bank to find out what different levels of savings accounts are offered. Many are on a tiered scale, meaning that the more money you have in them, the more interest you earn. You may need to upgrade your account from time to time though.

Third, check your credit report. Many web sites offer you a “for fee” credit report, but you should also know that you are guaranteed a free credit report from the three major credit bureaus once a year from the government web site If you feel you need to check it more often, then a fee-based credit report service may be the way to go.

The next thing to manage is your debt. Although this can be daunting, it’s a necessary part of establishing financial security. A few financial planning tools can help make this easier for you. For most people, credit cards are a necessity today to at least some extent. However, for smartest use, you should carry only one or two, pay off the balance every month, and use the credit card companies’ competitiveness to get such perks as no annual fee. If for some reason you must carry a balance, pay it off as soon as possible. You should never use your credit card to help you live beyond your means. Only use your credit card to make shopping convenient and provide such things as buyer protection, but treat the purchases you make with your credit card just as you would those with cash. Many people who carry credit cards but who pay off balances each month make note of and “deduct” money for credit card purchases from checking accounts each month as they go, so that they don’t spend cash on hand that’s meant to go toward credit card payments at the end of the month. Then, at the end of the month, they pay the credit bill, but the credit card balance has already been deducted from checking throughout the month, so they are essentially writing one check for the total of their purchases throughout the month.

Fifth, one of your most major bills is probably your rent or your mortgage. Of the two, a mortgage payment usually better for you, since you can usually deduct interest you pay on your mortgage from your taxes. When interest rates drop or some other financial situation arises where refinancing would be a good option for you, make sure you check into this and refinance if possible, in order to lower your mortgage payments. Usually, the most prudent way to handle a refinancing is to roll your refinance savings into your mortgage, so that you save on the mortgage itself rather than taking the cash out to spend on something else. This will save you up to several years on mortgage payments, depending on the length of your loan.

One of the greatest financial planning tools for anyone is to have a good retirement plan. If you are working, you should be contributing to your employer’s 401K plan. You should have a diversified plan that will allow you to save enough for retirement while still allowing you to meet your current obligations. The earlier you begin, the harder your money will work for you.

A few good financial planning tools can help you manage your money wisely. Make sure to do your homework and take advantage of all the resources available to you. There are many financial planning tools out there for free or at nominal cost on the Internet. In addition, your financial institution also has financial planning tools that you can use. If you use these tools wisely, you’ll get the most out of your money.

Do Video Games Breed Violent People?

You hear it on the news, you read about it in magazines and papers, and it’s the accepted word on the street – our society is becoming increasingly violent, and this is largely due to video games. People often point at the selection of wear related, or violence related video games and in one fell swoop, tarnish all video games as causing nothing but a decrease in the moral standard of our society, and with the same sweep, tarnish all young people who play these games as either actual or potential thugs, who will do little more than hang around on street corners mugging people, or causing other distressful crimes.

Although at first glance it would appear that statistics offered by these people appear to bear testimony to what they say, on closer examination it becomes very quickly apparent that the truth is much farther from this portrayal of it.

It is a fact that the accident and emergency wards of hospitals see a good number of young people who have been admitted as a result of violent crime. In fact, the actual number of such cases has fallen quite dramatically in recent years, although no such decrease has been seen in the number of video games being played, or in their popularity. It is also a fact that the vast majority of these young people who have been involved in violent crime are regular players of video games.

But this statistic is woefully misleading. Since ninety percent of young boys play video games, it is always going to be the case that any random selection of boys will result in the vast majority of them being regular players of video games. It would make as much sense to identify all the young boys who volunteer for charity work occasionally, or take part in fundraising, and then identify how many of them play video games regularly. Since ninety percent of all boys play video games regularly, then these fundraising charity volunteers are going to mostly be gamers – but this is not to suggest that playing video games make you more charitable, in just the same way that playing video games doesn’t make you a violent thug.

Forty percent of girls play video games, which is to say nearly half, so again, if nearly half of all girls admitted into hospital after being involved in a violent crime are branded as being there because of video games, it makes as much sense to suggest that by not playing video games, half the girls have ended up in hospital.

These are the statistics that those who have a deep mistrust of video games like to publicise, but upon closer inspection, these claims are wildly unfounded, based on hopelessly meaningless figures and provided as only half the truth. In fact, there is no evidence to suggest that playing video games makes a person become violent. The home life and upbringing has far more influence on a person’s social and moral attitudes that a computer game.

Home Theater Furniture Buying Tips

No home theater would be truly complete without home theater furniture. It is usually the last element that homeowners consider in setting up a home theater but having the right pieces of furniture is essential to the entire viewing experience. Below are some pointers on what home theater furniture you will need and how to pick them.

An entertainment stand should be first on your list of home theater furniture. This is very useful for those who have limited space because it provides a single space where you can put your television, sound system and DVD player. If you do have the space, then you can opt for separate cabinets for the stereo or for the television, for instance. However, just make sure to pick out home theater furniture that go well together and that fits with the look of your home.

The next essential home theater furniture that you should consider has to do with seating.
There are so many options when it comes to couches and chairs so you should be able to find one that will suit your taste and that will fit certain requirements such as space, the number of people you want to accommodate and, of course, comfort. An important thing to consider when choosing the seats is whether the room is a dedicated home theater or not, in which case you would need to choose seats or home theater furniture, in general, that will fit the other purpose of the room.

If you are fortunate to have a separate room just for a home theater, then you are free to choose seats much like you would see in regular movie theaters with beverage holders even, only more comfortable. There are loungers with spacious armrests and gliding footrests, too. If your budget allows it, you can consider other home theater furniture aside from cabinets and seating to enhance your home movie watching experience further such as a popcorn machine or a snack bar. These add-ons will surely make your viewing more pleasurable.

Home theaters are growing in popularity and so manufacturers are coming out with so many options for the customer, which also means that prices of home theater furniture have become more affordable. Just remember to shop around compare before making a purchase. Try to survey as many furniture stores as possible, including online stores, so you can compare prices of different home theater furniture and get the best deal.

Pronunciation: Get Better In Another Language

Pronunciation can affect how we communicate. Many people, who have had a go at learning a foreign language, have experienced that sinking feeling when they try a well-constructed sentence in another language only to be met with a blank face.

Why is this?

Languages are built on sounds. If I speak English and live in an English-speaking country I expect a speaker to say sounds in a particular way. In French or Spanish I would expect to hear different sounds. When we can’t recognise the sound we try and adjust how we are listening, a bit like tuning a radio, but if we can’t guess the sound, the chances are we won’t understand what is being said.

The Blocks of Pronunciation

Pronunciation has two main aspects to it, physically producing it and the sound that is produced from it, the hearing of the sound. As we get older the ability to do both of these, i.e. physically work out how to make the sound and recognise it, can diminish. This doesn’t mean we can’t continue to learn new languages but we need some extra tricks to help us.

Let’s look at some ideas on what we can do when we learn a new language.

How am I saying it?

Try saying the letters. Notice how your mouth is working. If you don’t know how a sound is physically made you may find it harder to say it.

What sounds are the same?

English has many more sounds than other languages but it also has a lot of sounds in common with other languages. Good dictionaries in a new language will usually offer an English sound or word to compare with. Use it to check what sounds are similar.

Which sounds are hard to say?

Go through the alphabet of the new language and mark out the ones you find hard to say. Give them some attention. Try and physically make the sound and see how your mouth works. Say the alphabet. Look at how children use the alphabet song in English to help them remember the alphabet, doing the same in a new language will also help memorise the letters and sounds.

Read out loud.

Find some reading form your course book or any other book. There are two advantages here. One you get to say the letters and words. Secondly you get to practise sounds that you expect to hear and you become accustomed to the sounds of the language.

How good do I need to be?

There is much discussion on this. For many of us the ability to get by in other languages is good enough. If we can say what we want, simply, slowly and the person we are speaking to, can understand us, then our pronunciation is probably good enough. After that it is a matter of choice. Some people become very good at other languages and get to very good levels of pronunciation. Not many of us are such gifted linguists but there’s no reason why we can’t make the words so that people can understand us.

Home Improvement Loans: Enable You To Make Home Improvements

We all wish to bring changes and make some innovations in our homes. But changing your home or experimenting may cost you little extra that might not be feasible for you. Are you dropping the idea just because of this reason? Insufficient funds will not pose any problem because you can entail home improvement loans and fulfill your needs easily.

Home improvement loans can be secured and unsecured. For secured home improvement loans you are required to pledge your property as collateral. As they are secured in nature these loans offer a huge loan amount within a range of 5000-75000 and that too at affordable rates of interest. The repayment term is generally long and varies with the loan amount. The flexible repayment term allows easy loan repayment.

Whereas, if you can not meet the collateral clause then unsecured home improvement loans are a great financial option to depend on. Through unsecured loans you can borrow a huge loan amount within a range of 1000-25000 for a short term of 1-10 years. They carry slightly higher interest rates as they are not secured against anything.

Home improvement loans taken to cover up the repairs or renovation cost of residential property. You can utilize funds for civil work like plumbing or doing up the kitchen or for painting the flat. You can remodel your house or can buy new furniture, bathroom extension or construct one more bedroom. You can easily deal with such expenses by taking up home improvement loans.

If you are having bad credit history, even then you can go for home improvement loans. Poor credit holders facing arrears, defaults, bankruptcy, missed payments and other such bad credit can easily procure these loans for carrying home improvements.

Home improvement loans can be very easily applied through banks and even online. The online application is very convenient as you can apply by completing a simple application form. You can even look around for lower rate deal easily by doing little market research.

The Best Designer Board Games

Designer board games are something that is generally considered to have been started in Germany, and while sometimes referred to as German style board games, this title can be misleading. Designer board games have come from nearly every country and all have great success stories in the popularity they enjoy with fans. Many different Americans, for example, have produced vastly popular designer board games. A number of designer board games do come from Germany, however, but despite the intimidating nature of the titles, players should feel comfortable with any of these games. They often are similar to many games that players already know and love, but often present some form of twist or enhancement that can make them even more enjoyable!
Good designer board games all feature some sort of theme which unites the strategy and methods used within the game. Sometimes these themes can seem somewhat bizarre and unsuitable for a game, but that is also part of the charm of the designer game. Once such game, Bohnanza, is technically about bean farming, which causes many a player to raise an eyebrow. However, the real game deals with heavy negotiation and trading between players. By using different cards dealt from the deck, players must plant different bean crops, trade for certain bean crops, and eventually harvest the crops to gain money in return. The player who, at the end of the game, has the largest amount of money wins. While initially sounding a bit ridiculous, Bohnanza provides players with much enjoyment as the strategy needed in the game always changes based on the other players.
Tigris and Euphrates is another designer board game which enjoys much popularity with fans. Based on ancient civilizations, this game gives players the chance to act as neighboring dynasties which are clashing over this region. Players randomly select tiles from a bag and during the game, place these tiles in strategic positions around the board, gaining control of areas to expand their kingdoms. Different tiles stand for different aspects of the game and through careful placement, players can build and strengthen their domains in ways that will reap vast benefits. At the end of the game, players collect points based on the numbers and types of tiles that they have placed, and the player with the largest number of tiles is declared the winner of the game.
Scotland Yard is a designer game that pits one player against the others in a team. One player is designated as “Mr. X,” a fugitive from the law who is running around London, trying to avoid capture. The other players all form the law enforcement team trying to arrest him before a certain time limit has passed and Mr. X can roam free. The board is a map of London, marked with certain transportation routes and all of the stops along those routes. All players are forced to travel along these routes, with Mr. X trying to evade capture while the other players pursue. The twist is that only 3 forms of transportation are available and each one can only be used a certain number of times by the police team.
Much strategy and careful teamwork is required with these games, as with most designer board games. However, with the many different varieties and themes available, it is no wonder that they have become as popular as they are. Everyone should be able to find a game that suits their interests!

Creating A Personal Finance Spreadsheet

One of the biggest challenges we face as adults is balancing a budget. Creating a personal finance spreadsheet can be one of

the most valuable steps you can take to tackling this challenge head on. Even if you start with a simple format and a few details you can be well on your way to financial organization which can lead to financial security in the long run.

There are different methods for creating a personal finance spreadsheet and the decision on which to choose depends greatly

on your personality in general. Many people like to keep record in a computer program like Excel. This is a wonderful way to

stay organized while making a sound personal financial spreadsheet that is professional grade quality.

The Excel program is great because it allows you to work from a clean template. You have control of the input and you can

cater your personal financial spreadsheet to your needs. Many of us have no idea how to use this program but it really takes

just a few minutes to master and the results are great.

You can also use a program like Quicken to create a personal finance spreadsheet. This kind of program comes highly

recommended for any individual who is serious about keeping track of all of his incoming and outgoing funds. The personal

finance spreadsheet that you can produce from a program like Quicken will put your accountant to shame.

Many of us love the idea of keeping strict records of our spending habits and we really like the idea of a sound budget.

However, we don’t like to work on the computer any more than we have to. If you spend all day at work at the monitor the last

thing you want to do is go home and work on a personal finance spreadsheet on your personal computer.

There are those of us who are just not likely to keep things up to date when using this kind of personal finance spreadsheet. These individuals may embrace more traditional, hands on approach to keeping a budget record up to date. There are many items available at office supply stores to meet the traditional needs as well.

One thing to remember when it comes to your personal finance spreadsheet; if you are in a partnership or a marriage it is

crucial to keep the lines of communication open. No personal finance spreadsheet will help you become clairvoyant. Good

Financial Planning – The Key To Your Lifelong Success

Financial planning is not limited to asset allocation, mutual funds, and fixed-income investments – planning should include every aspect of your life.

Should you apply for that credit card? What type of car insurance should you buy? Should we save for our child’s college or put money in our IRA’s instead? These and many more questions are all part of financial planning.

The Larry Rule – A Little Known Financial Planning Fact

Larry Lindsey is not a famous name, even in financial circles. Currently, Mr. Lindsey is the chief economic advisor to the Bush Administration. In 1996, he was a Federal Reserve Board Governor – and he was denied for a Toys ‘R Us credit card!

To apply or not to apply, that is the planning question. Larry Lindsey, who had excellent credit and a high-income level, set out to demonstrate a flaw in credit scoring algorithms.

He simply applied for every retail store credit card he was offered, and in no time he had “too many inquiries.” Never mind the fact that he had millions in assets and nary a late payment in his 30-year credit history.

Knowing the Larry Rule is key to your financial planning. If you apply for retail store credit cards every time you are asked to do so, it will have negative effects on your credit.

You may then be asked to pay a higher interest rate on your mortgage or home equity loan, which could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Sacrificing $10,000 for a 10 percent discount at Fashion Bug is not smart planning!

Auto Insurance and Financial Planning

Most people think of insurance as a legal necessity, but in reality, it is a financial product, and that’s important to keep in mind. Don’t ever buy insurance just because it’s legally required or in order to give yourself peace of mind. Insurance must serve a financial planning purpose!

You need to have a planning strategy in mind when you purchase auto insurance. The insurance company’s goal is to get you to pay more in premiums than you take out in claims – thus, they profit.

Your goal should to pay as little in premiums as possible in order to be adequately covered. You don’t want to have to use your auto insurance, but at the same time, you don’t want to be subsidizing the bad drivers who take out more in claims than they pay in.

In order to develop a financial planning strategy for auto insurance, it’s important that you become as educated as possible on the subject. Luckily, there are dozens of great sites on the internet that provide free information on the various types of auto insurance plans, and the particular laws of your state.

Everyone has to own some form of auto insurance, and thus it should be the cornerstone of any intelligent planning strategy.

The Financial Planning Dilemma – College vs. Retirement

American parents love their children and will do almost anything to ensure they have every possible advantage. As a result, many parents save for their children’s college instead of saving for their own retirement. This act of selflessness is usually not a good planning strategy.

In order to avoid this mistake, one must have a decent understanding of financial planning tax implications. Most college savings accounts are taxed on some level, whereas financial planning products for retirement purposes generally are not. What’s more, saving for your child’s college can prevent him or her from receiving the maximum financial aid available.

In other words, by foregoing your retirement in favor of your child’s college, you are actually subsidizing the children of less responsible parents – or smarter parents who chose to save for their own retirement, in light of these facts.

Teenage Gambling Addiction Education Needed At Local Schools

For the past few years teenage gambling has been increasing at an exponential rate. The increase in gambling can be contributed to family members who gamble, multiple television programs like poker tournaments and skillful advertising from the gambling establishments. It’s becoming an epidemic among our teenagers with no real solution being presented to the educators of our schools systems.

The new stream of commercials related to stop gambling has had very little affect. The commercials are geared towards helping people stop gambling but are not geared towards the individuals who have not experienced gambling at this point in time. The stop gambling commercials have not been able to reach the teenager with a compulsive gambling addiction. They however may reach the parents who may realize their child has a problem.

The only way to help our youth is to educate them in the classroom and at home. I remember years ago in health class they educated us on smoking and drinking. This was very effective on those individuals who never started. But the ones that were already addicted the educational programs were unable to reach them.

There following educational curriculums are needed for today’s students:

a)Helpful Resources for identifying teenagers who may have a compulsive gambling addiction.

b)Helping Teenagers identify their compulsive gambling addiction

c)Educating teenagers on compulsive gambling addiction. This one is my favorite because this has the best opportunity to prevent a teenager from gambling, helping teenagers identify the signs of compulsive gambling addiction and if the teenager has a problem with gambling.

d)Giving Teenagers the tools to identify others who may have a gambling addiction like their parents. This one has to be handled sensitively. I have received numerous emails from teenagers who did not know where to go, who to talk to in order to help a family member.

e)Educating Teenagers on the resources available to get help by giving them the local stop gambling telephone numbers and helpful stop gambling websites.

f)Understanding Compulsive Gambling Addiction

g)Practical exercises for teenagers with addictions to learn about self esteem, trust and more.

The above educational curriculums are needed to help educate the teenage population.

As each year passes the amount of teenager’s addicted to gambling increases. This increase is due to the increased exposure. This exposure is due to the increase in the number of cable and television gambling programs, advetising by local gambling establishements, retailers jumping on poker craze selling poker chips, the increase in the number of state lotto drawings per day and the state advertising for their scratch off tickets.

Marketing Education And Training: Mlm Secret Profits

When you start in the network marketing business, it is usually because of a couple of reasons. You are fed up with your job. You need more money than your job can give you; or, you simply want to start a business that will be with you for the long term. Many people start in the network marketing business because they believe that following an already organized, successful plan is easier than trying to create a business plan, product or service and promotional materials to get things off the ground. In many respects, network marketing takes care of many of the baffling, hard parts of business startup.

That’s the advantage of getting started with network marketing. The disadvantage to it is that they have no idea how the plan really comes together or how to judge whether the plan is good or bad at the outset. They are aware of how they need to network and far too many of them think that it ends with begging friends and family into helping them! While the plan is there, implementing it is a lot more difficult but very doable.

Prior to starting out, people need to be trained. Marketing education and training comes before prospecting MLM partners and associates because what a person learns and knows needs to be translated and transferred to the people being recruited in order to build a successful organization where everyone makes money. Lured by the hype, most new network marketers need training to get the information needed to make the product or service they are about to sell workable in the long term.

One of the first things that new network marketers need to learn is how to stop harassing and prospecting MLM associates in places where most people are not comfortable talking about a business opportunity. If you see a mother with two kids in the grocery line at the supermarket, this is probably not the best place to approach her with a full blown opportunity presentation. Another favorite approach after the new marketer runs out of friends and family to talk to is they buy useless leads that are either dead or broke or both. They are, in any case, not interested and consider your call the desperate warbling of a telemarketer.

Getting the correct type of marketing education and training is also crucial. In many network marketing programs, the new associate is taught that in order to be successful, they will need to take tough action: cold calling hundreds of businesses in order to be successful at prospecting MLM associates. The other, less strenuous method is generally not taught and most often overlooked – how to build an effective lead capture system complete with lead capture pages as well as other more highly converting methods that almost guarantee a successful outcome.

Many of these techniques were viable before the Internet and network marketing systems merged. Using the latest technology coupled with revamped systems tailored to use on the web, the new methods have revolutionized the industry making business opportunities easier to work and building teams a much less arduous task. All of the new technology and systems are there, but it takes a specialized training in order to take advantage of the new systems.

New marketers these days are combining MySpace, Facebook, Youtube and other programs into methods that allow them to contact MLM associates by the thousands. If you want to get new members, you are definitely playing the numbers game, but if you learn to use these methods, you’ll find that your numbers are going to skyrocket, only because you are able to reach more people with a single effort!

As long as you have the proper marketing education and training, you are going to find that you can take your business to the next level easily. You’ll be in a place of complete abundance. Make sure that you have both the training and the technology to become the next network marketing success. This is something that is real, and within your reach!