Apr 20

New Web Series: Financial Freedom Fridays (Part 1 of 2)

Recently, I started a weekly series, called “Financial Freedom Fridays”, that was initially planned for my Instagram account.  But I decided to go ahead and share the series also on my Facebook page and Twitter account for Thurow Financial.  This weekly series is a posting with a graphic of step by step action to take in your debt free journey.  Now even though these postings are taking place weekly, it does not mean you will accomplish each week’s steps.  In matter of fact, I just posted week 3’s tip which will in no way take a week if you have debt.  Nor would I consider it to.  in some instances, week 3’s tip could take a few years, but the point is just to provide a organized way to kick off your step by step debt free journey so that it will not overwhelm you.  As your relationship with your spending and overall financial situation is around 85% emotional and 15% head knowledge.  If you are in debt, than the emotional tie you have with your spending is winning. So I am here in any way to provide the necessary content to get you focused down the right path towards being not only debt free, but to becoming wealthy.  Below are the first three week’s of postings I have done on my Thurow Financial social media accounts for you to have an all-in-one place to come back to and review.

#FinancialFreedomFridays

Week 1’s Course of Action:

  • Go to the web sites of each company that you currently have debt with and print out the front account summary page.
  • Make sure that you are 100% current on all of your accounts.
    • If you are not current, make the necessary payment(s) to become current.  Do not pay one cent more than you have to in order to become current.

 

 

For this week’s course of action, it is important to, not only become current, but to maintain being current, on all of your debt accounts as well as your necessities.  Your necessities include your housing (mortgage/rent), housing insurance (home owners/renter’s), utilities (electricity, water, sewer, & gas), groceries, and transportation (auto insurance, fuel, or public transportation).  If you are, good job. Keep it up by just making the minimum amount required. You’ll see why as you continue reading down to week 2’s course of action.

Now of course your payments on any of your debt accounts should only be paid after you have taken care of your necessity payments.  If you have any questions in regards to this week’s #FinancialFreedomFridaytask, leave below in the comments section.


Week 2’s Course of Action:

  • Build your Starter Emergency Fund

This Starter Emergency Fund is the beginning stage to building your fully funded Emergency Fund.  This dollar amount is based upon your annual net take home salary/pay.  If you take home less than $25,000 net, your goal is $500. If you take home more than $25,000, than your goal is $1,000.

The goals of either $500 or $1,000 are to be your main focus on building the starter Emergency Fund.  You should deposit the money into a completely separated liquid money market that you’ll have 24 hour access to, but it’s not your main account, nor is it linked to any other accounts.

While you are building your starter Emergency Fund, be sure you maintain current on your debt by just paying the minimum payments required and of course, your necessities like rent/mortgage, groceries, utilities, and transportation needs.


 

Week 3’s Course of Action:

  • Begin to pay off all of your debt owed, except your mortgage (if applicable).
  1. Get a updated written record of your most up to date account balances on your all of your debt.
  2. Then list them from the smallest balance to the largest, ignoring the interest.
  3. Once determined how much remains in your budget after paying the four necessities (see above) and the minimum payments for all of your debt accounts from the second lowest balance to the largest balance, attack your smallest balance debt that you owe with the remaining amount on your budget.
    1. For example: Your total household monthly income = $4,500.00
    2.  Total Payments on the necessities (housing, utilities, transportation & groceries) = $3,500.00
    3. Remaining amount to pay the minimums on 2nd highest to highest debt = $1,000.00
    4. Total Minimal Amount Payments Due on 2nd Highest – Highest Debt = $650.00
    5. Remaining amount to attack your smallest debt = $350.00
    6. Total Amount Due on smallest debt is $1,000.00
    7. Take your remaining amount of $350.00 and apply it to the smallest debt.  This will leave you with a remaining balance of $650.00.
    8. REPEAT the steps above.  However, your actual that you may spend on your necessities, with the exception of your housing, may vary month to month.  Let us use, for this example, everything remains constant.
    9. YOUR FIRST DEBT PAYOFF, will be completed in 3 payments with $50.00 left over.
    10. FIRST DEBT PAID IN FULL – ACCOUNT CLOSED –  Take the payment amount of $350.00 and apply it to the second lowest debt and its minimum payment (which is $50.00).  This will make the total payment amount on this debt $400.00 until paid off.  Follow these steps of rolling over your monthly payments for each additional debt remaining in the order of the next smallest to the highest.

Recap Week 1-3 Course of Action:

In the first week, I had you print your account status updates to make you aware of where you’re standing financially. Knowing your total financial picture is key to making any progress on your debt free journey.  Then the first course of action was simply pay the exact dollar amount it would take to either stay current or to become current and not a penny more. This was to prepare you for week 2.

In week 2, while still paying just the minimum amount due to maintain your current status, begin building your Starter Emergency Fund. To determine how much, $500 if you’d take home less than $25,000 net annually and $1,000 if you made more. Deposit this money into a liquid money market that is not attached to any other account but accessible. Your Emergency Fund equals insurance, not investment.

In week 3, I discuss and break down your course of action of actually paying down your debt.  Ignore the interest rates on these, as you will be paying from the smallest debt owed to the highest debt owed.  The fact you will be making achievements quicker will boost your confidence level as it will be an emotional battle through this particular process.

My next posting will come during week 6.  To get the postings for my series #FinancialFreedomFridays, be sure to Like the Thurow Financial Facebook page, or Follow the Instagram and Twitter accounts of Thurow Financial.  The links to these social media accounts are listed both on the top left of this web site and the bottom right corner also.

Feb 5

Money-Saving Tip – Auto Insurance

Everyone loves to save as much money as one can. We have plenty of ideas on saving money and this is the first in a series of tips.  So this first tip, takes you out to your car(s).  Yep, we are talking Auto Insurance.  Where in many states it is a requirement to have upon when you register or renew the registration of your vehicle(s).

Independent Insurance Agent

Why is an independent insurance agent such a great money-saver? Independent Insurance Agents are not limited to a single provider’s options.  They typically represent a number of insurance companies, or “carriers”, and sell the products that most appropriately meet the needs of their clients. … Their expertise allows them to advise their clients about appropriate amounts of insurance and insurance coverages for their particular needs.

And you can feel confident knowing your independent agent doesn’t have a dog in the hunt when it comes to which provider or policy you choose. At the end of the day, the choice is yours.

Loyalties Aren’t Necessarily Better

One thing is sure, that being loyal to a single company isn’t always beneficial to the consumer.  Companies see this loyalty and utilize it to their advantage, by slowly changing either rates or the amount of coverage to provide.  This could end up as either you, the consumer, paying the same dollar amount but now for less coverage, or for the same coverage, paying a higher amount per month.

This could definitely could cost them your business.

One big mistake from a consumer viewpoint is that once your policy is coming up for renewal, 31% (according to the Insurance Information Institute) consumers do not policy shop for better rates.  They just allow their policy to automatically renew with the debit card on file and keep things going.  By doing this, the missing out of new discounts and/or receiving better coverage for their needs is definitely happening.

How to Choose a Insurance Agent

1. Licensing

Not every insurance agent is licensed to operate in each state. As a general rule, you should buy from an agent licensed in your state, because then can you rely on your state insurance department to help if there’s a problem. To find out which insurance agents are licensed in your state, contact the state insurance department.

2. Price

Many companies sell insurance policies and prices vary greatly from one to another, so it really pays to shop around. Get at least three price quotes from agents and from the Internet.

3. Financial Solidity

You buy insurance to protect you financially and provide peace of mind. Select an agent that offers insurance coverage from companies that are likely to be financially sound for many years, by using ratings from independent rating agencies.

4. Service

Your insurance agent and his/her employees should answer your questions and handle your claims fairly, efficiently and quickly. You may also want to check a national claims database to see what complaint information it has on a agent. Also, your state insurance department will be able to tell you if the insurance agent you are considering doing business with had many consumer complaints about its service relative to the number of policies it sold.

5. Comfort

You should feel comfortable with your insurance purchase, whether you buy it from a local agent, or over the Internet. Make sure that the agent or company will be easy to reach if you have a question or need to file a claim.

Feb 1

Ways to Make Extra Money

If you’re trying to figure out how to make extra money on the side (and who isn’t?), it can be hard to know where to start. We’ve done the searching for you and found a few ways to make extra money in your spare time.

  • How to Make Extra Money Online

    1. Become a user experience tester

      Companies know nowadays that having a strong internet presence is basically requirement for their marketing/advertising needs as well as any e-commerce offered.  They spend a lot of time ensuring their website(s) are informative, and reach their targeted audience/prospective customers. Majority of companies need the use of user experience testers to navigate their website(s) and give feedback to what is working and what may not be working.

      If you find yourself pretty Internet savvy and have a strong opinion on how web sites work, there are companies available that would pay you some extra cash for just the input on any clients they have wanting this service. Companies like UserTesting, Analysia, and TryMyUI will pay for your thoughts on a web site.  Payments earned will vary per company and per web site tested.

    2. Take surveys to make money.

      Look into survey sites like MyPoints and Survey Junkie where you’ll earn some extra coin to spend a little bit of your down time taking a few surveys.These sites are however going to narrow down your interests and when a specific survey targets those interests become available, it will be sent to you.  So, with that said, surveys are not always at the ready to take and therefore,  the payment from taking any survey is not going to be always available upon completion of taking a survey.  These sites have criteria that must be met prior to cashing out and then receiving the money. If you’re the patient and persistent type, give it a shot!

    3. Get cash back from apps.

      There are plenty of mobile apps out there that can show you how to make extra money just by doing simple things.  Check out mobile apps like EbatesIbottaShopkickDosh, RetailMeNot, and Earny to score some extra cash without too much work on your part.

  • How to Make Extra Money with a Side Job

    1. Get paid for your photos

      Are you a photographer at heart or do photography as a hobby? Do you have scenic pictures photos of sunsets or sunrises, and perfectly staged meals or drinks, which are cluttering up your memory card(s) for your camera(s)? You can make extra money for your pictures without having to be a professional photographer. Foap will pay $5 for every picture someone purchases from you.

      Keep in mind there’s no guarantee your photos will be purchased. But even if you only sell a few, that’s some easy money for something you’ve already done.

    2. Drive for Uber or Lyft Ride Share

      If you’re strapped for cash but want to work on your own schedule, you might want to consider becoming a ride share driver for Uber or Lyft. You can drive as much (or as little) as you want and set your own schedule.  You are your own boss.  The amount of money you wish to earn depends on your location, and how often you choose to sign on to their apps and begin driving and picking up passengers.  Also your car must have valid insurance and registration, and be of no older than 15 years to qualify for the ride share.  A background check will be performed, so have a valid identification card at the ready and on you at all times.

    3. Become a Food Delivery Driver

      Not too keen on shuttling people around or having complete strangers in your personal vehicle? We totally get it. How about dropping off a to-go order of burgers and fries instead? Driving for UberEATSGrubhub DoorDash, or Postmates is a great way to make extra money in your free time just by delivering food to hungry clients.

    4. Deliver Groceries

      If you love the thrill of shopping but don’t want to spend your own money, this might interest you. With Shipt and Instacart, you get paid to shop and deliver groceries to clients through their on-demand service. According to the Shipt, their shoppers make anywhere from $16 to $22 an hour!  Getting paid for shopping? Sign us up!

    5. Deliver for Amazon

      There’s nothing quite like getting a package delivered to your front door, especially when it comes from Amazon. Everyone loves Amazon, so why not spend a few nights a week driving around town bringing people joy? Sign up to deliver packages with Amazon Flex and set your schedule for as much or as little as you want to work

Dec 27

BevMo Data Breach

Beverages & More, better known as BevMo recently announced that a data breach may have allowed a hacker to steal credit card numbers and other information from more than 14,000 customers of their web site.

BevMo, headquartered in Concord, CA, 40 minutes northeast of San Jose, notified the Attorney General’s office in Sacramento that someone was able to plant malicious web site coding on its checkout page of its web site.

The malicious code was designed to record information from orders placed between August 2, 2018 and September 26, 2018.  Information recorded may have been customer names, phone numbers, addresses, and credit & debit card numbers  and their security codes.

BevMo says the code was removed and an investigation is under way.