Prevent Late and Missing Bill Payments 2015 by Setting Bill Priority and Using Multiple Bank Accounts

Prevent Late and Missing Bill Payments 2015 by Setting Bill Priority and Using Multiple Bank Accounts

Paying your bills on time is extremely important because the penalties can range from minor to very severe. This means that you might be a charged a late fee, have your service suspended or in worse cases your account could be closed and the related products or services could be completely removed. Keep money in multiple checking accounts in the same or different banks so that you do not have late or missing bill payments. Group invoices by importance so that critical bills like mortgages are kept separate from less important expenses such as recreation. This ensures that you have peace of mind when you are late in making payments or experience a shortage in cash.

Set Bill Payment Priority

You contribute monthly payments for multiple services and products that you need. However, some are more important than others. Give them a higher priority when you put aside money each month. Some examples of critical or high priority bills are your rent/mortgage, auto insurance, health insurance, electricity and internet service. In addition you might also wish to include money for home maintenance or repairs. On the other hand, non-critical services are those that you still need but can live without for a month or two or use less money for. Mark them as lower priority bills and assign the funds last. Some examples of general expenses are grocery, clothing and shoes, supplies for recreation, entertainment like concerts and music, and cable service. Remember to include online services that you use such as Netflix or Hulu Plus for entertainment, Pandora One for music and Amazon Prime for buying and shipping your purchases.

Use Multiple Checking Accounts

After you set you bill payment priority then you can decide to open another checking account at you bank or go to different bank. Assign one for the critical and the other for the low priority. Transfer money into the most important account first. Afterwards you would transfer the remaining funds to the low priority account. Make arrangements to pay bills from the bank or directly at each service provider.

Keep Track of Payments

Record the due date for each bill and check that you have enough funds to cover those that are more important. Check and update your budget after paying each bill. If you fall short on cash or experience a pay cut then you would still have made paid the essential bills first. Thus you would still have peace of mind in knowing that you managed your basic needs.

Avoiding late and missing bill payment is important in keeping your services connected so that you have peace of mind. Keep multiple checking accounts and assign one for high priority bills and the other for low priority bills so that you can manage your payments much easier. Transfer your salary to the most important account so that you pay for those services on time even if you experience a pay cut or shortfall due to unforeseen circumstances. Then you would pay the other bills with the remaining cash. Those are the ones that you can live without them for a few months or don’t mind experiencing a reduction in service for.

Mama’s Little Lesson in Finance 2015 Latest

Mama’s Little Lesson in Finance 2015 Latest

“Every young man should have a hobby. Learning how to handle money is the best one.” –Jack Hurley

My mother was a wise woman. Educated as an elementary school teacher back when multiple classes were held in the same room, she understood how to implant a budding idea into a young person’s mind. This talent was not wasted on me. By the time I was 10 years old, she would engage me in topics of budgeting and other financial issues important to the family at the time. Most likely, she did not expect me to give her any insights, but used the opportunity to nourish in me listening and analytical skills. I can vividly recall her often telling me that while money is not the most important thing in life, it is an essential part of life that requires attention.

National polls show that two of the most important financial issues facing American families today are budgeting and investments. My mother’s introducing me to the family budget was the gateway to the investments field that would ultimately affect my life and livelihood. Not a financial expert by far, she understood the fundamental concept of the family living within its means while squirreling away a few bucks here and there as part of a rainy day investment fund.

I clearly remember one day while riding in the back of the family sedan–I was probably 5 years old–my dad saying something about the stock market. At the time, most people did not know much about stocks, but everyone had heard of successful companies like RCA and General Motors. After the Depression and WWII, most people were highly suspicious of the stock market. I innocently asked him what a stock was, but he could not give me a good answer. Years later after I had been drafted into the Army, one of my buddies casually mentioned that he owned some stocks. His comment aroused a lot of curiosity in me, but I did not ask any questions because I did not know enough to ask even a basic question.

About a month before being discharged from the Army, I was on patrol in Vietnam when my unit came out of the jungle into a clearing. For several months prior to that day, I had given much thought to what I would do with my life upon returning home. I had saved my money and knew that I wanted to go to college, but didn’t know which discipline to pursue. As I stepped into the sunlight after having walked for days under the thick jungle canopy, I noticed a weathered page of the Wall Street Journal blowing across my path that some GI had left from his patrol. The page showed an array of stock quotes. I picked up the page and studied it for a few stolen moments before proceeding on my patrol, but had no idea the meaning of all those numbers. It was at that precise moment that I decided to pursue Finance and Economics in my college studies–a decision that shaped my life forever more. Since then, I have learned how to read stock quotes and continue learning more about this fascinating subject every day in my professional life.

My mother and father are no longer with me, at least physically, but their guidance continues to affect every aspect of my being in profound ways. Every chance I get, I tell young people the WSJ story of how I got into the investments profession. More important than a lesson on choosing a profession, the thrust of my story is to highlight how seemingly small, insignificant events can have enormous implications for life-long directions and career paths. Some people may say that my seeing a copy of the stock-quote page of the WSJ that day over 45 years ago was happenstance as opposed to divine intervention. I have no doubt which one it was.

In my opinion, one of the best gifts we can give our children or grandchildren is the same gift my mother gave to me. Implanting curiosity in the mind of a young person can pay high dividends throughout that child’s life. Introducing a child to the fundamental concept of budgeting that we all basically understand (but may not practice) is an excellent beginning. Although not easy to do since it is natural that each of us wants to give our children more than we had growing up, teaching a child to live within his/her means is an essential life lesson. If the current generation were to better learn this crucial lesson, maybe they could, in turn, teach it to our politicians (imagine that!). Using budgeting as a springboard (a free site is, the next logical step would be to introduce the child to the stock market and other financial investments.

I am not suggesting that every child pursue a degree in Finance and Economics. Not at all! But showing a child how to read a stock quote and asking him/her to follow a popular stock like Apple or Google on their smartphone can lead to other questions that can mitigate some of the mystery of the stock market. When riding in the car, I make it a habit of turning off the radio and asking my teenage daughter to stop texting her friends for a few minutes and read me some stock quotes off my iPhone, which she enjoys doing (a great app is Yahoo/finance). I am not doing this for my benefit, but to engage her in a brief conversation about what the quotes represent. You don’t have to be a financial expert to discuss basic points of how the stock market works. My logic is simple: investing requires saving, that requires planning, that requires thinking beyond today. To me, this is a formula that will serve my daughter well throughout her life. You may want to try it yourself, and may even learn something in the process. I feel sure that your mother would be proud.

Securing Your Financial Future 2015

Securing Your Financial Future 2015

What Have We Learned From Madoff?

It has been a few years since the investment mogul, (Bernard Madoff), was caught in the midst of what has been stated as the largest and most elaborate Ponzi scheme to date. As a result of his demise, the world received an eye opening experience of the U.S. financial community. Now, more financial scams are finding their way into discovery because of the careful eye of the now informed consumer. Nonetheless, there are those who have not really caught on to what the signs are that indicate the possibility of a rip off.

There are underlying indications that, if they are not noticed, can lead the unaware investor down a path of great displeasure and loss. Whether you are a young investor or a soon to be retired person there are ways that financial advisers attempt to take advantage of an investor so they can earn more money. What is needed before entering into any type of agreement with a financial advisor or even an insurance agent is to ensure their credibility and their track record. Stating this means, just because someone has a series of letters behind their name does not mean they are what or who they say they are. In the case of a financial advisor, they should hold a registration with either the SEC, (Securities Exchange Commission), FINRA, (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) or CFP, (Certified Financial Planner board), to name a few.

Questions to Raise

When dealing with an investment broker, advisor, or agent, how certain questions are answered can point out reasons not to work with those individuals. For instance, asking them what methods of compensation they work with, fee-based, or commission, as such if they outright refuse to discuss or even hurry through their explanation, this gives just cause to walk away immediately. The thing to keep in mind is that as an investor, you are the boss, which means, that the adviser works for you and should be completely transparent about how they are compensated for their services.

Looking into this aspect further, if they receive payments via commissions from selling products they need to prove there is no conflict of interests. What may occur is they would try to entice an investor to spend money on something that provides a higher commission for them. This is one issue when dealing with brokers or advisers that work with third party entities. It is their intent, if they are legitimate to put their customers’ needs first. While most planners design their services to receive payment for advice it is best to keep control over the amount of money paid for a given financial plan. What should work is having a plan separated into smaller sections where the outcome is easily visible. This way it puts a limit on the amount of monies transferred into the financial plan for the onset instead of making a one-time larger investment on a plan that shows little to no gain.

Always Stay in the Loop

It will pay to stay on top of anything and everything an advisor is doing. Always make sure you understand any pros or cons about any type of suggested investments and ensure you keep a close eye on the ‘paper trail’ and that you scrutinize all billing statements and account balances they provide. Additionally, if these reports are received only from the advisor, ask why, there should be reports coming from other sources, such as the companies, mutual funds, or annuities that are part of your portfolio. If not, then something is being hidden from you.

As far as what they are suggesting what, in their minds, is a good investment, they should allow you plenty of time for you to research it on your own if you feel the need. Additionally, it helps for them to explain why, how and what makes their decision on a given investment viable for your portfolio. If they attempt any form of pressure this indicates there is something they are not telling you. The breakdown of your portfolio should be understandable in addition to the amount of fees that go for the advisor’s compensation in addition to where these fees are coming from.

Part of your discussion of an investment strategy should include real time information about the trades that occur germane to the management of your portfolio. This means that they disclose all gains and losses that impact the integrity of the investment fund.

It is a Case of Buyer Beware

Common sense dictates that when money is involved, it behooves us to investigate all avenues of a given situation before making any final decisions on where the money goes. The favorite targets for unscrupulous financial planners, brokers, or advisors are the elderly and the uninitiated to the investment markets. Therefore, never act on emailed investment options or those received through snail-mail, (your mailbox). Always ask probing questions into the reasons certain investments out weigh others, and always read any paperwork put in front of you before you sign it. Remember, investing in anything is risky and nothing is guaranteed specifically anything to do with mutual funds, stocks, bonds, annuities, or even real estate. Do your due diligence before hiring a financial planner, advisor or agent. It can save you money.

What Everyone Should Know 2015 – 10 Easy Steps To Improve Your Family’s Finances

What Everyone Should Know 2015 – 10 Easy Steps To Improve Your Family’s Finances

If I went out and asked people for their opinions, I think most would agree that living in today’s economic environment has become a great challenge. The media’s primary focus is on the health of the economy, and strength of the job market. The thing is, each one of us have our own personal economy. The stability of that economy depends on our ability to maintain a steady income, and have the wisdom to make prudent financial decision.


Many Americans realize they’re not where they want to be financially. They live day-to-day in fear and frustration. Afraid that even the slightest change in income could have a devastating effect on their lives. They are frustrated that the increased costs of taxes, debt, and daily living expenses are making it incredibly difficult to save toward having a sound financial future.

Over the years, I have personally witnessed families suffer as a result of their struggles with money matters. These harsh realities lead me to asking myself, why? Why are there so many American families struggling with debt? Why do so many families hope and pray that the car doesn’t break down, or the air-conditioner doesn’t give out. Why too, do so many Americans have little or no savings; not even an emergency cash fund.


At first the answers to all my “whys” wasn’t apparently clear. Then it hit me, and the reasons were suddenly clear as day. When you consider that most Americans have little to no financial education, the severity of their money woes should come as no surprise to anyone.

Now, when I say financial education, I’m not talking about going to college. You certainly don’t need a college degree to become smart about managing your money responsibly.

Families make the money decisions they do because they’re in an economic rut; they simply don’t know it. They don’t realize that there are other options available to them. No one has ever sat them down and shown them that there might be more productive ways for them to approach their personal finances.

To offer a bit of guidance, I’ve listed 10 important steps you can take, and why you should take them. It’s all about improving your money IQ. Don’t worry, anyone with a pencil, paper, calculator, and a little time can complete these 10 easy steps.


    1. Map your spending – Each month we all have expenses that remain consistent. These expenses are commonly referred to as fixed expenses. These are the bills you have month after month; mortgage payments (rent), car payments, and utilities are good examples of fixed expenses. You may combine and group these expenses if you like. An example of grouping could be the combining of car and credit card payments and labeling them, debt expenses, or labeling rent and utilities as household expenses. Remember, this is your plan, so feel free to list your expenses in whatever way makes the most sense to you.
    1. Tracking your discretionary expenses – Unlike fixed expenses, discretionary expenses are “nice to have” items, which we are likely to spend money on each month. Remember, discretionary expenses are those expenses over which you have complete control. One big problem that many individuals face, is when they come to the end of the month and have no idea where all their money gone. Discretionary spending is frequently the culprit. It is easy to spend more than we realize on nonessential items. Trips to the coffee shop, going out each day for lunch, buying lottery tickets, visiting a casino, or simply purchasing items we don’t need are great examples of discretionary expenses.
    1. Involve the family in discussing family goals – Involving children helps them to understand, and it makes them feel as though they are taking an active part in the decision-making process. Children will often resent parents for not spending money on the things they want. They don’t understand what it takes to run a household. They don’t associate working with income (money). To a child, your pay check is an enormous amount of money. They have no idea that it takes a great deal of money just to keep the lights on, put food on the table, and provide a roof over their head. Of course as the parent, you will undoubtedly have the greatest amount of input when it comes to formulating a family fiscal plan (which I like to call a financial blueprint). On a side note, the discussion does not necessarily have to revolve entirely around finances. This might also be the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the togetherness, and improve the family bond.
    1. Evaluate your debt – Once you have listed out your expenses, if you find that you have more debt than you are comfortable with; it is important to create a plan for paying down (paying off) that debt. Debt is frequently easy to obtain, but it can be extremely difficult to pay off, especially credit card debt. It’s not that unusual that a credit card is being used to supplement a family’s income. The problem is you see, at some point; you’re going to reach your credit limit. Bye, bye supplemental income, but you still have to make those payments, and to make matters worse; the interest rate on a credit card is typically quite high. Go back through your credit card statements. In the past year, how have you been using your credit? If you find that you are relying on credit cards to pay for everyday expenses, such as groceries, or fuel costs you need to make so changes. It’s within your control to change how you are using your credit. Try curtailing your credit card usage and develop a plan for paying off this debt. Just imagine the extra money you will have at the end of each month if you no longer had to make this payment.
    1. Create savings goals – We often place everyone ahead of ourselves. What I mean by this is, if you hope to have any savings, it must come out of what’s remaining at the end of the month. This may be a very modest amount, and in some cases nothing at all. Get yourself in the habit of paying yourself first. Treat your savings account like any other bill. If all you are able to budget for savings is twenty-five dollars a month, then make sure you transfer that amount into your savings account each month. Many banks give you the ability to set up an automatic transfer into your savings account. One advantage to having this transfer made automatically is it helps you to become better at managing your money. Pay yourself first, and you will quickly learn how to live on what’s left.
    1. Evaluate spending – Believe it or not, just about every household has spending that they can reduce, or in some cases do away with altogether. This frees up money for other more practical uses; such as reducing your debt. If you are struggling, then you’re likely looking at having to make some tough choices. There are only two ways to increase your available cash flow. You must either earn more income, or sacrifice some unnecessary expenses. Sacrifice is difficult, and no one looks forward to making those decisions; unfortunately, this is often the only way you are going to get your financial house in order. How you trim your spending is of course entirely up to you. Frequently, a small decrease in several areas of spending is sufficient enough to free up more money than you might think.
    1. Create a budget – Here is where I will typically lose people. To many, the thought of creating a budget sounds like such a daunting, time-consuming task. In order to make my point, what comes to mind when you think of a budget? Let me guess; things like restrictive, depressing, it’s a waste of time, and impossible to follow are probably at the top of the list. Well, you’re not alone. A realistic budget is, however, a critical tool in helping you to achieve financial success. A personal budget should serve as a guide. If you want to control spending, how else are you going to track your progress? With a written budget, you can rank your spending. By keeping a record, you will be able to see exactly how your actual spending compares with the amount you have budgeted. If you’re spending gets off track, a budget will assist you to more readily identify and correct the problem.
    1. Be sure to have a financial safety net – Try to set aside three to six months of income into a savings account. This money can be used for unexpected expenses, or to make a cash, rather than credit purchase. Just look at the amount of interest you could save. Another important part of this safety net is deciding how much life insurance you have and need. Life insurance can provide cash if a working parent dies. It might replace this income for a period of time. In addition, you might also want to consider disability income insurance. A good place to start is by checking with your employer. Many employee benefit plans offer short and long-term disability income coverage. If this coverage is not available through your employer, you might want to consider purchasing an individual policy. A heart attack, or illness such as cancer could prevent you from working for months. Disability income coverage is not for everyone, but it is certainly worth considering. Most of us don’t like having to pay for insurance, but the protection it provides when things go wrong can be invaluable to say the least.


    1. Consider working with a financial coach – A Financial Coach will be able to guide you through the process of analyzing your spending. They can suggest ways to trim your spending, and help you to create a viable budget. By having professional financial help, you won’t feel so alone, and it provides you with a resource for getting your questions answer, as well as receiving helpful advice.


  1. Don’t put it off – Procrastination is a financial killer. Individuals often want to wait until they are in better financial shape before sitting down and taking a serious look at their affairs. The problem I see with that is; if you continue to do as you have always done, what makes you think your situation is going to improve? Putting your financial house in order is all about learning and changing your approach to handling your money. If you are unhappy with your current financial state, now is the time to take action.


I hope the information I have provided has helped you to think differently about your money matters. Taking a few simple steps, and focusing on your finances can make all the difference in the world. It’s also important to remember that there are no quick fixed, or magic bullets. It takes time to make lasting changes and develop a new financial behavior.

Regardless of whether you decide to do-it-yourself, or work with a professional (which I recommend). The time is now. Take that first step today, and start to regain control of your finances (your life).


Barry S. Taylor is the managing partner of Integrated Planning Solutions and Phoenix Financial Coaching. Seeing the need for better financial education and a genuine desire to help everyday families to improve their financial health. Barry is passionate about helping people to discover a better way to approach their finances.

Through Integrated Planning Solutions, we can help families with affordable protection to build a financial safety net. Phoenix Financial Coaching offers one-on-one coaching to develop financial strategies based on the family’s goals and values.

Managing Your Personal Finances Appropriately 2015

Managing Your Personal Finances Appropriately 2015

Money can be hard to manage, especially with so many needs and wants. Most people are forever stressed out financially. It seems to many people that needs are more than their income, making it hard to make ends meet. Some will even find it difficult to save any money. It is however very possible to manage your personal finances appropriately and be in a position to do everything that you wish to. Proper management will eliminate financial stress from your life.

Start by setting goals

There should be goals that you have with your money. Finances directly affect various parts of your life. Your main goals should matter. They could be anything from retiring early, starting a business or travelling to a favorite destination for a holiday. Owning a home or changing a career will also be affected by finances. By writing the goals, you will manage to prioritize them. You will therefore end up paying attention to the most important goals. You can also attach achievement periods.

Create a workable plan

It should be a plan that is geared towards achieving the set goals. A spending plan, for instance, will help you buy what you need, pay a debt and save some money in the process. The main aim of the plan is to help you work your way towards the goals you have set as most important to you. Everything you do should focus on progressive achievement of goals.

Create a budget and stick to it

It is an important tool in financial management. The budget should remain in place even after you have cleared your debts. Spending money is easy that making it making it very important to have controlled spending. By tracking your spending, you will minimize chances of getting into debt again. The budget will also help in reaching financial milestones that you have in place.

Ask for financial advice

A financial planner can offer insights on things such as investing your money. When you seek professional help, you will get to find out about any risks that are involved in what you wish to do. When you know the details beforehand, you will manage to make a decision that is right for you. The professionals can also help you in coming up with a budget that makes reaching your goals easier. Money matters can be tricky. When you get helpful advice, it should be easy to wade through the challenges of managing your money properly.

Financial management books can be helpful for individuals and even companies. There are books online that can offer all the insights, tips and advice on proper financial management. The internet has free books accessible to anyone who is interested in finding help with his or her finances. Some of the books handle the management process in a straight forward manner to make sense to all. You can download books touching on financial subjects you find most important for you. The books can lead you to success even without involving the services of professionals directly.