Hope for your financial life and beyond

5 Money Tips for College Students

This article is for the college student looking for tips to help with the cost of school. The cost of college continues to climb year after year. It’s made going to school difficult for some and impossible for others. 

As a new college student, you probably have more responsibility for managing your money than you ever have before in your life. Up until this point, your parents have been overseeing your finances. Now you are on your own and you may not know what to do. 

You need to look at this experience in a positive way. This can be an empowering time that gives you the opportunity to set good habits for a lifetime. With the smart money management tips below, you’ll be able to make the right choices to stay on top of your finances and spend and save wisely.

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How to Know if Debt Consolidation Will Work for You

Looking to pay off debt? It can be quite the challenge. But it is one of the most rewarding journeys in the end once you are on the other side of it.

The problem with paying off debt for some is the amount. The sheer number of dollars one owes can paralyze you. That is especially true if that debt is spread out over many accounts. It can be overwhelming when so many different bills are coming at one time.

That is where consolidating debt may makes sense for some. Consolidating debts involves getting a single account to pay off multiple old loans. It’s also one of the common reasons people acquire a personal loan. It allows them to consolidate all of their existing loans into a larger one that offers the best repayment terms or a lower monthly interest rate.

However, before consolidating your loans, remember that this option isn’t for everyone. If you want to know whether or not debt consolidation is good for you, here are some ways to find out.

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Is the Bible Really Clear About Paying Taxes?

“Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” – Matthew 22:21

taxes in the bibleLike you, my tax paperwork is due to be filed by April 15th. There is no doubt that doing the tax return is no fun to fill out every year. It has become a much easier task though since my wife became a CPA.

Talking about taxes sets our blood to a boil. We despise the fact that we work so hard only to see so much money taken from each paycheck. “Isn’t there a way to avoid it?” we ask.

That question should raise alarm bells for everyone. While certain maneuvers with money are legal, many others are not. If we are not careful, that question can lead us down a path of handling our money in a way that we might regret one day.

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Start Investing Your Money Smartly: 6 Common Investment Mistakes to Avoid

Have you decided it’s time to get smart and start investing your money in stocks? For those who are ready, investing is key to building long-term wealth. It’s hard to find another investing vehicle that has produced greater long-term returns than the stock market. 

Maybe you have invested in the past only to make mistakes. Perhaps you were disappointed with the results. But as they say in the investing world, “past performance is no guarantee of future results.” In other words, just because you’ve had one bad experience in your mind, doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed going forward with a different perspective. 

On the other hand, you may be relatively new to the world of investing and feeling a bit overwhelmed. There is so much terminology to learn. And, how do you sort through all the investing options? 

The good news is that you can do it. Millions of people have. The focus here will be on avoiding six common investment mistakes. If you can learn to steer clear of these issues, you’ll be much more likely to have positive results and meet your investment goals. Let’s take a look at how you can invest your money wisely.

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8 Questions to Ask When Setting Up A Family Inheritance

It’s hard enough to deal with the topic of our own death let alone what will happen to our possessions once we pass away. Setting up a family inheritance can get complex and technical. That’s why most people don’t deal with it.

family inheritanceThe aftermath of what we do could lead to a potential mess as this 2012 article from Fox News demonstrates:

“Heirs of a wealthy New York art dealer were left a $65 million sculpture [named “Canyon”]…The bequest comes with a $29 million tax bill, but since the piece includes a stuffed eagle, it can’t be sold…federal law makes it a crime to possess, transport, sell or otherwise convey a bald eagle, whether it is alive or, as in this case, stuffed…The venerable auction house Christie’s placed the value of “Canyon” at zero. The IRS initially put it at $15 million, then jumped the figure to $65 million…”

Most of us will never deal with numbers that large. But it’s no wonder we get confused with our heirs, the courts and the IRS all to think about. It all seems like a big tangled mess.

So what should we do?

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How to Get the Most Out of Christmas

Weeks ago, at the beginning of November, stores already had Christmas decorations on display. I know those stores are just trying to get the most out of Christmas season. But it’s too early at that point for me to think about Christmas.

get the most out of christmasFor me, December 1st officially starts my holidays. That’s because I know that in the 31 days of December, my family will attempt to cram more into each 24-hour period than is usually desired. For me, the annual cramming revolves around two specific lists – my December To-Do List and my Present Wish List.

The To-Do List for December is very important. It’s filled with kid activities, social get-togethers, Christmas programs and of course shopping. Additionally, home chores are also part of the To-Do List. So, because I’m a teacher, I get a “vacation” during Christmas break which gives me a greatly needed window to do these activities and catch up on all that I’ve let slip by.

The other list – the Present Wish List – is all about what I would like to receive on Christmas day during our annual gift exchange. This one is a little tricky and here is why.

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Operation Christmas Child: Changing Lives One Shoebox at a Time

I believe the Bible when it says, He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor” (Proverbs 22:9). Spiritual and emotional blessings come when we give to others, especially those in challenging life situations. And this time of year I can think of nothing better to give to than Operation Christmas Child. 

operation Christmas childCan you imagine living in a world with no Christmas? What does that look like?

There are no kids eager to wake you up at 7:00 am. No smiles when a gift is received. No feelings of being special. And no comforting thoughts that someone cares for you.

What an unattractive and dismal scenario that paints. Sadly, millions of children all over the world experience a Christmas just like this. Their Christmas is bitter, meaningless and without hope.

That’s where Operation Christmas Child steps in. But they are only able to do so with your help. Here is how.

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My A – Z List of Blog Related Things I’m Thankful For

Yes, I know. What a strange thing to write about during the week of Thanksgiving. There are so many more important things to be thankful for. Certainly family, friends, freedom and prosperity, health and faith all rank near the top of thankfulness for me.

thankfulBut over the past ten years of writing, I have managed to carve out this tiny space of the web for myself. My intent was never to become THE place for finance advice and make a living from this site. Others are doing that much better than I ever could.

Rather, I’ve used this site as a dumping place for my journey with finances and my faith. It’s helped me more than probably anyone else to clarify my worldview about finances and how that worldview works itself out in my life. I owe who I am today to the writing and research I’ve done over the past decade.

But along the way, I know I’ve also helped others. There is great encouragement in that. It’s one of the things that gives me purpose to keep the site active and updated as much as my busy life allows.

So, I’m taking a different route today with this Thanksgiving week post. I’m sharing my A-Z list of blogging related things I’ve come to be most thankful for over the past 10 years. Some have relevance in the past as things that got me through the early years. Others continue to drive me to this day to bring the best content I can to this platform.

Wherever you are today, you have so much to be thankful for. Here’s what I’m thankful for as I continue to bring hope for people’s financial life and beyond.

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5 Benefits You Can Enjoy With an Increased Credit Limit

For those who use credit, having a high limit is important. You want to have as much access to capital as possible so that you can purchase what you need to purchase. So paying off your debt with regularity will increase the odds that creditors will increase your credit limit to give you the margin you need. 

For some people, having a high credit limit is also a status symbol. It’s a sign that they are doing well financially and that credit card companies trust them to use their products responsibly. That may seem like a shallow reason but many people view their credit limits this way. But even if you don’t care about status symbols, there are plenty of good reasons experts say to increase your credit limit.

Whether you’re trying to improve your credit score or simply want more financial flexibility, an increased credit limit can be beneficial. Here are five benefits you can enjoy with an increased credit limit.

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The Top 5 Tips To Selling Your House Fast For Cash

Whenever a person decides to sell a house, there are two things they want the most. One, they want to clear a good amount of cash so that they can meet some financial goal, like paying off debt or putting a down payment on another property. And two, they want the property to sell quickly, the faster the better (as long as number one is also true).

There are some things that you can do to help facilitate the sale of your property. If the house can attract more buyers, you stand a better chance of selling it fast and at a better price. Buyer competition over a property is a good thing. So, if you ever said I need to sell my house fast, you are going to have to spruce it up to make it attractive. 

To do this, for starters you will need to source the right real estate agent to help manage the selling process. A good real estate agent is worth his or her weight in gold. They see things that you as the seller don’t see. They are also less emotional about the process because they have experience doing deals well. So that will help keep you from making a mistake in the selling process. 

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Tips to Hiring Payroll Services for Your Small Business

Small businesses are the heartbeat of an economy. Done well, they can meet a needed service in a community and create significant wealth for the entrepreneur who started it. Done poorly, the small business dream can turn into a nightmare.

There are many things that go into making a small business work. Good leadership, quality employees and proper systems all with help contribute to small business success. And one of those systems that must operate well is the payroll system.

One option for a small business with several employees is to secure a payroll service instead of doing it themselves. This could be really crucial in the early days of the business. It would allow the owners to spend more time focusing on the day to day operations. 

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