Hope for your financial life and beyond

How to Manage Your Side Hustle and Family Life So You Don’t Go Insane

There may come a time in your life where you want to or need to create a side hustle to earn extra income. It can be many things depending on your skills and the depth of your need. Regardless of what you choose, it will be something you do on the side (apart from your day job) to bring in additional money to the family budget.

Side hustles can be a financial blessing. They can help you build up your savings account or pay off debt or meet any a number of financial goals you might have.

side hustle IIIHowever, while the additional income of a side hustle is welcome, there is a dark side that many are unprepared for. Side hustles, done improperly, can be a curse on family life.

It’s one thing to have a side hustle if you are single. I remember talking with a blogging friend who told me how he’d work his 9 to 5, take a 30-minute dinner (maybe) and then work till past midnight writing and networking. I’m not saying that’s necessarily an easy schedule but it’s not like you have anyone else to account for. It’s just you.

When a spouse and/or kids are in the picture side hustles take on a whole different dimension.

There is a tension that immediately surfaces the minute one member of the family begins a side hustle. What was a normal life is no longer normal.

You know the side hustle must be done to improve your financial life. But you also know family life matters. How can you manage it all and not go insane?

Here are a few strategies I’ve used over the years as I’ve managed a career, side hustles (my blogs) and family life.

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What is the Dow and Why is it Important?

The words Dow or Dow Jones may not be completely unfamiliar terms. You may know what they refer to, but you may not know exactly how it works. So, this article will help set the record straight and give you the basics about the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

What is the Dow Jones? For starters, it would be correct to say that it is the most quoted financial instrument in the world. That is why it sounds familiar. No doubt, you have heard financial market reports about this on the news every day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a stock index. It was created in 1896 by two financial reporters, Charles Dow and Edward Jones. They were looking for a way to give the public a snapshot of how stocks generally preformed in any given day. To do so, they took the 12 largest companies at the time, added up their prices and divided by 12. That gave the average market price of that basket of companies.

Today, the Dow consists of 30 companies. The Dow Jones today represents the most significant areas of the U.S. economy, namely, financials, technology, utilities, industrials, and transportation. It includes companies like Apple, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Home Depot, Microsoft, Nike, Proctor and Gamble and Walmart.

Because the Dow consists of only 30 companies, it may lead you into thinking that it does not carry much value. That is not the case. As you noticed, these companies are the heavyweights – the most influential companies in the U.S. As the Dow average goes, so usually goes the rest of the market.

Are there Limitations to the Dow Jones?

Just like most market indexes, Dow Jones has several limitations.

The first issue is that it does contain only 30 stocks. Today there are over 3,000 publicly traded companies which you could invest in. So the Dow may not give an accurate portrayal of what is going on in the rest of the stock market.

Secondly, the Dow’s calculation does tend to favor the more expensive stocks. The index is weighted based on price. So the more expensive a stock is, the more an up or down movement in that stock influences the overall index. The less expensive stocks will not have as much influence on the average.

What are the Benefits of the Dow?

1. The Dow serves as a historical marker

In order to predict or forecast the future of the markets, historical trends need to be observed. Analysts study the past stock market trends to help them reach conclusions about what the future may hold for stocks. This is where Dow Jones comes in.

By virtue of its long history, it offers a valuable information for the comparison of today’s markets and those throughout history.

2. The Dow helps investors make decisions

In the early days of stock trading, there was little information about stocks that was available to the general public. You invested in stocks with the phrase caveat emptor (“let the buyer beware”) in the back of your mind. You were at great risk due to lack of company transparency and information.

This is not so today. There are new rules set forth by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that guard investors from being defrauded by companies. Additionally, news about the Dow and the rest of the markets is widely available through media outlets. It is not difficult for an investor to find the information they need. Knowing the price movement of stocks (for which the Dow is the standard), will help investors know when to invest.

Related Content: The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Investing Money the Right Way

3. The Dow provides a broad view of the economy

As aforementioned, Dow Jones is an umbrella of U.S. most capitalized and influential companies. Because the 30 Dow stocks are spread over different industries, they help create a comprehensive view of the U.S. economy. As those companies perform well, they will contribute positively to economic growth within the U.S. And as the economy goes, so goes the stock market.

If the economy is doing well, the stocks in the Dow will rise. If the economy is doing poorly, the Dow will at best be stagnant but most likely decline.

The Dow Jones continues to be one of the most resilient indices in the world. It has stood the test of time and continues to be the standard for financial markets around the world.

Make a Comment: Do you monitor the Dow on a daily basis? On what do you base your investing decisions?   

Kids, Money and High School Graduation Day

In a few hours, my firstborn child will walk across a stage and receive her high school diploma. It’s been 18 years in the making and now we are here. One of the milestone days any parent looks forward to.

It seems like only yesterday.

You hear people say this phrase all the time, “It seems like only yesterday.” Well, it’s true. Mom and dad are really feeling that today. I was just talking with a friend this morning about how quickly time passes. And I can vividly remember the day my daughter Kelly came into this world.

What a joy it’s been to raise this child. She’s been obedient…kind to her siblings…dependable and reliable…driven…generous…sweet.

And I’ll tell you something else she has been…costly. (Hey, this is a personal finance blog…what did you expect me to talk about.)

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The 3 Main Advantages of a Debit Card

advantages of a debit card

Are there advantages of a debit card that makes them better than using a credit card?

Debate rages sometimes in the personal finance world over which one of these payment options is better. I see how both can be used responsibly to assist people with their money management. The key word in that last sentence though was “responsibly.” Of these two options, credit cards by far have the most potential for abuse.

Advantages of a Debit Card

Banks and other financial institutions issue debit cards as a way for customers to access their accounts to pay for goods and services. The card links to your checking account at the bank. When you swipe it at a business, the amount of the transaction is withdrawn from your account to pay the merchant.

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Secret Advice For Teenagers Who Love to Spend Money

You know who you are – teenager who loves to spend money like it’s going out of style. You spend money faster than it takes a Snapchat to disappear. Money comes into your hand one minute and flows out like water the next.

spend moneyAnd you like it that way!

If that’s you, I have some special advice today. It’s unusual, maybe even secret advice. I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard an adult say this to you before. In fact, your parents may hate me for saying this because it might go against how they have instructed you to handle money. So I’m actually running a big risk here.

But before I reveal this big secret about spending your money, you have to promise me something.

The promise I’m asking you to make is to read this entire post. You are going to love what I have to say about spending money but you can’t take it as stand alone advice without understanding the bigger picture. As they say, the devil is in the details. So I’m asking for five minutes of your time to help you avoid failure on this issue.

Ready for the big, secret advice? OK, here goes…

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8 Bible Verses About God’s Love You Should Never Forget

Ever wonder where our capacity to love actually comes from? It’s pretty clear that our ability to love is something that was given to us by God. In fact, the Bible verses about God’s love that I read tell me He is Himself the essence of love and has passed that on to us.

verses about God's loveGranted it’s not always easy loving others. Often times we choose to love others based on how they act towards us. But that’s not how it is with God.

God’s love towards us is unconditional. That means He loves us no matter what. We can’t do anything to reject, or bypass or disown His love. He can’t help it – love is part of His nature. He loves us – all of us – equally and without hesitation.

If you doubt that, just look at these verses about God’s love found in the Bible.

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The Secret Step to Contentment (Philippians 4:11-12)

On Contentment – “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” Philippians 4:11-12

practicing contentment

Once upon a time (circa mid-2002), former NBA All-Star Allen Iverson produced a legendary press conference rant about the apparent need to show up for practice. After a first round playoff loss, his coach reprimanded him for missing one practice, maybe two, maybe three…we don’t really know how many.

Iverson argued to the reporters that a discussion about practice was irrelevant compared to his performance in the actual games – in what really mattered. He concluded his practice rant by exclaiming “How can I make my teammates better by practicing?”

There were days in high school when I hated basketball practice. It wasn’t very fun when you were tired or sore. Furthermore, I definitely wondered at times if I was helping my teammates get better. Isn’t that up to them?

But I pushed through all that because I came to realize one thing about practice – it produces greatness.

We aren’t born instantaneously great. Greatness comes slowly over time, as our mind, body and soul learns and adapts to whatever we are pursuing.

In the verse above, the missionary Paul shares with us in the Bible his secret step to contentment. He learned it. This makes me think it didn’t come naturally for him, just like it doesn’t come naturally for me. In other words, he had to practice it.

Contentment Doesn’t Come Easy

For Paul, contentment had to be achieved, through daily submission and practice. His statement is even more compelling considering the up and down circumstances he faced.

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What to Invest in When You are Scared to Invest

There are times when the stock market causes real fear for investors. It’s scary to see the markets and your portfolio value go down day after day. This is especially true for those closer to retirement. At times like that, it’s hard to know what to invest in or whether one should be investing at all.

what to invest in

You can’t discount the power of fear. Even the most seasoned investors get it from time to time. However, those who have been investing for a long time know something that perhaps a beginning investor doesn’t know – fear is not necessarily an excuse to stop investing.

But fear could be something that prompts you to reevaluate what to invest in. Market downturns are a great time to look again at your portfolio and analyze your strategy. Every time I’ve done that, it has actually served to calm me down. It reminds me that I am following sound investing practices that will serve me well in the long run.

There is good news if you are scared of the markets and don’t know what to invest in. There are a couple simple strategies to follow that can help you sleep easier at night. Here are several to consider that will help you put your fears to rest.

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Wondering About the Functionality of Payday Loans?

wondering about the functionality of payday loans

Money is essential to our lives. It is always needed to make ends meet. Simply stated, we cannot do without it in some form or fashion,

Sometimes though, life rears its ugly head – usually through a crisis. We call these emergencies. Hopefully, when these come, you have saved enough in an emergency fund to make it through the financial struggle.

But what if you haven’t? What if there is no money available to you? What if you are so deep in debt, you can’t see a way out? When you are deprived of cash and trapped in a financial calamity, it’s hard to know the right way out. It is an awful scenario.

When you get in this tight of a spot, it’s easy to just spend your days and nights waiting for a miracle to happen. But you have to make some wise decisions and hunt for a resolution to the situation. Being depressed and frustrated is not the solution.

In times like this, some people have turned to securing a payday loan to help them out. This article will share the benefits and risks of this method to help get you out of your crisis.

What are Payday Loans?

Payday loans are short-termed loans. They are used for borrowing small debts for a short period of time, usually for $500 or less. You can usually find them via storefront lenders or online.

Payday loans are most often paid back in one single payment when the borrower receives their next paycheck. They serve as a bridge to cover expenses until you get paid again. The repayment date is usually set two to four weeks from when the loan was made.

If you use a payday loan for your genuine needs and pay it back to the lender according to an agreement, you will definitely be going to have a more positive and fruitful experience. Payday loans do have many controversies linked to them though. So, in order to get benefit from them, you should have to be familiar with both the positive and negative impacts of these loans.

Advantages of Payday Loans

The primary benefit of a payday loan is that you can get fast financial assistance for a short period of time. Some of their advantages are:

No hard and fast terms and conditions required. It sounds so appealing for people in trouble because they do not have time to waste in long and document verifications, faxing or paper procedures.

Easy to access.Payday loans are easily accessible and available to every person. Fast payday loan lenders should not bother about your financial background or credit score.

24/7 customer care service. You won’t have to follow typical bank hours, as online payday loan services are available 24/7. You can approach these websites anywhere, anytime with just a single click. Customer care representatives are always there for financial assistance.

100% secured procedure. Payday loan lenders secure your information. It will remain confidential. Their modern encryption technologies will protect your information and keep it secure.

On the spot approval of the loan. No matter what is your financial background, these loans will be approved quickly soon after your verification.

Online availability of payday loans.Payday loans are very handy because the borrower does not need to go anywhere and search for a loan. They can be found easily online. So many lenders have online websites. You just have to visit these websites and select the appropriate option for yourself. All procedures from the beginning till the end will take place online.

Disadvantages of Payday Loans

When there are so many positive aspects, there must be some cons as well. Everything has its positive and negative features and so do payday loans have. Some of the downsides of payday loans are given below.

Elevated APR and interest rates. This is by far the biggest disadvantage when it comes to payday loans. These kind of loans are much more expensive because interest rates tend to be extremely high. The highest interest on credit cards for example average 28-36 APR%. An average APR of a payday loan is 300 – 500 times more than a regular loan.

Payday loan encourages cycle-of-debts. When a person is unable to return the money by the fixed date, they incur more debt. They will most likely have to take out another loan to repay the previous one. This just sinks them further into debt. The further they go into debt, the tougher the cycle will be to break.

Related Content: How to Get Out of Debt and Win in Five Simple Steps

No de-commitment period. Once you sign the paperwork, there is no backing out. With many bank loans there is a period where you can de-commit from the loan if you have second thoughts. You won’t get this with most payday lenders.

Access to bank account. Some payday lenders want/require access to your bank account. If they don’t get paid, they may try to pull funds from your account. This could result in overdraft charges billed to you for having insufficient funds in your account.

Damage to your credit. Payday loans can be damaging to your credit. This will happen when you can’t pay them back. Ultimately, they could refer you to a collection agency. If that happened, it would be something extremely hard to get your credit score positive again.

What to consider before taking out a payday loan?

Payday loans have a lot of risk. They can be a debt trap that you have a really hard time getting out of. There are better ways to get out of debt and handle life’s emergencies.

Related Content: Emergency Fund Basics: The Step on Which All Other Success Is Built

However, if you choose to go this route make sure you:

•    Are aware of the consequences and how a specific loan works

•    Know the terms and conditions set by the lender

•    Understand what the penalty for the non-repayment is

To read more about them, you can visit this article at Debt.org.

Share a Comment Below: Have you ever taken out a payday loan before? What was your experience? What are the other benefits and risks of payday loans?

How to Push Through the Scary Questions at the Start

ID-10083769Do you want to finish what you start this year? Maybe you have made a New Year’s resolution and aren’t confident you can do it. Or maybe there are simply so many unanswered questions and doubts in front of you it’s becoming overwhelming.

Finishing is huge for our psyche. It gives us so much confidence that we think anything is possible. It releases pressure and tension when we finally reach our goal. Finishing creates momentum and catapults us forward to even greater things.

Related Content: Winning is More Valuable Than Losing

Unfortunately, we don’t start at the finish and get those great rewards. We start our journey at a more logical place – the start.

The start of anything can be a very confusing place to be. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time. And the start is always full of questions like…

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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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