Hope for your financial life and beyond

5 Tips for Getting Started with Individual Stock Trading

Despite what you might think or have heard, not all investing is created equal. There is a big difference in investing in the stock market and investing by trading individual stocks. Both are classified as investing. But in reality individual stock trading is quite different from traditional investing.

The biggest difference relates to time frames. Individual stock trading is more focused on short-term movements in the market. Trades are done frequently based on the up and down movement of the individual stock. Stock traders try to gauge the momentum of the market and use things like technical analysis to give them an advantage in trading.

Traditional investing has a more long-term focus, spanning years and even decades. Instead of focusing on individual stocks, long-term investors traditionally rely on mutual funds as their investing vehicle of choice. Mutual funds provide more stability and spread your investing dollars around over many different stocks. In that way, they create instance diversity for your money.

There are times in the markets history when stocks have been red hot. In fact, in the last couple of years, the indexes have been climbing higher and higher, setting new records along the way. At times like this, individual stock trading becomes enticing. And with new options to invest in, like the few bitcoin stocks that are moving higher, people can be drawn into this time of investing.

It’s important to remember though that there are things to consider before trading in individual stocks. Even when things are going great, you must always be aware of the risks. Otherwise, you might get yourself into a lot of trouble. Keep these tips in mind if you are interested in individual stock trading.

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6 Financial and Emotional Considerations Before You Retire Early

reasons to retire earlyThink you have some good reasons to retire early? It is exciting…the thought of leaving your career and setting aside the accompanying stress that it produces. In fact, you may already have begun to plan how you might be able to do that 10 or 20 years before your retirement benefits are available.

It’s a lofty goal to retire early. But it’s a decision you must be sure about. You can’t just wave a magic wand to make it happen.  It takes planning and deep consideration of all the financial and emotional reasons to retire early before you pull the trigger.

To that end, it would be wise to consider the following issues as they relate to early retirement. You may find after working through them that you want to hold onto that career for a few more years.

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Make More Than You Think Working From Home as a Bookkeeper

Today I’d like to welcome Tim Chaves, CEO at ZipBooks. Tim previously founded and sold two small businesses, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.  In this article, he’ll share the ins and outs of how you can make money on the side – or as a career – being a bookkeeper. 

bookkeeperWhat would your reaction be if I told you you could make $15/hour or more doing accounting work from home?

“No,” you’d probably say. “I’m not an accountant!”

And you’d be right — about the fact that you’re not an accountant! But not about your potential to earn that money on the side, from home, doing accounting work.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that a trained accountant often does several different types of jobs. They may do taxes, audits, financial planning and bookkeeping.

But here’s the key: not all of the tasks an accountant does require an accountant to do them. And that’s why I want to focus specifically on bookkeeping.

What Is a Bookkeeper?

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Your Best Investment Ever Won’t Be In The Stock Market

What is the best investment you’ve ever made? Historical analysis suggests an investor in the U.S. stock market can reasonably count on an average annual return of 8-10%. There will be good years and bad to live through, but that’s a pretty good return for your money.

best investmentWhile the stock market is known as the great creator of wealth, it’s not the best investment you can ever make. It’s also not land, rental properties, CDs, bonds, or commodities. None of those will bring the level of return needed to really succeed in your life, in your career and with your finances.

One investment outshines all these in terms of total lifetime return. That’s the investment you make in yourself. Nothing will move you forward quicker, push you farther and have more lasting impact than the time and money spent on oneself. Here’s how.

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7 Tips on How to Handle a Teenager’s Car Accident

Calls in the middle of the night are never good. Neither is the one when you say “Hello” and your teenager is crying on the other end. Your heart immediately drops because you know they are hurting. That’s the phone call I received recently when my daughter was in her first car accident.

car accidentShe had just left basketball practice and was traveling at the legal speed on a country road. As she came up over a small hill, cars were stacked up four deep waiting for someone to turn left. She wasn’t on her phone but admittedly was a little tired and distracted. By the time she realized what was happening in front of her, it was too late to brake in time. The truck she was driving rear-ended the last car in the line. The driver of that car had her foot slip off the brake and hit the accelerator, propelling her down into the ditch. On the way, she clipped the car in front of her.

As rear-end car accidents go it wasn’t pretty. Our airbag deployed. The car she hit had damage in the back end and the front, as it hit a telephone pole when it went to the ditch. And the third car had minor bumper damage. In the end, our used truck – that we had owned for less than a month – was totaled.

Thankfully, everyone was OK. No hospital visits were needed. And the people involved were pretty nice about it. I think they could see how upset this 16-year old girl was having caused her first accident.

I hope I never have to take that call again from any of my other kids. Odds are I will. But as the oldest child often does, she broke new ground and helped us figure out how to deal with a teenager’s car accident. Here are 7 things I learned from the incident.

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How to Turn a Hobby Into a Career

Ever want to turn a hobby into a career? Maria Cannon at HobbyJr.org did just that with her love of quilting. Now she is trying to help others do the same. In today’s guest post she shares some practical tips that can help you get started.

Many people these days are looking for a new career. There are many ways that can be accomplished without going back to school. One such way is to use an existing hobby to make money.

It’s a valid path to pursue, especially for those who feel like they’ve hit a lull within their jobs and want to try something different. Starting your own business is a wonderful option when you’re ready to branch out. However, it’s not without its challenges. Done poorly it could blow up in your face and leave you worse off than you are right now.

So, the question is, “Where do you start?” If you already have a hobby that could be a potential moneymaker such as sewing, baking, or making jewelry, you’re already halfway there. If not, you’ll need to think of ways you can earn money while doing something you love.

Here are a few tips on how to get started.

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A Spring Cleaning To-Do List For Your Finances

Do you love spring cleaning? I used to think that I loved to clean. Now that I’ve had some more time around the house as a stay at home dad, I realize I don’t love the process of cleaning. It’s something else.

spring cleaningWhat I actually love are the results and satisfaction that come from cleaning. For few brief moments of my life that space I just worked on is perfectly in order. It’s fresh, purified and clean. It’s organized and pleasing to look at.

During this time of year I usually embark on the spring cleaning of something. I’m working on our garage right now. What an organizational task!

In my mind, spring cleaning serves several purposes. First, it’s a purging process – getting rid of what you don’t need. But I also use spring cleaning to get organized and freshen things up a bit. And if I get really ambitious, I tackle those hidden places in the house where dirt and bacteria thrive.

The house isn’t the only place though to work on spring cleaning. You can’t forget to look at your finances. Granted, it’s not something that you might naturally think to do during the spring. But this area of your life also gets a little messy from time to time. So while you are cleaning everything else, why not give it a look as well.

To get you started, here are places where you should give your finances a good spring cleaning checkup.

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Choosing the Right College Starts by Answering These Questions

Choosing a college at 18 years of age presents a daunting challenge. For most high school students, the decision represents the most difficult one they’ve ever made. With so many choices, it’s easy to lose a few hours of sleep trying to sort it all out.

choosing a collegeOur first child is beginning the college search right now. She’s not losing sleep over it, thank goodness. However, with so many options it’s easy to not know where to start.

Information from the College Board shows there are approximately 4,000 private and public, two or four-year colleges and universities in the United States. Whittling that number down to a manageable few is some task. How can a high school student narrow their list so they can select the right school?

I did it by asking questions.

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How to Make a Will and Protect Those You Love

Today I’m going to talk about a personal finance related topic that many people ignore – how to make a will. In fact, this topic is more avoided than you think. A recent survey at Caring.com showed that only 42% of Americans have estate planning documents. What’s even worse is that for those with children under the age of 18, the number drops to 36%. Yikes!

how to make a willIt’s not surprising a large number of people avoid making a will. Making a will requires a person to think about one very uncomfortable event – their death. I don’t think anyone of us is looking with anticipation towards that specific day.

However, the reality is this – that day WILL come. It is unavoidable. And the real truth of the matter is, we don’t know when it’s going to be. Not all of us are guaranteed to live to 100.

So before I get to how to make a will, I want to show you why it’s important and how it helps protect your family.

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4 Basic Strategies for Retirement Planning Everyone Should Know

The retirement years are one of the most rewarding and also potentially delicate phases of life. People experience many joys in their later years. However, they may also have to endure diminishing physical strength, slowing of mental faculties and the onset of age-related illnesses. Given the inevitability of health conditions in old age specifically, it‘s vital to keep the controllable factors in check to avoid exacerbating medical problems. This can be done with good retirement planning.

retirement planningPerhaps the most important such controllable factor is your financial stability. Money doesn’t equal happiness or freedom from sickness or other problems. However, the more funds you accumulate, the higher your chances of having a less stressful retirement when it comes to the financial side of things.

With that in mind, here are a couple of valuable tips for retirement planning that aren’t difficult to do but whose payoff is huge.

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The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Investing Money the Right Way

Success in our personal financial life is something we all desire. What that financial success looks like is different for each situation. However, there is one undeniable truth that applies to all of us when thinking about how to achieve our financial dreams and goals – investing money will help you get there.

investing moneyThere are several challenges though when it comes to investing money. For one, people scare themselves out of investing money for fear of losing it. They see the ups and downs of the stock market and don’t want to be involved with that volatility.

Others may not know how to invest or where to start. I remember learning about investing money in my early twenties and feeling extremely overwhelmed.

Still others may feel they lack the time to really make investing work for them. They either started to late in life to make a difference or just don’t have time in their daily schedule to learn about it.

And finally, perhaps the biggest challenge of all – some just don’t have the money to invest.

If you fall into any of those categories or are a beginner just looking to learn about investing money, this article is for you. From my own experience, I had many questions of my own when I first started. So I’ll be answering some of the most basic ones I had like:

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