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Bellmore Group Management Services, Tokyo Japan on Mutual Funds

The Popularity of Mutual Funds

Mutual funds are common investments because they provide a cost-effective and effective means to vary your investments (or possess an assortment of securities -- stocks, bonds, etc.) without having to make a huge starting investment.

Basics about Investing in Mutual Funds

Buying shares of a mutual fund allows you to pool your money with other investors and letting the mutual fund (which is essentially a professional capital management firm) invest and administer the money to aid in achieving the fund's targeted financial objective (e.g., income, growth, or a mixture of both). This allows you to fast-track the setting up of a multi-faceted portfolio with as little investment as possible.

When to consider Investing in Mutual Funds

Since they are efficiently administered by experts and because they provide variety with essentially low starting cash input, mutual funds can be a viable option for the majority of investors. Many investors opt to invest in mutual funds instead of selecting a vast assortment of particular investments.

Investing at Bellmore Group

provides one of the wide-ranging choices of fund groups in the industry, and your Investment Counselor has the facilities to aid you in selecting the proper fund or basket of funds to satisfy your specific needs.

Coordinate well with your Investment Counselor to design a mutual fund portfolio which fits your particular circumstances.


Akaho Kitamura dec 15 16, 03:12
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Savings: Where to earn the best interest on your money right now

Savings Where to earn the best interest on your money right now

If one of your New Year's resolutions is to grow your savings, one smart strategy is to keep your money in an account earning the most interest.

The Federal Reserve has been slow to raise interest rates, and even recent hikes haven't trickled down to consumers in the form of better savings yields. The average savings account offers a paltry 0.19% annual return, only slightly better than a year ago, according to Deposit Accounts.

Some experts say that money could grow faster at online banks. Some CDs, or certificates of deposit, are also more generous than others.

"If you're not seeking out the best returns on savings accounts and CDs, you're leaving money on the table," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com. "It's the only place in the investment universe where you can get extra returns without extra risks."

These accounts are protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a government agency that provides deposit insurance, for up to $250,000.

Savings accounts

Online banks, McBride said, are currently in an "arms race" to lure people with the best rates.

Although current "best" rates of around 1.5% still seem low — one could find savings accounts with a 4% annual percentage yield in 2006 — experts say they make sense in the current environment.

"We had record low interest rates for nearly a decade, and inflation is still 1.6%," McBride said. "When banks are giving car loans for 3% and mortgages for 4%, no one is getting 10% on savings."

People are also less likely to look to the past than they are to compare today's rates against each other, said Patricia Seaman, senior director of marketing and communications at the National Endowment for Financial Education.

"People feel good about saving 5 cents a gallon on gas, so they feel better about getting another half a percentage [on their savings]," she said. "We may not be talking about very much, but psychologically, that looks amazing."

Here are some of the banks with the best savings yields:

1) Dollar Savings Direct, a division of Emigrant Bank, claims to have "America's highest rate." Saving accounts come with an annual interest rate of 1.60%.

"It's a smaller Internet bank, but it's still a legitimate, FDIC [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation] insured bank," said Ken Tumin, founder of the website DepositAccounts.com.

2) Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers online savings accounts with an annual interest rate of 1.40%. "Goldman Sachs seems to be a little hungrier for deposits," McBride said. First National Bank of Omaha also offers an annual interest rate of 1.40% on a savers' online account. Neither requires a minimum deposit.

3) American Express's savings accounts accrue at 1.35% a year.

4) Discover online savings accounts come with a 1.30% annual interest rate. In this account, $15,000 would produce a return of $194.74 in a year. To compare, that same amount in a Chase savings account would earn just $1.50. Barclays, too, offers an online savings account with an interest rate of 1.30%.

5) Synchrony Bank offers a savings account with a 1.30% annual return — and its accounts come with an optional ATM card, although like with most online savings accounts, there is a limit of six withdrawals or transfers in a month. Although this restriction might feel like a nuisance, it's actually helpful to people, McBride said.

"Too easy access can defeat the purpose of saving," he said.

Certificates of deposit

For savers who won't need their money for an extended period of time, interest rates on CDs can be worth a look. The average 1-year CD returns 0.28%. Rates from online banks, however, are also higher.

People generally can withdraw their CD interest at any time throughout the term. There are penalties for withdrawing the original deposit.

"If it helps you to think, 'I can't get that money', it's worth it," said Seaman.

Here are some CDs with the best rates:

1) Online bank Ally has one-year CDs that range from 1.35% to 1.70%, depending on how much is deposited. Savers should look for CDs with the lowest penalties, said Allan Roth, founder of Wealth Logic. That way they can gain the benefit of a high interest savings account without the restrictions of a CD. "If you need the money, you break the CD," he said.

2) Marcus by Goldman Sachs also offers certificates of deposits with higher-than-average returns, although there is a $500 minimum deposit. A one-year CD comes with a 1.65% interest rate, and a six-year CD has a 2.55 percent annual rate.

3) Barclays offers a 1.65% return for one-year CDs; five-year CDs will deliver 2.40 percent and there is no minimum opening deposit.

Savers can also "ladder" their CDs, in which a person deposits money into, say, a one-, two- and three-year CD, so that they're not tying up too much of their money at once and can reinvest their savings should rates rise.

It can be hard for people to spend the time and energy to change their saving ways, Roth said. People need to "fight that inertia."

"I know so many people that will complain about a sandwich being $12 when it should be $10," he said. "And yet they lose thousands of dollars each year by having their money in a big-name checking account."

Keep in mind you'll pay ordinary income tax rates on earnings from savings accounts.


Akaho Kitamura jan 30, 11:51
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Making Thousands through IRA Investing Tips

For beginners as well as veterans in IRA investing, here are a few important things to consider. Newbie investors obviously need education in fundamental matters while long-time investors can always benefit from

.

So, how do you maximize returns from your IRA?

Choose what fits your goals: Traditional or. Roth

Should you go for traditional or for Roth IRA? While your traditional IRA contributions can be classified as tax-deductible, Roths use after-tax money; however, they provide tax-free withdrawals when you reach retirement age. To know more about either type of IRA, visit informative investment websites. Here are a few valuable tips on which to choose:

When you should choose a traditional IRA:

* If you are within a higher tax bracket now, in contrast to your expected level when you reach retirement

* If a tax break now is more preferable to you than tax savings when you retire

* If you have no retirement plan sponsored by your employer because your income is too large to qualify you to directly contribute to a Roth IRA

When you should choose a Roth IRA:

* If you want to stay in your present tax rate

* If you want to diversify your retirement assets, aside from your pre-tax account such as a 401(k)

* If you expect to use the money when you retire and would choose rather to keep it in that account to allow it to grow as long as you want (A Roth IRA will not demand a minimum distribution from a specific age.)

* If you want all your money safely parked somewhere (You can withdraw your original contribution amounts in a Roth IRA at any time.)

Take full advantage of the tax benefits

To maximize returns from your IRA, choose the most appropriate types of stocks. Whateverstock whose value grows in time will provide higher gains for you in an IRA compared to a taxable brokerage account. Nevertheless, dividend-growth stocks will optimize the entire compounding capacity of investing in IRA; hence, you must utilize your IRA through buying individual stocks.

As an example, with two stocks often favored in many portfolios, such as Berkshire Hathaway and Apple, one can assign one in a traditional IRA and hold the other in a taxable brokerage account. Invest $5,000 in each one of these two accounts.

As of today, Apple pays a 1.9% yield in dividends, generating $95 from your $5,000 investment for a year. You will be charged a 15% tax in a taxable brokerage account, effectively giving you about $81 return. However, in a traditional IRA, you get a tax-free deal. Remember: You can now reinvest the entire $95 in more shares, whereas you have less to put back in a taxable account to work with. Although $14 is not that much, the compounding power of money works more in the former than in the latter, especially in the long-term.

To illustrate more clearly, under a 1.9% dividend yield for Apple and a stock gain of 8% annually, you will observe the difference in the gains of an initial investment of $5,000 over time:

Time Period

Taxable Account

Traditional IRA

1 Year

$5,481

$5,495

5 Years

$8,673

$8,810

10 Years

$13,726

$14,124

20 Years

$34,348

$36,301

30 Years

$78,536

$84,899

Your returns are more obviously higher over a longer period of time than otherwise, as seen in the difference above after 30 years. A $6,400 advantage, more or less, in a traditional IRA is definitely more preferable.

A $5,000 investment in Berkshire Hathaway, in comparison, would only take advantage from an initial tax deduction on your IRA contribution. As Berkshire has no dividend-yield payments, your investment in both kinds of accounts will grow by a fixed amount over time.

The young should invest aggressively now

Allocating too little money or not investing at all could be the worst mistake anyone can make in IRA investing, especially among young investors.

It is natural for millennials to be wary of investing in stocks, considering the early-2000s’ tech crash and the more recent Great Recession, and since many of these millennial investors had parents who lost their investments in the market.

You can use an accepted rule of thumb to determine the percentage of stocks to be included in your portfolio by deducting your age from 110. For instance, if you are 40, around 70% of your money invested must be in stocks. Using this principle will allow your portfolio to become more conservative as you near the retirement age. It is likewise worthwhile to note that ETFs and stock-based mutual funds can serve as good alternative investments if individual stocks do not appeal that much to you.

Just remember that stock investments will always involve volatility. Hence, in any particular year, a 10% drop in the stock market should be expected. Nevertheless, on the long-term, stocks will provide better gains compared to any other types of assets.

Lastly, most of all your investment money will never acquire greater growth opportunity in the long-term than they do in the present, no matter what happens to the market this week or this year. At 25, according to a conservative average of 7% annual growth rate over many years, one only has to invest $5,000 each year ($417 every month) to become a millionaire-retiree at 65. However, at 35, you need to set aside $15,800 each year, or $1,318 monthly, to reach the same level of wealth at 65.

In short, invest as much as you can and as early as you can since time is your most valuable asset, aside from your dollars.


Akaho Kitamura apr 24 17, 03:14
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Make Your Investing Resolutions Reality in 2018

2018 Investing Resolutions

These six New Year's resolutions will give your investment portfolio a boost in 2018, deliver long-lasting rewards and require neither spandex nor excessive amounts of kale.

It’ll be nearly impossible to find an open treadmill at your local gym come January. By March? Everything’s back to normal again.

Welcome to the season of good intentions. Many people will start 2018 with a New Year’s resolution like exercising more or losing weight, only to abandon it within weeks.

Sound familiar? Even if you haven’t succeeded in the past, 2018 can be different. (No, really!) If you’re unsure where to begin and would like to start with some quick wins, how about your investment portfolio?

Investing resolutions can reap long-lasting rewards and require neither spandex nor excessive amounts of kale. Pick and choose from the following investing resolutions, or go ahead and tackle the entire list.

Save more (and invest it)

Spending less and saving more is a noble resolution, but here’s some bad news: Saving money won’t adequately prepare you for retirement unless you invest it.

First, some ground rules. Don’t invest in the market unless you’ve established a rainy-day fund with enough money to cover three to six months of expenses. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t invest money you’ll need within the next three years.

Once you have some short-term savings accumulated, work toward contributing 15% of your income to your retirement accounts. Everyone can make (and keep) this resolution, whether your nest egg has cracked the six-figure mark or it looks more like, well, an egg. Even an extra $20 each week will add up to nearly $40,000 in 30 years, thanks to compounding interest.

Exercise more (than just your 401(k))

Think of saving for retirement like exercising. A routine workout may get the job done, but your body (or nest egg) won’t radically transform until you switch things up.

If you’ve been contributing to your 401(k) — congratulations, by the way, as it’s an important first step — resolve to open an IRA in 2018. These accounts carry a maximum contribution of $5,500 for people under age 50 ($6,500 for those 50 and up) and offer a broader array of assets that often have lower fees than employer-sponsored plans.

First, decide whether you prefer the Roth or traditional variety. (The difference comes down to when you’ll be taxed, now with a Roth or later with a traditional when you take distributions.) Once that’s settled, you can open an IRA in a matter of minutes. You may not burn a lot of calories in the process, but you’ll appreciate this move someday — maybe even as soon as tax season if you open a traditional IRA.

Lose weight (from excess fees)

The U.S. stock market has had a tremendous year, but if your portfolio’s performance is a bit sluggish, it’s time to take action. Costly fees may be weighing down your portfolio and hampering its future potential. A NerdWallet study found that a millennial paying 1% more in investment fees than his peers will sacrifice nearly $600,000 in returns over 40 years.

Don’t be that person. Here’s how to trim the fat: Take note of the expense ratios for each investment in your portfolio and then research whether less costly alternatives will let you achieve the same goal. Have an account with an online broker or robo-advisor? Many of these providers offer access to financial advisors who can assist with this process. Or you can consult with one directly.

Eat healthier (in your portfolio)

This time of year, it’s easy to overindulge on sweets, whether at the dessert table or within your portfolio.

With U.S. stocks up about 20% in 2017, your once-healthy portfolio probably has gotten out of whack. It’s time to restore your intended allocations to stocks and bonds. Experts recommend at least 5% to 10% of your portfolio be allocated to bonds, but your strategy may vary depending on your risk tolerance or age.

In 2018, resolve to rebalance your portfolio and set up automatic rebalancing, a feature offered by many providers or inherent to target-date funds you may have in your 401(k). Sometimes that’s as simple as a click of a button.

Get (your accounts) organized

So you’ve packed up old clothes and donated them to charity. But that 401(k) from your first job? Somehow it’s still hanging around.

Let 2018 be the year you finally roll over your old 401(k) into an IRA. Why? You’ll most likely pay lower fees than with that old employer’s plan, plus you’ll gain access to a broader selection of investments and possibly more guidance from your new broker.

A rollover will require you to fill out some paperwork and funnel money into new investments, but it’s time well-spent. Lower fees, greater flexibility and more money at retirement? You can probably spare a couple of afternoons for that.

Learn a new (investing) skill

While your friends learn French, Parlez-vous investing? If you answered no, your burgeoning interest is calling. (We know it’s there; you’re reading this list.)

It’s easy, and often wise, to take the set-it-and-forget-it approach to investing. But that may not be enough to satisfy a curious mind. Becoming “invested” will make you more engaged in the lifelong pursuit of managing your finances. Gravitate to what interests you, be it reading an investing book, researching how options work (hint: they’re not as difficult as they seem) or trying your hand at trading stocks.

Just be sure to keep your newfound hobby in check. Reading a few books does not the next Warren Buffett make, nor should you overhaul your portfolio to chase the latest investment du jour.


Akaho Kitamura jan 9, 03:50
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Saving and Spending Hacks

Were you a victim of the holiday spending spree this past season or a winner? Many of us lost; and the New Year gives us pause to evaluate our personal financial habits once more and, hopefully, initiate some positive and lasting changes for the future.

Consider these valuable saving and spending hacks you can implement.

Go long-term

Think ahead into the future. Whatever your age is, save now for your retirement. The earlier you do, the better. Apply for an employer-sponsored plan, if possible. Or if you can, opt for IRAs which help you build wealth in bounds.

Build categorized funds

Think of this as a challenge: Do the 52-week savings procedure. Set aside $1 on the first week, then $2 the second week, until you finish the 52nd week, when you are supposed to add $52 to your pot. Hacking this process gives you $1,378 in savings in the next year, plus interests earned.

As long as you set for yourself a specific goal, starting a savings account can bring great benefits. Go for banks that offer fee-friendly services, such as Ally Bank Member FDIC, ally.com, which enables you to open an Online Savings or Money Market account without minimum savings requirement or monthly service charges. It is quite convenient to deposit money through an e-check deposit, direct deposit and you gain compounded-daily interests on your savings. Moreover, keeping this money in a separate account lets you monitor your spending habit versus the remaining balance.

Utilize shopping apps

It has become quite easy to save money using online apps. Do some research and find discount codes, loyalty plans or cash-back providers that allow you to monitor your expenses and reward you for the use of their shopping portal instead of going directly to the big name retailers’ homepage.

Gain rewards

Although it is downright risky and even foolhardy to run up credit-card bills one cannot pay back, many expert consumers have the ability to exploit credit card reward plans for airline mileage, hotel points or hard cash on-hand.

“Utilize credit cards that offer reward for things you often purchase,” says Diane Morais, chief executive officer and president of Ally Bank, subsidiary of Ally Financial Inc.

Open a new credit card which provides a minimum buying limit, such as the Ally CashBack Credit Card, which offers a $100 bonus when you spend $500 in eligible purchases within the first three billing cycles, and gives 2% cash-back at gas stations and grocery stores, as well as a 1% cash-back on all other purchases – including 10% bonus on rewards which you deposit into a qualified Ally Bank account.

It is not necessary to open a new account if your present credit cards to avoid fraud and also offer promos or cash-back schemes, allowing you to earn substantially on daily purchases.

Consider the above tips and aim to become a strategic consumer – one who spends wisely and saves productively.


Akaho Kitamura feb 28 17, 03:42
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Services Offered of Bellmore Group Management Services, Tokyo Japan

 Benefits of Bellmore Group

Bellmore Group’s long-term accomplishment is founded on our custom-fitted set of solutions for every particular client. The solution to each financial challenge is the product of a sound, well-ordered process.

Brokerage

The asset management capability of Bellmore Group has been developed over many years. Our financial approaches combine convention and creativity. Refined methods with a long-term perspective and a traditional color focus on stability and control. Most of all, we aim to deliver the requirements of our clients.

What do we provide?

  1. Reasonable and dependable indication of markets, securities and other investments.

We stand firmly on the platform of reliability & market awareness.

  1. Advanced Investment Opportunities.

We chart our investments through meticulous planning, market scrutiny and investment indicators.

Bellmore Group is an autonomous brokerage and investment banking company that offers an assortment of financial services and products.

Our financial methods combine convention and creativity. Refined strategies with a long-term perspective and a traditional slant focus on stability and order.

We involve a member of your own personal and professional group. We work closely with your attorney, accountant, and personal counselors and mentors.

Bellmore Group is an autonomous brokerage and investment banking company that offers an assortment of financial services and products.


Akaho Kitamura dec 7 16, 04:03
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9 money mistakes to avoid in your 40s

Your 20s were all about setting up your financial foundation and establishing good habits. Your 30s were about life changes like getting married, having kids, and building your career.

In your 40s, everything is amplified even more. You've got growing kids and aging parents — and what you don't have is a ton of spare time.

There's a lot you can do in your 40s to protect your money and care for your family before you begin thinking about retirement in your 50s or 60s. Here's what you should avoid:

1. Buying more house than you can afford

With your growing family, that starter home in a bad school district isn't meeting your family's needs anymore. Suddenly, you want more space for your kids to run around, and you want them to grow up in a neighborhood with lots of friends their age.

It's tempting to opt for more square footage, a larger yard, and an upscale neighborhood. But this means a bigger home loan, increased maintenance costs, and high property taxes.

After spending the first two decades of adulthood in rental apartments or condos (possibly with roommates!), it's natural to want a big, beautiful home to hopefully live in for the rest of your life. But beware of buying more home than you can handle. Houses aren't great investments, so you should be realistic about your budget and avoid tying up all your savings in your home.

2. Not having the right mortgage

Mortgage rates remain quite low (often under 4%, depending on your credit score, loan terms, and other factors). Consider refinancing if you intend to remain in your home for at least a few more years.

I'm a fan of refinancing to a 15-year mortgage. While a 30-year mortgage offers a lower monthly payment, it means you'll have a mortgage well into your 60s or 70s, which isn't helpful in retirement. Plus, you'll pay a lot more in interest.

How much more? Let's say you have a $250,000 loan. You can get a 15-year mortgage with a 3.14% interest rate and a monthly payment of $1,743. A 30-year mortgage would have a 3.81% rate and a $1,166 monthly payment. Spending nearly $600 less per month is appealing, but you'll actually spend $106,073 more on interest payments over the life of the 30-year loan!

As your cash flow situation changes, make sure you have the right mortgage for you. You can compare 15- and 30-year mortgages side by side using this calculator.

3. Overspending on your kids

A big way to keep up with the Joneses in your 40s is to pour your resources into your kids: tutors, travel sports teams, competitive dance troupes, private school tuition, summer camp … the list is endless!

It hard to say no to everything your kids' heart’s desire and you really do want to provide those things — not just because you love your kids, but because their friends' parents are your friends and neighbors, and there's pressure for you to fit in.

This is a good time to reassess your money values and teach your kids about creating their own value system. That way, the whole family is spending money and time on what really matters to each of you, instead of what your neighbors are doing.

4. Not saving for retirement because you're saving for college

Many parents I work with want to prioritize funding their kids' college savings accounts. It's natural to put your kids first, before yourself. That's good parenting!

However, I get concerned when parents forgo saving for their own retirement in favor of contributing to a college savings account for their kids. The reality is that your kids can borrow money for college, but you can't borrow money for retirement. You're setting your kids up to have to support you in your old age, right when they have young children of their own.

This can become a huge burden for them in the future. A true gift to your kids is to prepare adequately for your own retirement first, and then save for their college educations second.

Once you're in a financial position to contribute to college savings, consider a 529 Plan, which offers multiple tax benefits. Some plans give you a state tax deduction or credit, your contributions will grow tax-free in the account, and withdrawals for qualified educational expenses are also tax-free.

If your state of residence doesn't offer a tax deduction or credit, you can choose a plan from a state that does. You can research different 529 Plans available at savingforcollege.com.

5. Not having a big enough emergency fund

That $1,000 you stashed away at 22 might have cut it when you were only supporting yourself, but now you've got a family. The potential for unexpected expenses is high.

The stakes are higher, too. For example, when you're young and lose your job, you can float by for a few months by breaking your lease and moving back home. Imagine losing your job when you have a $3,500 monthly mortgage payment, two car payments, grad school debt, a stay-at-home spouse, and three kids!

Give yourself peace of mind. Keep 3-6 months of living expenses in your emergency fund and invest the excess in a taxable brokerage account which you could pull from if you were out of work for an extended period of time.

6. Not maximizing credit card rewards

If you use credit responsibly (meaning you have an excellent credit score and pay your credit card bills in full and on time every month), you're missing out if you have a no-frills credit card that doesn't come with rewards.

A bigger family comes with increased spending, so make that spending work in your favor. Rewards cards can earn you cash back or points that you can use for free or discounted travel. Some cards even include perks like statement credits for airline purchases or the fee for Global Entry.

7. Not doing estate planning

I've witnessed friends have to wade through their parents' complicated estates while grieving their loss. It's essential to create a plan for supporting your family if you pass away or are incapacitated and can no longer works.

Doing the work now will spare your spouse and children a lot of pain. Work with an estate attorney to create a will, and consider the best ways to leave money to your heirs or charitable organizations to minimize the tax burden on your estate. A financial planner is a great ally to have on your side as you worked through this.

8. Not protecting your money in the event of divorce

Unfortunately, divorce is a reality for many families, and it can be financially devastating, especially for women. This is why I think it's important for both spouses to be active participants in their family's financial planning. Too often, one spouse handles all the money — and the other spouse is in for some nasty surprises if the marriage ends.

If your marriage is at risk, keep a detailed inventory of your family's assets and hire a lawyer to help you understand how state laws can affect which assets you'd be entitled to.

There are financial planners out there who specialize in working with clients who are going through a divorce, such as CDFAs (Certified Divorce Financial Analysts). They can help you navigate through this tricky time.

9. Not talking with your parents about their finances

Just like it's important for you to set up your estate for the benefit of your children, it's essential to talk to your parents about their own estate.

The elderly are vulnerable to financial scams because they have the confidence of having managed their money for years, but don't necessarily understand modern money management. They also might be experiencing some cognitive decline, so it helps to have you on their side as they make financial choices.

Some parents tell their adult children too late that they don't have enough saved for retirement, or that they expect their kids to support them. I work with a number of clients who help their parents financially, but it takes some planning and budgeting to be able to do this without sacrificing your own goals.


Akaho Kitamura dec 19 17, 03:49
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The only way to save money has always been the same — and you can't do it without making a key distinction

dinner

While a bad economy or an especially low-paying job can make saving money infinitely harder, the formula for saving has always been the same. To save money, you need to spend less than you earn.

Obviously, this task becomes a lot easier when you earn more than average – or if you live in a low-cost area. If you have a six-figure income and live in Arkansas, for example, you should absolutely be socking some money away. On the flip side, someone living on the same salary in an expensive city like New York City, Boston, or San Francisco might not have much if anything left over after covering basic expenses like housing, food, and childcare.

But, no matter your income or where you live, you have to find a way to spend less than you earn if you hope to save money to retire, have some fun, and avoid debt. You can get a side hustle or a part-time job if you want, but if you don't spend less than you bring home, you're always going to struggle.

That's why it's important to determine the difference between your "wants" and "needs" — and to understand why that differentiation matters. Without a grasp on why these terms matter, it's significantly harder to get on the right side of your financial ledger.

Wants vs. needs

What is a "want?" And what is a "need?" While everyone's wants and needs can vary, there's a big difference between these two terms when it comes to how you spend your money.

Generally speaking, a "need" is something you absolutely cannot live without. You need a roof over your head, for example. You need food and health insurance and transportation to get to work.

You need electricity in your house, you need food to eat, and you need a telephone. In this day and age, you probably even need internet access for your job or so your kids can do homework.

A "want," on the other hand, is something you'd like, but could probably live without if push comes to shove. You want to go out to dinner tonight so you don't have to cook. You want a shiny new iPhone X, even if you’re existing phone works just fine.

You want concert tickets and an annual beach vacation, but you wouldn't die if you couldn't have these things.

A want is something you very well may be able to afford, but don't actually need to get by.

When needs are actually wants

But, what happens when something you consider a need is actually a want? This happens all the time, and it really throws people off. Worse, it tricks people into justifying purchases they wouldn't make it they really thought it through.

For example, you need to eat, it's true. But, do you need to dine out at your favorite pub tonight? If you have food to eat at home, the answer is no. But if you're in the mood to justify the purchase, you could tell yourself you need to eat and do it anyway.

You also need a cellphone because it's 2017 and hardly anyone has just a landline anymore. But, you don't need to upgrade to the new $1,000 iPhone, and you may not even need a smartphone. Heck, you may not even need a data plan — but since you know you need a phone, you can convince yourself you need the best possible phone with the priciest talk, data, and text package money can buy.

New cars are another area where it's easy to confuse what you want with what you need. You may need a car to get to work. You probably don't need a brand-new car financed for 72 months with a $500 monthly payment. But, since you know you need to get to work, you can talk yourself into buying what you want on the premise that your shiny new ride is a need.

Well, guess what. It's not.

In all these instances, you absolutely need the item in question — food, phone, transportation — but you're choosing to spend more than you have to. In these cases, it's important to be honest with yourself about what you need, what you want, and the difference between the two.

Three steps to help you separate wants from needs

There's nothing wrong with spending money on wants. I would even argue that paying for wants is an important part of life. If life were only about working and paying bills, then it wouldn't be much fun.

The problem arises when people conflate their wants with their needs to the point where their spending stands in the way of their financial goals. When we spend money on wants without determining if they're really a priority, we often shortchange ourselves in the areas of our lives that really matter – things like saving money for college, emergencies, retirement savings, and vacations.

If you're struggling to separate wants from needs, here are three steps to help.

Step 1: Decide which wants truly add value to your life.

If you're spending more than you should and having trouble separating wants from needs, it's smart to take a step back and look at what you're actually buying. Do your wants add real value to your life, or are they made out of convenience? Are you making discretionary purchases because they're important to you, or simply out of habit?

While spending on wants is an important part of life, some wants are more important to us than others – and if you stop to examine you’re spending, you may find that many of the splurges you're making aren't really worth it. By deciding which wants add real value to your life, you can determine which ones to keep and which wants you can live without.

Step 2: Trade away some of your wants for a better deal.

Depending on the "want" in question, you may be able to come up with an alternative action that lets you save your money instead. This is a good strategy to try when you're spending on something out of habit or out of convenience.

For example:

* If you dine out a few times per week more out of convenience than pleasure, you may find you can cut your spending and still eat conveniently with some simple planning. If you can get in the habit of meal planning or using your crock pot to make easy dinners a few nights per week, for example, you may be able to avoid hasty, unfulfilling dinners out and pocket that money instead.

* If you have an expensive cable package out of habit but never watch all the channels, you may be able to choose a cheaper package and save money without really noticing. Heck, you may even be able to cancel your cable subscription together.
* If you're signed up for multiple subscriptions for magazines or any of those subscription boxes like FabFitFun but you rarely have time to enjoy what you receive, you might be able to cancel without any real impact to your happiness or fulfillment.

It's important to have wants in your life, but you should only splurge when you're truly benefiting. If a want isn't really making you happy, you'll get more out of your hard-earned dollars once you cut the fat and reallocate those dollars to make them count.

Step 3: Figure out how to afford what you really want.

Let's say you have a handful of wants that are really important to you. You love having a new car because you drive an hour to work each way, or you're a huge tech geek who can't wait to get your hands on every new phone or game console that comes out. Maybe you're a foodie who loves dining out so much you're willing to sacrifice elsewhere to be able to try all your favorite restaurants.

Working those wants into your budget is obviously important, but you need to make sure you can afford it. If you're not saving money already – or if you're spending all you earn and going into debt – then you probably need to analyze your spending in its entirety to find other places to cut.

The best way to determine whether you can afford everything you want – in addition to everything you need, of course – is to use a monthly budget and track your spending. While tracking your purchases can prevent you from spending more than you want, a monthly budget can help you prioritize your monthly obligations and your wants without sacrificing your savings goals.

My favorite type of budget is the zero-sum budget because all it takes is a pen and paper to get started. Zero-sum budgeting also makes prioritizing easy since it forces you to "spend" all your money on paper and "give each dollar a job."

In addition, zero-sum budgeting forces you to pay your savings and investments as if they were regular bills, then learn to live off the rest. In that sense, it may force you to reevaluate your wants and needs since you'll have less discretionary money over all.

The bottom line

If you're struggling with money and can't earn more of it right now, your best step is maximizing the money you have. Very often, the best way to do this is to take a close look at your monthly spending to see how much you're splurging. From there, you can decide if those “want" are truly worth it, or if you'd be better off taking a different approach.

At the end of the day, the best way to make sure you can afford what you want is to think ahead, be intentional with your spending, and most importantly, and be honest with yourself. We all want things in life, but those who get the most of what they want are the ones who plan.


Akaho Kitamura dec 7 17, 04:10
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10 Habits to Develop for Financial Stability and Success

10 Habits to Develop for Financial Stability and Success

Just like any goal, getting your finances stable and becoming financially successful requires the development of good financial habits.

I’ve been researching this topic extensively in the last few years in my quest to eliminate debt, increase my savings and increase financial security for my family.

I’ll talk more about these habits individually, but wanted to list them in a summary (I know, but I’m a compulsive list-maker).

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Make savings automagical

This should be your top priority, especially if you don’t have a solid emergency fund yet. Make it the first bill you pay each payday, by having a set amount automatically transferred from your checking account to your savings (try an online savings account). Don’t even think about this transaction — just make sure it happens, each and every payday.

2. Control your impulse spending

The biggest problem for many of us. Impulse spending, on eating out and shopping and online purchases, is a big drain on our finances, the biggest budget breaker for many, and a sure way to be in dire financial straits. See Monitor Your Impulse Spending for more tips.

3. Evaluate your expenses, and live frugally

If you’ve never tracked your expenses, try the One Month Challenge. Then evaluate how you’re spending your money, and see what you can cut out or reduce. Decide if each expense is absolutely necessary, and then eliminate the unnecessary. See How I Save Money for more. Also read 30 ways to save $1 a day.

4. Invest in your future

If you’re young, you probably don’t think about retirement much. But it’s important. Even if you think you can always plan for retirement later, do it now. The growth of your investments over time will be amazing if you start in your 20s. Start by increasing your 401(k) to the maximum of your company’s match, if that’s available to you. After that, the best bet is probably a Roth IRA. Do a little research, but whatever you do, start now!

5. Keep your family secure

The first step is to save for an emergency fund, so that if anything happens, you’ve got the money. If you have a spouse and/or dependents, you should definitely get life insurance and make a will — as soon as possible! Also research other insurance, such as homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.

6. Eliminate and avoid debt

If you’ve got credit cards, personal loans, or other such debt, you need to start a debt elimination plan. List out your debts and arrange them in order from smallest balance at the top two largest at the bottom. Then focus on the debt at the top, putting as much as you can into it, even if it’s just $40-50 extra (more would be better). When that amount is paid off, celebrate! Then take the total amount you were paying (say $70 minimum payment plus the $50 extra for a total of $120) and add that to the minimum payment of the next largest debt. Continue this process, with your extra amount snowballing as you go along, until you pay off all your debts. This could take several years, but it’s a very rewarding process, and very necessary.

7. Use the envelope system

This is a simple system to keep track of how much money you have for spending. Let’s say you set aside three amounts in your budget each payday — one for gas, one for groceries, one for eating out. Withdraw those amounts on payday, and put them in three separate envelopes. That way, you can easily track how much you have left for each of these expenses, and when you run out of money, you know it immediately. You don’t overspend in these categories. If you regularly run out too fast, you may need to rethink your budget.

8. Pay bills immediately, or automagical

One good habit is to pay bills as soon as they come in. Also, as much as possible, try to get your bills to be paid through automatic deduction. For those that can’t, use your banks online check system to make regular automatic payments. This way, all of your regular expenses in your budget are taken care of.

9. Read about personal finances

The more you educate yourself, the better your finances will be.

10. Look to grow your net worth

Do whatever you can to improve your net worth, either by reducing your debt, increasing your savings, or increasing your income, or all of the above. Look for new ways to make money, or to get paid more for what you do. Over the course of months, if you calculate your net worth each month, you’ll see it grow. And that feels great.


Akaho Kitamura nov 28 17, 03:53
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Key Sectors at Bellmore Group Management Services, Tokyo Japan

Key Sectors at Bellmore Group Management Services, Tokyo Japan

Investing in Futures & Commodities

Futures and commodities investments provide investors with more intricate financial requirements a means to hopefully gain from both the upward and downward movement of commodity and financial markets.

Basics of Futures & Commodities Investing

Futures and commodities speculators can benefit from greatly leveraged exposures in both financial and non-financial markets (commodities such as energies, meats, metals and grains). Hence, they can buy futures contracts by depositing even a little portion of the total contract price. Their aim is to gain from movements in the value of the futures contract.

Hedgers, those who hold a particular commodity (asset) or have a definite investment (such as energy cost), frequently choose a position opposite of the cash market to help lessen the risk of falling or rising commodity prices.

Risk of Investing in Futures & Commodities

Since futures and commodities markets can be extremely volatile, repeatedly fluctuating significantly, investing in them is not applicable for all investors. You could lose all your investment and in certain instances, even more than that. Moreover, you may at times encounter difficulty in liquidating your futures contracts, which limits your use of cash.

Before Investing, consider the following:

  • Financial Resources
  • Investment Objectives
  • Financial Track Record
  • Risk Capacity

Commodities at Bellemore Group

If you want to know more about the benefits of investments in futures and commodities, get in touch with your financial advisor. Both of you can consider the advantages and disadvantages of this type of investment and whether it is suitable to your particular circumstances and that it is within your risk level.

If futures and commodities investment satisfies your investment objectives but your financial counselor does not trade in these assets, he or she will refer you to another investment advisor who can assist you invest in this highly specialized market.


Akaho Kitamura dec 14 16, 04:06
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