The 7 Steps Of Do-it-yourself Financial Planning

You are in control

You are already your own financial planner. Regardless of the extent of help you receive from professionals, you ultimately are the decision maker and you are responsible for your own finances. Although the financial world has become increasingly complex, it is becoming easier today to do a lot of your own planning. The variety of resources has expanded such as software for money management and planning; online tools for banking, financial planning and investing, and resources, and books and blogs that are easy to understand. These resources may be good news for you if the cost of professional fee only financial planners is out-of-reach to you. Besides the cost of fees, others may avoid planners because they have heard stories of advisors trying to sell a product that didn’t fit their situation. Cost savings and avoiding product pitches are excellent benefits of being your own planner.

Everyone should take a more active role in their financial affairs. Not only does it help with educated decision making and fraud avoidance it also helps you better communicate with your other professional advisors such as your accountant and attorney. You will also find yourself spotting opportunities when they cross your path.

Becoming a better manager of your family’s finances will also help you ‘dig out’ if you are struggling financially. When you consider the low savings rates and the high household debt, many more people find themselves in this category today.

The following are 7 steps to do-it-yourself financial planning:

Step 1: Commit

The first step to financial planning always begins with commitment. Whether you are having financial difficulty, or have just avoided setting goals and mapping out a plan – commitment is the first step. Commitment provides the discipline and focus needed to help sustain you on the path towards your goals.

Step 2: Set Goals

Without specific goals and a plan to achieve them financial success stays a foggy dream. Therefore the second step is to list the dreams that will motivate you. Write down all of the goals you want to achieve in the short and long term. This will serve as the driver, or the fire in the engine giving you the motivation to move forward. Everyone has dreams, but without constant watering and attention dreams will go dormant. Leave your past mistakes and inaction behind you, light a new fire and chart a course forward. You have an enormous amount of potential and talent, and if you have made mistakes you now have more experience and wisdom. Dare to imagine what you could achieve because your best years are ahead of you.

Step 3: Assemble and Organize Information

Get your stuff together. Planning is easier if you assemble everything in one central location. Make an organized filing system either in a cabinet, accordion file, a box, any way that works for you. Now locate and file all of your tax returns, receipts, insurance policies, contracts, wills, mortgages, deeds, titles, pay stubs, employee benefit statements, banking (loan, savings and checking), bills, investment and retirement plan statements and any other important papers.

Step 4: Manage Cash Flow

Your household is a business. You need to know how much you are earning and spending each month. Balance your checkbook and establish a budget. There are dozens of books and software to help with this, and your bank’s website may provide this as well. This will help you know when and where you are overspending.

Step 5: Self Educate

Establish a sound foundational knowledge base about financial matters. Start with books about budgeting and money savings tips, debt, basic insurance and investing. Be sure to include reading about mutual funds and financial planning. Avoid get-rich-quick, real estate, gold or innovative ‘secrets’ books. Stick to the fundamentals. I find the “For Dummies, ‘For Idiots’ and ‘D-Mystified’ book series to be very helpful for many people. Lastly, stay informed about current financial topics by reading financial magazines, newspapers, the business section of papers, and blogs.

Step 6: Create a Written Plan

A written plan serves as a road map towards your financial destination. It helps you understand where you are presently and the steps that you need to take to move forward. A financial plan is a process. Your life will change, therefore you should revisit your financial plan at least once a year to make any updates or to include items in your checklist for completion. You should revisit your financial plan at least once a year to make any updates or to include items in your checklist for completion. If you write your own financial plan, you will have to obtain financial planning software. Your other options are to pay to have a written financial plan completed by a fee financial planner or by an institution or professional that provides products. Be sure to find out about how the planner is compensated and what your fees will be.

Step 7: Engage Professionals

Most people can’t entirely do all of their financial planning by themselves. Assemble a team of trusted professional advisors that you can rely on to help you implement different aspects of your plan, answer your questions and be on the lookout for you. The professionals that can be the most advantageous are a proactive tax accountant and financial advisor with extensive planning, investment and insurance knowledge, an attorney qualified in estate planning, and a banker that can help with credit ratings and debt management. Before committing to anyone, get referrals for trusted professionals from people whose opinion you respect and don’t be afraid to ask challenging questions.

Juggernaut Or Not: Card Games To Select From

Cards is an ancient pastime that over the ages has only picked up popularity and fans. During childhood simple games such as War are explained and then used as a learning tools for helping totters appreciate the world of numbers. As people grow up they begin to play more complicated games that rely on strategy and skill to determine outcome. I have surveyed some of the more popular ones and compiled a list of the toughest and the easiest to learn.

Snap Your Fingers, Soak Them Up:
1) Full and Complete Attack
Based on simple arithmetic, this game using all the 52 cards (including as many jokers as you wish), is one of the all time favorites of children. Neither does it need any strategy nor does it require any particular skill! Full and Complete Attack is generally the first game that children are taught because it not only improves their numerical skills, but adds enjoyment and action to this process.

2) Liar:
Here, all cards lower than eight are removed from the deck, and then seven cards are dealt. The remainder is placed down and one card is placed face-up. According to that card, the player in turn places cards facing down on top of that card. He has to state what card it is, but he can lie. If someone thinks is has lied, they can challenge him and reveal the card. If the player lied, he has to pick up all the cards, if not the challenger does the honors. The goal is to finish all the cards in your hand.

3) Johnny 5:
Johnny 5 is a little more difficult then the first to games but still is very simple to learn. Each player is dealt 5 cards. The left over cards are placed in the center of the table face down the player to the dealers left the may put down a pair of cards or a r 3 card run of cards. If you do not have any the player must take a card. The object of the game is to get rid of all your cards and to have you last one or 2 cards total 5.

4) Joining the Fray:
One of the more entertaining games (especially for children), it requires basic colour and number combinatory skills only. You have to match numbers such as by collecting all fours and all aces, and then release all your cards onto the game deck. The focus of this game is not that much on winning, but on not losing and that is what adds the extra spice to it. It does not matter who throws his cards down first, but the player who notices it last and his cards are the last to hit the table: loses.

List of Most Difficult Games to Learn
1) Bridge:
An old but still popular game, here, you partner with someone and decide before playing how many hands you will win. The complexity of bridge lies not in the rules, which are relatively easy to pick up, but in the intricate game plans and maneuvers one has to master to play well.

2) Dragon Poker:
Dragon Poker is not totally unlike poker. Any of the different variations of poker can be used as the base for the game, but the general rules are very different. There are no official rules for dragon poker, they must be thought up and written down by the group of people you are playing with, and it is the duty of each player to memorize the rules, if you forget a rule it goes against you and if someone else does not remember a rule that can hurt you, do not worry you do not have to remind them. The best games have the most rules. An example of a rule can be if the date ends in an odd number and the dealer is wearing a shirt that the color of the shits spelling is an even number, then each player must pay the dealer 100 dollars. This rule can only be used once and whoever is the first to call out the rule during their deal gets it.

3) Baccarat:
Just like in poker, you have to study and memorize the value of certain cards such as that tens and face cards (Jack to King including Ace) are zero. In addition, you need to learn specific rules such as that if you get an eight or nine no more cards are dealt. To conclude, this game is not for beginners.

Evaluate The Video Games You Are Playing

There are hundreds of video games on the market today and more are being released onto the market every day. The only problem with these video games is figuring out what games should be played by your children.

Young people are not as concerned with the contents of the video games they are playing as much as adults. That is why adults have such a strong desire to evaluate the video games their youngsters are playing. Many parents try their best to find decent video games for their youngsters to play but there are still questions that unfold in the minds of these parents when their youngsters are playing new games. Parents and adults alike are concerned with how video games that involve killing people or destroying things will effect their children in the future. They are also concerned with video games that have immoral content, illegal content, or contain occult activity. Parents have to protect their children any way they can, especially since there are so many negative influences out there for them already.

There are video games that parents will have no problem with their children playing on their video game system, which would include almost any type of sports video game such as skateboarding, baseball, or football. Video games are actually a way for children, even some adults, to take a step away from reality, but the video games should still install some type of moral values in the children.

As long as the children are not placing the playing of these video games ahead of their other responsibilities, such as school, and if they know the difference between right and wrong, then that is a different matter. The major problem is that few parents are willing to take the time to show their children what is right and what is wrong within some of the video games that they play. Instead, these parents just allow their children to sit in front of their televisions playing what ever video games they choose without any adult supervision what ever.

These video games are highly addicted to children and adults simply because in the game the player is given the ability to control every situation. Many times in the life of an individual they may feel as if their life is simply out of control and the video games allow them to feel as if they are once again in control. This is why so many adults also become addicted to these video games as well as children and another reason why they are so incredibly popular.

In real life, many children and adults find it hard to find respect or to get others to listen to them and they often become overwhelmed with life. However, these video games give them the opportunity to be respected, strong, popular, cool, and even sexy, which they strongly desire to be in real life. This is the result behind so many of these video games becoming so popular with gamers in a variety of age groups. These video games gives gamers the perception of them actually being involved in the game as being a part of the game.

It does seem a shame that these games are being developed and parents feel the need to evaluate them prior to the children participating in them due to so many of them having obscene and immoral content. It seems that the manufactures of video games could produce games that were considered to be more along the lines of family games. These video games would be worth while and would not have such a diverse effect upon children as some of the games being produced now.