3 Money Saving Tips Which Just Don't Work

Whether you're using IVA help to manage your debt or just want to economise now to avoid that whole debt spiral, there are some common financial pearls of money-saving wisdom out there which are a load of nonsense. In this article we'll be taking a look at some of the worst offenders to make getting by on IVA help or living on a shoestring a little easier. Save yourself some major money pain by reading on...

1. Buy BOGOF
Supermarkets and big stores are there to turn a profit, not to help you with your budget. Buy One Get One Free deals might sound great, but often they're a load of nonsense. Loads of money-saving gurus will tell you to keep your eyes-peeled for these 'bargains' but, with some frequency, BOGOF prices are inflated to account for the difference.

Of course there are savings to be made, but unless you actually need two of the same product, it's better to look for individual items at a lower price. If you're really savvy and you have your calculator with you it's worth working out the individual price of the items if you're not sure if the deal is a good one. The same goes for 3 for 2 offers and their ilk, which, if anything, are even worse!

2. Instant Frugality
Much like yo-yo dieting, going financially cold turkey is a dreadful move which could leave you living like a pauper for weeks but then splurging on something you don't need 3 weeks later. The problem is the sense of entitlement that living like a monk can create. Equally, the daily grind of living on next-to-nothing can get impossibly gruelling - an impulse buy becomes more and more tempting until you've wasted all your hard work on a fancy frock you just didn't need.

If you're trying to get by on IVA help or just looking to put some extra money away every month, don't go cold turkey. Get a solid plan in place, work at it steadily, don't deny yourself a few reasonable little pleasures and reassess your expenditure regularly to make sure you're being as savvy as you can in all areas.

3. Skimp on Maintenance
You and your possessions need looking after and often these are the first things people try to cut corners on when they are trying to save. From dental appointments to fixing chips in your windscreen, not spending on these is complete false economy as, without attention, the problem will get worse and worse and ultimately cost a helluva lot more than it would have in the first place.

In conclusion - be smart - think carefully about every 'great deal' you come across, look after yourself and your property and take a 'slow and steady wins the race' approach to frugality. By ignoring those that tell you otherwise you'll enjoy financial stability much sooner with less pain in the process!

IVA help is one way to gradually handle your debts. If you're struggling with mounting debts, IVA help can get them under control so you can repay them at an achievable rate. To find out more from the insolvency experts visit the IVA Service for help today.

Avoiding Budget Surprises

If you're reading this article, you probably care about your family's financial future. Part of preparing well for the future means implementing good money management skills. And, when it comes to proper money management, nothing makes you more effective than a budget! A strong budget helps allocate funds appropriately, and ensures that everyone in the family stays on track with spending and saving!

However, you might be struggling with your family's budget. If so, chances are that you're forgetting some of these key budget categories. Take a look at our list of Budget Surprises. You might find that your budget issues might be resolved by focusing on these budget categories!

The 4 Categories

    Adjustable Interest Rates. This is a big money-drain. Frequently, when you get a loan, your interest rate will start off small (to draw you in!) and then go up after a set amount of time. If you have forgotten to adjust these interest rates in your budget, they can really start to catch up with you! Don't let credit debt interest throw your budget off. Make sure you account for it, and refresh your figures regularly.

    Technology Upgrades. Hard drives crash. TV tubes burn out. Your stuff probably has more tech problems than you care to think about. When these issues arise, you sometimes have no other choice than to spend money addressing them. Factor this into your budget! Set aside a percentage of your tech expenses each month so that when something does break, you can fix it without incurring credit debt.

    Repairs. Speaking of things breaking, if you own a home or car, you're probably used to repairs! Good money management means being financially prepared to repair your car and home. Allocate at least 10% of your vehicle's value for repairs each year. Homeowners should do the same, but the percentage rate may vary depending on the age and condition of your home.

    Deductibles. Another big one here! Set aside the cash you could need to meet your health/auto insurance policy deductibles. These can be big hits on a budget. Don't let them take down your budget plan. If you can't allocate the cash in one move, work on putting up a fraction of the money each month until you have all of the funds available. That way, if you do have to pay all of your deductible, you're prepared!

These money management techniques can help you budget well, keeping you out of credit debt. Review your family's budget, and see if all of these categories are being factored in! If not, you take account of these four categories, and secure your family's future against whatever issues may arise!

The Lee Law Firm aims to provide local residents with high quality legal representation at affordable rates. Their attorneys specialize in all aspects of credit negotiations. As debt lawyers, the Lee Law Firm attorneys understand the pressures their clients face*as they battle a financial hardship.

0% Interest Rates and Your Retirement

A recent article by Michael Finke, professor and coordinator of the doctoral program in personal financial planning at Texas Tech University, points to a problem we financial planners have been having for the last several years-a problem we might not be able to shed soon. The problem is interest rates, particularly interest rates near zero. The immediate impact of this problem is pretty simple: Money is cheap for borrowers but for savers, particularly retirees, income is hard to find. The portfolios that our grandparents lived on (spending the dividends and interest but never the principal) are portfolios that cannot be built easily today unless you have more money than you really need. Within this problem is the issue of projecting rates of return for financial plans.

First, the problem: Years ago, a study was done that showed most portfolios could withstand a 4% withdrawal rate over a 30-year time horizon without running out of money. Subsequent research backs that up, sometimes with a slightly higher number, and sometimes with a slightly lower number. Inherent in the 4% number is a rate of return that assumes a certain yield off of bonds as well as a certain return from stocks over-and-above a "risk-free rate" that we normally associate with intermediate-term government bonds. So Professor Finke asked another professor, Wade Pfau, to run some numbers on how low-interest-rate assumptions affect retirement projections. Professor Finke points out that the real rate of return on intermediate term bonds from 1926 to 2010 was 2.52%. Using that number, Professors Finke and Pfau estimate that a 4% withdrawal strategy will fail only 6% of the time over a 30-year time horizon.

But if bonds are currently yielding closer to zero, and the "risk-free rate" is near zero, then our assumptions on long-term portfolio returns are all wrong. In this scenario, Professors Finke and Pfau estimate that a 4% withdrawal strategy could potentially fail 34% of the time over a 30-year time horizon. A one-in-three chance of failure is alarming if these numbers hold true for the coming decade.

The solution is not as simple as defining the problem. Part of the solution is to save more or spend less. This is always easier said than done. The closer you are to retirement, the harder it is to make saving more effective; only spending less in retirement will affect your plan enough to make it "work" in many adverse scenarios.

Another solution, and Professor Finke mentions this, is annuitizing part of your assets to lock in both a rate of return as well as a mortality credit. In effect, an insurance company pays the people that live longer the money that should have gone to the people that passed away early. Admittedly, I have been wary of many annuity products in my career because of the higher associated costs. But annuities make sense if the costs can be reduced. Just look at Social Security or your company pension plan as annuitized income streams where the costs are low.

Annuitizing is going to get more media attention going forward because more companies are going to offer early buy-outs of pension plans in order to reduce long-term expenses-just Google the recent news on General Motors and Ford pensions. The question of annuitizing (and by extension, when to take Social Security benefits) is going to become more important, especially if interest rates stay low. Annuitizing might be an interesting answer for some people to make sure they do not run out of money in retirement.

About Jon T. Meyer, CFP®
Jon T. Meyer, CFP® is the President of Boeckermann, Grafstrom & Mayer Wealth Management, LLC, a Minneapolis-based Registered Investment Advisory firm. Jon specializes in working with retirees and individuals nearing retirement to help them create the income they need in retirement by utilizing advanced social security planning, tax planning and investment strategies. For more information visit http://www.bgmwealth.com.

Investor Returns Vs Investment Returns

Warren Buffet once said that he wouldn't mind if the stock market shut down for the next five years, an unusual statement coming from the man that some would say was one of the greatest investors of the 20th century. His quote says a lot about what makes him a great investor. Mr. Buffet is saying that he invests for the long run and doesn't need to know how much his investments are worth on a short term basis. The real message behind his statement and many others he has shared over the years is that the primary requirement for successful investment performance is excellent investor behavior.

Consider a study done several years ago by the Bogle Investment Center. This study found that the average equity mutual fund in the U.S. produced an average annual return, with dividends reinvested, of 9.6% from 1984 to 2002 (inclusive). During the same period, the average equity investor earned 2.7% in equity mutual funds. Clearly, the performance of specific mutual funds cannot account for the difference. Investor behavior (moving and switching) is the only logical explanation.

The point is that behavior, which is driven by one's beliefs or perspective, is the primary driver of investor performance, good or bad. Again, Warren Buffet: "Successful investing doesn't correlate with IQ... Once you have ordinary intelligence, what you need is the temperament to control the urges that get other people in trouble in investing."

Your financial advisor should work to ensure that your investment performance is meeting the expectations of your financial plan by providing efficient, after-tax results. You should not only delegate the investment design and structure but also the necessary discipline to increase your probability of success.

Sometimes, investors can make a number of "mistakes" in thinking that wreak havoc on an investment strategy. Here are four major mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1: People give too much credibility to recent experience and they project that experience into the future. This is also known as the "this time is different" syndrome. The investment bubble of the '90s was a classic example of this thinking.

Mistake #2: People who measure frequently change frequently, and this produces poor performance. Market returns do not come evenly over time. Successful investing is a long-term process and requires appropriate measuring disciplines.

Mistake #3: People are not willing to put the time into the markets in order to receive the benefits they offer in the long run. It is time in the market, not timing the market that matters most when it comes to successful investing.

Mistake #4: People avoid actions that confirm they made a mistake, even if it is the best action to take. Studies show that people will hold onto their mistakes too long in order to avoid having to admit that they've made one.

If you see yourself, or a friend, with any of these behaviors, ask yourself what perspective or belief leads them to think the way they do and have that friend call a financial advisor.

Ray Padron is the President and Chief Operating Officer at Brightworth. As a personal Wealth Advisor to high net worth families, Ray provides comprehensive financial and Atlanta investment management advice to help clients achieve their financial goals and dreams. Brightworth is an independent Atlanta financial planning firm that provides investment and wealth counsel to high net worth individuals, families and institutions. Learn more at http://www.brightworth.com/wealth-solutions/implement-an-integrated-wealth-strategy/

Basic Steps to Handle Your Finances

An organized financial management plan will be your saving grace while in challenging economic times. A reliable personal financial plan promotes profiting from good financial periods so you can get by during economic dry spells. Throughout the years, the economy has turned out to work in a cycle; experiencing times of economic growth, along with cycles of pitfall. In the same manner, the stock exchange is not constant over extended periods of time. Personal money affairs suffer from economic swings as well. Reliable money managing allows you to be prepared in the best way possible for any variations in the economy.

Live Beneath Your Means

It is probably no news flash that financial experts commonly encourage people to live beneath his or her means. Does this mean you should occupy a hut and live without having creature comforts such as a cell phone and TV? For most people, this is not what this money management suggestion implies whatsoever. Take a look at your personal spending patterns. If you are using credit cards regularly to make transactions or are not saving on a daily basis, you may well be living outside your means. Keep a close look at both the balance of your personal savings as well as your balance of total debts. You should see a trend of increasing savings as well as shrinking debts. If you do not identify this development, now is the perfect time for you to review exactly where your money goes, and get on an effective financial track.

Save for Short-Term and Long-Term

Many people today are saving through their employer-sponsored retirement accounts, while others are financing their own personal retirement plan accounts. These happen to be funds that are earmarked to utilize far down the line, so it makes sense for personal finance management purposes that you'd use a funded savings account intended for shorter-term goals and objectives, too. Financial management professionals advise you to maintain an account balance of about three to six months' worth of expenses in your savings account for a day you need it. However, in addition to that balance, a savings account can also be used to save up for a family trip, home furnishings, repair work needed for the house, and more. Saving for such things prevents the requirement to buy them on credit.

Track Your Net Worth

It is usually simple to do the minimum when it comes to money management, provided you come across no crises or troubles. However, you won't want to wake up someday and wonder why you are not getting ahead even though family and friends seem to be. Keeping tabs on your net worth frequently is a key step to maintaining your expenses. Come up with a process that keeps track of all of your savings accounts, and records of how much you spend and will owe. Every time you take a moment to pay bills, just simply open up that spreadsheet and update line items in your spreadsheet if needed. To truly track your value, have an independent worksheet that monitors your net worth at the first of each month. If your net worth grows after every month, you're probably going in the right path.

Financial management sounds complicated, and the fact is that it may be tricky for many to develop a sound financial technique of spending and saving. Often, this involves knowledge on managing your money in addition to the desire to change spending and saving behaviors. Over time, choosing healthy financial patterns become less difficult, and you will probably discover yourself to be more willing to stick to your financial plan.

Megan Yancey is a blogger who specializes in personal finance and living frugally. She advises others on good credit habits and debt management plans.

Financial Independence

How about some fireworks for our financial independence?

We just celebrated our country's independence. During the fireworks show, I got the chills listening to everyone celebrate and cheer for our country.

It's a great feeling, right? Now let me ask you this. When is the last time you celebrated your financial independence?

We all want financial independence. Give us some of 'dat. It's such a biggy. We don't want to worry about money. We want financial freedom. We want those words and results to magically fall in our lap. No more living month to month, client to client. We are kaputnicksville with the rat race.

This stuff doesn't happen overnight. You can't just buy a ticket and sit back and watch your own life expand. You have to take action and make financial independence happen.

In order to get out of the rate race, you have to do the work.

Here is how you really get ahead financially. The key is to have your assets work for you, so you aren't the one who has to do the job to produce the income. When those assets produce passive income to fund all of your living expenses, than you have financial independence. A few examples are:

* Owning investment properties (real estate) that pay you $5000 a month and your monthly living expenses are $4000 a month.

* Creating a product or program in your business that people can buy online and will cover your expenses.
* Investing in a bond or mutual fund that pays you $4000 a month when your expenses are $4000 a month.

In all of these examples, you have to save money to create something that will be an income producing asset. You could also invest for growth and then convert that asset into an income producing asset when you need it. That means spending less than you earn and saving!

Delayed gratification in an instant gratification world isn't easy. You have to be disciplined and pay yourself first. Automatically. Right off the top of your business revenue, not your monthly salary.

The year is half over. Are you financially where you want to be? Are you headed toward financial independence? Do you even know where you want to be? If you don't, that's ok. You still can set a goal for January 1, 2013, and take steps to reach it.

What is one thing you can do right now for the month of July to set yourself up for financial independence down the road? Think how much better you will feel if you do something. Write it down, stick it on a piece of paper, and look at it every day.

Justin Krane is a certified financial planner who has helped countless entrepreneurs create a bigger vision for their businesses by showing them how to identify and meet goals for increasing revenue. Go now to http://kranefinancialsolutions.com to get ynur free financial financial toolkit and you'll also receive a free audio CD on increasing your business revenue.

Saving Money Is Not At All Difficult

It is true that the economic downturn has been causing severe hardships to many people. People are finding it difficult to make both ends meet. You may also face problems in managing your personal finances. You need not lose heart because you can certainly find ways to save money. But, for doing this, you should use your creativity and should be disciplined also. Let us discuss a few ideas.

- Whenever you decide to purchase certain items or services, you should look for the best deals. For example, if you want to get your car or house insured, you should compare the features and costs of the various insurance options available and choose the one that not only suits your needs perfectly but that comes at the most affordable cost. You can follow the same strategy for all your purchases. If you do not adopt this strategy and continue with your old methods, you may end up spending more than necessary and so, you may not be able to make any savings. So, you should immediately change your shopping strategies if you want to save money.

- Online shopping may be a good idea for making a good saving on almost all the items or services you need. The overheads of online stores are not as much as those of brick-and-mortar shops. So, you can get the items you need at lesser costs. You should make it a point to compare even among the online stores and choose those products that come at reasonable prices. Of course, you should never compromise on the quality of the products or services you buy.

- You should stop wasting items forthwith, if you want to save money. You should not forget the fact that everything comes at a cost. You are paying charges for everything including water, electricity and so on. You may argue that by avoiding wastage on electricity, water, etc., you can not make a huge saving. Though this is true, if you look at the cumulative savings you make in the long run, it will be substantial. So is the case with food items. You should not waste foods because food items are quite expensive nowadays and if you waste them injudiciously, you may never be able to make a good saving.

- You can be a smart shopper and use discounts, offers and rebates appropriately. Of course, just for the sake of availing these discounts, you should not buy items you may not need. Further, you may get certain items at a lesser cost if you buy them bulk but you should ensure that they are useful to you and they do not go a waste.

- Some people will have a tendency to buy new items. Manufacturers of products keep bringing out many new items. You should not buy them unless you have use for them. Instead, you can continue using the items you already have till the end.

- Whenever you plan a trip or a holiday, you should book the necessary train or air tickets and reserve your accommodations well in advance. This will help you avoid last-minute tensions and you may make a saving on them also.

- You can reduce the usage of your car. If you think that you have to necessarily use your car, you can combine various tasks and get them completed in a single trip. If you start using your car separately for every task, you may have to spend heavily on fuel.

- If you set the thermostat of your air conditioning equipment one or two degrees higher, you can save a lot on your utility bills. You should check if your home is well-insulated also. If there is a problem with the insulation of your home, your air conditioner may have to over-work and use up more energy. Further, you can switch to other options like using a ceiling fan when the external weather is cool.

- Most importantly, you and the members of your family should take good care of your health. By doing so, you can avoid unnecessary medical expenditure.

You can apply your mind and think of many other ways to save money. Money thus saved may be useful for you on a rainy day.

Raman Kuppuswamy writes interesting and useful articles on many topics. You may kindly visit http://dreamdamodar.hubpages.com/ and read his other articles.

Divorce Financial Planning: Take Control of Your Finances

Do you know your credit score or the details of your Social Security report? Can you find the deed to your house, mortgage, life insurance policies, car title, car insurance policies, tax returns for the past 5 years, brokerage and bank statements for the past year? Do you know what your spouse earns or how much is going into a 401k plan annually?

Getting divorced is often a wake up call when it comes to finding out what you know and don't know about your family finances.

Managing your finances is not about knowing which stock, bond or mutual fund to buy. It's about knowing what you own (assets); what you owe (liabilities); what's coming in (income) and what's going out (expenses). It is about paying attention to where your money is going and being organized.

You're going to be asked to produce a lot of financial paperwork and documentation for the court, your attorney or mediator and for your soon-to-be ex spouse. So, let's get started:

Clear off a workspace and gather all your statements: bank, brokerage, credit cards, etc. Other supplies to gather: paper, pen or pencil, 3-ring binder, hole punch, index dividers, highlighter and sense of humor.

First, we're going to tabulate your net worth (difference of what you own versus what you owe): make a list of everything you own: house, car, brokerage accounts, life insurance, retirement accounts and their value (the internet can help- try KBB.com and zillo.com). Then, list everything you owe: mortgage, car loan, credit card debt, school loans and their outstanding balance. Keep this information stored in the first section of your 3 ring binder.

Next, find where your money is going (the cash flow), or the reality of not having a clue as to where you spent all that money. The easiest way to determine your cash flow is a computer program like Quicken or QuickBooks. A useful website is mint.com. If you prefer not to use the computer, this can be done with Excel, columns on lined paper or on graph paper.

To make a budget, gather your checkbooks, check stubs and charge card statements. Give each expenditure a category and a subcategory. Example: Utilities: phone, Utilities: cell phone, Utilities: cable and enter your expenses for each month. You will get a total for each subcategory as well as a total for the whole category of Utilities. Don't forget to enter your income, including income from child support and alimony. Print a report every month, and a quarterly report every 3 months. Put these in a Cash Flow or Budget section of your binder.

It may take you several months to get a picture of your income and expenses but it will become the foundation to manage your finances as well as negotiate child support and alimony.

With a handle on your cash flow, you can look for places where you can reduce expenses or control spending. Try taking 10% off the top of your income as savings. Then, rework your expenses to see if you can still manage. Utilize whatever amount of money you are able to save to:

• Get out of debt - pay down credit cards and loans
• Have an emergency fund not invested in the stock market. Aim for a minimum of 3 months of household expenses in savings. If possible, have an additional 3 months in a short term CD or money market account
• Take advantage of retirement plans

Put this information in your Savings Goal section of the binder.

Armed with this information, a consultation with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, early in the process, can help you meet the challenges of divorce with more confidence and dignity than might otherwise be the case.

Renee W. Senes, CDFA, of Senes & Chwalek Financial Advisors, is a financial consultant with Investors Capital Corporation and an independent investment advisor representative affiliated with Investors Capital Advisory. A focal aspect of her practice is working with people in all stages of the divorce process to ensure that they have sufficient income and assets to sustain and support them throughout their lives.

Renee is licensed in MA, NH, ME, RI, CT, FL and SC.

Securities Offered Through Investors Capital Corp., Member FINRA/SIPC
Advisory Services Offered Through Investors Capital Advisory
230 Broadway, Lynnfield, MA 01940 (800) 949-1422

How to Satisfy and Retain Customers

If you have the choice, it is always better to focus on retaining your current loyal customers than to forsake them in the interest of chasing down new ones. Your current customers have already been impressed by your products or services and already feel some sort of loyalty to your company, while there is no guarantee that the thousands or even millions of dollars in advertising and marketing costs you invest in will attract a decent number of new customers. That is why it is more important than ever to keep your existing customers satisfied.

The first way to keep your customers happy is by making sure that you provide a quality product or service. This is obviously very specific to your business, but rest assured that what constitutes "quality" is just as obvious to your customers as it should be to you. Does your product do what it is supposed to? Does it last, and is it dependable? Does your service provide what is advertised? Does it meet your claims? If these questions aren't answered with a "yes", you will have a hard time retaining customers even with excellent customer service.

Even with the highest level of quality, without a fair price it will be difficult to keep customers from exploring other options. Now, in some areas, such as fashion, jewelry, certain types of sports equipment, or luxury services such as spas and resorts, you can afford to charge well above what your competitors do. That is, you can charge more if the quality of your product or service backs up that higher price tag. With other items, you can't afford (no pun intended) to sell your products or services for much higher than your competitors, even if your level of quality is higher.

Another advantage you can use to keep customers loyal is to provide a unique take on what it is that you do. You will see this a lot in restaurants, where the food may be very similar to that of other establishments, but the overall experience is very unique and keeps customers coming back. The same is true in the entertainment world, in most types of service-oriented business and also in collection services where the debt buyers have to work towards settlement of debts by the debtor. Try to provide something that your competitors literally cannot duplicate, and your customers will have to stick around.

It may surprise many people, but research has often showed that the quality of your customer service can be just as important, if not more important, than the above-listed factors. Competition is high these days in just about every type of business, so you can bet that someone may be able to approach the kind of quality and price that you can offer. If that is the case, customer service can be the deciding factor for customers who are not sure which product or service to spend their hard-earned money on.

Customers are busy in today's world, and you must not waste their time. Make sure that they can get answers or assistance quickly and easily, and use technology to allow them to access the information and help that they need in a variety of ways. This could mean everything from taking advantage of social networking websites to allowing customers to chat with representatives on your website for immediate assistance. Above all, make sure you take care of your customers if you want them to continue supporting your business.

It will cost your company a lot more money to earn a new customer than it will to keep a current customer, so it is important that once someone gives your business a try, you do everything that you can to ensure that they will be loyal to your company for years to come.

A customer's acknowledgement of services. "I just want to say that I've dealt with other collection agencies on this account and I paid it off because the way the people at http://www.jnoassc.com handled this matter. Very professional and treated me with respect."

Planning A Cost Effective Funeral

Funeral Planning

By planning a funeral ahead of time you can save yourself from mistakes you may make in the emotionally vulnerable state you'll be in after the loss of a loved one. Planning your own funeral may sound grim, but it can save your loved ones time and money.

Ones estate is exempt from taxes up to 5-million dollars, 10-million for couples. Gifts, which reduce the value of one's estate therefore the taxes paid on it, are also exempt up to 5-million dollars and 10-million for couples. Tax laws for estates are set to change January 1, 2013, so if you're planning on dying, do it soon.

A will is necessary to dispose of one's assets properly after death. Wills should be drafted with the advice of an attorney.

One should figure out who to give power of attorney to. There are two types of power of attorney: financial and healthcare. Financial power of attorney allows a representative to take care of one's financial needs. It is a good idea to choose a trustworthy and business savvy representative.

If one becomes incapacitated, healthcare power of attorney allows a representative to make medical decisions on one's behalf. These decisions include allowing a doctor to proceed with medicinal and surgical treatments, or deactivating life-support in the case of prolonged incapacitation. An alternative or addendum to a healthcare power of attorney is a living will. A living will states the procedures one would prefer in case of incapacitation.

Now that financial matters are taken care of, we can turn to the actual funeral ceremony.

First a plot needs to have been purchased. Hopefully this has been done in advance. Then one must decide on whether the funeral will be private or public, religious, and whether their will be an opened or closed casket. Also, one must decide whether there will be an actual service.

According to the federal trade commission the average funeral should cost about $6000. This cost includes burial, a casket, and funeral home costs. This does not include costs for a headstone, headstone photo, or porcelain photo memorial. Though a porcelain photo memorial can be purchased at any time after the funeral. The actual funeral also involves transportation costs and administrative costs.

Funeral homes are by law not allowed to force customers to buy a casket from them. A funeral director must provide prices over the phone. This gives consumers a chance to look around to find the best prices in their area. When giving an invoice, the funeral home must provide an itemized list of costs associated with the funeral.

If a funeral is pre-paid, that is, arranged in advance of the passing of a loved one, the funeral home must provide a contract stipulating a plan in case the funeral home goes out of business. A consumer can cancel the pre-paid funeral contract within 10-days of signing to receive a full refund. Cremation is a much less expensive alternative to burial.

The RMD Approach to Retirement Spending

Accumulation is easy. Save money. Decumulation is tougher because now you need to pick a strategy and stick with it. Strategies abound: Spend your interest and dividends and never touch the principal (which is difficult in today's low-interest-rate environment); follow the "4% rule" and index that for inflation; or annuitization (though most people do not want to give up control of their assets while living, or lose the ability to leave their children whatever is left over). The other day I was reminded of another option that is rarely discussed: The RMD approach.

I have written about required minimum distributions (RMDs) in the past. RMDs are the minimum amount you have to pull out of your IRA starting at age 70½ based on an IRS table (IRS Publication 590). The distribution strategy I was reminded of is based off of RMD tables. The strategy is simple: Using your total portfolio value every December 31, take distributions from your portfolio based off the IRS tables (there are several tables to choose from but I will use Table III - Uniform Lifetime for this blog). For example, if you start taking distributions at age 70, the table tells you your distribution period (life expectancy) is 27.4 years, so you would take approximately 1/27th (about 3.65%) of your total portfolio value (not just from your IRAs since this strategy involves your whole portfolio). If you retired earlier, you can work the math backwards-say to age 65-to figure out approximately how much you should spend.

At a very basic level, this approach is appealing because as long as you follow the table, you would never run out of money. Yet at a different level, this strategy might actually detract from enjoying retirement. A recent research paper ("Should Households Base Asset Decumulation Strategies on Required Minimum Distribution Tables" by Wei Sun and Anthony Webb from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College) discussed this exact approach. The question the paper was trying to answer was, "Is this an optimal strategy?" There are several moving parts to consider before answering this question:

    Market Returns: Since the withdrawal rate is based on a percentage of all remaining wealth, the RMD strategy better reflects market movements. In other words, it takes into account positive or negative returns each year. Of course, this also means your income will vary a bit from year-to-year.

    Increasing Income: Technically, the IRS tables do not reduce evenly; for every year you age the table does not assume your distribution changes by one. It might change by 0.9 or even less, but never by one. This means that the amount you take out according to the tables will continually increase as a percentage (not taking into account market returns). This could be good if you assume higher spending later in life (such as for increased medical costs).

    The Early Years: The cautionary point I would make about the RMD strategy is the exact opposite point of #2 above. I noted above that the RMD strategy basically increases income every year going forward, but the opposite of that is also true: you are spending less today than you might optimally spend. Spending less early in retirement is exactly what most retirees do not want. In my experience, most people wanting to spend more in their first decade of retirement, on things like travel, home remodeling and hobbies, and then start to cut back around age 75 or 80. While future expenses are unknown, retirees can insure (for example, by purchasing long-term care insurance or Medigap coverage) against many of those costs and thus have more pleasure earlier in their retirement.

Wei and Webb also discuss how risk (your investment allocation to stocks and bonds) affects an RMD strategy. At lower investment returns risk is more attractive, and at higher returns it is less attractive. That is a whole other discussion. The one thing to take away is that there is never an easy rule-of-thumb when it comes to complex questions. The real answer to the decumulation strategy puzzle is probably taking the strengths of each model out there and trying to adapt it to your situation, which is a lot easier said than done.

About Jon T. Meyer, CFP®

Jon T. Meyer, CFP® is the President of Boeckermann, Grafstrom & Mayer Wealth Management, LLC, a Minneapolis-based Registered Investment Advisory firm. Jon specializes in working with retirees and individuals nearing retirement to help them create the income they need in retirement by utilizing advanced social security planning, tax planning and investment strategies. For more information visit http://www.bgmwealth.com.

How to Protect Yourself Against Credit Fraud

Because of the staggering increase in the number of consumers who got ripped off by identity thieves, more and more individuals today are looking for information on how they can protect themselves from credit fraud and identity theft.

Now, do you belong to the set of consumers that we have just described above? If you do, then, we suggest that you pay close attention to the pointers that we have provided in the remainder of this piece. We believe that by employing these suggestions you can succeed in shielding your identity from organizations and individuals who may use it for their personal gain.

Five Tips for Credit Consumers

    Research for information about the popular schemes and machinations employed by scam artists. Always remember that knowledge is power. The more you know about the illegal activities of fraudsters, the better chances you would have of avoiding them. So, try to look for helpful information about credit fraud and identity theft. This way, you can equip yourself with the right information that can help you safeguard your personal and credit identity.

    Learn from the mistakes of other consumers. We also encourage you to read the accounts of people who got ripped off by identity thieves. After all, you can gain insights from their experiences, which you can use in developing action plans for you to avoid dealing with fraudsters. At the same time, the personal stories of these individuals can help strengthen your resolution to protect your personal and credit information, at all costs.

    Use strong passwords. Make sure that you use a strong password or PIN code for your credit or debit card account. Always remember that the security of your personal and credit details will depend entirely on the strength and complexity of the password that you will select. So, make sure that you choose a code that cannot be easily deciphered by trained individuals and the software they use. To do this, you have to see to it that your password or PIN code is not related to your personal information nor to the dates or phone numbers that you share with your immediate family members.

    Keep personal and credit information confidential, at all times. You also need to keep your passwords, PIN codes, personal and credit information to yourself. Never discuss them with other people, most especially those who do not need to know them. And before you disclose your personal, contact and credit details in an online form or in a business establishment, see to it that the website or the enterprise offers adequate security features, so as not to compromise the confidentiality of the information that you will share with them.

    Use the latest versions of anti-malware. Consumers are also reminded to keep their anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-malware programs up-to-date. After all, these software offer excellent protection against the computer programs that hackers and online fraudsters employ to rip off consumers, especially those who love to shop via the Internet. We also encourage you to install in your home or office computer programs that block pop-ups and spam mail, as these normally contain malicious software.

Melanie Mathis is a credit analyst and a writer for 8 years. She has been participating in the programs of http://www.newhorizon.org such as their continuous effort in giving out Free Credit Repair and Building Ebook. NHBS also has a list of recommended Credit Reports Online.

The Infamous 4% Withdrawal Rate

I received yet another article this week, highlighted by an investor website that touted the virtues of the 4% withdrawal rate for fixed income and retired individuals. I scratch my head whenever I see one of these and wonder who is doing the math. A 4% withdrawal rate, or any fixed rate of withdrawal does not take into consideration what I consider to be the most important factor in any withdrawal calculation. We need to cover expenses. If expenses are covered elsewhere, and there are millions invested, then use the 4%... it won't matter. For the rest of us, we need to understand all of the factors and how different approaches work out in the long run. Let me explain using an example...

Let's say my wife and I have $500,000 in investments and savings, I'm retiring next year, and we'll need $70,000 a year for expenses. I have a pension that will pay $2,400 a month, my wife has a pension that will pay $600 a month, and we'll get Social Security at about $650 a month. That gives us $3,650 a month, or $43,800 a year, and leaves us short $26,200. This figure is very important because this is what we need to withdraw annually from our investments and savings.

We know that we'll be getting a return on our investments while we withdraw, but we also know that the return in dollars will decrease as the balance decreases. How long will our money last? Let's run the numbers and take a look at the 4% withdrawal rate scenario first. We assume a 4% return on investment and 2% inflation.

The first thing I notice is that in the first year of withdrawal, we only get $20,000. But we need $26,200. How will we make it? I'm told that applying this rule will guarantee that our money will last. Let's see... so far I'm not feeling very good about this.

It does last. It lasts until I'm 102, but the amount keeps getting smaller. Again, we need $26,200 and this arrangement didn't provide it even in the first year.

If we take the amount we need, it will last until I'm 84 and now I have a data point that I can work with.

Maybe I retire later, or pick up a part time job, but I know the real number now.

At 4% does my money last? Sure does... it just never pays the bills.

Jazer Solutions develops software and solutions for Personal Finance Management. The Personal Finance Navigator which provides a simplified single-source financial analysis and management tool through an interactive tool-set that enables you to analyze, manage, plan, track, and navigate through personal financial information.

Billy Walters - The Warren Buffett of Sports Betting Markets

Vegas used to be filled with rumours of a man or group of men - nobody really knew the specifics - that was said to be feared by Vegas bookmakers. This team beat the spread in sporting events as a matter of course, and were wealthy beyond comprehension as a result. In the world of sports gambling, these guys had discovered the Holy Grail. They mystery that surrounded these mystery men made them the whole story so much more intriguing.

That was, until the mystery man was unmasked as Billy Walters, a lifelong gambler and successful investor - and a very wealthy one at that.

Walters' operation was first disclosed in a book called "The Smart Money" - By Michael Konik. In the book a pseudonym was used for Walters, and the author accounts his experiences running money around Vegas for Walters, betting with the aid of cell phones and walkie talkies, and subsequently getting banned when the sportsbooks discover that the teams and games he is betting are a bit fishy. Understandable, when these games are the hottest syndicate games bet all around Vegas by Walters and his teams of "runners".

Walters was further introduced to the non-betting public through a story on 60 minutes in January 2011. It is a fascinating interview for both betting and non-betting types, as Walters is a charismatic, raskal type, and 60 minutes do a fantastic job of educating the lay-person in what sportsbetting is and how Walters and his team make money from it.

For sportsbetting fans, this interview is riveting. The seriousness with which Walters and his team attacks sports wagering is impressive and it is clear that huge amounts of money are at stake. Walters moves on his sports teams like a hedge-fund trader moves on a stock at the open of a day's trading - betting to the house limit when he finds an attractive proposition. The team assembled around this betting operation is vast, runners have codenames and large cash on hand to bet in person at the sportsbook window, and Walters monitors all of these bets and amounts on a computer set-up that has all too many similarities to a hedge-fund manager or a stockbroker at the New York Stock Exchange.

Interestingly, Walters claims that Wall Street types have more to hide and are bigger thieves that those people that he has run into in the gambling world.

Walters was rather secretive about the individuals he has working with him. He claimed to not know the real name of his runners - that may indeed be the case - but he was particularly elusive about the advisors and "brains" behind his brains trust. One individual in particular was a 'rain-man' type of intellectual who has an encyclopedic knowledge of college teams and players. Walters reports that this man possessed a brilliant ability to forecast games because of this.

Betting men and women would be well served by watching the interview with Walters, and reading Michael Konik's "Smart Money", should they wish to know more about this fascinating character.

By studying master sports investment professionals such as Billy Walters, you can greatly improve your success in sports betting markets.

The following: 2008 +176.55% 2009 +8.6% 2010 +46.85% 2011 +78.1% (2012 follow at the professional gambler website ) are the returns from http://www.professionalgambler.com.au/blog showing how profitable selectively wagering into the competitive sports markets can be.

Only Progressive Employers Adopting Financial Wellness

For several years now, I've been campaigning to bring the tools for financial wellness (personal finance training and counseling) into the workplace, but it is only a few of the more progressive employers that are actually adopting these programs for their employees. This fact was cited in the MetLife 10th Annual Study of Employee Benefit Trends (released Spring, 2012). The lack of personal finance support is an employer omission MetLife has been pointing out for the past few years.

The objective of a such a program is to reduce employee financial stress; a condition that is almost universally recognized and is considered to be detrimental to employee and employer alike.

In a recent poll of corporate health and wellness personnel, the question was asked: "Do you believe that a Financial Wellness program (addressing employee financial stress) should be a part of a corporate wellness program? Of those health and wellness personnel that responded, 91% answered 'yes', with less than 5% saying 'no' and the others saying they hadn't considered the question before.

From MetLife's recent studies on workplace financial wellness...

"The recession's impact on personal financial security has led nearly two out of three Americans to feel that their ability to achieve the American dream is no longer within their control. Nearly two-thirds of employees report experiencing financial and/or job related stress - and these concerns translate into greater distractions at work."

"Employers are aware that a distracted, stressed workforce - one that is preoccupied by money worries - is less likely to perform at desired levels. Progressive employers appear to be more aware than others of the effects this has on company productivity and health costs."

"Financial Education programs have the potential to lower financial stress, reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and lead to a more loyal workforce".

The fact is that financial support programs have the potential to improve employee performance in all of the following areas, with significant residual benefits being experienced by the employer:

    lower healthcare cost for employee and employer
    higher productivity; leading to increased profit
    lower absenteeism
    better presenteeism
    lower turnover
    fewer disability claims
    improved recruitment, retention, and increased employee loyalty

According to a recent survey by Aviva USA, two out of three men report feeling stressed, and their financial situation is the primary contributing factor. The survey also showed two out three American women are uncomfortable with their financial situation. Just one in three respondents feels they are, or will be, prepared for retirement. Only about one in five of those surveyed works with a financial services professional; those who do are 130 percent more likely to feel comfortable with their financial situation than those who do not.

Bottom line, it appears that most employers and wellness professionals understand the negatives associated with employee financial stress and have a general appreciation for the benefits that come with a financially healthy workforce, but few have invested the resources (time, people and money) to put such a program in place. Unlike health wellness, financial wellness does not get its due and, unfortunately, employees and their employers will be worse off for it until the employer gets involved and introduces financial wellness support programs in the workplace.

The groundswell of support for financial wellness programs seems to be growing little by little, but it's clear that employers, with few exceptions, have been unwilling to enter the world of financial wellness in force to this point. Let's hope for the benefit of all that the pace quickens to make quality financial wellness programs available for all.


Providing Personal Finance Training and Counseling in and outside of the Workplace

Call 952-435-7324 or 952-567-3760

I'm passionate about the subject of financial wellness and I believe that a health wellness program without a financial wellness component only addresses part of the wellness pie. I can bring that critical financial wellness piece that you may be missing in your wellness program, and I created my company, Financial Wellness Services, LLC, for this purpose.

Simple Tips to Protect Against Identify Theft

We all know it can happen. But it's one of those things that we don't really think will happen to us. Identity theft. It doesn't really discriminate. Young and old, wealthy or not, identity theft can happen to you. But the good news is that there are some very basic steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of falling victim to the different types of identity theft. Incorporate these simple actions into your routine to protect you from identity thieves.

1. Shred billing statements, receipts, documents or policies with any credit card or sensitive data on it. You can use a criss-cross shredder for added security, or contact your local animal shelter to see if they could use the shredded paper to line rabbit and other small-animal cages. Some people even mix in shredded paper in their kitty litter or use it as compost. No one will want your shredded paper after that!

2. Guard your Social Security Number. Never carry your social security card in your wallet! If you lose your wallet, or the card falls out, this is like just giving an identity thief everything you've got. Keep your social security card in a safe place at home. Don't put your number on your checks and if asked for it, on applications and forms, find out if it's mandatory (many times it's not, as long as you can provide an alternate form of identification).

3. Don't respond to suspicious emails. Don't even click on emails from banks, PayPal and other organizations and enter in any secure information. This is called phishing. These emails and sites look so real, but remember that reputable companies will never email you with an issue. The best thing to do if you get an email from an account asking you to take some kind of action, is to close the browser window all together, open a new one and go to the site directly to log in to your account. Call the company dhrectly if you have any suspicions about anything.

4. Monitor your credit cards and checking and savings accounts regularly by reviewing your statements, going online, or calling your bank's automated system.

5. Watch your mailbox. It's sad, but true. Many identify thieves steal right out of your mailbox, so always pick up your mail as soon as possible and drop off any sensitive mail at the post office (don't leave things like bill payments in the mailbox with the flag up overnight).

6. Choose complicated passwords for each of your online accounts. Hackers can even get into your Facebook page, acting as you, and ask your friends to send "you" money. It's a pain, but protect yourself by having different and difficult passwords for all of your accounts - email, banks, credit cards, shopping sites, etc.

7. Educate yourself by getting the identity theft facts you need to protect yourself. Read up on ID theft so that you can't be caught off guard.

Get ID theft protection with these seven steps and visit Equifax for credit, insurance, tax, retirement, real estate and family financial information at http://blog.equifax.com.

How A Paycheck Garnishment Takes Place

When you are arrears in your federal income tax payments, the IRS can attempt to collect what is owed by garnishing your paycheck. But, before the agency can direct your employer to start deducting monies, it first has to send a letter to your last known address informing you of its intent.

This is called the "notice of intent to levy" and must be sent at least 30 days prior to garnishment. The letter will inform you of the amount that the IRS believes you owe. It will also grant you the right to a hearing where you can argue your case against the levy.

If you either choose to not challenge the IRS, or you challenge and lose, the IRS will instruct your employer to deduct a specified amount from your paycheck and forward it directly to the IRS. If you have challenged successfully, you may convince the IRS that their records are wrong. In this case, they may remove the garnishment.

Alternatively, you may convince them to lessen the amount of money that they take from each of your paychecks. Once the garnishment begins, it will continue until the amount you owe is paid.

If, for some reason, you never received the letter from the IRS, hopefully your human resources department will notify you that monies are being withheld from your paycheck. Otherwise, the first time you realize that the IRS is taking money from you may be when you see a much smaller paycheck on your next payday.

Alternatively, if you have automatic deposit and you haven't checked your deposit stub, you may not notice it until checks that you have written start to bounce due to insufficient funds in your checking account.

In addition to garnishing your employee paycheck, the IRS can also garnish money from your social security paycheck, your social disability benefits, and your bank account. In the worse case, it can even force the sale of some of your assets. If you are a senior citizen with only limited income from social security, the IRS reaching into your social security check to remove much needed funds can play havoc with your life when you can least afford it.

There is a silver lining, however. And that is, if you are indigent enough and you really can't afford to pay taxes as well as maintain a minimal lifestyle, you can try to have your tax debt declared as "currently uncollectible." If the status of your tax debt is modified to this status, the attempt to collect your debt may be put on hold until your financial status has improved to the point where you are no longer in economic hardship.

Judgment Brokers

When you want your judgment purchased or recovered without spending any money, you need to find either a buyer or a contingency recovery solution. There are two ways to find these solutions, either from advertising or from a referral.

Judgment brokers refer people to solutions. Should you use one, or are you better off with a web search? This article is my opinion, and not legal advice. I am not a lawyer. If you ever need any legal advice or a strategy to use, please contact a lawyer.

On the web, every judgment buying and recovery company claims they are the best. Brokers know the track record of most buyers and recovery solutions. They know what works, and who can get results. If your debtor is poor, nobody will buy, or likely have success recovering your judgment. If your debtor has lots of available assets, brokers can find you a better deal than you could find with any web search. If you choose a judgment broker, make sure to pick one that:

1) Does not require any paperwork from you, except if they refer you to an attorney, one who will be a contingency judgment recovery lawyer matched to your debtor. If a broker is not referring you to an attorney, they should simply refer you, with no paperwork required.

Attorneys cannot pay referral fees to non-attorneys. When a judgment broker is not an attorney, they need to arrange a deal with the contingency attorneys they refer judgment owners to; to discount their contingency fees. The creditor and debtor screening the judgment broker does, makes many attorneys willing to discount their contingency fees a bit. When referring you to a lawyer, a judgment broker asks you to pay them what they saved you, only if you get paid. That is fair, and does not cost you anything.

2) Does not own your judgment. Beware of assigning your judgment to any person or entity that does not tell you exactly why that is required. A judgment broker has no business owning any portion of your judgment or debt.

3) Refers you to solutions based on their first-hand knowledge of the best experts to buy or recover specific judgments. The best brokers are objective, and know thousands of judgment buyers and recovery experts, and tracks their performance in a database.

A good judgment broker knows who can get a recovery or purchase completed, and who is a flake. Beware of brokers that refer you to their buddies or their own employees. Some companies claim they are objective, however they refer judgment owners only to their insiders.

The best judgment brokers are not middlemen, and are free to judgment owners. They get paid by judgment buyers and recovery experts. Brokers cost judgment owners nothing, and offer a faster and a more direct route to the best judgment solution. Without using a broker, it takes much longer to find a good solution - and probably not as good of a solution. Judgment owners will get the same amount of money for their judgment, regardless of whether they started with a judgment broker or not.

Judgment brokers are judgment referral experts. You do not need a judgment broker, however they save you hassle and time with reality-based solutions, based on knowledge and expertise, rather than by chance.

Don't assign your judgment, http://www.JudgmentBuy.com - Judgment Enforcement. The free, easiest, fastest, smartest, and best way to recover your judgment money nationwide for 33% or less, worldwide for 50% (Mark D. Shapiro)

The Best Finance App

The best finance app, in my opinion, is Mint.com's mobile app. Here is a list of its features and finance app alternatives if you prefer to use an app other than Mint.com.

Mint.com (Free)

I have been using mint for a long time now and believe it is the best finance app. Intuit bought this web site a while back so it is very secure, using bank level encryption.

Mint gives you a quick overview of your finances, which you can put on one of your main screens in the form of a widget. The widget will show your current cash amount and your credit debt. It will also show you the last time your information was updated, so you can be sure that you are looking at the most recent information.

Once you set up a monthly budget, you can access it with the app to make sure you are staying on track for the month. Mint is very good at knowing how to categorize your transactions for budgeting purposes and it will let you know if it does not know how to categorize a transaction.

The app automatically gives you alerts for various things, which include the availability of large deposits, what bills will are due in the next few days, etc.

You can get a very general picture of you investments with this app. By that, I mean if you simply want to know the balance of you accounts, you will be happy with this app. If you want to get more information about the performance of specific investments, you will need to go to the website.

To set up this app, I would suggest you log on to the main website to input all of you account information and set your budget. Once that is completed, you simply download the app, log in, and all your accounts are ready to go.

Adaptu Wallet (Currently Free)

Adaptu Wallet has many unique features like tracking loyal programs and creating spending forecasts. The app also allows you to store photos of insurance and business cards, which will decrease the clutter inside your wallet. The app is currently free, but the word on the street is they will start charging for usage sometime in 2012.

Pageonce (Free or $4.99 for Gold version)

Pageonce arguably has the best interface of all the finance apps. Your key account balances are placed in thumbnails that appear on the home screen. Contrary to popular belief, this app does provide PayPal support even though many claim it doesn't. Balance updates are not as fast as Mint.com or Adaptu, some transactions take days to update. The Gold version has the useful ability to pay bills directly from the app, and this is the only finance app that can do this. The gold version also removes all the ads from your app.

For many other ways to save money, and stay up to date on free services visit Ruleyourwalletblog.com

Gurus of Personal Finance

Some personal finance experts are popular all over the world because of their principles, concepts and ideas. They have shared their expertise on money management and saving techniques through their books and lectures. These authors have helped people live financially comfortable life by providing easy to follow techniques. We will have a glimpse of some personal finance gurus, who have been providing the right financial advice to their followers.

Dave Ramsey: Dave Ramsey, popularly known as "Debt Free Dollar Man", is an expert in personal money management. He offers financial advice to people about how to get control of their money and lives. Noted for his preaches on 'How to get out of debt and stay out of debt', Ramsey often talks to his clients in a nationally syndicated radio talk show in U.S. He offers problems in personal finances and discusses topics and techniques on saving, investing, retirement planning, etc. Dave became popular for his #1 best-selling book, "The Total Money Makeover", which furnishes excellent advice on financial fitness. The book demolishes popular myths on personal finance. His other book "Financial Peace Revisited" also gained huge popularity in 2002.

Robert Kiyosaki: Robert Kiyosaki is a well-known investor, educator and entrepreneur. He is noted for his best-selling book "Rich Dad, Poor Dad". The author teaches mainly on how to create wealth by investing in the right channels instead of traditional advice on how to save money. His book is based on the story of two fathers of whom, one is rich and the other is poor. The whole story tells us about how the rich dad and poor dad educate their children. The author has been successful by selling over 26 million copies of his famous 15 books.

Suze Orman: Suze Orman is one of the top personal finance experts in the U.S. She has been called as "one-woman financial advice powerhouse" by USA today. She runs her own talk show "The Suze Orman Show" on Saturday nights on CNBC. Orman entered the New York Times best-sellers list with her book, "The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom", which emphasizes the emotional way of achieving financial freedom. She became popular when three million copies of this book have been sold. The other two books that have the same success stories are "You've Earned It, Don't Lose It" and "The Money Book for the Young Fabulous & Broke".

Thomas Stanley: Author of six award winning books that have covered all the common connections of America's wealthy people, Dr. Stanley has been studying the affluent market in America for over 30 years. He is known for his New York Times best-selling book "The Millionaire Next Door", of which over two million copies have been sold. Later he published another book, "The Millionaire Mind", based on America's financial elite. This book has appeared #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. His latest book, "Stop Acting Rich" in 2009, is seventh among his books. Stanley is an expert in understanding ways of becoming wealthy.

David Bach: David L. Bach is a popular American personal finance author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He conducts television shows where he discusses money management techniques. David's first book "Smart Women Finish Rich" gained popularity by appearing on the New York bestseller list for a decade. The author is best known for his "Finish Rich" book series and "Automatic Millionaire" book series. Of his 12 books, 11 books have been national bestsellers and 4 books - "Automatic Millionaire", "Smart Women Finish Rich", "Smart Couples Finish Rich", and "The Finish Rich" have appeared at the same time on Wall Street Journal's and Business Week's best sellers list.

The advice provided by these experts is adopted from their real life experiences and has been tried and proved successful. Should you want to make the right changes in your personal finances, follow any one of these gurus to for healthy personal finance as well as reach to your financial goals.

Money Chutney provides insightful articles on saving, investing, budgeting and financial planning. These articles are intended to provide knowledge and make people aware of methods and techniques on personal finance, so they can use it to better their financial situation. These personal finance strategies are targeted towards educated middle class people in India, who typically look for information on how to save money.