Planning For Emergency Financial Situations

Emergency financial situations can happen to anybody and any financial arrangement exercise is not ideal without planning for such occasions. The whole idea of having an emergency fund is to offer a cushion against any unexpected expense.

This will ensure it does not have any negative impact on your financial condition and does not rip off the whole financial security.

There are many circumstances which can cause a financial emergency such as a sudden illness, accident, medical emergencies, emergency house repairs, loss of a job, emergency car repairs and much more.

The major reason for having an emergency fund is very clear because when a person falls into an emergency financial situation, they will have to break their savings or make a compromise to get the needed money.

It’s not rare to find people who just take out their credit card and swipe it for hard cash. Opposing popular opinions, credit cards are the worst way to fund any financial emergency. The fastest way to get thousands of dollars its to get a car title loan it is not a long-term solution but a short-term solution.

In a circumstance where you’ve taken a cash advance with your credit card to get the needed money, the credit card company will charge you a cash advance fee with an interest rate. This is a very costly way to borrow and manage finances for emergency situations.

Therefore, what is the best amount that should be set aside as emergency money? There are diverse opinions on it. Some professional’s experts agree that a minimum of 3-6 months’ worth of monthly income should be set aside for an emergency situation. This amount can differ according to marital status, the size of family and lifestyle.

Everyone must reserve some extra cash in case of emergencies. But, the amount to reserve depends on your income and monthly expenses. The amount that is needed for your emergency fund is open to debate, the minimum amount should be sufficient to cover your expenses for daily living for at least 3 months. It’s also ideal to save for 6 months even though some financial advisers agree on a full year worth of cash.

These funds must be kept aside in an instrument, which is easily available when needed. It could be money in a bank account, hard cash, liquid funds or fixed deposits. This will ensure the fund is always accessible instantly or within a short period when it’s needed.

Where to Keep the Cash

Your situations and what can offer you peace of mind are the factors that can help you determine how cautious you want to be. Keep your emergency fund somewhere that is safe and accessible because you may be required to get the cash in a hurry when an emergency arises. The best option you’ve is to open a money market account or savings account. But, always examine their offer with regards to the interest rate, minimum balance, and other terms.

Traveling to Ushuaia – A Journey To The End Of The World

4 a.m. around 100 km north of Río Gallegos. I haven’t slept for 32 hours, but the vast Patagonian landscape of veldt you are traveling through fills you with excitement and numbness at the same time, that makes it impossible to find rest. The hours pass, you stare out of the window and it’s as if you would glance at a prehistoric, untouched landscape and realizes how our planet might have been looked a million years ago, before mankind started to cover the earth with highways, urban sprawling and industrial sites.

I could have taken a plane. I could have avoided effort and pain. I could have saved time and money. I could have chosen the nice and easy way. But ever since I have seen the unfamiliar name of Ushuaia, the most southern town in the world, on a map I knew that traveling over land to this destination on tip of the American Continent would be the only way for me. The journey is the reward.

On the bus I met Ricardo, a student from Puerto Montt/ Chile. Together we have been listening to Gustavo Santaolalla’s great song “De Ushuaia a la Quiaca” over and over again, and it seems as if the Argentinean composer has created the perfect soundtrack for traveling trough Patagonia: a hypnotizing melody of distant, superjacent guitars containing this piercing twitch of solitude. A music that intensifies the delirious state on the edge of being awake and falling asleep I’ve been for almost 2 days. As further we are traveling south I realize that we are approaching to the end of the world, to a point were you can’t go any further.

The landscape changes, it’s getting sparser. Sometimes from the middle of nowhere turns up a sheep farm or some remote village consisting of three wooden houses and a church, but as soon as we have passed, there’s pampas, solitude and loneliness again. The incredible vast sky is melting with the horizon and suddenly you wonder if you will ever reach your destination or if this fragile dream of rough beauty might continue forever. And maybe it doesn’t matter anymore, because you have already crossed a hidden frontier and reached an inner point of no return.

But suddenly it all ends, Magellan Strait, the last barrier that had separated us from legendary Tierra del Fuego, has been crossed and we actually reach Ushuaia. The bus spills out its tired, exhausted and happy freight and it feels like a rebirth, like an awakening. Windy roads lead me to the port where giant cruise ships and rotten fishing boats are swaying in Beagle Channel. I’m glancing at the nearby mountain range, forming part of the National Park Tierra del Fuego, when a sudden thought rises up: maybe this isn’t the end of the world; maybe it’s just the beginning.

Women in Business: Power UP Your Business – 10 Resolutions for the New Year!

The New Year offers a clean slate and a time to reflect on the changes you want or need to enhance your business.Take some time to look at the successes and failures of your life over the past year. Have you considered what changes you want to implement for 2012? Here are 10 resolutions to Power UP your Business for the New Year!

Resolution 1: Get a Handle on your Taxes

With the New Year fast approaching, it is important to get a firm handle on your taxes. To claim certain tax benefits, you need to act no later than Dec. 31. According to the IRS, here are “Six Year-End Tips to Reduce 2011 Taxes:”

Install Energy-Efficient Home Improvements
Make Charitable Contributions
Consider a Portfolio Adjustment
Contribute the Maximum to Retirement Accounts
Make a Qualified Charitable Distribution
Don’t Overlook the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

Resolution 2: Understand your Finances

This is extremely important for the health of your business. As a new or growing business, you need to be diligent about your finances. The NUMBER ONE reason that businesses fail is due to lack of control over finances.

Some experts suggest reviewing your profit and loss statements, balance sheets and cash flow reports on a monthly basis. To manage this, there is accounting software such as QuickBooks specifically for small businesses. Also, hiring a CPA or bookkeeper can be a wise investment.

Resolution 3: Create a Monthly Budget

This is crucial to controlling your monthly expenses. By creating a budget, forces you to examine your income and expenditures to track how much money you make and spend. Of course your living expenses, i.e., mortgage, utilities, vehicles, insurance payments and food are a must, but additional payments should be allocated to pay off bad debt.

A few handy financial tools:

HomeBudget is an expense tracker designed to help you budget, track and control your monthly expenses at home.
Moneytrackin is a free online web application that allows you to track all your expenses and income easily and without effort, thus allowing you to have a clear view of your financial situation. It intends to be a simple yet powerful online budget management tool.
MySpendingPlan is an online tool that provides consumers with the latest tools to help them manage their personal finances track their budgets, save money and keep up on the latest information about managing money and leading a better financial life.

Resolution 4: Get Out of Debt

Easy to say, difficult to do! According to some experts, Americans charge over one trillion dollars per year using Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. For many, money is a big source of stress; and it doesn’t help that we’ve had to deal with economic issues over the past few years. This coming year, make it a priority to resolve your money woes.

Resolution 5: Set Specific Time Management Goals

Why do you want to set specific goals to manage your time effectively? Well, setting simple goals will force you to plan your time wisely, thus, allowing you to get a sense of achievement and reduce work and life stress. For example, if spending time with your family is important, try working fewer hours on Friday so that you can honor that goal.

By scheduling your time based on your goals, you can assess if your goals truly align with the core values, both professionally and personally. If you find that your goals are out of align, then you are able to identify key areas that need adjusting before they get out of control.

Resolution 6: Learn How to Delegate

As your business grows, so should your ‘tight grip’ on controlling every aspect of it. The worst thing that you can do is become a slave to your business. This attitude can cripple you! I know this first hand; as a former owner of a building maintenance company; I was president, HR generalist, payroll specialist, trainer, janitor, sales woman and more! It took me a while to realize that not only could I not effectively wear every hat, but in order to grow and regain my sanity, I had to trust others.

It is important that you delegate non-core business tasks to your staff or consider outsourcing. Play on the strengths of others. The lack of delegation will stifle your growth, or worse, cause you to run your business and yourself into a pit fall.

Resolution7: Prioritize your Day

It is essential that you start your day with a ‘to do’ list. It doesn’t matter if your business is small or if you run a large corporation, having a daily plan will keep you on track in effectively running your business. Start your day by scheduling uninterrupted time to plan and create your list of tasks for that day, and rank your list in order of priority. For example, if you have 10 tasks on your list, of those, how many do you need to complete? Can you save the least important tasks for another time?

If you don’t accomplish all the tasks from your ‘to do’ list, it doesn’t mean you are having problems managing your time. It simply means that you only have limited time per day to get everything done and you may be trying to accomplish more tasks than you have time in the day.

To manage and prioritize my time, I rely on Microsoft Outlook’s calendar and task manager to plan my personal and business schedule. I then sync Microsoft Outlook to my I Phone. This helps me to stay on task and set priorities for my daily activities. Find what works for you and make it a daily habit to have a productive and organized day!

Revolution 8: Network religiously

A successful way to promote your business is through networking. You are in business to grow, so make networking a key part of your marketing strategy so that you position yourself to connect with the right people.

Networking is a lifestyle in which you need to incorporate onto your “To Do” list. By networking, you are developing your social skills by engaging or interacting in an informal gathering to communicate with others for mutual assistance or support. By acquainting yourself with other business owners or executives, you are building meaningful relationships. There are many organizations that you can become involved in such as the Chamber of Commerce, Business Network International (BNI), online communities or a professional organization related to your industry.

Resolution 9: Know your Credit

Do you know how important it is to establish business credit profile? According to some industry experts, “fewer than 10 percent of all entrepreneurs know about or truly understand how business credit is established and tracked-and how it affects their lives and businesses.”

Make sure you contact the major business credit bureaus that compile and provide copies of your credit reports. For a list of business credit reporting agencies, here’s an informative article by Marco Carbajo, “Top 10 Business Credit Bureaus.”

Resolution 10: Make More time with Family & Friends

An important reason we go into business is the idea of being flexible with our time. So, the idea of having time for family and friends seems like it should be a no-brainer, right? According to recent polls conducted by General Nutrition Centers, Quicken, and others shows that more than 50% of Americans vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year.

You have control over your time, so make sure that you balance work and life to be able to spend it with those that are important to you.

Last but not least…

If it’s not working, drop it quickly

Don’t waste your time or invest any unnecessary energy nursing something that isn’t working for your business. Time = Money and in our current economic crisis, both are a very precious commodity that a small business can’t afford to gamble with. Move on and don’t look back!