Do You Need a Financial Advisor?

Like it or not, money is important.

No, your life shouldn’t be focused solely on money but you can’t ignore the facts: money is a tool and without money you’ll be downright miserable.

Which brings us to our question today.

Do you need a financial advisor?

What is a Financial Advisor?

First of all, let’s look at what a financial advisor is. In general a financial advisor can be anyone who gives you advice on your money. This could be an insurance agent, stock broker, an accountant, or a certified financial planner.

Some financial planners try and cover a wide range of topics while others go into more niched down topics. However, one of the most common uses for a financial advisor is getting investment advice.

Do You Need One?

Using a financial advisor is a personal decision that you need to make. Here are some questions to ask yourself before making the decision.

  • Do you understand your investments?
  • Have you mapped out a plan for retirement?
  • Do you have a complicated tax situation?
  • Do you need help starting a college savings account?

If you don’t understand your investments and retirement talk sounds like a foreign language then you might need a financial advisor.

There’s no shame at all in getting help with your money. In fact, it makes far more sense to hire someone to help you make your money work for you.

Traditional vs. Online Financial Advisors

In the last several years many online financial advisors have started to pop up. This has led to the question; should you hire a traditional financial advisor or opt for an online financial advisor?

There’s no easy answer. Let’s take a look at the two.

Traditional Financial Advisors – A traditional financial advisor is a person, or depending on your situation, a team of money professionals who are there to aid you. This could be a certified financial planner, certified public accountant, or stock broker. You meet with them in person, discuss your concerns, and they offer advice.

Traditional financial advisors can help you choose investments to best fit your needs, help with retirement planning, taxes, and estate planning.

The pros of traditional financial advisors are:

  • In person advice
  • Customized investing advice and guidance
  • Advice on taxes, estate planning, and insurance

Online Financial Advisors – Online financial advisors have become increasingly popular and rightfully so.

Online financial advisors, like Future Advisor for example, use investing algorithms to custom tailor investments for their clients. Most online financial advisors will ask you a set of questions pertaining to your personal situation, risk tolerance, and investing goals and pick investments for you.

They typically offer several different types of investing accounts you can open and track your progress for you.

The pros of online financial advisors are:

  • Customized investing advice
  • An easy to use platform
  • Low costs compared to traditional advisors

What’s Right for You?

If you need investing advice it’s never been easier to get it.

Whether you go the traditional or online route you can get the investment help you need.

This post has been sponsored by FutureAdvisor. The views expressed represent the opinion of the author and are not intended to reflect those of FutureAdvisor or serve as a forecast, a guarantee of future results, investment recommendations or an offer to buy or sell securities.

Getting Credit Where Credit Is Due — Namely, To You!

Credit is a big deal. Being known as a financially responsible person is a key component to your ability to make purchases on credit and to get the best available interest rates on them. Forget the days when everybody knew everybody and all that. When it comes to credit, you are a number and you must make sure it’s a good number.

There is a lot that goes into your credit score, and many people know a lot about those factors. But sneaky things can hurt you, so you must also know how to watch for and avoid those problems.

Find And Fix Mistakes

It’s bad enough to screw up your credit with your own bad choices, but it’s worse when something incorrect shows up on the report. How do you know this happens? Many times, you don’t. Something gives you a hit on your score, but because you don’t apply for new credit anywhere for a year or two, you never realize the blow to your financial reputation.

This can happen easier than you might think. One true example is a college freshman who traveled with his parents on a cross-country trip. Their first night at the destination saw him in the emergency room with food poisoning. Because of his student status, he was on his parents’ health insurance, but it was slow paying the claim because the hospital was out of network. They ultimately covered the entire cost, but by then the debt had gone into collection and the hospital neglected to tell the collection agency that the balance was settled. The student took a hit on a credit score that he barely even had Two years later he was denied his first cell phone because of his bad credit. He investigated through a series of phone calls and letters, and eventually his credit was restored.

This family handled it the do-it-yourself way but, given the rise in identity thefts, there’s a whole world of experts out there to help you fix these errors and omissions in a timely, efficient manner.

Stay Put—At Least For Creditors

We all have transitional times in life where we move a lot. We graduate high school, maybe go through several addresses during college, and then get a job and work our way through a few other residences before finally buying a home where we stay for several years. It’s just how life is. However, constant changes of address and phone number are bad for your credit because it looks like you’re trying to elude creditors.

What to do? Get a constant address and phone number. With nationwide wireless calling, you can make a cross-country move and still not be a long-distance call from your old number. And as for your address, for as long as you stay in the same general area you can get a post office box. They’re cheap and safe, and you can move many times without ever changing your address.

Watch That Score!

The ailing vacationer above never knew anything was wrong for a number of years. He lived off his scholarships and his summer job money, never applying for a credit card or vehicle loan. When senior year came and he wanted a cell phone for potential employers to reach him, he found the problem.

Don’t let that be you. Get a free credit score periodically to make sure that you aren’t getting wrecked by somebody else’s mistakes, and use it as an accountability tool for your own spending and credit habits.

Be Prompt In Paying

You know what’s a simple way to help your credit score? Paying your bills on time. Technology makes it easy, yet people still manage to screw up and end up late on bills they have the money to pay! We are years past worrying about which day to mail a bill so that it’s not late to the creditor or early to our checking account. With online bill payment available for literally almost anything, we can be properly credited for the bill on the exact day when it’s due, without gambling that our mail carrier doesn’t have a lead foot.

So pay on time! Just as soon as you receive the bill, set it for automatic payment a day or two before the due date. And if cash is still a little tight as due dates approach, use a credit card as a bridge. Pay the bill with plastic, then as soon as your cash allows, pay it off of the credit card.

Paper or Plastic? Paper Is Better!

Which brings us to another point of prevention: Don’t rack up the plastic. Certainly it’s handy in certain circumstances, and in others it’s a must. For example, it’s not advisable to use a debit card for online shopping or telephone transactions, because any hacks that take place will involve a theft of cash from you as opposed to an unauthorized expenditure on a credit card. Obviously it’s preferable to let the latter one float until the fraud protection kicks in, compared to the former.

And there are times when credit cards can save you considerable money and hassle. Many stores offer discounts for opening or using their store charges. Nothing wrong with that…if you pay it off immediately and avoid interest. It’s also nice to use store charges on items you may return. With growing kids, you may need to buy items in a number of different sizes and have the wrestling match/fit check at home, then return the unneeded sizes later. As long as you make those “reverse shopping” transactions before interest accrues, it’s preferable to using cash for a bunch of likely returns.

But borrowing money via plastic simply because you lack the cash is a darn fine way to build a snowball that will crush you in debt. Credit bureaus are watching the flakes accumulate, and when they start to see mounting balances and minimum payments, they’ll begin to ding your score. Swipe carefully!

How to Furnish a Luxe Bedroom on a Little Budget

When it comes to adding or replacing furniture in your home, the price tags can be daunting. Quality pieces of furniture are not cheap, and careful planning and budgeting needs to take place during these types of projects.

While you may be drawn to the pricey furniture stores, you’re likely to be discouraged by the high cost of the items that they sell. However, that doesn’t mean that you should avoid those shops entirely. Take a look and learn which styles you like. You can take that inspiration with you when you shop for more affordable pieces for your new bedroom.

When you’re ready to totally change up your bedroom’s furniture and style, try some of these money-saving tips that are high on style and creativity, and low on price.

The Go-To Bed

While some might tend to focus on their bedding and linens when revamping a bedroom, the most important part is what lies beneath. Your mattress is crucial to your quality of sleep, and the purchase of a new one is a good investment. Experts say that a good mattress can last eight to 10 years, so when you buy a new one it is money well spent.

There are several types to consider in many different price ranges. Visit your local mattress store to get an idea of what’s available. However, you need not be shocked by the price tags. For instance, if you’re eyeing the pricey mattress with the adjustable firmness, it’s good to know that there are less expensive models available that offer the exact same features.

Get Thrifty

Thrift stores are great places to pick up a variety of furnishings for your bedroom. While not all of it will be in pristine condition picking up used pieces of furniture gives you the opportunity to refinish your finds to make them uniquely yours.

When choosing thrift store furniture that you’d like to refinish, there are a few things to keep in mind. Look for pieces in solid wood that display minimal cracks or chips. Solid wood furniture is easy to paint or stain, and you can fill in any minor holes or cracks with minimal fuss. Laminate furniture does not offer you the same luxury.

Thrift stores are also wonderful places to pick up quirky art or other decorative items.

DIY Not?

Even if you’ve never held a hammer or you can’t tell the difference between a saw and a drill, chances are that you could still build yourself something special for your bedroom. All you need are the materials and the tools, and an experienced friend to show you the basics.

Reclaimed wood is a hot item these days, and it can be found at specialty shops and recycling centers in almost every city in the United States. This type of wood has character and history, and, as it’s generally a few decades old, it has a patina and a finish that you’ll usually only find on pricey antiques.

Construct a headboard or a platform for your new mattress with this beautiful wood and watch your bedroom take shape. All you’ll need is a pattern that can be found online and the tools to do the job. Once the wood is cut, put together, and stained or painted you’ll have a showpiece that you can really take pride in.

Paint By Numbers

Perhaps the easiest and most dramatic way that you can change your bedroom is with paint. A new color totally transforms your room and gives you a brand new palette from which you can expand with other new decorative touches.

If you’re new to color, consider painting a simple accent wall to start. If you’ve already had experience with colorful walls, use this opportunity to try something new. Choose complementary colors and dress up your space with two or three different hues. Paint the trim or the molding in a contrasting color for even more drama. You can even try a funky pattern on the ceiling. Paint truly allows you to let your personality shine through while simultaneously drastically altering the look of your bedroom.

Furnishing or refurbishing a bedroom is a lot fun and it can be as pricey or as inexpensive as you want it to be. A little creativity goes a long way, as does some thrifty planning. Focus on one big purchase, like a good-quality mattress, then find resourceful ways to buy, build, or find the rest of the things that you need. Before you know it your brand new luxe bedroom will be your favorite room in the house.