Elements of Financial Planning PART2

Debt
Your plan for debt should be to get out of it! For many households, not all debt is bad. In fact, some types of debts, for example mortgage debt, can be a good thing. It means you have crossed a major milestone and are on your way to owning a home. Being in debt may also mean you have a reliable car to get you to and from work or perhaps you’ve sent your child off to college for a good education. However, if you’re using credit to pay for routine expenses like food, entertainment or gas, you may be headed for a debt crisis. If debt is excessive and interfering with the other elements of your financial plan, consumer debt consolidation may be right for you. Don’t worry, because if you develop a comprehensive financial plan that includes a budgeting strategy, some of your debt dilemma may take care of itself.

Tax
Didn’t someone say that the only sure things in life are death and taxes? Did you know you can create a tax plan that can help you minimize your tax liability? Make sure you have the knowledge on how to cut your taxes and what steps you can take to shelter your income from taxes. Many of your financial planning strategies come with tax implications. Read up on income tax tips here. While you cannot eliminate taxes from your life, you can make informed financial decisions so you only pay the taxes you have to pay and no more.

Estate
Like it or not, you are going to pass on from this life sooner or later. Do you want to leave the distribution and taxation of your assets to fate? No matter how much your assets are worth, most people will want to have a say in who gets what and when. See estate planning articles here. There are several steps you may want to take to ensure your heirs get what they are entitled to, and that Uncle Sam’s portion is minimized.

Retirement
Make sure your golden years are happy years. You’ll want to be able to enjoy your later years in life so make sure you plan up front. You have many options available to help you prepare for your retirement. You may probably earn millions of dollars during your working years; make sure you have evaluated what your situation will look like when you are ready to retire and take steps to ensure you are well prepared for your golden years.

Pulling It All Together
The underlying theme to creating a complete financial plan is to set goals. You can define a set of goals that relate or interrelate to each of the seven planning categories identified. Or you may just want to focus on certain aspects of financial planning, depending upon your current age and financial situation. However you decide to approach financial planning, make sure you set precise, realistic, and achievable goals. You can control your financial destiny if you decide that it’s important enough. For more information on developing a financial plan, see the Federal Citizen Information Center guide Building Financial Freedom. If you want to learn more about financial planners, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., offers a free Financial Planning Resource Kit.

Take control of your finances and debt. Use our calculators and budget planner to help you manage your money.

Elements of Financial Planning

Who needs a financial plan anyway? You do! A carpenter doesn’t build a house without a blueprint — can you build a secure future without a financial plan?

There are many elements of a financial plan that should be integrated into an overall strategy for your personal economic future. Many financial advisors agree that there are seven elements to a successful financial plan. Depending upon your current situation, you may not need to spend much time worrying about some of these basics; however, you should think about each of these planning categories and assure yourself that you are covered. While you may categorize them differently, collapse some into others or add new categories for your situation, the components of a successful financial plan are essentially the same and include:

Budgeting
Saving and Investing
Insurance
Debt
Tax
Estate
Retirement

It’s important to learn the fundamentals of each and make an informed decision on the impact planning or lack of planning will have on your financial situation.

Budgeting
Living paycheck to paycheck is often a difficult way of getting through the month. No matter what your income level is, you may wish to consider the merits of implementing a household budget. In general, a realistic budget will help you control where you are spending your hard-earned dollars and allow you to make informed decisions on how to control your spending habits.

Saving and Investing
If you are not currently saving, you may never achieve financial independence. Many financial professionals agree that you should strive to save at least 10% of your gross income each month. Don’t worry if you can’t save 10% — saving just a small amount each month is a good idea. Creating a savings plan may help you reach your short-term goals, such as establishing an emergency fund or funding a special vacation. You may also have long-term savings goals, such as creating a college education fund for your children or buying a new house. Once you commit to creating savings, you must define an investment strategy that works for you. You’ll want to assess your risk tolerance and then invest so you will have enough money to reach your goal when you are ready.

Insurance
Insurance is all about protecting yourself from risk. Insurance is intended to minimize your risk and liability in the event of loss related to your family and the things your family owns. Virtually all of your household belongings, as well as your salary and your health, can be insured. An insurance plan should take into account how much the lack of insurance might risk your personal situation. For example, it may not be necessary to pay for an insurance policy to protect your landscaped garden, unless it contains imported bonsai trees that cost thousands of dollars each! There are some policies you cannot go without, such as certain minimum auto insurance requirements, and then there are some policies you’ll have to weigh very carefully, such as life insurance, to make sure you have the right amount of coverage.

I’ve seen various posts on here about affiliate marketing

and I just wanted to make something clear–the only thing affiliate marketing has in common with Multi-Level Marketing is the word “marketing.”

In affiliate marketing, you sign up with an affiliate company and you sell their stuff on a commission. Depending on what they’re selling, you could make money just for people signing up for something (zip submits or email submits they’re usually called) or sometimes just when someone clicks on an ad—PPC, or Pay Per Click. Personally, I do CPA Marketing which is when you get a payout when a customer buys something. To clarify, these “people” and “customers” I refer to are never anyone I know–this kind of stuff is done through stuff like mass emails, banner ads, and google adwords. If you check your bulk mail right now almost everything you’re seeing are CPA offers. For example, for a while I was doing the Phentramine Pill–every time someone ordered the free trial of the pills by clicking on the advertisement I paid for on Google or Yahoo, I made $30. It’s a very lucrative business but it definitely fits the definition of “It take money to make money.” Never, ever money you have to pay to affiliate companies, but rather the money you have to spend to advertise. And the smarter you get and the longer you do it, the cheaper it becomes to advertise–it’s one of those things you learn as you go along.

I’m a member of this group not because I ever joined a MLM but because I live in Utah and it’s hard to live here and not know someone who isn’t a member of one. I had one friendship in particular that completely fell apart because of my lack of interest in joining ACN. I have a step-brother who lost thousands of dollars in some real estate mlm scheme and he is still delusional enough to defend it–he thinks he was the one who failed, not the business plan. I would never endorse anything I thought was anything like a MLM, even ones I consider more “innocent” like the, oh I can’t think of the name, but the housewares stuff. I have family that sale it and they make an okay side income, but on principle I’m still opposed to it and almost never go to the parties.

My point–affiliate marketing is not MLM, period. But it does cost money (in advertising expenses). And often the stuff you’re selling is total crap. Like the Phentramine pill I mentioned. I ordered some just for fun and it’s just a huge caffeine and B-12 pill that kept me awake for 24 hours–total rip off, imo–which is why I stopped selling it.
As for doing surveys with Clickbank, I don’t know anyone who makes real money doing surveys, but I know people, including myself, who make real money getting others to sign up to take surveys. 😉
I’d be happy to answer any questions anyone has about affiliate marketing if you want to send me a PM–but I’m still getting my feet wet so I’m hardly an expert. And don’t worry, I won’t respond with a link for you to sign up for anything.

You neighbors were right

Chances are your land may be part of the Haynesville shale that is being so hotly sought after right now. One of my attorney clients represents people here that have been ripped off by “lease hounds” who don’t actually work directly for the companies doing the lease (they turn around and actually lease to the companies–kinda doing a sublease with you.) Most leases specify whether they can be renewed, how deep they can drill and how much in royalty. We’ve been offered an annual fee, plus a sign on bonus and production percentage. I’d check to see if the people you signed with were actually representing the company doing the drilling or not.

Thanks, I will have to contact them

A lot of our neighbors said they didn’t sign a lease because they wanted to consult an attorney first. The only reason we didn’t is because we were behind paying our mortage and we had a sky high electric bill last month. You can only imagine our surprise when someone showed up on our doorstep and said we will give you a check for $2100 today if you sign a lease. The downside is, we are not going to get hardly anything in royalties when they do drill. If we owned a lot of land, then you would get a whole lot more.

Oil

a) Have a title search for “mineral rights” for the property that you own. Until that is done, everything else is moot;
b) Take a copy of that lease to a local attorney that specializes in oil and gas leases, and have him/her explain every clause in it, to you. And what his recommendation is.

Oil and gas leases are _extremely_ tricky. It wouldn’t be inappropriate to get a second opinion on the legal aspects of the lease you are offered.

I know this subject is totally off topic, but I thought I’d ask anyways

We live in TX and we got approached by an energy company to sign a lease with them for to drill for natural gas and oil near our land. They gave us a sign on bonus of $2100. They said that if anything is found, you will get a 25% royalty. But, that 25% is spilt among thousands of people. According to my calculations, the most we will get is hopefully about $50-100 per month which is better than nothing. More than I made in any mlm! We don’t own a lot of land, Our house is not big and we just have .145 acres, so we are not going to get much. For any of you who did do this, how much of a royalty check did you get? They say it will take months and months before they actually get the well set up and start the drilling process.

“Negative” is a problem word

MLMers have started using it as a scapegoat label. Anything they don’t want to hear (or their brain eating masters don’t want them to think about) is “negative.” That means if you have any important facts or truth about some upslime that they should hear, they can call it negative and not have to think about it.

They forget to make an intelligent decision, one needs to know the benefits AND draw backs to any situation. Whenever anyone tells you something is just “it” then you know there’s a side to it they’re not telling you.

Sorry I should have made myself clearer

Im really not looking for a reason to join a new MLM with this post. I have the thought of, “why doesn’t the system work”, for the two I have been involved in. A lot of what I hear sounds promising but… Im here looking for an outlet for my concerns really. Everytime I try to talk to someone about an MLM they either dont know anything or they dont want to talk about anything negative period(usually the upline or anyone currently invested).