John J. Bowman Jr Accountant, John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance

When to See a Financial Advisor

For many, talking about money can be a nerve-wracking experience. It’s not included in the preferred “small-talk” topic list, and some consider it a sensitive subject. However, conversations about personal finance are an important element in the process of helping individuals grow their net worth. That’s where financial advisors come in. Financial advisors serve as conduits for these conversations, offering advice and assistance in planning and executing financial strategy. When should you see a financial advisor?

When You’re Experiencing Life Changes

From starting a family to transitioning into retirement, drastic changes in your life often benefit from the perspective of a financial advisor. When it comes to marriage and bearing children, the introduction of joint finances, college savings, and estate planning for wills can be a tempest of confusion. As for retirement, financial advisors can offer insight into a retiree’s financial stability and the process of filing for Social Security. In both cases, financial advisors can help organize the clutter and reorganize an individual’s priorities. A thorough understanding of your future financial situation will only serve as a benefit.

When You Have Large Investment Sums

Having a good chunk of money involves much more strategy than one may expect. To manage strategies and accounts and balances, individuals need assistance from people who can navigate those murky waters and work with large sums of money and investments. If you’re dedicated to stock market investments and exchange trading, a financial advisor can help organize your finances. It’s easy to let small aspects of portfolios slip through the cracks, but a successful financial advisor can spot those bits and make sure that you’re really getting your money’s worth.

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John J. Bowman Jr Accountant, John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance

Tips for Financial Independence and Early Retirement

What do you consider to be “retirement age”? Perhaps early 60s or late 50s. What about 30s and 40s? The FIRE movement, which stands for “financial independence, retire early,” has gained traction with individuals as young as their 20s. The idea of working 9-to-5 jobs for several decades is an intimidating one, and FIRE offers the chance to work hard and, earlier than expected, play hard. However, FIRE is not an easy process, and it takes plenty of planning to truly retire early. Here are some considerations to take into account if you plan on retiring early.

Do Your Research

Monthly earnings from social security and pensions, costs of present and future healthcare concerns, and similar factors must be considered before an individual takes any steps towards early retirement. There are several complications, ones that often work against each other, to sort out during the planning phase of FIRE, but these factors help paint a picture of your financial future. Make sure you understand what FIRE really is, and what it means for you and your situation. In some cases, research may prove that early retirement isn’t the best option; rather, switching to part-time work or taking a temporary hiatus from work is better.

Speak With a Financial Advisor

Financial advisors often assist individuals experiencing drastic life changes, such as making a family or retiring. When it comes to the latter, financial advisors will examine whether a client’s current financial system sets a strong foundation for retirement. Additionally, financial advisors look to the future to predict potential issues. Taking all of this into consideration, clients and advisors can develop a plan to work towards that independence. While hiring a financial advisor does come at a cost, the benefits of receiving an expert’s advice and planning assistance can be a lucrative investment.

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John J. Bowman Jr Accountant, John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance

Drafting a Personal Spending Rulebook

If you’ve never given much thought to personal finance, there’s no time like the present to do so. A personal spending rulebook is a great way to get started on saving and proper spending. If you want to be a smarter spender, these tips will make personal finance easier to learn.

Use Tried-and-True Methods

Anyone who has looked into personal finance has likely encountered the 50-30-20 Rule. Its popularity stems from its simplicity, making it ideal for people of all incomes and financial know-how. The numbers correspond with what percentages of your income should go where. According to the rule, 50% of your income should go to living expenses and other necessities, including rent, utilities, and food. 30% of your income counts as “flexible spending,” money to be used however you please for entertainment and non-essential travel. The last 20% should go towards savings or loan payments. While the percentages are flexible, avoid exceeding 20% or 30% limits for financial goals and flexible spending, respectively.

Categorize Purchases

It’s easy to see how much you spend each month, but that looking at the big picture doesn’t help on its own. Dive deep into your spending habits by categorizing the purchases you make. Basic categories include “necessities” such as rent, “loans,” “food,” and “entertainment.” Additionally, you can create subcategories to explore your habits more. “Food” can be split down further into “groceries” and “snacks,” depending on what and when you purchase. These categories explain what you’re purchasing and how much, and can be used to set individual limits on specific spending habits.

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John J. Bowman Jr Accountant, John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance

Why You’re Overspending (And How to Stop)

Compare your monthly income with your monthly spending. Do you notice a glaring discrepancy? Are your earnings in the red? Can’t figure out how you spent hundreds on groceries? You aren’t alone. Overspending is easy to do, and purchases can accumulate in the blink of an eye. Here are some reasons why you’re overspending and advice on how to stop.

You’ve fallen into a bad habit

Do you buy lunch at the deli down the street every day? This is just one example of a bad spending habit. It may be comfortable and convenient to make a daily or weekly purchase, but ten dollars per day, five days a week, four weeks a month equals $200 each month just for lunch.

The best way to remedy a bad spending habit is to ease yourself out of the habit. For the lunch example, try packing a meal most days each week, and only go out once a week or so as a special treat. You don’t have to quit anything cold-turkey, and easing yourself towards a better spending habit might inspire you to be more mindful of what you buy.

You ignore automatic payments

This one is easy to notice, especially if you subscribe to magazines and newspapers that clog your mailbox. Still, with the rise of streaming services and other digital subscriptions, you may not be keeping track of all the services you subscribe to. It’s easy to let automatic monthly payments slip through the cracks, but those payments are also an easy way to lose money.

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John J. Bowman Jr Accountant, John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance

4 Reasons People Accumulate Debt

22 trillion. That’s how many dollars the United States of America owes to world powers such as China. Debt can be a worrisome four-letter word, not just for the country as a whole, but for its independent cogs and gears as well. While the average American doesn’t owe $22 trillion of their own cash, debt is still a reality for many. Below are four ways debt can accumulate. Do you recognize any of these in your own life?

Credit cards

Plastic beats paper in the world of transactions; over the past several years, cash payments have increasingly given way to credit and debit card charges. And, while 90 percent of consumers still use cash for some purchases, the age of credit card swiping and chip reading draws closer. However, credit cards make it easier for consumers to purchase items, sans the lighter wallet. Credit card debt has steadily risen over the past five years, and it can be easy to fall down a rabbit hole of debt if paying by card is your preferred method of shopping.

Poor spending habits

We’ve all splurged on a snack at the grocery store or a newly-released book. While the occasional treat is fine, purchasing a treat every day is a red flag. Poor spending habits are easy to fall into and difficult to climb out of, particularly if you aren’t the only member of the household struggling to save. Taking time to learn how to manage money is vital for anyone who wants to avoid falling into debt. In fact, creating a personal spending rulebook can help you and your household members understand the impulses behind your spending and ways to avoid personal debt.

Gambling

Any casino from NYC to Vegas employs psychological and mathematical tactics to take your money. From the absence of windows and clocks to lengthy slot machine algorithms, casinos are practically vacuums for your wallet. Gambling disorder is officially recognized by the DSM-5 as a psychiatric concern, and the impact it has on one’s money is no joke. Avoiding the casino is a sure-fire way to not waste your money, and there are plenty of free ways to have fun.

Loans

From student loans to mortgages, this type of debt is often the least controllable. While one can practice appropriate spending and avoid gambling or credit card usage, loans are often necessary to move forward in life. In this case, the best strategy is to stay on top of the debt and follow a strict regime for saving up to pay them off.

This article was originally published at JBowmanAccountant.info.

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John J. Bowman Jr Accountant, John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance

3 Things to Consider Before Investing in Stocks

As an increasing number of books, websites, and apps introduce the stock market to the general public, more people find the stock market to be accessible. Even though software and guides have streamlined the process, adequate research is essential for anyone hoping to get into the stock game. It’s crucial to keep numbers in mind, but nuggets of advice are equally important. Whether you’re a first-time investor or seasoned stock aficionado, the following three tips are important to keep in mind.

You have to set goals

Throwing your cash in random directions and hoping something sticks is the exact opposite of what a good investor should do. Look into the industries that interest you and seek out key players and up-and-coming competitors. Then, develop a strategy by deciding how much money you’ll invest total, and how much each investment will be. It’s best to start simpleif you don’t have much investing experience, which means you should stick to regular investments and establish a well-researched foundation. Once you’ve started that foundation, give yourself a timeframe before you check on those stocks again—as you’ll see in the next section, obsessing over the numbers is going to hinder you.

You have to keep a level head

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has maintained for years that the buy-and-hold strategy is the best option for any investor. Real-time updates cause dramatic fluctuations to the stock market. While sudden drops in stock rates are worrisome, a goal-focused investor should be safe, even if rates are down. This is especially key in the short-term, as split-second decisions can be dangerous for the success of an investor’s stock portfolio. A volatile market is one in which long-term negative changes come into play. A short-term downturn is not necessarily a cause for alarm.

You have to diversify your investments

Don’t just invest in a bunch of businesses from one industry. Check out a few industries and businesses of interest to you, and ask yourself whether they fit in with your overall goals and budget. A diverse portfolio reduces the overall effect of a downturn on your portfolio. This may not be doable early into your investing journey, but as your portfolio grows and your investing confidence improves, diversification is going to be important.

This article was originally published at JBowmanAccountant.org.

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John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance, Uncategorized

The Benefits of Online Banking

Technology has infiltrated into the banking industry, facilitating what is currently known as online or internet banking. The concept of internet banking revolves around banks providing ordinary banking services to customers through the web, thereby eliminating the need for them to walk into a banking hall. Online banking has proven to be a major lifesaver, especially given the convenience it causes to bankers. Here is an outline of some of the key benefits of online banking.

Facilitating Convenient Access to Banking Services

Bankers do not have to wait for official working days and hours for them to access banking services in banking halls. As long as they have access to the internet and a computer or mobile phone, banking customers can conveniently access their accounts while on the go. This convenience of online banking ensures that customers do not have to experience delayed access to their money or any other types of banking services.

Instant Cash Transfers

Online banking services give customers the ability to remotely transfer funds from one account to another at the touch or click of a button. This eliminates the many hours of waiting that customers have to endure with non-online banking. The instant transactions help facilitate convenience when it comes to funding bankers’ businesses and personal needs…

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