The headlines have been full of the banking giant Citigroup and their financial problems. Crying to the government to give them a helping hand at the tax payers expense.
Doesn’t is seem strange that a multi-billion dollar financial company which loans people and business money everyday from financing homes, credit cards, business and everything in between must now essentially go back to the people (their customers) they loan money too and ask for help.
Loan Lessons to Learn
We can learn from all of this money mess on a personal level, break down Citigroup’s problems and apply the principles to our own lives.
One for the things Citigroup did was make horrible lending choices. They went against “best lending practices” and loaned money to people who probably should have not received any loan. True, the borrower did have to ask for the loan and they are at fault also. However, the borrowers did not have the cash reserves, steady income or give enough of a down payment to handle a money storm. Or these same people got a credit card with limits and spending habits out of check with no financial discipline… just like the company that gave them the loan.
Don’t be like Citigroup and make bad lending (borrowing) decisions. Understand the limits, start learning to manage money the same way in good times or bad. Why should handling money be different?
What is your cash reserve now? Do you have an emergency fund? Have you borrowed way beyond your means to repay? Freeze the spending and begin to pay things down.
Citigroup made bad choices and it is costing them dearly. Will your choices cost you? You unfortunately do not have the luxury of heading to D.C. and picking up and check for your bad decisions.
Building up your credit is the best solution for stopping creditors and collections from contacting and bugging you every day. If you are in the process of repairing your credit, you probably already know you have a rocky road ahead. Creditors are the people you owe money to and if you do not have the money to pay, then they will go to great lengths to get the money somehow. No matter what the laws and guidelines are stipulated by the credit agencies, many break laws to get their money back.
They say money is the root of all evil, everyone wants some. The best way to avoid creditors and collection agencies is to stay ahead of the game and pay your bills. in a timely manner. If you have an electric bill, insurance policies, car and mortgage payments, credit card and other debt, you may want to outline a monthly budget. When you can combine your payments it will help you outline any troubled areas.
When you see any hidden dangers, make sure that you find a workable solution to get ahead of the game and avoid being hassled by creditors. Nobody likes it when they get nagged, but if you owe money, this is the position you will find yourself in. Do not get in over your head, if you know you are deeply in debt then it will be wise to avoid the malls until you can pay down your debt. If you owe more than you can pay, you run the risk of losing your home, car and any other assets.
If you know your deep in debt, you can always sell some valuable items to get out of debt. When you sell the items, take the money and apply it to your outstanding bills or open an account that will allow you to save money. A savings account that has a no fee at start up is a great beginning.
Sometimes you will even get money back or interest will accrue on the money you have in the bank, so you are actually making money. If money is what makes the world go round, making money and how you spend and pay it back is the solution to your debt and the key to rebuilding your credit.
The last thing that anyone wants is to be in escalating debt. You cannot avoid creditors from calling you all the time. Between the creditors, collection agencies, judges, lawyers and other menacing personnel, you will be mentally tortured. This is a point that many people do not realize, as they are running up their debt. If you have a good credit record right now, it is important to keep in good standing, get copies of your report, keep your files on hand and current to monitor your credit scores.
If you notice anything questionable on your report, then you need to contact the credit bureau and dispute it as quickly as possible. Your credit affects every area of your entire life. If you have a bad credit report, then you can be denied a job, apartment or turned down when you try to get a line of credit. The curse of bad credit will loom over you like a dark funnel cloud.
There is still hope even if you have bad credit. There are government programs and private agencies that are willing to team up with you and help you with your bad credit. The unthinkable can happen, you can get a home or car loan, or possibly a credit card. There are new prepaid options for those who have bad credit. They are the same in concept as an actual credit card, only you add money to the account, pay a small fee and use the card. The world is beginning to recognize the problems that happen daily for many people. The best thing to do is to stop the creditors from taking over your life by building up your credit by paying your bills on time.
Managing your personal finances requires steps that are almost the same as managing corporate finances. Basically, as you go through everyday living, you live, work, spend and save. These activities are very much the same as how business financially operates. Just as how companies regularly check on their finances, you must also review your own financial books.
Companies compare cost of production versus profit. In your case, you might as well compare your monthly income and your monthly expenditure. Instead of managing your finances using basic methods, let us go a step higher and deal with it using corporate money-managing concepts.
How fast do you burn cash?
There are companies who are left with no choice but to spend their venture capital for overhead expenses before they could generate profit or positive cash flow. They had to do it so they can start up with any new standby projects. This is usually measured in terms of cash spent per month. Clever companies track the speed at which they spend their funding per month. This way they may be able to know the probable life span of the company.
Putting this concept into your personal story basically tells you to monitor your monthly expenses. Your paycheck should have a portion allotted for your retirement fund. Spending your money too fast and maxing out every single source of income will lead you to a great disaster! Avoid debt. Spend your money wisely. Save up!
Say for example you are earning $50,000 annually. But you spend $55,000 per year. You are actually at a loss of $5,000 each year. Ask yourself, how long will you survive at a yearly loss of $5,000. Not quite long, isn’t it? So save more and spend less.
It is so tempting when you have a credit card. Everything is so easy because whenever something new is available, it will always be a swipe away. But before you dip into your savings and before you get that plastic card out of your wallet, think about how hard it was to earn the exact amount of the service or goods that you are now craving for. Is it worth your money? Or are you just buying it to be IN and because it is new?
Sometimes people do not worry when they spend using their credit card even if the bill arrives; after all, the minimum payment is much less compared to their income. But do not look at the branch, check out the root, and try to see things in a bigger much better angle. You actually have the huge total bill amount to pay. Why not spend money on preparing for your retirement instead of spending it monthly to pay for credit card debt? Burn rate – cut that thing out!
Your Personal Measure of Profitability
Your monthly expenses and savings are all under your control. Whenever you apply a lousy strategy you will always find yourself swamped in a pile of debt. So, try to review how much or what part of your income actually goes to your savings?
To monitor and to measure your profitability rate, simply keep track of your monthly earning and your monthly expenses. Expenses must include all big and small expenses that used up a portion of your income. See how much of your income goes to your savings and how much are spent.
Knowing that you have enough money at the end of the month after paying all your bills due for that particular month does not mean you are safe. Plan months or even years ahead. Evaluate your probable situation in case you max out all of your emergency funds and savings.
For instance, you earn a net income of $50,000 per year. Net income means your pre-tax income. After adding all of your expenses you found out that you only spend $47,500 each year. Net income minus the expenses earns you a profit of $2,500. Compared to your annual income, this gives you a profit margin of 5% ($2,500/50,000 = 0.5; 0.5 x 100 = 5%).
Benefits of Planning Ahead
After doing the Math, see how the figures satisfy you. Are you happy with what you have worked for? Determine if the amount will suffice after retiring from your current job. As the boss, does your book tell you that your very own company will last for long.
When you check, do not just qualify, quantify everything. It is not enough to say you have enough; rather, see if the numerical figure before you goes beyond what is satisfactory. Corporate concepts say that a company must go beyond 1-2% profit margin. The greater the profit margin, the more stable is the company. Does your personal profit margin qualify considering these requirements?
To be able to meet the said requirements start off with a goal. Determine the amount you will need to turn your dreams into reality when you retire. At the moment, you may not have any exact idea about this, but from today you must spend time thinking about it. Make sure you come up with an exact figure sooner or later.
Increase Your Profit Margin
Just in case you found out that your personal profit margin is not enough to fund your retirement savings, now is the time to do a recall and review of your expenses. If possible and whenever necessary, cut back on unimportant expenses. Just spend on what is needed. Little sacrifices won’t do you any harm. You will soon reap the fruits of your labor in a way that you really want it.
However, if you see that your profit margin can provide more than what you really need or want, increasing it will allow you to achieve your goals earlier. Why wait for a long time when you can free yourself from debts and financial burden earlier than what you planned?
Managing your finances is a challenging task. But remember that it does not pay off if you invest more emotions than intelligent decisions. In this personal business of yours, you as the investor may be emotional, but your company is not. Paying bills may sound sad but you must get though the emotional part of it. Once you get the knack of dealing with things, you will soon find out that it is far better to get overjoyed due to an A1 financial status than weeping over piles and piles of debts.