3 Sure-Fire Ways to Destroy Your Financial Health

Here on Ultimate Money Blog, we focus on strategies, tactics and tools to help you strengthen your financial health. And so, you might be taken aback by the title of this blog — and perhaps wonder if we’ve lost our minds, or if we’ve been hacked by credit card companies and the like who want you to spend, spend, and spend some more (and then borrow money for further spending).

Well, don’t worry: we haven’t lost our minds, and we haven’t been hacked. Rather, we know that sometimes in life highlighting what we shouldn’t do is more effective — and more memorable — than highlighting what we should. Yes, this is kind of a pessimistic way of looking at things. But occasionally it’s necessary — and this is one of those times.

And so, in a clearly tongue-in-cheek manner (read: don’t do any of these things, and don’t let anyone you care about do them either), here are three sure-fire ways to destroy your financial health:

Regularly Making the Minimum Payment

Minimum payment” should be deleted from your vocabulary. In fact, it’s a wonder why consumer-advocacy groups or the government hasn’t stepped in and outlawed this phrase. Why? Because the minimum payment isn’t the minimum payment. Rather, it’s the minimum debt payment.

Of course, “minimum debt payment” doesn’t sound nearly as pleasant as “minimum payment,” which explains why credit card companies use it: it gives people a false sense of comfort and security that they’re staying even, when in truth they’re sinking deeper into debt.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay the minimum amount when there is no other option. Obviously, that’s better than not paying anything at all! But always remember: it’s not a minimum payment. It’s a minimum debt payment. And if that kind of bugs you, then good! You want it to. That will motivate you to pay off the balance as quickly as possible.

Keeping Up with the Joneses

Advertisers have long since known that the simplest and cheapest way to get people to buy more stuff isn’t to sell it to them directly: it’s to make them covet their friends (and indeed, their enemies) possessions.

Don’t fall for this trap, because keeping up with the Joneses is another guaranteed way to sink deeper and deeper in debt. And to make things even worse, you won’t enjoy your purchase for long, because it wasn’t motivated by an authentic desire for something better. You simply wanted to stop feeling bad because someone had something that you didn’t. Within weeks — or maybe days — of needlessly buying a new smartphone, a new pair of shoes, or maybe even a new car or new hours, you’ll stop feeling euphoric, and start feeling envious: because there’s always something else out there that you don’t have. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t treat yourself to new stuff (provided, of course, that you can afford it!). But if you do, then ensure that it’s something you truly want. Play by your own rules — not theirs.

Not Having a Budget

If you want to have chronically bad financial health that lasts forever, then your path is simple: constantly spend more than you have.

Fortunately, avoiding this road to ruin is also simple. Put together a realistic budget based on your income (all sources) and expenses. There are plenty of apps to help you with this, and many of them are free. Don’t assume that you’re saving money when you aren’t.

A Final Word

If you’re already deep in debt and the above advice won’t help you escape, then don’t panic. You have options, which may include filing for bankruptcy protection. To learn more about this possibility and see if it’s the right move for your long-term financial health, speak with a bankruptcy attorney at the Law Office of Charles Huber.

 

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6 Reasons why you need to start investing in cryptocurrency

“There is quite a great hype about the cryptocurrency world and whether investors should bury their capital in this volatile market,” confirms Mark Taylor, a senior crypto expert at Olsson Capital. If you have ever doubted the world of digital money, the following 7 reasons to invest in cryptocurrency will surely make you see things more clearly.

It brings money back to the people using it

As there are about 1250 different types of cryptocurrency available across the world, there is no middleman to cut the profits you make. Transactions that occur in the digital currency world are recorded in a public ledger and the middleman is cut out by making every transaction a peer-to-peer act. To make it even better, manipulation of these ledgers are impossible, thus no fraud can occur.

The era of digital currencies is here to stay

Many digital currencies have seen quite a few volatile dips and managed to rise to success once again. Cryptocurrencies continue to grow and there is no way of stopping it – it has been set free into the world and will continue to thrive. The more a certain cryptocurrency grows, the more secure an investor feels about investing his or her hard-earned capital.

ICO’s offer high returns on your investments

An initial coin offering (ICO) is made to investors and they enjoy very high returns. It is important to know that not all ICO’s are successful so you need to do your homework as to which ICO you are going to choose to invest in. Cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Altcoin and Bitcoin have increased significantly in value, thus investors tend to choose cryptocurrencies that are well-known and hold a lot of promise toward the future. Remember though, when investing in different types of cryptocurrencies, your chances of making a profit is much higher than sticking it out with just one currency.

Some regulations offer more security

China made its ban on ICO’s known a while ago and the entire world was shocked to see regulations creeping up on the cryptocurrencies that were supposed to be untouchable by the government. Some of the regulations put in place, however, are done in such a way to offer the investor more security about investing huge amounts of money. If proper control is implemented over ICO’s, it will be easier to spot the scams among them.

The technology of cryptocurrencies are always improving

For many people, the concept of cryptocurrencies, investing in it and understanding it is simply impossible. Digital currencies are forever developing and experts are constantly finding new ways to make the trading and buying of currencies easier and more user-friendly. While many of the currencies are almost only used by expert traders, soon, the average trader and all other people will understand the world of digital money as development around the currencies happen every day.

The revolution of digital currencies

Many developed countries have already accepted Bitcoin as a legal way of payment. ATM’s and other means of transferring Bitcoin are already in motion and make the lives of Bitcoin users much easier. In many cases, Bitcoin payments are the top preferred method of paying for items. It even surpasses the preferred way of paying via plastic or cash!  As the rush for cryptocurrency can be seen as a type of “gold-rush” the more people using cryptocurrencies will make the currency more popular, more volatile and therefore, more revolutionised.

A lot of investors think that it is too late to jump on the cryptocurrency train. But, as mentioned, the digital currency world keeps developing and new ways of making these currencies usable are being tried and tested every day. If you are an investor that feels that you want to invest in cryptocurrency but are hesitant, you need to take the leap of faith. Although the market is highly volatile, over a period of time, it is evident that crypto money is going to fly off the charts within the following couple of years and by that time, a wide variety of new and innovative ways will be found to make investing in cryptocurrency the best investment choice ever.

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How to Save on Healthcare Costs

The cost of healthcare continues to rise, and our country continues to grapple with how to deal with the problem. Meanwhile, millions of people still don’t have health insurance, and many more have insurance, but don’t have adequate coverage to meet their needs. Many are laboring under policies that have such high deductibles that they have to pay out of pocket for the majority of their healthcare costs.

Whether you have insurance or not, there are ways that you can cut back on your healthcare costs so that you pay even less. Here are a few ideas:

Prescription Discounts

Many people have at least one prescription they have to pay every month. But even if they don’t take a regular prescription, they end up needing medications when they are ill, such as antibiotics. Prescriptions can be notoriously expensive, with some medications costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month. If you don’t have insurance, that’s a huge bill to try to pay.

Fortunately, you can get discount prescriptions without insurance. You can compare costs at local pharmacies to find the best price, and you can get coupons where available to bring down the cost. Don’t try to buy prescriptions online or from overseas as these are not regulated and you don’t know what you’re getting. Also, read the labels on your prescriptions carefully to be aware of any side effects or complications.

Health Savings Accounts

A health savings account allows you to save money for your medical costs tax-free. The money is typically drawn from your paycheck before your taxes are deducted. Then you use a debit card to pay for medical expenses from the account.

An HSA doesn’t give you a discount on services. However, the more money you put into it, the more money you are able to keep in your own pocket, so to speak, instead of it going to Uncle Sam. You end up getting more out of your money by transferring it into the HSA. Just make sure that you are aware of the annual contribution limits and the restrictions around how the money can be spent. You don’t want to end up losing out on money that is unspent or that is spent incorrectly.

Self-Pay Negotiations

Many doctor’s offices will negotiate a lower rate with you if they know you are paying out of your own pocket without health insurance. In some cases, the discount can be as much as 50 percent for “cash” customers. That doesn’t meant that you have to pay cash — it just means that you are paying the doctor for services directly. 

Find out what your doctor’s office will charge if you pay out of pocket. If you have already been billed, call and see what you can negotiate. You may be able to talk the bill down, even if you are rejected by the first person you talk to. Keep asking to talk to a supervisor until you can get the bill to an affordable level.

Charity Care

What if you are hit with a huge medical bill that you can’t pay no matter how much they discount it? Maybe you were in a car accident, or maybe you got laid up with pneumonia in the hospital. Whatever the case, you are looking at a bill that’s several hundred or several thousand dollars, and you can’t pay it.

Apply for your hospital’s charity care program or financial assistance program. (It may be called something else depending on the facility.) You will provide financial information, and they will decide if you qualify. If you are approved, the bill would be significantly reduced or eliminated. Some institutions will apply the assistance to future bills, as well. Your approval letter would include all the details. 

Health care is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be prohibitively so. You need to see a doctor regularly to maintain your overall health and wellness. Otherwise, you will develop more serious conditions that can cause you to suffer and to have even more expensive medical bills. Be proactive about your health and use these tips for saving on the healthcare services you need. Remember to take care of yourself by eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise and sleep. The easiest way to save on medical costs is to make sure your body stays strong and healthy.

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