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How to Buy a Home as a Single Parent

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home ownership

Buying a home as a single parent is a lot more challenging than doing so as a full family because you only have one source of income to cover the mortgage. However, the joy and increased feeling of security, pride, and sense of stability are what make owning your own place so appealing to many single parents. In fact, the HomeStart Finance institution estimated that about 20% of new homeowners are single-parent families. For those of you who want to enter the homeowner club, here are some tips to help you navigate the housing market and find your dream home.

Determine Whether Home Ownership Suits You in the First Place

As a single parent, you need to make up your mind about whether home ownership suits your current situation or not. Owning a house comes with responsibilities such as home maintenance and reparation. If you live in an area with cold winters, you’ll have to winterize your home as well. On the other hand, homeownership brings you many benefits, such as the possible appreciation of the house value over time, and a sense of stability.

Check If You Are Eligible for a First Homeowner Grant

Depending on which state you are living in and your past history owning a property, you may be eligible for a First Homeowner grant that can help offset part of the cost of buying a house. Imagine receiving $10,000 to be used towards the down payment of your first home.

Find a Good Real Estate Broker

It’s important to work with a real estate broker who understands your situation and is willing to help you find the best deal possible. An experienced broker will have extensive knowledge in the loan market and therefore have no trouble finding you the best lenders.

Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage

Many sellers will refuse to work with buyers who haven’t got pre-approved for a mortgage. By first getting pre-approved, you will bring a lot more power to the negotiation table. When you get pre-approved, the lender will help you choose the type of mortgage that is most suitable according to your situation.

Avoid Paying Lenders Mortgage Insurance

If you plan to borrow more than 80% of the value of the property, you may be subject to a charge called lenders mortgage insurance. This fee will add to the total cost of the loan. To avoid paying this charge, talk to your broker about ways to boost your borrowing power.

Be Money-Smart

Start saving from today! That dream house will be yours if you plan carefully. By being a savvy saver, you can avoid unnecessary spending and will have more money to count towards your down payment. Pick a savings account with the highest interest rate. Apply for a credit card that offers cash back on your daily purchases. You’ll be surprised how much you can save in a year with such conscious choices. 

Find Ways to Increase Your Income

Have you considered asking your boss for a raise? Is it possible to work longer hours for extra payments? If not, how about looking for a better-paying job? There are various ways to increase your income. The higher your income becomes, the faster you can save towards that deposit and the higher the loan amount you are eligible for.

Owning your first home is an exciting experience. It will be very rewarding for both you and your children as you no longer have to worry about moving from place to place or sharing the apartment with another tenant. Your child can freely decorate their room the way they like it as well. With proper planning and by following the above tips, you’ll be a proud homeowner in no time.

Photo by Gustavo Zambelli on Unsplash

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Finances

3 Ways To Put A Stop on Financial Arguments with Your Partner

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People argue mostly about money and it has been recorded that in a relationship or marriage a third of it is because of finances. When you’ve committed to being someone’s life partner, it comes with a lot of responsibility and the way that you handle things like finances will likely change. 

Money issues can be so troublesome and put a huge strain on a relationship. According to research, 22% of all divorces are due to money issues. What a couple should know that these fights are not really caused by the lack of money, it is the lack of respect and open communication when discussing finances.

In this article, we will give you tips you should consider so you and your partner can stay together and happy and most importantly, prevent money from destroying your relationship.

Discover Each Other’s Money Personalities

We already know that a couple’s relationship is shaped by love and mutual understanding. This includes handling money as well. Learning your partner’s money personality will give you a clear picture so both of you can hopefully reach a compromise. Is your partner a spender, hoarder, money worrier, money avoiders, money monks, money amassers, risk-takers, and avoiders? Knowing this will help you communicate and empathize with your partner and when you openly communicate what you dislike about them, it gives you the chance to strategize and think of solutions that will benefit both parties and this will result in accepting the behavior as part of your partner’s money personality. Communication is key! 

Schedule A Money Date

Have you ever had a money date with your partner? No matter how in sync you and your partner in other aspects of your lives, it can be challenging to get on the same page when it comes to finances. A money date is a way for you and your partner to talk about money in a calm way and without hostility. This is the time where the couple should assess their financial status and really talk over your financial goals. What you really want and how do you envision them and making it happen are just a few of the things that need to be discussed. 

How do you do your money date? You can treat it the same as going on a regular date with your partner. You can have them once a week, once a month, twice a year, etc  

Both Should Assume the CFO Role and Take Turns

It doesn’t matter if you have a one-income household or both wage earners. Working out a detailed budget together will result to less fights or arguments on your finances. Prioritize the bills and agree on out of budget purchases. One way to do this is by using a budgeting or financial app or for some couples, a monthly budget or allowance for each are set. Come up with an arrangement you can both live with, and revisit it every few months.

While setting your finances straight, it is also a great time to learn to save for the future as well. Talk it out with your partner about your financial goals for the next few years, whether it ba having a miscellaneous section for you to splurge on and pampering yourself, investing in stocks, building up your emergency fund, etc.

The bottom line is if we keep open communication and respect each other’s needs to have control over their money, arguments like this will be reduced. 

Considering the above-mentioned tips can certainly help you if you are struggling and can help you avoid arguments over finances. 

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Finances

Things to Avoid to Achieve Financial Freedom

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It is every person’s dream to be financially liberated. Everybody wants to have enough cash and savings at hand to pay for the kind of life his family deserves. Similarly with others, you also work very hard to grow a nest egg to be used for retirement or to pursue a desired career. No one ever dreams to worry about limited annual income forever.    

Sorry to say, many think of financial freedom as no more than just an unreachable dream. They got stuck on increasing debts rather than savings. They are burdened with reckless spending rather than investing in a good financial future. The worst part is that there exists a pandemic which left many people jobless and empty-handed. 

No one can escape from all these things. To tell you, planning and preparation aren’t sufficient when it comes to seeking personal financial freedom. Doing the right practices and having the right habits are major leaps to get there. 

On a sad note, many people don’t recognize the problem until it becomes out of control. Below are the things that we should avoid to achieve financial freedom. 

Things that Ruin Your Financial Freedom

Multiple Credit Card Accounts

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Credit cards indeed give you the convenience of making cashless payments and settling unexpected expenses. But then, owning multiple credit card accounts makes you more susceptible to overspending. You are spending money that you aren’t earning yet. On top of it are the fees and interest that you should recompense after making a payment transaction using a credit card. Indeed, credit cards can be a gateway to extra debts. 

Expenses

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Living in a more expensive home and sending children to a more pricey school are signs that you are on your way to a ruined financial future. As early as now, cut back your expenses. Downsize your transportation expenses. Pay low fares by missing out on the traffic. Wake up early or find a home a few blocks away from your workplace.

Debts 

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Loans are dangerous to wealth building and savings. Both low-interest and high-interest loans can clutter up your financial freedom. Failure to pay a loan balance on time and in full can pile up interests and late payment fees. 

Save for your financial future. Pay off your debts as soon as possible. Have it listed as your main priority. Debt consolidation is a good thing to start with. This works by having one loan to pay for all other loans you have. To lessen the burden, consider debt restructuring too. This works by negotiating for a reduced monthly loan payment from the companies where you borrowed money. With a lesser amount due to pay each month, you have a chance to manage your finances better.    

For the final note, read on.

Having financial freedom means living a happy life. Start by creating financial goals. These goals will help you determine how much to put aside each month. This gives you the advantage of being financially-free in the years to come. Also, make the most of your talent on the side to improve your income. Lastly, avoid the things that I listed above. 

I know that it takes a lot of courage and discipline to get these things done. However, keeping an eye to your desired financial destination can keep you going. 

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Finances

Strengths and Low Points of Using Contactless Credit or Debit Cards

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Convenience is the logic behind contactless payment.

Contactless payment has sought its way to a younger generation’s way of life. The number of people who prefer contactless payment over pulling out cash is increasing. No surprise that everybody in the coming years will be waving their card at payment terminals to set a payment. Popular brands like Apple, Android, Starbucks, and Walmart have joined the mission of improving customer experience through this innovative payment technology.  

On a different note, not everyone prefers contactless payment. Few people prefer handing in cash or swiping a credit card through a device to manage their bills and purchases. To know where to stand on this matter, let us take a closer look at how contactless payment looks like. Knowing its benefits and drawbacks is perfect. 

Things that You Should Know about Contactless Payment 

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How does it work?

E-payment apps are accessible through a payment terminal that has a near-field communication chip in place. This technology uses short-range radio waves to allow smartphones to receive and send data necessary to set a payment. 

What are its benefits?

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Convenience

Contactless payment gives you the comfort of not bringing a wallet full of cards and cash to manage your purchases. Simply grab your smartphone and you are good to go. If you opt to use your card to manage your transactions, the contactless payment system saves you from the hassle of keying a PIN and signing receipts to complete the transaction. Various contactless payment mediums are made available for you. You can have it straight to your smartphone, vehicles, key fobs, or in any mobile system.

Secured payment

Frauds have become a major problem among credit card or debit card users all across the country. Contactless payment ensures that important data are protected from hackers. The fact that your card does not need to come in contact with a less secured device makes it a trusted payment system. The near-field communication technology to which this payment system is rooted in encrypts data perfectly in a way that there is no chance for hackers to steal it. It is powered by a user-configured pin-protection system too.   

Time Efficiency

For average customers, tapping to pay is more time-efficient than being on a long waiting queue at the cashier. Contactless payment saves you time by allowing you to pay in transit venues. This means more time to complete the day’s tasks ahead of you.

What are the downsides of contactless payment?

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Confusion and hesitation

Although few businesses have started accommodating contactless payment, many customers do not have an idea on how to utilize the technology. These people might have heard about it through social media, but they are hesitant about giving it a try. 

Risk of spyware or malware attack

Mentioned earlier, a contactless payment app is made available on smartphone devices. Such a device is at risk of spyware or malware attack. Despite how strong the data encryption security is for this payment technology, hackers might as well reinvent their ways to get through it. In the next couple of years or months maybe, they could steal your valuable information. For these people, everything is possible for the money. 

Ease of unauthorized use

Losing your card can be a big threat. Until your card is blocked, someone can make contactless payment using your card simply because he doesn’t need to sign a receipt or key in a personal identification number. That being said, you are up for big trouble. 

In the face of its shortcomings, contactless payment technology has brought us to a new face of tomorrow. It opens up an opportunity for future innovations. For now, the best thing we can do to make this payment technology achievable is learning how to do it appropriately and cautiously. In most times, education creates a difference. 

Learn to embrace the fact that we are geared towards a digital age. So having a technology like this in place, expect that breakthroughs are coming our way.  

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