Sarang Ahuja | Finance

Leader, Financial Expert, Game Changer

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Sarang Ahuja—Comparing the Biggest Personal Finance Companies

Comparing the Biggest Personal Finance Companies

Personal Loan companies are well recognized with offering individuals with credit to buy immediately and pay back the borrowed amount over time. Numerous companies such as banks, private lenders, credit unions and peer-lending companies offer personal loans. Customers with predictable monthly income are given priority in receiving personal loans. Personal loans are often utilized to consolidate high-interest debts, finance big purchases such as houses or land or used to fund new businesses. Consumers can borrow money for the personal loan either in person or online. A personal loan can get you the quick funds you require in short order if you meet the requirements. They are a popular tool for amalgamating and reducing high-interest credit card debt, providing fixed interest rates and payment plans, making the loan repayment easier to budget for. Personal loans are classified as unsecured loans since they do not require security. Additionally, they are preferred to most credit cards because one can borrow a huge amount conceivably at a lower rate. When utilized responsibly, personal loans can help bridge a financial shortage in no time. Companies offering personal loans are compared in terms of LOW APRs, Higher loan limits, flexible terms, accessibility and low or no fees. Below is a list of best personal loan lending companies that targets borrowers who have substantial credit.

Lending club

Ranked among the top America peer to peer lenders with loans up to $40,000 in a year. It is popular among the lenders due to its lenient credit scores policies that require a minimum of 600. It is widely spread across America conducting business in more than 47 states with an APRs range from 5.99% to 35.89%* APR. The lending club boasts of competitive interest rates, transparency and wide availability that puts it first among other lenders.

Wells Fargo

A well-established personal loan lending company with a repayment term ranging from 12 to 6o months with no origination fees. Offers loans from $3,000 to $100,000 with and advertised APRs of 6.25% to 19.75%. Wells Fargo boasts of highly competitive rates with a convenience of large branch network across the world.

Prosper

Ranked as the second largest lending company after lending club with a minimum credit score of 640 and loans from $2,000 to 3,000 at APRs ranging from 5.99% to 35.97%. It operates in more than 47 states in the U.S with impressive transparency hence preferred by many individuals.

Lightstream

Lightstream is an offshoot of sun trust bank that offers excellent rates for creditworthy borrowers. Lightstream is highly preferred because it offers loans with no registration and prepayment fees. Has flexible terms and high borrowing limits making it a darling among prospective borrowers who require massive amounts and a longer repayment time.

Personalloans.com

Personalloans.com offers a wide variety of loans ranging from personal bank loans, installment loans, and peer-to-peer loans. Has an advertised APRs ranging from 5% to 36% with loans amounts up to @35,000.

Sarang Ahuja—Goals for Financially Responsible Individuals

4 Goals for Financially Responsible Individuals

Financial concerns are common even among individuals with sizable incomes. This is because many have a tendency to live up to or even beyond their means. Essentially, people are spending as much as they are earning, and they have little to show for it as a result. This can create financial stress and can put your future in jeopardy. If you are wondering what you can do to improve your financial situation, setting a few goals and working toward those goals regularly are wise moves to make.

Pay Off Your Debts

While some types of debt, such as a home mortgage, can help you to improve your financial situation, you should focus your attention on paying off all debts as soon as possible. All debts have interest charges and other fees, costing you money unnecessarily on a regular basis. By paying the debts off, you can avoid paying interest charges. You can also use the funds that otherwise would have been allocated for debt payments to save and invest more heavily. Start by paying off the accounts with the highest interest rates first.

Reduce Regular Spending

Living up to or beyond your means can create financial stress and hardship. It is smart to always live below your means. Consider downsizing to a more affordable house or driving an older car. While it may be nice to have status symbols that show off your income level, it is better to enjoy peace of mind in knowing that you have a sizable bank account balance.

Create an Emergency Fund

Everyone should have a substantial amount of money in their savings account. This should be money that is not earmarked for anything other than emergencies. Therefore, save up additional funds as needed for vacations, holiday shopping and more, and avoid dipping into your emergency fund unless absolutely necessary. Ideally, this fund will have enough money to cover your expenses for at least six months.

Invest Regularly and Heavily

After you have accomplished these goals, you will find that your financial security has already increased substantially, but there is still more work to be done. Now that you have reduced your spending, you can focus on investing regularly. Investing is a great way to get your money to work for you, and it can prepare you for the unexpected as well as for retirement. Focus on diversifying your portfolio to minimize risk.

Turning your attention to your personal finances is critical if you want to sleep peacefully at night and enjoy a secure future. By working regularly on these important goals, you can turn your finances around and enjoy the financial security that you crave.

Sarang Ahuja-How To Be Fiscally Responsible

How To Be Fiscally Responsible On Vacation

Summer vacations are a time to relax, but they can be financially taxing as well. Between the time you may have to take off and the expenses related to travel, preparing for a vacation may be a year long ordeal. As a result, even well-planned vacations can end up costing a lot more than travelers have in mind. If you’re traveling or vacationing this summer, I’d like to share some tips for ensuring that your personal finance doesn’t go out the window.

Eat smart.

When you’re on vacation, it can be tempting to eat out every day. This can add up quickly, however. Consider planning your meals ahead of time, looking in the cities that you’re traveling to for cheap and healthy options. If you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen, you can even bring your own food!

Plan transportation.

If you don’t have access to your own car, you may very well need to rent one for the duration of your stay, or investigate public transportation options. For both of these, it’s critical to compare prices to discern the most cost-effective way to travel. You can even break up rentals, renting multiple cars over the course of the week, if you’ll be staying in multiple locations. Pay attention to factors like pickup locations, gas policies, and other things that may lead to an additional charge.

Look for free events.

The theme of this article is that a little research goes a long way. In an unfamiliar town, there are frequently free tours that don’t carry with them the expenses of paying to sightsee. Beyond this, there are often interesting local events in the summer that you can partake in for free or cheap. This has the added bonus of giving you a better sense of local culture than common tourist spots. Often, there are free walking tour agencies in major cities run by people more than happy to show outsiders around.

Tweak your plans.

This is especially valuable advice when it comes to flying. Flying at times such as the middle of the week can save a lot of money on airfare, and flying with stops can also save a great deal of money. Some sites will even inform you when certain airlines have sales. Generally, the further in advance you book, the better, though some believe that 50-60 days before the flight is the best time to buy. Regardless, booking last minute should be avoided.

Limit your souvenir spending.

I won’t fault anyone for wanting to buy souvenirs; they can be great mementos of a trip. However, they can both cost a lot of money in tourist-centric areas and take up valuable luggage space, which should be conserved when flying or taking a train trip. Be cognizant of the amount of space you have leftover in your luggage and plan accordingly.

Sarang Ahuja—5 Books to Change Your Financial Perspective

5 Books to Change Your Financial Perspective

Finance is not something to be singularly studied and then mastered. It takes time to adequately comprehend everything that feeds into finance and economics, and even more time to keep up with the worldwide and personal changes that can affect the way your spend and make money.

When you’re on the beach this summer, consider mixing up the usual lineup of pulp thrillers with one of these great books on money.

Spend Well, Live Rich: How to Get What You Want with the Money You Have by Michelle Singletary

This is the kind of book that you can judge by the cover. Unpretentious, straightforward and practical, Singletary brings her years of journalism experience to bear on Spend Well. The focus of this book is on common financial questions, with the author providing relatable advice that anyone can follow. If you’re looking to improve your debt situation and spend less, this is the book for you.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

In the wake of the Great Depression, impoverished journalist Napoleon Hill sought the secrets of wealth, interviewing numerous wealthy individuals over the course of two decades. It doesn’t just offer insight into how to be smart with finances, it’s an inspirational book as well, telling the stories of men and women who grew out of their humble beginnings and made names for themselves.

The Devil’s Financial Dictionary by Jason Zweig

Tongue-in-cheek and humorous, Zweig paints a picture of a hostile and unforgiving Wall Street, deciphering jargon while tearing down the individuals that have made finance so difficult to process for many. It’s a survival guide to a dangerous reality, one that can be navigated with a lot of savvy and perhaps a good sense of humor.

Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons In Life by Richard Branson

Written by the founder of Virgin, contrary to what the title may suggest, Branson calls for a more holistic approach to building business based on moral values and environmental preservation. Branson talks about the people that inspired him and how he experienced and overcame numerous obstacles on his personal road to success, with the hope that he can spur others to do the same.

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Kiyosaki tells the story of his two dads, his own, and his “rich dad” who was actually the father of his best friend. He contrasts how both approached money and spending. It teaches paths to financial freedom and the mindset necessary to not spend beyond one’s means. It’s a great way to change one’s mind about how wealth is generated and spent.

SarangAhuja-How To Build Your Credit Score

How To Build Your Credit Score

Personal finance is a broad topic that can factor in an array of life aspects. Educating yourself on the importance of a savings account, how to write checks, and managing a budget are just the basics. Understanding your credit is another level. If you’re looking to finance anything in the near future such as a car or a house, your credit score will have an effect on your financing terms. For anyone looking to build their credit score, here are a few ways you can.

Your Credit History

Taking out a loan is borrowed money, and the lender you receive the loan from tracks how you pay that money back. How much money you’ve taken out and how well you manage your payments both go into your credit history. Employers, landlords, and other potential lenders will want to see a credit history before they approve your loan.

No Credit History?

If you’ve never taken out a loan before, you have no credit history. Credit history is a report of you making payments on borrowed money. With or without credit history, anyone can build their credit and achieve financial stability.

Get a Credit Card

A bank credit card with a small limit is the best way to gain and build your credit, especially if it’s from scratch. As a guideline, only spend up to 30% of your approved limit. Be sure to make your payments on time to avoid added charges. Check with your bank on the interest rates so that you can ensure your personal finance and credit card is under control.

Make Payments on Time

With any credit you take, whether that be a student loan or simply your credit card, you absolutely never want to miss a payment. Making payments will help or hinder your credit history. If you miss a payment, your credit may take a hit.

Have Variety of Credits

A variety of credits can help your credit score. You can have a mortgage, student loans, personal loans, car loans and other credit cards to give your credit a boost.

Store specific credit cards are only usable at that exact store. For example, Old Navy has a credit card approved customers can use and in return they’re offered rewards. On top of a store credit card, you can have a personal bank credit card. The most important thing to remember is that if you don’t pay off the balance each month, you will be charged interest.

Credit can seem daunting to those who aren’t informed. Follow the tips and tricks to understanding how credit works and boost your credit score in no time.

Talking to your Kids about Finance—Sarang Ahuja

Talking to Your Kids About Finance

It can be tough to broach the subject of money with kids. After all, they likely haven’t had a real job or had to worry about their own finances early on in their lives. For children, adults appear to have their finances figured out, with magical credit cards that allow them to pay for everything and no knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes. Talks about the value of saving money are generally the baseline measure taken to help kids understand finance, but even then, the idea of spending and saving money may seem a world away to them.

I’d like to share a few of the ways that you can talk to your kids about money in a way that can prepare them for the future.

Explain how your finances work.

Children are renowned for their curiosity, and when speaking with them, it helps to treat them like people and not talk down to them. That said, it can be difficult to explain finances in terms that they would readily understand. But some of the basics—how a credit card must be paid back, how monthly expenses can define a budget—can be crucial in giving your children a sense of the effort that goes into managing money.

With the amount of automation that comes with managing finances, it can seem like an effortless process to an outsider, something that anybody can tell you is certainly not true. Dissect the accounts, payments, and taxes that go into every transaction with your children. You’ll likely find that they’ll have plenty of questions of their own.

Teach Shopping Habits.

Make your kids into smart shoppers by showing them the ways that you compare goods when shopping. Note to them the size and price, and experiment with different brands to spark a discussion about whether or not paying extra for a certain brand is worth it.

Work On Saving Goals.

Saving is one of the basic tenets of financial management, but to what end? Work with your children and encourage them to set saving goals, even if they’re relatively minor. Is there a new game that they want? Talk to them about the price and how long it will take to save up for it. If they get a regular allowance, help put in perspective how far their money goes. Start a savings account for your child, and teach them the value of setting funds aside for the future. Talk to them about setting aside things like birthday and holiday money in this account.

Set a Budget.

This one is more geared at older kids coming up on their teens, but breaking down monthly expenses and comparing them to income is a valuable lesson. As a child, it can be easy to forget about the transactions that keep an individual afloat, from rent to food to car payments. Create a somewhat simplified budget with them, giving them a better sense of how you allocate your finances each month, and give them the chance to plan one of their own.

Invest Wisely.

Once you’ve covered a lot of the basics, talk of stocks and investment can help kids understand the value inherent in businesses. Make it a family activity; have every individual track a stock and discuss the highs and lows that it goes through over the course of several weeks.

Teach Giving.

With all of the pressure to accumulate enough cash to balance a budget, it is still important to teach your children that, at the end of the day, there is still always someone less fortunate that is worth giving back to. Encourage them to research different charities, and perhaps even foster their own fundraising efforts for giving back to the cause of their choice.

After all, it’s not just about encouraging them to be better spenders, but encouraging them to be better people.

Tips and Tricks to make extra cash—Sarang Ahuja

Tips and Tricks to Make Extra Cash

Saving, despite its plentiful benefits, can sometimes only do so much. In every individual’s life, there is a point when they decide that it’s about time that they made more money. Maybe it was the first time they mowed neighborhood lawns, or took a paper route, or even fought for a raise. There’s a lesson to be learned here: there are always opportunities to make more money with a little creativity and determination. I already talked about the gig economy and some of the best side job options available, so if you’d like information on that, read this article.

However, there are other ways to provide yourself with an alternative income stream or even gain the skills necessary to secure a raise. I’d like to discuss some of them now.

Get a certificate.

You’d be surprised at the number of skills that have some kind of certification associated with them, that can be earned without too much of a time commitment online. In some cases, you may be able to just take an exam to prove your competency and shore up your resume.

There’s a certain level of research associated with doing this. For instance, you’ll want to make sure that you’re earning your certification from a credible website. Some can actually cost quite a bit of money, so you’ll have to weigh the cost with the impact that it’ll make. Still, if you earn enough money as a result, you can make your investment back and reach your career goals in the process.

Grow Your Portfolio.

The best kind of income is the kind you don’t have to put too much time into. Building a stock portfolio is a great way to generate passive income over time. The best investment portfolios are focused on long-term growth, and with a little research and monitoring, you can build a supplemental source of income. Lending firms are also an option if you’re particularly short on time, and are a good way to dip a toe into the waters of investment.

Gain a Following.

Starting a blog is an unlikely way to generate income! The first step is positioning yourself as an expert on a particular niche (like finance!). It can be tough to generate a regular readership, but you’ll never need a stringent schedule or anything outside of a computer and internet connection.

Once you’ve started providing something of value, you can expand to other, smaller services and find a way to offer more to your audience. This is a flexible approach, allowing you to commit as much or as little as you want.

Learn Niche Skills.

Every industry has its quirks, and in yours, it always pays to learn the little things. Consider the niches in your field, and consider becoming an expert in one of them, a font of knowledge that others around you can depend on.

Certifications can come in handy here; it’s never too late to learn, and you’re not starting from scratch. Even in a workplace, taking on extra responsibility in a specific area that is needed can lead to further raises and opportunities.

Financial Recovery (1)

Financial Recovery—Acknowledging Your Money Missteps

When it comes to personal finance, it can be easy to continue spending on something that offers you little to no value with a disproportionate level of attachment due to resources you’ve already expended. This is known as the sunk cost fallacy and can cause individuals to act against their best interests and spend more than necessary. When this happens, the best course of action is to ignore the amount already spent and move along, even if this is difficult. Similarly, if you’re caught up in another bad financial habit, the solution is always to acknowledge the issues with your behavior and adjust accordingly. With that in mind, here are a few financial mistakes that are easy to make, but also easy to recognize and fix.

Not planning for a major life change

When something major occurs in your life, you should attempt to anticipate and deal with it as soon as possible. Changing jobs and careers is perhaps the most jarring financial change to make, but the expenses and time associated with major events such as weddings and the birth of a new child can tax you more than you’d expect.

Take advantage of the time you have before the event occurs. When it comes jobs, don’t quit until you’re absolutely certain you’ll be able to support yourself between jobs. Setting up a new job is half the battle, but the other half can often involve pursuing other sources of income that can support you in the interim.

Not tracking online payments

When it comes to online payments, never assume that payments are being made automatically. Even with autopay on, make a list of websites that will be charging you and find time to check them after every payment is made. It can help save you from unexpected late fees and save you the hassle of having to call companies to talk about your payment.

And, as previously stated, never hesitate to let go of a recurring payment if you feel you are no longer gaining value from it.

Not having a budget

Building a budget may seem like a daunting prospect, but there are tried and true rules that can help you easily plan out where your money goes every month. One of the most prominent is the 50/20/30 rule, which states that you should allocate 50% of your monthly funds to necessities, 20% to retirement, savings, and debt payment, and 30% for lifestyle expenses, which involve everything else. You’ll need a way to track this budget, and some online services make it easy, but much of this can be done by writing down relevant information.

Not building additional sources of revenue

Sometimes, time limitations make this difficult, but securing or setting up alternate streams of income can give you more breathing room month to month. This can involve taking on freelance projects, securing a part time job, or even selling old items that you no longer need. Be flexible, and ensure that you have the time to properly dedicate to side projects.

Not having long term goals

Things like retirement can seem like ages away, but knowing the eventual outcomes you are trying to achieve go a long way toward your planning tactics. For that matter, it’s not enough to simply have a goal; you need to know the steps that you want to take to reach that goal, and do the proper research and preparation to ensure that you’ll be able to act on it when the time comes. This can involve managing your debt, creating an emergency fund, and putting serious thought into where you allocate your savings.

A Little Something on the Side

A Little Something on the Side: Getting Started with a Side Job

The dynamic of labor in the United States has changed over the past decade. The long-held institution of the 9-5 job is crumbling in the face of a difficult job market and the increasing interconnectedness of technology. Because of this, individuals are opting to take on smaller part time jobs, sometimes to supplement an existing source of income, and sometimes because of difficulty in securing full time employment. Either way, working a side job can be a valuable asset and resume booster, providing the individual with an alternate cash flow that may not be as consistent or time consuming as a 9-5.

So, if you’re an individual that needs some extra cash, regardless of your reasons for doing so, there are a multitude of avenues you can take. I’d like to discuss some of the options available on the part-time job market.

Driving

Uber and Lyft have effectively disrupted the public transportation industry with crowdsourced drivers and a easy-to-use apps. Known in the industry as rideshare apps, an increasing number of people are becoming Uber and Lyft drivers to earn money on nights and weekends. Though becoming a rideshare driver is not as intensive as becoming a certified taxi driver, there are certain barriers to entry that applicants need to abide by.

Drivers need to submit to a background check in addition to possessing a valid driver’s license, a smartphone, and a car with four exterior doors and five seatbelts. Additionally, some cities may not allow rideshare services to operate, so be sure to know if your area can participate! Still, on a busy weekend night, rideshare drivers can accumulate quite the haul.

Babysitting

Despite being one of the stereotypical jobs for teenagers, a good caregiver can alleviate pressure from parents and make a positive impact on a child’s life. Previously relegated to word of mouth, technology has also made it easier to find babysitting and care gigs. Care.com is one example of a website looking to match babysitters with families in need, and payment is easy to receive through the site.

Depending on when you’re available, you can expect to make anywhere from $12 to $25 an hour babysitting. The high end of the scale is generally seen among night sitters, who assist tired parents with children, particularly babies and newborns.

Writing

Writing freelance blogs and articles has a huge market on the Internet. There are plenty out there if you go looking—but be warned, the pay can often be low. Research is important when writing online; you’ll want to know the regulations of the sites that you’re pitching to, as well as having a solid understanding of the topics that you’re writing about.

Still, nothing beats the flexibility of writing for an online outlet and working wherever you’d like! Find a site that fits your schedule, interests, and needs and have a great time producing quality content.

Design

While it requires a bit of a background to do well, with a bit of artistic know-how, you can create beautiful graphics or design for the web. For doing this, it helps to have a collection of your previous work somewhere on the web; bonus points if you can make your own online portfolio from scratch.

Upwork is an online resource for the errant designer, offering potential leads and jobs to community members. Plus, if you start to gain momentum, the amount of money you can make will increase over time.

Spring Cleaning Your Wallet

wallet

 

Now that tax season is here and the hustle and bustle from the holidays has finally settled down, it’s time to get cleaning, your wallet that is. Now is the perfect time to come up with new financial goals while planning out your financial expenditures for the rest of the year. Tax season is a great motivator to getting your finances on track and looking forward to springtime. Here are the some ways to clean up your financial wallet this season!

 

Pay down your debt

With tax season finally here, now is the best time to pay off as much of your debt as possible. Why? Because your tax return will give you the highest cash value that you own. Now, remember to do this the smart way. If you only got $500 back in taxes, but have $2000 in credit card debt, it may be a better idea to split those payments up to help contribute to a higher monthly payment. But if your tax return is say $3000, then you have enough to pay off your debt and treat yourself! It’s also a good idea to split up your monthly payments to an even amount until you can pay it off in full. This will show creditors that you are able to pay your monthly bills at a consistent rate.

 

Plan out vacations or trips

Now is the best time to plan out any family vacations or yearly trips. For one, you have more time to do so now as it’s still snowing and cold outside. Once spring time hits you’ll want to spend as much time outside as possible, without the worry of planning your yearly travel plans. Now is also a good time to plan things out because again, tax season is here so you may have a little extra boost in cash to contribute to your vacation funds.

 

Consider your credit cards

With spring time comes new promotions and rate options available from different financial lenders. For example, there may be a discount on personal or student loans. Many companies also offer great credit card offers with 0% interest or low fees on balance transfers. This is the time to sit down and take a look at your debt to see if there’s anyway you can cut down your monthly payments. Making a phone call to your lender provider can actually be the trick to lowering your rates. You may also consider opening a new credit card or transfer your balances for a lower rate. Whatever you decide to go with, make sure you do your research and talk to a provider before making any important decisions on your finances.

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