What’s Your Financial Weakness?

We all have a financial weakness.  That one area where we struggle to do the right thing.  We might even struggle with deciding what the right thing is.  If we remain unaware of our financial weakness, it can wreak havoc throughout our financial life, as my weakness did mine.

However, knowing your financial weakness, your financial Achilles’ Heel, so to speak, can help you become a better manager of your finances.

My Financial Achilles’ Heel

Me?  I like to squirrel things away for the proverbial rainy day, but when the rainy day comes, I don’t like to dip into my stash.

My husband and I have an emergency fund.  True, it’s smaller than we’d like, but we do have one in place.  Considering 28% of Americans don’t have any emergency fund (CNN Money), we’re glad to have our small one.

Financial WeaknessThere are other ways I squirrel away things.  We buy produce in season at lower cost by doing creative things like renting an apple tree.   Then we store it away for the cold winter months.  (It makes me feel a bit like a pioneer.  A pampered pioneer, but a pioneer, nonetheless.)  Right now we have a deep freezer in our basement that is filled with plums, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and applesauce.  If we didn’t have money for groceries, we have enough fruit to easily last us for two to three months.

Having an emergency fund as well as a stocked pantry doesn’t sound like a problem, right?

Right.  I’m being financially responsible and preparing for a time when money will be tight.

Here’s the problem.

I don’t like to dig into my stash.

If I have a financially lean month and I’m faced with a large expense like a car repair, I don’t do what would be logical–dip into my emergency fund.  Instead, my first inclination is to put the repair on my credit card and leave the emergency fund intact.

If I have a month where I don’t have as much grocery money, I’m more likely to put groceries on my credit card than make a significant dent in our food stash.

My behavior makes.no.sense.  No sense.

And yet it took me years to figure out that I do this and to realize that I have to fight the natural inclination to go in debt rather than dip into my reserves.  Part of why my family struggled with credit card debt is because of this irrational behavior.  Now the credit card debt is paid off, and I have a chance to start anew, well aware of my weakness.

What’s Your Financial Weakness

So, what’s your financial weakness?  What completely irrational behavior do you exhibit?  Are you even aware of what it may be?

Honestly, finding the chink in your armor, so to speak, may take years.  I think it took me nearly 15 years to figure out mine, and I made a lot of financial mistakes during that time.  I’m not sure why I exhibit this behavior except that perhaps growing up, I always saw my parents struggle with money.  They never had money to create an emergency fund.  Credit cards were their emergency fund, and they had to use them frequently.

I’m guessing for most of us, the experience is the same.  Financial behaviors we saw in childhood and learned as normal become the basis for some of our adult decision making.

What is your financial Achilles’ Heel?

3 Key Factors That Affect Your Home Loan Eligibility

A home loan can put a prospective homebuyer on the fast track to owning their own home by giving them the resources they need to move into a new home, and lenders will commonly offer up to $500,00 in financing to qualified applicants.

However, not everyone is eligible to receive the same amount of funding from lenders based on their individual circumstances. There are a range of considerations that go into the borrowing power of a given applicant when seeking out a home loan such as amount desired and credit score, but there are a few less obvious factors that can make or break a person’s ability to secure funding for the home of their dreams.

Income and Resources

The income and resources of an applicant are perhaps the most important aspect of their eligibility for financing, as they give a good indication of a person’s ability to repay the loan when it comes due. Direct salary as well as investments, inheritances and other income types are all commonly considered, and good ratings in this area can often offset lackluster evaluations in other facets.

Banking History

An established history with a lender can give a prospective home buyer a fighting chance of securing the necessary funding. Banking institutions see each borrower as a risk of lost investment to a certain degree, but an existing banking relationship gives a lender familiarity with an individual and their financial habits, and so it can be a good idea to seek out a home loan at an institution at which there is an active bank account in good standing already in place.

Down Payment

The amount of an applicant’s down payment can give them tremendous flexibility where securing a home loan from a bank is concerned. Lenders will commonly finance up to 95 percent of a home transaction, and so virtually any applicant should have at least 5 percent of the desired loan amount available at the time of application.

Of course, any amount significantly above this figure bolsters the borrower’s leverage, and a larger down payment now can mean smaller monthly payments and a lower interest rate later. The house and land packages in Perth in particular, can be far more manageable, it’s worth doing some research to find the best deal.

While it is possible for prospective homebuyers to obtain a home loan even if these critical factors are not necessarily in their favor, the available options for these individuals are often unattractive, as they can include high interest rates, uncommonly extensive repayment periods, exorbitant penalties and other undesirable terms. The amount a person can borrow from a lender is effectively unlimited in theory, but in practice, the borrower can only receive what the bank is comfortable lending.

Confessions of a Professional Blogger – Book Review

Confessions of a Professional Blogger

By: Miranda Marquit

Confessions of a Professional BloggerDisclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Miranda.  My policy on books I receive free copies of is that I don’t review them unless I like them.

How many of us, myself included, don’t jump at the chance to get a little insight into how someone who does something that we want to do for a living, for a living?  I know that when Miranda asked me back at the end of 2013 if I would read her book that I immediately said yes.  It’s been a little while since she first sent over a copy, but that’s totally on me.  I read a lot of books, and somehow hers got lost in the shuffle and ended up at the bottom of the to-read pile.  I wish it hadn’t, but it did.

On to the book.  It’s a short read at just over 100 pages, but it’s chock full of excellent information on becoming a professional blogger.  Miranda leads the reader through the steps of starting out and gaining fans for your blog, or for gaining customers for your freelance writing.  Throughout the book, Miranda focuses quite a bit on the details on how she manages her freelance clients, the way she’s created the “package” of services that she provides, and how she structures it all to the benefit of all involved.

If you’re looking to test the freelance writer waters, Confessions is a quick read that’s loaded up with information on where to start, what you need to do, and how to keep it rolling.  You’ll find the book to read like a lot of Miranda’s articles, smooth and concise.  And who better to learn from than someone who used her freelance writing to become the primary breadwinner for her household?

You can pick up a copy of Confessions of a Professional Blogger at her site, MirandaMarquit.com.