Category: home & finances

Households Less Confident In Personal Finances

A recent loss of momentum in the U.S. economy has consumers less confident in their financial futures. Should an unexpected expense arise in the coming months, and you don’t have the available funds, you may be able to use bad credit payday loan to cover it. Only 36 percent of Americans currently think the economy is on the right track, with many stating it will continue in this trajectory during the next year, according to a recent survey conducted by Fannie Mae. However, there has been some positive sentiment regarding conditions in the housing market.

However, this activity may be stifled by uncertain expectations regarding the future of consumers’ personal finances. Specifically, in June it was found that 42 percent of respondents anticipate their financial situations to remain unchanged during the next 12 months. This was a decline of four percentage points from May when 46 percent of consumers had similar feelings.

Meanwhile, 18 percent of households revealed that their incomes have remained stagnant during the past 12 months. This was a also a decline of 4 percentage points from the previous month. While many families are still making the same amount of money, a majority claim their expenses have remained high during the past year, the report said.

Budgeting For A Household

Creating a budget for a household can be a much more complicated task than budgeting for a single person. However, the basics are fairly similar.

The basis of any budget is your income. But rather than just accounting for your own, you will need to include your spouse’s as well. Make sure to figure out how much you both make after federal and state taxes as well as Social Security and Medicare are deducted. This will be the foundation of your budget.

Pay Periods

Although having two incomes can make it easier to make necessary payments, if you have different pay periods, it can be slightly more complicated.

For example, if you get paid biweekly, and your spouse receives monthly paychecks, you may only have a certain amount of money available when certain bills are due. If this is similar to your situation, rather than calculating your total income, it might be easier to allocate each separate income to certain payments.

Account For Necessary Expenses

Necessary expenses can be easier to determine when you only have one person to worry about. Add a spouse and a few children into the equation and it gets bit more difficult. Start by setting aside money for your most important expenses. Number one on your list should almost always be for housing, whether it’s rent or mortgage payments.

Further, the more your family grows, the more expensive other payments can become. For example, your food bill can quickly grow as you add more mouths to feed. In addition, paying for education and clothing is also another expense you don’t have to worry about when you’re single, so be sure to add this in as well, if it applies.…

Hurricane Preparedness – Protecting Your Home and Finances

As Hurricane Sandy approaches the East Coast of the United States, residents in many areas are bracing for the potential issues the storm may bring.

As of Friday morning, the Category 1 storm carried sustained winds of roughly 80 miles per hour, with the National Hurricane Center predicting it will make official landfall Tuesday morning near New Jersey.

Residents Urged to Take Precautions
With the storm set to bring heavy rains and damaging winds, officials are urging people in warning areas to take immediate steps to protect themselves and their property.

“Even if Hurricane Sandy ultimately moves away from land or downgrades, it is a good idea to take precautionary measures to prevent further damage to vulnerable property and keep out of harm’s way,” said Chris Hackett, director of personal lines policy for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

Here are some steps to take before a storm hits.

• Review insurance policies and store contact information – One of the first steps urged by the PCIAA is for consumers to review their insurance policies. This can help ensure you know exactly what your policies cover. In addition, it represents a chance to copy down your agent’s contact number so you can call them later. If the power is out you may not be able to look up that information online.
• Safeguard property – You should also take steps to protect your property, such as moving all outdoor furniture inside and making sure doorways and windows are secured and shuttered. Preventative steps can help prevent a home repair that requires emergency funds, even if insurance eventually covers it.
• Inventory belongings – It may also be prudent to take an inventory of your current belongings, complete with pictures and receipts, if possible. While it may seem excessive, this kind of documentation can make the insurance claim process easier after a storm. That can help speed your claim along and help you get back on your feet.
• Watch for evacuation orders – As the storm approaches, look for local evacuation warnings and prepare. Gather up an emergency kit with any medicines, personal items, important paperwork and other necessities. That way you will be ready to go if the need arises.
• Keep receipts – If you are affected by the storm, keep all receipts for hotels, meals or temporary repairs. Most property insurance policies have an allowance for Additional Living Expenses, which pays for food and lodging if a disaster makes your home unlivable.

Damage Totals Could Be Severe
While the storm’s final track is still uncertain, forecasters say the damage from the storm could be extremely severe.

Risk analysts told Reuters that Sandy has the potential to create billions of dollars in damages, and could be even worse than 2011’s Hurricane Irene. That storm already ranks among the most damaging hurricanes ever to hit the U.S.…