Reasons why You should use a Corporate Prepaid Card

Finance

A corporate credit card is an essential part of business operations, whether the company is a small start-up or multi-national corporation. While most businesses use credit cards, not all of them have the same financial requirements, which is why many businesses use Prepaid Visa cards as a practical way to keep corporate costs in check. Prepaid cards come with several benefits that should be considered when looking into a new or improved corporate expense strategy.

corporate-prepaid-card

1. Prevent Overspending

Traditional credit cards come with the risk of reckless spending that hails from high credit limits. With a corporate prepaid Visa card, however, the only funds the cardholder can spend is the money that was pre-loaded on the card. This simple feature prevents irresponsible or negligent overspending.

2. No Accumulated Debt

Since there is no credit attached to prepaid cards, they also prevent the creation of debt. This means that only the balance available on the card can be spent, and if someone wants to spend more, the card will be declined. While regular credit cards make it easy to overspend and accrue debt, prepaid cardholders will not have to deal with that predicament. Continue reading “Reasons why You should use a Corporate Prepaid Card”

Retirement and the Twentysomething – Not a Bad Combo!

Retirement and the Twentysomething – Not a Bad Combo!

Finance

If there’s one time of life that most people blow off, it would definitely have to be your 20s. We ignore the twentysomething phase of life because we think it’s a time where you’re supposed to goof off, mess up and basically do nothing but coast along through life. It’s when you hit your 30s that life is supposed to get serious. The truth of the matter is that you really want to make sure that you have things planned out a lot better than this if you really want a higher level of success. Sure, it’s tempting to believe that all you really have to do is just float along and not get anything done, but the reality of the matter is that you don’t want to do this at all.

A lot of twentysomethings make the mistake of believing that time will always be on their side. We hate to break it to you, but the reality here is that time will not always be on your side. You will have challenges that set you back longer and farther than you expected. You will have people that hurt you and annoy you. Distractions on the roadmap to a better life.

And you’re going to have to get serious earlier than you imagined, because life has gotten a lot more competitive than when your parents were in their twenties. The reality here is that you want to always make sure that you start thinking about retirement before you let the years go by.

The power of time on your money is incredible. You can take any retirement calculator and crunch the numbers for yourself. Even if you only started with $200 dollars a month and you don’t make all that much, your savings could grow to nearly $245,000. That’s assuming a steady growth rate of about 8%, which can definitely happen. And yes, you will have to think about taxes on taxable accounts.

Yet there’s no more just one way to get to retirement.

For creative twentysomethings, the power of owning something — whether it is property or a business — is quite incredible. There are so many different business ideas out there that you are bound to find something that you can actually do. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to deal with a lot of opposition when no one else is doing the same thing that you’re doing. It can feel like there’s no real point in doing anything because you’re just going to end up pushing so hard and not getting anywhere.

That’s the thing though — you have so much life ahead of you that it really does pay off to work hard now and enjoy a rich retirement later.

Don’t think that you have to make all of these incredible and life changing decisions on your own. If you don’t want to run a business, that’s okay. If you want to really focus on your career, that’s fine too. If you don’t know what you really want to do, that’s oaky too. However if you don’t know where you want to go, now is the time to make sure that you’re planning as much as you can for as long as you can plan. The alternative to not planning is just coasting, which we already admitted is just not the best way to go at all.

What path will you choose to get to retirement? There’s only one way to find out — start planning your retirement today!

Do We Invest In a Business While Risking Our Retirement Accounts – The Big Gamble Everyone’s Doing These Days?

Finance

As the economy worsens, some people are beginning to feel lucky. Really lucky, if you can believe this new trend — tapping retirement accounts and other personal piggy banks in order to start a business. It’s a trend that has some upsides as well as plenty of downsides. Before you begin thinking that we’re out to get you, you might want to actually think about things from a more balanced perspective.

First and foremost, you need to make sure that you’re definitely aware of all of the ways that a retirement account can actually get you to your goals. Do you really want to risk your work-free years if your business doesn’t pan out the way you would like?

In addition, you have to realize that you’re going to be paying taxes as well as penalties for tapping a retirement account before you’re old enough to actually retire. If you’re not at least 59 1/2 years old when you file for your withdrawal, you’re going to be hit with a penalty as well as having to pay income tax on the amount. That really cuts into your nest egg as well, and it can be difficult to replace the money once you take it out.

Taking out a loan can be just as rough — if you miss a payment for any reason, it’ll be treated like a withdrawal and you’ll have to do the tax-and-penalty shuffle all over again.

If you’re going to take on the task of running a business, you want to make absolutely sure that this is what you want to do. That means that you need to know something about well, running a business. There is a non-profit organization called SCORE that works directly with entrepreneurs looking to start a business. You’ll have a wealth of information here, so don’t overlook resources like that. In addition, if you can form informal groups with other entrepreneurs you’ll be able to get things done in a big way. That’s because you’ll have the motivation to push forward even when you feel like giving up, and that can definitely help you in those negative moments.

Market research also makes a strong difference in terms of whether or not you’re going to actually be able to get things done. The last thing that you want to do is find yourself being able to get anything done because you’re always running from idea to idea without even testing whether or not they’re going to work. Don’t just listen to friends that think your idea for a toy delivery service is going to take off — actually take it to the next level by doing your own testing of the market you want to enter. Talk with people that are already in that market. You might think that current business people won’t talk to you because you’re competition, but this couldn’t be farther from the case. You’re going to really want to make sure that you’re as honest and upfront as you can be, because there’s really no reason not to be, if you ask us.

All of these points fail to cover the other side of life — family and friends, of course. It goes without saying that you’re going to want to make sure that you aren’t carrying a lot of debt, and that you have a budget that you can live with. There’s just not getting around the fact that you’re going to need a lot of money to get your business dreams off the ground. If that money doesn’t come from a loan or your savings, it’s going to come from other sources. Make sure that you’re not sacrificing quality of life for your life. If you are married, it never hurts to make absolutely sure that your spouse is on your side. Running a new business is a matter of very long hours and more than just a little stress. People that start out positive in the beginning can get overwhelmed when they realize just how much work you’re going to have to do. Until you make the company profitable, you’re going to find yourself essentially working at another job — the very thing that you entered retirement in order to avoid. We’re not trying to talk you out of your dreams at all — but you need to make sure that you have them in perspective compared to the rest of your life.

Overall, building a business in retirement is what you make of it. It’s something that definitely has its fair share of risks, and understanding those risks will help make sure that your quality of life doesn’t suffer just because you want to start a business — make sure that you think things over and then take action!  You only get one life to live your dreams, you know!

Know about an ‘Upside Down Loan’!

Finance

You want to buy one of the latest model cars, or a nicely located house, or a home theater. Nine out of ten times, you may not have ready cash to buy one of these. So, you will go in for a loan; and after availing the loan, you will naturally start paying the monthly dues towards the loan. One fine morning, you will realize that the balance amount repayable by you is much more than the value of what you have bought. The loan that hangs on your head now, is known as ‘upside down loan.’ To prevent such a thing happening to you, you must make it a point to settle the loan earlier, i.e. before the value of what you have bought goes down.

Though all upside down loans are complex, in nature, a home upside loan is more complex than others. Why it is considered so? When you bought a house, you would have expected that the value of the property would go up by manifold in the course of a few years.  But what happens in reality? There is a general recession all over and particularly in real estate, the value goes down much.  In such a situation, you have an upside down loan in your hands. Sometimes, a somewhat risky mortgage too has a chance of becoming an upside down loan!

Upside Down Loan
Managing an ‘Upside Down Loan’

What is to be done when you yourself have an upside down loan? You should be very careful while considering the various aspects involved in the matter before you take a final decision. At the outset, you have to take a decision in the matter of allowing this loan to continue or not. If you make increased monthly payments, you can get along for quite some time without problem. In case there is a decline in the value, at an alarming speed, you will have enough reasons to worry about. Some time ago, though there was decline in the real estate market, a large number of house owners decided to stay put despite the decline. The result was terrible! Please do not allow such a thing happening to you.

There is no need for you to get panicky when the real estate market goes down and you are stuck up with an upside down loan in your hands. Nowadays, there are enough options available. The best among them is ‘reversing the position’ i.e. changing the ‘upside down loan’ to ‘right side down loan.’ Is it possible at all, you may doubt. It is possible and there is no doubt in this regard. Through the program called ‘Principal Reduction Program’ you can get the principal amount reduced. The bank should agree to this proposal.

Generally, banks may not agree to this proposal. However, in view of the fact that you have been prompt in payments, and considering the good relationship, there should not be any valid reason for the bank to reject your request.

Apart from this ‘Principal Reduction Program,’ there are some more options available, like modification of a loan, refinancing and walk-away solution. Besides, there is one more option i.e. ’signing a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure.’ Honestly speaking, you should not opt for any one of these simply because none of them is good.

Going in for a short sale of the house property will be the second best option after the Principal Reduction Program. As for short sale option, there are different kinds of short sales and, therefore, it is advisable you get in touch with an agent with sufficient experience in this field so that you can get the best out of your short sale.

Yes, You Need a Business Plan to Get a Business Loan!

Yes, You Need a Business Plan to Get a Business Loan!

Finance

If your dream is to expand a business or even start a new one, there’s something that you need to hear: you have to have money. Now, that shouldn’t stop you from dreaming of building a company. You can bootstrap your way into a business, but that takes a lot of time. When you know that you want to build the best foundation possible for your business, you will need to make sure that you actually get your affairs in order.

What do we mean by this? Well, you can’t just walk into a bank and demand thousands of dollars to run a business. Think about it from the banks’ perspective. They have to make sure that this isn’t just a thin excuse to get a lot of money that will never be paid back. If you’re getting a business loan, then there is the expectation that the business will be profitable in time for the bank or other lending company to collect their money on time. If you can’t promise them that, then you will not be able to get a business loan.

Now, there are times where you can get a small business loan simply through having good credit as an individual. However, if you really want to get money in a way that really shows that you’re into building a company for the long run, then you will need to make sure that you get the right steps in place to get the money that you deserve.

If you really want to get a solid business loan for enough money to really operate a business properly, then you will need to have a business plan. A lot of people think that a business plan has to be complicated, but that’s really not the case at all.

First and foremost, a business plan is just that — a plan that covers exactly how you will run a business, as well as how that business will turn a profit. A business plan can help you really understand what you’re getting into. You’re asking for a lot of money to create something that can bring you a lot of money, and also provide jobs for the community around you. That’s a serious thing, and it needs to be taken seriously — especially if you’re thinking about hiring employees. Those are people that will be trusting you to pay them enough for them to take care of their families. If you aren’t thinking about building something stable, then you have no business hiring anyone to work for you — unless they know that they’re only there for the moment. Temporary work isn’t a bad thing, but not when it’s temporary work dressed in permanent work’s clothing.

A formal business plan helps you stay focused, and they’re not difficult to write. They do take time, so it’s important to make sure that you construct one properly.

The way to begin is to start with the executive summary. This is a high-level overview of the document that the person will be reading. An executive summary is super important, but you will need to make sure that you save it for last. Even though it’s going to go first, it take so much time to piece together that you really do want to make sure that it’s the last thing you write.

From there, you will need to describe the company. What type of company are you trying to build?

Then comes more information on the products or services that you want to offer to the market. Be sure that you include how your products and services compare to other people in your marketplace. This ties in well to market analysis, which is a description of the market at large, the role your company will play, and the type of demand for the product or service — which can be supported by documentation.

Notes about marketing and sales strategies will need to be in the business plan, because marketing is absolutely critical. Having a solid sales process in place is equally important.

Don’t forget to mention the financial side. This includes the type of structure that your business will have, whether that’s going to be a sole proprietorship (highly unrecommended) or a formal corporate structure (highly recommended). The raw financial data includes the balance sheet at large, the breakeven analysis, the income statement, and even a statement of cash flow. As you might imagine, when you’re asking for a business loan the bank is going to want to know the intimate financial life of the company.

This is a pretty large document, and it’s going to expand for a lot of pages. Make sure that you’re ready for that. Now, if you don’t have the writing and research skills to prepare your own business plan, you might want to invest in hiring a business plan writer to take care of it for you. Instead of trying to turn in something that isn’t polished, you can let the other person handle the business plan from start to finish. Do this when there’s a large amount of money to be borrowed — after all, business plan writers worth their salt are going to be a bit expensive. If you follow the steps in this guide there’s no reason why you can’t get everything that you want in virtually no time at all!

The Internet Truly Brings New Perspectives To Online Bank Accounts

The Internet Truly Brings New Perspectives To Online Bank Accounts

Finance

The Internet has affected just about everything we know of, and the banking industry is really no exception to this rule. If you are used to banking as it’s been done in the past before the Internet really came to power, then you might feel that there’s really no difference in terms of then vs. now. However, that’s not true at all. What you need to find out is how the internet impacted back accounts in a major way.

The first way the Internet has changed banking is through online bank accounts. These allow anyone to live virtually anywhere and still have a bank account. If you’ve always wanted to have a bank account but not wanted to deal with the bank in your area, the Internet can give you another bank account. In fact, it’s quite possible to know set a bank account up completely online without even going to any bank at all! This is a great benefit for frequent travelers and people with very busy schedules.

You also get a lot of selection online vs. offline. If there’s a specific account type you want, you can usually get pretty good rates on it online instead of at an offline bank.

Local banks have gone online so that they can attract more customers. It’s easy to offer great introductory rates and make it easier for people to pursue credit if that’s what they want.

If you want a bank where you can perhaps get a home loan someday, building a long term relationship is much easier now than in the past.

Are you looking to get a bank account even when you’ve had checking account problems in the past? Thanks to changes in the banking industry online, you can find second chance banking accounts instead of trying to go without a bank account. Even though prepaid debit cards are now popular, there’s just no real substitute for a great checking account where you know your money will be safe.

Students looking for online accounts will find them, much better than they would have before the Internet really took off.

Don’t worry about security concerns at all — the banking industry takes security very seriously, which means that industry standard access control and encryption is used from site to site. It is absolutely unheard of for a bank not to take their customer’s data as seriously as they possibly can.

Ready to check it out today for yourself? Dive on in, you’re bound to find the best online bank accounts around!

Spare Change Does Add Up, But What Do You Do With It?

Finance

One of the things that our parents seem to grow up with was a jar of spare change. Anytime you came from the store, you threw the coins into the jar. Anytime you cleaned the house, you threw the coins into the jar. Anytime you washed clothes, you threw some coins into the jar. There were always opportunities for spare change. Even though there are fewer chances for us to use spare change in our debt card wielding society, there are still people that do things the old fashioned way. Let’s face it — cash feels good. Who doesn’t smile when they’ve got a wad of cash in their pocket? Even if you’ve got the same amount of cash on your debit card, it really doesn’t feel the same at all. You start think that maybe you’re missing out on something that everyone else has access to. That’s when things get a little weird, and that’s when you’ll probably want to make sure that you get cash at least every once in a while.

So what happens when you collect a bunch of spare change? No one wants to run out and suddenly pay for things with a bunch of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. However, you don’t have to — you can always step up and just focus on saving the money.

Now, we know that for some of you, saving is actually a pretty dirty term. However we stand by the concept of saving. In fact, what’s wrong with much of our country today is that people aren’t saving money. So even the small emergencies end up becoming big problems. You start missing work, and then your job is in jeopardy. It’s better to really look at everything from all sides and really ensure that you’re not going to hurt yourself just because you’re trying to get a good jump on all of the things that you want. Granted, we’re big fans of material stuff too — everyone likes the “toys” in life. Yet saving is something that can grow our future in ways that we haven’t thought of or even dreamed of.

How can you connect spare change to the idea of a savings account? Well, you actually have a few options. You can always take the cash down to a credit union or even a traditional bank and have it converted to cash. Yet most banks will not just take a jar of spare change. You’re going to have to separate it and wrap it in coin wrappers in order to get it accepted.

These days, technology has stepped in to make it a bit easier than ever to actually avoid having to deal with wrapping all of that change. That’s something that we are glad has changed since the days of our parents. We can actually deal with taking our jar of change down to a supermarket or to a bank and having it converted to cash for us. The machines that do this in the United States are called Coinstar, and they do take out a small fee. You have to decide whether or not that’s worth it for you. If you have a huge jar of change, it’s worth it because you will have saved a lot of time in not doing it yourself. That’s always worth it if you ask us, but a lot of people will disagree.

If you have an online bank account like we do, you can still convert to cash — but you’ll need to either convert to a money order/check and send it to your online bank, or you’ll need to deposit the money in a regular checking account that’s linked to your online bank account and transfer it over. This is up to you whether or not you want to go through this extra step. It would be the account that has the highest yield that would get our vote, so make sure that you’re watching your numbers.

Overall, now is definitely the time to turn spare change into cash for your savings account. The more you save, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to weather just about any financial emergency that comes around — why wouldn’t you want to get started today? You’ll be glad you did!

The Hills are Alive With the Sound of …Saving

The Hills are Alive With the Sound of …Saving

Finance

It’s a great time for finance — even if you don’t realize it. Sure, there are things in the economy that aren’t great. Unemployment is at an all time high, and this makes the whole market quite uncertain. When there aren’t any jobs or those jobs are tough to get, that means that people are going to feel like holding back on spending. However, is that always a bad thing? While it’s a bad thing from a business perspective, it’s a great thing for consumers. The tough times are teaching people that now is a great time to actually save their money rather than keep buying material things that aren’t going to do anything for them. Thankfully, you can always make sure that you are safe no matter what the economy brings by joining the savings revolution. By making sure that you save your money, you’re actually investing in the most important thing in the world — yourself!

Ready to get started? The hills are definitely alive with the sound of saving, and it’s not that hard to jump right in. The first thing that you’re going to want to think about is the actual plan that you want to create. What are you saving your money for? Indeed, if you’re one of those people that don’t have an emergency fund, you’re going to want to make sure that you actually have that in place. It needs to be as liquid as possible because let’s face it — the last thing that you actually want to do is have to wait several weeks to get your money if the worst were to happen, right? Right — this is actually the case of the investment accounts. A lot of people don’t think about that until it’s too late, and that leads to a lot of short term aches and worries that shouldn’t be there at all.

If you’re trying to save for another type of goal, the length of time that you have is going to determine the best type of savings account that you can think of. Certificates of deposit are nice when you have a long time before you have to cash them out, because you can just keep rolling them together rather than just letting everything sit unused. The more interest that you can build, the more that your money will be electrified to work for you.

Electrified? Well, that’s our term for it — the more power you give to your money by saving it, the more likely it is that you’ll have extra money to really get things done. How many times have you walked around your home and saw all of the things that needed replacing and you sighed, realizing that you didn’t have the money? That’s why a savings account is so powerful. Instead of borrowing money, you can actually tap into your own resources.

Of course, when you pull money out of your savings account, you should always make sure that you take the time to replace it when funds allow. This will keep your savings accounts fresh and ready to be used again and again. Far too often newcomers to the world of saving just assume that they have all of the time in the world to replenish their savings account, so they don’t make it a priority. Folks, the things in life that aren’t a priority for you will get brushed under the table each and every time. It’s easy to make excuses, but what will you do when your life doesn’t turn out the way you planned it? Continue reading “The Hills are Alive With the Sound of …Saving”

Preparing Financially To Grow Your Family

Preparing Financially To Grow Your Family

Finance

A baby truly changes a lot of what people find normal. Waking up in the middle of the night to answer a child’s cry might be something that you don’t think you’ll do, but trust us — when you realize that that new life is counting on you and you alone, you’re going to want to make sure that you actually prepare as best as you can.

Yes, under the best circumstances every child would be planned out to the letter. However, we know that that really doesn’t happen. You will instead need to make absolutely sure that you’re doing what you can, but you have to acknowledge up front that there are going to be things that you just won’t be able to do. There are times where you’re going to have to pick your battles rather than just fight for the sake of fighting. It’s something that you have to be sure that you’re ready to actually handle.

Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do ahead of time to get ready for the baby.

First and foremost, you’re going to have to get humble. Yes, you probably want a room filled with new baby stuff, but the reality of the matter is that a new child is expensive. They need a lot of stuff, and the way babies grow means that they’ll be out of that phase quickly — onto more expensive stuff, right? Well, these days people have gotten pretty smart and realized that if they buy used rather than new, they can save a lot of money. If you are good friends with a family that has children that are only slightly older than your newborn would be, you might be able to get a few things for free too. If you are extremely low income, there are centers in place to help new mothers get clothing for their children when their money is very tight.

There’s nothing in the world that says that you have to wait for people to ask you. Be bold and up front when people try to ask you if there’s anything they can do. When it comes to being a new parent, you really do need all of the help that you can get. It’s one thing to feel like you can’t do it on your own, but what about if you actually had a team of people helping you every step of the way? That’s going to make you feel pretty good, right? Right!

When it comes to actual money, if you don’t have an emergency fund, now is the best time to start thinking about it. It’s very tempting to assume that you can float without an emergency fund, but this really isn’t a good idea at all. You’re going to need money to cover the things in life that just come out of nowhere. Car repairs and home repairs spring to mind. When you have a newborn child, you cannot let repairs fall to the bottom of the to-do list pile. This will only cause problems further down the road that you really don’t want, and what would be the point in that?

If you really have the money to spare, you’ll want to set up a savings account for your child. Teaching your child the value of money will be important later on, but when they’re just entering the world you want to make sure that the principle of time value of money is really on their side. That’s something that a lot of new parents skip over and then later regret. The earning power of money just sitting around collecting interest has to be seen to be believed. Indeed, go online and use a calculator to figure out the difference between investing a small amount every month at age 5 to 18 versus if you had started right from birth. If people really want to help, they can put birthday money and gifts into that account rather than buy material goods that aren’t going to be functional for very long.

Don’t forget about taking out a life insurance policy. A lot of people don’t really think about the long term, but life insurance is a good hedge against the unknown. If something happened to one or both of you, your life insurance policy would kick in to at least give the guardian of your child enough money to see that the child is properly raised. No one wants to go without the peace of mind of knowing that their children are really looked after. Unfortunately, the assumption is made that life insurance is just too expensive to really be considered. This isn’t the case at all — you can look online for life insurance and compare multiple quotes at the same time.

Speaking of budgeting, you have to make sure that you pay even closer attention to your budget than ever before. You want to make sure that you not only have the emergency fund going, but that you’ve cut out those cash sucking expenses that you don’t even care about but you’ve been too busy to cancel. The idea of going out to get those fancy magazine subscriptions sounds nice when they’re giving you free gifts, but how many times are you actually going to be able to sit down and read them? If you have six months wroth of magazines piled up waiting to be read, then chances are good that you really don’t have the time to subscribe to the magazine. These subscriptions can add up to a lot of money. It’s the same with eating out — you’re probably spending a lot more to eat out than if you were to invest in quality food at home and just cook. Yes, it takes extra time but you can also prepare meals in advance and use tools like a slow cooker to do most of the work for you.

In the long run, you’re going to have to think about a lot more than just the romantic ideal of having a little one around the house. It’s no secret that children definitely take work, and you’re going to have to work hard. However, if you’re ready to grow your family, you’ll know. It can be tough on any budget because children are so uncertain, but the more that you can do, the easier things will be for you in the long run.

When Is It Safe To Build Credit Again?

Finance

If you feel that your life has been wrecked by debt, don’t worry — you are truly in good company. A lot of people feel emotionally devastated by the role that debt has in their lives. Does it mean that they are bad people? Not at all — it just means that they’ve made some choices and mistakes that have led to having a lot more debt than they can handle. They might have assumed that they would never get fired, sick, divorced, or have to suddenly leave things behind. Life is uncertain, and the only thing that we can ever do is really just make sure that we have a way of dealing with the things that life throws at us.

If you’ve gotten out of debt, you might wonder if it’s ever going to be safe to build credit again. There are numerous debt solutions, including going out to declare bankruptcy. Even though bankruptcy tends to have a negative perception in popular culture, the reality is that there does come a time where debts have to be cleaned away in a bankruptcy. Yes, it does give you a big hit on your credit, but it’s only temporary. There will come a time where the sun will shine on a new credit life — if you’re strategic enough.

Notice that last line: if you’re strategic enough. That means that you not only have to come up with a smart plan for building credit again, but you also have to stick with it. There is no overnight solution for a top notch credit score. The people that have 700+ FICO scores after going through debt nightmares are the ones that planned, read up on everything that they could find, and then made sure that they stuck to their plan no matter what. They didn’t give up just because the road was long. They didn’t give up when their friends didn’t understand why they suddenly couldn’t spend a lot of money, and they didn’t take out a thousand credit cards and charge them sky high. Those habits — trying to keep up with others, buying things you don’t need and can’t afford, as well as getting a lot of credit cards are all what can really put you right back on the road to a high debt lifestyle. Isn’t that what you’re trying to escape?

Now, given all of those things, you might naturally assume that it’s never safe to build debt again. That’s just not the case at all. Credit is neutral — it’s not good, it’s not evil. It’s a tool that’s designed to be used to create anything you want. You might want to own a home someday. Unless you plan to buy your house in cash someday, you will need to take out a mortgage. Getting financing for the things that you want in life is debt as well, but it’s considered good because it allows you to get more out of life.

The same applies for people that want to go back to school. Going to get an education can indeed raise your chances of getting a great job compared to people without an education, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to do that in order to increase your income. There are people with no education that go out and start online businesses — don’t feel that there are limits in life to getting what you ultimately want. You just need to figure out how to build the plan that works for you.

However, good debt can also take a turn for the worse, especially if you end up getting in over your head. You cannot assume that your realtor or mortgage broker will necessarily keep you from getting too much house than what you can comfortably afford. Remember that the professionals that help you get a home are driven by commission. That’s not to say that there aren’t amazing real estate agents but you still have to realize that there are people that will encourage you to make bad decisions — even if their intentions are good. Some real estate agents feel that you only live once, and if you can afford it you should definitely get the more expensive home because it’ll have a better location and more features. In other words, it’s an investment. However, it’s more intelligent to get a modest home in a modest neighborhood with a price tag that you can afford.

It’s always a good time to build credit again, but you don’t have to run out and get credit cards. You can go down to your local credit union and take out a personal signature loan. These are very small loans that are usually just backed by your signature. The interest rate can be a little higher, but you’re only doing it to build your credit. If you pay it back on time, then you will see a boost in your credit score.

That’s the same with other things, such as a secured credit card. You don’t want to max out a card like this, because then you’re going to get a negative on your credit report. However, if you really do reach out and try to use secured credit cards wisely, you will build better credit over time.

Yes, that pesky time word is back in full effect — it will still take time to build credit. Don’t listen to anyone that says that they can virtually snap their fingers and get your credit score over 700 overnight. It just doesn’t work that way.

However, as long as you’re willing to work hard and raise your credit score, there’s nothing that you can’t achieve in life!