4 Tips to Improve your Financial Health

Health is at the front of our minds this time of year. Many New Year resolutions involve making healthier choices, like getting an appropriate amount of sleep, exercising more, and striving for a balanced diet. While you’re in this mode of self-improvement, why not extend these new habits to your finances as well?

Financial well-being is defined as having financial security and financial freedom of choice in the present and the future. If you’re unsure about your financial health, find out your financial well-being score by taking this test on NerdWallet.

Don’t be discouraged if you’re not as financially healthy as you’d like to be, here are a few tips to help you get your finances in order for the new year:

  1. Create a budget.

A simple budget is a great place to start and can help you understand your financial flow. Figure out your net worth, or the difference between your assets versus how much you owe. It’s normal for your net worth to fluctuate over time, and it’s a good practice to calculate it once a year to track your progress. From there, you can create a more detailed budget to help you plan for expenses and reduce unnecessary spending. If you need help creating a budget or are looking for a template, click here.

  1. Save for emergencies and adjust for lifestyle inflation

As your monthly surplus (or the extra money left over after paying necessary expenses) grows, you can establish a savings account for emergencies. These extra funds will take the pressure off so that you don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck when emergencies arise. It’s also important to adjust for lifestyle inflation as your net worth grows. It’s easy to spend more as you make more, but paying close attention to your budget will help you increase your savings as your income grows.

  1. Get rid of bad debt

Bad debt is defined as debt incurred to buy things that quickly lose their value and do not generate long-term income (e.g., a daily coffeehouse cup of coffee) or debt that carries a high interest rate (e.g., payday loans and high interest rate credit cards). In order to save as much money as possible, pay off debt with the highest APR (annual percentage rate) first.

  1. Save for retirement

Financial planners often recommend opening a retirement savings account, even if you’re currently in debt. Retirement is often overlooked when assessing financial health, but the sooner you start investing, the more your money can work for you by gaining compound interest. If you’re still in debt, investing 2 to 5% of every paycheck is a good place to start. As you pay off your debt, you can increase the amount you put towards your retirement savings. If you have the option of investing in a 401(k) at work, try to contribute the maximum amount that your employer is willing to match.

 

4 of the Best Personal Finance Resources

Whether you’re managing money your own money or balancing the books for an entire household, personal finance is a huge responsibility. Luckily, we live in an age where a seemingly endless amount of resources are available to help us budget and invest wisely.

If you’re not sure where to get started, visit your local bank or give them a ring. Your bank is intimately familiar with your finances and can offer recommendations based on your unique needs. Many banks have staff employed to help you understand your accounts and all of the services available to you.

Here are a few of the best personal finance resources we found this year:

  1. Read Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook by Tony Robbins

In his latest book released in 2017, motivational speaker and smart investor Tony Robbins is sharing his secrets to help empower readers to take control of their finances. Unshakeable comes highly recommended by billionaires Oprah Winfrey and Allen Greenspan. This easy read is full of valuable advice that will apply no matter what your income level.

  1. Subscribe to a personal finances podcast

Podcasts are a great way to pass the time while sitting in traffic and there are plenty of shows on the topic of financial literacy. One of our favorites is the So Money podcast with Farnoosh Torabi, which covers topics ranging from investment to entrepreneurship and more. So Money is a short daily podcast that makes it easy to stay up-to-date with financial news. If your primary concern is increasing your cash flow, we recommend the Cash Flow Diary podcast with Gary Douglas.

  1. Join a personal finance forum online.

Online forums are a great tool for participating in lively conversations and staying up to date on financial news. FICO has a great online forum that provides information about credit scores and a wide range of financial topics. YNAB Forums is a great option for anyone who’s ready to get serious about budgeting.

  1. Study finance at the Khan Academy

The Khan Academy is a nonprofit that provides free video presentations on various topics, including financial topics. The Khan Academy helps viewers make the connection between their personal financial choices and the larger economic climate with easy-to-digest personalized videos. They even have lesson plans and tests to help you track your know-how.

5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Is a Lifesaver Around the World

Life insurance can seem like a superfluous cost, especially when you’re young and healthy, but the future is uncertain and life insurance can provide a cost-effective safety net to give you peace of mind. For those in developing countries, acquiring life insurance can help families accumulate wealth for future generations and boost the overall economy. While we hate to sound morbid, here are a few more reasons why we think life insurance is an investment worth making:

  1. Protect family and loved ones

Many people living in developing countries are working their way towards the middle class, but unexpected death can quickly deter those plans. Life insurance can provide stability so these families can successfully ascend from poverty.

Life insurance is crucial if you’re the breadwinner, as it will allow your family members to maintain their standard of living instead of struggling in the midst of unexpected circumstances. In the event of your passing, the money you have contributed to your insurance plan could go towards the costs of a nanny or housekeeper so that your remaining relatives aren’t forced to bear an undue burden.

  1. Provide more financial security

Life insurance can provide beyond the basics. For example, if the policyholder passes away, the funds could be used by the beneficiaries to start a new family business or to fund a college education. Given the unpredictable nature of life, every parent still raising children may want to consider preparing with additional coverage.

  1. Pay off debts

Life insurance not only can help with day-to-day costs, but it could also cover existing debts and recurring payments you might have, like a mortgage or car loan. It can reduce stress during the mourning process as your family makes burial and funeral arrangements, which easily can amount to thousands of dollars.

  1. Saving tool

Life insurance and annuity plans can help fund your post-retirement dreams, such as purchasing that dream home or travel in your later years. They can also help you save money on your annual taxes, with various plans offering different tax benefits. But do your homework since different plans may have vastly different implications. For example, a permanent life insurance plan covers you forever, whereas term life insurance expires after a certain period even if you’re still living.

  1. Smart investment

The financial gains of an investment towards life insurance are easy to configure with simple math. Simply deduct your eventual pay out from your current costs whenever you need to validate your decision to think ahead. While some plans can have considerable monetary costs, it’s important to weigh them against the long-term value to your loved ones.

To assist Meed members in planning for the future, we are partnering with insurance companies to provide coverage to the global Meed community as part of their financial services package. From life insurance to personal accident insurance, we believe insurance is essential for achieving financial security and piece of mind!



Disclaimer

The information in this article and the links provided are for general information only and should not be taken as constituting professional advice from the website owner – Meed. Meed is not a financial adviser. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the article information relates to your unique circumstances. Meed is not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information provided directly or indirectly, by use of this article.

 

Family Finances: Aussie Insights from The Fiscal Mum

While marriage and kids offer many priceless benefits, having to deal with family finances is probably not one of them. Making and managing money as a single person was hard enough!

Navigating your financial relationship with your significant other can be stressful. Then throw kids into the mix, and it’s no wonder 15% of Gen Xers (35-54) and 36% of Millennials (18-34) argue about finances every week. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Through the internet and social media today, money experts use colorful, engaging methods to deliver financial education right to the palm of our hands. Rebecca Maher, aka The Fiscal Mum, is one such financial expert based in Australia who specializes in helping people manage their family finances.

Rebecca Maher, The Fiscal MumRebecca’s first experience working as a financial planner left her disenchanted. She felt the industry’s prime motivation was closing the sale rather than understanding the real needs of the client. She felt that most financial advisory services only had a handful of cookie-cutter products they were trying to push on people—primarily high net worth individuals and retirees who already had accumulated money and assets. The industry was neglecting people who needed guidance most. So she jumped ship to pursue other opportunities.

However, Rebecca’s perspective changed when she started having kids. Surrounded by other new “mums,” she recognized a glaring need for financial advice among those whom the traditional financial planning industry was neglecting. Although Rebecca’s first impression of the industry had been negative, she felt compelled to give it another shot, albeit on her terms.

Becoming The Fiscal Mum

With a formal education in business studies and international finance, one might assume Rebecca had launched her financial planning business with ease. But she reminds us that business finance is vastly different from personal finance. She says much of her personal finance knowledge is either self-taught or from lessons learned from her father. Australia’s government and not-for-profit organizations have some initiatives to advance financial literacy in school settings, but they’re mostly ad hoc rather than part of a formalized curriculum.

Through her father’s fiscal responsibility, Rebecca learned that when used properly, money is a tool that can help you live the life you want. Rebecca thinks many people resist seeking out financial advice because they believe planning for the future means making serious sacrifices today. Rebecca’s goal is to help families balance these two competing interests.

In her work with mothers (and couples), Rebecca finds that increasingly women are seeking the empowerment that comes from financial literacy and informed decision-making when it comes to family finances. They don’t want to rely solely on a spouse. She thinks the “mompreneur” trend with mothers starting their own businesses has become so popular because women seek the validation that comes from contributing to household income. Otherwise, many women report feeling inferior and that they don’t have the right to a say in household financial decision-making.

However, Rebecca emphasizes to her clients that properly managing family finances is just as important for creating and maintaining wealth as the number of dollars that their spouses or themselves bring through the front door. We’re socialized to keep chasing more money and the status that comes from having it. But the vital importance of backend monitoring is often left out of the conversation.

Introducing Responsible Money Concepts to Your Kids

Although her two daughters are still youngone is a toddler and the other an infantRebecca already is planning how she’ll impart financial wisdom to them. For young children, Rebecca encourages taking advantage of “teachable moments.” When you’re in the supermarket, for example, you can introduce the concept of budgeting by telling your kids about the price of items in your shopping cart.

Then as Rebecca’s kids get older and start earning money with their first jobs, she plans to sit them down more formerly to discuss budgeting, saving, opportunity cost, etc. Also, she plans to teach them about investing through the small investment portfolios that she’s already started for them. Rather than teaching her kids using theoretical money, she believes her lessons will be much more engaging and impactful using their own money!

With one of the highest levels of household debt in the world relative to GDP, Australia has a lot of families in need of financial assistance who can’t afford traditional financial advisors. Non-for-profit organizations and government programs exist, but many are overburdened and under-resourced. And the situation is similar in many other countries. But fortunately, people like Rebecca are out there helping people who need it most, including her own children.

Thank you to Rebecca and everyone else around the world working so hard to advance financial literacy and security in your communities!


Learn more from The Fiscal Mum:

What It Means to Be a Socially Conscious Consumer

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. – Alice Walker

Terms like socially conscious, social enterprise and eco-friendly get thrown around a lot. But what do they actually mean? And does it really matter if we buy products and support companies that label themselves as such?

To shed light on this topic, I chatted with Jamie Kopp, a passionate social justice advocate who works at a nonprofit organization in Vancouver that provides settlement services to immigrants and refugees.

For Jamie, being a socially conscious consumer means living with intentionality and realizing that the purchasing decisions we make everyday impact the world, for better or for worse. These decisions include everything from where we shop, to where we bank, to the food we eat, to the financial investments we make, to how and where we travel. And so on.

Why Being a Socially Conscious Consumer Is Good for the World

You’ve probably heard stories of destitute workers, including young children, earning meager wages while working in deplorable conditions. Governments in their respective countries may be unstable, with minimal enforcement of labor or environmental laws.

These workers are left vulnerable to exploitation by unscrupulous foreign employers looking to cut production expenses by paying lower wages and avoiding the environmental regulations that these companies face in their home countries.

Unfavorable and downright unethical business practices take many other forms too. For example, opening fake customer bank accounts, discriminating against certain races or genders in the hiring process and using harmful ingredients.

But fortunately, no matter what issues you care about most, you can impact them meaningfully through your spending power. “Money talks” is not a meaningless cliché. Where you put your dollars, or whatever your currency is, matters!

Withholding your money from companies whose business practices you don’t support is a direct cut to their sales, and ultimately to their bottom line. And while our individual decisions are powerful, Jamie challenges us to encourage our peers too. Think about how we can multiply the impact when others follow our lead!

How to Be a Socially Conscious Consumer

Inevitably you’re thinking, “Okay that sounds nice. But products that come from ‘socially conscious’ companies are way more expensive.” In some cases, that may be true. But Jamie says oftentimes it’s simply a matter of analyzing price vs. value.

Think about those $100 name-brand shoes you bought. Did the manufacturing company pay workers fair wages? Were the shoes sourced from sustainable materials? If not, look into shoes that are manufactured with social good in mind. The price actually may be similar to your name-brand shoes. In one case you’re paying for the brand name and in the other you’re paying to support vulnerable communities and the conservation of the earth.

And it’s inspiring to see that more and more often, you can get the best of both worlds! Considering 91% of millennials say they’ll switch brands to benefit a cause they believe in, our consumer demands are forcing popular name-brand companies to modify their business practices.

If you’re more in the $30 shoe range though, then yes, some socially conscious products may be significantly more expensive. In those cases, look for quality second hand and consignment shops. If nothing else, you can help recycle items that otherwise might end up in a landfill.

Or DIY! For instance, grow your own herbs or make your own soap. You can source eco-friendly, organic (no chemicals) ingredients yourself at lower cost than buying these products in the store.

How to Find Socially Conscious Companies

Use the internet and social media hashtags to search for brands using terms like “triple bottom line,” “B corporation,” “social enterprise,” “social good,” “socially conscious,” “eco-friendly,” “fair trade,” “social impact,” “social responsibility” and “sustainability.”

You’ll quickly find lots of businesses doing amazing things to make a positive difference in the world, both locally and globally. And hopefully some are brands you already patronize!

But how can you tell if companies are for real? In whatever way they claim to contribute to social good—whether it’s intrinsic to their mission, through one-off campaigns, or through a corporate social responsibility arm—Jamie says it should be transparent, clear and specific on their website or social media.

Ask brands publicly on social media about their business practices and contribution to social good. (Don’t forget the power of social media to call out brands on their unethical practices too!). Also, ask friends and your social media network for socially conscious brand recommendations.

Jamie encourages shopping at small businesses and farmers’ markets in your neighborhood too. In addition to supporting your local economy, buying local gives you much greater line of sight to business practices versus shopping at stores owned by huge corporations.

Final Thoughts

Of course, you have to pick your battles. Not every product you consume will contribute to social good. You also might discover a brand you thought supported an issue that’s important to you really doesn’t. And sometimes it’s hard to cut through the fancy marketing to find the truth. Nevertheless, making one socially conscious choice is better than nothing!

Also, Jamie urges us to instill a socially conscious mindset in children by teaching them how to be passionate advocates for social good. Additionally, she would love to see regulation requiring companies to disclose more information about their business practices.

If you haven’t already, start getting familiar with unfamiliar socially conscious brands, and reconsider trusting the trusted name-brand products that may be harming you, the people you care about, and the entire world we live in!


Want to learn more from Jamie? Follow her on Instagram: @jayjay_world1

 

 

8 Money Tips from Millionaires You May Never Have Considered

A few of these money tips simply may be reminders, while others may be things you’ve never considered. Millionaires make being rich look easy, but in reality many of them have long-established habits in place that help them retain and increase their wealth.

Some of the richest people in the world started from nothing, so don’t be discouraged if you’re in a financial bind. Try these simple money tips to help change your relationship with your bank account.

  1. Pay yourself first.

Many of us are in the habit of paying our bills first when we receive our paychecks, but that often leaves us with little to put towards savings. If you pay yourself first by setting aside money for your savings, you’ll be less stressed in the long run and better prepared for emergencies. Try saving at least 10% of your monthly income to start.

  1. Keep a balanced budget.

Do you know where your money is going? Are you living within your means? Millionaires don’t get where they are by spending frivolously. Take a closer look at your monthly earnings and set some spending limits. This will help you curb unnecessary spending and save money for a more lavish lifestyle later on.

  1. Earn passive income to increase your earnings.

Multiple streams of income are a great way to increase your earnings, and passive income is one way to achieve that. You can create passive income in numerous ways. Try becoming a referral source by asking local businesses you frequent if they have a referral fee. Many will reward you with a small incentive for passing business along.

If you have credit cards, take advantage of cash back rewards. Use your credit card on essential purchases to earn airline mileage or fuel rewards. And don’t forget about SocialBoost (coming soon!) which provides the opportunity for Meed users to earn money from the bank every month just for getting friends and family to become Meed users too.

  1. Invest in yourself.

One trait that many millionaires share is that they never stop learning. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates lack college degrees, but they make up for it through self-education. Make sure you’re current on trends if you’re in a specialized field and become more well-rounded by seeking information outside your expertise. This could include setting aside an hour to read each day or finding a mentor you can learn from.

  1. Be prepared for emergencies.

Not only will an emergency fund reduce stress, it will also help you avoid falling into debt due to an unexpected crisis. Make sure you have life, car and health insurance, and create another savings account for emergencies outside of that. Strive towards having at least 12 months of income set aside.

  1. Automate your spending.

You can’t miss money you never see, so try to automate your spending where possible. This will prevent you from missing bill payments and incurring late fees, but also can be used for long-term savings if you have a 401K or retirement plan at work. With the Meed app, each time you earn SocialBoost income, half of it will go directly into your Meed secured savings account.

  1. Be decisive.

Napoleon Hill interviewed hundreds of millionaires for his book Think and Grow Rich, and one trait he claims they all have is the ability to make quick, yet smart decisions. Impulsive, irresponsible decisions often happen because of “decision fatigue,” when we spend too much time fretting over simple decisions, so our brains have less energy to spend on more important ones later on.

You can reduce decision fatigue by simplifying your wardrobe or meal planning in advance. This will free up space to give financial decisions the consideration they deserve.

  1. Be grateful for what you have.

Self-made millionaire Tony Robbins makes gratitude a part of his morning routine. This may seem difficult if you’re struggling, but it’s important to appreciate what you have in order to bring more abundance into your life. Try incorporating it into your morning routine to get your day started off right.

Even if we don’t all reach millionaire status in our lives, these money tips can help us afford the luxuries of the wealthy more often. And more importantly, these money tips can help us build a foundation for long-term financial security for ourselves and the generations after us.

To learn more about how Meed can help you achieve financial freedom, sign up with us at https://meed.net!

Credit Card Fraud: How to Protect Yourself from Getting Scammed

Ever experience that feeling of utter panic after discovering you’ve been a victim of credit card fraud? Knowing some stranger has stolen your personal information and accessed your hard-earned money is unsettling, to say the least.

Maybe the person who found your lost credit card decided it was the perfect opportunity for a shopping spree. Or online hackers stole your credit card number while you were booking flights for your family vacation.

Whatever the case may be, you can prevent yourself from being victimized again by arming yourself with the knowledge and tips in the following infographic from CreditLoan. And if you’ve never experienced credit card fraud, use the following information to keep it that way!

As a financial technology, or “fintech” company that has built a financial services app, Meed is abundantly aware of the ever-present threat of security breach. Yet we also recognize the value of cashless and mobile payments for populations around the globe and how important building good credit is to financial health.

The opportunities for credit card fraudsters may be increasing with the rise in cashless transactions, but we believe you can outsmart the scammers by taking measures like those described in the infographic below!

Credit Card Fraud Stats - Protect Yourself from Being Scammed

 

 

Entrepreneur Life Demystified. Is It Really for You?

Ever go on a date with a self-proclaimed entrepreneur? The ring of “entrepreneur” on his or her social media profile sounded sexy and exciting right? It showed ambition. And it meant he or she would soon be raking in millions. Over the past few years, entrepreneurship has become a fad for people of all ages, and in particular for millennials.

TV shows and other media have made entrepreneurship seem like the most enviable of professions, and a guaranteed way to impress your peers. Colleges all over the world continue to invest millions of dollars to launch entrepreneurship programs and construct buildings exclusively for these programs. The allure of entrepreneurship is still thriving. But is entrepreneurship as glamorous as it appears from the outside?

To get some behind the scenes insight into entrepreneur life, I spoke with Dominique Broadway, personal finance expert and millennial entrepreneur based in Washington D.C.

Finding the Path of Least Resistance

While the stories of successful entrepreneurs often get romanticized, entrepreneurship is far from a quick or easy road to riches for most people. Building a successful business requires major sacrifice, patience and diligent financial planning. And it also requires willingness to be broke in order to get rich. It can take years before entrepreneurs bring in enough business income to pay themselves at all, let alone a decent salary.

But with some strategic decision-making, it’s possible to make the roller coaster ride a lot smoother. If you have the resources you need, Dominique says don’t wait to get started on your dream. Otherwise, she recommends starting your business on the side before calling it quits on your day job. Wait to leave your job until your business starts bringing in enough income to support you. And make major financial decisions prior to setting out on your own.

Also consider the industry of your business. Certain industries inherently have lower startup costs, such as service-based businesses like Dominique’s where all she needed to get started was a computer. In contrast, brick and mortar businesses like restaurants and boutiques require significant startup capital for equipment, inventory, leases etc. While there’s a wide variety of business financing options out there, requirements can be restrictive and application processes tedious. So, be prepared to self-fund your business.

Dominique also emphasizes starting a business based on passion and experience. Since Dominique had been a stockbroker and was already a licensed financial services professional, starting a personal finance consulting business made sense. Many won’t find success if they pursue entrepreneurship just because it’s trendy. The reality of entrepreneurship is long hours, lots of pressure and ups and downs, and potential financial hardship particularly in the beginning. So, be sure you really, really love your business’s mission and the industry it’s in.

It’s Ok Not to Be an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. And that’s ok. But what if you still want the satisfaction of creating something that’s yours, of building a legacy, of having a positive impact in the world, of controlling your moneymaking destiny and of being your own boss? Dominique reminds us that it’s ok to excel at a job you love, even if you don’t own the business. She also says that being your own boss isn’t often the reality. As an entrepreneur, your clients become your boss, as well as any investors you may have.

If you aren’t cut out to be an entrepreneur, maybe intrapreneurship is for you. This means innovating at the company where you work. Develop a new product. Launch a new initiative. Use the resources that are already at your disposal. And don’t forget about side hustles. Instead of venturing out fulltime as an entrepreneur, you can always make your hobby into a profitable micro-business.

As long as you’re fully aware of the realities of being an entrepreneur, Dominique says go for it! Otherwise, it’s not worth risking your sanity and your bank account. Don’t worry, the people who matter in your life will think you’re sexy and exciting no matter what you do!

Learn more about Dominique:

Website
Instagram

Learn How to Earn with the Hip-Hop Stock Doc

Where did you learn how to earn? Probably nowhere. Most of us grew up without financial education.  Our schools didn’t require it.  And maybe our parents never learned either. Or they always handled the family finances for us. Then before they knew it, we were out on our own before they could teach us. So unless we’re part of a motivated minority who taught ourselves, most of us still have no idea how to manage money or build wealth.

But have no fear. With the internet and social media today, learning how to live it up for the long-term without going broke is easier than ever. Recently I chatted with Eric Patrick, a.k.a. the Hip-Hop Stock Doc, to find out how he went from pharmacist to money expert without any formal financial education. Not only is he self-taught, but he now teaches finance to others in ways that even the biggest arithmophobiacs can comprehend.

Learning How to Earn Outside the Classroom

Learn how to earn with Eric Patrick of The Black Market ExchangeAlthough Eric’s parents were bankers and he always excelled at math, his family never talked about finance much at home. It was just a few years ago when his career path changed course from medicine to money mentorship. He credits his wife for teaching him about budgeting and saving and for sparking his interest in finance.

As he learned from his wife, he recognized the need for an offensive strategy to complement her defensive strategy. He realized you can only decrease your expenses so much, but increasing your cash flow can be infinite. So, he delved into investing. However, once Eric started studying investing, he realized it was all the same old format. And it wasn’t relatable or digestible enough for the majority of people.

To change this scenario, Eric began sharing what he learned by connecting it to a universal language he and  his target audience liked and understood – hip-hop music. When people heard songs about poppin’ bottles in  the club, Eric wanted them to think about who made those bottles and how to earn an additional income  stream by investing in them.

Still, while Eric’s innovative and engaging teaching methodology in an otherwise dense and intimidating topic proves successful with his audience, I wondered what he thought about requiring formal financial education in schools, especially for those of us less motivated to educate ourselves later on. As kids, the pressure of a report card, and a parent’s wrath, is often all the motivation we need!

What About Financial Education in Schools?

Considering two-thirds of adults are financially illiterate around the globe, formal financial education requirements seem necessary to help people build fundamental personal finance skills from a young age. If Phys Ed is a requirement, why isn’t Fin Ed?

Eric says more financial components are making their way into schools, but much more progress is needed to teach people even basic financial life skills like budgeting, credit-building and doing taxes. Fortunately, educators have a wealth of lesson plan inspiration right at their fingertips with the creative and engaging tactics already used by successful financial bloggers like Eric.

Providing basic knowledge of personal finance in schools can have monumental impact, particularly for underserved communities where children do not have the luxury of being born into financial security. Future entrepreneurs stand to benefit as well since business success depends on solid money management skills.  But for those of us whose school days are over, we can always learn how to earn from people like Eric!

Other Tips

But what if you don’t like hip-hop? Or you just want more tips? Well, Eric’s financial wisdom spans a wide range. Here are a few additional pieces of wisdom he shared.

When talking about how much his wife helped increase his financial knowledge, Eric emphasized the value of having financial accountability partners. Whether it’s your significant other, your sibling, your friend or whoever, creating and sharing financial goals with someone you trust can provide major benefits even if you’ve never had formal financial education.

Also, compete with yourself to build wealth. Make it a game. Start with simple goals and then gradually up the ante.  For example, start with a goal of saving $10 in week one.  Then increase the amount for week two. Turn your goal-setting into a leisurely hobby and a habit.

In addition, today banks and other financial services providers are introducing apps and other technology all the time that are making saving and money management easier and more automated than ever.

The most important directive from Eric though is just to start somewhere. So on behalf of Eric, get motivated and go get that money!

Learn more about Eric and The Black Market Exchange: http://www.thebmex.com/team

9 Wedding Tips for Cutting Costs Without Sacrificing Style

Looking for wedding tips to keep your bank account in the black? Those of us who began dreaming about our wedding day as young children rarely factored our budget into our fantasies. However, as we got older the reality of how much that wedding venue would cost became clear, and many of us were forced to reel in our expectations as a result.

The fact of the matter is, as memorable as your wedding day might be, it is still only just that: a day. It becomes hard to justify costs when the same amount of money could be spent towards a down payment on a house or a college savings plan for future children.

Wedding Tips from Meed

 Luckily, there are lots of easy ways to cut back on costs without sacrificing style. Here are our top nine wedding tips for planning your dream wedding on a budget:

  1. Cut back on floral decorations
    Fresh flowers are enticing and make for great photos, but the costs add up quickly. Couples that opt for in-season flowers or forage their own bouquets will be surprised at their savings, and those who opt to grow centerpieces like succulents instead of hiring a florist have the option of gifting them as wedding favors at the end of the evening.
  1. Digital Invites
    Stationery costs add up quickly, especially for those who include a keepsake with their wedding invites or save-the-dates, such as magnets or photos. We conduct so much of our lives online these days, what’s the harm in sending an invitation by email and saving on postage? You can still send along a photo for guests to keep and your RSVPs will arrive in a more timely fashion.
  1. Limited bar options
    While an open bar might be alluring to guests, the costs can be astronomical. Taking liquor off the menu and serving up beer, wine and champagne instead can make a big difference to your budget. Or get creative with a small mini cocktail menu to cut back on ingredients.
  1. Be mindful which credit card you’re spending on
    It’s a good rule of thumb that you shouldn’t charge more than you can pay back in a month, but you should also take note of the different rewards that come with spending on various cards. Earning points or other incentives while you spend might be the icing on the wedding cake.
  1. Choose an off-season wedding date
    When it comes to venues, there are certain times of year that are guaranteed to be competitive. Not only will you avoid crowds by choosing an off-season date, but venue costs will be lower, giving you bargaining leverage with vendors.
  1. Skip the wedding planner
    Wedding planning can be stressful and many couples hire wedding planners to take some of the pressure off. However, with apps like Wedding Happy, couples can get organized without breaking the bank. If you’re still in need of additional help, hire a day-of coordinator to lend a hand.
  1. Get creative with dessert
    Besides the bride and groom, the wedding cake is the star of the party. Stacked cakes can get expensive though, especially with the array of flavor options offered. Cupcakes get the job done just as well and make for less mess since there’s no cutting involved. Other creative and cost-effective dessert options include cookies or donuts.
  1. Keep tabs on your wedding budget
    Whether you use a mobile banking app or another tool that reminds you of saving goals, it’s important to keep one eye on your bank accounts as costs can add up quickly. Apps like Wedding Budget Calculator do the work for you and allow you to keep your budget in check.
  1. Elope!
    Not every woman dreams of an extravagant wedding day, and if that’s not you, don’t fight it. There’s no shame in doing an intimate ceremony and announcing the news later on with a reception. Be true to yourself, whether that’s indulging in all of the bells and whistles, or sneaking off with your soon-to-be partner alone.

We hope these wedding tips can help you save money for life after the big day! Best wishes!