Basics On Controlling Your Credit

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Every time I go to a banker, they tell me I need a credit card. I get told how I wont be able to be successful in society without a credit score. No mortgage, no car loans, no emergency loans for sudden financial problems. What they don’t tell you, is how credit works and how to manage it.

First off, checking your credit score is something you should do if you haven’t already. You need to know where you stand. But don’t do it every month, because every time your credit score is checked, it actually dings your credit score. That’s why you should be careful to not apply for loans, credit cards, and be careful on credit applications that you’re not completely sure you need.

Need. That word alone has been harassing peoples financial lives for decades. What do we need? Well, it’s apparent that we need a credit score. What you don’t need is lots of debt. The first piece of understanding credit is that you do not need to have lots of debt with large payments in order to have a good credit score.

On to the meat and potatoes of the issue. As a college student, entry-level worker, or just getting into the issues of credit, you should start with a credit card. Know, though, that a credit card with a card with a $500 limit does not mean that you have $500 more dollars to spend than you did before. It means you can have the things you want and need NOW, and pay for them LATER. Later, means when your next paycheck comes. It doesn’t mean at your latest convenience.

Starting with a credit card with low interest is a good idea. Take it to the cornet store, get groceries, and pay them off that day, in a week, or at the end of the month. Don’t delay the payments, which will hurt your credit score. Taking this slow approach to achieving a good credit score is an excellent way to start. You have frequent credit card payments, which looks good, and you have cheap, low expense costs which means you are only paying off $25-$125 payments.

Take your credit seriously. It’s more than whether or not you live in your own home or an apartment, if you drive a new car or an old one. Credit affects whether or not you get a job, your financial future, and your ability to afford quality insurance. It also speaks about you as a person: whether you can handle a job, take care of an apartment, drive safely, and manage other people at work.

Take this into consideration next time you talk to a banker about a credit card, a loan, mortgage, or student loans.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait To Plan Your Retirement

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Who says you have to work until you’re 65? With the decline in the availability of pensions, it is almost a requirement for an individual to begin their retirement planning through their own means. You’re always told to start planning your retirement early, but they never tell you what that means, or what it entails.

Planning an early retirement doesn’t mean creating a bucket list, making sure you have found a home too retire in, and all the nitty gritty details. All of those things are flexible, will more than likely change with time, and can even be changed after retirement. Planning an early retirement means getting your finances in order early, and figuring out how you are going to pay for your retirement.
There are many viable options out there, starting with a 401(k). These retirement savings plans are sponsored by employers, and are not taxed until withdrawals are taken out. The advantage of this, as opposed to an individual retirement account, is that you can put more money into these retirement accounts. The limit for a 401(k) is $15,500 per year, with a kicker of an additional $5,000 if you are over the age of 49.
Additionally, many employers offer matching funds for retirement accounts. Often, this is done on a percentage limit basis. So if your company offers 4% matching funds, and you make $40,000 a year, thats $1,600 per year they will pay towards your retirement. This means, if you pay $1,600, they will match that with an additional $1,600. You can continue to put in as much money as you want until you reach your limit, but the company will only match with that 4%.
Individual Retirement Accounts are also a very popular method of retirement planning. There are two types of IRA’s. The first is a traditional IRA. In any IRA, the annual limit is $5,500 per year, $6,500 if you are over 50. A traditional IRA, however, you don’t pay taxes on your investments. You pay taxes on the returns when you withdraw the balance upon retirement. In a Roth IRA it is the opposite. You pay taxes on the investment initially, and your withdrawals are tax-free upon retirement.
So which is for you? The answer to this is based on where you think you, or the market, will be when you are looking to retire. If you foresee yourself being a higher tax bracket when you retire, it would be financially lucrative to pay the lower tax bracket now, rather than later. 

Taking a step back, lets get back to the part about why it is important to start early. It’s not so much as ‘the early bird gets the worm’ or ‘you don’t want to be figuring this out last minute’. Your money can do more for you early, when you’re young, and when the numbers of compounding interest are on your side.

Having this money saved up is more than just planning for your retirement, but planning your future as well. This also acts as security in the event the economy takes a dive, you lose your job, or unexpected medical bills arise. So don’t wait, start investing today. You don’t have to work your entire life, let your investments do that for you.

 

All my If’s and Will’s

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Originally posted on Hope for the Road :

All my If’s and Will’s
are sitting around in my head
entertaining each other with stories
of words they have, want to, and never said.

If’s, by nature,
are prone to reminisce
thinking back to every moment
and how it could be different

They want to teach the Will’s a lesson
want them to learn from their mistakes
bring Only’s along and show them off
as a warning of the high stakes

Will’s are determined dreamers
stumbling towards the goal
blinded by good intentions
drug along by future’s pull

Together, they chide me
constant, consistent,
If you had said it,

but you didn’t

next time

it will be different.

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Food Security, Smallholder Farming and Agriculturally Sustainable Intensification

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Since the middle of the 20th Century, the world has produced more people than the entire rest of human history. The human population totaled one billion for the first time in the early 19th Century. It would be another 120 years before the world saw two billion people. Another 33 years and we see our population reach three billion. The population of the world would reach the fourth and fifth billionth person in 14 more years, and 13 years respectively.

This brings about a question that must sooner or later be answered by the world. Read the rest of this entry »

The Lonely Mountain

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Originally posted on scenes from the trail:

So I haven’t seen The Hobbit, nor do I know if Mt Taranaki was used as the filming location for the film, but if I had been in charge, it’s definitely the mountain I would have picked as The Lonely Mountain. Mt Taranaki is truly striking, in a way that only volcanoes can be. It seems to rise out of nothing, towering over the surrounding farmland and coastline.

Mt Taranaki from the north.
A hazy Mt Taranaki from the north.

I was visiting Bec and Holly in the area, so Bec and I thought we’d give the summit a go. It’s not a particularly difficult climb if you don’t mind a little bit of stair climbing. The track is well established and not particularly long, but definitely a slog. The weather is a bit iffy, and afternoon cloud often gathers around the mountain. Fortunately the summit sometimes pokes through the cloud, as it did the…

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8 Reasons It’s Okay To Be Single

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Originally posted on James Michael Sama:

With Valentine’s Day having just passed, we’ve all been witness to self-loathing Facebook statuses about being single, but this doesn’t just happen because of the holiday.

I find often times the perception in society is that if you’re single, you’re unhappy – and if you’re in a relationship, you’re automatically happy.

Given how many people live fulfilling single lives and how many people settle into the wrong relationships, this is not always the case.

Here are 8 reasons it’s okay to be single.

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It shows you don’t lower your standards.

Many people think that if you’re single, it means you can’t find someone. But, in reality it’s smarter to wait for the right person to come along, than to settle for all of the wrong ones. Give yourself a pat on the back for committing to this.

It gives you time to learn about yourself.

The most important relationship you’ll…

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Crying Cheshire Gets Rowdy Over Reid

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Im so excited for the season premiere of House of Cards tomorrow. Just kidding folks. House of Cards, or rather House of Cary, just had its season premiere right here on campus.

Last night, Student Senator Cary Cheshire started writing a statement about his motion to impeach Texas A&M University Student Body President. Im not sure if he got lost along the way, but his train of thought surely went missing very early on.

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