When Is It Okay to Get Financial Advice?

The bills you have to pay, and the other money-related commitments you make, can become overwhelming if you do not get them under control. Sometimes, people tend to overestimate their financial ability to make purchases, leading to debt or an illusion of extra cash in their accounts. When there is poor financial literacy, it can easily be taken advantage of by those trying to sell you an opportunity that you are likely to lose money on.

You might be trying to figure out whether to get a financial advisor or take matters into your own hands and sort out your finances yourself. Different kinds of financial planners canprovide specific services, depending on the sort you are looking for. However, not all fiscal-related advice has to be sourced from a financial advisor. Many professions are allowed to offer their assistance to individuals who require guidance.

Here are some examples of instances where you can seek financial advice, be it from a financial advisor or otherwise:

Becoming a Homeowner

Picking out a payment scheme for your dream house can be confusing and challenging without the assistance of mortgage brokers. These will be professionals who have a thorough knowledge of the available options that will be a better fit for your financial situation. It helps to have someone navigate you through various payment schemes to ensure that you will be able to afford the commitment in the long term.

Aside from the initial payments you make, you might also need some financial advice on construction services that you will pay for. You can ask around for the typical cost of a particular job, canvassing for the average price so that you will have an idea of how much a contractor should charge you. By doing so, you will be aware of whether they are overcharging you, making it less likely for them to blindside you with a bill you are unprepared for.

Investing as a Beginner

Tackling investments may seem difficult to do on your own, especially if you are starting. This is when you can seek assistance from experienced brokers or fund managers, who can assess your risk appetite to find an investment that is fit for your profile. Although they might get a small percentage of what you will earn, it is an incentive to provide you with a profitable service from which both of you will benefit.

However, never mix your insurance with investments, especially if the insurance agent is disguising themself as a financial advisor. More often than not, they are there to sell you insurance paired with investments because it pays them a high commission – not because you need it. These sorts of insurances are known as variable universal insurances (VULs) and cost a lot more compared to working with a fund manager for your investments and purchasing insurance separately.

Insurance is a good thing when you have dependants and cannot afford to self-insure yourself. But learning to invest early on can help you pay for medical and other bills with your gains on investments and then some. This is as long as you diversify with the right portfolio. Since it takes time to learn stocks, having someone to help you from the beginning can reduce your chances of making mistakes.

Debt Servicing

When you have too much debt, it can become overwhelming to service when the notices demand immediate payment. You can ask a financial planner to help you identify the debts that must be prioritised over the others. This will help clear up some liabilities that can pay for other accountabilities in your books.

If you want to be free of debts, you can work on spending habits and the reasons for those debts. Ask yourself if they were necessary commitments at the time, and then try to figure out where you can make cuts in your budget to start servicing them. The sooner you start, the less stressed you will be because, eventually, you will be able to pay off some debts faster than others. When the amount you owe is small, it might be better to close those off first and then work toward the larger debts.

Financial advice may be freely available on the Internet. Still, the aforementioned instances are situations where it is better to seek professional help than attempt to work things out on your own. Money can become complicated by simply signing a contract, so it is best to know what you are signing up for in the first place.

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How To Best Enjoy Your Fresh Cigar

Whether you’ve received one as a gift, brought some home as a souvenir from abroad, or simply decided to treat yourself, smoking a cigar is a truly luxurious and indulgent experience. The flavor of the smoke and the sensation of taking it in is nothing like smoking cigarettes, something that many people don’t understand. However, fresh cigars can have their taste and quality diminish if you’re not careful. Here are some tips to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Source – Pixabay License

Use a real cutter for it

You don’t simply light cigars from the end, as most know. However, using the appropriate cutting tool is important. You don’t want the edges to be frayed or rough, as this can lead to it burning more quickly down one side. Use a real cigar cutter and make sure that you keep it clean so that it cuts smoothly and without any shuddering to make it difficult to make that single, perfect slice. You also only want to cut the very tip of the cigar. Enough to leave an even, round surface to start burning, not a chunk of what you could actually enjoy smoking.

Ensure it maintains its humidity

You don’t have to smoke a full cigar in one go. In fact, some cigars have a nice difference in taste when you pick them back up for a second smoke. When you do want to stop smoking it, let it rest and it will burn itself out. Cheap cigars might not go out themselves, but they are harder to snuff out and leave more of a mess. Store your cigars in a humidor humidifier, too. This helps them retain more of that humidity that allows them to have such rich taste and to put themselves out.

Light with care

You don’t want to use lighters that make use of heavy fuels such as lighter fluid, so zippo lighters should go right out the window. A butane torch can work fine, but many a long-time smoker won’t use anything other than a match or a cedar stick to light it. How you light is just as important as what you use to light it. You only need to get embers on the end of the cigar to be able to start taking your first drag. Otherwise, you’re just burning that precious taste away. Keep as much of the leaves as you can.

Don’t inhale it, whatever you do

If this is your first time smoking, then this is an important piece of advice. You don’t inhale cigar smoke. It’s far too thick and you’re going to end up coughing with a burning sensation in your chest. Cigars make a much heavier smoke than cigarettes. For that reason, you want to breathe it into your mouth and hold it there, where you can appreciate the taste and smell of it. You can blow it out your mouth or your nose, but just avoid inhaling it down your throat.

If you want to enjoy some fresh new cigars, make sure that you give yourself the kind of experience you deserve. Follow the tips above for the best draw you can get.

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Eco-Friendly Car Ownership: Top Ways to Make Your Passion Kinder to the Environment

Cars release toxic fumes that hurt the environment. Hence, environmentalists and sustainability advocates promote walking and traveling by bicycle. But it’s not easy to let go of the habit of driving and buying new cars. In any angle, driving is more convenient than walking, commuting, or cycling. In the car, it’s private, the air is cleaner, and you’re in control of the wheel.

But then again, cars aren’t the friendliest to the environment. Hybrid or electric cars may be better, but producing them still leaves a significant carbon footprint. Luckily for you, you don’t have to give up your love for cars to help the earth. These hacks will make auto care and ownership a lot greener:

1. Choose Fuel-efficient, Low-emission Autos

Almost all vehicles released today are fuel-efficient and low-emission, so you shouldn’t have a problem choosing one. This is the least you can do to make your driving eco-friendlier. Plus, you can save on gas.

To know if your car options meet the standard for fuel efficiency and emissions, check out EPA’s Green Vehicle guide.

2. Avoid Driving Recklessly

Aside from risking your safety, reckless driving also increases your gas mileage and carbon footprint. Hard accelerations, slamming on the brakes, and staying idle for more than 30 seconds are the top driving habits that harm the environment. Avoid doing those and you’ll notice a big difference.

3. Stay Updated With Maintenance

Maintenance is the costliest part of owning a vehicle, so some owners skip it. But this only results in higher expenses. Poorly maintained vehicles break down easier, and their issues are often more expensive to repair.

Key maintenance includes oil changes, checking the tire pressure, and testing the engine. Of course, don’t forget to test the brakes and steering wheel, too. A well-maintained car will drive without issues, optimizing your fuel efficiency.

4. Use Eco-friendly Tires

Next time you’re due for new tires, check out eco-friendly types if you’re not using them yet. Eco-friendly tires are made from synthetic rubber blends and other sustainable materials. They have better rolling resistance than regular tires. As such, they reduce emissions and boost fuel efficiency.

5. Refrain from Topping Off Your Pump

Every time you refill your gas, stop as soon as the automatic nozzle shuts off. Topping off your pump makes the gas prone to leakage, which creates a fire hazard, and, of course, harms the environment. Gasoline can seep into the groundwater and contaminate fresh water sources.

6. Use Portable Car Wash Bay

high-quality portable car wash system can help you conserve water while you give your autos a bath. It has a bunded perimeter wall that retains wastewater and a pump that transports wastewater for treatment. Simply put, it lets you recycle runoff. You can hit two birds with one stone, saving water and reducing your water bill.

7. Use Eco-friendly Car Wash Chemicals

Instead of buying hydrofluoric acid and ammonium bi-fluoride, find eco-friendly alternatives. Harsh chemicals don’t just emit fumes, but also have side effects on your health, including eye, throat, skin, and nose irritation, eye and skin burns, rhinitis, and lung problems.

In fact, the International Car Wash Association already issued a warning against using harsh chemicals. Though harsh chemicals are only common in professional settings, you can still be part of the problem if you support businesses that ignore warnings. So if you’d truly like to make a change, switch to eco-friendly car wash products, and ensure that the car wash businesses you support use them, too.

8. Save Water

If you haven’t got a portable car wash bay yet, explore other ways to conserve water while washing your car. You can buy a pressure washer, since it releases less water than a garden hose. A pressure washer also cleans faster, and can be used for other heavy items around your home, such as your A/C compressors and garden pavers.

If a pressure washer is beyond your budget, just equip your garden hose with an automatic shutoff nozzle. It can save you up to 70 gallons of water.

There’s also a waterless car cleaner. True to its name, it doesn’t have to be rinsed off after being sprayed all over your car. You can buy it from Amazon or any auto parts store.

And finally, you can go to a car wash that uses water-efficient techniques, along with eco-friendly car wash products.

9. Carpool

Last but not the least, try carpooling if you and your colleagues drive to work every day. Reducing the number of cars on the road can improve traffic flow, decreasing toxic fumes from idle cars. And of course, it saves you money on gas.

By using these hacks, your love for cars won’t ever have to come at the expense of nature again. Be consistent in using them; make it a lifestyle. By doing so, you can influence other auto enthusiasts to do the same.

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Are You Sending Your Teen Into The Wrong Lane By Buying Their First Vehicle?

Nowadays, it’s commonplace for parents to buy their teen’s first vehicle. From car keys hidden in a box for their birthday through to a car waiting in the drive when they pass their test, this coming of age ritual can certainly seem like something worth doing, if just to see the look on their faces.

For some parents, however, questions as to whether this is a good move after all have started to put doubt into the trend. Of course, there’s no denying that there are certain benefits from jumping on this bandwagon, including your ability to choose a safer first vehicle. Knowing that they’ve got a car waiting for them also increases the chances that your teen will focus on their lessons and even seek earlier driving tests as soon as they’re able. That said, there are downsides to taking this step for them, too. 

Generations who had to work a bit harder to get their first vehicles would certainly argue that even modern teens could benefit from doing the same. Keep on reading to find out why they could well be right. 

Image by Ron Lach: CC0 License

A secondary lesson in saving

Learning to drive can teach your teen all manner of lessons, including patience and concentration. Having to save for their own vehicle can also prove to be an invaluable learning opportunity that you’d rid them of otherwise. Whether they have to find a job for this purpose or simply set aside a certain amount each month from their existing pay packet, they would certainly learn a thing or two about persistence, finances in general, and the idea of a strong work ethic for getting what you want. 

Developing their understanding of cars

Unless they have a specific interest in cars, the vast majority of new teen drivers don’t know a great deal more than vehicle basis. They certainly won’t know about things like horsepower, torque, and all that other stuff. By comparison, a teen who’s had to research the technicalities of cars in advance of even getting behind their own wheel will have a far better understanding of vehicle intricacies, and thus things like repair and proper performance on the road where necessary. 

An increased sense of satisfaction

Learning to drive can be an incredibly satisfying experience for any teen, helping them to feel more grown-up, and buying them their freedom. As much as they might gripe about having to buy their own car, this step, too, can help them towards that independence. Certainly, the need to work towards, and fund a vehicle by themselves can be a huge step towards adulthood, making them feel way more satisfied in the end than they would have if mum and dad took this last step for them.

Ultimately, whether or not to buy your teen their first car is a personal choice, and there are strong arguments on both sides. Make sure that you consider each side of the coin before you take the helm on a decision that could quickly steer your teen’s driving journey into the wrong lane. 

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