The Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Banking

If you believe all the reports, online banking is the wave of future and conventional banks will be largely phased-out. The traditional banking institutions have been closing banks left and right. This trend is expected to continue.

Online banking seems to have everything a customer could want. The interest rates on accounts are higher than in regular banks. The fees are lower, and you can still access your money anywhere.

The differences are diminishing all the time. Banks are adding more online banking options in an effort to cut costs and satisfy the demands of customers.

The following comparison will help you understand the differences:

  1. The main issue that prevents many people from fully embracing online banking is security. But this concern is somewhat misplaced. A regular bank also stores all of your information in networks that are just as vulnerable to hackers as those of online banks.
    • While there is risk, the risk is the similar with both options.

  2. Online banks typically offer lower fees. Online banks are especially kind to those with smaller balances. Traditional banks require, on the average, almost $5,000 to be kept in a savings account in order to avoid additional fees. Online banks only require an average of $350. Twice as many online banks offer free checking.

  3. Look at the location of ATMs and the associated fees. Traditional banks have their own ATMs, and you’ll be penalized for using other ATM’s. Check out the location of the ATMs near your home and work. Are they convenient for you?
    • Online banks often have agreements in place that allow for withdrawals without additional fees at many ATMs. Some online banks will reimburse the fees you’re charged, up to a certain limit.

  4. Interest rates are usually better at online banks. Online banks don’t have the expenses of building and operating physical businesses. They aren’t just a little higher – they’re 6 times higher!

  5. Customer service is comparable in terms of quality. With online banking, the customer service will all be done over the phone or computer. If you need to talk  to a face, then traditional banking is for you.

  6. Deposits are different, but easy with both. Banks always make it easy for you to deposit more money. Checks can be mailed to online banks, but eDeposits are also an option with many.
    • You can simply take a picture of the front and back of your check and upload that to your account. Done. Most people, however, seem to be more comfortable depositing a check in person.

Over time, most experts agree that traditional banks will continue to close more and more branches. As younger people grow up, the rate at which this occurs will only accelerate. The primary issue is the acceptance of the technology.

The older banking customers tend to be the most resistant to technology. As these people are replaced, online banking will be more acceptable to the population as a whole.

Younger customers are especially interested in online banking, since the account minimums and reduced fees are more congruent with their financial situation. As these customers age, they are unlikely to move their banking to a conventional bank.

The choice is yours. Online banking and traditional banking offer many of the same services and conveniences. Online banking is less expensive and offers better interest rates. Traditional banks have a physical presence and a friendly face. Which is more important to you?

12 Signs That You’re Doing Better Than You Think

It’s not unusual for a person to think they’re doing worse than they actually are. Some of us are just pessimistic. Progress can also be hard to see sometimes unless you’re looking in the right places for it.

If you feel like you’re working hard with little to show for it, you’re probably mistaken. It’s likely that you’re doing a lot better than you think!

Consider these positive signs:

  1. You learn the lesson that each mistake and failure provide. If you can learn something from every failure and mistake, it won’t take long before you’re incredibly successful.
    • Most people repeat their errors over and over, whether it’s overspending or choosing a partner. People have a strong tendency to repeat their behaviors. But you can choose to act differently than you did the last time you were in a similar situation!

  2. You’re clear on what you want. This can be half the battle. You have a huge advantage over the competition if you know what you want. Most people are aimlessly floating through life.

  3. You spend your time wisely. Spend your time well and good things happen. Spend your time poorly and your life will be a train wreck.
    • When deciding what you’re going to do next, ask yourself what the best use of your time would be. Then, do it.

  4. You’re making regular progress. Consistent progress is a great sign. Even if you feel like you’re lightyears from your goal, all you need is regular progress. Many people have been dieting for years and haven’t lost a single pound. Even a pound of weight loss each month is meaningful over a period of time.

  5. You’re consistent in your efforts. Successful people put in some work on a daily basis. Success isn’t about working really hard for a day here and there.
    • Being consistent in your efforts also means that you’re sticking to your goals. Working for a week on one goal and then changing your mind and working on something else is a path to nowhere.

  6. You’re not alone. There are people that are alone in the world. If you’re not alone, you’re doing better than many others.

  7. You’re optimistic. When you’re optimistic, there’s hope. When you’re
    optimistic, you’ll take action.
    • Conversely, when your expectations are low, you quickly become stuck, because you believe your efforts will be a waste of time.

  8. You’re determined. Commitment is a great sign that you’re going places. Good things happen when you’re determined.

  9. You’re not worried about the opinions of others. If you care too much about what others think, you’ll prefer to play it safe, and you won’t do anything significant. You can leave them and their opinions in the dust behind you!

  10. You have a dry, warm place to sleep. If you’ve ever had to go without this, you know how nice this is. If you don’t have to deal with this situation, then you’re doing better than you think.

  11. You have a job. A steady income is a great thing. Many people either can’t find work or are unable to maintain employment. Even if you’re earning less than you’d like, it’s a lot better than earning nothing at all.

  12. You’re healthy. If you’re basically healthy, you have a huge leg up on a lot of people. Good health is a huge blessing.

Our society is easy in many ways and quite challenging in others. A high priority is placed on success, but there are other things that are also important. Friends, a warm bed, and a job are pretty relevant, too.

If you’re clear on what you’re trying to accomplish, and you’re spending your time wisely, you’re doing quite well. This is true even if the results haven’t revealed themselves yet. Have faith!

How to Eliminate Money Arguments in Your Marriage

Marital arguments about money have been going on since the invention of money. While all arguments can take their toll, disagreements over finances can be particularly distressing. Studies show that money issues are among the leading causes of divorce! This is a worthwhile subject to get under control. Not only will your finances improve, but your marriage will strengthen, too.

These steps can keep money arguments to a minimum:

  1. Agree on a budget. Many couples don’t have a budget, but a budget is useful for everyone, even billionaires. If you can both agree on a spending plan, many potential arguments can be avoided. After all, if someone is outspending the budget, it’s difficult to argue about fault.
    • It’s practically impossible to get a budget right on the first attempt. Good budgets evolve over a few months. It will take some tinkering to get it right. Be patient and make the necessary adjustments as you go along.
    • Use the information you already have. Pull out old bills and use some real numbers. Remember to consider expenses that occur less frequently than once a month. New tires, home repairs, and medical expenses are just a few ideas.

  2. Be completely open. Many couples are exactly sure how much money their spouse is making. Many more spouses are in the dark about their partner’s debt and credit history. It’s not always easy, but a full financial disclosure can prevent many disagreements.
    • Knowing each other’s financial status will make it easier to agree on a financial plan.

  3. Set financial goals together. If you’re both working toward the same things, it will bring you closer together. Partnership and marriage go hand in hand. Sharing a vision is an effective way of limiting arguments.
    • Sit down together and dream big about the future. Then decide how that looks financially. What plans will you have to make? How will you accomplish them? Set a deadline and get busy.

  4. Deal with discrepancies in pay. In most cases, one spouse has a greater salary than the other. Splitting the bills 50:50 might be fair in one context, but it can also create resentment. One option is to pay the bills relative to the salaries. So, if one person is making $100k, and the other is making $50k, the bills would be split 2/3 and 1/3.

  5. Deal with discrepancies in expenses and debt. If one spouse has child support payments to make or a large amount of student loan debt, the other might want to consider making adjustments for this when dealing with the bills. Partners help each other out. If you want to share in the windfalls, it’s only fair to share with the less agreeable things, too.

  6. Handle disagreements in a healthy manner. Disagreements will occur, no matter how good the intentions. It’s important to keep the discussion centered on behaviors and not people. There’s a difference between, “This purchase wasn’t within our budget” and “You ruined our budget.”
    • When a disagreement occurs, find a solution that will prevent a

Minimizing money-related arguments is a great way to strengthen a marriage.

It’s also a great way to get your finances under control. Many of the steps involved will encourage healthy finances. Protect your marriage and do what’s necessary to eliminate money arguments.

8 Self-Care Habits That Will Change Your Life

If you’re like most people, you probably do a pretty good job of caring for the most important people in your life. However, you probably forget the most important person: You.

The better care you take of yourself, the better you’ll be able to care for others.

Taking care of yourself is a habit, perhaps the most important habit you can have. We neglect ourselves in many ways. This is a critical error.

It’s important to take care of yourself daily. Adopt these habits:

  1. Take a nightly walk. You’re killing two birds with one stone when you go for a walk alone. It’s a great time to think. Part of your mind is occupied with moving your legs and maintaining your balance. The rest of your brain is free to think creatively.
    • You’re also getting some good exercise. Most of us spend far too much time sitting each day. Getting up and accumulating a lot of steps is good for the mind and body.

  2. Use positive affirmations. Negative self-talk is the norm. You can undo this and give yourself a better perspective on life by using positive affirmations. Come up with just a few and repeat them to yourself throughout the day. Over time, you’ll be pleased with the results.

  3. Eat healthier. It’s believed that most people could stop taking their medications if they would only eat better. Our natural instincts are to eat high-calorie foods that aren’t particularly good for us. Unfortunately, this instinct greatly reduces longevity.
    • Eating healthy can be a real challenge, because it goes against our nature. However, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel mentally and physically when you clean up your diet.

  4. Read each day. Reading is great for brain health. Those that read daily have better cognitive abilities than those that don’t. This advantage extends into old age, too.
    • Reading is also a great opportunity to learn something new. Imagine how much you could learn over 20 or more years by reading 30 minutes each day. That’s roughly 3600 hours, or 90 40-hour workweeks.

  5. Unplug. Your brain needs a rest from the constant stimulation of the internet, your smart phone, TV, tablets, and so on. Give yourself at least a few hours each day of complete rest from these items.

  6. Sleep at least 7 hours each night. Everyone seems to claim they only need 5 hours of sleep. Every one of them is incorrect. The science is clear on this matter. To maximize your health and cognitive abilities, you need at least seven hours of sleep. Some people need more.

  7. Keep a gratitude journal. Sure, it sometimes seems like there’s nothing good in your life, but that’s almost certainly not true. There are plenty of good things in your life. You’re just failing to recognize them. Remind yourself about all of these positive things by keeping a gratitude journal and writing in it each day.

  8. Give your body some gentle exercise each day. A little extra movement can do a lot of good things for your body and your brain.
    • You don’t have to pound away on the treadmill like you’re training to race up the side of Everest, but a little sweat and heavy breathing can bring about some great changes.

Self-care is an important habit to develop. Being at your best is good for everyone around you. When you fail to take care of yourself, people have less respect for you. It’s hard to receive more respect from others than you’re willing to give yourself. You deserve the best. Treat yourself that way.

Credit Reports 101

Staying in the know about your finances can be quite a task. Fortunately, you have access to your own personal credit report free of charge. Read on to learn the basics about credit reports.

What is a Credit Bureau?

A credit bureau is a consumer reporting agency (CRA) who collects all types of facts about how you handle your money. A credit bureau keeps track of when you applied for loans, how much you applied for and received, and how well you do at paying your bills on time.

Also, a credit bureau knows whether you’ve ever left a credit account unpaid and how much you owe to each of your creditors.

Credit bureaus sell your credit information to all kinds of entities for a variety of reasons. Some companies who buy your credit history will try to send you credit card applications. Some will see you’re not a good credit risk and avoid doing business with you.

What is a Credit Report?

Your credit report is a document that consists of all the information that a credit bureau compiles about your financial and bill-paying habits over time. Your credit report includes:

  • Your address and where you’ve previously lived
  • The creditors you currently owe: loans, charge cards, and more
  • Past credit accounts
  • How many times and with whom you applied for a loan
  • Whether you pay your bills on time
  • If you’ve filed for bankruptcy or had tax liens in the last 10 years
  • Other facts about your financial and credit life

How Can You Obtain a Copy of Your Credit Report?

It’s not difficult to get your credit report. You can go online or simply call the 800 numbers and request a copy of your report. You’re allowed one credit report per year free of charge from each of the following credit bureaus:

  1. Equifax. The address is,P. O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241. Their phone number is: (888) 766-0008.

  2. Experian. The address is, P. O. Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013. The phone number is: (888) 397 3742.

  3. Trans Union. The address is, P. O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022. The phone number is: (800) 916-8800.

It’s not unusual to receive different information from each credit bureau. Banking institutions sometimes utilize just one of the credit bureaus. Therefore, any information they have about your loan habits might only be sent to one credit bureau.

Why Should You Obtain a Copy of Your Credit Report?

If you want to stay informed about how you’re doing financially in terms of managing loans, payments, and the like, you’ll want to get a copy of your report at least yearly. Many companies now look at your credit report before doing business with you, including potential employers, cell phone companies, and insurance providers.

The information in your credit report also determines if you can get a loan and how much interest the creditor will charge on your loan. The better your credit history, the better loan terms you can receive. Your credit report can save you, or cost you, many thousands of dollars on large loans like mortgage loans.

In the event your personal identification, credit cards, or checking account has been compromised, it’s wise to follow your credit report very closely.

In addition, credit reports often have mistakes that can cost you money or even a chance at a lucrative new job. So it’s important to keep track of the information listed in your report and if it reflects you accurately. You can have mistakes eliminated or corrected.


In order to stay on top of your financial life, it’s important to be familiar with credit reports. Understanding what credit bureaus do, knowing what a credit report is, understanding how to get a copy of your credit report, and knowing when and why to obtain such a report is important for having a successful financial life.

Keep abreast of your money situation by understanding all about credit reports. You’ll be a competent family leader and a savvy money manager if you do!

7 Ways to Create Momentum in Your Life

Momentum makes it easier to create change. It’s much harder to find the first client than to find the 10th. If you have to lose 50 pounds, the second 10 are easier to lose than the first 10. It’s just hard to get started when you’re trying to change something in your life. It’s easier to keep a boulder rolling than it is to get it started.

Try these ideas to start your momentum:

  1. Do something worthwhile as early in the day as possible. Whatever your big goal in life happens to be, do something about it first thing each day. It’s a great way to show yourself that you’re serious about being successful. It’s also a way to build a lot of momentum that can carry you through the day.
    • For example, if you need to drop a few pounds, get out of the door ASAP in the morning and go for a quick walk.
    • If you want to write a novel, write one page before you even take a shower.
    • Are you interested in speaking Italian? Learn three new vocabulary words before you have your morning coffee.
    • A small accomplishment early in the day can motivate you to do even more later in the day. A bad morning usually drains your motivation, so ensure you have a great morning.

  2. Make your bed each day. It might seem like a trivial act, but it can make a big difference. You’ve barely woken up and you’ve already accomplished something. You’ll also appreciate it when you go to bed. Try it for a week and notice how much better you feel about yourself.

  3. Find a mentor that’s doing better than you are. Even the most successful people can use a good mentor. If you need to lose weight, find someone that’s lost 100+ lbs. If you want to make 6-figures, find a mentor that’s making seven. A good mentor will push you to be more than you’re currently demonstrating.

  4. Be consistent. It’s impossible to gain momentum without consistency. Each time you stop, it’s necessary to get started again. That’s the opposite of momentum. Get started and keep going. Consistent action is the key.

  5. Perform a 30-day challenge. Pick a habit you’d like to create and force yourself to do it each day for the next month. This is a great way to build momentum. When the 30 days are up, you should be able to continue. You’ve already been doing it for a month after all. What’s another month or decade? Easy.

  6. Have a vision. A compelling vision for the future can be the motivation needed to get started and to continue until you experience success. Think about what you want to accomplish. Who do you want to become? What type of life do you want to live? Create an attractive vision of a future that fills you with excitement.
    • Few people have a long-term plan for their life. Even fewer have a plan that excites them. Be one of the few.

  7. Be action-oriented. Most of us do too much planning and spend too much time gathering more information. The people that accomplish the most are those that take action quickly, consistently, and aggressively. Focus on the actions you can take and actually take them. Momentum is the result.

With momentum, it’s easy to believe that you can accomplish anything. Without it, everything feels impossible. There’s no substitute for work ethic and perseverance, but there are plenty of things that can be done to create momentum. If you’re feeling stuck, work on creating momentum and then fight to keep it going.

Retire Sooner With These Strategies

Do you find yourself feeling like you won’t ever have enough money to stop working? If so, it’s time to perk up. You can retire sooner than you think by making some changes now.

Use these strategies to retire sooner than you ever dreamed of:

  1. Identify activities that bring you joy and then create an income stream doing them. When you retire, you’ll have more free time to fill up. Why not do it engaging in activities you love and earning some money at the same time? Start your “cottage industry” now, while you’re working, just to try it out. Here are some examples:
    • If you like to make birdhouses for your yard, make extra to sell at local craft fairs or gardening shops.
    • Perhaps you get a kick out of being around elderly people. Start your own Elder Assistant business, charging families to “visit with and assist” elderly parents for a couple of hours a week.
    • Maybe you’ve developed a real love of gardening and taking care of your lawn. Consider mowing lawns in your neighborhood or planting bushes, weeding, and doing other gardening tasks for neighbors for a price.
    • The key is to think of ways to charge others to do what you love to do.

  2. Think of creative ways to cut your expenses related to work right now. Consider the obvious costs, like carpooling, using public transportation, and carrying your lunch to work. Reduce every expense possible connected to your current work to reap the most savings and benefit your future retirement.

  3. Open your mind to an adjusted lifestyle where you do more with less money. You can retire sooner if you learn to live more inexpensively now.
    • Purchase generic groceries.
    • Shop farmers’ markets for fresh produce.
    • Only buy meat that’s on sale.
    • Concentrate on “buy one get one free” offers at the grocery store.
    • Do your shopping at a discount grocery retailer.
    • Have Meatless Mondays.
    • Be more flexible about what you choose to eat, based on what’s on sale.
    • Reduce the level of cable television you pay for.
    • Get rid of your telephone land line and only pay monthly fees for your cell phone.

  4. Live in a smaller house than you can afford. Your kids will eventually grow up and leave. Concern yourself with living conservatively and paying off the mortgage after you ensure all other bills are paid off. In a smaller home, you’ll live comfortably with fewer expenses.

  5. Retain part-time employment now. Save 100% of what you earn from your second job and save it for retirement. Remind yourself daily that how you live, work, and save now will determine when you can retire and how you’ll live then.

  6. Vow to learn how to delay gratification. Go back to the old-fashioned way of living where you save up to buy something. This way, you spend only cash to get what you want. The delay in time that it will take for you to accumulate the money to pay for the item will help you determine how much you actually want the item.

When you’re truly committed to a goal of retiring sooner, you’ll keep your focus and follow through with these six strategies. You’ll quit working before you know it and
love your simpler lifestyle!

8 Small Things You Can Do Each Day to Enhance Your Self-Development

Some things matter more than others. Since your time is so limited, it’s wise to use your time as effectively as possible. You can’t do everything, but you can do the things that matter the most.

Fortunately, many of the most important things are also easy to do. If you’re serious about taking your self-development to the next level, there are things you can do that will give you the best bang for your time.

Make the most of your self-development efforts with these strategies:

  1. Be very consistent. A moderately good plan can be incredibly powerful if followed day after day. A great plan doesn’t accomplish much if you’re inconsistent.
    • Strive to be consistent with your efforts. It doesn’t matter if you’re following a diet, learning about physics, or learning to play the piano. Consistency matters.

  2. Become an expert. Expand your knowledge and become an expert on whatever it is you’re trying to improve. The more you learn, the greater your potential to make progress.
    • However, it’s important to avoid falling into the trap of learning at the expense of doing. Many procrastinators convince themselves that they need to learn more, when they actually need to be doing more!

  3. Create routines. Routines encourage consistency and require a minimal amount of brain power. Routines eliminate decisions. At the very least, have a morning and an evening routine. Set yourself up to have a great day and end your day on a positive note. An example morning routine:
    • Wake up at 5:30 AM.
    • Read something positive for 15 minutes.
    • Exercise for 30 minutes.
    • Play guitar for 30 mins.
    • Review tasks for day.
    • Shower.
    • Breakfast.
    • Leave for work by 7:30 AM.

  4. Measure your progress. Things that you measure get done, and they improve. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, bench press more, save more money, or become a better cello player, find a way to measure your performance and progress.

  5. Review your day. Reviewing your day allows you to gain the most benefit from it. Review your good decisions, mistakes, and progress. Use that information to make every day in the future even better.
    • Try to live your life just a little bit better each day than you did the day before. The results over time will astound you.

  6. Use affirmations when your self-talk goes south. Everyone suffers from negative self-talk to varying degrees. One way to combat it is to recite affirmations when your thoughts are negative. Have a list of affirmations you can read. YouTube also has a lot of affirmation audio recordings you can listen to.
    • Affirmations can be a great tool to use at the beginning and end of your day.

  7. Unplug at least an hour before bed each night. Give your brain a break and put away all of your electronic devices at least 60 minutes before you turn out the lights. No TV, cell phones, computers, video games, or tablets before bed. This is a great time to read a book and increase your knowledge.

  8. Plan your day in advance. It’s easy to waste a day by not having a plan. Avoid going to bed without having a clear plan for the next day. You’ll accomplish much more with this simple idea. Never again will you wake up wondering what you need to do that day.

Self-development can be hard work, so it’s important to make your efforts as effective as possible. Consistency, planning, routines, and review are simple but powerful tools you can use each day. These take little time but supercharge your efforts. If you’re working hard to develop yourself, use these tips to enhance your results.

Is an Allowance a Good Idea?

One of the many important decisions faced by parents is whether or not to give an allowance. There are advantages and disadvantages to providing your child with a weekly allowance. Even the experts disagree on the issue of allowances. Some financial experts think it’s a great idea. Others do not. Child psychologists are divided, too.

Each family can develop its own philosophy on the issue. Have a family meeting and make a list of the pros and cons. Determine how your children feel about receiving an allowance.

There are several advantages that giving an allowing provides:

  1. An allowance provides an opportunity to teach your child about finances. When money is exchanging hands, it provides an opportunity to teach. An allowance can lead to learning about saving, investing, and wise spending.

  2. Kids learn that money has to be earned. Few things are free in this world. Candy, toys, and videos games are not. Generating any income requires work. It can be healthy for children to learn this lesson early.

  3. Kids have money to spend on non-essential things. Children feel empowered, regardless of age, when they have their own money to spend as they choose. It helps to build a child’s self-esteem.

  4. The chores are more likely to get done. The dishes are more likely to be washed and the yard more likely to be mowed. A little money can be a great motivator to a clean house and well-manicured lawn. An allowance is sounding better all the time, isn’t it?

Allowances have disadvantages, too:

  1. Children might refuse to do anything unless money is involved. Ask your kid to run out to the car to grab your jacket and you might hear, “How much will you pay me?” It can be awkward and confusing when some actions lead to a payday while others do not. Your child still has an obligation to his family. An allowance can cloud this understanding.

  2. Parents give up control regarding purchasing decisions. Once your child has that money in her little hand, you might not know where it’s being spent. Are you willing to give up that control? Can you trust your child to spend their money responsibly?

It can be useful to have a weekly list of chores. The child receives his allowance if everything is completed. Avoid paying for individual chores. For example, it can be a mistake for mowing the yard to be worth $10 and taking out the garbage to be worth $1.

All the chores are completed, or there’s no allowance. This can prevent the issue of your child wanting to be paid for every little thing. The entire list represents the entire allowance.

Raising a child results in many changes to your finances. Spending and saving habits are altered. Your budget can be turned upside down. The decision of whether or not to provide an allowance is another financial decision faced by parents. The decision to provide an allowance isn’t an easy one.

Have a family discussion on the topic. What does the other parent think? Consider your children. What impact would earning an allowance have on them? Each child and family are different.

If you’re able to enjoy a cleaner house and teach your child positive financial habits, an allowance can be a positive experience for everyone involved. It might be the best money you’ve ever spent.