Debt And Digital Nomadism Are More Compatible Than You Think

In a world where we are overwhelmed by credit offers and related debt from college, the idea of selling off most of our physical possessions and having an adventure can be intensely appealing. Excluding home mortgages, the average American currently carries nearly $40,000 in personal debt, a crushing financial and psychological burden for many adults. Most studies do not consider the home mortgage when evaluating debt burden, but selling a property is actually one of the most effective ways to put a huge dent in your debt quickly.

Liquidating home equity usually results not only in the elimination of the mortgage payment but additional funds that may be put toward other debts as well. However, most homeowners argue the cost of rent will be equal to or greater than their mortgage payment. For the digital nomad, however, this is not the case. If you have the option to simplify your life by choosing to travel affordably and forego ownership of most of your larger, debt-carrying possessions, you could operate on a very reduced budget. This would allow you to allocate your “adventure savings” to paying down student loans or other debt instead.

Adventure Is Waiting

If buying a one-way ticket to a foreign country, loading up your backpack, and never looking back sounds like the adventure of a lifetime to you, you could be a digital nomad just waiting to find your true calling. While historically the “backpacking across Europe” phase of most adults’ lives happens in their early or mid-20’s, the internet has facilitated a digitally nomadic and fully sustainable professional lifestyle. That experience can last, literally, the span of their working life. In fact, many freelance workers find they can actually reduce or pay off their debts and travel the world at the same time by fully embracing this lifestyle. Most leave the lifestyle to “put down roots” eventually, but their lives are enriched and their perspectives immeasurably broadened by their previous nomadic existence.

This Lifestyle Is Fully Accessible

Many people assume that digital nomads either are independently wealthy and fund their travel in this way or are painfully impoverished and often have nowhere to stay other than an airport lounge while they wait for a standby flight home. The truth is far different. Most digital nomads are freelancers and work as much or as little as they want from anywhere they wish to stay. Software developers, writers, graphic designers, and even travel nurses find digital nomadism an appealing and viable option. There are a variety of customer-service oriented career options for digital nomads as well, and many companies, including loan consolidation organizations, offer online training programs tailored to the specific needs of service organizations.

Budgeting For Affordable Nomadism

Digital nomads traveling professionally quickly learn that it is not just affordable but also necessary to avoid hostel living. While cheap on the face, hostels can be noisy and usually are priced per-night. This makes them far more expensive for long-term nomadism than short-term rental options on platforms like Airbnb. These rentals usually provide a more affordable, all-inclusive stay that does not usually require separate payments for wi-fi, utilities, or parking. Many hosts will negotiate a discounted rate if you let them know how long you plan to stay.

Digital nomads should plan to live in walkable areas and utilize public transit rather than staying in a location that will necessitate car rental or even regular use of ride-sharing options. Of course, your food budget can be kept to a serious minimum by eating in and keeping that grocery list of local fare on the low end of the spending spectrum.

Income Expectations And Demands

Your income as a digital nomad will depend on the amount of time you dedicate to working, if you are paid hourly, and the rate of pay or scope of projects you take on. If it sounds a lot like working in an office, that is because this part of your digitally nomadic life will be largely unchanged. Do not be discouraged, however. This is a good thing. It will enable you to exert control over your income and create a predictable model for your living expenses, including paying down your debts.

If you are a freelance software developer, for example, you may earn an annual income of around $130,000. That is assuming you are working basically full-time. If you worked in any of the “best cities for software developers,” such as San Francisco, Seattle, or San Jose, then you would face living expenses that would dwarf your six-figure income. Living as a digital nomad, however, you could live in Lisbon, Portugal, and spend just about a tenth of your salary each month on living expenses. If tiny, exotic islands are more your style, then you might consider San Pedro, Belize. There, you would spend only about 9 percent of your monthly pay on living expenses!

Breaking Down “The Boring Stuff”

As a digital nomad, you have the opportunity to live a life of high adventure. You can take the time to see amazing and new things every time you shut down your laptop and close up shop for the day. However, there are a few “boring” details to consider, like paying taxes, dealing with healthcare, and handling insurance issues. As far as your taxes go, you may qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion that allows you to exclude certain income from your taxes and deduct some foreign housing amounts. If you are self-employed, you will still owe self-employment taxes, however. You should certainly consult a tax professional about your eligibility for these savings.

As far as healthcare and health insurance goes, it will be important for you to distinguish between travel insurance, which will not apply to you if you remain abroad long-term, and international insurance. International healthcare plans provide coverage and access to providers if you plan to live abroad for a year or more. These plans range in cost from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Clearly, your health will play a big role in determining your digital nomad’s budget!

Putting A Dent In Your Debt

Digital nomads’ budgets are just like any other household budget; it’s just that your household moves from place to place. Also unlike a traditional household,  you can move your home to wherever meets your budgetary needs without putting a property on the market or breaking a lease. Your digital nomad lifestyle actually lends itself to extreme savings, so make paying down your existing debt a significant part of your monthly budget. Those savings can go toward a financially free future while your adventure funds the process.

Chrissy Helders

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Enhancing Your Physical Health Can Increase Financial Health

You know how the saying goes: “Health is wealth.” Well, according to one of the largest banks in the country, that’s actually true. Their findings showed that 81% of respondents felt that their goals were much easier to achieve when their finances were in order, with 70% of respondents stating that good financial health had a positive impact on their physical health. Because engaging in physical activities and fitness routines require you to also engage in emotional and mental training, it’s no wonder why finance experts recommend physical activity as a way to get your life in order, debt and money management included.

Combine Financial and Fitness Goals

Climbing out of debt often seems like an insurmountable mountain when you look at it as one big problem; the same goes for losing large amounts of weight or completely changing your eating habits. This is normal, and it’s something both fitness and finance experts recommend to avoid doing. Take large issues in small bites and set small, actionable goals that you know you can accomplish. In this regard, it helps to combine your fitness and financial goals in order to make them work together for you. Start by committing to being mindful, both of what you eat and what you buy. Then, get rid of clutter, both in your personal life and in your finances. Avoiding purchases that you know you don’t really need will help you begin to cultivate the same habits regarding unhealthy foods or costly supplements that are more harmful than they are good.

Decrease Stress to Increase Productivity

There’s no doubt that financial stress can lead to other health problems. In fact, 30% of Americans report to feeling “constantly” stressed out about money. What this type of stress does is prevent you from being able to effectively achieve goals and give 100% of your physical and emotional energy into doing your job, or jobs, adequately in order to pull yourself out of debt. Focusing on your physical health, therefore, can help with this problem as it is a great way to relieve stress, clear your head, and ensure that the financial pressure you feel isn’t damaging your body in irreparable ways. If you can focus on cultivating a semi-strict diet and exercise routine, you’ll find that organization carrying over into other areas of your life. Your body will feel great, your mind will be clear and you’ll be able to sit down, craft a budget and feel motivated to stick to it.

Optimizing Financial and Physical Health

Making an effort to organize your debt is easy when you learn how to optimize your spending habits, just as you would optimize your eating habits and exercise routine. Doing so will help ensure that your financial health is in just as good shape as your physical health, and seeing as both are directly related to each other, combining both goals into one is not only practical, but it’s a great way to build physical and mental strength that will carry over into every area of your life.

Chrissy Helders

 

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Your Hobby Can Help You Out Of Financial Difficulty

A typical American household with credit card debt has an estimated $6,929 in money owed carried from one month to the next according to a NerdWallet’s annual analysis of U.S. household debt. This is the type of debt that comes with high interest rates and is difficult to pay off. If you cannot pay off your debts, a debt collector may either start legal proceedings against you or opt for arbitration. The agreement reached during arbitration may force you get a second job in order to pay off your credit card debt. Your hobby could be the second job you need to help you get debt relief.

Your hobby’s money making potential

One of the first things that will cross your mind is whether your hobby can help make you significant money. Search online and see how much other people sketching or drawing designs or making greeting cards or doing whatever your hobby is are making.  If your hobby is drawing faces, ask yourself how many face portraits you can draw a day and what type of face portraits are likely to sell. You may be very talented but only a few people appreciate that talent. Your hobby money making gig must not interfere with your normal work routine.

Believe in yourself

You cannot turn your hobby into a money making activity if you do not have faith in your skills.  Your customers need to be able to trust that you can do the job and do it right. Sometimes people who are really creative develop what is called impostor syndrome.  This syndrome basically means you feel like you are an inadequate and incompetent failure. You may start feeling that the people who really like the products you make only tell you they are great because they are either family or friends.  Have faith in your skills and your ability to make money off of those skills.

Use the internet

Go on websites like Craigslist.com to find people looking for the services you provide. You can also set up an ad for services on the same website. Don’t stop there, instead browse the internet to find blogs written by people who provide similar products or services you provide. Find out about the challenges they face and the new trends that can help you make more money through your hobby. Remember to start your own fun social media site that can help in lead generation, which will then act as a funnel to bring people to your website  so that they can buy what you sell.

As you pay down your debt, decrease your expenses on entertainment, cable, clothes, utility bills and more.  The money you save from this can then be added to the amount you save every month to pay off your loan.  Remember to stick to the debt settlement plan that was agreed on during the arbitration process because agreements made in arbitration are legally binding.

Chrissy Helders

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How Side Hustle Agency Work Can Help Pay Off Debt

Due to mounting financial pressures and student loan debt, 51% of millennials report having at least one side hustle that they rely on for income outside their primary job. Among the many pieces of advice that debt relief professionals give to individuals looking to relieve or diminish their debt is to find unique ways to put more money towards paying off your debt, and a side hustle is one of them. While this might include taking on additional hours at work, it can also include seeking other job opportunities on the side or, even better, signing up with an agency who will find you work when you need it.

Benefits of Agency Work

Aside from being a great way to expand your professional abilities and learn something new, deciding to work for an agency allows you to work pretty much as much as you like. This provides you with more flexibility, meaning you can make it work around your existing work schedule or within the hours that you need according to your lifestyle. While agencies sometimes take a portion of your pay for their services, you will often find yourself working fewer hours for better pay, which is great when you’re trying to save money in order to increase your debt payments. By working fewer hours for, generally, more pay, you will be able to make more than the minimum payment on your debt, which has actually been shown to only prolong a debt payoff strategy.

Think About What You Love

Generating income from a hobby is everybody’s dream, and it’s a dream that is easier to reach than you might think. If you are going to try and monetize a hobby or gain income from a side hustle, it’s important to first figure out what exactly you’d like to do. The work will be easier and more engaging if you are pursuing something you love to do or are already making a career out of. This is easy to do as agencies exist for pretty much every industry nowadays and can even specialize in particular areas, such as agencies that help travel nurses find the right fit or ones that will pitch you to potential employers according to your particular skill set.

Pay Off Your Debt Wisely

Assuming you have already created a budget and know how much you need to save in order to increase your debt payments, you will want to be smart about how you spend the extra savings. One strategy is to increase the frequency of your payments to weekly or bi-weekly in order to immediately put it towards debt instead of leaving it in your bank account where you might be tempted to spend it. Another strategy is to put all of your bonuses towards paying off debt, and if you are freelancing, working with an agency or earning money from any type of side hustle, it’s smart to consider this “bonus” money. Ensure you are able to meet your basic needs with your normal job’s income and use all of the additional money for debt payments.

Working Smarter Not Harder

Finding work through an agency that specializes in your career path, or even with one who will find general, temporary work for you, is a great way to increase your cash flow in order to pay off debt faster. Agency work provides you with flexibility while also ensuring you’re developing your professional skills in a way that will help you long after your debt is paid off. Be sure to budget wisely and make more than the minimum payments and you’ll find yourself progressing professionally while also reducing your debt. It’s a win-win for you and your career.

Chrissy Helders

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How Investing Can Help Your Clients Climb Out Of Debt

Personal debt levels in the US are currently sky high:as CNBC has reported, total household debt currently sits at above $13 trillion, meaning there’s a ticking debt time bomb everywhere you turn. If you’re one of America’s almost 300,000 financial advisers, then, it makes sense to think about how you can advise your clients to break out of the debt cycle and get their finances back under control. This could involve taking out a stocks and shares savings plan, for example, or you could encourage your clients to invest in their own properties to help improve the sale price.

Stocks and shares

If your client is able to save some money, they may be able to invest it in such a way that their debt is paid down over time. Stocks and shares, for example, can provide high returns: the Nasdaq composite index, for example, has grown by over 5,000 points in the last ten years. However, it’s important to think twice before advising a client to do this. If the rate of return on the investment is higher than the interest paid on the debt, it makes sense. However, interest rates sit at a relatively low level of just over 2% at the moment – meaning that this isn’t always possible except in the highest risk-reward scenarios. In that case, any saved money may be best spent on paying down the debt.

Property options

In the event that your client owns a property, however, it makes sense to use this as a way to battle the debt burden. Adding value to the property and then selling it could provide a decent profit, and this could be put towards paying off debt. Putting in a new bathroom can add an average of $11,000 on to a property’s price, while creating an extra bedroom, garage space or a conservatory can also push up value. Adding IOT features to a property, such as smart lighting, can not only push down your bills and let you save cash in the here and now, it can also boost the chances that a potential buyer will opt for your client’s property.

DIY can now be done to a high standard thanks to Youtube tutorials and online resources, too, so it’s a low cost mode of investment which won’t necessarily break your client’s bank account. The advantage of doing it this way is that it doesn’t require additional significant cash spending, as the stocks and shares route would. Depending on their age, your client may also be eligible for home equity release schemes – so it’s worth looking into that, too.

There are, then, lots of options for your clients to make the move from debt-laden to debt-free. Whether they choose to invest in their properties or they open a stocks and shares account, there are plenty of possible avenues to go down. And as an advisor, you’ll be able to play a significant role in giving advice on what is financially prudent.

Chrissy Helders

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Balancing Health Care And Medical Debt

Medical debt is a big problem in the United States. 20% of Americans with health insurance found that when trying to pay off their medical bills, they had serious financial challenges and even had to make changes in employment and lifestyle. However, these statistics aren’t all that bad, as trends show a continued decrease in medical debt in recent years, with nearly 13 million people reporting that they have fewer medical problems and debt than they did five years ago. By learning how to effectively balance quality health care and medical debt, Americans can take advantage of the healthcare system without going under.

Don’t ignore medical problems or bills

In order to stay healthy, both financially and physically, it’s important not to ignore any problems, and this includes going to the doctor when you need to and paying the bills on time when they come. Ignoring problems can only make them worse, as is the case with physical and dental health issues that need fixing as well as medical debt. If a medical bill isn’t paid, it will be sent to a collection agency where it will then begin to hurt your credit report, affect your chances of getting a bank loan and possibly be garnished from your wages.

Contact your insurance company

Insurance companies have a lot of work to do in various different departments, which is why mistakes can happen sometimes. If you’ve received a medical bill, be sure to check it to ensure that your doctor’s office billed the insurance company for the right services. If you think there is a mistake, be proactive in following up or try negotiating with them. If you’re being charged an absurd amount of money for a few bandages, you can argue with them about it or contract a company that will do that bidding for you in order to reduce your medical bill by thousands of dollars.

Take advantage of government healthcare

If you find that you cannot manage medical bills with the insurance that you have or that you are unable to find proper health insurance, you can try to see if you qualify for Medicaid, which is a health insurance for low-income residents who can’t afford their medical care expenses. While the requirements for qualification might vary by state, you can contact your local office to see if you qualify and then use your to pay for medical expenses you’ve already incurred, but only within a certain time frame.

Physical and financial health

Staying healthy is an important component of an overall happy life. By ensuring that you have access to and are registered for insurance that covers you when you need to visit the doctor’s office, experience an emergency or need a particular medicine is a great way to keep up with your physical health. Managing the bills you incur will ensure you are financially healthy and avoid medical debt. If you find yourself unable to manage this type of debt, however, you can contact professionals that will help you manage what you owe while also helping you learn how to take care of your finances yourself.

Chrissy Helders

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Top 2018 Apps To Help Manage Your Debt

Student loans are a $1.5 trillion crisis, but worryingly there are also around 1 million people that default on their commitments every year. But it doesn’t stop with student loans, as there are a number of other financial products that are placing tremendous pressure on consumers such as auto finance, personal loans, credit cards, and of course, mortgages. While there are a few simple steps that consumers can follow to minimize their debt, they can also expect some help from technology.

The Most Integral Part of Debt Management: The Budget

There is no denying that the budget is the cornerstone of good debt management. Apps such as Mint and You Need A Budget (YNAB) are quickly becoming go-to apps for those who need to keep track of their monthly income and expenses. These apps provide a number of features that range from basic budgeting to a more in-depth analysis of monthly spend. When consumers can pinpoint what they spend their money on, this can free up some of the cash flow to clear off debt faster.

Spending Habits That Need To Be Controlled

Overspending accounts for many ruined budgets and an increase in debt and the only way to manage this is by stopping it in its tracks. A telltale sign of overspending is a maxed out credit card. Whether this is done through a wild shopping spree or unexpected medical expenses, living paycheck to paycheck is stressful and can be avoided. Apps such as Every Dollar provide users with the means to track their spending and the app can be loaded on your tablet, smartphone or laptop for easy access. Once users are more aware of their spending habits, they’ll be in a better position to reduce overspending on their credit card.

Manage Those Payments

Keeping track of debt payments and outstanding debt can be tedious, considering that the process often tends to be manual. With the help of apps such as Debt Payoff Planner and Debt Payoff Assistant, users have access to a simple overview of their current debt situation. Not only can they track their payments with these apps, but will also be guided along various techniques of getting out of debt faster.

With some guidance from the right app, consumers can manage their expenses more effectively to stay on top of their debt. They will also be able to navigate through their various financial products a little easier and have a greater understanding of what needs to be done to get those outstanding balances reduced.

Chrissy Helders

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Repair Your Finances By Choosing Second-Hand Household Appliances

The nation simply can’t live without their household appliances. 96% of U.S households own a microwave, according to CNN. While, one in four have two refrigerators or more. However, Angie’s List advises that such appliances can cost anywhere from $350 to $8,000. And, with Fox News reporting that a typical American has $38,000 of personal debt, buying new appliances can be a costly expense when times are hard. Therefore, when it’s time to replace your existing appliances or invest in new ones, it’s wise to change your spending habits and seek out second-hand and budget friendly appliances.

Do your research

There are some appliances which are much better value for money when bought second-hand than others. Items such as refrigerators, televisions and ovens are frequently discarded by homeowners long before they break down. According to Howstuffworks, such appliances can last for decades, however, homeowners typically discard and replace them early due to newer models being released or following a home redesign. To ensure that your second-hand appliance is worth the money, research when the model was made so you can determine how old it is and its potential remaining lifespan.

Read reviews 

Once you discover how many years the second-hand gas range, printer or freezer you’re after has, it’s wise to read reviews on the product on an independent review site. Spiegel Research Center states that almost 95% of shoppers read reviews before making a purchase, while, Inc states that 84% of consumers trust reviews as much as they trust their friends. When seeking out reviews, look for ones which show a verified purchase as these are usually the most reliable and unbiased. Certain appliances should be reviewed in finer detail, too, including items required for school or work, such as laptops and printers. Before purchasing a printer, consider how much energy it consumes per use, as well as the type of ink it requires. You should also question how many printed sheets you get per ink cartridge to ensure that buying second-hand is more cost-effective in the long-run.

Sourcing the perfect appliance 

When it comes to picking up a second-hand appliance there are a variety of places to scour. The internet is a great place to start and provides multiple options, including auction sites, social media marketplaces and local classified advertising sites. According to Statista, 42% of American consumers have searched and purchased goods online, with 14% stating they prefer the online shopping process compared to buying in store. Alternative options for finding second-hand household appliances include going to yard sales, garage sales, junk stores, charity stores and flea markets.

Securing a great deal 

The great thing about buying face-to-face is that you can see and feel the appliance for yourself. In some cases, you may even be able to test it out. By seeing it’s condition in person and meeting the seller, you have an excellent opportunity to barter on the price and grab an even greater bargain. The Spruce advises that by simply asking for a discount, you can get 10% off in a junk store. Meanwhile, when buying from an auction site, set a maximum figure for the appliance you’re after and make sure you don’t go over it. With The Association of Resale Professionals revealing that one in five Americans buy second-hand, competition can be fierce and it’s easy to spend more than you intended. But, by being strict with the price you’re prepared to pay, it will prevent you spending more than you can afford.

For the millions of American households who are currently in debt, buying second-hand appliances is the ultimate way to minimize your expenses. So, when you’re next shopping for goods for your home, research and review used appliances from appropriate sources to secure a great deal.

Chrissy Helders

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Live Off of a Passive Income While Building Your Small Business

The latest statistics show that there are “28 million small businesses in America.” For many of these businesses, it can take “as little as five days to start.” Whether you are about to start your business, or are in the process of building it to be the best it can be, the process is undeniably expensive. In fact, it can take two to three years for a business in any industry to reach profitability. Therefore, while building  your company at any stage, it (literally) pays to explore other income opportunities. One of the most utilized is passive income.

Not sure if it is possible for you to live off of a passive income while building your company? Explore four strategies that almost anyone can use.

Write an industry relevant book

Making money while you sleep or while concentrating on improving your business sounds too good to be true, but isn’t. One way that many professionals with industry knowledge make passive income is by writing a book. The self-publishing industry has made it easy and inexpensive to write your own book.

Some of the latest data shows that there were 727,000 US self-published ISBNs registered in 2015. Because you have acquired enough knowledge to start and run your own debt relief company, you surely have enough knowledge to write about the subject. In addition to being an excellent way to establish authority, books and ebooks can be a great way to make a passive income. How much can you expect to make? While this number varies greatly, authors can earn 70% royalty on each ebook.

Use financial knowledge to your advantage

As a professional in the financial industry, you are likely already aware of some of the strategies you can use to make a passive income through investments. From dividend stocks to real estate, there are a number of effective ways to earn a large passive income. If you currently have investments, now would be the time to use those funds to live off of while building your business and paying to train your staff. However, unlike the other options listed, there is a big upfront cost for these kinds of passive income ideas.

Leverage affiliate marketing

Although this form of passive income is usually small at the start, there is little to no cost to get started. Affiliate marketing is defined as “the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.” One way that many professionals utilize this form of passive income is by finding a product line (or multiple, non-competing product lines) that are relevant to their business. The financial industry alone has dozens of these opportunities from which you can begin earning extra funds.

Rent out your room/home while away

Have an extra room to rent out in a popular travel destination? Are you often away for business travel, and don’t spend much time at your home or apartment? Consider using one of the popular home rental websites to make a passive income. While not the average result, some individuals who use these platforms are able to make thousands of extra dollars per month (which can be enough of a passive income to replace most of your desired salary).

While it can be a challenge, creating multiple streams of passive income can generate enough money to live on. Because each of the above opportunities varies so much in potential earnings, it is almost impossible to estimate how much you can expect to make. However, all of these recommendations have the potential to generate thousands of dollars per month or per year.

 

Chrissy Helders

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