Controlling your debt is a very important task and you must be able to manage the process as quickly and efficiently as possible. A good idea is to perform a clean sweep of your finances at least once or twice a year so that you know where you stand financially.

Gather Your Financial Records

The first step in performing a clean sweep is to get all of your financial records organized and in one place. Have one folder for credit cards you need to pay off, one folder for your mortgage payments and, if necessary, one folder for your kids college expenses. Once you have all your folders organized and in front of your face you need to review each one individually. A big part of controlling your debt is getting your credit card bills under control. You can do this by looking at the balance on each of your credit cards.

Start with the credit card that has the highest balance and work out a budget in which you can pay the account off, in full, as quickly as possible. Try to make more than the minimum payment every month if you can. If you are really struggling look into whether or not you can have the balance from your credit card transferred to another credit card with a lower interest rate. This can help you pay off your credit card debts much faster. If you need help with this you can consult a financial advisor on your own or turn to a credit counseling company. They can help you get your credit card debt under control and work towards eliminating it completely, which should be your ultimate goal.

Look At Any Tuition Bills You May Have

If you or one of your dependants has college expenses to pay, assess how much you owe and the best way to pay it. If your child is approaching college age you can help them see if they can get either a scholarship, a grant or financial assistance from the college itself. You have many options for getting out of debt that was racked up by college tuition bills. Explore these options and figure out which one will work best for you.

Reassess What You Spend Money On

One good way to make a clean sweep of your debts is to reassess where all of your money is going. If you are in debt over car repairs, see if you can trade your car in for one that is cheaper or even sell your old car to a mechanic. The key to doing a clean sweep of your debt is to cut down on expenses and start living within your means.

No one wants to be in debt, so performing a yearly, or even twice yearly, sweep of your debts will help keep you organized so you can work on eliminating the stress of being in debt from your life. Managing debt does not have to be hard if you are careful.

Amanda Spencer is the mastermind behind this article. When it comes to financial advice she always recommends

What is debt settlement?

Situation may arise, that some is being unable to repay his or her debt. Being unable to repay the debt, results the debt to be piled up. Then the possible next scenario is that the burden of debt on the borrower is huge. The debt settlement process here comes into action. The debt settlement process ensures that you do not have to pay this full amount of debt.

Basically, the debt settlement is the process of offering a large amount of money, the major amount of the debt, together at a time. For example, the total amount of debt is $8000. Then settling with the creditors, for example $5500 is offered to them at a time. Offering such a huge amount of money at a time, result the remaining debt to be cut off. Thus after the debt settlement one needs pay, less than the actual debt amount.

Who deals with debt settlement?

There are certain debt settlement companies who deals with this whole process. Once, one tell these companies about their debt situation, the company suggests them to save up to a certain amount of money. The borrower then stops paying for the debt and starts to save the money. When the suggested amount has reached, the debt settlement companies calls up the creditors and then negotiates for the debt.

Advantages of Debt Settlement:

One of the biggest advantages of the debt settlement is that it can save some one from bankruptcy.  Debt settlement works as an alternative to bankruptcy or solution to the loans without credit check.

Through the debt settlement process, one can be the clear winner by pay the lesser amount of debt. Debt settlement ensures that one needs to pay the majority amount of the debt, not the whole amount of debt, at a time. By, paying the total the money at a time all reduces the hassle.

Disadvantages of Debt Settlement:

The process of debt settlement might sound very attractive, but the truth may not be such attractive. Yes, the debt settlement process ensures that one needs to pay lesser the amount of the actual debt but one need to pay a wholesome amount of the total debt and that also at a time. Paying a large amount at a time is not a simple issue rather it may create many difficulties.

Once a large amount of money is gone at a time, the monthly expenditures are sure to be highly effected, and there is a huge possibility that one needs to cut down his or her monthly expenditures by a lot, in this process of paying this large amount of money at a time.

The period, when one stops paying the borrower, and saves for settling the debt remains off record and the records shows that he or she was not paying the debt regularly and the process of debt settlement is not recorded. So in the records, it is stated that he or she was unable to repay the online loans for bad credit.  Thus the credit scores falls, which in turns makes it difficult to avail loans in the future.

The federal student loans are basically for all the students of United States of America. The grant program started in the year of 1950 under National Defense Education Act which is in short named as NDEA. The NDEA act went for categorizing the students in order to lend them with the grants to carry on with education.

In that category, the students who are studying science, engineering, technology are eligible for the online loans for bad credit program. And the grant program had been established in response to the fight with the Soviet Union. The widespread education made the American federal government alert about the education of their nation and on that consequence the federal student loan program had been launched. The US never wanted to fall behind during the cold war with the Soviet Union. And education was a weapon of this war. So, US became aware of strengthening this weapon.

In the year of 1960, the grant programs took a broader outlook. An act had been launched which is named as higher education act. And the act aimed t encourages greater social mobility and equality of opportunity. This is the primary historical background of the federal student loan. It remained quite same if you overlook few changes.

But, after 2010, the federal loan faced moderation to a greater extent by getting included with the direct loan. Since then, the grant program has been originating and being directed by the department of education. The guaranteed loan also existed in the market. But, those guaranteed student loans were only funded by private investors which are named as private student loans. At the same time, some private lenders used to lend money where the federal government becomes the guarantor. So, the student loan schemes have got several forms.

But, eventually, the guaranteed loan had got eliminated from the market through the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act which had been enacted in 2010. These guaranteed loans without credit check have got eliminated as the federal government thought that this grant program becomes beneficial for the private lenders only. The students will have to carry out some extra cost which is invisible with the federal loans.

The student loans have got certain limits as well. In fact, the federal grant program for the students has got higher limits for the graduate students. If we take a look at the report we would find out that the limit for Stafford loan is $8500 under subsidized version. Fr unsubsidized Stafford loan the limit is $12,500. Also, the students have got the opportunity of taking advantage of the Perkins loan which is a welfare grant program indeed. That grant program has got a limit of $6000 every year.

The grants are available to schools, colleges and universities. The funds are directly disbursed to the educational institution and are lent in accordance with student’s status, dependency, scholarship, result as well as financial needs. In accordance with the attribute and need of the students, the department of education will determine

I’ve often wondered what we can do about the public’s impression that financial planning businesses that make a profit are evil or fraudulent.

The Financial Services Reform Act has been in effect since March 2002 and there have been many changes since then. That’s over a decade of almost continuous change and regulation yet these damaging and often erroneous perceptions still linger.

I’m sure the answer lies largely in the area of ‘trust’, yet whilst we’re see examples in the media of accountants or lawyers who have broken the trust of their clients, the public and government response is very different. We don’t hear the same angry screams for more reform or regulation that we see when financial planners do the wrong thing by their clients.

So I’m left to wonder why this is the case.

As a Recruiter, I’m seeing more and more young people choosing financial planning as a Degree and long term career choice. Surely, if the vast majority of financial planners were doing a bad job for their clients, we wouldn’t be seeing this growing trend in young people looking to enter the profession, would we?

And if this is true, then doesn’t it follow that the government should treating financial planning the same way as it does other professionals like accountants and lawyers?

In fact, I’d go as far to say that the government and financial planners should really be working in partnership as we all face the reality of an ageing population and longer life spans.

Otherwise, what else are they planning to do to resolve this problem and ensure that  everyone is taken care of in the coming years?

In a previous post we touched on the subject of the public’s perception of financial planners. In this post  we is going to explore the issue of running a profitable financial planning business.

Any business, whether it’s financial planning or a corner store, needs to focus on one basis principle to remain profitable and that is:

Is there more revenue coming into the business than expenses flowing out?

So how does a business ensure that it maintains a strong revenue stream?

One way is to develop a sales pipeline or sales funnel so that they have visibility of what revenue is likely to flow into the business in the near future.

Once you have this projection, you can then make some decisions about how you’ll manage your expenses.

To relate this to a financial planning business in particular, you would need to:

  • identify prospective leads– ie a client database, marketing responses, mail outs, seminars, referral networks, networking, community groups, family and friends
  • initial engagement – i.e. contact them to arrange a time to discuss their financial planning needs/goals/objectives and how your business may be able to assist them
  • convert to a client – i.e. you have shown sufficient value to the person for them to agree to pay you for your advice and services
  • retain clients– i.e. clients will not continue to remain your client unless they are satisfied with the ongoing advice and services that you provide them with
  • client advocacy– i.e. clients will refer others or recommend your advice and services to others when they reach a high level of comfort with your business

We all know that recruiters don’t get it right 100% of the time.

We also know that many employers and recruiter use your past performance or behaviours as an indicator or predictor of your future choices.

So if a candidate is ‘rejected’, can this ever be a positive experience?

Naturally everyone hopes when they submit a job application that they’ll progress through the interview stages and get an offer at the end, however we also know that not everyone ends up with such a happy result.

So how can there be positives for us so that we stay motivated and continue to apply for roles?

As a recruiter, it’s my opinion that the likelihood of a candidate turning a ‘rejection’ into a positive lies largely in the skill of the recruiter your dealing with. To me the key here is feedback.

Too often I meet candidates who express to me their confusion or frustration with their job hunting activities. When they tell me about their experiences it becomes obvious to me that they have either received no guidance at all about why they’re been unsuccessful or they’ve received conflicting advice.

Here is a quick example: I receive many applications each day from people interested in becoming financial planners. Despite the fact that my advertisements refer to specific qualifications, many applicants apply anyway. Many time-poor recruiters may simply ‘reject’ all of these applicants, send them a standard ‘you’re unsuccessful’ email and then get frustrated because the same people keep applying for similar roles that they’re not going to be successful for either.

I, on the other hand, do things a little differently. I’ve always tried to help my applicants as best I can so this means I try and think about how I would feel in a candidate’s shoes. This is why I spent time drafting a new ‘unsuccessful’ email with information about the qualifications needed, links to professional associations, websites and training organizations that could help people understand what they’re missing and give them some pointers to research if a career in financial planning is what they’re trying to achieve.

The result is that I don’t have as many people continuing to apply for roles they’re not qualified for. I’ve also received wonderful feedback from candidates who finally understand why their applications weren’t progressing.

This is just one example of how being ‘rejected’ for a role can turn into a positive.

And another: Other recruiters I know have shared many other examples with me as well including the time a ‘rejected’ candidate got so angry about the result that they turned that energy into sheer determination to prove the recruiter wrong. They pursued additional studies, worked long hours and overcame their ‘fear’ of engaging clients. Funnily enough, once they reached their goal and began working in the industry, they came to realise that the recruiters concerns about their resilience and persistence were justified and without being rejected, they may never have had the determination to push through those challenges in the beginning of their career.

 

After working in recruitment and human resources for many years I can certainly relate to the pointers in this recent article

Speaking from experience, it’s true that what seems like a fantastic opportunity to good to refuse turns out to be much less attractive in the long run.

I’ve had many hiring managers calling me very distressed at the thought of an employee leaving and desperate to retain them. Certainly in the heat of the moment, throwing money around can seem like the solution but I can assure you it’s not.

What tends to get forgotten in the heat of the moment is that there was originally a compelling reason(s) why that employee started looking around for other opportunities in the first place. Paying them more money is not really going to change these reason.

The points made in this article  are all valid and very real.

Yes! your current employer will have all of those reactions to you once you’ve taken the money.

Yes! the rebuffed ‘new’ employer and anyone associated with you achieving that offer (i.e. Recruitment people) have very long memories.

I’d even suggest that there’s an additional ripple effect worth considering –personal brand damage!

Some industries are very small and with so many people networking, socialising and changing roles themselves, you really don’t know who you’re going to bump into in the future.

My advice (much like Alan) is don’t be blind to all the negatives of accepting a counter-offer just because you’re dazzled by the dollars waved in front of you.

As the old saying goes….all that glitters is not gold!

In my career, I’ve been asked many times over the years to contribute my thoughts on how/what a group especially developed for female Financial Advisers should include.

In each instance my thoughts have never changed and essentially come down to a few key points namely:

– what will help female Planners/Advisers be more effective with their clients; and
– what doesn’t involve lipstick, make-overs, weight loss or feminine hygiene products.

Does that sound silly?

I hope not because I am yet to attend or hear of a male networking/professional development group that has topics on how to:

– Attain the perfect shine to your shoes;
– tie a perfect bow tie; or
– regularly trim your eyebrows and nostril hairs.

So why is it that we feel the need to offer different professional development content to women?

Are we afraid that no one will attend or support a group that offers something different?

Don’t female Financial Planners want to capitalize on the natural empathy they have with clients and learn how to continue to build solid long-term relationships with them?

Aren’t female Financial Advisers just as interested in the more intricate concepts of financial planning and strategy as their male counterparts?

I’m hoping that in 2012 we’ve finally reached a point where the stereotypes of years gone by are not going to set the tone for our future.

Financial Planning is truly a wonderful career choice for females – it has so much to offer them in terms of job satisfaction, monetary reward and job flexibility. It would be a crying shame if upcoming young women missed these points because they felt the support they needed to be true professionals alongside their male colleagues just wasn’t there or attainable.

Let’s hope that the companies seen as the leaders in our industry can do more to promote the development of a true professional development vehicle for our wonderful female Financial Planners and Advisers so we can all participate in taking our industry to new heights of professionalism.

 

Lately I’ve been speaking with a lot of people who are new to Financial Planning and I’ve noticed a bit of a theme to their questions.

Basically they’re trying to understand the issues of compliance so an Adviser Head post was born.

Whilst these people may have learnt the fundamentals of compliance during their studies, they still have difficulties understanding exactly what it means on a daily basis with clients.

Some see the compliance requirements of the licensee as a process of ticking boxes so that they pass their internal reviews or audits. Whilst others realize that it’s about doing everything possible to protect the client.

Interestingly, it’s a question of how well a Planner is able to balance both of these views that will determine their longevity in the industry.

These days nearly every large licensee or dealer group is focused on building more checks into their recruitment processes. This means it’s getting tougher and tougher for Planners to change licensees if they’re having difficulty meeting their licensee’s standards.

It’s common for a licensee’s recruitment process to be quite rigorous these days with much closer attention paid to resumes, career histories, compliance reviews and other due diligence.

None of this should be a surprise since the industry has been highly scrutinized and regulated in recent years and certainly Financial Planners who struggle with the compliance aspects of their role are finding it increasingly difficult to fly under the radar.

At the end of the day, this is a fantastic development because it can only increase the general public’s confidence and ensure that the industry continues to progress towards being a ‘profession’ of high regard.

Yes we all recently acknowledged International Women’s Day earlier this month, but we think it should be something thought about much more often than once a year.

This is why today’s Adviser Head installment is going to post two questions about women and financial planning.

  1. Do we have enough women in the financial planning industry as a whole?; and
  2. Do women do enough to take care of their financial futures?

Everyone’s input on either or both questions is warmly welcomed and to get the ball rolling here are some points of view to consider.

Here’s a female financial planner’s thoughts on women securing their own financial futures and her 5 tips that could make a difference.

We’ve also included a blog entry that encourages to women to think of their financial futures outside of a man or being married.

For those of you interested in statistics and numbers, here’s a great article from the Ruby Connection that gives us a snapshot of how well women are doing (or not doing) with managing their financial futures.

It’s also interesting to read how women perceive dealing with the financial services industry in general in this recent Empower article.

It’s especially hard to believe that the financial planning industry is seen as low paying – here’s a recent my career snapshot of how salaries trended during 2011.

So could the low numbers of female financial planners be because the profession is seen as too male-dominated? Surely not given that there are plenty of much more male-dominated industries that have seen successful women thrive as Dr Bronwyn Evans discusses here.

And if you tend to agree with the views expressed in this CFS Career Management article that more and more women are seeking self-employment opportunities, then we should be seeing a watershed of women coming into financial planning rather than the steady trickle we’re experiencing.

Maybe it’s all in the marketing and what we really need are more young role models to entice high school and university ladies to consider financial planning.

So what do you think is the reason or reasons why more women aren’t looking for a career in financial planning even though it offers?

– Flexibility (i.e. part time, full time)

– Reward for effort (i.e. significant incentive structures that reward performance)

– Ownership (i.e. equity, partnerships, ownership)

– financial security (i.e. building a client register / asset).

 

Personally, it’s one of my goals to keep trying to change this situation and turn both of my original questions around to the positive. Any insights, ideas, suggestions or feedback is very welcome and much appreciated

Throughout my 20+year career in Human Resources and Recruitment, I’ve had numerous discussions about the merits of various recruitment techniques.

I think nearly every person can think of times when a rejected candidate has turned out to be a ‘star’ or a hired ‘star’ has turned out to be a disappointment. For me, the most difficult thing to understand is why people think that any recruitment process is going to ever be 100% correct 100% of the time.

I’m not saying that all the various tools, tests and techniques should be thrown away – far from it – I’m merely suggesting that it’s impossible to accurately predict future human behavior.

So where does that leave someone like me whose career is in recruitment. Well in short, it leaves me in huge demand.

You see the recruitment process is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. All any recruiter or manager can do is try to capture as much information about a person as possible and then make the best judgment that they can.

Of course this means that there’ll be times when we get it right and times when we get it wrong. After all, we’re not yet at the point of predicting future behavior like that suggested in the Minority Report.

As recruiters our value lies in our ability to use a range of tools, tests and techniques to help uncover information about each candidate and enable us to make the best decision we can at that point in time.

Are we always right – NO!

Do we hope that we’re able to make a solid decision based on the 100′s of people we see  – YES!

But I don’t think there’s ever been a recruiter that would profess to be ’100% foolproof’.

Although, if you read this article the future for recruiters and candidates may get very interesting