Allegiant Air Review

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The official start to summer begins on June 21st, but the warm weather and sunshine makes it feel like we are already in it.  Summer means kids out of school, pleasant weather and vacations.  Vacationing during the summer months has become a staple of many families across the U.S.  Whether you are travelling to visit family, going to the beach, or trekking through a national park, summer presents many individuals the opportunity to get out and about.  Nowadays, people are electing to fly more than ever.  Airlines have become more competitive with their fares in an effort to boost travel by air.  One of these airlines who is known for having great deals on flights is Allegiant Air.

Allegiant Air, or just Allegiant as it is more commonly known, is a budget airline based out of Las Vegas, NV.  Founded in the late 90’s as WestJet Express, Allegiant has rapidly gained popularity among passengers looking for cheap fares throughout the U.S.  With nearly 100 aircraft serving approximately 150 destinations, Allegiant has expanded its reach from coast to coast.  In this Allegiant Air review, I will discuss the positives and negatives of the airline along with some pertinent information you need to know before you book your summertime travel.

Allegiant Air Review: Positives

Probably the biggest positive in terms of Allegiant is the price of their fares.  I know of people who have booked round trip tickets for less than $100 on many occasions.  The earlier you plan and book your trip, the better the price.  Like most flights these days, Allegiant flights aren’t always booked to capacity.  This means that if there is an open seat you would feel more comfortable in you may go ahead and switch.  They also tend to fly into smaller airports.  The benefit of this is you have less crowds and TSA lines to deal with, and you can sometimes find flights into airports that the likes of Delta and American won’t touch.  Finally, their smartphone app and website make it easy to book and manage your flights just like the big airlines, so you don’t have to sacrifice convenience.

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Allegiant Air Route Map

Allegiant Air Review: Negatives

Of course there are also negatives to flying Allegiant Air.  First and foremost, when you book your flight, you need to stick with it.  Changing your flight or cancelling it results in lost money for you the customer.  Secondly, their customer service isn’t the greatest.  I’ve found myself calling before about a simple question only to find myself waiting for 45 minutes on the phone with no answer.  Lastly, as is the case with many budget airlines, they charge for the extras.  This means you have to pay extra for a carry-on or checked bag.  It also means that you don’t get any free refreshments.  Drinks, including soft drinks and snacks, are extra.

Conclusion:

If you are a planner and enjoy planning trips months in advance, Allegiant is definitely an airline to look at.  Even with paying for an extra bag or two, they are often times still cheaper than larger airlines.  The planes offer standard comfort, and  Allegiant oftentimes has direct flights that few other airlines can offer to varying destinations.

Financial Challenges in 2017

create your monthly budget2017 and beyond seems to be a difficult time for businesses. With the global financial situation affected by Brexit, by a divisive and embattled new presidency in the US and an upcoming General Election in the UK, it’s difficult to plan beyond the immediate weeks or months.

For reassurance and reflection, here are some of the bigger challenging issues facing businesses at the moment, and some tips to help.

Financial Management

With changes in government, both at home and more broadly, we can expect new financial regulations to come into force. Donald Trump has announced various high level reforms he intends to make to businesses, and at home in the UK, there are likely to be many new rules brought in to cushion or capitalise on our withdrawal from the EU and the Single Market.

At times like this, large firms need a good CFO, and smaller businesses would benefit from an experienced Financial Consultant. As Jon Burr puts it, “the convergence of ecosystems within financial services across banking, capital markets, asset management, insurance and professional services, all in an environment of increased technological innovation and regulation, is creating a new paradigm”.

This is a lot for a single individual to keep track of, and CFOs in this new ecosystem need to be exceptional individuals. It’s worth consulting a specialist recruiter like Savannah Search to make sure you have the best person for the job in your business.

Technology and Change

The pace of change in technology is only accelerating. Knowing when to jump aboard a new trend, and when to watch carefully is one of the best skills you can cultivate.

A good CIO can help you here, providing updates and expert opinion to aid your judgment. You can also bring a common sense balance check to suggested innovations from your tech experts. Remember, just because something is new doesn’t mean it will automatically be worth doing.

Always remember to check if you are filling a real gap in the market and remember the example of the feature rich, ruinously expensive juicer, which nearly wiped out the founder’s business when it was found the bespoke fruit packs could be squeezed by hand, without investing in the $400 machine. Don’t be a Juicero.

As long as you apply your practised business instincts to each new proposition, you can avoid sinking too much investment into an idea which may never return it.

Renasant Bank Review

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Many of us are familiar with the national banks that stretch across the U.S.  These include Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase and others.  While often times we assume banking with the big banks is the best, that is sometimes not the case.

During the recent financial recession, a lot of pressure came down on smaller, local and regional banks.  No matter what bank it was, they all saw their stock price take a nose dive.  Renasant Bank began over 100 years ago in Mississippi.  Throughout it’s century long existence, the bank has continued to expand over the years.  Today, they have more than 175 locations spanning across the Southeast.  States where they operate include: Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.  Renasant Bank is a full-service bank that offers everything from checking and savings accounts to loans and wealth management services.  This Renasant Bank review illustrates many of the benefits one can receive from a smaller, regional bank versus a national bank.  Below are the three biggest benefits received from this regional bank.

Benefit 1: Free Mobile Deposit: Today the popularity of smartphones have made mobile banking a must.  Nearly every bank has an app where you can access your banking services.  The development of the smartphone led to the creation of mobile deposit.  When mobile deposits were first introduced, many banks charged their customers for this service and some still do.  However with Renasant Bank, mobile deposit is completely free and deposits made before 6:00 PM can usually be expected to post to your account the next day.  This has become the most popular banking service of the modern day and has led to branch closings which ultimately leads to lower costs for banks around the country.

Benefit 2: ATM Fees Covered: We are living in a country where cash becomes less of a necessity each and every day, but there are still many places that prefer the green money to the plastic.  The main reason for this would be that businesses don’t have to worry about paying the credit card processing fees.  With the existence of all-cash places, the need for it is still out there.  While you can often times withdraw money from a grocery store or your bank’s branch for free, it isn’t always the most convenient.  Because of a lack of regional and national presence, many smaller banks reimburse you for such fees and Renasant Bank is no different.  It is always reassuring to know that when are in a crunch and need cash ASAP that you won’t be subjected to the sometimes $10 fee.

Benefit 3: More Personal Service: Some individuals are inclined to support the communities they live in.  They feel a personal obligation to help out their local economy.  This goes for grocery stores, small business and also banks.  When you bank with a smaller, more regional bank, you are more likely to build a personal connection with the people in that branch.  Thus, often times they will work with you on various things such as loans that bigger banks sometimes won’t.

Banking is an essential part of every day life.  Maybe you are younger and looking to open a bank account.  Maybe you feel a lack of trust or professionalism with your current bank.  Looking into smaller banks like Renasant can be a great option for many.

 

 

Managing Your Finances When Disabled

Just about every stage of life requires an understanding of your financial situation; when you go to college, get married, decide to buy a home, choose to have children, when you choose to retire, et cetera. However, most of us don’t take into consideration the possibility of becoming disabled and how this will play a major role in our finances. Let’s learn more about managing our finances while dealing with a disability!

Social Security Disability Insurance

When people become disabled, it’s recommended they check and see what their SSDI eligibility is going forward. Once you understand what your benefits are, you will need to account for that in your budget. There is also a trick when it comes to SSDI benefits and working. Most people assume you cannot work if you are receiving benefits. This isn’t quite true! You can test your work abilities but there are very specific guidelines to how much you can make without losing benefits. This is crucial when many disabled persons don’t receive enough to care for themselves and still need some sort of income to help. Do not assume you can make any specific amount. Speak with your disability lawyer to find out what the rules are around making any extra income while disabled!

Look at Your Budget

If you already have a budget then you need to review it. If you don’t have a budget, you must create one. It doesn’t matter how much money you have coming in from Social Security, a budget will help make everything easier for you to manage. It’s more important to budget when you feel as if you have little to nothing. Disabilities often create extra expenses rather than lessen them. If you don’t take the time to budget, you can find yourself struggling quickly.

Of course, you will be tracking your spending over your standard expenses. Rent/mortgage, utilities, transportation, and food are the usual main expenses that should be considered. You will also need to look at clothing, healthcare (insurance, co-pays, meds, medical aids), home maintenance, and entertainment. Entertainment is important because although you may be disabled, spending a little time enjoying an outing is vital for your mental health. If you never try to do anything fun, it can wear you down mentally and contribute to further health issues.

Scale Back

Once you see what your expenses are and what you are bringing in, don’t panic! It’s not uncommon to see your expenses higher than your disability income. Take a deep breath and look to see where you can cut back. Don’t start with your heavy hitters, such as healthcare and food. You need those to take care of yourself. Instead, start with your rent and utilities. Can you move into a smaller home or apartment that can help you save money? Can you eliminate pay-television and stream movies and television through the internet? If you have a mobile phone, can you get rid of your landline (or can you rid the mobile and keep the landline?) If you own your home, don’t rush to sell it just yet. Check with your lawyer first to be sure it will not harm your benefits.

Dip into Retirement

Depending on where you are in life and whether you were denied benefits, you may have to dip into retirement savings to maintain your life while disabled. This should only be a last resort and if you have enough saved to take care of yourself! If you are under 62, this is probably not the way you want to go. However, if you are 62 you can “retire” and apply for Social Security Insurance Benefits (not disability benefits). However, it will be greatly reduced! You can then dip into your own IRA/SAP/401k to supplement your needs.

If you find yourself still struggling with managing your finances, look to family and friends who will help you make sure bills are paid timely and that you are well within your means for living. It can be a difficult discussion to have but well worth it in the long run!

 

Is Vehicle Insurance Part of Your Monthly Budget?

How to Save a Quick $250 in Your Yearly BudgetRegardless of the brand or model of the vehicle you drive, there is one thing that will always be required. If you are going to drive, you are going to need insurance on the vehicle. While many people believe this is something they can get around, it simply isn’t worth the risk.

Driving without insurance puts you in great danger. No, you’re not exactly at a higher risk to be involved in an accident. But, you could be in danger of many severe consequences. You could lose your license, you could be setting yourself up for financial disaster, and you could find yourself sitting in a jail cell.

Money was just too tight

The night of my accident, my wife and I had been in the middle of pretty difficult times. She had to give up her job a few months prior due to the birth of our child. Money was tight and things were difficult at the time, but the addition to our family made the sacrifices we endured well worth it. Except for one.

When we first felt the pressure from the loss of her income, one of our first moves was to compare auto insurance rates of different companies. We found a company that offered a significant difference in the monthly premium we were already paying, but we lacked the money that was needed to begin the new policy.

We new driving without insurance was illegal, but we found comfort in the fact that we were both great drivers. Neither of us had ever received a ticket, let alone be involved in an accident. We decided that insurance was something we could go without, just until we were able to get back on our feet.

Even the report indicates that the accident wasn’t my fault. However, because our car was uninsured, I was given the blame and held legally responsible. The small area we lived in was making a push at the time against uninsured motorist, and I was the perfect example of what could happen.

I was in shock as the officer placed handcuffs around my wrist and placed me in the back seat of his car. I was taken to jail where I would wait for my court appearance the following afternoon. I would like to say that was the worst that happened. That just simply isn’t the case.

Facing the consequences

Once I was in front of the judge, matters only got worse. Although it wasn’t my fault, damage had been done to the other driver’s truck. Because I was now legally responsible and didn’t have insurance, it would be up to me to pay for the damage. Out of my own wallet.

Because of the fact that I was in jail waiting to go to court, I was unable to be at work that morning. Hearing about my new need for money wasn’t enough to persuade my employer to save my position. The company has a strict no absence policy and the fact that I missed work due to being in jail didn’t help. My employment had been terminated.

You may believe that you can not afford to insure your vehicle because of your circumstances. Trust me when I say, you can’t afford to get caught driving without it.

Nick Murray: Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth

I got my first “real” job at the age of 23 and could not wait to begin investing.  I knew that if I was going to achieve wealth I had to start young and with my parent’s financial advisor.  Turned out I was wrong.  I only had thousands of dollars to invest, and my FA had clients who had hundreds of thousands, even millions.  I paid fees to the FA, still to this day I’m not sure what they were, that were at least 1%.  I took the advice of my advisor believing they were the “expert”.  Eventually I learned they weren’t.

A friend of mine introduced me to a book that forever changed my life and investment philosophy.  That book was Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth, Revised Edition.  In the past four years since being introduced to this book, I have read it many times, bought copies for friends and family, and seen my net worth increase dramatically.  I have the confidence to say that this book alone will allow me to achieve millionaire status before I reach the age of 40.  I am also confident in the fact that this book will help me achieve wealth that I never once dreamed I would have been able to.  I will dive into the three most important aspects I gathered from the book and how they will benefit my wealth creation.

1. INVEST IN STOCKS, NOT BONDS

Most advisors will tell you that you need an appropriate mix of stocks and bonds, especially the older you get.  Why do they tell you this?  Bonds have a lower volatility than stocks, but that lower volatility also means lower returns.  Nick Murray states in his book, “You should be an owner not a loaner”.  A good FA will allow you not to freak out and sell when the market turns south.  By owning stocks and not bonds, you ensure the highest possible return on your portfolio.  After all, the S&P 500 has returned an average of over 10% per year for over the past century.

2. GET A GOOD FINANCIAL ADVISOR, OR CONVINCE YOURSELF NOT TO SELL

Nick’s reasoning for a financial advisor is that he or she will make sure you won’t sell equities when times get rough.  He uses the following example in his book:

“Warren Buffet’s net worth declined over six billion dollars between July 17 and August 31, 1998.  His net worth decreased by six billion in 45 days, but how much did he lose?  The answer is zero.”

Times got tough during those 45 days for equities, but since Warren didn’t sell he didn’t lose.  The natural tendency of people is to sell when the market heads lower and buy when the market goes up.  If you can wrap your head around this philosophy that markets will go down and up, but keep in mind the long-term investing horizon, I say there is no reason for an FA.

3. INVEST CONSTANTLY AND FOR THE LONG TERM

Stocks may not return 10% in the short run, but the best predictor of the future is the past, and over the long-run they should return about 10%.  Invest with a long-term horizon and invest on a constant basis.  Investing on a constant basis means every week, paycheck or month, add to your investments and let compound interest work its magic.

Finally if you get a chance I definetly reccomend that you pick up a copy of Murray’s book. Its available on Amazon for around $20 bucks. Thats a lot, but its definetly worth the investment. Click here to get it.

Budget Smart, Invest Wise

Kyle Schwarber’s Net Worth

If you are a Chicago Cubs fan, and even if you are not, then you know that last season the Cubs broke a 108-year curse to become World Series Champs. It took the Cubs 7 games to knock off the Cleveland Indians, and the final game came down to extra innings. One of the biggest players in game 7 for the Cubs was their DH, Kyle Schwarber. Kyle went 3 for 5 in the game, but more importantly hit .412 during the postseason for the Cubs.

So, since Schwarber is so famous, you may be wondering, what is Kyle Schwarber’s net worth?

Answer: At least $1.2 million.

At 24 years of Age, Schwarber is one of the youngest players on the team’s roster. He was drafted in 2014 as the #4 overall pick out of Indiana University. At the current moment, Kyle Schwarber’s net worth sits at $1.2 million. Although this might see very low for a baseball player from a championship team, he is bound to increase it dramatically in the near future.

Kyle Schwarber’s Net Worth

In 2014 when Kyle was drafted, he received a signing bonus that was worth $3.125 million. As is the case with most baseball draftees, this high signing bonus is all the money many of them see for quite a while as they are forced to work their way through the minors. Kyle came onto the scenes for the Cubs during the 2015 season. That year he made just over $230k in salary while batting .246 with 16 home runs and 43 RBI’s. The following year, 2016, Kyle was finally a fully active member of the Cubs roster; however, injuries plagued him throughout the year until he was able to return during the postseason. Despite his injury, he still made over half a million dollars during the season. This current season Schwarber is scheduled to make a salary of $565k.

The majority of Kyle Schwarber’s net worth is made up through his current baseball earnings and mostly of his signing bonus from 2014. After this baseball season, Kyle will be able to demand a hefty salary considering his play doesn’t falter. He is a regular starter for the Cubs this season out in left field. He has yet to make any errors thus far, but his hitting isn’t as great as it had been. At the time of this writing, Kyle is hitting less than .200, but he has belted 5 home runs. If he is able to improve his hitting and also lessen his strikeouts, he should have no issue inking a big contract next year.

On a personal note, Kyle is one of four kids. He has three sisters and a father who is a retired police chief. He was born on March 5, 1993 in Middletown, Ohio. He spent his years growing up in Middletown and attended Middletown High School where he played baseball. He then went on to the University of Indiana and was selected by the Cubs in 2014.

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FIRECalc Review

20 years ago, if you were interested in planning your retirement you had to sit down with a financial professional. Back in the 90’s and early 2000’s, meeting with someone with such financial experience was commonplace and expected. Fast forward to today and now people planning for retirement have a plethora of options to choose from. You can sit at your desk and pick stocks, you can set up an online investment profile, you can open a retirement account in as little as five minutes! With the ease of picking a retirement plan simplified, you can also simplify the math through several apps and online calculators. This FIRECalc review will show you that you, the investor, now have access to almost all of the tools that were once reserved for professional money managers.

What is FIRECalc?

FIRECalc is a new type of retirement calculator that factors in historical volatility into one’s retirement projection. Many used to think of retirement projections as the following: I have a $1,000,000 portfolio which I draw 4% from on an annualized basis, therefore I have $40,000 I am withdrawing. Unfortunately, retirement projections like this don’t always pan out. Think of the most recent financial disaster where many portfolios were slashed in half. What FIRECalc does is allow you to see all of the possible outcomes of your portfolio, whether it’s a market rally or another collapse.

The Benefits of FIRECalc:

FIRECalc can let you see a projected path of possibilities for retirement. The picture below uses the following example: Bob has a portfolio balance of $1,000,000. He needs to withdraw $50,000 a year for 30 years in retirement. The lines below indicate the vast array of possibilities that his money will last through all 30 years. With the red line signifying “Zero” you can see that the majority of lines end above. This means that based on historical factors, Bob more than likely will have enough funds to cover his spending requirement in his retired years.

What Else Can FIRECalc Do?

The premise that FIRECalc was built on was in dealing with historical market averages. FIRECalc uses this basis and expands it to many other calculator offerings. Around a third of all Americans rely on social security as their main source of income in retirement. Will your social security payments be enough for your retirement? FIRECalc will let you know what your chances of success are. Other calculators they have include ones for people who are looking to set up a future retirement, various spending models, along with a portfolio allocation model.

Conclusion:

I hope this FIRECalc review shows you the many benefits the site can offer. While it is not entirely user friendly (it looks very simple and plain), it does provide you with something all other retirement calculators lack. Most retirement calculators assume a specific return every year during the duration of your investment horizon. FIRECalc is different in that it presents you all of the possibilities. Markets can go up by 20% in a year, and they can also go down over 30%. There are many fluctuations to take into account and that is exactly what FIRECalc does.

Marc Gasol Net Worth

Marc Gasol Net Worth
Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol is a professional basketball player for the Memphis Grizzlies.  Gasol, 32, hails from Barcelona, Spain and is the younger brother of fellow NBA player Pau Gasol.  Marc moved to the United States during his teenage years while his brother played for the Memphis Grizzlies.  He was selected #48 overall in the 2007 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Lakers and was traded in a deal that included his brother Pau that sent him to Memphis where he has spent the entirety of his NBA career.  Marc is finishing up his 9th full season in the NBA where he has proven himself as a legitimate force and an All Star caliber player.  In the summer of 2015, Gasol signed a big contract that has paved the way to his high net worth.

Marc Gasol’s net worth currently sits at $40 million.  In July of 2015, Gasol signed an extension with the Memphis Grizzlies that was worth $113 million for five years.  After the conclusion of this season, Marc would have completed two out of the five years on his contract.  His career began with his initial contract with the Grizzlies that was three years for just shy of $10 million.  After averaging double-digit points per game in all of his first three seasons, he was awarded a contract extension for four years worth $57.5 million.  To date, Marc Gasol’s on the court earnings in the NBA have totaled more than $100 million.  These earnings along with a few endorsements have helped create Marc Gasol’s net worth.  Back in 2015, when Memphis signed Gasol to his extension paying him more than $22 million a year on average, many thought the price was quite steep.  However, Gasol has used his big pay day as motivation.  Gasol was named an All Star for the 2017 season and has also posted a career high 19.5 points per game during the 2017 campaign.  The remaining three years on his contract will pay him more than $72 million, all of which is guaranteed.

When he is not playing in the NBA, Marc is busy helping his home country of Spain win basketball games.  He has played with the Spanish national team for many years.  Additionally, he was a part of Spain’s 2008 and 2012 silver medals in Beijing and London.

Even with Marc Gasol’s net worth well into the tens of millions, he still finds time to give back to the community.  Both he and his brother Pau founded the Gasol Foundation in 2013.  The mission of the foundation is to help end childhood obesity.  The non-profit currently serves many locations in the brothers home country of Spain along with the United States.  Marc Gasol is married to his wife Cristina and between them they have a daughter.  They spend most of their time in Memphis where the family has a house.

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Can I Use Venmo to Split Bills?

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Venmo Review

The ever popular company PayPal was founded back in 1998.  The company has been the go to payment platform for years among individuals who want to share money via the internet.  The popularity of checks has been dwindling in the United States for years now.  So what is the best way to pay someone without a check or PayPal?  It’s Venmo.  Can I use Venmo to split bills?  The simple answer is… Yes!

What is Venmo?

Venmo is an app you can download for your smartphone.  The company calls the app a free digital wallet that allows you to create and share payments with your friends.  The company was founded back in 2009, but it has only recently become the preferred payment method among millennials.  Despite the growing popularity of the app, it is currently only available with valid United States bank accounts and phone numbers.

How do I use Venmo?

  1. Download the Venmo app to your phone the app is available for iOS and Android.
  2. Open the app and create your account.
  3. Verify your phone number and email address.
  4. Add and verify your bank account along with any debit or credit cards you would like to add to the account.
  5. Begin sending payments.

Is Venmo Free?

Yes and No.  The Venmo app is a free download.  When you set up your Venmo account, you will be asked to link either a bank account or a credit card to your account.  Linking a bank account has the same effect as a direct deposit or a direct withdrawal and is free.  The fees come into play when you decide to link a credit card to your account.  Venmo charges a standard 3% fee when sending money via a credit card, but does waive the fee for Authorized Merchant Payments, Venmo balance, bank accounts and debit cards.

Why use Venmo?

Say you and a group of friends went out for a nice dinner.  Perhaps the restaurant doesn’t split the checks or it is just easier if one member of the party picks up the bill.  Venmo allows your friend to charge you for your portion of the dinner or allows you to pay your friend for your meal.  Venmo can be used to split bills.  No cash has to exchange hands.  Venmo also allows the user to create a social connection through the app.  When you pay or charge a friend, you can add words along with emojis to the title line.  You can choose to have your charges and payments to a friend public (everyone can see), private (only you and the friend making the payment can see), or friends (only your friends and that persons friends can see).

Venmo Review Conclusion:

Venmo is rapidly growing in popularity and has been for some time.  Users like the ease and accessibility of the app along with the fact that it is mostly free.  PayPal bought Venmo back in 2016 and is working on expanding the app along with the services offered.  Venmo allows users to not only quickly and easily split bills with friends, but it also helps create a social experience along the way.