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Learn The Ins And Outs Of The Foreign Exchange Market For $25

Despite its troubles in recent years, it’s hard not to find the allure of Wall Street and the realms of high finance and international markets seductively intriguing. However, the intricacies of that world also keep the average non-financial professional mostly mystified about how and why fortunes are made and lost.

You can become part of that “in” crowd — and it won’t take a Wharton MBA (and its hefty tuition costs) to get you there with the New York Forex Institute Training and Certification Course, on sale now for $25 from The National Memo Store.

You’ll work through over 36 hours of content, introducing you to the foreign exchange (Forex) market, an arena where currency traders are wheeling and dealing 24/7 all over the world.

Your training comes under the instruction of the New York Forex Institute, featuring some of the best financial teachers around. Under their tutelage, you’ll learn the basics of currency trading and investment management, including what signals to watch for to make loads of money for both clients and yourself.

Once you’ve completed the 12 lessons (with the help of a host of Forex training materials like flashcards, an article database, and more), you’ll have earned a Forex certification proving you’re ready to get started in the financial industry.

Your first lesson in smart financial decisions starts here: the New York Forex Institute Training usually costs almost $900, but you’ll have well over 90 percent off with this $25 offer while this deal expires.

This sponsored post is brought to you by StackCommerce. 

6 Tried-And-True Ways To Afford That Dream Vacation

By Catharine Hamm, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

If you have perused those year-end lists of hot destinations, then wondered how you could afford any of those places, this column is for you.

A couple of financial whizzes shared their insights on making your travel dreams come true without financing them on your credit cards or limiting yourselves to calling a trip to the Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nev., a vacation. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Here are six ways to see the world and get the last laugh on the budget blues.

— Consider thinking about a budget as enabling rather than constricting, said Sean McQuay, a credit-card analyst with NerdWallet.com. That way, the goal becomes inspiring instead of punitive. Mind game? Maybe. But whether your ideal is Tokyo or Tonopah, skipping a famous-maker cuppa becomes not a sacrifice but a strategy that gets you closer to where you want to be.

The shift won’t happen immediately, he noted; it takes practice to reverse old ways of thinking.

— Make the goals realistic. When McQuay and his wife began their financial planning, they budgeted nothing for dinners out and entertainment. It was, in his words, a “disaster.” Again, deprivation isn’t the key; the destination dream is. So be gentle with yourself lest you burn out.

— Look at big-picture spending, he added. By percentage, where is your money going? You need not figure to the penny, but if you see that you’re spending, say, about 25 percent of your monthly income on eating out, you may be able to redirect that money into a vacation fund by making a meal that warms your El Nino-chilled bones and can also be reborn as a brown-bag lunch or two.

— Don’t spend money you don’t have to. Well, duh. But sometimes you don’t realize the tools you may have at hand. Wallaby Financial, designed to help consumers save, offers a database (www.walla.by/cardbase) that explains which cards have benefits that can help you save by not spending. It’s not just rewards cards; some cards offer benefits that mean you don’t have to shell out money, said Matthew Goldman, founder and chief executive of Wallaby Financial.

He cited, for instance, Chase Sapphire Preferred, which provides primary, not secondary, rental car coverage. That means you can skip the expensive buy-it-at-the-counter insurance every rental company seems to push and avoid using your own car insurance if you have to make a claim. (Of course, you must rent the car using the card or else you don’t get the benefit.)

— Consider buying status, Goldman said. You may not be able to buy yourself on to Hollywood’s A-list, but the right airline credit card (and we don’t mean the ones you get if you are the creme de la creme of spenders) means you may get preferred boarding and not have to pay for a checked bag.

If you were to fly American, for example, you would pay $25 for a checked bag. The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard card costs $95 a year (free for the first year), so with four checked bags you’re ahead by $5 (or $100 if it’s your first year). This, of course, requires your loyalty; you, in turn, get to be in Group 1 for boarding too.

— Don’t waste money on foreign transaction fees, Goldman said. It used to be that many cards charged this fee for buying in foreign currency and converting that amount into dollars, but thanks to the improving economy and the corresponding improvement in credit-card competition (never mind that it’s a questionable fee to begin with), more cards are saying so long to that fee, which can add as much as 3 percent to your purchases abroad (or even to purchases you make from home if they’re from a company abroad).

©2016 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: A hike in the Canadian Rockies is an example of the excursions offered by Road Scholar, an education-promoting travel service once called Elderhostel. (photo courtesy Eileen Knesper/Road Scholar)

What’s The Best Way To Choose A Guardian For Your Kids?

Dear Carrie: My husband and I can’t come to an agreement on whom to appoint as a guardian for our three young children. He says his brother, I say my sister. How can we reach an agreement? — A Reader

Dear Reader: Although my kids are now grown up, your question takes me right back to when my husband Gary and I were trying to make this same decision. Like you, we were fortunate enough to have a few choices, but choosing among them seemed impossible. And let’s be honest, there are always pros and cons to every possible choice, because no one, no matter how special, can really take your place.

Because it’s such an emotional decision — and because it’s so important (if you don’t name a guardian, the state will choose one for you) — I think the best way to go about it is to make a list of all the important considerations. Then you and your husband can examine each one from a practical perspective as well as an emotional one and, hopefully, come to an agreement. That’s what our estate-planning attorney helped us to do and I’m happy to pass his insights on to you.

Ask Yourself These Questions

Answering the following questions will help you zero in on what’s most important as you consider the possibility of someone else raising your children.

–Does the prospective guardian share your values? Whether it’s religious, moral, political or personal, ideally you want someone to raise your children with the beliefs and attitudes that you hold dear. Of course, no two people think exactly alike, but if, for instance, you want your kids to grow up in a socially liberal environment, you’d want a guardian to have an open mind on social issues.

–How intimately does this person know you and your family? How comfortable are your kids with this person? The closer your kids are to a potential guardian, the easier it will be on them during what is a very difficult transition.

–How many children does the prospective guardian already have? What is their parenting style? If someone already has a full house, there may not be room for your kids. And in terms of parenting, you want someone who could provide a sense of continuity when it comes to things like discipline and personal responsibility.

–What’s the age and health of the individual you’re considering? Since you mention your siblings, age may not be a factor, but it’s good to think about these things. Depending on the age of your children at the time, this could be a long-term commitment.

–Where does the guardian live? Do you want your children to be uprooted? It’s one thing to move a toddler across country but quite another to tear a teenager away from junior high or high school where friends and social networks have already been established.

Focusing on these issues may point more toward one or another potential guardian. But once you’ve answered these questions to your mutual satisfaction, there’s still another important consideration.

Think About Financial Stability

Hopefully you and your husband have enough life insurance to provide for your kids financially through college. It’s one thing to ask someone to care for your kids and quite another to ask them to support them.

But whatever your financial circumstances, whether it’s through personal assets or insurance, your children will most likely have some type of inheritance that needs to be managed carefully. Fortunately, you can choose to appoint both a personal guardian and what’s called a guardian of the estate. They don’t have to be the same individual.

So let’s say your sister is the most financially savvy and your husband’s brother has the best family set up to care for the children. You could involve each according to their circumstances. However, it’s very important that the guardian of the person and the guardian of the estate get along and agree on what’s best for the kids.

Get the Guardian’s Consent

Once you and your husband agree, the next step is to talk to the prospective guardian. Make sure he or she understands why you’ve chosen them and is willing to take on the responsibility. Actually, I think it’s a good idea to have a second choice in case the first one is unable at the time to fulfill the role.

Realize That You Can Revisit Your Choice Every Few Years

Nothing is cast in stone, not even your will. If something changes over the years, don’t hesitate to change your guardian choice. No one’s feelings should be hurt. The deciding factor should always be what’s best for your children at the time.

Believe me, I know this whole process isn’t easy, and hopefully your guardian will never have to step in. But make the choice now, and put it in writing. Then as you and your family go about living a full and happy life, you can rest a bit easier knowing your kids are taken care of — just in case.

Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, Certified Financial Planner, is board chairwoman and president of the Charles Schwab Foundation and author of “The Charles Schwab Guide to Finances After Fifty.” Read more at http://schwab.com/book. You can email Carrie at askcarrie@schwab.com. For more updates, follow Carrie on LinkedIn and Twitter (@CarrieSchwab). This column is no substitute for individualized tax, legal or investment advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, consult with a qualified tax adviser, CPA, financial planner or investment manager. To find out more about Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo: What will these parents do if they can’t care for their child? REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

What’s a Financial Plan? Do You Need One?

Dear Carrie: I’m in my late 30s, have a great job and about to get married. Unfortunately, though, I don’t feel that I have a real handle on my finances, especially as I look ahead to married life. Is there a good way for me to get up to speed? — A Reader 

Dear Reader: Great question — and a great time to be asking it. With a good job and an upcoming marriage, you’re poised to begin an exciting journey — one that will have a number of financial destinations along the way. But to keep moving forward — and help you steer the clearest path — you need a good map. To me, one of the best guides you can have at a time like this is a financial plan. Here’s why.

Why a Financial Plan Makes Sense

First, a financial plan isn’t just about managing your money. It’s about identifying your life goals — some that you’ve already thought about, and some that may not be obvious. The process itself will help you think big and sort out your priorities. It can also be an excellent opportunity for you and your fiancee to explore your goals together.

Second, a comprehensive financial plan is comprehensive. It looks at all the interrelated parts of your financial life — money in, money out, investments, retirement planning, insurance, taxes, estate planning — to make sure they’re all coordinated.

Finally, a good financial plan is actionable. It will give you concrete steps to take as you move toward your goals, and can also help you understand how to adjust if your goals change down the road.

What a Financial Plan Includes

A comprehensive financial plan has many parts, including:

–A personal net worth statement — a snapshot of what you own and what you owe. This will help you know exactly where you stand, and also give you a benchmark against which you can measure your progress.

–A cash flow analysis — so you can see how much money comes in and goes out every month. This is the foundation for your budget (including identifying what’s fixed and what’s discretionary) and can also help you get a handle on your debt.

–A retirement plan — specifying how much you need to save each year.

–A plan for funding education.

–An investment plan based on your goals, resources, and risk profile.

–A review of your insurance coverage — making sure you have the right types and amounts.

–A review of your income tax profile.

–The foundation for an estate plan — which is important for everyone, but especially when you have children.

Putting all this together takes time and expertise — and that’s where an experienced financial planner comes in. By gathering your information, evaluating your financial status, and developing and helping you implement specific recommendations, a financial planner can help your get your financial life on track.

Working With a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER Professional

There are many types of financial planners, but I recommend working with a Certified Financial Planner professional. The individuals with this credential have completed extensive training, passed a rigorous test and meet ongoing continuing education requirements.

The key is to find a financial planner that you trust and are personally comfortable with. Many offer a complimentary initial consultation, so you can ask questions and see if you’re a good fit. You might start with recommendations from friends, colleagues or other financial professionals. Make an appointment for a consultation and, before you meet, make a list of questions. Ask about cost, background, types of services and number of clients. Ideally, you and your fiancee should decide on a planner together as you consider how you’re going to handle your finances as a couple.

An Extra Word About Cost

Financial planners can be compensated in different ways. Some may charge an hourly fee; others may give you a set price based on the complexity of your financial situation. Be cautious when it comes to financial planners who are paid by commission. When interviewing a potential planner, be sure to ask if he or she is compensated for selling you any particular financial product. If so, consider how that inherent conflict of interest may impact his/her ability to provide you with the best and most objective advice for your situation.

Many people think a financial plan is only for the wealthy. But to me, it can be well worth it for most everyone, and can more than pay for itself if you follow the recommendations. In fact, in today’s complicated financial world, it can be the one guide you need most.

Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, Certified Financial Planner, is board chairwoman and president of the Charles Schwab Foundation and author of “The Charles Schwab Guide to Finances After Fifty.” Read more at http://schwab.com/book. You can email Carrie at askcarrie@schwab.com. For more updates, follow Carrie on LinkedIn and Twitter (@CarrieSchwab). This column is no substitute for individualized tax, legal or investment advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, consult with a qualified tax adviser, CPA, financial planner or investment manager. To find out more about Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal. Diversification and asset allocation cannot ensure a profit or that an investor’s goals will be met and cannot eliminate the risk of investment losses.

COPYRIGHT 2016 CHARLES SCHWAB & CO., INC. MEMBER SIPC. DIST BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

Photo: A financial plan is about your life goals. studio curve via Flickr