Hurricane Relief from Across the World

In early October 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall across the Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti before impacting the United States. While the impact to Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas was significant, it was absolutely devastating to Cuba and Haiti, where hundreds died and thousands were left homeless. The devastation led to calls for humanitarian assistance from across the globe.


Individuals Were Asked to Donate to the Red Cross


A campaign was organized that asked individuals to donate $10 by sending a text message to a dedicated phone number. The money would then be collected and distributed as needed to victims of the storm in Haiti and elsewhere. While donating to a good cause may seem like a nice thing to to do, it could have financial consequences for those who decided to give.


Can You Afford to Donate?


The first question that you need to ask yourself before you give away any of your money is if you can afford to do so. Although $10 may seem like a small amount, that could equal more than an hour of work for someone making minimum wage. That money could help pay for rent, food or basic medical supplies for yourself and your family. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have sound financial and debt management practices in place before you decide to part with your hard earned cash. The one positive is that donations to groups such as UNICEF USA are tax-deductible.


What Is the Money Used For?


The money was used to make sure that medical assistance could be brought to the people of Haiti and elsewhere in the Caribbean that were impacted by the storm. It was also used to provide food and shelter to the thousands of people who were left homeless by the storm. In some parts of Haiti, metal roofs were stripped clean from the structures that they were keeping safe from the elements. Some parts of the country were impassable for hours or days after the storm, and donations helped pay for recovery efforts despite the danger.


Crowdfunding Sites are Also Being Used to Collect Donations


In addition to texting dedicated phone numbers to send a donation, you may also donate using crowdfunding and other online portals. This enables people from around the globe to donate and contribute to the effort to help those in need. If you are going to donate through such a site, you may want to make sure that the funds are actually going to where they say that they will go. This can be done by reviewing the public records that charities and nonprofits must file with the state and federal government. You may also be able to talk directly with someone from a charity or someone who has worked with the charity that you want to donate through.


Hurricane Matthew caused billions of dollars in damage when it tore through the island nations in the Caribbean. However, with your generosity and the generosity of others like yourself, it may be possible to raise the money needed to help the people who have been impacted and help them try to return to a normal life.


What We Know And Don’t Know About New York and New Jersey Explosions

Last week, the nation was shocked to learn about multiple bombing attempts that took place between September 17 and September 18. Fortunately, no one was killed in the bombs, but several people were harmed in this concerning terrorist attack. At first there were a lot of confusing and conflicting rumors surrounding the New York and New Jersey bombings, but after detailed investigation by the police and FBI, we are finally starting to get a clearer picture of what took place. Here is all of the information we have learned about the bombings so far.


Things We Know About the Bombings


Law enforcement individuals involved in the bombings have been very open and honest throughout their investigation. Therefore, we already know quite a few facts about what took place before, during, and after the explosions.

  • 1. The Damage Done
  • At the time of the bombings, you may have heard many rumors about high death counts. Fortunately, this did not actually happen. Though 31 people were injured in the first explosion, most of them just received minor cuts, and all were released from the hospital shortly. The rest of the bombs were discovered before they exploded, so no one else was injured.
  • 2. The Bomber’s Identity
  • The police quickly realized that Ahmad Khan Rahami seemed to be involved due to a fingerprint found. After a shootout in Linden, New Jersey, which killed no one, Rahami was taken into custody and is being charged with several crimes. His bail is currently set at $5.2 million
  • 3. The Bomber’s Motivations
  • When the press learned that the suspect was of Afghan descent, there was a lot of speculation that the attack was a terrorist attack. Investigators have confirmed that they recovered a notebook from Rahami that mentioned killing unbelievers, the Boston Bombing, and the name of a cleric who recruits for al-Qaeda. At one point in 2014, the FBI was also notified by Rahami’s father that he was concerned Rahami had been radicalized. All of this evidence hints that there were at least some radical terrorist motivations behind the attack.

Still Unknown Facts About the Bombings


We may know quite a bit about the New York and New Jersey bombings, but there are still some facts that have not been revealed yet.

  • 1. Did Rahami Have Help?
  • Of course the most immediate concern for investigators is still figuring out whether Rahami acted alone or if he had any help from any individuals or local terrorist cells. There is not really any evidence suggesting that Rahami was working with any terrorist cells, but bomb technicians have raised some concerns that they do not think Rahami could have been able to build such efficient bombs by themselves.
  • 2. Was Rahami Radicalized or Unstable?
  • Since he visited Pakistan frequently, it is possible that Rahami was radicalized by the Islamic State, who targets young immigrants with their propaganda. However, it is possible that he just chose to commit a terrorist act due to personal mental instability.
  • 3. Were the Bombings Connected to Minnesota Stabbings?
  • The bombings occurred during roughly the same time period as a mass-stabbing incident in Minnesota that was claimed by IS. So far, law enforcement has not been able to learn if the two events are connected.

Investing for Retirement

Investing for Retirement

After working hard and saving diligently for retirement, now you are faced with actual retirement and wondering whether you did well on your investments for retirement or not. You don’t need to be anxious; you will feel confident if you have prepared well before investing for retirement.


Retirement planning entails a lot of planning such as when to retire, where to live, and what to do, all of which depend on the earnings you can look forward to during your retirement years.


You need a plan to produce revenue that will last your whole lifetime – money that can survive inflation, unexpected expenses, and market instability.


You need to find out the earnings, lifestyle and actions that you need in order to achieve your goals. This knowledge will allow you to be able to make wise decisions.


Things to remember when making your plans:


  1. Expect a long retirement – Today, most healthy seniors are expected to live up to their 80s or 90s, and may be even more. If that happens, you may need more years of retirement income than you actually planned for, or else you might end up just depending on your Social Security benefits, which might not be sufficient to supply all your needs.


  1. Consider inflation – Within the passage of 20 or 30 years, inflation can have a robust impact, especially in retirement, where there are no salary raises anymore. Low inflation can make a substantial influence on your purchasing power. This is why you have to plan early to enable you to safeguard your future.


  1. Consider market unpredictability – Decline in the market is unnerving, especially when you depend solely on your savings. But you have to hold on to your stocks for their possible positive returns, which is always important for you.


  1. Mind your withdrawals – Set your withdrawals at a pace where you are confident that your savings in early retirement will not run out. The past cannot guarantee your future. The future is not known to you. Limit your withdrawals to about 4% if you have a balanced portfolio and you are preparing for 30 years of retirement. Remember that market situations can affect your portfolio’s power to maintain your income. Always consider these effects when deciding how much to withdraw in early retirement.


When you are done with your plan, check your strategy if it is thorough and sensible:


  • Will it guarantee to help to accomplish your retirement plan?

Make sure that your daily expenses are protected by assured sources (Social Security, pensions, annuities). This income should last for what could be a 30-year or longer retirement period.


  • Does it have the capability to support your long-term needs?

Choose a combination of bonds, cash and stocks and cautiously explore investment choices and pick those that fit your goals.


  • Will you be able to modify or change the plan in the future?

The plan must be able to adjust to life’s inevitable ups and downs. It’s important to pool income from different sources to create a variation of earning stream in retirement. They can work together to help diminish the effects of risks, like inflation, longevity, and market instability.


Investing for retirement necessitates some work and diligence. However, if you don’t have the ability or the time to do it yourself, you can always seek the help of an investment professional, who can devise the best strategy for your retirement investment.


How to Rebuild Your Savings

Sometimes you are faced with unavoidable situations that consume everything in your savings account. It can be very devastating and insecure to live without some savings. There is hope for your drained account, and you can revive your savings again without stressing your budget. Here are some of the steps that can guide you to the top again.


  1. Revive the savings habit as soon as possible

The sooner you resume saving, the better. This will ensure that you are in a safer position should any emergency hit soon. You should train yourself to save consistently.

You can achieve this by:

  • Having an automatic deduction from your salary and placing the cash in a savings account.
  • Collecting all the coins and depositing them in your savings account.

Every method employed will work; the key point is to initiate the saving habit.


  1. Lower your cost of living

One of the utmost ways to reestablish your savings fast is to cut down on the cost of living and channel the cash to savings. The basic rule for wealth demands you to earn more but spend less. Eliminate the expenses that are not totally compulsory.You should also analyze the essential needs and see if they can be reduced.


  1. Plan to intensify the savings slowly

When starting off, the zeal to save more per month may be quite great. Have a small beginning and increase the momentum slowly. You may apply the following strategies:

  • When you salary is increased, direct some of the cash into the saving till instead of upgrading your lifestyle.
  • Channel money from bonuses and gifts straight to the savings account.
  • Cut down any unnecessary expenses so as to save more money.


  1. Have another source of income

If your current job is not sufficient to rebuild your savings, consider having another extra job. You can sign in for a part-time job or start a business. Seize every opportunity that comes your way and save the resources that come with those chances. If your job is not paying well, start networking to get a better paying job.


  1. Do not neglect other safety baskets

You may think that health insurance is one of the luxuries and opt to go without one so as to save more cash. This can be a great way for courting danger. A single ailment can lead you to real bankruptcy within a very short time and totally destroy all that you were trying to build so hard. You do not have to keep the expensive medical coverage you had earlier. There are other cheaper options. Any medical coverage is better than having none.

Car insurance is also critical, and you must have it irrespective of the financial crisis you may be going through. It only takes one accident without insurance, and your situation deteriorates. You should always be covered in spite of the emergency you may be in.

When you undergo a circumstance that consumes a considerable amount of money from your savings, do not be discouraged. You only need to restart the process. There maybe hurdles when you are trying to rebuild your savings, but they should not bring you down. In any case, they should teach you a thing or two about rebuilding a bigger and better savings account.


Investing in Stocks for Extra Cash in the Long Run

While it may seem like common wisdom to actually invest in stocks or even to invest in general, there are some very specific reasons why anyone (everyone) should invest in the present. The long story short is that there is truly no better proven strategy to guarantee success and returns in the long run, but some of the top reasons are as follows:


Risk Diversification

The idea of buying a single company means you are bearing all of the risk. However, by seeking out and discovering the best companies and owning shares in each of them, you can spread your risk over many different investments. Diversified portfoliotheory is not just a fun trick, it’s a strategy that actually works over time.


Compounding Interest

The simplest idea of thinking about compounding interest is thinking that all of your dollars are little workers. As they continue to “work” for you, you earn more dollars. But if you choose to take those newly earned dollars and put them to work for you as well, you are increasing the rate at which you can earn even more dollars.Reinvesting your earnings and dividends is one of the biggest keys to why big time investors can generate massive amounts of wealth so quickly.


Minimized Lifestyle Spending

While this one is a little more of a behavioral aspect of finance, it is not any less true than the others. If you make a given amount of money, but you are used to saving a certain percent, then you are only in the habit of living off of the remainder. In other words, if you save 10% of your income and only live off of 90%, then when you actually want to retire you only need to produce 90% of the income you are currently making! It might seem like a small point, but saving now conditions you to live more comfortably off of less in the long run.


What are the alternatives to investing in stocks?

-Mattress? Besides having no interest, it is susceptible to theft, fire, and every other problem under the sun. Not to mention it is hard to keep track of, and it might even take on a certain smell over time.

-Bonds? While they are more secure, the interest rates on bonds are negligible and you shouldn’t have a significant amount tucked away in these other than for diversification purposes.

-Real Estate? While this is a boom or bust field, the housing market crash of the last decade shows exactly what a “bust” period can do to housing prices. You don’t want to be on the hook for a significant mortgage when market values are only half of that mortgage.

-Casino / Lottery Tickets? This one may seem more fun, but is extremely more risky. In fact, it’s technically not a strategy but some people seem to live by it unfortunately.

As you can see, there are more reasons why you would want to invest in stocks for the long run other than just amassing wealth. If you want to be able to retire and live comfortably at some point in the future, then the effort you put in today will (literally) pay dividends. Just make sure you go the route that is the most proven and look for opportunities to invest in stocks today.