Financial Planning – The Key To Your Lifelong Success

Financial planning is not limited to asset allocation, mutual funds, and fixed-income investments – planning should include every aspect of your life.

Should you apply for that credit card? What type of car insurance should you buy? Should we save for our child’s college or put money in our IRA’s instead? These and many more questions are all part of financial planning.

The Larry Rule – A Little Known Financial Planning Fact

Larry Lindsey is not a famous name, even in financial circles. Currently, Mr. Lindsey is the chief economic advisor to the Bush Administration. In 1996, he was a Federal Reserve Board Governor – and he was denied for a Toys ‘R Us credit card!

To apply or not to apply, that is the planning question. Larry Lindsey, who had excellent credit and a high-income level, set out to demonstrate a flaw in credit scoring algorithms.

He simply applied for every retail store credit card he was offered, and in no time he had “too many inquiries.” Never mind the fact that he had millions in assets and nary a late payment in his 30-year credit history.

Knowing the Larry Rule is key to your financial planning. If you apply for retail store credit cards every time you are asked to do so, it will have negative effects on your credit.

You may then be asked to pay a higher interest rate on your mortgage or home equity loan, which could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Sacrificing $10,000 for a 10 percent discount at Fashion Bug is not smart planning!

Auto Insurance and Financial Planning

Most people think of insurance as a legal necessity, but in reality, it is a financial product, and that’s important to keep in mind. Don’t ever buy insurance just because it’s legally required or in order to give yourself peace of mind. Insurance must serve a financial planning purpose!

You need to have a planning strategy in mind when you purchase auto insurance. The insurance company’s goal is to get you to pay more in premiums than you take out in claims – thus, they profit.

Your goal should to pay as little in premiums as possible in order to be adequately covered. You don’t want to have to use your auto insurance, but at the same time, you don’t want to be subsidizing the bad drivers who take out more in claims than they pay in.

In order to develop a financial planning strategy for auto insurance, it’s important that you become as educated as possible on the subject. Luckily, there are dozens of great sites on the internet that provide free information on the various types of auto insurance plans, and the particular laws of your state.

Everyone has to own some form of auto insurance, and thus it should be the cornerstone of any intelligent planning strategy.

The Financial Planning Dilemma – College vs. Retirement

American parents love their children and will do almost anything to ensure they have every possible advantage. As a result, many parents save for their children’s college instead of saving for their own retirement. This act of selflessness is usually not a good planning strategy.

In order to avoid this mistake, one must have a decent understanding of financial planning tax implications. Most college savings accounts are taxed on some level, whereas financial planning products for retirement purposes generally are not. What’s more, saving for your child’s college can prevent him or her from receiving the maximum financial aid available.

In other words, by foregoing your retirement in favor of your child’s college, you are actually subsidizing the children of less responsible parents – or smarter parents who chose to save for their own retirement, in light of these facts.

Gaining Educational Necessities Within Video Games

There are several wonderful features that video games offer the youth of today that are often times completely overlooked by adults, who often feel that these games are simply a waste of time for children that would be better off focusing there spare time on more constructive activities.

Video games offer several unique features that provide young people the chance to increase their learning abilities while stimulating their minds. The younger generation are constantly feeling the demands and requirements that the school place on them. However, they often use video games as a way to release the pressures that these high demands require from them, which makes video games an excellent teaching tool. These technologically advanced video games create an environment where gaming can be fun, exciting, as well as educational while optimizing components in learning.

The main objective of most video games is reaching the highest score or making it through that next level that is often time more challenging than the one before. Often times, video games will give the gamer a variety of options or strategies to choose in which to be able to either move onto the next level or simply win the game in general. Video games, especially action and adventure types games, always leave gamers with an element of surprise, which allows these young gamers the ability to laugh and bring a little excitement into their lives.

If video games were designed differently to where their outcomes would be different each time they were played, then this would drastically reduce video games becoming old and boring. Many of these video games offer children with the ability of memorization where the gamer has to remember where special rewards are hidden during a variety of games. When players have the ability of remember gaming information, then they have a better chance of being able to advance during the game play, but this will also help them during school as well.

There are also games being developed that have more of an ethnic balance by providing more issues within game play where there are options in character gender and have even begun breaking the language barriers. Video games that enable children to learn help teach children in a variety of subjects, which include learning about the solar system, word associations, puzzle solving, and even learning about wildlife. Children are also given the ability to learn about shapes, colors, solids, geometry, and other mathematics such as addition, subtraction, and percentages.

Most video games teach the youth of today in the areas of strategy, time management, and definitely in role-playing. However, every video game offer gamers new opportunities to be able to learn new types of strategies and a variety of problem solving techniques that will be able to be applied in real life. For the most part, gamers are not even aware that they are even learning these skills, which enables them to play while simply enjoying themselves. When video games are designed with teaching children in mind, then these games will require more critical thinking along with skills in math, science, social studies, and language arts. Games often enable children the opportunity to read dialog when reading directions, tips, and even maps.

Dublin: A Nirvana For Folk Music Fans

Dublin is often referred to as the party capital of Europe; full of pubs, clubs and Irishmen extolling the virtues of ‘the craic’. One thing you will find in abundance in the Irish capital is traditional folk music and you certainly won’t have to travel very far around the streets of Dublin to find a place to have a jig and a swig!

Whelan’s in Camden Street, central Dublin is the place to visit for traditional and folk music. This exciting venue has had most of Ireland’s folk talent perform on its stage at some point. Just a stone’s throw away, also in Camden Street, is The Village another vibrant music venue, that’s well worth a visit.

Vicar Street – despite its confusing name – is not a street but a fabulous traditional music venue and can be found in Thomas Street in the heart of Dublin. This prestigious venue opened in 1998 promising to give Dublin a mid-size venue that would ‘punch above its weight’. It presents bands and solo artists that play all types and genres of music including traditional and folk, with big-name Irish bands such as the Dubliners appearing at this venue. Other artists that are slated to appear at Vicar Street include Dara O’Briain, Fionn Regan and Brendan Grace proving that it is living up to its promise to deliver quality acts.

Plus, you’ll find many more places where you can enjoy traditional folk music at most times of day or night. Bars, cafes and hotels in Dublin are all places where you can find Irish Folk Music being performed by eager and talented local musicians. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy just about any other genre of music in Dublin that takes your fancy, from rock to classical. So, if you are planning to visit Dublin, or just toying with the idea, make sure that you are prepared for ‘the craic’!

And if you are in any doubt as to how much the Irish love their music, take note of the following example. The Irish Post Office has recently started selling a series of stamps that pay tribute to four iconic bands whose roots are based in traditional Irish folk music; The Chieftans, The Dubliners, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, and Altan. The bands have been chosen because of the success they have had in taking traditional Irish folk music to the world. The inclusion of Tommy Makem is quite poignant as he recently passed away, and these stamps make a fitting tribute to his life-time contribution to making Irish music popular throughout the United States. They are sure to become collectors’ items, so be sure to pick some up when you visit Dublin.