3 Reasons to Go Cashless and Start Using Your Credit Card

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Do you feel the temptation to go cashless and start swiping your credit cards, but in the back of your mind, you’re also apprehensive that it might backfire? Credit card debt is not an easy problem to resolve, and maybe you don’t want to ever start down that road.

How about making your credit card use a learning experience? There are more advantages to going cashless than just ease and convenience, you know.

Build Your Credit History

One big reason to go cashless is because the proper use of credit cards help build a stellar credit history. Credit cards are basically on-the-go personal loans, you see. When you use a credit card, you’re borrowing from your bank or provider. If you can consistently pay them back without issue – no late payments, never prolonging repayments, etc – then you’ll quickly build your credit history into a gleaming polish.

With better credit history comes improved credit score, and that leads to better interest rates and repayment arrangements for future financial needs.

Learn to Macro and Micro-Manage

When people say they’re afraid to use their credit cards, what they’re really saying is they’re afraid they won’t be able to properly manage their finances when they have that piece of plastic in their hand. It’s a given that when you only swipe cards to pay for your stuff you lose an important facet of spending: you don’t see your money actually leave your pockets.

It’s like losing the speedometer of your car. Sure, you can tell if you’re going too fast, but if you need to keep your car at a certain speed, how can you tell without a speedometer? It isn’t easy to tell how much you’re exactly spending when all it takes is a swipe and a signature or PIN.

That’s exactly why using a credit card can teach you not only to macro-manage your finances, but also micro-manage each expenditure. You’ll have to be on top of every receipt and start counting all the decimals; after all that, it’s not that bad —after all, you end up learning how to really control your financial management.

Take Tactical Advantage of Promos and Special Offers

When I say “tactical” here, I mean in terms of advantageous spending. Let’s take a quick example to be more concrete: Let’s say you were out buying groceries, but you don’t have enough cash budget to complete your shopping. Then, you notice a promo at the store that says if you pay using your credit card, you can get a certain discount, plus you won’t pay interests for a full year. Now, let’s also say that if you avail of the promos, you can pay off the resulting bill within a year.

The obvious choice then would be to use your credit card to extend your cash budget, because:

1. You get a discount
2. You can pay the balance before interest kicks in, making the credit card use effectively free of charge 

That’s what I mean by “tactical.”

All of these reasons bolster one another too. When you get good at leveraging your credit cards for promos and special offers, you become good at micro-managing, and you start to build your credit score through better financial management. 

 So what do you think? Maybe it’s high time to go cashless.

This guest post is written by CompareHero.my, the most comprehensive financial comparison service in Malaysia. Compare credit cards, broadband plan, and others at a competitive price.

Four Reasons to Invest in Gold for Retirement

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[This is a guest post from Sharon Freeman. The article has not been modified except for some formatting changes to suit this blog.]

For people nearing retirement, investments may begin to take an even greater significance compared to other time of life. If you’re planning to rely on your investments as your income in your retirement, it’s a good idea to closely evaluate your investment strategy. Your retirement could be a good time to move a greater portion of your portfolio into more risk-averse areas. Many financial advisors would suggest that investing in precious metals is a sensible option for people nearing retirement age.

Physical gold has historically outperformed almost all other investment opportunities over the medium to long-term. Let’s look at some reasons why it is a good idea to include gold investments in your portfolio.

Reason No. 1 - Gold is a stabiliser

Gold helps to stabilise your investment portfolio. In the event that the value of the dollar or currency falls, the price of gold usually increases. Gold itself actually never changes in value but reflects the value of the currency in which it is quoted. This generally means that a drop in the value of the dollar inversely affects the price of gold. 

Reason No. 2 -  Control

Physical gold can be controlled by the investor themselves. Therefore, it  never disappears like money, which has been mistakenly invested in schemes like pyramid schemes.

Reason No. 3 -  A Hedge

Gold has historically been a good hedge against inflation. Again, this happens because its price tends to rise when the cost of living increases. So,  when the value of other investments falls like stocks and bonds, gold can be relied upon. Its value has remained constant over time in terms of the real goods and services it can buy. As well, gold doesn’t rely on a borrower’s promise to pay — as in the case of a bond. This offers some protection from the risk of default.

Reason No. 4 -  Reduction in Production

There has been a reduction in the production of gold since 2000. A decrease in production generally means an increase in price. The price of gold is determined by demand and supply. Since the demand for gold has grown for jewellery, investments, and some industrial uses, there has not been much of an increase in supply and leads to an increase in its value. Another factor in increasing its value is time. It takes many years for gold to be transformed from the state it’s found in mines into bullion bars or coins. Bars and coins contain more concentrated gold and it also induces higher value, which will be likely to be maintained for some time yet. 

Quite simply, gold (and many other precious metals) is an investment unlike many others.  It is hidden underground. It has to undergo extremely difficult and time consuming process. Mining gold and other precious metals from their sources plus the processes involved would mean that there won’t be an oversupply anytime soon.  As an investment, gold would be a good addition. All portfolios should have some diversity in them and gold can provide a great ‘balancing’ investment for almost any investor.  Gold should be an important part of a diversified investment portfolio. Although its price can be volatile in the short term, its long-term benefits like a hedge against inflation and as an asset that does well is clear.

Sharon Freeman is an Australian freelance writer who writes professionally about investment trends and information for companies like www.ausmint.com