Do you ever feel like all of your paycheck goes to bills and you're only just "getting by"? You're not alone: 76% of Americans today are living paycheck to paycheck1. Even if people pay their bills on time, there's rarely anything left over at the end of the month. Over the past decade, student loans have become a big burden, and the average credit card debt is over $15,0002.What about retirement? The uncertainty of how to plan for the future keeps a lot of people up late at night. What about an emergency fund? Studies have shown that almost two-thirds of the U.S. will struggle to pay $500 in an emergency3. It's no wonder the majority of us feel anxious about our finances. If you want to start taking control of your future, LearnVest can point you in the right direction.

Planning for your finances can be an intimidating challenge. LearnVest knows this, and prioritizes your financial planning based on three foundations: getting out of debt, establishing an emergency fund, and planning for retirement. From there, you can set additional goals and work with LearnVest to achieve them.

The team at LearnVest wants to make financial planning accessible and affordable to everyone. With their online dashboard, you can integrate all of your financial accounts (credit cards, bank accounts, retirement accounts, etc.) all in one place. LearnVest uses your accounts to calculate an asset-to-debt ratio showing your total net worth and giving you a bird's eye view of your finances.

Want to be debt free next year? LearnVest can show you how to get there when you enter your debt-free date. The free service also comes with a 15-minute consultation with a real person to talk to and help you decide if you're ready for the financial planner, or you just want to stick to the free online tools. For all you DIYers, you can enjoy videos, daily emails, and a blog with hand-holding resources. This includes detailed articles about, different retirement plans, insurance policies and estate documents, all at your fingertips.

Need a little more hands on help with planning your future? LearnVest can match you with a dedicated financial planner, for a fraction of the cost of a traditional financial plan. Everyone's financial goal is not going to be the same - Your planner tells you what to do month by month, dollar by dollar, so you are staying on track toward the goals you have set for yourself. Whether your goal is saving for your child's college tuition, retirement, or a vacation, for once, you can save and work towards a goal instead of going into debt and incurring a new financial burden.

Most people want help with their finances, but don't know where to start. The first step is actually doing something. It doesn't matter where you are in life. Now is the best time to think about your future and take action today.

Update: Follow this link to learn more about LearnVest and sign up for a financial plan today.

LearnVest Planning Services is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of LearnVest, Inc. that provides financial plans for its clients. LearnVest, Inc. is wholly owned by NM Planning, LLC, a subsidiary of The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.

* SOURCE Bankrate, Inc. (survey 2013 1, 20163) GoBankingRates (20132)

PayPath
Follow Us on

Airbnb is a great option while traveling, but you should protect yourself from damage charges from unscrupulous hosts.

Airbnb offers an affordable option for people looking to be more comfortable as they travel.

However, there are downsides to staying in a host's home rather than a hotel. Whereas hotels are designed for constant streams of visitors and often have furniture built to last, at an Airbnb, you may be staying on old or cheap furniture that a host is using in order to maximize their profits.

And while most reputable hotels will have regular room inspections from staff to check for any wear and tear, Airbnb damage disputes are oftentimes he said, she said situations. If you are in an Airbnb and something breaks, there are a few steps you should take in order to ensure that you are not on the hook for damages out of your control.

Keep reading Show less

What Are NFTs?

Art Installation N°1 by Carlos Marcial. Rhett Dashwood / YouTube

If you're keeping tabs on the art and tech worlds, you've probably been hearing whispers about "NFTs" for the past month. Just over the past week they've entered the mainstream lexicon.

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey made the news for selling his first ever tweet. The app has been teasing paid subscription models and newsletter-like features, but tweets for sale is "the next frontier."

The 2006 tweet went up for auction as an NFT, and the current bid is $2.5 Million. But what does it mean to own that? Why would anyone want to? And what even is an NFT?

Keep reading Show less

Long gone are the days when the majority of Americans dreamed about owning a home with a white picket fence.

The traditional American Dream may be on its deathbed, but that doesn't mean a core component of the vision can't survive. It simply takes a diverse perspective. People can still believe they can attain their own vision of success in society with hard work, knowledge, and risk-taking. Investing in today's American Dream may literally mean investing money in our modern economy, starting with our infrastructure.

Real estate investing in particular is a lucrative method that can boost income and secure a better financial future for many. There's always risk involved, but the payoffs can far outweigh the uncertainty. Selecting solid financial investments is about confidence and competence. If you're looking for some advice on this kind of investment, here are a few savvy tips for new real estate investors.

Stick To a Specific Strategy or Niche

Real estate is a challenging sphere of the business world, one that requires several key skills: groundwork knowledge, networking, perseverance, and organization. True knowledge of the real estate market will come with time and experience, but it's a smart idea to select one area of the market and stick to it. This is the best way to attain in-depth familiarity with your specific niche.

First, choose a geographical area close by and then a niche strategy within it, such as house flips, rental rehabs, or residential or commercial properties. By doing so, you can become aware of current inner working conditions in the market and you'll have a better idea of how these trends may change in the future.

Be Vigilant About Viable Financing Options

While it takes money to make money, you don't have to use all your own money. A common misconception about real estate investing is that you must be wealthy to start off. This isn't straight fact, however. A majority of people can test the waters of real estate investing without a lot of initial cash in their pocket.

Aside from traditional financing options from banks and institutions, private lending options can be worthy solutions. Hard money lenders are popular, reasonable choices, and they tend to have fewer qualification requirements upfront. However, be sure to strategically choose a hard money lender to find the best possible fit.

Master the Art of Finding Good Deals

There may be hundreds of thousands of available properties for sale on the current market, but the bulk of them will never amount to the final money-making result you desire. Another great tip for new real estate investors is to use good math to estimate profit. Taking risks is part of the process, but you have the ability to analyze properties and use networking sources to find the greatest deal. You can't win every deal, but you can steadily work towards a thriving financial future.