Personal Finance

Are robo-advisors a good investment?

Should You Invest With a Robo-Advisor?

By | Personal Finance

Crafting a smart investment portfolio isn’t just for multimillionaires with a slew of financial advisors at their disposal. Anyone can begin investing at any stage and with any budget, especially when you choose a robo-advisor instead of a traditional brokerage firm. But in case you’re wondering whether a robo-advisor is a good investment strategy, we’ll lay out the benefits as well as the negatives associated with this type of platform.

Find out how robo-advisors work, as well as the advantages and disadvantages. That way, you can find out if a digital platform truly is the best option for your investment funds.

What Is a Robo-Advisor?

A robo-advisor makes it easy to invest through a digital platform powered by an algorithm that makes automated investment decisions to try and maximize your results. In most cases, you get started by answering questions about your financial goals and current situation. Using those inputs, the robo-advisor creates an investment strategy for you and purchases assets with your funds.

While most investment brokerages have been using automated portfolio allocation software for quite some time, robo-advisors bring that technology to the masses. Plus, most major players also employ tax-loss harvesting strategies so that you can keep your portfolio balanced while minimizing your taxed capital gains. The process is simple and requires little-to-no management on your end. You can also access your account information 24/7 since everything is housed online. If you have questions or concerns, you can reach out to customer support to clarify those matters.


Wondering why a robo-advisor is a good investment platform? Here are the two most popular reasons why people opt for this type of investment rather than more traditional routes:

Low Fee Models

Since robo-advisors use an automated system that relies very little on human interaction, the fee structure is much less than with a typical financial advisor. You’ll generally be charged an annual flat fee of 0.5% of your managed assets or less, depending on your selected platform and the amount of money in your account.

A robo-advisor is also a good investment if you’re just getting started and don’t have a lot of money to invest in the beginning. The account minimums are either low or non-existent, unlike large brokerage firms that require accounts with tens of thousands of dollars (or more).

Automated Strategies

Robo-advisors excel at continually rebalancing your investment portfolio based on your financial goals and risk tolerance. It’s a great way to reduce volatility and make sure you’re diversified in a way that works for you. While these services are certainly doable on your own or with a human advisor, a robo-advisor makes these changes consistently based on your customized preferences.


Opting for a robo-advisor is a good investment for a lot of people, but there are some situations where other options could be more beneficial. Here are some downsides to automating your investment strategy through a strictly digital platform.

No Comprehensive Financial Planning

If you’re a high net worth individual (or close to it), a robo-advisor may not provide you with the necessary sophistication to truly maximize your finances. You may want additional guidance on related topics like your taxes or estate planning needs, not to mention alternative investments such as real estate. Some robo-advisors do add an option for a plan that includes your own financial advisor, but it’s important to analyze those extra costs as well as the services available.

Limited Investments

Most robo-advisors include a standard offering of stocks, bonds, and ETFs. At most, you’ll have the ability to choose from about 25 funds, and sometimes even less depending on your selected platform. With a true financial advisor, you can personalize your investment strategy to a much more diverse and robust degree. If you’re interested in trading individual stocks, for example, you’ll need to look beyond a standard robo-advisor. Other exclusions include peer-to-peer lending and currency investments.

Rebuild Your Credit Before Investing

A strong credit score isn’t required to invest with a robo-advisor (or any other financial advisor, for that matter), but getting better interest rates on your existing debt can help free up extra cash in your budget to invest each month.

If your credit score isn’t reaching its true potential, then schedule a free consultation with Ovation Credit today. We’ll give you a personalized plan to repair your credit so you can focus your energy on your investment strategy rather than your credit repair strategy.

Online shopping is addicting be careful when searching for a credit builder.

Amazon’s Credit Builder Card — Is It Right for You?

By | Personal Finance

Imagine a world where your purchases at Amazon could restore or build your credit. Thanks to Amazon’s recently launched Credit Builder card, you could conceivably build your credit score while continuing to make your regular, responsible Amazon purchases. What is Amazon’s Credit Builder card? In a bid to attract those with poor or limited credit history, Amazon is now offering its own version of a secured credit card, designed to be used only at the e-retailer. The Amazon Credit Builder card, issued through Synchrony Bank, comes stacked with plenty of perks to help you reach your credit goals. But behind the exciting premise lurk some potential drawbacks. Wondering whether the Amazon Credit Builder card could be a good fit for you? We tackle the most common questions about this groundbreaking secured card.

What Is Amazon’s Credit Builder Card?

A secured credit card offers consumers with sparse or negative credit history the chance to build credit without posing a financial risk to the issuer. Typically, you put up a security deposit that then becomes your “credit limit.” In the case of Amazon’s Credit Builder card, your deposit amount is between $100 and $1,000. As you make on-time payments each month, your positive credit history is then reported to the three major credit bureaus — providing a nice bump to your credit score. If you successfully make seven on-time payments in a one-year period, you may qualify to upgrade to an unsecured Amazon credit card. Your security deposit will be refunded if you should ever close your account after paying off your balance in full.

What’s the Fine Print?

Amazon actually offers an Amazon Credit Builder card and an Amazon Prime Credit Builder card. As you might expect, the latter option is restricted for Amazon Prime members. The Credit Builder Prime card offers 5 percent cash back on all Amazon purchases. Both cards boast no annual fee and promotional financing, such as the option to pay for larger purchases (over $149) interest-free over six, 12 or 24 months. While both Prime members and non-Prime members have the promotional financing option, Prime members must choose between receiving either the financing or the cashback — you can’t enjoy both benefits at once.

What Makes It Different?

As a secured credit card specific to just one retailer, Amazon’s Credit Builder card is in a class all its own. Taking it one step further, Amazon offers cardholders the chance to track their credit improvements over time. Amazon cardholders receive access to a TransUnion CreditView dashboard, which allows you to view your credit score for free and note any changes as you continue to work toward your credit-building goals.

What’s the Catch?

The interest rate for this credit builder card is steep — 28.24 percent, which is higher than most secured and retail credit cards, but not by much. That means that if you aren’t planning to pay the balance in full each month, this card might not be the smartest way to build a healthy credit profile. Although the special financing options might enable you to pay for a larger purchase over time, you’ll be on the hook for the interest charges on the full purchase amount if you don’t pay it off within the promotional period. You also cannot use the card outside of Amazon — which could limit your shopping options.

Should I Get One?

If you already make regular purchases at Amazon, particularly if you’re a Prime member, signing up for the Amazon Credit Builder card could make sense financially. You are, after all, limited to the relatively low credit limit and theoretically only using the card for items you would already buy. Amazon’s card is also the safer bet as opposed to unsecured retailer-specific credit cards since you’re ponying up collateral from the start. However, a secured credit card will only help your credit if you use it responsibly and make regular, on-time payments. If you think having this card in your wallet would only entice you to make unnecessary purchases — and you don’t want to restrict yourself to shopping only at Amazon — you’re better off looking for a different secured card, perhaps with a local bank or credit union.

Credit Repair – It’s What We Do

What is Amazon’s Credit builder card? It is just another tool to build and repair credit, and help you on the way to financial freedom. At Ovation Credit, we want to be part of your success story. Start your journey today with a free consultation.


There are so many side hustles that you can pick from. But how do you get started?

6 Side Hustle Ideas to Start Earning More

By | Personal Finance

The online world has made it extremely easy to tutor on your own schedule from the comfort of your home. Start off by offering your services in the area in which you majored during college since it’s easy to market your expertise. Or, if your current job is subject-specific, such as accounting, you can easily transfer those skills to the tutoring marketplace.

Also, consider teaching English as a second language. There are many online websites offering up to $25 per hour to teach students in places like China. Due to the time difference, the hours work well if you have a full-time job during typical office hours in the U.S.

2. Become a Virtual Assistant

There’s a huge market for freelancing online right now, and while specialized professional services are in demand, there are also plenty of opportunities for people without experience in fields like writing or graphic design. One highly sought-after position is a virtual assistant.

This side hustle idea can be done anywhere and involves things like scheduling appointments for your client, loading online content, or paying corporate bills. The key to being successful is to remain organized, be responsive to your clients, and consistently meet deadlines. If you can exhibit those traits, you’ll most likely find the work itself easy and even enjoyable.

3. Rideshare During Your Down Time

If you live in a popular area with lots of people going places, consider signing up as a driver for a service like Lyft or Uber. You’ll obviously need a clean driving record and your car must be of a certain age (usually they make needs to be at least between 2001 and 2004, depending on the company).

The best way to maximize your earnings as a rideshare driver is during surge times. This higher level of pricing is usually around the start and end times of popular events at large venues. You may also make more during rush hour periods.

4. Manage Other People’s Airbnbs

You don’t need to own a vacation property to take advantage of Airbnb’s popularity. Instead, try this side hustle idea to make money by helping Airbnb owners. This can take form in a couple of different ways. First, you can manage messages and reservations, including responding to inquiries and other questions from guests.

Alternatively, you can also be the physical point person to welcome guests, prepare the property in advance of their arrival, and clean the space after they leave. You could also get paid to respond to any on-site issues or emergencies should they arise.

5. Flip Stuff to Sell

If you love to shop yard sales, auctions, and estate sales, then consider flipping your finds for cash. You can either relist them on places like Craigslist or sell them online on eBay or other sites. The trick is to find items that you can buy cheaply and resell for a high margin that makes it worth your time and effort. Obviously, this side hustle takes some start-up cash since you need actual inventory.

Start off slow with a manageable amount of stuff for your budget, then use half your profits to reinvest in new items to sell. This way, you keep some cash to bolster your budget, but still, have a predictable flow of capital to keep your business growing.

6. Manage Companies’ Social Media

Just about everyone is on social media these days, from Facebook to Instagram to Pinterest. Businesses with limited marketing resources often look for freelance social media experts to manage their accounts for them. You can usually post on your schedule and apply for part-time positions that fit your skillset. Whether you know how to design a killer pin or write a pithy text that makes people want to click your post, there’s a lot of versatility when it comes to a social media side hustle.

Want to save money by improving your credit score and getting better interest rates on your financing? Reach out for a free consultation from Ovation Credit.

Cheerful newlyweds celebrating marriage.

6 Financial Tips for Newlyweds

By | Personal Finance

Wedding season is in full swing and whether you’ve been married for a month or a year, there’s no time like the present to sit down with your spouse and make sure you’re on the same page, financially speaking. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got six savvy tips for you to follow together so you can maximize your financial resources while minimizing the conflict in your relationship.

1. Figure Out Where Your Finances Stand Today

Marriage is the beginning of a joint life together, and that means you both need to be honest about how you’ve independently managed your finances up to this point. Whether good or bad or likely a mix of the two, you need to sit down and go over both your current savings and debt. For savings, remember to include both basic savings accounts, any investments, and retirement plans through work or other sources.

For debt, add up everything you own on credit cards, student loans, car loans, and even a mortgage if one or both of you have bought a house already. All this information helps you understand what your big picture looks like when you combine your household.

2. Determine How to Share Money

Your next step as a newly married couple is to figure out how you want to share your money. Do you want a joint account where all your earnings go? Separate accounts for discretionary spending? Or do you want to keep everything entirely separate? These are important questions to delve into because they lay the foundation for how much transparency is expected.

Also begin discussing each of your goals for the short-term, mid-term, and long-term. This involves some of those big-picture questions like if and when you want to start a family or how much you want to save toward vacation each year. Be open with your responses and remember that both of your opinions are equally important.

3. Make Intersecting Budgets

Once you have an idea of how the money will be physically managed in terms of accounts, the next finance tip for newlyweds is to talk budgets. Divide up how bills are to be paid along with who’s responsible for making the payments. This helps to make sure nothing falls through the cracks because you assumed your spouse was taking care of a particular bill.

You should both also be aware of how money is being spent—secrets in marriage are never a good thing. For larger purchases, consider what amount can reasonably spend on a single purchase without a joint discussion first. For example, maybe anything over $100 should be a decision made by both individuals. Talk about it together and decide what feels right.

4. Plan for Taxes

When you get married, you’ll probably start filing your taxes jointly. At work, you both need to fill out a new Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate (Form W-4) to update your marital status and your withholding allowance for your W-2. You may both be taxed at a higher rate, so do this early on so you don’t end up owing a high tax bill at the end of the year. You may also need to adjust your budget if more money is coming out of your paycheck each month to go toward the higher tax responsibility.

5. Prepare for Future Life Events

An often neglected finance tip for newlyweds is creating a will if you haven’t done so already. You’ll want to list your spouse as the beneficiary to your assets to make sure you quickly receive those benefits in unexpected and unfortunate circumstances.

Also, review your insurance needs. See if you can combine health insurance coverage to save money, and check to see if you need life insurance coverage to make sure you or your spouse could comfortably live with your financial obligations if one of you passed away suddenly.

6. Seek Professional Help as Necessary

Some of these decisions can get heavy, especially if it’s new territory in a relationship. Don’t be afraid to get professional help, such as a financial planner or tax advisor. If one or both of you have bad credit, you can schedule a free credit repair consultation with Ovation Credit to help prepare for future financial goals.

Make the gig economy work for you.

7 Tips to Use the Gig Economy to Your Advantage

By | Personal Finance

Flexible schedules, greater work-life balance, and the opportunity to do work on your own terms. Driven by the promise of these benefits, more and more Americans are joining the “gig economy” each day. The gig economy basically describes work done on a part-time or freelance basis, in which you work as an independent contractor instead of a regular employee. Gig workers comprise 35 percent of the U.S. workforce — a number that is expected to climb to 43 percent by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Whether it’s freelance writing, driving for Uber, selling your clothes on Poshmark, or delivering takeout, gigs can offer a more flexible alternative to a traditional 9–5 position — or provide a source of additional income.

If you’re fascinated by the possibilities of gig work but nervous to take on the risk, read on for our top seven gig economy tips to maximize your opportunities.

1. Tap Into the Latest Apps

Tech-savvy millennials powered the shift to the gig economy — and now, more and more gig-based mobile apps are popping up to meet their needs. When you download Amazon Flex, for example, you can sign up for blocks of time when you’ll be available to make deliveries in your area. With a meal delivery app like Caviar or DoorDash, you can similarly designate your own availability and receive alerts for nearby opportunities. Other popular options include HopSkipDrive, a ridesharing solution for kids; Instacart, a grocery delivery service; and Rover, a pet-sitting company. Chances are, if there is a service people need, you can find a company that’s looking for gig workers.

2. Make a Plan

It helps to map out a list of the potential gigs you’re interested in, as well as the type of schedule you want to work and your goals. How much are you looking to make, and what are you willing to sacrifice? Most gigs come without standard benefits like health insurance or a 401K — and the part-time or short-term nature of the work means that you may have to cobble together several different gigs to round out a decent income.

3. Be Comfortable With Marketing Yourself

Many gig workers find success by working with multiple platforms or companies. In doing so, you can become your own boss — which means you need to promote yourself, either via your chosen platform or your social media account. Interact with your customers, ask for reviews, and accept as many offers of work as possible. Stay up to date on the latest trends in your industry, whether that means taking online classes or perusing trade books.

4. Organize Your Gig Lifestyle

Because your schedule might change from week to week — and your tasks might vary on a daily basis — you’ll want to dedicate a calendar to record each of your gigs. Each task, no matter how small, should be added to your calendar. Set reminders to follow up on your paycheck for each gig.

5. Keep All Records

One of the top gig economy tips is to set aside a portion of your earnings for income tax purposes since the taxes are not automatically withheld as in a traditional employee situation. Calculate how much you’ll need to set aside for taxes — usually around 25 percent to 30 percent of your income. Remember to hold onto receipts and records that you may need for tax time.

6. Prepare for the Unknown

With determination and drive, you can be successful as a gig worker. However, these jobs tend to be less stable, and there may be times when the gigs seem to dry up. Make sure you’re open to the idea of looking for other work opportunities — and that you have fully considered your Plan B if your chosen gig doesn’t work out.

7. Establish a Regular Routine

As freeing as the gig economy sounds, it does require a certain amount of discipline. Each day, you should wake up and get dressed at the same time to set the tone for the day — even if you don’t have any gigs lined up yet. Devote a chunk of time to work on your resume or profile — think of it as self-promotion or branding. Stick to the work schedule you set for yourself as much as you can.

Get Your Finances in Order

At Ovation Credit, we applaud the energy, tenacity, and passion of gig workers. As you put these gig economy tips into action, let us help you make the most of your financial life. Contact us for a free credit consultation today.


Woman laughing out of happiness from living a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy Eating and Exercising on a Budget? Yes, It’s Possible

By | Personal Finance

Your healthy lifestyle goals shouldn’t have to come at the expense of your finances. It’s all too easy to get swept into the pricey gym memberships and exercise equipment, fancy diet plans, and premium grocery stores—which can be catastrophic for your budget. The good news: You can reach your healthy eating and exercising goals, without straining your wallet. Read on for our top pointers for how to eat healthy on a budget and exercise on the cheap.

Healthy Eating

The key to healthy eating on a budget: plan, plan, and plan some more. Check out how to eat healthy on a budget, and save those pennies while you’re counting calories:

1. Build a grocery list. Decide what meals you will have for the upcoming week, and build your list around the ingredients you need. Stick to the essentials and resist the urge to buy anything outside the list.

2. Shop the perimeter of the store. When you hit the store, make it a point to avoid the middle of the store, which contains the most processed—and expensive—items. If you do need to visit one of these aisles, avoid the middle of the shelves, where they tend to stock the priciest items. The top and bottom shelves are usually your best bet.

3. Shop online. If your grocery store offers an online shopping option, this can be a quick shortcut to avoid impulse buys and instantly find the healthy options you need. Plus, it’s easier to stay within your budget as the website will calculate your cart total as you add items. Many stores also group their searchable categories by on-sale items or will send you alerts when the items you frequently purchase are on sale.

4. Mix up your protein sources. Look for cuts of meat that won’t break the bank, such as pork loin, ground turkey and beef, brisket, and chicken thighs. You may want to choose a large portion of these cuts of meat, which you can portion out for several meals during the week such as soups and casseroles. To save even more money, devote a couple of nights a week to non-meat-based meals, such as eggs, beans, and canned fish.

5. Buy frozen produce. Frozen fruit and vegetables are proven to provide the same nutritious advantages as their fresh counterparts—and their price tag is much more reasonable. If you can’t stomach the idea of eating frozen produce, try to only buy the fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season.


As much as the fitness industry would like us to believe it, you don’t need high-end equipment and expensive memberships to work out effectively. An open mind and a healthy amount of motivation are more than enough. Here are our top tips:

1. Work out at home. The Internet provides a wealth of resources for free, at-home workouts. Whether you’re looking to shed fat or gain muscle, you’ll be able to find a workout that targets your needs. YouTube’s vast library includes countless instructor-guided exercise videos for strength training, cardio, yoga, kickboxing, dance, and more. It’s also a great way to switch up your routine and avoid the boredom factor.

2. Invest in high-quality, reasonably priced equipment. To maintain your interest in exercising at home, you’ll likely want a decent supply of equipment. However, you won’t need a gym’s worth of gear you’ll never use. Stick to relatively inexpensive mainstays such as dumbbells, a jump rope, an exercise ball, and perhaps a cardio step. If you want to splurge on a large piece of equipment, such as an elliptical or treadmill, scope out Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for secondhand deals.

3. Take your workout outdoors. Some of the most effective and enjoyable workouts can be done on foot, such as running and walking. For extra motivation, scour the Internet for free training programs and upbeat tunes to listen to while you’re pounding the pavement.

4. Research economical exercise class options. Local running stores often offer a running club that’s free to join. You may also find low-cost exercise classes through your town or city’s recreation department, a nearby university, or the YMCA. If none of those options exist, you might want to suggest starting your own walking group with friends or neighbors.

Better Living in Health and Finances

Your financial and healthy living goals should go hand in hand. When you learn how to eat healthy on a budget and exercise on the cheap, your health and your budget both reap t

Millennials Hit Record-Low Average Credit Score — But We Can Help

By | Personal Finance

Building a healthy credit profile and solid financial footing is hard enough for any young adult. For millennials, that reality may be starting to hit home. According to new data released from credit giant Experian, millennials — people between 23 and 38 years old — recently hit a record-low credit score of 665, the lowest of any generation. An average score of 665, according to Experian, qualifies as a “fair” credit rating — which might make it tougher to qualify for credit, obtain loans at favorable interest rates, or even snag your dream apartment or job.

As daunting as improving your credit score may seem, your goals are well within reach. We zeroed in on the key areas to help millennials improve this record-low credit score and take charge of their financial futures.

Lower Credit Utilization

Experian’s recent study revealed that millennials carry an average credit card balance of $5,231, up 7% year over year from $4,869 in 2017. Carrying a high balance from month to month increases your credit utilization — also known as the amount of credit you’re using in proportion to your total available credit. That’s also a weighty factor in your credit score.

What you can do: Commit to paying down as much of your balances as you can — without charging any additional amounts to your account. If you prefer to focus on one credit card balance at a time, choose the one with either the highest balance or the highest interest rate. Set a goal not to use more than 30% of your card’s total credit limit at any given time.

Automate Everything

One of the top reasons millennials hit a record-low credit score? Missed payments. Payment history is one area on your credit report that you simply can’t afford to neglect.

What you can do: As a tech-savvy millennial, you’re in tune with the latest technological advances. Put that power to work and automate your bill payments as much as possible. Download your credit card company’s app and sign up for alerts via email or text. Add additional reminders to your own personal Google Calendar for good measure.

Build Positive History

A lengthy, positive credit history can elevate your credit score — it just takes a while to get there. With consistent, focused efforts, your credit score will gradually climb.

What you can do: Use credit to make one or two small purchases each month, and make sure to pay the balance in full. Your responsible credit usage and repayment will be reported to credit bureaus, infusing your credit report with positive payment history.

Check Your Credit Report

Many people are shocked to learn that their credit reports don’t necessarily contain the most accurate and up-to-date information. Many millennials, saddled with student loan and medical debt, could be unaware that these debts have been wreaking havoc with their credit scores.

What you can do: Read through your report carefully and dispute any items that are incorrect or older than seven years. For even more assistance, you may want to consider partnering with a credit repair firm, which can work with credit bureaus to remove certain negative items on your behalf.

Prioritize Credit Card Debt

Overdue credit card payments will be reported to the credit bureaus more quickly than other bills — such as loan payments. So when you’re aiming to improve your credit score, your credit card bills need to come first.

What you can do: Try to pay as much of your credit card balance as you can on time every month. Even the minimum payment is better than a missed payment. If you’re struggling with student loans or other types of debt, ask lenders if they can modify your monthly payments or apply for a grace period.

Open New Accounts Gradually

Adding different types of credit to your credit report broadens your credit mix and increases your total available credit. However, you don’t want to apply for several different credit cards or loans all at once, which could signal to potential lenders that you’re financially struggling.

What you can do: If you want to open a new credit card, look for one from your local bank or credit union, places that will typically offer lower interest rates. If you decide to apply for a personal loan instead, try to keep the loan amount as small as possible to keep your monthly payment amount within your budget.

A Helping Hand

You’ve faced more than your fair share of hurdles to a better credit life. It’s time to take charge and pave the way to your own fresh start. Reach out for a free consultation with Ovation Credit.


Your mom and dad were there for you and now it's time for you to be there for them. Learn the top tips for managing elderly’s finances.

7 Must-Dos When Managing an Elderly Parent’s Finances

By | Personal Finance

As your elderly parents’ health begins to decline, you may face the difficult decision of whether to start playing a more active role in their financial affairs. No matter how solid your relationship is, taking over your elderly parents’ finances is a delicate situation.

As the manager of your parents’ finances, you can relieve some of the immediate burdens and head off potential costly problems down the road. Here are seven tips for managing their finances so you can stay composed, organized, and in control.

1. Have the Money Talk

As long as your aging parents are in decent physical and mental health, they are able to participate in a conversation about the state of their finances — and how you envision your role in their financial future. Offer suggestions for a plan to manage the finances going forward, but keep yourself open to their ideas, as well. If they are still physically well, come up with a plan together to follow when they can no longer make decisions on their own. Avoid pointing out any signs of mental decline or financial strain, and instead, focus on the positives — such as the opportunity to ward off future problems.

2. Locate the Documents

Another crucial tip for managing an elderly person’s finances is to track down their financial information and documents — banks, credit card accounts, investment accounts, loan statements, Social Security statements, insurance policies, vehicle titles, and property deeds. If your parents are not comfortable handing over this sensitive information, ask them to write down the names of the institutions and accounts and store it in an easily accessible place. (If you’re still having trouble rounding up the information, see if you can track down your parents’ most recent tax return, which will likely disclose their financial institutions.)

3. Obtain a Power of Attorney

Before you can interact with your parents’ financial institutions on their behalf, you need to have a legal document authorizing you to do so. A general power of attorney grants you the ability to make decisions about your parents’ money and property if they become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney, on the other hand, allows you to act on the parents’ behalf even while they are still mentally and physically capable. Try to obtain one of these documents as soon as possible — ideally, while your parents are able to weigh in on how much financial authority they want you to have.

4. Collect Bills

If you’ve hunted down the necessary documents, you should have a handle on your parents’ assets and expenses. Set up a spreadsheet outlining monthly bills. Having access to your elderly parents’ checking account is obviously optimal in this situation — and will make the bill paying much smoother. Try to pay their bills on time as long as enough money is available. Set up automatic online bill payments wherever possible.

5. Look for Opportunities to Save

One of the easier tips for managing elderly parents’ finances: Ask for a copy of your parents’ monthly statements. Check for any unnecessary fees, charges, or subscriptions that your parents no longer use. What can they live without? When you’re reviewing the statements every month, take time to note any changes from month to month. This gives you a chance to spot problems early on.

6. Work out Payment Plans

Your elderly parents, like many others, may have fallen on some hard times and racked up some credit card debt. Fortunately, you may be able to reverse the spiral. Many lenders and credit card companies are open to negotiating a balance or creating a reasonable plan to pay off the debt. You might consider hiring a credit repair service to take some of the burdens off your shoulders.

7. Discuss Long-Term Care Plans

Unfortunately, regular health insurance and Medicaid will not cover the cost of senior living facilities. While you’re discussing the state of your parents’ finances, make sure to find out whether they purchased a long-term care insurance policy, which would cover the cost of long-term care. If they do not have a policy, you will need to calculate what they can afford in terms of future care and housing — and whether you need to make any adjustments to the budget to plan for that scenario.

We’re Here for You

As the manager of your elderly parents’ finances, your own financial and credit lifestyle may well be feeling the strain, too. We can help. Reach out to our helpful team at Ovation Credit for a free consultation today.


Sick of living paycheck to paycheck? Learn how to get back on track with finances.

6 Ways to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

By | Personal Finance

When you’re barely earning enough to meet all your bills and other financial obligations each month, you might feel like you’re backed up against a wall with few options to make a change. However, there are quite a few things you can do to improve your money situation. Here are six tips to stop living paycheck to paycheck – for good.

1. Create a Budget

If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, the biggest thing you can do to break the cycle is to make a budget. Start out by assessing how much take-home pay you can expect in a typical month, then start deducting all your typical monthly expenses. As you get to things that aren’t as pressing, such as going out to eat or weekend entertainment, you can give yourself a set amount that you can spend each month without going over what you earn.

There are many ways to try and stick to your budget. You can use mobile apps that track your spending, old-fashioned pen and paper, or even the cash system. Simply take out enough cash to cover those negotiable expenses, and don’t let yourself access more money if you run out before your budget resets.

2. Automate Your Savings

Creating a savings account buffer is one of our best tips to stop living paycheck to paycheck. That way, when you have an unexpected expense pop up, you’re not thrown completely for a loop. Even better, you won’t have to search for alternative ways to pay for those emergencies, like a credit card or payday loan.

The easiest way to start saving is to automate the process. Set up an automatic transfer each payday with your chosen amount. Your bank will automatically transfer funds from your checking account to your savings account. Even starting with $10 a paycheck can help. Then slowly increase the amount as you adjust your spending to match your new savings habit.

3. Start a Side Hustle

Depending on your job and financial responsibilities, you may need to earn more money. While you can always ask for a raise or extra hours at your job, you can also diversify your income with a side hustle. Explore your hidden talents and think of ways to earn some extra cash outside of your typical work hours. You can drive for a ridesharing service, deliver food, shop thrift stores to resell items on eBay, or tutor after school.

There are countless ways to create a side hustle that helps you make more. It also gives you a greater sense of financial security as you get away from living paycheck to paycheck.

4. Live on Less

As you analyze your money and spending habits, look for ways you can cut back on expenses. Start with the fluffiest expenses, like recurring subscriptions. If you’re a member of multiple streaming services, for example, you can pick just one (and get rid of cable while you’re at it). You may be surprised at how much you can cut out of your budget with multiple small-dollar items, rather than just a few big-ticket items.

5. Plan Ahead

It’s important to use these tips to stop living paycheck to paycheck today, but it’s equally important to help get your financial footing in check for the future as well. As you start to reconcile your spending versus your saving, remember to put money away for long-term goals such as retirement. Even if you don’t earn a lot today, you can still save for retirement on the smallest of budgets. If you begin now, you’ll accumulate quite the nest egg even if you start small.

6. Improve Your Credit

The better credit you have, the better credit terms you’ll receive if you ever do need to borrow money. Ideally, you’ll save enough to help during a financial crunch, but if you do need to take out a loan or credit card, having good credit can save you a lot in interest. It can even open the door to better options so you don’t get stuck using a predatory lender with excessive rates and fees.

You can repair your credit on your own by reviewing your credit report and disputing any inaccuracies. However, you can also hire a professional for faster, and typically better, results.

Sign up for a free consultation with Ovation Credit to see how you could potentially benefit from professional credit repair help. You can quickly stop living paycheck to paycheck with the right team behind you.

In order to boost your financial IQ, you have to set realistic and measurable goals.

5 Ways to Boost Your Financial IQ

By | Personal Finance

When you’re ready to take control of your money and really focus on creating financial security so you can achieve your goals, a little bit of knowledge can go a long way. You don’t need a college degree in finance to gain a better understanding of your money situation. If you’re wondering how to boost your financial IQ, simply follow these five steps to get yourself headed in the right direction.

1. Find Financial Resources You Enjoy

There is no shortage of personal finance content available at your fingertips on the web these days. The great news is that you can easily find engaging resources that help you get a better grasp on topics you’re not comfortable with. There are plenty of blogs (we happen to know of a good one), YouTube videos, books, and even podcasts. You can browse general personal finance content if you’re not sure where to start or look for more niche resources if you want to learn more about a specific topic.

Not sure how to boost your financial IQ in regards to retirement planning? A quick search can give you plenty of results. Then dedicate an hour or two to finding the blogs or podcasts that really resonate with you. This will give you an ongoing resource to check in on frequently for new information that matters to you.

2. Look at Your Bank Statements Daily

As you start building your bank of general financial knowledge, you also need to get a good grasp of what’s going on with your own money. The best way to start doing this is by looking at your bank account each and every day. It may sound like overkill, but this habit serves as a strong eye-opener to figure out how much you’re actually spending day in and day out.

If you’re surprised by how much is flowing out of your bank account, consider implementing a spending freeze. This is a great way to break major spending habits cold turkey. At the very least, try it for a week or see how long you can go without paying anything besides your regular bills.

3. Perform a Review of Debts vs. Assets

Another way to boost your financial IQ is to determine your net worth. Do this by reviewing your current debts versus your assets. When you actually write down these figures and compare them, you can figure out what your financial goals should actually be. Do you have a lot of high-interest credit card debt? You may consider focusing on paying that down. Are you debt-free but don’t have cash saved up for an emergency? Work on building a strong savings account next.

Then you can determine how much you have left to put toward discretionary goals like saving for a vacation or a down payment on a house.

4. Check Your Credit Score

You also need to know your credit score to get a true understanding of your financial picture. Check your credit score so you get an idea of what kind of borrower you’d be if you need to apply for a loan or credit card in the near future.

Be sure to take a look at your credit report as well to make sure all your financial information is reported accurately. You can quickly determine if there’s been any fraudulent activity under your name, such as a stolen credit card number or new accounts opened with your social security number.

5. Reassess Your Goals Regularly

Once you’ve gathered your collective financial information, it’s important to regularly evaluate all of these contributing factors to see if any of your plans need to be tweaked. Maybe your car insurance went up or your employer started offering a larger 401(k) match. Or perhaps you had a financial emergency and used some of your savings — you need to rebuild those funds for the next emergency that pops up.

Allowing yourself the flexibility to make changes in your finances is one of the biggest components of boosting your financial IQ. Learn that lesson and you’ll be on track to handle whatever life throws at you, whether it’s a good event or a challenging one. A little financial know-how can go a long way in being prepared.

Need Credit Help?

If you need to know how to improve your credit, get professional help. Having the right legal team behind you gives a huge boost to your financial IQ.

Schedule a free consultation with Ovation Credit today.

Call Now for a FREE Credit Consultation