Poll: Yes vote raises fears for Scots dealing with debt

Over half of Scottish people dealing with debt fear they will be worse off with a Yes vote for independence, a new survey suggests.

Your money: How to ask for a pay rise – without winding up the boss

Have the confidence to ask for a pay rise – dont expect your boss to come to you. Photo / Thinkstock

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Your 401(k): To roll or not to roll?

Video: Should you fund your retirement or save for an emergency? Do you pay high interest rate or low balance credit cards off first? Find out the best moves for your money. A couple drowning on debt cant get on the same page when it comes to their money. Vi…

Trickling away your money

Bathtubs are a surprisingly common theme in money writing. The usual line is that as a bath fills up with water, it also leaks out through small holes and cracks.

The water is your savings, while the gaps represent your expenses.

If the cracks get bigger, the bath runs dry. The only way to fill it right to the top is to identify and plug each hole.

As Ive discovered, sometimes the leaky bathtub thing isnt just a clever analogy – its real life.

Our households monthly water bills used to be about $90. Then something changed.

On alternate months, the estimated bill would come in at a reassuringly low level.

Then the actual bill the next month blew it out of the water, often topping $200.

This caused a fair amount of finger-pointing about the length of showers, number of loads of washing, and taps left running.

As it turned out, the true culprit was a leak in a pipe beneath the house, draining us dry and sending our bills through the roof.

As much as 800 litres a day has been keeping the lawn incredibly well-watered for the last six months or so. Based on the charges levied by Aucklands Watercare, thats about $1.10 a day. Each month, it adds up to $33, and $401 a year.

Theres every possibility you could have a leak, too. If its a small one, youd never even know about it.

Heres how to find out. First, you have to go find your water meter. Watercare advises that its usually just inside your front boundary, in a timber, plastic, concrete, or metal box.

Lift the lid, brush aside the creepy-crawlies and you should see the meter dial.

Itll have either seven or eight numbers. The ones in red on the righthand side are litres. Just before you go to bed, jot down the number or take a photo of the dial.

Overnight, make sure all taps are switched off, the dishwashers finished its cycle, and no-one flushes the loo. We used fluoro Post-it notes to stop half-asleep bathroom visitors from ruining the experiment.

First thing in the morning, go check the meter again before anyone runs a tap. Subtract the three red numbers from the previous nights reading, and see if theres a noticeable difference.

If so, youll need to get a plumber in. If youre renting, and the leak wasnt caused by you or your invited guests, your landlord is obliged to foot the bill.

The best bit is that Watercare offers partial rebates on unusually high water bills caused by leaks.

While it has no legal obligation to do so, it says its policy is to assist customers if they get the leak repaired and havent made a request within the last two years.

Fingers crossed well be able to recover the extra $200 or so that has drained out of our household accounts. At the very least, weve plugged one more hole in the bathtub.

The Impact of Climate Change on Your Investing Thesis

Also in this weeks episode of
Where the Money Is

, Tyler and Taylor discuss what has sent energy stock prices
plummeting in the past couple weeks, sector by sector, and take
an in-depth look at one of the biggest challenges facing American
oil and gas producers: dealing with debt. Find out more about all
of these subjects by tuning into the video below.

Do you know this energy tax loophole?

You already know record oil and natural gas production is
changing the lives of millions of Americans. But what you
probably havent heard is that the IRS is encouraging investors
to support our growing energy renaissance, offering you a tax
loophole to invest in some of Americas greatest energy
companies. Take advantage of this profitable opportunity by
grabbing your brand-new special report,
The IRS Is Daring You to Make This Investment

, and youll learn about the simple strategy#160;to take
advantage of a little-known IRS rule. Dont miss out
on#160;advice that could help#160;you cut taxes for decades
to come.
Click here

#160;to learn more.

The article
The Impact of Climate Change on Your Investing

originally appeared on Fool.com.

Taylor Muckerman

owns shares of Ensco, Cheniere Energy, and SolarCity.
Tyler Crowe

owns shares of Seadrill and SolarCity. The Motley Fool recommends
Clean Energy Fuels, Seadrill, and SolarCity. The Motley Fool owns
shares of Seadrill, SolarCity, and Transocean. Try any of our
Foolish newsletter services
free for 30 days

. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe
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Seven smart money habits for college freshman

Your freshman year can be a whirlwind of activity. But make some time for one more lesson: how to form smart money habits.Here are seven tips onhow to be savvy with your money and maximize the financial potential of your college years.


Richard M. Rosso, Nerdwallet

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Money mistakes not to make in your 60s

During their careers, people will continue to put money away for retirement and they put this money in investment vehicles that earn interest so their nest egg grows.

At retirement, many decide they no longer want or need risk in their investment accounts and they opt to park their funds in something that earns little or no future growth.

An ideal retirement portfolio is one that balances this lower risk bias with the ability to still maintain steady growth.

A second common mistake is to mis-time the start of your withdrawals of your CPP benefits or private pension.

The decision on when to start pulling money out of these pension plans is a huge one and a mistake here can have significant consequences to your retirement income.

For some, this means starting their CPP benefits right at age 60, even while they’re still working.

For others, it may make the most sense to not touch any RRSPs until age 71. The point is, the right choice is different for everyone and you should make sure to seek out qualified advice on what withdrawal timeline is right for you.

A third mistake we see too often is people hitting retirement and going on cruise control.

Many feel that once they retire, whatever pension, government benefits and individual savings they have is now set in stone and there is little they can do to change it.

The truth is, a retirement plan is more important now than ever. You will likely have numerous options on how to start withdrawing retirement income and the tax situation of each withdrawal type may be quite different.

Setting up a tax-efficient retirement distribution strategy can make a drastic difference to the length of time your money will last.

Another money mistake we see made by those in their 60s is to bail out their kids who are in financial trouble or be too generous in helping pay for schooling.

It’s possible to be too selfless and charitable in retirement, especially when it puts your own retirement at risk.

It’s important to remember, you can take out loans for college, but you can’t take out a loan to pay for your retirement.

The final common mistake of those in their 60s is to not have an estate plan.

While you will likely live for many more years, an estate plan is vital at this stage in life.

This type of plan will ensure that any assets you leave behind will transition in the most tax efficient manner and that the assets will pass on to the people or organizations of your choosing.

An estate plan doesn’t necessarily have to be complex. A good one will not only give you peace of mind, but will also make the handling of your affairs much easier for the loved ones you leave behind.

There are no “do-overs” when it comes to retirement and a sound retirement plan is critical to getting it right the first time.

Many retirees opt to follow the advice of their friends and family but this often isn’t the best course to follow.

Enlisting the assistance of a certified financial planner can not only put you in a better position financially, but can also help protect you from financial scams and major mistakes.

You worked hard all your life to save for retirement, take the time to make sure your money lasts.

Brett Millard is a certified

financial planner and owner of SPEIR Wealth Management Inc. Email brett@speirwealth.com or call 778-478-4277.

Vince Cable’s plan to guarantee a challenger bank’s business loans

One challenger bank will get a boost from the government when the British Business Bank guarantees its loans to small firms, under a pilot scheme to be launched at the end of October.

It is Vince Cable’s latest plan to increase lending to SMEs, by taking risk away from the bank and on to the government.

He wants the chosen bank to lend to firms which have been turned down by the big banks.

If such firms are given loans the scheme is likely to be deemed a success, and rolled out to more banks.

However, this may also mean the government could end up taking on the riskier loans which the big banks were unwilling to offer.

The deal was announced in the budget, and is now weeks away from being implemented.

Cable had previously pushed for state backed banks RBS and Lloyds to be forced to lend more to SMEs, but met opposition from the chancellor who wanted to rebuild their capital first.

In time, the chancellor did lean on the banks – a factor which in part led to the departure of RBS’ then-boss Stephen Hester in summer 2013.

Show Your Money Some Love

Money is one of the most important and valuable currencies of your life. I say one of because I put two others before it:

1) Time: THE currency of your life. This is literally ALL you have to work with when it comes to designing a life you love, that makes the impact you want it to.

2) Food Drink: the currency of your physicality. This determines how you feel all day, your health, how you look and often your self-esteem. Pretty darn critical to life, ay?

And then theres money. Most of us have a really twisted, tumultuous relationship with money (kinda like time and food!). You probably can catch yourself thinking you shouldnt have to deal with something so complicated and often emotional. You might have all sorts of theories about how hard or hopeless it is to deal with it. Its important to clean out all that mental clutter, and well get to that in a minute, but first Id like to offer you:

A New Context for Money

Try on this theory: That most of the areas of life (love, career, money, body, health, family etc.) have a grace period. That is, a time when an area seems simple, easy, or not in our hands.

At a certain point, that goes away: We have to figure out how to sustain love maturely, or how to keep our bodies in great shape, how to enjoy healthy food or exercise and how to handle money so it flows freely but not frivolously.

Most of us view this transition from grace and ease to effort, designing and planning as a problem or a glitch. But I say its perfect. Its exactly what the universe ordered to help you grow up spiritually. And, heres the clincher: Its also time to stop resisting and complaining about your new responsibilities. Get inspired by the idea of growing up about your time, your career, your love, your body and your money.

More Good News!

I have more good news: Youll feel better as soon as you start dealing. One of the things you should admit to is the amount of money you want to make and how much you want to save by a certain date.

I know, so uncomfortable, right?

This admission forces you to start dealing and planning, and what I want you to know is that dealing always feels better than avoiding. Dont get too romanced by the goal itself; once you get there, you are just going to start wanting the next goal.

What you SHOULD get excited about is how good it feels to align your ideals, your plans and your actions. Because you are daring to say what you want and to start making and keeping plans to get there, you are going to start feeling more happy and powerful immediately. In some ways this is simple, but your negative theories, family background and past mistakes sure do get in the way of this being an easy ride.

Remember the Clutter Clearing

You will need to unpack your baggage too so it doesnt keep you repeating mistakes and imitating your lineage. I want to give you one of the first steps, that you can do on your own.

* List out all your beliefs and theories about money.
* Then talk them through with someone whose relationship to money you admire.

See if you can come up with some new theories instead of your old, tired ones that keep you stuck. Here are some old ones of mine that I managed to debunk, along with my new, reinvented theories.

Old: If you focus on money, it makes you shallow.
New: Being a grown-up means caring about the money I make/have. The more I have, the more of a difference in the world I can make.

Old: I cant handle having a lot of money; its too much responsibility.
New: Ill take my learning one step at a time. I trust myself to deal with decisions as I go and I know I have great resources if I need help.

Old: Whats the point anyway? You cant take it with you.
New: Sounds like the chicken talking to me! Its okay that I am a little afraid to grow up and be more powerful, but I dont let it stop me from playing big and like I mean it.

Id love to hear some of yours! Leave a comment below with some old theories about money that you are ready to let go of.

All the best,

PS Are old theories and beliefs about money holding you back from making more? Join our weekly teleseries, Wake Up Your Week! Starting Oct 6th, we are devoting the month to the topic of money.

Fees waived for small business loans

REGION – In order to help businesses retain or expand employment, meet market opportunities, and attract additional investment, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance (NEPA) has announced the waiver of fees for the ten state and federal loan programs it administers.

Also, businesses in Lackawanna County may take advantage of the Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan Fee Waiver Program recently announced by the County Commissioners.

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance Business Finance Corporation (NEPA BFC) is authorized by the SBA to deliver the 504 Loan Program.

For more information on SBA 504 loans, visit our website at www.nepabfc.org.

The fee waiver, along with a low interest rate, provides a unique opportunity for businesses to expand in this challenging economic environment, said Paul Macknosky, Business Finance Manager with NEPA.

The NEPA Alliance, a regional community and economic development agency, serves the seven counties of Northeastern Pennsylvania including Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill and Wayne.

The NEPA Alliance services include Business Financing, Government Contracting Assistance, International Trade Assistance, Non Profit Assistance, Transportation Planning, Research and Information, and Local Government Services.

For more information about NEPA Alliance visit www.nepa-alliance.org or call (866) 758-1929.

To learn more about NEPA loan programs, please contact Dave Nat (dnat@nepa-alliance.org) or Paul Macknosky (pmacknosky@nepa-alliance.org) at (570) 655-5581 or (866) 758-1929.