Five Things you should Never Carry in your Wallet

Carrying a wallet with all your important identification documents and spending accounts might seem like a good way to ensure that you have everything with you when you need it and that it’s all in one place. But what would you do if you lost your wallet, or, even worse, if it was stolen? If someone were to obtain your wallet would there be enough information in there to steal your identity or spend an exorbitant amount of money? Here are 5 things that you should never carry in your wallet or purse that could not only save you the hassle of dealing with fraudulent spending but also help you get all your missing documentation back easily.

698567-old-leather-wallet-full-of-credit-cardsYour Social Security Card: According to identify theft experts, losing your social security card or anything with your social security number on it is incredibly dangerous. Make sure that your wallet is free of this information and keep your SSN private.

Cheques: Cheques are easy to forge and just one single cheque could leave your bank account empty. Even if you have a filled out cheque in your wallet you could be putting yourself at risk. Cheques contain account and routing numbers, with which transfers could be made. It’s best to only carry a cheque when it is absolutely necessary.

Your Passport: There is honestly no good reason to carry a passport in your wallet. If your wallet were to get stolen or go missing having a piece of government issued ID handy will make the hassle of getting everything back so so much easier. On top of this, if the wrong person were to get their hands on your passport they could use it to travel in your name, get a copy of your social security card or even open bank accounts.

Your Birth Certificate: A birth certificate isn’t the best tool for an identity thief, but they could be used along side other forms of ID. Having your birth certificate will also make it easier to replace any lost or stolen wallet items.

Multiple Credit Cards: Having multiple credit cards in your wallet leaves a thief with more credit to spend, and you with more cards to cancel if you find your wallet missing. Carrying just one card is a much safer idea. It’s also a good idea to have the cancellation numbers for all your credit cards handy just in case you need them



The Story of Trust Deeds

A couple are looking into purchasing their first property together. One of them already has a nest egg ready to put into getting on to the housing ladder… and the other? Well, he or she has tried to scrimp and save but just can’t resist the lure of decent wines/holidays/nice clothes/Xbox credits. You get my point. Buying a house together might seem like the perfect way to cement a loving relationship but it is undoubtedly a financial risk if, like many relationships, the financial elements of the union are anything but equal. In this scenario, it can be wise to look at having trust deeds drawn up.


Although not the most romantic concept, a trust deed can protect both parties when looking to purchase property. Commonly referred to as a ‘declaration of trust and cohabitation’ or ‘co-ownership agreement’, a trust deed is a legal agreement between two joint owners which can specify the amount of capital each party contributed to the purchase, the agreed shares of ownership and exactly what should happen if one of the parties dies. A depressing thought. However, assuming you have years of cohabitation ahead of you, a trust deed can also provide legal protection if one of the owners leaves the home or starts a dispute over such things as building extra rooms or adding a conservatory. Basically, a trust deed can cover any potential outcome and could prove invaluable in the event of changing circumstances.

If, like our couple, one of you has invested more money into climbing onto the housing ladder, you might each agree that it is fairer to have this reflected in your share of the property. Let’s say you put in 80% of the funds needed and your other half managed to scrimp together the remainder. Surely you would want this reflected in bricks and mortar? A trust deed will ensure this happens by apportioning your interest in the property accordingly meaning that, if you ever went your separate ways and the house had to be sold, you would get your fair share back.

Of course, you and your partner may well live together forever in harmony. However, it makes sound financial sense to consider distinctly unromantic elements before buying a house with a loved one. As anyone who has been burned by a greedy ex will tell you, a trust deed can ultimately negate a great deal of heartache.

Owning Pets in Retirement

Pets can really truly be both man and woman’s best friend, especially during retirement age. Studies show that having a pet as a companion increases overall well-being, a sense of comfort and even enhances one’s mental health.

dogs-in-duds Being a senior, especially a retired one, has potential to be a lonely time.  Research has shown that seniors who own pets are less likely to feel isolated and more likely to be active in a social circle. Obligation is also a huge component of pet-owning, especially when owning a dog. You will be obligated to go for regular walks-something that cannot be negated. You will also likely be forced to rise at an early hour in order to get up with your pet.  Even if you are feeling unmotivated to get that exercise pets can encourage us to do so.

Animals are also shown at being very effective in reducing anxiety and worry, therefore reducing stress. If an individual is required to have a routine of caring for a pet-both hygienically and socially- they are much more likely to carry out the same routine for themselves.

Another way owning a pet may decrease stress  loneliness , aside from the constant companionship, is motivated you to get out and talk to other pet-owners.

Petting and talking to a pet reduces high blood pressure and stress. Some individuals find it very soothing to speak about their troubles with their pet, even over another human, perhaps due to the fact that a pet does not judge us and loves us unconditionally.

Of course, cats and dogs are not the only types of pets one can own. While they are the most common, there are many other types of pets which some may find amazing such as reptiles, ferrets, or even a fish.  Having this companion helps people know they are wanted and needed.  While all companions are great, it is true that certain pets cost more than others. This does have potential to wreak havoc on a fixed income.

If buying pet food, paying vet bills, and walking regularly is going to be very difficult, one may want to look into owning a pet which requires less round the clock care such as a fish.  Before investing in a companion, research your potential costs and measure it against your budget.  You will want to ensure this new friend is something you can handle because nothing will be more heart-wrenching for you or them if you have to give them back.

Some seniors may really wish to own a pet but realize it does not fit with their lifestyle due to finances or health reasons. Simply being around animals is also an option. You may be able to go for walks in parks and enjoy nature, such as birds and butterflies. If you have any friends or family with pets, visiting with them and spending time with their pets may also be a viable option.

With the recognition within psychology and health care of just how much pets do benefit, many hospitals, nursing and retirement homes now have an animal companion programs wherein an animal (typically a cat or dog) spends time with the residents.  Some facilities even have their own pets living at this residences full time.

Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that these companions really can reduce your stress and most importantly, provide a connection and companionship you never thought you would have.

Photo via Dogs in Duds

Buy Real Estate or Invest in Real Estate?

Many of the world’s richest individuals did it by owning real estate.  Many of the most popular “wealthy people” have done the same thing.  However, should you buy real estate, or just invest in it.  Here are a few thoughts…

Apartment Building

Photo by RenoTahoe

The Pros and Cons of Buying Actual Real Estate 

When I talk about buying real estate, I mean buying an actual physical property and renting it out.

The biggest positive of doing this is control and ownership.  You own the property and can do with it as you please.  You also have full control over the tenants and who you rent it to, as well as what to charge.

The drawbacks of real estate ownership are that you have to deal with the property as an owner.  This means mortgage, simple landlord insurance, taxes, utilities, and more. These expenses can quickly exceed the amount of rent you bring in, and also have a huge time implication as well.

The Pros and Cons of Investing in Real Estate

Owning physical real estate and renting it out is almost like a side business, because it does require a lot of involvement.  And if that doesn’t sound like your thing, but you still want to get into real estate, you could always invest in real estate.

The primary way to invest in real estate is to buy a REIT, or Real Estate Investment Trust.  These trusts act like shells that invest in real estate, and you get a portion of their earnings.

The advantage of investing in real estate, especially via REITs, is that the cost is lower, there is no real work required (beyond simple research), the transaction fees are much lower, and you can also be selective of what types of properties you invest in.

The biggest con of investing in a REIT is lack of control over the investments.  If the manager makes a mistake, you could lose thousands, if not more, on your investment.  This lack of concrete information makes investing in a REIT much different than real estate.