Friday, January 5, 2018

Finances Behind Solar Power

solar finance
Installing a solar power system for a homeowner is a commendable goal. It is cost effective, benefits the environment, and is a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. For homeowners, financing a solar system is normally the biggest battle. The finances can often be overwhelming at first glance, especially when the final cost is revealed. We are used to seeing smaller, portable solar panels for much less. However, the financial stress can be subdued with further research. There are ways to lease solar use, or take out a loan to pay for solar power installation. There are also mortgaging options available for solar power. Here’s a little bit more information on financing solar power:

Leasing for Solar Power- Paying for solar power can often be the most overwhelming, complicated part of putting in a solar system. A single system usually costs between $15,000 to $30,000. Most people don’t have this kind of money just lying around to be put into use. Taking out a lease, like for most other big investments, sounds stressful. However, it’s not as scary and confusing as it sounds. With leasing solar power, a company will agree to pay for the initial panels and upkeep of them. The job of the leaser is to pay smaller amounts to the solar power leasing company. This takes some financial pressure off of the homeowner if the financing behind installing a solar system is the biggest concern. Some well known solar power leasing companies are Sunrun, sPower, Sungevity, and SunEdison.

Loans for Solar Power- Another option to finance solar power is through taking out a loan. With loans, the complete cost of the solar power system has to be paid immediately to whatever manufacturer or company a homeowner is receiving the entire solar system through. So, for example, if you are receiving the solar system through Sunrun, you may be paying your loan back to a federal government program. One example of a federal government program that assists with solar power loans is PACE. PACE stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy Programs, and runs through a certain area (city or town) loaning the amount of money the solar system costs to the homeowner. In return, the homeowner pays the system back through higher property taxes. This way, the city or town is assisting in environmentally progressive programs, while a homeowner reaps the benefits through needed financing.

Mortgage for Solar Power- One way to finance solar power is through a mortgage. Most solar power based mortgages best work when intertwined in the beginning process of mortgaging a home. Home mortgaging programs, like Fannie Mae, will analyze the energy efficiency a home you are thinking of buying has initially. It will then decipher what modifications will in the end benefit the home. Once these modifications are decided, the mortgages amount is agreed upon. So, if a potential homeowner is planning on mortgaging $300,000 for a $350,000 home, and paying $50,000 out of pocket, the numbers will shift. Instead of mortgaging $300,000, a buyer can mortgage $335,000 through a solar power mortgaging company. The extra $35,000 of the mortgage will go towards making the home more energy efficient and environmentally conscious. Some of these modifications may come in the form of installing a full solar power system and replacing other electronic products with more green options. Energy efficient mortgaging not only helps the environment, but, ultimately, will be a prime investment for the homeowner.

Financing behind solar power systems may seem complicated and simply money consuming. However, there are reliable companies giving options to lease, loan, or mortgage solar power systems. They will give a current or potential homeowner the opportunity to invest in solar power, positively affecting the energy efficiency of the home and the quality of the environment.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

How Has SEBI Made Mutual Fund Investment Easier and How Will it Affect You?

fund investments
Indian investors have started opening up to the idea of investing in mutual funds (MFs), thanks to the investor awareness campaign undertaken by the industry. You can conveniently buy funds online and track the performance of the scheme you select.

The problem, however, arises when you have to choose amongst the various investment schemes. At present, there are almost 2,000 schemes to choose from, which make it much harder for you to choose a suitable option. Looking at this huge number itself would discourage you if you were a novice investor. In order to address this issue, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) came out with a circular on 6th October 2017 defining the various categories under which MF schemes must be classified. At present, this categorization is only applicable to open-ended schemes.

This initiative aims to reduce confusion among MF investors and encourage them to buy mutual funds as investments.

Categorization of mutual fund schemes

As per the circular, asset management companies (AMCs) will have to classify their offerings into the following five categories:

• Equity Schemes
• Debt Schemes
• Hybrid Schemes
• Solution-Oriented Schemes
• Other schemes

The AMCs will be allowed to operate only one fund in each of the aforementioned five categories. These categories have further been divided into sub-categories, which will refine the scope of various mutual fund investment schemes as follows:

1. Equity schemes (10 sub-categories)

Large-cap, sectoral or thematic, multi-cap, Equity-Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS), small-cap, focused, dividend yield, large and midcap, contra, and value

2. Debt schemes (16 sub-categories)

Overnight, corporate bond, dynamic bond, credit risk fund, gilt, gilt fund with 10-year constant duration,banking and PSU, floater, ultra-short duration, low duration, money market, liquid, short duration, medium duration, medium to long duration, and long duration

3. Hybrid Schemes (6 sub-categories)

Balanced hybrid, conservative hybrid, aggressive hybrid, arbitrage, equity savings, dynamic asset allocation/balanced advantage, and multi-asset allocation

4. Solution oriented schemes (2 sub-categories)

Children benefit and goal of retirement.

5. Other schemes (2 sub-categories)

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), Index funds, and Fund of Funds (FOF)

You may buy mutual funds from 36 sub-categories as defined by the SEBI circular.

How does this help you?

SEBI’s move to consolidate the number of schemes in the market will make it easy for you to compare schemes with similar features. After comparing the schemes, you may choose to buy mutual funds online. This initiative will help you cut through the complex clutter of schemes and make the investment process faster and smoother than before.

Fewer schemes will also mean that fund managers will be able to focus more effectively on operating a smaller number of funds. Imagine that there are 50 mutual fund schemes in the market managed by five fund managers, i.e. an average of ten schemes managed by each fund manager. If the number of schemes was reduced to 30, the average number of funds per manager would go down to six. This means a sharper focus on schemes and more efficient management of your mutual fund investments.

After the classification of the schemes, you will still be able to choose from a large number of options to invest.Depending on your risk appetite and investment objective from the sub-categories specified under each main category, you may choose to buy mutual funds online. For example, the equity schemes category is divided into 10 sub-categories as discussed above. This categorization means that you have the choice to decide exactly where your monies are invested.

The categorization of MF schemes does not mean that existing schemes would be discontinued. AMCs will amalgamate various schemes to adhere to the revised norms. This may mean that if the new scheme does not match your risk profile and investment strategy, you may have to shift your mutual fund investments. Depending on the type of scheme, you may be liable to certain taxes. Another effective manner of knowing which schemes are suitable according to your risk appetite and financial capacity is by downloading the Angel Wealth mobile app. The technology-driven ARQ investment engine will help you in determining the accurate scheme to invest in, that too without any human bias.

SEBI has endeavored to reorganize the structure of the classification of MF schemes, while at the same time, offer a healthy variety of schemes to investors. In the circular, SEBI also listed out scheme characteristics that fund managers would need to adhere to.

For example, in case of large-cap equity mutual fund schemes, a minimum of 80% of the total assets must be invested in equity securities of large market capitalization companies. Similarly, for large and mid cap funds, at least 35% of the assets need to be invested in equity securities of large market capitalization companies and at least 35% of the assets in equity securities of mid-cap companies. These characteristics have been designed to ensure that fund managers stick to the objective of the primary asset class, as suggested by the name of the scheme.

While SEBI’s circular created some concerns among mutual fund operators, this move has been welcomed by industry professionals as it would streamline the currently crowded MF market and boost investor confidence in these investment products.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

401(K) Problems With IRAs And How To Fix Them

all about retirement
An IRA: the savior for men and women looking to retire. With a healthy retirement fund, you can live out your golden years in peace without financial worry. What’s that? The average IRA or 401(k) has big problems? The majority people don’t know this because their nest egg is a sure thing. Sadly, current retirement plans are subject to changing conditions such as inflation. As it steadily increases, the amount you have in an IRA drops. It’s pretty scary when you think about it, which is why action is vital.

To make sure your retirement is smooth sailing, here are the main issues and what to do next.

Poor ROI

ROI stands for return on investment, and 401(k)s are by no means lucrative. The average yield is less than 3.5% and that won’t get you anywhere near the mark to retire comfortably. There are plenty of options, but Bitcoin seems to be the most popular at the moment. Due to its potential for growth, a self directed IRA with Bitcoin is an excellent way to increase a nest egg.

As long as the cryptocurrency is encrypted, the risk is minimal. Another option is to get involved in government schemes which get employers to match or double your contributions.

Unorganized Record Keeping

The effort to provide a detailed account of your retirement assets is shocking. Because it’s still a manual activity, it can take forever. And, the information might not be correct when it does arrive. Then, there is the fact that you need a comprehensive and up to date list to plan effectively. The only way to organize a 401(k) is to be proactive with the records. Rather than trust s record keeper, you should make a personal spreadsheet and update it on a regular basis.

Changing Managers

Employers often set up plans to help employees with long-term investment plans. What they omit to tell you is that the people managing your retirement fund are no longer with the company. As a result, there will be a complete mismatch of direction. When two different people have separate ideas, the 401(k) is bound to suffer. Experts suggest investing in index funds as opposed to anything else to help limit the damage. MoneyCoach founder, Patrick Traverse, says that index funds can mean “tens of thousands of dollars at retirement.” It’s only a one percent saving yet it makes all the difference.

Dollar-Cost Averaging

Although a prudent way to make money, dollar-cost averaging makes zero sense when the market is negative. Lots of 401(k)s revolve around this method, and yours may be no different. Don’t worry if it’s the case because it is a straightforward thing to resolve. The key is to find a conservative option within your plan. After you have the right one, start directing the savings into it and play the waiting game. When the investment is ripe, take a chunk of cash and put it into a less conservative asset.

The most important point to remember is not to think your retirement plan is infallible. It isn’t and it needs constant tweaking and maintenance as a result.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Plan Your Budget And Stick To It!

budget items
One of your resolutions this year may have been to budget more carefully and to live a more frugal lifestyle. There are many ways to plan a budget, the hard part is sticking to it! Follow this guide for tips that will enable you to stay on track.

Analyse your finances

Before you can plan a budget you need to know exactly where your money goes each month. Make a list of all your essential expenditures. Essential expenditures cannot be changed as they are necessary to daily living.

Insurances need to be accounted for too, such as those relating to health and personal injury. Personal injury lawsuits are complex and it is good to get advice from experts, knowledgeable on the Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline. House insurance, contents insurance and vehicle insurance are also essential expenditures to factor in.

A large part of your budget will be spent on housing costs such as mortgages, rent and household bills. You may have loans and credit cards which need to be paid monthly. Other essential expenditure is food, fuel, travel and childcare.

Add all your payments together and see what money is left over.

The next stage of analysing your finances is to add up all the money you have spent on non essential items such as eating out, leisure activities and clothes that you really didn’t need. This process can be very enlightening and will show you exactly where savings can be made. Take this sum of money from the sum you had left over after paying essential outgoings, is there any money left?

Plan

The key to sticking to a budget is to not deny yourself any form of pleasure, otherwise you will likely go off track after a very short time. The best way of sticking to a budget is to plan for non essential expenditure. For example if you have a big birthday celebration coming up, plan it into your budget. A small amount of money saved here and there won’t be noticed as much as blowing your budget in one go.

If you enjoy eating out regularly, try and cut this in half, instead of eating out every week, eat out every two weeks instead.

Stay on track

It’s tempting to bury our heads in the sand when it comes to budgeting, but it’s really important to track how you are doing on a monthly basis. If you don’t, six months could have passed by before you notice that you are right back where you started! Make it part of your monthly routine to assess your spending, just before your salary gets paid into your account. You will then be able to put into savings, any of your remaining balance.

Successful budgeting is achieved by careful monitoring of your spending habits, making savings where possible. Minor changes in your spending habits can have a major impact on the health of your bank balance. Research supermarket prices and switch to make savings, eat seasonally and cook from scratch. You will be healthier too!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Make Easy Money In 2018

source of money
Did you struggle to make ends meet in 2017? Is your job not giving you all the money you need to earn to be on top of your finances? Is that promotion you were promised well overdue? If you feel like you are worth more than you are currently getting and would like to see your bank account in a healthier state, this is possible if you make some adjustments to your life.

Things like not spending unnecessary money, putting in place a tight budget and going for cheaper alternatives whenever you have to buy stuff will see you become a wealthier person. On top of this, there are other things you can do to earn money quickly in 2018. Read the below tips to become a little bit richer this year.

Invest in shares

You have probably heard of people around you who have made money by the simple fact of investing in stocks. This sounds like playing the lotto and being the lucky winner, doesn’t it? Something that you know happens to one in a million. Not quite. Investing in stocks has long been a proven way of earning some easy cash if you are able to know which stocks to invest in. Companies offer shares to raise money from investors. These might need some cash to expand into foreign markets or hire new staff, and that is why they put stocks in place so that individuals like you can buy an often small share of the company, but one that can give you substantial returns. Look into TRTC Stock to see what opportunities lie for you in the stock market.

Sell your pictures online

Do you have a decent phone that takes even more decent photos? If so, this is your chance to prove to the world that you are an excellent photographer and that you can make some cash through selling your best shots online. While photography might be a challenging career to pursue if this is going to be your sole source of income, selling pictures on the internet is still a great way of making some extra money fast. Have you recently been to a blog and saw mediocre photos that you think you could take better? If this is the case, get out there and explore your surroundings. Platforms like Shutterstock will accept your images for a cut and make them available on the world wide web for people to purchase and use.

Rent a room in your house

If you are a property owner, there is so much you can do with the spare space you might have. Gone are the days when renting was something that would take several viewings and had to be done in a semi-permanent way, with six months being the minimum contract length. These days, if you own a place, you can easily rent a room or bedroom for a reasonable price for whichever period of time you wish to commit to. All you have to do is go online and create a profile on platforms like Airbnb, take some excellent pictures of your house and upload these together with a good description. You will see tourists and those interested in short-term rentals email you in vast numbers if your offering is good enough. Consider doing some research on the prices that are being quoted in your same area in order to outdo the competition.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

3 Ways You Can Save While Repaying Your Debt

payment for debts
Do I save or do I pay off my debts? This is an age old question. Often people think that these options are mutually exclusive and many Americans focus solely on repaying their debt, placing less emphasis on having savings. In fact, Americans are saving less as the years go on, with an average American saving only 3.8 percent of their disposable income in 2017. If you are one of the thousands struggling with debt but wanting to save, check out these simple tips.

1. Make A Game Plan

There are different methods of repaying your debt and one method does not suit all. You can choose the debt snowball method and begin by repaying your smallest debt first. Conversely, you can focus on those debts with the highest interest charges attached to it and get rid of those first. Whatever method you choose, be sure to take the time to take into account your own personal circumstances. Once the decision has been made, it is a great idea to set up a game plan on how much you will save each month and how much you will pay off in debt. Targets are great for this and can be set annually or monthly. The ratio split between savings and debt repayment is up to you and is influenced by your savings targets and debt position. Make use of the resources available online including debt worksheets and organisation calendars. Having a visual of your target and a countdown can be extremely effective.

2. Explore Refinancing

Refinancing or consolidating your debt may sound scary but in reality can save you a lot of money in interest charges. If you’re struggling with various credit cards repayments, consider whether a payoff loan is right for you. AAA Credit Guide researches Payoff.com and the benefits it can have, one of which is that your loan is most likely to come with a lower interest rate than your current credit cards. Most credit cards can carry an interest rate of over 19 percent. With lower interest rates rates and one streamlined payment each month, you can save a good chunk of money every month.

3. Make it Automatic

Make the effort to put aside some money each month or week towards your savings and retirement. One good idea is setting up a direct debit at the end of each month when your paycheck is paid into your account. Do this once you have worked out your bills and set a budget. By automatically having this money transferred into a savings account, you won’t be tempted to spend it and before you know it, it won’t be missed. It can be any standard amount each month, even that spare $10 normally spent on coffees.

Be sure to continue contributing towards your retirement by investing a set percentage of your income towards an investment portfolio or 401 k. This is another form of saving, putting away money for when your career ends and ensuring you have a future stream of income.

With more people carrying debt, the ever arising question is how do they manage it and still achieve their goals such as owning a home outright. If you are looking to bump up your savings and get rid of your debts, budgeting tools available are your best friends. Getting the balance right between repaying debts and savings is important and depends on your own personal situation. Start out slow and build an emergency savings fund, while paying the minimum on your debts due. Do this to protect yourself in the event of income disruption or those unplanned expenses that we all know can pop up. If you still find that your income is lacking, there are many options to earn extra cash available. Small adjustments like this will surely get you on your way to being financially comfortable and debt free in no time.