Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Boomerang: Big Investments With Quick Return

early return investments
For a lot of people, a long-term investment with a slow return isn’t good enough. Instead, people want to make their money fast. And, this is understandable; the faster you make your money, the more you can make. So, it’s important that you choose the right options when it comes to investing your cash. To help you out, this post will go through some investments that are nice and easy to get into. And, ones that give you a fast return.

In modern times, it’s become increasingly common that banks reject business loans. As these sorts of loans present a high risk to the bank, they don’t want to get involved unless it is clearly beneficial to them. In most cases, they have access to the means to make money much faster. So, they’re not interested in helping businesses. This has lead a lot of businesses to seek their own funding, through peer-funded loans. Instead of a bank giving out the loan, a group of individuals all contribute to it. As the loan is paid back, you get a return with a slice of interest. These sorts of schemes are secured by the company that runs them. So, your money will be safe. And, each time a payment is made by the receiver of the loan, you get some money.

Property is an age-old option when it comes to investment. It’s easy to make a quick profit in this area if you play your cards right. One of the best ways to do this is by buying a house that needs work done to it. By completing the work for as little cost as possible, you will raise the value of the property. Doing this can take a lot of work, though. And, you have to be sure that you’re going to be able to make a large enough profit to cover both the work and your needs. Along with this, you also need to be able to sell the property quickly. Usually, you should wait until house prices are at a high. And, then, you can use a company that specialises in fast sales. These are usually local companies. So, you may have to do a little hunting. Looking for things like sell house fast will make this much easier for you.

There are loads of different types of investment out there. Some are better for giving you security or a higher return, and some are better for a fast return. So, it’s worth looking at all of the options and trying to find something that suits to best. Of course, things like bonds won’t be very good if you want a fast return. They usually have a timer on them. So, you don’t have access to the money for a set period. And, other types of saving account won’t be great, either. These are usually designed for large amounts of money and aren’t good for early investment.

Hopefully, this will inspire you to start working much harder on your investments. It takes work to make a fast profit. But, once you’ve done it a few times, you can start to invest in slower things. And, you’ll be able to relax a bit more. It’s worth giving yourself comfort in the future in exchange for time now.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Property Valuation: The DIY Route

what is the value of your property
Although some are going to be more accurate than others, any kind of valuation of a property is an estimate. Even when you get a professional appraisal, it’s going to be nothing more than an opinion, albeit an educated one. What I’m getting at here is that you shouldn’t be too intimidated by the prospect of estimating the market price of your own property. You may not have the education and experience of a home inspector, but if you know what to look for, you can still come up with a pretty close estimate of the value of your home. Here’s a guide to this DIY route.

Dig Out a Recent Property Tax Bill

Your most recent bill will list the tax-assessed value of your home. After noting this down, you should look for an assessment rate. This varies from state to state, but generally falls somewhere between 80 and 90 percent. If you weren’t aware, property taxes are a given percentage of the tax assessed value, and this value is a given percentage of the fair market value. When you work out both of these, you’ll be able to calculate the fair market value. Let’s say, for example, that your property’s tax assessed value is $160,000. If your state’s assessment rate is 80%, then your home’s fair market value will be $200,000, as $160,000 is 80% of $200,000. Of course, there are many more factors that will determine the market price when you actually come to find a home investor. However, this is one of the most fool-proof ways to get a ball-park figure.

Look at a Recent Sales in the Neighbourhood

By “recent”, I mean real estate recent. Take a note of any nearby sales that have happened in the past year, and whether these properties were similar to yours. Select a few that are the closest matches, then write down their addresses and take them to your county assesor’s office. Ask the office how much each of these homes sold for. You may feel a little out of line doing this, but this information is in the public domain, and you have every right to access it. You can always go online, but this information may not be as comprehensive, as many municipalities manage to lag behind a few months when updating their digital records. Still, the date of sale will be listed for each property, so you’ll know whether or not it’s of any value to you. After looking at a few records, you’ll be able to come up with a rough price for your home, adding or subtracting value depending on any renovations or difference in size.

Use an Online Calculator

There are now countless real estate websites out there which contain a free assessor tool. While there’s a fair amount of scatter between the prices they’ll come up with, once you use enough of them it will be fairly easy to find a rough median. These online calculators will draw on information from a wide range of sources, including public databases and the company’s own private records. With these, you’ll have to answer quite a few questions about your home, so it may be worth taking some notes beforehand. Things like the home’s square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the date of construction will typically come into play. After entering information in all its fields, the calculator will come back with an estimated fair market value. Some of these programs will also list similar properties in your area, along with their current or most recent asking price. Be aware that they operate on the assumption that all those other properties have already calculated their own fair market value using the same tool in order to set their asking prices.

Location, Location, Location!

If you’ve been pulling up blogs on real estate for a while, you’re probably sick to death of reading this old saying. Still, there’s a reason why it keeps coming up; it’s true! The location of any given property is going to have a massive impact on the fair value of your home, and it’s important to consider when you’re adjusting the estimates you get. If your home is in a quiet, residential area, it’s always going to score more points with buyers than one in a high-traffic commercial street. There are a range of things that go into this old adage of “location, location, location”, but there are only two main ones you need to concern yourself with. First of all, how close is the property to public transport links? People who have to commute regularly will go much higher for a property that’s close to their train line, and therefore more convenient for their commute, than a buyer who rarely uses public transport. The next big thing to think about is the concentration of schools in the area. Education is a major concern for any parent, and if the place is big enough for a family, the selection of local schools is going to be a big selling point.

Finally, Consider Going to an Agent

If you’re certain you want to sell your home, but you’re not prepared to fork out for a professional property appraiser, then you may just want to cut to the chase and ask a real estate agent for their input. Estate agents will have access to all kinds of private industry data that can be used for honing in on a more accurate estimate for your home. Just make sure you do your research, and find an agent that’s got a good, long-running reputation. These people get paid on commission, and some more inexperienced ones may go over a reasonable mark, meaning that your sale will be dragged out. Furthermore, only approach an agent if you’re dead set on selling. Again, because they get paid by commission, it’s highly unethical to ask for this kind of information if they don’t have some view to a paycheque!

If you were curious about the market value of your home, I hope this guide has been a big help!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Financial Considerations Of A Freelancer

financial growth
The life of a freelancer can seem quite glamorous. Being your own boss means that you are in charge of your destiny while you can also enjoy a level of versatility that normal employees often do not. However, you’ll also face a number of obstacles that most others will not. As such, it’s imperative that you take the necessary precautions to ensure financial protection.

In truth, it’s nothing to be overly worried about. Nevertheless, planning for the worst will allow you to overcome those problems with far greater ease if they ever do occur. Here are some of the top things to look out for.

Make It Black & White

It’s always nice when you can settle things with a handshake. But the harsh reality is that there’s far too much at stake to leave yourself in a vulnerable position, especially as a freelancer.

The vast majority of jobs are likely to be paid for the work rather than the hours that you put in. Of course, there are circumstances where labor will be taken into account too. Nevertheless, setting out a contractual agreement in which both parties know exactly what’s required is vital. Some clients may have their own forms. If not, downloading a template www.pandadoc.com will point you in the right direction.

Separate Taxes

As a self-employed person, filing your taxes is unquestionably the most mind-numbing task of all. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil that cannot be ignored. Getting into the habit of putting the necessary percentage of each payment into an account reserved solely for this job is key.

Regarding expenses, there are a number of smartphone Apps that can record and organize your receipts. This will certainly make life easier as you look to monitor where you stand throughout the year. Nonetheless, it would be advised to let a professional accountant complete the end of year taxes. Not only will it save you time; it’ll probably save money too.

Be Ready For The Worst

There are many benefits to working for clients on a freelance basis. However, those bosses aren’t going to view you like they do a normal employee. As such, they probably won’t care as much either. While the chances of them refusing payment without good reason are slim, it’s not the only threat to consider.

What happens if you suffer an injury and are unable to work for an extended period because of it? You can’t just take sick pay, so chasing your financial justice is key. Visit www.teagueandgloverlaw.com to learn more about filing claims and what to expect throughout the process. Once again, removing the element of surprise now will serve you extremely well in the long run.

Plan For Retirement

If you’ve only just started your life as a freelancer, you probably don’t want to think about retirement just yet. However, it’s important that you at least cast one eye in this direction as you have far less support than normal employees. One of the best ways to do that is to reduce energy bills at home. After all, this isn’t only a place to live; it’s also where you’ll probably conduct at least some of your daily work.

Meanwhile, building a nest egg through savings and smart investments will put you in a greater position. And aside from securing your future, it’ll give you a little security should work ever dry up too.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Signs You're Destined To Become A High Roller

sign in wealth
Most people see getting rich as some kind of fantasy. Wealth is a disease that afflicts the lucky few. But that’s the wrong way to look at it. The vast majority of people who are wealthy in the world didn’t get there because they won the lottery or they got a big hand-me-down from a rich uncle, they got there through hard work and dedication.

At the end of the day, the way people get rich is to add value to other people’s lives. Whatever you think about Mark Zuckerberg himself, he was able to create a social platform that people love to use every day, and that fundamentally explains why he got so rich.

The question, then, is do you have the potential to make a million, or a billion, dollars? Here are some signs that you do.

You Always Aim High

There’s a reason companies like Google use the term “Moonshot” to describe their cutting-edge projects. Taking risks and shooting for the moon are all part of what it takes to be successful. People who have vision and aren’t afraid of success tend to go a long way relative to those that don’t have vision. Wealthy people don’t just see a business idea and then limit themselves to how much money they think that they can make. If a business opportunity looks as if it is worth $1 million, they’ll tell themselves it’s worth $10 million or more.

You Invest Sensibly

Most people think that millionaires live like Katie Price, flaunting their wealth by buying expensive 4x4s and jewelry. But this isn’t how it works in practice. Most sensible entrepreneurs actually save the majority of their money so that they can reinvest it in money-making projects. As Forbes magazine points out, many rich people invest in property that they think is going to go up in value in the future, using companies like Enness International. For the super-rich, it’s all about maximizing the capital gains for their investments and making a good return.

Tech billionaires don’t usually become billionaires through direct sales of their products. Instead, they supplement their income with investments in other areas, taking advantage of things like the housing marking, biotech, robotics and other expanding sectors of the economy when they see an opportunity.

You Avoid Debt That Doesn’t Pay

There are, in general, two types of debt: good debt and bad debt. We all know what bad debt looks like. It’s the payday loans people take out to pay for things like holidays and groceries that put them further into debt. Good debt on the other hand is debt that helps to grow wealth. This is the type of debt that rich people understand. Taking out money to found a business or buy a property to earn extra cash in the future is the best way to go into debt because the debt services itself.

In other words, rich people go into debt to make themselves richer. Poor people go into debt to make rich people richer. That’s an important difference.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Renting Out Doesn't Mean Stressing Out

monetary stress
A lot of homeowners are choosing to rent out spare rooms, and not just for financial benefits. Taking the decision to rent out a room can be prompted by a number of things, including the breakdown of a relationship, the loss of a job, or the need to socialize more. A lot of people, though, take the decision because their child has left home.

Renting out the spare space can supply you with extra earnings and it gives a great chance to meet new people. However, it’s a big decision, so be sure to plan carefully and make wise and safe choices with whoever you choose to rent your room. With financial gains, it allows you to make bolder purchases for your home and even buy a new home if your finances are in really good shape – but do some research first using a mortgage calculator with pmi.

Give yourself some time to think it over. It will be less stressful for you if you wait a couple of months or so before taking on a tenant, thinking of the positives and negatives.

Be sensitive to your tenant’s needs. Everyone will have to make some adjustments, so plan ahead to minimize any awkwardness. Have sleeping arrangements ready for when your tenant arrives. Develop storage solutions and store your possessions safely. This could be a great opportunity to get rid of some clutter. It will also allow your tenant to store their belongings, making them feel at home.

Keep it legal. If you have not rented out a room before, it may be worth looking up the requirements of what you can and can’t do – and what is also expected of you as a landlord.

Play it safe in searching for a tenant. If you live within commuting distance from any colleges or universities, student housing agencies are an excellent resource for finding prospective tenants. Always use reputable agents or websites, as this provides you with all the right documentation and legality. Always run a credit check and ask for references.

Sign a rental agreement. You can ask what is required on rental agreement forms from your local landlord/tenant association or housing agency, or friends who have rented out rooms before. Require a deposit to protect yourself from damages.

Set up house rules, especially for shared areas. Discuss your expectations with your new tenant beforehand. Try to reach mutual agreement on issues like the use of kitchen and laundry areas. Develop open lines of communication. Friendly communication is essential. Sustain an open and respectful atmosphere so that you and your new tenant can work together to solve any conflicts.

Renting out a room can have positive and negative aspects, but can also provide you with considerable financial profit. Do not rush into making a decision, as it is a big decision which requires a lot of thought. Allow your tenant to live their lives and do not put authority on aspects like coming home late, set meal times and the tidiness of their room.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Upward Momentum: The Most Powerful Thing In Finance

finance power
There is one thing that everyone needs to get into their heads as soon as they start thinking about their finance. There is no time that it’s too early to start contributing to your real financial growth. Even if you’re only able to put aside a dollar at a time, you should be doing so. The sooner you start getting into the habit of putting money into your financial future, the more momentum and progress you start to see. So, here’s what you should start to grow.

Building those defenses

It’s a good idea to focus first and foremost on affording your money a little more protection than it has right at this moment. One of the most common ways to do that is by building a proper budget and establishing an emergency fund to provide for yourself in the event that you lose your income, for instance. You might also want to consider expanding your current insurance agreement to cover the ways in which you might lose that income, to begin with.

Making your money make money

It’s never too early to start ensuring that you are prepared for the future, as well. Making your money make money doesn’t necessarily mean putting everything into stocks. However, you should consider looking beyond just your 401(k) as far as your retirement goes. Instead, think about look at weighted investment portfolios that point you in the direction of safer, more fixed income methods. Even if you want safer, slower growth, it’s usually a better idea to invest rather than to save. Many people find that their savings might not even outpace inflation by the time they want to take them out.

Finding new roads to travel down

If you really want to grow your finances, then you need to start growing your knowledge on different methods of investment as well. As well as stocks and bonds, you should be looking at diversifying your portfolio as much as possible through methods like self-directed IRAs. That way, not only are you able to spot a broader range of opportunities for the better one. But you’re also creating a diversity in your portfolio. That means that if something happens to cause losses in some of your investments, you can rest assured it won’t affect the other investments, too.

Credit matters, too

You never know when you might need more cash. Whether it’s to deal with more of an emergency than your emergency fund can handle or if you want to get on an investment but don’t have the cash ready. That’s why your credit is so important, yet a third of adults will go on without having ever checked their credit. Make sure there’s nothing that could get in the way of you acquiring those loans when you need them the most.

The quicker you get these habits in your head, the smarter you’re going to get with your money. Keep procrastinating and you will go for years in the exact same financial position you’re in.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Shrug Off The Stress Of A Financial Crisis

financial stress
That moment when you discover you’ve run yourself into a financial crisis is stressful to say the least. These disasters are typically the culmination of a range of minor issues piling one on top of the other up to a breaking point. Then, it all rushes over you, resulting in a horrible deluge of fear and stress. Despite what many people show on the surface, this kind of psychological burden isn’t something that you can shrug off from one minute to the next. However, if you’re able to deal with the stress in an effective way, you’ll have a much better chance of success trying to turn the situation around. Here, I’ve listed the best strategies for overcoming the stress of a personal financial crisis.

Stop Wasting Time

A lot of people have a natural inclination to respond to extreme stress by simply procrastinating. Instead of knuckling down and taking a bite out of the problem they’re facing, they choose to invest all their time and energy into tasks and activities that have absolutely nothing to do with the issue. Sure, you’ll be able to distract yourself from the financial problems you’re facing, and get a little comfort out of this. However, procrastination always ends up making the problem worse, and leads to it catching up to you with greater intensity. I know it can be hard, but make a point to stop procrastinating. Instead, devote your time and energy to the things that prompted you to find this post in the first place. This may not be the most practical tip in the world, but it’s important to keep in mind if you want to dig yourself out of your problems quickly and effectively.

Cut Off Channels of Easy Spending

One of the worst aspects to finding yourself in a financial crisis is the overbearing sense that you’ve lost all control. Believe me, this is almost always a total illusion, and usually stems from not knowing where all your money is going. When your checking account is constantly empty, and you have no idea why, it can be extremely stressful and worrying, but there are usually ways of turning it around. The best response to this situation is figuring out and stopping the most prominent leaks, by keeping yourself away from your channels of easy spending. For most people, this means getting into a habit of taking their credit cards out of their wallet or purse and leaving them at home whenever they go out. It may also be necessary to take their card numbers off of online shopping accounts. You may not think it, but impulse buying is usually a pretty big cause for people’s financial issues. By taking these steps, you’ll more or less be stuffing a rag into a hole in the base of a bucket; you won’t stop the leak completely, but you’ll take an important step in the right direction.

Burn Through Your Resources

Another major stress factor which is tied to these financial issues is the recurring crush of typical expenses and bills. After all, you and your household need food, clothing, water and shelter at the very least. These basic necessities may seem like a given, but they’re still expenses that need to be accounted for. The important thing to remember is that you already have a lot of these resources. When you find yourself in the midst of a major financial crisis, it’s the right time to start burning through the resources you have on hand. To start with, open up the pantry, cupboards, freezer, and stretch whatever food you have over as many meals as possible. I know, there’s probably a reason why all those tins and frozen meals ended up sitting there for so long! However, a quick Google search and an open mind will bring up all kinds of inventive recipes you can make with the food you already have. Consider repurposing clothes you haven’t worn in a long time, or at least making the shopping sprees slightly less frequent! It’s also worth canceling your subscriptions to on-demand TV services, and getting stuck into that book that you’ve been meaning to read for years. Try not to think of these changes as sacrifices, and more a shift towards a different, more cost-effective lifestyle. You already have a huge amount of value in your home – don’t just let it sit there!

Make a Plan

There’s an old saying that comes up a lot in financial planning: failing to plan is planning to fail. This is applicable for all kinds of situations in life, and is very relevant when it comes to digging yourself out of financial difficulties. Having stopped or restricted the major leaks in your capital, the next step is tackling whatever it is at the base of your crisis. For a lot of people, this is going to be crushing debt. For others, it could be a sudden health problem or oncoming retirement taking them by surprise. Whatever it is that’s been the cause of your difficulties, you need to devise a solid plan for dealing with it. The best way of doing this is literally right in front of you. The internet is a trove of knowledge that’s accessible to pretty much everyone, provided they know what to look for. To be safe, look for true experts; people who have made a living in a field that’s somehow connected to the root of your troubles. If you’re trying to pay down debt, go to a debt relief agency site and look through their blog. If you know you’re going to face some financial strain when you approach retirement, visit a blog run by a financial advisor who specializes in retirement. If you’ve been injured through the negligence, read RobinsCloud.com for details on your legal position. There’s useful information out there dealing with pretty much every kind of personal financial crisis, and seeking it out can be tremendously helpful for devising a plan of action. Simply having this plan, a road map for getting yourself out of your crisis, can be a huge stress reliever.

Talk it Out

Naturally, it can be pretty embarrassing to talk about your personal financial issues with anyone, even your close friends or relatives. However, working through your knowledge of the crisis and your thoughts on solving it with another person can have major benefits. When you can confide in another person about the problem you’re facing, and the changes you’ve made to try and remedy it, it can lead to seeing the whole situation in a totally new light, and outline strategies which you never would have thought about otherwise. This, too, can be a huge stress reliever. Just make sure the advice you get is actually going to take you places. Talk to a person that you trust deeply, and that you know has a good track record of handling their money. You may feel embarrassed and ashamed to tell someone the cold hard facts of your situation, but talking it out with the right person will always be a good thing.

Take Action

No matter how airtight your plan might be, it’s pretty much pointless to have unless you’re going to take action. Without making some tangible effort, the plan is going to be nothing but an idea with no kind of substance behind it. Furthermore, taking action with real, positive steps will do a lot to convince yourself that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, motivate yourself, and take a massive amount of stress off your shoulders. To make sure your plan gains momentum, your first step should be fairly large and significant. If you’re facing debt, for example, one great way to take action would be selling a lot of your stuff through Gumtree or on local classifieds. If retirement suddenly seems closer than you think, then simply signing up to a retirement plan can be a good first step. Whatever the issue and whatever your plans for dealing with it, you’re going to need to take that first step sometime.

Take Care of Yourself

This is a pretty good strategy for dealing with absolutely any kind of stress, not just the emotional strain that’s brought on by major financial issues. Your physical health is going to have a huge impact on your emotional well being, no matter what else seems to be at the root of your troubles. Make fresh fruits and vegetables a bigger part of your diet, and try to cut down on junk food and convenient, microwavable meals. This will not only relieve some stress, but will also save you a little money in the long run. Make sure you’re getting an adequate level of exercise, too. The official guidelines may seem a little much, but try to get close anyway! Exercise has been proven to make a huge, positive difference to a range of psychological problems. Finally, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. This will also have a profound impact on your mood, and will make it easier to work through logical problems.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Don't Let Your Income Get Hurt By A Personal Injury

personal injury costs
More and more people are going down the path of self-employment, working as freelancers, doing business from, or going out on their own and starting up their own company. It is becoming a huge attractive prospect for so many of us, which is why the numbers keep growing and growing. However, if you have gone down that path, or are thinking about it, it is crucial you think about your personal insurance options to protect any sudden loss of income. Why? Because you no longer have anyone else to rely on if something was to happen to you, whether that be sickness cover or health insurance or whatever. That’s where we come in. We’re here to help guide you, and explain what insurance you may need.

So let’s discuss personal insurance, in which there are a fair few options you need to know about.

Life Insurance

This is a pretty extreme place to start, but it is worth taking out straight away, you know, just in case. In short, you will pay a small fee each month for life insurance and should anything happen the insurance will pay out a lump sum (or regular payments) to your dependents and/or those in your will. It may well be that you had life insurance as part of your employment package at your old job. However, that ends effective immediately when you leave that employment. This is why you should get private life insurance straight away, especially if you have a family and children as it will serve as a substantial financial parachute should you die.

Income Protection

This is a very useful form of insurance that all self-employed earners should research and consider. It’s main benefit is its long-term status, allowing you to be covered for a set number of years should injury or illness prevent you from being able to work. This insurance is designed to cover and loss of of income should it be required, covering most or all of your after-tax income. Weighing up the risk of small monthly payments against not being able to work for months or years should be a no-brainer. It is worth speaking to a trusted personal injury attorney, as they will be able to tell you what would happen in the case of you falling ill or get injured at work. And remember, peace of mind of invaluable.

Critical Illness

Unlike income protection, this cover is specially geared toward a payout should you be diagnosed with a serious illness named in your policy. This will be an after-tax payout and typically covers illnesses like heart attacks, strokes and specified cancers. What’s more, the payments work in a different fashion too, as they will help ease the financial pressure applied to you since your diagnosis. These can include mortgage payments, debt payments and even home renovations should your illness require such amendments to be made, for example wheelchair access. Once again, it is worth weighing up the pros and cons, but we recommend you speak to a professional who will be able to guide you properly. But as a starting point, consider your lifestyle and any illness that may run in the family.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Make Business Saving By Spending Money (Yes, Really)

calculate your savings
Whether it’s year one or year 20, your business is always looking to save money. Lower overheads ultimately lead to bigger profits margins, which also allow you to be more competitive in the field. In turn, that means the customer gets a better deal too, and everyone’s happy.

It makes sense to tighten the purse strings where possible, especially when it doesn’t impact your products. However, keeping an eye on finances shouldn’t stop you from growing as a company either. Spending money in business isn’t a sin, the key is to pinpoint the right investments.

Here are three opportunities that you should not overlook.

Take Out Longer Contracts

At a glance, the thought of taking on a longer obligation may feel scary. This is particularly true for new startups, as there are no guarantees that you will achieve your goals.

However, taking out extended deals on energy rates and business internet deals will result in lower monthly costs. This will instantly free up more cash in the short-term, which can only aid your cause as you work towards making the company profitable. Inexperienced business owners will worry about the threat of closing down. But if the business stops operating, those contracts will become void anyway.

Of course, there are some purchases where this isn’t the case. But when it comes to business services, long-term commitments are usually the answer.

Hire Financial Help

They say the only things certain in this life are death and taxes. The latter forms the worst part of running a business, as you feel like you are handing over a percentage of your profits for no reason whatsoever. Worse still, the process can be a pain too.

Nonetheless, a lot of business owners would rather fill them out than incur another expense by paying someone else. The truth of the matter, however, is that you’ll be better off using an expert. Tax preparation companies know a lot more about the subject than you. As such, they’ll usually save you a lot more money by claiming back for everything you’re entitled to.

When you also take into account the money you could be earning by working on your actual job, it becomes a no-brainer. Above all else, a professional service will give you that added peace of mind.

Advertise More

The vast majority of business will hit a few stumbling blocks en route to the top. The important thing is that you keep moving forward. Frankly, the only way to do this is to keep up perceptions. If you aren’t gaining the desired level of profit, it’s probably down to a lack of customers. It’s your job to go and get them.

Many entrepreneurs would see struggling times as a warning to hold back. Instead, you should increase your marketing endeavors, but in a more effective manner. Social media marketing offers a free link to your existing customers. Meanwhile, PPC advertising can be used to target specific audiences. Moreover, you’ll only pay once someone has actively visited your site, meaning there’s very little waste. In fact, you could even counteract the cost of those campaigns by running PPC campaigns from other companies on your site.

Nothing beats the power of recommendation, though. Setting up a referral scheme may require a little investment, and you’ll need to reward referrers too. In the long-term, however, it’s one of the most cost-effective methods available. Best of all, with no printing costs involved, you’ll only lose money when you gain it. If that’s not attractive, what is?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Is Your Credit Score Six Feet Under? It Might Be This ...

calculate your score
Having a great credit score makes life a lot easier, especially when it comes to getting access to credit. But what happens if your credit score is six feet under? Well, that can make life a lot more difficult, especially if you want to buy a house or a car.

The problem with credit scores is that it isn’t immediately obvious what affects them. Of course, you want to avoid foreclosure and make sure that you pay off your credit cards on time. But it turns out that credit scores can also be affected by subtle means, many of which you wouldn’t normally consider.

Here are some of the reasons why your credit score might be dead and buried.

You Keep Closing Old Credit Cards

You might think to yourself, “so what, if I want to close a credit card?” But it turns out that closing cards you don’t need can affect your overall credit score.

The main reason for this is that it affects the “average age of your credit accounts.” Having an old credit card means that you have had access to credit for longer and, therefore, according to the rating agencies, are more trustworthy with credit. Canceling your old accounts reduces the average age of your accounts, suggesting to new lenders that you might not be as creditworthy as you first appear.

Many Card Inquiries At Once

Another problem that a lot of people have is making many inquiries all at once. It might seem like a good idea to sign up for a bunch of different card schemes to take advantage of loyalty points, but it can backfire.

The reason is that taking out multiple cards is usually a signal that you’ve gotten yourself into money trouble. If it looks like you're desperate for money, agencies will lower your credit score and force the interest rates that you pay up. These hikes could ultimately cancel out any benefit you derive from collecting points and cashback on different cards.

Your Utilization Ratio Is Up

Banks define the utilization ratio as the balance outstanding, divided by the credit limit. The closer the loan outstanding is to the credit limit, the higher the ratio will be.

Higher ratios are a problem because they indicate that you’re getting closer and closer to maxing out your card. Rather than seeing this as just your desire to have money now rather than later, credit rating agencies interpret it as a sign of distress.

A good rule of thumb is to make sure that your utilization ratio stays below 25 percent.

Just be warned that a utilization ratio of 0 percent isn’t a good idea either. A zero rating means that you’re not using credit at all and ratings agencies don’t have anything to judge you on.

Sometimes your utilization ratio can get too high, especially if you only pay off your credit card once per month. Experts suggest, therefore, that people who spend a lot of money on their cards organize to pay off some of their balance multiple times per month to keep their utilization ratio in check.

Friday, January 20, 2017

In Sickness And In Wealth: Financial Planning After Your Wedding Day

financial protection
The day you get married or enter a civil partnership is one of the best days of your life. But you know that it has been a long road to your special day, and I’m not just talking about the in-laws! The cost of the day itself is enough to bankrupt most people, and after the blissful day and relaxing honeymoon comes real life again. You are together, either in name or on paper, and so the vows to share the burden is all too real now, and this includes debt. There are things that, as a partnership, that you need to discuss regarding your finances.

Firstly, talk about them. Preferably you should do this before you get married, but if you haven’t, then it might be beneficial to lay out some ground rules. For example, purchases over a certain amount could be discussed. You may have a dynamic where one of you is good with money and the other one not so much. And arguments over money are all too common. Knowing how much debt you have combined is a good starting point, so you can then factor in how to handle money on both sides of the partnership.

Secondly, establish goals. Discussing your goals in terms of things like, when you want to retire, by which point you’d like to get out of debt, and similar long-term ideas. If you are planning on having children, are you going to be a one-income family so one person can stay at home and look after the kids? If so, you need to stick to a budget, and this can’t be done unless you stick to certain spending habits and link them up to your goals.

Thirdly, discuss your bank accounts. There are good and bad points to opening a joint bank account, namely that trust is improved in your marriage, and it can simplify your finances as you can see all of your outgoings in one place. But there are also pluses to keeping your own individual accounts, especially if you need to take out individual life insurance policies, or have spending habits individual to you. If you choose to have a joint life-insurance policy, there are many comprehensive policies that cover married couples, and also those in civil partnerships, which you can get information on at www.insurancehero.org.uk/types/lgbt-life-insurance-for-gay-people.html. But if you opt to have individual bank accounts, it may make things easier if divorce is on the cards, which, statistically, there is a chance of.

Fourthly, build an emergency fund. An important aspect of any marriage is creating a fund, in case problems relating to health should arise, or someone loses their job, or there is a part of the house that is in dire need of repair. You should aim to save around 6 months worth of your household expenses. That way, if something does crop up, you have a very big buffer to help you out of a tight spot for quite a long period of time.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Using Technology to Fulfill Your Business's 2017 Financial Resolutions

technology in finance
Are you a business owner? Do you want to see nothing more than your business being the best it can possibly be, making you a healthy profit as it does so?

If so, your financial resolutions for 2017 were probably all made with one goal: maximising your business’s financial potential. To do so, whether you like it or not, the only way in which do that in the modern world of today is to embrace the ever-changing technological advances that we as humans make. Here are five services that you should be using.

Merchant Services

A type of bank account that allows businesses to accept payments in multiple ways (typically debit or credit cards). With the pace of change in the UK payment market, for example, showing that over the past five years the debit card has proved itself as not only being the generally preferred method of payment in regards to frequency, but also the one that holds the most value in terms of total amount, it is paramount that if you haven’t done already, you utilise such a service. Not only will it save you from making those dreaded trips to the bank for bags of change, but it may save and even bring you custom. For example, a prospective customer may automatically think that you have technology driven payment facilities, such as a card reader, and subsequently not think to bring any notes or spare shrapnel with them. If they were to do so and then turn up at your till to find that they in fact couldn’t pay for their chosen products in one foul swoop of their debit card they may become annoyed, leave and never return to your business: losing you both a potential customer in the future and also their custom now.

Virtual Phone Systems

A service that can ensure coherent communication amongst your employees, without the phone bill. Sounds good, doesn’t it? A virtual phone system is an affordable alternative to the use of company phones between employees when they need to get in contact with one another in regards to their work. They use the latest technologies to provide businesses with the most flexible communication services know to, well, businesses.

Mobile Commerce

Shopping from smartphones and tablets, otherwise known as mobile commerce, will hit $114 billion in 2017. And not only are people using their phones to shop, they are using them to search for prospective things to shop for. This means your business’s website must be responsive to mobile devices, simply meaning they must work clearly and coherently when accessed on them. A prospective customers will become inpatient on a site that they can’t see, which will mean they will leave and possibly never return; thus meaning you’ve not only lost current custom, but also future custom.

So, there you have it. But don't limit yourself to just using these three services: there’s a whole host out there just waiting to be able to make you that profit in 2017 that at the moment you’re dreaming of!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sometimes, The Reward Is High, And The Stakes Are Low

card or money
The world of investment has always been a tricky one. People want to make as much money as possible; but, they don’t want to risk what they’ve already got. Of course, this makes sense. And, it’s a rule that should always be followed. But, what if you could lower the risk of your investments while also raising the rewards that you get from it? Well, you can. And, to help you out, this post will be going through one of the best ways to go about it.

First, it’s worth thinking about risk when it comes to making investments. Whenever you invest in something, you’re taking some sort of risk. Even when it comes to relatively safe options, like a savings account, you still risk losing some or all of your money. Usually, the more risk you have to take, the higher the reward from an investment will be. For example, investing in a new company can be very risky. But, if the company does well, the investment could make you very wealthy. Whereas leaving your money in a bank account for the bank to trade with will only be lost if the bank goes under and isn’t bailed out. But, this is very rare, so the amount that you get back for your money is very low.

But, there is an exception to this trend. And, this can be found in debt funding. This sort of investment involves lending money to someone else, in the form of a loan. This can be done in loads of different ways. But, the best is providing mortgages to businesses to enable them to buy property. In some cases, the return rate on these will be as high as 15% a year. And, there’s nearly no risk. If the loan falls through, the company that arranged the loan will be able to get the money back by selling the property. One of the best parts about these schemes is that you never have to go in alone. Instead, you will be able to invest however much or little as you want. And, other people will make up the rest. This makes everything much more secure and enables you to start at any level.

These schemes are much better than simply leaving money in a savings account or bond. These sorts of investments will usually only yield 4% return, and that’s if you’re lucky. Considering the risk level for both methods is very similar, this is an easy decision to make. Of course, it’s worth doing some reading, though. Your bank may offer other options that appeal to you more. So, you should talk to them first, and see if they have anything that can help you.

Hopefully, this will help you to make a smart decision with your money. When investing, it’s good to leave no stone unturned. Otherwise, you could miss out on the best option, and you may not be able to go back and change your mind. Happy investing, and good luck!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

5 Financial Resolutions for 2017

its resolution time
Is it time to get your finances in order? Start the New Year on a positive note with these five financial resolutions from Portico London estate agents.

1. Consider increasing your mortgage payments

With interest rates at record lows, now is the perfect time to reduce the amount you owe on your mortgage. If you can afford to make over payments - even if it’s an extra £50 a month - you’ll pay off your mortgage quicker and reduce your overall interest payments. This could potentially save you thousands in the long-run.

2. Beat the buy-to-let tax changes

This year, buy-to-let landlords will no longer be able to deduct the cost of their mortgage interest from their rental income when they calculate a profit on which to pay tax.

While these tax changes will make life a little harder for landlords, it’s important to note that landlords who are basic rate tax payers or those without a mortgage will not be affected.

Furthermore, there are ways in which landlords can cut their interest costs - such as re-mortgaging. Buy-to-let mortgage interest rates have dropped dramatically in the last few years, so you’re likely to be able to get a much better deal in today’s market.

As London property prices have increased at such a rate in recent years, another money-saver would be to get your rental property re-valued. This will ensure your lender recalculates your LTV, and a lower LTV translates into a better interest rate and a wider choice of lenders.

3. Invest smartly

If you’re considering investing your property in property this year, make sure you buy in a hotspot area that is undergoing redevelopment or infrastructure investment. That way, even in a weak market it’s likely you will profit from strong rental yields and capital appreciation. We predict that areas in the outer Zones are likely to experience the best property price growth in 2017.

4. Create a new income stream

If you have a vacant property or room within a property, Airbnb can be a great way of generating a passive income. Short-term rentals are also a good idea if you’re a landlord with a gap between tenancies, or if you’re away a lot and your home is often empty.

Hosting on Airbnb does take time and effort, so we recommend using an Airbnb management service that provides a range of host services such as cleaning, laundry, guest communication and allowing for round the clock check-ins. That way you can just sit back and watch the money roll in!

5. Save!

Are you currently saving for a deposit, a car or a holiday? If the answer is yes, it’s a smart idea to make a saving plan to ensure you reach your goal.

Firstly, take a look at your monthly budget and then subtract your necessary expenses like rent or mortgage repayments, food, travel and household bills. This will enable you to assess how much you can save each month - and where you can make cutbacks.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Things to keep in mind while changing your Car Insurance

your car insurance
It’s that time of the year when you get a message from your insurance company stating that your car insurance renewal is due. Your first instinct is to just get it renewed right away without much thought. Or perhaps, you have just bought your dream car and have been offered an insurance policy by the car seller. Again, you might just go with what is offered since taking your new ride on a long drive is on top of the agenda rather than insurance details. In either case, it makes sense to evaluate the car insurance deal you are being offered.

Changing your existing Car Insurance during expiration

The first step in doing so should begin with an evaluation of the current policy. You should understand the premium amount, the benefits on offer, the sum of insurance coverage, no claim bonus (NCB) or no claims discount and so on. Then, you should check what other insurance companies are offering in those areas that are vital for you. If the reduced premium being offered is same as the current one post deduction of NCB, there is no point in making a switch. If maximum coverage is your top priority, make sure to check the insurance policy details that offer benefits in this regard.

Industry experts suggest that it is wise to change your insurance provider every two to three years. You can easily buy a Car Insurance online in a few seconds that offers a great range of features.

Switching Car Insurance for your new car

Car manufactures have collaboration with car insurance companies. They have a tendency to promote their associated car insurance provider since they are entitled to benefits from them. This does not necessarily translate to a best deal for you. Thus, it makes sense to evaluate other options online in order to get the maximum out of your car insurance.

Changing your existing Car Insurance early

In addition to these, there is another scenario wherein you can change your car insurance. You can also change your car insurance policy a bit earlier before expiration. Say, two or three months. This is a road often less travelled. But if you are getting a great quote and benefits from your new car insurance provider that saves your premium, it makes sense to mull over it. Another reason to make a switch at this juncture would a limited time discount being offered by a car insurance provider.

When you finally decide to make that big switch, there are a couple of things to take care of in terms of the new insurance provider. It’s advisable to conduct a background check on your new company. You can check things such as the credibility of the insurance provider and its market reach. You can also browse the news to check if the car insurance provider was in the news for reasons, both good and bad. Last, but the most important aspect is to examine the company’s reputation in terms of claim settlements.

In the end, it all boils down to taking an informed decision while making the switch after analysing the aforementioned pointers.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Time To Start Planning For The Future: Unmissable Tips You Need To Get Everything Sorted Now

pension savings
It’s so easy to live in the moment, especially when it comes to money. But all of us can’t escape the fact that we are getting older. And if you don’t sort things out now, you could end up with an unclear future. But you don’t want to have to leave your kids to take care of you as you never made any arrangements. Therefore, here are some unmissable tips you need when planning for the future, so you can get everything sorted now.

Start saving for your pension

It might feel like it's forever until you finally retire from your job. After all, you might only be in your 20’s or 30’s. But the time will come that you need to finish work. And if you haven’t got a significant sum of money, it can make for a miserable retirement. In fact, you will have to rely on money from the government. And you might even have to ask your kids to help you out so that you can get by when it comes to money. Therefore, to ensure this doesn’t happen, you need to start saving for your pension now. Put something away into a savings account every month that you can put towards your pension. And you can even join a pension scheme which will help you to save during your working life. Then you will receive the money once you have entered retirement. Your employer might even have some pension options so that you can ensure you have funds once you finish work!

Get life insurance sorted

It’s hard to think of our kids having to cope in a world where we don’t exist anymore. But if you do pass unexpectedly, you want them to have the money to be able to live a fulling life. Therefore, to ensure you plan for the future, you need to consider setting up life insurance sooner rather than later. That way, you can ensure your family will be financially secure in the event of your untimely death. And even if you have health problems that are leaving you worried about the future now, it is possible to get high risk life insurance. That way, even with health issues, your children will be left with some funds after your passing. You can also read more about life insurance on my previous blog.

Plan your will

A lot of people don’t think about getting a will during their 20’s and 30’s. But it’s something that you should do when planning for the future. After all, you want your well-earned money to end up in the right home once you pass on. And when it comes to your beautiful property, you also need to ensure it gets given to the right family member. Also, once you have a child, a will is essential to ensure their financial stability for the future. Therefore, look into getting one created to ensure you get your final wishes.

And you should also be considering making some care arrangements for the future. After all, you don’t want to end up being a burden on your kids once your health takes a turn for the worse. Therefore, it’s worth putting money aside which can help to pay towards a carer or even nursing home funds to ensure you get the help you require.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

What To Do When Your Car Insurance Company Won’t Pay Up

auto accident coverage
Car repairs are expensive. Many of us rely on our insurance companies to cover the costs – but what happens if they won’t pay up? It can be extremely frustrating having paid so much money into car insurance, only to be told your claim isn’t covered by their scheme. If this has happened to you, here are some of the actions you should consider taking.

Make a legal claim

There are many reasons as to why a car insurance company may not pay up. It could be something as annoying as a last minute change to their policy that may have been emailed or sent to you in a letter a couple months ago, but you happened to skim over it at the time. You should always do research first to make sure that the insurance company is indeed in their right. If after researching, you still genuinely believe they have made a mistake, it made be time to call in legal help.

A lawyer may be able to help you battle an insurance company in court and get the money you deserve. Alternatively, there may be other ways in which you may be legally entitled to money – for example if you were injured in a car crash. There are many law firms dedicated to injury claims (such as this one www.BrownAndCrouppen.com).

Use a credit hire company

A credit hire company can be a good alternative you use if your insurance company won’t pay after a crash. Credit hire companies can pay for the cost of repairs, as well as car hire in the meantime. They claim back these costs from the other party’s insurance company. By using this service, your insurance company won’t raise your premiums afterwards. However, you should not that a credit hire company may not always be able to claim back money off the other party’s insurance company, which may result in a court battle (if you lose you will have to pay the credit hire company for the repairs and car hire).

Consider scrapping

If a legal claim or credit hire company isn’t possible, you will have to pay for the repairs out of your own pocket. Severe damage can be costly – if your car is not worth much, weigh up whether you are better off paying for the repairs or scrapping your car and getting a new one. Some companies will pay you a small amount to scrap. If you are on a tight budget, it may be your best option.

Take action to lower your insurance premiums

Your first reaction may be to switch insurance companies, which is understandable. However, before you take out another policy, you may want to look into ways of lowering your insurance premiums. As soon as you make a claim, insurance companies will raise your rates, regardless of whether the accident or theft was your fault or not. There are various methods of lowering insurance rates from advanced driver courses to installing anti-theft devices. Consider these first and then shop around until you find the best deal for you (if you can handle it, a black box is a great way of cutting costs!).

Friday, January 13, 2017

Is It Time To Speak To A Professional? Here’s How To Tell

expert finance opinion
At any point in your life, you might find that you need help from people that know a little more about the subject at hand than you do. This is quite often the case when it comes to finance, along with many other areas of your life. Although you might be doing okay as you are right now, you can often hit a roadblock. And when that happens, you’re best off heading in the direction of a professional that can help. If you’re starting to experience some difficulties in finance or in life, take a look at the professionals available and why you might need them.

An Estate Agent

If you’re thinking about moving, buying your first house or selling one, you may have already dealt with an estate agent in the past. But, if you’ve been brave enough to let out a property privately, you may have done most of the work yourself. If you ever feel like you’re struggling to manage your lettings, or if you need to sell a property and have no idea where to start, you’re going to want to find an estate agent that works on your wavelength.

An Accountant

When you work for a company, you don’t have a lot of need for an accountant. But, if you feel like you’re having issues with your pay, you might need to change that. It’s the same when you own your own business, but you also may need them to help you out with your taxes. Doing your own taxes can be fine, but you might get to a point where you’re a bit lost and you need someone to step in. That’s where an accountant can come in.

A Financial Advisor

Maybe you’re thinking about getting a loan, or you need financing for a project? Or, it might be that you have money to invest and you don’t know where to start. If finances aren’t your strong suit, you might only be able to get so far before you need some advice. That is where a financial advisor or a broker will come in. They know more about the market and the deals that are great, meaning they can save you time and money in the long run.

A Solicitor

Right now, you might be wondering what you could even need a solicitor for. Aside from moving house (yes, that’s another professional to add to that list), you could need them for business, for accidents and to help you when things go wrong. Professional negligence solicitors, lawyers that specialise in business and medical law experts could save you from being sold short or suffering in silence. Remember that it’s okay to speak out when you need advice from someone that can help.

An Assistant

Whether it’s to help you wish finances, business, or even in your personal life, you might find that it’s time to call in a professional assistant to help you out. Even when you think you’re on top of it all, if you’re ever too stressed, behind or too short of time to get things done yourself, an assistant could save your skin.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Big Money! Getting Your Hands On A Specialist Mortgage

need mortgage loans
Buying a new home is an exciting time for anyone. But, it gets even more thrilling when you're dropping a lot of money on it. House prices are always changing; but, people’s need for luxury homes isn’t. So, it’s easy to find loads of houses that suit bigger budget buyers. But, how can you borrow the amount of money you need to cover the entire cost of a house like this? Most normal mortgages won’t allow such a big spend. So, you need to look towards getting a specialist mortgage.

Having a specialist in large mortgages dealing with your loan has many benefits. For one, you’ll struggle to find a mortgage for a house which costs a very significant amount. Or, they may not allow the sort of payment scheme that you want to use. These companies are built to deal with the sort of money that you need to borrow. This makes your loan more secure. Along with all of this, you’ll also get to talk to an advisor who can help you. Because of the nature of your purchase, they will be very happy to help you through every step of the decision. These loans don’t usually cost much more than a regular mortgage, regarding fees and interest rates. Finding specialist loans like this shouldn’t be too hard.

Of course, to get a mortgage like this, you need to have a lot of money already. In most cases, the lender will require that you put down a deposit somewhere between 5 and 20%. And, when talking about a house that costs a million, this is a very large amount of money. A lot of people generate these funds from selling their old home. Otherwise, it’s just a case of saving up, if you don’t have the money or a home to sell. Once you’ve got the money, though, you’ll have the pick of the litter when it comes to choosing your new home. The options available will be huge, once you’ve saved the money. You can invest in commercial property with these loans, or you can start building your home. The options are almost endless.

Most banks will give you details for companies like this. But, to give you some reference, you can look at companies like Enness Private Clients. Most of these companies can give you a consultation to find out what you want to buy, to help you find it. A lot of houses this expensive aren’t listed publicly. So, you need to have someone on the inside. When choosing something like this, it’s important that you find the best option for you. There’s no point in taking out a mortgage if you won’t be able to pay it back. So, you need to make sure that the loan you're getting into is realistic.

Hopefully, this will help you when it comes to looking for a larger mortgage. These types of loan are very complex and difficult to understand. So, it’s worth getting all of the advice that you can, before signing on the dotted line. Once you’re confident, though, the sky's the limit!