Why Every 30-Something Should Invest in Real Estate

No matter what profession you’ve chosen to go into, investing is a great way to pad income and start fast-tracking your future security. But investment can seem overwhelming, not to mention risky. Real estate is one of the best investment strategies you can take. Let us tell you why.

It’s a solid investment

Putting money into real estate has long been considered one of the smartest long-term investments out there. Property value tends to almost always increase over time, regardless of the market, because people will always need somewhere to live. This is why real estate is also considered one of the safest investments. Unlike companies or brands that may fall out of favor, housing is a necessity.

You don’t need to be a pro

While understanding the stock market may require years of study, investing in real estate doesn’t require fancy education or special certifications. Of course, this type of knowledge doesn’t hurt, but it’s not a necessity. To start you simply have to go online to begin researching properties being represented by a registered realtor or real estate firm. This isn’t to say there isn’t any work required — you’ll want to do as much investigating online as well as take the opportunity to visit open houses, auctions and talk to as many well established industry people as possible before making a purchase.

Technology is an ally

What’s awesome about investing in real estate today is that you have the power of technology at your fingertips and it has made managing property investment much, much easier. Social media platforms like Facebook now serve as additional marketing channels, while there are hundreds of real estate listing websites to help you get your properties seen. So, if you’re planning on buying and selling multiple properties, or even considering flipping houses, there’s many more options for advertising.

It’s flexible

What’s great about investing in property is that you can customize your investment strategy so that it’s tailored to meet your financial goals. Whether it’s long-term capital, which focuses on growth that develops over the long haul; positive cash flow approach, where you can see returns by taking on renters, or adding value by changing or renovating a property, there are many options for you to choose from. Additionally, there are various investment entry points that work with a range of budgets. The most important thing realtors look for is that your income is sufficient enough to make your payments; however, the goal is that if you buy wisely and do research on the area in which you’re buying, you’ll eventually see growth.

You can be hands-on or hands-off

Investing in property doesn’t mean you actually have to manage the property. You can choose to strategically buy and sell to see returns, or you may decide to oversee your property as a landlord and manage tenants. There’s lots of advice and tips for new landlords out there if decide to go that route; however, keep in mind, even if you decide to invest in properties to rent, you don’t have to play landlord if you don’t want to. There are plenty of property management companies that will take on the day-to-day operations so you don’t have to.

It’s tax deductible

Depending on the state you live in, certain tax codes allow for a range of deductions, covering everything from the cost of upkeep, maintenance, interest on your mortgage or any renovations you may have completed.

You’ll thank yourself later

While you may be a bit hesitant about putting the money out now, investing in real estate is something you’re really going to thank yourself for later. However, like most investments it’s going to take a bit of time, and it’s going to take some work on your part. Do your research and make sure you buy wisely. Don’t be afraid to seek out counsel and ask questions.

Why Owning Gold Matters for Family Finances

Gold is not a word that is ever seriously uttered in modern homes, much less when it’s time to calculate the household budget. Any good household budget should involve a significant amount of saving for a rainy day, low risk investments, and retirement savings. Families tend to own assets as property or cash. Even if you have invested in assets like stocks, these are considered cash assets because the value is based on the dollar. Gold is a different type of asset with a value that is related to the dollar, but is not dependent on it. That’s why it’s recommended for many families to buy gold in the form of coins or bars. Read ahead to find out why owning gold is important for average family finances:

Gold is the Best Hedge against Recessions

Gold is valued in a unique manner so that when the price of the dollar goes down, the price of gold goes up. If you check gold spot prices for any given day over a period of time, you will see a lot of fluctuation. No one invests in assets that fluctuate like gold does. However, buying gold is not an investment, it’s a hedge. Because gold prices go up when the dollar is down, the value of gold is truly felt during economic slumps.

For example, in 2008 following the recession, gold prices soared just as the dollar plummeted. Those who had assets in both stocks and bonds emerged from the crisis largely with their wealth intact. So, if you are investing in any type of cash asset for emergencies or retirement, buy gold to protect your cash assets against another recession. You can buy gold in small amounts from well-reviewed companies like LearCapital.com.

Gold has Intrinsic Value

Cash assets like stocks and bonds can always be worth nothing. If you owned Lehmann Brothers stocks in 2007, you probably made good money. But by 2009, these once lucrative stocks were worth exactly zero dollars. The same applies to assets like bonds, too. If you bought Argentinean, Greek or Venezuelan government bonds five years ago, you will find that the value of these stocks now are way below the original worth.  Gold, on the other hand, is never valued at zero. Gold always has a price, as a hedge against currency, as the main component of gold jewelry, and also for industrial use in things like electronic circuitry. That makes gold a rather lucrative asset with many advantages to own.

You Can Trade with Gold

If you buy gold coins, you can use these to trade with local credit unions, shop owners, and people who sell things like ammo. As mentioned before, gold is always valuable. Buy national mints, not collectible coins, to trade with if needed.

Gold is a Great Diversification Asset

Scared that you have put too many eggs in one basket? Not to worry; you can diversify your financial interests with gold. As mentioned above, it will act as a hedge and protect your cash assets in investment portfolios or retirement accounts.

You can store gold in a bank or put one in a self-directed IRA. For the security of your family’s long term finances, seriously consider buying a precious metal like gold.

A Guide to Starting Your Own Small Business

More and more people have looked into starting their own business over recent years. Many have taken the plunge and enjoyed high levels of success with their venture. This has inspired others to try and improve their own futures in the same way, and there is plenty of help available for those that are keen to start their own business.

If you are fed up of the 9-5 routine and you want to be your own boss, starting your own business could be the ideal solution. Of course, you first need to determine what sort of business you want to develop and how you can make your mark.

Tips to help you on your way

Those that are keen to start their own business will have a lot to think about before they can get things moving. Some of the areas you need to consider include:

  • The type of business you want to start: In order to determine this, you need to look for gaps in the market. There is little point starting a business in a very competitive area unless you have a high level of expertise and resources to tap into. If you are starting from scratch, try to be unique so that you have an added advantage from the word go.
  • Hiring staff: Depending on the type and size of business you want to start, you may need to hire employees. You also need to ensure that the people you choose are fit for the job. For instance, if the job will involve using heavy machinery you need to ensure you do not take on people that are likely to abuse drugs and pose a danger. This means that drug testing may be necessary – you can use a hair drug test kit for your workers if you have one.
  • Funding: Another important area you need to consider is how you will find your business. You could approach the bank for a business loan or look at borrowing against the equity in your home. You may want to get private investment or seek help from family members. You may even have savings that you can invest. You will need to consider all the options in order to reach a decision.
  • Your location: You need to decide where your business will be located. Do you need to rent or buy premises to run your business? Could you run it from home to cut costs and inconvenience? This is something that you need to work out as early as possible, as it will affect everything from the amount of money you need through to the number of people you can take on.
  • Business name: While there are more important things to sort out first, you will need to decide upon a name for your business. You can pool ideas with others to help you along or even run a competition amongst friends and family members to see what they come up with. Make it something catchy that rolls off the tongue, as this is more likely to promote successful branding.

All of these are aspects that you need to consider if you are looking to set up your own business.

Are You Financially Prepared for the Future?

Regardless if you are making plans for retirement or simply trying to prepare for a better future, financial planning can keep you headed in the right direction. Setting budgets, saving on a regular basis, and reevaluating how you spend your money are each great ways to get started.

What is it you want to do

Any time you are making plans for the future when it comes to money, the first thing you want to establish are your goals. What is it you want to accomplish? Do you want the number to be larger that represents your savings account?

Is retirement a part of the near future? Would you like to move across the country and enjoy the golden years on the coast? Maybe buying a smaller home or simply paying off the one you are currently living in is what you are aiming for?

When making these plans, it helps to have a number in mind when it comes to the age in which you would like the plans to go into effect. Once you have decided on this, you will be able to get a better idea of how much you need to be saving every month. By putting away a specific percentage of your monthly income, it becomes easier to meet the goals you are setting out to accomplish.

There are plenty of options when it comes to investing your money for the future. You will need to spend some time researching which of these resources will provide you with the most value. Maybe it would be worth the risk to put some skin in the game in the stock market. Maybe an IRA or CD at your local bank makes more sense for what you are wanting to do.

Are you in need of life insurance?

For many people, financial planning isn’t about what you want to do as much as it is making sure someone else will be taken care of in the event of an accident .If this is the planning you are doing, than you may want to spend some time deciding which type of life insurance would best suit your needs.

If you are looking for a policy that is easy to understand and won’t cost nearly as much money, a term life policy might be exactly what you are looking for. Keep in mind, these policies always have a an end date, so you will need to decide how long you will need the policy. Terms will usually range from 10, 20, often as many as 30 years.

They are designed solely for paying a beneficiary of your choice in the event of an untimely death. Other than this, the policy has no other value. With most term life policies, both the benefit and the premium will remain the same throughout the duration of the policy.

While term life is only one of several options when it comes to insurance policies, it is often the most sought after because of its simplicity. The most significant thing to keep in mind while making a decision on the type of policy you want is to look around for what makes the most sense for what you are trying to accomplish.

Top Tips for Buying Car Insurance

Are you shopping for insurance for your vehicle? Here are some things that you need to know:

How Insurance Rate is Determined

Two factors determine how much you will pay for car insurance: rating and underwriting. Insurance companies usually underwrite to evaluate the risk associated with applicants then group them with other similar risks to determine if they will accept their applications.

Based on underwriting results, the company assigns a price based on what it believes it will cost to assume financial responsibility for your potential claim. Every insurance company has a different rating system, which is usually affected by claim frequency.

Specific Factors that Affect Your Rating

Your driving record – if you have previous accidents or violations, you are considered high risk.

Prior insurance coverage – have your previous insurance policies been cancelled because of failing to pay premiums? This is also taken into account.

Your geographic location – urban locations have more claims than rural ones

Your age and gender – male drivers have more accidents and some ages have more claims

Vehicle use – higher mileage means more risk

Your marital status – married people usually have fewer claims

Vehicle make and model – sports and luxury cars have a higher number of claims

Ask Your Agent about Discounts

If the insurer sees you as a better risk, you might be given a discount. You should look out for a number of discounts, including anti-theft devices, good student, good driver, and driver education courses. However, you should know that not all states offer discounts.

Check Optional Coverage

The most commonly recognized coverages, aside from the basic liability coverage, include comprehensive and collision coverage. The latter pays for physical car damage when your car collides with an object such as another car or a tree. Although this coverage is reasonably priced, it is also optional.

Comprehensive coverage, on the other hand, pays for car damage caused by all other factors, including fire, floods, vandalism, and theft. It is less expensive than collision coverage and optional.

No Fault vs. Tort System

Each state should implement a no-fault or tort system, which determines the type of insurance that will be available to car owners. The tort system has three basic coverages, which include uninsured motorist coverage, property damage liability, and bodily injury liability insurance. If your state has the no-fault system, the insurer will pay you directly for losses resulting from accident injuries regardless of who is at fault.

Shop Around Before You Buy Insurance

When buying car insurance, premium quotations are helpful for comparing products from different companies. Therefore, when asking for quotations, you need to give the same information to all companies. An agent usually asks for the following information: the coverage limit you want, your driver’s license number, and the description of your car.

Where to Shop

When looking for cheap car insurance online, you should visit several websites and do a comparison. Moreover, you can check the yellow pages for agents and companies in your area of residence. When talking to neighbors and friends, you should ask for the specific claim service they got from the companies that they recommend.

For Your Protection

Once you pick the insurance coverage and company that you need, you can take several steps to ensure that you get your money’s worth. Before you sign any insurance coverage application, you should verify that your prospective insurer is licensed to operate in your state by calling your state insurance department. It is illegal for unlicensed companies to sell insurance; this means that if you buy from them, you have no way of knowing whether the coverage will be honored.

 

Alternative Wealth Management Markets: The Stuff They Don’t Tell You

Conventional moneymaking activities work for many people. These include things like 401(k) investments, stocks, bonds, treasuries, commodities, savings accounts, fixed-income bearing investments, and the like. Equities markets have proven to be viable investment vehicles for generating long-term profits. Wall Street bourses, including the Dow Jones, NASDAQ, S&P 500, Russell 2000 etc., are at all-time highs, and 1-year returns in the region of 20% + are commonplace. As attractive as these options appear, they are not the norm for everyday investors. Provided you have the wherewithal to diversify your resources across as many different asset classes as possible, returns in the region of 20% – 30% may be possible. In conventional investments, positive returns stand to be gained but they are unlikely to be exceptional returns.

Contrarian Investment Options for Savvy Traders

One of the ways to break the mold and move into high-yield investments is through alternative or contrarian investment vehicles. These types of investments abound in the form of contracts for difference (CFDs), currencies (Forex), peer to peer lending, social trading, purchasing pre-IPO equities and the like. These investment vehicles are traditionally regarded as higher risk options, but they are associated with higher rewards. Contracts for difference are derivative financial trading instruments. Unlike stocks, the trader is not required to purchase the underlying asset (Forex, commodities, stocks etc.). Rather, the trader acts as a speculator and goes long or short on the future price of that asset. Derivatives trading is extremely popular in the United Kingdom, Europe, and North America. It is an unconventional investment, but healthy returns are commonplace.

The Social Trading Boom

Perhaps the biggest change to take place in the alternative investment universe is social trading. This has been going on for quite some time, but it remains as popular as ever. With social trading, the individual trader uses the wisdom of the crowd to make investment decisions. Since there is 100% transparency with other traders, it is easy to pinpoint traders who are successful and generating a profit. By following these traders, copying their trades, and collaborating with them, it is possible to piggyback off their success and generate profit accordingly. There are a myriad of high-quality social trading accounts available to traders nowadays.

It’s imperative to evaluate them based on their strengths, asset variety, transparency, credibility and client feedback. The social trading boom has dovetailed with mobile trading, and the disintegration of the institutional trading paradigm. In the days of old, traders relied on wealth management specialists, investment gurus and fund managers to handle their finances. Nowadays, anyone, anywhere can power up and trade at the click of a button.

Robo Advisors Making a Big Impression

Robo advisors are a new age investment resource that make it easy for traders to make smarter investment decisions. Now that Robo advisors are available to the global market, it’s possible for anyone to access these powerful trading resources to make the smartest investment decisions. Typically, Robo advisors are online resources that are geared towards automated management of your portfolio. They are available at a fraction of the cost of a traditional financial advisor or financial planner, and they offer useful information on things like rebalancing your financial portfolio, taxation-related issues, and wealth optimization strategies. For further information on this powerful contrarian resource option, take a look at Robo advisors explained. These tools should not be discounted in terms of their utility value, since they can dramatically enhance your financial net worth.

Pre-IPO Investments

It is a little-known fact that it is possible to invest in a company before it goes public with its IPO. Fortunately, many private companies are only too eager to have big investments lined up before they go public, with pre-IPO equity as part of a financial portfolio. Oftentimes it is said that the early bird catches the worm – and with a pre-IPO investment, this is precisely the benefit you will receive!

You Can Get an Unsecured Personal Loan Online

There comes a time on the average person’s life when a personal loan is necessary. You can lose your job, your car, or simply need some extra capital because of a delayed paycheck. The secured loan is one option, but it requires you to put up your home, car of valuable item in return. If you can’t pay the loan back, then you lose whatever you put up.

What you really want instead is the unsecured loan. Specifically, a selection of low interest unsecured personal loans online with instant decision. With a bit of research, these aren’t terribly difficult to come by – but always keep in mind that the interest rate is indicative of the risk the lender is undertaking in lending to you. As such, perform due diligence as to how reputable the institution is.

Is a Personal Loan Necessary?

There are quite a few reasons for which you might need a personal loan. For example, if you have high-interest credit card debt, then a personal loan can take the form of a consolidation at a lower rate of interest. Indeed; even if the APR on your credit cards are pretty good, debt consolidation via an unsecured credit card loan is treated differently on your credit history – it’s an installment debt that does not count negatively towards your FICO score. And as we all know, having all your bills in one place sure makes it easier to pay them on time.

What Rates Can You Expect?

This, of course, depends on your credit history and score. If you’re in the good-to-excellent range of 720 and higher, then your risk is deemed very low – lenders see you as eminently trustworthy with credit. You can get rates between about 6% and 10% as a result (for a personal loan). Compare this to credit card rates for the average person, which can have annual percentage rates as of 22% on average.

Being able to shift such your debt from such a high APR to the lower one provided by unsecured personal loan reduces the burden of your financial responsibilities significantly. The following provides you an idea of what each credit score bracket entails for your finances if you borrow $10,000 for a loan term of three years:

  • Poor credit, at an APR of 25%, entails a monthly loan payment of $398
  • Fair credit, at an APR of 10.66%, entails a monthly loan payment of $326
  • Good credit, at an APR of %4.29%, entails a monthly loan payment of $297
  • Excellent credit returns the same as good credit, for many lenders, so the numbers are the around the same.

How to Get the Best Unsecured Personal Loan

Try to pay down your current accounts, If you’ve got a lot of outstanding debt on your various credit cards, then paying these down on time can have a huge effect on your credit score. This factor eats up as much as 35% of the pie that denotes your overall creditworthiness.

The length of time you’ve had a credit history also matters a big deal – around 30% or so. This improves as you continue to pay on time, and avoid opening new accounts that aren’t necessary. Consolidating your debt also contributes positively to this because, as mentioned above, this new type of installment debt lowers the outstanding amount without being counted as a newly opened account.