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.

Understanding Personal Loan Options

It’s a common misconception that personal loans with good rates are only available to people with prime credit scores. However, in an era of fierce competition, the market has paved the way for some surprisingly good offers. In fact, you could be one of the many people taking out a small personal loan with no credit check, if you perform due diligence on the lenders offering this.

The Run-Down on Banks as Lending Institutions

When it comes to a personal loan, a bank may be your first thought – given their size and reach. Places such as Capital One, US Bank and Bank of America are well-known for their range of financial services; whether you need an unsecured loan via credit cards, or a mortgage loan for your new property.

The potential problem, however, is that banks often won’t take a second glance at a prospective borrower with a credit score below 660. This, of course, varies a bit, but you should take this as a general guideline of the kind of credit you need in order to qualify.

Benefits of Online Lenders

There are online lenders who specifically target people with bad credit. These consistently go below credit scores of 600 to find a program of payment at the prescribed interest rate that will work for their customer. Oftentimes, the lowered rate is provided as an incentive to consolidate debt – but it can be used for an initial personal loan, too.

There are other benefits to consolidating debt, if that’s the reason you’re in need of a personal loan. The primary one is the new classification of your consolidated debt as a so-called “installment debt,” which actually elevates your credit score. For historical reasons, installment debts are not treated the same way as other types of debt, and so they don’t hurt your FICO score in any way.

How do you obtain an installment debt? The most important thing is your income; then, the amount of debt you actually have. Combining these numbers to obtain your debt-to-income ratio is the money ball, effectively; it is the number that determines whether you’re eligible for the installment debt or not. If you can’t qualify for it on your own, then a cosigner with great credit can help you. The overall benefits are :

  • You are generally eligible for larger loan amounts
  • Your rates tend to be lower
  • Interest savings

No Credit Check Loans

As mentioned above, these are generally online lenders who specialize in loaning money to people who have problems with their credit history. The terms are competitive; but this is of course contingent on you getting a reputable lender. The no credit check option does tend to come with a higher interest rate to cover the risk, but this is often negotiable and represents a breath of fresh air for people who cannot otherwise get a personal loan.
If all else fails and you can’t get an unsecured loan, then you might want to consider going the route of the secured loan. This will require collateral on your part; which can be anything valuable such as a boat, car, family heirloom, house – the higher the loan you want, the more valuable the collateral will have to be. Generally-speaking, however, an unsecured personal loan is the better option. If you pay your current bills on time, you can see a credit score increase in a few months – after which you should try again for an unsecured personal loan at a better interest rate.

When and How to Apply for your First Credit Card

Getting the first credit card is tricky because you cannot build credit without credit. Where should you start? Nowadays you need credit for almost everything from renting an apartment to purchasing a cell phone.

Fortunately, the best time to build your credit is when you are still in school. Here are some important facts that you should know before applying for your first credit card:

Get a student credit card

Credit scores are usually made up of several factors, including your credit history. If you have no credit history, you might also lack a credit score because credit bureaus do not have any means of determining your ability to pay bills on time or repay loans. However, the easiest way to build your credit is by applying for and using a credit card responsibly.

Find the best credit card

You should remember that not all cards are the same. Each one comes with different features, rates, fees, and benefits. If you think you can repay your balance in full every month, consider maximizing your rewards by applying for a student rewards card.

With some rewards cards, you can earn your cashback on every purchase. However, you should remember that rewards caps as well as other exclusions exist. Will you carry a balance? If you think that you will, you should look for a low-interest credit card.

Several student credit cards have a 0-percent APR introductory offer that lasts six to eight months. This card will allow you to pay for large purchases over time while avoiding interest rates. Just research all your options to find a card that offers low rates of interest, cash rewards, no annual fee, and a reasonable credit limit.

When applying for a card, be sure to pay attention to the billing cycles if you hope to avoid extra fees. Some students credit cards also offer online tools that can help you to manage and track your spending. To get the best card for you, make sure that you compare student credit card reviews online.

Getting approved for a credit card

You must be at least eighteen years old to apply for a credit card. Are you under the age of 21? If you want to apply for a credit card, you must prove that you have independent assets or income to show that you can repay your debt. If you fail to get approval, you can also become an authorized user on your parent’s account.

Do you have a part-time or fulltime job? You might have enough income to be approved for your own credit card. However, you have to pay the credit card bill on a monthly basis.

Authorized credit card user

Are you an authorized user on another person’s account? You should enjoy the benefits of using it without the responsibility of having to pay back the balance. If your credit history is insufficient, you can build your credit by becoming an authorized user because your account use might be reported.

However, you should ensure that the account owner keeps up with his payments since any negative reporting will appear on your report.

Secured credit card

If you do not qualify for a traditional credit card, you should consider applying for a secured credit card. This card can help you to build your credit history enough so that you can qualify for a traditional credit card. To get a secured credit card, you need to put down a deposit.

When you put down a deposit, the card works like a traditional credit card. However, unlike prepaid credit or debit cards, you can build credit.