4 Top Tips for Getting Started with Investing

Growing your wealth and financial freedom is a huge goal to have, and investing is often the best way to meet it. Working smarter rather than harder is what most of the world’s self-made millionaires have done in order to get where they are today. Making smart investments over time can be one of the best ways to make your money work harder for you, rather than simply taking on more hours at work. Investing a percentage of your income on a regular basis is renowned as one of the best ways to growth wealth – but how do you get started? Keep these top tips in mind.

Get Advice:

If you are completely new to investing, it can be worth looking for professional financial planning advice from affiancefinancial.com to help you get started on the right foot. A professional can advise you on a number of different topics to consider including the best types of investments for you to make, how much you should invest, and more. They can also help you get started when you want to start diversifying your investments and looking into different avenues of growing your money even further.

Reduce Your Debt:

Becoming debt-free before you start investing is a good step to take. It’s important that you are in full control of your personal finances before you start making any investments, so pay down as much debt as possible. If you have a mortgage on your home, this is usually a debt that doesn’t have to be paid off before you start investing – although you might want to consider making overpayments on your mortgage once you have freed up cash by paying off credit cards, loans, and any other type of debts. There are various methods for paying off your debts quickly including the debt snowball and debt avalanche methods, which work by either paying off your debts starting with the smallest first or the highest interest.

Choosing the Right Investment:

It is important to spend some time considering which type of investment will be the right one for you to make. If you are just starting out, it’s best to start with an investment type that is fairly well-known and has a lot of information available on it for you to learn from. In addition, it is worth thinking about the type of risk that you are willing to take by making an investment, and opt for a low-risk choice to help you get started.

Budgeting for Investments:

Finally, every investment can be a risk, so it’s important to only invest money that you are prepared to lose. Never invest money that you might need to spend elsewhere like on your mortgage or priority bills payments. You should go through your income and expenses with a fine tooth-comb to determine just how much you can afford to comfortably invest on a weekly or monthly basis without putting yourself in any financial trouble.

Investing your money is a great way to build wealth, but many people struggle when it comes to getting started. Keep these tips in mind and start making your money work harder for you from today.

Why You Should Use an IT Service as an SME

Small or medium enterprises simply do not have the same resources as larger corporations. They have smaller teams of staff and less expendable cash to play around with, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t still be incredibly successful or even grow into a bigger business in the future. However, to do this, SMEs will need to consider their options and look at ways they can streamline their operations so they can focus on more important business goals. To ease the pressure on in-house teams and still get high-quality work, outsourcing certain jobs to other professional services could be the best solution. One service all SMEs should consider using is an IT management service, and here are some reasons why.

It Saves Time

Even if you do have a small IT team in-house, using an external service could provide them with additional support to help them manage their workflow. An IT management service can remotely update your business computers and fix any technical issues that might be slowing your team down so you can all get back to work as quickly as possible.

Increase Security

Any business must make sure their data is secure, as well as their customer details. In the digital age, there seem to be more complicated online threats that are evolving all the time, so it can be hard to keep up with this if you’re not an IT expert. This is where an IT service comes in. They can help to advise you on the best cybersecurity software your company should be using, as well as keeping it all updated to avoid any potential breaches.

24/7 Assistance

Another big benefit of using an external IT service is that you can get help from them at any time. If you have staff that is working at the weekends or pulling a late shift to complete a project, they will have access to IT support if anything goes wrong. You won’t have to wait until Monday morning to get help to fix your network; they can get on with it as soon as you notify them of the problem.

They Can Make Recommendations

As mentioned previously, your IT service can advise you on cybersecurity, but they can give you recommendations for other software that your company might find useful. It might be HR management, accounting, DevOps, or other communication tools that will get your teams working more efficiently.

Cost-effective

If you’re concerned that using an IT service is going to eat into your budget, don’t let that stop you from giving it a go. Although it might seem highly expensive at first glance, they are very cost-effective when you consider all the positive outcomes they can offer your business. It’s a great return on investment when you see how your teams can be more productive.

There are a lot of services you can outsource to as an SME, but an IT management service is certainly one you need to try out first. You’ll be thrilled to see how helpful they can be so you’ll never have to worry about IT issues again.

A Comprehensive Guide to Short Message Service (SMS) Loans

How familiar are you with SMS loans? The application procedure for these credits is virtually the same as the application for unsecured loans; only the former can be obtained through a text message.

These microloans have short repayment terms and sky-high interest rates. Every applicant has to meet the eligibility requirements of financial institutions to get his/her application approved. Financial institutions impose minimum age and income requirements, as well as check the credit score of candidates.

SMS loans can easily lead to debt accumulation if the installments aren’t paid every month. Such scenarios usually happen when borrowers take out more than one microloan.

The guide below will introduce you to all aspects related to SMS loans.

What is an SMS loan?

SMS loans are short-term, unsecured loans available to borrowers after sending a text message to the bank offering them. Once you send an application, the answer from the lender is supposed to arrive in a few hours. Nevertheless, the procedure for obtaining such credit doesn’t just involve sending an SMS. Applicants are still required to sign an agreement, which is usually sent over email.

Moreover, in Norway, the amount of these credits is no higher than several thousand kroner. Most banks also provide a form on their websites for applicants to fill in instead of sending a text message. The interest on SMS loans is relatively high, and they must be repaid in a short timeframe.

The largest number of Norwegian banks offer microloans up to 30,000 kroner, not higher. The most extensive repayment period is twelve months. The inability of applicants to pay off the installments during the arranged period might lead to debt problems. See this page for some useful tips on dealing with debt.

Interest rates and fees

As far as interest rates are concerned, SMS loans have shockingly high rates due to the short-term nature of the credits. For instance, by borrowing 10,000 kroner to pay back in a twelve-month period, the interest and other expenses would approximately cost NOK 4,000.

The lower the sum you borrow, the higher the interest percentage. The same goes for the period of repayment. The shorter the timeframe, the more money you’ll pay for interest. Many applicants are confused by the sky-high rates when compared to the short length of the credit. Nevertheless, banks calculate the rates on an annual basis regardless of the repayment period. Even if you agree to pay the money off in two months, the interest will account for the entire year.

Borrowers should beware of potential debt problems interested in taking out an SMS loan. By taking out a single one, there is a low risk of defaulting on it. Some individuals, however, make the mistake of taking out several credits at the same time, which significantly increases their borrowing costs every month. Unless you wish to end up deep in the red, applying for a single microloan would be a wise decision.

Another thing to consider besides the interest rates is the establishment fee on SMS loans. If interested in applying for an SMS loan, these forbrukslån.no – SMS loan tips will assist you in making the best choice. The establishment fee is charged by banks once an applicant takes out a credit to cover the cost for providing him/her with credit assistance. In case the establishment fee is much higher than the borrowed sum, it tends to increase the interest rate.

The usual establishment fee charged by banks in Norway is approximately NOK 900. Some banks oblige borrowers to pay the same fee regardless of the loaned sum. In contrast, other banks lower the establishment fee if the loaned sum is small.

Application requirements

When applying for an SMS loan, every applicant is expected to consider the minimum requirements for getting his/her application approved. Age is an important factor considered by banks, as a person has to be old enough to be considered eligible. The age requirement of certain banks is for applicants to be at least eighteen years old, whereas most financial institutions require them to be twenty years old. The strictest lenders require borrowers to be twenty-five years old.

In addition, most banks don’t allow borrowers to submit an application if they’re over seventy or seventy-five years old. Lenders also take a close look at the income of borrowers, which isn’t universal. For instance, the minimum income requirement required by banks is between 100,000 and 150,000 kroner on an annual basis. Strict lenders impose a requirement for the minimum annual income of applicants to be NOK 250,000.

Fortunately, when it comes to SMS loans, almost all borrowers meet the minimum income requirements by lenders. Additionally, moneylenders consider the amount one is borrowing as a deciding factor. They compare the requested amount with the income of the applicant to assess the level of risk.

Besides the requirements imposed by banks, the government also obliges applicants to adhere to certain guidelines. Regarding unsecured credits, the Norwegian Ministry of Finance impedes banks from approving loans to applicants whose incomes aren’t sufficient to cover the necessities, such as food, insurance, rent, etc. See this URL https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/110614/whats-difference-between-secured-line-credit-and-unsecured-line-credit.asp#:~:text=Key%20Takeaways,as%20it%20riskier%20for%20lenders., to learn about the difference between secured and unsecured lines of credit.

Borrowers are also supposed to have an income that is large enough to withstand an increase of the interest rate of a minimum of five percent. Banks are prohibited from giving credits to borrowers that exceed their annual income by five times. As per these guidelines, loans have to be paid in fixed monthly installments in a period of a maximum of five years. Exceptions to these guidelines are only granted when the loan is used for the purpose of refinancing.

Credit score

The FICO score of applicants speaks volumes about their creditworthiness, thus explaining why banks take it into account when checking whether one’s application meets the criteria or not. This score is based on the age, credit history, and debts of individuals.

The credit score, however, isn’t considered a crucial factor when getting approval for a microloan. It should be higher than twenty points for an applicant to be seen as eligible. Although it won’t have a tremendous effect on your application, this score will undoubtedly influence the interest rates. Having a good score will help you receive low interest rates. The lower it is, the more money you’ll be required to pay for interest.

Early repayment

Borrowers who intend to settle their SMS loans faster can choose to pay larger installments. For example, by paying a double installment, the interest rates in the future will be reduced. Nevertheless, if you decide to use this opportunity, you’d have to contact the bank in advance for instructions on how to proceed.

Moreover, you’ll have to choose whether to stick to the existing repayment period or have it reduced because of the increased installments. It’s considered wiser for applicants to reduce the repayment term instead of keeping the original one.

Final word

SMS loans are the right choice for borrowers who have no time to waste visiting banks and discussing the terms with bank managers.

You are a text message away from getting the finances you need. Take your chance!

Reasons to Go for Online Installment Loans If You Need to Borrow Money

There are times in life that you have to deal with important expenses, and you have no sufficient money to cover them. There’s that need to buy a car because it’s more practical to drive your own car than take public transport every day you go to work. Or, perhaps, you want to purchase a house for your family, which requires a significant amount for a down payment. 

If you don’t have money to purchase the essentials mentioned above, you can borrow cash through an online installment loan. Getting installment loans online can be beneficial for you in more ways than one. 

In this article, you’ll know the basic information about online installment loans and the reasons why you should choose this loan type if you need to borrow money. 

What is an Online Installment Loan?

It’s easy to guess what an online installment is just by its name. Online lenders provide this type of loan, which has a monthly installment or repayment structure. You can use this loan for purchasing a home, car, or for paying tuition fees. 

As with almost all types of loans, online installment loans come with loan terms, interest rates or annual percentage rates, and additional fees. 

Loan Term

This is the duration of the loan as specified in the agreement between the online lending company and the borrower. Online installment loans have loan terms that last for several months or a long number of years. Home loans, for example, have loan terms of about 15 to 30 years. Understandably, the larger the loan amount, the longer the repayment duration. 

Interest Rate

The interest rate is the proportion of the amount borrowed which the lending company charged as interest to the debtor. The interest rate of a loan varies according to several factors, such as the debtor’s credit score, the lending company’s policy, the loan amount, and the loan term. 

Additional Fees

Depending on the lender’s policy, you may have to shoulder fees in addition to the interest charges. Examples of these are the origination fees, application processing fees, prepayment fees, and/or late payment fees. It’s crucial to know about these extra charges before you take out a loan. 

Online Installment Loans: Benefits

Not a few people will think twice about taking out a loan, especially from an online lender. There are those who will doubt the credibility of online lenders and the security and privacy of an online loan application. But there are actually several good reasons why online installment loans can be beneficial to borrowers. 

Easy and Fast Loan Application

The number one benefit of applying for a loan online is that it makes the application process fast and smooth. You don’t need to go to the lender’s office to fill up an application form. All you need to do is visit the lender’s website and provide your personal information in an online application form available on the site. 

After you have provided everything in the application form, the lender will immediately assess it for approval. If you get approved for the loan, you can get the money you need within the day or the next business days. 

Lenient Requirements

The requirements for online installment loans are less stringent than the loans provided by traditional banks or credit unions. Some online lenders won’t even check your credit, but only your employment status and monthly income. If you possess a low credit score, find a lender online that offers “no credit check” for their loan offerings. 

Inexpensive Interest Rates

It’s always wise for borrowers to find out the interest rate of a loan before applying for it. Many people nowadays are fed up with the high interest on loans offered by traditional banks and credit unions. That’s why they go to online lenders to avail themselves of affordable loans. 

Payday loans and credit cards typically are more expensive due to their interest charges compared to online installment loans. Furthermore, the latter has a fixed interest rate, which means that you know exactly how much you need to pay each month. 

Easy to Manage

It’s easy to set aside a budget for your monthly loan repayment because of the manageable and predictable repayment structure of online installment loans. There are also some online lenders that allow for weekly or biweekly payments to make it faster for borrowers to pay off their debts. 

It Can Build and Improve Credit

The credit score is an important factor to get a low-interest rate loan. So, if you’re planning to build or improve credit, getting an online installment loan is a good option. But you should see to it that you pay the loan on time to increase your credit score. 

Takeaway

Online installment loans can give you benefits that you can’t find in many traditional loan offerings. If you’re looking for a simple and fast loan application process, affordable interest rates, lenient loan requirements, and a manageable repayment structure, you must consider getting an online installment loan.

This Is How to Manage Your Money Better

According to a study by the National Endowment for Financial Education, only 24% of young adults showed basic financial literacy.

This statistic should terrify you because financial literacy empowers you to make smart money choices. Without this knowledge, you may not be able to save money for an emergency or make large purchases.

But regardless of your age, you need to know how to manage your money better. That’s why we’ve created a guide to help you prepare for your financial future.

Know Where You Stand Financially

Before you can understand how to manage your money better you need to know where you currently stand. One of our most simple money managing tips is to honestly analyze your income and expenses.

Collect data on your current financial situation. A good way to do this is to keep receipts for a month.

This can help you get a clear picture of where you’re spending outside of major things like bills and rent. It can provide an honest look at where you’re wasting money.

Budget

One of the most helpful tips for managing money is to create a realistic budget and stick to it. The key to creating a realistic budget is carefully tracking your expenses, as well as planning for unexpected expenses and leisure activities.

Set up a Rainy Day Fund

Right now over 41% of Americans couldn’t cover a $1,000 emergency with their savings. This means that most people are only one financial disaster away from being in serious debt.

This is why after you’ve created your budget you need to set aside a certain amount of money each month to prepare for an emergency. The ideal target is to keep around 4 to 6 months of living expenses set aside for any emergencies.

Pay off Your Debts

Debt can take a toll on young earners financially and emotionally. If you have too much accumulated it can prevent you from reaching your financial goals. After you have money saved for an emergency the next step should be to pay down any lingering debt.

Set up a Retirement Fund

In the future, you may have to retire or take a leave of absence from work. Unfortunately, social security may only pay part of your living expenses. This is why you need to set aside a significant portion of your income to prepare for retirement.

You may have options like a 401(k) set up through your employer or Roth IRAs that help you save independently. You need to plan out how much money you’ll need for living expenses in the future.

Ask For Help Learning How to Manage Your Money Better

Even if you follow all the advice we’ve laid out you may still have larger financial issues that you can’t deal with alone. This is when it’s time to reach out by finding a financial advisor to offer help managing money.

The job of this wealth advisor is to help you prepare for your financial future. Hiring a wealth advisor can help you plan for retirement and save for your education.

Want More Finance Advice?

Learning how to manage your money better means taking a look at your current financial situation, creating a budget, and preparing for the future.

If you want more advice on how to achieve your long and short-term financial goals then check out our blog.

The “What” and “How” of Tax Planning for Dummies

The winter snow is starting to melt and the warm weather is starting to shine through. This means it’s time to start thinking about spring cleaning, outdoor adventures, and, you guessed it- taxes.

Taxes are due on April 15th, and while that may feel like a ways away, you can never start tax planning too early. What is tax planning? Why do you need to do it? How do you do it?

Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know about tax planning.

What is Tax Planning?

Tax planning involves organizing and analyzing your financial documents from the past year so you can maximize tax breaks and minimalize tax liabilities. In other words, tax planning helps you save money and stay out of trouble.

Tax rules can be complicated (there’s a reason so many people hire an accountant to do their taxes), so giving yourself enough time to understand your yearly finances is very important.

Tax Planning Strategies

If done right, tax planning can help you grow your income and prepare for the road ahead. Here’s what you need to do to plan for Tax Day:

1. Understand Your Income Bracket

You can’t plan for your financial future if you don’t know where your finances are today. This means you should begin your tax planning strategy by understanding what federal tax bracket you fall into.

The US has a progressive tax system, which means the more money you make, the more you’re taxed. Depending on how much you make, you may be taxed anywhere from 10 to 37 percent of your income. You can learn more about your tax bracket here.

However, keep in mind that you get to subtract your deductions, so you likely won’t need to pay the full rate.

2. Understand the Popular Tax Deductions and Tax Credits

If you want to save money on your taxes this year, then you need to familiarize yourself with the popular tax deductions and tax credits. But first, you need to understand the difference between a tax deduction and tax credit.

A tax deduction is an expense that you’ve incurred that you can subtract from your taxable income, whereas a tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction that you can get on your tax bill. For example, if you get a $500 tax credit, that’s $500 off your total tax bill.

Here are some popular tax deductions:

  • Medical and dental expenses
  • Charitable contributions
  • Sales and property taxes
  • Business-related expenses (for example, using your home as your business)

Examples of tax credits include:

You should look into each of these separately to see if you qualify.

3. Contribute to Tax-Deferred Retirement Accounts

One of the best ways to invest your money is to contribute to a tax-deferred retirement account. These accounts are tax-free and compound over time, meaning they can grow to a substantial sum.

Consider increasing your 401(k) contributions and setting up an IRA if you don’t already have one. You can contact wealthability firms for advice on setting up these accounts.

Time to Start Tax Planning

Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is tax planning?”, it’s time for you to put these strategies to use. While tax planning can take a lot of time, it’ll help you make the most of your money.

Be sure to check back in with our blog for more tax preparation tips!

3 Tips to Avoid Cabin Fever as a Remote Worker

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are requiring employees to work from home.

With no end in sight to the pandemic, and no clear path back to normal office life, workers have begun to accept working from home as the new norm.

While some employees may see this new style of working from home as a benefit, others are struggling to cope with distractions, lack of structure and the difficulty of managing their schedules.

Keeping Regular Work Hours

Without an office it can be hard for remote employees to separate work life from their social life.

It is vital for workers to designate specific hours to their work day as well as specific hours to their social life in order to not burn out.

By keeping a regular work schedule, it is much easier for employees to have a clear understanding of when they will be working and when they will be socializing with family and friends.

Wake Up at the Same Time Everyday

Waking up, eating and taking breaks at the same time as well as starting and finishing your workday at the same time everyday is crucial to helping workers stay on task and on schedule to complete necessary work.

Studies have proven, people who wake up and go to bed at the same time everyday get a better night’s sleep and are therefore more well rested and energized to perform their daily tasks.

For traditional 9am-5pm office workers, taking 7 to 8 breaks a day or roughly a break every hour is best to increase a workers focus and efficiency.

When to Work

While boss’s sometimes expect employees to be at the top of their game at all moments of the workday, this expectation is simply unrealistic.

It is difficult for workers to avoid having too much flexibility and therefore they should try to become more accountable to their company.

Depending on the job, workers probably need to make themselves available to their boss and co-workers certain hours of the day, however this does not mean you need to stick to the 9am-5pm normal work day.

Figure out when you are needed by your company and then consider when you are able to work most productively.

Possibly you enjoy working out or playing with your children in the early afternoon to clear your mind and prefer to resume working at night time.

Whatever your schedule preferences, be sure to pick a time slot to work when you are most at your most productive.

Moving your work environment from an office to your home can be a difficult transition, but as long as you focus on keeping a regular schedule, this adjustment to your work life should be significantly easier.

Remember to get enough rest, go to bed at the same time each day and to take breaks throughout the workday.

Maintaining focus and a healthy work/life balance to be will be the key to being a successful, productive and efficient worker.

About the Author

Russell Barneson is a real estate investor from California and runs his own vacation rental business. He is passionate about real estate investing, personal finance and productivity. He writes The Hard Money Blog and is head of marketing at Crescent Lenders. In his spare time he enjoys playing tennis, watching the NFL and drinking a few beers.

Tips for Supporting Your Sales Staff

Business owners and managers who rely on the efforts of their sales staff to generate revenue need to do everything reasonably possible to equip them for success. Helping your staff save time, connect with customers more easily, and stay connected with you and their colleagues will position them to do their best quality work. Here are some tips about what you can do to help your team complete more sales and excel in their individual job roles.

Facilitate Easy Connections With Leads and Customers

It should be relatively simple for your staff to hone in on their most promising leads. You should choose a customer relationship management platform that makes it easy for staff to filter their leads by several different elements rather than looking up individual’s names or chronological histories.

Phone system and salesforce integration can make reaching out to leads and customers over the phone almost effortless. Also, it helps your team members keep close track of their contact history so they can easily view a record of when they were last in touch with someone.

Train Your Team Thoroughly

Staff training initiatives should extend well beyond an employee’s initial training period. You should have regular meetings with your staff to keep them updated about what’s happening within the team as well as company-wide directives and changes about products or services. Your staff needs a strong command of every facet of your operations in order to inspire confidence in your customers. Training is the most effective way of ensuring that people stay current with the information that they need in order to close sales and shape positive customer experiences.

In addition to company-specific training topics, you should also allocate some training time to general sales skills. Negotiations skills, for example, will enable your team to communicate more effectively and improve their individual sales percentages.

Offer Employees Flexibility With Their Schedules

You may find that you’re able to help employees improve their performance when you give them some freedom in making their own schedules. If you operate a physical location that needs to be staffed at certain hours, it’s understandable that you may have some constraints with staffing requirements. However, to the extent that you can, giving people a little leeway in making their own hours so long as they reach a certain minimum threshold criteria can help people feel more in charge of their own success. Moreover, when they’re at work, they’ll be better able to keep their attention on work rather than distractions from home life that can affect the quality of their performance.

Giving people the option to work from home may also be a good strategy to improve productivity. When people are in an environment where they feel the most comfortable, they can interact with customers in a way that’s personable and confident.

It’s essential that you stay engaged with your team and give them the tools that they need to use time well and make a positive impression on customers. Ultimately, the work that you put into supporting your sales staff will create considerable returns on your company’s sales volume.

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