7 Signs You Need the Help of a Financial Risk Manager

There’s a lot of truth to the old adage “no risk, no reward.” However, there is definitely such a thing as taking on more risk than you can handle, and poor risk management has been the downfall of many once-profitable companies.

Are you unsure of how well your business is handling financial risk? Do you want to make sure you don’t make the same risk management mistakes that other business owners do?

Read on to learn about some of the most pressing signs that you need the help of a financial risk manager.

What Is a Financial Risk Manager?

A financial risk manager (or FRM for short) is a professional who specializes in assessing risks for a variety of businesses, including the following:

  • Banks
  • Insurance companies
  • Regulatory agencies
  • Accounting firms
  • Asset management firms

In addition to identifying certain financial risks, FRMs help business owners to analyze these risks and come up with plans to avoid getting in over their heads.

FRMs have received accreditation from the Global Association of Risk Professionals. To do this, they must pas a two-part exam and spend two years gaining work experience in the financial risk management field.

Signs You Need to Hire One

Not every business needs to have an FRM on their staff. However, they can provide a lot of assistance, especially when you bring them on at the first sign of trouble.

Here are some signs to be on the lookout for that may indicate you need the help of an FRM:

1. You’ve Gone Off-Script

When you first started your business, you likely had a business plan that you were following fairly closely.

A good business plan helps to give you guidelines and a road map to follow when getting your business off the ground. It helps you manage funds in an appropriate way and ensure your business is profitable.

If you’ve gone off-script and haven’t been following your business plan, you might not be on track to be as profitable as you’d like. This is where having an FRM come in and evaluate your position from an objective standpoint can be beneficial.

2. You’re Not Adhering to Regulations

One of the biggest frustrations for business owners is the abundance of regulations (local, state, and federal) that they have to follow.

When it comes to your finances, have you been following all of these regulations and rules to the letter, or have you just been winging it and hoping for the best?

If the latter is true, it’s a good idea to get an FRM to come and evaluate things. They can help you get back on track and ensure you’re in compliance with all finance-related regulations for businesses in your area.

3. There are Issues with Operations

There may be issues with day-to-day operations that are impacting your business’s profitability and financial well-being.

This could be problems with employee production and productivity, technological issues that are dragging the company down, or even natural disasters that halt operations and have an effect on your bottom line.

FRMs can help you navigate these problems with more ease and help you come up with a solution that won’t put your business at risk from a financial standpoint.

4. The Market Is Unstable

When the market shifts or is particularly volatile, a lot of business owners start to panic. Instead of making rash decisions based on emotion, it’s better to hire an FRM who can look at things with more of a global perspective.

They can review your current financial situation and let you know how you’ll fare if the market continues in the direction it’s currently headed. They can also help you make a plan to pivot and weather the storm without going under.

5. The Economy’s Shifted

Economic shifts can also spell trouble for business owners who aren’t well-prepared. If a major economic shift has occurred, such as a recession, you need to work with a professional to figure out where your business stands. The sooner you can do this, the better off your company and your employees are likely to be.

6. You’re Having Trouble with Internal Processes

Internal issues can wreak havoc on a business’s financial situation. For example, if you’re dealing with several vendors who aren’t paying or delivering on time, this could slow down all of your operations and make it harder for you to pay your employees or deliver products to your customers.

An FRM can help you evaluate these situations and figure out where your money’s going.

7. New Laws Are in Effect

Have new laws recently gone into effect that could have an impact on your business’s financial health? If so, it’s a good idea to bring in a risk manager and have them assess your current situation. They can help you make sure you’re complying with these laws and adjust your spending to make sure they don’t derail your business.

Tips for Choosing the Right Financial Risk Manager

Have you spotted any of these signs? If so, you need to start looking for an FRM sooner rather than later. Follow these guidelines to ensure you’re hiring the best FRM for your business’s needs:

  • Consider Their Education: Have they passed the exam to become an FRM (FRM Part 1 and FRM Part 2?)
  • Ask About Their Experience: Have they worked with businesses like yours in the past?
  • Assess Their Temperament: Can they communicate well with you and your colleagues?
  • Don’t Forget Their Fees: Are their rates fair and something you can afford?

Asking yourself these questions will help you get the best person for the job.

Hire a Financial Risk Manager Today

Now that you know more about what a financial risk manager does and how they can help their business, do you think it’s a good idea for you to consider hiring one?

If you’ve noticed any of the warning signs outlined above, chances are good that having a risk management expert on your team will help more than it’ll hurt you.

Keep these tips in mind as you begin your search to ensure you’re hiring the best FRM possible. Visit the Finance section of our website, too, for more helpful resources.

Happy Holidays – 5 Cooking Tips To Ensure This Holiday Season Is Stress-Free

Is your kitchen at Christmas usually more scary than merry? More aggressive than festive? There’s no need to toot steam just yet because we’re here to help! Let us help you enjoy the relaxed, stress-free meal-making you deserve during the holidays with these handy five cooking tips:

Make Life Easier For Yourself With The Best Cooking Gear

There’s no need for fancy gadgets, but there’s much to be said for high-quality equipment that makes your life as easy as possible when you’re cooking up a storm for family and friends at Christmas. Switch out any rubbish cooking accessories for sturdy, reliable cookware so you know at the very least even if you lose your temper, you won’t lose time or energy with unreliable kitchenware. 

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening my axe,” – Abraham Lincoln 

Hopefully, you won’t have to sharpen any axes this Christmas, but you can ensure that you prepare in full for the hefty task ahead. Tasks like vegetable peeling and cutting, parboiling, searing off, blending and seasoning can all be done ahead of time. The more that is ready to be reheated or cooked, the easier the process will be on the day. 

Become A Timing Ninja

You’ve got your delicious recipes sorted, your organic veggies prepped, your main course roasting, so what can go wrong? Unfortunately, despite the fact that 98% of Americans prefer to prepare and cook at home, that doesn’t guarantee that the results will be any good. The easiest thing to go wrong is the timing. A few minutes too long, and the fondant is just a cake, the veggies are mushy and grey, the gravy is congealed, and the meat is so cremated you’re inspired to bow your head and say a few words. Take the stress away from spinning all the plates by writing down a timing plan for the food you know will work. 

Stop Trying To Please Everyone

If you’re guilty of trying to please everyone and their dog, then you’ll find yourself getting so stressed during this multi-tasking extravaganza. You won’t enjoy yourself or the people you’re around and that is the whole reason for this time together. Maybe this year could be simpler. You could consider cooking a completely new recipe everyone tries, or everyone brings their own dish to contribute, or perhaps you simply create your ideal menu and everyone either likes it or lumps it. 

Remember What Matters The Most

Statistics released a couple of years ago suggested that 31 percent of Americans find Christmas to be a frantic time, with the stress peaking at about 2 p.m. on Christmas day, which is around Christmas lunchtime for many of us. That’s a clear indicator that the cooking process for what many deem to be the most important feast of the year is a real wrinkle-maker for those creating it. Try to remember what matters most, which is that you spend quality time with your family and friends making memories. The food will come and go and be consumed so quickly, but the memories of the laughs, the smiles, will last forever. 

If you’re chef this year remember that there are plenty of ways to ensure the process isn’t so stressful that it ruins your experience. With the right tweaks, perspective and help, you can cook up a storm and enjoy yourself these upcoming holidays without burning out, or burning anything else for that matter. 

5 Tips for Selling Your Old Items on Craigslist Safely

Selling things on Craigslist can seem dicey.

After all, there have been a few high profile cases involving the website.

If you’re careful about what you’re doing, however, you can easily figure out how to sell on Craigslist safely.

So, let’s dive right in with some tips to keep you safe when you’re using the internet to sell off old goods.

  1. Use Designated Meeting Areas

Many towns have designated meeting areas, often outside of the local police department, to facilitate online sales. These areas are public and quite safe in virtually all cases.

Even if you’re not meeting at a designated place you should meet somewhere public and never invite an unknown buyer to your home.

  1. Plan Ahead

You should always plan ahead. Make sure that you have the time and place set up well in advance of the sale.

Knowing where you’ll be headed afterwards is a good idea, as is making sure that people close to you know that you’re on your way to make a sale. The more people who know where you’re at the better.

  1. Bring Along a Friend

There’s safety in numbers and bringing along a friend to the sale is one of the best ways to make sure that you walk away from the transaction without any difficulties. Even if someone is up to something shady they may think twice if there’s more than one person there.

Some sales will even pretty much require it, if you’re selling a vehicle for instance you’ll likely need a ride after.

  1. Trust Your Gut

If something about the buyer feels off then just wait for another buyer to come along. While it may not always be right, it’s much better to err on the side of caution when you’re meeting a buyer.

This is doubly true with a relatively anonymous platform such as Craigslist.

If you have doubts, back out.

  1. Don’t Give Out Personal Information

Craigslist allows for proxy e-mails, so you should use them. You should also avoid giving out too much personal information such as where you live or work. Really all the buyer needs is a first name and the details of when and where the transaction is going to take place.

For expensive items it’s a good idea to double down on security. Simple things like removing the geotag from your pictures and making sure the photo isn’t in an easily recognizable area can keep you safe from more sophisticated thieves.

So, You Know How to Sell on Craigslist Safely

Craigslist is a wonderful tool so knowing how to sell on Craigslist safely is important for those looking to offload old items.

The beauty of the site lies in the extensive reach it has and the ease of use for those who want to sell things. That same quality makes it an ideal target for thieves however.

So, the next time you need to get rid of some items you can definitely try Craigslist despite its reputation. Just do it safely!

How to Use Your Paycheck to Pay for Independent Health Insurance

Finding affordable healthcare is a major concern for many people across the country. The cost of healthcare, from regular check-ups to paying premiums is enough to keep people up at night.

When you have independent health insurance, the challenges are even greater because you’re shouldering the costs yourself.

Read on to find out how to get independent health coverage and how you use your paycheck to pay for it.

What Is Independent Health Insurance?

Independent health insurance is insurance that you get outside of your employer or your spouse’s employer’s group plan.

In some cases, you get independent supplemental insurance, which can cover some medical expenses that your health insurance doesn’t cover.

Common forms of supplemental insurance are dental and vision insurance. A lot of traditional insurance plans don’t include vision or dental coverage, so you have to seek policies that will.

How to Get Independent Health Coverage

There are ways to get independent coverage. One is through the Healthcare Exchange and the other is through private insurers.

If you’re self-employed or don’t qualify for health insurance at your place of employment, you may be eligible for insurance through the healthcare exchange. You also can’t qualify for health insurance through your spouse.

You may be in a situation where you are eligible to receive insurance through your employer, but the plan that’s offered doesn’t meet your needs. You can turn to private insurers outside of the exchange.

Supplemental insurance is also available through private insurance companies. You’ll need to shop around to find the most affordable plan that offers what you need.

Paying for Your Insurance Plan

When you get insurance through your employer, they’ll pay for part of your premium. You’ll have your share of the premium withheld from your check.

You can do the same with independent health insurance. Since you’re going outside the group plan, your employer will not pay for part of the premium. That’s on you.

You can go to your HR or payroll department and ask to have the funds withheld from your paycheck. These funds can be set aside to pay for your premiums for individual insurance.

If you’re self-employed, you may want to create pay stubs, so you know how much you need to set aside for your premiums.

If your HR or payroll department agrees to withhold funds for your health insurance premiums, you’ll want to look at your pay stubs to verify the correct amount was withheld. ThePayStubs has this rundown of payroll deduction codes, so you know what to look for on your pay stub.

An Easy Way to Pay for Independent Health Coverage

Healthcare is a complex world. The costs keep going up, making it tough to get affordable coverage that you need.

You have more options when you explore independent health insurance. This is coverage that you pay for that is for self-employed people or plans that are outside of your employer’s group plan.

The best way to pay for these premiums is to withhold the funds from your pay, making it easier to make your payments each month.

Check out this site again for more helpful financial tips.

4 Unique and Totally Fun Things to Do with Friends on a Night Out

Are you tired of doing the same things over and over again with friends? That doesn’t mean that you have to stay at home watching television.

Maybe you fancy a change from the same bars and clubs you always go to with your buddies on the weekend. Instead, you can shake up your routine.

Check out our ideas for unique and fun things to do with friends on a night out.

  1. Hold a Yard Sale Together

Over 62 percent of people say that they living paycheck to paycheck. A little extra cash can always help things.

Have you considered holding a yard sale? You may not have enough stuff cluttering your home to sell on your own. But, coming together can give you plenty to offload.

Your friend may be selling a vehicle and you might want to get rid of your book collection. You can put everything together to create quite a yard sale. Then when it’s all done, you can use your extra cash to go to brunch together!

  1. Potluck Dinner Party 

Going out to eat in restaurants can be extremely expensive. But, you could convince your friends to host a dinner party.

You can also remove the stress and strain of cooking for several people by all pulling together. When you organize a potluck, everyone brings a different dish.

Just make sure you know what everyone’s bringing. It can be a disaster when your friends all think to bring a potato salad along.

  1. Attend an Open Mic  

Have you always considered yourself a born star?

You could explore your singing talents at open mic events. There are always new open mic nights popping up around the city at cafes or bars.

Get a group of friends together to be your cheering section. They’ll love to support you while you try out a new hobby.

  1. Dance Class 

Many people say that they can’t dance. Are you one of them? You can learn how to strut your stuff on the floor by taking a dance class.

This is a great way to have fun and learn some moves with your friends. Next time you go to a club, you can all debut your new routine.

Try These Fun Things to Do with Friends

You’re probably always looking for fun things to do with friends on a night out.

This weekend, try thinking outside of the box. Instead of spending lots of money at an overpriced restaurant, head over to your friends for a potluck dinner.

Or, rather than sitting at home bored and lazy, go to tango dance classes with your friends to learn something new and have a work out at the same time.

Do you want to discover more ways that you can have fun with your buddies without breaking the bank? Then keep browsing the rest of this blog for more lifestyle tips and ideas.

Paycheck Deductions: Everything You Need to Know

Almost 70% of employees pay more in payroll taxes than they do in income taxes. This can be jarring for new workers who aren’t prepared to see money taken out of their paychecks.

Even experienced employees may know that money gets taken out, but don’t understand how much or why the money is taken out.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about paycheck deductions so you can help your employees understand their paystubs.

Deductions vs. Withholdings 

Both deductions and withholdings are taken out of gross pay before a paycheck reaches the employee. Withholdings are to pay for the employee’s Social Security and Medicare contributions.

The amount withheld from an employee’s paycheck is determined by law. An employer is required to withhold this money from their employees’ paychecks and then submit the sum to the IRS.

Deductions vary from one employee to the next, based on the benefits and donations the employee has chosen. These amounts typically include healthcare, retirement, or another special fund.

It’s also the employer’s responsibility to process deductions based on the employee’s choices. If you have a paystub processing service such as Paystubs.net, then you’ll inform them of the deduction totals. Your paystub service will then handle the withholdings and deductions for you.

Social Security and Medicare 

You’ll need to deduct FICA taxes from your employees’ paychecks. This calculation is relatively straightforward, at 15.3% of the employee’s gross pay.

Half of this percentage (7.65%) is deducted from the employee’s paycheck. Then, as the employer, you’re responsible for paying the rest.

There’s also a Medicare tax deduction for your employees who have a gross pay of $200,000 or more. These employees must pay an additional 0.9%. As the employer, you won’t have to pay an additional tax.

State Income Tax 

Not all states require their citizens to pay state income taxes. If you live in Florida, Texas, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, or Alaska, then you won’t have to worry about this deduction.

However, the rest of the states require employers to deduct state income tax liabilities from their employees’ gross pay. Determine the percentage for your state and then calculate it based on the employee’s gross pay.

Retirement

Do you offer your employees a 401(k) or another retirement plan? If so, then you’ll want to provide your employees with the ability to deduct contributions from their paychecks. This could be a percentage of their gross pay or a set dollar amount.

Health Insurance 

Many companies provide their employees with group health plan coverage. The company will supplement the cost for its employees. Then, the employees will pay a portion.

The total amount deducted will depend on the individual plan that the employee chooses.

Process Your Paycheck Deductions

By now, you should have a clear understanding of what paycheck deductions are. This can help you process your employees’ paystubs correctly. This will keep you in compliance with both federal and state law.

Check out the business section of our blog for more helpful articles like this one.

What Belongs in a Will – And What Does Not?

What Belongs in a Will – And What Does Not?

Thinking about what might happen after you pass away can be difficult. For this reason, many people come up with excuses to avoid making important arrangements. When it comes to writing a Will, these excuses tend to take one of two forms: people either mistakenly think they’re too young to worry about it just now or decide that they aren’t wealthy enough for a Will to matter.

However, neither excuse makes much sense if you really think about it. It’s never too soon to write a Will. In fact, as soon as you begin accumulating personal property or find yourself in a serious relationship, it’s probably time to do so! As for the idea that Wills are only necessary for the super-rich, anything you own—from a house and car to bank accounts and personal items—will need to be divided after you pass away. It doesn’t matter how much it’s worth.

Why people decide they need a Will

When you write a Will, you’re expressing your desires for how you wish your property to be handled and distributed upon your death. Everything you own (minus any debts you owe) becomes your “estate”. You may have a preference for who will get what, and a Will is an easy way to establish this and help insure these wishes are followed.

Beyond making your wishes known, a Will can help speed up a process known as “probate”. This is when a Will is brought before the courts to confirm it is valid. Once this has been done, the instructions written within it can now be followed. Without a Will, this process can take much longer, as the courts will need to decide who’s in charge of your estate and who gets what. Having a Will can make the process much simpler and quicker, removing a bit of stress from your family’s shoulders.

Can I write a Will myself?

Any person of sound mind who is at least 18 years of age can legally make a Will in New Zealand. (In some circumstances, minors may make a Will. If you are under 18, it’s best to seek legal advice if you would like to write a Will.)

There are no laws that require you to use a solicitor when writing your Will. You may decide to take a “do it yourself” approach to save money. This may work well if your estate is straightforward and simple. In fact, there are free Will kits available to help people write simple Wills. However, if your circumstances are somewhat complex you’ll likely want to get legal advice.

What goes into a Will?

Regardless of whether you write a Will yourself or with the help of a solicitor, there are a few things that are typically part of a Will:

  • Choosing an executor: This is the person who’ll handle all matters regarding your estate and divide it once you are gone. He or she will be given legal authority to handle your affairs, settle debts, and distribute your property as directed by your Will, so it should be someone you trust. It’s a good idea to ask this person (or people, if you’re choosing more than one) before writing your Will to be sure they’re willing and able to take on the task.
  • Picking your heirs & how much they’ll get: You get to decide who inherits your estate or parts of it. These people will be named in your final Will, along with how much money, property or special gifts they are to receive.
  • Naming a guardian for your children: If you have children under the age of 18, you can name a guardian or guardians to care for them should you pass away before they reach adulthood. Your Will can also be used to create a trust, where they will only inherit their part of your estate when they reach a certain age.

What DOES NOT go into a Will?

Often, people want to put details about other arrangements they’ve made in their Will. However, this might not be the best place for them.

  • Funeral arrangements: It’s of immense help to your family if you spell out wishes for funeral arrangements, including if you’ve taken out funeral insurance to help pay for them. Dealing with these realities through planning or prepayment of expenses may be much appreciated by your family in the days after your death.

Funeral arrangements rarely appear in a Will for one practical reason: Most Wills are typically “read” several days after a funeral. By then, they’re not very useful. While you can mention desired funeral arrangements in your Will, you should also keep a separate copy of those instructions in a safe location known to several trusted family members, where it can be easily and immediately accessed.

  • Life or Funeral insurance policies: When you take out a life insurance policy, you’ll be asked to choose a beneficiary. This is the person or people that the insurer pays the benefit to when you pass away. Since this happens outside of the probate process, it does not need to be mentioned in your Will. The only time life or funeral insurance becomes part of an estate is if no beneficiary has been named.
  • Retirement or pension accounts: Like life insurance, these accounts may allow you to choose a beneficiary. They will be paid outside of the probate process and do not need to be listed as part of your estate in a Will.
  • Joint tenancy property: By law, any property owned by you and someone else as joint tenants becomes the joint tenant’s following your death. Your share of the property will pass automatically to them, regardless of any instructions to the contrary in your Will.
  • Using your estate for illegal gain: A Will is not a way to try to escape estate taxes. In fact, the probate court may deem a Will invalid if this happens. The same is true of leaving property or money to individuals for illegal purposes or under illegal conditions. If you’re unsure about the instructions in your Will, it may be best to seek legal help when writing it.

A Will is not a luxury used by only the wealthiest families. It’s an important legal tool that could help smooth the way for your loved ones after you’ve passed away. Whether you’re newly married or past retirement age, it may be time to write a Will if you haven’t already. Preparing this document may not be the most fun way to spend an afternoon, but it could bring immense relief your family when it’s finally needed.

 

An Extra Buck: 3 Legit Ways to Earn a Supplemental Income

A recent report found that one in three Americans need a side hustle to help them pay expenses.

If you’re struggling to cover your costs, you may like the idea of setting up a side hustle. But if you’re new to the world of side hustles, you might not know about the options that are open to you.

Read on, and you’ll discover three side hustle ideas that’ll provide you with a supplemental income. Implement one of these ideas, and you should be able to reduce the amount of financial stress in your life.

Let’s begin!

  1. Open an Ecommerce Store

Opening an ecommerce store is a good idea as the store can generate sales even if you’re busy at work.

If you use a platform like Shopify, it’s not that hard to set up a professional-looking store over the course of a weekend.

When it comes to marketing your ecommerce store, you can use Facebook Ads or AdWords.

You’ll need to go through a bit of trial and error to create a viable marketing campaign. However, once you find an approach that works, you can often leave your campaigns to run, without having to micro-manage them.

  1. Do Some Freelance Work

Freelancing is a great way to earn money on the side because you can decide your own hours when working on projects.

If you want to attract freelancing clients, do some work for free or at a heavily discounted rate. This will allow you to build a portfolio, which you can then show to prospective clients when trying to sell your services.

In some cases, you might find yourself with more freelancing work than you can handle.

If that happens, you may want to set up a business so that you can hire employees that will be able to handle this extra work. If you go down this route, consider investing in a pay stub creator so that you don’t make any mistakes when paying your employees.

  1. Start a YouTube Channel

If you start a YouTube channel, you will be able to earn money whenever someone watches one of your videos.

Now, a single view isn’t going to amount to a lot of money.

But, if you can build up a sizeable library of videos, as well as a large subscriber count, you should begin to earn a decent income.

Ready to Create a Supplemental Income?

The side hustle ideas in this post should help you create a supplemental income.

You may need to run through several side hustle ideas before you find one that works. This is part of the process, and if your first side hustle doesn’t work out, it’s vital you don’t give up.

It can be hard to read about the stories of people who have side hustles, while you’re struggling to achieve success. But if you keep plugging away, you should soon be able to join the masses of people that have a lucrative side hustle.

Did you like this post? If you did, please read some of the other content on our site!

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