5 Reasons to Take Out a Life Insurance Policy

Life insurance is one of those things that everyone knows they need, but most put off getting, thinking they are young and healthy and don’t need to worry about it just yet.  For many families, this is a huge mistake, especially if you will be unable to sustain your current lifestyle with one less wage coming in.  In this article, we explain five reasons why life insurance is important.

1. Financial Security

Life insurance acts as a form of financial security for your loved ones should you pass away.  While you may be young and healthy at the moment, accidents do happen and in the worst-case scenario, isn’t it better that your family is taken care of financially?  This is especially important if your family relies on your income to survive.  Most life insurance policies pay out upon death, ensuring that your family is still able to pay the rent/mortgage and bills while they grieve.

2. To Cover Funeral Expenses

Even basic funeral services can cost several thousand dollars and most families don’t have this amount of money set aside.  While it is possible to pay in advance for your funeral, if you’re still young, this is probably something you don’t want to consider just yet.  Plus, there are risks involved with pre-paying for a funeral.  Life insurance gives you more of a guarantee that there will be funds available should the worst happen.  This will lift a burden off your family when they need it most.

3. Pay Off Debt

Not all debts are erased when you die, and this is especially true of any debts you may share with someone else, such as your mortgage.  Rather than letting your spouse take full responsibility for debts that they are unable to afford, take out a life insurance policy.  You can set up your policy to cover all of your outstanding debts, so that they are cleared in full upon your death.  The last thing your family needs while grieving is to be dealing with creditors and collection agencies.

4. Business Planning

If you run a business, life insurance is a necessity and not something that is optional.  This is especially true if you run a partnership, as both partners need a policy to ensure the other isn’t left holding all of the financial responsibilities of the company should a death occur.  Life insurance will help ensure that the business continues after your death and that none of your hard work goes to waste due to financial troubles.

5. To Cover Estate Taxes

Finally, if you plan to pass your estate to loved ones after your death, in some countries, they will have to pay a certain amount of tax on the assets they receive.  In some cases, this may mean they end up having to sell your assets in order to pay the fees.  A life insurance policy can help ensure this doesn’t happen by paying out a set amount that will cover any taxes that are due.

If you’ve been wondering whether life insurance is important, hopefully, this article has shown you that it is.

What Is Freight Factoring?

Freight factoring has become an increasingly popular form of financing in the trucking industry because it is a great fit for the average trucking company’s business model. Essentially, the factoring company advances you the value of your unpaid invoice, minus a small factoring fee, so that you can continue to run your business rather than following up with customers for payment. This allows you to focus on chasing leads and growth opportunities rather than chasing customers.

If you run a trucking business of any size and routinely face cash flow crises, learn what every truck driver needs to know about invoice factoring and start streamlining your available cash on hand by selling your invoices upfront at a discount. This type of financing has fast become a major advantage that American carriers of all sizes have been incorporating into their overall financial toolkit for years.

If you have customers that take 30 to 60 to 90 days to pay on deliveries you’ve already made, freight factoring becomes a very helpful tool because it allows you to secure the money you need upfront by selling unpaid invoices that are simply sitting and collecting dust in the meantime.

Also, the factoring company that buys the invoices from you then collects on your behalf, which frees up your time and energy to focus on more important things such as running your company.

When you ‘sell’ your invoices to a third-party factoring company, here’s what happens:

  • If a customer is approved, the factoring company first sends a notice of assignment to let them know that you, the carrier, have authorized collection on that invoice
  • Your factoring company will then pay you up to 97% of the value of the invoice in the form of an advance (less a nominal factoring fee)
  • The factor will keep the remaining 3% in reserve
  • They will then collect on the invoice, and the reserve will be remitted once they do

Once they receive their advance, trucking companies can use the money on whatever they need. They can purchase new equipment, they can put the money toward covering overhead, or they can use the cash on anything they deem appropriate to keeping their trucks on the road and increasing their profitability.

While some may argue that the trucking industry is in deep trouble, by speeding up cash flow through factoring invoices, thousands of U.S. trucking companies have seen their businesses double or even triple in size and revenue.

Factoring has become such a mainstream financing option for trucking businesses because it offers several key advantages:

1. Keep your balance sheet clean — Because factoring is not a loan, your accounts receivable are is converted into a liquid asset instead of adding a new liability that might adversely affect your creditworthiness.

2. Fast approval — Customers are approved quickly, and cash advances are often deposited the same day the invoices are factored.

3. Funding available regardless of size — Whether you are a small startup, or you own dozens of trucks, there is a freight factor that can help you.

4. Creditworthiness — Factors, unlike banks, base their approval in part on your customers’ creditworthiness. You may qualify for factoring even if you have poor personal credit, as long as your invoices are not committed elsewhere.

5. Back-office support — Factoring allows your freight factor to handle collections on your behalf, and provides other much-needed back-office support, so you can focus on providing quality service for your customers.

When you are suffering from a lack of cash on hand, a top-tier freight bill factoring company such as Accutrac Capital can offer the help you need. Application often takes as little as 3 to 4 days, and once they’ve been approved, you can start to receive same day advances on customer invoices. Melt away those cash flow freezes and warm up to freight factoring today.

5 Things You Should Know About The Costs Of Selling Your Home

When you decide to sell a house, prepare to incur more charges on top of the commission you will pay the agent. Some of the costs you will pay are closing costs, repair costs, staging costs and relocating costs. Other costs that can be incurred include landscaping, cleaning and repairs.  Also, you may incur additional charges as you look for the highest bidder. This article delves into costs that you need to know about when you decide to sell your house. It will help you know how much it costs to sell your house.

  1. Real estate commission

It is the amount of money you pay the agent that will market your house. Most agents charge between 5-10%.

  1. Preparing the home for sale.

Before you list the home, it is critical to ensure that it is ready for the market. This way, it will attract buyers who will be willing to pay more.  Also, you need to hire somebody to clean the carpet. It will cost you about $50 to hire a professional cleaner.

  1. Staging

You will incur expenses to arrange your home to make its best features be seen. The features will attract buyers and make them want to pay more. It entails improving on the décor, arranging the furniture to make it more appealing. To do this, you may need to hire a stager. When you stage your house, it will increase the selling price by an average of about 5%. They will charge you about $3,200 to do the job. You can save this money if you choose to do the staging by yourself. But the problem is that you may not do the job to the expected standards.

  1. Landscaping cost

Very few people know that the outside of a home is important when you want to sell it. So, you will need to spend some money on the landscape to increase the value of your home. Note that the landscape matters a lot to online shoppers.  They will be looking at things like flowers, mulching, pruning, and the loan cover.

  1. Home repairs

Of course, most of you think this is the most important thing when you want to sell a house. Yes, it is, and it determines how much money you will get when you sell off the property. All you need to do is to ensure that your home is looking good before you list it. It will reduce the likelihood of making huge concessions when you put the offer on the table. Have a home inspection check-list and walk through all the necessary repairs one at a time. Also, ensure that you give your house a new coat of paint.

Once you have done the repairs, landscaping, and staging the home, the house will be ready for listing.  List it with agents who understand their job. Don’t go for cheap agents since they are likely to sell the house at a low price. A good agent should charge you between 5 and 6 percent.

Save Money by Hiring a Business Attorney

Whether you are just starting your business or have been in business for decades, it’s important to have a business attorney you can trust on retainer. Small businesses may not see the need to have an attorney, but there are many situations where an attorney is a definite asset. Here are four areas where a business attorney can come in handy and save you money.

Contracts

Business law attorneys understand the need and purpose of contracts. Having an attorney review contracts helps them hold up better in court. Lawsuits happen but having an enforceable contract can save you money in the event one happens to your business. There are times when an attorney can help you obtain better terms on an existing contract such as a lease agreement or vendor contract. Knowing the right contract to use in a given situation is their job.

Taxes

The way your business is set up can have long-term tax advantages and disadvantages. A business attorney can help you choose the right type of business entity that best serves you. A tax attorney can help your business in the event of a sale or purchase, starting up or other legal issues with taxes. Knowing the legal implications of the tax code is an essential asset for many businesses.

Ownership

If your business involves more than one owner, a lawyer can help you tackle ownership or partnership agreements. Laying out these ahead of time can help prevent any costly ownership disputes later. Outlining those agreements with an attorney holds up in court if one or more owners decide to split at a later date. They are also important if capital needs to be raised.

Employees

The current employment marketplace has become a little more fluid thanks to the rise of the gig economy. An attorney versed in employment law can help you how to classify workers within the business. Employees may sue the business for a variety of reasons, but most claims come down to discrimination. A potential employee may sue on grounds of discrimination during the hiring process. Having an attorney on retainer can help your business develop policies and procedures that reduce discrimination in all areas.

Contact an attorney to get the legal advice your business needs. Choose an attorney who understands your industry, has good reviews and is one you trust. The lawyer is there to work for you and your business. A quality attorney can save your business, large or small, money and hassle.

The Benefits of Using Whiteboard Animation in Business: Why It’s Still So Effective

It has been quite a few years since whiteboard animations were first introduced in business, but their success rate has not dwindled at all, in spite of there being much more complex options available in animation video development nowadays. In fact, whiteboard animations are still so popular and successful because of the very simplicity that they bring to even the most complex of projects. In case you have not tried to use modern whiteboard animation in your business yet, here are some of the primary benefits that you will come to appreciate soon after trying out it out for the first time, even for a service provider business like Fix It Right leak detection plumber Melbourne.

Whiteboard Animations Engage Immediately

Whether you are marketing your brand or trying to promote a product on social media, the key to the campaign’s success lies in being able to engage the attention of your target audience. The same goes for explainer videos in a business setting as well, especially when you are trying to catch the attention of a potential client.

Whiteboard animations are just naturally unmatched at doing exactly this because of their simple yet engaging art style. While flashy animations might immediately grab the attention of the audience, more often than not, they are unable to hold the interest of the audience like a whiteboard can. When somebody surfs through the newsfeed on social media sites, they are generally not looking to spend too much time or brainpower on one video, so if it seems like too much work, most people will likely not be watching the video, unfortunately.

The humble whiteboard video, on the other hand, doesn’t seem as intimidating and, as a result, the audience doesn’t feel like they have to think too much about it or spend too much time on the video, which results in a large number of them actually finishing the short video, rather than leaving halfway. In other words, these videos are not only capable of engaging the immediate attention of the audience, but they are also quite successful at retaining that interest.

The Hand Drawn Effect Fires Up Mirror Neurons

If you have ever watched any quality whiteboard animation, then you probably know that they usually feature a human hand holding a pen or a pencil and actually drawing out everything that you see on the screen, alongside a voice that guides the audience through the different stages and developments in and among the creations.

It has been seen that scientifically speaking, this makes the audience subconsciously feel like they are the ones drawing and that directly makes the content seem more interesting, engrossing, and easier to understand. The phenomenon occurs when the mirror neurons in the human brain are engaged and the audience actually feels like he/she is the person doing what is being shown on screen or done by someone else.

Whiteboard animations are able to engage the mirror neurons and, as a result, the audience feels more satisfied than they would after watching any other form of video. In marketing, this results in the target audience associating positive feelings with the promoted brand and/or product.

They are Superb Tools for Explaining Complicated Concepts

Whiteboard animations are better at explaining most things, for multiple reasons, some of which we have already discussed. This makes the simple video perfect for teaching new and somewhat complicated concepts to employees during training and to clients while selling. When employees are engaged in watching a video and they actually feel good after watching it, you can rest assured that they will learn the core concepts better and faster.

Similarly, when you are trying to sell something to another business or directly to customers, it is imperative that the concerned party understands how your product will benefit them. A whiteboard video is perfect for that as well.

The Question of Economy

Cost-to-performance ratio is what business budgets are all about and this is once again where whiteboard videos win big. It isn’t always about how big or small your budget is, but how much return can you get from the money you had just spent on making and promoting something. As whiteboards are both cost-effective and have a high rate of success, it’s a win-win scenario both in terms of maintaining a budget and carrying out a successful campaign. Besides, the distinctively simple and yet creative nature of whiteboards actually gives the business and the hired studio an opportunity to do pretty much whatever they want

Are All Whiteboard Animations Successful in Doing What they are Meant to?

The success rate is high when using whiteboards, but that’s only true when the work is good. There is a constant demand for whiteboard animations as these facts we just discussed are not exactly secret and a lot of companies are actively trying to take advantage of that in every field. In order to stand out with the work and get the best out of your investment, it is important that your videos are developed on top of a unique, but relatable concept, with methodical execution.

The competition is likely trying to do the same thing as you, so to get a step ahead of them, plan, create, and place your whiteboards with precision and professionalism.

Applying for a business loan? Do your math first!

If you are a business owner you know that investing is the best way to grow your company and gain new clients. The real challenge is knowing where to obtain the funding that allows you to invest in your business.

If you want to apply for a business loan you need to make sure the terms are convenient for you, but you should also research as much as you can in order to make the best choice.

Investment, interest, and gains

When considering a business loan you should ask yourself how much you are going to pay in interest during the life of the loan. You need to decide if it’s reasonable compared to other alternatives.

A fixed interest rate is better than an adjustable or variable one as it gives you additional confidence that the payments will not change as you improve your business. A low-interest rate is welcomed, but you should also base your choice on other considerations such as a quick approval period.

In addition to interest, you should be aware of other costs associated with the loan. Banks have a series of commissions that they charge when giving or administering a loan; you should know how much they add up to in order to have a clear idea of the total cost.

The most important aspect you should know is how much will your monthly payment be. You need to compare the revenues you’re going to gain from investing with the cost of the loan. It’s what we call Return On Investment, or ROI.

An accurate prediction about your gains is what’s needed to make the best choice. The ROI will help clear your mind and decide if requesting a loan is worth it and if you can make the payments consistently.

Santiago’s Business Expansion

We will consider the case of Santiago who has a clothing store. Business is going well but he considers expanding. He wants to open an adjacent store that will sell athletic sportswear and footwear.

He anticipates that the revenues from the second location will be higher than the initial one. He is considering a loan of $70,000 in order to pursue this plan. Santiago predicts that he will register $2,000 in monthly profits. He then decides that the best thing he could do before contacting a lender is to use a small business loan calculator. A calculator will help him get a clearer impression of the associated costs of the loan.

He uses the loan calculator and enters an interest rate of 10% that is compounded monthly. The loan term will be 10 years, and payments will be made monthly. There is an origination commission of 5% and a documentation commission of $750.

By using the business loan calculator Santiago learns that the monthly payment will be $925. This is well below 80% of monthly profits. The total cost of the loan is $111,000. The sum is also below the total profit the investment will bring over the specified period: $240,000.

If Santiago made his predictions correctly, he is in a position where he will not only gain a lot of new clients, but he will register considerable profits. The characteristics and figures he listed for the loan are realistic and he can easily change them to match the specifications of the loan he’s getting from the bank.

The revenues outweigh the costs even if he pays interest and commissions for the loan.

Santiago decided to take a loan. He has based this decision on strong arguments and good reasoning. Now he has the opportunity to improve his business and increase his revenues.

If you are a business owner you could most likely be in a very similar situation. It is understandable if you have your doubts, but these usually originate from uncertainty and not having the complete picture about the costs and process of applying for loans. Using a business loan calculator can help you to take the best decision in order to have a brighter future.

Here’s How to Handle Corporate Insolvency

Business owners pour so much of themselves into their companies to keep things running while chasing their dreams of growth. Despite someone’s best efforts there is always a chance of insolvency. The world of business comes with plenty of risks, including insolvency. In fact, financial stress is far from uncommon these days with 46 percent of Canadians living $200 or less away from financial insolvency and 31 percent admitting to not earning enough income to cover bills and debt payments.

Unlike personal bankruptcy, the reality of corporate bankruptcy usually affects a wide net of people involved with the business such as the owners, the business investors, the employees and their family members, and any suppliers, too.

The First Step in Relief

If your business is facing overwhelming debt and you don’t see any way out, it’s time to team up with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (formerly known as a bankruptcy trustee) at David Sklar & Associates. They offer an empathetic and knowledgeable approach. They can inform you about debt relief services that can help while they assess your particular circumstance.

What Constitutes a Business?

These days businesses take many different shapes and forms. Are you unsure if you qualify as a business for your bankruptcy or Division 1 Proposal? Under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, most corporations and partnerships can proceed as a business while sole proprietorships must apply for debt relief as an individual.

Division 1 Proposal

There are two types of insolvent debtors who can seek this method of debt relief. Under a Division 1 Proposal, insolvent individuals who owe more than $250,000 in debt (excluding their main residence’s mortgage) and insolvent businesses can pay back a portion of the debt to their creditors in regular payments over a fixed amount of time.

Without filing for bankruptcy, the debtor can stop all collections actions or wage garnishments and proceed under the terms of the proposal. It’s a great solution for those who want to avoid bankruptcy, and one that not many know is available.

Business Basics

As you seek help and advice from a bankruptcy trustee, you are likely thinking about what went wrong with your venture. Perhaps you’re wondering what’s next or how you’re going to continue to earn an income now that your business has gone bankrupt. Some of the reasons why businesses go down this path is because they simply forget about some of the basics for a company’s survival.

As you move past your corporate insolvency, keep these basics in mind:

  • Businesses must have enough liquid cash to cover emergency costs
  • Businesses must have enough assets to cover taxes or pay off loans
  • Businesses must continually generate profit (more income than revenue) to stay viable

With the basics of business in mind, a plan of action, and a bankruptcy trustee’s help, you don’t need to fear your corporate debt. It’s possible to find relief and carve a new path to financial freedom.

Business Finance 101: 8 Surefire Ways to Keep Track of Your Business Finances

The IRS says 40 percent of small and mid-sized businesses pay payroll tax penalties each year. The most common issue is missed and late payments.

Of course, payroll isn’t the only aspect of business finance you need to pay attention to. The situation illustrates why you need to keep tabs on your finances though. If payroll isn’t conducted properly, it could cost you.

The same is true of other aspects of your business finance. For example, late payments to vendors could result in late fees or other penalties. If you don’t report your business income the right way, the IRS might audit you.

Many business owners struggle with keeping their finances straight. There may not be time to keep things organized. You might find it difficult to understand some aspects of business tax.

If that’s the case, it’s time to get back to basics. Our article tours Business Finance 101, showing you eight ways to stay on top of your finances.

1. Keeping a Separate Bank Account is Business Finance 101

The first thing you should do is separate personal finances and business finances. Although this might seem like an extra cost or more administrative work, it will save you time later on.

Why is it so important to keep separate accounts? When you’re managing business finances, you don’t want the personal to get mixed up in the business side of things. This leads to confusion and takes you longer to sort out business-related expenses.

This can also lead to mistakes like overestimating expenses or claiming personal costs as write-offs.

2. Create a Revenue Forecast

The next thing to do in small business financial management is create a revenue forecast. This projection gives you an estimate of what funds you expect the business to bring in.

Many business owners see this as a waste of time. Your forecasts often change when you’re running a small business. A client may scale back their account or a large order may not come through.

The forecast document is still important, because it gives you an idea of what to expect and when to expect it. This helps you manage your expenditures most effectively. If you know you have a few low-income months coming up, you can prepare for them.

3. Understand Your Tax Obligations

As we said, the IRS has estimated about 40 percent of all SMBs are assessed payroll penalties every year. Better management of finances for small business can cure this problem.

The best thing you can do is read up on your tax obligations. You’ll have different tax responsibilities if you’re self-employed versus an employer.

A good understanding of how your business will be taxed can also show you opportunities. Maybe you’ve been thinking about technology upgrades, and a tax incentive seals the deal. Knowing what to expect also helps you prepare to meet your tax responsibilities.

4. Use the Right Software

If you’ve ever wondered about how to manage a small business, you’ve probably heard of a software solution. For almost any business management problem these says, there’s software.

Some of this software is worth its salt. Adopting financial management software or accounting software is a great idea.

How can you know you’ve got the right solution for your business? The experts at Stampli suggest you look for the following:

  • A clean, easy-to-understand management dashboard
  • Simple integration with the other software solutions you use
  • An interactive approval system

The right software helps you streamline everything from accounts payable to payroll.

5. Think about Financing Options

There comes a point when almost every successful SMB will need a cash injection. Most often, you’ll need to seek capital to expand the business.

You have plenty of financing options, from microlenders to big bank loans. Review your options and determine which one is right for you.

Keep in mind that your personal credit score has an effect on business borrowing. If your credit rating is less than stellar, there are things you can do to improve. By taking action now, you can prepare to submit loan applications in the future.

6. Review Your Costs

A fundamental part of how to manage business finances is looking at expenditures. Whether it’s paying for office space or buying supplies, your business needs to spend to get things done.

You need to keep a close eye on your expenses, since they can get out of hand. You may love your swanky new office space, but is it costing you too much?

Contractors, supplies, and more can all add up. Managing these costs will help you improve the bottom line.

7. Stay on Top of the Day-to-Day

The most common reason for payroll penalties is late or missed payments. This often happens because small business owners leave finance to the last second.

Most small business owners are busy people. Whether you’re self-employed or you have a few employees, you likely wear many hats. In this busy environment, tasks like finances can be pushed aside.

Staying on top of the day-to-day management of your business finances is key. Most financial tasks are more manageable when you take them one step at a time.

You’ll also be more accurate if you do things like record expenses when they happen. This can also help you stay on top of payments, so you can avoid those late fees.

8. Get a Helping Hand

Unless you’re an accountant yourself, there’s going to be a point where it makes sense to leave financial management to someone with more expertise. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it might make sense to hire a bookkeeper or accountant to help out.

Don’t forget that you can consult with experts to get a helping hand with individual tasks.

Stay Ahead of the Financial Game

With Business Finance 101 under your belt, you’re ready to tackle business finance. If you still need a helping hand, don’t worry.

Our blog is chock-full of great tips about making and managing money. Check out some of our great articles for more.