Posts tagged: financial planning

Business Decisions to Make After Hitting the 5-Year Mark

business moneyThe five-year anniversary marks a good time for business owners to stop and evaluate the company’s status and the next steps going forward. Much will depend on where the company stands in relation to where it was half a decade ago. This metric can help small business owners gauge what the next five years have in store.

Here are some typical options for thoughtful consideration:

Expand

If you’ve been in business for five years, the next question is whether or not to expand your business. Just because you are profitable and problem-free at this point does not necessarily mean the company should grow. Investing in higher production, more employees, or expanded facilities runs the risk of over-extending your financial and managerial capabilities. But if everything is running smoothly with savings in the bank and careful use of small business loans, this may be the time to take your company to the next level in moderate rather than giant steps. Scaffold your growth incrementally to minimize the risk of loss while assessing each new phase of development.

Upgrade

With operations running smoothly, you may want to upgrade machinery or processes to save time. While this usually entails an up-front investment, with a clear eye to the economy and a realistic view of possibilities, upgrading to new or improved assets can set the bar higher to help the company reach new goals. Upgrading equipment may help to keep your business competitive within the industry while soon seeing more profitability.

Reorganize

At five years, it may be time to consider reorganizing the company. You may want to step back from leadership to let an outside person come in with fresh ideas. The business may have grown to the point that you decide to establish a subsidiary branch for a specialized offshoot product. Department divisions could become more diversified. Future growth may need to be strategized and direct the reorganization for a leaner budget or increased productivity.

Refocus

If profits are lagging or employee performance is sliding, it could be time to refocus company efforts into rebuilding the product line. This might be a good opportunity to introduce motivational employee training, too. If the company has experienced mission creep or the original goals have shifted, this is a good time to reevaluate and refocus company objectives.

Sell

When a business reaches and exceeds the original goals, another option is to sell the company. You might feel there is nothing further to be done within the company, and it is time to find a new challenge. Conversely, profits may be so low or so high that you have neither the drive nor the ambition to stay at the helm. If you decide to sell, take time to plan an effective exit strategy to optimize overall gains.

An entrepreneur who reaches the five-year sustenance goal of a business deserves applause. Rather than resting on company laurels, make a careful decision about where to take the company from here. Whether you hold on and grow via the above methods or decide to sell and move on to other endeavors, evaluate the first five years of performance in detail to see what you have learned and how that knowledge might be applied in the future.

Four effective ways to protect yourself on the financial markets

money marketWhen it comes to trading on the financial markets, you owe it to yourself to stay safe. After all, it is your own money that you will be risking! When you add in the fact that modern online trading sees you handing over your sensitive personal and banking data to brokerages, making sure that you stay fully protected is vital.

Of course, this should not scare you off from investing in the global financial markets! It is still a reputable investment method favored by many big names, such as George Soros, and one that you can take advantage of also.

Awesome tips on staying protected while trading

When it comes to staying as safe as you can, there are two things to think about. One is safeguarding against online scams and people trying to dupe you out of money. The other is how to trade in a way that protects you from the market turning against you in an extreme way.

Here are a few ways to avoid both:

1. Choose a regulated online broker

To begin with, we will look at how to keep your cash and personal details safe when trading the financial markets. Online trading has made this open to everyone now and has made investing in the markets simple for all. As with anything online though, you do need to keep your wits about you! Before handing over money and personal details to the broker you will use, check out their reputation and reviews online. Make sure that they are regulated by the relevant authorities for where they are based and also have secure website protection such as SSL or 128-bit encryption.

2. Personal cyber security

Another great tip to stay safe while trading online is to always make sure that your own cyber security is up to scratch. Change passwords to your broker and other sensitive accounts regularly so that no one can break in. You should also keep your own PC’s anti-virus software up to date at all times.

3. Diversify

When it comes to protecting yourself from major market crashes or moves, diversification is advised. This sees you spreading your investments across a range of asset classes, sectors and companies. If the market does move against you, then diversification will avoid it wiping you out totally.

4. Get the latest news

One great piece of advice for staying safe in terms of the markets themselves is to always be up to date with the current financial news. This will allow you to make the right trading decisions and manage your portfolio effectively so that you do not suffer big losses. Hammerstone Markets Inc offers a professional news feed service that many traders rely on to protect them in this way. Sign up for a free trial today to see what Hammerstone offers.

Knowledge is power

The last and perhaps best piece of advice for protecting your money when trading is to simply know what you are doing! Too many traders rush into opening trades before they know how the markets work or what their overall plan is. Take the time to educate yourself a little first and this, combined with our other tips, will help a lot.

What Is a Debt Consolidation Loan and What Are Its 7 Most Notable Advantages?

deal with debtsGrowing up, we are often told to avoid loans for the sake of maintaining good financial records (e.g., credit). We are also often taught that being financially independent is important and that we should avoid, whenever possible, borrowing money even from family and friends.

But there are situations where debt is essentially inevitable. In fact, almost 50 percent of the reason many are in debt is because of medical-related expenses which, as well all know, are not cheap and are often not avoidable. Of course, there are many other origins of debt, but nevertheless, it can be difficult to get rid of without the proper help at hand.

For the latter reason, let’s talk more about debt consolidation loans and what benefits these loans can propose if you are already in debt and need quick assistance in paying it off.

What Exactly is a Debt Consolidation Loan?

It may sound ironic, but a debt consolidation loan is a loan one receives to help them manage their current debt. You may already know this, but there are other aspects of a debt consolidation loan that are important to understand.

To get down to the details, when one receives a debt consolidation loan, all of their preexisting debt from multiple accounts and payments goes into one big account. All debt is consolidated as a single payment under just one lender, making it convenient and easy for the borrower.

One can receive a debt consolidation loan from many sources including, but not excluded to: banks, credit unions, payday lenders, and more.

However, know that debt consolidation loans are not for everyone. They won’t always provide financial advantages in all scenarios. Regardless, debt consolidation loans can also be useful for many and something they do not regret getting. For that reason, let’s talk about some of the specific advantages of opting for this refinancing option.

Advantages of Debt Consolidation Loans:

1. Helps you pay off debt quicker

One of the main reasons people turn to a debt consolidation loan is because they wish to eliminate their debt as quickly as possible. People want to get rid of debt quickly for two main reasons: 1) to avoid further penalties, fees, and interest rates and 2) to eliminate the stress of having debt.

But with everything consolidated under one source, you can better focus on tackling your debt. Your monthly payment may also be smaller, meaning no more delays in paying off debt on time as you’ll better be able to keep on top of your game.

2. Makes it clearer how much debt needs to be paid off and when

When you have multiple accounts, knowing how much to pay off and when is a juggling act. If one doesn’t have everything properly organized, things can get messy quickly. This alone may be why one is drowning in debt: because they lack the structure and ability to plan ahead to keep up with bills and current debts.

But with all debts in just one account via a debt consolidation loan, you will always know the deadline and how much you still owe. This makes paying off debts significantly easier for some people.

3. Allows you to avoid higher interest rates from creditors and credit card companies

In many cases, opting for a debt consolidation loan means getting to avoid higher interest rates. In fact, interest rates are often negotiable between 0 and 11 percent with a debt consolidation loan. Yet, many credit card companies charge a whopping 20 percent interest rate, which many cannot afford.

When paying reduced interest rates with a debt consolidation loan, you can have more money in your pocket and will be on your way to better financial security.

4. May raise your credit score

Some people when they have bad credit tend to believe that it can’t get much worse yet that it can’t get much better. They feel like they are stuck in a loop. It’s understandable why some people would think this way.

But debt consolidation can potentially help you receive a better credit score, and probably much faster than you’d think. With a better credit score, there are a plethora of benefits at hand including a better chance of getting approved for a credit card and an easier time renting or buying property.

5. Helps you avoid penalties and fees

When one can’t seem to keep up on paying their debts, penalties and fees may arise as a consequence. But it doesn’t just end there. With penalties and fees comes more stress and less money in one’s pocket, and in turn, a potentially even harder time tackling future debts.

Paying off debts quicker and smoother with a debt consolidation loan can eliminate these pesky penalties and fees as monthly payments may be smaller. Plus, debt consolidation can make it easier to plan ahead exactly what you’ll need to pay by your next due date.

6. Stops unwanted collection calls

When in debt, collection calls are not uncommon as creditors turn the account over to a collection agency. Collection agencies can appear threatening at times. That said, these calls can be frightening, annoying, and stressful to receive.

But when you are paying off debt quickly through the help of a debt consolidation loan, you can in turn avoid collection calls, allowing you to regain peace.

7. Reduces financial stress

As a result of having debt paid off quickly and getting to avoid paying higher interest rates, stress related to debt and finances in general can be reduced significantly. With less stress comes a happier, calmer mind.

With less stress, one can achieve better performance at work and stronger relationships with friends and family. Having a calmer mind can also bring better health. After all, stress can practically affect every aspect of our lives, and it isn’t until stress is eliminated that we begin to feel like our true selves again.

If you are interested in seeing how you can receive a debt consolidation loan, you can find more information here.

Conclusion

For some people, managing debt can be fairly easy. However, for others, tackling debt can be a long, stressful, and seemingly impossible process that never seems to end. In the latter case, considering getting a debt consolidation loan may be a great option. While debt consolidation isn’t for everyone, it has a plethora of advantages that many can receive from it.

But before taking the next step, be sure to research the debt consolidation loan consto ensure the benefits will outweigh the potential disadvantages in your specific case.

Peer to Peer Lending Around the World

p2p leadingPeer to peer lending has become a phenomenon throughout the world in a very short time Due to the many variations of this practice throughout the world it can be confusing to people when this subject is discussed. Each country or region has its own laws, attitudes and customs in this area and they can differ significantly. So, if you are interested in peer to peer lending as a borrower or lender, or just want to study the topic some more, then read on!

What are some of the differences in meanings for the term peer to peer lending? In many countries, particularly those that are more advanced, technology plays a larger role. Lending and peer to peer investing platforms are online and bring together lenders and borrowers from all over an entire country. Investors do not know the individual whom they are lending money to and only see an online credit profile with which to make their decision. These platforms engaged in hundreds of loans each day. They also process loan applications, check credit of the borrowers and collect payments. These are large, and in some cases, publicly traded companies.

On the other hand, in some countries peer to peer lending is more local and personal. The lender will likely meet the borrower and they will develop a relationship. These relationships can ultimately result in several loans and the trust that allows a borrower to get more money if they have been faithful in their payments.

In some countries, the purpose of peer to peer loans is mostly to pay off credit cards or refinance existing debt. In other places, these loans may be more likely used to start a small business or pay unexpected medical expenses. There are also many other reasons to take these loans and more personal relationships allow the lender to assess the needs of the borrower and the likelihood that the loan will be repaid.

The laws of the land also play a big factor in how these loans, platforms and relationships work. Privacy laws may limit the types of information that a lender can know about the borrower. For example, a loan request for medical expenses may not include details about the borrowers specific medical issues. Credit reporting and bankruptcy laws also vary by country which affects the information available to lenders and may make is harder for them to assess the viability of certain loans. In areas where lender and borrower meet, the personal appeal and information provided by the borrower can go a long way in convincing the investor to make the transaction.

As the world has seen rapid adoption of this type of loan over the past ten years, the number of platforms and models has grown dramatically. Also, governments have scrambled to make laws protecting both borrower and investor. While there have been some issues, for the most part this type of lending has been highly effective for both parties and the future seems bright. Experts expect the outlook to continue to be good and growth forecasts indicate the market will continue to increase significantly.

Rent’s Due and Money’s Tied Up: Quick Solutions to Footing the Bill

money billsFor some people, renting is a lot more affordable and easier than owning a home. There’s no property taxes, homeowners insurance, maintenance, or repairs that you have to cover. Though it can be convenient to simply pay rent, there are months where footing the bill is easier said than done. A car repair, high utility bill, medical emergency, family emergency, or a mix up with your paycheck can exhaust your funds leaving you in a bit of a jam.

There’s a lot of programs that help homeowners struggling to afford their mortgage payments, but what can you do as a tenant? With only a few weeks before the first and the threat of eviction for nonpayment, you may feel like you’re back is against the wall. Before you throw in the towel and wave your white flag, here are some quick solutions to getting that rent paid.

Work Something Out with Your Landlord

First and foremost, let your landlord know that you’re going to be a bit late on the rent this month. This prepares them financially and could stop them from starting the eviction process. Ask for an extension on the rental payment if possible. If you’re usually good on paying, they may be willing to work out an arrangement with you where you break the past due amount up into smaller amounts and add them onto the regular rental payments until you’re caught up.

Move Some Things Around

Now, take a look at your personal finances. Are there bills that you were due to pay on or around the same time your rent was due? Can these bills be paid at a later date? This can free up some cash you need now and give you more time to pay the other bills later. If another bill is going to be late, reach out to the service provider to inform them to try and avoid fees or collection efforts.

Sell Some Things

When things get down to the nitty gritty sometimes the only way it can be handled is to sacrifice. Perhaps you can clean out your rental property and sell some things for cash. You can get a quick response by taking photos and using an online app to sell to interested parties nearby.

Installment Loans

If your rent payment is due and the deadline is only a few days away, you probably won’t have time to earn enough to pay the balance in full. If you’re simply dealing with a temporary setback (a higher energy bill) and not a serious financial crisis (loss of employment), there are installment loan direct lenders that will lend you a helping hand. If you meet the minimal eligibility criteria, you could have several hundred or thousand dollars deposited into your account within a few business days. Then, you can pay the loan off with conveniently monthly payments.

Get a Roommate

If you’re dealing with an ongoing financial problem like the loss of a job or a decrease in pay, you may want to consider finding a roommate to move in with you. This can be a friend or family member who is in need of a place to stay. You might also offer a room to college students or single individuals who don’t mind a small space. Make sure this is alright with your landlord prior to offering your space. Having someone else in the place with you cuts down on all costs ensuring you can pay your rent on time.

Try Ridesharing

If you can’t get enough to pay your rent from your income, perhaps the solution is to boost your income. Ridesharing has become increasingly popular. Many companies even offer a sign-on bonus of a few hundred dollars. You can get paid a decent amount each day depending on how frequently you drive and where you live.

Government or Private Assistance

Lastly, there are some options for renters who have fallen on hard times. Check with your city, state, and county to find out about government and/or private programs that help tenants with back rent. You may need to meet certain criteria, but if eligible you could have your rent paid for you and even reduced in the month’s ahead.

As cost-effective as renting can be for some individuals, there are times when paying the rent each month is impossible. If your funds are all tied up or you’re going through something that will change your finances temporarily or permanently, there are still resolutions to getting your rent paid. Remember, start by talking with your landlord to avoid eviction procedures and then consider the tips listed above to accumulate the cash you need.