Posts tagged: financial planning

Should You Invest In Money Back Plans or Endowment Policies?

get your moneyChoosing a life insurance plan is always a difficult task as there are a plethora of insurance products available. Apart from various other life insurance products, two traditional life insurance plans in which many of us get confused is money back plan and endowment plan. People could not find out whether they should go for the best endowment policy or opt for a money back plan. Well to overcome this confusion we are here discussing the basic difference between these two plans:

Money Back Plan and Endowment Plan – An Overview

Both money back and endowment plans are there in the market for quite a long time, but people are not sure which to select as most of them could not find out the basic difference between the two.

Even though both the plans are life insurance cum savings plans, but there is a slight difference between both of these. This slight difference lies in their survival benefits. The survival benefit that endowment plan pays upon maturity of the policy includes the sum assured as well as a bonus. On the other hand, the money back policy pays out the survival benefit usually as a fixed percentage of the sum assured at regular time intervals during the tenure of the policy. However, in case of money back policy the remaining sum assured with bonuses are paid to the insured upon maturity of the policy. In case of demise of the policyholder, both money back and endowment plans pay the sum assured to the nominee of the policy.

In this way, both these plans are savings plans, but the money back plans are there to fulfill the short term goals of the policyholder as they payout at regular intervals.While endowment plans provide a huge sum assured upon maturity of the policy.

Let us look at the fundamental difference between these two through the following table:

Factor to Consider Money Back Plans Endowment Plans
Benefits The insured gets a % of sum assured at a specific time interval and the remaining sum assured is given with bonuses at the maturity of the policy if the insured survives the plan term. The specified sum assured as well as all the applicable bonuses are given at the time of policy’s maturity if the policyholder survives the policy term.
Death Benefit Both the plans pay the sum assured as well as applicable bonuses on the death of the policyholder if he/she dies during the policy term.

Basically, money back plan pays out regular income after a regular interval and most of the times it is 5 years. Generally, for a policy of 20 years, the survival benefit that a policyholder gets becomes 120% of the total sum assured.

Policy Year’s End Survival Benefit As % of Basic Sum Assured of the Plan
5 years 20%
10 years 20%
15 years 20%
20 years 60% + Vested Bonus
Total Benefit = 120%

Which policy is better?

If the aim a person behind purchasing a policy is to fulfill his/her short term goals and get some money after a regular interval, the money back plans are best for them. There are much money back plans available online and one can purchase the best money back policy according to his/her requirements.

However, if one’s aim of the investment is to accumulate large corpus and get it at the time of maturity of the policy, then selecting an endowment plan is recommended. In this way, it is entirely choice of a policyholder to decide which plan is best suited for him/her. There are many endowment plans also available and to select the best one must know his/her requirements first.

One should always remember that it is the personal expectation and requirements of an individual that should be kept in mind before selecting a plan as investment and life cover.

Summing It Up!

Before selecting any of the plans out of these two policies, it is suggested to check an individual’s objective of investment and his/her expectations from it. One way to do this is to compare different policies on the bases of its inclusions, benefits, and rider benefits provided in it. See an individual’s expectation with that plan. If both match then finalizing that plan can be taken into consideration. One can compare different policies of money back plans and endowment plan online with the help of a good insurance web aggregator. Last but not least, both these plans are good investment plans and it is just the requirement of an individual from the policy. So, do not hesitate, just understand the inclusions of your plan and enjoy the benefits.

Best Loans for Building Credit History

good credit historyIndividuals who have poor credit or little to no credit history typically struggle with low self-esteem as they may find it difficult to qualify for credit or a loan. Naturally, they often wonder how they can start to repair or build their credit. If you fall under one of those categories, you are not alone. A credit builder loan can help as it is tailored to specifically improve or build credit. Over time, it allows you to develop a good credit score, which can help you to qualify for a credit card or loan with better rates.

What are the Requirements for a Credit Builder Loan?

You generally don’t need good credit to qualify for installment loans to build credit history. However, you must prove that you have sufficient income to make payments back toward the loan. The amount that you ultimately receive on the loan is stored in a bank account as you pay it back. When you pay back the credit builder loan, your timely payments are reported to the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Your payments will help to improve your credit score and credit reputation over time, which can also improve your social reputation and self-esteem. The loans are commonly referred to as “fresh start loans” and are usually acquired through small financial institutions like community banks and credit unions.

China’s Social Credit System can serve as a guideline for improving a person’s social reputation and standing in comparison with an American consumer’s good credit history. The country has instituted a law that places restrictions on both people and businesses with low credit ratings and creditworthiness. This is essentially similar to restrictions that American consumers face when they have poor or no credit history as they are limited in terms of qualifying for credit and loans.

How to Secure a Credit Builder Loan

There are specific steps you can take toward securing a loan to build credit. They include the following:

• Find a credit builder loan: Search for loans that include payment levels that are comfortable for you to afford. It’s wise to avoid spreading your budget too thin with higher payments as you can end up having trouble paying back the loan. The best thing to do is opt for lower payments and terms lasting no longer than 24 months.

• Apply for a loan: If you are approved after applying for a loan, the money is placed into a savings account from which you have no access until after you have fully repaid the loan. Essentially, this is in place to protect the lender.

• Make timely payments: It’s important to make timely payments toward the loan. In return, the lender sends positive reports to the credit bureaus. Avoid making payments over 30 days late as that can have a negative impact on your credit score.

• Monitor your credit score: You can regularly monitor your credit score through personal finance websites or services.

• Collect loan proceeds, plus interest: At the end of the loan’s term, you will receive the funds and will see an improved credit score.

Finding Credit Builder Loans

It can be challenging to find credit builder loans. You can search online for institutions in your state that offer them and search for online lenders as well. Generally, credit unions usually have the best interest rates due to their membership requirements.

You can also find a loan through a Community Development Financial Institution, which helps individuals with lower incomes. Lending Circles is a program that is operated by a nonprofit that can also offer credit builder loans.

Avoiding the ATM Pitfalls: 7 Credit Card Tips for Traveling Abroad

card using tipsHere are some pointers on how to use your credit card wisely abroad and suggestions for using a travel card plus other savvy tips that should ensure you get the benefits of using your plastic on foreign soil without costing more than it should.

Before you go

It should be remembered that some credit cards are more attractive than others when it comes to overseas use and it would be a smart move to check out which of the cards in your wallet are international-friendly.

Using your credit card abroad will often incur a transaction fee and a withdrawal fee at the ATM, but you will find that some card companies either don’t charge any extra fees or offer much lower transaction charges than some of their rivals.

Shop around and check to see which is the best card to have with you abroad.

ATM agony

Drawing cash out of an ATM is quick and easy but it can be one of the most expensive ways of using your credit card, especially abroad.

The card company will likely charge you a cash advance fee and interest on the amount you take out and there may well be a foreign transaction fee on top of that too.

Try to plan your trip so that you don’t have to use an ATM unless your card provider is one that doesn’t apply punitive charges and interest.

Keep it local

Another potential sting in the tail is when the merchant offers to convert the transaction into your local currency rather than theirs.

This is invariably a bad idea as the conversion rate is not normally as good as the “mid-market rate” that card providers use when they make the conversion on your statement.

Tell your credit card company

Having chosen the card or cards that you are going to use abroad it makes good sense to tell them of your travel plans in advance.

If your card starts being used abroad and you haven’t told them beforehand they might assume that the transactions are fraudulent, which could mean they decline a purchase or block the card altogether.

Save the hassle by notifying the card provider so that they won’t flag foreign purchases as suspicious.

A bit of peace of mind

It is worth pointing out that there are definite benefits to using a credit card abroad too, and one of those plus points is the fact that you should get payment protection.

If you buy something that is faulty and it is not feasible to get a refund from the retailer your card company should offer payment protection and cover any potential loss you might otherwise have suffered if you paid for something in cash.

Find a secure connection

If you are using a banking app or accessing your account over the internet while abroad make sure that you find a secure connection rather than rely on somewhere more vulnerable like an Internet cafe.

You don’t want to find that your personal details have been compromised.

Lost or stolen

If your credit card is lost or stolen don’t waste any time telling your credit card company.

Any delay could give someone the chance to wreak havoc with your card if it’s fallen into the wrong hands.

Even though it might be a pain to interrupt your holiday to call your bank it could save a lot more hassle later on.

Avoid the classic credit card pitfalls and if you choose your card provider wisely it should make using it abroad a breeze.

Applying for an appropriate loan during retirement – Know the ins and outs

retirement loansRetirees can own cars and houses but does that mean that they can never use a loan? From offering tax benefits to paying for urgent expenses, loans can often be of immense benefit for the elder Americans for more than one reason. It is pretty common for the retirees to realize that they usually require getting their hands on lots of money. Seniors can have costly expenses like medical emergencies, they can suddenly realize that a part of their home requires a big renovation or even decide to help their grandchildren with bearing some kind of expenses.

Irrespective of the reason that a retiree can have in obtaining a loan, the application process is similar to working adults and retirees. However, the older applicants can require going through few other steps like showing an added income stream to display their ability to repay the loan on time. While there are several types of installment loans and online loans to take resort to, you should know the ins and outs of borrowing funds.

The process of choosing the appropriate loan

The senior Americans can be eligible for several loan types, personal loans backed by collateral, home loan, auto loan to name a few. Among these options, refinancing a home loan can be appealing due to the fact that you can deduct the interest from your tax returns. While there are several forms of income in retirement like IRAs, traditional 401(k)s which are not taxable, but they should never borrow from these as they can have an adverse impact on retirement income.

There are seniors also who may watch out for personal loans or payday loans from online sources like PaydayMe. These loans can also be enough for them to meet their immediate personal financial needs. The best way to make sure you are on the right track is by speaking to a loan expert who totally understands your financial situation. Watch out for all the options that are there in the market.

Have realistic thoughts about your repayment ability

Just because a senior can qualify for any loan type, this doesn’t mean that he should take out any loan that he wants. Those retirees who are living on a tight budget should understand their needs and wants before considering a loan. Due to the fact that seniors have restrained money to stretch over, the present life spans are making it tough for people to reach 80s, 90s and even more than that. Spending your entire retirement life on repaying debt could make it tougher for you to sustain the savings for a certain time period.

No matter whichever option you choose for borrowing money, you have to be sure that you’re able to pay back the money on time. If you’re not able to do that, you will start incurring high interest debt which will push you towards a vicious cycle of debt. Debt can spoil your golden years and hence it is best when you take steps to keep debts at bay.

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.