Posts tagged: investments

Paving the Road to Financial Security

financial safetyFor many people, financial security is something that always seems to be just out of reach. And while there is no doubt that it cannot be achieved overnight (unless you have a big lottery win) paving the road to financial security is something that you should be aiming for your entire life. Ultimately, it is all about getting into some good habits and making some savvy decisions. So, here a few financial points that you should consider whatever point of life you are at.

Recognize Yourself as Your Biggest Asset

Developing your skills, knowledge and experience will stand you in good stead when it comes to your financial future. You never know when you may need to call on these things that you have learned over the years. Rather than squirreling away that extra bit of money every month, you will be far better off treating yourself as an investment. So you could decide to complete a course or have some lessons in something instead.

Set Short-term Goals

Many people have long-term financial goals that they aim to achieve, but it is impossible to predict what twists and turns your life will take. Instead, you should choose some measurable and attainable short-term goals to focus your time on. As an example, you could aim to pay off your credit card debt. Make sure that you set a specific time limit on this, as you are much more likely to enjoy success if you do this rather than letting it drag on indefinitely.

Become Financially Literate

Saving money every month is obviously a good habit to get into, but it is not helping you to become financially literate. For example, have you done the necessary research that tells you that this account is giving you the best return on your investment? Are you aware of the other investment opportunities that are out there? People who keep up with the finer details of finances are much more likely to enjoy financial security in the future.

Keep an Eye on Your Lifestyle Costs

Making sure that you aren’t living beyond your means is one of the best habits you can get into during your life. The best way of doing this is by keeping a close eye on your expenses. Write out a list of your regular outgoings so you can decide whether or not there are any savings that can be made. As your living situation changes and your expenses adjust, it is important that you reassess and reapportion your expenses.

Don’t Borrow to Finance a Lifestyle

If you decide that you want to start a business, you may well find that you need to borrow some money to finance your venture. This is an example of a calculated financial risk. If you want to buy a new car, you shouldn’t be racking up credit card debt in order to do this as this will never stand you in good stead in the future. Not buying what you can’t afford is one of the most important financial lessons you can learn.

Should You Borrow Or Earn Yourself Out Of A Financial Crisis?

crisis in financeIt is not unusual for family finances to take a tumble and for everyone in the family to get concerned about how you are going to get through it. Many things can trigger a very sudden financial crisis. In many cases, it is a business failure. Many new businesses fail and they can take all of the money that you have invested in the ventures with them. On other occasions, it is a gradual decline and you have been throwing good money after bad for years. Perhaps you even saw the crisis coming but chose to ignore it.

At other times, it is a job loss that triggers the crisis. Most families can survive a redundancy or a job loss of one wage earner if there is another wage earner that can support the family for a few months. However, if there is only one wage earner, a job loss can throw the whole family into financial turmoil.

For many families, it can be an unexpected expenditure or an accident or ill health that triggers a financial crisis. Perhaps you had a car accident or an accident at work and you can no longer earn the money that you used to. If the accident was not your fault, you may be able to start a personal injury claim and it is worth looking into that. You may even be able to get an interim payment of compensation to help you get by. Sometimes it is a big purchase that tips the family finances over the edge and it can be hard to get them back on track.

There are only two ways to get yourself out of a financial crisis. You either need to borrow or earn your way to financial security. Here are a few ideas to help you decide which is best for you.

Keep your outgoings to a minimum

You need to get a clear picture of how much you have to earn or borrow to get by each month before you can put a plan together. There will have to be some cutbacks in your family budget in the short-term. It is important that everyone participates in the savings so sit the whole family down and explain to them that you need to tighten your belts for a few months.

Start by listing everything that you pay out for each month. It is useful if you have your bank statement in front of you when you do this. List the large outgoings first. These are usually the items that you can’t avoid paying out and include the mortgage or rent, car loan and utility bills. You even have to list the minor items such as children’s activities and the takeout coffee you have every morning.

Try to work out which ones you can do without. Try to negotiate a rent or mortgage reduction for just a few months and agree to make up the shortfall once your finances improve.

Luxuries will have to go! Eating and drinking costs a lot and is a luxury that you can do without for a month or so. Try a takeout instead or save even more money by making your own. Healthy, home-prepared meals take a while to make but save you a lot of money and do you good!

Borrow what you need to get by

There will be occasions where you need to get hold of money fast and you will not be able to wait to earn yourself out of trouble. Quick loans give you the cash that you need when you need it. Everything is done online and there are hardly any forms to fill in so the process is much quicker and streamline. There is a credit check involved and there is a huge variety of lending options so you can always find the loan that is just right for your circumstances.

If you have fallen behind on your mortgage repayments, the last thing you should do is ignore the letters demanding money. It is important that you contact the company quickly and sort out a repayment schedule that is manageable.

Borrowing what you need can give you peace of mind and free up your time to get on with what is important which is finding another permanent source of income.

Find a new source of income

Obviously, your ultimate aim is to find another permanent job or to get another business up and running but this can take time. Dig out your CV and give it an overhaul. Refresh your personal statement and update your qualifications. Then start sending it out to potential employers.

In the meantime, it may be possible for you to take on a part-time job to help out with bills. There are always retail jobs and positions in catering and hospitality available. Could you do some babysitting in the evenings or sell some things to raise some cash?

Whilst you are finding it hard to manage financially, you must check that you are receiving all the benefits that you are entitled to. Check out with your local authorities or go online to find out more. There may also be welfare organizations that can help you.

If you have a spare room in your home, it may be possible for you to take in a lodger. The rent will help towards the cost of the mortgage and they will chip in for the household expenses such as gas and electricity.

You could also look into earning some money from home. Many people make good money working from their bedrooms! You just need an internet connection and a laptop and PC. You could work as a website tester, an administrative assistant or even as a freelance writer. There are literally thousands of jobs available through sites like Guru.

You do the jobs in your own time and so you will always be available to attend that important interview to get your new full-time job.

The Changing Face Of Property Investment

global property investmentsProperty is one of those things that is seemingly always cited as a great opportunity for investment. Housing, after all, is one of those things for which there will always be a demand. The President of the United States demonstrated over the course of his career that with a small loan (of a million dollars no less) that one can become a billionaire. However, scrutiny of these claims suggests that Donald Trump did not use his ingenuity and hard work to build the empire that he ostensibly relinquished control of when he took office earlier this year. The fact is that Trump simply did not have the connections or the capital to finance some of the projects that started his career as a developer. This demonstrates that the market can be tough when you are starting out. As a point in fact, Trump declared bankruptcy four times in 1991 and 1992 alone, with a further two bankruptcies, in 2004, and most recently, in 2009. A lot of people will not have the contacts to start building hotels in Manhattan when they are in their twenties. However, there is nothing wrong with slowly and honestly building a portfolio that modestly begins with a single property. Deciding exactly what property that should be is the difficult part.

The first and most important step to investing in property though is the initial financing that you need to source to get your start. If your father is not an immensely wealthy real estate developer, you will probably need to look to banks or other lenders to help you out. Trying to get a mortgage for an investment is different to seeking one so that you can buy the house in which you intend to live. The checks that will be carried out will be more precise, and you will need to provide detailed business plans before you can expect to be met with approval. You also need to worry about the fundamentals. If your credit rating is not as good as it could be, you may want to think about waiting a while before trying to start a portfolio. There are lots of ways to improve your credit rating like paying off your existing debts and demonstrating an ability to effectively and quickly paying off your future ones. However, until this is done, a new venture may be unnecessarily risky. Something as simple as registering on the electoral roll in your area could increase the chances of being accepted for a loan. The fact remains that when you take on a loan, you become personally liable for paying that money back with interest. If your investment fails or does not give you as great a return as you’d hoped, you could be in a particularly difficult financial situation. It is, therefore, crucial that you carefully consider each investment on its merits before taking on such a massive responsibility. You would not be the first person to bankrupt themselves as a result of ambition.

However, if you are pretty sure that you have enough money to make a move in the markets, and you will have enough left over in case it fails, you need to start looking for different types of property in which to invest. One option, and perhaps the most common, is buying residential properties to sell or rent. One particularly lucrative option is student property investment. Students often get loans to support them while they are at college and not able to work full time. They will, therefore, have the money to pay for accommodation, which, after all, is a necessity. It is a good idea to think about investing in student properties because there will always be a constant supply of new students. Each year, a group will graduate, but a new group will join to replace them. However, it is not just students that represent a good target demographic for rental properties. Millennials are now being described as Generation Rent. A lot of young people grew up or left college during the economic downturn that started in 2008. They have struggled to find jobs that pay well enough for them to be able to start thinking about a mortgage. In fact, a study conducted last year found that the share of 18 to 34-year-olds who own their own homes has fallen to a thirty year low. These people have no other recourse but to rent. If you own rental properties, you could claim your stake of a massive and expanding market. If you invest money in affordable, safe, amenable housing, you could attract lots of potential tenants who are still striving to start their careers and develop some sort of financial certainty and independence. The reality is that a lot of buy to rent properties are not that expensive and with such demand, getting a loan should not be too hard since you can prove the viability of your plan.

The issue of gentrification is one of which you should be aware of though. In the United States, perhaps the most obvious recent example is the change that has taken place in Brooklyn. Whereas areas like Greenpoint were once home to mostly immigrant communities, Brooklyn now has rents that are comparable to Manhattan because so-called ‘hipsters’ started to move to these areas. They become fashionable, and the rent went up as a result. It is a simple economic model. If a landlord realizes that their property suddenly has more value, they will charge more for it to take advantage. This sort of social change has been harshly criticized in the past because many areas lose the identity that they once had. The small, independent stores and businesses that allowed the local people to survive are replaced by chains and major corporations, therefore outsourcing the profits too. However, if you buy lots of property in an area that you anticipate will become gentrified, you could make immense amounts of money. The only problem is that it is quite difficult to anticipate where people will want to live next. Knowing that is the secret to making good investments.

How Much Should Your Home Down Payment Be?

financial quakeWhen you’re buying a home one of the biggest considerations is your down payment. Depending on the loan you are getting, you may have a specific requirement for how much you want to put down. That’s the minimum for that loan, though, and doesn’t mean you can’t put down a larger amount. But should you? That’s a choice only you can make. Before you decide on what level of down payment you want to consider, take a good look at your finances and be sure that any down payment amount you choose won’t leave you in financial peril.

Putting 20% Down

Among your down payment options is choosing to put 20% of the purchase price down on the purchase of your home. This option is often chosen because it generally avoids the requirement for you to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). However, not everyone has this level of down payment, and there are times when it pays to keep money where it is and not pull it from savings or other investments to use it for a down payment. In some instances, you could actually lose money by trying to avoid PMI with 20% down.

5% and 10% Down Loans

For people who don’t have a 20% down payment or don’t want to put that much money down on their home, 5% or 10% as a down payment is relatively common. Most people with good credit will qualify for these types of loans through various banks and credit unions, along with other types of lenders. Paying PMI will be required as a part of these types of mortgages, but in a number of cases, this PMI amount will not be high. With a low PMI and the ability to leave money in the bank or in investments, this can be a chosen option for many buyers.

FHA and the 3.5% Down Requirement

When people choose a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, the minimum amount they can put down with good credit and solid income is generally 3.5%. In some cases, an FHA loan may require them to put down more than that, such as 5%. The money they put down can be from their own funds, or it can be a gift from someone else, but it cannot be from a loan. There will be PMI required because of the small down payment, but this can allow people who do not have a lot of money to purchase a home so they no longer have to rent.

No Money Down Loans, Like USDA and VA

In some cases, the Veteran’s Administration and the USDA offer loans where a person doesn’t have to put any money down. There are specific requirements for these loans, and the seller of the home may be asked to pay closing costs in the transaction. Additionally, good credit is generally required, and for USDA loans, there may be specific areas in which the property has to be located. This can be a hindrance for someone looking for property under these types of loans, but the lack of a down payment can also make them attractive to some buyers.

Putting a Larger Amount Down on Your Home

Another option is to put much more than 20% down on a home. Some people do this on investment properties, but there are also people who choose this option for their primary home. They may do this to reduce the size of their mortgage payment, get a mortgage with a shorter term, or otherwise get more favorable offerings from their lender. They may also have money available to them that they aren’t investing, so they want to use it in a way they feel is wise. Paying more down can be an option for people with higher levels of income or savings.

No matter which option you choose for a down payment, it’s often best to consider a variety of options. Then you can make the right decision based on your specific needs and situation. There is no right or wrong choice when making a down payment on a home, because everyone has different circumstances. The ‘right’ down payment choice is the one you’ve thought about, understand, and that works for you.

Build Your New Business Faster with These Tips

fast growing businessIf you run a company, you probably want it to grow as quickly as possible. But that’s not always as easy to do as it sounds. Any kind of business growth should be celebrated. If it’s not happening quickly enough, don’t rush into anything rash because you could end up making the situation worse rather than better.

However, there are some positive steps you can take to help your business grow in a way that’s both sustainable and fast. Read on now to find out what these tips are and how they can have an impact on the growth of your company.

Establish Your Revenue Sources

You need to have a clear plan for where your money is going to come from when you run a business. You can’t expect things to just fall into place if your revenue sources are not properly nailed down. That just won’t happen. So, give some thought to what you should do to secure your revenue sources. Solidify your plans and make it clear how you want your business to cope with the challenges that stand in your way of exploiting those sources of revenue. It’s essential to get this right if you want your business to grow.

Hire Good People

The people that power your business are its employees. These people need to be the right individuals doing the right jobs if you want to do well. No business grows fast without the right people onboard. Business is all about people and personalities. They’ll be working away behind the scenes even if customers and clients don’t see much of them. So, you need to hire good people with the right talents and proficiencies if you want to get ahead and do well. The better your employees are, the easier it will be to grow your small business.

Seek Professional Support

Sometimes, you need to get help from the best if you want to grow and expand. There is nothing wrong with seeking this kind of help, and it doesn’t suggest that you don’t know what you’re doing either. Instead, it’s about getting help from people with more experience and tips to share with you. You could take a course like Learn Build Earn to learn tips from people who know what they’re talking about. It’s something that you should definitely start to look into if you want to get better and expand your horizons.

Be Careful with Risks

There are some risks that you simply can’t afford to take in the world of business. But on the other hand, running a business is all about taking risks. There is no way forward without risk-taking. It’s all about getting that balance right, and making sure that the risks you take are always measured and calculated. Failing to do that will just lead to disaster for your business, and I’m sure that’s not something that you will want to deal with. You will experience far fewer setbacks in business if you don’t take risks that simply aren’t necessary.

Learn How to Adapt to New Challenges

You’re going to have to be able to adapt if you want to succeed as a small business owner. This is always the way it has been, and nothing has changed. This might be frustrating for you because no one really likes changes. But if you learn to be more adaptable in each way you conduct business, you will move in the right direction and become better able to deal with the ups and downs of running a company. Don’t be so restrained and uptight when it comes to running your business. Be more open to new opportunities that take you in new and interesting directions.

Stay a Step Ahead

Staying a step ahead of the game is really important for business owners. When you are on top of things and able to see what’s coming round the corner next, your business will be in far better shape. You won’t be taken by surprise, and you won’t be able to be tripped up quite so easily when you are a step ahead of your rivals and the trends in the market. You have to be ahead when you are trying to maintain your market share and expand it at a rapid rate. The more you know, the better you will be at finding success.

If you use these tips and put them into practice when managing your business and guiding it towards success, you will be able to make sure that you grow your business faster.