Month : December 2016

Money Management

Solidify Your Mid-Year Budget Plans

Gaining the upper hand when it comes to designing a workable budget is a great way to contribute to getting your total life together. Realizing that the way you budget reflects your life’s priorities, take a look at yourself and evaluate how close your line item budget entries come to truly reflecting your life’s priorities, and what you can do to make the two lists fit together better as you contemplate your spending for the second half of 2010!

Here are some points to consider as you conduct your mid-year budget and life evaluation:

  • Decide how you would like to see yourself finish out your year. What do you want to have in place to show for yourself by the end of 2010? Once you have made that list, decide further what changes you will  have to implement in order to stick to it.
  • In your budget evaluation, make sure that you make the budget plans strict enough that you can achieve what you want to achieve, but at the same time fun enough so that you won’t feel deprived.
  • When you make your budget plans, build in a way to make following the budget simple enough that following it becomes natural. Plan for documentation and reconciliation mechanisms to be straightforward enough that you won’t be tempted to avoid the self-accountability that you expect of yourself in your budget process. In other words, don’t make following the budget so hard that you quit before you begin!
  • View your budget as a working framework within which you will live and work and study and play. View the total package as your marching orders as you wind up your year and as a stepping stone for getting where you want to be.
  • It is important to keep even the most basic of records to let you know where you are financially. Regardless of whether the finances are yours alone or are family finances, greater progress will be made in getting you back on track if you keep good written records to refer back to in projecting future budgets and making next year’s plans. Having vital information about your finances at your fingertips gives you greater power to make decisions and choices.
  • To the end of recordkeeping, make a simple system that you can understand which tells you where every penny goes. You don’t have to start at the beginning with these records; start where you are right now and move forward toward your future. That will begin an accountability habit that will give you a starting point for you to work with. At first, it doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect, it just has to start you off on a system that will help take your personal finances to the next level!
Business

10 Loans that Might Be Right for Your Business

Having access to working capital when your business needs it is vital; however, there are many different types of business loan programs. Knowing the pros and cons of each can give you the confidence to choose the program best-suited to the particular needs of your company.

The answers to these questions can help you choose the type of business loan that would be a good match for your organization as you evaluate the following list of pros and cons that differentiate various types of business financing:

  • How much money do you need?
  • How fast do you need it?
  • How quickly do you want to repay the amount?
  • Where will repayment proceeds come from?
  • How will you prove credit worthiness to potential lenders? (e.g., credit score, time in business, sales history, projections, collateral, etc.)

Pros and Cons of 10 Loans Might Make One Ideal for Your Business

  1. SBA Loans

First, a disclaimer: SBA loans aren’t actually loans granted by the U.S. Small Business Association, they are guarantees the SBA makes to lenders who adhere to their small business loan guidelines. In effect, the SBA acts as a co-signer, enabling small businesses that might not otherwise qualify for bank financing to get access to capital at the low rate offered by big banks.

Pros:

  • Low interest rates
  • Endorsement by the SBA improves chances of approval

Cons:

  • Stringent eligibility qualifications and oversight (use of funds)
  • Lengthy approval process
  • Low approval rates
  1. Bank Loans

Most banks have financing programs that are exclusive to business customers. They are especially attractive due to their low financing rates; however, the small business loan approval rate from big banks is very low (less than one in five are approved). Bank loans may be offered with fixed or adjustable rates, balloon payments and comparatively long repayment periods.  Banks also prefer to finance larger loans, rather than smaller amounts that many businesses are looking to borrow.

Pros:

  • Low interest rate
  • Large amounts of capital available to qualified applicants

Cons:

  • Low approval rates
  • Lengthy application and underwriting process
  • Limitations on what funds can be used for
  • Small loan amounts are not usually considered
  • Stringent qualifications (business loan may be denied due to short length of time in business, poor credit score or banking history, inability to prove projections, lack of collateral or other factors)
  1. Line of Credit

Line of credit financing may be granted by banks and platform lenders, but may also be available to your business from suppliers in the form of a supplier or vendor credit facility. Essentially, a line of credit allows your company to get access to working capital (or supplier products/services) up to a given amount. Repayment periods are usually short and the cost of financing is more expensive than bank loans.

Pros:

  • Depending on lender type, fast approval and underwriting process
  • Control the amount of financing based on need instead of a lump sum
  • Flexible – funds can usually be used at the business owner’s discretion
  • Ability to draw on the line when needed
  • Allows repeated access to capital as the line is paid down without re-applying
  • Higher approval rates from non-bank lines of credit
  • Faster repayment reduces financing fees

Cons:

  • Higher cost of financing vs. bank or SBA guaranteed loans
  • Similarly stringent qualification requirements as bank or SBA guaranteed loans
  1. Business and Merchant Cash Advances

Cash advance financing programs give business owners access to working capital in a lump sum amount that is awarded based mainly on the organization’s sales history. Like a line of credit, as repayment is made the business owner often has the ability to draw out another lump sum without having to start the application process all over again.

Pros:

  • Short application process and fast (sometimes even instant) approvals
  • Young businesses or those with low credit scores are not automatically disqualified
  • Flexible use of funds and repayment options
  • High approval rates
  • No collateral at risk
  • No UCC filing programs
  • Automated repayment makes it easy to manage

Cons:

  • Higher cost of financing compared to bank loans
  • Financing fee is fixed regardless of how quickly the amount is repaid
  1. Equipment Loans

Equipment loans (or equipment lease financing) usually refers to a financing tool whereby a lender extends working capital on your behalf, so that you can obtain equipment your business needs, and you repay the lender. Depending on which lender’s program you choose, financing rates, underwriting and approvals, qualifications and repayment options could vary widely. In addition, business cash advances, bank loans and business line of credit financing are all equivalent options for financing equipment purchases and leases, the only real differentiator being potential use of funds.

  1. Loans from Private Investors

You can negotiate private loans to fund your business as a startup or at any time during the life of your organization. The cost of financing could vary widely as could repayment terms. One factor to consider with this type of financing is whether investor loans can be called in at any time, which could put your business or some of its assets at risk.

  1. Payroll Loans

Like equipment loans, payroll loans are a financing tool that is used for a very specific purpose – ensuring that payroll can be met during a given payroll cycle. In the U.S., payroll loans are heavily regulated in part due to their high cost and strict repayment schedule.

Pros:

  • Short application and approval process
  • Ability to cover payroll costs during a temporary cash flow lull

Cons:

  • Short repayment (usually by the date of the following payroll cycle)
  • Comparatively high APR (annual percentage rate) from 15 to 30 percent
  • Additional fees accrue if repayment schedule is not met
  1. Micro Loans

Micro loans help bridge the gap for businesses that can’t meet the strict qualifications that accompany most bank loan programs, enabling young or smaller businesses with limited collateral and capital resources to get access to working capital in smaller amounts.

Pros:

  • Fewer qualification requirements than bank loans
  • Available in smaller amounts – as low as $500 to as much as $100,000

Cons:

  • Stringent oversight (depending on lender)
  • Borrowers required to receive business training (SBA microloans)
  1. Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending models come in many different forms. Some allow individuals to select which businesses and projects they want to lend to, others are overseen by executives or boards that decide which projects receive funding. Financing rates, qualifications, limitations on use, repayment schedules, application and underwriting processes and other characteristics vary widely depending on the peer-to-peer lending program.

  1. Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards provide instant access to capital which can be advantageous for business owners, especially when opportunities or capital demands come without warning. However, their comparatively high interest rates make them a better choice only when repayment can be made in full before the next billing cycle.

Pros:

  • Relatively easy to qualify
  • Instant buying power

Cons:

  • High interest fees if not paid in full each month
  • Credit limit may be too low to accommodate significant working capital needs

The type of business loan you utilize to meet your company’s financial needs can have a big impact on your organization. It’s important to understand the differences that distinguish one from another so that you can choose the one most-aligned to the unique financial needs of your company.

Money Management

5 Ways to Cut Back and Save More Money

Although Americans have left recession behind since a few years ago, the true fact is that economy seems to be worse every year no matter what the government says. We try to keep an optimistic attitude every time we are told about the “good news” that seems so far from our daily lives, so it is important that we learn to cut back and save more money, because with the presidential election around the corner, the future of the U.S. economy is still unclear.

Cutting back is a good way to have more money in your pocket and less worries on your mind. By implementing simple actions, it is really possible to save more money than simply trying to put aside a monthly stash of cash that sooner or later we are tempted to borrow because there are times when it seems that there is not enough money to cover our minimal household expenses.

However, you can use one of these tips to cut back and save more money every month. Try them even if just out of curiosity and you will realize just how easy it is to get some extra cash.

Review your habits

First, review your spending habits that seem to be superfluous. For instance, if you buy a jar of instant coffee or a bag of ground coffee beans for your coffee maker every month, why then are you buying a cup of coffee every day at Starbucks? Cut back those coffee cups, sandwiches and foods that you can eat at home or take with you as a part of your homemade lunch. This could be a minimal saving at first, but after the first month you will find how much money you use on these items each month.

One thing that many people and families can do better is cut back on online payday loans. Payday loan rates can be very costly over the course of a short term loan. Cutting back on how frequent you go can save a great deal of money.

Be Practical

Similarly, stop acting with consumerism in mind and start thinking with practicability in mind. There is no reason to buy one or more bottles of water every day when you can have a refillable bottle at home. Once again, if you pay a water bill every month, why do you need to pay for extra water? If the water quality is the concern, save money by buying a water filter or take your refillable bottle to water centers where a refill is cheaper than buying a bottle at the supermarket or convenience store.

Cutting Back Cutting back on magazines, newspapers and TV cable services is another good way to save more money. Let us be honest, who in this world can see over 400 different TV channels a day? Not even in a whole month or year! You will probably have a dozen or less favorite channels so check for a cheaper package with just the basic channels or pay a channel on demand. Equally, if you do not time to read all those magazines and newspaper that are piled somewhere in your house, simply cancel the subscription and read the news on the web.

Energy Consumption Savings

Excessive energy consumption is bad ecologically speaking, but even worst for your pocket. If you cut back electricity expenses you will be contributing to the environment and saving money in a way that you never expected. How is this possible? Stop using household appliance such as the dishwasher and clothes dryer that consume too much power. Hand washing dishes is not that hard and hanging your clothes to dry under the sun may take more time but saves a lot.

Buy Generic

Another tip to cut back and save more money is starting to buy more generic brands for the items on your shopping list. Many people think that only renowned brand labels are quality, tasty or nutritious, but that is not the case. Renowned brands are known because they are advertised, but that does not mean that less known or generic brands are bad. In fact you will be surprised of superior quality and taste of some of them, but especially on the money that you can save this way.

Author Bio: Charles Hank works for OnlinePaydayLoans.net an informational website that has great articles about payday loans. 

Politics

Have you heard of the shadow economy?

The black market is something I’ve heard about in movies but I always figured it was just a small part of the economy. Boy was I wrong. It’s actually a bigger portion than I ever could have imagined. If the shadow economy actually became part of the economy, we would be in a lot better shape. Check out this infographic to find out more about the shadow economy.

Business

How Successful Was Your Fund Raising Event?

Fundraising events are not as easy to organize as you may believe. Even for the best causes in the world, people can end up not being interested, which is definitely something that you do not want to see happen. You need to take as much time as possible in order to organize everything properly but you also have to be sure that the event was a success. This is what we will talk about in the following paragraphs.

Achieving The Fundraising Goals

There are various reasons why you would organize a fundraising event. Just head over to http://www.the-fund-raiser.com and you will quickly notice this fact. Some raise funds for a company while others do so for orphan donations. You can easily raise money for impaired individuals and sports activities. No matter why you may be organizing a fundraising event, you have to be sure that the goals you had were achieved. If the goals were not achieved, the event was not successful and analysis is needed in order to improve in the future.

Understanding Target Audience

Sometimes there is too much focus that is put on individuals that help organizations to achieve the goals that they have. Even so, it is much more important that you understand the target audience you have. If you focus on that, you can easily attain a better financial record as people in the target audience will quickly understand what the foundation tries to achieve.

Expanding The Organizations

The actual event is usually focused on getting funds for the cause you have but you do need to have a secondary objective: expansion. When you organize a fundraising event, make sure that the appropriate people will attend, even if they are not donors, with the main goal of helping in future expansion.

Independence

The fundraising events help the organizers to become independent. This is another important fact that you have to take into account because you simply cannot end up depending on a donor for finances whenever you need cash. Fundraising events are successful when individuals inside the organization are taught to become more independent, allowing independence.

Community Awareness

You do want the help of the community. The successful fundraising events are those that help in improving community awareness. When awareness is increased, more supporters tend to appear. Never organize a fundraising event without actually thinking about how you can increase awareness in your community. That will help you out a lot for the goals you will have in the future.