Saturday, February 11, 2017

Abandon Ship! What To Do When Your Finances Hit A Rock

sinking finance
Running is a business is a unique experience, but there is one experience all business owners share. That experience is the phenomenon of going through a rough financial patch. For whatever reason, every company has to tighten their belt or even watch their finances fall of a cliff. It is not easy, it is not nice, but more importantly, it isn’t the end of the world.

Get A Quick Loan

Just because your finances are in bad shape doesn’t mean that you don’t have bills to pay. Your lenders might sound sympathetic but they won’t give you a reprieve because they want their money. From their point of view it is just bad luck. Due to their lack of sympathy, you can’t say you refuse to pay anymore. Not only will it hurt your credit rating but it will spiral out of control. The only option is to take out a loan to cover your debts. And don’t worry if you have bad credit as online loans for bad credit are readily available. At least with a loan you can continue to function while you come up with a plan.

Cut Back

Cut back means you have to cut back wherever possible. Some cut backs speak for themselves, like moving offices if the rent is too high. There are others, though, that aren’t as easy to spot. Transforming into a paperless office is a great example. You might think that it won’t make a difference but it makes a big difference. Businesses can spend hundreds and even thousands on paper every year. By getting rid of it altogether you don’t have to pay the costs. Regardless of the amount, you should make it happen. Remember that every little helps.

Hire An Accountant

‘Wait a minute, you just said I should cut back on my business expenses?’ Yes you should, but sometimes to have to spend money to make money. It’s a strange concept to understand, yet it is one that can save your business. Paying for an accountant to look after your finances will save you a fortune in a range of areas. Accountants, for instance, know how to structure your finances to avoid bank charges. They also know how to pay off debts so that you always have liquidity. Their expertise will save you money even if you have to pay them a wage.

Don’t Panic

Finally, don’t lose your head and make bad decisions. The shocking truth is that businesses often kill themselves in this period because they lose focus. As soon as they hear the news, they try and dig straight out of the hole and go for the Hail Mary. Your finances are a long-term project and you should treat them as such. So, take a deep breathe and think about what your next steps are, then execute the steps one by one.

How you react when you are in financial trouble is vital as the wrong reaction can be fatal.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Secrets of Improving Business Profit Margins, Without Spending A Penny

profit improving matters
Many business owners are under the impression that spending money makes them money when it comes to improving their profit margins. While this can be true, it is far from the only way to boost your coffers. In fact, you can improve your business profit margins without spending a single penny - and focus on reducing your costs.

In today’s guide, we’re going to run through a few ideas on how you can enjoy better margins just by being sensible, making better decisions, and changing the focus of your business. Read on to find out more - and with a little luck, you will reap the rewards in the not-too-distant future.

Be more vigilant

First of all, it’s important to know where your money is going. This involves a broad range of activities, from tracking every last penny spent to holding regular reviews of expenditure and costs. It’s probably the most important and dramatic thing you can do if you want to start seeing higher profit margins.

Streamline your business

According to Rezzable, streamlining your company is the most important thing you can do. Streamlining is not just about cutting costs, of course, it's also about organising your business better, to ensure that productivity remains high. The idea is to make every single task in your business more efficient, and remove many of the flaws and blockages that many companies experience on a daily basis.

Focus on customer experience

Ensuring every customer sees your company at its best costs nothing. And, given that every penny your business makes comes from those customers, it makes sense to reward them for it. Offer a great customer experience, and you will reduce buying abandonment and brand disloyalty, and increase brand recognition and, most importantly, your profit margins.

Retain current customers

Instead of investing quite so much in finding new clients, start doing more to persuade your current clients to keep purchasing from you. Keeping customers is always cheaper than finding new ones - so consider how you are communicating with them, or offer them new deals and discounts.

Speed up your processes

The faster your turnaround time, the lower your cost per sale - it’s a simple premise and one that should tell you the importance of tracking your order and delivery systems. Making small changes can have a significant impact, and the less time you spend between order and delivery, the better your margins will be. Eliminate wasted time, automate what you can, and do everything possible beforehand to ensure speedier beforehand.

Cut low paying clients

What areas of your business are high producing? If you can work out where you earn your money, you can start focusing on dumping low paying clients, and do more to attract high payers. Don’t underestimate the impact low payers can have on your business, particularly if you are offering services. They drain your time, demand more for their money, and might actually end up costing you!

So, there you have it - a few handy tips to help you improve your profit margins Good luck - and feel free to share any tips in the comments section below!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Big Family Keep Getting Bigger? Keeping Your Finances In Check

finances for family
It’s hard enough to keep things afloat and your financial standing solid when you’ve got any children, but it can get all the more difficult when your family keeps getting bigger and bigger. Naturally, you will have reviewed whether you can afford to have any child before you made the decision to do so, so it’s unlikely that the basics - food and housing - will have to be too severely compromised. Still, it’s wise to have a stringent plan in place to make sure things don’t unravel. Nothing can put more undue stress on a family like money, after all!

Establishing the Rules

If you’ve got plenty of kids, then you’ll need to set the ground rules so everyone knows what they’re dealing with. Your family budgeting probably didn’t account for everyone to stay in the household until they’re in their mid-thirties. It’s pretty simple - when they reach a certain age, they have to contribute X amount of money to the household. It can begin as a small amount, a token gesture to teach them the responsibility of providing, before working up to an amount that makes a real, positive difference. You might also have a rule that says by the time they’re 23 (or whatever), they need to be in the process of moving out of the family home.

To the Future

You're responsible for the family’s money, and it’s important that you keep an eye on the long term growth. This is as much for your own sake as it is for your partner’s and children’s. Speak with a financial expert on occasion to get an honest assessment of your finances; they can advise when you should be selling your home - or not - and so on. Be sure to choose the right estate planning advisors well in advance, as an unforeseen accident can complicate financial matters hugely - especially when a large family is involved. Keeping an eye on the housing market and deciding when to sell the family home and downsize is also important, as this will free up a lot of cash and boost your financial standing.

Their Rainy Day Money

A large family doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to gift your children savings to get them started in life, it just means that you’ll have to start the saving sooner. Put just a small amount of money into your children’s individual savings account each week can result in a large chunk of money when it’s multiplied by eighteen years or so. You may also speak to a financial advisor about what they best way to present the savings to your child is, as there may be options that will keep the money growing.

Keeping them in the Loop

Of course, if times ever get tough then you should be willing to open up and talk to your family about the state of your finances. Many families keep money issues far away from the children, but by keeping them in the loop you’ll be taking unnecessary stress off your shoulders and teaching about them financial matters.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Why Alternative Investing Is So Hot Right Now

other investment options
2016 was a big year. We saw a polarization in politics like never before in the West with events like Brexit and the US election, and investors all over the planet are wondering whether this is a sign of things to come. Businesses too are reporting that thanks to the changing political climate, they’re altering their behavior and planning how they are going to navigate a challenging political landscape.

The good news for individuals is that global growth remains strong. According to estimates, global growth will expand this year from 3.1 percent to 3.5 percent, mainly because of the new pro-growth strategies outlined by the incoming US administration.

With things changing so fast, what does should the small investor be doing? Here’s some advice to weather the storm.

Start Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending wasn’t even something that was possible until a few years ago, and we go the cloud. But the very fact that it exists is worrying. In a normal economy, it’s the job of banks to take the money of savers and lend it out to borrowers. But the fact that people feel the need to go to peer-to-peer services to get a return on their money shows that the traditional market just isn’t clearing. More people want to borrow than the banks will allow, prompting savers to enter the market and lend directly.

Granted, it’s all very strange, but there are some significant returns to be had. According to Bankrate, annual returns are between 5.3 and 8.6 percent, more than triple what most savings accounts currently offer. Riskier loans based on lower borrower credit scores offer even higher rates of return than that, although the risk is considerably greater.

Art And Rarities

Investors have been piling into art recently in search of better returns. Art and rarities are seen as a sort of safe haven when the stock market is in turmoil because they tend to keep their value over the long term. Recently interest in art has been pushed, however, by increasing sticker prices of top works of art.

Michael Saigh, a managing partner at a rarities investing company, says that for many small investors, opportunities are limited because of high entry prices. Some start at more than $1 million. But with the growth of art shares, it’s becoming easier for individual investors to get a stake in the market.

The growth of cloud platforms, as discussed on the Investor Services about us page, are giving investors the opportunity to make sure that their investments meet IRS requirements. This is important whenever individuals are investing in things like art and rarities using their 401(k) funds.

Impact Investments

Finally, there has also been a surge in the number of investors doing things that they hope will save the world. With people like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates making high-profile announcements about their charitable investments, many others are following suit.

The cool thing about many of these investments is that they still generate positive returns, even though their primary goal is to achieve social good.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Injury Stopping An Income? Here's How You Survive

income obstruction injury
So, you have been injured in some way shape and form which has stopped you being able to work and as a result stopping you from earning money. Well, try not to panic too much there are a few things you can do to get the results you need to keep living until you get back on your feet and can go back to work. The issue is similar to debt in that you are pretty much hamstrung, but with some perseverance you can be back to work in no time.

Cut Back On Spending

This is the first thing you need to do. If you have a partner then they can help support you but otherwise you need to really cut back on everything to stay viable. Reel in the luxuries and see what else you can save money on. You’ll be surprised. There will be a few things you may not even think about. Gym membership? Cancel it. If you’re injured you won’t be going anyway. If you’re housebound you will find you spend less money because you are not going out as much. But if you take a determined stance not to spend more money you can really make a difference.

Ascertain Your Rights

Say you were walking underneath a building site and a stray piece of masonry hit you on the head. This is clearly not your fault. Don’t suffer the financial burdens if it really wasn’t your fault, it is just not fair. Find a personal injury attorney and you can take what is owed. On this note, check the fine prints of your work contract to make sure they aren’t underpaying you sick pay. You may find out they aren’t paying you when they should be, so do your best to find out what is going on.

Are You Now Disabled?

If the injury was really bad and you are now in some way disabled then check your local government policies on disability allowance because there could be some money and health based benefits available to you such as a carer who can help you settle into your new mode of life. Explore every single aspect available and you can soon see you beating the bills.

Make Money From Home In The Meantime

If you will be out of work for a while and not getting paid then consider working from home for a period of time. You may not make as much as you were in the previous job but it will surely be enough to survive on and pay the bills and it will also give you something to do. Beating the depression is important and even if you are only making money by transcribing or writing articles it can still give you a reason to roll out of bed in the morning. You can find a great list of ways to make money from home here. Pick what best suits you and give it a go. You may end up making more than you think.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

How to Use a Trust to Reduce Inheritance Tax

reduce inheritance tax
After over 40 years of workingyou’re looking forward to your retirement. And why not? You’ve paid your taxes and saved diligently to make sure you’ll live comfortably when you retire. But you’re worried that the taxman may take more than his fair share of your estate when you die. What can you do to prevent this?

One of the best ways to reduce Inheritance Tax (IHT) is to set up a Trust and put some of your cash, investments and property into it. The value of a Trust is deemed to be no longer part of your estate for IHT purposes. But be careful because setting up a Trust can be quite tricky. It’s best to take advice from yourchartered accountant, estate planner or inheritance tax specialists.

If you think your estate might have to pay inheritance tax in due course, then here are a few reasons why setting up a Trust makes good financial sense.

How a Trustcan benefit your IHT exposure

A Trust could be set up to pay for a grandchild’s education, or for the support of a family member who may have a disability, or to help reduce the effects of Inheritance Tax. A Trust is a useful IHT planning tool for the next generation. To understand how a Trust works, let’s look at a typical example.

Here, we have a family where the husband has considerable assets. If he places these assets in trust prior to his death it won’t affect his own IHT liability but it can substantially reduce the amount of tax his widow will have to pay when she dies. The husband can also keep control of his assets while he’s alive.

When the husband’s widow eventually dies, only those assets that have been transferred out of the Trust into her direct ownership are counted as part of her estate and liable for Inheritance Tax. By transferring assets if and only when necessary, it’s possible to keep the widow’s estate below the IHT threshold, even though the Trust may hold a much larger sum.

One of the rules of a Trust states that no potential beneficiary can have an ‘absolute entitlement’ to any of the assets. Instead, all transfers out of a Trust have to be made at the discretion of the trustees and they must all be in agreement.So, when setting up a Trust be very careful who you appoint as trustees. It only takes one person – a stepson or daughter who has a gripe with the widow – to vote against a transfer of funds. It’s recommend that at least two people are appointed as trustees. One of these could be a family member and the other a professional such as a solicitor.

The husband can write a ‘letter of wishes’ to the trustees setting out how he’d like the Trust‘s assets to be dealt with, but because beneficiaries have no absolute entitlement to any assets, the trustees do not have to follow the wishes contained in the letter.Trusts are normally wound up either after two years of the first spouse’s death or when the surviving spouse dies. When this happens, the remaining assets are dealt with according to the wishes letter.

Protect yourself with expert advice

As the rules around IHT exemptions are complicated, it’s best to consult your accountant or solicitor to see how much tax you could save by setting up a Trust. One of the strange things about a Trustis that the Trustitself may, in certain circumstances, have to pay Inheritance Tax, and the trustees, whoever they may be, might be liable to pay income tax at a rate of 45%.

Suffice to say that the rules around Trustareextremely complicated and not to be taken lightly, so don’t be foolish, take advice from a professional in these matters.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

If you transfer property into a Trust, be careful because there may be CGT implications. However, CGT does not apply if you establish the Trustin your Will. Speak to your accountant about this.

Life Insurance

One of the best things you can do is take out an insurance policy on your life. This won’t lessen the amount of IHTyour estate may have to pay, but your insurance settlement will definitely make it much easier for your surviving family to pay the Inheritance Tax bill.

The lumpsum amount from the insurance policy could prevent the family home from having to be sold to cover the IHT bill. But if you do take out a policy, make sure the proceeds are paid directly into trust – if you don’t it will increase the size of your estateand as a result more tax will become payable!

This article was written by Dakota Murphey, an independent content writer who specialises in family law.