Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Getting ready to prepare your tax return? We’ve gone back to basics to help you file on time for 2017. Put together everything you need for your return. And get extra assistance if you’re struggling with a looming tax deadline.
Save the date
It’s an obvious one, but many people don’t know the date they have to file their tax return, or more importantly, prepare for it. So it’s a good idea to look at Income Tax Deadlines for 2017.
Know your tax credits
The government offers credits and deductions for individual and business taxpayers. Such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Credit which helps millions of families each year. There are also credits for small and large businesses that you should know about.
Common deductions include home mortgage interest, state and local tax, and charitable contributions. So, before you file, make sure you know your tax credits.
Get organized, early
Make sure you know which tax bracket your income puts you in. This makes it much easier to ask for larger deductions. Also, it’s important to keep up with any income you take on the side, noting down any resources which can be deducted. If the IRS audits you randomly, your deductions will hold more weight if they’re written down.
File online for free
As Time confirms, “According to the Internal Revenue Service, 70% of taxpayers are eligible for the IRS’s Free File program, which gives you free access to brand-name tax preparation software as long as your income is $62,000 or less.” More than two-thirds of Americans can use online tax-prep software for free.
That includes enlisted military members – and their families – who can access free income tax filing help through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.
If you earn $54,000 or less, have a disability, are elderly, or have limited English-speaking, you’re entitled to free help from IRS-certified volunteers via the VITA program.
Also, all taxpayers over the age of 60 can get free tax help through the IRS’s Tax Counseling for the Elderly program. It specializes in pension and retirement-related issues. Find out if you’re entitled to free help with your tax return.
Hire some help
If the answer is ‘no,’ and things get out of control, it could be time to hire a tax professional who can look after your books and help with unfiled tax returns.
Remember, these professionals earn their keep by assisting you. If you’re not careful, they won’t care about your issues either. Here a guide to help you find the right tax pro.
Stay in the know
Every year, there are new tax deductions you can take advantage of. So, don’t doddle and keep up to date with tax news, such as the IRS Announcement of 2017 Tax Rates, Standard Deductions, Exemption Amounts.
Whether you’re dealing with your personal or business return, tax is, well, taxing. Follow the tips above to stay ahead, and you’ll discover that tax returns become a little less painful every year.
Friday, November 25, 2016
If you’ve got a lump of money that you’d like to invest into something, technology is definitely the way to go. Of course, to make a return, you have to tap into the tech that’s right at the frontier, the newest and most pioneering stuff, most of which is difficult to target in this fast-paced digital age. Nobody wants to put their cash into a new tech design, only for it to become outdated in a year. It’s therefore important to target the areas that are already booming but are still in their infancy. Here are some examples of tech you should look into.
Everyone is harking on about the Cloud these days. What is it and why is it so special? The simple answer is that it has solved the long-debated issue of digital memory. Tools and apps that might have once been too big to have on your phone, now keep all their memory data stored in a group of servers or colocation, known as the Cloud. Businesses everywhere are now using the Cloud to store their masses of files. Not only does it free memory but also improve security. If someone steals your PC, they won’t be able to access your files because they’re stored on the Cloud.
With many businesses also still discovering this technology, it makes for a great future investment.
Cyber-criminals are constantly concocting new viruses and ways to hack through firewalls. Cyber security is therefore constantly having to keep up, inventing new methods of deflecting internet fraudsters with constantly evolving programmes. By this token, there should always be a market to invest in cyber security, as computer users everywhere are happy to keep pouring money into buying the latest software in order to keep their computer data safe.
Of course with so many different software companies out there fighting for a place in the market, you need to research into which one is most likely to keep above the rest. This article can help those curious understand it better.
We’re all now well aware of our carbon footprint, and the constant introduction of green laws means that all businesses are turning environmentally-friendly. Green technology as a result, is a booming industry. Solar panels and wind farms are indeed expensive to set up, which may deter some people from investing. However, once set up, they are very low-cost to run. Providing the sun keep shining and the wind keep blowing you can expect a steady increase in the return from green technology after several years.
There are many types of green technology and it pays to know which ones are likely to last. With nuclear power being such as controversial energy source and the risk of nuclear power stations being shut down, this isn’t an ideal technology to invest in. Similarly if a local neighbourhood is being particularly hostile to plans to build a wind farm, be wary of investing as plans may get so caught up in court appeals that it may not go ahead. Look for investment proposals in places where the locals are passionate about renewable energy and likely to support any project that is put into action there, and you will see a return.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Credit Cards are used for various purposes. Cardholders use these for cashless transactions, to earn reward points on their spending, and enjoy special deals. These cards are accepted widely across the world. Furthermore, the cardholders are able to avail of pre-approved loans within the overall credit limit available on their cards. These funds are repaid at a later date and the users are charged interest at a pre-determined rate. As these types of loans are unsecured (without providing any collateral), the issuers offer them only to certain users. A credit card is often available to individuals who have an impeccable borrowing and repayment history thereby reducing the risks for the card issuers.
Features of Loans on Credit Cards
Although different banks provide distinct and comprehensive personal loans on credit cards, here are some common features of these financial products.
Since these loans are pre-approved based on the overall credit limit, past payment records, and accumulated reward points, the cardholders do not need to provide additional documentation while availing of these loans. This makes it convenient for users to access funds.
The cardholders have the option of repaying the loan amount through equated monthly installments (EMIs). This enables them to purchase expensive products in an affordable manner without facing any financial constraints.
Somecard issuers provide loan against credit card held from another credit card issuer. This facility is available through a balance transfer mechanism whereby outstanding balance on the credit card/s is transferred to a single card from the new service provider. The users repay this amount through EMIs.
Quantum of Loan
Most of the times, the quantum or the amount of the loan depends on the overall credit card limit. Some card issuers may offer loans exceeding this limit where the borrowed amount is not blocked against the credit card limit. Cardholders are easily able to convert their purchases to a loan, which is repayable through EMIs.
Advantages of Loans on Credit Cards
Fast and Easy Process
The procedure to avail of personal loans on credit card points are quick and simple. This is primarily because the loan is pre-approved and does not require submission of additional documents.
Consolidation of Various Cards
It is common for people to use multiple credit cards offered by various issuers. With this type of facility, users are able to consolidate the outstanding on all their cards under one single credit card. Keeping track of the spending and usage of a single card is simpler for the users.
No Documentation Required
Compared to most other types of loans, these funds are disbursed quickly. This is because the amount is pre-approved requiring no documentation, which makes the entire procedure quicker.
No Requirement for a Guarantor
Availing of loans on the credit card is a convenient option for users. Furthermore, they do not have to provide post-dated cheques (PDCs) towards the loan repayment.Also, these types of loans do not require the users to provide any guarantor.
Reasonable Interest Rate
A common misconception is that these loans are expensive because the interest rates are high. However, the fact is that the interest rates on personal loans are low, which makes it affordable for users to choose these financial products.
The loans on credit cards are flexible, which makes it convenient for the users. They may choose to repay the EMIs in a schedule that does not cause any financial difficulties to them. Furthermore, there are no restrictions on how this money is used, which offers additional versatility to the users.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Planning for retirement is something that everyone needs to do. If you want to be able to stop working, you need to know how that will happen. You want to support yourself in your old age, whether you're healthy or you need a bit of extra help. One goal that many people have for retirement is to be debt-free. They want to pay off their mortgage, most of all. Apart from that, they want to get rid of any other debts, from car financing to credit cards. You shouldn't have to worry about debt when you reach retirement age. You need to be able to concentrate your funds on your living expenses. The following tactics will help you prepare for a debt-free retirement so you can focus on better things.
Start with Your Mortgage
For most people, their mortgage is the biggest debt they have and will ever have. It takes a lot longer to pay off than most other debts. In fact, many people can spend their whole working life first saving for and then paying off their mortgage. When you reach retirement, you don't want to still be making mortgage payments. Owning your own home is an excellent way to prepare for retirement, giving you a valuable asset. But it's not so great if you're still paying the mortgage. You might be able to start by reducing your mortgage. Visit a site like http://www.rpmqueensland.com.au/reduce-my-mortgage/ to find out how you can do it. It's also all about the timing. You can use an amortization calculator to work out your payments. Using these tools, you can time your mortgage to be paid off by your retirement date.
Downsize to a Smaller Home What if it looks like you won't pay off your mortgage before retirement? You can't work out any way that it might happen. If this is looking like the case, there is another option. Many people downsize their home when they retire. However, you don't have to wait until then. Is your home too big now that the kids have moved out? If you're still paying your mortgage, why not downsize now? By buying a smaller house, you could reduce or even eliminate your mortgage. If you're willing to downsize now, it might not only end some of your debt but give you some extra savings too.
Reduce Your Spending
When the kids leave home, it's tempting to start spending more money on yourself. You can feel like you have a bit more financial freedom. You might go out to dinner more or enjoy some more activities. However, it's important not to go too crazy when you're preparing for retirement. If you want to pay off your debts faster, you should be doing all you can to make larger payments. That means spending less elsewhere so that you have more to use for repayments. There are hundreds of ways to cut costs, from eating out less to switching your energy supplier. Of course, downsizing to a smaller home can also help to reduce your expenses.
Set Up a Second Income Stream
After reducing your spending, you might consider if you can bring in some more money. An income stream specifically for paying off your debts isn't a bad idea. When it's time to retire, you could even continue it for extra money. If you're doing something on the side, it will only be a few hours and help to keep you busy. You might have more disposable income so that you can travel or indulge in a hobby. Of course, if you're currently working full-time, it can be hard to bring in more cash. But you might be able to find the time for a part-time job, some freelancing or perhaps even setting up a small business. Find a guide to starting a business on the side at https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/270275.
Work Longer or Consider Semi-retirement
Some people hope to retire as soon as they are able to. However, many people feel that they can or should work for longer. For example, perhaps you can't picture having a completely open day. A lot of people struggle with not having to go to work once they retire. If you think paying off your debts might take longer than you hoped, staying at your job for another couple of years is an option. It might not be ideal, but it could be better for you in the long-run. Semi-retirement is another option. You can reduce the amount that you work without giving up work entirely.
Consider Concentrating on Debts Above Retirement Savings
This is one strategy you might want to try for a short while, but you should be cautious. If you take care of your debts now, you can have more money to put away for later. If you think it makes sense, you can reduce your retirement contributions for a period. Any money you would have saved or invested for retirement can help repay your debts instead. If you are going to do this, make sure you have a plan. You should decide how long to do it for and how it will help you.
Organize Your Debts
If you want to pay off your debt by a certain date, you need to get everything organized. You can start by prioritizing everything you need to repay. A good way to do this is ranking them by their interest rate. Experts say that paying off debts with higher interest rates first is the best tactic. You should be able to pay your debts faster using this method. You can also find out if it's possible to reduce the interest rates on any of your debts. For example, a credit card balance transfer could enable you to move debt to a card with lower interest. You can work out a payment plan to figure out what you will repay and when. You should be able to come up with a pretty accurate picture of when you could be debt-free.
You might still take on some debt once you retire. But being debt-free when you reach your retirement could put you in a better position to borrow.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Being able to set up a business from home is quite possibly the thing that most of us dream of. No more commuting to a drafty office, and being able to snuggle up in front of your laptop to work through your morning emails with a cup of coffee. It sounds like bliss. But there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. From a financial perspective, you will have to invest more money into your business at the start to cover any gaps in payment from your clients. You need to pay your staff! Or if you are working as a solopreneur, what can you do to ensure that you are doing enough to guarantee your investments are going to pay you down the line?
Setting Up Your Work Environment
This is the best place to begin. The nature of the home worker you may be familiar with. Everyone talks about working from home as if it’s a day off. If you have this attitude then how are you able to get any work done? You are employed by yourself, so make sure that your attitude is the right one! Yes, you are working from “home,” but you are “working.” And that is the operative word. What if you have pets and family around? You can’t stop work just because there is some mess left by Fido. Invest in a home office. It may even be time to look for a new home for your new way of life. Companies like coral homes have homes that may be more suited to the home worker lifestyle.
How To Give Your Professionalism An Upgrade
There are many things that can give your business an image of it being a home-run, small company. And that is very likely what your company is. But if you plan on doing business with larger firms they will not want to touch you because you are small fry. The best way to combat this is to give your business an image of professionalism. And this can be achieved, even if you are running your company from your kitchen! Using companies that provide virtual offices, they can give your business the impression of it being a larger firm. Using answerphone services and mailbox addresses that you can use instead of your residential one, they work to give that image a major overhaul. Need to schedule a meeting? Then you can do it online.
The Financial Benefits Of Being At Home
Yes, there are plenty of course. You don’t need to invest in an office or property. However, if your business is thriving it will be a necessity. In the short term, you can claim expenses back for utilities such as electricity. So it is a handy way for you to save some money on the home bills while also saving money on your business. If you need to upgrade your communication, you can invest in a VoIP (Voice-over Internet Protocol) phone system, which will connect to your existing internet connection. Using this will help to liaise with other workers if you are still trying to organize your business before getting a location.
Monday, November 21, 2016
Savvy investors are always looking for ways to get the best out of their investments. Some haven’t quite learned that the answer isn’t always so close to home, however. Sometimes, it’s much further away indeed. Here, we’re going to look at the options for building on your investments overseas. Some of them you might not have thought of them. Some of them will have benefits so obvious you’ll hate yourself for not having done them before.
Expanding your business
Taking your business to an international level has tons of benefits you might not have already considered. Certainly, there’s the benefit of reaching brand new markets. Of finding customers where there might not be any competition at all. But there are a lot of other ways that a multi-national presence can benefit your business. For one, it can help you bring in team members who are a lot easier to retain and perhaps even more qualified than your team. Using partners like immigration lawyers, you can become an employer of skilled migrant workers. It may be harder to find skilled workers that allow you to expand if you continue looking domestically as your only option. Having a different cultural viewpoint on your business can help you spot opportunities you may not have before, as well.
Using foreign markets
If you’re building a portfolio of investments, then you already know one of the most important keys to success. We’re talking about balancing your investments through a diversity of markets. From foreign exchange to bonds and stocks. But you don’t have to stick only to markets on this side of the water, as well. One of the reasons that people use bonds is because they’re a safe way to see a smaller profit. But foreign currency bonds might be just as safe but even more profitable. There are a lot of developing countries in the world that see better interest rates than us. Many of them offer fixed rate deposits that are a lot more profitable than ours.
A different property market
The exact same principle goes for why you would want to invest in overseas property as well. Here, we’re reaching something of a peak in terms of development. It will take some time to work out the kinks and make property the money-making market it once was. But there are many countries who are in very different stages of their property market. Whether you want to let or to sell, keeping an eye on the economy of the housing markets overseas is always a good idea. Just remember that they can take a lot of work, as well. Between taxes and laws surrounding property ownership, you have to get a little more invested personally in the process.
The international world may very well have the solutions you’ve always been looking for. Whether you run a business, manage a portfolio of trades or prefer playing your hand on the property market. Take a look at your options and how to start expanding your investments through the whole world.
Sunday, November 20, 2016
The real estate business is a secretive one. There’s no guidebook or manual designed to spill all the beans. If it was that simple, then everyone and their family would be getting into the business. The simple truth is that the real estate market isn’t a hard one to break into, but it takes time, effort, and money to figure out what works for you. You’ll run into a lot of mistakes if you don’t take the time to research and learn.
Understand the Audience You’re Selling To
Have you ever wondered why some real estate agents specialise in specific properties? Perhaps it’s properties for the seniors, or maybe the area has a high education standard. Every state and city has its own personality and only the realtors that can fully embrace it will understand what their customers want in a home.
Let’s use Roseville Homes as an example. It’s a popular area for sports such as canoeing, fishing, and kayaking. We can tell that it’s a popular area for people that love recreational activities, but there’s also a bustling retail district and major real estate development plans, which hints at the potential growth you can expect to see in Roseville within the next few years. Use this information to your advantage, and create a marketing strategy that shows off not only the property but the area surrounding it.
It Starts and Ends at the Viewing Phase
You need people to see your property. No one picks a home from an online catalogue and orders it on the spot. Buying a home is a long-term investment, and you need to soothe potential buyers into the future you want to sell them. Forget about the long-winded negotiations and phone chats with buyers, your only chance for a successful sale will their first visit to the property.
Contrary to popular belief, removing all the furniture in a house does not make it seem larger. Showing your potential buyers an unfurnished house is like someone showing you a blank canvas; you can ask them to imagine, but they won’t buy it if they don’t see anything. Don’t fall into the trap that some realtors will tell you about making the house seem bigger. You want people to see their future, you want buyers to see where you’ve put the sofa and where they could switch it to, you want to give them examples of room layouts.
The details matter. Don’t set out silly things like champagne bottles, chocolates, and fake flowers. Put things where you would want them. Leave the TV remote on the table, have a magazine hanging off the sofa, let the toilet roll unravel a bit. Your buyers need to see the house in its common state, not a fairytale home.
Use the surrounding area to your advantage when putting the house on display. If the area is known for fishing, then perhaps leave some fishing equipment in the storage areas, hang up some pictures of the surrounding lakes, and when your potential buyers scan the room, point out these items and let them know about the area they want to move into.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
How safe are your financial data and information? Or most people, it is hard to tell - we leave it to our banks to provide us with the vast majority of our financial security. There are a few things we can do ourselves, however - which are vital in this day and age. We’re going to take a look at some of the most common ways data thieves will try and steal your data - and how to protect yourself. Read on to find out more.
A growing threat
First of all, it’s vital to understand that your personal financial information is more at risk now than it has ever been. In fact, between 2005 and 2010, identity theft increased by 50%. According to Forbes, there are hundreds of millions of malware programs out there. The vast majority of them are created with the aim of trying to steal your personal information. It’s not something you want to happen to you. A data thief could ransack your bank account, or even use your identity for nefarious reasons. It could mean you have to spend a long time - possibly even years - trying to resolve the issues.
So, how can you stop the identity thieves stealing your personal data? The first thing you should consider is taking more care of your personal belongings. For example, how secure is your physical mailbox? Do you leave letters in your box for hours - or even days? If so, it’s at risk. A thief could easily snatch your letter’s at the drop of a hat, and get vital information about your affairs. You should also bear in mind that your garbage is just as big a target as your mailbox. Are you shredding your sensitive correspondence before putting it in the outdoor trash? Even the labels on your old medicine bottles could give people valuable information on your identity. Also, ensure you keep your wallet or purse close to you at all times. A bag snatcher or pickpocket could steal more than your spare change if they make off with your possessions. And if you keep your Social Security card or PIN in your wallet or purse, it’s making it incredibly easy for them. Finally, be aware that it isn’t just street thieves and common criminals you need to watch out for. The recent Wells Fargo scandal shows that even the banks could be acting in an inappropriate way.
Taking care in public
The sad truth is that you cannot trust anyone - or any location - when it comes to your personal data. Even using a credit or debit card in a store can be a dangerous act. For example, when you hand over your card to a store worker and they walk away with it, how can you ensure they are acting appropriately? If your card is RFID-enabled - or swipeable - a thief could use a handheld scanner to grab your personal info. And, of course, when it comes to withdrawing from the ATM, there could be eyes watching from a distance. And if a thief sees you enter your number, a simple bag snatch is all they need to empty your account.
Of course, part of the surge in data theft has been due to the widespread take-up of home computers and smartphones. Despite all the warnings, many people are still failing to give themselves even the most basic protection. There is no excuse for not securing your computers and gadgets without a robust password. You should also use firewalls, spam filters and antivirus software to keep your devices safe from harm. And, most importantly, keep those protections up to date. Finally, ensure that you only access sensitive accounts while at home, rather than on a public computer or Wi-Fi network. There is no way of knowing that the person sitting next to you is not a hacker.
Most online data breaches occur from the same mistakes. Clicking on dodgy links in an email can install malicious software on your computer. Using unsecured websites and paying for goods can lead to hackers stealing your credit or debit card. Even using weak passwords can lead an easy win for the data thieves. Set stronger passwords that use a combination of uppercase, lowercase, and numbers. Check the security details of any website you use for shopping. Finally, never click on suspicious links, and watch out for fraudulent emails landing in your inbox. It could lead to severe financial hardship.
Have you ever been the victim of financial data theft? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below!
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
It has been swings and roundabouts in the housing market over the last decade or so. Go back to 2006 and times were good. House prices were booming, and the economy appeared to be soaring. Then in 2008, that world started to come crashing down. Everybody realized that the whole thing was one giant debt bubble, waiting to pop. Since then, the government has pumped a load of money into the system, and things are ticking along nicely again. But some people see trouble ahead.
Moody’s, for instance, has said that the market will suffer over the next few years unless more first-time buyers enter the market. We’re at risk, according to the agency, of having a situation where supply outstrips demand. Back in 2014, the number of new home buyers on the market reached a record low. Without this demand, there’s a risk that home prices could come crashing down once again.
As a result, it seems like it’s impossible for the housing market to reach a happy medium. It’s either in a bubble, waiting to burst, or in the depths of a recession. So what does it all mean for you?
It could mean that it’s a good time to think about buying a new house. If home prices are going to fall again, it’s worth thinking about putting your home up on the market now to get ahead of the curve. You can sell now and then buy again in the future when prices have tanked, netting yourself a big chunk of equity.
The problem is that many people get into trouble when buying a new home. They make mistakes, and these mistakes end u p costing them. Often people get into the habit of rationalizing larger purchases that they cannot possibly afford. They think to themselves that it’s worth spending an extra $40,000 on a home if it has a slightly better location. And they don’t realize how at odds this type of thinking is with the rest of their behavior. It might sound like a nice idea, but since when has living a mile or two closer to work been worth $40,000?
Buying a house is exciting. But buyers frequently make mistakes. Here are some of the most egregious.
Mistake Number 1: Being Naive About The Home You’re Buying
Many new home buyers push their finances to the limit when buying a new home. They want something nice, and they are prepared to max out their finances to pay for it.
But there’s a problem with this strategy. Most homes aren’t brand new. As a result, many have problems that buyers don’t always see immediately. Buyers think that they can afford a house based on the mortgage repayments, but they don’t factor in other running costs. It’s unlikely, for example, that the house you buy will be entirely without problems. Most houses have at least something wrong with them, even if it is not immediately apparent. Buyers are usually okay for a few months. But then problems come in when something goes seriously wrong with the house, and they need to fix it.
This problem is often much worse the older the house is. Older homes often need to have the wiring redone, damp removed and have new roofs installed. These costs can add up and often make the home unaffordable.
Other homeowners aren’t naive about the home, they’re naive about the neighborhood. Often, homebuyers will see a house on the market that looks like a bargain. They go to visit the house, and sure enough, it’s in excellent condition. The only problem is that it is in a neighborhood, notorious for crime. Buyers often forget that it is easy to fix up a house but a lot harder to fix up a neighborhood. As the reality of life in a dangerous community sets in, many buyers end up wishing they’d never moved. It’s worth noting, therefore, that houses are only ever as good as the surrounding environment. Location matters.
Mistake Number 2: Not Protecting Yourself With Contingency Clauses
House sellers are getting very savvy these days. They know how to present a house to potential buyers to make it more attractive and fetch a higher price. There’s advice all over the internet on how to do it, as well as companies who offer bespoke curb appeal services.
For buyers, all of this is bad news. Buyers are bamboozled and wowed into thinking the homes they’re looking around are better than they actually are.
This is why it’s such a good idea to get protection before you buy a property. One form of protection is to hire a professional inspector. Inspectors are trained to find problems that aren’t immediately visible to the untrained eye. They look out for things like misaligned kitchen counters and problems with the waterworks. They’re also trained to look for damp and mold in the basement and whether the foundations are secure. Sellers are unlikely to divulge this information because they know how damaging it can be for making the sale. The number one thing that people don’t want from a new home is mold growing on the walls.
The other form of protection buyers can get is contingency protection. Contingency protection is a way of protecting yourself against mortgage repayments if you lose your job. It’s also a way of recovering the costs of buying a home of the loan falls through. Without having this clause, buyers can lose their money and still have to purchase the house.
Mistake Number 3: Failing To Factor In Additional Costs
Most people rent a home before buying their own. As a result, they’re used to paying a single, upfront payment - the rent. Their landlord deals with all the other ancillary costs. But for people who buy their own houses, the situation is different. They have to pay for all the other expenses that come along with home ownership.
Take homeowner insurance, for instance. Homeowner insurance rates differ depending on where you live. In Florida, thanks to geographic factors, they’re high at around $161 a month. In Wisconsin, on the other hand, they’re much lower, coming it at around $50.
Property taxes vary by region too. Property taxes are notoriously high in places like New Jersey, Texas and Wisconsin. But they’re much lower in places like Hawaii, Louisiana, and Alabama.
There are also additional costs that you have to pay, depending on your deposit. If your deposit was less than 20 percent of the value of the home, you have to pay what’s called “private mortgage insurance.” This insurance guarantees the mortgage lender will still get payments, even if you default on your loan.
All of this means that paying for a mortgage is often very much more expensive than the monthly loan repayment amount. A typical $750 mortgage can often end up costing more than $1,100 all told.
Mistake Number 4: Basing Your Mortgage On Your Future Income
A lot of so-called experts recommend that people take out expensive mortgages today because they’ll be able to afford them in the future. The idea is that over time, you’ll get promoted, earn more and be in a better position to afford the loan. But there’s a problem with this approach. Wages across the US for the average family aren’t going up. For every person who gets a promotion and a bigger paycheck, somebody else is falling behind.
Now many advisors are changing their approach. They want to see people take out loans that they can afford today. If they’ve got a good credit score, great - they can take out bigger loans. But it shouldn’t be the norm for everybody. Learn from California Mortgage Advisors more about which types of loans are available.
Mistake Number 5: Failing To Use Online Mortgage Calculator Tools
Right now, there are a host of online tools that will automatically calculate your mortgage repayments. These calculations are based on the rate of interest, loan repayment amount and the time horizon over which you will repay. They’re an excellent way to find out exactly how much you can expect to pay at the end of the month.
Many homebuyers, however, don’t use these tools. Instead, they “guesstimate” how much they’ll have to repay on a mortgage and make decisions based on that.
One of the ways you can gauge whether you can afford a new mortgage is to look at what you’re paying right not on rent. If you’re just scraping by paying a $600 rent, it’s probably a bad idea to take out a $800 mortgage. Similarly, if you’re doing great with a $600 rent, there’s nothing to stop you from buying a house with a $1000 mortgage.
Bear in mind that it’s always worth leaning towards a mortgage payment that is lower than your rent. As we’ve discussed, when you own your own place, you have to pay for additional, unforeseen costs. Figure out how much money you have to play with before starting on your own house hunt.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Debt is an all-too-familiar problem. It is estimated that debt affects 38 percent of US households. If you’re in debt, the consequences can be devastating. Often, the longer you leave a problem to linger, the worse it gets. If you’re in debt, it’s always best to take urgent action.
One of the main issues with debt is that it doesn’t stand still. If you owe people money, your debts will be rising each and every day due to interest fees. If you’ve missed payments, you’ll have even more penalties to cover. Even if you’re paying off debt, it could still be rising. At this point, it can seem like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Every penny you spend and every second that goes by compounds the problem.
Anxiety and health issues
Financial worries are one of the most common causes of anxiety. If you’ve got people calling you or letters arriving, this can make it impossible to escape. You struggle to shut off and clear your mind. You’re anxious all the time. You flinch every time the phone rings, or there’s a knock at the door. You can’t sleep. If these symptoms and signs sound familiar, it’s time to take action. Nobody should have to live in fear. The road ahead may not be easy. But nothing is worse than living with constant anxiety.
Resorting to drastic measures
When people are desperate for money, this can lead them to resort to drastic measures. You may have been a law abiding citizen all your life. But suddenly, the idea of breaking into a house or stealing from the store becomes appealing. The sad reality is that debt can drive people to a life of crime. Once you’ve been charged, you’ll also have a record. This could affect your opportunities in the future. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re facing charges, seek legal advice. It’s always beneficial to have lawyers like those from http://brianzeiger.com/ in your corner.
Taking the first steps
The first step for most people is facing up to the situation. How much debt are you in and who do you owe? Once you’ve answered these questions, prioritize your debts. One option may be to take out a consolidation loan. This type of loan is designed to pay off existing arrears. Once you’ve done this, you start afresh and begin repaying that loan. You’ll have a single payment to cover, and you won’t need to worry about collectors chasing you. Arrange to see a financial adviser. There are charities out there that offer this service free of charge. For more information, check out https://www.usa.gov/debt.
Being in debt is not just about scrimping at the end of the month and struggling to pay bills. It can be a problem that spirals out of control and changes every aspect of your life. If you’re struggling with debt, seek help now. The sooner you act, the lower the risk of devastating consequences further down the line.
Monday, November 14, 2016
Yes, you may be a superstar salesman or a magnificent marketer but there’s more to business than just that. Behind the scenes is equally as important and it’s important that you get to grips with that side of things before they start to mount up on you. Here’s some tips on how to control the nitty gritty side of your business.
An important part of business life is paying your taxes. Whatever your business does and how you do it, tax is a necessity. Fall behind with them and you could end up being in a lot of trouble. As the owner, you will need to pay several taxes like sales tax, including those of online sales, property tax and business income tax. However a lot of these can be subsidised as business expenses, as long as they are related to your business. It’s vital that you do thorough research into this as at first, it could be quite confusing. It may be best to hire somebody to sort this out for you and relieve you of this particular stress or instead, you could go online and look through sites like http://attorneystaxrelief.com/ to provide some professional assistance.
Insuring your business is another essential business requirement. As soon as you open your business, you’re at serious risk and an accident or a fire could finish you off before you’ve even started. It’s important therefore that you get sufficient insurance to keep you away from the flames. Professional liability insurance in particular, is vital in the case that a negligent claim has been pushed upon you, in regards to an accident that has occurred. Property insurance is also important in that it covers everything in your office space and if a fire or a theft happens, you can claim for your losses. With your staff, workers’ compensation insurance is also necessary. Similar to professional liability insurance, it covers your back if there is an accident or even a death in the workplace.
An element of your business that sometimes gets swept under the carpet is that of health and safety; yet this is arguably the most important element in your company. As mentioned before, you need to always be on your toes in business and ensure your staff and yourself come to no harm. Employ a health and safety officer or bring in a company that can help you undertake a thorough risk assessment. It’s also best to start a recording log and leave it in a safe place, in order to try and prevent accidents for the present as well as for the future. This will keep employees feeling safe and secure in the office and will also cover your back if indeed a claim is brought forward.
It’s important to not feel alone in business. Why not employ somebody who is trained with the experience that you’re seeking, to focus on a particular job? This will leave you to the things that you’re more confident on.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
With the amount of everyday things you need to spend money on, it's easy only ever to think about your finances in the short term. Most of the time money is a matter of getting yours to the end of the week or month. But you shouldn't neglect the need for saving money for the future. There are a lot of things that can happen throughout your life that you'll want some financial protection to deal with. The last thing you want to happen is to come up against a problem and realise you have no way to pay for it. With that in mind here are some things that everyone should be putting some money aside and saving for.
One of the scariest things in life is the idea of becoming suddenly unemployed. With companies losing money and layoffs happening all the time, it's a serious risk. The best thing you can do then is to provide yourself and your family a financial cushion. Setting aside some money gives you a period of unemployment without getting into serious financial trouble. Money that you've saved will keep you and your family afloat while you look for a new job. That way by the time you're working again, you won't have to worry about debts or overdrafts.
The cost of healthcare and nursing homes for the elderly is not something that you should ignore. It might feel like things like that are problems for the future but that's exactly why you should be saving for it now. Medicaid provides long-term care, but you need to pay with your own assets. That can be complicated and often confusing. So on top of saving money to pay for Medicaid, it's an excellent idea to hire a Medicaid planning attorney to help you navigate those confusing waters.
If there's one thing you can say about children, it's that they grow up faster than you think. One minute you're dropping them off for their first day of school, the next they're driving off to college. That's why it's so important to start saving for college from the moment they arrive into the world or sooner. Tuition fees are serious, and student loan debt can have serious impacts on a person's life. By setting aside a little each month for their college fund, you'll be able to offset the price of college, even just a little.
With any luck, once you reach your golden years you won't have to be working anymore. But don't leave it too late to start saving for retirement. Plenty of people wait much longer than they should, thinking that retirement isn't even worth thinking about. Whether it's on your own or through your employer, it's never too early to start planning for your future. That way you can live out your final years in financial comfort and security. Leaving you free to simply enjoy yourself.
It's pretty likely that we all feel like we want to take better control of our finances. Money can be a significant source of stress and a lot of that can stem from feeling like staying on top of your finances is a bigger task than anyone can handle. With all the difference places that money seems to be disappearing into, it's hard to keep track of where it's going. The last thing you want is to discover that your finances have been slowly slipping away and leaving you without any security. Fortunately, there are always things that you can do. Here are four ways that you can take back control of your financial situation.
Cut back on luxuries
We all enjoy our comforts and luxuries. Nobody wants to live a life where they can't enjoy themselves. But the trouble arises when spending on luxuries starts to overtake your ability to manage your money. It's easy to find yourself spending impulsively and then feeling anxious about your bank balance. The best thing to do in this situation is to set yourself a monthly budget. Keep a very close eye on how much you're spending each month and try to limit yourself. Don't deny yourself all luxuries of course. Just cut back, so that money worries don't ruin them.
Look at the cost of living
Your living situation can be a big factor in your financial condition. If you're living somewhere that costs more than you can really manage, then you're going to find yourself in big trouble sooner or later. Ask yourself the tough questions. Is the area I'm living in too expensive? Is my house bigger and more costly than I need and can manage? These are serious issues and can be difficult to face up to. But doing so now rather than later can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. If you're in a position where your home is just too expensive, then there are ways in which you can sell your house fast.
Take control of your debt
Debt can be completely crippling. Things like credit card debt can feel like they've completely taken control of your life. Sadly there's no quick and easy way to deal with debts. The only thing that you can do is to take responsibility for it. Don't hide your head in the sand. Face up to your debts, figure out what you owe and what you can afford to pay back. If you can, set up a repayment plan to avoid having to pay it all back at once. After that, it's just a matter of cutting back on your spending and making sure not to use credit cards and adding to that debt unless you have no choice.
Budget, budget, budget
The simplest and most effective thing you can do is to set up a strict budget. Keep track of exactly what you're spending. This includes food, fuel, heating, rent and your shopping. Everything that you spend money on needs to go in the budget. It's the best way for you to look at your spending in the cold light of day. Look at your spending and can see places you can afford to cut back. If you can do that, then you'll be able to get your financial situation in order much more quickly than you'd expect.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Money mistakes. We all make them. We all think we don't, but at some point, we all have or will. Financial security has become more important than ever these days. So you need to make sure you understand and avoid these serious financial mistakes.
Not Planning for the Future
Too many of us don't have plans in place for our financial future. And this can prove disastrous in the long run. You don't want to hit middle age and find you have no money saved. Statistics show that most millennials these days are actually more likely to spend on holidays than saving for their pensions. And this is something you need to stop doing and keep one eye on the future. Make sure you meet with a financial advisor and start getting your money in order for the future.
Having Too Many Outgoings
Outgoings can cause a huge dent in our personal finances. The problems arise when we have too many outgoings that we can't meet the needs with our income. There are two options you have to try to deal with this. The first one is to reduce some of the expenditure and outgoings you’re currently facing. Another is to try to increase the amount of income you have each month. You can make use of things like pay day loans, online jobs and e-commerce to supplement your current income. This will give you access to extra funds that you might badly need. There are some occasions in which you may have unexpected costs that crop up. And you need to deal with these, so they don't cause you financial problems.
Poor Investment Strategy
Many people these days like to make investments for the future. These are essential for supplementing income, and making you and your family more financially secure. But, if you want to invest you have to do it properly. One of the big mistakes a lot of people make is that they have a poor investment strategy or no strategy at all. You have to be very careful when you invest money because if you get it wrong, you could end up making a big loss. You have to have an investment strategy in place to help you understand the volatility of the market, and what represents the best ROI for your money. If you can do this, you will be able to invest positively and get the most out of your money. Poor investment strategy can lead to loss of earnings and severe financial ruin.
The big mistake it’s so easy to fall foul of these days is impulse buying. This is something that we are all guilty of in certain scenarios. This is why it’s never a good idea to go food shopping when you’re hungry, or to take the kids with you. You need to resist those impulse buys that you don't actually need. These soon mount up and will end up costing you significantly more than you need to be spending. Think about how and why impulse buying happens, and the sorts of things we tend to buy on impulse. It’s estimated that around 90% of shoppers will make occasional impulse buys, and this is a lot of money going down the drain. So you need to look at how you can rein in your impulse buys and only spend on what you actually need to.
Failing to Compare
The Go Compare adverts might drive you insane, but they have a valid point. We need to look for the best possible deals out there. And the only way to do this is to compare and contrast prices so you can come to an informed decision. Now, you have to understand that failure to compare will more often than not result in you spending far too much money. Looking at things like car insurance or holiday bookings? Well, don't just take the first option you are presented with. Make sure you hunt around and find the best deal you can; you might be surprised by how much you save.
Making Life Decisions You Can’t Afford
One of the big things we all fall for is making those big life decisions we can't afford. This could be something like buying a house, or upping sticks and moving to London to try to make something of yourself. You have to consider that things like this are always going to cost you more money than you’re used to having to spend. It should come as no surprise that London is ranked as the most expensive UK city to live in. The average cost of a litre of petrol in London clocks in at around £1.15. It’s things like this that you need to prepare for so these costs don't take you by surprise. Too many people are making big life choices - like moving to London - and not accounting for the financial risks involved.
We all make bad mistakes when it comes to our finances because that's human nature. Many of us don't consider the risks involved in modern spending, and that's what gets us into financial problems to begin with. So, it’s important to understand these mistakes and ensure that we don't make them. Avoid these errors, and you will wind up in a much healthier financial position in the long-term.
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Do you think you are paid the amount of money you deserve? Of course, we all would like to be paid a little more. But there are many people with very legitimate complaints about their pay rate. It is possible to get more money from your employer, but you need to take the right steps. Here are some steps you should take if you want to earn more and get the pay you deserve.
Make Yourself Available for Promotion
If you can clinch a promotion, you will be able to get a pay rise for yourself. It’s as simple as that. Except, of course, clinching a promotion is rarely ever easy. But if you are outgrowing your current position, your only option will be to move up. Taking on new challenges and more responsibilities can be daunting, but it does result in greater financial rewards. So, don’t shy away from making yourself available for those kinds of promotions. It could be exactly what you need to achieve the pay rate you deserve.
Challenge Injustices and Indiscretions
If something bad happens to you in your career, make sure you challenge it. You can never hope to achieve economic and financial justice if you don’t challenge those injustices. So, if you get paid less than you were promised or don’t get the paid holidays you expected, take action. It can be difficult to take on those that are more powerful than you, but it has to be done. If you let people walk all over you, you will never receive the level of pay that you deserve. Fighting for compensation for work related injuries is also important. So, don’t just accept those injustices either.
Show Your Worth
By performing better, you might be able to achieve a pay rise without having to ask. It doesn’t always happen, and it depends on what kind of employer you work for. But if you have a fair boss who wants to keep hold of their best employees, they should recognise your worth. Make it your aim to stand out in the workplace. You will have to go one better than your colleagues, and do work that simply can’t be ignored. It certainly won’t be easy, but maybe you will be able to achieve it with some hard work and innovation.
Ask for a Pay Rise in the Right Way
Sometimes, you can only get what you want by asking for it. So, you should ask for a pay rise if you really feel like you are not being paid the amount that you deserve. Asking for a pay rise can work really well for you if you go about doing it in the right way. You should be cautious and respectful when you ask for a pay rise. If you approach the topic in a way that is hostile and combative, you won’t get the positive response you’re looking for. Make your case, and show your employer why you think it’s worth it for your employer to pay you more.
Monday, November 7, 2016
If you’re in the market for your dream home, you’ll undoubtedly be looking to save a little money. It can be difficult to afford the place of your dreams, but it can be done! Our goal today is to help you buy the house you want to live in.
Think About Location
The location of your dream home will have a big effect on whether you can afford it in the long run. Keep in mind that the costs of living extend far beyond the initial purchase you make. Uptown condos will have better links to the city than something on the outskirts, for example. This can affect everything from the amount you spend on gas to public transport funds. The less you have to spend outside the home, the more affordable the home itself becomes.
Consider Maintenance Costs
Ideally, you don’t want to be spending masses of money on maintenance costs. So, when you’re looking for the ideal home, keep this in mind. A poorly maintained home is going to cost a lot of money to fix, both now and in later years. If you’re planning a redesign once you’re in there, do what you can to design for low maintenance, too.
Do You Qualify For A Mortgage?
Of course, an important consideration to think about is whether you qualify for a mortgage. Your current financial situation might make it difficult for you to buy straight away. You might fail to get a loan from the right institutions, stagnating your progress. While we’re on the topic of loans, be sure to remain careful when opting for them. A substantial loan with high interest for redesign or furniture purchases adds a great deal of risk to the deal.
Be Careful With Auctions
If you’re going to buy a home at auction, you’re automatically adding a greater deal of risk to the sale. But, you might pick up a fantastic bargain in the process, so we’re not going to put you off the deal entirely. If you’re adamant about going down this route, do your homework in the process. Be sure to get all the information you need about the home, and learn bidding techniques to get ahead. As mentioned, auctions are a risky process, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Cut The Costs in Your Everyday Life
If you need to save money quickly in order to fund your dream home, you need to cut costs. That’s not always easy when your everyday life requires plenty of expenditure. But, think about it. Can you ditch that expensive coffee you buy every morning? Can you make do without the sandwiches you buy at the workplace? It doesn’t take much to save enough to make a big difference.
Think Of It As An Investment
Finally, keep in mind that your dream home is an investment. The initial purchase is the expensive part, but you’re entering into a long-term commitment. If you don’t think you can financially support yourselves going forward, you might need to consider other options.
We hope you find success in buying the home of your dreams!
Sunday, November 6, 2016
Buying a new house is never going to be cheap. There are many fees to consider when you start making your move. The money side of things doesn’t end at your mortgage! In fact, the mortgage is only the beginning of the money considerations you need to make. Getting a rough idea of how much moving is going to cost will save you any horrible surprises later down the line. You don’t want to miss out on that dream home because you didn’t finance properly! A little careful consideration early on will help you get an idea of budget.
There are plenty of new hope homes for sale, and a little searching will find you the right property in no time. Not having your finances in check at that point could lead to you missing out. Make sure you have your money situation under control before then by following this checklist.
If you haven’t sorted a mortgage, there’s no chance of going anywhere. Your mortgage is the first thing you should consider when looking into moving home. If you’re already a homeowner, take into account the mortgage you already have. Work out how much money you’ll be left with after paying off your first mortgage. That way, you’ll know how much you have to play with. If this is your first home, work out how large a mortgage you can afford. Having a substantial deposit saved can be a massive help at this point. You'll be able to look at much larger mortgages with that money behind you. The key at this stage is to be realistic. Don’t take out a huge mortgage that you’ll never be able to pay off. You’ll end up losing your dream home if you can’t keep up. It’s also worth factoring how much your bills and taxes are likely to be. Make sure you can afford everything comfortably!
This point applies to people who are selling a house. Estate agents don’t come cheap, and most will take a percentage of the final house sale. Don’t forget about the amount of money the agent is going to be taking from your final cut! It may be an extra expenditure you can do without, but selling your house through an agency is a must. Don’t make things harder than they have to be. Agents are great at keeping some of the stress from your shoulders.
This one is a little later down the line, but still worth considering from the off to help you work out budget. Costs for removal companies vary, but try and gather a rough estimate of how much it will cost you to move. It’s no good to spend your whole budget on securing a house if you have no way of getting your belongings into it. Many removal companies offer a budget calculator which can show you a rough estimate. Take the time to work out the cost, and you’re sure to thank yourself later on!
Saturday, November 5, 2016
Are you late on your rent or mortgage payments? Do you need money for day to day living expenses? Do you need money to travel to work? If you’re in a crisis and have exhausted all other avenues, there are several ways to raise cash quickly.
1. Sell Your Property Within A Week
If you need a significant sum of money and own your own property you could consider selling it. The process doesn’t have to take months. Some companies, such as DFWSellFast, will buy your home within a week. Many companies will buy your property as is, without the need for repairs, etc. This could raise a significant sum quickly and help you out of a bind.
2. Get A Part-Time Job
Even if you’re working full-time already, you could consider taking on a part-time job. This is not advisable for long periods of time. Your mind and body need time to rest and recuperate. But a couple of evenings a week or a few hours at the weekend may be all it takes to raise some extra cash. Check out your local newspaper and keep an eye for ads at local stores, etc. Dog walking and pet sitting may also be an option.
3. Sell Crafts
Are you an artist or a craftsperson? Do you make cards, ceramics, jewelry, etc.? If so, there are lots of avenues you could take to sell your products. Sign up to sell at a local craft fair. Or, take your products online and sell via online marketplaces. Approach local independent stores and galleries that have a similar aesthetic. Price your items carefully to allow some markup for selling in stores.
4. Sell Your Stuff
Most of us have lots of stuff that we no longer need. It builds up over the years, and we just move it from room to room. Is there anything you could sell? Old cell phones can be lucrative. And what about furniture, books, CDs, DVDs, etc.? You have lots of options when it comes to selling. For example, you could hold a yard sale and sell everything all at once. Or, you could sell online using services such as Craigslist or eBay.
5. Complete Online Surveys
Many people raise extra cash or coupons by completing online surveys in their spare time. Companies pay for your opinion. All you have to do is complete some online forms.
6. Online Testing
If you’re internet savvy and are used to shopping online, why not get paid for your talents? Countless companies rely on testers to test their websites and apps. This provides them with valuable data to improve their offering. And you get paid for your time.
7. Take Steps For The Future
When you get back on your feet again, it’s important to take steps to prevent this from happening again. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, problems arise, and all we can do is our best to put them right. But taking a few simple steps could help you avoid this happening in the future.