3 Ways to Boost Your Monthly Income

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woman standing with open arms amidst falling moneyIf you are preparing for a special event

or are planning to raise fund for an upcoming big expense, it might be a good solution to start seeking alternatives to boost your income. Some simple or out-of-the-box ways might be available to raise some additional money. These are listed below.

Start Freelance Work

Various sites online propose effective solutions for people to sell their skills by doing additional projects and raise funds. This is done either by bidding on projects or creating pages where buyers would be able to contact sellers for particular products and services. One would only need to be aware of which skills might be in demand and to tap on that.

Cover your car with advertisements

This is a new method of advertisements that allows individuals to earn up to 1000 dollars a month by just placing ads on their car. The persons selected for this would then just have to travel their normal route regularly. The selection depends on the area that the person lives in.

Become a Mystery Shopper or join a focus group

Being involved in market researches is quite lucrative. Several people can earn up to 300 dollar per focus group participation. In order to enrol, you might want to gather information from a local market research agency and they would ask you for information to assess whether you would be eligible. Mystery shopping is quite selective but people who get involved in it would need to provide their opinion on products and get paid for it.

3 factors to consider when choosing a retirement portfolio

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eharprefinanceGoing on retirement is liberating. It is the moment when you would finally get to relax and forget about your work and intent with which you were focusing on your career. The following questions will help you decide how to allocate assets for your retirement distribution.

Determining your budget and expenses

Making a list of all your necessary expenditures will help you evaluate how much you would be needing from your retirement plan. Your expenses are the main influencing factor of your retirement and having a strong understanding of how they are broken down is key. If are able to determine how much you would be withdrawing for your retirement, you would be able to find out what you would be expecting from your investments.

Determining your expected rate of return

By determining the rate of return on your investment that you would be needing, you can decide what would be the amount of money to allocate in your pension plan. Factors such as risk and time would also have to be taken into consideration.

When would you be needing the money?

Determining when you would actually require the release of your funds would determine which mode of retirement investment to choose and adhere to. Adopting a long-term approach can be beneficial, especially if you are investing in relatively risk-free plans. Factors such as taxes, inflation and the market trends would also have to be considered when devising your long-term retirement investment plan.

Calculations for a Comfortable Retirement

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retirement-calculatorGenerally, owners of small businesses decide to finance their through the sale of their company. While this may be a good plan, business owners often do not consider the amount of money that they will receive during the sale.

Develop a retirement budget in today’s dollars

While developing your retirement budget, you could start by considering your current expenses and forecasting whether these would still exist when you would be retiring. For instance, if you have children, they would probably have grown into adulthood and become self-sufficient. Other financial aspects such as a mortgage would have been paid off. Your retirement income would also need to cater for activities that you might want to indulge in once you would be free from professional obligations.

Estimate any income you will have in retirement

In some cases, you would be eligible for a person scheme. Even though social security might be around, you might want to disregard this income in your calculations. Moreover, some people do not plan to go on full retirement. They would therefore still be receiving an income and this would reduce the amount needed from the retirement scheme.

Consider the effect of inflation

Supposing that you would be about to retire in 15 years. You might need to take into consideration the forecasted level of inflation for the forthcoming decades. Assuming that the inflation rate would be at 2.5% for the next 15 years, to gather a capital of $3.3, the retirement fund would need to be at $4.8.

How To Budget for an Event

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budget-pen-graph3dBalancing the budget for an event is one of the challenges faced by planners. The cause of most money issues is generally related to initial discussion stages. The design and planning of an event should start with the financial resources at the disposal of the planner. The tips below might help you estimate the cost.

Outline Each Event Expenses

Expenses related to an event would come from various sources. Once you have all these sources listed down, you would be able to assign budgets to each one. For any event the most obvious expenses would be venue and catering. Overlooking one expense might cause a disbalance in the initial budget.

Discussion with the planner

The role of an event planner is to provide expert guidance on the coordination but also on how to balance your budget. The planner should be able to advise when your ideas are going too much over the top so that you are aware of budget restrictions. You might sometimes also have to adjust your expectations with this regards.

Build a Basic Event Budget

Once you have formed an idea of how the event will be and have an idea on the overall budget, you would have to break it down for each component. Another factor to consider is that your initial budget is only a working draft. Other expenses might come in. It is therefore important to keep a buffer, just in case. A 10% buffer is generally adequate. You will also have to include your event planner’s fees when considering your budget.

Tips To Avoid Student Loan Debt

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student-loanFederal student loans has experienced considerable progress in the past years. Borrowers who were struggling with their debt have been offered several options in terms of loan repayment and even loan forgiveness programs have been put into place to help them out. However, borrowers having opted for private student loans often do not have so many facilities. The tips below might help you avoid private student loan debts.

Get To Know Your Loan Terms First

It is really important to keep track of the terms of your private student loan. Essential information such as the person dealing with your record, contact details, the repayment status and balance of your loan would need to be constantly checked. This might be hard to keep up with especially if you have contracted different private student loans through each school year. You might want to use your credit report to get all required information to contact your lenders and update them with your address to receive regular statements.

Negotiate With Your Bank and Focus On Earning Extra Income

If you find that you are in difficulty to repay your loans, you might consider contacting your bank to explain your situation and find a solution. Generally banks will propose a win-win solution. The solution might be in terms of lower repayment for a longer period. Another solution would be find alternative ways to generate extra income. It might be by working more shifts or engaging in a side activity that would make your earn some extra money.

Benefits of having a long-term home mortgage

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house-cashLong-term mortgages are those that last for 40 years or more and tend to be more expensive due to the greater risk involved in lending for a considerably longer time compared to other loans. If you are reluctant at considering a mortgage, the following reasons could help you in your decision.

  1. Mortgages enable you to build equity

The value of your home will rise over the years and having a mortgage does not affect that value. Instead of spending all your money on buying the property, getting a long-term mortgage will have the effect of increasing your equity while at the same time the value of your home will increase. An increase in equity can help you fund major life events such as weddings, education or retirement.

  1. Mortgages carry low interest rate

Mortgages have low interest rates since you would be putting your house up as a guarantee of your payment. The bank’s risk with this loan is considerably lower as you are offering something huge as collateral, therefore they are willing to reduce their interest rate.

  1. Mortgage interest is tax-deductible and tax-favorable

The interest that you pays on your home loans up to a certain amount is tax-deductible in the U.S. This provides savings on federal and state income taxes.

  1. Mortgage payment gets easier with years

Mortgage payment, especially fixed-rate mortgages become comparatively cheaper over time as your income will undoubtedly increase. Mortgage payments might seem high during the first few years but as income increase, things would start to look easier.

How to protect yourself against credit card hacks

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As per a Consumer Reports Survey carried out in 2012, 22.5% out of five thousand consumers who have received notice of a security breach have found out that they were victims of identity fraud. There are certain actions that you might take to protect yourself in case you find out that your account has been subject to a data breach.

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Get a Replacement Card

If you have been informed that you are involved in a data breach, immediately demand that the company get you a new card or you would close down the account. The company should be able to meet your demand.

Daily Check Your Account Online

Finding suspicious activities and disputing them promptly is the best way to be able to solve any issue. Check your account everyday when your new card arrives for a least one month.

Freeze your credit

If you find out that you are the victim of a data breach, you can call the three main credit bureaus and request to freeze your credit report. This would ensure that nobody would have access to your report without your prior consent. In extreme cases of real breaches, you could also freeze your accounts.

Order your credit reports

As per the law, you are eligible to one free credit report each year. If you are a victim of fraud, you would probably to eligible for more regular free reports. Even if you have not been a victim yet, you might be cautious by getting reports every quarter year.

Investment tips for beginners

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finance3Investing can be an intimidating process for beginners. The following tips could be helpful to ease up the process.

  1. Choosing the right investment partner

The most crucial choice when it comes to investment revolves around which brokerage company to solicit. This is an important decision as it will impact on the amount paid in fees, the type of investments that you would be proposed and the expected returns on investment that you would get. A good long-term solution is to choose a discount broker. Choosing one that would not charge high fees and charge low commissions would be ideal. Brokers that offer mutual funds or ETFs (exchange-traded funds) without charging for a commission are perfect for beginners.

  1. Start with basic funds

Mutual funds and ETFs are great for beginners. The advantage of these funds is that they would split your investment across several stocks. This creates a buffer for risks associated with the downfall of any given individual stock. Mutual funds and ETFs are ideal if you want to learn about investment. Some target-date mutual funds offer the advantage of automatic computation of the risk level associated with your investment as you approach the goal you had set (such as your retirement, for instance).

  1. Opt for safer stocks

Safer stocks can come in the form of consumer staple products such as food, clothing and medical supplies. These stocks tend to be less volatile as even when the economy is tough, people would still be looking for buy those products. These stocks have a good long-term prospects but require patience to yield their return.

How to Solve Financial Shortfalls

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If you notice a financial shortfall after calculating your expected expenses, you might have to find solutions in order to eliminate it. Several possibilities might be presented to you and you might have to adapt your solutions as per your situation. The guide below might help you come up with ideas to raise some extra funds.

financial freedom

Reconsider your expenditures

You might wish to go through your expenditure again and to try to eliminate anything that feels unnecessary. However, there are certain expenses that you must not drop. For instance, you might feel tempted to drop your insurance coverage, but dropping them now might be turn out to be problematic in the future. And this decision might turn out to be detrimental in the future.

Review bills and find out how to save

Take a moment to review each of your bills and think about ways to reduce your expenses. You may gather around with your family to decide how you may save on groceries, clothes and other items. You might have to change some of your consumer habits.

Consider your employment

To eliminate certain financial shortfalls, you might think about working extra hours or doing a part-time activity. If your children are teens, you might encourage them to find a job to be able to earn some extra pocket money.

Start Keeping a Log

The log would help you keep track of your expenditure and find out where the money goes. It might be some expensive lunch that you tend to forget about or a habit that has become part of your routine, such as smoking. It could be useful to note these down.

3 tips for choosing a mortgage

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Choosing the right mortgage can be a tough decision. There are many factors that ought to be taken into consideration in order to avoid any contingencies in the years to come. The tips below might be helpful.

mortgage

Know what you can afford

Most financial decisions would start with this step. Knowing what you can afford is about knowing where you stand financially. You might think about going through your monthly spending to determine what is within your budget in terms of the house, insurance, mortgage and property taxes. You might also think about including monthly maintenance and utility costs. Your credit report would also have to be checked to ensure that get the lowest interest rate possible on your mortgage.

Compare Loans

This shopping around takes time and energy, but it is unfortunately required in order to guarantee the best decision and more savings. You can consider a mortgage lender or mortgage broker. Brokers would sell you a loan from a lender. However, neither of these professionals would be finding the best loan for you. You would have to carry out the research yourself.

Understand loan prices and fees

Customers often make the mistake of accepting the first loan that they are being offered without thinking about looking around for a better deal. You might also keep in mind that lenders and brokers alike have a consideration for the profit that they would receive once you agree to the terms of a particular loan with higher interests or higher fees. Understanding and comparing prices yourself is the best way to strike a deal.

Three ‘Numbers’ That Every Investor Must Keep Track Of

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Almost any investor worth his salt will know that it is imperative to keep track of the investment climate to succeed. This is done by monitoring a variety of indicators (not just one or two) that can help you make smart decisions and as to whether you should take a buying or selling position.

Here are three indicators that should help you decide what investment choices to make:

#1: Investor Returns

Instead of looking at your mutual fund’s trailing one, three, five or 10 years returns (the published returns), another approach would be to monitor ‘investor returns’ that measures an average investor’s return for any fund. These calculations will also tell an investor how much they could lose or gain based on when they decide to buy or sell. In most cases, balanced funds are considered to be much more profitable than volatile funds.

#2: Sentiment Surveys

Another important number to look for is the weekly release of ‘sentiment surveys’ by the American Association of Individual Investors which tell you whether investors are bearish, bullish or neutral over the next six months. Often, the approach that investors take causes the market to head in the opposite direction.

#3: The VIX

Also known as the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), these numbers are considered to be a ‘fear gauge’ that describes complacent or fearful investors are at any given time. The index uses options prices to measure expected volatility for 30 days in the S&P500. Since these numbers are available on the Chicago Board Options Exchange website, one can easily get access to these numbers so that they know what’s happening in the market.

6 Tips entrepreneurs should know before investing in real estate

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Entrepreneurs invest in real estate because they know that the return on investment in much higher in real estate than investing their money in the bank. However, there are few tips that entrepreneurs should keep in mind when investing in real estate.

Plan your financial goals – Before investing in real estate, it is best to analyze what you expect from your investment. When conducting your analysis, look at the time you are willing to hold your asset in comparison to the return you will receive.

Don’t only look at learning – Learn the basics about real estate investments and then compare them with the goals you want to achieve. If you have any specific areas you need clarification, look at searching for this information online or delve into a book or a seminar.

Look at plenty of properties – Look at as many properties as you can and consider areas beyond your personal preferences. More options will provide you with a wide range of choice which will make for positive

Avoid postponing your investment program – Avoid waiting for that perfect deal as it may not happen. Perfect deals rarely exist. Instead look at if your investment meets your goals.

Do a thorough financial analysis – Once your analysis is complete, look at these details as guidelines to determine your price and your terms.

Avoid buying a property that the seller is not motivated to sell – If a seller is not motivated to sell their property, the chances are that the price of the property will not suit your financial goals.

 

5 Financial tips for young adults

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eharprefinance.Most young adults are clueless on how to manage their money and most often find themselves living an existence of barely managing from one paycheck to the next. Here are 5 financial tips for young adults that will leave you comfortable and prosperous.

Learn self control – It is important to learn the art of delayed gratification. Instead of buying an item on credit as soon as you want it, try saving up the money and buying something straight off. Use your credit card only for emergencies and for the special offers that they provide.

Take control of your own financial future – It is better to understand how to control your money better, than letting your family or friends dictate your financial future. Read a few books on how to make the most of your personal finances.

Know where your money goes – Budgeting is a very good way to understand where your money is being spent. Once you understand where your money is going, you will understand that making small changes can make a big difference at the end of the month.

Start an emergency fund – It is good to pay yourself first, so that you have some money saved in case of an emergency. Set aside a percentage of your earnings, which are transferred from your account automatically to a savings account every month.

Start saving for retirement now – Saving up now for your retirement, will mean that you will have a stable income once you get old and are unable to work

Financial tips for young adults

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Until personal finance becomes a subject in high school or college every young adult needs to learn how to manage their finances. Unfortunately, most don’t and as a result go out into the world without any idea on how to manage money. Here are a few tips to get your started:

Learn self-control

It is important to learn the art of delayed gratification. It will make managing your finances and saving money that much easier. Credit cards make it very easy to buy something immediately, even when you cannot afford it. Avoid those traps and only buy something that you have the money for. If not, then save up and buy it.

Setup an emergency fund

One of the smartest mantras in personal finance is “pay yourself first”. Regardless of how much your commitments are, always put away something. The starting point is your emergency fund. Set yourself a target of an emergency fund that will cover your expenses for three or six months. Once that target is hit, then look at other saving accounts.

Start saving for retirement

Thanks to compound interest, the sooner you start saving the less money you will have to contribute to hitting your retirement targets. The sooner you hit your retirement target the sooner working becomes optional and you can do anything else you want. Some companies provide retirement plans for their employees. This is beneficial as the money goes in pre-tax and some even match your contribution.

Tips for hiring employees on a limited budget

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Small budgets are something businesses have to get used to when hiring new employees. Here are some tips to get the most for your money.

Know when to outsource – Outsourcing a position is a great way to reduce risks that come with a new hire. If an outsourced employee is not doing their job, you can simply tell them that you don’t require their services.

Use small to your advantage – Small businesses provide new hires with the ability to make changes that can be implemented. Make sure you highlight this fact when interviewing potential candidates.

Offer competitive non-salary benefits – Although employees are maybe willing to join a company for a smaller salary, you will have to offer them other benefits to keep them interested. For example, offering childcare services, transportation reimbursement, flexible schedules, the opportunity to work from home, are non-salary benefits that will keep employees happy.

Clearly set expectations – When the salary is low, it is best to discuss this at the early stage of the interview. The interviewer should then build on the other benefits the job offers.

Leverage existing employees – Ask employees to refer friends and acquaintances, so that they can market your company from the very beginning. This referral means that your employees will be more likely to introduce potential hires that are a great fit for the organization regarding culture and work ethics.

 

4 Ways to finance your business

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Starting a new business can be exciting, but starting a business venture requires a substantial amount of capital. Here are some tips on how business owners can gather money to finance their business venture.

Business plan – A clear business plan should map out the next three to five years of a company, and the plan should be a living, changing document. Your business plan should start with a business summary that summarizes the entity of the business plan and the company’s goals. The plan should then describe the businesses industry, target market and include as analysis with projections for the future.

Funding request – Your business plan should then include a comprehensive funding request to potential investors and define how the funding will be used. Most business plans also include financial plans for the future, which include buyouts, selling the business and debt repayments.

Financial projections – A border description of the company’s plans should also be included in a business plan. These details will help stakeholders understand the big picture and support the business in allocating resources efficiently.

Business loans – There are many ways to obtain a business loan. It is best to start with institutions that offer several loan programs for smaller businesses before reaching out to banks and other private lending entities. Although smaller institutions provide better interest rates, they have strict guidelines that need to be followed to place an application. It is essential to apply to many lenders to receive a positive answer within the time frame required.

 

5 Tips to straighten out your finances

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If your finances are a mess and your life goals are not being met, you may feel that you aren’t making the most of your life. Here are some ways to straighten your finances and reach those life goals you’ve always dreamed of achieving.

What do you owe – Understanding what you owe the bank is an excellent way to work towards paying off your debts. You can then look at how much money you will need to put away each month to pay up what you owe.

Learn accounting – Learning basic accounting will help you to budget and keep track of your expenses. You can then look at your budget each week and understand where you are spending your money the most and where you can save.

Transfer your income to your savings account – To grow your savings look at saving 5% of your income into a savings account every month.

Open an investment account – Investing your money wisely with the help of a reputed, experienced investor can be a smart move. Working with an investor will also teach you how to invest on your own and grow your investment.

Get an eBay account – Selling unwanted items that you own is an excellent way to get rid of junk and earn in the process. Start off by creating an eBay account and use your account to sell items on a weekly basis.

Initially following the tips above may seem complicated because your lifestyle will need to change. However, you will soon realize that within three months of following the steps above, you will increase your savings, reduce your debt and be able to reach your life goals.

3 Finance tips all business owners should follow

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Finance is an integral part of the business, and therefore it is vital that your finance is handled by a professional who knows what they are doing. Here are some tips to help business owners ensure that they are on the right financial track.

Don’t procrastinate – Putting off the books is not a good idea as this will make the accounting of a small business unmanageable. Look at documenting your financial process before you start your business and fine tune it as your business grows and changes. Consider recording your financial operations so that even if you are not able to be at the office, your employees will understand the process.

Understand your annual cash flow – Cash flows usually follows a seasonal trend and understanding this pattern is key to ensuring your business has enough money throughout the year. You also will need to understand your sales cycles to ensure that you have a buffer for days that your sales are low but you have to maintain your inventory.

Focus on your core strengths – Although doing all your finance requirements in-house is an excellent way to save money, it may leave you with less time to plan. Look at focusing on your key strengths and then look at outsourcing other areas to professionals who will be able to give you the information you need to make critical business decisions.

 

4 Strategies for managing a fast-growing company

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A start-up is designed to grow fast, and although rapid growth is what every entrepreneur dreams of, most start-ups are not prepared for rapid growth. Here are some tips on how to manage a fast-growing company.

Medium-term goals – Although most business plans focus on short and long-term goals, it is also a good idea to look at medium-term goals. Medium-term objectives help to bridge the gap between short and long-term goals and provide a much-needed stepping stone. Medium-term goals will help a company look at what they need regarding people and resources to reach their long-term goals.

Keep customers happy – It is important that you never stop listening to your customers. Look at gathering as much customer feedback and use this information to improve your business.

Find a great mentor – A mentor who has experience in a similar business or industry can be a lot of help to assist you to guide your company in the right direction. Avoid letting your ego or your pride get in the way of receiving good advice and understand that every start-up needs a good mentor.

Have the right team – Having the right team working for you is your best bet to growing and sustaining your business. To steer the company in the right direction, look for team members that are ready to wear different hats and those that have worked in a startup before.

How Filing Construction Claims Could Financially Assist Your Project

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Summary: There is a large variety of construction claims, which can make it difficult to understand which type of claim you should be filing. Although you will not ultimately be the one to file the actual claim, it is still nevertheless important to understand your situation.

With so many different kinds of construction claims out there, it can be confusing to clearly understand what sort of claim you should file for your particular case. Some of the most common construction claims will be outlined below for your education.

Delay Claims

Construction delay claims are those related to schedule delays. These claims are quite common with larger projects, as unplanned circumstances could impact the roadmap for a construction project. Construction delays can push the construction timeline back and can ultimately result in construction workers missing their projected deadlines.

Breach-of-Contract

Breach-of-contract claims are those that oftentimes result from a contract issue. If the person who hired a contractor feels like the work the contractor did was done too quickly, did not meet his or her specifications, or simply does not meet the level of quality that the employer had in mind, then he or she would want to file an owner claim. It is crucial that the employer’s requests outlined in the contract signed by the contractor were not met, in order for such a claim to be filed. The contract legally obligates the contractor to complete the job he or she agreed to, and failure to do so can get them in legal trouble.

Mechanic’s Lien

A mechanic’s lien claim can be filed if the property owner fails to pay his or her contracted workers. If these contracted workers provide labor, equipment, or materials to aid in the construction of a property and they ultimately do not get proper financial compensation in return, then they are not receiving what they are legally entitled to.

It is crucial to have a solid understanding of your rights as a worker, so you can be aware of when they are being violated.

Blog submitted by Lyle Charles: Lyle Charles is a construction industry expert and his team offers construction claim analysis services. Visit him online to learn more.