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January 15, 2017

Making Money By Selling Refreshed Apple Products

money appleTry, for a moment, to think of a corporation that compares to Apple. What company has the name recognition, branding, and carefully constructed image that Apple has built over the last decade of total technological dominance?

The Leader of the Pack

The answer, of course, is that Apple has no real competition. Their rise to power has been slow and steady, but the cell phone industry analysis is indisputable. As of mid-2015, CNet reports that about 100 million Americans use iPhones. That’s roughly 1/3 of the population of the United States.

If you walk into your local coffee shop, you’ll immediately note the dominance of the MacBook as the preferred notebook computer for telecommuters across the US. Want a tablet? The iPad is the obvious choice.

The popularity of a product is one of the most important variables in determining whether there is money to be made in servicing and repairing that product. Consider other household goods, appliances, or even vehicles? If a car manufacturer produces a dominant model, and that model is purchased and driven by 1/3 of the US population, how many other services professionals can benefit from that popularity? Mechanics will exclusively service the model. Aftermarket part manufacturers will build and distribute exclusively for the model and re-sellers will benefit from exclusively carrying the model, since such a huge percentage of the population will purchase it.

Using the auto analogy helps to demonstrate the significant opportunity that exists for an iPhone repair franchise. Sure, cars cost more. But the impact of Apple’s popularity is difficult to comprehend without thinking in terms of other, similarly valuable products.

Apple Franchise Markets are Everywhere

One of the secrets to successful franchising is selecting an appropriate market in which to operate a new business. For some franchises, that decision can be tricky. Food preferences can depend on region. Educational and fitness needs are largely dependent on demographics like age and income. But Apple products, with their complete market domination, are present in every metro area and suburb, every college campus and retirement community. Uses vary, certainly. The average MacBook pro user will differ significantly from the average owner of an iPhone manufactured three years ago. Their repair needs, however, are universal.

Refreshed Apple Products as an Income Stream

Making money with an iPhone repair franchise is possible in part because of the multiple income streams that are generated by a familiarity with the products and the capacity to fix them. One of those income streams is the sale of refreshed products, which come in as trades for customers in search of an upgrade. Although we’re accustomed to hearing about how high-tech goods are out of date as soon as they are purchased, there are several reasons that consumers have proven to be quite interested in purchasing used or refurbished Apple electronics.

  • Upgrades are largely software based. From one generation to the next, cell phones, tablets, and computers no longer change physically by leaps and bounds so that they quickly become obsolete. Instead, Apple (along with its competitors), rolls out downloadable software updates that keep even older hardware running for many years.
  • New products are prohibitively expensive. Thousands of dollars for laptops. Hundreds of dollars for even the cheapest cell phone in the lineup. Apple products are extremely expensive, but that has done nothing but whet the public’s appetite for them. Middle-income consumers have kept the prices of used and refurbished Apple products steadily high for years, with online and iPhone repair franchise profits significantly greater, as a percentage of original retail pricing, than any other comparable goods. A car driven off the lot loses a third of its value immediately. A brand new iPhone does no such thing.
  • Many repairs are easy. Broken screens and dead home buttons are often enough to send consumers—accustomed to instant gratification from their expensive devices—running to order a new tablet or phone. But the repairs are often simple and largely cosmetic, which means excellent profit margins on refreshed items. Frustrations with non-working features or broken exteriors often mean upgrades for buyers, but for an iPhone repair franchise they mean quick turnover, minimal investment, and exceptional profits.

Selling refreshed Apple products is worth investigating for any savvy entrepreneur as a personal experiment—list an item online for sale—something in a desk drawer that you’ll never use again—and look how quickly buyers flock to purchase your used electronics. It’s a lesson that warrants reflection.

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January 1, 2017

7 Tips for Families to Become Debt Free

debt attackMost families have accumulated a significant amount of debt due to auto loans or credit cards that have been used over the years. Acquiring debt can make it easy to feel limited with your finances, which can make it difficult to make ends meet. To become debt-free and obtain financial freedom, there are a few important steps to take.

1. Create a Budget

Creating a budget will allow you to determine how much money you can afford to put towards your debt each month. Calculate your household income and write down your expenses, which will allow you to get an idea of how much debt you will pay off with each paycheck.

2. Establish Goals

Establishing goals to pay off your debt in a specific time frame will make it easier to stay on track and avoid losing focus with paying off the debt in full.

3. Cut Coupons

You can save more money each month to put towards your debt by cutting coupons in the newspaper for food and household items that you already purchase. Combine manufacturer coupons and store coupons to double your savings.

4. Pay Off Lowest Balances First

Paying off the accounts that have the lowest balance first, which will allow you to stay motivated and will reduce the amount of money that you pay in interest each month. There are some credit repair companies that can help you consolidate and repay your loans.

5. Avoid Eating Out

Reduce the money that you spend each month by making your meals at home and avoid dining out when you’re on the go. Prepare meals and have easy snacks on hand to take to work and stay within your food budget.

6. Shop at Secondhand Stores

Shopping for clothing or goods at secondhand stores can allow you to avoid paying full price for products that your family may need when it comes to purchasing school clothes or work attire.

7. Use the Envelope System

Convert your paycheck into cash and transfer it into different envelopes to avoid overspending and track how much you have left to spend. This will allow you to become more conscious of how much money you spend without relying on a credit or debit card.

Although it can be challenging to pay off debt as a family, there are several lifestyle changes that can be made to make progress with the money that you owe. By establishing rules with your finances and making goals, you can track the money that you pay off to ensure that you obtain freedom in a realistic time frame.

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December 16, 2016

NPS and How to Maximize Asset Allocation

asset allocationsThe National Pension System (NPS), introduced by the Indian government in the year 2004 is mandatory for all government employees except the armed forces personnel.This scheme was extended to the private sector in 2009. It is a portable retirement savings account, which can be efficiently used to provide financial security to senior’s through a pension income.

This scheme offers benefits such as tax deduction of INR 1.5 lacs under section 80CCD (1) of the Income Tax Act (IT). An additional tax deduction of up to INR 50,000 under section 80CCD (1B) of the IT Act is also available. Subscribers also have the flexibility of choosing asset allocation between equity, fixed income instruments, and government securities.

NPS is known as a defined contribution scheme because returns under this scheme are market driven. The NPS interest rate changes based on the performance of the market and the asset allocation chosen by the subscribers.

Asset allocation under NPS

Funds invested in NPS can be invested into 3 types of assets namely equity, corporate bonds, and government securities. There are two investment options available under this plan;auto choice and active choice.

Under auto choice, funds are automatically allocated in a pre-determined proportion based on the age of the subscriber. For example for subscribers under the age of 35 years, funds are allocated as follows: 50% in equity and balance amongst corporate bonds and government securities. As the subscribers age, the exposure to equity is reduced and investment in government securities increase.

Under the active choice option, subscribers may choose the asset allocation as per their preferences. The NPS scheme allows subscribers to allot upto 50% of their contributions to equity. Subscribers may use this option to their advantage to maximize the potential returns. For instance, an Investor approaching retirement age (between 45 to 50 years) may opt for a conservative allocation by investing a substantial portion of his funds in government securities.

Maturity and Annuities

The primary objective of NPS is to create a corpus that is used to buy an annuity plan for regular income during the post-retirement years. At the age of 60, the subscriber may with draw a maximum of 60% of the funds as a lump sum. The remaining corpus is used to purchase an annuity that will provide regular income to the subscriber.

Subscribers may choose not to withdraw any funds and use 100% of the corpus to buy an annuity. However, if the corpus at the time of exit from NPS at the age of 60 years is less than 2 lacs, the subscribers may withdraw the entire amount in lump sum. To determine the potential income, individuals may use an online pension plan calculator.

Joining NPS

In order to join the NPS scheme, the subscribers must submit the NPS application form, along with Know Your Customer documents to a Point of Presence (POP). Upon submitting the documents, the subscribers are issued with a Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN), T-Pin and I-Pin. Subscribers are informed of their PRAN application status via email and SMS. They may also know their application status by contacting the issuing bank. However, the subscribers may get in touch with the Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA) which manages the issuance of PRAN, in case the PRAN card is not received.

NPS is focused on offering financial security to the individuals after their retirement. The flexibility available for investors to allocate their contributions in different asset classes allows them to maximize the returns and accumulate a higher post-retirement income.

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December 14, 2016

How is your Home Loan Eligibility Impacted by CIBIL Score?

home loan appliedWhen you find that house of your dreams, the first thing that springs to mind is to apply for home loan since it’s your ticket to funding the big purchase. But sometimes, loan applications get rejected for various reasons, among which the most common is a low CIBIL or credit score. It is major factor that determines your loan approval, loan amount and even rate of interest.

Why is high and low credit score important?

While a high credit score is viewed as a low probability of a default, a low credit score reflects the opposite, making financial institutions wary of the person applying for a home loan.

Credit score is a three digit number that ranges between 300 and 900. It reflects your creditworthiness as it is a summary of your payment history, outstanding balances, number of loans, total credit limit, credit utilization, every loan detail taken from different lenders. Higher credit scores are great for you if you are applying for a home loan. On an average, a credit score of 750 is great for borrowers as lenders find themselves at less risk. Moreover, at this score, you can get good deals on your home loan and better rates of interest.

Your credit score is impacted positively by:

● Consistent payment of loan EMIs
● Credit card bill payments on time
● No over-leveraging
● Payment of credit card bills in full as opposed to minimum due amount each time
● Good financial records
● Many types of credits, especially unsecured personal loans in family
● Good utilization of credit limit on cards

Your credit score is impacted negatively by:

● A lot of credit report enquiries by banks and financial institutions
● Dishonoured or bounced cheques
● Loan repayment irregularity
● Defaults on credit repayments and even defaulting as a guarantor
● Late payments on credit cards or making part payments consistently
● Number of unsecured credit (multiple personal loans)
● Numerous applications for unsecured loan, especially when rejected
● Going beyond the approved credit limit and even high utilization of it

Other than these, your credit score can also be impacted negatively when banks or financial institutions you are dealing with make errors in their records. Hence, it’s important that you keep checking whether or not your banks are submitting the right information. It comes really handy if you request and maintain a copy of your credit history personally as compared to a financial institution doing that for you.

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December 13, 2016

Why you need Good CIBIL Score for Home Loan Approval

approved loan for your homeCIBIL Score is a crucial aspect in determining your home loan eligibility. Every time you apply for home loan, your lender checks this score for approving/disapproving your application. It is a summary of your credit history as per your credit behaviour. It depends on the following factors:

Past payments: All your previous payments, whether on time or delayed, are recorded with CIBIL. Consistency in making payments is considered good whereas more recent delays are seen negatively.

Settlements, defaults and write-offs: Multiple write-offs, defaults on previous loans and more recent write-offs (as opposed to older ones) have negative effects on your credit score. Defaults and delays on secured loans are worse than on unsecured loans.

Credit as proportion of income: The higher the loan balance you have, the lower your credit score will be. Less loan balance shows smart credit utilization on your part.

Credit cards: If you have high credit card balances, your credit score will be low. Consistency in repaying credit card debts improves the score. Credit cards (unsecured loans) are viewed negatively by lenders as compared to secured loans.

Different ranges of CIBIL Score

Every person with a financial history has a CIBIL score and it can range anywhere between 300 and 900, with 900 being the highest. A person can also have a score of 0 or -1, which means that they have no credit history in terms of loans and credit cards. So to get the credit history started, you must have at least one credit card or applied for a loan. Here is a breakup of CIBIL scores and what it means:

  • 550 – 650: It is a fair score and accepted by many lenders. This score shows that you have been quite regular with your repayments, other than a few exceptions. Most lenders trust borrowers with this score and approve their home loans but usually with a higher interest rates.
  • 300 – 550: This is the worst score anybody can have and it means that you have been defaulting on your payments. With such a score, getting credit is extremely difficult.
  • 650 – 750: For home loan eligibility, this score is very promising. And if you have this credit score, you will not face any issue regarding approval of application.
  • 750 – 900: It is the best possible score anybody can have and it indicates your expertise at managing your finances. Lenders will approve even a larger loan amount to you at great rates when you apply for home loan.
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