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August 16, 2014

Do Not Compromise Your Retirement Investing Goals

Retirement investment ideasRetirement planning is a serious business and the sooner you get into it, the better. We often tend to procrastinate, thinking that we have enough time left for the same, but this often makes the task tougher than it would otherwise have been. So the question is what exactly is retirement planning, and how important is it for your future?

The process of retirement planning involves determining what kind of funds should be available to you at the time of retirement, to live comfortably post your retirement. There are a lot of factors that you would need to consider like when will you want to retire, where will you live, and what kind of a lifestyle will you have post retirement. Each additional year you want to retire early raises your goal considerably as you need to account for all the regular monthly expenses, medical and emergency expenses, vacations, celebrations etc.

When you see the costs add up after keeping in mind the inflation, this is likely to be your retirement goal and is clearly dependent on the type of life that you wish to lead. You may come across many typical figures that people throw at you regarding a retirement corpus that one should have, for example 20 times your income and so forth, which can be only used as some vague guideline. You must consider some important points to make sure that you are a smart investor when it comes to your retirement investing.

Evaluate the available instruments for retirement savings

There is a host of saving options available in the market when you want to invest for your post retirement days. There are many tax- efficient ways that can help you build up your retiral kitty, some of which can be availed directly through the employers while other plans are available through investment brokers or banks. However, it is important to closely look at each of these options to determine the benefits and derive the maximum profit by using them judiciously, when your aim happens to be a healthy retirement corpus.

There are some good retirement options that you can explore at your employers, as some may offer unmatched benefits and even give some kind of cushioning against the volatile stock market conditions. It is important to understand and evaluate the risk and benefits associated with each of the options. It is often seen that younger investors are more bent on investment options that have higher returns even if they have higher risks as they have enough time available to recover from the losses that may arise. However, in case you do not have too many years before you retire, then it’s best to avoid such options as you may not be able to recover if you lose your investments and will be better off with some conservative instruments with lower risk factors.

The following are some of the options available for planning your retirement:

  • 401 (K) and other Employer Plans: There are several employer driven plans like the 401(K)s that can be utilized by the individuals to build up their retirement kitty while saving a considerable amount of tax too in many cases. They are also quite hassle-free as you can directly get the amount debited from your paycheck.
  • Fixed Benefit Plans: There are many employer sponsored plans that offer a fixed the sum of money based on certain factors like salary drawn and the years of service one has put in at the establishment .
  • IRAs or the Individual Retirement Accounts: These allow you to move pretax amounts up to certain annual limits towards tax efficient investments. These investments can also be tax deferred.
  • Roth IRA: This can be seen as a retirement option that is similar to a traditional IRA though there are certain differences in the taxation of the contributions as well as the distribution income.
  • SEP IRA: This is targeted at the employer or self-employed individuals, and they can direct 100% of their contributions towards various channels of their choice.
  • SIMPLE IRA: this is a commonly used retirement plan by employers with 100 or less employees in that establishment.
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August 15, 2014

Ways to Boost Your Auto Insurance Business

Auto insurance for allAutomobile insurance business is among the most sustainable in the present world. Government regulation of making insurance compulsory for all motorized vehicles contributes to the success of this business. This business of covering automobiles against damages could be owned privately, by public sector undertakings, or by joint stock companies. In a country like USA auto insurance business is controlled by public limited companies. The level of competition among these companies is not stiff as the number of entities is less. Further each of these companies is tied up strategically with separate car manufacturers and their dealers for insuring new vehicles.

Insurance for vehicles is done on sale but before the concerned automobile hits the roads. The coverage amount depends on vehicle type, its use, its engine capacity, and seat capacity. If these are same across manufacturers then insurance cost remains same for similar category vehicles. For instance, the cost of insurance for a 4-seated petrol car of 1200 cc of two different makes would be same. Similarly the cost of insurance for trucks of same capacity and type but different brands would be the same.

With the parameters of calculating premium remaining constant there is not much of variation in insurance cost among companies. Further, there is not much of publicity for auto insurance as it is mandatory for all vehicles. Anything which is compulsorily procured or bought does not require too much of a marketing, particularly when service providers are limited. However, in a globalised economy the entrance of more companies in this trade is expected to increase competition. With increased competition it becomes important to devise new tools for attracting more customers. More information on these topics is found in this author’s website.

Probable tips

  • Depreciation – Under normal circumstances premium for any automobile is increased every year because of depreciation. As the chances of wear and tear of a used machine increases with its usage so does its coverage cost. Keeping insurance costs unchanged in spite of depreciation is one way of making insurance packages more attractive.
  •  Discounts – Usually automobile insurance providers offer accidental or loss coverage for a period of one year at a time, to be renewed in successive year. In the event of ‘no claims’ (when there are no accidental damages) during a year, the cost of insurance is discounted for the subsequent term. This discount rate varies from one service provider to another and is a determining factor of attracting more customers.
  •  Claim settlements – Time required for claim settlement is another vital aspect in boosting auto insurance business. For a car owner the time spent in receiving the settlement amount from the time of notifying damages is crucial. Often companies take a long time in making settlement payments and that too after repeated requests. Lengthy settlement period is a huge turn-off for car owners. To make automobile insurance services more tempting, settlements should ideally be made before a damaged car leaves a garage.
  •  Simplicity – Formality involved in lodging a complaint is another vital issue determining the acceptability of a motor vehicle insurance provider. The greater the formalities, lesser is the acceptability of an insurance service provider. It is advisable to have a simple and convenient process of lodging a complaint or claim.
  •  Accessibility – Accessibility is another important determinant of an insurance company’s popularity. Companies with more offices or contact points are naturally more acceptable to end-users. It is common human tendency to approach a service provider which has more visibility.
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August 2, 2014

The Freelancers Budget – Ideas that helps

freelancers finance ideasKeeping your budget balanced as a freelancer can be difficult. With a regular job, you have steady hours and a steady income that rarely fluctuates. There is a safety and a guarantee in your salary. Normal jobs provide consistent paychecks no matter what is happening in your industry. A freelancer faces a totally different world. You never know when your work will go through dry spells, and you must be prepared financially to handle these dry periods. Special budgeting tips may help a freelancer survive the hard times while they prosper in the good times. Consider these tips for a healthy freelancer budget.

Go All In

When the work is ripe for the picking, keep your nose to the grind stone. You should work extra if at all possible when there is plenty of work for your choice. As a freelancer you probably have a set amount of hours or projects you complete each week. When the work is steadily coming through, you should increase your schedule to match it. If you make extra money when it is there to be made, you can put some of it into your savings account and send money online to an emergency fund. You’ll inevitably find some times when the work isn’t so plentiful, and you should be ready.

Cut Down Costs

If you work from home, you already save money on gas. Did you know that you can also lower your insurance premiums on your vehicle if you drive less miles? If you report to your insurance company that you work from home, you could qualify for a discount due to driving fewer miles per year. You can also claim some of your needs as business expenses and get tax refunds for them. For example, you may claim your monthly internet bill in certain circumstances if you use it for your work. You may also be able to get a tax deduction for your cell phone bills if you use them for your job to communicate with other companies or workers.

With some smart planning, a freelancer can make the financial gains necessary to survive the harsh times. Make sure to check into tax deductions for business expenses. You may be surprised at what your tax representative can do for you. You will need to work hard when the work if plentiful so that you take advantage of the best opportunities. The freelancer life can work for you.

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