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March 20, 2019

5 Tips to Manage Your Small Business Finances

finance for small businessThere are several challenges when it comes to starting and maintaining a small business. Money management is at the top of the list of concerns for many small business owners. There are several things you can do to handle your operational processes. There are also daily things you can do to improve your business finances as well.

Separate Personal from Business Expenses

The first order of business is to never mix your personal with your business. That applies to your expenses as well as financing. While loan providers such as LendingClub.com will help to outline the distinctions, it’s ultimately the responsibility of the owner-borrower to understand how to manage business finances separate from personal. Accounting records, personal liability issues, and tax issues are just some of the other reasons not to mix them. You should also resist the urge to combine your business expenses with personal funds because it could lead to an even bigger mess later one.

The best way to separate personal and business finances begins with clearly defining your business budget and a personal budget. Follow each of these budgets so that the credit cards and loans reserved for your business don’t get used for your personal expenses and vice versa. Your accountant and bookkeeper will prevent you from combining your expenses when it comes to managing your books and paying your taxes.

Negotiate With Vendors Before Signing a Contract

You may have to do some research to find a bargain. When it comes to purchasing from a vendor or contracting with suppliers, always negotiate for a better deal. However, this doesn’t mean you should choose one based on the lowest price. Make sure you know what you’re getting before you sign the contract. Find out the purchase terms such as grace periods and late payment penalties when coming to a decision.

Pay All of Your Bills as Soon as Possible

Just like you should with your personal finances, you should pay your bills on a regular basis. Credit cards and loan payment late fees can leave you high and dry. However, paying late fees on your bills can also add up. Paying too late on your bills can also cost you money.

Make monthly arrangement so none of your bills fall through the cracks. The profit-loss margins are risky for young businesses. Preventing late fees can make a difference between ending the year in the black or in the red.

Make Budgeting a Regular Habit

You don’t have to be like the extreme couponers to save money on everyday expenses. But you should take advantage of deals and offers whenever you can. Fill out those mail-in rebate offers for office equipment, supplies. Or, you can get equipment and furniture second-hand or rent it. Not only does this make a positive impact on the environment, but it allows you to save money on utilities.

Spend Time on an Introductory Accounting Class

Just because you’re a small business owner doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to be good with money. You’ll still accountable for business-related decisions. Even if you work with an accountant or bookkeeper, it’s important to know the basics of accounting. Taking an introductory course into accounting can help you learn about the cash flow of your small business.

The more you understand your business’s cash flow and finances, the more you’ll be prepared to make better business decisions. There’s nothing like getting hands-on when it comes to your money. Sometimes it’s better to do it yourself than to enlist the help of an accountant or bookkeeper.

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March 19, 2019

How to get started with Small Business Startups Accounting

business finance accountingMany people are already aware of the fact that accounting plays a vital role in any startup. You need to be very careful when dealing with accounting affairs as this can affect your business to a great deal. Many just pay attention to finding their website and getting a brand name but they pay very little attention to the numbers which actually matter in order to survive in this big market. If you will not pay attention to the finances and important accounting matters then you will be at a loss without even realizing. Small Business Administration has helped people by providing a list of reasons which will eventually result in their losses of several businesses out there.

Hiring small business accountants

Many people and other business owners think that they can handle the accounting by themselves. This option is a very great option if one holds an accounting degree or a solid background in this finance field. Otherwise, it will be suggested to get small business accountants for this cause. Before planning out your business strategies just question yourself whether you will be needing a bookkeeper or not.

Bookkeeper’s job

If you are wondering what is the task of bookkeeper and how one can affect your business then they are really vital in any startup situation. Why? Because they will make a complete sense out of complicated situations and help your startup to grow eventually into a great empire. If you are wondering that what they actually do when they are not only responsible for handling the financial transactions per table also keep a record of all the systems and other statements.

Accountant’s job

You must also get the help of an accountant as an accountant will provide you with a layout for the business. You can also choose to hire additional employees for a great impact on your overall structure. Many people go for part-timer because they are a great source of help when they have a limited budget. If you have a very small company then the cost of hiring a full-timer will be really expensive and it can cost you your whole budget so that is why many prefer freelancers. This is a great way of actually hiring people only when they are needed rather than paying them for full time.

Accounting methods

Many people are not yet aware that there are only two genuine methods for accounting which is cash accounting and other is accrual accounting. As far as choosing between the two is concerned and small businesses prefer to get accrual accounting rather than the cash one. You must get the help of any professional in the finance field to see the requirement of a business and whether you should go for cash method or the accrual one. If you are wondering that what is accrual method then it basically shows you a real-time account of the finances and with the help of all the packages it gives a true picture.

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February 12, 2019

Why More Millennials With Student Debt Are Qualifying for Mortgages

student debt mortgageIt used to be that graduating students with large amounts of student loan debt were told to forget purchasing a home until after they’d paid down their debt. Still others were told to wait until they’d built up years of work history, delaying the initial purchase of a home for years. Today, however, more and more millennials are finding it possible to qualify for a mortgage while paying off student loan debt. How?

They Have Good Credit

Credit scores range anywhere from 350 to 850, with anything below 600 considered a poor score. Most mortgage lending programs, even those that are federally funded for first-time buyers, look for scores of at least 620. Those with excellent credit, above about 750, will stand an even higher chance of securing a mortgage with student loan debt.

If your credit score may be an issue, follow these steps to move toward improving it:

● Check your score – you can’t fix your score unless you know what it is. Examine your report and notify the credit bureau of any errors immediately.

● Address any delinquencies – it’s important you address delinquencies immediately. If possible, pay the account off entirely.

● Set up auto-pay – setting up auto-pay features for all your debts will ensure each payment is made on time. Building a lengthening history of paying every debt on time each month makes you much more attractive to lenders.

● Avoid applying for new credit that may go unused – applications are typically a ding on your credit, so even if you don’t intend to use the upper limits of a new card, it may hurt your score.

● Don’t close paid accounts – credit cards you’ve paid off can positively affect your credit score. If you are not using all of your available credit, open, empty credit cards can be helpful.

They Have a Lower Debt-to-Income Ratio

Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is calculated as your monthly debt payments compared to your monthly income. If you are paying off a student loan in addition to credit card debt, you’ll need a relatively high monthly income to offset the amount of debt you’re carrying. Lenders will focus on your debt-to-income ratio to determine if you can afford another debt – your mortgage – in addition to what you’re already carrying. Paying off credit cards or student loans and maximizing your earning potential can help on both fronts.

You can also consider consolidating debt with a personal loan. If you have a great deal of credit card debt, you likely have a variety of higher interest rates. A personal loan is a stable debt rather than revolving debt like a credit card, and reflects positively on your credit history. You’ll likely receive a lower rate in addition to freeing up available credit.

They’ve Secured Employment in Their Field

Lenders will consider your employment history to determine if you have the steady income required to continue to make mortgage payments. If you’ve recently graduated, you may not have the recommended two years of steady employment. However, underwriters will often consider a move from college straight into gainful employment in your chosen field a substitute for part of your employment history.

They’ve Refinanced or Restructured Student Loans

When lenders look at your debt-to-income ratio, student loans are among the debts they’ll consider. If your payments are unwieldy, consider applying for an income-driven repayment plan through the U.S. Department of Education. These plans consider your income and often provide a lower payment than the typical graduated repayment program. If your income increases, you can increase your repayment to ensure you continue to pay down your loans.

Another solution that can lower your monthly payments is refinancing your student loans. Loans refinanced through banks or other institutions typically carry lower interest rates and lower monthly payments than the original federal loans. As with other loans, you’ll need to consider your creditworthiness, income, and debt-to-income ratio.

They’ve Qualified for Down Payment Assistance

Though the traditional down payment is 20% or more, several programs exist to reduce your down payment in order to speed up the homebuying process for those with student loan and other debt. For example, FHA loans by the Federal Housing Authority offer a much lower percentage – 3.5% for those with credit scores in the 600s and above, and 10% for those in the 500s. HomeReady loans targeted at first-time home buyers offer even lower down payment terms of around 3%.

Find a lender that works with these and other first-time home buyer and down payment assistance programs. Many lenders do not offer zero down payment, but still offer a variety of other loan types that could meet your needs. Obviously, if you have the means to provide a 20% down payment, you’ll lower the principal on your loan, but these assistance programs can put buying your first home within your grasp.

Today’s millennials with student debt are qualifying for mortgages, and chances are, you can too. Overall, pay close attention to your credit score and making your payments on time. Keep your other debt low, and ask your lender about assistance programs that may be available to you. Finally, if you’re in the market for a home, get pre-approved first to see just how much home you can afford. Then, if you find the home of your dreams, you’ll know you can move forward, even while you’re paying off your student loan debt.

Information is provided by Sammamish Mortgage, a Premiere Mortgage Company in Pacific Northwest including WA, ID, OR, CO.

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January 14, 2019

5 Finance Management Tips for New Entrepreneurs

manage your moneyThe reason most entrepreneurs set up in business is, at least partly, to make money so financial management is a crucial skill which all new business owners or would-be entrepreneurs need to learn if they want to be successful.

However, managing finances isn’t always a skill which comes naturally to many. Entrepreneurs tend to be focussed on their big idea and making it a reality, but the money side isn’t necessarily where there energies are naturally directed.

While you can always outsource your finances to a professional accountant to a certain extent, you still need to know and understand your numbers to enable you to spot any issues or trends which you might need to address within your business.

Here are five tips for new entrepreneurs to help with financial management:

1. Record and organise your finances

Whether you are managing your finances yourself or supplying all of your information to an accountant to deal with, it’s important to be organised and keep records of all of your income, outgoings and expenses.

This includes keeping copies of all your receipts, invoices, and any other paperwork related to financial issues, in an orderly fashion. Just putting them all into a shoe box won’t cut it when you are an entrepreneur.

Just using a simple spreadsheet to record income and outgoings can be enough to start with, when setting up a new business, or as the business grows you might need to invest in accounting software to help record all of the financial transactions.

2. Keep track of your credit score

As an entrepreneur you might well need to seek funding for your business either to start it up at the beginning or further down the line to help with an expansion of your services so make you’re your credit is up to scratch.

The last thing you want to do is start a business only to find your credit score or existing level of debt means you can’t get the funding you need to grow the company a few years down the line. Take action to improve your credit score ideally before you start out.

3. Have an emergency fund

While setting up a new business often involves expense rather than profit initially it’s still important to make sure you have money put aside for an emergency – you might need to suddenly buy new equipment or replace a computer for example, so try saving an emergency pot to help take the pressure off.

You can create the fund easily by putting a small amount aside every week so it needn’t be too taxing to save enough to help keep as a buffer. You never know when a client might not be able to pay you or a supplier might go bust so an emergency fund can be the difference between success and failure.

4. Seek professional advice

If you are brand new to business then don’t get daunted or overwhelmed by all of the financial obligations or requirements. If the finance side is beyond your knowledge then don’t bury your head in the sand but seek professional help.

Whether you hire a full-time professional accountant or use the services of a part-time book keeper they can both help and provide expert advice to guide you as you take your business forward as well as looking after the books. You can even make it easier for you by signing up for accounting services offered by companies like Crunch. You can find out how they help small businesses here.

5. Set short-term and long-term financial goals

As well as knowing and understanding your business numbers you should set financial goals for the business to achieve as well. Have short term goals for what you want the business to achieve in the next month, the next quarter and the next year.

You should also have a longer term forecasting tool to predict the income you expect to bring in over the next year to five years, to help make sure you keep your business on track and meet all of your income goals.

As well as your business goals you should also set savings goals which allow you to have enough put aside to pay your tax contributions every year so you don’t get caught out with a big bill at the end of the tax year and nothing to pay it with.

Conclusion

Financial management is a key element to running a business and is a skill which every new entrepreneur needs to learn if they are to be successful in the corporate world. No business can survive if it’s not financially viable.

There are few tips here to help make financial management easier to cope with but if financial management really is beyond your skill set then you should always seek professional guidance and advice to make sure your business can still thrive, leaving you free to focus on the aspects of entrepreneurship where you are strongest.

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January 12, 2019

Borrowing money when you’re retired – Knowing your options

retirement money needThere are several retirees who are of the opinion that they won’t be able to obtain a loan just because they don’t get a salary any longer. Although it is true that it can be tougher to qualify for loans during retirement, yet it is not at all impossible. You must have been saving in your retirement accounts like your Roth IRA or 401(k) accounts but something that you should avoid is borrowing from these accounts. This can have an adverse impact on your savings and also on the income that you fall back on during your retirement. There are several kinds of online loans and offline ones which can save you from a financial setback even during retirement. Read on to know more on this.

Borrowing during retirement – How do you qualify?

When you’re self-funded, lenders will typically decide the monthly income utilizing 2 different procedures which are as follows:

  • Asset depletion: In this technique, the lender will subtract the down payment from the entire and sum total of the value of your fiscal assets and then take 70% of the remainder amount and then divide by 360 months.
  • Drawdown of assets: The regular monthly amount that you withdraw from your retirement accounts in the form of income will be taken into account.

Retiree loan borrowing options

Secured loans are still easier to borrow as you can set collateral against the loan but as long as unsecured loans are concerned, they’re tough for a retiree to borrow as there is no collateral to assure timely payment and hence the interest rates will also be pretty high. Here are few loan options combining secured and unsecured.

MORTGAGE LOAN

The most common kind of secured loan is definitely a home loan which carries your home as collateral. However, the income of the retiree is a major setback, more so when most of your income comes from savings or investment earnings.

CASH-OUT REFINANCE LOAN

When you refinance your existing loan with an amount that is more than what you owe and less than the value of your home, this is called cash-out refinance loan. The extra amount that you make is the secured cash loan. This will also extend the time that it take to repay your mortgage loan.

DEBT CONSOLIDATION LOAN

As the name suggests, a debt consolidation loan is only designed to consolidate debt. It is more like refinancing your current debt. This will mean paying off the debt throughout a longer period of time with lower payments. The new interest rate that you pay may be lower than your present rate or may not be.

PAYDAY LOANS

Anyone including retirees can qualify for unsecured short term loans like payday loans. You may check out websites like www.PaydayMe.com to get short term loans during an emergency when you’re sure that money will come in again with which you can repay the existing payday loan on time.

Therefore, when you’re a retiree who is thinking of ways in which you can fund your emergencies, you can take into account the above mentioned options.

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