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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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December 18, 2018

Own a Home, Not a Mortgage

time for no mortgageOwning a home is one of the biggest dreams of almost every adult, especially when they have a family. Mortgage arrangements come in handy to make this desire a reality. Nevertheless, homeowners are left with another big question on their minds: What strategies can I employ to pay off my mortgage as quickly as possible? Well, it is natural to want to be free of any debt commitments, and to know that you own your home and that no one has a claim on it. This is because owning a home will allow you to work on other financial goals, like saving for retirement, saving for your children’s education, and so on.

Paying off your mortgage in a shorter period is not too difficult or unachievable, but it calls for slight adjustments in your payment plan, or changing a few things in your mortgage terms. Here are some things you can do:

Increase the frequency of your regular repayments

The normal terms are monthly payments, but you can choose bi-weekly or weekly payments. Such an arrangement will significantly enable you to save on interest and it will set you free from mortgage sooner than if you only do it monthly. The goal is to make more monthly payments each year without realizing it.

Go for the shortest amortization period and the biggest repayment amount you can afford

Opting for a larger monthly payment, which means it will be paid off quicker, will cause you to consider it as a budget item, thereby shaving several years off your mortgage. While still clearing out your mortgage, a good and consistent mortgage repayment history will enhance your credit score, because mortgage is one of the trade lines (credit accounts) that contributes to your score. You can work with experts to boost your credit score to access more credit at better rates. You need not look further than https://www.boostcredit101.com/ to boost your score and find more advice.

Increase your monthly payment amount when possible

If you have had a mortgage for some time, you have most likely set a plan to make uniform payments each month. It is time you consider increasing the amount, if you can manage. Additionally, if you have experienced an increase in your income, be it from a new job, a pay raise, or any other source, it would be prudent to increase your mortgage payment with the increased income.

Pay lump sum amounts

Mortgage arrangements come with some privileges or additional options that the borrower can use to their advantage. For example, any chance to make lump sum payments should be utilized, especially an annual lump sum payment, against the mortgage. Based on the options you choose for your mortgage, you can pay amounts equal to 10%, 15%, or 20% of the initial principal figure of your mortgage at any time for each year of the mortgage term.

Diversify your mortgage

You need to weigh the various options and choose the mortgage arrangement that offers savings and flexibility.

Conclusion

It is such a relief to pay off your mortgage as fast as possible; thus, you need to work out how to save on other things and repay your mortgage in larger, more frequent payments. Also, you should do lump sum payments when possible.

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December 11, 2018

What exactly is leasing? – A detailed information

lending carA recent article in a UK newspaper claimed 1.6 million Brits currently lease their car – but how many actually understand what they’re doing?

When I first leased a car, I had no idea how it worked. I assumed a lease was something you got on a retail building and not a car!

Don’t let the complexity scare you though. Leasing can be a practical and affordable form of car finance if you take the time to get to know how it works. In this blog, I’ll run you through what leasing is, how it works and a couple different forms of leasing finance.

What is a lease?

To understand the difference between leasing and buying, you need to have a look at what you’re actually paying for in a lease.

When you buy a car outright, your payment covers the full value that the vehicle is worth. Once you’ve paid the full price (either immediately or over time), you become the legal owner of the car.

With leasing, you essentially ‘rent’ a car for a given period of time and return it at the end of your contract. Unlike buying a car, you’re never the legal owner of the car, although you are usually its registered keeper.

Why lease? Because depreciation hurts

Leasing is an attractive option for a lot of people because it eliminates one of the major problems that comes with owning a car – the cost of depreciation (depreciation is how quickly a car loses value).

According to the AA, new cars can lose up to 10% of their value the moment you drive them off the forecourt. Worse, the worst of the bunch can lose up to 60% of their value in the first year of ownership!

With these motors, if you’re planning on selling your car after a few years, you’re in for a shock when you check what it’s worth.

Contract Hire

Contract hire (more commonly known as leasing) is an arrangement where someone ‘rents’ a new car for a set period of time from a dealer. During the contract, the individual pays just enough to pay off the car’s depreciation. (Plus a little profit for the dealer, of course.) At the end of the contract, the individual returns the car to the dealer and they both go their separate ways.

With leasing deals, you aren’t the legal owner of the car but you are the registered keeper. That means you have get the car regularly serviced and keep it in a good condition.

The best thing about leasing compared to other finance options is the monthly payments, which tend to be significantly lower. That’s because, as I already mentioned, you’re only paying off the depreciation. You can also trade your car in every few years for a brand new model!

Tom Butcher worked behind the scenes in print journalism for years until he discovered the wonders of the web. He writes for several publications, covering the finance, automotive and tech sectors. At the moment, he is helping LeaseFetcher teach the world about car leasing.

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October 2, 2018

DIY Investing with Peer to Peer Loans

another loan optionAre you a hands-on investor who enjoys evaluating investment opportunities and finding a diamond in the rough? If so you may want to consider investing in peer to peer lending. As a peer to peer lender you have the opportunity to review individual borrower applications and select the ones that you think are going to repay their loans.

What is Peer to Peer Lending?

For those of you not familiar with peer to peer lending (also know as P2P lending), let’s take a moment for a quick introduction. In the past ten years several websites (known as platforms) like LendingClub and Prosper have sprung up offering personal loans to individuals. This is certainly not unique but what makes them different is that they are not banks or financial institutions in the traditional sense. These websites get funding for the loans they provide from individual investors in amounts as small as $2,500. In a sense, anyone can be a banker with just a small amount of money. The signup process is quick and easy, and as soon as you transfer the funds you can start investing.

How Do You Invest in Peer to Peer Loans?

The process for P2P lending investing is pretty simple. Once you have opened and funded your account you will be able to see all of the loan applications that the platform has approved. These loan applications have been evaluated based on industry standard underwriting techniques and many are rejected. The ones that are approved are rated and the highest rated borrowers get the lowest interest rates.

Lenders review the approved loan applications and decide which loans they would like to invest in based on their comfort level with risk and their desired return. Investment in a loan can be as little as $25 and most experts recommend investing the minimum amount and spreading your portfolio over as many loans as possible in order to minimize risk through diversification. This is where you get to Do-It-Yourself. The platform provides dozens of pieces of information from the loan application and the borrower’s credit history. You get to determine which factors matter, how much to weigh them and what a good borrower profile looks like. To some people this may sound boring and tedious but for many investing junkies this is the fun part. You can look at data like length of employment, debt-to-income ratio, home ownership vs. renting, late payments, outstanding debt, bankruptcies and so much more.

There are a limited number of filters available on the platforms that allow you to quickly find loans that meet certain criteria, then you can review them in the more detail individually. Or, for the really hardcore investment analysis junkies, the information for all available loans can be downloaded to a spreadsheet for study and review. There are approximately 50 to 250 loans available at any given time and there are approximately 80 pieces of information available so, as you can imagine, this can be an enormous amount of data to review. However, with some simple sorting and filtering in your spreadsheet you can pretty easily identify the loans that meet your criteria.

There is also room for intuition and past experience in the analysis process. There may be more loans that meet your criteria than you have funds to invest. Ultimately, you may have to ‘go with your gut’ in order to select the loan or loans that you think are most likely to be paid back.

For those who want passive income or do not feel they are savvy enough to select quality loans there is also an auto invest feature that will choose the loans for you based on your desired risk/return level. But for the investment analysis enthusiast the DIY approach is the way to do. All in all, this can be a fun way to achieve a great return on your investment.

Cody Smith is the founder of PeerLoanAdvisor.com which provides information and advice to peer to peer lending investors.

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