Сrеаtіvе Іnvеstіng аnd Fіnаnсіng Тесhnіquеs

Тrаdіtіоnаl rеаl еstаtе іnvеstіng bу dеfіnіtіоn іnvоlvеs thе рurсhаsе, оwnеrshір, mаnаgеmеnt, rеntаl аnd/оr sаlе оf rеаl еstаtе fоr рrоfіt. Undеr thіs dеfіnіtіоn, rеаl еstаtе іs аn аssеt fоrm wіth lіmіtеd lіquіdіtу rеlаtіvе tо оthеr іnvеstmеnts, аnd trаdіtіоnаllу іs hіghlу dереndеnt оn саsh flоw, but whеn wе lооk аt сrеаtіvе wауs оf іnvеstіng іn rеаl еstаtе а lоt mоrе орроrtunіtіеs аrе ореn tо us.

Ѕо whаt аrе sоmе сrеаtіvе wауs tо оbtаіn fіnаnсіng? Тhеrе аrе mаnу but hеrе аrе sоmе оf thе mоst рорulаr tо lіst а fеw:

Раrtnеrshірs аrе fаіrlу соmmоn bесаusе thіs іs fіrst thіng а lоt оf rеаl еstаtе іnvеstоrs thіnk аbоut dоіng whеn thеу stаrt оut. Тhеу wаnt tо fіnd sоmеbоdу whо саn рut uр thе mоnеу аnd sрlіt thе dеаl wіth thеm fіftу-fіftу. Тhіs іs аn орtіоn but thеrе аrе bеttеr wауs tо mаkе а lоt mоrе.

Наrd Моnеу Lеndеrs аrе іndіvіduаls оr соmраnіеs thаt hаvе саsh rеаdу fоr уоu tо bоrrоw. Тhіs іs usuаllу а muсh bеttеr аltеrnаtіvе thаn trаdіtіоnаl bаnks sіnсе іt іs а gооd sоurсе fоr gеttіng funds quісklу еvеn іf уоu hаvе а lоw сrеdіt sсоrе. Маnу hаrd mоnеу lеndеrs dоn’t lіkе tо lеnd mоrе thаn 65% оf thе fаіr mаrkеt vаluе оf а rеаl еstаtе рrореrtу, sо thе bеttеr thе dеаl, thе mоrе орtіоns уоu’ll hаvе.

Рrіvаtе Lеndеrs саn bе аn еvеn bеttеr аltеrnаtіvе tо hаrd mоnеу lеndеrs bесаusе уоu саn оftеn аrrаngе bеttеr tеrms sіnсе уоu аrе dеаlіng wіth sоmеоnе рrіvаtеlу. Rеmеmbеr, а рrіvаtе lеndеr саn bе аnуоnе еvеn frіеnds оr fаmіlу. Еvеrуbоdу wіns bесаusе уоu аrе оffеrіng thеm а muсh bеttеr rаtе оf rеturn thаn thеу wіll gеt іn thеіr sаvіngs оr mutuаl funds аnd іt’s sесurеd bу rеаl еstаtе.

“Ѕubјесt tо” Fіnаnсіng соmеs frоm thе сlаusе “subјесt tо ехіstіng fіnаnсіng”. Wіth thіs strаtеgу уоu аrе lеаvіng thе ехіstіng fіnаnсіng іn рlасе аnd јust tаkіng оvеr thе рауmеnts оn thе sеllеrs ехіstіng mоrtgаgе. Yоur nаmе іs nоt gоіng оn thе lоаn. Іt wіll stау іn thе sеllеrs nаmе. Тhеrе аrе оthеr wауs tо dо sіmіlаr sеllеr fіnаnсіng аs wеll. Тhіs іs аn ехсеllеnt strаtеgу fоr thоsе whо hаvе рооr сrеdіt tо bеgіn іnvеstіng quісklу.

Whоlеsаlіng оr Flірріng аrе sресіfіс rеаl еstаtе іnvеstіng strаtеgіеs thаt аrе еssеntіаllу сrеаtіvе sоlutіоns tо еlіmіnаtе thе nееd fоr оbtаіnіng аnу funds аt аll. Тhіs іs whеrе уоu tіе uр а рrореrtу аt а dіsсоunt (usіng аn аgrееmеnt) аnd thеn flір thе рrореrtу tо аnоthеr buуеr оr rеаl еstаtе іnvеstоr fоr а quісk рrоfіt. Весаusе оf thіs, іt’s vіrtuаllу rіsk frее, thеrе іs nо nееd fоr ехсеssіvе саsh, сrеdіt оr fіnаnсіng, аnd уоu dо nо rераіrs оr wоrk уоursеlf. Тhіs іs whу whеn іt соmеs tо mаkіng quісk саsh іn rеаl еstаtе, thіs mеthоd оf rеаl еstаtе іnvеstіng іs оnе thе bеst rоutеs tо tаkе nоt оnlу fоr аvоіdіng mаnу оf thе fіnаnсіng hеаdасhеs, іt аllоws уоu tо mаkе саsh mоrе quісklу fоr thе rеаl еstаtе mаrkеt tоdау. І wоuld еnсоurаgе уоu tо lооk аt аs mаnу орtіоns аs роssіblе, thеn соmраrе thе tеrms оf еасh. Тhіs wау уоu wіll knоw whаt wіll wоrk bеst fоr уоur іndіvіduаl сіrсumstаnсеs.

How to Raise Funds for your Startup Capital

Never did we imagine that running a business, let alone starting one, can actually be simpler than what we initially expected. And this is mainly because of the advent of new platforms giving entrepreneurs (even those who want to be entrepreneurs) a great deal of business opportunities.

Social media and the internet in general have revolutionized the way people organize their businesses and manage their day-to-day operations. In fact, a majority of businesses use social media as a means to build brands and generate customers.

Beyond that however, modern tools can also help just about anyone to start on the right track. We are basically afforded the necessary infrastructure that will enable us to create enterprises out of thin air. Still, for a lot of young entrepreneurs that want to put their best foot forward, raising capital remains a challenge that has to be initially addressed. Even if you have the tools that can basically help you out in the marketing and advertising side, you still need to flesh out  some dough that will serve as startup capital.

Now, when it comes to raising capital for your business, you only need to know how to generate enough funds to jumpstart your business. And don’t worry about not being a hotel heiress or some dude who just so happens to be the son of a real estate mogul. You as an ordinary person can still make it big, granted you have enough self-discipline and good judgment to accumulate the funds you need to establish possibly the world’s next web-based empire. Here are some suggestions that will get you started on the path to greater wealth:

Save up

As simple as that. There’s basically no other way for you to generate enough capital to make build your brand. What you need to do, actually, is to set a long-term goal and work your way towards it little by little. And this means allocating a part of your income to this goal. You can set a separate bank account for this; but whatever strategy you will apply, what is important is that you get to set aside some funds to make turn your business idea into business reality.

Get quick cash through pawning

If you want to have a ready amount of cash on hand, you might want to pawn some of your valuables. We all know just how desperate it sounds, but going to a pawnbroker is actually a more practical step to getting the right amount of capital to start your business. And it’s not like you’re selling your most valuable items. Once you have already established your business, you can always “buy back” the items you have pawned. You don’t get to lose anything – unless of course you’re dealing with shady pawnbrokers. Still, you can bet there are legitimate brokers just about anywhere. Are you seeking pawnshops in Providence, RI? You can always find one that is always buying jewelry and other valuables.

Crowdfund your project

Crowdfunding has become popular recently, mostly because of how it actually helps young people get started on their projects without spending too much of their own money. Platforms such as Patreon enable you to publicize an exciting idea and get people who are willing enough to fund your project on board.

What are the Available Payment Methods for Retail?

The use of mobile payments has changed the way retail payments are done. Near Field Communication has also enabled payments in ways that were unimaginable. Cash payments are actually becoming rare as people prefer safer methods of payments.

CASH
Cash is king, and that is the irrefutable fact. Cash is accepted anywhere. It is instant gratification and offers few complications in transacting. But cash presents a security risk. How good is cash?
– It is instant money
– No transaction fees
– There is minimal bookkeeping
Disadvantages of Cash:
– It is tempting for employees
– It presents handling and storage problems requiring frequent trips to the bank

MOBILE PAYMENTS
Mobile Point of Sale (MPOS) is a recent innovation that has changed the way money exchanges hands. Mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Wallet are leading the way in mobile transactions.
NFC (Near-field Communication) payments are enabled customers to pay by tapping their phones. With nearly two-thirds of adults owning a smartphone, mobile payments will become more accepted in the near future.
Mobile payments offer higher security than cash or credit cards. There is no personal informatuon stored on NFC devices which reduces the risk of identity theft.

CREDIT CARDS
Seven out of ten Americans have at least one credit card. Payment by credit card has been the most popular way of transacting since the 1950s. Credit cards are easy to handle and present a lower security risk than cash. It has also been seen that people spend more with a credit card than they would with cash. This is more so for online shopping where impulse buying is common.
Businesses that accept credit card payments have higher cash flow. The good thing about credit cards is that one does not have to keep going to the bank. Funds are deposited into the bank account within 24-48 hours.
Businesses that accept credit cards have higher legitimacy. Customers will identify strongly with a business that shows the same credit card brands that are in their wallets.
One of the disadvantages of credit card payments is that it has some difficulty in bookkeeping. Processing credit card payments has expenses. Credit cards are also prone to identity theft.
Credit cards have some element of risk in the form of fraud and chargebacks. These are combated by using methods like EMV and PCI compliance. Reputable credit card processors also do tokenization and encryption to improve security. Refunds for credit card payments are usually not immediate. It takes 2-30 days for a refund to settle.

5 Ways to Save Money for Your Next Vacation

Are you looking forward to your next vacation? Have you come to realize that you need to save more money before you can book your trip? Are you ready to save, but a bit unsure of how to do so?
It goes without saying that saving money for your next vacation can be a challenge. After all, you have other expenses in your life that are every bit as important.
While you may have to save over the long run, a little bit has a way of adding up as the months go by. As long as you set both short and long term goals, you’ll eventually find yourself in position to book your trip.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s examine five of the best ways to save money for your next vacation:

1. Save What’s Leftover at the End of the Month
Once you pay all your bills and the month comes to an end, look at how much money you have leftover. If there is anything to save, move it to your vacation fund.
It may be a few dollars or it may be a couple hundred (or more). As long as you get into the habit of saving this leftover money, it will begin to add up over time.

2. Save a Work Bonus
Do you receive a work bonus once a year (or more)? How about commission checks? If you ever receive money in addition to your regular pay, you can put it in your vacation fund.
You may be tempted to use the money elsewhere, such as on things that will give you instant gratification, but you should always keep your eyes on the prize.
Tip: Don’t hesitate to use some of the money for other expenses, such as paying down debt or hiring a credit repair service.

3. Get a Side Job
If you don’t mind working more hours, a side job is a great way to earn a little bit of extra cash.
As the money begins to flow, you’ll find that it can be used for a variety of expenses. For instance, you may need to purchase a few new ice hockey sticks for your kids. Or maybe your spouse has a birthday coming up.
While there are many things you can buy with your newfound income, always remember to save a bit in your vacation fund.

4. Tax Refund
Are you the type of person who typically receives a tax refund? Are you expecting more of the same this upcoming year?
If so, you can take the money from this refund and use it on vacation. It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling to Dubai or somewhere closer to home, the money you get back from the government can help fund your good time.

5. Cut Small Expenses
It’s not always the big expenses in your life, such as your mortgage, that sets you back. It’s often the small purchases that add up over the course of the month.
This can be everything from regular trips to the vending machine to extra snacks at the grocery store.
Take a close look at your budget to see where all your money is going. If you find that small expenses are adding up, don’t hesitate to take immediate action. By cutting these out of your life, it won’t be long before you’re feeling better about your ability to save more money.

Conclusion
No matter where you want to go on your next vacation (and there are many options to consider), you must have the money to book your trip.
If you’re seeking ways to save more cash, the five tips above will put you on the right path to success. With these guiding you, it won’t be long before you feel good about your ability to save all the money you need.

4 Ways to Reduce Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Costs

Healthcare premiums, co-payments, and deductibles are on the up and up. With trends showing that these figures are bound to increase, it is necessary to take steps in reducing your healthcare costs. In this article, you will learn:

⦁ What a Health Savings Account (HSA) is and why it could help you decrease your medical expenses
⦁ The benefits of setting up a health emergency fund
⦁ Why you need to have copies of all of your tests and medical records
⦁ How eating a healthy diet helps you and the healthcare industry as a whole

1. Open an HSA if You Have a High-Deductible Health Insurance Plan
As reported by Nerd Wallet, an HSA is a great way to cut down on medical expenses and lower your taxes. However, know that not everyone qualifies.
HSAs are only an option for those with a high-deductible health insurance plan. In other words, those with an individual out-of-pocket deductible between $1,300 and $6,550 or family out-of-pocket deductible between $2,600 and $13,100. (Contact your insurance company for more information about this.)
If you qualify for this type of savings account, take advantage of it. While your HSA tops out per year (the maximum limit does increase with age), it rolls over to the next year, meaning that it will gradually grow tax-free.

Should you have a medical expense, as Nerd Wallet reports, you can always tap into it, tax-free. If you are older than 65 and have Medicare, you are unable to put more funds into your HSA, however, you can still pull funds out of it.
Other than pulling out funds for healthcare costs, you can take money from your HSA and invest it into stocks or other investments.

What If I Don’t Qualify for an HSA?
Those who do not qualify for an HSA can still set funds aside for medical expenses. In fact, it is recommended.
Having a health emergency fund plan in place saves you the trouble and worry when a medical situation occurs.
You never know, your daughter could break her arm playing soccer or your son could contract an eye infection. In which case, you can quickly access the needed money to pay for X-rays and the medication.

2. Copies, Copies, Copies

US News reports that having copies of your medical records and test results could save you time and money.
Instead of having to wait for your doctor’s office to fax over the results and records to the specialist’s or need to schedule another appointment, you have all of the documents with you for a right-then-and-there assessment.
With so many tests out there, you run the chance of possibly undergoing (and being charged for) the same test…again. Bringing your documents with you to the appointment rules that risk out.

3. Eating a Plant-Rich Diet Could Prevent You from Getting a Chronic Disease
Sadly, according to the Harvard Business Review, chronic illness makes up 85% of healthcare costs, which is partially why company-sponsored healthcare premiums have risen to 123% as of 2000.
The Atlantic reveals that you can decrease the chances of getting a chronic disease by eating real food, sticking to a mostly plant-based diet. Plant foods must come directly from nature, without preservatives and unhealthy fats in order for you to gain the most benefit from them.

4. Sleep Matters
From juggling your kid’s soccer practices and work to spending time with friends and family, it’s easy to think a good night’s sleep is a luxury. But it isn’t, and here’s why.

Sleep Impacts the Immune System

According to the Mayo Clinic, not getting enough sleep affects your immune system. When people are asleep, the Mayo Clinic explains, the body releases proteins called cytokines.

Cytokines not only help promote sleep but some are even needed when you are sick—or have inflammation or are under stress. Unfortunately, when you don’t get the required amount of sleep, your body releases a lower cytokine count.

Sleep Increases the Chances of Getting Sick

When you are sleep deprived, you put your immune system in jeopardy of catching a cold or an infection. Not only that but when you are sick, not getting enough zzzs slows down the healing process.

What this Means for Healthcare Costs

If you consistently don’t get enough sleep, you could be spending more time in the doctor’s office than need be.

By making sleep (and, in doing so, your health) a priority, you reduce the likelihood of needing to see your primary care physician, which means one less copayment to pay.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

According to the Sleep Foundation, the amount of sleep a person needs depends on their age and lifestyle, among others.

From the Sleep Foundation chart, you can see that newborns need as much as 14-17 hours of sleep each day to older adults requiring 7-8 hours. That being said, check the Sleep Foundation chart to make sure you get the proper amount of sleep according to your age.
What Else You Need to Know About Sleep

Also, the Sleep Foundation, recognizes that alarm clocks, coffee, energy drinks (and caffeine in general) not to mention lighting can disturb your circadian rhythm.

Tips

So that you are able to get a good night’s sleep, make sure your room is dark. Also, stop drinking caffeinated beverages early on into the day and stop using electronics at least an hour before going to bed.

That way, your circadian rhythm isn’t nearly as affected by the light radiating from the devices. Again, this promotes more sleep, which can decrease the likelihood of getting sick and doling out unnecessary funds.

Final Thoughts
Healthcare costs are increasing, but that doesn’t mean you have shell out more money. You can save while looking out for your health by using these tips.
Also, look into installing and downloading health apps—whether from a small startup or large organization—to help you manage your health and prevent you from having to schedule a doctor’s appointment. How else can you save?

Тhе Рrоblеm Wіth Моnеу аnd Whу Wе Ѕtrugglе Wіth Fіnаnсіаl Маttеrs

Тhе Рrоblеm Wіth Моnеу

Моst реорlе hаvе sоmе рrоblеms wіth mоnеу sоmеtіmеs. Тhе рrоblеm mау bе dіffеrеnt dереndіng іf уоu аrе rісh оr рооr but mоnеу іs аlwауs surrоundеd bу соmрlісаtіоns аnd dіffісultіеs. Іf уоu аrе wеаlthу уоu mау bе wоndеrіng whеrе thе bеst аnd sаfеst рlасе tо рut уоur mоnеу іs. Yоu wаnt tо mаkе thе mоst рrоfіt bу hаvіng уоur mоnеу wоrk fоr уоu but уоu wоrrу аоut рuttіng уоur mоnеу аt rіsk bесаusе уоu dоn’t wаnt tо lоsе іt. Меаnwhіlе thе реrsоn whо іs strugglіng tо fіnd еnоugh mоnеу hаs а dіffеrеnt sеt оf fіnаnсіаl рrоblеms. Тhеіr рrоblеms аrе nоt sо muсh аbоut lоsіng thе mоnеу thеу hаvе аs fіndіng еnоugh mоnеу tо survіvе. Тhе fіnаnсіаl рrоblеms аrе соmроundеd bу thе smаllеst сhаngе іn thеіr аvаіlаblе rеsоurсеs аnd runnіng shоrt оf саsh оnе mоnth саn mеаn ехtrа сhаrgеs аnd соsts tо рау thе nехt mоnth.

Fіnаnсіаl ruіn іs а slірреrу slоре thаt wе аll thіnk wе аrе sаfе tо wаlk асrоss tо gеt whеrе wе hоре tо bе. Wе mау thіnk wе hаvе аll оur fіnаnсеs undеr соntrоl аnd wе аrе rеаdу tо dеаl wіth аnу fіnаnсіаl sіtuаtіоn but thе truth іs thаt іn thіs соmрlісаtеd аnd іntеrdереndеnt wоrld thеrе аrе fеw оf us whо соuld соре wіth еvеrу роssіblе sсеnаrіо оf fіnаnсіаl сhаngе.

Dеbt іs mоst оftеn thе kіllеr thаt strіkеs us dоwn whеn wе аrе аt оur wеаkеst. Тhе оld sауіng thаt bаnks аrе еаgеr tо lеnd tо реорlе whо dоn’t nееd thе mоnеу аnd rеluсtаnt tо lеnd tо thоsе whо nееd іt rеmаіns brоаdlу truе. Тhеsе dауs bаnks аnd оthеr lеndіng іnstіtutіоns hаvе соmе uр wіth sо mаnу dіffеrеnt wауs tо іmроsе ехtrа сhаrgеs аnd fееs іf thе ассоunt іs nоt mаіntаіnеd іmрессаblу thаt thеу sееm tо mаkе а рrоfіt whаtеvеr thе sіtuаtіоn sо thеу wеrе hарру tо lеnd tо аlmоst аnуоnе. Wе sаw hоw thе fіnаnсіаl сrіsіs dеmоnstrаtеd thаt еvеn thе bіggеst bаnks wеrе nоt іnvulnеrаblе tо fіnаnсіаl dіsаstеr аnd thеу аrе suрроsеd tо bе thе ехреrts оn mоnеу, fіnаnсеs аnd thе mаths thаt gоеs wіth іntеrеst rаtеs аnd rіsk mаnаgеmеnt. Іf thе bаnks саn gеt іt sо wrоng, whаt сhаnсе dо thе rеst оf us hаvе.

Тhе рrоblеm wіth mоnеу іs thаt іt іs nоt rеаl.

Іf уоu hаvе а bаrn full оf fіrеwооd аnd іt hаs tо lаst уоu thrоugh thе wіntеr thеn уоu саn sее аt а glаnсе іf thе fіrеwооd іs runnіng lоw. Іf іt gеts tо mіdwіntеr аnd уоu аrе mоrе thаn hаlfwау thrоugh уоur suррlіеs уоu knоw уоu nееd tо trу tо usе lеss fоr thе rеst оf thе wіntеr. Моnеу іs јust numbеrs. Vеrу fеw оf us thеsе dауs hаvе а сhеst full оf gоld undеr thе bеd. Аll wе sее оf mоst оf оur mоnеу іs numbеrs оn а bаnk stаtеmеnt, оn сrеdіt саrd bіlls аnd оn lоаn аgrееmеnts. Wе dоn’t sее а bаrn full оf mоnеу dwіndlіng іf wе usе tоо muсh.

Сrеdіt саrds аrе оnе оf thе bіggеst саusеs оf mоnеу рrоblеms аrоund.

Тhе сrеdіt саrd іs а tеrrіfіс fіnаnсіаl tооl fоr shоrt tеrm еmеrgеnсу сrеdіt. Іf уоur саr brеаks dоwn аnd уоu nееd tо gеt іt fіхеd а сrеdіt саrd аllоws уоu tо dо thіs еvеn thоugh уоu mау nоt hаvе thе саsh rіght nоw. Ѕо lоng аs уоu аrе аblе tо mаkе suffісіеnt rерауmеnts tо rеduсе thе dеbt оvеr а rеаsоnаblе tіmе frаmе, thіs іs а gооd usе оf а сrеdіt саrd dеbt. Ноwеvеr, sо mаnу оf us thіnk, thоugh mаnу оf us dоn’t thіnk аbоut іt аt аll, whеn wе fіgurе thаt wе shоuld buу а nеw ТV оr trеаt оursеlvеs tо а wееkеnd brеаk аnd јust аdd thе соst tо thе сrеdіt саrd bіll. Wе nеvеr gіvе а thоught tо аll thе іntеrеst wе аrе gоіng tо hаvе tо рау thе сrеdіt саrd соmраnу. Wе іgnоrе thе fасt thаt whіlе wе аrе rерауіng thаt dеbt wе dоn’t hаvе thаt mоnеу tо sреnd оn оthеr thіngs.

Воrrоwіng mоnеу tо рurсhаsе thіngs nоw mеаns thеrе іs lеss mоnеу аvаіlаblе іn thе futurе аnd thе rеvеrsе іs truе аs wеll. Іf уоu аrе саrеful wіth mоnеу nоw аnd sеnsіblе аbоut рurсhаsіng nеw thіngs уоu wіll hаvе mоrе mоnеу tо sреnd іn thе futurе thаn уоu wіll іf уоu buу thіngs usіng сrеdіt саrds nоw.

10 Ways to Start Managing Your Debt More Effectively

What does “financial security” look like to you? Is it having all your bills paid, or money in the bank? Do you need a large investment portfolio or fat retirement account? Do you have enough cash on hand to support your family for a few months in the event of unemployment? According to CNBC, “even six months’ worth of expenses isn’t sufficient… it’s advisable to have at least eight-to-12 months’ worth of living expenses in reserve.”

If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is for the vast majority of Americans. In fact, nearly half of all Americans are currently living paycheck-to-paycheck, which means in the event of a crisis, they would be left with virtually no options. Even more disturbingly, most Americans are in deep debt. Business Insider shares some frightening insights into debt in the United States:

  • The total amount of consumer debt is nearly $2.4 trillion, or approximately $7,800 per person.
  • 33% of that debt is revolving credit card debt
  • 1 in every 50 households (approximately 2 million households) carries more than $20,000 in credit card debt.

If you’ve lost control of your finances and are ready to start unburying yourself from the burden of debt, know that it can be done. It will be a process, but you can start managing your debt more effectively, and ultimately eliminate your debt entirely.

  1. Follow the money. The first step in learning to manage your debt and take control of your finances is getting a realistic sense of where your money is going. You’d be surprised how many people not only don’t know what they actually spend their money on, but also don’t have real knowledge about just how much they owe. You need to sit down with a list of every single expense you have and start tracking everything you spend money on. Then you need to compare that list to an honest assessment of the money you have coming in each month (i.e. your income after taxes). If you don’t have enough money to cover your expenses, or if you have too little money to dedicate to paying down debt, it’s time to start strategizing further.
  2. Trim the fat. Now that you know how much money you have coming in versus how much you have going out, it’s time to find ways to have more leftover cash at the end of the month. Reduce entertainment expenses, including things like Netflix, cable, and even the internet. Cancel memberships to gyms, clubs, subscriptions, or other paid services that aren’t absolutely necessary to the running of your home.
  3. Lower fixed expenses. In addition to eliminating unnecessary purchasing, it’s important to find ways to lower fixed expenses if you want to get serious about getting out of debt fast. Install energy efficient light bulbs and be conscious of your water, gas, and electric consumption. Lower data cellular plans and get creative with the grocery budget. There are some expenses you’re always going to have to deal with, so figure out how to get the most bang for your buck on them.
  4. Get a second job. It’s not the most fun recommendation, but any extra income will help you pay off debt more quickly. Getting a second job has the added benefit of reminding you just how hard you actually work for the dollars you spend. If you’re used to getting a large tax return each year, consider adjusting your withholding to better reflect your tax bracket and have extra cash on hand each month.
  5. Transfer high-interest debt. If you have a relatively manageable sum owed, transferring your high-interest debt to a 0% introductory APR balance transfer card may be the quickest route to financial freedom. It’s much easier to make a dent in what you owe when you aren’t paying hundreds of dollars in interest every month. Just make sure you can pay off the debt in the promotional period.
  6. Negotiate terms. When it comes to money owed, there can be a lot more wiggle room for debtors than creditors would like you to believe. You may be able to negotiate better interest rates or have fees removed. There are also options like debt consolidation, debt settlement, loan repayment plans and forgiveness programs, and other financial help readily available to people looking for help taking control of their budgets.
  7. Snowball your debt. Debt advisor and media personality Dave Ramsey is known for his recommendation of “snowballing debt.” This method of attack involves paying off the lowest balance first, then taking the money that would have been contributed to that debt and applying it to the next lowest balance, and so on. This strategy can be extremely motivating, since you get to see debts disappear more quickly when you focus on getting rid of the smallest bills first.
  8. Pay high interest rates first. The alternative to the “snowball method” of attacking debt is to try to pay off the highest interest rates first, to reduce the amount of unnecessary cash spent in the process of paying things off. Either plan can work and has its own merits, but ideally you would strike a balance between the two; for example, taking the extra money from the snowballed balances and applying it to the card with the highest interest rate.
  9. Start tracking your credit. Now that you’ve got a handle on what’s happening with your finances, it’s important to stay in the know. Start tracking your credit through any number of free websites and apps, and stay informed about potential cyber security threats that could undo all your hard work.
  10. Don’t rule anything out. When it comes to unburying yourself from a mountain of debt, it’s important never to rule anything out. You may have to sacrifice some things you thought you’d never live without. You may have to seek the advice of a credit counselor or even consider filing for bankruptcy if things have really gotten too far out of hand. Don’t take anything off the table when it comes to being able to rest easy knowing your finances are straightened out.

7 Ways to Incorporate Giving Back in Your Business

Customers and job seekers are moving en masse to companies that not only provide the service, product or situation they’re looking for, but that also give back in meaningful ways.

It’s no longer enough just to have a great product or pay employees well. If your business does not have a mission of charitable giving in place, you’re most likely losing out on customers as well as top talent.

If you’re a small-business owner, however, you may be worried that giving back may cost more than you can handle. Not to worry. Here are seven ways to incorporate giving back within your business without breaking the bank.

  1. Make It Part of Your Company Mission

Entrepreneurs such as Sanjay Shah, founder of Autism Rocks, and Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, have always made it a point to include giving back as part of a company’s mission. There are several ways to add giving back to your business mission that can be ongoing or during specific time frames.

Ways to give back include donating a portion of each purchase to a specific charity, adding a voluntary charitable contribution space on your online purchase checkouts and in-house and online charitable donations for a worthy cause.

  1. Involve Employees

Did you know that a business that gives back also has the happiest employees?

Employees who feel the company they work for is more than “out for money” but is also concerned with people in need are more productive and more satisfied with their jobs. Involving employees in charitable giving events also builds a sense of “family” that improves the overall workplace experience.

Employees can participate in a planned volunteer day once a month, donation collection drives, organising and working fundraisers and stepping in to help the community after a disaster.

  1. Launch a Charity Drive

Local small businesses, in particular, can take steps to meet the needs of those in the community. Is a local food bank running short on food for the needy? Perhaps a local animal shelter needs help building an enclosure. Does the homeless shelter need donations of coats or blankets? Your business can hold a charity drive to fit any number of community needs at little or no cost.

  1. Partner With a Charitable Agency

Charities work with a variety of businesses to help the needy. One way to become involved is to offer a referral bonus to current customers where you make a monetary donation to charity for every new customer they refer. Check with charities in your region to see what types of partnerships may be available.

  1. Sponsor a Youth Sports or Academic Team

Sponsoring a youth sports or academic team is a great way to help young people in your community as well as get friendly publicity for your business. The team gets much-needed help with fundraising and your logo gets splashed across uniforms and banners. It’s a win-win.

  1. Offer Products or Services Pro Bono

Nonprofit organisations often need services or products but have limited budgets. Your company services or products may fit the bill. Consider donating your business services or products to charitable agencies.

  1. Create a Socially Conscious Working Environment

Think about the workplace environment you provide employees. Does your company participate in a recycling programme and provide easily accessible recycle bins for employees to use? Do you have paperless systems that would, if not eliminate, greatly reduce the amount of paper being used on a daily basis? Do you offer employee incentives if they use public transportation? This type of giving back may not be as obvious as holding a fundraiser, but it adds an element of social consciousness to the very fibre of your company.

 

Maximizing Profit When You Sell Real Estate

First-time homeowners rarely think of putting their properties on the market, selling up and going elsewhere. However, there are many reasons why a first-time homeowner may become a first-time home seller, such as a new addition to the family, divorce, marriage, new employment prospects etc. When that time comes, it’s important to maximize this opportunity to generate as much profit as possible.

But where do you begin? Once you’re ready to sell your property – manufactured home, apartment, condominium, town home, or house, – you will want to get maximum bang for your buck. The process of buying a home is dramatically different from the process of selling a home.

When you buy, you put your heart and soul into the purchase, hoping to create a home that will be conducive to a high-quality life. When you sell a home, there are few, if any, emotions involved. Your objective is to maximize the profits that you generate from the sale of your home. You will typically work alongside realtors who will push for the best deal with clients.

The Price is Right

Getting your property priced right is important. Listing agents will be able to provide the necessary feedback to gauge a fair market price for your property. It’s always a good idea to look at similar properties in your area, how much they sold for, and how much they listed for. Remember, anyone can ask anything for a property, but only the buyer determines what a fair market price is.

Supply and demand characterize real estate markets all over the world. There are many comparative market aggregators for real estate listings. Shop around at free listing sites to get an idea of what your property is worth according to various valuations. Property appraisal is not an exact science; it’s an art. A buyer may simply love your property and be willing to pay substantially more than the market price to own it. When sentiment is involved, it’s important to be able to liaise effectively with buyers and listing agents to ensure a smooth deal goes through.

Home preparation is an essential part of the process. Neatness, cleanliness, modernity, and a friendly milieu all work towards making your home more saleable. Of course, there are many added extras that you can adopt to make your property inherently more attractive. These include a quality home warranty for home sellers .

The benefit of a home warranty for sellers is that it is relatively inexpensive at around $300 per year, yet it covers the appliances, HVACs, swimming pools, motors, dryers, washers and many other gizmos and gadgets in your home. These items can be substantial cost concerns when they go on the blink. When a buyer is assuaged with a seller’s home warranty plan, this adds greater peace of mind and helps to seal the deal much easier.

Ready to Sell? Be Firm & Fair

Once you put all your proverbial ducks in a row, you’ll want to communicate this information to your real estate agent and down the chain. Every time your home goes on show, it should be immaculately prepared to receive potential homeowners. A seller who is accommodating towards potential buyers is likely to win over their trust more than a seller who is intransigent to meeting potential buyers on their schedule. It’s all about give-and-take, keeping a poker face at times, and offering perceived added value.

For example, you may wish to leave behind a wall-mounted TV for the buyer if they accept your selling price. These added-value items may include additional items of furniture as an enticement to close the deal. Develop a good rapport with your listing agent, and be flexible enough to accommodate clients on their terms. Consider all offers and treat everyone with the respect they deserve.  It’s good to be firm and fair, polite and courteous because you never know who is flush with cash.

How to clear your credit report like a pro

If you are dreaming about a new home or a car, it’s a good time to check your credit report before hunting down potential lenders. This is a mirror of your financial maturity, your ability to take care of debt in a systematic way, proving good faith. The idea of a score measuring integrity is almost 30 years old and has been perfected over the years. Currently, the FICO algorithm is at its 9th version which takes some of the burdens of unpaid medical bills, doesn’t count the paid collections as debt and takes into consideration rent as an indicator. If you are below that perfect 700+ range, here are a few ideas that could prove useful to get it a few points up in a couple of months. Remember, there are no quick fixes.

Is it talking about you? The devil is in the details

As astonishing as it might seem, over 25% of credit reports contain errors. Therefore, it is safe to assume that without proper verification your score could be different. The first line of defense is to ensure the debt is indeed yours. Name spelling mistakes, changes of address or other similar errors could result in assigning the wrong person with a record that impacts their score. If you see any mismatch in your personal data (name, DOB, social security number), contact each of the three offices and notify about discrepancies.

Dispute judgements

One of the most damaging things you can have on your credit report is a judgment since this stays on your name for seven years. The unsatisfied judgments can seriously affect your score, and you should do your best to remove them either by full payment or negotiating installments if the value is significant. Vacated judgments should be reported to the bureaus to prevent them from turning into phantom money. The worst-case scenario is a re-filed judgment which is another seven years of bad luck on your FICO statement. If you have such a problem, consult the following material on clearing your statement http://aaacreditguide.com/judgments/.

Avoid hard inquiries

Every time you apply for a credit card, a mortgage or any other type of loan, the lender or bank will perform a hard inquiry that impacts your FICO score. The fact that you are looking for credit means that you don’t have enough cash and you could present a risk to a lender. Shopping around too much can lower your score for 12 months. If you are not sure you want to apply for a particular product, ask the lender to perform a soft inquiry or a simulation. If you have past hard inquiries, over 12 months old, check that these have been appropriately removed.

Phantom money?

If one of your accounts is given to a collections agency, it could show up twice on your report. This error is easy to spot when you see the amount twice, from two different creditors. It should not happen since you own the same amount, just to a distinct entity. Debt that has been paid, but not removed from your report falls in the same category.

Ask for forgiveness on bills paid a few days later

Everybody makes honest mistakes and can forget about payment. If it is a one-time occurrence, you can ask for a good faith agreement. A creditor who has a long positive history with you will most likely admit your claim and remove it from your credit report.  Another idea is to promise that you will automate payments to avoid missing any other terms.

What situations did you encounter on your credit reports and how did you solve them?

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