5 Ways To Stay Ahead Of Your Debt

5 Ways To Stay Ahead Of Your Debt

Debt is nothing to play around with. Most people have some amount of debt, and some of them have no way to pay it back. There are some things, like a home or a car, that does require you to go into debt. But other than that, you want to live as debt free as possible. Here are a few tips to help you do that.

Set a Budget

You need to know how much you earn and how much you spend so you can control your spending. You don’t need an expensive accounting system. Just track how much you are spending and then budget out your monthly income. If you are struggling with paying for everything, look for areas that you can cut some of your spending. Once you have your budget, make sure you stick to it. All that work will be for nothing if you don’t live by it.

Live Within Your Paycheck

This seems obvious, but so many people struggle with this concept. Credit cards have made it easy to spend money that you don’t have yet, but this is a dangerous habit. If you have a big purchase that you just have to make, reallocate some of your budget to allow for that. Additionally, you should be saving at least a little bit of each of your paychecks so you can create an emergency fund.

Do Your Research

There will be situations that require you to get a loan, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a problem. Doing careful research before signing a loan can help you get the best deal possible and get out of debt quickly. Look into various offers from banks, credit unions, and lenders. Compare their interest rates, the life of the loan, and monthly payments. Just because the purchase is necessary doesn’t mean you have to get the most expensive option and go into a ton of debt.

Use Credit Cards Carefully

Credit cards can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you decide to use them. If you use them to buy things that you can’t afford, with no regard for how to pay it off, you will end up crushed under your debt. On the other hand, if you use it responsibly, you can build a good credit score that will allow you to have a lower rate of interest on loans and mortgages. You can also get cash back or rewards for using your credit card. Just make sure you aren’t using it to live outside of your means.

Negotiate

If you feel that you are already too far in debt to get out, don’t give up. There are still options available to you. You can negotiate with your lenders to consolidate your debt and avoid bankruptcy. Even if you have to declare bankruptcy, you don’t have to lose everything. Bankruptcy lawyers can help you find the best way to keep your home and at least some of your assets while reducing the amount of debt that you have to deal with.

Dealing with debt has become a fact of life, but you don’t have to let it overwhelm you. Use these tips to stay ahead of your debt and to make your financial life much easier.

References:

How to Make a Monthly Budget

Top Ways to Live Within Your Means

How to Use a Credit Card Responsibly

Dove Law Firm

4 Simple Reasons Why Your Startup Won’t Get Funded

4 Simple Reasons Why Your Startup Won’t Get Funded

Most would-be entrepreneurs dream of developing their ideas or skills into a profitable company. But launching a business requires operating capital. Raising these funds is your first and biggest obstacle. Whether you’re counting on a loan, investors, or crowdfunding, here are four mistakes that could spoil your chances.

1. You Are A Bad Leader

Your partners and employees are the key to successful business. Many startups have a great product or skilled teams to start with, but business management falls to you. Venture capitalists and angel investors will take a good look at your leadership abilities.

If you lack people skills, character, and integrity, investors aren’t likely to trust you with their money. Gaining confidence is a balancing act between modesty and assertiveness. People generally expect salesmanship, but not lies and exaggerations.

Don’t try to hide your shortcomings. Instead, express your eagerness to grow and learn. You need the humility to remain flexible, empathize with others, and communicate effectively.

2. You Don’t Have Clear Objectives

Investors are looking for businesses that are scalable to maximize profits. This includes addressing the risks involved and how they will be dealt with. If you can show that you’re going to make money long-term, you’re company is a good investment.

Desperate startups may inflate projections or misrepresent market shares. You may be tempted to tell investors what you think they like to hear. But what investors want is an accurate picture of your business and where you intend to go with it.

Before you ask for money, be sure you have validation for your business model. Every dollar you expect must be accounted for in your planning. Growth expenses must be supported by well-researched facts.

Serious investors will confirm your claims and learn everything they can about you. A single falsehood or negative discovery could mean rejection. You should make every effort to be honest from the beginning.

3. Your Potential Customers Don’t Care About Your Product/Service

Even when you’ve got a solid business plan and a good team, you still need a viable market for your product or service. Many would-be entrepreneurs launch a business without trying to establish whether they have a sufficient client base.

If you don’t have an appealing offer, or can’t meet a competitive price while remaining profitable, you need to re-examine your business model. Do market research through surveys or focus groups to ensure there’s interest in your product. Gather the data to support your offer’s potential before you start to look for funding.

If your idea is something completely original, you may want to come up with a working prototype so potential customers can investigate it, instead of struggling to understand diagrams and explanations.

Any customer testimonials or case studies that support your business model will also help support your case. Potential investors may also want to speak to customers or do market research of their own. Don’t start your financing efforts unless you can clearly explain what your product or service does and what sets it apart from competitors.

4. You Are Pitching to The Wrong People

Raising money for your company is not very different from selling your brand to consumers. You have to be targeting the right people. For instance, a venture capital firm known to invest in software companies isn’t likely to provide funding to a new furniture manufacturer.

Perform due research and ask among your industry contacts for leads on potential investors. Those who already understand what it takes to succeed in your niche are the ones most likely to identify and put their cash into a promising startup. Odds are, they may also partner with or can contact additional investors.

Be sure you understand the difference between venture capital firms who are looking for high-reward investments and angel investors who risk their own money on small-scale startups.

To summarize, you are going to need money to fund your company during initial and often after growth phases. There are critical mistakes to avoid when seeking funds, such as a lack of leadership, character, planning, or market research. Take the time to find the investors that will best appreciate your business model, and put together a presentation that will impress them.

Surprising Ways Business Loans Work In Your Favor

Surprising Ways Business Loans Work In Your Favor

People who take out loans are sometimes perceived as irresponsible individuals who cannot properly manage their finances. It gets even more complicated for women entrepreneurs who have a hard time accessing small business loans because of the misconception that women cannot successfully run a business. However,  financial advisors should help people have a realistic view of debt. The right timing and utilizing the proper strategy is the key when taking out a loan to boost your business. Take your time to study the nature of business borrowing and this insight will help you decide when is the right time to borrow. A business loan can be effectively used as a tool to support your business growth.

The types and sources of business lending vary. The loan term usually range from one year to 10 years and the amount can be a few thousands to millions. What matters is not the term or the loan amount. What is crucial is how you plan to use the loan to your business’ advantage.  All the successful businesses you see around have one thing in common; they know how to use debt as a useful tool to unlock more opportunities.

A business loan is simply an agreement between  a lender and a borrower in which a lender provides funding and the borrower agrees to pay back the principal amount plus interest. This agreement  is bound by certain terms of which both parties must adhere to.

Business Loans Build Your Credit For the Future

A small short term loan for your business might be just what you need to qualify for larger loans in the future. If you take out a small loan and repay on time, you build credit for future large scale financing. Most lenders will want to see proof of your ability to repay the debt on time. If you can make timely monthly payments, you earn trust from your lender. Here are some smart ways to build your credit:

  • Boost your credit score by paying personal bills on time and maintain a balance of under 30% of your limit on your credit cards.
  • Apply for some form of credit soon after starting up your business
  • Grow your credit and use it
  • Maintain relationships with more than one lender

Grow Your Business with Working Loan Capital 

You do not need to be a business guru to know that money is needed for the smooth running of any kind of business. Lack of funds will jeopardize your plans. Funds are needed to buy equipment, hire new staff, purchase more inventory and other necessary expenses. A working capital loan can  increase cash flow to move your business forward as you plan for future growth prospects.

Traditional banks and lending institutions often have rigorous application requirements and processes. The situation is not hopeless as you can still find alternative financing solutions at Mulligan Funding where there is a straightforward loan application process. As long as your business has been operating for six months, you can apply. There is no collateral needed and the approval process typically takes 48 hours.

Working capital loans are more flexible than standard bank loans. You can take advantage of this to revamp your brand and attract new customers through injection of working capital to your business.

5 Industries With The Largest Employment Shortages

With today’s economy gaining strength, people assume there are more people looking for jobs than there are jobs available to them. However, that’s not the case. According to the staffing agency Manpower, of more than 1,300 employers surveyed, half report having problems filling their available positions. In some cases, not enough people have been trained in the skills needed to do the jobs, while in other cases the issue may be salary requirements or not having enough full-time positions to attract candidates. Whatever the case may be, if you’re wanting to enter a field where your skills will be in high demand, here are five industries with the largest employment shortages.

Skilled Trades

5 Industries With The Largest Employment Shortages

While jobs such as plumbers, electricians, welders, and carpenters may not be glamorous, they are some of the most in-demand jobs in today’s economy. Perfect jobs for those who don’t want to attend a four-year college, these skills can be learned in high school, at a trade school, or through apprenticeships. With many current workers retiring from these jobs, employers are desperate to fill openings.

Engineering

5 Industries With The Largest Employment Shortages

According to Abels & Annes, many roads and bridges in the United States are crumbling, requiring the assistance of civil engineers that simply no longer exist in the labor market. Always a hot profession for those who excel in math and science, engineering has seen many of its specialties hard to fill in recent years. According to George Zobrist, a professor of computer science at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, the engineering fields most in demand currently are biomedical, industrial, and civil engineering.

Information Technology

5 Industries With The Largest Employment Shortages

With the rapid pace of changing technology, employers are scrambling to find enough qualified IT employees. While many aspects of this field are in high demand, anyone skilled in cloud computing will have their pick of jobs. However, if you need to relocate, don’t expect employers to pay for relocation packages anymore, since employers have scaled back on these expenses.

Sales

If you like business and people, chances are there is a sales job waiting for you. Whether it’s cars, pharmaceuticals, or real estate, jobs are plentiful. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, sales rep jobs will grow by 16 percent over the next decade.

Accounting and Finance

5 Industries With The Largest Employment Shortages

Whether working as a CPA, mortgage counselor, or tax specialist, jobs in accounting and finance are waiting to be filled. If you have a bachelor’s degree and pay attention to details, employers are looking for you.

By choosing any of these industries, you’re sure to have employers lined up to offer you a position. More information about these industries can be found at www.bankrate.com/finance/jobs-careers/biggest-worker-shortages.aspx.

Successful Money-Saving Tips For Small Businesses

Successful Money-Saving Tips For Small Businesses

Working in a small business has its advantages.  Compared to bigger businesses, there are fewer people working there.  So, everyone gets to know each other better.  However, in today’s world, a small-business owner needs to be careful about their budget.  But, we have some great tips for you that will help you save money, and help you continue to make a profit.

Smart Lighting Can Help You Save Money 

One of the biggest ways to help save money is to think about your lighting.  Many workers don’t think about this issue because they are more focused on the work that needs to be done.  But, small businesses can benefit from different types of lighting without having to worry about production.

Turn Off The Lights

First and foremost, when you leave a room unoccupied – whether it’s the break room, bathroom, or even your own office – turn off the lights.  It may seem insignificant.  But, the money you’ll save does add up.

Detectors

There are many lighting methods you can also use.  Motion detectors do exactly what the name says.  When someone is in the room, the detector turns the light on, and will turn it off when he or she leaves the room.  It saves money without the person having to remember the turn off the light.

Get LED

Another great option is to use LED lights.  They not only help you save energy, and money.  But, they also last much longer because “they run cooler”, and their lenses don’t get damaged as often.  It may be expensive to replace the lights in the beginning, but the money you save in the long run will make it worth it.

 Successful Money-Saving Tips For Small Businesses

Consolidate Advertising

But, lighting is just the start of these suggestions.  As Entrepreneur.com explains, there are many others ways to help your small business.  One way is to consolidate your advertising to lower costs.  You can start by including all your materials in your mailings.  Put things in there like the invoice, coupons, and fliers.  That way, the customer gets everything in one package.

Get Referrals 

Advertising your business costs time and money.  However, a happy customer can help you save on both.  By spreading the word, and referring people to your company, you’ll not only save on advertising costs.  You’ll also gain more customers, and increase your business, and bottom line.  Asking customers to share their positive experiences will always help.

Join Online Groups

With the advent of the internet, it’s so much easier to spread your message.  Websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook allow you to spread your message, and share pictures within your small business.  As a result, customers will know exactly what they’re getting before they even contact you.

Optimize Expenses

Examining your expenses, and figuring out “the inefficiencies” will also help you save money and time.  Make sure you are using the best vendors possible to get the “most bang for your buck”.  By refocusing on which partners, and other departments, you are spending your money on, you will surely improve your return on investment (or ROI).

Build Trust And Ownership

One of the best ways to help save money for your small business is to build teamwork.  By giving each coworker a sense of ownership, they will naturally consider what’s best for the team since they will feel more like they are a part of it.  Trust, and empowerment, yields ownership of their own part.  As a result, they will contribute more.  This combination will help save you money because everyone will give more time to projects, which will improve the company’s bottom line.

Conclusion

Saving money in a small business can be a tough task if you don’t know where to look.  However, with these tips, you will be able to examine where your money is going, and cut out the dead weight.  Suggestions like changing your lighting habits, going online, and creating a sense of ownership will help you save money so you can focus on increasing revenue.

Biases That May Affect Investors

It’s quite unfortunate that emotions may cloud our financial judgment. Financial problems could wreack havoc on our overall portfolio. In reality, behavior is a significant risk factor that may affect investors, There are cognitive and emotional biases that may result in less than ideal decision making processes. Overconfidence is a prevalent emotional bias and it can affect everyone, not just investors. Many people think that they can beat the stock market by choosing a few very prospective stocks. It’s very possible for them to gain ideas from different sources. When we overestimate our own abilities, it’s likely that we underestimate risks. Investors should have sophisticated data and research capability to achieve their goals. They need to perform the necessary due diligence, so investment portfolio can be maintained. If we are being overconfident, it’s likely that we will leave our eggs only in one or two baskets. Each basket may dangerously be related to one another. So if one basket is affected, another could be affected as well. It’s likely that people simply overemphasize their overall personal contributions. People could also be affected by the familiarity bias. People tend to invest money on areas that they know best. It may be a good thing, but it’s important that we have diversified portfolio. A portfolio without enough diversification could result in higher risks.

Some investors may also have specific aversions. Due to loss aversion bias, investors may hold losing investment for too long. This could happen when investors make speculative trades based on inaccurate projections. Due to their high expectation, investors may hold an investment for too long. It is important for investors to know about sunk costs. In general sunk costs are any expense that has been incurred. It’s important for us to incorporate such factor in our future actions. Things could go awry if we have inability to come to terms with factors that are related to our investments. When we have investment failure, we will lose money and we simply hope to recoup our losses. Inaccurate projections may cause people to easily miss their opportunities. We should also know about anchoring, In general, anchoring bias could cause investors to feel reluctant to sell investment platforms that are at a loss. This could happen when investors have become very eager with specific investment platform that pulling their money out of it is considered as unacceptble. It is important for investors not to follow the herd. When the financial media is bullish, it is more likely for investors to put extra money in more promising stocks. They could do this even if the prices are soaring high. This could happen when the media appears to be pessimistic. Investors may be reluctant to purchase stocks although the market is showing signs of recovery. As a result, investors lose the opportunities of purchasing stocks at heavily discounted prices. In this case, it is important for investors to know more about their own intuition. They need to trust themselves, instead of trusting others. Intuition and experience can be shaped through mock purchases and simulations of stock investments.

How To Improve Relationship With Money?

We should know that it’s possible that we actually have unhealthy relationship with money. Money is more than just coins and pieces of colorful paper. It holds a specific amount of value that can be traded with goods and services. More than that money can also be represented by the total of balance in our investment account sheet, credit card statements, bank statements and also our own self esteem. Due to its significant intangible influence in our lives, money can be compared to power and energy. Successful people often say that they are in tune with the intangible value of money. The definition of money is so straightforward that children can learn it quickly. Unfortunately, it is also possible that we inherit bad concepts related to money from our parents. Poor people often have bad connection with the intangible value of money and things that we have won’t come to us. So, it’s important to have the positive beliefs ingrained into our mind. This may sound like a metaphysical topic, but it’s important to think about the way successful people do, despite our current financial condition. Having good impression on money can be quite challenging when our income is far from enough to cover expenses and we have debilitating bad debts that cause continuous financial bleeding.

We shouldn’t feel band when something breaks and need to be replaced or fixed. If we don’t have a few spare dollars to replace the item, we should maintain good frame of mind and we should look for ways to make do without the item. What we feel about money is dictated by what we learn when we grow up. If we struggle with money, it is more likely that we will have bad thought about it. Because no one instructed us on how to think about money when were younger and many parents seem to reinforce bad thoughts about money, it’s important for us to re-wire our thought. Our parents may fight over money and they spend more than what they have. If they did, it is important to look at our lives and consider whether we do the same. It’s important to see any similarity. We should consider whether it’s where our beliefs came from. It may take some time and energy to change our monetary habits, we it should well worth it. Good money habits are often based on common sense. Their concepts are simple, but can be difficult to implement continuously in our daily lives.    If we have positive relationships with money, it is more likely that we will accumulate money in a proper way. Taming money as a form of energy requires enough persistence and this could be challenging, especially for those who actually have fear of money.

The most straightforward way to re-wire our thought about money is to think back how we thought about money when we were very small. Money is essentially a neutral tool that can be used to ensure the fulfillment of basic needs and comforts.

Why You Can’t Survive Financial Recession?

It is quite unfortunate that some people actually underestimate financial recession. They may think that it will only be a short recession. Unfortunately, the problem could be bad enough that the government needs to bail out the national banking system to restore confidence. In this situation, many banks may have gone bust, while a few remaining are struggling. It is also quite likely for some average consumers to go bust if they are poorly prepared. There are different reasons why it’s very difficult to survive the financial recession. One problem is that we have poor budgeting system. If we don’t have a reliable budget, then it’s time to sit down and evaluate our situation. A good budget is regularly updated. It will allow us to avoid waste of money. Many people are surprised to find that they run out of money before the next paycheck and it could happen because they don’t have a reliable budgeting system. Another reason why people could fail during a recession is because they don’t have enough savings. In general, savings account is a low-yield and highly secure investment platform, which can be used during emergency situations. Each country offers different level of compensation scheme, in case the bank fails.

In this case, we could spread our savings accounts in multiple banks, so our money can be completely covered during the financial recession. However, we should know that having two accounts on two banks under the same group may not be covered properly. Insurance protection is also essential during financial recession. Accident, sickness and unemployment protection are essential during financial crisis. During this period, we still have normal expenses, such as utility bills, credit cards, loans and mortgage. Even if we still have primary job, our household budget could still be stretched during this period, so we should seriously think about insurance protections. We may also look for benefit assistance during financial crisis to further improve our situations. One bad decision that could affect us during financial crisis is replacing our perfectly usable car with a new model that is very expensive and less efficient. The monthly repayment can be quite significant. Within the first three years, cars may lose up to 50 percent of its original value. In general, cars are usable for up to 20 years if we properly maintain them. It’s a bad thing to lose money through depreciation during financial crisis.

People could succumb into monetary problems if they have so much bad debts. In this situation, it is important that we are able to negotiate with lenders to find out whether it’s possible to escape from debt  issues. Any kind of borrowing should be stopped if we want to survive the financial crisis. The cost of borrowing can be quite expensive, especially if it’s associated with credit card debts. Remortgaging may not be a good thing to do when the economic condition is bad. We may potentially lose our house, which is not a good situation at all.

How To Consume Organic Foods At Lower Costs?

Many families decide to live healthier by choosing organic produce and foodstuff. Unfortunately, it is commonly thought that organic and natural ingredients are more expensive. The primary concern is how to shop for organic and healthy ingredients each day without breaking the bank. In this case, we should focus on our food component in the budget. It may be quite challenging if we have tight food budget, because cheaper ingredients are mass produced in huge farms and plantations. Regardless of our financial limitations, it is important to include organic and healthy shopping in our lifestyle. We may need to juggle different preferences in the family.

Some people may prefer meat and potatoes, while others seek to have more vegetables. It is important for us to deal with specific cost-saving tricks, so we will always be able to stay within specific organic budget. When dealing with organic meals, we should start from scratch and do all the cooking ourselves. It may be necessary for us to make extra portions for lunch and dinner. If possible, we should buy fresh vegetables and fruits from local farmers, who are known for their organic farming methods. They may reuse leaves and other organic materials as compost. In many cases, organic foodstuff from local markets are more affordable than non-organic alternatives in grocery stores. However, due to problems related to prices, many people are not able to completely fulfill organic lifestyle. A good way to reduce costs is by asking local organic food eaters to know where they can get proper ingredients at acceptable prices. This should be easy to do if our area is not too far from local farms and plantations. A very inexpensive way to contribute to our organic lifestyle is by planting edible food at our home. This should be an easy thing to do and we may read books and watch videos on how to do that.

By doing things properly, we should get the biggest organic bang for our buck, especially if we can plant a large amount food on our own. Common foodstuff like cabbage, potato and tomato can be planted on our backyard if we have enough space. This a very affordable way to make sure that we are able to provide our family with very healthy organic food. We shouldn’t hesitate to do this in our home. Food that swells is usually more filling. So, it will be more economical if our primary sources of carbohydrate are rice and beans. If our budget is tight, we should still be able to allocate enough fund for getting vegetables and quality meat, of course they need to be completely organic. We should also use spices and other ethnic ingredients to make our food much more enjoyable. As an example, fresh ginger and avocado can be occasionally used in our meal to make it healthier, without spending too much extra money. We should be creative to find out new ways to spice up our meals.

How To Implement Marketing Campaign With Limited Budget

Many small business have very tight marketing budget, but they need to get their name in the marketplace. Public relations effort can be very expensive and we can’t just spend a few dollars on them. Regardless of the cost needed, we need to have a comprehensive public relation project that’s able to persuade, explain, inform and educate consumers; while enhancing our credibility in the marketplace. In the end, such as project should be able to boost our sales. Instead of focusing on the quantity of our advertising messages, we should focus on the actual functions of our public relation project and try to make do with whatever resources that are available to us. By focusing on the core values of marketing programs, there’s a better chance that we are able to position ourselves better in the marketplace. It is also about making a priority of each core value of our project. So, despite our lack of financial resources, we could focus on a task that must be completed first.A marketing tool can be modified and reprinted to serve different marketing functions.

Despite our limited marketing budget, we should be able to gain better results by taking the necessary steps. At first, we need to establish a benchmark, so we would know what kind of result that we should get. We will know whether a task has been successful in delivering the right kind of result. It is also important that we commit to a specific task until it’s completed properly. We should know that it may take a lot of time to make proper connections with our consumers. Marketing is a continuous process and we should always be in motion to make sure that results can be achieved. We should know about the most appropriate goals that we need to achieve. If we have a limited budget, it is important that we focus on making our effort more effective. As an example, releases shouldn’t be one sided and look too much like sales pitch. For higher effectiveness, we shoujld refer to valid and trusted survery and research results to ensure consumers that we have proper products.

Despite our tight marketing budget, we should make sure that releases are produced neatly with wide margins and double-space. The message itself should be factual and brief.  Each marketing material should be reviewed after it has been written. There should also be contact details in each of the marketing messages. If our marketing message is particularly long, it should be properly organized. Booklets should come with concise information that urge people to read more. This should be an excellent opportunity to approach people and convert them into loyal buyers. Longer advertisement can be used in an advanced stage and it can be an opportunity to establish ourselves as experts in the field. Our approaches in completing the PR project could vary depending on our financial resources. If budget is limited, we should choose the one that’s less expensive. Hiring a marketing consultant can be a good choice, so we will be able to maximize the overall effectiveness of our marketing campaign.