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5 Strategies For Paying Off Student Loans Fast

No one can deny the fact that education nowadays has become very expensive. It is not always possible to fund the whole investment personally and sometimes, you’ll need assistance in the form of student loans.

If you have a good strategy in place though, paying off student loans fast is possible. In case you are having problems devising a plan alone, you can reach out to a financial adviser who can analyze your outstanding loan and give you the best method to clear it.

Being just out of college still means there is a lot left to see in life. Therefore, worrying and losing sleep over student loans should be avoided. If you are looking for help, then this article can guide you in taking the right steps.

Figure out your budget

figure out budget

This is the first reality check that you need to do before paying off your loans. You need to figure out what your budget is every month while repaying. It should be more than the minimum balance that you should invest in.

Whatever extra cash you have, don’t use it for any other purpose other than paying your loan. The extra cash will assist you in clearing your debt faster.

Refinance your student loan

If you have multiple student loans running at various places, getting it to one single agency might be a wise decision. By doing this, you will need to pay only a single interest instead of multiple small ones. As a result, your interest amount will be lower.

Refinancing gives you additional time to repay the loan but consider the decision very carefully. The longer it takes you to pay your loan, the higher the accumulated interest will be. Act according to your situation.

Get in on the sharing economy

Sharing economy is a very novel and fair concept that has caught on with the younger generation.

If you are swimming in a debt pool, consider renting or borrowing useful stuff from strangers instead of paying a lot of money to buy them. This can help cut down your expenses, leaving you with more money to repay your loan.

Since a digital platform is involved here, the transactions are relatively safe, which allows many strangers to collaborate.

Treat the loan like a mortgage

Once you have an outstanding student loan, treat it like you would treat a mortgage. A mortgage is a property or a good whose value is almost similar to your loan amount.

Any issues with the loan can be settled by taking over the mortgaged entity. Once you treat your student loan like a mortgage, you will be motivated to clear your loans as soon as possible.

Focus on one goal at a time

focus on one goal

If you have multiple loans on your head and you keep worrying about all of them at once, life is going to get difficult for you. Instead, you should focus on one loan at a time and concentrate on clearing that.

If you are having difficulty in deciding how and where to start, you could refer to debt review. It can analyze your outstanding loans and give you a plausible solution to repay it.

There are two ways of doing it.

You could take up the loan with the largest amount and start clearing it and once that is done, you can go for the loan of the next lesser amount. This is called the debt avalanche system and it works for most people.

Another technique is to clear the low-cost loans first and then go for the higher ones. This gives you a mental satisfaction of finishing at least one loan so that you can move on to the next one with confidence. This is known as the debt snowball system. You could resort to any of the ways according to your convenience.

A student loan is a burden at a tender age but once you have a good strategy in place, you won’t have a hard time freeing yourself from your debt.

See Also: Is There Going To Be A Student Loan Apocalypse?

The post 5 Strategies For Paying Off Student Loans Fast appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Debt Collection Technology Updates You Need to Be Aware Of

If you’re not on time with your bills, it’s important that you stay aware of the latest debt collection technology. From your smartphone to Ringless voicemails, debt collectors have gone high-tech to help increase payments.

While agencies argue that their methods benefit customers and allow collectors to complete their mission, debtors are left surprised and consumer advocates are beyond angry.

Here are the latest updates on debt collection technology:

Ringless Voicemail Drops

ringless voicemail

A lot of debt collectors are excellent in finding ways to test and defy the laws that put a limit on how often they can call their clients. One of those ways allows them to send voicemails directly to phones without causing a ring.

Due to a technicality, these messages don’t appear as calls but messages that show up as voicemails.

The Consumer Protection Firm’s attorney Billy Howard doesn’t fall in line with companies like Stratics Networks who argue that no violations of regulations occur because auto-dialed collections technically are not phone calls. “They’re trying to torture the language of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act,” says Howard.

Senior sales vice president Paul Gies of VoApps Inc. believes differently. Gies argues that customers prefer ringless messages to standard calling because it creates less pressure to respond immediately. Consumers can return when they’re able to without feeling forced. He adds that collectors believe the system works too well.

And it’s not only the consumer Gies believes he’s looking out for. Even clients tell them that they overwhelm their call centers with inbound volume.

Avatars

Friendly avatars can increase the likelihood of payment from debtors than when they visit typical sites. That is according to Tom Gillespie Jr. who works as the chief executive of BeGuided Inc.

His collection company, Access Receivables Management Inc., works under the idea that “nice people collect more”. They aim to turn around traditional interpretations of debt collectors by moving away from practices like threat and insults with characters like Zoey. This animated avatar appears in borrowers’ inbox and guides them through the debt repayment process.

Zoey and avatars like her have a wide range of character traits. From access to multiple languages to the ability to smooth-talk borrowers into repaying debts, these avatars offer a personal approach. They also have access to credit histories to allow for better payment plans for debtors.

“In the last year, we’ve sent out millions of emails” notes Gillespie, “We’ve had zero consumer pushback” when using avatars.

Speech Analytics

Cursing during conversations with debt collectors will be met with prompts provided by CallMiner Inc. software. It helps direct discussions back to where they need to go. These programs evaluate keywords used during conversations to identify emotions.

The color-based box system used by Supervisors incorporates the company’s speech-analytics system. Colors communicate the agent’s standing while interacting with a debtor. Green means that the conversation is typical and the agent is providing necessary information like “mini-Miranda” rights for debtors to understand their rights.

If a box changes color to red, it signifies a problem. Maybe an agent is experiencing difficulty or there’s profanity.

“A supervisor can consider barging in and taking over the call, or whispering into the agent’s side of the call,” CallMiner marketing vice president Scott Kendrick explains.

The Eureka program of CallMiner has multiple functions. It can provide a ranking system for agents and guide the negotiations for valid results. It can even step in and give better responses when an agent struggles to make an emotional connection with the borrower.

Games

Debt collection agencies like FidoTrack LLC in Vermont use video game tactics to motivate agents to compete against each other to improve performance. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering collection agencies are known for not caring or being reachable.

The president and founder Brett Brosseau justifies these tactics saying that “you figure a lot of people who are actually collecting are maybe on the other end of the phone in their personal life. It sucks to ask people for money.”

Agents at FidoTrack improve their sales by 19% according to Brosseau through these types of regulated games. He adds that consumer complaints are down as well with shorter calls and a better response.

The game-like competition between collectors may make work more enjoyable but debtors surely aren’t enjoying them.

Other Tactics

social media tracking

Skip tracing makes it difficult for debtors to hide from collection agencies because agents look through various social media to locate them.

While some collectors will merely use social media, others are taking more aggressive approaches. An agency in Texas, for example, links the Social Security Numbers of their clients to their social media accounts, causing upset among specific groups.

Spoofing, on the other hand, is a tactic employed by agents who change their area code to match the debtor’s local one. This tricks the debtor into responding. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advocates for canceling this practice.

If consumers feel they have been mistreated, they have options. They can either complain to the right government agency or they can sue the agents. This opens them up to something called scrubbing.

Collectors look through lists of databases when they are scrubbing to remove potential hazards. These “banana peels”, as they are called in the industry, are people who have litigious records and are seen as unnecessary hazards.

The post Debt Collection Technology Updates You Need to Be Aware Of appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The Top 4 Best Alternatives to Paypal for Business

Paypal is the biggest payment gateway out there and there’s no doubt about that. It is the most famous online payment system in the world to the point that people associate the word “payment gateway” with Paypal. It offers a nice, clean and very comfortable service within a click and makes everything possible. You know the score.

However, Paypal is not the only payment gateway out there and it is not even the best of the bunch. Sure, it dominates the market but it doesn’t mean that the competition is just slacking around. There are competitors and they rapidly evolve and try to outplay the big guy.

Before we get to the best alternatives to Paypal for business, let’s explain its problem first.

Paypal is a victim of its own marketing. Over the years, Paypal was hyped as the one and only super payment gateway and people believed in that idea. However, the reality is not exactly like that.

Paypal is good for basic transactions. It is serviceable for slightly larger sums but when it comes to a commercial operation with diverse payments and schedules, it gets clumsy and barely usable.

Another thing that raises concerns is security. Paypal is not very good at it. There are holes in its security systems that enable account hijacking and account blocking and that is not something you want to experience. Imagine the consequences of such glitches in your business.

Who are Paypal’s Competitors?

Diversity is the key to success in eCommerce operation. You need to have a set of options for your business and you need to give your customers several options to perform payments.

By using only one payment gateway, you are seriously limiting not just yourself but your customers, too.

With that, here are the best alternatives to Paypal for business you should consider.

Stripe

stripe payment

Stripe is a heavy hitter. It came late to the party and turned the tide on its side simply by being handsome and charming. Jokes aside, it is one of the biggest competitors to Paypal because of its smoothness of operation and security.

Stripe is really easy to integrate into any kind of website. In addition, it avoids redirects and performs the entirety of operation on your website. It gives a larger degree of control over the operation and that is particularly calming for a businessman.

Stripe’s greatest asset is its fraud detection system. It consists of thorough credibility checks, comparison with blacklist databases, and analysis of activity. It guarantees that no one ever will succeed in wrecking your account.

Stripe’s fees are standard but chargebacks are lower than Paypals.

The challenge comes with operating it. In order to make Stripe work, you need to know a thing or two about programming. That isn’t that much of a problem if you think about it for a moment.

Square

square-official-payment

Square is probably the most radical payment gateway out there. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t skew the principles of the economy. Instead, it offers services that feel absolutely different from any other payment gateway available.

For the lack of a better word, Square is “Stripped-down” or “no-nonsense” payment gateway. That is what makes it so attractive to an ever-growing audience.

From the user experience perspective, Square is very similar to Paypal if it was cleaned-up and dropped weight. It is faster, smoother, and more elegant to use.

In terms of service, it is a reliable and trustworthy gateway. If there is something wrong, don’t worry as its customer support service will be the ones to handle it.

Authorize.Net

authorize net

Authorize.Net was there from the very beginning of eCommerce on The Internet. It saw it all and it knows a couple of tricks. As one of the oldest payment gateways active today, Authorize.Net has the benefit of having the time-tested trust.

One of its major assets is security measures. Authorize.Net is a perfect gateway for those who have a paranoia about online transactions.

In terms of UX, it is really user-friendly. You can do whatever you need if its legal. The tools for structuring payments are easy to handle and there are many additional settings that help with nuances and scheduling.

However, Authorize.Net is not cheap and that is a major turn off.

Braintree

braintree

Braintree is a division of Paypal that is a much better fit for eCommerce payments.
The best thing about it is how easy it is to handle very different types of payment. Just a couple of clicks and you can get your thing done.

Another great thing is integration. Unlike Paypal that needs some tweaks in order to fit the website, Braintree fits every type of site like a glove.

Fees are standard but in exchange, you get more features to play with so this is definitely a win. However, there might be some complication regarding technical adjustments.

Conclusion

Paypal still stands tall in the payment gateway segment, but there are worthy competitors who have something else to offer. For business owners, that is a good thing.

The nature of the competition in the payment gateway segment is beneficial for every involved party. It jumpstarted rapid evolution, increased the overall quality of services, and deepened sets of available features.

As such, the variety of options available is inspiring.

The post The Top 4 Best Alternatives to Paypal for Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Eight Mistakes You Could be Making with Your Health Insurance

Health insurance can be expensive, but not having it can be an even bigger mistake. Did you know that the average cost of an emergency room visit in the United States can cost upwards of $1,233 per visit. If you don’t have insurance, you could end up paying this bill out of your own pocket. There are several common mistakes people make when it comes to your health insurance, and you don’t want to make them if you can help it.

Picking Health Insurance with a Low Premium

good health insurance plan

With health insurance, your premium is the amount you pay each year for your healthcare before your insurance covers the rest. A lower premium means that you’ll pay more for any co-pays or deductibles after you have the services. A higher premium means that you pay more upfront, but the costs go down once you pay it.

If you’re generally healthy and if you have a decent financial cushion that can handle a more significant medical bill, you may benefit from having a lower premium. If you have ongoing health issues, a higher premium may be better because it’ll reduce the costs of your visit expenses.

See Also: What To Look For In A Good Health Insurance Plan

You Only Use Employer Health Insurance

Insurance through your employer might be a most cost-effective option, and it might seem like the best deal upfront. If you’re relatively healthy, you can usually find cheaper options because the employer’s insurance rates are based on their employee’s average health statistics. It is essential that you shop around and compare health insurances.

Additionally, many employer health plans cover routine doctor visits and even emergency room costs, but they might not have vision or dental options. It’s essential that you shop around and look at your employer’s plan to see what services it’ll cover and which ones you’ll have to pay for.

Not Reading all of the Fine Print

Health insurance can be very dry and difficult to understand. This is why a lot of people don’t read it, and they assume that whatever they have done will be covered by their insurance plan. This isn’t always the case, and you could get a nasty surprise in the form of a large bill.

The fine print on your insurance information will tell you everything you need to know about your plan. It’ll let you know whether or not specific services are covered, what your co-pays are, what percentage of hospital stays the insurance will cover per day, and how much you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance picks up the rest.

Don’t Find out if You Have an HMO or a PPO Plan

HMO insurances have strict in-network and out-of-network fees they can charge. It also dictates which doctor, clinic, or hospital you can visit and have your insurance pay for it. A PPO plan is more flexible, and it lets you choose your doctor or clinic, and it can also be more lenient with in-network and out-of-network care.

A POS plan is a hybrid plan of the HMO and PPO plans. These types of programs let you see out-of-network doctors and clinics, but they usually require that your primary care doctor gives you a referral so you can go to them.

Skipping Health Insurance Because You Never See the Doctor

health-insurance-benefits

Life and accidents happen, and your health is one thing that you don’t want to be unprepared for. This is especially true because healthcare costs continue to climb, and even routine doctor visits can cost you over $150 per visit.

If you decide not to get insurance and you need medical care, you’ll most likely have to pay for everything out of your own pocket. Many insurance companies refuse to backdate their services, so you’re out of luck and on the hook for the full bill amount.

Ignoring Your Flex Spending Account

Many employers let you set aside a percentage of your check into a flexible spending account tax-free. These flexible spending accounts help you pay for medical bills that your insurance won’t cover. These non-covered services could include eyeglasses, dental, emergency room visits, co-pays, prescriptions, and deductibles.

Your flexible spending account can also help you reduce the amount you claim on your yearly taxes. If you have a taxable income of $80,000 each year, your annual tax amount is 15 percent or $16,000. If you’ve managed to save $3,000 in your flexible spending account, your taxable income goes down to $77,000. The amount the government claims as taxes drop as well.

Not Having Prescription Drug Coverage

Did you know that a lot of insurance plans don’t cover prescription drugs? While this may not be a big deal if you don’t take them regularly, they add up quickly. Certain prescription costs have gone up by as much as 10 percent, and you don’t want to get stuck paying for these on your own.

Take a look at your current policy and see if it covers the medications you routinely take. You might have to call your insurance company and ask about your specific medications, especially if they’re more expensive. You could also ask your doctor if any generic versions of your medicines exist because they’re usually cheaper.

Not Renewing Your Insurance Each Year

Almost every health insurance plan requires you to renew it once a year. State plans may require a renewal every six months. Make sure that you don’t forget about your annual or semi-annual renewal paperwork. If you don’t get it, call your insurance company.

Once your insurance lapses, it may be difficult to get it active again for the same price or on the same plan you had before. If you have medical services during the time your insurance lapses, it may not backdate and cover those services. This could cost you a lot of money and drain your finances.

These eight health insurance mistakes are very common, and you want to avoid them at all costs. Your health is important, and you want to make sure that you can get the care you need when you need it.

The post Eight Mistakes You Could be Making with Your Health Insurance appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

A Simple Guide to Understanding Cryptocurrency

The cryptocurrency market has grown. It has gone far compared to its status when it was just starting way back 2009. According to the updated list of Investing.com, there are 1,890 cryptocurrencies available in the market.

By now, you’re probably wondering what those cryptocurrencies are. Guess what?

If that’s the case, then this article is for you. This will give you a better understanding of cryptocurrency and the following:

  • The main types of cryptocurrency
  • The top cryptocurrencies and their differences
  • Pros and cons of each cryptocurrency

What is Cryptocurrency?

The prefix “crypto-” originally stands for cryptography. It is a technology that stores information to keep attackers away from malicious undertakings.

If you will connect cryptography to your history class, Allied Forces in WWII used to apply it to send and receive confidential and secret messages. Nowadays, computer technicians utilize cryptography in a lot of different ways. One of them gave birth to cryptocurrency.

You can’t examine the history of cryptocurrency without first beginning with blockchain. It was started by Satoshi Nakamoto for Peer-to-Peer (P2P) transaction using Bitcoin. Blockchain gave the response to digital trust since it records imperative data publicly and doesn’t enable anybody to expel it. It’s transparent, time-stamped, and decentralized. Everyone can access it with the use of the internet.

With cryptocurrency, people don’t have to entrust their wealth to a single company such as a bank to handle their money. Banks are centralized while cryptocurrency is decentralized and runs by blockchain technology. Blockchain serves as a public ledger which enables tracking transactions while maintaining the anonymity of the parties involved.

Three Main Types of Cryptocurrency

bitcoin

Bitcoin

It is the first one to use blockchain in 2009. A person under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto started it as a way to digitally and anonymously pay for goods and services between two parties without the use of third-parties to verify transactions. Several years passed, Bitcoin’s primary role is for goods and services trading. In 2013 to 2014, it boomed. It slowed down its pace and soared up again in 2017 until today. Bitcoin is the most well-known cryptocurrency made in history.

Altcoin

“Alternative Coin” to Bitcoin, it means that any cryptocurrency aside from bitcoin is considered as altcoin. And there are thousands of it available in the market. Altcoins came after the success of Bitcoin. More often, it presents as a better version of Bitcoin. Numerous altcoins are endeavoring to focus on any apparent constraints that Bitcoin has and thought of coming up with newer versions and competitive advantages.

Token

Some people find tokens generally fascinating. In contrast with the other two, tokens are special because they don’t have a particular blockchain. They are used to make purchases on Decentralized Applications. They also provide specific advantages like discounts. The dApps are built for the use of smart contracts which is why they use tokens.

Tokens have a value and that is the reason why people get them. Some purchase tokens to offer them later at a higher cost rather than get and utilize them right away on a dApp.

To transact using dApp, you must have Ether or NEO to make the necessary purchases. Other dApps are built on other blockchains like ETH or NEO. The nodes on the said altcoin blockchains still verify the token transactions. This means that the transaction fee is still paid using ETH or NEO and not with the token itself.

See Also: Cryptocurrency Trading for Beginners: How Can You Get Started?

Well-Known Cryptocurrencies in the Market

well known cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin

Pros

  • There are only 21 million Bitcoins.

There are only 21 million bitcoins to be mined in total. Since 17 million is already in circulation, the remaining 4 million bitcoins can be seen as a shortage for crypto enthusiasts.

This is actually a good thing. If there’s a lot of Bitcoin fans who want more of it despite the low supply, they’ll have to pay more just to get their hands on them. This can dramatically increase the price of Bitcoins.

  • It is easier to exchange than the other types.

It means that Bitcoin is easier and faster to convert into cash.

  • Bitcoin is acceptable in almost all stores than any other cryptocurrencies.

Hundreds of online sellers accept payments in the form of bitcoin. It is good for larger transactions because there is no charging on taxes. It also has lower transaction fees. Bitcoin has already established its name and that is why the trust and acceptance rating from the market is high.

  • It’s the biggest cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin is the king of all kings. It’s in charge of about 40% of the market. This domination means that Bitcoin has a huge liquidity and it has already established its name to public knowledge. Users do not have to worry about the malicious activities concerning cryptocurrency.

Cons

  • Fluctuation happens a lot. The price of Bitcoin changes almost every day. Actually, Mt. Gox, a Bitcoin exchange based in Shibuya, Japan collapsed and filed for bankruptcy due to Bitcoin’s price falling up to 50%.
  • A better cryptocurrency may replace Bitcoin. Hundreds of altcoins and many are still coming up. Bitcoin has been in the market for 10 years and any of the newer and advanced cryptocurrency may eventually replace the king crypto since there are other cryptocurrencies researching for advanced features than Bitcoin can offer.
  • It’s being used for crime. Many scammers are using the identity of popular celebrities or personalities to mislead others. Some fans of the artists are being victimized because they don’t know that accounts used for solicitation are fake ones.

Ethereum

Ethereum allows people to create dApps, tokens, and even smart contracts.

Pros

  • People who use Ethereum-built dApps will constantly require Ether.
    They’ll need it for the transaction fees as dApps run on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • There are newer projects on Ethereum.
    Arcade City, an app for P2P ride sharing where drivers and users are matched together, is being built now under Ether. An application, just like torrent, a file-sharing software called IPFS, will be launching soon. Ujo Music, a decentralized music platform where artists are being paid directly is also under construction. More projects concerning Ethereum will come soon and crypto fans shall stay tuned.
  • Speed. It only takes a couple of seconds to complete a transaction process in Ethereum. That is in contrast to Bitcoin which takes a minimum of 10 minutes.

Cons

  • Ether coins supply is greater than Bitcoin.
    This means that the scarcity for ETH is far from reality due to the fact that there’s a huge availability of the coins compared to Bitcoin.

Ripple

Ripple makes bank payments quicker which is why it’s considered as the banker’s coin.

Pros

  • Well-known companies have confidence in Ripple. There are financial organizations that have developed a partnership with Ripple. This is why it can be considered as a better alternative for you in the finance world. Gaining trust from the government, it has already manifested its power and influence.

Cons

  • Ripple is not decentralized. Ripple Labs, the company behind it, owns the majority of the tokens (XRP). They have power over it and if ever they want to, they have the power to sell all the tokens they have. This will definitely send the price down.

Litecoin

The blockchain for Litecoin was once a part of the Bitcoin blockchain. It split up when the update of Litecoin came. It has similarities with Bitcoin but Litecoin has distinct features.

It’s the first cryptocurrency to utilize the Lightning Network. It fixes issues concerning cryptocurrencies like scalability. It can process a lot of transactions in a matter of seconds.

Pros

  • Much faster and costs less than Bitcoin. Litecoin transactions only take seconds, just like Ethereum.

Cons

  • It’s only slightly better than Bitcoin. Litecoin won’t be that useful if Bitcoin improves into cheaper and faster transactions.

Lastly, taking the time to get a better understanding of cryptocurrencies is one way to know what you can get and what you can risk from using them.

See Also: Cryptocurrency Is On The Rise: Are You Prepared?

The post A Simple Guide to Understanding Cryptocurrency appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Finance A Startup Business

After telling your boss to go to – well, you know where – and coming home to explain to your wife what you had just done, you sat in your man cave and processed both reactions: your boss was shocked and your wife was seriously mad.

You’ve got this, so you assured her. But, is that really the case?

Yes, you have a wonderful business idea that will surely take off, but she brought up a very important point:

How are you going to finance it?

Don’t fret as we share with you the best tips on financing your business.

Business Investors

business inventors People invest in businesses every day when they purchase stocks, but you aren’t ready for your initial public offering just yet. You need somebody who is willing to put his or her money into your idea, which is an entirely different beast.

Your first step is to write a business plan that details your idea. You will be asking people to give up their cash, so you must keep this in mind when you write your plan. Think back to your business courses in college.

You likely learned that there are many sections of a business plan and all are important. You must include an executive summary first that briefly encapsulates all aspects of your vision. Next is your company description which should include your corporate set up and business goals.

After that, describe in detail your product and/or services and how they will make money. The fourth section is your marketing analysis. Section five should explain your business startup and growth strategy and how you plan to implement it. Sections six and seven, meanwhile, are your management and financial structures, respectively.

Investor options include angel investors, crowd funders, and – believe it or not – your competition.

Angel investors are wealthy people willing to put their own money into business ventures. Some will put a ton of cash into a new venture while others will invest just a tiny sum. You can have one or many angel investors banding together and forming a group.

Angel investors do more than just give you moolah; they can also take a stake in your company which means they will expect investment returns. Many will take a management role, too. They can give you crucial advice while you’re still starting out.

Crowd Funders

For the independent entrepreneur who doesn’t want anyone else involved in managing his startup, crowd funders are another option. It leaves you 100% in charge.

Just like GoFundMe, there are a lot of available online crowdfunding websites for businesses. You will need to find a website the best one that can help you raise money. Remember to be realistic about this financing option.

While there are success stories about people reaching their funding goals, they don’t mean you’ll surely experience the same thing. For you to be successful, your plan must be full proof and others must become impassioned by your idea.

The benefit is this money is yours to keep with no strings attached. This is another reason why so many business startups try crowdfunding.

It doesn’t hurt to try. Even if you don’t reach your goal, you may still receive donations which you can use for your startup and for networking with others in your niche. This can bring you to investment by your competitors.

That isn’t as far-fetched as it might sound. Many people in your industry might be interested in giving you a helping hand. Competition is healthy and when you’re on your feet, you can divest out and be on your own. Don’t forget about microloans and grants, either.

Growing Your Entity

Once you are up, running, and turning a profit, think about venture capital to grow your business to greater heights. Venture capitalists are people who invest in existing entities to give them the boost they need to reach their next plateau and then go beyond it.

Many people think that venture capitalists only invest in technology companies, but this isn’t the case.

Many businesses receive funding from VCs, as they’re called, including biotechnology and other science companies, food service, retail, and beyond. Companies such as Amazon, Starbucks, and Uber have taken advantage of VC financing in the past, too. amazonChris Sacca is one venture capitalist who helped put Instagram and Twitter (among others) on the map. Born in Lockport, New York, Sacca founded Lowercase Capital which has had its hand in financing and managing numerous businesses.

Experts in business growth, Sacca and his team helped owners design and implement growth plans. And when you look at Sacca’s record, you’ll realize VC is a wonderful tool once you’re established. It’s full of visions which are usually successful.

Your wife will calm down eventually and you don’t ever need to worry about your boss again. In the meantime, write a comprehensive business plan and seek out the money you need to get your venture off the ground. There are plenty of financing options available whether you are just starting out or planning your growth. So, keep your mind open and good luck to you!

See Also: Tips for New Entrepreneurs: What You Need to Know Before Starting A Business

The post How to Finance A Startup Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Tips for Creating A Wedding Budget

Are you nearing your wedding day and still have not figured out the best ways in creating a wedding budget? If yes, then you have to be smart while planning your budget and just go for the essentials that will not force you to break your bank.

If you are curious to know what those ways are, check out the following amazing tips you can start using now.

Make Your Reception Private Yet Grand

One of the most common things that bother couples the most during their wedding planning is the guest list.

Cut down the guest list and only include your close friends and relatives. That way, you won’t have to spend too much on your reception.

Also, watch out for off-peak seasons as that can help you save more. Don’t forget to consider holding your wedding ceremony and reception at the same venue, too.

Focus on Greenery More than Flowers

wedding budget

Although most people will go for flowers, choosing for greenery instead will give you a great chance to create a reasonable budget. This does not mean you have to completely eliminate flowers from your list. You just need to focus more on non-floral elements.

If you are adamant about flowers, then make sure you invest in floral products that are in season and comes at a discounted price.

See Also: Make Your Celebratory Table Special With Minimum Effort

Wedding Bands

wedding bands

This one is an important consideration, especially if you are on the bride’s side. A wedding band is mostly the only jewelry that a groom will wear throughout his life.

To make things easier for you, shop for wedding bands online from credible sources and get wedding bands at great prices. Also, make sure to research on certain metals before purchasing the wedding ring.

For instance, if you cannot afford to buy platinum wedding rings, look for alternatives.  Palladium, for example, offers the same luxurious feel yet it comes at a budget-friendly price.

Opt for the Services of a Budding Music Group

Needless to say, music is an integral part of any and all traditional wedding. It helps create the right ambiance and mood for the guests and the couple.

Resist your urge to book a live band at your wedding event. Instead, find amateur music groups with refreshing and untapped music talents. Conduct a short audition or ask for their videos to examine how well they can set everyone’s mood at the event.

Consider Web Designers for Printing Invitations

In case you are unable to stretch your budget to get a professional wedding invitation designer, look for web designers who know how to design and print wedding invitations.

You can also buy software packages that provide classic layouts and creative graphics along with fun fonts for making your invitation card stand out.

Final Thoughts

Creating a wedding budget is now easy with the aforementioned tips. They are a great help for making things smooth for couples who want to save their funds for the future. Cut all the unnecessary costs by adhering to these tips and have a budget-friendly yet great wedding.

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The Definitive Guide To Cryptocurrencies

There’s a lot of information out there about cryptocurrencies. However, for the vast majority of people understanding what they are and how to use them remains a mystery.

Most people think that Bitcoin is the only type of cryptocurrency and that it only applies to illegal activities. In reality, that’s nowhere near the truth.

To enlighten you, here’s a handy cryptocurrency guide you can use.

What Is Cryptocurrency?

cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency built on blockchain technology. Blockchain technology uses a public ledger to record transactions and each transaction bears the insignia of the previous transaction. This ensures continuity.

Decentralization prevents single point data breaches since all transactions occur across the network. Instead of being government issued like a fiat currency, it is built on a zero trust model by private individuals for various reasons.

Everything is on a public ledger. That way, any attempt to tamper will be obvious. Using it is just like any other currency. Even big companies like Overstock, Microsoft, and Expedia accept payments in Bitcoin, making it one of the most prevalent and widely known cryptocurrencies.

Buying And Selling Cryptocurrency

Depending on how you want to use your cryptocurrency, you have different options for how to buy and store it.

If you want to use it just like cash to buy and sell things online, you can use something as simple as the Cash App by Square. It allows you to trade your dollars and make payments using Bitcoin. If you want to buy cryptocurrency as an investment, you will need to find the right exchange for you.

Choosing an exchange can be as simple as picking the one available in your country. You can also choose based on maker and taker fees, security breaches, and more. Most importantly, if you’re planning to sit on your cryptocurrency for a while, make sure you are storing it in a cold wallet offline to prevent theft.

Getting started on cryptocurrency exchanges is the first step toward making full use of the cryptocurrency boom.

See Also: Cryptocurrency Trading for Beginners: How Can You Get Started?

Types of Wallets Available

When buying cryptocurrency, you have to choose the right wallet depending on your purpose. Your options include:

  • Desktop Wallet – All of your cryptocurrencies are available through one computer only.
  • Online & Mobile Wallet – All of your cryptocurrencies live on the Cloud for ease of use.
  • Hardware Wallet – All of your cryptocurrencies live on a single piece of hardware, like a thumb drive.
  • Paper Wallet – All of your cryptocurrencies live on a piece of paper you print out.

Who Are The Major Players In Cryptocurrency Right Now?

the winklevoss twins

There may be some people you have heard of and lots of people you have never heard of making their fortunes in cryptocurrency.

Remember the Winklevoss twins?

They were famous for their lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg, alleging he stole the idea of Facebook from them. After they won $65 million in their lawsuit, they invested $11 million in Bitcoin back in 2013. Today, that’s worth over $1 billion.

In 2015, they created the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange and they have also applied for and been denied the ability to sell a Bitcoin-based ETF. They became Bitcoin’s first billionaires in 2017.

Eddy Zillan is hardly a household name but the Ohio teen has become quite wealthy. He has invested his life’s savings in cryptocurrencies.

When he was 15 years old, he started investing his savings from teaching tennis lessons into cryptocurrencies like Ethereum. He started with a $100 investment and quickly scaled up to everything he had – some $12,000.

Within a year, his portfolio was over $350,000. He’s now a cryptocurrency consultant and has earned over $1 million in cryptocurrency markets since he first got his start.

See Also: Cryptocurrency Is On The Rise: Are You Prepared?

Is It Ok To Own Bitcoin?

There is a lot of confusion about whether owning Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is legal. Currently, it is not illegal to own Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the United States. Many other countries, however, have outlawed it.

If you are ready to take the plunge, figure out your objective, find your best exchange, choose a storage system, and get going. Learn more about the basics of cryptocurrency from this infographic.
Guide to Cryptocurrency
Source: Best Accounting Schools

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4 Ways You Can Make Money Online By Selling Old Stuff

Yard sales are one of the most famous ways to sell your old stuff, but it is one of the most excruciating parts of selling anything. Nowadays, several online platforms have made it super easy for you to sell old stuff and make a quick buck.

There are a few methods that I’ve tried personally and would like to share with you all so that you can get rid of your clutter in a really beneficial way. I’ve been selling old stuff online for one year, and all I need was a reliable internet connection to actually keep a check on customers. I’ve been using Mediacom internet service as it is one of the most reliable and high-speed internets. I’d like to discuss some of the ways to earn quick money by just selling your old stuff.

Use Social Media:

social media

Are you new to these selling websites and don’t like to negotiate with strangers? You don’t need to worry about that as social media has got you covered. This would be the most effective way to sell your old items. Just post a picture of your stuff online on social platforms with a clear description of item and price. Your pictures might attract your friends and acquaintances to actually buy those items from you. It would save you from the hassle of negotiating with strangers and to go and deliver the products.

eBay:

ebay

One just can’t resist from discussing eBay when it comes to selling any stuff online. We all know that it’s one of the most efficient and effective ways to sell your stuff. The good thing about eBay for sellers is its really easy process: create an account, list your items, Upload a clear picture, and you’re good to go.

But it’s the preferred platform if you’re selling high-end products and products of high-involvement because of its huge customer market. eBay charges around $.30 as listing fee and it would also charge 10% of the sale price on an item.

Craigslist:

craigslist
Via diapmedia

Another option to consider, if you’re planning on bargaining any stuff that might be of use to someone else or just simply selling your old stuff, then there’s Craigslist for you. It provides a free platform for people to sell their stuff. All you need to do to get most out of it is: post a clear picture of your item, it’s preferred to set a deadline so that potential buyers would opt to negotiate early, be genuine about a product you intend to sell, lot your items together to get rid of them quickly.

Amazon:

amazon

 

It is not only a giant when it comes to buying anything. Amazon also provides with opportunities to sell anything. Have you ever heard of Amazon’s fulfillment program? What it does is that it gives sellers a chance to put their used items right next to new versions of the same products. If buyers are interested in saving a few dollars then they would definitely opt for your used stuff.

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How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt Fast

Credit cards come with a sense of power. There is nothing you cannot buy using that piece of plastic. With its power, however, comes the illusion that you can easily buy everything.

Because of that, more and more people are finding themselves drowning in credit card bills. And the less they are able to pay those bills, the more their finances suffer.

The average American household has a credit card debt of around $4,400 as of the first quarter of 2018. Each family has an average of 3 cards from various service providers.

That is an alarming piece of stat and it shows why the total credit card debt of America has risen to a staggering $1 trillion in the recent times.

In 2017, credit card debt reached its highest possible level ever due to increasing interest rates, increasing prices of commodities and services, and the habit of spenders to use their cards indiscriminately for every payment.

How can you manage your multiple credit card payments?

multiple credit card payments

If you find yourself spiraling, you can always take the help of credit card debt consolidation loans. This will reduce the number of payments you make each month.

In case you are wondering how to get out of credit card debt fast, here’s what you should do

  • Get your FICO credit report. This will give you a detailed update on your credit score.
  • Find a non-profit service that offers credit card debt counseling exclusively for personal users.
  • Look for debt consolidation loans that can cover your credit card bills in the future at a much lower cost.
  • Do not cancel your credit cards or stop using them. Regularly using your card is one way to build your FICO score. Just use them sparingly to pay your electricity bills, medical bills, grocery bills, and fuel expenses.

What are two alternatives to debt consolidation loans?

Debt snowballing and debt avalanche are other ways that can help you pay off your credit card bills. Although they are distinct debt payment procedures, they are quite alike in that both of them need you to pay off the minimum on all your credit card debts except one.

Debt snowballing

According to this method, you start with the smallest balance and progress towards the largest one during the time of payment. This process is independent of the interest rates on each debt. So, just grab the credit card with the least debt and start by paying that off.

Debt avalanche

This one goes through debt payments in the absolute opposite direction. You start with the largest payment and move to the smallest gradually. Economically, this makes sense since you will pay less in interest if you follow this order of payment.

Why can debt snowballing and debt avalanche be bad for your financial health?

multiple credit card

In reality, both methods can be debilitating for your credit score. Meeting the minimum payment requirements for your credit cards is not such a great idea. Debt snowballing and debt avalanche might work with invoice factoring and payday loans that do not have any direct links to your FICO score.

These two processes are not effective when:

  • You need to pay off large amounts over a long period.
  • A balance transfer is not an option.
  • You can easily qualify for a good and sensible consolidation loan.
  • Your new loan comes at a significantly lower rate.

For credit card debts, always paying the best you can towards the company charging the highest interest is the better idea. A debt consolidation loan can help with a new loan at a much lower interest and better APR to pay off your outstanding credit card bills.

If you think you cannot manage a large amount of money and pay the credit card companies off on time, you should seek the help of a debt consolidation program as well. Several new and approved credit card debt consolidation programs and debt consolidation companies focus on the needs of individual credit card holders.

What should compulsive credit card users know about debt consolidation loans?

The new loan will make the payment periods a lot better and manageable. However, without a proper check on your spending habit, you will fall right back into the quicksand of payment and surmounting bills.

Start by setting a maximum spending limit on each card. Find out the minimum compulsory expense on each card that you need to meet in order to rebuild your credit score.

Each month, cut down on expenses. For example, switch from a luxury brand of soap to a store brand for the time being. You might smell less than awesome but your finances will feel amazing!

Download a holistic monthly budget template so you can chart your monthly income, expense, overheads, and penalties. This will help you make sense of the top priority payments and cut the unwanted expenses weighing your finances down.

The kind of loan and debt consolidation loan company you pick can make all the difference in your finances. Always remember that your credit card debt is already unsecured. You do not want to convert that to a secured debt at any cost. Always stick to an unsecured debt as long as you can.

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Cryptocurrency Trading for Beginners: How Can You Get Started?

Cryptocurrency has been a hot topic lately and a lot of people are getting interested in cryptocurrency trading for beginners.

Now, how do you even go about buying it?

Much like stocks, many cryptocurrencies are also traded on exchanges. You input your preferred fiat currency and use that capital to buy, sell or trade various forms of cryptocurrency.

You can either own a coin directly or you can trade in a contract for difference, owning a position with a broker. You’ll have to choose based on things like security of the trading platform, how currency is stored once purchased, which fiat currency you can input, currency input methods, and more.

Cryptocurrency Exchanges Options

  • Binance – Only supports crypto-to-crypto exchanges and does not accept any form of fiat currency into the system. Very low maker and taker fees and no reported security issues.
  • GDAX – Owned by Coinbase but aimed at professional clients. Accepts U.S. dollars, British Pounds, and Euros through bank transfers as well as cryptocurrencies. No maker fees and moderate taker fees and no reported security breaches.
  • Bitstamp – A great platform for European investors, it does not charge for conversion of fiat currency when Euros are deposited through SEPA. U.S. dollars are also accepted with a fee. There are moderate maker and taker fees and there was a major hack in 2015 that lost $5 million worth of cryptocurrency through hot wallets.
  • Kraken – Probably the most versatile exchange in terms of fiat currencies accepted and with no security issues and moderate maker and taker fees. It’s a great option for international users.
  • Bitfinex – This is a popular exchange for American and European traders due to high liquidity of assets. However, there was a serious security breach in 2016 that cost investors $65 million.
  • Bittrex – This is an exchange with a solid security record that is great for beginner investors. Only cryptocurrency is accepted into the exchange and there are moderate maker and taker fees.
  • Bithumb – Based in South Korea, this exchange has low maker and taker fees but recently experienced a massive data breach.
  • Gemini – Founded by the Winklevoss twins who rose to fame in their lawsuit alleging that Mark Zuckerberg stole Facebook from them.  There are moderate maker and taker fees but no security issues at this time.

Best Investment Strategies For Cryptocurrency

cryptocurrency

Just like investing in stocks, investing in cryptocurrency requires a sound investment strategy. Diversify your portfolio by investing in more than one cryptocurrency or ICO. That way, you’re able to protect your funds when volatility strikes.

Remember to invest slowly and incrementally, too.

Don’t panic when volatility strikes and pull your investment out while it is low. And most importantly, don’t invest what you can’t afford to lose.

There are also three types of orders you can use to buy and sell cryptocurrency.

A market order allows you to buy and sell at whatever the market is when you place the order. It is the most susceptible to slippage.

Less susceptible to slippage is a stop order. It allows you to set conditions on buying and selling.

The only way to avoid slippage, however, is to use a limit order. It allows you to set the price at which you are willing to buy or sell your cryptocurrency.

See Also: Cryptocurrency Is On The Rise: Are You Prepared?

All Investments Come With Risk

Investing can be scary, but a little bit of knowledge and preparation can help you make the best decisions possible. Many of the strategies are the same as mainstream investing strategies.

Learn more about cryptocurrency investing options and cryptocurrency exchange platforms from this infographic. Are you ready to dive into crypto?

Top Crypto Exchanges for 2018

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Creating A Car Budget: 7 Things You Can Give Up For That Brand New Car

Getting a new car is way cheaper than you think. In fact, buying a car on finance can even be less expensive than the monthly cost of a fancy new iPhone, broadband contract or your gym membership!

So, ready to hit the open road?

Here’s how to set your car budget by giving up some of your unnecessary expenses.

Cut: Daily coffee fix
Get: Honda Jazz

daily caffeine fix

It’s easy to fall into the trap of buying a latte on your way to work every day, especially when every other store is a coffee house. But do you really want that expensive coffee or is it simply a force of habit?

The average American spends a whopping $1,100 a year or $91 a month on coffee. Forgo the daily coffee spend and make your own at home instead and you could easily afford to buy a Honda Jazz with those savings. It’s perfect for zooming around the city.

See Also: Top Tips In Buying A Car With Your Significant Other

Cut: Apple iPhone X 64GB
Get: Toyota Aygo

The new Apple iPhone created a buzz as soon as it was released. Unfortunately, the buzz subsided once consumers saw the monthly contract prices that come with the phone- an eye-watering $157 a month!

If you don’t really need the latest smartphone and all its associated tech, why not go for a lesser and cheaper model. Do so and you could afford to buy a Toyota Aygo!

Cut: Monthly nights out
Get: Seat Ibiza

A night out in a big city costs around $83 a pop by the time you’ve bought drinks, paid entry, and possibly had a late-night snack. To sum that up, that’s about $332 a month.

Do yourself a favor by giving up a few big nights out. You won’t only enjoy more hangover-free mornings (which your head will love you for) but you’ll also be able to treat yourself to a Seat Ibiza instead.

Cut: Takeout food
Get: Peugeot 108

pizza takeout

Leading a busy life means it’s tempting to call in a takeout after a hard day at work. And the rise of fast-food ordering apps means you can order a pizza in a matter of moments.

But at a monthly cost of $153, takeaways don’t come cheap. Do your waistline and your wallet a favor and ditch them. That way, you can drive away in a gorgeous Peugeot 108 instead.

Cut: Cigarettes
Get: Audi A1

Smoking your way through a 20-pack cigarette costs a staggering $447 a month. Not only is it a painfully expensive habit, it is also proven terrible for your health. Why spend that much money on something so bad for you when you could put that money towards a set of wheels instead?

Forget your cigarettes and you’ll start to look, feel, and smell better in days. You can treat yourself to an Audi A1 as a reward.

Cut: Luxury subscription services
Get: Toyota Previa

Luxury subscription box services where you get, for example, some tasty organic food delivered to your door a few times a month are super trendy right now. They’re also expensive, costing around $86 a month.

If you find that most of the food usually ends up left uneaten, your subscription might not be all that worth it. Cut it out and you could afford to make monthly payments for a Toyota Previa.

Cut: Date night
Get: Vauxhall Corsa

Now, we’re not for a minute suggesting you shouldn’t go on dates. But if you’re willing to go on one less a month, you’d be saving yourself a sizeable $104. That’s enough to buy a Vauxhall Corsa! Log off Tinder and get behind the wheel instead. Dating is overrated anyway, right?

By cutting out some of your non-essential expenses, you can easily create your car budget. If you are still in doubt how to start, you can use a car finance calculator to find out which vehicles will suit your budget.

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Six Ways Brexit Could Affect Global Finances

With the UK still locked in negotiations with the 27 member states of the EU following the country’s decision to leave the Union, a great deal of uncertainty still remains about what form a post-Brexit world will take. At the moment, even the negotiating position is open to debate with the country’s MPs split on what the best approach should be.

Although the direction Brexit is taking is still uncertain, there is no denying that it is going to influence more than the UK or the EU’s finances.

Let’s take a look at the likely influences of Brexit around the world, in six key areas.

Supply chains and manufacturing

brexit supply chains affected

Today’s supply chains are global, so the cost of raw materials for manufacturing may increase under new trade agreements, as well as being affected by currency exchange rates. One thing’s for sure, whichever way Brexit goes, it’s a monumental event on the world’s economic data calendar, with ramifications for more just one country. Increased customs procedures for materials entering or leaving the UK for EU countries could also slow down the supply chain, increasing costs and reducing efficiency.

Corporations

Many global corporations have their headquarters in the UK and are actively considering what this could mean for them once the country has separated from Europe. If they do decide to move to an EU country, it will obviously have financial consequences for them, not least in meeting the costs for both new premises and relocation expenses for valued staff.

Trade

brexit trade affected

The UK is actively looking to draw up new trade agreements worldwide as a hedge against any changes in the way that it trades with EU countries. One of the UK government’s key mantras has been “Britain is open for business” so it could be that many countries are in a good position to negotiate especially favourable terms to minimize tariffs for exports and imports.

Exchange rates

As was seen shortly after the Brexit referendum result was announced when the value of sterling dropped by 10% almost immediately, the pound is likely to be weaker against all of the world’s major currencies. Some hope that this may help to offset the higher tariffs that might form part of new trade agreements.

Taxes

The UK is very aware of the need to both retain the companies headquartered there and attract new ones. So, there have been suggestions that the level of corporation tax, which is currently 20%, could become as low as 15%. If this was the case then it would be one of the lowest rates of any of the world’s major economies.

Equity markets

Just as the value of sterling fell after the Brexit vote, global equity markets also showed considerable volatility. So, although nothing can be certain right now, it is expected that these will react in one way or another as more is known about the world economy after the UK has finally severed ties with the EU.

So these are interesting times not just for the UK and Europe but for the whole world. But it’s only after March 2019 that anyone will know just how interesting they are for the global economy as a whole.

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What To Look For In Health Insurance Plans for Parents

Finding the right health insurance plans for parents can be tough but when you know exactly what to look for, it can become a seamless process.

Old age brings with it ailments and health-related problems. If you aren’t prepared, it can put you under a lot of stress. It can cause problems not just with your finances but your relationship with your parents and siblings, too.

One of the best ways to be prepared is to invest in the right health insurance plan. Here are the most important factors you need to consider before purchasing one.

Entry Age

health insurance plans for parents entry age

A majority of the health insurance companies provide health insurance for senior citizens around the age of 60 to 70. If your parents have passed 60 years of age, consider getting a senior citizen health insurance policy rather than a family floater plan. There are different entry age guidelines for different policies so make sure you check in advance before signing up for one.

The Kind of Coverage Available

You need to know that the policy you buy provides extensive coverage. This ensures your aging parents are protected against various types of ailments and even pre-existing illnesses.

Make certain that you check all the terms and conditions well. This helps you understand the kind of coverage you get in a better way.

Sum Insured

The sum insured should be sufficient to cover your parents’ medical expenses. You need to take into account all your parents’ existing health issues and conditions they are at risk of.

It goes without saying that you need to go for a policy that offers the highest coverage. Stay informed about the medical inflation rate and then decide accordingly.

The Premium Amount

As a person ages, his insurance policy’s premium rate also increases. Premium rates on senior citizen insurance policies are on the higher side. This is because the risk element is comparatively high for senior citizens.

When finding the best medical insurance for parents, you need to consider all the coverage factors and go for the policy that comes with the lowest premium.

Network Hospitals that Provide Cashless Treatment

health insurance cashless transactions

When an emergency occurs, you can take advantage of your policy by seeking medical help and assistance from network hospitals. This gives you the advantage of gaining cashless treatment.

Although you can head to a non-network hospital (as your insurer would eventually cover the outstanding expense in time), you can go to an in-network hospital to obtain treatment without worrying about paying the hospital bills. See that the insurance policy you choose has a wide range of network hospitals on its list.

See Also: 7 Medical Procedures That Are Not Covered by Health Insurance

You also need to consider the renewal age which determines when you can renew the insurance policy. These factors can make choosing a systematic and trouble-free health insurance policy for parents easier.

See Also: 5 Financial Emergencies Everyone Must Be Prepared For

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How Has Trade Changed Over Time

Trading centuries ago was way different than what we’re experiencing today. It was less convenient, easy, and predictable. It took a lot of time and it came with a lot of risks.

Here, we take a look at how has trade changed over time.

Setting the scene

Post-war investment was very different to the trading opportunities of today. The Great Depression, along with two world wars, had impacted the Stock Market such that very few people owned common stock. In fact, until 1954, daily trading volumes sat below one million shares on the NYSE – a tiny fraction of what they are today.

Investing was time-consuming and investment choices were fairly restricted, thanks to the limited competition among independent stockbrokers.

With contemporary technology, trade took much longer, too. Investors had to contact their brokers to instruct a trade. After that, a ticket needs to be created before the transaction can be carried out.

Prices were also harder to come by. An investor had little choice but to contact a stockbroker for the current market price on shares.

One instrumental change that took place was the introduction of a monthly investment program by the NYSE. This enabled investors to risk smaller amounts of money.

The 1970s to the end of the 20th century

stock market 1970
Via wikiwand

While the Stock Market was experiencing slow growth during the 1970s, progress and changes in other areas were beginning to take place. Where trading had traditionally taken the form of physical stock certificates, this decade saw the rise of electronic trades, with stocks held at a central depository.

As automation and technology improved, the capacity for trading volume increased. At the time, the NYSE reported a daily trading volume of 100 million by 1982.

In 1970, the trade in derivative financial instruments increased. A number of governments initiated volatility into the markets by relaxing controls on pricing and a methodology for establishing option prices was introduced. Predicting future prices was sped up with the advancement in computing technology.

It wasn’t just the improvements in computers that helped the financial markets grow in the late 20th century.

In their 1996 publication, “Globalization Myths”, Paul Bairoch and Richard Kozul-Wright noted that the price of a three-minute phone conversation from New York to London fell by $242 over the course of the century. By 1990, a call was just $3. That’s way lower than its $245 price in the 1930s.

With cheaper telecoms available and electronic trades predominating, commissions were lower and investments could be smaller. Smaller risks were a major factor in the increase of mutual funds. With the introduction of individual retirement accounts (IRAs), more investors chose to pool their money with others’ in order to achieve financial goals.

21st-century trading

21st century trading

Today, it’s possible to make trades from the comfort of your living room, without having to employ the services of a broker or a financial advisor. The internet has proved an invaluable resource to investors, with current prices available on demand and the option of managing daily investments themselves.

Trade options have become so extensive that those who are new to investing can find the market somewhat intimidating. With the information available on the internet, new traders can easily adjust.

Compared with the 20th century, the economic sectors are vastly different. Iron, coal, and steel were a much larger part of the market before. Today, banking, pharmaceuticals, and information technology are the largest sectors.

Further differences include a rise in online brokerages, which means investors are able to pay lower commission rates, and the introduction of decimal pricing for stocks in 2001. As a result, there’s faster trading.

These developments come with an increased risk.

As the credit crunch of the late 2000s demonstrated, globalization and the close relationship between international markets can mean there is nowhere to hide when disaster strikes. An apparently small event in an overseas market can, therefore, have economic implications across the world.

Rather than being conducted through multiple regional exchanges, today’s global economy is defined in terms of financial centers. The largest of which are Tokyo, London, and New York.

Conclusion

Although investing is quicker, cheaper, and more convenient nowadays, the number and complexity of options make it more challenging. With the risk introduced by globalization, a portfolio structured for the future is more important than ever.

See Also: Trading Tips For Beginners: Are You Emotionally Ready to Trade Online?

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Trading Tips For Beginners: Are You Emotionally Ready to Trade Online?

Trading online is no child’s play. It requires guts and an unflappable will. If you are not able to control your emotions and exercise the highest level of discipline, you most probably need to change direction.

Trading online needs you to forget about your emotions and think with your head at all times. You also need to know the right trading tips for beginners to help you get started on the right track.

But why do you need to be in control of your emotions?

  • Because as a trader, everything happens on a short notice.
  • Markets can nosedive in the blink of an eye.
  • The direction can change anytime and you need to make snap decisions.
  • You do not have the time to throw even half a tantrum. You must be present and ready all the time.
  • If you look at sites that have information on online trading, such as social trading platforms, you will see why you cannot afford to slack.

Are you afraid?

Without a doubt you are.

However, that doesn’t mean you should hurl your computer against the wall and just walk out. Instead, take a deep breath and take stock. Sometimes, the stress can be too intense that the urge to punch something can almost take over.

The one thing you should avoid when the fear sets in is overreacting. This may feel like the right time to liquidate everything, but hold on. As earlier mentioned, tides can turn really fast and selling off your holdings can cause you to miss out on very good gains.

Reign in the fear

Face it head-on and see it for what it is. Take the time to assess your fears and the things that are causing them.

Additionally, it helps if you can cover all bases before placing trades. Ensuring that all loopholes are sealed may not guarantee you a win, but it will set your mind at ease. Fear, when well-managed, can turn into your greatest asset.

Greed is a sign of emotional immaturity

Sometimes, there is the compulsion to latch onto what seems to be the winner at the time. There is also the temptation to risk more when you have experienced some great gains.

Those are things you need to know how to control. If you are in tune with whatever is driving you, you might recognize greed and probably do something about it before it leads to your downfall.

Your business decisions should not be made on a whim. They should be carefully planned and executed.

Follow the rules

There are trading rules that you should take seriously. If you find yourself taking shortcuts, you are definitely not emotionally mature.

There must be limits governing your trading activities to cushion you from monetary disaster. Some of the rules that you may need to formulate are:

  • When to quit
  • When to stop a loss
  • A limit on how much money you can place on a trade
  • The limit on how much you can rake in or lose every day

These are just a few of the rules you need to come up with. They are important in regulating your trading activities so that you do not go overboard.

Have a plan

learn how to trade

Have a plan that you can justify and own. A few pointers to how to come up with a plan include:

  • Know the market that you are most interested in trading in.
  • Attend seminars and workshops on trading.
  • Spend a lot of time on research.
  • Learn all you can about how the market operates. This is one surefire way of managing fear.
  • Get out of your comfort zone once in a while. Try new things but do not stray for too long.
  • Every once in a while, evaluate your progress. It gives you an amazing boost to see how far you have come.

While is important that you see the whole picture before taking the plunge, remember to do the following:

  1. Follow rules
  2. Plan
  3. Research
  4. Get experience

Emotional maturity in trading is something that you must have. Without it, the chances of committing serious errors are very real.

Try seeking the advice veteran traders. They can share their experiences with you and also help you identify the pitfalls so that you can prepare for them.

So, are you ready to trade stocks?

After learning those trading tips for beginners, you need to know what you should do next. Opening your brokerage account is one thing. Getting into the game is another.

To start with online trading, you will need:

  • Goals
  • A trading plan
  • A system that has the potential for profits
  • Rules to manage risk– Be clear about how much risk you can take and how much you can afford to lose.

All those things should be written down and studied well so you won’t feel overwhelmed. Having a well-documented plan is one way of ensuring that you are prepared.

online trading plan

See Also: Want To Start Trading? Here’s What You Need To Know

Conclusion

Emotional maturity is paramount in online trading. You need to be sure that you’re prepared and ready to make decisions when and where they matter.

The post Trading Tips For Beginners: Are You Emotionally Ready to Trade Online? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Personal Line of Credit: From Basics to Benefits

Even in a fluctuating financial market, you can always find a way to avail credit and access funds. The catch lies in choosing the right lender or financial product. If you are looking for a relatively flexible option with a lower interest rate, consider a personal line of credit.

What is a Personal Line of Credit?

A personal line of credit allows the borrower to use only the money he/she needs. Its variable rate of interest is typically lower than the interest rates on fixed loans.

While the lender approves your entire loan amount at once, the borrower only pays interest on the amount transferred for use. A personal line of credit lets you maintain a maximum loan balance account and gives you instant access to funds. This is a continuous revolving credit account and includes a maximum borrowing limit.

The credit limit will depend on the CIBIL score, which reflects the borrower’s creditworthiness. It’s based on his income and credit history. As the borrower repays a part of the amount, the interest is then charged on the remaining balance, which keeps reducing every month.

Personal Loan vs. Personal Line of Credit

personal line of credit loan

A personal loan provides the borrower access to a fixed amount of cash for a predefined period where the repayment timeline remains fixed and pre-payment attracts an additional fee.

A personal line of credit, on the other hand, is available for use at any time. Its interest is not charged on the entire amount allocated to you. In a personal loan, the lump sum amount is disbursed to the borrower for one-time use and the interest is charged on the entire amount, regardless of the amount used.

Another major difference between a loan and a line of credit is the rate of interest.

The interest rate of a personal line of credit is generally higher than a personal loan. Yet, if you compare the closing costs of both, a personal line of credit would prove to be an affordable option. A personal line of credit is flexible, open-ended, and can be used for any purpose.

Interest Rates and Processing Fees

Banks and non-banking financial businesses are now offering financial products with the benefits of a personal credit line.

The generic charges and fees of such funds typically include:

Activation Fees – This is a one-time joining fee that lending institutions charge at the time of approving a personal line of credit or on withdrawal of funds.

Interest Rates – A line of credit has a variable rate of interest that depends on the borrowers’ CIBIL score and typically ranges between 16-25% annually.

Processing Fees – The lender may charge an annual maintenance fee of 1 to 2% of the approved amount. Certain lenders don’t charge an annual fee, but they do charge a processing fee every time the borrower withdraws money.

Applicable Taxes – Government taxes are levied on a personal line of credit wherever applicable and they include the interest rate.

Who Should Leverage a Line of Credit and When

Having a line of credit helps when you don’t need a fixed amount. It’s also useful when your monetary needs are spread over a timeline of a few months. It proves beneficial in case of medical emergencies, home improvement, vacation or a family wedding where you can never be certain of the amount you would need.

Both self-employed individuals and professionals who do not have a fixed income can benefit greatly with a line of credit. Borrowers can instantly access cash through the ATM, mobile banking or checkbook and get the needed amount any time, anywhere.

atm machine

The Benefits of Using a Personal Line of Credit

Fast and Flexible– Borrowers can tap into funds as and when the need arises with a personal line of credit. While they have access to a large credit amount, they also have the freedom to use only what they need and pay interest on that amount only. Also, the repayment terms are relatively flexible for both part and lump sum payments.

Affordable– Since borrowers don’t need to pay interest on the entire amount that is disbursed, the cost is reduced significantly if the funds aren’t utilized completely.

No Charges on Withdrawal– Generally, there are no charges for withdrawing money.

Higher Limits– A personal line of credit usually comes with a higher limit as compared to personal loans and credit cards. This makes it a perfect solution for funding large expenses.

No Collateral Required– A personal line of credit needs no collateral backing. Even if you don’t have any financial reserve, you can make use of a line of credit.

The Limitations

Fluctuating Interest Rates– Being an unsecured product, the interest rates of a personal credit line keep fluctuating as bank interest rates go up and down. Borrowers may end up paying much more than what they had expected.

Revolving Account– This means that borrowers need to keep track of the amount due.

Stringent Approval– A personal line of credit is approved on the basis of the borrower’s CIBIL score. Those with a poor credit history may not be able to take advantage of it.

Maintenance Cost– Some banks and NBFCs levy closing costs or maintenance charges on a personal line of credit.

No Tax Deductions– The interest charged on a personal line of credit is not tax-deductible. A line of credit is a flexible instrument fulfilling the dreams of many professionals today. So, if you are planning to make the most of this financial product, make sure you are well-informed with the right knowledge.

The post Personal Line of Credit: From Basics to Benefits appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Reduce Expenses When You Live In An Expensive City

Living in a high-cost area has its perks. There’s a lot of high paying jobs, which means you have a lot more opportunity to earn. And since things can cost more, you’re less likely to consume them. This translates to lower living standards. Of course, those ideas don’t apply to everyone and not all people can live well in an expensive city. Whether you’re looking to pinch pennies or you’re struggling to make ends meet, here are some tips on how to reduce expenses when you live in a high-cost area.

Saving on your housing

rental sharing Of course, your rent will be one of your highest bills. If you live in a city like New York City, expect the average rental rate to be around $3,000 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. While this number is nothing to sneeze at, you can bring this cost down by doing the following:

  • Renting with friends or a co-worker- Consider finding a roommate to slash your rent by 50%. You can ask your friends or co-workers. If you can’t find one, try Craigslist or post on your local Facebook marketplace. Just be sure to screen for your security.
  • Avoid the flashy areas– In most large cities, the rental opportunities are endless. And since they are in-demand, they are likely to cost more. Try to avoid those “flashy” areas and try to find a place that’s a few blocks away.

Saving on transportation costs

Transportation is a cost that can easily exceed $8,600 annually. The costs are derived from car payments, insurance, interest, repair costs, maintenance costs, gas, auto club fees, and more. When residing in an expensive city, the amount you pay out of pocket can increase every 6 to 8 months depending on the size of your vehicle and the length of your commute. The following are a handful of tips that can assist you in cutting or eliminating this (non-essential) expense:

  • Carpool/Ride-share– This option allows you to decrease the wear and tear and fuel costs of your vehicle. The cost of ride-sharing (Lyft, Uber, ZipCar) is a mere fraction of the cost of owning a vehicle of your own.
  • Utilize public Transportation– If you are in an area where public transportation is available, use it. It’s far less expensive than driving a vehicle around town.

Start decreasing your debt

You can decrease your monthly expenses by reducing or eliminating revolving debt. As you pay off your debts, you’ll receive fewer monthly bills and you’ll have more money to save. The following will show you a few ways to reduce debt and increase your savings:

  • Use balance transfers– If a debt that you’re currently paying is attached to a high-interest rate, consider utilizing a balance transfer. It offers perks, like an 18-month APR of 0%. You can also try rewards programs but be certain to factor in all transfer fees. It is also best to pay the transferred balance during the introductory period (if plausible).
  • Refinance– Contact your auto and homeowner insurance company and see if you qualify for a lower interest rate. A reduced rate can save you money over the life of your loan and this can make living in a high-cost area more affordable.
  • Consolidate loans– Consolidation can provide you with a lower interest rate and a greater chance to pay off the loan quicker.
  • Reduce credit card rates – You may be able to negotiate with your credit card company to reduce your current rate/s.
  • Use auto debt repayment plans– This will keep you from missing payments and incurring late fees or rate increases.
  • Spring clean and purge – Go through your home and gather unused or rarely used items. Once you have gathered them, sell them. This will give you some added income, no matter how small the amount may be. You’ll also be able to free up space.

Think about decreasing your energy costs

On average, American households spend approximately $2,200 annually on energy bills. Fortunately, advances in technology are making it easier for energy expenses to be slashed. Below are some ways to decrease your monthly costs for energy:

  • Seal your home– This will prevent drafts which is a common issue with energy efficiency. The loss of heat or cool air can increase your costs.
  • Use LED or CFL bulbs– These bulb types are (on average) four times more efficient than standard incandescent light bulbs. This simple change will save you $0.66 per month and (plausibly) $40 annually.
  • Reduce the temperature of your hot water heater– 14% of your home energy cost is from your hot water heater. By reducing the temperature to between 125 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit and installing a water heater blanket, you will drastically decrease that cost.
  • Install a thermostat that is programmable– This will allow you to decrease energy use when no one is at home, saving you money throughout the month.
  • Unplug– Any electrical devices that are not in use should be unplugged. Whether on or off, they are still drawing electricity and adding to your monthly bill.

Decrease your entertainment costs

decrease entertainment cost Most people think of entertainment as dining out, heading to a movie theater or concert. Those are not your only forms of entertainment. Remember, you’re living in an expensive city so there are probably tons of low-cost entertainment options such as local museums or parks. Here are some of the things you can cut out to reduce your monthly expenses:

  • Cancel Club Memberships
  • Eliminate or reduce your cable/satellite bill– Utilize streaming services, such as Netflix or the PlayStation Vue. There’s no reason to pay $100+ per month for cable TV purposes.
  • Cancel magazine and newspaper wubscriptions– Read and view your favorites online for free.

Living in a high-cost area is doable and you can still successfully live in one if you’re smart with your money. Hopefully, by applying some of these tips, you can slash a few dollars off of your budget.

The post How to Reduce Expenses When You Live In An Expensive City appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

7 Medical Procedures That Are Not Covered by Health Insurance

Many people apply for a health insurance in the hopes that whenever they have medical problems, it can help them cover the costs.

Health insurances are pretty expensive and they take a sizable portion of your total salary. It is really helpful as it can truly cut your health expenses down.

Unfortunately, a lot of people aren’t aware that there are certain medical services not covered by insurance. Below are just some of them:

Liposuction/Weight Loss

Obesity is rampant and a number of people suffer from being overweight. This is why a lot of people undergo weight loss procedures that can cost them a lot of money.

Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with getting the procedures as long as you can pay for them. However, it’s important that you understand that they aren’t covered by your insurance so you may need to pay for them on your own.

Also, note that there are weight loss procedures that would require you to visit the doctor a couple of times and each time you visit, you’ll need to hand out cash.

Lasik Surgery

lasik surgery

If you’ve worn glasses all your life, Lasik surgery can be a godsend for you. This procedure makes use of a laser to fix your cornea and improve your vision. This is ideal for people who are suffering from astigmatism, nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Despite its amazing benefits, Lasik surgery can easily cost you more than $1,000 per eye. If you do not have the money to pay for the surgery, you can get a personal loan to cover the costs.

Breast Implants

A lot of women are always concerned about their figure and that is why breast implants have become quite common.

The implants and the entire operation would cost you anywhere between $5,000 to $15,000. That is pretty expensive and you might not be able to pay for it as of the time being. If that’s the case, you can request a reasonable payment plan but not all doctors will be fine with that.

Acupuncture

acupuncture

Acupuncture has a lot of health benefits. You can get this procedure to detect and even heal some of your bodily ailments.

Unfortunately, it can cost you around $100 up to $1,000 and one visit to the acupuncturist will not be enough.

See Also: How Acupuncture Can Help You Quit Smoking

Dental Procedures

Certain dental procedures are covered by your health insurance but only if they are deemed as “medically necessary”. For example, if you’ve suffered an accident where your jaw has been severely damaged, a dentist can help correct it and it should be covered by your insurance.

However, if you only plan to get dental services for the sake of cosmetics, then you may need to pay for them by yourself. This includes services like teeth and gum augmentation, braces and porcelain veneers. Prices vary depending on the dentist.

The best thing you can do is get dental procedures from a dentist who has affordable rates or you can apply for alternative funding such as personal loans or credit card line.

Infertility Treatment

Infertility is another treatment that isn’t covered by your health insurance. In vitro fertilization can cost you around $2,500 to $5,000 per cycle.

And you know what’s worse?

You’ll probably need more than one cycle.

Cosmetic Surgery

Let’s face it:

Every one of us likes to look beautiful and it’s the reason cosmetic surgeries became quite popular. Unfortunately, despite their popularity, they aren’t covered by medical insurances.

Depending on which body part you want to enhance, a cosmetic procedure can easily cost you thousands of dollars. The cost can greatly increase since you have to buy medicines for the procedures, too.

Paying For Medical Services Not Covered By Insurance

The procedures above are just some of the medical services not covered by insurance. If you are thinking of getting them, you need to be prepared as they can get costly.

So, what should you do?

Well, you can get a personal loan to pay for them. It is very easy to apply for one as long as you have a good credit score.

See Also: What To Look For In A Good Health Insurance Plan

Now, the main takeaway here is this:

If a medical procedure is purely for cosmetic purposes, there’s a good chance that it won’t be covered by your medical or health insurance.

The post 7 Medical Procedures That Are Not Covered by Health Insurance appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Is There Going To Be A Student Loan Apocalypse?

One of the scariest things that can happen is a robocall alerting you to the fact that student loan forgiveness program is on thin ice. It’s such a predictable tale of terror – people were promised a decade ago that if they made payments based on their incomes, the remainder of their debt would be wiped out in a decade.

It seems that the program is on the chopping block and people are in a panic. They entered into these agreements in good faith, executed their end of the bargain over the past decade only to see their balances increase, thanks to unfettered interest rates.

Now, they have no recourse and many will have to start the cycle all over again. Is it time to talk about student loan forgiveness?

Student Loan Forgiveness Horror Stories

Clerical errors that aren’t even your fault can keep you in debt for life if your debt is in the student loan category. The New York Times recently reported a story about an Oregon man named Jed Shafer who discovered- after eight years of his 10-year payment plan- that his loan servicing firm failed to enroll him in the program he asked to be enrolled in.

The $70,000 he’d paid in that time period had not put a dent in his loan principal balance. And he’s not the only one who spent the last decade spinning his wheels.

Even the folks in the correct repayment programs are worrying that they might not be out of the woods yet after announcements of their programs’ probable cancellation.

How Many People Are Affected By Student Loans?

The short answer is almost everyone. Even if you don’t carry a student loan balance, chances are you know someone who does.

But even if you don’t know a single person who carries a student loan balance, student loans are an invisible drag on economic recovery. Black Friday is just around the corner. It’s called Black Friday because that’s when retailers get their ledgers into the black after being in the red all year long.

But people who have a student loan debt, a debt category that is second only to mortgage debt in America, spend far less money during the Holidays than everyone else. These are people in their supposed prime earning years who should be otherwise contributing to the economy.

  • 61% say they spend less on gifts
  • 39% say they spend less on travel
  • 28% say they spend less on charitable donations
  • 28% say they spend less on Holiday gatherings

An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

student loan tips

The bottom line is this:

The only way to survive student loan debt is to not get into it in the first place. Sure, there are people who dutifully made maximum payments and got out of their student loan debts by living in their parents’ basements and working two jobs.

But, for many people, especially those who find that making a living wage isn’t as easy as you were led to believe at college orientation, the payments are too big and the paychecks are too small. It may be too late for Millennials. However, younger generations should heed their warnings: no amount of student loan debt is safe.

What Needs To Be Done?

student loan crisis

If you already have student loans, don’t count on forgiveness programs to bail you out. You could end up like countless others paying minimum payments while your balance continues to grow. Pay as much as you can each month, including additional principal payments.

The key is to reduce the balance, not to wait around for someone else to do it for you. Take a second job if you have to or find an employer who will pay a portion of your student loan debt as part of your compensation package. Your future depends on it.

See Also: What Can Employers Do About The Student Loan Crisis?

If you are a student looking at schools, stop. Go to a state school or a community college. Apply for work-study programs. Do not go to a private or for-profit college or university. You don’t need it. Consider becoming an entrepreneur to fund your school expenses so that you can work your schedule around school.

The problem with student loan forgiveness is that it is a tremendous economic burden. All that debt has to go somewhere and it’s starting to look like Congress has declared a collective “not it!”. Time will tell if anything meaningful will be done about the student loan crisis. Until then, learn more about the case for student loan forgiveness from this infographic.

Source: refinancesstudentloans.net

Student Loan Forgiveness

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Client Refusing To Pay Invoice? 5 Ways To Deal With Non-Paying Clients

One downside of being an entrepreneur is clients who pay late or not at all. Small business owners are most likely to face this problem. It’s usually because they are unsure about how to pursue these clients.

Are you a small business owner tired of having your invoices ignored? These tips can help you deal with a client refusing to pay an invoice.

Contact the Client

email clients

Email your clients and remind them that you haven’t received payment. If they don’t respond within a week, then send a follow-up. The person responsible for invoices might have been out of town, had an emergency or accidentally deleted the message. You can also try contacting them via social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).

However, if these methods yield no results, then it’s time to place a phone call.

Talk to the client. You may need to call every day for a month and act like an absolute pest, but hey, you need the money. Make sure to leave a voicemail each time, explaining that the invoice is past due and you want to resolve the issue. This is a good time to ask if there was a problem with the service or product you provided. If the answer is no, then they should have no problem paying.

Offer Options

Sometimes, clients put off paying their invoices because (1) the payment method is inconvenient or (2) they’re having trouble with the payment system. In this case, often all they need is a friendly person to reach out and guide them through the process. If there is a problem with the system itself, offer another way they can pay you.

The client may also put off paying their bills because they’re having financial trouble. Be flexible in this scenario by working out a payment plan (a certain amount per month over a certain time period) or requesting a good faith payment now and the rest later. When you’re understanding with your clients, they’re more likely to stick around.

Settle for Less

If worst comes to worst, you can discount the bill. They’re likely to jump at the chance to pay less for the service and you’ll get money in your pocket sooner than the alternative. You may want to avoid potential future invoicing headaches by dropping the client, though.

Hire a Collection Agency

Emails, phone calls, and reminders have gone unanswered. In this case, business to business collections is a possible solution. A professional collection agency could contact the client and attempt to get your payment. This type of agency deals exclusively with business debts.

As long as your debt is business-related, then this type of agency can be your next best option. If you’re hesitant to go that far, a warning letter from a lawyer generally elicits a speedy reply.

Small Claims Court

small claims court

Small claims court allows you to present your case directly to a judge. Some states, such as Michigan and Nebraska, don’t allow lawyers in small claims court. If you live in one of those states, then it’s mandatory for you to represent yourself. But, in most states, legal representation is an option.

The cost of hiring a lawyer for small claims court is usually not cost efficient, so most people choose to represent themselves. However, using an attorney instead of a debt collection agency can result in a quicker resolution to the outstanding debt and the preservation of your business relationship.

Each state sets its own limit for the maximum amount you can request. The limit can be anywhere from $2,000 up to $10,000. Check with your state to see if your claim is eligible. If your claim exceeds state limits, then you need to file your case in another court.

See Also: How to Sue in Small Claims Court

Moving Forward with Problem Clients

Once the client has finally made the payment, you may want to make some adjustments to how you bill them in the future. For example:

  • Ask for a pre-payment or retainer, especially for larger projects.
  • Make them sign a contract before getting started. That way, if they go AWOL, you have a more straightforward route in place to go after them.
  • Ask for payment based on project milestones rather than dates. This makes sure you’re paid in full before the project is finished.

Conclusion

In a perfect world, you’d get every invoice paid in full and on time. in reality, however, you have to take action against a non-paying client. So, don’t hesitate to ask for the money you’re owed; you’ve already earned it.

The post Client Refusing To Pay Invoice? 5 Ways To Deal With Non-Paying Clients appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Simple Yet Effective Tips To Win Online Slot Games

Who doesn’t like to win in an online casino game with a huge winning potential?

Everyone wants to do good with online slot games and earn the maximum while dreaming about what to spend their winnings on. Online slots are full of fun and excitement, even for those who are not interested in winning them. They’re one of the best pastimes and once you get on a winning streak, there’s no way you won’t develop a liking for them.

Let’s look at some of the simplest yet effective tips that can help you win big at top online casinos like EuroGrand Casino.

Understand the odds

It’s important to understand slots odds before strategizing to win. For instance, a 20-symbol 5-reel slot game has 1/3.2 million winning chance whereas a 20-symbol 3-reel slot game has 1/8,000 winning possibilities.

This is because a 5-reel slot game has comparatively more winning combinations than the 3-reel version. Hence, there’s a considerable difference in terms of odds in these types of online slot games.

Play only at reliable casinos

reliable online slot game casino

Though you may find various online casinos to play at, it’s important to sign up with a licensed one only. Look out for a casino that offers high-quality games. Make sure that you like its atmosphere and enjoy playing on its platform.

A good online casino should offer a wide range of slot games, should be fully licensed and should process withdrawals quickly. Furthermore, it should also offer other prominent online casino games, like poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, bingo and so on.

Money Management

It is very important to manage your money well while playing these online games. At times, people get so confident that they bet everything on a single spin; there’s no bigger folly than this. Please note that there is no guaranteed outcome in online slots or any other online casino games.

The game’s outcome can change anytime and cause you losses. That’s why you should always be prepared for the unexpected. Be cautious while placing your bets. Winning from a spin is just a possibility and there’s no certainty in it. There are various ways you can place your bets and use your money to play these games.

Before making any deposits, it’s important to know which would be the best currency to play online games.

See Also: Top 5 Strategies To Maximize Your Online Casino Profits

Have Fun

online slot games fun

 

You should play online slot games not just to win but to have some fun! Hence, it’s important to never take any losses to heart and stay relaxed while playing casino games. Although it’s important to pay extra attention while playing jackpots or tournaments where you’re expected to play quickly, you should never let it get to you.

Furthermore, never take your wins too seriously. These games are for your entertainment and enjoyment alone. The moment you start playing them for a livelihood, they lose their charm and lead to an unhealthy gambling behavior.

Conclusion

A lot of people play online slot games regularly. If you are one of these people, knowing and implementing the above-detailed tips can be immensely helpful in gaining an upper hand over the casinos.

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5 Simple Ways to Pay Off College Debt Faster

If you have a massive debt on your student loans, you’re not alone. Many people do.

The standard repayment period for student loan debt is 10 years. That means you will be spending a chunk of your monthly income to repay your student loans for a decade.

If you apply for a program based on your income, it is possible to be approved for a lower monthly amount and a longer loan term. An income-based program can help you if you’re finding it a challenge to make minimum monthly payments. Take note that it can make your monthly payments longer.

For many people, the 10-year repayment period is a long exercise in denial. Paying their monthly student loans means they may not be able to save for a house, buy a new car or take a nice vacation. We only have so much disposable income and if college debt repayment is part of your monthly budget, it can effectively eliminate most of your spending money. You’ll have a hard time gaining financial freedom.

One solution is to repay your college debt more quickly. Once you no longer have debts to repay, you’ll have money to pay for other things. It can become the seedbed for your first house, raising a family, buying a new car or traveling to Europe.

How can you pay college debt off more quickly? Here are five simple steps to consider.

Pay More Than the Monthly Minimum

This is probably the best way to pay off student loans faster.

You can pay off your student loan debt quicker than 10 years by raising the amount you pay every month. Any extra amount you can pay goes toward the principal, not the interest. Lowering the principal will decrease the amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan.

If you can pay $75 per month more on a $10,000 student loan with a 7 percent interest rate, for example, you can save almost $700 over the loan’s life.

Some loans do charge a penalty for prepayment, so be sure to check with your lender. It’s also a good idea to double-check that any amount above the minimum will go toward the principal. Most loans do, but you want to avoid surprises by knowing what your lender’s policies are.

Re-Evaluate Your Repayment Methods if You Have Multiple Sources of Debt

Many people simply pay whatever minimum is owed on every debt they have, whether it’s a credit card, car loan or student loan. However, there are methods to manage your debt so your overall burden is removed more quickly.

The first method is called stacking or laddering. In stacking, you sit down with every debt you have, read the paperwork, and find out what the interest rate is. Then, you prioritize the debt with the highest interest rate. The higher the rate is, of course, the more money you are paying both every month and over the loan’s life. The idea behind stacking is to reduce the debt costing you the most the fastest. It ends up costing you less.

Say you have a Visa credit card with $600 at 12%, a department store credit card with $300 at 11% and a student loan of $10,000 at 7%. If you have $20 extra per month, you’d put it toward the credit card. Once you are free of credit card debt, you then put the $20 extra toward the student loan.

The second method is called snowballing. With this, you place any extra money toward the debt with the lowest dollar amount, ignoring the interest rates. In the example given above, you’d pay your extra $20 for the $300 department store card. Once fully paid, you can add the $20 to your Visa card repayment.

The idea behind snowballing is that you can pay off smaller amounts of debt more quickly and that it provides psychological impetus to keep going.

Get a Higher-Paying Job or a Raise

One of the best ways to pay any debt faster is to increase the amount of money you earn. The more money you have coming in, the more easily you can utilize the first two methods.

One of the best ways to get a job with a higher salary is to find a high-paying career with low-cost degrees. You can be trained as a medical biller or electrician, for example, at a relatively low cost and be paid more in your first job out.

student loans

Any raise you receive in your current job can be used to raise the amount of your student loan payment. If you don’t want to put all of your raise toward a student loan payment, just allot a portion of it.

Consolidate and Refinance Your Loans

If you have student loan debts from several different providers, you may be able to pay less per month if you consolidate the loans. You need to apply for loan consolidation and a repayment plan.

If your student loans have a high-interest rate, apply for a loan consolidation with a lower interest rate. The best sources for refinancing and consolidation are often nontraditional lenders with digital platforms, such as Sofi, rather than banks. You will have to have an excellent credit score to qualify.

sofi student loan

Use Any Windfalls to Pay Down Student Debt

A windfall is any money you weren’t expecting. An aunt dies and leaves you money in her will. You get an unexpectedly high tax return. Your company gives out bonuses.

Again, any money applied to the principal reduces the amount of interest you’ll have to pay. That, in turn, lowers the amount you pay over the life of the loan. So, putting all or some of your windfall money toward student loan debt will help you pay it off more quickly.

These five methods are proven strategies for paying off your college debt faster. The faster you pay it off, the more you can spend on other things and save money for the future.

What’s the best way to pay off student loans for you?

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Top Destinations In Europe for a Long Weekend on a Budget

Romantic break for two? Long weekend with the guys?

Europe offers so many different and interesting destinations. Whether you want to embrace your inner foodie in France, run with the bulls in Spain or traverse Italian city canals, there is something for everyone in Europe.

For those on a budget, long weekend trips can mean exciting experiences. You can get away for a few days, explore a new destination, and save more money than you would if you go on a longer holiday.

Looking to make your break as affordable as possible?

Try avoiding the main European hubs and venture a little off the beaten path. There are so many hidden gems in Europe and by choosing the right destination and going on a long weekend, getting a break doesn’t have to break the bank.

Here are the top destinations in Europe you should definitely add to your list:

For Foodies

Lyon, France

vieux lyon
Via thousandwonders

If you are looking for an alternative to the gastronomic glamour of Paris, try Lyon. Nestled in the Rhone Alps region, Lyon is hailed as the gastronomic capital of France. One of France’s oldest cities, its roots go back to the Roman period.

The city’s old town, Vieux Lyon, is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can meander through quaint passageways, cobbled streets, and stunning old world architecture. Foodies can try one of the charming ‘bouchon lyonnaises’ that serve traditional lyonnaise fare.

Take note that Paris can be notoriously overpriced, so if you are looking for the perfect base to explore the French culture and cuisine a bit deeper, then Lyon is the perfect budget destination for you.

For Culture Lovers

Toledo, Spain

toledo spain
Via toledosistercities

Just over an hour from Madrid, Toledo is a cultural center in Spain. With its ancient hills and medieval architecture, the historic city is a lively hub for history buffs and travelers. There, they can experience the buzz of the old European culture without the drama or fanfare of Spain’s capital city.

Visit the 13th Century Toledo cathedral in the center of town or the Moorish Bisagra Gate and the Sol Gate, which opens up into the old quarter. Visiting Toledo is like taking a step back in time. You’ll get an unforgettable experience to soak up distinctly Spanish culture here.

Moreover, the savings one can get when traveling to this top destination make it perfect for visitors on a budget. You can save over 66% on a weekend trip when staying in Toledo over Madrid. Fees typically include accommodation, a meal, drinks, and ground transport into the city.

For Trips with Friends

Vilnius, Lithuania

vilnius lithuania
Via cctv

For the more adventurous travelers, Vilnius is the perfect destination. It offers a little more action alongside history and culture. The walkable capital city is nestled in the heart of Lithuania and is becoming one of the more increasingly popular destinations for city breaks in Europe.

Vilnius houses the oldest medieval town in central and eastern Europe and is popular for its stunning baroque architecture. Visit the Palace of the Grand Dukes in Lithuania or the gripping Museum of Genocide victims, housed at the former headquarters of the KGB.

You can expect a little more lightness and fun in the evening as the continental town is one of the cheapest destinations for food and drink in Europe. This makes it a spirited town with a burgeoning nightlife scene, perfect for those stag-dos and weekend trips with friends.

For Romantics

Klosterneuburg, Austria

klosterneuburg austria romance

Getting away for the weekend with the one you love should never be off of your list. You can impress your partner with a romantic holiday to Austria. Although Vienna is known to be expensive, it doesn’t make Austria off limits for budget travelers.

Nearby city Klosterneuburg is only 12 miles away from the Austrian capital and has a whole lot to offer travelers who want to experience the Viennese culture without its price tag.

For starters, you can visit the huge castle built by Salian Emperor Henry IV that sits near the Danube river. You can also go see the Klosterneuburg Monastery, which is home to one of the oldest vineyards in Austria.

With such a short travel time, you can fly into the capital and find an elegant and romantic bed and breakfast out of the tourist trap, saving money on accommodation and food. This way, you get to experience the best of both worlds.

See Also: Top 10 Cheap European Car Hire Destinations

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Solar Panels For Home: Do They Make A Great Investment?

The days when solar panels used to be a rare and exotic source of energy are gone. Their popularity is growing and a lot of people are now choosing it as their main source of electricity.

Before installing this system that is supposed to lower energy bills, people are usually curious about the average efficiency of solar panels and the price. If you are one of these people, you’re probably wondering if they are really profitable and how much you can save.

Here are some of the most important facts you should know about solar panels for home.

What is the price of solar panels?

solar panels for your home

The price of solar panels might be different depending on the state you live in as well as your desired size. The more panels you need, the higher the price tags become.

The average price for solar panels is about $4 per watt. A whole system can be as big as 5 kilowatts, which means it can cost you almost $19,000. That may seem too pricey, but it is worth it in the long run.

If you fear that this price won’t fit in your budget, there are ways for you to spend less on solar panels. Government incentives, for example, can reduce the cost of solar panels.

How to Spend Less on Solar Panels?

Federal investment tax credit is a way to make the price of solar panels lower. It can also save you some money on installation. Except for a national rebate, there are also regional discounts. If you add both, the price can be reduced significantly.

For example, if you have a house in Austin, Texas and want to install a large 7-kilowatt solar panel system, it would cost about $26,000. The city’s rebate will reduce $800 per kilowatt and you will save about $6,000. Thanks to the federal tax credit, you might be able to save an additional $6,000.

All in all, you’ll probably save more than $10,000 in total. So, before installation, consider checking the government incentives you can get in your city.

How Much Money Can You Save With Solar Panels?

The main reason to install solar panels is that it allows paying less for the electricity. How much exactly can you save?

Depending on the size of your system, you can save from $150 to $200 per month. The solar system pays for itself in a period of about 7 to 15 years. It is a good result considering the fact that it can serve you for 20 to 30 years.

The competition on the market of solar panels is growing, making them more affordable. If you also use the incentives and rebates, it becomes possible to install solar panels for less than $10,000.

Is It Worth Getting Solar Panels?

home solar panels

While making a decision about solar panel installment, it is important to think not only about the cost of the system, but also about the amount of sun in your area. Both direct and scattered sunlight is good for solar panels, but there still should be enough sunny days to feel the benefits.

Before installing a solar panel system, it might be a good idea to check a specialist’s opinion and find out if your state is suitable for solar energy usage. Another crucial factor is the location of the house and the roof.

Make sure it is possible to provide panels with good exposure. Check where the roof faces, the number of trees and presence of constructions that are situated around. In case the location is not satisfying, solar panels can also be installed on a garage roof or you can use a ground-mounted system.

Solar panels installment requires a lot of time but if you pay attention to all the details it might become a great investment.

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Where a Career in Finance Can Take You

If you are looking for the perfect career option, you might be thinking about majoring in finance. However, you could be wondering what your job opportunities will look like if you do end up getting this degree. Luckily, this is a career field that has a lot of different opportunities. These are some of the potential careers in finance you can look into.

Financial Planner

financial planner

Some people need a lot of help with their personal finances. They might be having trouble meeting their financial goals or might just be looking to make the most out of the money they’ve saved and worked for. For these individuals, a financial planner can be incredibly helpful.

After majoring in finance, you can choose to help people with their personal finances by becoming a financial planner. In this job, you will help people determine how to handle their money, achieve their financial goals and plan for their future. You’ll need a broad and varied view of finances and be able to advise on a variety of financial topics.

Budget Analyst

Many businesses and non-profit organizations like to have someone who will take a second look at their budget to help determine where they can make cuts and changes. As a budget analyst, you can help these businesses and organizations to improve the way they spend their money.

Office Secretary

If you love the idea of working in an office, you might like the idea of being an office secretary. With this type of job, you will help with handling finances, but you may have to wear a lot of other hats as well. This could be a good fit for someone with a finance degree. Someone with a human resources degree or general business degree might also find this as a good job choice.

Accountant

One of the most common jobs that people with finance degrees look for is a job as an accountant. Of course, there are all sorts of different accountants.

You could choose to primarily work with individuals who need help with their taxes or you could work for a business and handle their payroll, budgeting, taxes and more. You could even open your own accounting firm and provide accounting services of various types to those who need them.

Credit Analyst

If you choose a career as a credit analyst, you will generally work within a bank or lending institution. Your job will be to take a look at the credit profiles of individuals who apply for various types of loans. After assessing their profiles, you’ll determine whether or not they qualify for the loan.

Insurance Actuary

If you choose a career as an actuary for an insurance company, your job will be to calculate risks. As you might already know, insurance companies generally base their customers’ rates by the chances of them filing a claim.

Professor

professor

If you are passionate about finance and would love to share it with others, you can always consider working as an instructor at a college or university. By teaching finance classes, you will be able to improve your own education and share your knowledge with the rest of the world.

As you can see, engaging in these careers in finance can be a wonderful thing as they can open up a lot of doors for you. If you think you might be interested in one of these careers or another career in finance, consider looking into your options for attending a school with a good finance program. After that, you can start working your way to achieving your career goals.

 

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How to Cover your Unexpected Round-the-World Travel Expenses

No matter where you go, how you go or how many days your stay will be, you can easily spend more cash than you thought you would when traveling. Unexpected travel expenses can cost you more than you would spend if you just stay at home.

Expenses for airplane tickets and hotel rooms are obvious. But, what if you end up losing your baggage? Or someone gets sick?

There are several unexpected travel expenses that can fast spike the total price of your trip to an uncomfortable height. Thankfully, there are some effective and easy ways to cover them. Below are great tips you can use when planning your next trip.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is not really common among people. But, it only takes a bad fall on your trip or a motorbike accident to make you regret your decision of not getting a travel insurance.

Policies are available for a cost as low as a night’s lodging. If you have more money, you can consider increasing your deductible and just use your insurance for real calamities.

Unplanned Upgrades

travel expense

There will be times when the train you expect to take you from one spot to another gets delayed for 12 hours. There will be times when you miss your bus and have to buy a nicer class ticket so you can stay on your schedule. In some cases, getting tour buses will be so difficult that you’ll need to spend your last $50 to buy a one-way flight back instead of waiting.

The best way to cover such unexpected travel expenses is to find reasonable offers online for cab or taxi services or get cash advance online.

Baggage problems

A lot of travelers just do not pay attention to their free checked baggage allowance once they find tickets with amazing prices. They’ll only realize the problem when they are hit with excess baggage fees.

To avoid this, always double check your airline’s website before packing your suitcase. This will keep you away from extra charges.

Lost luggage problems are a very common scenario today, too. If your baggage doesn’t show up, go to the airline counter to file a report. They may provide you a bag of essentials and ask you to share your contact details. Remember that the longer your luggage is lost, the more compensation the airline will provide. A payday loan could cover this travel problem.

See Also: Things You Didn’t Know That Occur While Traveling

Medicine and doctors

doctor consultation

When traveling, your routine changes tremendously. You’ll eat and drink a lot of new things, too. So, you have to go see your attending physician and consult him about your travel plans. If you don’t, you can end up spending tons of cash for expensive medicines, like antiseptics, sunscreen, and allergy pills.

To cover these expenses, you can pack a few medicines in your baggage. If your airline won’t allow it, look for discounts and buy extra packs whenever you see a good deal on your way. A small town without any drugstore can sell these essentials at a high price.

Lodging Fees

And finally, you should be ready for certain fees connected with lodging that are frequently hidden and unexpected for many travelers. Before signing your final payment, ensure that you have a clear understanding of how much you are going to pay for the whole stay.

Ask the hotel management to provide the list of extra payments that are not included in your stay rate. Also, be ready to cover extra charges, like open bar, internet, and room service fees.

To avoid all those inconveniences and prevent awkward situations during the arrival, include those expenses in your travel budget.

Conclusion

Every time we plan a trip, we often forget the smaller, less pressing stuff. Just keep the above-mentioned points in mind next time you are planning or saving for an overseas trip.

When taking a trip anywhere in the world, you must be prepared for unexpected travel expenses. This way, if something comes up, you won’t end up feeling stressed, frustrated and broke.

See Also: 5 Important Tips Before Traveling Overseas

 

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Bitcoin breaks $3,000 to reach new all-time high

 Bitcoin has reached a record high valuation of $3,000 per coin to complete a rollercoaster week that begin with the long-awaited split of the cryptocurrency. A number of exchanges, including popular destinations Coinbase and Kraken, valued a single bitcoin at over $3,000, an all-time high that is up $485 on the valuation one month ago. Earlier this year, Bitcoin surged to surpass $2,000 for… Read More

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How To Get Rich Quick

Money is a part of life. Whether we love it or hate it, money is a necessity. It provides food, shelter and health care. It also gives us freedom, opportunity and decision-making flexibility. In addition to those, money allows us to pursue our passions or philanthropic desires.

As much as we may wish it weren’t the case, money plays a huge role in our lives so the attainment of wealth is often on our radar.

During my own journey to wealth, I learned a few distinctions that deepened my relationship with money and allowed the idea of getting rich quick to be a real possibility. Of course, with these terms, there are qualifiers.

Getting rich quick can often refer to a scam or gamblers mentality. That’s not what I’m referring to. Becoming rich is not an event that happens to you. It’s a process that takes place over time. Whether that time period is short or long, that depends on your approach.

I became rich quickly and I was the most unlikely candidate – a high school dropout, blue-collar mechanic. I had a light bulb moment when I realized people could get rich on purpose- not by accident or luck, but by educating themselves how. If they could do it, so could I. And I did.

Let me clarify by saying nobody can tell you how you are going to achieve it. This is an entrepreneurial step and you need to take personal responsibility for it. But, yes, you can learn how to get rich quick and there’s a process you must go through.

You must change how you think about money.

The average person looks at the average income around them. They work hard to earn that because it is their obtainable reality. They believe that to gain greater wealth, you must have to work harder, be smarter or luckier. But, working hard is not a determining factor at all.

The fundamental ingredients of how to get rich quick are: believing, purpose, knowing for yourself and following through no matter what.

Believing

how to be rich

When you make the mental leap of believing that getting rich is possible, your mindset has shifted. Once you know great wealth is obtainable for you right now, THAT is the golden first step. Every person who has ever obtained wealth quickly has accomplished this belief first.

Purpose

HOW you choose to obtain your wealth is the responsibility of every entrepreneur. There are so many different types of business vehicles and you have to pick one that aligns with your passion, that excites you and that motivates you. You must be working towards a vision.

Know for yourself

Most importantly, you have to see the numbers from any venture and know for yourself that there is an opportunity for wealth. You don’t have to invent the opportunity.

I was a mechanic working crazy hours to barely make ends meet when I saw a presentation for a Network Marketing opportunity. I didn’t know the industry at all but I saw beauty in the product offering AND the business model. It ignited something in me and I knew that it deserved my time and would absolutely lift my income. I did the math and saw it for myself. A couple of years later, I was a self-made millionaire.

Following Through

how to become rich

To become rich quick, you must believe it’s possible, keep your eye on that goal, follow through and it’s yours. If you’ve already decided it’s too hard to make a lot of money or you believe you don’t have the time to invest, then you’ll never see the opportunities that are right in front of you.

The number of times I’ve seen people give up right before I know they’re about to crack is so frustrating. You must be steadfast in your focus and productivity. Otherwise, you’re not really in it to win it. Commit half-heartedly and you will achieve half-hearted results.

There’s not a right or wrong way to make money. At the beginning, I didn’t have the idea, the means or the knowledge to create a venture of my own. I just had the mind shift that I COULD and the opportunity I saw wasn’t a mass produced product with a small profit, requiring huge sales. I saw a high-value product, offering high-profit with great leverage and I made a killing.

To me, that’s a great way to make money quickly in business. It’s not the only way or right way, it is just ONE way.

With lessons I learned from that business and a fire in my belly, I later went on to create my own business venture which was valued at US $170 million in its fourth year. And again, it was based on a high value, high profit product which was loaded with leverage.

That is a great equation for a successful business that has the possibility of creating wealth quickly.

See Also: Five Steps To Turn Doing What You Love Into A Successful Business

Part of the fundamental process of getting rich quick is to understand that thoughts create things. Believe it can be, find the opportunity, do the sums, follow through and you will achieve it.

See Also: You Can’t Miss Your Boat

 

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3 Steps to Getting That BIG Raise at Work

One of the most important components of achieving long-term financial well-being is increasing your income. In most instances, this will come in the form of raises to your salary. As you gain more experience and rise up the ranks, you’ll receive compensation adjustments.

But, do you know exactly how to get a raise?

In this article, we’ll discuss how to craft a compelling ASK which you can use to maximize your salary increase. This past year I used these techniques to increase my base salary by 10%!

Look at your work situation objectively

work evaluation

To start the process, you’ll first need to sit down and objectively look at your work situation. Have you been over-delivering on your project requirements? Have you been showcasing your leadership ability?

Sit down and write a list of 5-10 things that you’ve done to add significant value to your organization. If you can’t come up with at least a few things that you’ve done to add value, you may not be ready to ask for a raise.

If this is the case, don’t be discouraged. Use the situation as a motivator to improve yourself. Reach out to your boss and ask for feedback on what you can do to improve. Once you determine your areas for improvement, begin working towards your action items. Once you come up with 5 -10 talking points, it’s time to begin crafting your compelling ASK.

Crafting your ASK

You’ve done all the hard work of delivering results, now it’s time to talk about them. When developing your ASK, it’s important to determine how much of a raise you’d like.

Do you want a 5% raise? A 10% raise?

Be sure to research what an average raise for your position looks like and determine how much you deserve based on your performance. You’ll need to be prepared to justify this amount to your employer when you’re at the negotiation table.

Next, you’ll want to begin structuring your ASK appropriately. Start by thanking your boss for his/her time and express your appreciation for the opportunity to be a part of a great organization. This will help diffuse the situation and give you an extra positive boost when you begin your negotiation.

Next, you’ll want to highlight the 5-10 items on your list that have added value to the organization. It’s extremely important that you express the VALUE you’ve provided because, in the end, that’s what your employer cares about. Use metrics and other supporting data to solidify your case.

Once you’ve explained your positive results, close out by asking your employer for your determined percentage raise. Below, I’ve given an example of what a good ASK would look like:

“Over the past 6 months, my team and I have successfully delivered on project x & y, increasing revenue by $100,000 as well as reducing customer service average wait time by 3 minutes. I plan to continue to set the bar high for myself and my team so that we can continue delivering more results like these to the organization. As a result, I feel that my compensation should be adjusted by x% to reflect my performance”.

Practice your ASK in front of people to get comfortable delivering your request. This will most likely feel awkward at first, but practice can help you gain the confidence you’ll need to deliver. Now that you’ve crafted and practiced your compelling ASK, it’s time to set up a review meeting with your employer.

The Negotiation

raise negotiation

Now that you’ve crafted a compelling ASK and practiced delivering it, it’s time to begin your negotiation. Reach out to your employer and request a time to speak with him/her. If you already have a pre-set evaluation meeting, mark it in your calendar.

On the day of the negotiation, show up dressed to impress and ready to kick some butt. When your meeting time finally arrives, thank your employer for meeting with you and sit down to begin your discussion. During the discussion, remember to highlight the VALUE that you’ve created for the organization and focus on the key metrics that you’ve delivered. Once you’ve given your pitch, ASK your employer for your desired raise.

From there, your boss will either accept or reject your proposal. If he/she accepts your proposal, congratulations! You worked hard and deserve every penny of your raise. If your boss rejects your proposal, ask if you could substitute some of your proposed extra yearly compensation with other forms of compensation, such as year-end bonuses, stock options or more vacation time.

Many employers are more lenient with this form of compensation and it may be a great option for you. If your boss still rejects the proposal, ask them if there is anything else you need to do to be considered for a raise in the future. When your boss provides you with feedback, take that feedback and implement it into your plan of attack right away. Once you’ve completed the desired items outlined in your discussion, re-engage the raise conversation.

Bringing it all together

As a high performer and excellent contributor to your organization, you deserve to be compensated fairly for your contributions. Preparing for this important interaction with your employer will not only help you achieve better results in the present, but it can also have a massive impact on your long-term financial well-being.

See Also: How Social Niceties Can Ruin Your Chances Of Getting A Promotion At Work

Pro-tip: Book Recommendation

A good book to read in this scenario is “The Greatest Salesmen in the World” by Og Mandino. Mr. Mandino delivers key selling success strategies through a parable set in ancient Babylon.

I found the timeless lessons he discussed in this book extremely compelling and I enjoyed the story he illustrated to frame these lessons. Learning the soft skills taught in this classic book will surely be of benefit to you in many life and work situations.the greatest salesman in the world

Do you have any stories or experiences of asking for a raise? Do you have any beneficial tips or strategies that you’ve utilized in a wage negotiation? I’d love to hear from you.

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Changing Trends in the Way Families Buy Homes

Owning a home gives families a sense of independence and security. However, in buying a house, numerous factors influence the family’s choice. They may face economic, socio-cultural, psychological, demographic and personal issues.

In the past, all decisions related to buying a home were primarily made by the male members of the family. However, in today’s times, the same decision is now unanimously taken. All family members can voice their opinions and all needs and preferences are taken into consideration, irrespective of age or gender.

Let’s look at the some of the changing trends affecting the way families buy homes.

A Shift from Joint Family Set-ups to Nuclear Lifestyles

nuclear lifestyle

In earlier times, most family set-ups were joint, with closely-related members living in their ancestral home. But, as the population and economy of the country grew, this previously popular lifestyle saw a major shift.

Today’s nuclear family set-up created radical changes in the family’s process of buying a house. There are fewer members in a nuclear family and buying decisions have aligned in the same direction. One good example is space. Fewer family members won’t need as much space so houses tend to be smaller.

Placing children’s needs at the forefront

While making any property-related buying decision, parents and grandparents tend to consider the needs of their children to a great extent. They opt for houses which are airy, well-lit and which have a positive impact on their children’s growth, health and well-being.

Parents also put sufficient thought on their kids’ safety. They take into account the community’s recreational amenities, like parks, pools or playgrounds when buying a house. Additionally, families tend to prefer residential properties which have good schools in the vicinity along with options for extracurricular activities. Parents are more than willing to compromise on their own needs as long as they meet their children’s needs.

Compact homes over out-sized properties

Nuclear families these days prefer compact and self-sufficient homes. This justifies the large number of families opting for space-efficient apartments and flats over sprawling properties.

One good reason families prefer flats over stand-alone properties is because of better social interaction. In addition to that, maintaining a large property can also be quite a hassle, especially when the family is small. Apartments are also more secure and homey for such family size.

Accessibility and proximity

school accessibility

Most apartment complexes today offer convenience to attract more families to buy them. Malls, clubs and sports facilities are all within walking distance of these complexes so families won’t have to spend any time or money on transportation. A lot of them offer basic needs, too. Grocery stores and dry cleaning services are usually just a few feet away from them.

If a housing complex just offers apartments, then families will look for flats that are in close proximity to important facilities, like schools, healthcare, medical stores and retail outlets for added convenience. With the basic amenities within a stone’s throw from their homes, efficiently managing day-to-day activities and maintaining a good work-life balance becomes much easier for smaller families.

Properties with resale value

Families tend to move to larger homes in better locations as their financial status improves. Job changes or increase in the number of family members are also plausible reasons why families look to upgrade to a larger or better home. Thus, families prefer buying homes in prime locations that have a good resale value in the future. For instance, according to a Knight Frank survey, home buyers prefer to move to newer projects with better facilities and those that are closer to the city.

See Also: 10 Important Home Features That Home Buyers Want

To sum it up

With improvement in job prospects, purchasing power and lifestyle, families have undergone a shift in terms of how they invest in properties. There has been a considerable change in the past two decades and families have started weighing in many factors which were earlier considered unimportant while buying a home.

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Do You Know What To Do In A Ride Sharing Accident?

Ride sharing and ride hailing are often lumped together, but the two services are completely different. One is more like a taxi while the other is more like a bus. What’s not different about the two is that there is still a lot of confusion about who is legally responsible if there is an accident.

Because drivers don’t usually need commercial insurances even though they are performing a duty for which they are getting paid, insurance companies are often reluctant to pay up in the event of an accident.

To clear things up, here’s what you need to know.

Ride hailing is common

ride sharing

Over half of adults in the United States have heard of a ridge hailing or ride sharing app, but only about 15% have used one. This brings a lot of confusion about what it is, what the legal ramifications are as well as its regulations.

Most people who use these services are affluent and between the ages of 18 and 49. 29% of college graduates have used these services as well.

A little over a third of all adults believe that ride sharing services should be treated like commercial taxi services, while about the same percentage of frequent ride sharing users believe the same thing. Even though the liability is the same, most people don’t believe ride hailing drivers are no different from taxi drivers.

More states and municipalities are starting to realize the legal gaps that are occurring with these services and are making attempts at patching them up. It’s likely that more regulations will be passed in the future to protect both driver and passenger.

If you are a driver, you may not be covered

Driving for a ride sharing or ride hailing service can be risky if you don’t pay extra for commercial insurance. Unfortunately, this is a catch-22 because most companies pay so little that you would pay more for commercial insurance than you would end up making in fares.

Currently, New York City requires drivers to carry commercial insurance, which is as much to protect the drivers as it is to protect the riders. What if you are in an accident on your way to pick up a fare and your insurance doesn’t want to pay up? Or worse, if they do pay up and end up raising your rates for the next several years?

It’s definitely worth checking into your coverage before deciding to work a side hustle. The coverage provided by the ride sharing and ride hailing services might not be enough to protect you.

If you are a passenger, you might not be covered, either

Between 2014 and 2016, for-hire vehicle accidents more than tripled. As more and more people are using these services, there will understandably be more accidents.

A ride sharing insurance coverage can fill in the gaps when the driver’s insurance doesn’t want to pay out. However, as lawsuits involving these services are also on the rise, you could find yourself caught up in the middle.

If you are a ride sharing or ride hailing passenger and you are in an accident, here’s what you need to do:

ride sharing accident

  • Get help at the scene

Getting a police report ensures that the facts won’t change after you leave the scene. Getting medical attention is the first step in documenting any injuries you may have.

  • Get information from the driver

Again, gathering the facts at the scene is the best way to ensure they don’t change. Get as much information as possible, like contact information, insurance details and data on the ride hailing service you got.

  • Have your injuries treated

You may think you are fine, but car accident injuries can become more serious over time, particularly if there’s no prompt treatment.

  • Keep track of medical bills and expenses, including any lost work

From day one, write down any work you missed because of the accident and any bills you accrue. Keep receipts whenever possible as this will help you get reimbursements.

See Also: 5 Financial Emergencies Everyone Must Be Prepared For 

  • Decide whether you will need to hire a lawyer to recoup your costs

Sometimes, insurance companies are happy to pay up right away just to close the case. Other times, they may not be as willing and you’ll need help to get reimbursements for your expenses.

See Also: Timeline Of A Personal Injury Lawsuit

Coverage requirements vary based on location

From state to state and even from city to city, coverage requirements can vary widely.

The state of California requires an additional $1 million in liability coverage when drivers are en route and while they have passengers. Minnesota requires an additional $1.5 million in coverage for the same situation. In some places in the world, like France, ride hailing and ride sharing drivers need to be licensed professionals.

Knowing a little about the risks now, do you think these services should be treated like professional driving services or are you OK with taking the risk?

Learn more about what to do if you are involved in a ride sharing accident from the infographic below.

The post Do You Know What To Do In A Ride Sharing Accident? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Pay off Student Loan Debt by Going Back to School

If you are currently struggling with student loans, you’re not alone. According to Forbes, 44.2 million Americans struggle with student loan debt. For many people, the financial burden of debt infringes upon their quality of life. Thus it is important to pay off loans as soon as possible.

One of the best ways to escape student loan debt is to pursue a degree that will get the highest return on your investment. If you have already graduated college with a bachelor’s degree, you may find that you’re not able to make enough to pay off your debt. Returning to school for a higher-level degree might be just what you need to increase your income enough to pay off your loans faster and easier.

Graduate Degrees Garner Higher Income

One of the biggest advantages of going back to school and obtaining a master’s degree is that doing so will boost your starting salary. This substantial increase in income will enable you to pay off your student loans, as well as get into the career of your dreams.

According to a 2015 study lead by Georgetown University, students who graduate with a master’s degree earn around $17,000 more per year than those who graduate with a bachelor’s degree. As such, students with a graduate degree are able to enter the workforce and earn a higher wage from the start. This significant advantage enables them to pay off their loans quicker.

Of course, this benefit varies across different fields of study. For example, a degree in architectural engineering will tend to net you more income in the job market than a degree in, say, social work. Nevertheless, the Georgetown study found that there was a demonstrable increase in income for graduate degrees over bachelor’s degrees, regardless of the chosen major.

Defer Your Student Loans

If you choose to go back to school, you can temporarily defer your student loans so you don’t have to make payments while attending school. This will ease the strain on your finances while you redirect your mental energy toward graduating in a more lucrative field. Keep in mind, however, that if you have defaulted on previous payments, you may not be able to defer your loans.

Reduce Your Graduate School Loans

working student

Even if you defer your loans, with tuition costs being what they are, you’ll probably have to take out more loans in order to go back to school. This may seem counterintuitive, but if you’re in school to qualify for a higher paying job, it’s actually an investment.

That being said, make the most of this investment by reducing what you take out in loans. You may not be allowed to work part-time, but you might be able to find time to donate plasma, do freelance writing, or apply for scholarships/grants (this last one is HUGE!). Think of anything to supplement your income and lessen what you’ll have to pay back later.

See Also: 7 Ways to Save Money while Earning a College Degree 

Embrace “College Student Poor”

Everyone hates the “poor college student” lifestyle, but college students have a wealth of money-saving life hacks in their repertoire. And don’t worry — you don’t have to live on instant ramen to save money the college way.

  • Cut down on “luxury” expenditures like new clothes, trips to the car wash, and eating out. When you have to go, price-check first and go for the best deal.
  • Attend university events with free food (who knows, you might have fun).
  • Take advantage of the student gym instead of buying a gym membership.
  • Student discounts! They can be found everywhere: movie theaters, museums, car insurance, restaurants, phone plans, etc.

Pay Off Other Debts

pay off debt

Once you’ve graduated and landed your dream job, it might be tempting to live the opulent lifestyle you dreamt of while working your tail off in grad school. But your work isn’t over yet! Paying off smaller debts can make room for paying off another, larger debt (aka your student loans) faster. This is called the Snowball Method, developed by Dave Ramsey, and it really works!

You can also choose to refinance, so instead of making many small payments on various debts, you make just 1 big payment each month that will go toward all of them. You may cringe at such a large payment coming out of your bank account each month, but thanks to refinancing negotiations with each lender, you’re actually paying less than you were before.

Higher Income = Larger Payments

Sticking to the minimum payment on your student loans can cost you thousands in interest in the long term. Put your extra income to good use by making larger payments on your loan—reducing not only how long you will be making payments, but also how much you have to pay off.

See Also: What Can Employers Do About The Student Loan Crisis?

Summing Up

Going back to college for a master’s degree is a surefire way to improve your job prospects, open your career, and increase your income. More importantly, it enables you to pay off your student loans once and for all, granting you invaluable peace of mind.

 

The post Pay off Student Loan Debt by Going Back to School appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Tips to Stop Wasting Money on Substandard Services When Outsourcing

Outsourcing jobs is a great way to solve problems at work. It can help you deal with heavy work overload, time sensitive deadlines, lack of work competence or having inadequate workforce at a given time.

However, it is still not as ideal as it sounds, especially with all its potential risks. This includes hiring incompetent freelancers or competent freelancers that overcharge their services.

It is in your best interest to avoid both of these scenarios and the following article will help you do so. Here we will provide four tips on how to avoid wasting money on substandard services when outsourcing jobs.

Plan for what is needed

outsourcing plan

The best way to avoid unnecessary expenses is to have a well-laid-out plan for your freelancers. The more specific you are, the better.

First of all, the people you collaborate with are not mind readers. Since you communicate via emails, it’s easy for a project to lose its track due to the lack of necessary information.

Moreover, if you fail to provide detailed information, you risk getting a project that meets your demands but lacks in quality. So, give them online samples of the level of quality you expect to see. Try to be specific about what you do not want to see.

This way, you will be fully covered when asking for a refund if the demands are not met. Moreover, freelancers who lack the competence to meet those demands will back off.

Ask for previous work samples

When you are hiring someone, it is imperative that you go over their portfolio.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell from someone’s portfolio if he can fill in your specific task. So, for that reason, it would be best to ask freelancers if they have a previous work sample of something that is similar to what you are going to ask for.

Maintain communication

maintain communication

Once you select your freelancers and award them the project, it is important that you maintain communication. As we said, you are not sharing the same working space.

If the project is delicate, it would be wise to organize a Skype call. You can also ask to receive screenshots of how your project is going. This way, you can correct any inconsistencies immediately. You’ll be able to see in advance if you have made the right call, too.

Get a referral or test potential candidates

Lastly, if you are not sure in the expertise of your potential candidates, you can test them out. You can also ask for referrals from other trusted users in the same niche as you. You can do the testing if you are down to two or three potential candidates so it won’t cost you a lot.

Focus on these traits

If you want a reliable outsourcing partner, then you need to have a clear list of their purpose. If they can meet these standards, you can count on them.

> Positive results – The Company can help you increase your customer satisfaction and decrease production costs within the desired time frame.

> Compatibility – The Company should share common goals and values as your company. They need to be performance centric, care about their clients and community and use same methods for managing the company.

> Innovative – You need a company that can greatly contribute to your business and that can perform on their own without the constant need for monitoring. They should help you modernize your business regarding technology, equipment, etc.

See Also: How Cloud Technology Can Help Your Business Grow

> Flexibility – You need a company that can adapt to your standards and provide you with a personalized service to meet your demands. They need to consider your needs as a priority and you need to adequately reward them for their devotion.

> Adaptable management – You need a company that can respond quickly and adapt to changes without sacrificing the quality of the end results. In other words, it needs to have a reliable management team as well as competent staff.

> Benchmarking – You are going to know the outsourcing solution is reliable if they can provide you with evidence explaining that you are receiving a high-quality service. They need to create new growth potential and offer measurable success in the field of employee and client satisfaction.

> Resourceful – They need to continuously deliver in-depth content that is innovative and that fits your needs and demands.

> Constant quality improvement – With continuous collaboration, the quality and the performance of your outsourcing solution should improve. Basically, you need a company that can keep up with you. They need to work on their own staff and provide new and comprehensive training courses for their employees in order to achieve these results.

Conclusion

We hope you will end up with an outsourcing agency or freelancer you can trust and collaborate on numerous other projects in the future. Once you find a competent outsourcing company, it will be far easier to handle projects in the future.

See Also: A Practical Guide to Hiring and Managing Freelancers

The post 5 Tips to Stop Wasting Money on Substandard Services When Outsourcing appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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9 Smart Investments to Improve Your Rental Properties

Owning a rental property can be a lot of work but wise management can keep it profitable for years to come. Whether you’re new to the game or an old veteran, these 6 modern features can increase property value as well as make it more comfortable for residents.

1. Wi-Fi

If your rental property doesn’t have Wi-Fi yet, better install it quick. Wi-Fi has become the standard for homes and businesses and if you want to stay marketable, a strong Wi-Fi signal is a must.

However, partnering with a low-quality Internet service can actually hurt, rather than help, your marketability.

Here are the top 10 service providers of 2017, according to Top Ten Reviews:Top Ten Reviews:

1. Comcast
2. Time Warner Cable
3. Verizon
4. AT&T
5. Cox
6. Charter
7. Suddenlink
8. Cable One
9. CenturyLink
10. Frontier

2. Solar-Powered Water Heater

Conventional natural gas or electric water heaters can be a substantial monthly expense. More importantly, they can make up a big part of your carbon footprint, too. Investing in a solar-powered heater is a one-time outlay that saves on both money and pollutant emissions.

Photo credit: thegreenmanproject.com

3. Home Automation

If you’re installing a solar-powered water heater, why not go one step further with home automation? Home automation devices like smart thermostats, smart lighting and smart HVAC can save energy, reduce a home’s carbon footprint and boost property value.

4. Home Surveillance

Home security systems, like those offered by ADT, Frontpoint and Armorax, should be next on your list of value-boosting property enhancements. With features like cameras, motion sensors, alarms, 24-hour surveillance and easy-to-use controls, they can protect your buyer and your reputation.

As you compare companies, keep in mind that although quality comes with a price, it pays in the long run.

See Also: 8 Sharp-witted Ways To Protect Your Rental Homes

5. Smart Doorbell

A doorbell may not be the first investment that comes to your mind, but have you heard of smart doorbells?

They’re the new peephole, allowing residents to discreetly view visitors while remaining hidden. Some smart doorbells also offer a monitoring feature so you can see a visitor before they even reach the door. Although small, these nifty devices can also boost property value.

Photo credit: securitysales.com

6. Central Air Conditioning

If your property does not already have central air, it’s time to get that installed. This will not only make your tenants’ lives more comfortable but it can also save energy costs in the long run.

Central air systems cost roughly $0.30 to $0.50 per hour at $0.10 kWh. For comparison, one window unit costs $0.11 to $0.75 per hour, depending on the size of the room being cooled. Keep in mind that most properties need more than one window unit to stay cool.

7. Water Softener

If your property is in an area with hard water, invest in a water softener. Hard water can create mineral buildups in pipes and appliances, like washing machines, dishwashers, and hot water heaters. Eventually, this can substantially reduce performance and lifespan in these appliances, forcing you to pay for repairs or even replacement sooner than necessary.

Having a water softener improves your property’s appraisal value and, as an added benefit, can prevent unsightly deposits on faucets, shower doors, etc.

8. Landscaping

If yard maintenance is not part of your tenant’s rental contract, then the responsibility of keeping the place looking nice falls to you as the landlord. Rental properties with curb appeal are worth more as well as they are better able to attract tenants when you have a vacancy.

Key areas to pay attention include:

  • Weeding flower beds/around shrubs
  • Mowing and watering the lawn
  • Trimming trees and shrubs
  • Raking fallen leaves in fall
  • Clearing snow from driveway/sidewalks

revamp garden

 

Landscaping is one area that can trap you into wasting money. Take care not to go overboard. Additions like ponds, fountains, and even swimming pools cost more than they are worth.

9. Renovations

Are your rental’s appliances getting old? Are the carpets looking shabby? Has the paint lost its pristine glow?

A renovation is an old trick of the trade, but not one to be forgotten. Updating the kitchens and bathrooms is a big one and it can provide about 80% ROI. The right changes can’t only improve property value but also attract higher-income tenants.

Conclusion

As you manage your rental properties, don’t forget that your renters always come first. Take care of them and you will have stable profits for years to come.

The post 9 Smart Investments to Improve Your Rental Properties appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Funding for real estate challenger Spruce shows New York’s startup scene is thriving

 Spruce, a new startup looking to speed up the mortgage, has raised $4.5 million in its series A financing from Bessemer Venture Partners, Omidyar Network, and Third Prime Capital along with a slew of private angel investors. Founded by two former employees of the robo-advisory wealth management company Betterment, the new startup is notable for a few reasons. First, it’s yet another… Read More

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Bitcoin just surged past $2,000 for the first time

 The world’s most popular cryptocurrency is now worth over $2,000 per coin.  That’s according to a range of bitcoin exchanges, including Coinbase and Kraken. That valuation puts the total market cap of bitcoin — the total number of coins in circulation — at $32.92 billion. Bitcoin has been on a tear this year, as this chart from Coindesk shows. Bitcoin first broke… Read More

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Timeline Of A Personal Injury Lawsuit

Understanding a personal injury lawsuit timeline can help a victim cope with the stress and emotional challenges that may arise with the processing of his case. Though the time and process may be different in some states, on the average, the process is complicated and time-consuming.

Unfortunately, a high percentage of Americans are unaware of the workings of the judicial proceedings both for civil and criminal cases. Because of this, it is extremely important that auto accident attorneys, for example, communicate the personal injury claim process to their clients before filing.

Regrettably, some lawyers fail to give clients the right information and instead promise to expedite action on the case to impress the victim to hire them. This practice is wrong and against legal ethics.

It is your right as a person who has a personal injury claim to know every step of the lawsuit. The right knowledge will help you prepare for any outcome since most personal injury cases are unpredictable.

This article will walk you through a step-by-step approach to understanding the personal injury lawsuit timeline so you’d know what to expect.

Seek Medical Attention

Immediately following an accident, it is paramount for the victim to seek medical care in order to minimize the severity of injuries. Whether it is a ‘slip and fall’ or ‘car accident,’ a hospital visit is necessary.

This single action will give you an edge if your insurance company tries to prove that there was no injury at all. Secondly, an immediate hospital visit will prove a point to the jury that you were hurt.

See Also: Personal Injury Claims After A Car Accident

Talk To A Lawyer

lawyer consultation

It is important to consult a lawyer if you suffer significant injury or other losses in an accident. If you are afraid of the cost, then take advantage of law firms who offer free consultations and discuss the situation with them.

It is necessary that you take this step because a lawyer can give you the right advice and help. He’ll guide you on how you can get a better settlement than the insurance companies initially offer.

Commencement Of Investigations

The investigation of the claims and medical records will start immediately once the lawyer agrees that your claims are worth filing in the law court. You can justify this by answering relevant questions from the solicitor and giving him access to your medical records.

Most importantly, you need to give out all pertinent information and be honest about the accident and your medical condition to avoid surprises in the courtroom.

Attorney Files An Insurance Claim

Most personal injury cases get settled out of court. However, it will still depend on the level of damage or loss suffered by the victim. Slip and fall accidents are mostly settled out of court. Auto accidents, on the other hand, are most likely resolved through the court process. An experienced attorney may get a reasonable settlement for his client from the insurance company.

In the case of a car accident, the lawyer should first submit the claims to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. After that, the claim will be investigated and compensation will be paid.

If the accident results in permanent disability, the lawyer will activate the Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) aspect of the law. This will help the victim get a resounding victory and much higher settlement in the case.

The Attorney Files A Lawsuit

Filing a lawsuit comes into play when the insurance company does not settle claims out of court, and your attorney sees no other option than to file a lawsuit.

The preliminary timeline for filing a personal injury lawsuit is as follows:

  • Serving appropriate documents to the defendant should take from 30 to 60 days.
  • The stipulated time for a response from the defendant, meanwhile, is within 30 days. In some cases, they may ask for additional days.

The parties will then exchange information related to the accident and this will involve complaints and counterclaims

Discovery

This stage of the legal process is meant to dislodge surprises that may arise during the main court sessions. At this juncture, each party (the plaintiff and the defendant) investigates one another using the documents and evidence submitted.

It has two major processes: interrogations and depositions. The first one requires parties to provide documents which will be useful during the court sessions. The latter, meanwhile, involves questions and answers from any witnesses.

The Mediation Stage

Following disclosure of the interrogations and depositions, attorneys may agree on certain terms. This can potentially lead to a peaceful settlement which is why this stage is also called as the ‘alternative dispute resolution’ stage.

Trial

personal injury trial

This is the last stage of the personal injury lawsuit timeline. All the parties must be present in court for the jury to go through the documents and interrogate the witnesses. The length of such cases can last for weeks or months.

 

The post Timeline Of A Personal Injury Lawsuit appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Important Things to Check Before Buying Furniture

How much do you know about the quality of the sofa you invested your money in? Did you get what you paid for?

Let’s face it.

There are tons of things you need to consider when you’re buying a piece of furniture. With so many considerations, it’s easy to feel confused, intimidated and frustrated. In the end, we just stick to things that make sense.

Unfortunately, a lot of manufacturers and retailers aren’t really honest about their products. There are things that they choose not to tell their customers. As a result, buyers often pay more than the quality they get.

To steer clear of overpaying for furniture, you need to have the right knowledge and ask the right questions.

Aesthetics aside, the first thing that consumers should consider is comfort.

In general, there are four principal components that can contribute to comfort: frame, spring system, cushion, and tailoring. If all these four passed the standard of quality, comfort would follow.

Here are the things to look for:

Framing and Cushioning

Let’s start with the framing.

If the frame is hardwood, ask if it has undergone kiln-drying. It’s the process of removing the moisture content of timber by using heat and airflow in a controlled environment. Kiln-dried wood lasts longer despite changes in humidity. It keeps wood from buckling, cracking or weakening.

To check the quality of the frame, feel the thickness of the board on the side of the sofa at the bottom. The standard width should be 1 and ¼ inches. Thinner boards will squeak if people move around it.

When it comes to cushioning, the heavier, the better. This is regarding the relationship between weight and quality.

For the spring system, sinuous wires or S-type springs are the standard and should run from front to back. You should be able to feel the spring when you push down on the sofa.

The Tailoring

Checking on how well the fabric of the sofa is tailored is equally important. Check if the seams are even and the piping ( tube-shaped edging ) lines up.

For printed sofas, the patterns should match both on the sides and front. For high-end pieces, the fabric should wrap the entire piece, including the back skirt. Patterns should start from one segment and continue to the next. There should be a seam in the center of the sofa’s back.

Quality of Leather

quality of leather

It is important for the buyer to listen to the salesperson when buying leather pieces. If he says that it’s a leather-match or leather-like, it’s not leather at all. The way to tell the difference is to look at the base of the sofa and see if it is dyed all the way through.

Next, ask if the leather is top grain. Top grain is the highest quality of leather, and furniture pieces made from this material are really expensive.

Non-top grain leather pieces could be split and they don’t wear much. They need to be moisturized and be kept away from the sun.

Drawers and Veneering

Dining sets, bedroom sets, tables, and lounges should be proportional to each other.

For pieces with drawers, check how they are hung. If drawers are tilted, the buyer will have an idea right away about the quality.

To check, take out the top drawer and check if its interior feels rough. Rough drawer interior means low-quality. Furniture pieces with excellent craftsmanship usually have dust panels that stop you from looking onto one drawer from another.

Check also the corner of the drawer and see how the veneers match. Veneer is a decorative covering of fine wood applied on top of a solid material, like plywood.

Good quality drawers are made with binders while cheaper ones are made with rollers. Checking the drawer on the upper left-hand part, where the manufacturer’s name is stamped, can give you a feel of the furniture quality.

Manufacturer’s Warranty

manufacturers warranty

The warranties on wood furniture typically cover cracking and splitting for one year. As for upholstered furniture, warranties generally include the frames. High-end types of furniture, meanwhile, should have five-year warranties on spring systems and cushions.

Consumers should check if they have a manufacturer’s warranty or retailer’s warranty. If it only shows the original address in tiny print at the bottom of the contract, the warranty will be void if they will move.

Takeaway

Consumers should be prudent when it comes to furniture shopping. The bits of advice above will help in finding the best furniture at the best price. So, go out and look for good furniture that you and your family will enjoy for many years to come.

See Also: Top 10 Tips for Buying Stylish Furniture on a Budget

The post 5 Important Things to Check Before Buying Furniture appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Home Inspection and Its Powerful Benefits

A celebration is typically in order when you finally get to buy that dream house of yours. It’s a huge prize and achievement after so much hard work and saving. But, what if you open that door only to see occasional power surges and broken pipes?

Opening your doors to those things is the most horrible way to start that next phase of your life. One way you can prevent those things from happening is through a home inspection.

Doing a home inspection is an excellent way to find problems that you didn’t get to see during your first visit to the property. By doing a home inspection prior to making a purchase, you’ll be saving yourself tons of headaches, frustrations and the high cost of repair.

Still not convinced? Here are some home inspection benefits you should know about.

Peace of Mind

home inspection

When we notice something out of place, it bothers us and makes us want to know what’s making us uneasy. A home inspection is one way of understanding that kind of problem.

See Also: 10 Important Home Features That Home Buyers Want

Safety

One of the main reasons you buy a house is for safety. It can protect you and your loved ones from the weather, dangerous elements, and other things that can compromise your safety. Doing an inspection can and will provide the security you need, like preventing personal injuries from happening.

A slight power surge may mean that some wirings are rotting or rats have begun chewing on the wires. You can already consider that as a fire hazard, and lots of tragic stories have been born from that.

Water dripping from the ceiling can be solved temporarily by a bucket, but what if it becomes full and turns into a slipping hazard? Never underestimate what a simple home inspection can do.

Savings

home inspection savings

A lot of homeowners disregard home inspection due to its cost. This way of thinking should be completely changed if you want to save a vast fortune. Knowing what needs repairs or fixing as soon as possible can prevent disasters, not only physically, but financially as well.

Having to face an abysmal ton of repairs in the future is a real headache. With home inspection, you can sort out what needs to be fixed immediately to prevent it from causing, even more, problems.

Why wait for that rusty and leaky pipe to fall and break that expensive bath tub upstairs? Why wait for that wire to burn down the house when you can change that wire for a small fee?

A home inspection can save you from that headache and that financial drawback that you were so desperately afraid of in the first place.

See Also: Warning: 7 Home Inspection Pitfalls That Can Cost You A Fortune

Takeaway

It’s normal for people to feel euphoric when they get to purchase their dream house. Because of the overwhelming emotions, they can inadvertently skip home inspection. They tend to disregard the idea, thinking that newer properties are impossible to have defects and damages.

Home inspection can provide us with a more comfortable life in the long run. From significant savings to saving the entire house we own, early assessment of our property is the next best thing we can do after popping that bottle of champagne.

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Get Rich In 5 Easy Steps

Spending 12 years in school and another 2 to 4 years getting a higher degree isn’t a complete guarantee that you’ll get rich easily. There are things and specific steps you need to do first before you can be successful in life. Unfortunately, despite spending several years in school, a lot of people are still not aware of this.

In this article, I’ll share with you the best tips and tricks on how to get rich that majority are still clueless about.

Step 0: Get a job

get a job

This isn’t a big secret. You got to start somewhere and it’s obviously important to have a cash flow.

Step 1: Pay off all high-interest debt

This means credit cards. Settling a debt with a high interest, say 17%, is like making an investment with 17% return!

One of the most common mistakes people make is to pay only the minimum required amount for their credit cards. This is actually banks’ trick to keep people paying forever.

Just have a look at your credit card bill and see how much you’ve been paying in interest. It’s a little shocking when you calculate how much it adds up in, say, 1 year.

See Also: 5 Ways to Help Get Out of Debt

Step 2: Save at least 10% of your income

save money

After you’re done with your credit card debt, start saving. Most people don’t save because they think that since they don’t earn much, they won’t have anything to put aside. That isn’t always the case.

In reality, the more we earn, the more we spend. So, as a remedy, make it a habit to pay yourself first. Put aside at least 10% of your income before you pay anything else.

Step 3: Create a nest egg

Your savings should be geared towards creating a safety net for yourself. Calculate your monthly expenses and then make it your goal to save 3 to 6 times that amount. This way, if (God forbid) you lose your job or, for some reason, you are unable to work for awhile, you will have 3 to 6 months to get your act together without going into debt.

See Also: 10 Ways To Save Money Without Compromising Your Lifestyle

Step 4: Invest

Once you are able to build your nest egg, continue saving at least 10% of your income. Put this money in a diversified Index Funds portfolio instead of a savings account.

Index Funds are investment products that include a huge amount of stocks and bonds that spread your money all over the market. This way, if one company goes down, you’ll have other bonds to rely on. You won’t have to worry about losing all your money with one wrong decision.

Index Funds are much preferred to a savings account because the return of your investment is much higher. A savings account might give you a return as low as 1% while the Index Funds can give you a minimum of 5% or even closer to 20%.

Simply choose one of the well-known companies to take care of everything and use its proposed Index Funds to put your money in. Take note that you might need to keep your money there for 10 to 15 years if you want to make the most out of it.

EXTRA TIP: Take advantage of the automated micro-investing services (like Acorns) that are available. With them, every time you spend money, the service will take the spare change and invest it for you!

Step 5: Choose your final destination

Now, you have to make a big decision. Will you keep investing for your retirement or are you going to cash it all out as soon as you have enough capital to finance your own business?

The first choice is foolproof, but it’ll take a long time. The second choice is riskier, but it can support your immediate plans.

Either way is great but make sure you consider your personality, skills, and goals while making the decision.

If you do want to turn your life around sooner, your steps should include the following:

1. Be an employee
2. Be self-employed
3. Be a business man
4. Be an investor

Start working somewhere and save enough capital to start your own business. Once your business has grown enough, have other people work for you while you concentrate on the further growth of your business. When you’ve increased your monthly income and you have more capital, you can become an investor.

These steps are specific and uncomplicated. All they need is for you to have enough time and dedication.

 

The post Get Rich In 5 Easy Steps appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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4 Top “Get Paid To Review Sites” You Should Definitely Try

Once you have an established blog in any niche, then writing paid reviews is one of the easiest ways to make money out of it. There are tons of companies today that are willing to pay a good amount of money just to spread awareness about their products.

One review may take only 20 to 30 minutes to write and it can earn you anywhere from $50 to $1000 dollars.

However, although writing is easy, the process of finding a good company that can pay you for writing a review is a different story. If you are looking for the best get paid to review sites, then the following list should be able to help you out.

Best websites to find paid reviews for bloggers

SponsoredReviews

sponsored-reviews

SponsoredReviews is one of the oldest websites when it comes to finding paid reviews for your blog. The site is very basic and does one simple job of acting as a bridge between bloggers and advertisers. It is one of the best market places for buying and selling sponsored reviews for your blog.

There are some conditions that you must satisfy before you can join the site:

1. Your blog must have a minimum age of 3 months.
2. Your blog must contain quality articles.
3. Your blog should be indexed in all major search engines.
4. Your blog must have a good Alexa rank.
5. You must have a Paypal account to accept your earnings.

One of the features of SponsoredReviews is that they allow you to set up your own price for every review.

This is a good thing for people with high authority blogs who complain that they deserve more money for each review they do. However, many new bloggers set the rates too high and then complain about not getting any results. Before joining them, make sure you know the right price for your site.

To start making money by writing paid reviews on your blog, you just need to register yourself on SponsoredReviews.com as a blogger.

BlogMint

blogmint

While there are unlimited ways to make money with your blog, having a YouTube channel is a completely different story. Building a good YouTube channel can take as much effort as building a blog, but the earning potentials are very less, especially since you’re mainly dependent on Adsense income.

However, thanks to BlogMint, new video bloggers have another big platform which they can use to make money with paid reviews so they are not completely at the mercy of Adsense.

You can find a good amount of paid reviews for your blog using BlogMint as well.

Another good thing is that your money is directly transferred to your bank account so you don’t need to do any extra effort to finally be able to use your money.

BlogExpose

blogexpose

BlogExpose.com is made for the sole purpose of acting as a platform for advertisers and bloggers.

The thing I like the most about them is that they don’t control your payments. You can find and talk to bloggers according to your needs and pay them as you like.

This way, you’ll be able to save your valuable money, unlike other sites which take a large commission for doing this.

See Also: 5 Simple Ways to Transform a Blog to a Money Making Machine

Famebit

famebit

And finally, for us, the top choice among this list of get paid to review sites is Famebit. It won’t matter if you have a YouTube channel, Tumbler blog or even an established social media profile before you can land a gig here.

See Also: Five Easy Ways To Make Money From Social Media

This means that normal people who don’t have enough SEO knowledge or don’t have time to work on a blog can also earn a good amount of money. The only downside is that they don’t offer to find regular sponsored posts for bloggers.

Which one of these sponsored review sites did you like the most? Do you know any better site to find sponsored reviews for your blog?

The post 4 Top “Get Paid To Review Sites” You Should Definitely Try appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5+1 Things I learned From The Best Personal Finance Books

Although we live in a time where we can literally find everything and anything online, there are still a lot of people who are clueless when it comes to money. Just imagine how many of us are still living in debt instead of wealth.

If you are one of these people, here are some of the most important personal finance tips I can share with you.

Write down your goals

list-goals

It is impossible to reach a destination when you don’t know exactly what and where it is. Everybody knows that, but a lot of people still fail to write down their goals in terms of work, money, achievements, or even personal life.

Know what you want and know it in detail.

What is your desired monthly income? How will you reach it? How long will it take you? How will your life change when you reach it? How will you and your life look like? How will you feel?

Learn these things about yourself and revise your goals as needed.

Take action

If a decision is not accompanied by action, then it’s just a wish and not an action.

Ideally, you don’t really need to take big steps right away. In fact, doing a quick research on how you can achieve your goals is one simple way to get started.

Keep yourself acting daily towards your goal even if it is with the smallest thing. You won’t reach your destination in one huge step but with a 1,000 small ones.

Everyone can save money

The more money we make, the more we spend.

That is exactly why most people are never satisfied with the amount of money they make. They want more because they spend too much money that they end up in debt.

In reality, you can save at least 10% of what you make if you…

See Also: 10 Ways To Save Money Without Compromising Your Lifestyle

…Pay yourself first!

From whatever you earn, put aside at least 10% BEFORE you spend anything. This way you’ll learn how to budget the remaining money you have for your expenses.

Open a savings account and use it. Don’t be one of those people who close their accounts after a couple of months.

Pay off your credit card

credit card

Settling a debt with high interest, like 17%, is like making an investment with 17% return! That is some great return, mind you.

Don’t just pay the minimum on your card. That is the banks’ trick to keep you paying forever. Put as much as you can spare above the minimum and keep on doing it until you are free from debt.

In case you have to pay more than one credit card (and who doesn’t?), there is a strategy you can use. It’s not magic, but it gives you a blueprint to follow.

Pay off the minimum amount on all cards except for the one with the smallest debt. In that one, pay off as much as you can every time.

When the smallest debt is paid off, do the same with the next one in order. Continue the process until you’ve cleared all your debts.

See Also: The Aussie Guide to Bad Credit & What to Do About It

+1. Poor people buy stuff; rich people buy assets

Average Joes think their cars or houses are assets when, in reality, they are actually liabilities. Rich people know this, so they try to put their money only on things that can make them earn more.

This is one of the best personal finance tips that is often overlooked by a lot of people.

Next time you want to spend money on something, take a minute and think: “Is this going to help me increase my monthly income or not?”

If the answer is no, maybe it’ll be wiser to just let the idea go.

 

The post 5+1 Things I learned From The Best Personal Finance Books appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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What Are The Advantages Of Business Consolidation Loans?

There are quite a few myths that revolve around debt consolidation loans. However, if your small business is struggling, debt consolidation loan is your only option to keep yourself afloat. It is also the only option that will not dampen your credit score. Debt consolidation is the hero without a cape that has saved countless number of companies from going down under.

According to the American Small Business Administration, almost 30% of the new small companies do not survive their first year in the market and almost 50% of them go under in their fifth year. The lack of funding and consolidation resources are majorly responsible for their untimely departure from the marketing world. In this cutthroat world of business, it is miraculous to get another chance with debt consolidation.

There are quite a few benefits you can enjoy when working with companies that offer actual debt consolidation meaning. This means you can’t only get your company on solid ground but you can also enjoy added benefits.

The list includes:

Reduced APR

With timely filed consolidation loans, you can reduce your annual payment rates and interest rates. If you happen to have a great credit history, you can file for lower interest rates with a longer payment term. You can enjoy APRs as low as 12% for repayment terms of 5 years or longer.

Lower monthly payments

This is something almost all businesses look forward to. You can coalesce all your monthly payments into one payment that has a lower interest rate. This automatically reduces the net amount you’ll be paying each month.

Additional borrowing

This is one benefit most new entrepreneurs would kill to enjoy.

When you are applying for your consolidation loan, you can apply for additional money to fund your future projects. Because of your lower interest rates, you are likely to get an increased DSCR for your business. This means, you do not have to take out short term debts again when starting a new project soon.

Simplify cash flow

There are three ways you can enjoy better cash flow.

1. You will have to pay just one creditor, instead of 3 or 4. It gives you the chance to use the loan amount to pay your credit card bills. You can just manage one account and the rest of the payments will take care of themselves.

credit card

2. You do not have to deal with defaulter’s notices anymore or penalties for missed payments. The consolidation loan company will take care of timely payments. In addition to that, you get to enjoy making one pre-scheduled payment to your loan company every month.

3. Longer debt and longer payment terms call for lower monthly payments. You can easily save more cash and cover regular expenses without cutting corners.

Say goodbye to creditors

You can resolve all your lines of credits at one go with one large sum. You’ll be able to give your business freedom to grow and expand into new dimensions. You will not have to attend to creditor calls and you can even pay off all your credit card bills with the sanctioned amount. Consolidation loan has the power to free up your revolving credit lines.

Payments are more anticipated

getting out of debt

You can coalesce many short-term loans into one loan with smaller payment amounts. You can also consolidate loans with variable interest rates under one loan amount that you can pay for a longer time period with a much lower, fixed interest rate. As a result, you can chalk out a definite plan and budget for the coming year in your business.

See Also: 5 Ways Business Investment Loans Can Help Your Start-Up

When dealing with consolidation loans, you will have to know how to negotiate for the best deals and better benefits. You need to find the right companies that offer the right kind of loans that your business needs to thrive.

There are currently two types of business consolidation loans that are available:

1. Secured debt consolidation loans

These are loans that come with usually low interest rates and low monthly payments as well. Secured loans mean that you will be pledging some form of tangible property against the loan. In that case, the lending party has more security about repayment.

It is not uncommon for a lending party to take possession of deposit accounts, business assets, and business equipment in case of missed payments. However, secured loans are better in terms of comparatively longer payment terms and low rates.

2. Unsecured debt consolidation loans

Since these do not require you to pledge any tangible property, they usually demand a high personal credit score. You will experience higher interest rates and monthly payments when you opt for unsecured consolidation loans.

You can usually get these unsecured loans from private lenders and alternative sources. Even P2P lending can help you out with unsecured loans. However, it is a little harder to get as compared to secured loans since it demands a squeaky clean business credit and personal credit.

Small business debt consolidation loan is quite a wonderful way to keep your business thriving in days of dire distress. This will not eat away into your credit score and you will still be qualified for more loans. Many businesses go bankrupt simply because they cannot figure out the right time to apply for a business consolidation loan.

Business consolidation loan is not bad for business, provided that you choose the right consolidating companies for the loans. The right company should be able give you added services, including debt counselling and debt management. Getting out of debt will not be a monumental challenge if you have the right company to help you out.

See Also: 4 Ways to Start Building Great Credit

The post What Are The Advantages Of Business Consolidation Loans? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Simple Hacks To Increase Your Retirement Savings

Are you saving for your retirement?

If you haven’t been able to start saving for retirement, you are not alone. The number of Americans who have no cash in their bank accounts is staggering.

According to a Federal Reserve report, almost 30% of Americans have literally no money in their accounts while 62% have at least $1,000. Half of today’s Americans couldn’t afford $400 to cover an emergency expense without borrowing money or selling something.

In another survey conducted by GOBankingRates.com, nearly 21% of its respondents claim to not have any savings account. 36% of them, on the other hand, are just starting out with their savings.

 

The importance of saving for your retirement cannot be overemphasized. The amount of money you will save today will see you through your golden age. Saving for retirement is not optional; it is something that everybody ought to take seriously.

If you’re interested to know the best way to save for retirement, below are simple hacks you can try.

Put Your Savings on Autopilot and Pay Yourself First

Simplify your retirement savings by placing it on auto pilot. It isn’t easy to make rational decisions with money, so simplify the process by setting up an automatic money transfer from your paycheck to your savings account.

A study by Prudential Financial Inc., a New Jersey financial services firm, discovered that 66% of workers between the ages of 21 to 30 would like to be automatically registered in a defined-contribution plan at work, such as a 401(k) or 403(b).

An automatic retirement saving plan will ensure that a part of your paycheck will go to your savings account without you having to think about it. More importantly, it will give you the benefits of paying yourself first.

Work Longer

work longer

Increasing your working hour as well as prolonging your retirement is a simple hack to earn and save more.

27% of Americans want to keep working as long as possible. Another 12% said they don’t plan to retire at all, according to a 2015 Federal Reserve study.

You will get more money for every overtime hours you spend on the job. This extra money can be channeled to your retirement savings, which can become quite substantial in the long run.

However, never work longer at the expense of your health. Use only a few hours in a week for overtime job.

Pile Up Your Extra Funds

When you get a raise, a tax refund or any other unexpected money, the wise thing to do is to contribute a large part of it to your retirement savings. A report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch found out that millennia’s, aged 21-34, were more involved in increasing their retirement contribution rates during the first half of 2016 than any other age group.

According to Stephen Chen, founder of New Retirement Inc, “Even just putting away $10 or $20 a paycheck will make a difference, and will get you into the habit of saving”.

Don’t Get Distracted by Debt

Substantial debt can be a huge obstacle to savings and investment. If you are already in debt, you will need a good debt repayment system to help you get out and keep you focused.

Even so, you shouldn’t allow debts to distract you from saving for your retirement. You should always pay yourself first before paying any bills. You can make it easier by automating your retirement savings.

See Also: 5 Ways to Help Get Out of Debt

Cut Down On Living Expenses

cut monthly expenses

Make use of effective budgeting to cut down on your monthly expenses. Cutting down on expenses doesn’t mean going to live in the woods; it only means adopting some cut saving behaviors. You can try buying in bulk, using coupons, switching to a more cost-effective brand or making more use of your DIY skills. No matter what your option is, the most important thing is that it can help you stick to your budget better.

See Also: 7 Ways to Live Within Your Means

There are many other ways to increase your retirement savings, especially for late starters. The challenge to retirement saving isn’t in knowledge, but in turning that knowledge into significant results.

Saving for retirement requires you to translate these hacks into actionable rules that will help you achieve your goal. Once you are able to follow them, you’ll have a comfortable retirement savings to fall back on when you no longer have the capacity to work.

The post 5 Simple Hacks To Increase Your Retirement Savings appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Five Easy Ways To Make Money From Social Media

Making money with social media is no longer a myth. In fact, you can even do it without breaking a sweat. There a lot of opportunities for those who are actively online, but to give you specific ideas on how you can actually earn, here are five good ways you can try.

Social Media Manager

social media manager

This wouldn’t make you eye-boggling sums but it will make you some cool side cash if you find the right gig. If you have had real success in getting people to notice, like, comment on or share your posts across social media platforms, then you already have the basic requirements.

Companies that know how social media is no longer an option in the 21st century can hire you to manage their social media marketing campaigns, design social media strategy and manage their platforms. What you just have to do is to know what these companies are. Most of the time, these are private contractor’s jobs that can be done remotely.

Make Money Off Of Your Videos

Not everyone can swing this admittedly, so I guess it may not be an “easy tip” for everyone. But, if you have an engaging personality, sense of humor, a unique perspective and considerable knowledge of a particular subject, then you can do a lot of things with social media.

You can monetize your YouTube Channel, for instance, by being a vlogger and posting videos. Once they go viral, you can get a reasonable side income. Apart from virality, you can also earn revenue by joining the Youtube Partner Program which basically allows Google to install ads at the start of your videos.

Take, for example, Grace Helbig. She creates fun Youtube videos and shares them on her other social media accounts.

You could also coach someone remotely. With the engagement that social media has brought about, you can do almost anything that can be done personally through a video tutorial, Skype or even over e-mail.

If you have an area of expertise and reasonable knowledge to help someone with, you can offer your services via social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Charge a fee for your services and make that cash.

You can even use a YouTube channel to upload your tutorials on a general basis and then promote them via other social media platforms.

Make Money Off Of Your Photos

make money of your photos

If you are an avid Instagram user and post various original photos across social media, you can turn that into a paying gig. However, before this gig can fly, you would probably have to have built a following and made people reasonably aware of your work and the quality of your work.

You can promote your work with platforms like Flickr or you can offer your work so people can use them for free on their websites. Once you are able to increase the number of people who are aware of your work, you can join paying sites like Shutterstock or iStockphoto. If someone takes interest in your work, he’ll be required to pay for your pictures before using them on his blogs.

Utilize Your Instagram Account

I can safely say that Instagram has a proven track record of conversion for businesses than most platforms. Its visual and captivating nature make it a great ground to start from.

You probably didn’t know that you could monetize your Instagram account, did you? Well, you can!

While you can’t make purchases from Instagram yet, its unique features make it a great place for showcasing your work. With platforms like Like2b.uy, which is designed to allow your followers to buy what they’ve seen in your feed with just a few clicks, you’ll be earning good cash in no time.

For you to experience this, you may need to add a third-party app. “Shop Instagram” or ” As Seen on Instagram” are great choices since they only need to be added to a part of your homepage. You can also link them in your Instagram bio or your website so you can drive traffic there

JennieKwonDesigns is one of those people who has had great success with this trick.

 

See Also: How to Increase Your Instagram Followers in 2017

Sell Your Art And Songs

Instagram and Tumblr are great means to test the waters with your artwork. When you get great responses, you can then utilize them to sell prints and other merchandise through online stores, like Etsy or Big Cartel.

If you can make great beats, jingles and good music, places like Soundcloud are one of the best and easiest to use platform that can help you get your work noticed. You can share the SoundCloud link to all your social media platforms and get instant downloads. Who knows who will hear your work?

See Also: 3 Things You Should Know Before Pursuing A Songwriting Career

There are a lot more options like Freelance writing, selling an e-book, and you can even come up with one! The opportunity to make money from social media is relatively endless. You just have to figure out what will work best for you.

Go make some money!

The post Five Easy Ways To Make Money From Social Media appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Effective Ways To Attract Web Traffic Even When On a Small SEO Budget

Search engine optimization is one of the most practical ways of generating new leads for sales conversions. Unfortunately, it can be pretty expensive for online businesses. This is one reason why some people choose to cut corners and engage in generating spam comments.

Such tactics have no chance of succeeding these days as search engines have become increasingly sophisticated and favor quality over quantity. This can leave most small online businesses in a tight spot since hiring experienced and skilled SEO practitioners can be quite costly and usually unaffordable.

If you are looking for ways to increase your web traffic while on a tight budget, here are some practical tips worth trying.

Publish Detailed and High-Quality Content

high quality content

A study that involved 20,000 keywords revealed that the average word count of the top 10 results was 2,000. The number one spot was taken by an article of 2416 words. This is a far cry from the short articles you can normally encounter on the web.

This reflects the idea that although users turn to search engines for quick answers, more than 10% of them are still interested in reading in-depth articles. This is why Google is also offering related search results to help users find more detailed information on their chosen subject.

The best way of achieving consistently high ranks in the SERPs is to create detailed and informative content that is relevant to what users need. However, you should never sacrifice quality to just to achieve a certain word count. Users can easily spot such tactics very easily.

Enhance On-Page SEO

Discussions on SEO are often dominated by topics such as link building, social signals, etc.

While they are indeed important, the function and importance of on-page SEO cannot be ignored. On-page SEO consists of optimizing the individual pages of the website so that they rank higher in search results. They are also needed to attract more user traffic.

For the meta description, pay attention to the readability, include the target keyword, and keep the word count to 70 characters or less. Even though the page description isn’t as important as before, creating proper description can still boost the click-through.

Keeping the URL short and easy-to-understand also counts. It gives users an idea of what the page contains even before the click. While keyword density is no longer a ranking factor, you can still include it twice or thrice in the body. Make sure it happens organically and naturally, as opposed to being forced.

Use Internal Linking

Internal linking is a process of referring links in one page to another page in the same domain. It is very useful for SEO because it can attract Google to a particular page of a site.

Internal linking also gives you visitors more options for reading. It also assists Google to index web pages more efficiently and boost your ranking for specified keywords. The fundamental benefit of internal linking is that it enables you to pass the authority of a particular page to another one.

Adopt Responsive Design

web design

Since more people do online searches using smaller devices, it’s a good idea to use a responsive design. Good examples include CSS style sheets, proportion-based grids, as well as adjustable images. These things enable the site’s layout and content to adjust to the devices’ requirements.

See Also: The Essential Elements of Modern Web Design

Conclusion

Although professional and sophisticated SEO is never cheap, it doesn’t mean that you always have to break the bank just to boost your traffic. The techniques outlined hardly cost anything, yet they are easy to implement. They can provide the basic building blocks for achieving superior SEO.

See Also: The Future of SEO – Predictions and Premonitions That Will Dominate 2017

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Guide To Life Insurance: How to Make Sure Your Policy Takes Care of You

Life Insurance. It’s one of those things no one really wants to talk about, but everyone has to.

You need insurance for protection against accidents, coverage in times of need, and security when your financial situation becomes vulnerable. While regular insurance can cover car repairs, medical bills and home repairs, life insurance can make sure your family will still be provided for and left money to live on in case something happens.

In this article, you’ll learn the best tricks to make sure your life insurance policy is prepared to take care of you and your family. You can consider this your quick guide to life insurance.

Term Insurance Only

You should never buy any sort of life insurance that is not term insurance. Permanent or “whole life”, as some insurance agents are now calling it, is nothing more than a scam-like, highly complex product put together by insurance companies so they can charge large commission fees off you.

The premise of the claim is that the payments you make into the policy build cash value (almost like an investment) which you can later use as collateral for loans or payment for your monthly insurance premiums. You can also withdraw them out as cash, too.

However, the amount of money you pay to have this “inner-policy” cash value is actually more expensive compared with the fee that you have to pay to own it.

In reality, the monthly premiums are almost always so much higher than for a similar term policy. This can end up with you losing money with a whole life policy, even if it seems like you are “investing”. This can be a good option for some individuals, but might not work for everyone.

Buy Term With A Renewability Feature

Term insurance is dirt cheap so there’s no reason not to buy it. When you do, make sure it has a “renewability” feature attached to the policy. This feature will allow you to renew your policy without the need to provide evidence of insurability again.

health problems

This can be incredibly useful, especially if you experience health problems later in life. If these health problems showed up on an EoI doctor’s report, your rates for a future term insurance policy would be higher.

Be sure to ask about the policies’ coverages as you go through your options.

See Also: What To Look For In A Good Health Insurance Plan 

Cover 10X Your Current Income

No one likes to buy insurance. However, since it’s meant to secure your family in the event you die, it still makes an essential investment.

death in the family

Because of this, you should purchase a policy with a face value that is, at least, ten times your current income level. Thoroughly review your financial capability and make sure you can afford and are prepared to invest in this kind of insurance.

It shouldn’t take up too much of your paycheck, but it should still cut off a chunk of it. Make sure that you still have enough funds in case your family experiences an emergency. A financial planner can help you with this.

If used wisely, your family could invest the insurance money and make it last as they search for jobs. In case you invest in less than ten times your current income, it will be difficult to stretch the money over a number of years.

Be sure to research all types of policies and keep your options open. Just by knowing what you have available and what you qualify for can make the initial process easier. You can use the information as a guide to life insurance.

See Also: Win The Life Insurance Game: Do These 4 Things Before Getting Your Physical

 

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Alibaba’s arch rival JD.com spins out its financial services business

jd jd.com While Alibaba’s Ant Financial fintech affiliate is out doing deals to expand its global presence and raising a $3 billion war chest for further M&A, its chief rival in China has made a strategic deal of its own. JD Finance, the financial services business belonging to Alibaba competitor JD.com, is going independent, according to a deal announced yesterday. The business was started… Read More

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7 Ways to Live Within Your Means

Financial gurus often talk about living within your means. You hear it all the time but do you know what it truly means? Have you figured out how to do this?

This advice is all about spending less than what you receive. Another way to put it is to cut back and that sounds no fun at all. However, it is necessary if you find yourself struggling financially.

For the majority, this can be hard to achieve and definitely easier said than done. It is a struggle to battle out bills, rent, food, social life, and maybe travel expenses too. Aside from this, there are credit cards and loans that could tempt us. Unfortunately, this lifestyle is not possible with a limited salary. There are also reckless spending that could catch up and wreck your bank account. This oftentimes causes great stress. It is essential to make important changes to avoid financial ruin.

The question is, is there a way to achieve this without actually changing your lifestyle. Is saving synonymous to sacrifice?

Rather than giving up, there are some tips you might want to take into consideration, although these might require a few sacrifices too.

• Learn how to cook

learn how to cook

Bringing a home-cooked lunch and even some snacks to work can help reduce your food expenses, especially if you tend to splurge on overpriced meals. Just think of how much you could save during the week if you bring your own food!

What’s more is that the food make can be cheaper and healthier if you make it yourself. So from now on, learn to cook even just the simplest of dishes to have more spending money for the weekends and be healthier as well.

• Create a budget

One way to control how much you spend is setting a budget and sticking to it, all while putting your savings to the side. Opening a separate savings account can very much help you, as you won’t be tempted to spend it.

See Also: 5 Powerful Hacks To Help You Simplify Your Budget

• Download saving apps

This is probably the easiest way to save since you’re just on your phone. With several apps to choose from, you’ll certainly find one that suits your needs.

Aside from tracking your usual expenses, at the end of the month, you can see how much you’ve spent in the past week or month. You can also see where you spend too much, allowing you to see where you can cut down your expenses.

• Avoid splurging

Before buying something, you might want to think about it thoroughly first. Ask yourself, “Do I need it?” “What will I use it for?” “When will I use it?” “Do I have something similar at home?”

Meanwhile, despite the notion that you get what you pay for, there are actually cheap items that are also quality goods. So if you really want to buy something, take a look around for the lowest price or try your best to find promos. These will definitely help you avoid spending more money than you really should.

See Also: 7 Steps To Slow Your Financial Burn Rate

• Review recurring expenses

Take time to sit down and review monthly bills and financial obligations. Check the ones that can be negotiated for better rates. Even insurances are reassessed yearly. Do research ahead of time.

• Utilize financial tools

Aside from apps, there are tools that you can use to find discounts and promo codes. There are best deals available in the market for your disposal.

• Consider doing some DIY projects

painting own nails

Choose DIY projects that can help you save money and those that are within your skill level. This includes painting your own nails, making your own cleaning solutions, and growing your herbs and vegetables.

Saving money and trying to live off of what you have can be extremely hard and would take a lot of self-control. So, just try your best to follow these tips and who knows, everything just might work out.

 

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