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Benefits of Finance Subsidiaries

A finance subsidiary is a separate legal entity created for the sole purpose of carrying out certain financial activities on behalf of its parent company. While a financial institution may use a finance subsidiary to issue stock, a consumer company can set up a finance subsidiary in the form of a captive finance company to provide financing. To treat another company as its subsidiary, the parent company must own more than 50 percent of that company’s interests. Wholly-owned subsidiaries are not uncommon, especially in the case of finance subsidiaries. A parent company can also benefit from a finance subsidiary’s separate-corporate-identity status because it can limit liability and achieve optimal returns.

Fundraising

While a company could hire outside financial underwriters to handle its fundraising by selling financial securities, it is often beneficial to keep such financial activities internal if the company has the capacity to do so. Companies pay underwriting fees to financial underwriters for their efforts to pitch and sell securities to investors. Using a financial subsidiary of its own affiliation, a company avoids paying costly underwriting fees. It also benefits from its subsidiary’s intimate knowledge of the parent company’s business, which can more effectively attract interested investors.

Credit Financing

Financial activities are critical in supporting a company’s primary business operations. For example, to increase product sales, a company may consider offering consumer financing with funds designated for purchasing specific products. A company could team up with an outside financial institution to handle consumer credit applications, arrange loans and manage ongoing loan payments. But given the potential benefits, including additional interest revenue, a company would likely want to partner with its own finance subsidiary, often in the form of a captive finance company, for closer cooperation. This is quite common, for example, in the area of car sales. Major car manufacturers like Ford Motor often control their own finance arms; in the case of Ford, Ford Credit is a captive finance company. Keeping such functions within the company can help generate tailored credit terms better suited to customer needs.

Limited Liability

Using a finance subsidiary helps shield a parent company from certain liabilities. From a legal standpoint, a finance subsidiary is different from a finance division within a company. A subsidiary is a separate legal entity and can bear full corporate liability on its own. Therefore, a parent company is liable for its subsidiary’s financial liability only to the extent of its investment holdings in the subsidiary, and creditors cannot request that any unmet liability be covered by the parent company’s assets. While a company may use an inside finance division to handle certain financial matters, for its own protection it can choose to rely on a separate finance subsidiary to undertake riskier financial activities.

Optimal Returns

A successful finance subsidiary also plays to a parent company’s advantage by contributing goodwill and easing the transfer of liquidation returns. When its finance subsidiary performs well, the parent company benefits from increased investment goodwill (or positive associations) attached to the subsidiary. Moreover, investments in a subsidiary are held as assets on a parent company’s books and can be used as collateral when needed for additional debt financing, which the use of an internal finance division cannot provide. If it becomes necessary to sell off unwanted finance operations, it is usually easier to find buyers for an independent subsidiary than it is to divest a division of a consolidated business.

How to Shop for Home Insurance

Own a home? Looking to buy a home? You’re going to need homeowners insurance. There’s no getting around it, especially if you’ll be financing the purchase: Before handing you one dollar of their money, any lender will require proof that the property is insured. But for some reason, home insurance isn’t as talked-about as health, auto, or even life insurance. What do you need, and how do you find the best deal? We asked some insurance professionals to give us some of the lesser-known facts of home insurance life.

Get a CLUE
You probably know about your FICO score, but what about your home’s CLUE?

The Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (C.L.U.E. is the formal insurance acronym) is a database that holds a record of any claim made against a property. Underwriters can find the date of the insured loss, type of claim and how much the insurance company paid on the claim.

Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at insurancequotes.com, says, “A tip for home buyers is to request that the seller provide a copy of the home’s CLUE report. It’s only available to homeowners and is free to pull every 12 months, similar to credit reports. This will help buyers understand what damage has occurred to a property.” And that’s good to know, because “a home’s claim history affects the [insurance] rate a new buyer must pay. Claims that a previous owner makes years before you buy his or her property can cause you to pay more.” Click here to get a copy of your home’s C.L.U.E. report.

Calculate the Needed Coverage
It’s a simple calculation, right? You need enough home insurance to cover the value of your home. Not so fast! You need enough insurance to rebuild your home, preferably at today’s prices. According to Adam Johnson at QuoteWizard.com, “Often shoppers make the mistake of insuring [a house just] enough to cover the mortgage, but that usually equates to 90% of your home’s value. Due to a fluctuating market, it’s always a good idea to get coverage for more than your home is worth. Purchasing replacement cost value over actual cash value is a great idea too. Replacement cost value ensures any damages will pay out enough to restore to its original condition.”

“You can rest easy knowing that you could rebuild your home after a major loss without worrying about depreciation, policy limits or insurance construction costs once you’ve repaired or replaced the damaged property,” agrees Joe Vahey, vice-president and personal lines product manager at Erie Insurance Group in Pennsylvania. “This is definitely a better option than actual cash value, which takes depreciation into account when calculating the amount of your reimbursement.”

Of course, replacement cost value policies are more expensive. In determining the amount of coverage you need, a good rule is to multiply the total square footage of your home by the cost of construction per square foot in your area. Local real estate agents, builder’s associations or insurance agents can help you find that number. Some of the factors that might affect your replacement cost include:

local construction costs
the house’s size and the type of exterior wall construction
whether some or all of it was custom built
local building codes for natural disaster-prone areas (earthquakes, hurricanes, landslides, etc.)
But be careful. Some policies might not fully cover the cost to rebuild your home to the newest building standards.

What Else Needs Insuring?
Home insurance isn’t just about replacing the home. Vahey advises considering your liability coverage, which protects you if somebody gets hurt on your property (and some instances away from your home, as well). Have at least $300,000 in coverage and possibly an umbrella policy too, which could add $1 to $5 million to your home and auto insurance policies. “Lawsuits aren’t as uncommon as you might think, and they have the potential to wipe out many people’s net worth,” he warns.

What if you live in a flood or hurricane area? Or an area with a history of earthquakes? Standard home insurance policies don’t normally cover these types of natural disasters. You’ll want riders for these. There’s also sewer and drain backup coverage you can add on, and even identity recovery coverage that reimburses you for expenses related to being a victim of identity theft.

Say your home suffers major-league damage. You can restore it to its original glory (thanks to your replacement cost value policy), but it’s going to take at least six months to a year to rebuild. Where will you live in the meantime? Loss of use coverage will reimburse you for the costs associated with staying in a hotel or renting an apartment.

Protecting Your Stuff
Home insurance doesn’t just cover your home. It also covers your personal possessions – some of them. Policies differ, but they will typically cover 50% to 70% of the amount of insurance you have on your home.

In order to know if you have enough coverage to replace your possessions, make periodic assessments of your most valuable items. According to John Bodrozic, co-founder of HomeZada.com, “Many consumers are under-insured with the contents portion of their policy, because they have not done a home inventory and added the total value to compare with what the policy is covering.”

He continues, “In addition, many items they own may not be covered, especially collectible items like art, jewelry, coins, wine, etc. The consumer needs to know the value of these collectibles and shop for the special riders above and beyond the standard policy.” (Click here for a A Quick Guide on How to Insure Jewelry).

Now Go Shopping!
Finally, contact local agents for quotes. According to Tom Austin, co-founder of Bungalow Insurance, a Philadelphia independent insurance broker, “there aren’t many online options (only about 5% of homeowners insurance was sold online), so if you want to get multiple quotes, you’ll have to see an agent.”

How many quotes? According Sarah Brown, insurance expert at Obrella.com, “Contact five or more companies so that you know what people are offering and you have leverage in negotiations. If you know how much coverage you need, they won’t be able to sell you unnecessary policies and you’ll be able to get the best price.”

Before deciding on a policy, make sure you understand your deductibles and how they work. Don’t get caught off guard when you file a claim (see Will Filing An Insurance Claim Raise Your Rates?). Deductibles for special events, such as hurricanes, could be a percentage of your home’s value, rather than a flat amount. Also check out Eight Financial Safeguards If Disaster Strikes and Hurricane Insurance Deductible Fact Sheet.

Developing a Financing Strategy

Introduction

A financing strategy is integral to an organisation’s strategic plan. It sets out how the organisation plans to finance its overall operations to meet its objectives now and in the future.

A financing strategy summarises targets, and the actions to be taken over a three to five year period to achieve the targets. It also clearly states key policies which will guide those actions.

A suggested structure and contents for a financing strategy are outlined below.

1.  Where are we now?

This section summarises where the organisation is at the start of the strategy. This includes an assessment of the key risks facing the NGO and the opportunities and resources it has available.

2.  Where would we like to be?

This section summarises key financial targets for three to five years’ time, and is informed by the risks and opportunities identified in the first section. It will include as a minimum:

  • The desired funding mix – the balance and sources of restricted and unrestricted funds.
  • Donor dependency – linked to the funding mix, this is the realistic and appropriate level of funding to accept from donor agencies (expressed as a percentage of overall income).
  • Level of general reserves – usually expressed as the number of days that the organisation could continue without external funding.

3.  How do we get there?

This is the ‘meat’ of the financing strategy. It describes what actions you will take each year to finance the strategic plan and achieve the financial targets identified in the second section.

This might include sections on:

  • how to increase the mix and level of unrestricted funds
  • how to finance core costs
  • how to build up reserves
  • how to replace and maintain fixed assets
  • how to apply funds to achieve maximum benefit

For example, actions to increase the percentage of unrestricted income might include:

  • increasing or introducing fees for users of services to recover some or all of the costs of providing the service;
  • introducing income-generating activities;
  • making use of under-utilised resources (eg renting out office space, vehicles);
  • increasing the priority given to fundraising for unrestricted funds.

4.  Key policies

This section will include policies that guide the financing strategy.  The examples given are for guidance only, and may not be appropriate or detailed enough for your organisation.

  • Reserves policy – what level of reserves you aim to build up, and how surpluses will be handled.

Example: It is our policy to maintain general reserves equivalent to 6 months of operating expenditure.  This policy is reviewed by the Board every three years.  General fund surpluses in a given year will be added to this reserve.  If the reserve level exceeds the policy level, we will  spend it on behalf of the beneficiaries in line with our strategy.

  • Core costs policy – what method will be used to recover programme support costs from projects and funders. It will also clarify the policy on subsidising ‘poorer’ projects and how that will be decided and managed.

Example: It is our policy to appoprtion overhead costs to projects on a monthly basis, in proportion to the direct costs incurred by each project.  Each project should generate enough income to cover both its direct and apportioned indirect costs, unless the Board authorises otherwise for particular cases.

  • Pricing and cost recovery policy – where charges are to be made to service users, this will explain the basis and formula used for the charging, and the pricing structure.

Example: It is our policy to charge users of the clinic for consultation, drugs and lab tests.  The basis for the charge is cost plus 10% to cover overhead.  Patients unable to pay may apply to our ‘Special Scheme’ for assistance.

  • Ethical policy – this will explain who the NGO will or will not accept funds from and what funds may or may not be used for. This will be particularly relevant to NGOs involved in advocacy work.

Example: It is our policy to consider the ethical nature of all funds offered to us before accepting. For example,  we will not accept funds derived from any illegal source, or from corporates engaged in arms dealing or child labour.  We will not accept funds that create a conflict of interest.  We consider each case in line with our values.

10 Tips For Achieving Financial Security

When it’s time for you to retire, will you be able to afford it? Almost all of the research conducted on the subject, over the last few years, shows that most individuals are unable to demonstrate financial readiness for their retirement years. This only serves to underline the fact that saving for retirement is a challenging process that requires careful planning and follow-through. Here we review some helpful tips that should help you on your way to a comfortable retirement.

  1. Start as Soon as You Can
    It is obvious that it is better to start saving at an early age, but it is never too late to start – even if you are already close to your retirement years – because every penny saved helps to cover your expenses.

If you save $200 every month for 40 years at a 5% interest rate, you will have saved significantly more than an individual who saves at the same rate for 10 years. However, the amount saved over the shorter period can go a long way in helping to cover expenses during retirement. Also, keep in mind that other areas of financial planning, such as asset allocation, will become increasingly important as you get closer to retirement. This is because your risk tolerance generally decreases as the number of years in which you can recuperate any losses goes down.

2. Treat Your Savings as an Expense
Saving on a regular basis can be a challenge, especially when you consider the many regular expenses we all face, not to mention the enticing consumer goods that tempt us to spend our disposable cash. You can guard amounts you want to add to your nest egg from this temptation by treating your retirement savings as a recurring expense, similar to paying rent, mortgage or a car loan. This is even easier if the amount is debited from your paycheck by your employer. (Note: If the amount is deducted from your paycheck on a pre-tax basis, it helps to reduce the amount of income taxes owed on your salary.)

Alternatively (or in addition), you may have your salary direct-deposited to a checking or savings account, and have the designated savings amount scheduled for automatic debit to be credited to a retirement savings account on the same day the salary is credited.

3. Save as Much as You Can in a Tax-Deferred Account
Contributing amounts earmarked for your retirement to a tax-deferred retirement account deters you from spending those amounts on impulse, because you are likely to face tax consequences and penalties. For instance, any amount distributed from a retirement account may be subject to income taxes the year in which the distribution occurs, and if you are under age 59 1/2 when the distribution occurs, the amount could be subject to a 10% early-distribution penalty (excise tax).

4. Diversify Your Portfolio
The old adage that tells us that we shouldn’t put all of our eggs in one basket holds true for retirement assets. Putting all your savings into one form of investment increases the risk of losing all your investments, and it may limit your return on investment (ROI). As such, asset allocation is a key part of managing your retirement assets. Proper asset allocation considers factors such as the following:

  • Your age – This is usually reflected in the aggressiveness of your portfolio, which will likely take more risks when you’re younger, and less the closer you get to retirement age.
  • Your risk tolerance – This helps to ensure that, should any losses occur, they occur at a time when the losses can still be recuperated.
  • Whether you need to have your assets grow or produce income.

5. Consider All of Your Potential Expenses in Your Financial Plan
When planning for retirement, some of us make the mistake of not considering expenses for medical and dental costs, long-term care and income taxes. When deciding how much you need to save for retirement, make a list of all the expenses you may incur during your retirement years. This will help you to make realistic projections and plan accordingly.

6. Budget
Saving a lot of money is great, but the benefits are eroded or even nullified if it means you have to use high-interest loans to pay your living expenses. Therefore, preparing and working within a budget is essential. Your retirement savings should be counted among your budgeted recurring expenses in order to ensure that your disposable income is calculated accurately.

7. Periodically Reassess Your Portfolio
As you get closer to retirement and your financial needs, expenses and risk tolerance change, strategic asset allocation must be performed on your portfolio to allow for any necessary adjustments. This will help you ensure that your retirement planning is on target.

8. Reassess Your Expenses and Make Changes Where Possible
If your lifestyle, income and/or fiscal responsibilities have changed, it may be a good idea to reassess your financial profile and make adjustments where possible, so as to change the amounts you add to your retirement nest egg. For instance, you may have finished paying off your mortgage or the loan for your car, or the number of individuals for which you are financially responsible may have changed. A reassessment of your income, expenses and financial obligations will help to determine if you need to increase or decrease the amount you save on a regular basis.

9. Consider Your Spouse
If you are married, consider whether your spouse is also saving and whether certain expenses can be shared during your retirement years. If your spouse hasn’t been saving, you need to determine whether your retirement savings can cover not only your expenses, but those of your spouse as well.

10. Work with an Experienced Financial Planner
Unless you are experienced in the field of financial planning and portfolio management, engaging the services of an experienced and qualified financial planner will be necessary. Choosing the one who is right for you will be one of the most important decisions you make.

Do You Pay a Retainer Fee Up Front With a Bankruptcy Lawyer?

Paying a retainer fee upfront for a bankruptcy lawyer is standard practice. Generally, lawyers will not begin any work for the client or consider themselves the client’s legal representative without receiving some form of payment. Bankruptcy lawyers are particularly careful about the payment fee structure because their fees must be disclosed to the court. The upfront fee payment varies depending on the lawyer and the amount of work required to successfully handle the case

Carefully review the bankruptcy lawyer's retainer agreement before paying retainer fees.

Consultation

  • Set up initial consultations with different bankruptcy lawyers. Many bankruptcy lawyers provide free initial consultations with potential clients. Find out if there is any paperwork that should be brought to the meeting or any forms you need to fill out beforehand. The more information the attorney has regarding your financial situation, the easier it will be for him to provide an estimate of the legal fees he will charge.

Retainer Fees

  • Ask the lawyer to explain the difference between the retainer fee and total amount of attorney fees for the case. Discuss the amount of the retainer fee, the type of work the attorney will start to perform once he receives the fee, and acceptable methods of payment. Some attorneys may require a small retainer fee upfront to start fielding calls from creditors and start collecting documents needed for the bankruptcy case. Attorneys may not begin working on the case until they receive a substantial portion of the total fee. Find out the attorney’s refund policy before giving him any money. It is advisable to know how much money you will get back if you decide not to file for bankruptcy or if you decide to change attorneys.

Payment Plan

  • Bankruptcy lawyers know that many people interested in bankruptcy do not have enough money immediately available to pay for legal services. Talk about the possibility of setting up a payment plan to cover the retainer fees and any additional fees associated with the case. Provide full disclosure to the attorney regarding any pending lawsuits, wage garnishments or foreclosure proceedings that may occur. Those facts could affect how soon payment must be received to file the case and start bankruptcy proceedings.

Retainer Agreement

  • Carefully review the retainer agreement after choosing a particular lawyer. The retainer agreement should provide a breakdown of each fee amount, what it covers and the legal services the lawyer will provide during the case. Make sure the payment terms included in the retainer agreement directly reflect the arrangements discussed with the lawyer. Maintaining clear communication with the lawyer will help prevent any future misunderstandings.

The Importance of Business Insurance

If you can’t afford to insure your business, then you can’t afford to do business. And old saying that remains true to this day. If you are in the stages of budgeting for a business or the security of your established business is important to you, below are three reasons why you need business insurance.

Structural Damage

Whether it be a natural disaster, an incident at an adjacent building or vandalism, damage to the physical structure of your business can occur in a multitude of ways. Ensuring you have adequate building insurance is crucial in recovering your structure quickly and without extensive costs.

Theft

While you may not consider your business equipment to be appealing for thieves, it is. And we aren’t solely speaking about office computer equipment. Professional health and beauty studios such as the ones offering Weight Loss programs and services in Dallas own and operate expensive, high-tech professional equipment. If thieves steal equipment such as this from your business, they also take away your ability to trade. Insurance on this equipment is crucial to have it quickly replaced.

In addition to equipment and contents insurance, be sure that whichever policy you take out covers any leased equipment. If you are renting infrastructure, be sure that your insurance will pay out any remaining monies owed.

Personal Liability Insurance

It doesn’t matter if you provide a physical service such as the example used above, or your clients and customers just visit your office to discuss design proposals and sign papers, accidents can happen such as a visiting client slipping over and falling because of a loose rug. If this results in an injury, these clients can quickly become claimants, leading to the requirement for you to cover medical costs.

Ongoing Business Insurance

For any of these events, or many others which can occur and affect the ability for you to operate your business, look for a provider who can issue insurance which covers your ongoing basic costs during downtime. Remember that your suppliers will still require monthly payments for items such as utility costs, staff healthcare benefits, and rent while you wait for your new equipment to arrive. While it isn’t going to cover any profit loss, it can at least keep you afloat until you can begin operating again.

In addition to these items, speak with business owners who you know and ask about their level of insurance and what it covers. While you may not need some of the items mentioned above, there are likely to be many others you do.

Debt Collection Agencies: The Essentials

If you’re struggling with debts, it can be a worrying time, especially if you don’t have the finances to pay them off quickly. Creditors can pass your debts on to a debt collection agency (DCA) if you have long-term arrears or haven’t responded to default notices.

Debt Collection Agencies The Essentials

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This can make the situation even more stressful, and you need to understand exactly what a DCA is and how you should work with them to sort out your debts. It’s important to realise that you’re not alone, with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau dealing with almost 4,000 new debt queries every day in the fourth quarter of 2015, but you do need to get the situation under control.

What Do Debt Collection Agencies Do?

DCAs take over the collection of debts from creditors when they haven’t managed to get payments or organise a payment plan with the debtor. There are two ways in which they can work for the creditor: in some circumstances, the creditor will have sold the debt for a smaller lump sum, or the agency will simply be collecting the money on their behalf.

Dealing with a Debt Collection Agency

It’s essential that you realise a DCA doesn’t have any more powers than the original creditor, and they are not bailiffs. They will generally make contact via the phone or post, but if they visit your home you do not have to let them in.

Receiving a letter from a DCA is worrying, and they may state they’ll take you to court or send an agent to your property if you don’t respond, but they cannot mislead you or lie about the action they can take. It’s unlikely that they’ll start court proceedings if you state that you’re trying to sort out your debts, such as through an IVA. Almost 40,000 IVAs were issued to individuals in 2015.

The most important point to remember is not to ignore the agency, as the situation isn’t going to go away. You should take action as soon as possible, such as looking to explore an IVA through Carrington Dean.

The sooner you contact the DCA and arrange how you are going to pay off the debt, the sooner the situation will be resolved and the more amenable they are likely to be if you arrange to make the payments you can afford.

Trading 101: Binary Options and Technical Analysis for Beginners

Are you planning to try stock trading? Or are you already enjoying the exciting nature of the stock market? Either way, stock trading is not for the faint-hearted. Let’s face it, trading in the stock market and other financial markets can be overwhelmingly profitable and risky at the same time. Because of this factor alone, most of us are afraid to take a dip and experience the real scene behind the stock markets. Luckily, there are simpler and easier methods being introduced to the public, one of which is the binary options with the aid of technical analysis. Binary options and technical analysis are two different terms that are closely related.

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What is Binary Option and Technical Analysis?

The Binary Option is one of the easiest methods of trading in the stock market. Most of the rules applied in binary option are similar to trading stocks. Thus, those investors and traders are already familiar with the bits and pieces of binary option and most of them consider it as a simple yet profitable method of trading and investing.

On the other hand, Technical Analysis focuses on the asset prices. Technical Analysis is conducted to predict the possible direction of the stock market. Technical analysis practitioners rely on the current and previous information available. In addition to that, the technical analysis gives primary importance to the value of charts and price actions instead of the efficiency ratios. By means of doing technical analysis, it will be easier for the investors and traders to choose which stocks and shares are worth the investment. However, since the results derived from the technical analysis are a mere prediction, there are still chances that it will not happen in real-life situations.

Advantages of Binary Option and Technical Analysis

  • The binary option is simple to trade unlike the other variations of stock trading. The binary option can also serve as a training ground for individuals who want to start stock trading.
  • Through the use of technical analysis, it will be easier to come up with a doable and reliable plan when it comes to trading and investing. It also helps to guide the investors and traders to choose the stocks and shares that are cost-effective and has an impressive return on investment.
  • By combining the rules and principles practiced in both the binary option and technical analysis, trading in the stock market can be a piece of cake most especially if you will come up with a plan that is interrelated to the current trends in the stock market.

Tips to become successful in Binary Option and Technical Analysis

  • Get your facts and data straight. Binary option and technical analysis depend on the reliable facts and data, therefore, ensuring that you get the most reliable information is a must.
  • Create a winning strategy that will for you perfectly.
  • Try various trading strategies using free demo accounts. The demo accounts will serve as your training ground whenever you are ready to face the real world of trading.

 

For more info click here:- http://www.opteck.com

Food and Beverage Retailers Lack Cohesive E-Commerce Strategies

According to a recent study by Nielsen, on Digital’s Influence on Grocery Shopping, three quarters of UK consumers use the Internet to purchase food and household goods online. This might be good news for the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon, which has continued its digital expansion into grocery shopping in the UK. But many food and beverage retailers are unprepared for the seismic changes predicted in the not so distant future, and say industry observers, those who fail to develop a cohesive e-commerce strategy, will be almost certainly left behind.

Food and Beverage Retailers Lack Cohesive E-Commerce Strategies

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Growth in Online Sales in Food and Beverages

Although the growth of e-commerce in the food industry has been relatively slow, it’s expected to accelerate rapidly by 2018. According to BI Intelligence statistics, by then, online grocery sales will have a compound annual growth rate of 21.1 per cent compared to 3.1 per cent for offline grocery sales.

This is because, says Elliot Maras, writing for foodlogistics.com, consumers will be drawn to the greater convenience of shopping online and the larger range of products available. Services like same day delivery and concierge shopping will meet consumer concerns over freshness and timeliness.

Cost is another mitigating factor, and according to Nielsen UK Head of Retailer Insight, Mike Watkins, 75 per cent of the factors that impacted what people bought over the last year were related to cost.

The growth in online sales of food and beverages will impact everyone connected to the industry. An increase in the number of companies like HelloFresh, for instance, which provides meal plans with recipes and ingredients, will effect suppliers. Food and beverage processors will need to adjust to the challenges faced by retailers. Even those who buy used food machinery have experienced the effects of digitisation, with those who buy food machinery from Clarke Fussells, for instance, encouraged to bid online.

Developing an E-Commerce Strategy

Most of the existing e-commerce models for the food and beverage industry are considered experimental. No one has got it just right, just yet, and this gives retailers the opportunity to join the race. The “‘e-tailers’ that “best understand what consumers need”, says Maras, “will win the future”.

Logistics and marketing will dominate strategies that will also need to be flexible and responsive to technological innovation and insights from market data.

Can You Get Approved for a Car Loan on SSI?

Lenders examine several factors when deciding on a car loan.
For so many Americans, having a personal vehicle is a necessity of life. In places without good public transportation, a car may be the only way to do basic errands such as grocery shopping and picking up needed prescriptions. Even people with disabilities need and want vehicles. However, if your primary income is Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from the U.S. Social Security Administration, you may have a more difficult time securing an auto loan, but it’s not impossible.

Income

  • SSI presents a problem for car loan applicants because it’s a relatively low, fixed income. Lenders care about your ability to make your monthly payments. On the positive side, Social Security is a stable, reliable payer, and lenders are unlikely to question your likelihood of receiving your income. Your low income can be offset by several factors, including low household expenses and any income from your spouse or other members of your household. It also helps if you don’t have much outstanding debt. This makes creditors feel that you have few competing commitments and are therefore better able to pay.

Assets

  • Your assets, including real estate holdings, securities and commodities can also influence a lender’s willingness to finance a car. Naturally, if you have collateral or assets that you can liquidate, a lender takes less risk issuing a car loan.

Credit History

  • If you have successfully paid off a car or home loan before, lenders see you as a better risk on a car loan. Your credit card history and any other financing also affect your credit rating. A high credit score may overcome lenders’ concerns about your income and allow you to proceed with a car loan. Don’t be surprised if creditors demand higher interest rates than you may have previous experienced. Your SSI income makes you a higher risk loan recipient, and financial institutions typically require higher profit margins when they take chances.

Assurances

  • Lenders may be more inclined to support your car loan if you can contribute a significant down payment. This shows your commitment to the purchase because you have more to lose by defaulting on the loan. It also means you don’t need as much loan money as you otherwise might. In a worst case scenario, obtaining a co-signer may get you a loan that a financial institution is hesitant to make. Find a friend or family member with good credit and finances to help assure lenders that someone will repay the loan no matter what.

Jobs That Fall Under Financial Service Careers

To be successful in financial services careers, individuals must be analytical, with a passion for breaking down figures and explaining them to their clients, colleagues and oftentimes, investors. Financial service careers can range from a customer service agent calling to collect on a past due bill to a chief financial officer who oversees spending and manages the profit center of a business.

Personal Financial Advisor
This type of career revolves around helping individuals create a financially sound future by offering tax, insurance and investment advice. This job requires the ability to network and market your services effectively to gain a larger clientele, since in many cases personal financial advisers have to find their own business leads.

Investment Broker
Investment brokers work with buyers and sellers. They act as the middle man, as they help with the buying and selling of commodities among parties. They often work with private and public organizations. Their pay primarily comes from the commission they make on their deals.

Auditor
Auditors work to assure that companies are adhering to compliance laws and regulations regarding the financial dealings of their company. They review everything from financial statements to client files, checking them thoroughly for accuracy.

Insurance Agent
Insurance agents offer protection options to consumers and businesses. They offer casualty, life, health, disability and long-term care insurance that provides coverage if an accident or emergency occurs. They work to advise their clients on way to reduce risks in their homes and at their businesses, which may help reduce insurance costs.

Accountant
Using generally accepted accounting practices, accountants work with businesses and families to keep track of money spent and money earned. They ensure that financial documents are up-to-date and accurate. They are responsible for tax records and preparation.

Financial Consultant
Most financial consultants operate independently and run their own businesses. They are responsible for securing their clientele. They work with businesses and individuals in a combination of capacities. They may play the role of a financial adviser, insurance agent, auditor or analyst depending on the businesses’ needs, the consultant’s skill set and licensing.

Retail or Commercial Banker
Bankers work with businesses and individuals at small and large banks. They are responsible for building a relationship of trust with clients, handling financial transactions, reviewing accounts and suggesting new financial products to customers when applicable.

Financial Analyst
Financial analysts review and analyze financial statements for businesses so that they can make effective recommendations regarding investment decisions, investigate industry trends that can hurt and help the business, and project future earnings. They review sales, expenses and tax information to advise both large and small business owners.

Bill and Account Collector
Collectors contact customers to let them know a payment is past due and make payment arrangements where necessary. They work for organizations to collect receivables and update accounts.

 

How to Start an Auto Finance Company

Not many people can afford to put down $10,000, $20,000 or more to buy a new car. Banks may have certain qualifications regarding credit and income. However, an auto finance company has many ways to finance the sale of an automobile. Rates and down payments are higher to compensate for any credit risks with the borrower. With a high profit margin and secured assets such as the borrower’s vehicle, an auto finance company can be lucrative.

Auto finance companies help people afford to buy a car.

Instructions

  1. Contact your state government and pay any application fees it requires to obtain a commercial finance license. In some states such as Florida, the application fee is $825, and there is a minimum of $25,000 liquid cash requirement.
  2. Apply for a line credit from your bank. This is the cheapest form of financing to be lent out to your borrowers. Your profit is the difference in interest between what you pay your bank and what rate you charge your borrowers. If your bank is charging you 3.5 percent on your credit line, you can charge as high as 18 percent to your borrowers, depending on their credit history.
  3. Visit as many car dealerships as possible. Meet the finance manager and present him your lending programs. Car dealerships make money on points they earn on the financing. One point is translated to 1 percent of the entire loan. The easier it is to get their customers financing, the more cars they sell and the more money your auto finance company lends.
  4. Keep a sufficient amount of capital available to make your bank loan payments. Not all borrowers will be steady payers.

How to Cash a Treasury Check

An overhead view of a tax refund check from the U.S. Treasury Dept.

When you receive a paper check from the government, you have several options for cashing it. Regardless of your preferred method, you need to endorse the back of the check and show at least one form of government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license, state-issued ID, military ID or passport. You also may have to present an alternate form of ID, such as a Social Security card or credit card.

Types of Treasury Checks

  • The U.S. Department of Treasury issues checks for many types of payments. These include federal tax refunds, Social Security benefits, child support payments, veteran’s benefits and railroad retirement benefits. Regular, recurring benefit payments are issued electronically. However, you may still receive a paper check for one-time payments like tax refunds, or for lump-sum benefit payments.

Banks

  • If you have a bank account, you can cash your treasury check by visiting your bank and either depositing all or a portion of the check into your account. If you want to receive the entire amount of your check back in cash, let the teller know you just want to cash the check. If you don’t have a bank account, some banks may cash your treasury check for a fee.

Check Cashing Service

  • Check cashing stores, such as Advance America, ACE Cash Express and Check into Cash will cash treasury checks for a fee. Fees vary depending on the amount of the check and the state you live in, so call the store and ask what the fee is before you decide to use a check cashing service. You can also cash treasury checks at retailers such as Walmart, and major grocery store chains. These stores also charge a check-cashing fee and may have a limit on the size of checks they will cash.

Prepaid Cards

  • If you have a prepaid debit card, you may have the option of loading funds from your government check directly to the card by taking your check into an authorized location. You also may be able to deposit funds to your card by snapping a picture of your check with your mobile phone and uploading it through an app. Depending on your card issuer’s terms, this option may offer immediate funds availability, or it could take several days to credit your account.

Joint Checks

  • If you receive a check that is made out to you and a spouse, you both must be present to cash the check. If you go to a bank or check cashing service, you each need to provide the identification required. You also will both need to endorse the check. If you make a mobile deposit to a bank or prepaid card, the account you deposit to must be a joint account.

Careers With Degrees in Finance

College graduates with a degree in finance are qualified to work in a variety of settings including businesses, consulting firms, investment firms and other financial institutions. A finance degree provides the accounting, economics and business skills that professionals need to begin their careers in some of the most popular finance jobs.

Budget Analysts

  • Budget analysts play an important role in helping businesses, government agencies and nonprofit organizations put together, review, implement and monitor their budgets. They compile data to create annual budget reports that help managers find ways to reduce expenses and increase earnings.

    Candidates must have good math, communication and computer skills. Entry-level positions are available for candidates with a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree is often preferred.

Personal Financial Advisers

  • Also known as financial consultants or planners, financial advisers help clients make investment decisions, plan their retirements and minimize their tax liability. Based on their client’s financial information and goals, they put together a plan to help them accomplish their objectives. They may also sell insurance policies, real estate, mutual funds or other types of investments if they obtain the proper licenses.

    Financial advisers promote their services in a variety of ways in order to get clients. They must have good communication and sales skills to be successful.

Auditors

  • Auditors are responsible for checking the accuracy of a company’s financial records. They give organizations feedback about their bookkeeping policies and make suggestions about improving the efficiency of their accounting systems. They are employed as internal auditors that review the accounting records of their company or external auditors that provide their services to companies or government agencies as independent contractors.

    A degree in finance with an emphasis in accounting will prepare graduates to work in this field. Meeting the education and experience requirements to become a certified public accountant (CPA) may also be required by some accounting firms.

Insurance Underwriters

  • Insurance companies rely on underwriters to evaluate insurance applications in order to determine the risk of loss associated with issuing a life, health or property insurance policy. They are trained to use computer systems, databases and various reports to analyze insurance applications and establish an insurance premium for the policies they issue.

    Good computer skills, judgment and some insurance experience are important in this field. Most insurance companies offer entry-level positions and training for qualified candidates. The Insurance Institute of America also offers continuing education courses and professional designations for underwriters.

Salaries

  • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2009 salaries for these jobs vary depending on several factors including location, employer, experience level and additional training. Experienced budget analysts can make $93,080 or more per year. Personal financial advisers can make more than $114,260 a year not including the bonuses or sales commissions they may earn. Salaries for auditors can range from less than $34,470 to more than $94,050 a year. The average salary for insurance underwriters can range from $40,000 to $71,070 a year.

 

How to Interpret the Financial Statements of Insurance Companies

Investors interpret financial statements in order to choose the best stocks. The financial statements of insurance companies show assets just like any other company. Unlike most other companies, however, insurers are liable for paying claims. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) regulates all U.S. insurance companies to make sure they can meet these liabilities. Each U.S. state elects or appoints a state insurance commissioner, and they all belong to the association. The NAIC dictates how U.S. insurance companies write their financial statements.

Assess the financial health of an insurance company with a few calculations.

Instructions

  1. Turn to the insurance company’s “combined ratio” to see how efficiently it handles its claims liability. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners explains that an insurer’s combined ratio includes: accounts receivable (net written premiums and premiums earned), accounts payable (losses incurred, loss expenses incurred, other underwriting expenses incurred and aggregate write-ins for underwriting deductions) and dividends to policyholders.
  2. Note whether the insurance company’s combined ratio is less than or greater than 100 percent. A combined ratio of less than 100 percent means the insurer’s income exceeds its liabilities and expenses. Mercury’s letter to its shareholders, in its 2009 annual report, brags of a much improved 2009 combined ratio of 96.9 percent, as compared with its 2008 combined ratio of 101.8 percent.
  3. Subtract the company’s liabilities and surplus from its total assets to get the company’s “statement of condition.” State Farm’s 2009 statement of condition balanced to exactly zero, with assets equal to liabilities. This is a neutral statement of condition, as compared to a positive condition if assets are greater or a negative condition if liabilities are greater.
  4. Turn to the company’s summary of operating data. See if it paid any dividends to its shareholders, and if it enjoyed a net income or suffered a net loss. Although State Farm enjoyed a net income of $570 million in 2009, it did not pay any dividends to its shareholders.

Jobs for Finance Majors

If you are thinking about a degree in finance for your undergraduate degree major, you might be in for a rewarding and lucrative career. While it might be tempting to assume that a major in finance will lead only to a career of numbers-crunching, in reality, various careers in other aspects of finance and financial management are possible with a finance degree.

Financial Analyst
Financial analysts, like economists, analyze financial trends and how a business is performing so they can offer advice and guidance on major financial decisions. Financial analysts may make recommendations about investment strategies and long-term financial goals. These recommendations are typically based on how they perceive the financial data with which they are working. Financial analysts typically analyze various types of investments, such as mutual funds, stocks and bonds to evaluate their performance and potential for economic gain. Analysts work for corporations, banks, financial services firms and even for the government. In addition to obtaining a bachelor’s degree, financial analysts typically obtain licensing through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), financial analysts made a median salary of $73,150 in May 2008.

Financial Manager
Financial managers are responsible for the long-term economic growth of their company or firm. They are responsible for planning and implementing plans that ensure this growth. Financial managers review and analyze financial reports produced by individuals, like financial analysts. They also utilize cash management strategies and help make investment decisions on behalf of a company. The BLS notes that financial managers’ job titles can vary by the function they perform. Some serve as cash managers, others as credit managers and yet others as branch managers for financial firms. The bachelor’s degree in finance can open up careers in this field, but the BLS notes that the master’s degree is becoming increasingly important for management positions. The median annual salary of financial managers was $99,330 in May 2008.

Stockbroker
Stockbrokers and other financial services providers are individuals who work on behalf of clients to help them with both long- and short-term financial goals. A stockbroker is a financial services sales representative who may advise clients to buy stocks in certain companies or other securities like bonds and mutual funds. Some financial services representatives are referred to as financial advisers or financial planners. A degree in finance can provide suitable preparation for individuals wanting to work in this field. Like financial analysts, stockbrokers have to be licensed by passing an exam regulated by FINRA. The median annual salary for financial services representatives, according to the BLS, was $68,680 in May 2008.

 

 

How to Start Your Own Bad Credit Auto Finance Firm

The purpose of an auto finance company is to provide individuals with the funds necessary to purchase a car. The borrower then pays back the amount of the loan, plus interest, to the finance company. A finance company’s profits come directly from interest charges and any late payment fees a borrower accrues. Individuals with bad credit are much more likely to seek financing through a finance company rather than a bank. Banks are unlikely to extend financing to bad credit buyers, not just because of the higher risk of default, but because of the extra work that comes along with recovering lost funds and repossessing vehicles. A finance company for bad credit buyers can be a lucrative business venture if you take care to market your business in a way that will attract customers and establish loan recovery procedures ahead of time.

Financing used cars will net quicker profits.
Step 1:Gather the necessary capital to start your business and get your paperwork in order. You will need a substantial start-up fund since you will be loaning money out for quite a while before you begin to see a profit. A small business loan or line of credit through your bank is a good option. You must also obtain a license to conduct business in your state and apply for a tax identification number for your finance company through the IRS.

You must have a business tax ID before filing taxes.
Step 2:Market your services to car dealerships that may be willing to refer their customers to you. Your first stop should be small used car dealerships. Small dealerships are less likely to have the financial overhead to service their own loans, and they often work in conjunction with a local finance company. More partners means more profits.

Make deals with local dealerships for customers.
Step 3:Draw up a risk management model. A risk management model is a chart containing how likely a customer is to pay his loan based on his credit score. A finance consultant or computer program can keep your chart updated with the current interest rates. This will help you offer accurate rates to customers based on their scores. The higher a customer’s lending risk, the more interest your finance company can charge.

Risk management model based on credit scores.
Step 4:Consider defaulted loans ahead of time and plan accordingly. When doing business with consumers who have bad credit, the prospect of defaulted loans is a much larger risk. Interview companies in your area that handle vehicle repossessions. The ideal repossession company will charge reasonable fees and do the work of tracking down the debtor for you. The car dealers you are allied with will probably be more than happy to purchase back the vehicle. If the car loan was close to being paid in full, this may even net you a small profit.

You will need help repossessing vehicles.
Step 5:Hire an attorney who can draw up your legal paperwork such as contracts and repossession notices. You must meet certain legal requirements when repossessing vehicles. If you do not conduct repossessions properly, the borrower may have recourse to recover the car and sue you for damages. It is vital that you successfully navigate the legal red tape involved, and its best to allow an attorney to take care of this for you, lest you risk making mistakes.

Be careful not to accidentally break the law.
Step 6:Apply for membership in the credit bureaus’ reporting program. Reporting your customers’ loans to the credit bureaus is important because your customers expect that a good payment history will be rewarded. If you have no method of rewarding their good payment behavior, they are very likely to refinance and this will cut into your future profit margin. Membership in the reporting program is free, but you will have to pay a $75 fee for a business evaluation and purchase your own reporting software.

Report your customers' accounts to their credit reports.
Step 7:Advertise your willingness to finance bad credit buyers. A large percentage of your clientele will come directly from the dealerships you are working with, but you can attract more customers by marketing your business via the radio, print media and the Internet. If you can afford it, you may even consider filming a local television commercial.

Advertise your finance company.
Step 8:Be patient. Because you are the loan servicer, it will take longer for you to see profits from customers. Used cars are cheaper and thus turn a profit for finance companies much more quickly than new cars. By partnering with the right dealerships, you could begin to see a profit in as little as two years and maybe even less.

Wait patiently for profits.

Debt Drawdown Definition

Bank lender speaking with couple about debt drawdown

A drawdown is the act of reducing a party’s account by a specified amount. Debt drawdown involves gradually issuing funds rather than releasing the entire amount at once. By slowly drawing down the debt, lenders can verify that funds are not misspent before providing more money.

Common Uses

  • Debt drawdown can be used in large infrastructure projects, and the amount is based on the estimated cost of building the project. Debt drawdown loans are used in public, private and public-private partnership projects.

Drawdown Schedule

  • Debt drawdown can be restricted to a specific schedule. The schedule can be measured by project completion milestones or percentage of work completed, or it might be set to calendar dates.

Restrictions

  • Money from a debt drawdown may be used only on material, labor and supporting costs of the project for which the loan is intended. Debt drawdown may also be limited to a specific debt-to-equity ratio. Or the money might be allowed to be used only to improve the value of the project or infrastructure being built.

Key Financial Ratios to Analyze The Healthcare Industry

Some key financial ratios investors and market analysts use to evaluate companies in the health care sector include the cash flow coverage ratio, the debt-to-capitalization ratio and operating profit margin.

An Overview of the Health Care Sector
The health care sector is one of the largest market sectors, encompassing a variety of industries such as hospitals, medical equipment and the pharmaceutical industry. The sector is popular among investors for two very different reasons.

First, it is viewed by many investors as containing stable industries that offer a good defensive play to help weather general economic or market turndowns. Regardless of the state of the economy, individuals continually need health care. Hospital and pharmaceutical revenues may suffer somewhat during difficult economic times, but the overall consumer demand for health care services is considered less subject to significant drop-off due to economic conditions than is the case for sectors such as the retail sector or automotive sector. For the same reason, while health care stocks may decline in conjunction with an overall bear market, they are generally considered less vulnerable than the stocks of companies in many other sectors.

The second major reason the stocks of health care companies are attractive to investors is the fact the sector has consistently been one of the best-performing sectors in terms of growth. Two contributing factors to the sustained growth of companies in the sector are an aging baby-boom population in need of ongoing health services and continued development in the fields of medical technology and pharmaceutical disease treatments.

Evaluating Health Care Stocks
Because the health care sector is so broad, it is important for investors to compare similar companies within the same industry in the sector when making equity evaluations. However, there are some key ratios that can be effectively used in a basic analysis of virtually all health care stocks.

Cash Flow Coverage Ratio
The cash flow coverage ratio is a good general evaluation metric, but it can also be particularly important for businesses such as hospitals and medical practices. Because such companies must often wait substantial periods of time to obtain financial reimbursement from insurance companies or government agencies, having sufficient cash flow and good cash flow management is essential to their financial survival.
This ratio is calculated by dividing operating cash flow, a figure that can be obtained from a company’s cash flow statement, by total debt obligations. It reveals a company’s ability to meet its financing obligations. It is also a ratio considered particularly important by potential lenders, and therefore impacts a company’s ability to obtain additional financing if necessary. A ratio of 1 is generally considered acceptable, and a ratio higher than 1 more favorable.

Debt-to-Capitalization Ratio
The long-term debt-to-capitalization ratio is an important leverage ratio for evaluating companies that have significant capital expenditures, and therefore substantial long-term debt, such as many health care companies. This ratio, calculated as long-term debt divided by total available capital, is a variation on the popular debt-to-equity (D/E) ratio, and essentially indicates how highly leveraged a company is in relation to its total financial assets. A ratio higher than 1 can indicate a precarious financial position for the company, in which its long-term debts are greater than its total available capital. Analysts prefer to see ratios of less than 1 since this indicates a lower overall financial risk level for a company.

Operating Margin
Operating margin is one of the main profitability ratios commonly considered by analysts and investors in equity evaluation. A company’s operating profit margin is the amount of profit it makes from the sales of its products or services after deducting all production and operating expenses, but prior to consideration of the cost of interest and taxes. Operating margin is key in determining a company’s potential earnings, and therefore in evaluating its growth potential. It is also considered to be the best profitability ratio to assess how well-managed a company is, since management of basic overhead costs and other operating expenses is critical to the bottom line profitability of any company. Operating margins vary widely between industries and should be compared between similar companies.

How to Finance Construction Projects

Be prepared for numerous regulatory fees when building.
Whether it’s your future home or a commercial project, looking at your construction project from the lender’s viewpoint will help you understand how to get your construction loan approved. A lender cannot approve a project until a credible risk assessment has been made showing that your loan is unlikely to go into default.

Financing a Personal Residence

  • In most cases, you’ll buy the vacant land first if you intend to build a house. Bank policies regarding vacant land vary, but in general banks don’t love empty lots. You’ll need to put more down in order to get your lot loan approved, but you need to do that first for a couple of reasons. It makes little sense to spend money developing a property you may not be able to acquire. The lender is also unlikely to approve a construction loan until the vacant property is secured. While in theory, you can get a single loan for both the lot and the development — in this case, your personal residence — in practice doing everything at once is unwieldy. Most experienced residential builders secure the land before beginning development. Be sure the land is zoned for your use before buying.

Once You’ve Acquired the Land

  • Your loan officer wants to see as much data as possible. Your credit record and credit score are both important — the fewer the blemishes, the better. According to Bankrate, a FICO score of 660 or below is considered subprime. The lower your FICO credit score, the more difficult getting a loan will be and the higher the rate. Assuming you’re creditworthy, the bank wants to know everything possible about your building plans. This means developing good architectural plans, and securing firm bids from a reputable contractor.

Regulatory Approvals

  • Before putting much money into the project, the bank will want to see that your plans have been approved by the city or county building authority. In larger cities, multiple approvals are necessary: one from the planning commission, another from the building department and perhaps a third from a neighborhood homeowner’s association.

Commercial Construction Projects

  • Projects with a commercial purpose will get additional scrutiny from your lender, who will want to see data showing that your project is commercially viable. In additional to planning commission approval, commercial developments will generally need to show the zoning commission before lending. The lender will also want to see a pro forma — a spreadsheet showing projected expenses and income once construction is completed.

Capital Requirements

  • In addition to the down payments on the land and on the construction project, be prepared to front a considerable portion of other fees associated with the project. Before your lender initiates the loan you will generally have paid some portion of an architectural fee and various government and regulatory fees, including planning and building department permits and zoning approval fees for commercial projects. In some circumstances, before you can get building plans approved you will also have to retain a structural engineer and a land surveyor. Most lenders require monthly interest only payments on whatever has been borrowed to that date. Some banks take the total estimated interest out of the loan when it is initiated and put it into an impounded reserve account the bank draws on monthly. Whether or not the bank sets up a separate reserve account, anticipate that during construction you will have to pay the interest charges as they accumulate.

How to Start a Finance Company

When you look at finance companies, banks easily come to mind. Banks, large or small, have always been the institutions looked to in order to finance such things as homes or a new business. However, it is possible for private citizens to go into business to provide many of the same services that banks have provided for years.

Start a Finance Company

Mortgage Broker and Loan Originator Requirements

  1. Pay a $1,500 non-refundable investigation fee. The investigation is needed to find out if the applicant has been involved in any fraudulent activity in the past.
  2. Write a check to the state for $1,200 for your license fee. This fee is non-refundable.
  3. Produce a Surety Bond to the state in the amount of at least $20,000. This contract is your promise to the state to be legal in your practices. The cash amount is your compensation in the event of any damages.
  4. Submit your financial statements to the state. Your net worth must be at least $35,000.
  5. Pay your loan originator application fee to the state in the amount of $125.
  6. Fill your continuing education requirement of at least six hours. The continuing education courses are on residential mortgage finance.
  7. Take courses at a local college or university to get a better understanding of finance before you enter into business.

Life Insurance Broker Requirements

  1. Fill out your Life Insurance Broker application and submit to the state.
  2. Fulfill your required 40 hours of pre-licensing education at an institution approved by the state.
  3. Take and pass the state exam. Your license is good for two years. At the end of your term, you must retake the test again.

Build Your Office

  1. Get your business license from your city or state before acquiring any space for your office.
  2. Find a storefront or office space to make your offices.
  3. Buy computers, fax machines and other electronic equipment to help organize your business.
  4. Hire staff for your office based on need.

Financial Adviser’s Job Description

Financial advisers, also known as financial planners, advise individuals, couples and organizations on financial matters, such as spending income, saving for retirement and making sound investments. Although most financial advisers practice as generalists, others specialize in investments, savings or insurance. Individuals looking to become financial advisers must have the relevant professional qualifications and be able to follow industry regulations. Top employers include investment firms, consultancies, insurance carriers and brokerage firms.

Financial advisers can meet with clients in their homes or offices.

Doing the Job

  • To study a client’s financial information, evaluate his financial goals and create a good investment portfolio, a financial adviser needs strong analytical skills. Math skills are also essential, because an effective adviser must convert currencies, determine percentages and derive financial ratios. Financial advisers also need strong speaking and active listening skills to interact and share information with clients effectively.

Advising Clients

  • Personal financial advisers help clients make sound financial decisions by providing all the relevant information. For example, when a client wants to buy education insurance for her children, the financial adviser analyzes the client’s financial position to ensure she can afford the policy, and researches the insurance market to identify the best providers and advises accordingly. These financial advisers also help clients improve credit ratings and secure bank loans.

Maintaining Contact

  • After helping clients implement financial plans, such as investing in securities, investment financial advisers often keep in touch with them to discuss the progress of the investment. When a client wants to change his investment options, the adviser furnishes him with new information on potential investment options. These financial advisers also liaise with financial services providers to ensure the interests of their clients are being met.

Maintaining Compliance

  • Financial advisers must update their knowledge on industry regulations. For example, investment advisers who manage $110 million or more in client assets keep tabs on the US Securities and Exchange Commission to monitor changes in relevant regulations. Other financial advisers or planners usually are regulated by state agencies, such as boards of accountancy.

Getting In

  • To become a financial adviser, you must earn at least a bachelor’s degree in economics, finance, mathematics or business. You also need to obtain a license or registration with a state regulator. Investment financial advisers running large firms must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. To improve your ability to attract more clients, pursue a master’s degree in business administration or earn the certified financial planner certification from the Certified Planner Board of Standards.

Getting Compensated

  • In 2013, the mean annual wage for personal financial advisers was $99,920, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the same period financial advisers offering investment services was $117,460, while those working as resident advisers in companies made $92,700. Between 2012 and 2022, the bureau also estimates a job growth of 27 percent for personal financial advisers, greater than the estimated 11 percent average for all jobs.

 

How to Finance a Bus Company

Starting a motor coach company requires funding to purchase the buses and pay for expenses until the company can make enough money on its own to meet its costs. Among the expenses of a bus company are bus repairs, equipment, buying a bus, fuel and hiring professional drivers. The company will require at least two buses at first, usually one small bus and a larger motor coach. Obtaining the right amount of financing is an important part of getting the bus company up and running.

A new bus company needs financing to fuel a good start.

Instructions

  1. Write a business plan. An estimated plan of action should include information about the bus company, the number of employees, the cost of operation and expected income. Research consumer demand for tour buses or luxury buses. Motor-coach services usually charge more than do public-transportation operations. Typically, a business plan’s estimate covers a five-year period. A business plan is necessary for financing because it shows prospective financiers, banks or investors the likelihood that the business will succeed.
  2. Determine minimum funding necessary for the company start-up. The seed money should provide for the purchase of buses and gasoline, insurance that covers the bus and passengers and the cost of hiring bus drivers as well as meeting government-required fees.
  3. Apply for small-business grants or loans. Grants obtained through state, city or private sources are free money the business does not have to pay back. Motor Coach Mania lists several bus-financing companies that offer lending options, including Advantage Funding, A-Z Resources and Buckman-Mitchell Inc.

What Is a Project Financial Evaluation?

When a project fails, it’s often because of a lack of research at the outset. Luckily, there’s nothing more preventable. When a business undertakes a project, it needs to determine exactly what risks, benefits and profits are inherent therein. In the financial world, such research is defined as a Project Financial Evaluation, or PFE.

Definition

  • A Project Financial Evaluation is an in-depth investigation of cash flow and risk with the object of determining a project’s eventual return on investment.

Significance

  • The PFE is meant to look at all the fiscal factors involved in undertaking the project; without it, a business entity does not have the information it needs to make an informed decision about a given project’s scope and risks.

Features

  • Each PFE is different, but each involves the careful definition of each factor that a project represents — its cash flow, insurances, capital outlay and the time line over which the costs will be recouped and the profits realized.

Considerations

  • In a small-business situation, it’s ideal that a consultant be brought in to administer a PFE in order for the work to be truly subjective; if that is not possible, there is a range of software on the market that can help.

Misconceptions

  • There are many modalities and definitions, but there are not any set-in-stone rules regarding the content or administration of a PFE. The only imperative is thoroughness.

Topics for MBA Finance Projects

If you're looking for an MBA project idea, the financial world is your oyster.
Finance courses in an MBA program are typically very comprehensive. They cover all the major divisions of finance in order to adequately prepare students for financial scenarios they might encounter in their professions. Consequently, professors typically require projects in each of these major divisions. MBA finance projects are typically immersive and highly analytical, as they test students’ abilities to synthesize learning towards real-life applications.

Public Finance

  • Public finance is the study of how money interacts with and circulates within government. Some common public finance concepts include determining tax rates, studying central bank operations and investments, and investigating monetary reform. A example of a project is a country comparison, in which the student investigates the effectiveness of another country’s monetary policies toward the U.S. Such a project is common in international MBA programs.

Investment Finance

  • Investment finance is the study of how public markets gain and trade money. Concepts such as stock markets and global currency markets fall under this category. Projects typically involve a study of broad financial measures. For example, a project can be an analysis of the Dow Jones Industrial Average during the past five years, which might include a chart of the quarterly Dow results and a study of how different factors, such as booms and recessions, significantly affected the trend of the index.

Business Performance

  • Sometimes considered as the indicator of investment finance, business performance is the study of how a business increases its profitability and value. Fundamental concepts include balance sheet analysis and determining financial profitability ratios. These factors are commonly used by potential investors to determine fluctuations in a company’s stock value. MBA students can do the same in their projects. For example, they can research the trend of a company’s past stock prices and current company performance to predict the company’s growth rate and future stock price.

Corporate Finance

  • Corporate finance involves how businesses make investment decisions. There are multiple topics included in corporate finance, such as working capital management and determining financial risk. MBA students can focus finance projects on the completion of return on investment analyses. Completing ROI forms is a required skill in corporate decision-making settings. An example assignment is to evaluate the effectiveness of a project proposal. Given a real time or simulated project proposal, the student would conduct a thorough analysis of different factors, such as cost and opportunity, and decide whether the proposal is worth the investment.

Fixing Your Credit Score: A Do-It-Yourself Guide

Your credit score is a long-term view of your use of credit. Most credit problems, such as late payments or nonpayment of debt, must be removed after seven years, but some types of bankruptcy stay on your credit report for 10 years. Student loans can be there even longer; some may stay on until paid in full or forgiven.

The time it takes to fix a problem will depend upon what is negatively affecting your credit score. If credit information owned by someone else is harming your score, for example, removal of that information could result in almost instant repair once you get the error corrected. But you shouldn’t expect a quick resolution; for most people who want to fix their credit score, it’s not that simple. Here are five steps to improving your score.

1. Get the Facts
Your first step in attempting to fix your credit score requires that you get the facts. You can do that by ordering a free credit report from all three of the credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. You are limited to one free report a year from each bureau, which you can order at AnnualCreditReport.com. But it is a good idea to order them throughout the year. Ordering one report immediately and then one in four months and the third in eight months will allow you to order a report every four months for free.

If this is your first time looking at your reports, order a free one from Experian using the link above and then get your TransUnion and Equifax reports for free by signing up at CreditKarma.com. Membership at this website is free, and so are the reports; there isn’t any kind of monthly fee (see Why Credit Karma Is Free & How It Makes Money). You definitely want to look at all three reports as quickly as possible to be sure they are accurate. (To find out what a credit report will tell you, read What’s on a Consumer Credit Report?)

2. Dispute Errors
You may find errors on your report, such as payments being late when you were not late, or a credit card shown as yours that is not yours. Mistakes like these can drag down your credit score. There are several key things to look at that will help you identify the problems:

• Personal information – Make sure the names and addresses reported match your personal history. Sometimes the credit reports of people with the same or similar names get combined incorrectly; having your report tied to that of someone with bad credit can lower your score. To correct an error you need to document what is wrong and send a letter to the credit bureaus. This can be a quick fix if all the negative information belongs to someone other than you, but proving that may take some time.

• Account Information – Carefully check all accounts listed and make sure they are actually accounts that you have opened. If you find an account in your name that you did not open, contact the credit bureaus, explain the fraud and ask that a fraud alert be put on your account. Then contact the card-issuing company to find out more details about the account. The fact that it is on your report means it is likely that someone used your Social Security number in opening that account. Also be sure that the balance information and payment history for each account is accurate. If any information is inaccurate, you will need proof of the correct information and you will have to start a dispute with the credit bureau to ask that the wrong information is corrected. For more detailed advice on this, see How to Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report.
• Collections – If there are collections on your credit report, check to be sure there are not multiple reports of the same unpaid bills. Collection accounts are bought and sold, so the same information could be reported by more than one agency, which would make your credit history look worse than it is. Dispute the information and send documentation to prove the debt is listed more than once.

• Public Records – Negative information from public records can include bankruptcies, civil judgments or foreclosures. Bankruptcies can be on the report for seven to 10 years, but all other public records must be removed after seven years. If the public record on your report is older than is allowed, dispute the information with the credit bureau and send documentation to prove that the debt is too old and should no longer be on the report.

3. Negotiate with Creditors
If you have a past due account and have the cash to pay it off, try negotiating with the creditor by offering to pay the balance in full if it will remove the information from your credit report. If not, try getting the company to make the debt “paid as agreed.” Getting the negative information completely off your report is best, but a creditor may not be willing to do that. Make sure you get any agreement in writing before making the payment.

If your account shows non-payments for a couple of months, but you can prove the problem was caused by a hardship, you might be able to ask your creditor for a “goodwill adjustment.” If you were injured and in the hospital or rehabilitation for a couple of months, for example, you might not have had the money (or been in physically healthy enough) to pay that bill. Write to your creditor, explain the hardship and provide proof. Ask if the company would consider a goodwill adjustment erasing the late payment history on your credit report. Your payments will need to be up-to-date to succeed in getting this adjustment.

4. Get Your Limits Under Control
Check your credit reports to be sure they accurately reflect your credit limits. Then add up all the credit limits in one column and all the outstanding debt in another. For instance, you could have $10,000 in total credit limits and $4,000 in total debt, which would mean you are using 40% ($4,000/$10,000) of your available credit limits.

“It’s best to keep your debt-to-credit ratio 30% or lower – the lower the better,” says Anthony Sprauve, former director of public relations for FICO, one of the key credit score companies.

You can make your credit utilization look better than it is by making your payments just before your statement is sent, rather than waiting until it goes out. Most credit card companies report your balance at the same time that they send a statement, and the balance reported to the credit bureaus is the statement balance. If, for example, your statement goes out on the fifteenth of the month, as long as you have the money on hand, pay your bill early so the money will arrive prior to the statement being sent out – let’s say the thirteenth of the month. That way your outstanding credit balance reported on the statement and to the credit bureaus will be lower.

Even if you pay your bills on time, in full, every month, the credit bureau will only see the statement balance, which can make it look like you are carrying more debt than you are.

5. Eliminate Your Low Balances
A factor that affects your credit score is the number of credit cards you have with open balances. Having a lot of small balances lowers your score. So if you have VISA, MasterCard and American Express cards that you alternate using each month, for example, you could end up with three cards that all have low balances – perhaps under $100.

“The solution to improve your credit score is to gather up all those credit cards on which you have small balances and pay them off,” says John Ulzheimer of Credit Sesame and former credit expert for FICO and Equifax. Then consolidate how you use them.

How to Secure a Small Business Loan

A strong business plan is the first step to securing a small business loan.
If you plan to start a business or need funds to operate, a small business loan provides funds. When obtaining a small business loan, it is important to start by composing a business plan. This provides the lender with information about how you plan to finance and run your business. Additionally, you should determine how to secure your small business by providing the lender with some form of collateral.

Instructions

  1. Review your credit report to determine if your credit history is strong. A high credit score is required to secure a small business loan. Annualcreditreport.com allows you to receive a free credit report from the three major reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, once a year. After pulling your report, purchase your credit score. Consider locating a cosigner if your credit score is not high enough to secure the a small business loan.
  2. Compose a business plan for the lender. A business plan states your objective, financing goals and long term plan for your business. A strong business plan provides the business concept, financial features, achievements and marketing strategy. Give the lender a road map showing how you plan to grow your business. Most lenders require experience in your business. Financial statements are part of a business plan.
  3. Contact lenders through the Small Business Administration (SBA) about various loans available. The SBA able to provide you with information regarding securing financing for your type of business and what collateral is necessary to obtain the type of loan. Small business loans are secure loans and require assets to back the loan. The amount and type of loan may vary based on the type of business and location. For instance, the SBA offers information about lenders that offer specific loans for small businesses located in rural areas.
  4. Provide collateral for your small business loan. Collateral is property or assets used to secure a small business loan by providing the lender with the promise to repay the loan or the collateral is forfeited. Find land, equipment or other assets. Generally, for a small business the property or equipment used within the business is offered as collateral to secure the loan. However, personal property with equity, such as your home, land or vehicle, may secure a loan for your small business.
  5. Provide substantial equity or investment in your business. In other words, a lender wants to know that the loan is only an ancillary, not a main, source of funding.

How to Identify Project Risk

Identify Project Risk

As a good project manager, you should be able to identify the project risks before you begin a project. Identifying the project risks can determine how smoothly your project goes. Before beginning a project, a project manager should take a look at risks that the project poses, so that he can plan how to intervene or solve those risks to the benefit of all of those involved.

Instructions

  1. Identify any risks that may occur due to the choice of project manager. These risks could range from salary requirements to losing the project manager from other tasks that were taking place. The project manager should be confident in heading the entire project and should be notified about the risks surrounding her.
  2. Examine the plan or the scope for the project. Identify short term tasks that may cause risks, as well as long term tasks. Each type of task may present its own specific sets of risks. Put a business plan in place to properly assess all project risks involved. Identify how many people it will take and the financial strain it might cause, as well as any changes that will need to take place to complete the project, such as longer hours.
  3. Identify the impact the project will have on the general business of the company. Is there a risk of losing too many resources to the project? Will it change office policy? Also, will extra training need to be instituted that will cost the company more money?
  4. Take a look at the financial impact of completing the project. You’ll need to have a budget in place or complete a budget before being able to assess the financial impact of the project. This budget can be a road map identifying financial risks for the project. Take into account the hours necessary and the company resources that you’ll need to employ and get a rough number to use to decide if the project is worth doing. If the monetary risk is too high, the project may be scrapped.
  5. Identify the structural aspects of the project and what risks they might pose. You may want to take a look at vendors and suppliers, and why working with them may pose a risk. You’ll also need to delegate tasks among your employees, and examine how that might impact business in general.

List of Finance Jobs

If you have a natural love for math and an analytical mind you may want to consider a career in finance. To obtain a high-paying finance job like accounting you’ll need to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Other finance jobs like working as a bank teller only require a high school diploma. However, having a degree in a finance-related discipline is always an advantage when looking for a job in this field.

Finance jobs include bank tellers, auditors, loan officers and financial advisors.

Bank Teller
Responsibilities of a bank teller include cashing payroll checks, exchanging foreign currency, receiving loan payments, issuing traveler’s checks and keeping track of their daily transactions. Banks usually hire employees with a minimum of a high school diploma. Taking business math courses in high school and having clerical experience can also help individuals obtain a job. Some banks provide on-the-job training for new tellers which teaches them about financial transactions within the bank. The median salary for bank tellers is approximately $21,120 per year, according to Stateuniversity.

Auditor
The median salary for an auditor, which is one type of accountant, is approximately $50,000, according to Stateuniversity. Auditors are responsible for checking the financial records of companies and determining their accuracy. If numbers don’t add up auditors are responsible for determining why. External auditors are self-employed and work for many companies as freelancers while internal auditors are employed by specific companies.

Loan Officer
Loan officers earn a median salary of $51,760 per year, according to Stateuniversity. Loan officers are responsible for working with individuals and businesses to help them acquire loans. They’re also responsible for evaluating loans, approving loans and authorizing loans based on credit. Loan officers work for financial institutions such as banks, credit unions and savings institutions. Loan officers interact with other people as they prepare paperwork for specific loans.

Financial Advisor
Financial advisers work with individuals, companies and charitable organizations, providing them with financial advice on investing and savings, according to Prospects. Financial advisors must be good at math. They often review an individual’s entire financial portfolio and provide recommendations. Financial advisors earn between $34,000 and $94,000 a year, according to Payscale.

 

 

How Does Outsourcing Help Create New Jobs?

While outsourcing might cost some jobs in the American economy, it might not be the catastrophe some people believe. Outsourcing can help American businesses by reducing costs, as well as providing services to small businesses that might not otherwise afford them. Outsourcing can also enrich the overall global economy and generate enough profit for overseas countries to invest in American businesses.

Outsourcing can potentially benefit both domestic and international workers.

Costs

  • One way that outsourcing can help create new jobs is by lowering the costs the business spends on certain areas. For example, if a business can reduce manufacturing costs by 25% when it outsources manufacturing, it can use the money that it’s saved in costs to expand its sales force.

Small Businesses

  • Outsourcing creates jobs in small businesses. A small business might need a new computer programming system put into place, but can’t afford the cost of having a domestic programmer perform the task. The business outsources the job to an overseas provider, who is able to supply the business what is needed at a fraction of the cost. In turn, this new program enables the small business to operate more efficiently, which in turn allows it to reduce some of its operating costs. The reduction in operating costs gives the business enough extra money to hire some part-time help, thereby creating a new job within its infrastructure.

Overseas Economy

  • One area that is sometimes overlooked in the debate over the merits of outsourcing is the job creation taking place overseas. When jobs are created by outsourcing to another country, those jobs impact the global economy. People who work outsourced overseas jobs are provided with a higher income than those who aren’t working. In turn, this allows them to buy products, including products exported from America. The more products exported, the more likely it is that American businesses will have to expand in order to keep up with increased global demand. The way that American businesses expand is by building new factories and hiring new employees, thereby creating new jobs.

Investments

  • Jobs are also created from outsourcing when overseas companies invest in American businesses. Many of the jobs that are outsourced are customer service or tech support jobs. Countries like India are not manufacturing-heavy. This can lead to actually working cooperatively with American manufacturing in order to expand. Even countries like China, which has a strong manufacturing base, uses the money it makes from its outsourcing in order to buy and invest in American businesses and products.

 

How to Get Environmental Jobs

More and more people are interested in careers that reflect their personal commitment to preserving the environment, but finding the right environmental job can be difficult. Knowing where to start looking, having green experience and focusing your resume will all get you off to a good start on a green job search.

Search for green jobs

Instructions

  1. Check out job boards of leading environmental groups or websites. Green companies and organizations are especially likely to have helpful websites with opportunities listed.
  2. If you’re a student, visit your college or university career center for more information. Even if you’ve already graduated, many schools will still offer help for alumni, so call and find out what resources they have to offer.
  3. Begin your search locally and broaden from there. Look up local environmental service organizations to see what work is available in your community. You may need more experience for state or federal-level jobs.
  4. Focus your resume on your environmental experience. If you have enough green experience, divide up your experience section into “Environmental Experience” and “Additional Experience.” Environmental experience might also include environmental work you have done as part of another job or experience, so highlight the green aspects of all your work.
  5. If you don’t have a lot of experience in environmental service, look for ways to volunteer in your community to build up a base of experience. You’ll also meet people who can assist you in your job search.
  6. Ask for jobs or internships even if they aren’t explicitly offered. Many organizations, especially non-profits, will not post internships but will still be happy to set one up for you if you express interest.

 

How to Get a Finance Job in the City of London

As one of the leading financial hubs on the international scene, the City of London is an attractive work destination for upcoming finance professionals. There are abundant job opportunities for qualified candidates, and you can gain crucial experience to spruce up your resume and enhance your career.

Instructions

  1. Decide which area of finance you want to work in. Depending on your qualifications, experience and abilities, you can work in a variety of areas like financial analysis, risk analysis, accounting, banking, trading, auditing, insurance, IT support, marketing and investment management.<, diploma or certificate. Most employers insist on excellent educational qualifications to start out–these indicate a good level of commitment and responsibility–and may offer job-specific training once you are hired.
  2. Have significant work experience in your finance field. This can be through internships or training programs. Many City of London employers prefer candidates with extensive work experience in issues related to both public firms and the private sector.
  3. Have a shrewd business sense and honest work ethic, with good mathematical and computing skills, good communication skills, good sales and negotiation skills and creative problem-solving skills.
  4. Keep yourself updated on the current events in the financial world. Read finance newspapers and financial services industry magazines like Money Marketing and Financial Adviser and access finance industry websites. Get membership to professional finance organizations like ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and CII (Chartered Insurance Institute).
  5. Consider your capabilities, your desired work environment and your salary expectations. Make a list of the City of London finance companies you would like to work with, research them on the Internet and check their websites for job-related information and available vacancies. Find out if they offer internships or training programs. Know which person to contact and cold-call about working with the firm.
  6. Check for finance vacancies in the leading London newspapers and employment websites. Most employment websites allow you to search by type of job, job level, salary and location. Register with reputable and finance-specific employment agencies in London. Network. Jobs are often won through contacts in the finance world.
  7. Research once again the firms that call you for an interview, particularly the format of their interview process. Find out who is going to interview you, the number of interviews conducted and what kind of testing to expect. Prepare responses for possible interview questions, ensuring you amply demonstrate the wealth of experience you hope to bring to the firm. Think over, too, the questions you’d like to ask the interviewers. Go for your scheduled job interview well prepared, well dressed and on time.
  8. Wait until you have received a job offer before you negotiate the salary.

 

How To Invest For The Greater Good

When discussing how to invest like a millennial, I mentioned that social responsibility is a key factor when making investment decisions. A study from Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing supports this claim, finding that millennials are two times more likely to invest in companies that target impact outcomes. What’s more, 76 percent of women surveyed prioritize economic, social and governance factors in their investment decisions. But this phenomenon isn’t limited to any one generation or gender. I spoke with Deborah Winshel, BlackRock’s Global Head of Impact Investing, to learn more about what she is seeing in this space and why sustainable investing is here to stay.

First things first. What is sustainable investing?
At BlackRock, we define “sustainable investing” by three key segments: exclusionary screens, ESG considerations and impact investing.

1. Exclusionary screens

Exclusionary screens remove specific products or industries that don’t align with an investor’s values. For example, you may decide you don’t want to invest in tobacco or fossil fuels. This approach was really the first iteration of making investment decisions based on factors other than just financial performance, applying constraints based on personal beliefs.

2. ESG considerations

ESG considerations use environmental, social and governance factors to identify not just what a company does but how they do it. Companies report on how they pursue environmental responsibility, how they support employee diversity, how many volunteer hours they devote to the community every year, etc. We then use these standards to build a portfolio.

3. Impact investing

Impact investing targets a very clear social or environmental outcome that is measurable and transparent. Instead of just refraining from investing in something that doesn’t align with your beliefs, you’re focusing on companies that are operating responsibly and having a positive impact on the world.

How much of an increase have you seen in sustainable investment assets globally?
We have seen sustainable assets increase by 61 percent in the last few years and the growth continues globally. About two thirds of the sustainable investment market is in Europe and 30 percent in the U.S., where we are seeing faster growth. We know that exclusionary screening is most prevalent in Europe, whereas the ESG approach is most common in the U.S.. In my opinion, a key reason why growth isn’t even greater is because there hasn’t been a wide range of investment opportunities to meet the demand until very recently.

If you could pinpoint the source of this increased demand, what would it be?
No matter how old you are or which generation you identify with, there is an increasingly undeniable overlap between our personal lives, our financial lives and the world at large. Whether it’s carrying reusable bags with you to the grocery store or hearing the Pope talk about climate change or reading about President Obama’s environmental initiatives, it’s clear that what we do today has long term impact. There’s now an opportunity for people to direct their investment capital in a way that is meaningful to them beyond just generating a financial return. This opportunity is resonating with individual investors who are looking to do more with their money. At BlackRock, our job is to try to protect and grow our clients’ assets, and our investment platform, insights and technology drive our ability to identify and track attractive impact opportunities. Our objective with any impact investment is to deliver two outcomes: (1) defined and measurable impact outcome alongside (2) a targeted financial return.

How can an investor be certain that they are making a difference and having a positive impact overall?
Transparency is very important. With the reporting capabilities that are being made more readily available through technology, it is becoming easier to effectively measure the repercussions of where we as investors direct our money. For example, my colleagues and I are laser focused not on what makes a “good” company or a “bad” company but which companies have a carbon footprint that is better than the index, or companies that are achieving environmental outcomes through green technology and innovation. By making this information readily available to the investor, we are helping them to decide for themselves which investments will have the impact that they are hoping to achieve.

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
As part of the Social Security system that every taxpayer pays into, there is a built-in disability policy. A person can receive Social Security benefits if totally disabled and unable to perform a job. Follow these steps to apply for Social Security disability benefits if the need arises.

Instructions

  1. Go to the Social Security Administration’s website and find the bolded heading “Disability & SSI” in the middle of the page. See Resources below.) Underneath this heading are six links pertaining to disability benefits. Click on “Qualify & apply.”
  2. Read the “Disability & SSI” page, which gives you an overview of the Social Security disability insurance program. It tells you who qualifies for disability benefits and under what conditions. See the “Applying for benefits” section for information pertaining to both children and adults.
  3. Click on the link “Apply as soon as you become disabled” and select whether you are a child or an adult applying for disability benefits. In most cases, you will be clicking on the “Adult” section.
  4. Start the application process by clicking on “Adult Disability Starter Kit.” The starter kit provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding disability benefits. It also includes a worksheet to assist you in obtaining all the required information for filing for disability benefits.
  5. Continue to the second step by clicking on the “online application for Social Security Benefits” link. Then click “Apply for Disability Benefits” and go to the Benefit Application Home Page.
  6. Answer the required questions and click “Continue” to get information pertaining to disability benefits and get the online Social Security disability benefit application that you must fill out completely.
  7. Move to the third step after you complete the online application, and give an online medical history and permission for medical records. This is the Social Security Administration’s “Adult Disability Report.”
  8. Wait to be contacted by the Social Security Administration after you have complete all three steps of the process for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration must then conduct an interview with you before rendering a decision on your disability application.

Should You Increase Your Credit Card Limit?

It’s safe to say that at one time in your life you have probably noticed an increase in the amount of available credit on your credit card. While this may not have been something you asked for or even wanted, you should feel special. This means your card issuer thinks you are an above average borrower, and they want to make sure you remain a loyal customer .

Now what if you took out a new credit card and the issuing company started you off with a fairly low credit limit that hasn’t been raised after the first year. Should you ask for an increase? The answer is yes, and there are several good reasons why.

Increase Your Credit Score
When you increase your amount of total available credit, it lowers your credit utilization rate. This is one of the factors FICO takes into account when determining your credit score, and having a high credit utilization can have a negative impact. For example, let’s assume that you started out with a credit limit of $1,000 and regularly have $800 charged onto the card; that means your credit utilization is at 80%. Now let’s assume you asked for a credit limit increase and now have a maximum of $5,000. If you are still charging $800 each month, your new credit utilization is now 16%.

Receiving this increase in credit limit lowered your credit utilization, which will then end up helping your overall credit score over the long term. Most credit experts recommend keeping this percentage at 30% or below. One important thing to consider is that when you request the increase in your credit limit, the issuer will be doing a hard credit inquiry, which will give you a short-term two to five point credit score decrease. However, if the issuer automatically gives you an increase, then there will be no hard inquiry. (For more, see 3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Credit Score.)

Avoid a Credit Score Decline
Anyone that is looking to increase his or her available credit probably wants the ability to spend more with the card. This could be for a number of different reasons. You may want to put more of your everyday spending on the card to earn rewards. Maybe you have a big upcoming purchase that you want to pay for with the card. (For more, see Rewards Credit Cards That Give Back The Most.)

If you need to extra credit, you have two options. You can work to get an increased credit limit on the current card, or you can take out a new card. While taking out a new card might be attractive because of the signup bonus it offers, it might not be the best choice for you. Every time you get a new card, your average length of credit decreases. Because this makes up 15% of your credit score, you could see a short-term decrease in your FICO score. (For more, see What Is A Good Credit Score?)

The next time you are looking to add more available credit, you are better off forgoing a new card and asking for a credit limit increase on an existing card.

How to Ask for a Credit Limit Increase
Now that you have made the decision to ask for a credit limit increase, you need to figure out how exactly you are going to ask for it and hopefully reduce your chances of being turned down.

The timing of your request is going to be a big factor. Consider for how long the account has been open. If you recently received the credit card, then you may want to establishing some history with the account before asking for an increase. It’s also probably not the best time to ask for an increase if you have been bad at paying your bill on time or are currently behind on your payments. Make sure you establish a good track record for paying your bill by its due date before making your request.

Once you have a credit history that will make the issuer smile, it is time to go ahead and call the number on the back of your card. Be prepared: they are probably going to ask you a lot of personal questions about your current employment and income. They will also ask you to explain why you need an increase in credit limit. Be honest with them, but you can also use this as an opportunity to make yourself look good. Tell them that you have a high FICO store or that you have been a long-time cardholder. Card issuers understand that there are a lot of other companies out there; as long as you are a good borrower, they want to keep you with them and not someone else.

What Is a Consumer Finance Company?

Consumer finance companies provide an alternative to banks for individuals who need to borrow money. Unlike a bank or credit union, a consumer finance company doesn’t offer savings or other deposit accounts. Typically, finance companies will make loans to consumers with weak credit who don’t qualify for a bank loan.

A car loan application form.

Consumer Finance Company Features

  • Consumer finance companies are licensed by states to lend money to consumers for both business and personal reasons. The lender category of consumer finance companies doesn’t include title loan businesses or pawnshops. Some consumer finance companies make auto loans with the vehicle as collateral or offer secured and unsecured credit card accounts. State laws regulate how much consumers can borrow and set limits on interest rates. For example, in Florida a consumer finance company can lend a person up to $25,000. Florida caps interest rates on consumer finance company loans at 30 percent for the first $3,000 owed. The interest rate on the next $1,000 owed is limited to 24 percent. If the principal balance exceeds $4,000, the maximum rate on the excess can’t be more than 18 percent. Since each state sets its own rules, the limits on consumer finance company loans may be different where you live.

How to Evaluate Financial Investment Companies

Evaluating a financial investment company is important before using that company for personal finance needs. A company should only be used when the evaluation of the company shows that the company is the best possible financial investment company and there are no possible complaints that a client can have regarding the company. There are key points to look for in a financial investment company before giving the company money.

A good investment company takes care of investments.

Instructions

  1. Find out the company philosophy. The company managers should be able to provide proof that shows how they invest, which risks they take and how they minimize the risks of investments. The philosophy of the company should be acceptable before considering any other factors about the company. The public disclosure of any investment company can be obtained from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure, or IAPD, website.
  2. Look at the company process of investing. The process that the company uses should match up with what it claims for a philosophy. If company managers claim that they invest in environmental friendly investments and then turn around and invest client money in stocks or companies that are known to harm the environment, the company is not a good company.
  3. Ask questions of the people working for the company, especially the individuals who are handling client money. Questions should include asking about their methods and understanding of the company processes and philosophy, whether they work individually or as a team, who they work under and how they make investment decisions. It is very important that the people in the company that handle client money are considered before hiring a company.
  4. Find out about the company’s background. Check on the company through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s website, under the broker check section. FINRA’s search will give information about the company including whether the company has committed crimes in the last ten years or if it has filed for bankruptcy.
  5. Find out how the company charges clients. Some financial companies charge very specific fees and rates while other companies, especially hedge funds, will charge a specific percentage of the investment gains instead. This should be clarified to determine if the fees and charges are acceptable.

How to Start an Insurance Premium Financing Company

Insurance premium financing is one of the newest offerings in the insurance market. Basically, this activity involves having a bank extend an individual a line of credit to pay for an insurance policy over the course of a certain amount of time. Generally, this option is only available to clients over the age of 65, and most will need to already have a good financial standing. If the policy is needed during the term, the loan is paid in full from the funds. If not, the client can either pay off the loan and keep the policy or sell the policy on the secondary insurance market. Now you can get involved in this profitable approach to insurance; here’s how.

Building

Instructions

  1. Get Licensing. Because you are going to be working in the insurance field, you’ll need to have a license to do so in every state in which you hope to offer your services. Be aware that many states have very different licensing requirements and some are fairly strict. Because this can be a time-consuming process, hand over the responsibility to your lawyer.
  2. Look into a captive financing company. When you start this type of business, financing is going to be a big part of your success. If you control the financing company, you get to make the important decisions, such as what interest rates to charge and what other lending terms to set in motion. You also profit from the deals, even when things don’t go well with the transaction. For example, normally, if the client had to sell the policy because he could not afford to pay off the loan you would end up taking a loss. If you own the financing company, that’s not going to be the case.
  3. Find clients. Even before you officially open the doors of your business, you should have your eye on potential clients. Hopefully, you already have a strong reputation in the insurance or financial planning market which will make lining up clients easier. If you are currently working in those fields, consider marketing yourself to existing clients if there would be no conflict of interest with your present employer. Another way to find new clients is to start hosting free seminars or by offering to do presentations for individual potential clients.
  4. Consider outsourcing management. One of the popular options available for premium financing companies is to outsource their management to services that can run them. The benefit is that you’ll be able to reap the benefits, but you won’t necessary suffer if you don’t have a lot of business acumen or if you want to continue working in your present field while also opening up this additional income stream.
  5. Build your capital. Because of the higher than average capital costs required to start one of these companies, you’ll need to either finance the business yourself or find some partners who will assist you. Remember that your expenses will be determined, in part, by how many policies you plan to extend. You may also not generate much profit right away either so you’ll need to have sufficient capital to cover the costs of hiring a management team and covering all of the financing fees, such as interest, associated with each of these loans.

Should You Trust a Robot to Manage Your Money?

The projections for the growth of robo-advisors are ambitious to say the least. However, this is a normal reaction for a growing trend. In many cases, the analyst is not looking at long-term patterns, assuming that the investment environment will remain the same for many years. This doesn’t mean robo-advisors are a bad option. It depends on your goals. Where do you fit in?

Robo-Advisor Popularity
A few of the most popular robo-advisor services today are Wealthfront, Betterment, Personal Capital and FutureAdvisor. Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW) offers its Intelligent Portfolios service.

A big reason for robo-advisor popularity is affordability. For instance, 90% of Wealthfront’s 30,000 clients are below the age of 50 and 60% of those clients are below the age of 35. This points to the Millennials, a generation that is still in the early stages of building wealth. Most Millennials can’t afford the fees of a traditional financial advisor who also typically require a minimum amount of assets to invest.

Wealthfront has a minimum investment of $5,000. If that total is below $10,000, then the service is free. After $10,000, there is just a 0.25% fee. Betterment works a little differently, with no minimum investment required and a 0.35% fee if the total investment is below $10,000. If the investment is between $10,000 and $100,000, there is a 0.25% fee. If the investment is north of $100,000, the fee is 0.15%.

But let’s skip right to Schwab and its Intelligent Portfolios. This service requires a $5,000 investment, but there is no fee. That being the case, it’s going to be difficult for Wealthfront, Betterment, and its peers to compete over the long haul. As we all know, nothing beats free. And if you’re wondering how Charles Schwab makes money on this service (you have to read the fine print), it’s through its proprietary exchange-traded funds (ETF) and third-party ETFs. But this is still a top option for an investor interested in robo-advisor services. In addition, Intelligent Portfolios will diversify your account across stocks, fixed income, real estate, commodities and more.

Another reason for the popularity of robo-advisors is tax-loss harvesting, which automatically minimizes tax obligations on your profitable trades and maximizes tax reductions on your losing trades. And, best of all, it’s all done by a computer, requiring zero effort on your part.

Robo-Advisor Risk?
Millennials have seen the worst of it during their lifetimes, including the Dotcom Bubble and 2008 financial crisis. Many are risk adverse and wary of the stock market. Unfortunately, the same pattern that helped create the last crisis is likely taking place again (record low interest rates). Only this time, the problem is global. And instead of just corporations being overextended and unable to pay their debts when growth stalls, you can now add countries to that list.

Is a bear market is approaching? Even if it isn’t on the horizon, it’s only a matter of time. It’s important to realize that while robo-advisors can rebalance portfolios all they want, those portfolios are going to be almost 100% long (excluding cash positions). It will be impossible for those robo-advisors to deliver a positive return. Millennials will see their investments head south and robo-advisors may wane in popularity.

Paying for a good financial advisor might be money well-spent in a bear market. Unlike a robot, a human can look at trends, keep up with all the up-to-the-minute headlines and make sense of them in a way that only a human mind can. At least there is potential of navigating a bear market when you have a human financial advisor. When you use a robo-advisor and the markets head south, your investments are likely to head south as well.

Financial Tools for Project Management

Project managers use tools to analyze forecasts, budgets, income statements and other financial documents. To maximize the profitability and return on investment for projects, a project manager requires a working knowledge of basic finance and accounting concepts. Using tools such as spreadsheets and online calculators, project managers analyze the project’s financial information, apply accounting principles and manage reports to ensure a project runs smoothly.

Cost Benefit Analysis

  • Project managers perform a cost benefit analysis when they need to make a project decision. Typically using a spreadsheet tool such as Microsoft Excel, Google Spreadsheets or Quickbooks, they analyze the costs associated with a given investment calculated over a three-year period to generate a net present value, payback and other metrics needed to make a good financial decision. For example, a cost benefit analysis for a training development project usually involves measuring the cost of creating the training materials and subtracting savings generated by personnel operating more efficiently. More complex cost benefit analyses involve multiple costs and numerous benefits.

Forecasting

  • Cash flow forecasts help project managers predict whether income will cover the cost of operations. Project managers can download a template from a website, such as the Microsoft Office Templates website, or develop their own format. Then by entering income expected and expenses for each month and comparing the values using formulas, the project manager can prepare a statement to show optimistic or pessimistic cash flow outlook scenarios. Typically a forecast covers one to two years. Cash flow forecasts provide a way for project managers to determine if an activity is a viable option.

Break-even Analysis

  • Project managers complete a break-even analysis to determine the level of output at which the money generated by the product or service produced by the project equals the cost of developing it. For example, project managers use free online tools, such as the Project.net software, to maintain a project dashboard and ensure that projects tasks produce output that helps manage projects.

Budget Tracking

  • Project managers use budget tracking software, such as Clarizen software, to determine if project investments make sense over time, after comparing the monetary value both today and in the future. Software tools allow project managers to define hourly rates for resources, customize billing rates and analyze resource usage. These tools and techniques help keep the project on track by ensuring expenditures, such as specialized consulting, software licenses and hardware costs, are allowed within the allotted funding.

Finance Job Skills

To find a job in finance, you will need to use your math, statistics, budgeting, bookkeeping and business skills. Finance jobs relate to managing money for different purposes. If you work at a car dealership, as the finance manager you would oversee the representatives who get customers approved for new and used vehicle loans.

Finance jobs require knowledge of financial principles.

Cash Flow

  • A finance job requires skill in tracking cash flow around a business. In some businesses, you collect and handle cash, prepare reports documenting cash receipts and make deposits to the bank. In other businesses, cash flow management begins with handling cash receipts or records, verifying revenues collected and posting revenues to the right accounts. The other side of cash flow involves disbursing cash from the right accounts to the right invoices, such as paying the company’s expenses.

Asset Management

  • Another skill set applies to managing the assets of a business. You might ensure that a company has enough assets to cover its financial commitments at any time. Your skills might apply to a career in corporate banking or finance, or you might consider investment consulting, helping businesses and consumers to grow their assets by investing and getting a higher financial yield than they would by depositing money in a bank savings account.

Quantitative Skills

  • You need educational preparation and strong skills in quantitative disciplines, including statistics, math, economics and computer modeling. These skills work well with analytical skills to help you understand financial problems from different angles. To work for a corporation, you will have to use quantitative skills to help your employer achieve goals and objectives. Number-crunching helps you to make financial recommendations to managers and executives.

Information and People Skills

  • Utilize your skills in problem-solving, information-gathering and customer service in a financial services career. You might find work in your own small business or in companies that provide services to consumers. People consume financial products, such as loans and investments, to use money for different goals. You might work in commercial or residential real estate lending, banking services or other financial services such as selling insurance policies and annuities.

 

Are Your Financial Advisor Fees Competitive?

If you charge fees to your clients for your financial advice or asset management services, then setting the right price can be a difficult task. You of course need to be adequately compensated for your services, but your clients also need to feel like they are getting their money’s worth in return for what they are paying you. But increasing competition and an explosion of technological alternatives have made it harder than ever to be able to determine whether the fees that you charge your clients are in line with your competition.

Start With the Basic Questions
To some extent, the fees that you charge as an advisor can be determined by common sense. The following questions should be able to help you to determine the types and amounts of fees that you charge.

Would I prefer to charge by the hour, by the job or plan or a percentage of assets under management?

Will I also be charging commissions for some cases or services?

What is my competition charging for similar services to similar clients, and are they making enough profit in order to grow and thrive?

How much revenue will I realistically have to generate in order to stay in business?
Fee Options
Once you have the answers to these questions, you will probably have enough information to at least be able to set an initial fee for your services if you have not done so already. And while the laws of supply and demand will ultimately determine whether your fees are too high or too low in the long run, there are several things that you can do in the here and now to add value to your fee structure and incentivize clients to enlist your services.

Charge low-net-worth clients a bit more – Although the difference in fees should not be too severe, this can make good fiscal sense in many ways. All clients require at least a certain level of administration, but you need to focus more on making your higher net worth clients happy. Those with fewer assets under management can end up taking up just as much of your time as your richer client base, but allocating equal time to them ultimately costs you money.

Offer freebies like a no-fee initial consultation – This can be a great way to get clients in the door so that you can show them what you are able to do for them. The lack of an obligation on their part will make many more prospects willing to meet with you at least once.

Give clients who require the least amount of maintenance a discount – This idea is founded upon the critical distinction between low-net-worth clients and low maintenance ones. As mentioned previously, low-net-worth clients can still take up a lot of your time and should therefore pay slightly more than those with more money. But those who require little or none of your time should also be rewarded for their simplicity.

Charge a single rate for assets under management – If you like to keep things simple, then charging a single rate for all of your clients may be the way to go. Although this may be frustrating to your small clients, it will provide better value for your large ones and may also encourage some of your other clients to increase their asset base with you in order to get a better value.

Offer a few different options to clients for how they can pay – Some clients may be happy to pay you by the hour for your services, while others would rather pay you a percent of their assets for your management services. The ability to offer a choice here can expand your marketability and thus your client base.

Here Come the Robo-Advisors
If you charge a percentage fee for assets under management, be prepared to contend with the coming wave of automated investment services that only charge a fraction of a percent for their services. Websites like Wealthvest and others like it can provide a basic level of money management for less than half a percent in many cases, and you will need to be able to show why the human element that you offer justifies the difference in cost between them and you. Having a top-notch website with technological amenities like a cloud-based platform, skype and chat services for your clients and other convenient features can also set you apart from a set of algorithms that is being packaged and marketed to the public.

 

Project Coordinator Position Description

Project Coordinator Position Description
A project coordinator is an operations professional. He is responsible for developing, coordinating and implementing all tasks that relate to a specific project. A general job title, project coordinators can be found in all industries, overseeing all manner of assignment. For instance, an IT project coordinator may work to implement a new technological system. A facilities project coordinator may work to assist a business group in moving from one location to another. He typically reports to a project manager.

Job ResponsibilitiesA project coordinator confers with her project manager to understand the scope of a project. She then meets with the project team, ensuring that each team member understands their responsibilities and accountabilities. The project coordinator serves as the point person for the project. All human resources duties are performed by her. Additionally, she manages all vendor relationships. She also relays information between the project manager and client. Any paperwork required is her responsibility. She prepares bills and invoice, as well as budgetary and progress reports.

The coordinator manages all paperwork.
Job OpportunitiesMany project coordinators are promoted from within, having successful served in an administrative capacity within his organization. When seeking employment with a new company, a perspective candidate should firm scour online job boards, such as CareerBuilder.com. Additionally, newspaper classifieds are, of course, wonderful resources for job seekers. Another method of finding employment is to engage the services of a reputable employment agency. Many well-known national firms, such as Kelly Services and Manpower, focus specifically on the placement of these and other administrative professionals.

Opportunites can be found in newpapers.
Qualitative RequirementsThere are many personal qualities employers look for when hiring a project coordinator. Most important is attention to detail. Any errors that this candidate makes can negatively impact the progress of the project. An applicant must also possess stellar interpersonal skills. She will be interacting with colleagues, vendors and customers/clients of all demographics and professional levels. It is important she be able to gain credibility with them so she may effectively complete her tasks. Knowledge of basic office and book keeping software is also crucial. Additionally, depending on the scope of the project, she may be required to juggle many duties at once.

Candidates must pay a close attention to detail.
Educational RequirementsMost employers required that candidates possess for year degrees. Additionally, they typically prefer that a degree be in an area of study that relates to their line of business. For instance, a candidate for an IT project coordinator role would have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, while a project coordinator should have studied finance or accounting. Additionally, a candidate wishing to increase her marketability may take continuing education courses through organizations, such as a project management institute.

Degrees are a must.
Average CompensationIndeed.com reports that the average project coordinator working the United States of America in 2009 earns an annual income of $47,000.

Project coordinators earn nearly $50K.

How to Report a Lost Social Security Card

The Social Security Administration does not take reports of lost or stolen Social Security Cards. The SSA is however aware that this sort of thing does happen and offers advice and suggestions on how to protect yourself and secure another copy of your card. The following steps guide you through the fairly simple process.

Instructions

  1. Make sure that no one is using the Social Security card to obtain credit. Learn about identify theft and monitor credit reports. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
  2. Check in with Social Security to make sure that income is being correctly calculated. Have the social security number and employer information available for verification. (See Resources.)
  3. Print an application to request a free replacement Social Security card. Print the form on plain, white printer paper that is 8 1/2 by 11 inches. Read the instructions carefully and complete the form completely.
  4. Secure original documents proving U.S. citizenship (a birth certificate, passport or U.S. consular report of birth). Include additional proof of identity, like a driver’s license, state-issued identification card or U.S. passport.
  5. Take or mail the completed form with all supporting documents to the nearest Social Security office. Expect to receive mail original document by return mail within seven to 10 days. (See Resources for the Social Security Office Locator.)
  6. Expect to receive the replacement card in two to four weeks from the time of the application. Keep the card in a safe place with other important papers.

How to Start a Small Finance Company

A small finance company is one that specializes in making secured loans to consumers and businesses. Typical transactions include home equity loans, vehicle loans and installment loans for the purchase of major household appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines. Finance companies differ from banks in that they do not accept deposits from customers. Some small finance companies are independent and restrict their market area to one local area, while others have a nationwide presence, with branch offices throughout the United States. Each state regulates the finance companies located there.

Small finance companies make loans to consumers and businesses.

Instructions

  1. Study the market you intend to serve. It may be a city, a county or a larger area. To understand the potential loan demand in your market area, investigate the demographics (i.e., the characteristics of the area’s population, especially age and income) and identify potential business customers.
  2. Identify your state’s regulator of small finance companies. This government entity may be the same as the regulator of banking in your state. After you make contact, obtain the necessary information about how to qualify as a finance company.
  3. Hire outside professionals to assist you in founding your finance company. An attorney or a law firm with experience in financial services will guide you through the many laws and regulations you will encounter. A well-qualified certified public accountant or accounting firm is necessary for establishing financial controls, auditing your books and records, and producing financial statements.
  4. Form your business if you have not already done so. When you fill out the application form, you will have to indicate whether your business is a proprietorship, a limited liability company or a corporation.
  5. Complete your business plan. This will be necessary in case you plan to obtain funding from outside investors. Potential investors will require a suitable business plan that contains detailed financial projections over the next three to five years. It is customary for finance companies to fund their loan business with lines of credit from banks. Those banks will need to study your business plan as well during their approval process.
  6. Apply to the regulator for your license to conduct business as a finance company. Consult your business plan for the information you need for filling in the official forms. Be prepared to attach a check for the application fee. For approval to be final, you will have to obtain a surety bond or an irrevocable letter of credit to support your lending activity. The state regulator will inform you of the amounts.
  7. Locate, lease and furnish a suitable office for conducting business. Hire and train staff. Advertise your business and continue marketing. When you receive final, official approval from the regulator, you can commence business.

How to Finance a Home Renovation

Home renovation projects can be rewarding, yet expensive.
Whether you’ve been inspired by a reality show on HGTV, you’ve bought an old house in need of work or your home needs repairs because of healthy implications, a home renovation project can be a huge undertaking. Tearing the walls down to remove fungus in a bathroom, making your kitchen more energy-efficient or adding a central heat and air system to an old home can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Follow these steps to secure financing to renovate your home to relieve the burden.

How to Finance a Home Renovation

  1. Plan your remodeling project. Before you smash down any walls, plan every single element of your remodeling project and give each element an assessment in importance based on increasing home value or increasing quality of life. Sid Davis, writer for This Old House Magazine, says “Whether you hire a contractor or take on the work yourself, begin with an accurate estimate of what the project will cost. Lenders will insist on a specific figure before they work with you.” When all the costs are determined, you can leave off the least important renovations for later dates if the project could extend beyond your budget.
  2. Get estimates. Contact construction companies and designers and explain the parameters of your project. Give them the dimensions of the spaces they will be working with and find out estimated project costs. Compare rates from several different companies to arrive at an approximate cost for your project.
  3. Use the cash that you have in your savings account to get the project off the ground. There isn’t any interest that you’ll have to pay for borrowing this money from yourself, but it could deplete your reserves. Try to avoid taking too much of your reserves. Leave enough savings to cover a few months’ worth of bills and seek financing from lenders for the rest that you will need for your project.
  4. Investigate Zero-Interest Credit Card offers as an option to pay for your remodeling project. Credit cards offer a quicker financing option than loans. You apply either online or by phone, and you learn whether you are approved within minutes. Credit cards often also offer reward point programs that you can take advantage of. Beware of the danger of high interest and fees that could come back to haunt you long after your renovation project has been completed.
  5. Apply for a home equity loan. Use the equity built up in the home to finance your remodeling project at generally a lower interest rate than most other financing options. Depleting the equity in the home however, reduces your return on your investment if you have to sell the home before you’ve paid down the loan and the original mortgage.
  6. Call your lender to inquire about home equity line of credit options. Consumers Union of US Inc., who produces independent Consumer Reports says “This type of financing is best if you plan to do several projects over a number of years.” Home Equity Lines of Credit are similar to credit cards. You can keep borrowing money and paying it back as long as the line of credit is activate. Your credit limit on a HELOC will be based on the equity you have built in your home.
  7. Consider doing it yourself and getting friends and family to invest their sweat for free. If you have the skills to perform the job, you can save thousands of dollars on labor. Keep in mind that a shoddy job can actually double the cost of your remodeling project; especially if you have to hire someone to fix what you’ve broken.
  8. Apply for a personal loan. Lending Tree advises that “A personal loan or line of credit may be all you need for a smaller project. The fees to set these up can be lower than those for refinancing your mortgage or tapping your home’s equity.” With a personal loan, you don’t have to worry about having a lien on your house if something were to go wrong and you got behind on the payments.

How to Finance Dental Implants

The average $1,500 to $7,500 per-tooth cost for dental implants are a 100 percent out-of-pocket expense for the uninsured and for those whose insurance excludes implant procedures. Some insurers will pay a portion of the costs; however, some plans exclude dental implants completely. If you can’t afford to pay the bill in a lump sum from savings, a number of financing options are available.

How Dental Insurance Works with Implant Surgery

Each dental implant involves five surgical procedures, each of which has a separate insurance billing code. While most insurers pay 60 percent to 80 percent for a tooth extraction — the first procedure — it’s the type of plan, not the insurer, that determines whether or how much your dental insurance will pay for the four remaining procedures. These are:

  • Bone graft — this procedure prepares the bone for the implant.
  • Dental implant — this procedure involves placing the implant in the gum and underlying bone
  • Custom or Prefabricated Abutment — this procedure involves securing a connector on top of the dental implant
  • Abutment-retained Crown – this procedure involves securing the new tooth into the implant

Your chance of not having to finance the entire cost is often better if you have a Preferred Provider Organization — PPO — dental plan. Although most insurers exclude dental implant procedures as a basic or restorative care service, according to Dr. Steven Polevoy, a New York-based family dentist, some plans may foot up to 50 percent of the bill, up to your yearly maximum, if the plan covers implant procedures under the major medical portion of the plan.

Financing Options

Timing with Insurance Coverage

Dental implants usually take about nine months from start to finish. If you can spread the procedures out over two billing years, coverage up to the yearly maximum will double.

Health Savings Account

Dental implants are an IRS-approved HSA medical expense. The “catch” is that you must have high-deductible medical insurance to qualify to set up a tax-free health savings account. According to BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, the deductible for these plans is at least $1,250 for individual coverage or $2,500 for family coverage. However, you don’t have to maintain dental insurance to fund dental implants with HSA funds. Additionally, the money you invest doesn’t expire at the end of each calendar year.

Credit Cards and Loans

General and health-care credit cards, and personal or home equity loans are additional financing options.

  • With a credit card, a balance transfer with an interest-free promotional period can be useful if you can pay the balance before the promotional period ends. If you can’t, the company may charge interest retroactively starting from the first month. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, this is a common practice with healthcare credit cards.
  • Personal loan options include both personal loans and health-care installment loans. Interest rates for these range from about 3.99 percent to more than 40 percent depending on your credit score and the loan amount. According to Dear Doctor, Inc., one advantage a health-care installment often provides is a longer loan term — usually up to 84 months — than a personal loan.
  • You can also use a home equity loan or line of credit to pay for dental implants.

Warning

  • Funding dental implants with a 401(k) or other retirement plan withdrawal is generally not a good option. Although you can withdraw funds to pay for dental implants, the withdrawal will likely not qualify as a hardship disbursement. This means you’ll be responsible for paying taxes and a 10 percent penalty on the money.

How to Land an Entry-Level Financial Analyst Job

A financial analyst is a professional who gives investment advice to both individuals and businesses. Due to the high salaries earned in the profession, landing an entry-level financial analyst position can be challenging, as competition is fierce. However, by carefully mapping out your educational path and networking your way through the industry, you can give yourself a competitive edge for landing a position.

Instructions

  1. Obtain the necessary education. You will need a bachelor’s degree at the very least, preferably in finance or a finance-related field such as statistics, accounting, international business or management. Some universities require good scores in high school mathematics for entry, while others are a little more relaxed about entry standards.
  2. Further your education by taking a postgraduate degree in finance. While some employers will accept a high-standard bachelor’s degree for an entry-level financial analyst position, many require a master’s degree. Thus, a master’s degree will only increase your chances for acceptance into a trainee program. If you have the financial resources, an MBA that specializes in the financial markets may help your chances even more.
  3. Begin preparation for the chartered financial analyst (CFA) certification, a necessary requirement for a career as a financial analyst. The designation is achieved after passing three examinations that require self-study. The whole process takes two to five years, and will overlap with the experience gained as an entry-level financial analyst.
  4. Network. The financial markets field is highly competitive, and thus becoming familiar with those who already work in the industry will give you an edge over other job candidates. This also applies for internship opportunities. When you eventually land an entry-level position, you will need at least four years of experience before you can obtain your CFA designation.

 

How to Get Funding for a Construction Business

Funding for construction businesses comes in the form of loans, grants and investments.
The housing bubble burst and subsequent recession of 2008 put many construction companies out of business. Since that time, the real estate and construction markets have slowly regained momentum and welcomed new construction businesses back into the industry. Starting a construction business requires a detailed business plan, potential leads for new clients and funding. Existing construction companies also need to secure funding to cover equipment purchases, salaries and overhead costs.

Understand the Industry

  • Getting funding for a construction company starts with understanding the ins and outs of the industry. A construction company must pay for materials, labor and other incidentals before a project starts, yet it doesn’t receive full payment until the project is complete. This cash flow shortfall is one major reason construction companies need funding. The construction industry depends heavily on the current economy; if the economy is down, people are not building and construction companies are not getting any business. And a construction company works project to project, with no guaranteed or stable revenues. To many lenders, this instability is a strike against the construction company.

Find the Right Lender

  • Finding a lender or company that specializes in loans for construction companies and that understands the construction business can expedite the loan process. Globelend Capital, for example, specializes in construction funding and allows companies to borrow cash using future revenues as collateral. 1st Commercial Credit and eSmallBusinessLoan work frequently with construction companies, “purchasing” a specific amount of a company’s future sales and requiring the company to pay the money back each month from those sales. These cash advance and accounts receivable loans are ideal for construction companies, because they provide quick, upfront cash and do business with companies that have bad credit, tax liens or judgments. These companies often approve loan applications quickly, without much of the paperwork banks and other lenders require.

Go Through Application Process

  • When applying for the loan, the construction company owner should specify what the money will be used for, whether that’s buying equipment, increasing surety bonds or paying salaries. Being as specific as possible helps the loan officer understand why the money is needed and could make him more likely to approve the loan. Lenders typically ask for basic information about the company, such as who owns it and where it’s based, and want to review several months’ worth of bank and credit card statements.

Consider Leasing

  • Construction equipment is one of the biggest expenses for a business that builds things. Equipment leasing companies offer an option for a construction company that might not have the funds for such large capital expenses — especially as the business is starting out. Rather than having to pay large amounts of money in advance to purchase equipment, a leasing company allows the construction company to pay small amounts over time to secure the equipment it needs.

How to Finance & Purchase Land in Mozambique

Mozambique overlooks the Indian Ocean.
Mozambique is in southeast Africa between South Africa and Tanzania, with a long coastline overlooking the Indian Ocean and the Mozambique Channel. The country has moved on from 20 years of civil war to democratic government and is striving to implement a free-market economy. Outstanding opportunities for tourism-related ventures exist in a typical emerging market with the usual risk/reward ratio. All land is state-owned under the constitution and cannot be bought, sold or mortgaged. Concessions for its usage are granted through 50 year renewable leases. Individual investors can lease land only after 10 years of residency.

Understanding Land Acquisition in Mozambique

  1. Recruit the services of an English-speaking Mozambican lawyer from a list recommended by the commercial section of your diplomatic mission. You will need to understand from your selected legal adviser how to become the owner of a company already incorporated and registered in Mozambique; this is by far the easiest and quickest way for a foreigner to acquire and hold a land concession with a valid land usage title document, known officially as a DUAT (Direito de uso e Aproveitamento de Terra), in his own name . You should first look for existing companies that may already hold title to land in your preferred vicinity. As land may not be transacted, only the immovable real estate that it contains can be legally sold. Be very clear as to what you want to use the land for. Land already acquired is generally licensed for a specific purpose, so changing its designated usage, for example, from residential to tourism, may not be straightforward.
    Abundant wildlife is a major ecotourism attraction.
  2. Detailed due diligence is absolutely essential, Any existing company that you may consider buying must be able to provide tax and social security compliance certificates plus licenses for any existing land and any partial construction which should also be underwritten by either an environmental license or an exemption certificate. By contrast, registering and incorporating start-up companies is an extremely long process with no real average time-line. The purchase of a ready-made company dictates that land, existing buildings on that land and any other assets are automatically transferred to you as the new owner and you do not need a local partner. You should also check the cost of maintaining a land lease, which varies. Apart from the application fee and the charges for the legal journey through the process, a DUAT ostensibly costs nothing. However, there is an annual land tax payable to the government and occasionally annual compensation for people displacement.
    Detailed due diligence is essential.
  3. Assuming that you have found a suitable existing company and it is willing to sell, you must take into account that any construction projects approved for land with a license already granted, especially a provisional stage license, must be completed within two years. It is therefore vitally important to check that any land applications declared by the company you are buying have actually progressed beyond the provisional title stage. In other words, do they have the right to transfer the approval as an asset? If not, you may as well reapply to license the land and any proposed construction projects yourself, once you have bought the company for a lower price.

    Also, before proceeding, a serious examination of the original investment plan that supported the granting of the license should be conducted. Submission of an investment plan is a mandatory part of the land application process. Even if you have bought a company without a current land interest but with the intention of using it as the vehicle for a land application, you must provide an investment plan. A positive result on both of these issues is crucial to the future health of your finances.

    Check the land's lease license status.
  4. At this stage, finance becomes the key. External finance is almost certainly the only option you can pursue, as Mozambique looks to encourage inward foreign investment. In any case, loans from Mozambican banks are generally over short terms. South African citizens, compared to other nationalities, are probably in the best position to raise finances for purchases in Mozambique. They have access to Barclays. Putting a business plan forward to raise capital for investment in Africa would have to be approached with an international bank, already familiar with and holding interests in Africa. British institutions such as Barclays, Standard Chartered and Lloyds TSB do operate in Africa as does Morgan Stanley, which also has an office in South Africa. From a U.S. banking perspective, the continent is under-served; the nearest Bank of America office, for example, is in Greece. Therefore, unless you can secure finance on home ground against collateral and a powerful business plan, self-funding must be considered, but you should certainly approach Africa-located internationals first. Companies for sale in Mozambique probably vary from $300,000 to $1.5 million (U.S. dollars).

Construction Equipment Financing On Getting Good Deals and Managing Payoffs

The one issue that any start-up construction company faces is capital. The business is just getting off of its feet which mean money will not be easy to come by. But the paradox here is you NEED money to get your operations going. Those backhoes and diggers and other heavy duty equipment you need – they certainly aren’t cheap. Then there is the matter of you being a newbie in the industry which means that a business loan won’t be easy to obtain either. So how DO you get the ball rolling? What means do you have of acquiring the machines that are essential for you to deliver your services?

The answer is construction equipment financing.

There are various companies out there that are willing to take the risk of providing loans to start ups for their machinery and equipment needs. Of course their terms and conditions will be a bit different from what you would expect in a regular term loan. The equipment that you will buy will have to be mortgaged to secure your payoff. The financer will also perform a stringent analysis of your future business prospects. But this money can be the life-blood you need to kick-start your enterprise. Matching these eligibility requirements is something you should seriously look into.

So how do you ensure that you make the right decisions when it comes to heavy equipment financing?

• First you must understand that the financing you are about to avail can make or break your business. Be sure you are ready to take up the responsibility.
• Carefully go through the different construction equipment financing plans that different lenders offer. A thorough study of all the options is a must here.
• Look into their eligibility criteria next. That will narrow down your list of financers considerably.
• Always check the terms and conditions of the loan they are willing to offer, especially of the company that is offering a too-easy-to-be-true loan. Beware of falling into a trap which you are incapable of getting out of.
• Check their repayment terms carefully. Look for hidden charges and overheads.
• Scan through the experiences of past customers. How do they rate the lending company’s services? What do the review portals say about them? Or the social media? Look for any clues on their service quality.

Now comes the hardest part. Once you have found the right heavy equipment financing company and availed of the loan from them, the true struggle begins. You are a start-up enterprise. How on earth will you be able to pay back all that money?

Here are a few tips on making some smart savings

• Take a look at your buying habits. Do you buy construction material in bulk? Consider buying in off season?
• Think about a liaison with your local supplier and agree on terms that are easier than the market price.
• Keep an eye out on the market for any new deals, offers and clearance sales.
• Don’t overlook the small savings like on utilities and regular bills. Even if you save $100 a month it still totals out to $1200 for the year.

For more information on construction equipment financing, be sure to visit Aberdeenfinancialgroup.com.