Creating Your Dream Future With The Right Pension Plan

Unsure about how to go about organising a pension fund? You’re not alone. Even though we know we should start saving for retirement as soon as we start earning, the reality is that not many of us even start thinking about a pension until much later in life. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not important. Later life can bring about all kinds of unexpected financial problems. You may also want to provide your family with some inheritance or property too. Additionally, retirement is also time for you to do the things you’ve always wanted to do – whether that’s travel the world, or tale up a new hobby. Therefore, it’s never really too early to start saving for your future. But with so many different options available, how will you know what’s right for you?

Pension Plans

Public pension

Many people in America opt for a state pension. Providing you meet the criteria, you could be eligible for up to $18,856 a year. It is financed through the paying of social security taxes and its official name is the OASDI pension. This stands for Old Age, Surviving and Disability Insurance Programme. Your OASDI pension can be financed from various sources. 84% is provided by taxes paid by employees and employers, whilst trust fund reserves account for around 14%. The remaining 2% is paid for by upper-income social security beneficiaries. You will become eligible to claim your state pension once your reach 65 years of age. Plus, you will only be taxed if your retirement income exceeds a certain amount.

IRAs

If you want to have greater control over your pension fund, or are planning to invest much of your pension money, then an IRA may be for you. Opening a self directed IRA is the best option if you know you are going to invest during your retirement. Roth IRAs are a type of account where you pay tax on the funds going in, but any withdrawals you make will be tax free. This is a particularly good account to have if you are expected to pay a high amount of tax during your retirem

Occupational pension scheme

If you work in the private sector, it is likely you will have access to a workforce retirement plan. Defined contribution schemes (DC schemes) are the most popular types of occupational pensions. They cover 43% of the workforce. Such plans enable employees and employers to put money away towards their pensions with any tax deferred. Then, when it is time to claim your pension, you can access it in a number of ways: annuities, fixed month by month payments, or as a lump sum. Recent reforms now mean that if you don’t make a decision to enroll yourself into your employer’s DC plan, you will automatically be enrolled anyway. However, it is best that you enroll yourself. You will need to provide personal information such as age, monthly outgoings, account information etc. If you don’t, you will be entered into a ‘default’ category for all these things, which could potentially leave you worse off.

Prevent Stock Market Losses By Using These 4 Tips

Succeeding in the stock market is never easy to do. There are so many things that can go wrong, and many people fail to overcome these difficulties. But if you want to prevent yourself suffering harsh losses when trading on the stock market, there are some things you can do. Read on to find out more.

Stock Market Tips

  1. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

The first lesson any investor should learn is that putting all your eggs in one basket is a major problem. When you do this, the losses you suffer will be far greater because they will wipe out your entire investment. For example, if you put all your money on one investment, all that will be gone in one swoop if the price plummets. These kinds of devastating losses can be avoided by spreading out your investments across different stocks. It’s a simple lesson, but many investors end up learning it the hard way. Don’t let that happen to you.

  1. Understand and Use Charts

Charts can signal predicted stock movements in the future. When it comes to doing things like detecting trends, every investor should use them. For beginners, they can be almost impossible to understand. All those lines moving up and down seem to signal nothing. But that’s not the case at all. If you spend some time learning about these charts and what they’re saying, you can avoid losses and invest in winners. It will take time to master the use of stock market chart patterns, but it’s worth giving it a try and persisting with it. Your success as an investor could depend on it.

  1. Don’t Chase Sudden Moves

The aim of investing should be to track trends and predict movement in the market. So, you should never be in a position where you’re simply reacting to sudden movements. If you spend your time chasing these movements, you will never make profits, and you will certainly suffer losses. That’s not what you need, so focus on buying before the movement occurs, not after. This can be tricky for people who haven’t been trading for long to get their heads around. But jumping on the bandwagon very rarely yields positive results, and often leads to massive disappoints. It’s certainly not a sustainable way to invest.

  1. Use Stop Loss Limits

Stop loss limits should definitely be put in place if you want to avoid losing a lot of money. These limits automatically trigger the sale of your stocks when they drop to a certain price. This is a risky move because you never know if the price will start to rise again as soon as you sell. But if you’re a cautious kind of trader, this is a smart move. You will be able to ensure that the price doesn’t plummet without you taking action. Without these stop loss limits in place, the price could keep falling and falling. And by the time you get around to selling the stocks, they could be worth next to nothing.

Start Up Success: Where Should Your Priorities Lie In Year One?

The modern business climate has created ample opportunity for new entrepreneurs to thrive. Whether it’s selling products online or setting up a pop-up company doesn’t matter. If you have the ideas and the determination to thrive, there’s nothing holding you back from success.

Startup Business

While the opportunities are there, your startup will only succeed if you follow a winning blueprint. Arguably the most important part of this careful planning is to get your priorities in order. After all, most new businesses collapse before they’ve ever truly established themselves. Avoiding that trap at all costs should be the only incentive you’ll ever need.

Of course, some elements will be unique to your company and the industry you’re in. Nevertheless, following tried and tested methods will put you in a far stronger position. Arguably the most important issue is to realize that you don’t need to do things alone. Even if you are capable of doing every job, it doesn’t make economic sense to complete basic tasks. Not when your time would be better spent elsewhere. If funds are tight, outsourcing can be a fantastic way to reduce those staffing costs – and the admin work connected.

Either way, a winning team will instantly bolster your chances of success. However, there are plenty of other elements that need to be considered. It can take a few months to reach a point where the company is profitable. Therefore, keeping costs down is particularly important in those early days. Cutting unnecessary waste is essential.

You will still need to invest money, though. Perhaps above all else, you need to ensure the company is protected. Installing surveillance and safeguarding employees is only the start. You also need to consider the brand and your products. Asking “how much does it cost to trademark a name?” or “how do I patent an idea?” could be key. After all, the last thing you need is someone else making money off the back of your innovations.

Maintaining your USP will help you establish your place in the market. Quite frankly, building an audience should be your main priority throughout the first year. You can tweak other elements over the months and years, but you won’t achieve anything without regular customers. Making first impressions count is vital. And your marketing plans should be tailored towards converting those sales. Embracing the power of recommendation through customer referral schemes can help the company grow too. 

If you want to gain a positive reputation in those early days, providing a great customer service is almost as important as the products. If you are a small offline venture, you should take advantage of the fact you can provide a personalized experience. For online startups, compensating for the lack of human interaction is vital. This can be achieved through social media, Live Chat, or telephone services. Either way, creating a likable and trustworthy brand will inevitably give you a far greater chance of success.

The first year of business is the hardest, but it’s also the most exciting. Let your passion shine through, and those 12 months will fly. Once you reach that milestone, building a sustainable venture should be easy.

Investing For Beginners: What Are Some of the Safest Investments to Start Out With?

Whatever age you are, the thought of money often crosses our minds. We want to make more money and want to feel financially secure. It is very well working full time to make our money. But there are some other things that we can do to make that money of ours go further. You can even make that money into more money if you have invested it wisely. You might not be sure where to start when it comes to investing money, though. So here are a few sectors that you could look into. As with anything, do your own research before heading into anything. You will want to make sure that it is the right decision for you and your circumstances.

Smart Investing

Property

Investing in property is one of the best ways to make money. If you already own a home, then you will have a bit of an insight into how it all works anyway. But essentially, there are two ways that you make money from property. The first way is to buy homes that are in need of an update and then sell the property on. It is a good way to make money relatively quickly. It also means more money is coming in, to invest in other properties.

The second option is to buy properties with the plan of renting them out. The basically, your tenants will be the ones paying off the mortgage for you, plus a little extra. So it can almost become a career for a lot of people, especially if you have a number of properties to maintain. Student properties are good for this kind of thing especially. So if you are thinking about going into property, then do your research. You need to know how much you can afford and how much homes in your area will go for. You could find out some great info about Bridgfords or another local real estate agent, to see what they can help you with.

Gold

Gold can be a pretty solid investment (pun intended). You will need quite a bit of capital upfront, though. So it is best for those of us that have some cash saved up. Investing in gold is one of the safest investment options around. It has the potential to be one of the most lucrative options too. So with that in mind, it is certainly worth considering as an option for you. No matter your age or where you are in your life, there is a pretty good chance that you can benefit from investing in something like gold. You just need to check that you will be getting as good of a deal as possible. So shop around and compare what is being offered.

Land

Investing in land is great in many ways. You can sell the land off to others should you wish too. If an investor is after it, then they will pay a high price. You can build on the land, as well as use it for farming or agricultural things. The latter can help you to make money in other ways, so it is a good way to create a steady stream of income too.

Selling An Investment Property: The Information You Need

If you’re looking to sell an investment property, you’ve come to the right place. It isn’t always an easy task, and there are plenty of things you need to know before you tackle the task at hand. If you want to make sure that all your hard work in your investment pays off, you can’t afford to make any mistakes. So, let’s take a look at a few bits of information that might just prove crucial when selling your investment property.

Real Estate Sale

The Property Inspection

When it comes time to sell, your property is going to have to undergo a property inspection. We could generate an entire article on this topic alone, but we’ll keep it to the basics for now. Think about any work that needs to be done. Why areas of improvement are going to be identified? Can you make any repairs before the inspection is carried out? If you can, make sure you make those repairs. Also, it’s important to consider taking out public liability insurance in case a tenant is injured during the inspection.

The Taxes

In case you hadn’t realized it already, you’ll also need to consider the taxes involved in your decision. You’ll be hit with a capital gains tax, although a 1031 exchange might help you with that. Ultimately, though, you’re going to find that the tax hit might cause your lucrative deal to become not-so-lucrative. All financial factors must be taken into account before you go making the decision to sell. You don’t want to end up regretting the decision because you didn’t take the time to learn about the tax implications!

What’s The Current State Of The Property?

By this, I don’t mean the actual physical state of it. Sure, that’s important, but those elements will be noted in the inspection. Instead, I’m thinking about its recent history. Have you had a tenant in there in the past six months? What kind of tenant are they? What kind of neighborhood has developed around your property in recent years? Is it friendly, violent or somewhere in-between? All of these factors will contribute to the potential profits you could make from the property. Being aware of the small details will ensure that you can get a clear indication of whether it’s a good time to sell.

Research The Market

While we’re on the topic – researching the market is another great way of knowing when to sell the property. The market is a huge indicator of how much you stand to make from the sale. If it’s in a bad state, you’re not going to benefit in the way you’d hoped. Sometimes, it’s worth hanging onto that property for another six months until you stand to profit in a much more agreeable way.
In order to maximize your profits, you’ll want to take the time to prepare for the sale as best you can. By doing that, you’ll be giving yourself a better chance of success. Hopefully, the monetary rewards will be vast!

Facing an Audit from the IRS? Read This.

There are a lot of things about business that aren’t always fun. Do you want to know what’s pretty much never fun? An audit from the IRS. If you think one is on the way, read this article.

Audit Checklist

How likely is an audit?

The IRS are pretty on-point when it comes to auditing individuals or companies they have any suspicion of. However, their priority will always be high earners. Multi-million dollar corporations are the most likely business entities to face an audit from the IRS. But this shouldn’t allow anyone to believe they can get away with tax misbehavior because they’re not rolling in cash. The IRS may focus on high earners, but they spread their reach very wide. Hundreds of thousands of tax audits are taken out every year. Give it a couple of years and there’s plenty of room for everyone on that list!

What will have triggered an audit?

The IRS have a pretty close eye on income and outgoings. If you or your company has more assets than the income justifies, then the IRS will be on your back sooner or later. This sort of thing can be fairly easy to spot for them. However, there is some behavior that will act as a fast and very big red flag for the IRS. If you’ve been excessively engaging in itemized deductions, they’ll be curious. If you’ve concealed or neglected to provide cash receipts, that’ll do it, too. Large business expenses, as well as charitable donations, will often trigger an audit. And then, of course, there’s the event that most companies really hate: an informant working within the business!

Do I need a lawyer?

This depends. If you know precisely what the IRS’s concern is, and you know that no unsavory activity has occurred, then maybe not. In such a case, they’ll poke around, find nothing, and be on their way. But if there’s going to be a dispute or any confusion, then you’ll probably need some assistance in the legal area. Of course, this is all assuming you’re okay with the audit at all. If you want to challenge the audit before it occurs, then you’ll certainly need legal assistance. Because you can’t predict the future, it might be a good idea to talk to a professional tax attorney as soon as you’re informed about an IRS audit.

What about my employees?

When an IRS audit occurs, you have several rights. You, of course, have the right to get a tax attorney involved without anyone subsequently assuming guilt or wrongdoing. You have the right to be treated courteously by any IRS employee; they can’t talk down to you or assume you’ve done something wrong. You have the right to a certain degree of privacy when it comes to finance. Basically, there are a bunch of rules that the IRS representatives need to follow. One of the rules that the IRS tries to break most commonly is consulting employees without your knowledge. Instruct your employees never to speak with the IRS agent. If the agent has an inquiry, it must be referred to the business owner.

Want To Boost Your Pension Payout? Here’s How

You might think that retirement is a long way away. But when you really think about it, is it? Ten years can soon fly by. So if you don’t start making preparations now, you could be in for a nasty financial surprise. Fortunately, there’s plenty of things that you can do to increase your pension payout. Here are some tips to get you started.

Retirement

Pay In More And Defer

Payment

In the run up to retirement, many people worry that they won’t have enough money saved up. This can be a serious problem, but there are both ways to solve it and ways not solve it. In general, it’s a risky idea to try to boost your pension income by investing in higher risk assets. Higher risk assets might promise better returns. But they also promise to wipe you out if the stock market crashes.

A much better idea is to either add payments to an existing scheme or delay the date you take retirement income. If you’re worried that you won’t have enough money to see you through retirement, deferring your pension might be a good idea.

Swap To A Cooperative

Superannuation cooperatives, like NSF Super, aren’t interested in making a profit. Rather, these organisations are member based and work in the interest of all their members. For people saving for their pensions, that’s a good thing. It means, in theory, that more of the money they save will be returned to them. Fees are generally lower and the quality of service higher than in regular pension fund saving schemes.

Ditch Underperforming Assets

When you first set up your pension, it might have seemed like a good idea to invest in certain assets. But over time, those assets have lost value. And right now, there’s little prospect that they will recover.

Assets Down Trend

Nonperforming assets are one of the biggest reasons people become dissatisfied with their pensions. So the best policy is to weed them out of your retirement portfolio as early as possible. If you have to, talk to your financial adviser about switching to a new scheme.

Use Alternative Saving Methods

Increase Savings

Pensions aren’t the only place where you should keep your savings. There are other opportunities elsewhere that also afford a decent return. ISAs are one example of another place you should put your money. Savings accounts have one key advantage over regular pension funds. They allow you to access your money instantly. Thus, with a savings accounts, you’re not locked into any fixed term before you can get access to your money again. It just adds extra flexibility, and means you’re less likely to have to drawdown your pension early.

Start Sacrificing Salary Early

Salary sacrificing schemes never feel good at the time. But they are the best way to ensure your pension pot fills up quickly. Each month, your employer automatically deducts a chunk of money from your pay packet and puts it into a pension fund.

These schemes are tax efficient because you are sacrificing income to pay into your pension, saving on income tax. And in some countries, employers have to equal the contributions of workers, making them even more lucrative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Dealing With Your Student Loan

 

Student Loan

Your student loan is probably the first financial issue you’ll need to deal with in your life. It’s a nice way to ease into financial responsibility before the others that follow such as children, buying a house and saving your pension. For now, though, let’s focus on the student loan. Many people find that once they leave college, they owe a lot more than they bargained for. That’s why you need this guide to help you deal with your loan before it becomes a burden too big to handle.

Let’s Cheapen The Deal

The first issue you need to consider is whether there are ways to make your student loan cheaper. Typically, there are such as working towards getting a scholarship. This will open up the possibility of getting a subsidized student loan. If you excel in a sport or activity, there’s a good chance the college will pay part of your loan off for you. This is the ideal possibility and is particularly useful if you are aiming to attend a prestigious and expensive university. Hint, an Ivy League college will look great on your resume, but it won’t come cheap. Unless you want to give hindsight a whirl we probably need to move on to what happens after college.

Calculating Repayments

Once you finish college, you’ll get your degree and a friendly bill that probably has more zeroes than you can count. All kidding aside, the full cost of what you owe by the end of college can be a shock to the system. But don’t panic just yet because there are ways to deal with it. The first thing you need to do is calculate how much you owe, what you’ll need to repay and how much interest you’ll face. The good news is you can do that online with a click of a button. There are a few calculators for college loans that will come in handy for different repayment plans. This will help you choose a form of repayment.

Choosing A Payment Plan

Choosing a payment plan can be quite complicated. For instance, paying a lot off in the first few months isn’t always the best idea. Particularly, if this is going to mean money is tight. You’ll just ensure you need to borrow money from another source. However, this one might include a higher level of interest. Instead, aim for a plan where you’ll be using around ten percent of your income to pay off the loan each month. Remember, on some plans, a large amount of your debt will be canceled off. This will occur after a fixed number of years of employment.

Extra Tip: Refinancing

If you’re finding your loan is becoming a large burden due to a high level of interest, refinancing might be the best option. With refinancing, you can pay off the loan by switching it to another lender. This lender might offer you a better deal with lower interest so you’ll be paying less. It’s something to consider, but you must check terms and conditions carefully before refinancing.

Finance Help for Students

Five Ways Of Protecting Your Business Finances

Keeping control of your finances is important. You need to understand them to understand where you’re able to go. Particularly if you want to go for those investment opportunities that have a habit of popping up. But that’s not all you need. Just as important is how you protect those finances. There are a lot of bumps in the road and risks that can threaten the financial stability of your business. You can’t always foresee them or do anything about them. However, with the following tips, you can at least reduce the risk of how badly they might affect you.

Investment Opportunities

Insurance

Every business has a need of insurance. Insurance for the premises, employee health and other things. Thinking too much about how to save money here can put that money at a lot more long term risk. Most bankruptcies and financial catastrophes are caused by unforeseen events that cost a lot of money out of nowhere. Not only should you protect your physical business, but the work you might lose as a result of virtual damage. Similarly, you can ensure employee positions, not just their health.

Keeping the risk to a minimum

Of course, what you need to do to avoid those big costs is keep risk to a minimum. Not just try to get insured for all kinds of events. There are two major, recurring threats to a business’s finances that can easily prevented. First is employee safety. Worker’s compensation can be a serious drain on your resources if it’s a recurring matter. Also important is employment lawsuits. Keep abreast of the law and make sure that fair treatment is taught in every level of the company.

Payments

If you’re a business that delivers services or products on a B2B level, then you’re likely used to methods of payment besides credit cards. In particular, invoices. No doubt, we’ve all had the situation when an invoice is late or has gone mysteriously missing in the middle of payment. These things can happen, but they shouldn’t cost you. Get an invoice financing loan as well as other protective measures to ensure you’re not losing money as you wait.

Fraud

Missing or late invoices can be purely accidental or unintentional. One thing that isn’t that can cost you a lot of money is the risk of fraud. It’s not just consumers who can get into fraudulent situations. It’s easy to find yourself on that end. Whether it’s due to network security risks or unfortunate choices in potential business partners. Keep informed on the latest methods of fraud being used.

Bookkeeping

The best way of really protecting your finances goes back to what we said in the beginning. Understanding them. Tracking them and knowing the direction that the ‘wind is blowing’ so to speak. Not only does a more steady eye on your finances alert you to potential losses eating away at your company. It also helps you project into the future and see paths that are potentially more beneficial. Keep up with basic bookkeeping tips as well as tools that can make it easier to track your own.

Essential Advice: Getting A Loan With Bad Credit

Millions of people around the globe take out loans every single week. As a species, we often lack the patience required to save up for that computer, or fridge freezer. That means we borrow more and more, putting ourselves at risk of obtaining bad credit.

And when that happens, it slows your financial life to a halt. Everything from landing a mortgage to getting a phone contract becomes more difficult. Indeed, bad credit is not a good situation to be in. But, there are ways around it, especially when it comes to loans.

What is bad credit, and how do I avoid it?

Simply put, bad credit means you have borrowed some money in the past and not paid it back on time, or at all. This will be marked on your credit record, and will be brought up whenever you apply for more credit in future.

Think of it like a criminal record (but it’s not that serious!). If you were applying for a job at a school, your robbery charge would mean you are pretty much out of luck here. Bad credit is the same. It stops people taking out certain loans – but there are ways around it.

To avoid bad credit, you simply have to pay back what you owe, on time and within the term agreement. This is usually monthly over a period of 6, 12, 24, 36 or more months. However, you should consult your contract to find the exact timing.

What kind of loans can I get with bad credit?

Secured personal loans are basically designed for people with bad credit in mind, which means your bad history isn’t an issue. The amount of money you can borrow on a bad credit loan is limited, but hey, you have to pay the price somewhere! Most companies will cap out at 20,000, which is more than enough.

Bad credit loans take into account your salary, job, financial stability and assets. They also factor in whether you have any existing credit payments, which could work against you. I’d stick to one loan at a time, just to be safe.

Bad credit loans typically come with higher interest rates than most, but the benefits outweigh the cons. This is your chance to show lenders that you’re a trustworthy borrower. And build up a solid credit background! If you are granted a bad credit loan, you will be on the path to fixing your damaged financial history!

What kind of loans can’t I get with bad credit?

While it is possible to borrow some money with bad credit, some types of loan will simply be off limits to you. Think of things like mortgages – your credit history will work against you here. The same applies if you have no credit, too. If you’ve never taken out a loan and paid it back, this can be just as bad as having poor credit.

And that just about does it! Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

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