Things You Should Shop Around For

Every little bit counts when it comes to money. It is so important to save when you can because that money you are saving can eventually add up to something. Besides cutting  back on spending or analyzing your monthly budget, there are some big ticket items that can be shopped around for to help you save.

Insurance

Insurance is needed for many things. There are many brokers who offer these products. To save money, it is best to shop around to find the best possible price so you can get cheaper car insurance . The trick I have used is to take your current policy and just provide it to multiple agents and ask them if they can beat it. Send it around and you will be sure to get your current policy for cheaper. Unfortunately this business is just like many others and the agents are just trying to make the most they can. If they know they can win your business they will be happy to offer you a competitive price.

Credit Cards

Credit Cards are definitely a product that should be compared for optimal benefit. Do not settle on just any one. Often times offers can be sent in the mail or you can simply google the type of credit card you are looking for and look for the best offer to meet your needs. The Best ones, depending on your needs, may offer good reward incentives, low interest rates, free balance transfers, etc. Many cards out there offer great rewards from travel, to cash back that you could benefit from. Be sure to shop around.

Cars

The car industry is known for their negotiations. People can experience both extremes of the business, they can either get themselves a really good deal or totally be worked by a dealership. Car salesmen are good at their jobs and will do anything to meet their sales numbers. The most important tip for buying a car is to be able to walk away. They do not like to lose deals so you are at an advantage if you simply walk away and shop around. I have literally had agents follow me out to my car and almost chase me out of the parking lot trying to get me back in the showroom. You can’t shop with your heart, you need to shop with you head. If you do this you will be able to save some major cash.

Furniture

Most people may not think of furniture as a negotiable item but it is. Any time I have bought furniture I have negotiated. Similar to cars, it is best if you are able to walk away. They do not want to lose your business and rather make the sale with less profit. I have even been to a showroom that said they didn’t negotiate their pricing but they ended up doing it for me. If you want to purchase a piece of furniture from a furniture chain, it is best to call around to different locations to see what their prices are. Each location has a different price and you will certainly get the best deal that way.

 

Hopefully these tips can help you save some and lead to further savings for your family.

Thinking of Buying a New Car? 3 Tips to Keep it in Great Shape

So you’ve decided it’s time to buy a new car? It’s kind of exciting making a big purchase but also a little overwhelming too. Making the decision to spend this much money is not something anyone does lightly. You want to be sure you are doing so sensibly and that you get the most for your money now and over the long term.

You can visit Cars.com to review cars and autos you are thinking about, to help decide which one is best for you and your family. They have a great Reviews section, where you can actually read what real car owners and leased car drivers think about the specific car models that you are considering getting. It’s kind of like talking to a friend or neighbor who has the car you like, before you go to the dealership to take a test drive. Cars.com also has a Videos section so you can see everything about the car right from the comfort of your home.

One of the first things you can do is to find an auto mechanic that you can trust. While you are going through the car shopping process, start to ask family and friends for recommendations to get a great auto mechanic. Remember that you want someone who isn’t too far from you, so that if the car has something wrong with it you don’t have to drive too for long.

When you get the car, actually sit down and read the car manual. Get to know how the features work. Most cars need an oil change every 3,000 miles but what should you know about other maintenance for your car? Avoid mishaps and confusion by learning as much about your car as possible. If you need to, bring your car and the manual to your mechanic to ask questions – before any problem arises. Because this will save an awful lot of time and hassle.

Be a safe driver at all times. Don’t speed and treat your car with extra TLC. Treating your car properly is part of good care and maintenance. You’ll be glad that you don’t overwork or overstress your car, as this can lead to damage or unnecessary repairs. Driving too fast can also make you use gas quicker and run the risk of causing a car accident, which is dangerous.

Remember that it is a lot easier to catch a repair while it is small than to ignore something and take care of it when it becomes bigger. So taking your car in if you notice something is not typical may take up a bit of time, but likely will save you time, money and a lot of hassle in the end.

Buying a car is an exciting time and you should be proud that you have made this major purchase. In a young adult’s life this is certainly a milestone event. Be safe and enjoy driving your new car!

Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Some Pros and Cons

The phrase “filing for bankruptcy” might be the most terrifying in the financial vocabulary (perhaps next to “Great Recession” and “bank run”). However, if you’re contemplating this serious decision, then be assured if you move ahead that you won’t be alone. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people across the country file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy for a variety of reasons, such as excessive medical bills, job loss, divorce, over-investing in the stock market, the list goes on.

Naturally, this isn’t a decision that you can afford (figuratively and literally) to make based on raw emotion or overwhelming anxiety. Yes, being in serious is debt is scary. Actually, it’s terrifying; especially when creditors start closing in, and threats of wage garnishment and asset repossession start flying fast and furious. However, the essential thing to remember throughout this challenging time is that “filing for bankruptcy” is not a subjective condemnation, or an expression of financial failure. Indeed, some of the world’s most successful and important people have filed for bankruptcy, including Walt Disney and Abraham Lincoln.

Rather, bankruptcy it’s a form of legal protection that’s designed to protect you (that’s right, you), so that you can restructure and reorganize your debts and, eventually, regain your financial footing. While it’s obviously not a list of anyone’s favourite things, there’s no shame in filing for bankruptcy. It happens thousands of times a day.

The best — and frankly, the only — thing you can do right now is equip yourself with hard facts. To get you started in the right direction, here’s a rundown of some pros and cons of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy based on the advice of experienced bankruptcy attorney Charles Huber:

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: PROS

  • Unlike Chapter 13, Chapter 7 doesn’t involve a detailed repayment plan. Instead, a trustee sells non-exempt assets and uses the proceeds to pay creditors per the Bankruptcy Code.
  • The process is faster than most people believe, and is usually over within 3-6 months.
  • Most states have exceptions that prevent certain assets from being liquidated.
  • Some filers may be allowed to keep more of their property than they need.
  • Filers will be able to keep their salary and assets the purchase after filing for Chapter 7.
  • Creditors must stop calling, email or communicating with debtors immediately after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.
  • Filers who’ve had wages garnished by creditors within 90 days immediately preceding a Chapter 7 filing may be allowed to get that money bank.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: CONS

  • A Chapter 7 filing stays on a credit report for 10 years, and will doubtlessly make it tougher and more expensive to borrow funds, get a mortgage, or even get a job.
  • Filers lose all of their credit cards, and any property that isn’t except from sale (including luxury items).
  • Contrary to what many people believe, filing for Chapter 7 doesn’t except filers from child support payments, alimony obligations, or student loan payments.

The Bottom Line

Deciding to file for Chapter 7 isn’t easy — and that’s a good thing, because it’s something that should only be (possibly) done after careful research, which includes consulting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

However, regardless of how difficult things are right now or what has happened in the past, if starting now you do the right things, the right way, and at the right time, be assured that you’ll emerge financially stronger than ever — and will look back on this as a bump in the road vs. the end of the line.

How Much Has California And Colorado Achieved In Sales In The Past Year?

Since nearly anyone over the age of 21 can buy marijuana now in California and Colorado, sales are expected to skyrocket. We’ve already seen indications of widespread pot acceptance in 2016, with huge sales numbers in both states, despite California still mostly selling to medical marijuana ID card buyers (which will likely continue until recreational legalization is in sweeping effect in late 2017).

To get an idea of California and Colorado cannabis benefits to the marijuana industry as a whole – growers, distributors, consumers and the state governments – let’s take a look at some 2016 sales numbers.

California 2016 Sales

Californians have to go through a lot of bureaucracy to get a medical marijuana card, but even so, sales in the state are far beyond the more permissive state of Colorado. Arcview Group, a cannabis market research agency, states that California makes up greater than one-fourth of legal pot sales in the United States and Canada combined.

According to The Arcview Group, California accounted for 27% of the legal marijuana market in all of North America in 2016. Colorado followed in second place with 20%. This is before California’s approval of recreational marijuana too. The report puts legal cannabis sales in total at roughly $6.7 billion for 2016.

Colorado 2016 Sales

Colorado’s cannabis sales for 2016 hit about the $1.3 billion mark, which is an upward trend that’s likely going to continue into 2017. This number, released by the Colorado Department of Revenue through tax data, includes medical and recreational marijuana sales.

Miles Light, who is a Marijuana Policy Group economist, says that Colorado’s benefits from pot sales may be eroded as other states begin to legalize. He also notes that in 2017, none of the 8 states that recently voted for legalized marijuana will have put their regulations into place.

Green Door West is ready for the explosion in demand and sales that will surely come from California’s legalization of recreational marijuana. We’re standing by with Santa Monica marijuana delivery and delivery service throughout the Los Angeles area. If you’re looking for “marijuana delivery near me,” we have you covered.

Stock Investing Don’ts: learning from others’ mistakes

Stock investing is a good thing: you get a say in a company you believe is bound to success. You earn dividends from the company’s earnings. You sell a part of your share when the price goes high, and so on and so forth. So, you could assume it’s a pretty advantageous way to invest your money with the expectation to get profitable returns. But if you are a rookie in this just wanting to start out, there are a few things to should keep an eye on. Stock investing is an interesting sphere. You have to have, what’s best called, a special sense of feeling when to make certain actions. If the prices go up, down, or somewhere unknown, or if you are hyped about investing all of your money in one place, there are a few DON’Ts you will have to know about in order to eliminate risks and invest smart.

DON’T N1: Do not make emotional investments

Emotions are not acceptable in this tricky world of stock investments. I mean, if you love investing, that’s a good thing, means you are enjoying the process. But, do not let your emotions have control over your investment decisions. Under all circumstances you have to remember to take a “sober look” at the situation and remain rational. Do not panic and withdraw your money right away when you see the stock market going down the road, like many people did during the Great Recession back in 2008. Do not give in to emotional outburst of anger or fear to keep you from taking a step up into a bigger opportunity. In a similar manner, do not get too attached to the ownership of a share to the point of not willing to sell it when it needs to be sold. The examples are numerous, the moral is one: stock market is a place where emotions should not be allowed. All of your actions and decisions should be made solely based on research, data and your senses, which are way rational than your emotional feelings towards a certain asset or share.

DON’T N2: Do not overinvest. Just. Don’t.

Investing in stock market is a good place to put your money in. However, you should do it wisely, because too much of everything can harm. Investing all your money once and for all is not the smartest decision ever. You should be able to invest some at a time. Everyone knows that in stock market you should buy shares when they cost low and sell them when they reach their peak. Investing all of your hard-earned money at once will defeat the purpose of investing and trading wisely. So, make sure you make the investments periodically in order to make the most profit out of it. If you are struggling with how to start investing in stocks, investment newsletters are a great place to start with. They will guide you through your first steps into a successful investing pro who reaps returns like no other.

DON’T N3: Do not try to put the stock market into time frames, you’ll fail

Don’t get me wrong, you can, in fact, make good assumptions and predictions about when the market is more likely to hit the downroad or the opposite. But do not try to underestimate the abilities of the market to surprise you and hit you right back. Putting time limits and frames on how the market will perform in a month can be done only based on years’ of experience topping with good research, valid data and understanding of the spectrum in the first place. But other than that, you shouldn’t be timing the stock market, it will find a way to make you pay for it, literally.

DON’T N4: Conformity is not a smart thing in stock investing

You know there are people with no guts of their own, willing to make money  through stock investing without actually having their own ideas, motives, understanding and readiness to, actually, invest. Believe it or not, but people do lose their “individuality”, as investors, while trying to follow the crowd when the market is at its worst or the opposite. 2008 is a great evidence to that. Funny thing is, no one knows how and when the market will perform as expected, so conforming to the decisions of a few investors is not a good idea. Investing in the stock market is an individual thing as well. One might get away with investing all of his money into one company, whereas you might lose a big portion of yours if you went with the ‘all or nothing’ motto. Do your own research and study, collect your own data and, most importantly, make your own decisions while investing.
Do not rush the stock market and do not expect it to fulfill your expectations, because it won’t, and that is, frankly, the intriguing character of stock investing.

Do you own a small business? Here are 10 questions you should be asking your insurance agent.

If you own a small business one of your largest expenses is commercial insurance.  In most states general liability and workers’ compensation are required by law.  Other coverages are dependent upon the industry you operate in and the amount of risk your business is willing to take on.  There are many aspects that go in to this decision and partnering with a trusted and experienced independent insurance agent can help you save immensely on commercial insurance.  Taking some extra time to speak with this agent about all aspects of your business is important as well.  Here are 10 questions you should ask any potential insurance agent.

What is your experience and do you have any credentials? 

Experience and credentials can be used not only as a litmus test, but they can tell you a little about the experience and the knowledge of your broker.  You should not discredit a young or inexperienced agent automatically.  An agent with limited experience can make up for that with enthusiasm and energy.  A more established agent might not be as hungry for your new business and as a result they may not give you the specialized attention you need. The main thing is to get to know your broker beyond the basic information on her card or website.

Do you personalize policies?

Depending upon your industry this can be extremely important.  Many insurance carriers offer cookie cutter business owner packages and they do not deviate from those packages.  This is good for some businesses because carriers have insight through their history of claims what policies each industry may or may not need.  If you are a start-up or you have no employees this may not be necessary.  For instance, if you are a photographer who works from home you may not have a need for workers compensation coverage.  If you are in another industry where you do not own or operate any vehicles you do not need commercial auto.  Some agencies and carriers are more flexible with you when it comes to adding or subtracting coverages.  This is important to know before you purchase coverages you do not need.

Are there flexible payment options?

Pay as You Go Workers Comp Insurance Coverage is one option that can help businesses pay for their coverage monthly based on payroll instead of in one lump sum.  Pay as You Go Workers’ Compensation benefits businesses by freeing up cash for more immediate business needs, by preventing over or under paying and by drastically lowering the likelihood of a mid-term audit by your insurance carrier.  This is especially helpful for cash strapped or seasonal businesses.

How much does my policy cover?

What you are actually asking your agent is, “What are my policy limits?” A limit is the total amount your policy can pay out. For General Liability Policies there are two ways in which limits are paid:  Aggregate limit is the most your policy will pay in a single year for all claims.  Occurrence limit is the amount your policy can pay for any single claim.  Which type of policy you want for your business really depends on the types of risks you face and how much risk you are willing to take on.  Taking on more risk will help lower your premium, but will make you have to foot more of the bill when a claim does occur.  This is why it is important to take some extra time to speak long and honestly with your agent about your business and what types of risks you are comfortable with.

Can I get more coverage?

An Umbrella Insurance Policy is the best way to supplement your General Liability Coverage.  This policy will kick in when the limits of your other policies have been reached. You can purchase Umbrella coverage in increments of $1 million, and it’s often a cost-effective way to fulfill liability insurance requirements in client contracts.  It is crucial to understand that an umbrella policy only kicks in for a covered loss.  If you live somewhere with a common risk of natural disasters, like hurricanes or tornadoes, those disasters have to be covered separately. An umbrella policy will not kick if the claim is not covered by the initial policy.

Is it worth my time to implement an in-depth safety program?

The simple answer to this question is yes, it is always worth your time and effort to implement and effective safety program.  Having a safety program in place will cut down on the number and severity of injuries to your workforce.  The safety of your workforce should always be at the heart of your businesses mission.  A healthy workforce is a happy and productive workforce.  This program can also keep down what your business pays for workers compensation premium.   The program does not have to be excessively time consuming.  Including this in a weekly or monthly huddle can make a difference in the injury outcomes of your employees.

Do I really need Commercial Auto Insurance?

The answer to this question really depends on the operations of your business.  If you own and operate cars as a part of your daily business than yes, you absolutely need commercial auto coverage.  If you have employees who use their own cars for work or who drive rental cars from time to time you can cover them with a hired and non-owned auto policy.  If you have employees who drive their own car as part of their job duties, their personal auto policies will cover the damages to their car, but not the liability to other cars if the accident is there fault.  That liability falls on the business because the reason the car was at the location of the accident was because of an action of the business.

Do I really need Cyber Insurance?

Again this policy completely depends on the operations of your business.  It is important to speak long and honestly with your insurance agent about all of the electronic devices any of your employees use.  There may be risks hiding in places you might not realize.  The great thing about a good insurance agent is that they not only interact with small businesses when they purchase insurance for their business, but they also speak with business owners when bad things happen.  They can use those experiences to help you prepare for those times when bad things happen to your business. They should be able to prepare you for risks you do not even know you face.

Am I classified properly for workers’ compensation?

This is extremely important for your business cash flow. Especially, if you operate in an industry with several different areas of operation.  If you do, you need to ensure the agent classifies your business properly.  They are in the business of analyzing risk.  If you do not tell them all of your risks, then it is in their best interest to assume your business is taking on more risk.  If you do not give your agent enough information they may place your business in a riskier classification code.  This can have an enormous impact on what you pay for general liability and workers compensation insurance.   Taking just a few extra minutes to explain exactly what your business does and does not do, can save you immensely when it comes to premium.

How can I lower my premium?

If lowering your premium is a priority than tell that to your agent.  Agents interacting with a lot of people who operate in a lot of different industries and who have a lot of different priorities.  Some business owners just want their policy and they want it quickly so they can get back to running their business. To that business owner price may not be at the top of their priority list.  Other business owners may want to insure their business to the absolute largest limits possible, while other business owners are comfortable taking on more risk.  Where ever you are on this spectrum, tell that to your agent.  Let them know what is important to you and they can better serve your needs.

Bio

Mitchell Sharp is a Marketing Associate for Workers Compensation Shop.com. Mitchell is a Missouri Boy and a Carolina Man. He has a deep passion for social media and content marketing. Mitchell would like to use his knowledge of these subjects to benefit small business owners.

Here’s why it is important to document your finances for your family

Life is unpredictable and being healthy today does not guarantee you the same tomorrow. Death and incapacitation are common occurrences that take place on a daily basis and thus one needs to have a plan. Documenting your finances does not mean that you are predicting own death as many people tend to think. It just shows that you are smart and responsible enough to direct others how to use your estates when you are gone. The following are reasons why you should document your finances.

  1. Appoint your beneficiaries

The government shares property among the immediate family members according to the laws and regulations regarding inheritance if there is no valid will. Such property is not given to charity or friends unless there is a will that directs so. You can distribute your finances among family, friends and other noble courses through writing.

  1. Avoid conflicts among family members

Family feuds and fights over property often happen due to lack of documentation. The government in such a case appoints a lawyer to handle the sharing. Inheritance disagreements can lead to enmity and mistrust among family members. The only way to ensure that family members protect and respect your decisions is putting it in writing.

  1. To cater for emergencies

Accidents are inevitable, and you can become ill or incapacitated such that you cannot make logical decisions. You can designate someone to handle your finances in such instances for smooth running. You can draft a Power Of Attorney to deal with all your legal and financial matters. You can also prepare a living will that dictates how to handle your medical health when you cannot speak for yourself.

  1. Avoid losing property to the government

The crown takes all the assets when someone dies with no valid will or family. The process of inheriting unclaimed assets is tedious because one has to prove that he/she is an entitled relative. Friends can also fraud your loved ones after your demise.

  1. Plan ahead for a decent send-off

You can direct the family members on how to conduct your funeral service, particularly if you want specific things to happen. Funeral plan companies like Golden Charter are also worth checking out, considering the considerable cost of a funeral. The last thing you want is to lumber your family with debt. Paying into a plan will stop that problem from happening.

A proper documentation gives your inheritors an easy time when managing your estates. It is only through writing that you can direct your loved ones on how to use the property.