Take Control of your Future

The days when companies guaranteed their employees a fixed retirement sum have gone. The legislation that introduced the 401(k) was supposed to be ground breaking. These plans are very much down to the individual. Companies contribute up to a maximum as long as their employee saves as well yet the final value of the plan is underwritten by no one. The recession brought the growth of many 401(k)s to a shuddering halt when in the years before it came growth was impressive.

Subsequently the US economy has improved again but national statistics show that far too few people are making plans for retirement and far too many have expensive debt such as that on credit cards. It is a worrying situation especially as the benefits paid out by the Social Security System are wholly inadequate to fund a comfortable life in retirement.

California’s Answer

Those who are ignoring the problems they are facing in the future really are unwise at best and downright foolish at worst. In California the state government has a solution; it is going to be compulsory for companies of 5 or more workers to have a pension plan in place.  The official title of the scheme is “Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program. Each employee will have 3% of their pay deducted and it will be ‘’invested’’ by the State for a pension when they retire.

Clearly this is unpopular with people who want less government interference, not more yet when you analyse the statistics it surely makes sense to force people into doing something? The record of CalPERS (California Public Employees’ Retirement System) is not great and its performance trails behind the majority of the big public pension funds. The program is union dominated and its future performance is under scrutiny because its past record has been so poor. It was involved in real estate just before the Collateralized Debt Obligation crisis precipitated the recession. While no one was left unscathed by that, CaIPERS lost $11 billion!! The current situation is that there is a considerable shortfall of between the current value of the fund and the benefits it is committed to pay.

California’s action may not be ideal but the figures over the whole of the USA suggest that Americans have too much debt and insufficient to both address any emergency that arises or to fund their retirement. Clearly those in middle age and beyond have a limited amount of time to act. Add to that the fact that expensive credit card debt is widespread then you can see a very worrying scenario.

Expensive Debt Solution

No one is suggesting that the economy does not benefit from domestic spending but the numbers of people taking credit and simply paying the minimum a card company requires each month to comply with terms and conditions are disturbing. As a matter of urgency they need to curb their spending and ideally pay off their debts with a far more competitive interest rate product, a personal loan. Currently they are wasting money which would be far better employed in building up a good retirement fund.

Professional Independent Advice

There is plenty of advice on investing and growing a fund. Some of the professional advice comes at a cost but good growth makes that an acceptable price to pay. It is a matter of being sensible and good advisers are likely to illustrate how an investment can growing at different growth rates. Those rates can never be guaranteed but with interest rates so low money cannot simply be put into deposit products to get growth. It is foolish to take too much risk, especially as you get closer to retirement when there is insufficient time to recover from setbacks. The best thing to do is to have a diversified portfolio and while growth is unlikely to reach double figures it would be a poor fund manager who could not produce a far better return than CaIPERS is achieving.

There is nothing wrong in compulsory saving as such especially in the light of the numbers currently saving nothing at all; it saves them from themselves. The best way forward is to take individual responsibility for your personal future to avoid the potential misery of years of retirement with not the money to fund it.

Amazing Tips for Getting an Unsecured Line of Credit for Your Business

Ask any business owner and they will tell you how important it is to establish credit lines for your business.  Purchases become easier as you don’t need to rely solely on cash and some of lines and credit cards even offer rewards and points which you can use for airline miles and other perks.

Another benefit of getting an unsecured credit line for your business is that you won’t need to use your personal credit for the business. This is a very good thing.  First, your personal expenses should be separated from your business expenses.  Second, this will also help your personal credit as high balances and frequent use associated with business charges can impact your credit score.

The best rule of thumb in establishing an unsecured credit line for your business is to start small.  It doesn’t matter if you have excellent personal credit or not.  Starting small give you the chance to build up a positive credit history.  It also makes is easier to pay off the balances within one month.  This is something which lenders view as a big plus.

You’ll notice that by starting small and paying off your balances that you will actually get offers to increase your business credit line.  In fact, this is something that all major business credit card providers look for.

The next thing you need in an unsecured business credit line is flexibility.  This way you can easily react to business conditions as they change.  One of the best ways to do this is through a revolving credit line for business.  This way, you can reuse the available credit as soon as you pay it.  This sort of revolving credit line has numerous advantages and it means you don’t need to keep going back for approval every time you want to make a purchase.

Another flexible tool is purchase order financing.  One common way is to use invoice discounting to get paid today.  This can be a really useful option if your company is growing fast and needs short-term capital to buy raw materials.  Remember you are essentially using the creditworthiness of your customers, so this form of finance might not be a good fit in all situations.

However, there are limits to this form of unsecured credit as the lenders in this space tend to be risk averse.   As such, another unsecured credit option is to look into getting a working capital loan or line.  In some instances, this is the simplest, smartest, and most strategic way to obtain unsecured business funding.  Most of the lenders in this space have simplified application processes and in some cases, repayment is based on a percent of your daily or weekly sales instead of a fixed amount per month.

Remember that short-term loans are best suited for short-term needs.  So always look at what you need the funding for, before deciding which unsecured credit type is the best fit.   That being said, you will probably use all of the options mentioned above as some point during the life of your business.  This is normal as sometimes you cash quick for an emergency, or you need to offset the costs of a large order from a customer.

Each unsecured credit type has its purpose and if you are not sure which one to choose then the best advice is to sit down with your accountant and map out a plan of action.

This is important as each option will have its own pros and cons.  For example, many business credit cards will charge a premium for cash advances as this a red flag that something is wrong with the business.  Providers will also be on the lookout for suspected fraudulent credit card activity, such as using your own credit card at your business.  This is against the rules of most credit card processors and if caught you can lose the ability to process credit cards.  As you can see, this is not a good way to get cash fast.

As mentioned, start small.  Sure, you want to get a $250,000 credit line right off the bat, but this might not be realistic.  It’s better to start with a $5,000 line and then build your business’ credit rating.  In addition, options such as purchasing order financing and working capital loans have their place.  Most importantly, remember to choose the right financing option for your need at the time.

Making quick bucks with binary options trading

Binary options are becoming lucrative trading options for a lot of traders these days. If you too are looking for some quick, yet effective ways to make profits from your trading opportunities, then here is a guide which will come across as effective for you.

  • Early Close Feature: Ideally, many traders contemplate whether to stick on till the end of the day to close the deal, or to withdraw early and close at a profit. Since there is always a risk of holding on to the investment for too long, chances are that it might end up in a loss. If you feel that the stakes are in your favor, you should fold and close the deal on a profit, by putting in the papers earlier than usual. Consult your broker and take a decision accordingly.
  • Choosing your trading strategy: If you are following in the footsteps of your mentor or simply using your own strategies, make sure that your strategies have a 70% winning ratio. If you are constantly changing your strategies, and investing big amounts, chances are, you are playing with fire. If you are using someone else’s existing strategies, analyze the ROI before jumping in with guns blazing. It is very important to follow efficient trading strategies in order to become a successful binary options trader.
  • Understand the trading signals: If you’re still relatively new on the trading scene, it’s imperative to understand how to read the signals. Don’t jump on the trading wagon, while basing your trading shots on sheer instincts. Wait for the prices to stabilize, before you start trading and putting your numbers in. Once the price has stabilized over a period of time, take it as your cue to start investing.
  • Trade investment limiting: A good trader never sets in all his money in his investments. It’s ideal to only invest 10% of your bank account balance in your investments, and take it on slowly from there. Reinvest the profits you make during your trading periods. The more you make, the more you invest. If you go beyond the 10% rule, you stand a higher risk of losing your money over a period of time.
  • Invest in companies which are constantly in the news: This is called trading on the news. Many big companies stocks and shares are often impacted by the trending news. Good examples are Apple, Samsung, Google, etc. Since these are some of the biggest product launchers these days, they are also the trend setters in the market. As soon as they launch a product in the market, say a new phone or a tablet, you should be on an alert to trade in their stocks and shares using binary options within the next 1-2 days post the product launch. With such positive upward trending, the stock prices usually escalate, landing you with a comfortable profit on your initial investment.

You have to play your cards right to be able to ensure you are making profits for yourself. Follow the steps mentioned above and see how you rise above the rest, when it comes to making money in binary options. The more experience you gather, the more you will become a pro at investing and understanding the signs of successful trading.

A Simple Way to Get Working Capital Fast: Inventory Loans

If you’re a small business owner in the retail sector and you’re struggling to obtain working capital, an inventory loan may be the perfect solution. Wondering what these loans are or how they work? Here’s a look at this unique financial product, an explanation of how it works and who this type of funding appeals to.

What is an Inventory Loan?

An inventory loan is a special loan, designed specifically for business owners in retail or product-oriented sectors. Essentially, it provides you with the funds you need to buy more inventory so you can keep your doors open and your business running successfully. Because it’s focused on business owners who stock inventory, this type of loan relies on a different approval process than most traditional loans.

What’s the Approval Process for an Inventory Loan?

When you apply for an inventory loan, the lender doesn’t ask for a business plan and, in some cases, they don’t even take your credit history into account. Rather, the lender wants to see the flow of inventory through your business. Lenders look for a strong sales performance and they want to see your numbers. In most cases, if you can demonstrate accurate inventory management, the lender is more likely to approve an inventory loan.

Depending on the lender, they may also request information on how your inventory is organized and stored. If your inventory isn’t well managed and your staff routinely cannot find customers’ requests, that can diminish your chances of obtaining an inventory loan. Similarly, if your inventory is stored in a place where it’s subject to the elements or even in a warehouse without humidity controls, the lender may also deny the loan.

How are Inventory Loans Secured?

Lenders offering inventory loans look very closely at how your company handles its inventory because the inventory secures the loan. Much like how a mortgage or a car loan is secured by a home or a car, an inventory loan is secured by your inventory. Both current and future inventory is used as collateral on the loan and, in the case of default, the lender has the right to claim the inventory.

Who Can Benefit from Inventory Loans?

Anyone who carries inventory and needs a financial boost can benefit from an inventory loan. In particular, companies who need extra capital to invest in a new product can benefit. Similarly, companies with seasonal cash flows or companies who anticipate a large surge of demand after a slow month of sales can also benefit.

For example, if you sell a summer product, your revenue is likely to be low throughout the winter. As a result, when you need to restock your shelves in the spring to prepare for the summer rush, you may not have enough operating capital available – an inventory loan helps fill this gap.

What are the Benefits of an Inventory Loan?

An inventory loan helps facilitate keeping large amounts of inventory on-hand in warehouses or storage facilities, ensuring you can easily fill customer’s orders and meet demand. If you don’t have the inventory you need on-hand, clients may be willing to wait as you backorder it or they might go somewhere else. Over time, this practice can erode your client base as well as your company’s reputation.

If you own a brick-and-mortar shop, inventory loans help you keep your displays full. Customers aren’t likely to be enticed by a store that is half empty and, while walking by, they may even guess that it’s closed. An inventory loan helps eliminate this risk.

Do You Have to Buy Inventory with Inventory Loans?

Many business owners use inventory loans to buy new inventory, but that is not their sole purpose. These loans are secured by inventory and your sales numbers are taken into account when determining approval, but you don’t have to use inventory loans to buy more inventory. If you already have lots of inventory on-hand but you need working capital to pay your employees, keep the lights on, make your mortgage payment or for any other business expenses, you can turn to an inventory loan.

How Do Inventory Loans Work?

When you apply for an inventory loan, you provide the lender details about your inventory on-hand as well as your sales records and potentially a few details of your inventory management processes. If the lender approves your application, it extends an installment loan or a line of credit to you.

An installment loan is a lump sum loan that you pay back in equal installments for the loan’s term. In contrast, a line of credit allows you to access the funds when and if you need them, potentially saving you money on interest and fees as you only pay those costs on the money you use. If you have a revolving line of credit based on your inventory, you can spend it, pay it back and spend it again in pace with your cash flow.

If you need working capital to buy new inventory, pay your employees or cover any other expenses, it may be time to consider an inventory loan. Depending on the lender, you can secure these loans with the inventory you have on-hand or the inventory you plan to buy. Either way, inventory loans provide the capital you need to stay afloat, expand and move forward.

How Much Can One Afford to Spend On a Car?

>Owning a car seems like a dream. No more commuting with public transport or depending on your friends to take you places; your own car means your own rules. But unfortunately, it also means your own money. Bill Tsouvalas explains how much you can afford to spend on that new car.

Calculating the Costs

While a car gives you enough freedom to transport yourself here and there, you need to keep the costs in mind. Maintenance, fuel consumption, and other similar costs can be even more important that the price of the car. Because let’s face the truth, how many people you’ve known have bought a new hot ride, but can’t afford to take it out for a drive because of the costs? It would just end up taking dust in the garage and you don’t want that.

Pick a car that suits your budget and your lifestyle instead. Become acquainted with the value of your vehicle and read some reviews that bring some light over the ongoing expenses. Keep in mind that as long as you own that car, those costs will not go away. By using a budget planner, you can calculate how much you can afford to spend on your vehicle and see where all the money will go.

Opting for Car Loans

If you want to get a car really fast, a car loan seems like a deal from the heavens. By signing that legal agreement, you state that you will make repayments until the loan is fully paid.

But first, you need to think: can you afford that loan? If you do not have a secure job, and you’ll not be able to pay for the loan, you’d end up with legal problems that could make you pay more than you were supposed to. Talk about the options with someone else who has already supported these costs.

The 20% Rule on Buying a Car

Overall, there is a general simple rule which tells you how much you can afford to spend based on your salary. By taking 20% of your annual income (before social security costs, taxes and so on), you can come to an average number as to how much you can afford. If you are in a relationship, then you can combine it and then divide it by two.

Long story short, if you have an average salary of 30,000 AUD, you shouldn’t spend more than 6,000 AUD on your purchase. That is, if you don’t want to end up broke for the rest of your life. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Buying a car can either be a blessing or a living hell. Knowing how to calculate your income and expenses might save you a lot of trouble in the future. Even by following something as simple as the 20% rule, you can save yourself from years of working your butt off to pay for a car you couldn’t afford.

The Thai Townhouse: An Attractive Compromise

When it comes to choosing a home for the future, one oft-overlooked example of a viable option is the little townhouse. Between the countless offers for beautiful three-bedroom bungalows and luxurious condominiums within an hour’s commute of the city center online on sites like DDProperty and in newspapers, there lurk the posts for the little townhouse – also known as the terrace house.

Originally a European idea, terraced housing basically had one real requirement – it had to be compact. Really, really compact. In a time when condominiums simply weren’t architecturally or economically viable for anyone, let alone the working class, people began to build townhouses instead.

And the concept worked really well. It became common throughout Europe and its colonies – and today, most developed and developing nations in the world use the townhouse model. But it’s not just a model for reducing the effort and cost associated with a house and lot, or bypassing the costs associated with funding and building a condominium – townhouses can be luxurious and comfortable places to live in, especially for young couples and retirees.

As Thailand’s housing market continues to do well, townhouses in the outskirts of metropolis and special economic zones such as the ones reported on One Asia news will continue to drop in price. And as per World Bank, Thailand has many other projects slated for the next few years.

If you’re looking for a home to invest in, or a house to buy, then chances are that you’ll find exactly what you need in a cozy little townhouse – and here’s a couple basic ideas why.

They’re Easier To Maintain

The basic gist of a townhouse is that’s it’s a small house without much of a lawn and shared walls. That means that within your two walls (since the other two are shared), you have the freedom to maintain your home as you please – much like in a single-dwelling home, also known as a house and lot.

If you’re living in a condo, on the other hand, your monthly fees would include maintenance for your unit and others – and you’d have to pay them month after month. This means that your association fees within a townhouse community are generally lower than those within condos, and you can deal with the upkeep of your house’s exterior as you please.

You Change A Lot – But Not Too Much

Owning a townhouse basically means controlling much of it – but not everything. You can replace your furniture, tear out a dividing wall in the kitchen, and replace the front door – but you can’t do anything that would compromise the integrity of the entire row’s structure.

Furthermore, how much you can really do depends entirely on your Homeowners Association. Some HOAs are fine with a little modification – others are strict in making sure you maintain the uniformity of the homes, even as the principle owner.

Since townhouses are stringed together, each one plays a role in keeping the other structurally sound – that includes a continuous fence, shared walls, and often a shared roof. Modifications to any of these are typically not allowed.

Access to Shared Amenities

Like a condominium, living in a townhouse means being a member of that townhouse’s Homeowners Association, and the Homeowners Association typically uses association fees to install and maintain some basic amenities found in high-quality communities, such as a well-maintained shared pool, a tennis court and basketball court, and other such amenities.

The HOA may also cover maintenance for parts of a townhouse, such as the paint on the walls and your fencing. However, being the owner of a townhouse doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about insurance payments. In Thailand especially, getting some flood protection isn’t a terrible idea – and depending on the tectonics of your area, earthquake protection can be a necessity as well.

You’ll Have Your Neighbors Close

This can be a pro, or it can be a con – or it can be both at once, varying now and again. On one hand, having your neighbors closer can help you foster a more pleasant relationship, and a greater sense of community. Neighbors don’t have to be a nuisance – they can be good friends, great company, and an essential and integral part in your social life.

On the other hand, obnoxious neighbors can be the antithesis of a peaceful life. It’s best to always check your prospective next home – and its neighbors – before you make any purchasing decisions. Always get someone to inspect the state of the home, and speak with your possibly fellow homeowners to get a feel for the community.

A townhouse doesn’t have to be a permanent thing – you can own one until the time comes to upgrade to a condo or house, or like a condo, you can rent it out once you feel like upgrading to a single-dwelling home.

Owners Live By the CC&R

Once again, this is a boon and a bane – although it is mostly a boon. Townhouses, like condominiums, have what is called a CC&R for the most part. The covenants, conditions and restrictions are a community-specific document that all owners have to co-sign and agree upon, outlining the strict rules of the community for homeowner conduct.

While the restrictions may be annoying, they also ensure that you get the most out of your townhouse – that is, a happy co-existence with other owners on a cost-effective budget.

The Different Types of Home Loans

Are you in the market for a new home or maybe an upgrade from your current home? Before you go jumping with both feet into the unknown you should probably do a little research about all the different types of home loans that are out there now a days for new buyers. Some of the jargon used in the descriptions of these loans can be confusing; while some may sound good they might not be right for you and vice versa.

Today we want to take a closer look into fixed rate home loans. This type of home loan vary greatly from an adjustable rate home loan. The fixed rate loans mean you pay the same amount each month, each year, for the entirety of your loan. The adjustable rate means your mortgage rate can fluctuate from year to year depending on the bank and figures. Traditionally the adjustable rate loans seem to be the better choice…in the beginning, when they begin to adjust and increase you could end up paying double what your payment started at.

This adjustment has been a problem for many homeowners; once the rates change it can double your payment if not triple it depending on how high the jump is. A fixed rate home loan is one of the safest choices when it comes to home loans, because you will always know what your payment will be and if it does change with a fixed rate loan the amount won’t be that drastic.

A fixed rate home loan can be chosen with more flexibility. For example, NPBS feature-rich fixed rate home loans come in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, or even 10 year increments. These time frames for repayment can vary depending on the institution that is taking care of your loan, some places will allow you to opt for a 15 or 30 year fixed rate loan as well. Don’t let the fixed rate loan title fool you, when you have some extra cash you can pay more onto the principle of your loan in order to repay it quicker.

When you take out a reverse mortgage it pays you, rather than you having to make monthly payments to your lender. How a reverse mortgage works is by allowing you to request reverse loan payments to be made to you on a regular basis or ask for one large payment all at once. By taking out this particular type of home loan, you can avoid having monthly loan payments. You won’t owe the balance back on the loan until you move out of your house. In the event that you pass way, your family can choose to allow the house to be sold, in which case the lender would keep proceeds equal to the loan balance and any leftovers would go to your family. Alternatively, your family can pay off the loan balance themselves and keep your home.

It cannot be stressed enough to be smart when you are purchasing a new home, do your research when it comes to types of loans as well as all the different institutions that can provide loans, you might have better luck at a bank a little further than your current location. Bigger cities or towns tend to have better rates when it comes to home loans, so browse around before you settle on a final home loan.