Your Personal Finance Pro http://yourpfpro.com Personal Finance for Young Professionals Sat, 13 Oct 2018 00:14:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 31591919 How to Thrive When Selling Clothes Online http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-thrive-when-selling-clothes-online/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-thrive-when-selling-clothes-online/#respond Fri, 16 Mar 2018 14:49:08 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7768 The clothing business is a constantly expanding business. Everyone needs clothes, so everyone buys clothes. It’s a limitless demand. Its progress is directly proportional to the world’s population growth, which, by itself, is exponential. Whether you’re dealing with preloved clothes or handmade ones, selling them online can be a lucrative business. Of course, since many […]

The post How to Thrive When Selling Clothes Online appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
The clothing business is a constantly expanding business. Everyone needs clothes, so everyone buys clothes. It’s a limitless demand. Its progress is directly proportional to the world’s population growth, which, by itself, is exponential.

Whether you’re dealing with preloved clothes or handmade ones, selling them online can be a lucrative business. Of course, since many people are also into that, you may face stiff competition.

So then how do clothing businesses thrive? Here are some tips.

Create Your Own Website

You may opt for doing business on online marketplaces like eBay or Amazon, but if you want to have full control over how you want to sell your clothing items, consider creating your own website. It can give you a great position for your business. You’ll have a storefront that’s always open to the world, and your customers will less likely go to your competitors because only your products are displayed in your site.

Hiring a web developer and a web designer to create your website can be a good idea. A cost-effective way is to make one using an e-commerce platform. They usually have a variety of templates and themes, and you just need to pick out the right ones for your website.

There are many online platforms that make selling clothes online a hassle-free process for yourself and your customers. Some can easily be set up within minutes and for a very reasonable fee.

Post a Lot of Beautiful Images

For some people, pictures are more attractive than words. Items with high-quality photos are likely to sell better than those without.

You don’t have to be an adept photographer. You just need a decent camera and some lights. Because among the usual tips for taking marketable photos, the common denominator is to have adequate lighting—enough that the picture will show your item clearly. Don’t use flash; keep your lighting natural.

It’s also a good idea to take multiple shots using different angles shots so buyers will have a full view of your item and a general idea of its features. For the item’s size, you can add another object (like a banana) beside it for comparison in scale. 

Details, Details, Details

Any text used in your ad or listing should normally be limited to the item’s details.

Great descriptions usually include the clothing’s size and exact measurements, its condition, the feel of the fabric, the shipping info, and if secondhand, the extent to which it has been used.

Generally, you should include all the details that you can see. If it matters to you, then it matters to your buyer. Consider learning how to write great product descriptions to make your listing more appealing.

A detailed description will also save you from frequently answering questions from potential buyers.

Always Be Honest

If your item has damages, don’t try to hide it. It’ll only hurt your reputation and seller rating. For merchants, especially internet-based businesses, one of their most valuable assets is their word—their trustworthiness.

Sure, it’s easy to make another online persona and hide under a different name, but do you really want to keep doing that? Your business won’t grow that way.

That’s why you should always be upfront about the status of your item. Even if it may not always attract a lot of potential buyers, you’ll develop your reliability over time, and people will come to trust you and your business.

Besides, if you keep your buyers’ expectations low, they may be surprised that the item’s condition is better than what they thought after they receive it.

Good Luck!

If you follow these best practices, then perhaps you’ll become one of the best online sellers for clothes.

There are still many techniques and strategies out there. Be creative, and persist in your endeavor. Someday, maybe fortune will grace your fabulous fabric enterprise.

The post How to Thrive When Selling Clothes Online appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-thrive-when-selling-clothes-online/feed/ 0 7768
Social Media Should Be a Part of Your Financial Firm’s Marketing Strategy http://yourpfpro.com/social-media-part-financial-firms-marketing-strategy/ http://yourpfpro.com/social-media-part-financial-firms-marketing-strategy/#respond Mon, 11 Sep 2017 22:44:54 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7351 Social media is a great way tool to use as a financial investment firm. Social media data can be used to help clients get access to credit, open bank accounts or get a loan. These platforms go beyond just providing a place for people to connect, share and socialize. These high levels of penetration, engagement […]

The post Social Media Should Be a Part of Your Financial Firm’s Marketing Strategy appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
Social media is a great way tool to use as a financial investment firm. Social media data can be used to help clients get access to credit, open bank accounts or get a loan. These platforms go beyond just providing a place for people to connect, share and socialize. These high levels of penetration, engagement and use mean there are countless opportunities for financial advisors. The way people are connecting impacts the value financial service providers are able to deliver.

Social Media 101

As a financial investment firm, you should have a social media marketing plan. It is important to leverage multiple streams on social media to get the most out of it. There are many benefits to leveraging these platforms.

  • Convert prospects: Fifty-percent of advisors claim they successfully used social media to convert a prospective into a client.
  • Increase exposure: Blogging, tweeting and posting can increase you search engine rating and funnel people to your website.
  • Develop trust: Trust is important. These platforms open up new avenues for relationship enhancing conversations.
  • More presence: Social media gives you additional platforms to sell your services beyond your website.
  • Show expertise: Different public platforms allow you to share your knowledge and expertise in a field and establish thought leadership.
  • Stay current: Social media allows you to stay on top of industry trends.
  • Connect with professionals: Social media is a great way to network. You can even establish a mastermind group to share ideas and strategies.

The Big Four

There are many social media sites in existence these days. Knowing where to start can be overwhelming. The big four are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. These are the only platforms you need to worry about. Each network is unique and should be leveraged for a specific purpose. By leveraging these platforms, you are likely to reach many different types of potential clients. LinkedIn should serve as a way to increase your referral network and connect with other professionals. Use Facebook to build your brand and enhance client relationships. Twitter is where you establish your firm as a thought leader and where you stay on top of news and trends. YouTube is a great way to use education as marketing.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is unique in that it caters to professionals. It is the most popular among financial professionals. It is a great place to stay in touch with colleagues and share industry knowledge. Since prospective clients might view your LinkedIn profile to establish creditability, make sure you utilize the space dedicated to displaying certifications. Don’t let your profile fall by the wayside. If your profile is not up-to-date it looks unprofessional. The more connections you have the more opportunities available to leverage. This is important, but don’t get carried away and try to associate with everyone. Make intentional and meaningful connections. It is these associations that will reap the most benefits. Join some groups that you are willing to stay active in.

Facebook

This platform is probably the most well-known. You can actually create a business page that allows you to promote your services, increase brand awareness and provide customer service. These also allow you to separate your business and personal accounts. Make sure all your photos and banners are consistent with your brand. Post engaging and helpful content written by you and other reliable sources. Mix up your content so it remains engaging and relevant.

Twitter

Twitter limits you to 140 character posts. Microblogging can be powerful if used correctly. It is a great way to connect and engage in ongoing conversations. Learn to use hashtags appropriately and effectively. Excessive use of hashtags can degrade your content, so use them sparingly and only when relevant. Use the @ symbol to bring others into the conversation. These are called mentions and are a great way to increase engagement and encourage meaningful conversation. Use your 140 characters wisely and don’t be afraid to retweet news sources and posts by other professionals to increase your credibility.

YouTube

YouTube is the unsung hero of social media. It is unique in that it incorporates many characteristics of other social media sites, but its functions extend beyond typical platforms. YouTube acts as a search engine almost as powerful as Google. It is a great platform for educating clients about your firm and financial topics. Give some information away for free. It is a great way to gain credibility. Videos can be more effective than text-based media, as they can better capture users’ attention. When leveraged properly, YouTube is a powerful marketing platform.

The post Social Media Should Be a Part of Your Financial Firm’s Marketing Strategy appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/social-media-part-financial-firms-marketing-strategy/feed/ 0 7351
7 Tools to Make Your Business Look Professional http://yourpfpro.com/7-tools-make-business-look-professional/ http://yourpfpro.com/7-tools-make-business-look-professional/#respond Wed, 02 Aug 2017 21:43:11 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=7257 If you are building a business you most likely have a target audience you are hoping to attract. For you to be successful in your endeavor, your business must project just the right image. Of course, what that image is may depend on the kind of business you are building. But when it requires a […]

The post 7 Tools to Make Your Business Look Professional appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
If you are building a business you most likely have a target audience you are hoping to attract. For you to be successful in your endeavor, your business must project just the right image.

Of course, what that image is may depend on the kind of business you are building. But when it requires a professional image, there are 7 tools to make your business look professional and help you achieve your goals.

1. Website

Does your business have a website? This is a tool that can make your business look professional and appealing.  It can also increase sales when customers do an internet search and your website pops up.

Your business needs to be visible and easy to find on the internet so potential customers don’t pass it by.  Creating a website can do that for you. However, to really get noticed and increase your business and professional presence you need to make it mobile friendly as well.

Creating a website is not all that difficult or expensive to do. There are plenty of companies available on the internet that can help.

2. Powerpoint

Putting together meetings and presentations that are organized and efficient can help to make your business look professional. Professional business powerpoint templates can help with this objective.

Furthermore, powerpoint presentations can assist your employees with information recall and job performance. One reason for this is ease with which information can be read and followed. They also allow for visual aids as well as reinforcement of important main points of meetings and presentations.

3. Social Media Presence

Another tool for use to make your business look professional is a social media presence. Some might not feel this is a valuable tool, but its widespread use demonstrates otherwise.

Linked, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are a few of the well-known social media platforms that can be useful for your business. Using them to advertise is another way to make your business known as well as grow.

4. Professional Invoices

Professional invoices are a must if you want to make your business appear professional and be taken seriously.  There are many different internet sites that can assist you with creating invoices that are clear and easy to read for your customers.

Creating a professional invoice and invoicing system will show your customers you care about quality and have quality products and services. Conversely, sloppy, unprofessional invoices can hurt your business image and may make you lose customers.

5. Business Email

Having a business email account separate from your personal account is important to creating a professional image for your business. Furthermore, the email address you create should be named something similar to your business name.

6. Business Cards

Believe it or not, business cards still have a purpose and can help to make your business look professional. When you attend a meeting or conference and need to net-work it can help those you meet remember you.

7. Personal Presentation

How you present yourself is another tool to making your business professional and successful. Take pride in your appearance and when you meet others you will make a favorable impression.

Projecting the right image for your business to make it successful is possible. Using the 7 tools to make your business look professional can help.

What tools have you used to make your business look professional?

The post 7 Tools to Make Your Business Look Professional appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/7-tools-make-business-look-professional/feed/ 0 7257
Things You Need to Know After a Medical Malpractice http://yourpfpro.com/things-you-need-to-know-after-a-medical-malpractice/ http://yourpfpro.com/things-you-need-to-know-after-a-medical-malpractice/#respond Wed, 12 Oct 2016 22:34:51 +0000 http://yourpfpro.com/?p=6831 A Medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed by an individual who has suffered some kind of harm or injury due to a misdiagnosis or negligence of a medical practitioner. This includes a  technician, nurse, hospital or a doctor. The measure of a medical provider’s failure to provide adequate care to a patient is determined by […]

The post Things You Need to Know After a Medical Malpractice appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
doctor-563428_640A Medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed by an individual who has suffered some kind of harm or injury due to a misdiagnosis or negligence of a medical practitioner. This includes a  technician, nurse, hospital or a doctor. The measure of a medical provider’s failure to provide adequate care to a patient is determined by the fact that the victim could have received better treatment from another institution under the same situation. Although, most of the medical providers intend on exercising superior standards of healthcare and treatment, there are certain cases where medical malpractice does occur. In case you have sued the medical practitioner for making you a victim of medical malpractice, you might have to wait for a long time until the court settles your lawsuit.. However, there are plenty of settlement lenders such as Settlement Lenders who provide settlement loans that can help you deal with your financial crisis with ease.

How to determine whether an individual has been a victim of medical malpractice or not

An apparent injury or damage cannot be cited as adequate evidence of medical negligence. There are cases wherein your current medical provider might pass the blame onto your previous heath care provider and state that the incurred damage is a result of the latter’s failure to keep up with the standards of healthcare. Also, a medical provider might tell you that it was your own mistake that you could not stick to the treatment procedures as instructed by him. Many a times, the victim might go for an out-of-court settlement after receiving an earnest apology from the medical provider, and avoid the hassles of a full blown court trial. However medical malpractice cases that do go to the court often end up costing the victim a lot of time and money.

What should be done if an individual suspects that he has been a victim of medical malpractice?

If in case, an individual ends up being a victim of medical malpractice, the first thing he needs to do is set up an appointment with an experienced personal injury case lawyer. A thorough investigation of the case ensues, which incorporates a comprehensive review of the patient’s relevant medical records and also interviews with the family and friends. After establishing the case as actionable, the attorney will file a lawsuit in the court within a stipulated deadline.

How can an individual avoid becoming a victim of medical malpractice?

As the famous proverb goes, ‘prevention is better than cure’, it is always advisable to take suitable precautions before obtaining healthcare treatment from a medical institution or practitioner. You need to be both vigilant and proactive in establishing whether or not a medical provider is suitable enough to provide you with the required standards of care and treatment. You must ask your medical practitioner a series of relevant questions and demand comprehensive answers from him. In addition to this, you must learn to listen to the signal of your body and inform your doctor or nurse about any complications that you might be experiencing.

Since the insurance companies typically go for a vigorous defense against all medical malpractice lawsuits, it is a good idea to hire a proficient and experienced lawyer who has the potential of getting the court to respond favorably to your settlement claim.

The post Things You Need to Know After a Medical Malpractice appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/things-you-need-to-know-after-a-medical-malpractice/feed/ 0 6831
What Should We Make Of Bitcoin Now? http://yourpfpro.com/what-should-we-make-of-bitcoin-now/ http://yourpfpro.com/what-should-we-make-of-bitcoin-now/#respond Thu, 08 Sep 2016 07:08:26 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=6803 A little over three years ago, we wrote an article about what Bitcoin is, and whether or not it was a worthwhile investment at the time. Back then (in April 2013), Bitcoin’s price was hovering between $100 and $150, which at the time was a pretty high range. It had been viewed as a sort […]

The post What Should We Make Of Bitcoin Now? appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
btm_2A little over three years ago, we wrote an article about what Bitcoin is, and whether or not it was a worthwhile investment at the time. Back then (in April 2013), Bitcoin’s price was hovering between $100 and $150, which at the time was a pretty high range. It had been viewed as a sort of experiment before topping $100, and from that point forward became a more interesting point of speculation among potential investors.

We theorized at the time that Bitcoin excitement was a little bit overblown, but that it could become a useful digital currency once all the hoopla died down. In truth the same theory could be applied today, but the circumstances are still very different now than they were in the spring of 2013. At this time, Bitcoin is worth about $600 (and reached highs near $1,000 just months after the 2013 article was published!). So what should we make of it today?

Price Points

The first point I’d make to any young professional looking into Bitcoin for the first time (or maybe just looking at it again) is that the price shouldn’t be trusted. Bitcoin has become more valuable than most people thought it would be. But there’s still a lot of volatility in the price. For instance, this time a year ago the price was roughly $240, meaning we’ve seen a $360 shift in one year. Between February 1 and the middle of June this year, the price bounced from $375 to $731—a $356 shift in just four months. There are plenty of other examples if you look back at the chart over several years, but the point is that digital currency valuation remains volatile. Yes, if you happened to buy a bunch of Bitcoin when we wrote our last article, you’d be in pretty good shape—but perfect timing in retrospect is easy!

Utility

The other day I was walking through my local mall, and for the first time I noticed a new little white machine with an orange “B” on it. I’d seen the same thing online before, but never in person. It was a BTM, or Bitcoin ATM, where people can put in cash and load up Bitcoin onto their mobile devices. I’d read before that there’s an ever-increasing number of businesses and brick-and-mortar locations accepting Bitcoin, as well as that these BTMs were becoming more popular, but I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes just yet. The truth is that Bitcoin is actually accepted pretty widely now, and it’s become pretty accessible. That doesn’t mean it’s ever actually necessary for the average person to use it, but one difference between our 2013 article and the climate in 2016 is that it’s no longer really inconvenient to use it. That may just matter for the ultimate question of where Bitcoin’s headed from here.

Investing Potential

In a way, this whole post is about investing potential, but it’s still worth its own section. The question of whether Bitcoin should be treated as a commodity or a currency is one that’s been asked all over the world for years. And at least in the U.S., the trend is to look at it more like a commodity and a resource for investment. That’s partly because the CFTC made an official ruling that it’s a commodity, but it’s also because people find it a little bit complex to use and a little bit exciting to invest in. As for whether it still has significant growth potential as a commodity, that’s up for each individual to decide. As mentioned, the price is still very volatile, and some think it’s probably at or near its long-term cap. But we also mentioned a growing number of businesses supporting Bitcoin, and more and more BTMs popping up. This could all mean that more people will continue buying up t
his digital currency, thereby propping up its value. In case it’s not clear, my final ruling here is that nobody knows if this is a good investment—but I would say it’s at least worth taking a look at.

My Verdict

If the question is what we should make of Bitcoin now, my answer is that we should take it more seriously. I’m in the camp that believes Bitcoin will not lead some massive digital currency revolution to displace the dollar. But I’ve also come around to the idea that plenty of people like to use it, and that it’s a pretty fascinating commodity when viewed through an investment lens.

So, how about you, readers? Has anyone made the leap and bought some of this digital currency lately?

The post What Should We Make Of Bitcoin Now? appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/what-should-we-make-of-bitcoin-now/feed/ 0 6803
Your Legal Legacy: Smart Reasons for Making a Will http://yourpfpro.com/your-legal-legacy-smart-reasons-for-making-a-will/ http://yourpfpro.com/your-legal-legacy-smart-reasons-for-making-a-will/#respond Tue, 12 Jan 2016 08:42:42 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=6506 In simple terms, the bottom line is that if you want to be sure that your wishes are carried out after you die in terms of who gets your cash and other assets, you have to make a will. The subject of wills and probate is either considered be a topic of conversation that is […]

The post Your Legal Legacy: Smart Reasons for Making a Will appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
In simple terms, the bottom line is that if you want to be sure that your wishes are carried out after you die in terms of who gets your cash and other assets, you have to make a will.

The subject of wills and probate is either considered be a topic of conversation that is either too morbid, plain dull or not that important until you get old, but putting your legacy on a legal footing is something you definitely need to address and do something about.

When you are goneSmart Reasons for Making a Will

Most people have a very clear idea of how they want to divide their money and property up after they are gone and whether it is your wish to leave a favourite painting to someone who has been kind to you over the years or to make sure that a certain relative gets your house, all of these things can be covered when you make a will.

It is a source of reassurance to know that your wishes are going to be carried out after your death and the best way to get this peace of mind is to ensure that you arrange a will to be written up.

It is never an easy subject talking about death with loved ones but it is a discussion that you should consider having with those that matter, so that they are aware of your intentions and this includes appoint an executor, who will be tasked with helping to make sure your assets are distributed in accordance with the instructions in your will, as much as possible.

Legal document

Your will might also be an opportunity your appreciation for the love you have received from certain people during your life, but it serves an important legal purpose as well.

When you write a will, you are creating a legal document which provides clarification on who you want to benefit and how you want your money and property to be divided up.

When there is no will in place, this can create a legal nightmare, with disputes and arguments between relatives and people making a claim on your estate who you may not have wished to benefit after your death.

Dying without leaving a will is referred to as intestate and it is a scenario that is to be avoided at all costs if you can, as it might even allow the government to claim some or part of your estate as a consequence.

Writing your will help to remove any doubts about your intentions and also help to ensure that you distribute your assets in the most efficient way possible.

Beat the taxman

Inheritance tax rules are still very much an issue when it comes to settling your estate and although the tax is only payable if your estate goes beyond a certain threshold, which is reviewed from time to time by the government, a will helps to ensure that you pay the minimum amount of inheritance tax possible.

These are just some of the smart reasons why you must make a will as soon as possible.

Nicholas Patterson works as a counsellor at a senior centre. He loves to help others by writing about his insights online. Look for his articles mainly on aging well websites.

The post Your Legal Legacy: Smart Reasons for Making a Will appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/your-legal-legacy-smart-reasons-for-making-a-will/feed/ 0 6506
Important Steps for Starting a New Business http://yourpfpro.com/important-steps-for-starting-a-new-business/ http://yourpfpro.com/important-steps-for-starting-a-new-business/#comments Tue, 20 Aug 2013 00:00:02 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=2788 Today, I’d like to present a guest post from my friend Betsy at ConsumerFu.  Let her know what you think in the comments below and feel free to head over to her blog after you’re done.   If you have plans to start a new business it is important to set it up properly from […]

The post Important Steps for Starting a New Business appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
Important Steps for Starting a New BusinessToday, I’d like to present a guest post from my friend Betsy at ConsumerFu.  Let her know what you think in the comments below and feel free to head over to her blog after you’re done.  

If you have plans to start a new business it is important to set it up properly from the outset. After you’ve developed a business plan and before you’ve billed your first customer, make sure you apply for the proper licenses and formalize your business with the appropriate government agencies.

Claim your business name & file for incorporation or a business license

 

The first thing you should do is to determine if the business name you want to use is available. This will involve filing for incorporation or registering for a business or privilege license with the state, city or county in which your business is located. The agency you file with will conduct a search as part of the filing process, but you can typically find this information online.

It is important to make this your first step because most other paperwork requires your legal business name. If the name you have chosen isn’t available in your state because another business is already operating under that name – or something close to it – you will have to choose another business name and you will need that to apply for your Federal Tax ID number and to open business bank accounts.

Part of selecting your business name should involve a search of registered trademarks. You don’t want to spend money and time developing a business following under a name that belongs to a business in another state that holds a trademark or service mark on the business name. If someone does hold a trademark on your chosen name you can still use the name if your businesses trade in different goods or services.

If you want to trademark your business name to protect your brand the application process is available online, but it is a good idea to hire an attorney experienced with applying for patents and trademarks to handle the process for you.

  • The Small Business Administration offers links by state to guide you through the process of establishing a business here.
  • The United States Patents and Trademarks Office allows you to search for existing trademarks here.

File your DBA

 

If you are doing business under a name that isn’t your real name or the name under which your business is incorporated you will typically need to file a DBA (Doing Business As) with the state or local Registrar of Deeds. There may or may not be a fee for this filing, but it is typically a much lower fee than that charged for a business license.

Apply for Federal Tax ID

 

The application for a federal tax ID, or employer identification number (EIN) is free and can be completed online. Your number is issued immediately upon submission of the form. The federal tax ID or EIN is essential for filing federal income taxes and many companies require an EIN before allowing you to register an account for buying supplies at wholesale prices. You will also need this number to establish commercial bank accounts and apply for credit in your company’s name. Most sole proprietors will not need an EIN.

To determine if you need to apply for an EIN visit the IRS site here.
To apply for an EIN go here.

Apply for state and local tax IDs

 

If required by the state, county or city in which you will be doing business, you must apply for a state tax ID. Check the county and city in which you will operate to determine if separate tax filings are required and complete required documentation to for each entity. Some of these requirements can be found online, but smaller municipalities may not have their requirements or forms available on their website.

Open business checking accounts

 

It is important to keep your business and personal finances separate. This not only makes it cleaner when filing taxes, but some companies require that you have a business checking account before allowing you to establish a wholesale purchase account. Keeping your business and personal finances separate also adds another layer of protection if you are ever sued.
Business liability insurance

While not required to start or run all businesses, it is important to protect your business and personal assets by purchasing liability insurance specific to your industry. Anyone who offers a service, gives advice or makes recommendations opens himself up to a lawsuit. Insurance is relatively inexpensive and most companies that offer consumer insurance products also offer basic commercial liability insurance. It is also a good idea to update your personal liability insurance while you’re at it.

Possible Fees

 

I recently went through this process and while I had a good idea of the costs I hit a couple of stumbling blocks when it came to registering my business name. These are the fees I paid.

  • The fee for registering an LLC in North Carolina is $125. Check with the Secretary of State’s office in the state where you plan to locate your business to determine fees for incorporating your business.
  • The basic fee for registering a trademark in the US is $325, but the amount can be more depending on your business type and the number of categories in which you will hold the trademark. Fees will not be refunded if your trademark is too similar to another and your mark is declined. Research is important here.
  • City and county fees typically start at $50, but in many areas are based on a best estimate of earnings. The county in which I live does not require a separate business license.

Betsy Muse writes for ConsumerFu where she works to help readers earn more, save more and live a more frugal lifestyle.

The post Important Steps for Starting a New Business appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/important-steps-for-starting-a-new-business/feed/ 3 2788
How to Help Your Child Pay for College http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-help-your-child-pay-for-college/ http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-help-your-child-pay-for-college/#comments Sat, 13 Jul 2013 19:50:22 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=2522 The following article is a guest post.  If interested in submitting a guest post, please read my guest posting policy and then contact me. One of the biggest quandaries about sending your son or daughter to college is how to pay for it. If you don’t have a college fund built up, it can be daunting. Even if […]

The post How to Help Your Child Pay for College appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
how to help your child pay for collegeThe following article is a guest post.  If interested in submitting a guest post, please read my guest posting policy and then contact me.

One of the biggest quandaries about sending your son or daughter to college is how to pay for it. If you don’t have a college fund built up, it can be daunting. Even if you have one, it might be difficult to keep up with the pace of raising tuition and college costs. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the price of an undergraduate college education rose 31 percent at private institutions and 42 percent at public ones between the 2000 school year and the 2010 school year.

Every year, parents and their college-bound students are having to get more creative about how to pay for it. If you’re already in that group, there are some options available. You may be able to swing it based on a combination of student loans, scholarships or grants, savings and some careful planning. Of course, which school is chosen and how many years it takes to graduate are significant factors in how much it will cost.

Tuition Rates

The College Board estimates a “moderate” college budget at $22,261 for in-state public universities for the 2012-2013 school year. The figure for private universities is nearly double that at $43,289. It’s all right to put a limit on which schools your child applies to, even if they think it’s the end of the world when you say no. If finances are a real issue, set a cap for tuition and room and board. With help from student aid, scholarships and grants, the high end of your cap may be attainable.

Scholarships

The best things in life are free. That includes free money for school in the form of college scholarships and grants. Anything you don’t have to pay back should be at the top of your list. The number of available scholarships is mind-blowing, but they all require time and attention to get them. This is when you sit down your son or daughter and explain that you’re sending them on a mission to find scholarship money.

It’s not all based on grades anymore, although good grades can help. Financial need is another important factor in eligibility. Students who have already chosen a field of study can look at major or career-related opportunities. Sports scholarship awards are a possibility. Another option is your child’s ethnic background. Money is available not only for minority scholarships, but also for students with a specific heritage. Social organizations and religious affiliations are other sources of scholarship money. It’s worth the time and effort to check out any that fit the eligibility mold and apply for as many as possible.

Student Loans

There are different types of student loans, the most common ones are from the federal government and those from private lenders. The interest rates are lower than what you’ll find for standard personal loans, but they do have to be paid back. A few things to keep in mind when it comes to student loans are that the amount of interest can be affected by who the borrower is, when the payments start and whether the payments are made on time and in full. A parent co-signer on a student’s loan can lower the interest rate. Students making interest payments will wind up paying less.

Savings

If you started a college savings fund early on, there is probably some money for school available. Invite your child to contribute early and often. There are some banks that earmark a minor’s savings account differently so that there is no minimum balance requirement, although the child may not be allowed to withdraw the money without a parent or guardian’s permission. Another option is to set up a 529 savings plan. There are both state and federal plans available. For most state plans, you don’t have to be a resident and the student doesn’t have to go to school in that state in order to qualify.

When it comes to paying for college, it’s always important to have your rising college student fill out the financial aid forms and other paperwork that will get their foot in the door. When you use a combination of different types of funding and have a plan on how to put it all together, even the most expensive college education can be attainable.

Nicole is an independent writer for CollegeAnswer.com. College Answer offers information on saving, planning and paying for college

On a related topic, Eva shares how to graduate college debt free on Make Money Your Way

The post How to Help Your Child Pay for College appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/how-to-help-your-child-pay-for-college/feed/ 5 2522
Making Your Assets Work For You http://yourpfpro.com/making-your-assets-work-for-you/ http://yourpfpro.com/making-your-assets-work-for-you/#respond Wed, 26 Jun 2013 15:48:34 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=2395 The following article is a guest post.  If interested in submitting a guest post, please read my guest posting policy and then contact me. The global recession has left many people in dire financial straits. Working class people and families have found themselves struggling to make ends meet. But a new middle class has emerged who are cash […]

The post Making Your Assets Work For You appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
Making Your Assets Work For YouThe following article is a guest post.  If interested in submitting a guest post, please read my guest posting policy and then contact me.

The global recession has left many people in dire financial straits. Working class people and families have found themselves struggling to make ends meet. But a new middle class has emerged who are cash poor but asset rich. And all around the world, people are looking for new ways to make their pennies stretch further.

It’s important to know how you can make whatever assets you have work for you. It doesn’t matter whether the asset in question is a Monet or a Mondeo – it’s how you use it that counts.

Monetising Your Assets

Monetising your assets may sound like a strange idea, but is actually easier said than done. Companies often pay people to advertise on their cars, particularly if you are a person who regularly drives on a busy commuter route. Your home can earn you extra money if you rent out one of your rooms to a lodger. And if you own any specialist computer or musical equipment, you could use these to teach in your spare time, or even hire them out.

Leveraging Your Assets

Assets can often be used to obtain credit, by leveraging them as collateral against a secured loan. This solution is a great idea for people who know that they will be able to pay off the loan, in full and on time. But secured and homeowner loans do come with risks; in serious cases of non-payment, your asset will become forfeit. And if a secured loan sounds too risky to you, there is another option.

Pawning Your Assets

Over the past 15 years, pawnbrokers have gained a respectable and trusted reputation as a valuable resource for asset rich individuals who need to raise money. Safer than securing your asset against a loan, and not as permanent as selling your asset outright, pawning is a popular choice for many individuals. To pawn an asset, simply go to a recommended pawnbrokers, such as H&T Pawnbrokers, and make an enquiry about how much your asset is worth.

Selling Your Assets

Selling an asset should only be considered as a last resort, but it’s important to remember that this option does exist. Homeowners in particular have found that they are able to improve their standard of living by selling their property and moving back into the rental market. Whilst not ideal, it’s all about planning for the future – a future which won’t be possible if you are unable to weather the storm of the recession.

The post Making Your Assets Work For You appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/making-your-assets-work-for-you/feed/ 0 2395
Amazing Tips For Going Self-Employed http://yourpfpro.com/amazing-tips-for-going-self-employed/ http://yourpfpro.com/amazing-tips-for-going-self-employed/#respond Tue, 25 Jun 2013 17:32:14 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=2378 The following article is a guest post.  If interested in submitting a guest post, please read my guest posting policy and then contact me. Many people share the dream of being able to work for themselves. It almost sounds like an unobtainable luxury, to be your own boss, set your own hours and work for your own best […]

The post Amazing Tips For Going Self-Employed appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
Amazing Tips for Going Self EmployedThe following article is a guest post.  If interested in submitting a guest post, please read my guest posting policy and then contact me.

Many people share the dream of being able to work for themselves. It almost sounds like an unobtainable luxury, to be your own boss, set your own hours and work for your own best interests. But for some people, this scenario isn’t just a dream, it’s a reality. Through hard work and perseverance, they’ve been able to make the transition from working for a company to working for themselves.

If going self employed is something you’re thinking about, it’s important to be fully prepared for all the challenges you’ll face both during and after transition. These challenges can take many forms and some may be unexpected, but all are perfectly manageably providing you take the necessary steps.

Create a Routine

A routine is just as important to a self employed person as it is to a larger business. For example, if you intend to work from home, it’s recommended that you keep regular hours, get dressed for work as you normally would every day, and set aside a space in your home in which you can work without distractions. This strategy is used to great effect by self employed professionals the world over – even rock stars like Nick Cave have found that a 9-5 work ethic helps to keep them motivated.

Protect Your Business

There are many things that can go wrong with a new business, even if it’s just a business of one. For this reason, it’s always recommended that people who are self employed take out business insurance. Business insurance can protect you in any number of events, from the loss of your work equipment through theft to your losing business revenue due to an accident or illness.

Know Your Niche

As a self employed person, you will invariably find yourself having to compete against larger companies who have many more resources at their disposal. So to make yourself stand out from the competition, it’s important to identify and market your strengths as best as you can.

What makes you different from everybody else? What kind of service can you provide that no-one else can? And who have you worked for previously, who would be happy to speak to the quality of your work and commitment? When you can answer these questions, this is when you will really begin to shine as a self employed professional. And, above, all, make sure you love what you’re doing. If you’re happy in your work, your customers will be happy too.

The post Amazing Tips For Going Self-Employed appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/amazing-tips-for-going-self-employed/feed/ 0 2378
Pros and Cons of Refinancing Your Home Mortgage Loan http://yourpfpro.com/pros-and-cons-of-refinancing-your-home-mortgage-loan/ http://yourpfpro.com/pros-and-cons-of-refinancing-your-home-mortgage-loan/#comments Mon, 10 Jun 2013 00:33:49 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=2314 Gary Dek is a former investment banker and private equity analyst. Don’t hate him – he had nothing to do with the mortgage crisis and the recession. He writes at Gajizmo.com – check out his site sometime. There are excellent reasons for refinancing a home, but before deciding to do so, homeowners should be aware […]

The post Pros and Cons of Refinancing Your Home Mortgage Loan appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
Refinancing Your Home Mortgage LoanGary Dek is a former investment banker and private equity analyst. Don’t hate him – he had nothing to do with the mortgage crisis and the recession. He writes at Gajizmo.com – check out his site sometime.

There are excellent reasons for refinancing a home, but before deciding to do so, homeowners should be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages that refinancing entails. Whether you want to get a lower interest rate, lower monthly payments or cash out equity in your home, there are times when refinancing may not be the best option for your investment.

Lower Interest Rates

Whenever there is a significant drop in interest rates, homeowners rush to banks and mortgage companies seeking to refinance their primary residence’s mortgage as well as investment properties. Over the life of a 30 year loan, saving 1% on mortgage interest translates to tens of thousands of dollars. This can mean lower monthly payments and can make your home more affordable, particularly if you are struggling to pay your bills because you are feeling house poor. Lower interest may be a good reason to refinance your home, especially if you have a good payment history for at least two years.

Homeowners who had a fair credit rating when they obtained their current mortgage may get lower interest on refinancing if their credit score has increased to good or excellent. High credit scores usually get borrowers the lowest possible interest rates. So what is considered a good credit score? If you have 650 or above, you should be able to get one of the best rates, though 720 plus will get you the best and lowest interest rates.

Get More Favorable Mortgage Terms

Some homeowners opt for adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) because the interest rates are lower than fixed rate mortgages for the first several years of the loan. Unlike fixed rate mortgages, the interest rates on ARMs rise over time and increase the amount of monthly payments. Some ARMs also have balloon payments that are due at intervals specified in the mortgage terms. Buyers with lower credit scores and small down payments may not qualify for a fixed rate mortgage and accept the terms of an ARM because it is the only financing available.

Refinancing to replace an adjustable rate mortgage with a fixed rate mortgage is usually a good idea since it keeps monthly payments stable and there are no balloon payments. Interest rates are so low now that anyone who hasn’t refinanced in the last 5 years should definitely research mortgage loan offerings before rates increase any further.

During the recent mortgage crisis, some homeowners lost their homes to foreclosure because they did not understand the mortgage terms and were not prepared to make balloon payments when they became due. Others were unable to pay substantially higher payments when interest rates increased. Getting better terms on your loan is a great reason to refinance.

Cashing Out Equity

There are times when cashing out the equity in your home makes sense, whether it is to meet a long term goal like sending a child to college or to make needed repairs or improvements on the home. If you have been making payments on a mortgage for more than 5 years, or if property values in your area have risen, you probably have at least some equity in your home. Your equity is the difference between the value of your property and the amount still owed on your mortgage.

The disadvantage of removing equity from your home by refinancing is that your debt is increased and it will take longer to pay off the home. Depending on the current interest rates and mortgage terms, you monthly payments may be higher on the new loan. Using the equity in your home to pay off other debt, like credit cards, can be a great use of the proceeds, but could put your home at risk of foreclosure if you default on your payments. If you default on credit cards or other debts and fall into bankruptcy, you may still be able to keep your house.

Bottom line – as long as you don’t refinance your home and use the money to buy an RV, jet skis, a sports car or some other depreciating asset, using low-interest funds to make investments or pay off higher-interest debt is a wise financial decision.

Cost of Refinancing

Applying for refinancing is a lot like applying for any mortgage. You may be unable to refinance if your credit score is poor or if your income has been reduced due to a change in employment. Most finance companies and banks require that applicants have a stable employment history and may require that the applicant have held the same job for one to two years. If your credit scores are lower now than when you originally financed the home, you could be approved at a higher interest rate than you are paying on the original mortgage, which obviously means you shouldn’t refinance.

Furthermore, there are points/fees associated with refinancing that are similar to closing costs when you purchase a house. Lenders require a new appraisal, title search and credit report and discount points may apply. There is also a loan origination fee and all of the costs are paid by the borrower. You may have to pay for mortgage insurance when refinancing. While some lenders roll these costs into your new loan, others will require that you pay the costs out of pocket when the loan is finalized.

Refinancing Upside Down Mortgages

In many areas, the average market value of homes has dropped in just a few years. If the value of your home has depreciated since you purchased it, you may owe more on your mortgage than the home is currently worth. Since most lenders require some equity for refinancing, you may not be able to get a traditional loan. There are government insured refinancing programs to help homeowners without equity find mortgages with better terms so you can lower your monthly payments and pay off your mortgage early.

While real estate values will likely rebound in the coming years, appraisers must use the selling prices of recently foreclosed homes as comparisons (comps) to determine the market value of your property. Since foreclosed homes typically sell for less than their original market value, this can drop real estate values in areas with a large number of foreclosures. If the value of your home is less than the principal on your mortgage, it may be smart to wait to refinance until housing values recover or you have more equity in the property.

Homeowners who need to refinance to avoid foreclosure or to lower their interest rates or monthly payments may be eligible for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) sponsored by the U.S. Treasury Department and HUD. The program is designed to help homeowners keep their houses and may provide refinancing solutions for those who have no equity or negative equity in their homes. Although the program originally only addressed mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, it has been expanded to include some private mortgages.

Refinancing can be a good financial decision, especially when it helps families get better interest rates and save money each month. For some, refinancing may be a way to avoid foreclosure and stay in their home. It is important to consider the pros and cons before deciding to refinance your mortgage and to shop around for the best terms and interest rates.

Check out more of Gary’s work at www.Gajizmo.com.

The post Pros and Cons of Refinancing Your Home Mortgage Loan appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/pros-and-cons-of-refinancing-your-home-mortgage-loan/feed/ 3 2314
3 Expenses That Will Go Up As You Get Older http://yourpfpro.com/guest-post-3-expenses-that-will-go-up-as-you-get-older/ http://yourpfpro.com/guest-post-3-expenses-that-will-go-up-as-you-get-older/#comments Wed, 05 Jun 2013 20:56:28 +0000 http://yourPFpro.com/?p=2149 This is a guest post by Chris at StumbleForward.  Head over to his blog and check out his other articles after you’re done with this one! We all understand that the cost of living is going up on an annual basis.  But as we get older, there are going to be some huge cost increases […]

The post 3 Expenses That Will Go Up As You Get Older appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
3_Expenses_Go_Up_as_you_get_OlderThis is a guest post by Chris at StumbleForward.  Head over to his blog and check out his other articles after you’re done with this one!

We all understand that the cost of living is going up on an annual basis.  But as we get older, there are going to be some huge cost increases that you may not have realized you had to deal with making those golden years not so golden anymore.

So in this article I’m going to cover 3 expenses that may be increasing and help you plan for those increased expenses now before it’s too late. 

Taxes

One of the first increases you may see is a rise in is taxes.  Once you’ve retired you won’t be able to claim several of the great tax deductions like you once did.  To start, your kids will likely have all grown up and moved on with life so you won’t be claiming any sort of child tax benefit.

Secondly, now that you’re retired you won’t be contributing towards your retirement through a company retirement plan such as a 401k.  Contributions towards these programs helped keep your taxes lower during your working years and what’s worse is when you go to withdraw that money you will owe taxes on every single penny you pull out.

Finally, one of the last ways your taxes will increase is if you are a homeowner, because once you have your home paid off you will no longer be deducting the interest you paid toward your mortgage.  The only upside to this is that you won’t have a mortgage payment anymore.

When it comes down to it, your taxes will increase when you get older assuming your income stays the same.  You may not necessarily jump up in tax brackets but rather you won’t be getting the comfortable deductions you once were.  To avoid these issues now, start contributing toward a retirement plan that is not tax deductible such as a ROTH IRA.  Doing this allows you to pay a portion of your taxes now before you retire and hopefully at a lower rate.

Insurance

The next thing to increase is your insurance, and the big one on this list is health insurance.  Health insurance has been increasing by huge amounts over the last few years.  In fact I’ve personally seen it go up by 50% in the last two years alone.  On top of that in the state of Ohio it is projected to go up by 80% by 2017.

However if you’re on Medicare don’t count yourself safe either.  In a recent article by the New York Times, claims that the Medicare trust fund will run out of money by 2024.  This means the safety net that you once had could be gone now, and before that time even comes you could be seeing a huge decrease in benefits, and higher taxes cover the ever widening gap.

On top of that consider the cost of life insurance.  When you are younger, life insurance is cheap.  But when you hit age 60, rates can go way up and a pre-existing medical condition will make the situation worse. In fact nearly 50% of those living in the US do not have life insurance.

In the end, insurance for the elderly is going up especially as you get older.  Buying life insurance earlier in life when you are healthier and younger could save you a lot.  Secondly, start saving extra for your health insurance needs, by setting up an HSA account or extra savings account to help cover unexpected medical expenses.

Retirement

When it comes to retirement savings, most people don’t start until it’s too late.  In fact, in a recent survey by the Employee Benefit Research Group said that 60% of 55 year olds and older had less than $100,000 saved for retirement.

What’s worse is that the cost of living is also increasing on a year by year basis, which means when you do plan to retire things are going to cost more, a lot more.  Not having this extra cost figured into to your retirement savings may end up draining your savings faster than you anticipated.

Finally, we have to consider social security.  As it stands right now social security may run out by as early as 2023, and just like Medicare, it will likely be facing benefit reductions, and possible tax increases.

The best way to avoid this disaster is to start saving as early as possible.  This will allow you to compound your money for a longer period of time and as a result live a better retirement, not a semi-retirement, or even none at all.

So, what are you doing to protect against these extra cost?

Bio:

This article was written by Chris Holdheide a personal financial blogger with StumbleForward.com, helping people avoid financial mistakes and live a higher quality financial life.

The post 3 Expenses That Will Go Up As You Get Older appeared first on Your Personal Finance Pro.

]]>
http://yourpfpro.com/guest-post-3-expenses-that-will-go-up-as-you-get-older/feed/ 16 2149