Month: August 2022

Gemstone investment
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From Cut to Clarity – The Layman’s Guide to Gemstone Investment

Gemstone investment

An interview with Dr Thomas Schröck, CEO and Founder of The Natural Gem

Revered for their beauty and believed by many to have healing powers, gemstones have been used throughout history by people from all echelons of society. Whether they have been used as lucky charms, religious symbols or as ornamental decorations.

The most well-known use of gemstones however, has been as a symbol to signify one’s status. Due to their scarcity and brilliance, royal families have worn gemstone adorned pieces of jewellery for as long as we can remember as a way to demonstrate wealth, rank and power.

Today, gemstones are still used for many of the same reasons as thousands of years ago. There are, however, more ways to enjoy these beautiful mineralogical phenomena than just as part of a piece of jewellery.

Today many people today enjoy investing in gemstones as a means to secure wealth and as an inflation hedge. It’s no wonder why. The gemstone is the world’s oldest commodity, dating back as long as 5,500 years, and holds more historical and cultural importance than probably any other investment options.

With the emergence of stocks, bonds, mutual funds and more, gemstones have taken somewhat of a backseat in the investing world. Perhaps because they are so embedded in our history and culture that people are missing the obvious? Or maybe just because the people who engage in gemstone investing want to guard this hidden gem (no pun intended) and avoid competitors?

After all, gemstones have the highest concentration of value, even higher than gold, and can return great yields. Who wouldn’t want to keep it a secret?

We spoke to Dr Thomas Schröck, CEO and Founder of The Natural Gem, to learn more about gemstones and uncover the secrets to successful gemstone investment.

 

How are gemstones valued?

Gold and gemstones are both tangible investments, but the key difference here is that there is no fixed value for x weight of gemstones. There are multiple classifications which creates an accurate valuation of coloured gemstones, starting with the 4C’s: colour, clarity, carat, and cut. The same standard is also used for diamonds, but there are also additional indicators which are solely used for coloured gemstones – namely, treatment and origin. All these factors heavily influence the valuation.

For instance, two rubies of similar quality but different countries of origin, can have a large dissimilarity in value. One from Mozambique may be valued at 100,000 GBP, while one from Burma may be valued at 150,000 GBP. This shows how impactful one detail can be to the net worth of a gemstone.

There are currently two systems in place to determine prices and price development for coloured gemstones – these are GemGuide and Gemval. The former is primarily directed at wholesale dealers and jewellers whereas the latter calculates market retail prices.

The value of a gemstone consists of three criteria:

  • Intrinsic value (market or trade value)
  • Its aesthetic value (a subjective, mostly optical value)
  • Its historical value, if any

 

One may compare gemstones to art, but the main difference here is that they carry a much higher intrinsic value. The aesthetic and historical value can also have an additional impact on valuation. We could take Kate Middleton’s engagement ring, which previously belonged to both Princess Diana and Queen Victoria, as an example: if we look at purely the intrinsic value of the stones and materials themselves, we may get just a fraction of what the ring would be sold for at an auction due to its aesthetic and historical value.

 

How do ordinary investors invest in gems?

A gemstone is a long-term investment, and since it does not depreciate in value, it’s a smart investment to keep for a rainy day. Our customers either buy it directly off our homepage or come by for an individual consultation. Seeing the stone in person before purchasing is important for many because we always recommend only investing in a stone that speaks to you. We’ve found this also helps when looking to re-sell the gemstone, because you will know and believe in the selling points.

We know that it can be scary when making your first investment in gemstones, and will on occasion hear the Blood Diamond reference. For this reason, transparency is so important to us, and we try to give as much transparency to the supply chain as possible. If a gemstone is legitimate and the same gemstone that the seller claims, you will receive a gemological certificate from a trusted laboratory. This will determine the intrinsic nature of the stone, and removes any risk involved in the purchase.

We provide multiple levels of certification, for example for a blue sapphire from Sri Lanka we can provide certificates from CGL (Sri Lanka), GLA (Austria), Gübelin and/or SSEF (Switzerland).

If the seller can’t provide a gemological certificate, that is your sign to exit the deal.

 

How have gems performed historically?

Gemstones have been used for more than 5,500 years as a means to retain personal wealth, and have historically been worn by royalty as part of their crown jewels, to ensure the gemstones remain part of their legacy. The most well-known gemstone is the diamond, but it does not have the highest value concentration and has a rather low appreciation. The gemstone with the highest value concentration and a growth of 8-10% p.a., is the ruby. The ruby is followed by the blue sapphire at 6% p.a., and then the emerald at 5% p.a.

What makes naturally coloured gemstones unique as an investment is their non-correlative nature to the macroeconomic developments. Gemstones will typically experience steady growth even through financial downturns, and it’s because of this non-volatility that they make the perfect candidates for diversifying investment portfolios.

 

How do gemstones vary in investability according to type?

As already briefly explained, a gemstone has a unique valuation according to its individual characteristics. What we can do, however, is to categorise the gemstones based on quality and country of origin: an example is a fine ruby (high quality) from Burma – historically,  this has been the best performing gemstone in terms of value growth. This begs the question: why do some gemstones increase in value more than others? To uncover this, it is important to highlight what makes a gemstone appreciate in value over all, two of the main factors are their rarity (or scarcity)  and beauty.

Before we can determine this, we need to establish what makes a stone increase in value. For gemstones it all has to do with two main factors, their rarity and beauty. The reason why rubies are experiencing an incredible growth rate currently is because the yield of the ruby mines are depleting. This means that the scarcity of supply drives up the values.

We can see this across all high value gemstones, but what makes a certain kind of gemstone more valuable than the other? To illustrate this, we can take the beryl as an example: more specifically the emerald (belonging to the beryl species) and the red beryl. The red beryl is the rarest of the beryl variety, but the emerald is more valuable. The worth is attributed to its beauty and due to it being more widely known, having a stronger historical significance, and for some its unique beauty. It is, however, hard to put a price tag on the subjective nature of beauty – it is simply compounded with the multiple factors as previously mentioned. In terms of investability, the main gemstones which are recommended for a first investment are ruby, sapphire, and emerald.

 

What is gemstone re-certification?

When we acquire gemstone, we make sure that it has multiple layers of certification. Once this step is completed, we store the gemstone with its certifications until an individual requests to buy it. With some gemstones that have been with us for an extended period of time, we use recertification to showcase the value development by renewing the certification at a gemological laboratory. We will then have the stone re-appraised by an expert, and they will provide the new value which is aligned with the market’s retail price. This is not only good for us to remain in the know of current trends and market value, but also give potential buyers a clear indication of its historical performance.

 

When is the best time to invest in gemstones? and how do they perform during financial crises?

We find that there is an increase in demand for gemstones during the financial crises in particular. This is mostly due to the fact that the value of gemstones does not correlate to the macroeconomic climate, and will therefore be used as a hedge against inflation.

That’s not to say that you should only invest in gemstones during a financial downturn. Investments should not be made in response to global events.

I like to think of investments as an intentional habit; a regular action you intentionally decide to adopt in order to meet a greater goal. And good habits are built now, so don’t wait for an economic crisis to hit before you decide to take control of your investment portfolio and secure your wealth.

 

Where can people learn more about investing in gemstones?

The internet is a beautiful place, filled with so much information from experts dealing with all aspects of the gemstone trade, from mining to jewellery design. Unfortunately, there is also many mistruths and misleading information available on the internet, which can be confusing at the best of times.

I will be releasing a book later this year titled “Investing in Gemstones”, which will be a definitive guide to gemstone investment, helping people understand the gemstone trade and the potential risks in this industry, and how to make sound investments that will yield lucrative returns over time.

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Breaking Down & Overcoming The Stock Market Anxiety Syndrome

The stock market is a major source of anxiety for many new investors. That’s primarily because of how easy it is to lose money while trading stocks.

That being said, while stock market losses are pretty common, the vast majority of losses traders suffer are actually caused by having anxiety in the first place.

That’s because, when you’re anxious, you tend to second guess yourself and make irrational decisions which can lead to devastating losses in the stock market.

So if you’re looking to start investing in the market, you need to understand that you’re entering uncharted territory – and the only way to succeed is to curb your anxiety and fear of the market.

With that said, here are some tips on how to get rid of your fear of the stock market.

Learn And Educate Yourself

Having a wealth of knowledge about various aspects of stock market trading can help you avoid the anxiety that comes with putting your money on the line.

Learning more about the market’s impacts on the economy, shareholders, companies, and the government might also help you feel less anxious during your forays into the market.

Set Financial Objectives

A great way to overcome stock market anxiety is by establishing financial objectives and designing safe investment strategies that can help you reach those goals within a reasonable enough time frame.

Setting these objectives doesn’t have to be difficult – a great example of a financial goal is planning to have an estate worth $1 million by the time you are 65 – which is not particularly hard to do with the right strategy.

By establishing these objectives, you can face your fear head-on and overcome your investment anxiety with a precise plan designed to grow your wealth. 

Never Invest More Than You’re Willing To Lose

A major reason why many investors are fearful is because they invest more than they’re willing to lose.

Many investors go as far as putting their entire life’s savings into the market hoping to secure a huge profit.

It’s important to note that while betting the farm can yield incredible gains in the market, it comes at the cost of your peace of mind, as you’re likely to find yourself constantly worrying about how your investment is going.

If you invest money that you can afford to lose, odds are you won’t constantly stress about your investment positions. 

You’ll be able to remain stoic regardless of how your trades pan out, allowing you to approach the stock market with an anxiety-free mind. 

After overcoming your anxiety, you can start trading with a trusted platform like SoFi invest

Have A Plan For Your Investment And Trades

The process of investing is much simpler with a strategy. 

While some strategies can be perplexing and ineffective, others can help you succeed. Once you feel at ease, you should gradually change your approach until you perfect it and are satisfied with it. 

It’s worth noting that if you’re not a seasoned investor, you should only opt for simple strategies.

Complex investing methods can involve much more effort and stress than simpler ones – often without producing any additional reward. 

A straightforward strategy for investing maintains your focus and protects you from being stressed or making errors. Using a straightforward technique, you can be versatile with your funds and possessions. Simple plans make it simpler to identify problems. 

You can implement alterations if you discover an issue with any of your investments. 

You may need to make modifications such as altering the shares of the firms you trade, paying a new value per share, modifying your holding approach, as well as altering your investment selection process.

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Choose Your Online Payment Solution According to Your Products or Services

If you have a business providing a product or service that might interest a lot of people, and you’re tired of having these shoppers abandon your store because they can’t find one convenient way to pay for their purchase, then you should choose online payment options according to your products or services. Use this information to help guide you when researching an online payment solution for your business!

What is an online payment solution?

An online payment solution is simply a platform that accepts payments for your business. With a paying gateway, customers can choose to pay for their purchase using one of the many available options in their location. A merchant account is what allows your business’s online store or shopping cart to accept credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, and check payments from shoppers.

Types of online payment solutions

There are two types of online payment solutions: hosted and merchant-hosted options

  • Hosted means that your online solution is stored on someone else’s server (usually PayPal’s). 
  • Merchant-hosted means that your online option of paying is stored on the server that you have control over.

Hosted solutions are usually better for businesses that are just starting and don’t have a strong online presence. Merchant-hosted solutions are more appropriate for businesses who want to control more of their data, especially if they’re handling sensitive customer information.

Reasons for using online payment options for your business

Online payment solutions are used by businesses that sell products and services online. The following sections explain some of the reasons why businesses choose to use them:

  1. Security  

Most businesses want to minimize the risk of fraud, so they choose a trusted bank or credit card company to process their transactions, in the form of hosted online payment solutions. Choosing an online payment solution that’s provided by a trusted bank or credit card company is one way of reducing the risk associated with accepting payments. 

  1. Simplicity 

Many businesses look at the ease of use when selecting an online payment solution. This includes selecting a hosted or merchant-hosted option that makes it easy for customers to complete their purchases. This could mean making sure that any software you choose is easy to install and update. Or it might simply mean choosing a well-designed shopping cart system.

  1. Processing power 

Businesses that sell products or services online need the processing power to process their transactions. The bigger your business gets, the more transactions you’ll need to process, which means you’ll need a payment gateway that has enough processing power for your business. Most credit card companies offer very reliable card-processing services that are available immediately at no cost for small businesses.

  1. Support

Many payment gateways offer excellent customer support, which is one great reason to choose an online payment solution that’s provided by your bank or credit card company. They’ll be available to you 24/7, should you ever have a problem with your registrar (the website where payments are processed).

  1. Cost 

Each payment gateway has a different cost structure. Depending on how many transactions you need to process, and how much processing power your business needs, the cost can vary significantly. The cheaper fees associated with a merchant-hosted option might not be as reliable as credit card companies’ hosted services.

Thus, it is best to run a test to compare the various online payment solutions, and then choose one that meets your business needs.

Paypal

Paypal is a widely used online payment solution. It’s an online, hosted payment gateway with a clean interface and excellent processing power. PayPal is currently owned by eBay, which makes it an ideal choice for eCommerce businesses, since most people are familiar with the company, and know that they can trust them.

WePay

WePay is a nice alternative to PayPal. It’s online, hosted payment solution that’s easy to use. WePay also has a competitive price structure, with fees starting at 2.7% + $0.30 per transaction and going up to 6% + $0.75 per transaction, depending on your volume of transactions and the options you choose for processing your transactions.

Checkout.com

Checkout.com is another popular online, hosted payment gateway. It’s an excellent choice for eCommerce businesses since it’s an online service that offers excellent customer support and the option to accept payments from a variety of sources, including PayPal, major credit cards, and wire payments.

The following are reasons why you might choose to use Checkout.com:

  • Easy to set up – It only takes a few minutes to set up the Checkout.com service on your website.
  • Secure – They offer 256-bit encryption for payments and sensitive data, which means that your orders are processed safely without being intercepted by hackers.
  • Reporting – They provide easy-to-use reporting options, so you can track how many customers you’re reaching with your online store or shopping cart.
  • Customer Support – The quality of their customer support is excellent since they have multiple support options, including email, phone, and live chat. 

This payment gateway works best for eCommerce businesses that sell products and services.

BlueSnap

BlueSnap is another great payment gateway option for eCommerce businesses. They offer two hosted payment solutions, one for eCommerce stores and the other for online retailers. BlueSnap’s online retail solution doesn’t offer a shopping cart that’s compatible with most shopping carts and websites, so it might not be best for all businesses. But since it’s provided by BlueSnap, you can be sure that every order you process through them will be tracked, so you’ll know exactly how your customers are buying from your store or website.

Braintree

Braintree is an online, merchant-hosted payment solution that’s part of PayPal’s Affiliates program. Braintree offers a hosted service that works well with shopping carts and offers one of the lowest fees of any credit card company’s hosted services.

Braintree claims to offer up to 10X the processing power of PayPal’s normal processor. So if you have a big enough business where you need fast payment processing, then Braintree is probably your best choice for an online payment solution for your business.

Conclusion

An online payment solution is something that you can easily implement on your website to help the owners of your business increase their sales and increase the number of customers that they’re able to serve. Choosing the best solution for your business will depend on how you want to make your payments, how many transactions you need to process per day, and how much processing power can be provided by merchant-hosted payment solutions. We hope that this article helps you choose between the various online payment solutions available for your business.

Please comment below if you have any questions about online payment solutions or if we left out any important information.

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A Short Guide to Buying a Second Property for Letting Purposes

Becoming a landlord in the UK is often regarded as a shrewd way to expand your investments and organically grow your earnings, whether long-term letting to tenants or operating short-term holiday lets in a growing market. But getting into the rental market is a process that should be undertaken carefully. Here are some essential things to understand about buying a property for letting purposes.

What is Buy-to-Let?

‘Buy-to-let’ is the principle of purchasing a property with the express intention of letting it out to another person or business. Many landlords begin their landlord careers by purchasing a new family home, and the renting-out out their first family home. But some landlords choose instead to start their portfolio with the purchase of a property for rental.

The Buy-to-Let Mortgage

If you are looking to purchase a property to begin a rental portfolio, or even simply as a rental property to subsidise income, you will need to do so with a buy-to-let mortgage. A buy-to-let mortgage is a specific kind of mortgage, used when someone is buying for investment as opposed to for personal residential purposes.

A buy-to-let mortgage requires the buyer to provide a larger minimum deposit than with residential properties, with most lenders expecting between 20% and 25% of the total property value up-front. However, many buy-to-let mortgages are also interest-only, allowing the buyer to pay just the interest until the end of the mortgage – at which point the balance can be settled outright.

The Practicality of Letting

Many would-be landlords get into the rental industry as a result of the theoretical benefits. When distilled to the basics, becoming a landlord can seem a simple way to generate additional, passive income and bolster your overall yearly earnings. In practicality, though, renting a property can be much more hands-on – with some key practical considerations to reckon with along the way.

For one, property rental is not the assured income it is often assumed to be. Problem tenants can cause critical cashflow issues, and are legally protected from imminent eviction; meanwhile, maintenance costs can often cut into your overall income. Together, these difficulties make a strong case for the importance of landlord insurance.

Speaking of maintenance, it is your legal obligation as a landlord to provide a bare minimum of comfort and convenience for your tenants and to maintain the property to a certain standard. You can do this yourself or via a property maintenance company, but both have their disadvantages; co-ordinating maintenance yourself can be time-consuming, while third-party property management can be costly.

Lastly, it is important to understand your tax standing as the owner of rental property. Setting up a limited company to conduct your rentals through can be helpful when it comes to tax savings, as corporation tax tends to be cheaper than income tax on property.

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Best Ways to Fund Your Retirement

After a long career, you deserve the chance to enjoy a relaxing and peaceful retirement. A retirement where you get to pursue the passions you never had time for during your career. However, funding your dream retirement can be difficult. Especially if not well planned ahead of time. But there are ways of doing this aside from using your pension. Below, we will explore the various ways in which you can fund your retirement.

Plan Your Pension

For a start, you should try and calculate how much money you’d need a year to live comfortably during your retirement. This differs from person to person depending on their financial status, home ownership and family responsibilities. Either way, you should plan your pension around it. You might increase your pension contributions or consolidate your pensions with the goal of setting yourself up with the money you need for retirement.

Investments

Investments are one way you can try and grow your savings quickly for retirement. They’re volatile – and you could easily lose money – but with some careful investments, you’ll be able to better fund your retirement. If you’re unsure about what investments to make, you could seek wealth management advice from a professional. If you are young then you have the advantage of compound interest on your side, which could drastically change the course of your financial future.

Budget

Funding your retirement is a long-term process and setting up a budget can help you begin to save for it. By working out your incomings and outgoings each month, before setting aside some surplus for a savings account, you can begin to grow your retirement fund and gain peace of mind from having organised yourself so that you don’t lose track of your spending.

Equity release

Another option for your retirement fund is an equity release mortgage to increase your cash pot. This is where you sell a portion of your property’s value in return for instant capital while retaining the right to live in your home. This can be an excellent way of funding your retirement without jeopardising your future.

Work longer

For many people, funding retirement will mean working longer. The thought of having to continue your career for another few years can seem daunting, but it can provide you with the money you need to live a comfortable retirement. Deciding to work longer should be part of a wider financial plan though if it’s to be used correctly.

The importance of financial planning

Ultimately, funding your retirement is underpinned by careful financial planning, regardless of the strategy you select. Any of the strategies above should be part of a wider plan to save for the retirement you want, rather than making a sudden decision to receive a cash injection.

Saving for retirement should be something you work on over many years. And by starting your financial planning now – with some of the strategies above – you’ll be all set to work towards securing yourself a comfortable retirement.


Business plan
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How To Transform Your Business In 2022

Business transformation means making changes within your company in line with current trends. A lot has changed in the way we work over the last 2 years, and with the economy taking a hit in 2022, adapting to the current economic climate is essential – from implementing a marketing strategy to drive sales or updating the way you work to increase productivity – it can all have a positive impact. Read on to find out more about how you can transform your business this year.

If you’re struggling with your finances, business or personal, and you are faced with an unprecedented expense, a payday loan can help you in an emergency.

Reflect on strengths and weaknesses

Before you can transform your business for the better, you’re going to need some idea of where you need to improve. Take the time to reflect on what you think would be advantageous for your company, and what you are doing well. Make a list that is easy to refer to, and you can use this to make various changes that could be beneficial to your business. For example, if you had a business plan pre-pandemic, the plan you had in place then, may not be able to get you where you want to be now. Various aspects of the business have changed, like what customers are expecting, as well as how they prefer business to operate, e.g., contactless payments, click and collect. If you think your business has a weakness, make time to rectify this.

Update your software

If you’re operating with out-of-date, old software, updating to a new system may be advantageous to your company. Not only does this mean you can run your business smoothly, with less downtime for IT issues, but it can also enhance your company, making it easier for you to operate and store customers’ data. Modern software can open doors for your company and make your workplace more efficient. You could decide to work with a cloud computing programme, which allows for improved collaboration and gives your workforce the option to work from anywhere if they can – this can improve employee flexibility and satisfaction.

Marketing

Every business needs some type of marketing or online presence in 2022 – if you’re not promoting what you have to offer online, you could be missing out on new customers and sales. After the pandemic, a lot of businesses have had to move their sales online to ensure they’re not missing out on profit. But marketing is also important to spread the word about your business – if your company is not online, a huge chunk of your target audience won’t be able to find you. Invest in marketing and social media this year to spread the word about your company, and your products and attract new customers.

Improve communication

Whether it’s with customers or your staff, improving communication is vital. Lack of communication is one of the main reasons customers stop using a certain product or service – and it’s one of the easiest things you can do! Communicating clearly means you can be more transparent, solve issues easily and work together to come up with solutions. You can implement improved communication throughout your company by training your staff to have a productive dialogue with customers and co-workers. As communication becomes clearer, you will see a big difference in the way your company works.

Create a positive workplace

Company culture can make or break a company and the way that it runs. You should create a set of beliefs amongst your employees at all levels, in a way that increases productivity and improves positivity. You could do this by creating a reward system for your employees to show that you value their work, keep an upbeat attitude when interacting with your colleagues, as well as try your best to resolve conflicts as soon as you can. Showing your employees that they are appreciated and that you are doing all you can to make the company a better place, will improve company culture. It will also help you to retain valuable members of your team and increase efficiency.

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Asymmetrica Investments
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Turning The Bear Into A Bull Sustainably

Asymmetrica Investments

Sustainability is a word which has become highly valued in all circles. As we look for ways to help preserve our planet, it’s essential to consider how we use our natural resources. Conserving our natural resources has become a priority for many individuals, companies, and even entire nations, and billions of dollars have been pledged to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) created by the United Nations.

When we think of environmental footprint, agriculture is one of the most overlooked, misunderstood, and underutilised resources to live more sustainably. With half of the world’s habitable land used for this purpose, it is there that the team from Asymmetrica Investments comes in with sustainable methods to supply food for our growing population.

Having achieved remarkable success in the Ethical Finance Awards from Wealth and Finance International, where the firm was named Best Agricultural Impact Investment Firm 2022, we thought it was the right time to talk to the team to uncover how they earned such a remarkable accolade.

1. Firstly, please give us an overview of your company and your work.

Asymmetrica Investments is a Swiss company that specialises in investments in sustainable agricultural assets. Currently, the firm is the advisor to the world’s first investment vehicle specialised in sustainable avocado production, AVO Oro Verde.

Before Avo Oro Verde, investments in Avocado Orchards in Mexico were hardly accessible for anyone outside the avocado industry. Most of the time, only local growers or existing avocado companies could benefit from the expanding avocado industry in Mexico.

Every year, avocado consumers worldwide would see an increase in the prices of avocados or avocado farms without being able to join this enterprise effectively. People could only invest in listed global companies like Calavo Growers or Mission Produce. These investments do not resemble farmland ownership, as they generate most of their income from trading, not the avocados’ production.

In AVO Oro Verde, investors are acquiring real estate, specifically arable land that produces income. So, their investments are backed by tangible assets, in this case, avocado orchards. In general, Farmland investments have two advantages. The first is that investors receive an income from the sale of the avocados, and the second is that the land they acquire appreciates due to inflation.

By investing in an avocado orchard, investors can reasonably expect to benefit from the rise in the prices of avocados. Specifically, an investment in an avocado orchard increases in value as the cost of avocados rises because growers can sell their product at a higher price.

On the contrary, generally, when avocado prices increase, companies like Calavo Growers or Mission Produce have lower profitability; this change in profitability usually reflects a lower share price. The main reason is that the margins and profitability of companies shrink when there is a rise in their input prices.

In 2019 AVO Oro Verde came up with a solution that enabled the global audience to invest in avocado orchards. Because of that, Mexicans and foreigners can now invest in sustainable avocado orchards in Mexico.

 2. How can avocado orchards be sustainable?

Agriculture is not intrinsically unsustainable but often poorly managed. For instance, more than 95% of all day workers in agriculture do not have a pension or any access to health care insurance. Not having these benefits is the reality for more than 5 million people in Mexico. People are at the heart of any organisation, and we encourage our partners to insure their workers and their families under state-run insurance. Moreover, we also support using organic pesticides to have better food and protect our employees from chemicals.

Regarding avocados, a lot has been said about their lack of sustainability. However, like most agricultural products, avocados are not intrinsically unsustainable, but their poor management is untenable.

The problem with avocados starts when producers cultivate avocados in nonsensical places, such as where the irrigation process is not based on rainwater or natural moisture in the soil. In some areas where water can be privatised, it depletes the water reservoirs, affecting the surrounding communities and plantations. Significant changes can be done by having a long-term view, producing in places with the right climatic conditions and adopting a technological-driven organic production.

For instance, by using the proper irrigation process, it can be more water efficient to produce a Kilo of avocados (400-600 L/Kg) than bananas (790 L/Kg) or apples (820 L/Kg). Moreover, rainwater can be collected, stored, and used in the irrigation system if avocado orchards are planted in the right places.

Deforestation is another problem with the sustainability of agricultural products, including avocado orchards. Agricultural expansion drives almost 90% of global deforestation worldwide. In the case of avocado production, it is estimated that it is responsible for 30-40% of recent deforestation in Michoacán. We do not tolerate illegal deforestation. Moreover, we protect natural reserves and keep approximately a third of the land as a forest reserve.

3. What is your core ethos as a company?

Our core ethos is capital preservation and sustainability. We are redefining the meaning of asymmetric investment, opening the door to safe asset-backed agriculture investments for investors looking to minimise their risks and optimise their returns while positively impacting the environment and society in general.

Many people have the wrong impression that by investing sustainably, profitability gets hurt. However, if you take a long-term approach, sustainability is paramount for preserving the ecosystem and our assets.

4. Can you tell us how you are involved in sustainable finance?

We offer access to our impact, sustainability measurements, and best practices to ensure sustainable production and growth. We are in the process of implementing an impact process that consists of three parts.

  1. Pre-Investment: Exclusion criteria, due diligence process to identify ESG risks, selection of impact strategies that target specific SDGs.
  2. Management and Measurements: Data collection and monitoring impact performance, sustainability and impact KPIs.
  3. Reporting: Transparent communication about the impact on partners and clients.

We are also involved in defining what sustainability means in our industry. We actively participate with the AIIMX—the Mexican representative of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment—to inform about the sustainability of the orchards that we grow and to promote the benefits of sustainable agriculture.

Regarding impact and sustainability, some of the metrics are set by the Principles for Responsible Investment, and others are included in the Impact Reporting and Investing Standards Catalogue, which the Global Impact Investment Network manages.

5. So then, are your investors only sustainable-focused ones?

We only do sustainable projects, but our investors can be anyone who wants high returns with inflation protection and long-term profitability. We educate our investors with specific materials regarding our investments so that they understand the impact of their investment on all the stakeholders.

6. So, as Asymmetrica Investments, what do you value the most?

As a company, we are conscious of our impact and reach and are committed to using this to promote intelligent investments with asymmetric returns and sustainability. Our stakeholders come before our financial gains as we select land and consider the treatment of our workers and their families. Stakeholders also are uppermost in our minds as we decide how much of our land is devoted to producing and how much is set as a natural reserve—considering water availability and environmental purposes.

We also give precedence to our stakeholders’ needs even though we are involved in the Counsels and Associations and devoted to Ethical Finance and Impact Investments. Having fewer, more closely selected assets can still ensure great returns and positively impact all our stakeholders. We value the opinion and perceptions of our investors, partners, farmers, clients, and providers and the environment in which we perform our business.

7. What are your plans?

We plan to expand operations to Colombia and Africa, expanding our reach and offering exposure to new markets with interesting returns. We believe that emerging markets will play a central role in food security. Africa has 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land.

Watch a Video of our Avocado Orchards
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Contact Details:
 

Company: Asymmetrica Investments

Name: Mauricio Mérigo

Email: [email protected]

Web: https://www.asymmetrica-investments.com/

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Articles

7 Ways to Get Funding for Your Business Idea

Running a business isn’t easy, and there are so many things to consider. Finances are particularly difficult to manage as there are lots of different aspects to it that make it hard to stay on top of. There are some simple ways you can make cuts like using free payment processing for small businesses, as this will help reduce your outgoings. However, what do you do if you don’t have the funds already and your business is still in its idea stage? So, if you’re looking to outsource finances for your business idea, keep reading and discover the 7 easiest methods.

Crowd funding

One of the newer methods of funding a business idea is crowdfunding. This is where you choose a crowdfunding platform online and propose your business idea with a financial goal. Members of the public can then donate money towards your business to help you reach your goal. It’s also a good idea to offer the kind donators something in return for their generosity. You could allow them first access to your products or even give them a small share in the business. Crowdfunding is a great way to raise funds for your business, but it isn’t a guarantee that you’ll meet your goal. This might mean you still need to outsource finance via other means as well. However, if you believe in your business idea, then members of the public are sure to as well.

Ask Friends And Family For Support

If you have a strong support system around you, then you may be able to ask your family and friends for funding. They may give it to you from the goodness of their own heart, or they may only loan it to you. A lot of new entrepreneurs don’t feel comfortable asking their family and friends, but you’ll probably be surprised by their response. They’ll only want the best for you and if they think you can really make a go of it, they might be able to offer you some decent funding. Family and friends are also a lot more likely to be honest with you about your idea as they will want you to succeed. You never know how much cash someone might have squirreled away with the intention of investing anyway!

Reach Out To Investors

If you truly don’t feel comfortable asking your close personal circle, then reaching out to investors can be a good port of call. If you don’t want to sell any stocks within your business idea, then you might want to consider angel investors. These are people who invest in businesses and provide them with funding, but they don’t ask for anything in return. This can work especially well if you’re a new entrepreneur as you won’t feel as pressured to grow at a constant rate and can enjoy the ride instead. Other investors may require a certain percent of your business, which then means they can also make decisions about how you run it as well. Although this might seem off-putting to some, a lot of these investors will have a great amount of knowledge behind them so having their support can be extremely beneficial.

Check Out Government Grants

You don’t always have to rely on angel investors if you don’t want to pay back the funding. Government grants are an excellent way to go as they can provide you with a lump sum of cash and you won’t need to pay back a single cent. It’s worth spending some time going over their criteria though, as some of them might be for certain age groups etc. You also need to be aware of any spending stipulations that the grants may have as well. For instance, you might not be able to spend it all at once or only be able to spend it on certain things. However, as you don’t have to pay back grants, they can be a fantastic option for those with new business ideas.

Take Out A Business Loan If you want something that you’re used to doing and is pretty simple, then a business loan might be best for you. It’s a good idea to go through a bank as they will be able to offer you competitive rates and secure lending. You’ll want to look for banks that provide good interest rates as well. You don’t want to end up paying back way more than you originally borrowed. Again, bank loans will have criteria you’ll need to meet to be approved, but they may be a lot easier to come by than a government grant. One of the most important things you’ll need when applying for a business loan is a sturdy business plan. This will demonstrate to the lender that you’re serious about your application and already know exactly how you’re going to use the money to make your business work. You also need to be mindful of your credit score, as one that’s too low can put you in a tricky situation. So, if you’re after a tried and tested method of funding, then a business loan could be just the thing for you.

Use Your Savings Funding your business idea yourself might seem scary. However, you’ll probably feel a lot more determined to make it work if it’s your own capital that’s gone into it. If you have some savings behind you, then putting them into your business isn’t a terrible idea. If you’re serious about your new business idea, then putting your own money into also shows others just how committed you are to it. That way if you do need to reach out for other methods of funding, you can show them that you’ve already done some hard work yourself. It’s not always easy to fund things yourself, but with a little saving and budgeting, it’s a lot more achievable than you think.

Seek A Venture Capitalist

A venture capitalist is always on the look out for the next big business idea, so if you truly believe you have that, then they could be a funding method for you. Also known as private equity investors, these people love to support start-up businesses and help get them off the ground. They do however ask for equity in return for their funding, making them decision makers in your business. However, venture capitalists normally invest in lots of businesses, so they will probably have a lot of knowledge that they can impart onto you.

Finding the right funding for your business doesn’t have to be so hard. There are lots of methods out there and they’re all quite different, meaning you’ll find something to suit your preference. You also don’t have to rely on bank loans either. As you can see, there are so many different funding options out there nowadays, and a lot of them you don’t even have to pay back. So, if you’re wanting to fund your business idea, be sure to check out the ones on the list. You’ll soon be on your way to success!

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Wealth & Finance Magazine Announces the Winners of the 2022 Cyber Security Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 –Wealth & Finance International Magazine has announced the winners of the 2022 Cyber Security Awards.

Cyber Security is an interesting sector. That seems reductive, though it serves as a fitting descriptor – few industries move as swiftly as cyber security. No day goes by without some sort of advancement or development occurring. It moves forward, always. Changing. Innovating. Adapting side-by-side with the greater technology sphere.

Now that we’re firmly in the digital age, cyber security plays an integral role in the day-to-day operations of … almost everything. Business relies on the understanding that computers will continue to do the job that we allocate to them, and whether in a simple office space or a world-leading data storage facility, computers truly make the world go round.

On the other hand, cyber security is in a constant arms race with cyber threats. As one takes a step forward, so does the other. Echoing and mimicking each other to try and gain the upper hand or exploit some oversight or weakness. As such, innovation and creativity are key to success for any company operating in the cyber security space. It is, ultimately, an industry defined by exemplars and paragons. There is no middle ground and those that lag behind soon find themselves outclassed.

Now in its second year, the Cyber Security Awards look to recognise those that truly go above and beyond to deliver best in class solutions and services to their clients and partners.

Awards Coordinator Holly Blackwood took a moment to comment on the success of the winners on the eve of the announcement. “Wealth & Finance International Magazine is proud to be able to showcase the selection of the best of the best from across the industry. I would like to take this opportunity to offer everyone my sincere congratulations and best wishes for the future. I hope you all have a fantastic rest of 2022 ahead.”

To learn more about our award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the Wealth & Finance INTL website (https://www.wealthandfinance-news.com/awards/cyber-security-awards/) where you can access the winners supplement.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Wealth & Finance International Magazine

Wealth & Finance International is dedicated to providing fund managers and institutional and private investors around the world with the latest industry news across both traditional and alternative investment sectors.

Distributed by AI Global Media each quarter to more than 65,000 high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals, fund managers, institutional investors and professional services firms, Wealth & Finance International has rapidly become the go-to resource for those looking to make the right decisions when it comes to securing and growing their wealth.

But Wealth & Finance International is more than just a magazine. Alongside our quarterly publication, we also produce a website that is updated daily with the latest news, features, opinion and comment, again in conjunction with a host of top-level advisors, experts and businesspeople.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 14 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 85,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

Issues

Q3 2022

Welcome to the Q3 edition of Wealth & Finance International Magazine. As always, every issue we endeavour to provide fund managers, alongside institutional and private investors with the very latest industry news in the traditional and alternative investment spheres.

Keeping up with fast-paced world of wealth and finance, especially throughout tumultuous times, can be a tricky quest indeed. But with Wealth & Finance International Magazine, it’s easy to see patterns and progression for ourselves.

We are seeing huge trends in blockchain and innovative AI technology this year. 2022 has been very focused on streamlining processes for clients, using intelligent technology and transformative programming,

With this in mind, here, we present a selection of businesses that are altering the market for the better. These trailblazers are showing us how to evolve and how to keep up with the world around us.

Our cover, Asymmetrica Investments, helps its clients to manage their assets in a way that leaves us in awe. Named Best Agricultural Impact Investment Firm 2022, Asymmetrica Investments soars to new heights. Supporting clients in managing their sustainable agricultural assets and permanent crops, Asymmetrica Investments promotes healthy expansion of assets as well as overall protection that is ultimately invaluable.

Here at Wealth & Finance we wish you a brilliant quarter ahead and we look forward to welcoming you back again soon.

Articles

4 Benefits Of Adding Commercial Lending Software To Your Arsenal

The world is witnessing massive changes in all the major industries where AI and machine learning are replacing mundane and repetitive workflow processes with automation. After initial inertia in changing to a new norm, now financial institutions are embracing digital banking solutions.

The primary benefit of adding commercial lending is increased working hours without increasing the workforce or related costs. Studies have suggested that out of an eight-hour workday a human being is productive approximately for three hours. And in a year they work for close to 240 days.

In comparison to a human being, digital solutions that are unmanned and robotic assistants can serve customers 24/7 and 365 days. Thus digital assistants or chatbot services can aid customers eight times more than a human employee. This feature alone is enough for any financial institution to adopt a commercial lending software that can integrate their databases and automate their loan origination process. On the other hand, round-the-clock service is just one of the benefits a lending business gets from transitioning to digital lending software.

To understand the relevance of digital transformation in the banking and lending business, check these benefits that are required to scale a business:-

Unified source of data

In legacy and CRM, banking data integration with different verticals for the same task is time-consuming and is constantly at risk of data theft. The compliance cost of maintaining the data integrity increases as the information is spread out. It is also difficult to understand the reports without contacting another employee to understand reports or insights on business metrics.

The digital lending solutions for consumer software have a single genesis of truth that is accessible to every authorized personnel. With neural networks and API integration, the applicability of data is enhanced in analytics. This in turn reduces the time and increases the accuracy of strategic decisions that are business-centric.

Accurate results

Loans are complex products concerning due diligence, lengthy calculations, and spreadsheets to arrive at the decisions that will boost growth. These calculations are also highly regulated and have to meet stringent risk metrics. The likelihood of human errors when making long calculations are high.

In the digital loan origination process, the calculations are done through algorithms that have been backtested. The calculations are free from errors, computed in a few minutes, and display the results on dashboards with easy infographics.

Efficient loan portfolio management

A loan cycle does not end till it is completely paid off. Each loan has to be reviewed regularly for red flags. They have to be checked for taking adequate measures to cover the additional risk that may arise during a loan. An automated loan portfolio reviews the loan constantly and sends automatic reminders to pay in time. Any change in cash flows of the borrower is reflected on a real-time basis through neural networking and API integration. Any flag will create an alert for the banker to check and address the issue immediately. Thus a banker plays an adjunct role of a consultant who can engage the borrower to focus on paying in time.

Boosts team’s productivity

A business agile approach is achieved through digital loan solutions that deter from repetitive tasks. Automation takes care of speed, flexibility, access to information, and seamless communication between different verticals and departments. Tasks, like checking and responding to emails and importing data from spreadsheets for compilation, are discontinued or minimized. They are replaced with real-time alerts that appear on the interface.

Conclusion:

With changing times and increased awareness in short periods through constant updates from parallel media, consumers are aware of the wonders and scope of AI and machine learning. The attention span and patience levels to perform a banking task by physically walking in is no longer a preferred mode. With rising consumer demands and the ability of automation tools at disposal, if banks don’t change to adapt to a digital route, then they will not only be left out of new business growth but may lose existing customer share to the pioneers of this change.

The multiple benefits like efficiency, time and cost-saving, improved customer experience and employee productivity have a sine qua non-effect on the growth and numbers of lending and other banking business. However, for a lending business to be operational, the deal breaker or maker is the ability to be risk-agile. Any process that can increase productivity but also stresses the bank’s assets are not the right proposition.

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Tips on How to Enjoy Your Retirement to the Fullest

The retirement age in the UK used to be 65, but this is no longer the case. At present, you will not be forced to quit work when you reach the said age, so it’s up to you to decide. However, you can get a state pension between the age of 61 and 68, depending on your gender and the year you were born. The Future Pension Centre could give you a pension forecast that would tell you when you can get your state pension, how much, and what you can do to increase it. Even if you start receiving your
state pension, you can keep working for as long as you want.

If you plan to retire at a certain age, you must prepare yourself financially, mentally, and emotionally to ensure you enjoy this period of your life to the fullest. You will experience significant changes from your usual routine, so you should adapt and find things that will make you happy to live a comfortable life.

List your goals

Retiring doesn’t mean that you stop having goals in your life. Instead, list the things you want to do and work on achieving them. It will give you a sense of direction and purpose and keep you excited since you have something to look forward to.

Manage your finances

Even if you saved up for your retirement and are receiving a pension or benefit, you shouldn’t splurge
mindlessly, or you could end up having financial troubles. Instead, manage your budget so you can live comfortably with what you have. Consider getting the help of a local professional financial planner to manage your finances better.
If you are around the area, you can get financial planning advice in Bristol. You may even request a no-obligation consultation. It will help you determine if you are working with the right financial planner before you get the service.

Find a new hobby

It’s never too late to learn something new. Look for a new hobby that will interest you, like arts and crafts,
dancing, cooking, or baking. It will keep you occupied while having fun. If you had hobbies you couldn’t focus on before, this is the best time to pursue them. After all, you get all the time in the world.

Work on something you love

Retiring does not mean that you can never work again. Why not get a part-time job on something that you love to do? It’s not just to earn extra, but to enjoy too. For example, if you are passionate about teaching, you may find a teaching job.

Be social

Some retirees suffer from depression because of the sudden change in their lives. Connect with friends and loved ones to prevent this from happening. Meet new people by joining groups with similar interests and volunteering in community services or projects.

Enjoy your retirement to the fullest by doing what you love and managing your finances properly. Take care of your health, too, so you have the energy to work on your goals.

Elderly couple walking
Articles

Most Successful Forex Traders in 2022

Forex traders around the world have achieved different levels of success. Keep reading to learn about the 5 most successful forex traders in 2022.

In forex trading, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of who the most successful traders are. However, by examining the traits and habits of some of the most successful traders in history, we can begin to understand what it takes to be a successful trader. In this article, we will take a look at five of the most successful forex traders in history and explore what made them so successful.

5 Traits of Successful Forex Traders

1. They Have a Plan

All successful traders have a well-defined trading plan that they stick to no matter what. This plan will outline their entry and exit criteria, risk management rules, and any other important parameters. Having a plan helps traders stay disciplined and prevents them from making impulsive decisions that can lead to losses.

2. They Take Responsibility for Their Actions

Advanced traders know that they are solely responsible for their results. They do not blame the market or outside factors for their losses. Instead, they take responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistakes. This allows them to move on quickly and focus on making profitable trades in the future.

3. They Manage Their Risk

All successful traders know how to manage risk. They never trade with more money than they are comfortable with and always use stop-loss orders to protect themselves. By managing their risk, they ensure that they can stay in the game even if they have a few losing trades.

4. They Stay Patient

Successful traders know that patience is key to success in the forex market. They are not looking for quick wins but instead focus on making long-term profits. This requires them to be patient and wait for the right opportunities to enter the market.

5. They Keep Learning

The most profitable traders never stop learning. They are always looking for ways to improve their trading strategies and increase their knowledge of the markets.

By continuing to learn, they are able to adapt to changing market conditions and find new ways to make profits.

5 Most Successful Traders in Forex

1. George Soros

He is a world-renowned currency trader and is known for his large positions while trading the British Pound in 1992, which earned him the title “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England.” He is also the founder of Soros Fund Management, LLC. He has an estimated net worth of $8 billion and his renowned trade shorting the British pound happened on a day known as ‘black Wednesday’. This event was characterized by the withdrawal of the pound sterling from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. It earned George Soros over a billion dollars, making him one of the most successful forex traders even in 2022.

2. Bill Lipschutz

He is known as the ‘sultan of currency’ and is the current head of Hathersage Capital Management. Lipschutz began trading currencies while studying at Cornell University in the 1980s. He is said to have made $250 million for his firm in one year. In an interview, he once said that “The forex market is always moving. Most people lose because they try to pick tops and bottoms; I sell weakness and buy strength.” This quote just goes to show how important it is to focus on the trend rather than trying to pick reversals.

3. George Van der Riet

Currently works as a full-time trader and is also a popular public speaker on financial markets. He focuses mainly on technical analysis and has developed his own unique trading approach which he has successfully used to trade forex, stocks, and commodities. He is a South African hedge fund manager and currency trader. He is currently the head trader and director of the Global Forex Institute.

4. Andrew Krieger

He is a former currency trader at Bankers Trust. In 1987, he made large bets against the New Zealand dollar, which earned him the nickname “The Kiwi Killer”. He has an aggressive trading style and his strategic trades involving the New Zealand dollar make him well known to date. After identifying that the NZD was overvalued, he opened short positions in 1987 which earned him millions of dollars.

5. Paul Tudor

This American hedge fund manager and currency trader founded Tudor Investment Corporation in 1980. He is also a philanthropist and supports many causes through his foundation. Just like Andrew Krieger, Paul was able to effectively predict and take advantage of the market crash in 1987. This trade earned him up to a million dollars.

These five traders are some of the most successful in Forex history. They have all made fortunes by correctly predicting market trends and taking advantage of them. While their trading styles may vary, they all share one common trait: they are patient and never stop learning. By following their example, you can improve your chances of success in Forex trading.

 

Cash
Articles

4 Important Occasions to Protect Your Present and Future Wealth by Consulting a Lawyer

If you have any amount of money, you will want to keep it safe. One of the best ways to do that is to consult a lawyer on certain occasions. Lawsuits are not going to be cheap, and if you don’t know how to keep yourself and your money safe, then you will lose some of it very very quickly.

Here are some of the best times to protect your wealth by consulting a lawyer, and both your present and future will thank you for it!

A Complex Or Nasty Divorce

Divorces are never fun for anyone involved, and even the most amicable divorces need some type of attorney to manage the movement of assets around. However, if you have a nasty divorce where your ex-spouse is suing you for everything you have and then some, you have the right to get a lawyer to protect your assets.

Make sure to hire a good lawyer in order to make sure that you can keep control of your assets. Some of your assets can make you good money now and good money in the future, so you should talk to a lawyer in order to keep them safe.

Lawsuits

Getting sued or having a lawsuit brought against you is never fun, and it is almost never cheap. You should have a lawyer to deal with your case, because chances are the other side has one who is gunning for you.

Even if your lawsuit never sees the light of a courtroom and is settled out of court, you still need to have a good lawyer who will fight for you. This will keep any wealth or property that you could lose from a loss in the courtroom all on your side, as well.

Alcohol and Drug Charges

If you get busted driving under the influence or have drug charges brought against you, you will not regret coughing up the money for a lawyer.

While you might decide that a public defender is a good idea, they are often dealing with dozens of cases and will recommend a plea bargain. However, a lawyer is going to have the time to take on your case personally and reduce your charges and the amount you pay out.

Always Get a Free Consultation After a Personal Injury to Protect Earnings and Cover Injury Costs

If you want to know what you can expect at free consultations, expect a lot of questions to be asked and answered. No matter how you ended up getting the personal injury, you need to seek out a personal injury lawyer and take on a free consultation to share the facts of the case and seek their opinion.

They will let you know if they can help you, and how they can help you get the money that you deserve. A free consultation is a great way to protect your currency wealth because the consultation is free, and it also protects your future wealth because most personal injury attorneys only get paid if you win… and even then, their payment comes out of your settlement winnings.

If you want to keep your wealth safe and you are in danger of losing it, then you need to reach out to a lawyer. They are going to ensure that you get the money you deserve and don’t lose any of your wealth or property due to a lawsuit against you. Then you can sit back and enjoy your protected wealth after the trial is over, and get back to your life.

Articles

Four Ways to Help Boost Your Finances

Four ways to help boost your finances

People the world over are living through difficult times right now.

Fuel, food, energy – the cost of living crisis has had huge impacts at home and overseas, pushing families closer to the breadline and forcing many to come up with novel ways to make their money stretch further than before.

If you’re looking for ways to protect your finances over the coming months, here are a few ideas that might help you keep costs down and protect against future developments.

Start an emergency fund

Many indications suggest that things could even get more difficult before they start to get better, with energy prices in the UK set to rise again after April 2022’s hike.

If you have any spare cash month to month, now is the time to think about putting some aside and building a pot of reserves that you can draw from at a later date.

Life often gets in the way and unforeseen expenses can have dramatic effects right now, so make sure you’re as covered as you can be for the future.

Have additional sources of income

If you have the time and the talents, you might be able to boost your bank balance by adding a side hustle to your normal job.

Perhaps your field of work is set up for freelancing, or you have secondary skills that you can help others with.

If you’re particularly handy and own a few basic tools like drill bit sets, screwdrivers and more you may be able to offer DIY services to those less confident.

Make money-saving swaps

The first step here is to look at each and every one of your outgoings every month and see what can be cut altogether or swapped for a cheaper option.

Whether it’s swapping out premium groceries, cutting down on subscriptions or trading a gym membership for home workouts, these incremental changes can soon add up and help out.

This regular budgeting will also give you an idea of when things start to get better, by which time you can prioritise which things you might want to bring back into your life.

Pay off any debt asap

Utilising credit cards and overdrafts can help ease the strain at times like these, but it’s important not to go too far and put yourself into trouble.

These products should only be used in emergencies, not to pay for luxuries that you could not afford otherwise.

If you do use credit to make things go further, be sure to pay it off as soon as possible – in full if you can. This stops interest payments from adding an extra burden to your budget.

How are you beating the pinch in the current climate? Share your money-saving and money-making tips in the comment section.

Retained Earnings
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The Pros And Cons Of Retained Earnings

Retained earnings or profits are the portions of a business revenue after the shareholder dividends are considered. Companies must plan how to use retained earnings to help their growth. But retained profits also have their benefits and disadvantages.

Below are the pros and cons that can help the business owners and shareholders make better-informed decisions about keeping the profit of their labour or not. Read on.

The Pros Of Retained Profits

1.Stock Value Increases

Companies use a formula to calculate how much earnings they get to keep after the dividends are distributed. When the business keeps a portion of its earnings, it makes the balance sheet look good and can affect the stock’s corresponding value and the stockholder equity. In addition, bigger profits are attractive to investors as it shows the business’s stability. It can influence further investments in the company by those who also wish for more dividends. Hence, the company can raise its share price because an attractive balance sheet enhances stockholder equity, allowing the opportunity for a growth cycle in the business.

2. Financial Safety Net

Any business needs to be financially stable to keep running, and when profits are retained, it adds up to a pool of its financing that maintains daily operations. Retained earnings can be used to buy stocks, pay employee wages, and pay off loans or overdrafts made previously by the company. These earnings serve as emergency funding in case of a downturn or the economy affects the business. Moreover, a company that has emergency funds can avoid taking out more loans and the cycle of debt.

3. For Diversification And Expansion

The company is free to use the money for business expansion. When your business is ready for scaling, there’s no reason to take out another loan. The retained profits can help hire more workers, buy new equipment, or initiate research and development. Additionally, the business owner and the shareholders can choose to accumulate the earnings to gather funding for future investments instead of taking their share of more significant dividends. It means that if they are currently focused on growth, they will settle on taking low dividends instead.

 

The Cons Of Retained Profits

1.Return Of Investment (ROI) Is Not Guaranteed

While retained profits seem like an open source of funding for making investments and for scaling your business, the reality is that it’s not always a safe option for shareholders. While it is a low-cost financing alternative and could serve as an emergency source of cash for the company, it isn’t entirely free.

There is a cost of opportunity for shareholders who settle for lower dividends instead of claiming a higher percentage of the profits. In addition, the ROI will be the basis of whether the shareholders will keep investing in a company or if they take their money somewhere else.

2. Unimpressed Stock Buyers

Investors wouldn’t want to buy stocks from a company that retains its dividends. They will need to see if the company has a steady stream of dividends, primarily if the company is known to be a profitable business. Additionally, not all shareholders are willing to withhold a claim over the profits that are rightfully theirs. Suppose the investors do not see any gains in their investments. In that case, they will likely look for other companies that generously award dividends—ones that don’t keep the profits to themselves and distribute them to all shareholders instead.

Man in meeting

3. Possible Tax Evasion

One risky reason why companies should avoid retained earnings is that it can lead to tax evasion. Some might attempt to ease the tax burden by keeping profits. Some shareholders who don’t have an immediate need for dividends might vote against its distribution to avoid providing income tax. Once the company stock value increases through profit retention, the shareholders could decide to sell the business at a higher price or withdraw dividend distribution in the future. Moreover, a company that attempts to retain its earnings and gets caught will have to pay penalties later.

In Conclusion

Retained earnings are in the hands of the shareholders. They should decide whether they’ll take the maximum of their dividends or leave it for the business. While this has its benefits—such as serving as funding for scaling and emergency uses—retaining it has its downsides—like the ROI is not always guaranteed and it could invite tax evasion. That said, the shareholders weigh the pros and cons before they vote and rely on factors to make informed decisions.

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3 Strategies for Doctors to Pay Off Medical School Debt

3 Strategies for Doctors to Pay Off Medical School Debt

According to a study by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the average medical student graduates with more than $190,000 in debt. While there are several ways to pay off medical school loans, the best strategy for you will depend on your career, salary, and financial situation.

Medical school can be expensive. The average cost of medical school tuition, fees, and living expenses for a single year is now over $60,000. For many students, that means taking out loans to cover the cost. And while there are various strategies you can use to make paying off those loans a bit easier, here are three of the most important ones:

Make a budget and stick to it

One of the best ways to manage your finances is by creating and adhering to a budget. When you know exactly how much money you have coming in and going out each month, it’s easier to adjust your spending as needed to continue making progress on paying off your loans.

If you are in a high-paying specialty such as surgery or oncology, you may be able to pay your loans off quickly. However, suppose you are in a lower-paying field such as family medicine or pediatrics. In that case, you may consider a longer-term repayment plan that allows you to save for retirement and other expenses.

Whatever repayment plan you choose, be sure to stay on top of your loan payments to avoid costly penalties and interest charges. If you have extra money, use it to make extra payments, or if possible, invest that money so that you can earn interest.

Make payments during residency

You are still responsible for making payments on your medical school loans during residency. Even though you may be struggling to make ends meet, it’s important to continue making payments on your loans. Failing to make payments can result in penalties and interest charges.

If you can’t afford to make your regular monthly payments, contact your lender or a great personal finance company like LeverageRX to see if you can arrange a payment plan that fits your budget. You may also be able to defer your loan payments until you finish residency. However, interest will continue to accrue on your loans during this time, so it’s important to try to pay as much as you can each month.

Make extra payments when possible

There are several ways to reduce the money you have to pay back on your medical school loans. One of the best ways is to make lump-sum payments whenever you have extra cash available.

Many think the only way to repay loans is making monthly payments. But if you have the extra money in your account, that may be an option. The more money you can put toward your loans, the better!

Conclusion

Medical school can be costly, and for many graduates, the debt incurred can be difficult to manage. While there are many ways to pay off this debt, including loan consolidation and income-based repayment plans, for some graduates, the only way is to take on additional jobs.

For residents who are already struggling to make ends meet, taking on additional work can be a daunting task. In addition to long hours and little sleep, residents often have to contend with call schedules that keep them tied up most of the night.

Adding another job on top of this can be overwhelming and lead to burnout. However, some benefits to paying off medical school debt quickly with the help of the best financial advisors will go a long way.

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3 Simple Ways to Improve Financial Wellbeing

Wellbeing is something a lot of us are taking more seriously these days. In the age of self-care, everyone is paying more attention to how they feel in themselves, and how they look after their future. Part of investing in good wellbeing, is making sure you’re healthy from a financial perspective too. The unfortunate truth is most of don’t have the level of financial wellbeing we’d like. We spend a lot of time worrying about not having enough money to pay for essential bills and expenses, but not nearly as much time coming up with solutions to our cash flow issues. The good news is there are some simple ways you can improve your financial wellbeing with minimal effort. Here are some simple ways to get started.

Update Your Debt Strategy

Debt can have a significant impact on financial wellbeing. It’s easy to find yourself getting overwhelmed by a buildup of loans and interest rates after a while. Even if you’re relatively careful with your money, we all need to borrow from time to time to handle the hefty expenses associated with things like buying a house or getting an education. The key to success isn’t avoiding debt entirely, it’s learning how to use it correctly. Taking out student loans so you can go to college and improve your earning capabilities in the future is a great way to actively improve your financial health over time. If you take the time to carefully research the right loan options, you can also ensure you don’t have to worry as much about interest rates and fees at a later date.

Create a Savings Plan

Most of us have long-term and short-term goals for our finances. In an ideal world, we’d be able to buy anything we needed as and when we wanted it. However, the reality is that big purchases can take a long time to make. Having a strong savings plan in place will ensure you can gradually work towards your long-term goals. Making better lifestyle choices can save you money as well. Aside from having a plan for your long-term savings, it’s also important to ensure you have an emergency savings plan in place. This emergency fund will be what you turn to when unexpected expenses crop up in your life. Having a little extra backup in place will stop you from dipping into the money you’re trying to reserve for other major purchase down the line.

Experiment With Budgeting Strategies

Finally, budgeting is one of the best tools you can use when you’re trying to improve financial wellbeing. However, many struggle with setting up a budget, because they find doing so to be restrictive or difficult. The good news is there doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all approach to budgeting. You can simply experiment with different plans until you find something that works for you. You might even find it helpful to use modern tools to help you. Budgeting and financial apps are excellent for guiding you through the process of sorting your money into different segments based on what you want to accomplish. You can even find tools which can give you advice based on your specific spending habits.

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8 Mistakes To Avoid When Raising Non-Dilutive Funding For Your Start up

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Non-dilutive funding refers to any kind of funding that doesn’t require you to give away any form of business equity to your investors. This means you receive monetary funding without giving out even a single share of your company. Examples of non-dilutive funding include loans, grants, tax credits, vouchers, subsidies, and the like.

It’s said that non dilutive funding is the most popular option for start-up founders because it offers monetary support all the while allowing for the non-surrender of business ownership to creditors.

Non-dilutive funding can help to accelerate your business growth to the point where you’re comfortable raising funds from venture capitalists interested in getting a piece of your company.

Despite being a popular financing option, non-dilutive funds such as banking institution loans are usually challenging to obtain and grants are available for those that can meet specific requirements only. Further, non-dilutive funds can become a costly financing option for your business if not used right.

To avoid situations where borrowed funds become costly and an unbearable liability to your business, below are some of the common mistakes made by entrepreneurs when raising non-dilutive funding. Read through them one by one to avoid committing them when you decide to pursue non-dilutive funding for your budding business.

1.Not Being Prepared Enough

Raising any form of funding, disruptive or non-disruptive, requires you to be adequately prepared with information about your market, your own business, and the viability of your products. You must provide your prospective lenders with a good understanding of the industry you’ll be playing in. To do so, you’ll need to spend ample time in advance analysing different resources.

You’ll also need to prepare visual presentations that’ll aid in making your case. You might need to hire someone to do this for you because potential lenders will use this information to determine how far your company is likely to go with the funds they’ll let you borrow.

In addition, you should also take the time to understand your lender’s requirements for non-disruptive financing. This could be in the form of security requirements or even the kinds of businesses they don’t finance. It’d be a waste of your time to approach an institution where your firm stands no chance of obtaining financial support.

2.Not Seeking Expert Opinion

Sadly, many entrepreneurs tend to overestimate their abilities which often leads them into trouble. Applying for any funding needs the input of experienced professionals like attorneys and accountants.

Experienced attorneys help you to identify and understand different clauses in the contract documents that can lead you to losses. An example is redemption clauses.

Meanwhile, financial experts like an accountant look at your books and projections to provide you with a realistic amount to apply for as funding. This avoids a situation where you apply for either less or more than your business needs.

3.Not Considering Different Options

While there are regulations for players in the financial sector, they’re still allowed some leeway to operate. For instance, although the interest that lenders charge on their various financing options is capped, they all don’t extend a similar interest rate. It’s good for you to scout the market to identify what different financial institutions offer. This can help you to avoid the common mistake of receiving high-interest non-dilutive funding, whereas there was an option of lower interest charges.

4.Over-Valuing Your Business

It’s common for entrepreneurs to over-value their businesses, especially when seeking funds or partnerships. Unfortunately, this often sets you up for failure.

When you over-value your business, you raise your lender’s expectations, which can work against you when applying for additional funds in the future. Since you’ll always need to prove some growth to your lender when applying for future funds, this could end up hurting your relationship with your lender when they realize you were dishonest. You could end up missing necessary additional funding to scale up your business if you resort to this course of action.

5.Over-Forecasting Your Financial Returns

When in desperate need of finances, it’s easy to overrate your business growth rate. This could result in you overestimating the money you’ll make to impress your potential financiers. The downside is that your lenders might be convinced that you can repay your non-dilutive funding over a shorter period than is realistically possible. And even if you could make high revenues, it’s always advisable to err on caution.

For instance, unforeseen changes in your business environment could make it impossible for you to earn the forecasted revenues causing you to default on repayments, potentially leading to poor relations between you and your lenders.

6.Applying For Funding Too Early Or Too Late

Timing is critical when applying for funds because the processes can be long and winding. Doing it too early or too late can be disastrous. Poor timing can cost your business a great opportunity that would have elevated it to the next level.

According to a couple of entrepreneurs, it’s advisable to give yourself an average duration of six months to raise business funds. For instance, when you apply for funds too early, you expose your business to a lot of analysis that could cause your application to be rejected.

On the other hand, applying too late could see you miss a scheduled trade exhibition where you’d have demonstrated your products to prospective clients.

7.Trying To Raise Money To Fix The Entire Business

The common saying that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ comes into mind. It’s advisable to stick to your business strategy and plan even when raising funds for growth. Your business plan helps you to remain focused as it shows the most urgent business areas that need funding.

Whenever you’re applying for funds, deviating from the business plan can cause you to raise money that may not benefit the enterprise. This is especially critical in the in-between incidences where a lender proposes to give more than is asked. Entrepreneurs have been known to overspend when they get more money than they need. For example, this has resulted in business people incurring unnecessary expenses on office/warehouse space, salaries and wages, or new products that weren’t needed by the market.

8.Pitching About Your Product Instead Of The Business

It’s normal to keep talking about some unique products your company is introducing and how they’ll solve many customer problems. When you use such details to pitch for non-dilutive funding, this becomes a problem. In as much as lenders aren’t after partnering with you in your business, they still want to understand your business model and how that’ll help you to make money.

Further, you must make your business presentation in a simple method that’s easy to understand. Your lender is keen to know how they’ll recover their money, so you must explain how your business as a whole (not specific products) will generate and rake in revenues.

Conclusion

Although non-dilutive funding is always a good option for start-ups, some options like bank loans are difficult to get. Plus, even where they’re readily available, young companies without the necessary collateral to secure their loans are always left out. Nonetheless, newer private lending and fintech companies have come onto the scene to address some of these challenges. You can reach out to any of them for non-disruptive funding for your company.

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Key Investment Tips You Need to Follow

There’s a lack of willingness to invest among the general population in the UK, with only 12% of Brits known to have invested in the stock market as recently as 2018.

This is despite the fact that investing in stocks and shares can deliver higher returns than cash in 90% of cases, which means that we either lack the knowledge to invest or the means to do so on a regular basis.

The failure to invest is probably caused by a combination of these factors, but what steps can be taken to overcome this impasse? Let’s find out!

#1. What Are Your Financial Goals?

In order to invest successfully, one of the most important strategic components is to have a clear and concise financial goal in mind.

Make no mistake; the better your understanding of your financial goals, the easier it is to organise your finances effectively and achieve such objectives within a desired timeframe.

But how do you achieve such clarity? Well, we’d recommend conducting a detailed audit of your current finances and precisely how much you can invest within a given timeframe. This helps you to manage risk while pursuing viable returns, while also ensuring that you don’t overcommit yourself or take on too much leverage.

To help in this respect, you may need to liaise with investment management experts. This way, you can fill
any gaps in knowledge that you may have and leverage financial market expertise to your advantage.

#2. Start Investing Early

As most investment vehicles tend to deliver returns over time as yields are compounded and diversified, it makes sense that you should start investing as soon as possible.

Even on a fundamental level, the earlier you start investing, the more significant profits you can achieve over time. This also enables you to manage risk and pursue incremental gains while minimising the risk of loss.

Of course, what may change is the nature of your portfolio and how it is structured over time.

For example, you may invest in higher risk assets such as stocks and forex early on, in order to leverage higher yields and returns. Then, you can gradually look to consolidate such gains, by incorporating more stable assets into your portfolio like dividend stocks and bonds.

#3. Diversify Your Interests

As the latter point highlights, you can structure your returns and minimise your exposure to risk through the gradual process of diversification.

This can apply to many elements of your portfolio too, from diversifying individual assets within a particular niche to reaching out to new asset classes as your income and level of experience grows.

This also encourages regular investment and higher levels of engagement, as you frequently look to rebalance your portfolio to reflect your outlook and the wider market conditions.

Try to avoid over diversifying your portfolio too. This can dilute your returns considerably over time, although your chosen wealth manager can help in this respect.


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Unique ways to reward your clients

Rewarding your clients is a great way for your business to improve customer retention and brand loyalty, as well as help to contribute to the overall reputation of the business. Rewarding your clients doesn’t have to break the bank – in fact, there are plenty of affordable ways in which you can do this if you are on a budget. However, it can be good to treat clients with a bit of luxury – especially ones who are worth a lot to your business, or if you have a long relationship with them.

 Arrange private transport

If a client is having to travel to come to visit for a meeting, why not arrange some private transportation for them? This could include anything from a private chartered jet to a business class train or private taxi.  There are many benefits from taking a private jet, not only does it treat the clients with a bit of luxury, but the jet can land at airports that are closer to your meeting location compared to commercial
planes – saving time and providing a smoother, more enjoyable journey for your client.

Invite to a special event

Similar to granting clients early access to a new product, inviting customers to a special event can be an excellent method to improve brand loyalty and encourage word-of-mouth promotion of your company. This could include a fundraising event or even an awards celebration at a nearby venue. A special event is a great way to increase awareness of your brand on social media, as many customers and employees may share pictures from the event.

Reward with loyalty programs

Implementing a loyalty scheme is a great way to get customers coming back. Research has found that existing customers averagely spend 67% more than new customers, so making sure that your clients are coming back is essential for the sustainability and long-term success of your business.

Bespoke business and exclusive offers

Making your customers feel appreciated, will help them feel as though you value their business. This could include exclusive seasonal discounts or money off if they spend over a certain amount. Another
great way to provide customers with exclusive offers is to provide discounts on items or services that they regularly invest in from you – this can be personalized with various programs that can aid your business to predict consumer buying habits. Try to make use of these, and see how much your profits
increase!

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3 Great Tips for Building Retirement Savings

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You don’t want to hit retirement age with no savings. Doing that will leave you dependent on your family and government-issued benefits, or worse — it will push you to keep working for much longer than you’d like. You want a comfortable nest egg that you can rely on through all of your golden years. 

These three tips will help you build up your nest egg.

 

1. Make an Emergency Fund

What do emergency funds and retirement funds have to do with one another? Without an emergency fund, it can be tempting to turn to your large pool of retirement savings to remedy an urgent, unplanned expense. But this comes with consequences. 

Withdrawals before you’re 59 ½ typically come with early distribution penalties that will reduce your amount of funds. Your withdrawals will also be counted as taxable income. You will end up with much less than you originally removed to cover the emergency expense, and your nest egg will be a little smaller for your retirement.

You can avoid this tricky situation by making yourself an emergency fund. If you suddenly face an emergency expense, you can dip into your emergency fund to access the necessary savings to cover it. You don’t have to worry about early withdrawal penalties, and you certainly don’t have to worry about how the decision will affect your retirement. That nest egg can remain untouched.

What if you don’t have enough savings? You should still try your best not to touch your retirement fund. If you need to cover an urgent, unplanned expense, try to cover it using your credit card or a personal online loan. 

When searching for an online loan, make sure it’s available in your state of residence. So, if you happen to live in Little Rock, you should look for Arkansas online loans to manage an emergency expense. This simple trick will help you find loans that are available in Arkansas.

 

2. Match 401(k) Contributions

Do you have a 401(k) through your workplace? Then, you should take advantage of 401(k) matching. This is when employers agree to match a portion of your contributions, meaning you can automatically boost your savings. 

Employers will have limits on how much of your contribution they are willing to match — this is sometimes based on your experience at the company. Employees that have been with the company for a shorter amount of time will typically have lower matching contribution rates. Over time, their rates will rise until they become fully vested.

 

3. Open an IRA

You can have a 401(k) and an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) at the same time. An IRA is a tax-advantaged retirement account that you can store additional savings into once you’ve maxed out 401(k) contributions. An IRA has a much smaller contribution limit than your 401(k), so it’s perfect for this secondary savings role. 

One of the biggest benefits of an IRA is that you get to choose from a diverse array of investment options to help your savings grow. You can invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc. With a 401(k) plan, your investment options will be fairly limited and chosen by your employer.

If your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k), you should definitely open up an IRA as your main retirement account. For a secondary retirement savings account, you can store funds in a high-yield savings account. This is an excellent alternative because your balance will grow with compounding interest and contributions over time.

Start building up your retirement savings now. You’ll be grateful you started saving early when you’re older. 

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3 Do’s And Don’ts Of Financial Planning For Your Business

Most businesses are established primarily to make money. Businesses won’t last if they don’t make a profit. There could be an exception to the rule for non-profit organisations. But every firm needs to generate some income to survive and cover its operating costs.

Therefore, managing finances is crucial to the success of any organisation. A company will likely overlook crucial financial information if it doesn’t effectively account for and manage its income and expenses. For this reason, creating a financial plan for your company is crucial. However, you may need the help of a financial advisor to come up with a sound plan.

The financial plan will direct how you intend to budget, spend, and invest your money and manage assets to achieve a specific goal. That said, below are some of the dos and don’ts when making your financial plan. 

Do’s Of Financial Planning

  1. Set Clear Goals

How does a business measure financial success? Usually, it’s determined by the extent to which it achieves its financial goals. When creating a financial plan, you must first define your short and long-term financial goals. Setting goals gives you something to aim for, and these goals will serve as the foundation for the strategies you devise in your financial plan.

When setting goals, make sure that your objectives are both attainable and realistic. Nothing is wrong with pushing yourself to your limits. However, you don’t want to stretch your finances beyond certain limits.  

  1. Watch Your Credit

When developing a financial plan, keep your credit score in mind. Your credit score can be both a blessing and a curse. You may be able to save money on your car insurance if you have good credit. However, bad credit will inevitably result in higher interest rates. To maintain a good credit score, pay your bills on time.

  1. Create An Emergency Fund

Even if you have an effective financial plan, the truth is that you can’t always plan for everything. Emergencies happen unexpectedly, and sometimes you have no choice but to slide deep into your savings to cover emergency situations. However, having an emergency fund set up can help you to prepare for these unforeseen events.

Don’ts Of Financial Planning

  1. Don’t Delay

It’s best not to delay establishing a financial plan because you risk missing out on opportunities to save money and maximise profits in your business. 

Without a plan, you have no foundation for spending, saving, or budgeting your money. As a result, anything goes. Furthermore, without financial accountability, there’s a good chance that your business won’t last long without experiencing financial difficulties. As a result, you must plan your spending as soon as possible. So, get a financial plan in place sooner rather than later. 

  1. Don’t Forget To Review

A financial plan isn’t just for show. You must review it regularly. You can’t simply write a plan and then forget about it. It’s in your best interest to diligently follow up on it and make any necessary changes or adjustments to achieve specific goals. 

Upon review, if your company is doing well, for example, you may be able to raise your goals or targets as a result. It means you’ll be able to set higher savings goals and spend more on certain things. This necessitates a change in your financial strategy that’s why reviewing is always necessary.

  1. Don’t Forget To Ask For Help

As a business owner, you may find yourself doing everything independently. While you may be very knowledgeable about financial management and how the finances of your business work, keep in mind that you may not know everything. So, it’s best to seek advice or assistance from a professional who can provide an unbiased assessment of how you can manage your company’s finances.

Hiring professional financial planners or advisors may save you money in the long run. Look for someone with years of experience and collaborate to create a solid financial plan.

Conclusion

Every business should have a financial plan. Finances are critical to any business and must be managed appropriately for it to succeed. Every business will likely take a different approach to developing a financial plan. However, it’s best to consult a professional financial planner to ensure a solid plan is in place. Remember that when it comes to money, accuracy matters. As a result, you may require the assistance of an expert to help you make the best decisions.