Category: Finance

Budget Planning
ArticlesFinance

How to Stop Wasting Time with Your Finances

Budget Planning

When you only have so many hours in the day, days in the week, and weeks in a month, why would you waste a single second on your finances if your time doesn’t pay off in a big way? 

If you’re ready to stop wasting time and manage your money better, keep scrolling. These simple tips can help you reclaim your time for better uses.

 

Don’t Accept Anything But Direct Deposit

Are you still receiving a paper check when you get paid or borrow money? You could be waiting for your paycheck or short-term personal loan to transfer into your bank account, putting an unnecessary squeeze on your cash flow while you pick up your check and wait for your financial institution to process the deposit. 

Things run much smoother and faster when you switch to direct deposit payroll and direct deposit loans. 

Talk to your employer about what you need to do about receiving your paycheck electronically. You may have to share your banking information, so they know where to send the funds.

As for short term personal loans, take the time to find financial institutions that specifically make mention of direct deposit online loans as part of their services.

If approved, you’ll receive your funds in your bank account without needing to meet in person, fill out paperwork, or pick up and cash checks. Direct deposit loans automate many of the steps involved in the typical borrowing experience to save you time. 

 

Kick Anxiety to the Curb with a Budget

How much time do you spend worrying about immediate bills and their looming deadlines? If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, these negative thoughts can steal hours away from you every day as you obsess over money, or the lack thereof.

If you often come up short, a budget might be the help you need. This spending plan retools your cashflow, giving you a chance to prioritize important bills and expenses before you spend any money on the fun stuff. 

Once you balance your budget, you can set it and forget it, trusting that you have the money you need for upcoming bills. All you need to do is adjust it any time your expenses or income change. 

To save even more time, consider making a budget with an app that automates most of the process for you. Budgeting apps can aggregate banking information from all your accounts and come up with a spending plan that keeps you on track.

 

Sign up for Purchase Alerts

Experts recommend you review your banking statements regularly to make sure there isn’t any unusual activity you can’t explain. This is a good habit to get into, as it can help you detect possible fraud faster before it escalates.

However, you can wind up obsessing over these statements and checking in more often than you need to keep a handle on your accounts. If you’re finding it hard to know how to manage this task, consider enrolling in purchase alerts.

All the biggest credit card companies offer this automated service, which sends real-time transaction information to your phone, either by text or email. You can customize these alerts so that you get alerted with every activity or specific things, like international purchases, cash advances, or purchases made on the Internet. 

 

Bottom Line: Small Choices Add Up

While these tips may seem small, they can free up a lot of your precious time. 

ArticlesCorporate Finance and M&A/Deals

How to Improve Your Resume to Earn More Money

With the stress given to resumes, people can now find an unlimited number of resume formats and templates online. This, while created with the intent to help people out, can now, in fact, confuse them. In addition, the sheer abundance of options makes selecting the ideal format a tedious job for everyone.

How to select the best resume format

When selecting the ideal resume format, there are a lot of parameters to check out. These parameters would be related closely to your field of job, your personal experiences, and information that needs to be put in the resume.

It can also depend upon any specific job requirements from the employer that needs to be present in the resume. In rare instances, employers can also mention some points like font, font size, etc., to be followed in the candidate’s resume.

When determining which resume format is most suited for you, consider the following factors:

Career Path: Every career path has some differences in terms of requirements for candidates. As such, there are also some differences in terms of what employers want to see on the candidate’s resume. Different professions can have different resume format requirements; as such, it is essential to search for one which pertains to your particular profession. For example, some professions require candidates to provide a portfolio of their work. This portfolio is often needed to be a part of the resume.

Information to be included: How much information you need to fit into the resume is also an important consideration when picking out a resume format and template. Depending upon how high a position you are applying for, you would have more or less relevant information. The higher the job position is, the more your experience would probably be. As such, you would need a format that allows you to enter more information and is more space efficient. It is essential to remember that the resume cannot be over one or a maximum of two pages long.

Top Resume Formats

Among the myriad of choices out there, there are very few formats that are actually effective and approved. These include:

Format 1:

Name

Job Role/ Designation

Personal Information

Resume Objective

Experience/ Employment History

In this section, you can write all your experiences or employment history. It is advisable to mention relevant experiences only. Bullet point any key projects and leadership roles

Education

Write about your educational qualification from latest to oldest.

Skills

In this section, write about your hard skills (job-related or industry-related skills) and soft skills, e.g., communication skills, team player, etc.

Format 2:

NAME :

Job Role/ Designation

Resume Objective: A few lines of briefing about relevant experience pertinent to the job

Employment History Personal Information

Current Job Address

Bullet description and key projects Email

Contact number

Previous Job

Bullet Description and key projects Skills

Educational history Hard Skills

Latest to oldest educational institutions, degree, duration

Name of School Soft Skills

Extra Activities

Include any active extra activities or hobbies you indulge in.

Format 3:

Name

Profile Objective

Personal Information

General Skills in tabs (preferably in tabs instead of commas to ensure distinction. Use bullets but make use of horizontal space.

Fields of Strength

In this section, you can identify the key skills posted in the job description, and mention relevant skills and strengths that you have. Elaborate a little about each area of strength in bullet points.

Personal Achievement

Include any and all milestones, awards, or significant achievements in this section

Education

All educational qualifications from latest to oldest.

Interests

This section can be included if you have space available.

While the first two formats are applicable to everyone, the last format can be utilized by people who do not have detailed employment experience. But if you choose the last format, you must be very careful about how you design and draft your resume.

Additionally, you can choose to draft your resume either in latest to oldest or oldest to newest chronology. However, it must be remembered that generally, employers expect people to write their experiences in straight chronology (latest to oldest), and they assess all resumes accordingly.

No matter which resume format you choose, one of the most important things to ensure is that you create your resume in a neat and organized fashion and try to include all keywords which have been mentioned in the JD or are field related.


Recession Income
ArticlesFinanceRegulation

11 Tips to Make Money in a Recession

Recession Income

Many people see a recession as an intricate thing because they risk losing their earning sources. If you have liquid funds and savings, you can invest them during the recession period. If you don’t have enough savings, you need to be careful and take steps to make sure you deal with such economic conditions.

Get a headstart and see what’s hitting the new Chancellor’s to-do list and then create one of your own. Below are some tips that are going to help you make money during the recession.

 

Safeguarding your sources of income

If you happen to lose your source of income, then you may be forced to start spending your savings as you look for a new job. It is important to first secure a job. If you have a business, make sure you secure its future growth. When looking for a job, make sure you look at the job role and also the financial stability of the company.

If you doubt the financial stability of your employer, it is important to start looking for a new job in the same industry. When you do this, you have a chance of switching your profile to an industry you know well. You can also start focusing on side sources of income like a side business or even a side gig.

 

Enhancing savings

If you want to deal with the challenges coming with the recession, make sure you put something away every month from your income. Get a pen and paper then list down your expenses such as house rent, insurance premiums, car payments, and even groceries. Add up all of the expenses at the end of the month, and see how much you are spending. Go through the list and see if there is something you can reduce or remove from the list. Making this list is a good idea because you will know what you are spending your money on. This lets you see whether you are spending money on useless things. The amount you save as a result of reducing your expenses is going to your savings account.

 

Investments

Your money is probably invested in long- and short-term plans. You should always have an eye on your short-term investment. If you start to feel like the investment is risky, move your money into something that feels safer. Some of them include the stock market, dividends, precious metals, and more. When it comes to long-term investments, you can look at assets during a recession because the prices are low.

 

Invest in discounted stocks

During a recession, stock prices come down. This gives you a chance to invest in highly discounted stocks. You can get great stocks at a discount. When the stock prices start to go up, you can choose to sell or keep them. You should learn more about stock lending and borrowing because it will help you during a recession.

 

Tracking your net worth

It is a good idea to check your net worth from time to time because it is going to motivate you to keep going with your good financial habits of investing and savings. This can be a very effective tool when there is a recession. You might not see amazing results in the short term, but you will be surprised by them in the long term.

 

Planning for future

If you want to deal with the challenges that come with the recession, ensure you have a good plan for investing and earning. You shouldn’t make decisions as you go without putting in too much though. Take your time and make a good plan that is going to protect your investments and savings no matter the market state.

 

Working on 401(k)

A common thing that happens is people stop contributing to their 401(k) when a recession hits. This isn’t a good idea because this is your chance of looking at discounted stock prices and maximizing your retirement plan contributions.

 

Generating passive income

Passive investing is one of the options you have in order to earn enough to cover your living expenses. If you reach this point, it means your job becomes optional and enhances financial independence. You will also have the chance of pursuing your dream job without having to stress too much about the payment structures. Life insurance and disability insurance don’t become that much of a big deal for you.

 

Investing in properties

The real estate market doesn’t fall as fast as the stock market when there is a recession. If you choose to invest in real estate, you can get amazing deals when the economy is experiencing a slowdown. The reason why this is the case is most of the time home prices go down but rent remains the same.

 

Sell unused stuff

This is a good way of making money in a recession. There are many e-commerce platforms that you can use when selling your stuff online. The two most popular are Amazon and eBay. Selling unused stuff will offer some liquidity.

 

Moving into survival mode

You have to change your mindset when there is a recession because that is where everything starts. The mantra that will help you is “spend less and earn more”. You need to understand that things aren’t the same as before and you need to do things differently.

ArticlesCash ManagementCorporate Finance and M&A/Deals

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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ArticlesCorporate Finance and M&A/Deals

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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Cash
ArticlesInfrastructure and Project FinanceWealth Management

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.

Retained Earnings
ArticlesFinance

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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BankingCorporate Finance and M&A/Deals

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

Desktop

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.

Paperwork

Gold Investment
ArticlesFinance

Understanding Why Gold Is a Safe Investment

Gold Investment

Maxim Manturov, Head of Investment Advice at Freedom Finance Europe, explores why now is a good time to invest in gold.

The risks associated with stronger sanctions against Russia by the West have pushed investors and traders to look towards safer assets. Gold is one of them. Since the beginning of the year, the metal has increased 7.5% in value, rising to £1,466 an ounce. 

While the volume of gold in the global economy is limited, an increase in demand for this asset has sent stock prices soaring. In turn, the metal is expected to generate substantial returns in 2022, as it is seen as a hedge against major economic and geopolitical disruptions.

For investors looking to protect their investment portfolios, analysts have broken down three potential investment ideas with different risk levels. 

 

What is driving the industry growth for gold?

Demand for gold tends to rise due to global political confrontation. In turbulent times, money depreciates, companies’ shares decline in value, and virtual currencies become unstable. In such cases, investors turn to gold, which is an asset that does not change and grows in the long term. 

While experts say that gold does not protect against inflation, the reality is different. The five-year correlation between gold prices and the CPI (Consumer Price Index) is 0.79, reflecting a stable long-term relationship. If inflation is persistent, it will lead to higher gold prices. As a result, the number of gold miners across the globe will also rise. 

For example, the policies of the Federal Reserve System (Fed) and other central banks under Covid-19 caused a wave of liquidity. Inflation, which was initially thought to be temporary due to supply problems throughout the pandemic, turned out to be a long-term structural issue for the global economy. The consumer price index rose to its highest level in almost 40 years and investors increasingly looked towards gold as a safe investment.

 

Three gold investments to watch

1. VanEck Gold Miners ETF Units (GDX.US)

The VanEck Gold Miners exchange-traded fund (ETF) tracks the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index (GDMNTR). This index covers 50+ companies from 9 different countries, the top 5 companies being: Newmont Corporation, Barrick Gold Corporation, Franco-Nevada Corporation, Agnico Eagle Mines Limited, and Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. 

The VanEck Gold Miners ETF has £11.9 billion assets under management (AUM). With its entry price in shares sitting at £28.3, its target price of £34 means the company has a growth potential of 20% over the next 12 months. 

Metal prices have already risen by 11% since the start of the year. Buying units of the VanEck Gold Miners ETF offers the potential to benefit overall from the upward trend in the industry. It is a risk-weighted investment. 

 

2. Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. (WPM.US)

Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. is a multinational streaming company, which specialises in precious metals such as gold, silver, and palladium. Wheaton’s current portfolio includes 24 active mines and 12 projects under development. These assets have a useful life of more than 30 years.

Wheaton has an innovative streaming business model where it finances mining companies to develop and expand their projects. In return, the company receives the production of one or more metals at a discounted price. In addition, Wheaton generates income on rising metal prices, making it more attractive than other mining companies. The costs are predetermined and the average operating margin is 76%. 

Wheaton’s increased financial performance and production volumes signify that this business is full of promise. Over the past three years, the corporation’s revenue has grown at an average rate of 15% – reaching £910 million in 2021. 

The company also demonstrates improvement in its operating and net margins. Each estimate was up by more than 45% year on year (YoY). Net profit for the same period was £571.9 million. For 2021, free cash flow was at £333.3 million.

Wheaton’s current shares price is sitting at £36.29, while its target price is sitting at £45.45. In the period of 12 months, this means the company will potentially grow by 25.2%. Alongside this, the company shows exiting business growth, a strong balance sheet, high-profit margins, and efficient quality of capital structure management.

 

3. Hecla Mining Company (HL.US)

Hecla Mining acquires and develops mines, as well as sells gold, silver, lead, and zinc. The company and its subsidiaries supply precious metals internationally and to the US. Over the past year, Hecla Mining has derived a large proportion of its revenue from gold and silver sales – 42% and 34% respectively. 

The business has accumulated impressive reserves of gold and silver in the last few years, which should also catch investors’ eyes. Silver reserves increased between 2020 and 2021 from 188 million ounces to 200 million ounces. As part of this, the company increased proven and probable reserves by 6%, or 11.5 million ounces, compared to 2020. For gold, proven and probable reserves increased by 14% from 2.4 million ounces to 2.7 million ounces. This helps to ensure the long-term sustainability of the company. 

Between 2018 and 2021, the company showed significant business growth. Revenue growth during this time stood at an impressive 42.5%, with profits reaching £612.11million in 2021. In the same year, free cash flow was sitting at £85.61 million and Hecla posted a net profit of £25.51 million. In 2022, the growth rate of these indicators is expected to maintain this momentum. 

 

Hecla Mining today is a low-cost, high-margin, high-growth company with an extremely healthy balance sheet. 

Javed Khattak, CFO of cheqd
ArticlesFinanceRegulation

Going Above and Beyond for Success

Javed Khattak, CFO of cheqd

cheqd is a new revolutionary company that is striving for the betterment of the future. It is creating a world in which individuals have total control over their personal data – an issue that is becoming increasingly prevalent thanks to the rise of technology. Javed Khattak is the company’s devoted CFO, named CFO of the Year in 2018, reclaims his title as CFO of the Year in 2022.

cheqd is building a better future – one where consumers and organisations can establish trustworthy relationships, control their personal data, and maintain a sense of security. cheqd firmly believes that companies should not make money off people’s data without their consent. This means their informed and clear consent, not just pressing ‘I agree’ when the convoluted terms and conditions are displayed. To make this a reality, cheqd provides solutions that enable verifiable credentials to be transferred between stakeholders in a trustworthy, secure, and efficient manner.

By extension, cheqd endeavours to support and enhance the current data economy business models and establish the flexibility and incentive to create new ones. As such, it achieves this by offering bespoke commercial models and governance structures, which have all been built upon cheqd’s own public permissionless blockchain network. This network features cheqd’s dedicated crypto-token (CHEQ) which is used as a form of payment within the ecosystem. In addition, the company supplies a suite of mobile and backend software tools that self sovereign identity (SSI) vendors can embed in their own client-facing software.

Consequently, the company, through great passion and devotion, has acquired numerous achievements. For example, CHEQ has been listed on Osmosis, the largest decentralised exchange in the Cosmos ecosystem. In addition, the Company has also successfully bridged its token onto the Ethereum blockchain allowing access to CHEQ in the Ethereum ecosystem as well. It is already listed on two centralised crypto exchanges; Gate.io and Bitmart, with more exciting news in the pipeline. Over 60 validators were welcomed on board once the cheqd network was launched, including 20 self-sovereign identity application vendors, digital identity start-ups, investors, and Cosmos-native or cross-chain network validators. The network has been an enormous success, and already millions of CHEQ tokens have been traded.

cheqd’s clients are expected to include governments, public organisations, multinational companies, banks, financial services companies, Web3 projects, and consultancies that handle personal documents and identification. “But it won’t stop there,” explains Javed Khattak, CFO, “we will be able to serve any client that needs to identify a unique person or object, real or virtual.” There are numerous examples as to how this could work – for example, in the event that a self-driving car fuels up at a charging station, both objects would be able to identify each other’s identity with the aim to pay for the transaction using the same ecosystem.

The SSI industry and market is mostly untapped and continuously growing; we seek to introduce a plethora of benefits to the market, helping save billions worth of money while improving ‘security’ of personal credentials for individuals. cheqd aims to become the market leader in doing so and I believe, is already leading the pack,” Javed states.

Behind the company is a team that Javed describes as a ‘family’. He believes that prior to hiring, it’s important to ensure that the individual shares the same values and that they’ll be compatible with the existing internal culture. In addition, each team member should be both exceptional and passionate about their area of expertise. cheqd’s team meets the aforementioned criteria – the team share the collective goal to be a force for good in the world, and they are inspired to leave a positive legacy. Despite its global reach, there is a great effort to remain in contact and support each other.

The close-knit family feel comes as no surprise – with a team of empathetic, creative, and fun people, cheqd has cultivated an environment where individuals can thrive. Fraser Edwards, co-Founder and CEO, and Ankur Banerjee, co Founder and CTO of cheqd both agree that the company wouldn’t be the same without Javed.

Ankur shares, “Javed has absolutely been critical to the success of a young and ambitious startup like cheqd. From the very first conversation that we had, I saw that unlike everyone else we spoke to about coming onboard as CFO, Javed had a real passion for the blockchain space. Instead of just being nterested in the numbers and finances, I’ve always appreciated that he takes the time to understand the technology and product aspects and contributes meaningfully to building out our product roadmap.”

Fraser tells us, “I still consider ourselves at cheqd extremely lucky to have Javed as part of the team and still remember myself and my co-Founder, Ankur, being shocked by the quality of his application for a company so young as ours. Javed brings a unique and priceless combination of deep experience, endless imagination and focused pragmatism that mean we have achieved far, far more than we would have without him.”

With regards to the acceleration of the firm, Fraser adds, “The speed we have been able to execute with, $3.3m raised, product launch, over 60 partners, inside a year is a huge advert for his skillet. On a personal level, I already see Javed as someone who will be a lifelong friend, one of the many benefits I’ve had from cheqd.” Not only does Javed know how to improve the workplace – for the sake of people’s freedom and positivity – but he knows how to elevate a business, in line with goals, values, and ever-evolving dreams. Therefore, cheqd is not simply about numbers and finances, it is about friendship and exploration of goals for employers, employees, and clients.

Internally improving each service it offers, Javed guarantees cheqd’s technical strategies reach every layer of its clients business. Fraser shares, “It’s genuinely refreshing in this deeply complex space at the intersection of Web 3.0, digital identity, and privacy technology to see someone like him who also is keen on the ethical aspects of what freely-accessible digital identity can do in terms of improving financial inclusion.” A balance between financial security and growth, alongside human connection, is where businesses need to be. And Javed achieves this for his team with his expert knowledge and guiding hand.

All of these comments reflect the entire company overall, as Javed has led it to accomplishment time and time again. A significant portion of the company’s success can be attributed to Javed, who serves as cheqd’s Chief Financial Officer. Prior to his position at cheqd, Javed led businesses in a variety of capacities, including as a Founder, a CEO, CFO, and CTO. Throughout his career, he has established and still leads multiple successful businesses, such as Seerbytes, Zisk Properties, Zisk Investments, and Javed Khattak Consulting. His success in business has led Javed to sit as a Board Member and Advisor to several other companies, including regulated funds.

Moreover, Javed is a highly-skilled mathematician, who is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the UK. He writes, “I truly believe maths is the mother of all sciences. In addition, I don’t like being confined to a particular role or a subject. And at times I have found the modern day world to be puzzled by it. But there are countless examples of polymaths throughout history who have helped change the world. While I don’t consider myself a genius, I certainly believe that polymaths make for better professionals and their cross-disciplinary exposure sparks creativity as well as offers them the ability to view a problem from several lenses.”

Within the business, Javed revels in his involvement in the different areas, as this allows him to gain a 360-degree view. As a result, he maintains a deep understanding of the challenges and problems and is equipped to use them to drive results-based outcomes. This is, in part, one of the reasons why Javed enjoys working with cheqd and its team. Both Fraser and Ankur welcome Javed’s drive and passion to be more than just a CFO for the project.

In essence, he has done it all – but his success over the years has come with many challenges. Throughout both his professional and personal life, Javed has used challenges to bolster his learning. “I don’t believe in shortcuts,” he says, “I have found that, often, doing the right thing is the most difficult of options available in a given situation. The higher the stakes, the more difficult it is. But over the long term, if you have the patience to persevere, it pays off in a big way!”

His approach to his role as CFO has made him a hit amongst his colleagues – Eduardo Hotta, the Head of Marketing and Community, testifies that Javed has contributed a great amount to structuring cheqd’s finances and navigating the company through unexplored blockchain regulatory waters. Eduardo continues, “through his impressive skills, he managed to decrease our burn rate and therefore increase our company’s runaway. Another important thing to mention is his contribution in shaping cheqd’s amazing work culture.”

It appears that for Javed that the work never ends – but this is the way he likes it. He is entirely devoted to his work and is excited about the future of cheqd, along with the ways in which he can contribute to its success. In 2022, cheqd is developing core identity functionalities, and helping its partners in bringing to life successful use cases within their industries. cheqd is in the process of adding a deeper integration for its network and token into the Cosmos and other blockchain ecosystems, which will help the company to further engage with the market. Furthermore, the company is exploring the emerging Web3 use cases, such as DEX ecosystems, DAOs, NFTs, Gaming, and DeFi applications, which it will leverage for its network strength.

For business enquiries, contact Javed Khattak at cheqd via http://www.cheqd.io or http://www.javedkhattak.com.

Business
ArticlesFinance

What Is the Difference Between ABN and CAN?

Business

In the last few years, Australia has not only become one of the fastest-growing economies but has also strengthened its startup ecosystem significantly, with a whopping 5.8%  growth. As a result, there is a dramatic surge in the number of new businesses, and existing startups are experiencing rapid growth. That makes Australia one of the best places to start your own business.

However, like anywhere else, there are a few critical steps you need to undertake before you get a business up and running in Australia. First, you need to understand whether you need an ACN vs. ABN number when forming your new business. Knowing what your business requires beforehand can ensure it operates legally from the beginning.

If you’re looking to start a business in Australia, here are the main differences between ABN and ACN numbers to help you know what applies to your business:

 

What is an ABN?

An ABN is an 11-digit number unique to every business for identification purposes. An ABN number is issued by the Australian Taxation Office. If you’re looking to start a business in Australia, you must register for an ABN number, no matter the size or structure of your business. All businesses must have an ABN number, including non-profit organizations, partnerships, trusts, companies, and even sole traders. Your ABN is used by the government primarily for taxation purposes and for tracking your business operations.

Failure to apply for an ABN can mean that it’s operating illegally. You must register for an ABN and have it displayed on all your company documents, including

  • Tax returns
  • Invoices
  • BAS
  • Receipts
  • Letterheads
  • Orders
  • Estimates
  • Statement of accounts
  • Any other business correspondence

 

How to apply for an ABN

You register for an ABN with the Australian Tax Office. The registration process is usually easy since you can do it online, and you don’t need to pay any fee to register. You can also have a tax agent or BAS agent register for the ABN on your behalf, but for a fee.

The information you’ll need to complete your ABN registration will often depend on the business structure you’re applying for. However, you’ll typically need to provide your name, date of birth, email address, physical address, and the TFN of associated persons.

Once you’ve registered, the ATO will take less than 24 hours to review your application and issue you with your ABN number, which will apply for the lifetime of your business. You must update any changes to your ABN, like a physical address change, within the first 28 days.

You should cancel your ABN immediately should your business get closed, sold, or end its operations in Australia. Once canceled, you should lodge outstanding returns and activity statements and fulfill any payment obligations.

 

Benefits of an ABN

Besides enabling you to run a business legally in Australia, other advantages of acquiring an ABN include;

  • Makes easy for the government, community, and stakeholders to identify your business
  • Allows the government to easily track your business operations
  • It makes you eligible for GST registration, helping with GST credits claims, or claiming business costs like stationary
  • Stakeholders, such as suppliers, can easily confirm details in business invoicing and orders
  • It also gives you access to government services
  • If your business doesn’t pay taxes, such as non-profits, your ABN helps confirm your business structure

 

What is an ACN?

While you need to have an ABN regardless of your business structure, you should only apply for an ACN number if your business is structured as a company. An ACN is a unique number consisting of nine digits to identify your company. If your business registers for both the ACN and ABN numbers, your ACN number will be the last nine digits of your ABN number.

Unlike the ABN, you register for an ACN with the ASIC or Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Like an ABN, your ACN is used to identify your company and track its day-to-day business operations. Other stakeholders can also use it to know about your company’s information, like the business structure. Your company’s ACN number must be displayed on all your official documents and online information, including

  • Advertisements
  • Order for services and goods
  • Your company’s website
  • Invoices
  • Estimates
  • Statements of accounts
  • Letterheads
  • Receipts
  • And any other documentation related to your company

 

How to apply for an ACN

Registering for an ACN is done through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. You pay a fee to register for ACN. The fee is subject to change, so ensure you confirm the exact fee to pay before applying. You can also ask your accountant or lawyer to help you with the ACN registration.

Some of the critical things you need to consider when registering for an ACN include your company structure, company name, business operational model, and obligations to fulfill as a company. Apart from the ACN, you need to also apply for an ABN number.

 

Benefits of an ACN

Registering your business as a company automatically makes it a separate legal entity. As a business owner, this benefits you hugely since it lowers your risk and liability. Other benefits of having an ABN number include:

  • It gives stakeholders access to any information about your company.
  • Your ACN helps legitimize your business
  • You require it for legal compliance

 

Endnote

To legally operate a business in Australia, it’s crucial that you know whether you need to apply for an ABN or ACN number. And as you’ve seen, both the ABN and ACN are identification numbers but with completely different purposes. For instance, no matter the structure or size of your business, you must apply for an ABN with the Australian Tax Office before starting operation.

Applying for an Australian Business Number or ABN helps identify your business to the government and the community. It’s also for tracking your business operations by the Australian Tax Office and ensuring you stay compliant with the tax laws at any given time. On the other hand, you’ll need to register for an ACN number if your business is structured as a company. Understanding the differences between these identification numbers can help ensure your new business or company fulfills its legal obligations.

Two company accountants checking their business' taxes
ArticlesCorporate Finance and M&A/DealsCorporate TaxFinanceTax

How Your Business Structure Affects Your Taxes

Two company accountants checking their business' taxes

When forming a business, you have to pay attention to many different details to succeed. However, while you might be focused on elements like operational procedures, supply chains, and employment practices, you also have to worry about your taxes. Depending on the type of business you operate, you might have to pay different taxes than what you’re used to. So, it helps to understand the various implications of each business entity so that you know what to expect.

To help you avoid the stress of tax season, we’ve compiled a list of entity types and what they can mean for you. Here is everything you need to know about how your business structure affects your taxes.

 

Business Structure Types

You can create four primary types of businesses – sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, c-corporation, and s-corporation. You can also create a nonprofit, but since those organizations don’t pay taxes, we won’t talk about them here. Usually, what matters most is whether your business is treated as a separate legal entity or if it’s tied to you directly. If you’re running a business with someone else, you also have to consider your stake when paying taxes. Here’s a breakdown of each type.

 

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship means that you’re the only owner and operator of the business. This is the default setting for companies if you’re earning business income without registering with the IRS or your state. However, the best way to run a sole proprietorship is to make it official with business documentation.

As far as taxes are concerned, everything you earn from the company gets reported on your personal tax form. So, you’re taxed at your regular marginal tax rate, no matter what type of income you’re getting. For example, let’s say you have a day job with a $40,000 salary, and you make an extra $20,000 from your business. In this case, you’d report your total gross income as $60,000.

The downside of running a sole proprietorship is that you’re liable for any business debts. So, if your company defaults on a loan or a credit card, the creditors can come after you directly. Another disadvantage of this entity type is that you can’t hire employees or add a business partner.

 

LLC

LLC stands for limited liability company, and it’s often the best option for businesses both big and small. Starting an LLC is easy, and you can register your business online. You can start an LLC as an individual or with multiple partners. Either way, you must create and file articles of organization with your state. This document outlines how your business will run. It shows who’s in charge of what and the overall power structure.

The primary benefit of an LLC is that you’re protected from business debts and liabilities. So, if the company goes bankrupt, you won’t be affected personally. When it comes to taxes, what matters is whether you’re by yourself or with partners. Each type of direction (either a single-member LLC or a multi-member LLC) comes with some benefits, that depends on your business model. It’s advisable to consult a tax advisor when choosing how the IRS will treat you.

As an individual LLC owner, the IRS treats the entity as a sole proprietorship. While you can still hire employees and receive liability protection, the IRS treats business income the same as your regular earnings. All you have to do is file Schedule K-1 to combine them. If you have one or more partners, the IRS treats your LLC as a partnership (more on that next). So, what matters is each partner’s stake and income from the business.

To make it easier to understand, let’s pretend you own the business with one other person. You both agree to split earnings 50/50. So, let’s say you made $10,000 for the year, with $5,000 to you and $5,000 to your partner. In this case, you only have to report your half, even though the business made double that. Since you’re adding your company earnings to your personal taxes, you pay your standard marginal tax rate.

Another aspect of filing an LLC is that you can have it work as a corporation. If it’s a c-corp, you have to pay taxes on your income twice, but we’ll cover that later when discussing this entity type.

 

Partnership

Partnerships are like a sole proprietorship but with two or more people involved. As with a sole proprietorship, you may enter a partnership without formally registering your business with your state or the IRS. In this case, all partners have an equal share in the profits. So, if you’re in business with three other people, you’re all entitled to 25 percent of the company’s earnings.

Instead, it’s much better to create a partnership agreement that outlines each partner’s duties, responsibilities, and stake. For example, one partner may put up more investment capital, so they receive a larger share of the income. You can also stipulate the rules for exiting the partnership. In some cases, for one partner to leave, the other partners have to buy their stake in the company. Once someone leaves the business, you must create a new partnership agreement.

Another way that partnerships are similar to sole proprietorships is that they offer no liability protection to the owners. However, if you want protection, you can form a limited liability partnership or LLP. You must make this distinction when starting the business, which is another reason to create a partnership agreement.

 

C-Corporation

In the United States, corporations are treated as separate, legal tax entities by the IRS. So, a corporation must pay income taxes like any individual. In this case, forming a c-corporation means you’ll get taxed twice on your earnings. First, the company gets taxed, then you get taxed on your personal gains.

For example, let’s say the business earned $50,000. The corporate tax rate is 21 percent, so the company would pay $10,500 in taxes. Then, you would pay taxes on whatever earnings you took from the remaining balance. So, if you’re starting a business by yourself, it doesn’t make much sense to form a c-corporation. You also have to have a much more rigid company structure, which is challenging when you’re the only owner.

 

S-Corporation

Unless you’re forming a large company, it makes more sense to establish an s-corporation instead of a c-corp. This is because s-corporations offer pass-through income, meaning the business doesn’t get taxed before you do. However, there are strict rules about how these entities can operate and which earnings can pass through. We recommend talking with an attorney before incorporating so that you can be sure you’re compliant.

 

Although taxes can seem daunting, they’re relatively easy to manage if you know what to expect. While we’ve discussed the tax implications of each business entity, there are pros and cons to each type. So, take the time to figure out which one is right for your needs.

ArticlesFinance

Awesome Finance Apps You Can Make Use of Right Now

Awesome Finance Apps You Can Make Use of Right Now

The world of finance can be confusing and frustrating to navigate, especially if you’re not familiar with all the terminology and concepts. Luckily, there are several great apps out there that can make the process a lot easier for you. In this post, we will take a look at six amazing finance apps that you should check out right now. Each app has its unique features and benefits, so read on to find out which one is right for you.

Money Lion

Money Lion is a great app for anyone who wants to take control of their finances but doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of budgeting. The app offers two main features: automatic savings and a credit builder.

The automatic savings feature works by connecting to your bank account and transferring small amounts of money into a savings account every day. On the other hand, the credit builder feature helps you improve your credit score by giving you access to a line of credit that you can use and pay back over time. As seen at https://www.moneylion.com/credit-builder-app/, with this feature you can also get a free credit score and report, as well as personalized tips on how to improve your credit. This can be helpful if you’re working on getting a loan or a credit card with better terms.

Mint

Mint is one of the most popular personal finance apps on the market, and for good reason. It’s easy to use, it syncs with your bank accounts and credit cards, and it offers a ton of features that can help you manage your money better.

One of Mint’s best features is its budgeting tool. You can create budgets for all sorts of things, from groceries to rent to entertainment. The app will then track your spending and let you know when you’re close to going over budget in any category. This can help keep your finances on track. Mint also lets you see your entire financial picture in one place including bank account balances, recent transactions, upcoming bills, and more. This makes it easy to stay on top of your finances and quickly spot any potential problems.

Every Dollar

Every Dollar is another great budgeting app that can help you stay on top of your finances. Like Mint, it lets you connect your bank accounts and credit cards so you can see all of your financial information in one place.

One of the things that set Every Dollar apart from other budgeting apps is its focus on helping you create a zero-based budget. This means that every dollar you earn is allocated to a specific purpose, whether it’s savings, bills, or groceries,  making sure that you’re always aware of where your money is going and preventing overspending. Every Dollar also has a handy feature called the Debt Snowball, that lets you see a realistic plan for paying off your debt, based on the amounts you owe and the interest rates you’re being charged. This can be a great motivator to stay on track with your debt repayment goals.

You Need a Budget (YNAB)

You Need a Budget, or YNAB for short is another excellent budgeting app that can help you take control of your finances. It’s based on the popular book by the same name, and it follows the same principles of helping you create a zero-based budget.

Everyone who signs up for YNAB gets access to a free 34-day trial, and after that, it’s just $5 per month. This makes it one of the more affordable budgeting options out there. YNAB also offers some unique features that can help you stay on top of your budget. For example, the app can send you alerts when you’re close to overspending in a particular category. It also offers detailed reports that show you where every dollar of your income is being spent.

While there are many different budgeting apps out there, these six are some of the best. They each offer something unique that can help you take control of your finances and improve your financial situation. So if you’re looking for a way to better manage your money, be sure to check out one of these apps. You will be amazed at how much they can help!

Financial Advisor
ArticlesFinance

Financial Advisors For Business Owners: Why Owners Need One

Financial Advisor

As a business owner, you are used to putting in the hard work. You have molded the company into what it is today by getting involved in handling all areas of the business, fulfilling every role along the way. This is fantastic for business, but for your personal life and finances, not so much. 

When you are running your business, you are focused on the business. You want the processes to flow smoothly. You want your business to grow. You want to make sure things like customer satisfaction and brand awareness are headed in the right direction. That leaves little time for anything else. And, the truth is, your personal financial situation can suffer. 

 

Planning For the Future

While you are busy focusing on your business, life is still going on. You are still getting older and your family is probably growing and changing, too. Your business is hopefully going to be a part of your future, but there is always the risk of the unknown. Just consider all that has happened due to COVID-19 and how it impacted so many business owners in ways they never could have imagined. In an instant, pandemics, natural disasters, recessions and more can take it all away. Then what? 

You must have a plan for your future, including getting your personal finances in order so that you have some sense of financial security aside from your business. A financial advisor can help you effectively prioritize planning for your future – with a focus on you, not your business. 

Below are a few ways in which a financial advisor can help. 

 

Managing Risk

Whether you started your business from nothing or took over a business, you likely know all about taking risks. In fact, you probably don’t even see them as a big deal. But it is when it comes to your financial health. 

When you combine the thrill of risk-taking and the optimistic outlook for business success, owners don’t usually do well with managing finances. Planning is important – and winging it is not an option. 

 

Selling the Business to Fund Retirement

Many business owners spend their lives building up a business assuming that one day when they are ready, they will sell it and live off the proceeds in addition to any Social Security they have earned. However, this is not a dependable plan at all. 

There is no concrete proof that your business will successfully sell to another buyer. And even if it does, who knows how much your business will be worth at that time – it may not be enough to help you get by. 

These unknowns should be enough to convince you that you need to start planning for a secure future today with a financial advisor. As you keep busy with the day-to-day demands of your business, your trusted investment advisor can be working to help you achieve your financial goals for retirement. 

 

Professional Experience

Your retirement planning is not something that should be taken lightly. There are some things you can learn from the internet. Then, there are those things you should not risk believing because you read it on the internet – and financial planning advice is one of them. 

Don’t leave your future to chance because you read an article on a website. There is no replacement for the education and experience that financial advisors have. Markets and laws are always changing and you need someone who can help you navigate through them, protecting you and managing your risk every step along the way. 

Are you willing to undergo a medical procedure done by someone who reads how to do it online? No – you want a trained doctor. Financial advisors have been trained with the skills and the knowledge to provide prudent investment guidance to help you prepare for retirement. 

 

Mistakes Can Be Expensive

The traits most business owners possess – risk-taking, confidence, and optimism – may cause you to make riskier investments than necessary. Unfortunately, financial mistakes you make due to impulsive moves can be costly.

A financial advisor will bring an objective, well-thought-out strategy that should include benefits such as: 

  • Creating a customized plan to help you meet your financial goals. 
  • Working with your tax professional to manage tax liabilities now and in the future. 
  • Collaborating with your attorney to create an estate plan. 
  • Developing a retirement plan. 
  • Providing investment guidance and coaching to keep you on track. 
  • Organizing your financial life to free up more time for yourself and growing your business. 

 

Working with a professional financial advisor just makes good business sense. And, as a business owner, that’s something you can appreciate. ICC has been providing wealth management services to business owners for decades. To learn more, visit www.ICCNV.com

Budget Tracking
ArticlesFinance

Building a Financially Solvent Way of Life

Budget Tracking

Are you tired of being behind on monthly bills, receiving late notices in the mail, and generally always feeling like you’re one paycheck away from monetary disaster? Since the widespread lockdowns of the last two years ended, many working adults are still in a financial bind and need help getting back on their feet. For some, it’s just a matter of catching up on a few missed payments, but for others, the sting is much worse. If you’re struggling to regain financial solvency or establish it for the first time in your adult life, note that there are dozens of techniques that can bring relief without having to turn your life upside down. While all the following suggestions might not apply to you, it’s best to review each one and consider whether one or more can make a difference for your general solvency.

From using the ABW principle to finding scholarship money for college, there’s likely a hack or tactic that can set your money situation straight. Consider checking all three of your bureau credit scores, making or revising your monthly budget, amassing an emergency fund, being smart about car buying, and aiming for homeownership if you are currently a renter. Here’s how to get started on the road to financial solvency.

 

Use the ABW Principle

You’ve probably heard of the ABW principle in one of its many versions. The letters stand for always be working and are a simple but powerful bit of advice. If you are aiming for fiscal solvency, ABW will keep you above water even when you get laid off from your main job. People who follow the ABW method strive to fill in the gaps in employment by taking on minimum wage work when necessary. Because they never stop working, they’re always receiving paychecks that can usually cover basic bills and living expenses.

 

Be Smart About Paying for College

If you’re planning to earn a college degree, make a financially sound decision and explore all scholarship possibilities before plunking your own money down on tuition, room, board, books, etc. It makes good sense to search for scholarships for college online based on your eligibility and apply for all the ones you have a decent shot at receiving. The great thing about this approach is that no matter how much money you’re awarded, you never have to pay it back. Scholarships are a win-win situation and one method of education financing you can’t afford to ignore. The application process is quick, and you can find out how much money is available in just a few clicks.

 

Monitor Your Credit Scores

You want to build credit the right way and you should check your scores with the three major bureaus at least once per year. Read all the fine print in each report and look for errors. Mistakes are more common than you might think. Additionally, see where you can improve and focus on trouble spots like carrying too much debt on credit cards or making occasional late payments on cars or mortgages.

 

Budgets and Cars

Work hard to stick to a reasonable monthly budget. Consider hiring a credit counselor to help you make one that suits your income and spending needs. Avoid buying new cars. It’s much less costly to buy vehicles that are two or three years old, based on depreciation and general operating condition.

 

Houses and Emergency Funds

If you are a renter, make a detailed plan for buying a home one day. Ownership is the single best thing you can do for your long-term fiscal solvency. Plus, create an emergency fund equal to about three months of income. An e-fund can keep you afloat after a layoff or other financial setback.

Saving
ArticlesFinance

Getting on the Right Track: 5 Ways to Save for What You Want

Saving

Many people view saving money as a challenge. If you’re one of them, you’re not alone. 

According to data reported by CNBC, the average American has $8,863 saved up in a bank or credit union, though that number can drop as low as $2,729 among young adults. 

This can make it harder to make major purchases, such as buying a new car, putting a down payment on a house, or planning a wedding. It may take some time and dedication, but building your savings isn’t impossible. 

Here are five tips to help you save for what you want:

 

1. Define Your Goals

Start by setting a specific goal. What are you trying to buy? How much will you need? For large purchases, you might even want to set smaller milestones along the way to keep yourself focused as you progress toward any larger goals. Apps can be particularly useful in this department, as they help you define your goal and visualize your progress along the way.

 

2. Pay Yourself First

When payday hits, make your savings your first priority. For example, you can set up an automatic transfer that moves money from your checking account to your savings account every payday. This way, you’ll ensure you’re adding to your savings with every paycheck, not just saving whatever money is left over after covering your other bills. Using the right app is also helpful. Monorail app users, for example, can use the automatic transfer feature to split funds into multiple areas, allowing them to set aside money for emergencies or a specific purchase. The best part? Everything is automatic, so you can set it up and save money without even thinking about it.

 

3. Adopt the 50/20/30 Rule

Many people live by the 50/20/30 rule, which means they split their income as follows: 

  • 50% goes to necessities (food, rent, etc.)
  • 20% goes to savings and debt payments
  • 30% goes to lifestyle choices (gym memberships, entertainment, etc.)

For example, if your take-home pay is $4,000, then you should be saving $800 per month. Even if you can’t quite meet the 20% goal, you’ll be surprised how quickly this can add up.

 

4. Ditch the Budget

Not everyone can stick to a budget. According to data from the Pew Research Center, more than 1 in 3 families experienced volatility in their monthly income in 2015, making it harder to create and implement a budget. If this sounds familiar, try tracking your expenses for the month. How much are you spending on housing, clothes, food, and other purchases? Again, this is where tracking apps come in handy. They provide a visual representation of your spending habits, so you can see exactly where your money is going and make adjustments accordingly.

 

5. Think Before You Splurge

It can be painful to deny yourself those small luxuries, like gourmet coffee or takeout. But these “small” expenses can quickly snowball and sabotage your spending goals. If you have trouble cutting back on these little indulgences, limit yourself to only one coffee or meal out per week and, instead, prepare your own food and drinks at home. You may be surprised at how much you can save over time.

 

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Saving money takes discipline and self-control, but the rewards are well worth it. So, define your financial goals, adopt the 50/20/30 rule, and otherwise be mindful of your spending. Bottom line: Make things easy. To that end, you can simplify your financial plan by using apps that make it easier to track your expenses, build your emergency fund, and help you achieve your financial dreams.

Investment Research
ArticlesFinance

How to Perform Smart Research Before Investing

Investment Research

Investing in individual stocks is risky, especially if you haven’t done it before. Many people are too scared to do it, so they stick to buying low-cost index funds instead. 

However, don’t let them scare you. We think investing in individual stocks is a good idea and many experts agree with us. Aside from the fact that you’ll know what you’re investing in, mixing things up will also diversify your portfolio.

To do that, you need to perform smart research before investing. 

Now, if you’re not comfortable doing that on your own, you can contact Triad securities. Their experience will help you maximize your investment without too much effort. But if you’re ready to fly solo, here are some tips on how to perform research.

 

1. Understand the Company’s Business

Before you start investing in individual stocks, you need to be familiar with the industry you’re planning on investing in. The American stock market can be divided into 11 sectors:

  1. Energy 
  2. Materials 
  3. Industrials 
  4. Consumer discretionary 
  5. Consumer staples 
  6. Healthcare 
  7. Financials 
  8. Information technology 
  9. Communication services 
  10. Utilities 
  11. Real Estate

Now, experts state that it’s best to include stock from all sectors in your portfolio. That’s easily done by investing in index funds because you’re not hand-picking a company. But things are different if you want to invest in an individual stock. You need to know what the market is like in the company’s industry if you want to invest smartly.

A company selling food won’t perform the same as a company selling cars, right?

 

2. Look at the Finances

The companies’ financial reports are probably the best source of information relevant for investing. Now, people get scared when they hear words like earnings per share, but don’t panic – you’ll master them in no time.

The two most important financial documents you should look for are Form 10-K and Form 10-Q.

Form 10-K is an annual report that includes audited financial statements – the company’s balance sheet, the sources of income, and how the company handles cash, revenues, and expenses. Form 10-Q, on the other hand, is a quarterly update that doesn’t include audited financial statements. While the latter may not be as reliable as the form 10-K, both are equally important and contain valuable information.

Since these reports have lots of numbers and words you may not be familiar with, here’s a little glossary:

 

Revenue

Revenue refers to the total amount of money a company has earned during the specified period. There are two types of revenue: the operating revenue and the nonoperating revenue. 

The operating revenue is the amount of money that company has generated from its core business, while the nonoperating revenue typically comes from one-time business activities. Naturally, the first one is more important and reliable.

 

Net income 

This is the amount of money a company has made once the operating expenses, taxes, and depreciation are subtracted from revenue. 

 

Earnings per share (EPS)

Earnings per share show a company’s profitability on a per-share basis, which allows you to easily compare it with other companies. It’s calculated by dividing earnings by the number of shares available for trading.

 

Price-earnings ratio (P/E)

There are two types of P/E ratios you should be familiar with: a trailing P/E and a forward P/E.

A trailing P/E is calculated by dividing the current stock price by EPS, while a forward P/E is calculated by dividing the stock price by forecasted EPS in the next 12 months.

Keep in mind that since a forward P/E relies on potential EPS, it’s not as reliable as a trailing P/E.

 

3. Get Familiar with the History and Compare

Just because the company is doing well this year doesn’t mean it’s been doing that way in the past. For that reason, you should dig deeper and look beyond the newest financial statements.

We suggest that you use websites like Google Finance and Yahoo! Finance to perform research on historical data. Look into the financial statements from the previous years, as well as price charts and such. 

This way, you’ll be able to tell you how resilient the company is, as well as how it reacts to market fluctuations and challenging situations. 

 

4. Ask the Company’s Employees and Management

Most large public companies have investor relations departments that cooperate with potential investors by providing them with financial details, plans, and other potentially relevant data. They should be able to answer your questions about any press releases you might have come across, for instance.

So, don’t refrain from approaching them. Ask questions and pay attention to the information they give you. Are the company’s employees well-informed? Are they confident about things you’re talking about?

Also, pay attention to the management team and the company’s board of directors. If they’re all company insiders, they may not be able to objectively assess the management’s actions.

 

5. Never Stop Learning

It’s important to always be in the loop. Things can change in the blink of an eye and you need to be ready for that.

Blogs and email newsletters from reliable sources can help you do that. Books are also a valuable source of information, but so are magazines and online articles. Steer clear of forums, groups, and other sources with unverified advice. They might get it right from time to time, but you shouldn’t rely solely on those.

 

Conclusion

While index funds are a great way to start investing, individual stocks offer many advantages. 

For instance, unlike with index funds, you only pay a fee when buying and selling stocks. There are no annual management fees. You also won’t struggle with managing your taxes because you’re the one deciding when you want to buy or sell the stocks. 

So, investing in individual stocks is risky if you’re not prepared to do your research before the investment. But it definitely pays off. 

Third-Party Logistics
ArticlesFinance

How Investing in a 3PL Can Help You Save Money

Third-Party Logistics

Using a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) provider can lessen the financial burden of warehousing, fulfillment, and transportation for your start up business.

The supply chain is complex. A product must first be developed, prototyped, and then delivered. After that, demand must be generated for the product. Customers that require your items will purchase in bulk. This sort of attention is good for business, but it may be stressful. You’ll need to handle inventory, packaging, and distribution. This might be overwhelming for small and medium-sized businesses. This is where a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) company can help!

 

Third-Party Logistics Services Save Money

A 3rd party logistics company can help organizations of any size from start up to a large enterprise. These logistics geniuses can save you time, energy, and money by streamlining your supply chain management. Here are five reasons to work with a 3PL:

 

1. More Business Focus

Managing inventory and delivery can be difficult especially if you are a smaller company lacking resources and staff to manage it. These painstaking duties frequently distract you from other commitments. Working with a 3PL provider makes it easier for business owners to keep up with their hectic schedules. Logistics specialists store items and distribute things to clients efficiently. This frees up time for your staff to focus on the business’s core mission.


2. You Have a Logistics Team Leading the Way

Time is money in business. As a business owner, you can’t afford to lose time on the shipping procedures. One of the main benefits of partnering with a 3PL is the knowledge and direction of a seasoned supply chain veteran. These logistics services quickly handle your inventory, delivery, and returns. With these professionals on your side, you can be certain that they are working to constantly keep shipping rules and procedures updated and are working to your advantage.


3. You’ll Never Need to Buy Equipment

Logistics technology is not only costly but also difficult to set up. You’ll also need to train personnel on how to utilize the system. Not to mention, the space needed to store physical product can be expensive. Why go through all of this when a 3PL already has the tools, space, and expertise? Maintaining this complete IT procedure is routine for them. A 3PL expert keeps up with new shipping technologies. They manage all upgrades and technical maintenance, ensuring the best possible service for each customer.


4. Greater Speed and Lower Shipping Costs

3PL experts work relentlessly to improve shipping. Freight hauling is costly, but 3PL suppliers have more negotiating leverage. Your logistics firm has ample room to handle many loads. This reduces travel and saves money on transportation. Most 3PL providers already cooperate with other private shippers, saving time and money. Additionally, many 3PLs have multiple warehouses across the country to store items and ship from for efficiency.


5. Investing Early in a 3PL

Every firm wants to grow and be profitable, but growth too quickly can strain resources and degrade product quality. Investment in a 3PL early on allows for faster growth and less internal conflict down the road. 3PLs can help you grow your business by lowering transportation costs, providing flexible storage, and monitoring inventory and quality. A capable 3PL can help you solve your most difficult logistical difficulties and remove any logistical roadblocks.

Invest in Gold
ArticlesFinance

Does It Still Pay to Invest in Gold?

Invest in Gold

There are two sides to every gold coin — investing in gold may be profitable or it can be a losing proposition — and then there’s the truth. The truth is always in the center, and in this situation the reality is based on a variety of criteria that include your investing goals, time horizon, and, ultimately, your investment approach.

Gold, the most malleable of commodities, has suffered a setback in 2021, owing in part to rising bond rates. But even if everything isn’t always perfect, it will always be there. For millennia, gold has been a desirable commodity for investors, serving as a money and a symbol of wealth in many forms.

However, there are a few downsides to gold acquisition. For example, gold does not have a stable rate of return. While there are several advantages to investing in gold, there is one significant disadvantage. Gold is not a reliable source of revenue for investors. Gold has no production, whereas publicly listed corporations generate goods and services that customers value. This is a “severe structural disadvantage relative to other asset classes,” according to Michael Reynolds, vice president of investment strategy at Glenmede. While equities provide dividends to investors and bonds pay interest, Reynolds states that “gold does not spontaneously spawn additional gold.” Rather, you profit from the rise in gold’s price. 

“Gold gets 100% of its rewards from price movement, which may and has resulted in extended periods of underperformance,” adds Reynolds.

However, there seem to be more reasons today to invest in it still. Here are three compelling reasons to invest in gold.

 

Gold is Easy to Sell

Physical gold is available in two forms: gold coins and stamped gold bullion (bars) with a purity level. The gold content, rather than the quality or rarity, determines the worth of your gold.

While this value fluctuates, actual gold is easier to dispose of, which is one of the main reasons investors seek it out. Even if the return rate isn’t what you’re hoping for, there are always customers willing to buy gold.

 

Preservation of One’s Wealth

Many investors have put their faith in gold because of its ability to preserve wealth. Consider the difference between possessing £50 in gold and owning a £50 note in 1980. Because gold has increased in value since then, the value of the gold now significantly exceeds the original £50 investment. The £50 note, on the other hand, has not risen in value and, as a result of inflation, cannot purchase as much as it might in 1980.

 

Hedge

The value of gold is usually inverse with the rest of stocks. This means that it can be a balancing asset for you in your investments. People will buy gold in order to hedge their investments. They know that if the stock market plummets they’ll still be able to use their gold to build their portfolio and trade at that time. Then once the market equalizes again they are able to buy gold bars at a cheaper cost and sell their stocks. No matter how the market is looking, they are able to find balance in their investments and create revenue out of their diversification.

 

Safe Haven

Gold, unlike currencies, is unaffected by interest rate changes and cannot be created to manage supply and demand. Gold is a rare asset that has held its value throughout time and has demonstrated its usefulness as an insurance policy in the case of a downturn in the economy. As a result, many investors perceive gold to be a safe haven — and it’s proving itself right.

Finance Goals
ArticlesFinance

Financial Goals to Strive For

Finance Goals

When we are first introduced to the aspect of money, it’s when we see our parents hand over some paper slips and swipe their cards. However, what we don’t realize at a young age is that the funds were used for a purpose. Money isn’t something we spend just to spend. Having financial goals is important for a variety of reasons. For one thing, they’re what propel you forward in establishing security. But maybe you’re unsure of what goals you should be striving for. Here are a few financial goals to work towards.

 

Opening Your Own Business

One goal that many hope to achieve is to put away enough money to start their own business. Businesses, despite how common they are these days, require a lot of funding to get up and running. Some people even dive into their personal savings and retirement account just to launch it. While you’re more than able to pay for everything yourself, it’s good to avoid depleting your savings. Rather than risk everything, you can play it safer if you take out a small business loan. There are companies that commit themselves to ensuring the success of every business they give loans to. In additional to offering favorable interest rates, they can connect their borrowers to a rich, diverse support network.

 

Having Children

Children are the future, but they also cost more money than you’d expect. Similar to opening a business, many people want to have a family of their own. Some people even start planning for it when they get their first job. The average price of child care is between $10,000 to almost $15,000 annually. This goal should also teach you the fundamentals of budgeting and saving your money as well. When you have something as important as a child to take care of, you need to be extremely diligent with your money. Following the 50/30/20 rule into your budget is a great way to get a good grasp on your finances.

The 50% goes to necessities such as child care and rent, 30% goes to whatever you may want and the remaining 20% goes to your savings. If you’re looking to maximize your saving potential, you can combine the 30% with the 20% and have an even 50/50. The first half goes to what you need and the other goes right into your bank account.

 

Take Up Investing

You should know your own net worth before determining how much, if any, money you have to invest since investing is one of those high-risk, high-reward financial goals. Granted, there are many ways you can invest ranging from the traditional stock market to trying your hand at cryptocurrency. The choice is yours to make. Regardless of that choice, however, you need to have an appropriate amount of money to get started. You don’t just throw $20 and expect it to multiply by the hundreds overnight. It’s a process you need to be careful about because the risk can cause almost irreparable damage to your finances.

Personal Loan
ArticlesFinance

What are the Benefits of a Personal Loan?

Personal Loan

There may come a point in your life when you realize that you need (or want) to borrow money. Maybe you want to do this so you can renovate your home. Or perhaps you’re seeking a loan to use for debt consolidation. Thanks to a variety of benefits, a personal loan is one type that you should strongly consider. Here are just a few of the many reasons to get in touch with a personal loan agency.

 

Flexibility

A personal loan can be used in a variety of ways, ranging from home renovations to debt consolidation to paying off medical or educational expenses. Furthermore, you don’t have to explain to the lender how you’ll use the money. As long as you’re using the funds legally, you don’t have anything to worry about. This type of flexibility opens up a world of opportunities. 

 

Variety of Terms

With a variety of loan terms to choose from, you can find the one that best suits your short and long-term budget. Generally speaking, personal loan terms range from 12 months to 84 months. If you’re seeking the lowest possible payment, opt for a longer-term. Conversely, if you want to save on interest and pay off the loan as quickly as you can, a shorter term is the way to go. Before you do anything, compare the monthly payment and overall cost of multiple terms. This will help you understand what works best for your financial circumstances as a whole. 

 

No Collateral 

As an unsecured loan, you’re not required to provide your lender with any collateral. This is in contrast to a secured loan — such as a home equity loan — that requires you to put up collateral to reduce their risk. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that unsecured loans generally have slightly higher interest rates than secured loans. This is the result of the bank taking on more of a risk. If you default on the loan, they don’t have anything to repossess to make up for their loss. 

 

Competitive Interest Rates

Even though a personal loan is unsecured, interest rates are competitive with secured loans. Get the best deal by requesting quotes from three to five lenders. This will give you the opportunity to see what’s available both in regards to terms and interest rates. Note that shorter-term personal loans have a lower interest rate than those with longer terms. This means that you pay less money in interest over the course of your loan if you opt for a shorter term. 

 

Easy to Manage

When it comes to managing your money, it’s critical to implement a system that won’t bog you down. You want to make things as easy on yourself as possible. A personal loan is easy to manage, especially if you have good advice on handling your finances. You’re left with one fixed monthly payment for a predetermined period of time. For instance, you may have a payment of $500 for 36 months. This makes it simple to plan your short and long-term budget. Adding to this, most lenders have an online system for managing your personal loan. You can make payments, view your balance, request statements, and more. 

 

Questions to Ask Your Lender

There are sure to be questions on your mind as you compare lenders and loan products. Here are some to start with:

  • What terms do you have available?
  • What are the eligibility requirements for a personal loan?
  • How long does it take to receive funds?
  • Are you able to send the funds via bank wire? How about a check?
  • How long does it take to receive an answer on my loan application?

Asking questions like these will help you better understand your situation, what’s available to you, and how to proceed.

 

Final Thoughts

Now that you understand the many benefits of a personal loan, you can decide if it makes sense to move forward in the near future. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with taking your time and comparing personal loans to other types of financial products. The most important thing is that you make the right decision at the right time. What are your thoughts on applying for a personal loan? Have you benefited from this type of loan in the past?

Finance Funding
ArticlesFinance

How to Fund Your Small Business: Seven Key Options to Consider

Finance Funding

If you need to make a major investment for your business, you shouldn’t be afraid to explore financing options. It’s a good idea to speak with a financial advisor so you have a clear view of how taking on debt can impact your taxes and cash flow.  

There are multiple funding options available for entrepreneurs. Proceeds can be used to purchase new equipment, expand the locations of stores or warehouses, or inject money into your business to help your cash flow. Be sure to check with your lender to make sure the way you want to use the loan is acceptable. 

Here are some of the main financing options available for business owners.

 

1. Crowdfunding financing 

Crowdfunding can be  a great way of funding new projects, primarily through online forums and specific crowdfunding platforms, by raising money from the general public. 

The crowdfunding option works best for consumer-facing businesses that have a product or vision that everyday people can get behind. You can get started on popular sites like Kickstarter®, GoFundMe®, and Indiegogo®

One of the main advantages of using crowdfunding to fund your new investment is that you gain access to a larger and more diverse group of investors. Equity crowdfunding is also an option available to you. It enables public investors to take a proportionate slice of the equity in your business in return for their money. 

But there are drawbacks, such as the fees associated with crowdfunding platforms and, on some sites, the inability to use pledged funds if you don’t reach your funding goal.  

 

2. Equipment financing 

If you need to invest in equipment for your business, you have the option of getting a loan from a lender that’s an expert in your industry. You can then make simple repayments and eventually own the equipment. 

For example, if you run a machine shop business, you would need to make major investments for equipment like lathes, mills, and press brakes. In which case, you could find a dealer that offers financing facilities

Look for a true simple-interest loan with flexible financing structures.

Once you pay back the loan, you’ll own the equipment, which means you have another physical asset as part of your portfolio. 

 

3. Bank loans

Whether you need to purchase machinery or make another type of major investment for your business, you have the option of obtaining a loan from a bank. The key advantages of borrowing from the bank are, as long as you keep up with the repayments, banks generally shouldn’t set restrictions on what you can use the loan for, and you can often get favorable interest rates. 

Also, if you already have an account with the bank, you could get sound lending advice about your options from a financial advisor. 

However, there are disadvantages to getting a bank loan. The application process can be lengthy, eligibility criteria are often strict, and secured loans carry risk. Start by contacting your own bank to discuss your options. If that route isn’t suitable, you can always apply for a loan with another bank.

 

4. Angel investor financing

If your business is quite new, you could have an angel investor on board. Angel investors are high-net-worth private investors that provide entrepreneurs and small businesses with either a one-time investment or an ongoing injection of financial support, in return for ownership of equity in the company. 

When an angel investor is a part of your business, you should approach him or her for funds to cover your major investment needs. 

While investment from an angel investor can be a great way of securing funds for your immediate requirements, funding via angel investors does come with risks, but it usually comes with more favorable terms in comparison to other lending options. Angel investors are often friends or family, so if you want to go down this funding route, start by asking the people you know if they would be interested in supporting your business. 

 

5. Venture capital financing

If you need to make a major investment in your business but haven’t yet actually started earning revenue and profits, you could have the option of venture capital financing. Venture capital investment funds are pooled funds from investors who want private equity stakes in small to medium-sized businesses that have strong potential for growth. 

However, venture capital financing is known to be high risk. The funding option is usually best reserved for new businesses that seek accelerated growth. Tech companies and businesses in emerging industries typically go down the venture capital financing avenue. 

 

6. Peer-to-peer lending

Peer-to-peer financing works like this: smaller-scale investors are matched with a small business that requires funds.

With peer-to-peer lending, you effectively cut out the need for a middleman. You can apply for peer-to-peer financing on various online sites and obtain a loan from a pool of investors. 

Repaying a peer-to-peer loan is similar to repaying a bank loan. You’ll agree to an interest fee upfront. If you should fail to make repayments, the usual debt rules will apply.

 

7. SBA loans

The most prominent assistance program that the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers is a guarantee on loans made through banks, credit unions, and other lenders they partner with. By securing a portion of an SBA loan in the case of the borrower defaulting, the lenders are presented with less risk so they are more likely to offer an affordable loan.

SBA 7(a) loans from $30,000 – $350,000 from banks can be used for debt refinancing and working capital. Working capital includes operational expenses, marketing, hiring, etc. SBA loans can be used to fund new equipment purchases as well. SBA 7(a) loans can also be used for refinancing existing business debt not secured by real estate (such as cash advances, business loans, and equipment leases). With low rates and long terms (10 years), an SBA loan can be a great solution. 

 

Summing up

It’s important that you carefully consider each of the above funding options to determine which is most suitable for your needs. Begin by thinking about your specific requirements and the pros and cons of each investment option.

Then, create a list of the options, with your most preferred financing option at the top and your least preferred option at the bottom. You can then try each option in order. Hopefully, your first option will be able to provide you with the cash you need to fund your major investment. 

To recap, here are the main financing options you have available:

  • Crowdfunding
  • Equipment financing
  • Bank loan
  • Angel investor financing
  • Venture capital investment
  • Peer-to-peer lending
  • SBA loans

 

Don’t be afraid to explore each option in detail. Get answers to any questions you have before you decide on your course of action, and always read the terms and conditions before signing on the dotted line. 

As long as you spend time determining which financing option is the best choice for your specific circumstances, you’ll more easily be able to find the right financing route for you and expand your business further.

Extra Income
ArticlesFinance

How to Earn Extra Cash While Working Full Time In the UK

Extra Income

Many immigrants move to the UK to increase their economic status. That is good, as the UK has a lot of opportunities for immigrants. For some, their breakthrough is finding a good job, which a UK skilled worker Visa can guarantee. 

On the other hand, a good job is not enough for immigrants with many financial responsibilities. Well, the way to go is getting a side-hustle that brings in extra income. There are many legal things immigrants can do to increase their income. 

Here, we’ll give you a list of ideas that can help you earn extra cash while working in the UK. 

 

Start a Small Service Business

Skilled people can start a small service business to make extra income. It is easy to grow a service business with word-of-mouth marketing, so start by advertising to people in your direct network and ask them to spread the word. For a service business, the list is long. Just pick a skill you are good at and sell it.

 

Freelance Content Creation

Immigrants with a good command of English and subject matter experts can freelance on the side. Many companies seek writers who can help them with blog posts, marketing copy, website content, etc. Even bloggers are constantly on the lookout for writers, as they don’t have enough time to do all the writing. 

First, it is great you have an adequately edited portfolio of written content that can be shown to potential employees. After that, search for jobs in the freelance marketplace or pitch to blogs that caught your interest. Some tools and software will make this work easier. So, conduct research, find an employer and earn more income.

 

Get Paid to Do What You Love Doing

It’s simple! Document what you love doing in your free time. If you are good at trivia, ask your local bar to host their trivia game. If you love swimming, then offer to teach people swimming. Whatever skills you have, you can teach other people and generate revenue. Whether playing a musical instrument, cooking, driving, dancing, etc., you could organize a fitness class if you are good at sports. You could even teach about your home country’s culture and tradition.

Even if you don’t have a hobby, you could take online surveys or attend focus group discussions. Many companies and organizations conduct consumer and market research, and they are ready to pay for data. So, you can earn some extra bucks (or gift cards) while sharing your two cents about a product you love. You can boost your account balance by becoming a tour guide in your neighborhood.

 

Teaching Online

If you have advanced certification like a master’s degree or PhD, you can teach online. Even if you have a full-time job, you could always teach part-time. Those with specialized knowledge in a particular subject can also tutor students online. To make extra cash, it is best if you know the current curriculum. Nonetheless, if you study the right resources, you’ll do great.

If you intend to migrate to the UK with your advanced certification, you should learn more about the work EB2 Visa to know your eligibility.

 

Rent Out Your Stuff

As an immigrant, it is now easy to make money by leveraging the stuff you own. Many are familiar with Airbnb, where you can rent out your properties. The exciting part is that you don’t need to rent out your whole apartment. By renting out a spare room in your apartment, you can increase your income.

Asides from AirBnB, there are other things you could earn income from. Rent out your car, cameras, parking space, and so much, provided there’s a listing platform.

 

Virtual Assistant

Immigrants with a personal assistant, secretary, or other administrative experience can become virtual assistants. This is an excellent job as you can do it from your home’s comfort and spare time. You can succeed in this role with a computer, internet access, and administrative skills. This job is an incredible way to earn extra even with a full-time job in the UK.

 

Invest In Real Estate

Before now, all the ideas highlighted are all active income streams. How about making money passively? One good way to earn returns is real estate investments. You can start by buying a small condo in a nearby country and let it out to renters and vacationists. Alternatively, immigrants can get started with commercial properties. With as little as 4000 GBP, you can tap into this income stream.

 

Final Words

Getting a side-hustle is a fast way to make extra money and stay on top of your finances. Even with a full-time job, other gigs can be done in spare time to earn extra. 

Big investments
ArticlesFinance

Major Investments You Need to Prioritize

Big investments

You probably know all too well that business can be low when you first open. However, as time progresses and you’ve gained more customers, you might notice you have enough savings to finally invest into your company again. This can be an exciting change and you likely already have a laundry list in mind of things you want to put money towards within your business. But with so many things your business needs, you might not be sure what to prioritize. Here are a few major investments that you need to prioritize.

 

A Fleet

Depending on what kind of shop you’re running, you’re going to need a fleet. A fleet is a group of vehicles that’s exclusively used for a company. It’s used to distribute products and administer services. You might think these vehicles are best suited for grocery stores and restaurants. However, fleets can also be used to advertise as well. Since fleets are composed of multiple vehicles, you’ve probably guessed that you’re going to be spending quite a bit.

However, that’s just for the cars. That isn’t counting the cost of fleet insurance and the necessary technology. Before you can operate your fleet, every vehicle needs to be equipped with the proper technology to ensure driver safety. Dash cams and wireless devices are to name a few. You’ll also need to implement tachographs, ELDs, and GPS tracking systems. These allow you to go more in-depth with the vehicle telematics, which is what allows you to keep track of every operating vehicle in your fleet.

 

Renovations

There are times you need to spend money to make money as a small business owner. Whether it’s adding new equipment or appliances or simply expanding the space, renovations are a key part of any growing business. Adding more space gives you more room to organize things while being able to house more customers and employees. As for the equipment, what you need depends on what business you’re running. If you own a restaurant, for example, you’ll need to have the following:

∙ High-quality refrigerators

∙ Freezers

∙ Ovens

∙ Safety gear

∙ Grease traps

∙ Food processers

∙ Employee Training Programs

If there’s one thing that has allowed your company to thrive, aside from your hard work, it’s definitely the employees. Employees help keep a business stable by tackling the less-demanding tasks while you prioritize more demanding concerns. And since you’re planning on expanding, that means you need to plan on having more workers.

However, you might not be able to single-handedly train everyone you bring on board. That’s why it’s in your best interest to invest into a training program. You’d be surprised at how far an employee training program can take you, and your employees for that matter. It ensures you can trust them to get the job done, attract your ideal candidate and have a serious advantage over your competitors.

 

Invest in Yourself

Investing in yourself may sound a bit unorthodox when it comes to business. We don’t mean treating yourself out to lunch on the company credit card. By investing in yourself, we mean bettering your knowledge and skills to benefit your company further. This could look like personal enrichment courses to better your leadership skills or earning advanced degrees or certifications in your field to level up your expertise. Whatever you decide on, investing in yourself is rarely a losing bet.

 

Your Physical Location

Depending on the nature of your business, the location in which you operate can be another opportunity to invest in your company’s future. If you are a business that relies heavily on foot traffic, maybe relocating your business to a walkable downtown area might make sense for you. If you are operating out of warehouses, maybe a location closer to freeway access to optimize fleet routes is a good choice.

Either way be sure that you do some research before uprooting your operations. In some cases, location matters more than others and you want to be sure that you are not going to negatively interrupt your customer base with a move. If you have employees that are reporting to the office each day that is also something to consider. While it would be impossible to optimize commute times for each employee, recognizing that they have all created routines around your current location and how a move might impact that can go a long way.

Unsecured Loans
ArticlesFinance

Unsecured Personal Loans FAQ

Unsecured Loans

Large unsecured personal loans are sizeable loans not protected by collateral. You don’t have to provide any asset like your home or car as collateral to get approved for large unsecured personal loans.

The lender must trust your intention to repay and base the loan’s approval on your affordability or ability to repay the amount you borrow.

 

How Do Large Unsecured Personal Loans Work?

Large unsecured personal loans involve a contract or agreement between you and the lender. You’re allowed to borrow a large lump sum of money on the basis that you agree to repay within the promised timeframe.

You get a fixed amount of money when you’re approved and pay the money back plus interest over the chosen term until you settle the loan.  You’ll get a fixed interest rate for large unsecured personal loans and will usually repay in monthly instalments.

You can see the current and best rates on the Times website, allowing you to easily compare rates.

Lenders will look at your monthly income and expenses to determine affordability when assessing your application. They’ll also consider your credit history to determine how you handle your finances and your likelihood of repaying the loan.

A large unsecured personal loan is your best bet if you’re looking for a substantial amount of cash that you can repay by spreading the cost through a series of manageable monthly instalments.

 

Features Of Large Unsecured Personal Loans

Easy Online Application

You can quickly borrow large unsecured personal loans online from anywhere in the UK. Most lenders allow you to borrow through a quick and easy online application process. The entire process takes place online, from requests and approval to funding.

 

Quick Approvals And Payouts

Applications for large unsecured personal loans are approved quickly within an hour because you don’t have to prove ownership or the value of an asset. You get quick approval and feedback online, and some lenders offer same-day payouts.

 

Zero Risk to Your Assets

There’s no risk of losing your valuable assets in a large unsecured personal loan since you’ll not use any collateral to secure the loan. Your property cannot be seized and sold to recover the outstanding loan balance if you default.

 

High Loan Amounts

With large unsecured personal loans, you can access a more considerable lump sum of cash than typical short-term unsecured loans like payday loans. Your credit score can influence the amount and terms you get. A good credit score will enable you to access the amount you need without restrictions or stringent limits.

 

Uses of Large Unsecured Personal Loans

Unlike some secured loans that must cover particular expenses like buying a home or car, you can use large unsecured personal loans to cover a wide variety of financial needs. Common uses include:

  • Home Improvements

One great way to invest back into your property and improve its value and curb appeal is through home improvements. However, they can be pretty costly. Large unsecured personal loans can help you get the finances you need to cover the costs of your desired home improvement project.

However, as Mortgageable.co.uk explains with regards to home improvement loans “keep in mind that each lender will use their criteria when assessing your application, and some may view you more positively than others.”

Whether it’s a new kitchen, bathroom, extensions, conversions, maintenance, or repairs required, large unsecured personal loans can help you fulfil your needs.

 

  • Debt Consolidation

With debt consolidation, you combine multiple high-interest debts into one. A large unsecured personal loan can help you consolidate all your debts and cover the total amount, so you’re only left with one lender to repay. Instead of dealing with multiple lenders every month, you’ll only be making a single repayment.

Large unsecured personal loans can help you get a breath of fresh air if you’ve been struggling under the weight of multiple high-interest debts. It will drastically reduce your monthly expenses and make it easy to manage your bills.

 

  • Personal And Business Financing

Large unsecured personal loans can help you finance small and large personal financial needs and purchases. You can buy or achieve what you need or desire now and pay later through affordable monthly repayments.

They can help you buy a car, home, land, advance your education, finance your dream wedding, or simply take a much-needed vacation.

Businesses also require a cash injection from time to time. Large unsecured personal loans can help you cover current and future business financial needs like stock, equipment, resources, new premises or expansion.

 

Large Unsecured Personal Loans with Bad Credit

If you’re worried that your bad credit score will affect your unsecured personal loan application, worry no more.

A bad credit score is no longer a financial death sentence but only a hiccup when you need a loan. Although it can be challenging to get large unsecured personal loans with bad credit, it’s not impossible.

A loans adviser can provide guidance and connect you to understanding lenders specialising in giving large unsecured personal loans to borrowers with bad credit in the UK.

Instead of focusing on your past financial troubles, they only consider your current situation and affordability based on your monthly income and expenses.

With easy monthly instalments, you can comfortably make repayments on time, which will reflect positively on your credit score. Your credit score will improve and show lenders you’re a reliable borrower.  

 

What Happens If You Don’t Repay Large Unsecured Personal Loans?

Although you don’t risk losing any of your assets when you fail to repay or default on large unsecured personal loans, you’ll still face various consequences.

The default or missed payment will be included in your credit report for up to six years, impacting your ability to get credit in the future. You’ll also face penalties and fees for missed payments.

Lenders also have a legal right to try and recover their money in some way when borrowers fail to repay. It includes filing court actions against you, like arranging a county court judgement (CCJ) that can appear in your credit record for six years unless you repay the total amount in a month.

 

Can I Get a Large Unsecured Personal Loan When Unemployed?

Yes. Not being ‘formally employed’ does not disqualify you from accessing large unsecured personal loans. Many understanding lenders in the UK welcome all kinds of borrowers and accept all income types.

You may be unemployed but still get some form of income from part-time work, freelancing, benefits, trust proceeds, dividends, child support and many more.

As long as you can afford to repay the loan with income from any source, you can qualify and get approved for large unsecured personal loans.  

Bad Credit Loan
ArticlesFinance

How to Get Bad Credit Loans For Low CIBIL Score

Bad Credit Loan

Sometimes it’s almost impossible to foresee a financial crisis until it strikes when you don’t have money in your pocket or any friends and family that can lend you the funds you need. Even worse, you can’t qualify for loans from specific lending platforms due to poor CIBIL scores. 

If you’re in this situation, don’t panic. There are various ways or things you can do to secure bad credit loans, even with a poor CIBIL score. So without further ado, let’s jump straight into it. 

 

How to Get Bad Credit Loans For Low CIBIL Score

1. Choose Collateral-based Loans

Collateral loans are one of the best ways to compensate for your poor CIBIL score, as they don’t consider it when offering the loan. It may require you to give up your valuable jewellery, shares, or even profit until you repay the loan. 

Once your assets have been made as part of the loan deal, you’ll be in a position to select the best suitable lender you want for bad credit loans. You should pick the lender regarding the interest rates they offer, the period, and terms. 

However, default payments in collateral loans are dangerous as the lender will seize your collateral asset to compensate for the amount you borrowed as well as the interest rates charged. Therefore, you should abide by their policies and pay-up as the contract provides. 

 

2. Identify a Guarantor

Having a credible guarantor is by far one of the best techniques for securing a loan, especially if your CIBIL score is low. Your guarantor might be a colleague, family member, or your best friend. Of course, your guarantor must have a high CIBIL score for any lender to accept you. 

 

3. Look For a Co-Applicant

Finding a co-applicant with a good income source is another terrific method to get a bad credit loan despite a poor CIBIL score. However, the co-applicant will have to come from within your inner circle, preferably a family member who will be alerted to your intention to secure a loan. 

The co-applicant and the guarantor will pledge to take the burden of paying the loan if, for whatever reason, you fail to repay the outstanding balance. However, the co-applicant and the guarantor will still have to meet specific criteria before the loan discussions can be held. 

 

4. Demonstrate Your Creditworthiness

A poor CIBIL score doesn’t just come from late or default payments. On the contrary, it might be due to not using credit cards regularly, or maybe you haven’t sought out a loan before. However, if you can prove to the lenders that you have a steady and reliable source of income, then you will qualify yourself for a loan. 

The worst lenders may need your bank statements and payslip, and after they conduct a proper review, you’ll go directly into the loan terms and conditions. 

 

5. Be Conservative While Borrowing

If you’re sure you have a poor CIBIL score, then requesting a considerable sum of money from lenders will be almost financial suicide. Let’s face it; no lender will be willing to give anyone with a poor credit score vast amounts if they don’t meet the essential criteria. So asking for a large sum automatically disqualifies you. 

However, all this can change if you go for a reasonable amount of money. Requesting realistic loans will give the lender time to gauge if they can offer the loan. However, if they issue you a loan despite your bad CIBIL score, expect to pay a high-interest rate.

 

6. Go For  Online Lenders

Many individuals are moving away from traditional ways of securing loans as they have extreme requirements to meet before they listen to your loan plea. Fortunately, online platforms like Gday Loans can work with credible lenders who offer loans regardless of your CIBIL score. 

You’ll only have to fill in an application form which they’ll review within minutes and give you feedback; then, the next step will be to connect you with your desired lender or the lender that fits your needs. However, the interest rates might be slightly higher due to the bad CIBIL score but rest assured you’ll secure the loan. 

 

7. Establish Lending Criteria In Advance

Even though most people ignore the eligibility criteria, it still plays a pivotal role in securing loans with a poor CIBIL score. That being said, you should conduct proper online research on which platforms you match with and if they can offer you a loan regardless of your bad CIBIL score. 

Of course, most lenders will want to know your CIBIL history and score. The reason behind this is that they’ll want to evaluate if you are credible or if you have that desperate trait that lenders dislike in borrowers. 

However, if you manage to find the most suitable lender that can offer you a loan without diving deep into your CIBIL score, you’ll have won. But until then, you have to do due diligence and keep checking various lending platforms and the criteria they require their borrowers to meet. 

 

Wrap Up

Even though securing a loan with a poor CIBIL is almost impossible, there are platforms such as G’day Loans that are willing to connect you with their credible lenders so that you secure bad credit loans. 

So if you need a loan, even with a bad CIBIL score, try Gday Loans so that you get the financial assistance you need at reasonable interest rates and repayment periods. 

Fintech Regulation
ArticlesFinance

Making Regulation Work In Fintech

Fintech Regulation

“Upskilling supervisory officers is the answer to making regulation work for the Fintech Industry while safeguarding the integrity of the sector” argues FinTech regulatory veteran Tony Brown

Tony Brown, Head of Compliance & MLRO of IFX Payments

The state of regulation as it stands, in my opinion, doesn’t hinder Fintech’s chances of success per se but the constant evolution and moving benchmarks does act as a major blocker. 

The exciting prospect of Fintech is our agility and ability to get products to market, however, the regulatory environment is in a constant state of flux and regular compliance updates mean that development teams often have to re-scope or sometimes completely redesign late in production.

For me there’s no question that the ethics and values that the current regulatory regime is built on have to remain the same, but the measurements for demonstrating successful application of these needs to change, and fast.

 

Traditional FS vs Fintechs

We are trying to apply outdated benchmarks of traditional financial services and banking to a new-age of products and businesses. Fintechs are operating more and more like a Silicon Valley tech company than a Canary Wharf bank, and this approach is what breeds innovation. 

Even amidst the rapid growth of the industry, regulation has remained pretty stagnant, while our means of complying with it has been completely revolutionised. Put simply, the issue for the industry is not the regulations ‘themselves’, but the fact that we are still trying to compare FinTech to Banking, and it simply is not the same thing.

The growing number of unicorns and the billions in investment suggests success is not hindered by current regulation, but with some alignment and free reign to be creative, the possibilities for our sector are endless. I mean, let’s not forget why the FinTech sector and Challenger Banks were born. Doing things quicker, cheaper and safer for customers. By no means do I think the supervisors are extinct, but they are some pace behind the industry leaders and the gap is only getting bigger.

 

So what next?

We are all currently working on our Operational Resilience Plans that are due for completion 31st March 2022, and personally I have found this exercise to be extremely beneficial.  

Our approach has been to break down business critical tasks per department, conduct a thorough analysis of the effectiveness of the function and find a minimum operating standard for each component.  We have taken this even further by adding a ‘worst case scenario’ factor into each business unit and built a Plan B and even a Plan C to make sure we can continue to serve and protect our clients at all times. 

I believe the government can roll this approach out across multiple industries, starting with those sectors considered ‘key workers’ during the pandemic. Protecting client funds is of the utmost importance to the financial sector, but look at the pressure the NHS has faced over the past couple of years, and they are protecting people’s lives!  Sometimes we have to take stock and figure out what is truly important, and for me, when the chips are down, assets and revenues should not be our only priority.

 

The role of the regulator

Before any regulation or guidance is updated, I would like to see the regulator spend a significant amount of time upskilling its officers to better understand the sector. Even spending time on site at the bigger Fintechs to simply observe how these firms interpret compliance and the unique and exciting ways they go about meeting the standards would be hugely beneficial. Having spent a long time myself auditing in the sector, I have been blown away by the ability of our sector to innovate and replicate. It’s naïve, if not completely wrong to assume our regulator knows everything about what we do and how we do it.  I think we need to open our doors to them and educate the regulator on how they can better supervise us. This is mutually beneficial as a more knowledgeable supervisor means more alignment with governance and dare I say, more innovation.

We cannot measure new products and services with old metrics.  If there is a disparity in the regulatory approach it needs to be acknowledged rather than simply carrying on doing things the same way, because it has always been done this way.  Educating Fintechs and upskilling supervisors so that they are at least looking at the same things in a similar way is imperative.  Then Supervisors can figure out the benchmarks for good practice, and regulation can follow.  I often feel that as an industry we are slow to react and then are left to make things fit, then we all sit and scratch our heads when we are left with square pegs and round holes and so the cycle repeats.

Unregulated Investment
ArticlesFinance

Unregulated Investments – Will This Discourage Potential Investors?

Unregulated Investment

The authors are Rob Goodhew, director, Restructuring Advisory, Ben Boorer, associate managing director Business Intelligence and Investigations (BII) and Patrick Crumplin, director, Expert Services at Kroll

Unregulated investments, many of which are high-risk, not only in the sense of the asset class but also potentially in terms of the underlying assets, and some of which are just outright scams, have become a major problem in the UK. Since the introduction of pension freedoms in April 2015, the UK has seen a growth in unregulated, unlisted, high-yield investments being marketed and sold to members of the public, often as low-risk opportunities. While such investments might seem low-risk at first glance, not least because of the security and assurances set out in the promotional materials, claims of such high returns in an era of low interest rates should raise alarm bells.

Research highlighted by the FCA in 2019 indicated that 42% of pension savers, equivalent to over five million people, could be at risk of falling victim to one or more of the common tactics used by pension scammers. Illustratively, if each of those potential investors had £50,000 to invest, the potential prize for those promoting and running such schemes would be a staggering £250 billion (bn). It’s not surprising that scheme operators, whether scammers or not, might want to access that kind of money.

Classifying such investment schemes is not straightforward, but there are certain features that characterize the problem. There are many types of underlying businesses, schemes and assets on offer such as property development, foreign exchange, cryptocurrencies, agriculture and forestry, precious metals and even sports betting. In terms of property development, there has been a proliferation of unregulated investment schemes marketed as unitized property-backed investments, such as parking spaces in a carpark, storage units, or rooms in hotels, student accommodation and care homes. Typically, investors are offered high-yield bonds or loan notes with a range of maturities, often over a longer term, meaning that capital could be tied up for some time. Advertised returns are regularly up to 10% or more and some schemes include an attractive buyback clause.

Given the underlying income-generating “bricks and mortar” assets, it’s easy to see why such opportunities might be attractive. It’s a logical proposition that appears safe, but the reality may be quite different. If the advertised returns weren’t challenging enough in the current low-interest environment, commissions of up to 20% or more that are usually paid to sales agents or “introducers,” together with sometimes equally high management fees or other payments to the scheme operators, can be crippling, potentially causing a systemic flaw in the investment model. After operating costs have been paid and possibly other debt serviced, the underlying business should have a strong performance to be able to repay the original capital invested—and all of this assumes that the scheme runs perfectly and is not just being a scam from the outset. While some unregulated investment schemes might be well-intentioned initially—potentially adding to the attractiveness of the scheme at the time of promotion—they may go on to face challenges with their investments and their operations.

This can result in issues snowballing over time to the point where the situation is irrecoverable. It may be the case that investors find out about such issues too late after attempts have already been made to recover the situation; by that time, investments might have become compromised, with value lost.

Of course, it’s important to have a good understanding of the investment opportunity beyond the glossy brochures, websites and sales talk from the beginning. Investment propositions can appear immensely attractive and credible, but it is vital that investors have a proper understanding of the true nature of the underlying business, any discretion the management might exercise to use capital, the legal structure, the nature of the financial instrument being offered, the involvement of introducers/agents and their fees and regulated parties, security over underlying assets, the trading history of the management team, and the rights of the investor.

Most of the drivers that contribute to the sale of high-risk, unregulated investments have existed for some time now.

  • People are free to invest their funds as they wish. The risk is to savings in whatever form, but pension freedoms have significantly increased the amount of funds available which has attracted the attention of investment scheme promoters seeking capital.
  • There is no requirement to take advice when drawing down a pension or investing, and research suggests that most people don’t take advice when accessing their pension funds.
  • The low interest rate environment remains.
  • Regulations permit the marketing of such investments to certain types of investor.

 

Compounding the above, COVID-19 may have made the situation worse. In addition to the obvious economic influences and stresses, lockdown has forced us to operate in a more virtual world, and we are more isolated and vulnerable than usual.

The marketing of unregulated investments to individuals is restricted to “high-net-worth” and/or “sophisticated” investors. However, potential investors qualifying as high-net-worth or sophisticated may not necessarily fully appreciate the risks associated with the investment, and those classifications do not provide immunity to old fashioned sales tactics and unconscious bias. Further, the assessment of an investor as high-net-worth or sophisticated is essentially one of self-certification and takes moments to complete. In reality, many of these schemes are marketed using persuasive or even high-pressure sales tactics to ordinary people, who may have raised funds by cashing in pensions or other life savings, through inheritance, or even through refinancing their home.

The authorities are well aware of the issue, but is enough being done? The UK government introduced a ban on cold calling in relation to pensions that came into effect in January 2019.  At the same time, the FCA was investigating London Capital & Finance, which collapsed later that month. So, there are legacy issues, but has the problem now gone away? Unfortunately, the answer to that appears to be no. There have been public awareness campaigns, which are important, and the FCA does, on occasion, take action against unregulated firms, but resourcing and the potential scale of the problem outside the regulatory perimeter mean that not very much has changed. The ban on pensions cold calling was a welcome step forward, but it may have had little impact on the promotion of high-risk, unregulated investments.

On a more positive note, the Work and Pensions Committee recently conducted a major inquiry into the problem of pension scams, making a range of recommendations in relation to reporting, prevention, enforcement and victim support. Additional legislation has also recently been passed or is in the pipeline. The Pension Schemes Act 2021 received royal assent earlier this year, providing for new preventative regulations and new enforcement powers for the pension regulator. Separately, the FCA recently issued a discussion paper to canvass views on changes that can be made to strengthen the FCA’s financial promotion rules for high-risk investments and for authorized firms which approve financial promotions. Positive steps indeed, but all of this takes time to put in place and to become effective.

In the meantime, if such a scheme collapses, the fallout may be complicated by poor record keeping, complex group structures, intra-group lending and the existence of charges over the underlying assets. This means that it might not be straightforward to establish what happened, and there may be competing claims for the remaining assets. More clearly needs to be done to prevent it from getting to this stage in the first place, but for investors who find they have a problem with their investment, they must understand their rights under the investment documentation and be aware of their options in terms of recovering their money.

Financial Crisis
ArticlesFinance

Ukrainian Crisis Worsens Financial Difficulties in the UK

Financial Crisis

Research by KIS Finance has revealed that as a direct result of the rising cost of living, 57% of people in the UK are either already struggling financially, or expect to do so in the very near future.

With no solution to the war in Ukraine in sight, the situation is set to get much worse, as the economic impact of the crisis starts to hit home here in the UK.
Against a backdrop of rising inflation, which is already at its highest level in almost 30 years, and increasing food and energy costs, the situation in Russia and Ukraine will add further upward pressure on prices in the UK.

With some experts now predicting that inflation may reach as high as 8.3% in April (far higher than the 7.25% predicted by the Bank of England back in February), the average UK household is facing a very challenging time.

 

Key Statistics

KIS Finance’s research found:

•27% are already struggling financially as direct result of the rising cost of living.

•30% anticipate financial problems in the very near future as the impact of rising prices bites.

•35.5% of 18 – 24 year olds report they are already financially struggling.

•36% of over 55’s are worried that the financial pinch will hit them shortly as prices continue to rise.

•The South East is the area most affected to date, with 30% already struggling financially.

•22% of 18 – 34 year olds have had to take an additional job just to make ends meet.

Over a quarter of people are already struggling financially

As the impact of rising inflation starts to really bite, over a quarter of those surveyed report struggling to make ends meet. With real wages in the UK predicted to be lower by 2026 than they were in 2008, this worrying trend looks set to remain for some time.

The Resolution Foundation has forecast that current inflation will mean that the typical UK household income will fall by around £1000 a year in real terms. That’s a fall on a scale that we’ve not seen since the 1970s and one that will lead to many more people struggling to make ends meet.

Research by KIS has found that only 30% of people report a rise in pay since before the pandemic, whilst 70% have seen their wages either stagnate or fall. Against this backdrop, the effect of high inflation rates, alongside the growing impact of the crisis in Ukraine, are set to have devastating results for many households.

 

Cost of everyday essentials are soaring

Fuel costs are soaring

As a direct impact of the conflict in Ukraine, oil prices are continuing to rise at an unprecedented rate. Costs were already soaring before the conflict, but now oil prices are at their highest level in 14 years and the price of gas has doubled. In the UK it’s predicted that this could mean that the average household fuel bill is likely to be in the region of £3000 per year. Something that could push many families’ budgets to breaking point.

Whilst the UK only gets 6% of its oil and 5% of its gas from Russia, the impact on the global market and particularly Europe, which relies far more heavily on Russian fuel, will have a knock on effect on prices here in the UK.

Petrol prices have soared in the UK since the invasion of Ukraine, with unleaded prices increasing by 3.5% and diesel prices by 4% in just 2 weeks. With prices continuing to rise things look set to get even more desperate for UK households.

 

Food price rises set to place a further strain on household budgets

Families are also facing hikes in food prices, as the impact of events in Ukraine hit global food supply chains. Whilst we don’t directly import many foodstuffs from Russia, shortages elsewhere may impact on other countries’ ability to export food items to the UK.

In addiation, large quantities of fertiliser are imported into the UK from Russia and rising costs will certainly have an impact on the cost of farming here at home. As the world’s biggest exporter of synthetic fertiliser, Russia in responsible for more than a fifth of the supply of urea, which is a key fertiliser used in the UK. Increases like this in production costs will certainly further impact on food prices here at home.

 

Rising global metal costs leading to multiple price increases

We’re also likely to see price increases across a range of items which rely on the supply of various metals as a key component. With Russia as a leading supplier of metals across the globe, the impact of shortages will hit numerous industries, from canned foods to car production. Some car manufactures have already suspended production in Russia. With Toyota and Volkswagen operating large scale manufacturing hubs there, the impact is likely to be felt in the lack of availability of new cars back here in the UK.

 

A third fear that the worst is still to come

In our survey, nearly a third of people reported genuine concern that rising prices and the increasing cost of living would have a negative impact on their lives in the very near future. Whilst some have been able to make use of savings built up over lock down to help meet increasing costs, this temporary buffer won’t last for long and the impact of a permanently higher cost of living is a real worry for many.

As energy prices soar, pushing up both the direct cost for heating and powering our homes, and the indirect cost of other goods and services, the impact on household budgets is one that few can ignore.

 

Young people hit the hardest by rising costs

Over 35% of those aged 18 to 24 are reporting that they are already struggling to get by financially. Research by the think tank Demos, has found that young people are currently the hardest hit and face the ‘greatest uphill battle’ to make ends meet. With potentially higher levels of debt and lower incomes, it’s this generation that may find it the hardest to take on additional expenses as costs rise.

As their expenditure increases on day to day living, their ability to save is likely to be hard hit. For many this will mean that the dream of saving a deposit to get onto the property ladder will now be even less of a reality than before.

 

22% of young people forced to take additional jobs

As many of those aged 18 to 24 struggle to make ends meet, nearly a quarter have had to take an additional job to get by. Whilst people may choose to have a second job to supplement their income, many young people are now finding that they have no alternative if they are to manage financially.

When asked why they took on an additional role, some responded that they were worried about job security and took on other jobs in case their primary role was at risk in the future. Whilst this may boost their finances in the short term, the additional pressure of longer hours and juggling multiple jobs may well take its toll on the well-being of those that find themselves in this situation.

 

36% of over 55’s are worried that things are going to get a lot worse

Whilst younger people are already feeling the impact of the rising cost of living, those aged over 55 are the most worried about the impact on their finances in the coming months and anticipate finding themselves in difficulties soon. Whilst they may have higher levels of savings, anyone who is thinking about retirement in the next few years may now be reconsidering whether they can afford to do so.

 

South East the hardest hit

30% of those in the South East report already being in financial difficulties as a direct result of rising costs. Whilst average wages may be higher, increases in living costs are being acutely felt by those living there. As interest rates now rise, those with large mortgages will feel the pinch even more as monthly repayments increase alongside other rising costs.



Holly Andrews, MD at KIS Finance comments on the findings:

“Many households have already been struggling over recent months as they have seen their real wages fall as inflation rises. As the impact of the events in Ukraine start to hit our economy, we know that even more people will be facing difficult times making ends meet.

The interest rate rise to 0.5% in February has already impacted on the housing market, with banks and building societies withdrawing over 500 mortgage products from the market in March. In fact we are now seeing the highest average rates in 7 years for a 2 year fixed mortgage. The Bank of England’s decision to increase interest rates has been in response to increasing inflation, but with the current global uncertainty and related price increases, we may be facing a further rise from the next review later this month.

With the cost of borrowing increasing alongside the rising cost of living, those saving for a deposit will find this even more challenging. Similarly those applying for a mortgage may find it more difficult to meet income requirements, as disposable income is hit by the rising cost of essentials.

As everyday costs rise finding ways to save money is becoming even more important. Set out below are some of our top tips for saving money on petrol costs”.

Digitalisation Finance
ArticlesFinance

How Digitalization Is Impacting Financial Services

Digitalisation Finance

It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that the majority of our financial services were mainly accessible in person. You had to visit your local bank branch or financial service business to access help, and it was a time-consuming process for all involved.

In recent years, there has been a significant shift in how we access the financial services we require. The majority of finance-related processes are being carried out online, allowing businesses, customers, and employees to benefit in a range of ways. You may know that the entire financial industry has been transformed, but you may be surprised to learn that digitalization is impacting financial services in some of the following ways.

 

Accepting Loan Applications Online

Whenever you needed to borrow small or large sums of money to purchase a house, car, or something else, you often needed to set time aside in your day to visit a loan provider.

Now, we have programs, software, and technology like MeridianLink API to move the entire process online. Most credit unions run such applications to streamline the whole application process for both businesses and potential customers.

Using benchmarks, algorithms, and customer information, decisions about lending can be made online in just minutes rather than with human intervention in person.

 

Greater Consumer Trust

New technology can be daunting, and not all consumers have been quick to adjust to online banking and other financial and technological advancements. However, consumer trust is growing with more and more services going online.

It has also been accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As technology has enabled us to access financial services without visiting a physical business location, the average person has become more trusting as they slowly learn just how many exciting and innovative features they have been able to take advantage of in the online space.

Now, traditional financial institutions are worried. At least 88% are concerned about losing revenue to fintech companies.

 

Innovative Auditing Strategies

Audits are an integral part of confirming a business or company’s transparency. Companies are not always managed by their owners, so the owners can hire professionals to vet fiscal information and ensure all financial statements within a business are a fair and accurate representation of the business’s actual position.

This was traditionally a long and arduous process, but digitization has transformed it for the benefit of the auditor and company being audited. Technology is now an integral part of the auditing strategy, providing them with better access to company data and an improved means of investigating that data. The result can generally be a high-quality audit that delivers excellent value to stakeholders for peace of mind in their financial position.

 

Improved Customer Relationships

Artificial intelligence (AI) used to be something we feared when watching it take over in science fiction and horror films. Now, it’s a helpful and practical technology we can integrate into most industries and businesses, and something that we even reward companies for having.

AI regarding customer relationships has been a game-changer in many companies. A combination of machine learning and AI has allowed us to gather as much data as possible about our customers to understand them and provide a better service. We can also make decisions based on real-time data and provide hyper-personal and relevant services for customers.

AI has even enabled us to create chatbots that work alongside humans and make business practices more efficient. Chatbots have allowed customers to take care of minor issues by themselves, rather than relying on human staff members to step in and solve them. With this technology, businesses may notice increased productivity levels and efficiencies that may not have been possible before.

 

Money Savings

The cloud has been a primary driver in cost reductions, efficiency, flexibility, and scalability. Rather than spend tens of thousands of dollars housing bulky servers and being limited in data security and accessibility, businesses can now utilize this innovative technology and transform their business models in the process.

Many financial institutions have taken advantage of the cloud’s benefits and have undergone the great data migration. While there may be some risks associated with the cloud, the money savings have been enough to lure in millions of businesses in their droves.

Clients can choose the level of service they need, get rid of traditional hardware, and enjoy on-demand service. It has truly had a dramatic impact on financial services and many other industries.

As the years have passed, technology has become more advanced, and businesses have been transformed. While you may be aware of the role it plays in your everyday life, you may not have realized just how many companies have been able to streamline their services for the benefit of their bottom line and their customers’ experiences.

Finance market
ArticlesFinanceMarkets

Financial Market in Athens Now on the Road to Recovery

Finance market

The business world has previously reeled from the economic impact brought on by Covid. The financial-market implications of the pandemic has no doubt been huge but despite this, key markets in the Eurozone are now slowly recovering.

 

Economists’ Forecast Trajectory of the Recovery

In recent weeks, Greek economists have begun putting out more positive forecasts on Athens’ economic growth, With the Omicron now fully managed, reopening efforts have began and global supply chains are now slowly getting back in order. In fact, passenger traffic just increased by 50% despite the 2021 May lockdown in Athens.

 

Business Travel Also Projected to Rise

With passenger traffic soaring at its highest peak yet, business travel is also projected to increase. Using luggage storage in Athens is a simple way to enjoy all your stops in the city without the hassle and stress of hauling your luggage around with you. There are just a few simple steps to store your luggage for the day:

  • Search online for the best location to drop off your luggage
  • Book your luggage with that location
  • Drop off all your luggage
  • Begin your ultimate day trip!

 

Greek Islands to be Revived

The government has planned a structural revamping for Greek Islands’ transport system as early as 2020 which came in time in the revival efforts of its travel market. The government, in partnership with Volkswagen, is aiming for a more sustainable way to travel within the island especially since it’s slowly reopening its doors.

With such plans, you can now set sail and take an all-day cruise to the islands of Poros, Hydra, and Aegina in the Saronic Gulf.  While breathing in the salty sea air and stunning views of the three islands, you get to immerse yourself in the beauty and history of these Saronic Islands. enjoy these activities throughout your day:

  • Entertainment on board such as Greek dancing and music
  • A buffet lunch
  • Plenty of time to leisurely stroll the islands and shop
  • Opportunities for guided tour of the Temple of Aphaia on Aegina Island

On this all-day excursion, these islands take you back in time when you walk down the marbled-cobbled streets and take in the historic stone buildings. With no wheeled vehicles allowed, you can easily imagine that hustle and bustle of carts, donkeys, and mules on the island of Hydra.

 

The Economy of Athens

Athens, being the capital of Greece, has a rich economy and the same can be said of it’s culture and history. It experienced sharp downturn in 2020 when it comes to economic growth although it has been forecasted that it’s set to experience a five-year trend of increased economic freedom.

With the economy on the road to recovery, visits to historical sites in Athens are also set increase.The top sites to see in Athens include:

  • Acropolis of Athens: located cliffside above the city, holds some of the most significant ancient buildings of Greek history such as the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike.
  • The Temple of Olympian Zeus was a former temple dedicated to the “Olympian” Zeus who was the head of the Olympic gods
  • Panathenaic Stadium hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896 is the only stadium in the world built entirely of marble.
  • Mount Lycabettus is a limestone hill located in central Athens. You can take a railway that climbs the hill to the highest point in the center of the capital city.
  • Odeon of Herodes Atticus is a stone theater on the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens. It was built by Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasia. It was a venue for music concerts and now holds the Athens Festival each year from May to October.

 

Authentic Greek Businesses: Food, Trade & More

As a city rich in trading imports and exports, the city is no doubt alive with amazing food and goods selections. Mealtimes in Athens may look a little later than what you are used to. Lunch time is usually between 1:30 and 3:00, and dinner is usually between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. Some of the most touristy places will serve food at earlier hours, however you may not see many locals in attendance. 

Also, breakfast is not the most important meal in Greece and many places do not offer it. If you’re looking for restaurants where gourmet food is more important than the price, here are some of the favorites in Athens:

  • Aleria Restaurant serves contemporary Mediterranean food using the best seasonal ingredients and area known specialties. Their wine list includes top artisanal wines from local producers and from around the world.
  • Kuzina is located on a rooftop terrace overlooking the city and giving Acropolis views. The menu changes throughout the year, only offering a few year-round dishes. Dinner is served from 5:00 p.m. to midnight.
  • Geros Tou Moria is a 90- year-old tavern that serves classic Greek dishes while you enjoy music and dancing each night. You can sit outdoors under the grapevines with views of Acropolis or sit inside closer to the music and dancing.

If you’re looking for authentic but medium-priced food, here are some of the top options:

  • The Old Tavern of Psarras opened in 1898 and is known for their fresh seafood, meat, and vegetarian options. This casual atmosphere offers live music, house wine, and outdoor seating.
  • Kostas is known for their gyros and souvlaki in the heart of the city. They offer pork or beef with fries, fresh veggies, and their signature tomato sauce. This is the best option for food on the go as the seating is limited.
  • O Thanasis has the best gyros, souvlaki, and kebabs, and is also located in the heart of the city. They offer more seating along the pedestrian street just off the Monastiraki Square. If you’re looking for a restaurant with flexible hours, they are open all day from 9:00am to 1:30 a.m.

 

Market Outlook for Athens

From its economy to financial landscape, you now have everything you need to plan if you’re planning to invest or take a trip to the capital city of Athens. Whatever you decide, you can do so much more if you store your luggage all day in one location as you conduct your business.

Salaries
ArticlesFinance

How to Help Employees Stretch Their Salaries

Salaries

The number of people finding it hard to keep up with bills and credit commitments has doubled since the start of the pandemic, leaving many with an unsustainable burden of debt. Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows expenses are only set to mount, finding that households on low incomes will spend nearly on fifth of their income on energy bills by April.

With this comes a new source of stress and anxiety for employees, as well as a renewed impetus for employers to consider their staff’s financial wellbeing. Poor financial wellbeing can be a key contributor to several mental health conditions, and if left unchecked, it can start to affect employees’ ability to function at work.

To offer support during this time, employee benefits expert Sodexo Engage shares how  to help employees stretch their salaries and improve their financial wellbeing.

 

1. Financial education

Historically, financial literacy has received little time in the classroom, leaving many unaware of the risks associated with certain financial products. In fact, research conducted by Profile Pensions revealed that one in four millennials find pensions confusing, and more than half (53%) wish their employer would explain pensions and benefits to them.

Through financial education, employers can turn the dial and play a key role in making their staff aware of the options available to them – not just while they’re in debt, but also by advising on preventative measures for the future. Offering calculators and cost comparison tools can help employees work out the best approach for them and how much cheaper an alternative could be to their existing credit cards and loans.

 

2. Financial wellbeing services

While nearly a quarter (23%) of employees report their organisation has amplified their focus on financial wellbeing in response to the pandemic, the CIPD only found small improvements in activity to promote financial wellbeing other than signposting people to external sources of advice.

There is no shortage of financial wellbeing initiatives that employers can provide to close this gap. For instance, helping employees to access a loan, which is paid back through their salary, could be a welcome first step to achieving financial security. It also means that employers can offer loans to a greater range of employees than the high street and help them consolidate any debts that may have accumulated. Additionally, Christmas savings clubs and holiday saving programmes are other tools that can help people plan for a large expenditure and offer financial resilience.

 

3. eVouchers and cashback cards

eVouchers and cashback cards are another effective way to maximise the spending power in people’s pockets and ensure your employees can benefit from discounts on things that they really want. In a Mastercard survey, 41% even said gift cards were the top item on wish lists in 2021, highlighting their value to consumers today.

Employers can also offer their teams a cashback card, which gives them a percentage of what they spend on a purchase back in their account. Cashback cards are more than just a way for employees to treat themselves but can go a long way in cutting down the costs of everyday expenses. For an employer, they can also be used to reward your staff by topping up their card instantly to celebrate anything from long-service, an on-the-spot reward, or a promotion.

 

4. Salary sacrifice schemes

Salary sacrifice programs can be especially beneficial for employees, and often make much-needed services far more accessible. Salary sacrifice allows employees to deduct a portion of their monthly pay and put it directly towards an essential expense, such as childcare, a railcard, a new phone, or private health services. In fact, over half of British businesses are leveraging the salary sacrifice benefits available for workplace pensions.

Through salary sacrifice certain services are much more attainable, such as childcare, may be available at a reduced rate compared to those offered to the public. Many of these services can be essential support for employees and not only minimises their financial woes but reaffirms their value to an organisation.

 

Jamie Mackenzie, Director at Sodexo Engage, comments:

“The enduring cost of living crisis has left many feeling the pinch, making it crucial that employers support their teams with a truly holistic approach during this time. While a salary raise may seem like the obvious solution, it’s not the only way to help employees with their finances. Whether this entails taking the time to educate their staff or providing benefits that help stretch their salary, employers should dig deep to ensure their workforce takes the right steps to financially secure their future.

“It’s important to bear in mind that money woes can also be a leading cause of stress and anxiety. It can often result in poor physical health too, such as sleep loss or stress-induced headaches. As such, financial education or salary sacrifice schemes also play a key part in ensuring the overall wellbeing of a workforce and should not be neglected.”

Digital Marketing
ArticlesFinance

Omnichannel Sales or How to Raise Revenues to Help Finance New Projects

Digital Marketing

Sometimes, things change so fast that we barely have time to take the wave, or we simply miss it entirely. When you find yourself in the second case, it can be quite a long way to swim back, in order to catch the next one. Some companies found themselves in that position, in regards to omnichannel sales, and saw their revenues come crashing down. That means less money to finance new projects. Here is what you need to know so you stay afloat in 2022.

 

Omnichannel Sales: A Must in Today’s World to keep Wealth Afloat

If you want your customers to only call on your phone line or send you an e-mail, for any need they may have, then you have definitely missed something, over the last few years. Whereas before companies controlled their sales pipeline, directing customers to the communication mean of their choice, today customers hold the power and will contact them as they please, through the channel of their choice. And if they can’t do so, they will simply look for the product or service they need, elsewhere. That will translate into important loss of revenues, which is needed to finance the development of the company.

Omnichannel sales may seem like a blessing for someone that doesn’t know much about running a business, but for those that do, it can easily become the biggest nightmare they have ever face. How do you make sure you cover all bases, when there are so many? By controlling your online marketing. That means your social media outlets, your website, as well as the way you communicate through e-mails. And to do so, you can definitely use the help of professionals such as the ones you will find at https://www.12handz.com/.

 

A Change in Progress

It is never easy to keep revenues steady inside a company. Even less so in the digital era, with such a high level of competition around. But to think that the pandemic has created the huge change, that is omnichannel sales, would be wrong. For sure, it helped increase the tendency, as workers were doing their job from home, and thus preferred to be in contact with their suppliers in different ways. But it started years before, as a recent research from McKinsey showed.

Between 2016 and 2021, the number of channels used by B2B buyers has grown from five to ten. The study also indicated that two-third of B2B buyers now opted for remote human interaction or digital self-service, at various stages of their relationships with the company. That is what explains the need for the information to be made available and easily reachable. If a buyer “has to” call a company, instead of finding the information he needs online, this could be a sufficient issue for him to start looking elsewhere to buy that same product or service. And you know what that means: Less revenues to finance new projects and to support the current ones.

 

Understanding Each Customer’s Needs

The customers needs have to be addressed throughout the course of their interaction with a company. It starts when they first hear about it, and ends at the moment that they finally decide to buy. It is also true about the long-term relationship, which will have to be handled in the same manner. So how can marketing help to make sure that it all goes as planned? First, it should direct the customer where it wants it to go, and advertising is the best way to do so.

For example, if it uses one of its social media to reach new targets, it should be prepared to have them go somewhere on the main website, where they can get the information they will need, in order to understand what they can expect in the future. There, customers should be able to talk to someone, if need be. That is why there has to be some kind of chat line available for them to do so. Even if it is just an AI answering basic questions. If there comes a point where it can’t continue that conversation, it will transfer the information to a live person, who will then handle the customer’s request.

 

Every Channel needs to be connected

It is crucial that all channels made available are thought together, at the same time, so that they provide a smooth path for customers to follow. The smallest miscommunication between the various departments of the company, that speak with customers, can be a cause for losing them, and the revenues they bring in that keep the finances at a comfortable level.

This customer journey needs to be revisited regularly, to maintain order in the communication process. All the time, keeping in mind that looking out for each customer’s “happiness,” in its relationship with the company, is the main goal that needs to be followed. That way, your bank account can also be smiling, while new projects are being brought to life, so they can create even more revenues for you.

Card Payment
ArticlesFinance

Card Payments Vital for Side-Hustlers

Card Payment

YouLend research highlights the importance of remote and cashless payments for entrepreneurs running a business alongside their day job – for sales and accessing finance

The side-hustle phenomenon has taken off in the last two years, with recent data highlighted by embedded finance provider YouLend suggesting more than half of Brits with side jobs started their enterprise during the pandemic.  Responding to a risk of lost income during the pandemic is likely to have been a motivator for many of these ‘side-hustlers’. The rise of easy access to online sales platforms as well as the greater acceptance of card payments have also contributed to the growth of the ‘second job’ culture and YouLend research highlights the importance of remote and cashless payments to this side-hustle economy.

The new YouLend data found that 16% of all businesses are now side-hustles, and business owners with a separate main day job place more importance on online and cashless trade than other entrepreneurs.  Most entrepreneurs accept remote payments, although side-hustlers are more likely to do so – 86% of side hustlers accept payments online, over the phone or via email/SMS, compared with 71% of all respondents to the YouLend research.

Other key findings:

  • Online sales are vital to both types of entrepreneurs – 61% of side-hustlers and 68% of all respondents
  • Almost half of side-hustlers sell from home (44%), compared to less than a third (32%) of the average entrepreneur
  • 86% of side-hustlers accept remote payments, compared to 71% of all businesses
  • 70% of side-hustlers said card was their preferred method of payment compared to half of all businesses surveyed

The cash flow advantages of card acceptance are also more keenly felt by side-hustlers; 82% said card acceptance has a positive impact on their cash flow, compared to 42% of all respondents.  Selling online and accepting card payments also has advantages for side-hustlers when it comes to accessing finance for business growth.

YouLend research conducted in 2021 highlighted the shift in how SMEs that trade online are accessing the funding they need, and a shift that is particularly relevant for side-hustlers. Central to this transformation is the change in who businesses see as their key partners.  Taking over from banks, payment service providers and website/webshop providers are ranked as the most important business partners by SMEs. In this role, they are well-placed to provide access to finance as part of a merchant’s normal transaction flows.

“Payment service providers and website/webshop providers are well-placed to offer an embedded finance solution at the point where merchants need financing” explained Mikkel Velin, CEO of YouLend. “They understand their merchants well. And they can deliver a seamless experience because they have robust, real-time data on merchants’ trading activity which can be used by an embedded finance platform like YouLend to make tailored finance offers in minutes rather than days or weeks. The precise risk calculations and automation mean capital can be extended to a wide range of merchants, including side-hustlers, in minutes.  And, crucially, the financing is repaid directly from their sales, thereby helping them manage cashflow effectively.”

Business Investment
ArticlesFinance

Investing in Small Companies: The Top 4 Small-cap Stocks to Watch in 2022

Business Investment

Maxim Manturov, Head of Investment Research at Freedom Finance Europe, explores the growing popularity of small-cap stocks and the top stocks to watch in 2022

Investing in small companies can be a good decision. Despite their size, certain organisations will punch above their weight and generate substantial returns.

However, investors looking to capitalise on small-cap stocks should be aware that this type of investment often comes with risk. For example, smaller companies tend to trade less frequently than bigger corporations, meaning shares can be difficult to sell.

With this in mind, Maxim delves deeper into the rising popularity of small-cap stocks and why traders should do their research before choosing to invest. He also sheds light on some of the leading small-cap stocks that are likely to gain traction this year.

 

What are small-cap stocks?

Small-cap stocks are shares of a company with a total market value between £300m and £2bn. Like larger market players, investing in a smaller organisation can have substantial growth prospects. However, they tend to offer returns in the long term, as right now they lack the resources of larger-cap companies.

This can make them more vulnerable to bearish sentiment amongst investors, as well as negative developments. These vulnerabilities, in turn, can increase the volatility of a small-cap business. Investments in such companies are particularly risky during an economic downturn, as issuers are unprepared for sharply falling market demand.

It is therefore imperative for any investor looking to buy shares in a smaller organisation to do their research and diversify their investments wisely. Small-cap stocks are definitely something to consider, but they should not make up your entire portfolio.

 

The top 4 small-cap stocks to watch

1. PDC Energy (PDCE) is an independent oil and gas producer that is developing the Wattenberg field (Colorado) and the Delaware Basin (Texas). In 2021, crude oil prices posted their biggest annual gain since 2009 and the sector continues to recover in 2022. S&P Global Market Intelligence said PDC Energy received a strong buy consensus recommendation from 15 Wall Street analysts.

The average target price for PDC Energy stock is £60.7 (about 41% up). Market participants are positive about the asset base of this small-cap company, as well as its ability to generate FCF well above its weighting.

2. Tenable Holdings (TENB) develops software for the new cybersecurity category, Cyber Exposure. Tenable is changing the way we think about data protection by providing customers with information about the surface of a possible attack. In doing so, vulnerabilities extend not only to the servers and infrastructure of a typical corporate network, but also to assets such as cloud infrastructure, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and operating technology (OT), including industrial control systems.

A holistic approach to cybersecurity will help the company’s customers make effective strategic decisions in this area, as well as prevent and remediate threats. Tenable Holdings has an average target price of £58.8 (about 57% upside).

3. Coinbase (COIN) is a cryptocurrency exchange that is more of a mid-cap company. It makes sense to bet on it in the long term due to the fact that blockchain technology deserves approval. In the short term, however, Coinbase Global stock is one such asset that is currently ‘suffering’, despite the fact that it is the largest digital asset platform in North America.

 An investment in Coinbase can serve as a kind of diversification investment in the digital economy. In other words, if digital assets remain, COIN stock is a reasonable passive bet on the cryptocurrency market as a whole. The average target price for Coinbase stock is £294 (about 93% up).

4. DigitalOcean (DOCN) is a US-based open source cloud infrastructure provider. The company shows steady earnings growth: for the first three quarters of 2021, DigitalOcean’s revenues almost equalled those for 2020. Plus, DOCN’s operating cash flow is growing rapidly, while its losses are decreasing at a substantial rate.

DigitalOcean now has a global network of 8 data centres located in major data centres, including Frankfurt, Bangalore, New York and San Francisco. The provider is positioned to be easy to use, unlike competitors such as Amazon Web Services from Amazon. The average target price for DigitalOcean shares is £92.4 (about 107% up).

Alternative Investment
ArticlesFinanceStock Markets

6 Alternative Investments to Consider in 2022

Alternative Investment

The investment marketplace is broader now than ever before. Everyday investors aren’t limited to the traditional array of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Alternative investments once reserved for the very wealthy are finally accessible to smaller retail investors. And the landscape changes every day.

Which alternative investment strategies are most likely to pop in the coming year? In this article, Yieldstreet takes a look at six of the most promising investment possibilities outside the conventional marketplace. Some are proven sources that continue to pay off year after year. Others are burgeoning industries and practices that may emerge as mainstream investments themselves. 

 

1. Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is arguably the highest-profile alternative investment of the last decade. In 2021, the mania only got louder. Early investors in cryptocurrency enjoyed some great returns last year. Digital currency exchange Coinbase went public in April, a sign of the growing legitimacy of crypto. Bitcoin and Dogecoin hit their highest market caps yet.

But is it too late to hop aboard the cryptocurrency train? We don’t think so. While cryptocurrency is still a volatile commodity, its growing acceptance in traditional marketplaces is a sign that it’s inching toward the mainstream. Still, there’s ample room for cryptocurrency to grow.

You can’t be blamed for hedging your crypto bets until the market relaxes. And you should still be judicious with your investments, especially in “flavor-of-the-week” coins. But if you’ve been on the fence about cryptocurrency, this might be the year to take the plunge. 

 

2. Peer-to-Peer Lending

P2P lending is growing as a viable alternative investment. The concept is simple: investors lend money directly to borrowers without a financial intermediary like a bank. Lenders set their interest rates in line with their risk assessment. It’s a choice for those who need money quickly or have spotty credit records.

There’s an elevated risk in P2P lending. The lender has to factor in the chance that the borrower will default on their payments. But the P2P lending marketplace is accelerating. Some analysts expect it to reach a value of nearly $560 billion in the next five years, with an annual growth rate nearing 30%. Discerning investors may want to take a closer look into P2P lending this year. 

 

3. Fine Art

Fine art is traditionally viewed only as a potential investment for the very wealthy. But that belief is changing. Thanks to the openness of the digital marketplace, retail and smaller investors now buy artwork as long-term investments in more significant numbers than ever.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many traditional galleries to shift their marketplaces online. As a result, the art market unexpectedly grew by 15.1%, according to Motley Fool. Wealth managers embrace the trend and are increasingly recommending investing in fine art to their clients. 

 

4. Real Estate Investment Trusts

Private REITs let you invest in real estate that generates revenue without you having to do any of the grunt work—management, rent collection, upkeep, and so forth. After taking a hit at the beginning of the pandemic, REITs are starting to gain ground again.

Although the post-pandemic future is still a bit cloudy, investment experts expect an economic rebound. This includes some workers coming back to the physical workplaces after a couple of years of working from home, which bodes well for the prosperity of REITs, at least in terms of generating passive income. 

 

5. Cannabis

Cannabis continues to edge toward the mainstream. The recreational drug is rapidly shedding its stigma as many US states decriminalize marijuana use and possession. The cannabis marketplace is still volatile, as many stocks experienced a rollercoaster ride in 2021.

But the train has left the station. Cannabis industry data provider Headset expects the market to hit $45.8 billion in value by 2025. While the industry may spend the first half of 2022 shaking off last year’s unpredictability, cannabis investors may find the climate more palatable in the second half. 

 

6. Precious Metals

Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium are still considered to be safe bets in times of economic upheaval. In that sense, they’re not entirely “alternative” investments, but they still exist outside the mainstream marketplace. Especially as part of a self-directed IRA, precious metals still hold long-term value.

Investors who don’t like the relative illiquidity of precious metals can still take advantage of their value appreciation with exchange-traded funds (commonly known as ETFs). Gold, silver, and platinum ETFs are bought and sold on the exchange just like traditional stocks. They’re easy to buy into and just as easy to get out of.