Search Results for: business

How to Improve Your Chance of Getting the Business Funding You Need

Getting business funding is not always an easy feat. Whatever kind of business you are starting, chances are you need funds to get it off the ground and achieve your business goals. Even though it’s easier than ever to start a business these days with next to nothing, there comes a time for all business owners when additional funding is required in order to hire employees, launch marketing campaigns and grow the business. So, how do you improve your chance of getting business funding?

Go to the Right Lender

There’s no point in going straight to the bank for a business loan if it’s unlikely that you are going to get accepted. If you are trying to get funding for a brand-new business or a business that has not been trading for very long, there’s a high chance that the banks are going to say no, simply because of the fact that you have very little in the way of financial records. An alternative small business lender might be a more suitable option that’s more likely to be successful. Check here for more information.

Improve Your Business Plan

If you do not have a solid business plan, the first step before applying for funding is to get one. Lenders will want to see your business plan as proof that you are planning for the future in terms of your finances, and that you have a plan in place for when it comes to how you are going to invest any funding that you get and ensure that you are able to repay it.

Check Your Personal Credit Score

When your business has nothing or very little to speak of in terms of financial records, lenders are typically going to look at the next best thing; your personal credit score. If you have a poor personal credit score or a history of missing repayments in terms of your personal finances, lenders may see you as higher risk since they will worry that the same will happen when it comes to your business lending. It might be necessary to take some steps to repay personal debts and improve your credit score before you start thinking about borrowing money for your business.

Consider All the Options

Along with borrowing money from a bank or small business lender, there are some alternatives that you might find worth considering when it comes to getting the funds that you need. For example, you might want to think about pitching your business idea to an angel investor, using a crowdfunding app to get funds from the general public, or even asking your family and friends to invest in your business – all of which can be viable options compared to borrowing and might be easier for you to obtain in some situations. Weigh up and carefully compare all of your options so that you’re sure you’re making the right decision for your business.

At some point, most businesses will need funding to reach the next level – but business funding is not always easy to get. Keep these tips in mind to improve your chance of getting your business the finance it needs.

Share

How Sole Traders Can Separate Their Personal And Business Finances?

Sole traders are more than just individuals; they’re business people who are self-employed and running their own business alone.

As a sole trader, it can be easy for your life to become entwined with that of your business, as it means that your finances become combined and you find it difficult to separate a business expense from an individual one.

This can make your life difficult, particularly when it comes to paying taxes, creating budgets and accurately assessing how much money you’ve spent on your business over a period of time.

To help, here are some practical ways you can divide your business and personal finances as a sole trader and make both facets of your life enjoyable.

Use An App

There are a variety of apps out there that are designed to allow you to track your business expenses, invoices and more, meaning that you can accurately log your business finances in one place and keep them separate from your personal expenditure. This will make accounting easier and allow you to track how much money your business is costing.

Be More Careful With Money

It sounds obvious, but when you become a sole trader you need to be more careful about your spending in general. Learn ways to save money, such as buying some items in bulk and avoiding using tempting, but hard to keep track of spending methods, such as contactless. This approach will help you to save money and keep your business and personal finances under control.

Keep Your Borrowing Separate

In the finance market, there are personal and business loans, but in some cases services like overdrafts and credit cards can make the lines between borrowing for business and personal use blurry. To avoid any confusion, take out dedicated personal and business loans instead of using short term financing options. This approach will save you money and time in the long term. Check out https://www.citrusloans.co.uk/ to find a selection of personal loan options to suit any personal need, so that you don’t end up using your work credit card or dipping into savings designated for your business.

Mark Every Transaction

If you have several transactions in your bank that you are unsure of, then you’ll be unable to accurately plan your spending and completely understand your business’ cash flow. As such, you need to make sure that you label every transaction accurately and are clear about where all of your money comes from.

Create Separate Budgets

Draw up a personal budget alongside your business one, and make sure that you stick to both. This will show you how much money you have to spend, and where you need to be spending it. In both your personal and business budgets, you need to make sure that you leave a little money aside for emergencies, and some to be put into a savings account to accumulate and help you prepare for any serious emergency expenses that you encounter.

Learn To Do Your Accounts Yourself

Doing your accounts might seem time consuming and boring, but it’s an important part of running a business. It will teach you to appreciate the value of money and understand the rate of tax you need to pay for every pound you earn. Whilst it might be tempting to outsource your accounts, doing them yourself will allow you to price your services accurately and learn a valuable skill that will stand you in good stead throughout your time in the business market.

A Business Bank Account Is The Ultimate Way To Separate Your Money

Unlike other forms of business, as a sole trader, you’re not legally obliged to have a business bank account, and as such in the beginning, when you first became a sole trader, you might not have thought it necessary to open one. After all, it was just more hassle and work for you at an already busy time. However, now that your business is up and running, with more transactions, it will be tough to keep your business and personal money separate without a business account. Business bank accounts also offer a wide range of additional benefits for your company, making it easier for you to conduct your business and provide your clients with the services they want.

Separate Your Savings Too

As well as your current account, budgets and borrowing, you should also separate your savings when you become a sole trader. Create a separate account for your business savings, so that you can reinvest your profits into your business and prepare for the future. Alongside business banking options, there is also a wide range of business savings accounts on offer so that you can separate your personal and business savings.

Being a sole trader can be a serious challenge, but by using these tips you can be organised, separate your finances and make your accounts easier.

Share

Small Business Investment Opportunities That Aren’t Risky

There are many business investment opportunities that can give you a chance to be your own boss. Being a handyman is one of them and the best part is that your investment and risk are minimal.

Are you tired of working for somebody else? Well, if that is the case it might be the time to put your entrepreneurship skills and ambition to good use. Many would like to start their own business. However, it is easier said than done. Starting a new business demands funds and specific skills. At first, this might sound intimidating but hold on! Don’t give up before you even started. There are some great small business investment opportunities for you. All these suggestions demand minimal investing, which minimizes your business risk.

How To Put Your Handyman Skills to Good Use?

Some people just have a knack for fixing things. So, why would you put those skills to good use? To be an official handyman you might need to obtain a license and you might need to get registered. These types of regulations are largely dictated by the state that you live and work in. Your startup costs would include tools. In addition to tools, you need to be mobile. The best vehicle for a handyman is a pickup truck.

Appliance Repair Specialist

In order to pursue this business investment opportunity, you need to be a handyman with a supplementary set of skills. Therefore, you would need to have knowledge of appliances and their inner functioning and mechanisms.

Appliance Repair Specialist business

To fix appliances you must have a greater understanding of how they work.

Smartphone Repair Expert

We all have smartphones and we drop them, hit them and do all sorts of things that might damage them all the time. Thus, it is no surprise that smartphone repairs are in demand. Investing in a toolset might be all you need if you have the necessary skills. If not, you might need to take a course. Be aware that the demand is there, but so is the competition. Big producers of such hardware, like Apple and Samsung, will be your biggest competition. Still, you can be very successful in this line of business, but you might need to start off with lower prices in order to attract new incoming business.

Smartphone Repair Expert investment opportunity

People have their entire life on their phones, so imagine their panic when it gets broken. The demand for smartphone demand will only continue to grow.

Business Investment Opportunity in Web Development

Many business owners are too busy to work on their business’ websites. Also, some might not have the skills even if they had the time. You would need to write content, make sure the information on the website is up to date and all other activities that are included in website maintenance. To do this you would need to have some sort of background in this or similar field. The great thing about this business option is that you can work from home, which is a pretty great workplace benefit.

Pour Your Creativity into Your Own Blog

If you are a word wizard, becoming a professional blogger is an excellent business investment opportunity for you. You would write a blog about something that you know and something you are passionate about. For example, if you are an expert in all things beauty related, you will not start a blog on digital marketing. You will write about everything related to beauty. The way you will make money is through direct advertising. The more eyeballs you have on your blog, the more advertisers you will attract. This is another great business opportunity that can come to life from the comfort of your home.

Resume Writer

Your resume is the first thing your future employer sees that represents you and your past business ventures. Of course, you want it to be as impressive as possible. In today’s tough and competitive job market, people are willing to pay good money for professional assistance on their resume. To do this, you must have good writing skills and some type of knowledge of editing. It might take you time to build up a client base, but once you get the ball rolling you will have clients coming at you left and right.

SEO Expert

SEO experts are focused on your website’s content and your SEO ranking. The following obligations fall under this popular job description: keyword analysis, Google Analytics, writing content, staying up to date on current SEO trends and strategies, etc. To be able to run this type of business you would need to have related prior experience. Nevertheless, there are classes that you can take, but you will have extra costs related to your additional education. Once your business takes off you will need a website for marketing purposes. The great thing is that you will know how to work on your website’s SEO ranking.

Wedding Planner

Those that have a background in hospitality or event planning might have a bright future as wedding planners. If you top that with great communication skills and a bubbly personality, you are golden. However, be aware that wedding planners are always on the move. You cannot do food tastings and venue research from home. Also, weddings die down during the winter months. Yet, this is not true for cities like Los Angeles and Miami that are warm all year round. Thus, you might want to move if you plan on seriously entering the wedding planning business. For those that need professional and reliable assistance during their relocation visit movingkings.com.

Wedding planning for small business investment

Put your communication skills to good use and start a wedding planning business.

Professional Photographer

You can be a general photographer, but you can also specialize in something. For instance, you can be a wedding photographer or a fashion photographer. For those that want to dive into this business investment opportunity, but they do not have relevant experience, they can start off as an assistant to a more experienced photographer. Professional equipment can be expensive, but once you invest in it, you will be covered for quite some time. Investing in this type of equipment would be a great way to spend your last bonus check.

Do You Have An Idea on How To Turn Your Skills into Cash?

As you can see there are many small business investment opportunities that do not carry a big risk. It is important to realize that every investment carries a certain amount of risk, so you always need to think twice before diving into a business opportunity. It doesn’t matter how small or big it is, always keep your eyes wide open.

There is no doubt that you will pick the best possible business venture to dedicate yourself too. Make sure you are dedicated, determined, persistent and patient because every business will demand these qualities out of its business owner. Happy investing!

Share

What is Bad Debt Expense in Business?

Finding your way through the ins and outs of owning your own business can be difficult, but extremely rewarding! Along the way, you will not only find new and interesting ways to create profits, but you also learn a lot about business expenses and debt. Bad debt expense in business is one of those things that can hurt your business, but you may not have any idea what it is until it is too late!

So what exactly is bad debt expense? Much like learning how to calculate the cost of debt, or even learning how to file your taxes properly, bad debt expense is a part of doing business. In order to make that clear to you, here is a breakdown of examples, as well as steps you can take as a business owner to avoid it!

Defining Bad Debt Expense

Unless you’re an accountant or have been in business for years, defining bad debt expense can sound intimidating. However, once you understand exactly what it is, and how it can affect your business, then it’s quite simple!

Defining Bad Debt Expenses

Your company’s accounts receivable will be where you should be looking for bad debts expense. It can also be called “doubtful accounts expense”, or even “uncollectable accounts expense”. This means that your business has provided goods or services to a customer on credit. Unfortunately, when the time came to collect on that credit, the customer did not pay what was owed.

However, this doesn’t mean you get to just go after the customer for the amount owed legally. Bad debt expense is basically when the customer is no longer able to pay. This is generally due to things like bankruptcy, going out of business, or other unfortunate issues.

How Do You Account for Bad Debt Expense?

Finding how to both report, file and account for bad debt expense in your business finances doesn’t have to be tricky. They are typically sorted as either general administrative expenses, or even as a sales expense. However, bad debt expense does create an obvious obstacle for your accounts receivable!

In addition to losing goods and/or services, your accounts receivable will also be out of balance. Although businesses can always retain the right to collect the amount due if the customer’s financial situation changes, your business is in the red for that account for now.

Two Main Ways to Recognize Bad Debt Expense

Within your company’s financial records, there are two primary ways to acknowledge bad debt expense:

  • Allowance Method: This means that your company will take steps to predict this type of expense before it happens. The losses can be calculated into expected income for the year. Therefore, a company can avoid an account overstatement. This can be calculated from previous losses of this kind from the company, as well as from other companies in the same field.
  • Direct Write-Off: This is a method of dealing with bad debt expense that is extremely straight forward. Instead of calculating the non-payments into their overall budgets, businesses can write off the expense. All in all, this means that uncollectible funds are written off as a base expense by the business. However, this method can lead to more difficult accounting in the future for many different reasons.

Within your business, how you deal with bad debt expense is completely up to you. Not to mention what is best for the company as a whole.

write-off debt

Avoidance and Modern Business

All things considered, it’s extremely difficult to avoid bad debt expense in the modern business world. When dealing with many different clients, or even different companies, it’s extremely difficult to predict their successes or failures. That being said, there are a few ways to avoid this expense altogether.

As bad debt expense only occurs when dealing with credit for customers, you can simply avoid this expense by not dealing in credit. Simply allow for payments to be made upon receipt of services, or goods.

Because businesses allow customers to receive goods or services on credit, they run the risk of this debt becoming uncollectable! However, this isn’t always a black and white, clear picture kind of decision to make. There are a lot of reasons why you may allow a customer to receive credit from your business, as well as whether or not you aggressively collect those debts.  

Finding Your Way Through Bad Debt Expense

Altogether, owning a business is filled with many ups and downs. From learning how to deal with people one on one, as well as wading your way through corporate takeovers, finding your way through bad debt expense doesn’t have to be a challenge! You can find great ways to collect debts, to deal with clients, but some expenses can’t be avoided.

Overall, how you deal with your bad debt expense is up to you and your business. Whether you prefer the direct write-off method, the allowance method, or trying your hardest to avoid it altogether, there are a variety of paths! However, you can’t predict how well, or how poorly your customers will do. Bad debt expense is simply one of the many, many costs of doing business in the modern, credit-driven world.

Share

Stocks Vs Index Funds: The Benefits of Trading Stock Indices

The world of trading has never been more accessible; anyone who wants to begin trading in stocks, shares, and other financial instruments can now do so with ease. However, before you begin trading, you need to know what you will be trading and how to trade it. In this article, we are going to take a look at two of the most prominent forms of trading – stocks and shares trading, and index fund trading.

Investing in Stocks

When you buy stocks and shares in a business, you essentially become a part-owner of that business. Each stock and share will represent a fraction of ownership. As you would expect, the amount of money you can make, either through the sale of stocks and shares or through dividend payments, is proportional to the portion of the business that you own. Conversely, should the business run into difficulties or fail completely, your financial liability will be proportional to the number of stocks and shares that you own.

Investors that trade in stocks and shares might be on the lookout for new businesses that show extraordinary promise, and can therefore produce extraordinary returns on relatively modest investments. However, they might also be looking out for already established businesses that represent a safer bet, albeit with a reduced potential for massive returns.

Trading in stocks and shares is relatively simple; the underlying principles are easy to understand even if you have no previous experience with investing. It is also easy to appreciate the risks and rewards involved in trading stocks and shares. While individual businesses are obviously impacted by wider market conditions, investors who are new to trading only need to get to grips with a relatively small range of data in order to assess whether a business is worth investing in or not.

Investing in Index Funds

An index fund is different from stocks and shares. It is essentially a collection of individual stocks that is designed to track a specific index. In the parlance of investors, stock indexes are usually referred to as a “basket of stocks.”

An interesting feature of stock indexes is that you don’t actually have to own any of the stocks within the basket in order to trade them. There are also stock indexes that are pegged to a specific category of stock. One of the best-known examples of this is the Nasdaq index, which is comprised entirely of non-financial companies.

The Benefits of Trading Indices

stocks

There are a number of reasons that many experienced investors prefer trading indices to trading individual stocks and shares. The most significant benefit of trading stock indexes over individual stocks is diversity. Because stock indexes incorporate a variety of different stocks, investors are somewhat shielded from the impacts of one business or market suffering losses.

Trading stock indexes that are based in different locations and markets enables traders to keep trading 24/7, which is beneficial to investors who want to conduct their trades at specific hours, such as part-time traders who are supplementing their main income with trading.

While trading in stocks and shares is the best place for a new investor to start, there are a number of good reasons to eventually graduate to trading stock indices. Regardless of what you trade or how, it is essential to research beforehand so you know exactly what you are getting into.

Share

3 Secrets Of The Pro Traders In The Forex Market

When it comes to the secrets of pro traders in the Forex market, there aren’t really rules or tricks of the trade that can apply to everyone. Because everyone is different. Not to mention everyone has different training and backgrounds and feelings towards trading!

So whether you’re trying to avoid burnout with your current trading strategies, or you simply need a new perspective, here are some secrets that pro traders use every day!

Strategy and Implementation Are Only a Small Part

Having your personal edge, your strategy, as well as learning how to implement those strategies will only be about 25% of your work. You need to educate yourself on the “Ins and outs” of the Forex trading world. Understand terminology, research market behaviors, as well as comprehend the technical analysis of the market.

research secrets of pro traders
via https://pixabay.com/photos/laptop-computer-browser-research-2562325/

Because not everyone has the opportunity to go to school for finance, there are a lot of ways you can do the research for yourself. Firstly, you can use online resources. There are many trading sites where you can read more about Forex trading from professionals. Not only that, but also find audiobooks and e-books written by trading professionals online.

Not to mention you can go to your local library, as well as take online courses. All things considered, there are lots of ways to learn and study the secrets of pro traders!

You Need an Edge

All in all, you can read books on market strategies and understand market behaviors, but when it comes to actually trading, you need an edge. An Edge is a Forex term that means you use all of the tools in your tool belt to create your own personal strategies. The best kept secrets of pro traders can sometimes be something as simple as knowing when and WHY you are trading a stock.

Here are some of the things that can help you create your own ‘edge’ over the market:

  • Technical analysis
  • Support and resistance
  • Researching market behaviors
  • Account management
  • Large portfolio
  • Diversified portfolio
  • Understanding retail and market trends

Finding your edge may mean having a detailed understanding of the retail industry, or reading social media trends, or being in tune with technical analysis of the market. Understanding the difference between investing in Index Funds, as well as understanding WHEN and WHY to invest are equally important!

Because there are so many different ways to get an edge and get ahead with your personal perspective, finding your unique trading style doesn’t have to be hard!

Find a Mentor

Trading can sometimes feel like a very lonely profession. However, one of the best kept secrets of pro traders is that finding a mentor is key to your future success as an individual. Sure, you are the one who will be dealing with your own portfolio, but learning from other professionals is a GREAT resource for your future income.

find a mentor
via https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-blur-boss-business-288477/

Finding a mentor in this profession doesn’t have to be hard. Here are a few things you should do in order to find someone who will take you under their wing and help you start tracking your net worth and success for the future!

  • Proper Vetting. You can’t just train with some random person off the street! Do the research to find the right professional who will fit your style of trading, as well as someone who is successful in the industry!
  • Pay for Their Time. Finding a mentor isn’t going to be easy. Not to mention it may not be free! So be willing to pay for mentoring sessions, as well as advice.
  • Knowing the Ideology. Find one person, work with them closely, understand their unique ideology, and you can find success.

All things considered, there are a LOT of different approaches you can take to trading. However, finding a mentor that can take you down a singular trading path, and help you be successful is very important! We all aren’t experts overnight.

The Secrets of Pro Traders Just for You!

Now that you’re aware of some of the “secrets” of pro traders, you can start to find success in your trading! All in all, finding the right mentor, knowing your edge, and understanding more about the Forex market will be your best weapons against and ever changing market. Keep these secrets of pro traders close and you’ll find your own success in no time!  

Share

Most Effective Debt Recovery Solutions

Looking for an effective debt recovery solution?

Collecting money from people who are in debt to your company, is never a fun task. Going after the money you are owed can create unnecessary trouble for you and your business. That’s why there are debt recovery solutions available to take the stress out of retrieving the money owed.

You will find this helpful: 4 Interesting Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

However, the debt you are collecting is indeed owed to YOU. As a creditor, it is legally your right to attempt to collect the debt after a missed payment. Unfortunately, there is only so far you can go before you move from debt collection into debt recovery.

What Is Debt Recovery?

Debt recovery is when a debt has gone unpaid for a long period of time. As soon as the debt has been unpaid for an extended period, the creditor, or company, hires a non-biased third party to recover the money owed.

Debt recovery is different from debt collection. Debt collection is when you as the creditor attempt to contact the consumer. After the loan, or bill has gone unpaid for an extended amount of time, it is time to bring in the professionals!

Effective Debt Recovery Solutions In the Modern Age

If you are a consumer, ignoring your debt, you no longer live in a world where you can rip up the bill and be done. Maybe you fell for a minimum payment plan, or fell on hard times. Regardless, your debt follows you all over the world!

Digital Footprint debt

As digitizing has made credit scores, as well as recent contact information more available, you simply can’t outrun what you owe!

As a creditor, there are several debt recovery solutions that are extremely effective today. Find a debt collection company that will not only include these strategies but also use all of them in order to close the account!

Finding the Debtors

Collecting up-to-date information on the debtors is vital to debt recovery. However, this information isn’t just about physical addresses!

Here are a few things a good company will uncover about consumers:

  • Phone number
  • E-Mail address
  • Most recent address
  • Commercial Information

Being able to locate, as well as contact a debtor attempting to run out on their debts is one of the most practical and necessary debt recovery solutions!

Creating Debt Recovery Solution Priorities

A good debt recovery solution is finding the right amounts, as well as knowing you can collect them! Altogether, this means that if a debt seems to have the potential to be repaid, industry specialists will likely prioritize collecting this debt first.

Technology allows for this to be done not only with by researching consumer patterns, but also experimenting with new collection strategies. Prioritizing certain collectable debts will not only get you your money faster, but it will also keep the debt recovery company in business!

Digital Collection and Virtual Recovery

All in all, the internet and your digital footprint make it easier and easier for debt collectors to find you. This means that if you are a creditor, you will not only WANT digital debt recovery solutions, but you may NEED them.

Debt Recovery Programs

There are a growing number of programs available to different debt recovery companies. These technological advancements will not only allow for your debt to be collected, but will also help to discover if the debtor is in a better place to pay more on their debt!

Using the information that is practically alive on the internet will be an invaluable way to collect the debts you are owned.

debt recovery solutions company

Debt Recovery Platforms

There are also companies that use digital platforms to collect debt, but also allow consumers to negotiate payment plans, pay back their debt in a timely manner, and do it all online! Using available technology to collect, as well as pay off debt!

The Most Effective Debt Recovery Solutions Are Always Fair

When it comes down to the wire, as a creditor, you want to collect the money you are owed, but you should also be able to keep your company’s hard-earned profile. Finding fair, legal, and effective debt recovery solutions will help to not only get your money to you faster but keep your company in consumer’s good graces!

Find a debt recovery company that will incorporate all of these debt recovery solutions. Avoid the burnout and hire a professional! Because you want the best solution so you can be on your way to getting paid!

Share

Why Creating Systems Trumps Motivation

I vividly remember the first time I saw Rocky as a kid.  Just a lowly local fighter, Rocky Balboa had to go through so much to get ready for his big fight with the champ Apollo.  After watching the iconic training scenes of him running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, punching giant slabs of meat until his hands bled and doing those grueling one handed pushups, I was so pumped to try to be like him.

So the obvious next step for me was to start running up stairs and punch things day and night.  I would be the best boxer this world has ever seen. After 2 or 3 days of this rigorous training, I slowly fell back into my normal routine and completely forgot about becoming the best boxer in the world.

But I didn’t just forget.  I simply lost my initial burst of motivation.  That little spark that got me off of my couch was great for those first few days. But there was no structure or foundation behind it so it quickly fizzled out.

If I seriously wanted to become a real boxer, I would have done found a coach and schedule boxing sessions at a gym regularly throughout the week.  Since a strong training foundation was never built, my initial burst of motivation was destined to fail.

Motivation is Finite

This same phenomena can be found in the world of personal finance.  We’ll watch an intense movie about stock picking or read an inspiring post about someone who paid off massive amounts of debt.  This will get our juices flowing and we’ll just go out there and do some things for a short while. But it will usually fizzle out in the end.

Relying solely on motivation is not the way to get ahead financially.  In fact, I would say that getting motivated and failing over and over will simply get you so depressed about your financial situation that you might just give up on improving.

But it can get better.  And the way it can is by having a framework or system in place that will keep you financially secure without having to constantly draw from your finite well of motivation.

It’s important to realize that this is THE ONLY way to get ahead financially.  Whether you’re looking to build the next billion dollar company, want to increase your investment contributions or just track your finances, you need a system that will make it easy to reach your goal.

And there are so many financial goals out there.  Setting up a budget, saving for retirement or college, starting a successful freelance business, getting a world class education to increase your income.  These are all worthy financial goals that require a systematic approach in order to find success.

Just Get Started

As mentioned before, setting up a systematic method of attack is the best way to achieve your financial goals.  And it’s not even that hard. It just takes a few upfront steps and some experimenting to get your system right.

In fact, setting up systems is much easier than relying on brute force motivation to achieve your financial goals.  It gives you a path to follow and you just plug along day after day.

Here are some basic systems everyone should have for various aspects of their financial life.  These are easy for almost everyone to implement so give them a try if you haven’t already:

Automatic Bill Pay:  We all have the same bills to pay.  Electricity, water, rent/mortgage, tuition, daycare etc.  Keeping all of these bills in order and remembering to pay them off month after month can be a chore.  Having a stack of papers and writing checks and mailing letters is not a difficult task, but it takes up precious time.  You increase your chance of missing a payment this way which can incur fees and possibly ruin your credit.

Instead, take some time out to set up automatic bill pay.  Most companies allow this by entering your checking account info on their website.  If they don’t have that capability, almost all checking accounts have an online bill pay feature which allows you to send a check to any address at no cost.  

Set these up to occur at regular intervals and you will never have to worry about keeping your routine monthly bills in order.

Saving and Investing:  Whether it’s investing for retirement or starting a rainy day fund, most people’s strategy is to just throw whatever they have leftover at the end of the month towards savings.  And considering that more than 75% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, this is not going to amount to much.

A much more effective way to save is to have a certain amount of money deducted from your checking account into your investment or savings accounts at regular intervals.  This allows you to grow money at a constant rate and will create a sort of “scarcity mentality” that will not allow you to spend money you don’t have.

This can be done a number of ways.  Almost all employers will automatically deduct 401(k) contributions before your check even hits your account, so that one’s pretty easy.  But if you have your own personal investment or savings account you are in charge of, you can easily set up a direct deposit from your checking account at any interval you choose.

Personally, this systematic approach to saving and investing has had a major impact in my life.  I know myself, and I would never consistently put money into my investment accounts if I had to do it manually.  Automatic investing is so easy to set up and is such a game changer I would recommend it to every single person.

Even if you can only start with $20 per month to contribute to your savings account on a regular basis, I would still recommend it.  It’s better to start somewhere than not begin at all. You can always increase your contributions later.

Tracking your Spending:  Gone are the days of balancing your checkbook to make sure you have the right amount of money in your checking account.  You can do almost everything personal finance related online nowadays, and tracking what you spend is certainly no exception.

Instead, I recommend leveraging the power of technology to set up a system to track your spending.There are so many websites and apps out there that allow you to track what’s coming in and what’s going out.  All you have to basically do is connect your accounts (checking, savings, credit card etc.) to the website and they will usually display your transactions on a nice little dashboard. You can then see exactly where your money is going.

I personally prefer Personal Capital.  You can not only track your spending, income and debt accounts, but it gives you a nice detailed look at your investment accounts as well.  You can see in which sectors you may need to invest more in and if you’re paying too much in fees. It’s pretty much a one stop shop for your finances and they are always improving their product.

Investing in Yourself:  While no one is going to directly pay you to do some yoga, investing in yourself is essential to being financially successful.  Self investment can come in so many forms such as exercise, taking classes, reading and meditation.  You have to find the areas that are important to you and your finances and work on them consistently.

Again, you can use technology to set up systems towards your self improvement.  And it doesn’t take much. You can simply set reminders on your calendar when you want to do some reading or exercise.  Or you can block out a certain time of the day to perform your self improvement tasks.

It’s especially important to set up systems for this.  Self improvement tasks fall under the “Non-Urgent but Important” group of tasks.  This makes it easy to justify taking care of the latest “emergency” before you get to your self investment time.  Don’t fall into this trap that and make investing in yourself a priority by setting up a solid and executable plan of action.

Conclusion

I would argue that not setting up systems for your finances is the true reason people don’t reach their goals.  Most people rely solely on willpower and motivation to try to make their situation better, but that really is a limited resource.  

Setting up systems of action is how giants like Oprah, Steve Jobs and Kobe Bryant became wildly successful.  They found a system that worked for them and kept at it until they got what they want.

The vast majority of Americans are living a paycheck to paycheck life because they don’t know where their money is going and they are not saving or investing enough.  These two huge problems can be solved by setting up systems that make personal finance as easy as a late round Rocky comeback.



Share

Dancing is Not a Good Investment Strategy

If your investment strategy was a dancer

1/11/2019:  I thought this would be a great time to re-post this, since many people are starting to dance with their investments!  There has been some ups and downs in the stock market the last month or so, and it’s making people do weird things.  

I’ve heard many people say that they are stopping their retirement account contributions or moving some of their stock positions into bonds or money market accounts.  Don’t do these stupid dance moves! 

Making investment decisions for retirement money based on a few weeks activity is almost guaranteeing that you will retire with less money.  Just keep contributing and rebalance as you have been, and you will come out on the other side smelling like a rose.

Investing is a patient man’s game.  This applies to almost any type of investing including real estate and stocks.  In general, if you’re investing for the long term (more than 10 years), the best strategy is to have a great plan and stick to it.

Unfortunately, many impatient men (and women) are investors.  This means many plans never make it past the first big market drop.  That’s usually when panic sets in and investors do something short sighted.

A 2015 study proves exactly this.  The study shows that we are our own worst enemy when it comes to investing.  And no other reason even comes close.

Let me set the stage by showing you the study results and what we can learn from them.

People are Not Good at Investing

I recently wrote why many investors are their own worst enemy when it comes to their investment performance.  While the subject of this post is similar, after reading the results of the aforementioned study I felt a separate post was needed.

The study was conducted in 2015, and at the time the S&P 500 Index had a 30-year annualized gain of 10.53%.  That means that every year for the last 30 years, the S&P gained an average of 10.53% per year.  Some years were way more and some years were way less (think 2008).  But on average, a nice 10% return every year.

What this means is that an investor who simply held an S&P 500 index fund for the last 30 years should have returned 10.53% minus fees.  Let us say this investor had some crazy fees which brought the return down to 8%.  Paying high fees is annoying, but 8% is still not a bad overall return.

According to the study, the average investor didn’t do this well.  In fact, they did a lot worse.  The study found that the average investor returned 1.65%!

1.65%!!!???  They might as well have put all that money into an online savings account and saved themselves the stress of investing.

This means that the average investor is probably not using index funds.  And if they are, they are using the wrong ones or are just going in and out of investments way too much.  I think the latter is the culprit for most investors.

Dancing In and Out of Investments

“Since the basic game is so favorable, Charlie and I believe it’s a terrible mistake to try to dance in and out of it based upon the turn of tarot cards, the predictions of “experts,” or the ebb and flow of business activity. The risks of being out of the game are huge compared to the risks of being in it.” -Warren Buffet in his 2012 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders

(The basic game is investing and Charlie refers to Charlie Munger, Buffet’s partner at BH.)

As Mr Buffett explains in this quote, “dancing” in and out of investments is very risky.  I firmly believe this is why the average investor does not even come close to the returns of the S&P 500.

But why does going in and out of investments produce such poor returns?  Shouldn’t we always be looking to get out of our investments when things get bad and find some better places to put our money?

The answer is yes, we should be looking for better places to invest.  But the best place to invest is usually in an index fund that follows the overall market.  And it’s almost impossible to find another group of investments that does better than the overall market on a consistent basis.

And by dancing in and out of investments, most people are actually buying high and selling low.  We should always try to buy low and sell high!  People usually panic and sell investments when things get bad (sell low), and then they try to buy into investments that everybody is saying is “safe” (buy high).

A great example is the recent Brexit vote that will lead to the UK withdrawing from the European Union.  It was expected that the stock market would fall after the vote was yes, and it did just that.  The day after the vote was final, the S&P 500 dropped 66 points, which was about a 3% loss.  Not a huge drop, but pretty decent.

But if you turned on any form of financial news, you would think the Four Horsemen were arriving.  Predictions that the international markets will be in turmoil for years was the theme of the day.  The S&P actually did fall about 1% more the next day, which lead to more doom and gloom.

But about 10 days after the Brexit vote, the S&P 500 was right back to where it was before.  And as of now, 2 months after the vote, the S&P 500 is about 3% higher than it was pre-Brexit!

The Big Takeaway

What this all means is that if you were one of those investors who panicked and sold some stocks after Brexit and then bought more stocks when the market rebounded, you were dancing in and out of the market which means you were selling high and buying low.

And this is why the average investor averages returns a little over 1%.  As the study showed, just owning an S&P 500 index fund for the last 30 years and not doing anything with it would get you a 10% return.

The best course of action for investors who don’t want to make stock picking their full time job is to formulate an index fund strategy that is appropriate to your investing timeline.  Pick the funds.  Rebalance the funds every year so they don’t get too out of wack.  And then leave it alone.

You will be a better investor than the majority of America.

Share

How to Lose Friends and Scare Away People

red stapler

Many people have read the popular book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  This book came out way back in the 1930’s but is still read by many today.  This book can teach you how to effectively network and connect with people to form meaningful relationships, in both your personal and business interactions.

It’s one of those books that teach you new things every time you read it.

But this post is not about all that syrupy good stuff.  This post is about the exact opposite. I will share a guide that will make sure you stay unhappy and stuck in your dead end job for a very long time, or even lose your job altogether.

It outlines the steps you need to take to ensure that you can effectively alienate both your family and friends while being scorned by co-workers at the same time.  It’s a rare skill to be able to lose friends AND scare away people, but I’ll show you how it’s done.  (This is all sarcasm by the way. Well most of it)

1.  Be late.  For everything.  It is said that time stops for no one.  It’s time to prove them wrong.  There are many places and people that expect you to be on time.  Your boss and your clients.  Mom and dad.  Your spouse.  Even your kids may expect you to be on time so they’re not stranded in front of school in 20 degree weather.

What gives them the right?  Take your time wherever you go and in whatever you do.  Deadlines and panicked phone calls from your children can wait.  You have more important things to do.  Time is a limited resource, so keep as much of it for yourself as you can.  (Reality: Pick your kids up if needed.  Don’t make your wife wait.  Ever.)

2.  Networking is for dweebs.  Who has time to network when there are so many shows to watch on Netflix?  You love your current job, but not that much, so talking to others in your field and keeping current on your skills should be the last thing on your mind.

Besides, who wants to be one of those guys that’s always shaking hands with people and smiling?  Not this guy.  (Reality:  Yes, you should make sincere and strong relationships with those people in your industry who make more than you or know more than you.)

3.  ALWAYS pass the buck.  Don’t be the “go to” guy in your workplace.  People will be asking you to do all kinds of stuff that you frankly don’t feel like doing.

If a client asks you to do an urgent project, first try to convince them that it’s not really that urgent, and if that doesn’t work, ask them to give the project to what’s his name down the hall.  (Reality: Try to be indispensable to your clients and supervisors.  They’ll greatly appreciate it because they’ll have to do less work.)

4.  Read a lot less.  There is this perception out there that successful people read a lot.  While this may be true, it certainly doesn’t sound like fun.  Reading hundreds of pages of material relevant to your field will take the excitement out of everything else in life.

If you know so much about your area of expertise, where are you going to get the rush of possibly making a bad decision?  Leave the reading to the librarians.  (Reality: Keep current on your field by reading relevant blogs or journals.  You’ll at least know when your field will become obsolete.)

5.  React to EVERYTHING.  All those people you work with and those clients you serve are out to get you.  Whether it’s your bobbleheads, awesome desk chair or even your red Swingline stapler, the world wants to see you pay and take your things.

This is why it is very important to react to every little thing.  And react HARD.  Throw objects, swear loudly, storm out of the room and, ideally, all three at the same time.  Every little sideways glance and convoluted comment that could be about you needs to be addressed.  These people will not stop until you’re out on the street.  (Reality:  People don’t have time to worry about you so don’t go crazy about everything.  They’re too busy worrying about themselves.)

These are my top 5 ways of being an anti-Dale Carnegie.  I’m sure there are many, many other ways I could think of to lead you down the path of the social pariah, but all this typing is hurting my fingers.  If you would like to share your own ways of losing friends and scaring away people, please feel free to share in the comments.

Share