So I’ve been harping on improving customer relationship lately and I know you’re probably tired of it. But people if you don’t already know you’re metrics then you need to get some training. Read up on things like customer retention, or attend a training group, or go to conferences. Do whatever you have to do to learn to acquire and take better care of the customers you have in order to improve the bottom line.
If You have any money issues you would like me to cover and keep updated on this blog please let me know by sending in your requests and I will act accordingly.
Personal loans are an excellent tool if you need to eliminate some of your high-interest credit card debt. Most personal loans offer fixed-interest rates, and you do not need collateral to secure the loan. However, the terms and interest rates on personal loans vary based on your credit score. If you have a good credit score, you will pay lower interest rates and receive favorable terms. Here are a few of the best lenders for personal loans if you have good credit.
Wells Fargo advertises annual percentage rates of 6.25 percent to 19.75 percent on personal loans. The loan sizes vary from $3,000 to $100,000, and the repayment terms can range from one to five years. If you have a credit score above 720, this long-established bank is a good choice. Wells Fargo offers competitive rates and the comfort of a big name lending establishment.
Lending club is not a traditional bank like Wells Fargo. Instead, Lending Club is part of a hot new trend known as peer-to-peer lending. Now operating in 48 states, Lending Club offers personal loans up to $40,000 with annual percentage rates that range from 5.99 percent to 35.89 percent. If you have excellent credit, Lending Club will offer you the lowers APRs. The repayment terms offered by Lending Club range from three to five years and two-year loans are available to individuals who Lending Club deem as the most creditworthy.
SoFi is another nontraditional lender that is best known for refinancing student loans. However, the company offers both fixed and variable interest rate personal loans with APRs that range from 3.38 percent to 6.7 percent. The company caps their variable rate loans at 14.95 percent, and the company does not charge any loan origination fees. The repayment terms range from three to seven years, and the loan amounts can reach as high as $100,000 for borrowers with excellent credit.
This peer-to-peer lender offers competitive rates that range from 7 to 12 percent and is willing to work with borrowers with credit scores as low as 600. The company is very transparent about the fees it charges for personal loans, and interest rates are very reasonable for borrowers with poor credit scores. Peerform’s loan amounts range from $1,000 to $25,000, but all unsecured personal loans require three-year repayment terms. The company makes it very clear what it will need from borrowers to qualify for personal loans.
As you can see there are plenty of personal loans for people with good and bad credit if you do your homework and compare what’s available. Check out the companies we’ve reviewed or contact us for some personal assistance in finding the best option for your situation.
Retirement. That far off Never Never Land that eventually (and hopefully) comes to us all. Many don’t know how much they should save for that magical time and truly, finding the answer isn’t easy. In fact, according to CBS News, no one right answer exists. What one person may need to feel comfortable will make other people feel like they’re just barely getting by. If you find yourself in this predicament, take heart. There are ways that you can determine how much you need to save for your retirement. Many of them are even actually quite simple.
1. Estimate How Much You’ll Spend
Nerd Wallet suggests that people look at their current expenses to determine how much they think they’ll spend in the future. There is a caveat to this, though. Dave Ramsey, author of the book “The Total Money Makeover,” suggests that people try to get completely out of debt, including paying off their homes. It’s better that this happens before retirement. If you are able to completely pay off all your expenses before you retire, then your monthly payout will necessarily be much lower than it is today.
Really, then you need to ask yourself what your bare monthly minimum is. That might only include cash for food, repairs, property taxes, and insurance plus a few incidentals. Whatever that number is write it down. That’s the base you’ll start from.
2. How Much Will You Save and For How Long?
CBS News tells its readers to start saving earlier rather than later in their adult lives. For example, if you started saving by the time you were 25, you’d need to save 15% of your income to retire at sixty-two. However, the longer you wait to start saving, the more you’ll have to save. If you don’t start saving money for retirement until you’re 45, you’re going to have to save 44% of your income if you want to retire at sixty-two.
The power is in the use of compound interest. The longer you save the more money you’ll get in interest, which will compound over the years, giving you even more saving power than you would have had from your income alone.
3. Use a Retirement Calculator If You’re Not Sure
A retirement calculator is designed to get you from here to retirement based upon your projected spending and savings needs. You can learn a lot about how much you’ll not only need to save but possibly to invest in order to have enough money to retire on. You’re able to plug in different investments amounts – 5%, 7%, etc. – to see how each plays out over a number of years.
4. Signs You Might Be In Trouble
Sometimes, it still feels like flying in the dark, especially if you have no experience with this sort of thing. You may have a better idea if you’re saving enough or not by your behavior and not your bank account.
Here are a couple of signs that you’re a bit off track, according to Go Banking Rates. One, you don’t really know what your saving rate is. Two, you struggle to pay your medical expenses and other bills. Three, you have too much debt, credit card or otherwise.
Finally, if you don’t have a concrete number in mind for retirement, you’re not prepared. There is a difference between saying, “I want to retire comfortably,” and “I want to retire with two million dollars in my retirement accounts.” If you can’t point to a specific goal like that and know how you’ll get there from here, you’re not ready for retirement.
Final Thoughts on Saving for Retirement
If you’re at the point where you’re trying to figure out how much you need to save for retirement, know that there may not be just one right answer. The ability to know how much you need is dependent on a number of factors, including knowing how much your expenses are. However, at some point, you should figure out an exact figure to shoot for, whether it’s $500,000 or five million.
Additionally, you’ll need to save for quite awhile if you want to have a good nest egg. It’s best to start savings in your 20s because you won’t have to save as much of your income each month. The later you wait to save for your retirement, the more you’ll have to save.
Finally, using tools like a retirement calculator can tell you how to plug in different variables to see where you’re at with your savings. If after all the steps you’ve taken you still don’t know if you’re on the right track for retirement, it might be good to talk with a financial advisor to make a plan.
Investing in the stock market is one of the best ways to build long-term wealth. While most people consider investing in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, trading options is often overlooked. While there is risk and complexity that comes with buying and selling options, there is also a significant amount of profit potential.
Prior to starting to invest in options, a trader must first understand what an option is. An option is a contract that provides you with the ability to buy or sell a certain amount of shares of stock at a set price at some point in the future. To buy and sell options, you will first need to open a brokerage account that allows it. Most brokerage accounts will allow a novice investor to trade options, but it will often come with limited margin capabilities.
Once you have been approved for an account, you will need to visit the Options Chain of your brokerage firm. Once you have entered the options chain, you will be able to search for a wide variety of available contracts. If you believe that stock XYZ is poised for growth in the near future, you should search for that stock in the options chain. Your brokerage firm will then show you all of the option contracts available.
If you believe that stock XYZ will increase in value, you should purchase a call option on the contract. The options chain will tell you when the option contract will expire, what the strike price will be, and what the call price will be. The call price is essentially the fee that you will pay to buy the contract. This means that the stock will need to increase in value to a point that is in excess of the strike price plus the call price.
For example, if stock XYZ is currently trading for $25 per share and you believe it will increase, you may want to buy a contract to buy it at $27 per share, but will also incur the $1 fee. If the stock increases in value to $30 per share, you will make a profit of $2 per share. If it increases to $40 per share, you will make a profit of $12 per share. This essentially provides you with an unlimited profit potential. On the opposite side, if the stock deceases in value, all you will lose out on is the initial call fee.
While it is important to focus on the strike and call price, you also need to focus on the expiration time. Option expirations can range from a few days to several years. In general, the longer the expiration, the more the fee will be. If the stock does not increase in value to bring you to profitability before the expiration, you will lose the entire initial fee.
College often spans across four or five years or much longer in some cases. In an ideal situation, your car would make it through these years without issue, and you would be able to trade it in for a newer, nicer model after you land your first career job. In many cases, however, college students must purchase a car while still attending classes. This can create a challenge for some because of factors such as an unestablished credit history, high debt balances, a low down payment, a spotty job history and more. While it can be a challenge to get a car loan in some cases, rest assured that many college students are able to find numerous types of bank loans for their needs.
Saving For a Down Payment
Buying a car is not usually an overnight process for many people. After you have decided that you need to apply for a car loan, you must analyze your financial situation to determine if you have sufficient funds to make a sizable down payment. It is ideal to make at least a ten to 20 percent down payment. However, you do not want to drain your savings account doing so. Many will need to save up for a few months before moving forward with their buying plans. Keep in mind that a decent down payment will keep auto loan payments low, may help you to qualify for a better loan and may prevent you from being upside down in your car.
Choosing the Right Car Loan
As you work on saving money for a down payment, you can explore loan options. Many of the best auto loans with very attractive rates require you to have an established credit history, a stable source of income and a good down payment. If you do not meet these criteria, you may consider finding a co-signer, such as a parent, to be on the loan with you. If this is not an option, there are high interest auto loans available. These should be used with care because the loan payments can be higher and more difficult to make. In addition, the loan balance can be more challenging to pay off, and you run the risk of being upside down in a car as a result.
Having a Loan Repayment Strategy
Some people are so thrilled to find a loan that they can qualify for that they eagerly rush through the application process and take ownership of the vehicle. However, after you sign the loan documents, you are responsible for making the regular loan payments. If you fail to do so on time, you risk damaging your credit and potentially having the car repossessed. Before you sign loan papers, review your finances for the present as well as for the future throughout the life of the loan. Ensure that you have a strategy to make each loan payment, including periods when you may not be working.
A car loan can provide you with a convenient way to pay for a vehicle you need. It also can help you to establish a great credit rating. Follow these helpful steps to proceed with your upcoming vehicle purchase successfully.
A savings account is a good place to stash money you want to save, but a brokerage account is a must if you want to invest your money. Brokerage accounts allow you to hold many types of investments, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange traded funds (ETFs). Here’s what you should know about how a brokerage account works.
Brokerage Account Explained
A brokerage account is a taxable account opened with a stock brokerage firm. With a brokerage account, you deposit money into the account and use it to acquire different investments. In exchange for executing buy and sell orders, the stock broker receives a commission. A brokerage account is almost always necessary if you want to invest, although you can purchase mutual funds without a brokerage account.
There are no limits on how much money you can put into a brokerage account, unlike an IRA or 401(k), and no restrictions on when you can access your money. Depending on the holdings you choose, you may owe capital gains taxes, dividend taxes, and other taxes on your earnings.
A brokerage account allows you to acquire and sell many types of investments. The most popular include:
How it Compares to a Savings Account
- Common stocks that are ownership stakes in a company
- Preferred stocks that don’t usually offer a percentage of the company’s profit but pay higher-than-average dividends
- Bonds like U.S. Treasury bills, notes, corporate bonds, and tax-free municipal bonds
- Mutual funds which are pooled investment portfolios owned by many investors who can buy shares in the portfolio or the trust that owns the portfolio.
- Exchange traded funds (ETFs) which are mutual funds that trade like stocks
- Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) that represent pools of real estate-related assets, usually with specialties.
A diversified investment portfolio held through a brokerage account generally provides a much higher return than interest from a savings account. This benefit is enjoyed over the long term, whereas an interest-earning savings account is unlikely to even beat inflation.
Key differences between savings accounts and brokerage accounts include:
- Cash in a savings account is FDIC insured up to $250,000 (per insured bank, per person)
- There is no FDIC coverage for investments, although brokerage accounts offer SIPC coverage of up to $500,000 per institution per person ($250,000 limit on cash in a brokerage account)
- Savings accounts earn interest on deposits rather than access to investment options
You can usually get a checking account from your brokerage firm with the ability to set up automatic transfers (from your brokerage checking or another bank).
Cash vs Margin Brokerage Accounts
You will need to choose between a cash and margin account type when you open a brokerage account. The most common is a cash brokerage account that requires you deposit cash and securities by the settlement date to complete transactions. This type of account won’t allow you to borrow money for trading. With a margin account, you can borrow money and trade on margin. For example, you may only have $10,000 cash in your account, but you can complete a transaction for $13,000 with the margin option. Margin brokerage accounts can offer benefits, but they usually aren’t recommended for beginners due to the risk. With a cash account, you are only risking the money you already have and you can’t go below $0. This isn’t true with trading on margin.
This is just an introduction to how brokerage accounts work. There are many types of brokerage accounts to explore, including online discount brokerage and full-service brokerage accounts, depending on your needs. Make sure you consider your investment goals, strategy, and investment experience when choosing a brokerage account.
Due to increasing costs of living, the desire to purchase consumer goods, and any number of financial setbacks, it can be easy for someone to get into debt. Unfortunately, the high costs of credit card debt can make it next to impossible to pay off the balance. In many cases, the best way to pay off a lot of credit card debt would be to take out a personal loan, which normally comes with lower interest rates and fees and allows your to consolidate your debt. There are several types of personal loans that are ideal for helping people get out of credit card debt.
Mortgage Refinance and Cash Out
One of the most effective ways to consolidate your debt is to take out a new mortgage. If you have owned your home for awhile and have paid back the loan as agreed, there is a good chance that you have accumulated some equity in your home. Even if you have a poor credit score, there are many lenders that would be willing to provide you with cash out mortgage, which will provide you with financing up to 80% of your home value. Any excess funds that you have above 20% equity will be provided to you as cash and could be used to pay off other debts. In many cases, this means that you are able to replaced high-interest credit card debts with low-interest mortgage debt.
Debt Consolidation Loans
Another way to pay off your loans is to get a debt consolidation loan through a consumer-lending agency that has a good reputation. There are many local, state, and national programs that are designed to help people consolidate their debt into one, lower-interest loan payment. In the majority of situations, this will result in a lower interest rate and fixed monthly payment, which will provide you with a scheduled repayment plan. Some of the best places to get a debt consolidation loan is through credit counseling agencies, peer-to-peer lending firms, and even traditional banks.
If you have a lot of credit card debt, another option would be to open a new credit card and roll all of your debt onto the new card. In order to attract new customers, many credit card providers offer free debt rollovers as a reward that goes along with opening a new card. For those that have good credit, credit card rollovers often also come with a period of zero percent interest on all new balance transfers. If you believe that you could pay off the balance during this introductory period, this could be the most affordable debt consolidation option. However, if you expect that it will take longer to pay off the outstanding balance, it is important that you understand what the interest rate will be after the introductory period is over.
Bankruptcy can be devastating to your credit rating in many cases, although some people actually find filing for bankruptcy boosts their credit score because all negative marks now fall under one. Once your bankruptcy is discharged, it’s important to take stock of your credit report and begin taking steps to improve your credit. Contrary to popular misconception, bankruptcy won’t destroy your financial future and you can start rebuilding your credit with the help of credit repair companies. In fact, it’s possible to get approved for a mortgage just 18 to 24 months after bankruptcy. Here’s what you need to do.
Before you do anything, order free copies of your credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion at AnnualCreditReport.com, the only place to get your free credit reports under federal law. Make sure there are no mistakes on your credit reports and dispute any you find. After bankruptcy, debts that were discharged (including medical and credit card debt) can no longer be reported as past due or unpaid. All discharged debts should be reported with a zero balance and discharged or “included in bankruptcy.” Be sure you check any unfamiliar debts as they can be discharged debts that were bought and sold to a third party.
Start with a Secured Credit Card
A secured credit card is an easy way to establish new credit history. Once your bankruptcy is discharged, you will be able to qualify for most secured credit cards, which work just like regular credit cards except they require a deposit that is usually equal to your new credit limit. With your new secured card, make small purchases occasionally and pay your bill in full and on time every month. Make sure you never use more than 15% of your available credit limit.
A secured card is one of the best strategies for boosting your score because you can get approved as soon as your bankruptcy is discharged (and you have the money for the deposit). Just make sure you don’t rush into getting a card with unnecessary fees. Many secured cards have no annual fee, but you don’t need to pay more than $29 for an annual fee. Compare offers and check if the card has any application and processing fees you will need to pay that will eat up your credit limit. It’s also a good idea to confirm that the credit card reports to all three major credit bureaus.
Apply for a Credit Builder Loan
Many credit unions offer credit builder loans that can help you improve your credit after bankruptcy. These loans don’t work like other loans: in most cases, the bank loans you a specific amount (usually around $1,000) that is put into a CD. You won’t be able to touch or spend the money, but you will need to make monthly payments toward the loan for one year. Your loan payments are reported to credit bureaus to improve your credit. At the end of the loan term, the money in the CD is yours. This strategy doesn’t just improve your credit; it can also help you save money.
About one to two years post-bankruptcy, your credit score should have improved to the point where you can apply for a car loan or line of credit. Make sure you do this cautiously; while you will still likely pay a higher interest rate than someone who does not have a bankruptcy on their file, you should be able to qualify for an affordable loan.
A college education is one of the most important investments one can make. However, the cost of a college education is something most people don’t have the cash to pay for. Therefore, student loans are important for funding the high costs of a college education. When it comes to student loans, there are only two choices; federal student loans or private student loans. Each has its advantages, but private student loans could be the better option for you.
Better Lending Rates.
Private student loans are based on credit scores, and if your score is good then you could get a better interest rate compared to federal student loans. A quick search of the leading lenders of private student loans reveals that private student loan interest rates are currently below 2.5% for qualified borrowers. (https://studentloanhero.com/featured/5-banks-to-refinance-your-student-loans/) Current rates for federal student loans are 6.8%. Since there is competition among lenders to fund private student loans, you can find private student loans with low interest rates, no lending or origination fees and a variety of options for paying your loan back.
Loans Not Based on Income
Federal student loans are based on family income. Students must demonstrate a financial need in order to receive loans. Private student loans are not income based, and you can get money for college regardless of family income. This greatly benefits students that are paying for college without their parents help, even if the family income is too high to qualify for federal loans.
Federal student loans have annual lending limits that are unrealistic and don’t cover the entire cost of a college education. According to the U.S. Department of Education, first year students can only receive a maximum of $5,500 for their first year of college. The loans limits only increase slightly, $1,000 for each subsequent year with a maximum of $7,500 for upperclassman. Private student loans will fund the real costs of getting a college education so that students can focus on school rather than how to fund the rest of their education. Private student loans will usually fund up to the cost of attendance, which is an advantage for those schools that cost more to attend.
Overall, private student loans offer more advantages and better benefits to funding the entire costs of a college education. Interest rates are lower, lending limits are higher and you can get a private student loan even if your family income is too high. The smartest decision one can make is to get a college education. The second smartest decision is funding that college education with a private student loan.