The Dollar's Death Spiral

The Dollar's Death Spiral

The ownership of physical gold was banned in 1933 by President Theodore Roosevelt. Eleven years later at the end of WWII allied powers were finally victorious in the creation of an international monetary treaty in Bretton Woods New Hampshire. In 1944, the Bretton Woods Agreement was born where it was agreed upon to use the dollar as if it were gold by backing the dollar with real gold at 10% using a pegged value of $35.00 per ounce. The U.S. dollar also became the world's reserve currency, allowing other central banks to hold and borrow dollars which backed their own local currencies.

The U.S. dollar then could be redeemed only by central banks and in effect was a scheme for various currencies to conceal fixed exchange rates among each other and gold. There was however one big problem to the price fixing of different assets. Assets need to be relative to each other, however when one of the assets becomes undervalued it is then horded while the overvalued asset is quickly discarded. Later it was discovered that when the US government fixed the price of gold for the Bretton Woods system at $35.00 per ounce, the price was too low. Thus central banks increasingly redeemed their dollars back for gold.

The problems with central bank redemption's became so severe, that in 1971 President Richard Nixon was forced to do something to stop it. So he closed the gold window by defaulting on the gold obligations of the U.S. Government. Becoming effective immediately, gold was completely out of the monetary system. Now and forever forward, plunging the world into the dollar system. Now the U.S. dollar was backed by nothing, thus turning the world's reserve currency into fiat currency. One of the after effects however, allowed for exchange rates for the various paper currencies to float against each other.

The after effect of the floating exchange rates created other problems, one being to steal people's money by siphoning off their savings. The word "floating" is deceitful, as there is no desire for, or system in place, for central banks to ratchet up the value of their respective currencies. A government system that involves a floating currency is also a system that is capable of either slow or fast currency debasement. So in effect we now have all governments "in a race to debase" by a single currency dropping in relation to others, or sometimes, other currencies falling in relation to it. This is extremely destructive.

Sadly currency devaluation also creates other after effects such as reduced investments and reduced growth. Savings are simply not possible when the instrument saved is in un-redeemable paper. Saving begins with the wage earner, who puts away a percentage of his or her earned wages while consuming less than he or she produces. Thus stockpiling its value until such a time the person is ready for retirement.

Along the way it can also be beneficial to loan out some of the savings through investing with the intent of increasing the quantity of money at the end. However loaning out some of the savings is not necessarily essential for this concept to work. The important point is that the value be carried over time. Gold and silver will achieve this, while fiat currency savings instruments will not. The encouraging value in hording gold and silver is that they attain positive values. Fiat currency only produces negative values through debt and debasement while in the end fiat currency will default to zero.

Personal savings using fiat money is distorted into speculation. Citizens are forced from one asset bubble to another. During investment bubbles it always ends up with the blind investor in the rearview, while those who managed to be at the front, end up receiving the wealth transfer that the asset bubble produced. In America, investors who purchased homes between 2004 and 2008 were caught up in the middle of the housing bubble.

Many of these investors have not yet recovered, while those investors saving dollars in bank accounts during the same time will not have lost as much value to date. However these "savers" are not out of the woods yet. Once the markets finally wake up to the fact that their cash deposits were in actuality, backed by mortgages on houses worth from 25 to 50 percent less than the real value of their mortgages, these savers will considerably lose more.

The absolute best way to protect your assets from the dollar's debasement without having to be an expert in markets, finance or investment is through ownership of physical gold and silver. Think of it as both a savings account and insurance policy for the future, with no counter-party risk. Your assets will be protected regardless of any economic uncertainty, including severe deflation or the destruction of paper money through hyperinflation.

Tom Genot -

The Downside of Saving Money

The Downside of Saving Money

Money is ever shrinking and It is not getting any bigger. The Fed's have even recently had the deal with the whether the debt ceiling should be raised. When something is going to reach a ceiling, you know something is wrong.

Inflation is ideal and in the norm at 3% a year.

This is the total increase of average prices or goods. Seeing an increase in gas from 3.00 to 4.00 a gallon does not mean that the economy is experiencing inflation.

Over the pass 5 years are so, we have actually experienced lower than expected inflation. In comparison to previous years, this is good for the dollar; however, it's still bad news for people who have most of there money stocked up in saving accounts.

Inflation means the average rise in prices for consumer goods and services. What does this mean of the U.S. dollar?

The U.S. dollar begins to becomes more worthless.

An example would be this: You pay an average internet bill of 30 dollars last year. This year the bill is up to 40 dollars. The reason for this could simply be that they need to money to invest in better technology. Another reason that some would state is that the dollar is weaker and can afford to buy less. A better example would be .5 cent candy, compared to the now .85 cent candy.

Its not because of increased technology or debt either from technological investments.

For instance, Hershey's Profit margin has gone from about 3.5% in 2007 to around 10% in 2012

My suggestion to you is to purchase things that will rise with or even better than inflation.

This being Stocks, Bonds, Bank notes, ETFs, Mutual Funds, CDs (Certificates of deposit).

Suggestion for new investors: Invest in Mutual Funds, where fund managers have a set selection of stocks that are proven to rise annually whether it be from 7% to 15%, anything is better than losing to the power of inflation.

Better yet, anyone making under $112,000, or between $178,000 to $188,000 with a spouse can open a Tax-free retirement account called a Roth IRA. A Roth IRA is very similar to a 401k; however, it isn't something that your employer offers. It is an individual account or a shared account which you may share with a spouse. Currently, it has a maximum annual contribution limit of $5,500 ($6,500 if over 60). The account can't be accessed until the age of 59 and 1/2.

Infrastructure Stocks Create Exciting Investment Opportunities

Infrastructure Stocks Create Exciting Investment Opportunities

The stock brokers involved in the financial services industry always have the same piece of advice for their clients, diversify and scatter the money across various investment opportunities, that way if one doesn't turn out as everyone expects, you won't have lost everything. In addition to investing in stocks and bonds, you should consider financing some infrastructure projects.

Investors have truly started to realize that there's more available than just Wall Street for investing their money. More and more investors have expressed interest in global infrastructure funds. What investors like you will enjoy about becoming involved with these types of funds will be that they're more stable than other investment opportunities and enjoy having additional backing by the government. Best of all, they have the kind of growth that makes investing exciting.

What Are Infrastructure Bonds?

It's important to note that infrastructure investments differ from purchasing traditional stocks. To begin with, instead of investing in a company that's already established, you will be investing in a public project that has generally been created by the government, though some private companies will occasionally have an infrastructure stock to sell. Typical infrastructure projects include building airports, public parks, apartment buildings, museums, and parking ramps. The upfront costs of these projects will be high, which is why lots of investors are required.

Possible Tax Breaks

If you decide that infrastructure bonds sound like an exciting investment opportunity, it's in your best interest to look for a project that has the government's backing. These projects have a greater chance of reaching completion than some privately managed programs, and will usually provide a significant return on your investment. The best part will be that, according to Section 80 CCF of the Income-Tax Act your investment could be eligible for a fairly significant tax break.

Not everyone will be able to claim the tax break. The government wants to encourage large investments, something that will really help the project get rolling; therefore you'll have to make a minimum investment of Rest 5,000. The average return on this type of investment ranges from 8-10%.

When you decide to start using your money for financing projects you need to be prepared to stick with the investment for a very long time to come. In addition to the high start up costs, the projects looking for backers almost always have very long lives. It could be years before you'll get a return on your money.

There Aren't Any Guarantees

Although the odds are good you'll make a nice profit on your infrastructure investment, you shouldn't let yourself think it's a sure deal. Sometimes the projects fail to meet early expectations and the return on the investment will be disappointing. Careful, in depth research helps decrease the odds of you losing the money you invested, but you still need to be careful that you don't invest more than you can afford to lose.

There's one huge, emotional perk to investing in an infrastructure that you simply won't get from stocks and bonds. You can always visit the structure and bask in the knowledge that you helped create something permanent and special that thousands of people will be able to enjoy.

Why Do Traders Use Forex Indicators?

Why Do Traders Use Forex Indicators?

It is very important that you understand the different types of graphics in forex trading as it is with them that most professionals work.

An indicator is a program (or algorithm) that reads the history of graphics and uses this information to indicate the probability of what might happen. It sends signals to determine the input and output of market time. It can also tell you when you shouldn't take any action.

Unfortunately if the indicators were the only answer, there would no longer be a market but only success stories.

In an ideal world, we would choose an indicator with which we feel comfortable and we would simply act according to the signals it provided us with. But we do not live in an ideal world and all indicators have their limitations (some traders do not even use any technical indicators). Chartists (traders who deal with the help of graphics) use more than one indicator in most cases and are looking for the perfect combination to try to predict trends. However, as different indicators can give contradictory results, one must be extremely cautious. The problem is much bigger when you do not really understand the messages send by the various indicators.

As previously mentioned, indicators are computer programs and therefore do not take into account decision making, which is a key of course, for successful transactions in the foreign exchange market. Remember that the best tool at your disposal is between your ears. Unfortunately, many beginners (and even some experienced traders) do not take the time to learn the proper function of each indicator, and blindly follow different signals without really understanding the meaning.

Why Use Indicators?

If used correctly, indicators can complete the analysis and supplement to the reading of the charts. While trying different indicators, or a combination, you get to know what is best for your style of trading and help you make your decisions.

Finally, if your choice is to trade with only one indicator, you will know, in a short time, whether it brings results and how it reflects and predicts the market prices. After that, you can develop your own judgment to interpret the signals given. If it seems too difficult to analyze the countless existing indicators, you can choose from, like most traders, restrict yourself to a number of twenty of the most common ones and pick the most popular such as: moving average, stochastics, MACD, etc.

Note that more indicators we include the more information and the more the confusion. A good way to start is to use the points of support and resistance and Bollinger bands.

How You Can Utilize Debt Consolidation to Your Advantage

How You Can Utilize Debt Consolidation to Your Advantage

Feeling bogged down by fast accumulating debts? Pulling your hair out, trying to clear all the piling debts, only to find yourself falling deeper into the ditch? Then debt consolidation can be answer to your most pressing financial troubles. Dealing with bad debts can be a harrowing experience, with seemingly no respite on the horizon. However, with sound strategy and die-hard dedication, you too can lead a debt-free life.

An overview on debt consolidation

The concept of debt consolidation is simple: you take all your existing debts and merge them in manageable source, to better handle your liability. Few highlights of debt consolidation - low interest rate, easy repayment terms, low risk factor and improved credit score. Debt consolidation will be designed after careful evaluation of your overall financial condition making it easier for you to be at par with your debts. Furthermore, you do not require pledging any collateral to consolidate your loan.

Lower interest on debt consolidation

Debt consolidation is not without its fair share of pitfalls. Although it might seem convenient to pay all your debts in a single monthly-sum, it does not make it any less expensive. This is especially so when you are dealing with unsecured loans with higher interest rates. Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to slash back the rocketing interest rate.

Go for a home equity loan. With home equity loans, you will enjoy the lowest interest rate possible; this is because the loan is secured with your property as mortgage, reducing your chances of defaulting.

Shop around for low-interest debt consolidation. You can literally save thousands of dollars by simply comparing interest rates from different lenders. Before opting for any loan, make sure to carefully read the terms involved, so that you are not taken off guard by hidden charges.

Consider opening a new credit card account. Many credit card companies offer 0% rate of interest on balance transfer. However, remember these offers are introductory that will not last more than 3 to 6 months. During this term, you can work on repaying your loan. At the end of the introductory period, when the company starts levying interest on you, you can simply open a new account or transfer your balance to some other company.

What debt consolidation agencies do?

When deciding to consolidate your loan, your agency plays a pivotal role. Here is a look at the type of agencies and the role they play.

Debt settlement - The agency will work with your creditor to lower your loan amount. All the overhead charges will be eliminated; an easy repayment plan will be worked upon, helping you tackle your debts better.

Debt consolidation - A simple bank loan acts in the stead of consolidation loan. You can put up collateral to lower interest on loan or opt for unsecured loan if you have good credit standing.

Debt counselling - These agencies conducts workshops on money and debt management, helping you to handle your liability in a sound manner.

When feeling overwhelmed with debts, don't hesitate to seek assistance of a credible agent who can you with your problems.

Behaviors That Will Change Your Life - Part Three - Live on One Paycheck

Behaviors That Will Change Your Life - Part Three - Live on One Paycheck

If you are a two income family, always save and invest the smaller income. Of course you will have to implement the first two behaviors into your stream of consciousness, but getting to the place where you can bank the entire net income from a spouse's income (or, in the case of a single person, the net income from a second job), you will increase your potential for a successful retirement plan immensely. If you only earn one income, do not create a second income with credit. Secure a second job, if possible, as this will allow you to restrict the use of credit as a second income. The key to focus on is to always try to put something away in savings. My wife and I were able to develop this behavior before she left the work force entirely. It totally changed the financial landscape. We lived on my paycheck for several years and banked her entire net income. Always combining finances, living below our means, and saving and investing my wife's paycheck has allowed us to improve our retirement planning beyond our wildest imagination.

Reality being what it is, you might have to build up to the point where you can develop this behavior. If you currently cannot make this paradigm shift right now, that's alright. However, you should make it your strategic goal to work your way towards this behavior. If you develop the second behavior of living below your means through the financial priority system discussed in the second behavior, you will eventually achieve this strategic goal. It is going to require you to think differently, act with purpose, and maintain a level of discipline concerning your finances. When you have the ability to live on one paycheck in a two income family, the doors of opportunity open a little wider. You will have the security of knowing that a job loss is not as much of an emergency as it used to be. Saving the net income from a second income source will create a buffer between you and life. The longer you are able to maintain this behavior, the greater your ability to capitalize on the three factors associated with solid financial planning, which are time, amount, and rate of return.

These first three behaviors focus on your interactions with your income. Combining incomes increases the amount of financial resources available for investment. Living below your means will preserve more of that income. Living on one paycheck builds discipline into your spending and investing behaviors. For some who are reading this book this is common sense. For others, developing these behaviors will require large paradigm shifts and a need to reframe your current relationship. However, if you want to make positive impacts to your retirement planning, you need to begin to view the world from a different perspective. One of the best ways to manage this transition is to work closely with a professional life coach that specializes in this area. A recent study cited in the prestigious Public Personnel Management Journal stated that 98.5% of coaching clients said their investment in a coach was well worth the money(70% of clients said their investment in a coach was very valuable.รข€¨28.5% said their investment was valuable). Do not underestimate the power of a focused accountability relationship with a personal strategic coach.

Five Ideas On Easy Accounting For Small Businesses

Five Ideas On Easy Accounting For Small Businesses

The pressure brought about by running a small business often prods entrepreneurs to search for easy accounting practices that can make their financial responsibilities lighter. Proper allocation of budget, debt management and tracking expenses are indispensable tasks which must be completed accurately to ensure that your business would not sink. If this is something which you do not want your business to experience, read the rest of this article for helpful insights.

Hire a bookkeeping pro - Most entrepreneurs would want to cut on expenses which they see as very unnecessary. Hiring a bookkeeper is something they cannot tolerate as it means added employee to pay. Because of which, they simply resolve to do-it-yourself accounting. Little did they know that doing so can be the door to more unwanted expenses. Let us face it, entrepreneurs in general are good at their craft but not running their businesses effectively. This is why some entrepreneurs contact an accounting services provider who have clear knowledge on working on books and reliable accounting software.

Separate loans from receivables - Loans are common among business start-ups. Some entrepreneurs fail to track how much is left for them to pay because they do not keep a separate folder for all the paper pertaining to their borrowed funds. Keep them from being mixed with your received income. Again, there are free software you can find online if you do not want to do things manually.

Be strict in collecting customer payments - Believe it or not, many customers are able to get away with their payment responsibilities because of business owners who
are not firm with their purchase and payment rules. Have your customers sign a payment agreement with you. Listing your expected receivables would not be helpful unless the figures you have listed will turn into monetary form. You can always seek for legal help if any of your customers refuses to pay.

Track daily expenses - This easy accounting idea will help you wisely budget your money for the coming weeks. Some do this weekly or every two weeks. The good thing about doing this every day is the assurance that you can deal with your finances more effectively. By seeing the unnecessary purchases you have made for the day, you can quickly and strictly allocate an exact budget on the basic stuffs needed for the coming day.

Have a definite profit goal on a monthly basis - Knowing the exact income you need to keep your business up and running smoothly can get you motivated to work hard every day. More so, it promotes easy accounting as the income figure you come up with makes the calculation of your expenses a lot easier. When you do not have exact figures, it will be difficult for you to succeed in your accounting system. The latter is very important from the day one of your business. It becomes more important when the time to file taxes comes your way. It could really be taxing when you are unprepared.

Were You The Victim Of A Missold Mortgage?

Were You The Victim Of A Missold Mortgage?

Just when we thought mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) was enough, there seems to be a new kid on the block, mis-sold mortgages.

Since the big bang of the 1990's brokers and sub-prime lenders spring up everywhere pushing mortgage and secured loan products to those people with less than perfect credit. These products tended to carry higher interest rates, higher charges and also paid large commissions to the salesman - great for them, not good for the consumer!

The Financial Services Authority now has broker sold mortgages in their signs and claims management companies are hot on their tails for the big thing.

However, if like many people you have a mortgage, it is important you understand the various regulations laid down by the Financial Services Authority to check whether you have been mis-sold, as simply being upset at your interest-only endowment not paying out enough to cover your shortfall is not enough grounds on its own.

In short, a mortgage is said to be mis-sold if it was not sold in the right manner. This could be because you received a product that was not suitable or you received the wrong advice from the lender. This is the starting point for the Financial Services Authority who are now allowing people to make claims in certain areas. The following are guidelines to enable to determine whether you have a mis-sold mortgage.

Reasons Why Mortgages are Mis-sold

There are various reasons why mortgages are usually mis-sold. In most cases, brokers or lenders will mis-sell a mortgage in order to make more money without considering the customers circumstances. In many cases, brokers only had access to certain lenders products offer limited mortgage products. There are known as "tied brokers". This is a good indication that they were not best in the market and were therefore unable to offer you the right mortgage that suited your circumstances

How Tell That Your Mortgage Was Mis-sold

There are many ways you can tell if your mortgage was mis-sold or not. Here are some of the major reasons that may indicate a mis-sold mortgage:

- If you were or are unable to meet your mortgage payments and your adviser did not carry out checks as to your affordability.

-You were or are still paying for your mortgage after retirement and there are no systems in place to keep up the repayments.

- You started with a fixed term product and you were never informed about an increase in repayments after the fixed term ended.

- Where you are re-mortgaged to clear existing debts, but you were unaware about repaying more interest than you originally needed to.

-You were sold a subprime mortgage and you had no previous credit problems.

-The sales advisor recommended a certain mortgage without checking your financial circumstances or you never needed such as sub-prime mortgage with a higher interest rate.

One of the major reasons mis-sold mortgages came about was due to many brokers and lenders do not assess their customers circumstances well. This leads to poor advice which consequently results to poor mortgages being offered and leaving customers in poor financial situation.

Are You Entitled To a Compensation?

If you find yourself having problems paying your mortgage, did not get the best deal or you feel that your broker did not abide with the Financial Services Authority laws, then you may file a claim. If you win, you should receive compensation equal to the equivalent of what you have paid, against what you would have paid if you had the correct advice in the first place.

How To Make Your Claim

In order to file your claim, you will have to consult a reputable claim management company to apply a Subject Access Request (SAR). This allows them to obtain all the documentation relating to you mortgage. After receiving the documents, the company will then submit a complaint to your lender or broker. Times can vary from weeks to months, on average about 20 weeks should be expected. In some instances the mortgage broker may reject the claim. However, if it is established that the claim was wrongly rejected, the claims company will take the claim directly to the Financial Services Authority. The process may take a further 6-12 months.

However, nothing ventured, nothing gained and always hope for a favourable ruling.

To get a FREE mortgage assessment contact Claimline Legal http://www.missoldmortgagesclaim.co.uk

When Money Is Tight, Find a Solution

When Money Is Tight, Find a Solution

When money is tight, as it often is for much of the population, a solution must be found. The best thing to do is to find a way to bring in more money. Whether that is through a second job, a home based business, selling possessions, or any other means depends on what a person is willing to do and what may be available.

A home based business such as network marketing (MLM or multi-level marketing) may be a way to earn money, but it is not for those who need money in a hurry. It can, and usually does, take a long time to build up such a business to the point where it is paying anything and checks are received. It takes an initial investment of cash and a monthly purchase in order to become lucrative.

While it is true that many people are finding success in network marketing with some becoming millionaires in the process, there are more failures than successes in this field. It is possible, however, to build a comfortable income through this means of a home based business which can be worked on one's own time and in one's own way.

Although millions of people are out of work, there are "help wanted" signs all over in windows of businesses. People who need extra money can often find a part-time job which will bring in enough to offer some relief to the dire financial circumstances in which they may find themselves. If it is a temporary situation, there should be a suitable way out if a person is willing to put in the extra effort of working a second job.

With the popularity of sites like eBay and Craig's List, it should not difficult for most enterprising people to find a buyer for items they have in their possession which may bring in some needed cash. Someone may be looking for just the item that is sitting in a closet unused and unnecessary to keep.

Some people who are desperate for money or who want an easy way out may resort to criminal activity. While many people get away with crimes, it is not a good answer for anyone. It is not difficult for people who work in establishments where credit cards are used for purchases to steal the credit card information and to spend another person's money. It may be true that most people who resort to this means of getting extra money are not caught, but it is very foolish to try it. Who wants to risk going to prison? There are "career criminals" who do this regularly and get away with it, but it is totally unwise to do anything dishonest because it usually leads to worse actions and possibly to horrible consequences.

Finding a workable solution to money problems is possible if a person is willing to investigate possibilities and put in the honest effort to make something pay.

Kickstarter Comes to the UK: Tips on Running a Successful Campaign

Kickstarter Comes to the UK: Tips on Running a Successful Campaign

As Kickstarter opens itself up to UK projects on Oct 31st of this year, we thought it might be helpful to provide some tips on creating successful campaigns.

Launched in 2009 in the US, Kickstarter is now one of the largest crowdfunding platforms, boasting over 73,620 projects, with a success rate of 43.5 %, and $381 million in pledges. As a reward-based platform, there are no "investors," rather backers or donors. Here, monetary donations to projects are rewarded with the likes of movie credits, advanced copy of the game, t-shirts, or dinner with the producer. Landmark campaigns have included Tim Schafer's Double Fine, with over $3 million pledged and the Pebble e-Paper Watch, with $10 million pledged. After much anticipation, the creative community in the UK can now promote their projects right along side their American colleagues.

Kickstarter is not the first reward-based crowdfunding site open to UK projects. RocketHub and Indiegogo have already gone global, but there's no doubt that Kickstarter has been the media darling.

As each crowdfunding site operates under a different set of guidelines and business model, here are some things to keep in mind about Kickstarter:

  • All or Nothing Pledging -- You don't reach your goal, you don't get the funds
  • Projects are submitted for approval; 75% are accepted (turnaround time is 1-2 days)
  • Projects must fit into one of 13 creative categories
  • It is only for projects, not "fund my business" or "fund my life"
  • Requires a prototype and manufacturing plan
  • Limits rewards to single items (can be priced between £1-£5,000 in the UK)
  • Takes 5% success fee of funds raised plus the pledge processing fees
  • Claims no ownership of the works produced
  • Most successful US projects raise, on average, $10,000, with an average pledge of $71/person

With these guidelines in mind, let's explore some helpful tips for launching a successful crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding for reward-based projects is quite similar to charity pledging and channel marketing programs. We highly recommend reviewing best-practices from non-profit pledge campaigns (think PBS pledge drives, Red Cross, Cancer Research UK ). The classic marketing principles of promotion, product, placement and price also apply here.

Research, Research, Research:

Before posting your project, make sure to research and select the right platform. Don't assume it's Kickstarter. Look at other sites and business models (equity, donation-based, lending, etc.). Make sure to read the fine print around terms, fees, IP rights, liabilities, average pledges, average number of backers per project, sectors represented, success rates, etc. Manage your expectations around this form of fundraising and the effort it will take. Remember that sharing information and being open is crucial to successful crowdfunding initiatives, so, if you are worried about any IP infringement, this may not be for you. Also, reward-based platforms are to fund projects, not fund start-ups or small businesses. This means that the mindset of your backer is different than that of an accredited investor, affecting pledge size and incentives.

Register as a donor on a few sites. Select 5-10 projects and follow them over the course of a few weeks. Observe their progress. How many backers do they have? Which are gaining momentum, when and why? Which projects would you invest in? How do creators position their projects and tier their rewards? How engaged are their "donors"? What is the pledge goal and minimum pledge? Who is the creative team (e.g. are they well-known in their industry, etc.) What development stage is the project in (e.g. is it in alpha or beta stage, do they have interest from customers?) Read the feedback and questions posed, throughout the project pledge.

Define Project Scope:

Once you have decided on a platform, carefully select, clearly and succinctly define your project scope. Review guidelines for project submissions. For Kickstarter, do you have a prototype and a manufacturing plan? Why is this project pledge-worthy? How is it unique? Do you have clearly defined milestone dates for this project; what is the estimated delivery date?

Set a 360 degree Project Timeline:

There's a lot of preparation that is required for any fundraising effort. Be sure to set aside plenty of time for pre-launch planning as well as time for post funding management. Think hard about the duration of your fundraising effort, and the timing, e.g. can you leverage seasonality, tie-ins with "hot" trends. The maximum project duration on Kickstarter is set at 60 days, but average duration tends to be 30 days (shorter time frames have shown to better position projects for higher success rates). Make sure you have assigned a campaign manager who will be responsible for initiating, managing, tracking and executing the campaign. Keep in mind that Kickstarter doesn't allow running more than one project at a time.

Set a Realistic "Pledge" Goal:

Create a worst and best case scenario all-in budget, including development, fundraising and marketing costs associated with the project, such as video shoot, marketing expenses, rewards and fulfillment (t-shirt printing, postage, etc). Then, add a buffer. Take into consideration average pledges per person and that the average funds raised. This is not to say that a great concept can't achieve the likes of a Double Fine, but we strongly urge you to have a Plan B if you are after funds that are above the average. Remember, Kickstarter is an all or nothing model, so if you don't achieve your goal, you get nothing. Equity-based crowdfunding platforms, rather than reward-based platforms, have proven to raise the largest amount of funds, in some cases over $250,000 for a project; this is understandable, as here, the "crowd," operates more as a classic investor, expecting a return, and projects featured are to fund small businesses or start-ups. Take a look at CrowdCube, Seedrs or Gambitious, if this is more in line with your objectives.

Offer Compelling Rewards:

Price you reward very carefully. Again, observe other projects. How do they tier their rewards? How do they limit the number of rewards per tier? How does it tie-in with the project; strategically staggering your tier levels makes a difference. Again, observe how donors react and pull in best-practices from the likes of film companies and FMCG firms. They've been doing this for decades. They've tested that people love limited editions, credits, etc. Don't dismiss offering compelling rewards at the lower bands, e.g. £5 or £10 pound range, for a "making of," or access to filming outtakes.

Tirelessly Promote (Project WebPage/Networking/Social Media):

The project page is only one half of the promotion vehicle. The copy, video, look and feel, your story, are all, of course, critical elements in engaging your backers. However, if no one knows you exist, your project will never get funded. How do you get them to your site? Just like any good marketing campaign, you need think about creating a buzz before and after the launch. Get the word out to your immediate network, via all online and offline channels; do it a few weeks before the official launch date of your project. This will help drive "first backers out of the gate," and help build momentum. At kick-off, update your backers regularly, drive that energy and passion home! If you don't love your project, how can you expect others to? Go out there and network. Some of your potential backers may not be on Kickstarter yet.

Also remember that at kick-off, the project is new and everyone wants you to succeed; the middle timeline is just as important as the beginning. You need to find new excuses to bring attention to your project. Consider providing substantial updates as you are nearing its deadline. Continue to do so, even after you've reached the goal. Why? Because you are further reinforcing to your backers all the great reasons they came on board, and creating more buzz around your project, for others to pledge. Remember that you can still raise money after your goal is reached.

Respect and Honor your Donors:

Reward-based donors are not VCs or Angels. These are large groups of friends you haven't met yet, everyday people like you and me, offering a helping hand to your project because they believe in you and your story, not because they are managing a portfolio of companies. As such, they need to be treated with respect and communicated to on a regular basis by answering them promptly or a Project Update/FAQ. There can be anywhere from several hundred to upwards of a few thousand donors on a project. Some are more vocal than others, and may ask you questions around technical specs, delivery dates, etc. To improve your chances of success, you will need to respond to each appropriate inquiry accordingly. Remember that "crowds," are public, and they are fickle. They can just as easily take you down as they can lift you up. Help them be your evangelist by keeping them engaged and a part of this creative endeavor. Be sure to thank them for their feedback, and honor all promises you've made. Where appropriate, consider thanking your backers publicly on FB or Twitter.

Success!... and Fulfillment:

Once you've reached your goal, congratulations are indeed in order! Yes, rejoice and get some much-needed rest but, don't take too long, as you have more work to do. Be sure to announce your success and thank your backers immediately, mail out the rewards, update your project site. Remember to keep the backers informed throughout the project's progress, as they are eagerly awaiting the finished product. Earlier this year, Kickstarter required all projects to list an "Estimated Delivery Date," along with information about the creators and their experience, in an attempt to reduce fraud and strengthen trust around the Kickstarter user experience. You have now inherited a few hundred or a few thousand fans, do not let them down; your backers of today may just be your backers of tomorrow.

Running a successful crowdfunding campaign is no easy task, but hopefully these tips can help improve your chances. Here's to happy Kickstarting.

Source: Kickstarter.com, Crowdfunding Industry Report 2012

Find more articles on: http://nxtgensme.wordpress.com/

Do I Need a Financial Planner?

Do I Need a Financial Planner?

Many people assume that they need a financial planner because everyone else seems to either have one or think it's a good idea. The truth is that some people benefit from having one while others do not. In this article I'll focus on the type of people that need a financial planner vs. the type of people that don't so you can decide for yourself if having one would be a good fit for you.

First, it's important to understand what a financial advisor does for you. Their job is to help understand your investment objectives and needs in retirement. They then help you with savings goals and an investment plan to help you reach your goal. Some advisors will even help outside of this area with life insurance recommendations and even personal budgeting help. It depends advisor to advisor on how many services they assist with. That being said let's look at who benefits by using a financial advisor.

People who gain the most by using a financial advisor are those that lack investment skills. If you're not great with numbers and have a hard time using Excel, it's probably a good idea to let someone else do that for you. People that have trouble developing and sticking to a plan will also find the services of a financial advisor helpful. One of the greatest benefits of hiring a financial advisor is that you get to make someone else do the work and management for you. If you're very busy and don't have the time to manage and monitor your investments on your own, it makes sense to let someone else do it.

That being said, one of the great disappointments of the financial industry is that financial professionals rarely beat the performance of stock market index funds. Many experts argue that if you just invest in a S&P 500 ETF for instance, you'll beat most money managers out there. Also, many financial advisors use a cookie cutter approach to choosing clients investment options. They typically give you a questionnaire to fill out and then allocate your portfolio by the results. For these reasons, some people decide to go at it on their own. This makes sense if you're the type of person that is good with numbers and is advanced in investing on your own. If you also have the time to manage and track your own accounts, you can certainly do it on your own. I'm sure many financial advisors would thank you for managing your own money instead of calling them up every day to trade in and out of funds actively. This kind of investing philosophy can also incur lots of load and exit fees if you move in and out of investments a lot. This is yet another reason you would be better on your own.

In closing, take a good account of yourself and ask which of these types of people you are. It can also be helpful to ask your closer friends and family which type they think you are. Once you're aware which category you fall into, you can make an informed decision where everyone wins.

The Security Issues of Credit Card Processing Machines

The Security Issues of Credit Card Processing Machines

Credit card processing machines are pretty safe to use today. There are many different security measures that are put into place so that the information these machines transmit will be guarded from prying eyes. Most credit card processing machines use more than one type of security to make certain the data that is supposed to be private remains private.

At one time credit card processing machines made paper receipts of the transactions that were charged on them. There were three copies of the receipt that had all of the identifying numbers on them so there were three chances for the information to get into the wrong hands.

Many people did not realize that the three copies were also accompanied by one or more carbon sheets that had been used to transfer the information to all of the pages. Today credit card processing machines do everything electronically and do not require a carbon copy of the transaction to be made. This lowers the risk of someone obtaining the information easily.

The new machines also encrypt the data that is transmitted. The account number and all of the identifying numbers that are transmitted during a transaction will be encrypted so that they cannot be easily read if they are intercepted on the way to or from the bank.

The firewalls and the antivirus are part of the package that the distributor of the majority of these devices offers their customers. The merchant will sign an agreement to pay the distributor a certain percentage of all of the sales transactions processed through the machines for the use of the machines, the provision of security measures that will keep them in compliance with regulatory protocol, and the maintenance and upkeep of the equipment.

Electronic devices scare a lot of people because traditionally when an electronic device breaks you have to call a technician to come and repair it. The technician generally takes a long time to get to where you are and you lose time and money while the machine does not work. These devices are different because the company that is coming to repair them has a stake in them working properly. They only get their percentage if sales are made through the devices so customer support will be on the way immediately when a merchant has a problem.

Security measures will be established that will alert someone to the fact that there is suspicious activity happening in the system. These alerts will allow you to check the problem out and determine if the risk is great or small that your security has been breached. There will be actions to take for whatever level of risk you think the breach poses to your system and the information contained in that system.

Getting Exposed to the Argentine Default

Getting Exposed to the Argentine Default

The ongoing court-room battle between President Kirchner and the so called Vulture Funds has led to battering of the stock markets and more importantly the reputation of the country that may very well be on the brink of announcing a second Sovereign Default in the last ten years. It is the beat-down prices which in turn are generating interest among the foreign investors sold long term on Argentina Funds, seemingly backed by the market heavy weights who will not hesitate to bet on the other side of this curve.

Playing the current Argentina default can be a very tricky strategy and a trickier plan is required to time the actual inflow. The 2001 state default on bonds initiated a growth surge for economy for years that followed as a lot of money actually came back to the nation during post default years and market participants to have no reason to complain about the gains made from Argentine ETFs and stocks between 2002 and 2010.

Things got messy since an American court ruling came out stating that the Argentina should ideally pay $1.3 billion to the debtors who did not accept the terms of 2005 and 2010 debt restructuring policies. The ruling also restricted the government to payout the existing investors till the issue is resolved thus resulting in a technical default scenario for the government, which as per most analysts ought to be a natural possibility if things don't work out amicably.

The fundamentals of the economy are good; the Latin nation has no reason not to grow in the long term. It has a sizable young population, a growing middle class and natural reserves that are among the best in the world. In fact, as per legitimate estimates of 2010, it emerged as the second biggest South American economy behind Brazil and simultaneously dealt with higher unemployment rates, a declining peso along with a nation-wide unrest against the political mandate.

Moreover a steady economy growth witnessed even after the 2001 default (on $ 100 billion worth of bond payments) only indicates that it is the uninspiring governance that has led to this fiasco to an embarrassing level where a state's navy jet was impounded by debt holders in lieu of their due payments. A very probable shift may be foreseen, either in the ruling body or their economic stand which is prompting investors to give a closer look to the Argentina 20 Index ETFs reflecting the performance of the FTSE benchmark that tracks the economic growth of the country.

FTSE Argentina 20 Index is a benchmark that currently comprises of the 21 most liquid listed securities that have their prime business interests in the Argentine Fund, but are listed in foreign exchanges. For all good reasons, index has heavy dependence on consumer staples and materials which is close to 70 % and more or less it is the fairest evaluation of the nation's fiscal health and performance.

Equity traded funds that correlate to the FTSE index maintain an equity portfolio very similar to that of the parent benchmark. Individuals seeking for profits through an administration make over or a policy shuffle may very well consider this as long as their risk appetite for volatile products is high to aggressive and have a wit to speculate.

Five Years Since The 2008 Financial Crisis

Five Years Since The 2008 Financial Crisis

The 2008 financial crisis was hard on everyone. How far have you come? It's been 5 years since the 2008 financial crisis. Lehman went bankrupt. Stocks were down big. Home prices were down between 10-20%. 2.6 million people lost their jobs.

Fidelity did a really cool study 5 years later. They surveyed 1100 adult investors and asked them what they do differently.

So how do you think about money today vs. 5 years ago?

Here are the findings of the survey. Plus I'm including my 2 cents along with some financial tips as well…

42% of adults have increased their contribution rates to their retirement accounts or IRA.Do you feel like you are behind on your savings? The easiest way to increase your savings amount is to just do it. Then set it up on an automatic basis. Pick a monthly savings # that works for you, and set it up electronically. Pay yourself first.

55% of the people surveyed feel better about their retirement plan than they felt before the 2008 financial crisis.Why? They have actually done some retirement planning!

My guess is that they also feel better because they have sought out some professional help, and gotten clarity on what they need to do to fund a retirement lifestyle that works for them.

They know how much they have to save every month. They most likely have a target rate of return that they need to earn on their investments. You need to know this stuff for your retirement plan.

42% of the people surveyed have increased their emergency fund.An emergency fund is where you have money in the bank. In savings. Not invested. For some of you, it might make sense to create an emergency fund before investing, or add to your emergency fund before you continue investing.

So do you have enough money set aside for an emergency? Shoot for 3-6 months of living expenses in a savings account. If you are an entrepreneur, consider having 6 months plus set aside. Why? If your income isn't steady and predictable, a larger savings account could help you get by.

80% of the adults said they now have a better understanding of their finances than they did before the 2008 financial crisis.That's huge!! That means 4 out 5 people surveyed took the time to get clearer on what is going on with their money situation. Open up the hood of your financial car. Invest some time into learning. The more you understand, the better the decisions you will be able to make.

72% of the people said they have less debt than they did before the 2008 financial crisis.Be clear on what you can and can't afford. Most of the time, paying down debt could help you in the long run. The key thing is that you need a debt pay down plan. You need to know where the money will be coming from to pay the debt down, and how much you are going to pay down every month.

Sometimes we have to go through experiences and learn from them. But the key thing is to use what we have learned and take action.

So I am challenging you right here to do one thing to improve your financial life. Whatever it is, take the first step. Do it this week. You will feel so much better about yourself.

Important Disclosures: These blogs are provided for informational and educational purposes only, represents our views as of the date of the posting only, and may change without notice. Some of the information has been obtained from third parties and believed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. We have not considered any investment objectives or financial situations of any investors and we are not responsible for consequences for any decisions made based on the information in the blogs. There is risk of loss from investing in securities, which varies depending on different types of investments. Forward looking statements are based on assumptions only and no reliance should be placed on such statements. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information displayed.

The Process of Putting a Mortgage in Place

The Process of Putting a Mortgage in Place

It is never an easy task to buy a home, especially if you are starting out. The fact that you are looking for a home indicates that you are ready to do so, as this is the first step toward putting a mortgage in place.

The importance about starting this process is:

  • That you do know how much you are able to put down as a deposit if you do have one.
  • Whether you are able to continue the instalments for the duration of the mortgage. If this cannot happen, your house may be reposed and you lose all that you invested.
  • To remember that you should be a certain age group. To start with, you need to be older than eighteen in some countries. However, you also need to be a certain age before retirement so that the property is paid up by the time you retire, or by the age of seventy-five.
  • That it is also important to work out how payment will happen after your retirement.
  • That, in most instances, therefore, you need to be employed to qualify for a mortgage.

What is the Process

The first step is to find the home and what the owner wants for it. The owners usually have a set price, and they do often make use of an agency. Hence, you could negotiate with them to have the price reduced. Even so, it is not an issue, though, as you should be looking within your price range (what you are able to afford).

Once you have found the home, you are able to:

  • Start with the process of the mortgage.
  • Make sure that you shop around for the best deal, with the best lenders. There are many lenders, and you should look for one that would service you best.
  • You have to be prepared to fill out many forms.
  • The bank or lender would want to have your full credit history, your financial assets, your employment history, as well as your liabilities. All of this will determine the amount you would be able to borrow.
  • The lender would also want to have the property appraised so that they know what they are paying for.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Lender

It is very important to choose the right lender. What this means is that they could offer alternatives if your mortgage is declined. Some of them would give you suggestions of:

  • How to obtain a deposit from other sources.
  • They could also help you decide on a lower capital amount, which could suggest buying a home in a different area, or buying a smaller home.

If your credit record is a problem, these lenders would help you find ways to rectify that so that your mortgage could be approved.

How Banks Differ From Credit Unions

How Banks Differ From Credit Unions

On the surface, banks and credit unions basically look alike. However, there are significant differences between the two that many people don't realize. If you are trying to decide whether to go with one or the other, here is some information that will hopefully help you make your decision.

The services that banks and credit unions provide are similar, and both of them offer benefits for borrowers as well as account holders. However, the latter is a non-profit entity where individuals put their money together to provide services and loans to their fellow members. You need to qualify to be able to join.

Credit unions provide services that are geared more toward meeting their members' needs than driving profit. Each member has a voting share in matters no matter how small his or her holdings may be. While these establishments are subject to federal regulations as are banks, they can often offer lower fees and higher interest rates. And since they are smaller, they are often able to provide more personalized customer service.

Just because a credit union is a non-profit entity, that doesn't mean it can't earn a profit, of course. In order to survive, it has to make money. However, they will share more of the profits it makes with its members. It does not have the pressure to make money off its customers, as does a larger financial institution. As a result, they typically offer free accounts without a minimum balance required. Some of them are regulated in a way that the interest rates they charge on credit cards and loans cannot go over a set rate.

The smaller size of credit unions, however, also means that they have fewer ATMs and branches, and may also have fewer online banking options. Banks, on the other hand, have 24-hour customer service by phone and, in most instances, many more Internet options.

Because banks are larger, they can usually offer more variety to their account holders in terms of loan and account services. The larger the institution, the more account and loan options they can offer. They also provide a wide range of investment services as well and can be reached no matter what the time of day or night.

The answer as to whether small or larger institutions are better really depends on what your needs may be. If you are interested in purchasing a certificate of deposit or you're looking for a loan of some kind, you should include both in your search. If you are looking for a few money market investments and a mid-size loan or two, then the smaller institution can more than likely provide you what you need. If you have a large portfolio, then you may be better off going with a larger institution.

Auto Loans - The Responsibilities of a Cosigner

Auto Loans - The Responsibilities of a Cosigner

This topic is near and dear to my heart. I have been a cosigner on a loan before and although it was not for a car loan, the basics are the same. Let me also state clearly that it didn't work out well for me. Although this article is about cosigning for a car loan, please understand that when you cosign for anything, the situation is the same. The difference lies in what the asset is and the extent of the guarantee. You can obviously also cosign for home loans and credit cards as well, so understand what I'm saying here and apply it to those types of guarantees too if someone asks you to cosign. In addition, you should always do a background check and get references if someone asks you to cosign for them. Just because they're family is no excuse to dismiss good judgement either. Have discernment!

First of all, when someone needs a cosigner it can mean two things. One, they're young and haven't established credit and don't have stable income yet and are just starting out. This would apply to young graduates, etc. The second type is the one you need to be very careful of. They are the type with very bad credit, no job, a history of stiffing creditors or some combination of these. You need to understand that when you cosign for a car loan, you become another guarantor the car dealership or bank can look to for FULL payment in the event of a default by the originator of the loan. That means if your friend, family member, boyfriend, (fill in the blank) stops paying the bills, the dealership and/or bank will call the originator first and if they continue to not pay, they'll start calling you.

By the way, their favorite time to call is 8:30am on Saturday morning! Imagine your surprise when you didn't even know the person you cosigned for wasn't paying the bill. They will do this every week at the same time. It's a psychological warfare strategy. You are also responsible if the asset is damaged from neglect or an accident. So that means if the dealership reposses the car due to neglect and there is significant value loss between the value of the car in it's present condition and the loan balance, you as the cosigner will be responsible for that too. If the car is totalled in an accident and the owner doesn't have insurance or insurance covers less than the balance of the loan, you are also responsible to pay the difference in the event the owner doesn't. In these cases, the cosigner typically has to take a hit. That's why the bank and/or dealership wants a cosigner in the first place. They're worried about the initial borrowers ability to pay and they're good at getting money. Depending on how aggressive the lender is, they can garnish wages and/or place liens on your house to recover payment. In some cases you may not share title in the car so make sure you negotiate that up front. It'll give you more leverage in case things go bad.

I'm not suggesting that cosigning is bad every time but many times it is very risky. Take it from me as someone who has done it and got burned. However, I knew what I was doing and the risks though and that is all I'm giving you here, an education on the topic so you can make an informed decision as well.

5 Things You Should Know Before You Visit A Financial Consultant

5 Things You Should Know Before You Visit A Financial Consultant

If you are looking for a financial planner, there are some things you have to know even before you have your initial review session. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it should get you pointed in the right direction and help you figure out the preliminary data that will help you get the most help for growing your money as efficiently as possible.

1. Know what the different licenses mean. There are many different designations that a financial professional can earn, and not all of them mean the same things or mark the same skill sets. The Certified Personal Financial (CFP) is one of the most comprehensive licenses. These professionals have taken many hours of classes and are required to take refresher courses every once in a while. This isn't the only designation that allows someone to recommend and sell financial products, but it does cover a huge number of different possibilities and will help you to cover as many possibilities as you can.

2. Check for affiliations. Some professionals work with a very narrow range of financial products because of who they work for. Sometimes, these advisors are not able to move outside of the range their employers set for them. This only hurts you since you are limited in your choices. Additionally, sometimes insurance agents are able to sell variable products and annuities. This can be convenient, but realize that licensed insurance agents might not have as specialized of a focus as a regular financial professional.

3. Look for a motive. In many instances, financial advisors make a bigger commission off of some sales than off of others. If you are questioning your planner all the time because you aren't sure if their recommendations are in your best interests or theirs, you will not have success with your money. You don't want to enter a relationship that you aren't confident within. This type of professional relationship is supposed to be mutually beneficial, don't forget that. Instead, look for professionals that earn a set percentage of the totally amount of money they preside over, not individual commissions.

4. Be familiar with the professional's code of ethics. Different planners will have different guidelines that they must adhere to. Basically, you need to realize that there will be a certain set of guidelines in place so in the rare event that your money is mismanaged you have some grounds to appeal upon. The vast majority of planners will be ethical, but you want to have a safety net if something unthinkable were to occur.

5. Look for versatility and a proven track record. Anyone that has been in the advising business for an extended period of time has a record of profits and losses. These are generally available to people that ask for them. Look for someone that consistently creates wealth, but also look at the background of the products they employ. You want a financial planner that can create a unique way to manage your money in a manner that best fits your individual needs.

How Your Missed Mortgage Payment Because of Divorce Affects Your Credit
Score

How Your Missed Mortgage Payment Because of Divorce Affects Your Credit Score

For many unfortunate people, divorce is a sad and complicated situation that they have to navigate at least once in their lives. The process can get very messy and mistakes made by one party can have grave effects on the other, especially when it involves significant assets, such as a house, that are in both spouses' names.

Consider this scenario: The court orders a husband to refinance the house he co-owns with his wife in order to take her name off the mortgage and deed. The husband duly complies, but mistakenly assumes he will close before the next mortgage payment is due on the existing loan. This doesn't happen, and the wife loses approximately 100 points off of her A-grade credit score.

There is nothing that the wife can do to rectify this situation. The wife is still deemed responsible for the mortgage payment because the bank was not informed of the court's order. Simple first-time problems like a missed mortgage payment affect higher credit scores much more than low credit scores. These circumstances will not change even if the husband speaks with the bank and offers to take the fall. At the end of the day, the wife's credit is already damaged and nothing can be done about it.

How will this incident affect the wife's finances? A 100-point loss will cost her about a quarter of a point on her next mortgage, assuming she has a great credit score of 750 to begin with. If she considers financing a new car, the damage becomes even worse. Because of this ding in her credit, the car dealership will be adding about 1.5% in extra interest.

Through this incident, we learn one often overlooked fact in divorce: You and only you are responsible for your credit history. It remained the wife's responsibility to ensure that her financial responsibilities were handled properly right up until the moment the transfer occurred even if the court ordered the husband to remove his wife from the mortgage. She should have been more involved given that closings on refinancing are notoriously difficult to schedule with precision.

One other thing consumers should remember that the number one purpose of the credit score is to clarify risk. Once you miss a payment or default on an obligation, it doesn't really matter why it occurred; you have increased the potential risk because if it happened once, it may happen again. Most banks and other creditors do not care to hear explanations or mitigating circumstances. Because of divorce, staying current becomes an individual responsibility again and it is important that soon-to-be former spouse work together to make sure that neither party is adversely affected by it.

Bookkeeper and Bookkeeping Services in a Nutshell

Bookkeeper and Bookkeeping Services in a Nutshell

Who is a bookkeeper?

Let's assume that you own a small business which you have set up few months back. As your business is new and also small and you have few employees to work for you, hence you do not need any expert to support your financial transactions. Being the owner of your business you can keep all the financial records of your company.

Now let's take a trip five years ahead of the current time. So, within five years you have flourished your business in different locations and you have some hundreds of employees in your company. However, do you think that it is possible for you to maintain your fiscal records properly and exactly as you used to do five years back?

This is the situation when a bookkeeper becomes very important. A bookkeeper is a professional who performs common accounting duties, like maintaining complete set of fiscal records, daily transactions, keep track of your business related funds, retain invoices in a systematic way etc.

Some basic terminologies related to bookkeeping

Transaction- it is the exchange of financial worth.

Account- when similar financial records are accumulated together, it is called account.

Report- the financial transaction statements for a certain time or a certain period.

Balance sheet- it is a report of the economic condition of a business on a particular date.

Assets- they are the comprehensive items on a balance sheet, particularly in relation to liabilities and capital.

Liabilities- it is the debt and money owned by a person or business.

Equity- it is the monetary value of assets or business beyond any quantities payable on it in mortgages, claims, liens, etc.

Income statement- it is the report of expenses and incomes which determines the net profit and loss of a company or business for a certain period of time which is generally one year.

Revenue- it is the combined amount of earnings of a person or a company.

Expenses- they are the charge incurred during a business assignment or trip.

Accounting period- it is the time during which a financial transaction statement is estimated.

Accounts payable- it is a liability to a customer, carried an open account generally for obtaining goods and services.

Depreciation- bookkeepers use the term while attempting to go with the cost of an asset to the income that the asset assists the company earn.

Interest- it is the tariff for the privilege of having a loan typically articulated as an annual percentage rate.

Inventory- it is the resources, work-in-process goods and totally over and done goods that are considered as a part of a business's assets that are all set or will be set for sale.

Payroll- it is the amount of all the reimbursement that a business compensates to its employees for a set phase of time or on a particular date.

Trial balance- it is an accounting database where the bookkeepers bring together the balances of all record-books into debit or credit columns.

Profit and loss- it is the economic declaration that sums up the revenues, expenses and operating costs incurred for a certain period, usually a fiscal quarter of a year.

Income- it is the economic possessions that is generated in exchange for an individual's accomplishment of any project or work or through investing capital. It is generally used-up to meet daily expenditures.

Debits- it is a bookkeeping entry that results in either an increase in assets or a declining in liabilities on a company's balance sheet or in someone's bank account.

Credit- it is a written agreement within which a recipient receives something of worth now and agrees to refund the lender at some date in the upcoming days, usually with interest.

Double entry- it is the reality that every monetary transaction has equal and opposite effects in no less than two different accounts.

How can I understand that I need a bookkeeper?

Once more let's assume that you have maintained all your financial data for a long time by yourself. But recently you have started facing problem with the huge volume of accounting as you have grown your business within the last couple of years or months and you have more employees now. This is the time when you really need a bookkeeper. But during this period you can outsource bookkeeping service from a bookkeeping firm or a freelance bookkeeper. But after few months or years when your business will be much developed and you will have a good number of employees and larger financial transactions, then you will need to call your freelance bookkeeper again and again, on daily basis to take care of your work properly. This is the exact time when you need a bookkeeper on permanent basis or contact a reputed firm to have full-time bookkeeping services.

Your bookkeeper will do the following job for you

  • Will save your time
  • Will keep up your books properly
  • Will complete your vat returns, income tax returns and annual accounts return in a faster pace
  • Will process all the formalities of your business accurately within time
  • Will keep all the records within the company's general account book
  • Will bring up to date and keep all the financial statistics
  • Will maintain records of accounts payable, accounts receivable, bill payment, payroll and check registers, bank reconciliation, financial statements, customized reports, budget preparation, Business and Workers' Compensation Insurance, employee health insurance, tax audit representation etc.

Moreover, a bookkeeper's specific responsibilities will depend upon the company profile, company size and company turnover. You can spend more time on strategic planning when you have handed over all your bookkeeping responsibilities to a professional bookkeeper.

Applying For Commercial Litigation Funding?

Applying For Commercial Litigation Funding?

Doing commercial litigation can be a very expensive business, and this is why many people prefer to use the services of a third party funding company in order to fund it. This reduces the risk of losing money, since you won't have to pay anything if you happen to not win the case.

One problem that many people have when it comes to these kinds of services is not knowing how to get enough information about them. Most people only know of this service when they are in the process of setting up a litigation case, which means that they may not be very well informed when making the decisions. However, there are a number of ways of getting information about such services.

The commonest of these is finding a company that provides third party funding and then asking them for any information you might need. Most of them are very receptive towards this, and you can get a lot of insight into how the service works. However, you always need to make sure that you work with a company you can trust. There are some that will only tell you what you want to hear and not the truth. The problem with most of such lenders is that once you sign the contract with them, you may find out that the terms they had given you are not exactly what you end up getting. Working with a company that has a good reputation is better since they will do all they can to provide you with all the information you need.

You could also decide to get some information online. This is a very easy way of doing so, since you don't really need to waste time finding someone who is good at this kind of thing. There are many forums and other online resources that have lots of information about these kinds of things. You can visit them and read them at your own pleasure, getting information such as the characteristics you need to look out for from a quality third party funding service. Getting your information from interactive sites such as forums is always the best way to go about this, since it makes it easier for you to interact with other people and get more accurate information on such matters.

Though this is very difficult for many people to do, you can also get some information on how such funding works from people who have used it before. If you know of a number of people who have sued another party in the past using the help of a third party funding company, you are likely to find them to be very good sources of information. They will give you all sorts of data including what to expect as well as how to go about the process of negotiating for the money.

In summary, there are many ways of getting more information about third party funding. The key issue you need to remember is that when you are in such a position, you should never make decisions on which company to use without background information. Being thorough with how such things work will make it easier for you to know what to expect and also to plan how to get the most beneficial deal.

Do You Need a Trading Strategy?

Do You Need a Trading Strategy?

It is important to have a trading strategy. There are people who enter without a thought of how they are going to play their cards. They result to gambling their money and their portfolio may disappear. It is therefore important to come up with a strategy that works.

Knowing the pitfalls when trading makes it all the more easy to avoid them. It is possible to make small mistakes such wrong symbols. However, these are minor issues, but a judgmental mistake can cost your investment. Diligence and sharpness is important when doing such jobs.

Trading should be treated like driving a car on an icy road. It is not the time to gamble, but a time to come up with solid strategies. When trading, the strategy is the guiding factor that you will never deviate from. There are no spur of the moment decisions. It may not be possible to control the outcome of a single trade, but a long-term plan can be controlled.

It is important not to be disturbed by single investments that fail. What should worry you are the overall investments. Be consistent in making an overall profit and your strategy shall be working. It is critical to make decisions and follow them to the letter. The reason that many fail is that they do not follow their strategy through.

Targets are placed as guidelines. A target such as sale of a share when the profit is a particular amount should be followed to the letter. Probably, you were going to make a profit of $10, but you notice that the shares are still rising. It would seem wise to continue speculating and wait to get a profit of $20. With this decision, you have left yourself to chance. The best thing would be to sell it at $10 just like your strategy had said.

Setting a strategy involves having guidelines that rule over your actions. The rules start by setting goals that cover monthly and yearly periods. A daily basis goal is not important because the controls put in place may be inadequate. With goals, the profits to be made should be thought of. Now, implement the plan and start trading.

When you have a strategy, you can measure its effectiveness. A strategy makes prediction possible and calculations can easily be done. A strategy gives you the opportunity to learn more about investing. When you leave the investment to chance, you will sacrifice learning nothing from it.

By the end of a successful trading campaign, you will definitely come to appreciate the need for a good trading strategy or just the need for a strategy as such. However, the need for a good trading strategy is one of those things that you will need to never ignore. With a good strategy, there are very few chances that you will lose, or lose big in an investment. One of the most successful ways of going about this in the recent past has been to diversify risks and returns.

The Importance of Proper Mortgage Advice

The Importance of Proper Mortgage Advice

With the UK property market continuing to show little sign of any major recovery in the near future (perhaps with the exception of the prime London property sector) it is more important than ever that any investment you make in the residential property market is a sound one; backed up by good advice. Long gone are the heady days when you could buy just about any type of property in any area of the UK and make a profit within a few years simply due to rising house prices. For those who refurbished a property the returns were even greater and in an even shorter space of time but reality has now hit home.

Or, at least, it should have. Worryingly though there are still substantial numbers of borrowers taking out bridging loans in order to secure the house they want to buy but before they have completed the sale of their old home, or even secured a buyer. In an uncertain market like the one we are currently in people should be very cautious about any sort of loan they take out but particularly one such as a bridging loan where the costs of borrowing can soon spiral out of control.

It is important that buyers view any house purchase with a long term view and do not assume that it is easy to secure a buyer for any home. Even a highly desirable home in a good location still needs to find the one buyer who is actually ready to buy and can secure the appropriate level of borrowing. Large numbers of house sales are falling through because lending criteria or personal circumstances change between an offer being accepted and a sale being completed. A reassurance that a buyer will complete is not a completed sale and only when contracts are signed can you have some certainty of the sale being finalised (although even then it is not unheard of for the transaction to fall through).

So with all this uncertainty in the market it is surprising that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) reports an increase in the number of bridging loans and the FSA is urging consumers to seek proper advice from a regulated mortgage broker to be certain they are receiving the right advice.

While the FSA is spot checking brokers arranging bridging loans many of these are for buy-to-let properties or development opportunities and as such are viewed as being commercial rather than residential lending, making it difficult for them to regulate. And, of course, there are circumstances such as investing in a buy-to-let property where a bridging loan is a useful solution to help an individual investor to complete a purchase.

Anyone considering a bridging loan should be aware of the risks involved and the potential cost implications should the period of the loan have to be extended. A typical interest rate on a bridging loan is 1 per cent per month and a typical administration fee is also 1 per cent. So, for example, on a £1 million pound mortgage the administration fee would be £10,000 and the interest payments would be £10,000 per month so every month beyond what was budgeted for could have a significant impact on overall costs of a large mortgage. Some lenders can charge up to double these typical rates and fees.

Why Are We Avoiding the Fiscal Cliff?

Why Are We Avoiding the Fiscal Cliff?

The media is scaring the crap out of people about what would happen if we went over the cliff. I'm saying that's exactly what we need to do. We should be sprinting towards the cliff to make sure we get a good jump. The sooner we default and reset the economy, the better. Deflation and defaults are natural occurrences in economies that are out of control with debt. For some reason in modern history, we're taught it's bad. In addition we have a Fed chairman who spent his whole academic career studying The Great Depression and came to the conclusion that the Fed didn't use all of its tools to make it better faster. All this from a guy who lives in the fantasy land of academia with no real hands on experience.

When an economy defaults and rebases its currency, there's pain for a few years but eventually things get back to normal. Debt is cut and investors are able to move on. Savers are rewarded while people living on credit get a fresh start. Recent defaults include Argentina, Zimbabwe and Germany twice. All of these countries still exist today and made it through the default. The alternative is to create an unsustainable economy where the middle class disappears. The ultimate solution for the US will also be a default. The reason I say this is because politicians are not willing to do what it really takes which is massive spending cuts in government programs combined with heavy tax increases for at least a decade. Americans won't even listen to this because we're so spoiled. The problem is that we're trading pain now for worse pain later. It's like knowing you have cancer but refusing to treat it until later. The problem is simple; we are spending more than we're bringing in. Many Americans are very familiar with this situation. There are three solutions:

1. Decrease spending so you have more income than expenses

2. Increase income over current expenses

3. A combination of 1 and 2

When you look at the solutions your heart sinks because this is what they've been debating for the last 2 to 3 years only to put it off for next year. It's hard to tell what solution they will ultimately choose but the outcome will be the same. People will be forced to cut spending and cut debt while the economy resets. While most of the posts on this site a not rosy, there is a silver lining. We're on the brink of the greatest wealth transfer in history. For those that are prepared, lives will be transformed. I'm preparing my subscribers for this environment and teaching them how to profit from it. Sign up and learn how to achieve financial freedom.

Do You Know What Does "Accident Forgiveness" Imply On Your Insurance
Policy?

Do You Know What Does "Accident Forgiveness" Imply On Your Insurance Policy?

When you are involved in an automobile accident, you expect certain things to happen with regards to your insurance policy. This is especially true if it is determined that the accident was as a result of your own negligence rather than that of the other party or parties involved. If your insurance company agrees to make a payout to the other driver, your premiums will most likely increase. If you continue to incur driving and traffic infractions, then your insurance agency may cancel your policy altogether as your risk factor will be too high to justify your coverage.

In the insurance industry, the term "accident forgiveness" can be simply described as not being punished by your insurance agency for being involved in an accident. It is getting off lightly, so as to speak, provided certain conditions as specified by your policy apply. Naturally, choosing a policy with this option may cost you more by way of premiums but may help you in the long run especially if you are a responsible driver.

For accident forgiveness to apply, insurers typically consider the following:

Driving record

Some accidents are unavoidable and even the best defensive driver may not stand a chance against certain incidences. For example, bad weather can significantly deteriorate road conditions due to black ice or sleet. Rain and snow may also cause poor visibility increasing the chances of accidents. Other accidents are solely due to the negligence of other drivers. If you generally have a good driving record or have taken defensive driving courses in the past, then your auto insurer may let you off with a slap on the wrist when you are involved in an accident.

If you have a tarnished driving record, have many traffic and speeding tickets or have been involved in numerous driving infractions over a duration of time usually between one and three years, chances of getting accident forgiveness from your insurance agency in the event of an accident are slim to none.

Some agencies are stricter than others when it comes to accident forgiveness. Even if you have a perfect driving record but it is determined that you were to blame for the accident, they may choose not to grant forgiveness as others will overlook this. Be sure to check on the stipulations provided by your insurer to see what conditions apply.

Time frame

As earlier indicated, accident forgiveness has a validity period. This is not so much with regard to its expiry, but rather its application. What this means is that if you go for a certain period of time, say one or two years without having an accident or any other major driving infractions, then you will likely get accident forgiveness in the event you are involved in one. If you have had several infractions within the insurer's stipulated timeframe, then you may not qualify for accident forgiveness. Another important factor to consider is that accident forgiveness may not follow you when you switch insurance agencies. Be sure to check the application of this feature if you are changing to a new insurer.

Back to Top