Consider Unsecured Business Loan to Help Grow the Business

Consider Unsecured Business Loan to Help Grow the Business

When business owners are looking to expand their business or need a loan for another reason, they do not want to have it tied to any building or any of their other assets. An unsecured business loan might be a possible option for them. Not all business owners are able to obtain this kind of financing though.

As with most loans, this type of loan is based on the credit score also. Most businesses will need to have an excellent credit score and payment history in order to take out a loan that does not have any type of collateral. This can make it difficult for some companies.

When applying for these from a finance company, it may be a little easier than applying from a bank. There will be a simple application process to get all of the necessary information. It will also allow the bank to see how much the business needs and how soon they will be able to pay back the loan.

Many finance companies are able to give a fast approval. Sometimes, this can be in as little as a few hours, depending on the size of the finance company and how many representatives they have. It will also depend on whether or not all of the proper paperwork was submitted at the time of the submission of the application too.

Some of the paperwork that will be necessary is the financial statements from at least one year. Some financial institutions will require more than that. They will also need to have detailed plans on what they plan on using the money for. Some finance companies will require more than that but not always.

Many of the finance companies are going to require that the companies have been in business for over a year. Some of them have a certain length of time that they need to have been in their current location. If they move around a lot, it can look bad on the company.

There are a lot of different things that a loan could be used for in a company. Some of them may be looking into getting new office equipment or furniture while others are remodeling the existing building. There are many other things that business owners will be doing with the money.

There are some situations that they need to borrow the money at a lower interest rate to pay off their current debts and combine everything into one payment. This can make it easier to keep track of financial records. It can also save them a lot of money.

They may take out unsecured loans to pay off secured loans too. There are a lot of different possibilities. It is important to have a clear plan of what the money is going to be used for and how much is required to pay off all of the balances.

Credit ratings are important in personal financing options but it will also affect the business financing as well. When they can get loans that are not putting a lien on their vehicles, property or anything else, they are able to sell it when they want to instead of hanging onto it because it has a lien.

Not every business is able to get an unsecured business loan though. Even though, they are applying for a business loan, their personal credit rating could have an effect on the approval of it. There are a lot of reasons for a company to get a loan but it will be important to make sure that they are going to be able to pay it back.

Child Benefit - Should You Opt Out?

Child Benefit - Should You Opt Out?

It is estimated that only around 200,000 people have opted out of receiving child benefit since the government announced the new rules.

This probably leaves around one million people who are very likely to be hit by the 'high income child benefit charge'.

As the vast majority of our clients earn well in excess of the earnings figures discussed below, this is an issue that will affect many, and perhaps making an informed choice now can make matters simpler.

So what are these new rules and should you take action to opt out of receiving child benefit?

From When Does It Apply?

  • New rules came into force on 7th January 2013 and any benefits received after this date will be taxed according to the new rules, see below

Who Is Affected?

  • An individual, or their partner, who earn over £50k in a given tax year and who are receiving Child Benefit
  • A tax rate of 1% for each £100 of income applies for those who earn between £50,000 and £60,000 pa
  • anyone who earns over £60,000 will be charged an equal amount to the amount they receive as Child Benefit

How Do The Government Clawback This Benefit?

  • Through income tax, although HMRC cannot claim monies until your exact earnings are known
  • So it is likely that the earliest the tax will apply will be January 2014 through self-assessment & PAYE
  • In later years tax codes could be adjusted for higher earners so that on PAYE it is clawed back monthly

Can This Tax Be Avoided?

  • There are limited options here, but as your income level is calculated by assessing your gross income less any allowable deductions, then gifts to charity and pension contributions could be used to reduce the assessable income

  • For those earning between £50,000 and £60,000, the new tax charge would be less than the full-child benefit­ received, so the household would, be better off if the child benefit claimant continues to receive it and the higher income partner pays the tax charge. Crucially, women still need to register for child benefit and then opt out to receive national insurance credits towards their state pension.

Should I Opt Out?

  • It is perhaps not a decision to be taken lightly as it means that a couple with, say, two children would not receive the £146 per month due

  • However, if earnings for one in the household is well above £60,000 pa, and they have no intention of gifting large amounts to charity or investing in a pension, then it does make sense to opt out if for no other reason than it makes your tax affairs simpler and could even avoid running the risk of a fine for getting it wrong

How Do You Opt Out?

  • If you were extremely efficient and opted out by 7th January, then well done and no action needs to be taken other than to check that HMRC cancels your Child Benefit

  • If you decide that this is your best course of action then you need to submit a declaration to the Child Benefit Office, which needs to be completed by the person who receives the benefit, usually the mother

The Financial Tips Bottom Line

Take the time to work out if you are affected by this new rule. If you are, then decide what you need to do and take action if necessary.

If you want to opt out, contact the Child Benefit Office as soon as possible to make your tax affairs as simple as you can.

Advocates Help You Get Your Social Security Disability Check

Advocates Help You Get Your Social Security Disability Check

Though it is possible to be approved for disability benefits when applying the first time, most applicants either do not know enough about the process or do not prepare enough in advance and are not successful in their first attempt. This is where the hiring of an advocate plays to your advantage. The advocate will know the ins and outs of the process thoroughly and can almost guarantee your approval the first time you apply. Advocates do charge a fee for their work, but this fee is taken out of your check from Social Security, so, you only pay if you win!

Your advocate may either be an attorney or simply a person who knows a lot about the social security process. The prices of these advocates are regulated by Social Security and must not be more than 25% of the retroactive payment you might receive. You will only need to pay this fee if your application is approved. This means that if you are not approved while using your advocate, you will not have to pay them. Whether your advocate is an attorney or not does not change the amount you will pay for their help. This is to your benefit as it gives the advocate motivation and gives you peace of mind.

An advocate may help their clients with tasks such as filling out questionnaires and forms, accompanying them to the initial interview, getting medical records sent in, and tracking the application once it has been submitted. All of these aids are invaluable to your success when tackling the process of applying for Social Security Disability Benefits. It is important that you ask all potential advocates to what extent they will help you out and follow your application. You should feel comfortable that your needs are met and choose an advocate based on this.

The knowledge and experience that an advocate provides for his or her clients are an all but necessary part of the application process. Of those who choose to apply without hiring an advocate, only 25 to 50 percent are approved. Some companies that employ advocates boast of rates as high as 95% approval for all of their clients. This dramatic increase in rates is due to the expertise of the advocates and their ability to consistently win success for their clients.

At this point, you may still be thinking that hiring an advocate would be a hassle and not worth it in the end. This could not be farther from the truth. These advocates want to work with you and will make the whole process a lot easier on you. They will do all of the work that you either do not have time to do or do not know how to do.

Working with an advocate is to your advantage in every way possible. You personally will have less to do and you will have a significantly greater chance of being approved for disability benefits.

How to Pay Your Mortgage Off Faster

How to Pay Your Mortgage Off Faster

Many of us want to be untied to our mortgage. It is likely the most expensive bill you pay every month. Although the interest you pay on your mortgage is tax deductible, all that interest would be better off put away in an investment account. Even at a low interest rate, you could still end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars over the term of your loan.

So how can one go about paying off a mortgage faster? It's all about the term, which is how long the mortgage contract lasts. The term you choose - 1, 3, 5 or 7 years or some other period - dictates the amount of interest you'll pay. Whether you choose a fixed rate or a variable rate will also affect your interest payments.

The most common term is the five-year fixed, chosen by more than 50 percent of borrowers. Even though this term is the most popular, it's not necessarily the right choice for every home buyer. The right term for you may not be the one with the lowest rate. Some terms may lock you in at a higher rate for many years, while others may subject you to fluctuating rates. Discover the other options available, as well as their benefits and disadvantages.

Four-Year Fixed Term
The difference between the rate of a five-year fixed term and a four-year fixed term will save you one-third of a percent. This may not seem like a significant amount, but when multiplied over a four-year period, you could potentially save a few hundred thousand dollars in interest - not a small amount of cash.

One-Year Fixed Term
This term results in very little financial incentive for a lender, so it's not pushed as much as over terms. However, it can be the right term for a well-qualified borrower. With rates as low as 2.39 percent, it's ideal for a homeowner with less than 15 years left on their mortgage.

Terms to Avoid
A three-year fixed term versus a four-year term save you 0.10 percent, but when you renew, the savings could be decreased by higher rates. Avoid a seven-year fixed term as well. Although it offers a few extra years of security, the higher rates don't justify it. Another term to avoid is the five-year variable term. Although there is a savings of 0.40 percent, but with no rate protection, these savings can be offset by rising rates.

Pick the Ideal Mortgage for Your Situation
The ideal mortgage for one person may not be so perfect for another home buyer. That's why there are many options available to you. Safebridge Financial Group offers a variety of mortgage options to help virtually any home buyer - even first-time buyers - purchase their dream home. Learn more about what options we offer.

Common Questions About Opening Singapore Bank Accounts

Common Questions About Opening Singapore Bank Accounts

Factors to Consider
There are many banks available in Singapore. They offer a range of services and have differing requirements for opening an account. It's important to decide which services are most important to you when choosing a bank. Make sure you'll be able to add accounts for other services later on, if you think that might be the direction your investing takes. Understand that you may not qualify for an account with every bank and that the banks where you do qualify may not offer all the services you want. It's a good idea to do your research before getting started in the process of actually opening the account.

What Kind of Account Can I Open?
Most banks share similar restrictions for non-resident accounts. Non-residents are typically restricted to savings accounts. These usually have no associated fees so long as the account maintains a balance, generally S$1,000. ATM cards associated with your savings account can be used to access your money at many locations; however, these transactions are subject to various fees when initiated outside of Singapore. You may also be able to open a term deposit account that carries higher interest rates than the basic savings account. Deposits are typically accepted in several foreign currencies. It is important to understand that U.S. citizens may face special obstacles in opening overseas accounts and it is advised to complete some research regarding these additional restrictions.

Is my money really safe in Singapore?
Singapore's financial and banking system is extremely well-regulated. It also provides greater stability than economic conditions in other nations. A central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) monitors and regulates all the banks in the country. The SDIC (Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation) insures deposits up to S$50,000. Foreign currency deposits, however, are not covered by the SDIC and as such, are not insured.

It is unlikely that Singapore's government would allow any of its banks to fail, especially if it caused major losses for the depositors that exceeded the limits imposed by the SDIC. It is possible that local banks are more trustworthy in this regard, as the support provided by the government might not include foreign banks that only have a branch in the country. If you're really worried about a bank failing, you should probably go ahead and pick one of the banks based in Singapore.. The credit rating of Singapore is triple "A" and is agreed upon by all the major grading agencies.

Tips On Using Your Money Wisely

Tips On Using Your Money Wisely

The way you spend your money is essential, especially during tough economic times. Being able to control your spending habits as well as spending your money wisely is a trait that you must adapt. Not only will it benefit you for the moment but it will surely help you in the long run.

1. Buy only things that are a necessity - A lot of people have an uncontrollable habit when it comes to shopping and they mostly buy things that they don't really need. Of course, buying that are wants but not needs can be a natural thing to do as long as everything is controlled. In the case of buying grocery items, it would be best to go shopping on a full stomach. The reason for this is that, whenever you go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, you will end up buying a lot of foods or items you see. Aside from grocery shopping, you will also have the tendency to buy things which you don't have. So before purchasing whatever that item is, always rethink if you'll really need it and if that item can wait for some time to be purchased, then don't buy it.

2. Always look for sales and discounts - When you're out strolling around malls or other places, be sure to always keep an eye for advertisements regarding sales and discounts. If you see this, then don't let the opportunity pass. Buy the necessities which you think you will use almost everyday in bulk purchases so that you can save money and you won't buy the same item again for the next few days or weeks.

3. Find every money-saving option as much as possible - Looking out for the best possible option to buy your items is a smart strategy. You can always pursue stores that sell wholesale products because they normally cost less. It will really help you save a lot of money compared to buying branded products. Just pay attention to the places you go because they might be selling the products you need for less.

4. Save for an item - To prevent a huge amount of money from leaving your wallet, you must save as much as possible before the day of your purchase. Also, don't immediately pursue high end stores right away when buying, but take time to look around for other shops that might be selling the same items for a lesser price.

When you start these money saving tips, stick to this kind of lifestyle because in the days to come, you will surely see an increase in your savings. Just remember to always discipline yourself and use your mind before purchasing any items.

5 Great Financial Tips for Expecting Parents

5 Great Financial Tips for Expecting Parents

It can be a bit overwhelming being a first time parent; however, it can be exciting as well. Although your little one might be cute as a button, the expenses that you will incur for this little one will be challenging to deal with. There are many things to consider and prepare for such as your baby's food, milk, diapers, health expenses, clothes, vaccinations, toys and more. Starting to save now is important. Below are five tips for new parents that can be taken now to begin your financial planning to help raise your new baby.

Budget Mindset

First, you should start right away to get into a budget mindset. You need to realize that you will have a financial commitment once your little one comes into the world, so getting into that mindset and beginning your financial planning now is key. Pay a visit to your local department store or grocery store to get an idea on how much diapers will cost, as well as baby wipes and formula. You will begin to understand quickly how saving a few extra bucks each month can help to keep up with just the basics. You can also contemplate on areas where you can improvise such as buying generic formula or cloth diapers.

Life Insurance

Life insurance might not be on the forefront of your mind, however it is important and suggested for women prior to getting pregnant in the early stages of their pregnancy. This insurance will pay a certain sum of money in the event of your death within a specific term, such as 20 years, and is typically the most efficient plan. Having coverage before and while you are pregnant is a good idea in case of any unfortunate events that could happen during birth. You do not want to leave a financial burden on your family or your kids to deal with later on.

Health Insurance

Again, this type of plan is something to definitely think of before getting pregnant or at least the moment you find out you are expecting as you will definitely start racking up the maternity costs. You should also inquire about any out-of-pocket costs so you are not surprised later on. Generally, you can add your newborn to your plan within 30 days of birth, which is most likely the time where you will be most sleep-deprived. Therefore, planning for this type of coverage ahead of time is best.

Be Practical with Spending

There is nothing wrong with a few shopping tips for saving money. When you are out shopping looking to make a purchase for your child, take the time to explore other alternatives. You can always find other items available that come with a more affordable price tag and are made of the same quality. Buying second hand items like baby bath tubs, cribs or strollers can also be a good idea.

Plan Ahead

Waiting to plan for college until your child gets older can end up being too late. A public college's tuition costs and fees for the 2009-10 school years, according to the College Board, was $7,020 and was $26,273 for private college. By planning for college expenses early and taking advantage of tax-free savings and compounding interest, you can eliminate some of the burden of college expenses for your children. Search for ways to save extra income for this investment early on. Even asking for the help of family members and grandparents to donate funds to this cause can be a big help.

In addition to having a financial savings plan, you do need to keep on top of your credit rating. Down the road, you will most likely want to buy a new home, new car or help with loans for your child's education. It is important to monitor your credit scores regularly to make sure your credit is where it needs to be to get approved for credit for these types of things. Perform a credit check at least once a year to ensure you are in good standing.

Remember, once the baby arrives, it will take up most of your time. Remembering the times before your little one was born can get difficult; especially if you are trying to keep the love going in your relationship with your spouse or partner. Therefore, it is important to budget in a little extra spending money for date nights as well to keep your partnership strong, especially during the happiest and most stressful times in your lives. Being a new parent is challenging, but financially planning for your new family is important. However, saving to keep your family strong and happy is just as important.

An Insight to Short-Term Forex Strategies

An Insight to Short-Term Forex Strategies

There are numerous techniques and strategies for investing money in the forex market. The strategies differ mainly in the degree of risk that an investor is willing to accept, the assumed percentage of return and the withheld funds.

When choosing a strategy, the investor's temperament is extremely important - whether he likes to take big risks and if he can keep his temper under control.

Day Trading

Day Trading is a strategy of buying currency pairs and selling them on the same day.The Strategy provides the ability to open and close multiple positions, even a few to several hundred times on the same currency pair. Single profit from the transaction may not be big, but after adding the profit an investor can receive a return similar to the long-term strategy.

The big advantage of day trading is not holding positions overnight, during which an investor can sleep peacefully. Most brokers use the so-called rollover fees to withstand open at 5 am New York time.

The disadvantage of day trading, especially for novice investors may be traps that you can fall into. Often novice traders invest large amounts in many new open positions, do not use money management and thus often generate significant losses. In addition, novice investors often get over emotional - both when they win or lose thus trading with an unclear mind, leading often to very bad decisions.


Scalping is one of the most popular techniques for day trading. The technique involves rapid opening and closing positions at a profit. Positions held in scalping are a few minutes or even a few seconds.

Scalpers do not seek large profits from each transaction, as in long term strategies. The Scalper strategy is to achieve small gains in a number of profitable trades.The size of profits and losses of each transaction is roughly equal, as opposed to long-term strategies, which mostly benefit from several times higher profits from winning trades than losses. To earn the same money, scalpers must perform more winning trades than losing.

Advantages of scalping

Reduced exposure to risk - scalpers utilize a small price movements taking place in a short time, so their positions are not subject to large fluctuations. Additionally, using a stop loss is possible to exclude large losses from a single transaction.

Gains in a quiet market - in most cases scalpers can earn even when the odds are against them. Scalpers can jump ahead a few pips as they use mostly bigger positions and smaller price changes.

Using economic and political news

Some investors prefer short-term investments and therefore use large fluctuations in currency pairs accompanying the publication of important economic data.

This strategy seems to be very simple, because in theory, just reading the news is positive or negative for the currency. It turns out however, things are not so simple, because the pre-release, many experts comment on the possible changes in economic indicators. The experts' speeches are able to change the mood of investors and affect the rates of currency pairs. If expert predictions do not work, then we can be confident that the market will react very rapidly.

Crowdfunding Basics - Everything You Need to Know to Crowdfunding Your
Next Project

Crowdfunding Basics - Everything You Need to Know to Crowdfunding Your Next Project

Ever since the dawn of commerce, smart and savvy entrepreneurs have been finding ways to leverage other people's money (OPM) in order to build the kind of businesses that would otherwise exist only in their dreams.

However, we've never seen a crowdfunding environment and community quite like the one that has been cropping up all over the Internet in just the last few years. More and more regular folks are getting the itch to become creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs than ever before - understanding that with the right crowdfunding approach, they should be able to raise the funds necessary to bring their dreams to life, all without having to take on a tremendous amount of risk in the first place.

That being said, before you dive into finding all different kinds of crowdfunding website services and looking to build project funding for any of your dreams, you need to understand how best to approach crowdfunding to make sure that you can raise the amount of money that you need not only to complete this specific project, but to set you up moving forward.

Above all else, focus on the message to market match when looking for project funding

If you've heard a number of different stories about how crowdfunding websites never seem to work out, and that only a few lucky people are able to take advantage of this new form of entrepreneurship, then you have probably been speaking to people who didn't focus on their message to market match.

Just because you have a wild dream that you think would be fantastic to bring to fruition doesn't mean that there is a marketplace to support it, which is why so many different crowdfunding ideas are unable to raise the kind of project funding they need to get up off the ground. Not only do you need to make sure that your project is in and of itself exciting, but you also have to make sure that your message (your pitch, really) resonates with the marketplace as well. All of the greatest and very best fundraising ideas in the world will do nothing for a project that cannot speak directly to the people who will support it the most.

Outline expectations as well as stumbling blocks to create trust and affinity

One of the very best fundraising ideas you'll ever stumble upon is the concept of being as real as humanly possible while also working to hype up and get people excited for your project. Not only should you outline all of your wildest expectations in an effort to get people jacked up about investing in your project, but you also have to walk a fine line by outlining all of the stumbling blocks that you can foresee.

While it may seem counterintuitive to post up stumbling blocks, roadblocks, and mistakes of that could potentially happen along the way when trying to secure project funding on a crowdfunding website, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, people will appreciate your honesty and candor, and will be much more likely to contribute directly to your project at the same time.

All in all, crowdfunding is an exciting way to dive into a business that you don't have the funds all on your own - but you should heed the advice provided in this article before you decide to move forward.

5 Tips for Money Saving

5 Tips for Money Saving

Managing your money is a simple task. All you need to do is to make several changes in your current life. Below are 5 tips for money saving.

1. Personal Money Management

Simple acts such as opening an online saving account or avoiding ATM fees will save you a lot of money. Keep an eagle eye on your spending and investments. By thoroughly keeping track of your spending and your investments, it allows you to feel in control of your finances. A great way to keep track of your finances is to always keep records of any transaction that you partake. No matter how minor the transaction is, always keep up the records for it.

2. Save on the food

Food is a basic need, which could be expensive. Although, you cannot live without food, it does not mean that you should spend a fortune on it. Easy ways to save on food include buying the food when it is cheap. The good thing with food is that it always has a season when it is in plenty. Take advantage to buy enough for you.

Another great way to save on food is to avoid buying food from the restaurant. Other than the restaurant's food being unhealthy, it is also expensive. If you are going to school or work, cook a large meal in the evening and carry some of the food the next day for your lunch.

3. Save on loaned items

If you have anything that you constantly get on a loan, such as water, contact your creditors, and ask them to cut any interests that the product might be carrying. Explain to the creditors how you have never made any late payment and you will not make any late payment in the future. If possible, convince your creditors to bring the interest rates to zero.

4. Save on transportation

Since traveling is almost a daily occurrence, aiming at saving on it will save you plenty of money. If you own a car, ask your car insurance company to offer you a higher deductible amount. By saving more in the car insurance, it will shield you more from accidents. Also, instead of using your car in traveling to and from work, use public transportation to save on gas.

5. Take advantage of any discounts offered

Finally, take advantage of any discounts offered by any business. If your grocery store is offering a special offer, take advantage of it and buy your goods at low prices.

Above are 5 tips for money-saving. Incorporate them in your daily life and you will ultimately see your life taking a turn for the better.

Save Money On Your Necessities: Find Creative Ways To Do This

Save Money On Your Necessities: Find Creative Ways To Do This

In this day and age, people are working their butts off every single day to earn money. As what other people may say, money makes the world go round. Physically and financially, this is somewhat true. You cannot live in this society when you do not have enough resources to fulfill your daily tasks. As what Abraham Maslow has shown in his diagram, the physiologic needs should be met first before one can proceed and meet all the needs to a fuller and higher life.

The basic needs are clothing, air, food and all the necessities needed for your everyday life. Abraham Maslow said that these needs should be well met so that a person can fully grow physically, emotionally and socially. A number of people have read the work of Maslow and they have applied this in their daily lives. Another thing that is important apart from earning money is saving. Saving is another story. It can be pretty hard. With all the things that are going on with life, you should be able to have a keen sense of grip towards your hard earned money. There are several things that should be done when saving your expenses on food, clothing, housing and auto.

Going to the grocery store is a good spot to learn and save money. When you go shopping for groceries, it is preferable that you do this every month. Have a monthly budget on your necessities. Be sure that you allotted enough for the whole month so that you would not go to the store every now and then. This way, money, time and effort are saved.

When you need car repairs, choose a shop wherein you can have good quality but with lesser fees. But if you have the proper tools and skills, you can also do it yourself. Yet, you should also minimize the repairs by taking care of your car.

When you have any housing repairs, you choose a shop wherein they offer varied house repairs. This way, you can have repairs all at once with a single fee. Make sure that they also have quality repairs so that you would not be calling them for services every now and then.

You can also save on clothes. You can go to thrift and bargain stores. They sell clothes at a much cheaper rate. If you have a big family, recycle and reuse clothes. This way, you can divert the money you have for clothes to something more important.

As you can see, there are several ways that you can save money with these basic necessities. Preventing repairs is a good way to go. With this, you can save your money instead of spending it in these preventable repairs. If you follow these simple tips, you can have enough savings in no time.

Beware the Obama Stock Bubble

Beware the Obama Stock Bubble

Presidential history can be pretty interesting... with odd coincidences and ominously repeated date, economic and other patterns. For example, Ronald Reagan's presidency is notable for breaking Tecumseh's Curse. The curse apparently started in 1840 when President William Henry Harrison came to office. He defeated a great Native American chief in battle... and, himself, subsequently died in office. Thereafter, all presidents who were elected (not sworn in) in a year ending in zero... died in office... until the curse was broken when Reagan survived assassination attempts and ended his two terms alive and kicking. George W. Bush became president in 2000 but is alive and well today... so Tecumseh's Curse is broken, thank heavens!

But, ironically, while Reagan broke Tecumseh's Curse, he may have set in motion another curse... this one economic in nature... where two-term presidents assume office during an economic downturn, preside over a strong economic recovery... and see that recovery grow to bubble proportions and end in a market crash.

When Reagan assumed office, the economy was in pretty bad shape with double-digit inflation - unheard of previously - and the highest rate of unemployment after World War II. Then Reagan went about fixing the economy and the Dow soared 150% from below 800 in mid-1982 to over 2,000 by early 1987... and then, just a year before the 1988 presidential election, the Dow suffered its largest one-day drop in history, falling 22.6% on Black Monday - October 19, 1987.

Bill Clinton's two term presidency, with Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, saw the Nasdaq rise seven-fold in only six years, to over 5,000 by March 2000... only to burst spectacularly with the dot-com bust... which took the Nasdaq back down to 1,000 by late 2002.

George W. Bush walked into the messy economic aftermath of the dot-com bust but soon had it much worse with the 9/11 terror attacks in 2011 - then Bush used massive tax cuts, easy monetary policy and massive government spending on defense and domestic security to pull the economy out of its slump. During the Bush years, as most of you will remember, housing boomed to fantastic bubble proportions and the Dow hit a record high in 2007, only to flameout with a spectacular housing bust and a Wall Street banking crisis of unforeseen proportions... which we still have not recovered completely from.

So now we come to Obama, our latest two term president... Obama inherited the housing bust and financial collapse... which he has fought with near-zero interest rates, government funded bailouts and massive quantitative easing... but instead of creating jobs, this money has fueled a rally in stocks to eye-popping valuations... which many predict will inevitably end in a severe bust. With the Fed now printing $85 billion every month, word on the street is that the Fed will continue easy monetary policy without worrying about a stock market bubble. What's different this time, though, is that interest rates are as low as they can go and... with our national debt at an all-time high... we have little fiscal ammo to combat future economic problems.

Basically, all this money that the Fed is printing is inflating the stock market... with very little trickling down to create new jobs and capital investment for long-term economic growth... and this is what worries market watchers.

Well known fund manager Bob Rodriguez has little confidence in the Federal Reserve's ability to anticipate and ward off bubbles... Rodriguez predicts severe economic turmoil in the 2014-2018 timeframe because of low government liquidity - with a large chunk of government funds going to pay-off interest on $21.3 trillion in federal, state and local debt. Rodriguez believes this is a good time to stay out of stocks because valuations are driven by unsustainable monetary and fiscal policy. His firm, First Pacific, is also a net seller of bonds because rising interest rates could kill bond prices.

... so while I am a strong proponent of long-term equity appreciation, I also think it makes sense to not get too carried away or too greedy... perhaps making this a good time to consider cashing in gains or seeking income through strategies such as covered calls, and holding off on buying stocks unless you think they are very attractive on fundamental valuation... and on the latter, I'd urge you to dig deeper on earnings growth to see if it is long-term sustainable. If earnings growth is driven by artificially low interest rates and low wages, current share prices may not be sustainable.

It's always hard to predict where the market's headed, especially when the Fed is artificially printing and pumping boatloads of cash every month, but by being diligent and doing your homework, maybe you can prevent the toil and trouble of this witches' brew!

How to Get a Tax Refund for PAYE Construction Workers

How to Get a Tax Refund for PAYE Construction Workers

If you're a construction worker or a tradesman and you work under PAYE tax, you could be claiming back hundreds of pounds a year in tax refunds that you're entitled to! Whether you work on a temporary construction site or as a tradesman, you can claim a tax refund on accommodation, travel expenses, specialist clothing, tools and even the cost of buying a sandwich to eat on site. So make sure you make the most of your claims and get a tax refund!

Living Expenses

Construction workers and tradesmen working on temporary sites can make tax claims for the cost of accommodation and subsistence, even if the employer has provided an allowance for temporary site workers, including a food allowance. Any site that you are working on for 24 months or less is classed as a temporary site and you can claim back up to four years of tax provided you have kept receipts from where you stayed and records of where you worked and when you worked there.

Travel Expenses

If you've received a travel allowance from your employers or if you have had no allowance at all you can make a claim for travel expenses. You can get a tax refund for the cost of travelling to and from work in your own car or of using public transport. If you're travelling in your own vehicle you can claim a mileage allowance of 45p for every mile you travel, unless you travel more than 10,000 miles when the rate is reduced to 25p. You can get a tax refund on your public travel expenses using your travel tickets as evidence in lieu of a receipt.

Clothing and Tools

You can make a claim to clean, repair or replace specialist clothing and tools but not for initially purchasing them. You can still claim if your employer has provided and allowance and you can provide receipts for proof of purchase. If you're not sure what constitutes specialist clothing it's safe to assume that specialist boots, helmets, protective gloves, high vis jackets and anything that you are required to wear by health and safety law can be claimed on.

It's great to know that it's possible to get a tax refund for all of these things if you're a construction worker or a tradesman, but if you weren't aware you could claim then you probably didn't keep receipts. However, it is still worth pursuing a claim with the help of a tax claim specialist. You can enlist the help of a company that specialises in making claims for PAYE construction workers and tradesmen even if you don't have receipts or proof of purchase from the last four years. In most cases you can simply fill in a quick online form and the tax claim company will do the rest - and you won't have to pay if your claim is unsuccessful. So don't miss out on the tax refunds you're entitled to and make that claim!

What You Can Learn From a "Personal Finance for Engineers"

What You Can Learn From a "Personal Finance for Engineers"

Just before the Twitter IPO, Adam Nash, the CEO of Wealthfront, gave a personal finance talk to Twitter's engineers. While the presentation was geared toward young, tech-savvy high-earners, much of the advice it contained can be applied to anyone's finances. Some of the best tips shared with Twitter's engineers:

Manage Emotions When Investing
Studies show that many people, especially those who work in STEM fields, consider themselves more rational than the average investor. People think that they can beat the averages. But, the truth is that very few people can beat the market. And, those who do are more often lucky than smart.

Instead of playing hunches, work from an investment strategy with an end goal in place. As Nash said in the presentation: smart investing is boring. But, where it lacks thrills and chills, it makes up for it all in financial security.

Have an Emergency Fund
The most basic building block for financial security is an emergency fund. You can't build for the future if you are constantly being set back by emergencies. The ideal emergency fund should contain three to six months worth of living expenses. If that number is too daunting, start smaller. First build an emergency fund that can carry you through one week's groceries; once you reach that number, aim for a month's utilities; then, climb toward even larger goals.

Save for Retirement
The sooner you start, the better. One thousand dollars put into an interest bearing account when you are 25 will grow to several times the size of the same amount put into the same account when you are 40.

Retirement can seem like a very abstract goal when you have so many other things demanding your more immediate attention. But, even a few hundred dollars a year put into an IRA will make things easier on you when you get older.

Maintain a Balanced Portfolio
Never keep all your money in one investment or in one type of investment. The best portfolios mix stocks, bonds, CDs and other instruments. This way, you have a balance of safer but less lucrative investments and higher risk ones that generally pay more over time. You should also change where you invest based on when you will need the cash. As you get closer to retirement or another large financial goal, start putting your money into safer investments.

Most of us will never be high-paid employees of a big-name start-up. But, we can all live better, more exciting lives by managing our finances in ways that maximize the benefits of the money we do have.

The Biblical Law of Scarcity

The Biblical Law of Scarcity

"Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it... '" (Genesis 1:26-28). After God spoke order and abundant life into the darkness and chaos that was earth, He beheld it and declared that it was very good. Adam and Eve, made in the very image of God, were to learn to be like God. They were to have dominion over the earth just as their Father, Creator has dominion over everything. They were in training to rule with God as children in the Royal household or family of God. Their task as overseers of earth was blessed.

Unfortunately, at some point, Adam chose to stand silently by as the serpent enticed his wife and then himself to rebel against God. You may never have given it much thought but one of the ways Adam and Eve violated God's Law was by theft. They stole fruit from God that He clearly told them was not theirs to have. God had given them everything and blessed them with abundance and yet they were convinced that it was not enough.

The law of scarcity is observed as man's attempt to fulfill his infinite wants with finite resources. Because of this theft, God was going to crank scarcity up a notch.

You can read in Exodus 22:1-4 that it is required of the thief to restore not only that which he has stolen but there must be a quantitative loss to the thief. If the thief is not able to make full restitution, then he must be sold into slavery to pay off the full amount. Now look at how Adam was indeed punished according to the restitution law concerning theft.

In Genesis 3:17-19, the Judge of the universe pronounces sentence on Adam. "Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you... In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground... "

Before Adam's theft, due to the sheer magnitude of abundance given to him as a blessing, Adam would make light work of maintaining himself, his family and the garden. This would have freed up much of his time to pursue other ventures to build and to grow and reach new heights. Adam would have grown spiritually and truly developed into a complete son of God, maturing into the very image of His maker.

So notice the punishment is a curse on the abundance. Now Adam would fritter away his whole life (as all men generally do now) just keeping food on his table, clothes on his back and a shelter over his head from the time he is able to work until the day of his death. Adam rebelled against God whom has dominion over man. Now God allowed creation itself to rebel against Adam so he could experience what it is like to deal and work with rebellion. The curse brought enmity and fear between man and animal. The crops no longer yielded abundantly and the soil rebelled, bringing forth weeds to reduce production. The creeping things of the earth (insects) rebelled against Adam, destroying his crops and spreading disease. Weather patterns changed, also wreaking havoc on production; both food and construction of homes, villages, and societies.

The law in Exodus also requires that the thief be sold into slavery until the debt is paid. Adam indeed has sold his offspring into the bondage of sin. Sadly, instead of repentance, Satan has convinced man that the solution to scarcity is more theft by continuing to seek, within himself, the fulfillment of his wants and spiritual needs that only the Creator can fulfill. Man is perpetually duped into eating more and more of the forbidden fruit, hoping the next bite will be the missing dimension needed to be whole. Man continues to eat from this tree because he stole from it, to begin with, under the premise that man is inherently good and capable of defining what is right and then doing the right.

No one in their right mind would believe that the solution to overcoming sin is to sin more yet that is exactly what man has shown by his actions for 6,000 years. Our solution to theft is more theft to the level of governments that enforce social justice and the redistribution of wealth. Our solution to debt is to spend ourselves into greater debt as we can see in our own nation today where we are the world's greatest debtor nation having surpassed all of Europe, including Britain, by 2.4 trillion dollars. Our solution to overcoming bondage is more bondage as we embrace the State as a solution instead of the Ten Commandments which James so rightly describes as "the law of liberty".

Thanks be to God, that He has provided a second Adam, Jesus Christ, to redeem us from this curse in due time. Understanding this curse and its purpose is key to alleviating and overcoming its effects in a Christian's walk. It is the answer to the question so many scoffers and would-be believers alike, who ask, "If there is a God, why does He allow so much suffering?" Count your blessings in this life, being content in a fallen world where nature itself is rebelling against us and seek God to fill the void we all have that can only be filled by our Father.

Eric Daniel Brown

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