Sep 6 2014

6 Online Degrees That Can Lead to Financial Freedom

By |September 6th, 2014|General Personal Finance|0 Comments|

Online degrees offer the opportunity to earn your degree from home and provide flexibility to continue to work or take care of family commitments at the same time. Which degree you choose can make a difference in your earning potential. For instance, degrees that require more math—think engineering and accounting—provide higher earning potential. These six online degrees can lead to the financial freedom you’re looking for.

1. Nurse Practitioner

woman

Image via Flickr by Sarah Stewart

A nurse practitioner degree allows those with an interest in medicine to use their skills to promote good health. After earning a four-year degree in nursing, a student must complete a Nurse Practitioner degree, which can take between two and four years. This field offers several specialties including family, pediatric, and gerontological/geriatric care. According to Salary.com, the median salary of a nurse practitioner in the United States is just over $96,000.

2. Radiation Therapy

For those who don’t want to take the time to earn a four-year degree, consider becoming a radiation therapist—this growing field only requires an associate degree. With the aging population, employment in this field is boast a 24% growth rate through 2022. Radiation therapists operate linear accelerators to deliver radiation treatment to patients. According to Bureau of Labor statistics, the average income for radiation therapists is $79,140.

3. Business

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) is considered one of the most sought-after advanced degrees that can be useful to people in a wide range of career fields. This degree can lead to a higher salary and potential management positions. Schools are taking notice of the demand for online options and are increasing online MBA offerings. An MBA is earned after you get your bachelor’s degree and usually takes two years of full-time study. However, some programs, such as an online executive MBA, take a shorter amount of time.

4. Information Systems

A master’s degree in information systems opens opportunities in another field projected to grow. This degree provides knowledge and experience in applying information systems theory and prepares you to design, build, and implement software solutions in the business world. Those choosing this career path can expect mid-career median pay of $95,500.

5. Economics

Forbes lists an economics degree among the top 10 best degrees, and a rising demand within numerous industries offers good job prospects that include opportunities in management and consulting services in scientific and technical fields. Earnings are forecasted around $126,000 a year after 10–12 years working in the field.

6. Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineers must earn at least a bachelor’s degree—many engineers go on for a master’s degree—and jobs in the field are projected to grow by more than 17%. Electrical engineers can expect a mid-career median pay of $121,000. Employers also value practical experience, so look for an opportunity to take part in a cooperative engineering program that offers academic credit as a bonus.

Deciding on a college major isn’t easy. Choosing a four-year degree often offers higher salary potential, with top earners making $100,000 in 10 years or less according to PayScale.com. The future looks to offer higher earnings for the careers mentioned above, so pursuing one of the degrees listed here could put you on the fast track to financial freedom.

Sep 6 2014

Is It Beneficial to Invest in a Barcode Scanner for Your Business?

By |September 6th, 2014|General Personal Finance|0 Comments|

The days of manually entering items into a store’s front-end POS system are quickly fading away, especially with the increasing popularity and prevalence of barcode technology and barcode scanners. The US and the UK are still the top two countries in which mobile barcodes have even been adopted for traditional and eCommerce businesses, according to HubSpot.

However, there are still many businesses that feel making such an investment decision is frivolous and unnecessary. Are there any benefits and advantages that can help these business owners feel otherwise?

Gain More Control Over Inventory

bar codeOne major benefit of using a barcode scanner within your company is the effective management and control of your inventory. Regardless of the size or type of your business, each package or product that comes in has at least one barcode. Using a barcode scanner will allow you to maintain control over your complete inventory – tracking what goes in and what comes out in a manner of seconds. Whenever you have a new product shipment or delivery arrive, you will be able to efficiently use your company’s barcode scanners to track and manage this inventory in a fraction of the time it would’ve taken otherwise.

Increase the Accuracy of Front-End Transactions

Accuracy should play an instrumental role in each of your sales transactions in addition to your inventory tracking and management overall. As mentioned earlier, there are many different types of technology and equipment available that prevent you from having to solely depend on manual item entry any longer. By trusting in a barcode scanner, you will also be able to minimize the human error which could lead to discrepancies in your reports, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Simplified Employee Training for Increased Efficiency

Another benefit of using barcode scanners as instrumental tools within your business is the opportunity of training your employees to use this equipment as easily and efficiently as possible. Instead of spending countless hours training them to memorize and reference a variety of codes and figures, for instance, you’d only need to train them how to access this information within the actual scanner.

Since most barcode scanners are programmed to be compatible with your existing POS systems, it will not take very long to get everything up and running properly, either. Can you imagine how productive your well-trained staff will become when they no longer have to look up an excessive amount of information manually just to process a transaction or find an item within the existing inventory?

Enhance Efficiency of Store Operations with Mobile Devices

In addition to increasing the efficiency of your employee training, you will also be able to increase the efficiency of your store operations overall – especially by investing in a small collection of wireless barcode scanners. Your employees will not be required to stand and remain in a particular location (such as at a cash register) just to use the barcode scanner. The vast majority of these devices are designed to be used remotely over 160 feet from their designated bases, according to Wasp Barcode. This provides a great opportunity for your employees to also monitor customers, clients and even other employees carefully throughout the day since they will be able to clearly carry their barcode scanner around with them wherever they go.

A Quick Return on Your Investment

One of the biggest downfalls and setbacks of investing in barcode scanners for your business is the upfront cost and one-time expense associated with this type of purchase. This is one of the main reasons why there are still so many business owners that would prefer to maintain their old-fashioned routine of manually entering and tracking the hundreds or even thousands of items within their store.

Studies have proven that you will generate a return on your investment much sooner than expected by purchasing wireless barcode scanners. One report even shows that you can receive an equivalent return in value within the first year, according to Yahoo. Even though you might have to pay a little more upfront than you would like for high-quality scanners and related equipment, knowing that you will have an expeditious return on this investment should make this type of deal even more appealing to you.

The Long-Term Value of Updates & Upgrades

As is the case with most mobile devices and POS systems, high-quality barcode scanners are periodically updated with upgraded software and more efficient programming. In most cases, you will not even have to pay extra money for these complimentary upgrades. Therefore, it is a win-win situation for you and your business.

By investing in wireless barcode scanners, such as the models and options available through Shopify and Barcodes, Inc., you will be able to enjoy an abundance long-term benefits from a relatively short-term investment. Based on these statistics and figures, it is evidently clear that investing in barcode scanners for your company is a wise decision.

Sep 4 2014

Want Finance for your Business? Here’s What to Do

By |September 4th, 2014|General Personal Finance|0 Comments|

That light bulb of inspiration has flicked on, you’ve slaved over your grand business plan and got the entrepreneurial gears whirring, but now comes the tricky part – how are you going to pay for it?

Finding finance for a startup is a major hurdle, and one that few budding entrepreneurs manage to overcome. This is even truer ifyou’re lacking in business experience. A great idea is a powerful tool, but only when a veteran mind can back it up.

However, that doesn’t mean you should lose all hope for your dream company. Instead, find a few alternative ways to finance your business. To get you started, here are a few tips.

Find the alternatives

Since the economic meltdown of 2008, the world of alternative finance has blossomed to hold its own against the banks, like David versus Goliath transforming into Godzilla versus Goliath.

An umbrella term covering construction finance, crowdfunding (more on that later), invoice discounting and many more, alternative finance is generally more sympathetic to niche markets, finding new ways to communicate with small businesses.

With the growth of this market, there could even be specific finance options to improve for your niche sector.

Move with the crowd

Crowdfunding has grown from cult internet sensation to billion-dollar enterprise, pushing thousands of projects off the ground.

Sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon and Gofundme are just the tip of the iceberg, with many more springing up every week to give your business idea the chance for funding.

In essence, crowdfunding involves you placing your idea onsite and hoping that people find it interesting enough to give you cash. In return, donators get to see the production of something that interests them.

While this surge in popularity has led to crowdfunding becoming a hugely competitive arena, it’s still a meritocracy in which the good ideas float to the top. Hone your proposal to its core and you might find a ton of donations coming your way.

Partner up

If you’re an idea’s person with nothing but moths filling your pockets, then one of your best bets is to find a wealthy patron to make your partner. While they pony up the cash, you’ll be able to focus on your business operations.

More than this, a decent partner will act as a sounding board for your ideas, allowing you to weed out the good from the bad. But if you don’t want to share the reins, find a silent partner who’ll give you cash but keep quiet about the business.

Just bear in mind that with a silent partner (or partners), the responsibility for a business going belly-up is all yours – and your partners might not be best pleased when left out of pocket.

Aug 18 2014

How a Financial Advisor Can Help You Retire

By |August 18th, 2014|General Personal Finance|Comments Off|

If you’re worried about your financial retirement options, you can get help. Many people fear their retirement money will run out too soon, or they won’t have enough to pay for expensive care when they get older. These issues and others need not be a problem. You can learn more about how to have the financial help you need, so you don’t fear the future.

A qualified financial planner who is a member of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is trained to handle your finances to protect your investments from fraud. He or she is also trained to educate you about investing and make sure all market transactions are transparent.

Some of the areas where a financial planner can help are:

Mutual funds

You may be worried that your mutual funds will underperform but don’t know how to select mutual funds that deliver an above-average performance at a below-average cost.

Social Security

Social Security is essential to your retirement portfolio, but when is the best time to take it? This will depend on several factors such as your retirement lifestyle, the income you have to support it and your life expectancy. A financial advisor who is focused on your well-being will show you the options and help you select the best ones for you.

Long-Term Care

Your financial advisor will also help you calculate assets to cover long-term care including the fear that if you don’t use your assets, you’ll lose them. You’ll learn about death benefits for your family and other aspects of benefit banking. You’ll get access to investment options that range from no-risk to high-risk, and you can decide your comfortable level of risk.

A good financial advisor will be able to explain complex financial topics in a way that you understand, so you are not in the dark when you make financial investments and other choices. Your finances may be complicated with retirement funds, rental property and other investments. A good financial advisor will give you choices to solve your complex requirements.

Your retirement dreams need not be simply dreams. You may be able to turn them into reality, but to do this, you require the help of an expert who is looking out for your interests. There is a wide variety of options for retirement planning, and your assets can be maximized with the help of a professional.

Jul 30 2014

Finding the Right Financial Adviser

By |July 30th, 2014|General Personal Finance|Comments Off|

When it comes to investing money, most people focus on how their investments perform in the market. However, what is equally important is the investor’s satisfaction with his financial advisor. In fact, a 2013 survey by J.D. Power indicates client satisfaction, and the relationship they have with their advisor, is as important as the investment dividends.

If you are looking to hire a financial advisor remember, you may not have control over the market, but you do have control over who you choose to manage your investments. This is why it’s important to make sure you select the right person for the job.

Building Your Candidate Pool

You can find financial advisers almost anywhere. Most banks offer them, they are listed in the phone book and – if the phone book seems too archaic – they also advertise online. However, if you use any of these approaches you could end up with more candidates than you will ever have time to screen.

Consider getting referrals from friends or family members, especially if they have similar financial needs and goals as yours.

Another option is to search for a planner through a professional organization like the Financial Planning Association and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.

After you have built your candidate pool, the next step is to interview each candidate using the following questions:

1. What certifications and licenses do you have?

There are four major types of financial advisors:

·  The Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

·  The Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)

·  The Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), and

·  The Certified Public Accountant.

Each type of advisor performs a different function, and not all types are appropriate for every investor. For example, a CPA is best for high-income individuals or small business owners who also need help with advanced tax planning; a CFP or ChFC is best for individuals who want someone to manage their total finances in addition to their investments; and, an RIA is best for individuals who only want investment advice.

Professional advisors can also get additional certifications specific to their area of expertise. For example, a CFP who specializes in wealth management could get an IMCA.org Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA) certification.

The advisor you choose should have at least one of the four major certifications or licenses. Additional licenses are not necessary, but can enhance their abilities.

2. What is your specialty?

Some advisors specialize in areas that might not fit your needs. Also, if the advisor specializes in clients like you, he will be more likely to understand your goals. For example, an advisor that specializes in family financial planning might not be a good fit for a confirmed bachelor. Conversely, an advisor that specializes in high-net-worth individuals might not be the best fit for new parents trying to plan for college and retirement.

3. What is your investment approach?

Even if you’re new to investing you probably have a basic idea of your investment approach. For example, you might prefer aggressive, high-risk trading with the potential for an immediate and high return; or you might feel more comfortable with conservative, low-risk investing with the potential for long-term growth. To avoid conflicts, and increase your satisfaction, you should choose an advisor with an approach similar to yours.

4. How hands-on are you with your clients? 

Just as your advisor’s specialty and investment approach should complement yours, so should his philosophy on client contact. If you need a lot of hands-on, having an advisor who only sees clients once a year won’t work for you. Conversely, if you prefer minimal contact, an advisor that sends monthly reports and does weekly phone calls will be way too much. If you’re not sure what you prefer, then an advisor who is willing to be flexible could be your best bet.

5. Will I be working with you exclusively?

Some financial firms work more on a team concept. One advisor might conduct the initial interview, but the actual day-to-day management of the account is handled by multiple team members. Other companies use the one advisor/one client approach. Both approaches are valid, and each has its benefits, but neither works for every client. If you prefer a one-on-one approach, you should make sure that’s how your advisor works before you sign on.

Jul 23 2014

Making Research and Development a Priority for Your Business

By |July 23rd, 2014|General Personal Finance|1 Comment|

Business owners can be so focused on execution and day-to-day activities that sometimes there isn’t a lot of time or money left over for research and development. Ignoring R&D can eventually mean a business loses a competitive edge in the marketplace.

If a business is going to commit to doing the research and development necessary there are a few strategies that can help make it happen without diverting too much time and money away from the normal operations of the company.

Bring on Full Time R&D Staff

The best way to avoid impacting normal business operations is to hire new employees who are dedicated to research and development. New employees can either begin work immediately on R&D or existing employees can be moved into R&D roles while the new employees backfill their positions.

Unfortunately this costs money so it is important to see if you can offset the costs somehow. One way to do that is with tax credits.

Look Into Financing Tax Credits

The nice thing about R&D is that there can be tax credits available to help fund this type of work. The problem with tax credits is that it can be complicated to figure out if your business is eligible.

It’s also hard to pay for business expenses while waiting for the tax credit to come through. Luckily, there are companies that offer services such as financing refundable tax credits for R&D that make this possible.

Be a Fast Follower

If you don’t have the time and money to be on the cutting edge of research and development, it’s important to keep yourself informed on industry trends. As soon as someone else in the industry takes the next innovative leap you can look at what they did and model your strategy after theirs.

Being a fast follower can keep you in business, but to get to the head of the pack it is important to do your own research and development and be the first company to market with a new fresh idea.

If your business needs funding for research and development you should find out if you are eligible for loans to finance refundable tax credits and look into bringing on new employees to stay on the cutting edge of new new technology.