There are two things any small business needs to be successful: an idea and money. While coming up with a great idea can be a difficult challenge, sometimes coming up with money to fund the idea can be even harder. Let’s face it; most small businesses fail and it’s a large risk for anyone to invest in one.
TV shows like Shark Tank and movies like The Social Network show businesses looking for funding from venture capitalists or angel investors. However, these funding options are difficult to obtains and come with many strings attached. Here are a few more traditional funding options that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Friends and Family
It may sound silly, but friends and family are actually a great place to look for business funding if you are serious about your company. Friends and family know how smart you are and are familiar with your work ethic, so they have more information about you as an investment than banks or angel investors would.
However, small business owners should proceed with caution here. A business investment is very risky and may not be paid back. If the small business owner and the friend/family member can’t separate business from personal life, then it may be best to look elsewhere.
It seems like it should go without saying, but most people think of banks as places to open a checking account, get a mortgage, or apply for a credit card. Don’t forget that most banks are still in the business of lending money to entrepreneurs.
A bank will want to see a formal business plan, including projected revenue and expenses, a marketing plan, and more. However, if you have a good idea, a bank has vast amounts of money they are able to lend. The key to obtaining financing through a bank is persistence.
There are multiple banks offering small business loans, and it may take a few tries before an entrepreneur can convince a banker to take a chance on his or her business. Don’t get discouraged the first time you are told, “No.”
Borrow from Yourself
A small business owner may have equity built in his or her home, or maybe a substantial amount of money in retirement savings. While most people would prefer to leave this money alone, sometimes there aren’t other options. All small business owners should use some of their own money to start the company. The only question is whether or not to dip into home equity or retirement savings.
If you are familiar with personal finance blogs then you’ve certainly heard about sign up bonuses for credit cards. If you wait for the right deal and can meet the requirements, you can earn hundreds of dollars or thousands of airline miles or credit card points. Sign up bonuses can be very profitable.
However, sign up bonuses are not limited to just credit cards. There are many products or services that give you a sign up bonus that can save you some money.
There are a lot of companies that offer a free trial when you sign up for their product. Netflix gives you one month free when you sign up for the first time, which saves $8, and Hulu Plus gives you a week of free programming if you prefer their content.
Almost any software you might want to use has a free trial as well. You can get a free trial of Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator if you are interested in doing some graphic design or photo editing. The best thing about many software trials is that it usually renews every time the software is updated to a new version.
Gambling is not recommended as a hobby for anyone who is trying to get control of their personal finances, but if you are able to enjoy gambling responsibly every now and then, there are some decent sign up bonuses at a lot of online casinos and sportsbooks. If you don’t know how to play blackjack or craps but you still want to try your luck online, Gala Bingo gives you an option to try to win some money playing bingo and also offers a nice sign up bonus.
There is a boatload of information available about credit card sign up bonuses, but those bonuses aren’t valuable to people who don’t have good enough credit to get approved for the cards, nor are they helpful for people who can’t handle credit cards and end up spending more money on interest and fees than they earned with the bonus.
However, there are many checking and savings accounts that will give customers a bonus for opening a new account. This is an option for people to sign up for a new financial product and receive a bonus without getting a new credit card.
You’ve done your preliminary research, emailed several dealers for offers, and have decided to purchase a new car at what seems like a great price. Don’t turn that bargain into a financial trap at the last minute by failing to read the fine print on your contract. Auto dealers are notorious for slipping in services and fees that you didn’t initially agree on. Still, you have the ultimate say in whether or not you will agree to these fees. There are some which come as a standard part of any new car contract, while others may not be so necessary. It’s important to read through these carefully to determine the difference.
Common New Car Fees
There are several types of fees that you can expect to pay, whether you have found a new Audi at Carsales.com.au or at your local small town dealer. Vehicle registration fees are one of the first types of fees that everyone must pay. This will vary depending on the state or territory that you live in, but generally it’s the amount charged to register the new car, pay for the cost of license plates, and assign a legal title to the car. This proves that you are the owner of the car and makes everything legitimate. You won’t be able to get out of vehicle registration fees, so work these into your budget by researching what they are in your state.
Sales tax is another extra fee to pay on new cars. Unfortunately, this can be higher than you expect if you’re not prepared for it. If you purchase a bargain car at $10,000, a basic 8 percent tax rate would mean that you have to pay an additional $800 on top of this. Again, this will vary by state or region. Many dealers charge documentation fees for the completion of paperwork. These administrative fees could be tacked on at the last minute and catch you unaware. If you don’t like what you see, you may need to negotiate a lower sale price to offset this type of fee.
Other Types of Fees
The types of fees mentioned above are standard for almost every new car purchase. Yet there may be other fees that work their way into your contract, including dealer fees. They may charge you for shipping or extra paperwork on top of the documentation fee. Advertising fees are another potential cost. Some dealers will add this into the contract as a way to offset the cost of their own business’s advertising, while others are required to include this fee by the car’s manufacturer. As you browse through your contract, be sure to ask what these are if you see any fees that you don’t recognize, and don’t be afraid to negotiate if you don’t think you should pay them. Go through the contract carefully before signing to see if any fees have been added at the last minute.
After carefully taking the time to compare auto prices and get the best deal in your area, don’t let yourself down by failing to read your contract carefully. Most auto purchases can be negotiated right until the end, down to the fine print.
I just spent an awesome 8 days in St. Louis with my mom and the rest of my family. It’s funny because usually I’m feeling ready to get home after about 3 or 4 days, but this trip was much longer and yet when we were leaving it felt like we had just arrived.
Little did I know that the whole time I was there my mom was waiting on some test results from her oncologist.
She finally got the results the day after we left, so I got a phone call. Her cancer is back.
For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that my mom was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer almost two years ago. She had a big surgery and had to deal with multiple rounds of chemotherapy, but the doctors finally felt like they got it all.
Here we are, less than a year after her last chemo treatment, and she’s about to go back for another 6 months of it.
I Don’t Know What to Feel or Think
When my mom first called and told me that she was going to have surgery because the doctor thought she had ovarian cancer, I was devastated. We had no idea if she had cancer at all. Even if she did, we didn’t know if it was Stage I or Stage IV. I was very upset, but also hopeful.
When the doctor did the surgery and told us that he removed most of it and could get the rest with chemotherapy, I was relieved. I knew my mom was a fighter and would handle the chemo like a champ. I knew she would come out on top, and she did.
Knowing my mom had Stage III ovarian cancer was actually pretty easy because I knew she would beat it.
But now it’s back.
And now I have no idea what to think again.
The doctor says another 6 months of chemo should get it all, and I do believe him. The problem is that after 6 months of chemo, she’ll be “cancer free” again, but for how long?
It hasn’t even been a year since her treatment stopped, and it’s already back. If they get all this stuff, do we have any reason to believe it’s going to stay away? I have no idea.
I’m feeling helpless right now, and it just hurts to think that my mom has already been through so much and she will have to do it all over again.
I Had to Do SOMETHING
My mom has a great oncologist, and I trust that his plan will get rid of this cancer again. I’m just worried about it coming back again later. I’ve always been a believer that we have amazing bodies that can do really amazing things with the right raw materials. I decided to do some research, and I found that there’s a good chance your body needs selenium to fight cancer.
Selenium shows promise as a nutrient that may help prevent the development and progression of cancer, but more research is needed.
That’s good enough for me. The best part is that my mom doesn’t even need to take a supplement to get a bunch of selenium. There is a ton of selenium in Brazil Nuts. All she has to do is eat 2 or 3 Brazil Nuts a day and she’ll get more than enough selenium to hopefully help fight off this cancer.
I just ordered 3 pounds of Brazil Nuts and had them shipped to my mom. She promised me that should would eat a couple every day.
I don’t know if this will help, but it certainly can’t hurt.
And at least I feel like I’m doing something. My prayers are good, but hopefully these nuts help as well.
Please Pray for My Mom
If you’re religious, please send my mom some prayers. She had a bunch of people praying for her last time, and I know that gave her a lot of strength. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers for my mom.
My grandfather managed pensions in the accounting department of the same company for 35 years. They said anybody who wanted to retire went straight to him to see if it was possible. A lot of his wisdom about planning for the long run stays with me today.
Show Me the Money
According to lifehappens.org, if you turn 65 this year, you’ll need to have $1,025,600 saved though various IRAs and 401(k)s plus $293,000 to cover future medical expenses. If you have $1.3 million on hand and just turned 65, congratulations, you’re able to retire. The rest of us, however, have a long way to go.
How Much Should I Save Each Year?
Check out this retirement calculator to see exactly how big of a hill you need to climb. With your annual income and age, this calculator takes into account inflation and a salary raise each year and then creates a graph showing what your savings plan should look like between today and when you turn 65.
Naturally, this is a calculator and not a psychic, so it can’t perfectly tailor a plan for you, but it uses your current financial situation to give you a savings base just for this year. It’s hard to think about retirement when you’re still in your 40s, 30s, or even 20s, but the money you put away when you’re young will pay off when you’re finally looking for that condo in Ft. Lauderdale.
Will My Employer Help Me Save?
Yes and no. If you think you’re going to have a pension when you retire, think again. According to BankRate, 24.2 million Americans were enrolled in a traditional pension in 1984. In 2013, only 11 million Americans had a pension through their employer. But fear not, pensions have been replaced by 401(k)s. A company will pull a small percentage of an employee’s salary and partially match it. 401(k)s are easier to roll over, which has benefitted both companies and their employees.
Not to pull the “when I was your age,” card, but it used to be a point of pride to only have one job on your resume in 30+ years. It should that you were loyal to the company you worked for and you trusted that they would be loyal to you in retirement. Today, the average employee stays at a company for fewer than five years – and that’s pushing it for millennials. The latest generation to enter the workforce will have 15-20 jobs between graduation and retirement.
When an employee begins at a new company, the new employer picks up where the old employer left off as soon the benefits kick in. This means that you don’t have to be married to your current job to plan for retirement. The sooner you have a 401(k) the sooner you can start saving and your employer(s) can start contributing.
So Start Saving Today…
There are two steps you can take today to be better prepared for retirement. First, talk to your bank about setting up an IRA or Roth IRA (the difference lies in the taxes) to start pulling from your salary monthly. Even if the company you work for doesn’t offer a 401(k) you can still put your future in your own hands with an individual retirement account. Most banks allow you to choose how much you contribute based on what you can afford, so there’s no excuse for putting off retirement investments another day.
Next, this article isn’t your stopping point for retirement research. Keep reading articles about 401(k)s, participate in forums about expected inflation, and watch videos about variable annuities. If knowledge isn’t power then money is, and you wont have either unless you do your research.
…And Never Stop.
For a few months last year, I cancelled my cable service. I had to choose between watching my favorite shows and continuing to add the same monthly amount to my IRA. It was only a small amount, but I know I’m slowly chipping away towards meeting my retirement goals. I know my grandfather is looking down from heaven and is proud of my financial choices.
Saving for retirement isn’t easy, and it’s extremely tempting to dip into your savings to use the money for things you want now. Have you started saving for retirement? If so, what steps have you taken?
Although social media and personal banking are two very different necessities for a growing number of us these days, they actually have more in common than you would first imagine. Not only are they both essential in organizing our day to day lives, but both are falling victim to a growing number of sophisticated hackers who are coming up with new ways to access your personal data and money.
Hacking – The $45m Question
Recently, a gang of criminals In the US managed to swipe $45m (£29m) from cash machines by hacking into a prepaid debit card database, an operation executed in a matter of hours. They did this by eliminating withdrawal limits from the prepaid debit cards, and then created access codes. This data was then loaded onto any plastic card with a magnetic strip – expired credit cards and even hotel key cards worked just perfectly.
US attorney Loretta Lynch called the operation ‘a massive 21st-century bank heist’; the case highlighted how many banks are not keeping up with modern security technology, and are compromising their customers’ accounts in the process.
Although card fraud has dropped considerably since the introduction of chip and pin in 2006, hackers are always coming up with new ways to siphon cash from our accounts.
With the rise of on-line shopping over recent years, security is a major concern for many of us, and you never feel 100% certain that your account information is immune to being compromised. Many of us are put off using our Credit Cards for shopping on-line, as surcharges apply, however many don’t realize that such purchases are protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
The act means that any purchases you make between £100 and £30,000 are covered by your credit card provider; giving you the right to claim a refund from them should a problem occur with your goods or services. For this reason, it’s recommended to use them for large online purchases, and certainly when abroad where you may be more vulnerable to card fraud.
While debit card protection isn’t a legal obligation, you will find that many banks will give customers the benefit of the doubt, investigate a reported theft and offer a refund. This is still a huge inconvenience for the customer, who may have to wait several days or even weeks to re-claim their money.
“If you haven’t authorized an online payment and claim to be a victim of fraud, the banks should give customers the benefit of the doubt. While debit card protection offered isn’t a legal obligation, it is possible for you to claim a refund if a card is proven to be used fraudulently,” said a spokesperson from Yorkshire Building Society.
Social Media Security Savvy
You may have noticed many social media sites will ask for more than one piece of personal data when accessing your account, and the banking world are catching up and looking at ways to apply this to customer transactions. A future solution currently in the pipeline is a two-tier authentication process, which will ask for an additional piece of information as well as a PIN.
Telephone banking customers will be asked for several pieces of personal info when calling up, but this still doesn’t make it any safer than your average social media account, which is typically less susceptible to hacking attempts. Let’s hope the banking world catches up soon, and we can worry a little less about the safety of our money.