Lending Club Returns

Many peer to peer loan investors count on clear and accurate reporting from the P2P platform to validate their P2P investing strategies. In this post, I would like to discuss Lending Clubs rate of return reporting, how investors should interpret this piece of data and how it is useful in assessing the success or failure of your investment strategy. If you are a Lending Club investor then this is certainly something that you want to be familiar with and monitor on a regular basis. 

Lending Club calculates what they call Net Annualized Return for all investor accounts. They define this as “an annualized measure of the rate of return on the principal invested over the life of an investment”. In layman’s terms, this means the rate of return on an annual basis of the account balance. If the actual return is 10% in 6 months, then the annual return would be 20%. If the actual return is 30% over two years, then the annual return would be 15%. 

lending

Since loans are always being added or paid down, and interest is received, the calculation can be very complicated. Annualized figures are normally based on average daily value of and account. Therefore, it is very good for every Lending Club investor that this information is provided. Having to do these calculations oneself would be a very difficult and time-consuming part of lending club strategies

Rate of return is also impacted (usually very significantly) by loans that default. Since the remaining principal is lost, the effect on rate of return is large. Loans generally default before most of the payments have been made so investors need to be aware of this possibility.

One way Lending Club has of help investors recognize the potential impact of loan defaults is a piece of data called Adjusted Net Annualized Return (ANAR). ANAR projects loan defaults and determines what the rate of return will be if those loans actually do default. To understand how this is determined, you must know that Lending Club tracks loans by status: Current, Grace Period, Late 16 to 30 Days, Late 31 to 120 Days. For each of these categories Lending Club has determined the likelihood of the loan defaulting. This is based on all previous loans that have been in those categories. When calculating ANAR, these percentages are included, thus adjusting the ANAR. 

For newer portfolios the ANAR can be significantly impacted by loans in any of these categories, even Grace Period. While the risk of default is low (about 25%), if the account has not had a lot of repayments then losing even 25% or the principal of one loan can make a difference. Fortunately, the investor can adjust the amount deducted from the balance in the calculation of ANAR. They do not need to use the default experience values provided by Lending Club. Many investors adjust these values and make changes over time.

Want to know more about investing on Lending Club and how to be successful? There is a wealth of information available on their site for new and experienced investors. In addition, you can learn more about P2P lending investing from Peer Loan Advisor. They are a team of professionals who are highly experienced in this type of investment. 

Can You Afford To Start Your Own Business?

If your current salary just isn't enough, it can be tempting to think that starting your own business and reaping the full rewards is all it will take to lead the lifestyle you want. However, before you make the big leap into going from being employed to being self-employed, it’s important to know whether your finances will allow for it. Here are some things to check before you begin. 

Have You Got Savings? 

No matter what type of business you want to start up, having money in your personal savings account is crucial. Even if you don’t need it to fund the business itself, you might need it to fund your own day to day living; there’s not many businesses that can make money right from day one – it often takes a little time (and in many cases a lot of time) to become established enough to provide a salary.

Start up business 

Have enough savings for a number of months (six would be ideal) so that your personal finances won’t suffer. You should also have enough saved to cover key upstart costs. Getting a professional website set up and marketing costs money you will need to pay out of pocket or through a loan.

What many people do to minimize costs which works rather well, is to start their new business as a ‘side hustle’. This way they still have their regular income, but they can also work on their new business in the evenings, early mornings, or at weekends. Once the new company is more established and making money, they quit their first job and work on their new one full time. It’s hard work, but it means you are financially secure. 

What Do You Need? 

If you've got the financial backup to start, or you’re happy to work two jobs at once, then you need to look into what your business is going to need. Computing equipment is always going to be important, but you might be able to utilize what you already have at home. 

Other equipment that is more specialist will involve an investment, of course. However, if you take your time and do your research well, you should be able to find low cost options that work wonderfully for you. If you need tools to create circuit boards, for example, you’ll find that you can get them at a great price from Altium without compromising quality. Use forums, reading reviews, and ask questions to ensure you don’t spend more than you need to for the best on the market.

What Do You Know? 

When you start your own business it’s crucial that you sell products or services that you are an expert in. That way, you can become more established more quickly, since you can prove that you are an expert in your field to potential customers or clients. You will also save money this way since you won’t have to pay for any additional training or a higher education course. Instead, you can wow your clients with your resume, and build an effective brand for yourself from day one.

5 essential money podcasts to listen to in 2019

By now you've probably heard about the phenomenon that is podcasts, even if you haven’t become a podcast addict yourself just yet. From politics to true crime and even comedy, there’s an endless span of topics for listeners to choose from. 

But what about podcasts for anyone wanting to delve into personal finance? Unsurprisingly, there’s no lack of listening options. Tom Watson, Money Writer over at mozo.com.au, has shared five of his top money podcast picks you’ll want to tune in to this year.  

Planet Money 

Length: 20 minutes 

If you’re already immersed in the world of podcasts, chances are you've come across one of NPR’s (National Public Radio) shows. And for anyone with an interest in money and the economy, Planet Money is the pick of the lot. 

money podcasts

The twice-weekly podcast takes listeners into the wider world of economics, with a variety of wacky and interesting topics including a glimpse into espionage and collusion in the raisin farming industry and a history of the minimum wage. Trust me, they’re both excellent! 

This is a great podcast to pique your interest in the way money permeates so many parts of life, plus at 20 minutes long each episode can be easily digested during your commute. 

Breaking Banks 

Length: 55 minutes 

Open banking, blockchain, digital wallets. Don’t worry if these terms mean nothing to you, because the Breaking Banks fintech podcast will bring you up to speed in no time. 

The weekly podcast runs through the latest and most interesting developments in the world of banking and financial technology, and is essential listening for any banking and fintech junkies. But if you’re just getting started, don’t worry, it’s equally digestible for anyone curious about the future of banking and finance. 

Stacking Benjamins

Length: 70 minutes 

Money and personal finance can be subjects many people just don’t want to think about, let alone listen to an hour-long podcast on. But there’s one show that makes these topics not only light-hearted, but often laugh-out-loud funny - Stacking Benjamins. 

With a new episode every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, hosts Joe and OG take listeners through issues such as retirement, real estate and managing debt in a way that makes it feel like you’re just listening to friends - while you’re actually learning about personal finance! 

The Dave Ramsey Show

Length: 40 minutes

Hosted by businessman and author Dave Ramsey, this podcast tackles the practical personal finance topics that crop up in everyday life, such as setting up a budget and saving up for a car. 

Dave takes calls from listeners with real questions about their financial lives and dishes out straightforward advice to help them get back on track. And with new episodes almost every day, it’s easy to pick and choose the topics that interest you the most. 

Freakonomics Radio 

Length: 55 minutes

You may recognise the name - that’s because Freakonomics Radio is from the same guys who wrote the best-selling 2005 book Freakonomics. Like Planet Money, this is a podcast aimed at providing a deep dive into socio economic issues you’d likely never think about yourself. 

With topics such as ‘How to be happy’ and ‘The stupidest thing you can do with your money’, host Stephen Dubner takes listeners on a different 55 minute journey each week with commentary from a range of experts and academics. 

About the writer: Tom Watson is a Money Writer and banking expert at financial comparison website mozo.com.au. A self-confessed podcast lover, Tom is passionate about sharing tools and information with others to help kick start their own personal finance journeys.

How to slash your food budget

While it is agreed that food is a basic need, data from the Food and Agriculture organization shows a third of what gets produced is wasted. It is likely that you are contributing to this waste meaning that you are losing money. One way to help cement your decision to cut your food budget to perhaps even more than half is getting a reality check. Every food item that ends up in your bin is you throwing money in the bin. That is money that could go into savings, or pay for that thing you've been saying you’re too broke to purchase.

food budget

Once the truth hits home, consider adopting the below steps to help spend less on food monthly.

Create a meal plan

Not having a meal plan in mind could be the reason you’re wasting money. Going grocery shopping and purchase food both perishable and packaged based on what you think you might want to eat leads to waste. Consider how many times you've had to bin veggies and fruits because you didn't get round to using them? However, with a meal plan, you know exactly what you need and the quantities to prepare the meals. Also, don’t forget the snacks. Done weekly or monthly, you’ll immediately notice the savings and reduction in food waste. 

Go back to basics

Choosing between making a fancy meal and doing the old feels like a child custody mediation process; which one will land on your plate? There’s an easy way. There are myriads of sites and apps that show you how to make tasty meals with five or fewer ingredients you can find on your pantry at any one time. You can still be gourmet on a budget and stick to dishes with multiple components for special occasions. 

Have a grocery list

From the meal plan, you will know what to purchase. However, some things stay on the shelf longer, and you’re likely to forget if you don’t make a note. Apart from what your recipes require, keep a list on the kitchen counter top or a fridge magnet to write down what’s depleted. When you go shopping, that means you won’t have to guess what’s left and what isn't to avoid having excess food at any given time.

Eat before heading out

When you’re hungry, quick meals and snacks seem like a great idea. During this time you’ll convince yourself that the extra-large bag of pretzels will make a perfect snack for days you equally feel hungry. We often go into an entire rationalization process that has us purchasing more than we need. You don’t need that extra chocolate bar.

Why the professional traders trade with a big sum of money

The world of trading is completely different. Unless you become a successful trader you will never understand how it feels like to become financially free. Many people often start trading with $100 and dream to earn huge amount of money. This is nothing but an absurd step from an immature trader. The professional traders always love to trade with a big sum of money. Though many brokers offer high leverage trading accounts, but dealing with the market leverage is extremely risky. This is just like a double edge sword. So if you have enough money to invest, it’s better to trade with a very low leverage trading account. This will significantly reduce your risk exposure and help you to earn huge money in the long run.

trading

Reduces your risk exposure

Before you dig deep into this section, we are assuming that you have complete control over your emotions. If you are completely new to this trading profession, investing a huge sum of money will never help. In fact, you might even blow your trading account due to some silly mistake. However, if you have a decent experience, you minimum account balance should be at least $2000.To be honest, this amount is actually not good to ensure a high standard of living. And the leverage of your trading account should 1:10. Once you have the right setup, by securing 500+ pips per month, you can easily earn $500+ (assuming you will be trading with 0.1 lot). But make sure you are not risking more than 2% of your account balance in any trade since the outcome of each trade is completely random.

Helps you to become a position trader

There are two basic types of trading strategy in Forex market. The aggressive traders love to scalp the market and usually, they have a very small account. On the contrary, the expert Aussie traders with a big sum of investment in their online trading account always prefer conservative Forex trading style. They are not concerned with high-frequency trading rather their main focus remains on quality trade execution. Once you start trading the higher time frame data, you will find a simple problem with your stop loss. Most of the time you will have to use a wide stop loss to give your trade enough space. So without having a decent balance, you can’t use big stop loss without unless you violatinge the rules of money management.

Helps you to earn decent money

Though trading is a very complicated profession thousands of traders join this industry every day. If you can truly develop the right skills, you can easily earn a decent amount of money from this market. But to support your family you must have a big trading account. Some of you might use the leverage trading account but this will significantly increase your risk factors. For the first few years, you should be more concerned about the leverage selected in your trading account. Under no circumstances, you should you trade with a leverage higher than 1:10. This will stop you from executing big trades which might ruin your investment. So, it’s very important to have a decent account balance, as you need to trade with a standard lot to earn a decent amount of money.

Makes you a confident trader

Trading is all about managing your risk factors with a strong level of confidence. Unless you trade with a big sum of money, you will never become a confident trader. Let’s say you have started trading $100 and you have lost your investment in a single trade. Do you really think you will learn from your mistake? The simple answer is NO. On the contrary, if you trade with $2000, , the chances are very high you will care about your investment. And this will help you to learn new things about the market. Without being a devoted trader you can't survive in this profession.

The best time to quit Forex trading

Though this industry is attractive and there is a huge chance to make the profit, it is not sensible to keep on trading when losing money has become common. There are many signs and indicators that can tell this is the right time to quit trading. The investors do not think of ending the career for greed. These people want to make the profit and will stop at nothing to achieve the goal. If a car keeps on running with broken parts, it will soon see the end of the world. This article will tell about when it is better to quit trading. The money can always be spent anywhere and on any industry. It is not important that investment should be made in Forex.

Forex trading

Though Forex trading is one of the most lucrative businesses in today’s world it doesn't mean you will become a profitable trader. Many people in the United Kingdom have lost a huge amount of money just by trading the market. The smart investors always know when to stop investing.

When there are continues losses

Losses are common but it can be also a sign that trading is not for you. If there are many losses in the account, it is time that decisions are revised. Most traders want to keep on trading because of the investment. The professionals keep on making the profit and any time not spent on the industry is a loss. That is why the people can keep going on the market with continuous losses. If there are excessive losses, keep in mind that it is better to close the trading. If not prepared, take a small break and give time to realize the mistakes. Most mistakes are silly if there is no fault in the strategies. As traders focus on developing the strategy and the analyses, these petty mistakes are ignored and pay a heavy price. Try to work and correct the mistakes but if there are still problems, it may indicate the time to seek other investments.

Becoming a professional trader in the Forex market requires precise knowledge and skills. Currency spread betting is not like gambling. You need to be calculative risk takers to make consistent profit from this market. Those who are looking for quick profit from this market should immediately stop trading the market.

If the volatilities are not understood

Not every market is for everybody and this has to be accepted. If the neighbor is making a fortune with the Forex trading, there is no guarantee you can also do the same. If the volatilities are not understood or it creates confusion, try to take lessons from the professionals. These people will clear the confusion and it will be easier to trade. However, if there are still losses and the volatilities which are puzzling, think of the other opportunities to invest and get a fair return of the investment.

If giving time is a struggle

A successful trader needs to give a proper amount of time to develop a strategy that can be used with the trends to make profits. Lazy people try to skip the practice and copy the plans of others. This is not going to work if success is the goal. Make sure that enough time can be spent every day to practice the strategy and develop your skill. If it is not possible and the account is only kept open, quit the trading. It will only waste the time and also the money.

The trends simply do not work out

There is something called luck that the people cannot escape. If the bad luck does not leave and there are always losses even with the right strategy, wait and analyze it sometimes. If the bad luck still continues, withdraw all the money and forget about trading.

Emergency loans you’ve never heard of – Use them to get back on your feet

There are indeed several kinds of emergency loans which become necessary for anyone at some point of their lives. Not all are able to keep the right balance between their income and expenses and whenever the expenses shoot up in accordance with the income, they fall short of funds at the middle of the month. Dental and health issues are two of the most common reasons why some of us require emergency funds. Car and home repairs are 2 of the other reasons which can make an individual or a family to instantly run for cash.

Emergency loans

While there are different ways in which you can get this cash, not many are aware of the options. However, you also need to know that each option has its own limitation and requirement. If you’re someone who isn't aware of your emergency loan options, here are few that you may keep in mind.

#1: Credit card cash advance loans

Did you know that the credit cards that you use can also let you get cash advance loans? In fact, utilizing your credit card along with this feature is certainly the best way of getting a small loan as you can grab immediate cash. Nevertheless, you can only get such a loan if you possess one of these cash advance credit cards and if you have available credit on the card. When you need to pay money during an emergency situation, this can often be a viable solution.

#2: Payday loans

As the name suggests, you get this kind of loan for a short term which is usually till your next day. MicroPayday Loans offer you the best loans at the most competitive rates. However, if you think that you will get the proceeds of this loan at a reasonable interest rate, you’re wrong as they carry outrageously high rates due to the risk factor. The lenders don’t even check your credit before lending you the loan and all they check is whether you earn enough to pay back the loan amount. Hence, they charge you high rates. But if you could pay back the loan on time, you can play it safe. You may also check out www.PaydayMe.com for payday loans.  

#3: Car title loans

Someone who possesses a car which has got a clear title or a title which has been paid off can get a car title loan. Such loans are popular as you can get them easily and they also offer you fast cash. It isn't a requirement that you should have good credit but the value of your car will be determined to decide the total loan amount that can be given to you. You can continue driving your car even after taking a title loan and the proceeds of the loan are also received within a day or two. 

Therefore, now that you know the ways in which you can get emergency finance loans, you should no more worry about financial emergencies. Just have the capability to pay back the loan on time so that you can avoid falling in debt.

What Skills Do You Need as Home Health Aide Apart From Your Certification?

A home health aide improves the quality of life for patients who may be dependent on others for the simplest everyday tasks. A competent aide does not just provide medical support or pain relief to such a patient but can offer companionship and promote mental well-being significantly simply by lending a sympathetic ear or by showing compassionate care to them. Immensely satisfying as this job is, it is also quite exciting because you have the opportunity to constantly push your limits, test yourself, and also improve your own skills with each assignment that you take up. While this can make the job very challenging, it can be somewhat intimidating for those who lack the key skills that are essential to succeed in this line of work. 

health care

Apart from the qualifications and training you have for carrying out medical procedures (for example, wound care or administration of medicines) as a home health aide, you also need to have a number of soft skills. Take a look at a few of these that can make a difference to how sought-after you are as a home health aide: 

Empathy and compassion

The obvious soft skills that a home health aide needs are compassion and empathy. The patients you care for are likely to be struggling with myriad negative feelings arising out of their ailment or their inability to be independent. Unless you can understand how they feel and can empathize with them, you may inadvertently make them feel worse while you carry out your regular duties. A genuine concern and interest in the patient’s mental state and emotional state would help you give them the kind of care that is truly beneficial to them on many levels. 

Patience

A person suffering from a disability or ailment may be in constant pain or discomfort although it may not be evident on the outside. Some patients may be fortunate enough to avoid these issues, but the feeling of helplessness they have can make them very frustrated, prompting them to be unreasonable or irascible. For example, an elder with dementia may exhibit aggressive behavior, refusing to eat. You have to be patient with her and ensure that she gets the adequate nutrition her body needs. A home health aide needs to have incredible patience in order to deal with such patients with firmness but consideration and kindness too. You may even need to exhibit patience with the family members of your patient in situations where they do not understand why you are dealing with a situation in a particular way. 

Communication

Communication is the most critical of interpersonal skills that you might need for your career as a home health aide. After all, you have to be able to convey to your patients what you want them to do, explain what you are going to be doing and also help them express what they need or what they are feeling. Again, it is also necessary for you to communicate with the family members effectively and clearly when they have queries about caring for the patient or about your work. For example, the family member may express his anxiety about meeting the costs of hiring you for a long term. You can give them a quick rundown of various options they have of hiring part-time aides or suggest financial help options, like those suggested in this quick read about paying for home health care

Wrap

The crux of the matter is that, as a home health aide, your nursing training and qualifications are not the only things that can help you achieve success and credibility here. If you can hone these soft skills alongside, you enhance your chances of earning the trust and admiration of your clients easily. 

How to Borrow with Bad Credit

Sometimes life just throws everything at us. You get a divorce; your car breaks down, everything happens at once. One thing leads to another, and you miss a payment, then another. Next thing you know, your credit score takes a hit. You did not plan for this, it just happened. Now you need a loan, but how can you possibly get one with bad credit? Here are a few options to consider.

Get A Co-signer

Ask a trusted friend or family member with good credit to co-sign the loan. That trust must go both ways because if you miss your payments, your co-signer will be held responsible and it will affect his or her credit score as well as yours. Make sure you can make your payments on time!

Bad Credit

Online Personal Loan

Online personal loan providers do not take into account your credit score. They verify that you have a steady job and the means to repay the loan. The payments are then spread out on a period of three to four months. The downside to online personal loans is that they have high interest rates, but if you use it as a one-time solution to bail yourself out, it might come in handy.

Family and Friends

Borrowing from family and friends is never easy, but it can be of great help when in a tight jam. Prepare yourself beforehand. Make a budget to show that you are serious about your finances. Sit down with your friend or family member and explain your situation to them. Be honest and tell them precisely what bills you will pay with the loan. Suggest a payment plan to them and see if it suits them. Offer to pay interest. Although they might refuse, it shows your appreciation. Put everything in writing. It will prevent misunderstandings and falling outs. Moreover, last but not least, stick to your repayment plan. Not paying your debt to friends or family will put a damper on your relationship.

Secured Loan 

A secured loan is not as strict with credit scores as an unsecured loan, the reason being you provide collateral as insurance. The collateral can be your house or your car, or any other property that has enough value. The collateral lowers the risk for the lender so they will be more willing to lend you money even with a bad credit score. You will also pay a lower interest rate, which means that you could clear other higher interest debts with this loan. If you make your payments on time, you will improve your credit score which will give you better opportunities in the future. The risk for you is that if you do not repay the loan as agreed, the lender will be able to seize your collateral. It is only a last resort, but the risk is still there. So make sure you can manage the payments.

When all is said and done, it is possible to manage for a time even with bad credit. The thing to do is not to stay down, but to get yourself back on track and work towards improving that credit score.

Why An Assisted Living Center is a Good Investment

Sometimes the health of a person gets so bad that it is very difficult to take care of themselves and they need a nurse to help them do everyday tasks such as bathing, eating, getting up or sitting down. Stairs can become impossible to get up and down, and they are at risk of falling and breaking or dislocating a bone. Nursing homes are ideal for those who have poor health or who need special attention such as those needing dialysis or medications throughout the day.

There are close to 76.4 million baby boomers in the United States or about 26 percent of the population. There is such a large population of baby boomers possibly due to the end of World War II. Baby boomers are those who have been born between 1945 and 1965 and they are hard-working individuals who often work past the age of 65.

home

As many of these baby boomers get older, they sometimes find that it gets more and more difficult to live on their own. As they age, they may need to make more trips to the doctor and transportation can become very difficult. They may also be at a higher risk of falling or getting injured or may need to take medicine at certain times of the day. It can be more difficult to remember to take medication as many elderly people tend to have a harder time remembering things.

There are some elderly that cannot live on their own but are still quite active and can do many of the daily things necessary to take care of themselves. These folks might consider a Residential Assisted Living center. They are ideal for those who need transportation arrangements or who would greatly benefit from having a nurse on call, but who do not depend on one for most tasks. Assisted living centers often have many opportunities to socialize and they have guests come and visit and perform musical numbers or share other talents. Social interaction is very important for anyone and especially the elderly. Social isolation can lead to depression and is a very serious condition.

From an investment standpoint, an assisted living center would make a good investment choice. There are so many baby boomers that are likely to move into assisted living homes in the near future as they get older and need more help on a daily basis. Many elderly people do not have children who live nearby that they can depend on to look after them, and they can no longer live in their own homes. It is also a good investment choice. Just like supermarkets, there is always going to be a need for them. They are in high demand because many seniors would like to live in them.

They wouldn't have to worry about taking care of a home, which can be very taxing and even expensive. They like the idea of having the freedom to come and go and live on their own but don't have to deal with the headache of owning a home. As an investor, you don't have to worry about finding renters because there will always be a very high demand for space in your assisted living center. They are also relatively self-run. You can have the staff do most of the daily jobs, such as cleaning and maintenance, or hire a company to take care of those particular jobs. A great deal of your cost would be in the nursing and skilled staff that you would have to hire. 

Assisted living centers are anything but hospital-like. They are more like a home away from home. They are striving to offer all the amenities and comforts of home, but have the added peace of mind of a nurse on site around the clock in case their services are needed. The seniors who live there have their own room. The staff will help those who live there with any daily activities that they need. They are free to leave to go shopping or to complete other tasks. Many also offer entertainment, exercise programs, such as yoga, and they even have security. They also have housekeeping and prepare the meals for their tenants. These two tasks can become difficult and even dangerous for those who are very advanced in years. Consider an assisted living center for the needs of your loved one.

The Four Essentials To Learn Before Investing

If you’re thinking of making your first investment, it’s natural to hesitate. You may be thinking: is this the right time to buy? Prices go up and down and if you don’t have experience of following the tickers it can be hard to know whether or not you’re about to make a mistake.

Well, the good news is there are four essential pillars that should be in place before you commit a penny of your hard-earned cash. Get these right first, and you’ll be on the road to making the right choices with your money.

Step one: how much time do you have?

The most basic mistake a novice can make is to invest without a plan. You wouldn't set out on a road trip without knowing where you want to end up, so before you commit your funds, you’ll want out figure out your end game. Knowing how much money you want to make is only one side of the coin. Understanding this from the very start can prevent any major setbacks looking forward. 

Investing

On the flip side, you need to figure out how much time you have to make that money. For example, are you going to need funds in 10 years when Junior goes to college, or do you need cash soon to meet an IRS demand? Your personal situation is going to determine the route you take. Once you know how much time you have, you can ask yourself the next question.

Step two: how much risk can you handle?

There’s an adage that you should never gamble more than you can afford to lose. That said, some investments are riskier than others. Once you know your end game, you’re going to want to assess your own appetite for risk.

When it comes to investing, there’s a well-documented relationship between time, risk and reward. Your own tolerance for risk is probably one of the most important factors in your success so, rather than guess, you should look to the end game you already set yourself to help you figure this out.

For example, the more time you have to reach your goal, the more you can afford to take a risk, as the longer you keep your money invested, the more time there is to recover from any down markets or bad stock picks.

There’s even better news. Time is not only on your side when it comes to reducing risk. Having more time can also bring greater rewards. This is because the longer you have to reach your goals, the more you stand to grow your returns exponentially from compounding your earnings.

On the other hand, if you only have a short time to reach your target, then you’re better off going with a safer investment.

Step three: spread your risk

There’s a reason we don’t put all our eggs in one basket. If the basket falls …Well, you get the picture. No matter how well you figure out how much time and risk you have to play with, any potential rewards are negatively impacted if you simply stick with one stock, one industry or one asset type.

Once you figure out your appetite for risk you can begin to allocate your funds to different asset classes. This is where some initial investor education is critical, because it literally pays to know which types of investment hold the greatest risks and the greatest potential rewards. Here are the three main asset classes:
  • Cash and money market funds. Your main goal here is stability. This is a very safe investment, meaning you are unlikely to lose money, but the returns are small. The main risk here is that you could earn money more slowly than inflation rises.
  • Bonds and bond funds. This is the investor’s middle ground. Examples might be US government bonds or international bonds. The goal with this type of asset is to get a moderate return for a slightly higher risk. The main risk here is due to the fact that bond prices fall as inflation rises. This means that if inflation rises too far, the issuer may not pay promised dividends or be unable to pay you back your principal.
  • Stocks and stock funds. This is the riskiest type of investment but brings the greatest potential reward. The risk here is around falling stock prices, due to poor company performance or negative market sentiment. The stock market is very jittery and sentiment can be affected by all kinds of adverse news stories, political events far away and sometimes even the weather. To add to this, falls in stock prices can be much deeper than falls in bond prices. 
So, these are your main classes of asset. If you had a very long time to reach your investment goals you light get away with a stock-only portfolio, but as a general rule, when allocating your funds, it pays to spread them across all three investment classes. There is no magic formula here, the mix will depend upon your own personal appetite for risk and your personal end game. 

As well as spreading your investment across asset classes, when building your portfolio, it pays to spread within asset classes. For example, domestic and international currency or bonds, varying industry types and so on.

Step four: understand your costs

So now here’s the bad news. Every investment comes with a price tag and, even worse, the money that you pay out to costs will compound over time. For example, paying 2% of your principal investment may not seem like much of a loss, but once your returns start compounding, 2% is going to be a lot more money.

So it’s critical to understand what you’re paying and how to manage your costs. Counter-intuitively, funds with lower costs tend to outperform those with higher costs.

So, if you’re wondering if it’s the right time to invest ask yourself: have I ticked off this four-point checklist? If the answer’s yes, well there’s no time like the present.

5 Ways to Increase the Value of Your Home

Selling a home is easily one of the most stressful things somebody has to go through. From preparing it for a sale, to finding your next home to purchase, there is an endless amount of steps you must go through to come out profitable. 

In order to make as money as you possibly can from the sale, you’ll need to greatly increase the value of your home, which can be done in the 5 easy steps listed below!

1. Curb Appeal

Your lawn is the first thing somebody sees when looking at your house, whether its done driving by or through a showing. It is imperative that you make it stand out, or at least spruce it up a bit, to give off a good first impression. 

House

One way to get a great curb appeal is my touching up on your garden. Some ways of doing this include planting flowers, redoing the fence, adding small lawn furniture, or adding seasonal decorations. Additionally, you should make sure that branches and hedges are trimmed, and the lawn remains freshly cut. 

2. Renovations

One sure way gaining value to your home is by making any necessary renovations You’ll want to prioritize these changes to fit both your financial situation, as well as your time frame. 

When getting renovations done to your home, you need to do a cost-benefit analysis to make sure you’ll be getting a good reward for all the money that you put in. It wouldn't be worth it to spend a fortune of money on something that doesn't necessarily need to be done. 

Possible renovations include repainting rooms that have outdated colors, replacing old or damaged windows, getting new and modern flooring, etc.

3. Simplify Your Home

When people come to view your home, they want to imagine themselves living in it. It’ll be hard for them to do so if your clutter lays all around the house. Simplifying your home to the bare minimum would allow potential buyers to imagine their new life there, and likely increase your chance of making a sale.

When simplifying your home for showings, it is not necessary to buy new furniture or decor. All you need to do is reduce items down to the bare essentials, which basically consists of furniture, with a few decorations here and there. 

Aside from ridding of unnecessary clutter, you’ll want to vacuum, dust, and mop your home regularly to keep it feeling fresh.  Additionally, you want to make sure that your home is always smelling good. Offering simple snacks and drinks at a showing is another tip that often times helps individuals make a sale. 

4. The Kitchen is Key 

The kitchen has been deemed one of the most influential determining factors of a home sale. Whether it be the size, cleanliness, or modernness of it, it remains of the most crucial aspects of any home. This is why it is so important to not only have yours cleaned out, but to also make sure it also stands out. 

If you have a tight budget, some easy and cost-efficient ways to make your kitchen more appealing is a quick paint job or some new curtains. However, if your kitchen is badly outdated, you may want to consider spending a bit more, perhaps on new counters or floor tiles. 

5. Hire an Inspector

Upon completing everything you feel as though you should have, you'll want to hire an inspector to finish analyzing all the aspects of your home that can’t necessarily be seen from the surface. This could range anywhere from termites, to rotting dry wood. In any case, such occurrences could deter you from making a sale, or cause you to have to lower your asking price. 

It is best to get these things looked at well before putting your home on the market. In doing so, you’ll be better equipped to make a good sale. 

Once you've modified your home and, as a result, increased its value, you’ll want to list it in on the Multiple Listing Services, also known as the MLS. The MLS is, in simple terms, an accumulation of all home listings in a given area. To view an example, try checking out the Illinois Flat Fee MLS

With access to the MLS, you’ll not only be able to reach out to a large number of potential buyers in your area, but you’ll also be able to save up to thousands to the commission that would usually be paid to the real estate agent. 

Understanding the Basics of Taxes and Personal Pensions

A major part about becoming financially independent is really understanding the basics of your financial responsibilities. Once you've covered general knowledge about taxes, pensions, savings, and all of your assets, you can make positive choices that will make you financially self-sufficient. A deeper knowledge behind your money, and how to responsibly spend it and save it, will always be beneficial in the long run. 

Get to know your finances and you can invest in your future, your family’s future, and your financial freedom. When do you pay taxes, how much of your income can be tax free, and what you can write off are all good basics to comprehend. The fundamentals of your pension savings will cover how you form a great pension plan and how much you and your employer both pay into it. 

Once you really know these simple facts, you can focus more on how you’ll spend all the money you’ll save with your great financial choices. 

Personal Pensions

Let’s start with a straightforward answer to what a pension plan is, and which one is best for you and your future retirement plans! A personal pension is an important financial planning tool. You take a certain amount of money and invest it regularly into a portfolio. That portfolio will then take your investment and help it grow during your working years, so that you can enjoy it when you plan to retire!

If you don’t have a retirement pension with your employer, you can always invest into a private pension plan. You can choose to manage the portfolio yourself. Diversifying through bonds, stocks, or simply letting it grow through an interest plan. This will take research, a thorough understanding of the risks involved, and the best kind of investments for a good long-term return.

You can also choose to have a pension management company handle your retirement plans for you. This is great for people who understand the value of saving for your retirement, but don’t quite get the ins and outs of investing. Save your private time and let professionals help you reach your financial goals!

Pensions are an investment into yourself, your loved ones, and your future happiness. You can research various plans, but you should also understand the different variables for what you’ll need when you DO retire. 

Taxes

Taxes are a part of living in a modern society. We pay into the care of our roads, our government, our water, and so much more. Taxes are taken from your personal income, your property, and your day to day purchases.

Income tax

Filing your taxes can be a delicate dance. You have to know your due date, the various items you can claim for deductions, what bills and receipts to keep, health insurance, and so on forever. Planning ahead for your taxes is an essential part of financial understanding. Especially in your younger years!

Things you can claim in your taxes that you may not have known could be deducted!
  • Health Insurance. If you pay for private health insurance, you can get the cost of your insurance premiums deducted from your taxes. This is if your medical expenses for the year have gone over 7.5% of your income. 
  • Charitable Giving. If you've given more of your fair share into the hands of the less fortunate, you can deduct those charity checks from your taxes! From a $12,000 check to fight breast cancer, to items for a bake sale, look into what you can deduct for being a good person!
  • Business expenses. If you work for yourself, you can typically deduct anything that you use on a daily basis for your business. That doesn't mean you get to write off your computer every year! But it does include larger purchases, everyday purchases, and even GAS!
Get to know what you can and cannot save from your taxes by doing a little research, finding what applies to YOU in YOUR life, and get to saving. 

Taxes can be tricky though. It typically pays to pay for someone to do your taxes for you. This will not only save you time, but could also pay for itself in deductions and raising the amount of your yearly return! Professional tax experts are extremely familiar with tax laws, the smallest of write-off qualifications, and even are held responsible if your taxes are called up for review!

Finding the Right Balance

A general understanding of what a pension is, what you can save on your taxes, and the benefits you’ll reap in the long run are certainly helpful. Planning for your future will not only be beneficial to you in the long-run, but will help you get a better grasp on financial freedom!

How to Choose the Right Credit Card for Your Personal Use

A single credit card may not be equipped to fulfill all your desires. The uniqueness of human needs may compel you to pick one card over another. While a certain card may stand up to your financial needs, others may not fit in with any of them. Finding a single card that matches multiple needs may seem like hunting a needle in a stack of hay. You must identify with the primary reason behind filling out your application. It will help you compare the features of all cards that meet your lifestyle requirements.

Steps to Identify the Right Credit Card Are Mentioned Below:

1. Keep an Eye on Your Credit Reports

Prior to applying for your credit card, you must study the ways in which a creditor views you. You must also go through your credit history. Begin by checking your credit scores with the credit reporting agencies. You may check these scores regularly and seek alerts on each change pertaining to the FICO® Score. Find an easy access to your credit scores via your current bank accounts and credit cards. Look out for free copies of your credit reports with your credit card issuers.

credit card

The credit scores are bound to vary from 300 to 850. You should spot any error occurring in your report very easily. Identifying errors can help in pulling up your credit scores and enhance your creditworthiness.

2. Determine if You Wish to Achieve Reward Points

Achieving travel or cash back reward points is quite natural with some of the popular credit cards. You may even earn considerable reward points with your airline credit card once the balance is met in full every month.You’ll need to stick to a budget-friendly repayment plan for meeting your balance in full. Don’t forget that these cards carry much higher APRs than usual. Otherwise, your interest amount will offset the value of rewards that you achieve. 

3. Decide on Whether a Balance Transfer in Necessary

A number of cards are there to match the specific needs of consumers that are attempting to reimburse their current balance or consolidate their debt. Few of the balance transfer cards are even issued for 0% APRs under their launch offers. This introductory period may even be extended up to 18 months just to ensure more savings while reimbursing the debt amount. You might need to meet a balance transfer fee, which is up to 5% of the amount of transfer. However, it might seem a bit tough for you to avail the most lucrative BT offers when your credit score is not up to the mark.

4. Visit a Few Comparison Websites

You must have understood why it’s necessary for you to find the right type of credit card for your needs. It’s in your interest to shop around and identify the best card for them. Based on all your needs, you’ll need to spend time doing some researches, posting your queries and answering various surveys.

A few comparison websites can help you compare all identical offers posted by the credit card issuers. The credit matching systems used by lenders offer certain opportunities for you to open a free account with them. You’ll find it much easier to compare offers that match your spending habits with that of your credit profile.