November 13th, 2012  Posted at   Finances
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Did you know that 74% of Americans use the internet? And, on average, children who live in the United States spend approximately 14 hours a day watching television and surfing the web? When it comes to businesses in America, it is almost necessary to devote time and money to internet marketing strategies. For example, social media.

According to, the amount of people using the social media platform, Facebook, averages 1.01 billion people per month! These numbers are simply staggering.

If you are part of a financial company, or any company for that matter, internet marketing is a powerful way to get people to know about your business. However, there are certain ways to go about doing so.

If you have ever researched internet marketing strategies, you may have heard of SEO or Search Engine Optimization. What SEO does is increase the “strength” or popularity of your website. When done correctly, search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing will place your website on the front page of their search engine results. However, if you have done research on the costs to hire SEO companies or SEO experts, you may already know that these services can cost a pretty penny. That’s where social media comes in.

Social Media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook are free and fairly easy to use. For a successful social media marketing campaign, you want to spend an hour a day on these social media platforms connecting and networking with people and other businesses.

It is not difficult to start and manage a social media platform for your company. First, sign up and register with the social media program and start browsing. The main goal of utilizing social media is to connect and network with others and so you want to find the right people to keep in touch with.

You also want to provide content such as posts, pictures, discounts on your services etc. For example, if you run or work for a financial company, you might want to post something like your opinions on good investment options. Be sure that you are genuine in your connections. The last thing you want to do is to seem like you are only using social media networks to spam people with your business services. See your social media network as a gathering of people. You wouldn’t want to just talk business to the people you meet, would you? You want to get to know them, genuinely.

So, if you own or run a financial company, be sure to spend some time learning more about social media and how it can improve your marketability and profitability.

November 3rd, 2012  Posted at   Finances
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The wedding day promises to be a couple’s most joyous day, but unfortunately many aspects of it can take their toll not the least of them being finances. Who will pay for what and how much is enough are issues that may make or break the day, if not the bank.

Traditionally, the bride’s family covers all of the wedding expenses which usually include flowers, invitations and photographers but can also include a bridal brunch. The groom’s family also has traditionally expected expenses. They include rehearsal dinner, paying the minister, providing transportation for the bridal party and paying for the honeymoon.

Since many are experiencing a financial crunch or maybe just a desire to break from tradition, more couples are being creative and flexible when it concerns who pays for what. Various etiquette gurus have different views on how the costs should be divided. But they agree that sitting down with all the involved and interested parties and discussing what everyone expects and what everyone is willing and able to contribute helps tremendously to alleviate most of the stress and disappointment down the road. Commonsense and circumstances are taking on a greater role in dividing the responsibilities. If Dad has been saving since his daughter’s birth for the big event and is more than eager to foot the bill, graciously accept his generous contribution. But if such finances are just not available to the bride’s family there are no laws broken if the groom’s family picks up more of the share of the costs than tradition used to dictate. And the couples themselves are taking on a greater share of the responsibility. Some experts are advising that the couple plan their budget around their own finances and look upon their parents’ contributions as an added bonus.

One last piece advice to take seriously, resist the temptation to accept a wedding loan from a financial institution. Banks seemingly offer attractive loans that would cover the most elaborate wedding event, but fail to emphasize that the newly burdened couple will be paying that loan off at a rate that can be as high as 28%. Experts agree that putting the bill on a credit card and paying it off over time would be less expensive.

If cool heads and realistic expectations can prevail the financial landscape of your wedding can keep pocketbook stress to a minimum without sacrificing the frills and fancies you’ve waited a lifetime for.

October 25th, 2012  Posted at   Finances
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The first step to managing your finances smartly is to devise a plan and to stick with it. Once you create a plan, you’ll be able to put everything into perspective. A great way to accomplish this is to give yourself a set budget every month for your expenses.

Create a fixed budget for your groceries. Allow yourself to spend just enough money to buy all the food you need for the month. Only go shopping once a month, and when you do make a list of all the items you need for that month. Making a list is the best way to ensure that you only spend money on the items you need, instead of spending money on items you want.

If you cannot put forth the money for a whole month’s worth of groceries, buy what you can for the entire week. Always look for off brands or store brands if they are available and compare prices. While it may not seem like you are saving much money on the items you buy, a little money goes a long way and can add up to some serious savings over time.

You can also save money by shopping for produce at your local farmers market. Most cities have farmers markets that are open all year round.

Get rid of unnecessary expenses. For instance, you can save serious money on your cell phone by shopping around for a less expensive cellular service, downgrading your cell phone plan or getting a prepaid phone.

Another great way to get your finances under control is to have a certain amount of money deducted from your paycheck and put into your savings account. At first, you might notice a difference in how much money you have, but after a while, you’ll adapt just fine.

Get quotes for your car insurance. You can save anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars over time, simply by switching the type of car insurance you have.

You can also combine your house, car, and life insurance policies to save even more money. Many places also give you discounts for bundling more than one type of insurance.

Get rid of cable or downgrade your current cable plan. Cable can be expensive, but unless you watch television 24 hours a day, you’ll most likely be able to save enough money every year to take a nice vacation.

September 9th, 2012  Posted at   Finances, Stock
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When people get ready to start a financial portfolio it can be a daunting task. Sometimes it can be difficult without any help from a consultant. Choosing what to add to your portfolio may be hard, but it is not impossible. People just have to know that the key is diversification.

Lots of people take the safe route to financial management. Many people start with mutual funds or certificates of deposit. This is a safe starting point, but this will not be enough to retire. Anyone that is looking or a real good return on investments must take time to learn about stocks.

It is always good to incorporate stocks in your financial portfolio, but you have to learn about trading first. There are lots of stocks out there. Technology stocks are big. So are medical company stocks. It is impossible, however, to become a pro just from picking the things that are hot. Researching the things that are out there will give you a lot more leverage.

Sometimes it a good to go with index stocks like Standard & Poor’s 500. This is a combination of a lot of different stocks. This is a simple way to add a little diversity into your portfolio without doing a lot of homework. Over time you will become more comfortable with the concept of investing. It is during this time that you will find out if investing in things like Apple or Google is a wise investment. Lots of people like to lock in to the white hot stocks when they are performing well. The problem is that a high priced stock that is performing better than ever before has nowhere to go but down.

It is better to spend less money with a multitude of stocks than to pump all of your money into a single stock. This is the good thing about diversifying your investments. You can put a little money in one place and a little bit in another. When you spread all of your money across the board something has to outperform the others. Once you have a leader you can cut back your investments on the failing stocks. This gives you more money to focus on the stock or group of stocks that are performing well. The diversity keeps you from losing all of your money. It essentially allows you to build a much better retirement plan.

August 22nd, 2012  Posted at   Stock
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So, you want to invest some money in the stock market. You want to look at making some money from your investment and avoid losing money as much as possible, but don’t know where to begin. You think to yourself, it would be great to be able to practice first in the stock market before actually taking the plunge, this way you can look at how it works, get more info and follow any trends to try and make the best logical decision moving forward. Well, not a problem as there are steps one can take to do just that before actually investing any money. Once comfortable, you can choose stocks, bonds, mutual funds, securities that are suited best for your needs.

Have access to the internet? Sure you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be looking over this information as we speak. The internet offers a wide array of sources on how and what to invest in, but you also know that with so many sources available which ones can be trusted over others? You can look up books for reference that give the pro’s and cons on getting setup, and follow them through paperback or through e-book online. Next, one can look at lecturers and seminars in the area that have speakers who are familiar with the stock market and offer the best way to invest for the most return. Try to avoid those which require a fee for attending or offer little information unless you invest with them first. Your visit to the seminar is a starting point where you want to gather the basics and get some good pointers as well from professionals that have the experience and knowledge, and numbers to back up what they say. Next, review the stock market when you have the chance and follow it. Learn definitions and jargon used by stock brokers, and identify companies that have interest to you for whatever reason. Setup a dummy account on paper, where you pretend you are investing in the stocks you want and follow it’s trading. Look and compare gains and losses you would’ve had if you would’ve went forward with the investment and keep a log for your records. Start looking at diversifying for the best results and when more comfortable look at opening a telephone or online trading account that can show you real-time results instead of the pen and paper.

You can always enlist the help of a stockbroker and ask questions before putting your money to work and leave the guess work to them, but practicing first can save you not only a lot of headache, but money lost. Of course, don’t forget that such is the risk of the stock market, and while some stocks can offer big returns these usually are the ones that have the highest risk as well. Practice and play it safe and maybe one day you maybe the one people go to for help on investing in the stock market themselves.

July 25th, 2012  Posted at   Finances
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The Small Business Association (SBA) has been floating down “guaranteed financial borrowing parachutes” for decades, and continues to do so even as this article is being written. Of course the success of this government program is also dependent on the approved lender who actually funds the loan; and there are thousands of takers in this scenario. It can be a powerful and useful quinella: SBA and Lender, and both entities love being participants. The lender funds the loan; the Small Business Administration guarantees the deal. Sometimes you’re the cake; sometimes you’re the frosting, but not in this case.

There will be plenty of “hoops” to jump over getting a small business loan using any SBA programs, but at least you can avoid the “minefields.” Following the proper guidelines will give you a smooth trip to receiving those green pieces of paper with pictures of dead presidents on the front. should be your information destination and your query should be targeted to the SBA 7(a) Business Loan Program. However, to save time, preparation is the “key word” when doing business with any government loan program. So in order to have a “smooth sailing” trip, here are the necessary items required for most all business loan submissions, not just the SBA:

  1.  Commercial loan application
  2.  Brief reasoning why you need the financing
  3.  Resumes of all participants or principals signing on the loan
  4. Personal credit reports on principals (business report if currently in operation)
  5. Business and cash flow projection information
  6. Real estate lease on property where business will be located
  7. Purchase agreement if buying an existing business
  8. Copy of business license
  9. Personal tax returns on all principals (2 years)
  10. Personal balance sheet on principals: bank accounts & REO for collateral purposes

Once completed you’re ready to submit to the SBA or any other lending entity. However, for a little peace-of-mind, the processing of SBA loans to help small business entrepreneur’s usually results in applicant approvals over 90 percent of the time. Also, another approach to consider in searching for a small business loan would be a small business grant. A free catalog publication called: Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) offers a list of thousands of agencies geared toward issuing grants, especially those directed toward minority business development. Grants are also available from various state programs but mostly awarded to medicine and educational fields with strict eligibility criteria.

July 13th, 2012  Posted at   Finances, Tax
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One of the things that people hate the most is paying taxes. It’s very frustrating when you go and work hard all year only to have to pay more taxes when tax time comes. Luckily, there are ways to pay less in taxes or even finally get a refund instead of having to pay every time.

Most professionals agree that buying a house is the best way to reduce the amount of taxes you pay. This is because of something called a mortgage interest tax deduction. If you are currently renting then you should ask your landlord if it’s possible if you can buy the property you’re on now. Currently, the landlord is getting these tax deductions, why not you?

Another option is by opening a 401k account. By putting some of your check into this account, there is less money for the government to tax. So this is good in two different ways. Not only are you paying less taxes, but you are putting away money for when you retire. Just remember that you cannot withdraw from this account until you have reached age 49 1/2. If you absolutely need to withdraw from it you can, but you will pay a penalty for doing so.

A lot of people will take up a hobby that can make them money on the side. As business owners they will pay less in taxes and it can turn into a goldmine of tax reductions. You cannot run this business like a hobby though, otherwise you’re setting yourself up for future failure.

Finally, you can take all of your credit card debt and make it a secured debt. For people who own a home, there is a chance that they can refinance their home to pay off the credit card debt. While you cannot deduct credit card interest from your taxes, it is possible to deduct mortgage interest.

It may take a bit of work to truly start saving a good amount on your taxes. But most people would agree that the work is well worth it. There are many ways to save on your taxes, all it takes is the effort.