Tuesday, April 18, 2017

How a 401(k) Differs from an IRA

Financial advisers like James Dondero urge people to save for their retirements at their earliest opportunity. When you are ready to start saving for your own retirement, you may wonder what kind of account to open and fund. 

Is there an advantage to a 401 (k) that you cannot find with an IRA? You can answer this question for yourself and save for your retirement accordingly by learning how a 401(k) differs from an IRA.

An Overview of a 401(k) Retirement Account

A 401(k) is an employer-sponsored retirement account. People who work for companies that offer 401(k) accounts are generally eligible to participate in the retirement savings program once they meet the necessary qualifications, which may include completing a training period of 60 to 90 days or working at least 34 hours per week.

401(k)

Moreover, your employer may automatically enroll you in the company-sponsored 401(k) once you meet the qualifications without you having to ask to participate in it first. Your contributions to your account may also be deducted for you from your paycheck, saving you the effort of having to fund your account yourself.

The amount you can contribute each year can be subject to change. However, for the 2016-2017 tax year, you can contribute up to $24,000 to a 401(k) as long as you are age 50 or younger. If you are over age 50, you can contribute up to $18,000.

A 401(k) does not allow you the freedom to choose from a wide variety of stocks, bonds, and other assets to invest. You must choose from a pre-selected list chosen by your employer. 

An Overview of an IRA

An IRA, or individual retirement account, comes in two primary forms: a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA. No age limit exists for opening an IRA; anyone can open and fund this type of retirement account. To open and fund a traditional IRA, you must be under 70 ½ years of age and have an earned source of income. 

As with 401(k) accounts, the amount you can contribute each year may vary. You can check with a financial adviser like James Dondero to verify the amount that you can pay into your IRA. 

The 2016-2017 tax year allowed people 50 and under to pay in up to $5500 to an IRA. People over the age of 50 could pay up to $6500. When you open an IRA, you can choose from a variety of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, and other investments. You can open an IRA by consulting with a financial analyst like James Dondero or at financial institutions like:
  • a bank 
  • brokerage firm
  • insurance company
  • investment firm
It is important that you allow a certified management accountant like James Dondero to guide you in funding your IRA if you are unsure of what to invest in or how much to contribute to the account. 

James Dondero Bio: Certified as both a certified management accountant and a chartered financial analyst, James Dondero serves as the president of Highland Capital Management, L.P., a Dallas financial company that he also co-founded. 

He graduated from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. He volunteers for charities like Education is Freedom and Snowball Express in the Dallas area.School of Commerce.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Personal Loan Myths You Never Knew

Sadly, there are several half-baked theories and myths about personal loans and many people believe that a personal loan is basically a debt-trap. However, there is no reason to dread personal loans any longer as many of these common myths are busted in this article!

1.Personal loans are the most expensive loan available

This is the most common reason why people avoid applying for a personal loans. Typically, personal loan interest rates are around 12-14%, which is more expensive than a secured loan but the interest on personal loans is way lower than credit card interest rates of 22-36%. 

Personal Loan

2.No Tax Benefits

Another big myth associated with personal loans is that they do not provide any tax benefits. There are tax benefits for personal loans. You can claim income tax benefit under Section 24 on personal loan which offers an overall interest benefit of 1.5 lacs for tax exemption that can be deducted from your taxable income. 

3.Only Salaried Employees are Eligible

Self-employed individuals, businessmen and NRIs also can get personal loans. While salaried employees find it easier to get approvals but self-employed individuals can also avail of personal loans if they can provide proof of income from their business. Businessmen may need to provide the income tax returns for 3 years. 

4.Always Apply for an Amount More Than Your Actual Requirement

This is a misconception among Indians - that applying for more than what you need currently would help ensure that you get approved for the amount that you actually need. Ultimately, your loan eligibility is determined by your credit rating and ability to repay the loan. Applying for a bigger loan will unnecessarily create a financial burden and a poor credit score if you are unable to repay it on time.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

8 Most Frequently Asked Questions About CCTV

There are many things about closed circuit Television, or CCTV as it is known, that most people are unaware of, and aside from the fact that it transmits live images of any given location, the average homeowner has little or no knowledge about the inner workings of the system. If you fall into that category, here are the top ten questions people ask about CCTV.

1.What is CCTV? – It is a closed circuit that transmits from a series of cameras back to a central location, where there would be a hard drive that is used to store the data, and a monitor and player in order to monitor the perimeters at all times.

CCTV

2.What are its capabilities? – Modern CCTV systems have full pan facilities, and with a high range zoom, one can manipulate the camera to view any given point, even at night, as infrared allows for acceptable night vision. If, for example, a small business owner wanted CCTV in Perth, there are online companies that specialise in protecting commercial premises at an affordable cost.

3.Is CCTV Really a Deterrent? – The short answer is yes. Criminals are all too aware that CCTV footage is acceptable as evidence in a court of law, and one still image is all it takes to identify someone. If a burglar comes across CCTV cameras, they will look for an easier target, which is one of the reasons to have the cameras in prominent locations.

4.Can CCTV Offer Other Benefits? – CCTV systems can prevent wrongful accusations and if your workforce is always monitored, and incidents can quickly be verified and the truth established.

5.Do I Need a Battery Back Up? – If you want to be sure to have coverage 24/7, the answer is yes. If there is ever a power outage, the battery will automatically kick in and provide adequate power until the electrical supply returns.

6.Do I need Infrared Cameras? – That depends on the type and location of the area you wish to monitor. If there are no lights on at night, and you want surveillance, then infrared is the best option, however if the area is always illuminated, there is no need to spend the extra money.

7.How Many Cameras Will I need? – This very much depends on the size of the area and also how much coverage you want. If your business premises has a car park or loading area, then these locations should also be covered. If you were looking for CCTV a simple online search would give you more information and put you in touch with someone who could tell you how many cameras are ideal for your requirements.

8.What Is Remote Viewing? – Using an Internet connection, it is possible to access the system from any location. If a person is on the other side of the world on a long holiday, they can log into the system and even remotely control the cameras to view any area in detail.

CCTV is the perfect security solution for small businesses, and with online solutions, it is very easy to source the right company.

Friday, April 7, 2017

70Trades – Your ultimate recipe for profit in the present trading scenario

The meaning of the word ‘recipe’ in the world of online trading isn’t in any way related to any kind of rules. A trading based recipe should always be dynamic, something that is versatile and that can change according to the situation of the market. When 70Trades entered the online trading scenario, their foremost goal as a brokerage firm was to simplify trading for the newbies and the inexperienced traders. This is a Vanuatu-based company which researched to find out that it takes a trader around a maximum of 70 trades to register his profit. Since then they didn’t only adopt the name but also became a loyal partner for traders who wished to diminish market risk while making their initial 70 trades.

trading tips

The name and philosophy behind 70Trades

70Trades is named in this manner due to the fact that its creators realized that investors take at least 70 trades in order to become an experienced trader. They do everything within their reach in order to assist new traders while they face this kind of experience. 70Trades believes that there are higher chances of losing money when a new user depends only on the trial and error method. So, if you’ve been thinking whether or not they’re duping you, you should know that 70Trades is not scam; rather they work to alleviate the stress of trading by novices.

Their plans for different levels of experience

70Trades is a company which wishes to get the business of all the new traders and they have the ultimate objective of turning such traders into experts. This is why they offer various plans like Entry Level, Advanced and Pro. Each of the plans has programs which are aimed to their respective traders and their personal level of experience. There have been numerous investors who have tried various similar companies but at the end of the day, they found 70Trades tips to be the best among the lot. 

Plethora of trading tools offered by 70Trades

They offer the traders with several interesting trading tools which assist traders of all experience levels. One of their most sought-after tools is Portfolio Builder. This brokerage firm gives its users the opportunity to create a portfolio under guidance, by giving answers to specific questions on their personal financial situation and other trading goals. In short, 70Trades allows the users to streamline and fine-tune their trading portfolio. Their Assets Graphing is one of the best visualization tools.

Educating traders – How they handle it

One of the biggest positives about 70Trades is the way they tackle educating the novice traders. They have adequate educational materials and various courses for gold, commodities and oil traders. In fact, their clients claim that they have few of the most in-depth educational materials which can be offered by a broker.

To be unbiased in our opinion, 70Trades is undoubtedly the best choice for novices. They simplify the process of trading for all kinds of commodities and shares. To know more on them, you can even check out other reviews on this company before taking the plunge.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Stay cool when your car breaks down. Insurance to the rescue!

Imagine yourself in the middle of nowhere, with no one around, in a far off road, facing a heavy downpour and your car just won’t start. Sounds like a situation best avoided at any cost? If yes, you are not alone since a car breakdown is something that every driver, though skilled with car repair, certainly dreads. As with many situations, prevention is better than cure approach works best here too. That said, it is also essential that you know what to do when your car breaks down especially if you are alone. Let us take a look at some of the solutions.

Don’t Panic

When your car breaks down, the first and foremost thing to do is to ensure that you don’t panic. It is important that you take stock of the situation with a cool head. This will help you identify the cause of a breakdown and determine a possible solution quickly. 

car insurance

Get your car off the road

This is very important, especially if you are on a highway. If need be, call for help. Once the car is sidelined, put on the emergency brake and turn the steering wheel away from the road. 

Ensure you are safe from being hit

Once the car is in a safe spot, either put a white paper or a piece of cloth on the window frame and roll it up. This will alert the drivers passing you by. Another thing you can do is putting the blinkers on. If it is night time, you should put the reflective markers or warning lights six feet away from the back of your car to alert and divert the incoming traffic. You can also turn on the interior light by keeping the door that’s away from the traffic open.  
   
Examine the tyres

Before checking any other parts, check the tyres. It is one of the most common and apparent cause to look out for. A punctured or a damaged tyre can be caused due to reasons such as improper tyre pressure or driving over sharp debris like a nail or broken glass. In this case, inspect the tyre and replace it with a spare one.  If you don’t have a spare, ask a local for the nearby tyre shop.  

Check the battery

Another common reason for a car breakdown, you should get the battery checked for low power or malfunction. In the case of a weak battery, you can easily get the car jump started with a pair of jumper cables. If you have one, you can seek the help of a car passing by the road. If not, try to find a garage nearby. 

Call Road-Side Assistance

When all the above solutions don’t work, road-side assistance is the Good Samaritan you need. Generally speaking, this feature is something that you get along with your car policy. Make sure you have the helpline number at hand. You are entitled to a host of benefits such as on-call assistance, towing, spare key support, flat tyre repair, arranging a mechanic and so on. Some companies even offer accommodation service. With great discounts on offer, online vehicle insurance is the way to go. Check out Reliance Car Insurance to buy car insurance online and get the benefit of over 3800 network garages. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

How Does Stock Prices Affect the Economy of the Country

Changes in the equity markets affect the population as well as the economy. A huge collapse in the markets may have disastrous results as seen during the crash of 1929 in the USA leading to the Great Depression. However, daily changes in the stock market do not have such significant impacts.

Here are the five effects of stock price movements to the economy of a country –

1.Effect on Wealth

When share prices drop, investors see their wealth fall. In the case of a significant decline, they may hesitate to spend money, which reduces the consumer spending. However, investors must not give this too much importance because they are often willing to accept losing money, especially in the shorter period.

Stock trading

2.Investments

In a situation where the share prices are declining, companies may find it difficult to raise money through the equity markets. Often, organizations issue more shares when they want to raise money for expansion because it is a low-cost method to avail funds. However, with falling prices, raising money through this route may become difficult.

3.Consumer Confidence

Declining stock prices may reflect the economic environment, such as a global slowdown or recession. As a result, there may a decrease in the consumer confidence. The reduced share prices may prevent people from spending, which may further be a discouraging factor.

4.Bond Markets

Generally, other financial instruments may become more attractive when the stock markets’ decline. Investors may shift their investments from shares to other products, such as gold or government bonds. Such instruments are expected to deliver better returns during uncertain periods.

Individuals who do not invest in shares may not be affected by decreasing stock markets in the short term. However, regular workers may still be affected by such situations. Nonetheless, corporates rely on financial funding for their requirements, which is why the equity markets have a limited role in the determination of employment and investment in the economy.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

How Digital Money Transfer Impacts the SME Banking in India

Demonetization of high-value currency notes came as a huge surprise for individuals all over India. This move was an initiative adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to curtail corruption and black money in the economy.

Digital Money Transfer

Demonetization has impacted money supply in two ways. Firstly, individuals who have unexplained cash holdings will be unable to deposit their money in the banks. This amount would be completely extinguished from the economy as it is irreplaceable. Secondly, the government may only release a part of the deposited currency as cash back into the system. The remaining component would in a digital form. This may result in India transitioning from a cash-based economy to a digital economy. Both these possibilities will impact the country differently in the short, medium, and long term.

Here are four implications of demonetization on the Indian economy:

1. Liquidity crunch

The demonetization announcement removed almost 86% of the currency from circulation. This has severely restricted the supply of cash in the economy resulting in tight liquidity for most Indians. As cash balances are eroded, several transactions may be eliminated because of inadequate liquidity.

2. Demand for loans

Several Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) would drive the demand for loans. This increase in demand for loans would primarily bridge the gap created by demonetization and ensure the smooth functioning of the SMEs. As a result, the SME banking sector is expected to get a boost in its business.

3. Disapproval of loans

With most of the cash being eliminated from the system, businesses that are cash-dependent will face difficulties in receiving approval on their loan applications. Most lenders would perceive such companies as high-risk and may disapprove loans to prevent the creation of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs).

4. Higher cost of loans

SMEs that are able to raise loans through other lenders like non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) may incur higher costs to avail of these funds.

Digital money defined as the transition from cash and cheques to instruments like debit and credit cards, non-paper based products, and stored value instruments is becoming important. Advanced payment solutions and methods are being used to overcome the liquidity crunch post-demonetization.

SME in India has emerged a highly dynamic and vibrant sector in the last five decades. These businesses provide employment to a large number of people at lower costs and also increase industrialization in the rural areas. This sector comprises nearly 36 million ventures and employs more than 80 million people across the country.

Knowing that the growth of this sector is important, let us understand what is an SME. As per the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSMED) Act, 2006, a manufacturing company investing between INR 25 lakh and INR 5 crores in plant and machinery is defined as a small enterprise. When this investment ranges from INR 5 crores up to INR 10 crores, it is classified as a medium enterprise. Moreover, when a service provider’s investment in equipment is between INR 10 lakh and INR 2 crores it is defined as a small enterprise. However, when the same investment is between INR 2 crores and INR 5 crores, the service provider is classified as a medium enterprise.

Digitalization in the SME banking system 

Several financial institutions have been providing SME banking services to benefit from the growing importance of this sector. Unfortunately, cash is still important among the SMEs especially in developing countries like India. However, relying on cash is not only more expensive but also risky.

An increasing number of financial institutions and companies are offering integrated payment solutions to the SME sector. Innovative solutions like enabling the businesses to collect revenues through mobile devices are being offered. Until now, such initiatives lacked large acceptance because of the greater reliance on cash. However, with demonetization, there is a surge in the acceptance of digital payments by SMEs.

Newer solutions to overcome the challenges faced by SMEs in collections are expected to continue being developed. The primary drivers for this growth include predictability, transparency, and flexibility, which are important factors for the growth of the SMEs.

Increasing digitalization and use of technologically advanced solutions would greatly benefit the SME sector in the wake of demonetization. Simpler procedures, reliable ecosystems, and more transparency through digitalization would benefit the growth of this sector.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Why Should You Buy A personal Accident Policy Right Away?

Every day, as we go about our lives, we are susceptible to a number of risks. The probability of an accident increases significantly if your profession entails a lot of traveling.  In such a case, we may never know when a mishap or tragedy might occur. This gives rise to the need for a personal accident policy to safeguard you against accidents. Let’s see why a standalone personal accident policy has acquired importance nowadays.

Before we begin to discuss the importance and features of a personal accident policy, it is crucial to understand what an ‘accident’ is. To put it simply, an accident is any unfortunate or undesirable event that results in loss or injury. There are two types of financial losses that are incurred. First is the one that is caused due to medical expenses and the second is due to loss of income resulting from the inability to work.

Accident insurance

A personal accident insurance is a policy that offers coverage for loss during an accident. This cover has an advantage over a life insurance policy in the sense that it offers coverage from death as well as injuries. The injuries can be permanent or temporary subject to policy coverage. This makes the accident policy a very useful one. Accidental insurance plans generally cover permanent as well as temporary disabilities. For instance, if you get a burn or if your hand gets fractured in an accident, you can be assured that your accidental policy will cover you. Additionally, there are certain insurance companies that offer add-on coverage in case of certain scenarios.

Who should buy a personal accident cover?

-It is highly recommended for young drivers who you use a vehicle on a daily basis to work or college. If you use a two-wheeler it makes it all the more important to go for an accidental insurance.

-If you have availed a loan such as home, car or even a personal one for that matter. It makes sense to get a personal accident cover so that your family members are safeguarded against repayment of the pending loan amount.

-Accidental insurance is also advisable for professionals that work in high-risk environments such as a manufacturing unit or an offshore plant.

-People planning to include a rider to their existing life insurance cover: In such a scenario, it is recommended to go for a standalone personal accident cover since it offers more benefits and at a comparatively lesser premium.

An important advantage of the accidental cover is that it offers comprehensive coverage at good premium value. It is generally cheaper compared to life cover. In addition to that, you also get various discounts.  You get good discount offers when buying a personal accident insurance online. Also, most insurers offer a cumulative bonus if you haven’t made any claims during a certain time period. 

Lastly, before buying a personal accident cover it is important that you go through the policy document carefully. There are several exclusions to the cover that varies across companies. They include situations like an accident while engaging in adventure sports or under the influence of alcohol.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

3 Ways to Apply for a Credit Card

Credit cards make life easier when used responsibly. In the current financial situation, using these products appropriately may help to overcome cash crunches.

However, if you do not have a credit card, you may consider applying for one. Most financial institutions offer different types of cards to suit the unique requirements of users. First-time applicants may consider the following three ways to apply for a credit card

1.Online application

The Internet has made it quick and simple to access almost everything from the comfort of your home or office. You may visit the financial institutions' websites to understand the different credit cards that are offered by them. You may click on the ‘Apply Now’ button to start the online application process.

Credit Cards

2.Physical application

If you do not want to follow the online application process, you may opt for applying in-person. You may visit the nearest branch of the credit card service provider and complete the application process.

3.Telephonic application

In case you do not have the time to physically visit the branch, you may call the financial institution’s customer service number. Trained and experienced professionals will guide you through the entire process of how to apply for credit cards through a telephone call.

Here is the basic information you will have to provide while applying for a card:
  • Name and date of birth
  • Total income
  • Home address, email id, and contact number
  • Details of current and past employments
  • Particulars of any other credit cards you have
Three steps to apply for a credit card:

1.Fill out the application form

Firstly, you need to fill out an application form provided by the financial institution. Generally, the form is simple and takes a few minutes to complete. You may also take the help of a company representative to fill out the credit card application form. If you choose to avail of the card from your current banker, you may not have to submit the documents as the bank already possesses your information.

2.Answer the verification call

When your application form is sent for approval, you will receive a verification call. The call is primarily made to verify the information provided by you at the time of your application. You may also have to visit the branch within a few days for the same. It is advisable to be available for the confirmation and verification as any late response may delay you procuring the credit card.

3.Verify the card with your signature

Once you receive your new credit card, it is important that you verify it with your signature. Any oversight to this may result in severe results in the future.

Having a credit card provides you with a certain level of financial freedom. You are able to make purchases up to the available limit on your credit card without having the cash. However, many credit card users fall in huge debt traps by using their cards irresponsibly. You must be careful while using the credit card so as to ensure you do not face financial difficulties in paying the credit card bills on time.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Five Non-Core Functions You Should Outsource Now

Every business, no matter how big or small, has some functions that are not the main function of the company. Employing people in-house to perform these tasks can be expensive and might cause the company to be less profitable than it could be.

If this is the case, you might consider outsourcing some of the non-core functions to an overseas virtual office assistant or payroll department that speaks excellent English and has a strong work-ethic. 

Before you do this, you need to identify areas that are not the essential aspects of your business. Read this helpful guide in order to find out more.

Personal Assistance

A personal assistant can help you to arrange meetings and to take notes. This is something that can be delegated to a virtual assistant in the Philippines, which will be just as efficient and will cost the business much less. The standard of English in the Philippines is excellent, due to the fact that schools there follow an American curriculum and they are quick learners. This will ensure that there are no misunderstandings or breakdowns in communication.

business ideas

You will be able to get on with your day as normal, whilst being able to keep in contact with the personal assistant through a variety of communication channels.

When you are choosing an assistant, remember that it is a very good idea to shop around. Compare several different companies which offer this service. 


Data Entry

Data entry can be a time-consuming task for your employees when they could be doing other more vital tasks. This is one of the most common tasks to outsource abroad to a company that specialises in data entry. You will be able to leave this in their capable hands whilst your employees can focus on other areas of the business. There are many companies who will be able to provide fast and accurate data entry, whatever format the data entry takes.

Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping involves keeping track of all the company income and expenditure in order to work out how much profit the business is actually making. This is a relatively straightforward process for someone with a head for numbers and scrupulous attention to detail. Instead of employing someone in-house to do this, why not save some money by using a third-party company?

Payroll

The payroll department of a company is responsible for making sure that everyone is paid on time and with the correct amount. Calculations also need to be made when it comes to pension and income tax deductions. This can be handled by business process outsourcing, allowing you to spend the money that is saved in other areas of the business.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing costs can be lowered if you choose to have goods made overseas.

Use this guide to understand the non-core functions of a business that can be delegated.