Inefficiency Is the Root Cause of High POS Transaction Fees Says Expert

The cost of Point-Of-Sale transactions can be significantly lower for businesses by increasing efficiency and using thousands of  terminals across three continents

Fact 1 — In July 2022, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the European Union reached an all time high and, as a result, businesses and consumers are generally paying substantially higher prices for goods and services than a year ago.

Fact 2 — The annual inflation rate across the EU has skyrocketed over the last few months. It reached 9.8% in July of this year compared to 2.5% a year earlier. In some countries including Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, the inflation rate has reached between 14% and 23%.

Fact 3 — Merchant card processing fees are high. They are made up of 3 main elements — one charged by the acquiring bank, the second charged by the card scheme itself such as Visa or Mastercard, and the third, interchange fee, charged by the cardholder’s bank, and which makes up the largest portion of the card processing fees.

These facts have led to an unavoidable reality — merchants are forced to hike prices while consumers’ purchasing power has been eroded.

“There are a number of reasons for the high merchant card processing fees” explains Radoslav Tomasiak, Head of POS Solutions at payment tech kevin. “It is common to assume that banks, acquirers and card schemes are speculating by charging higher fees. In reality, the main reason is inefficiency. Too many intermediaries, limited competition in the card industry which is controlled by a global duopoly, and low security by design which leads to high levels of fraud, all play a major role in the fee structure. Speaking of fraud, according to a Nilson report, the card industry will experience fraud losses of $408 billion over the next 10 years”.

Notwithstanding the current market conditions, post-pandemic in-store shopping is back. The human need for physical interaction has fueled the return of consumers to brick-an-mortar stores and malls across the globe.

And although e-commerce’s share of retail sales is estimated to continue growing over the next few years, the growth in physical store sales is predicted to reach US$ 22T globally by 2025. 

Which brings us to the point of sale. Traditional payment options such as credit and debit cards (70%), cash (11%) and digital wallets (11%) still dominate the market but payment innovations are rapidly replacing the conventional with technology based options.

One such option is Open Banking (OB) enabled Account-to-account (A2A) infrastructure which allows payments to move directly from the payer’s bank to a merchant or service provider’s bank. A2A payments are becoming more mainstream, allowing consumers to bypass traditional card schemes while offering retailers lower costs and higher conversion rates. The number of OB players is growing rapidly but payment tech kevin. has taken it to the next level by offering the solution in-store.

Tomasiak adds that “In a recent industry first, fintech kevin.’s A2A payments will be available on tens of thousands of POS (point-of-sale) terminals across Europe connected to the Switchio platform. The platform by Monet+ works with multiple acquirers to manage millions of transactions each day, covering the entire process from POS terminals to processing centers.

By integrating kevin.’s high-tech infrastructure into Switchio’s platform, Monet+ becomes the first-ever company able to offer their clients and partners A2A payments in physical stores, enabling businesses to receive payments safely, instantly and at reduced costs.

Tomasiak concludes that as well as being more secure due to its foundational design, using Open Banking based A2A payments will reduce costs at the POS. Another advantage of this new payment solution is the fact that consumers’ user experience at the POS does not change — they can simply link their bank account within the merchants’ mobile application and pay via NFC by placing their phone near the POS terminal.

Foolproof Investments During the Cost-of-Living Crisis

With investors having less money for investment due to the surge in cost-of-living, Maxim Manturov, Head of Investment Advice at Freedom Finance Europe, gives four safe investments to get investors through uncertain times. 

Periods of uncertainty are not a time to experiment with or risk investments. The most important aspect of any investment strategy during a recession, or when money is tight, like a cost-of-living crisis, is safety.  

While it may seem tempting to survive a recession or cost-of-living crisis without stocks, investors may find that they are missing out on significant opportunities by sitting it out. Historically, there are companies that thrive during economic downturns, you just need to know where to look.

During a crisis period, it is best to focus on industries that offer goods and services that are in constant demand. These are safe investment options as they are basic consumer goods and essentials that people need, and buy, regardless of their financial situation.

It is therefore worth continuing to invest and accumulate these investments despite the rising cost of living. Crises are more likely to be short-term, while in the long term present an excellent opportunity for returns.

Where to invest during a cost-of-living crisis 

Coca-Cola (KO). The world’s largest soft drink company generates most of its revenue internationally, with its key markets outside of the US and UK being countries like Mexico, Brazil, and Japan. Over the last decade, Coca-Cola’s gross margins have been relatively stable at around 60%. Even in the pandemic-ridden 2020, its gross margin was 59.3%, with Coca-Cola delivering excellent operating margins.

Price power is crucial in an environment of rising inflation and Coca-Cola has demonstrated price power for decades. If Coca-Cola’s input costs rise because of inflation, which is currently the case, Coca-Cola can pass those increases on to consumers to protect its profit margin. Coca-Cola beat earnings per share and revenue estimates in the latest quarter and raised its full-year forecast, posting earnings per share of $0.70 (£0.63) in the second quarter, three cents above the target set by Wall Street.

The outlook for the full year has been raised with the company now expecting organic revenue growth of 12% to 13%, up from the previous forecast of 7% to 8% growth. Growth potential to the average target price at $70 (£63), about 23% upside.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is the world’s largest healthcare company. Key reasons for J&J to succeed includecontinued earnings growth and growth through mergers and acquisitions. Specifically, J&J’s total revenue, excluding its consumer business, is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the low single digits and its earnings at a compound annual growth rate in the single digits over the next 5 years. 

Late last year, J&J announced plans to spin off its consumer health products business into a new public company within the next 18-24 months. J&J wants to focus solely on healthcare through two other segments – pharmaceuticals and medical devices. The move should help boost the company’s revenue growth. 

J&J’s largest therapeutic areas by revenue are oncology and immunology. These two areas are also the largest and fastest growing in the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, J&J has increased its dividend every year for a long time and is likely to continue rewarding its shareholders with payouts. There is upside potential to an average target price of $187 (£169), about 13% upside.

Lockheed Martin (LMT) is the world’s largest defence contractor and has dominated the western high-end fighter aircraft market since the F-35 programme was launched in 2001. Lockheed Martin has a robust business model, high and growing free cash flow, a desire to spend it on shareholder returns and a long history of consistent and high dividend growth. 

LMT is on track to meet its $4 billion (£3.6 bn) annual forecast in stock buybacks as it seeks to deliver more than 100% free cash flow to shareholders during the year, including dividends. It continues to pursue its long-term strategy of disciplined and dynamic capital allocation, increasing free cash flow per stock and thereby delivering strong long-term returns to shareholders. 

With stable military budgets in the US, increased international sales of defence equipment and a return to the expansion phase of commercial aircraft deliveries, the defence industry has long-term growth potential, with a focus on modernisation and research and funding for defence contractors. Moreover, US defence spending has grown significantly in recent years and is currently projected to grow over the next decade. The country’s current annual spending is at around $700 billion (£631 bn), and this amount is projected to rise to more than $900 billion (£811 bn) in 10 years, implying a 28% increase. Growth potential to the average target price at $470 (£424), about 16% upside.

Costco (COST) is a leading retailer with 815 shops worldwide (at the end of fiscal year 2021). It sells memberships that allow customers to shop in its warehouses with low prices on a limited range of products. 

The main argument is that this retailer has long demonstrated the ability to thrive regardless of general economic conditions. This is what gives this discount club operator an advantage over traditional discount retailers. Costco, for example, has historically shown consistent results in times of recession. This advantage is also true when it comes to an inflationary period like the one we are currently in and as seen in its quarterly results, it continues to “thrive amid belt-tightening”, which was also seen in the previous report. 

That said, it is reasonable to expect that the company will continue to show good results in the coming quarters. Simply put, investors are beginning to realise that the story hasn’t changed. As expected, net sales rose strongly during the quarter. Revenue for the quarter was $51.6 billion (£47 bn), up 16.3% year-on-year. Earnings per stock (EPS) of $3.04 (£2.74) rose 10.6%, it was good to see that both revenue, $52.6 billion (£47.5 bn) and EPS of $3.04 (£2.74) per stock beat consensus forecasts. Upside potential to the average target price of $610 (£550), about 28% upside. 

How Will SCA Change Fraud Pressure for Businesses?

Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) is a requirement of the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) in the UK and the EU. Aimed at securing online payments, consumers’ identities are verified with a two-factor authentication. This authentication will ask consumers to prove two of three factors:

  • Knowledge — something they know, like a password
  • Possession — something they own, such as a mobile phone
  • Inherence — something they are, using facial recognition or fingerprint scans

However, as fraud prevention blocks some avenues of fraud and abuse, those aiming to do your business harm will aim to find another. It’s clear that payment SCA will change fraud pressure for businesses. Here, we explore factors that online merchants must consider in the new world of SCA and how to address modern ecommerce fraud.

Out-of-scope transactions

SCA doesn’t cover all online payments. In fact, some payments are considered out of the scope of SCA regulation. This means that any payments that qualify as an out-of-scope transaction will not trigger a two-factor authentication check. These out-of-scope transactions include:

  • Mail order or telephone order (MOTO) payments
  • Merchant-initiated transactions, such as direct debits
  • One-leg-out (OLO) transactions
  • Recurring transactions of a consistent amount, once the first transaction has been authenticated

Merchants can expect to see fraudsters shift their efforts to these channels as they attempt to cause harm to businesses beyond SCA enforcement. The psychology of the situation is simple: when you make one channel of payment difficult to commit fraud, then fraudsters will find another. Which other channels will they use? Those that are not protected by SCA, of course.

Let’s look at OLO transactions as an example. This occurs when either the merchant’s acquiring bank or the consumer’s issuing bank is located outside the EU or the UK. A fraudster could purchase international credit card information on the dark web as the issuing bank would be outside the remit of SCA, purchasing through them as a foreign identity. This would be classed as an out-of-scope transaction, and their fraudulent purchase would be exempt from SCA.

Liability

As SCA changes the way that fraud will be attempted, it will also impact the liability of fraud. Just as there are out-of-scope transactions that do not require SCA, some in-scope transactions can be exempt from the regulation. This is because some transactions are classified as having a low risk of fraud. This includes low-value, regular, whitelisted, and low-risk transactions. Ultimately, these exemptions help the checkout to have less friction and boosts the customer experience. However, fraud can still occur under the exemptions.

PSD2 allows for certain in-scope transactions to be exempt from SCA. Exempting low-value, regular, whitelisted, and low-risk transactions can reduce friction for the customer. These exemptions are decided and applied by issuers and acquirers, but merchants can also play a hand in the outcome.

However, if a retailer utilses an exemption strategy as part of their SCA strategy, the liability for those exempted transactions will lie with the retailer. When a fraudulent transaction occurs, your business could be losing money. It’s essential to incorporate other fraud detection programmes in place to avoid this.

Friendly fraud

Don’t be fooled by the name; friendly fraud can hurt just as bad as any other. This type of fraud occurs when a genuine consumer makes a claim to their issuing bank that is false. These could involve the customer claiming:

  • an item wasn’t delivered
  • an item does not match its description
  • a refund had not been processed
  • an order was cancelled but still sent
  • that their credit card has been compromised and used.

Friendly fraud occurs when these claims are falsified, and they can cost businesses a significant portion of their revenue. Interestingly, The Consumer Abuse Index states that non-payments fraud has increased five-fold during the COVID-19 pandemic. Worryingly, the index shows just how commonplace abuse is among shoppers. 36 per cent of UK shoppers have claimed that a legitimate charge on their account was fraudulent. Meanwhile, 30 per cent have falsely claimed that an item hadn’t arrived. Before the pandemic, only 14 per cent had said the same – less than half of its current levels.

SCA is out of scope for this type of fraud because most orders will look legitimate when they are made as a genuine consumer isn’t hiding behind a false identity with friendly fraud.

Merchants must consider other fraud solutions to avoid friendly fraud. Fraud prevention platforms that utilise historic shopping data can identify consumers that are more likely to commit friendly fraud, prevent them from doing it again, and remove liabilities of chargebacks for merchants.

Transaction risk analysis

Removing the friction caused by SCA will involve creating a seamless authentication strategy. Seeking out exemptions is the best way to remove the need for SCA and reduce consumer touchpoints that may lead to cart abandonment.

Transaction risk analysis (TRA) is one effective method carried out by issuers and acquirers that identities low-risk transactions and exempts them from SCA. Transactions go under a real-time, dynamic evaluation of various risk factors, verifying the identity of consumers and assessing their fraud risk.

However, to be eligible for a TRA, merchants’ fraud rate must remain below a specific threshold. If your fraud rates rise, so does a PSP’s appetite to authorise an exemption – it’s bad news all around. Merchants could even be hit with financial penalties as a result.

To be eligible for exemptions as part of TRA, merchants must adopt an effective fraud prevention strategy that first reduces their fraud rate before accessing more frictionless checkout experiences. The lower your fraud rate, the more opportunities, the easier the checkout, and the better experience your customers will have.

Fraud is changing with SCA regulations. Fraudsters will continually find new ways to harm your business, but proactive merchants are utilising more effective fraud prevention methods. A solid fraud prevention strategy can help reduce your fraud rates, improve the customer experience, and boost your revenue.

Best Corporate Presentation Design Agency – UAE

Bullet points, pixelated images, and checkerboard transitions have long been the hallmark of a corporate presentation. Those days, however, are over, as PresMonkey has entered the scene, bringing with it fashionable slides and powerful tailor-made templates. Backed by 15 years of experience, PresMonkey is the go-to for a presentation that will leave viewers saying ‘wow.’

PresMonkey is unlike any other business; in fact, it is the first of its kind in the UAE. The company specialises in the design of bespoke, eye-catching PowerPoint, Prenzi, and Google Slides presentations, which have been built to help business executives and corporations deliver messages in a unique and interesting way. Henceforth, PresMonkey has garnered an international clientele who trust its creative process. This extensive list includes Dubai Media Office, Dubai Press Club, Alshaya Group, Dubai Holding Group, Sitecore, Zara, and many more, covering a plethora of industries from blockchain to fashion.

Indeed, the company can establish unique pitches from scratch, or alternatively, PitchMonkey is able to refresh and upgrade pre-existing presentations. It works with its clients every step of the way, providing them with regular updates, optimised communication, and the promise of a quick turnaround – the first draft, for example, will be sent to the client within 72 hours of the start date. Not only does this ensure that the project will be completed by the intended deadline, but it also enables the client to provide feedback and shape the presentation to their taste and requirements.

Design comes first – this is PresMonkey’s attitude to business and it is this that differentiates the company from any potential competitors. It takes a focused approach that serves as a platform from which the company can dive into developing a truly unique, client-oriented product. Moreover, a core contributor to the company’s prestige is its devotion to effective marketing. PresMonkey has multiple social media marketing channels that feature targeted campaigns; for example, the company recently launched a TikTok series that offers presentation tips and tricks. Similar tips can be found in written form on the company’s easy to follow blog.

PresMonkey also strives to remain ahead of any industry advancements. Embracing the latest design trends, PresMonkey’s presentations are contemporary and fashionable, and may include minimalistic design, customised fonts, creative colour palettes, and sleek formats. In addition, the company has begun embedding 3D models that customers can zoom directly into. In terms of future innovations, the company is exploring the use of AI and how it could be used within its presentations.

As such, the one-of-a-kind company will be exceptionally busy throughout the end of 2022, as on top of its creative exploits, PresMonkey will be prioritising expansion. These developments will take place throughout the company’s team, which it is currently working on growing, and within its customer-base, as PresMonkey hopes to build an even greater portfolio. On an international scale, the brand is planning to bolster people’s awareness, subsequently increasing its clientele.

For business enquiries, contact Jasmeen Saggu from PresMonkey on their website – https://www.presmonkey.com/

Best Swiss Consulting Company 2022

Being a Swiss provider of high-value business services to clients operating and investing in Switzerland – and even on a global scale – Aimafin AG has made a name for itself with its continued service of a diverse client base. These clients, found in all corners of the international business ecosystem, benefit hugely form this consulting agency’s dedication to keeping a finger on the pulse of the wider business world, an element that allows it to better understand the threats and opportunities that its clients face on a regular basis.

Serving a range of different clients from family offices to high-net-worth individuals, Aimafin AG represents different industries that are based all over the world, including Switzerland, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. It maintains abreast of all different worldly changes and developments in business and commerce, having gained a true and evolving understanding of the threats and challenges that its clients face daily, so that is can better help them manage and mitigate these risks. Moreover, operating in this manner ensures that its financial planning consultation is holistic and tailorable in the truest sense, both to a client’s needs and in recognition of the wider market.

Therefore, its bespoke, end-to-end solutions fulfil the unique requirements of individuals and companies both; indeed, it is through these solutions that is helps its clients to understand the variety of options that are open to them, including how these may be executed and how it may support them in the implementation of such Ideas & Solutions. Its culturally diverse and impeccably well-educated team are utterly invaluable in this process. They make it possible for clients to receive such outstanding service as standard with Aimafin AG, with each of them working hard to ensure a client is seen, heard, and respected throughout financial planning, asset portfolio development, and considering how to move parts of said portfolio around.

With its frank and independent advice that wishes for nothing more than to achieve a client’s goals perfectly to specification, its expertise and huge network of partners allow it to always go above and beyond. From its business strategy development to its performance turnaround, expatriate services, corporate services, and family office focused services, its quality of management, business, and individual consultancy has propelled it to the forefront of its industry. Moreover, it respects its clients’ ambitions and goals, and is never bowed by a challenge – even those brought on by extraneous events like Covid-19 – using such incidents to grow and develop.

Indeed, it hopes to ensure that its clients know all their options before making a choice, and its team are more than familiar with the nuances of the market and that individual circumstances can create; in such cases, a client will find the Aimafin AG team becoming a friend and partner  to work alongside them with empathy and diligence. Each of them boasts the experience to work effectively, the humbleness to defer to the client, and the sensitivity to operate with discretion. Going forward, its digital services will be continuing to help it do this, alongside solidifying its partnerships across the world, and improving the security of personal and business assets both.

For business enquiries, contact Magdi Wafa from Aimafin AG on their website – aimafin.com

Paid in Cryptocurrency: The Salary of the Future?

At the start of 2022, Crypto.com released their Crypto Market Sizing Report 2021 and 2022 Forecast, predicting that by the end of 2022, there will be one billion owners of cryptocurrency all over the world. And with further growth of the market to almost triple by 2030, cryptocurrency is rapidly moving from an internet investment niche into mainstream consciousness.

Several celebrities and politicians have chosen to receive part of their monthly pay in the form of Bitcoin, from American football players Odell Beckham Jr and Aaron Rodgers to the mayor of Miami Francis Suarez. With this growth in popularity, could we see more people across different professions changing how they receive their salaries by substituting traditional money for cryptocurrencies?

In this article, we’ll look at how likely it is for cryptocurrency to become a staple of how we receive payments from our jobs and what benefits and potential worries could come with it.

A brief explanation of cryptocurrencies

Before diving into the positives and negatives of crypto, here’s a quick overview of what cryptocurrencies are and how they’re made and bought. In the simplest of terms, they’re tokens that exist without being backed by an authority such as a bank or government. Instead, they’re stored and created using blockchain technology, a public ledger that stores and shares data and information across the internet between different computers and servers.

These tokens are ‘mined’ by a machine with high-end, powerful parts that can withstand the wear of the process. These can be graphics processing units (GPUs) or application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) that are more commonly used. By installing the mining software for the specific cryptocurrency you’re creating, your machine will attempt to create a single-use number that either matches or is lower than a target hash, so you earn 6.25 BTC.

Why could this make for a good salary replacement?

One benefit of getting your pay in cryptocurrency is that it can be converted into any currency internationally. With companies looking at recruiting more employees to work remotely, crypto could be a great way to pay staff equally and then have them convert it into their native currency.

It could also help attract more forward-thinking and tech-savvy workers. Cryptocurrency transactions are also instantaneous, which means if you’re getting paid with it, you won’t have to wait for it to come into your bank account, and there aren’t any hidden fees.

Additionally, you could use your salary to invest further and convert it into more revenue on top of your monthly earnings. There are plenty of reputable experts with professional advice, but having a accounting and finance degree would help to have a more in-depth understanding of building an efficient portfolio.

Are there negatives?

The main issue with cryptocurrency is that it’s like gambling. The value of various coins, like Bitcoin, constantly fluctuates. A perfect example of this was Elon Musk, founder of Paypal and Tesla, tweeting to his audience of over 100 million followers about his love of crypto and which coins he was investing in. This caused the joke currency Dogecoin to jump in popularity by up to 50%.

Much like stocks, there is every chance of the crypto that you’ve invested in dropping in value to completely crashing without warning. No currency is exempt from crashing, and though the most popular crypto, Bitcoin, reached a record value high of just over £60,000 in November 2021, it’s currently experiencing a slump that saw it drop below £17,500. Being paid with traditional bank transfers or cash, you can expect to receive a set amount every month. While you would get the same value of crypto in payment per month, the constant flux and potential crash could mean that you would be getting less to convert it into based solely on market trends.

Cryptocurrency could be a huge step in the evolution of payment around the world, but in terms of it being used as a salary substitute, you’d be right to be sceptical. When you have bills to pay, and the cost-of-living crisis is becoming even more of a worry, you want to know that you have a reliable source of income that you can budget for. Crypto might not allow you that with how volatile it’s proving to be, and until it evens out and becomes more stable, sticking to receiving your local currency at an agreed salary is much safer.

How Payment Providers Will Use Open Banking to Win the Payments Race

By Michael Lane, Vice President – Sales, Token

The past few years have been a real slog for business owners, who are understandably keen to future-proof their operations amidst economic uncertainty. Payments are a perfect place to start.

During the pandemic, countless businesses shifted from bricks to clicks to stay afloat, realising the need to introduce cost savings and evolve to survive. The emphasis on resilience intensified as the UK and Europe lurched from the pandemic into the war in Ukraine and a spiralling cost of living crisis, fuelled by rising energy prices and inflation.

Amidst this gruelling marathon, retailers are being squeezed between higher costs and weaker demand. “As inflation reaches new heights, retailers are doing all they can to absorb as much of these rising costs as possible and to look for efficiencies in their businesses and supply chain,” said Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

As running a business becomes more expensive, many companies have begun ‘war gaming’ for a recession in recent months, facing up to this damaging double hit of slowing consumer demand and rapidly rising costs.

The growing cost of traditional payment methods

One way to future-proof a business is to reduce the overall cost of the proposition. Payments are an obvious starting point because, simply put, they can be very expensive. According to the BRC, for example, UK retailers spent £1.3 billion to accept payments from customers in 2020.

Payment methods have continued to increase their costs, putting merchants under pressure. In October 2021, Visa and Mastercard both raised their cross-border interchange fees on purchases made by UK consumers to European businesses. The fees increased from 0.2% to 1.15% for debit cards and 0.3% to 1.5% for credit card transactions.

In June 2022, following these five fold increases, the UK’s Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) reported it will initiate a detailed review of these fees “to understand the rationale behind these increases and whether they are an indication that the market is not working well.”

It’s not just card costs that are on the rise. Look at digital wallets, like PayPal, which increased its fees for payments between businesses in the UK and Europe from 0.5% to 1.29% in November 2021.

Bringing a much-needed new option to life

Luckily, a cost-effective alternative to cards and wallets is now available to merchants. One that can offer the same, or better, reach and conversion rates, as well as significantly lower costs. And that’s Open Banking-enabled account-to-account (A2A) payments. 

As merchants race to cut payment costs, I see them looking around and asking: how can I accept A2A payments? Through my payment gateway? Do I speak to my bank, or search for an Open Banking payments provider online?

As a result, we’re now seeing payment gateways asking how they can bring Open Banking payment propositions to life quickly and efficiently. And there are various ways to do it – but not all are equal.

The first option is to build it yourself. That may be feasible if you want to serve a single country and connect to the top three banks in that country, but you would be building a somewhat limited and very restrictive alternative payment method (APM).

The second option is to go to a company that can do it all for you, but then you (the gateway) have to put that company’s logo on your checkout. Once you start putting four or five Open Banking logos on your checkout (and you would likely need to, to offer sufficient reach across markets), you’ve suddenly gone from a checkout with five or six payment methods to upwards of 10. Every gateway knows a crowded checkout is never good for conversion.

If I think back 15 years, the talk was of how important APMs were. Today, gateways can offer hundreds of APMs, depending on what you’re selling, where, and who you’re selling it to.  But I don’t think Open Banking should work like that. It must be both visible and invisible.

So this brings me to the third option. Work with a company that can offer a white-labelled proposition. The gateway adds their own single button for Open Banking payments to their checkout. This can either be quite generic and unbranded – for example, ‘pay by bank’ – or the gateway can give it their own brand. This allows end customers to go through a user experience they know and trust, delivering a conversion rate of upwards of 99.7% in some geographies at a significantly lower cost than traditional cards or well-known wallets.

This third option is the simplest route and by far the best way for gateways to generate the greatest revenues and highest margins with Open Banking payments.

Payment service providers (PSPs) are traditionally payment method aggregators. This started with aggregating card acquirers and then a plethora of APMs. Now, with Open Banking payments entering the market, you can easily aggregate five or six other ‘pay by bank’ options – but what’s the point? You’d need to juggle different pay structures, customers, and target demographics. The complications become exponential.

A white-labelled proposition is open and inclusive to everybody, earns more for PSPs than APMs (which pay notoriously little back to the gateway), and delivers the benefits that merchants are increasingly demanding in our current economic climate: lower costs, instant settlement to improve cash flow, and exceptional reach and conversions.

Whilst there are different tracks to help merchants cross the finish line, this one is the shortest and has the fewest hurdles. 

6 Tips to Help You Find Inexpensive Car Insurance

The major aim of car insurance is to help reduce the financial burden you’ll bear in case the incident you are insured against occurs. Put another way, trying to find that sweet spot between reliable coverage and inexpensive rates for your car insurance can be quite tricky. But it’s not impossible. Here are six tips to help you find inexpensive car insurance.

1. Compare Different Rates

When trying to lock down cheap car insurance, it’s important to get quotes from different companies and compare them to get the best price for your coverage. Consider getting quotes not just from national auto insurance companies, but also from local and regional insurers. You can often find cheaper prices when you choose a local or regional provider.

2. Understand Factors That Affect Your Costs

Insurance companies base the cost of insurance on the risk they take by insuring you. Typically, several factors come into play to assess this risk, including your age, sex, marital status, driving record, credit score, state of residence, car model and make, frequency of claims, and more. Many of these factors are unique to you, so it’s difficult to compare one person’s car insurance policy to someone else.

3. Check Insurance Costs When Buying a Car

If you’re looking to get cheap car insurance, start by looking at the car you drive. Your vehicle’s make and model will affect your insurance rates due to factors, such as the worth of the car, the cost to repair it, and the likelihood of theft and accidents.

4. Ditch Any Unnecessary Coverage

Go over every detail of your insurance policy and remove anything you don’t need. Items like roadside assistance benefits and car rental coverage aren’t always necessary. Credit card companies and sometimes car manufacturers cover some of these expenses. If you are insuring an older car, it may be advisable to skip comprehensive and collision coverage. If your car has a low market value, it may not be wise to pay fees for this coverage. You can also reduce medical payments coverage if you already have health insurance.

5. Claim All Available Discounts

Insurance companies offer a variety of discounts, and it’s beneficial to claim as many discounts as possible, as this will reduce your insurance costs. Some of the more popular discounts include:

Safe driver discount

Anti-theft device discount

Multiple vehicles discount

Policy bundling discount

Good student discount

Low mileage discount

Defensive driver class discount

6. Consider Usage-Based Insurance

If you’re a safe, low-mileage driver, a usage-based insurance program is an option worth considering. Signing up for this program allows your insurer to track your driving habits in exchange for possible discounts based on how much and how well you drive. If you drive fewer than 10,000 miles annually, you can get a deduction in your insurance rate. This insurance program is great for college students, people who work from home, retirees, and those who don’t drive their cars often.

Keeping Your Car Safe on a Budget

Deciding on the most prudent car insurance can help you protect your health, assets, and wallet, so make the effort to determine the type and amount of coverage you need. And, bottom line, make sure to review and understand your policy before you sign an agreement.

Marketing Expense Management for Start-ups: a How to Guide

One of the most essential aspects of any company start-up, is your business marketing. How you manage your marketing can be pivotal to the overall success of your company, and how well it develops and grows.

One key part of this vital process is knowing how to effectively manage start-up’s marketing budget.

In this article, you’ll receive a how to guide on marketing expense management for star-tups, including what the process is, and how expert software can help optimize how you conduct it.

What is marketing expense management?

Marketing expense management is the process in which you handle all of the marketing expenses throughout your business.

Marketing is crucial for any business – particularly a start-up – so there can likely be many different transactions and payments being made across the company to support your marketing efforts.

For instance, you might be paying for a software which aids your marketing process, paying companies to advertise your business, or purchasing resources to develop your marketing team.

Regardless of what they are, all these different marketing expenses need to be effectively managed by your company, to ensure you maintain a firm grip on how much corporate spend is being funnelled into this area of the business.

This can include tracking every transaction made across the company, uploading any receipts, monitoring the regular spending on certain services, and various other aspects of marketing expenses.

One of the best ways to help you conduct marketing expense management, is to implement spend management software.

This expert tool helps boost the process with a more effective and efficient way of handling your marketing expenses, as well as offering a range of features to enhance how you control your spending, all from one central platform.

How to use spend management software to enhance your process

There are many different ways spend management software can help you better manage your start-up’s marketing expenses. Here’s how to execute a few of them:

Implement spend controls

One of the best things to do when using your spend management software is to implement spend controls on your marketing expenses.

These are useful features which give you a firmer grip on how your money is being spent on marketing.

For example, you can use the software to set spend limits across all of your marketing efforts. This means that any transactions which overstep your set limit will be automatically prevented, and you’ll be notified promptly.

This will ensure that no transactions within your marketing efforts are out of your control, and every expense can be tailored to suit your start-up’s needs.

Gain full visibility on budgets

Another highly important aspect of marketing expense management is having full visibility on budgets across your company.

In order to effectively manage your expenses, you need to be fully aware of each and every budget you’ve set for your marketing efforts, and how well they’re being followed.

Your software can achieve this for you, with real-time data on every marketing expense, including what was paid for, how much was spent, who completed the transaction, and how much of a particular budget has been spent.

This is vital for showing you how closely your start-up is sticking to budgets, so you can make any necessary adjustments as you see fit, and stay on top of your corporate spend.

Adhere to meaningful spend insights

Spend management software not only helps control your marketing expenses, but goes one step further in showing you how you can make them much more cost-efficient.

The software will offer detailed insights for each of your expenses, providing useful information on where you could be optimizing the way you spend on your marketing.

For instance, you may be paying for a particular software subscription that assists your marketing efforts. The spend management software can reveal any cheaper alternatives to your current software, so you can gain a similar service for a cheaper price.

This is great for helping you maintain a consistent eye on how effectively you’re spending on your marketing, and you’ll always have new avenues for more cost-efficient expenses.

Marketing expense management can be complex, but with the right spend management software in place, the way you manage your spending can evolve alongside your business start-up.

Wealth & Finance INTL is Proud to Announce the Winners of the 2022 Management Consulting Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 –Wealth & Finance International Magazine has announced the winners of the inaugural Management Consulting Awards.

Continuing professional development plays a truly crucial role when it comes to maintaining a leading position in any given industry or market. Professional stagnation leads to stagnant growth, with one directly feeding into the other. Equally, it pays to be trained and consulted by experts in their field – and that is where the Management Consultancy Awards found its start. In recognising the true leaders in an industry which can absolutely make or break companies.

For its inaugural year, the Management Consultancy Awards looked to recognise those that truly go above and beyond to deliver best in class consultancy solutions and services to their clients and partners.

Awards Coordinator Holly Blackwood took a moment to comment on the success of the winners on the eve of the announcement. “Wealth & Finance International Magazine is proud to be able to showcase the selection of the best of the best from across the industry. I would like to take this opportunity to offer everyone my sincere congratulations and best wishes for the future. I hope you all have a fantastic rest of 2022 ahead.”

To learn more about our award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the Wealth & Finance INTL website (https://www.wealthandfinance-news.com/awards/) where you can access the winners supplement.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Wealth & Finance International Magazine

Wealth & Finance International is dedicated to providing fund managers and institutional and private investors around the world with the latest industry news across both traditional and alternative investment sectors.

Distributed by AI Global Media each quarter to more than 65,000 high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals, fund managers, institutional investors and professional services firms, Wealth & Finance International has rapidly become the go-to resource for those looking to make the right decisions when it comes to securing and growing their wealth.

But Wealth & Finance International is more than just a magazine. Alongside our quarterly publication, we also produce a website that is updated daily with the latest news, features, opinion and comment, again in conjunction with a host of top-level advisors, experts and businesspeople.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 14 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 85,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

Experts Reveal Five Tips to Protect Yourself From Phishing Scams

Online scams are unfortunately getting more and more frequent, and one way to be scammed on the internet is phishing. Everybody has probably heard of it, but not everyone may know just how it works and how to protect oneself from it.

Cybersecurity expert Tove Marks from VPN Overview can help with this, providing tips to avoid phishing scams, while spreading awareness on the practice and how dangerous it can be.

What is phishing?

Phishing is a cybercrime that compels the victims to give out personal information or cybercriminals, such as bank details.

The most common form of phishing is through emails, which look like they have been sent from official organisations or people you might know. These emails can be extremely accurate to make them look as real as possible, and within it there will usually be a hyperlink or an attachment for the victim to click on.

However, phishing can be also come in other forms, such as social media messages, invoices and phone calls.

How do I recognise phishing emails and messages?

1. Greetings, language and grammar

The easiest way to recognise an illegitimate email is to check for grammar and spelling errors. If the criminals are not English-speaking individuals, mistakes are huge red flags to pay attention to.

Moreover, as these emails are sent to a large number of people at the same time, they will most likely not be personalised. Another thing to look out for is the sense of urgency that the message communicates: words such as ‘URGENT’ or ‘IMPORTANT’ can be a giveaway.

But this is not always the case, as some phishing scams are extremely accurate and none of these red flags might show. In that case, there’s more you can check to recognise a scam.

2. Check the sender’s email

As phishing emails are meant to look official and sent by organisations such as banks and so on, it’s important to know the real email address of such organisations. Since they’re not part of it, the scammers will likely use similar formats, but in different combinations. The easiest way to make sure the sender is trustworthy is to check on the official websites the email address or phone number of the organisations.

3. Don’t share personal information

Regardless of the email address you receive a request from and the contents of such email, remember that no bank or other official organisations will ask you for your personal information, and if you receive a message that asks for some of it, always treat it with suspicion.

4. Beware of attachments and links

The ultimate purpose of an email of a phishing scam is to have the victim click on an attachment or a link, and this could already install spyware on your device which can extract personal information without your knowledge after you’ve moved on from the email or message.

Do not click on anything that you cannot trust and that you do not know, and always double check the format of the attachment, as well as the address of any link.

5. Trust your instincts

Generally, any person who uses the internet knows to question to anything you might find suspicious on it. Because of this, when you’re not sure whether you can trust an email, a message, a website and so on, don’t.

Rather, ask for clarification from the agency or organisation that is presumably asking for info through official channels such as an app or an official phone number.

How do I avoid having to recognise phishing in the first place?

Most browser and websites do recognise phishing emails and spam, and to avoid having to deal with them at all always remember to use two factor authentication on your accounts, as it might be lengthier, but it is safer; activate your spam filter and finally only share your details and personal information on secure websites.

The Financial Challenges of Running a Hotel

Hospitality is one of the most lucrative and competitive sectors in business, but successfully running a hotel can be difficult to say the least. Many different factors from marketing (which is increasingly digital) to organisation contribute to a hotel’s success and having a general understanding of how they affect your business can help minimise any challenges.

Prospective hoteliers would be smart to keep ahead of any potential hurdles, but don’t worry if you’re not sure what to keep an eye out for. Take a look at our tips that can help your hotel stand out and run smoothly.

Responsibilities

The list of responsibilities when running a hotel is never-ending, but some stick out more than others. Keeping your customers and employees safe comes to mind immediately. Despite your best efforts, things can go wrong and that’s why it’s important that you have the right insurance for your hotel in place.

Customers are unlikely to return if they feel unsafe in your establishment. It will also have a negative impact if the property is seen to not be properly maintained. This could lead to avoidable accidents occurring and people suffering injuries on your premises.

The importance of advertisement

With COVID lockdown and restrictions being lifted, the hotel sector is busier than ever. One way to stand out from your competitors and generate interest in your brand is by investing in sophisticated advertising campaigns and developing a strong storefront.

Let potential customers know what you’re offering and how it sets you apart from competing hotels by developing an optimised website and using techniques such as marketing automation. Social media is a great tool you can take advantage of to build your reputation and encourage customer loyalty by providing personalised offers.

There are so many different ways to market your hotel that can help drive up your website traffic and create a boost in revenue from bookings. The more eyes on your hotel/brand the more bookings you can expect.

Ask what your customers think

The best way to stay on top of what needs improving and what is running well in your hotel is by asking customers about their stay. Building on any constructive criticism will only lead to higher standards of service and increased bookings.

Positive reviews are the lifeblood of the hospitality industry. The more confident customers feel in their decision to stay with you, the more likely they are to book with you again or recommend your establishment to friends and family. In fact, it was revealed in a study that 76% of hotel-goers were willing to pay more for a hotel with higher reviews.

Make sure to pass over a card with the hotel’s information for multiple review platforms and encourage customers to provide feedback when they check out.

Having said that, feedback is only half of the whole point of getting it in the first place. You will need to take action to the best of your capability in order to turn any criticism into more positive reviews.

Pros and Cons of VoIP – A Comprehensive Cost Comparison

The financial side of VoIP telephony is one of the major selling points. But if you’re primarily concerned with the cost implications of moving away from old-school calling solutions, you need to know the full story to make the right decision.

To that end, let’s talk about the upsides and issues with VoIP packages and products, focusing on the expense involved in adopting and perpetuating such a system.

Why VoIP is a good investment

There’s no denying that, as the uptake of VoIP increases worldwide, it makes more and more sense to take the leap and do away with traditional phone infrastructures. The positive aspects include:

Significant savings on voice calls

Whether you’re making calls to local, national or international numbers, the cost of your conversation will be significantly lower if you’re using a VoIP service.

Lower hardware costs

Knowing your startup costs is necessary if you want your business to thrive, and the prospect of having to install and maintain a complex on-site telephone system might unbalance your budget and derail your plans altogether.

VoIP is far more frugal, since all you need is an internet connection and a modern computer or mobile device. Software can handle the rest, and the entire infrastructure which would normally make up an in-house exchange can be hosted remotely on the cloud.

Impressive scalability

The thing that makes VoIP the best phone solution for your small business is that it won’t just serve you well today, but will represent good value as your company grows and prospers.

Because everything is hosted remotely and overseen by a provider with far more resources than you could muster for the purpose of keeping your phone system up and running, when you need to add support for more agents and devices, this can be done at the drop of a hat.

And of course with scalability comes financial viability; you won’t need to calculate future needs and over-provision today in the expectation that this will serve you better in the future. Instead your costs will correlate with your needs, and your budget can be kept lean and mean as a result.

Innate flexibility

As with any cloud-powered product, VoIP isn’t affixed to just one location, but can be accessed from anywhere.

If you need to take voice calls on the move, or you want to support a workforce for whom remote working is now the norm, a good VoIP package will have you covered.

Where VoIP isn’t perfect

If you’re creating a budget and you don’t know if VoIP will fit into this, you need to know about the downsides as well, such as:

The potential for outages

Because VoIP services are all based on having always-on internet access, network downtime becomes a single point of failure that you might not be able to tolerate.

Since the costs of downtime quickly spiral upwards, you need to be confident that your particular connection is robust and resilient enough to minimize these risks. You may also benefit from having a backup plan for if the main connection is taken out of action unexpectedly, so that your operations don’t grind to a halt.

The relevance of security

Another concern relates to how secure any calls you make over a VoIP service will be, and this is down to the reputation of individual providers.

The cost of recovering from a breach is steep, so it’s better to only put your trust in brands that have proven themselves in the face of cyber threats.

Wrapping up

On balance, VoIP is definitely a good investment for businesses, and will justify itself through cost savings and scalability, regardless of any perceived flaws it might have.

Inheritance Tax Receipts Reach £2.9 Billion Over Four Months from April to August 2022

Key IHT stats:

  • In the tax year 2018 to 2019, 3.7% of UK deaths resulted in an Inheritance Tax (IHT) charge.

  • IHT receipts received by HMRC during the financial year 2021 to 2022 were £6.1 billion.

  • The largest exemption set against assets continues to be for transfers between spouses and civil partners, valued at £13.0 billion in the 2019 to 2020 tax year and used by 21,500 estates.

  • The average liability increased in the tax year 2019 to 2020 by £7,000 (3%) to £216,000. The average tax bill in London was a little over £300,000.

  • In general, female-owned estates tend to have slightly higher tax charges than those owned by males. This is likely due to the fact that females tend to have a higher life expectancy at birth than males.

  • By region, London and the South East of England have the highest numbers of estates passing on death which resulted in an IHT charge, at 4,190 and 4,990 estates respectively.

  • London and the South East account for £1.3 billion and £1.1 billion of the total tax liability. This represented 55% of the IHT liability for England, and 47% of the IHT liability across the whole UK.

HMRC raised £2.9 billion in inheritance tax receipts between April and the end of August 2022, according to new figures released today. This is a £300 million increase from the same period the year before.

Under UK law, inheritance tax is paid at 40% on assets valued above a certain threshold. Currently around one in every 25 estates pay the tax, and a combination of inflation and decades of house price increases are taking more and more estates above the threshold. 

Wealth Club calculations suggest the average bill could increase to just over £266,000 this tax year. This would be a 23% increase from the £216,000 average paid just two years ago. 

Alex Davies, CEO and Founder of Wealth Club said: “The Treasury raked in £2.9 billion from inheritance tax from April to August this year, which is £300 million more than over same three months a year earlier. This is being fuelled by soaring house prices and years of frozen allowances, made worse by recent double digit inflation.

The new PM has stated that she would review inheritance tax rules if she came into power. But it’s hard to imagine IHT is top of the to-do list for Friday’s Mini budget, especially with so many more pressing issues at hand. The tax is a vital cash cow for the Treasury, and the extra £300 million collected in the last four months is certainly needed.

Nonetheless, there are a few reforms the government might consider. Scrapping the tax altogether seems unlikely, but cutting the 40% rate or increasing the threshold which has been frozen since 2010 at £325,000 would all be welcome changes.

The good news however is that there are already several perfectly legitimate and sensible ways to reduce the amount of inheritance tax your family might have to pay on your death. It is for this reason that inheritance tax in some circles is referred to as a ‘voluntary tax’.”

1. Make a will

Making a will is the first step you should take. Without it, your estate will be shared according to a set of pre-determined rules. That means the taxman might end up with more than its fair share.

2. Use your gift allowances

Every year you can give up to £3,000 away tax free. This is known as the annual exemption. If you didn’t use it last year, you can combine it and pass on £6,000. You can also give up to £250 each year to however many people you wish (but only one gift per recipient per year) or make a wedding gift of up to £5,000 to your child; up to £2,500 to your grandchild and £1,000 to anyone else.

3. Make larger gifts

Pass on as much as you like IHT free. So long as you live for at least seven years after giving money away, there will be no IHT to pay.  

4. Leave a legacy – give to charity

If you leave at least 10% of your net estate to a charity or a few other organisations, you may be able to get a discount on the IHT rate – 36% instead of 40% ­– on the rest of your estate.

5. Use your pension allowance

Pensions are not usually subject to IHT – they can be passed on tax efficiently and, in some cases, even tax free. If you have any pension allowance left, make use of it.

6. Set up a trust

Trusts have traditionally been a staple of IHT planning. They can mean money falls outside an estate if you live for at least seven years after establishing the trust. The related taxes and laws are complicated – you should seek specialist advice if you’re considering this.

7. Invest in companies qualifying for Business Property Relief (BPR)

If you own or invest in a business that qualifies for Business Property Relief – the majority of private companies and some AIM-quoted companies do – you can benefit from full IHT relief. You must be a shareholder for at least two years and still be on death though.

8. Invest in an AIM IHT ISA

ISAs are tax free during your lifetime but when you die, or when your spouse dies if later, they could be subject to 40% IHT. An increasingly popular way of getting around this is by investing your ISA in certain AIM quoted companies which qualify for BPR. You must hold the shares for at least two years and if you still hold them on death you could potentially pass them on without a penny due in inheritance tax.

9. Back smaller British businesses

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) offer a generous set of tax reliefs. For instance, SEIS offers up to 50% income tax and capital gains tax reliefs, plus loss relief if the investment doesn’t work out. But EIS and SEIS investments also qualify for BPR, so could be passed on free of IHT. 

10. Invest in commercial forestry

This is an underused option for experienced investors. Pension funds and institutions have long ploughed money into forestry. The Church Commissioners has a forestry portfolio worth £400 million. Commercial forest investments should be free of IHT if held for at least two years and on death.

You should also benefit from capital appreciation in the value of the trees (and the land they are on) and from any income produced by harvesting the trees and selling the timber (this income may also be tax free).

11. Spend it

One sure-fire way to keep your wealth away from the taxman’s hands is to spend it.

Will Self-Driving Vehicles Eliminate The Need For Auto Insurance?

Auto insurance is a large industry, with millions of policyholders, and new people buying car insurance policies every day. The traditional market for auto insurance policies has remained the same for decades. But a change is coming, and it is being brought by machines.

There has been a rise in the number of cars that can drive themselves with little or no human input. “Driving itself” is very liberal use of the words, as these cars are not completely self-driving. But what they can do is very impressive and promising.

For example, cars from Tesla are capable of driving at a constant speed, detecting incoming cars, cars in front, and any things that come in between. It can stop, slow down and even change lanes depending on the challenge ahead.

While the company says that a human needs to be active while the auto-driving feature is on, the day is not that far ahead when cars with complete autonomous driving will be available. It will make driving more productive, but what about auto insurance?

What would happen to the auto insurance market when self-driving cars are as common as a Honda or a Toyota? Will self-driving vehicles eliminate the need for auto insurance? Let’s find out.

The State of Self-Driving Vehicles

Not many cars today come with self-driving capabilities. One can only think of a Tesla when thinking about self-driving cars. But some other features are very basic, yet come under the self-driving category. ADAS, for example, is one such feature that offers some self-driving capabilities, albeit very basic.

When it comes to a car being completely driven by itself, the most advanced mass-produced car is from Tesla. But it is very far behind from becoming truly autonomous. Tesla is considered to make level 2 autonomous cars.

Five levels define the capabilities of self-driving cars. Level 0 is not autonomous at all level 5 is completely autonomous. A level 5 car will not require any human interaction and will drive itself just like humans drive. Tesla is at level 2, so there’s a long way to go.

Risks of Accidents

The safest way of transportation is air travel. With millions of flights around the globe every year, only a handful of accidents are reported. The most unsafe way to travel is by road. Now if we try to correlate something, we get to know that when machines drive, travel becomes much safer.

Since planes are almost always self-drivers with a high level of autonomy, they are quite safe. This is not the only reason why planes are safe, but a big contributing factor.

There is no doubt that cars with better artificial intelligence and self-driving capabilities will reduce the number of accidents and make the roads safer. With the reduced risk of accidents, the number of cars would also increase. But would you still need to buy auto insurance?

Need for Auto Insurance

The entire auto insurance industry works because of the high risk of road accidents. You buy liability insurance to ensure that you do not have to pay for the other driver’s medical treatments and repairs.

Similarly, collision and comprehensive policies are bought just because cars are very likely to get damaged in a road accident and the cost of repairs is always very high. But what happens if the rate of accidents plummets? Since there are hardly any accidents, the price of repairs will also go down.

In this case, would anyone buy car insurance policies? Today, the most advanced autonomous car regularly seen on the roads is Tesla. But Tesla does not eliminate the need for auto insurance. You still need to get all the important auto insurance policies like liability insurance, personal injury protection plan, etc to legally drive a car.

Tesla cars also get in accidents, even in autonomous modes. But a level 5 self-driving car will be smart enough to drive itself while avoiding any car accidents. And if all the other cars come with the same capabilities, with better roads and intelligent monitoring systems, road accidents will truly become rare.

But auto insurance would still be around, but not as expensive as it is today. Perhaps you would be able to pay all the different policies (liability insurance, collision, comprehensive coverage, personal injury protection plan, etc) at just $200-$300 per year. How do we extrapolate this data?

Take a look at comprehensive coverage. While it covers theft and other human-induced damages, many people buy comprehensive coverage to cover the cost of damages due to earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes, etc.

The chances of your car getting damaged in a natural disaster are very low, yet people get this policy to be on the safe side. Comprehensive coverage is also quite cheap, so it doesn’t hurt the wallet too much. This will be the condition of all car insurance policies when self-driving cars are everywhere.

But that utopia is far ahead, at least 10-15 years from now. Today, you need to get multiple policies and pay a hefty price for them. Avoid paying too much for car insurance policies by comparing multiple vehicle insurance companies and getting quotes from them.

Be specific about the search as well. For example, if you live in Wisconsin, look for cheap car insurance companies in Wisconsin and select the company that offers the best coverage at the most affordable price. Remember to not put too much weight on just the affordability. The insurance policy must also provide great coverage.

Why Financial Businesses Are Migrating to IP-based Security

IP-based security is an excellent way for any business to leverage its security in a cost-effective and reliable manner. IP (internet protocol) security systems operate as digital security cameras and store footage via a network video storage system. IP security is becoming increasingly popular with financial businesses as IP systems work digitally and can house data more efficiently than CCTV or other physical security systems.

Here we will walk through why IP-based security may be a preferred option, covering the main advantages that work teams and managers can use when choosing this system.

Provides More Robust Security Through More Verification Methods

IP-based security uses verification methods to operate effectively, which can be seen as a much more robust and secure system. The system works by quickly authorizing users based on data on which visitors are allowed network access at specific dates and times.

A further element to this point is that administrators and managers can receive real-time notifications about their network, allowing them to efficiently see who is trying to access their network or if any issues have arisen in their team. This increases network visibility, further securing the company as a whole, which is particularly important for businesses in finance as extensive data will be viewed and created daily.

A Reliable Security Platform That can Transmit High Volumes of Data Quickly

The trouble with many traditional CCTV setups is that you need to find a separate way to download, store and view the data regarding access. With IP-based security, you can transmit high volumes of data quickly between connected systems, making access control management a much easier task to keep track of.

And, you won’t be waiting around for data to be manually checked, or entry requests to be granted won’t be necessary, as this data will be accessible immediately. You could also opt for a non-physical system that doesn’t require any infrastructure in its setup, meaning you can focus solely on your IP-based security.

It can Be a Lower-cost Security Measure

In addition to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of IP security, there are also significant benefits regarding cost. This is due to the fact you wouldn’t have to maintain wired connections or install any physical factors.

Another factor is that you can integrate your new IP security with older measures such as CCTV and physical security practices. This means that you won’t need to splurge on entirely new equipment to feel the benefits of IP-based security.

Provides Additional Security Management Flexibility

As mentioned above, IP-based security allows administrators and managers to oversee activity from their devices. This means security management will become increasingly more flexible, with managers able to grant or deny access no matter where they are located.

This is particularly apparent in the world of commercial door security, as your IP access control system can merge with your cloud system, which allows you to monitor visitor access and keep track of who is on-site at any given time. Usually, your team will have access credentials such as a key card or fob, which they will know how to use regarding company protocol. Still, if any technical problems were to arise, managers would be able to grant access to authorized visitors through the digital platform.

Final Thoughts IP-based security is an excellent alternative to installing physical systems that may cost more money and time for financial businesses. One of the biggest positives to financial firms that choose to use IP-based security is that their data can be transmitted quickly with minimal setup or interference involved, meaning the system is efficient, even for big companies.

IP-based security also allows managers to oversee access in real-time through notifications, which could further be supported through physical or cloud-based access control, making the business more manageable and easier to see who has been accessing specific data.

4 Ways to Invest Your Inheritance

An inheritance is always going to feel like a mixed blessing. On one hand, you’ve lost somebody close to you and are going to spend an indefinite time grieving their passing, while on the other, what they’ve left you is a great opportunity to improve your own life with their legacy. One thing it would be a shame to do is to waste your inheritance by making poor investment choices.

So, if you’ve come into an inheritance recently and are looking for smart ways to spend it, look no further.

Pay your debts

Particularly given recent global events, there are more of us in debt than ever before and paying off debts while also enjoying your life can be an almost impossible task in some situations. Using your inheritance to clear your debts and wipe the slate clean, so to speak, can be an ideal way to honour the memory of your loved ones.

If you are looking to pay off your debts now with an inheritance payment that’s taking time to clear, however, there is a way to ensure you can pay off your debts sooner rather than later. With the average waiting time for inheritance money in the UK at 12 months, you might consider a probate loan, which will allow you to clear your debts as soon as you can by awarding you an advance on your inheritance.

Holidays

So many of us have been struggling with our mental health over the past few years and while paying off your debts is certainly one way to ensure you can breathe a little easier at night, taking some well-deserved time off with the family is another way. Consider investing part of your inheritance in a holiday to allow you to process your grief and repair your fractured mental health.

Home improvements

Anyone that’s ever bought a home will tell you that “the work is never truly done.” Home improvements don’t come cheap though, particularly if you are not the handiest person in the world and would rather get somebody in to do it. That’s why using inheritance money to finance home improvement projects is far from uncommon.

Whether you want to add an extension to the house (a conservatory, perhaps) or finally tear out that awful 80s bathroom, it’s always going to be money well-spent investing in the most valuable thing you own.

Education

What better way to honour the memory of your loved one than by investing in the future of another loved one? Education costs have never been higher, especially University fees. Using a portion of the inheritance to cover education costs for your children is a wonderful way of ensuring something good and lasting can come out of your experience.

What to Know About Investing in Telehealth Right Now

Telehealth or telemedicine wasn’t new at the time the pandemic started, but that situation accelerated its implementation and development in significant ways. People can now, connect with health care providers from home or anywhere.

Telehealth or telemedicine lets providers deliver care without the need for in-person office visits. There are several key formats for this approach to health care.

Telehealth can be delivered through a video chat or phone call. Remote monitoring is also integrated into telehealth in some cases so providers can monitor patients when they’re at home. For remote monitoring, a device might gather vital signs to help providers stay up-to-date with a patient’s progress. Telehealth is especially well-suited to the management of ongoing health issues, such as chronic conditions.

The world of telehealth and digital medicine seems on track to continue to grow and be impactful in the healthcare industry. The U.S. is expected to have a shortage of over 120,000 doctors by 2030. With dwindling numbers of physicians and increased demand for health services, telemedicine could be one way to deal with challenges.

For investors, there could be continuing opportunities because of the growth of telemedicine as well. The following are some things to know, particularly from the perspective of investors.

Investing in Telehealth Stocks

Even before the pandemic, there were signals that digital health companies were something investors should keep an eye on. These signals included population growth, disparities in care among demographic groups, and increasing numbers of older people.

The investment case before the pandemic was built on the idea that companies were making health care simpler and more convenient for consumers since a lot of medical interventions don’t actually require in-person doctor visits.

The pandemic led more doctors and patients to try it out, and that shows broader adoption is likely on the horizon. Some experts and analysts feel that telemedicine is actually in its earliest days of adoption.

One of the primary public companies in this space currently is Teladoc. Teladoc offers virtual care services to consumers and employers. Teladoc also offers care services to hospitals, health plans, health systems, and insurance companies.

While the shares gained enormously in the height of the pandemic, analysts say there’s still room for growth in the next decade, especially with regard to the expansion of chronic illnesses and mental health services.

The Global X Telemedicine & Digital Health ETF invests in companies that could benefit from advances in digital health, such as connected devices, administrative digitization, and health care analytics.

ROBO Global Healthcare Technology and Innovation ETF offer telehealth exposure, but it also offers exposure to companies involved in robotics, genomics, and diagnostics.

Insurance companies like Anthem and Humana could benefit from the growth of telehealth because it will help generate savings compared to the costs of traditional care.

Telemedicine vs. Telehealth

One thing investors should be mindful of is that while we often use telemedicine and telehealth interchangeably, there are some subtle differences that can become relevant from an investor’s perspective. Telemedicine is usually a referral to delivering health services through communication networks. Telehealth can actually include connecting patients with doctors but also doctors to doctors and medical devices to both doctors and patients.

There’s more of an element of data and analytics that comes with telehealth compared to telemedicine.

Telehealth can also include nonclinical services, such as administrative meetings, continuing medical education, and provider training.

The Longevity of Virtual Care

Before the pandemic, most people probably didn’t even understand exactly what telehealth is. Now, it’s become the norm for many people. However, even though the pandemic is significantly less severe now, it doesn’t mean the service will be obsolete or unnecessary.

Telehealth could be a high-growth area that could generate strong returns well into the future.

One of the telehealth challenges was from people in rural areas with limited internet connectivity. The Biden Administration announced a $19 million investment to expand telehealth and improve access for rural communities. That’s likely just the beginning of such legislative moves, with Congress having dozens of bills it’s looking at that could expand virtual care.

Telehealth is also growing in popularity for employers, with a recent survey showing that 76% of employers increased their offerings during the pandemic. They also reported they planned to keep these options available for employees.

There’s a big incentive for the government and businesses to continue to push for more access to telehealth—it saves money. It can reduce hospital load, and it’s cheaper.

While it could be a good option looking forward, that’s not to say telehealth investments haven’t faced serious headwinds recently. Teladoc’s shares were nearly halved in value as the economy started to reopen. Some of that was also due to the announcement of Amazon entering the space, though. Amazon announced it was expanding the roll-out of Amazon Care telemedicine to all employees, and the company plans to eventually offer it to other employers.

Analysts feel that any short-term slumps are knee-jerk reactions and don’t reflect the long-term value propositions of companies in the space. Even as the world returns to normal, people will want to find a way to automate or virtually deal with things they see as errands, including basic medical appointments.

Grand View Research estimates the market will grow to a nearly $300 billion industry by 2028, from around $56 billion in 2020.

While there are promising opportunities, choosing the right ones is tough as more and more companies are entering the market. It’s unlikely that more than a few of the current companies will still be viable publicly-traded companies with any notable market capitalization.

If you want to invest in telehealth and telemedicine, as with anything else, do your research. You have to find those options for long-term value with an appreciation for the fact that many of the names you might be looking at currently are undoubtedly going to be gone from the marketplace in a few years.

How to Find and Purchase Land for Development in the UK

Whether you’re looking to expand your property portfolio or purchase land for the first time, this comprehensive guide will provide a clear step-by-step overview of how to buy land in the UK, how much it costs and how it can be financed. 

How to find land to buy

The first step to starting your search is by looking in the correct location. Several channels can be used when looking to purchase land. You can typically find land for sale advertised in a number of ways, including online, through land auctions, in local newspapers and magazines, or through estate agents. 

Stephen Clark from Finbri bridging finance comments, “There are many routes for sourcing land but in my experience, the most fruitful options tend to be direct contact with the owner or through building deeper relationships with local estate agents. You’re able to obtain the ownership details of a plot of land from the Land Registry or many online land search portals. A simple enquiry letter to the owner could be a good first step of opening up communication.” 

Online research: The easiest way to find land for sale in the UK is via an online search. Numerous websites cater to this market, such as Rightmove, OnTheMarket, Zoopla, and Plotfinder. When searching for land to purchase, these sites can allow you to look in a specific area or search by postcode. However, if there is some flexibility in the desired location, it may be worth doing a generic search to determine the average prices and how much the location affects the price.

Estate agents: Another way to find land available for purchase is via an estate agent. This may be considered a more traditional method but can also provide in-depth knowledge of the property market; estate agents will have local knowledge of the area and will usually have a number of properties, including land, readily available to purchase. When using an estate agent, it is essential to get multiple quotes to compare the prices, as they may try to charge a higher commission on the property. 

Land auction: Auctions can be an effective way to secure land at a lower market value, often because the land for sale is in foreclosure, or it is government-owned, and they’re selling it to cover tax repayments. However, it is essential to remember that the buyer’s premium (the fee charged by the auctioneer) and survey costs will need to be factored into any offer made. Auctions are typically a quicker process than purchasing through an estate agent, which would be an acceptable alternative for those looking to buy a property quickly. 

Newspapers and local magazines: A more traditional method of finding land for sale in the UK is by looking through local newspapers and magazines. However, this can be a more time-consuming method, but it may be worth considering if you have a specific location or type of land in mind. 

Combining all these channels can provide a greater understanding of the market to find the best value for money. 

What to look for when buying land

Be certain of your purpose: Defining the purpose, and understanding the possibilities, of your site is the first step in ensuring your purchase fits your requirements. Aim to be super clear with your intent. If your intent is to develop the land for profit then price will also factor into your decision-making and whether the land has planning already granted, and to what extent will affect the price greatly. For example, if you are planning on building a house, you will need to make sure there is planning permission for one or more residential dwellings appropriate to the intended development. 

Brownfield or Greenfield: There are several attributes to consider when purchasing land – there are two main types of land offered, Greenfield and Brownfield. Greenfield sites are undeveloped land; Brownfield sites typically have a structure already built or elements of services laid on where the site once had a property. Usually, it is easier to get planning permission on Brownfield land as there are benefits to the local communities for repurposing such a site. However, Brownfield sites may well require various remediation to the site due to contamination from its previous use. 

Location: Location plays a significant role in determining the land price. Desirable locations with good amenities, such as schools or transport links are highly sought after and this influences the value of land intended for development.

Size: Depending on the land’s purpose, size would be a significant attribute when buying land. Whether this be any potential property development or for agricultural purposes, the size of the land is an essential factor. Therefore, you need to consider if the land size is appropriate for your chosen purpose and large enough for any potential property development. 

Type: The type of land purchased will be dependent on current use, known as its class, whether this is for agricultural use, commercial, residential or industrial. The class type will be a deciding factor when buying land. Natural hazards should be included in this decision process; for example, property developers should not deem a floodplain appropriate for housing development. Whilst the existing class can be changed to another, there are strict planning requirements for this, so advice should be sought when the land being purchased is not currently in the class required.

Planning permission:  In most local authorities, planning applications are decided within 8 weeks, however large or complex applications might take up to 13 weeks. This timeline significantly extends if the decision is against you and you wish to appeal. In some instances land can be sold with permission already granted with the local authority which is clearly of benefit to a developer, however it’s essential to identify if any planning restrictions or covenants are also associated with the land. 

Clear boundaries:   Ensure that the boundaries of the land are clear and there are no disputes with neighbouring properties; this could ultimately lead to further ongoing issues and expenses.

These are the main aspects a buyer should prioritise when looking to purchase land. Awareness of all the potential implications and restrictions of owning land is essential. In addition, it is necessary to conduct adequate research to find the most suitable option. Buying land offers several development opportunities; however, it is essential to consider all attributes before finalising any purchase.

How much does this cost?

The price of land will typically depend on the size, location, and intended purpose. Depending on the region, the average price per acre typically ranges upwards of £7,000. However, this is a general estimation as numerous external factors could impact the price, such as the current market, any potential planning permission needed, and location.

Site Surveyor: A site surveyor is a professional that produces a report detailing the condition of the land being purchased. This report will highlight any potential risks or problems with the land. It is crucial to utilise a site surveyor as they can offer valuable insights that may not have been considered. Using a site surveyor will typically be around £300 – £1,000 per day, depending on the surveyor. However, it must also be noted that contaminated land surveys tend to cost more as they require further investigation. Property developers might also be interested to know that if they’re seeking finance for the development of the land then they will be required by the lender to pay for a valuation survey of the lender’s choosing in addition to any previous one they have had completed, regardless of how recent it was. In some cases it might save costs to seek advice from a lender at the earliest opportunity.

Legal fees: It is essential to utilise a solicitor when purchasing land as they can offer guidance and support throughout the process. They will also help to draw up any relevant contracts. Utilising a solicitor, although incurring additional fees, utilising a solicitor will assist in guiding you through the process and drawing up any applicable agreements. The average cost of using a solicitor varies significantly, but typically it is cheaper to use a fixed rate service; however, this rate will also depend on the purchase’s value and complexity.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT): SDLT will also be applicable when purchasing land in the UK. This tax is payable to HMRC and is based on the value of the property transaction. For example, up to £250,000 has a 0% tax rate, with SDLT rates rising to 12% depending on the value. These rates are for non-residential properties and are subject to change, so they must be checked at the time of the purchase.

Land purchasing can be costly and time-consuming, with many associated fees and taxes. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of all potential costs before making any purchase. Purchasing land offers many opportunities; however, it is necessary to consider all fees and restrictions before finalising any purchase.

Once you have found the plot of land that suits your requirements, you will need to find a method of financing this purchase. The process of paying for land is similar to buying a house. First, you will need to instruct a solicitor who will carry out all the legal checks and draw up the contract of sale. Once both parties sign the contract, a deposit must be paid by the purchaser to the seller, typically around 10% of the purchase price when the contracts exchange. The final payment will be made once the contract is completed. However, numerous methods can be used to fund this process, this includes: 

Land bridging finance:  Land bridging finance is a short-term loan used to purchase land, develop it, and then sell it for a profit. This type of finance is typically only available to experienced developers as these projects often have a high-risk profile. The typical loan amount offered is around 50% to 70% LTV, depending on the planning, security, and lender with terms ranging from 1 to 24 months. This is one of the most popular forms of financing, as property developers can borrow large amounts; typically, high-street banks tend to avoid it due to the high-risk level. Therefore, alternative lenders may be more appropriate in certain circumstances.  BridgingLoan.Org.Uk is a directory that lists all major UK alternative brokers and lenders.

Development finance: Development finance is a loan used to fund the costs associated with developing land. This could include the cost of planning permission, surveys, and the building process. Development finance is typically only available to experienced developers due to the level of risk for the lender. The typical loan amount sought is between 65% to 100% loan to gross development value (LTGDV).

Personal savings: Another method that can be used to fund the purchase of land is using personal savings, this can be used for any purpose and no interest needs to be repaid. This is often the most common method as it doesn’t incur additional costs. 

Final thoughts

Buying land for property development has a significant time resource and financial cost associated with it. The potential for high returns are equally significant and it’s for this reason why property values have increased on a yearly basis for the last decade, with greenfield site values having increased by 7.1%, and urban site values by 5.7% in the last year. Whether any specific plot of land is a good investment relies on multiple factors, some of which may not be truly understood until the development is completed and sold. If in doubt, always seek professional advice before making any significant decisions.

7 Things to Look For Before Buying Life Insurance for Your Family

Purchasing a life insurance policy is one of the most important decisions you can make for your family, as it will provide them with financial security in the event of your death or other unforeseen circumstances. However, with so many different life insurance providers and policies available, selecting the right one for your needs can be challenging. Factors you should consider include coverage, rates, and the company’s financial stability, just to name a few.
When it comes to life insurance for your family, you want to make sure that the policy you select will provide them with enough funds to cover any final expenses, as well as any debts or other obligations they may have. To help you make an informed choice, below, you will find a list of things to look for when choosing the best life insurance company to support your family.

Know Your Coverage Needs

The first thing you need to do when selecting a life insurance policy for your family is to determine how much coverage you really need. To do this, you will want to consider your current income and debts, as well as any future expenses that may arise. Additionally, it is crucial to consider any dependents you have, as they will also need to be taken care of financially in the event of your death.

Having a clear understanding of your coverage needs will help you narrow down the list of potential life insurance policies and ultimately select the one that is best for your family’s needs.

Compare Life Insurance Quotes

Once you know how much coverage you need, you can start shopping around for life insurance quotes. There are several ways to do this, such as using an online life insurance calculator or contacting various life insurance companies directly.

When comparing quotes, it is crucial to pay attention to more than just the premium amount. You will also want to take the time to read over the policy details to fully understand what is and is not covered. This will ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck when buying life insurance for your family.

Consider the Financial Stability of the Insurer

It is also essential to consider the financial stability of any life insurance company you are considering doing business with. After all, you want to ensure that they will be able to fulfill their obligations in the event of your death or other unforeseen circumstances.

It may be tempting to go with a less-known or cheaper life insurance company, but this could end up costing your family dearly if the company is not financially stable. To avoid this, be sure to research the financial stability of any life insurance companies you are considering before making a final decision.

Get Professional Help

If you are still feeling overwhelmed by all the different life insurance options available, it may be beneficial to seek out professional help. There are many independent life insurance agents and brokers who can provide you with unbiased advice and assistance in choosing the right policy for your needs.

Working with a professional can help take some of the guesswork out of choosing the right policy for your needs and ultimately give you peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are taken care of financially.

Understand Pricing Factors

When looking for life insurance, it is vital to understand the factors that go into pricing a policy. Things like your age, health, and lifestyle can all have an impact on the cost of coverage. This, however, goes far beyond just the physical factors.

For example, your occupation can play a role in how much you pay for life insurance. If you have a high-risk job, such as one that involves working with hazardous materials, you can expect to pay more for coverage than someone with a desk job. This is because there is a greater chance that you will die while working, and the insurance company needs to account for this risk when setting rates.

Evaluate the Future

It is important to remember that life insurance needs can change over time. As your family grows and changes, so do your coverage needs. For this reason, it is essential to periodically review your life insurance policy and ensure that it still meets your family’s needs.

If you find that your current policy no longer provides adequate coverage for your loved ones, don’t hesitate to update it or shop around for a new one. By evaluating the future and adjusting your coverage as needed, you can ensure that your family always has the financial security they need in case of an unexpected death or other unforeseen circumstances.

Compare Insurance Rates

The final thing to look for when purchasing life insurance for your family is the insurance rates. Like any other type of insurance, life insurance rates can vary significantly from one company to another. For this reason, it is important to compare rates before making a final decision on a particular policy.

There are several ways to compare life insurance rates, such as using an online comparison tool or contacting various companies directly.

To Conclude

Choosing the right life insurance policy for your family is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By taking the time to understand your coverage needs and compare quotes from different companies, you can be sure to find a policy that meets the unique needs of your loved ones.

Additionally, don’t forget to consider things like the insurer’s financial stability and any future changes that may occur to ensure that your policy continues to provide adequate coverage for years to come. Once you have found the right life insurance policy, you can rest assured that your family will be taken care of financially after your demise.

Pension Awareness Week: Expert Advice for Builders on How to Prepare for Retirement

Preparing for retirement can be challenging, and it can be difficult to know where to start. In fact, research by IronmongeryDirect found that one in eight (13%) tradespeople approaching retirement age (55-64s) don’t have any financial preparations for retirement. 

So, this Pension Awareness Week (12-16th September), what do you need to know about saving for retirement?  

IronmongeryDirect has partnered with Fabian Taylor, senior associate and chartered financial planner in Nelsons’ wealth management team, and George Stainton, senior wealth manager at Hoxton Capital Management, to reveal helpful tips for builders on how to prepare for retirement. 

1) It’s never too late to start 

While it’s recommended to begin planning for retirement as soon as possible, IronmongeryDirect’s research found that more than one in ten (13%) tradespeople approaching retirement age don’t have a financial plan in place. Thankfully, it’s never too late to make a start. 

Fabian said: “Contributions to a pension attract tax relief from the Government. So, for every £80 you contribute, tax relief of £20 is added, making the total contribution £100.

“As a general rule of thumb, you should try to save half the age at which you started as a percentage of your salary. For example, if you start saving at age 20, then you should contribute ten percent, but if you start at age 30, you should aim to save 15%.” 

2) Saving early makes things easier  

While it’s true that you can start saving at any point during your career, it’s sensible to begin putting aside money for retirement as early as possible. 

Many young people have the advantage of being able to use workplace pension schemes, but for those who opt out, are ineligible, or are planning on saving additional funds, starting early has major benefits. 

George said: “If younger people are not contributing to a pension scheme, then they should make sure they have some sort of structured savings in place. Getting into the habit of saving for retirement earlier in your career will make life much more comfortable as you get closer to retirement. Let us look at a simple calculation to prove this. 

“If someone needs to have a retirement pot of £500,000 at the age of 55, they will need to save £441 per month if they start at the age of 25 and see a 7% return on their investment each year. If they start saving at 35, this figure increases to £1,016 per month and dramatically increases to £2,783 per month if they start at 45 years old.” 

3) Take advantage of workplace schemes 

For tradespeople who work on an employed basis, they should look to enrol in their workplace pension scheme, if they have not already. 

This means that they will be saving throughout their career, with additional top-ups from their employer, and while tradies should still aim to set up a private pension, a workplace scheme provides a safety net in the meantime.  

Fabian said: “If you are 22-years-old or older, earning over £10,000 and employed by a company, you will be automatically enrolled into your company’s workplace scheme. Through this, a minimum of 8% of your earnings, split between yourself and your employer, between £6,240 and £50,000, will be invested into your pension. If it is affordable, you should consider increasing contributions. If you opt out of this workplace pension, you are missing out on money from your employer.” 

George said: “Thankfully, with the help of auto-enrolment, younger people are better equipped than ever to start saving for their retirement early. As the majority of the young working population will be contributing to some kind of workplace pension, they are able to benefit from the effect of long-term saving and compounded growth.” 

4) Remember to plan ahead and save if you’re self-employed 

Those working on a self-employed basis, unfortunately, do not have the same auto-enrolment to a workplace pension scheme that employed people do, so therefore it’s important that you make your own preparations and plan ahead for your retirement. 

Fabian said: “Draw up a budget to see what you can afford to contribute each month, and do some research into the best place for you to put it that allows for investment growth and tax relief. Even if it is a small amount, every little helps.” 

“Assuming a growth rate of five percent, if you were to contribute £50 per month to a pension at age 25, the pension could be worth £76,301 by age 65. However, if you don’t start saving until age 35, the pension could be worth £41,612 by age 65. The longer you wait to save in a pension, the more you may have to pay in later in life to save enough to meet your needs in retirement.” 

Regardless of your age, it’s always best to prepare for retirement in advance. By ensuring that you’re making the most of workplace pensions where available, as well as saving privately, you can place yourself in the best position to enjoy retirement in comfort. 

How to Stop Wasting Time with Your Finances

When you only have so many hours in the day, days in the week, and weeks in a month, why would you waste a single second on your finances if your time doesn’t pay off in a big way? 

If you’re ready to stop wasting time and manage your money better, keep scrolling. These simple tips can help you reclaim your time for better uses.

Don’t Accept Anything But Direct Deposit

Are you still receiving a paper check when you get paid or borrow money? You could be waiting for your paycheck or short-term personal loan to transfer into your bank account, putting an unnecessary squeeze on your cash flow while you pick up your check and wait for your financial institution to process the deposit. 

Things run much smoother and faster when you switch to direct deposit payroll and direct deposit loans. 

Talk to your employer about what you need to do about receiving your paycheck electronically. You may have to share your banking information, so they know where to send the funds.

As for short term personal loans, take the time to find financial institutions that specifically make mention of direct deposit online loans as part of their services.

If approved, you’ll receive your funds in your bank account without needing to meet in person, fill out paperwork, or pick up and cash checks. Direct deposit loans automate many of the steps involved in the typical borrowing experience to save you time. 

Kick Anxiety to the Curb with a Budget

How much time do you spend worrying about immediate bills and their looming deadlines? If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, these negative thoughts can steal hours away from you every day as you obsess over money, or the lack thereof.

If you often come up short, a budget might be the help you need. This spending plan retools your cashflow, giving you a chance to prioritize important bills and expenses before you spend any money on the fun stuff. 

Once you balance your budget, you can set it and forget it, trusting that you have the money you need for upcoming bills. All you need to do is adjust it any time your expenses or income change. 

To save even more time, consider making a budget with an app that automates most of the process for you. Budgeting apps can aggregate banking information from all your accounts and come up with a spending plan that keeps you on track.

Sign up for Purchase Alerts

Experts recommend you review your banking statements regularly to make sure there isn’t any unusual activity you can’t explain. This is a good habit to get into, as it can help you detect possible fraud faster before it escalates.

However, you can wind up obsessing over these statements and checking in more often than you need to keep a handle on your accounts. If you’re finding it hard to know how to manage this task, consider enrolling in purchase alerts.

All the biggest credit card companies offer this automated service, which sends real-time transaction information to your phone, either by text or email. You can customize these alerts so that you get alerted with every activity or specific things, like international purchases, cash advances, or purchases made on the Internet. 

Bottom Line: Small Choices Add Up

While these tips may seem small, they can free up a lot of your precious time. 

4 Advantages of Being a Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with advanced training in diagnosing and treating health conditions. Nurse practitioners can work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. If you’re a nurse practitioner considering buying a home, you are in a great position to get a home loan. There are many reasons why individuals may choose to become an NP. Here are 4 of them:

Advanced training and education

There are many benefits to being a nurse practitioner, including advanced training and education. Nurse practitioners have the opportunity to receive specialized training in a variety of areas, such as primary care, paediatrics, or geriatrics. This allows them to provide care for patients with a wide range of needs.

In addition, nurse practitioners are able to pursue additional education and training beyond their initial nursing degree. This allows them to keep up with the latest changes in healthcare and continue to improve their skills. Pursuing advanced education and training can also lead to higher salaries and more opportunities for advancement within the nursing field.

Higher salaries

In addition to the benefits listed in the previous section, nurse practitioners also enjoy higher salaries. This is due in part to the increased responsibilities that nurse practitioners have, as well as the higher level of education required to become a nurse practitioner.

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the median annual salary for nurse practitioners was $107,030 in 2018. This is significantly higher than the median annual salary for registered nurses, which was $71,730 in 2018. Nurse practitioners also have the potential to earn much more than this; the top 10% of earners in this field made more than $165,820 in 2018.

Nurse practitioners are in high demand, and earn a good salary. This stability is attractive to lenders, who want to know that you will be able to make your monthly payments on time. The high salaries that nurse practitioners earn are just one more reason why getting a home loan as a nurse practitioner is so easy.

More independence than RNs

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who have completed graduate-level education. NPs are prepared to provide a wide range of services, including taking medical histories, conducting physical examinations, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, prescribing medications and counseling on health maintenance.

Compared to RNs, NPs enjoy more independence in their work. They are able to work more autonomously and have more responsibility for patient care. NPs also have the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of medicine, such as primary care or paediatrics.

The increased independence that NPs enjoy comes with additional challenges. They must be able to handle a wider range of duties and make decisions about patient care on their own. But for many APRNs, the increased autonomy is worth the extra responsibility.

Greater opportunities for specialization

Nurse practitioners have the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of medicine. This allows them to gain expertise in a specific condition or group of patients. For example, a nurse practitioner who specializes in paediatrics will have a deep understanding of the unique health needs of children. This can be beneficial for both the patient and the NP.

NPs who specialize can provide more comprehensive and individualized care. They are also better equipped to deal with complex cases and difficult diagnoses. In some cases, they may be able to offer treatment options that are not available to general practitioners.

Specialization can also lead to greater job satisfaction for NPs. Those who choose to specialize often do so because they have a strong interest in a particular area of medicine. Being able to focus on this area can make work more enjoyable and rewarding.

3 Reasons Why All Small Businesses Should Consider Outsourcing Payroll

Different businesses may have different approaches towards outsourcing and be more comfortable outsourcing certain functions over others, but one thing that most businesses would benefit from outsourcing is their payroll. There aren’t too many reasons for a small or medium business to manage their payroll in-house when considering all the things that could go wrong. And hiring a team will usually cost you much less too. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why all small businesses should consider outsourcing their payroll.

Mistakes Can Have Serious Consequences

You can get away with making a mistake when hiring someone or with your marketing strategy. You don’t have this luxury with payroll. One mistake here and you could end up in trouble with the IRS, the law, and your employees all at the same time.

One or multiple payroll mistakes could literally spell doom for your business, so, unless you have one or two employees or have an actual accounting background, we suggest you stay away from that function and hand it over to a third party.

This is especially true if you’re in a tightly regulated market, for instance, when expert assistance is essential. You should think about calling an Austin outsourced payroll service today and ask about their packages and services. It could be the best decision you ever made.

You’ll Save Money

Having someone on your books to handle payroll when they actually only have to do active work for a few hours per day doesn’t make sense. Hiring a third party to handle things on a contract basis will allow you to save money. Another thing you won’t have to worry about is paying benefits or vacation. No sick leaves either. Having your sole payroll employee calling in sick or out of commission for a while could put you in lots of trouble and have you scrambling for a replacement. This is not something you’ll have to think about with an outsourced team.

Less Risk

Having someone that you don’t know handle your payroll comes with all sorts of risks. Rogue payroll employees are some of the most dangerous types of malicious agents a business can encounter. If you didn’t take the time to thoroughly vet your payroll team, there’s a strong chance that one of them might turn rogue at some point or come in specifically to embezzle you.

This is another thing you won’t have to worry about with a good payroll company. These companies take their reputation very seriously and make sure that they know everything about the people they’re hiring. They also have sophisticated systems in place to make sure that rogue actions don’t have consequences for their clients.

These are only some of the reasons why most small businesses should think about hiring an outsourced team to handle their payroll function. Not only will you be able to keep your costs to a minimum and avoid errors, but you’ll have much more time for the things that matter.

5 Wise Questions to Ask Before Making an Investment

Before you put your hard-earned money at risk, you need to ask yourself several questions. You want to fully comprehend the risk before entering any investment. What you are risking is the first thing that needs to be considered. Only when you know what you are risking should you proceed to consider the opportunity.

When you make intelligent decisions, investing can be incredibly rewarding. Not only is it going to yield you good returns on your investments, but it can also be satisfying knowing you’re making good decisions. Doing all of the research needed and acting on it can bring you mental and financial rewards. There’s a big chance your confidence increases after making a good investment decision.

You need to know the risk and reward when entering any kind of investment to make well-informed decisions.

With countless trading applications on your mobile devices and advertisements across social media, there’s never been greater pressure. Making good decisions on your investments is more important than ever and it shouldn’t be made on a whim.

You need to take the requisite time needed to make smarter and more informed investment decisions. You want to know everything about a potential investment before putting your money at risk. If you are planning on investing long-term, you need to be well aware of volatility. You need to be prepared to go through the ups and down’s that come with the territory. For instance; while investing in Asia, try and keep up to date regarding what’s next for Asian stocks?

Here are some of the best questions you can ask yourself before getting into any investment.

1. Am I Willing to Lose This Money?

This is the very first question you need to always ask yourself before putting any money at risk. The only money you invest should be money that you are willing and able to lose. Every investment comes with inherent risk. Some of them are greater than others. Typically, the greater the risk, the bigger the potential returns. You need to figure out what you are willing to risk to make investment decisions.

For some products like savings accounts, you don’t have any risk. The biggest risk to your savings account would be inflation. Inflation could outpace the interest you are earning on your money. Thus, your money would be losing value as time goes on. However, other than that, there is no risk of you losing it.

If you are considering investing in something that offers very significant returns, you need to be prepared to lose some (if not all) of it. Things can go wrong with investments and knowing when to take risks is key.

You also need to be skeptical of investments that offer high returns. This is especially true if you aren’t entirely certain of the inherent risks that come with it. There are complicated asset classes with high return potential that not everyone fully understands. These can include cryptocurrency and even mini-bonds. You can tell if a potential return is high by comparing it to lower-risk investments like bonds.

2. Do I Understand the Investment and Is There Enough Liquidity?

This is a big thing that you need to figure out before making any sort of investment decision. You want to know exactly what you are investing in. This is especially true if you are going for riskier and higher reward investments.

What is it that you are investing in? How does it work? Who is the one behind it? How easy would it be to take your money out when it comes time? All of these things are essential to know before putting your money anywhere.

You need to know how easy it is to get your money out if needed. If your plans change, can you take your money out right away? Are there limited options for liquidating? Is there sufficient liquidity for your exit?

Figure out if people are buying and selling the asset or thing you are investing in suggest Hub Agency. For instance, investors are constantly buying and selling stocks. There is high liquidity which makes it easy to get in and out. Do you need an agreement before you can sell? A lot of higher-risk investments can be good, but you may want to have ample experience before getting involved with them.

It’s better to opt for simpler and less risky investment options if you are someone with inadequate experience or you are someone that cannot afford to lose your money. It’s also a good idea to avoid investing in anything that you don’t fully understand. You may want to opt for diversified funds instead. These offer good returns with lesser risk.

3. Are My Investments Regulated?

This is an important question to ask. you want to ensure that you are investing in regulated assets and investments. You won’t have access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme or Financial Ombudsman Service if your investment doesn’t go as planned.

4. Am I Protected If the Investment Provider Goes Out Of Business?

There’s never going to be a simple answer when it comes to higher-risk investments. Before making any kind of investment decision, you need to understand that nothing is guaranteed. You won’t be protected because your investment doesn’t go right. Check to see what protections do exist if the provider goes out of business. In the United Kingdom specifically, you will find that a lot of financial service companies need to be authorized. You’ll want to check the Register to see whether or not they have the full authorization.

You want to go for a company that has full authorization because they offer the most protections.

5. Should I Seek Financial Advice?

It’s always a good idea to get professional financial advice if possible. This can help you better understand the market conditions and the investments that you are getting into. They can inform you on asset classes and what risks are involved with the investments you are considering. They can even formulate a better and more diversified investment plan that fits your income and risk profile.

Ensure that you choose a regulator that is authorized. Here are some good tips to use to find a reputable one.

You will find that higher risk and higher return investments can ultimately provide exceptional opportunities. However, they are only for seasoned investors who fully understand the risk. These products are best used by those with a lot of experience and with more discretionary income to take on the inevitable losses that come with higher-risk investments.

Retirement: 3 Essential Things to Consider

The prospect of retirement always brings about feelings of excitement and anticipation. You look forward to being free from work and the rigid schedules, travelling and seeing the world, embarking on a new project you have never tried before, and finally resting after years of work. For some retirees, moving abroad is an ideal option. Just being home and around familiar surroundings and people is a dream come true for others. Whatever the choice, when you think about retirement, you think of a comfortable and peaceful life.

While eagerly anticipating your retirement, there are a few essential factors to consider before adapting to the life of a retiree. You have worked hard all your life and want to ensure you can have the lifestyle you have always hoped for. If you have a family, your children are all grown-up and can tend to themselves. Now, you can focus on yourself and your spouse and how you can enjoy life together now that you are retired.

If you are ready to retire and have been conscientious about handling your finances, you can foresee a future where you are comfortable and financially secure. Financial planning is essential to keep you worry-free when you stop working. Fortunately, you can get expert assistance from professional financial advisers like Fingerprint Financial Planning. They can help you make sound financial decisions
beneficial for your retirement.

Here are some essential factors to consider for your retirement.

1.         Your plans after you retire

During the early part of your retirement, it is normal to want to have your much-needed rest finally. After all, you have spent most of your life working hard to earn a living and provide for your family. You may also be thinking of what you can do to occupy your free time and maintain productivity, even if you are retired. It would help to list down what you are interested in and the activities you never had the time to pursue. It can be anything from starting a business to travelling to a dream destination. Study your list and find out which is the most suitable for your life as a retiree.

2.         Your finances

One of the most important things to consider as your retirement approaches are your finances. You need to know whether you have set aside enough money that can allow you to maintain the lifestyle you want. Of course, your retirement expectations differ from those with other plans and ideas about the life they
want to live. When considering your financial state, you should also consider where you intend to spend your retirement and how much it will cost you to live there. Other expenses need to be considered, such as food, utilities, medications, insurance, and others.

3.         Your lifestyle

Most retirees would hope to maintain their lifestyle before retiring. Others have higher expectations, wanting to enhance their standard of living, learn new skills, or live abroad. Whatever you plan to do when you retire dramatically depends on your finances and what you have saved throughout the years to keep your future secure.

Considering these factors, you can make better decisions when you retire.

Tech Trends to Make You Money This Year

Technology has definitely changed the way we live and work. It has made us more efficient in many aspects of our lives and given us opportunities we would never have considered possible 20 years ago, like making money with a device that could fit in our jeans’ pocket. Thanks to this convenience, generating a main or additional income with modern technological tools has never been easier or more accessible.

Online Learning Course Sales

Many people are looking to upskill themselves but don’t have the time or money to go to an institution to learn. If you are knowledgeable or qualified about a particular topic, then you can make a good deal of money from curating and uploading courses for other knowledge-hungry people to buy online and follow along with. You can choose to upload your courses in a few different formats, like video, audio, or text. Learners can purchase subscriptions to the content you upload, and you will earn a sum of money each time this happens. However, creating digital content takes a bit of work and will require the use of a decent computer. Workstation Desktops from reputable brands come with a range of hardware options to suit all budgets and needs, so be sure you know what work you will be producing before you pick a machine to make sure it can keep up.

Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing)

There is some money to be made in the 3D printing space, but competition is stiff, and customers are often not willing to pay 3D printing rates when bulk-produced injection-molded parts are cheaper. To really carve a profit out of the market, you need to get some 3D design and modeling skills under your belt and focus on a niche audience (it helps to choose something you are interested in too). Beware of printing and selling a design belonging to another creator, as this can land you in some legal trouble. Designing and printing custom jewelry, especially any pieces with mechanical properties, is a great example of this. The cosplay market is another great niche to target, and there is less competition in this space.

Blockchain Money Train

Navigating the confusing streets of cryptocurrency for ways to make money can definitely be risky, but it has also proven to be extremely profitable. For example, traders who buy low and sell high could net a tidy profit, if the market is in their favor. Another option is to build your own mining rig to bring in a bit of cash on the side (if power is affordable in your area). Or, why not try cloud mining? By renting cloud computing power without having to outlay the funds for the hardware, you can quickly get mining and make money at minimal risk and with little to no financial outlay.

Looking for additional or alternative income streams is becoming more commonplace as times get tougher and money doesn’t go as far as it used to. Luckily, there are options out there for those willing to put in the time and using technology to your advantage means that you’ll have a better chance at making your sideline work for you.

How Financial Firms Can Reduce Cybercrime Risk

For organizations in the financial industry, good cybersecurity practices aren’t optional – they’re a must-have if you want to stay in business. For banks and other financial institutions, a cyber attack is not only financially devastating, but it can also destroy your reputation. Managed IT services can help growing financial institutions stay on top of security threats. 

The risk of cybercrimes is only going up, with 74% of financial institutions reporting security threats since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. This is why it’s more important than ever for financial organizations to have a strong cybersecurity strategy in place throughout the entire company. Here’s how financial firms can reduce their risk of cybercrime and why it’s so important to do so. 

Common Cyber Threats For Financial Firms

Financial companies are particularly vulnerable to cyber crime because of the type of work they do. Many financial firms collect pieces of valuable personal information from clients in addition to storing their money or managing their investments. Because of this, many cyber criminals specifically target financial firms. 

There are many different types of threats that financial firms face. These threats are consistently evolving as cyber criminals develop new strategies. This is why it is so important for financial firms to consistently update their cybersecurity strategies to address these issues. 

Some of the cybersecurity threats that financial firms face include: 

  • Ransomware: This is a type of malicious software that encrypts secure data in your system, essentially locking the user out. The hackers then charge users a ransom in order to regain access to their systems. Many hackers will also use the encrypted data for their own personal gain by selling it or publishing it online. 
  • Phishing: In a phishing attack, the hacker poses as a trusted individual or organization in order to gain access to a user’s login credentials. These attacks are typically conducted via email or social media. Phishing attacks targeted at senior executives are called ‘whaling’. 
  • DDoS Attack: In a DDoS attack, hackers overwhelm your server with requests and traffic, taking your system offline. Many hackers use DDoS attacks as a distraction while they are conducting other attacks that are more invasive. 
  • SQL Injection: During an SQL injection, a hacker puts malicious code into an input field on your website. Hackers use this malicious code to gain access to your secure systems and potentially access sensitive information. 
  • Third-party Vendor Attacks: Many financial institutions work with third-party vendors to handle some or all of their operations. Hackers will often gain access to these third-party vendors, and then use the vendor’s connections to access your system. 

 

How to Reduce Your Risk of Cybercrime

Because financial institutions have access to large quantities of sensitive information, a strong cybersecurity strategy is a must. Depending on where your company is based, you may even be required to safeguard your company’s data. Many cities and states have strict industry compliance standards for financial organizations. Here are some of the ways that your financial institution can reduce the risk of a cyber attack. 

Assess third-party vendors carefully

Financial institutions typically work with a variety of third-party vendors as part of doing business. Since third-party vendor attacks have become common in recent years, it is incredibly important for financial firms to vet each vendor thoroughly before starting work. 

Third-party vendors should have their own cybersecurity best practices in place. You should also define key cybersecurity practices on both ends as part of your contract before starting work. Financial institutions should also limit the amount of access that third-party vendors have to secure systems and keep secure information siloed when possible. 

Provide ongoing cybersecurity training to employees

It doesn’t matter how strong your firewalls are if an employee accidentally compromises your systems. Employees throughout your organization should be trained to recognize and avoid potential security threats. In particular, employees need to be trained on password management as well as how to spot and avoid phishing attacks. Regular training will help your employees feel empowered to manage cybersecurity threats should they arise. 

Use secure connections and devices for remote work

Working remotely is incredibly convenient, but it can also pose some security risks for financial organizations. Employees working remotely should avoid using public WiFi connections and use secure VPNs at home. Providing WiFi services for your remote employees is the best way to ensure they are using a secure connection. Additionally, employees should be using secure company-provided devices rather than using their personal devices for remote work. 

Enable multi-factor authentication for employees and customers

Multi-factor authentication is one of the most effective ways to keep secure accounts safe. With multi-factor authentication, users need to provide a third piece of information in addition to a username and password in order to access their account. This additional piece of information is typically a code sent via email or text message. Multi-factor authentication ensures that even if a username and password is compromised, hackers still won’t be able to access the account. 

Update your systems regularly

Cybersecurity threats are constantly changing as hackers develop new ways to get around existing cybersecurity restrictions. To keep your systems protected, it is important to update both software and hardware on a regular basis. Software updates should happen frequently as developers identify new security threats and develop solutions. 

Financial institutions should also assess their cybersecurity strategies as a whole on a regular basis. As your organization grows and changes, you may find yourself restructuring data storage or adding extra protective layers to your system, for example. If you’re struggling to develop a cybersecurity strategy on your own, consider reaching out to third-party experts. A reputable cybersecurity firm can help you put together an effective strategy that’s tailored to your needs. 

Because the risk of cyber attacks is so high for financial firms, you shouldn’t skimp on security. Even the simplest cybersecurity measures can go a long way towards protecting your systems. Additionally, having strong cybersecurity measures can actually help your business. Today’s customers look for financial providers that they can trust to keep their money and personal details safe. 

How to Improve Your Resume to Earn More Money

With the stress given to resumes, people can now find an unlimited number of resume formats and templates online. This, while created with the intent to help people out, can now, in fact, confuse them. In addition, the sheer abundance of options makes selecting the ideal format a tedious job for everyone.

How to select the best resume format

When selecting the ideal resume format, there are a lot of parameters to check out. These parameters would be related closely to your field of job, your personal experiences, and information that needs to be put in the resume.

It can also depend upon any specific job requirements from the employer that needs to be present in the resume. In rare instances, employers can also mention some points like font, font size, etc., to be followed in the candidate’s resume.

When determining which resume format is most suited for you, consider the following factors:

Career Path: Every career path has some differences in terms of requirements for candidates. As such, there are also some differences in terms of what employers want to see on the candidate’s resume. Different professions can have different resume format requirements; as such, it is essential to search for one which pertains to your particular profession. For example, some professions require candidates to provide a portfolio of their work. This portfolio is often needed to be a part of the resume.

Information to be included: How much information you need to fit into the resume is also an important consideration when picking out a resume format and template. Depending upon how high a position you are applying for, you would have more or less relevant information. The higher the job position is, the more your experience would probably be. As such, you would need a format that allows you to enter more information and is more space efficient. It is essential to remember that the resume cannot be over one or a maximum of two pages long.

Top Resume Formats

Among the myriad of choices out there, there are very few formats that are actually effective and approved. These include:

Format 1:

Name

Job Role/ Designation

Personal Information

Resume Objective

Experience/ Employment History

In this section, you can write all your experiences or employment history. It is advisable to mention relevant experiences only. Bullet point any key projects and leadership roles

Education

Write about your educational qualification from latest to oldest.

Skills

In this section, write about your hard skills (job-related or industry-related skills) and soft skills, e.g., communication skills, team player, etc.

Format 2:

NAME :

Job Role/ Designation

Resume Objective: A few lines of briefing about relevant experience pertinent to the job

Employment History Personal Information

Current Job Address

Bullet description and key projects Email

Contact number

Previous Job

Bullet Description and key projects Skills

Educational history Hard Skills

Latest to oldest educational institutions, degree, duration

Name of School Soft Skills

Extra Activities

Include any active extra activities or hobbies you indulge in.

Format 3:

Name

Profile Objective

Personal Information

General Skills in tabs (preferably in tabs instead of commas to ensure distinction. Use bullets but make use of horizontal space.

Fields of Strength

In this section, you can identify the key skills posted in the job description, and mention relevant skills and strengths that you have. Elaborate a little about each area of strength in bullet points.

Personal Achievement

Include any and all milestones, awards, or significant achievements in this section

Education

All educational qualifications from latest to oldest.

Interests

This section can be included if you have space available.

While the first two formats are applicable to everyone, the last format can be utilized by people who do not have detailed employment experience. But if you choose the last format, you must be very careful about how you design and draft your resume.

Additionally, you can choose to draft your resume either in latest to oldest or oldest to newest chronology. However, it must be remembered that generally, employers expect people to write their experiences in straight chronology (latest to oldest), and they assess all resumes accordingly.

No matter which resume format you choose, one of the most important things to ensure is that you create your resume in a neat and organized fashion and try to include all keywords which have been mentioned in the JD or are field related.

11 Tips to Make Money in a Recession

Many people see a recession as an intricate thing because they risk losing their earning sources. If you have liquid funds and savings, you can invest them during the recession period. If you don’t have enough savings, you need to be careful and take steps to make sure you deal with such economic conditions.

Get a headstart and see what’s hitting the new Chancellor’s to-do list and then create one of your own. Below are some tips that are going to help you make money during the recession.

Safeguarding your sources of income

If you happen to lose your source of income, then you may be forced to start spending your savings as you look for a new job. It is important to first secure a job. If you have a business, make sure you secure its future growth. When looking for a job, make sure you look at the job role and also the financial stability of the company.

If you doubt the financial stability of your employer, it is important to start looking for a new job in the same industry. When you do this, you have a chance of switching your profile to an industry you know well. You can also start focusing on side sources of income like a side business or even a side gig.

Enhancing savings

If you want to deal with the challenges coming with the recession, make sure you put something away every month from your income. Get a pen and paper then list down your expenses such as house rent, insurance premiums, car payments, and even groceries. Add up all of the expenses at the end of the month, and see how much you are spending. Go through the list and see if there is something you can reduce or remove from the list. Making this list is a good idea because you will know what you are spending your money on. This lets you see whether you are spending money on useless things. The amount you save as a result of reducing your expenses is going to your savings account.

Investments

Your money is probably invested in long- and short-term plans. You should always have an eye on your short-term investment. If you start to feel like the investment is risky, move your money into something that feels safer. Some of them include the stock market, dividends, precious metals, and more. When it comes to long-term investments, you can look at assets during a recession because the prices are low.

Invest in discounted stocks

During a recession, stock prices come down. This gives you a chance to invest in highly discounted stocks. You can get great stocks at a discount. When the stock prices start to go up, you can choose to sell or keep them. You should learn more about stock lending and borrowing because it will help you during a recession.

 

Tracking your net worth

It is a good idea to check your net worth from time to time because it is going to motivate you to keep going with your good financial habits of investing and savings. This can be a very effective tool when there is a recession. You might not see amazing results in the short term, but you will be surprised by them in the long term.

 

Planning for future

If you want to deal with the challenges that come with the recession, ensure you have a good plan for investing and earning. You shouldn’t make decisions as you go without putting in too much though. Take your time and make a good plan that is going to protect your investments and savings no matter the market state.

 

Working on 401(k)

A common thing that happens is people stop contributing to their 401(k) when a recession hits. This isn’t a good idea because this is your chance of looking at discounted stock prices and maximizing your retirement plan contributions.

 

Generating passive income

Passive investing is one of the options you have in order to earn enough to cover your living expenses. If you reach this point, it means your job becomes optional and enhances financial independence. You will also have the chance of pursuing your dream job without having to stress too much about the payment structures. Life insurance and disability insurance don’t become that much of a big deal for you.

 

Investing in properties

The real estate market doesn’t fall as fast as the stock market when there is a recession. If you choose to invest in real estate, you can get amazing deals when the economy is experiencing a slowdown. The reason why this is the case is most of the time home prices go down but rent remains the same.

 

Sell unused stuff

This is a good way of making money in a recession. There are many e-commerce platforms that you can use when selling your stuff online. The two most popular are Amazon and eBay. Selling unused stuff will offer some liquidity.

 

Moving into survival mode

You have to change your mindset when there is a recession because that is where everything starts. The mantra that will help you is “spend less and earn more”. You need to understand that things aren’t the same as before and you need to do things differently.

From Cut to Clarity – The Layman’s Guide to Gemstone Investment

An interview with Dr Thomas Schröck, CEO and Founder of The Natural Gem

Revered for their beauty and believed by many to have healing powers, gemstones have been used throughout history by people from all echelons of society. Whether they have been used as lucky charms, religious symbols or as ornamental decorations.

The most well-known use of gemstones however, has been as a symbol to signify one’s status. Due to their scarcity and brilliance, royal families have worn gemstone adorned pieces of jewellery for as long as we can remember as a way to demonstrate wealth, rank and power.

Today, gemstones are still used for many of the same reasons as thousands of years ago. There are, however, more ways to enjoy these beautiful mineralogical phenomena than just as part of a piece of jewellery.

Today many people today enjoy investing in gemstones as a means to secure wealth and as an inflation hedge. It’s no wonder why. The gemstone is the world’s oldest commodity, dating back as long as 5,500 years, and holds more historical and cultural importance than probably any other investment options.

With the emergence of stocks, bonds, mutual funds and more, gemstones have taken somewhat of a backseat in the investing world. Perhaps because they are so embedded in our history and culture that people are missing the obvious? Or maybe just because the people who engage in gemstone investing want to guard this hidden gem (no pun intended) and avoid competitors?

After all, gemstones have the highest concentration of value, even higher than gold, and can return great yields. Who wouldn’t want to keep it a secret?

We spoke to Dr Thomas Schröck, CEO and Founder of The Natural Gem, to learn more about gemstones and uncover the secrets to successful gemstone investment.

How are gemstones valued?

Gold and gemstones are both tangible investments, but the key difference here is that there is no fixed value for x weight of gemstones. There are multiple classifications which creates an accurate valuation of coloured gemstones, starting with the 4C’s: colour, clarity, carat, and cut. The same standard is also used for diamonds, but there are also additional indicators which are solely used for coloured gemstones – namely, treatment and origin. All these factors heavily influence the valuation.

For instance, two rubies of similar quality but different countries of origin, can have a large dissimilarity in value. One from Mozambique may be valued at 100,000 GBP, while one from Burma may be valued at 150,000 GBP. This shows how impactful one detail can be to the net worth of a gemstone.

There are currently two systems in place to determine prices and price development for coloured gemstones – these are GemGuide and Gemval. The former is primarily directed at wholesale dealers and jewellers whereas the latter calculates market retail prices.

The value of a gemstone consists of three criteria:

  • Intrinsic value (market or trade value)
  • Its aesthetic value (a subjective, mostly optical value)
  • Its historical value, if any

One may compare gemstones to art, but the main difference here is that they carry a much higher intrinsic value. The aesthetic and historical value can also have an additional impact on valuation. We could take Kate Middleton’s engagement ring, which previously belonged to both Princess Diana and Queen Victoria, as an example: if we look at purely the intrinsic value of the stones and materials themselves, we may get just a fraction of what the ring would be sold for at an auction due to its aesthetic and historical value.

How do ordinary investors invest in gems?

A gemstone is a long-term investment, and since it does not depreciate in value, it’s a smart investment to keep for a rainy day. Our customers either buy it directly off our homepage or come by for an individual consultation. Seeing the stone in person before purchasing is important for many because we always recommend only investing in a stone that speaks to you. We’ve found this also helps when looking to re-sell the gemstone, because you will know and believe in the selling points.

We know that it can be scary when making your first investment in gemstones, and will on occasion hear the Blood Diamond reference. For this reason, transparency is so important to us, and we try to give as much transparency to the supply chain as possible. If a gemstone is legitimate and the same gemstone that the seller claims, you will receive a gemological certificate from a trusted laboratory. This will determine the intrinsic nature of the stone, and removes any risk involved in the purchase.

We provide multiple levels of certification, for example for a blue sapphire from Sri Lanka we can provide certificates from CGL (Sri Lanka), GLA (Austria), Gübelin and/or SSEF (Switzerland).

If the seller can’t provide a gemological certificate, that is your sign to exit the deal.

How have gems performed historically?

Gemstones have been used for more than 5,500 years as a means to retain personal wealth, and have historically been worn by royalty as part of their crown jewels, to ensure the gemstones remain part of their legacy. The most well-known gemstone is the diamond, but it does not have the highest value concentration and has a rather low appreciation. The gemstone with the highest value concentration and a growth of 8-10% p.a., is the ruby. The ruby is followed by the blue sapphire at 6% p.a., and then the emerald at 5% p.a.

What makes naturally coloured gemstones unique as an investment is their non-correlative nature to the macroeconomic developments. Gemstones will typically experience steady growth even through financial downturns, and it’s because of this non-volatility that they make the perfect candidates for diversifying investment portfolios.

How do gemstones vary in investability according to type?

As already briefly explained, a gemstone has a unique valuation according to its individual characteristics. What we can do, however, is to categorise the gemstones based on quality and country of origin: an example is a fine ruby (high quality) from Burma – historically,  this has been the best performing gemstone in terms of value growth. This begs the question: why do some gemstones increase in value more than others? To uncover this, it is important to highlight what makes a gemstone appreciate in value over all, two of the main factors are their rarity (or scarcity)  and beauty.

Before we can determine this, we need to establish what makes a stone increase in value. For gemstones it all has to do with two main factors, their rarity and beauty. The reason why rubies are experiencing an incredible growth rate currently is because the yield of the ruby mines are depleting. This means that the scarcity of supply drives up the values.

We can see this across all high value gemstones, but what makes a certain kind of gemstone more valuable than the other? To illustrate this, we can take the beryl as an example: more specifically the emerald (belonging to the beryl species) and the red beryl. The red beryl is the rarest of the beryl variety, but the emerald is more valuable. The worth is attributed to its beauty and due to it being more widely known, having a stronger historical significance, and for some its unique beauty. It is, however, hard to put a price tag on the subjective nature of beauty – it is simply compounded with the multiple factors as previously mentioned. In terms of investability, the main gemstones which are recommended for a first investment are ruby, sapphire, and emerald.

What is gemstone re-certification?

When we acquire gemstone, we make sure that it has multiple layers of certification. Once this step is completed, we store the gemstone with its certifications until an individual requests to buy it. With some gemstones that have been with us for an extended period of time, we use recertification to showcase the value development by renewing the certification at a gemological laboratory. We will then have the stone re-appraised by an expert, and they will provide the new value which is aligned with the market’s retail price. This is not only good for us to remain in the know of current trends and market value, but also give potential buyers a clear indication of its historical performance.

When is the best time to invest in gemstones? and how do they perform during financial crises?

We find that there is an increase in demand for gemstones during the financial crises in particular. This is mostly due to the fact that the value of gemstones does not correlate to the macroeconomic climate, and will therefore be used as a hedge against inflation.

That’s not to say that you should only invest in gemstones during a financial downturn. Investments should not be made in response to global events.

I like to think of investments as an intentional habit; a regular action you intentionally decide to adopt in order to meet a greater goal. And good habits are built now, so don’t wait for an economic crisis to hit before you decide to take control of your investment portfolio and secure your wealth.

Where can people learn more about investing in gemstones?

The internet is a beautiful place, filled with so much information from experts dealing with all aspects of the gemstone trade, from mining to jewellery design. Unfortunately, there is also many mistruths and misleading information available on the internet, which can be confusing at the best of times.

I will be releasing a book later this year titled “Investing in Gemstones”, which will be a definitive guide to gemstone investment, helping people understand the gemstone trade and the potential risks in this industry, and how to make sound investments that will yield lucrative returns over time.

Breaking Down & Overcoming The Stock Market Anxiety Syndrome

The stock market is a major source of anxiety for many new investors. That’s primarily because of how easy it is to lose money while trading stocks.

That being said, while stock market losses are pretty common, the vast majority of losses traders suffer are actually caused by having anxiety in the first place.

That’s because, when you’re anxious, you tend to second guess yourself and make irrational decisions which can lead to devastating losses in the stock market.

So if you’re looking to start investing in the market, you need to understand that you’re entering uncharted territory – and the only way to succeed is to curb your anxiety and fear of the market.

With that said, here are some tips on how to get rid of your fear of the stock market.

Learn And Educate Yourself

Having a wealth of knowledge about various aspects of stock market trading can help you avoid the anxiety that comes with putting your money on the line.

Learning more about the market’s impacts on the economy, shareholders, companies, and the government might also help you feel less anxious during your forays into the market.

Set Financial Objectives

A great way to overcome stock market anxiety is by establishing financial objectives and designing safe investment strategies that can help you reach those goals within a reasonable enough time frame.

Setting these objectives doesn’t have to be difficult – a great example of a financial goal is planning to have an estate worth $1 million by the time you are 65 – which is not particularly hard to do with the right strategy.

By establishing these objectives, you can face your fear head-on and overcome your investment anxiety with a precise plan designed to grow your wealth. 

Never Invest More Than You’re Willing To Lose

A major reason why many investors are fearful is because they invest more than they’re willing to lose.

Many investors go as far as putting their entire life’s savings into the market hoping to secure a huge profit.

It’s important to note that while betting the farm can yield incredible gains in the market, it comes at the cost of your peace of mind, as you’re likely to find yourself constantly worrying about how your investment is going.

If you invest money that you can afford to lose, odds are you won’t constantly stress about your investment positions. 

You’ll be able to remain stoic regardless of how your trades pan out, allowing you to approach the stock market with an anxiety-free mind. 

After overcoming your anxiety, you can start trading with a trusted platform like SoFi invest

Have A Plan For Your Investment And Trades

The process of investing is much simpler with a strategy. 

While some strategies can be perplexing and ineffective, others can help you succeed. Once you feel at ease, you should gradually change your approach until you perfect it and are satisfied with it. 

It’s worth noting that if you’re not a seasoned investor, you should only opt for simple strategies.

Complex investing methods can involve much more effort and stress than simpler ones – often without producing any additional reward. 

A straightforward strategy for investing maintains your focus and protects you from being stressed or making errors. Using a straightforward technique, you can be versatile with your funds and possessions. Simple plans make it simpler to identify problems. 

You can implement alterations if you discover an issue with any of your investments. 

You may need to make modifications such as altering the shares of the firms you trade, paying a new value per share, modifying your holding approach, as well as altering your investment selection process.

Choose Your Online Payment Solution According to Your Products or Services

If you have a business providing a product or service that might interest a lot of people, and you’re tired of having these shoppers abandon your store because they can’t find one convenient way to pay for their purchase, then you should choose online payment options according to your products or services. Use this information to help guide you when researching an online payment solution for your business!

What is an online payment solution?

An online payment solution is simply a platform that accepts payments for your business. With a paying gateway, customers can choose to pay for their purchase using one of the many available options in their location. A merchant account is what allows your business’s online store or shopping cart to accept credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, and check payments from shoppers.

Types of online payment solutions

There are two types of online payment solutions: hosted and merchant-hosted options

  • Hosted means that your online solution is stored on someone else’s server (usually PayPal’s). 
  • Merchant-hosted means that your online option of paying is stored on the server that you have control over.

Hosted solutions are usually better for businesses that are just starting and don’t have a strong online presence. Merchant-hosted solutions are more appropriate for businesses who want to control more of their data, especially if they’re handling sensitive customer information.

Reasons for using online payment options for your business

Online payment solutions are used by businesses that sell products and services online. The following sections explain some of the reasons why businesses choose to use them:

  1. Security  

Most businesses want to minimize the risk of fraud, so they choose a trusted bank or credit card company to process their transactions, in the form of hosted online payment solutions. Choosing an online payment solution that’s provided by a trusted bank or credit card company is one way of reducing the risk associated with accepting payments. 

  1. Simplicity 

Many businesses look at the ease of use when selecting an online payment solution. This includes selecting a hosted or merchant-hosted option that makes it easy for customers to complete their purchases. This could mean making sure that any software you choose is easy to install and update. Or it might simply mean choosing a well-designed shopping cart system.

  1. Processing power 

Businesses that sell products or services online need the processing power to process their transactions. The bigger your business gets, the more transactions you’ll need to process, which means you’ll need a payment gateway that has enough processing power for your business. Most credit card companies offer very reliable card-processing services that are available immediately at no cost for small businesses.

  1. Support

Many payment gateways offer excellent customer support, which is one great reason to choose an online payment solution that’s provided by your bank or credit card company. They’ll be available to you 24/7, should you ever have a problem with your registrar (the website where payments are processed).

  1. Cost 

Each payment gateway has a different cost structure. Depending on how many transactions you need to process, and how much processing power your business needs, the cost can vary significantly. The cheaper fees associated with a merchant-hosted option might not be as reliable as credit card companies’ hosted services.

Thus, it is best to run a test to compare the various online payment solutions, and then choose one that meets your business needs.

Paypal

Paypal is a widely used online payment solution. It’s an online, hosted payment gateway with a clean interface and excellent processing power. PayPal is currently owned by eBay, which makes it an ideal choice for eCommerce businesses, since most people are familiar with the company, and know that they can trust them.

WePay

WePay is a nice alternative to PayPal. It’s online, hosted payment solution that’s easy to use. WePay also has a competitive price structure, with fees starting at 2.7% + $0.30 per transaction and going up to 6% + $0.75 per transaction, depending on your volume of transactions and the options you choose for processing your transactions.

Checkout.com

Checkout.com is another popular online, hosted payment gateway. It’s an excellent choice for eCommerce businesses since it’s an online service that offers excellent customer support and the option to accept payments from a variety of sources, including PayPal, major credit cards, and wire payments.

The following are reasons why you might choose to use Checkout.com:

  • Easy to set up – It only takes a few minutes to set up the Checkout.com service on your website.
  • Secure – They offer 256-bit encryption for payments and sensitive data, which means that your orders are processed safely without being intercepted by hackers.
  • Reporting – They provide easy-to-use reporting options, so you can track how many customers you’re reaching with your online store or shopping cart.
  • Customer Support – The quality of their customer support is excellent since they have multiple support options, including email, phone, and live chat. 

This payment gateway works best for eCommerce businesses that sell products and services.

BlueSnap

BlueSnap is another great payment gateway option for eCommerce businesses. They offer two hosted payment solutions, one for eCommerce stores and the other for online retailers. BlueSnap’s online retail solution doesn’t offer a shopping cart that’s compatible with most shopping carts and websites, so it might not be best for all businesses. But since it’s provided by BlueSnap, you can be sure that every order you process through them will be tracked, so you’ll know exactly how your customers are buying from your store or website.

Braintree

Braintree is an online, merchant-hosted payment solution that’s part of PayPal’s Affiliates program. Braintree offers a hosted service that works well with shopping carts and offers one of the lowest fees of any credit card company’s hosted services.

Braintree claims to offer up to 10X the processing power of PayPal’s normal processor. So if you have a big enough business where you need fast payment processing, then Braintree is probably your best choice for an online payment solution for your business.

Conclusion

An online payment solution is something that you can easily implement on your website to help the owners of your business increase their sales and increase the number of customers that they’re able to serve. Choosing the best solution for your business will depend on how you want to make your payments, how many transactions you need to process per day, and how much processing power can be provided by merchant-hosted payment solutions. We hope that this article helps you choose between the various online payment solutions available for your business.

Please comment below if you have any questions about online payment solutions or if we left out any important information.

A Short Guide to Buying a Second Property for Letting Purposes

Becoming a landlord in the UK is often regarded as a shrewd way to expand your investments and organically grow your earnings, whether long-term letting to tenants or operating short-term holiday lets in a growing market. But getting into the rental market is a process that should be undertaken carefully. Here are some essential things to understand about buying a property for letting purposes.

What is Buy-to-Let?

‘Buy-to-let’ is the principle of purchasing a property with the express intention of letting it out to another person or business. Many landlords begin their landlord careers by purchasing a new family home, and the renting-out out their first family home. But some landlords choose instead to start their portfolio with the purchase of a property for rental.

The Buy-to-Let Mortgage

If you are looking to purchase a property to begin a rental portfolio, or even simply as a rental property to subsidise income, you will need to do so with a buy-to-let mortgage. A buy-to-let mortgage is a specific kind of mortgage, used when someone is buying for investment as opposed to for personal residential purposes.

A buy-to-let mortgage requires the buyer to provide a larger minimum deposit than with residential properties, with most lenders expecting between 20% and 25% of the total property value up-front. However, many buy-to-let mortgages are also interest-only, allowing the buyer to pay just the interest until the end of the mortgage – at which point the balance can be settled outright.

The Practicality of Letting

Many would-be landlords get into the rental industry as a result of the theoretical benefits. When distilled to the basics, becoming a landlord can seem a simple way to generate additional, passive income and bolster your overall yearly earnings. In practicality, though, renting a property can be much more hands-on – with some key practical considerations to reckon with along the way.

For one, property rental is not the assured income it is often assumed to be. Problem tenants can cause critical cashflow issues, and are legally protected from imminent eviction; meanwhile, maintenance costs can often cut into your overall income. Together, these difficulties make a strong case for the importance of landlord insurance.

Speaking of maintenance, it is your legal obligation as a landlord to provide a bare minimum of comfort and convenience for your tenants and to maintain the property to a certain standard. You can do this yourself or via a property maintenance company, but both have their disadvantages; co-ordinating maintenance yourself can be time-consuming, while third-party property management can be costly.

Lastly, it is important to understand your tax standing as the owner of rental property. Setting up a limited company to conduct your rentals through can be helpful when it comes to tax savings, as corporation tax tends to be cheaper than income tax on property.

Best Ways to Fund Your Retirement

After a long career, you deserve the chance to enjoy a relaxing and peaceful retirement. A retirement where you get to pursue the passions you never had time for during your career. However, funding your dream retirement can be difficult. Especially if not well planned ahead of time. But there are ways of doing this aside from using your pension. Below, we will explore the various ways in which you can fund your retirement.

Plan Your Pension

For a start, you should try and calculate how much money you’d need a year to live comfortably during your retirement. This differs from person to person depending on their financial status, home ownership and family responsibilities. Either way, you should plan your pension around it. You might increase your pension contributions or consolidate your pensions with the goal of setting yourself up with the money you need for retirement.

Investments

Investments are one way you can try and grow your savings quickly for retirement. They’re volatile – and you could easily lose money – but with some careful investments, you’ll be able to better fund your retirement. If you’re unsure about what investments to make, you could seek wealth management advice from a professional. If you are young then you have the advantage of compound interest on your side, which could drastically change the course of your financial future.

Budget

Funding your retirement is a long-term process and setting up a budget can help you begin to save for it. By working out your incomings and outgoings each month, before setting aside some surplus for a savings account, you can begin to grow your retirement fund and gain peace of mind from having organised yourself so that you don’t lose track of your spending.

Equity release

Another option for your retirement fund is an equity release mortgage to increase your cash pot. This is where you sell a portion of your property’s value in return for instant capital while retaining the right to live in your home. This can be an excellent way of funding your retirement without jeopardising your future.

Work longer

For many people, funding retirement will mean working longer. The thought of having to continue your career for another few years can seem daunting, but it can provide you with the money you need to live a comfortable retirement. Deciding to work longer should be part of a wider financial plan though if it’s to be used correctly.

The importance of financial planning

Ultimately, funding your retirement is underpinned by careful financial planning, regardless of the strategy you select. Any of the strategies above should be part of a wider plan to save for the retirement you want, rather than making a sudden decision to receive a cash injection.

Saving for retirement should be something you work on over many years. And by starting your financial planning now – with some of the strategies above – you’ll be all set to work towards securing yourself a comfortable retirement.

How To Transform Your Business In 2022

Business transformation means making changes within your company in line with current trends. A lot has changed in the way we work over the last 2 years, and with the economy taking a hit in 2022, adapting to the current economic climate is essential – from implementing a marketing strategy to drive sales or updating the way you work to increase productivity – it can all have a positive impact. Read on to find out more about how you can transform your business this year.

If you’re struggling with your finances, business or personal, and you are faced with an unprecedented expense, a payday loan can help you in an emergency.

Reflect on strengths and weaknesses

Before you can transform your business for the better, you’re going to need some idea of where you need to improve. Take the time to reflect on what you think would be advantageous for your company, and what you are doing well. Make a list that is easy to refer to, and you can use this to make various changes that could be beneficial to your business. For example, if you had a business plan pre-pandemic, the plan you had in place then, may not be able to get you where you want to be now. Various aspects of the business have changed, like what customers are expecting, as well as how they prefer business to operate, e.g., contactless payments, click and collect. If you think your business has a weakness, make time to rectify this.

Update your software

If you’re operating with out-of-date, old software, updating to a new system may be advantageous to your company. Not only does this mean you can run your business smoothly, with less downtime for IT issues, but it can also enhance your company, making it easier for you to operate and store customers’ data. Modern software can open doors for your company and make your workplace more efficient. You could decide to work with a cloud computing programme, which allows for improved collaboration and gives your workforce the option to work from anywhere if they can – this can improve employee flexibility and satisfaction.

Marketing

Every business needs some type of marketing or online presence in 2022 – if you’re not promoting what you have to offer online, you could be missing out on new customers and sales. After the pandemic, a lot of businesses have had to move their sales online to ensure they’re not missing out on profit. But marketing is also important to spread the word about your business – if your company is not online, a huge chunk of your target audience won’t be able to find you. Invest in marketing and social media this year to spread the word about your company, and your products and attract new customers.

Improve communication

Whether it’s with customers or your staff, improving communication is vital. Lack of communication is one of the main reasons customers stop using a certain product or service – and it’s one of the easiest things you can do! Communicating clearly means you can be more transparent, solve issues easily and work together to come up with solutions. You can implement improved communication throughout your company by training your staff to have a productive dialogue with customers and co-workers. As communication becomes clearer, you will see a big difference in the way your company works.

Create a positive workplace

Company culture can make or break a company and the way that it runs. You should create a set of beliefs amongst your employees at all levels, in a way that increases productivity and improves positivity. You could do this by creating a reward system for your employees to show that you value their work, keep an upbeat attitude when interacting with your colleagues, as well as try your best to resolve conflicts as soon as you can. Showing your employees that they are appreciated and that you are doing all you can to make the company a better place, will improve company culture. It will also help you to retain valuable members of your team and increase efficiency.

Turning The Bear Into A Bull Sustainably

Sustainability is a word which has become highly valued in all circles. As we look for ways to help preserve our planet, it’s essential to consider how we use our natural resources. Conserving our natural resources has become a priority for many individuals, companies, and even entire nations, and billions of dollars have been pledged to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) created by the United Nations.

When we think of environmental footprint, agriculture is one of the most overlooked, misunderstood, and underutilised resources to live more sustainably. With half of the world’s habitable land used for this purpose, it is there that the team from Asymmetrica Investments comes in with sustainable methods to supply food for our growing population.

Having achieved remarkable success in the Ethical Finance Awards from Wealth and Finance International, where the firm was named Best Agricultural Impact Investment Firm 2022, we thought it was the right time to talk to the team to uncover how they earned such a remarkable accolade.

1. Firstly, please give us an overview of your company and your work.

Asymmetrica Investments is a Swiss company that specialises in investments in sustainable agricultural assets. Currently, the firm is the advisor to the world’s first investment vehicle specialised in sustainable avocado production, AVO Oro Verde.

Before Avo Oro Verde, investments in Avocado Orchards in Mexico were hardly accessible for anyone outside the avocado industry. Most of the time, only local growers or existing avocado companies could benefit from the expanding avocado industry in Mexico.

Every year, avocado consumers worldwide would see an increase in the prices of avocados or avocado farms without being able to join this enterprise effectively. People could only invest in listed global companies like Calavo Growers or Mission Produce. These investments do not resemble farmland ownership, as they generate most of their income from trading, not the avocados’ production.

In AVO Oro Verde, investors are acquiring real estate, specifically arable land that produces income. So, their investments are backed by tangible assets, in this case, avocado orchards. In general, Farmland investments have two advantages. The first is that investors receive an income from the sale of the avocados, and the second is that the land they acquire appreciates due to inflation.

By investing in an avocado orchard, investors can reasonably expect to benefit from the rise in the prices of avocados. Specifically, an investment in an avocado orchard increases in value as the cost of avocados rises because growers can sell their product at a higher price.

On the contrary, generally, when avocado prices increase, companies like Calavo Growers or Mission Produce have lower profitability; this change in profitability usually reflects a lower share price. The main reason is that the margins and profitability of companies shrink when there is a rise in their input prices.

In 2019 AVO Oro Verde came up with a solution that enabled the global audience to invest in avocado orchards. Because of that, Mexicans and foreigners can now invest in sustainable avocado orchards in Mexico.

 2. How can avocado orchards be sustainable?

Agriculture is not intrinsically unsustainable but often poorly managed. For instance, more than 95% of all day workers in agriculture do not have a pension or any access to health care insurance. Not having these benefits is the reality for more than 5 million people in Mexico. People are at the heart of any organisation, and we encourage our partners to insure their workers and their families under state-run insurance. Moreover, we also support using organic pesticides to have better food and protect our employees from chemicals.

Regarding avocados, a lot has been said about their lack of sustainability. However, like most agricultural products, avocados are not intrinsically unsustainable, but their poor management is untenable.

The problem with avocados starts when producers cultivate avocados in nonsensical places, such as where the irrigation process is not based on rainwater or natural moisture in the soil. In some areas where water can be privatised, it depletes the water reservoirs, affecting the surrounding communities and plantations. Significant changes can be done by having a long-term view, producing in places with the right climatic conditions and adopting a technological-driven organic production.

For instance, by using the proper irrigation process, it can be more water efficient to produce a Kilo of avocados (400-600 L/Kg) than bananas (790 L/Kg) or apples (820 L/Kg). Moreover, rainwater can be collected, stored, and used in the irrigation system if avocado orchards are planted in the right places.

Deforestation is another problem with the sustainability of agricultural products, including avocado orchards. Agricultural expansion drives almost 90% of global deforestation worldwide. In the case of avocado production, it is estimated that it is responsible for 30-40% of recent deforestation in Michoacán. We do not tolerate illegal deforestation. Moreover, we protect natural reserves and keep approximately a third of the land as a forest reserve.

3. What is your core ethos as a company?

Our core ethos is capital preservation and sustainability. We are redefining the meaning of asymmetric investment, opening the door to safe asset-backed agriculture investments for investors looking to minimise their risks and optimise their returns while positively impacting the environment and society in general.

Many people have the wrong impression that by investing sustainably, profitability gets hurt. However, if you take a long-term approach, sustainability is paramount for preserving the ecosystem and our assets.

4. Can you tell us how you are involved in sustainable finance?

We offer access to our impact, sustainability measurements, and best practices to ensure sustainable production and growth. We are in the process of implementing an impact process that consists of three parts.

  1. Pre-Investment: Exclusion criteria, due diligence process to identify ESG risks, selection of impact strategies that target specific SDGs.
  2. Management and Measurements: Data collection and monitoring impact performance, sustainability and impact KPIs.
  3. Reporting: Transparent communication about the impact on partners and clients.

We are also involved in defining what sustainability means in our industry. We actively participate with the AIIMX—the Mexican representative of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment—to inform about the sustainability of the orchards that we grow and to promote the benefits of sustainable agriculture.

Regarding impact and sustainability, some of the metrics are set by the Principles for Responsible Investment, and others are included in the Impact Reporting and Investing Standards Catalogue, which the Global Impact Investment Network manages.

5. So then, are your investors only sustainable-focused ones?

We only do sustainable projects, but our investors can be anyone who wants high returns with inflation protection and long-term profitability. We educate our investors with specific materials regarding our investments so that they understand the impact of their investment on all the stakeholders.

6. So, as Asymmetrica Investments, what do you value the most?

As a company, we are conscious of our impact and reach and are committed to using this to promote intelligent investments with asymmetric returns and sustainability. Our stakeholders come before our financial gains as we select land and consider the treatment of our workers and their families. Stakeholders also are uppermost in our minds as we decide how much of our land is devoted to producing and how much is set as a natural reserve—considering water availability and environmental purposes.

We also give precedence to our stakeholders’ needs even though we are involved in the Counsels and Associations and devoted to Ethical Finance and Impact Investments. Having fewer, more closely selected assets can still ensure great returns and positively impact all our stakeholders. We value the opinion and perceptions of our investors, partners, farmers, clients, and providers and the environment in which we perform our business.

7. What are your plans?

We plan to expand operations to Colombia and Africa, expanding our reach and offering exposure to new markets with interesting returns. We believe that emerging markets will play a central role in food security. Africa has 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land.

7 Ways to Get Funding for Your Business Idea

Running a business isn’t easy, and there are so many things to consider. Finances are particularly difficult to manage as there are lots of different aspects to it that make it hard to stay on top of. There are some simple ways you can make cuts like using free payment processing for small businesses, as this will help reduce your outgoings. However, what do you do if you don’t have the funds already and your business is still in its idea stage? So, if you’re looking to outsource finances for your business idea, keep reading and discover the 7 easiest methods.

Crowd funding

One of the newer methods of funding a business idea is crowdfunding. This is where you choose a crowdfunding platform online and propose your business idea with a financial goal. Members of the public can then donate money towards your business to help you reach your goal. It’s also a good idea to offer the kind donators something in return for their generosity. You could allow them first access to your products or even give them a small share in the business. Crowdfunding is a great way to raise funds for your business, but it isn’t a guarantee that you’ll meet your goal. This might mean you still need to outsource finance via other means as well. However, if you believe in your business idea, then members of the public are sure to as well.

Ask Friends And Family For Support

If you have a strong support system around you, then you may be able to ask your family and friends for funding. They may give it to you from the goodness of their own heart, or they may only loan it to you. A lot of new entrepreneurs don’t feel comfortable asking their family and friends, but you’ll probably be surprised by their response. They’ll only want the best for you and if they think you can really make a go of it, they might be able to offer you some decent funding. Family and friends are also a lot more likely to be honest with you about your idea as they will want you to succeed. You never know how much cash someone might have squirreled away with the intention of investing anyway!

Reach Out To Investors

If you truly don’t feel comfortable asking your close personal circle, then reaching out to investors can be a good port of call. If you don’t want to sell any stocks within your business idea, then you might want to consider angel investors. These are people who invest in businesses and provide them with funding, but they don’t ask for anything in return. This can work especially well if you’re a new entrepreneur as you won’t feel as pressured to grow at a constant rate and can enjoy the ride instead. Other investors may require a certain percent of your business, which then means they can also make decisions about how you run it as well. Although this might seem off-putting to some, a lot of these investors will have a great amount of knowledge behind them so having their support can be extremely beneficial.

Check Out Government Grants

You don’t always have to rely on angel investors if you don’t want to pay back the funding. Government grants are an excellent way to go as they can provide you with a lump sum of cash and you won’t need to pay back a single cent. It’s worth spending some time going over their criteria though, as some of them might be for certain age groups etc. You also need to be aware of any spending stipulations that the grants may have as well. For instance, you might not be able to spend it all at once or only be able to spend it on certain things. However, as you don’t have to pay back grants, they can be a fantastic option for those with new business ideas.

Take Out A Business Loan If you want something that you’re used to doing and is pretty simple, then a business loan might be best for you. It’s a good idea to go through a bank as they will be able to offer you competitive rates and secure lending. You’ll want to look for banks that provide good interest rates as well. You don’t want to end up paying back way more than you originally borrowed. Again, bank loans will have criteria you’ll need to meet to be approved, but they may be a lot easier to come by than a government grant. One of the most important things you’ll need when applying for a business loan is a sturdy business plan. This will demonstrate to the lender that you’re serious about your application and already know exactly how you’re going to use the money to make your business work. You also need to be mindful of your credit score, as one that’s too low can put you in a tricky situation. So, if you’re after a tried and tested method of funding, then a business loan could be just the thing for you.

Use Your Savings Funding your business idea yourself might seem scary. However, you’ll probably feel a lot more determined to make it work if it’s your own capital that’s gone into it. If you have some savings behind you, then putting them into your business isn’t a terrible idea. If you’re serious about your new business idea, then putting your own money into also shows others just how committed you are to it. That way if you do need to reach out for other methods of funding, you can show them that you’ve already done some hard work yourself. It’s not always easy to fund things yourself, but with a little saving and budgeting, it’s a lot more achievable than you think.

Seek A Venture Capitalist

A venture capitalist is always on the look out for the next big business idea, so if you truly believe you have that, then they could be a funding method for you. Also known as private equity investors, these people love to support start-up businesses and help get them off the ground. They do however ask for equity in return for their funding, making them decision makers in your business. However, venture capitalists normally invest in lots of businesses, so they will probably have a lot of knowledge that they can impart onto you.

Finding the right funding for your business doesn’t have to be so hard. There are lots of methods out there and they’re all quite different, meaning you’ll find something to suit your preference. You also don’t have to rely on bank loans either. As you can see, there are so many different funding options out there nowadays, and a lot of them you don’t even have to pay back. So, if you’re wanting to fund your business idea, be sure to check out the ones on the list. You’ll soon be on your way to success!

Wealth & Finance Magazine Announces the Winners of the 2022 Cyber Security Awards

United Kingdom, 2022 –Wealth & Finance International Magazine has announced the winners of the 2022 Cyber Security Awards.

Cyber Security is an interesting sector. That seems reductive, though it serves as a fitting descriptor – few industries move as swiftly as cyber security. No day goes by without some sort of advancement or development occurring. It moves forward, always. Changing. Innovating. Adapting side-by-side with the greater technology sphere.

Now that we’re firmly in the digital age, cyber security plays an integral role in the day-to-day operations of … almost everything. Business relies on the understanding that computers will continue to do the job that we allocate to them, and whether in a simple office space or a world-leading data storage facility, computers truly make the world go round.

On the other hand, cyber security is in a constant arms race with cyber threats. As one takes a step forward, so does the other. Echoing and mimicking each other to try and gain the upper hand or exploit some oversight or weakness. As such, innovation and creativity are key to success for any company operating in the cyber security space. It is, ultimately, an industry defined by exemplars and paragons. There is no middle ground and those that lag behind soon find themselves outclassed.

Now in its second year, the Cyber Security Awards look to recognise those that truly go above and beyond to deliver best in class solutions and services to their clients and partners.

Awards Coordinator Holly Blackwood took a moment to comment on the success of the winners on the eve of the announcement. “Wealth & Finance International Magazine is proud to be able to showcase the selection of the best of the best from across the industry. I would like to take this opportunity to offer everyone my sincere congratulations and best wishes for the future. I hope you all have a fantastic rest of 2022 ahead.”

To learn more about our award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the Wealth & Finance INTL website (https://www.wealthandfinance-news.com/awards/cyber-security-awards/) where you can access the winners supplement.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Wealth & Finance International Magazine

Wealth & Finance International is dedicated to providing fund managers and institutional and private investors around the world with the latest industry news across both traditional and alternative investment sectors.

Distributed by AI Global Media each quarter to more than 65,000 high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals, fund managers, institutional investors and professional services firms, Wealth & Finance International has rapidly become the go-to resource for those looking to make the right decisions when it comes to securing and growing their wealth.

But Wealth & Finance International is more than just a magazine. Alongside our quarterly publication, we also produce a website that is updated daily with the latest news, features, opinion and comment, again in conjunction with a host of top-level advisors, experts and businesspeople.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 14 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 85,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

4 Benefits Of Adding Commercial Lending Software To Your Arsenal

The world is witnessing massive changes in all the major industries where AI and machine learning are replacing mundane and repetitive workflow processes with automation. After initial inertia in changing to a new norm, now financial institutions are embracing digital banking solutions.

The primary benefit of adding commercial lending is increased working hours without increasing the workforce or related costs. Studies have suggested that out of an eight-hour workday a human being is productive approximately for three hours. And in a year they work for close to 240 days.

In comparison to a human being, digital solutions that are unmanned and robotic assistants can serve customers 24/7 and 365 days. Thus digital assistants or chatbot services can aid customers eight times more than a human employee. This feature alone is enough for any financial institution to adopt a commercial lending software that can integrate their databases and automate their loan origination process. On the other hand, round-the-clock service is just one of the benefits a lending business gets from transitioning to digital lending software.

To understand the relevance of digital transformation in the banking and lending business, check these benefits that are required to scale a business:-

Unified source of data

In legacy and CRM, banking data integration with different verticals for the same task is time-consuming and is constantly at risk of data theft. The compliance cost of maintaining the data integrity increases as the information is spread out. It is also difficult to understand the reports without contacting another employee to understand reports or insights on business metrics.

The digital lending solutions for consumer software have a single genesis of truth that is accessible to every authorized personnel. With neural networks and API integration, the applicability of data is enhanced in analytics. This in turn reduces the time and increases the accuracy of strategic decisions that are business-centric.

Accurate results

Loans are complex products concerning due diligence, lengthy calculations, and spreadsheets to arrive at the decisions that will boost growth. These calculations are also highly regulated and have to meet stringent risk metrics. The likelihood of human errors when making long calculations are high.

In the digital loan origination process, the calculations are done through algorithms that have been backtested. The calculations are free from errors, computed in a few minutes, and display the results on dashboards with easy infographics.

Efficient loan portfolio management

A loan cycle does not end till it is completely paid off. Each loan has to be reviewed regularly for red flags. They have to be checked for taking adequate measures to cover the additional risk that may arise during a loan. An automated loan portfolio reviews the loan constantly and sends automatic reminders to pay in time. Any change in cash flows of the borrower is reflected on a real-time basis through neural networking and API integration. Any flag will create an alert for the banker to check and address the issue immediately. Thus a banker plays an adjunct role of a consultant who can engage the borrower to focus on paying in time.

Boosts team’s productivity

A business agile approach is achieved through digital loan solutions that deter from repetitive tasks. Automation takes care of speed, flexibility, access to information, and seamless communication between different verticals and departments. Tasks, like checking and responding to emails and importing data from spreadsheets for compilation, are discontinued or minimized. They are replaced with real-time alerts that appear on the interface.

Conclusion:

With changing times and increased awareness in short periods through constant updates from parallel media, consumers are aware of the wonders and scope of AI and machine learning. The attention span and patience levels to perform a banking task by physically walking in is no longer a preferred mode. With rising consumer demands and the ability of automation tools at disposal, if banks don’t change to adapt to a digital route, then they will not only be left out of new business growth but may lose existing customer share to the pioneers of this change.

The multiple benefits like efficiency, time and cost-saving, improved customer experience and employee productivity have a sine qua non-effect on the growth and numbers of lending and other banking business. However, for a lending business to be operational, the deal breaker or maker is the ability to be risk-agile. Any process that can increase productivity but also stresses the bank’s assets are not the right proposition.

Tips on How to Enjoy Your Retirement to the Fullest

The retirement age in the UK used to be 65, but this is no longer the case. At present, you will not be forced to quit work when you reach the said age, so it’s up to you to decide. However, you can get a state pension between the age of 61 and 68, depending on your gender and the year you were born. The Future Pension Centre could give you a pension forecast that would tell you when you can get your state pension, how much, and what you can do to increase it. Even if you start receiving your
state pension, you can keep working for as long as you want.

If you plan to retire at a certain age, you must prepare yourself financially, mentally, and emotionally to ensure you enjoy this period of your life to the fullest. You will experience significant changes from your usual routine, so you should adapt and find things that will make you happy to live a comfortable life.

List your goals

Retiring doesn’t mean that you stop having goals in your life. Instead, list the things you want to do and work on achieving them. It will give you a sense of direction and purpose and keep you excited since you have something to look forward to.

Manage your finances

Even if you saved up for your retirement and are receiving a pension or benefit, you shouldn’t splurge
mindlessly, or you could end up having financial troubles. Instead, manage your budget so you can live comfortably with what you have. Consider getting the help of a local professional financial planner to manage your finances better.
If you are around the area, you can get financial planning advice in Bristol. You may even request a no-obligation consultation. It will help you determine if you are working with the right financial planner before you get the service.

Find a new hobby

It’s never too late to learn something new. Look for a new hobby that will interest you, like arts and crafts,
dancing, cooking, or baking. It will keep you occupied while having fun. If you had hobbies you couldn’t focus on before, this is the best time to pursue them. After all, you get all the time in the world.

Work on something you love

Retiring does not mean that you can never work again. Why not get a part-time job on something that you love to do? It’s not just to earn extra, but to enjoy too. For example, if you are passionate about teaching, you may find a teaching job.

Be social

Some retirees suffer from depression because of the sudden change in their lives. Connect with friends and loved ones to prevent this from happening. Meet new people by joining groups with similar interests and volunteering in community services or projects.

Enjoy your retirement to the fullest by doing what you love and managing your finances properly. Take care of your health, too, so you have the energy to work on your goals.

Most Successful Forex Traders in 2022

Forex traders around the world have achieved different levels of success. Keep reading to learn about the 5 most successful forex traders in 2022.

In forex trading, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of who the most successful traders are. However, by examining the traits and habits of some of the most successful traders in history, we can begin to understand what it takes to be a successful trader. In this article, we will take a look at five of the most successful forex traders in history and explore what made them so successful.

5 Traits of Successful Forex Traders

1. They Have a Plan

All successful traders have a well-defined trading plan that they stick to no matter what. This plan will outline their entry and exit criteria, risk management rules, and any other important parameters. Having a plan helps traders stay disciplined and prevents them from making impulsive decisions that can lead to losses.

2. They Take Responsibility for Their Actions

Advanced traders know that they are solely responsible for their results. They do not blame the market or outside factors for their losses. Instead, they take responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistakes. This allows them to move on quickly and focus on making profitable trades in the future.

3. They Manage Their Risk

All successful traders know how to manage risk. They never trade with more money than they are comfortable with and always use stop-loss orders to protect themselves. By managing their risk, they ensure that they can stay in the game even if they have a few losing trades.

4. They Stay Patient

Successful traders know that patience is key to success in the forex market. They are not looking for quick wins but instead focus on making long-term profits. This requires them to be patient and wait for the right opportunities to enter the market.

5. They Keep Learning

The most profitable traders never stop learning. They are always looking for ways to improve their trading strategies and increase their knowledge of the markets.

By continuing to learn, they are able to adapt to changing market conditions and find new ways to make profits.

5 Most Successful Traders in Forex

1. George Soros

He is a world-renowned currency trader and is known for his large positions while trading the British Pound in 1992, which earned him the title “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England.” He is also the founder of Soros Fund Management, LLC. He has an estimated net worth of $8 billion and his renowned trade shorting the British pound happened on a day known as ‘black Wednesday’. This event was characterized by the withdrawal of the pound sterling from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. It earned George Soros over a billion dollars, making him one of the most successful forex traders even in 2022.

2. Bill Lipschutz

He is known as the ‘sultan of currency’ and is the current head of Hathersage Capital Management. Lipschutz began trading currencies while studying at Cornell University in the 1980s. He is said to have made $250 million for his firm in one year. In an interview, he once said that “The forex market is always moving. Most people lose because they try to pick tops and bottoms; I sell weakness and buy strength.” This quote just goes to show how important it is to focus on the trend rather than trying to pick reversals.

3. George Van der Riet

Currently works as a full-time trader and is also a popular public speaker on financial markets. He focuses mainly on technical analysis and has developed his own unique trading approach which he has successfully used to trade forex, stocks, and commodities. He is a South African hedge fund manager and currency trader. He is currently the head trader and director of the Global Forex Institute.

4. Andrew Krieger

He is a former currency trader at Bankers Trust. In 1987, he made large bets against the New Zealand dollar, which earned him the nickname “The Kiwi Killer”. He has an aggressive trading style and his strategic trades involving the New Zealand dollar make him well known to date. After identifying that the NZD was overvalued, he opened short positions in 1987 which earned him millions of dollars.

5. Paul Tudor

This American hedge fund manager and currency trader founded Tudor Investment Corporation in 1980. He is also a philanthropist and supports many causes through his foundation. Just like Andrew Krieger, Paul was able to effectively predict and take advantage of the market crash in 1987. This trade earned him up to a million dollars.

These five traders are some of the most successful in Forex history. They have all made fortunes by correctly predicting market trends and taking advantage of them. While their trading styles may vary, they all share one common trait: they are patient and never stop learning. By following their example, you can improve your chances of success in Forex trading.

4 Important Occasions to Protect Your Present and Future Wealth by Consulting a Lawyer

If you have any amount of money, you will want to keep it safe. One of the best ways to do that is to consult a lawyer on certain occasions. Lawsuits are not going to be cheap, and if you don’t know how to keep yourself and your money safe, then you will lose some of it very very quickly.

Here are some of the best times to protect your wealth by consulting a lawyer, and both your present and future will thank you for it!

A Complex Or Nasty Divorce

Divorces are never fun for anyone involved, and even the most amicable divorces need some type of attorney to manage the movement of assets around. However, if you have a nasty divorce where your ex-spouse is suing you for everything you have and then some, you have the right to get a lawyer to protect your assets.

Make sure to hire a good lawyer in order to make sure that you can keep control of your assets. Some of your assets can make you good money now and good money in the future, so you should talk to a lawyer in order to keep them safe.

Lawsuits

Getting sued or having a lawsuit brought against you is never fun, and it is almost never cheap. You should have a lawyer to deal with your case, because chances are the other side has one who is gunning for you.

Even if your lawsuit never sees the light of a courtroom and is settled out of court, you still need to have a good lawyer who will fight for you. This will keep any wealth or property that you could lose from a loss in the courtroom all on your side, as well.

Alcohol and Drug Charges

If you get busted driving under the influence or have drug charges brought against you, you will not regret coughing up the money for a lawyer.

While you might decide that a public defender is a good idea, they are often dealing with dozens of cases and will recommend a plea bargain. However, a lawyer is going to have the time to take on your case personally and reduce your charges and the amount you pay out.

Always Get a Free Consultation After a Personal Injury to Protect Earnings and Cover Injury Costs

If you want to know what you can expect at free consultations, expect a lot of questions to be asked and answered. No matter how you ended up getting the personal injury, you need to seek out a personal injury lawyer and take on a free consultation to share the facts of the case and seek their opinion.

They will let you know if they can help you, and how they can help you get the money that you deserve. A free consultation is a great way to protect your currency wealth because the consultation is free, and it also protects your future wealth because most personal injury attorneys only get paid if you win… and even then, their payment comes out of your settlement winnings.

If you want to keep your wealth safe and you are in danger of losing it, then you need to reach out to a lawyer. They are going to ensure that you get the money you deserve and don’t lose any of your wealth or property due to a lawsuit against you. Then you can sit back and enjoy your protected wealth after the trial is over, and get back to your life.

Four Ways to Help Boost Your Finances

Four ways to help boost your finances

People the world over are living through difficult times right now.

Fuel, food, energy – the cost of living crisis has had huge impacts at home and overseas, pushing families closer to the breadline and forcing many to come up with novel ways to make their money stretch further than before.

If you’re looking for ways to protect your finances over the coming months, here are a few ideas that might help you keep costs down and protect against future developments.

Start an emergency fund

Many indications suggest that things could even get more difficult before they start to get better, with energy prices in the UK set to rise again after April 2022’s hike.

If you have any spare cash month to month, now is the time to think about putting some aside and building a pot of reserves that you can draw from at a later date.

Life often gets in the way and unforeseen expenses can have dramatic effects right now, so make sure you’re as covered as you can be for the future.

Have additional sources of income

If you have the time and the talents, you might be able to boost your bank balance by adding a side hustle to your normal job.

Perhaps your field of work is set up for freelancing, or you have secondary skills that you can help others with.

If you’re particularly handy and own a few basic tools like drill bit sets, screwdrivers and more you may be able to offer DIY services to those less confident.

Make money-saving swaps

The first step here is to look at each and every one of your outgoings every month and see what can be cut altogether or swapped for a cheaper option.

Whether it’s swapping out premium groceries, cutting down on subscriptions or trading a gym membership for home workouts, these incremental changes can soon add up and help out.

This regular budgeting will also give you an idea of when things start to get better, by which time you can prioritise which things you might want to bring back into your life.

Pay off any debt asap

Utilising credit cards and overdrafts can help ease the strain at times like these, but it’s important not to go too far and put yourself into trouble.

These products should only be used in emergencies, not to pay for luxuries that you could not afford otherwise.

If you do use credit to make things go further, be sure to pay it off as soon as possible – in full if you can. This stops interest payments from adding an extra burden to your budget.

How are you beating the pinch in the current climate? Share your money-saving and money-making tips in the comment section.

The Pros And Cons Of Retained Earnings

The Pros Of Retained Profits

1.Stock Value Increases

Companies use a formula to calculate how much earnings they get to keep after the dividends are distributed. When the business keeps a portion of its earnings, it makes the balance sheet look good and can affect the stock’s corresponding value and the stockholder equity. In addition, bigger profits are attractive to investors as it shows the business’s stability. It can influence further investments in the company by those who also wish for more dividends. Hence, the company can raise its share price because an attractive balance sheet enhances stockholder equity, allowing the opportunity for a growth cycle in the business. 

2. Financial Safety Net

Any business needs to be financially stable to keep running, and when profits are retained, it adds up to a pool of its financing that maintains daily operations. Retained earnings can be used to buy stocks, pay employee wages, and pay off loans or overdrafts made previously by the company. These earnings serve as emergency funding in case of a downturn or the economy affects the business. Moreover, a company that has emergency funds can avoid taking out more loans and the cycle of debt. 

3. For Diversification And Expansion

The company is free to use the money for business expansion. When your business is ready for scaling, there’s no reason to take out another loan. The retained profits can help hire more workers, buy new equipment, or initiate research and development. Additionally, the business owner and the shareholders can choose to accumulate the earnings to gather funding for future investments instead of taking their share of more significant dividends. It means that if they are currently focused on growth, they will settle on taking low dividends instead. 

 

The Cons Of Retained Profits

1.Return Of Investment (ROI) Is Not Guaranteed

While retained profits seem like an open source of funding for making investments and for scaling your business, the reality is that it’s not always a safe option for shareholders. While it is a low-cost financing alternative and could serve as an emergency source of cash for the company, it isn’t entirely free. 

There is a cost of opportunity for shareholders who settle for lower dividends instead of claiming a higher percentage of the profits. In addition, the ROI will be the basis of whether the shareholders will keep investing in a company or if they take their money somewhere else. 

2. Unimpressed Stock Buyers

Investors wouldn’t want to buy stocks from a company that retains its dividends. They will need to see if the company has a steady stream of dividends, primarily if the company is known to be a profitable business. Additionally, not all shareholders are willing to withhold a claim over the profits that are rightfully theirs. Suppose the investors do not see any gains in their investments. In that case, they will likely look for other companies that generously award dividends—ones that don’t keep the profits to themselves and distribute them to all shareholders instead. 

3 Strategies for Doctors to Pay Off Medical School Debt

3 Strategies for Doctors to Pay Off Medical School Debt

According to a study by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the average medical student graduates with more than $190,000 in debt. While there are several ways to pay off medical school loans, the best strategy for you will depend on your career, salary, and financial situation.

Medical school can be expensive. The average cost of medical school tuition, fees, and living expenses for a single year is now over $60,000. For many students, that means taking out loans to cover the cost. And while there are various strategies you can use to make paying off those loans a bit easier, here are three of the most important ones:

Make a budget and stick to it

One of the best ways to manage your finances is by creating and adhering to a budget. When you know exactly how much money you have coming in and going out each month, it’s easier to adjust your spending as needed to continue making progress on paying off your loans.

If you are in a high-paying specialty such as surgery or oncology, you may be able to pay your loans off quickly. However, suppose you are in a lower-paying field such as family medicine or pediatrics. In that case, you may consider a longer-term repayment plan that allows you to save for retirement and other expenses.

Whatever repayment plan you choose, be sure to stay on top of your loan payments to avoid costly penalties and interest charges. If you have extra money, use it to make extra payments, or if possible, invest that money so that you can earn interest.

Make payments during residency

You are still responsible for making payments on your medical school loans during residency. Even though you may be struggling to make ends meet, it’s important to continue making payments on your loans. Failing to make payments can result in penalties and interest charges.

If you can’t afford to make your regular monthly payments, contact your lender or a great personal finance company like LeverageRX to see if you can arrange a payment plan that fits your budget. You may also be able to defer your loan payments until you finish residency. However, interest will continue to accrue on your loans during this time, so it’s important to try to pay as much as you can each month.

Make extra payments when possible

There are several ways to reduce the money you have to pay back on your medical school loans. One of the best ways is to make lump-sum payments whenever you have extra cash available.

Many think the only way to repay loans is making monthly payments. But if you have the extra money in your account, that may be an option. The more money you can put toward your loans, the better!

Conclusion

Medical school can be costly, and for many graduates, the debt incurred can be difficult to manage. While there are many ways to pay off this debt, including loan consolidation and income-based repayment plans, for some graduates, the only way is to take on additional jobs.

For residents who are already struggling to make ends meet, taking on additional work can be a daunting task. In addition to long hours and little sleep, residents often have to contend with call schedules that keep them tied up most of the night.

Adding another job on top of this can be overwhelming and lead to burnout. However, some benefits to paying off medical school debt quickly with the help of the best financial advisors will go a long way.

3 Simple Ways to Improve Financial Wellbeing

Wellbeing is something a lot of us are taking more seriously these days. In the age of self-care, everyone is paying more attention to how they feel in themselves, and how they look after their future. Part of investing in good wellbeing, is making sure you’re healthy from a financial perspective too. The unfortunate truth is most of don’t have the level of financial wellbeing we’d like. We spend a lot of time worrying about not having enough money to pay for essential bills and expenses, but not nearly as much time coming up with solutions to our cash flow issues. The good news is there are some simple ways you can improve your financial wellbeing with minimal effort. Here are some simple ways to get started.

Update Your Debt Strategy

Debt can have a significant impact on financial wellbeing. It’s easy to find yourself getting overwhelmed by a buildup of loans and interest rates after a while. Even if you’re relatively careful with your money, we all need to borrow from time to time to handle the hefty expenses associated with things like buying a house or getting an education. The key to success isn’t avoiding debt entirely, it’s learning how to use it correctly. Taking out student loans so you can go to college and improve your earning capabilities in the future is a great way to actively improve your financial health over time. If you take the time to carefully research the right loan options, you can also ensure you don’t have to worry as much about interest rates and fees at a later date.

Create a Savings Plan

Most of us have long-term and short-term goals for our finances. In an ideal world, we’d be able to buy anything we needed as and when we wanted it. However, the reality is that big purchases can take a long time to make. Having a strong savings plan in place will ensure you can gradually work towards your long-term goals. Making better lifestyle choices can save you money as well. Aside from having a plan for your long-term savings, it’s also important to ensure you have an emergency savings plan in place. This emergency fund will be what you turn to when unexpected expenses crop up in your life. Having a little extra backup in place will stop you from dipping into the money you’re trying to reserve for other major purchase down the line.

Experiment With Budgeting Strategies

Finally, budgeting is one of the best tools you can use when you’re trying to improve financial wellbeing. However, many struggle with setting up a budget, because they find doing so to be restrictive or difficult. The good news is there doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all approach to budgeting. You can simply experiment with different plans until you find something that works for you. You might even find it helpful to use modern tools to help you. Budgeting and financial apps are excellent for guiding you through the process of sorting your money into different segments based on what you want to accomplish. You can even find tools which can give you advice based on your specific spending habits.

8 Mistakes To Avoid When Raising Non-Dilutive Funding For Your Start up

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Non-dilutive funding refers to any kind of funding that doesn’t require you to give away any form of business equity to your investors. This means you receive monetary funding without giving out even a single share of your company. Examples of non-dilutive funding include loans, grants, tax credits, vouchers, subsidies, and the like.

It’s said that non dilutive funding is the most popular option for startup founders because it offers monetary support all the while allowing for the non-surrender of business ownership to creditors.

Non-dilutive funding can help to accelerate your business growth to the point where you’re comfortable raising funds from venture capitalists interested in getting a piece of your company.

Despite being a popular financing option, non-dilutive funds such as banking institution loans are usually challenging to obtain and grants are available for those that can meet specific requirements only. Further, non-dilutive funds can become a costly financing option for your business if not used right.

To avoid situations where borrowed funds become costly and an unbearable liability to your business, below are some of the common mistakes made by entrepreneurs when raising non-dilutive funding. Read through them one by one to avoid committing them when you decide to pursue non-dilutive funding for your budding business.

  1. Not Being Prepared Enough

Raising any form of funding, disruptive or non-disruptive, requires you to be adequately prepared with information about your market, your own business, and the viability of your products. You must provide your prospective lenders with a good understanding of the industry you’ll be playing in. To do so, you’ll need to spend ample time in advance analyzing different resources.

You’ll also need to prepare visual presentations that’ll aid in making your case. You might need to hire someone to do this for you because potential lenders will use this information to determine how far your company is likely to go with the funds they’ll let you borrow.

In addition, you should also take the time to understand your lender’s requirements for non-disruptive financing. This could be in the form of security requirements or even the kinds of businesses they don’t finance. It’d be a waste of your time to approach an institution where your firm stands no chance of obtaining financial support.

  1. Not Seeking Expert Opinion

Sadly, many entrepreneurs tend to overestimate their abilities which often leads them into trouble. Applying for any funding needs the input of experienced professionals like attorneys and accountants.

Experienced attorneys help you to identify and understand different clauses in the contract documents that can lead you to losses. An example is redemption clauses.

Meanwhile, financial experts like an accountant look at your books and projections to provide you with a realistic amount to apply for as funding. This avoids a situation where you apply for either less or more than your business needs.

  1. Not Considering Different Options

While there are regulations for players in the financial sector, they’re still allowed some leeway to operate. For instance, although the interest that lenders charge on their various financing options is capped, they all don’t extend a similar interest rate. It’s good for you to scout the market to identify what different financial institutions offer. This can help you to avoid the common mistake of receiving high-interest non-dilutive funding, whereas there was an option of lower interest charges.

  1. Over-Valuing Your Business

It’s common for entrepreneurs to over-value their businesses, especially when seeking funds or partnerships. Unfortunately, this often sets you up for failure.

When you over-value your business, you raise your lender’s expectations, which can work against you when applying for additional funds in the future. Since you’ll always need to prove some growth to your lender when applying for future funds, this could end up hurting your relationship with your lender when they realize you were dishonest. You could end up missing necessary additional funding to scale up your business if you resort to this course of action.

  1. Over-Forecasting Your Financial Returns

When in desperate need of finances, it’s easy to overrate your business growth rate. This could result in you overestimating the money you’ll make to impress your potential financiers. The downside is that your lenders might be convinced that you can repay your non-dilutive funding over a shorter period than is realistically possible. And even if you could make high revenues, it’s always advisable to err on caution.

For instance, unforeseen changes in your business environment could make it impossible for you to earn the forecasted revenues causing you to default on repayments, potentially leading to poor relations between you and your lenders.

  1. Applying For Funding Too Early Or Too Late

Timing is critical when applying for funds because the processes can be long and winding. Doing it too early or too late can be disastrous. Poor timing can cost your business a great opportunity that would have elevated it to the next level.

According to a couple of entrepreneurs, it’s advisable to give yourself an average duration of six months to raise business funds. For instance, when you apply for funds too early, you expose your business to a lot of analysis that could cause your application to be rejected.

On the other hand, applying too late could see you miss a scheduled trade exhibition where you’d have demonstrated your products to prospective clients.

  1. Trying To Raise Money To Fix The Entire Business

The common saying that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ comes into mind. It’s advisable to stick to your business strategy and plan even when raising funds for growth. Your business plan helps you to remain focused as it shows the most urgent business areas that need funding.

Whenever you’re applying for funds, deviating from the business plan can cause you to raise money that may not benefit the enterprise. This is especially critical in the in-between incidences where a lender proposes to give more than is asked. Entrepreneurs have been known to overspend when they get more money than they need. For example, this has resulted in business people incurring unnecessary expenses on office/warehouse space, salaries and wages, or new products that weren’t needed by the market.

  1. Pitching About Your Product Instead Of The Business

It’s normal to keep talking about some unique products your company is introducing and how they’ll solve many customer problems. When you use such details to pitch for non-dilutive funding, this becomes a problem. In as much as lenders aren’t after partnering with you in your business, they still want to understand your business model and how that’ll help you to make money.

Further, you must make your business presentation in a simple method that’s easy to understand. Your lender is keen to know how they’ll recover their money, so you must explain how your business as a whole (not specific products) will generate and rake in revenues.

Conclusion

Although non-dilutive funding is always a good option for startups, some options like bank loans are difficult to get. Plus, even where they’re readily available, young companies without the necessary collateral to secure their loans are always left out. Nonetheless, newer private lending and fintech companies have come onto the scene to address some of these challenges. You can reach out to any of them for non-disruptive funding for your company.

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Key Investment Tips You Need to Follow

There’s a lack of willingness to invest among the general population in the UK, with only 12% of Brits known to have invested in the stock market as recently as 2018.

This is despite the fact that investing in stocks and shares can deliver higher returns than cash in 90% of cases, which means that we either lack the knowledge to invest or the means to do so on a regular basis.

The failure to invest is probably caused by a combination of these factors, but what steps can be taken to overcome this impasse? Let’s find out!

#1. What Are Your Financial Goals?

In order to invest successfully, one of the most important strategic components is to have a clear and concise financial goal in mind.

Make no mistake; the better your understanding of your financial goals, the easier it is to organise your finances effectively and achieve such objectives within a desired timeframe.

But how do you achieve such clarity? Well, we’d recommend conducting a detailed audit of your current finances and precisely how much you can invest within a given timeframe. This helps you to manage risk while pursuing viable returns, while also ensuring that you don’t overcommit yourself or take on too much leverage.

To help in this respect, you may need to liaise with investment management experts. This way, you can fill
any gaps in knowledge that you may have and leverage financial market expertise to your advantage.

#2. Start Investing Early

As most investment vehicles tend to deliver returns over time as yields are compounded and diversified, it makes sense that you should start investing as soon as possible.

Even on a fundamental level, the earlier you start investing, the more significant profits you can achieve over time. This also enables you to manage risk and pursue incremental gains while minimising the risk of loss.

Of course, what may change is the nature of your portfolio and how it is structured over time.

For example, you may invest in higher risk assets such as stocks and forex early on, in order to leverage higher yields and returns. Then, you can gradually look to consolidate such gains, by incorporating more stable assets into your portfolio like dividend stocks and bonds.

#3. Diversify Your Interests

As the latter point highlights, you can structure your returns and minimise your exposure to risk through the gradual process of diversification.

This can apply to many elements of your portfolio too, from diversifying individual assets within a particular niche to reaching out to new asset classes as your income and level of experience grows.

This also encourages regular investment and higher levels of engagement, as you frequently look to rebalance your portfolio to reflect your outlook and the wider market conditions.

Try to avoid over diversifying your portfolio too. This can dilute your returns considerably over time, although your chosen wealth manager can help in this respect.

Unique ways to reward your clients

Rewarding your clients is a great way for your business to improve customer retention and brand loyalty, as well as help to contribute to the overall reputation of the business. Rewarding your clients doesn’t have to break the bank – in fact, there are plenty of affordable ways in which you can do this if you are on a budget. However, it can be good to treat clients with a bit of luxury – especially ones who are worth a lot to your business, or if you have a long relationship with them.

 Arrange private transport

If a client is having to travel to come to visit for a meeting, why not arrange some private transportation for them? This could include anything from a private chartered jet to a business class train or private taxi.  There are many benefits from taking a private jet, not only does it treat the clients with a bit of luxury, but the jet can land at airports that are closer to your meeting location compared to commercial
planes – saving time and providing a smoother, more enjoyable journey for your client.

Invite to a special event

Similar to granting clients early access to a new product, inviting customers to a special event can be an excellent method to improve brand loyalty and encourage word-of-mouth promotion of your company. This could include a fundraising event or even an awards celebration at a nearby venue. A special event is a great way to increase awareness of your brand on social media, as many customers and employees may share pictures from the event.

Reward with loyalty programs

Implementing a loyalty scheme is a great way to get customers coming back. Research has found that existing customers averagely spend 67% more than new customers, so making sure that your clients are coming back is essential for the sustainability and long-term success of your business.

Bespoke business and exclusive offers

Making your customers feel appreciated, will help them feel as though you value their business. This could include exclusive seasonal discounts or money off if they spend over a certain amount. Another
great way to provide customers with exclusive offers is to provide discounts on items or services that they regularly invest in from you – this can be personalized with various programs that can aid your business to predict consumer buying habits. Try to make use of these, and see how much your profits
increase!

3 Great Tips for Building Retirement Savings

You don’t want to hit retirement age with no savings. Doing that will leave you dependent on your family and government-issued benefits, or worse — it will push you to keep working for much longer than you’d like. You want a comfortable nest egg that you can rely on through all of your golden years. 

These three tips will help you build up your nest egg.

1. Make an Emergency Fund

What do emergency funds and retirement funds have to do with one another? Without an emergency fund, it can be tempting to turn to your large pool of retirement savings to remedy an urgent, unplanned expense. But this comes with consequences. 

Withdrawals before you’re 59 ½ typically come with early distribution penalties that will reduce your amount of funds. Your withdrawals will also be counted as taxable income. You will end up with much less than you originally removed to cover the emergency expense, and your nest egg will be a little smaller for your retirement.

You can avoid this tricky situation by making yourself an emergency fund. If you suddenly face an emergency expense, you can dip into your emergency fund to access the necessary savings to cover it. You don’t have to worry about early withdrawal penalties, and you certainly don’t have to worry about how the decision will affect your retirement. That nest egg can remain untouched.

What if you don’t have enough savings? You should still try your best not to touch your retirement fund. If you need to cover an urgent, unplanned expense, try to cover it using your credit card or a personal online loan. 

When searching for an online loan, make sure it’s available in your state of residence. So, if you happen to live in Little Rock, you should look for Arkansas online loans to manage an emergency expense. This simple trick will help you find loans that are available in Arkansas.

2. Match 401(k) Contributions

Do you have a 401(k) through your workplace? Then, you should take advantage of 401(k) matching. This is when employers agree to match a portion of your contributions, meaning you can automatically boost your savings. 

Employers will have limits on how much of your contribution they are willing to match — this is sometimes based on your experience at the company. Employees that have been with the company for a shorter amount of time will typically have lower matching contribution rates. Over time, their rates will rise until they become fully vested.

3. Open an IRA

You can have a 401(k) and an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) at the same time. An IRA is a tax-advantaged retirement account that you can store additional savings into once you’ve maxed out 401(k) contributions. An IRA has a much smaller contribution limit than your 401(k), so it’s perfect for this secondary savings role. 

One of the biggest benefits of an IRA is that you get to choose from a diverse array of investment options to help your savings grow. You can invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc. With a 401(k) plan, your investment options will be fairly limited and chosen by your employer.

If your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k), you should definitely open up an IRA as your main retirement account. For a secondary retirement savings account, you can store funds in a high-yield savings account. This is an excellent alternative because your balance will grow with compounding interest and contributions over time.

Start building up your retirement savings now. You’ll be grateful you started saving early when you’re older. 

3 Do’s And Don’ts Of Financial Planning For Your Business

Most businesses are established primarily to make money. Businesses won’t last if they don’t make a profit. There could be an exception to the rule for non-profit organisations. But every firm needs to generate some income to survive and cover its operating costs.

Therefore, managing finances is crucial to the success of any organisation. A company will likely overlook crucial financial information if it doesn’t effectively account for and manage its income and expenses. For this reason, creating a financial plan for your company is crucial. However, you may need the help of a financial advisor to come up with a sound plan.

The financial plan will direct how you intend to budget, spend, and invest your money and manage assets to achieve a specific goal. That said, below are some of the dos and don’ts when making your financial plan. 

Do’s Of Financial Planning

  1. Set Clear Goals

How does a business measure financial success? Usually, it’s determined by the extent to which it achieves its financial goals. When creating a financial plan, you must first define your short and long-term financial goals. Setting goals gives you something to aim for, and these goals will serve as the foundation for the strategies you devise in your financial plan.

When setting goals, make sure that your objectives are both attainable and realistic. Nothing is wrong with pushing yourself to your limits. However, you don’t want to stretch your finances beyond certain limits.  

  1. Watch Your Credit

When developing a financial plan, keep your credit score in mind. Your credit score can be both a blessing and a curse. You may be able to save money on your car insurance if you have good credit. However, bad credit will inevitably result in higher interest rates. To maintain a good credit score, pay your bills on time.

  1. Create An Emergency Fund

Even if you have an effective financial plan, the truth is that you can’t always plan for everything. Emergencies happen unexpectedly, and sometimes you have no choice but to slide deep into your savings to cover emergency situations. However, having an emergency fund set up can help you to prepare for these unforeseen events.

Don’ts Of Financial Planning

  1. Don’t Delay

It’s best not to delay establishing a financial plan because you risk missing out on opportunities to save money and maximise profits in your business. 

Without a plan, you have no foundation for spending, saving, or budgeting your money. As a result, anything goes. Furthermore, without financial accountability, there’s a good chance that your business won’t last long without experiencing financial difficulties. As a result, you must plan your spending as soon as possible. So, get a financial plan in place sooner rather than later. 

  1. Don’t Forget To Review

A financial plan isn’t just for show. You must review it regularly. You can’t simply write a plan and then forget about it. It’s in your best interest to diligently follow up on it and make any necessary changes or adjustments to achieve specific goals. 

Upon review, if your company is doing well, for example, you may be able to raise your goals or targets as a result. It means you’ll be able to set higher savings goals and spend more on certain things. This necessitates a change in your financial strategy that’s why reviewing is always necessary.

  1. Don’t Forget To Ask For Help

As a business owner, you may find yourself doing everything independently. While you may be very knowledgeable about financial management and how the finances of your business work, keep in mind that you may not know everything. So, it’s best to seek advice or assistance from a professional who can provide an unbiased assessment of how you can manage your company’s finances.

Hiring professional financial planners or advisors may save you money in the long run. Look for someone with years of experience and collaborate to create a solid financial plan.

Conclusion

Every business should have a financial plan. Finances are critical to any business and must be managed appropriately for it to succeed. Every business will likely take a different approach to developing a financial plan. However, it’s best to consult a professional financial planner to ensure a solid plan is in place. Remember that when it comes to money, accuracy matters. As a result, you may require the assistance of an expert to help you make the best decisions.

Key Challenges Facing International Wealth Management Businesses – and How to Approach Them

Wealth management is a skill and one for which the high earners of the world will happily pay a premium. businesses that specialise in wealth management can help their clients grow their portfolio and guarantee returns – but changes to the industry are beginning to rock the boat.

Wealth management businesses can operate globally, thanks to dedicated experts within their field and close alliances and international consultancies regarding international policy. But there is an existential threat facing the sector, which has brought about two key challenges. Here are those challenges, and how a firm may seek to overcome them.

Tech-Led Competition

The principal driver behind modern challenges facing international wealth management is the recent explosion in consumer-facing fintech solutions. Retail trading platforms and alternative banking apps have enjoyed immense popularity in recent years, inspiring significant investment in the last year especially.

The growth in accessible investor platforms should be a boon for the wealth management industry, as more and more consumers engage with new forms of savings and investment – increasing the client pool and giving wealth management enterprises more chances to expand. However, emergent platforms are having the opposite effect on the market.

The accessibility of app-led fintech platforms enables individual users to retain more direct control of their finances than ever before. Users can buy and sell shares and currencies, transfer wealth and access investment pools in hitherto impossible ways, without the “middleman” of a wealth management broker to handle transactions on their behalf.

Undercutting of Fees

Not only do these alternative wealth management solutions offer unprecedented access to international markets, as well as fine control over the specifics of user portfolios, but they also present these options at a much cheaper cost to the user. Transaction fees and interest rates are highly competitive against the not-insignificant fees associated with retaining the professional services of an adviser or broker.

Of course, the overall ‘cost’ to users of platforms such as these is much higher. a lack of in-depth knowledge of international markets, and a tendency for users to ‘gamble’ as opposed to invest, lead the majority of retail investors to lose money as opposed to grow their wealth. But this truth is poorly communicated, as devolved control over wealth management is advertised as a positive as opposed to a negative.

How to Combat a Changing Market

Luckily, the retail investor demographic has a relatively narrow crossover into the client demographic sought by wealth managers. The real dangers come from the tech-led utility of certain platforms and institutions, that may pry shrewd high-value customers away from wealth management services and towards self-directed platforms and strategies.

The major USP of wealth management firms currently is that of the personal touch; apps and platforms can only learn so much about a user and their motivations, and they are motivated to extract money as opposed to grow portfolios. As such, a wealth management firm can reposition itself as a business uniquely placed to put customers first; to be there on the phone, and to talk through options directly.

5 Tips for Starting an Online Business and Growing Your Wealth

Image source: https://pixabay.com/vectors/online-store-online-shop-store-1674907/

When starting a business in the traditional sense, you have to think about the source of capital, physical location, and more, all of which can require a lot of money. But with the internet, not so much.

You can start a business with almost nothing and grow it to any possible height. However, it is essential to understand that every other person is looking for the same opportunities presented by the internet, so standing out can be a problem.

But worry not, as this post highlights some practical tips on growing your online business.

Determine Your Niche

There are thousands of online businesses you can start. However, having too much on your plate as a start up can be overwhelming, so you will want to pick a niche that you feel will work best for you.

For example, an online cosmetics business can be a good fit if beauty is your thing. If you love jewellery, focus on jewellery first.

Niching up doesn\’t mean you can\’t sell anything else, you could, but it\’s best to allow one business time to stabilize before thinking of other things.

Also, you want your audience to identify you with something. Specialization helps build a reputation as a knowledgeable brand in your field, which can help boost your audience\’s confidence.

Conduct Market Research

Whether you want to run a brick and mortar store or an online business, conducting market research is a must because you want to be sure you will profit from your business.

You will want to consider what your target audience wants, how to reach them best, methods used by your competitors to reach them, prices, profit margins, and anything that can help you understand your target market.

Once you have this information, you can determine your business\’s viability or adjust your plans to fit the demands of your target market. 

Get a Website

If you are running a business online, you will need a website that will act as the internet version of the brick and mortar shop. Also, having a website helps build credibility.

For example, if you sell stuff on social media, having a website for your products can help build a legit reputation.

You do not have to go big on a website when starting. With a budget of around $500, you can get a basic small business website. If you are tech-savvy, you could build one for yourself and buy a domain name and hosting services.

With your website up and running, your business is now online. However, you may need to work on your website\’s SEO to get your business in front of as many eyes as possible.  

Take Advantage of Free and Cheap Online Tools

Like a brick and mortar business, you will need tools to perform some tasks. If you are in a cash crunch, free and cheap online tools can be a lifesaver.

For example, an online business will generate tons of documents you need to keep. With every transaction producing documentation, you may need a tool to help organize and merge your business\’s documents. 

For example, this tool by PDFSimpli can help you merge and compress a PDF file for easier organization and help stretch your storage capacity.

Integrate Social Media

Gaining a stream of clients for a start up can be slow and demoralizing, but a slow start is normal, but it should pick up with time. Social media is one of the best places to help boost your new business\’s growth in a shorter time.

According to statistics, seven in every ten Americans are on social media. You only need to identify the platforms where your target audience is and focus on them in your marketing campaigns. You can outsource social media marketing if you are not good with it.

Preparing Your Pensions in the Event of a UK Recession

Pensions specialists Penfold has unfolded what the impact of a possible recession will have on pensions including tips on how to prepare pensions in the event of another recession.

In the past, recessions have arisen when people become concerned about the economy and stop spending. Many of these same signs can be seen in the UK in 2022.

Currently, the inflation rate stands at a 40-year high of 9.4%, with reports stating that the rate could increase up to 12% in October, according to the latest data by ONS. 

Rising energy costs and the cost of living crisis have already led to many Britons tightening the purse strings and with further rises to energy bills coming in the Winter, many are predicting a recession is on the way. 

How does a recession affect your pensions?

What happens to pensions in a recession is broadly in line with what’s happening with financial markets as a whole. 

Everything you pay into your pension is invested into something called a pension fund.

A pension fund is a big collection of pension savings that invests in a wide variety of financial assets, such as:

  • Stocks and shares
  • Government bonds
  • Commodities like precious metals
  • Overseas investments
  • Property

Generally speaking, your money will be diversified – spread across a broad range of these investments.

When the economy is struggling, the value of these investments tends to dip as well – potentially impacting the value of your savings.

If you still have a few years before retiring (i.e. more than 5), you shouldn’t panic. Your savings will have plenty of time to recover. 

In fact, if you can, continuing to pay into your pension when market prices are lower means you may benefit when the market eventually bounces back.

Top tips to prepare your pensions in advance

For those very close to retirement, you may have to act a little sooner. Consider doing the following:

  • Moving to a pension fund comprising of less volatile investments like government bonds 
  • Drawing income from other sources for the short-term
  • Pushing back when you start accessing your pension

However, before making any moves, you should always speak to a financial advisor before making a firm decision.

One thing we can’t predict right now is how long or severe any potential recession might be. 

For example, the UK also dipped into a recession during the onset of the Covid pandemic, although it recovered in a couple of months.

If you’re worried about the future of the economy and its impact on you you can act now. 

You can consider:

  • Make a budget and reassess any short-term goals
  • Clearing any high-interest debt
  • Preparing an emergency fund

The best way to beat inflation is to put your money somewhere where it can grow.

By investing your money in a diversified, long-term pension fund, the return on investment that comes from your pension could outstrip inflation, helping preserve the value of your hard-earned money and leaving you with more than you began with.

Of course, investing can be a little scary. Saving into a pension involves risk, and the value of your pot can go down as well as up, more so in the short term. But that doesn’t mean people should be put off investing their money.

Truth is that leaving your money in a current account or under your mattress isn’t as safe as it might first seem. In fact, you’re actually losing money as inflation eats away at your savings. 

What’s Hot in NFT Market? 5 Trends from Top 2022 NFT Events

Despite crypto being on a downturn, builders are optimistic about the future, with each NFT meetup gathering more and more creators looking to network, discuss ideas, and talk over novel use cases.

Following the crypto market downturn, skeptics keep painting a gloomy picture of the future. However, Indrė Viltrakytė, leading the WEB3 fashion venture ‘The Rebels’, has shared that market volatility has not dampened the optimism of the builder community. Having participated in the hottest NFT events of 2022, she has shared firsthand insights reflecting the prevailing mood of excitement and the main trends that resonated across different meetups.

Events – a backdrop for networking

While most of the NFT conferences’ agendas have an impressive line-up of visionary topics, often they play only a secondary role. The main selling point remains the opportunity to network and blend into the community.

“Since the market is nascent, there are still a lot more questions than there are answers. Therefore, everyone is eager to bounce off ideas of one another, which helps bring clarity and focus to their work,” Viltrakytė commented.

Keeping the party going

Despite some painting a ‘doom and gloom’ future for all-things-crypto, Viltrakytė says the NFT creator community remains optimistic about the industry’s future, and it clearly shows in the attitude with which they approach discussions or present ideas.

“Builders that continue traveling to different events to network, learn, exchange ideas as well as present their own are in high spirits and not at all shaken up about the current state of crypto. Everyone is bullish, despite short-term market uncertainty, and being certain that the ‘dark clouds will pass’ keeps the creativity flowing.”

Rising number of women builders

In 2021, women accounted for only 16% of the NFT art market. However, the scale is slowly leveling out — Viltrakytė noted a noticeable increase of women attendees in NFT events, keen to present their ideas. In some events, women even outnumbered men, showing their growing interest in WEB3 art and its use cases.

“Not that long ago, the industry had a strong label of being a ‘boys only’ club. Now, albeit slowly, but the predominance of a single gender is clearly diminishing, which is incredibly exciting for a few reasons. First, women are proactively killing the stereotype that they aren’t tech-savvy, and secondly, the more diverse ideas are floating around in the market, the more innovative products are likely to be launched because of it,” she commented.

Less chit-chat – more discussion

While most of the NFT events strive to strike a work-play balance, Viltrakytė said flashing lights and glitter paled before workshops and discussions. She noted a few experiences that stood out, one of which was an entire week of mini panels held at the ‘We are Web3’ conference, where women could gather and learn.

“I think this will strongly impact how these events are held next year; less music – more spaces to discuss ideas and network with those who can help bring them to life.”

Digital fashion on the world stage

Currently, the topic of WEB3 fashion and digital wearables stands out as one of the key narratives in the NFT scene. According to Viltrakytė, fashion will be an important link between physical and virtual experiences, streamlining entry into the virtual world and helping to create a true-to-self digital identity.

“Digital wearables will play a crucial role in virtual worlds, as they will enable users to create avatars through which they can experience the metaverse. In the grand scheme of things, WEB3 will redefine the fashion industry as we know it in a variety of verticals, including self-expression, social networking, industry’s sustainability, its creative potential, and others,” Viltrakytė commented, noting that the curiosity to explore these possibilities is what led to co-founding ‘The Rebels’.

“WEB3 and NFTs have opened many new doors for both established fashion houses and emerging designers. It is very exciting to be part of the force shaping the future of the industry with ideas that, not that long ago, seemed like science fiction but now are becoming the new reality.”

Three Leading Reasons why Corporate Fraud Slips Through the Net

Three Leading Reasons why Corporate Fraud Slips Through the Net

Corporations are formed to create value for shareholders. They do this by carrying out business activities that take inputs (such as labour, materials and innovation) and create high-value outputs that generate a profit. Administrative functions such as finance, serve the primary business by accurately recording and reporting the results of the business. Using this timely information, managers can make investment decisions and change strategies to optimise business operations.

However, the finance function isn’t infallible and despite being staffed by qualified individuals, corporate fraud can occasionally occur.

Corporate fraud can cover a range of misdeeds including misstating the financial health of the business (either by hiding liabilities or overstating sales or assets), and theft of assets, known formally as misappropriation or embezzlement.

The fraud triangle is the theory that states three conditions must be in place for a fraud to occur. In this article, we’ll examine the fraud triangle to understand why corporate fraud can slip through the net.

An introduction to the fraud triangle

The fraud triangle is visualised as a triangle with three points, representing the following factors:

Incentive
Opportunity
Rationalisation

Incentive refers to the pressure that an employee is exerted under that ultimately drives them to step over the line and commit fraud. This pressure could come from within an organisation (via a line manager or CEO), or from outside factors such as needing cash to pay an aggressive creditor.

People don’t commit a crime and take such risks with their liberty when left to their own devices. Usually, there is an extraneous source of pressure that makes the risk logical or worthwhile.

Opportunity refers to the means through which an employee could possibly commit fraud. A shop floor cleaner is unlikely to perpetuate corporate fraud because they have no means to do so. In contrast, a senior accountant exercises much control over accounting entries that are posted into the accounting system, and this represents one opportunity to act unethically to gain some form of advantage.

Rationalisation addresses the human element of committing fraud; namely, why did the individual feel justified in betraying their employer or the company shareholders? Interviews with convicted corporate fraud felons have usually revealed how the fraudster rationalised what they were doing as the ‘right thing’.

Perhaps they had become indoctrinated by the company\’s purpose and therefore understand that any steps, no matter how illegal, were for the greater good if they enabled the company to continue its mission. Or the rationalisation could be more malicious; i.e. the employee felt they were owed something by the company. Perhaps they felt entitled to plunder cash from the firm after years of being denied pay rises and being passed over for promotion.

Now you have understood the fraud triangle, you will have insights into the different necessary failings of a company that must occur to let a corporate fraud slip through the net. If a company can reduce the pressure placed on employees to meet financial targets, remove or limit the opportunity for employees to commit fraud (by segregating duties, for example, which removes the power from a single individual to undermine the system), and give employees no reason to feel such ill-will towards the firm that they may rationalise stealing from them, then they will reduce the likelihood of corporate fraud.

3 Leading Reasons why Corporate Fraud Slips Through the Net

Three Leading Reasons why Corporate Fraud Slips Through the Net

Corporations are formed to create value for shareholders. They do this by carrying out business activities that take inputs (such as labour, materials and innovation) and create high-value outputs that generate a profit. Administrative functions such as finance, serve the primary business by accurately recording and reporting the results of the business. Using this timely information, managers can make investment decisions and change strategies to optimise business operations.

However, the finance function isn’t infallible and despite being staffed by qualified individuals, corporate fraud can occasionally occur.

Corporate fraud can cover a range of misdeeds including misstating the financial health of the business (either by hiding liabilities or overstating sales or assets), and theft of assets, known formally as misappropriation or embezzlement.

The fraud triangle is the theory that states three conditions must be in place for a fraud to occur. In this article, we’ll examine the fraud triangle to understand why corporate fraud can slip through the net.

An introduction to the fraud triangle

The fraud triangle is visualised as a triangle with three points, representing the following factors:

Incentive
Opportunity
Rationalisation

Incentive refers to the pressure that an employee is exerted under that ultimately drives them to step over the line and commit fraud. This pressure could come from within an organisation (via a line manager or CEO), or from outside factors such as needing cash to pay an aggressive creditor.

People don’t commit a crime and take such risks with their liberty when left to their own devices. Usually, there is an extraneous source of pressure that makes the risk logical or worthwhile.

Opportunity refers to the means through which an employee could possibly commit fraud. A shop floor cleaner is unlikely to perpetuate corporate fraud because they have no means to do so. In contrast, a senior accountant exercises much control over accounting entries that are posted into the accounting system, and this represents one opportunity to act unethically to gain some form of advantage.

Rationalisation addresses the human element of committing fraud; namely, why did the individual feel justified in betraying their employer or the company shareholders? Interviews with convicted corporate fraud felons have usually revealed how the fraudster rationalised what they were doing as the ‘right thing’.

Perhaps they had become indoctrinated by the company\’s purpose and therefore understand that any steps, no matter how illegal, were for the greater good if they enabled the company to continue its mission. Or the rationalisation could be more malicious; i.e. the employee felt they were owed something by the company. Perhaps they felt entitled to plunder cash from the firm after years of being denied pay rises and being passed over for promotion.

Now you have understood the fraud triangle, you will have insights into the different necessary failings of a company that must occur to let a corporate fraud slip through the net. If a company can reduce the pressure placed on employees to meet financial targets, remove or limit the opportunity for employees to commit fraud (by segregating duties, for example, which removes the power from a single individual to undermine the system), and give employees no reason to feel such ill-will towards the firm that they may rationalise stealing from them, then they will reduce the likelihood of corporate fraud.

What Is An FHA Loan, And Who Is It Designed For?


Image Source: Pixabay

A Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan is a loan insured by the organization to protect lenders from risk. FHA loans are private mortgage loans that the Federal government backs. The government backing allows lenders to offer FHA loans with terms and rates favourable to the borrowers.

FHA loans are designed for home buyers, especially first-time buyers with poor credit and little to no savings. You can use an FHA home loan to finance or refinance a single-family home, multi-family home, condominium, or manufactured home. The following are several things you should know about FHA loans:

How A FHA Loan Works

As of 2022, if you have a credit score higher than 580, you can borrow as much as 96.5% of a home’s value via an FHA loan. You will have to pay the remaining 3.5% as the down payment. You can get an FHA loan if you have a credit score of 500 to 579. However, you will have to pay a 10% down payment. The FHA does not offer any money for the loan. The bank or financial institution is the one that lends the money. Only an FHA-approved lender can issue an FHA-insured loan. FHA loan borrowers are encouraged to get mortgage insurance and pay the premiums to the FHA. The FHA guarantees the loan making it easier to get bank approval due to the reduced risk.

Types of FHA Loans

There are various types of FHA loans, but the following are the most common:

Basic or Traditional Home Mortgage 203 (b)You can use a basic home mortgage to purchase or refinance a primary residence with a minimum down payment. However, you can’t buy a house that needs more than $5000 worth of repairs with the loan.

203(k) Rehab Mortgage

You can use the 203(k) Rehab Mortgage to finance a fixer-upper, and the repair costs must be more than $5000. On the other hand, the repairs cannot take more than six months to complete.

Home Equity Conversion Mortgage

The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage is a reverse mortgage that allows senior citizens (over 62 years) to exchange equity for cash. Most people use it to supplement their retirement funds or income. The borrowers must retain the property as their primary residence, pay taxes, and maintain it.

Energy Efficient Mortgage Program

You can use a mortgage to make home improvements that make the property more energy efficient. The property must undergo a professional evaluation for you to qualify for the loan.

Growing-Equity Mortgage

The Growing-Equity Mortgage or Section 245(a) Graduated Payment Mortgage is designed for borrowers who expect an increase in income. It has a low initial monthly payment which increases over time. Section 245 (a) of the National Housing Act created this loan. You can only use the loan for single-unit primary-family homes, but you can select one of five different plans with varying duration and pay rises. An FHA mortgage calculator is a powerful real estate tool that can help you stay on top of your mortgage payments.

FHA Loan Limits

There are limits on every type of FHA loan, especially pertaining to the amount. As of 2022, the FHA loan limits are a minimum of $420,680 to a maximum of $970,800. The minimum loan limit is meant for low-cost areas and vice versa. Different states and counties have varying real estate prices, so moving to a cheaper area may afford you a better chance of getting a loan for excellent housing.

The FHA insures mortgage loans from private lenders, helping borrowers get favourable terms and rates. Above are some things you should know about FHA loans. Educating yourself to learn as much as possible about FHA loans to get the best deal and ensure you can pay it back would be best.

4 Ways to Build Wealth Through Well-being 

“Health is wealth,” as the famous saying goes, and many believe this to be true, especially in recent years when prices for medical care and health maintenance services have continued to rise. Any serious illness or injury can significantly impact a person or a family’s finances. Hence, in the long run, it’s better to invest in caring for one’s health and well-being and prevent any health issues.  

Protecting yourself and your family from sicknesses or ailments is an indirect yet effective way of building wealth. You’ll be able to save a substantial amount of money by preventing hospital visits, inpatient treatment, and other complex medical procedures. Then, the money saved can be allocated to paying for other expenditures or can even be invested to earn profits. Overall, staying fit and healthy is an excellent way to protect your earnings and improve your finances.  

If you’d like to know how you can build wealth through well-being, continue reading this article.  

1. Invest In Preventive Care 

Many adults who work regular jobs lead a sedentary lifestyle where they spend hours sitting at a desk, which experts believe is harmful to one’s well-being. For one, prolonged sitting contributes to weight gain, muscle loss, and chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain. However, it can be challenging for many to make the necessary changes to protect their health.  

If you have the same situation, you can consider investing in preventive care to build wealth. For instance, consulting with Whitepine’s Brampton chiropractor can help alleviate pain and provide treatment as required. With preventative health maintenance, you’ll be able to address issues early on and avoid expensive medical bills for severe illnesses and complications that chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain can bring.  

Your chiropractor can also help you prevent injuries and improve your body movements. Overall, you’ll be able to function better at work and home, allowing you to perform your role better and become more productive.  

2. Improve Your Nutrition 

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to care for your health is by improving your nutrition. For one, having the right amount of nutrients allows you to have the energy you need to work through the day. Your immune system, which protects your body against ailments, also needs vitamins and minerals from food to function properly. In case of sickness, the food you eat can also influence the speed of your recovery. Hence, many doctors recommend focusing on good nutrition to take care of your well-being.  

Improving your food intake is a great way to build wealth in that it helps you make the right food choices and spend wisely on your nutrition. By doing so, you’ll be able to save more money and become healthier as well. 

3. Engage In Physical Activity 

You can also consider regular exercise an excellent way to invest in your well-being. Engaging in physical activities strengthens bones and muscles, enhances blood circulation, boosts cardiovascular and respiratory functions, and improves the immune system.  

Apart from its contribution to internal health, you’ll also be able to manage your body weight better by working out regularly. Doing so will improve your physique and make it easier for you to perform your daily activities. Thus, it’s wise to invest time, energy, and resources in regular exercise.  

4. Care For Your Mental And Emotional Wellness 

Besides caring for your physical health, you’ll also need to invest in your mental and emotional well-being to have a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. Being mentally and emotionally healthy is essential to a person’s quality of life, and its absence can lead to being unproductive, demotivated, or self-destructive. 

In extreme cases, mental disorders can significantly impact a person’s ability to earn money. Moreover, severe mental ailments require extensive medical treatment, which comes at a substantial cost. Altogether, your mental and emotional well-being can influence your financial status, so it’s wise to invest in its care and protection.  

Here are some of the ways you can invest in your mental and emotional wellness: 

  • Pursue hobbies and interests that provide mental stimulation. 
  • Seek professional counseling and therapy services.  
  • Create healthy social media habits, such as setting a daily screentime limit and managing your interactions.  
  • Set aside time to connect with your support systems, such as your family, friends, and loved ones. 
  • Discover techniques and strategies to manage stressful situations in everyday life effectively.  

Your emotional and mental health significantly impacts the quality of your life, your ability to care for yourself and your family, and your ability to provide for those you care about financially. Thus, investing in your well-being can be considered an act of building wealth.  

Conclusion 

Good health helps you achieve your goals, earn a living, and manage your finances. Moreover, it also allows you to provide for your family and secure their future. Therefore, investing in your overall well-being is an excellent way to build wealth for yourself and your loved ones.  

How Much Do You Need to Start Trading Forex?

Forex trading is becoming an increasingly popular way to make money, but it can be daunting for those who are just starting out.

One of the most common questions newcomers to the Forex market ask is how much money they need to start trading. The answer, unfortunately, is not a simple one. The amount of money you need to trade Forex will depend on a number of factors, including your experience level, your risk tolerance, and the type of account you open.

However, there are a few general guidelines that can help you determine how much money you need to start trading Forex. In this article, we explain what is the minimal amount of money you will need to start trading Forex.

Forex Trading for Beginners

Trading Forex can be a daunting prospect for beginners, but with the right approach, it can be a profitable and exciting activity. One of the key things to remember as a beginner is that trading Forex is all about risk management. This means knowing how much you can afford to lose on a trade and sticking to that amount. It\’s also important to have realistic expectations when starting out in forex trading. Don\’t expect to make huge profits straight away – focus on building up your account gradually.

For beginner Forex traders, see xm review to get started in the market. Unlike a standard account, which is denominated in US dollars, a cent account is denominated in cents. This means that each pip is worth only a fraction of a cent, making it much easier to manage risk. In addition, many brokers offer cent accounts with lower minimum deposits than standard accounts, making them more accessible to beginner traders.

The Minimum Amount To Start Forex Trading Now

If you must start trading right away, you can begin with $100 but for a little more flexibility, you will need a minimum of $500. This will give you enough buying power to trade a standard lot, which is 100,000 units of currency. If you can afford to trade a larger position, you may be able to trade a mini lot (10,000 units) or even a micro lot (1,000 units). However, it is important to remember that the Forex market is highly leveraged, which means that even a small movement in the markets can have a significant impact on your account balance. As such, it is important to use risk management tools such as stop-loss orders to protect your account from excessive losses. With proper risk management in place, you can trade Forex with a relatively small amount of capital.

Conclusion

It is always helpful to start small and gradually increase your position size as you gain experience and become more comfortable with the risks involved in forex trading. By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that you have the capital you need to start trading Forex successfully.

4 Tips on How to Invest during a Bearish Market

4 Tips on How to Invest During a Bearish Market

The term “spirit animals” is commonly associated with spirituality and tradition. In many cultures, a person’s journey or characteristics may be likened to that of a particular animal, prompting the said individual to adopt the said beast as their spirit animal. But it’s not just people who find themselves sharing similar values to animals.

There are also financial events and activities that many people closely associate with real and imaginary animals. Experts sometimes use spirit animals to make a close approximation of the ways that human emotion can drive the movements of the economy. The market can be typically described in this sense as either a bull or a bear market. For the purpose of this discussion, we’ll be focusing on the latter. But what exactly is a bear market, and how can one make the most of this particular situation? 

What Is a Bearish Market?

Bear markets refer to a prolonged period of price declines, during which even average stocks fall about 20% after a recent high. It’s a challenge to sell at a profit during this slump, so it’s no wonder that it’s often accompanied by negative investor sentiment and confidence. There are a few ideas why a bear market is called such. One is the association between hibernating bears and the decline in prices, while another is more closely tied to how bears attack their prey, which is by swiping their paws downward. 

While a bearish market can sound like bad news for current and would-be investors, that’s not entirely the case. As always, a seemingly unfortunate situation can offer opportunities to intrepid individuals. Investors who want to maximize their chances of success during this time should keep the following in mind:

Take Advantage of Low Market Prices

Bear markets tend to rattle investors, who will then attempt to cut their losses by selling their assets at low prices. However, if you have funds set aside for investment, this is an opportune time to buy stocks or other assets like cryptocurrencies. For instance, if you plan on investing in Monero (XMR), you can add more digital coins to your XMR wallet since the price for each coin in a bear market is much more affordable compared to other times.

The same can be said for other assets like stocks. However, where you put your money is a decision that you should seriously think about. What is your investment horizon and how much are you aiming to get out of your investment? Knowing the answer to these questions will help you decide which the best channel for growing your money is. 

Use Dollar-Cost Averaging

When prices are low, it can be extremely tempting to dump your money on assets that you’ve long had your eye on, but it’s best to consider things carefully before doing so. Don’t let the excitement get to you, and choose to approach your investment decisions practically. You can do this by using dollar-cost averaging. This investing strategy requires you to allot the same amount of money to a particular investment for a set amount of time, regardless of how much the price of the asset is.

Let’s say you’re interested in a particular company and its stock prices plummeted, giving you the chance to buy more stocks for less. Instead of making an impulsive decision like this, you can choose to dedicate USD 50 to purchasing stocks every week. Commit to it and practice it consistently, no matter if the number of stocks you can buy with the same amount of money increases or decreases. Using such a strategy will enable you to take advantage of market dips without losing your liquidity in such an uncertain time. 

Account for Risk and Your Investment Horizon

Bear markets tend to last for quite a while–a year, give or take. Given this knowledge and your current progress in achieving your financial goals, where should you invest your funds? Ideally, your investment option should be able to bounce back after a year, but it shouldn’t take such a long time before your investment reaches your target numbers. If you’re close to retirement and are depending on your portfolio to support you after you’ve celebrated this milestone, perhaps it’s not a good idea to risk your retirement funds when you’re not quite sure when the market will recover. But if time is in your favor and you still have a lot of years to earn back your capital in case your investment doesn’t pay off, then you might still be able to afford risks that would seem imprudent for older adults. 

Continue to Diversify Your Assets

Be it a bear or a bull market, diversifying your assets will continue to work in your favor. If you’re still young, it can be a smart idea for you to put your capital on assets that are projected to grow in value in a few years’ time. Look into dividend-paying stocks, the profit from which can help you overcome these challenging times and can go toward increasing your capital in other types of investments. Putting your money on bonds can also be a good idea, as this type of asset tends to move in the opposite direction as the stock market. Having these additional assets in your portfolio can help you have a lifeline in case the market’s movement goes against your expectations.

Keep these tips in mind when making investments during this bearish period in the market. By making smart decisions during these uncertain but opportunity-filled times, you’ll have a better chance of growing your money and maximizing the payoff of your current investment.

How To Enjoy Life While Building Wealth

Building wealth and enjoying life are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it’s possible to build wealth and still enjoy your time when you’re young. It’s discouraging to think that all you need to do is work so that someday you can rest. What if you can balance rest, fun, and work, all while building the wealth you want and need? Here’s how you can enjoy life while building wealth.

Know Your Priorities

You have to know what’s important to you, what’s not, and how much time and effort it will take to get from where you are to where you want to be. If your goal is long-term wealth-building, retiring early, or something else, it’s vital that you look at the things that will help you get there.

Evaluate what you want in life. Maybe it’s more time to work on hobbies or perhaps it’s more time with family and friends. Look at the things you could live without. Do you really need 8 subscription plans for watching TV? Or could you get away with just one? Consider what you need in order to make your dreams come true. It might not necessarily be a dollar amount, but the ability to do certain things like taking vacations every year, playing casino table games without breaking the bank, or buying groceries without needing to look in the bank account.

Understand Your Cash Flow

Next, you need to understand your cash flow. Cash flow is the difference between how much money you earn and how much money you spend. It’s a simple concept, but understanding it is crucial to your long-term wealth-building plan. The measure of cash flow comes from subtracting your expenses from your income. This number can tell us whether we can afford investments like stocks or real estate or whether we should pay off debts like student loans and credit card debt first before making any further moves with our money.

Live Below Your Means

This sounds generic, but it’s critical. Wealthy people learned how to live below their means or how to make more. One of the most common questions of people who want to build wealth is how to do it without any savings. The truth is that you can live below your means and still enjoy life on less than you make. You don’t have to live paycheck-to-paycheck or put yourself into debt just because others are doing it. In fact, there are many ways to save money so that you can afford the things you want in life without having a large amount of disposable income right now.

Be Diligent With Your Finances

The first thing you need to do is make a budget. This is perhaps the most important step in financial planning, and it’s also the one that people tend to neglect. In order to live below your means and build wealth, you must first know what your current income is and where it’s going each month. You can use an online tool like Mint to track your spending habits. It will show you how much money is coming in every month as well as where it’s going.

Next, pay yourself first. The idea of paying yourself first means taking a portion of every paycheck to go directly into savings before anything else gets taken out. If this seems impossible at first, try gradually increasing what percentage of income goes into savings until you’re reaching the amount that feels comfortable for you, and never dip below this number.

Invest Your Money Wisely

Wealthy people also know how to invest. When you want to have fun while you’re young and you want to build wealth, you can do both if you have a good budget in place and a plan. Investing is a great way to build your wealth. It can also be fun, but that depends on you and how you approach it. There are plenty of ways to invest. Use your company 401K match if possible to maximize the amount of extra money you put in. You could also use apps like Robinhood to try out investing in the stock market as well.

Conclusion

None of these things require you to stop enjoying life. You do need to prioritize your income, avoid debt if possible, and look for ways to invest. When you do these things, you’ll find you have more money for fun and for building wealth.

Wealth & Finance Magazine Announces the Winners of the 2022 FinTech Awards

United Kingdom, 2022- Wealth & Finance magazine have announced the winners of the 2022 FinTech Awards.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the financial landscape has been dominated by long-standing brick and mortar establishments for decades. However, over the last decade, we have seen a new wave of business take centre stage – those that have capitalised on new best technological practices and developments to deliver a better, more mobile, more client centric service. Of course, there are others who have planted themselves at the crux of this innovation, reinvigorating the financial landscape through exceptional tech.

Now in its sixth year, Wealth & Finance magazine’s FinTech Awards was launched to recognise the firms that are redefining finance and banking for the modern age, and for the ever-changing modern consumer.  

At launch, Awards Coordinator Dean Taylor commented: “It has been a delight to host this year’s edition of the FinTech Awards. I offer a huge congratulations to all of those recognised and hope you all have a fantastic rest of the year ahead.”

To learn more about our deserving award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the Wealth & Finance website (http://www.wealthandfinance-news.com/) where you can access the winners supplement.

ENDS

Note to editors.

About Wealth & Finance International

Wealth & Finance International is a quarterly publication dedicated to delivering high quality informative and up-to-the-minute global business content. It is published by AI Global Media Ltd, a publishing house that has reinvigorated corporate finance news and reporting.

Developed by a highly skilled team of writers, editors, business insiders and regional industry experts, Wealth & Finance International reports from every corner of the globe to give readers the inside track on the need-to-know news and issues affecting banking, finance, regulation, risk and wealth management in their region.

About AI Global Media

Since 2010 AI Global Media has been committed to creating engaging B2B content that informs our readers and allows them to market their business to a global audience. We create content for and about firms across a range of industries.

Today, we have 12 unique brands, each of which serves a specific industry or region. Each brand covers the latest news in its sector and publishes a digital magazine and newsletter which is read by a global audience. Our flagship brand, Acquisition International, distributes a monthly digital magazine to a global circulation of 108,000, who are treated to a range of features and news pieces on the latest developments in the global corporate market.

Alongside this, we have a luxury-lifestyle magazine, LUXlife, which appeals to a range of high-net-worth individuals, offering them insight into the latest products, experiences and innovations to ensure they can live the high-life to its fullest.

Awards

Showcasing the companies who have worked hard in striving to give their clients the best service and products is important to us. We know and understand how tough making a successful business can be, and so everyone at AI Global Media takes great pride in our awards programmes.

Our awards programmes run across each brand and are completely free to enter, take part in and win. All our winners are offered complementary marketing packages, meaning all businesses despite their size and marketing budget can be rewarded. Additionally, we offer a wider range of marketing materials which winners can purchase for extra coverage on our platform including: cover features, magazine articles and newsletter inclusions.

A Guide to Managing Your Money: Moving House

Finances are a critical component of buying property across every stage of the process. When you’re moving house, knowing your finances are managed and in good order takes some of the stress away. But how exactly do you manage your money when moving to a new property? Keep on reading to learn some useful tips.

Create an expense tracking spreadsheet

In the weeks and even months leading up to your moving date, curate a spreadsheet that allows you to track your expenses. This allows you to manage your spending and, if you have a budget for various expenses, you can track whether or not that budget has been kept to. If you notice your expenses going above what you expected, you then know to cut back on spending in other areas.

If you want to work out the average cost you can expect to incur when moving properties, there are many useful expense calculators online. This is one of many examples.

Take the time to declutter your belongings

Depending on how long you’ve lived in your current property, it’s likely you’ve collected a lot of clutter over the months and years. Decluttering your property in the lead-up to the move has many benefits. For one, you can sell your unwanted belongings to bolster your finances a little more as long as the items are in good condition still. Also, the less clutter you have the less stuff you have to bring with you. This means smaller removal fees if you’re hiring the assistance of moving experts.

Book in advance to remove blindsiding risk

Leaving the booking of removal experts or other services until the last minute risks being blindsided by extortionate fees or unavailability. If you want to manage your finances well, book as far ahead as possible to ensure you get the price and date you want. You’re also more likely to be offered a better deal for services, especially if you shop around. This also goes for finding energy suppliers or insurance deals.

Other money managing tips

There are many other ways you can manage and save money when moving house, including:

  • Pack up your home yourself
  • Move belongings without a removal firm
  • Run down your food supplies in the lead-up to moving
  • Stick to agreed moving dates to avoid incurred fees
  • Clean your old property yourself
  • Choose the cheapest day(s) to move if possible

 

Browse Wealth & Finance International for more

If you’re looking for more useful insight into how to better manage your money, give Wealth & Finance International a browse today. We’re committed to providing those in the investment sector current and insightful news to capitalise on and transform the way they approach money. Take a look at our articles on banking, finances and more today to get started, or subscribe for quarterly investment information straight to your door.

12 Stocks Bought by Freedom Holding CEO, Timur Turlov

Timur Turlov, CEO of Freedom Holding Corp., gives investors an inside look into his personal investment portfolio. 

“The stock market correction which has come to pass in recent months is approaching its final phase. This opens up a unique opportunity for investors to buy the stocks that have lost significant value, but retained fundamental reasons for future growth and development”, said Timur Turlov, CEO of Freedom Holding Corp. 

Turlov has gathered a portfolio of 12 companies, each with a potentially interesting investment idea behind it. The expected investment period is between six months and three years with the expected return being 81%. 

Companies in Timur Turlov’s portfolio

Snowflake Inc. (SNOW) provides a cloud-based platform that consolidates data in a single source to be able to capture valuable business insights, create applications, and manage and share information. Snowflake remains one of the fastest-growing companies in the market. With a market cap of $45bn (£37bn) and a growth potential of 119%, the target price for one share is $310 (£253). Snowflake has steadily doubled its revenues in recent years and expects revenue growth of 94% to 96% in 2022. 

Crowdstrike Holdings Inc. (CRWD.US) develops information security software and is an industry leader in the $55bn (£45bn) market. Crowdstrike offers cloud-based endpoint security solutions on its Falcon platform. The services are provided on a subscription basis using a SaaS model. Crowdstrike is continuing to perform strongly, exceeding market expectations. In Q4, its revenues rose by 62.7% year-on-year to $431m (£351m) and the average rate of return reached a record $217m (£177m). For FY2023, the company expects revenues of $2.13 to $2.16bn (£1.7 to £1.8bn). Crowdstrike has a market cap of $35bn (£29 bn) with 57% growth potential. The target price for one share is $271 (£221). 

Datadog Inc. (DDOG.US) operates a monitoring and analytics platform for software developers and IT departments. The company had a strong performance in Q1 and is forecasting strong results for 2022. In Q4, Datadog’s revenue grew by 83% year on year to $363m (£296m), aided by the company’s expanding partnership with Amazon Web Services. As of March 31, 2022, Datadog had 2,250 customers with recurring annual revenues of $100,000 (£81,545) or more, up 60% from a year earlier. Datadog has a market cap of $32bn (£26bn) with a growth potential of 72% and a target price of $169 (£138). 

Zscaler Inc. (ZS.US) is a provider of cloud-based information security services with a growth rate above 60%. The company’s Q2 revenue grew by 62.8% year-on-year to $255.56m (£184m), beating expectations of $13.69m (£11.17m). For fiscal 2022, the company forecasts revenue in the range of $1.045 to $1.05bn (£85 to £86m) against expectations of $1.01 billion (£82m) and earnings per share (EPS) in the range of $0.54 to $0.56 (£0.44 to £0.46). Zscaler has a market cap of $21bn (£17bn) with a growth potential of 110% and a target price of $320 (£261). 

Enphase Energy Inc. (ENPH.US) is a supplier of power systems for the solar energy industry. It is a profitable company with high margins and products that outperform competitors. Enphase supplies microinverters that enhance the safety and performance of solar energy systems. The company also has digitally backed home energy storage. Enphase reported Q1 EPS of $0.79 (£0.65), beating market expectations by $0.10 (£0.08), while revenue rose by 46% to a record $441m (£360) for the quarter. The revenue forecast for the current quarter is $490m (£400m) to $520m (£424m). Enphase has a market cap of $20bn (£16bn) with a growth potential of 26% and a target price of $226 (£184). 

ZoomInfo Technologies Inc. (ZI.US) is a developer of an analytics platform for marketing companies. New product launches and geographic expansions are helping ZoomInfo maintain strong revenue growth. In Q1, the company’s revenue grew 57.7% year on year to $242m (£197bn). In February 2022, ZoomInfo launched a new marketing platform, MarketingOS for helping marketers with customer targeting. The company also completed the acquisition of Comparably and Dogpatch Advisors this year. ZoomInfo has a market cap of $17bn (£14bn) with a growth potential of 115% and a target price of $74 (£60). 

MongoDB Inc. (MDB.US) is the leading cloud platform involved in developing and delivering general-purpose databases. MongoDB is strengthening its edge over competitors by expanding its relationship with Amazon Web Services and building applications using a microservices architecture. MongoDB databases are increasingly used for complex transactions, which should increase the company’s overall addressable market.  MongoDB’s revenue grew by 55.8% in Q4, with subscription revenue up by 58%. The company has a market cap of $17m (£14m) with a growth potential of 71% and a target price of $466 (£379). 

Bill.com Holdings Inc. (BILL.US) is a provider of cloud-based software that simplifies and automates complex financial transactions for small and medium-sized businesses. The company continues to show strong growth, up by 179.4% in Q3 FY 2022. By the end of the quarter, the company had 146,600 customers and $55bn (£45bn) in payments processed. For Q4, Bill.com expects revenue in the range of $182.3m to $183.3m (£148m to £149m) versus expectations of $168.77m (£169m). Bill.com has a market cap of $11bn (£9bn) and a growth potential of 113% and a target price of $241 (£196). 

Maravai LifeSiences Inc. (MRVI.US) operates in the natural sciences. The company manufactures products that enable the development of drugs, new vaccines, and diagnostics while supporting medical research in the US and around the world. The company’s key market is expected to show continued growth. The global gene therapy market was valued at $3.8bn (£3bn) in 2019 and is forecast to reach $13bn (£11bn) by 2024. Maravai has a market cap of $8bn (£6.5bn) and a growth potential of 63% and a target price of $44 (£36).  

Avalara Inc. (AVLR.US) offers cloud-based transactional tax compliance solutions worldwide. Although Avalara has achieved annual revenues of nearly $1bn (£81m) the company still manages to grow that figure by more than 30% year on year – a testament to the large size of its market and the newness of its technology. More than 90% of Avalara’s base revenue comes from subscriptions, which provides the company with a very stable income. Avalara Inc. has a market cap of $6bn (£5bn) and a growth potential of 70% and a target price of $124 (£101).

Shockwave Medical Inc. (SWAV.US) develops and supplies technology for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. The company shows triple-digit revenue growth and revises its outlook for the year. In Q1, its revenue grew by 193.4% year-on-year. In February 2021, Shockwave launched a new coronary product, which has become a revenue growth driver. Shockwave Medical Inc. has a market cap of $5bn (£4bn) and a growth potential of 28% and a target price of $189 (£154).

Taskus Inc. (TASK.US) provides outsourced digital business services for fast-growing technology companies to represent, protect and grow their brands. Taskus continues to show rapid revenue growth, rising from 34% in Q2 2020 to 56.8% in Q1 of 2022. The retention rate in 2021 was 141%. Taskus Inc. has a market cap of $2bn (£1.6bn) and a growth potential of 130% and a target price of $39 (£32).

The importance of regulation in business

Regulations help maintain order in society. While an Act is a law, regulations are supplementary guidelines, helping you to apply the principles of the law. This is important for issues such as health and safety, but it can also help in business. The financial world is complex, and regulations are required to avoid disasters such as the 2008 banking crisis. Below, we explore the importance of regulation in business.

Why regulations are created

Regulations are created to make it easier to interpret the laws of a state. This can make it easier to settle disputes and can create a better society. For instance, if business laws were left ambiguous, it would be easier for organisations to find loopholes and damage society for an ulterior motive. Alternatively, for smaller businesses, regulations are a useful way of sticking to the law and ensuring that they can grow and prosper.

Examples of different regulations

By seeing examples of different regulations, it’s easier to understand the purpose they serve. For instance, certain machinery has regulations dictating their noise output and environmental impact. If you buy yourself a self-propelled lawn mower, this could affect you. However, there are plenty of self-propelled lawn mowers which adhere to these regulations. Outdoor machinery has the following regulations: they require a standard label indicating its guaranteed sound power level, technical documentation showing this has been measured correctly and a Declaration of Conformity.

In business, there are plenty of regulations too. These are controlled by the Financial Conduct Authority with the intent of protecting consumers, keeping the industry stable and promoting beneficial competition between different providers. One of the regulations that was implemented since 2000 relates to the 2008 financial crisis. Since then, the UK has regulated the separation of certain investment banking activities from retail banking activities. The goal of this was to make banks less likely to fail in the future.

How these laws prevent a wide range of societal issues

One of the main benefits of regulation in business is that it prevents a wide range of societal issues. Mainly, they attempt to ensure that banks don’t fail. In this situation, a financial crisis can occur, leading to many people losing their jobs and the cost of living rising across the country. While it would be easier if banks looked after themselves, history has shown that the drive to make profit can sometimes lead to poor decisions that result in failures. By implementing regulations and laws, the state can try and prevent this from happening.

Regulations can help protect us in many aspects of society, from banking to health and safety. Regardless of your profession, it’s worth brushing up on regulations to ensure you’re sticking to the law.

Securing Your Smart Home: Cybersecurity Tips For Your Property

Cybercrime is on the rise and criminals are becoming more sophisticated. This is unfortunately a reality that means that individuals, businesses and organisations need to take close care with their cybersecurity.

It might be the case that you are used to the idea of seeing phishing emails in your inbox and understand how to set passwords that are impossible to crack – but you might not be aware that increasing cybercriminals are targeting our homes themselves. 

Indeed, there can be no doubt that cybercriminals are consistently looking at property as a potentially lucrative target. 86% of property professionals say they are concerned about the potential for cyberattacks. Criminals see the opportunity to target properties whether it is during transactions, or simply by attacking the devices in the homes of private individuals. 

With homes containing more smart devices than ever before, there are naturally a lot of ways that criminals can find weak points in your system and exploit them. Internet-connected gadgets and appliances – from televisions to fridges – are a big part of how we now live our lives, so it is vital that we do everything we can to minimise the risk. 

In this article, we look at how to take the necessary steps to secure your smart home.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication 

If you aren’t aware of the term ‘two-factor authentication’ (2FA), you have still probably used it. For example, it might be the case that when you log in to your bank account you need to provide a password as well as a code that is sent to your mobile phone. This simply adds an extra layer of security – if a criminal was able to compromise your password, that wouldn’t be enough to get them into your account. 

2FA can be used on a number of different devices and it is really worth opting for wherever possible. The kind of smart devices you have around your home probably don’t need to be accessed very often, so the change in terms of slowing down the login process really shouldn’t affect you significantly. 

Research has shown that even this extremely simple cybersecurity method can be highly effective at defending you against attacks. 

Replace Routers As They Become Outdated

One of the biggest weaknesses in smart homes is any kind of technology that has become outdated. Older versions of key equipment like routers might be convenient and easy for you to use, but they may also have glaring and known security weaknesses that can be easily exploited by cybercriminals. 

Having outdated protocols or a flaw in the security that can be exploited leaves you open to an attack if a criminal is able to work out the router that you have. Of course, this doesn’t mean that changing up your router on a regular basis is a silver bullet – rather you should keep aware of the security status of your router and change it when necessary.

Add Cybersecurity to your Wi-Fi

It should also be noted that when you replace your router you need to ensure that everything is set up effectively. For example, you should change the router’s default name. Doing so takes away the possibility that a cybercriminal will be able to search for that type of router and find out its known flaws.

The same goes for the password that you are using; it should be changed from the default. Once again, you don’t want the possibility – no matter how remote it might seem, that a criminal might be able to get access to the password. 

Be mindful of passwords on your network

Passwords are still a vital part of your cybersecurity. It is essential that you should have unique passwords for each device across your network. Using the same password simply means that if one is ever compromised, the criminals have access to every other device across the network as well. 

There is still some confusion about how to set a strong password. In general, you should think of eight characters as an absolute minimum – anywhere from 12 to 18 is ideal, and it should include a mixture of upper case and lower case letters, as well as numbers and symbols. 

Update Your Devices

Keeping your devices up to date is another essential part of good ongoing cybersecurity for your smart home. Remember that when devices are updated they are generally patched to protect them against vulnerabilities that have been discovered. This means that if you are not updating your devices, they are still vulnerable. 

The more cybersecurity steps that you can take, the better protected you will be against cybercrime. It is always best to focus on powerful security measures rather than what makes your life easiest. 

5 Common Estate Planning Mistakes

It takes a lifetime of hard work and planning to acquire the real estate, investments and other assets that lawyers refer to as a person’s estate. You might think that the last thing anyone would do is leave the distribution of an estate to the one-size-fits-all state intestacy laws, but that is exactly what 67% of Americans responding to a survey have done by not having an estate plan.

Apart from the foolishness of letting a state law dictate which of your relatives get to share in the distribution of your estate upon your death, not having an estate plan puts you at the mercy of courts to decide the type of medical treatment you receive when you are too sick to make those decisions for yourself. A meeting with an estate planning attorney ensures the orderly distribution of your estate according to your wishes upon your death. It also lets you designate someone that you trust to handle your financial affairs and make health care decisions when you are incapacitated and unable to do so on your own.

Estate plans come about through a collaboration with your attorney, but you need to be prepared by knowing what you want done. One way to get you started is by offering the following list of the five common estate planning mistakes and ways for you to avoid them.

Putting off estate planning until you’re older 

Too many people think of end of life decisions and death as being so far off in the future that waiting to address them can wait at least until they reach retirement age or older. Unfortunately, life-altering accidents and illnesses happen at all stages in life. 

Estate planning ensures that your wishes are known and will be followed regarding health care, end-of-life decisions, handling of your finances, and distribution of your estate. Consider how comforting it would be knowing that someone you trust has the legal authority to manage and look after your financial affairs should an illness or injury prevent you from doing so. 

A durable power of attorney as part of an estate plan lets you designate an agent to handle business, financial and personal matters on your behalf. You specify the scope of the authority granted to the agent and can make it as broad or limited as you desire. 

There is even a document, commonly known as a health care power of attorney, that lets you designate an agent with the authority to make decisions about medical care you receive should you be incapacitated and unable to make them on your own. However, the only way to get the benefits and peace of mind of powers of attorney or any other estate planning documents is to stop thinking about estate planning and make an appointment with your attorney to create one for yourself.

Failing to periodically review and update your estate plan

Life constantly changes, and your estate plan needs to be updated to keep up with all that goes on in your life. Some of the events in your life that signal the need for a change to an estate plan include:

  • Marriage and divorce.
  • Birth of a child.
  • Purchase of a home.
  • Start of a business.
  • Death of close relatives.

An estate plan needs to be periodically reviewed to determine whether changes are needed to keep up with what’s going on in your life. For example, it may have been a good idea to name your spouse as the agent to make end-of-life and health care decisions for you, but a divorce may be a good time to have your health care power of attorney changed to designate someone else as the agent.

Planning only for your death

A common mistake in estate planning is to focus on death by including only a will and trust agreement in an estate plan without having a plan for living with a disabling illness or injury. According to the Social Security Administration, one-in-four 20 year olds can expect to be disabled before they reach retirement age.

An estate plan that includes only a will or trust agreement providing for distribution of your estate after death can easily be expanded to protect you in the event of a disabling illness or injury. A health care power of attorney, living will, and durable power of attorney are some of the documents your attorney may recommend to ensure that your affairs are managed according to your wishes while you are alive.

Letting emotion and loyalty get in the way 

The person chosen to be executor of a will or the agent designated to act for you through a power of attorney must be someone who is capable of doing the job. The obvious decision may be to designate your spouse to make end-of-life decisions for you, but it may not be the right choice when you consider the types of decisions your spouse will be called upon to make.

The emotional bond between you that makes your spouse or one of your children the obvious choice could make it difficult for them to make tough decisions when the time comes. Choose someone who can set aside emotion and follow your wishes as you outlined them in your living will or health care power of attorney.

Adding children to the deed to your home to avoid probate

The rationale for changing ownership of your home by adding children to the deed is that doing so avoids the time and cost of probating a will when you die. Because they are named as owners on the deed, title automatically passes to them upon your death without the need for a will or probate proceedings. 

Get advice from your estate planning lawyer before changing the deed to your home. Adding a child as an owner may have subject you to payment of gift taxes. It also makes your home an asset that creditors of your children could seize. 

Transferring title to a trust may be a better option to pass the property to your children upon your death outside of probate without the risks associated with a transfer of title to them during your lifetime. Let your attorney advise you about the best way to accomplish your goal.

Conclusion

Make estate planning a priority early in life in the same way that you would planning for retirement. If you do not have an estate plan, make an appointment today with an estate planning attorney to get it done.

Home-Hunting in the Time of Inflation: What Does the Future Hold for House Buying?

Inflations levels hit 9% in April, registering the fastest rise in consumer prices in the last four decades. As a result, our bills and receipts have been soaring. The cost of food and drink could rise by 15% this summer and filling the average family car with petrol now exceeds £100. So, it is fair to say that inflation is affecting many areas. In this respect, the housing market has not been spared either.

With all that has happened in the last couple of years, we all recognise the importance of having a home that offers you the comfort and safety you require. But as life presents more and more financial hurdles, many home-hunters may feel discouraged when searching for their perfect new property.

How is inflation impacting the price tags of houses for sale? Are properties becoming more expensive or affordable? Here, with some insights from Watermans, a legal and estate agency firm, we take a look at how the existing crisis will influence the future of house buying.

Inflation and house prices: costly or cost-effective?

Let’s not beat around the bush: as things stand, property prices in the UK are not likely to be very advantageous. The average asking price in June across Britain stands at £368,614, increasing for the fifth month in a row. But looking back at the figures of the past few months, it is perhaps no surprise that houses’ initial price tags have shot up even more.

In March, in fact, the average cost of a British house reached a record high of £282,753. Not only was this 1.4% higher than the average rate of home prices in February, but it represented an 11% increase compared to March 2021. What this means is that, in the space of a single year, the average property cost has grown by £28,113. When taking into account the fact that the average UK salary now stands at £28,860, you could argue that this costly price rise may be having a significant impact on potential homebuyers’ pockets.

Currently, England is the country with the highest house prices in Britain. As of April 2022, you can expect to pay £299,000 to move into a new property. If you live in Scotland or plan to relocate north of the English border, you might be able to save some money. Yes, house costs have increased in Scottish towns and cities too, but you would be likely to secure a new home for about £188,000 on average.

Inflation is not the only factor to blame for such a considerable growth in property prices. In fact, the sustained increase has been determined by two correlated aspects. On one side, the market has witnessed a shortage of houses for sale; on the other, with the ‘race for space’ incentivised by the pandemic, the demand for new spacious properties has sky-rocketed. As a consequence, home-seekers are being forced to close costlier deals.

Moreover, the rental market has been impacted by the rising inflation as well. With the exception of big English metropolises such as London and Birmingham, the majority of British cities have seen rents increase significantly. For instance, rent rates in Belfast, Bristol, Manchester, and Edinburgh have soared by 15.1%, 12.6%, 8.6%, and 3.9% respectively over the past two years.

The cost of living crisis is bound to stay for the foreseeable future. But, in the months to come, will the rising inflation end up aiding people on the hunt for a new property?

Inflation: the long-term effects on the housing market

Britain’s current economic climate and financial situation has brought the cost of houses to an all-time high record. But, as mentioned, the housing market is not the only sector to have witnessed a swift rise in prices. For some time, the increasing cost of living will continue to negatively affect people’s bank accounts.

In the long term, however, this could benefit those looking to purchase a new property. Goods and services are becoming more expensive, which suggests that fewer people will have the budget to afford a significant, life-changing investment (e.g., buying a house).

Hence, demand is likely to decrease in the upcoming months. Not only that, but in 2022 Rightmove has also registered a 19% jump in the number of home-sellers requesting a house valuation, meaning that more properties will be available on the market. All these factors are bound to push down the cost of houses.

Additionally, there is a chance that the price tags of properties in the UK will naturally ‘correct’ themselves. In the same way that costs have gone up considerably, house prices could begin to fall to restore a more affordable value. Therefore, if you have set aside some money to make the move you have been dreaming of, the next few months may offer you the opportunity to relocate to a home that suits you and your needs.

The rising inflation is having a substantial impact on many areas of our everyday lives. If you are planning to buy a new property, prices at the minute could seem somewhat prohibitive. That said, with reduced demand and more homes on the market, the future of house buying may be more optimistic for those hoping to inaugurate a new chapter of their life.

Stock Splits: The Perfect Buy for Investors

As the market takes a plunge, Maxim Manturov, Head of Investment Advice at Freedom Finance Europe, discusses the benefits and pitfalls of stock splits and explores some past examples.

With shares struggling amid a market downturn, some organisations are looking to split their stock to attract new investors. But why?

The main reasons for splits are to make securities more accessible and attractive to the private investor. The next reason is to increase liquidity, which grows by increasing the number of stocks outstanding. When a split is announced, most stocks show a positive trend, and after the split has taken place, the stock trend can turn into a temporary consolidation, as big players can lock in profits on the stock by selling the stock already at the ‘new price’ to retail investors.

With this in mind, are stock splits a good idea and how should investors react if a company chooses to split?

Three recent splits 

Tesla 

Tesla held a stock split in August 2020 where it’s stock rose by $223 (80%) in just 20 days. After the split ended, the stock price was adjusted from around $2200 to $440. Thereafter, after a slight consolidation, Tesla stock continued to rise. With the market in decline, Tesla has now announced another split, which will be taking place this summer. Tesla’s Q1 2022 report is looking positive with revenue of $18.75 billion, net income of $3.31 billion, for the same period in 2021 – $438 million, and EPS of $2.86 ($0.93 a year earlier). The company has also announced plans to expand its production capacity in Berlin. Yet still, on June 10, 2022, the company announced a 3:1 split and the stock will be valued at about $230. On Friday, Tesla stocks gained 1.84% to $709 on the NASDAQ post-market but continued to decline further.

The drop has more to do with overall market weakness. And if you compare it to the split in August 2020, when the stock price rose a couple of hundred percent, the market was rising then, but now it’s falling. 

NVIDIA 

NVIDIA made its fifth split in July 2021, with a 4:1 ratio, their value dropping from $750 to $187.50. In 2021, by the time of the split, Nvidia’s capitalisation had already increased by 32% due to success in all business lines. The company’s quarterly report revealed its net income was $1.91 billion (same quarter 2020 – $917 million) and revenue reached $5.66 billion (+ 83.8% YoY). From the current situation we can conclude that the continued growth of the company’s stock is further driven by both good quarterly results and external factors, e.g., the mining boom, respectively video card shortage, and growth of the stock.

Apple 

The fifth Apple split took place on 31 August 2020. This was a 4:1 split, which resulted in the number of stocks in the company quadrupling. The stock price was adjusted from around $500 to $125 per stock after the split was completed. The stocks then consolidated in the $110-$120 range for a while, after which the rally continued. Looking at the company’s financials, the quarterly report on July 2020 showed revenues at a record $59 billion.

How effective are splits?

It’s clear to see how the Tesla, NVIDIA, and Apple splits in 2020-2021 had a major impact on share prices, which continued to rise after some consolidation. However, it’s important to remember that there are numerous factors that affect a split, which include internal factors such as a company’s performance (performance report, company management). There are also external causes that do not depend on the company’s activity that end up having a primary influence, such as global market trends (inflation, production cuts, international restrictions, interest rates, world inflation). When business leaders decide to split a company, it is very important they choose the right time, considering the market trends. The main purpose of a split is to make the company’s stock more attractive to ordinary investors. While the value of each stock decreases, the capitalisation of the company remains at the same level and the securities become more liquid.

3 Ways to Beat the Mortgage Interest Rate Rises

Property finance specialist Anderson Harris is sharing three top tips with mortgage holders, to help them get ahead of further interest rate rises.

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has already raised the rate five times in the last seven months, to 1.25%. And that’s just the start, according to former MPC members. According to Adam Posen, President of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a rate of 3.5% isn’t out of the question. MIT’s Professor Kristin Forbes echoes the projection. Both have served on the MPC.

In light of the rather bleak outlook, Anderson Harris’s Director Adrian Anderson has suggested three ways that mortgage holders can beat future rate increases.

1. Set a new budget.

Any mortgage holder with a cheap rate at present would do well to examine their monthly finances and re-budget, according to Adrian Anderson. He recommends re-budgeting to pay more now, so that when rates go up the shock element of the rise is removed. Re-budgeting now to pay off as much as possible each month can cushion the blow. 

2. Lock in a new rate. 

For existing borrowers, the advice from Anderson Harris is to explore locking in a new rate as soon as possible. Mortgage interest rates could soon hit 3% (up from 1% just nine months ago), with further potential rises on the horizon. 

3. Consider paying down. 

The more that mortgage holders can pay off while rates are low, the better. Those who are in a position to take advantage of overpayment options of up to 10% would be wise to consider paying off as much as they can before rates rise again. Although it’s important for mortgage holders to ensure they still have some cash set aside for a rainy day/emergency fund. 

Now is the time to speak to an independent mortgage broker and to look again at your mortgage. It can pay to know what options are available – particularly if you’re in a position to lock in a deal with a bank now, for peace of mind as rates rise further.” – Adrian Anderson, Director, Anderson Harris 

8 Necessary Monthly Check-Ups That Your Car Might Need

 

All cars require care and maintenance, but some checks must be done monthly to keep you safe and the car running effectively. Preventive work on your vehicle helps reduce bills by avoiding costly repairs from poor maintenance. Well-maintained cars also use less gas, helping you save money as the engine is more efficient.

Regular preventive measures keep your vehicle in good order, and the car lasts longer on the road if maintained well. Most checks can be performed by you easily or with gadgets, like the best OBD scanner, and there are even some garages that can help if you are unsure. Here’s a rundown of the type of checks you should be doing monthly, including with the best OBD scanner, and if you are heading out on a long journey.

Oil and Water

A simple but essential check for any car owner is to assess the oil and water level in the car engine and radiator. If the oil or water gets to a low or even empty level, it can significantly damage the engine, cause the car to break down, and lead to severe problems and a hefty bill for you. On the other hand, ensuring your oil and water levels are optimal is easy to do and prevents the vehicle from breaking down.

Coolant Checks

Coolant transfers heat and keeps your car engine from getting too hot or freezing. If you don’t have enough coolant in the car, you risk seriously damaging the engine or will not be able to start it on a cold day. Check your coolant level monthly to ensure your supply is not too low, and replenish if necessary. Maintaining small things like the coolant helps prolong the life of your car, saving you money.

Check the Electronics

An OBD scanner is easy to use and plugs into your car computer system. It alerts you to issues with the electronics. For example, an OBD scanner tells you whether a problem such as a strange light is easy to fix yourself or will require a repair job with a dealer. In addition, the best OBD scanner provides more information, such as the functionality of your engine. If you want to run a few checks to ensure your car is in good order, a monthly review with the best OBD scanner will keep you updated. Dealing with a problem earlier saves money as it prevents wider damage to the car, which will cost significantly more to fix and extends the life of your vehicle.

Tire Pressures

Tire pressures are very important to check for several reasons. When you look at your tires, you need to check the tread to ensure it is not too worn and the pressure. If your tire is not inflated to the correct level, it can lead to skidding and an accident. However, an underinflated tire also leads to significantly higher gas consumption, costing you more money to run the car. Check your car tires at least monthly to stay safe on the roads and use gas efficiently. The best OBD scanner can also check gas consumption efficiencies using fuel trim but should be done in addition to checking tire pressures.

Windshield Cleaner

Visibility while driving is essential. Most people have windshield cleaner mixed with water in the window washer, which helps clear dirt and grease from the windshield. In winter, salt and mud from roads can obscure your windshield in seconds, so having a good supply of cleaner is vital. The solution usually contains ethanol to stop it from freezing in winter. Check the windshield cleaner and water levels monthly, so you don’t get caught out with a dirty window and no cleanser.

Lighting

Lights are critical in your car as they indicate your movements and alert other drivers to issues such as braking or turning. Sometimes you don’t realize your lights are not working until someone points it out or there’s a problem. You can do a visual check each month to see whether they are all working, including fog and brake lights. If you use the best OBD scanner, you can check the longevity of some electrical items and replace them before they stop working altogether.

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is essential for the healthy engine performance of your car. You don’t need to replace it often in a modern vehicle, but scheduling it on your monthly maintenance check is advisable. Also, it would be best if you only did it in good weather as rain can affect the functionality of brake fluid. If your levels continue to drop, get the car checked out because low brake fluid affects the way your car brakes work. It affects your safety, making the point of saving money for car insurance moot. If you have an accident, it affects the cost of your insurance as you are considered a higher-risk driver, so maintaining your car is another easy way of keeping costs low.

Battery

Your car battery should be on your monthly maintenance checks on top of using the best OBD scanner. Maintaining a car battery well can save many miles in the long run. Check the cables for fraying and wear and that the positive and negative terminals in the battery are not becoming corroded. Using the best OBD scanner, you can see what life remains in car parts like batteries. A weak battery can affect the electrical function of your car and lead to breakdowns and higher bills.

The Bottom Line On Monthly Car Maintenance

Scheduling monthly checks for your car using manual methods and the best OBD scanner is essential to help keep it in good working order while ensuring your safety on the road. It also enables you to save money from better gas usage and prevents more extensive damage to the car. In addition, checking out oil, water, lights, and other parts makes it easy to top up and replace items before they cause problems. Using the best OBD scanner helps with monthly checks as well. If you have a well-maintained car, you will be a safer driver on the road, and it can help keep your vehicle running for longer.

A Quick Guide to Estate Planning for High-Net-Worth Individuals

It’s interesting to note that just 4% of estates in the UK are subject to inheritance tax (IHT), which is usually applied on those with a value of £325,000 or above. So, if you’re classed as a high-net-worth individual, you’re likely to have an estate worth well in excess of £325,000 and one that’s subsequently subjected to a 40% tax levy.

Your estate will include everything that you own, so it’s important to prepare this ahead of your passing. Here are some steps to keep in mind:

Understanding the Challenges with a High Value Estate

If you have a high value estate, you’ll encounter significantly more challenges in addition to having to pay 40% on the value of your estate at the time they’re distributed. For example, you may have assets in multiple countries, creating a challenge when distributing them as part of your estate.

You should also take the time to keep abreast of any relevant tax legislation changes in the UK, which can impact on the management and distribution of your estate and how tax levied by the government.

There’s also a concept such as gifting, through which you can ‘gift’ assets to beneficiaries seven years prior to your death and avoid paying any tax on this at all. By following legal and legislative changes, you can act accordingly and utilise your estate to its maximum potential.

Creating a Will

If you don’t already have one, it’s absolutely crucial that you create a last will and testament as part of the wider process of estate planning.

Without a will, you’ll have far less control over how your estate is managed and distributed in the event of your death, while opening up the floor to potential conflicts between beneficiaries that could rumble on indefinitely. While you can set up a will by yourself and appoint ‘executors’ to help manage this once you’ve passed, high-net-worth individuals may prefer to liaise and partner with market leading estate planning services.

This way, you be guided on how to create your will, while taking further advise about how to minimise the IHT levy that’s ultimately applied to your estate.

When to Start

Typically, many of us don’t start planning our estates or make a will until later life, with only four-in-10 Brits having currently made a last will and testament.

However, experts believe this to be an oversight, and instead believe that you should start the process of estate planning and creating a will once you reach early adulthood. This certainly provides far greater peace of mind, while allowing you time to adapt and adjust your plans as you age rather than suddenly having to create a formal will from scratch.

How to Create An IT Infrastructure Budget

Innovations have made most business owners adopt Information Technology (IT) to run most of their operations. The aim is to allow efficiency. So, you’ll need infrastructure, such as hardware and software, to ensure the proper running of these IT operations. 

In most cases, acquiring IT infrastructure is a big investment since these tools are expensive. Some businesses might struggle to acquire these tools, which shouldn’t be the case. You can easily purchase all the tools your business needs with a budget. 

Are you wondering how to create a budget? What’s your goal? Put your worries to rest. This article discusses tips on creating an IT infrastructure budget. Read on!

1. Create a List of Priorities

Your list of priorities guides you in allocating your amount for each activity. You want to allocate most money on operations that you need and downsize on those you don’t necessarily need. How do you come up with the list of priorities?

Your IT infrastructure goals should guide you. If you aim to increase your business security, you’ll need tools with robust security features. In this case, acquiring security-intense infrastructure will be among your top priorities.

Most businesses tend to forget the marketing aspect of their business as they create a list of priorities. This is especially true if they offer IT services to other businesses or customers. Allocate a budget that allows for the effective marketing of IT consulting services without compromising on quality.

2. Understand Your Cashflow

Cashflow more or less refers to the amount your business transacts within a given period.  Understanding your cash flow will help you create a budget you can afford. You don’t want to create a budget for the money you don’t have. How do you analyze your cash flow?

Start by checking the regular income you receive on both good and bad days. It’s best to subtract your business expenses from your revenue; factor in the minor and major expenses. You want to know the amount of money available to fund your IT infrastructure. This will help you determine a concrete figure you can work with and rely on for your IT infrastructure needs. 

Even if you aim to spend within your budget, it’s good to acknowledge that some circumstances might warrant exceeding this budget. You may be expecting payments from a given client, and they delay them, yet you’re relying on the money to fund your goals. In such circumstances, you’ll need financing to help you realize your IT infrastructure goals. 

Visit https://www.credibly.com/ to see some of the financing options you can choose.

3. Accommodate the Risks

Like any other plan, there’s a probability of unexpected events likely to occur that need your attention and financing. In most cases, you can’t ignore them since they might hinder your realization of your goals. This will make you spend money outside your budget to meet these needs. The same concept applies as you plan your IT infrastructure goals. Therefore, it’s good practice to factor in contingencies in your budget. How?

Start by identifying the things that could go wrong with your plan, such as unexpected breakdowns. Try and estimate the amount you’d spend to counter them and include the costs in your budget. This way, if they happen, you won’t offset your budget.

4. Check Previous Budgets

In most cases, there’s a high probability you operate your business as a form of habit, from planning to budgeting to overseeing projects. If you aren’t wary enough, you might end up making the same mistakes year in; year out, which isn’t ideal for any firm. Hence, you must assess your previous budget.

Your previous budget will give you an understanding of the efficiency of your plans. Did you accomplish your goals within the budget you set? If not, by what margin did you exceed the limits? As you find the answers to these questions, identify the events that led to the limit exceeding. It could be budgeting beyond your cashflows or allocating limited funds to major operations. 

By knowing and acknowledging these events, you’ll ensure to avoid and mitigate them as you prepare your current budget. Doing this reduces the chances of having many unexpected events to fund, which might offset your budget.

Conclusion

The discussion above has proven that creating an IT infrastructure budget isn’t challenging. 

With the right guidance, as this article gives, the process is quick and seamless. Therefore, consider adopting the tips herein, and you’ll also have an easy time acquiring the tools your business needs.

New Data Reveals How Pension Crisis Is Leading to Older Workers ‘Unretiring’

Recent research from the ONS has revealed shocking inequality amongst pensions across the UK – as a result of inflation and the rising cost of living – with one third of UK employees not expecting to have any pension provision beyond state pension when they retire.

Those who are self-employed or on lower incomes will be impacted the most by pension wealth inequality.

With the number of older workers steadily increasing over the last decade, Nick Jones – Head of Retirement Living at Lottie – warns us of the impact the pensions crisis will have on older workers approaching retirement:

“The recent figures released by ONS are shocking – and we need to raise awareness of the impact this inequality will have on those approaching retirement.

There are statistically more older workers in employment than ever before – perhaps due to the rising cost of living, inflation, and the amount of remote working opportunities available across the UK.

With inequality in pension wealth across the UK, many older workers are struggling to save money and plan for their retirement. It’s more important than ever for businesses to support all their employees who may be struggling with the increased cost of living by offering financial, practical and wellbeing help.”

Nick Jones continues: “Lottie’s new research has also found a surge of people ‘unretiring’ over the last 12 months – and the reasons for people re-joining employment can be both positive and negative:

  • 100% increase in Google searches for ‘working part time after retirement’
  • 50% increase in Google searches for ‘post retirement jobs’

An ageing population means people are living longer and healthier lives, giving more older workers the opportunity to remain in the workforce. Similarly, with an increase in remote and hybrid working, older workers have the flexibility to maintain a good work-life balance, and gradually unwind before retiring.

However, with the rising cost of living crisis, it’s no surprise we’ve seen a surge of retirees heading back to work. Inflation is on the rise, causing many households to feel a huge amount of stress and worry – which is especially heightened for those on a limited income, or planning to reduce their income soon.”

Lottie’s new research has found a surge of employees turning to Google for retirement support – as opposed to their employer:

With the rising cost of living, lack of pension wealth and financial worries, more older workers are deciding to return to work after retirement – whilst they financially plan for their future years.

Over the last 12 months our new research has found a surge of people turning to Google for support with retirement planning:

  • 122% increase in searches on Google for ‘retirement investment’
  • 100% increase in searches on Google for ‘financial advice for retirement planning’
  • 40% increases in searches on Google for ‘retirement financial advisor’

“This new research – coupled with the latest ONS release – highlights the importance of raising awareness of the support available to older workers planning for retirement, especially during the cost-of-living crisis”, shares Nick Jones.

As inflation increases, the pension wealth gap across the UK will also grow – meaning the level of support older employees will require when it comes to financially planning for the present and the future will increase.

This is where businesses can step in to offer practical, financial and wellbeing initiatives to help all employees plan for their retirement years.”

Here’s 4 practical ways employers can support older workers in the workplace:

By creating age-friendly workplaces where people of all ages are supported, valued, and fulfilled, businesses can increase their employee satisfaction, wellbeing, and productivity.

There are lots of ways businesses can take to support older workers in the workplace:

1. Help employees plan for their future

As employees approach the latter stages of their careers, many may start to think about their financial situation, what the next few years at work will look like, what age to consider retirement and what life after work means for them.

Businesses can help employees plan ahead and make the transition from work to retirement easier by providing support for anyone approaching retirement.

For example, you could provide practical workshops aimed at helping older workers to achieve any career milestones, explore what the future may look like for them and sharing advice when it comes to financial planning

2. Encourage career development

Career development boosts employee motivation and it is just as important for older workers, as it is for those starting out their careers.

Encouraging all employees to follow their aspirations, achieve their goals and continue to develop their skillset, helps to build a resilient workforce. Offering on-going training will also ensure all employees remain up to date with the latest industry changes.

3. Promote a positive work life balance

Previous research has found nearly four fifths of workers over 50 years of age desire flexible working hours.

Flexible working allows older employees the flexibility to remain in the workforce longer, whilst also gradually winding down from full time employment. This can help many workers ease the transition to retirement.

4. Consider the unique needs of older workers

Health has the biggest impact on many older workers’ decisions to remain in the workplace. Many older employees face a unique set of challenges in the workplace and the adjustments required differ for each employee.

Supporting your employees with health and wellbeing initiatives and access to healthcare not only encourages a happy and healthy workforce, but also helps older workers to feel supported in the workplace.

How You Can Manage Your Business Debt

How You Can Manage Your Business Debt

As a business, debt is often essential for getting the business going and for taking the business to new heights. This means that debt is not always a bad thing in business, but it can still cause a great deal of stress and anxiety and will always hang over your head as a business owner. So, what are the best ways to manage your business debt?

Organise Your Debt

Often, debt-related stress comes from being unorganised and a lack of control. Therefore, one of the best ways to reduce this stress is to simply get organised. You should create a spreadsheet with all of your debts, including what it is for, the total amount, monthly payments, interest and how it will be paid. This should also help you to avoid missing any payments and will help you to get on top of everything.

Reduce Spending & Increase Revenue

It is stressful when things get tight, and you obviously do not want to default on your loans. Therefore, you should reduce spending to free up more money to go towards debt clearance each month. Be careful when cutting costs as you do not want to make any cuts that could cost the business more in the long run. Of course, increasing revenue is also a great way to clear your debt so you should always be looking for ways to do this.

Business Loan

You should not shy away from taking out a business loan as a way to manage the various costs that you have as a business. You can use loans to pay employees and suppliers on time as well as use the money to grow the business, such as hiring new staff or purchasing new equipment. Sometimes, you have to borrow money to grow the business, and this can prove to be a smart financial move in many cases.

Make Arrangements with Creditors

If you feel that you are struggling to keep up with debt payments, it is worth speaking to your creditors. Often, there is flexibility and payment terms could be changed or a payment plan could be devised. Alternatively, you may be able to consolidate your debt which can make it easier to manage and could even work out to be more affordable.

Hopefully, this post will be useful and help you to manage your debt as a business. Debt is often a good thing in business as it can be key for getting the business up and running and for growth, but debt can also be difficult to manage particularly if you borrow from multiple lenders. There are always steps that you can take to manage this debt, though, which can improve your financial well-being and provide peace of mind.

How Profitable are Bitcoin Mining Sites in 2022

Bitcoin mining was one of the most profitable investments you could make in the world of cryptocurrency. It still is, but things have changed for the Bitcoin mining sites, and things look a lot different now than they were just a few years ago. Mining costs have skyrocketed, and it’s no longer an option for small and mid-size investors. That’s why alternatives such as pool and cloud mining have arisen and are becoming more widely used.

Use Cloud Mining to Cut the Costs

The initial investment needed to start mining is too much for most investors, and that’s why Bitcoin mining sites found on Truely.com allow for cloud mining instead. These services enable the users to mine and use cryptocurrency coins without having their own equipment. Instead, the equipment is leased for a fee. This also means profits will be somewhat smaller since fees will take part of it. However, without the initial investment, you can start earning right away and make a profit as soon as you can withdraw the coins to your e-wallet.

The Market Value of Bitcoin

Over the years, there have been fluctuations in the market value of Bitcoin. That’s why investors should be careful if Bitcoin mining sites promise profit out of the investment. The chances are that it will be profitable, but those sites can’t affect the value for which Bitcoin can be sold after it’s mined. However, in the long run, the value of Bitcoin is on the rise. It has risen over the past years and is worth about as much as it once was. This means it can be a safe investment to buy and hold as you would with other long-term assets.

How Much You Can Make

This depends on many different features that you should take into account before investing. The most important of these is how much Bitcoin you can mine within a specific time frame. That’s what you’re paying cloud mining services to do, and the more you pay, the faster the process will be. It also depends on the market value of Bitcoin at the time you decide to sell them. This will change over time, and looking for market trends without getting spooked by them too quickly is essential.

Different Ways to Earn From Bitcoins

Another essential thing to consider is that now there are more ways to earn from Bitcoin than before. This is because the mainstream financial institutions now accept the cryptocurrency market, and the coins are commonly used as a payment method. It’s also possible to lend cryptocurrency as you would lend any other currency. Depending on your arrangement, this is done for interest that you can get in crypto or fiat money. There are also social media sites that pay for content engagement using crypto.

Selling Off Your Cloud Mining Contract

Sometimes, you can sell your cloud mining contract to another investor. For example, it’s possible to sell your arrangement with the Bitcoin mining sites alone or to send the coins you’ve mined so far. This means you can make payments in traditional funds or cryptocurrency, and someone else would continue using your crypto mining contract. Not all providers allow for this feature, but it’s important to look for. It can be used as a safety measure that you can activate in a pinch when you need to leave the mining behind.

Tax Considerations

One of the main reasons Bitcoin was so popular at first is because the profits made from it weren’t taxed since the governments were unprepared for the innovation. This is no longer the case, and Bitcoin is widely used. Unfortunately, that also means it’s taxed similarly to income from other investments. This isn’t a deal-breaker but means that the profits will become smaller than before. When you’re mining crypto coins, the chances are that the mining provider handles the tax and legal part of the process or at least it should be.

Should You Invest in Crypto in 2022?

There’s no answer to this question that would fit all the investors. However, when it comes to general trends, the investment is a good idea since cryptocurrencies are rising in the long run. Therefore, it can be used as a long-term investment to hold for a while. Cryptocurrencies are now widely accepted as a payment method and a smart investment. It’s also an opportunity for small and mid-size investors with cloud mining.

The People Power Behind Open Banking Payments

By Jess Gerrow, VP Marketing, Token

Driven by two complementary, powerful forces – innovation and regulation – open banking is proving to be a seismic shift for payments across Europe.

Reach, cost, conversion, security and user experience – open banking-enabled account-to-account (A2A) payments outperform traditional payment methods in every respect.

It’s, therefore, no surprise that players across the payments value chain are now eagerly embracing them. According to Juniper Research, open banking payments will account for $87 billion of Europe’s transaction volume by 2026. Traditional payment methods, such as cards and cash, continue to lose share and are now projected to account for less than a third of global e-commerce transaction value within the same period.

A deep dive into the human element

But a third powerful force behind this explosive growth in open banking payments is often overlooked – and indeed is spoken and written about much less – and that’s people.

At the end of every A2A payment is a person. And in the world of payments, success ultimately depends on human factors, such as how consumers perceive and respond to risk, reward, cost and effort.

This is why we partnered with Open Banking Expo to deliver a data-driven look at the human element that will fuel open banking payments’ march to the mainstream. Earlier this year, we spoke to over 1,100 consumers in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland to tackle a question rarely addressed: who will pay by bank?

The resulting report presents the findings of our deep dive into current and potential users of open banking payments. It’s intended to debunk myths, bust misconceptions and highlight consumers’ appetite for A2A payments. It highlights the attitudes, preferences and behaviours shaping people’s financial and digital lives, and we hope it will help payment service providers and other ecosystem participants adapt to Europe’s changing payment landscape.

Here’s what we found

Nearly half (46%) of those surveyed had made an instant bank transfer in the three months preceding May 2022, with the figure as high as 67% in Germany.

And it appears the experience has generally been well received, with 81% of consumers likely to make another A2A payment in the future. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the UK’s status as an open banking pioneer, 85% of British consumers we spoke to will be embracing A2A payments moving forward.

In another clear sign of growing popularity, instant bank transfers now sit amongst the top five payment methods in each of the six countries we covered.

Our research revealed a wide, and growing, range of use cases. For example, in Germany and France, 55% of consumers use A2A payments to pay off loans or credit card debt, whilst 57% in the Netherlands prefer an instant bank transfer when covering subscriptions.

When it comes to buying a car, we found that instant bank payments are now preferred by over a quarter of consumers in all markets, and nearly half in Germany and Italy (47% and 45% respectively). A2A payments are also increasingly seen as a trusted method of sending money to friends and family, with 59% of people in the UK using them for this purpose and 51% in France.

While A2A payments are still associated more with online payments, with almost a third (31%) of Polish consumers using the payment method for e-commerce, we also see signs of adoption in physical stores as merchants integrate them with QR codes and other technology. Nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents in the Netherlands said they are using A2A payments for in-store purchases.

So what’s next?

In nearly every purchase scenario we presented to European consumers — whether a one-off, high-value purchase like a car or paying off debt, friends or family — they preferred to pay with instant bank transfers over cards. This is huge news for the industry and suggests that the pendulum has swung towards open banking payments.

Who is paying by bank today, and who will be doing so tomorrow? We found the strongest A2A payment adoption rates were amongst consumers in Germany and the UK, particularly those aged 35 to 44. But the footprint is widening, with the greatest appetite for future A2A payments observed in Poland, France and the Netherlands.

People across Europe are becoming more familiar with the benefits of A2A payments, with 58% who have used them saying they were fast, 56% highlighting their ease of use, and 51% calling out their strong security element.

In terms of what would make consumers more likely to make a payment directly from their bank account instead of by card, 59% of those surveyed said an instant discount would attract them to an A2A payment, with 37% saying they would choose A2A payments over cards if they were offered the option to split payments.

As we roll towards the fifth year of open banking in Europe, these are the types of insights that participants in the payments value chain should be aware of as they seek to match their payment offerings to the evolving behaviour and appetites of consumers in Europe.

What does chartered mean in accounting

What does chartered mean in accounting?

Chartered accounting is a professional designation that is granted to accountants who have met stringent requirements. In order to become chartered, an accountant must complete a rigorous program of study and pass a series of exams. Chartered accountants are held to the highest standards in the profession, and they are trusted by businesses and individuals alike to provide accurate financial advice.

What is a chartered accountant?

A chartered accountant is a professional designation granted by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) to individuals who have met rigorous education and experience requirements. Chartered accountants are qualified to provide financial advice and services to businesses and individuals.

The chartered accountant designation is recognized around the world, and CICA member firms are located in countries across the globe.

Chartered accountants provide a wide range of services, including auditing, taxation, financial planning, and business advisory services. They also work in a variety of industries, such as public accounting firms, banks, and government organizations.

What chartered accountant does mean for your business?

When it comes to chartered accountants, it’s all about trust. Achartered accounting firm is one that has been authorized by a governing body, such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), to provide certain professional services.

This means that the firm has met certain standards and agrees to uphold a strict code of ethics. This is important for businesses because it instills confidence that the chartered accountant they’ve hired is competent and trustworthy.

A chartered accountant can provide a wide range of services, from auditing and assurance to tax advice and planning. They can also help with financial reporting, corporate finance, and risk management. Basically, if you need any sort of advice or guidance when it comes to your finances, a chartered accountant is the person to turn to.

How can a chartered accounting firm help your business grow and succeed?

Charted accounting firms are often seen as a sign of trust and credibility. They have a stamp of approval from a governing body that ensures high standards of education and professionalism are met. chartered accounting firms can provide your business with a range of services, including:

Financial statement preparationTax planning and complianceEntity formation and restructuringBusiness advisoryA chartered accounting firm can provide you with the peace of mind that your finances are being managed by experts. They can also help you save money on taxes and grow your business.

What are the benefits of working with a chartered accounting firm?

When it comes to accounting, there are many different options out there for businesses. You can work with a chartered accounting firm, a general accounting firm, or an in-house accountant. So, what are the benefits of working with a chartered accounting firm?

Expertise: A chartered accounting firm is staffed with experts in the field who can provide your business with the best possible advice.Up-to-date: chartered accounting firms are required to stay up to date on the latest changes in accounting standards and legislation. This means they can provide your business with the most accurate and up-to-date information.Wide range of services: chartered accounting firms offer a wide range of services, from bookkeeping and tax preparation to financial planning and advisory services. This means you can get all the accounting support your business needs from one place.

How can you find the right chartered accounting firm for your business needs?

When looking for a chartered accounting firm, you want to make sure that you are partnering with an organization that has a good reputation and is highly qualified. You can start your search by looking for firms that are members of the Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) or the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

Once you have a shortlist of chartered accounting firms, you can then begin to research their individual credentials. Make sure to check out their website and read through their client testimonials. It is also a good idea to contact the firm directly and speak with one of their representatives. This will give you a better sense of the firm’s culture and whether or not it would be a good fit for your business.

Summary.

Chartered accounting firms are professional organizations that have been granted chartered status by a governing body. This status allows them to provide certain services that are regulated by the government. Chartered accounting firms are often highly respected in the accounting industry and are considered to be some of the best providers of accounting services.

There are many benefits to working with a chartered accounting firm. Chartered accountants are highly trained and experienced professionals who can provide a wide range of services. They are also subject to strict regulations, which ensure that they provide high-quality services.

When choosing an accounting firm, it is important to make sure that it is chartered. This will ensure that you are working with a reputable and high-quality firm. If you are looking for chartered accounting firms in your area, you can use the internet to find a list of firms that are chartered by the government. You can also ask your friends or family for recommendations.

How to Navigate the Housing Market Like a Pro

Whether you’re looking for a house to buy or are out to sell your home, you need to navigate the market well to succeed. Most people prefer to sell or shop for houses during spring when it’s warm, green, and sunny. During this season, sellers can showcase their homes to potential buyers better.   

But besides appearance, most buyers pay attention to the selling price attached to homes. They contend with various challenges, including multiple bids, low home inventory, mortgage rates, and steep prices. Although there’s always hope for a balanced housing market, buyers can take specific steps to approach their search for a home confidently.   

If you’re looking to buy a home this year, these five strategies will help you navigate the housing market like a pro:   

1. Get Your Mortgage Pre-Approved  

Before searching for a house, get your mortgage pre-approved by your lender if you don’t plan to pay cash. A pre-approval means the lender has thoroughly investigated your finances and established your eligibility for the loan based on existing conditions.   

It places you at an advantage as most sellers want to deal with buyers who have taken such serious steps. A pre-approval also shows you are both able and serious about buying a house. In hot markets, most sellers turn down offers from buyers who don’t have pre-approval letters. Neglecting this step can cause you to miss out on the home you want. Thus, you can find a broker here if you need a pre-approved mortgage to buy your dream house.

 

2. Clarify Which Aspects Matter Most to You In a Home  

To navigate the housing market like a pro, you need to clarify which aspects matter most to you in a home. While a mortgage pre-approval presents you as a serious buyer, it also gives you an idea of how much you can afford to spend on a home. Having a solid budget allows you to determine the aspects that matter most to you in a home and the ones you can compromise.  

3. Get a Highly-Qualified Housing Agent 

The other thing you need to navigate the housing market like a pro is a qualified agent who has your best interests and understands the local market well. Getting a good real estate agent with in-depth knowledge of local communities and solid expertise offers you a huge advantage when buying a home.   

Such an agent brings reasonable sales prices and understands how fast homes sell in specific locations. You can benefit from their insights on zoning rules, neighborhoods, social amenities, and even schools in localities that you’re considering. While it’s possible to consult a listing agent when purchasing a house, getting a real estate agent allows you to come up with compelling offers in line with your needs.   

The agent can negotiate a good deal on your behalf while guiding you through the selling or buying process to avoid costly delays or mistakes. 

  

4. Support An Offer With a Big Deposit 

When buying a house during the peak season, you need to boost any offer with a considerable deposit. If you can get the funds, paying off a generous amount on the home you want causes sellers to perceive you more favorably. To them, a large deposit reflects goodwill and motivation to make the purchase. Generally, the deposit is applied to the down payment or loan closing costs.   

Withdrawing from the deal for reasons not provided in a contract contingency can mean forfeiture of the deposit to the seller. But this shouldn’t worry you if you have no plans of withdrawing from the deal. Moreover, you can recover the whole amount if it’s discovered that the property has problems or if you cannot obtain title insurance.   

5. Be Ready to Act Fast  

You’ll need to act fast to benefit from competitive offers in the housing market, particularly in the peak seasons of summer and spring. In most cases, homes sell within days during these seasons. Any viewing delays can cause you to miss out on great offers. You can benefit more if your agent prepares the way sellers want to avoid wasting time qualifying counter offers.   

Final Thoughts 

The housing market can be challenging to navigate, particularly when buying or selling a home for the first time. However, you don’t have to struggle and miss out on opportunities that peak real estate seasons bring. You can navigate the market like a pro by applying the five strategies discussed above.   

Tips to Help You Financially Prepare for Your Golden Years

If there’s one goal that everyone shares, it’s definitely saving as much money as possible. In this day and age, money is used for pretty much anything ranging from the obvious necessary purchases to building up financial security. The latter is the most commonly sought-after goal, and for good reason. Having an adequate amount of financial security is how people remain stable even after the time comes for them to retire. Granted, maintaining financial security isn’t always the easiest thing to do for some people. But this is mainly not knowing how to effectively do it. There’s a lot more to financial security than simply saving money. In this article, we’ll be going over tips to help financially prepare for your golden years.

 

Put Your Money Towards an Investment

One of the best ways to start building financial security is to consider putting your money towards a lucrative investment. You might think that this will have the opposite effect of obtaining financial security as investments of any kind comes with their own risks. Risks, in investment terms, are the potential situation where you lose value in your assets or your money as a whole. In fact, you’d be surprised at how many people avoid investments because of risk alone. Although there’s nothing wrong with being cautious, investing your money doesn’t mean you’ll always be doomed to failure.

The truth of the matter is that you can keep risk at an all-time low by simply doing your research first. Many would-be investors end up failing solely because they weren’t prepared and didn’t understand what they were doing. You can start by choosing a method that appeals to you. This can be participating in the traditional stock market to investing into real estate. Both are solid investments to try as both can yield a considerable profit if done correctly.

 

Consider Selling Your Life Insurance Policy

At some point during your life, you might have purchased a life insurance policy. You bought it with the sole intention of ensuring your family had a prosperous life after your demise. However, what if we told you that death isn’t necessary for you and your beneficiaries to receive a payout. You can, instead, sell your life insurance policy through a life settlement. A life settlement is a financial process where you surrender the policy rights to a third-party buyer. The buyer can be either an individual person or an entire company. Regardless, they’ll pay you a lump sum of money that varies on the overall value of the policy.

The amount you get can be up to 30 percent, but it does vary on the life settlement company and buyer. Furthermore, if you’re trying to sell a term policy, you need to make sure it can be converted into a whole one. Term policies aren’t generally sold because there’s no value to them. But if it can be converted, you shouldn’t have a problem selling it. But since the life settlement sector is still new, you might have a harder time finding your way through the process. You can look up a guide that better explains how everything works for more information.

 

Budget Everything Out

Budgeting may already be something that you’re already accustomed to. However, you might not be budgeting extensively. A comprehensive budget is one of the most useful tools you can have in your life. It’s how you can maintain a solid grasp on your finances. In fact, knowing exactly how much you owe and what you can save every month is just another factor in having proper financial security. Go over your bank statements and see how much you’ve made. Then calculate how much you spend on your monthly expenses. This will give you insight into what you’re paying for each month. This also gives you the ability to cut out any unnecessary expenses that don’t belong there. You can cut your expenses by about 20 percent by getting rid of these types of expenses. If you are not a paper and pen or spreadsheet fan, there are financial apps that can help you stay on budget without much output or maintenance on your end.

 

Don’t Spend More Than You Need To

A very common reason why people don’t have enough money is because they often spend more money than they have to. Splurging is a common spending habit among many people. While it’s normal to want to buy what we want, it’s important to learn self-control. You’d be amazed at how self-control can help you save hundreds every month. The money you spend on little things, like a subscription, eating out or a trinket at the store can be put in your savings account.

6 Ways AP & AR Automation Software Boosts Business Productivity

Accounts payable and receivable automation tools facilitate easier AP and AR processes management through a robust platform. Automation software provides clear visibility and better control over data collection and financial processes.

Studies show that about 55% of businesses use manual processes to handle financial data. However, over 40% of SMEs plan to adopt AP automation solutions. Now is the best time to explore the numerous benefits of automation and determine whether it’s appropriate for your organization.

1. Shorter Processing Times

AP and AR automation technology helps your team to process invoices faster. In the absence of automation, invoice processing can take as long as two weeks since the team must confirm the figures and get the necessary signatures for approval. On the other hand, automated AP solutions cut the processing time to as short as one day.

Invoice processing involves multiple stages, and you can use tools like OCR to scan and index your invoices and minimize manual data entry. Since the filing system is digitized, you don’t have to rummage through piles of paper to find a specific invoice. Most importantly, cloud storage allows business managers and department heads to access invoices in real-time for a quick approval.

2. Minimizing Human Errors

Manual invoice processing and data entry create room for errors. Whether it’s document misfiling, loss, or payment mistakes, errors can occur at any stage, and the reasons may not be easy to eliminate. Typically, AP and AR errors can cost your company in various ways. Backtracking and error resolution often consumes a lot of time that could be used to perform essential tasks. Additionally, human errors can lead to duplicate payments, overpayments, or compromise your reputation.

Erroneous invoices can cause unnecessary frustrations to your finance team and hamper effective communication. It’s crucial to have a reliable tool that validates entries and pinpoints errors. The automated AP system can identify inconsistencies and facilitate seamless collaboration among stakeholders through unrestricted access to files.

3. Better Oversight and Transparency

Manual filing processes are hectic, time-consuming, and often make it impossible to get a complete picture of the entire process. It’s easy to think that sophisticated automation tools will obscure operations visibility. However, these systems increase visibility by offering real-time access to data.

AP automation software gives you a comprehensive view of payment cycles to enhance oversight. For instance, you can identify critical constraints like payment delays and monitor the individuals responsible for approvals. Most importantly, real-time reporting and detailed oversight accelerates payment cycles to ensure your vendors are paid on time. In addition, the footprints left by the automated process make it easy to identify and expose fraudulent transactions and ensure sustainable financial growth.

The increase in transparency facilitates data-driven decisions on various business issues, including when to pay suppliers and how to achieve optimum efficiency when scaling operations.

4. Enhanced Compliance Monitoring and Efficient Process Control

Legal and regulations compliance and establishing trackable audit trails are some of the reasons why accounting professionals and financial advisors are essential to any business. When you don’t have the appropriate systems and tools to control business processes, there is a high chance you’ll overlook vital details like PayPal fees.

Since companies face numerous fraud-related issues, it’s essential to have a system that limits the use of specific functions or flag and report inappropriate processes. Automatic AR and AP software creates transaction archives that help track invoices, processing stages, and authorization rules for better compliance with IRS regulations. In addition, modern invoice management solutions have superior integration capabilities meaning you can link the tools with your accounting software for better process control.

5. Better Workplace Collaboration

Improving the speed and visibility of your invoice processing with a digital solution ensures that all parties involved in various processing stages have access to necessary files and data. This feature facilitates real-time collaboration and efficient file sharing for seamless workflows. Since the tools have cloud capabilities, team members and stakeholders can access invoices to clarify, dispute, or approve the process regardless of their location.

Typically, smooth workflows and consistent progress mean team members are less likely to experience frustrations that come with constant disputes. Also, process automation minimizes manual data entry, meaning your workers have enough time to consult the relevant departments and log critical discussions to solve discrepancies without much strife. Ideally, breaking down collaboration barriers in your organization increases worker satisfaction and performance.

6. Customizing Business Processes

You can enhance the productivity of your accounting department by customizing the invoicing process to fit the workflow requirements of your business. Most invoice automation software allows custom configurations to focus on specific areas that improve productivity. This means you can establish a growth-oriented workplace culture using digital solutions that are tailored to suit your specific AP processes.

If you get invoices through different channels like fax and email, capturing the data using OCR technology for rapid compiling may be the best option to improve productivity. On the other hand, if your invoices follow a unique route for approvals, you can customize the automatic workflow to follow a channel that saves the most time.

Most importantly, you can personalize the tools to balance employee workloads. For instance, you can channel invoices to multiple employees and share responsibilities or onboard more team members to projects with strict deadlines.

Endnote

Manual handling of AP and AR is an intensive process that can leave your employees tired and frustrated, leading to numerous errors. Accounting departments realize these processes bring unnecessary burdens.

Automation eliminates most of the challenges of AP and AR processes, including human errors, processing time, and compliance to enhance productivity. As more finance departments adopt digital transformation, implementing AP and AR automation tools can give you a competitive edge.

Dividend Aristocrats: A Safe Haven In a Stormy Market

With the market continuing to take a turn for the worst, Maxim Manturov, Head of Investment Advice at Freedom Finance Europe, explores three dividend aristocrats as a potential safe haven for investors wanting to see steady cash flow within a time of uncertainty.  

In times of market turbulence, one of the safest investments is in the so-called dividend aristocrats — companies that have consistently paid and raised dividends for more than 25 consecutive years. Today only 65 companies belong to this exclusive club. Although many dividend aristocrats are not high-yield investments, they provide their shareholders with a steady cash flow, even in domestic and global economic crises. We have selected three of the most undervalued dividend aristocrats for investors to consider.

Three dividend aristocrats for investors 

Polaris (PII) specialises in the manufacture and sale of high-capacity off-road vehicles and snowmobiles, motorbikes, and powerboats. Unlike most dividend aristocrats, the company has not yet reached its financial maturity: its revenues have grown at an average annual rate of 12.03% over the past five years. At the same time, management believes that sales will grow by an average of 7% to 9% a year over the next five years, and the customer base could grow by 50% over the next ten years. Notably, the fastest-growing segment of the company’s customer base is millennials.

In addition to revenue growth, Polaris maintains a high level of efficiency. In the most recent reporting period, return on assets (ROA) reached 8.38%, and return on equity (ROE) was 39.46%. The company can maintain high profitability thanks to its strong competitive positioning and leadership in its target markets.

Two years ago, Polaris earned its status as a dividend aristocrat. The company delivers a dividend yield of 2.57% with a payout ratio of 31.12%. However, dividends are not the only tool Polaris uses to reward shareholders. Through buybacks, the company’s management plans to reduce the number of shares by at least 10% over the next five years. Wall Street analysts value the stock at £107.43 ($131), implying a 29.7% upside potential.

V.F. Corporation (VFC) specialises in manufacturing, marketing, and selling branded clothing, footwear, and related products in North and South America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific. The company’s portfolio includes well-known brands such as The North Face, Timberland, Vans, and Supreme. In its long history, VFC has survived 24 economic recessions, two depressions, three financial crises, inflation from -2.5% to 20%, interest rates from 0% to 20%, 11 bear markets, and dozens of corrections and rebounds. That said, the company continues to thrive.

Despite short-term disruptions due to supply chain issues and economic weakness in China, we believe that VFS will grow faster than most competitors and maintain its brand recognition advantage in the longer term. As a result, management forecasts that sales will grow by an average of 7 to 8% in the coming years. 

VFS generates more than £857 million ($1bn) a year in free cash flow on equity, and its capital expenditure has averaged just 2% of sales over the past decade. Thus, the company is accumulating significant cash flow to expand its brand portfolio further.

VFC has a solid track record of returning cash to shareholders. The company has steadily increased its dividend over the past 50 years. The current yield is 4.18%, with a payout ratio of 68.64%. At the same time, management has voiced a target to provide shareholders with a compound return of 14% to 16% in the coming years through dividends and buybacks. The average price target from investment banks is £48 ($59), implying a growth potential of 27.8%.  

Walmart (WMT) is an American company that operates the world’s largest wholesale and retail chain, dating back to 1962. Walmart’s retail network includes more than 10,000 shops in 27 countries. 

Walmart has several growth drivers in the long term: the company’s e-commerce segment is still growing and has a low penetration rate. In addition, Flipkart India, in which Walmart has a 75% stake, is planning an IPO in 2022-2023, which could lead to a revaluation of the company’s stock.

Regardless of market conditions, the share price will be supported by dividends, which the company has been paying out steadily since 1989. The current yield is 1.86%, with a payout ratio of 27.23%. According to a Wall Street consensus, the fair market value of Walmart shares is £129 ($157), which provides investors with a 31% upside potential.

Why Will Cryptocurrency Be the Future of Money?

Cryptocurrencies are in the news once again as prices for coins like Bitcoin crash ever further on the back of institutional sell-offs, recession fears and the looming prospect of rising interest rates. Stocks in crypto businesses have followed in lockstep, putting the whole ecosystem of cryptocurrencies in jeopardy.

However, many still believe that cryptocurrencies still have the potential to revolutionise the financial industry and upend how we buy and sell. To understand why, we’ll look at what the originally stated objectives of cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin, and the things that crypto cash proponents point to when defending their argument that coin will eventually be king.

What is the main purpose of cryptocurrency?

Since they were first conceived, the main stated goal of cryptocurrencies has been to cut financial institutions out of payment transfer in favour of a decentralised, peer-to-peer model. In Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, they argue that the current system is flawed since non-reversible payments are not possible, with this impacting the freedom of citizens to trade with one another without the continual oversight of banks and governments.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies differ from the opaque transaction systems currently used by publicly broadcasting every transaction and recording it on a public ledger (the blockchain) that can’t be edited by any one user.

Transactions are based on cryptography, not trust in a bank to behave correctly. As Nakamoto puts it: “The root problem with conventional currencies is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust.”

Why will cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin be eventually used as currency?

Nowadays, the uses of cryptocurrency are broadening. Firstly, as the price of currencies has risen and fallen, spread betting sites are now offering users the opportunity to use crypto for spread betting transactions. As the value has gone up, many have used crypto as an asset to buy and sell for profit. And many businesses have sprouted up based on blockchain technology.

All these are well and good, but what about the original objective? Well, many still believe that, even as the price yo-yos, you’ll be able to buy a cup of coffee with Bitcoin in the future.

The main reason for this is the growth in positive institutional moves regarding crypto. Banks, hedge funds, and even businesses like Tesla have all made crypto investments in the past few years, signalling a sea change in how crypto is perceived.

Institutions like Deutsche Bank predict that cryptocurrency users will quadruple by 2030, arguing that regulation of the crypto markets will stabilise the value of coins – after all, who can trust to pay with a coin that is worth a chocolate bar one day and a Michelin-starred meal a month later! This will make them more likely to be seen as a legitimate currency and therefore much more likely to gain mass adoption.

Of course, all this is still speculation: only time will tell whether cryptocurrencies are adopted as a day-to-day means of paying for products and services and Satoshi Nakamoto’s dream becomes reality.

4 Factors That Can Have a Huge Impact On Your Credit Score

Credit is an important aspect when it comes to an individual’s personal finances. There are times you need financial assistance to execute projects needing large capital. Financial institutions will offer you this assistance through loans. However, most will assess your credit history before giving you these loans. 

Credit history contains data on how you handled previous debts. It’ll show if you defaulted on a payment and the like. This information helps financial institutions assess your risk factor before handing you out a loan. It’s said that if you’re a risky borrower, lenders are less likely to lend you the money.

They’ll get to take a peek at your credit history on your credit report which shows your credit score too. Credit scores mainly range from 300 to 850, though some go up to 950. Here, the higher your credit score, the more desirable you are as a borrower to the eyes of creditors. 

As a potential borrower, are you wondering what aspects contribute to your credit score? The following aspects are said to affect your credit score:

1. Current Debts

When looking for financial assistance, having several outstanding debts isn’t ideal. Financial lenders will interpret this as an inability to manage your finances. They’ll conclude you can’t pay them up on time with all the existing financial baggage. How do they assess your debt?

Most will apply to your credit card, a mortgage, a student, or a car loan. They’ll check the remaining balance for you to complete loan payments. On credit cards, they’ll get your credit utilization ratio, which is the difference between your credit card balance and credit limit. The bigger this ratio, the higher of a risk you’re to lenders.  It’s always advisable to limit your credit card utilization to 30% or less. Beyond it and you’ll come off as an irresponsible spender.

Any lender will resist lending you money when you already have huge debts. It’d help to minimize your debts as much as possible to improve your credit score.

2. Credit Age

Credit age refers to the period you’ve had your line of credit like a credit card. The focus is on how long ago you got your first line of credit. Why does it even matter, you may ask?

An old credit card shows lenders you have experience handling credit. It’ll positively impact your credit score, making lenders feel confident to lend you money. However, your credit history age will only positively impact your credit score if you previously made timely payments to your credit balances. Most lenders will find this information on your credit tradelines, including when you opened your accounts.

3. Number of Accounts

When looking to avail more funds through limits, you’ll get several credit cards. Yes, you’ll achieve your goal, but what impact does this have on your credit score? In most cases, it’ll negatively affect your credit score. How?

With many cards, you have many debts to pay within a billing cycle. Depending on the amount you’ve spent on each, you’re likely to find it challenging to make payments. You might completely default or end up making late payments. Doing this increases your debt and negatively affects your payment history, aspects which significantly decrease your credit score.

It’d help to have one or two credit cards that you can easily manage to pay within the agreed period. Keep tabs on your credit health too.

4. Payment History

Generally, lenders want assurance that you can pay them off within the agreed period. Your payment history will help them gauge this.

If you’re prone to making payments after the due date, your credit score is likely to decrease. The same will happen if you extend late payments for an extended period. Most lenders will give you a grace period of around a month to clear off your loan. In case of failure, they’ll forward your account to collectors who’ll seek the payments on behalf of your lender. The involvement of a third party to help clear your debt will greatly affect your score, leading to bad credit.

Most lenders will avoid lending you money if you’ve got a poor payment history. They’ll believe you’ll give them a hard time during repayment, making you a high-risk client.

Conclusion

Your credit score is important to your life’s financial aspect. This feature has shown you the factors that impact your credit score. With this information, you can ensure you maintain a high credit score to assist you when the need arises.

13 Legitimate Ways to Get Money Online

Do you want to learn about some of the best ways to get money online? If so, you have come to the right place! In this blog post, we will discuss 13 different methods that you can use to make money from home. 

There are a number of ways to make extra money, and you don’t have to look far to find them. Sites like Speedy Cash offer a variety of opportunities to earn cash, and you can also find many other sites that offer similar opportunities. 

Online Surveys

One of the most popular ways to earn money online is by taking online surveys. Companies are always looking for feedback from consumers, and they are willing to pay good money for it. There are a number of different survey companies out there, so you can sign up with a few and start earning right away.

Selling Products Or Services Online

If you have a knack for creating products or providing services, you can make a nice income by selling them online. There are a number of different platforms that you can use to sell your wares, such as Etsy, eBay, and Amazon.

Freelance Work

Another great way to earn money online is by doing freelance work. There are a number of different websites that connect freelancers with clients, such as Upwork and Fiverr. If you have a skill that you can offer, such as writing, graphic design, or programming, you can find plenty of work through these sites.

Starting a Blog

A blog can be a great way to earn money online. You can use your blog to promote your own products or services, or you can sell advertising space to other businesses.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn money by promoting other people’s products or services. You can sign up with affiliate programs for companies such as Amazon, eBay, and Clickbank, and then promote their products on your website or blog. When someone clicks on one of your links and makes a purchase, you will earn a commission.

Social Media Marketing

If you are good at promoting products or services on social media, you can make a lot of money through social media marketing. You can sign up with companies that offer social media marketing services, or you can work as a freelancer and offer your services to businesses.

Creating And Selling E-Books

If you enjoy writing, you can make money by creating and selling e-books. There are a number of different platforms that you can use to sell your e-books, such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program. You can also sell your e-books through your own website or blog.

Creating And Selling Online Courses

If you have expertise in a particular subject, you can create and sell online courses. You can use a platform like Udemy to create and market your course, or you can sell it through your own website or blog.

Becoming a Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant is someone who provides services to businesses from home. There are a number of different tasks that a virtual assistant can perform, such as customer service, bookkeeping, and social media management.

Providing Consulting Services

If you have experience in a particular field, you can provide consulting services to businesses. You can use your experience to help businesses improve their operations or to advise them on new projects.

Online Tutoring

If you have expertise in a particular subject, you can provide online tutoring services. You can use a platform like Tutor.com to find students, or you can promote your services on your own website or blog.

Creating And Selling Online Courses

If you have expertise in a particular subject, you can create and sell online courses. You can use a platform like Udemy to create and market your course, or you can sell it through your own website or blog.

Participating in Online Focus Groups or Forums

You can make money by participating in online focus groups or forums. You can sign up with companies that offer these services, or you can promote your services on your own website or blog.

The Bottom Line

There are a number of legitimate ways to make money online. If you have the skills and the experience, you can find work as a freelancer or you can start your own business. If you are able to build up a good client base, you can make a lot of money through online work.

How to Best Diversify Your Investments

Keeping all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea, and this is something that certainly holds true in the world of investments. You need to make sure that you are diversifying your portfolio as best as you can, to ensure that your investments can be well-protected should something happen. The more diverse a portfolio you have, the more stable it will hopefully be.

Lots of Assets

The easiest way to diversify your investments is to spread your wealth and try several different areas of investment. It is easy to get trapped in one area, such as stocks, when there are in fact so many different types of trading for you to do. Looking into what cryptocurrency trading or forex has to offer can really give you some perspective on just what is waiting for you out there in the world of investments.

You could look into a more traditional area such as real estate and bonds. Though there is a flurry of interest around some of the newer areas of the market, as things like crypto really are something of a novelty, looking to the more traditional investment opportunities can yield some good results. Even if you start with nothing more than your 401k, look to some of the options out there that can help you to acquire more assets and spread your wealth a little more.

You could even look at acquiring traditional tradeable assets like oil or soybeans! These are often traded by larger corporations who use them as ways to hold and move their own wealth. Though you might not be trading on quite the same level, there is no reason why you cannot choose to purchase some of these to then use as part of a diversified portfolio.

Research

As soon as you commit to any type of trading, you need to make sure that you are properly educated on the subject so you don’t make poor choices. The goal here will be to make money in some way, preferably over a long period of time if it is for the purposes of a retirement fund. Put the time in to research and find the deals that you think are best for you to make.

This is especially important as there can be a lot of jumping on the bandwagon in some trading circles. Something might prove to be incredibly popular and attractive and will cause lots of investors to flock to it. This can devalue it, as everyone is interested, or it could even be a scam that pulls the rug out from everyone and leaves them with nothing.

Research and education are also vital in helping you to stop spreading your wealth too far. You want a portfolio that you know you can easily maintain. If you invest in everything interesting that comes your way, you could quickly find yourself with a bloated portfolio with too many assets to feasibly control. Keep things neat and manageable with maybe 30 or so investments. This should give you plenty to play with without making you feel overwhelmed.

Keep an Eye on Your Commissions

A big part of diversifying your investments will always be finding the right exchanges and platforms to do so from. Nowadays, there are so many aspects and factors to look out for, with every platform offering something a little different. You need to make sure that you find one to work with that will offer you the level of support that you need. Some platforms can auto-invest or at least find you the best options. Others can be a lot more hands off, and can be nothing more than the platform through which you make these investments.

However, you have to make sure that you pay close attention to any fees or commissions that you have to pay in order to use the platform. Some might be monthly fees, others could be per transaction. Both have their positives and drawbacks, so you need to make sure that you choose the style that suits you best.

What you need to watch for is how much you are spending on these fees. For example, fees per transaction can quickly add up – especially if you are an active investor and trader. This could seriously cut into any profits you might make, and you will still have to pay some commission even if you don’t make anything! Ensuring that you have the right platform will be incredibly important, no matter what.

If you are going to create a portfolio of investments, you need to make sure that it is as diverse as possible, so you can be certain that your money is properly protected. After all, there are so many ways in which your investments could be upset. The more diverse a portfolio, the more stable it will be overall. Take the time to investigate some of the other types of investment that you could make. There are so many sectors that you could look into. One could capture your attention that you have never thought of too, and so you could discover something entirely new. Take a look at what the world of investments can offer you now!

Understanding Why Gold Is a Safe Investment

Maxim Manturov, Head of Investment Advice at Freedom Finance Europe, explores why now is a good time to invest in gold.

The risks associated with stronger sanctions against Russia by the West have pushed investors and traders to look towards safer assets. Gold is one of them. Since the beginning of the year, the metal has increased 7.5% in value, rising to £1,466 an ounce. 

While the volume of gold in the global economy is limited, an increase in demand for this asset has sent stock prices soaring. In turn, the metal is expected to generate substantial returns in 2022, as it is seen as a hedge against major economic and geopolitical disruptions.

For investors looking to protect their investment portfolios, analysts have broken down three potential investment ideas with different risk levels. 

What is driving the industry growth for gold?

Demand for gold tends to rise due to global political confrontation. In turbulent times, money depreciates, companies’ shares decline in value, and virtual currencies become unstable. In such cases, investors turn to gold, which is an asset that does not change and grows in the long term. 

While experts say that gold does not protect against inflation, the reality is different. The five-year correlation between gold prices and the CPI (Consumer Price Index) is 0.79, reflecting a stable long-term relationship. If inflation is persistent, it will lead to higher gold prices. As a result, the number of gold miners across the globe will also rise. 

For example, the policies of the Federal Reserve System (Fed) and other central banks under Covid-19 caused a wave of liquidity. Inflation, which was initially thought to be temporary due to supply problems throughout the pandemic, turned out to be a long-term structural issue for the global economy. The consumer price index rose to its highest level in almost 40 years and investors increasingly looked towards gold as a safe investment.

Three gold investments to watch

1. VanEck Gold Miners ETF Units (GDX.US)

The VanEck Gold Miners exchange-traded fund (ETF) tracks the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index (GDMNTR). This index covers 50+ companies from 9 different countries, the top 5 companies being: Newmont Corporation, Barrick Gold Corporation, Franco-Nevada Corporation, Agnico Eagle Mines Limited, and Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. 

The VanEck Gold Miners ETF has £11.9 billion assets under management (AUM). With its entry price in shares sitting at £28.3, its target price of £34 means the company has a growth potential of 20% over the next 12 months. 

Metal prices have already risen by 11% since the start of the year. Buying units of the VanEck Gold Miners ETF offers the potential to benefit overall from the upward trend in the industry. It is a risk-weighted investment. 

2. Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. (WPM.US)

Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. is a multinational streaming company, which specialises in precious metals such as gold, silver, and palladium. Wheaton’s current portfolio includes 24 active mines and 12 projects under development. These assets have a useful life of more than 30 years.

Wheaton has an innovative streaming business model where it finances mining companies to develop and expand their projects. In return, the company receives the production of one or more metals at a discounted price. In addition, Wheaton generates income on rising metal prices, making it more attractive than other mining companies. The costs are predetermined and the average operating margin is 76%. 

Wheaton’s increased financial performance and production volumes signify that this business is full of promise. Over the past three years, the corporation’s revenue has grown at an average rate of 15% – reaching £910 million in 2021. 

The company also demonstrates improvement in its operating and net margins. Each estimate was up by more than 45% year on year (YoY). Net profit for the same period was £571.9 million. For 2021, free cash flow was at £333.3 million.

Wheaton’s current shares price is sitting at £36.29, while its target price is sitting at £45.45. In the period of 12 months, this means the company will potentially grow by 25.2%. Alongside this, the company shows exiting business growth, a strong balance sheet, high-profit margins, and efficient quality of capital structure management.

3. Hecla Mining Company (HL.US)

Hecla Mining acquires and develops mines, as well as sells gold, silver, lead, and zinc. The company and its subsidiaries supply precious metals internationally and to the US. Over the past year, Hecla Mining has derived a large proportion of its revenue from gold and silver sales – 42% and 34% respectively. 

The business has accumulated impressive reserves of gold and silver in the last few years, which should also catch investors’ eyes. Silver reserves increased between 2020 and 2021 from 188 million ounces to 200 million ounces. As part of this, the company increased proven and probable reserves by 6%, or 11.5 million ounces, compared to 2020. For gold, proven and probable reserves increased by 14% from 2.4 million ounces to 2.7 million ounces. This helps to ensure the long-term sustainability of the company. 

Between 2018 and 2021, the company showed significant business growth. Revenue growth during this time stood at an impressive 42.5%, with profits reaching £612.11million in 2021. In the same year, free cash flow was sitting at £85.61 million and Hecla posted a net profit of £25.51 million. In 2022, the growth rate of these indicators is expected to maintain this momentum. 

Hecla Mining today is a low-cost, high-margin, high-growth company with an extremely healthy balance sheet. 

Freelancers Should Look for ‘Self Employed’ Mortgages

Today is the 16th of June, which is National Freelancer’s Day and the Suffolk Building Society is offering guidance to freelancers about what actions they can take to help qualify for a mortgage. While freelancers may operate under different business structures, such as being a sole trader or a limited company, mortgage lenders tend to group everyone together under a ‘self employed’ banner.

Suffolk Building Society’s Head of Mortgages, Charlotte Grimshaw, said: “Nowadays, many more mortgage providers are inclined to lend to freelancers than perhaps they once were. Some providers offer specific self employed mortgages, while others offer freelancers access to standard mortgage products, as long as they meet certain criteria. So if you don’t see any ‘freelance’ mortgage products it doesn’t necessarily mean the provider won’t lend to you.”

Supporting evidence for a mortgage application

If an applicant is employed, much of mortgage lenders’ reassurance and comfort comes from payslips as it shows stability of employment and proof of earnings but as this isn’t feasible for freelancers, lenders will look at other ways to evidence work history and current employment status. For most freelancers, this will mean providing evidence of contracts, company accounts or self assessment tax forms (SA302s).

Suffolk Building Society explains that in general, freelancers need to ensure their work and contracting history is comprehensive and up to date. This includes making sure that their online profile, on sites such as LinkedIn, is representative of their current work.

Charlotte Grimshaw explains: “As mortgage lenders, we’re not trying to catch people out – we really do want to help people buy their dream home. Whether an applicant is a freelancer or not, it’s all about looking for positive supporting evidence.”

Freelancers are not exempt from all the usual checks that lenders undertake for other applicants either, so it’s well worth them scrutinising their own credit report to make sure it’s clean and up to date i.e. all addresses are the same, credit repayments are correct and up to date, no County Court Judgements are present, etc. Similarly, make sure all expenditure is declared and bank statements can be accounted for.

Charlotte Grimshaw concluded: “Having been made redundant during the pandemic, many people turned to freelancing and in most cases, they haven’t looked back as they embrace the autonomy and freedom of being their own boss – but some may be a little concerned if they need to apply for a mortgage for the first time or remortgage their existing property. However, the barriers that freelancers once faced in getting a mortgage are coming down, as lenders embrace different, and often multiple, sources of income. 

“There are plenty of mortgage products for freelancers out there but start by researching ‘self employed mortgages’ rather than ‘mortgages for freelancers’. Don’t get too bogged down in worrying about whether your business structure will be suitable for a specific lender as most are adept at understanding the different ways freelancers are paid – just make sure your finances are organised, comprehensive and up to date.”

Suffolk Building Society has collated a list of useful points to help freelancers be better informed, should they need to apply for a mortgage:

Considerations for all freelancers:

  1. Many people, but especially freelancers, gravitate to their bank to obtain a mortgage in the belief that their bank will understand their finances and will be more likely to lend. This is not necessarily the case, especially for freelancers whose finances may be more complex than an average mortgage applicant’s. Finding a specialist mortgage lender who can understand your business gives a much higher chance of a successful application. 
  2. Lenders will understand that different industries make payments in different ways i.e. a videographer may be paid at the end of a project, whereas a marketing consultant may invoice once a month. As long as the freelancer is being paid in what is considered a ‘normal’ way for that industry, lenders tend to take a favourable view.
  3. There is generally no minimum age for freelancers to apply for a residential mortgage, whereas buy to let mortgages often have a minimum age of 21, 25, or even 30. If someone has a proven history and deposit, their age should not hold their application back.
  4. Similarly, there is no legal maximum age limit for freelancers to apply for a mortgage, but lenders will set their own criteria. 
  5. If freelancing is a side hustle (as opposed to an individual’s main source of income) most lenders’ standard position is to use 50% of their freelancing work in affordability calculations and the individual should be prepared to provide tax returns as evidence that this income is sustainable.

For freelancers running a limited company:

  1. Two years of company accounts are usually required for freelancers running their own business – some lenders may consider less.
  2. Make sure company accounts are filed on time – late filing could ring alarm bells with the lender.
  3. Different lenders will have different affordability criteria and may base their mortgage offer on salary and dividend, net profit or retained profit. It is worth speaking to an accountant to properly understand the relevant figures before applying for a mortgage.
  4. If a freelancer has switched their business model from sole trader to limited company but doesn’t have two years’ worth of accounts, the lender may take a favourable view if the individual is in a similar industry or sector.
  5. Some lenders will take the average of two years’ accounts, others will base their lending decision on the worst year – whether that be year one or two. Freelancers who have had a particularly poor year (such as due to the impact of the Covid pandemic) but can explain why, will still be considered for a mortgage.
  6. Freelancers who are concerned about having a poor year before applying for a mortgage can ask their accountant for an estimated projections letter to support their case.

For freelancers operating as a sole trader:

  1. Two years of operating as a sole trader is usually the minimum required to apply for a mortgage. Some lenders will prefer more and some will accept less but two years is a good rule of thumb.
  2. Keep all paperwork related to freelance work – from contracts, to bank statements, invoices and remittance notes as a lender may ask to see it.
  3. It can be helpful, but not always essential, to have a separate bank account to keep track of business expenses and income away from personal finances. If not, be ready and able to clearly demonstrate the difference in personal and business funds.
  4. Lenders may use a day rate calculation such as five times the value of daily contracts, multiplied by 46 or 48 weeks (to allow for some downtime/holiday etc). The S302 form will be used as a way to calculate previous earnings based on submission to HMRC so this needs to be available.
  5. If the applicant’s freelance work is in the same sector as their previous employed job, then an application can sometimes be supported by evidence of PAYE income in the form of P60 forms.

For freelancers operating under an umbrella company:

  1. There are mortgage providers who will lend to freelancers who use an umbrella company but it is usually best to engage the services of a specialist mortgage broker for advice on this front as the application can be more complex. Much of the guidance above still applies in terms of demonstrating clarity of earnings and stability of contracts.

Here’s Why Bitcoin Will Never Move To Proof-of-Stake

Bitcoin has been around for over a decade now, and is by far and away the most important and high profile cryptocurrency on the block.

Underpinning the design of Bitcoin is the concept of proof-of-work (PoW), which is basically a mechanism that allows for transactions on the blockchain to be verified by having all users complete complex calculations.

The alternative to this approach is proof-of-stake (PoS), which aims to deliver similar levels of security without needing the same amount of processing power or energy to complete. Instead, users stake tokens to verify transactions, achieving consensus democratically.

Some altcoins have been made for PoS, while others like Ethereum are moving from PoW over to what is seen as a more efficient and eco-friendly alternative. So why does it seem like Bitcoin will forever be tethered to PoW?

The importance of security

The main benefit to Bitcoin steering clear of PoS is the added security which comes with the more energy-intensive angle on verifying transactions and confirming consensus across the network.

When you buy Bitcoin from an exchange like http://swyftx.com/au/buy/bitcoin/, or you transfer funds between wallets independently, this transaction is effectively overseen and validated by every other user on the chain.

The upshot of this is that not only do you get comprehensive security and transparency, but you also avoid scenarios of double-spending, which can come about where digital assets are involved.

The might of mining

The community of miners who have helped grow and perpetuate Bitcoin over the years is vast and ever-expanding. This is largely because mining in a PoW context is rewarded handsomely, so there are strong incentives to continue running such operations, and thus less of an inclination among the Bitcoin community to ditch this lucrative aspect of the ecosystem.

If the move to a PoS approach was made, miners would be the biggest losers. And since many mining pools are managed by influential individuals or organizations, the amount of opposition to abandoning PoW is always going to be immense.

The relevance of scale

There may be a growing number of PoS cryptocurrencies out there, but none have yet come close to matching the scope and scale of Bitcoin.

Being the biggest player, with the largest market cap and the most media attention focused on it, Bitcoin is simply an unknown quantity when it comes to rolling out a PoS migration. This level of uncertainty and risk is simply not tolerable in a project of this size, and so many are happy to continue swallowing the steep energy burden of PoW.

The element of control

The decentralized ethos of Bitcoin and the role of PoW go hand in hand, with the former being facilitated by the latter, allowing decisions to be made without the oversight of a central, governing body or any other individual or organization for that matter.

The fear is that migrating to PoS could dilute this control infrastructure, and even lead it to be manipulated and subverted to a greater degree.

The impact of value

Finally, Bitcoin is an asset with a value that can fluctuate like any other. But because it is entirely digital, it’s important to have a way of tying its worth to the world outside the mining rigs and wallets where it resides.

With proof-of-work, the value of Bitcoin is more easily measured, because there are of course costs involved in creating each new block and overseeing every transaction which takes place.

So in short, the obstacles standing between Bitcoin and a shift to proof-of-stake are so significant as to make this effectively impossible.

What Is the Difference Between ABN and CAN?

In the last few years, Australia has not only become one of the fastest-growing economies but has also strengthened its startup ecosystem significantly, with a whopping 5.8%  growth. As a result, there is a dramatic surge in the number of new businesses, and existing startups are experiencing rapid growth. That makes Australia one of the best places to start your own business.

However, like anywhere else, there are a few critical steps you need to undertake before you get a business up and running in Australia. First, you need to understand whether you need an ACN vs. ABN number when forming your new business. Knowing what your business requires beforehand can ensure it operates legally from the beginning.

If you’re looking to start a business in Australia, here are the main differences between ABN and ACN numbers to help you know what applies to your business:

What is an ABN?

An ABN is an 11-digit number unique to every business for identification purposes. An ABN number is issued by the Australian Taxation Office. If you’re looking to start a business in Australia, you must register for an ABN number, no matter the size or structure of your business. All businesses must have an ABN number, including non-profit organizations, partnerships, trusts, companies, and even sole traders. Your ABN is used by the government primarily for taxation purposes and for tracking your business operations.

Failure to apply for an ABN can mean that it’s operating illegally. You must register for an ABN and have it displayed on all your company documents, including

  • Tax returns
  • Invoices
  • BAS
  • Receipts
  • Letterheads
  • Orders
  • Estimates
  • Statement of accounts
  • Any other business correspondence

 

How to apply for an ABN

You register for an ABN with the Australian Tax Office. The registration process is usually easy since you can do it online, and you don’t need to pay any fee to register. You can also have a tax agent or BAS agent register for the ABN on your behalf, but for a fee.

The information you’ll need to complete your ABN registration will often depend on the business structure you’re applying for. However, you’ll typically need to provide your name, date of birth, email address, physical address, and the TFN of associated persons.

Once you’ve registered, the ATO will take less than 24 hours to review your application and issue you with your ABN number, which will apply for the lifetime of your business. You must update any changes to your ABN, like a physical address change, within the first 28 days.

You should cancel your ABN immediately should your business get closed, sold, or end its operations in Australia. Once canceled, you should lodge outstanding returns and activity statements and fulfill any payment obligations.

Benefits of an ABN

Besides enabling you to run a business legally in Australia, other advantages of acquiring an ABN include;

  • Makes easy for the government, community, and stakeholders to identify your business
  • Allows the government to easily track your business operations
  • It makes you eligible for GST registration, helping with GST credits claims, or claiming business costs like stationary
  • Stakeholders, such as suppliers, can easily confirm details in business invoicing and orders
  • It also gives you access to government services
  • If your business doesn’t pay taxes, such as non-profits, your ABN helps confirm your business structure

 

What is an ACN?

While you need to have an ABN regardless of your business structure, you should only apply for an ACN number if your business is structured as a company. An ACN is a unique number consisting of nine digits to identify your company. If your business registers for both the ACN and ABN numbers, your ACN number will be the last nine digits of your ABN number.

Unlike the ABN, you register for an ACN with the ASIC or Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Like an ABN, your ACN is used to identify your company and track its day-to-day business operations. Other stakeholders can also use it to know about your company’s information, like the business structure. Your company’s ACN number must be displayed on all your official documents and online information, including

  • Advertisements
  • Order for services and goods
  • Your company’s website
  • Invoices
  • Estimates
  • Statements of accounts
  • Letterheads
  • Receipts
  • And any other documentation related to your company

 

How to apply for an ACN

Registering for an ACN is done through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. You pay a fee to register for ACN. The fee is subject to change, so ensure you confirm the exact fee to pay before applying. You can also ask your accountant or lawyer to help you with the ACN registration.

Some of the critical things you need to consider when registering for an ACN include your company structure, company name, business operational model, and obligations to fulfill as a company. Apart from the ACN, you need to also apply for an ABN number.

Benefits of an ACN

Registering your business as a company automatically makes it a separate legal entity. As a business owner, this benefits you hugely since it lowers your risk and liability. Other benefits of having an ABN number include:

  • It gives stakeholders access to any information about your company.
  • Your ACN helps legitimize your business
  • You require it for legal compliance

 

Endnote

To legally operate a business in Australia, it’s crucial that you know whether you need to apply for an ABN or ACN number. And as you’ve seen, both the ABN and ACN are identification numbers but with completely different purposes. For instance, no matter the structure or size of your business, you must apply for an ABN with the Australian Tax Office before starting operation.

Applying for an Australian Business Number or ABN helps identify your business to the government and the community. It’s also for tracking your business operations by the Australian Tax Office and ensuring you stay compliant with the tax laws at any given time. On the other hand, you’ll need to register for an ACN number if your business is structured as a company. Understanding the differences between these identification numbers can help ensure your new business or company fulfills its legal obligations.

EB5 Visa: How to Choose The Right Regional Investment Center


Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/marketing-man-woman-exit-7414276/

As an EB-5 investor, you’ve already made an important choice: opting for a Regional Centre investment over a direct EB5 investment.

While this is undoubtedly an impactful decision, it’s not the only one you’ll have to make when investing in the US and self-petitioning for a green card. After all, the Regional Centre project you choose will determine your chances of success.

Here are the essential tips to keep in mind to choose the right regional investment centre, minimize investor’s risk, and secure a green card for yourself and your family.

Learn About The Regional Centre’s Reputation and History

In the best-case scenario, EB5 Visa Investments involve a minimum capital of $1,050,000 – or $800,000 for investments in Targeted Employment Areas. With so much money at stake, you should not rush through your due diligence. But, when you are conducting research from abroad, how can you be sure what Regional Centre to trust?

While USCIS publishes a list of approved Regional Centres, choosing one of these projects does not guarantee that a regional centre is safe, compliant with security laws, or risk-free. That is why you should start your search by reviewing the centre’s reputation and history.

Some of the aspects worth assessing include:

  • Entity designation
  • The centre’s finances
  • The staff’s and management’s qualifications
  • Fees and additional costs
  • Communication style

Pro tip: beware of red flags! If a regional centre seems disorganized or withholds documentation of information from you, you might not be dealing with the most transparent or honest partner. Even more importantly, stay clear of centres and projects that make “no risk” claims!

Assess Regional Centre’s Track Record

Of course, a record of successful past projects does not guarantee the success of the one you are about to invest in. However, checking a Regional Centre’s track record can tell you a lot about the business models they use, investor relations standards, and rates of success.

Some of the metrics you might use to compare the viability of different Centres include:

  • Number of completed projects
  • Number of approved and denied I-526 (“Immigration Petitions by Alien Entrepreneur”) applications
  • Number of investors who successfully received temporary and permanent green cards
  • Average investor returns and ability to return the capital invested

When making an EB-5 investment, your capital must be “at-risk” to qualify, meaning that there is no guarantee that you’ll see returns from your project.

However, looking at the regional centre’s track record, you can minimize your risk and increase your chances of making a successful investment!

Review The Investment Project and Expected Returns

Investing in a Regional Centre’s project is an excellent option for investors who are looking to take a hands-off approach, invest in real estate properties abroad, and minimize their immigration risk. Indeed, compared to direct investments, regional centre projects make it easier for investors to create 10 full-time jobs, thus fulfilling the job creation requirement and securing a permanent residence permit.

However, returns can vary from project to project, and you should choose your investment wisely. Aside from reviewing the Regional Centre’s track record and business model, you should check that:

The developer does not rely on foreign investors’ money
The contractors and professionals involved are qualified, reputable, and experienced
The project can support the creation and maintenance of 10 full-time jobs for each investor involved and can count on indirect job creation
The Centre operates in a thriving sector or industry that you know well or are familiar with
There are other EB-5 investors involved
You should also assess the investor relations standards and make sure that you’ll be kept up to date about progress, milestones, and expected returns.

Work With a Specialized EB-5 Visa Attorney

If you don’t know how to start searching for the right Regional Centre, or you wish to find guidance, consider working with a specialized EB-5 visa attorney, financial advisor, or investment broker.

Don’t forget that both your likelihood of scouring a green card and the capital investment are at stake. So, make sure to find the professional support you need to carry out due diligence and choose the right regional centre for your needs.

A Dozen Ways to Make Your Financial Services Business Friendlier to New Investors

Entering the world of finance and investing can be scary for new investors, unfamiliar with how it all works.  The more foreign and intimidating, the less likely the business is to attract new investors.  About 94% of American households have a bank account, but fewer than 60% of American adults own any kind of stock. That means there are literally tens of millions of potential customers out there who would benefit from good financial advice and services. 

There are three big themes within the advice below.  The first is to take as much of the mystery out of getting started as possible.  The second is to make sure your branding shows your softer side.  The third is to use your new clients to continue to evolve and get better.

Display Your Fees

The biggest reason people do not seek the help of financial experts, even when they would really benefit from such services, is that they believe it will be too expensive.  Many would-be investors let out a huge breath of relief when they learn that financial services are actually quite affordable, but until they know, they are nervous.  Since many people are concerned about being embarrassed at possibly not being able to afford the rates, your company can remove that initial obstacle by publishing fees right up front. 

Explain How You Make Money

The second part of being upfront and transparent is to explain how your firm makes money.  People hate the feeling that they might be getting taken advantage of.  The less they understand how you make money, the more they will worry that they are being cheated.  Customers don’t want to feel foolish.  Build trust by explaining your business model. 

Give Something Away for Free

Give the people browsing your website something without needing an account or paying money.  Even something as simple as an online calculator to help a potential customer figure out what compound interest would look like at different interest rates can make customers feel like you respect their independence and participation in the investing process. 

Provide Beginner Education Tools

It’s common practice to set up an FAQ page.  Go one step further and provide a glossary of terms.  Not only will having key terms and phrases on your site give you better search engine ratings, but you will increase the chance that your new customers will come to the table better educated, saving your staff time getting them up to speed.

Soften Your Brand

There are three components to branding your company as approachable and accessible, especially as compared to your peers.  The first is to describe how your business is friendlier.  The second is to use imagery that shows you have empathy for your customers.  The third is to underscore your branding with how your customer wants to be viewed because they use your services, such as being responsible or heroic.

Put a Face to Your Company

People hire firms, rather than doing it themselves, because they want help.  So, make the experience as personal and personable as possible.  Put the faces of your employees front and center in your media, to show that you are also people.

Have a 24/7 Live Answering Service

No one enjoys listening to a list of prompts and pressing what they hope is the right number for the correct extension that will, maybe, hopefully, lead to the person they need.  Give anyone taking the initial step of reaching out to your company a person to talk to, right away.  Simply put, use a live answering service when your office is closed. 

Help the Community

Show up for the community you want to do business with.  If your target zip code is holding a neighborhood clean-up, order some corporate t-shirts and get in there.  When the high school in your target town is putting on a musical, buy an ad in the program or sponsor the set design.  Customers who see you helping will believe in the quality of your company.

Learn to Speak without Jargon

Using sophisticated language is great when your customer is sophisticated.  It’s awful when your customer has no idea what you mean.  Using industry terms when speaking to new customers will make them feel alienated and even embarrassed.  Tell your staff, if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough. 

Ask Customers for Feedback

Be willing to learn as you work.  Ask current customers what they like and don’t like about what you do.  Take what they say seriously.

Encourage Honest Reviews

Whether you like it or not, many people will feel more comfortable being honest when they don’t have to say negative things to your face.  When clients leave reviews, read them.  Some may be sour grapes, but there are lessons to be learned from all types of feedback.

Ask Questions in New Places

Soliciting feedback from existing customers only gets you information about the demographics you already have.  If you are looking to expand, spend time listening to the people from the segments you don’t have yet.  Notice that this is about listening, asking questions and then listening some more, not about giving a sales pitch.  If you want to operate differently, you have to learn what you don’t already know.

Top Advantages of Outsourcing

Outsourcing is a business practice in which you contract with an external party in order for them to take care of specific tasks as opposed to hiring fresh staff or assigning those tasks to your existing staff. It’s quite a popular method for businesses to lower their costs for operation and to streamline those operations while still keeping a handle on the more essential functions.

Outsourced positions might be occasional, such as taking on an accountant to do the yearly taxes. On the other hand, they might also be a normal part of your business operations, such as outsourcing in higher education if your business happens to be in that field. This can ensure you have the best the world has to offer while they can remain in their own countries and homes, reducing your overhead. 

Advantages of Outsourcing

The businesses that you outsource your jobs to might be independent consultants or they may just be other large corporations. It doesn’t matter what size they are, outsourcing your operational tasks can provide you with a vast array of benefits. From large corporations to sole proprietorships, businesses of every type and size can take advantage of outsourcing to assist with company growth and expansion while making sure expenses are kept as low as possible. 

Core Activities

During periods of quick growth, the back-office operations of your business might tend to expand. Because of this, it can tie up your financial and human resources to the detriment of the core activities that are what made your business what it is in the first place. As an example, if your business gains a massive contract that will greatly increase the volume of your purchases over a brief period of time if you outsource those purchasing responsibilities, you’ll free up quite a bit more time and personnel in order to focus on the actual contract. 

Lower Costs

There are times when needing a new location or purchasing equipment can be more than a bit prohibitive. In cases such as these, it can lower your costs if you outsource as opposed to opening an international operations facility. If your business growth results in the need for additional office space, try outsourcing some of your simple operations like data entry or telemarketing instead of moving to a larger location. This might be much more cost-effective when compared to the cost of expansion and is both less expensive and more efficient than relocating. 

Promote Growth

Some operations have incredibly high overhead costs. However, you may just want to offer them in order to satisfy the demands of your customers, expand on your business model, or be more competitive in the marketplace. If the cost of expansion in order to oversee these operations yourself is prohibitive, you might want to consider outsourcing. This would also be a good option if it would take too long to implement the changes, or if it would create an inefficiency in your overall business model. 

Get the Most from Outsourcing

Businesses often consider outsourcing purely in terms of the savings it can offer them, however, outsourcing can offer so much more. As a business grows, outsourcing might just be the ideal solution to promote innovation, disrupt the industry, and gain access to a variety of new skill sets that can reposition your business in the market. 

When you think about how outsourcing can assist you, don’t limit your thoughts to the cost of outsourcing versus the cost of overseeing a task with your people already on staff. Whether it’s through marketing your business, expanding production, or anything else, outsourcing can provide you with an opportunity to grow, innovate, and rise above your competition.

How to Start Planning for Retirement

Being able to retire is a goal that many people have in life and want to work towards. Because of the finances involved in being able to retire comfortably, coming up with a retirement plan should start as early as your 20s. If you’re older now and you’re just starting to think seriously about it, don’t stress because you can still make it happen. 

Have a Retirement Plan

A retirement plan or a 401(k) plan is one that you contribute to each paycheck. A lot of companies offer these, and it’s easy to select the percentage you want to take out of your check each time so it goes directly into your retirement savings account. If your company does not offer a 401(k) plan, you can still get an individual one and receive the same type of benefits. 

Companies that do offer retirement plans often match a portion of what you put into savings up to a certain amount. This helps you get more money to add to your 401(k) account without you needing to go out of your way to do anything different. A good thing about retirement plans is that you’re in control of what goes in there. If you want to increase the percentage you add each payday, you can change it at any time. 

It’s important, however, to keep in mind that this money is for your retirement savings. Even if there’s an emergency, you should consider all other options before even thinking about tapping into these funds. 

Get the Most Revenue From Your Business

One of the biggest benefits of having your own business is you’re in complete control over your earnings. If you have a steady revenue now, there could still be some ways that you can make it even better, such as with software to help with shipping carrier updates

Don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit and learn from your leading competitors. Just because you have things in place that are working for you does not mean you should avoid changing things. Change is a good thing and can help increase your earnings.

Avoid Accumulating Debt 

Debt is something that can impact your retirement goal. If you keep accumulating it, you’re going to have to keep paying it off, and it’s just a never-ending cycle. The best thing you can do is avoid accumulating debt. If you have debt now, work on paying that off and try not to get any more. 

Avoid credit cards, and do not make big purchases until you save up enough money to buy them yourself. Debt is associated with high-interest rates and it can be hard to get on top of it. For any debt you currently have, it’s helpful to make payments that are higher than the minimum due so you can pay it off faster. 

Determine How Much Money You Need 

For a successful retirement, you will need to calculate how much money you think you’ll need. You can get a rough estimate by calculating your needs based on your current income, but this isn’t always helpful if you make changes to advance your career and make more money. 

A general way you can calculate a rough estimate is by figuring out what your annual spending is and then multiplying this by 25. This should allow you to take out 4-percent of that savings each year to live on. If you’re later to the game with saving for retirement, you’ll just need to find ways to save even harder. 

Learn How Retirement Benefits Work 

When you work, a portion of your earnings goes into Social Security. These are benefits you should be able to receive when you’re able to retire. These benefits should be part of your retirement planning, but should not be your only source of income because you’ll only get a certain amount per month, and that likely will not be enough. You can determine online how you can qualify and what your estimated monthly benefits will look like. 

No one is ever too young to start seriously thinking about retirement. The more you’re able to put into it, the more comfortable you’ll be when you’re able to retire.

Going Above and Beyond for Success

cheqd is a new revolutionary company that is striving for the betterment of the future. It is creating a world in which individuals have total control over their personal data – an issue that is becoming increasingly prevalent thanks to the rise of technology. Javed Khattak is the company’s devoted CFO, named CFO of the Year in 2018, reclaims his title as CFO of the Year in 2022.

cheqd is building a better future – one where consumers and organisations can establish trustworthy relationships, control their personal data, and maintain a sense of security. cheqd firmly believes that companies should not make money off people’s data without their consent. This means their informed and clear consent, not just pressing ‘I agree’ when the convoluted terms and conditions are displayed. To make this a reality, cheqd provides solutions that enable verifiable credentials to be transferred between stakeholders in a trustworthy, secure, and efficient manner.

By extension, cheqd endeavours to support and enhance the current data economy business models and establish the flexibility and incentive to create new ones. As such, it achieves this by offering bespoke commercial models and governance structures, which have all been built upon cheqd’s own public permissionless blockchain network. This network features cheqd’s dedicated crypto-token (CHEQ) which is used as a form of payment within the ecosystem. In addition, the company supplies a suite of mobile and backend software tools that self sovereign identity (SSI) vendors can embed in their own client-facing software.

Consequently, the company, through great passion and devotion, has acquired numerous achievements. For example, CHEQ has been listed on Osmosis, the largest decentralised exchange in the Cosmos ecosystem. In addition, the Company has also successfully bridged its token onto the Ethereum blockchain allowing access to CHEQ in the Ethereum ecosystem as well. It is already listed on two centralised crypto exchanges; Gate.io and Bitmart, with more exciting news in the pipeline. Over 60 validators were welcomed on board once the cheqd network was launched, including 20 self-sovereign identity application vendors, digital identity start-ups, investors, and Cosmos-native or cross-chain network validators. The network has been an enormous success, and already millions of CHEQ tokens have been traded.

cheqd’s clients are expected to include governments, public organisations, multinational companies, banks, financial services companies, Web3 projects, and consultancies that handle personal documents and identification. “But it won’t stop there,” explains Javed Khattak, CFO, “we will be able to serve any client that needs to identify a unique person or object, real or virtual.” There are numerous examples as to how this could work – for example, in the event that a self-driving car fuels up at a charging station, both objects would be able to identify each other’s identity with the aim to pay for the transaction using the same ecosystem.

“The SSI industry and market is mostly untapped and continuously growing; we seek to introduce a plethora of benefits to the market, helping save billions worth of money while improving ‘security’ of personal credentials for individuals. cheqd aims to become the market leader in doing so and I believe, is already leading the pack,” Javed states.

Behind the company is a team that Javed describes as a ‘family’. He believes that prior to hiring, it’s important to ensure that the individual shares the same values and that they’ll be compatible with the existing internal culture. In addition, each team member should be both exceptional and passionate about their area of expertise. cheqd’s team meets the aforementioned criteria – the team share the collective goal to be a force for good in the world, and they are inspired to leave a positive legacy. Despite its global reach, there is a great effort to remain in contact and support each other.

The close-knit family feel comes as no surprise – with a team of empathetic, creative, and fun people, cheqd has cultivated an environment where individuals can thrive. Fraser Edwards, co-Founder and CEO, and Ankur Banerjee, co Founder and CTO of cheqd both agree that the company wouldn’t be the same without Javed.

Ankur shares, “Javed has absolutely been critical to the success of a young and ambitious startup like cheqd. From the very first conversation that we had, I saw that unlike everyone else we spoke to about coming onboard as CFO, Javed had a real passion for the blockchain space. Instead of just being nterested in the numbers and finances, I’ve always appreciated that he takes the time to understand the technology and product aspects and contributes meaningfully to building out our product roadmap.”

Fraser tells us, “I still consider ourselves at cheqd extremely lucky to have Javed as part of the team and still remember myself and my co-Founder, Ankur, being shocked by the quality of his application for a company so young as ours. Javed brings a unique and priceless combination of deep experience, endless imagination and focused pragmatism that mean we have achieved far, far more than we would have without him.”

With regards to the acceleration of the firm, Fraser adds, “The speed we have been able to execute with, $3.3m raised, product launch, over 60 partners, inside a year is a huge advert for his skillet. On a personal level, I already see Javed as someone who will be a lifelong friend, one of the many benefits I’ve had from cheqd.” Not only does Javed know how to improve the workplace – for the sake of people’s freedom and positivity – but he knows how to elevate a business, in line with goals, values, and ever-evolving dreams. Therefore, cheqd is not simply about numbers and finances, it is about friendship and exploration of goals for employers, employees, and clients.

Internally improving each service it offers, Javed guarantees cheqd’s technical strategies reach every layer of its clients business. Fraser shares, “It’s genuinely refreshing in this deeply complex space at the intersection of Web 3.0, digital identity, and privacy technology to see someone like him who also is keen on the ethical aspects of what freely-accessible digital identity can do in terms of improving financial inclusion.” A balance between financial security and growth, alongside human connection, is where businesses need to be. And Javed achieves this for his team with his expert knowledge and guiding hand.

All of these comments reflect the entire company overall, as Javed has led it to accomplishment time and time again. A significant portion of the company’s success can be attributed to Javed, who serves as cheqd’s Chief Financial Officer. Prior to his position at cheqd, Javed led businesses in a variety of capacities, including as a Founder, a CEO, CFO, and CTO. Throughout his career, he has established and still leads multiple successful businesses, such as Seerbytes, Zisk Properties, Zisk Investments, and Javed Khattak Consulting. His success in business has led Javed to sit as a Board Member and Advisor to several other companies, including regulated funds.

Moreover, Javed is a highly-skilled mathematician, who is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the UK. He writes, “I truly believe maths is the mother of all sciences. In addition, I don’t like being confined to a particular role or a subject. And at times I have found the modern day world to be puzzled by it. But there are countless examples of polymaths throughout history who have helped change the world. While I don’t consider myself a genius, I certainly believe that polymaths make for better professionals and their cross-disciplinary exposure sparks creativity as well as offers them the ability to view a problem from several lenses.”

Within the business, Javed revels in his involvement in the different areas, as this allows him to gain a 360-degree view. As a result, he maintains a deep understanding of the challenges and problems and is equipped to use them to drive results-based outcomes. This is, in part, one of the reasons why Javed enjoys working with cheqd and its team. Both Fraser and Ankur welcome Javed’s drive and passion to be more than just a CFO for the project.

In essence, he has done it all – but his success over the years has come with many challenges. Throughout both his professional and personal life, Javed has used challenges to bolster his learning. “I don’t believe in shortcuts,” he says, “I have found that, often, doing the right thing is the most difficult of options available in a given situation. The higher the stakes, the more difficult it is. But over the long term, if you have the patience to persevere, it pays off in a big way!”

His approach to his role as CFO has made him a hit amongst his colleagues – Eduardo Hotta, the Head of Marketing and Community, testifies that Javed has contributed a great amount to structuring cheqd’s finances and navigating the company through unexplored blockchain regulatory waters. Eduardo continues, “through his impressive skills, he managed to decrease our burn rate and therefore increase our company’s runaway. Another important thing to mention is his contribution in shaping cheqd’s amazing work culture.”

It appears that for Javed that the work never ends – but this is the way he likes it. He is entirely devoted to his work and is excited about the future of cheqd, along with the ways in which he can contribute to its success. In 2022, cheqd is developing core identity functionalities, and helping its partners in bringing to life successful use cases within their industries. cheqd is in the process of adding a deeper integration for its network and token into the Cosmos and other blockchain ecosystems, which will help the company to further engage with the market. Furthermore, the company is exploring the emerging Web3 use cases, such as DEX ecosystems, DAOs, NFTs, Gaming, and DeFi applications, which it will leverage for its network strength.

For business enquiries, contact Javed Khattak at cheqd via http://www.cheqd.io or http://www.javedkhattak.com.