Business interruption- cover that’s too big to cover- but needs to be next time

Business interruption- cover that’s too big to cover- but needs to be next time

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Business interruption- cover that’s too big to cover- but needs to be next time
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Does Life Insurance Cover Deaths From Coronavirus?

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Does Life Insurance Cover Deaths From Coronavirus?
Thousands of people worldwide have already died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. For those who have life insurance, in almost all cases, they are covered, and insurance will likely pay out for deaths from COVID-19. There are a few exceptions, according to representatives from life insurance companies and industry organizations. Potential... Kayda Norman is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: knorman@nerdwallet.com. The article Does Life Insurance Cover Deaths From Coronavirus? originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Coronavirus will shape the next decade. Will we prep before the next one?

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Coronavirus will shape the next decade. Will we prep before the next one?
Everywhere people are dying, global lockdown and massive government intervention. The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting global industries and supply chains, causing disastrous problems for businesses, consumers and the global economy. Just like the disease is killing older people at high rates, it is also about to kill mature western economies. Businesses are struggling to produce and distribute products and services, that consumers depend on. The coronavirus outbreak has limited our ability to produce and consume goods. Its financial ramifications are already severe and will only get worse. The COVID-19 pandemic will change this decade, just like 9/11 changed the 2000s. The impact from pandemic on global economy will be severe, but eventually the crisis will all end and life will resume. The question what direction will we follow and how prepared will we be when the next one comes along? Ilias Louis Hatzis is the Founder at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and a weekly columnist at DailyFintech.com. When businesses are unable to make money, they can’t pay employee wages and operating expenses. As business revenues decline, employee layoffs accelerate, which eventually leads to people not being able to pay their rent, mortgage and loans, buy goods and services or spend money at restaurants, sporting events, vacations. This is not just a health pandemic, it’s a pandemic of fear and mistrust that is hitting advanced economies in Western Europe and the United States. Governments are announcing travel restrictions within their borders and from outside, and are shutting down businesses everywhere. In mature economies, when people become fearful for their lives, they withdraw and stop spending money on things they frequently do. Businesses that operate in face-to-face service industries, which usually dominate high-income economies, are the one’s that get hit the hardest, when people are in lockdown. This is not to minimize the damage the pandemic is causing to the global product supply chain. The production around the world is out of action for an indefinite period of time. We are already seeing shortages for things like auto-parts, electronics and products like iPhones, and Diet Coke and don’t be surprised when we see disruptions for food, condoms and so many other basic things we take for granted. In 2015, the year after West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, Bill Gates gave a TED talk called “The next outbreak? We’re not ready.” Gates saw the COVID-19 outbreak coming and he knew we weren’t prepared for it. “If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war,” Gates said during the Ted Talk. “Not missiles, but microbes.”     Authorities around the world are doing their best to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Disease outbreaks can happen at any time and anywhere, with little or no warning. These are events that have occurred in the past and will occur again in the future. We are facing an uphill battle, but blockchain can help. Blockchain will not prevent new viruses, but it can help create a first line of defense, through a network of connected devices with a single purpose: to alert us about disease outbreaks. The use of blockchain can help prevent pandemics by enabling early detection, fast-tracking drug trials, and impact management of outbreaks and treatment. Blockchain platforms could help connect local hospitals and health organizations. Local hospitals could record medical data about patients with flu- or virus-like symptoms. The data could be used by health organizations to predict the spread of the virus, to help them take preventive measures (increase medical staff, supply medical equipment) in the areas where the virus could spread. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO), IBM and Oracle teamed up to create an open-data hub that will use blockchain technology to check the veracity of data relating to the coronavirus pandemic. Blockchain based livestock tracking could help to better trace an outbreak at the source, before it becomes impossible to contain. Deadly viruses have originated by contaminated livestock, that made it into our food supply. Imagine how many lives and resources we could save, if we could collect and analyze data to assess livestock risks for various regions. We could also improve the medical supply chain for products and vaccines. It’s vital to be able to track where things are and where they came from and ensure they are genuine. Researchers, biotech and pharmaceutical firms are racing against time to create the vaccine for this virus, as well as develop potential treatments for COVID-19. Blockchain based platforms could help vaccine development across various stages starting from exploration to pre-clinical stage, clinical development, regulatory approval to production and distribution and continuous quality control & monitoring. Like the September 11 terrorist attacks, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the financial collapse of Lehman Brothers, the coronavirus pandemic is a world-shattering event that will lead to permanent shifts in political and financial power. Many, fear the pandemic will strengthen state control and reinforce nationalism. Governments everywhere are adopting measures to deal with the health and financial crisis, and some governments will find it difficult to give up these new powers, when the crisis is over, similarly to what happened in the wake of 9/11, when civil liberties around the world were trampled. More than a hundred years ago, in the “The Machine Stops“, E. M. Forster wrote about a dystopian future where humans relied on a machine to provide food, clothing, shelter, and interaction with each other, using audio and visual devices. This story sounds like the present, and the pandemic is pushing us even more in that direction, to become more reliant on the “machine”. But the coronavirus pandemic is also causing everything to come to a grinding halt. Health care, government and business “machines” are breaking down and stopping. Maybe this is a wake up call, that pushes in the exact opposite direction, away from centralized machines and structures. The coronavirus global health crisis has the potential to massively disrupt our lives, both economically and socially. I can only hope, we move in the right direction. Image Source Subscribe by email to join the other Fintech leaders who read our research daily to stay ahead of the curve. Check out our advisory services (how we pay for this free original research) The post Coronavirus will shape the next decade. Will we prep before the next one? appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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This Week in Fintech ending 27 March 2020

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This Week in Fintech ending 27 March 2020
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CFTC Issues Temporary Relief from Certain Regulatory Requirements

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CFTC Issues Temporary Relief from Certain Regulatory Requirements
On March 17, the staff of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued a series of no-action letters to provide certain CFTC-regulated entities and registrants with temporary regulatory relief from a targeted set of regulatory requirements. The CFTC’s Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) issued a set of Staff Letters aimed at a broad range of market participants — including futures commission merchants (FCMs), introducing brokers (IBs), swap dealers (SDs), retail foreign exchange (forex) dealers, floor brokers, and members of designated contract markets (DCMs) and swap execution facilities (SEFs). These letters provide for temporary no-action relief from a number of CFTC regulatory requirements, as described below. Until June 30, 2020, DSIO will not recommend enforcement action against FCMs, IBs, SDs, retail forex dealers, floor brokers and members of DCMs and SEFs for failure to record the time and date on certain order records and trade information by time stamp or other timing device as required by CFTC rules if the personnel who are responsible for preparing such records are mandated by the firm’s BCP to be absent from their normal offices, provided that the required records are created, are maintained, and include any required date and time to the nearest minute. This date and time entry could be manually entered. Until June 30, 2020, DSIO will not recommend enforcement action against FCMs, IBs, SDs, retail forex dealers and floor brokers for failure to record the oral communications of personnel who would otherwise be required to use a recorded line pursuant to CFTC rules if such personnel are mandated by the firm’s BCP to be absent from their normal offices, provided that a written record of the communication is maintained that identifies date, time, participants and subject matter, and that the firm takes “affirmative steps” to collect and maintain any written materials prepared by affected personnel in connection with such communications. Until June 30, 2020, DSIO will not recommend enforcement action against floor brokers who are not physically located in a pit or other place determined by a contract market, nor will floor brokers be subject to a requirement to register as an IB because of failure to so locate, if the floor broker is required by the DCM’s BCP to be absent from such place. DSIO will not recommend enforcement action against FCMs and SDs who would otherwise be required to provide the CFTC with a copy of their Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) annual reports prior to September 1, 2020, provided that they submit such reports within 30-calendar days of their original due dates. The CFTC’s Division of Market Oversight (DMO) issued a set of Staff Letters covering SEFs and DCMs. These letters provide for temporary no-action relief from certain audit trail-related requirements for SEFs and DCMs, as well as an extension of the deadline for submission of CCO annual compliance and certain financial reports for SEFs. Until June 30, 2020, DMO will not recommend enforcement action against any SEFs that cannot meet requirements around recording of voice communications, to the extent that voice trading personnel are outside their normal offices, provided that the SEF makes reasonable efforts to record in writing the time, date, parties and subject matter of unrecorded conversations, all transaction terms are captured in SEF systems, and orders (even if placed on unrecorded lines) are retained in the SEF’s normal audit trail. Until June 30, 2020, DMO will not recommend enforcement action against DCMs that fail to comply with audit trail requirements, to the extent that those failings are a result of interactions with market participants who are relying on the DSIO Staff Letters described above, provided that the DCM requires such participants to comply with the applicable conditions of those DSIO Staff Letters and that orders entered by such participants are retained in the DCM’s normal audit trail. DMO will not recommend enforcement action against any SEF or SEF CCO for failure to timely submit to the CFTC either an annual compliance report or a fourth quarter financial report (where either report would have been due prior to September 1, 2020), provided that such reports are submitted no later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year for that SEF. The DSIO Staff Letters are available here. The DMO Staff Letters are available here. NOTE: On March 17, the National Futures Association provided relief from parallel NFA requirements for Members that are in compliance with the terms of the CFTC staff no-action relief. The NFA statement is available here. [...]
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Coronavirus and Negative Interest Rates: What It Means for You

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Coronavirus and Negative Interest Rates: What It Means for You
Thanks to the coronavirus-related financial crisis, we’ve broken more records in U.S. financial markets: Interest rates on some government securities have now dropped below zero, with one hitting a new low. As of this morning, three-month Treasury bills on the secondary market were paying negative 0.036% — a record low. One-month Treasury bill rates also went negative. This is the first time since... [...]
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Technology helping governments & citizens, one line of code at a time

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Technology helping governments & citizens, one line of code at a time
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Paul Hager: “At ONEtoONE my focus has changed to helping companies reach business success”

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Paul Hager: “At ONEtoONE my focus has changed to helping companies reach business success”
The post Paul Hager: “At ONEtoONE my focus has changed to helping companies reach business success” appeared first on ONEtoONE Corporate Finance. [...]
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How to Get Essential Needs Assistance if You’ve Lost Income

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How to Get Essential Needs Assistance if You’ve Lost Income
We talk about the importance of having a well-stocked emergency fund and wiggle room in your budget.  That’s the ideal, but living paycheck to paycheck without a savings cushion is a reality for millions.  Losing income due to layoffs, reduced business or needing to take unpaid days off in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic leaves many unable to meet basic needs like paying rent and putting food on the table. Although there isn’t a lot of centralized assistance available nationwide as of yet, various charities and private companies are stepping up to provide help to those in need.  7 Ways to Get Assistance During the Coronavirus Pandemic Right now, a lot of aid is being provided locally or on a case-by-case basis. We encourage you to follow your local news outlets for information relevant to your city. But here are a few avenues you can turn to for help.  1. The United Way and 211 The United Way’s 211 network is a helpful resource that connects people with health and human services in their area, like finding housing assistance or food banks. You just dial 211 on your phone or visit 211.org. The United Way has developed additional support via its COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund, which will distribute money to communities in need and strengthen the 211 infrastructure.  Chris Preston, vice president of corporate relations at United Way Worldwide, advises people to reach out for help now if they foresee needing assistance. Don’t wait until a bill that you can’t pay is due. Preston said the United Way is actively encouraging its national partners to work with their customers. Of those that have already committed to help, he said Comcast and AT&T are providing heavily discounted internet services, and Truist Financial, a merger of SunTrust and BB&T, is adjusting customers’ payment schedules and offering more cash back for some credit card holders. Click here to find your local United Way. 2. Salvation Army The Salvation Army provides aid to vulnerable populations with services like operating homeless shelters and soup kitchens. A statement from the nonprofit explains it has ramped up support efforts during the coronavirus pandemic as more need is anticipated.  Individual Salvation Army locations are making necessary adjustments, like shifting services online, providing to-go or delivered meals and designing quarantine plans for shelters. Use this search function to find your nearest Salvation Army location.  3. Modest Needs Modest Needs is a nonprofit that provides grants for low-income people in crisis to cover essential expenses like rent, utility bills and medical expenses. The organization is currently processing hundreds of applications for financial support in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and has also created a fund specifically to help hourly workers who are losing income.  FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Energy saving -- via Arcadia Power or any other similar service? 1/24/19 @ 4:10 PM Saving at the Grocery Store 3/4/20 @ 2:43 PM Emergency fund 3/6/20 @ 2:59 PM Looking For Cell Phone Plans 3/8/20 @ 5:02 PM See more in Save Money or ask a money question 4. School Systems Although school districts are shutting down across the country, some are continuing to provide meals to those qualifying for free and reduced meals. Contact your local school district to see if it’s providing meals and find out where they’re distributing them. 5. Food Pantries Feeding America and its network of food banks nationwide have responded to the coronavirus pandemic with efforts like increased food distributions, additional mobile pantry stops and drive-through pickups, according to its corporate blog.  However, many food pantries across the country are experiencing a shortage of both food donations and volunteers.  6. Utility Companies In response to the coronavirus crisis, various utility companies have announced they won’t shut off service if households are struggling to pay their bills.  If you believe you won’t be able to pay your next water, electricity or gas bill, contact your provider to explain your hardship. Get any agreement for financial assistance in writing rather than accepting a blanket statement that utilities will remain on regardless of payment. Pro Tip These tips for saving money on utilities can help you lower your bills. 7. Family, Friends, Neighbors and Social Networks Everyone may be practicing social distancing right now, but people are still extending their proverbial hands.  The New York Times recently reported about how people are finding assistance on platforms like Twitter and GoFundMe. A CNN article mentioned how the platform Nextdoor has seen a significant uptick in user engagement over the past two weeks.  Sharing your struggles won’t guarantee that someone will be able to help, but you stand a better chance than if you keep yourself in a silo.  Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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COVID-19 supplants InsurTech – moving lower on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Business Needs

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COVID-19 supplants InsurTech – moving lower on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Business Needs
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XBRL news for Week Ending Tuesday 17 March 2020

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XBRL news for Week Ending Tuesday 17 March 2020
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How to Get a Business Credit Card

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How to Get a Business Credit Card
Business credit cards can offer some advantages over personal cards, including potentially higher credit limits and sign-up bonuses and more detailed bookkeeping features for tax time. Applying for a business credit card is similar to the process for a personal card, with a twist. Here are some tips on how to get a business credit... Sara Rathner is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: srathner@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @sarakrathner. The article How to Get a Business Credit Card originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Niche Fintech Could Catch The Coronavirus Bug

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Niche Fintech Could Catch The Coronavirus Bug
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CFTC’s Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee to Meet on March 24

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CFTC’s Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee to Meet on March 24
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee (EEMAC) announced that it will hold a public meeting at 9:30 a.m. on March 24 at the CFTC’s headquarters in Washington, DC. At the meeting, the EEMAC will consider the CFTC’s proposed rule regarding the establishment of position limits for derivatives contracts that provide for physical delivery. Specifically, the EEMAC will examine the proposed position limits for spot months, single month, and all-months-combined and the proposed bona fide hedging exemptions from such position limits and related procedures. The CFTC’s Market Intelligence Branch will also make a presentation on recent developments in the energy derivatives marketplace. The meeting is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, as well as via conference call. More information is available here. For more information on the CFTC’s proposed rule regarding Position Limits for Derivatives, please see the January 31, 2020 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest. [...]
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Time to check US Consumer debt, delinquencies, and refinancing applications

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Time to check US Consumer debt, delinquencies, and refinancing applications
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The role of a Business Owner

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The role of a Business Owner
The post The role of a Business Owner appeared first on ONEtoONE Corporate Finance. [...]
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XBRL news for Week Ending Tuesday 10 March 2020

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XBRL news for Week Ending Tuesday 10 March 2020
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CFTC Designates Small Exchange, Inc. as a Designated Contract Market

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CFTC Designates Small Exchange, Inc. as a Designated Contract Market
On March 10, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that it had issued an Order of Designation approving the application of the Small Exchange, Inc. (Small Exchange) for designation as a contract market (DCM). As required under Section 5 of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC Regulation 38.3(a), the CFTC issued the order after finding that the Small Exchange had demonstrated its ability to comply with the provisions of the CEA and CFTC Regulations applicable to DCMs. The CFTC press release is available here. A full copy of the Order of Designation is available here. [...]
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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 13 March 2020

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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 13 March 2020
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Best Cash Back Credit Cards for Business

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Best Cash Back Credit Cards for Business
Using a cash-back credit card for business expenses can give you an effective discount of 1% to 5% on the things you buy for your business or side hustle. When choosing a small-business cash-back card, take a look at your expenses. If you spend a lot in traditional business categories like office supplies, gas or...The article Best Cash Back Credit Cards for Business originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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COVID-19 is a catalyst for business innovation

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COVID-19 is a catalyst for business innovation
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Does My Travel Insurance Cover the Coronavirus?

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Does My Travel Insurance Cover the Coronavirus?
If you’ve got some travel planned soon and you’re considering rescheduling because of the novel coronavirus, you might think that your travel insurance will cover you. So will it? As with many things in life, the short answer is “it depends.” And the long answer is that it truly depends on what type of coverage... Jon Nickel-D'Andrea is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article Does My Travel Insurance Cover the Coronavirus? originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Does Debt Consolidation Affect Your Credit Score? Get the Facts

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Does Debt Consolidation Affect Your Credit Score? Get the Facts
Debt consolidation is usually billed as a smart financial move, because it can boost your credit score and save you money. But a few mistakes could actually hurt your credit or cost you more money in the long run. Here’s what to keep in mind when deciding whether to consolidate your debt and how to choose the best way to do it. How Does Debt Consolidation Work? Debt consolidation usually means taking out a loan to pay off existing debts, most commonly credit card debt. These are technically personal loans that lenders often market as “debt consolidation loans,” which isn’t inaccurate; it’s just their way of letting you know how they can help you. You’ll take out the loan, receive the funds and use them to pay off your credit card balances. Then you’ll repay the loan over time like any other loan. You could also consolidate with a balance-transfer credit card or other kind of loan, such as a retirement account loan or home equity loan. However, personal loans typically have the advantage of lower interest rates and no collateral requirement. People with a lot of high-interest debt tend to look to consolidation because it simplifies repayment, and could reduce the cost of the debt through lower monthly payments, a lower interest rate or both. Pros of Debt Consolidation Replace a bunch of monthly payments with just one. Potentially get a lower interest rate. Potentially owe less each month. Boost your credit score — we’ll talk about how below. Cons of Debt Consolidation The debt might cost you more over time. Some mistakes could hurt your credit score — we’ll talk about what to avoid below. You’ll owe one large monthly payment, instead of several spread over the month. Your payment could be larger than minimum credit card payments. You might pay fees upfront or over time. Alternatives to Debt Consolidation  You might come across companies offering one of several ways to fix your debt. They’ll each have a different effect on your credit score and apply to different situations: Consolidation refers to “combining” several debts into one. A single loan or credit card pays off the balance on several others, so you’re left with just the one line of debt. Consolidate debt when you want to streamline repayment of several debts. Refinancing works like consolidation, but the term usually refers to paying off a single debt. You pay off one loan balance with a new loan that gives you a better interest rate and repayment terms. Refinance your debt if your credit and finances have improved since you first borrowed. Debt relief is an umbrella term that includes consolidation and refinancing, and it often includes some amount of debt forgiveness. The term is often used by companies that facilitate debt consolidation or a “debt management plan” — you’re generally best off doing a little research and managing the debt on your own. Settlement is when you agree with a creditor on a reduced repayment amount that it’ll consider payment in full. This will show up on your credit report and could have a negative impact for several years, but will help you pay off the debt faster. Restructuring is more common for companies than individuals and usually happens in dire situations. The effect is similar to refinancing, but it involves reorganizing the existing debt rather than replacing it with a new one. Do You Need Good Credit to Consolidate Debt? You don’t necessarily need a high credit score to take out a loan for debt consolidation, but better credit gives you a better chance at a low interest rate and favorable terms. Watch out for predatory lenders if you have a low credit score; some unscrupulous companies are willing to give you a loan you can’t afford with a super high interest rate. A loan you can’t afford to repay could put you in a worse situation than you are with credit card debt. Does Debt Consolidation Affect Your Credit Score? Consolidating debt could help your credit score in two major ways: Lower your credit utilization: The amount of available credit you use weighs heavily into your score. A bunch of maxed-out credit cards looks bad. Consolidation pays off those balances and reduces your utilization. A positive line on your credit report: The loan is a way to demonstrate your creditworthiness as long as you stay current on payments. Consolidation itself doesn’t leave a negative mark on your credit report, like debt settlement does. But the loan (or credit card) shows up as a new credit line, which could temporarily lower your score. FROM THE CREDIT FORUM Payoff Focus 2/24/20 @ 3:22 PM Credit Score impact for paying off an auto loan ? 2/25/20 @ 7:43 PM BUILDING CREDIT FINANCING A PHONE 1/12/20 @ 4:41 PM Build credit 2/16/20 @ 10:50 PM B See more in Credit or ask a money question How to Consolidate Credit Card Debt Without Hurting Your Credit A few common debt consolidation mistakes could hurt your credit score or cost you money. Here are a few tips to make the right decision for your situation. Don’t Close the Paid Accounts After you pay off credit cards, don’t close every account. Having them on your credit report affects these factors that make up your credit score: Age of credit history: Creditors want to see you’ve been around the block with credit. When you close old cards, your average credit history gets shorter. Credit mix: This is the variety of types of debt you have — installment loan versus credit card versus mortgage, for example. It has a small but significant effect on your credit score. Utilization: More cards open means more available credit. Cut up your cards to avoid growing that balance again, and that unused credit will keep your utilization ratio low. Keep up With Payments Your credit card consolidation loan or balance-transfer credit card is still debt with monthly payments you have to keep up with. Budget before you take out the loan so you know you can afford the monthly payment. Staying on top of the payments should help your credit score over time — but getting behind will hurt. If you opt for a balance-transfer card — which usually comes with an introductory 0% APR for about a year — plan to pay the debt off during the introductory period. Any longer, and you’ll probably face a high interest rate and annual fees. Compare Consolidation Options Shop around before committing to any debt consolidation option. Consider what kind of consolidation — personal loan, balance-transfer card or secured loan — works best for you based on your budget, existing debt and creditworthiness. Online loan marketplaces can help you quickly see and compare personal loan offers from lenders side by side. To evaluate a debt consolidation loan, consider: Interest rate: Aim for an interest rate that’s lower than the combined rate on your existing debt. A loan with a higher rate could still give you the relief of a lower monthly payment and fewer creditors, but it will cost you more money. Monthly payment: Reorganizing your debt to land a smaller monthly payment could outweigh the long-term savings you’d get with a shorter repayment term or lower interest. A smaller bill could make the difference between paying on time or not, which has a major impact on your cre [...]
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USDA Home Loans: What They Are and How to Apply for One

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USDA Home Loans: What They Are and How to Apply for One
You want to own your own home. It’s part of the American dream, right?  But saving up that magical 20% for a down payment seems impossible. Even 10% would take years. All you want is a nice, affordable house in the suburbs, or even out in the country. You might be in luck, thanks to a little-known mortgage program. If you qualify, it could help you buy your dream home with a $0 down payment. What’s a USDA Home Loan? The USDA is the United States Department of Agriculture, and one of its main purposes is to support rural development. The USDA home loan program is one of the ways the agency accomplishes that. Pro Tip The program’s full name is a USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan. You may also see it referred to as a Section 502 loan.  USDA home loans offer qualified borrowers a chance to purchase a home with no money down, mortgage rates that are below the market average, and even reduced mortgage insurance premiums.  The program is designed to help people with average or even below-average income buy their own homes, so don’t let that “qualified borrowers” part scare you away. USDA home loans are made to help those who need them, so a less-than-perfect credit score and lower income may be enough to qualify you. Who Qualifies for a USDA Home Loan? Like most loan programs, there are some eligibility requirements. Here are the basic qualifications for a USDA home loan: U.S. citizenship or permanent residency The ability to prove creditworthiness, typically with a credit score of at least 640 Stable and dependable income The ability and willingness to repay the mortgage – generally 12 months of no late payments or collections Adjusted household income is equal to or less than 115% of the area median income The property has to serve as the primary residence and should be located in a qualified rural area, which is defined as an area with a population under 10,000 (or certain areas with fewer than 20,000 people who are underserved with mortgage credit for low to moderate-income families). See if your area qualifies.  There may be exceptions to some of these qualifications based on the standards of individual lenders.  “The main limits are on location and income,” said Miguel Morales, a loan officer with Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. “There are also rules for debt to income ratio and minimum credit scores. Most lenders need a 640. My company allows a 620 if we get automated approval and meet all approval criteria.” The income requirements are pretty straightforward. You probably qualify if you earn less than $86,850 for a household of up to 4 people, or less than $114,650 for a household of 5-8 people. The USDA has an income eligibility calculator you can use to determine if you could qualify for a USDA home loan. What Do You Need To Know About USDA Home Loans? If you qualify for a USDA home loan, you should get great mortgage rates and you won’t need a down payment. However, you still need to be ready to cover some basic costs of the loan. “The main benefit is that [the loan] does not require a down payment, but it does have closing costs,” Morales said. “The seller can often help pay some or all of the closing costs in a purchase scenario. A buyer can get into a home with little money as long as they meet the criteria. They will need funds for the earnest money deposit, appraisal and any home inspections, at the very least.” An earnest money deposit is basically a “good faith” deposit made to the seller. The deposit, which can be between 1% to 10% of the mortgage, is held in escrow until closing, at which point it’s put towards the down payment.  The average cost of an appraisal for a single-family home runs between $300 and $400, according to HomeGuide.  The cost of a home inspection typically ranges from $280 to $390. These loans also carry a 1% fee, which is paid at closing.  So if you’re looking at a rural home with a cost of $150,000, you may still need to have $1,500 or more for the earnest money deposit and another $650 or so for the appraisal and inspection. Then you’ll need $1,500 for the USDA fee. That’s $3,650. That’s still a lot less than a 20% down payment of $30K, right? Another thing to consider is that buying a home with a USDA home loan could be a slower process than your typical home-buying experience. “It can take a little longer to process a USDA loan since the USDA has to approve the loan after the lender has completed their final approval, which would include appraisal review and final underwriting,” Morales said. “So instead of closing a loan in 30 days, it may take 45 days or so to close a USDA loan.”  If you decide to pursue a USDA home loan, be aware that not every bank or mortgage company handles USDA Home Loans. To find one near you, check out the USDA’s list of approved lenders.  The USDA home loan program is targeted to a rather specific set of home buyers. If you’re looking to purchase a home in a rural or suburban area, make less-than-average income, and have decent credit, it could be perfect for you.  Tyler Omoth is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 6 March 2020

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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 6 March 2020
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How Paying Upfront Instead of Over Time Makes Money Sense

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How Paying Upfront Instead of Over Time Makes Money Sense
Oh, the dreaded annual bill. The notification hits your inbox around the same time every year, like a gut-punch that comes out of nowhere. Forking over $12,000 for your kid’s private school bill all at once seems unrealistic. Even paying 200 bucks for a subscription box renewal can be a tough pill to swallow when money’s tight. So when you’re given the option to pay in monthly installments — like financing a purchase except without the interest or credit impact — it feels like the obvious choice. However, paying a bill upfront instead of over time is often the best move for your budget.  We’ll explain why and provide some advice on saving up to be able to do it. Why Paying Upfront Instead of Over Time Makes Sense Although paying an expensive bill upfront may seem overwhelming, you may be able to save significant money by paying all at once instead of in installments. Let’s say your auto insurance premium came in at $1,000 for the year but you were given the option of paying $100 each month. The monthly amount seems much more manageable, but you’ll be paying $1,200 over the course of the year rather than $1,000. It’s not just the insurance industry that has these types of payment arrangements. Expenses like memberships, subscriptions, child care and private school tuition often come with a big incentive to pay all at once and get significant savings in return. Do the math to see if paying all at once is a better deal. How to Budget for an Expensive Bill Acknowledging that you can save money by paying a large bill upfront doesn’t exactly mean you have the cash readily available when the bill’s due — especially if the expense exceeds your paycheck.  Tackling an expensive annual bill takes time and commitment. This is when having a sinking fund comes in handy. A sinking fund is a pool of money you regularly contribute to so that you can break up a large expense into more manageable chunks. If, for example, you had 12 months to save up for next year’s $1,000 auto insurance premium, saving $84 in your sinking fund each month would get you to that goal. To calculate sinking fund contributions, take the total and divide it by the number of months you have before making the payment — or the number of weeks if you’re adding to the fund weekly. In addition to monthly or weekly contributions, funnel any extra money to your sinking fund — such as savings when a friend randomly treats you to dinner or windfalls like your tax refund.  Pro Tip It’s not always easy to find extra money to put aside. This advice on how to save money fast will help you identify ways to free up cash to add to your sinking fund.  When it comes to where to stash your savings, put your money where you won’t be tempted to spend it but can easily access the funds when it’s time to make your payment. A high-yield savings account at an online bank is a good option.  If you have more than one sinking fund, you could choose to open multiple savings accounts or use one account and just keep a record of your contributions and how much you still need to reach each goal.  No matter how you go about doing it, the main point is that you’re prioritizing saving in your budget so you can pay expensive bills upfront and reduce your overall costs. Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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`Before me, everything was done manually` says the `Blockchain` Figure muppet

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`Before me, everything was done manually` says the `Blockchain` Figure muppet
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Wells Fargo Review: Big Sign-up Bonuses Come With High Fees

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Wells Fargo Review: Big Sign-up Bonuses Come With High Fees
Wells Fargo is a Big Four bank that made big headlines back in 2016 and 2017 over a scandal where employees created millions of fake accounts to hit their sales targets. But it’s up to you to decide whether you should or shouldn’t trust Wells Fargo with your money. We’re here to give you an honest look at the bank’s checking and savings features for individuals and small businesses, as well as its overall convenience and mobile banking features in this Wells Fargo review. Wells Fargo Review: Pros and Cons What we like: The monthly service fees for Wells Fargo’s basic checking and savings accounts are easily waived. The Automatic Refund feature is free and will reverse some overdraft fees. Low-fee checking and savings options for small businesses. Wells Fargo is currently offering a $400 bonus to new customers who open a checking account and set up at least $4,000 of monthly direct deposits for three consecutive months. What we don’t like: The APY on savings accounts is well below the national average. Not for habitual overdrafters: The standard overdraft fee is $35, and overdraft protection costs $12.50 per transfer. The trust factor: Remember that whole fake account scandal? Checking  Grade: C Wells Fargo’s most popular checking option, the Everyday Checking account, has a pretty standard minimum opening deposit of $25. It has a $10 monthly service fee, but Wells Fargo will waive it if you meet one of the following conditions: You have 10 or more debit transactions. Have $500 or more in direct deposits. Maintain a daily balance of $1,500 or more. Are between the ages of 17 and 24. The money you keep in the Everyday Checking account won’t earn you interest, but if you opt for the Preferred Checking account, you’ll earn a minuscule 0.01% APY if you maintain a balance of at least $500. Wells Fargo’s overdraft fees are a steep $35, with a limit of three per day. Overdraft protection is available if you have a linked Wells Fargo savings account or credit card — but the transfer to cover your overdraft will cost you a hefty $12.50. However, we do like the Automatic Refund feature, which will waive some overdraft fees if Wells Fargo receives an automatic transfer that covers at least the amount you overdrafted by before 9 a.m. the following business day. This feature is free and is automatically applied to all checking accounts. Wells Fargo is known for pretty sweet bonus offers for new customers: If you’re a new customer and you open a checking account, you’ll receive a $400 bonus if you set up and receive at least $4,000 in monthly direct deposits for three consecutive months. The offer is good through July 31, 2020. Savings Grade: C Wells Fargo’s basic savings account, the Way2Save Account, also has a $25 minimum opening deposit. There’s a $5 monthly service fee that’s waived if: You maintain a daily balance of at least $300. You set up at least one automatic transfer. You’re under 18. We’re also fans of the optional Save As You Go program, which transfers $1 into your savings account for each non-recurring debit purchase and automatic online bill pay transaction. But the Way2Save Account isn’t exactly a way to earn interest, as your balance will earn just 0.01% APY, which is well below the national average. The Platinum Savings Account has a standard APY of 0.05%, still below average, and requires a minimum balance of $3,500 to avoid the $12 a month service fee. Wells Fargo’s standard CDs require a deposit of at least $2,500, and APYs are also below average. To see Wells Fargo’s CD rates near you, click here. Small Business Banking Grade: B+ We think Wells Fargo is one of the best banks for small businesses in general. What we like its small business checking and savings account offerings because of their low fees. The Simple Business Checking Account has a $25 minimum opening deposit. There’s a $10 a month service fee that’s waived with an average balance of $500. You’ll also get 50 free transactions and $3,000 worth of free cash deposits each month. The Business Market Rate Savings Account also requires just $25 to open. It has a $6 a month service fee that’s waived with an average balance of $500. The account comes with 20 free check deposits and $5,000 worth of free cash deposits per month. Convenience Grade: A Wells Fargo is hard to beat on convenience, with more than 5,400 branches and 13,000 ATMs in the U.S. There’s also 24/7 customer service. Of course, like most big banks, Wells Fargo offers a lot of digital features (more on these in a minute) like mobile deposit and text banking that make it less important to be able to visit a physical location or interact with an actual human. While this Wells Fargo review is limited to its checking and savings options, it’s a convenient place to bank if you want a full suite of financial products, like credit cards, mortgages, car loans and investment accounts, all under the same roof. Mobile Banking Grade: A Customers give the Wells Fargo Mobile app solid reviews. It gets 4.8 out of 5 stars in the Apple App Store and 4.6 out of 5 stars in the Google Play Store. We also like the Control Tower option that lets you easily turn your card off if you’ve misplaced it. There’s also a cool cardless ATM option that allows you to access cash using your mobile phone — no debit card required. The app has several neat financial management tools that let you track your spending in real time, create a budget and make a savings plan. Granted, there are tons of other budgeting apps that do the same things, but it’s nice to have these features rolled into your banking app. Our Bank Review Methodology The Penny Hoarder’s editorial team considers more than 25 factors in its bank account reviews, including fees, minimum daily balance requirements, APYs, overdraft charges, ATM access, number of physical locations, customer service support access and mobile features.  To determine how we weigh each factor, The Penny Hoarder surveyed 1,500 people to find out what banking features matter most to you.  For example, we give top grades to banks that have low fees because our survey showed that this is the No. 1 thing you look for in a bank. Because more than 70% of you said you visited a physical bank branch last year, we consider the number of brick-and-mortar locations. But more than one-third of you use mobile apps for more than 75% of your banking, so digital features are also considered carefully. Banks are graded across the following categories: Personal checking accounts Personal savings accounts Small-business banking Convenience Mobile banking Credit card and loan products are not currently considered. Robin Hartill is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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SEC Proposes to Modernize Infrastructure for NMS Securities Market Data

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SEC Proposes to Modernize Infrastructure for NMS Securities Market Data
On February 14, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed to modernize the infrastructure for the collection, consolidation and dissemination of market data for exchange-listed national market system (NMS) securities, including by expanding the content of included NMS market data and introducing a decentralized consolidation model with competing data consolidators. The rules that govern the content and dissemination of NMS market data have not be updated since the 1970s. The proposal will be published on SEC.gov and in the Federal Register. There will be a 60-day comment period following publication. More information from the SEC is available here. [...]
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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 21 February 2020

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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 21 February 2020
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How to Become a Graphic Designer: Here's What It Takes

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How to Become a Graphic Designer: Here's What It Takes
A picture is worth a thousand words — and maybe just as many dollars. Graphic designers work in a competitive but exhilarating and fulfilling field in which they combine their passion for art and love of technology to create compelling design work for logos, websites, flyers, brochures, infographics and more. If you have been a lifelong artist and are looking for a way to apply your talents in your career, consider finding out how to become a graphic designer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for graphic designers is $50,370, plus the benefits that come with working in a typical office role (paid vacations, paid holidays, sick leave, health insurance, etc.). What can make graphic design an even more lucrative career choice is the flexibility to do freelance work. A common hourly rate for freelance graphic design work is $65 to $150, though as a freelance designer, you can set your own hourly or per-project rates above or below that range. What’s the Day-to-Day Work Like for a Graphic Designer? Parker Myers is a graphic designer at the Nashville, Tennessee, office of market-research firm Forrester Research, headquartered near Boston.  Myers told me in 2018 that he spends his days using software like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft PowerPoint to build presentation graphics, interactive tools for websites, infographics and similar materials. He also keeps an ongoing dialogue within his organization regarding branding (fonts, colors, etc.). Aside from the actual graphic-design work, Myers’ role involves a lot of collaborative conversations with clients and the employees who interact directly with them, who are ultimately responsible for what he designs. But it’s not just the 9-to-5 that consumes Myers’ design skills. “My free time is taken up by freelancing projects and volunteer work as a designer for the church that I go to. Freelancing very much comes in waves. Right now, I’ve got a consistent flow of work, enough that my evenings are really busy. That’s why the full-time work is a great combination with freelancing if you don’t mind spending 90% of your waking time on design stuff.” Skills and Qualities of a Successful Graphic Designer Myers has been in the design field for the past five years, long enough to achieve a fair amount of success. The biggest driver of success is communication or, as Myers calls it, understanding and empathy.  “[You are] constantly putting yourself in someone else’s shoes,” he explained — meaning at times, you have to sacrifice your own personal aesthetic to create your client’s vision or to maintain your company’s brand. “The ability to see how others see — being able to get out of your own head — is really important.” Of course, the more obvious skill that a successful designer needs in is what I, someone with no eye for design, would call a talent you are born with: a well-nurtured aesthetic sense. But in the 21st century, that artistic vision must be coupled with a thorough understanding of technology, including programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as web languages; a lot of design work is web-based nowadays. Myers also explained that minimalism is a helpful trait — “stripping down a solution to its core and making sure it functions perfectly, then dressing it up a little. That’s how I try to approach [design].” How to Become a Graphic Designer Graphic designers take varied paths to get where they are — and there’s no “right way.”  1. Consider Education in Graphic Design Myers attended college to become a journalist and realized closer to graduation that he wanted to pursue design. He ended up graduating with a journalism degree with a concentration in design, which is definitely not the most common route. “You can get there without [a degree],” Myers told me, “but if you’ve got the opportunity to go to school and study it, you’ll definitely be better off. School gives you a safe place to earn your wings and work out the kinks.” If you intend to go the full-time route, an associate’s degree at the very least is recommended; coursework will cover the basics of typography, web design and color theory.  The more common and preferred route is a bachelor’s degree. In pursuing your bachelor’s, you will take courses in digital and print production, media management and entrepreneurialism. Some graphic designers even get a master’s degree. 2. Put Together a Portfolio Perhaps just as important as the degree is the portfolio. Develop a portfolio that shows your special skills, your range and your understanding of core competencies.  If you need to build a portfolio and have no professional projects to include, volunteer your talents with a local nonprofit or offer to work for a reduced rate to start-up companies willing to give you a chance. 3. Create as Many Designs as Possible Myers emphasized the importance of doing as much work as possible. “Volume of work is essential to getting better,” he said. “In that sense, I like to think of it like a physical skill, like a jump shot in basketball. The more time you spend in the gym, the better you’ll be. Find ways to create every day. Put in the reps. Create random prompts for yourself. Take on any work you can find: brochures, posters, logos, flyers, programs, whatever. Do it all. Don’t turn down projects. And don’t be afraid to spend a lot of time on every project,” “It’s very hard to fake your way into being good at design. It’s just something that gets sharper and sharper over time..” The Challenges of Being a Graphic Designer Communication can be a graphic designer’s best friend or ultimate downfall. Most of your work as a designer will be in translating someone else’s vision. Talented designers are able to listen and ask the right questions to successfully act on someone else’s ideas. Hand-in-hand with this challenge is another: Sometimes colleagues or clients with no eye for design will push their ideas on you even when they conflict with your expert guidance. Designers must find the fine line between pushing back when novices try to influence the design direction and making clients happy. “Resisting trends is very tough for me,” Myers said. “I get really wrapped up in what everyone else is doing and want to chase it.”  That’s fine now and then, according to Myers, but it’s your own unique methods and stylistic touches that will set you apart from the competition when going in for a job interview or bidding for a client. Interviewing and bidding for work may be the biggest challenge of all; the field is highly competitive. While graphic designers are in large demand, the field is saturated by artists hungry for a challenge. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career field should see only 3% growth between 2018 and 2028 (slower than the national average). If you decide to pursue graphic design, be ready to fight hard to earn work, whether full-time or freelance. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM Extra money on the side 1/27/20 @ 6:48 PM S Make money from home 2/2/20 @ 5:47 AM Is there Really a way to make MONEY ONLINE? 2/14/20 @ 7:34 PM Earn well with little Money? 2/14/20 @ 8:06 PM [...]
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Flood insurance- where the rising tide has NOT raised all ships

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Flood insurance- where the rising tide has NOT raised all ships
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What’s the Best Use of Your Tax Refund? 8 Smart Ideas

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What’s the Best Use of Your Tax Refund? 8 Smart Ideas
Getting a sizable tax refund can seem like winning the lottery. All at once, you’re a few thousand dollars richer. It can be tempting to blow that cash without thinking, but you’re wiser than that. You know that your tax refund isn’t free money — it’s your money. If you’re unsure of the best use of your tax refund, remember that it’s a portion of the hard-earned cash you worked for throughout the year and consider these eight smart ways to put that money to good use. 1. Build Up Your Emergency Fund Saving cash aside for emergencies gives you peace of mind that you can financially weather a crisis. Unfortunately, many Americans have much less than the recommended amount for an emergency fund. If you have less than three-to-six-months worth of living expenses, funnel some of your tax refund to your emergency fund. Pro Tip Keep your emergency fund savings in a liquid, no-risk account that’s easy to access when you need it. Earn interest with a high-yield savings account or money market account. 2. Pay Down Debt Relieve yourself of some of the pressure weighing down on you from debt. If you’re a fan of the snowball method of debt repayment, put your refund toward one or two of your smaller debt balances. Once they’re paid off, work on your next largest debt.  If you’re more of a debt avalanche fan, use your tax refund to pay down a larger balance that has the highest interest rate. Even if you don’t pay it off completely, reducing the balance means you’ll pay less in interest. 3. Contribute More to Your Retirement Funds Hopefully you’re already contributing to a 401(k) plan or individual retirement account (IRA), but are you maxing out your contributions? The 2020 401(k) contribution limits are $19,500 for individuals younger than 50 or $26,000 for those 50 and up. This year, you can contribute up to $6,000 in an IRA if you’re younger than 50 or up to $7,000 if you’re 50 or older. The more you add to your retirement accounts, the greater your money can potentially grow. Even if you can’t afford to increase the percentage of your paycheck that goes to retirement each month, you can use your tax refund to make a one-time, lump-sum contribution. 4. Save for a Big Bill Think about what big expenses you have coming up on the horizon that you haven’t budgeted for — like your auto insurance premiums or getting braces for your teen. If your monthly income can’t support such an expense in addition to all your regular bills and obligations, using your tax refund is a smart choice in lieu of dipping into your emergency fund or turning to credit cards. FROM THE BUDGETING FORUM Changing my eating habits is changing my finances 1/8/20 @ 2:56 PM Family Budgeting Strategy for Youth 2/10/20 @ 4:42 PM K Pay all bills on one day or spread throughout the month?? 2/6/20 @ 5:59 AM See more in Budgeting or ask a money question 5. Fill Out Your Sinking Funds You’re probably juggling multiple savings goals. Maybe you’re trying to stack cash for a cross-country move while saving for a wedding. Or you’re saving to welcome a new baby into the family while putting money aside for your older kid’s birthday party and concurrently saving for a down payment on a minivan. Each sinking fund — which is just a personal finance term for a pool of money you add to over time to break up a large expense — could probably use an influx of cash. Distribute a portion of your refund money to each savings goal — or funnel it all toward your most pressing need. 6. Invest in Yourself Sometimes it takes money to make money. Is there a certification program you can take or a piece of tech equipment you need to enhance your career and help you get a better-paying position?  Or perhaps you have a business idea you’ve been wanting to get off the ground but just needed some initial capital. Invest your tax money in something that’ll help you generate more income. 7. Save for Your Kids’ College Education College is a big-ticket expense for most parents. Even with scholarships and financial aid, families can expect to have significant out-of-pocket costs. Get in the habit of putting your tax refund toward saving for college to help offset your child’s looming tuition bill. A 529 college savings plan is a common option to store your funds. Pro Tip If your kid is still in diapers, it may seem more practical to put your extra money toward more immediate expenses, like the cost of daycare. There’s always time to save for college later. 8. Make Home Improvements Home upgrades can be expensive, but they can also increase the value of your home when it’s time to sell. If your roof is due for replacement, you’ve got major appliances that are decades old or you simply want to give your kitchen a facelift, tap into your tax refund to take care of those home improvement projects. Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Small Business Fintech is levelling the playing field with big business over cost of capital

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Small Business Fintech is levelling the playing field with big business over cost of capital
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FINRA Requests Comments on Proposed Amendments to CAB Rules

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FINRA Requests Comments on Proposed Amendments to CAB Rules
On January 14, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued Regulatory Notice 20-03 announcing that it had concluded its retrospective review of Rule 5250 (Payments for Market Making), which generally prohibits members from receiving payments for market making. Based on the review, FINRA has elected to maintain the rule without change. Regulatory Notice 20-03 is available here. [...]
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How to Turn an Idea Into a Business: A 7-Day Jump-Start

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How to Turn an Idea Into a Business: A 7-Day Jump-Start
Chances are you’ve daydreamed of what it would be like to run a business of your own. Perhaps you’ve thought of an idea that could be a real moneymaker. But you weren’t sure how to act, so those dreams faded to the background as you trudged through your day job(s). To get you back in entrepreneur mode, we’ve created a seven-day bootcamp to turn your idea into a business. We’ve paired each day with a strategy to help you chisel away at your goals. And what’s this? Feb. 15-22, is National Entrepreneurship Week? What timing! Chartered in 2006, the weeklong congressional initiative “encourages the implementation of entrepreneurship education throughout the United States.” Dreams, you’re back. That business you’ve always wanted to start: It’s happening. By the end of the week, if all goes well, your momentum should carry you into a future where every week is entrepreneurship week. Day 1: Brainstorm Ideas Business ideas don’t have to be glamorous. They just need to be realistic. They don’t need to be based on a genius invention, a scientific breakthrough or a Shark Tank-worthy smartphone app (though they certainly could be). At their core, good business ideas identify existing problems and offer solutions. Kathyrn Gratton is the president of the Hagerstown, Maryland, chapter of Score, a free small-business resource network and partner of the federal Small Business Administration. She spoke to The Penny Hoarder about coming up with a winning idea. “Where’s your interest? Where’s your passion?” she said, noting that your ideas need to be more than potential moneymakers: You should also enjoy the work. It’s OK if you can’t think of anything on-the-spot. The Penny Hoarder compiled nine business ideas to get your creativity flowing. Day 2: Choose a Winner Now that you’ve got a long (or not-so-long) list of potential business ideas, you’ve got to decide which one to run with.  Consider your own expertise. Use your insider experience and knowledge to pinpoint what’s original and novel about your idea. Start thinking about the connections you have, and how those people can help you get started. You may realize later that, actually, the idea you picked wasn’t a winner. You need to rethink it, or return to your list. That’s OK too. The point of this weeklong exercise is to make progress. And determining that the idea you’ve been mulling over for a while is unfeasible is progress. Day 3: Get Feedback Feedback is crucial in the early stages of business building. The more the better — and the more critical the better. While you might think you have a brilliant idea, sooner or later, your business is going to need to convince a ton of other people of the same thing. Within the constraints of day three, you’re not going to be able to test any markets or run any focus groups. Simply asking for constructive feedback from your neighbors, friends or family members will be tremendously helpful. Think you’re onto something? Read our comprehensive 10-step guide to starting a business once you’re ready to launch. Gratton recommends asking that one brutally honest friend we all have. You know, the one that’s comfortable with telling you if you’ve gotten fat over the holidays. “They are the best to run things by because you know they will tell you the truth,” she said. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM Is there Really a way to make MONEY ONLINE? 2/14/20 @ 2:34 PM Earn well with little Money? 2/14/20 @ 3:06 PM Financial Fitness February: Day 7 (Big WIN) 2/8/20 @ 12:37 AM Make money from home 2/2/20 @ 12:47 AM See more in Make Money or ask a money question Day 4: Outline a Business Plan Don’t roll your eyes. Business plans are worth it. A 2016 study published in the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal found it indeed pays to plan: Entrepreneurs who wrote formal business plans were 16% more likely to “achieve new venture viability” (aka succeed) than those who didn’t.  While it’s true that you won’t be able to – and probably shouldn’t – draft an entire business plan in one day, you can spend your time creating an outline that will set you up for success. In the article-turned-book “How to Write a Great Business Plan,” Harvard business professor William Sahlman lays out the purpose of a business plan and exactly what to include in it. The People: Who’s running the show? Include yourself and everyone else you’ll need for operations to run smoothly. The Opportunity: Explain your product or service and who might buy it. Start thinking about price points, customer demographics and competitors. The Context: Consider all “factors that inevitably change but cannot be controlled by the entrepreneur,” Sahlman writes. That includes laws, regulations and economic trends that could impact your idea. The Risk and Reward: Describe the worst-case scenario, economically speaking, and how you plan to weather the storm. Use those four sections as a starting point for your outline. As you fill it out, you’re very likely to find some deeper insight into your business – or you may find it’s just not going to work. The sooner you learn from either scenario, the better. Day 5: Craft a Business Pitch You’ve done all the heavy lifting for the week. Hopefully that dream you thought was long dead is starting to come alive. Now it’s time to polish up your findings and start sharing the basic premise of your idea and why it’s destined to be successful. Or at least be ready when the opportunity strikes. To help you know what to include in a killer business pitch, The Penny Hoarder spoke to two former Shark Tank contestants who pitched their businesses in front of millions of viewers – nailed their performance – and now helm multimillion-dollar enterprises: Dawoon Kang, CEO of the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel, and Sara Margulis, CEO of the honeymoon-crowdsourcing website Honeyfund. “Succinctly stating what your business is, why it exists and why it’s better than everyone else is really important,” Margulis said. “Any time you talk about your company, you should be able to convey those things simply.” That succinct part is especially important. Here are Kang and Margulis’ other key nuggets of advice. Know your audience: No matter whom you speak to, your pitch should include the core elements Margulis mentioned, but you’ll need to tailor it slightly to different people. Is it a customer, an investor or a business partner? What does each of them need to hear? Include a call to action: Depending on your audience, the call to action should change. Suggest a clear next step, something more specific than: “Let’s stay in touch!” Practice: Pacing, enthusiasm and data are a lot to juggle. You won’t know what part of your pitch sticks with your listener unless you test it out. Apply feedback: Your business pitch is never truly finished. You may learn that people want to hear more about a detail you thought was unimportant. Hear them out, and make the changes to keep it fresh. “It feels like (I’m pitching) all the time … but what I’m realizing is it’s actually not enough,” Kang said. “There’s a saying: ‘Unless you’ve said it 10 times, you [...]
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5 Cellphone Plans That Come With Free Streaming TV

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5 Cellphone Plans That Come With Free Streaming TV
This post comes from partner site WhistleOut.com. All major carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile now offer incredibly competitive unlimited data plans. In their effort to win your business, these carriers (and some smaller mobile companies) are now offering streaming service as a free perk for signing up for one of their unlimited plans. So, if you’re in the market for an... [...]
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Australian Fintech Assembly Payments Lands JV with Standard Chartered Bank

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Australian Fintech Assembly Payments Lands JV with Standard Chartered Bank
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Speaking of Blockchain, what of its place in insurance?

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Speaking of Blockchain, what of its place in insurance?
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50 Diverse Takeaways from Davos WEF2020

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50 Diverse Takeaways from Davos WEF2020
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Nimbla To Take Invoice Insurance Mainstream With Barclays Deal

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Nimbla To Take Invoice Insurance Mainstream With Barclays Deal
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When a traditional risk fix isn’t the fix, and sometimes a fix needs to be found for a risk

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When a traditional risk fix isn’t the fix, and sometimes a fix needs to be found for a risk
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From ICOs to STOs and IEOs. What is next in the evolution of crypto fundraising?

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From ICOs to STOs and IEOs. What is next in the evolution of crypto fundraising?
Funding is a prerequisite for any new crypto project or startup. At the dawn of the new decade, we’ve seen a decline in token sales as source of funding. Where is the capital for crypto projects going to come from? Will traditional investment vehicles, like venture capital become more significant or will we see another evolution in crypto fundraising? Ilias Louis Hatzis is the Founder at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and a weekly columnist at DailyFintech.com. In 2017, ICOs were the most popular cryptocurrency trend. During that year 875 projects sold $6 billion worth of their tokens. In 2018, 1253 ICOs raised $7.8 billion, but 2019 was a completely different story. In 2019, we saw the introduction of the IEO. In total, token generation events during 2019 raised $3.2 billion (ICOs raised less than $370 million). But very few IEOs last year were able to raise a decent amount capital and only on selected exchanges. The drop can all be attributed to lack of regulatory oversight, a large number of exit scams, failed projects and delayed developments, severely damaging investor sentiment around token sales. While the price of Bitcoin bounced back after the first quarter of 2019, the fate for most of the other coins, like Ethereum, EOS and Tron, was not the same. The introduction of IEOs provided an extra layer of trust and security, when compared to ICOs. An IEO is very similar to an ICO. Investors receive tokens at a discounted price, in exchange for investment. IEOs are conducted on cryptocurrency exchanges, that claim to perform strict due diligence checks, to filter out any bad actors and protect their users. At a first glance IEO figures are impressive. The launch of BitTorrent on Binance in January ended in 15 minutes with over $17 million worth of tokens sold. But only a small number of IEOs have been able to get this kind of activity. IEOs have their own share of problems and many are still skeptical. For the most part, IEOs were more secure than the conventional ICOs. While the IEO experiment showed that ICOs can be rebranded, it also showed that some of the inherent flaws couldn’t be evaded. As smaller exchanges, with more lax requirements, launched their own IEO launchpads, once again fraudulent token sales appeared With declining ICOs and IEOs, blockchain startups are looking for other ways to raise money. Even when ICOs were red hot, there was venture capital investment in crypto companies. Companies like Coinbase and Circle raised money from VCs. In 2018, VCs invested around $3 billion in crypto and blockchain-related startups, around 40% of what was raised by ICOs. In 2019, venture capital investment took a step back. By the middle of 2019, VC funding in cryptocurrency startups accounted for USD 822 million. Security Token Offerings (STOs) have emerged as an alternative. While launching an STO is a complicated process, in 2019 they gained more traction and capital, with 64 STOs, collectively raising almost $1 billion. STOs were born out of the need to raise money in a more regulated way, while keeping the flexibility that tokenized assets offer. Only a few platforms are licensed to host STOs, but a huge surge in interest has led many to seek licenses. Because of this, 2020 will likely bring a new wave of STOs, though these will mostly only be offered to accredited investors, while a regulatory framework evolves. We are also seeing another trend, the Initial DEX offering (IDO). Very similar to IEOs, IDOs are conducted on decentralized exchanges, instead of centralized exchanges used IEOs. Last year, Raven Protocol (RAVEN) conducted an IDO on Binance’s DEX. But for now decentralized exchanges still need to mature in terms of users and volume. For example, Binance’s DEX has a daily trading volume that is under $2 million. When ICOs first came out, I thought they were revolutionary. The IEO model fixed some of the flaws that plagued ICOs and gave developers an effective and faster way to get to market. Even though IEOs started early last year with some fireworks, they did not completely resolve the trust issues, so the investor enthusiasm quickly fizzled out. To make investors feel comfortable again, we need more than ease and accessibility, that ICOs and IEOs offer. We also need to offer IPO-grade regulation and compliance. But most startups are not able to do that. So what’s the middle ground? Well, maybe the solution is STOs, tokenized securities that comply with regulations. But for now STOs are still a hard route, that lacks liquidity and regulatory clarity. Image Source Subscribe by email to join the other Fintech leaders who read our research daily to stay ahead of the curve. Check out our advisory services (how we pay for this free original research) The post From ICOs to STOs and IEOs. What is next in the evolution of crypto fundraising? appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Security Token news for Week ending 24 January 2020

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Security Token news for Week ending 24 January 2020
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Australia’s Open Banking Dream Drifts Away

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Australia’s Open Banking Dream Drifts Away
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National Park Free Days: When to Plan Your Next Trip in 2020

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National Park Free Days: When to Plan Your Next Trip in 2020
If you’re already looking ahead to road trips or family vacations this year, here’s one way to do it on the cheap. While most of the 417 national parks in the U.S. are free to use anytime, 125 of them charge an entrance fee.  To encourage travelers and campers to visit new places, the National Park Service will waive these fees for five days in 2020: Jan. 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day April 18: The first day of National Park Week August 25: National Park Service Birthday Sept. 26: National Public Lands Day Nov. 11: Veterans Day Some of the nation’s most popular parks are among those that normally charge a fee, making fee-free days an opportunity to see places like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Death Valley and Crater Lake. Not the outdoorsy type? Even some national historic sites, like Vanderbilt Mansion in New York, are included. If you’re interested, you can find all participating parks by state or search through the full list of national parks, including those that are free anytime, to find one near you (or your next destination). Note: You may still encounter fees for things like camping, parking, reservations or concessions. The fees waived on fee-free days include entrance fees, commercial tour fees and transportation entrance fees. If you plan on camping, here are a few tips for camping on a budget. More Ways to Use National Parks for Free If you can’t make it to a national park on one of the fee-free days, you may be able to get free or discounted entrance to national parks year-round some other way. The National Parks Service offers an $80 annual pass that covers entrance to national parks, lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and other sites. Military members can get the annual pass for free. Through the national Every Kid in the Park program, fourth-graders can get a free annual pass for their families. Educators can also get involved through this program, obtaining free passes to take students on a national park field trip. Seniors age 62 and older can buy a lifetime pass for $80 or an annual pass for $20. Senior passes require proper documentation and may be purchased in person at a federal recreation site, online or through the mail. People with disabilities can get a free pass in person, or through the mail or online with a $10 processing fee. Both the senior pass and the access pass offer a 50% discount on some amenities like camping, swimming, boat launching and specialized interpretive services. Volunteer with participating federal agencies for at least 250 hours, and you’ll receive a free volunteer pass that is valid for 12 months. If you want to learn while you travel, you can apply for an Artist-in-Residence program with the National Park Service and stay at a participating park for free while you work on your next project. However you do it, consider including national parks or historic sites in your 2018 travel plans. For families — and curious travelers of all ages — it’s a fun, educational and affordable way to spend a vacation. With more than 400 to choose from, there’s probably one not far from you! Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a former branded content editor at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Reasons to sell a business

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Reasons to sell a business
The post Reasons to sell a business appeared first on ONEtoONE Corporate Finance. [...]
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Principal barriers of selling a business

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Principal barriers of selling a business
The post Principal barriers of selling a business appeared first on ONEtoONE Corporate Finance. [...]
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This Man Told Us How He Turned Christmas Lights Into a Lucrative Business

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This Man Told Us How He Turned Christmas Lights Into a Lucrative Business
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2018 and has been updated for the 2019 holiday season. When you have a name like Josh Trees and you run a Christmas light installation business, you have to be prepared for the inevitable question: Is that actually your name? Trees — yes, that’s his real name — started his business, We Hang Christmas Lights, in 1997, decorating homes, businesses and assorted branched greenery in Temecula, California.  But Trees definitely gets the last (jolly) laugh. “When we first started doing this, people were like, ‘Oh, that’s a cute little business,’” Trees says. “We were like, ‘Yeah, cute,’ —  you don’t realize people are paying us $3,500 to put lights up on their houses.  “By my third year, I was hitting a net profit of right around $138,000.”  Now Trees crisscrosses the country with strands of lights and a tiny house to teach others how they can build their own businesses hanging twinkling bulbs. On the First Day of Christmas Lighting Ah, the fond memories of hauling out last year’s box of lights to add some holiday cheer to the humble abode. Haphazardly arrange the lights around the front stoop, throw a wreath on the door and voilá!  But if you’re starting a business hanging lights, that simplified recollection can lead to costly errors, according to Trees. And he should know, because he had the same idea. “We were making mistakes on everything — we were just a bunch of guys thinking, ‘Hey, this is going to be easy,’” Trees says. “We were hanging other people’s lights — that’s a huge no-no.… The second stage was hanging the crummy lights from retailers. “I’m surprised I made it through the first couple years.” By the third year, Trees had moved onto purchasing lights from wholesale vendors, which offered discounts for bulk purchases. He was also buying commercial-grade strands so that when one bulb went out, they didn’t all go out. But Trees says his biggest mistake had nothing to do with lights — it was underbidding jobs. “I got into it in the first year…  and I didn’t make any money — probably lost money,” Trees says. “I was charging $150 for jobs that should have been $850. “I bid a job for $3,500 that should have literally been $35,000. It was horrible.”  Enlightening Business Strategies Trees’ students echo his refrain, noting that learning from other professionals early on can help transform a business idea into a profitable enterprise — and with a lot fewer mistakes along the way. One of Trees’ early students was Jeff Krall, owner of American Holiday Lights in Illinois. In 2008, Krall attended an individual training session, which Trees conducted before he started traveling the country to teach classes. “Josh helped me get it started,” says Krall. “Everything from how to hang the lights on the rooflines… making our own extension cords, how to wrap the trees. “It would take someone… two or three years to learn how to do it correctly, whereas Josh, in two or three days, he tells them how to do everything.” In his first season of business, Krall estimates he had 30 clients. Now he manages 25 to 35 employees who light 35 to 40 houses a day during the season, at an average price of $1,400 to $1,500 per house. However, those visions of sugarplums and dollar signs dancing in your head might not be in your immediate future — or at least not the first season. In 2017, Lucas Pulvermacher decided to add a light-hanging business to his busy lawn care enterprise near Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  “My first year was tricky because I had to have an inventory of the lights. That’s a fairly large cost — and also the ladder, equipment, safety stuff like that,” says Pulvermacher. “I’d say we came out about even.” Pulvermacher says his Lucas Lights lit three houses and two businesses after launching in mid-November last year — “It was hard because we started so late.”  After taking Trees’ class to learn marketing and sales strategies, Pulvermacher invested in professionally designed materials, including a logo. Beyond Christmas Lights One of the cool things about those twinkling lights is that they still work after Jan. 1. That means there’s more business after the wintry holiday season. “A lot of the guys we work with, they do wedding lights, event lights, party lights and backyard lighting, that sort of thing, and a lot also do landscape lighting,” says Trees, who estimates that light installations for weddings bring in $1,800 on average but can go as high as $7,000. Krall, who also owns a roofing business, hangs lights all year round for backyard weddings, Diwali festival of lights celebrations and Halloween parties — “but the majority of what we do is Christmas,” he notes. Holiday Gigs So let’s say you’re not ready to start your own business but being outside hanging lights sounds like a better gig than working a seasonal retail job.  You might be in luck. Krall notes that the toughest part of his business is finding good, reliable help. “We got creative this year, so we align ourselves with other companies out there that are seasonal, like landscapers or pool companies,” Krall says. “When they’re laying off, we’re actively developing relationships.” Trees recommends that installers offer tiered bonus pay, adding an extra $1 per hour each week to incentivize continued attendance as the season winds down — particularly in January when companies have to take down the lights. “Helpers can typically make anywhere from between… $13 at the low end to about $20 at the high end — and that’s before bonuses,” Trees says. “When you find somebody that’s good, it’s key that you keep those people, because it’s temporary, and they know it’s temporary.” For people interested in finding holiday lighting jobs in their area, Trees suggests checking places like Craigslist, Indeed and the We Hang Christmas Lights site, which includes a directory of light installers that’s searchable by zip code — just mention your interest in a job when you fill out the online form.  Trees has found that these holiday gigs are best suited for people who work warm-weather jobs in roofing, tree trimming and window washing. All of which have at least one trait in common — no fear of heights.  And yes, the money is nice, but Krall and Pulvermacher agree that the best part of hanging bulbs is the way their customers’ faces light up when they see the finished product. “Everybody’s in a really good mood around Christmas time,” says Krall.  Pulvermacher adds: “It’s just kind of a cozy feeling when you see a house all lit up.” Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder.  This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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3 Ways to Downsize Your Life to Save Money, Time and Stress

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3 Ways to Downsize Your Life to Save Money, Time and Stress
Downsizing — what exactly does it mean? Smaller house, fewer bills, less stuff? Yes, yes and yes. Many think of downsizing as moving to a more compact house after the kids have grown and gone. And it is. But let’s not stop there. Downsizing makes sense in other ways, too. Following are other areas of life where downsizing can yield serious financial savings, not to mention save you... [...]
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How Do I Know If the Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards Mastercard Is Right for Me?

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How Do I Know If the Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards Mastercard Is Right for Me?
When you’re interested in applying for a new travel credit card, the overwhelming number of options can make picking the right card seem daunting. How are you supposed to know which one is best? Or worth the annual fee? Or which card will net you the most points? If you’re considering a travel credit card... Alisha McDarris is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article How Do I Know If the Bank of America Business Advantage Travel Rewards Mastercard Is Right for Me? originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Could you use an extra $50? (time sensitive)

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Could you use an extra $50? (time sensitive)
Could you use an extra $50 this week? What about every single week? I believe wholeheartedly that the majority of families in America could make some simple changes in their menu and grocery purchases that could pretty easily reduce their grocery expenses by $50 or more each week! This might seem like a strong statement, but after years of talking to and teaching thousands of families all across America how to lower their grocery bill, I truly stand behind it. Think about it: what could you do with an extra $50 each week? If you could spend an extra 4-8 hours per month and save $200, is that worth it? If so, I strongly encourage you to check out my brand-new ebook called Slash Your Grocery Bill? It’s a comprehensive guide with simple, realistic short-cuts and time-saving tips to lower your grocery bill. It’s for anyone who has ever wished they could figure out the secrets for how to eat well on a small budget. If you follow even some of the tips in it, I can guarantee without a doubt that you WILL lower your grocery bill! Get it for just $7 — through midnight tonight! Slash Your Grocery Bill will usually be priced at $17, but to celebrate the launch, through midnight tonight, you can get it for just $7! Yes, that’s right. Only $7. And I can almost promise you will save twice or three times that much on your very first shopping trip using the techniques I share. So it’s a really fantastic investment that could pay off over and over and over again! Answering Your Questions Now, I know that some of you have written in with questions about the eBook and wondering if it’s really for you. I love how you are carefully evaluating your purchases to make sure you’re not spending money on something that isn’t going to truly work for you or save you money. Let me answer some of the most-asked questions… Is this going to require a lot of time? I believe that you should always see good return on your investment of time. I also know you probably don’t have hours of time to spend chasing deals and clipping coupons. This eBook is for busy women (and men!) who need to cut their grocery bill but don’t have a lot of extra time to do so! We eat all organic. Will your strategies apply to us? Not every strategy in this eBook will work for every family, but many of the strategies in this eBook can be implemented or adapted to work for you — no matter what type of food you eat or stores you shop at! Will I have to clip coupons? Nope! You are welcome to clip coupons if you’d like, but as I’ll show you in this eBook, there are SO many other ways to slash your grocery bill. Are you going to say that we have to eat beans and rice? Full disclosure: I am going to encourage you to consider creative ways to eat less meat or and save on meat costs in one of the chapters, but I promise that this is not just a 99 different ways to eat beans and rice! What if we only have one grocery store in our town? While there are definitely advantages to having more options when it comes to shopping, if you only have one store, I’ll still show you lots of ways you can save. Plus, there are benefits to only having one store: it keeps things simple and streamlined! How long will I have access to this eBook? When you purchase, you’ll have immediate access to the eBook via a link online and a link I’ll send you in your email. And best of all, you will have lifetime access to it! Is there a money-back guarantee? I want you to spend your money wisely and I do not want you to invest money in something that isn’t going to benefit your family and save you money. If you purchase this eBook and discover that you are already doing everything in it, please contact me for a full refund (also, way to go on being such a savvy saver!) What I’ll Teach You… In Slash Your Grocery Bill, you’ll learn: How to strategically plan a menu in just minutes each week Multiple menu-planning methods that have worked well for me How to set up a realistic grocery budget How to determine a grocery budget that actually will work for your family Why you should consider rotating the stores you shop at How practicing the Buy Ahead principle can save you hundreds of dollars each year How to stock your pantry on a limited budget DIY and homemade mix ideas, short-cuts, and time-saving tips Inexpensive and yummy snack ideas Our favorite budget-friendly pantry meal ideas And so much more! Yes! Please Help Me Cut My Grocery Bill! “Slash Your Grocery Bill had something for everyone in their journey to joyful frugality–whether you’re just beginning, or a veteran budgeter. For me, a mom of six who already keeps a steadily low grocery budget, the ‘Aha!’ section was all the ways I could use technology to help. And even though I’ve been doing it on my own for years, Crystal’s printables and other resources are going to make my grocery bill slashing a whole lot easier.” -Faith I promise the strategies in this eBook will work for you! I wrote Slash Your Grocery Bill in the hopes that no matter where you live, who lives at your house, or what kind of food you eat, you will be able to cut your grocery bill. I’ve taught hundreds of thousands of people in a myriad of different seasons and life situations how to save. So I promise that there will be many strategies in this eBook that will work for you. I stand behind my promise – or you get your money back! If you buy the eBook and are already doing every thing it suggests and/or the rest of the ideas won’t work for you, guess what? I will happily offer you your money back! I do not want you to spend money on something that isn’t truly going to save you money and benefit your life! Truly, it’s a no risk purchase! There’s nothing to lose and you just might end up gaining an extra $50 each and every week! What are you waiting for? Go here to grab your copy of Slash Your Grocery Bill for just $7! P.S. This $7 price is only good through tonight! Don’t miss out. After tonight, the price goes up to $17! Hurry and get your copy while it’s this low price! [...]
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Capital One Hikes Potential Bonus on Spark Business Cards (Limited Time)

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Capital One Hikes Potential Bonus on Spark Business Cards (Limited Time)
For a limited time, Capital One is offering big spenders extra-large sign-up bonuses worth a grand total of $2,000 each on two of its most rewarding small-business credit cards. The new bonuses are: Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business: Earn a $500 cash bonus when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn... Gregory Karp is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: gkarp@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @spendingsmart. The article Capital One Hikes Potential Bonus on Spark Business Cards (Limited Time) originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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5 Things to Know About the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card

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5 Things to Know About the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card
Small-business owners who want a new credit card and who are continually flying out of Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati or other strongholds of Delta Air Lines might shortlist the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card. Learn More It offers airport lounge access, progress toward elite status and other perks. The card is scheduled to get better —... Gregory Karp is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: gkarp@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @spendingsmart. The article 5 Things to Know About the Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Is it time to Decentralize the World?

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Is it time to Decentralize the World?
Is the current state of blockchain development ready to attract a large number of users? For the technology to become mainstream, it needs to be applied in ways that people actually find useful and provide a much better experience than what is already available. Can social media be crypto’s killer app? Decentralized and decentralizing technologies are […] The post Is it time to Decentralize the World? appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Limited Time Offer: Hyatt Cardholders Can Earn a $50 Statement Credit

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Limited Time Offer: Hyatt Cardholders Can Earn a $50 Statement Credit
Hyatt credit card holders already have impressive points earning power when they stay at Hyatt properties. Now for a limited time, they can earn a $50 statement credit, too, by spending at least $300 with Hyatt Place or Hyatt House. Like many hotel promotions, this one requires World of Hyatt members to register before they... Meghan Coyle is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: mcoyle@nerdwallet.com. The article Limited Time Offer: Hyatt Cardholders Can Earn a $50 Statement Credit originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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10 Podcasts to Help You Launch Your Business

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10 Podcasts to Help You Launch Your Business
Are you prone to running cost-benefit analyses on your free time? You’re not alone. In the early days of starting a business, time is invaluable. As a budding entrepreneur, you may find it difficult to manage day-to-day tasks and big-picture thinking. One productivity hack sure to help you strike a balance: podcasts. You can learn the business secrets of some of the world’s most successful companies all while checking stuff off of your never-ending to-do list. To maximize your business-knowledge gains, you just have to know where to start, which leads us to… The Penny Hoarder’s 10 Best Business Podcasts for Entrepreneurs Our recommendations of podcasts for entrepreneurs don’t come in any particular order. They include advice from voices both big and small on what goes into starting a business. AngelList Radio AngelList, a website for investors, startup owners and job seekers, was founded in 2010. Over the years, it’s become an invaluable resource for small business owners. It even made our list of top free business resources. In 2016, AngelList started experimenting with podcasts. It launched season one of AngelList Radio, hosted by entrepreneur Tyler Willis. The podcast features deep dive interviews with successful venture capitalists who were early investors in Reddit, Snapchat, Uber and other companies that went on to become unicorns. The hour-plus-long interviews provide an inside look at how angel investors think and what they’re looking for when investing in startups, something every business owner should take note of. So far, there’s only one season. The podcast launched with the intention of doing multiple seasons, but there’s been radio silence for quite some time. Still, there’s about nine hours of investor secrets to binge-listen. Building a StoryBrand Podcast New businesses often struggle to connect with their customers. There’s a lot to think about when launching a business, and it can be overwhelming for a small team (or a team of one) to manage strategic branding along with day-to-day business functions. Donald Miller knows this well. He hosts Building a StoryBrand, based on his book of the same title. The podcast and the book hone in on the same theme: “Clarify your message so your customers will listen.” The series includes more than 150 episodes rife with storytelling techniques to keep your business’s message succinct and engaging, but the podcast also includes other general advice geared toward small business owners. New episodes air on Mondays and typically run 40 minutes to an hour. The Creative Entrepreneur When thinking of entrepreneurs, images may come to mind of suit-clad businesspeople power walking to meetings, phone in one hand and suitcase full of pie charts in the other. Yeah OK, sure. Those people exist somewhere. But the majority of business owners aren’t that stereotype. They are everyday people in Minnesota and Florida and South Dakota, not just New York and San Francisco.  And some of those people are trying to make it in creative fields.   The Creative Entrepreneur is one of the best podcasts for entrepreneurs like them. Bob Baker, a podcaster, author and comedian has been making podcasts for nearly two decades. In this series, he pumps out a bimonthly stream of helpful advice and insightful interviews for artists and creatives. Episodes vary in length, ranging from about five to 30 minutes. Foundr Podcast In 2013, Nathan Chan founded Foundr, a digital magazine for young entrepreneurs. Chan’s mission is to help people start businesses of their own, and he does so by talking with top-tier CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs, then shares their tricks of the trade. The publication has a subscription fee, but the Foundr Podcast, which Chan started in 2014, is free. Each episode runs about a half hour and typically features interviews with notable entrepreneurs, highlighting how they built and scaled their businesses. Some episodes focus on actionable tips on topics such as time management and crowdfunding.  There’s a lot for entrepreneurs to sink their teeth into, as the series is more than 250 episodes strong. Freakonomics Radio In 2005, “rogue” economics professor Steven D. Levitt teamed up with award-winning journalist Stephen J. Dubner to pen “Freakonomics,” a book that unearths “the hidden side of everything.”  The book was wildly successful and spun off several other works, including a blog, more books and, of course, the radio show. Dubner launched Freakonomics Radio in 2010 and is still cranking out new weekly episodes (nearing the 400 mark). The podcast is an extension of the book’s wide-ranging theme. In contrast to other podcasts on this list, you probably won’t learn a specific investor-wooing strategy. What you will learn is context — into how certain industries work, how the economy works and how politics works. How I Built This Hosted by Guy Raz and provided by NPR, How I Built This is an award-winning podcast built on a simple premise: interview the most successful business owners and entrepreneurs of the day and dive into exactly how they achieved success. Interviews range from the humorous to the heartwrenching. Many entrepreneurs divulge strategies that helped them scale their businesses in the early days, and some share anecdotes of the unglamorous, sleepless, stressful side of entrepreneurship. Raz rounds out each interview with his signature question, “How much of your success is skill and how much is luck?”  New episodes air every week and most of them are more than an hour long. Mixergy Interviews Mixergy is a website with a mission to help everyday entrepreneurs in the thick of things. It offers e-courses and interviews to spread actionable business advice. Mixergy Interviews offer a treasure trove of inspiration and business strategies. Over the years, host Andrew Warner has recorded more than 1,800 no-frills interviews that are indexed and searchable by category, such as “bootstrapping,” or “ecommerce” or “women founders.” The archives date back to 2008. (Older episodes may require entering an email address to access.) Warner posts new episodes almost daily. Each one is about an hour long. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM FlexJobs 9/27/19 @ 5:43 PM s SSDI Isn't Enough To Make Ends Meet 9/25/19 @ 10:38 AM work at home 4/3/19 @ 9:26 PM Shortage in Budget 9/26/19 @ 1:16 PM See more in Make Money or ask a money question Secrets of Wealthy Women Think back to that mental image of a stereotypical entrepreneur. Was that power-walking, suit-clad person a male? The podcast Secrets of Wealthy Women wants to blow up those assumptions and expand the playing field. Among the many podcasts for entrepreneurs, this one aims to empower businesswomen through thoughtful interviews featuring “women executives, workplace pioneers, self-made entrepreneurs, industry trendsetters and money-savvy experts.”   Guests share advice on starting businesses, building personal brands, dealing with pay inequality and discrimination in the workplace, as well as women-centric strategies to achieve financial success. The Wall Street Journal’s personal finance reporter Veronica Dahger hosts the podcast, which launched in late [...]
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Limited Time Offer: 30% Bonus for AmEx Cardholders on Transfers to Marriott Bonvoy

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Limited Time Offer: 30% Bonus for AmEx Cardholders on Transfers to Marriott Bonvoy
American Express is offering a 30% bonus on point transfers from Membership Rewards to Marriott Bonvoy through Oct. 31, 2019. In this article, we’ll look at some sweet spot Marriott redemptions to help you decide whether taking advantage of this transfer bonus makes sense for you. Promotion terms Under the terms of the bonus, you’ll... Elina Geller is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: egeller@nerdwallet.com. The article Limited Time Offer: 30% Bonus for AmEx Cardholders on Transfers to Marriott Bonvoy originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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How to Save Money on Healthcare Needs For Your Family

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How to Save Money on Healthcare Needs For Your Family
If you ask many Americans, one thing that they need to save money on it is healthcare.  With the rising costs of both insurance and medical bills, it certainly can keep you up at night. You need healthcare coverage.  That is especially true if you have children.  They are good at getting sick and injured, ... Read More about How to Save Money on Healthcare Needs For Your Family The post How to Save Money on Healthcare Needs For Your Family appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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5 Great Ways to Use the AmEx Business Platinum Welcome Offer

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5 Great Ways to Use the AmEx Business Platinum Welcome Offer
For a limited time, the The Business Platinum® Card from American Express has an increased welcome offer for new cardholders: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. While... Caroline Lupini is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article 5 Great Ways to Use the AmEx Business Platinum Welcome Offer originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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SEPTEMBER: THE GOLDEN PERIOD TO SELL YOUR BUSINESS

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SEPTEMBER: THE GOLDEN PERIOD TO SELL YOUR BUSINESS
The post SEPTEMBER: THE GOLDEN PERIOD TO SELL YOUR BUSINESS appeared first on ONEtoONE Corporate Finance. [...]
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The 60/20/20 Budget Puts Needs Before Wants. Here’s How to Try It

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The 60/20/20 Budget Puts Needs Before Wants. Here’s How to Try It
I always thought the right budget breakdown was the tried-and-true 50/30/20 method, where 50% of my monthly take-home pay goes toward living expenses, 20% toward savings and 30% toward whatever I want.  But when I finally got a financial advisor, I was surprised to hear that his recommendation wasn’t 50/30/20 after all — it was the 60/20/20 budget.  During our first meeting, we discussed all of my finances. I explained to him that I own a home in a costly state (hello, New Jersey), commute to work in New York City, aim to save a large amount every month and have little debt.  With all of this and more in mind, his recommendation of the 60/20/20 budget made perfect sense. I immediately became a huge fan of how the money I save and spend on whatever I want is equal — each 20%.  Plus, knowing I was allowed 60% of my monthly budget for my living expenses, I had a little more flexibility over my fluctuating bills like groceries and electricity.  How Does the 60/20/20 Budget Work? Let’s say your monthly take-home pay is $4,000. According to the 60/20/20 budget, you should allot 60% (or $2,400) to your monthly living expenses, 20% (or $800) to savings and then 20% (another $800) to your personal wants.  It’s not much different than the 50/-30/-20 budget, but it puts more of a focus on fixed expenses and savings than personal wants and spending. My financial advisor, Northwestern Mutual insurance agent Nicholas Verard Zanoni, said this method can help you build structure into your budget and learn how to save.  “This is a rule-of-thumb guideline to start out with and visualize,” Zanoni said. “Whether it’s 50/30 or 60/20, it’s really just splitting hairs in a lot of ways. Ultimately, my goal is to help coach my clients at first to spend 80% and save 20%.” When you take a step back and look at how much of your take-home pay goes into each of these three buckets, you can better analyze your spending in order to make smarter savings decisions. How to Get Started With the 60/20/20 Budget If you’re ready to use the 60/20/20 budget, start by taking inventory of your finances. Write down every monthly expense you can think of and keep track of them in a spreadsheet. Then look at how much you’re spending through the lens of the 60/20/20 budget.  From there, consider using a financial app to help you find ways to cut back and save even more. “People should focus on treating their savings like a bill, an obligation and not so much of an option,” Zanoni said. “Focusing on fixed expenses and saving helps identify the money that might be being spent unnecessarily or without much recognition. More often than not, most individuals are not aware of all of the things they spend money on.” FROM THE BUDGETING FORUM Have you tried the Zero Based budgeting method? 6/7/19 @ 1:58 PM How do you distribute your income? 8/5/19 @ 1:38 PM T TRIM Services 8/5/19 @ 1:32 PM L Hi 8/2/19 @ 3:42 AM J See more in Budgeting or ask a money question How the 60/20/20 Budget Helps You Be Aware of Your Spending  This budget could help you be more aware of your spending habits, especially when you’re doling out the dough for things you don’t really need (hi, super cute sweater from H&M) or that you’re not using (hello, monthly streaming subscriptions). Instead of equally spending $800 on savings and $800 on your personal wants, perhaps you’d want to put $1,000 toward your savings and only spend $600 on your personal wants. That would shift the 60/20/20 budget to 60/25/15, and you’d be saving more.  “In order to reach the goals we have for ourselves, we very typically find that we need to increase savings to 25 or 30% over time to reach those goals,” Zanoni said. “People may not be able to start out at 20%, but that’s what we want to help them achieve and work toward at first. Over time, we will need to be saving more as we continue to progress in life every single year.”  Lastly, Zanoni said to keep your goals in mind and consider working with a financial advisor who can help you stay on track. “Focusing on that budget and making sure that they work with someone to help optimize that budget for all of their goals is really the most important part,” Zanoni said. Budgeting is all about finding ways to set yourself up for financial freedom. Starting now can really make a difference in the future. Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) and its subsidiaries. Nicholas Verard Zanoni is an insurance agent of NM. Hilarey Wojtowicz is the senior career and finance editor at Swirled, a lifestyle newsletter and website that helps millennials learn everything they need to know in order to truly start adulting. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Collision Insurance: What It Covers and Who Needs It

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Collision Insurance: What It Covers and Who Needs It
Collision insurance sounds pretty straightforward, but it won’t cover every bill after a crash. Collision coverage pays to repair your own car’s damage when you hit another vehicle or object such as a lamppost or fence. It may also pay if another driver hits your car and doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for the... Lacie Glover is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: lacie@nerdwallet.com. The article Collision Insurance: What It Covers and Who Needs It originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Delta SkyMiles Cards Add Cash Back to Welcome Offers (Limited Time)

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Delta SkyMiles Cards Add Cash Back to Welcome Offers (Limited Time)
American Express is offering a chance for new cardholders to earn extra cash back on top of the welcome offers for two co-branded airline cards: the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. Through Aug. 15, 2019, you can apply for either of these cards... Sara Rathner is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: srathner@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @sarakrathner. The article Delta SkyMiles Cards Add Cash Back to Welcome Offers (Limited Time) originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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5 Things to Know About UBS Business Credit Cards

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5 Things to Know About UBS Business Credit Cards
UBS Bank caters to wealthy individuals, institutions and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. So naturally, when the bank launched a trio of business credit cards in June 2019, the cards all came with princely perks and swanky benefits befitting the high-end clientele most likely to bank with UBS. Not everyone will be... Robin Saks Frankel is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: rfrankel@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @robinsaks. The article 5 Things to Know About UBS Business Credit Cards originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Use ‘Virtual Malls’ to Rack Up Airline Points on Your Next Hotel

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Use ‘Virtual Malls’ to Rack Up Airline Points on Your Next Hotel
Savvy travelers know that if you sign up for a hotel’s rewards program you can earn points redeemable for future travel. Even savvier travelers know that if you make your booking with a co-branded credit card that partners with the hotel chain, you can earn even more points for the same stay. But not many... June Casagrande is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article Use ‘Virtual Malls’ to Rack Up Airline Points on Your Next Hotel originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Looking Forward to Your Next Vacation? Save on Air Travel With These Tips

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Looking Forward to Your Next Vacation? Save on Air Travel With These Tips
If you’ve ever suspected that it’s more expensive to fly on certain days of the week than others, your hunch is right. The cheapest days to fly are… drumroll… Tuesday and Wednesday. Fewer people want to fly on those days because they don’t fit the typical Monday-through-Friday work schedule. So, airlines discount tickets on those days slightly. That’s the short answer. But there’s much more to consider when booking a plane ticket so you’re sure to get the best deal. Cheapest Days to Fly, Explained A 2019 study by the travel site CheapAir.com found what every study before it had: You’ll pay less for airfare if you fly midweek. In some cases, nearly $85 less. That’s compared with the most expensive day of the week, Sunday, with Friday coming in second. Again, most people travel over the weekend when they’re off work and the kids are out of school. If you’re willing to fly on less convenient days, you’ll save a few bucks. And for the record, it doesn’t matter when you actually purchase a ticket. Many travel experts agree there’s no meaningful difference in price based on the day you book. When to Buy: Aim for the Prime Booking Window Another factor that affects whether you get a bargain on airfare or get hosed is how far out you book your ticket. The sweet spot is the prime booking window, and it falls between three weeks and four months before your trip. CheapAir.com says fares in this zone are within 5% of their lowest point, and they tend to stay consistent without spiking. But say you like to plan things way in advance. Booking a ticket more than six months out will cost you — possibly $50 more than in the prime window — but the tradeoff is you’ll have lots of flight options to choose from. On the other hand, there’s rarely any reward for waiting until the last minute. Booking less than two weeks in advance will cost you. There Is a Season So with your sights squarely set on the prime booking window, bear in mind this advice about traveling at different times of the year. Winter If you’ve ever flown home for the holidays, you know this to be true: Winter is the most expensive season to travel. The average price of a domestic ticket during the winter, according to CheapAir.com, is $433. Ouch. The upside? You get to fight your way through extra-crowded airports. Oh, wait… You can ease the sting of popular winter travel a little by booking about 94 days in advance, which is, on average, the best time to buy in winter. Spring Spraaang Break, y’all. Oodles of families and college kids take a vacay when school is out for a week in March and April. Beat them all to better fares by flying midweek. Average best time to buy: 84 days before your trip. Summer Think late in the season. We know, school just got out and you’re ready to escape. But July is the most expensive month of the year to fly, while late August and September harbor some serious deals. Try to book about 99 days out. Fall Airfare in the fall makes us want to frolic in some autumn leaves! Fall is shoulder season — the time between peak and off-peak — for many destinations when fewer people in general are traveling. (Yeah, the term doesn’t really make sense to us either.) There are deals to be had — as long as you avoid Thanksgiving week; 69 days out is the time to book. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Save my money! 6/13/19 @ 9:38 AM D SAVING MONEY ON A FIXED INCOME 6/7/19 @ 9:31 AM Always buy used when possible 6/12/19 @ 1:48 PM Over Couponing 4/15/19 @ 12:43 PM B See more in Save Money or ask a money question Destination Matters We don’t just mean that it’s cheaper to fly to Phoenix than Dubai. (Although — pro tip — it is.) CheapAir.com is also here for us on this important question: How far out you should book tickets to different areas of the world? Here’s the breakdown: Canada: 59 days in advance Mexico & Central America: 61 days Caribbean: 76 days South America: 81 days Middle East/Africa: 119 days Asia/Pacific: 90 days Europe: 99 days Finally — and this has less to do with the cheapest days to fly but everything to do with saving money — don’t overlook alternate airports. Smaller carriers serve regional airports and often offer fares that seem like they’re from a bygone era. $55 to Orlando? Hello! Use this handy list of lesser known airports outside big cities and check for cheaper fares before you book. Happy travels! Molly Moorhead is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Capital One Spark Miles for Business Adds Precheck/Global Entry Perk

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Capital One Spark Miles for Business Adds Precheck/Global Entry Perk
Capital One is enhancing one of its popular business credit cards with a cardholder benefit that pays for federal trusted-traveler programs aimed at helping flyers get through airport security lines quicker. Learn More Starting May 21, 2019, the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business will reimburse cardholders for the cost of applying to TSA Precheck or Global Entry programs, which... Gregory Karp is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: gkarp@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @spendingsmart. The article Capital One Spark Miles for Business Adds Precheck/Global Entry Perk originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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