Smart Money Options for the Financial Savvy Mom

As a mom, you want maximum results and extended flexibility. And when it comes to the way you save money, or keep them, making the right choices can be the difference between stress and bliss. Financial products tend to have unnecessary limitations, like the maximum number of withdrawals or an unfair balance between the interest rate and the minimum deposit required, which can be intimidating.

In the order of minimal requirements, there are a checking account, the savings account, and the premium option of a money market account. Let’s see some pros and cons for each.

Checking Accounts

Opening a checking account is fast, easy and requires only to be of legal age to own a bank account. It’s the equivalent of keeping your money in a safe place, making you less tempted to spend them, yet retaining full liquidity. Nowadays most checking accounts have a debit card attached, making it easy to pay for current shopping without the risk of getting into credit card debt.

It replaces the outdated written checks and acts as a great way to pay bills and utilities. Also, saves you from the hassle of carrying cash around with you. The best part is that since this is an introductory banking product, it usually comes with no attached fees or commissions.

The downsideis that you can’t dispute or reverse charges, making such an account very vulnerable to fraud and theft. It’s better to restrain from using such cards for online payments.

Savings Accounts

Compared to checking accounts, savings accounts are federally insured, therefore are much safer. Also, these provide you with a much better interest rate, but there is a catch. You have to keep your money in the account for a determined period to get the full interest.  This could be inconvenient, especially if you run into some trouble and you need to access them quickly.

The great thing about saving accounts is that you can set up an automated payment and grow your money tax-free until you withdraw them. The out of sight out of mind approachcan help you save thousands without even thinking about it.

The current economic condition makes savings accounts less tempting. You won’t enjoy a high-interest rate; you could even have the unpleasant surprise of a higher inflation rate compared to the interest.

Money Market Account

If you have used a saving account for some time now, accumulating enough wealth and would love to see it grow faster, a money market account could be a good choice for you. Decide after you read the best advice on money market accounts.

A little less flexible than a checking account, but still allowing you to write a few checks and withdraw money, it comes with the promise of a better interest rate compared to the other options. The interest rate might vary over time, and the minimum deposit starts around $250, although some companies require up to $1,000. It’s not enough to have this money as an initial deposit; you need to keep them to avoid fees. Compared to savings accounts, there is higher liquidity.

Drawing the line

Your current situation and earnings level dictate the best tools for your savings. If you ask us, we would recommend a mix between these options, since there is no one-size fits all solution. You could keep 70% of your earning in a checking account for easy accessing and the remaining part either in a savings account if you don’t have enough money yet. Once you have the minimum amount, transfer them to a money market option to get the benefits of higher interest rate and more flexibility.

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Importance of Research in Running a Business

Many aspiring business owners believe their days of research and homework ended when they earned their degree. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that research is an integral and essential aspect of running a business. Sure, the world has no shortage of stories of haphazardly launched startups run by people who didn’t take the time to understand their industry until later on, but these are exceptional instances. For the overwhelming majority of small businesses, conducting comprehensive business research will be vital to maintaining success.

Here are the reasons why research is so important in business:

Navigating offers

Aspiring entrepreneurs often fail to appreciate how they are a market to other businesses – mainly entities which seek to help by providing services and supplies to other companies. With this in mind, it’s imperative for small business leaders to do their research before agreeing to partner with service providers. For instance, it’s a good idea to research small business loans before applying for one. The same goes for hiring marketing services and other outsourced responsibilities.

Testing of new products

Research is crucial in examining the potential of an innovative product in the market. Medium-sized businesses must recognize the types of products and services that the consumer needs. They must also assess the missing products and the state of demand. Business research minimizes the risk of non-performing products. It aids in shaping the product by identifying the market gap and the level of demand.

Examining the distribution of products

Distribution is key to the success of a business. Poor distribution could lead to business loss and failure. By conducting a business research, you ensure adequate distribution of products. Distribution research assists marketing manager to identify the areas that they need to increase their distribution.

Product promotion

Business research is crucial in assessing the effectiveness of product promotion. This is fundamental when it comes to small and medium-sized enterprises. For instance, a business commercial may assess their advertisement channels and see if a significant number of people are aware of that.

Studying the competition

Knowing your directest competitors and the level of competition in the market is imperative. Results of the business research will aid you to know the measures and strategies to overcome your competitors and the level of competition in the market. There is no way you will realize how other businesses are operating without having a comprehensive research.

Location

Most medium-sized businesses are unable to sustain themselves due to poor location. Businesses were set up even before examining the demographics, security, nature of people, and the demand of a place. Before you opt for a certain location, there are certain things you have to consider. This can only be obtained if you conduct a business research. It’s very useful since it reduces the risks of an underperforming business.

Choice of product

Many business persons are unable to identify the necessary products for a certain demographic and location. As a result, they end up availing products that have no market demand which leads to closure of the business and low-profit turnover. This is mainly brought by lack of market research. Conducting a business research helps business persons to identify the missing product in the market. By conducting an assessment, you will be able to listen to what people say. With this knowledge, you shall be capable to avail the ideal product and increase profits.

Measure of progress

The growth of a business is measured by its progress. Once you realize the progress of the business, you shall be in a position to identify the weaknesses and strength of that business. This can only be realized if you conduct a business research. Without doing a research, you might think you are in the right direction and that might not be the case.

Improving productivity

Market research enables you to increase the productivity of your business. After conducting a research, you will realize some unnecessary costs and expenses. This will aid you to increase the profitability of that business.

Bottom line

It is clear that every small and medium-sized business needs business research. As described, there are many benefits that come with a comprehensive research.

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Why Starting an Online Financial Market Trading Business is Worth Considering for the Stay-At-Home Mother

Online financial marketing trading was, in the past, seen as a business venture only males could indulge in. But I recent years, more and more women are rolling up their sleeves to get a piece of the trading action. According to one of the top financial trading advisors at Olsson Capital, one in every ten traders are female and percentages keep increasing every year. Having said that, online financial marketing trading can be seen as a highly lucrative way of earning an income, especially if you are a stay-at-home mother. So, why exactly should a mother consider starting an online trading business?

 You have control over your trades

As a stay-at-home mother, it is not always possible to go to your broker’s office in order to execute trades. With online trading, you can automate almost all trading processes, thus giving you greater control over your trades in the comfort of your own home.

Trading online costs less

For a brokerage, it costs much less to maintain an online trading setup than having a business premise to maintain. When their costs are less, your brokerage fees will also be less. The benefits of this is passed onto you and with that, you can make more profit, giving you the ability to care for your loved ones with greater comfort.

 You are more focused in your personal space

If you, as a mother, don’t have the added worry of where your children may find themselves during the day, you should be more focused. Whether you have a newborn baby at home or your children are in school, being in your own personal space gives you extra confidence to trade with precision.

Trading can be done from anywhere

If it is time to pick up the kids from school or you have a few errands to run, you can still keep an eye on your trades by making use of mobile apps. As online traders can buy and sell from anywhere across the globe, it makes the entire process much easier as everything is digitalized.

You learn to make informed decisions

Brokerage firms develop their trading systems so that all important trading information is synced with your trading devices. With this, you can make informed decisions and potentially break grounds for higher profit. As a mother, one of the most important things in life is the ability to make informed decisions where your children are concerned and with online trading, you get a great head start on learning how.

 You can trade whenever you have the time

Being a full-time mother with a pile of errands to run each day, time can become something you don’t have. The fantastic thing about online trading is that it be done throughout the day or evening. If you find yourself strapped for time during the day, settle in after the kids are in bed in the evening and get ready to trade. With time being of the essence when it comes to online financial marketing trading, it becomes a one-stop solution for your income needs. There is no need for you to set a foot outside your front door and you don’t have to stand in queues at the bank to get a paycheck.

Peace of mind to enjoy life

We all want to build a bright future for our children. With the seamless process of online financial marketing trading, you can have peace of mind that you’d be able to provide your kids with what they need while growing up. When making use of a trading strategy that works for your individual needs, you are sure to make a substantial amount of profit.

If you are a stay-at-home mother and you are looking for a way to support your loved ones, online financial marketing trading is one of the best options you can choose. It is very easy to start trading and although it is recommended that you practice on a demo account first before making trades with your hard-earned capital, profit will soon be at the order of the day!

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Protect Your Profits So You Can Pamper Your Progeny

Nobody wants to raise a spoilt brat. We want our kids to understand and appreciate the value of what they have and why it’s neither reasonable nor practical for them to have whatever they want whenever they want it. After all, we want to ensure that they’ll grow up into financially responsible adults one day. That said, it can be utterly heartbreaking when, despite your working every hour God sends, you have to look them in the eye and tell them that they can’t have that one, not at all unreasonable thing that they really, really want. It’s no wonder that so many parents get themselves into crippling debt around Christmas time. It’s pretty much worth it for many, so long as they don’t have to see that crushing look of disappointment when it seems like Santa has forgotten all about them this year.

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That’s why it’s so frustrating when our jobs place such strict limitations on our income. They freeze our wages, so that they don’t rise in line with inflation, meaning that with each and every year our money is worth less in real terms even if it remains the same on paper. They deny us paid overtime, they restrict paid leave and they pass us up for promotion time after time. It’s no wonder that so many turn to entrepreneurship to smash the glass ceiling placed over their potential earnings. If they get it right, they’ll have crafted a lifeline for their personal and familial finances. If they get it wrong, at least they can say they tried and failed on their own terms. Plus, having run your own business will at least make you more attractive to prospective future employers.

Of course, when we enter into the world of entrepreneurship from the world of salaried work, it can be jarring. We no longer have a stable income on which we can rely and our fates are tied intrinsically to those of our nascent enterprises. If we’re to protect our family’s financial wellbeing and ensure that we can spoil our kids every now and then when they really deserve it, it’s vitally important that we take steps to protect our profits, especially in those all important early stages. While your first year or so of entrepreneurship is as much about survival as anything else, and the learning curve is steep, your early years also allow you the opportunity to lay a strong foundation for the future. Follow this advice, protect your profits and you’ll be able to ensure that your profits stay robust in your early years and every year.

Investing while cutting costs. It’s a fine line!

One of the finest lines nascent businesses walk is that between investing enough in their business to facilitate easy operations, ongoing prosperity and sustainable growth and managing overhead costs so that they don’t tie up all of your assets, effectively crippling your business. While this is a difficult balancing act, it is achievable. For every capital investment you make, it’s important to consider its fiscal multiplier. This is the amount of economic activity this purchase will generate relative to its cost. Let’s say that you buy a product wholesale that you intend to sell at a 30% profit. The fiscal multiplier for this that product is 0.3. If you purchase a piece of equipment that will increase productivity by 200%, it’s fiscal multiplier is 2. Determining an overhead cost’s fiscal multiplier can be complicated. Some areas of spending may begin to pay for themselves more quickly than others others. Others may pay for themselves in more circuitous ways. Refurbishing your premises to make it more aesthetically appealing, for example, will certainly enhance the customer experience, but it’s difficult to quantify the extent to which it drives profitability.

By rule of thumb, the following areas of spending are proven to be effective for small businesses;

  • Capital investments- Tools, equipment, software, or a bargain priced batch of stock. It all drives productivity or profitability so it’s a pretty safe bet.
  • Digital marketing- What’s the point in being the best if nobody knows who you are? While it’s possible to cultivate a large and loyal following organically through social media platforms this can be a clumsy and time consuming process if you don’t have a marketing background. Since marketing costs tend to have a 1:5 investment: return ratio they’re among the safest bets you can make
  • Personnel and development- You may be the driving force behind your business but your employees are a huge part of what keeps it ticking over. Invest in recruiting, training and developing talented individuals and you will reap the dividends for years to come.

Just remember that protecting your profits lies not only in where you invest, but how much. Very often the difference between prudent and wasteful spending is simply a matter of how much you spend.

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Maintain healthy cash flow

As your business progresses, it will inevitably encounter opportunities that could lead to sustainable growth and larger long term profits. These may come in the form of a piece of equipment that’s going for a song in a liquidation auction, a software upgrade that could increase productivity or even a better located premises with increased foot traffic. You’d be mad to miss out on one of these opportunities, but without a healthy cash flow you could be left with no choice but to let them pass you by.

You can maintain a healthy cash flow by incentivizing prompt payments. Give your clients a discount or some other form of incentive when they settle their accounts quickly. Incentivize your employees to identify and capitalize on upselling opportunities so that your assets are not tied up in stock. Moreover, don’t be afraid to throw a quick sale if you need to free up liquid assets quickly. While your profit margins may take a temporary dip, your improved cash flow is worth more than short term profits. Plus, sales have a tendency to drive customer interest and loyalty.

Protect your brand from liability

Your brand is more than just your logo, your slogan or the cute mascot you invented with a team of graphic designers. Your brand makes a promise, and that promise is inextricably linked to your mission statement. Your brand is what will keep your customers coming back to you again and again because they know it represents a standard and a set of principles that they take for granted. Thus, nothing can be allowed to compromise your brand. Yet, without the right insurance, your brand could be forever tarnished. If a customer should slip and injure themselves on the shop floor because you mopped yet failed to put up a sign, you’re liable. If an employee should injure themselves because they haven’t been correctly briefed on how to do their job within the parameters of health and safety, you’re liable. Thus, it’s essential that you not only take appropriate measures to prevent these things from happening, you must also get the right insurance from a company like Equify to ensure that even if, despite your best efforts, they do happen, your business is insulated from most of the risk. You will be able to pay your employees worker’s comp and indemnity payments or defend yourself against potentially damaging litigation while still being able to keep your business running.

Guard against cyber threats

Of course, employees and disgruntled customers aren’t the only potential threats to your profits against which you must protect yourself. Every year cyber security threats become increasingly sophisticated and commonplace. While we tend not to hear about them until they come into contact with big business (or even the UK’s NHS), they have the potential to bring at risk small businesses to their knees. As such, while insulating yourself from cyber security risks may be another unwelcome overhead, it’s vitally important in protecting your profits and the security of your business.

Ransomware is amongst the biggest cyber threats that small businesses face and it’s vital that you have the infrastructure to prevent it. Make sure that you backup your data somewhere secure, preferably using a cloud based solution (cloud based storage is ultimately much better value for money than using servers which need to be constantly upgraded anyway). It’s also a good idea to invest in a comprehensive anti virus software package and make sure that it’s regularly upgraded. Ransomware is a persistent threat with new strains being created all the time, so this year’s protection may not be adequate next year. Since Ransomware can be transmitted via Bluetooth (aka blueborne vulnerability) it’s important that you vet the devices used by employees as much as possible and invest in cyber liability insurance to ensure that your business is not brought to its knees in the event of a ransomware attack.

While the price may be eternal vigilance and a constant eye on the bottom line, it’s a small price to pay for the freedom and potential uncapped earnings that you could enjoy when you liberate yourself from the world of work and become an entrepreneur. By building on a strong foundation you can ensure a prosperous business and pampered little ones for years to come!

The Financial Skills We All Need As Young Adults

There are some skills in life that we all need in order to get by. Which ones can you think of?

Some are really obvious, such as cooking, personal hygiene, and communication. Skills like cooking and personal hygiene help us survive and to live our live as healthy as we can. Whereas the other kinds of skills, such as communication for instance, help us to get by and improve the person we turn out to be. Not only that, though, but they increase our employability and make it a lot more likely that we will end up earning the big bucks!

Even though most of us will graduate from college with a good set of skills on our resume, there is still often one skill set that is usually lacking from most graduate’s knowledge. And that is a solid set of financial skills. Without any financial knowledge and skills, it can be incredibly difficult to manage money. As a result, you might find that you are a lot more inclined to overspend and end up collecting a lot of debt and poor credit. Because of this, your financial situation will not be too strong at all, and this could have a knock on effect when you need to apply for other forms of finance, such as mortgages. Your poor financial situation won’t make you an attractive candidate to lenders, so you will find that you are quickly refused.

Do you think that your financial skills could do with a bit of work? Don’t worry; that is where this blog post comes in to play. I’ve outlined some of the key financial skills that every young adult needs. I’ve also included some extra information on how you can improve the skill. So, ready to get more knowledgeable when it comes to your money? Read on to find out everything you need to!

Budgeting Money

First of all, you need to make sure that you understand all of the basics of budgeting money. That way, you will know how to look after what you have in the bank and you won’t risk spending too much of it at once. I know that lots of young adults are currently put off even thinking about starting a budget as they think that it will become a lot too complicated for them. But that isn’t the case – your budget will be as complicated as you make it. So, when you are just starting off, it’s a good idea to try and keep it as simple as possible. You’ll be able to find lots of great budgeting tools and templates online to help you get started on yours.

Separating Want From Need

It is also critical to be able to separate wants from needs. This is usually one of the very first reality checks that we all get when we move out into our own place and become independent. After all, your needs will no longer be the responsibility of someone else, and you will have to ensure that your wants don’t get in their way. Otherwise, you could end up missing out on being able to pay some pretty important needs, such as rent and food bills. Lots of young adults who have only just got their own independence often take a while to figure out the whole wants vs needs thing. They continue to put their wants before their needs which can worsen their financial situation very quickly. So, make sure that you are very aware you are going to have to make some difficult choices once you get your own place. Or else you might find that you start to spiral into debt!

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Saving For Emergencies

It’s also important to save just in case of emergencies. There is no way what roads our lives will take or when we might face turbulent times. So, it’s always good to have plenty of money in the bank that you can use as a safety net. For instance, you might end up in a bad accident or develop a serious health condition that requires you to pay some very high medical bills. Plenty of savings allows you to do that while also being able to fund your current lifestyle. Even if you aren’t on a particularly high wage at the minute, there will still be some ways you can try and boost the little that you can save. Ideally, you need to be paying into a savings account at least once a month. Even if it is just $10 to start off with, that will still add up to a sizeable sum eventually. As well as that, you should look for a high-interest bank account. Most specialist savings accounts come with high interest rates and will help you grow your savings over time. Once you do start to amass a sizeable sum of savings, you should start to consider investing them in stocks and shares. That way, you will make even more money as investments are a lot more volatile and have the potential to grow substantially.

Estimating

It also helps to be able to estimate well. That will help when it comes to applying for big loans and large sums of finance from creditors. If you are able to estimate correctly how much cash you will need then you will be able to apply for a suitable amount of credit without taking out too much. If you do ever overestimate how much you need, then you could really struggle with the monthly repayments. Thankfully, there are some online tools, such as this mortgage calculator, which can really help you with your estimation efforts. These different online estimation tools will come in super useful and can take out some of the hard work that comes with doing all the sums in your head. But it’s also a good idea to try and develop your own estimation skills so that you don’t always have to rely on online tools!

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How To Read Financial Contracts

When you grow up and move out into your own place, you will be responsible for taking out any loans that you need, signing for a new house, and other boring monetary contracts. Even though these may seem like very boring pieces of paper, they are actually very important and are legally binding. So, it is absolutely crucial that you always understand exactly what it is that you are signing for. Otherwise, you might end up signing away your life without even realizing it! Unfortunately, the companies and lenders who you sign with won’t be too bothered if you don’t really understand what you are reading and will make you sign even if it is clear that you don’t have a clue what you are signing for! So, do your research and make sure that you know how to read any financial contract that comes your way. Believe me, this is doing future you a huge favor as it means that you won’t ever have to worry about getting into any legal trouble. If you are faced with a contract and don’t really get what any of it means, don’t feel pressured to sign it there and then. You can always take it with you to show your parents so that they can give it a quick once over. Alternatively, you could even take it to a legal expert for their two cents.

Knowing When To Ask For Help

We all run into trouble at various points in our lives and sometimes the only way out of these tricky situations is to ask for help. It’s really important that you know when you should ask for help with regards to your financial situation. After all, running out of money is a pretty bad place to be in. Thankfully, there are lots of different places to turn to for help. If you are on good terms with your family, then they should be your first port of call. They might be able to offer you some useful tips and advice. If things are pretty bad for you, they might even be able to offer you a loan to tide you over. If you can’t turn to your parents for help, then you should go to a financial advisor. They will be able to professionally assess your situation and give you some advice as to the best way of tackling things.

How To Prepare For The Future

Even though you may still only be young right now, there is no reason to put off planning for the future. As soon as you are in full-time employment or have some other source of regular income, it is crucial that you start paying into a private pension. That’s even the case if you have a workplace pension set up by your employer. You will then be maximizing your savings ready for retirement and will be ensuring that you can enjoy a comfortable retirement.

As you can see, there are a lot of financial skills that you need as a young adult. Best start learning them now!